He’s famous and he talks about me…

Because of the demands of school and motherhood, I’ve been behind on my SModcast network podcasts. I had started to dive back in recently during the holiday break. Kevin Smith (imdb info) was on twitter one day asking for questions for his RED STATE of the Union podcast with Malcolm Ingram (imdb info). I submitted a few and thought he might answer one of them. He and I have tweeted back and forth on twitter for over a year now. I have Favorited every single tweet he has ever posted to me. My husband, Mark called me yesterday and told me to stop what I was doing and listen to the #7 episode of RED STATE of the Union. I thought oh ok, he’s answered one of my questions, AWESOME! I had no idea he would say this…

Kev Talks ABout Me

I squealed like a 12 year old girl, tweeted everyone I could and called every person who would listen. I’m thinking of putting this on my resume…he he. I’ve made a ringtone out of it…

Kev Ringtone

“She’s a Twitter fiend..She’s sweet..She’s incredible, yeah..We all need a yourmelody1 in your life, man.” – Kevin Smith

And now, I am armed with the awesome power of, “You think I suck? Well, listen to what the Master Kevin Smith has to say about me!” With great power comes great responsibility. Fortunately, I do not encounter many people who think I suck…BUT if I do, I’ve got proof from an awesome famous dude who thinks otherwise.

Thank you Kevin Smith for making me smile and laugh. You’re aces in my book and I’ll never say anything ill of you. You don’t have an arrogant or mean bone in your body. If anyone ever says otherwise to me, I’ve got proof to disprove them.

You’re a talented, amazing, inspiring, and humble guy who appreciates good people as well as the good things in life. Thank you, sir!

Check out all of Kev’s podcasts and the new RED STATE Trailer www.smodcast.com Follow Kev on Twitter www.twitter.com/thatkevinsmith

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The Santa Clause

At first, when I had my child, I considered not lying about Santa. I thought it might be better to be truthful…to never lie about Santa and take all of the credit for everything done on Christmas Eve. I thought I’d save my child the devastation and sense of betrayal that follows the realization of the lie of Santa. We decided to continue the tradition of Santa for our child. 

For all parents that participate in Santa, it is a sacrifice that we face each year. We work hard for what we get only to give some fake guy in a red velvet suit all of the credit. Why do we do this? Why do we lie? It is a lesson teaching the importance of selfless giving. We sacrifice the reciprocity involving the “Oh thank you mommy and daddy! I love it so much! I love you!” moment allowing the joy to fall on the child of knowing that someone other than parents and family loves him/her. This is something the child may never appreciate until older and/or have a child of his/her own.

Throughout our lives with our children, we give everything to them and ask for nothing in return. We do not want gifts. We want hugs, kisses, love. We want lasting moments. Our children freely give these things to us and do so without gifts.

 My child is now at an age where things are steadily becoming clear. My child is walking around the house leaving coins here and there saying “The Christmas Cat” has left us gifts. The lessons of selfless giving are being instilled in my child. Santa is still real at this time, but my child is clever. This may be the last year of Santa. My child is kind and loving. I wonder if my child will discover the Santa lie and pretend to believe for my and my husband’s benefit. It would befit my child’s nature. It makes me sad and proud.

Why do we give our children the lie of Santa? To give the illusion of magic and selfless giving in a world that tends to be devoid of such things. It will break my child’s heart to learn the lie of Santa…It’s already breaking mine…

In the end all parents are subjected to the Santa Clause…where our hearts will break far more than that of our children’s. Yet it is the bittersweet joy of the short magical time we have with our children that makes such heart break worth the lie.

My Top 50 Films

My best friend @Darnack71 posted a blog in regards to his favorite 50 films of all time. Additionally @DRSJG77 and @CLeighS1983 are posting their favorites on their blogs in the near future. I thought I’d participate and share my favorite films.

I myself, have seen literally thousands and thousands of films. I love film. I’ve made short films and hope to make full length features soon. I am very critical of film…sometimes a little too harshly. I do have favorites that I can indeed watch many times over and over again retaining the same excitement and feelings as I did the first time I saw them. I am inspired by these films. With that said, I do not hold to this list in the future for there are films that I will love more than any other as I am exposed to them. Yet, many of these films will never leave my list. So, for your consideration, I give you my favorite 50 films of all time.

50. Triplets of Belleville

49. Tron

48. Brigadoon

47. Sin City

46. Rock N Rolla

45. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

44. Some Like it Hot

43. Say Anything

42. Like Water for Chocolate

41. The Incredibles

40. The Goonies

39. Iron Man

38. The Godfather

37. Pulp Fiction

36. Elf

35. The Full Monty

34.  Once Upon a Time in Mexico

33. Grease

32. Spirited Away

31. Shawshank Redemption

30. Blazing Saddles

29. The Shining

28. City of Lost Children

27. Anchors Aweigh

26. A Christmas Story

25. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

24. Sleeping Beauty

23. Guys and Dolls

22. O Brother Where Art Thou?

21. The Nightmare Before Christmas

20. Schindler’s List

19. Superman (Richard Donner Film)

18. Young Frankenstein

17. The Breakfast Club

16. Psycho

15. The Life of Brian

14. Singing in the Rain

13. Clerks.

12. Indiana Jones Collection

11. Romeo and Juliet (1996)

10. The Princess Bride

9. Big Fish

8. Jaws

7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

6. Dogma

5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

4. Star Wars Collection (Episodes 4-6 first)

3. Amelie

2. Pirates of the Caribbean (The Collection)

1. Lord of the Rings (The Collection)

Within my top ten are movies that inspired me to make my own. I relate to and am touched by every single one of them on some level. This list rarely changes. Some may find issues with Lord of the Rings being placed at #1.

Here’s why the Lord of the Rings films are at the top:

 The character dynamics and relationships develop progressively and beautifully through the films. You literally watch these characters age and grow. Peter Jackson refused to settle on making average films with basic funding. All three films show such attention to detail that it took 7 years to fully make all of the films (including post production). The story is timeless and applies to every person signifying the unique roles we all have in our world. I love everything about these films. I watched these films and left inspired wanting to tell my own stories. They moved me in a time of war where my husband was fighting for our country. They gave me hope that I would see him again safe and sound. Yes, Lord of the Rings is just a bunch of movies that some people like and some people…not so much. But to me, they reinforce the core skills and values that are so desperately needed not only in film production, but in our sad world.

Panic on the Streets of London

Yesterday 10,000 people (mostly young college students) came to Parliament to peacefully protest the motion to raise tuition fees as much as 300%. I am an American. My ancestry is British, Irish, and Native American. Let me state that I do not have any place judging anyone or anyone else’s government. I do feel that many in the US are ill informed of the events that transpired yesterday because of lack of available information. I hope to rectify that by offering my observations and my discussions with people who live there and watched it unfold. These people feel betrayed by their poilitical parties that swore to protect their children’s right to higher education. The US has a checks and balances system to aid in the prevention of ill advised and rapid decisions (Senate and the House). My understanding is that Parliament normally investigates all avenues before comitting to such a massive decision and rushing forward with it. There was little investigation, a vote was rushed. The motion passed by only a marginal amount of votes…21. LibDem party members who swore to protect the educational rights of the youth opted to not vote at all…25 of them. This will cause all of the future youth to acquire as much as $158,000 worth of debt while taxpayers continue to pay for college and 80%  worth of budget cuts are happening…hence the outrage.

CNN barely covered any of the protest in London which continued on into the early morning hours, London time. The last thing they mentioned was Prince Charles’ car. It is my understanding only a few people out of 10,000 were responsible for the cracked car window.

Geoff Dexter Photos  of the Protest  <— Wonderful pictures of the events that transpired yesterday.

A progressive video of the events that transpired from the ground level and through the eyes of the students.

The Guardian UK  <— The software would not allow me to embed this video, but please watch it.

With all of this said, here are my thoughts…as they are. Violence, in my opinion, is never an answer to anything. Only a few out of 10,000 people rioted. There were sticks, twigs, flares and firecrackers in the hands of protesters. It is my understanding that the rioting occured only after police commenced with beating college youth (who were unarmed) and nearly trampling them with horses.

In this video, at appx. 1:27, a policeman hits an unarmed student while his hands are up in surrender…This video made me cry…

For Those Who Were “Kettled”  <— A site for people in the UK who are seeking legal action for the brutality they faced.

In the US we have marches and protests that always go unheard…legislation never changes for us unless we are persistent FOR YEARS AND YEARS. We are a MASSIVE nation. The UK is tiny compared to us. The UK public has been successful in quickly repealing laws including taxes through public pressure and protests. Community Charge  Their voices are heard. I don’t recall any recent US protests that have been that successful.

Last Thoughts:

I do not live in the UK. I have no dogs in this fight. This legislation will in no way affect me in any form or fashion. What I do have…is a heart. I’m tired of news that covers snow in France, sports teams, and how to shop for Christmas when things like this are happening. Yes, CNN Prince Charles’ car was vandalised with a minimal amount of damage. I promise you, His Royal Highness can afford the repairs. No one should’ve touched his car. I understand that. However, out of ALL of this…The unity of 10,000 people standing for something they believe to be right… the police brutality … the outrage of the masses…”Prince Charles’ car”  is what we take away from it? It makes me ill.  I’m sure many will disagree with me and say that sticks, twigs, flares and firecrackers are weapons. I guarantee that if you could choose to get hit with a night stick/policeman’s baton or a twig…you’d pick a twig.

The irony of all of this is that I saw beauty in the UK yesterday. It was inspiring…it moved me. If my news networks can only discuss “Prince Charles’ car”, I’m ashamed of you.

As to my UK friends, If I am in ANY WAY incorrect, PLEASE let me know and I will correct any misinformation. My heart goes out to you and your youth. Stay Strong! I’m proud of you. 🙂

The Rose of Sharon

The Christmas holidays offer family traditions that get passed on to future generations. When I was a kid, The Rose of Sharon was one of them. Living in what is called “The Bible Belt” of America, Christianity is considered the most prominent religion. Everything centers around it. Blue light laws prevent alcoholic sales on Sunday unless served with a meal at a bar. Liquor stores are closed. This year, Halloween was moved (in my town as well as a sister town, Munford, TN) to Saturday because it fell on a Sunday. Being that Halloween is my favorite holiday, I was angry. But what could I do? I boycotted my favorite holiday and only passed out candy on Sunday. I had 4 children show as opposed to the 50-60 that normally traverse our yard eager to see “The Halloween House” (what they call our home). Recently I’ve been engaged in conversations with people from all over the world who are atheists that live as a majority in other countries. Christianity is the minority to them. In an effort to help them as well as others understand the integral role that Christianity plays in “The Bible Belt” I took numerous pictures of The Rose of Sharon campground.

We enter Munford, TN it is small town USA.

Munford City Hall - No Politically Correct "Happy Holidays" The Nativity is their statement.

The town park and gazebo are lit beautifully. It is indicative of traditional Americana...Norman Rockwell - esque

We leave Main Street and head towards the Rose of Sharon. We come across lit homes on our long drive.

A beautiful home festively lit for the holidays...

After 30 mins of looking for the campgrounds, we are lost. We phone family and they correct our “wrong turn”. We regain our bearings and arrive. There is a long line of traffic to get to the entrance. We park and walk towards the attractions.

We finally arrive to "Christmas City".

Across from the campgrounds, 2 sets of these crosses greet visitors.

The words under the crosses read "The Way of the Cross Leads Home". It is an old hymnal sung in church.

The lights are beautiful. It is a wonder that they can pay the bills to light them. They do not charge admission.

Santa is here. He is clever. He knows the name of each child. He gives them candy and a small toy.

Although it is beautifully lit in person, the campground church looks somewhat ominous here.

Here children may get their faces painted while they wait for the tram for a ride through the lit campground.

We walk to the right to go get our traditional cocoa with marshmallows and funnel cake to eat on a tricked-out Christmas School Bus complete with heaters.

The bus is complete with lighting, tables, chairs, and heaters while festively decorated.

The bus is packed, but we manage to find seating in the back.

In the event of a massive fire from the heaters, we are at least at the Emergency Exit.

We leave the bus and head for the tram. Nat King Cole sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” through the outdoor speakers. It is very cold outside 40 degrees farenheit (8 above freezing).

The Tram is a free ride through "Christmas City" to look at the lights. With cocoa in hand, we board the tram.

The tram ride is pleasant but our fingers are freezing due to the wind that blows through the tram during its movement. The pictures do not turn out. Because of this, we decide to drive through “Christmas City” and take pictures as many people do. I eventually get out of the car, brave the elements and take hundreds of pictures. I will not post all of them. I will post many.

The beautifully blurry entrance...On the right is the tram.

The camels are coming...the camels are coming...

This display is paying homage to our troops saying "God Bless our Troops."

Mary recieves her news.

Shepherds awake to the angels...

It really is beautiful...

Mary, Joseph, and Jesus flee to Egypt to escape Herod's decree.

The text reads "Christ died for you. Have you accepted him as your saviour?"

The text reads "Aren't you glad to be a born again Christian?"

I could say many things here...it is going to hell pretty quickly...

The Trials of Christ

Garden of Gethsemane...where Jesus prayed prior to his betrayal.

A little reminder...in case you've forgotten.

I have no words...

Christ falls as he carries his cross.

The disciples slept instead of praying with him.

I entered the tomb.

Nobody was there...

Actual street names...

Jesus' miracles he performed while on Earth.

Now it’s time to play a game…

There he is! Jesus wins everytime!

The text reads "Lord I asked for snow not Snow White."

Feliz Navidad from the Nick Jr. show...representing the Latin Community. The other ethnic communties...not really represented.

I wonder if my Atheist friends are feeling this way...he he It really is a random thing at the campground.

This is not the correct quote, actually...

I was surprised by the condition of this sign...

This made me giggle...they did however, have cut outs of the Donald Duck family...

I do not think the campground is in favor of same sex life partnerships, but I'm going to pretend that this is an endorsement.

Various other characters of children’s programming including Blues Clues, Handy Manny, Veggie Tales, Looney Tunes, and such decorate the campground. Afterwards, we take a moment to read an ad from a local sponsor.

Screw the cats...no cats wished us a Merry Christmas

All of the candy canes are upside down as to signify "J is for Jesus." Yes, I am serious.

See?

I hop back into the car. I am frozen to the core. Mark hollers as I touch his face and neck. He agrees that I am indeed freezing. Here are the last few pics as we leave The Rose of Sharon Campground.

They really put their hearts into this...and for free...

We leave Rose of Sharon. Our child is passing out in the back seat. I am freezing, Mark is tired. We head home. I started working on this blog at 10:30 pm … it is now 2:00 am 73 pics uploaded…240 pics were taken. My purpose for this blog entry was not to bash Christianity. It was to show people who are unaware of the culture here as to how ingrained this religion is in the communties within Tennessee and other parts of the US. To not go to church is rare at least in the sticks where I live. Atheism is more accepted in the city. However, communities like the one where I live, often hold Christian views as the driving motives behind common town decisions. I know few people that do not go to church…we are the rare ones…Thanks for checking out my blog. I hope I didn’t disappoint. Happy Holidays!
– Mel

Memory Lane and an Overdue Walk Pt. 2

The soundtrack of my walk…To help you get into my mindset. 😉

After my time in my physics lab final review had expired, I had several options. I actually wanted to study and searched for an open space which lead to a walk that gave me instant happiness!

I head to the door of the physics building and am greeted by this…

Sadly, no one ever goes to these...

I walk outside and look at the bane of my existence, the Physics/Anthropology Building…YES they are combined.

I wonder if the Anthropologists ever study the Physicists...

 

I am at the spot that I call my “Griping Place”. Here classmates and I express our disgust for our Physics class…profanity is common…

Every Tuesday and Thursday after class...

I now begin my search for the perfect spot to sit and study. The campus is beautiful in the fall. No one seems to be here except dedicated physics students…on a Sunday…during Thanksgiving holidays…*sighs*

Think I'll head to the UC (University Center)

The fountain is REALLY LOW today...just a bubble.

I walk to the UC to find that all of the doors are locked except for one.  It leads to the restrooms while the rest of the interior is locked. It is eerily quiet inside. I head to the stairwell…

It's warm in the stairwell. I could sit here and study...uncomfortably.

The quiet is deafening. I can’t study here…I hear a train miles away heading to our campus tracks. All other places on campus are closed due to the holidays. I refuse to study outside. It is too beautiful of a day. My family is at the Pink Palace. They aren’t due to pick me up for an hour and a half. I’ll walk to them…it’s just 1-2 miles
I head down the stairwell and open the UC door…

I set off the security alarm and quickly left the area...Shenanigans!

Erasure’s “A Little Respect” flowing into my ears, I quickly walk away from the UC. Did I just trespass? Either way, the campus police will be here soon…I head towards Wilder Tower…

I've been here many times going through appeals in order to return to school.

I am skilled at hoop jumping at this point. I hope to never go back there again except to pick up my degree. I pass by a Women’s Residence…

It's cute that they think they can keep the sexes separate.

I arrive at Central Avenue. I turn left and head to the Pink Palace!

I've never walked on Central Avenue before...here we go...

Supposedly the "American Dream" White picket fence...

I never knew this was here...It's beautiful.

I walk a bit further and reach a moment of  utter joy…

I kicked the crap outta these leaves! It was wonderful!

I kicked the leaves, skipped, and danced all the way to the end of the pile to the tune that was becoming the soundtrack of my walk. I do work hard. I get very little to no respect for what I do from a few instructors. My soul has been crushed and screams for release…The simple leaves on the ground were my doorway to saving my soul and sanity…

I assure you this photographer is not having as much fun as me.

I walk a little bit further passing by a man who has raked his leaves very nicely into a mound…it takes everything in me not to jump in the pile. I then come across a beautifully landscaped yard…wow…

It would take FOREVER for trees to grow that tall in my yard, sad...

Oh wait! Oh YES! I already know your question…

Yes, I did! 😉

I walk a bit further and encounter a golf course…

"Golf is a waste of a perfectly good walk." - Mark Twain

I am not far from the Pink Palace…

What a pretty gutter...wouldn't mind having my mind in that...

I finally arrive at the Pink Palace about 1&1/2 miles from campus and under an hour…

Memphis' Natural and Historical Museum, the Pink Palace

I walk inside the museum. It has an IMAX, a planetarium, permanent and traveling exhibits. I’ll take you there sometime soon. Mark was stunned and stood in disblief that I had walked. He wanted to know who gave me a ride. It took some convincing. He smiled and laughed at my story. He knows me well.
This ended my walk…It was energizing and filled me with a renewed soul. This has been the hardest semester I have ever had in school. I have been broken, beaten down, and pushed to the very edge of my sanity. I know I am intelligent. I know I am strong. I wouldn’t have gotten this far if I wasn’t. It’s just…I’ve never been made to feel so incredibly stupid than I have in these recent times…I needed this walk. I needed to see my city in a new perspective. I needed the leaves, the sunshine, the trees, the music in my ears…I needed to dance and smile….Finally, for once in a long time, my heart and soul felt free…