Friday, May 15, 2009

Only The Good Friday - Oh Goody!

It is Friday once again, which means it's time for Only The Good Friday. I've had yet another really good week, busy, fun, and a little crazy.

So crazy in fact, that I fell off the wagon with NaBloPoMo and haven't postedin two days. OOPS.

I thought about cheating for a moment and popping a few posts in here for Wednesday and Thursday, but then I realized that there was no need for me to do that.

Because nobody is forcing me to post every day. Noone is going to grade me on how I do either. I joined NaBloPoMo this month for myself. To motivate myself to post more often, and to pay more attention to my blog.

And I believe I have been doing that, so just because I missed two days doesn't mean I failed. It doesn't mean I should stop now, and it doesn't mean I need to go back and post some "filler" just to have content up the last two days.

SO, I'm not going to. I'm going to leave the last two days blank, and move on with today's post.

And that, my friends, is my good for today. Because I feel good about the fact that I have been posting more regularly, and that I don't feel obligated to post every day.

The GOOD today is that I have spent a fantastic week surrounded by friends, and by coworkers. And in the midst of all that, coworkers who are, after a year of being at my job, becoming friends.

That's been a really cool thing.

The good is that I went running again the other night, and unlike last week, when I suffered serious pain after my run, this time, I must have done it right, because I felt no pain the next day. I paced myself, mixing walking with running, and although still a work-out, I wasn't hurting the next day.

The good is also that I am excited about becoming a "runner". It's so ridiculously strange to hear myself say that, but I like it.

The good is that I am half-way to my fundraising goal for the Walk for Cancer Care I am doing on Sunday morning. If you'd like to help me reach my goal, you can do so by clicking here.

And oh, here's one more goody...I signed up for a digital photography class which begins next week.

Over the last year I have become more and more interested in photography, and I am so excited to learn more. It's just an introduction class, but I'm looking foward to it.

And on that note, I leave you with two more photographs I took while on my cruise:

Happy Friday, don't forget to go visit Shelly and see what GOOD she's got up her sleeve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tipsy on Tuesday

So, I started a new segment here at Candid Karina last week, and from now on, every Tuesday will be Tipsy Tuesday, or the day I give you helpful tips to make your life more fun and interesting.

Every Tuesday but this one, that is. Because Tipsy Tuesday took on a whole new meaning tonight.

See...I had a very long day at work today. It started early on with a pre-work (but work related) breakfast event, and ended not too long ago with a post-work (but work related) dinner event. A very long day, and a very busy day not giving me any time to pop in here and blog.

And to make matters more interesting, the dinner function included drinks on the company credit card (shhh, don't tell). I had a little tiny, itty bitty bit of wine. Just a weeeeeee little bit.

By the time I made it home, changed out of my work clothes, took my contacts out of my eyes, and sat down on my couch?

Too tipsy (and overtired) to give you any tips. I hope you understand.

I promise really good tips next Tuesday!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Not so Sweet

I tried to write a blog post several times today, to no avail. The thing is, I've been sinking, slowly into a pit of the blahs. I've been in a funk all day and try as I might, I haven't been able to shake it.

So I honestly couldn't come up with anything to write about that wouldn't make me seem like a negative Nelly.

And then I remembered that when I am in these funks is exactly when I should write. So I did.

And the poem below is what I came up with. For the record, I'm sharing it with you pretty much unedited, first draft version (which I seldom ever do)...but here it is, it should show you the mood I was in all day:


As I walk down the hall,
feeling the sun on the back of my neck
I know better.

As I approach the door,
Leaving behind the warm familiarity
I know I should stop.

It isn’t too late yet
To turn back

I can still take control
Make the choice
Not go in.

I stop in front of the door
Take a deep breath
And sneak a peek behind me.

It’s all there
Where I came from
Where it’s safe, and warm, and bright.

This end of the hall is dark

Behind the door…

I should turn around.

But like a moth drawn to a flame
I can’t stop
I place my hand on the doorknob and turn
Push it open

Instantly I feel the cold
Before I’ve even stepped in the room
My breath is stolen from me

Dark thoughts invade my mind
I sigh, almost cry
Feeling the pull
Knowing I should turn
Go back

But I can’t.

I step through
Let it wrap its icy arms around me
Pull me into the gloom
Before closing the door behind me
I look back once again
See the light beginning to fade in the distance.

It’s not too late
I can step back through the door
Walk right back up that hallway
And escape.

For a while, I stand in the threshold
Unable to choose
Unable to decide
Unable to give in completely, but unable to walk away
And then I close the door.

Turn around
Step back up the hallway
Let the sun shine on my face.

With each step I take away from the door
I feel lighter, brighter, safer
I breathe easier.
I wipe the tears from my eyes and realize I shed them
Not out of pain, but out of joy
For my freedom.
For my strength
For this time I was able to walk away.

It’s not always this way
Some days the force in the room is too strong and I give in
Some days I don’t come out for hours
Some days I don’t come out at all

On no day can I predict it
On no day can I understand it

Depression…always lurking, calling, seducing.

Copyright - CandidKarina 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day - How Sweet

(Mom and me, when I was just a sweet little wee one)
I'm going to spend the day with my mother today, so I'll keep this brief and to the point.

I want to wish all the mothers out there in the blogosphere and beyond a WONDERFUL HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!

I'm blessed to not only have the best mom in the world, but also happen to have her as my best friend. Mom and I have the kind of mother/daughter relationship we can all only wish for, and I'm eternally grateful for that.

We've always been thick as thieves, the two of us...even during my difficult years as a teenager, (oh yes, that's me), we were still really good friends. And now as adults we truly are best friends, I couldn't ask for a better friend than her.

So, Happy Mother's Day Mom!!!
Hope you all enjoyed the little journey through my photo album.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sweet Memories

It's Saturday afternoon, and I'm a busy doing things around the house, and about to hit the town for more errands. Oh joy!

I thought I'd take a break, however, to take a stroll through my cruise photos, relive that fabulous vacation for a moment or two. I thought you might want to take a break as well, so I figured I'd share them with you.

I gave you a sneak peak in this post a few weeks ago, but here are few more.
Here's a shot of our approach into San Juan, Puerto Rico, that is Ft.

And here's one of St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

Say it with me AHHHH....
I had actually intended on sharing more with you, but in case you haven't heard me complain about it just yet, I am having SERIOUS computer issues, and these were the only two I was able to get to before my computer started crapping out on me.
That just means you can expect lots more photos in the future.
In the meantime, anyone have a laptop they'd like to donate to a good cause? (i.e. my sanity?) No? Well, I figured I'd ask.
Have a wonderful Saturday!!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Only The Good Friday - It's all so sweet

Hey everyone, IT’S FRIDAY!!!

You know what that means? That’s right, it’s time for us to spread the optimism around the interwebs.

On Fridays I, along with a small (but growing) group of bloggers strive to post only positive posts. We dedicate at least this one day every week to being positive. As
Shelly (the mastermind behind OTGF) would put it, to not being “snarky”. We save those posts for the other days.

So, today, I started writing this post not really sure what “good stuff” should share with you. Not because I couldn’t think of anything good, but because I’ve been doing NaBloPoMo this month, and been writing a post a day, and I’ve already told you all kinds of good stuff this week.

Saturday and Sunday I gave you two good reviews, a
movie and a book respectively. Monday I thanked you all for the GOOD you did when you sponsored me for the March of Dimes walk I did this past weekend. Tuesday I gave you what I think was a very good make-up tip. Wednesday we had some good fun with silly quizzes, and yesterday? Yesterday I told you all about “good pain”. Or so they tell me that’s what it’s called…my shins beg to differ this morning.

So, how can I follow up this week of good with another good post? What can I tell you that I already haven’t this week?

What good can we talk about today?

Well, you know what they say, when all else fails, talk about the weather. And the weather today, ladies and gents? IS OH SO GOOD. After a week of rainy, gloomy days, this morning I awoke to sunshine and bright blue skies. We’re expecting “summer like temperatures” per the really hot weatherman on my television this morning, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. A good thing.

So, I think I’ll keep it simple on this particular OTGF, and just remind you to notice the “small things” as well in your life that can make it oh so good. A sunny day, aching shins, a good book, and the generosity of a stranger.

I invite you to peruse any of the posts I linked above…I had fun writing them, I’d love for you to read them.

And one final invitation, if you feel so inclined to do some additional good. I’ll be doing yet another charity walk on May 17th, this time a walk for Cancer Care, which I’m doing in memory of my later Grandma O. I invite you to click on the link right up top on my side bar there and donate/sponsor me if you can. And if you’d like me to walk in memory of anyone in particular, please let me know, I’ll be sure to add them to my thoughts and prayers on that day.

Now head on over to
Shelly’s to see what Good she’s got up her sleeve today, and to see who else is spreading the optimism virus. They’re a good bunch!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Pain is Sweet

As I write this blog post, I sit at my desk with very sore legs. In fact, every half hour or so I need to get up and walk around my office building, because the muscles in my calves seem to be atrophying, and it KILLS if I sit too long.

Why the pain? Because yesterday, my dear readers, yours truly went for a run.

WAIT, let’s see that again, because I need to make sure I really wrote those words…

I, Candid Karina, went for a run.

Yep, really happened.

If you know me at all, then you know what a shocker that is. Anyone who knows me has heard me say on more than one occasion (okay fine EVERY SINGLE TIME anyone mentions going running) that I don’t run. If I’m running, then you best believe someone is chasing me. Because I? I. Don’t. Run.

Except, yesterday? I went for a run. And no, nobody was chasing me. So, what in the world happened?

It all started innocently enough. Having gotten an “early release” from work, due to being in an all day training that finished early, I was going to head to the gym. But we got a break in the gloomy rainy weather we’ve been having, and when I left work it was sunny and gorgeous out. So I decided to go for a walk instead.

I’ve been walking the “hills” in my neighborhood for a few weeks now, and I really enjoy this walk. The ups and downs of the hills give me a real workout, and it never feels like “just a stroll”. What started as a real challenge, however, has now become an easy 45 minute walk. By the end, I’m not longer out of breath, I’m not really “feeling the burn”.

So yesterday, halfway into my walk I decided I should try running it. And so…I did.

Truth be told, at this point running for me means stopping quite frequently to walk slowly while I gasp for air (okay, not gasp, but there is certainly some very heavy breathing involved). But, regardless, I ran.

And you know what? I liked it.

I KNOW! I can’t believe it either.

I’m not entirely sure who this person is that has taken over my body, but I have to admit, I’m growing fond of her, and I think she can stay.

Over the last year I’ve dropped 25 lbs., and I’ve found myself growing increasingly interested in health and fitness. I’m eating better, I’m eating less, and I’m genuinely interested in maintaining a healthy diet long term. I’m also working out regularly, and not just enjoying it, but finding myself wanting to push harder and harder each time. I’m not just satisfied with going to the gym and doing “enough” to “not gain weight”. I want to work harder, I want to do more, I want to reach new levels of fitness I have never reached before.

Here I am, in my 30’s, and I want to become one of those “athletic” people. It’s such an interesting phenomenon for me. The last time I did any sort of running that didn’t involve trying to catch a train, I was in the 6th grade and on the track team. By junior high school, I’d decided that I was NOT going to be the girl that went out for sports teams, I was much more interested in books and make-up. I never played any sports after that, and my stints at the gym were either because I wanted to look half-way decent in a bathing suit, or because I was watching the boys intramural basketball teams play in college.

And now? I’m thinking running might be something I might actually want to take up. I’m looking forward to hiking trips with a friend of mine, and I’m even considering taking up golf. WHAT? No, I’ll deny it if you tell anyone I said so.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a walk around the office, my legs are atrophying again. OH the pain…so sweet!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

How Sweet are you?

Better late than never with my post today right? I was in a training all day and didn't have access to a computer, but here we go, a fun collection of quizzes for Hump Day.

In keeping with the May NaBloPoMo theme of "Sweet", let's find out first: What type of Candy I am:

You Are a Butterfinger

They call you sticky fingers for a reason!

Interesting...even more interesting because I've never actually eaten a Butterfinger... I should try one sometime.

How about "Are you Salty or Sweet?"

You Are a Salty Person

When it comes to snacks, you're more likely to grab a bag of chips over a bag of cookies.

There's a good chance you're male (men prefer salty snacks)...

Or at least, you feel very comfortable in male dominated environments.

Your taste tends to be complex, sophisticated, and adult.

You tend to crave your favorite restaurant meal... or mom's cooking.

Well, this one rings true. I always go for the salty/spicy snacks before the sweet ones. I also do believe I have "complex, sophisticated, adult" tastes...(uh, yeah, sure), but I am not male. I am, however, and always have been comfortable in male dominated enviroments.

"What kind of dessert am I?"

You Are a Brownie

Decadent and intense, you aren't for the weakhearted.

Those who can deal with your strong flavor find out how sweet you really are.

Hmmm...indeed. ;-)

And finally, what kind of "Spice" am I?

You Are Black Pepper

You may be considered ordinary by some, but you're far from boring.

You elevate the mood of any discussion, and people miss you when you're not around.

You are secretly very dominant and powerful. Most can only take you in small doses.

Small doses huh? Well, that's my cue to shut it then. Y'all have a great rest of your Wednesday. I'll be back tomorrow with more sweetness. Or Spicyness...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tipsy Tuesday - This Aisle, No Sweets

I’m on Day 5 of NaBloPoMo for the month of May, and already I’m struggling with the theme of Sweet. What I’m not struggling with thus far though, is with posting daily. I’m actually really enjoying the challenge, because it is forcing me to write a new post every day, and I’m finding that I missed the routine, and especially the writing.

So, I’m going to stray from the “Sweet” theme for today, but I’ll probably pick it back up tomorrow, worry not.

Today, however, I want to do something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. I want to start a new feature here at Candid Karina. I’m going to call it Tipsy Tuesday, but oh, it is so not what you’re thinking.

Here’s the thing, I’m not claiming to be an expert on any one thing (because I’m so not), but for some reason, I seem to be the person a lot of folks turn to for advice, answers, opinions, information, and yes, tips. It’s always been this way for me, and I think it’s because I tend to have my finger on the pulse of what goes on in the world.

I’m a bit of an information junkie, always gathering facts about the most trivial of things. Therefore, I can just as easily tell you what color shoes to wear with a particular outfit as I can what cable you need to hook up your HDTV. It’s weird, I know.

Now, again, let me make this really clear, I’m no expert. I am NOT all knowing (or even remotely close) and I certainly don’t have all the answers. But I get real pleasure out of finding them out when I don’t know them, and I have the most random collection of tips and trivia in my brain that is just dying to get out.

So, here’s what Tipsy Tuesday is all about. Each Tuesday I’ll give you completely random tips and tidbits. Things you may or may not know. Helpful hints, or just intriguing trivia you can use to entertain your friends.

There will be no earth shattering information revealed here. I swear, I have no idea what the creators of Lost are planning or who shot J.R. (wait, maybe I do know that one).

And hey, if there’s something you want to know about, a question for me? Let me know, I’ll do my best to find out for you.

It should be noted that most of my tips will probably focus on the things I do know best. Those being fashion and make-up, shoes (of course), making new friends, eating healthy , bargain hunting, how to properly stalk a New Kid on the Block (that’s a joke folks), and who knows what else?

This is all in good fun folks, let’s not get too serious!

Since this post is already getting way too long, we’ll kick things off today with just one simple tips. I was actually asked by a friend for a trick to make your eyes look bigger, and I won’t lie to you that I actually jumped for joy to be able to impart this little bit of wisdom. It is probably one of my favorite beauty tips of all time. I actually learned this tip from Hillary Duff of all people. No, I don’t know her personally, I just read an article in some magazine where she offered this beauty tip, and I have been using this little trick since. If you don’t know, I wear glasses pretty much full time. I’ll wear contacts now and, but mostly, you’ll find me in any one of my 6 pairs of glasses (yes, you read that right, I have a bit of a shopping problem). When I started wearing glasses I was disappointed that what had always been the one feature I was constantly complemented on (my eyes) was now hidden behind the glasses.

I’ve since learned to play with eye make-up to make them “pop” a bit more. But it was Ms. Duff that gave me the best piece of advice on how to make your eyes really pop, look bigger and brighter. Ready?

White Eyeliner.

Now, for me personally, I need regular black/brown eyeliner on my lower lid, or I look completely washed out. But I’ve found that a bit of white liner on the top lid, as well as a dab in the inner corner of your eye does wonders.

Try it, you’ll love it.

There you have it. Now, if I wanted to be really dorky and tie in the “Sweet” theme to this post, I’d tell you to go out and try Hillary Duff’s perfume “With Love”, it is a sweet, subtle scent, and actually one of my favorites at the moment.

Wow, from this post you’d think I was getting some advertising residuals from Ms. Duff’s camp! HA!

Anything you want to know? Leave it in comments and I’ll try to answer next week.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sweet Charity

I’d like to take the opportunity today to say Thank YOU.

As you, my dear readers, already know, this past Saturday I did the March of Dimes – March for Babies. A 3 mile walk to raise money for the March of Dimes, which does wonderful things in the area of medicine and research to end premature births, and other medical issues for babies.

I set a fundraising goal for myself of $150, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t really think I’d reach it. I know how tough times are right now, and asking people to donate money, even when it is for a great cause, is tough. Lucky for me (and for the babies), I’m pretty good at being a pest, and at begging.

I’m also lucky in the sense that the internet and social media have afforded me the opportunity to be visible in a lot of different areas. As I said in my recent post about internet friendships, I have “friends” all over the place, people I would not otherwise know.

I figured why not take advantage of these “friendships” of these mediums to try and get some donations? I put my blog, my facebook account, my twitter account and of course my email address book to work. I reached out to everyone I know, and people I don’t even know.

“It’s not for me, it’s for the babies” I said. I asked, I pleaded, I almost (but not quite) begged. And you know what? YOU gave.

The most amazing little things happened. The generosity of folks has always been something that touches my heart. No matter how tough times are, people step up when it counts. And I was counting on that to reach my goal. I was, therefore, not surprised when I not only reached it, but surpassed it (I raised $160 total).

What surprised me, however, were some of the sources my appeal reached.

Some of my friends reached out and gave, and for that, I’m grateful. Some of my blog readers also stepped up and donated, and again, for that I am extremely grateful. But it was the others, the ones I wasn’t counting on, that completely blew me away.

There was the random donor, who I’m still not entirely sure who he is. A Twitter follower? A blog reader? Someone I’ve never had an actual interaction with, but who somewhere saw my appeal, and donated. I’d like to thank him, but I honestly don’t know where to find him, so I hope either this blog post, or the many “thank you” tweets I’ve sent have reached him.

There was my one friend who I happen to know is in a tough financial position, who gave a small sum nonetheless. Even the small amount she gave is probably something she can’t afford to part with, but that’s just the sort of person she is.

There was my youth group, who donated the proceeds of their “share jar”, a jar we keep in our meetings that everyone throws spare change (or sometimes dollar bills and such) into at every meeting.

There was a former high school colleague, who I’ve friended on Facebook, but haven’t really spoken to in nearly 20 years.

Each and every donation touched my heart. They didn’t do it for me, they did it for the cause, and it touched my heart.

So, I thank you, each of you, not just for your generosity, but for confirming for me the belief that people are inherently good, giving, and caring. That’s a sweet, sweet thing, isn’t it?

Of course, if you couldn’t donate, I completely understand, and don’t think any less of you, as I said, I know times are tough for everyone. If, however, you’re sitting there thinking “Oh, I wish I’d known, I would have helped”. Fret not, my friends, I’m giving you another opportunity.

I’m doing another walk in a few weeks (May 17th to be exact) and I could really use your help! I’ll be doing a local Walk for CancerCare, in honor of my late Grandma “O”. As I said for the March for Babies, I’ll say here again, every little bit counts, so if you can give 50 cents or $50, I’ll take it.

You can
click here to donate.

I thank you in advance, and I thank those of you who sponsored me for the March for Babies, once again.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Spicy and Sweet - Book Review

(click on the photo to be taken to the Amazon page for the book)

the Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banarjee Divakaruni

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review here on the blog, but this one I had to tell you about. Expect some more reviews as the month moves on.

“Her potions can heal the sick, calm the vexed, or inflame the heart…But, will she trade all her magical powers for true love?” – From the book jacket.

In my former life, WAY back in my college years, I worked in a book store. Talk about your dream job for an avid reader, working all day long among isles and isles of books. I loved that job.
One of the perks of this job was that once in a while, we’d get our hands on advance copies of books. The other obvious perk was the employee discount, which I used steadily and freely.

From those days, I amassed a tremendous collection of books which have sat for years unread. I have a bit of a book buying addiction, so I continue to collect books at a steady pace, leaving those older books still unread.

Recently, however, in the midst of my decluttering craze, I have forbidden myself from buying any more books until I read some of these older ones just lying around my house in boxes.

And this is how I came to read “the Mistress of Spices”. My copy is one of those advance reading copies. The book, however, was published way back in 1997.

I am glad I waited until now to read it, because I’m not sure I would have appreciated it as much had I read it back then.

This is the tale of a young woman, Tilo, who is not quite from this world we live in. Her past is of a mysterious nature, from a long ago time in a faraway place. But she is trained in the ancient art of the spices, and transformed into the body of an old woman, transplanted into America, to run an Indian food/spice market, and heal the ails of her customers. But even in her old body Tilo maintains a bit of the mischievous spirit of her former young self, and is caught up in a web of getting too close to some of her customers, falling for a handsome American man, and fighting with the urge to break all the rules and give into temptation.

This is a story that is beautifully told, with vivid language and imagery. The reader immediately sympathizes with Tilo, this faulty heroine, and wants to know more about her and those around her. Each character woven into the story fully enriches Tilo’s own story, and yet carries a power all on their own. You want to know Haroun, Getta, Jagjit, Kwesi, and of course, Raven. Raven, he of the mysterious name, and even more mysterious origins. This man Tilo calls “my American” who walks into her store and turns her life inside out. The reader is both fascinated and confused by him. Instantly understanding Tilo’s inner conflict, her pull toward this forbidden fruit, her mistrust of his appearance, his intentions.

There is a certain magic in this novel, and it is not the magic of the spices alone. The words are woven beautifully together, painting a picture that stayed with me even when I put the book down, which I didn’t want to do at any time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters, so much so, in fact that I didn’t want to book to end, and felt a certain amount of sadness when I reached the last page. That, to me, is always the mark of a good book.

I give it 4 out of 5 Martini Glasses.

As an added bonus, while trying to find the book on Amazon so I could provide you with a link, I came across this:

Yes, they’ve made a movie. Yes, that is Dylan McDermott. (click on the photo to be taken to the Amazon page for the movie).

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sweet Mercy - Movie Review - 17 Again

OMG, can I, like, just tell you how glad I am that I am NOT 17 again? LOL, WTF!

Yes, I know, there was definitely some 80’s valley girl mixed in with the text savvy new millennium teenager in that last sentence. It was done on purpose, I swear it.

But the sentiment, the sentiment is certainly there, regardless of what decade the language comes from.

After watching “17 Again”, the new Matthew Perry/Zac Effron movie, in a room full of teenagers, all I can tell you is I walked out thinking “Thank you God for allowing me to survive my teen years and make it happily to my mid-thirties. I don’t ever want to go back”.

My friend Chick Flick and I have decided to make Tuesdays our “movie night”. Our local theatre offers $6 Tuesdays, and since both of us tend to have pretty hectic weekend schedules, our “school night movie night” was born. We’ve been going pretty regularly for the last 3 months or so, and we’ve found that it works beautifully. The theatre is not crowded, the price is right, and with both of us being movie lovers, we get to go to the movies without the annoying side effects theatre going usually means.

Except last week, when unbeknownst to both of us, because neither of us have any kids, we decided on “17 Again” and arrived at the theatre to discover it was school vacation week. The theatre was packed. With teenagers. And we? Were planning to watch a teenybopper flick. Because, whether or not we happen to be in our 30’s, we just love teenybopper flicks.

It was touch and go for a moment, and we almost vetoed the movies altogether, but at the last minute we decided to suck it up, and go watch the movie with the teens.

The experience wasn’t as horrible as we had initially feared. The movie was packed, but for the most part, the kids were well behaved. And, truth be told, watching this particular movie in a room full of teenagers really did add a certain level of…realism to an otherwise ridiculous movie premise.

I should take this time to tell you that I am not one of those people who thinks all teenagers are horrible, in fact, I work very closely with a large group of teens and I think that for the most part, teenagers today are amazing, wonderful and far exceed most adults’ expectations of them. That being said, there are certain times I would really rather not be surrounded by them, and a movie theatre is one of those times. Truth be told, I don’t much like being surrounded by full grown adults at the movies either. People can be especially obnoxious in a dark movie theatre, so the emptier a movie room is, the happier I am.

But, back to the movie, because, this was, after all supposed to be a review, wasn’t it?

Right…so, 17 Again, if you don’t already know, is basically your typical “waking up in another body” story. (for more information about the movie, click on the picture above to be taken to the Yahoo Movie Page) Much along the lines of “Big” or “13 Going on 30”, where a young character wakes up in the body of their adult self, 17 Again takes the formula and reverses it. Matthew Perry is a disenchanted, disgruntled adult, who was his high school’s star basketball player, but somewhere along the way traded in his basketball dream for family life, and has never made peace with that decision.

Through a chance meeting he magically wakes up in the body of his former 17 year old self Zac Effron, and hilarity ensues.

The formula is well known, and has been time and time again. The plot is predictable, and not all that unique or original. But the writing was good, the jokes were indeed funny, and the actors made the characters likeable (or dislikable as the case may have been) enough to make this movie worth watching.

The main story line of Mike O'Donnel (Perry/Effron) trying to do right by his family, even while in his 17 year old body is a nice sweet twist on the story we’ve come to know so well. And I got a kick out of slightly twisted story line where his soon to be former wife finds herself inexplicably attracted to this 17 year old kid, lending itself to quite a few laughs for the audience.

My favorite character by far, though, was Ned, Mike's best friend played by Thomas Lennon of Reno 911 fame. He was absolutely hilarious, and for me, the real star of the movie. Without his comic relief, I’m not sure the movie would have been nearly as enjoyable.

That being said, I can’t possibly do a review of this movie without mentioning the adorable Zac Effron. From the moment he walked out on the screen a collective “swoon” was heard in the audience. All the little teen girls (and some not so teen women, yours truly EXCLUDED) let out audible sighs. Probably the funniest bit for me in the entire movie was when the teen girl behind me shouted “He’s so hot”.

To be honest, Zac Effron is most definitely not “my type”, and even if he was older than a mere 21, he’d still not be my type. But, I will hand it to the kid, he is absolutely adorable and likeable. He is also, I must admit, a great comedic actor. I thought he did an excellent job delivering the one liners, and tripping over himself with the physical comedy aspect of the film. This kids’ got a bright future in the business, no doubt.

As for the idea of being 17 again and getting to do-over my adolescence? That part made this movie almost a horror flick for me. As if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough when I went through it, I can’t imagine doing it again in the age of YouTube and MySpace. So Not Interested. As I heard the teens in the room laugh at some of the jokes, all I could think was how terrible it must be to be an unpopular kid now a days. It wasn’t easy when I was there (trust me, I know), but it has to be so much harder now.
It was a sweet, sweet feeling to know I could walk out of that theatre and be in my 30’s, having left the teeny boppers on the curb waiting for their parents to come pick them up.

Overall, this wasn’t a “masterpiece” of a film, but then, nobody is expecting it to be. It was what it set out to be, which was an entertaining, funny, enjoyable flick.
For the entertainment value alone, I give it 3 ¾ Martini glasses.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Only The Good Friday - Bitter Sweet

I’m writing today’s post with a bit of a heavy heart because my dear blog friend Shelly, the mastermind behind “Only The Good Friday” is grieving the loss of her niece this week. Therefore, I need to start this week’s OTGF post by taking a moment to send out my prayers to Shelly and her family.

Even in the midst of her pain and sorrow, Shelly has written what I think is a beautiful, inspired and eloquent post, and I urge you to stop
on over there and give her a virtual hug. Of course, knowing Shelly, she’ll just be annoyed that we’re making all this fuss over her, but that’s okay, sometimes, you need to be hugged against your will. I’m just saying!

It is, however, Friday, and what Shelly wants us to do on Fridays is write a POSITIVE post, spread the virus of optimism throughout the blogosphere. So, that is what I’m going to do.

I had a whole other post planned for today, but as I started writing this, it took a turn, and I’m just going to go with it.

As I
posted yesterday, I’ve decided to join NaBloPoMo this month in their theme of “SWEET”. And as I started writing this post (which was SO going to go in a different direction), I realized that there are few things as sweet as friendships. How blessed are those of us who have a few good, trusted friends?

How much more blessed then are those of us who through the power of the internet, the blogosphere, twitter, facebook, whatever other form of technology you use, have this WIDE circle of friends we’d never otherwise have met?

I’ve told you before (a while back) that some of my best friends
“are people I met on the internet”. (Go on, click that link, it’s an oldie, but a goodie!). And it is true. The sweetest thing is that this continues to happen. I am continuously meeting wonderful, amazing, fantastic human beings through this thing called a computer.

Some say that social networking, email, texting, etc. is creating a disconnected culture. People who don’t relate with other human beings and instead hide behind their computer screens, or cell phone keyboards, to keep human interaction at a safe distance. They say that our youth are not developing interpersonal skills and are lacking on an emotional connection with others.

This might be true in some cases. But as with everything else, I think we need to stop blaming the “media”, and start looking at the whole picture. Because I think it is all about how we use it. And I personally have seen some amazing friendships blossom on the internet. Daily, on Twitter, I see women supporting one another through tough times, I see friends pray for each other, I see a mountain of emotional support when someone is having a bad day.

There are “strangers” out there in the universe that I have not met face to face, that I truly consider my friends. People who I know honestly wish only good things for me, and pray with and for me when I’m down. Folks who celebrate my victories and are GENUINELY happy and thrilled for me when something good happens. Individuals who I care for so deeply, and am so emotionally involved with that I had to change the entirety of this post today, because I was so moved.

I will tell you without feeling an ounce of embarrassment that I cried when I read Shelly’s post about her niece. It broke my heart that my friend, who I have not met in person, was hurting so badly.

And as sad as this post may seem, I want you to know that I think it is a GOOD thing. This connection we have with otherwise “strangers” can only be good. And it is oh so sweet.

Please go visit Shelly and say hello. And check out all the other Only The Good Friday participants as well. We’re a “GOOD” bunch.