New YouTube Vlog Series – Weird & Funny Toys!

So recently I decided to start a new video blog series on my YouTube channel featuring weird and funny toys. I figured it was a fun way to feature my love for unique toys and collectibles, as well as my weird, offbeat and sometimes dark sense of humor. Here is a look at a couple of these newest videos, so feel free to check them out and consider subscribing to my channel on YouTube if you haven’t already!

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5 Observations About the Movie “Jurassic World”

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Spoiler alert!

First off, of course I don’t think “Jurassic World” is as good as “Jurassic Park”. Being that “Jurassic Park” is a beloved classic from my childhood with warm memories attached to it, it would be darn near impossible for any sequel to match the emotional impact for me. So, I am not judging “Jurassic World” in direct comparison with the original movie, although I may make some casual observations about the direction some aspects of the film franchise have gone.

1) “Jurassic World” did have some awesome special effects and cool fight scenes. I especially enjoyed the Indominus vs. T-Rex scenes. I did find it a bit abrupt how the Mosasaurus brought the battle to an end, but it was still cool. That was by far the best part of the movie for me, probably followed by the scene where the Indominus is trying to break open that gyrosphere the kids were trapped inside or when the kids come across the ruins from the original Jurassic Park.

2) I didn’t care for Claire, the heroine of this latest film. I read an article online after seeing the movie about how Ellie Sattler from the original movie was a far stronger female character and someone kids could really look up to as a role model, while Claire is kind of wishy-washy and boring. I must say I agree.

3) I liked Owen’s character, but I didn’t buy the romantic relationship between him and Claire. That whole thing felt forced to me, perhaps because as I stated above, Claire seems like such a two-dimensional character without much depth.

4) As for the kids, I liked the younger kid (Gray) but didn’t care much for his older brother (Zach). Zach just seemed sort of boring and forgettable to me. I did like the one scene that showed a bunch of the tourists (mostly kids and teens if I remember right) playing on their cell phones instead of paying attention to the dinosaurs they came there to see. That pretty much sums up society today.

5) The whole Indominus is part velociraptor twist didn’t really come as the great surprise they seemed to think it would be. Personally, I think it would have been cooler had it been revealed that the Indominus had been spliced with some human genes. At one point I thought that might be the case since the creature started showing signs of logicial or manipulative thinking to confuse and trick its keepers, or when it was revealed that it was killing for sport and not for food.

Thank you “Fifty Shades of Grey” for making my life look great

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So today I decided to go see the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Tuesdays are bargain day at our local theater so I figured it would be the best time to go if I bothered to see it. I didn’t want to drag my husband to the movie because he hated the Twilight series for having no plot…and the Fifty Shades series makes Twilight look downright complex. I skimmed through the first two books of the Fifty Shades series and made it about halfway through the last book, so I did have an idea of what I would be in for with the movie.

First off, let me say that some of the others who showed up for the movie kind of surprised me. As I expected, there were groups of women, a few couples and quite a few single women like me there (this is the first time I’ve gone to a theater all by myself and that was actually kind of liberating in a way). What surprised me were the few single men (because this is billed as such a “chick flick”) and the 70 & 80 year-old women who came, one of whom (an adorable little old lady) sat right beside me. For a moment I felt like I was seeing the movie with my grandmother and that kind of threw me off balance a bit!

Anyhow, as I watched the movie, it was pretty much what I expected, a somewhat tamed down version of the book. Although I do understand why many women don’t like this series and think it encourages stalking, unrealistic expectations and domestic abuse, I don’t feel quite that strongly about it because there is consent. Anastasia may seem stupid in many ways and definitely makes some questionable decisions, but she is a consenting adult. She has quite a few chances to walk away and doesn’t do so. I know she seems innocent (maybe too much so for living in today’s world) but she does know what she is getting into, especially once she is given that contract to study.

As for Mr. Grey, I can see some of why the character is appealing to some women. He is rich, good-looking, can be sweet at times and represents a sexual fantasy fairly common to both sexes (that of being dominated or dominating someone else). Those aren’t the things that bother me. He is undoubtedly somewhat stalkery and controlling…but again, Anastasia’s character chooses to allow that to have him in her life. What truly bothers me about Mr. Grey’s character is how he is so messed up from his own abusive history that he wants to actually hurt women. He wants to cause pain. To me, there is nothing sexy about that. I know that there are those who like the BDSM lifestyle and enjoy a certain amount of pain…but I doubt that most true BDSM practitioners would want to cause pain to someone who clearly does not enjoy it or go beyond their partner’s pain threshold. I can see why the BDSM community hates this portrayal of their sexual fetishes.

As the movie neared its end I was surprised to see women in the audience around me crying. I sat there and wondered why they were crying. Were they frustrated and annoyed like me because Anastasia wouldn’t just say the safe word or yell stop? Were some of them victims of abuse in the past and this triggered that as they saw Anastasia cry miserably in pain? Were they simply feeling sad that Grey’s character was so messed up emotionally? Did they feel for Anastasia’s character, who clearly felt humiliated and heartbroken because the man she loved carried so much pain that he had to make others feel that pain? After the credits started, I heard cries of “is that it?” and “what the heck?” from others in the theater. Guess they hadn’t read the books.

As I got in my car and drove home, the main feeling I had was that I am so THANKFUL to have a husband who is not emotionally or mentally messed up like that. I’m glad that my husband has never once wanted to hurt or humiliate me. In fact, if anything, he would do anything in his power to prevent me pain or to take it away when I am suffering. So thank you Mr. Grey. You made my husband look even more wonderful and made me deeply thankful for what I have. You made me realize how strong I am because I never would have put up with your crap in the first place (had I been Anastasia that would have been one short book!). In the end, I guess fantasies are ok and maybe fun to indulge in to an extent, but nothing beats a good reality!

Why I would not go to a Michael Jackson hologram concert

Michael's hologram performing on the Billboard Music Awards.

Michael’s hologram performing on the Billboard Music Awards.

Did you see the Michael Jackson hologram perform on the Billboard Music Awards a few weeks ago? Sounds like now they are thinking about taking the hologram out to do worldwide concerts. However, I will not be one going to see it. Why?

Well, first off, let me explain a few things. I am a HUGE Michael Jackson fan and have been since I was little. He was probably one of my first Aspie obsessions, after Sesame Street and My Little Pony. I love many things about him. His voice, his unique sense of style, his love for children and child-like things, his desire for world peace and harmony, his generous and charitable heart, his incredible dancing, his drawings and writings…and lots more.

Now, that does not mean I am blind to his flaws as well. He could be immature and did seem to lack common sense in many areas. He definitely lacked some idea of correct boundaries and what was socially acceptable. He was stubborn and didn’t want to listen to reason sometimes. Many have hypothesized that he may have had Asperger’s Syndrome. I tend to agree. He definitely had the obsessive interests, “eccentric” behaviors, the social awkwardness, extreme loneliness, the emotional immaturity and naivety, the habit of stimming when nervous (like in interviews), the tendency to make friends with those much younger or older rather than his own age group and the savant talents that some Aspies are said to have. Personally, I do not believe he was a child molester, but that is another subject entirely.

Anyhow, now that I have explained my feelings about Michael, let’s get back to the hologram. Why would I not want to see Michael Jackson’s hologram concert? After all, it might be my only chance to ever see him “live”…however, that is the problem. It would not be “live”. No matter how great technology is, it can never bring back the essence of someone who has gone. Yeah, they can mimic his old movements and expressions, but it will always lack the magic that he could create on stage. There will be no new creativity. No new moves. No improvisation. There will be no growth as an artist and person. The very thing that made Michael who he was would be lacking.

I know that many people want to bring great musicians back to life. I wouldn’t be surprised if soon there were Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Freddie Mercury and other famous holograms giving concerts. However, I feel that in a sense we should feel a loss when the truly talented die. Rather than trying to recreate them electronically, we should treasure what they left behind and introduce that to the next generation. We should realize that truly exceptional talents don’t come around everyday and that they aren’t so easily replaced. Doesn’t it seem likely that Michael (or any of the other great performers who died too young) would rather be remembered and sincerely missed than to be artificially recreated?

I love those cartoon characters who are grumpy and depressed…

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Do you love cartoons? I absolutely do. However, I think when most people think of cartoons they think of funny, silly stuff. What I love are the depressed, angry, grumpy, slightly emo characters…

  • Those like Eeyore, who walk around like they are on the verge of suicide, but are just too lazy to actually do it.
  • Wile E. Coyote who is so darn smart but seems to have really ticked off the powers that control nature and gravity. (I really wish I could see an episode where Wile catches that bird, roasts him and then tears him limb from limb with a fork and eats the stupid thing.)
  • Lucy, who likes to snatch the football away at the last minute and laugh, or Charlie Brown, who falls for the same trick over and over and then wonders what the heck is wrong with him.
  • Scar, who can look around and honestly say, “I am surrounded by idiots.”
  • Oscar the Grouch, who would rather live in a trashcan than share a house or apartment on a street where everyone is so dang HAPPY all the time.
  • Grumpy, who not only was cursed to be a stinking dwarf, but has to live his life with two guys named Dopey and Sneezy hanging around.
  • Garfield, who just wants to sleep and eat, but occasionally makes time for exercise by kicking Odie off the table.
  • Daria…whom most of you may have forgotten or never watched…but always represented the melancholy ideal for me.
  • Butters, who inevitably takes the blame for everything anyone ever does, and Kenny, who is always being slaughtered in one way or another (at least the constant killing never got him down for long).

Of course, this list could go on and on, but I think I got the general idea across. So do you relate to those who are downtrodden, grumpy and miserable too or do you love a different kind of cartoon character? Feel free to comment and leave your thoughts below!

Something fun…favorite shows of all time?

Lately I’ve been working ALOT.  I’m still doing book reviews and author interviews for this blog, promoting my ebook “In Memory of Dad”, finishing the final editing work for my upcoming picture book, “Ode to Icky” and working on my next ebook release, “Weezie, the Elephant with Allergies”.  I’m pooped, so instead of doing some philosophical, life-changing post, I am just going to talk about my favorite tv shows and invite all my readers to share their faves in the comments below as well!

My personal favorites:

* The Twilight Zone

* The Mary Tyler Moore Show

* I Love Lucy

* Charmed

* The Dick Van Dyke Show

* House

* Little House on the Prairie

* Looney Tunes (the originals)

* Ghost Whisperer

* Family Guy

I could probably think of more, but I’m too tired….

“Sustenance” – young adult eBook review

The new young adult eBook “Sustenance”, written by Kayla Cargiulo, is an interesting mix of several science fiction themes.  Even though the story is relatively short, it tells a compelling story about aliens, emotional vampires and romance.

Although I don’t actually remember the word vampire being used in the book, some of the creatures seem to exist off the emotions of others, so it reminds me of the mythological “emotional vampires” that are said to still exist today in different parts of the world.

The actual plot of the story centers around a girl named Contessa Manoso.  Tess is sort of a lost soul who indulges in promiscuity and other forms of wild living to fill the emptiness she has inside.  Shortly into the story, Tess is involved in a deadly accident that changes her entire world and introduces her to a mysterious silver-haired man named Samson who holds the answers to all of the questions that have always plagued her.  Samson also seems to hold a strange attraction for Tess that is far beyond all the superficial sexual encounters that she has experienced in the past.  Now Tess not only has to deal with the truth of who she really is, but she also has to cope with the heartbreak that can accompany falling in love.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but I would like to say that this is only the first volume of what will likely be a series.  At the end of the story, many of the major problems facing Contessa are still unresolved and several lives hang in the balance.  This story definitely held my interest enough that I will be looking forward to the sequel.

This story would be a great pick for any readers who like supernatural romance or science fiction.  However, I would like to caution parents of young preteens or teens.  Although this book is considered a young adult story, it may not be appropriate for preteens or younger teenagers due to the sexual content.  The story is definitely not explicit or extremely graphic in its sexual descriptions, but there is sexual activity and I know many parents are uncomfortable with their younger children reading that kind of literature.

Of course, the decision of whether a book is appropriate for your child is ultimately up to you as the parent.  Personally, I think most teens who are 15 and older would be fine reading this book, but children younger than that might not be mature enough yet.  Of course, each child matures at their own pace, so you might want to keep that in mind when choosing literature for your teen.

Overall, this story is a fun fantasy that would appeal not only to teens but to adult women as well.  To find out more about this book, or to order a copy, please feel free to visit Smashwords or BarnesandNoble.com.