This is an easy post if you want to read just a little bit of stuff or want to watch/listen to videos I made in 2014. Why this kind of post? One, it’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve got stuff to do (even though I put this together ahead of time). Two, you probably have stuff to do and after that last post on blogging, which was pretty long, I figure you might want something that you can just listen to… if you’re interested at all.
Also, I created lots of videos this year between my two video channels, and a few of those videos I actually liked a lot more than others. Yes, I went back and watched, aka listened, to every single one of them, some more than once. When I needed a boost I listened to my motivational videos along with the same from other people. Sometimes I forgot it was me; now that’s really getting into it.
Without further delay here are my 10 favorite videos of 2014, not in any specific order. A couple of these are interviews, which means they will be a bit longer than the rest. Let me know what you think, please watch, and have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve and New Years Day! 🙂
Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of my being in business, and I did both a video and a blog post on my business blog.
Today is unofficially known as Leon Day in some circles of the country, Eli Wallach passed away at age 98 (great actor; you young folks need to look him up), and it’s also the 5th anniversary of the passing of Michael Jackson.
I have spent most of the day listening to Michael Jackson songs and watching some Michael Jackson and Jackson Five videos. You know, when you listen to the songs it’s hard to believe that so many years have passed since he’s been gone because every song sounds fresh and new. Truth be told, this is probably what every generation feels when they listen to the music they love, thinking they’re actually younger than they are because they can remember where they were or what they were doing when they first heard the songs that made them feel wonderful, which happens for most of us when we’re younger.
Want to know a truth? For probably the first couple of years, after the first few days of shock, I couldn’t listen to any of his music. It just freaked me out, knowing that a new MJ song (that he approved) was never going to be released again. Also, I felt like my own mortality was in question because he was only a year older than me; if he had all that he had and left the world like that, what did it say for my chances?
All of us go through stages like this when family members pass, and probably when someone famous, that we never knew but admired for one reason or another, goes away. I have to admit that sometimes it extends further for me. For instance, there have been a couple of bloggers who have passed away that I miss here and there, and at the time I lamented their loss.
Most of the time we probably won’t know that someone we read all the time has suffered a life ending demise. We might think that they’ve just gone away, decided not to blog anymore or participate on social media anymore, and we get on with our lives. There’s really nothing else for us to do because, when all is said and done, probably 99.95% of all relationships we make online will end without much of a resolution. Think about it this way; how many people who used to visit you blog when you started not only don’t stop by anymore, but aren’t even blogging anymore? Do you know what happened to them?
Scary to think about isn’t it? Want to add to the fear? It’ll probably be you one day, and if you have a significant other, he or she probably has no idea how to tell anyone you won’t be back, let alone will even think about it. My wife has no presence on social media; if I go, the overwhelming majority of you will never know it. I’m betting it’s that way for you also.
I think that’s why we grieve a bit when famous people we know and like pass away. For everything they had they couldn’t stop it, and we also think that if they weren’t famous then they’d be just like us, with a few family members sad that we’re no longer around but us not making even the smallest dent in life. What’s our legacy right?
What’s our legacy? Well, for me it’ll be my blogs, my videos, and other articles I have on the internet. I think that’s another reason I keep creating so much stuff and putting out so much stuff. I think someone will care at some point, and maybe one thing I write will help someone or help change their mindset or make them feel pretty good, even if it’s just for a short period of time. One can only hope, right?
See, even in death Michael Jackson’s got me thinking about stuff. Let’s see if my sharing the song below, my favorite song of all time, gets you thinking about you legacy also:
Wow, can you believe it’s been four years since Michael Jackson passed away? Four years and three months, and today he’d have turned 55 years old. Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s I Have A Dream speech and the march on Washington DC, and I tried all day to make a connection between the two things, but it just wasn’t there.
It still freaks me out that he’s gone and that no new music, other than that one song months after he was gone, has been released since. He’s actually still in the news with the lawsuit his family has going against AEG and that’s horrid stuff to be sure. However, I figured that since I don’t want to deal with that I’d instead share some links to stories or things I’ve written on this blog that involve him in some fashion; my own tribute of sorts if you will. I make no promises that the videos on some of these posts are still live; YouTube’s always cracking down on someone. 🙂 Here we go:
I tend to think that those blogs that work best are the types that know how to tell a story or know how to give detail on how to get something done. But where do we learn how to tell stories? Sometimes we learned from our parents, sometimes we learned from other people we listen to, but for the most part we probably got it from stories we read as children.
Since my parents never read to me that meant that I had to basically read all the books myself and use my imagination to bring them to life in my mind. Even now I don’t have a problem with that, and yet I’ve always wondered what kind of voices my parents would’ve given to stories if they had read to me.
Here’s an unfortunate truth. At a certain point most people stopped reading children’s stories unless they have children of their own. I’m not one of those people, so over the years I’ve continued to read a story meant for children here and there along with all the other things I read. It’s probably because I drive so much and listen to the a lot of recorded books that it makes it easy for me to absorb so many books in so many genres.
Thus, I’m going to share some books here that are children’s stories that I didn’t read only as a child. I’m only sharing for them, and after I share these four I hope that you will comment below and let me know what some of your favorite children’s books are because to tell you the truth I have probably missed a lot of them. My wife is always amazed at the books and stories and fairy tales I’ve never heard, and yet when I mention the ones I know she never seems to know those so I think we’re even.
With that said let’s take a look at my little list here:
Watership Down – I actually read this book in college when I took children’s literature to catch up on some of my elective credits that I needed to graduate. This isn’t a typical children’s book in that it was around 500 pages and pretty dense and detailed. And yet the authors seem to perfectly capture as much of a sense of personality that a rabbit could have along with the motions of trying to survive their world. It was probably this book they got me to realize that just because something is called a children’s book doesn’t mean it can’t be quality literature.
Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH – This is a book I read in high school but not for any particular class. I thought in the library and it looked interesting so I took it out and read it at home. It’s a story of a mouse child is sick and they need their house moved because the farmer is going to basically destroy where they are, and she goes to these intelligent mice who were given all kinds of drugs to make them more intelligent at the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s an intriguing story and more down to earth than the movie that was made 20 years later called The Secret of NIMH, and really made me think about some of the experiments done on rats and mice and whether there are certain areas that should be explored.
Go Dog Go – This is a Dr. Seuss book, and my favorite one of all time. It’s basically got dogs, dogs of all kind, dogs of all color ( including blue dogs), and every once in a while has two dogs meeting up where the female dog asked the male dog if he likes her hat, to which he responds “no” until the end of the book. This is just a fun book of course and yet almost 40 years later I still have this book.
1st 3 Harry Potter books – I’ve broken it down this way because anyone who reads the last four books and think does a children’s story haven’t paid attention to what’s going on. Actually I started out with book number five, The Order of The Phoenix, because I didn’t know that the books were supposed to go in order at the time. But the first three books, even with some of the dangers that were in them, and the adult theme that was added near the end of the third book, are classic. I find me so fascinating that I keep watching the movies and listening to the books (as I said, I listen to a lot of recorded books and I travel a lot) over and over, and I pick up something new every single time.
And there you go. So, tell me what you think of my choices and let me know what some of your favorites are. See, isn’t this a nice light topic for once? 😉
A few days ago I went to see the movie Les Misérables, going into it having no idea of what it was about, but being familiar with some of the music in it. Yesterday at lunch someone asked me if I liked it, and I responded “I don’t know”.
Just to get this out of the way, I’m not mentioning the names of any characters because, truthfully, I only remember the name of one of them, Cosette, and I’m not in the mood to go looking them all up. So go with me here as I give a synopsis, then opinion, about this film.
The title stands for “the miserable ones”, and man, did that turn out to be true. About 25 minutes in I leaned over to a young lady I consider as my niece and said “Wow, this is depressing”. Her response was “it gets worse”. As I stated earlier I knew it was a musical, and the only other musical I’ve paid money to go see was Phantom of the Opera, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and also didn’t know what the story was about before I went, though I knew all the music.
Overall this is the tale of a guy who’s finally released from a penal detention in France after 20 years because he stole a loaf of bread to feed his family, makes it on his own until he’s eventually rich. He tries to save a woman that was fired from his factory but she still dies and vows to take care of her child whom she’d left with some sleazy people. He turns himself in when another guy is arrested as him because he’d broken probation 8 years earlier, but runs to find and take care of the girl.
He hides with her about 9 years or so until a bunch of consequences find him hiding once again from Crowe, her falling in love with a young guy she just met, the young guy in the middle of trying to help start another French Revolution, the older guy saving him from being killed so he can get healthy and hook up with the young girl who’s been his daughter for all these years, goes away so his daughter will never know what he did, and then the young guy he saved learns he was saved by the older guy (he never knew), tells the daughter about it on their wedding day (along with the older guy’s background, which he never divulged to her), and they rush to the convent (I never knew men could be in a convent) where the older guy’s character is dying, dies and meets up with all the other people in the movie who died; whew!
The older guy is played by Hugh Jackman of Wolverine fame, and he actually goes through about 20 years of aging or so in the movie. He’s a credible singer, a Broadway guy, and he has the major part in this flick. The guy who gives him the “I’ll be watching you” speech is played by Russell Crowe. My wife would say he’s a “talking singer”, and I’ll go with that assessment. He had to be there because of his acting more than his singing, but truthfully I wasn’t overly impressed with his acting in this one. Actually, I’d never seen him in anything else that I could think of, and maybe this is why.
Anne Hathaway plays the woman who was fired from Jackman’s factory, and then whose life went into a major spiral, selling everything, having her hair cut, and becoming a prostitute. I knew the song “I Dreamed A Dream” pretty well, or so I thought, but seeing it performed in this movie the way they did it… this woman wins Best Supporting Actress, hands down! I have a much deeper appreciation for what this song was about.
The comic relief in the movie was handled by Helena Bonham Carter of Harry Potter and many other movies fame and Sacha Baron Cohen of Barat fame; he was unrecognizable to me and I only knew it was him when the credits came up. I hated them immensely, which probably means they did a good job.
Two people played Cosette, one as a young girl, then as an older girl Amanda Siegfried. Her singing was passable but nothing outstanding. Someone who I felt was really outstanding was Samantha Barks, whom I didn’t know but it turns out she’s also a Broadway star in her own right, and hot as well, even though she wasn’t supposed to be.
The guy who played the young man who Cosette falls in love with… don’t care, and that’s a shame. Truthfully, the student revolutionary piece kind of threw me off from the rest of the story, and the only part that actually made me care was when this young boy was killed by the French army on purpose; that was pretty cold.
One last thing before I move on. Crowe’s character, Mr. Law and Order, decides near the end to let Jackman’s character get a pass while he’s trying to save the young guy because Jackman had let his own life go when he could have killed him. Crowe’s character sees this as a flaw in himself and he jumps off a bridge to kill himself. What I didn’t expect was that they actually showed the body hitting the ground, half on the ground and half in water; I wasn’t prepared for that in this type of movie, and I have to admit I didn’t like it.
Overall review? There was a lot going on yet they kept it all together pretty well. I could have done without the revolution part but without it we’d have lost this one great song and I guess a purpose for Jackman to go try to save this kid. I wasn’t ever sure I cared about anyone in the movie until Jackman’s character was about to die. I almost cried, though I didn’t, but a lot of other people did; sniffles were everywhere, and I couldn’t blame any of them. It’s hard to say I enjoyed such a depressing movie but it did touch me. Since this isn’t normally the type of movie overall that I’d even watch, I’m not quite sure how to process it.
It touched me in a couple of places on an emotional level; I’ll own up to that. I liked the music but didn’t like what the director did. The shot the music “live” rather than in a studio, and to do it many of the music scenes were closeups, and I kept wishing they’d pull the camera back as that made me uncomfortable.
I’ll say this then. If you like musicals definitely go see this. If you like to cry, give it a shot. If you like happy endings, this ain’t it. This isn’t a bad movie, but I didn’t hear a single person saying as we were walking out “that was fantastic”. I think we were all too depressed. 🙂