Not Your Average Bear!

yogi & booboo

I’m not too certain what made me thing about Yogi, but the smile that curled my lips when I did was immediate.

Saturday morning cartoons.

It was a ritual growing up.  Two hours of nonsense where I could get lost in an animated world.

Characters got blown up, had humongous rocks fall on them and fell from cliffs regularly.

But they never died.

If a cat has nine lives then animated characters are indeed immortal.

Silly pranks were played.  Scheming villains tried in vain to execute their various brands of treachery.

Every week their debauched visions were crushed by sly intellectual bunnies or awkward buffoonish bears.

Yogi and Boo Boo ruled ‘Yellow Stone National Park’ much to the chagrin of Ranger Smith.

This was and still is a sweet innocence for me.  There was no hard sell.

It was always a simple formula, one that I came to expect and it was offered week after week, year after year, and it worked.

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A capricious bunny, an enamored skunk, a witty road runner, a southern rooster or a hero of a mouse…just to mention a few.

We were blessed with so many lovely characters.

Back in the 1990’s though, we were all grown up and adult animation became a demand and began to move to the forefront.

Some of the creations were a delight.  Pinky and the Brain, Future Cat & Friends are a few faves.

“The Simpsons” truly changed the landscape or animation.

Some very dark characters emerged during this time.  Then gaming exploded.

I got to thinking of cartoon from the Merry Melody collection called ‘One Froggy Evening’ done in genuine black and white.  It was likely produced in the 1950’s.


A man finds a frog who can sing like  Pavarotti.  Elated he thinks he’s struck gold.  He advertises this and fills a concert house.  The frog, however, will sing only for him…alone.

This has been a favorite of mine for a lifetime it seems.  There is a joy in its simplicity that is so endearing to me.

These days its hard to find a cinematic production that is just plain old fun.  Making movies is first and foremost a big business.

Last weekend as I was curled up suffering from a dreadful cold and convinced I would never smell the sweetness of a rose again.  I watched ‘Guardians of Galaxy’.   I enjoyed it.  Now perhaps it was the fever but hell, there was a quirky innocence to each of the characters.

This doesn’t happen often in movies such as this for me.

It was silly, goofy and totally predictable, but what sold me was the depth of the characters.  I liked them and wanted to get to know them better.  When this happens I’m hooked.

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I read an article about a year ago that stated that movies follow just twelve various formats.  That’s it!  And as I pondered this I likened it to be true.

Why is it that some movies just blow us away?  Certain catch phrases are adopted or personality traits are adopted and emulated.

Others movies are forgotten before we leave the theatre.

Why did one leave an imprint and the other fade away?

This principle applies to the written word a well.  Those books that capture our imagination and allow it to expand.

In a nutshell, it is character development and plot execution.


How do you take something that has been told a million times or more before and tell it again…originally?

What I’ve learned may sound simple but can really be the toughest thing you’ll ever do.

Tell your story as only you see it.  That is what makes it unique  because none of sees or feels the same about anything really.  Individually we all have variations.

This perhaps, is the most endearing factor in the human equation to me.

Perfection is a myth.

Forgiveness is the key to freedom.

Love is absolute.

…and how each of sees the rise and set of each day is as infinite as the sky we gaze into each day and each night.



The World Sheds a Tear for a Very Funny Man…Goodbye Robin


The first time I saw him I was about 19 years of age. I was watching ‘Happy Days’.

Ritchie Cunningham had, what he thought was a really wacked out dream about an alien.

It wasn’t an alien. It was Robin Williams (a.k.a. Mork).

mork 2

At times I felt exhausted after watching him perform. His comedic genius sometimes bordered on something that was almost tragically desperate.

I’ve watched pretty much everything he’s put out. I’ve spent time in front of the computer screen watching You Tube videos of his performances gone by.

Sometimes Robin would just continue to wind up. The pace frenetic, he’d be drinking water with a ferocity while the sweat streamed down his body. Then he’d dance on that edge and I would wonder if he was going to snap.

robin 3Robin Johnny

Over the years, like many, I heard of his struggles with depression and addiction. The two have a way of going hand over fist, don’t they?

It is heartbreaking that Robin could never defeat the demons that plagued him or minimize them enough to afford a truly happy and peaceful life.

I am very familiar with depression having dealt with it for the majority of my life, however, for me it has become manageable. Still, there are so many degrees and variations of this insipid illness.


If you have depression then you likely know the key is to learning to live with it. And that you see is the toughest part of this illness.

There was a time when I really didn’t want to accept it. In a way I was trying to cut that part of me out, destroy it. Indeed, my entire person suffered as a result.

In the last five years, despite the other health issues that I’ve faced, I can say with all honesty that I have been the most content and happy that I’ve ever been.

And if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, then you’ll know I’ve done a great deal of soul searching. It is a daily thing, a mantra and acknowledgement of what I want in my life and who I want to be and what I don’t. Sometimes I’m really successful, at other times not so much, but more often than not I usually find a delicate balance between the two.

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And this I can live with.

Robin lived in extremes. Extreme highs and extreme lows and I think that is the toughest type of depression to try and manage. I can’t imagine his pain and torment.

One thing I would like to bring to attention to is that in our health care system quite often the treatments that are available for mental health issues tend to have a very narrow vein in order to be covered by MSP. If you don’t have extended health benefits through your place of employment then it will come out of your pocket.

This needs to change.

Far too many people are waiting until they are in critical need before seeking the assistance that they need.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. We need to change how we do business and we really need to change how we treat each other.

A little more kindness and a lot more love.


Many blessings to Robin William’s family and I hope that Robin has found some measure of peace.  Nanoo!  Nanoo!


Trailers……You Lost Me at Please!

It has been absolutely beautiful weather wise here in Vancouver!  Summer has settled in quite nicely and the temperature is rising.

Nights are spent with a sheet covering me at most.  Even then it is often too hot.  I have one fan that is a good size that I lug from room to room.  I think I will head out this weekend and get a smaller one for my bedroom.

Last year I had taken the fan apart and cleaned it. (They can get quite dusty)

I put it together forgetting to screw the butterfly nut onto the propeller.  Propped it up in my room, turned it on and went to sleep.

A thunderous crash about an hour later had me leaping scared as hell from my bed.

You guessed it.  The propellor inside its cage had come off because someone we know (and love) (hey, I’m gonna milk it, okay?) forgot to put the screw on to hold it in place!

 fan 1

I can assure you it took quite some time to fall back into a blissful slumber after that little incident.

I am babbling though.  Gee. Haven’t done that in while, now have I?

So, yes, I need a smaller fan.  Not one that if it fell apart could potentially kill me.  That fan has never graced my bedroom since this occurrence. I have a far too active an imagination.  Visions of propellers flying through the night air slicing and dicing me like a kitchen chopper doesn’t induce one into the realm of relaxing nirvana.

As I drove into the office today I greeted the morning and cranked the radio up and rocked out to a few good tunes.

Lately the radio has been running ads for up coming TV summer series.  One is for ‘Extant’ that features Halle Berry.

The premise of the show is that she is an astronaught and goes out into space….alone…for a year. She is doing a bunch of strange experiments and somehow she manages to get knocked up though she has no memory of this.

(What did they put in her Tang?)

A line from the trailer played on the radio has Halle asking this question. Not too certain who she is talking to either.

“Please, just tell me what you did to me?”  Halle beseeches. 

And I couldn’t help myself and just burst into laughter.  it just had such a strange connotation to it.

Truth be told, I really don’t know if I’ll check it out.  The premise for it sounds ‘odd’?

Thing is I like Spielberg’s body of work, so it may be worth a gander.  There are a few things though that don’t add up right off.  First, I don’t think they would ever send just one person out into space.

Too expensive. 

The craft that she’s on appears to be quite big too.  That’s alot of work for one gal.

It seems to have the premise of the creepy old abanodoned house feel to it  that we see in horror flicks but it’s a few hundred thousand miles away floating about in space.  Hmmm.

(Halle… just don’t go into the ‘basement’ of the ship, ‘kay?)

Then of course she does go into the ‘basement’ and wakes up not knowing what the hell happened and pregnant to boot. 

I wonder why they always make aliens look so creepy in Sci-Fi movies?  Quite often their appearance is lizard-like. I’ve always liked the aliens in Star Trek and Star Wars.  They were what we affectionatley refer to as ‘humanoid’.  They resembled us but had distinctive attributes that dictated what area of the galaxy they were from.  Better not be from the Eastside of intergalactic hood.

alien 3Kirk & Co

The wise ones and Cap. Kirk’s battle buddy.

As we well know, life forms can take on a multitude of images and they might well not be in a state that we would recognize.  

Still something to be said for our collective imagination.  

etalien 2

Careful, ET, my friend. An Alien dude from the Eastside is stirring up shit.  Ate the teacher and left the apple.

If I were to put together a sci-fi outer space series, I would want to explore the big picture.  Really get into the meat of other ‘civilizations’.  Whether they are civilized by our definition of this term, well, that would be a shrouded mystery, now wouldn’t it? 

Next Generation was my favorite in the Star Trek series.  They explored a lot of psychological aspects that were really cool.  

Next genborg 2

I would want to put together a series that took it even deeper than that.  One thing I would explore is the idea of ownership in space.  

Kind of like how we, as humans, section off not only the land we thrive upon but the deep blue sea that surrounds us as well.  A portion  ‘belongs’ to Canada, to the USA, to Europe, to Africa, to Asia, etc.  The thing is, what one country does to their ‘piece of the ocean’ affects us all.  Just as what happens in another country on the other side of world does have an impact. It always will  Yet we have this NIMBY attitude.  Outta sight, outta mind as long as it doesn’t appear in my neck of the woods…I’m cool. 

We are kind of like an ostrich with our head in the proverbial sand at times.  

I would also want to explore the idea of intelligence.  The concept of it.  This really fascinates me. How we actually measure intelligence and decide who and what are bestowed with this gift of sorts. 

I recently watched a documentary on ‘The Nature of Things’.  The show followed the migration of the Monarch butterfly and how its migration was discovered and mapped.  

Such delicate creatures that undertake an amazing journey!  Why?  Don’t know. And they are equipped with sensors that are just incredible!   Is all that they do based upon instinct alone? 

I would want to explore the crop circles as a language and turn them into 3D images.  (And yes, I do believe they are a language)

And maybe one day I will have the opportunity to develop such a show.  

I wonder sometimes what would result if shows were created theoretically.  If ratings and advertising dollars weren’t an issue. 

What would it be like to create…just because.

What would it be like to live….just because. 

What would it be like to have no borders?

What would it be like to collaborate collectively on a global scale just because we are human.

The good of the people.  The respect and earnest interest in our well being…everywhere.  The desire to share knowledge freely.

We’ve put a price tag on so many things in this life.  Lebron James, for example plays basketball.  Yet the dude is worth multiple millions of dollars. Why?

I played basketball in high school.

Okay, I wasn’t very good and I’m a girl but I had fun! And I’m nice dammit! 

My point being that what if the challenge wasn’t monetary?

What if the challenge wasn’t power and control?

What if the challenge was…just because.   Hmmmm.

In any case, I will toddle off now.  Enjoy your day and as Mr. Spock so fondly states,

“Live long and prosper.”


Hero Worship…A Godzilla Story


Artwork from the Godzilla website of our hero monster in the 2014 version

Close to a year ago I woke to a beautiful Saturday morning and my daughter and I decided to go for breakfast.

We dressed and decided to walk down to the New West Quay for a nibble.

We left the house only to find our neighborhood had become quite literally a disaster zone.  Debris was all over the roadways and vehicles were crushed with huge blocks of concrete on them.

And I had slept through this?  Oh my goodness!

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These are images I took of the scene that existed for about a week in New Westminster, BC

Well, it seemed that Godzilla had come to town.  That big guy always makes such a mess, doesn’t he?

Yes, a year ago they were filming some of the final scenes of the movie in downtown New Westminster.

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Images that I took.  They change street signs, parkade signs, the detail was quite remarkable.

Last evening my daughter and I went to see the movie.  It didn’t disappoint.  It’s what I expected from a monster movie.

And I’ve always liked the big guy.

The special effects were grand.  Mind you the monster make-out scene was kind of creepy between our two bad guy monsters.


From the Godzilla website…Muto…one of the bad guy monsters

Godzilla had to rise up from the deep to get rid of the bastards and unfortunately a few cities were flattened as a result.  Can’t be helped.  I like that we tried to shoot the monsters with guns.

These baddies feed on radiation.  The more crap they can consume the better.

And I have to wonder if the military would really be marching in trying to ‘contain’ the situation and not just telling everyone to run for the hills.  Evacuate!

I’m not supposed to think about these things, however, and I know that. What I liked is that this movie showed just how ineffectual we humans would be if in fact this really happened.

Godzilla is such a misunderstood monster too.

He comes out to in effect to save our sorry ass in a round about way and what do we do?  We shoot him, throw bombs at him and try to blow him up.

He looks at us and screams.  I would imagine his breath is a little skanky.


Art work of the big guy from the Godzilla website

But he doesn’t try to kill us.  Just swats at us like bothersome flies because that is likely what we are to him.

I picked out the scenes that were shot in Vancouver and in New Westminster quite easily.

godzilla2014_francisco_shoot_03 (2)godzilla2014_francisco_shoot_02

These shots were taken by the film crew and taken from the Godzilla website.  They are setting up for the final disaster scene in downtown New Westminster

I loved the CNN news feeds that they had in the film on the TV screens.  ‘Godzilla…Savior of our City!’

And the fact that live news crews were broadcasting the fight between the radioactive pair that looked like a monster-sized hybrid of a cockroach and our boy, Godzilla was impressive.

The news anchor was perfectly coiffed as well.

Vegas got flat-lined.  I stayed at Treasure Island when I was there and as one of creepy bad guys (the female one) made her way to San Francisco to hook up with her boy toy she took a big portion of the hotel out.

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Image I took to show the detail they went into.  Note the plaque of New Westminster with the San Fran Police Dept sign in the background

Considering that I now know that it is on the monster highway, don’t know that I’ll stay there again.

All in all, Godzilla was a fun monster movie.

I can recall watching some of the first Godzilla movies at the Haida Theatre on Kingsway during the Saturday matinees as a child. I loved him then and I still do.

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Images I took of the scene setup

If you like monster movies, you’ll enjoy this classic Godzilla adventure.

It is a beautiful Sunday morning.  I’m going to get out there and enjoy.

Peace out.





















I Was Here…

cave of forgotten dreasm hand 2


The image you see above is roughly 34,000 years old.  Throughout this documentary they will come upon this hand print a few times, distinctive because of the crooked index finger.

This film remains one of the most powerful I’ve ever seen.  Something happened during the viewing that connected me to the spirit of these hand prints.  Their energy reached across the spans of time and touched me so deeply that day I still feel shivers in remembrance.

The commentary throughout this documentary is provided by scientists who are so completely giddy that they were at times like school children.  Their wide-eyed wonder at the pristine beauty of the art worked that covers the walls of the Cave Chauvet in France is infectious.

cave of forgotten dreams hands


But it is the hand prints that got to me.

“I was here” is what these images speak.

We have an innate human condition to leave our mark on this world, to have somehow mattered, to not be forgotten.

Yesterday I had a moment where I felt incredibly small and insignificant.  I was out for a walk taking some pictures.  A lot of thought moved rapidly through this head of mine.  I came home and looked at the clay hand print my daughter made for me when she was in kindergarten.  Some 25 years have passed yet it still hangs on the paper plate it was mounted on with a little poem written beneath it.  Two holes were punched out and a length of twine was fed through and knotted so that this item could be hung on the wall.

It has done so ever since.

I smiled when I saw it which triggered my memory of “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”.

When I leave this world I hope that somehow my energy will have left a positive foot print or hand print as it may be.

In the last year I’ve had many moments when I wondered, however briefly, if I would be alive in a year from now.  Cancer has a way of introducing thoughts that I had never before anticipated having…at least not yet.  And as much as I entertained the notion that ‘death was not an option’, there were times in the dark of night when the tentacles of fear teased me.

Sometimes the weight of all that has transpired seems quite evident in my physical appearance.  I look heavy.  I feel heavy.  And I am.

On days such as yesterday though when I am feeling less than, I’ll remember the hand print I saw in a film.

The hand print that spoke to me and I’ll whisper ‘I remember you.  I know you were here.  Thank you.’



In the Mood

Christmas is coming up fast this year.  Why I’ve hardly had a moment to breathe and now I am in panic mode.  As much as I would like to go ‘Christmas crazy’, I am resolved to keeping it simple this year. 

We went to see The Nutcracker on the weekend.  That put me in the mood for sure.  But you know, the one show that used to always do it for me was ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.  Last week I saw it on the guide and with giddy anticipation I switched the channel. 

I tucked my blanket around my toes and positioned all the pillows about me just so and my daughter curled up with her head on my lap. 

A few minutes into the show, however, I found myself scowling at the TV. 


For about 15 minutes I watched in horror at this ‘updated’ version of the classic only to find that I disliked the characters being portrayed immensely.  The kids were selfish, egocentric and at times a little mean. 

I know to, the original had some of those elements as well but there was an innocence to it that didn’t come across at all in this version. 

After 20 minutes I could watch no more. No doubt they all redeem themselves at the end, or at least I hope they do.  Unfortunately I couldn’t stick it out.

I have never been a huge fan of Christmas movies.  More often than not they are disgustingly tear-jerky throughout.  Clichéd endings of miracles abound and everybody learns valuable lessons and a brighter future always descends from the darkness.  You just have to believe.

There is a formula to these films.  It’s been around a good long while.  From ‘A Christmas Carol’ to ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, we are reminded to believe. Our hearts will swell to bursting and we’ll all feel good for a nanosecond. 

And so the challenge presented itself to me. 

Could I write a Christmas story that was not chock full of clichés?  Could I do it with a slightly bent sense of humour but get the meaning across?  Hmmmm. 

And could I actually add a fresh twist to it.  Why not give it a whirl?  So next week I will be lining up a five-part Christmas story to be presented to all of you.   

I love to tell stories as many of you likely do as well.  And don’t you love the process?  How an idea catches? 

I find myself rapidly visualizing the opening scenes, changing up characters and their purpose from the get go.  I then scramble to find a sheet of paper to jot the idea down with a brief outline.  It has now been committed to the page for further evaluation and development at a later date. 

So I’ve an idea that I am currently plotting out for a Christmas story.  Time to get the bare basics down. 

Have a great day. 






Story Telling…The Visual Element (Part 4) Romance

Do I have a favourite romance story? There are a few, however,  this is a genre that I do not frequent.  It is a tough to first capture my interest , enough so that I’ll actually go to a theater to watch it, and then to keep me engaged.  I would say the romantic comedy has a better chance of entertaining me than the dramatic romance story.

I really don’t like it when a romance story gets sickeningly sweet.  “Gerry Maguire” became way too sappy for me.  With lines like ‘You had me at hello’ and ‘You complete me’ I was just itching to get out of there.

I loved ‘When Harry Met Sally’.  It was funny, engaging and very entertaining.  The characters were quirky and interesting as well.  Probably one of the better romances in the dramatic division would be ‘Immortal Beloved’.  This is one I really do love.

As we watch Beethoven lose his hearing and through miscommunications and bad timing he also loses the love of his life as well.  And yet as his 9th symphony is preformed, he takes into his heart at that moment.

I have no doubt that much of this was fictionalized for the big screen.  They did an admirable job of it.  There is a poignancy to this film.  Gary Oldman brought an intense vulnerability to the role of the famed composer.  He did a brilliant job.

I have listed below this post the love letters that were found in Beethoven’s desk after his death.  Letters that never reached the woman he so loved.  It was a long shot to begin with considering she was a married woman.  Still, the movie is a convincing tale of two star crossed lovers who for a brief moment align only to watch the promise of love and the hope for a future together slip away from them.

There are the memories of past abuses.  The viciousness of his father that caused his hearing loss and yet he grew to be one the most loved composers in all of history.   Sometimes taking a factual piece and layering it with several turn of events out of speculation can go terribly wrong.  In this case, the outcome hit the mark.

This film turns on the waterworks for this gal. A tragedy of this nature is often more effective to me as we, the audience, ponder the ‘what if’ factors.

Enjoy the letters below and I have also included a link to the ‘Ode to Joy’ scene from the movie.




The First Letter
   July 6, in the morning
My angel, my all, my very self – Only a few words today and at that with pencil (with yours) – Not till tomorrow will my lodgings be definitely determined upon – what a useless waste of time – Why this deep sorrow when necessity speaks – can our love endure except through sacrifices, through not demanding everything from one another; can you change the fact that you are not wholly mine, I not wholly thine – Oh God, look out into the beauties of nature and comfort your heart with that which must be – Love demands everything and that very justly – thus it is to me with you, and to your with me. But you forget so easily that I must live for me and for you; if we were wholly united you would feel the pain of it as little as I – My journey was a fearful one; I did not reach here until 4 o’clock yesterday morning. Lacking horses the post-coach chose another route, but what an awful one; at the stage before the last I was warned not to travel at night; I was made fearful of a forest, but that only made me the more eager – and I was wrong. The coach must needs break down on the wretched road, a bottomless mud road. Without such postilions as I had with me I should have remained stuck in the road. Esterhazy, traveling the usual road here, had the same fate with eight horses that I had with four – Yet I got some pleasure out of it, as I always do when I successfully overcome difficulties – Now a quick change to things internal from things external. We shall surely see each other soon; moreover, today I cannot share with you the thoughts I have had during these last few days touching my own life – If our hearts were always close together, I would have none of these. My heart is full of so many things to say to you – ah – there are moments when I feel that speech amounts to nothing at all – Cheer up – remain my true, my only treasure, my all as I am yours. The gods must send us the rest, what for us must and shall be –
Your faithful LUDWIG.
The Second Letter
   Evening, Monday, July 6
You are suffering, my dearest creature – only now have I learned that letters must be posted very early in the morning on Mondays to Thursdays – the only days on which the mail-coach goes from here to K. – You are suffering – Ah, wherever I am, there you are also – I will arrange it with you and me that I can live with you. What a life!!! thus!!! without you – pursued by the goodness of mankind hither and thither – which I as little want to deserve as I deserve it – Humility of man towards man – it pains me – and when I consider myself in relation to the universe, what am I and what is He – whom we call the greatest – and yet – herein lies the divine in man – I weep when I reflect that you will probably not receive the first report from me until Saturday – Much as you love me – I love you more – But do not ever conceal yourself from me – good night – As I am taking the baths I must go to bed – Oh God – so near! so far! Is not our love truly a heavenly structure, and also as firm as the vault of heaven?
The Third Letter
   Good morning, on July 7
Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us – I can live only wholly with you or not at all – Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul en wrapped in you into the land of spirits – Yes, unhappily it must be so – You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart – never – never – Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life – Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men – At my age I need a steady, quiet life – can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day – therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once – Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
ever thine
ever mine
ever ours
After Beethoven’s death in March 1827 two documents were discovered in his desk. These were the Heiligenstadt Testament and the love letters shown above. The passionate feelings manifested in these letters where addressed to a person unknown. Many have speculated over whom might be the recipient, made more difficult by the fact that there is no year or place given on the letters. But Solomon, following Beethoven’s date on the letters, his movement during the period (1812) and studying the persons close to Beethoven, has come to the solution that Antoine Brentano must be the answer, now generally accepted as being correct.
   Antonie Brentano
Antonie von Birkenstock was born in Vienna on May 28, 1780, thus 10 years younger than Beethoven. She underwent eduction with the Ursuline order in Pressburg.
On July 23, 1798 she married the Frankfurt merchant Franz Brentano, 15 years her senior. Her first child was born in 1799 but died a year later. She then had four surviving children. Solomon states that her marriage was unhappy.
In June 1809, Antonie’s father was seriously ill in Vienna and she went there with her children in early October. Her husband followed a short time later and set up a branch of his firm in Vienna. In May 1810, Antonie’s sister-in-law Bettina Brentano introduced her to Beethoven for the first time.
The Brentano’s remained in Vienna until late in 1812 – she didn’t like Frankfurt much and was ill most of the time. During her illnesses Beethoven would often play the piano for her. The Immortal Beloved letters were written at a time when it was evident that she would be leaving Vienna. After her departure at the end of 1812 she and Beethoven never met again.
Antonie Brentano died in 1869 at the age of 89.

Storytelling…The Visual Element (Part 3) Firsts

Driving home through the rain last night the exhaustion began to settle in.  It had been a long day.  I have been getting to work early to offset the time I am at the clinic receiving treatment.

Work started at 7:55 AM.  I was gone from 8:50 AM to 10:00 AM.  And really just a bunch of loose end catch up stuff that really required my attention. I finished the day by decorating the office for the festive season ahead.

We have an artificial tree at the office that really is a pathetic looking thing.  It’s about 25 years in age now and should have been tossed out a decade ago.  The box that it’s stored in is composed mostly of tape now so I hauled it out and resurrected it once again.  The top of the tree is so mangled that topper is leaning dangerously forward.  Not much I can do to correct this, though I tried.  Still, I managed to make the tree look pretty.

I’ll pick up a poinsettia and some holly branches to adorn the counter next week.

After work I met my daughter and we shared a nibble at a small bar on Granville Street.  Then she headed out to a social event and I decided to see what deals could be found on this Black Friday event that was occurring.  Wanting to get started on the Christmas shopping thing I stepped out onto Granville Street and began my quest.

This portion of Vancouver is undergoing a massive change.  We are being invaded by American stores such as Old Navy and the old Eaton’s store is being renovated by Nordstrom’s which will open next spring.

Won’t be a store a that I will frequent.  Holt Renfrew has been the equivalent in Canada all these years and I go in there periodically to ponder over why someone would spend $1,200 on a dress (and that, by the way, is cheap for that particular store).

I walked through Pacific Centre mall and the Bay and purchased a gift for my daughter.  For all the hype surrounding this Black Friday thing, I didn’t come across any fabulous ‘must have’ deals.

I went to another mall in Burnaby before heading home just after 9:00 PM.

As I drove, I thought about my first diary.  It was a small 5″ x 7″ brown padded book with a lock on it.  It contained approximately 150 pages.  I received it as a gift when I was about 10 years of age.  This little book was pivotal in the exploration of the written word for me.

The entries in the beginning were simple things.  I was never too sure what to write so I would say things like:

Dear Diary,

How are you?  I am fine.  I went to Cheryl’s after school today and we hung out in her rumpus room.  School was okay.  I’ve got homework.  Bye.


In the beginning I wrote such things everyday.  One page would contain a week’s worth of this.  Then I started to just make entries once per week and tried to make them more meaningful.  I tucked it away then for long periods of time.  Months would go by.  Then one night my parent’s had one of their many fights and I opened my diary on that night releasing all the anxiety and fear that came with these events.

I had found my release.

I guarded the words contained in that little book more out of fear.  Should my parents find the words that I had written about them…they were not kind words.  They were bad words, vicious and hateful words.  Sometimes I found the strength in the emotions I had purged onto the page a little frightening as well.

Where was this coming from?

A life long practice was born and I have followed the written word ever since.

I would become pen pals with a young girl in England for a few years and amazingly a few years ago she found me on Facebook, so we now have established our connection once more.  How cool it that?

I was never exposed to art galleries or the like as a child.  Just movies, television and books.  I’ve been on my own from the age of 16 years.  My first venture into the Vancouver Art Gallery was at the age of 18 years of age.  At the time the gallery was located  on Georgia Street in a very cool art deco building.

I recall feeling rather fraudulent entering the building as I knew absolutely nothing about the arts.  I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do or how to conduct myself. Timidly I walked from painting to painting.  Some I liked, others I didn’t.

Then a painting at the end caught my eye.  I was about to lose my artistic virginity.  An Emily Carr painting of some trees in the forest drew my interest.   I was mesmerized and drawn to it like a moth to flame.  I stared at this painting for a long time and the emotional connection was like no other.  Ms. Carr had captured the very soul of the tree on that canvas.

And it was in that moment that a small window of understanding opened with regard to the arts.  What we all try to do with whatever chosen form we are pursuing is to touch someone and make them see and feel what we are experiencing at the moment of creation.

All that I have learned over the years has largely been self-inflicted.  My curiosity kicks in and the need to explore takes over.  Indeed there is much I don’t know having never had the opportunity to attend an institute of higher education to pursue these interests of mine.  Still, much can learned by reading and observing.

At nineteen years of age I was living in the West End of Vancouver.  I would see my first musical on the silver screen during this time.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” blew me away.  The simplicity and harshness of the location it was filmed at was just brilliant.  The setup showing the theatrical group arriving on a bus, unloading it and preparing for their roles then departing after the deed was done never to be the same again.  So evident in their demeanor.

All this while an actual war was taking place around them.  The shots where we see the fighter pilots flying low and tanks coming over the dunes in this film was not originally staged.  These were antagonistic methods letting the film crew know that not everyone was happy with their presence and what it was they were filming there.

Indeed the contentious nature of the location lent to the quality of the experience watching this film. And the music!

I was familiar with some of the songs.  The play had been circulating for many years before the movie was made and as a result songs such as “I don’t know how to love him” and “Superstar” had been in the top 40 on the radio in the early to mid 1970’s.

The quality of the performances was superb as well.  The connection developed between Ted Neeley (Jesus) and Carl Anderson (Judas) during the filming would follow them throughout the course of their careers.  They would reprise their respective roles on stage for the next 30 or so years.

I was fortunate enough to see Ted Neeley at the age of 68 in a staged production of JCS here a few years ago.  Unfortunately Carl had passed away a few years prior.  There are many messages in this film that speaks to our humanness.  That is just one of the many things I love about this musical.

I have viewed this more than 20 times and seen the staged version.  For me, a classic, a favourite, a timeless movie is one that every time I see it…in many ways its like the first time. And every time I view it,  I take something new away from it as well.

If you’ve never had the pleasure, I would encourage you to watch this film.  If you are of a religious nature, please just view this as piece of art and think too of the time period it was created in.

This is definitely one of my all time faves.

Time to head off to Yoga and purge some of the aches from the past week.

Enjoy your day.  Peace.

Storytelling….The Visual Element – Part 2

I have been going to movies, as the majority of you have, throughout the course of my life.  Interestingly enough, I started watching films during the golden age of cinema.  There were not many big budget films released when I was young.  Just a handful each year and a film could stay in a theater for several months, particularly if it was doing well.

Some of my earliest ventures to the movies were Saturday matinees’. They typically played a cartoon that was some 15 to 20 minutes in length and then the feature. In those days sci-fi, westerns or comedies featuring the likes of Abbot & Costello were the norm.

It cost a quarter to attend and popcorn would set you back about five cents.

My first exposure to Shakespeare was ‘Romeo & Juliet’ starring Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting.  I was ten years old and I sobbed throughout the second portion of the film…loudly.  So much so that my sisters moved a few seats down from me at one point and a woman berated me for my outburst.

That was also the era of the drive-in movie theater.  The family would pile into the car and head down to the Cascade Drive-In on a Saturday night from time to time and take in a flick.  Movies such as ‘Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte’ and ‘The Birds’ were viewed there.

In my teens I would go there with my boyfriend, though we seldom watched the movies being offered. Drive-ins had begun to feature sci-fi flicks on a regular basis and some rather campy flicks, one being ‘Flesh Gordon’ which was a comical pornographic take on the well loved ‘Flash Gordon’ series.

The first multiple theater complex I recall going to was the Capitol 6 on Granville Street.  Here I saw movies such as ‘Star Wars’, ‘Enter the Dragon’ and ‘Saturday Night Fever’.

As I got older, the small screen began featuring some of the old B & W’s from the 1950’s and 1960’s.  The Late Show came on around midnight.  It was during this time that I viewed some of the classics such as ‘Casablanca’, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘The African Queen.’

So I will start with the classics.  I have just named a few of my favourites from that era.  What has always appealed to me with these films is the storylines.  I became invested very quickly and developed an emotional connection to the characters.  Bogart is one of my all time favorite actors.  I have seen him in ‘Key Largo’, ‘The Maltese Falcon’ and ‘Treasure on the Sierre Madre’.  He had range and a style that was indelibly his own.

Another one my favorite actors from that time period is Gregory Peck.  This guy just always had such a quiet command of the screen.  And my all time favorite movie from this time period is ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.

I have watched this movie more than twenty times.  I never tire of it.  It’s message is timeless and always relevant.  That we witness the stains of humanity such as prejudice, hate and racism in an absurdly blind society through the eyes of a child makes it that much more telling.  And the events that she’s experiencing and living through are presented with a rare innocence.

This movie manages to take an honest snap shot of a misguided society.  One of my favorite lines from the film that always makes me tear up is set in the courtroom.  Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) is the lawyer representing Tom Robinson who is a black man accused of raping a white woman.  The film is set in the deep south.

Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch (Mary Badham), is his daughter. She is up in the gallery along with her brother Jem watching the proceedings of the trial. Here is an excerpt from the book with the quote that just gets me every time.

‘The jury takes longer than usual to return its verdict.  When it does, however, the verdict is “guilty.” Dumbstruck with disbelief, the children slide sadly into their seats.  The lower level of the courtroom empties but the upper level, filled with black people, stand and wait for Atticus to depart.  The black spectators respect Atticus for his effort and his obvious convictions. 

Scout describes the scene:
‘Someone was punching me, but I was reluctant to take my eyes from the people below us, and from the image of Atticus’s lonely walk down the aisle.
“Miss Jean Louise?”
I looked around.  They were standing.  All around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall.  The Negroes were getting to their feet.  Reverent Sykes’s voice was a distant as Judge Taylor’s:
“Miss Jean Louise, stand up.  Your father’s passin’.”

There are so many rich moments in this movie that have left a lasting impression.  It is not just the state of race relations that occur in this film.  There is a character named Boo Radley who is a ‘simpleton’ of sorts.  We witness a unique relationship that develops between him and the Finch children.  And we witness the prejudice and disdain held for those whose cognitive functions are unfortunately lacking and the effect this can have on an individual and their family.

Shy and reserved, Boo (Bruce Dern) is seldom seen yet his role is pivotal.  In an odd turn, justice is meted out.

All in all, this film is fabulous.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of viewing this classic,  I would encourage to you to do so.



Storytelling…The Visual Element – 1

I thought I would try something a little different.  Considering that I am working on trying to master storytelling by means of the written word. I would take a look at the visual counterpart, being movies. I am going to share with you some of my faves, and the ones I consider catastrophes and why they had this impact on me.

After all, movies are in effect telling a story and just as books have various genres, film does as well of course.

Let’s talk about genres for a moment.  Easily my least favorite would be horror movies.  Not a fan and in a moment I will disclose why this is.

I was out for dinner with a friend Friday evening and when I got home I found my daughter watching the latest version of ‘Amityville Horror’.  So I sucked it up and watched it with her.  Why don’t I like the bejesus being scared out of me?

Yeah! Let’s share!

For one thing horror flicks are stupid.  Their point is not tell you a story but to scare the shit out of you.  Think about Jason (of Friday the 13th fame) or Michael Myers (of Halloween fame).  These guys lumber about slowly killing everything in their path. Why?  I have no idea.

Always they seemingly meet their demise only to be resurrected once more to scare the crap out of us.

There are certain things formatted into these movies that I know I  am not supposed to be considering as I watch this drivel.  These movies really don’t have a storyline, no plot really, just a lot of killing.  That is the first thing that bothers me.  Certain factors always seem to come up as well with these movies. Here are some of the occurrences that just drive me batty.

1) The characters always ‘split up’ to look for the mass murderer. I don’t know about you, but if I knew some guy was running around slicing and dicing up people at random I will be the first to admit that I wouldn’t go looking for the guy.

2)  Of course they creep about with a spoon in their hand.  A cat will jump out and scare the hell out of them.  Um…don’t look behind you.  But they do and find the dude with a machete or some humongous weapon and they scream then try to run away. Can any of them ever open a freakin’ door?  No. They stand there rattling the stupid thing.  Try turning the doorknob!  But they don’t.  Our perpetrator is lumbering along so what do they do? They always run up the stairs.  And what do you think happens half way up the stairs?  Say it with me.  THEY FALL DOWN!  They look back sobbing now and begin crawling pathetically up the steps.  And many meet their death on the stairs.

Others make it into the bathroom or bedroom.  They hide in the tub or a closet.  Meanwhile killer dude has a weapon that can take a door off its hinges with one swipe.

3) Some fool always goes down into the basement.  You know there is nothing but evil in the basement yet they go down there, don’t they?  There is no way out of these basements other than by coming back up the steps, so in effect, they are trapped.  They are always really creepy looking basements too that look like no one has been down there in a century or so.  Typically a single light bulb dangles from the ceiling.  Ideally the light begins to flicker and as it does you’ll see killer dude in the background ready to make mince meat out whomever was foolish enough to go down there in the first place.

4) Finally some of them get out of the house and jump in a car or truck. The vehicle always breaks down or won’t start at some point.  They’ll be tearing along the road and something will happen.  Why do they stop the vehicle and get out?  Just keep going! But no, they get out then they see killer dude and scream jumping back into the vehicle which of course now won’t start.

So they run through the bushes or back to where they came from.

5) Now they are back in the house trying to set a trap for our villain. The wires have often been cut and the phone isn’t working. Still oddly enough some other electrical thing is still functioning but you’re not supposed to notice.

At some point the hero / heroine of the movie manages to off the killer dude.  And as they walk away you see our perp pop open an eye.  He’ll be back.

Horror movies are, as I have outlined, very predictable.  They follow a format that for me personally, doesn’t challenge my imagination.  I seldom develop a relationship to the characters in the film and therefore have very little empathy when they do die such horrific deaths.

In fact, I find myself say ‘You idiot!  You deserve to die.’

I also don’t like to see evil reign supreme and I’m not a fan of blood and guts and gore.

In terms of being frightened in a film I do enjoy a good suspense film from time to time. I like movies that play with my imagination by suggesting the carnage that has occurred rather than the physical gore and guts laying about everywhere.

There are horror movies that I’ve watched and enjoyed but typically these are films that I don’t go out of my way to watch.

I’ll be back with a list of my favorites and their categories next time.  Hope you check it out.