Mortal Eternity? Movie Review of "Twilight"

There’s a vampire film in your neighborhood, crouching in the shadows, waiting for you. But this is no ordinary vampire film, it has a stronger theme of true love. I wouldn’t call it horror at all. I recommend it to you in the theme of “drama that shouldn’t be missed.”

There’s a vampire film in your neighborhood, crouching in the shadows, waiting for you. But this is no ordinary vampire film, it has a stronger theme of true love. I wouldn’t call it horror at all. I recommend it to you in the theme of “drama that shouldn’t be missed.”

Last week I saw Twilight, Catherine Hardwicke’s (director: Vanilla Sky 2001) film adaptation of the bestselling modern novel by one of the the latest and greatest pop fiction writers Stephenie Meyer. I should add that the screenplay was adapted by Melissa Rosenberg (co-executive producer: “Dexter” ). The film’s plot revolves around permanent teenage vampire, Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson, and the lovely all-american mortal brunette, Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart. Edward is inadvertently paired up with Bella in biology class and despite his efforts to drop the class, the two begin a romance slowly but surely.

The vampire theme is played way down in this one. It is only a part of the story in so far as to explain the depth of their risk and trust in falling in love. The best part of the vampire idea, for me, is the idea of eternity and what good would it be if all your loved ones kept dying around you. This love story takes that idea and extrapolates a love story. Edward goes through mental struggles with his love for Bella. He is somewhere around 100 years old so he knows full well she will age and he will not. Once Bella finds out about his secret she has struggles of her own but seems to have no reservations about being with Edward come what may. I found myself wondering what i would do. When I wonder that in a movie, I know it’s a good movie.

There are new images of vampires in this movie as well as old stereotypes. When pressed by reporters on how she did her research, author Kristen Stewart, alluded to her Mormon background and claimed she knew nothing about vampires. She claims she dreamed it all. If that is true, quite a romatic idea on its own one might say.

My wife and I went out on an unassuming date, neither of us knowing much about this film and we both came out of it fans. Sarah (wife) has been reading the trilogy and is about done with the third. It will definitely be tough for sequels to top this one but I am just as excited as all those readers who paid 70 million opening weekend to see what becomes of these two. And, of course all us movie goers know we can’t really know until the final sequel.

25 Ways to Find Inspiration, Relax, and Clear Your Mind

The world is so full of boring people. It’s important for leaders, teachers, writers, performers, and artists to share an influence that is NOT boring with this starved-for-passion world.

This is a guest post from Chelle who writes about relationships on her blog

Recently I noticed Damien asked a question in his post about what we want and what we need:

What is your thing you can do today to relax your body and awaken your creativity?

Having a similiarly hectic life to everyone else I try to at least once a day do something to help me relax and clear my head – otherwise I would probably be spinning in circles most of the time. Most of the things you can do to find inspiration and clear your mind don’t take a lot of effort or time to do.
Here are 25 Ways to Find Inspiration, Relax, and Clear Your Mind:

1. Music: No matter what my mood is or what I need to get done, music is a BIG source of inspiration. There’s music to fit any mood and sometimes just hearing certain songs can make you feel good. Playing guitar or piano (even if you’re not necessarily a rock star!) is another great creative outlet to find a little inspiration and/or clear your head.

2. Nature: The world is a beautiful place, and yet most of the time we’re too busy to enjoy it. Whether you decide to watch the sky or just go for a walk in the woods, it can instantly make you feel less stressed and help get that creativity going again.

3. People Watching: Sometimes its easy to be overwhelmed by the people we encounter daily through work or school or our families. But watching complete strangers can give you the opportunity to view life from someone else’s eyes. You can guess what they might be thinking or feeling or going through. You might find some ideas pretty easily by watching someone else for just a few minutes.

4. Take a Road Trip: A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to drive 2 hours in a car all by myself. No kids screaming just me, my car, and the open road. It was amazing! It was the first time I had driven that long by myself I forgot how much a road trip could instantly clear your mind and inspire you!

5. Photographs: Thanks to the power of the internet, there are millions of photos to take a look at and use for inspiration. If you like to take photographs, why not take a day sight seeing and snapping shots? Taking some time to go out and take pictures can be a great source for inspiration and relaxation.

6. Dreams: Dreams can be very powerful in giving you insight in your life. If you have problems remembering dreams, all you need to do is get into a habit of writing about what your dreams were even if very hazy or foggy at first. You’ll start remembering very vivid details before long. Understanding your dreams is one step to understanding yourself better and even if the dream is complete nonsense it may give you a few good ideas! A good night’s rest can do wonders as well!

7. Great Food: Inspiration can come from waking up your senses and taste is no exception. Maybe its comfort food or something exquisite. Sometimes ice cream makes everything all better too. If you tend to be overindulgent a lot, cutting back to healthier eating habits can also help improve your mood and help you concentrate.

8. Aromatherapy: Sure, a lot of people will roll their eyes at the thought of candles and incense and all of that. But smell is another important sense that when stimulated can help you instantly relax. Recently I used an old real estate trick to put a few teaspoons of vanilla on a pan in the oven to warm. The whole house radiated of a warm fuzzy baking cookies smell that put everyone instantly in a good mood. Lavender is also another smell that most people respond well too.

9. Touch: While we’re on the subject of the senses, touch is another that we often forget to nurture. Whether you hold someone’s hand, sign up for a day at a local spa for a massage, rub your dog’s belly, or just wear you most favorite worn out t-shirt the things your body touches and come into contact with can have a big affect on your mood and your creativity.

10. Close Family/Friends: The people we are the closest to are typically the ones we take for granted the most. Take a time-out and really listen to them what they are thinking about or doing. You’ll be surprised at how inspiring it might be to see what they have to say or a different perspective on a situation you’re in.

11. Online Forums: If I’m ever stuck on a blog post idea or need somewhere to let off some steam, online forums are great for this! Complete strangers love to talk about their problems and listen to yours. One of the nicest communities I’ve met are the folks over at MyLot but there are plenty of other great boards too. Sometimes listening to other people’s problems and trying to offer solutions can help you clear your head, give you a place to vent, and get new perspectives you hadn’t thought of before.

12. Magazines & Newspapers: With everything online anymore, we forget about the thrill of a magazine coming in the mail or opening up the Sunday paper and spreading it across the table or couch. I like magazines and newspapers because they are perfect for my short attention span and they are also full of recent events and opinions to help inspire you.

13. Brainstorm: Sometimes a good brainstorm can help you think of new ideas and thoughts. You can list pros and cons if you are trying to make a decision, or you can map it out with a list of ideas and cloud bubbles.

14. Paint, Draw, Color: I am lucky that by being a mom I have a full arsenal of crayons, water colors, and markers at my disposal. Anytime the kids get restless or I feel like we need to calm down we sit down and paint or color. Instant relaxation!

15. Hydrotherapy: A hot bath or shower, a soak in a hot tub, maybe even a few laps around a pool can all do wonders in relaxing you and helping you think clearly. Haven’t you ever heard anyone say I do my best thinking in the shower?

16. Break the Monotony: Most days follow a routine of some sorts. Routines are usually good you’re more organized and better prepared to handle the stress that’s bound to come your way. But every so once inawhile, take a break from your routine. Do something entirely spontaneous. You’ll find yourself rejuvenated again.

17. Exercise: It wasn’t until about 6 months ago I realized exercise wasn’t a chore but an instant pick me up. I usually workout to my list of 100 workout songs – afterwards I always feel much more relaxed.

18. Do Nothing: Sometimes when you’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything, what you really need is some do nothing time. Think about how much time you spend doing absolutely nothing there’s a good chance you’re not giving yourself a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. Take an hour (or maybe even a whole day) and do absolutely nothing.

19. Clean House: Damien suggested this a few times and I completely agree. Clutter and disorganization can make you feel overwhelmed instantly. Whether you decide to organize the files on your computer or to clean out the garage or do dishes by hand in the sink doesn’t matter sometimes just cleaning things out can help you clear your mind and give you a sense of order and control.

20. Write: Writing has always been an excellent way to relax and be inspired, unless you’re experiencing writers block of course! Sometimes keeping a daily or weekly journal can help you sort out thoughts and ideas and feel better as well as take a look back at what you’ve done which can be inspiration. If writer block is a problem, I’m a big fan of freewriting you set a timer for 5 minutes and just write non stop for that 5 minutes. Sure, you might find yourself writing a lot of nonsense but you might also find a few great gems of ideas in there as well.

21. Add Some Greenery: You don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy gardening. A few low maintenance house plants or doing some landscaping or even mowing the grass can all provide an outlet to escape the usual stress and help you clear your mind.

22. Meditate: Spending some time to quietly reflect and clear your head can work wonders as well. Learning how to meditate can really make a big difference on your ability to

23. Do a Puzzle: It doesnt matter if you do a jigsaw puzzle or a crossword puzzle. Puzzle solving is a great way to exercise your brain and help you get your mind off the more important things for a little while and help you relax.

24. Laugh: There’s been proof that laughter is perhaps the best medicine and even good for you but it’s a good chance you’re not laughing enough. Next time everything goes wrong don’t start yelling laugh. Make sure you find something funny at least once a day. I try to do this with my totally pointless blog about stupid stuff.

25. Get Your Frustrations Out: One of our biggest problems is we tend to bottle up emotions or feelings. It’s not intentionally usually, but the day to day aggravation can eventually make you feel like you might just snap. So go ahead and take some time at a batting cage or golf range, punch a pillow, or scream at the top of your lungs. You’ll feel better that you did!

Do you feel inspired yet? There’s a ton of things you can do that can instantly make you feel better and at peace with the world. Most aren’t hard to do – you just need to make sure you put things like these on your priority list right up there with “get dressed today” and “feed kids”. Giving yourself some space and time can help you move from feeling like you can’t get anything done to feeling like you can conquer all.

What we Want and What We Need has Been Confused

That title is a quote from Michael Stipe of the band REM in the song, Finest Worksong. Got two days off (post weekend) and I was thrilled about it.  I figured, here’s an eternity of time to get everything I need to get done, done!  Well, after the first day it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

A reminder that life is longer than we think sometimes.

I’ve done a lot today but a few things I did were really important and restorative.  Let me take you through them in hopes you find parallels for your next short time off:

Got up about 6am with the crying baby and the edgy 3 year old.  Took care of their needs.  Bottle, changed diapers, feed the older one, put their channel on.  The girls really wore me out this morning.  In searching for my “center” I found myself very distracted with their needs.  Not complaining mind you, just explaining that we can’t always get that time we have “off.”  I thought, maybe it is better to spend time with my girls that it is to space out in front of the computer all day.  So that wasn’t all bad.  Meanwhile, my 10 year old was sleeping in (LUCKY DOG!)

The rest of the day consisted in cleaning and preparing: preparing for lunch, dinner and cleaning the kitchen and TV room.  There is so much joy in a clean room.  All this stuff was like therapy for me.  Later on we went out by the pool and I pulled all the strange things out of the skimmer.  I came inside, had some pizza and watched a few shows on Rome.  Typical time at home eh?  I am sure it all was therapeutic, but my head still felt thick.  I knew my therapy needed one more step: relaxation.  I’d cleaned, prepared, read stories, made bottles, and much more but I hadn’t yet been able to JUST RELAX.  Do you ever have trouble just relaxing?  Well if that’s the case, remember to relax before it’s too late.  How did I relax?  I took a hot shower.  It revived my spirits.  When I got dried off I asked my wife to go out for dinner tonight … just us!  We spent all Sunday and Monday in the day with our kids and I figured we both deserved a break.

Point? My relaxing shower was great, but only after I had done the cleaning and preparation of the day.  I think one of the single most powerful tools of inspiration is cleaning.  Having said that, it should always be tempered with relaxation.  So what is your “thing” you can do today to relax your body and awaken your creativity?  Make sure you do that thing in concert with the other stuf “you know you gotta do.”  When you have that breakthrough, let us know!

From a Distance

From a distance, all our worries seem small and simpler to solve.

It sounds cliche when I first write it but I have found it to be so very true: “From a distance, things look simpler.”  When our world seems so big and the cast of characters are crowding in, just meditate on all these things “from a distance.”

My parents have been troopers lately.  My dad now in his 60’s is changing jobs and it’s a bit slow going.  The fact that it is in real estate doesn’t help matters much.  Still, they are keeping their spirits up and doing great.  They just went on vacation to the Grand Canyon in Arizona last week.  My dad said it was very inspiring to see that giant open space.  It puts you in your place but also encourages you to do the little things you need to do.  Did you know the Grand Canyon was formed by a small streeam over throusands of years?  We need that kind of perspective sometimes.  Try and get quiet and meditate on your problems, “from a distance.”

Some Basic Psychology of Email

Email has different rules than writing because it touches a different psychology.

Email is something everybody does now right?  No, believe it or not everybody doesn’t yet.  It has become old hat for most though with most applications now requiring an email address.  Still, there remains a chunk of the that just don’t get email.

Those who have entered into this email revolution have found there are different rules than there are with phone or snail mail communication:

1) It doesn’t convey emotion.  Email has no sound so the reader must assume your tone.  For this reason it is very important to be brief and to the point.  Those who ramble in emails are bound to either offend or bore people reading their words.

2) You name is listed before they even open the email so saying your name is redundant.

3) It is permanent and can be used in a court of law.  Once you send out an email remember that you can never alter your words.  They are burned into the annals of time.

These are just a few things I have learned about email and they make me a better “emailer.”  Is there anything you have learned about people and email?