My Post secret Synchronicity

On New Year’s Day, (okay yesterday)... I woke up and decided to visualize my new goals and resolutions. I decided that before I got to the real  angst and torture from which all sacrifice must come,  I would flounder in my old habits just a little longer.   I proceeded to roll out of bed at 1PM, eat cereal for my breakfast / lunch / afternoon snack.  (one bowl accounted for all of those meals, but lord it was a large one).  I then lain in an extremely hot bath hoping to settle the granola that was without a doubt nefariously swimming in my breadbasket like paunch.

After enjoying my scalding dip (which lasted approximately an hour), I dried off and took a seat next to my husband at our local Mexican food eatery, “The Whole Enchilada.”  I consumed “Street tacos.”

It did, in fact, cross my mind that i just paid $10.00 for a plate of ‘street tacos’ not on the ‘STREET but ‘in THE ‘KITCHEN’ of a corporate restaurant.  I probably should’ve  mosied back down the boulevard and bought some those tacos for about $2.00!   Yes, I did get a tiny bowl of frijoles de la hoya with a ‘pift’ of cacique cheese floating in it, but even that didn’t make it a moderate economic gain.  After whooshing the corporate cloaked ‘street tacos’ down my gullet,  Steve and I decided we would see the latest Coen Brothers’ movie, “True Grit.”  but with an hour to kill before our flick,  we decided to first go to our local bookstore use it like a library (as usual.)  Usually we purchase a coffee and cookie reading books in their entirety and taking pictures of weird titles.  We’d wait until the movie started or they kicked us out.  Whatever came first.

I hung in Cultural studies / social issues because I can’t get enough controversy, stories of intervention and political unrest.  I must say that I do have a ‘highbrow literary fantasy’ so sometimes I break character and skulk over to the literary fiction looking for affecting coming of age tales with political overtones set in middle America.  Ahem Thomas Pynchon..Ahem…

Steve dallied in Tech, computing, cooking or building.  But I was hoping to find something different in my usual domain, running my finger along several spines, the  new P.J. O’Rourke, the new Amy Goodman, 

some blasted books blasting Obama, some social book applauding Oprah, what it feels like to be half black and half white, how it feels to be transgender.  Partisan stuff, union stuff, struggles of women with eating disorders and how to talk to your child if he’s in a gang.  I noticed some opinion stuff on Kabul and then… there I spotted it.  “PostSecrets.” Intrigued in general with ‘secrets,’ I opened the book.  “PostSecrets” is a book created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard.

The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before.

Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams.  I was intrigued to say the least.  I flipped through the book dazzled by the humor, the honesty and yes the sadness.

The sadness was striking and hard to digest at the same time since it was expressed with such artistic beauty.

Some of the revelations sworn to secrecy were familiar.  Yes, at times I do hate people who display some of the same traits that I do hate within myself.  But I read on.  I found people who felt ignored, unloved, bound and angry.  Some were flippant, using the platform / art piece / literary work as a context to simply goof on the idea of a secret through the use of exaggeration or minimalism.  There were ‘matter of fact secrets’ and then there were ones that we only have had inklings were occurring in some of our family friends and neighbors.

As I perused the expanse of artwork, now with Steve looking over my shoulder, I was turning the pages and found this!  It said, “I cheated on my husban with a woman and i’ll do it again.”  In a way I felt honored to be the unlikely and completely unexpected

recipient of one woman’s “secret.”  I felt sad that she (whomever she was), was obviously torn in her relationship, and that she was burdened with something she seemed to feel ashamed of.  I felt sorry for the unknowing party, the deceived, the husband.  This unknown woman had seen the book, gone into the bathroom which was only 10 steps from the end of the aisle where the section was located, and tore a sheet from the towel dispenser, authored her admission and left it for discovery.

I felt as though the sadness and beauty of this book had just reached out and touched me in reality, there on that shelf in that bookstore while killing time waiting for a Coen Brothers’ movie.

"I only ever played sports to feel like my father loved me."


Bad Trailers for Great Films… Bad Trailers for Bad Films… and “A Spoon-full of SCARY!”

Who would’ve thought that a movie with a trailer like the original one for “The Good, Bad and the Ugly” would be so good? By today’s standards it’s laughable. Not only that….. hilarious. The movie remains one of the best in film history. Check it out.

Movies you never expected to be good….and weren’t.  Like TROLL 2.


Hiding behind that uber-annoying disgustingly phoney attitude is one Scary Mary Poppins! I knew it!  How she didn’t creep me out as a kid I’ll never understand.  Somehow I fell under her plastic spell. I sang “Spoon-full-of-Sugar” until my tonsils hung out of my mouth!  I danced with a dish towel on my head (since we didn’t have any of those keen english shrunken hats), until my mother hid all of the dishtowels so that her foolish nine year old would come to the dinner table instead of dancing round a record player spinning Marlo Thomas and Mary Poppins records all evening pretending to Mary or “That Girl!”  When I wasn’t acting like an psycho flying English nanny or a twenty something New York socialite with a boyfriend named Donald, I used a long bamboo stick that I wrestled away from our dalmation, as a tall  unbearably untrustworthy umbrella.

No, I didn’t think I could fly, but I wasn’t at all adverse to climbing on the brick wall and jumping over the rose bushes a few times.   How I was suckered into that trusk’s phoney little spell I’ll never know.  Up until a few months ago, I still carried fond memories of one Mary Poppins from my childhood straight on into adulthood.

Those memories crash landed the night I ventured back to the Dorothy Chandler in Los Angeles, last  November to see “Mary Poppins the Broadway show”. The lackluster performances, joyless routines, forced acting and weakly submitted “Joy” given forth by mis-cast lettuce fed actors were the kiss of death for this play.

Mary Poppins is about joy, wonder, fantasy, and happiness no matter what.  It’s about how kids deserve fun, adults that respect them and actually play with them.

None of this came through in the “Mary” that was in L.A. recently.  None of it! The underlyingly angry and consistently maniacal laughter of the very narcissistic Mary herself RUINED it all!! That actress should be single-handedly punished for ruining my idylic memories of “the cheerful parasolled one.”

I almost cried there in the 12th row from orchestra. Cozy in my semi-plush crushed fabric seat. I could feel my childhood memories actually being sucked straight outta my head .Perfectly perky Ms. Poppins was quickly stashed out like a dirty little cigarette smashed into an ashtray filled with butt ridden sand.

The new and dark Mary came across nefariously cute.  Cute with an air of suscpicion in her smile.   Cute in the way that  someone is cute because they are up to something.    You don’t know what it is, but you know it’s not good.   And…though I suspect that was not the director’s aim, Mary was also quite sarcastic.

My  nine  year old son, later told me that he disliked Mary,  “she was mean mommy!” and “she was hiding something! ” and…” just why was she such a bully?”

Yes, it was true, the play gave great time to Mary’s little quips about how “perfect” and she was portrayed her as quite mean alot of the time…but  most of all my  kids noticed that there was nothing ‘special’ about Mary, she didn’t especially ‘love children’ so what was the deal? The kids were left feeling like ‘why?”why do the children love Mary?  and most importantly, “why should WE like Mary?”  The writer and director of the play did not build in scenes that built up  this feeling.  Kids pick up on negativity,  even if it’s just in nanobytes, and this play had a huge stream of it just sort of ruining the chi of it all. Mary is about chi.  The chi of joy, the revelation of happiness, and how children exude it.  And in the original story you connected with Mary, her inner joy and you appreciated her character.

I wanted my kids to enjoy the chi of Mary, to have the same connection that I felt as a child.  Children understand that through play, they build friendship, optimism and care for others.

All of this got me thinking… Well, let’s see.  Mary:  flys, (yes.  evil….yes…check!  that’s in horror films)..hmmm…..sometimes Mary, shows up in mirrors and not in physical form!  Very weird! classifies as certifiably ghostly.. Check again..evil? I would think so! Let’s see…the setting is  turn of the century Englad, yes…Everything grey…yes…hmm…foggy…lots of silouhetted people, bells tolling,  wet sidewalks, horses clattering feet….yes, scary I would say so……but evil? well…maybe….okay, half a check for that one.   Toys moving by themselves?  That the stuff of haunted houses!  Large items in her carpet bag (items that CANNOT POSSIBLY fit in one’s carpet bag?!)…VERY SCARY!!!   I would say that is DEFINITELY otherworldly!

I think I made my point.  This is the trailer that would’ve  represented  truth in advertising for one Ms. Mary Poppins!   If not the Mary of yesteryear maybe for the Mary of today!

“Lift” a film by Marc Issacs.

LIFT is a quietly fascinating meditation on the mundanities of London life. Installing himself inside the lift of a high-rise block of council flats, Isaacs and his camera patiently observe the residents as they go about their daily business. As each of his subjects enters the lift, it’s interesting to note their reactions to him being there; some are suspicious, others curious, and then there are those who seem more comfortable in his presence. Lift is a revealing and truly original perspective on modern British life.
Marc Isaacs worked as an assistant to acclaimed filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski, who encouraged Isaacs to make his own film. The result was Lift, and from that debut onwards Isaacs has revealed a great capacity to empathise with the protagonists of his films. Never judging by appearances, Isaacs’ skill at getting to know the characters becomes part of the narrative of the film, and their (and our) prejudices and preconceptions are challenged by the reality he finds.   Strong human characters are at the heart of all of Isaacs’ films and “he has quietly built a body of work that puts him amongst the most empathetic documentary observers we have of lives often overlooked” In his films Isaacs creates a succession of deeply moving portraits, piecing together a unique vision of modern Britain.

She’s not WILD about “WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE!” what?

WTWTAThis post was Seen in “mom-Formation”
I had a comment about the movie and some words about being an open and brave parent.

FIRST…read the “Mom-Formation” blog

Tagline: Everything you need to know about Moms, Motherhood and the state of parenting today! YAY!!!

Review Title: Not wild about “Wild Things”

“From what I’ve heard from friends, it’s more disturbing to parents than children. Supposedly it does deal with a lot of emotional aspects, and I think that children are often too young to understand them, or to be made uncomfortable by the sudden onset of the unexpected emotional and psychological depth. To kids, it’s just a movie about a boy and his monster friends.”

Either way, I am a huge supporter of seeing any movie before taking your children to it. It’s the best way to make sure you are prepared to answer any questions that your kids may have.

Mom Formation Blog

Here is my response:

chrissylong Says: 
October 24th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

“Where the Wild Things Are.” is a very deep, clever and original movie. It is a “take” on the children’s book. It is a very important lesson for children that “act out” and / or are victims of splintered families. Sometimes we are children of divorce, or some other “life happenstance” are “mad at the world” and we see our parents as “mean” or “uncaring.” We don’t know their battles. But how can we? We are children at the time! This is just a story (extrapolated from a basic story, refining and expanding characters), that attempts to speak about family, the value of family. No matter what your situation you can almost always be sure of three things:

1) You are lucky to have a family

2) Everyone is fighting some kind of battle

3) Anger and escape are not always the answer – Even for kids.

My 9 year old and 12 year old were really affected emotionally by this movie. I could see it in their faces. They got the point. It’s a point that is hard for parents to make…in words that is. I applaud the movie for it’s braveness, it’s depiction of a child’s confusion, their spirit of freedom. Max’s behavior was typical of a child  confused, hurt and angry, as we can all be at several times in our lives. I, personally,  found that my sons’ worst moments of frustation can look amazingly similar to the scenes depicted. Why whitewash the REAL BEHAVIOR of children at different emotional states? Why not show our kids that other kids go through similar emotions and then have  a frank and realistic talk about these ideas?    P.S.  a visit from a few Therapy session refugees from a Woody Allen movie from an alternate universe was a welcome spin on the “Wild things” themselves.  What a clever and poignant outing.  DO NOT MISS THIS MOVIE!!