Thursday, April 19, 2018

Laughter Heals

Keep smiling. Keep laughing. Bring healing to your soul.


Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. - Lord Byron

Monday, February 5, 2018

Cloverfield Paradox

Netflix pulled a Beyonce last night and without any promotions, prior marketing or fanfare dropped a movie. The latest installment of JJ Abram's Cloverfield franchise, Cloverfield Paradox.
This latest science fiction foray into JJ Abrams' twisted world stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ava Hamilton, David Oyelowo as Kiel, Daniel Brühl as Schmidt, John Ortiz as Monk Acosta, Chris O'Dowd as Mundy, Zhang Ziyi as Tam, and Elizabeth Debicki as Mina Jensen.


Do you have to watch the previous two installments to understand Cloverfield Paradox? No, not really. However, I definitely recommend you watch the first one. The second one was really a look into human behavior and resilience but it is not at all necessary to watch. Instead focus on watching Cloverfield; it will be more impactful to know what was going happening on the planet while the space crew was dealing with their issues. It definitely adds more to the intrigue, mystery, and suspense of it all.

Things I loved:

  • Just about everything. 
  • The diverse group of actors were phenomenal in their portrayals. There was simplicity, yet raw emotion that was brought out by the complexity of the situation. 
  • I loved the fact that the lead was a strong woman of color with a nuclear family intact and supportive. One time for Black love. The last time I remember a Black female lead in a science fiction move was Sanaa Latham in one of the Alien vs Predator installments. She made it till the end :) lol. 
  • The intensity of the story. Like I said, heightened because I watched the first Cloverfield. 
  • The special effects ... I can go on. 

The things I did not like:
I am glad to say that I enjoyed every bit of it. Like true Abrams fashion, there were more questions but it did come full circle. I understand now how the "aliens" got to earth.

I am biased because I have been a fan of the Cloverfield franchise for the past 10 years. I am pleasantly suprised by this latest one because I was not crazy about 10 Cloverfield Lane, so Cloverfield Paradox is definitely a treat. With that being said, it gets a solid A from me.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Jumanji with Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson

Jumanji starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black has been out for over a month and has so far grossed over 750 million dollars. 

I enjoyed Kevin Hart and Jack Black the most. Dwayne Johnson was good in his character but not really a stand out. I enjoyed the story line and that the characters had some depth to them which without it would have made the movie less interesting. Spencer, played by the Rock was the best written character. He showed the most growth while not being obnoxious and staying true to the essence of himself. Fortunately, I do not have anything bad to say about the film except that my niece was not a fan because she found it to be a little too hokey. 

The film seemed to have just the right amount of comic relief and intent mixed with just the right amount of action and explanation that did not leave me wanting to make a bathroom run. I liked how they tied it into the original Jumanji as well. This was just a fun time. The action sequences where well done, the cinematography wad nicely put together as well. I definitely think the villain might have been a little too hokey but overall Jumanji was fun. 

Lesson Learned: It's okay to grow and challenge yourself but also remember to stay true to who you are.

Jumanji: B go watch with the kids.

Social
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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Poetry: Yearn


Reaching 
to touch you when 
you are not there causes 
this yearning pain and yet I reach 
out still 
- Wanda M. Toby


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lower your Stress Level by Looking at Nature Pics

A reminder to breathe.

An article from www.sciencealert.com highlights a study that suggest Just Looking at Photos of Nature Could Be Enough to Lower Your Work Stress Levels.

High lights:

"A new study has found that just looking at still images of nature is enough 'natural' stimulus to lower our stress levels."

"When participants viewed the natural images in the experiment, their stress levels lowered, thanks to the activation of their parasympathetic nervous system – which controls certain rest functions."

How to Leave Work Stress at Work

Working and being productive is a very important aspect of our lives. It is the way most of use make a living that in turn supports our lifestyle and keeps a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. Keeping a job helps us to meet out daily needs and therefore keep our stress levels down because we do not have to worry too much about maintaining our basic needs. Work also helps with our self-esteem and self confidence. We feel that we are being productive and contributing to the world around us.

Work, as satisfying as it can be, can also be a cause of stress. This article, Leaving Work Stress at Work gives some quick tips on how to deal with work stress when we are away from work.

- Create a productive and safe work environment
- Listen to music on the way home
- Listen to an audio book or something that makes you happy
- Take the long way home and avoid rush hour traffice. No need to rush.
- Stop thinking about work and focus on anything that keeps you in the present moment

In addition to the aforementioned, go back to basics. Remember to breathe out the negativity. Take 3 nice mind clearing breath cylces. Be mindful and commit to not talking about the parts of work that stress you out. Instead think about the things you have accomplished in the day. Leave unfinished tasks for the next day and do not focus on them. I will reiterate the playing good music on the way home.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Your Kisses are Worthy


All These Kisses by Tammy Rivera makes me feel special. You ever listen to a song that takes you back to a special time in life or makes you want to create a special time?

Day so hard, so much stress
Life won't let up, boy just rest
Lay down and let me cover you in all these kisses
So much on your mind it weighs on your head
But baby your worry free in this bed
Go head and let me cover you in all these kisses
- All These Kisses, Tammy Rivera

It is a super sexy song but it give a little more. If you haven't taken the time to pamper your special someone and help them out through some rough times then make a plan to do just that. You do not have to wait till Valentine's Day to do so either. Make each other feel special. That is what this song inspires. Be the haven where they can let go of their stress. 

Ladies and gentlemen, your kisses are priceless. Your affection, your love, your attention are the things that give others strength and support. With those things, you can be the safe place for your loved ones, family and friends. I know this song is sexual but I want to be clear that the value of our love goes beyond the bedroom. The problem is that we undervalue this love just as much as we undervalue ourselves. We take it for granted in ourselves and therefore allow others to take advantage of us. If  we and our love is not well received then spend some time loving ourselves and the family and friends who understand how special it is to have you in their lives.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I really did not have any intention of seeing this movie or doing a review; however, I happen to have the opportunity to watch it and was pleasantly surprised. I am a fan of the original Lucas driven Star Wars series. I eagerly went to see the Stars Wars: The Force Awakens and left the theater wanting which is why when The Last Jedi came out, I was not at all eager to go see it.

I am glad that I did. I enjoyed it so much more than The Force Awakens. The special effects, fighting sequences, acting and comedic elements were all there and on point. I think the difference between The Last Jedi and The Force is that I was more invested in the characters. There was more of a baseline to go from and the plot was better/ more cleverly crafted than the Force Awakens. There were some plot points that I thought could have went differently, particularly with Luke but overall, I enjoyed it a lot more than the Force Awakens.

My kids went to see it and they did not enjoy it as much. I think my daughter could have passed because she had her heart set on Pitch Perfect 3 and my son thought it was okay. Then again, they were never really that into the whole franchise.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi redeemed the franchise since Disney came on board in my opinion. Take away is again to never ever give up even when all the odds are stacked against you. At the end of this movie the resistance is tattered and beat down but victorious none the less. In the film there was a group of people that seemed oblivious to the righting the wrongs being perpetuated by the dark side or they did not really care and decided to carve their own fortune within the disaster. In comparing to real life there are a lot of people that decide to carry on ignoring injustices and even taking advantage of it, but those people will reap the negativity of their actions. Fighting for what is right should never stop.

Things I loved:
-Luke because he redeemed himself
-Leia because ... well she's the bomb
- Finn because his character was consistent
-Kylo Ren because I believed his conflict this time. I understood is character more and enjoyed how he portrayed the roll. He still a punk ass though lol.
-Yoda because he can do no wrong in my eyes ... lol
-Supreme Leader Snoke because who doesn't love a good, arrogant villain and he was played by Smeigal lol. That was a bonus.

Things I did not love:
-Rey because she was necessary. I did not hate her or find her as annoying like I did the last one but I see her as a plot point a character to move the story along. Ridley's acting was great though.
-Luke because he was quite annoying.
-Finn because although he stayed true to character, I would have thought he would have expanded beyond I will die for Rey.
- Tom Hardy and Lupita Nyong'o were in the movie? I did not notice and that sucked.

All in all. Star Wars: The Last Jedi gets a B.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Coffee with Miguel

Miguel's Coffee
Music has been shown to help with stress relief. You will constantly read from me how the arts are important to our overall wellbeing and stress managment. If a regular dose of music is not part of your daily regiment then make some time to start including it.

In general, I miss R&B. I miss listneing to it as much as I used to. R&B can be the soundtrack to my life. I have been working on listening to it more again. There are some wonderful R&B artists out there.

I love Miguel's Coffee. Sometimes it is okay to get lost in a beautiful moment between two people. That is what this song reminds me of. A little slice of getting lost away from the hustle, bustle and daily demands of responsibilities.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Poetry: Enigma

Enigma

It is okay to be yourself even if that is not what others expect. It is okay to be yourself even if it is not what you expect. Life is worth our breath, our experience, our being. So, it is okay to just be.

Enigma
I am
simple but not
at all basic, complex
but not at all complicated
I'm  me
-Wanda M. Toby