Ghost Team – review

When is the last time you saw a decent contemporary movie without adult language and sex?

This low-budget film didn’t get any great reviews, probably because it wasn’t full of FX or what the industry considers to be high-concept. The plot was simple and solid if you stuck with it.

Our hero wants to break the mind-numbing monotony of his print shop job. Specifically, he wants to capture evidence of paranormal activity for a contest to get on a popular ghost hunting show. But he can’t do it alone, and doesn’t have any equipment. He manages to recruit other loser types to help, one of whom helps borrow/shoplift the equipment from the big box store where he works.

Following procedures from the television show (ingeniously fictionalized by a couple of the actual Ghost Hunters), the clueless team investigates a dilapidated property owned by one of the copy guy’s customers, without permission.

I won’t spoil anything except to say that all the paranormal activity they capture leads them to a far more dangerous discovery. And it takes every member of the team facing their insecurities and weaknesses to help them get out alive.

If you watch any of the ghost-hunting shows, you’ll enjoy the parallels without having to suffer through gratuitous sex and language.

 

 

 

The Beatles Changed More Than Music

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Just when you think you knew everything about The Beatles…

Did you know that the first time they played Shea Stadium in 1965, and heard that the audience would be segregated, (whites in one section, blacks in another) they said they would not play the show. There was no segregation at shows in England and “we play to people” which means everybody.

There was no segregation at the show.

Whoopi Goldberg was Beatle-crazed kid who knew her family couldn’t afford to go to the show. But her mother surprised her with tickets as they got off the train at Shea Stadium.

 

 

Wow.

Awareness Accountability

 

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This morning I opened my Facebook feed to be slapped in the face with a horrific video of animal abuse filmed for the purpose of being offensive. I’m well aware of my FB friend’s intention – to raise awareness on the issue of animal abuse. Other friends have posted similar videos with the same intention. But there was a very important element missing: suggestions on how to take action.

I’m pretty sensitive when it comes to abusing power over any creature  – animal, vegetable, mineral – that is rendered powerless to defend itself. This morning’s video was so stomach-turning that I nearly lost my breakfast on my laptop. It left me in shock with feelings of revulsion and rage, leaving me with no idea what to do with them. An emotional day-wrecker! I had a busy day planned and now had to get calm enough to go ahead in a sickened emotional state.

I’m all for championing causes and raising awareness for issues that might be unknown to others, but what good does it do to point out an atrocity but not offer a call to action? I wanted to ask the friend, “What are you doing to change it? Maybe I can join you.” How can anyone post something horrifying and just move on with their day?

If you can’t offer a solution or call to action, then what good is raising awareness to begin with? I think you take a horror and create something positive if you offer a list of ideas to help change the situation: organizations to donate your time and money, authorities to write or report the injustice, or an event you are organizing to raise funds or awareness.

Be accountable for the energy of what you post on all outlets of the internet. Otherwise, you are only creating more of the same by passing it along.Of course, the world is not all rainbows and unicorns. But nothing will change if no one takes action.

Champion the change that you wish to see instead of just pointing it out.  Lead, don’t lean.

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Looking for the unicorn?

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Feed Your Truth

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What sort of “truths” do you tell yourself on a daily basis?  You know, that critical self-talk that plays in a loop that makes all your negative thoughts and fears much bigger than they really are? Nine out of ten of those things aren’t true at all.

But what if, like me, you learned very early that telling the truth could spell trouble? The truth was always flexible with everyone but parents, priests, and police. White lies or exaggeration was permissible if the intent was to spare feelings. Lies for the sake of covering my butt usually boomeranged back. If caught, they can mean deeper trouble because of the intention.

Here’s the truth. You can lie to anyone in your life about anything, often with little or no repercussions. But if you lie to yourself, you are inflicting as much damage as any disease.

I go through phases in my life when I take a good hard look at myself, and if I’m being honest, I’m not being all that I can be. If I would stop lying to myself about what I can or should do, I could get out of my own way. So I’m working on getting over and on with it.

How many times have you felt in your gut that you wanted to do something, then asked your friends and family their opinion, only to have them talk you out of it? Oh, most of them mean well, even think that they have your best interests at heart. But there is always one who will do their level best to sabotage any change you might want to make. Sometimes it is for the sole purpose of holding you back, keeping you in a stagnant space, and thereby making them look or feel better about themselves.

Or you make the mistake of comparing yourself to some highly successful celebrity who seems to have burst forth overnight. You have no idea how long and hard they worked to achieve their success or the team of behind-the-scenes connections they employed.

Your family might be especially skilled at activating unnecessary fear. They know what buttons to push. What they don’t realize is that their experience doesn’t have to be yours. Perhaps they failed miserably at achieving their goals, or never took a chance because their fears had been energized. You don’t have to be like them. You are unique, in a different time, space, and attitude than anyone who has “tried” in the past. There have been ideas that I haven’t shared with anyone close to me for these reasons. I can derail myself as fast as anyone. And I can be just as adept at staying the course and persevering if I would be honest with myself about what I needed to do.

Like the son of the attorney who was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps, attend the same college, and rise to the same, if not higher, station when what he really wanted for himself was to make movies. Or the daughter who shouldered the burden of providing grandchildren when all she dreamt of was traveling the world with a camera.  If they follow the parent-pleasing path they might end up bitter having not fed their own truth.

You don’t owe anyone anything, except yourself. Ignoring your truth can spell big trouble if you continue to deny it.  Like the puppy who goes unnoticed in the other room and makes a big mess because they didn’t have your attention. Pay attention to your truth, and care for it properly. Because if you don’t, no one else will.

 

Olympic Observations

 

Watching the Olympics in Rio can help me feel like a great useless blob.

I realize that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to athletes that are in outrageous shape and much younger. But seeing these competitors run straight to the edge of what they are capable, then hurl themselves to record-breaking times and personal bests does hold up a mirror for self-examination.

The human body is capable of incredible accomplishments, but only with a strong mind as a co-pilot. Any athlete who breaks down psychologically only beats himself. Any loss of focus or distraction after making an error in performance can make the difference in being in the medals or not.

And most of the athletes incorporate their sport into their already complicated lives, not the other way around. Life comes before sport. Each profile revealed more challenges than the last. Injuries, illnesses, family and financial struggles, their lives are just like the rest of ours. But they do it anyway.

Even with the possibility of having this happen.

Their heart and determination lie outside their troubles. They push through and persevere no matter what else is going on around them. A few athletes  that had to miss the last Olympics are now in Rio. Others who performed better in the last Olympics are struggling in this one.  We all have peaks and valleys. Even Michael Phelps.

And no one gets younger. We are all on the same clock.

We can dwell in our deficiencies, missteps, the bad hand we were dealt, or we can focus on reaching our goals after being honest about why we want to.  We can work to keep our minds healthy and productive. And keep putting one foot in front of the other after a fall if only to finish what we start.

We can believe in our abilities, commitment, and spirit where anything is possible.

European dressage and jumping championships decide six more equestrian places at Rio 2016 Games

We can re-evaluate, restructure,  and resume after making adjustments.

We can show up and do our best with honor and integrity.

Because in real life, there are no medals. Only the satisfaction of the doing.

 

 

What Would You Need in the Afterlife?

Women buried with handspinning spindles 3000 years ago

I didn’t plan on following a funeral post with a burial post, but this really intrigued me. A friend posted an article on Facebook about ancient women being buried with their spindles. Men were buried with their weapons. Kings were buried with their riches. If they used animals in their lifetime, they would be buried with those too.

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Got me thinking. If I hold a belief in the afterlife, what would I pack?

I suppose I always assumed that, since I would be entering a new world without a body, I wouldn’t require anything from this world. I wouldn’t have hands to wield a sword or a spindle. But at my brother-in-law’s funeral,  I did notice a man slipping something into his casket as he said his farewell. A note? A photo? A trinket? I’ll never know.

Humans seem to have a strange attachment to objects, assigning meaning based on emotions they conjure. Another friend posted that he’d just parted with a pair of boots that he knew he’d walked over seven thousand miles in and couldn’t bear to throw them in the trash for fear of being “disrespectful.” I had a similar attachment to my last car – the only thing that had survived my tumultuous past.

Given a choice, if you really could take something with you into “the next life” what would you chose?  A favorite book? Boots? Tool? Award? Jewelry? Sporting equipment?

I think I’d take pen and paper and/or camera to document my new journey.

You never know when you might run into a doorway back.(with proof of an afterlife!)

 

 

10 Life Lessons I Learned at a Funeral

  1. Make your own decisions, or someone else will. This doesn’t just apply to your last wishes, but your entire life.
  1. Dwelling on the past (regrets) is a waste of energy.  No matter what mistakes you’ve made, you can’t turn back time. Carrying them around like a pack mule benefits no one. Acknowledge them and resolve to do better.
  1. If you’re not living the life you really want, change it. That includes the relationships you engage in, the jobs you work, and the lifestyle you live.
  1. You can’t please everyone, especially parents. Parent-pleasing can breed resentment. Be yourself anyway. They are.
  1. Own your beliefs. If you are not a follower, don’t be one of the herd for just for appearances.
  1. You don’t know what you don’t know until you learn. There are questions you won’t know to ask until you have the answers.
  1. Everyone processes emotions in their own way. Denial, deflection, humor, suppression, pacing, compulsiveness, etc. Allow loved ones the space to do what they need to do.
  1. There are those who leave their hometown and those who stay. The “why” is personal. Some of us need to lay down roots. For the rest, only a touchstone is required.
  1. Family can love you and not always like you, and might never understand you. Be okay with that.
  1. Food brings everyone to the conversation. You can overhear a lot even at a long table. When people are face to face, it’s impossible not to engage, if only in body language.  A meal helps people feel normal, even if they aren’t hungry. The ritual of it can defuse or ignite emotions. Lean toward compassion first.