Friday, October 27, 2017

Red Cross (National Capital Region) Holiday Mail for Heroes

We all know monsters really couldn't fit in most of our closets. Stuff accumulates in them, leaving little room for our clothes, much less a supernatural entity. Mine are no exception.

Last year I vowed to clean one out and do something constructive with the contents. When I found boxes of unsent Christmas cards, I looked for a charity that could put them to good use.

I found the Red Cross National Capital Region's Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign.  It gives people like me the opportunity to provide blank holiday cards with a stamp on each envelope to give to members of the Armed Services that are wounded, ill or injured staying at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital or Veterans being served by the VA. Each service member will receive one bundle of three cards to send to their loved ones on special holidays. i.e. Mother’s Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza.

I quickly sorted my cards into groups of three, tied each trio together with a ribbon and mailed them. 

The Red Cross in the National Capital Region is doing it again this year. The details can be read here:

This year GHPALS joined the fun after one of our members discovered Hallmark's website offered Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer for boxed Christmas cards. Shipping was free if you picked them up at a Hallmark store. Several designs were 40 cards for $14.99 so the PALS chipped in and bought 16 boxes of cards. Members went through their own closets and contributed even more cards. We bought the 2015 Christmas bird stamps online–our local postal clerk suggested it because we needed so many stamps. (If you haven't shopped on the USPS website, you really should try it. There are many interesting stamps there.)

We printed tags to tuck in each packet, wishing the recipient a greeting of their own.

Between the cards we bought and the cards we brought from home, we had 179 packets to send. Thank heavens for the USPS flat rate boxes.
A few of the cards we packed.

As we were prepping the packets, we watched the Supernatural Christmas episode. We're all love the series and the new season had just started. Like many fans, most of us had contributed money to the various charitable campaigns Supernatural fandom supports. We Superfans are an awesome group of very giving people 

Our discussions gave one of our members an idea. What if every Supernatural fan sent in one packet of cards? The Red Cross would get enough for every patient at every VA hospital in the US. Wouldn't that be cool?

So here's our challenge to all you fans of Supernatural and any/every other show. Tie ribbon around 3 blank holiday cards, Mother's Day, Christmas, Kwanza, Hannukah, Chinese New Year, New Year's or just Happy Holidays, and send it to:

American Red Cross in the National Capital Region
8550 Arlington Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22031

Newport Beach Film Festival Seeking Film Reviewers

April 26-May 3, 2018

The Newport Beach Film Festival is up and running again, accepting films for consideration. Over 900 films have been submitted so far and reviewers are needed. 

Every film is reviewed by three volunteers and you can pick the ones you want to watch. Our scribe likes shorts while another PAL prefers documentaries. There are action sports, youth and music video categories as well as feature films. You may watch the next Crash.

Each film is rated on cinematography, acting, directing, editing, production and story.

The best part? You watch them at home, on any streaming device. I like watching them on my iPad or streaming them to my TV from my iPad through Airport.

Sound like fun? Fill out an application and go for it.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Help Out The Anaheim White House

A GoFundMe page has been established to help Chef Bruno rebuild the Anaheim White House restaurant, where he has cooked countless meals for homeless children. By now everyone in Orange County has heard about the disastrous fire that devastated it.

GHPAL members have donated. Please consider joining us.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Newport Beach Film Festival

The Newport Beach Film Festival is coming soon–April 20-27.

This year SEVEN screens at The Triangle Cinemas will show Festival films! The Islands Cinema and Big Newport will be Festival venues again, so many fabulous films will be screened.

It's never too early to start making plans, even if it's just to save the dates on your calendar.

Better yet, volunteer some of your time and support our local Festival. Just go to Newport Beach Film Festival Website and add your name.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Old Friends Come Out of Hiding

The old Girl Scout song

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, but the other gold.

could have been written for a bookworm like me.

Ours is a reading family. Books and magazines are everywhere in our house. Every bed and chair has a pile of books beside it. Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen mystery magazines sit on the floor by our bathtub, ready to read while I soak in bubble heaven. Every room has bookshelves. Every shelf has more than one row of books on it. Even the tops have books on them, held in place by bookends.

The time finally came when something had to be done. My husband measured the chosen space and Al's Woodcraft made us a bookcase to fit–one that matched the existing ones in our library/office. The 20-year old computer was hauled to Orange Coast College's recycling center.

Once the new bookcase was securely fastened to the wall, it had to be filled.

That took days.

Piles had to be brought together and sorted.

Books that had been randomly stuck on shelves were pulled out and added to the piles.

Then the piles were sorted into broad categories, like biographies and classics.

Books on existing shelves had to be rearranged to make room because, for example, all World War 2 books should be together, and now there's 20 of them instead of just 10. Michael Connelly and Charles Todd published several books since the last time our shelves were organized.

All our hardcover books had been meticulously organized. Paperbacks were shelved by size. As a paperback came to the top of a pile, one couldn't help asking, "Wouldn't it be nice if all the Heinlein paperbacks were in one place instead of scattered?" So all the paperbacks were pulled out and sorted.

There were distractions.  A saved magazine had an article about Emily Dickinson's family home and its scandalous use as an assignation place for her brother and his long-time mistress. One had to order a used copy of the award winning biography that revealed the whole sordid affair.

And discoveries. "Here's that book I searched all over for two months ago. Why couldn't I find it?"

Childhood buddies came out of hiding. One forced oneself to pile them up, to come back to later, as a reward for finishing the whole thing.

Then there were the duds, books that weren't well-written or bored us or that we knew we'd never read again. These were donated to Friends of the Library in Newport and Costa Mesa.

It's all done now. The floors are once again bare of books. There are empty shelves–room for expansion of our library. We can find things again, like the missing book on the '69 Cubs.

And I can sit down to laugh my way through Jane Trahey's Tuesdays 'Til 9 and Life With Mother Superior, relive the American Revolution from the Tory point of view with Kenneth Roberts' Oliver Wiswell and check out the similarities to the TV series The Young Pope by rereading Baron Corvo's Hadrian VII. Tarzan and the Foreign Legion, The Last of the Mohicans, Treasure Island and The Mudhen and the Walrus, childhood favorites all, sit in a pile on my footstool, waiting their turn.

These old friends are really 24 carat.

Southern California Genealogy Society's Jamboree Registration Opens

Registration is now open for our favorite genealogy event–the Southern California Genealogy Society's Jamboree in Burbank.

This year the programs are, as usual, fabulous. Check it out at Jamboree Website and follow the Jamboree blog Jamboree Blog for more information.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. Our blog may win the random drawing for a free registration.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Censorship is Wrong

GHPALS supports the Right to Publish. We're buying Simon & Shuster publications and boycotting the proposed boycott.

Some members of the liberal left have chosen to promote a boycott of Simon & Shuster because it is publishing a book by Milo Yiannopoulos.

What is wrong with these people? No one is forcing them to buy his book. No one is forcing them to read it. Their desire not to read it should not interfere with anyone else's desire to read it.

We're great supporters of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's efforts to fight censorship of any kind. America is one of the few places in the world where one has constitutionally-protected rights to free speech and a free press. Even Canadians don't have them.

We should all be tickled to death when someone publishes something controversial. It's a celebration of our freedom. Isn't that what Lenny Bruce taught us?

We thought liberals were opposed to censorship. Aren't they the ones who supported the ACLU, even when it backed the Nazis who wanted to march through Skokie? The made-for-TV movie about that fight aired on Decades network a few months ago and it's a real celebration of our first amendment rights to upset people.

The boycott supporters need to remember "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" and just grow up.

If you want to know more about this controversy, here are the links:

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Position

NCAC Statement in Support of the Right to Publish

Buy the Book and Support the Salvation Army through this link.