Friday, May 24, 2013

Life, in a Jar

One of our members volunteers at the Newport Beach Friends of the Library bookstore and never works a shift without buying a book. Last time she came back with an old joke book.

As we laughed at the puns and riddles, we stumbled across this one, which is funny, and profound:

A professor stands before a philosophy class and picks up an empty mayonnaise jar. He then proceeds to fill it with golf balls and asks the students if the jar is full. They agree that it is. 

The professor then picks up a box of pebbles and pours them in the jar. He shakes the jar and the pebbles roll into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asks the students if the jar is full. They agree that it is. 

The professor next picks up a box of sand, and pours it into the jar. He asks once more if the jar is full, and the students agree that it is. 

The professor then picks up two cans of beer, opens them and pours them into the jar. 

“Now,” says the professor, “I want you to recognize the jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends. If everything else were lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else–the small stuff. If you put the sand in the jar first, there’s no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. 

And remember, no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers.” 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Supernatural Season 8

Some of our members think we need to do another post about Supernatural, the CW series so many of us love. Out only post on the show was critical of a book. And we are all fans, so we want to make that clear.

So, here's the consensus about Season 8. How can a series that has been on for 8 years continue to be so good? Good writing, good characters, good actors and a great crew given the freedom to make choices, both artistic and budgetary, that are in the best interest of the show, not individuals. The people who make this show understand their priority is entertaining the audience, and they do. And we here at GHPALS want to thank each and every one of them.

The final scene of Episode 23, with the angels falling to earth, was one of the most beautiful things we have seen on TV. What a way to end a season! Thank you, Supernatural!

Lots of fans harp about this decision or that, is Sam a wimp or not, why hasn't Dean done this or that this season. We don't. We think this season shows the "boys" are growing up. They have lost every patriarchal figure they've ever had in their lives. They are the patriarchs now, and it's beginning to sink in.

Dean is showing it more than Sam, as one would expect since the big brother is already a father-figure by definition. He has already rejected his father's version of paternalism and is forming one of his own. It's obvious in the way he treated Krissy, Victor, et. al. But it comes out most tenderly in Charlie's dream, and when he talks Sam out of completing the third trial. And Sam is mature enough to see the wisdom in Dean's words. When Sam was younger he would have argued and disdainfully ignored his brother. It takes true maturity to walk away from closing the gates of hell when one is as driven to fight as the Winchesters are. They are beginning to think about the future, something they never allowed themselves to do before.

Supernatural started out as Han Solo and Luke Skywalker fight monsters every week. Well, in the expanded Star Wars universe (some of which we hate), Han fathered a family and Luke revived the Jedi. (Then Lucas-world started a whole series of downer books that sent the Wars-verse down an incredibly dark, boring and stupid hole, but that's a whole other post.) The original Star Wars trilogy was positive and hopeful; Episode One was retitled The New Hope, for Pete's sake!

So here's how we hope the series ends:

  • The Winchesters revive the Men of Letters, bringing together Charlie, the various experts they have consulted through the years and their remaining Campbell relatives. 
  • Sam and Dean get married and have children who carry on the fight against all things evil. 
  • The Men of Letters destroy the Thule Society (everybody hates Nazis). 
  • Angels get their act together and figure out what God wanted them to do. 
  • Crowley gets to keep making deals, because, after all, what are humans if there isn't free will?

And we hope that between Season 8 and the Series Finale:

  • That every episode has good stories some funny lines, scary monsters, interesting sets and terrific special effects. 
  • That every person who worked on the series has a successful career and a happy life, repaying them for the pleasure they have given those of us who watch the show. 
  • And that Netflix puts the classic rock back into the Season One episodes they have online.

The Bookman's Tale, by Charlie Lovett

One of us was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of The Bookman's Tale, by Charles Lovett, and she just had to tell us how much she loved reading it. "one of those books you can't put down," was the cliche she used to describe it to us.

And after listening to her rave about it, we decided it deserved a place here. What can devoted readers, and committed Book Folks, want more than a well-written novel that has:
  • The Shakespeare-Bacon-Marlowe debate
  • Forgery
  • Ancient manuscripts
  • Book dealers and bibliophiles
  • True love
  • A longstanding violent family feud
  • Illicit sex
  • Mysteries
  • Murder
  • Redemption after tragic loss
  • People who find their passions and pursue them, successfully
  • In-laws who welcome you into the family
  • And, most importantly, characters you really, really care about!
She said the last book she felt so strongly about was EmilyArsenault's The Broken Teaglass. That too was a gem of a book. 

She can't share her advance copy, that wouldn't be ethical. So we've already pre-ordered it. It comes out next week, and we can't wait.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Newport Beach Film Festival

Well, its over. We were too busy volunteering to see any movies. But the ticket sellers among us said viewer demand was so high that extra screening were added for many films. Walking the Camino was shown 4 times! Touchdown Newport and Dusty's Trail were really popular with the locals. One of us even met Dusty and reported he was a very nice young man, with a family who really cared about him (the interaction among them in front of her was heartwarming, she said.)

We had a good laugh when one of us reported the water bottle giveaway at The Islands ticket booth. Ticket buyers come to the top of this big parking garage, surrounded by buildings. Many of them have wandered around trying to find us, unsure and uncertain because the Irvine Company will not permit the NBFF (or any other group) to put up helpful signs. Some people are exhausted by the time they reach the booth. The volunteers listen patiently, explain The Irvine Company policy, give the customer a ticket, then offer them an aluminum water bottle, courtesy of The Irvine Company, touting TIC's land preservation! What a hoot! But they are good bottles. And they were free.

There isn't space enough here to mention all the movies that were shown, but we here at GHPALS can tell our readers that if it is selected for the festival, it is a good movie. We are intimately familiar with the selection process and have enjoyed participating in it, so we know of what we speak. The Festival folks  have a process that assures every film gets a fair shake, and if it is good enough, it gets selected. Me, I like watching the shorts as I can do it whenever I have a break.

This year the NBFF seemed short of volunteers. Next year, all you out there on Goat Hill, sign up to volunteer. You can work at our very own The Triangle. All it costs is $5 for the volunteer T-shirt (this year a beautiful teal blue). You get discounted tickets for the films and the opportunity to interact with wonderful people. There's a great party when it's all over. You might even get discovered by a filmmaker.

Click here to get on their mailing list: NBFF Volunteer Information

Remember, FIVE of the films that showed at the NBFF went on to Academy Award nominations. Crash even won Best Picture.