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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

With Whom Would You Like to Travel?

As the holidays loom closer each day I'm sure some of you have planned vacations or if not you have trips you wish you could take. Will your family be your travel companions? Wouldn't it be wonderful if for just this once you could take a trip with one of your favorite fictional characters? Who would you choose? I know I would probably want someone who loves adventure but doesn't want to go off the deep end. :)

Recently a travel site, Tripbase, contacted me because they have listed their Top 10 Fictional Travellers. There aren't many lists that contain both Waldo and James Bond. Since they asked me very nicely, please go over and check out the list. Leave me a comment about which Traveller you would choose. I think I'd probably go for James Bond, but I'm drawn to Alice. She was my favorite character for many years.:)

Maybe this holiday you don't have plans to travel. Some of the best trips I have ever taken have been in the comfort of my own home. So curl up with one of these books and take the vacation of your life without moving an inch out of your door. Most of these have 5 star reviews, though some are here because I like them. I wanted to find ten, but I only found seven. Still I think this is a pretty good variety:

1. On the Road, Jack Kerouac - I think this is probably the quintessential fictional travel book!

2. Until I Find You, John Irving - Get ready for trips to Europe.

3. Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift - Are you ready to encounter new civilizations?

5. Flame Tree: A Novel of Modern Burma, Keith Dahlberg - Immerse yourself in Burma and its culture.

6. Botticelli's Bed & Breakfast, Jan Pienkowski - A pop up book and a trip through the world of art.

7. Earth to Kat Vespucci, Ingrid Anders - A college girl travels abroad to find her roots.

This week on Thursday, December 23rd at 3PM Central, 4PM EST on Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages my co-Host Cindie Miller and I are going to have a really great show. All of our guests are going to be reading an excerpt from either their own holiday story or their favorite holiday story. These are guests who have been on the show earlier this year or even last year. Afterward we will be having our usual discussion. So far my guests for the show will be:

Donald Hagelberg, Comedy Writer Mr. J, Jill Helene Fettner, Michelle McGriff, Penny Ehrenkranz,
Franny Armstrong, Janie Franz, and possibly Sally Drumm and the writers of Milspeak my guests for last year's Christmas show. Joining us for the discussion will be my friend and publisher of MuseItUp Publishing, Lea Schizas. There may be some more guests if we can fit them into the show.:)

Please join us for this unique and unusual show. Guests who listen in may call into the show and speak with our authors on the air. Or you may join the chat room if you are a member of Blog Talk Radio. Becoming a member is easy and allows you to become a radio host yourself.

Until the next time, thank you to all my new friends on Facebook and to any new readers. I haven't been concentrating because my husband is in the hospital once more for sarcoidosis. I've written about this on past blogs. If you are interested you can click on the link. He is better, but this is a slow process and I hope that he will be able to be out of the hospital for the holidays.

Happy Holidays to all of you!!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"The King's Speech" A Movie Worth Waiting To See!!!

This weekend I wanted to go to the movies. As many of you know who have been reading this blog I love to see love stories and romantic comedies. I tolerate some historical movies and will watch adventure movies occasionally if the actors are cute.:) You have to have some eye candy when people are being blown to bits. The choices for movies didn't have these choices at all. In fact there were a few movies that fit this bill, but no one in my family wanted to see them. So we settled on a movie that wasn't any of these and it was wonderful!!!

The movie is "The King's Speech" and it stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce. I really didn't know much about the story, but the reviews and the buzz about it were what drew me to see it. My daughters and I tried to see it Saturday afternoon and because it was only playing in one theater, The Jacob Burns Film Center, it was sold out until 10:30PM. We bought tickets for Sunday afternoon and even though we arrived early there was a big crowd. The Jacob Burns has very comfortable chairs and it is probably the best place to see a movie I have ever seen. We have been there so many times we have a favorite place to sit and it was empty when we got into the theater.

"The King's Speech" is probably one of the quietest movies in theaters today. Colin Firth plays Albert, King George V's younger son who is in line to be king, but he has a big problem. We first encounter him as he is preparing to give a speech at Wimbleton and we see his frustration as he stumbles through stammering and stuttering. Public speaking is his enemy and he has seen every specialist and speech doctor possible with no results. He is about to give up hope when his wife, played by Helena Bonham Carter finds an unusual speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. There are a great many quiet moments in this film and the audience was extremely silent during these times. With little action, the only movement is in the actor's faces, specifically in their eyes. Albert or "Bertie", soon to become King George VI learns to overcome his stammer and become a public speaker with the help of this therapist, Lionel Logue and his unorthodox methods. While Albert prepares for the eventuality of speaking in public again, his brother, Edward, must make a grave decision - to stay as king and give up Wallace Simpson, the woman he loves or abdicate and live as a commoner for the rest of his life with his lover, who is unsuitable for marriage since she has been divorced twice. Since this is based on the true experiences between Logue and King George VI you probably know what happened. It starts in 1935 before the death of George V and continues until England declares war on Germany in 1939. But see the movie anyway to experience the beauty and the stillness as well as the regal performance of Colin Firth. Geoffrey Rush's portrayal of the speech therapist is Oscar worthy as is Colin Firth's performance as well. When it goes into wider distribution don't hesitate to see "The King's Speech". This movie will probably appeal to most speech pathologists. In fact, when we were waiting a speech therapist was there just to see the techniques that were used to treat him.

It has very high ratings with both critics and movie goers alike. Though it is only in a few theaters in the country it has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 94% and an audience rating of 89%. I would give this movie 5 stars myself. You will go out of the theater knowing you have finally seen a good movie.

As far as writing is going I am going over my edits and I got to Chapter 6. This isn't too bad and I'm hoping to get to Chapter 10 this week. Here is some other information for you.

My blog post, "The Day A Jewish Girl Discovered Christmas" is on the MuseItUp Publishing blog this afternoon. You will find it posted after noon. Please go over and leave a comment. You will also find a guest post from me on Roseanne Dowell's blog: "Barbara Ehrentreu's Favorite Christmas Memory"

My next guest blogger is set to be here soon so be on the lookout for her or him. Thank you to all my readers and welcome any new readers who might have wandered over here.:) I've been really busy with the tutoring too. But the kids are so cute and they try so hard. I missed teaching.

Until the next time hope all of you stay dry and warm. It's good weather to curl up with a book when you can. I'm reading The Passage by Justin Cronin. He is a good writer, but I'm finding it difficult to connect with any of the characters. Have a great week.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Hannukah! More About My Life and We Have a Winner!!!

Events as always have interfered with my blog writing, but at last I was able to do the drawing for the contest for a free copy of Stork, MIA by Sandro Isaack. Thank you to all of the people who left comments. Sandro wrote to me and told me he appreciated the interview and all of your comments, but he was busy. I understand busy. Since I have started tutoring my life has changed drastically. Before I started tutoring I had a kind of routine to my life which included a great deal of time to think and write. Now, that time has dwindled and though I am enjoying tutoring a lot, I would love to have the free time back.:)

I am tutoring five students who range from first grade through fourth grade in both reading and math. I work for an hour and a half a session and each student gets two sessions a week. So I have had to double up students every day. This means that if I leave my house to tutor for a four o' clock session I could come home at seven thirty. In a perfect world I would have had time during the day to do whatever I needed to do. But in two out of five days last week I had to be away from my house all day either helping one of my family or doing my own annoying errand. Just as is always the case in my life a simple experience has turned into a complicated and annoying one.

I needed to be fingerprinted for this job, even though they have my prints from other jobs both in the Federal government and in New York State. But of course, Connecticut requires its own fingerprints. Also there is this Adam Walsh's Act brought about by the sex abuser whose name is on this law. Anyone who works with children in any capacity has to have a background check by the FBI and the state. So I was fingerprinted along with everyone else who works for this company and my prints went into the FBI. But I was told even while the fingerprinting was happening that my prints might not be good enough to be accepted. The technician told me that they weren't sharp enough and that happens when you get older or if you use harsh chemicals. Sure enough they came back and even though I had paid over a hundred dollars for the first time and I was told I could have them done a second time by this same company for free, the company now told me that I had to have them done by the Department of Public Safety. But the fingerprinting company was unavailable on Monday when I decided to try to get in to get them done. I couldn't get this company on the phone either. On Wednesday when I met with someone from the tutoring company she suggested I go to the Department of Public Safety. So on Thursday I made the trip up there, which was four exits closer than the fingerprinting company. I had been told that it would only be fifteen dollars, but that didn't include the state and the FBI check which were over sixty-nine dollars extra. Also getting into the building I had to empty my pockets and the thing kept beeping. Finally we figured out it could be on my shoes. No they didn't make me take them off.:) Then we had to wear a Visitor Pass around our necks - my daughter came in with me to give me moral support.

I'm not sure that they will be accepted, but I was told that if they weren't the FBI would do a background check anyway. What gets me is that my fingerprints are on file in the government, but because of this craziness now associated with getting a job anywhere, I had to have them retaken. And this insanity cost me two full days and lots of gas driving so far. But I was employed for years as a teacher. It just gets to me how stupid some of this is. Aren't we going a little too far for security in everything? Do you have a story like this or a comment about the rising amount of security in our lives?

And now for the winner of the contest for the free book. The winner is:

Mayra Calvani

She has been notified so I can send her the book.:) If Mayra doesn't contact me in 24 hours I will have to do another drawing.

That's all for now. I want to let everyone know that I was a guest on Roseanne Dowell's blog,

Barbara Ehrentreu's Favorite Christmas Memory . It's all about the first Christmas my husband and I spent together. Roseanne is a fellow MuseItUp Publishing author and she will be my guest here next week. Thank you to my new followers and thank you to all of the people who continue to read my meanderings.:) Until the next time Happy Hannukah to all who celebrate it!!!

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