The world according to MK Williams…

MK Williams is a woman chasing her dream, her first novel Nailbiters is getting great reviews, and soztheo.me proudly presents an exclusive interview with the author herself…

It really has been a great week to be a blogger. I reviewed my first novel for the Writerly Yours #NailbitersNovel Blog Tour on Tuesday, a book which blew me away, and now I am privileged to interview the author herself, MK Williams.

0014_mkw_nailbiterscover_3a_amazon_1667x2500Originally from Philadelphia, but now living in Tampa, MK Williams is a woman uncompromisingly pursuing her dream. MK Williams has always loved writing. She wrote a lot of poetry when she was in high school and college, and for the past few years has done a few freelance articles. While she juggles her full-time ‘day job’ and full-time passion, Nailbiters signals a future in which MK’s dream that her passion for writing may one day be her full-time occupation. So from where did this passion for writing come?

“I don’t have a specific memory of when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I have always enjoyed writing and I set a goal early in life that I wanted to be published because that is what successful writers do. In recent years, I’ve realized that as long as I enjoy what I am writing that I don’t need anyone else’s approval in order to feel successful. That has been a very liberating feeling.”

I have said it often on my blog, but I am a huge post-apocalyptic survival story fan – Stephen King’s The Last Stand and The Cell; The Walking Dead; The Christian-based Left Behind Series… Nailbiters joins this list. It’s a huge story to tell. And so I was curious to find out from MK how her version of Hell on Earth came to be:

Stephen King
MK’s Favourite Author? “Stephen King because he can write a character that haunts you for years!”

“I loved The Stand by Stephen King as well! So great! Nailbiters came about in stages. I had a very vivid and very scary dream and the idea of the invasion was born. I started a short story, but it never went anywhere, so I decided to work on something else. A few months later, I had another dream and some of the villains: Gael and Don were created. I picked the story back up, made some edits, and then left it alone again. About two years ago I finally had an idea of where the story would go, who the characters would be, where they would end up, and what the overall message would be. After that, it was easy to put together.”

The thing that struck me the most while reading Nailbiters was the seemingly effortless intensity with which the story unfolds. But after years of trying to get my own post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel off the ground, I am not at all delusional about the fact that effortless a venture it is not.

“I think the biggest challenge in writing anything is not getting distracted, not focusing on all the things that I am giving up so that I can lock myself away and just write. I usually have to turn off the wifi on my computer so that I’m not tempted to start surfing the internet. Even though I love writing, sometimes I can get easily distracted.”

And as for the yang to the difficulty ying?

“For me, the easiest part is the dialogue. Sometimes, I can think of the conversation that the characters are having faster than I could ever write it down. I love to include an intelligent and informative dialogue between characters.”

This is one of my biggest challenges in writing, I personally really struggle with the dialogue, establishing a dialogue that flows naturally yet which facilitates its unnatural intention of storytelling in words alone, it debilitates me as a writer, and is the bane to my personal process… Many of my own personal writer’s block challenges has been formed on the back thereof, and so I was most interested to find out MK’s thoughts and approach to writer’s block.

MK’s Favourite Book? A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert, because I am still thinking about the ending.

“I had two years’ worth of writer’s block on Nailbiters. My advice is to just let it go, when you are inspired to work on that story again, it will come. I have always found that when I force myself to work on something the product isn’t as great. If I let it come naturally the story develops much better. I usually start working on another story or novel when I get writer’s block on any one story. If I am blocked on all the stories I have going, then I read – A LOT.”

And it is in reading that MK repeatedly turns as a lover of her craft. Inspiration is found within the pages of the books she love, but so to is the necessary research which feeds into her creative process.

“I do research in the form of reading other books from that genre. I try to let my writing be a place where there are no rules, so I try not to let what others have done impact my work too much. Even when I am writing a story that is based in reality, I like to play with elements that I think are fun. If I stuck to research too much, I would probably give up.”

The most compelling and interestingly consistent hook within the novel Nailbiters is the presentation of the story through the primary protagonist of Dora. It is through Dora’s eyes and first person presentation of her recounted experience that we as readers become invested. I desperately wanted to find out from MK about her thoughts on Pandora, what is the inspiration and how much of MK lives within the character.

“One thing that I saw in other recent post-apocalyptic tales was that the female characters were all teenagers. I knew from the get-go that Dora was an adult, she had life experience that would help her get through the situations that she was thrown into. I think I want to see myself in Dora, she is fierce and determined. She is far stronger than any other woman that I know, even though at times she feels defeated. I want to have that kind of courage and strength, so I gave to her something that I could only imagine.”

Movie
MK’s Favourite Movie? What Dreams May Come because the scenes are so abstract and beautiful.

Satisfied with the inspiration and mental approach which MK has given us insight to, I (particularly as an aspiring writer) want to find out more about the practicalities of her process:

How is your process structured?

“I have a notebook that I carry with me everywhere I go. I’ll think of bits of dialogue or scenes for characters and jot them down. Once I have enough of these little notes together, I’ll put them into a Word Document on the computer and keep track of all the little notes and bits. When I have a clear idea of what the story is, how the characters will develop, and what the end outcome will be, I will write out a point by point outline of the story (roughly a paragraph summary for each chapter). Then, I’ll organize the existing notes in order and begin writing from there. Sometimes I will jump around and work on chapters out of order, other times I’ll go back and re-read everything in order to see what I need to include.”

Is there a specific time of the day you prefer to write?

“I would prefer to be able to write at any point of the day. I get ideas at the most inconsistent of times. If I could devote 100% of my time to writing, I would like to write in the mornings after a long run and spend my afternoons editing and reading. But, since I have a full-time day job I fit in writing when I can.”

What tools and techniques do you use (and cannot do without) to get the thoughts onto the page – IE: Music; mind maps; any specific apps; plot tools?

“The main tools that I use are my notebook, Microsoft Word, and a carefully curated playlist of music. I have playlists for each story that I work on. The Nailbiters Playlist (available on spotify) is particularly dark. Some of the newer stories that I am working on have a more upbeat tone. It really depends on the mood of the story.”

Do you free-flow and edit later? Or do you plot it out and document it?

“I do a little bit of both. I write down my ideas haphazardly and then organize them once I have a clear idea of what the story will be. I know some writers say that you have to write it all out and then take away. I find that I often skip a lot of explanation and description, so I am always adding in a lot and then editing extraneous content out.”

So… The story is complete, having poured years into the work, the process of getting to the final draft, how does that happen in MK’s World?

“As I’m writing, I’ll usually share the excitement about the story with my husband, but he doesn’t read it until it is done. He helps me edit, as does my mother-in-law. They are both so helpful and generous with their time! I also have a great friend, Nora Gecan, who helped design the cover art for Nailbiters. She was one of the first people to read Nailbiters outside of my family. I was really nervous because she reads a lot and I knew she would tell me the truth if she thought it was a bad story. She said she loved it and the cover art that she created is spectacular!”

gilmore-girls
MK’s Favourite Television Show? Gilmore Girls because it made being a nerd cool!

Nailbiters is a self-published novel, a medium of publishing which has really taken off in this digital age, I have asked MK to give us her thoughts on self-publishing vs traditional publishing…

“I tried to go the traditional publishing route and didn’t find much success. Most people don’t, but I was often put-down by others who said that I didn’t have enough life experience to write anything that would matter. That really turned me off to the idea of traditional publishing. As I worked on Nailbiters I felt defeated before it was even complete. Then I realized that I didn’t need the approval of the publishing industry, I just needed to know that I enjoyed writing the story, that it could make a difference to someone, and that my character’s story was being told. I have learned so much through self-publishing and couldn’t imagine giving away my story for someone else to market and promote.”

As we approach the end of the interview I take a step back and consider how practical and systematic MK is in relation to her art. But one thing I know for sure, having penned a few far more amateurish pieces of my own, is that the accomplishment of her first published novel can only have had an everlasting effect upon her. How has the Nailbiter’s journeys influenced and changed MK?

“I think it has given me the confidence to write the things that I want to write. The content in Nailbiters is dark, and I worried that people would think I was really weird for writing such a dark book. But, the book has been well received. I feel okay writing even darker and weirder content, when the timing is right.”

And The number one piece of advice she would give to her younger self and other aspiring writers?

“Keep working at it and don’t try to be someone else. Trying to be someone else will never work, you have to be you in order to be successful.”

Nailbiters commences a career which is ready to be continued, MK is most of the way through editing her next project. She’ll be releasing a collection of short stories this year and is really excited to see how they are received. There won’t be any aliens in this one though, but expect a few twists and turns nonetheless. Naturally the question about a Nailbiters sequel is in the air, and the answer is :

“Eventually…”

Last question… Are you a biter of nails?

“Of course, it is my worst habit that I am always trying to beat.”

It has been a real pleasure to be involved with the #NailbitersNovel Blog Tour, and to have had the opportunity to interview and learn from MK Williams, a selfish endeavour for me as I enjoy exploring and engaging with other writers, but one which I hope entertains you the reader as well. Thank You MK for your time, and to my readers, be sure to get a copy of Nailbiters now!!!


Want to find out more about MK Williams and her work? Check out the other stops on the Writerly Yours #NailbitersNovel Blog Tour:

Day 1: Check out our blogger Chantel’s interview with author MK Williams on her blog ‘The Stories of Chantel DaCosta’.

Day 2: The #NailbitersNovel Blog Tour stops by soztheo.me for a review of Nailbiters, the sci-fi suspense thriller by MK Williams.

Day 3: We have Margaret of Bemused Bookworm interviewing MK Williams.

Day 4: We return to ‘The Stories of Chantel DaCosta’ for part two of Chantel‘s interview with MK Williams featuring the reader in her . 📚

Day 5:  Check out this literary analysis of Nailbiters on The Literary Apothecary.

And tomorrow… A surprise!!!!


Also check out:

Website: https://nailbitersnovel.com/

Blog: https://nailbitersnovel.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1mkwilliams/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/1mkwilliams

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/1mkwilliams/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nailbiters-M-K-Williams-ebook/dp/B015QRVSWA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1467761463&sr=1-1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/1MKWilliams

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14420756.M_K_Williams

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Unstoppable…

You think you got me

You think you won this round

Well I have news for you

I am not so easily taken down

You’re not the first

There are many who’ve come before

The trick is patience

I got a surprise, for you, in store

Karma’s a bitch

Justice has a special place

And when she smacks you

She’s gonna be wearing my face

For me it’s easy…

I’ve seen many dark hearts like yours

You’re predictably predicatable

This here, is just the pause

The reckoning is coming

You do not think that I am capable

So know this, know my name

To you, I’m Underestimated…

Unpredicatable…

Unrestrainable…

Uncontainable…

As far as you’re concerned,

_

I am Unstoppable

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Blue Jasmine (2013)

A former New York socialite, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. But don’t be fooled… She may look like a million bucks (and know it), but she ain’t bringing anything of value…

Blue_Jasmine_posterA funny thing happened. Initially I was not a huge fan of this movie, this is exactly how I started my first review of this website when I was blogging on another site.

I think it may have something to do with the fact that I have never been a fan of Cate Blanchett. However in this role she really does excel. She would go on to win an Academy Award for her performance here and it is an interesting one for me, because she was up against Sandra Bullock (cue High-School-and-Ever-After Crush admission) and Meryl Streep in August Osage County (a performance which actually left me slack-jawed the first time I watched it, and yes I know it’s Meryl Streep, but…). That said, she did win it (like she pretty much cleaned up the entire awards season), and she earned it… This is more of a performance piece than a movie, I found myself watching just to see the titular character brought to life – Jasmine/Jeannette really is a piece of work.

It should be noted that I am a Woody Allen fan, this is not my favourite movie of his, and it’s movies like this which make people scared of Woody Allen (well this and the child molestation claims), but the brilliance of Woody is his ability to extract powerful performances out of his actors.

The supporting cast is great (except for the always cringe-worthy Alec Baldwin as Jasmine’s philandering, cringe-worthy, crook of a husband – so perfectly suited). A special shout out to Oscar nominated Sally Hawkins in the role of Jasmine’s sister Ginger, but ultimately everything about this movie merely serves as a backdrop to the Character of Jasmine – you know when you meet people who are so self-involved, so self-delusional, so selfish, so rude, so snobbish, so pretentious, so… worthy of a slap – Cate Blanchett in this movie makes me want to slap her, and for that I can only really say – job well done.

I would not recommend this movie to just anyone, it ain’t no slice of fun, this is reserved for serious movie watchers, because you will not get the satisfaction unless you are appreciative of performance pieces. Cate Blanchett is a woman unravelling. On the brink. Again. Her perfect life swept out from under her feet, her anxiety levels pushed over the edge, self-destructive and teetering between the carefully constructed self she has been and most desires to be, and the reality of her reality and actual existence…

Ultimately, and ironically, I was surprised at just how disappointed I was when it ended… It’s the car crash syndrome, you just have to stop and look, I didn’t want to be torn away. I really could have watched some more, Cate Blanchett is just that good.

Blue Jasmine sarring Soz3

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Nailbiters – A Book Review

“The only thing scarier than the aliens, are the humans” – Is that why I don’t like MK Williams? 😛

What do you do when the world has gone to Hell? What do you do when you are being hunted, and you know not why? What do you do when there is not time to stop, breathe, and strategize? What do you do when there is no sanctuary? What do you do? … You run for your life…

0014_mkw_nailbiterscover_3a_amazon_1667x2500As a reader I have always been a fan of Horror, Fantasy and Sci-Fi, this is also evidenced in my movie and series choices when it comes to viewing. I am a reader born from Roald Dahl. I graduated to Stephen King and Anne Rice. I am also a huge fan of the Apocalyptic and Dystopian setting for novels. In fact, the drafted novel I have been working on for the last ten years of my procrastinating and unfocussed writing life, is exactly that kind of novel.

It is for this reason that I am not a fan of MK Williams…

Set in a world which hasn’t even had the chance to consider recovery from a deadly on-going alien invasion, Nailbiters is the… (prepare yourself)… nailbiting journey of Dora, one of humanities survivors, on the run from an enemy she hasn’t even had the chance to see.

#nailbitersnovel authorMK Williams masterfully writes prose that is fast-paced, unrelenting and urgent. It is so effective and seemingly effortless, as to be nauseating (that’s nausea born from jealousy, btw). And she just won’t quit as she puts Dora through her paces, making her earn every one of her worthy protagonist stripes.

I’m gonna hold off on praising MK Williams too much for now, but I am a fan, and am privileged as part of this Writerly Yours Blog Tour to have had a chance to interview her. An interview I will be sharing on this blog later this week.

For now, let’s talk about Dora…

Dora is a strong, intelligent, young woman. It’s her strength that has kept her alive. We meet her and her companions as they travel across the desert, running from their would be captors. With no place to hide and nothing but a forward trajectory to hold on to, Dora looks for sanctuary in others like her… Human. There is a sense of security in finding cohorts with whom you can navigate the chaos of a terrifying new world, The Walking Dead fans know this well, there’s an intrinsic belief in people about strength in numbers. But where Dora is strong and intelligent, it is her reliance on the commonality of the human condition with which she needs to grapple, especially when faced with the extraterrestrial factor. It’s a new world and whether you like it or not, every person is on their own personal mission of survival. As the tagline of the book says,

“The only thing scarier than the aliens, are the humans”

10661069_209594392714157_1419876067_nAs I mentioned previously, MK Williams puts Dora through her paces. Our protagonist is in a world of antagonists, and they’re of both worlds. Dora does not have the luxury to take time, having to act quickly. Who can she trust? As Dora narrates her story, we are subjected to the twists and turns of her human need to survive as Nailbiters keeps you guessing right until the final page.

This is my first prescribed reading for review purposes, and there was obviously some apprehension as I am not known for not being outspoken. I thank the heavens above that my first book review has been such an enjoyable literary experience. I was quite literally hooked by the end of the first page! It helps that I am a fan of this genre obviously, but being a fan of a certain genre does not equate to automatically enjoying a genre novel. The author has to step up to the plate (cue jealousy-comment-reminder :P), and Nailbiters comes out swinging, claiming its place as a book I will recommend – as I am doing right now.

In conclusion, Read the Book :)!

It’s a fast-paced, gripping ride through a world gone mad. If I could capture the feeling of the journey as I read it, I would equate it to the first time I watched Mad Max: Fury Road, that feeling where the race is on, the scope is ambitious and epic, reminiscent of some of my favourite novels including The Stand and The Left Behind Series.

Oh! And be sure to follow us on twitter #NailbiterNovel and for the rest of our Blog Tour, schedule below:

#nailbitersnovel schedule (1)

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Tech-No-Go-No…

I’ve seen Terminator, The Matrix, iRobot
I know what the future holds

Okay, Okay, I’ll look at this Pokemon-a-go-go thing…

But first I have to check my emails, I have three accounts… I think…

… Twitter… Facebook… Instagram…

Where’s the coffee? Pfft! Nope. Nespresso please….

Can you bring me my cup warmer, the one with the USB I can plug into my laptop…

Oh, what’s happening on the blog?

Really gotta get into this Pinterest thing… Oh look! A board on boards…

Put some Netflix on in the background…

…No not that one, that’s for the DVD player…

…Nope, that’s the media player…

…DSTV… Disconnected that…

It’s through the Playstation 3. I know, ain’t got the 4 yet…

Oh wait, I have to show you this Youtube clip…

Lol! And this one… Okay, One more!!!

Sci-Fi, CGI, Animation, Motion Capture, 3D, iMax

I’ve seen Terminator, The Matrix, iRobot

I know what the future holds

Have you heard that new song by that new artist… Whatsizname?

Ipod? Itunes? No… I don’t have the CD… Lolz – remember cassettes?

Tomorrowland!!! Electro…

Oh!!! Thanks for reminding me. Mustn’t forget to charge my Kindle,

What did I do with the Power Bank Now? Oh no! Cables?

Windows 10… Went Android… Nope Ipad…

Oh look what’s trending…

No! Wait! Sometimes it just feels like chaos.

Digital Noise

Let’s stop, because in among all this craziness there is actual power!

There is so much connectedness and technology all around us.

We can actually change the world with the power we have access to.

Home of Hope People! There’s a Kickstarter campaign on Thundafund.

Technology that can save lives. Check it out here 🙂

We need to make real change happen…

OMG! is that the time already Siri?

Okay, Okay, I’ll look at this Pokemon-a-go-go thing…

Tomorrow…

theblogtag

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Momma…

What do I have to say about mommy blogging – well, I’m not a mommy for one, I’m a daddy; b) I do have a mommy (it was her birthday this week… Happy Birthday again Mamoo); 3. I am in love with a beautiful mommy, who is also a great partner in crime and who teaches me everyday about this parenting thing. So, as a member of The Blog Tag, in a week theme centered around Mommy Blogging, who better than these two to help me tackle the subject matter – they are my invited co-conspirators for this weeks interview/Q&A.

So, without further ado, I proudly introduce you to the two most important mothers in my life:


IMG_20160705_195246
Mamoo, on Tuesday, with her 1st Grandchild, my boy Alexi

Stella “Mamoo” Nestoridis, the woman that gave birth to me and managed to keep me alive (which was no easy task let me tell you). A single mother with two kids (my sister and I) who battled and soldiered forward after a disastrous marriage, and with limited support or contribution from the sperm-donor.

One day I promise to repay you for everything you have done for us! Love you Mamoo!


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My Lovely Anabela with her two boys; Ari and Alexi

Anabela “AnaB” Pinto, the woman who makes my heart do boom-titty-boom; the woman who has given me the two greatest gifts in this world (apart from her love); the smile I get to look forward to on the bleh-est of days.

She amazes me with just how much of an awesome Momma she is. My boys are truly blessed to have her as a mom (and me to have her as the Mrs).

Love you babes!!!


– and then there’s me, soztheo.me, “Dad“, I’ll occasionally offer my thoughts…

So to start off, before I get to the Friday Q&A, I think we’ll briefly tackle  the daily challenges that were up for posting this week:

IMG_20160702_113616Monday – Most memorable Mommy Moment

AnaB: The first time I held my boys – Surreal! It’s the first time you feel unconditional love.

Dad: And I would have to concur… I remember when we were in the ward after the event, just holding them and staring at them both for hours, as the brain tries to catch up with what has just happened… For a dad, it’s the first real moment of connectedness, for moms the baby has already been a part of them for nine months, but the first solid and tangible realisation happened once they were in my arms.

With Ari it was a little harder, as he was in ICU having been delivered early as my beautiful Bela had developed gestational diabetes – it was so scary – and to top it off, when he came out his umbilical cord was in a knot, so we were really blessed after the trials before! so we had to wait before we could hold or even touch hime, but when it finally happened… #Love

Tuesday – Tips for a new Mom

Mamoo: For an expecting mom, prepare to be uncomfortable, I hated the discomfort… They romanticize it, it’s actually okay, you are not alone, the discomfort sucked! When it comes to toddlers, give them the freedom to explore, but with boundaries – so that means you have to watch the Hell out of them. For teens… It doesn’t really change… Watch Them, Watch Them, WATCH THEM (They are up to SH1t)!

Dad: Thanks Mom

AnaB: Lol!!! 1. Ask for support, you don’t have to do it all yourself. 2. Relax and Enjoy every moment, they grow so fast! 3. Figure your own way out… Each child is different. 

Wednesday – What does it mean to be a Mother

AnaB: Being a mother is the most challenging yet rewarding thing you will ever do in your life. When you don’t have kids you know no better, when you have kids you can’t imagine your life without them.

Thursday – Day in the life of a Mom

Dad: She doesn’t stop, she’s amazing like that – I do my best to keep up, but she’s just amazing at being everything she is…

Mamoo: And you have to do your part Dad!!! It’s really tiring, I was working five jobs.

  • I had a “morning” half-day office job until 13h00,
  • Then I would travel to the ballet shop I owned (and which your father destroyed), trying to keep that alive was tough (eventually suppliers wouldn’t work with us, and this was after the divorce, but just because of his association with business, I eventually sold it to other owners for literally nothing, all we did was sign the papers over).
  • I was working as a hostess at a restaurant in the evenings, I would pick you kids up from school, have dinner with you quickly to be at work at 18h00, and only get home at about 02h00 in the AM.
  • On the weekends I then taught dancing lessons,
  • and I sold clothes in what ever little spare time I had after all of that!

1. When did you become a mom/dad? & 2. How many kids do you have and what are their names?

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Alexis 1st photoshoot – yet another reason he is going to hate us – especially come his 21st!

Mamoo: I have two big babies; My son (let’s call him soztheo.me) who is 36 years of age and a daughter, Miranda (33).

Dad: The first time we became parents was on 23rd April 2012 when Alexi José Nicolaos Pinto Theofrastos was born (yeah, our kids are going to hate us, but they say your parents mess you up, and we started early – his names printed into the serated edge of his birth certificate)… 

Ari Nestor Antonio Pinto Theofrastos came this year, he is 5 months old and was born on the 3rd February 2016 (his name just fit on his birth certificate :P).

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Ari’s 1st photoshoot – we’ve spared him the angel wings, will just have to give him other baggage 🙂

3. Do you want more children?

AnaB: When my hubby becomes a millionaire, then we can have a third :)…

Dad: …coz I really, really want three; which is a surprise because I never wanted to have kids… but they really do change you!

4. What is the most challenging thing about being a mom/dad?

Mamoo: In retrospect… Keeping the peace in the household. When you’ve got two brats like I had… I never succeeded… It was World War 3 daily!

Dad: Totally justified (we really were nightmare children)… So which of your two kids is your favourite (just jokes)?

AnaB: The most challenging thing for me is spending quality time together as a family, and splitting time between the boys.

Mamoo: It’s so important! Those are actually my favourite memories of raising my kids, those quality moments when we spent time together without the two of them trying to kill each other (which was quite seldom)… It’s also some of the favourite memories of my mom, like when we used to sit up watching movies, my kids, me and my mom, watching movies in the flat.

Dad: For me, that’s a part of it, for me it’s the whole “are we doing the right thing?”, coz while they didn’t come with manuals there are alot of manuals, and opinions, and best intentions we as parents have for our children…

5. What was your first reaction when you found out you were having a baby?

AnaB: I was delighted, always wanted to be a mom.

6. Does your child/children have a favourite toy they can’t live without?

AnaB: Alexi and his Teddy

7. Are you a stay at home parent? If so how has being a stay at home parent impacted your life? If not how do you handle work and family?

AnaB: I’m a working mom. I really do try to keep a balance between the 2, I dedicate time from 16h00 – 19h00 to the boys, and ensure that’s dedicated time – no compromises…

Mamoo: So I was a single, working mom. It was all I knew, I never had the luxury to compare it to anything else. It was financially difficult. I don’t know if I handled it all that well, but it was a thing of survival. The single parent must be as stern as the father should have been in the house, without over-pampering the children, and prepare yourself for a bit of a financial battle… Mind you not every single parent has a financial battle, some are very, very well looked after – in my day, it was a stigma as well…

Dad: I remember, I was one of two kids in my class who came from a family of divorce, it’s a lot more accepted nowadays…

Mamoo: And it’s never what I wanted for my kids. I was very fortunate, my memories of my mother are of me coming home, just her being there every day when I came home from school, it was amazing, she took such pride in her mom duties, fully cooked meals, quality time…

IMG_20160609_1202078. Do you co-sleep?

Dad: We do co-sleep, it’s a rather controversial topic when you really delve into it, but it’s such a delicate balance and it’s at these moments you go with your gut and instincts.

9. What is your childs favourite TV show?

AnaB: Alexi – The Lego Movie; Angry Birds

Dad: LOL! It started with Teletubbies – we put it on when he was very little just to see if there was a reaction (I am a child of TV and Film); those things are evil man – it was an instantaneous connection. Then we went through the Barney phase (and I said I would never… ever…), but like I said, they change you – it was when I was singing all the songs that I realised that it’s not always a good thing!

10. Favourite baby/kid item that makes your life easier?

AnaB: Bottle Warmer; dummy; bouncing chair

Dad: It’s not a popular answer, but sometimes the hypno-box is just the distraction you need…

IMG_20160625_21391111. Why did you start blogging about your kids?

Dad: I don’t really blog exclusively about my kids and parenthood, but my blog is all about the world around me and my family are a huge… correction, the hugest aspect of my reality!

12. What are your favourite baby care brands?

AnaB: Fissan Bum Creme; Johnson & Johnson Top to Toe; Sterimar; Sudocreme

13. What are you favourite kid friendly restaurants?

Dad: Papachino’s is great (although the one we frequented was out of our immediate area and is now closed!?!} Spur is the natural answer, every parent’s best friend (although you do get sick of the food after a while), but at least it keeps Alexi occupied and having fun! Lastly, there is a gem in Bedfordview called Happily Ever Laughter, look it up if that is within your range of necessity – great food, great atmosphere and great children’s facilities.

IMG_20160618_14102014. Have you been on holiday with your kids, how was that experience? If not where would you like to go?

Dad: We’ve been on holiday a few times, it is a bit of a logistic nightmare (and suddenly boot space becomes the most important thing when choosing a car), but…

AnaB: …when we took Alexi to Cape Town in December! It was his 1st time on an aeroplane, he swam in the ocean for the 1st time and he loved Table Mountain – It’s the best holiday we’ve had!!!

15. Do you have any help with your children? Family, friends a nanny?

AnaB: Vovo (My mom, Portuguese for gran); Yia-Yia (His Dad’s Mom, Greek for gran); my husband

Dad: It’s all about Bela (AnaB), I don’t know where I’d be without her, she really is the center that makes it all worth. The grandmother’s of our Portu-Greek household are vital, and I have to mention my brother-in-law José and my sister-in-law Lauren; they has guided us (parents to three boyz) through this parenting-thing from the beginning. First thing in the morning after Alexi’s first night home we called them to our rescue – Family is so important!!!

Mamoo: For me there was my mom who lived next door, and Nahsisi, she was our maid then, our domestic worker now, an integral part of this families journey, so much so that her kids are our kids and siblings to my kids – I couldn’t have done it all without her!

16. What are your favourite places to shop for your kids?

AnaB: Cotton-On; Woolworths; Ackermans

Dad: Anywhere that sells toys 😛

17. Your kids naughtiest moment.

AnaB: Alexi ran away from me in a hotel, straight into an elevator and the door closed immediately – him on the inside; me on the outside; and the elevator started moving…

Dad: I remember that, Anabela was very pregnant at the time… For me it was when Alexi started his new school and about two weeks in when I went to collect him his teacher pulled me aside and said, “Your son, yesterday, snuck away during lunchtime in the dining hall, and we found him flooding the classroom…” – He was literally, repeatedly, filling up his drinking cup at the basin and pouring it on the floor… Laughing when they found him… I was mortified and embarrassed, but I also chuckled inside (in fear, because it’s a scary kind of mischief), and all I could say was, “Wait… You lost my kid…”

IMG_20160619_21510418. What is your best advice for new parents?

AnaB: Spend time together as each moment passes you by, you never get it back – enjoy every little moment!

Dad: Sleep!!! Don’t sweat the little things (and that is easier said than done)…

19. Have you had any bad experiences as a parent?

AnaB: I think for me it is just how judgmental, rude, discourteous and impolite people can be towards parents and pregnant mothers, especially during my pregnancy with Ari – I mean, you are actually incensed with me because I am in the parent way!

Mamoo: But you don’t take criticism, you brush it off and let it run off like water off a duck’s back because every situation and every child and every character is different, because I honestly believe it’s too dynamic, there isn’t a correct way to do it. So it is just a case of, what right do you have to criticize someone else because you’re not in that situation and vice versa, what right do they have to criticize you.That’s basically it.

For me, you guys, my kids, always fight! I never managed to get that out of you, to knock it out of you, you are still always bickering! You still fight like cats and dogs.

Dad: Yeah, but we love each other!!! And woe be to those who cross our united battle faces!!!

Mamoo: That’s fine, but the memories that come to mind are of me being at work and getting those phone calls (especially during the holidays)… constant… do you know what it was like?

First

(Ring Ring)

Hello?

MOMMY! Sozos hit me…

Well there’s nothing I can do, I’m at work! Sort it out!

(Boom)

two minutes later…

MOMMY! Miranda bit me…

I can’t do anything about it, I’m at work!!!

(put the phone down)

two minutes later…

Madam! The children she’s fighting!

Well sort them out, I’m at work, what can I do?

But she’s fighting

Just… hit them… put them… separate them

Okay

two minutes later; the phone…

Listen here Stella! WHAT KIND OF CHILDREN DO YOU HAVE?

(It was my mother)

Me and My Beautiful Sister - both very much alive (in case you were wondering)...
Me and My Beautiful Sister – both very much alive (in case you were wondering)…

And then (from school):

I’m done, come fetch me.

I’m at work!

But it is your lunch time, leave the office quickly, you’ve got a lunch hour come take me home

(these were daily phone calls from school)

You guys were unrelenting and demanding!!!

Dad: #WeDon’tCondoneChildAbuse – we really were horrid kids, and in between the above renditions there are copious amounts of laughter at the memories of how difficult we were…

20. Complete the sentence I love being a mom/dad….

AnaB: …because I love what my boys teach me daily. They remind me to smile, be patient, be young and have fun! Their sweet innocent nature and ability to be carefree – they remind me to enjoy every moment I have with them.

IMG_20160527_081517Dad: FULL STOP…  because of the meaning they bring to this journey called life! With them I got a new name, Daddy (well two, like Superman), but really one that will forever be associated with me, they have changed me in the simplest and most profound of ways. The short answer? #LOVE

Mamoo: …’cos when I look at my kids now I’m really proud that despite all the difficulties they have turned out to be honest, hard-working, good characters and people. When you hear how tough it was from everything I’ve said before, it’s a great sense of pride for me!

I love being a grandparent because when I get tired I get to give them back to their parents (Laughter!?!) 


Quick Fire with AnaB:

Huggies vs Pampers

Breast Feed vs Bottle

Home School vs Public/Private School

Stay at home mom vs Working mom (Currently)

Character Themed Nursery vs. Colour Themed Nursery

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The Road Home

It’s been an exciting week on The Blog Tag though, as the group of inspirational bloggers have been dealing with a week themed travel

I’ve been away from my blog for way too long – such is the life of “making it happen”…

It’s been an exciting week on The Blog Tag though, as the group of inspirational bloggers have been dealing with a week themed travel, and as much as I wanted to contribute I was unable to. And now, here I is :)!

In brief this week for me was going to be about a personal journey I have been on. I’m a Sagittarius, our natural urge is to travel (if you believe in that), I have dream destinations including Iceland, New Orleans, South America and back to my ancestral home of Greece, but for me this week was going to break the norm expected in the themed tag…

I wanted to tell you all about a holiday I have been on recently. 2016 has been a year of great personal change and flux; a new baby, new employment path, it’s been exciting and scary. This blog is one outcome of that, but the best holiday I took this year was a holiday from my problems. I have taken the initiative to step away from petty yet destructive fears and self-doubt, and have found my way to a Home of Hope…

logoHome of Hope is an organization I currently have the privilege of working with. It is an autonomous, self-started initiative Founded in 2000 by Khanyisile Motsa which provides real care for exploited, trafficked and abused children in the city of Johannesburg. More than just a shelter, it is a home in the truest sense of the word, restoring dignity to those who need it most, nurturing love and a future to those who should not be without.

I have had the privilege to volunteer, contribute and collaborate as part of the team which is realigning the digital strategy of Home of Hope, and we will be launching the new website soon, so stay tuned! In the interim please like our Facebook page and follow us on twitter @A_HomeofHope.  It has been an enriching experience and I look forward to the journey on the road ahead with the home, it is truly the most rewarding vacation from the trivialities of my existence…

So if you, like me, have ever thought about getting involved, do it today!

“There is one way to learn, it’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.” 

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

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The commencement… a weeks reflection… @DS106 #4Life

Up until last Sunday, I’m talking about the Sunday before yesterday, the Sunday before Fathers Day Sunday, although my love did make the mistake of thinking last week was actually Fathers Day, so I got to have two Fathers Days in 2016… anywho… I digress… Up until last Sunday i was managing a post or two a day, that’s just not sustainable is it?

I think I made the same mistake with my first blog attempt, a movie review blog in which I was watching a certain selection of movies and posting about them, that was a movie a day, so two hours plus about another two hours reflecting, thinking, constructing, writing, and trying to be a family man in between… It did not work. Also, you can only write about a single topic for so long before you start to get irritated by your own voice!

This blog is not going to be that thing (although stay tuned, because I am planning to realign those hours spent and posting them here sporadically – but not today, and not on a schedule). So, for myself, and for you, let me categorically state that Blog inactivity does not equate to inactivity of the soztheo.me exploration of this world – to adequately demonstrate this, here’s some DS106 Digital Art created last week 🙂


‪#‎DS106‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ ‪#‎TDC1618‬ Beware them sheeps in Wolves clothes and stuff ‪#‎SweetValleyHell‬
‪#‎DS106‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ ‪#‎TDC1618‬
Beware them sheeps in Wolves clothes and stuff
‪#‎SweetValleyHell‬

On Monday we had to find an old novel cover and update it for our times…

Monday was an interesting one, after the shooting in Orlando I was engaged with the social media activity of the competing potential future leaders of the free world…

Donald Trump just has the ability to unite us all, doesn’t he? In a shared hate that is (and then the very fact that he has so much support just says that I am wrong on that one),  well he manages to generate hate anyway… Just my unfiltered opinion…

What disgusted me was the way he got hooked into the opportunistic terrorism propoganda opportunity of it all, completely devoid of any meaningful semblance of demonstrating empathy or compassion which could unite a nation reeling from an attack. A good leader would seek to bring his followers to the united ground of a shared United states… Yes? No?

I am pro-Hillary. Mind you I’ve been pro-Hillary since the first two times she was president.

I live in South Africa, and we have our own approaching elections at the fore of the nations consciousness (with our own version of Donald Trump) – but I will be watching this election closely and with great interest…


Culminating in this piece on 18 June: #DailyCreate #tdc1623 @ds106dc soztheo.me a proud ally of the GLBTQQIAAP Community! #ds106 #FloridaMassacre #Orlando A continuation of a spontaneous explosion of flag hands which happened previously on Twitter: http://soztheo.me/2016/05/29/ds106-daily-create-tdc1602-ds106-is-sooo-massive/
Culminating in this piece on 18 June:
#DailyCreate #tdc1623 @ds106dc
soztheo.me a proud ally of the GLBTQQIAAP Community!
#ds106 #FloridaMassacre #Orlando
A continuation of a spontaneous explosion of flag hands which happened previously on Twitter: http://soztheo.me/2016/05/29/ds106-daily-create-tdc1602-ds106-is-sooo-massive

chcken-cart 2
#ds106 #dailycreate #tdc1622 @ds106dc – Why did the chicken cross the road you ask?

On Friday I was then given the opportunity to shed light on one of life’s greatest questions:

Makes total sense doesn’t it?

What is DS106 you ask?

DS106 is a well regarded digital storytelling course, the course is conducted within proper education establishments, but the course is so popular that there is a free for participation version available for sign-up 🙂

One of the activities is the DS106 Daily create (@ds106dc on twitter) which provides daily creative prompts for completion – good mental creative flex fun 🙂

Check it out here.


 And then this happened – tasked to place ourselves in the Mystery Machine expanded into two days of Scooby Doo Fun as the next day we had to try and catch the squirrel who was stealing a fellow DS106-er’s mail.

‪#‎DS106‬ ‪#‎tdc1620‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ Took a ride on the ‪#‎MysteryMachine‬ today! Scooby and the Gang will never be the same! Oh and follow me on twitter @soztheo_me ! 😛

‪#‎ScoobyDoo‬ & the Case of the Klepto-Squirrel!!! @ds106dc ‪#‎ds106‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ ‪#‎tdc1621‬
‪#‎ScoobyDoo‬ & the Case of the Klepto-Squirrel!!!
@ds106dc ‪#‎ds106‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ ‪#‎tdc1621‬

These are also additionals roles in my illustrious PhotoShopped Movie career, the album of all my cinematic ventures can be viewed on my Facebook Page soztheo.me  or here


Sea MonkeysIn closing… What the hell are Sea Monkeys?

I’ve seen them advertised, and have now seen photos of them (which do not look anything like the hand-drawn images in the adverts btw). They are some prehistoric looking things!!!

Anyway, there is a major legal situation underway in regards to the license associated to the patent and ownership of the property that is Sea Monkeys, which in America seem to be one of those things that kids do, you can read more about it here.


Let me know what you think about these little creative outputs why don’t you, and by all means, come join us on this @DS106 #4Life journey :)!

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The biggest lesson I found in a Book…

The theme on The Blog Tag this week is books, the challenge for the day,  “tell us about the biggest lesson you learnt from a book and why it is important to you“.

I was troubled by the task at hand, especially because I have read so many books, taken so many lessons from them all, and I looked at the question and was drawing a much upsetting blank… I was reading a fellow blogger-(and member of The Blog Tag)’s post this afternoon, and so it was that while reading Rajeshweri Meloshnee Naidoo‘s eloquently nail-on-the- head post (which is a contribution to this week’s Blog Tag theme), entitled True Love (see I was always gonna mention it), that I realised what the biggest lesson I’ve always taken from the reading (of novels) has been – and how this core lesson still applies today as I read the posts of my fellow bloggers…

Inspiration comes in many shapes and sizes, the masterful ability to put yourself and your creations down through the medium of writing, to create worlds and material into which your reader can escape, and be challenged, and be entertained, and learn and into which we can be an integral part; that is the greatest lesson I have learned. It has often left me slack-jawed. Be it Shakespeare, Stephen King, Shelley Smidt-Booys, Wally Lamb, Toni Morrison, Anne Rice, Cassarica Nadas, Terry Pratchett, Enricoh Alfonzo Naidu, (to name a few)… I am always in awe by the ability to create, to put on the writer’s hat and put your thoughts and mental activities down in words…

It’s not just from a single book, it’s not just from a single reading and it’s not just from a single lesson, it’s so much more bigger than that…

I love reading, I love writing, I love that we can have a week dedicated to thinking about our love of reading and writing, and the greatest lesson I have taken from reading and writing is that what I want to do is write and read!

And you know what… I can…

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Female Characters in Film… – “The Good” List

I was going to write a post listing my favourite movies vs my least favourite, that changed halfway through my brain perusals as I soon realised just how much I was a fan of the female protagonist.

There is something beautiful about strength exuding from a woman. In an era where women in the film industry are still fighting for respect and the equal pay that comes with that, where I am a man whose favourite movie happens to be Aliens, I thought it fitting to shift the focus there… So there… Let the rankings commence…


The Official soztheo.me Top 10 Rated Female Protagonists in Film

The woman listed below were the main characters in their respective films, and in that they delivered performances that will forever set the stage for the next generation – I have of course chosen movies and performances that I appreciate, so we hereby accept that this is just a matter of opinion – of my chauvinistic, mysoginistic, male opinion, based only on those performances which sit front and center in my mind right now, at this moment (I haven’t gone back to before Soz-Mas), while I type – so really, they’re just suggestions, and worthy of your challenges, comments and suggestions, but please do take a peak… I may just surprise you!


1. Lieutenant Ellen Louise Ripley – Alien (the Full Quadrilogy)

“I’m no Ripley. I had doubts that I could play her as strongly as she had to be played, but I must say that it was fun exploring that side of myself. Women don’t get to do that very often.” – Siguorney Weaver

I have already expressed my appreciation for these movies on this blog (click here) this week, and for me the  success thereof relies completely on the strength of Siguorney Weaver’s shoulders – one of many strong independent characters she has played in her career, Lieutenant Ripley as brought to life is her cinematic work of art bequeathed to the History of Cinema.


 2. Clarice Starling – The Silence of the Lambs

“I’m not sure I know how to play weak. I really don’t know how.”  – Jodie Foster

Another one of my favourite movies of all time belongs in the cannon of another one of the Hollywood Greats, Jodie Foster. The amazing thing about this performance is that Clarice Starling is as damaged a character as the villains in the piece (a special kind of damaged if you consider the full scope of the character’s trajectory in literature… Unofficially it is the arc that the character took in the books that stopped Jodie Foster from participating in the sequel).

It is an amazing performance because the strength of the character rests in a still performance. A focused FBI agent, still in training, forced to face the exact antithesis of her structured and controlled being. Strong. Sharp. Smart. But flawed, and struggling with the fact that while she may be out of her depth, she has to swim because the sharks are circling… It’s a role and a performance which has been mimicked repeatedly since…


3. Evelyn Couch, Imogene “Idgie” Threadgoode, Ruth Jamison, Ninny Threadgoode – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe 

“See, now is a time for courage. I guess you already know that there are angels masquerading as people walking around this planet and your mom was the bravest one of those.” – Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson)

And in a single moment, Whoosh! All the manly men disappear… During my teen years I suffered from insomnia, and so I stayed up with my trusty pal the television and watched whatever was on (a relationship with the TV which was born in my youth). This movie amazed me, so much so that I went out, bought and read the book, which merely by it’s construction and approach to storytelling was a revelation for me… 

This is the first ensemble presence in this list series (and it won’t be the last)… I recommend this movie to anyone who is prepared to take the risk. Sounds ridiculous, but this kind of movie really is a challenge for many, men and women, cos you gonna deal with racism, sexism, ageism, homosexuality, abuse, murder, menopause… Even during the adaptation of the novel certain aspects were muted, only hinted at (yet obvious) in the telling. I’ll tell you this, every female character in this movie has earned their place, great performances of strong women… I await the day when someone I know tells me that I am wrong, because I have recommended this movie to many people over the years… Soppy maybe… But definitely not wrong…

It’s hysterically funny and heartbreaking… Quite simply… “The Secret’s in the Sauce”


The Bride

4. “The Bride” – Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2

“I get shot in the head, raped, kicked, beaten and sliced by samurai swords… The movie should have been called Kill Uma.” – Uma Thurman

And because I’m a guy we boomerang right back to beautiful girls with guns and knives and things – I may be sentimental, but I still love a good action movie, and enjoy balance, nothing is more un-chick-flicky than a Quentin Tarantino Masterpiece (and isn’t every Quentn Tarantino movie a masterpiece?)…

You know this movie is about the breakdown of Fox Force Five right? Check that Sh!t out…

The Bride, a character created by Q&U, originally (unoficially, but c’mon) conceived in a scene in Pulp Fiction in which Uma Thurman’s character Mia Wallace speaks about a failed TV pilot she did… A premise developed and brought to life year’s later in this masterpiece…

Revenge is the subject central to many a great story, and this ode to Japanese Martial Art films, comprised almost entirely of the most entertaining set of strong, fast, high-flying female characters, is the stuff of every fanboy’s fantasy – and yes I know that this is about the girls, and to that I say that compared to the admittedly entertaining schlock of the Charlie’s Angels endeavors, this movie is the true zigga-zig-a of girl power…


5. Celie & Nettie – The Colour Purple

“The way I played Celie was to stand back from her. There’s a theory that an actor should identify with the character. Well, I loved her, but I didn’t identify with her. Celie is so far away from me, it was easy to allow her pain to be there, because her life has so little to do with mine.” – Whoopi Goldberg

The Colour Purple

I have never read Alice Walker’s masterpiece, but it does exist alongside my favourite kind of literature (FYI, Favourite Author is Toni Morrison). So what is it about this movie? Hear me out…

I am a brother. I have three sisters. I remember once watching an interview in which Maya Angelou spoke about how she was challenged for some reason for participating in the Million Man March, to which she replied, and this is not verbatim (probably the biggest hash-job I have ever done paraphrasing, but it was a long time ago), ‘I am the daughter of a man, the sister of a man, the mother of a man, the spouse of a man, this is why I march…’ I’ve totally messed it up, but the essence of it has always stuck with me.

Nettie and Celie. Two sisters. A bond that is physically severed at the beginning of the movie, but which remains the one constant longing throughout, strong in memory and heart, separated by hatred and oceans, the l
ove of two sisters, the sacred love of family, the strength and tale of one woman’s journey to her best self, to emancipation from a form of slavery born out of the legacy of slavery. This single girls journey to womanhood is set alongside fellow members of her sisterhood, in which her acquisition of strength within her own self runs parallel to other women who come into her life.

The movie boasts Oscar Nominated performances for not only Whoopi Goldberg in the titular role, but also for Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey. Not only was the film nominated for 11 Oscars (of which it won a big fat none), but three of those nominations belonged to African American Women, nominated for acting Oscars, from a single movie, a whole 16 years before Halle Berry would win her Best Actress Oscar for Monster – these figures speak to the power of the movie, the power of the story, and of the power of the players in their respective roles. Steven Spielberg’s interpretation of Alice Walker’s novel; oft referred to as an inferior work; woefully denied its justice at the Oscar’s; is a movie that in our household has been, and is, and will always be, a sacred and constant piece of enlightenment, contemplation and appreciation.


6. Police Chief Marge Gunderson – Fargo

“At least three times a week I’m approached by someone who says something about Fargo. Or, I’ll pass someone on the street in New York and someone will throw a line at me. People love to drop in ‘you betcha’ often as they can.” – Francis McDormand

It was in 1996 that a small town, with a small crime, introduced us to a largely pregnant, small town police chief named Marge Gunderson. It was the role of a lifetime for Francis McDormand, written and directed by the power pair comprised of her husband and brother-in-law (they of the genius Coen brothers), it earned her a well deserved Academy Award for Best Actress, but beyond that the character and film have gone on to surpass the more loftier and over the top creations by team Coen to be the masterpiece for which they will most probably always be remembered – a large part of that result rests solely on the shoulders of the genius that is this character who sits at Number 6 on my list.

It is the subtlest and smallest of performances, yet it is a presence in cinematic history that cannot be ignored because of its genius subtlety. From the quaint execution of the Mid-Western dialect, to the ever looming fact that the character’s pregnancy seems to be so huge yet is actually acknowledged briefly in the narrative of the movie (I mean, stamps got more conversation time than the pregnancy – And yet… M-Net; South Africa’s Pay-For-TV Service which provided a monthly program guide which include film blurb’s of the month’s movies in English and Afrikaans, had this entry under Fargo in the Afrikaans blurb, I remember because the tears rolled and pants were nearly pee’d, I quote, “Die polisie-hoof is swanger.”, ie direct translation: The Police Chief is pregnant)…

Francis McDormand’s Marge, out to solve a kidnapping, is faced with a criminal element and level of dishonesty which just does not compute as rational in the mind of the character… She’s just a cop, doing her job, baby on the way, living her life, appreciating the little things, and it is from that space that the humour exists… A true duck out of water, from a pond we could all learn to swim in…


7. Erin Brockovich – Erin Brockovich

“I have great admiration for what she stands for. A lot of women in our culture are facing being a single mother, trying to make ends meet. They are the heroes of out time, aren’t they?” – Julia RobertsErin Brockovich

And from the fictional beauty residing in the perceivably simplest of women to the a real, larger than life woman, who stood fast and beat the odds. From an expecting working mother-to-be to an actual unemployed mother of three. From understated to over the top. From small town crime, to fighting for, defending and ultimately uphelding the rights of an entire poisoned town against the corruption of a big business chemical company, we land at Erin Brockovich. To Justice.

It was always going to be but a matter of time before Julia Roberts won that Oscar, but that matter of time did take its sweet time, with amazing career cementing performances just not hitting the mark – the amazing thing about this performance is its effortlessness, it’s Julia Roberts at her most seemingly natural, like the role was simply meant for her. And it’s entertaining, it’s fall down funny delivery, it’s gut-wrenching tragedy, it’s real life David and Goliath-ness – except David actually wears stilletto’s and way to revealing clothes (for her office colleagues, I rather liked her outfits, especially her blouses – there I had my man moment), Erin Brockovich is not just a movie hero, she’s the real deal, and Julia Roberts does the real deal real justice


8. Sarah Connor – T2: Judgement DayTERMINATOR 2 : JUDGEMENT DAY DE JAMES CAMERON LINDA HAMILTON

“It’s not about the fame – it’s about the very nature of Sarah Connor who is a savior. I know people don’t necessarily buy it was the truth, but I go out in the world for all of these years and people stop me and say, “Hey I Love you!” It’s kind of an insidious thing because they think of me as the person who saved the future. It’s subtle how it works on people, but I just go out and people treat me like I’m a hero. It’s a wonderful feeling and it’s really great to be Linda Hamilton. I really think it’s because on some level that character I played is working on them in their subconscious.” – Linda Hamilton

In the first Terminator Sarah Connor was a deer in the headlights, on the run from the machine, round two came around and Sarah Connor was ready to hand it to them – she was tougher, stronger, crazier, pissed off, and she weren’t no victim!!! I mean check out those guns, as a Madonna fan, I like to think of her as a trendsetter, but Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor version T2.0 was a mean MoFo!

I love Terminator 2: Judgement Day, I need to watch that movie again, like soon, there’s no mistaking the fact that James Cameron is at the helm of this movie and Aliens, the female characters of James Cameron’s Sci-Fi Fantasies are It! That piece of acknowledgement to the man behind the scene done, the Sarah Connor on this list really is all about Linda Hamilton, the originator…

Hopefully… one day… She’ll be back…


9. The Rockford Peaches – A League of Their OwnA League of Their Own

“There’s no crying in baseball!” – Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks)

It’s the story of a team, it’s a sports movie, about girls (ahem… women) playing baseball while the men are off fighting The War – a fictional dramatization of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Yes, we enter into the Penny Marshall directed movie with sisters Dorothy “Dottie” Hinson and Kit Keller, but this really is a movie about the team. It’s about Marla Hooch, “All the Way” Mae Mordabito, Doris Murphy, Betty “Spaghetti” Horn, Evelyn Gardner and their Coach Jimmy Dugan – it is a movie which in 2012, was cited as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and was accordingly it was elected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

When you consider the rigorous filming the actresses went through to deliver the final product, that before even auditioning they had to pass a fitness and ball skill assessment, that for the purposes of stock footage for montages they had to play dozens of actual baseball games, that the Director’s Cut of the movie runs at over four hours (with many storylines cut that documented various characters arcs), and that by the end of the movie Penny Marshall felt sorry for the crew as, “Unfortunately everyone’s cycle synched up. The mood swings…”

This movie is a celebration of women surpassing expectations imposed upon them by society and by themselves, it is hysterically funny, while also dramatic – a really good piece of cinema…


Jen Final10. Frances “Baby” Houseman – Dirty Dancing

“I carried a watermelon…” – Baby

Yeah, Yeah… I hear you… But this one is for the girls, and the boys that were forced to watch it so many times that they actually, maybe, but we won’t admit that will we, kinda enjoyed it?

So, for context sake, me and my siblings (three sisters remember, and a much younger, fortunately for him not yet born) are children of professional dancers and dancing teachers, this movie was the first age-restricted movie I ever saw, it was required viewing in our house… Funny story, my dad lived in Rustenburg at the time (when the dorp was still but a few blocks wide) and we went to watch it at the two cinema complex called the Rustra – the ladies came with their hair did up eighties high, with sequins and shoulder pads, and when Patrick Swayze came on screen… My ears have still not yet fully recovered, nearly thirty years later.

Need more?

How about this… There are soooo many “chick flicks” out there, hate them much guys? Our ladies love them, and many of them have watched, re-watched and re-watched them again (and some times forced us to watch some really, really bad ones), these are their favourites, these strong women in our lives, these dreamers – it would be wrong of me to right a blog post like this and not include a real solid chick flick heroine (and in fact there are a couple I would have, and did, consider for this spot). I know this…

If I am ever fortunate enough to add a daughter to our family, I hope that she too has a romantic spirit, that she also wants to dream, and be a little girl of dreams… Drive us guys crazy with having to watch Dirty Dancing (although by that stage we’ll be in a bigger house and they can watch in the other lounge) – Lord knows, my daughter will also be raised on Aliens and Terminator as well, but girls will be girls – she is the elected representative for the honour of representing one of the biggest genres in the movie magic world, and for being the best within that huge genre of film… Could be worse, could be a Katherine Heigl movie (I think that’s how you spell it).

See the pictures I’ve added to this post? Nose be damned Jennifer Grey was hot (sorry Ladies)! That scene, in those shorts, up and down those stairs… And she was a good girl ultimately, selfless, kind, caring – and yeah, she owns this place proudly with all the dreams and eyes of little girls, little women, ladies, old girls and old women who have entrusted their hours of enjoyment upon this brand of Cinderella fantasy and escapism…

It’s that damn Patrick Swayze I tell you, he even made housewives bad…


So that’s my first list of the three… Coming Soon: The Bad; and The Ugly…

I actually come to the end of this list and I don’t know who it actually is for… This is just my opinion based on my life experience shaped appreciation. The fact is that there are certain fundamental truths that transcend beyond that which should define and separate us. These instead speaking to the commonality that exists in being members and equal participants in the human condition. I feel sorry for those that can’t or are unable to access that…

To end off, here are just a few movies that landed on and then fell off, and then were shuffled around, and ultimately lost out on appearing on this list but which own a spot in this mention:

Amelie; For The Boys; The Blind Side; Gravity; Clueless; Sense & Sensibility; Beloved; The Help; Scream; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Pretty Woman; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Girl, Interrupted – and finally, the one that I struggled the most with, the movie that was on and off and on again but which I just could not justify due to the lead protagonist not being the actual lead protagonist of the film – Mad Max: Fury Road…

Let me know what you think 🙂


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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1604: Beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder…

Oh No, MATH! Find an example of the Fibonacci Numbers out in the world” – (as per today’s daily create challenge).

I hated Maths in school… Okay, let me rephrase, I pretty much totally hated the school structure, the classes, the learning – the irony is that I have an aptitude for intellectualism, ideation, study and creativity – so much so that consistently through my formative years I was placed in the “clever classes” based on what was perceived, and yet I consistently failed to deliver to expectations, until the system pretty much gave up trying. My poor mother, parent’s evening after parent’s evening having the same conversation with my teacher’s year after year, “He could be a straight A student, if only he applied himself…” Those in the know will understand… In my mid-30’s I was diagnosed, ADHD, aural learning disorder – and a mother pushed to her wits end… This post happens to be about a parent’s love…

But it’s also about Maths, it’s frikken Fibonacci after all, and again the irony is that despite my dismal mathematical performance during my “formative” scholastic years (in which the most solid forms I achieved were lifelong habitual vices like smoking, drinking, donning the black sheep cloak), I do actually have, and obviously always had, a logical, mathematical aptitude, the beauty really is in the exactness; the precision; the detail. You should see me on Excel, I surprise myself with what beauty I can create with but a handful of basic formulas and colours…

Because this post is also about art, like maths it’s about the beauty of excercising duplication and expression, of formulas; of colours; of precision; of vision – like that of my Greek philosopher lineage. Art, like the digital art we create in DS106, the sharing of vision, of the art of the mental flex, the execution of our ideas into expressive product, often humorous, thoughtful, preposterous, deep, connected, stimulating, emotive and most of all creative.

And wouldn’t you know it, this post is all about creation in all it’s anomalous exactness, it’s chaotic precision, it’s fluctuating persistant course. Because nature is the greatest form of art, the whole principle of the Fibonacci golden spiral and it’s alignment to the natural order of things, that there is order, measurable and beautiful, that a flower and an equation can have a commonality based in the beauty of certainty, while being strikingly at opposition between life and conceptual thinking – because ultimately that is where creation exists, within that space of opposing potential made reality, and the most beautiful representation and expression of that is the conception of a child… Creation.

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, the power of beauty is that you know it when you see it, it aligns mysteriously within, with the precision of mathematical certainty as embodied by indefinable possibility… and Love… a Parent’s love.

Oh! And about a parent’s love, about emotion. I don’t know how that quantification and calculation goes, but it’s focus, I would venture to guess, is even larger in concept than the beauty that is the Fibonacciness of nature. In fact, I believe, and I don’t even care if you could and would and do prove me wrong, because I will be stubborn about this one… I believe that even Fibonacci fallibly bends to the power of a parent’s love…

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You… Art…

Art is artificial; a representational rendering of the real. Yes it is powerful, can sometimes move us more than the actual real, but this is because of the stylistic application which has been employed to create the rendering, which is not actually accessible within the realms of reality.

Think about your digital identity, what is it comprised of? It can never and will never be you, and yet, sometimes, with the share of a picture or a post which you have identified as being profound, or humorous, or are critical of, you have in that action made a statement, more often than not you have done so to illicit a response, the anticipation and interpretation of which defines, contributes and shapes the work of art which is your digital identity; Validation of your output is after all the basic human need of any transactional act – How many likes did you get? How many shares or retweets – and what does that validate exactly, not you certainly, but rather that extension of yourself which you have created and curated on the digital landscape.

I like to think of these actions as brush strokes or performances, all of them aspects of a greater work – the digital self is your project and you are it’s architect, it’s a representation of you, what are you going to do with you today?

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DS106 Daily Create #tdc1596: Squirrels and the Gif(t) of Gif-ing…

There we go – nearly didn’t accept this challenge, and then I decided to submit an image (although there was a specific request for a gif), I ain’t never made a gif before – and then I reassessed and went ahead and voila – the little squirrel that could…

The Brief: Amazing Tricked-Out Squirrel Tricks – For today’s Daily Create, name and describe an invented fancy trick for Florence Hinton’s squirrels (or their descendants, since Florence’s little critters are no doubt long gone). Add your own gif to make your point, if you want.

What? Trained squirrels? Tricks? or Talent? Find out more: http://daily.ds106.us/tdc1596/

And there you have it… If I can do it, surely a squirrel can!

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