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Cool Gift Guide… for the Eclectic, Spiritual, Pop Culture Geek

16 Jun

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since turning the big 4-0, but I was going through some gifts and– wow– my friends and family really, really know me. Here is just a sampling of some great gifts you might consider getting the eclectic, bookish, silly friend in your life.

gnomeThis fun little Gnome Away From Home is perfect for a desk shrine, cake topper or cat companion, and compact enough to take with you on a trip. He’s so tiny, I think it’s actually lifesize, for real. He even comes with his own stylish suitcase and all the right international papers to travel with. Particularly appropriate if you’re writing about Gnomes (which I am)! (Thanks, Nettie)

Sticking with the mystical theme, I also received a set of Angel Cards (r) which is a 72-card set of illustrations with special, guiding words on them originallyangelcards_sml-1 designed by members of the Findhorn community for their Transformation Game (r). Yes, it all sounds very serious and stealthy, but these are small, charming little cards that direct the seeker to encourage meditation and reflection on themes from  wisdom to simplicity. (Thanks, Sonya)

Meditations from a Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman and William Thetford is an elegant and beautiful companion to A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace. I love picking this up and randomly flipping to any page to get some wonderful guidance. Here goes… “On the lack of necessity for fear: All aspects of fear are untrue because they do not exist on the creative level, and therefore do not exist at all.” Page 140… true dat.   (Thanks, Fritz)

votivoAlways an awesome gift for anyone, anytime… Votivo candles. I was so thrilled to get the Mandarine candle. It’s citrus scent is light and fresh, and not perfumy at all. Nothing overwhelming about it… just a pleasing glow, a simple container and a relaxing aroma. It comes in a gorgeous gift box and makes a thoughtful, lasting gift. (Thanks, Renee)

Me likey Alamo Drafthouse Gift Cards so, so much. This is my favorite movie theater in Austin. And I used it right away to go see UP which was fantastic. I was crying within the first ten minutes– in a good way. Fabulous, must-see movie, so get to it. At the disneys-up-2Alamo you always get cool, retro film footage before the show. We were lucky enough to get to see a very blonde, very leggy Nancy Sinatra sing “Up, Up and Away” as she (seemingly) navigated a hot air balloon all by herself as happy white trousered/mini-skirted dancers frolicked in the meadow below. And then you get dinner. I had a $5 milkshake (thank you, Pulp Fiction). Great evening. (Thanks, Rachel)

And, of course, the requisite gag gift. Yes, I am 40 now… and that is hysterical. Right? So what do I get? A 40 oz. Mickey’s Malt Liquor which will quietly sit among the jumbo jar of salsa, the organic peanut butter and the Goddess dressing until something horrible happens… like a blackout or the end of the world. (Thanks, Scott)

darshan DVDAnd one of my favorite gifts was the DVD Darshan: The Embrace, a French documentary on Amma. Amma is internationally known as “the hugging saint.” Originally from a very poor Indian village, she has emerged as a major humanitarian figure who has literally hugged over 23 million people worldwide. Her foundation has distributed tens of millions of dollars for hospitals, housing, food, educational programs and more. Such an inspiring and beautiful shot film which was an official selection in the Cannes Film Festival in 2005. (Thanks, Amy & Suzanne)

There were so many others… I also received a stunning indigo-colored votive candle holder from my friend Sonya whilotus candleholderch is made of shells from the Phillipines and shaped like a lotus flower. Evertytime I light a candle in it, I will think of this special birthday and remember the people behind the kind gestures, and the feeling of abudance that overwhelmed me during such a special occasion as this. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Soul Lab Radio: Interview with Chris Vogler, “The Writer’s Journey

9 Jun
Chris Vogler

Chris Vogler

Just had a great interview with story consultant, author and mythology expert WritersJourney3rddropChris Vogler on Soul Lab Radio. What an interesting guy.

Chris Vogler has worked for Disney Studios, Fox 2000 Pictures and Warner Bros. in the development department. He has also taught in the USC School of Cinema-Television, Division of Animation and Digital Arts as well as at UCLA extension. He is President of the company Storytech Literary Consulting. Vogler studied filmmaking at the USC School of Cinema-Television, the alma mater of George Lucas. As with Lucas, Vogler was inspired by the writings of mythologist Joseph Campbell, particularly The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Vogler used Campbell’s work to create the now-legendary 7-page company memo for Hollywood screenwriters, A Practical Guide to The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Vogler later developed his memo into the late 1990s book, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers now in its third edition.

Soul Lab Radio: Interview with film critic Brent Marchant

28 Apr

get_the_picture_brent_marchant_coverWhat can the movies teach us about how we lead — or could lead — our lives? That’s the focus of Brent Marchant’s book, Get the Picture: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies. Marchant explores how movies illustrate the principles of conscious creation (also known as the law of attraction) and how we can put them to use to lead more fulfilling everday existences. He explores the idea through all movie genres, from classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz to sci-fi thrillers like Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and Contact, and documentaries like What the Bleep Do We Know? and The Secret

Check out our interview on Soul Lab Radio…

Happy Earth Day Courtesy of The Ents

22 Apr

Just wishing everyone a Happy Earth Day courtesy of The Last March of the Ents in Lord of the Rings. Greedy meanies of the world, beware. Go Ents!

Soul Lab Radio: Scott Von Doviak

15 Apr
Film Critic Scott Von Doviak on "Soul Talk" April 14 at 10 p.m. CST

Film Critic Scott Von Doviak on "Soul Talk" April 14 at 10 p.m. CST

Join me as I speak with film critic and author Scott Von Doviak who will talk about his daring, mind-bending and irreverant journey in reviewing the Top 100 Worst Movies ever made. We’ll also discuss his hysterical foray into the world of hillbilly cinema with his book  Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema. Von Doviak has reviewed film for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rotten Tomatoes, Screengrab, The High Hat and more.

So go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jenniferhr to listen in or you can also call in with questions at (347) 884-9374.

Fanboys = Fantastic! Thanks, Ernie Cline

8 Feb
clineernie2
So last night was the big night… Fanboys actually opened in Austin, TX at the wonderful Alamo Ritz  after an epic trek to the big screen. I felt so proud of our friend screenwriter Ernie Cline. And to be honest, I was really hoping and praying to love this movie after everything it has been through. AND I DID! It was great.  It had heart, humor, humanity and hilarity. In other words, it was a hit. Certainly the final cut of Fanboys wasn’t the perfect vision that Ernie had once conceived, but it delivered on being a real love letter to Star Wars and Star Wars fans the world over. So if you live in New York, New Jersey, L.A., Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Houston, Austin or Seattle– SEE IT NOW!!

Harshing My Mellow

29 Dec
The Children of Slumdog Millionaire

The Children of Slumdog Millionaire

Yesterday I had a very rare day “off” meaning that my son was living it up with the grandparents, husband had to work and I have myself a nice break. Whenever I have a few free hours, I love to catch a movie and yesterday it was Slumdog Millionaire. About halfway into it, I developed almost a blinding migraine. I have not experienced one in years. But I think watching two hours of orphaned Indian children being put through every possible human horror pretty much sent me over the edge. I am over-the-top sensitive to seeing any harm come to children or animals and I’ve found it nearly intolerable to listen to or watch negative images, harsh music or bleak storylines. Though the movie had a redemptive ending, it wasn’t enough to ward off my exploding head. So I headed home and took a long nap. Why, over the last few months, have I become increasingly sensitive to audio and video cues? I think it’s where my heart and mind have been going lately which is more to the internal, introspective worlds that feed the soul.

The Conversation: Lindsay Lohan

31 Aug


Ring… Ring…

Me: What the @!&*… what the hell time is it…

Ring… Ring…

Me: 3:30 in the freaking morning.. who is calling at…

Husband: Caller ID says it’s Lohan. Whaddya want me to do?

Me: Arrrghhhh…. I’ll take it in the office.

Husband: OK, but tell her that real people need real sleep and…

Me: I know, I know. I’ll handle it.

Husband: Good Luck.

Me: Uh..huh… Hello?

LL: OKOKOKOKOKOK I absolutely KNOW that it is late, but I’m in Paris, and it’s not late here– actually I just had a nice breakfast at this little cafe and…

Me: WHAT!? What do you want, Lindsay?

LL: OK, so I thought I better call now, or I would forget.

Me: Forget what? Forget to remind me that I have yet to get to Paris in this lifetime and you’ve been there, like, fifty times already and you just want to make absolutely sure that I realize how unbelievably underwhelming the City of Lights actually is? I was in the middle of a pretty decent dream involving me and a talking dolphin, so this better be good.

LL: It is. I promise.

Me: OK then.

LL: OK.

Me: OK.

LL: Well, now that I think about it, it’s probably not a big deal. You go back to bed. I’ll call you later.

Me: Over my dead body. You tell me now, or you permanently lose this number.

LL: OK OK… I was thinking I need to get a makeunder, you know. Just sort of Streep it up a little.

Me: Get your Streep on, as it were?

LL: Exactly! She told me once that she thinks I’m pretty good, and I’m not going to have my looks forever so I better get serious about, you know, serious stuff.

Me: Right.

LL: And I’ve been looking at pictures of myself a lot…

Me: As usual…

LL: Uh-huh. As usual and I’m looking, I don’t know, kind of bummed out.

Me: You are bummed out. Your Mother and sister just did a lame ass reality show totally exploiting your celebrity, your Dad’s in jail, you’ve already been in rehab a couple of times.

LL: I know, and it sucks. I just want to hang out, you know?

Me: And I want to sleep. Is that all?

LL: No. I need your help.

Me: That’s what you have agents and managers and “people” for. Go ask them. I’m tired.

LL: Tell me about it. I just got off this shoot and…

Me: OK, not to interrupt but I’m Mom-with-toddler-juggling-bills-dealing-with-clients-cleaning-house-running-errands-staying-groomed-by-myself-tired. Not celebutante tired. That’s a different tired. People run at you in warp speed to make sure you don’t have bags under your eyes. People run away from me because, honestly, my morning hair scares the crap out of them. So go get help from, you know, your help.

LL: But you’re my friend.

Me: (silence)

LL: Hello?

Me: (deep sigh) OK… how can I help?

LL: OK Good. So what books should I be reading? Are there any really, you know, super smart people I should be hanging out with? Have you ever read “The Alchemist”? My Reiki woman said that would that make a good movie.

Me: The main character is a shepherd boy– there is a gypsy, but it’s a pretty small role and…

LL: Well screw that. What else? Can you think of anything else?

Me: Well… let me think about it. Would you be willing to gain some weight?

LL: Weight? How much weight are we talking about? Like Bridget Jones or more like Charlize Theron in that death row movie?

Me: I don’t know. I’m just asking cuz that might make a difference in what I recommend. You said you wanted to Streep it up…

LL: Yeah, but that’s like DeNiro. Streep does accents. I can definitely do accents. Didn’t you see The Parent Trap?

Me: I just want to know how far you’re willing to go.

LL: I need to think about it.

Me: Okey Dokey. Just get back to me… at a decent hour. And send me an Eiffel Tower snowglobe.

LL: You have like 15 of those.

Me: Yeah, but I don’t have one from the Lohan. Au Revoir.

Congratulations and General Praise for Awesome Friends

9 Jul

Doing a quick scan and reconnecting with some of my friends, I feel so proud that great things are happening. It’s been sort of an isolating year and a half being a new Mom and trying to get in a groove with various writing projects all the while running a business. It’s just been, well, a lot. I just want to give some love to people. And for anyone that reads this blog, I urge you to check out their work.

Sonya Feher: Not only is she my best sister mama, she’s pulled together an amazing memoir detailing the highs and lows of her pregnancy while dealing with generalized anxiety disorder. She’s pulled together an incredible piece of work– something I desperately wish I had had when I was pregnant. But, of course, I got something even better… the author! Cavanaugh (her son) and Ben are only a month and a day apart. Her book is just like nothing else out there, and it’s really a matter of time before agents start scrambling to rep her.

Scott Von Doviak: Just one of the funniest, smartest all around brilliant guys I know (who now lives in Austin). He wrote Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema and does regular film reviews, well, all over the place. He is now (brace yourself) reviewing the 100 worst films ever made. Keep strong, brother.

Jana Christy: Amazing, amazing illustrator. Her work is so beautiful, sensitive, true, inspired and smart. The woman should be in the New York Times– every day. Someday I hope to collaborate with Jana on a children’s book. That would be a dream come true. She’s a class act.

John Mitchell: True renaissance man and one of the most savvy, prolific and thoroughly engaging writers I have ever had the pleasure to call my friend. I am forever indebted to John for starting Shuffleboil.com where I was allowed to write silly essays on TV and even write a fiction serial. His tastes in art, music, lit, and every facet of creative life is one for the books. He often serves (whether he knows it or not) as my personal creative guide.

Andrew Osborne: OMG– he just won an Emmy… for CASH CAB! Isn’t it funny how things work out? Andrew has directed movies, written screenplays and fiction, blogs– the man does it all. I’s so happy for him and especially glad that he got to meet Oscar the Grouch at the ceremony!

Ernie Cline: Even though Fanboys is on the back burner for now, our friend Ernie sold his next screenplay recently. It’s called Thundercade. Yeah!! Ernie got to quit his job and just focus on what he does best– being a screenwriter and a new Daddy!

Genevieve Van Cleve: Gen’s been MIA because she is kicking so much ass working on the Diane Maldanado campaign. It’s heavy lifting for the Dems, but Gen’s as strong as they come.

There are so many others that I have to break this up into two or more posts. More later!!

Shuffleboil: An Interview with Fanboys Screenwriter Ernie Cline

19 Jan

clineernie.jpg

Check out my recent interview with Fanboys screenwriter Ernie Cline on Shuffleboil.com.

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