Charlie Donlea’s The Girl Who Was Taken [Book Review]

“The country was transfixed, not by the girl who was gone, but by the one who made it home.” The Girl Who Was Taken

ABDUCTION, MEDICAL EXAMINER AND A DEAD BODY

Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald (both seniors in high school) were kidnapped the same night but only Megan was able to escape her captor two weeks after. We meet up with Megan 14 months later as she has written a book about her ordeal and how she escaped. But we are left wondering what happened to Nicole and is there a connection between the two abductions.

Livia Cutty is Nicole’s sister and a medical examiner. When she receives what seems to be a body of a possible suicide jumper to examine she learns more than she expected. Not only that, this body will lead Livia on the hunt to find her sister with the help of a Megan. Soon, both Livia and Megan will come face to face with the truth neither expected.

THE BIRTH OF THE CHARACTERS

The book was written in a manner that it kept you engaged. No fancy words were used or ambiguity used to where you have to read the sentence or paragraph a few times to understand what’s being said.

The characters were well written to where they didn’t come over done or confusing. I’ve read books in which writers try to give birth to a character and over do it or give too much information about the character that could have been done within the story. Donlea does this perfectly with Nicole, Megan and Livia. Each chapter gives a bit more information about each character while continuing on with the story.

BUILDING A STORY

Donlea knows how to tell a story, that’s for sure. He writes in a manner as if he’s right there telling you the facts of the case. When it comes to crime suspense stories I like them to be smooth yet captivating and Donlea does that, with what seems as no effort. I’ve read books in which it seems the author was putting too much effort into their books that I grew tired of reading their work. A good example of this is Patricia Cornwell. I used to be fan of hers when I read her first three books, but after that, her books seemed forced and not genuine.

MY BIGGEST CONCERN WHICH IS ACTUAL SMALL

When Donlea would speak of the past the chapters were written in italics. I found this quite unnecessary for he’s already told us at the start the chapter was going to be set one month before the abduction or two weeks before the abduction. I hope he leaves the italics out of his next book unless he’s mentioning a title of something or a quote. As mentioned, this was a minor issue I had with the book. And this is mostly a personal preference. This will definitely not stop me from reading his other books and I hope he stays consistent throughout his career.

MY THOUGHTS

I absolutely loved this book. It had me on the edge of my seat from the first page until the very end. Some nights I couldn’t put the book down but sleep won the battle

Courtesy of Nicholas Nash

many a nights. As I was reading I thought of Nicolas Nash’s The Girl At The Bar for it kept you guessing. The only difference between Donlea’s The Girl Who Was Taken and Nash’s book is you had no ideas who was behind the abductions and the further you got into the book the harder the guesses became. With Nash’s book, you had many suspects and the further into the book you got, more and more suspects appeared. In both the reveal had me in shock. Never saw either one coming.

Please get a copy of both books and enjoy the ride.

Summer Lake is the next Donlea book I will be reading in a few weeks. I have two to read and review ahead of Summit Lake.

The Girl Who Was Taken
Author: Charlie Donlea
Pages: 320
Publisher: Kensington (25 Spril 2017
Where to purchase: AmazonBarnes and NobleiBooks
Other books by DonleaSummit Lake 

Charlie is currently working on his next book. Once I get a copy of it I will definitely be doing a review of it and I’m so looking forward to it.

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Book Reviewer Seeking Books

BOOK REVIEWER SEEKING BOOKS

I’ve always enjoyed reading but now I want to share my thoughts on the books I read. I am looking for true crime and crime suspense books to read and review. I also enjoy #psychological thriller books.

You can email me via the Contact page.
Twitter: @bloggernikki
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/theopinionatedmuse

Thank you for your time.

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Berlin Syndrome [Movie Review]

FROM BERLIN SYNDROME TO CONFINEMENT

Clare (Teresa Palmer), an architect photography is traveling through Eastern Europe to take photos of building when she meets Andi (Max Riemelt) in Berlin, who is a native Berliner and a professor at Uni (a university). They immediately hit it off. Clare ends up having a one night stand with Andi at his apartment. When she awakes the next morning she finds Andi has left (for work) and the door boarded with no way out. Clare doesn’t think much about it but still tries to find a way out. But it doesn’t take Clare long to realize she’s gotten her self in quite a fix. She also learns later in the movie that she’s not the only one Andi has done this too.

LOOKING FOR A WAY OUT

As Clare spends her days locked in Andi’s apartment she finds more disturbing things about Andi and the things he has done to other women. Each day becomes a desperation to get out. The closer Clare gets to escaping the more obstacles she runs into and the more controlling Andi gets.

FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS

This is a hard movie to watch for it makes you feel Clare’s pain, anguish and desperation. You want to fly to Berlin, if you’re not there already, and try to save her.

What makes this even more disturbing is this sort of thing happens every day. The most infamous one is The Cleveland Kidnappings in which Ariel Castro held three women (Michell Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus) prisoner in his home for 10 years, from 2002 to 2013. Because of Castro’s demeanor when in public no one suspected a thing from him, as with Andi in the movie. Yes, Andi is a bit strange, but people have come to accept him as such. But he’s also a likable guy

Palmer and Riemelt make the movie even more hard to watch due to excellent acting by both.

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME

Some dubbed what Clare had with Andi the Stockholm Syndrome.

Feelings of trust or affection felt in certain cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor (Google)

I disagree with this analogy. I felt Clare did what she needed to do to keep her sanity to continue to gain and keep his trust, even in times of when he caught her trying to escape. When someone puts you in a situation in which your freedom is taken away, there’s no way you could fall in love or have affection for that person. What you end up having is survival instincts and if making your captor think you trust them and having feelings for them is the way to go, then you do it.

FOREIGN FILMS

This is one of the reasons why I love foreign films, the acting. Palmer and Riemelt were excellent, as I’ve mentioned. But there were actors I’ve never heard of. Not knowing the players won’t have me comparing them to other roles I’ve seen them. However, because of movies such as this, I am inclined to watch other movies Palmer and Riemelt were in.

Foreign films don’t seem as restricted as American films seem to be, unless you’re an indie filmmaker. But even indie filmmakers don’t hold a candle to foreign films for me. As mentioned, the acting does it for me. But also learning of other countries is another reason I enjoy foreign films. Learning of different cultures and traveling the world without leaving the comfort of my living room is great. On the same note, these movies make me want to actual visit the countries they are filmed in.

BERLIN SYNDROME

Release Date: 26 May 2017
Country: Australia
Languages: English, German and Russian
Run Time: 116 minutes
Stars: Teresa Palmer as Clare and Max Riemelt as Andi
Directed by: Cate Shorland
Written by: Shawn Grant (screenplay)
Based on the novel of the same name by: Melanie Joosten
I heard the novel was just as hard to read. It’s been said that both the novel and movie were          great; neither was better than the other, which is rare when it comes to book to movie adaption
Currently streaming: Netflix

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A Temp Job To The Gas Chamber Decoded

Please read From Temp Work To The Gas Chamber before reading this post (if you haven’t already)  for it will make more sense.

I HAVE DREAMS, DREAMS TO REMEMBER

I believe strongly in dreams and meanings they hold. When I have a specific dream, such as the one told in the previous post, I try to remember as much as I can, but mostly the symbol in the dream. Most the time, the symbol without the “what was happening at the time” don’t do much for understanding the dream. But sometimes symbols without the why or where can explain a lot.

Not very often can I write down my dream in such a manner in which a story is being told. Most of the time, I remember fragments of the dream and try to piece together the meaning from what I remember. However, with this one, it was detailed and I was afforded an opportunity to write down every detail. I looked up the meaning of the blue dress, but it did not fit into my situation at the present time, therefore, I have omitted from this post. All other aspects of the dream will be mentioned here.

BACKSTORY FOR THE FRONT STORY

There’s a funny line in The Lion King in which Timon says,


via Giphy

But we all know that Pumba gets it mixed up and says, “put your past in your behind“. I actually like this one better. Anyloo. Last year I left a good company. The job was umph, but the company was a good company to work for and stay at. I left because I felt the position wasn’t going anywhere, especially with the change that took place in my department. I have tried to put this past in my behind, but it seems to haunt me everyday. Everyday I fail at getting a certain job, I’m reminded of how I should have stayed and toughed it out.

It’s been over a year (I left the company in May 2016) and I’m still haunted by my decision. Now I’m at another work decision making crossroad and I believe this where the dream came from.

SYMBOLISM AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I visit www.dreammoods.com quite often to decipher my dreams. It’s been pretty accurate in the six years I’ve visited the site to clarification on my dreams. The symbols and meanings written here come straight from the site. Most have been edited for a lot of the interpretation does not apply to my situation at the time, but as a whole, they give a clear picture of my inner struggle. What I write in italics are my thoughts on the dream’s symbols.

Job

To dream that you are looking for a job suggests that you are feeling unfulfilled and frustrated in a current phase of your life.

If you are currently unemployed, but dream that you have a job, then the dream may be one of encouragement of your job outlook. You need to remain motivated and don’t give up.

This one is interesting. Let’s take the first part. Yes, I am unfulfilled, but mostly with my current job. I should never have taken it, but what was told to me was not what was presented. What I applied for is not what I’m doing. I took a job many years ago in which it was a bait and switch job. I’ve fallen for the trap again. I’m starting to feel like I can’t get out. But the second part of the interpretation gives me hope. I do have to keep going. 

Post Office

To dream that you are in a post office signifies an important message from your subconscious or inner wisdom. It may relate to your need to reach out and communicate with others.

I’m not in a post office in my dream, but the next assignment is working in a post office. I still found this interpretation significant. I’m not one to reach out. I bottle things up, play the game and hope for the best. My current situation at work and the job has had me lose a lot of myself. I feel I’m getting dumber by the day. I’m in a role that is not for me and I should have never taken just because it was the only one presented to me. Sometimes when you’re looking for a way out, you walk blindly into a trap that, if you had your eyes open, you would seen it for what it was. Not only is love blind, but desperation is equally blind.

Time

To dream about time indicates your fears of not being able to cope with the pressures and stresses of everyday life. If time is flying or moving slowly, then it is analogous to aging and growing old.

This couldn’t be more truer than it is at this moment. And when I saw moment, I do mean this moment, as I’m typing and thinking. I feel like my life is wasting away. This all goes back to the bad decision I made last year. I know I should let it go, but that decision has caused nothing by a domino affect since.

To dream that you do not have enough time signifies stress, anxiety and fear. You may feel that time is running out in a business or personal matter.

This applies to both business (work) and personal.

Coat

To see or wear a coat in your dream symbolizes your protectiveness and defensive persona. You may be isolating yourself.

The coast was tweed/wool in my dream. These are two very strong materials.

To dream that a coat is old, worn, or shabby suggests that you are feeling down on yourself

Again, we go back to this applying to both work and personal. I bolded old due to the coast being from the 1950’s but it was in great shape. So it could that although I’m feeling down on myself, I’m still strong (tweed / wool).

Children

To see children in your dream signify an aspect of yourself and your childlike qualities. You may be retreating back to a childlike state and longing for the past. You are trying to still satisfy repressed desires and unfulfilled hopes. Perhaps there is something that you need to see grow and nurture. Take some time off and cater to the inner child within. Alternatively, the dream may be highlighting your innocence, purity, simplicity, and carefree attitude.

The older I get the more I do think about my childhood and how the decisions I’ve made many, many years ago could possibly be the reason I’m where I’m at now. I’ve never been good at making decisions for I leap blindly. I magnify the good in something without doing the same for the bad. Because I have realized this aspect of myself, now I spend too much time thinking about something. Over thinking to the point, I begin to see the good in what’s bad and the bad in what’s good. Oy vey!

Queen

To see a queen in your dream symbolizes intuition, personal growth, power and influence.

King

To see a king in your dream indicates that success and prestige are within reach. You will rise above your problems and adversities. The king is symbolic of power and control.

Since both were killed in my dream, this means everything I thought I had has died. I no longer hold what the king and queen represent in a dream in my waking life and soul. 

The king dying represents what I am feeling: a lost soul. Somewhere along the way, because of my bad decisions, I feel like I’m stuck walking in a circle and just when I see a way out, that door leads right back to the circle. 

Death

To dream of death, represents what I just said above regarding the king and queen and what they hold being dead or dying inside of me:

To see someone dying in your dream signifies that your feelings for that person are dead or that a significant change/loss is occurring in your relationship with that person.

I believe the person is me. I’ve lost me and I need to find me. This is one reason I stopped doing podcasts. Although I enjoyed doing them, they weren’t me. Writing is me. Expressing myself, as I am here, through written words is me. My goal is to get paid to write.

Game Show

To dream that you are on a game show suggests that you need to change some aspect of your life around. You may be experiencing feelings of uncertainty and what the future may hold. Consider the type of game show or the name of the game show. What are you playing for and what is its significance relative to your waking life

Regarding the game show; it was someone determining what happens to me, even if that person was a child. I need to stop letting others make decisions for me and I make my own. I need to make decisions for great good. I need to look at the long term goal instead of the short term stability.

Gas Chamber

To dream that you or someone is in the gas chamber suggests that you need to get rid of something in your life that is causing you much sickness, distress, or negativity. It is even harmful to your well-being.

There isn’t anything more I could add to this that I haven’t already said. This is so self explanatory, it might as well drop the mic and walk away.

 

via GIPHY

THE END RESULT

This dream has spoken to me like no other. I think the fact that I was able to remember so much signifies a great deal right there. The different symbols within the dream is basically telling me  to stop feeling sorry for myself, I have to put my past in my behind and decisions I’ve made in the past (even a year ago) don’t defy me today or tomorrow. I need to learn from them and move on. I need to take bigger risks and stop playing it safe so much. I may be older, but I’m not out. As long as I can get up in the mornings I have a chance at making things better for myself.

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From A Temp Job to the Gas Chamber: A Dream In Detail

TEMP JOB

I arrived home from a temp job I knew would be ending soon, but just didn’t know when. Earlier that day or evening (time seems to switch between the two without warning or justification), I had been talking with a friend of mine named Blair Warner who was looking for work. I had told her about these great temp jobs I was getting notices about. I told her mine would be ending soon and I should be getting a notice of the next job available. She asked that I bring her over the information once I received it.

As mentioned, I arrived home and in the mail on the kitchen table was noticed from the temp agency about a new job working in the post office. I thought this is a great job, especially for Blair. My parents were in the kitchen. My father was cooking dinner or breakfast, I don’t know which for time seems to slip between the morning and the evening throughout the duration of my day until the end.

IN A BUNDLE OF MAIL

As mentioned, my father was cooking and my mother was sitting at the counter. I was telling them both about Blair and how she needed a job and I would help her. I also mentioned that I should have received notice from the temp agency about the next up coming assignment. My father pointed to the notice in the bundle of mail laying on the counter next to the sink. When I opened it, I was right; the next job was working in a post office. I was ecstatic for two reasons. The job I told Blair that would be available did turn out to be that job. But also, I would be able to get Blair the job without any worries. I couldn’t wait to tell Blair, but I had to eat first.

I was sitting at the counter next to mother, who didn’t seem to speak much during this time, but my father did. While I was reading the job notice, he told me to read it again. It was like he knew something I didn’t. But how could he when the notice was sealed. I re-read the notice and it said at the top that my assignment had ended. It was a Wednesday. This gave me two days to apply for the new assignment at the post office.

KEEPING MY WORD

I debated if I should tell Blair about this job or not, as to eliminate competition. But I knew this wouldn’t be right, for I had promised her I would share what I received in the mail. I was going to keep my promise and share the information but it was every person for themselves on getting the job.

I don’t remember if I ate or not for the overwhelming thought of having to vie for another job was mostly on my mind, along with getting to Blair in time to tell her and then head the the selection process. Knowing what it entailed and I knew I wouldn’t have issues passing it, but having to stand in a long line, should I get there late, worried me. If I were to arrive late, what are the chances of them selecting someone in the line. These jobs weren’t that often and the process, as simple as it is, didn’t guarantee you the job. What made me confident is I had done such a great job for the company on my last assignment that just ended, I knew I wouldn’t have an issue getting this new one. The year was 2017 inside my house, but was mid 1940’s outside.

TELLING BLAIR ABOUT THE JOB

I did go see Blair as I promised and told her of the job. She was excited and thanked me. I don’t remember if I told her she had to go through the selection process nor what the selection process was or not, but I do remember leaving quite quickly without much fanfare. I wished her luck before disappearing into the day or night. Again, I don’t remember which it was at this time for time kept switching between the two and rather quickly.

I arrived at a building. A rather tall, big building, but was far away from it. It’s like walking to a concert or a show. You are in view of the building but yet still far away. There were people there already, mostly kids. They ranged from age 5 up to perhaps 11. I wasn’t phased by this revelation. I knew they were kids, but didn’t see them as such.

THE KING AND QUEEN

A black limousine pulled up and it was the king and queen. No, not of England, which is the reason I did not capitalize the letter of both king and queen. It was definitely the United States, but they were king and queen instead of President and First Lady and they weren’t our current President and First Lady.. They were of importance but we were not to capitalize king and queen when writing about them. I’m not sure why this is, but it was a rule de jure.

The king and queen looked so happy in the limousine. Smiling and waving at us. I was able to say Hi briefly before they were whisked away. It was OK with me for I didn’t want to waste time with them and lose my place in line. The further back in line you are, the less of a chance you have of getting a temp job or considered for one.

GAME SHOW SELECTION PROCESS

Time seemed to have jumped a great deal for the next thing I remember is being inside the room in which the selection process was to take place. The room was set up like a game show. There was an area in which six people were to stand. Three in the back and three in the front. These six were sure to get the temporary job. In the back of them were more people. These people were in line to get the next temp job to come a long. All others not selected were weren’t so lucky. The person making these decisions was a little girl of about six. I remember she was wearing a light blue dress with light blonde hair that was semi curly.

I had an old 1950’s wool/tweed over coat that had a belt which was tied not buckled in front. I’m not sure why I had on a man’s coat nor where I got it, but I do remember arriving home with it on and leaving with it. And now I was standing in line to be selected for this next temp job at the post office and I had the coat on and it was buttoned and tied.

I was about 20th in line. We were to watch videos being live streamed on various TV’s in this room while we waited out turn. They were particularly pleasant videos, but we were to watch. I remember one video showing the king and queen being tortured. They were in a room, tied up and being forced to drink some concoction. It was being poured down their throats and they were choking all the while. Afterwards they were sent down a shut but I don’t where they ended up. I just knew they were no more.

MOVING LINES AND CONFIDENCE

The line was moving rather quickly and I was confident I would be selected for a job. Since six had already been selected, I would be placed in the back for the next role that would come a long, and these jobs came along rather quickly. It was becoming close for me to walk across the stage, meet the little girl who made the selection and then take my seat among the rest of the potential candidates. As I walked towards her I untied my coast, preparing to take it off and claim my seat. I stood before her for perhaps a nano-second when she made her decision. I was about to walk towards the others sitting behind the six when it dawned on me what she said. She didn’t tell me I was selected. She told me I was going to the gas chamber. I stopped and looked at her and repeated her words for her to confirm, which she did. She then proceeded to the next candidate.

Choosing someone to live or die was nothing to this little girl. This was the game. If you received a notice in the mail about your next possible assignment, you still had to go through the selection process. Those who didn’t get either were sent directly in to the gas chamber. And this is where I woke up.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

As I do with all dreams, I try to remember it for verbatim. But as with all dreams, we can’t remember every detail a few minutes after we wake up. Sometimes not even a few seconds after waking up. However, I didn’t want this to happen with this dream. I felt the significance of the entire time shouldn’t be lost to me. The reason being is I believe strongly in dreams. They tell us what we want to know and we don’t want to know. They reveal to us what we are hiding from ourselves.

When I have a dream in which I remember certain things from it, I immediately look up the symbolism on a site called Dream Moods. I’ve been using this site for quite some time and so far it’s been accurate in decoding my dreams. If there’s a site you use, please let me know what it is so I may explore it as well.

I will post the meaning to this dream tomorrow. In the meantime, what vivid dreams have you had and what were the meanings, if you believe in dreams. If you don’t believe in dreams, why? I would really like to know.

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Quitting My Job to Save My Soul: Sometimes You Have To Jump

“Risk means everything from being honest about your faith, to moving, to quitting a job that’s paying you a fortune but it’s not what’s in your heart. Risking things is one of the biggest fears we have.” John Tesh

Quitting My Job to Save Your Soul and Mind

One of the hardest decision to make in life is quitting a job. It may not seem difficult to some, but it was a hard decision for me because I would losing the paycheck I had grown accustomed to. However, I found I was losing my soul by remaining at company I no longer enjoyed working at. Feeling my soul dying each day was not worth the paycheck. In May 2016, I quit my job (I had a part-time job lined up that didn’t work out but for other reasons) and I have never regretted the decision.

These past three months I have reflected on my decision and I’m happy I made the jump. The jump did lead to a bad decision (a bad job decision) that I quickly got myself out of, but so goes life.

Luis D. Ortiz Quitting the Real Estate Business

I am a fan of ‘reality’ TV. I thoroughly enjoy SurvivorAmazing RaceBig Brother and many others. One of my favorite ‘reality’ shows  is Million Dollar Listing: New York on BravoTV. In the finale episode of Season 5, called Seaportlandia, Luis D. Ortiz decided that working in real estate is not for him and decides to quit. Oh, how I applauded Luis’s decision and hoped he goes through with it.

Luis rose up in the ranks of the real estate world without having a college degree. He’s been in the real estate business for about eight years,and reached the heights of selling million dollar houses and buildings (penthouses and apartments) on his own through hard work and determination.  In a previous episode titled Real Men Wear Pink…Tutus, he was speaking to an agent who had been in the real estate business for 25 years. This really made Luis think about his life and if he really wanted to be working in real estate when he’s 50.

In the finale episode he finally figured out what’s been bothering him for all these months. Speaking to the camera, Luis stated that something has been bothering him for months but he couldn’t figure out what it was until he spoke to the agent at the open house who had been in real estate for 25 years. Luis realized his heart is no longer in real estate. I can relate to what Luis is feeling and going through.

A good portion of my life I wanted to get into IT and I finally got there. But now I’ve realized my heart isn’t in it. My heart has always been in doing something creative and making a living from it, whether it’s music, writing or acting. I feel no sense of accomplishment unless I have done something creative.

When the Money Isn’t Worth it

I left a fairly good paying IT job to go back to the administrative field, but that didn’t work out either, for the admin field has changed a lot since I was in it four years ago. To make the money I am used to making, I’m going back into the IT world; it’s also the place I’m comfortable in. However, my heart lies in the creative world, so I’ve decided that I’m going to make the most of the free time I have now (for there’s a reason I have this free time) and look into doing what I really want, which is something creative and get paid for it. I don’t want to reveal too much here for you should never tell anyone your goals.

As I am writing this post, I am watching the last few minutes of the finale of Million Dollar Listing via Xfinity On Demand. There is a scene in which Luis meets with a very high end developer he was working with to tell him he sold an apartment in his (the developer’s) apartment. This apartment was a test to see if Luis was the right fit to sell the other apartments in the building, and because of the sell, the developer wants Luis to sell the other apartments. I was hoping Luis would not go back on his plans to leave real estate just for that last hurrah of making a lot of money off the sale. Again, I can relate.

Sometimes, money looks that good you are willing to sacrifice your happiness, even for a moment, for the mean, mean green. I was fearful Luis would see green and decide to stay in real estate, but Luis did my heart proud when he turned down the offer. Luis knew for sure he was making the right decision by walking away from real estate. He also knew his assistance Ronita (who is also into real estate) would be perfect for the job and told the developer so. Luis is moving on, while Ronita is moving up. At time goes on, Luis will feel even better about his decision and realize that quitting the real estate business was the right choice for him.

Quitting something you’ve worked hard for is a hard thing to do, especially when you had to work harder than those who have gone to college in the same respective field. I questioned leaving the IT field many a times because it became a security blanket for me. But if you settle, knowing your heart isn’t in it, you are doing yourself a disservice. Life is about risks and you have to take them once in a while or you don’t grow and you don’t learn and you may not get to live your dream.

Quitting doesn’t mean giving up. It just means you have realized you’ve reached a brick wall that is not worth the effort to knock down. Once you come to this brick wall, you will learn what is important to you and what you are willing to fight for.

This episode of Million Dollar Listing affirmed my decision to pursue my dream and not let anything or anyone stop me.

Every Successful Person in the World Has Jumped

After taping an episode of Family Feud, Steve Harvey takes a moment to speak to the audience about anything. Sometimes it gets taped and other times it doesn’t. This one particular time it was taped. Before I continue, I want to say this; I believe everything happens for a reason. It took me an x amount of years and plenty of dark days to realize this. Once I came to that realization, I’ve relaxed a bit more. I don’t worry less, but I’m more relaxed.

As mentioned, the cameras were rolling while Mr. Harvey was speaking to the audience and he was talking about Jumping. Taking a chance by jumping off a cliff to pursue what you want in life. Taking that risk. It’s best heard from Mr. Harvey than me writing out what he said. Enjoy the video and let it sink in. I watched this about three months ago and it affects me today.

Thank you Mr. Steve Harvey for giving me the courage to jump of a cliff, that I’m still jumping off of, to pursue what I want to do in life.

Thank you Luis D. Ortiz for jumping off a cliff as I am jumping off a cliff. The fall will be long, but the landing will be soft.

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Celebrity Meet and Greets: Game Faces and Fandom

I have never been to a celebrity meet and greet for I have never had the inclination to do so. Although I know I’m one of thousand of faces the celebrity sees, I would like to be the one that stands out at a meet and greet and I know that will never happen, so why go?

That was then, this is now. Now my thoughts on meet and greets have changed from said mentioned to I definitely never would attend a meet and greet, and here’s why.

Like any job that anybody does, when you show up for work you have a game face and attitude you have to put on for those in front of you. You have to pretend you like being there until it’s time to leave then you can cuss the place and people out as you’re leaving the parking lot. I’m sure celebrities do the same thing. But I digress.

I’ve had my share of meet and greets via a job I had back in 2004/2005 in which I worked as a Receptionist at a local television station. The television station had a Sunday morning show (I was once on the show, as well, and it was a great experience) and that’s how I met all the celebrities because they would come in on either Wednesday or Thursdays mornings to tape. The station was located on the third (reception and newsroom along with the sales department and fourth floor (fourth being where they taped everything and tech support department was located). The celebrities would have to stop at my desk for me to page whomever they were there to see, so I got my first look at how they really were because they are not there in front of a crowd of people and basically, they are being their true selves from the time they approached my desk to the time they disappear with their contact at the station.

I have good encounters, great encounters, not so good encounters and terrible encounters.

The good
Carson Kressley – Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
Queen Noor of Jordan
Barbara Santana – Santana’s ex-wife
Tracy Chapman
Chuck D from Public Enemy – talked to him for an hour
Terry Bradshaw – gives the best hugs
Macaulay Culkin

The greatest encounter
Smokey Robinson – this one will require a YouTube video to explain my experience – but we talked for half hour

No so good / Horrible
Suzy Orman – very unpleasant personJesse Jackson

Horrible
No name country singer. To this day I can’t listen to her music because of the bad experience I had with her.

When I was a freelance writer, during that time, I interviewed three people for a magazine I wrote for and of the three, Jennifer Beals and Terence Blanchard were my favorites because they behaved as they should have, like normal people. Jennifer’s phone number showed up on my caller ID as did Blanchard’s. Beal’s interview lasted 30 minutes although I asked for only 15 minutes and Blanchard’s lasted an hour. I had more in common with Blanchard as we are both musicians, but both were an absolute pleasure to interview and speak with.

I understand even celebrities have their bad/tired days with all the traveling they do and many, many people they probably meet in a day, but that does not excuse rude behavior when you are a guest in someone’s place of business.

Seeing how they behaved on taping day prior to taping and seeing how they are when the show airs is amazing. Those that were rude or unfriendly coming in only to see them smiling and giving their best face while taping shows they know when and how to turn it on. This goes back to the meet and greets. Meet and greets is a job to some celebrities. There are some that arrange them because they do want to thank their fans for being supportive for if it wasn’t for the fans the celebrity would not be where they are today. But then you have those that do it because they have to.

Back in 2014 Braden wrote an article titled It’s not you, it’s me: the truth about celebrity meet and greets – Baewatch in which describes what a meet and greet is and gives examples of how some celebrities are at these events.

The real truth about celebrity meet and greets is we are meeting our own imaginary, mythic person who lets us be who we really want to be. Meeting a celebrity is not about them; it’s about us.”

Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne ranked up there as awkward meet and greets in which taking a picture with them requires you to stand a couple of feet apart from them.

Lada Gaga will spend up to two hours with a fan one on one and Dolly Parton enjoys the meet and greets because, “It’s a relief, but don’t you think it almost becomes like an addiction too? They get addicted to that feeling. It’s almost like how people will fall in love over and over just so they can have that feeling again. With a real fan, they have those moments that make them feel that. Maybe a different moment at every concert. Some of these fans have seen my concerts over and over, even know every word I’m gonna say, every note I’m gonna play,  every joke I’m going to tell, but they’ll still find something new I’ll do in every show…. It’s almost like they wait for those little magic moments. I feel it from the crowd, too, which then gives me a rush.” 

“It has nothing to do with me. I’m distracting them, while they heal themselves.” (Meet and Greets)

Unfortunately, not all celebrities feel the same way as Lada Gaga or Dolly Parton.

Since my encounter with celebrities I no longer have a need or a want to run up to one and praise them and there’s nothing wrong with doing that at all.

I think meet and greets is a great way for fans to meet their favorite celebrity or singer and it gives the celebrity or singer a chance to meet their fans. The encounter may be for 1 minute or 1 hour; you never know and I definitely will never know, but I would like to hear stories from you on your meet and greets with celebrities or singers. It doesn’t have to be the formal ones. It can be someone you randomly saw and met.

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ifetime Movie: Cold Spring (Contains Spoilers) [Movie Review]

The Plot: After losing her baby when she’s hit by a car, a couple decides to move to Cold Spring in hopes of a new start.

The Players:
Roy: Sean Patrick Flanery (Powder, The Boondock Saints, Suicide Kings)
Sarah: Natasha Henstridge (Species)
Diane: Jennifer Gibson: (Maps to the Stars)

What Happened: Roy (Flanery) is a lawyer who is stepping out on his wife with Diane. While moving into a house with the help of Diane, Roy gets a phone call from his wife Diane (Henstridge). She tells him that she’s on her way home and would like for them to have lunch together. Roy hears an ambulance in the background but also in real time which causes him to believe his wife is closer than he thinks and his fears are confirmed when he looks out the window and see’s his wife across the street walking towards the house. He tries to divert her from the house by asking her to get a table at a nearby restaurant and he will be there shortly to which she agrees. Just as they are to hang up from each other he hears her scream and fall into traffic and get hit by car. Fast forward a few weeks later we learn that she has lost the baby. A doctor doing a home visit prescribes her medication and tells her that in time she will get over the lost.

I can’t remember how it came about but Roy is advised to move him and his wife from New York to Cold Spring, a very small town in which Sarah can get the peace and quiet she needs and it will be a great place for them to start their lives over again. Roy wants to move there to get away from Diane as well who won’t leave him alone. Since the accident Roy has become more attentive to his wife and does not want to have anything to do with Diane.

During their time in Cold Spring Sarah is having dreams of a four year old boy as well as of being killed or attempted murder on herself, while Roy thinks he’s seeing Diane about town. Each instances is not really happening.

What’s REALLY Happening: The boy Sarah is dreaming about belongs to Diane (whom was killed by Sarah but not on purpose*). The boy is not Roy’s but a child Diane had with her former boyfriend who was abusive to both Diane and the boy. The boyfriend beat the boy so bad he put him in a coma. Roy is not aware that his former girlfriend is dead until the end of the movie when the boyfriend takes Sarah hostage and lures Roy to the hide out so he can witness the boyfriend kill Sarah. It’s Diane’s boyfriend how pushed Sarah into traffic in hopes of killing her but since that didn’t happen he decided to kidnap her with the goal of killing her.

*Diane arrived at Roy’s house (when they lived in New York) and encounters his wife. She (Diane) tries to play off by saying she has the wrong place and as she’s leaving Sarah tells her not to ever come back. Diane somehow ends up in the house (I never understood how that happened) and as Sarah is running upstairs, Diane follows her and that’s when Sarah pushed Diane while telling her to get out of her house. Diane hits her head against the banister and dies. Sarah moves Diane’s body to an alley to look like she got mugged while burying her purse in a field or her backyard.

The Good: The plot and story-line was a good one. I enjoyed the mystery behind the strange dreams Sarah was having and the meaning behind the boy she kept seeing in her dreams.

The Bad: The chemistry between Flanery and Henstridge was not there at all. I really don’t think Henstridge was feeling the roll as Flanery was while Flanery’s acting was sub-par. His best work was in Powder (1995) and The Boondock Saints. The interaction between the two seemed forced and took away from the movie a bit. I got the feeling that Henstridge didn’t want Flanery near her and seemed annoyed by him. Flanery seemed to try to hard and possibly at times was over thinking his acting and movements.

The detective (who’s name I don’t remember and he’s not listed in the cast credits on imdb.com) was absolutely horrible. He used the vocal fry tone when talking which is so damn annoying. I’m not sure if he thought it sounded cool or what. And if he thought it sounded cool, like he was a hip detective, I wonder where he got the idea from.
Here’s a video about Vocal Fry

The boyfriend was just as bad as the detective in his attempt to act and sound threatening. He over emphasized his threats to Sarah and the looks on his face (which were meant to be mean looks) were of a joke. The look of fear on Henstridge’s face I think were more towards her fear of having to deal with this no-acting ass clown than the threats he was supposed to be giving her. The speech he was giving Sarah was something along the lines of leading a lamb to slaughter with Sarah being the lamb. Oy vey.

At the building where Sarah is being held, the cops see Roy through a window yet it took them almost 10 minutes to get to him. This threw me for a loop and had me lose a little bit of what was going on because I was trying to come up with excuses on why it was taking the cops so long to get inside and rescue Roy and his wife. Obviously the delay so more dramatic interactions between Roy, the boyfriend and Sarah could be played out, but they could have done this by switching between the scenes going on inside the building and the cops racing to get there. Oy vey once again.

The Ugly: There really isn’t any ugly to this movie. As mentioned it had a good story line and plot, but the chemistry between Flanery and Henstridge just wasn’t there and it was quite obvious. Sometimes, bad chemistry between actors can take away from the movie and cause the viewer to lose interest. I stayed because I wanted to know the meaning of Sarah’s dreams as well as get answers to a myriad of other things going on. I was getting a bit nervous that this was all going to be a supernatural thing, but it wasn’t. Whew!

Trivia: The house in the movie is the same house used in Cold Creek Manor (I shrugged my shoulders because I’ve seen nor heard of Cold Creek Manor).

As with most movies, towns are made up. But in this case there really is a Cold Spring, NY:

“The historic Village of Cold Spring is a small community in southeastern New York that is situated on the east bank of the Hudson River only fifty miles north of Manhattan.  It is one of two incorporated Villages within the Town of Philipstown in Putnam County. The Village occupies 0.6 square miles across the river from the United States Military Academy at West Point in the most scenic region of the Hudson Highlands” (read more here-> Cold Spring, NY)

Cold Spring
2013
Director: Sheldon Wilson –
Writer: Irvin Belateche
Starring (probably with regret): Natasha Henstridge, Sean Patrick Flanery

Drama, Mystery, Suspense

Currently showing on the Lifetime Movie Club app available for download in the Google Play store or App Store.

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