Monday, August 30, 2010

Movie Review: Warlords

This post is a reaction to The Warlords, starring Jet Li. **SPOILER ALERT**

All my life I have always been interested in all of my genealogical blood lines. China has been my muse as of late mostly because it is the largest gap I have in my family history. My great grandfather was pure Chinese. He made his way to Hawai'i on a ship delivering sugar cane workers. My grandfather's brother recounted that he arrived in Honolulu and gambled much of the time. He made his way to Kaua'i following the horse races and there met my great grandmother, a pure Hawaiian. They married or co-habitated -- I'm unsure if they ever married -- and produced my grandfather and his siblings. My Chinese bloodline stops at him. Now that I'm back in Hawai'i I can attempt to locate a ship manifest to make the connection back to China. Thus, all things Chinese has been my biggest interest.

Enter the movie, The Warlords.

The Warlords tells a universal story about war. Set in China with the Imperial Ching Army being the bad guys and the Taiping rebels being the good. The best stories are always about "the little guy" victoring over the giant. Jet Li's character is the central character of the story and starts out as a general in the Imperial Army. He joins the rebellion after being betrayed by another general. He merges with two men from a village to create a brotherhood. They enter into a blood oath to always defend each other OR kill each other for betraying the oath. The movie follows the battles that are led by the brotherhood. Their ruthlessness and determination separates them from the rest of the armies. In the beginning, the brotherhood serves their collective desires to raise their families and their village from the depths of poverty. By the ending, their brotherhood unravels as Jet Li's character is lured into his own self-serving desires.

A particular point in the movie caught my attention and has left me somewhat dazed. I can't seem to describe the stupor I was in after this particular scene. One of the 'brothers' goes into the biggest city and single-handedly conquers it by attempting to form an alliance. What happens instead is a one-on-one combat between the 'brother' and the ruler of the city. The ruler of the city gracefully sacrifices himself to save the lives of his subjects, knowing full well that they will be massacred if he didn't. The ruler does it upon one condition -- that the 'brotherhood' spare the lives of the civilians as well as his soldiers. 'Brother' agrees and gives his word that he will keep his promise and the ruler dies by the sword.

Brother leads the civilians of the great city out and returns to the Taiping army having conquered the city by killing the ruler. He is burdened by the committment that he had made to the ruler but intends to keep the promise he had made. Jet Li's character, in savage yet calculated fashion, rounds up the army of the great city and locks them into the city. Jet Li has intentions of killing the entire army of the great city rather than merging. He points out the limited resources that are available for their own army. It would be impossible to feed, house, and outfit the new soldiers without taking from their own soldiers. The Brother asserts his promise to the ruler and pleads mercy upon the conquered army. Jet Li refuses and annihilates the conquered army. Brother is defeated and completely broken by his inability to keep a promise that he had made... even if the promise was made to an enemy.

Perhaps it was the brilliant acting by Brother or the recognition of similar moments in my life that enchanted me. Perhaps a combination of both. Either way, to be placed in such a precarious position to respect the blood oath that was made between Brother and Jet Li or to maintain personal integrity by keeping a committment that has been made. What a decision! The remainder of the movie is spent watching the brotherhood unravel.

How similar life is. One compromise. One single moment of inability to maintain integrity leads to the demise of a fabulous partnership. Life is strewn with single moments of errors and in the end, it's totally up to you and up to me whether we remain in error or reconcile our life fully. Whatever bugs you can be overcome and conquered. Broken agreements can be rectified and begins with forgiving yourself of the misdeed and vowing to never do it again.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quick Quote Economics

The following quote is something to think about. Most of us are so "caught up" in our own lives, we never look at the big-picture-of-it-all to see how the powers-that-be manipulate us. Once a person becomes aware of the manipulation, he or she can then adjust and manipulate their lives accordingly.

Adam Smith surmised, and future theorists of the "dismal science" of economics confirmed it, that the free market required a pool of unemployed workers at the "bottom" of the economic scale in order to keep wages down.

I interpret this to mean that the larger the "bottom" class of people, the more rich the aristocrats are. Thus, eliminating the middle class and forcing a different economic system on the people. There is no longer a free market (capitalism) but a socialist one.

Soemthing to think about... when you listen to the evening news.... but more importantly.... something to think about when you vote this November!


Quote Source:
Clancy Martin & Robert C. Solomon; Above the Bottom Line; Wadsworth; Belmont, CA; 2004

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blog Challenge Coming

For faithful bloggers... here's a challenge that will help you in topic selection.

I have probably talked about all the topics on here before but I'm sure there's more to be told, more to be purged from the recesses of my mind! I am going to start this on September 1st, 2010. I wonder -- are any of you up for the challenge?

Day 01 – Introduce yourself
Day 02 – Your first love
Day 03 – Your parents
Day 04 – What you ate today
Day 05 – Your definition of love
Day 06 – Your day
Day 07 – Your best friend
Day 08 – A moment
Day 09 – Your beliefs
Day 10 – What you wore today
Day 11 – Your siblings
Day 12 – What’s in your bag
Day 13 – This week
Day 14 – What you wore today
Day 15 – Your dreams
Day 16 – Your first kiss
Day 17 – Your favorite memory
Day 18 – Your favorite birthday
Day 19 – Something you regret
Day 20 – This month
Day 21 – Another moment
Day 22 – Something that upsets you
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry
Day 25 – A first
Day 26 – Your fears
Day 27 – Your favorite place
Day 28 – Something that you miss
Day 29 – Your aspirations
Day 30 – One last moment

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random Produce Gifts

I love being home in the islands. The last three days, I have come home to find fresh produce on the doorstep. Being that I do most of the cooking, I'm always appreciative of gifts. What makes it even more exceptional is that I have no idea who the generous givers are.

Day 1, the watermelon fairy stopped by with two gorgeous offerings. If I knew how to make otai really well, I would have made some. Instead, we opted for watermelon juice. It was delicious! Thanks to Facebook and friends who have thanked their watermelon fairy publicly, I surmise that their fairy is my fairy also. Thank you, Brother O!

Day 2, we came home to find a gigantic long squash. Actually, "someone" dropped it off with the neighbor to give to us. Sweet! I think I'll make an Asian dish with this squash. It always reminds me of my grandmother on my father's side. She used squash in many of her soups and stir fry dishes. I have a good idea who the Bearer of the Long Squash is. He gave me a squash about the same time last year. Sometimes, the 'hardest' men are soft and gooey on the inside. Thank you, Uncle Tommy!

Day 3, the apple-banana queen made a showing. On our doorstep was a plastic bag full of apple-banana's, which is my mother's favorite. We're still enjoying these delicious little offerings! I'm not sure who brought this by and I can't even tell you that I have a clue who it is. There are no leads on this one.

I'm sure this happens all over the world especially in little towns. For me, I'm just glad to be home... happy that I get to enjoy random produce gifts!

I've been meaning to start my garden again. Since fruits and vegetables can be started at anytime here, I don't really have to wait for spring. My favorite thing to grow are green beans or bush beans. They produce so quickly. I'm always amazed at how fast they blossom. This time I'm also going to plant some mustard cabbage. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Birthday Review

Every year I seem to extend the birthday celebration beyond August 4th. I went through a phase where I didn't really want to spend time with anyone on my day. I just wanted to lounge and DO NOTHING or if I wanted to shop, I wanted to do it in peace and quiet. This year, that changed.

August 4th came so quickly. In an instant, I turned 35 years old. We had plans to go to Best Buy to pick up my birthday gift from the husband, a Nikon D5000. That didn't quite pan out as I had hoped. Husband felt the need to invite the Jehovah Witnesses in. Normally, this is not a problem at all for me. I enjoy a robust conversation about religion. This time around though, the women that came to the door did not come to share a message of hope, or love, or peace. They came to condemn me and my house for our belief system. I was very disappointed with that. The experience stayed with me for several days. Actually, it still comes to mind. I think of how limited their view is of the eternities. **sigh**

We went joy riding EVERYWHERE and ended up back home with plans of ending the day and evening at Dave and Busters, dinner at Buca Di Beppo's. That too didn't quite pan out as I had intended but I'm a firm believer that nothing is random. As we were readying to head out the door, I just had a funny feeling. I stalled for a good hour before we finally left the house. As we rounded the bend around Mokoli'i (Chinaman's Hat), going toward Kaneohe, the cars were beginning to back up. Indeed, just three cars ahead of us was a terrible accident. It was a brand new accident -- an accident I know I was spared from because I had stalled at home that extra hour. I was not disappointed at all to have to turn around and go home. Instantly, I thought of calling my cousin who works as a server at The Palm Terrace. I was glad to hang with my husband, my two sisters -- Michelle (and her boyfriend) and Marie.

So August 4th happened to be on a Wednesday. Saturday came along and my dear, sweet cousin Mahea took me and the fam parasailing. It was the most beautiful day ever and such a wonderful, wonderful experience!!
Super exciting day! The adrenalin was far too much for such a peaceful experience.

I'm not sure if the terror is apparent on my face. I was absolutely terrified but excited at the same time.

That's me in the air... flying high in the sky. 

Thank You Mahealani (the girl with the shaka) -- the most resourceful girl ever... especially when it comes to ocean activities.

So the birthday festivities did not end there. I got two pairs of earrings... gorgeous, gorgeous Polynesian jewelry using traditional materials in new ways. The end of the festivities were tickets for the husband and I to The Shaq All Star Comedy Show. The Hawai'i show was hosted by Charlie Murphy (Eddie Murphy's brother). First comic up was Aries Spears -- who was, by far, the funniest comedian of the night. I really thought I was going to pee in my pants. Second comic was Deray Davis. He took a little while to get into his groove but once he got going -- he was funny. The final comedian was D.L. Hughley and he sucked the big one! I am not a fan of D.L. and seeing him live CONFIRMED it. uggghhhh!!!
Husband and I after the show... so high from laughing so hard. It was like there was laughing gas in the room. Comedians were raunchy as heck but... laughing that hard felt so good!

These were the sponsors of the evening. Mr. and Mrs. Slack -- Thank you mucho!! These are the two that just got home from Iraq.... welcomed them home just a week or two before the show.

So finally, my birthday celebration has come to an end. I'm super excited about this 35th year. I'm ready for whatever is coming my way. Thank you, Lord, for my beautiful family, for my health and strength, for the abundance I enjoy, for true friends, for LOVE!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

TMI: Hairy... continued

Congratulate me. I did it! I didn't chicken out from going to my first laser hair removal treatment. I got there about 15 minutes early. I was super nervous. I checked in with the receptionist. She was not as friendly as the first receptionist I met when I went for a consultation but the technician more than made up for it.

How the procedure works...
1. The area that will be treated is iced for 5-10 minutes.
2. She starts blasting away at the hair

I have to say that the upper lip was the most painful part. Other than that -- it was all good. The sensation feels like a pin prick but if you're iced up really good, it's not bad at all. I'm glad I did it and I'm counting on the results to be fabulous. As for right now, Chewbacca has less hair than me. Kidding... but it sure does feel that way!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TMI: Hairy

I've been talking about it for years and I'm finally going to do it. I am going through with laser hair removal treatment. It's a cosmetic, outpatient procedure stretched out over several months. My first treatment is today. I'm kinda nervous but so ready to do this. I pluck, wax, and nair and just can't keep up with the facial hair.

The facial hair is totally hormonal and is one of the symptoms of my infertility woes. Apparently, my body does not produce enough progesterone to stave off the effects of the testosterone thus... facial hair. I've been putting this off for so long but I finally made the time to do it. I wish I started earlier.

Here's the crazy thing: while getting treatment, I CANNOT pluck, nair, or wax. The only thing I can do is shave. Uggghhhh!!!! Shaving on women is so unattractive. It makes a woman's face look all masculine. But at this point, I don't really care! I'll be glad with the final results. After the first treatment, I have to allow the hair to fall out on its own. The hair will continue to grow until the follicle dies. I feel like going into hibernation for a couple months. (I'm glad I'm not working yet.)

The technician I consulted with advised that I come for my follow-up treatments every six weeks. If I could, I'd do it every four weeks. I'm just really ready to get this done and over with. Send me good vibes!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dear Soldier, Welcome Home! Love, Me

I complain so often about the government and the powers-that-be but I am truly grateful to have been born under the premise of freedom. The other night I was able to welcome my "sister" (she's actually my cousin but we are truly sisters in every sense of the word) back home from Iraq. Though we differ greatly on U.S. policy and the big picture of it all, we are endeared! She spent the last year in Iraq and I was able to send her snail-mail letters throughout her deployment. She didn't have much time to respond except in lengthy emails. I didn't mind at all as I considered it a privilege to be able to support her, long distance. A few days later, we welcomed her husband home. It was an awesome experience. I'm glad we were able to be there.

I absolutely love having someone to write real letters to. There's just nothing like pretty Hallmark cards and beautiful stationery. I don't think many people in my generation still appreciate that kind of aesthetic. I remember when Husband served in Iraq, I wrote him every single day. Husband went to Iraq as part of a rear detachment. In other words, the unit he was sent to had already been in Iraq for a couple of months. He said that when he arrived at the unit, he was already overflowing with letters from me. People in his unit that didn't know him were wondering who SGT WILLIAMS was because he had received so many letters.

I have an entire binder of my letters to him. In fact, he has a few letters that he didn't open just because there were so many of them. In the fast pace of today's world, there is no cooling off period or waiting time. It's like society has become a hustle and bustle of "i-want-it-now" people. I catch myself being the same way also and I have to remind myself that nothing is ever that urgent. Well, at least the acquisition of "stuff" is not urgent.

I just think that there is so much to be said about correspondence. In one of my favorite movies, Sex and the City: The Movie (Widescreen Edition) Kerry, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, mentions to Mr. Bigg about all the great love letters written by men. She's wondering what he would say, if he ever wrote a letter to her.

When husband was in Iraq, he sent me the sweetest letters. We had only been married a month when he got shipped out to the big sandbox in the Middle East. The timeline of our relationship goes like this...
April 2003, we meet.
June 2003, he gets orders to be stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas and leaves Hawai'i.
August 2003, we rendezvous in Alabama and "break up" for good.
September 2003, he proposes. I reject.
November 2003, we marry in Illinois.
December 2003, he's off to Iraq.
It's pretty amazing to see the progression of our relationship. Here we are, nearly 7 years into our marriage. The growth that has occurred as a couple and as individuals is astounding. I thank the Heavens for giving us the strength to see it through.

Anyway, as I was saying -- his letters were so sweet. We barely knew each other. The depth of our love now blows away the 'high school crush' status we had when we first got married. I remember when I attended his welcome home ceremony upon his return from Iraq, I was so excited to see him. I remember seeing him walk in. I had the biggest smile on my face and fluttering butterflies in my belly. I still feel like that when I look at my husband... sometimes. LOL

At the house I had spelled out "I <3 You" on the floor with Hershey Kisses and a sign on the door that said... "Now that I've kissed the ground that you walk on...etc. etc." It opened up to our bed all made up and a little basket of "stuff". It was cute. I'm grateful for all that time apart. It was an experience. Reuniting was magical and all the insecurity of being apart for so long had dissipated.

The time apart seemed to have endeared us to each other. He knew that I loved him... loved him enough to write him every single day. Every couple of weeks I'd send him a goody box also. I don't think anyone else wrote him, no one from his family even dropped him a line. Sad. For Valentines I sent him a candy-gram. (I have a picture of it somewhere but I'm too lazy to dig it out.) Husband's superior wanted to meet me because he had never ever seen a candy-gram and was intrigued by my creativity. LOL... this stuff is so common around home base. At the end of the day though, I was just glad to have my husband home, all in one piece.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Situation #9

Why do men, after breaking up with a girl, try to go after her best friend? I understand the reasoning behind it, but why cause more drama? It's down-low DIRTY!

Back a few years, I was placed in this situation. A man tried to get at me as soon as my girl dumped him. And it wasn't an ugly break up. At least, I didn't think so. I thought she handled it well. She didn't cheat on him. She didn't give him some lame excuse about not being in love or whatever. The odds just weren't in their favor to continue the relationship so she thought it better to dissolve the relationship. He agreed and went on his merry way.

I know he was banking on the fact that I'd tell her that he tried to get at me. But I kept all of it to myself. Til this day, she still doesn't know. What good could come of me telling her that her ex pursued me as soon as she cut him loose? I handled myself well. I shook his little antics off and didn't even entertain the thought. I was highly irritated that he even stepped to me in that manner.

Anyway, I was thinking about this particular situation because dude popped up outta the blue. I'm astounded! He'll be here sometime in the near future and wants to take all of us out to dinner, including our significant others. How foul is that? Sick! I had to tell husband about it just to put him on notice that a fool was coming to town. There's no guarantee that I'll even run into him. The thought makes my stomach turn.

Prior to my girl and dude breaking up, he and I were like "peas in a pod". We had loads of fun together. We got along great. He was like a brother to me. Thats why I was really disappointed when he tried to come at me so azz-backwards. After that whole cherade, we lost touch. Strange how he's popping up now. We'll see how it all turns out!

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Rose in the Center of the Junkyard

How did I stumble upon the rose that grows in the center of the junkyard?
I knew there had to be some beauty out there
I just didn't think I'd ever find you...
Under such strange circumstances
For the rest of my life, you will be the one I will dream of going home to
You have the shoulders I wish to lean on when I'm feeling weak
The arms that I wish could keep me warm in a deep winter storm
The eyes that lead to heaven...
A deeper heaven than I could ever imagine

You are my precious, precious rose that grows in the center of the junkyard
You possess a beauty that all admire, yet few are able to behold
The stars were looking out for me when they sent you my way
And I am grateful that you chose to share your time with me
Blessed that I can occupy the space next to you every now and again
Blessed that I can hear your voice at the other end of the phone line
Blessed to kiss your face and shiver at your touch

See, my prince, my rose that grows in the center of the junkyard
I will remember you when my eyes grow dim and my walk falters
When my children and my children's children are running circles around me
I will remember you
When my hair turns silver and my shake in my booty is just a shift
I will remember you
Just KNOW that you have changed my world and made it better

And for whatever time I have left with you...
Let us keep it beautiful

* * * * * * * * * *

I wrote this poem for a dear friend -- one of the biggest crushes I have ever had. He and I had a short, most exciting romance. He came to me at a time when I was most vulnerable. I was committed to another yet I continued to see him. I spoke of him in my Prototype Post back in 2005. He is the one that reminded me of the late Tupac Shakur. We had the most fun. He's the guy I blogged about in my BP Fling episodes. He's a gem... a wonderful memory in the corners of my mind.... never to be forgotten!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

35 Years Toward Forever


I can honestly say that this past year, since last August 4th, has been one of the most difficult years of my life. Husband and I came very close to calling it quits and I am very grateful that we have emerged from beneath the "darkness", better partners. He is, truly, the most precious man on the planet. Through thick and thin, we are making it through -- together!

I don't have much planned for today. We will probably head out to the swapmeet. I'm going to purchase cheap fabric so I can brush up on my sewing skills. My sisters want to look around and the fella's are all aboard just for the "hell" of it. We'll probably round off the day just barbecuing at the house. I love that! I love to just sit around and play cards or dominoes and eat really good food.

Saturday is when the real celebration is supposed to start. Parasailing with the family!