I Don't Mom Like You

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I May Be a Hypocrite

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October 9th, 2013 Posted 10:00 am

Driving through town to pick up Jordan from an event at the library, Whisper and I were jamming out to the radio.  Really. Dancing, singing, letting our hair blow in the breeze.  We’re manic station flippers and were bouncing between stations, leaving the second we didn’t like what we heard.  For the most part, we agreed on the decisions we were making.

Until.

“If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say
If you can’t read from the same page.”

Ugh.  Whisper immediately starts singing along. Horrified, I immediately reach for the radio. I’ll admit, my sweet little princess threw a bit of a temper tantrum.  The song is catchy, but it’s not that good…  “We do NOT listen to that song.”  My rule: Forbidden Music.

Not too long ago, Eric set a similar rule.

“So la da di da di
We like to party
Dancing with Molly
Doing whatever we want
This is our house
This is our rules”

Yup. I like that one too.  In theory, I even like what it says. Short of that one little reference. You know the one, right? Well, that’s the one that moved it to the Forbidden Music list.

It’s a relatively short list. Two songs from all the decades of available music and they’re both current!  Amazing.

Just the other day, Jordan scolded me for not turning off the radio when the song, “Pumped Up Kicks” [Foster the People] came on.

The story of a high school student intending to take a gun to school and shoot his classmates…

“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”

 And then a favorite from a CD that Ravynn and I are both super fond of.

This is not a well adjusted relationship…

“I used to love her,
But I had to kill her
I had to put her six feet under
And I can still hear her complain”

Then this one. There really are no words for how much I love it.  In fact, it’s almost a family joke that this will be my first request when Jordan brings his iPod in the van.

“I am the Tin Man, who the ___ are you?
Do you know how badly your blood will clash with that shade of blue?
Has no one clued you in that in this land there is no scarier
Answer me or so help me I will crush that ___ terrier”

So yes. A hypocrite. Verified.

I’ve always been really comfortable with my double standards.  More than I should and enough that it really annoys a lot of people. But, I insist you can learn more about people from the exceptions they make than by the actual rules they say they live by.

I’ve said no to the date rape anthem and to the “praise” of illegal drugs by someone I did hold up as a good kid and a decent role model.  At the same time… school shootings, murder, and well… more murder by a character from a beloved childhood movie all make the cut. Even I wonder what it says about me.  Not being one to really enjoy comedy at all, I can pretend it’s the comic elements in each of these songs. Or at least the tone that keeps them from being taken seriously.

But it’s not.

After some thought, I imagine it’s more that I know all girls are potential targets for date rape.  And it kills me to admit that. I want to imagine my kids are safe and sound at all times. All humans are potential drug users. But I see less than a fraction of a chance that my children will become murderers.  The other Forbidden songs illustrate real-world threats.

Maybe I’m not a hypocrite afterall…

…but I probably am.

 

 

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Seeing is Believing

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February 16th, 2013 Posted 6:25 am

Out and about in Anderson, we’ll still run into people who recognize us from Wife Swap.  While that surprises me [Teen Mom is also filmed in Anderson and Amber could sit on me and I still couldn’t know her], I’m more surprised that they feel they know us from a 60 minute episode – 15 or so minutes that were devoted to commercials, and 20 or so that were spent with the other family.  This leaves 20-25 minutes of screen time to develop a complete view of total strangers.

Initially I had planned a series of blog posts describing the WS experience in detail, but it became monotonous.  “You saw X; Y is reality. The reason they misled you is Z.” I’ll still write them if there is interest, but I’m afraid it will come off as whiny, begging people to “Don’t judge us.” Truth is, we’re not afraid of being judged. At least for what is true. We do not like – as much as any other person – to be judged over gossip and assumptions.

“But,” you’ll say, “we saw you force your children to dance and we saw your son have long hair because you wouldn’t allow him to cut it.  We saw you drag your kids into situations where they would be made fun of. We saw you sitting on the sofa being lazy while your kids did all the work.”

Did you?

Really?

I know you saw Alek say we forced him to go to dance class. But, you didn’t see the discussion about how he didn’t like the alternate class the producers found for him when his real studio chose not to allow cameras inside.  He was concerned that showing him in class with his sisters – both younger and with less skill – would make him look bad. He did not appreciate that waste of time.  And he was very vocal about that on several occasions.

I know you saw Alek’s long hair and you heard his, “yeah!” when Stacy told him he’d be getting it cut.  Did you know he’d been growing it out for several years with the intent of donating it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths project? Did you know Rule Change  was his first realization that it was officially long enough to cut and donate?  And we’d made the offer to wait to cut it so it could be incorporated into rule change.

You were told we dress up the kids and parade them about town so that people will see them, judge them, and make fun of them and that we don’t care.  Did you know our kids dress how they want, within reason? Did you know we don’t change for other people because we live our lives for us and not for them? I had a great discussion with my swap husband, Ed, about this. It’s one of the things we strongly agreed on. Looks are important to both families. The main difference is that they dress to define themselves based on what other people think of their appearance and we dress to define ourselves based on what we think of our appearance. Did you know that one of the first things the producers did before filming was remove any bit of clothing that did not fit into the got aesthetic as they defined it?

You’ve been told I’m lazy and make my kids clean and feed themselves while I sit on the sofa playing on the computer. You even saw that, right? But you didn’t see the producers and directors scold me for pouring milk and sitting down to eat with my kids.  And it wasn’t made very clear that my job was freelance editing and that I run an at-home business from my laptop. In addition, helping them to be able and prepared is quite the opposite of lazy parenting.  I’d go so far as to suggest that doing everything for your kids is the lazier version of parenting.

No one would know that without talking to us.

And I’ll be honest. I watch Dance Moms and Survivor and I struggle to remember that what I see may be just as cleverly edited as our WS episode.  I know it. I lived it.  This reminds me to be more patient with people who don’t have the background I’ve been exposed to.

If there is something you want to know about, please just ask one of us.

We’d be happy to talk to you.

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My Top Ten… TV Characters

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February 10th, 2013 Posted 12:56 pm

I noticed the other day that I often refer to something as “one of my favorite xxx ever.” At a certain point, I realized I must have 100 favorite movies and even more favorite songs. So, I challenged myself to make definitive lists of my top tens as an exercise in creative thinking.


Daryl – redneck eye candy

 

Tonight we welcome back “Walking Dead” after a TOO LONG mid-season break. Yeah… I cannot be the only woman out here who things any separation greater than a week from zombie-killer Daryl Dixon is cruel punishment…

Bit of advice to Carol: Grab him and kiss him.  We need someone to live vicariously through.

With a nod to Daryl [who hasn’t quite made the list yet], I offer you… My Top 10 TV Characters:

  1. The Doctor – Doctor Who
    I have my favorite incarnation; Ravynn has hers. You cannot be a fan without having strong ideas about this.  At the same time,I  kinda love them all.
  2. Hawkeye Pierce – M*A*S*H
    The anti-hero. I suspect this is where it started.  If you haven’t seen M*A*S*H, you really should.
  3. Piper – Charmed
    Functioned as the oldest of three sisters [after we lost Pru]. Super powerful witch. Got the white lighter… What’s not to love?
  4. Leonard Hofstadter – Big Bang Theory
    Leonard is amazing. I won’t pretend much of that is due to his role in his BBT group, but… cute, cool and nerdy.  Squee.
  5. Eric Northman – True Blood
    Yes, I wept a little when he cut his hair.
  6. Gregory House – House, MD
    More anti-hero… And, you know, he needs to be fixed.
  7. Dylan McKay – 90210
    I will always be a 19-year old girl.
  8. McMurphy – China Beach
    Bad ass army nurse with a squishy little heart inside.
  9. John Winchester – Supernatural
    The man is pretty.  And broken. And responsible for Sam & Dean.
  10. Shane – The L Word
    She’s the character that got me hooked on the show. Broken. Anti-hero… you see the theme, right??

No. These are not in any real order.

Yes. They change almost daily.

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Posted in Television

The Part of YOU

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July 14th, 2012 Posted 1:51 pm

I spent yesterday cleaning the house and getting ready for a special guest. This meant cleaning out my sewing room, moving furniture, packing and repacking, reorganizing.  It was a lot of work, but I had helpers.  At one point in the day, after the Pink CD I was listening to ended, I heard Ravynn bopping through the house singing some lyrics I wasn’t familiar with.  I asked her was song it was and who sang it.  Katy Perry and she didn’t know the title, but she sang a little more of it for me.

Now, I’m not a huge Katy Perry fan. I’d really hardly be considered a fan at all, but I do like the catchy tunes of a few of her songs [particularly California Girls 😉 ].  These lyrics struck me.

This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me
This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me
Throw your sticks and stones
Throw your bombs and your blows
But you’re not gonna break my soul
This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me
 
As I listened to Ravynn sing, I wondered what was the part of ME that no one can ever take away. What is it that defines who I am and that  cannot be separated from who I am? 

 I encourage you to find that part of you – and to nurture it.

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Posted in Music

Everything? Really? [part 3]

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July 11th, 2012 Posted 6:33 am

Cover, Everything You Need to Know About the Goth Scene

Acker, Kerry. Everything You Need to Know About The Goth Scene. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2000.


Continued from Part 1 and Part 2.

Chapter 4/Gothic Fashion: Fashion is an important aspect of Goth culture.  Just as many other people in the world, Goths use fashion, hairstyle, and makeup to express themselves.  Lady Gaga certainly does and I’m not sure anyone would accuse her of being Goth. 🙂 

While there are some styles that tend to identify someone as Goth, I know many goths who were little other than jeans and black t-shirts.  I’m personally most comfortable in long skirts and t-shirts.  The husband is most comfortable in a complete outfit, styled head to toe, in a manner that will make him stand out.  He’s known for it.  Neither Jordan or Alek really embrace the fashion of the culture.  Jordan does wear primarily black tshirts and jeans, but I can’t tell you that is a conscious decision or for any reason other than it’s what he likes. Alek wears bright colors – basketball shorts and tshirts, or dress shirts and khakis.  Ravynn and Whisper like pretty clothes in any color.  They do like a lot of black, but they’re little girls so pink and baby blue show up in their choices a lot.  As far as we’re concerned, I believe that whatever in us determines our fashion choices, its’ the same thing that draws us to the Goth culture.  Maybe. It’s just a theory.

Acker lists several items common to Goth fashion:

  • Black or dark-colored velvet skirts, dresses, and vests
  • Doc Martens or combat boots
  • White poet’s shirts
  • Rubber, leather, or vinyl gear
  • Corsets
  • Pagan or Christian jewelry
  • Buckles, pointy shoes, and ripped fishnets

I see so much more than that, but it’s not a bad list.  It’s also not bad [although slightly obvious] tha black is the color of choice for goth-minded folks.  You’ll notice, though, that Eric isn’t afraid of a splash [or more] of color in his outfits.  The author also spends a lot of time discussing the ways that MANY Goths wear their hair or the MANY kids of jewelry MANY of them wear.  Really, some experiment with hairstyles and some wear a lot of jewelry. 

Chapter 5/Gothic Music, Literature, and Film: The main part of the book conclude with lists of popular music, literature, and film.  The book is 12 years old, so none of these are current lists. I suggest you Google up the lists or just ask. 

There is more to be learned from just talking to people than from reading. While the book doesn’t offer wrong information, the way some of it is presented is misleading.

 

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My Top 10… Movies

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July 10th, 2012 Posted 6:31 am

I noticed the other day that I often refer to something as “one of my favorite xxx ever.” At a certain point, I realized I must have 100 favorite movies and even more favorite songs. So, I challenged myself to make definitive lists of my top tens as an exercise in creative thinking.

Today, I offer you My Top Ten Movies.

  1. Reservoir Dogs
    What’s not to love? Tarantino. Keitel. Either one of those is enough, but both together… Awesome! Best. Movie. Ever.
  2. Full Metal Jacket
    The movie most people remember from my senior year in high school is Top Gun, which was a fine movie, but this one… I’ve seen it so many times and it just keeps getting better.
  3. Natural Born Killers
    A true chick flick.  Mickey Knox, I think I love you.
  4. Apocalypse Now
    Craaaaaaaaaaazy Marlon Brando.  The man is genius.
  5. Moulin Rouge
    So. I hate musicals.  Hate them. Can’t make it through the first song – with rare exception.  This is an exception.
  6. Practical Magic
    I want this life.
  7. Romance
    I love everything from Catherine Breillat. Everything.  But I love this most.
  8. Picnic
    I saw this movie the first time with my Daddy. I think he was more than a little concerned about my fascination with the anti-hero…  He should have been.
  9. Peter Pan
    Love the book. Love the story. Love this adaptation.
  10. ?? [A movie I don’t know the name of]
    Yeah… So also with my father, I watched a movie about a civil war unit.  At least part of it focussed on the drummer boys who were following the soldiers. I watched it as a child, so pre-1983 probably.

No. These are not in any real order.

Yes. They change almost daily.

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Posted in Movies

Everything? Really? [part 2]

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July 8th, 2012 Posted 6:33 am

Cover, Everything You Need to Know About the Goth Scene

Acker, Kerry. Everything You Need to Know About The Goth Scene. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2000.


Continued from Part 1.

Chapter 2/Gothic Philosophy: Sigh.  I think the final thought in Chapter 1 would suffice.  Acknowledging both the good and bad of human nature and the world in order to fully appreciate both.  Then there is a shift to suggesting that Goths focus on the dark and the bad and place emphasis on suffering, sorrow, fear, and death.  While I do picnic in cemeteries [we have one scheduled for July 29th – see our Facebook page for details], I don’t focus on any of those things.  I don’t mean to suggest that my experience is shared by everyone, but I do mean to suggest that acknowledging the darker things does not necessarily equate to a focus on them.  It’s just so different from the experience of “normal” people that it might look like a focus. I don’t know.  I’m still trying to figure out the angle of this book. 

Knowing more about the author than “is a freelance writer” would help a lot.  Either they [Kerry could be either male or female] are Goth and trying to honestly explain the culture, but are doing it poorly, or they are not Goth and writing a resource book with a poor understanding of the culture.  Even still, maybe an editor made a mess of a perfect book.  The world may never know. 

Dictionary.com defines Philosophy as:

1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.

2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.

3. a system of philosophical doctrine: the philosophy of Spinoza.

4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.

5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.

6. a philosophical attitude, as one of composure and calm in the presence of troubles or annoyances.

 None of those seem appropriate – at all; however, Dictionary.com defines aesthetic as: having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty.  BINGO!

The “Who are Goths?” section of this chapter states, “followers of the Goth aesthetic include people of different ages, sensibilites, religions, politics, and careers… Goths are a group of people with broad interests such as history, literature, music, mythology, and fashion.”  Good. True.  But sadly, the rest of the book attempts to force goths into little boxes in order for it to truly be understood.  I’m not sure this is intentional.  I suspect the author is attempting to bring light [haha] to the darker aspects and forgets to mention that this isn’t ALL there is.  An attraction to darkness can attract people to Goth culture – really, not everyone “gets it,”  but we do appreciate the things that non-Goths do as well.  This book seems to try to force a separation where one is not necessary and every chapter includes a warning to look for signs for violence and depression. 

Christopher Lee as Dracula

Christopher Lee as Dracula

A picture of Dracula [not the one I chose because I’m more of a Christopher Lee fan] holds the caption, “Many Goths are fascinated with the mystery of death and the occult,” BUT MANY ARE NOT.  I’m sure that reminder would become annoying and overhelming, but it’s so necessary.

Chapter 2/Gothic Lifestyle: An overview of humans in general…  A wide range of interests [including music, fashion, other hobbies enjoyed alone or in a group], the opportunity to experiment with sexuality [specifically with gender roles], and interest in different religions [or in no religion, although the focus here is in Paganism and Vampirism, with a note on Christianity].

After reviewing the aspects of the Gothic Lifestyle presented and noting the points made which are 90% pointing out how different Goths are from most of the people in the world, Acker warns us about subscribing to stereotypes. 

Perhaps I am just thin-skinned on this topic. I show people the similarities between them and me and then let them notice the differences.  One of the girls I work with says all the time, “You’re just a normal person. Why are people so freaked out by you?”

Why indeed.

[more to follow…]

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Everything? Really? [part 1]

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July 5th, 2012 Posted 6:33 am

Cover, Everything You Need to Know About the Goth Scene

Acker, Kerry. Everything You Need to Know About The Goth Scene. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2000.


On a recent trip to the library, the girls and I picked out some summer reading books for them and their brothers.  They’re not what most people would consider.  Jordan wants to teach himself Calculus; Alek wants to review Algebra; Ravynn wants to teach herself Algebra; and Whisper just wants to get ready for 4th grade.

With the idea of reading and reviewing some books on Goth culture – just to see what information is being presented to the non-Goth public – I did a quick search while we were there.  Being that we live in a town of 56,000, I didn’t expect to find much.  I was excited and surprised to find four titles listed.  I went to find them.  three were available and one has been either lost or stolen [of course, that’s the one I’m most interested in reading].

I’m a working mama with a busy schedule, four kids, a full-time job, and a home business, so I did plan to start with the smallest book.  As I pulled out the Everything you Need to Know title, I was tempted to put it right back.  My problem with it?  Quite simply, the cover.  I couldn’t imagine a book that offered that image as the representation of the Goth culture  would provide any useful information – and I fully expected to be annoyed with what it did provide.  Now, I know the cover model could be a lovely young woman with a charming outlook on life, but when I look at her, I see one thing – ROOTS!! While I try not to overgenarlize or stereotype, Goths are a people typically drawn to beauty and border on the vain.  Many of the Goths I know (the husband included) wear their vanity as a badge – that photo doesn’t fly.

But that photo wouldn’t keep everyone from reading it, so we popped into Panera, ordered iced acai teas, and started reading.  Actually, we finished reading too. The book is 65 pages long.  Minus 9 pages of introduction and 21 pages of lists, glossary, index, and reading lests at the end of the book, it totals 35 pages.  Ravynn and Whisper were with me and were pretty entertained with what I was reading to them.  Of course there was a lot I had to explain. Starting with:

The Introduction:  I had to keep reminding myself that the pub date on the title is 2000 and there is a lot of information that was assumed truth at that date that isn’t so much anymore.  The focus of the intro is on the shootings at Columbine High school and how just because those Goths were bad and dangerous doesn’t mean that all of us are.  I wanted a reminder that although they were described as Goth by one witness, that it’s not so much true, but it didn’t come.  The most helpful bit in the introduction is where Acker writes, “People judge Goths based on their clothing tastes and their appearance, instead of getting to know them by talking with them, hearing their ideas, and trying to find things in common with them.”  This is true. I’ve lived it.  The introduction also explains why I believe the book failed: It confuses explaining the Goth scene with explaining Goths.  Phrases like, “some Goths,” or “many Goths” put me on edge.  While explaining what draws some individuals to the culture is helpful and refreshing, explaining the “kinds of people” who are drawn to it isn’t. 

Chapter 1/The Origins of Goth:  Blah, blah, blah.  The first half of the chapter focuses on historical Goths and their invasion of Rome.  While this is commonly covered in articles on the culture, I fail to see its relevance.  What Acker refers to as “Contemporary Goth” is what she means to explain. 

 

Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is often marked as the begining of Goth music.  I don’t know if it’s true, but it sounds good and I do adore Peter Murphy.  Acker discusses how Goth bands influenced the “look” associated with the Goth culture [black clothes, black hair, pale skin].  Most of the discussion on the culture focuses on the music, but does touch on what we have tried to explain to anyone who asks or expresses interest [especially the Wife Swap producers!]: “Goths wanted to experience emotions, good and bad, because they are an essential part of being human… Goths also established a different idea of beauty — a new aesthetic.”

See Part 2.

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My Top 10… Songs

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June 5th, 2012 Posted 6:17 pm

I noticed the other day that I often refer to something as “one of my favorite xxx ever.”  At a certain point, I realized I must have 100 favorite movies and even more favorite songs.  So, I challenged myself to make definitive lists of my top tens as an exercise in creative thinking.

Today, I offer you My Top Ten Songs.

  1. Horses – Patti Smith
    I love this song because of the scene from Millenium seen in this video. The song speaks power to me.
  2. And She Was – Talking Heads
    The line, “And she was walking through the back yard,” gets to me. The fact that I hear it in David Byrne’s voice is an incredible bonus.
  3. Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
    I think I fell a little in love with Bobby McGee the first time I heard this song.
  4. Tin Man – Schaffer the Darklord
    What’s not to love?
  5. Captain Jack – Billy Joel
    This isn’t a song I should like, really, but it captures so much emotion.
  6. To Sir with Love – LuLu
    My sister considered this song for the father/daughter dance at her wedding. I’m not sure any of us have gotten through it yet without crying.
  7. What’s Your Mama’s Name – Tanya Tucker
    Ditto, this song. I love my children above all else so this song tears me apart a little.
  8. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
    This first time I heard this song, it captured my heart. It was played at my father’s funeral, so I don’t listen to it much anymore, but I feel every note of it.
  9. They Don’t Know – Tracy Ullman
    Paul McCartney!! Such a sweet love song.
  10. Joey – Concrete Blonde
    Haunting. That is all.

No. These are not in any real order.

Yes. They change almost daily.

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Posted in Music

Muddling

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May 25th, 2012 Posted 12:04 am

I married an actor.  I’ve spent time on stage, but out of no great desire to perform.  I mostly stepped in when a friend needed help.  My kids have all had stage time in ballet performances.  Ravynn and Whipser especially have taken to acting. We’ve been very fortunate with the opportunities they’ve had to be on camera.

Early this spring, I had the unique experience of joining Whisper on a shoot.  I’ve been on set with her, but only when were were both working as extras [Beverly Lane, Lightning in a Bottle].  This was my first opportunity, despite her growing resume of roles, to be “stage mom” and to just enjoy the experience of watching her act. 

Her first role was as an extra, the Cheerleader Zombie, in the film Beverly Lane from Arsonist Productions.  She enjoyed wearing the zombie makeup and especially enjoyed her scene with her dad, Level-Nine Zombie Killer, Rick Ashley. She was patient and upbeat on set and has nothing but praise for the experience.  It didn’t hurt that someone referred to her as a movie star.  🙂  It was also really nice to enjoy the experience with most of the rest of the family.  Eric played a zombie killer while Whisper, Ravynn, Alek, and I were zombies. 

This film definitely infected her with the acting bug.  You don’t see her in the trailer, but that’s her dad in the spiked helmet 🙂

During the filming of Beverly Lane, Whisper and Eric were able to work closely with Ms. Kate Chaplin of Karmic Courage Productions who was working on a short film and needed a little girl. On their website, Kate describes the movie as, “A dark comedy about a baby girl born during the STAR WARS boom in 1977 who shares a similar name to a certain Jedi Princess that wasn’t allowed to wear underwear.”  Eric was in this film as well.  Jordan and Ravynn worked as extras. 

You can see her in this trailer [right around 45 seconds, but you should watch the whole thing]. 

Not long after that project, Eric took on a lead role in the movie Lightning in a Bottle.  When they needed some extras for a ghost scene , Whisper and I stepped in.  Ravynn plays a maenad and Alek worked as a PA.  You can spot Ravynn and Eric in this trailer.

Ravynn had a lot of fun and left us all wishing that we could be maenads – despite their nasty lunchtime preferences.

Not long ago, we were honored to attend the premier of this movie at the Paramount Theatre here in Anderson.  I was incredibly impressed with this film.  I’ve seen a lot of independant film and this ranks near the top in quality.  Treat yourself to a copy of the DVD.

Her most recent project was filming a music video for the artist Thomasina‘s song “Muddle in the Mud”.  She played the singer as a young girl. Yes, she’s in prison, but as the director explained to her, it’s a symbolic prison built by expectations society might have on you and how you don’t quite ‘measure up’. 

I was amazed by her professional attitude and her ability to be ‘on’ when needed. Off camera, she was sweet and charming and made friends with everyone.

Thank you all for making ‘on screen’ a good experience after the trauma of Wife Swap.  I’ll share more of that experience later.

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