Movies My Friends Think Are Flawless

I really do enjoy movies, though my opinions seem to be different not only from critics but from audiences as well. What I look at and enjoy stand out amongst other opinions. This caused me to wonder if I was the only one. So I went to Facebook, the headquarters of personal opinion, and asked my friends what movie they consider flawless. I didn’t ask for whys or explanations, just a movie title. Here’s the list of flawless movies according to my friends:

  • The Princess Bride
  • A River Runs Through It
  • Wonderman
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Aladdin (didn’t specify animated or live action)
  • Lord of the Ring series
  • Cinderella Man
  • Hello Dolly!
  • Scooby Doo on Zombie Island
  • Willow
  • Emperor’s New Groove
  • Into the Spiderverse
  • Hereditary
  • High School Musical
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • The Assassination of Jesse James
  • Stardust
  • Avatar
  • Secondhand Lions
  • Chinatown
  • The Artist
  • North by Northwest
  • The Room
  • The Labyrinth
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • American Outlaws
  • Maverick
  • Grave of the Fireflies
  • Little Miss Sunshine

Looking at this list, it’s interesting to think about how diverse our opinions really are. I haven’t seen maybe half of these, and definitely don’t think what I’ve seen on this list is flawless (I would only consider one flawless, but I won’t tell you which one, mwah-hahaha).

This is why we need to form our own opinion outside of critics. Some movies I have loved received bad reviews, and some movies I dislike receive good reviews. Figure out what you like, watch what you like, and don’t let critics, or even those around you, tell you what to enjoy. (I don’t care that To Wong Foo got 39% on Rotten Tomatoes or that Bloodshot got a 30%, I enjoy them and watch them).

Let me know what you consider flawless, if you would like to add to the list.

Hugs

Alexandra

Creepy Stories and the Creepy Life Podcast

If you were unaware, I like creepy things. My hangout spots of choice are cemeteries and spooky places, Vladimir can’t count how many skulls I have in my room (and I lost count at 30), Poe is my favorite author, and I enjoy learning about killers and creepy phenomena. So, I’m gonna share some of my favorite creepy stories.

Richmond Vampire (also known as the Hollywood Vampire)

This one is close to home since I’m from Richmond and Hollywood Cemetery is my favorite place. According to an urban legend, the mausoleum with the name W.W. Pool holds the remains of a vampire. In 1925, a tunnel collapsed which ‘awoke an ancient evil’. Rescue teams found a blood-covered creature with jagged teeth and skin hanging from its muscular body crouching over one of the victims of the cave-in. The creature then ran across the James River and took refuge in the mausoleum.

The Water Babies of Massacre Rock

The story goes that in Pocatello, Idaho, rather than subjecting their children to famine or starvation, mothers would drown their babies in the river. Some stories say that the babies survived by growing fins and gills, and seek revenge by luring people to their deaths in the river. If you sit by the river at Massacre Rocks, you can hear the sound of babies crying.

Walking Sam

This is almost like a mix of Slenderman and Pillowman (if you know what that is). Walking Sam is a seven foot entity on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota that calls to teenagers and tries to convince them to commit suicide. In a six month span, there were over 100 suicide attempts on the Reservation.

Cropsey

This one caught my attention after a documentary in which it turned out to be real. Basically, it’s a man who stalks sleep-away camps (he was a popular campfire story) or children’s hospitals in New York, has a hook for a hand, and kills children who are wandering alone at night. According to the documentary, Cropsey was a convicted child kidnapper named Andre Rand.

Kuchisake-onna

This is a Japanese urban legend of a lady spirit whose mouth is slit from ear to ear. Some stories say it was punishment from her samurai husband for cheating or an attack because someone was jealous of her beauty. She’s vengeful. If you encounter her, she’ll have a weapon (most popularly big scissors) and a mask covering her face, then she’ll ask you if she’s pretty. If you say yes, she’ll take off her mask and ask again. If you say no either time she will kill you with her weapon.

Kuldhara

In 1825, the entire population of the village called Kuldhara disappeared. A thousand villagers abandoned their homes overnight and left without a trace. No one knows why they left, where they went, and no one saw them leave. The village remains abandoned since according to legend, anyone who tries to settle will die shortly after.

Randy Steven Kraft (also known as the Scorecard Killer or the Freeway Killer)

This serial killer is creepy and less talked about than Dahmer or Bundy, but I don’t know why. He brutally tortured (sometimes beyond recognition) and killed at least 16 confirmed young men between the ages of 13-35, though his victim count is believed to in the 60s, in the span of over 11 years. He kept a scorecard of his murders in his car, and dumped the bodies by the freeway, hence his nicknames.

{Reminder: I don’t condone any of these actions; it’s just a fascinating study}

Anyway, the reason I bring up these creepy stories is that my friends Thomas and Sparkie have created a podcast called Creepy Life podcast. They go over some creepy stories including the Mandela Effect, Indrid Cold, the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, and even the finger in the Wendy’s chili (that one is a weird rollercoaster and I love it). I enjoy their podcast and listen to it all the time at work. Link to their social medias and where to find the podcast: https://my.bio/creepylifepodcast

If you find creepy stories fascinating, let me know what some of your favorites are, and give Thomas and Sparkie a listen. They’re good people.

Hugs and creeps

Alexandra

Book vs Movie: The DaVinci Code

The Da Vinci Code” book review – The Kirkwood CallLolo Loves Films: Movie Review: "The Da Vinci Code" (2006)

When I first started reading the Robert Langdon series, I read it all out of order. I read The Lost Symbol (third book) first, then Angels and Demons (first book), and so on. But I guess it doesn’t matter anymore since the movies themselves came out of order. The DaVinci Code (second book) was the first movie, Angels and Demon was second, and Inferno (fourth book) was third. What a system.

Anyway, last time I did this, I covered Beowulf, which as the first known poem made sense to be the first Book vs Movie. Now, I chose The DaVinci Code because Robert Langdon is my favorite literary character and because it was the first movie. I would’ve chosen my favorite Langdon book but it hasn’t been turned into a movie (yet, hopefully). Please, Hollywood, I would give you all my business for a Lost Symbol movie.

After the Louvre curator is killed, leaving a cryptic message for Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor and symbologist, the French police bring him in as an expert (though actually as a suspect). Langdon runs with the help of Sophie, granddaughter of the curator and police cryptographer. Clues are left for Langdon and Sophie that lead them to learning about an alternative religious history where Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene had a child while caught in a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei. The book caused a lot of controversy amongst the Christian denominations when they thought the book was an attack on the Catholic Church. It also got a LOT of criticism for inaccurate histories and being an overall “hoax”. Forget the fact that this book is fiction, I guess. There were also three different lawsuits against this book, all of which lost. Let up, guys.

I love this book. The great thing about Dan Brown’s Langdon books is there’s always a villainous twist. I’m a fan. There are moments when research can get in the way and make it almost boring, but the action, suspense, characters, and overall plot make it all worth it.

In 2006 (three years after book publication), the movie was released with Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. First thing I have to say about this is the casting for this movie was great. I loved the whole cast, I enjoyed casting people from their actual countries (with the exception of Paul Bettany as Silas, but I forgive because I adore Paul Bettany and his work), and I absolutely approve of Tom Hanks playing Langdon. The movie follows the book very well, though they did have to leave plenty out. If they turned the whole book into a movie, it would be 10 hours long. But we don’t have time for a second cryptex or Sophie’s entire backstory/meeting her brother. It’s all good, though. What they’ve included was great and necessary and still created a great story.

I love both, recommend both, and rank both as a 4.5/5.

A Serious, Personal Topic (PTSD Triggers)

Alright, friends, this post is going to talk about serious topics, specifically about PTSD. I won’t be going into details about anything, but I know just talking about PTSD can hurt some, so I am letting you know now that I will be talking about PTSD and triggers. If you don’t want to read on, please don’t. I’ll see you on Wednesday. ❤

So, I have PTSD.

For those who do not know anything about PTSD, it stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a mental disorder that can develop after a traumatic event. Now, not all traumatic events cause PTSD. In fact, most people who experience trauma don’t develop PTSD (source). It’s most known to develop in veterans after experiencing warfare, but can also develop in civilians who experience near-death, assault and/or abuse, and traffic collisions.

And those with PTSD, like me, can have triggers that sets it off.

Everyone with PTSD triggers are different and could possibly have multiple. As I’m going off of my own experience, I will say I do have multiple but I’ll only discuss two of them since they came up in the last week.

My first trigger is being on time. I have to be on time, preferably early. I can’t be late. I stress this, I cannot be late. The moment I realize I’m going to be late, I feel like I’m in danger, I will cry, and it’s not pretty. I’m told not to worry, it’s okay to be late, nothing bad will happen if I’m late. But that’s not how this trigger works. My brain believed something bad will happen if I’m late. Usually, these triggers will result in a crying session followed by a numb breakdown that can last days. Recently, Vladimir and I were late for a Vampire the Masquerade session, and I spent the whole time on the way there blasting music and crying, pretending I was fine during the session, crying on the way home, and having a breakdown for the next 30 hours. There was a genuine concern for my safety and I was hearing some not so nice things in my head.

My second trigger is being around electric/motorized garden tools. Lawn mowers, weed whackers, tillers, trimmers, etc. I’m terrified to be around them, I don’t like hearing them, and I will NOT touch them. I don’t mind regular tools like shovels, rakes, whatever, but the minute they have a motor or an electric cord, I’m not involved. It’s another sense of danger but also gives me vivid flashbacks if I’m around them for too long. Recently, I’ve been becoming more assertive about my involvement with these tools, and if my house mates ask for my help, I will tell them that I will not touch those tools. Vladimir was trying to get the weed whacker to work and asked me to look at it, mainly because the house owner asked him to. He brought me out, showed me he tried everything, assured I wouldn’t have to touch it, and let me go back into the house as soon as he was done. Thanks, man. I will say, I’m able to bring myself down easier with this one, but it’s still considered a trigger since it brings some awful mental and physical symptoms of being near them.

I won’t go into other triggers, but I think my point was made anyway.

If you know anyone with PTSD triggers, please respect them. When they are not respected, the people can relive horrific events and can even become a danger to themselves (since some dangers with PTSD can include self-destructive thoughts {source}). So, please respect them. Help if you can, and get them help when necessary.

And for those who suffer from PTSD, you are not alone. There are several resources to help you out. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Hugs

Alexandra

Synesthesia

I’ve always had a connection to color in words. Color keeps me organized, and it’s easier for me to differentiate various readings. While I was in grad school, we had a project that involved fairy tale princess (for another time). I wrote the princesses’ names in different colors, and when someone asked why, I said ‘because that’s how I see it’. She asked ‘do you have synesthesia?’ Did I?

First of all, what even is synesthesia?

Apparently, it’s a brain thing where you experience one of your senses leading to automatic experiences in a secondary sense. “Simply put, when one sense is activated, another unrelated sense is activated at the same time.” (source) Think back to the movie Ratatouille. Remy can hear music and see swirls of color when he tastes something. That’s a form of synesthesia.

While I cannot say for surety whether or not I have synesthesia, I do believe I have a form called Grapheme-color synesthesia, which is when letters and numbers are associated to specific colors. I associate words and numbers with color in nearly everything. That’s why Snow White was a pale purple and Cinderella was yellow.

The problem becomes that colors change for me. The word ‘apple’, purple when I look at it now, might become more blue later in life. The month of March used to be brown before becoming a pale orange.

I don’t know.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is I saw something on TikTok (surprise, surprise) when someone with Chromesthesia (when you see colors as you hear sounds) painted what a song looked like. Their username is jurisprune, and it’s fascinating to see.

So, I tried it in my own way.

I had Vladimir chose a song, and I painted as I read the lyrics (while listening to the song because I love music). The song he chose was ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ by The Beatles.

Here’s how it went:

I gathered up most of my basic colors and printed out the lyrics. Vladimir and I underlined some key words to hit in the painting. As for the painting itself…

img_9600

Guys, we all know I’m not the best at painting, but I still had a good time with this. It’s not perfect, and there are only certain aspects I actually like. But this is the song as I read it. I concentrated a lot more than I thought I would. And at least I tried.

Enjoy and celebrate your quirks and special talents!

Hugs

Alexandra

Quotes in My Collection (pt 2)

Let’s continue with some more quotes!

To recap, I collect quotes and quote books. You can find some from my collection in the first post here. This post is going to focus on quotes I found on social media, whether from Twitter, Pinterest, or Tumblr. I didn’t make note of usernames and I didn’t see names associated, so all of these will be considered anonymous.

Here we go:

  • Find your happiness, because it’s out there waiting for you. Stop being afraid and motivate yourself. Find yourself.
  • I have been through hell and came out singing.
  • Good morning, cruel world. This world may be cruel but I’m still kicking.
  • We are all horrible and wonderful and figuring it out.
  • Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off excellent.
  • Control what you can, confront what you can’t.
  • You still have a lot of time to make yourself who you want to be.
  • You owe yourself the love that you give to other people.
  • Don’t be afraid to start over again. This time, you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.
  • Existence has meaning, some of which is found and some of which is created, and doing this is among the noblest of human quest.
  • My body may be a temple but I am the god to whom it is devoted. Do not presume to tell me how I may decorate my altar.
  • Love should be shared, felt, and received with reckless abandon. Love these characters, love this food, love things in the moment, even if they may seem insignificant to others.

Another small portion of my vast collection, and again, I’m always looking for more to add.

Show what you enjoy no matter what others think.

Hugs

Alexandra

Trying TikTok Trends

Because I apparently can’t write enough about it. (And have future plans for a few more, bear with me!)

Recently, I wrote about how TikTok has been becoming a minor obsession (the post is here). A list of trends come from there, so I wanted to try my hand at a few of them. And I mean a very few. Some include Never Have I Ever (which was taken down, so I’ll have to do a new one), filters, and reacting blind to something. There are plenty of trends I have yet to try, like dancing, cosplay, or book tags. However, the key word is YET. I actually have plans to do those kinds of TikTok videos (yes, even dancing when I suck at it).

But until then, here’s a few of my attempts:

Yeah, we all know I’m not great. But I have fun. (Also, I was unaware how big they were going to be in this post…oh well). And I’m learning new things, which is most important, as you know from my life philosophy of always keep learning.

Use it for fun, use it for some information (but remember to do your own research), and use it to be inspired.

And know the algorithm is wack, but we do our best to find what is important to us.

Hugs

Alexandra

July Bullet Journal

Don’t judge my theme; I have a perfectly reasonable explanation…

So, for July, my theme is rainbow. Yes, I am fully aware that last month was Pride. But here’s why I chose rainbow as my theme for July: clearance. Because Pride stickers and material are cheaper at the end of the month (and I didn’t have an idea for July already), I thought I would use it for July. Also, because our personal pride should last longer than a month (but that was a cop-out afterthought). 

Anyway. I tried something different with my monthly and my weekly setup since last month definitely didn’t work for me.

I always start with a home page, something simple and with a quote. So. There we go. Nothing complicated.

For my monthly, I separated things in specific categories of stuff I want to accomplish this month. Bills (duh, can’t forget to pay those), entertainment (books I want to read, movies I want to see, etc), creative (stuff I want to do fuel my creative juices), and bettering myself (which will include going back to the gym). Maybe separating everything will keep me organized, less stressed, and more accomplished. We will see.

For my weeklies, I color-blocked according to stickers I found in the Pride set (the two missing weeks are orange and blue, and look like the green week). I just kept everything in separate days without much detail, which might work better for me. But to keep track of myself and some emotions I may feel (thanks to mental illness and empathy), I have a weekly affirmation, a little block to put the best moment that week, and a tiny block to put a little emoji sticker. Plus the color might help me out as well.

I also have a decorative page, but I did it after writing this so I didn’t get a pic.

img_9546As well as going over my plans for helping myself via bullet journal every month, I wanted to include book club again. Reading is beneficial to mental health, so let’s help ourselves by being accountable for reading once again.

This month, I’m going to finish Never Grow Up by Jackie Chan (I started it at the end of June), and I’m going to read The White Sniper and Unsolved Murders.

Remember, if you bullet journal, it really is about becoming the best person you can be. Make sure you’re helping yourself with what you put in it.

Hugs

Alexandra

My Weekend in Astoria

This past weekend, I went on a roadtrip with my mother to Oregon and Washington, with the specific destination being Astoria, OR. If you’re unfamiliar with Astoria, it’s best known for the filming of The Goonies. Our reason for going was partially personal so I won’t go into great detail, but mostly because we needed to get out of town.

So, why Astoria? Did we really have a special tie to The Goonies? Was our family there?

No. We went specifically to Astoria for two reasons: Finn Ware and the ocean.

Starting from the beginning, this was my first time in Oregon and Washington, two more states off my goal of visiting all 50 states. It was beautiful. I really enjoyed the scenery during our 10 hour drive. We actually stayed in a little inn across the Columbia River in Washington and spent our free time in Oregon so.

During our ‘tourist’ time in Astoria, we went to a place called Finn Ware. My mother and I, we are very in touch with our Finnish heritage. We are proud Finns. She was most excited to find iittala glass and Fazer chocolate, and I was all over the Viking stuff and Simo Häyhä. We had fun (and spent too much money).

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But we did not travel 10 hours just to go to one shop, so we did some other touristy things, including the Oregon Film Museum, Lucy’s Books, Fort Stevens, a shipwreck, and the Astoria Sunday Market. We also ate at a place called Astoria Brewing Company that had a great view and the best onion rings.

Overall, Mother and I had a relaxing and content time, which is what we needed at the moment.

I recommend Astoria if you want a calming coastal town.

Hope you guys had a good weekend, and now we enter July, our last free month. Here’s to hoping this month doesn’t become as much of a wreck as the rest of this year has been.

img_9474Hugs

Alexandra

What is Abrosexuality & My Experience

(First of all, sorry for the late post. I just got back into town and didn’t have specific media I wanted to use on my phone. But here we are now)

Last Pride, I fully came out as abrosexual in this post. Then I posted said blog on Facebook, which got some lovely responses. People were supportive, which is always emotional to a queer person. And a couple of my friends asked if I could expound on my experience/identity. So, for the last post of Pride 2020, let’s talk a little bit about my identity.

First, what is abrosexuality?

img_9426For real, it’s an unknown, unheard of sexuality. People I know either can’t understand it or don’t believe it exists. While ‘abrosexuality’ is the proper title, it is probably best known as sexually fluid. Basically, my sexuality changes. The changes may be quick, short, slow, long; there’s no real rhyme or reason. For example, someone can fluctuate from straight to gay to straight again to asexual back to gay for various time periods. On average, an abrosexual fluctuates between three sexualities, though it could be more or it could just be two. And overall, this is considered part of the asexual umbrella.

Now, how did I find out about this unknown and underrepresented sexuality?

Growing up and into college I was a very confused person. There were always a deep feeling, but I also just always said I was straight. It’s easier to represent as such. But, seriously, I knew there was something else within me. What am I? There were times in my life I thought I was straight, times I thought I was gay, times I thought I was asexual. Good thing my dating life was nonexistent. By adulthood, I just assumed I was bisexual, and I went through school still confused as hell.

Picture1Then, scrolling through Twitter as a regular Millenial, I happened upon a tweet by Nyle DeMarco, male model hotness. Someone asked him what his sexuality was and he replied with a simple ‘fluid’. My curiosity was peaked, and a quick (and fateful) Google search introduced me to abrosexuality. Reading about it felt like I got hit and run over with a steamroller, the Polar Express, AND the Titantic.

Somehow, everything made sense.

I dug more and more into what abrosexuality was and people’s experience with it (though, to be fair, there’s not much out there about it). Once I’ve exhausted my resources, I sat back and thought about my own feelings, my own experiences, and my confused past. Those times I thought I was straight, gay, ace, bi, whatever, I truly was that. Those various points in my life were my changes.

Understanding this part of me has felt so freeing. I’m no longer confused about feelings and what I might be. I have no control over changes but I accept them as they come. And dating is easier (though still nonexistent). I don’t expect others to fully understand; it seems to confuse a lot of people already. But this is my personal identity and that’s all that matters to me.

Hope that answered my friends’ questions.

Hugs

Alexandra