I saw Twilight: Breaking Dawn and it Didn’t Suck!

Though not intended, a pun has manifested itself in the title.

Disclaimer: This is not a review…I repeat not a review!

Let me begin by saying that I have never read a single word of the Twilight book series nor seen a single moment of any of the previous two movies, but I did make a promise that I would escort Jennifer to see the new film Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I. The caveat I did put on the table was that I would pay for the movie, but would not ask the cashier for the tickets as I would not say it out loud. I even went so far as to ask the ticket person to switch the film reel in the theater from the actual movie to the new Muppets movies. Needless to say, I failed.

Here I am about to lose my Twilight virginity. For those of you that are avid fans, you understand the true irony of that comment. Timing was clearly on my side on Saturday evening as this was the night of the big South Carolina vs Clemson football game. For those readers not from South Carolina, this is the Super Bowl of the state. It is the annual pilgrimage to the bars, houses, parking lots, arenas, dorm rooms and streets to determine another year of bragging rights. Extra police were out, bars brought on extra staff and the state shut down for three and a half hours as these two local powerhouses collided. Thus, I had the fortunate distinction of sharing the number one movie in America and perhaps the world with about thirteen other people on a Saturday night. Bonus!

Strangely at the time of publication of this blog, I still do not know who won that game.

After I overcame the fact that the entire movie was filled with beautiful people; I mean everyone from age 18 to centuries old could don the cover of a magazine, I was taken away with this film. It was not what I had expected. I was expecting some over the top action packed fantasy filled with wild special effects and a mundanely predictable story line. Fortunately, not having seen or read the books, I was able to understand most of the under tones and subplots. The story was filled with the core elements of loyalty, family, love, passion and sacrifice.

What took me deeply by surprise was the socio-economic underlying theme between the poor nature fairing werewolves and the upper class vampires. The struggles between choosing family, friendship and love were so deeply entrenched in the plot that it resonated into the audience.

The cinematography and use of landscapes, architecture and color were breathtaking. There was a stunning scene with Bella and Edward in the ocean with the light of a full moon reflecting off their bodies as they embraced in a deeply penetrating moment of passion and unity. The wedding and preliminary thoughts and dreams leading to the event were filled with deep colors and haunting emotions. It was moments like these along with a strong plot line and script that grabbed me early on and kept me glued to the screen.

There is often a cloud of uncertainly when the thought of a blockbuster book series is adapted into film or the media plays up the lives of the actors that it can taint the actual film experience. Without hiding under the covers, I will openly admit that I was wrong. For that, I thank Jennifer for nagging me and continuously reminding me of my promise to escort her to the opening weekend of Twilight: Breaking Dawn. Part I is now behind me and with that, I must await part II.

I am going to say this. Whether it is a spoiler or not, I cannot say with certainly, but I was hoping for a different outcome for Bella Swan…Enough said.

For those out there like me that have avoided this film series like a plague, hold your hats because this is worth the ride.

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Sometimes Celebrities and Music Can Make a Difference…

Music is the core foundation of all existence. It is the the soundtrack the defines our memories and shapes our emotion. For centuries, composers, songwriters, poets and singers have penetrated our core feelings and taken them to new heights. Some force us to address critical life issues while others help us remember the moments that shaped our lives.

Life is a journey filled with challenges and euphoric experiences. Each day we begin a plight of awareness which culminates in a book of memories that defines our meaning during this lifetime. It is the music and lyrics that provide the background during this journey.

Not only is music entertaining but has the ability to provide a powerful message of awareness. Awareness of the world and assistance in the mission of peace and resolve.

Disaster and tragedy have a way of bringing people together and for a brief moment uniting to help come to a rational place where we can justify the suffering. It is these moments of absoluteness that our deepest emotions comes to light. Thanks to hundreds of thousands of musicians that believe the power of their song can make a difference, we are able to find a home for these emotions.

This is a tribute to those singers, songwriters, bands and artists who have given so selflessly to a cause and helped the world become aware. Without asking for assistance, they reach out to our inner child and plead to our sense for relief.

These are some of the most infuential, emotionally driven, and powerful performances that have raised money, shaped policy and brought so many together for a common cause.

Thank you for the performances.
Thank you for believing.
Thank you for giving us a voice for those that cannot.

Maybe….Possibly – Original Poem

My heart skipped a beat when our eyes first met
The ocean echoed your name with every crash of the waves
The sun spotlighted the inner beauty

I was content to be alone; a wanderer

Until our souls found their way into the covenant arms led by love’s guiding hands

In your eyes a future of possibility
Roads unpaved
Paths of greens and yellows sparkle to lead us through the darkness of the unknown realm

In quiet solitude our minds recite the vows
Without a word spoken a promise is made

Witness by a feeling, signed by the blood of our beating hearts, sealed in a kiss and placed in an empty box

A box of memories beginning with the moment I found you to be filled with all eternity

Recession Busters: Idea #1 Courtesy Tax

Recession Busters – Idea #1 Courtesy Tax

I am sure many retailers are thinking of creative ways they can drive additional revenue from social media marketing campaigns to blow out sales. In an age where low consumer confidence is making the buyer more frugal and cost conscious, it is the retailers, grocers and luxury sellers that are seeing the bottom line effect.

We have developed a way to bring in additional revenue and reward those consumers that show common traditional courtesy.

We would like to implement a courtesy tax. There are several ways to tier this tax including:

1. A percentage of total sale
2. A flat fee
3. A retro-active fee based on the amount of time courtesy is not demonstrated during the transaction.

This should be left at the discretion of the consumer.

What would be considered a discourteous act that would prompt this fee. When one is checking out of a grocer or retailer, the cashier is there to assist by pricing the items, bagging, accepting and processing coupons, initiating the payment process and providing a courteous and warm customer experience. Should the customer be on the phone, blue tooth, IPod or other device that would draw attention away from the transaction, cause a delay in the process or show an overall lack of respect for the cashier, that individual would be assessed a Courtesy Tax.

That is not to say that this individual cannot end a critically important phone call for just one to two minutes to engage in this age old activity of friendly human interaction, but if they feel their lives are at such critical mass that rudeness is a luxury they can afford then the tax is justifiable.

On the opposite side, we feel that friendly and courteous interaction between the customer and cashier should be rewarded. Some places provide a cash discount if the consumer brings their own bags. We would like to provide a small token of thank you with a discount for courteous behavior. We would like to thank Kevin D’Aprile for assisting with this wonderful idea rewarding positive behavior with a smile and a few cents of savings.

Given the expansion of mobile devices and the increase in common disrespectful behavior running rampant, we feel this could have a tremendously positive affect on the bottom line revenues for retailers.

If implemented, it is a win for all parties. For those that chose selfish behavior, you are neutralizing your actions by providing financial security so your favorite stores can remain open. For those that take life with a smile, we want you to know we care and want to pay it forward with a small discount.

White Room – Original Poem

She is trapped in this hotel room

Walls of white numb her perception of the translucent images foreign to her reality

Where is she?
This place; this time
Alone, naked void of time and space

There is no sound; no color; no thought
Pain is a neutral balance of euphoria and the fiery pit of evil

Searching around the room, she finds only mirrors with no reflection
No windows; no doors, but a chilling wind sends shivers down her spineless back

Is this life after death or birth not yet in form?

On her chest a heartbeat felt; so slow it beats like the sound of a dying mute who is heard for the first time

She blinks moving from black to white and white to black. It is a moving picture of endless thought racing through her brain with no sign of an ending

When does this insanity stop?

Yet how can this be insanity when she is safe in peace?

She looks to escape, but chooses to remain in a home created from the dreams she once felt

Why am I using Twitter????

I have read many articles about Twitter and how professionals are not using the tool effectively and that it is the saving grace of all communication. According to recent reports, it is even having an impact on the 2012 election. As a single voting entity, I myself have not made any determination where I am leaning 11 1/2 months from now.

I am a professional that utilizes a number of Twitter accounts to engage in knowledge sharing to help promote visibility and communication levels around information pertaining to my organization and my writing. A few have embraced the materials, others just let it pass in the wind and others chose to unfollow as it has no particular relevance to themselves or it is just an annoyance.

Can Twitter be an effective tool? In many respects and in theory absolutely yes. It has the capability of reaching hundreds of thousands of people through views, retweets and beyond. But, like most toys, yes I did just call Twitter a toy, it has ability to fade in interest level and get over-saturated with meaningless garbage.

Let’s simplify Twitter for just a moment. It allows every human being (that has access to the platform) to vent in 140 characters, upload potential viruses, give faceless opinions, and self promote anything and everything. That doesn’t sound like something I want to be a part of. Given all the critical news being focused on globally, I would think this global instant communication channel would have valuable information at the top of its list other than commentary about a football game.

I decided to look at the most trended items in the United States at a given moment. This was the list of top trending items on Monday:

#FATGIRLSTRIPPERNAMES
#UseATwitterNameInASentence
#replacesongnameswithcurrysauce
So I’m
GOT AIDS
Guess I’ll
YOU KNOW YOU ARE BORED
Based God Velli
Hate Sleeping Alone

At a moment in time when Western Europe and the United States is in economic turmoil, terrorist activity is still very active, housing, retail and consumer spending are down, unemployment is hitting crucial levels and protests are being staged in financial markets, we are trending items including fat girl stripper names, got Aids, and replacing names with curry sauces.

Let me ask you this, does Twitter lack maturity or does its users?

I think the answer is very simple, both.

The developers and executives of Twitter are not choosing what items become popular at a given moment so thus the users are to blame, but are the fine ladies and gentlemen behind this formidable communication tool doing anything to enhance the importance of the data and provide us with a valuable tool we can use?
I am not a fly on the wall, but as an end user, I am not seeing Twitter showing signs of maturity.

Twitter ranks up with Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Quora and Google + in terms of media coverage both good and bad and when you add this blog, it will be viewed as another opinion about the platform.

In my defense, this piece is over 140 characters which may eliminate a substantial number of Twitter users from reading this.

My advice to Twitter: find a way to make this a more valuable tool with content that has relevance to our lives and not just a forum for R.I.P tweets, sports commentary and meaningless phrases.

Share Your Random Acts of Kindness (All Comments Welcome)

Today, November 13th is the annual day we acknowledge as World Kindness Day. It is a day we reflect on all of the wonderful and generous acts of kindness we commit throughout the year.

Whether your generosity is shared with family, friends or community or extends to the the prospect of kindness to strangers, it is the thoughtless act of helping others that provides us with the fortitude that there is goodness and caring in this crazy whirlwind of a world we live in.

On this day, we ask you to share with us the answer to this simple question:

WHAT ACTS OF KINDNESS HAVE YOU PERFORMED FOR OTHERS?

Please provide your comments below so others can share in the positive energy you give with each moment of reaching out to help another.