A PERSONAL GOODBYE TO 2016

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Photo courtesy of wisheshappynewyear.com

 

And to be honest, good riddance.

To put it in a nutshell…

If you were a woman, a person of color,  gay/lesbian/transgender, or someone who didn’t consider Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior, preferring some other religion; particularly a certain monotheistic religion based in the Middle East,

Chances are 2016 wasn’t the best year for you as bigotry seemed to run amuck and a man who I’m sure some laughed at when he announced his intention to run for President of these (Dis) United States will be taking the Oath of Office on the Capitol steps in three weeks.

Not to mention all the people who left us, some far too soon, including a famous mother and daughter pair this week.

I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t say for certain how 2017 will unfold.

Though for those who aren’t conservative or agree with those views, it doesn’t look too good.

As for me personally, aside from what happened in this country and the world things weren’t too awful for me.

But I feel that things were, and will continue to be, precarious going forward.

Even as I plan to have my book describing my experiences with having Asperger’s Syndrome and being on the Autism Spectrum, WALKING ON EGGSHELLS, finished and self-published and commemorate a milestone birthday in the next twelve months.

All I can do is pray that things will be fine and no real tragedies or disasters happen as these fifty states are at its most divided since the Civil War.

I REALLY hope that 2017 is a good one.

Lord help us all.

 

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A winter nature scene that makes me feel better about things, and I hope it does the same for you.

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CHRISTMAS & HOLIDAY MUSINGS FOR 2016

 

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What Christmas is REALLY about. Image courtesy of amazinggraceweb.org

 

 

PLUS SOME SOOTHING PHOTOS AND IMAGES THAT WILL HOPEFULLY INCREASE YOUR HOLIDAY SPIRIT

 

Four days before Christmas, and my one dominating thought regarding it all is this:

In light of all the animosity, hatred, and bigotry generated by various events, particularly the election of Donald Trump,

This is one Christmas where we need Peace On Earth,

And goodwill not only toward men, but toward women, children, animals, all people of color,  Muslims, Jews, Gays, all those who are developmentally disabled in some form (like those on the Autism Spectrum like me), and everyone else who I foolishly may have forgotten,

MORE THAN EVER.

And remind ourselves that this holiday is all about a certain baby whose birth we are commemorating and celebrating right about now.

The other day I saw this quote regarding this time of year that I thought was perfect and eloquently described my sentiments:

 

“As we get older we realize that the best gifts for Christmas are found in the heart and not in the shopping malls.”

 

It didn’t say who said that quote, but though there’s admittedly a picture of a mall in this post – there for the decorations, NOT the mall – I loved it all the same.

Of course it should go without saying what my Christmas and holiday wish is, as it will always be the same every year:

 

PEACE.

 

Which to be honest will be especially difficult to attain given the current political, ideological, racial, and cultural climate not only in the U.S., but in the rest of the world as well.

I’m convinced that only God will be able to make that wish a reality.

And I pray that He brings that peace.

In the meantime, here are some photos and videos of songs that as someone with Asperger’s, brings a calming effect to me and induces feelings of warmth and comfort.

I hope they do the same for you.

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM LITTLE OLD ME.

 

 

One of two essential Christmas songs in my book: Sting’s rendition of “Gabriel’s Message”. Courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE9h_ie4-Rs

The other song that I must hear this time of year, otherwise it’s not Christmas: “Christmas Time Is Here (instrumental version)” from the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Courtesy of YouTube – just click on the link.

 

 

 

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Christmas decorations at The Grove, a large shopping center in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of thevalley.net

 

 

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I’ve always liked Christmas lights, and I really like the ones at this home and yard. Photo courtesy of nassau.happeningmag.com

 

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Another pretty scene for the occasion; I like the snow and the way the trees are decorated. Photo courtesy of favim.com

 

 

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An ideal Christmas image: A huge decorated tree surrounded by lighted homes, other snow-covered trees, and some mountains. Image courtesy of wm.com

 

 

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This snowy scene, with the snow, the creek, and all the trees, particularly gives me a warm, calming feeling and helps gets me into the spirit. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: The Latest On The Writing of My Book, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”

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A good illustration of my book writing process as I wrote my 1st draft in longhand and used a PC for my subsequent drafts. Photo courtesy of kimberleeconwayireton.net

 

 

HOW THINGS ARE PROGRESSING WITH MY BOOK DETAILING MY EXPERIENCES HAVING ASPERGER’S AS CHRISTMAS AND THE END OF 2016 APPROACHES

 

To get right to the point…

Since I started setting aside an average of a couple of hours a week to edit and rewrite a fourth (and final) draft of the book detailing my experiences being on the Autism Spectrum in a non-autistic world, WALKING ON EGGSHELLS,

Things have been progressing fairly well as I am currently in the middle of chapter seven, with the book being planned for nine chapters and a brief epilogue.

I finished chapters five and six last month; they were important chapters because they described my (mostly bad) experiences in high school.

There were so many events and incidents during those high school years which led to negative results and feelings in some form, I had to divide them into two chapters as one chapter would have been WAY too long.

As a play on the iconic movie “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”, the quintessential teenage film released during the start of my high school days, I’m calling the chapters “Rough Times At Samohi, Part One” and “Rough Times At Samohi, Part Two”

While not divulging any excerpts – sorry, you’ll just have to wait for the book to be published,

I can say that part one details my first year or so at Santa Monica High School (the term “Samohi”, coming from taking the first two letters of Santa Monica, and High), where I spent those formative years, focusing on my struggles fitting in with the main extracurricular activity I was involved with, the marching band, while part two mostly recalls my academic and social struggles outside of the music program, including my experiences at the prom and trying to get my driver’s license my senior year.

 

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Photo courtesy of lumacare.co.uk

 

Which were two bad memories that helped to illustrate my Charlie Brown-like failures there.

As for chapter seven, except for it being about my struggles with matters of the heart I prefer not to go into any details about it as it’s rather personal; sorry, you’ll just have to read the book when it’s finished and published!

My immediate plans are to try to finish the chapter before New Year’s, but if not it will definitely be done by the end of the first week of January.

Which will leave me free to tackle what will probably be the most important part of my book:

My (more often than I would have liked) traumatic times as an adult with an emphasis on my social struggles in the workforce, which like my high school experiences are so many I have to divide them into part one and part two.

Those two chapters are so essential to WALKING ON EGGSHELLS, I have to be sure that I dedicate time to working on them each week if my goal of the book being (self) published and out by my birthday in June is to be reached.

The way things are going, I am pretty confident about that goal being reached.

Because all I’m really trying to do is tell one person’s story about his being in a world which because of his special need is not geared toward him, and his challenges succeeding in such a world.

Keep holding good thoughts…

 

 

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An excellent quote. Image courtesy of quoteaddicts.com

 

 

 

 

FOUR LIVE MUSICALS THAT NEED TO BE SHOWN ON NETWORK TV

HAIRSPRAY LIVE! -- Season: 2016 -- Pictured: (l-r) back row: Ephraim Skyes as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad, Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussle; middle row: Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton, Garrett Clayton as Link Larkin, Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad, Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle, front row: Shahadi Wright Joseph as Little Inez, Derek Hough as Corny Collins — (Photo by: Brian Bowen Smith/NBC)

HAIRSPRAY LIVE! — Season: 2016 — Pictured: (l-r) back row: Ephraim Skyes as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad, Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussle; middle row: Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton, Garrett Clayton as Link Larkin, Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad, Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle, front row: Shahadi Wright Joseph as Little Inez, Derek Hough as Corny Collins — (Photo by: Brian Bowen Smith/NBC) Photo courtesy of hugogloss.com

 

Some thoughts on productions like the recent “Hairspray Live!” that have been aired by NBC and Fox, and what I think should be shown next.

 

Last Wednesday I saw “Hairspray Live!”,  NBC’s fourth live action musical production after beginning in 2013 with “The Sound of Music Live!”, followed by “Peter Pan Live!” in 2014 and “”The Wiz Live!” in 2015.

I thought it was okay, Maddie Baillio doing a pretty good job  – for her first professional role – as lead character Tracy Turnblad with Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle and Ariana Grande as Tracy’s best friend Penny Pingleton using their considerable vocal abilities to bring down the house, particularly at the end with their duet in “Come So Far (Got So Far To Go)”.

 

The 2007 movie version of Hairspray’s “You Can’t Stop The Beat”. Courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

Though I felt that the 2007 movie version and the original film in 1988 were better, “Hairspray Live!” was good enough a solid A for effort and a B for execution.

As I watched the live version on NBC, it got me to thinking what Broadway musicals should next be produced on network television as ever since “Sound of Music”, it has been a trend for NBC as well as Fox, who produced “Grease Live!”in January to much acclaim, to show live action musicals as they did with Peter Pan starring Mary Martin in the late 1950s and early 60s.

I won’t waste any more time – here are the four productions that have been famous smashes on Broadway that I would like to see…

 

GODSPELL

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The cast of the 1973 movie version of Godspell, featuring Titanic’s Victor Garber (fourth from left) as Jesus Christ. Photo courtesy of imgarcade.com

 

I really liked the movie version of the story of our Lord and Savior according to the Gospel of St. Matthew, and it would be perfect for this to be shown live Easter Week or Christmas Week.

I can totally see people going nuts with this signature song, which turned out to be a hit on the charts in the early 1970s:

 

 

“Day By Day”, the hit song sung by Robin Lamont in the ’73 movie version of Godspell. Courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

RENT

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The cast of the 2005 movie version of “Rent”, six of them having been part of the original cast on Broadway. Photo courtesy of  galleryhip.com

 

When I saw this film based on the 1996 Broadway smash about young people dealing with poverty, drugs, homosexuality and AIDS, I cried my eyes out because it spoke so loudly to me about following my dreams.

Not to mention it being my Generation X’s contribution to the Great White Way.

 

 

“Seasons of Love”, part of the opening to the 2005 film version of Rent. Courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

Considering the issues covered and the cultural and political climate today, as great as “Rent” is I don’t expect a production of this to appear live on TV anytime soon.

But it would sure be cool if was; I, along with I reckon millions of others, would love to see it.

 

 

PIPPIN

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Ben Vereen, William Katt, and Chita Rivera in the 1981 Canadian TV version of “Pippin”. Photo courtesy of YouTube.com

 

This would be cool to see live on network TV for two reasons:

  1. Two of the songs in particular, “Magic To Do” and “Corner of the Sky”, are great tunes, and…
  2.  It eloquently tells the story of a young man trying to find himself and where he fits in the world, something we can all relate to – in a sense, I’m still trying to find mine!

 

“Magic To Do”, Pippin’ s opening number sung by Ben Vereen which became a hit on the charts. Courtesy of YouTube.

 

 

ANNIE

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A still from the original Broadway version of “Annie” in 1977. Photo courtesy of broadwayworld.com

 

If you were a seven-to-fourteen year old girl starting in 1977 and lasting through the 80s and 90s and even to this day, you were and are a HUGE fan of this production.

How could it not be so with seven girls singing and dancing their heart out over how much of a hard knock life they have, with one of them being so optimistic despite living in an orphanage during the Great Depression that she’s always singing about how the sun will come out tomorrow?

While I didn’t quite fit the demographic of who would be a fan of this show, being a boy and all, I would be surprised if NBC or Fox didn’t put out a live version of this within the next five years.

Well, there you have it.

Hopefully these productions will be shown live as I think they would go over well.

What does everyone else think?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UIiT6ry6zQ

The 1999 TV movie version of “A Hard Knock Life” (just click on the link). Notice Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland as Molly, the youngest orphan. Courtesy of YouTube.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Scenic Images That Soothe Me

I wanted to try something new on this blog, something different from the usual essays and articles as I thought…

What if I posted photos of scenes that give me a soothing feeling whenever I looked at them, scenes that relax me as we can always use those.

Here are some pictures that give me such relaxing feelings.

I hope someday I can visit, if not actually live, in these places:

 

Albury Park snow scene

Being that Winter and the holiday season have officially arrived, I’ve always liked outdoor snowy scenes. Here’s one from warrenphotographic.co.uk

 

 

 

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I have also always loved mountains, particularly when covered by snow as this photo depicts. Courtesy of the wallpapers.org

 

 

 

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Love this scenic mountain/forest photo; It’s so panoramic. Courtesy of wallpaperhdx.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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Autumn shots with the leaves in different colors, like this one, also give me a good, relaxed feeling. Courtesy of selfnetplay.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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Another wide open autumn landscape photo that gives me a good, relaxed feeling. Courtesy of mrwallpaper.com

 

 

 

 

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The place to go if people from Los Angeles want to experience a traditional winter atmosphere – Big Bear Mountain, located roughly 80 miles east of L.A. I’ve never been there, sadly; I’ve always wanted to go. Photo courtesy of brenthaywoodphotography.com

 

 

 

 

Albury Park snow scene

Every time I see wide open spaces, whether in pictures like this one or in person, it always give me a good feeling of “Free”, like I’m not trapped. Which is why I really like this photo. Courtesy of wallpaperhdx.blogspot.com