Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

I enjoyed a Sunday afternoon movie, in the delightful company of my grandson Jonathan, daughter Elissa and son-in-law Josh. Jonathan chose to see Ghostbusters, the recent reboot of a movie by the same name, released in 1984. This was actually my second viewing of this film, having watched it recently with granddaughter Aubrey, who chose this movie over the kid flick, The Secret Life of Pets. I had not done a review yet, so this was the perfect opportunity to catch more details as I watched again. 

Ghostbusters stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth and Neil Casey. This comedy/sci-fi was directed by Paul Feig and has a run time of 1 hour and 56 minutes. The movie is rated PG-13 for supernatural action and crude humor. 

In this remake of a classic, the gender roles are switched. The Ghostbusters team is made up of Abby Yates (McCarthy), a scientist studying the paranormal, her nuclear engineer, Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon), subway worker turned ghost hunter Patty Tolan (Jones) and Abby’s former scientific partner Erin Gilbert (Wiig). 

Erin has distanced herself from Abby and the supernatural, teaching at the prestigious Columbia University, and seeking tenure. Her hopes are dashed as Abby shows back up in her life. Erin confronts her old friend over the reappearance of a book about ghosts that they cowrote years ago. Abby agrees to withdraw the book if Erin will introduce her at the Aldridge mansion, where a malevolent ghost has been sighted. 

There is indeed a ghost in the mansion. And not just there. Apparitions are appearing all over NYC. Erin loses her job at the university and rejoins Abby. The team settles into a new office and hires an attractive assistant, Kevin (Hemsworth), to answer the phone and carry equipment. Patty supplies a vehicle, a hearse from her uncle’s funeral home, and coveralls to protect against sliming. The girls are in business, ghostbusters who use science and engineering to tackle the paranormal. 

They encounter a suspicious man, Rowan (Casey), who is the force behind the recent ghost sighting. He is intent on creating a vortex and unleashing the unhappy dead on the city. It’s mayhem, madness and lots of restless ghosts against the determined Ghostbusters team. 

This was a fun movie to watch. Although the first 15 minutes was a bit scary…Jonathan called it creepy and Aubrey crawled into my lap…the rest of the film was a humorous romp. I saw the original Ghostbusters film years ago and I enjoyed this remake with the gender twist. Melissa McCarthy was brilliant, and well supported by the rest of the cast. There were numerous nods to the original movie and great surprise cameos. 

Chris Hemsworth is always a pleasure to watch on the big screen. Known for playing more serious characters, such as Thor, it’s great to see him in a comedic role where he can offer his gifts in a fresh way. It is worth sitting through the credits to catch extra movie scenes and enjoy Chris as he dances! 

While much of the humor went over my grandchildren’s heads, they both enjoyed the movie. Jonathan said he loved the film and hope they make a sequel. He also said he would purchase this one when it is available. Aubrey loved Ghostbusters as well. It was interesting that as a young girl she liked seeing the women portrayed as smart and scientific. She told me, after we watched the movie, that when she grew up she wouldn’t want to be a ghostbuster, but she would like to learn about science and make cool gadgets. That’s a powerful message for girls offered within a comedy. 

Elissa, Josh and I enjoyed the movie for what it was, a playful, fun adventure with generous dollops of laugh out loud humor. Being familiar with the original film probably enhances the viewing experience but isn’t necessary. We loved hearing the classic theme song and catching the references to the 1984 movie. 

Got ghosts? Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! 

K9 Kool Down

What a fun morning, as I met my mom and sister Linda at a special gathering. Sponsored by Main Street Pet Care, the K9 Kool Down was a dog wash fundraiser and community support event. The two fold goal was to show appreciation to area first responders, and to raise money to help provide safety equipment for police K9 units.  

I have cats, who detest baths. But my mom brought her two large dogs, Scotty…a border collie, and Josie…a lab mix. While attendants filled plastic swimming pools with water, we checked out merchandise and emergency vehicles. Dr. Ben, from Main Street Pet Care stopped by and explained to us what the funds raised today will be used for. 

The police dogs work hard and train rigorously. In hot weather, they can overheat, creating health concerns. And if they pant to cool down, they lose some of their effectiveness in sniffing out drugs, explosives or electronics. The fundraiser money will be used to purchase cooling vests for the dogs to keep them from getting too hot. 

We learned too that Joplin has the only electronics sniffing dog in the area. He is able to locate a memory stick, for example, that has been hidden. This is useful when officers are working a pornography case. 

Dog washing began at 10:00 and continued until 2:00. Scotty and Josie did great, stepping into kiddie pools where they were scrubbed and rinsed. Not only was this a wonderful idea for a fund raiser, it was a benefit to dog owners as well. It’s difficult for my mom to give her big boy and girl a bath. At the K9 Kool Down there were teams of washers who completed the task quickly and efficiently. 

A crowd of pup owners gathered while we were there. In addition to the bigger pools for average sized dogs, there were small wading pools for tiny dogs. And the huge breeds got special arrention. A Joplin firetruck arrived and provided water via a hose, for a shower on the parking lot! 

The K9 Kool Down was a great community event for a good cause. It was wonderful to see adults, kids and dogs interacting with firemen, police officers, deputies and EMTs. Food and drinks were available, lively music played on speakers, and canines with JPD and Jasper County gave demonstrations. Since I didn’t have a dog to scrub, I bought a T shirt, to contribute to the fundraiser. 

Thank you Main Street Pet Care and the community for caring about first responders…even the four legged ones! 

What is This Feeling?

I wasn’t going to post a healing journey update until Monday, when I crossed the half way mark on this cleanse. However, as I was doing my free writing this morning, on day 12, I had an aha that I wanted to share. 

Tuesday of this week I realized I felt different. I was ten days into a cleanse that, as detailed by Anthony William in his book, Medical Medium, consisted of a raw fruit and veggie diet for 28 days. Something had changed! I had a difficult time putting into words what exactly had shifted. But I could feel it. 

I am lighter, having lost weight as a result of the vegan diet. However, it’s more than that. I feel lighter, cleaner on the inside. 

And I’ve done more than drop pounds. I haven’t had indigestion since I began the cleanse. Or a headache once I got past day 3. I’m sleeping deeply at night, without a sleep aid, I’m allergy and congestion free, and hydrated. I never realized how dehydrated I was, until last week. 

The numerous little aches and pains that I had are gone. Best of all, the pain level has greatly diminished in my lower back and legs . I still have some stiffness and pain in my left leg when I first wake up, or if I sit with that leg bent for too long. However my leg muscles relax more quickly and for the most part, I am pain free throughout the day. I am deeply grateful for that. 

In addition, I’m learning about my beliefs around food. The free writing I do every morning has been instrumental in going deeper into that love/hate relationship that I’ve had, and resolving issues, which is crucial for my future health. 

Finally, I have connected with others who are on a similar healing journey, by way of my blog posts and social media. There is a community of souls out there, people who are taking back their health, and thanks to Anthony, healing from a variety of diseases and disorders. I have been privileged to encounter these courageous men and women and walk with them. We encourage each other and learn.

What is this feeling? I have written that question down several times and mused aloud about what I was experiencing. So many wonderful shifts are occurring, so many positive changes. What is this? What?

As I wrote this morning, and tried to capture the differences I’m feeling, a thought arose. Very clearly the words came, This is what a healthy body feels like. 

Tears filled my eyes. 

This is what being healthy feels like. I’ve been in pain for so long. I’ve had various minor issues for so long. I had forgotten what feeling good feels like. Now, I feel light, energetic, peaceful. My body isn’t using massive amounts of energy fighting against viruses and inflammation like it was. The war on the Epstein Barr Virus and/or shingles, and inflammation, isn’t over, yet. But I am winning this battle…one step, one day at a time. 

What is this feeling? Health. 

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

Tonight I had the pleasure of watching the newest release in the long running Star Trek franchise. My sister Linda, my grandson Dayan and I settled into our theater seats, ready for an adventure in the far reaches of space. The opening scene began, and in the musical score, a few familar notes rang out. The Star Trek theme song instantly transported me into another time and place. 

Star Trek Beyond stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saladana, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella. This sci-fi/adventure was directed by Justin Lin and has a run time of 2 hours and 2 minutes. It is rated PG-13, for intense action and violence. 

The crew of the starship Enterprise, captained by James T Kirk (Pine), is at the edge of known space, three years into their five year mission. Scotty (Pegg) has settled into the bustling engine room. Lt. Uhura (Saladana) and Commander Spock (Quinto) are having relationship issues. Young Chekov (Yelchin) and Sulu (Cho) use their brilliance to navigate the massive starship, while sharp witted and sharp tongued Dr. McCoy (Urban) oversees the health and well being of the entire crew. 

The ship docks at the deep space station, Yorktown, to take on supplies and allow the crew much needed R&R. It’s a few days before Kirk’s birthday, and he feels restless, lost, unsure of his purpose. He is considering a career change, as is his first officer. While in Yorktown, Spock learns that his older self, Ambassador Spock, has passed away. With the planet Vulcan destroyed, young Spock feels an obligation to take his counterpart’s place on New Vulcan, to further the development of his people. 

In the midst of these shifts, an emergency arises, an urgent need best met by the experienced captain and crew of the Enterprise. This adventure will propel Kirk, Spock, Bones and the crew into uncharted space within a nearby nebula. There they will encounter a new ally, Jaylah (Boutella), and a dangerous new enemy, Krall (Elba). Will unity among the command staff and crew become their greatest strength? Or their biggest weakness? 

This was a great movie, especislly for a Trekkie like me. ST Beyond hit all the right notes, creating an action packed, high energy film that fully honors the Star Trek universe, while continuing to develop the characters in this alternate timeline. The actors did a superb job of capturing the well known mannerisms, expressions and voices of their counterparts. Watching them, I could believe they were my Spock, Bones, Kirk, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov. 

Although the action scenes are intense, without being graphic, there is an abundance of humor sprinkled strategically throughout the movie. Especially welcome was the familar verbal sparring between Bones and Spock. I also relished the deep friendship and loyalty between the three primary chatacters. That relationship has always drawn me to Star Trek. 

Chris Pine has really matured into the role of Captain Kirk. Kirk’s approaching birthday reminded him poignantly that he was about to become older than his father, who died in space when he was an infant. Wandering in deep space, with no tangible goal to reach beyond the five year mission, left his soul adrift and questions in his mind. The movie was as much about Kirk’s journey and his personal battles, as it was about the crew of Enterprise. 

There was sadness for me tonight, watching this third film in the reboot. Leonard Nimoy’s death last year created a need to say good bye to Ambassador Spock. The photos of his character brought tears to my eyes. He felt like my long time friend as well. And I was very aware of the brevity of life as I watched Chevov’s scenes. Anton Yelchin, who portrayed the young Russian crewman so passionately, died in a freak accident last month. He was 27 years old. My old beliefs want to wail over a life ended too soon, and close me down with fear over the seemingly random cruelty of life. My new beliefs allow me to feel gratitude that Anton discovered his gifts at such an early age, and that he shared them so beautifully with the world. 

I loved Star Trek Beyond. It was wonderful to revisit this universe. I’ll be watching this film again…soon. 

Take Your Pants for a Walk Day

I woke up this morning thinking, I want to go for a walk today. The weather has been cooler and not quite so humid. I’m feeling good. A stroll seemed like a great idea. Throughout the day that thought that transformed into a desire was reinforced by a meme from Anthony William…

…and a quirky holiday. Today is Take Your Pants for a Walk Day. The origin of this bizarre celebration is unknown, however what a great day to go for a walk and take my pants along! 

This evening I chose to take a walk in my neighborhood. The sun was sinking, billowy clouds were piling up in the south, and a cooling breeze ensured comfortable walking conditions. My pants…a pair of jeans…and I set off to explore my changing neighborhood. Greg and his pants strolled alongside. 

Bring your pants and come along…

After 10 days on the healing cleanse, my jeans are too big. That’s an acceptable side effect! 

My street was once lined with big shade trees. No more. The tornado took them all away, except for this lone survivor. 

New trees, new houses, new neighbors. This is not the neighborhood I raised my family in, rode my bike through, walked my dog in. But it is my neighborhood now. There are very few vacant lots left. I love seeing the progress. 

New construction continues. 

This contemporary new construction is replacing the house that was destroyed in 2011. It doesn’t look right on that lot. The former house was a big traditional two story home. When I walked outside immediately after the tornado, I looked toward this lot. The big green house was off of its foundation, crumpled like a dollhouse, in the street. I stood completely still, shocked. Rather than seeing the ghost of the house that was, I choose to release it. And accept this new home. 

Gorgeous evening sky. 

I walked my dog Payton late at night in the summertime. I was so familiar with the sidewalks, and their imperfections, that I didn’t need a light to see by. My feet knew the way. There are still places in the new neighborhood where the sidewalk is missing, and care needed to navigate. 

There were many flags flying in the neighborhood tonight! 

Is it the TARDIS?? I laughed so hard recreating my TARDIS pic with a dubious pretender. It wasn’t bigger on the inside…or very fresh smelling! 

This was a beautiful evening to be outside. I enjoyed the fresh air and the chance to check out new houses and visit the few that remained after the storm. As the temperatures begin cooling down late in the day, frequent walks through the neighborhood will be good for my health and connect me with my neighbors and a bright future. 

I had a wonderfully restorative walk. My pants enjoyed it too!  

Keeping it Real

This is day 9 out of 28 of my healing cleanse. Although I still have several weeks to go to complete the cleanse, I have been profoundly affected by this journey. I undertook the cleanse, which involves eating raw fruits, vegetables and greens for four weeks, to heal from chronic pain. Nine days in, I can report that my pain level has greatly diminished. And not only in my left leg. All those little aches and pains I attributed to getting older have faded away as well. I feel lighter, in soul and body. 

These results are encouraging and help to spur me on. I have had no desire to return to my old eating habits. I’m discovering truths about myself as I continue this journey and I am enjoying the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies in my diet. 

Until lunch time today. 

I had an extremely delicious and satisfying breakfast smoothie, made with bananas, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. I think that triple berry drink is my favorite so far. Lunch was going to be a big leafy salad with chopped up veggies. However, as I walked into the kitchen to begin preparations, I found myself pushing away from that idea. After nine days of salads, my mind said a quiet “no” to having another one. 

This is where I can trip myself up, good intentions or not. This is the slippery slope I often encounter, about a week in, when I am making healthy changes to my diet. I come up against a “no, I don’t want that”. I know if I allow myself to be pulled back into old eating patterns, I’ll slide right back into equally old habits and poorer health.  

I went inward. I could force myself to eat a salad. No discussion. No allowances. Just do it. I searched for the cause of the resistance. As I’ve learned this year, resistance means I’m moving out of the flow. The flow is where I want to be. I checked to see if I was craving anything. I wasn’t. It really came down to this…I didn’t want any lettuce, spinach or kale for lunch. It didn’t appeal to me. Considering possibilities, without judgement or being critical of myself, opened up other options. 

I created a veggie bowl, made up of celery sticks, sliced zucchini, yellow squash and cucumber, and raw asparagus spears. Half an avocado mashed up with a diced tomato and lemon juice became my healthy and flavorful dipping sauce. Lunch was amazing. And pretty to look at. Beauty is important to me, as I am nourishing my soul as well as my body. 

That pause this afternoon, to listen to my own objection and get behind the resistance, was crucial to the success of my healing journey today. I can do this. I can choose to live in a healthier way. And I can honor myself as I do so. 

Tonight, greens were back on the menu. I enjoyed a spinach, celery, basil, tomato smoothie. It was yummy!

To Boldly Go

Today was one of those days where I repeatedly came across something. Without specifically looking for it, Star Trek popped up over and over…on a TV commercial, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. I opened my Amazon Video app to check the availability of a movie my daughter recommended, and Star Trek was featured. Not the most recent films in this long lived franchise, but the three seasons from the original series and the early movies. 

Granted, there is a new release, Star Trek Beyond, playing now in theaters. I’ll see it this week. And this year is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. And…a new television series, Star Trek Discovery, premieres January 2017. However, today, my awareness was pulled again and again to this campy sci-fi phenomenon. 

I gave in to the taps on the shoulder. And happily so. I am a Trekkie, and have been since age 14. As an eight year old, when the series premiered, the show was a bit too intense for me. I watched the second episode, Charlie X, and it scared me. Six years later I caught the series in syndication and I was hooked. Hurrying home after school each afternoon, I’d catch the next episode. 

Five TV spin offs, an animated series and 13 feature length films later, I’m still a devout fan. I’ve faithfully watched every series and movie. And when I was in between episodes and films, I read Star Trek novels. At one time I owned a couple of hundred paperbacks chronicling the continuing adventures of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. My family can verify that along with the usual fan momentos, I also had in my collection an Enterprise telephone, life size cardboard standees, and a set of Vulcan ears that slipped over my own. 

With great pleasure, I settled back this afternoon and watched episode one from the original series, The Man Trap. Although I’ve seen every episode many times, it’s been several years since I’ve watched anything from the television series. Being familiar with the story left me free to see with fresh eyes and a perspective that has shifted since I last viewed Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy, affectionately known as Bones. 

I was enchanted, again. I know the sets and special effects are not up to today’s  standards. And the women wear short dresses. And William Shatner is dramatic as Captain James T Kirk. But c’mon…it was the 1960s. The stories and concepts were way ahead of their time. The gadgets and science of Star Trek inspired future technology. The cast was multiracial and multicultural.

Watching today, with a tender smile, I loved it still. Why? Because of the relationships and friendships. Kirk, Spock and Bones form an unbreakable bond that continues across time and the galaxy. If one is present, the other two are near by. They journey with each other. Protect each other. Challenge each other. Sacrifice themselves for the others. That strong friendship inspired me as a teen and continues to today. It is unconditional love, respect and trust, combined. 

The half human, half Vulcan character Spock, portrayed by Leonard Nimoy, captivated me the most. His struggles with his humanity allowed me to learn more about myself. His attempt to keep his emotions tightly under control was of particular interest to me as I attempted to do the same. Although I was okay expressing positive emotions, and Spock was not, we both clamped down on the negative ones. Our shared journey was to discover how to live with the rawness of powerful emotions that threatened to overwhelm. I was horribly sad when Leonard passed away last year. And grateful to learn today that a documentary, For the Love of Spock, created by Leonard’s son Adam Nimoy, will be released this fall. 

I’m glad that today I was reminded of just how important Star Trek has been in my life. In many ways, the impact was much deeper than just me being in the fandom. Star Trek has shaped my life, and taught me to reach, to expand, to grow, and yes…here it comes…to boldly go. 

I am thrilled to celebrate 50 years of Trek. I look forward to future films and TV series. As I was saving pictures for my blog post, my grandson Dayan texted to ask if I was aware there was a new Star Trek series coming out. He had no idea I’d been immersed in the franchise all day. It was the final attention getting tap. Dayan introduced me to Doctor Who. It is time for me to introduce him to another long running series. 

Live long and prosper, Star Trek. 

Having Fun with Lemon Water

Ah, it’s been a packed out weekend, with precious time spent with different family members. I stayed true to my eating plan for the most part, switching to simply prepared vegetables rather than salads full of unwanted extras, in each of the three restaurants I dined in. 

This evening I prepped for the upcoming week by restocking my supply of avocados, celery, lemons, spinach and baby kale, cutting up cantaloupe, and preparing a pitcher of lemon water for consumption tomorrow. The benefits of drinking lemon water are many, and include ridding the body of toxins, aiding digestion and improving immunity. 

I keep myself hydrated, and by adding the freshly squeezed lemon, I also cleanse and alkalinize my body. My liver, especially, appreciates that I drink lemon water. And rather than using a splash of concentrated juice in my water, I’ve come to recognize the value of adding the fresh juice from a tangy lemon. 

Tonight I had fun creating my pitcher full of lemon water. I have a big electric juicer that I use every day with celery and a variety of other fruits and veggies. However, I only needed the juice of half a lemon. I got to use a vintage glass juicer, an item that previously belonged to my Aunt Annie. I’m old enough to know how to use this little beauty. And young enough that I never had. 

When my cousins allowed me to bring the keepsake home, after my aunt’s passing, I cherished it, and looked forward to using the juicer for its intended purpose. This evening, I had the oppoetunity to do so. There was a homey satisfaction that arose from twisting that half of a lemon on the old-style kitchen gadget, and getting juice! 

Tomorrow, I’ll empty the pitcher twice, sating my thirst and creating health within my body. And I’ll smile as I sip my lemon water, thinking of that little juicer. 

Fruit’s Bad RapĀ 

One of the things I’ve learned this week is how valuable fruit is in my diet. Reading in the Medical Medium book, I discovered that fruit has received a bad rap in recent years. Because of the fructose in fruit, that many equate with processed sugar, this food group has fallen out of favor in the American diet. 

I’ve long held the belief that I couldn’t consume much fruit either. It often seemed to give me indigestion after I ate it. However I was willing to follow this healing cleanse to the letter, for the sake of increased health and vitality. I was willing to eat fruit, and risk the indigestion. 

I hoped the benefits of fruit…antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-disease, vital to gut health…would override any acid reflux I might experience. To my surprise, and delight, I have not had any indigestion or acid reflux, and fruit has been the foundation of my diet this week. I learned it wasn’t the fruit that was creating the digestive issues. It was the other foods and junk I was eating that was keeping my system out of whack. 

On this hot, muggy, busy day, my dinner tonight was simple and nutricious…and entirely fruit based: strawberries, blackberries, fresh pineapple and cut up mango. It was the perfect summertime meal. 

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

I have a full and fun weekend ahead, spending time with lots of family members. Blog posts will be brief! However, the 28 day healing cleanse will continue. This will be a great oportunity to bring this healing journey and real life together, to see how they mesh! 

For breakfast this morning I tried the orange creamsicle smoothie. I was excited about sampling this yummy looking drink. Preparation started the night before. I cut up two bananas and popped them into the freezer. 

Here’s the recipe, from Anthony William, author of Medical Medium:

This smoothie was easy to make and tasted as great as it looked. I had enough of the mixture for two smoothies. I’m loving the endless variety of smoothies that are possible by combining different fruits and vegetables. 

Cheers! Here’s to robust health!