Monday, December 22, 2014

Fakih and Brandy bring the Christmas!

This video clip made my morning when I first saw it on my Facebook page.  Thank you Fakih and Brandy for such a festive rendition of an great Christmas tune!  I am sharing this in the hopes that it does go viral.  The world needs this double shot of cheer.  Pass it on :-)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Walking and laughing

As with a lot of television, I find myself late to the party with The Walking Dead. I really was not interested in watching before because I was all about Mad Men and did not take a liking to the science fiction genre. I wasn't interested in Breaking Bad either.

All it took was Rosie Larsen and that story changed. Well, it was actually my increasing need for new binge watching shows when I finished watching 'The Killing.' By the time I reached the end of my run with Linden and Holder, I decided to take the advice of members of my 'Covert Crew' fans of Covert Affairs.

It was early November and I was beginning Season One of a show that many around me were bursting with potential spoilers. I watched one or two episodes after work and ran though a few more on the weekends. I was amazed to be getting through the seasons that followed the brief first season. I hoped and hoped that I would be finished with the fourth season so I could seamlessly catch the Season Five marathon and then the mid-season finale.

Did I make it? Yes. And, now, I must wait until the second half of the season. In the meantime, enjoy some memes.

I created none of these memes but I found them on the Internet and thought that they made great comic relief!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Empire building with GoFundMe

I want to take you with me on a cross country trip.

I have been enamored of rail travel ever since my first Amtrak journey to Baltimore as a child of eight years old. I was a young history buff who knew only of the heyday of passenger rail in books. That summer trip to visit family created in me a desire to take the rails wherever and whenever I could.

When I graduated from college, I finally fulfilled that childhood dream - a celebration trip to New York and I have frequented Amtrak since then.

I have been on short jaunts to nearby Winter Park in my home state of Florida. I have taken a four-day journey to Los Angeles from Jacksonville aboard the Sunset Limited.

What has tied together my various ramblings on the rails, whether it be summering in Maine or conventioneering in Kansas City, I most enjoyed using social media to share my impressions of this vast country.

It gives me a sense of joy to know that I have friends and relatives who tell me that they live vicariously through my postings on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and the like. This means a lot to me as I hope to make my trips as enjoyable for others as they are for me - albeit virtually. This, I suppose, is one of the benefits of being a teacher. My summers are a chance to relax and be an artist of sorts, with my craft being an Amtrak artist (so to speak). With a Klout score that hovers around 70, I am in the top ten percent of Internet 'influencers.' I am hoping to be a positive influence :-)

Having been to three corners of the nation via train, I have wanted to visit the Northwest. My grandmother tells tales of taking the Great Northern railroad as a child. I would like to experience that this upcoming summer. And this is where I bring you with me. I originally applied for an Amtrak residency that was established for writers who wanted to hone their railroad writing. I did not receive such an opportunity, but I wanted to create an opportunity for myself.

My aim is to document every step of my trip from Jacksonville, Florida to Seattle and back via Amtrak's Empire Builder. I might even venture into Vancouver if the time is right. My goal is to raise $3,000 to cover my transportation and lodging along the way.

UPDATE: I am working on my proposed itinerary for my trip and here are my plans: With my bags, camera, tablet and smart phone packed, I depart the Jacksonville Amtrak station on the evening of June 29. I arrive in Washington, D.C. the next morning and spend the day enjoying the nation's capital until I leave in the afternoon for Chicago. I hope to return to Florida House before I leave D.C! The next morning, it's Chicago and a museum or a skyscraper (I still call it the Sears Tower - LOL) and then on the train for Seattle after lunch. The next stretch of the trip will be two days venturing into parts of the nation that I only dreamed of seeing. This is where I think that my best work will be - on the old frontier aboard the Empire Builder.

When I arrive in Seattle, my aim is to stay in a hostel and partake in a very happy Fourth of July. Thankfully, I am not tethered to finite rolls of film and will be giddy with sharing and oversharing this epic experience. I will stay in the Evergreen State until I depart Seattle on July 5 at 1:40PM. The return trip will consist of getting into Chicago on July 7th, arriving in Washington on July 8 and back to Jax on July 9. The return trip? Mostly afterglow :-)

Please donate to my GoFundMe account here. Thank you! I promise that you will be glad that you invested in my journey!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Radio Free Spirit --- Pandora finds...

For this session of Radio Free Spirit, I am sharing music that I have found on Pandora. They all three are ambient and mellow tunes that help me to relax. I hope you enjoy them!

Can you help Wendy?

It all started with a vintage suit (Pictured).

I went looking for a unique suit to wear for Easter on a rookie teacher's salary. Being a fan of vintage clothing, I happened across a store in Jacksonville's eclectic and bohemian Five Points neighborhood.

As soon as I entered Time Warp, I fell in love with the store's wares and walked away with a suit that cost no more than $50. Not only were the prices affordable, the owner was very sweet.

We talked about how film and television productions often rely on vintage clothing stores to properly capture a time from the past. Being inspired by how decades like the 1960s were half a century ago but still hold a timeless appeal, I liked the aesthetic that came to vivid life in AMC's 'Mad Men'.

I returned to the store and enjoyed conversing with Wendy about how I wore my Easter suit to my tenth high school reunion. I brought a picture of myself having a rip roaring good time at the Omni with Orange Park's Class of 1992. I bought more clothes from what became a favorite of mine.

Somewhere along the way since then, Time Warp closed.

I heard that she left the business after being attacked. I lamented the loss, but the memory of Time Warp soon faded.

I returning home from visiting family in South Carolina for Memorial Day weekend when I saw the front page of the Times-Union. It caught my attention with a front page article about a woman who suffered facial damage. I forgot about it as I was taking my parents and baby niece back home and trying to beat what looked like an approaching storm. [See article here]

I saw a reference to the Sunday front page story when I was casually looking at the news online. I clicked on the link and entered a time warp. The first few sentences of the article brought me back to the unclear and foggy story that I had previously heard of Wendy, but the entirety of the article opened my eyes to what had happened to Wendy and where she had been since then.

My heart broke.

The cheerful young woman who was a highlight of my day when I came to look for clothes for myself or brought out-of-town visitors to see Five Points. I missed Wendy, her Time Warp, and how Five Points was not the same for me after she left.

Now, I learn that Wendy is on the road to recovery but it is an uphill climb made rockier by her medical bills. Please visit Wendy's web pages and consider donating. Wendy Somerset Recovery Donations