Art · christianity · church · film making · films · Inspiration · Life · Literature · religion · Uncategorized

God vs. Avengers: Infinity War

“Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life” – Oscar Wilde.
If you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War I HIGHLY suggest you save this blog until you do. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a major movie enthusiast, especially if it includes superheroes (Marvel over DC every time…sorry, not sorry). So when Avengers: Infinity War was released I knew I had to see it as soon as possible.

If you know me also know that as a filmmaker myself, it’s very hard for me to sit and watch a film or tv series without overanalyzing everything and hence I usually figure out the big twists before the climax (Blessing and a curse). That being said, I DID NOT see the ending for Infinity War coming, and I was just as shook as everyone else. However, it was during the analysis process that a few things stood out to me, including some parallels that I could draw between the film and my spiritual life.

  1. Life is a series of choices; your choices make all the difference – As much as we like to believe we have very little control over our own lives, this isn’t always necessarily true. Does everyone start off on the same plane? No. Is it always fair? Absolutely not. But at the end of the day, what you do with whatever situations you’ve been placed in is ultimately YOUR decision. As I’ve stated before in a previous blog (https://asdawkins.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/life-blog-work-the-deck/), some people have some extremely unfortunate situations (to put it lightly) that truly change the course of their lives, but even in those situations, there are choices to be made. [PS. My heart goes out to everyone facing what seems like an impossible situation right now.]

2. We don’t always understand, and that’s okay – There were more than a few moments during Infinity War when I wanted to throw something at the screen and scream “What the hell are you doing??!” The truth is, we don’t always understand people’s actions, but we sometimes get clarity when we understand their motives. Many times we’re quick to judge each other because the action doesn’t seem to make any sort of sense. However, if we understand someone’s motive for doing something a specific way, the action would make more sense. Sometimes we have to allow people to make their own mistakes and learn their own lessons without casting judgment, especially when we don’t understand their backstory.

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3. Most importantly, ALL things work together for good. – This was probably the most important lesson I learned from this movie. I know by now you may all be thinking I’ve completely lost my mind. “Did she even SEE the end of the movie??” Let me explain. [SPOILER]

There’s a scene in the film where some of the Avengers were trying to figure out how to defeat Thanos. The conversation went something like:

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Dr. Strange: I went forward in time to see all the possible outcomes of the present situation.

Peter: How many did you see?

Dr. Strange: Fourteen million six hundred and five.

Tony: How many do we win?

Dr. Strange: One.

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Those chances are less than slim. They’re literally next to impossible. And when you see the end of the movie it makes you question so many decisions made, including why in the world would Dr. Strange just hand over the Time Stone to Thanos??

But it made me really think, if Strange knew the ONLY outcome that would be the best outcome for the universe – the one where they would all win, would he really willingly hand over the stone and leave the universe in doom forever? Himself included?

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This is where my parallel was drawn. I’ve often heard people say “Why would an All powerful, all knowing God allow the evil to happen in the world?” And trust me, I get it. There are a lot of horrible, horrific things that happen on a day to day basis. There are so many things I just do not understand, and so many things I can’t wait to question God about. But why would an all knowing, all powerful God allow these things to happen and then promise the outcome is for OUR good? It seems almost sadistic. Sometimes it seems like with all the good we (The Avengers) do in the world, it can never outweigh the bad. Sometimes it seems like we’re fighting a losing battle.

The truth is Jesus is the true Avenger. God is the ONLY one who has walked to the end of TIME and seen ALL the different possibilities and He still allows some things to happen, while still promising us that in the end, it will be for our good. Just like in Infinity War, I didn’t understand what Dr. Strange did. I couldn’t understand the end of the film. HOW are they going to fix this when half of the universe has literally disappeared and it seems like the bad guy (Thanos) has won? But just as I’m trusting Dr. Strange and Marvel to come up with the most creative way to fix the situation and give the victory to the good guys, it’s the same way my faith in God works. All is not lost. I choose to trust the all-powerful, Omniscient God of the Universe to work EVERYTHING out for good in the end and place victory where it truly belongs. I trust Him to write and “right” the script of this world, and in the end, we will all look back at His MARVELous works in celebration.

The real power is not in controlling free will, but causing all the chaos and madness that our free will creates to still have the absolute best outcome in the end.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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Art · food blog · Inspiration · jamaica · Life · Literature · Uncategorized

#GasThemUP – Cakes N’ Bakes By Mel

I’ve been sitting on this blog for quite a while, partially because I couldn’t quite figure out how to do this in an original, but still interesting enough way, in that it wasn’t like a typical interview. Then the idea came to me to merge my love of storytelling along with the captivating interview, so that’s what I did!

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I interviewed my friend and amazing pastry chef Melissa Cunningham about her business “Cakes N’ Bakes by Melissa”. This is a part of an ongoing series called “Gas Them Up” where I interview my friends who are entrepreneurs. The answers to the questions are 100% theirs but the setting of the interview is completely from my imagination. Enjoy!

Please follow CakesNBakesByMelissa on Instagram!

***

The Life

Starting the weekend right is the perfect remedy for ensuring your Monday doesn’t suck. This was the thought that went through Ali’s mind on Friday evening as she sat and glanced around, completely surrounded by friends she considered family, with amazing food and wine at her fingertips. Ali, Rach, Ash, Mel and Yan all grew up in the same neighbourhood, and while life had been wonderful to them, they no longer lived in close proximity to each other. It had since become a tradition for these five ladies to meet and de-stress at least once a month, and she had to admit it was one of their best ideas yet.

She scanned the table filled with a pastry junkie’s dream – key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, Bailey’s cheesecake and a chocolate Ganache Drip Cake, and whispered to herself as she swirled her wine, “This is the life.”

“Right?” Her friend, Rach agreed. Ali nodded and smiled. She hadn’t realised anyone would have heard her.

“I’m going leave here fat but totally satisfied, so I don’t care.” Ash, chimed in.

Mel joined them on the deck, carrying a bottle of Moscato.

“Girl, I must ask what would you be wasting your amazing talent on if you weren’t a pastry chef?” Ali asked, as she bit into another slice her key lime pie. She closed her eyes savouring the incredible taste and the flavours that made her taste buds dance.

Mel unscrewed the bottle and poured herself a glass. “While I always loved being in the kitchen, I actually thought about dentistry then I got braces and considered becoming Orthodontist.” She laughed as the memory resurfaced. “Then I realized the sciences weren’t for me and focused on what I thought would just be a hobby: cooking. I began pursuing an Executive Chef future but along the way it still didn’t feel right. I guess it came to me one night that I was in the right place doing the wrong job. Then I went fully into baking after I graduated University.”

She took a small sip of the wine and reached for the strawberry shortcake. She took special care to ensure she caught a slice that was filled with actual strawberries in the middle.

“The world would seriously be missing out.” Yan agreed, while cutting into the cheesecake.

The ladies all nodded in agreement.

Ash sat back in her chair and pondered. “Was your family always supportive of your career choice?”

Mel licked strawberry frosting from her index finger before replying. “More or less. They encouraged me to do what I loved always, but also saw the downside: long hours, underpaid et cetera and so they encouraged me to keep my options open, in terms of maybe not working in the kitchen, but in the food & beverage department. I’d still be in the food service industry but not doing the physical work.”

“Oh, understandable,” Ash replied.

“What has been your proudest moment thus far?” Rach asked.

Mel smiled as she reached for her phone and pulled up her Instagram page to show her friends. “Having my work photographed by Dwayne Watkins and having a feature in Indulge magazine.”

“Oh my gosh, yaaaas girl!” Ali exclaimed.

Yan reached for her wine glass. “I think this is a perfect opportunity to toast.”

“You just want a reason to get more wine.” Ash rolled her eyes and laughed at her friend.

“I never need a reason.” Yan replied, topping up her glass.

They all laughed and clinked their glasses together. “To Mel.” They said in unison.

“Tell me something though, what’s your secret ingredient?” Rach inquired.

“If I tell you it won’t be a secret.” Mel swirled her wine and winked.

“True, true.” Rach agreed.

Ali leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest as she watched Ash pull a game of Taboo from her bag.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” She said.

They all laughed together. This was truly The Life.

Class Assignment · CS4 · film making · Literature · school · Videography

CS4 – Blog 5 – Sound Design: Wall-E

After that rant about the silent film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” I figure it only makes sense to balance it out with a rant over one of my favourite animated films by Disney Pixar – Wall-E. Not only was the storyline for this film so-totally-amazing, (yes, I just did that in my uptown Beverly hills voice) the sound design for this film was damn near flawless. Wall-E holds – in my opinion – one of the most powerful stories in Pixar history and makes me stop to consider so much about technology and the way we treat the environment.

The difference between the sound Wall-E made, to the sounds of the cockroach (gross) running around and the other ambient noise, the instrumentals, the sound of the voices and how they were manipulated to match each character… can you sense my excitement from reading this blog?

Because of the excellent sound work that was done, watching Wall-E became an experience, rather than just a film. I felt as if I was on that space ship being a lazy, fat ass as those people were. I felt like i somehow needed to throw away my cellphone and pawn my laptop so I would not end up like them. That, my friends, is not just the power of great storytelling, but also due to the power of excellent, meticulous sound design.

The attention to sound detail in this film has made me more conscious of sound when filming. Not just so I can have clean, crisp dialogue, but also that I can give my viewers the type of experience that can transform their living rooms into the scenes happening before their eyes.

Sound designers, pay attention to your environment in a way you never have before. Listen to the sound of the rain pitter pattering on the roof, the steam rising from the hot asphalt as the raindrops begin to cool the roads, the sound of the wet footsteps on the pavement walking quickly to escape being drenched, the sound of the car tires meeting the wet road, the sound of the umbrellas opening to shield their owners, the sound of coats billowing in the wind.  Pay attention to how the sounds we don’t normally give recognition to add to the realness of the experience.  Pay attention to EVERYTHING and how it affects your mood the mood of the people around you.

If you have never seen the film Wall-E (Finding Nemo is another excellent choice where sound design is concerned) go ahead and Netflix, buy the dvd (or blu-ray), stream or whatever other activities you must do to get this film in your possession. To my future filmmakers, you will not regret it.

Inspiration · Life · Literature · Music · school

IT’S OVER!

Hello loves!

So I haven’t posted in a while, maybe two weeks (I’m not quite sure) because I’ve been working on final projects and presentations for the semester. I’m pretty much finished except for one final project I’m still working on for my radio course (Best course ever!) and I’m thoroughly enjoying this assignment. Can you believe it? I’m actually admitting to liking school work. That’s it, I’m declaring myself a changed woman.

But since second year is pretty much over I’m celebrating early by waking up at 12 in the afternoon and not having breakfast until 2. That’s the life right thuur maan.

What I’m most excited about though (apart from the immense amount of free time i now have on my hands) is the fact that no school = more time to write, read and watch tv shows! So yeah, pretty much all the things I’d much rather spend my time doing. So expect more blogs from me for the next 2 months (at least, I might be busier in July) and more updates.

Love,

xo Alee.

Currently Reading: Salvation in Death – JD Robb

Currently Obsessed with: nail hardener and mint flavoured lip gloss

Can’t hear enough of: Mirrors by Justin Timberlake and Heart Attack by Demi LovatoImage

Art · Inspiration · Life · Literature · Music

My Writing Playlist

Music plays a major role in how focused in am when i write and how certain scenes play out. Typically I’m Listening to Enya’s Greatest Hits album when I’m writing. She just calms my soul to the point where i can block everything and everybody else out and focus on the scene I’m writing.

When I need a little more inspiration, depending on the mood of the scene and what the characters are feeling at a certain point in time I always jump back to this playlist:

1. Bizness – tUnE yArDs

2. Breath of Life – Florence + the machine

3. Undisclosed Desires – Muse (+ pretty much anything Muse sings)

4. Cameo Lover – Kimbra

5. Talkin’ bout a Revolution – Tracy Chapman

6. Mountains of Things – Tracy Chapman

7. Aniron – Enya

8. Trains and Winter Rains – Enya

9. Mercy – One Republic

10. Say When – The Fray

11. Science and Faith – The Script

12. Hall of Fame – The Script

13. Walk Away – The Script

14. The Great Escape – Pink

15. Redemption Song – Bob Marley

16. No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley

The list is ultimately over 200 songs long but these are the songs that are the most played of the list. I hope by posting this I’ve introduced/reintroduced some inspirational music to someone out there. Even if you don’t listen to it for inspiration they’re all really great songs to have on your phone/ipod/listening device. 🙂

xo Alee.

Book Reviews · Literature

Preview of My “Book”

sooo as you guys know I’ve been writing again. I’ve been investing more time into just sitting by myself in the quiet or with the music on (Usually Enya) and giving life and substance to characters in my head. As a little “booster” for that I’m debuting a snippet of a chapter for something I’m working on here on wordpress FIRST! *yay* So take a look at what’s written down below and give me some feedback. I hope you enjoy what’s been written so far:

xo Alee.

Tajahnѐ glanced at her trainer, Susan Sector, standing on a pedestal overlooking the training field as she barked orders and insults at her.

“Push it lady! My great grandmother in her grave could whip your ass!”

Sector’s hands danced in front of her as if she was directing a symphony as she manipulated the elements to add more obstacles to the course. As top warrior and current leader of the Warrior Clan, manipulating the elements to suit herself was a piece of cake. She stood high off the ground and waved her hands around to create dust tornadoes and sent dozens of concrete saucers flying towards Tajahnѐ.

Taj cursed as she saw what Sector was doing and pushed all the harder to shoot down the saucers before they went slamming into her face. She smiled lightly as she saw the checkered flag signalling the finish line. She raced towards it, falling, rolling and sliding away from more targets as they came with full force towards her. She had almost reached the flag when out of nowhere came a piece of a tree trunk. It hit her right in the stomach and she skidded and smashed into a concrete wall she’d left behind.

She could almost see the smirk printed on Sector’s face through the stars swimming around her head.

“Always be prepared for the unexpected!” Sector shouted.

Taj growled at her, not caring if she would be punished for it afterward and walked back to where her sister and other training mates waited.

Life · Literature

My Writer’s Block is OVER!

My brain has come off of its writer’s strike! I feel like eating tons of unhealthy food and drinking red wine just to celebrate.

The story I’ve been trying to write for weeks now has finally kicked off to a start that I am comfortable and confident with. After weeks of being miserable and starting over like ten times (I’m not even kidding) I think i finally got it the way I want it.

At one point I even considered starting a different story altogether but the plot i had in mind was so fresh and different from anything I’d ever written and it really was a good plot so I didn’t want to abandon it just yet. And luckily i didn’t!

I may share a snippet of it in my next post (so be on the look out for it), just a tiny two paragraphs or something to give you guys an idea of what it’s about.

I’m excited!