This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fruits, Nuts, Seeds: An Earth Day Ode To The Honeybee

This morning I set out to make a smoothie. One of the good things about California is that there's always an excellent supply of fresh, seasonal produce to choose from--unlike my native Nebraska where the produce aisles leave something to be desired.

Yogurt, strawberries, raspberries, mango, banana, and ice--into the blender it all went. Then voila...NOTHING.
A busted blender and a mish-mosh of soggy fruit was all I had. It was a sign.

Later that afternoon, I flipped open a magazine to see an ad from Haagen-Dazs. [As a former advertising major, I sometimes actually read ad copy.] This one got my attention:

Imagine A World Without Honeybees.

I thought about the little critters in all their yellow and black fuzziness. I thought about all the fruits and vegetables I like that depend on those busy-bodied bees. I thought about that day in fifth grade when I got stung by a bee on my neck during recess. Now, I cannot recall the last time I heard of anyone being stung by a bee. Where have all the bees gone?

Yes, I've heard there's something serious happening with honeybees these days...something they call Colony Collapse Disorder. Yet, I didn't know how serious it was, nor had I given much thought to how integral bees are to our food supply.

About one mouthful in three in the diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination. [Agricultural Research Service]

No one knows the cause of the honeybee decline, but climate change, pollution, genetically altered food crops, and other environmental stressors are a good bet. Sure, I can buy a new blender, but if the bee-dependent food supply runs out we won't have the ability to create a honeybee to pollinate things like blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, pears, broccoli, carrots...

What can you and I do? Support local farmers. Purchase natural honey and bee products. Plant some wildflowers. Don't use pesticides. Purchase from companies like Haagen-Dazs and Burt's Bees and help fund research to unlock the mystery of the disappearing honeybee population and save the bees while we still can.

[Every Day Is Earth Day]

Photo credit: Freeman69/flickr
Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Be Free: Your Life And What You Make Of It...

Being talented sets you apart from the crowd. There, alone--you stare back at them, the masses-- and wish you could join their ranks of normalcy. You see, they don't know what it's like to be too smart for your own good.


"There's nothing worse than being ordinary," says Angela Hayes in American Beauty. Yet, no one knows loneliness more intimately than the geniuses and prodigies of this world.

Recently, I saw a little Swiss film by the name of Vitus. It's about a little boy named Vitus, who is blessed with a natural gift for music--piano in particular. His interest and talent in music blossom in the early years. As his parents begin to recognize his gifts, they take steps to push Vitus to the next level and try to cement his future as a musical prodigy.

Vitus came out of nowhere to become one of my newest favorite films. A simple story, it touched me in ways that similar stories such as Shine, A Beautiful Mind, and Searching For Bobby Fischer did not. Perhaps it's because I know a little bit about being gifted.

I was born into a musical family myself--I'm the the great-granddaughter of a professional violinist, the granddaughter of a professional pianist and the daughter of a professional pianist (my mother.) Blessed with long, slender piano-playing fingers and an ear for music, piano was to be my future. Like Vitus, I spent many long hours at the keyboard. Additionally, I excelled at academics and I was in the gifted program. Yes, I was one of those annoying smart kids. I didn't necessarily want any of it. Yet, I didn't know any other way. Like Vitus, I too, just wanted to that average kid.

In piano, I rebelled against my own talents and refused to take the path set before me. If I'd applied myself, I could very well be a piano virtuoso right now, but instead I wrecked havoc on the lives of many piano teachers (sorry!) because piano wasn't what I wanted. Later, as a high school senior set to become the future valedictorian and unexcited about the prospect, I took a pottery class for fun (and to lower my GPA just enough to get me down to #2.)

Vitus is absolutely gifted, yet it's his talents that isolate him. He longs to be normal, to have the chance to be a child, and to experience what normal is. Vitus is about a boy wonder's journey to find himself and the person he wants to be. Vitus is a superb story about following your own path and living life on your own terms.

I officially broke the musical tradition in my family and I've survived (so have they...) Occasionally, I return to piano to play for myself. I've even taught myself some guitar. One of life's most important lessons is recognizing that you are in charge of your own life and what you make of it. Make it count.

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

(Highly Recommended)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cracking The Coconut

Print Magazines Look To Bloggers For A Fresh Perspective

I grew up reading National Geographic, Life Magazine, Travel & Leisure, and Bon Appetit all of which inspired my love of photography, travel, adventure, culture, and the pleasure of exquisite food.

I read travel and tourist magazine articles on places I may never see, but I enjoy the travel fantasies nonetheless. I read Latina Magazine, Vanidades, and People En Espanol, even though I'm still not fluent in Spanish--as I would like to be, but it makes me keep trying. I read Self Magazine because it is a delicious treat that I keep all to myself (and I think it's one of the best women's magazines out there.)

Lastly, I read Bon Appetit even though I'd never consider myself to be a gourmet cook and it's only rarely that I actually make any of the recipes that I diligently dog-ear within the magazine's pages.

For print magazines, times have been tough, but the tough keep going. National Geographic seems less stodgy these days--friendlier, more relevant, and more touchable than ever.

Bon Appetit just revamped itself, headed for a younger generation (like myself, I presume.) The result is amazingly fresh, just like the food in their photos. The logo's different, the cartoon illustrations throughout are not only whimsical, but make the whole magazine seem less high-brow.

The old Bon Appetit would assume that its readers knew all about food preparations and all the garbledigook food terminology. These days, they're not looking down on us, the younger food and culture lovers; they're reaching out. They even have a section called prep school that showcases (this month) how to crack a coconut. Hmm... a real coconut. Maybe I'll take them up on that. Maybe I'll actually make one of the coconut recipes with real coconut...sound yummy, yet challenging and adventurous... [Hint: Cracking the coconut involves both a hammer and a screwdriver.]

Who do we have to thank for the fresh look to our oldest magazines? Fellow bloggers! Bloggers with a passion for their respective subjects have made a huge impact in the greater media. Bloggers that now have cookbooks, book deals, Oscar-winning screenplays... It can happen and it is happening.

Bloggers In May's Bon Appetit!!!!! Congratulations to Clotilde Dusoulier, blogger of the excellent Chocolate & Zucchini, (I've been a fan for awhile) and Molly Wizenberg, whose blog Orangette will now be on my reading list. Neither of them have even hit 30 yet, but they both starting writing about their passions and it's gotten them further than either of them had ever imagined... and this month, they are both contributors to Bon Appetit!

As far as food bloggers, I'd also highly recommend the inspirational

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Catching Some Zzzz...sss

A big thank you to Script Goddess for her recent post and cautionary tale about a camera assistant friend of hers named Brent. After an exhaustive day of filming, Brent evidently fell asleep at the wheel and...he didn't make it home that night. [See her link above for the full post.]

The saddest part is that I'm sure that there are many tales such as this. It's good to be reminded that you cannot take your health and your well-being for granted. Whether you're in the film business (notorious for long hours) or a workaholic in the business world, taking care of you is worth it.

If you're overly tired and you get behind the wheel, you're putting yourself at risk as well as others. A sleep deprived driver is an impaired driver. Take time out for yourself. Pull over if you have to. Be honest with yourself.

Additionally, film companies don't always look out for their crews as much as they should so crew members have to look out for themselves and each other and know when things extend beyond human endurance.

I have firsthand experience with this-- a few years ago on a job, I was completely overwhelmed and overextended. I didn't get the extra help that I needed, despite my pleas. I was continually exhausted and stressed for days that seemed to multiply in a fog.

As a result, I was in a bad accident--just like Brent. My little Chevy slammed into a white cargo van. For a moment, I thought I'd seen heaven. My windshield went completely white, like I'd driven into a cloud, until a millisecond later when my mind caught up just before the SLAM!!! which could very well have been my end.

I was terrified, disoriented, and shocked to see the totaled remains of my car. I was coming back from the production office, I had location checks in my car, I'd never been in an accident before. I didn't know what to do; it was all too much. It all began with allowing myself to become overly tired and not having enough respect for myself to take care of the most precious thing I've been given: my own life.

Luckily, I've been given another chance. So thank you again Script Goddess for allowing me to also warn people of the danger of not catching your zzzzzz's and may Brent's legacy be that we all learn something from his tragedy.

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle