Stuck on Repeat


Unless you’ve been numb to the world the past ten years or so, you’ve noticed there’s an overload of remakes and redo’s present in our modern culture. The irony of this time capsule being bust open into today’s world doesn’t seem to bother many – except us 80’s babies. Why is it that our 80’s-90’s upbringing is becoming reused and recycled for this future generation’s pop culture? Have writers become that lazy? Do the powers-that-be lack the originality necessary to come up with their own new fad crazes? What is the difference between those in high positions in media then and who’s controlling what’s being fed through a screen now?

If you were a kid in the 80’s, nothing was cooler than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’ve spoken to countless walks of life from “gen X” that mention pretending to be them as kids. As the 90’s trekked onward, times began to change. When the mid-90’s hit, the popularity of these beloved turtles began to die down since most of us were becoming teenagers. Enter next trend, the revival of the 80’s horror flick done in a new, teen-marketed way.Repeat

Now we sit here in 2015. My peers and I roll our eyes at the 1,002nd remake of Whatever: Origins Part Two the Prequel Sequel. We want to vomit. Even the new generation is starting to want to spew their hipster coolatta. The obvious missing quality combined with an amputated storyline is making viewers sick – collectively. They’re even starting to do this with video games now. Every month seems to bring a new re-release.

What makes one wonder is why the previous generations aren’t guilty of such crimes against writing and thinking. The 60’s and 70’s certainly influenced some of the music from the early 80’s, but it wasn’t a blatant rip-off. The same went for popular culture back then. We were able to be inspired by, without having to repackage and reuse everything while telling you it’s new.

So what’s so different? Is it the speedy microwave times we’re living in now? Is it the 5 minutes or less attention span of not just most kids, but also adults today? Is it a laziness us as a people have grown to be comfortable with? Why is this not changing? When will enough be enough and we begin to demand quality again?

The common guess is, as long as reality television, rapid technology advances, and the Kardashians are still considered “famous people”, this will continue to play out until a large group speaks up.

Now, the younger generation that may be reading this (but I doubt it, you guys don’t read) may be saying “get over yourself”, “but you ain’t relevant tho!”, “Wait, what was I sayin’? There’s a new meme on my IG feed tho.” – But I assure you, this argument, along with the rest of the generations’ is valid. We are merely asking for substance. I claim not to be an expert, merely an observer, as I’ve always been, and I observe lovers of writing being saddened – apathetic even, toward this way of living.

Maybe we’re just getting old. That’s the other half of this. That’s a question I’ve often asked myself and friends. Yet, somehow, it seems we are not the only ones that feel this way. Some of the children and teens growing up in these times that do read and enjoy writing have chimed in on this argument. I’ve even heard some say “Yeah, this music sucks, that’s why I listen to older stuff sometimes”. So, perhaps it is not just us. One thing is for sure, if I see a new version of Fraggle Rock come on someday, I just may give up television all together. I’m already starting.

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up

Every time I hear about a death of another legend, I feel older and closer to death myself. I was deeply saddened yesterday by news that drummer Tommy Ramone of The Ramones died Friday. He was the last original member of the band to go. They will be missed by all that enjoyed them. Through the music, they will no doubt live on.

It’s a sobering thought of how quickly life goes. Strangely enough, I just briefly mentioned them in a May Sleepy Sundays post.

I don’t wanna grow up.


Sleepy Sundays: The Drive

The Drive
The Drive

(Click to view larger)

We spend a lot of our time on this planet in cars. These days most of us are in a rush – all headed to our respective destinations with great anticipation. One of my favorite memories as a child was the hour and a half long night drives down to the shore with my grandfather. We had a shore house that our whole family used year round as a second home. For some reason, we always headed down there during the night. I have fond memories of gliding over bridges while peeking out to all the lights bouncing off the water.

These visuals still enter my dreams to this day.

There’s a very special song and artist I’d like to tag along with my artwork this Sunday. Not only do I feel this song goes with my art perfectly, but I’m also very proud to feature them as they are someone close to me. You’ll hear more about that on Monday, though – during our interview. (& Yes, my photography on his account was used with permission.)

Let us know what you think! Mark will be visiting CardCastles periodically to take any questions and respond to any comments you may have about his music.

Have you ever taken a night drive? What were some of the sights you took in? What d r i v e s you?

Have a driven Sunday!

(& To all those that celebrate, have a very Happy Easter Sunday as well!)

Another Walk Down Memory Lane…

pediophobia (n) fear of dolls

When we are children, the majority of little girls tend to have an affection toward dolls. Growing up, I was a bit of a tomboy in my childhood years. My family could also tell you not only did I not like dolls, I was actually rather frightened by them. Throughout those years, I had more than one unsettling encounter with a doll. (Stuffed animals were okay. In fact, they ruled. It was just girly dolls that freaked me out.) The one instance I remember the most (and a day my family will never forget) was a day that has gone down in infamy as “The Clown Doll Incident” the way my family refers to it.

The Backstory

In the late 80s/early 90s my immediate family owned a shore house where we would visit in the summer. Our family would invite relatives over and they’d stay for weekends with us. My cousin and I were best friends as children. We were inseparable and our favorite pastime was watching horror movies together.

On this particular day, we were watching Child’s Play. A movie about a doll that comes to life and tries to kill the child that owns it. (Nice, right?) Despite my uneasiness with dolls, we were not phased. In fact, we thoroughly enjoyed these cheesy 80s/90s horror flicks as kids. (We still do.) Although, there was something that caught our eye during the movie that we talked about the night before.

The Culprit

My grandmother used to keep this little Irish clown doll around. It was the most hideous thing you could imagine. To her, it was a cute little friend. To my cousin and I, it was demonic.

Creepy Re-creation
This is the best I could re-create the creepy thing. It may look cute to some, but don’t be fooled. It is the epitome of evil!

The “Incident”

So, we plotted. As the movie was playing, we went and grabbed the creepy doll that had robbed us of sleep so many nights. We were going to play a game of soccer with it. We giggled and belly-laughed as we took out our fear and frustration with the terrifying thing. Then, the set up – I put the little demon on the floor and got ready for a powerful kick. The house had high ceilings with these huge cedar beams to protect the roof from collapsing during a storm. What happened next seemed to happen in slow motion.

As I ran forward to make the “goal” I pulled my leg back as far as I could. Then, I felt tremendous pain radiating throughout my entire leg. You see, as I went to kick the blasted thing, the top of my foot made contact with a known slope that went from our dining area into the living room. My ankle twisted all the way around and everyone in the house heard it snap. My body flopped to the ground and I let out a primal scream. My cousin stood there in shock and concern. The rest of my family ran over to help.

I was soon after examined. It turned out I had torn ligaments and a broken ankle. My cousin didn’t even crack a smile as he saw his best buddy hobbling out on crutches. We later talked about how strange it was that “the incident” happened while we were watching a movie about a killer doll. We still bring it up every once in a while.

Although there are many reasons I’m not too keen on dolls, I think that one takes the cake.

Oh yeah, and then there’s that.


Notes: This post is a true story and I was inspired to share by aliceatwonderland’s post here. This is also my 200th post on CardCastlesInTheSky! Yay for milestones!

Source: WordPress
Source: WordPress

First Days and Sun Rays

Powerful music always sends a chill right through me. This is another old favorite of mine.

It was originally written & performed by the legendary band, The Rolling Stones. There have been endless covers of it since, but this is hands-down, my favorite.

As my son went off to another 1st day back to school, the song took on a new meaning for me. I was reminded of it while deep in thought & I have to admit, it made me tear up a bit. Enjoy!

Didn’t We Almost…

Throughout my early years my mother would pump the beautiful sounds of Whitney Houston around the house. This was a guaranteed routine during her cleaning. I would get very upset when my father left for work. She said music always calmed me. Whitney was a particular favorite.

This is one of the songs I remember loving the most.

Now, I can’t listen to it without crying. Mostly because both my mother and Whitney have now passed on. Still, (although somewhat somber) it brings me a smile and a sense of peace.

This post is part of the Monthly Peace Challenge: One Good Thing About Music.

Other Music Lovers:

Cruel, Cruel Summer

Serious writers will tell you completing a book is no easy feat. My closet is home to many short stories that may someday make a book of their own. These projects have taken a back seat lately to one large composition.

Juggling a book with being a Mommy, keeping a happy (& clean) home, not neglecting my other jobs, and maintaining a blog has become overwhelming. Somehow, I manage. A recent addition of family dynamics has made this all the more cumbersome.

My family has always been an interesting bunch. When I say this, I don’t mean the small family that consists of me, my son, and his father. We’re of a simple sort. I mean the family I knew years before my son was born. It’s a complicated story that would take more than a day or a few paragraphs to explain. I’ll give you a short detail of that novel in itself.

Sisters are said to have an inexplicable bond. That definitely rings true for my sister and I. There is just one small piece of the puzzle missing. She and I have been separated since she was about three years old. We live several states apart and rarely get a chance to see each other. Up until recently, we even went a painful block of time where we didn’t talk for almost a year. This wasn’t intentional. It was merely life’s trials separating us in yet another way.

Recently, we rebuilt this bridge of contact. We’ve had deeper conversations than ever before. It’s been tough on both of us, but necessary. I find myself having powerful nightmares possibly caused from this stirring of emotions. Considering how much we’re alike, I’m sure she is going through the same exact strange incidents. SpagettiHead

So where has this all left my writing? Well, contrary to what some would believe, it has helped it. I’ve stated somewhere here on CardCastles before that I work best when full of emotion. Other tasks have fallen sadly behind, though. I find the laundry piling up. My son’s room looks like a tornado of epic proportions has ripped through it. I’ve skipped cooking dinner some nights. These are just a few in a sea of many.

I guess the moral to this story is the balance of family and work is a trying scale to operate. Sometimes the weight of both could be unbearable. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a mother these past three years, it’s that parents are spectacular jugglers. Moms are no exception. We are the grand finale-at the-circus-kind of jugglers.

I’ll be much happier and less complainy (yes, complainy – just go with it) when fall rolls around. Summer has been a fun learning journey, but I’m so ready for it to be over. Managing all these tasks and trying to finish a book has been cruel. This heat has been equally cruel. In memory of all summers cruel – I’d like to share an old favorite of mine from the 80s. (Yes, I’m totally dating myself here.) Sing with me. By all means, do a cheesy 80s dance. It relieves stress. Trust me.

Sleepy Sundays: Father’s Day Edition

Inspired by something discussed in my last post, I made a “crayon card” that resembled a piece of my childhood.

Father's Day Crayon Card

I encourage all to share this with a special Dad in their life.

You may do so by using any of the share buttons below or by using this link.

To all the special dads, grandpas, and great grandpas out there:

Have a very happy Father’s Day.

For the Fathers Out There

Father's Day greeting

After all these years, I can’t shake this one image from my past. A group of us kindergarteners sat around a long table and the teacher handed out paper and art supplies. She asked the class to make a Father’s Day card for our dads. I immediately felt the tears well up in my eyes. Something pushed me to hold them back, though. Maybe it was my grandmother’s voice in my head telling me not to be a “crybaby”, maybe it wasn’t. I held it all in – and with this bottling of emotions, another part of me pushed to put my grief to use.

With my markers and crayons in hand, I proceeded to make the most beautiful Father’s Day card ever…for my grandfather. Some little jerk in my class saw it when I finished and made fun of me. Somehow, I wasn’t going to let him get to me. This card was for my grandfather because he meant a lot to me. Even though he wasn’t my actual father, he raised me as if I was his own.

There was a coldness left with me when my father passed on, but my grandfather always showed me warmth. He always tried to heal that sadness. Part of it was knowing how I felt, because he lost his father when he was a child as well. The other part was simply that he loved me.

Later that day, I marched that card home to my grandfather and his eyes welled up too. Only this time, it was joy. I had never seem him get misty-eyed before. He gave me a gigantic bear hug and said “Thank you.”

He still talks about that card to this day.

To all the fathers out there:

Happy Father’s Day!

You are special, you are loved, and you are appreciated.