The Profoundly Mystical, Magical and Wise World of Hayao Miyazaki

This past summer, a wonderful friend of mine, Carol Zaloom, an fellow artist, wiser and kinder to those lucky to know her, piqued my interest in watching Japanese anime, specifically watching the works of Hayao Miyazaki. For those who don’t know, Miyazaki is the transformative mastermind behind the works of Studio Ghibli. I had not done so up until that point, mostly financial reasons or looking for streams of his works, which made that hope a pipedream at best.

Enter my local library.

It seems so obvious now, but it was not on my mind at that time, but as I thought about it, my local Library was the best choice to go to rent Ghibli movies. Within two months or so, I’ve seen Ponyo, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and I’m working on seeing Totoro this weekend. Watching Miyazaki’s works are unlike anything I had ever seen before, there’s a lot of messages between the works, balance between nature and humanity, the environment, conflict, war among so many other things. It’s no wonder why he has left an indelible mark on our world, as a storyteller and an artist.

Another thing to keep in mind that the fact that Studio Ghibli does this all without editing things, or cutting scenes out of the movies, even in Princess Mononoke, some of the scenes that would be cut from seeing them on TV weren’t because of one of the major themes was about war, it shows war and conflict in all of its ugliness, a far cry from watching anything from the cursed empire known as 4Kids, long since decried for cutting and editing to the point where the message is lost because of this decision.

Another thing that Miyazaki is well known for are the strong characters he crates in all of his masterpieces, most notably the fact that the major characters are young girls and women. One key heroine is Chihiro from Spirited Away, the change she undergoes from the beginning to the end is remarkable and inspiring. No spoilers, of course, but it’s worth watching, savoring it like a fine wine.

If I could recommend any artistic mind to study as it comes to masterful storytelling, Miyazaki would be at the top of the list. He makes masterpieces of all of his stories, his characters strong, the stories themselves are compelling. He shows us how to excel at what you’re passionate about and he can inspire us to make our dreams come true and help us all…

Shine On!!

Throwback Thursday: A Simple Wish!!

As my birthday is a couple of days away and the days of summer are quickly coming to an end, I’ve been trying to come up with ways to make the summer memorable, even with working cutting into it as it can.

Last Friday, I decided to go to Columbia County as my unofficial kickoff of the Saugerties Artists Studio Tour which took place last weekend. One place that I always like to make a visit at least once a year is Olana NY State Historic Site in Hudson, whose website is: http://www.olana.org/. Pictures can seldom do it justice, it’s a place that you simply need to see for yourself, as the scenery alone is worth the trip.

Another place I went to which served as the kickoff for the Studio Tour, Opus 40 (https://www.opus40.org/) which is another place that I try to make a point of my summer get-away. I have friends that are on the Tour that I met this past weekend, friends like Mikhail Horowitz, Carol Zaloom ( http://carolzaloom.com/) Mikhail Horowitz, Barbara Bravo, Iain Hugh Machell, Tara Bach amongst many other great artists.
I always make it a point to support them at any chance I have, mostly because that the artists here are like an extended family, always growing; expanding and learning but never forgetting that the Hudson Valley is a wellspring of both creativity and inspiration.

I truly consider all of them kindred spirits, sharing in the same flame that we encompasses the arts in general: the flame of the creative soul, one that embraces each challenge and meets them head-on. With it being my birthday week, my wish is to join them one day, to be as successful as they are in what they do, I’d like to be successful in what I like to do: my poetry. My wish for everyone is for all of us to live in peace and understanding as well, but I know that it won’t come true unless we all work for peace, helping each other along the way and helping them all….

Shine On!!!

Crossing the Threshold!!

By the time, you, my readers, read this, the Autistic Super-blog will have reached 1,000 views this year!! To say that it’s a major accomplishment for me is an understatement, so I want to express my gratitude and thank you all so much for your support!!

When I first started writing on The Super-blog, I honestly wasn’t sure how to start, or if I did, my tendency for perfection would get in the way of getting the posts done. I was worried that I was not the great writer I felt that I could be.

But now, I know that the most important thing to do is just write, something, anything at all, start by letting life inspire you then let it take you where you want it to take you. To take a page from Pixar’s animated movie Ratatouille, not everyone can be a great storyteller, but a great writer can tell a story with their own experiences.

Just look at Hayao Miyazaki’s works, which I’ll delve into in a later blog post since it’s extensive, but suffice it to say that he’s a fantastic artist and writer. He tells his stories based on his experiences and his connections, yet it’s done in a magnificent way so that it draws people to see his works.

It’s the same with all writers, including my dear friend Mikhail Horowitz, whom I’ve mention in the Super-blog before, he’s a fantastic story teller and uses music and comedy to give the story its unique flavor. Another example is another dear friend Jesse Saperstein, who uses humor and his wit to explain how he sees the world as a fellow Spectrumite. My point is that all writers can be story tellers, but it’s how it’s done they matters.

That’s the same way I’ve tried to relate it to my posts on the Autistic Super-blog, I like to be as real and authentic as I can, but do so in a way that everyone understands. I only hope I’m doing a good job at it, I’m trying to translate my experiences as I see them without anything being lost in translation.

I want to say thank you again to all of my readers for giving me the support, the feedback, the encouragement and the friendship over the years (including this year.) I’m doing all I can to make sure the support is well founded, so that we can all…

Shine On!! Thank you all again!!

The Impact of Woodstock: #Woodstock50

(Writer’s note: This post was to have done before now, with it being the actual 50th Anniversary of Woodstock celebration, but life got in the way, so better late than never, I guess, please enjoy nevertheless.)

I’ve only heard stories about the Original Woodstock and Woodstock’s 25th Musical Festival (the latter of which was only a short walk from my Mom’s bar, believe it or not) but the impact of the “Three Days of Peace, Love and Music” permeated throughout not only society but also a small town named Woodstock.

That impact has helped Woodstock become the cultural Mecca it has become throughout the years. I can only speak of my own experiences growing up near Woodstock, but I can say that any artist would be doing themselves a huge disservice by not going to Woodstock at least once.

To those who know Woodstock, you’ve probably hear that they do weird things there, smoking pot and doing drugs and all that, but let me explain how I see Woodstock: I see Woodstock as a bustling community, where peace and freedom reign, a town that stands up for what they believe in, a town where people can know that they are welcome, from all walks of life.

I see in Woodstock a place to learn, about different cultures, different religions, different ways of doing things, where acceptance, peace and love aren’t just slogans, but a way of life.

I see Woodstock as a place to see the beauty of God’s creation, if one has ever been to Overlook Mountain (quite the climb, but impressive views), the Ashokan Reservoir and other places as well.

So, please stop on by and what the Hudson Valley has to offer and maybe you’ll be able to see the beauty I see, and in a small way, it’ll help us all…

Shine On!!

Poetry Packed Out: An Empowerment Stage

On this edition of Poetry Packed Out, I want to make a confession, I’m a fan of karaoke. I think it’s because I like to sing, or being completely immersed in a song and not caring what others think. A friend told me that she saw my confidence when I recently sang at a karaoke event in BSP in Kingston, it’s something I take as a great compliment, but that being said, I’ve never been able to be that confident in other aspects of my life.

It’s something that I’ve been wanting to change about myself. But I digress..

This friend, Krissy by name, has always been such a great friend to me, looking at me as a friend, a rarity at an event where I was treated more like staff and less as a friend, it’s where the term “Bartenders Conundrum” came from for me. It all helped me when she became the buffer for me, all because I disclosed to her. That’s a positive impact that comes from disclosing, which is your choice. It helps you stand up and feel like you’re not alone, in both the good and bad times.

I guess I’ve gotten used to being on stage, with my poetry and signing that it became natural for me, which led to this acrostic:

Spotlight

-for my dear friend, Krissy-

Shining lights blind those unprepared for their number;
Performance begins, though he’s shaken (not stirred) crowd, music
Overtake him. He gets into it, slowly, but surely, beaten path he’s been
Through many times before; thoughts of leaving evaporates as
Lift in spirit; confidence makes singer feel free
Inside himself. Each verse, note, lyric feel normal
Giving him means to press on even as he fumbles.
However, as song moves him to do more, as he stumbles
The crowd feels confidence; presence with every note he sings.

Make your life your own and never be afraid to show people whom you are deep down and always…

Shine On!!

Throwback Thursday: Another Post of Hope

When one thinks of the holidays, holiday music fills the loudspeakers all around us, the malls, supermarkets, restaurants, you name it, the music is always there. Talks with people go into what people do over the holidays, whenever it comes to parties, dinners or just quiet time with families.

I’ve been fortunate to have a loving and welcoming community that is able to see me for being supportive, successful, honest and heartfelt people they know (to those family and friends who know that they are, I wish to thank you for being so welcoming to me.)

But, what of those less lucky than I am? This post is to pass the warmth, love and support your way..

For all the stories I could tell of my holidays, I know that there are people who are less fortunate, those who don’t have the support that I have, one where their diagnoses (or circumstances) have either caused or can have negative impacts when it comes to family get together a, choosing to stay at home rather than risk the humiliation.

For those people, I wish to say that you’re not alone and that you are loved, if not by family then by your friends. Feel free to reach out them because they care about you; let them share their light with you. The road that you’re going on in life has a new direction for you if you want to take it. I won’t deny that it’s scary, it’s full of unknowns and it can be intimidating but I’ve been in your shoes and I know that you’ll discover things about yourself you never would’ve known otherwise.

There are many paths in life that bring us to where we are in our lives and perhaps you’re at a crossroads in your life, maybe now is the time to make a change, to make things right with family, to live your life with no regrets. I beg you to look at the path that has a happier result, but to paraphrase the words of Keenau Reeves in The Matrix, “Where you go from there is a choice I leave to you” but please know that you are not alone in both your triumphs and tragedies; there are brighter days ahead.

If your dealing with personal demons, know that you can seek help if you ask for it and search around your area. Together, we can all shine a light in our communities so we can all…

Shine on!!

Hopes for the Future: Birthday Reflections (Part 2)

I can’t lie to you, readers, so I won’t.

There are times when I feel like I’m not good enough, that I’m not an inspiration, that what I do doesn’t matter, times when people tell me to worry about my needs and not of others.

Then, there are days like today, my birthday, that make me realize how loved and supportive I am by my community. Today was a day where I felt that I do matter, that what I do does make a difference, that I am an inspiration to others.

Sure, I need to work on my self confidence and self esteem and I know that I have a long way to go, but knowing that I am loved and respected in my community made me happy beyond words.

I focused on the past last time I posted, but now I’d like to focus on the future.

1. First and foremost, I want to work on my self esteem and self confidence. It seems so easy for others, so much so that I realize I’m late in the game, so to speak. I want to be confident in whom I am, but I don’t want to be fake or arrogant (Amy Bouzgalo, anyone?)

2. I want others to know that they aren’t alone, to bring them hope and support when they need it. This may seem like a big dream, but I know that to do that, I need to work on the small things for them to get bigger.

3. I need to set boundaries, primarily due to the complications that come with the Bartenders Conundrum, it can be difficult for me to function if I don’t do it sooner or later. Besides, if I’m not focused on my self care, I’m not good for anyone, right?

Finally, I want to grow in my faith, I’ve gotten better at it, but again, I feel like I have a long way to go. It’s all part of my lack of time management, which, as I’ve mentioned before, can be a trade off but it is something I need to work on.

So, there you have it, my hopes for my future during this year; once again, thank you all for all of your Birthday wishes to me. I only hope I’m worthy of them so I can help us all truly grow and, as always….

Shine On!!!

Birthday Reflections!!

Well, today’s my 39(!)th Birthday!!

As I reflect back on my childhood compared to now, there have been a lot of changes, both good and bad. One could say that these things have been on my mind, now on the List of The Super-Blog, take a look, Man!!

Okay, that sounded a lot like professional wrestler Chris Jericho but the point I wish to make is that life is all about changes and these are some I’ve noticed:

  1. I’m convinced that the internet was created by Spectrumites, the reason being that technology has helped us communicate in one way or another. Just looking at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other apps show you how far we’ve come. Another type of examples I can go on are Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Dailymotion and other streaming devices that allow us to watch shows or waste time on the whims of nostalgia, along the lines of what my friend Jesse would say. Looking back on my life, I would panic if I didn’t get back in time for a show I wanted to watch live, or I would wake up in the middle of the night to watch some game show that was only on at a late night time slot. Had I known of the technological advances we have now, perhaps I’d slept more, but speaking of this topic…
  2. VHS vs. DVD: Due to the technological advances I mentioned earlier, I used to record things on my VHS tapes (remember those?) On old school VHS tapes, you could tape the things you wanted to tape (as my family did for me when I was younger) and use the same to tape other things until it wore out, much like music from my younger years. Not so much for DVD’s since, unless you didn’t want it to, you could save more videos, documents, audios and all that on them.
  3. Computers: I guess it shouldn’t be any surprise why I’m talking about this, since it seems obvious, but consider that my first computer was my family’s Commodore 64 (use the following picture for a reference: https://www.giantbomb.com/commodore-64/3045-14/) and that my current computer is a Dell computer with flat screen monitor, printer and scanner and you can see the way how technology has changed. Gameboys, NES, Atari were the norm in those days, where as now there’s more variety as to what can be done, just look at 1987’s Metroid from the NES and it’s 2004 counterpart Metroid: Zero Mission and you’ll see what I mean.
  4. Shows: Compare My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to its 1980’s counterpart, or She-Ra to it’s 2019 counterpart or even the Pound Puppies (one of the classic I have to this day) and you might discover a trend that one might find refreshing: character-driven stories, which would be a rare find in the 1980s, where there was a story overall, but no real character arcs for those characters, or least that how I feel, looking back.

I think I’ve made my point about how much has changed, how much I’ve found myself nostalgic for certain things but grateful for other things as well, such is the way when you celebrate your birthday, I guess? I’ll post something tomorrow, but until then, stay strong and as always….

Shine On!!!

Throwback Thursday: (Re)Making of a Champion

There’s one thing that brings us together but also divides us, both as individuals and as a society. One event where one team wins at the expense of the other, one where cities are united in solidarity and are celebrating or mourning the result: The Super Bowl.

In my group home, I’m always happy to celebrate no matter which team is in the game, but I always find myself reminding my friends that a lot can happen in one play that can change the entire game. The reason I say that is not meant as lip service to any team: I say that because its words I’ve seen to be true many times before. A friend has told me that I know how to improvise and I’m flattered that my friend says that; such is not to say that it was easy for me to learn at first.

As a Spectrumite, learning to change wasn’t easy to do, but I learned empathy quickly, I was able to see the bigger picture more because I didn’t want to do anything that I’d regret, all because my parents asked me how I’d feel if what I did to someone happened to me? It was something I didn’t think of before then, but as I thought about it, it made sense for me to think about others..

But I digress..

I’d like to ask my readers this question, what do you think makes a champion?

The way I see it, a champion knows how to make changes on the fly, being flexible, a champion settles on his strategy but can also is flexible enough to change it when the needs change. A champion leads a team by their example, they walk the walk and doesn’t lead by just talking about it. They actuate and never dictate and never confuses the two. One should ask oneself which kind of leader that they wish to be?

Be the leader, of your life or of one group, you want to be; inspiring those around you to try to make themselves and you all…

Shine On!!