Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Henna for a Cause


Our family loves street festivals and New York has no shortage of street events - (Smiling Big). Two Sundays ago, we headed out to South Street Seaport for the Diwali Festival celebrated by South Asians everywhere.   If you are thinking Diwali (Deepavali) is not until next month, you are right. But Asian Americans from all over the tri-state area came together to eat, shop, dance and support a multitude of causes. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the biggest and most important holiday for Indians. As always, when you attend events like theses, you are bound to find something interesting and we did indeed.


The ladies who decorated our hands were all PhD students raising money and building awareness to reduce the use of pesticides for farmers in India.  The results looked so pretty and we donated to a great cause.

The Links - click away:
http://www.theaiany.com/
http://www.aidindia.org/main/
 

Love’s Expectation


I grieve for the love I’ve never had,

Rather than to grieve for the love I’ve lost.

For a love lost brings with it the sting of pain,

That unrequited love does not in cost.

Where the senses go in such a personal blow,

Is not achieved in love’s reservation.

For to have and to hold and to have that go cold,

Is past all devastation.

It is the game of love in the search for the prize,

To be forever had.

That the searching end will bring either joy,

Or a heart forever sad.

But the truth be known for all who dare,

To seek love’s perfect destinations.

Some will find it; others will not,

But all will share in love’s expectations.

                                                                   L.S.
 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

NYC Comic Con is Here!


It’s here! New York Comic Con 2013 is underway - The annual convention dedicated to Comics, Manga, Graphic Novels, Anime and more has landed in NYC on Thursday, October 10th and will end Sunday, October 13th.  Many fans look forward to this annual fantastical event where they can dress up and live as their favorite characters for a weekend and enjoy panel discussions from veterans in the business and special guest appearances from their favorite actors and actresses.  Below are just some of the sights you can only see at Comic Con!









Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reflections on 911

 
Nicole Richards-Sharpe

On this muggy summer night in New York City, one can not help but gaze at the twin shafts of blue projected to the heavens where the Twin Towers once stood.  They stand as beacons of light, helping us to reflect on all of the innocents who lost their lives twelve years ago.

I reflect upon the thousands who populate heaven now as well as those loved ones in my life who I have lost recently.  The solace inspires me to live my life to my fullest.  Our lives on Earth are truly short.  Do not waste time.  Pursue your dreams in the face of critics.  Don't wonder why that person doesn't like you.  Don't chase after money in the hopes of being happy.  Happiness is free.  Say Yes.  Say No. Smile on a cloudy day.  Change your outlook in life.  Stop and watch, a spider, an ant, a pigeon.  Walk, run, soar! Life is precious, priceless and short.  Live it now while you can.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2013 West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn





Millions of spectators and revelers turn up every year to get a taste of the largest parade in the U.S. - the annual West Indian Day Parade.   Brooklyn lights up with the young and old as they chip down de road on Eastern Parkway. Local businesses and even politicians compete for a chance to be seen. I was able to capture just some of the colorful sights below (such as Anthony Weiner dancing to reggae music). Enjoy!






Eliot Spitzer
 



Anthony Weiner
 





 

 



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ben Affleck as the New Batman?!!!


Nicole Richards-Sharpe

It's my worst nightmare come true!  I hoped beyond hope that Christian Bale would return as Batman in a film with the new Superman but no $$$$ in the world would move the actor.  I was hoping that they would choose an actor who was at least a close 2nd.  It was difficult for me to envision anyone else in that iconic black suit.  I even considered Ryan Goseling.

But Ben Affleck?!!! The man who destroyed the character of Daredevil?!!!  Imagining Affleck in another tight suit is not something I ever wanted to do again.   This is a travesty.  It's not about his body because anyone could be made to look Hollywood buff.  Affleck's acting is not up to par; Especially not for a dynamic superhero character who exudes deep darkness but yet is ruthless in his dealings with bad guys as he obsessively protects his fellow man; one who possesses a stoic, otherworldly heroic stance and a unmistakable swagger and high likeability quotient.  This is not Ben Affleck.  This is a sad day in Gotham City!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Elysium


by Nicole Richards-Sharpe aka Ambrosia

Ahhhh Elysium,

Sounds like an alcohol banned in 48 states, a day spa and a prescription drug for migraine headaches with a really cute and mindless cartoon commercial.  Instead it is a B-side song on Pearl Jam's "Yield" album.  Just joking!

Elysium is a sci-fi thriller starring Matt Damon and Academy Award winner Jodie Foster.  Set in the year 2159, Elysium is a space station right outside of Earth's atmosphere that serves as a paradisaic home for the elite.  The rest of mankind is left to scurry around fighting to survive on a ruined Earth policed by robots programmed to keep the masses in subjection.

Elysium, which curiously resembles the Mercedes Benz logo, becomes a beacon of hope for the disadvantaged as they can see it clearly in the sky.  It is the dream of children and a source of agitation for adults.

The title sounded familiar to me so I had to look it up.  It turns out that in ancient Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields or Elysium is the underworld, apart from Hades, where the "special dead" eternally reside in peace in natural beauty and splendor.  The special dead consist of human relatives of gods and heroes.  The concept of Elysium evolved throughout time to include the righteous, hand-picked by the gods. 

You can see why this title was chosen.  While the film introduces an interesting concept, that is all it felt like to me; an introduction.  There was some meat missing.  Elysium was enjoyable, don't get me wrong.  It just seemed to lack some elements.  I was looking forward to seeing more of life on Elysium.  The "Elysiumites" appeared Barbie and Ken-like with just as much brain power. 

Maybe Elysium was meant to be short and sweet.  Maybe it was meant to be a creative conversation starter for immigration issues and elitism vs. natural human rights.  All in all, it was an entertaining film that I wish was a bit longer and more detailed.  I advise you to go out and see it for yourself.  (Mark my words, I see many future fan fiction opportunities)

*Check out the character "Spider", played by actor Wagner Moura.  Great!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elysium
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1535108/

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Wolverine


Ambrosia aka Nicole Richards-Sharpe

I went out to see the newest release from the Marvel big screen explosion - The Wolverine.  A friend of mine who is a huge fan of the fiery mutant convinced me to see the film.  I have loved the character of Wolverine since childhood too but I did not plan on seeing it.  I honestly thought it would be a flop.  Why?  The commercial previews.  They were a convoluted mix of explosions and flying ninjas.  It reminded me of 8 different movies I saw before.  Nothing looked original.  Boy was I wrong!

This is the only time that I was glad to be duped.  At the outset of the film, I knew The Wolverine would be better than expected.  It opens with the immortal Wolverine, imprisoned in Nagasaki right before the U.S. drops their atom bomb on its civilians.  I don't want to give away anything but the explosions and flying ninjas actually fit into the film. 

I love the character of Wolverine.  Not having a concrete identity, he skirts between the human and animal community.  His animalistic nature actually helps him to be more "humane" than regular humans.  His love for a woman who he blames himself for murdering haunts him and dives him into a depression that he has to overcome.  His inner conflict and refusal to conform makes him an attractive hero.  And on the subject of attractive, no one can play Wolverine as convincingly as the sexy, multi-talented Hugh Jackman.  I'm happy he continues to say yes to the character.

Although I was pleasantly surprised as I started to watch The Wolverine, it still fell a little short towards the end.  It could have had a better ending.  I would still encourage you to see the film.  It is truly entertaining.  Like all Marvel films, stay after the credits for a sneak peek.  I will say no more. :-)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

MAN OF STEEL

Nicole Richards-Sharpe aka "Ambrosia"

When I first heard that Christopher Nolan, director of the Dark Knight series was named producer and Zach Snyder, director of such notables as 300 and Sucker Punch, was named director of Man of Steel, I knew it would be a hit.  I just didn't realize how great it would be.  This film, I must say, is my favorite for the year 2013 thus far.  For all of those Marvel fans, DC has blown you out of the water with this masterful adaptation of a beloved superhero.

From Laurence Fishburne to Kevin Costner to Diane Lane to the uncomparable Russell Crowe, this film is riddled with star power.  Hence, I knew Man of Steel would be great.  (Then again Cloud Atlas was a flop.) Fortunately, Man of Steel rises far above the rest.

SPOILER ALERT!
Man of Steel has a superb screenplay.  The film starts off by giving us more of a look into the world of Krypton; the feuding factions of its society, the army, the scientists and the government.  This concentration on disagreements leads ultimately to the destruction of the entire planet. (Sound familiar?)  I don't mean to sound like a downer.  There is hope on the horizon; literally hope on the horizon of Earth when Kal-El's parents launch him safely to our planet with all the DNA of Krypton downloaded into his being. This concept was such a creative and interesting one to me. 

Telling the story of Kal-El's childhood on Earth as Clark Kent could have been a bore if it wasn't for the great storytelling techniques.  Everytime the adult Clark Kent would get into an impossible situation where he felt weak, similar memories from his childhood would pop up, and give him the strength he needed to overcome discouragement.  His backstory was told this way without the slightest feeling of being subjected to the retelling of an old story. 

The casting was excellent.  Kevin Costner and Diane Lane embodied the quiet and yet powerful character of Superman's parents.  Through the weaving of the story, you can see why he had such character and integrity.  He was taught how to control his powers, not only in the form of superhuman strength but in the form of peace keeping.  How many of us would agree that walking away from a volatile situation takes more strength than giving in to the temptation and blowing up?  I picked up on a set of themes and lessons, but the one that stood out most to me is summed up this way - Just because you can get away with doing something, doesn't mean that you should do it.

Without a doubt, Superman was fashioned after the likeness of Jesus.  Not the physical likeness, but the spiritual.  Every Superman fan knows this but the film exposes this more with particular imagery during significant scenes.  Pay attention to the background.

On another note, I have to say that I loved the character of Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams, better than any Lois Lane I have seen.  I am so happy that Lois and Superman's love affair was not paramount in the film. It can not be denied that it exists but in this film, it is not overwhelming.  It's not a Romance after all.  For the first time, I wanted Superman to be with Lois, as opposed to the overly pushy and rude character originally played by Margot Kidder.  I'm sorry Kidder fans but I always wondered what Superman saw in her.

Henry Cavill is simply perfect as Superman. He embodies that innocent, loving spirit that is so Superman.  And he is also soooooo easy on the eyes!

Man of Steel is a must see.  Fly out and experience this great film that I am sure will be nominated for many awards.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Purging "The Purge"


Nicole Richards-Sharpe aka Ambrosia

So I returned to the theaters this weekend to see a film that I had no intention of watching.  With a spur of the moment invitation, I found myself in a theater with this (below) on the screen for 15 minutes before the real show began.



Anyway, I should have seen this computer malfunction as a warning to proceed with caution (or to run for the hills).  I must say that it also took all of the magic out of the movies before The Purge did.  About 20 minutes into the film, I realized I was duped. 

The Purge carries an enticing concept that you would think would be entertaining.  It's 2022 America and a no guilt/no arrest crime spree is instituted each year.  This is born out of the theory that all humans are inherently evil and thus need an opportunity to purge their hatred.  No emergency services are available during this 12-hour period and all crimes are legal, including murder that can only be carried out with class 4 weapons and below.

In this setting, you can imagine that the poor are the overwhelming victims.  The rich can afford top notch security systems. This is where the star, Ethan Hawke comes in.  He is a seller of these security systems.  This successful business has furnished his ticket to affluency, at the same time, inciting jealousy from neighbors. 

The previews with the psychos in the masks hopping around in private school uniforms and virginal white dresses sprinked in blood made the The Purge a hit, but it was totally disappointing.  The script spent too much time bring preachy.  Don't get me wrong, virtues are wonderful but when it is being forced down your throat during a movie that's supposed to be a thriller, it can be an annoyance.

The film was underdeveloped.  Scenes that should have been terrifying, made the audience laugh at the stupidity before their eyes.  People kept disappearing and reappearing with no real explanation.  I actually tried to fall asleep like the man behind me, rolling up my scarf as a make-shift pillow but the laughter and groans from the audience were too loud.
 
If you are bold enough to leave the comfort of your home to throw $14 away to your local theater all in an effort to be annoyed, I am curious as to your take on this film.  I am currently trying to purge my memory of The Purge.

Next: THE MAN OF STEEL!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Rise of the Pink Full Moon

Writer Nicole Richards-Sharpe

"The Rise of the Pink Full Moon".  It sounds like a movie but it may very well be more exciting since the appearance of this type of moon is so special.  In a cosmic coincidence, the April full moon coincides almost minute to minute with the first lunar eclipse of the year.  In addition, Saturn will shine super close to our moon; about 4 degrees from it.

Tonight, according to NASA, if you are in Europe, Africa, central Asia or western Australia, you will witness this event. Sorry Western Hemisphere-ers.  The moon won't necessarily appear pink in color though.  North American aboriginal peoples named this April moon such after a type of wildflower that blooms around this time of year.  This helped to identify the launch of spring. Some coastal tribes refer to it as the fish moon because it coincided with the shad fish swimming upstream.  It goes by other colorful names such as the Seed Moon, Growing Moon and Sprouting Grass Moon. 

Whatever you prefer to call it, it will be an interesting event to watch.  Good news!  Those in the Western Hemisphere might not be fortunate enough to see this celestial show with the naked eye but you will have the luxury of sitting in the comfort of your own home while sipping on pink champagne and pink lemonade as you watch the phenomenon unfold online.  Check out these sites and Enjoy!

http://events.slooh.com/
http://www.space.com/

Illustration from The Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2013/0422/Pink-full-moon-Thursday-Who-gets-to-see-it

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Out of the Cave!


 
Writer Nicole Richards Sharpe
 


"Are you better off now than you were 4 million years ago?" This is the tagline of America's #1 family film to date, "The Croods", another DreamWorks Animation work of art. Actors Emma Stone, Nicholas Cage and Ryan Reynolds, among others, lend their voices and their personalities to the colorful prehistoric characters.

I laughed throughout the entire film. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. My intention was to simply entertain my daughter who started showing symptoms of Spring Break Antzy Fever.  If left untreated, it could lead to brooding.  So I packed up some treats and met with Epiphany and her kids, who were also exhibiting signs and we headed to the movie theater.  She and I were both astounded at how entertaining the film was.  Not only was it hilarious, it forced you to think.

Without giving away too much of "The Croods", their cave was their safe haven.  It was the one form of protection that preserved their lives as opposed to their neighbors'.  The over-protective father played by Nicholas Cage, heavily relied on their cave to keep them safe.  Although they were alive, as the teenaged daughter played by Emma Stone said, they weren't "Alive".

Do you feel that way sometimes? Sitting at a comfortable administrative job with medical benefits that is not your dream career of museum curator.  Pursuing a degree because it would lead to a more lucrative job as a financial advisor as opposed to your dream of clam digging.  Staying on the block you grew up on because the rent is super low although you want to venture into another state or even another country.

Whatever your cave may be, identify it and just go.  You might be fearful of the world that awaits you out there but at least its not a volcanic, earthquakey mess filled with prehistoric carnivorous plants and animals as big as houses waiting to devour you.  Relax and take that first step.  And go see "The Croods"!




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's Always Sunny...

Writer Nicole Richards Sharpe aka "Ambrosia"

Do you realize that every day is a Sunny Day?  The Sun is always out.  It doesn’t go anywhere. Yes, scientists theorize that the Sun is in a binary orbit with a lesser star but the Earth travels in time as it revolves around it, so the Sun really is constant.  It doesn’t set or rise. The Earth spins on its orbit and we perceive the Sun setting and rising. At night, the sun is still there, lending its light to the moon.  On a cloudy day, the sun is still there.  It’s our perception of clouds that get in the way of us seeing the sun but the sun is still there.  I might sound like a vinyl record stuck on a vintage record player’s pin but do you get my point?  Our perception of the absence of the sun gets in the way of us seeing the sun that is ever present.  Just because we don’t see something with our natural eyes, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.       
We can adopt this outlook when it comes to the daily pressures of life too.  It might seem dreary and cloudy at times but try not to perceive it as eternally gray.  Know that the Sun is there; ready to shine its rays upon you if you only see beyond the present.  Unlike the song from Annie, the sun is always out, yesterday, today and tomorrow. 
So the next time you look through the window or at your life and see a bunch of menacing cumulonimbus clouds coming your way, know that the Sun is in fact there.  You just have to change your perception.  
Image from www.thehealthyhavenblog.com

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Isn’t it or not it isn’t?

Double talk and rivalry in Ancient Egypt...
Isis meets with Itis and Isit, who are always giving Itit a hard time about his name.  Isis has the power to solve the problem between Itit, Isit and Itis.  But Itis and Isit both think they also have the power to deal with the situation.

Itis and Isit talk about their powers, and Isit thinks it is the same, while Itis says doubtfully “Is it”? 

“It is or it is not” says Isit. 
“Don’t you mean “Is it or not it is?” says Itis.  And this is how it goes.

Isis meanwhile asks Itit if his relationship with Isit and Itis is problematic.  To which Itit replies “It is”! 

“Why is it?” asks Isis. 
“It is because of Itis and Isit, and that is it” Itit says.

“Well,” said Isis, “if it is then why is it?”

“OK.” Itit replies, “Here it is!”.  “You being Isis are a goddess.  Itis and Isit are not, but they think they are better that me because their names make sense and mine does not.”

“Is that all it is?” says Isis.  “Do you think Isis was an easy name to have at first; so many mispronunciations and all.”  I had to work to get people to say it as ‘Ice is’.  Why couldn’t we do something with Itit?”

“It is a tricky set of letters you know”, said Itit.  I mean, someone once suggested I pronounce it ‘I tee it’, which would prove the point Isit and Itis are always making. And, it could even be worse you know.”

“Ah, yes, I can see that it could” says Isis.  “Why not pronounce it ‘It i ty’?” Isis suggested.  “It sounds kind of official.” “That might do it!” says Itit. 

Isis told Isit and Itis about it and they had more respect for Itit now.  So that is the solution then, isn’t it or not it isn’t?

                                                                                                              L.S.

Photo: Dendara by Martyn E. Jones, UK

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Midnight Winter's Dream

Writer Nicole Richards Sharpe aka "Ambrosia"
Have you ever had a dream that keeps you up at night?  Not the sugar plums dancing around your head or that one where you're out of breath running for your life to find out later that nothing is behind you.  I'm speaking of that dream, that goal that you have always had that just won't leave you alone.  That thing that makes you happy.

Thus the reason I am up at 1:30am.  I have two dreams that tag team me and sometimes join forces to knock me on my head when I am not attending to them.  And a friend named Epiphany who hits me on the head with her energy-efficient light bulbs now and again.

How do you know what your dream is?  When you can see yourself doing it easily, well past 5:00pm on a weekday and Saturdays and Sundays.  That's passion. That's your dream.  And that dream should be your goal.

My advice to myself and to you?  Stop sitting on your dreams.  Get up and open the door and let them breathe.  Let them live! Against all odds, you can do it!  Dreaming the dream is the start.  Living the dream is the goal!  And get some sleep in between.

Ambrosia says, "Don't forget to turn your clocks forward." :-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day!


Writer Nicole Richards Sharpe aka "Ambroisa"

Rise and Shine!  Today is International Women's Day!  Never mind the Noreaster on the East Coast, today is a special day and an opportunity to honor the special ladies in your life.  Your mom, grandma, auntie, daughter, the love of your life, the little old lady who's been that familiar face at your local bakery forever, let them all know how much you appreciate them. 

All over the world, events are taking place today.  I have attached a link below from www.internationalwomensday.com which will take you straight to the event page.  One of the events that stood out the most for me is a simple yet compelling one - Take a picture of one of your stilletos and post it.  I just realized the wordplay in stilletos - (There are still toes?).  At one point in our lives, most women have worn one of those self-effacing foot contraptions at least once in our lives.  Stilletos, according to the site, represent a woman's life - Struggling through the challenges life hurls at her while making it look simple (and looking pretty doing it).  Or some people can take it as, society's obsession with a woman having to look beautiful even if it kills her!

Above, I posted a pic of my high-heeled pink friday nightmares.  They are beautiful to look at.  Together they almost look like a heart. Awwwwww. But I must admit, I have had those numbers for about 4 years and have worn them but twice and each time, I automatically transformed into a hunter, using my 20/20's in a dimly lit venue to stake out available chairs.  That's no way to enjoy an evening, believe me. 

Feel free to post yours here in the comment area and/or on the site below.

Whatever you decide to do today in honor of International Women's Day, make it sweet. Make it funny.  Make it memorable.  :-)
http://www.internationalwomensday.com/esearch.asp?country=223

Friday, January 25, 2013

Meet My Twin!!



Doppelgängers in simple terms mean any double or look-alike of a person.

If you met your Doppelgänger today, what questions would you want to ask?



Photo: My Twin by Gonzalo Haro, Uruguay



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Learn something new everyday!



Today’s Word: “Gamba”

Gamba which stands for “Fog” in the Vili language is located in Gabon. According to wiki, Gamba is or was a oil hub in a village of fisherman and huntsman gatherers.  Here is the link


Gamba is also an instrument which looks like a cross between the violin and cello hence the more common name of Viola Da Gamba. 

Here is a link to the New York Chapter of the American Society dedicated to this decades old piece. 

Enjoy sounds of the Viola da Gamba


Tuesday, January 22, 2013



"I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy.  
I woke and I saw that life is all service.  
I served and I saw that service is joy."
 - Khalil Gibran



They say that when you are busy helping others the Universe helps you...take time to ponder.

Be well and Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebrating Diversity

By Lisa Joseph
with reprint permission


peace in our hearts and love in the wind
doors open wide - welcoming
all races
from places
on a map so easy to share,
thoughts and dreams
and laughter, no fear.
in a time when equality is key
when joy’s within thee
when people join hands
helping one another
from distant lands.
to care, to know,
better dare to grow
seeing a future that is bright
where all colors shine in the light
from any corner - one race
feeling honored
that’s our place
to be red, blue, green - true
every shade, every hue
diversity - long overdue.