Category Archives: natural disaster

Comparison: 2 Survival Movies


My family likes to discuss and analyze movies after we watch them.

There are two fine movies we watched where the theme was survival.

Both movies have been given critical acclaim and awards. They have

outstanding casts and performances. One is about man against the

sea while the other one is astronauts against the odds, up in Space.

My brothers, particularly, are science-oriented, while I am more into

character development and overall “impressions” or “feelings.” I liked

both of these movies, for different reasons. We agreed the following

movies are worth your time, if you have not already seen them:


1.  2013’s “All Is Lost,” with Robert Redford,  playing a man who has

decided to embark on an ocean adventure aboard a boat. It is directed

by J.C. Chandor, who also wrote the intensely fascinating screenplay.

This story is about a veteran and resourceful sailor lost at sea, in the

Indian Ocean, when the movie opens.

Having been a member of Mariner Scouts, co-ed sailing experiences

aboard sailboats on Lake Erie, I know I would not be fully prepared

for being stranded on a lake; let alone the barrage of challenges the

man is faced with in this film.

In most cases, the mariner (R. R.) is able to cope. For example, when

the boat fills up with water, he can use a hand operated pump to get

the water out of the boat. When he wishes to find his location, due

to loss of radio waves, he is forced to use a hand-held sexton. I was

amazed when I looked this navigational instrument up to find how

old this was. Before 1757, the sextant was built differently and was

called an ‘octant.’ Both devices use the angles of the sun’s position

to figure out location. It has to due with comparing two locations,

one can be ‘celestial’ and using the level of the water or the horizon,

as the other ‘fixed’ location. When the character is able to find a ‘busy

section of the ocean,’ which means it is a thoroughfare for water

vehicles, I am amazed.  But I believe this is possible due to his vast

knowledge about the sea. This is called ‘the shipping lanes’ in the

water of the ocean. He compares and measures them, using a map.

He is able to naviagate this way, which they show him carefully

calculating this procedure.


I don’t want to let you know any further details about this movie,

since you may sometime spend a few hours watching this great

actor, showing his ability to literally carry out many of the physical

tasks presented to him, as a strong, older man. Along with “carrying”

the whole movie on his shoulders, as an actor. My youngest brother

took it home from my Mom’s house, (where both brothers, Mom

and I had watched this) so that he could view this one more time.

This expresses something impressive to me. It means it was such a

powerful story, it captivated his interest enough to see it twice in one

weekend.  He will help ‘weigh in’ on the next movie’s review, too.


2.  2013’s “Gravity,” with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

playing two astronauts with different levels of experience, while

out on a space shuttle proceeding through what was supposed to

be a routine journey.

This movie was co-written by and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. It is

“billed” as a science fiction thriller, but many scenes seem very real

and believable. The astronauts who watched the private screening,

were pleased, overall, with the emotions and the beautiful filmography.

They may have seen some imperfections and mentioned them, along

with flaws in the details. They probably were thrilled to have been

asked along for the ride, since there were not many complaints among


My brothers both had a few times asked to ‘stop the movie,’ to rewind

along with discuss something that seemed to be ‘far-fetched.’ They

really felt the scene where the debris was flying at the astronauts,

shuold have sent them to hide behind the sturdy Hubble spacecraft.

Also, one brother felt that Matt (George Clooney’s character) should

have not been using up his extra energy and jet packs by ‘playing’

and ‘tooling around the stratosphere.’ He is often characterized as

an easy going character, this is true once again in the action movie,

“Gravity.” He has the qualities of ‘laid back’ and confident astronaut

definitely ‘down pat.’ Matt is senior officer and experienced veteran

while Sandra Bullock’s character, Ryan is on her first mission. She is

the medical engineer. There were ‘holes’ in her choices, not showing

a strong ability to think ‘outside the box,’ nor being aware of her

surroundings. (She passes some wires that are giving off sparks,

but doesn’t think about potential fire danger. I gave a sharp intake

of breath, with a strong premonition when she did this. It was very

apparent to me; so not sure why Ryan doesn’t notice them.)

There are a lot of loopholes in “Gravity’s” plot. Which if I mentioned

all of them then you may not be surprised when they occur. If you

are like I am, you prefer to hear a short synapsis and not be given too

many plot devices. I am sure that this would not be a good review if I

let you know too much ahead of time. Nor will I reveal the endings of

either movie I am talking about.


Summary of Mom’s and My Opinion on Both Movies:

The way Mom and I are, we were enthralled by the way Earth and

Space looked. The much played comment by Matt (George Clooney)

in movie trailers was (paraphrased), “Enjoy the view.” This would

be our strongest reason to suggest you see, “Gravity.” It is why people

leaving theaters would be so excited. There are many positives that

outweigh the negatives.

When Mom and I watch movies, it takes a major upset to get us

to give up on a movie. We would have probably let the problems

within the scientific and technical realm, ‘go.’

We sometimes sit together, leaning against each other or holding

hands. The excitement and danger in both “All Is Lost” and “Gravity”

seemed quite realistic. We held on tight in several parts of the man

facing eminent death upon the sea and when the astronauts kept

drifting away from secure holds on their positions. Both movies tell

engrossing stories, gripping and holding your attention.


We felt when “Gravity” was finished, (Mom and I) one must suspend

your disbelief and enjoy the adventure of the movie.

When we concluded our discussion about “All Is Lost,” we felt this

could have represented a real person’s experiences. At the end, we

wished we could learn his name. It seemed totally believable, which

makes this movie almost like you could be able to read an autobiography

of this man.




Uplifting Messages for Everyday Lives


Serving people and volunteering reflect how culture has shown a

history of caring and pulling together in times of adversities

and strife. The valuable message and “roots” come from all faiths

and can be found in various examples.

Spurred on by my recent “Spire” newsletter from the First Presby.

Church, in Delaware, Ohio’s message:

“Mission work that is carried out by churches and other organizations

makes a difference in the lives of people all around the world. One

purpose of mission work is to help those who are hurting in whatever

way is appropriate to their specific situation.”

I could not help reflecting on the different levels of helping others

that I feel I have done and will try to add more to my own sense of

purpose in life. I wondered if I could investigate and find some

history in the United States, of being positive ‘lights’ and doing

good works.

Native Americans have always viewed the concept of helping each

other, as beneficial and calling it a “give away.” The process

is described as choosing a special gift to impart at a helpful


This is a long-respected tradition, honored among most tribes.

The Pacific Northwest and Canadian Indian tribes have something

called a ‘potlatch.’ I found that the Chinook tribe was one who

originated this process, but if someone is more knowledgeable on

this subject, please feel free to ‘pitch in’ and help me explain!

Native American traditions are enduring, meaningful and loving.

There are traditional ceremonies held by other tribes as “Give

Away Ceremonies.” What helped me to understand better why they

do this, is by realizing that Native Americans don’t place a

“value” on individual property or money. They feel that if there

is anything that another person should need or will benefit the

other family, then one should ‘give away’ that item. Not having

personal “ownership” of the land and its creatures is also

included in Native Americans’ belief systems.

Other people consider when they are giving time, money or energy

towards a cause as ways we are “paying forward.” Eastern cultures

include “karma” (or “kharma”) and “kismet” as reasons one may

wish to engage in positive actions. What ‘goes around, comes

around,” does not mean that there is not respect and value in

those caring actions!

Another way we may explain the process of helping one another

could be as “giving back to the world.” You may hear this come

out of famous people or philanthropic projects.

Powerful actions, to positively impact and support one another,

crosses across the world in so many other dimensions. Churches

send out their teams out for rescue and retreats, sometimes

labeling this, “Mission Work.” Serving others helps both the one

who is setting out on a mission, and the ones who are on the

receiving end.

My family’s three children engaged in community church functions

called, ecumenical peace camps and ecumenical youth groups.

It is appropriate to view this subject on a Sunday, but every

day is truly the way you carry out your faith or spiritual

expressions in respect to your God, Allah, Mother Nature, Higher

Being or your own personal inner beliefs. Agnostics and atheists

give with open hearts and hands, through their acts of kindness.

Witnesses to 9/11, Katrina, floods and famine relief, Red Cross

and other ways that people are constantly reaching out and going

beyond their everyday actions (and comfort zones) are so inspiring!

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that

no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

John Mc Mullin, who writes for a ‘healthy and better life’ local

magazine and other noteworthy journalism endeavors, tweeted:

“I can accept my wheels coming off the tracks as long as I trust

parts of my self know how to put my wheels back on the track.”

Another tweet by John:

“When the anguish and pain of what we think we know becomes

overwhelming, only then are we willing to explore what we don’t


I enjoy so many blogs with their famous quotations and photos,

I also revel in poetry. This local woman, Jennifer R. Harbor

shared this poem, (purposely written in lower case letters…):

“i am

not this Body

not these thoughts that consume me,

not these feelings that find me,

not these beliefs that drive me,

i am

not this used flesh scarred by existence,

i am

infinite spirit, limitless energy, borderless space,

i am the light of ancient stars

i am eternity expanding,

i am

not this Body

i am

radiant Light, living only to

Transcend this vessel

of eyelashes, fingers, lips, toes…”

JRH, 2007.

Brief Ohio News Item


You may wonder why in the world is Robin writing a brief

Ohio news item? What is so important to break from the

heartwarming posts, stories and special finds to tell us

about a murder?

I wish to warn your family members to be extra cautious

if any should be in the profession of pizza delivery for

extra money. I have had many friends, of many different

ages and backgrounds, needing extra cash, and choosing to

deliver pizzas.

There was a 26 year old woman who may have been abducted

or had someone take her to a woods, there are not a lot of

facts about the reason for killing her, but she died last

night, Thursday December 26th. This was a young, friendly

single mother of two little children, a baby and a toddler.

This occurred in Muskingum County and her body was found in

Dillon State Park. State forensics team was there early this

morning and I am heartbroken, feeling sad for this young

mother who everyone has said, her photographs show a sunny

disposition and pretty girl face.

I hate to say this, but I would never want another woman to

take on this job! I think of endless creepy persons out there

who may choose to do awful things to the person, especially

in more desolate and remote areas.

They arrested her boyfriend as the alleged murderer, he is

“under suspicion.” I know it can happen to anyone, whether or

not they are driving up to stranger persons’ houses, and

like so many people who kill, the suspect is usually someone

you know. But, this story to me emphasized the danger in

this kind of position.

Those two precious children are now without a mother, just

one day after Christmas. It brings all of the other bad

things that happen in your own day, into perspective.

I do have many areas of the United States in my prayers

due to ice storms and other natural disasters. I still

continue to look at the horrible devastation in the

Philippines and keep them, also, in my prayers.

Over Christmas, a group of people in the Philippines, used

odds and ends, found in the rubble, to create a beautiful

Christmas tree. That made me think of how some people will

find the good in almost anything!

Leaving that small nugget to leave you hope…

The Ebb and Flow of Life


The typhoon in the Philippines was a serious one, this time really

upsetting my filipino friends at work. Over 125,000 people have

been evacuated, so far. The winds of between 147 and 170 mph

have been devastating, wiping out the electricity and two deaths

have occurred.

Felda tells me that Typhoon Yolanda, or Typhoon Haiyan, both

being used on the news is one of the most dangerous disasters,

even more so than the earthquake not too long ago, where I asked

for prayers for families, one of the three coworkers having a cousin

whose home was split apart.

There was a rather astounding piece of news that I found, listing this

as one of 24 storms this year already in the Philippines! The recent

one occurred 40 miles SE of the city of Manila. This typho0n and

bad weather following it, is heading towards the South China seas,

where Vietnam may be next ‘hit.’

While the trio of friends are most upset, thinking that their families

are being relocated or living without electricity, none of them are in

real danger. (So far…)

And on a positive note, all have heard from their parents and siblings

so Felda, Mary Jane “M.J.” and Mae are doing fine mentally and yet,

emotionally, shook up, understandably.

I am going to be seeing my “calm port in a stormy world,” Bill tonight

since we missed our regular “First Friday” night out. I will regale him

with my Mom stories, interest him in all the artistic projects my brother.

Randy, has been up to and will be involved with in the upcoming months.

Randy helped Bill to have some of his linear and very intersting acrylic

artistic endeavors, paintings, put in a gallery on High Street a few years

ago. Bill is a huge fan of Randy’s artwork and has purchased three of his

pieces and exclaims often at his diverse and unusual murals and projects.

I will tell you if anything more happens to my dear filipino friends and

my best guy friend, Bill, too.

Take it easy on this Friday!

Be safe and hope something special goes on over the weekend with you, too!

Force of Nature


When I arrived at work at 6:45 a.m. this morning, my good filipino

friends were chattering about something, with a distraught look

on their faces and a higher pitch to their native language. I have

spoken about my friends, Mary Jane (“M.J.”), May and Felda. I am

closest to Felda, due to her daughter going to my grandsons’

babysitter that I matched her with back four years ago.

It turns out there was an earthquake sometime recently, during

the night on the island of Cebu. Felda was awakened early with

a call from her siblings who said they were fine, along with her

dear, precious mother. I was relieved but could tell there were

others who may have some destruction… I inquired of Felda,

“Were there any other friends or family injured or houses


She held my hand, squeezed it and said, that her very special

cousin who is also in her late thirties had a big crack in the entire

house. Walls were crumbling inward, so they had to gather a few

of their memorabilia and leave for a different, safer location.

M.J. was still upset, so I asked her while she was speaking to May,

“Excuse me, how are both of your families?”

May said her parents and siblings were very well and not near the

epicenter of the quake. She was still worried about one sister who

was away at college on a different area from the earthquake. She

had not answered her phone. Mary Jane told me her mother was

nervous, she has had a heart attack in the last two years, her father

had passed away the first year M.J. came to work at Advance Auto

distribution center. I asked if maybe her husband, David, who is

sometimes off and not well, could connect with them all via Skype

or emails while we had to put our phones in our lockers until first


Mary Jane (who can be sarcastic and funny, in a rather bawdy way,

answered, “Are you kidding me? Robin, that man is so lazy that he

won’t even consider helping me move a dish from the table back

to the sink, where I am washing dishes!”

We burst into laughter at her tone and emphasis! She is used to

being our “comic relief” during exercises, morning meetings and

even our upcoming Quarterly meeting (which is tomorrow, Wed.

Oct. 16th). She rolled her eyes, shrugged her shoulders and told

her 2 younger friends,

“Whatever happens is meant to be! Robin, say a prayer for our

families and homes, please!”

We all exchanged hugs then, the trio whispering a few contrite

requests I believe to God. (They are all devoted Catholics.)

We disbursed to get our equipment and find out our daily area

assignments since at 7:00 a.m. we would be doing exercises with

our boss and boss’ boss today.

Keep the Philippines and its people in your prayers and any other

surrounding areas that may be effected by the earthquake on Cebu.

Especially, if you are one to pray, include my three friends who are

all citizens, having married men who they mutually chose and fell

in love with here on the “mainland.”