Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wishing Steve Byers a Very Happy Birthday

Usually, I avoid singing in public. Singing is NOT my forte. Today though, I've made an exception for Steve Byers' birthday. 

Steve--if you're reading this, remember that question I asked you about your stance on mediocre karaoke :)

Anyway, I wrote an, I'm certain never-to-be-produced music video for Steve.  It's to the tune of "I'm a Survivor" as I had the Alvin & the Chipmunks version of the song stuck in my head while creating lyrics.

At the end of this post is a "script sheet" listing lyrics, camera notes, & stage directions for what is in my head for all the stuff I couldn't show in the video I put together.

I figured it'd be hard to imagine how the lyrics went with the melody though, so I broke my long-standing tradition of NOT being recorded singing and went out on a limb to try and make Steve laugh on his birthday.

So, without further ado, Happy Birthday Steve! Here is a video mock-up, but please check out the "script" & associated notes below as well  :) 

To the tune of “I’m a Survivor”

Verse 1:
*Steve is standing at the railing of a large ship looking out over the ocean at night, singing*

For my birthday
I just want a dragon    *Balloon over Steve's head with image of dragon flying*
A dragon I said and not a kraken
A kraken would eat me up in just one bite  *Kraken rises out of the sea, tentacles wrap around Steve & he's lifted into the air, still singing*
Even my socks and shoes and skinny jeans that fit tight 

*Edge of screen is all fuzzy, dreamy & Steve is riding on the back of a flying dragon*

For my birthday
I just want a dragon
Yes, a dragon
And not a kraken
He’d take me flying
Around the globe
I’d have a blast
Just me and my girls *Steve and his wife & kids are now all on the back of an enormous dragon, still flying over beautiful, green landscape*

Verse 2:

Only a dragon for my birthday will do
Yes that’s a dragon for me
Or maybe two  *Steve is standing in between two dragons, petting one with each hand, in a forest somewhere. Photography still looks dreamy*
Above clouds and treetops we would fly *Cut to Steve riding on a dragon again, weaving in & out of clouds, still singing*
As fast as sound can travel
No need to ask why

Verse 3:
My pet dragon
Couldn’t change the weather *Steve is now standing outside his house and we see his snow-covered yard.  Dragon is next to him.  Heavy snow is falling on both of them.*

But my dragon
Could do even better

I would fly straight south *Cut to image of Steve in shorts, barefoot, riding dragon over a tropical paradise*

That much is true
I’d hang out on the sand
With a cold beer or two. *Dragon lands. Steve lounges on beach, drinking beer*

Verse 4:
My dragon would have shiny scales *Cut to Steve and dragon in a huge dragon stable. Steve is polishing the dragon much like you'd shine & polish a car. Dragon is smiling, looking goofy*
I’d groom him every moment that I'm able
My commute would be so more much fun
When I show up on the set *Dragon flies downward with Steve on back. Steve is dressed like a 1940's movie star with the silk scarf, sunglasses, & hat. Dragon lands. A hundred old-fashioned cameras with the big, bright bulbs flash.*
My dragon would be the only one

Verse 5:
For my birthday I just want a dragon
He wouldn’t eat me up like would a kraken *Cut to Steve back at sea, kraken pulling him under water.  He's still singing even though this is technically impossible since, well, you can't sing under water.*
I’d be the talk of the town
I’m telling you
I’d be the hit of the party
Mobile barbecue *Cut to neighborhood block party scene.  Dragon is breathing fire & people are roasting hot dogs & marshmallows & making s'mores*

Verse 6: 
*Party scene continues, but in background.  Now we have a second singer out front, yours truly, only I look like I did at age 18 & I'm wearing a black & green cheerleader uniform*
I’m not a singer
I am a writer
A little crazy
But then you know that
And now I wish you

A happy birthday
Hoping I made you laugh
And that you have a great day!

Get your daily laugh following Steve on Twitter @TheSteveByers and you can also keep up with when he'll be on TV, etc., by following @SteveByersFans (a fan Twitter thing run by yours truly.)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Toronto, Natural Disasters, TV Shows, Aliens & Miscommunication

Had an interesting conversation with my husband last night.

I heard him say, "Rain is shooting on Toronto."

What went through my head?  Well, first, if my husband is talking about the weather in Toronto it must be really, really catastrophic, since we live in the heart of the USA.  Moreover, it's not like we have family or anything up there.  In fact, the only person the word "Toronto" brings to mind is my favorite actor, Steve Byers.  So, unless my husband thought the city would be wiped off the map, he wouldn't bring it up.  (Keep in mind that this conversation happened late in the evening when I was exhausted, so I wasn't at my best.)

Next thing to go through my mind (and all of these thoughts just kind of fly through my brain in a few seconds) was, "Wait, it's too cold for up there. It'd have to be sleet or snow."  But he said, "rain."

After that I'm thinking, rain "shooting?" Really, unless there's been an invasion of aliens with some sort of weather machine that shoots out viscous weaponized rain, that's kind of a strange term to use describing weather.

Finally, I say, "What?"

This, of course, does not help. My husband repeats, "Rain is shooting in Toronto."

Now, I'm really, really confused.

My husband at this point is convinced that I'm either only half-listening to him or maybe I've been replaced by an unintelligent android version of myself.

I say, "I don't understand."

He replies, again, "Rain is shooting in Toronto. Well, the castle is in Ireland so they shoot there some too."

At this point the light bulb came on, "Oh, you mean 'Reign' the TV show." 

He says, "Yes. What else would I mean?"

At this point, I sunk onto the couch, glad the kids were in bed and realizing that I seriously needed to relax.

We'd been talking the day before about where the actual castle in the TV show "Reign" was located, so it was sweet of him to look it up, but when he brought it up out of the blue, well, confusion reigned, pun intended :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

John Wayne, Lucille Ball, Steve Byers, & Me

First, let me start by saying that if you haven't seen John Wayne in "Three Godfathers" or in the episode of "I Love Lucy" that he appeared in, this blog contains SPOILERS. 

You can click here for a free online link to the "I Love Lucy" episode guest starring John Wayne. 

I digress. What does all of this have to do with actor Steve Byers (Smallville, Immortals, Catch a Christmas Star,) much less me?  Simple, in one of those college prep tests with the analogies, it could read, "John Wayne is to Lucille Ball as Steve Byers is to Christina Williams"---at least as far as this one particular episode of "I Love Lucy" goes. Well, I'm not quite that bad...I don't think :)

You see, even though Lucy doesn't want to adopt John Wayne, like I want to adopt Steve Byers, no matter how crazy, silly, or ridiculous Lucy is, John Wayne is always very gracious, just like Steve Byers has been to me.  No, I haven't met, him, and I sincerely doubt I ever will, I mean it's 16 hours to Toronto from here and farther to California, so it's not like I'll round a corner one day and find him walking down the street opposite me in the heart of the USA.  It could happen, but I think I probably have a better chance of being hit by lightning.

Anyway, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a star as gracious, humble, and funny as Steve.  And while I'm not a big fan of Westerns myself, I know Steve is quite the John Wayne fan.  I'd love to see him star in a remake of my favorite  John Wayne movie, "Three Godfathers."  Steve could, of course, play any sort of role, but I love the idea of him walking across a desert, while a fugitive from justice, to help this orphaned baby.  I'm pretty sure he'd do the same thing in real life, though I don't know under what circumstances he'd be a fugitive from justice.

Both in his tolerance of at least one crazy fan, and his generosity, Steve Byers reminds me of John Wayne in the previously mentioned shows, and if you want to know why I relate to Lucy, well, just keep reading my blog.  It'll become evident before too long :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

You Don't Ask You Don't Get

You don't ask, you don't get.  I try not to be pushy.  In fact, I make every point not to box people into things, push them, or make them feel in any way obligated to me.  That would be manipulative, undesirable, and just plain wrong.

On the other hand, I've also found, through the years, that people are NOT telepathic, and sometimes, in fact, oftentimes, the best thing to do is to politely, kindly, ask for what you wish to happen, while giving the other person an "out." 

How do I know this?  From many, many years of being so very painfully shy when I was much younger an never speaking up for myself.  Yep, hard as it may be to believe, I was incredibly timid until the time I entered college, and then, for some strange reason, I metamorphosized.  It was around that time, and even years later in life, that I found that often I was sure some other person would intuitively understand what I thought would be awesome, desirable, or cool, but more often than not, they had no idea, and I missed out on many cool things. 

So, nowadays, I do my best to "take the bull by the horns" so to speak and make my wishes known.  Yes, this leads to more rejection, but also to more cool results, and the good, By Far, outweighs the bad, so it's a philosophy that I do my very best to live by. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Movie Star & Dreams- Dreamt I Met Steve Byers of "Alphas" Last Night

Dreamt last night that I got to meet my favorite actor, Steve Byers.  It was really cool!  Like all dreams, it was a bit fuzzy in my mind after waking up, but hey, since I’m relatively sure that I’ll never meet him in person, it was pretty awesome!  Besides, I was much more articulate in my dream that I most likely would be were I to ever actually meet him.  That’s one of the great advantages of dreams, at least for me.  Odds are, that if I ever did actually come face to face with him, I’d almost certainly babble nervously and he wouldn’t be able to get a word in edgewise.  That, however, is not what happened in my imagination as I slept.

My son had recently checked out a book about dog sled racing, a fictional kids’ book, and I’d read it to him and his little sister, a couple of times in the last two days, so I’m pretty certain this is where the imaginary film plot came from.  I’ve no idea how I ended up talking to him, but regardless, in my dream, we were just hanging out, watching this imaginary film of his and he was talking to me about all sorts of stuff that went into making it, kind of like when you listen to the director’s and actors’ commentary version of a DVD movie, except that in my dream, he was actually there.  I wasn’t even nervous, which is a shocker, and overall, remembering this as I woke up was a great start to my day.   And of course, he looked as handsome as always.  His hair was all curly like it was in episodes of “Falcon Beach,” as opposed to being straighter when he was in “Alphas.”  And he was wearing a red muscle shirt with black trim and black pants and sneakers.  That’s about it.  I woke up happy.  Who wouldn’t?

Do I sound a little obsessed or crazy? Probably.  But if I were worried about sounding crazy, I never would’ve tweeted him in the first place and certainly wouldn’t have mailed him an excessively long fan letter. In my defense, I AM a novelist, so I’m verbose by definition.  And at this point, I’ve said enough crazy stuff to him that I figure he must be amused, since he has quite a sense of humor.  If I were driving him crazy, I’m sure he’d find a way to tactfully let me know, as he’s too sweet to be anything but tactful.

So why did I dream about him last night?  I’m not sure.  I was talking a about him to a friend pretty late last night.  I’d been at meeting about the disastrous Common Core educational initiative, which needs to be stopped. The meeting had just ended and it was a pretty serious and heavy topic.  My phone is set to vibrate the same for calls, texts, tweets, or any kind of acknowledgement of my tweets.  I’d gotten a text from my husband not too long before with a question about a kid’s medicine, so when the phone vibrated, I picked it up and glanced at it even though I was talking with friends.  The fact that Steve had just favorited one of my tweets rolled across the screen and  I couldn’t help cracking a wide grin, which I then, or course had to explain because it was out of sync with the overall mood of the room.  Maybe that’s why.  I don’t know.  But virtual reality, of which dreams are the best kind, can sure be fun :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ugly Masterpieces --Creativity Makes Life More Fun

I suppose you could say I'm an artist, of sorts.  I'm certainly creative.  From throwing huge kids' birthday parties on a shoestring budget, to framing autographed pictures of my favorite actor, to sewing, I put a unique twist on most stuff.  This is probably also the reason I'm so messy.  Or at least the reason I have so much trouble getting rid of stuff because everything has potential.

Woven wool is $30/yard, which is INSANE.  I wanted to make my dad a really nice wool scarf last winter, so I took apart a clean kilt that no longer fit, and it did the job great.  The wool was such a high quality that it looked brand new.  I get pretty creative with used Christmas decorations and sweaters.  In fact, I sew just about anything onto an ugly Christmas sweater, from lights to ornaments, stockings to stuffed animals--you name it.  It doesn't fall into the category of "beautiful" art, but it is art, of a sort, and it making the stuff does a lot for my need for a creative outlet.  It's fun, relaxing, and yes, it felt pretty good when a fellow Twitterer and someone I admire called one of my works an "Ugly Masterpiece." 

Sure, I like to do the more traditional art forms like painting and drawing, but those a are a bit harder to do with little people underfoot.  Sewing ugly Christmas sweaters, however, since by nature they're supposed to be imperfect, is something I can actually do while my kids are around.  When the seam isn't perfect, or the thread doesn't quite match, it just adds to the charm and "ugliness" of the sweater, whereas, if I were trying to do something in a specific manner, the many little distractions which make my life such a joy would be problematic. That's not an issue when decorating ugly sweaters :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hoarders, Ice Road Truckers, & Extreme Makeover Home Edition-- Jay Hix Jones Interview

You've seen his work countless times and today I'm privileged to interview TV Field Producer Jay Hix Jones of such popular shows as "Hoarders," "Ice Road Truckers," and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Photo on left of Jones being interviewed on the red carpet for the season 9 premier of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Christina Williams: You’ve been involved in a large number of successful television productions, including being a field producer for such shows as “Hoarders,” “Ice Road Truckers,” and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”  My understanding is that a field producer works on site with all involved, from the actors/subjects of the show to the filming crew and everyone in between.  Is this correct and what is the most challenging project you’ve worked on so far?

JONES: Yes, the field producer is responsible for both the creative aspects and logistics of a production in the field. Every show I’ve been a part of has had it’s own unique set of challenges. “Ice Road Truckers” definitely posed the biggest physical challenge I’ve faced so far. Trying to direct crew and talent in -50 degrees in white out conditions tends to get a little scary. I got caught off guard without my balaclava once and my face felt like cardboard for two days. Luckily I didn’t get frostbite as I hear it’s extremely painful and can be dangerous. 
Williams: What’s the most rewarding show you’ve worked on thus far?

JONES: That’s a tough one. I’d say it’s a tie between “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “Hoarders.” Both were very rewarding to be a part of, and both had the similar theme in helping people live better lives. “Extreme” was on a much larger scale. Building a home in 7 days is no joke. Our crew would literally take over an entire city. We’re talking dozens of wheelers of supplies and thousands of employees and volunteers. It was like living and working in an ant farm. Everyone had very specific jobs in order to make it happen.  I have very fond memories of my time with “Extreme” and met some really great friends on that show. Shows like that don’t come around very often.. I’ll never forget what the Executive Producer (George Verschoor) told us on one of the last shows: Don’t ever forget the feeling you get from working on this show, because you will be chasing it for the rest of your careers. And he was right!

Photo above of Jones (middle in stocking cap saying a prayer of thanks before the reveal on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.")

My “Hoarders” experience was very similar but on a much smaller scale. We had a field crew of about 6 or 7, which allowed us all to become very close, both with the crew and the families we were helping. “Hoarders” definitely had its own challenges- mostly mental and emotional. How do you keep your composure when you’re trying to help a lady who hoards dead cats in her house? There were a few times throughout the season where I had to step away, wipe the tears and regroup. Part of me believes most reality TV shows exploit, but I quickly remind myself the majority of the shows that I have worked on actually help and make a difference in people’s lives. That’s how I justify my career choice anywayJ  

Photo above of Jay Hix Jones interviewing a family member of a hoarder.
Williams: How did you become interested in television production?

JONES: I have vivid memories of me sitting on the couch watching TV with my grandmother. She loved television. It was ALWAYS on at her house. I didn’t pursue it as a career until I went back to school at the age of 27 to study Film and Video Production. Unfortunately, she passed several months before I made the decision to pursue it as a career. I think remembering how much TV made her happy definitely played a part in my decision to make a career out of it.
Williams: You’ve mentioned your “Hungry Fish” project, which is an intensive three-day camp for teens that teaches them not only about television production but how they can use media to share their Christian faith.  It’s a really cool idea.  How did you come up with it?

JONES: It’s definitely been a passion project of mine for a very long time. The idea first came to me in 1999. It of course has developed into Hungry Fish over the years, but I first called it FaithQuest. I was young and didn’t have a lot of experience, but I knew I wanted to make a difference.  I wrote up my idea/plans and discussed it with my grandfather, who also happens to be one of my heroes. I respect his opinion so I wanted to know what he thought about it. His reaction/advice changed my life. He looked me right in the eyes and told me I was nowhere near (professionally, spiritually, emotionally) ready to embark on this journey. At the time I resented his opinion, but I ultimately agreed, postponed my plans to create FaithQuest and started gaining experience. And now here we are, 13-14 years later and it’s actually happening.
Over the years I’ve prayed for an answer on when I should revisit FaithQuest. It wasn’t until just recently that my prayers were answered and I was called to go for it. “There is no better time than now.” If there is one thing I have learned in my life, it is when God calls you to do something, you drop everything and do what it is he has called you to do. That is what I’ve done. I did recently ask my grandfather if he remembered giving me the advice back in 1999 and he did not but approves of it now. He is now 93 and still one of my heroes.

Williams: What’s been the most interesting aspect of working with “Hungry Fish?”
JONES: It’s all interesting to me... but I gotta say that some of the visions I have for it are pretty interesting/revolutionary. Imagine a group of Christian students on stage accepting an Oscar for a Gospel-centered project they shot during one of our camps. Never been done. Imagine the students giving the glory to God. Imagine the reach. Imagine the impact. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the souls saved. If you can dream it you can achieve it and with it all being to help spread the Gospel of Christ that scenario is a high probability in book. I’m not setting out to create a camp where kids come to just have fun... I believe I’ve been called to change the world,  and that mindset effects everything I do now.

Williams: When you first started the “Hungry Fish” camps, were there any unexpected reactions from teens?
JONES: Just one. I didn’t think the students would open up as much as they did as quick as they did during the camps. But I’m discovering that this young generation wants to be heard, recognized and a part of something much larger than themselves. When you give them that opportunity they grab onto it and won’t let go. We are getting request from all over the country, and I think it’s partially due to pastors/youth leaders recognizing that our children are the church and the future of the church and want to help them take the focus off of self and put it on Jesus. That is what we do.

Photo above of Jones working with teens at "Hungry Fish."

Williams: What’s been the most rewarding part of working on “Hungry Fish?”
JONES: Simple. Accepting what God has called me to do with my life. Also, knowing I’m doing my part to help mentor students, who live in a culture where they are bombarded with things that can easily harm and distract the soul.

Williams: What’s it like as a Christian to work in television production, which my understanding is a field where you don’t typically find a lot of Christians?
JONES: You are absolutely right! Most of the time I feel like a lone wolf on set. I had an executive producer once warn me about one particular actor and how much of a Bible banger she was.. said and I quote, “You better watch it or she will have you in a prayer circle everyday.” That saddens me terribly. I wanted to say, oh that would be fantastic! But at the time I wasn’t strong enough.

Unfortunately, I think certain people don’t get hired as much in Hollywood because of their Christian beliefs. And I believe it’s going to get a lot worse and branch out into other areas of the workplace in America soon. So, I’ve made a commitment to be conscious about what projects I work on and who I work with. I plan on doing my part to help raise up the next generation to be God-fearing and Christ-loving individuals.  
Williams: You filmed, at least partially, an unaired documentary of the notorious pirate, Jean Lafitte.  I know that there’s some evidence that your family, as well as my husband’s, may be descended from him.  It must be fascinating to be in a position to be able to unearth such a cool family history and put it on film.  What’s the status of the project right now? 

JONES: So cool! To learn about how my family has saved and passed down all of these old documents from one generation to the next for the last 200 years in hopes one of us will solve the mystery someday is amazing. The history of Jean Laffite and our country has been misrepresented to the public and I believe it will be corrected some day soon. Without Jean Laffite the US would have lost the Battle of New Orleans and who knows what else. But yet he is only given one or two sentences in our history books. I could go on and on and on but I will spare you all of the conspiracy theories for perhaps another interview. J
The project is currently not able to move on right now. I am not legally able to say much about it.  I will say this, there are tons of concepts/ideas that production companies/networks steal from producers and when that happens attorneys take over. Hopefully, I will be able to give you more information soon.

Williams: What’s the most interesting thing you discovered while working on the Jean Lafitte documentary?
JONES: The most interesting thing we’ve discovered is that there isn’t any real hard evidence that a man by the name Jean Laffite lived at all. No birth certificate, no death records, no business records. It’s as if he was a ghost. And our research is discovering that in every location there is a Laffite legend we find records of our ancestors but none of Laffite. At some point it will stop being a coincidence and the dots will be connected. We still have a very long way to go before irrefutable proof can be presented.

Williams: What’s been your biggest obstacle to the Jean Lafitte documentary filming?
JONES: Our biggest obstacle has been money and schedules. I now live in Seattle, my producing partner Tyler Townsend lives in Los Angeles, and the Hix brothers (hosts) are in Texas. We are spread out all over and have busy lives, so it can be difficult getting us together to film. And well, budget difficulties always pose obstacles. We do have plans to move forward with our research and filming soon. Hopefully in 2014.
Williams: How exactly do you go about getting a project like the Jean Lafitte project off the ground, and was this your idea initially, or did you pursue it at the behest of other family members?

JONES: We are still in the process of getting it off the ground. It has been a very very long road. My family has been working on proving our theory the name Laffite was just an alias our ancestor created to protect his true identity, family and business for a long time. Turning it into a documentary/TV show was my wife’s idea. Some colleagues and I were brainstorming on TV concepts and my wife chimed in and said why don’t you produce a show about your pirate ancestor. From there the Laffite project was born. However, we are now pursing it on behest of all the family members who have kept the secret and passed the story down for the last two hundred years. We feel we owe it to them to finish what they started. And we will.

Williams: To see the project video for Jean Lafitte, which is narrated by John Schneider (my first television crush as I never missed an episode of Dukes of Hazzard,) click here. Thanks so much Jay for taking time to do this interview. I really appreciate it. God bless.

About the blogger:

Christina Williams is the author of the War Gods series, a series of clean, young adult, paranormal romance novels. She also writes rhyming picture books which teach life lessons to younger children.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Steve Byers of Alphas --Filming

Cobourg, Ontario, a picturesque town where the people are nice, the dragonflies are friendly (photo on right tweeted by Steve Byers of dragonfly landing on his leg in Cobourg) and the hotel coffee pots are suspected to have been taken over by evil Transformers, a.k.a. the Decepticons.

Okay, maybe it's only Steve Byers' coffee pot that was taken over by Decepticons...or perhaps he was the only one to publically acknowledge the incident. Which is it? All we can know for certain is that his coffee maker did, in fact, go haywire. While we're at it, is it really a dragonfly?  Is it attracted to him because he's a Fire Dragon under the Chinese Zodiac, causing it to feel a kinship with him, or is it a cleverly disguised Autobot sent to make sure the Decepticons don't sabotage more than his hotel coffee maker? We may never know.

I loved watching Steve as John Bennett on Syfy's "Alphas." A show which should have remained on the air. I mean really, doesn't Syfy know that they shouldn't take off stuff I love to watch?  I digress...

Like a little kid in December I've been eagerly awaiting the release of "Catch a Christmas Star," a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie starring Steve Byers and Shannon Elizabeth.  In the meantime, just when I was about to go crazy waiting for his new film to come out, I was thrilled to learn he was  cast in another TV movie, this time for the UP network (stands for Uplifting network,) formerly known as the Gospel Music Channel.  Still, I'm getting off topic.

What does all this have to do with Cobourg, friendly dragonflies, and Decepticons, you ask?  Well, the movie we can now look forward to seeing Steve Byers in, titled "Rocky Road," was filmed in Cobourg. 

Photo on left of Steve Byers and Rebecca Dalton. The photo was tweeted by Mark Salling.

"Rocky Road" is not a remake of previous movies by the same name which come up when you Google the title. It's also, fortunately, not a joke by Steve. Let's face it, he's funny, and while I know that anyone would be crazy not to hire him for whatever role he desires, I was a little concerned at first when I asked him what he was working on and he referenced a film called, "Rocky Road," because of course the phrase "rocky road" could also refer to a long haul and rough time finding work.  But no, fortunately, this wasn't one of Steve's cleverly-worded Tweets, the kind that make a person think twice (or three times) before they begin rolling on the floor laughing. 

Photo on right of Mark Salling, Rebecca Dalton, and Steve Byers (tweeted by Mark Salling.)

So what's the film about, you may be asking?  Rather than re-invent the wheel, I'll quote from Pete Fisher's article, "TV movies to film scenes around Cobourg" which appeared online in the "Northumberland Today" on 

"Rocky Road is a story about a young hot shot Wall Streeter named Harrison (Mark Salling from Glee) who loses his job and expensive lifestyle due to a failed merger. He's forced to move back in with his parents in the small town he’d fled, and take over his old ice cream truck route in his father's dwindling business. Having spent a lifetime looking up to the power brokers of Wall Street and looking down on the simple ways of his small-town father, Harrison starts to appreciate his father's values and find the faith that he lost along the way. Sometimes the best road is the Rocky Road home."

Certainly we'll all be cheering on Mark Salling's character, who pretty clearly sounds to me like he's set up to be the good guy.  Rebecca Dalton, who we've seen on screen before with Steve in "The L.A. Complex," also stars in the film.  Steve Byers is cast as Rick Johnson, a character who is, he tells me, aptly named as he's quite the jerk.  Since Steve's such a nice guy we'll get to see him showcase his great acting skills in this as he's obviously nothing like his character in real life, well, apart from being super handsome. :)

Steve being super handsome brings me back to the opening of this post.  I imagine the Decepticons are targeting the actor because he's such a good guy, as we know from his tweets that his hotel coffee maker went berserk and brown liquid when everywhere other than in the coffee pot. 

It was suggested to him that he could've gotten coffee in the hotel lobby.  Now, apparently he wanted his java quickly as he tweeted, "Lobby coffee in your underwear is frowned upon."  Though in his case, I think (and if you read my tweets you already read this) that the reaction would be one of dancing and great rejoicing from the women of Cobourg which I'm sure would have led to a female stampede the likes of which had never been seen before.  So, I'm certain that the owners of the hotel as well as hotel security appreciated Steve's good judgment in delaying coffee consumption until he was fully covered and could make it out of his room without causing a riot :)

More about Steve Byers:

You can follow him on Twitter here. You can read his interview with me here. You can find my letter telling Steve I want to adopt him here.  Or for a good laugh you can read my post, "Am I Part Alpha?" here.  To follow Steve's unofficial Twitter Fan group go here.

About the blogger:

Christina Williams is the author of the War Gods series as well as children's picture books which teach life lessons.  Last, but not least, you can see my photo with Steve...as seen from Saturn. :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weddings- Oklahoma-style

So, I went to a wedding yesterday-- an Oklahoma wedding, and it was awesome!  I got to dance the night away with my sweetheart, and I had a blast.  There was plenty of great Mexican food and chocolate to go around too :)  In fact, I think it was the most fun I've ever had at a wedding.  Why?  Because things were arranged so there wasn't any of this "waiting around" business, like I usually experience at weddings. 

What made this "Oklahoma" wedding different though?  Well, most notably, the footwear, at least at first glance.  It's not uncommon there to see men in nice dress shirts with suit jackets and jeans sporting cowboy boots.  It may sound odd, but in Oklahoma, it fits.  The men in the wedding party were all dressed to a "T" and had 1950's style tennis shoes on with their dress clothes. Knowing my family as I do, this fits and they pulled it off with class.

The bride looked like she'd stepped out of a fashion magazine and the ceremony was outdoors with white Christmas-style lights.  As soon as it was over, there was great food and wine and when we'd finished that, the photo booth in which one could sport funky fashion accessories, was something fun to do while the dancing got going.

All-in-all, a great time, and we didn't even get lost on our way to Luther, Oklahoma traveling the red dirt roads.  Red because of the high amount of iron oxide in the area.  Hats off to my cousin and his new wife for throwing a great party, a beautiful ceremony, and a wonderful, memorable evening.  I wish you both a lifetime of happiness!  :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Daydreams-- A Dragon's Take

I try to have an entertaining Twitter feed, and a lot of what you'll read there is my daydreams.  Peter Maxian, AKA The Invisible Dragon, has taken my daydreams to the extreme and created the Christina BraveStar books based largely on some of my goofiest ideas. 

If you're amused by my desire to adopt my favorite actor, Steve Byers, or if you just enjoy reading funny humorous stuff, you should like this. 

Here is a excerpt of what he wrote, and I hope it makes you smile as much as it does me.

An Entirely Different Timelord by Peter Maxian 

It was one of those days. The invisible dragon and the magician were circling lazily over a house near a forest in Missouri, amused by the antics of Christina BraveStar. She was voicing thoughts inspired by her day. "It's a crisis -- I'm stressed out & there is no chocolate in the house!"

The young dragon had good intentions. "Shall I offer to fly her somewhere?"

His father, the magician, sensed other possibilities. "Not yet. Let's wait and see."

A few moments later Christina BraveStar voiced an unusual possibility for adventure. "I need a Timelord to take me somewhere for about an hour to unwind…"

The magician was pleased. "You wish is my command, young Ms BraveStar!" He cast a very small spell, and she suddenly felt very tired. 

She yawned, and her words slumped together. 
She lay down on the sofa, and was soon asleep and dreaming. Dreams, as we all know, are governed by an entirely different Timelord to the lord of time which governs our waking moments. 

With a wave of his hand the magician projected her dream out in front of himself and his hovering invisible dragon son.

Christina BraveStar found herself again on a tropical island. The nearly deserted beach was the perfect landing spot for the invisible dragon. She searched the sky for him. "Are you coming to visit, dragon?"

But he did not come. A small black dot appeared in the clear blue sky, far out over the crystal blue ocean. It grew in size, and soon Christina realized it was a large winged creature flying toward her. As the creature zoomed in over the shallows, she saw the creature was a winged horse. "A black pegasus! And…"

She recognized the young man seated astride the winged horse. "...my favorite TV star!"

The young man dismounted, and introduced himself. "Hi! I'm Steve Byers."

Christina BraveStar was grinning, trying to think of something cool and impressive to say. It didn't happen. "Yeah, I know…"
The magician was seated on the enormous shoulders of his invisible dragon son, giggling heartily. "This is wonderful! I think I'll help her out." He cast another spell, and in her dream a table laden with a feast of tropical fruits and Belgian chocolate appeared on the beach nearby.
Christina realized she now had something slightly cool and impressive to say. She gestured at the table. "Would you like some Belgian chocolate, Steve?"

The young actor looked quizzically at the feast laden table on the beach. "I didn't think Belgian chocolate was tropical…?"
She tried to explain. "You're in my dream. My dreams are a bit unusual."

Now he was curious. "In your dream? Who are you?"
She introduced herself. "The Ancient Ones call me Christina BraveStar. She who boldly dreams what no-one has dreamed before…"

This was very confusing for the young man. "What am I doing here? A few moments ago I was playing a role in a TV show like Quantum Leap where I am a completely different character every week and…" He realized what had happened. "Oh my God! I've Quantum Leapt into your dream!"

Christina BraveStar grinned again, and tried to think of something cool and impressive to say, but the same thing happened as before. "Yeah, I know…"
The invisible dragon looked at his father. "Are you going to help her out again?"

The magician thought for a moment. "OK, I've got an idea." He waved his hand.
A wakeboard appeared at the feet of the young actor, and tropical huts with a jaccuzzi materialized over the water. She now had a perfect cool and impressive thing to say. "Would you like to go wakeboarding, or perhaps take a jacuzzi?"
Steve Byers was very impressed. "Cool! I love wakeboarding!"

She was very satisfied with this dream. "And I love to sit in a jacuzzi and sample belgian chocolate..."

He picked up the wakeboard. "Your dreams are amazing! Unusual, but amazing."

Christina BraveStar grinned again. "Yeah, I know…"
The magician tapped the invisible dragon on the shoulder. "We have to leave, good son. Adventures await."
His son was still gazing at the scene in front of him, with Christina in the jacuzzi and Steve Byers wakeboarding in the shallows. "Shall we wake her up?"
The magician smiled warmly at his son. "Let her dream."
With a beat of his enormous invisible wings, the dragon carried his father onward to new journeys and adventures.

Christina Williams: If you haven't already, you can read Steve Byers' interview here. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Day I Met Aaron Ashmore- Guest Post

Today's guest blogger is Tiarna Lehmann, a 19 year-old Australian whose enthusiasm for the actors she loves reminds me a little of myself. 

I don't know if I followed Tiarna first on Twitter, or if it was the reverse, but I do know that I started reading her posts the same week that I got the "My Brother's Keeper" DVD, starring Aaron Ashmore in the mail. Steve Byers, whose interview with me you can read here, also has a significant role in the movie. I'd bought it in my quest to watch as much of Steve Byers' non-scary stuff as possible.  Not to mention I'd thoroughly enjoyed watching Aaron in previous roles, including Jimmy on "Smallville."

Steve saw my tweet about getting ready to watch it and informed me via Twitter that his role wasn't as a very nice guy in the film. He also joked about having to wear spandex in the film, but said that at least Aaron Ashmore did too, and being a jokester, he was teasing Aaron about it.  Somewhere amidst the banter, Tiarna or I saw the other's comments and started Tweeting.  I informed her that as a big fan of Aaron's she absolutely had to watch the film, since Aaron is in almost every frame of it since he plays both lead roles as twins.

I'd noticed the photo of her with stars of "Warehouse 13" on her Twitter page and asked her about it.  She was so enthusiastic about meeting Aaron Ashmore and Eddie McClintock, that I asked her to write a piece about what it was like meeting them. 

This is part 1 of 2, and in it, she talks about several performers she's passionate about, and about Aaron Ashmore.  I asked about Eddie and she assured me she'd address what it was like meeting him in a second part to her guest blog post at a later date.

Since I haven't met Tiarna, I asked her a few questions of my own to get an idea of the perspective from which she wrote her post.  She's a pretty interesting person herself.  Here's what she had to say:

Christina Williams:  Your twitter name is @InspiringCamels which is pretty unusual.  Would you be willing to share the story behind that?
Tiarna Lehmann: Well, the full name is 'inspiringcamelsofmilwaukee'. Now, anyone who knows me would know I'm a massive fan of the band, Hanson. There is a silly story behind it:
     Interviewer: "Who is the most inspiring person you've ever met?"
     Taylor: "I don't know about person, but I did meet an inspiring camel once."
Now, I wanted a place name and I remembered they have a song called "Man From Milwaukee", so BAM! 'inspiringcamelsofmilwaukee' was created.

Aaron actually asked me to explain it to him! :)
CW: Are you friends with, or just a fan of the  two guys you talk about at the beginning of the post? 
TL: No, I don't personally know them, I'm just a massive fan of them. After seeing them in the Les Miserables film, and realising they've both been in the West End stage production of it, among many other productions, I just fell in love with them and their beautiful voices. But I have received a fair amount of tweets from them both! They're both Irishmen, living in London and not very many people in Australia know of them.
CW: Other than Warehouse 13 and Animorphs that you watched as a kid, are there other scifi shows you're wild about?
TL: Weirdly enough, there's not very many other sci-fi shows I can get into. I have a massive mix of genres of I'm into. At the moment, it's the crime genre (The Following, Breakout Kings and Graceland)

CW: I've noticed that you have quite a few photos of you in costume on your Twitter page.  Are you an actress?  Professional or community theater?
TL: I wouldn't really consider myself an actress. I danced for 11 years in a local dance club, did all five school productions while I was in high school, plus two class drama productions, the most memorable was a play called "Juvie", by Jerome McDonough. 

"Set in a juvenile detention center, Juvie depicts the life of kids that are scared, lonely and locked up. Some are drug offenders, some have killed and some are just misfits...Although the set never changes, the 'juvies' venture out of their cells to tell why and how they were caught. The barren cell and lack of props are effective and in keeping with each character's desolation" ~ San Jose Spartan Daily

But this year, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be a part of the Riverland Musical Society's production of "Anything Goes", where I was a chorus member and what I like to call "Screaming Fangirl Number 1". Suits me, don't you think?
CW:  I think "Screaming Fangirl Number 1" suits her perfectly, and like I said, she reminds me of myself.  That's just about the same part I had in a high school production of "Bye Bye Birdie" quite some time ago. 

CW:  Following we have what Tiarna wrote about the day she met Aaron Ashmore...as well as her take on a couple of other performers she loves.

The Day I Met Aaron Ashmore
By Tiarna Lehmann

It’s no secret to those who know me who my favourite actors are, whether it be the West End stage actors Fra Fee who played Jean Prouvaire, as well as first covers Marius and Enjolras in Les Miserables as well as Coufeyrac in the highly successful  2012 film, as well as roles in the stage versions of Dirty Dancing and Fame or Killian Donnelly, who was second cover Javert and Enjolras, later moved to principal Enjolras, plus third cover Jean Valjean in Les Mis as well as Combferre in the film. He was also Raoul in Phantom Of The Opera and Tony in the West End’s Billy Elliot: The Musical, finishing earlier this year and is soon to be starring as Deco in Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments, both of these actors, both Irish, are fantastic, trained singers and some of their works can be found on YouTube.
Fra Fee-- photo from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fra_Fee

 Killian Donnelly- Photo from a web link no longer up

Fra Fee – The X-Mas Factor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFChtk_Vwfs (a silly parody video showing Fra’s comic talents)
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (Fra Fee - Live on BBC Radio Ulster)
Killian Donnelly – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Live on “Saturday Night With Miriam”)
Killian Donnelly – Bring Him Home
I’ve also had two Twitter interactions with Killian and three from Fra :)
Okay, enough about these two amazing stage actors-slash-singers, you’re probably interested in my experiences meeting Aaron Ashmore, the equally as amazing older half of the gorgeous Ashmore twins, aren’t you?

Well, okay.

So, backstory cut short, I’ve been a fan of Shawn since I was four years old and Animorphs was airing and, well, like many people, I didn’t realise he was a twin. Terrible person, aren’t I? I’m sorry.

Anyway, I decided to check some of his works and I stumbled upon Warehouse 13 which I fell in love with instantly. I also checked many of his other films and shows, including those crazy Servitude shenanigans including being thrown into a dumpster with a licence plate reading “STD MFN”, Playing a set of rivalling twins by himself in My Brother’s Keeper and one of Veronica’s bad-boy boyfriends, Troy Vandergraff in a few episodes of Veronica Mars as well as playing another bad-boy, Matt “Hutch” Hutchinson in The Skulls II. All of these were awesome but of course it was his portrayal of Steve Jinks in Warehouse 13 that I enjoyed most.
I remember seeing a tweet from Eddie McClintock announcing that he’ll be going to Oz Comic-Con, so I checked out the website, not only he was going to be in Australia, but he was going to be in Adelaide – just a two-hour drive from where I live, and Aaron was going to be there too!
The two-month wait was painful.
It was the morning of the 16th of March, 2013. My best friend, Lizzie (a fellow nerd) and I had travelled to Adelaide the night before (my first time driving through Adelaide – you’re welcome). Trust me, when you’re on public transport at Comic-Con time, you can tell who is an attendee, usually because they’re in costume. Lizzie and I didn’t bother dressing up, mainly because we ran out of time before we could organise anything.
The day was going off to a interesting start. After purchasing my tokens at around 9:30am, after a HUUGGGEEEE wait, I went and lined up at the second photo booth which is where I believed Eddie McClintock would be and the volunteer up the front asked the group, “Who’s here for the Warehouse 13 double photo?” I put my hand straight up and they let me straight through, even though I was at the back of the line of about 20 or more people.
I will admit, my heart was beating rapidly and I was a little nervous, and I was running through the things I’d say to them in my head. A few weeks earlier, I woke up to an Instagram notification saying that Aaron was following me, even though I hadn’t asked him, even though I’d asked Shawn’s wife Dana to as we’d been having many a conversation on Twitter. That was pretty exciting. I walked through the curtain and there Eddie and Aaron were, being them smiley selves. I walked up to Aaron and gave him a hug and introduced myself and then said, “So, you probably recognise me as InspiringCamelsOfMilwaukee on Instagram.” He knew what I was talking about J
I went and hugged Eddie, and he actually mispronounced by name as ‘Tiana’, rather than ‘Tiarna’, but I really couldn’t bring myself to correct him. After Eddie hugged me, I turned around and Aaron had his arms out, looking for another hug. I FELT LOVED!

Christina Williams:  Thanks Tiarna. Can't wait to read more when you send me part 2 of your fan encounter :)  For evidence of my being a "crazy fangirl" you can read post about wanting to adopt actor Steve Byers.