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Unorthodox Parental Advice from the Father in Underworld

Viktor, the father in Underworld played by actor Bill NighyViktor, a Vampire Elder in the action fantasy film series Underworld, isn’t exactly the ideal image of parental excellence. He values legacy, domination and the preservation of age old traditions over all else – including family ties. However, there are a few practices he follows that you may want to consider when raising your own children.

Replace the Child You Regret with a the Kid of Your Dreams

Viktor took Selene in as a surrogate daughter, after her entire family was murdered. While this may seem noble of him, it was basically an attempt at a do-over since he treated his own daughter Sonja like she was a major disappointment. Sonja was rebellious while Selene looked up to Viktor for guidance, so it’s no surprise that he gave care and attention to the one who hung around enough to play by his rules. In some sad twisted way, a lot of parents already behave just like Viktor – it’s just called favoritism and their in denial about it.

So if you have children, why not just go all the way and literally devote all of your time to the one that shows more promise in becoming the person you’d be proud to call your own?! Even if you are a parent to just one child, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from Viktor’s ways. Just modify it to fit into your situation by adopting another kid and doting on him or her. Don’t want to adopt? That’s fine. Show more interest in the neighbor’s child or someone at your son or daughter’s school who appears to be lacking in quality, or even basic, parental care.

Viktor, the father in Underworld with his biological daughter Sonja, played by actress Rhona Mitra.I once had a conversation with a man who told me he has eight children (hats off to the mother! Wowza!). When my response was something like “that must be overwhelming,” he said something along the lines of “Not all of them will be winners; somebody’s gotta make it.”

Now, I’m not telling you this as a suggestion that you go off on some kind of baby-making spree, building your lineage so large people start mistaking you as the Duggar family. The bottom line is to spend your parenting efforts on kids that are a joy to have under your wing.

Don’t Believe Anything Your Kid Tells You

Selene showed Viktor images of a conspiracy between the Lycans and Vampire leader while also explaining her case. However, Viktor still wasn’t buying any of her claims – especially when he realizes that she has the hots for a member of an opposing species. Make them show you proof. That will teach them researching skills while also improving their ability to back up their words with action. It will also show you how much something means to them, given that their willingness to put in the work necessary, or not, indicates whether a topic of interest really matters.

Reprimand Your Child for Waking You up Earlier than Expected

Viktor informs Selene that she’s in deep trouble for awakening him an entire century ahead of schedule. In an angry rage due to Selene’s disrespect of the coven’s hierarchy, Viktor assures her that these reckless acts will be judged by the vampire council. Although Kraven, a vampire regent, warns Selene that her life is at stake, you need not go this far. Just make sure that whatever the consequences are for waking you up are harsh enough that your son or daughter thinks twice before doing it again (regarding non-emergencies, of course!).

U is for UnorthodoxOf course any sane person knows to take these practices by the father in Underworld with a grain of salt. I mean let’s be real; we’re talking about a guy who is in favor of honor killings. Plus anyone who seeks their parenting advice from vampires has bigger issues to address than how to control his or her children. Ha!

Which of the movie characters in Underworld would YOU hire to babysit YOUR kid(s) for a weekend?

Do YOU know of any unorthodox parenting practices that are effective in the real world?


Retrospective Thoughts on the Time I Played to an (Almost) Empty Movie Theater

Once upon a time, I rented a tiny movie theater to show some short films – one being my documentary about movie piracy. The theater had less than 40 seats, so you’d think that filling it should’ve been a piece of cake, right?! Me too. Sadly, I failed to sell even one single ticket for this one-time event. In retrospect, it was one of the most daunting business mistakes that taught me a few lessons.

Master the Art of Shameless Self-Promotion

Aside from attending a community event (and ended up running into my high school English teacher) in hopes of selling tickets to the show and spreading the word about this one-time movie screening, I didn’t tell many people about it. So, my lack of promoting affected ticket sales. Scheduling an event and marking it on the calendar isn’t enough. Once that screening date is confirmed, everyone and their mother should know about the when, what and where of how this thing is going down.

These details should also be listed in the “events” sections of local publications, arts organization newsletters and community websites – especially if the film playing has a limited release, as it’s even more dependent on as much attention as it can garner from traditional and new media outlets. Reaching out to bloggers is also a must even if that means a few tickets have to be given away, for the possibility of getting some quotable movie reviews.

T is for ThoughtsDon’t Spend What You Don’t Have

The expenses for this movie screening were relatively low, so I thought my profit margins would be high. None of this matters when you’re not bringing in any sales whatsoever, so it’s important to have clear projections for three things -- how much you want to make, how you’re going to make it and how much you can afford to spend on every part of this process.

The costs associated with my documentary film screening were spent on credit that wasn’t easy to repay since my (extremely) limited theatrical event was a box office bomb. So operating with a reality-based budget that includes what is actually available to spend can help prevent situations in where one single event costs you much more than what you bargained for, considering your financial losses due to not selling any tickets.

Leverage What You Have to Salvage What You Can

A lack of willpower may be the reason why I lost out on revenue but a lack of creativity in figuring out ways to make such an undesirable situation work for me is what led to such a disappointing venture. Quick action and resourceful thinking can turn things around to pack an event if you adjust your goals. Two people showed up to watch the films I was playing at the theater – my mom, accompanied by my aunt. I invited them at the last minute to make sure the time slot I paid for in the theater rental agreement was put to good use. Now I realize that it would be best to not stop at two people.

Unsold tickets can be turned into invitations for customers who frequent nearby shops, area tourists looking for something to do, media journalists, friends, friends of friends and their family, neighbors, co-workers and almost anyone with a beating heart who doesn’t mind watching a few indie movies they never heard about. At the end of the day, this approach helps to get a packed house while providing the ability to create buzz from the audience response – all of which could be used on my blog or website to promote the film, and possibly a future screening that attracted more interest.

How good are YOU at planning events?


Shit I Don’t Like about Society: We are all Filthy Creatures!

A serious case of nausea came over me one day last year during a tour stop for my American Red Cross fundraising initiative. I knew that eating would likely solve the problem but it had to wait because completing the five hours I planned to be outdoors, talking to strangers about movies and disaster relief, took precedence over all else.

Soon, I went from standing next to a DVD stand to sitting on one of the blocks in a parking lot next to my vending spot, taking lots of slow in-and-out breaths to prevent myself from vomiting all over the sidewalk. Inches from me lay the very curb on which people spit out mucus and saliva, throw their garbage of empty food containers, urinate and who knows what else. Yet, there I was – lightheaded, sick and trying to gather myself to continue on with my day.

Obviously when you’re in your own state of discomfort, there is less concern about how nasty the surroundings are, and more concern about what it’s going to take for you to get right, really fast. Still, that does not mean we as a human race couldn’t stand to do better at caring for the environment – for it affects how well, and how quickly, we can recover from emergencies. Spike Lee’s documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts is a great example of how every man, woman and child living on the earth has a responsibility in treating it with the respect and care it deserves because there’s no telling when the time comes when you’ll find yourself shitting where you eat; in emergency situations that could have been prevented.

"When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts," a Spike Lee Film.Even the most basic of things such as not littering are among the many important wake-up calls anyone can gather from a movie like When the Levees Broke.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of New Orleans residents were surrounded by water they couldn’t drink, soil they wouldn’t grow food on, air that carried some of the foulest odors that no sane person would enjoy breathing in and heat and humid temperatures that made it all more difficult to bear. One can only imagine how much of the environmental challenges that surface when disastrous events occur were the result of --and exacerbated by -- everyday, senseless actions of man.

Western society produces volumes of unnecessary waste and far too many people don’t even think twice about it. We’re quick to trash something than we are to recycle it. We contribute to the economic growth of entire industries that are artificial materials. We disrupt forest land and natural animal habitats to manufacture buildings, highways and other forms of infrastructure rather than restore or rebuild the loads of abandoned ones that are crumbling as they sit. We don’t rinse out food containers or household products before throwing them away. We don’t use up that last bit of ketchup, peanut butter, or shampoo because there’s always more available at a store somewhere.

"Bad Boys II," a Michael Bay filmSo, I believe that society’s wasteful habits stem from the expectation that there’s always somebody else who will take care of the environment, as it relates to our quality of life. The sanitation company will be there to pick up our mountains of trash and take it far away to a distant land somewhere so we don’t have to deal with it.

Companies in the private and public sectors will clean our streets and sidewalks after we soil them with muddy shoes in the rain, cigarette butts, empty pizza boxes, used condoms, baby diapers, sewage and other toxic agents. The utility companies will make sure we have everything we need to live and work as comfortably as possible. The local and/or federal governments will also take care of many other things that we don’t have to deal with as our society abuses the environment, maintains a sense of entitlement in having someone else rinse it out, and then repeats this mistreatment.

S is for SocietyThere is a scene in Michael Bay’s crime action movie “Bad Boys II” where a drug lord named Johnny Tapia tells his young daughter that fashion models are filthy creatures. Given that the western world takes its natural resources for granted, essentially biting the hand that feeds us, I would argue that we are all causes of a polluted environment in which we live and raise our children. However, sooner or later, something is gonna have to give on this front.

The importance of making conscious and better decisions on how we treat the earth is bigger than making it so that someone under the weather can sit on the sidewalk without having to worry about becoming even more ill. It’s about making it so that if we’re ever in a situation where we our dependency on environmental elements for some form of support is greater than ever – be that in terms of nourishment or physical support -- it will be in a much better condition, and thus a much better position to aid us in making that happen.

*Today’s blog post is in honor of EARTH DAY.

If YOU ruled the world, what law would you put into effect to combat pollution?

What are some of the grossest things YOU’VE noticed laying in the street?

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