Category : Ramblings

Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Sponsored by the Paley Center for Media , thePaleyfest is a two week event which allows fans to connect with the producers and cast members of their favorite television shows via a live panel.

paleyfest 2014 Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This year, I got to see the panel for two of my favorite shows: ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and ABC’s Marvel: Agents of Shield.

Today, I thought I’d share highlights from the Marvel Agents of Shield Panel, which happened last March 23rd, 2014.

Created for ABC by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a television series based on the Marvel Comics’ organization of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. The show ‘s timeline begins  right after THE AVENGERS movie and  follows S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson (played by Clark Gregg), after his death in the Avengers movie.  Yes, you read that right, Agent Coulson is mysteriously  brought back to life, and the show is partly about the mystery of his resurrection.

marvels agents of shield news modified Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

The Dolby Theater was packed with fans of the show, some wearing full Marvel regalia. There were even little kids dressed up as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents.

kid Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

 

Executive Producer Jeph Loeb began the presentation by asking the audience not to leak any spoilers via social media or otherwise. When he was satisfied with everyone’s response, he announced, “You are now cleared to level seven.” After that, the audience was treated to the next episode, which was to air on April 1st

intro Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Executive Producer Jeph Loeb to audience: “You are now cleared to Level 7.”

It was such an amazing experience to watch the episode 8 days before it would air in public—and with other people who love the show as much as I do.I enjoyed hearing the collective gasps, cheers and laughter of fellow fans.

After watching the episode, actress Felicia Day (Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) came on stage to introduce the panel she would be moderating.

felicia day Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Actress/ Panel Moderator Felicia Day introduces the panel

Producers and and producers and co-creators Jeph Loeb, Jeffrey BellJed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen were joined by Agents of Shield stars  Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson), Ming-Na Wen (Agent Melinda May),  Brett Dalton (Agent Grant Ward), Chloe Bennet (Skye), Iain De Caestecker (Leo Fitz) and Elizabeth Henstridge (Jemma Simmons).

panel Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Panel Moderator Felicia Day with Producers Jeph Loeb, Jeffrey Bell, Cast members Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Ian De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, along with producers/co-creators Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

 

Producer Jeph Loeb teased the show’s April 8th episode –a crossover with Captain America, which was at the time, still set for release on April 4th.  Loeb mentioned that the idea for Marvel Agents of SHIELD actually came from Greg Clark himself. He and Gregg were at a fan event for the Ultimate Spider Man and Gregg kept on whispering “Coulson lives” in Loeb’s ear as an idea of a TV series.  Gregg didn’t quite remember the incident but Loeb insisted it was the truth.

producers Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

“I was really dead. It was very clear, since there was a lot of blood,” Gregg said, when asked if he really did die in the Avengers movie. He credits “Coulson” lives campaigns with bringing his character back to life. “I have 11,000 Twitter aliases, all of whom were very integral to starting the ‘Coulson Lives’ movement,”he added.

clark gregg Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Producer Jeffrey Bell pointed out that Marvel Comics fans always knew that Coulson lived, at least in the world of comics, so bringing him to life via the TV series, actually followed the Marvel storyline.

Clark Gregg was in top form during the panel, even hopping off the stage twice to hug two fans. The first was a fan who was apparently very sad that Gregg’s character died in Avengers, and was ecstatic when he was resurrected for the show. The second, was to hug a fan who’d created framed artwork for all the cast members.

joss and marissa Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

 

Producer Maurissa Tancharoen said that Agent May was originally named Agent Rice. But when Ming Na Wen was cast for the role, the name was no longer appropriate. It has since become a running joke for the cast.

ming na Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

The producers also shared that the characters for Fitz and Simmons were inspired by the chemistry between Casey Affleck’s and Scott Caan’s character s in “Ocean’s Eleven.”  Fitz and Simmons were not originally written as being from the UK, but after Henstridge and De Caestecker auditioned and got the part, the change was made.

simmons Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The two actors have intentionally been playing their characters more as brother and sister, but if the fans get their way, that might change in season 2. The actors joked that if that happened, it might make things kind of awkward.

fitz simmons2 Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Skye’s parentage is a big part of the Agents of Shield storyline and many fans guess that she might actually be the daughter of either Agent May or Agent Coulson. Actress Ming-Na Wen says she wants Skye to be the lovechild of Agent May and Thor. She even volunteered to endure several long flashbacks of the affair, if necessary. Clark Gregg  joked that he thought Skye should be the lovechild of Agent Coulson and Lady Sif.

skye Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

When asked who among the Avengers she’d want to work alongside, Chloe Bennet who plays Skye, responded that she was interested in working with either of the Chris’s. “Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) would be nice,” she said. The producers also brought up Chloe’s past as a teen pop singer in China. And Chloe, ever game, even showed the audience a little bit of her dance moves.

Elizabeth Henstridge (Simmons) said she’d love to do a scene with Loki. “Maybe Simmons can have tea with Loki,” she said. Gregg quickly remarked, “You know I’ve been in a scene with Loki…”

simmons2 Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Moderator Felicia Day asked Brett Dalton about Agent Ward’s reputation as a ladies’ man and his many love scenes in the show. Brett replied, “It definitely doesn’t suck.” Chloe Bennet joked that she would bring along Dalton’s abs. “Just his abs”, if she were stranded on an island. “I’d wash my clothes on them.” Producer Tancharoen quipped, “And this is why we give them dialogue.”

skye and so Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

 

Brett’s character Agent Ward had a physical relationship with May but seems to have a thing for Skye. Brett quipped that his character was no longer a lone wolf, and that he’s learned to “play with the team.”

Series co-creator Maurissa Tancharoen revealed that one thing which convinced them Brett could do stunts was his resume, where he listed that he had attended Clown School.

so Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

During the Q & A, a fan wearing a “Coulson is my Home Boy” shirt remarked that for a secret organization, the S.H.I.E.L.D. has a lot of stuff bearing its logo, including an espresso machine on the plane. Gregg joked,” Fitz can give you a latte where the foam is the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo.” but later on explained that the organization itself isn’t a secret, but what they do is.

cast Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Another fan asked if the show was set to be renewed for Season 2. The producers replied that they weren’t sure yet. The audience laughed when the fan quipped, “So who do I have to shank?”

Producer Jeffrey Bell said they hoped they would be renewed as they had long term plans for the series. They already know where Season 2 would go, and they know where they want Season 3 to end, and which character will still be alive by then.

The cast admitted that even they don’t know what’s going to happen with the storyline. The producers and writers are very secretive about their work and often times the cast would try to get hints from the writers. Ming-Na said that “The whole season has been jaw-dropping surprises. They don’t tell us anything… Marvel is SHIELD!”

love triangle Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Chloe Bennett added that she has been trying to guess what it means for her character to be an O-84. She said she’s always doing research on the comics and calling up Marvel asking “Am I this? Or this? Or this?” , to which they always answer “Nope.” Chloe says she has many theories, but still has no idea what the real answer is.

so skye fitz Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

After the Q & A, the audience swarmed toward the stage to get autographs from their favorite stars.

signing1 Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

We didn’t even bother to join the crazy crowd. We were just happy to watch our favorite cast members sign autographs.

I don’t know what shows next year’s Paleyfest will feature, but after a great experience this year, I’m already looking forward to it.

 

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Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Sponsored by the Paley Center for Media , thePaleyfest is a two week event which allows fans to connect with the producers and cast members of their favorite television shows via a live panel.

paleyfest 2014 Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

This year, I got to see the panel for two of my favorite shows: ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and ABC’s Marvel: Agents of Shield.

Today, I thought I’d share highlights from the Pretty Little Liars Paleyfest Panel.

castand producers complete 2 Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Based on the series by Sara Shepard, Pretty Little Liars is a mystery-thriller set in the fictional town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania. It follows the lives of Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily, four teens whose lives are thrown completely off balance when their queen bee, Alison disappears. One year after Alison’s disappearance, her four friends begin receiving messages from a mysterious stranger called “A”, who threatens to reveal all their secrets.

pretty litte liars poster Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

My writer friend Jenn got me hooked on Pretty Little Liars a couple of years ago. She said it was the perfect thing to watch if I wanted to learn more about the YA (young adult) culture/lingo for my YA books. So this past March 16th, Jenn and I attended the Paleyfest for Pretty Little Liars.

The Dolby Theater was packed with people, most of them were teenage girls who are the shows’ biggest fanbase.

with screen Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

At the Paleyfest, they usually treat the audience to an advanced screening of the next episode. But since the Pretty Little Liars season finale was the following week, we didn’t get to watch the episode. Instead, they treated us to an old clip featuring a teenage Chad Lowe (one of the actors on PLL), and an hour and a half long panel with the cast and producers of the show.

cast and producers complete Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Executive producers Marlene King, Joe Dougherty and Oliver Goldstick, were present for the panel, along with stars Troian Bellisario (Spencer); Ashley Benson (Hanna); Lucy Hale (Aria); Shay Mitchell (Emily); Sasha Pieterse (Ali); Ian Harding (Ezra); Janel Parrish (Mona) and Keegan Allen (Toby).

PLL and ezra Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Troian Bellisario (Spencer); Ashley Benson (Hanna); Lucy Hale (Aria); Shay Mitchell (Emily); Sasha Pieterse (Ali); Ian Harding (Ezra)

It was amazing to see the cast live and to watch them interact and talk about their characters. They revealed key plot points in the season finale (which aired March 18th), and dropped hints about the upcoming 5th season. It was fun to see the cast as real people, bantering with each other and revealing what they thought about their work. At one point, Troian Bellisario challenged Ian Harding to show off his sound effects skills. Actor Ian Harding provided the sound effects as Troian Bellisario pretended to shoot him with an arrow.

arrow Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Ian Harding (Ezra) provides the sound effects as Troian Bellisario (Spencer) pretends to shoot him with an arrow.

We learned that many of the cast were musically talented and would often have impromptu jamming sessions. Three of the show’s  stars can actually dance and sing. Lucy Hale, who starred in Disney’s Another Cinderella Story, actually released a country album. Janelle Parrish, who plays Mona, has Broadway background, and Keegan Allen who plays Toby sings and plays guitar.

 The producers actually thought about doing a musical episode to highlight the stars’ talents, and the cast even joked about having a Broadway version as well.

laughing Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Fans also asked about a movie version and Executive Producer Marlene King said that they would love to make a movie when the show ends.

castand producers complete 3 Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

After the two hour presentation, fans rushed to the stage to get their favorite stars to sign posters and what not.

signing Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Jenn and i didn’t even bother to try and get through the crowd, for fear of being trampled. But we did enjoy the show and left with some  fond memories of our favorite show.

 

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Disaster Preparedness

Last week there were a slew of earthquakes, one of which registered at 5.3 on the scale, and which lasted about 30 seconds. That was probably the longest earthquake I’ve ever experienced. I’m used to earthquakes, having lived along the Ring of Fire my whole life. When I was in the 2nd grade, I remember living through a 7.2 quake in the Philippines that made the cars slide back and forth along the street.

Each state has some kind of disaster to prepare for. In the Midwest it might be tornadoes, in the north, snowstorms. In California it’s definitely earthquakes. We’re all bracing ourselves for what seismologists are calling “The Big One.” One earthquake to ruin us all. And while everyone knows about the San Andreas Fault line, there is a smaller one called the Puente Hills Fault Line which according to the experts might have far more damaging effects.

According to USGS seismologist Lucy Jones: “When an earthquake happens on this fault, it’s just about the worst one we can imagine. It’s long enough to generate an earthquake greater than magnitude 7 – and even as big as 7.5 – and is located under the oldest parts of our city. We have hundreds of thousands of very bad buildings that will be exposed to very strong shaking, so we put this all together and it’s just about the worst earthquake we can think of as happening.”

drop cover hold on 20mmacg Disaster Preparedness

The good thing is that the Puente Hills fault has a major quake once every 2,500 years only, compared to the San Andreas Fault Line which is more frequent.

As I took cover beneath the dining room table and rode out the 5.3 rolling earthquake last week, I began to think about “the big one” which everyone has been talking about for years now. I began to wonder if I was prepared for such a thing.

A few years ago, I started building my emergency kit but I haven’t updated it since (I should probably make sure the food I put in there isn’t expired). There are a few sites out there that list down things to do before, during and after an earthquake and it might be a good idea to review them again.

Here are some sites you can check out if you live in earthquake country:

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/

http://lafd.org/eqbook.pdf

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/preparedness.php

http://www.fema.gov/earthquake

It’s interesting how a 30 second quake could make your life flash before your eyes. I started thinking about the most important things I needed to save. If I had to save only one object in case of a disaster, I’d probably just grab my portable hard drive, which contains all my photos, music, documents and manuscripts. In other words, it contains my entire life. I bring this hard drive with me to work every day, and on long trips as well.

The recent quake made me realize I needed to start taking this whole disaster preparedness thing seriously. Experts recommend having 7-day food, water and shelter supplies for each member of the family, and to have emergency supplies at home, at work and in the car. The LA Times has a good list of supplies which can help folks build their home/work & car earthquake kits.

AAA EarthquakeImage6 Disaster Preparedness

This month, I’ll have to add disaster preparedness to my To Do List. Which is perfect, because I didn’t know this but–April is Earthquake Preparedness Month.

 Disaster Preparedness

Besides, I always think it’s always better to be paranoid and safe, than to be over-confident and unprepared.

 

What kind of disasters do you expect where you live?

Are you prepared to face these disasters?

What’s the one thing you would save if you were faced with such a disaster?

 

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Writing Updates

Last month, my goal was to finish editing my Young Adult novel. March was filled with tons of writing events and activities, and halfway through I began to wonder if I was delusional in thinking that I would achieve this goal.

On top of the usual household chores, and day job responsibilities, I spent most of the month preparing for my workshop with CBW-LA. I had to work on the powerpoint presentation, worksheets and handouts for the Novel Writing Bootcamp which I was scheduled to teach on the 29th.  I also volunteered to help out at SCBWI-L.A.’s annual Writer’s Day, and as Contest Coordinator I got to announce the winners of the Writer’s Day Contest.

All work and no play would just be plain boring, so I made sure I got to attend the Paleyfest. I got to see the cast and producers of two of my favorite shows:

Agents of SHIELD poster thumb 1024x1024 Writing Updates PLL covermod Writing Updates

I promised myself that I would give my writing the time that it deserved, so despite all my many responsibilities and activities, I made sure that I worked on my novel every single day.

And it paid off.

On March 31st, I finished the (hopefully final) draft of my Young Adult novel, Trade Realms. 

20140403 153510 modified Writing Updates

 

But a writer’s work is never over. With the new month come new goals. This April, I have three major objectives:

  1. Prepare for CBW-LA’s Writing Day Anthology Workshop, which I will facilitate in May.
  2. Work on the preliminary draft of STORY SPROUTS 2014.
  3. Revise my Middle Grade novel Urth.

These very big goals explain why I am currently missing out on A-Z Blogging challenge, my favorite blogfest ever.

So while most of my bloggy friends are running the ultimate blogging marathon, I shall be running my own marathon to complete these tasks.

Whatever your goals are this month, I wish you all the best of luck. I hope we all survive this fun-filled, crazy busy April!

 

 

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What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Arnis, Eskrima, Kali – these all mean the same thing: Filipino Martial Arts. But what exactly is Filipino Martial Arts and how is it different from other martial arts?

spiros politis header modified What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Image from EA Doce Pares , photo by Spiros Politis

1. Filipino Martial Arts is a Multi-Style System

Taekwondo and Karate are empty-hand styles of martial arts, which means that they use focus on punches, blocks and kicks.  The Japanese Kendo and European Fencing focuses on sword-fighting. Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) combines a whole range of fighting systems into one martial art.

FMA teaches both armed and unarmed fighting techniques:

Empty-Hand Techniques (Mano-Mano)

Empty Hand What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Master Erwin of LA Doce Pares teaching empty hand techniques

Filipino-style Boxing

boxing What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

G Force Martial Arts, image from aboutmyarea.uk

Knife-fighting

knife disarm What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Knife drills, photo by V. Rosario

Sword-fighting

sword dave green What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Master Dave Green (Doce Pares UK),

image from http://www.fight-cancer.co.uk/pages/events.htm

And of course, Stick-fighting

babagpagkangsangga What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Stick-fighting drills, photo by V. Rosario

Fighting with staffs (bangkaw), spears, whips and even darts and bows and arrows are also taught by some schools.

 

2. Filipino Martial Arts is Predominantly Weapons-Based

Most people familiar with martial arts will automatically equate Filipino Martial Arts with stick-fighting. Although this is our most recognizable weapon of choice, we are actually trained to use a variety of weapons. Knives, daggers, swords and sticks are all part of the curriculum.

The first thing they did when I started learning Filipino Martial Arts was put a stick in my hand. On my first day, I learned about the 12 striking angles, and was taught how to twirl the sticks for more impact. But as I progressed to higher levels, I was also taught how to use and defend against knives, daggers and swords.

Because Filipino Martial Arts is predominantly weapons-based, it gives students an edge when it comes to actual fighting. FMA trains students to be mentally and physically prepared to face opponents armed with anything.

 

3. Filipino Martial Arts is a Practical Art

Filipino martial artists are known for their ability to turn ordinary items into lethal weapons.

In the movie BOURNE IDENTITY, there’s a scene where Jason Bourne battles with an assassin using only a pen. You can watch the short clip below:

In today’s modern world, nobody walks around with katanas, or fencing swords. Knives, guns, even machetes and club-like weapons (bats, steel pipes, etc) are weapons one might encounter on the streets. FMA is a practical art because it teaches students how to translate one fighting form to another. We are taught to understand that weapons are merely an extension of our limbs. The techniques we learn from stick-fighting can easily be translated into knives and daggers and empty hands.

Improvisation is a part of FMA training. We are always encouraged to do a lot of freestyle sparring using both empty-hands and weapons because instructors want us to be able to automatically respond to whatever dangers we might face using whatever skill sets we have learned.

 

4. Filipino Martial Arts is Used in Hollywood Films and Military/Law Enforcement

Owing to its versatility, Filipino Martial Arts has had global impact in both law enforcement and in the world of Hollywood films.

Below, you’ll find a video of movies which used in FMA in their fight choreography:

 

I’m not sure if all of these really use FMA, but I’m pretty sure Denzel Washington trained in Eskrima for BOOK OF ELI as well as Aaron Eckhart for I, FRANKENSTEIN.

 

As for its military application, both the Russian Spetsnatz (Special forces) and the US Army and the Marine Corps actually use FMA in their combat training. Both the US Marine Corp field manual and the US Army field manual actually contains strikes, blocks and knife drills found in many Eskrima classes.

Sgt. Jim Wagner, a law enforcement officer and Army vet explains how Filipino Kali is alive and well in the Military and Law Enforcement in his article here.

 

5. Filipino Martial Arts is Constantly Evolving

As previously mentioned, improvisation is a big part of FMA training. Some Filipino Martial Artists are also trained in other forms of martial arts and they adapt their varied background into teaching FMA.

Many Filipino martial artists who form their own schools actually develop their own methods and techniques, so the art is constantly evolving.

 

Filipino Martial Arts is all these things and so much more. It’s a practical, versatile and deadly martial art with many real life applications, and one that I am blessed to learn.

 

 

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Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome  Becca Puglisi, co-author of the amazing Thesaurus trio of books, and blogger at Writers Helping Writers.

Thesaurus Book Trio Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Welcome, Becca!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Becca2 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Author Becca Puglisi

I think I can safely call myself a writer, though I’m a stay-at-home mom first. I write for the YA market—fantasy and some historical fiction. I also co-author nonfiction books for writers with the fabulous Angela Ackerman. As for hidden talents, I have none; when I’m good at something, I make sure the entire world knows icon wink Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi .

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

Well, I’d love to work on the back patio, where there’s “scope for imagination” as Anne Shirley would say, but I need to be within calling distance of my son. Since I’m an orderly person, I almost always work here. All my stuff is in its place, where I can reach everything when I need it. There’s also a nice view from my desk, which is great, considering the amount of writing time I spend staring out the window.

 Work space Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s workspace

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

I wish I could say someplace cool. Sadly, I ordered it from Staples. It gets the job done.

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I doodle and make a lot of notes when I’m thinking, so I always have a notebook and one of my favorite pens. Also, as I mentioned, my nonfiction work is done with a co-author; I’m in charge of the business side of things, so I need certain office supplies within grasp: highlighters, stapler, stamps, post-its, etc.

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

There’s nothing really special about my workspace, but I love it because of what it’s become. My daughter just started kindergarten this year but my four-year-old son is still at home all day. Writing time is hard to come by, so I have a dedicated block of time in the afternoon. That time has become sacred—time when I get to do what I love and am good at. Not only do I do my writing here but I also take care of family business, make appointments, organize school stuff, etc. I get things done here, which gives me a sense of peace. I love this spot.

As for special things, first and foremost is the Dragon Triumvirate, who watch me work and keep me on track. The green one is a candle that my parents gave me in high school when I first read Anne McCaffrey and fell in love with all things Dragon.

Dragon Triumvirate Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s Dragon Triumvirate

But writing has to be fun, too, which is where Olaf comes in. Cutest Disney Sidekick EVER.

Olaf Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Olaf

And lastly, my bulletin board. It holds inspirational writing quotes and mantras, Bible verses, friends’ prayer requests, and Angela’s and my business plan. That last one is especially important for me to keep in view; when new opportunities arise and I’m unsure whether to say Yes or No, I check our plan to see if the opportunity aligns with our goals for the year. It keeps me balanced.

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Oh, Mountain Dew, all the way. I’m so addicted that I’ve had to cut back recently, so I can write without it. But I’d rather not icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi .

 family Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s favorite picture of her beautiful family

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Robin McKinley has to be my all-time favorite. Her world-building and attention to detail are mind-boggling. I also love Tolkien and Garth Nix. And when it comes to sheer creativity, I have to give a nod to Rowling. When I first started writing, I was reading the Harry Potter books for the first time, so those were a huge inspiration for me.

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Well, as I mentioned, I have a preschooler at home. My time with him is quickly dwindling, and I want to make the most of this stage of life, so I limit my writing to a two-hour block in the afternoon, when he has established activities to do. This time is constantly interrupted with requests for snacks and Mario Brothers and how-many-minutes-until-Quiet-Time-is-over, but I make it work. I always have a candle burning (right now, it’s hazelnut coffee) and music playing. I’m not an easily-distracted person, but writing is something that requires intense focus for me, so I can’t listen to music with words. Because of this, I listen to a lot of movie soundtracks. E.T., the original Harry Potter film, and the Star Trek Into Darkness albums are favorites right now. But, really, anything by John Williams will work.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write every day, but it usually ends up being 6 days a week, two hours per day. Because my time is so limited, I’m not easily distracted from it. But these two are my biggest distractions icon wink Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi .

 distractions Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s two adorable distractions

4. Why do you write?

This is an interesting question. I’m not one of those people for whom writing is as important as breathing. I took a three-year break from writing when my first child was born so I could have babies, and I was so busy (and sleep-deprived) that I honestly didn’t miss writing. The reason I returned to it, and why I love to do it, is because it’s something I’m good at. Writing gives me a sense of purpose and a boost of self-esteem. I truly believe God has given me this ability and, as with any gift, it’s my responsibility to hone it and share it. That’s why I write.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

My current favorite writing tip write is one by Shannon Hale that’s making the rounds. I just finished my own NaNoWriMo in the month of January. It’s the first book I’ve planned and drafted since having kids, so I was a little terrified, and when I started, I was appalled at how bad my writing was. Then I found this quote, and it totally resonated with me:

 Shannon Hale quote Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s favorite quote by Shannon Hale

This gives me permission to write badly—just get the words down on paper and pretty them up during the revision stage, which is my favorite part, anyway. Everything Shannon Hale does is beautiful, so this is advice I’m happy to follow.

 

Thank you for having me here today!

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Becca!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

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Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Much like Filipino culture itself, Filipino Martial Arts evolved by adapting to the changes in current society. FMA incorporates elements from both Western and Eastern martial arts and because of its flexible and adaptable nature, you’ll find many schools teaching different FMA styles.

Thanks to modern masters such as Cacoy Canete, Dionisio Canete, Dan Inosanto, Venancio Bacon, Mike Inay and brothers Ernesto and Remy Presas, FMA has increased in prominence globally.

Cacoy Canete is the last surviving member of the original Doce Pares club, which was formed in 1932. He is a 12th degree black belt, and was instrumental in spreading the popularity of eskrima in the Philippines by spearheading the campaign to create unified sport rules to use in regional and national tournaments.

 Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Grandmaster Ciriaco “Cacoy” Canete, Cacoy Doce Pares

His nephew, Dionisio Canete, initiated the formation of the Cebu Eskrima (Arnis) Association. He effectively helped end the widespread in-fighting among the different FMA schools and masters, and unified FMA as a sport. (*He is currently the head of the martial art school I belong to)

SGM atty diony canete Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Supreme Grandmaster Dionisio Canete, Doce Pares

Venancio Bacon  or “Anciong” as he is known to many, was a veteran of many death matches in Cebu–back when Arnis/Eskrima was more streetfight than sport. He founded Balintawak Eskrima in the 1950’s in order to preserve the combative nature of Arnis, and developed many single stick techniques.

AnciongBacon Filipino Martial Arts: Modern MastersGrandmaster Venancio “Anciong” Bacon, Balintawak Eskrima 

(October 15, 1912 – 1981)

Balintawak Eskrima heavily influenced Remy Presas, who is known as the father of Modern Arnis. He instituted a ranking system to identify each student’s level, taught his art via seminars and camps all over the Philippines and in the US and also published several books and videos on modern arnis.

remy presas2 Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Grandmaster Remy Presas, father of Modern Arnis

(December 19, 1936 – August 28, 2001)

His brother, Ernesto Presas, founded the Kombatan school of FMA and helped revive the art by teaching seminars in the Philippines and abroad.

ernesto presas2 Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Grandmaster Ernesto Presas, Kombatan Eskrima

(May 20, 1945 – November 1, 2010)

Mike Inay founded Inayan Eskrima and was instrumental in promoting FMA in USA’s west coast. He co-founded the West Coast Eskrima Society in Los Gatos, CA and became known in the law enforcement community  when he started teaching FMA all over the US and in Europe.

 Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Grandmaster Mike Inay, Inayan Eskrima

(December 11, 1944 – September 27, 2000)

Among all the masters, perhaps the most well-known is Dan Inosanto.He and martial arts icon Bruce Lee were very good friends. Dan Inosanto taught Bruce Lee FMA, particularly the use of the nunchaku, which Bruce Lee used in his famous film, “Game of Death”.

 Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Grandmaster Dan Inosanto

Dan continues to promote Filipino Martial Arts through his school and the Hollywood scene. Dan has many famous students including Denzel Washington, who had to learn FMA for his role in the Book of Eli; and Damon Caro, stunt coordinator and fight choreographer who worked on films such as the Bourne series, Watchmen and 300.

bruce lee et dan inosanto ce06ad53b41f63d692e415129df460d0 Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto

These men are only a few of the trailblazers in the world of Filipino Martial Arts. I’m sure there are many FMA masters and grandmasters, whom I have failed to mention, but these men were the ones whose names and legacies I encountered during my training in FMA.

While Grandmasters Cacoy Canete, Dionisio Canete and Dan Inosanto are still continuing to promote FMA in their own circles, most of these other Grandmasters are no longer around. Although they are no longer with us their legacy has been cemented in Filipino Martial Arts and their lessons continue to influence many Filipino martial artists today.

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Filipino Martial Arts: A History

A History of the Terms

Arnis, Eskrima (or Escrima), Kali, Pangamot, Panandata, Kalirongan, Didya, Kabaraon, Pagkalikali, Sinawali, Kaliradman, Pagaradman, Estokada, Estoque, Fraile, Armas de Mano or Arnis de Mano.

These words all mean one thing: Filipino Martial Arts.

Why so many names? The Philippine Archipelago has 7,107 islands, although only about 2,000 of them are inhabited, there’s still a lot of different dialects to contend with.

Among all these names, however, Filipino Martial Arts is most known by three: Arnis, Eskrima and Kali.

kalibaner Filipino Martial Arts: A History

Image from http://www.artesguerreras.es/Eskrima-/-Kali-/-Arnis

There are three major regions in the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon occupies the whole northern portion of the country and in this region, Filipino Martial Arts is more commonly known as Arnis. The southern portion of the country is shared by the regions of Visayas and Mindanao, and both commonly call the martial art “Escrima.”

Philippine Map Filipino Martial Arts: A History

The Philippines

Image from http://www.era.com.ph/philippine-energy/

 

The Philippines was under Spain’s rule for 333 years, so many of the terms in various Philippine dialects will reflect Spanish influence.  “Arnis”, for example, comes from the Spanish “Arnes”, which is a term that means armor.  “Eskrima” on the other hand comes from the term “Esgrima”, which is the Spanish sport of fencing.

The word “Kali” refers to an old broad sword from the Indo-Malay region, which was commonly used in the martial art before the Spanish rule.

 

Lapu-Lapu: The “First” Filipino Martial Artist

The exact origin of Kali/Eskrima/Arnis is unknown, but what we are sure of is that the martial art was first exposed to the world by Lapu-Lapu, the Philippines’ first hero.

Lapu-Lapu was one of the two chieftains of Mactan at the time when the Spanish conquistadors, led by the Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, first arrived in the Philippines.

lapu lapu4 Filipino Martial Arts: A History

Lapu-Lapu’s monument in Cebu,

image from http://philippinesblogger.com/who-discovered-the-philippines-part-3/

 

Rajah Humabon, who ruled the entire sultanate of Cebu had immediately converted to Christianity and pledged his allegiance to Spain. Lapu-Lapu refused to pay tribute and bow down to Spanish rule. With Rajah Humabon’s encouragement, Magellan decided to make an example of Lapulapu.

magellan portrait Filipino Martial Arts: A History

Ferdinand Magellan

Image from http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/10-surprising-facts-about-magellans-circumnavigation-of-the-globe

 

On April 27, 1521, Magellan took sixty of his men and twenty to thirty war boats full of Humabon’s warriors to Mactan. He demanded that Lapu-Lapu swear fealty to Rajah Humabon and pledge allegiance to the Spanish King.

Despite the imminent threat, Lapu-Lapu refused Magellan’s offer. When dawn broke over the shores of Mactan, he and his 1,500 warriors, armed with iron swords, bows and bamboo spears faced Magellan and Humabon’s combined forces.

Lapu-Lapu was known as the foremost master of “Pangamut” (the old term for Filipino Martial Arts), and he had trained his men for the eventuality of a battle. Magellan and his army were not prepared for the fierceness of Lapu-Lapu’s men, or their skill with weapons. They eventually retreat, but not before many of the men were killed, including Magellan himself.

lapulapu Filipino Martial Arts: A History

The Battle of Mactan

Image from http://northpacifictattoos.blogspot.com/2010/07/philippines.html

 

How Stick-Fighting Evolved

When the Spanish eventually conquered the Philippines, they banned the practice of Kali, for fear that the Filipinos might use their skills and turn against them.  As the 19th century approached, Filipinos were able to circumvent the ban and practice the art again, by disguising it as part of stage plays called “Moro-Moro” and other native dances. In order to avoid suspicion, they used wood training pieces called “bahi” or bamboo sticks of “rattan” to practice their moves. The only time the martial artists were able to even hold a sword, was during the finale of the Moro-Moro plays—which were often performed for the Spaniard’s enjoyment.

moro moro dance modified Filipino Martial Arts: A History

Moro-Moro Plays

Image from http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/Tagalog_Homepage99/impacts_of_spanish_rule_in_the_p.htm

Because they would go up against the Spaniard’s sharp swords and daggers, Kali practitioners learned to develop speed, agility and accuracy. They developed ways to strike nerve centers along the body and limbs they could easily disarm and disable any opponent using a flurry of attacks.

Many training methods were altered and new concepts and techniques adapted due to the influence of the Spanish culture and language. The Spanish sword and dagger were incorporated into the martial arts and certain concepts were given Spanish terms. Kali became more widely known as Arnis or Eskrima.

Eskrima became the popular name for the martial arts when the first Arnis organization was established in Cebu City during the early American rule. The Labangon Fencing Club used the term “Eskrima” for the art, and even after the group was dissolved in 1931, the term stuck.

In 1932, The Doce Pares Association was founded by the leading martial arts masters, and became the force that drove the martial art to evolve into the competitive sport it now is today. The curriculum they developed and the sparring rules and regulations they set became widely accepted by Arnis schools and organizations throughout the country.

 Filipino Martial Arts: A History

The Founders of Doce Pares

Image from http://www.eadocepares.com/about_us/foundation.shtml

 

In 1989, the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) established itself as the international governing body for the sport, and has helped in the study and promotion of Filipino Martial Arts. Today WEKAF has a presence in more than thirty countries, and the followers and practitioners of the sport continue to spread the word about it.

wekaf logo Filipino Martial Arts: A History

Filipino Martial Arts is young compared to other Eastern martial arts, but it is already widely used in military training of different countries, as well as in Hollywood fight choreography.

 

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References:

History of the Filipino Martial Arts

Eskrima

Filipino Martial Art

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Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Karen Lange, author of Home School Co-ops 101 and blog mistress at Write Now.

Coop101 bookcover front v1.21 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

 

Welcome, Karen!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

IMG 6782 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

 

Author Karen Lange

 Thank you for inviting me to stop by, Nutschell!  I am a wife, mom, and grandma. My husband and I have two sons, a daughter, a daughter in law, and a very smart and handsome 6-year-old grandson. (I might be a little biased about my grandson. icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

 

In addition to writing and blogging, I am the bookkeeper for the carpentry business my husband and oldest son own.  I also teach online writing classes for adults at the Coffeehouse for Writers and for homeschooled teens in the Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op.

 

 

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing on my laptop at my desk.  I find I get the most work done in the quiet of my office.

Fall 2013 010 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

Karen’s workspace

 

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My desk is a large, old secretary’s desk that someone was throwing away. My husband rescued and refinished it for me.  The laptop takes center stage, and I have a bookshelf made by my husband and a printer sitting across the back of the desk. There are stacks of current projects and bills on one side. I call it organized chaos.  Most times I can find what I need. icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

Fall 2013 002 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

Bookshelf made by Karen’s husband

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

For writing, my laptop is important, but I also have family photos on surrounding shelves. These remind me what’s important when I get stressed.

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I like that I have a room to call my own, where I can spread things out and shut the door when necessary.

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I drink water and unsweetened iced tea. Occasionally I drink Diet Coke, but I’m trying to cut back on that.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Oh, I have many favorites! Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery top the list, and then I love the work of current authors like James Scott Bell, Cathy Gohlke, Jody Hedlund, and Julie Klassen. There are so many wonderful ones out there, you know?

There isn’t any one person who inspired me to write, but my Mom was always a great cheerleader for most anything I did. I remember her telling me I was a good writer; I still smile when I think of her encouraging words.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

In the mornings, I do household stuff like laundry, run errands, exercise, and answer emails. I usually write, do bookkeeping, and work on any online classes I have going in the afternoons and evenings. I don’t have any rituals or quirks, that I know of anyway, but I make sure I have water, a snack, and my cell phone handy. My best trick for actually getting things done is to ignore the internet. I get too distracted otherwise.

 

3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write everyday but it doesn’t always happen. It depends if I have a deadline pending, or need to do a blog post or something like that. I am however, writing in my head almost all the time. Does that count?

 

4. Why do you write?

A writing mentor and friend once said that she wrote because it gave her joy. I have to agree! I love to write and I enjoy communicating this way. My desire is that my words would help others in some way, no matter what I write about.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

One thing I’ve learned over the years is the importance of self editing. One of my favorite tools for this is to read my work aloud. It really helps help find errors and rough spots.

As far as quotes go, I like what author Ann Gabhart said in a blog interview a few years ago. “Rejection is not fatal,” she said. It made me laugh at first, and the more I thought about it, it made so much sense. It isn’t fatal, and we have two choices when our work is rejected. We can wallow in self-pity and doubt, or we can move ahead, learning and improving.

Thanks so much for sharing your space with me today. It’s been a pleasure!

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Karen Lange is the author of Homeschool Co-ops 101. She and her family were active in homeschool  activities during their sixteen-year journey. Her three children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for adults and homeschooled teens. Connect on Karen’s  Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.

Blog: http://karenelange.blogspot.com/

Homeschool Co-ops 101 is available on Amazon:

Kindle

Paperback

Twitter: KLELange

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/KarenLange

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkarenlange

Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op for Teens: http://www.homeschoolwritingco-op.bravesites.com/

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Karen!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

 

 

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Dragon Loyalty Award & Martial Arts Month

I’m starting off the 3rd month of the year with a blog award from bloggy buddy C. Lee McKenzie, who gifted me with the Dragon Loyalty Award last February 24th. Thanks Lee!

20 dragonsloyaltyaward Dragon Loyalty Award & Martial Arts Month

 

 

Here are the rules:

  1. Display the Award on your Blog.
  2. Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who awarded you.
  3. Present 15 deserving Bloggers with the Award
  4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded.
  5. Write seven interesting things about you.

 

And the nominees are:

I know the rules said 15, but I added one more since I’ve decided to nominate my amazing Write On buddies. I’ve been horribly absent from the discussion on your Facebook page, but I do read the progress reports every now and then and marvel at your writing achievements. You are all amazing sources of inspiration and I hope I can be consistent and updating my writing accomplishments as well. I cannot find a better bunch of people, who are loyal to their writing dreams!

To you, wonderful writers and bloggy buddies, I bequeath the Dragon Loyalty Award.

  1. Theresa Milstein
  2. Lydia Kang
  3. Rachel Morgan
  4. Pk Hrezo
  5. Robyn Campbell
  6. Sharon Mayhew
  7. Ann Ormond Fennell
  8. Crystal Collier
  9. Lynn Kelley
  10. Nicole Zoltack
  11. Sheri Larsen
  12. Susan Oloier 
  13. Sigal Wilnai Tzoore
  14. Martina Boone
  15. Carole Lindstrom
  16. Jackee Alston

 

7 interesting things about me:

  1. I come from a family of “gifted” people. My eldest aunt could read the future through cards and she’s passed on the gift to her eldest daughter Zamm, who is currently a professional Tarot Card Reader. My second eldest aunt can read palms and interpret dreams. My mom, the 3rd sister, has very good intuition and can see spirits. Their 4th sister can talk to spirits (actually she often can’t distinguish between spirits and live people because they appear so clearly to her.) Their two brothers have what charisma so strong they can convince you to do anything. The youngest sibling in the family is a bit of a healer.
  2. Yep, you guessed it. I have a “gift” as well. I can actually read people’s personalities, even if I’ve just met them for the first time.
  3. I started learning martial arts 3 years ago as a way to inspire my writing, but I continued on because I fell in love with the sport. I currently hold a Brown 1 Belt in Escrima or Filipino Martial Arts, which means I have two more belts before I can finally test for a Black Belt.
  4. I can play the drums and the guitar. Not as well as I’d like, but enough to produce decent melodies every now and then.
  5. I do love sketching/drawing, and if I had the time, I would explore this interest more
  6. I love photography and hope to take formal lessons one day.
  7. I can bake some mean desserts. Back when I had the time, family members and friends would order boxes of cookies and pans of Filipino flan to give as Christmas presents.

 

Congrats to all you bloggy buddies for picking up the award! And no worries about participating if you’re busy. I just thought this award was the perfect opportunity to give you gals a token of appreciation. J

Well that was fun!

And a Dragon award is a great way to start of my Martial Arts Month!

 

Martial Arts Month

You might recall my post on Filipino Martial Arts last February.

In that post, I mentioned how it falls upon Filipino Martial Artists to promote the art. So in line with this realization, I’ve decided to make March my Martial Arts month.

This whole month, I’m going to write posts about the Filipino Martial Art in particular. You’ll learn a little history, some trivia and a maybe some good self-defense moves as well. I hope you can join me for my Martial Arts March Madness this month. Hiyaaaa!

 

master erwin Dragon Loyalty Award & Martial Arts Month

 

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