My next journey for inspiring writing places tales me to It’s A Grind Coffee House in Long Beach, CA. For all of my writing sessions, I am using a Microsoft Surface RT with Touch cover and Office 2013.
With a mostly comfortable plastic chair underneath me and an adequate sized wire mesh table, the outdoor patio is a very relaxing and inspiring place to get writing done. I was able to get a perfect table overlooking the lone plantlike tree thing which blocks out the view of the parking lot. Here in an urban setting this is the best I’m going to get unless I go down to a park.
There is also a lot of opportunity to get lost in one’s work at this location. Most of the time the other patrons of this establishment either have their iPods going or are furiously typing away on a laptop. It is an almost library-like setting without the smell of stale books. As I spend more time at this location I have a feeling people will come to recognize me, as a few regulars came by while I was writing and were enthusiastically greeted by the staff and a few patrons. This sense of community is definitely a plus of living in the walking, biking and artist friendly Bixby Knolls section of Long Beach.
Listening to the chirps of birds from the, uh, plant and the slight chatter of people enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend or partner really help make this spot the best I have written at so far. It is quiet, I can get in the correct mindset, and on cold days there is ample seating inside the coffee shop with undisturbed quiet corners. I look forward to returning to this location and I urge all of my fellow writers to get out and find the place that is right for you.
My next entry into my Fantastic Adventures series is the delightfully fun and bizarre book My Teacher Fried my Brains. The first day of seventh grade was probably the worst day of Duncan Dougal’s life. He knows that things are really bad when he finds an alien’s hand in a dumpster and then gets plugged into an alien brain fryer! Can Duncan find out which of the four new teachers in his school is an alien before his brains get fried to a pulp—or before the aliens try to fry the whole planet?
Why it is a fantastic adventure: The first thing that will interest your kids is the title. The very concept of a teacher being a bad guy is instantly intriguing to the young mind. After all, teachers are the ones that make us do homework, go up and do stuff in front of the whole class, and generally make kids’ lives a lot of work.
Once your kids learn that the teacher is actually an alien, well then that just seals the deal. Just wait until your kids come home from school one day and tell you all about how they saw Mrs. Micer’s hair move and eyes come out from underneath. Your kids will spend the next several months looking for signs of extraterrestrial life from their teachers. What fun!
The story itself is full of action and adventure, as the main characters sneak around the school during off hours, invade the faculty lounge, and come up with crazy schemes to oust their alien teacher.
With just the right amount of creepy, alien fun, action, adventure, and plot twists, My Teacher Fried my Brains will be at the top of your kids’ all time favorite list and will have them using their wondrous imaginations to find out if their teacher is an alien. The possibilities are endless!
Buy it at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/My-Teacher-Fried-Brains/dp/1416903321/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353823083&sr=1-10&keywords=my+teacher
If there is one thing you can count on in Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment, it is the adventure part! Today I have a grand adventure for the entire family. The Neverending Story is a film that crosses several genres in such an effective way that it feels like several different movies in one. You have a young boy reading a book in the attic of his home, and as he is reading the story, the audience is reading right along with him as the book comes to life on the screen. There are magical creatures, giant turtles, rock monsters, horses, a beautiful empress and a plot full of action, daring and wit.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: Contrary to the title, the story does eventually end, and it is a fantastic journey that seems to go by much too quickly. The first time your kids see the giant flying dog, Falcor, they will be hooked into the adventure and the story. A giant flying dog that a kid can ride on is an amazing way to get your kids’ imaginations flowing, and that really is the key. As I have said before, imagination is one of the few tools in our brains that we do not fully develop as we grow older. So, the more chances you can give your kids while they are young, the better! And the more you foster the growth of imagination, the better.
The other magical creatures in the story bring in a lot of fun. There’s a large rock monster, which kids always seem to get a kick out of. You also have a giant turtle, moving statues, living trees, and other equally odd yet charming things.
Another important aspect of The Neverending Story is the fact that it promotes reading. The main character of the story is really the boy reading the book. The rest is just the boy’s imagination of what the book world looks like. Your kids can actually see what reading a book can be like. They can watch the boy read the book and then see him create this fantastical world all on his own just through the mere act of reading. And, of course, by the end of the book, the boy is so into the story that he is shouting out the window in order to save the life on the empress.
The Neverending Story gets your kids’ imagiantions running wild, draws them into the story and hopefully gets them excited about reading and all of its wonderful possibilities.