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NEWS: Read my posts at The Dallas Morning News Pop Culture Blog

Hey!

you may have noticed that I haven’t posted here in a while. Reason for this? Well I am currently working as the TV and Music Editor/Producer for The Dallas Morning News and GuideLive.com. Cool, right?

This means that my entertainments posts will be on there… Read my posts there by clicking HERE!

For posts regarding my life and other non-entertainment stuff I will be posting at life.randrambles.com

So, keep up with me in those places and if you don’t already, follow me on Twitter. And say “@RandDuren Heyyyy!”

Peace!

The Inspirational Power of Social Media: @GitzenGirl’s Story

Many of us use social media all the time. We tweet what we are doing, we tag people, we mention others, we “check in” at places and post photos to Instagram. Twitter wants to know “What’s happening?” and Facebook wants to know “What’s on your mind?”. All this, to show others what we are doing and in most cases to show them a glimpse of who we are and what our lives are like. I am one of those. Mention a Social Media platform and I am 99% I have an account on it, eh, I’m even on Orkut. Interacting with others on the internet has become part of my life, I am connected. Some people fear this, their opinion is that no real “community” comes from this and that we can become too used to hiding behind a computer or an iPhone and being social. They are entitled to their opinion and yes, it can happen, but that’s not what I see every day.

Take my life on Twitter for example, I have “met” people on Twitter with whom I have some of the deepest conversations; when my Mom has struggled with some of her conditions, my Twitter friends were there to help me pray, when my father was sick they stood by me. Twitter, a website, has allowed me to meet some incredible people in person. One of my biggest Twitter success stories is meeting Christy Polek, who took me to In N’ Out for the first time and for a drive through Hollywood, in which we saw the cast of Entourage filming a scene. I count her now as one of my closest friends, a friend that knows my life, all of it, our friendship was born on Twitter and grew way out of there, to the point of making our lives better. Social media can do that. It can bring people together, it can make lives better.

We use all these platforms as we go on with our lives. But what if this was one of our only means of interaction with the outside world?

Sara’s Story: Choose Joy

I have followed Sara, @gitzengirl on Twitter, for about two years I believe. I first followed her because a lot of people that I follow would mention her and retweet her tweets. My first impression was that she was a happy, inspiring and funny lady. These people that followed her first seemed to love her and I constantly saw words of encouragement coming from her to many of her followers. A while back I visited her blog and read through a few pages. And that’s when I knew her story. Sara has an “autoimmune disease that begins by attacking your joints… It is progressive and systemic… it’s goal is to attack your joints an build scar tissue, causing pain and stiffness”. You can read more about her story here, and please do. Basically, what ended up happening is that Sara wasn’t able to go outside because the air outside would harm her, she had to live life in seclusion and with a heavy dose of medicine. But even through her pain and her difficult situation, Sara has always showed joy. Through social media, many, like me, got to know her story a little better. I was amazed that a person who lived in pain as she did, was able to shine a light in others the way she did daily.

I am grateful for the internet and social media. Can you imagine? Just a few years ago, something like this would’ve been impossible. Sara’s life was not bound by her seclusion, she was able to inspire and encourage others and at the same time have a strong group of people to be in her life every day. She was not alone.

Sara’s journey among us is coming to an end. But she is moving up, she trusts God and is looking forward to a life with him, free from pain. Choose Joy is the name of her blog, and has been the standard in her life and it is know a thought that is running wild in the minds of those that know her. If someone had reason to complain of her situation it was Sara, but she chose Joy.

What if we do the same? What if we choose joy as the standard of our lives? What do you think would happen?

Dear Sara, catch you in the flip side! Thank you.

Dance… It’s Contagious!

I’m usually not the one that starts dancing at places. And yes, I love dancing. I especially love when I go nuts and dance on my own. But I love when someone has the guts to not give a f… I mean, not care about anyone around and have a great time. The guy on this video did just that and madness ensued. Amazing. Flash mobs have nothing on this! Enjoy!

X-Men: Born This Way

I am a big fan of Marvel superheroes. Especially of the X-Men. And I’m also a fan of Lady Gaga, put those two together and you get the video below. Enjoy!

The Fiercest Video You Will See Today

Robert Jeffery interprets Madonna’s 1990 hit “Vogue”. How awesome is this? Very!

Oh, I miss the 90s. Rollerblades, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Street Fighter…

What do you miss from the 90s?

Affected by The Hunger Games: A Quick Spoiler-less Review

Have you ever read a book that left you a little distraught? This just happened to me and I really don’t know why.

I started reading the Hunger Games at the end of last year, then when I was done with that one I quickly downloaded Catching Fire the second book on the Trilogy and read a couple of pages but forgot about it. Last week I took it back and finished it on Sunday. I, again, quickly downloaded the third and final book on the trilogy: Mockingjay. This one I devoured. It’s Tuesday and I just finished it, I immersed myself in it. When I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it, thinking about what would happen next, thinking about the different characters and how they would translate to the movie that is already in the making.

If you haven’t heard of the Hunger Games trilogy, I highly recommend it. The story is thrilling and easy to get involved in it, it speaks to many human qualities that we, even though to a minor extent, could easily experience in our lives. I won’t give any spoilers but the books basically tell the story of a future America, now called Panem. The country has been divided in 12 districts with the Capitol ruling all of them with an iron hand. Every year the Hunger Games take place, two tributes, a boy and a girl are selected to take part of this competition that ends with only one winner alive. This is the way that the capitol reminds every district that they are the ones in control. I could say more, expound on all the happenings that have been twirling in my brain for a while but I will give you the chance to grab the book and disappear to Panem for a while without me spoiling it.

At the end of the series there could’ve been several outcomes. I for sure wasn’t sure what I wanted to happen. There was no perfect ending set on my mind because the nature of the book didn’t allow me to establish a concrete resolution. I just keep thinking about how it all ended and the reasoning behind it from the author’s perspective. Am I happy about it? Not sure. I just had to vent about it here because I don’t seem to keep my mind off it.

I am pretty sure that the Hunger Games movies will be a hit when they come out. The books are filled with beautiful and strong imagery that should translate well to the screen. I am never too happy with how movies sometimes leave parts that for me where important to the story but have grown accustomed to it. It must be hard for the screenwriters to edit a book into two hours. It will be great to see such a compelling story of human struggle, emotions and the fight for survival.

Have you read the Hunger Games? What did you think? If not, you should… get it below, the Kindle Edition is just $5.00!


The Hunger Games

Get the Mockingjay Pin Here

An Intense Puerto Rican

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about some of the ways I think and act and it’s been very entertaining to see what a mess I can be sometimes. In a lot of areas I’m relaxed, methodical to a point, I don’t usually go crazy about things. In some areas I look at pros and cons, I make lists and determine the best course of action. There are also some areas in which I know things will work out if I just relax and let things flow without thinking a whole lot about them or getting stressed. Easy going, optimistic, relaxed… that’s how I am in most areas of my life.

But then, the intense Puerto Rican comes out… I believe that’s redundant to a certain extent. I’m half Puerto Rican so, yeah, I can be intense. It may be because of this that in other areas of my life I go full on, I give it all, no matter what it will cost and the pain that I could face. I believe it may be this what makes me passionate and willing to go the extra mile if needed. If I see potential in a situation, I’m not afraid to risk it all, even when I know there’s a 50% chance of failing. But, that means there’s a 50% chance of winning. In the words of Noah from The Notebook: “when I see something I like, I gotta… I love it”. I go for it.

As I go through seasons in my life I come to see that the things that I’ve criticized of others I end up experiencing. This is no exception. I always say that my mom thinks too much, she just keeps a thing in her mind and keeps rolling it around… and around… and around. Then I realized that I do that with some things as well… another learning experience, I guess.

Maybe I just need to keep learning and keeping abreast with the new things I’m seeing and living. There is so much in life to learn and experience. Not long ago I told someone, regarding a specific topic: I’m scared. This person replied: Don’t be scared, be glad. Made my day. :) So, I will be glad and enjoy the experiences I encounter, I will grow and become more mature for my own good and the wellness of those I encounter.

But again, bare with me, I’m Puerto Rican, if you even encounter me in one of those fits, sparks will fly and rapid Puerto Rican Spanish will ensue… Hopefully there are no machetes involved.

So…. this is it!

2010 is almost over and I have to say, it’s been a great year. I’m making myself blog because I haven’t done it in a while, in part because I’ve been busy living life and in part because I’m lazy.

There has been so much happening this year, so many good things in my life and I can’t help to feel extremely grateful. It’s interesting that many things that at one time in my past made me feel miserable and like an outcast, struggling through the motions, now, that I have made peace with them, this have brought a whole new outlook on what my life is and if I dare to say so, part of my mission on this earth.

For many, parts of my life… and this blog, may be cryptic, but for those who really know them, they know how happy I am and the reasons behind it. Not to worry, “crypticity” only lasts so long. But here are some important points:

I love God, and this year, the events that have happened have made this even stronger. Not only that but from the moment my outlook changed I have felt love by God in a way I never did before, the level of acceptance and grace that I have experienced by being who I am has been off the charts and I am very thankful. It’s unbelievable the level of happiness that can be experienced when you come to God and say to him and yourself: This is me.

I love my friends. At some point in my life I did something great. And this was, allowing near me some fantastic people. I definitely know that God is closely involved in this. The caliber of people that I call my best friends is not something that could’ve happened just by meeting random people. So. Many. Great. People. People to whom I can be totally exposed and feel their love simply invade my life.

Life is filled with moments. Some of these can shake you so hard that you may think there is no way out. But if we wait, and hold on tight, there will be some moments that will revolutionize your life so strongly that you will feel truly alive. Some times we feel like giving up, like letting others choose our path, like living our lives behind a facade just because we want to be accepted. But life is meant to be lived, enjoyed… as the ones that we were created to be. It is when we love ourselves, as we are, that we can truly let others feel our love for them.

And this is it, 2010, one of the best years in my life is almost over. My mom and brother are coming for Christmas and I cannot wait to have them here. I am looking forward to that and to the new adventure that 2011 will be.

This has been one of the longest posts I’ve written and may be the last one of the year so… Merry Christmas!

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