The Oujia Board

When I was about 8, I asked for the Oujia Board for my birthday. I don’t know where I’d first seen or played with one, I just knew I wanted one. My parents felt it was harmless enough, and bought me one. I still have it, it’s been out in the garage for over 50 years. Just recently, I got into a discussion on Facebook as to whether or not it’s harmful to own one.

One friend argued that since I have had a “difficult” life, it surely must be attributed to the fact I possess the Oujia board…

In spite of being superstitious, I don’t see the Oujia board as being any more harmful than “Operation”, “Mouse Trap”, “Cootie” or any other game from my childhood. I mean, after all, it’s just a piece of wood, paper, and plastic. It seems ridiculous to me to attribute anything bad that happens in your life to a game board.

I don’t think my life is any more difficult than that of millions of other people. We all struggle with the same thing, jobs, relationships, things breaking down (Cars, houses). On what  do people that don’t own Oujia boards blame their bad luck? Black cats? Broken mirrors? Stepping on a crack in the sidewalk?

What if I did get rid of my Oujia board, and my difficulties in life continued? Then what? What if I got rid of it, and then won the lottery? Would I attribute my good fortune to having gotten rid of the Oujia board?

Sure, I’ve heard all the stories of strange happenings to those who play with the Oujia board, but quite frankly, NOTHING ever happened with mine. The thing didn’t give answers to questions unless the players pushed it along.

I think the last time I played with it, I must’ve been in high school. My cousin and I asked who she would go to the prom with, and it spelled out some guy’s name, that my cousin never came to meet. Sad thing is, my cousin (Who was 4 years younger than me) actually believed she was going to meet this guy.

In spite of my cousin’s petite figure and good looks, she never married. DUNT DUNT DUN….could the Oujia board have been to blame? Come to think of it, I have never been married either!!! Double whammy! We were both cursed….or were we spared?

My cousin now lives in Santa Barbara, but I got stuck here in Fresno (The Oujia board again?). And what would happen if I got rid of it, and nothing in my life changed. I just kept schlepping off to my job everyday, trying to pay my bills and get out of debt. What then? What would I have to blame my “difficult” life on? Should I throw the O away? Someone once claimed that after playing with it one night, along with a bunch of college friends, strange things started happening, so they took the board outside and put it in the garbage can. The next day, they found it back in the house. Of course, she turned out to be a Pathological Narcissist with Sociopathic Tendencies (The Oujia board’s fault? Again?), so I’m not sure how much weight I give her story.

So, back to the question at hand, should I throw it away? Burn it? Or send it (Anonymously) to someone I dislike? I’m beginning to wonder, is there an Oujia board in the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Is that what’s causing all the problems?



Victory By Submission-Film Review

A few years back, I worked on a couple of scenes for a Faith-based film made right here in Fresno, about a MMA fighter.

I’ve known Alan Autry (Actor/Producer/Director) since the late 1980’s, when he came into the martial arts school I was studying at, to learn how to do a fight scene for a movie. Alan and I became friends, as we weaved in and out of each other’s lives, bumping into one another when we least expected it.

My friend and manager, Carollyn DeVore, was the casting director for this film. It’s always a pleasure to work with Carollyn and the actors from her agency. “Victory By Submission” stars Brett Prieto as “Tommy”. Brett and I had worked on a film together several years back, I always felt he had sort of a “James Dean” quality about him.

Then, there’s Casey Olson, an actual MMA fighter, who has trained with Chuck Liddell. Casey plays “Crazy Dan” in the movie, Tommy’s nemesis.

I was a little skeptical about critiquing the movie, thinking I would not be able to give it a fair critique, since so many of my friends are in it, including myself. (Of course, my 2 best gal pals, who accompanied me to the movie, roared with laughter when my face appeared on the big screen!).

I was more than pleasantly surprised with how well the movie turned out. It actually grabbed me! Filmed locally here in Fresno, CA, I recognized so many of the location shots, and I thought it was as good as if it had been filmed elsewhere, such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc. There was nothing “corn ball” about it, in spite of how Fresno has been made fun of in movies.

Lee Majors is also in the film. I had the pleasure of meeting Lee a few years back at the Governor’s Ball (The dinner party after the Emmy Awards), which makes it even more special to have been in the same movie as he.

Eric Roberts, who stars in one of my all time favorite Martial Arts Movies, “Best of the Best” is also in this movie.

“Victory By Submission” is a movie for all ages, however, I feel I must warn about the fight scene between Tommy and Crazy Dan. It is so well choreographed, it looks all too real. One of my gal pals, a nurse, was horrified at the fight scene. She’s seen real blood before, but could hardly look at the screen when the actors had blood and bruises on their faces.

I loved this movie, and even bought a copy of the DVD, to watch over and over again.

I hope to see more movies like this in the not too distant future.



Oklahoma Sun

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Rokki James at the Clearwater Beach Sand Pearl Resort this morning. Rokki James, born Andres Archontakis, changed his name at the recommendation of his …

Source: Oklahoma Sun

Oklahoma Sun

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Rokki James at the Clearwater Beach Sand Pearl Resort this morning. Rokki James, born Andres Archontakis, changed his name at the recommendation of his agent, Richard Heckenkamp. Richard told him “No one is going to remember that name!”. So, Rokki named himself after his mentor, Rocco Paskidlis, a senior in high school when Rokki was a freshman. Rokki said Rocco was the toughest guy he’d ever met. A boxer and kickboxer, Rocco was a legend in the  Underground fight scene in Tampa, Florida.

Rokki was a wrestler in high school, but an altercation at the beach, where he suffered 200 blows to the head, lead Rokki to take up boxing. He started training at the 4th St. Boxing Gym in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Growing up, Rokki admired 3 Martial Artists: Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee, and Don “The Dragon” Wilson, the 11-time world champion kickboxer who was also from Florida.

After graduating high school, Rokki moved to New York City, to work as a bouncer at CBGB’s, the undisputed birthplace of punk, and, according to Rokki, a “Dangerous place to work.” Rokki lived with a musician friend that he described as looking like Steven Segal by day (Hair slicked back in a ponytail, suit) and “Slash” by night.

In the early 1990’s, a job offer took Rokki to Chicago. For the next four years, Rokki worked in advertising, and modeling, while training at The Windy City Boxing Gym. At 152 pounds, Rokki modeled suits for Marc Jacobs on the runway. He was able to save enough money to move to LA, and not be broke.

When I asked Rokki what made him decide to become an actor, he said that he loved reading Shakespeare. He would practice reading scripts like “Swingers” and “Pulp Fiction” with his friends, and they encouraged him to move to LA to pursue a career in acting.

So, Rokki packed up his pick-up and headed for California. He first lived in Beachwood Canyon near the Hollywood sign, and while in a bar, recognized an actor, bought him a drink, and was introduced to a manager, who bought him dinner, and introduced him to his agent, Richard Heckenkamp. Rokki credits Richard for teaching him everything he knows about “the business”.

Richard asked for Rokki’s “headshots”, and immediately ripped them up and threw them in the garbage. He instructed Rokki to buy a certain book on acting, and when Rokki showed it to him, Richard took a black marker, and drew a line through each page. Rokki was in shock, as he’d paid good money for the book. Richard told him “I saved you thousands of dollars later”.

While working out at GOLD’s GYM, Rokki met Mark Walberg. Rokki had known a friend of Mark’s, Bobby Dee, while living in Chicago. Bobby told Rokki if he ever ran into Mark, to let him know he was OK, as Bobby had been in Desert Storm.

Mark also gave Rokki some good advice: Don’t go to nightclubs trying to make friends, the friends you meet in acting class will be your friends. Rokki says he stays in touch with them to this day.

Rokki said his biggest achievement to date was when he landed a role in “Paying Mr. McGetty”, and got to work with one of  his martial arts idols, Don “The Dragon” Wilson.










Crazy works…

I became a distributor for those body wrap things, because the interest generated so rapidly at the mere mention of it! I signed on around March 9th, I had my first “wrap” party 2 weeks later, and got 3 “Loyal Customers”. Then, the problems began…

Loyal customer number 1 got her full order right away. Loyal customer number 2 got a partial order, mailed to the wrong address. She wanted it mailed to her place of work, but oh, no, they couldn’t do that, it had to go to her “home” address. We still don’t know where the other portion of her order is. Loyal Customer number 3 STILL hasn’t gotten her order. Oh, whoops, my “up line” forgot to inform us that it was on “back order” until April 22nd. Oh, you don’t really MIND, do you? After all, you’ve already been charged, and gotten your bill, but no product. Don’t worry, it’ll come…

And then, there was MY order. Since I was a new distributor, and not really savvy about it all, I let my “up line” order for me. She said she’d put in my order as of the first of April, because I’d already fulfilled my obligation (order) for the month of March. OK, so I have this special event coming up on May 7th, and I was hoping I’d “drop a size” by then. So, I waited. And I waited. Finally, I called my “up line” and she said “WHOOPS! I forgot to put your order in!” (It was already April 8th by then).

In the meantime, she informed me that I had a “paycheck” waiting. I got an email instructing me how to get my “paycheck”. So, I could either have it deposited directly to my checking account (Me, being old, thought I’d have to send them a “voided” check or something) so I chose the “gift card” method. Now, they took out $4 from my “paycheck” for the gift card (Shipping?). In addition to that, they also charge you $1 per month for your paycheck or your account site, or whatever they call it…

You also get charged $20 per month for your “website”. Oh, and don’t forget your “Auto ship”, you must order a certain amount of volume per month! Usually about $120 worth of product, but if you pick and choose carefully, it’s only around $106! So, let’s figure $113 a month for “volume”, another $20 for your “esuite”, and $1 for your account site. $134 a month. You’d better figure on selling a lot of this product in order to even “break even”!!!

Oh, did I mention it was $114 to sign up (Of course, you get 4 of these body wrap things with your “kit”, which includes 2 catalogs, 1 “inspirational” magazine, a rubber wrist band, and some cards.)

Today I got my order of the powdered “greens” (4.5 ounces for $33) and some more body wrap things. Never mind that I had to cancel the order I really wanted, because I was not going to be here in time to do any good for my May 7th event…

I’m already “In the hole” for about $241, minus the $40 profit I have made. How much more will I have to spend, before I “break even”? I’m sorry I ever signed up for this MLM (Multi-level Marketing).

I’m not saying it’s a bad product, but if I could do it all over again, I’d become a “loyal customer” and NOT a distributor!!!! As a “loyal customer” you’re only hooked in for 3 months, and you don’t have to order a certain amount of “volume”.

Oh, and by the way, I haven’t lost an ounce, or an inch, so far….


Handing out Poison for Halloween

Big news of the day is the woman in North Dakota who intended to pass out letters (instead of candy) to children she deemed “moderately obese”. I can’t think of a meaner way to harm a child on Halloween, except for passing out real poison, rather than just “poison pen”.
I was one of those chubby children, who, between the ages of 10-12, got rather “obese”. I’ve seen this happen with lots of children. It’s called “puberty”. It’s hormonal, not the overeating of candy, or lack of exercise. A few years ago, I was taking dance lessons at a studio where 2 of the children that performed one year (short and chubby) at the recital, came back tall and lean the next. I hardly recognized them! The boy went from being shorter than me, to towering over my head! The girl not only “leaned out”, she was even prettier!
I was “Mind F*cked” as a child by other children, relatives, and random adults who made unkind remarks about my weight. I was compared to my female cousins (Who I later found out, weren’t even blood related to me, so my genes weren’t even the same as theirs), while adult relatives had no qualms about saying things in front of me like “I’m only going to let MY daughter have about 1 candy bar a week, so she won’t get FAT, like you!” or “I hope (Female Cousin’s name here) doesn’t get FAT, like Debbie!”.
Remarks like this were so scarring, I can’t help but wonder if it is part of the reason I didn’t turn out to be more successful in life. No husband, no children, a less than successful career, an under-achiever. Perhaps I never felt “good enough”?
In spite of the fact that I “leaned out” in Junior High, and was even below the normal weight for my height, I was always trying to “lose weight”. Of course, back in those days, the only way we knew how to lose weight was to either starve ourselves, or drink TAB (The diet soda of the times) all day, and nothing else.
During my 20’s, I fluctuated 10 pounds. In fact, I could drop 10 pounds in 2 weeks. Not good for one’s metabolism, I’ve since learned.
Even Doctors are guilty of “mind f*cking” me. A few years ago, I was going to a woman doctor, thinking she would be sympathetic to my weight issue, but she just told me (Condescendingly, no less) “Now Debbie….START exercising!”. I SCREAMED at her over the phone: “I have 2 gym memberships! When I’m not at 1, I’m at the other! I’m a tap dancer, bike racer, race walker, equestrienne, martial artist….what kind of exercise would you like for me to START doing?!!!”.
Another woman doctor, refused my request for the “saliva test” to determine if I had a hormonal imbalance. She was one of the few doctors in my City that does Bioidentical Hormonal Replacement Therapy. She told me to cut back on my eating. She didn’t even know what I was eating…or not eating. She couldn’t tell me what I should be eating, just that “healthy foods are fattening, too”. Brilliant.
I’m still flogging the dead horse that happened to me just a couple years ago, when my roommate’s friend stayed at my house for a few days. She went on and on about an old photo of me on the wall, and how it was “A shame you don’t look like that anymore!”. People have no manners.
Back to this horrid woman in ND that intends to hand out poison pen letters to children she deems obese….she needs a psychiatric evaluation, in my opinion. I’d be willing to bet she has had a weight problem in the past. Like a reformed smoker, they are the worst about judging others who have the same problem they had. All I can say to this poor (evil) woman is: GET A LIFE and leave other people’s children alone! If you don’t want to pass out candy, DON’T! And if you insist on giving out treats, give out something healthy, like apples.