Sincerely, thank you! We raised…

NGCI 037087, Wild WONE7949, CORE NONE7949

UPDATE (8/23):  A $25 donation was made in my honor on August 22, 2014, raising the total amount of funds raised (see below)!

Hello everyone.  First, let me begin by saying thank you to everyone who supported Cause an Uproar, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Save the Elephants this week, in honor of my birthday.  Last year, we raised a total of $175 for wildlife conservation.  It was my goal to exceed that amount – and I’m happy to announce – we did!  See what we raised per charity, then see the total below.

Cause an Uproar – for National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative, between three confirmed donations, we raised $55!  Last Sunday, I vowed to donate 25% of my income – however, a slow day meant an actual donation of 50% ($20) to commemorate World Lion Day!

Rorogoi - Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Rorogoi – Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Shedlrick Wildlife Trust – for the Kenyan orphanage run by world renowned author and environmentalist Dame Daphne Sheldrick, between three confirmed donations, we raised $100, including the fostering of an elephant orphan!  As a gift to myself, I made a $50 donation on Wednesday to foster Rorogoi, a beautiful elephant orphan rescued by the trust in 2012. A milk-dependent Rorogoi survived for over a month on her own and found refuge on a compassionate farmer’s land before her rescue.  Born August 10, 2012 (the would-be birthday of my Grandmother), she touched a special place in my heart and I’m extremely proud to be part of Rorogoi’s journey moving forward!

Save the Elephants – Save the Elephants is a notable charity because 100% of donated funds are transferred to the field.  So the money we raised, $125 between three confirmed donations, goes directly to the front-line in the battle against the Ivory Trade.

That’s a grand total of $280 raised to save elephants and big cats!  Oh, and there’s one other thing I forgot to mention – I’ve been vocal on social media (notably twitter) this week about these causes.  I tagged The Olive Garden in one of my tweets this week – and have captured their attention.  They’re interested to learn more about saving big cats and elephants.  This coming week (Tuesday, August 19), I’ll be discussing my goal and these causes with Olive Garden’s media relations!

Again, THANK YOU all!  Together, we are helping to make this world a better place for our majestic and iconic cohabitants of our planet.

Fostering Rorogoi

Rorogoi - Sheldrick Wildlife TrustOn August 14, through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, I opted to foster Rorogoi, a beautiful elephant orphan.

Born August 10, 2012, Rorogoi was 14 months old when she was rescued by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  Following a likely incident of poaching, Rorogoi survived for over a month on her own.  How she did this is a mystery.  However, her incredible story of heartbreak and survival – and of the farmer who offered her refuge is truly remarkable.  I’m proud to be part of her journey moving forward.

If you’d like to foster an orphaned elephant or rhinoceros calf ($50/year minimum), please visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – Fostering Program.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of these majestic and iconic cohabitants of our planet.

“Genie. You’re free.” RIP Robin Williams.

Robin WilliamsRobin Williams was one of our time’s greatest comedians and character actors.  Now, he’s dead at 63.

My heart broke when the headlines started flowing in.  The victim of depression and an apparent suicide, a great actor was lost today.  How does this happen?  How can a man who brings joy be darkly tormented and leave this world so sadly?  It doesn’t make sense and it’s heartbreaking.

As a young kid in the 90s, I grew up loving works Robin Williams was associated with, most notably Aladdin, one of my all-time favorite movies.  I’ve always loved the joy and charisma of Genie – all of which is owed to Robin Williams.  I remember how I loved him as Mrs. Doubtfire – and how I fondly remember other movies like Jumanji or Flubber.  But one of his most important cinematic moments for me was his cliff-top conversation with God about compassion in Patch Adams.  I remember his emotional reach from that moment – it was the first time he ever made me cry.

…but within minutes, his infectious smile had returned along with joy to warm my heart.

As Maya Angelou once said,

“People will never forget how you made them feel.”

Robin Williams brought a great deal of joy to a lot of people, myself included – his legacy will forever be seen in their smiles and heard in their laughter.  Thank you for the memories Mr. Williams.  My thoughts and prayers are with your family – may they find laughter once again.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweeted (and broke my heart again):

"Genie, you're free."

“Genie, you’re free.”

Genie Youre Free

“Genie, you’re free.” – The Academy

It’s World Lion Day!

NGCI 037087, Wild WONE7949, CORE NONE7949

UPDATE (8/10):  $20.00 was donated to CAUSE AN UPROAR following my shift at work today!

Today is World Lion Day – and it would have been my Grandma Sarah’s 77th birthday!

In memoriam, and to raise awareness and funds, I’m asking you to join me on my quest to “Cause an Uproar!”  I’m declaring that 25% of my earnings today will be donated to  Cause an Uproar, National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative.  Together our voices can be heard – and our roar can be unruly.  It’s time we started becoming the change we wish to see, “before we talk about big cats the way we talk about dinosaurs” (citation: Cause an Uproar commercial – televised, 2011).

If you join me today – or at any time this coming week – please e-mail me at an tell me you’re standing by my side so that I may respond with a heartfelt thank you.  Please include the amount you’ve donated in the e-mail as well, so I may tally the total amount raised (trying to outdo last year’s $175!).

Here’s an additional listing for Who to Support?

Then, please join me on my birthday, August 12 to raise funds to commemorate World Elephant Day! Visit my Birthday Wish to learn more.

Thank you!


“Hello August,” said the Elephant.

Elephant - Nat. Geo. 3

“Hello August,” said the Elephant.

August could not reply, for August was nothing tangible with which the Elephant could communicate.  But the Elephant knew she was in the presence of August – in the presence of the waning African winter.  She had survived another minute – another hour – another day – another month.  She’d survived another season, and after many moons, another year.  She dragged her trunk across blades of grass wetted by the brief morning rain, and her feet sank, just a bit further, into the ground.

As she pressed on, her great ivory tusks parted the grasses before her – and her feet left a telling trail in her wake.  The sun rose on the first day of August and as it did, the morning’s droplets vanished – into either dirt or air.  Cooler than summer but still warm by standards, August remained able to hug the Elephant, teasing spring warmth while filling her trunk with its wintry fragrance.  The Elephant grazed as she waded through grass, then she crossed a river and took a nap.

This particular nap was one from which the Elephant never awoke.  Murder came in her sleep, and thievery came after death.  Stripped of her ivory, in the Serengeti her body stayed – and to the Elephant, August said, “Goodbye.”

-Bobby James

“Hello August,” said the Elephant, (c) 2014

Sincerely, thank you, we raised…

Welcome to August, my birth month!

The above poem, “Hello August,” said the Elephant, was crafted to be a tragically beautiful conservation piece.  Last year, for my birthday, my only wish was to raise money for the conservation of elephants (and big cats).  I created a painting and asked readers to save the picture and use it as their social media image for a day – my birthday (August 12).  This year, I’m asking you to share my poem.  By spreading the message, it is my hope that attention becomes action – so that one day, I may craft an ending where the Elephant lives.

As I march toward August 12th, and the year I’m dubbing “the great 28,” I find my wish to be the same – to do what I can to make a difference.  That’s why this year I’m asking you all to join me again!  In lieu of birthday cards or gifts, I’m asking you to make a donation to one of the following conservation organizations in my honor – then send an e-mail to me letting me know (please) – :

Links provided – just click the charity you’d like to give to and it’ll take you directly to the donation page.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

“The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.” (from website)

Save The Elephants / Wildlife Conservation Network

“[Save The Elephants] Our mission: to secure a future for elephants and to sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live; to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species.” (from website)

Cause an Uproar

“Populations of lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other top felines are declining at an alarming rate. They are victims of habitat loss and degradation as well as conflicts with humans. In response, National Geographic, with filmmakers, conservationists, and Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert, launched the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports on-the-ground conservation and education projects combined with our Cause an Uproar global public-awareness campaign.

Cause an Uproar and join us in working to ensure that our future is not without these majestic creatures.” (from website)

Last year, we raised $175 for the conservation of the world’s elephants and big cats.  This year, I’m hoping to match – or exceed that amount.  In addition to funds raised on my birthday I’m declaring that 25% of my earnings on Sunday, August 10 will be donated to Cause an Uproar – as a memorial for my Grandma Sarah (who would have been 77 this year) and to commemorate World Lion Day!

Join me.  Let’s do some good together and if you need anymore convincing, see the gallery below.  Thank you.

Reading: The Night Circus

The Night CircusI’ve just finished reading Erin Morgenstern’s fantasy novel The Night Circus.

I found Morgenstern’s novel to be a read that captivated me with gorgeous sensory writing and vivid imagination.  The idea of a circus (Le Cirque des Rêves) that’s only operational at night and of magicians, or illusionists rather, bound to one another – for the duration of a magical exhibition in a strikingly monochromatic world – tends to be quite breathtaking – and tragically beautiful.  Every tent in this circus provides you (the reader) with an opportunity to imagine a place entirely – through physical and sensory descriptions.  There are constantly sights, sounds, tastes, touches and emotions referenced that allow you to draw from your own past, and most importantly imagination, to envision this enchanted world.

While I came to care for the characters in this world – notably Celia, Marco and Bailey, I was drawn to the grand imagination on display more.  One image that lingers with me, well beyond the final pages, is that of the ice garden and it’s wishing tree.  The idea – and romanticism – of an ice garden with hidden fragrances intrigues me enough, but factor in a wishing tree adorn with candles and I’m hooked.  There’s something about it that inspires me – and it’s the idea that people ignite their wishes (candles) from the wishes (flames) of others.  It’s a beautiful and very cinematic image.

Which brings me to my desire to see this novel adapted into a feature film.  After completing a quick online search, I found that the film/TV rights to The Night Circus were optioned by Summit Entertainment (part of Lionsgate) in 2012.  From what I’ve found, the film is in development and the script being written by Moira Buffini (writer of Jane Eyre).  While reading the novel I came to the conclusion that The Night Circus (tentatively titled) can go one of two ways:

1.  It could easily be transformed into a Twilight-esque fantasy film with juvenile romanticism and easily-dated special effects, or…

2.  It could be transformed into something beautiful – a contemporary masterpiece that pushes the boundaries of special effects and that could (should) inspire beautiful art, cinematography and costumes.

The world created by The Night Circus lends itself entirely to special effects.  As such, in extremely capable hands, Morgenstern’s world can be visualized – and could be a hybrid of The Prestige and The Hunger Games.  For this to happen, I thought I’d do a little fantasy “casting.” My vision for this world would see it directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Prestige, Inception), or Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).  Each of those directors have strengths (and a filmography) that suggest they’d make it as beautiful as Morgenstern’s writing suggests it should be.

I think the Wachowskis would add the fantastical element this story needs – as such they’d be my first choice.  Watch The Matrix or Cloud Atlas and you’ll see they have a knack for creating bizarre, yet breathtaking works that appeal to the imaginations of viewers.  Under their direction, I believe the characters and the circus – through the nuanced timeline – would benefit most from their familiarity with pacing (based on time-jumping) and gorgeous special effects.  Fantasy is their specialty.

Then, if the Wachowskis were unavailable, I’d choose either Christopher Nolan or Francis Lawrence.  Both directors have previous experience with circus or illusion-based films.  Nolan has a knack for creating gritty worlds in which his characters (and actors) thrive.  Celia and Marco would likely be markedly darker in Nolan’s hands, but the actors portraying them would likely turn in authentic, award-worthy performances – and the movie itself would probably garner praise from critics and moviegoers alike.  Nolan would be the director to give The Night Circus the dark undertone it presents – and the conflicted characters it needs.

And if the script doesn’t recognize/call for such unnerving darkness or conflict – and instead chooses to rest of the pure imagination and love story, I’d have Francis Lawrence as the director.  While he’s currently directing The Hunger Games franchise, he’d be the perfect director to balance the dark undertone with any scripted Twilight-ization – meaning, if the writing calls for a love story akin to Bella-Edward, Lawrence would be sure to deliver something better, like Katniss-Peta from The Hunger Games or Marlena-Jacob from Water for Elephants.  Lawrence takes what could easily trend into juvenile/young adult territory and directs in a way that adds maturity and finesse, while remaining able to connect to that target (young adult) audience.

Finally, while I was reading The Night Circus, a list of actors crept into my mind for a few of the parts: