Mark Robijn

Mark Robijn
Celebrating the Joy of Writing

Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Christmas Cookie Caper - A Christmas Story

     Every year, my wife bakes the most delicious Christmas cookies.  She bakes the little, green tree type with the red sprinkles; she makes the snowmen with gumdrop buttons and black icing hats.  She creates the gingerbread men with their white icing smiles and the reindeer with their red button noses.  

    And so, every year, the whole house fills with the enchanting aroma of spices, sugar, and warm, baked cookies, until it just about drives a person crazy with desire.  The kitchen becomes Cookie Cooking Central.  Empty flour bags and dough cover the counters.  Small glass dishes full of brightly colored candies and cookie cutting presses in all sorts of shapes and designs lie everywhere.  Tubes of icing spilling their contents out their pointed metals ends are stacked on top of each other like cordwood. 

By the time the cookies are finished, my wife is covered with flour and icing and looks like a giant cookie herself.  In the end, it’s all worth it though, for the cookies far surpass anything you could buy at the store; they are cookie perfection.   

So, what’s the problem, you ask?  Why does the thought of all this culinary nirvana send me into a state of gloom?  Because my wife put me on a diet, that’s why. 

“You look like you’ve got a bun in the oven!” she said to me in November, just after Thanksgiving.  “Either have that baby soon, or you’re going on a diet!”

Needless to say, I didn’t have a baby; and so now there I was on Christmas Eve, restricted to salads and diet soda.  Meanwhile, the carols are playing, the tree lights are twinkling, the cookies are sitting on their pretty Christmas plates calling to me, and my stomach is grumbling like the Grinch.  It was like being locked in the Christmas dungeon. 

However, speaking of the Grinch, I had a plan.  It came to me while watching that green goblin on TV, as he snuck down chimneys and through houses; I’ll just get up at 2 a.m. on Christmas morning while the Diet Detective is asleep, creep downstairs, and gobble down all the cookies I want.  I could taste them right then. I saw myself biting these little brown heads off those gingerbread men. Scream all you want fellas, it won’t do you any good.  I would trim those green Christmas trees with my teeth and melt those snowmen in my big, fat tummy; and the best thing is, my wife would never be the wiser. 

So, there I was, ever so slowly sliding out of bed. She’s snored so loud it was like sleeping with a buzz-saw; drooled too. I could have done jumping jacks on the bed and she wouldn’t wake up.  

I slide my feet into my Mickey Mouse slippers (a gift from the kids last year), slipped on my bathrobe with all the Homer Simpsons on it, and started my nefarious trip around the bed to the door.


 Drats, caught!  I froze, grumbling curses under my breath, ready to weep with disappointment.  

I smiled innocently and turned around; “Yes, dear?”

Her eyes were closed as she pulled her pillow closer.  “Turn off the air conditioner. It’s too cold in here.”

            Oh, happiness!  She was talking in her sleep!  A quiet joy settled over me like a magical Christmas snow.  I grinned with victory and tiptoed out the door. 

Down the stairs I almost leaped to the bottom floor, my heart leaping like a gazelle and visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.  

The lights were out, so I didn’t see the roller skate on the floor at the bottom of the stairs. Suddenly I was airborne; skidding across the floor in instant total terror, yelling at the top of my lungs, wondering what precious body part I’d break when I finally stopped and gravity takes over.  

I whizzed past the tree, a dark shape in the gloom, past the living room couch. Why couldn’t I land there?  At least it’s soft.  On into the dining room, past my prize, the cookies set on the table, on into the kitchen, where all kinds of sharp things waited to impale me.  

Bam!  I hit the counter!  I fall to the floor, dazed, but seemingly intact.  And that’s when the end of the bag of flour I disturbed opened and a cascade of flour fell on my face in a puff of white.  

I opened my eyes and blinked flour.  I sat up and a white cloud followed me.  I shook my head and more came down like a buildup of snow on a roof.  I did a mental check; I’d be sore in the morning, but nothing seemed to be sticking out at odd angles.  My large belly cushioned me; and my wife says being overweight is good for nothing!  

I listened for the dreaded sounds that said my screams of terror and the noise of my crash had awoken the sleeping Prison Warden upstairs, but I hear nothing.  I stand up, using the counter for support, and get uncooked dough on my hand.  I wipe it off on my pajamas. The pictures of Homer Simpson on my robe smile at me like kindred spirits.  

I’m wounded in body and dented in spirit, but it’s going to be worth it; I’m almost there.  I head back into the dining room.  It’s hard to see. Do I dare turn on the lights?  Why not?  It seems my lovely spouse can sleep through anything.  

I flip the switch.  Ah; there are the cookies, heaps and heaps of them, delectable and inviting. I take a step towards them, licking my lips.

     Suddenly the air is shattered by the frantic howling of a wild beast!  I jump back in panic and look towards the source of the sound.

     Oh, diabolical wife of mine!  She has tied our dachshund Linky’s leash to the table and left him as cookie guard!  My normally loyal friend and lap buddy acts as if he’s never seen me before in his life.

     The lights come on; my heart sinks as I realize that the jig is now up, thanks to my little canine Judas. My wife looks at me from the stairway, a smile of victory on her face.  I smile back, trying to act natural.

     Back in bed after a nice shower and a kiss from my jailer, I relish in the pleasure of the one cookie she let me have for my efforts; it was a tree with red sprinkles, and it was wonderful.  

Monday, March 22, 2021

Zack Snyder's Justice League - A fun ride with some missed opportunities

 Hello all. Mark Robijn here. 

This is my review of the recently released four-hour mega movie, Justice League, Zack Snyder's cut. 

This is a great movie if you want to sit back and veg for four hours or have something else to do and want to watch it in the background. After an hour or so, the constant drama gets a little mind-numbing. There are so many dramatic moments that they seem to coalesce after a while. 

That said, it is a fun movie to watch, and if you don't have anything else to do, it's got some great scenes and lots of fun, campy eat popcorn and turn off your brain action. 

I wish Aquaman had called some of his sea friends to at least one of the battles; after all, he is Aquaman. Wonder Woman's lines are always one or two sentences, and she has two expressions, angry and concerned. Batman still has a campy voice. And what is with Flash? Is he supposed to be the comic relief? When he was doing his little funny scenes, it seemed to detract from the movie. 

Superman was a little creepy. I missed Green Lantern, my favorite DC character. I don't know if I'm in the minority, but I really liked the Green Lantern movie with Ryan Reynolds. I never really understood why it was panned so badly. It was standard comic book fare. 

I digress. The colors in this movie, I assume, were made to look dark with a vintage tint. I personally didn't like the effect, it made the movie seem more depressing and melancholy. The whole movie had a dark, somber tone that drags after four hours. There needed to be some scenes of light to offset the constant darkness and sense of direness. Also, after the fight over the cubes ended, the movie began to drag, like an ending that doesn't want to end. 

All in all, it was a fun movie to watch, but it was a little too dark and moody for me. I would watch it again, but not rush back to spend four hours again, in the immediate future. 

I give it a B+. 

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think, below. 

Mark Robijn 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Sweet Home - A Sweet, Gory Ride into Horror

Hi all. I’m Mark Robyn, and I’m a young adult science fiction author as well as a screenwriter, and this is my review of Sweet Home, a new series on Netflix. I hope you enjoy my review and are interested enough to make some comments at the end. Warning: spoilers ahead.

From the very first moment of the first episode of Sweet Ride, the characters engage you. And right from the start, strange things start to happen that pique the interest and make the series tense and exciting right from the start. The fact that they are all meaningful and yet subtle enough that you can gain interest in them but not feel the full impact of their meaning is a testament to great story telling and direction.

The main character is a young boy who has just moved into an apartment building by himself, and we can already see he is a boy with issues. He even contemplates suicide, which draws us into his world and makes us care about him. Soon we are meeting his fellow apartment dwellers, and they are all very interesting and well developed. They are all odd in some way as well, a little out of the ordinary to the point of being a little scary themselves. All these characters draw us into this strange, somehow sinister microcosm which is the apartment.

And then the monsters come. Sweet Home keeps you on the edge of our seat the whole time, and the storytelling is so well done that you feel the horror creeping up on you like a slow-moving zombie.

I must say I am thrilled to find such an entertaining series to enjoy, and look forward to seeing what happens next. I wholly recommend this series not only as entertainment, but an opportunity to learn some pointers about good story telling. I give it an A+

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think below.


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Mandalorian - or How I learned to live in Star Wars Hell


Hello friends. My name is Mark Robyn, and I am a screenwriter and children’s book author. I am also an indie filmmaker and avid movie fan. I am going to give you my personal review of The Mandalorian. I hope you find it interesting and gives you some food for thought. I’d be really interested to see if you find my conclusions to be sound or whether you think of them just full of Bantha poodoo.

I heard so many excited ramblings about this series that I finally had to venture a peek. Having been seriously disappointed by all of Disney’s attempts at Star Wars movies, I went in with serious reservations and a feeling of sangfroid.

I really did go into watching the series with an open mind and a willingness to like it, I really did!

The first scene, however, already started to disappoint me. The Mandalorian repeats almost verbatim a scene from the original Star Wars bar fight. How original. But, it’s different! He grabs his bounty and drags his ship.

A giant monster attacks their ship! Fun, but really with no point or story element involved, so just a minor entertainment. Then he takes off in his ship. And his bounty says he has to go to the bathroom! How pleasant is that! And he lets him! The alien wanders about his ship, finding his stash of weapons, boy, this Mandalorian is really gutsy, not even worrying about this guy killing him with his own guns. Finally, the Mandalorian decides to check on his quarry and freezes him in Carbonite. Why didn’t he do that right from the beginning, instead of letting him wander around his ship? Not make sense, it does not.

Moving on, we get to a thrilling scene where the Mandalorian bickers over his bounties with the broker. ZZZZZ. Scintillating television. Finally, big surprise, there’s one really good bounty that no one else can do, it’s worth Big Bucks, but it’s full of danger. ZZZZZ

Mandalorian heads out on his new quest and just happens to run into a guy who doesn’t like being disturbed, so he helps him get to his prize with little effort on his own at all. Just because he wants things to go back to being quiet and dull. The Mandalorian doesn’t have to fight his way there, no, he just walks in and fights one annoying robot bounty hunter who can kill everyone.

At least until he’s overwhelmed, which seems to happen very quickly, and then he threatens to self-destruct. Not much of a bounty hunter, this robot, after all.

Finally after dispatching said robot very easily, the Mandalorian finds his prize, and what we’ve all been waiting for: Baby Yoda!

Baby Yoda! Oooh, it’s Baby Yoda! A creepy little creature that looks like it’s about to jump on you and eat your liver. This is the big payoff. Oooh, it’s Baby Yoda. Okay, that excitement is over.

The rest of the time he fights his way around, carrying this creepy mute Baby Yoda around, who does nothing but stare at you like he’s looking into your soul and chewing on it.

I had the hardest time not falling asleep during this episode. Where are the, uh, subplots? Where is the backstory? Who is this Mandalorian? Do we care? The whole series seems to be watching this guy get bounties and then following him around while he collects them, kind of like watching a UPS driver deliver packages.

Star Wars hasn’t been good since the first three movies, and Disney has done nothing to fix this problem. The first three movies were so wonderful because they were science fiction at its best. Each movie brought new, exciting characters and strange new worlds. One showed the ice planet of Hoth, the next the Sky City. One introduced AT-AT walkers, the next flying bikes. It was always new and creative, and made you excited to know what was going to happen next.

Then Star Wars fell into Star Wars Hell, where all the characters and plots were regurgitated over and over, implausible coincidences, ridiculous characters, annoying aliens. And it’s been in Star Wars Hell ever since. The Mandalorian does little to redeem and save its world. I am going to attempt to skip a few episodes and see if the series improves, but I have very little confidence at this moment.

This has been my review of The Mandalorian. At the moment, I give the series a C-.

Thanks for reading. Please let me know what you think by commenting below.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Schitt'$ Creek- A Review

 Hello everybody! Mark Robijn here with another review of a current TV series, this time Schitt'$ Creek. 

I admit I'm a little late to the party, I've heard so many people raving about the series, but I never found the time to watch it, until just recently. I have to say, I am glad I did. The positive reviews were all deserved. 

The characters are all very well defined and different, creating a great clash of egos when they come together creating great comedy. The actors in this series are all so good and fun to watch. The casting I would say was excellent, for each actor seems to have great chemistry with the others. Just watching Eugene Levy talk is hilarious by itself, he is so good at being funny. Catherine Ohara is such a great actress. Chris Elliot is such a great foil for Eugene's humor. The only one who seems a little bland is Sarah Levy, whose character doesn't seem to have much depth or definition. 

All that said, there are some serious logic flaws in the series. The fact that the whole time they are in the Motel no other guests appear seems odd. And it is also a real loss on some serious comedy gold, for they could introduce so many funny guest characters as room renters. 

Also, who is paying Stevie, Emily Hampshire? If there are no guests, why is she getting paid? And why is she filling the Coke machine? 

There is also the fact that the Motel, which played a significant role in the very first episode when water dripped on Johnny Rose's head, becomes silent after that. There is a lot of comedy that could be made of things happening at the Motel, for instance, the Ice Machine, cameras in the mirrors, bed bugs, or raccoons coming to visit, weird smells, I could come with a ton of funny things that would add to the humor of the show. 

This show becomes primarily about the interactions of the characters, which are all very funny and done wonderfully, it just could be even more if they took the opportunities presented by their premise. 

Thanks for reading. I give this series an A-. 

Mark Robijn

Sunday, September 13, 2020

You Were Only a Dream My Heart Made

 You Were Only a Dream My Heart Made

The pillow still holds

The shape of your head

I still feel the warmth

Of your body in the bed


But you were only a dream my heart made.


Your toothbrush lies

On the edge of the sink

Your slippers in the corner

Are mute reminders in furry pink


Still, you were only a dream my heart made.


My mind plays an old tape

I’ve forgotten to erase

What to get for your birthday?

Candy or flowers in a vase?


You were only a dream my heart made.


Were you ever really real?

Did you ever really exist?

Did you ever really live here?

Did I ever feel your kiss?


Or were you only a dream that my heart made?


I know now how the Phantom of the Opera feels

To love someone so deeply physical scars matter not,

To be wounded so deeply that it touches your soul,

You cling to the hope that hope is not lost.


Until you were only a dream my heart made.


I stumble through the day

Like a toy with a missing part

I’m broken and can’t function

Now that we’re apart


I have to remember…

You were only a dream my heart made.


Monday, July 27, 2020

Amontillado With Me

Amontillado with Me
By Mark Robyn

Cold numbs my spirit
It is not the night
His voice mocks with cruelty
Bells tinkle the merry song of death
Where is the amontillado?

Come on a dark journey with me, he said
A special pleasure we’ll share
Life only passes once
Drink it in while you can
For life passes only once.

Last brick in place
Spiders dance in my throat
I hear Death rustling
Life passes only once
Enjoy Amontillado with me

Come on a dark journey with me, he said
A special pleasure to share
Life only passes once
Drink Amontillado while you can
For life passes only once

And then comes Death.