Monday, November 19, 2012

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES or Survival of the Insane

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES or Survival of the Insane This past Saturday, I ran the Run for your Lives 5k in Clermont, Florida. I set out for Clermont from my hotel at approximately 7:45, not knowing how long it would take to get to the destination, but knowing that they said to arrive two hours prior to your race for check in. I got to the race turn off at 8:30 and was greeted by the sign that had the following image: Photobucket After turning off the paved road, it was another twenty minutes of moving in bumper to bumper traffic until I finally reached the parking lot, if you wanted to call it that. It was a cordoned off horse pasture, complete with “Steaming divots” (a la Pretty Woman). So, I paid my parking fee, picked up my bag and started my trek to check in. By the time I made it to check in, it was 9:20, and I was scheduled for the 10:30 wave. I quickly pinned my bib on to the front of my long sleeve Superman shirt and strapped my race timer to my right shoe. I then made my way to the drop tent and left my bag with the attendant and began to walk around the spectator pavilion, looking at some of the obstacles that I would no doubt have to take on during my 5k. One of them appeared to be a mini mountain of sand, which I thought would not be a problem (more on that later, and the other one that was visible was a slide with orangeish-brown water coming down it, and four distinct rows that you could slide down. At the front of the pavilion was a stage with a dj and an emcee trying to pump up the hundred fifty or so people that were milling around the pavilion, waiting on their race time to come. I struck up a conversation with several of the people, finding out that they had shown up for a twelve thirty race and an eleven thirty race and were just chilling there listening to the music. There were several games in the pavilion, including a version of “beer pong” involving 5 gallon drums and larger bouncy balls called “apocalypse pong” in which the object of the game was to knock all of your opponents’ drums out by landing the ball inside the drums before he does the same to your drums. I wandered around the pavilion, trying to keep myself loose, for the race. Finally, race time came, and I lined up to enter the fray. The race entrance was broken into three categories: “Appetizers, entrees, and desserts.” I looked at myself, and seeing as how I weigh approximately 187 pounds, figured I would be an appetizer more than a main course and definitely am not sweet enough to be considered dessert for a zombie. So, I moved into the “appetizer” line and waited for the gate to open and to move on thru the darkness into the actual race. After what seems like an eternity, I hear a countdown starting and start in on “3, 2, 1” and the gate opens in front of me and the rest of the racers on the 10:30 wave. I squint and pull down my sunglasses as the sunlight momentarily blinds me as I start jogging out of the tunnel, uncertain of what lies in front of me. I tried to keep up with a group of two guys and two girls that I had met in the tunnel that had stated they were not going to run until they saw the first group of zombies, simply because there was no reason to run until you needed to. I agreed with the strategy and stayed with them, and jogged on along for about a hundred fifty yards and suddenly saw the pack in front of me disintegrate as a staggering zombie came towards the pack of us. We all bolted our separate ways and took off and the race was officially on! From there on, it was a mix of dodge and weave when you saw a staggering zombie wobbling towards you (which was more in the beginning of the race), or jump out of the way when a zombie would amble out of the weeds or woods (as there was brush hiding some zombies), or just stand and watch the zombies with a group. I actually met up with a group of seven runners and hung with them for most of the race, although we never introduced ourselves to each other, we watched out for each other and called out “walker” (when you saw a zombie ambling up behind one of the pack) or “chaser” (when a zombie would take off running after one of the pack and try to pick off a flag). Let me stop here and explain how the race worked. At the beginning of the race you were given a belt with three flags on it. These were your lives: just like in a video game. If you were attacked by a zombie three times or failed to do an obstacle you lost a flag. There were also supposed to be health stations where there were flags for regeneration of your lost life, but that was never seen by anyone in my party. So, if you lost all your flags, your game was over, but you could still finish the race, your time just wasn’t counted as a “survivor”. And they had shirts that said “I died at Run For Your Life” as well as “I survived at Run For Your Life” that you could buy. So, after about a mile and a half we (the group that I was hanging with) came to the first “obstacle”. It was a set of sand dunes that had been tracked thru by five waves already and had four zombies just waiting at various points for us. One of the girls had already lost two of her flags, and the rest of us (myself included) had two or all three flags (I had lost my first flag from a medieval knight zombie chaser during a long stretch of “walkers” that no one saw the chaser and he picked off two other flags out of the group.) We all stopped at the beginning of the dunes and decided to put the single flagged girl in the middle and try to keep the zombies away from her, even using ourselves as human shields if necessary. We moved out and started moving thru the sand, our traction not being what it was on the grass and we started slipping and the zombies looking and lunging at us, but not picking our flags as we fell. We made it thru unscathed somehow. A few hundred yards ahead, the next obstacle arose, it was a mud pit with sand on each side. Fortunately for us, there were no zombies, so we could move thru at our own pace. I jumped in and the water came up to mid calf and was mildly cool as it was about 60 at the time. I tried to move thru the water as quickly as possible and stepped out with my feet and socks soaked thru. After dodging several more sets of zombies the group made it to the third obstacle, which was the wall, which was a four and a half foot barrier, which for someone with no upper body strength is a challenge. Fortunately, I could step onto the piece of wood that held it up and lift my leg over so that counted for me. Yea, cheap win, but I will take it. The group had kept on jogging and left me behind, so I took a “break” and walked for a bit, not really sure what would be coming up next. I was surprised to find a bit of a bottle neck ahead as it was due to a military crawl thru muddy water. Slowly I made my way up to the water and eyed the barbed wire that was over the water. One of the guys that was standing before the obstacle says, “Well, at least the wire isn’t electrified,” and chuckles. With that, I step in and drop onto all fours and start crawling thru the mud. One of the course officials on the other side hollers at all of us in the water, “DOWN LOWER!” and I drop down as low as I can go and military crawl all the way to the other side, mud and water sloshing on the people beside me. As I exit the other side, I proudly climb out of the mud and shake off a little water out of my hair and look ahead at a zombie cheerleader who does aPhotobucket Hulk Hogan pose at one of the runners and grin. I take off jogging and return the pose to her, and she says, “I’m not scared of you.” I quip back, “Good, you’re not supposed to be,” and grin. I keep the grin on my face as I keep alternating walking and jogging until the adrenaline has left my body from the military crawl (about five minutes) and then start back all walking until somehow I catch back up to my group. We stay together until we come to the next obstacle, the maze. It is a darkish setup where you can’t see past the next turn, and you always think you are going the right way, until you make the wrong turn, and then you end up having to turn around and double back. They put three zombies in the side that I ended up going down but they did not mess with me, just walked by me. I made one wrong turn and had to double back, and got out finally. The moment I made it out, I was sorry I did, however, as it made me think of the prison yard from this season’s premiere of the Walking Dead. I dodged as best I could all the way thru the field that lay between me and the orchard of “safety” that ended that zone of zombies. I caught back up to the group, and we turn the corner into the orchard, only to be met by zombie children. Fast zombie children. Scary fast zombie children. We take off for as fast as we can and finally escape, but not before one of the group succumbs to one of them, and he loses one of his flags. We find a health pack, but it’s empty. Typical of the day we’ve been having. The group keeps on, the eight of us, the seven and the straggler (me), because there is power in numbers. We turn another corner and a pack of zombies jump out of the brush and attack us, and one of them gets my second flag. Right before the second mile water station. The whole group is mad about this. It’s like the water was a trap. But we are all thirsty, so we stop and drink two or three cups before walking on. We all round another corner and come to another group of zombies: Zombie Colonel Sanders, Zombie Ronald McDonald, Zombie Wonder Woman, Zombie Xena. Fortunately, they were all walkers and did little damage as they just shuffled after as we had to navigate a hill at the same time as dealing with them. We make it to the top of the hill and go down the other side and see the mountain of sand on the other side. But standing in our way is three more zombies and another group of sand dunes, the group darts ahead, and I just stand there, staring at the dunes. I take my first step, and lose my footing and fall flat. I think the zombies have taken etiquette classes as they do not swamp people when they are down and take their flags. In fact, they are running after the people that are trying to get away from them. I get up and run/slide thru the sand and grab the rope and help a blonde up the mountain of sand and make it up myself. Then the unthinkable happens: I see the finish line. I had been told there was seventeen zones of zombies somewhere on the course, and was approaching zone 16. I gritted my teeth and checked my one remaining flag. It was still there. I looked at what was in front of me. I saw a few walkers but nothing too harsh. I start moving, keeping the pace that I had kept for most of the race. Then I see a big motorcycle biker zombie lurking around a group of trees. He is stalking a couple of runners, so I try to get by and instead he reaches out and grabs my flag, a mere 350 yards from the finish line. I immediately stop, not knowing what to do. I have no lives left, and then remember: health packs or flags. A zombie up ahead hands a flag to a runner. I start putting on the puppy dog eyes, to no good, for the next three or four girls zombies that I pass. I give up and start jogging, deciding to just finish the race. I turn the corner and see another obstacle that says that it involves electricity, and I instantly choose the alternate route, not seeing a reason to do it if there is nothing to lose (you lose a flag if you don’t complete an obstacle, by the way), and run on to the ladder and the the final three obstacles: the drop, the crawl, and the electric fence. They are exactly what they sound like: you climb up a wooden apparatus to slide down a drop that is recycling orangish-brown liquid that rinses off what you have on you, which by now is sand, mud, possibly blood, snot, sweat, tears, pain, and frustration, and carries it on to the next person. You drop into a pool of this fluid at the bottom of the drop and you step out and have to run, jog, or walk, all the while being reminded that you are still being timed to a set of “v” barricades that had barbed wire over it, that you military crawl under. Once you are thru that, you continue to military crawl under a chain link electric fence that is approximately twenty feet long. I did not let any part of my body move up high enough to get shocked but heard people complaining that they were getting shocked on their legs and other unmentionables due to this. When it was all said and done, my time for my first (and definitely not last) Run For Your Life 5K was 1:09:17.9. I finished 337th in my wave, out of 453, and 3755th out of 5303 overall.

This was what I looked like right afterwards: Photobucket

This was what I was racing for. Uploaded from the Photobucket iPad App

It would have been nice to have one flag so I could have had an “I survived the Run For Your Life” shirt, but I am already planning on running in Atlanta in September, and think I have some zombie fodder, I mean some willing runners who will be happy to run with me….. We shall see. . . Maybe that will be the one.

As always, if you like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at If you don’t like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at

As always, be kind, please rewind, and remember two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights always make a left.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

“Cloud Atlas” Review

(warning: general spoilers below)

This past Friday I went to the premier of the movie Cloud Atlas, not really knowing what to expect, except that it was a movie spanning several “lifetimes” (having seen that in the few previews and from the one friend that I had talked to about the movie). I did know that it was a three hour movie.
The movie starts off with Tom Hanks sitting as an old man talking in some weird language, then segues to 1849 where you see a “younger” Tom Hanks digging in the sand of a South Pacific island beach. The movie stays there for a few minutes to introduce you to another of the main characters, before shuttling you off to 1930’s London, I think, into the bed of a pair of men, post-coitus, and you realize that one of the men is the “same” man that Tom Hanks was talking to on the beach in 1849. This is the way that the movie begins, weaving its way thru several hundred years, introducing you to six different story lines. Each story line focuses on two characters which would invariably tie into another storyline later. 1849 South Pacific ties into 1930’s London, 1930’s London ties into 1973 San Francisco, 1973 San Francisco ties into 2012 London, 2012 London ties into 2144 Neo Seoul, and 2144 Neo Seoul ties into old Tom Hanks’ time.
I don’t want to give too much away, since I was accused of doing that in my last review, but the main characters are a doctor and his patient (1849), a master musician, his apprentice and his lover (1930), a magazine writer and a corrupt organization (1973), a publicist on the run (2012), a created being, her lover, and her captor (2144), and a group of post-apocalyptic refugees living in the jungle trying to survive.
The movie itself was well written and directed, but I do have to say that I was a little confused due to the jumping between time periods. But after a while, the story telling mechanism begins to make sense, when they went back to 1849 after seeing “old” Tom Hanks’ again, and then on to 1930s and so on. You find yourself drawn into the movie and began to see the story lines begin to meld together, and even begin to see the people that were the same thru the timelines. When the movie ended, I could not believe that three hours had passed and that it was over. I was completely enthralled in the plot, and plan on getting this movie when it comes out on video just to watch it again to make sure that I had not missed any important plot points.
As the movie progressed there was a bit of language, sex, and nudity (both male and female), which I cannot downplay so it may not be for all ages. In fact, the first swear word was the “F” word dropped by Halle Berry, and it was not the only time it was used in the course of the movie. But, the movie did not have too many swear words in it (15-20 total for a 172 minutes) and 3 sex scenes, plus 4 different nudity scenes (including the sex scenes) .
In all, this was a very good movie, well worth your time, and may be something to use for a study in human behavior, as it does explore it in depth. As I mentioned, it would not be for the young (under 10, because of the language and nudity, and the small bit of violence that was shown), but it would be ok for all others as long as a parent was there to explain what was going on or fast forward thru the nudity and sex. Definitely am going back for seconds on this one.

Plot: 9.8/10
Humor: 9.3/10
Family Friendly Language: 8.9/10
“Family Friendly” Violence: 9.0/10
Nudity/Suggestive Situations: 8.5/10
Overall Rating 9.1/10

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As always, be kind, please rewind, and remember two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights always make a left.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Frankenweenie Review

Now, first off, let me say, I am not a Tim Burton fan, so, I went in to Frankenweenie with a little trepidation and hesitation. But, I had been watching trailers for the movie for the last few months and with each new one, had been getting more stoked for it.

So, opening night, I purchased my ticket for the IMAX 3D show and bought my small popcorn, Twizzlers, and large Coke Zero and plopped down sixth row center to enjoy my first black and white movie in a theater in my life. I love the old time horror films like Dracula, Frankenstein, Curse of the Mummy mainly for their over the top acting and kind of camp feeling and was hoping that Frankenweenie would be the same.

The theater was having problems with the audio for the preshow and I did not get to hear any of the “pre-“previews of Arthur Christmas, Brave or Adventure Time, and then when the actual preview for Oz the Great and Powerful came on, the 25 people who were in the theater were almost blown out by the sudden change from no audio to excessive loudness.

The movie itself was a definite departure from your standard Disney fare, with it taking a dark turn about ten minutes in (spoiler alert) with the death of Sparky. Even though the actual death was not shown on screen, I actually did not want to see it happen (the death occurred off screen) and felt bad for Victor, even though I knew it had to happen to drive the plot.

In the meantime, it is announced that the school is supposed to have a science fair.

Following the dog’s burial, Victor is in his science class, when the teacher begins to talk about reanimation, which gives Victor an idea. A la Frankenstein, he builds his laboratory in the attic of his parents’ house and begins to work on bring his beloved dog back to life.

He succeeds, and works (quite miserably) to keep the resurrected dog a secret, as the dog escapes from the attic and is spotted by the “Igor” of the movie, who black mails Victor into replicating the feat with a dead fish, which turns invisible for “Igor” upon its resuscitation.

Once “Igor” (whose name is Edgar E. Gore) has left Victor’s house, he runs into two of his classmates and shows them the invisible fish. They immediately think that Victor is going to win the science fair with this discovery, so they have to come up with something bigger and better.

Hijinks ensue as the pair try their hand at rocketry sans a working rocket.

Finally, the entire science class find out how Victor brought Sparky back to life and decide to bring various animals back to life or supercharge other animals (Sea Monkeys, a Cat that happens to grab a bat at the exact moment the lightning strikes the wire). All of the beasts grow into monsters and it is up to Victor and Sparky to save the city, at the ultimate sacrifice of Sparky’s life, or so it seems. . .

The movie definitely pays homage to the classic monster movies, with nods to Godzilla, the Mummy, of course Frankenstein, and Dracula. Tim Burton also slips in a subtle nod to his Batman movies with a Batman kite that Victor uses for the reviving of Sparky.

This is a great way to introduce children to monster movies, with no swearing, no onscreen violence, no sex, and it gives parents a way to talk to kids about good and bad afterwards. I would definitely watch the movie again and again, even knowing the ending, and even though I am an animal lover and do not like to see animals die (seeing a dog get “hit” by a car) would give a parent an in road to talk to a child about death if the question was brought up.

Plot: 9.8/10
Humor: 9.7/10
Family Friendly Language: 10/10
“Family Friendly” Violence: 9.5/10
Nudity/Suggestive Situations: 10/10
Overall Rating 9.6/10

As always, if you like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at If you don’t like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at

As always, be kind, please rewind, and remember two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights always make a left.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A word (or more) on writing. . . .

John D. MacDonald once famously said that every writer has a million words of crap in them before they reach their first publishable story.

Given the fact that I have been writing since I was eight years old, (my first story I wrote was a HORRIBLE Star Trek story where I was the captain, and it started off with me having to decide who to cheer for on the on-screen viewer in a basketball game between Connecticut or Georgetown), I would hope that my writing has improved somewhat. I mean, my conundrums now are more world shaping than a simple basketball game, most times, they involve some intricate plot for world domination or a magician bent on destroying the world.

Along the way, I have “cobbled” together the first part of an epic fantasy story that is still in the midst of a rewrite (due to plot holes that you could send the whole Second Calvary thru) that will probably end up being in the neighborhood of a hundred fifty thousand words when rewritten, but was just over a hundred thousand words at completion. I also have put out two mysteries of about fifty thousand words each that are also waiting on rewrites, and a modern western that is waiting on me to put an ending on it that is over fifty thousand words. So, based on the premise above, I have a quarter of a million words right there just written during the months of November between 2006 and 2011.

I also wrote a second part of the fantasy story that, like Ray Bradbury, I sent up in flames, because I did not deem them worthy of publishing. Well, that, and I received a rejection letter from a single publisher who did not like the draft that I dared to send to them. *gasp* Yes, I know, I don’t take to rejection very lightly. Might also be part of the reason I have five other novels not ready for publishing yet. Who knows? Never did do a word count on it, but it took up two full five subject college ruled notebooks written single spaced on one side of each page. If anyone can tell me how many words that is, I would like to know.

Then there were the countless essays and speeches that I had to write out for all of my classes since fifth grade thru my senior year of college. I shudder to think about how many teachers I put to sleep with my droning on about mundane drivel over the years that I thought was exciting. . . kind of like I am doing to you now, for which I have to apologize, but every now and then a man has to rant.

Finally, we come to my blogs. Over the last three years I have written about any and everything: movies, books, weight loss, life, theater, and that will not change in the future, because I have not heard any complaints from you, my few, my proud few. Most of you have been here from the beginning, a few have joined along the way, but the blog is my way of carving my writing style so that when I do submit my book, be it Valqis: Reborn or Operation Blackout, it will be worth an editor’s and a publisher’s time.

So, I do need your feedback on this one!! Is my writing getting better, getting worse, leaving you bored, making you want to read more, wanting to not want to ever read another piece of drivel that I have to write? Please, I beg you, let me know!!!

I think I am almost to a million. . . only three hundred thousand more words to go . . .

As always, if you like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at If you don’t like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at

As always, be kind, please rewind, and remember two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights always make a left.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Grendel's Shadow Review

The Grendel’s Shadow was a good novella for Andrew Mayne’s first attempt at fiction.

It was a simple, straight forward adventure story of a man trying to get a creature before it destroys an entire civilization one person at a time. The way the story just drops you in the middle of a semi-primitive culture with dangerous animals and very few ways for a person to defend themselves automatically puts you on the edge of your seat, wondering how and if the hero is going to make it through the story.

The way that Mayne crafted this story made it hard to believe this was his first fiction novella. He seemed to take his cues from some of the greats in horror such as King, Koontz, and Stoker by weaving a tale that made the reader want to keep reading. The hero seemed believable, while his “side-kick,” if you want to call the reporter that was assigned to report on his activities, started out as a meager mouselike creature of a man, but after a while in the jungle of the alien planet, was forced to grow a spine and fend for himself and help the hero.

I started reading this story on my break one afternoon and was engrossed in the amount of detail that Mayne used to fashion the alien world, not unlike the way he did in Hollywood Pharaohs, but still leaving things credible enough for it to not leave you thinking that it could not happen. When I picked the book up again on the bus to Atlanta this past weekend, I did not put it down until I had finished it. Each page made me want to read more of the story.

The swearing again posed a problem, but given the medium and the writer, I was not sure if it could not be expected. Other than that, The Grendel’s Shadow is a great read, well worth the 99 cents you will pay for it on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, or, and you will lose yourself in a world of far off mystery and disbelief for a few hours cheering for a hero as you make your way to another world.

Overall rating: 4

As always, if you like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at If you don’t like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at

As always, be kind, please rewind, and remember two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights always make a left.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman review

This past Saturday, I bought into the hype machine and went to see Snow White and the Huntsman with my wife, starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, and Chris Hemsworth. First off, how has Chris Hemsworth not been in more movies? The guy is great. And I had NO IDEA that he was Kirk’s father in the new Star Trek until I pulled up his IMDB page, but I digress.

In the past few years, the fairy tale genre has been a hot commodity, provided you get a good story: Alice in Wonderland, Mirror, Mirror, and all the Cinderella movies for the Disney franchise, so Universal decides to stick its toe in the fairy tale genre with three hot actors and see what the result would be. What I saw was not your mother’s Snow White, let me tell you. Not that this was a bad thing, in all aspects.

First off, we know that the Evil Queen does not like Snow White because she is “fairer than the queen”, but we do not know why that was so important to the queen. Charlize Theron (best known for her Oscar award winning performances in North Country and Monster, as well as The Astronaut’s Wife, Hancock, and many, many, many other movies) played the queen to a tee in this movie. The first time you see her in the movie, you have a small bit of sympathy for her. But that sympathy soon fades as the evil queen (named Ravenna in this incantation) rears her head and begins to show what she must do to stay in control.

Then there is Snow. Oh, poor, innocent, pitiful, sweet Snow. *snortchortle* Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. This was one of the places where I had problems with the movie. (SPOILER ALERT) I know that it was put there to drive the movie, but do you really think that a girl with a “heart as pure as snow” would scratch someone with a rusty nail just to escape from her prison cell? And while we are talking about things that are as “pure as snow”, how did a solid white horse just “end up” laying in a cleft of a rock break just waiting for Snow to happen by and hop on him and ride off? I mean, come on, really? Kristen Stewart (known from the Twilight franchise) did her best to play the character of a girl that it seemed everyone was trying to either kill or follow, there was no middle ground. She does fairly respectably, but it felt like she was trying to play Bella lost in the big bad woods trying to find Edward or Jacob and not to get to the duke (which was her main objective).

The final “main” character is the “Huntsman”, since he was never officially given a name other than Huntsman, played by Chris Hemsworth (of Thor, The Avengers, and his reallllllll small part in Star Trek, along with four other movies to date). Hemsworth played a lovable drunk that you ended up wanting to win (which I don’t know if that is a good thing or not: the lovable drunk part, that is). First time you see him he is crashing through a wall, drunk out of his mind, fighting with a man that he owed money to. (He narrates the film, as well. Accent is awesome, helps to keep things moving, but again, I digress). Come to find out he is a widower, which is part of the reason he drinks. As I mentioned in the opening, I am trying to figure out why Hemsworth has not been in more movies, because his presence on the screen is amazing. He also helps to “mop up” the mess that Stewart makes with her Bella routine, as best he can.

Finally, we come to the seven supporting characters that you come to expect in a Snow White movie: I am speaking, of course, of the animals!!! *ducks thrown tomato* Sorry, again, couldn’t help myself. Universal again went out of their way to get a few A-list actors to play the dwarfs, with Bob Hoskins (Hook, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), and Ian McShane (Pirates: On Stranger Tides, and the TV Shows Deadwood and Kings) leading the people that I recognized right off. The dwarfs were not the typical “whistle while you work” dwarfs that you saw in the Disney films. Instead, these dwarfs are more like robbers and thieves and drunks than anything.

The plot of the movie was pretty straight forward: Queen doesn’t like that Snow was “fairer” than her so she has to kill her, Snow escapes, Queen sends Huntsman after Snow, Huntsman lets Snow live, Snow comes back and battles Queen, the end. As I have pointed out earlier, there are some issues with writing that I think were just put in the movie for plot’s sake, and if you leave them out, the movie would have been able to move along just as well, because Snow could have gotten away from the Queen’s brother another way, and she could have run instead of ridden, but that’s just my thought. The revival of Snow as well as the actual ending were both twists that I did NOT see coming, so I have to give the writers kudos on that. Of course, I have never read the Brothers Grimm fairy tale to know if that is the way the story plays out for them or not. I may have to put them on my GoodReads reading list just because of this movie.

All things considered, this is a fairly good movie to lose yourself in for two hours, with only a smattering of curse words, none of which are too offensive to even warrant mentioning. The violence was a little over the top in places, and could have been dialed back, but seeing as how Snow White and the Huntsman found itself going up against The Avengers and Men in Black 3, I guess they figured they had to throw in the extra violence to stay competitive. The drinking was definitely there, with the Huntsman and the dwarves, and it seemed as though it was a plot point, so I don’t know what to think of it. There was no drug use, obviously. The only nudity, if you want to call it that, was the back of Ms. Theron that you saw twice, and her front once, with her arms covering her breasts.

Plot: 8.0/10
Humor: 9.0/10
Family Friendly Language: 9.7/10
“Family Friendly” Violence: 4.0/10
Nudity/Suggestive Situations: 8.5/10

Overall Rating: 8.7/10

As always, if you like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at If you don’t like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at

As always, be kind, please rewind, and remember two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights always make a left.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Through My Eyes" by Tim Tebow Review

Through My Eyes is Tim Tebow’s retelling of his life from his birth to the end of his rookie year in Denver. For someone like myself that has only recently (as in the last four years) become a Tebow fan, I really had no idea what his parents went through, especially his mother’s ordeal prior to his birth. But it just goes to show that God has a plan for each and every person, no matter what anyone thinks.

Having just started trying to get myself in shape, I found myself inspired by some of the things that Tebow said in his book: “If I didn't work as hard as I could, then I think it would be a bit like saying, 'God, thanks for giving me this ability, but I don't really care about it. I'm going to do something else, and I'm not going to work quite as hard.’” "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." And “Somewhere he is out there, training while I am not. One day, when we meet, he will win.” (The last one took me a while to actually find because I did not have the book with me currently and it seemed like no one had the quote attributed to him….UGGH).

Tebow is definitely not shy about sharing his faith in this book, not that I was going to expect any less from the son of a missionary, but the way that he interweaves his beliefs into his story, it makes you understand why he believes what he believes.

This book took me a little more than three weeks to read, and that mainly only reading on the weekends going to and from town in the back of cars or on long trips. It is definitely a good read if you want a strong Christian role model to look up to. If you are looking for a football strategy book, this may not be the book for you, even though Tebow does tell the plays that made the games exciting for people to watch during his high school and college career.

I am sure that there will be nay-sayers and downplayers of this book because of who the author is, but for those of you, I say, “Look at the total package before you judge. Just because of where the man went to school or who he played for is not a reason to not like the man, until you know more about him.”

Overall rating of the book: 4.25
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As always, be kind, please rewind, and remember two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights always make a left.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review of HollyWood Pharoahs by Andrew Mayne

Hollywood Pharaohs by Andrew Mayne was the first book that I had actually read by this up and coming author, and quite frankly, I did not know what to expect from him. But, from the moment that I opened the book, I was captivated with his ability to weave a tale. His breadth of knowledge on subjects from Egypt to the breakdown of how a grenade actually sounds when it explodes made you feel as though you were actually there in the book with the characters.

I have listened to Andrew Mayne for a couple of years co-host a show called the “Weird Things Podcast” so I knew he had a wealth of knowledge, and it was that knowledge that he brought to life in Theresa and Michael from the moment that Michael emerges from the bushes at Theresa’s mansion in Beverly Hills like a peeping tom only to realize that her mansion overlooks one of the scenes from WestWorld (great choice for a movie backdrop). It is at that moment that you realize that Andrew has not only done his research to make this book feel realistic in every sense, he wants you to enjoy the thrill ride that he is about to buckle you in for.

Hollywood Pharaohs is a mystery wrapped up in an adventure tied up in an Indiana Jones-style find the Ark before the Nazis do and take over the world. I have definitely become a fan of his writing style, and look forward to sitting down and reading the other books that he has written prior to Hollywood Pharaohs. My one drawback (and it is a minor one) is the profanity. There was some profanity in the book, and it may have been used to move the plot along, but it was not necessary in my opinion to the book.

You can get your copy of the book on, or, and it is well worth a look at only 99 cents.

Overall rating: 4 stars.

If you like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at If you don’t like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at

As always, be kind, please rewind, and remember two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights always make a left.

Return to One-derland

Mr. White: Next, this "Oneders", with the O-N-E, it doesn't work. It's confusing. From now on, you boys'll just be... simply The Wonders.

Lenny: As in, I *wonder* what happened to the O'Needers?

- - - From “That Thing You Do”

“Your Body is a One-derland” – John Mayer (some poetic license used)

When I first began this journey to become fit some three plus years ago, I had no idea that I would be right back at the same place as I was mid-2010, breathing a sigh of relief.

“What are you talking about?” you are probably asking.

Well, I will tell you. I started this year at two hundred thirty pounds, the heaviest that I had ever been in my life, after having vowed to myself in 2010 that I would never gain the weight back that I had fought so hard to lose. Yet, there I was, staring at the keg surrounding the six pack that I know existed somewhere underneath.

Instead of getting discouraged, I turned back to what had worked for me in the past: The support group that I had already built there is immeasurable, with people that are ready to build you up when you fall and push you when need it.

Slowly, I began with changing my eating habits. And believe me, that is the hardest thing to do! I would have no problem rolling into McDonald’s and getting two McChicken sandwiches, a McDouble, a value fry, a Filet-o-fish, and a large Sweet Tea, and then come back to work and proceed to eat ALL of it for my lunch, and then wonder why I was feeling miserable later on in the afternoon. Or I would get two double decker supremes, a burrito supreme, a gordita, and two hard tacos and would begin to eat on the way home, and then would wake up in the middle of the night and wonder why I had heart burn.

When I started logging my meals on MFP (the abbreviation for MyFitnessPal) I saw what I was eating (or planning on eating if it was lunch time, and that would normally change my mind) and my tastes began to change. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still have the occasional filet-o-fish and fries or taco (my profile is open for anyone to look and see) but it is nothing compared to my days of debauchery.

I also started going to workout classes here at work, which were Zumba and Yoga.

*waits for reader to stop rolling on the floor laughing at the thought of me doing Zumba before continuing*

Yes, it is weird to imagine a man doing Zumba, but it is not unheard of. I submit to you the following video: Zumba is a very good workout that has helped to build my stamina and also has helped to build my core strength.

Slowly, my weight began to drop.

Oh, did I mention I stopped drinking sodas almost entirely during the first four months of the year? Yep. My drinking consisted almost entirely of water, water, water, and an occasional half sweet, half unsweet tea. For those of you who think that it’s hard to just drink water, let me give you a tip that one of my friends gave me: put a piece of gum in your mouth before you drink your water, and then you may be able to tolerate it better. Personally, I have no problem drinking straight water, and on a good day, end up drinking between three and four sixteen ounce bottles. If I know I am having a really high salt day (which MFP will tell you as one of your columns) I can up my intake by another two or three bottles to compensate for the sodium.

Then the unthinkable happened: I hit a plateau. For those of you who are unfamiliar to weight loss terminology, a plateau is where you go for an extended period of time without losing weight. For me, it was almost two months. I was doing everything right: eating right, exercising, counting my calories, drinking my water, getting the right amount of sleep. I think that my body had just grown accustomed to the workouts that I had been doing and needed a change.

I had been thinking about doing the Run For Your Lives 5K in Orlando in November and figured that since I wasn’t losing weight just doing Zumba and Yoga any more, maybe adding running and a little more cardio into my workout would be the kickstart that my body needed to start the weight loss back up.

So, off I went to Peach Mac to pick up a new Ipod touch so I could download the C25K (Couch to 5K) app and start my running program in earnest.

Now, what to do for the extra cardio? I remembered several of my MFP friends doing a program called Insanity and one of them is a coach for the program. After discussing with her in length, I signed up and was shipped the Insanity program, which I started two weeks ago, which I actually think started the weight loss, well, that and two other things.

The first? Running/Walking a 5K after only one week of training. My time was 51:30, which was “good” enough for second in my age group.

The second? Spending four hours in the sun mowing the lawn without eating anything (which I DO NOT [REPEAT DO NOT {REPEAT REPEAT DO NOT}]) recommend doing unless you have a death wish.

Regardless, I woke up Monday morning to step on the scales (as I do every morning) and they read 199.2!!! Stepped back off, let them reset, stepped back on, same reading! I let out a scream and skidded into the kitchen and proudly announced that I weighed 299.1!!! My wife laughed at me and congratulated me.

As far as week two of Insanity goes, I am taking the week off because I tweaked my back doing the fit test on day one, so I am going to start OVER next week on Monday with the fit test again.

So, in short (not that this blog was short, by any means), if you don’t think you can, I KNOW YOU CAN! I BELIEVE IN YOU! OTHERS WILL BELIEVE IN YOU! KEEP POSITIVE AND IT WILL HAPPEN!

Now on to the shameless plugs: I am a BeachBody Coach. You can visit my website at and get hooked up with Insanity, P90X, and all other good workout products.

If you like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at If you don’t like what I have to say, please leave me feedback below or send me an e-mail at

As always, be kind, please rewind, and remember two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights always make a left.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review of "11/22/63" by Stephen King

 (Warning!!! This does contain some spoilers!!!)

I recently found out about a website called For those of you who do not know about it, it is a website where you rate books that you have read and after rating 20 books, it begins to customize your reading list based on what you have read in the past.

I just finished Stephen King's next to last book, his take on the JFK assassination, titled "11/22/63." Below is my review:

This book was truly amazing. I had read a teaser for it on the Barnes and Noble's website while browsing for something else (can't really remember what now, shows how important it was in comparison), but the thought of a story by Stephen King centered around the assassination of JFK definitely got my attention. I am definitely a conspiracy theory nut (third gunman on the grassy knoll, the faked moon landing, silent black choppers, you name it, I would read it, just to see where the person is going and to see if the guy or girl might be considered a certifiable whack job or not), so I wanted to see where Mr. King was going to go with this book.

I always have a stack of "To be read" books, so when I got 11/22/63 on Christmas morning from my mother in law, it got placed in line behind the Harry Potter series that I was currently working on. But as the days wore on, the thought of a Stephen King just lying there not being read just began to eat at me. I have been a King fan since I was a freshman in high school, nearly devouring every book that the Handley and Lord Fairfax library had to offer by the man in a summer. So, I finished the third book of the Potter series and picked up 11/22/63.

Now, as I said, I am a King fan, but have had some problems with some of his later works leaving something to be desired, like the last Dark Tower book, and Under the Dome (which is still about a third completed). 11/22/63, on the other hand, was not like this. King took a few pages to bring you in to the story, but he did it with characters that seemed somewhat familiar (Jake Epping, was, after all, in the "Dark Tower" series). By the time that I put the book down for dinner the first night, I was over a hundred pages into the book. That was the way it was with the entire book. "Oh, I'll just pick it up for a few pages." And then, before I know it, fifty pages have passed, and I am putting the book down.

King pulls no punches with his blood, guts or profanity, some of which did make me wince a bit, even though you know that when you pick up a Stephen King book you are not going to get a "G" rated book from page 1 thru to the credits.

The only drawback to the book was the "harmonics" that Jake was afraid of. After Sadie was killed by Lee, instead of going back and not messing with Oswald, which caused the alternate future, why not just go back and live in the past with Sadie or bring her to the future with him? Both were viable options, especially since he already knew he loved her. King did such a great job of weaving a love story that I wanted the guy to get the girl in the end, not to have the book end the way that it did, but I guess letting her have her future the way that she did was all right as well. It just seemed a little disappointing given what "might have been."

King's mastery of the suspense genre has definitely returned with this book. I look forward to his future books as long as they are written like this.

Overall rating: 4.25

Until we meet again, remember, two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.

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