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.

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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.

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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