Monday, November 25, 2013

Movie and Book Review: Catching Fire

I enjoyed reading The Hunger Games and liked the movie. I REALLY loved Catching Fire---both book and movie! When I was reading it, I couldn't wait to see how they were going to adapt it for the big screen. I'm happy to say I was not disappointed.

This second installment of the Hunger Games saga is so much richer and deeper. The characters displayed a real depth of emotion about death and dying; about the destruction of people by their government...It really makes one think about what could happen in the world when people are powerless.

I always like the Peeta character in the novel, but wasn't too keen on the selection of Josh Hutcherson as the actor to play him. I think he kicked it up several notches this time around, so I liked him a lot more, but I still couldn't stop focusing on how short he is compared to Katniss and pretty much everyone else in the film! Lol...

In the book, Finnick Odair, one of the competitors in the Games is described as having "extraordinary beauty", so I was looking forward to seeing an awesome hottie...didn't quite fellow chosen was nice looking (see fellow below on the right), but far from extraordinary or swoon-worthy. He did start to look better the longer the film went probably didn't want the guy to overshadow Peeta or Gale! At least they showed more of Gale this time!

Catching Fire will totally leave you "hungering" for Mockingjay. I still have to read it! I haven't read the reviews of the book, but it's my understanding that some people were disappointed with the conclusion to the saga...uh oh...well, I 'll find out soon enough. In the mean time, go see Catching Fire. It's good---real good!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 22, 2013

Scary Part Two...

This present administration has limited independent journalists access to the White House. What this means is that the White House will be using their own official journalists that are paid for by tax payer dollars. Essentially, these guys are more favorable to the president and the White House kind of produces their own press. I don't know about you, but this doesn't sound good. It sounds a little "iron curtain" like. Apparently, since the press has become more critical of the administration in response to the whole health insurance mess, the White House has decided to "punish" them and deny them access and the opportunity to ask questions.

The congress has also changed filibuster rules so that the minority party--whoever they may be--will have less power and ability to affect issues. Not a good thing. After all, the minority party represent people too.

Now people don't have to enroll in the health care plan until after the midterm congressional elections. Now why do you think that is? Could it be that if people saw what the insurance plans consist of, they'd reject them and the congressman that voted this into law? Are people really that ignorant that they don't grasp this? Apparently the government seems to think so. Boy, I hope they're wrong.

When changes happen slowly and in small measures people don't notice. It's called incrementalism. By the time they realize something is wrong (like with the recent health insurance changes), it may be too late and they find out they don't have as much choice or control over their lives.

Pray, people. Pray and ask the Lord to open the eyes of your understanding. It may take time, but I believe dark days are ahead. Pray to survive them.

Be enlightened.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

OMG! Bryan is back and he's offering you the chance to win up to 500 dollars doing what you love!

Bryan Cohen
If you like to write stories, blog posts, and more and love to read, my guest blogger, Bryan, can help you do it all! Check out his post below, expand your learning curve and maybe put a few more bucks in your pocket. Take it away, Bryan...

Your Writing Sanctuary and/or Shack
by Bryan Cohen

I sat on the blacktop of my dorm's basketball court, surrounded by construction noise when I realized that I could write anywhere. I don't know what it was I was scrawling on a piece of looseleaf that day, as my fellow classmates looked at me like I was crazy, but the machines were doing their work and so was I. That was over a decade ago, and yet it was one of the most important lessons I ever internalized. I didn't write my first book in an office. I wrote it in other peoples' offices during temp jobs. I put together some of it in my "economy studio" in which my office was the same room as my kitchen and my bedroom. I later put the finishing touches on the book on top of a luxurious $100 table my wife and I bought from Target. My writing time was inconsistent and erratic but I got it done wherever I could.

I think some writers put too much emphasis on finding their writing sanctuary: the perfect place to make their novel or non-fiction a reality. There's some merit to locating a place where you feel less distracted and blocked. I wrote part of my first book on an inherited queen size bed I later had to toss out because of bed bugs. I wrote my latest half in my office and half in my favorite, quiet, gluten-free pastry shop. Finding the right locations for writing made an impact, but the major difference between my first and latest book is me.

I grew from writing in all those different places. I improved by putting in more time and absorbing the different energies around me as I wrote. I think I needed to write in that tiny studio with the giant window that let out nearly all of my radiator heat during the Chicago winter. I had to reinforce the knowledge that writing could take place anywhere and under any condition. I still get writers block, like any other writer, but I've learned the lesson that I can find my writing sanitary or shack anywhere. Am I out of inspiration in my office? It's time to go to the coffee shop! Coffee shop too crowded? I'll try taking a trip to the edge of Lake Michigan. Or the back seat of my wife's parked car. Or even a bench located underneath the growling Chicago Transit Authority elevated train tracks.

If you can make your hallowed writing ground anywhere, there's no such thing as writers block. The next 500 words may be right around the corner. All you need to do is move.   

About the Author

In honor of his new book, Cohen is hosting the “1,000 Prompts, 1,000 Dollars" Writing Contest on his website. Click the link to find out how to enter!

Bryan Cohen is an author, a creativity coach and an actor. His new book, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More is now available on Amazon in digital and paperback format. His other books include 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, The Post-College Guide to Happiness, and Ted Saves the World. He has published over 30 books, which have sold more than 20,000 copies in total. Connect with him on his website, Build Creative Writing Ideas, on Facebook or on Twitter. 

My sincere thanks to Bryan for his words of wisdom and offering such a generous opportunity to enrich writers and readers.

Toodles, ya'll!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Movie Review: All Is Lost

*Shaking my head*...All I can say is that my thoughts while watching this movie were: "OMG. ALL IS TRULY LOST!!!!" I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Let me tell you what the story is about. Robert Redford is the only actor in the movie. He plays a nameless man that takes his yacht, the Virginia Jean, on a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean. All is well until his boat hits a big metal shipping container that is floating in the sea and rips a big hole in his boat. The darn container shouldn't  have been there in the first place! It's all down hill from there.

The entire movie is a one man show of how Redford struggles to survive as his boat takes on water. It kind of reminded me of The Life of Pi, but that had a lot of other actors in it. This one only had Redford. Essentially there was no dialogue either, unless you count a few shouts for "help", an expletive and a few words spoken into a radio that quickly goes dead.

You know, I would have thought that if you're on a boat in the ocean and need to be rescued, if a ship passes by, you're in like flyn. Not so fast. A big ship won't even see you. Shocking but true. If there is no one looking out at just the right moment, they'll pass right by you! They won't even hear your screams. So close, but yet so far...

Redford was pretty amazing. He had no one to play off of except the elements and the dire circumstances of the environment. I didn't know if I could stand spending almost two hours watching one guy who doesn't talk, go about his day trying to stay alive, but it does draw you in. I did get caught up in how he was going to make it--or not.

As the movie ended, a woman in the theater told me she didn't think he made it. She made an interesting argument which I hadn't considered and it made me question my original thoughts. I won't go into detail because I don't want to ruin the film with any spoilers. After all, the hold-your-breath-moment is whether he's going to make it out alive or not.

You decide. Then tell me what you believe!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Who's sorry now?

The president said he's sorry, but who's the sorriest? Him or the millions of people who have been kicked off their insurance plans? Him or the millions who have to pay more for less coverage.  Hey, I have nothing against the president on a personal level, but I don't have a lot of sympathy for a fellow who is arguably in the most important position on the planet with every imaginable resource at his command. With all the expertise available at his fingertips; every technological and policy expert willing to share their wealth of knowledge with him, this mess is the result? Is this disaster the best multiplied millions can buy?

You see, part of this problem is what happens when you don't respect money; when money seems to come from a infinite black hole, a bottomless pit. That's why government is so unconcerned and wasteful. They take money AKA revenue from other people. If they don't have enough or screw up, they just take more. The people are a faceless mass. There's no name or intimate knowledge of the people behind those dollars. They're just social security numbers. Pull up the number and exact more dollars when you need it. Or, you could always borrow and/or print it into the trillions.

To be continued...


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I don't know about you, but it's scary to me!

What am I talking about? This whole healthcare debacle. What's scary? The fact that the government can take away an individual's ability to choose a health plan that best meets their needs and they're helpless to do anything about it. Yup. It pretty much looks like they have to suck it up and take it. People got the shock of their lives when they received letters saying they're insurance policies were canceled. "That's right. We're cutting you off. Go join the new insurance exchanges...if you can. If you dare!" I understand the jacked-up website isn't even secure. People's most personal info is at the mercy of whomever. Even a convicted felon can be hired as one of the navigators that "guide" people to choose the right policy. Identity theft, anyone?

Can you imagine? This is where your tax dollars are spent. They paid millions to a company that did  such a crummy job building a health web site for Canada, that Canada fired them. And what's the company's reward? "Hey, you! Come to the US of A and do what you seem to do best (mess up!) here." Um hum. Makes a lot of sense--not!

People in this country seem so oblivious. They're more interested in their mobile phones, computers and reality TV shows than what the people they elect  to office are doing to their lives. I'm afraid that by the time they wake up, it'll be too late. Measures will be in place that will bring them under the control of those with less than benign motives. Think it can't happen here? Think again. They're are a lot of changes taking place you couldn't even imagine just a few years ago. Anything is possible.

If you're a believer, pray. And if you're not, pray to become one. Become what?  A believer in the  Lord Jesus Christ as savior. He is a help in your time of need. Of course this is just a suggestion and you're free to believe what you want. I'm not like your elected officials. I won't force you to take what you don't want or feel you don't need.

It's getting scary out there...and it's later than you think.

To be continued...


Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: The TWISTROSE KEY by Tone Almhiell

“Nearly every creature who lives here was once loved by a child of Earth, and loved the child in return. That bond was so strong that when the animals died, they woke up here in Sylver to live a second life.”
This quote so aptly captures the magical wonder of The Twistrose Key, the debut novel by Tone Almhiell. If you’ve ever loved a pet that has passed on, and are willing to partake of more than a little adventure, this jewel of a story will capture your heart and your imagination.
Eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist discovers a mysterious key when an unexpected parcel arrives to her home. She immediately connects with it and wouldn’t you know it, it opens the door of the cellar that’s been locked ever since her family moved into their rented home.
Hidden behind that cellar door lies Sylver, a world that is more amazing than even the creative mind of Lin Rosenquist can dream up. And what makes it the most amazing of all, is the discovery that her beloved Rufus is there. He’s the pet she lost in death and lies buried under the rosebush in the yard…or so Lin thought! 
Now Rufus and Lin must join forces to save the inhabitants of Sylver, but saying it won’t be easy is an understatement. Malicious forces are doing everything in their power to see that they don’t succeed. Can Lin fulfill her destiny and conquer the evil that threatens to overwhelm her, dearest Rufus and her new compatriots? You’ll have to enter the majestic, magical world of Sylver to find out.
And a magical world it truly is. The author exhibits a rich and fertile imagination, an ability to enchant both young and old. Age is no impediment to enjoying this story. The tale is as crisp and zesty as the cold and crystalline environ in which it is set. Readers should take their time and read with care to fully grasp and decipher the fresh mythology of the land of Sylver. It’ll leave you gasping, laughing and maybe shedding a tear or two.
Having lost two of my beloved girls, Boozie and Sweetie, I especially loved the premise behind this story. I don't know if the author has ever suffered through the death of a pet, but it was like she was in my head and knew how much one longs to see them again...and then she did something about it! It struck just the right note...*sigh*