Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Guest room Pt. 5 - A Story

It was a few hours into his drive that the text message came in. The text said "It's about time" and that was it. Joshua knew what that meant. It meant his friend, Dave, was in. He was in all the way, no matter where this journey took them. Joshua felt a little tension in his shoulders release about the same time his stomach began to churn. He effectively traded one type of stress (having to do this on his own) for another type of stress, this tie this one made his stomach upset. He had no idea what he would find in Santa Fe. He might find nothing at all, perhaps he had let Sarah's trail get too cold. Perhaps even Dave, a man who made a living from finding those no one else could, wouldn't be able to discover what really happened to Sarah. He pushed those ideas to the back of his head, he didn't have time for them now. The wheel was in motion and he had already pushed all his chips in. The only thing to do was to ride it out and see what came up.

Joshua realized his mind was getting too far ahead of him. In a move he hadn't made in a year, he reached into the side door panel for his CD case. He flipped through the discs until he found a good road trip album. Willie Nelson's Greatest Hits, the first song was 'On The Road Again". It seemed fitting somehow. He let the twang of the guitar and the comfortable swagger of Willie coax his mind away from the tough topics and back to the road ahead of him.


He was nearly at the Arizona Border when fatigue hit him. He was miles away from a gas station or a rest stop. He had to stop anyway, he had pushed an hour past when he first started feeling fatigued. He had fallen asleep for an undetermined period of time a few moments before and only the sound as he slowly drifted off the road woke him up. The loud noise those grooves made scared him awake for a few minutes but he was starting to fade again. It was a mile until an exit for a road headed in another direction was available. He would take the exit and look for a place to sleep. He only had to make it a mile. He dug his nails into the palm of his hand to stay awake.


The car was still moving when his eyes flashed open again but he was no longer on asphalt. He was confused for a moment but slowly his brain warned him to apply the brakes. He had to stop but in his slightly increasing panic he hit them to hard. The car was soon out of control. He was now wide awake as he watched his car begin to slide sideways right towards a drainage ditch. He tried to steer out of the spin but the car was no longer heeding his direction and the car continued sliding sideways. He felt the car lurch forward and the slide became a roll. The car was way past out of control and he knew he was going to die. Suddenly the car stopped rolling and the stop was abrupt, painfully so. His face was introduced to an airbag and something else, a hot wave of pain shot through his body right before things went black.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Rambling Review of Fired Up!

Some times you think you are getting the 5th installment and you are. Sometimes you think you are getting the fifth installment and your dreams come crashing down. The Guest Room is on Winter Hiatus.... I learned this term from watching TV.

Today we will bring you a review! I wanted to go to the beer theater, I really did. Unfortunately all they had were movies I had seen and movies I am not real kicked in the pants excited about. So I decided not to see a movie. I was humbly sitting here in my apartment staring at the wall, it was a very exciting wall. Then I decided to get online and check my email.... for the 70th time this weekend. You never call, you never write... but I digress.

That was when inspiration struck. I saw an ad about cheerleaders and two guys that want to get to know cheerleaders. I rushed over to the movie listings and saw the movie was playing at the theater on the other side of the tracks. So I grabbed my switchblade, my lucky strikes and my leather jacket and I tough danced my way to the theater! I was walking, I was was walking! I was going to see the movie Fired Up!

This movie did not do it for a good majority of the movie critics out there. Most of them used words like tepid, tired, and cheap imitation. They also used words like rampant misogyny and bikini-clad babes. If this was not a sign that this movie was destined to be seen by me then nothing is. I hate critics, my two loyal fans know that. Their tepid, tired and cheap imitation responses are what made me feel like a bikini-clad babe! Wait... a brunette in the third row? A rampant misogynist? Oh crap! I have no idea what their stupid reviews made me feel besides the urge to see the movie. I went because they told me not to bother.

I am glad I did. I was in a theater with maybe three other people while a line waited outside for Coraline. OUTSIDE! In the rain and cold! ARE YOU FREAKING INSANE! I can't even wait at a crowded restaurant or a hot club filled with adorable girls, I sure is heck am not waiting outside for a freaking movie about a puppet. So anyway I was in the theater with maybe three other people. Which meant that I had a primo spot, the better to fill the room with my boisterous laughter. Which I did on several occasions. I have no idea if people around me enjoyed this movie but I did.

What is this movie about? Two star football players have the run of the school and all the ladies within. Then they find out that their football camp will take place in Texas this year instead of the beaches of Florida. This is a crisis of mega stupendous proportions, these two do not want to go and sweat out the summer with a bunch of guys with no women in sight. So while they lament there misfortune they stumble on to every heterosexual man's fantasy. Even if the man sitting next to you denies this fantasy, because maybe he never really gave it much thought, realize that if he gives it much thought he would be on board with this fantasy. The fantsy of infiltrating a cheerleader camp to make out with cheerleaders. Of course the head cheerleader at their school is actually not stupid and recognizes these two are up to something right away. Sadly that does not matter nor does it stop them joining the team and heading to cheerleading camp. (The scene where they get out of going to football camp was great.) While at camp the two guys begin running their game until one of them realizes he actuallly only has eyes for the head cheerleader. Unfortunately, she has a boyfriend who is secretly a jerk, although he isn't very secretive about it. Somewhere along the way the guy realizes he likes the girl enough to stop playing the field and both football jocks realize they kind of like cheerleading.... This is not a Whodunit, there are no plot twists. This is a straight up "men are scum, then one scumbag falls in love, wishes he wasn't scum, gets caught in his scummy plan and is told to leave, he leaves but secretly doesn't want to, then he and his scum friend have a heart to heart and decide they actually like said thing that scum plan was based around, they go back, scum guy with a heart redeems himself from scumdom at the last minute and gets the girl in the end" story. A typical teen comedy that manages to make fun of cheerleaders, cheerleader movies, and football players. Yeah so this is not breaking new ground, but it's funny. It really was, I was constantly laughing at little random things that happened. I liked what they did, I liked what happened and I just let the movie roll, unchecked. I don't feel like a better person for having seen this movie. I do not understand more about humanity. I am not affected by a random cause to near action. I saw a movie I had a good laugh and I wrote a review. Who doesn't need a good laugh?

The particulars: This is billed as a teen sex comedy. Which means that there is a lot of innuendo and people in underwear. There was no nudity, no drug use, no blood and guts. Just a little foul language, lingerie and sex jokes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Guest Room Pt. 4 - A Short Story

Joshua awoke at a random rest stop along the I-5 corridor. He had fallen asleep in the passenger seat with the seat cranked as flat as possible. Resulting in a better rest then he had the day before in this same car. There was no crick in his neck this time, although he was a little stiff and needed to stretch. Of course he would need to use the restroom before he hit the road and would get the chance to stretch then. He grabbed his overnight bag, he wanted to brush his teeth and freshen up a bit. The sun was just barely coming up over the mountains and it was that light that had awoke him. He stretched as he exited the car, it felt good to stretch.

After he washed his hands and while he was brushing his teeth, Joshua reviewed the last 24 hours. This time yesterday he had been headed to his job. Then he had went on the crying jag, which was because he finally accepted the fact that his wife was missing and had been gone for a year. When he had been able to drive again, he went home and packed clothes, toiletries and all the food in his house that required no cooking or refrigeration. He loaded all this stuff into his car before heading over to the nosy elderly couple next door. When Sarah had went missing Bob and Ellie had been over every day with casseroles or cakes. They were full of good will and even better intentions but they definitely overstepped a lot of bounds. He had found them infuriating before Sarah had disappeared but had learned to accept them and their quirks after. They wouldn't leave him alone, no matter what he said to them, and he had said some nasty things to a lot of people right after Sarah had went missing. One day when he felt the urge to throw them out of his house he realized they were just being good neighbors and Joshua had to stop fighting with them. His visit to them was so they he was going to New Mexico, to pursue all the leads he ever heard about the case. He explained he needed to know what really happened to Sarah so he could start to take the steps necessary to rebuild his life without her. Bob had patted him on the back and told him things like "Finally! I've been telling you to do just that!" (even though he hadn't) and "You go down and you crack some heads if you need too!" To which Ellie said "Bob! Joshua is not a violent man and he does not need you telling him to be violent!" After that died down they promised to watch the house for him. Ellie assured him that she would handle Sarah's plants as well, Joshua had smiled and thanked her. He had not realized there were any plants left around his house but on his way to the car he saw his lawn was well maintained, through no action of his own. Bob and Ellie were definitely caring people.

He waved goodbye to them as he drove off. They were waving at him long past the point were he could still see them but he had seen them do it to other people before, it was just their thing. He hit the freeway and had put a few hours down before he called his office. He was patched through to the owner, it was a small office. The owner had been after him to take time off after Sarah disappeared and he responded well to the news that Joshua was doing just that. Joshua neglected to tell him where he was going and what he was planning to do. His boss might not think it was such a good idea and try to talk him out of it. He was not in the mood for that. The owner told him to take as much time as he needed and that they would still have a job for him when he got back. He had thanked the boss and had meant it. Even though he was not sure he would ever have enough time to heal. He also was not sure he ever wanted to go back but he shut his mouth and played the game.

He had driven for several hours after that, stopping only for fuel and a drop in at In-n-Out Burgers, his favorite chain burger joint. When his eyelids had become heavy he pulled into a rest stop, grabbed a blanket and had made himself comfortable in the passenger seat.

Joshua shook the water from his toothbrush before putting it away. He splashed water on his face and applied a new smear of deodorant. He looked in the mirror, the first time in a year and was startled by how old he looked. He was kind of grey looking too. No wonder people kept asking him how he was doing. He ran his hand across the stubble on his chin before heading to the vending machines outside. He needed a cup of coffee before he hit the road. His next stop would be around Bakersfield or perhaps a little further East. He had chose to drive this route because he planned to stop in Flagstaff, AZ on his way to New Mexico. He had a friend he needed to see, some one he hoped would help. If nothing else he could spend a night or two there, and pick that same friends brain a little. That friend had introduced Sarah and Joshua back in there collegiate days. He had been a man of many connections and new a lot of people all over the place. Joshua was hoping some of those connections might tap into Santa Fe.... his destination. He sent a text message alerting his friend that he would be there in a day or two. With that complete and armed with the coffee and a Nutrigrain bar he headed back to the highway and applied his foot to the gas pedal.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Guest Room Pt. 3 - A Short Story

This is the third part of the story.... hence the words Pt. 3 in the title of this post. If you need the hook up on the first part click here:
If you read the first part but need to read the second part, then click here:

Joshua felt a bone aching sadness sweep over him and was having a hard time seeing through the tears that continued to fall. He was crying so hard that he couldn't even breathe. It had been a long time since he had felt anything. The last time he had felt anything it had been shock, that was a year ago, when she had disappeared unexpectedly. He never allowed himself to cry about it until it snuck up on him today. When the shock, from her loss, had worn away, he had felt numb all over and the numbness had kept him insolated. Insolated from the pain of his missing wife, pain from a system that failed him and the realization that he was powerless to change any of it.

He realized that he needed to stop driving 60 miles an hour and get some place he could stop. He began merging to the right so he could get off the freeway. He was in between the suburb he lived in and the ciy he worked at, the exit he took was surrounded by farm land. He pulled into an old gas station lot just left of the off ramp, a station that had been sitting vacant for years. The cement was cracked and looked more like a puzzle needing to be put back together. In the asphalt's numerus cracks grass had sprung up. Rust ate away at every metal object. Nature was slowly reclaiming this forgotten spot, it looked like a set to an after armageddon movie. Where the world had ended and without human maintenance the buildings and roads began to fall into decay. The windows of the station had been boarded up and graffiti and flyers covered the building. He turned off his car and let his grief wash over him.
After a long period of crying, exhaustion crept in and he found his eyes closing... sleep enveloped him. The tortured sleep he usually experienced did not nag at him this time. Instead he felt and saw only blackness, his sleep was devoid of dreams and he fell deeper in.


He awoke with an aching crick in his neck from the odd angle he had slept in. He massaged his neck while his brain began piecing things back together for him. He realized he needed to call his job at some point and tell them why he hadn't made it in... or at least to make an excuse. He knew that was a call he should make immediately but he did not bother to grab his mobile phone. He had no desire to call them at the moment. He barely felt like moving. He stared at the boarded up gas station in front of him. Studying the old posters for upcoming rodeos and monster truck shows. He wondered why anyone would plaster fliers here, a place no one had any need to go to any more. Except for today, he needed a place to have his breakdown. A place where no one would knock on his window concerned for his welfare or to tell him to keep moving. This had been kismet.

He felt the urge get out of the car and move around. It would help to awaken his joints and also allow him to stretch. He had been in a strange position for a few hours judging by how high the sun was in the sky. He resisted the urge to look at his phone. He was not ready to get back to the world he had been hiding in. For the first time in a while Joshua felt awake. He knew what had to be done and in what order. The thing farthest down on the list was checking in with work and knowing what time it was. That world no longer existed. He had things to settle and scores to even. Of course the first thing on his list was to relieve his bladder. When that was taken care of he could take the next step.... driving to New Mexico. The last spot anyone had ever seen Sarah.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Guest Room Pt. 2 - a short story

*****This is the 2nd part of a story, reading these sections in order is advised. Take me to the first part of the story!******

In what seemed to be only a moment later, the alarm jarred him uncermoniously back to consciousness. He was still exhausted but he had obligations. With a deep, heavy, soul bearing sigh, Joshua got up from the bed. It was still dark outside, daylight savings time... he sighed again. He shuffled in his house slippers to the coffee pot and started measuring the ingredients. Several heaping coffee grounds scoops into it he realized he had no clue how many were actually in the machine. He had been too tired to count. His coffee would either peel the paint off the walls or be nicely heated brown water. Either way he needed to get in the shower as his time was rapidly being sucked away.

The warm water flowing over him was not helping him wake up but it was warming him up. The shower felt good this morning, soothing somehow. He closed his eyes and leaned against the wall as the water fell on him. He saw her face again... and his eyes shot open. He turned off the water and stepped out to towel off. He had already decided to skip shaving today, his employer would have to deal with the scruff. He dressed in the mirror fogged bathroom, never bothering to check his appearance or even glance in the mirror's direction. He knew what he looked like, a zombie, and a hair style or a shave would not change that.

He poured the coffee into the commuter cup, grabbed the work he had brought home to fill his night with and headed out to his car. Traffic was always a nightmare when he headed to work. He used to listen to books on tape and had even been trying to learn Japanese for a trip he and Sarah had planned for Japan. He no longer bothered with that stuff, he didn't even listen to the radio. Instead, he sat in the car for almost an hour listening to the sounds his car made, secretly hoping that the sounds were actually a bigger problem that could keep him from work. In his haze of bad thoughts and pointless dreams he suddenly remembered it had been a year ago today. Sarah had disappeared unexpectedly one year ago today. The tears finally began to fall, she was really gone.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Guest Room Pt. 1 - a short story

It was going to be one of those nights, Joshua could tell already. The weariness he felt in his entire being was crying out for him to lay down and call it a day. Of course the minute he did his mind woke up. Joshua was taking his friend's advice and was determined to lay there, in his bed, and focus all his energy on staring at one stable spot. Supposedly by distracting his mind from all the worries and thoughts racing through his head he would be able to nod off into dreamland. It was not working yet. He was not looking at the clock, so he was not sure how long he had been staring at the broken slat on his window blinds, but it felt like a long time. It was long enough for him to remember the day the slat broke. He and Sarah had moved into this two bedroom house together. It was their first big purchase as a married couple and they were proud of it. It did not matter that it now took 45 minutes to get to work when their apartment had been only ten minutes away. It was their home and that was a very big deal. They had moved in a month before the slat got broke and the room had been sitting bare with only the blinds covering the window. With their most recent paycheck they went out to buy furniture for the room. It was designated the guest room and because of that they needed a bed. They bought a full sized bed on sale but Joshua had still felt a little ripped off by the whole process. Why were mattresses so expensive anyway? Joshua had ranted the whole way home about mattresses being the equivalent of highway robbery and Sarah had repressed her giggles. For some odd reason, watching Joshua get bent out of shape about silly things that were out of his control made Sarah giggle. That giggle of hers was how they first met and started dating. She was working at a juice bar inside the gym Joshua worked out at and had been for weeks. He loved getting a juice drink at the end of a good work out but hated the prices, usually he kept his thoughts to himself. He would just ordered from the cute girl behind the counter and leave. That day was a little different. He went up to order an strawberry orange energy booster smoothie when he noticed a new item, wheat grass. Before he knew it he had started complaining about the price of wheat grass shots and how he couldn't understand how eating lawn clippings could cost so much. He was in full tirade mode when she started laughing. He had never had that reaction before and was a little embarrassed but he figured the worst was already past, so he asked her out. He had loved her the minute he first heard her laugh at him for being retarded. She was a cute girl but that laugh was what drove him to ask her out. Within a year they were married and within 2 they were buying a house.
They had manhandled the box springs out of the truck that he had borrowed from his father and walked it inside the house. Everything was going swimmingly when he tripped while walking into the room backwards. He fell right into the window but managed not to break it. Unfortunately the blinds had not been fully installed yet (his fault) and they came crashing down on his head. Needless to say it hurt and he was upset, so he took the blinds and threw them to the ground. When he calmed down, he picked it all back up but several of the slats were bent and one was broken. After his irritation and anger was over he and Sarah had laughed about the blind incident. So the broken blind was a good memory for him and he couldn't help but smile as he laid there. Unfortunately this memory was multiplying and other thoughts began springing up in his head. He was lost in remembrance and he had to tear his eyes away. He refocused on the wall closest to him. There was a weird pattern in the wall texture and he sat there making shapes out of it until his lids grew heavy and finally closed.

My TV converter and a Rambling Review of Friday the 13th

Well it was a slow weekend for me. I spent most of Valentine's day watching TV and doing homework. Today I decided I was going to go out and do something.... and before I knew it, it was 9 PM. I am not sure how that happens but it happens a lot when I have no plans and nothing to do. I decided around 6 PM that I would see a movie tonight. Now that it was 9 PM I realized I needed to get going. I had a quick errand to run before I spent time staring at a movie screen. I had to return some movies to Hollywood Video that were rented while Maryann was here. Which meant they were at least a day late and I did not need them to get any later. Hollywood Video is right next to the grocery store and I wanted to get some Valentine's candy on sale, I love discounted holiday candy. On the way in to the store I saw a sale on the digital converter boxes. Instead of $55.00 it was $40.00, the exact amount of the government coupon. I ran out to my car, got the coupon and bought the box, along with a box of chocolates and a mini m&m's cupid figure. Knowing I was running out of time to have a wide selection of movies I headed over to the theater. When I got there I was too late to see the movie I had planned to see, Push. I looked at the available movie times and decided quickly on a second movie, bought a ticket and headed in. I wish I had taken an extra minute to decide....

Now for a review of Friday the 13th

I am sure you know the rough semblance of the story, even if you have never seen one of these movie. Some dude in a hockey mask loves slaughtering naughty teenagers. Of course it was not always the hockey mask guy slaughtering people. In the first movie it was Jason's mother killing the horny camp counselors. You see mommy dearest sent her disfigured/retarded son, Jason, to Camp Crystal Lake. In an amazing move of incompetence the camp counselors are too busy fornicating to see that Jason is drowning. Mommy dearest gets her revenge for her son's death by slaughtering a whole group of new counselors who had nothing to do with the death of her son. Nothing like a little justice! How exactly Jason came about to star as the silent killer of the whole mess of sequels, considering he dies in the first movie, is a little beyond me. It makes no sense but I say stop worrying about the illogicalness (technical words are what I am about) of it all. Just accept that Jason, the dead kid, is now Jason the giant, hulking, machete wielding, hockey mask sporting killer we all love.

OK... so this is a sequel then right? Another movie towards Jason's never ending list of movies? Nope. In yet another bewildering move that makes you wonder what is wrong with Hollywood, this is a retelling. I am not sure what is going on but it seems that every year there is another Horror movie being redone. Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes and The Omen are a few that pop into mind. So Friday the 13th is not the first to get the reshoot treatment. It is weird that this is happening because it doesn't seem like they are old enough to get the new spin.... I hear that the next movie redub being tossed around is the Nightmare on Elm Street series. They are going to relaunch Freddy.... either way that is not my review today. I am focusing on Friday the 13th and that is why I wanted you to know the original movie was a tale of a mother seeking revenge for the death of her son.

I was curious when I heard this movie was coming out and even more curious when I saw that it had a hockey mask toting, machete wielding fiend in the ads. I wondered aloud if they had decided to do without the mom aspect. I had a chance to see this movie on Monday the 9th for free as part of a preview audience. I declined the chance because my sister was in town and this is not her type of movie. I still wanted to see the movie though. So when I missed Push's start time I pulled the trigger on this movie. The movie starts with a girl running through the wilderness and you can tell she is scared. She is limping along and using something as a crutch but you can't tell what because of the camera work. You know, the shaky cam that I can't stand. Then we hear Jason's mama giving her the "You let my boy die" lecture right before she lunges at the girl who is pleading and crying that she was not responsible for Jason's death. Of course the girl uses her crutch to chop off Jason's moms head at the last second. The crutch was a machete, apparently. As the opening credits roll we see little hands scavenge a locket from the mother's body and run off with the abandoned machete as well. Apparently that was Jason and he had been there to witness his mother's demise. Oh no! YAWN!!!!

We pick up with a group of rejects camping out in the abandoned camp area. They get killed pretty quickly, all except one girl who we never see die. YAWN!!!

The "possibly not dead" girl's brother is looking for her and he meets a bunch of new rejects headed to a rich kids parents cabin. The rich kid is a jerk and we want a great death scene for him immediately. YAWN!!! Unfortunately the death scene he gets is stupid and not worth it. In fact most of the deaths were just kind of... boring. I started yawning in the middle of the movie. I was suddenly wishing that I had waited to see this movie at the beer theaters... At least then I could have had a beer and made the movie viewing worthwhile.

I am sure you can guess how the movie went... people died then other people went looking for those dead people and then they died. All of this is something I expected in a Friday the 13th move but usually I get a laugh or two at the absurdity of the death. This movie used the fame of the series and the date to make a few bucks on a movie that made the schlocky precursors look fun, exciting and intelligent. I am seriously offended that the movie was this boring and that I spent more time wishing I had seen Confessions of A Shopaholic then paying attention to the screen. I can't stop you from seeing this movie and I am not trying too.... I am just hoping you go in expecting a suckfest. It was like Michael Bay tried to inject realism into an unrealistic flick.... totally not worth it.

Luckily I had the converter and the candy in my car to look forward too. I now have several free stations to watch and I am very happy. I am watching OPB Nature programming.... there are like 4 OPB stations. The picure looks great!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Rambling Review of The Hammer

School is annoying! WAH! Cry me a freaking river! Yeah, yeah. I should thank my lucky stars I am in school racking up enormous levels of debt. Boo hoo! OK I am done crying about school for a little while. Thanks for all the empathy and compassion you lot showed me. I hope your milk goes bad before you can use it all.

I am back to reviewing movies... why can't someone pay me for this? Anyway this movie came out last year and never really made a huge run of it but the reviews are pretty positive. Almost all the reviews seem to share one common factor: they are amazed Adam Carolla can act. I am a fan of Adam Carolla and every chance I get I listen to his radio show. I was fully aware that The Hammer was coming out and I had planned to see the movie but it slipped by anyhow. To say I was completely coherent and observant during the last year would be a lie. I spent a good majority of the time avoiding thinking about the impending doom of my job loss and then I spent an entire summer on bar hopping, sun soaking and beer drinking. It was fabulous. So I missed this movie's run at the box office. Luckily for me I have friends. The friend I need to thank in particular is Cat. Not because I think she will ever read this review (because she won't) but because she saw this move and knew me enough to get me a copy. You see Cat likes listening to Adam Carolla and unlike me, (who never manages to turn on a radio before 10 AM) she gets to hear a moment or two of Adam Carolla's radio show most mornings. He began announcing the release of his movie and a special offer to autograph any copies that were sent to him. Cat bought a few copies and sent them directly to him. She bought a copy for me and sent my copy of The Hammer to be autographed. I recieved the movie in January but I just saw this movie tonight. I am not so good on the follow through.... my bad. Anyway this long intro is over and now I bring you, without further delay, my review of The Hammer.

A pathetic but supposedly skilled carpenter, that is down on his luck, stumbles into a second shot for a boxing career. His left is dropping blows of amazing force that soon catches a boxing trainers eye. With a little bad luck at his current job and a promise of a new future our 40 year old hero, played by Adam Carolla, decides to give boxing another shot. He begins training with 2 other Olympic hopefuls including one that is gunning for the same weight division. The young gun is threatened by the old carpenter and is inspired to train harder. The carpenter uses the young kids taunts to drive him harder and we see this old funny guy has heart, guts and determination. Never to be out cliched Carolla's hero is plagued by a previous boxing career that went down in flames due to his own lack of ambition. To add the twist the trainer who gives him his second chance has devious plans that are less concerned with this old guys future then with milking him for free training for his young star. Haunted by his past it seems he is always ready to give up and stick with his self imposed label of a loser. Even when his new girl, best friend (Ozzy) and sparring partner/top rival tell him not too.

This was a nice story of a come back kid, who has wised up a bit as he aged. Some dreams are worth fighting for (pardon the pun) and sometimes it takes a moment to find the right dreams to fight for. Being a fan of the Adam Carolla show I know this was shot on a pretty small budget but it is not cheesy nor overly pathetic. I knew the likely flow of the story before it happened but I still enjoyed the ride. I would recommend checking out The Hammer for those in the mood for an underdog movie, a sports comedy or a romantic comedy. It has a little bit of everything. This movie is not awesome but it's good, entertaining and delivers on all the heart warming moments you need.

P.S. Keep an eye out for the Nicaraguan star, Ozzy. He steals every single scene he is in.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A pic to share

Hey all!
I was looking at the pictures from Maryann's visit and I have some good ones. Unfortunately I have not felt like doing anything with them as of yet. Luckily for you during my perusal I discovered that I did want to share one pic of Maryann at the Japanese Garden. It is a cute one and for the record it was actually a pretty cold day. I was bundled pretty decently too.... 3 layers. Not quite at Maryann's level of bundling (312 layers) but a lot of layers for me.

If you wanted something to read... I found a post I made in 2007 that made me giggle. It was my post about "My tips for a successful blog!" Here is the link:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

School sucks!

I was absolutely positively worth nothing yesterday. Well let's back up.... I did a lot yesterday. At Free Geek I helped rearrange the store for 5 hours. They have big plans for the place and I helped get a few of them started. It was a lot of work and I was tired when I got done. Of course my day was not done yet, I was headed to the NELA center to be available as a tutor. I almost got a chance to help edit a paper but that fell through as she decided to go home instead. So instead I worked on doing some prep work for my Mad Science classes. I organized the take homes I will hand out Thursday and Friday. It involves little baggies, clay and stir straws. Anyway, when I finally got home I turned on the television.... then the dvd player and watched Naruto. I was planning on doing some homework after watching a show or two. After the first show ended I dutifully turned on the computer with good intentions; instead I got sucked into the internet.
I watched Kyle XY and talked to people on Facebook. Next thing I know I'm yawning and it is 12:30... I failed to post anything in the online class Wednesday and as a result I will need to reply to things on Saturday. I planned to have Saturday off... Let me explain. At the University of Phoenix, online courses (and the mixed physical class and online class that I have) have a standard rule about proper participation. I need to be online 4 times a week, reply to 2 posts from other people per day, and post an original response to all teacher posted questions. I did not do anything on Sunday or Monday and in order to take Saturday off I needed to be online Tuesday through Friday. In the past classes I have been online and posting everyday. The combination of my volunteering and working has significantly reduced my available time but that is not the main issue here. The main issue is that a year into the program I am a little demotivated. Perhaps it's the nonstop method of classes, maybe it's the fact that I am learning more with my after school teaching then I am in these classes, or it could be that the assignments I am doing seem to have little to do with reality, more of a time filler then anything else. Either way I am feeling less and less inclined to jump into the fray and discuss the silly topics. I am tired of the assigned reading that seems to think blathering incessantly about theory will help prepare me for the classroom. Maybe one of the factors in my burn out are struggling to look for a place to do the required observation hours with no tips or help from the school. In a lot of ways this school has made being in school easier but it has made things harder.
Here is an example: I am never quite sure who to talk to or help in an advising role. I have a friend who sent a question off to someone they were thinking might e able to help or at least point them to the right person and a month later still had no answer. There is not a cyber advising office as far as I can tell and it is hard to really figure out what every ones role is in the school. I had experiences at NAU where I ran around trying to talk to the right person and kept getting redirected. I am not sure why there is no clear cut path to follow and there is so much groping around in the dark in academia. In all of my years in customer service and sales positions I was told that I needed to do everything in my power to make sure that I got the customer to the right person who would have the answer. I would call and track the person down before connecting the person (most of the time, unless the customer was in league with satan). Nothing is more frustrating then getting the run around but schools never seem to bother with improving this aspect. They put a lot of the strain of figuring out where to go and who to talk to on the student's back and in an online setting this can become even more frustrating. Considering the money funneling into these places this is a huge bone of contention for me. I should be walking on rose petals whenever I go to campus!

Yet that is not the reason I am tired of school and wanting desperately to be done. The real reason is that for every decent class I get I end up with 4 that are irrelevant. It is even worse with the homework. We do at least one assignment individually each week and usually one as a group, as a result there are plenty of assignments that make me think I am in a creative writing class. Even worse is that a lot of the classes are the same subjects with a different name so I write similar papers over and over again. All these assignments and classes miss the point. You need to teach to really learn to teach. Only after you teach do the theories begin to make sense. Why exactly would you think having aspiring teachers design a role play would teach them anything about being a teacher? So freaking irritating! GAH! Medical students work at a teaching hospital because they need to know more then just what a book says to be a doctor. Why don't teachers follow a soimilar path? Then again that is a totally different discussion better left for another time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bye Maryann!

Well, today is the day Maryann is leaving Portland to head back to Phoenix. As I said before, we have had a grand time! Yesterday we arose from our slumber a little later in the day but after our coffee we headed toward Multnomah Falls. Of course you have to stop a few places along the way first. We headed to Vista House and looked at the river. Vista House is an awesome place to stop and stretch your legs and take in the scenery. After that we stopped at Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Wahkeena Falls. Leaving Multnomah Falls for the last stop before heading back to Portland. Of course the day started out sunny but soon storm clouds rolled in and while we were at Wahkeena Falls it started raining, then began hailing and went back to raining. It continued raining while we walked up to the Multnomah Falls bridge and even though I had wanted to hike a little more I decided against it. I was cold and wet and not wearing a rainproof jacket. We headed back to Portland and after a few minutes lounging at my apartment we headed to Thai Basil and had dinner. Of course 75% of the items there had some animal product in them, for example the curry had some crab paste or something like that in it. We had a good meal despite their efforts to eliminate everything Maryann could eat. I was a little tired and decided we should rent a few movies for the evening. We picked up Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Burn Before Reading. They were both good movies. Burn Before Reading had a few surprises in store and was pretty funny. Nick & Norah was a cute but predictable romantic comedy.

In a few minutes, Maryann will make one last trip to Voodoo Donuts and then we will throw her suitcase in my car. I will take her down to the MAX station and she will go bye bye. It has been fun but I need to get back to all my responsibilities.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Maryann's Visit Thus Far

My sister, Maryann, is in town for a few days and we have been having a good time of it. She arrived on Thursday while I was learning how to guide high school students on how to fill out a scholarship app. To say that was a grand entrance filled with excitement and intrigue would be a lie. It was interesting for me because I will be doing this a few days a week until March 2, 2009; but not as interesting to Maryann who has no such plans. When that was done we headed to Hopworks Urban Brewery where I told her I would be vegetarian for her visit. I had french fries and an order of hummus and veggies for dinner along with some beer and freshly roasted peanuts. It was a good meal but I kind of had a craving for the pepperoni pizza that walked by....

Anyway we awoke on Friday and had coffee and donuts from Voodoo Donuts. They have a vegan donut which allowed Maryann to get a donut after years of senselessly (wink) depriving herself of them. I am not a huge donut fan but an occasional donut every once in a while is fun. Voodoo Donuts is a fun place to go when the craving hits. They specialize in strange combos such as a donut that is shaped like a man that is stabbed with a pretzel (like a voodoo doll), a maple bar topped with bacon, cereal topped donuts (Cocoa Puffs, Trix, etc.), chicostick topped, an apple fritter covered with peanut butter, chocolate and chocolate chips. You may have seen this place on Rachel Ray's show and most recently on the Amazing Race, it is a Portland standard. Anyway then I had to head to work and she headed to a day of gallivanting about town. When I was finally done with work and the responsibilities inherent within that realm we went out. The first stop was Report Lounge, where we met some co-workers. Then we ended the night at East Burn.... we also found out that Portland craft beers are stronger then Coronas. Of course by we I mean she found out and I realized in the future a warning might be in order. The next day was more or less a wash. We met Dad, MaryJo and Aunt Wanda at Macaroni Grill and had a nice chat. Then we went to see Valkyrie at Laurelhurst Theaters where I drank beer and she abstained. She was still a little less then 100% and we went home and watched movies....

Today we slept in a little and then headed to Sweet Pea. Sweet Pea is a vegan bakery at the vegan "mall"; one of four stores. Yes, vegans call a four store grouping a mall.... they gets no respect! If you were a vegan you might be happy to see a place where you could get sweets, slogan tees, a tattoo and groceries (all guaranteed to be cruelty free) in one spot. You might also think that Sweet Pea's scary Sunday brunch is worth going back to. Of course, I am not vegan so I am merely supposing here. I went to Sweet Pea mainly because my crazy tree hugging sister was dying to go there. I ordered a bagel with a chipotle spread on it and a cup of coffee. No that is not true.... I ordered orange juice but orange juice is for brunch participants only. My second choice was coffee. I am still wondering how that coffee was so hot.... Anyway the bagel was good but the smear was really spicy, almost unpleasantly so. Maryann dived on the brunch and the orange juice. The brunch had one decent looking thing.... a hash brown slightly reminiscent of a McDonald's hash brown. Then they had neon yellow glop that pretended to be eggs, a sad looking gravy, biscuits that I personally thought needed to be browned for a moment or two, and these super scary grey lumps. Maryann reports the grey lumps were delicious..... I think that this further proves that vegans are crazy. Imagine if you will that you own a paper pulping business and one day while you are pulping paper you begin to wonder if the grey mush is edible so you cut a chuck out, bake it and eat it. Soon you have added seasoning to it and people that are totally crazy start buying it from you.... that is what I thought about as I looked at the grey lumps. Those grey lumps were scary looking, Maryann admitted that she was not thrilled by their appearance but she knew they were animal product free and she gobbled it down. Why? Presentation should count for something! Alas I am speaking of people who hate animal slaughter but love meat so much that they spend a lot of time making products look, taste and feel like meat. Sounds like a lot of wasted time to me! Apparently mysterious grey lumps are just fine for most vegans. Well that is enough on scary grey lumps and loony non-meat eating meat lovers. I must confess that my theory is that all vegans had a bad petting zoo experience where a goat followed them around biting them and it caused massive emotional trauma to their psyche.

Anyway I was dying to go to a place called the Curry Leaf. The Curry Leaf is a great little Indian food place in Beaverton. They have a buffet on Sunday that is completely vegetarian and several of the offerings are vegan. We headed there even after the scary brunch. Maryann loved it. Indian food is one of the things I always use to argue that meatless does not mean bad or side dish all the time. This particular place serves two buffets on the weekends. Saturday is the more familiar buffet with Tandoori chicken and a few other meat dishes amongst vegetable dishes, apparently this style is more common in Northern India. Southern India has it's day on Sunday and it is sans meat. All the products are flavorful, spicy and filled with a variety of textures that make you crave another helping. It was my second trip and I hope to go back again soon.

From there we headed to the Japanese Garden for a walk around in the crisp February weather. It was a good day for being at the garden as most people stayed at home and kept warm. From the gardens we headed to NW 23rd avenue, known as a shopping mecca in Portland. We wandered through a few shops before arriving at Laurelwood Public House and shared a basket of garlic fries. I had to get home to work on some homework which Maryann made all the more sweeter by providing a sweet treat from Sweet Pea (all puns within this sentence are intentional). I should clarify that the baked goods at Sweet pea are actually really good and not noticeably vegan. So maybe the Vegans are trying to slowly win over the non-vegans by serving a few tasty products without relying on any other animals besides the human making it. When I was done with my homework stint we headed out to see the movie Religulous at the Laurelhurst theater and did so with a pitcher of beer. Anyway I am about to call it a night.

As for any vegans out there I am just teasing. You can pursue making the perfect non-meat meat product for the rest of time if that makes you happy. Someone has to eat all the strange grey lumps in the world and it might as well be you. As I read this aloud Maryann tells me that she was never chased by an evil goat at a petting zoo; I guess my theories are sometimes wrong. Maybe people that eat meat were harrassed by petting zoo animals.....

Sunday, February 01, 2009

What a SUPER day!

First off let me say that The Slants are a cool band with a great sound. Helping Oregon Music Live film their show was a complete blast. I will be looking to help them do this again.

Now let me share that I am really hoping the Cardinals will win today. I already have my Cardinals gear on and I am ready for some football.

Finally, I want to share a few comics I found amusing that have nothing to do with sports! Two of these are Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis. The first one was funny to me because I always found Shakespeare to be hard to understand and te second one amuses me because I find the whole anger over people not speaking English to be a little crazy. The last one is Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley and I just love this conversation about poetry.