Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Throw Him Over a Cliff and Save a Bullet!"

There "seems" to be a lot of good news for me as of late. This past week, or rather the past few days, I have potentially found a place to move into, I have received a pay raise from work, and I just got paid. Not a bad week, now though I only hope that I get the place that I want. It possesses everything that I require, except for a nice stove, but I suppose you cannot have everything. It's in a nice neighborhood, on the side of town that I want to be on, has an attached garage, a nice sized kitchen, a fireplace, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two small decks, and a dishwasher machine. I'm not quite certain what I would do with all of the additional space, but I suppose it's there in case I have quite a few guests. Today I have been busy doing nothing, and then I decided to go over the edits for Book II of which I reviewed 8 pages and it took me probably over fours hours, although I broke it in half. I don't know why it is taking me so long to get through the edits, but it is rather maddening. However, I will take however long is necessary to make very certain that the book is up to scratch. During the interval I made myself dinner and watched the film The Guns of Navarone which I thought would be fitting since it is Memorial Day Weekend, and yesterday I watched The Hunt for Red October one of the best sub films ever, and the best Jack Ryan film ever, even though it has Alec Baldwin in it. In a way much has transpired since I last posted, most of it though pertains to my job, therefore I cannot share it here. I finished watching The Borgias Season 2 and I do have to admit that I am highly intrigued by this apparently first ever Italian mafia crime family, even though it was the Pope's own family. Cesare (pronounced je-zuh-ray) Borgia has definitely piqued my curiosity great as a historical character, as well as Niccolo Machiavelli. Francois Arnaud who plays Cesare does an astounding job; truly one of the better performances of the series, although Jeremy Irons is untouchable as Pope Alexander VI. It's a really good series, although upon looking at the trailer for the next season, I was a little disturbed to see a potential incest going on within the Borgia family. When I reflected on that and what happens in Game of Thrones I've noticed that American culture is beginning to become much more sexually ambiguous; apparently out here where I live, in high school it's hip and cool to be bi-sexual from what my co-workers reports amongst the clientele they work with. I'm nit quite sure where the culture will end up with all of this, but I don't think it will be anything positive. I guess time will tell. I was disheartened to read in The Wall Street Journal that the Syrian Civil War does not seem to be going well for the resistance against Bashar al Assad. Not only has Iran allied itself with Assad, but Russia continues to sell the government arms and with a gently veiled threat, told the United States not to interfere, and now apparently Hezbollah also wants to help keep Assad in power and are providing military assistance to the regime. Meanwhile, the Syrian resistance is alone, as the West (and in particular) the United States' government twiddle their thumbs. There is no easy answer for a solution to this problem, or to the lackluster involvement by the Western powers. I continue to believe that not helping the Syrian people is breeding far reaching dangerous problems that will effect the West and the United States for decades to come; I don't think that many historians will judge President Obama's military choices very kindly concerning this matter. Well, I suppose for once that not all of the news is bad, although I do wish good news for the Syrian people, and others that live under repressive governments. God be with all of them. Have an excellent night everyone, and either enjoy your week, or in addition to that have a pleasant Memorial Day.

The Guns of Navarone Trailer

The Borgias Season 3 Trailer

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Old Dog, New Tricks.

Even though it is spring, it is beginning to feel like summer is beginning rather instead. Between the high temperatures and the rising humidity, I'm not certain we ever had spring. It was as if Illinois went directly from winter to summer, with a small transition in between. Oh well. So today I went back to editing Book II, and boy is it taking a whole lot longer than I had originally anticipated. I blame my poor writing skills from when I wrote the book, which was quite a few years ago. Thankfully I have vastly improved since then, and thus it will I have a feeling take a while to properly go through all of the edits, and then once I've done that, I'm going to have to go through everything again to make certain that I didn't make any errors with my revisions. Oh how I despise the lengthy editing process. It is necessary to ensure a good product though. Some good news concerning that, I spoke with my publisher, and preliminary indications are that they're going to publish it! I was very thrilled to hear that, and now that I have the ball rolling, I have to keep it that way. Which is going to be difficult what with my new job, moving to a new place, and then having graduate school on the upcoming horizon, I am going to be hard pressed for time. I also have to begin writing Book III this fall so I can finally finish off this whole series at last and then move onto something else. If you by chance ever visit my website, www.escapistnow.com, then you will notice some changes that I've made, and that I haven't updated it in a while. I have decided that it is going to merely become a repository for any stories that I post and want to share with the world. This blog will be where I post everything else. I think with everything that I have going on, attempting to update and keep the website current along with this blog was just too much, and was splitting my attention. So for a while the website may be idle, but it won't be disappearing. I also need to find a way to vastly improve it as well. I would like to find a different place to host it other than Google, but I don't have the luxury of time to search, or the abundance of capital either if it were to cost something. On that note, I watched Skyfall this evening and enjoyed it vastly much more than the first time that I saw in November 9th of last year. Apparently after watching a film once and then again either after some time, or just seeing it again I tend to like it better on the average. Not sure what that is. Oh some gossip about the next James Bond film is that Christopher Nolan is a possibility for the director's chair, which would be quite interesting if that were to happen. Another whole work week awaits me. I'm noticing that I am beginning to get more and more comfortable, confident and at ease with my new job the longer I've been there, which I suppose is normal. It's hard to imagine I've been working there since February 18th! Wow how time flies. Or has Groucho Marx has said, time flies like an arrow, and fruit like a banana. Hope that everyone has a lovely week. Right now it is raining with wind, lighting and thunder so I am going to go enjoy that.

Skyfall Clip 1 

Skyfall Clip 2

Adele's Skyfall Oscar Performance

Saturday, May 18, 2013

"So, You Think That You Are Safe....?"

To go where no one has gone before is now the politically correct term for the famous Star Trek saying. Now, Chris Pine is of course no William Shatner, but he does one hell of a Captain Kirk, and the same goes for Zachary Quinto as Spock (as Leonard Nimoy goes too). The rest of the familiar characters for the saga get played by equally suited and well talented individuals which I don't have to go into. In this film, Star Trek: Into Darkness we have a few new introductions like the Klingons, Dr. Carol Marcus, and John Harrison last but not least. There are a few interesting notes about these characters, but I won't spoil it for anyone, but I do have to say that I really like how he did the Klingons, which I hope he goes more into with the future, or brings in some cool enemy or something. Star Trek: Into Darkness was awesome. The 3-D was immersive, the special effects were mind boggling, and for the most part the action sequences were tastefully done and not too over the top, except for a few occasions maybe. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg remain the definitive masters of awesome, dynamic actions sequences that I have seen so far that aren't dull and always seem to be fresh. The story is somewhat complex so I am not going to boil it down, or give away any secrets, other than it delves further into character development and growth for Spock and Kirk. The screenplay was well written and the film kept pace very effectively, was interesting, and kept you on edge until the very end. The music by Michael Giacchino was good, but I am still leery of him composing music for the new Star Wars films if it comes to that, although he would probably be a good second choice, I think, although truth be told they should hunt for the best and right composer to fill those perfect shoes, because no one can compose Star Wars music except John Williams, and no one can create Star Wars except George Lucas, although we shall see how Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams do. I digress, talking about Star Wars when I should be talking about Star Trek. Anyways. I'm giving it a "Strong Ability" because it really does kick your socks off and brings it to the next epic cinematic level. Benedict Cumberbatch was supremely awesome as John Harrison the terrorist, and I think everyone will agree that he was the....perfect fit for his character. I would encourage you to see it if you enjoy good action films, or ones that are even science fiction. I would certainly watch it again, and I would watch in the theatre again if I saw it with some people. So it's been an interesting news week for particularly the United States of America, but also for the Middle East as it appears that Russia is flexing its antiquated naval muscle because they don't want any Western involvement with Syria, and of course China & Iran along with Russia disapproved of a U.N. measure against Assad's regime. The Syrian Civil war is getting out of control and is beginning to destabilize the entire region, which if intervention would have been early as it had been in Libya, than this wouldn't be happening. Once again, it is the Syrian people who are suffering as they are stuck in between a rock and a hard place. I don't know what is going to happen, but it would be nice to have clear and direct leadership from the President and his cabinet concerning this issue. God bless and protect those people. Right now there doesn't seem to be a lot of hope and light in the world as things grow more grim. Even at job my as I work with the mentally ill, things are beginning to seem more untenable at the current rate at which humanity is becoming more and more evil and debauched. Not a fantastic note to end on, but life is what it is unfortunately; we all just get to decide how we're going to react. Good luck with that.

Star Trek Into Darkness Interviews

Interview with Benedict Cumberbatch

Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Family is Everything.

I cannot even recall when the last day I blogged was; I think it was possibly Saturday? Anyways, works has kept me quite busy that I am exhausted when I get home, that I have just enough time to read the newspaper, check my email and make myself dinner before I have to go to bed. Not quite the life I envisioned, but it's a job and helps me get to where I want to go. So last night I finally was able to begin watching season 2 of The Borgias which is just as lovely as I remember it being. Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI was remarkable as always, but the other real standout is his son Cesare Borgia played by Francois Arnaud. These two men are the driving force behind the show, but the other members of the cast do a fine job as well. The show was shot beautifully, the music is great, the screenplay well written, and likable and interesting characters as well. That is the mark of an excellently well made series. I have been going through the edits that my editor made and I have also been in contact with my publisher concerning Book II. It's going slow and I really need to work on it faster, but I will get there eventually, sooner rather than later hopefully. My other writing is essentially non-existent at the moment, which is annoying, but it is what it is right now until I can figure out how to deal with work and writing, and figure out how to work the latter in without exhausting myself. I am close to finding my own apartment finally after so long, which will be amazing! Oh by the way, always keep a tennis racket handy if you live in an old basement. Why do I write this, because I encountered a bat soaring about last night as I was watching the television. Not the most comfortable thing in the world; the possibility of a bat dive-bombing towards your head. The world continues to get messier, and I could go on and on and on, but I'm not going to. I will write this though, of all of the mistakes that President Obama and his administration have been making lately, his choice to do nothing in Syria but do nothing is the worst of them all, and something he and his administration should truly be ashamed of. Good night everyone and good luck.

The Borgias Season 2

Riddick Trailer (it actually looks really bad, but we shall see)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Unchained.

I can't say that I did much in the way of productivity today. I figured after a long work week, and especially a long day on Friday that I was entitled to a little bit of laziness, which is precisely what I mostly was today. I did however begin going through the edits for Book II of a Warrior's Tale, and I do have to say that I am pretty excited about its prospects and how it's shaping up. Towards the end of doing nothing all day I watched Django Unchained with my sister and brother in-law starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson. I have to say that I was very dubious about the film since it was directed by Quentin Tarantino, and also it just didn't look that appealing to me. I couldn't have been farther from the truth. Granted that there was the gratuitous gore an violence that there is in every Quentin Tarantino film, but this film I actually thought was good, and the 2 Oscars that it won in 2013 were certainly well deserved. Jamie Foxx as Django was well played, and the growth in the character from beginning to end was pretty sweet I do have to say. Christoph Waltz, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, certainly deserved it. His character, Dr. King Schultz, was the best, most humorous and most interesting of all the characters on-screen I personally thought. Then there was Leonardo DiCaprio who played the slave and plantation owner Calvin Candie and wow did he play him well, vicious and charming in all. It was a different role for him since he usually plays the distressed hero, but this time he was the vicious villain, and boy can he pull that off well. Then there was Sam Jackson as Stephen (Calvin Candie's chief servant) and boy was he a mixture of humor and grief, but he pulled it off strongly and well. You know it would be nice to see him have a leading role in a film that isn't related to action that is actually good, but he seems to be contented to play supporting roles in films. The screenplay written by Quentin Tarantino was good, it also won an Academy Award, but there were boring lulls every now and then, but it kept pace relatively well and kept you interested more to the point. The cinematography was excellent, but I also mostly liked how the music was done for the film, which was a combination of original score and songs that were adapted for the film (aside from the few raps songs that were included). The film had a flair of fantasy to it like the old western films used to have which was really cool. It is definitely something that I would watch again, and if you can stomach the violence and gore (blood flying and spattering everywhere; people getting shot in...uncomfortable places), not to mention the very, very, highly foul language then I think you will enjoy this film. Fair warning though, it is rough and brutally dramatic at times so don't go thinking it is a plain action film. This is actually the first Tarantino film I've seen that I've liked; perhaps he'll surprise me again. I give the film an "Admirable Ability;" it was good, but not great. It could have been cut 15 minutes shorter give or take, and I didn't like all of the gratuitous violence and flagrant usage of certain words which I shall not repeat, but it did have a good ending I do have to say. Well I hope that most of you are having a relatively good weekend. The world is still spinning, yet seems to continue to grow darker; it sucks. Auf Wiedersehen!

Django Unchained Interviews

Django Unchained Scene

Friday, May 10, 2013

Excelsior!

I had an incredibly long day at work. Three hours of meetings in the morning followed by about four hours worth of crisis assessments, followed lastly by about three hours of office paperwork. I think I finally got home around almost 8pm after getting to work around 8am. I don't think that is a wise idea after working a full week already. Oh well, at least I can state that it was a very productive day. So after making myself some dinner I decided to watch Silver Linings Playbook which stars Jennifer Lawrence (she definitely deserved that Best Actress Oscar) and Bradley Cooper. All I have to say is wow. I was overwhelmed, stunned and bored. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to watch a movie about people with mental health problems after working all week (and having a long day) with people who have severe mental health issues. It was like I was bringing work home and trying to make it entertainment; I almost stopped the film several times because of that, because both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were spot on with their depictions of people who struggle with mental illness. Granted  Robert De Niro as the father was well played and Jacki Weaver as the mother, who grated on my nerves so much. I loved seeing Julia Stiles in the film, even though she had such a small role. The screenplay was incredibly well written, and the directing was spot on, but the performances of the two leading actors was what sold the film; the two of them made it all so incredibly believable, and yes that is my professional opinion as a mental health professional. I was bored though at times, and honestly it was at times a little too intense for even me, but I don't know if it is because I am used to that same level of intensity so much at work that seeing at home just grated on me the wrong way. In any regards, it was a good film, not great but certainly good. If you enjoy excellent dramas then you'll want to see this one. Giving it an "Admirable Ability" I think works because....well, there were really only 2 qualities about the film that really stood out: the two leading performances and the screenplay, nothing else was really notable. I could see myself watching it again, but not for a while. I don't know about the rest of the world, but I am completely exhausted so I am going to get some sleep. Goodnight and good luck.

Silver Linings Playbook Clip

Making Silver Linings Playbook

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Man Who Made Psycho.

It's odd to think that this week is already half-way over. I find it quite remarkable that time continues to soar by the older and busier that I become; I wonder if that means that time is relative to a human's perception of time itself, or our perception of reality? Another question for another time perhaps. Anywho. So Game of Thrones Season 3 continues to show itself to be the better season (save for the severe lack of Tyrion Lannister's presence) so far. Work this week has been lovely; I do have to say that yesterday was the perfect work day. I was busy, but not too busy. Everyone was rather delightful, and I was rather productive as well. The weather continues to get warmer and warmer here in the Midwestern state of Illinois; apparently Spring will be mostly skipped over, although I do love the scent of freshly cut grass. So tonight I finally sat down and watched the film Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as Alma Hitchcock. Scarlet Johanson and Jessica Biel also had small appearances, as did Danny Huston. The film is about Alfred Hitchcock, and the part of his life where he made his ultimate hit Psycho. I have to admit that the film was quite good, and yes I would see it again. I'm giving it a "Strong Ability." Both Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins are positively remarkable in this film and give stunning performances that are remarkably believable; he should have been nominated for an Oscar, but apparently the Academy has little taste and intelligence when it comes to nominations that actually deserve to win an award. Good screenplay, excellent directing, and Danny Elfman even did the music which wasn't great, but it was a lovely film score. On a great note for my writing career, my editor has finally delivered my manuscript all edited to me, and now I get to go through it! That is what I am going to try and do this weekend and the weeknights, and hopefully it will not take me too long to sift through all of the changes. Well I have much to do, and I am ridiculously tired, so I am going to catch some shut eye. And as the conflict in the Middle East escalates and widens, let us remember those who are in harms ways that get labeled as "collateral damage."

Hitchcock Trailer

Psycho Shower Scene

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Third One is The Charm Right?

Amongst the many thing that I didn't do today, I did watch Iron Man 3 thus beginning and entering the summer blockbuster season for 2013. Expectations for this film were high, and I think that it was able to pack in quite a lovely punch. So the film picks up after the events of The Avengers where Stark is trying to figure out what's going on in life amidst several terrorist attacks by the Mandarin. That of course is a very broad overview. I really enjoyed this film, although I really enjoyed every one of the 3 films thus far, although I think that the 3rd one may be the best of them all so far, but I need to see the third one again just to verify that. It's strange to think that about five years ago the first film came out; I remember thinking that it was going to flop so miserably, but it turned out to be quite the opposite and ushered in the comic book film era. Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man/Tony Stark no questions and no doubts, and he does it wonderfully. I love seeing him portray this character (as well as Sherlock Holmes), that it is going to be a travesty one day to see it played by someone else as I am certain it will eventually happen. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts was also fantastic as usual, Don Cheadle was much better as War Machine this time around, and Paul Bettany as Jarvis was great. The two breakthroughs were Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin and Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian. Both men are fantastic, but I won't go into details about their characters, but these two gentlemen certainly did prove their mettle as actors. Relatively newcomer director Shane Black did a fantastic job, which I think is because he is primarily a screenwriter, and I think they tend to be better directors because they understand the depth of the story and characters better. The action was pretty good, and they kept it new and fresh. One of the last actions sequences towards the end of the film was a little too fantastic, but I mean there were wormholes and aliens in The Avengers, so why not anything else. The 3-D wasn't too bad, but it could have been better. Brian Tyler did the music, and I was surprised that it was actually relatively good. The story/screenplay was well done, but I do have to admit that all 3 of the films were well written and had excellent stories. I'm giving the film a "Strong Ability" and I would watch it again and suggest others to watch it as well, that is if you enjoy comic book action films. So my sister and I made kabobs tonight and grilled them. How delicious they turned out, so much so that I am going to make them myself one day; heck maybe I'll do that for when I have my own housewarming party when I move out.

Iron Man 3 Trailer

Robert Downey Jr. Interview

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Force is With Us.

May the "Fourth" be with all of you!!! I was thinking of watching a Star Wars film last night, but instead I watched the 1st part of The Deathly Hallows which was lovely, and I still prefer it to the 2nd part. Anywho. It was a long work week, but it ended, although I was sad to see one of my co-workers leave for another job; she will be missed. I made dark chocolate cheesecake for her going away, and it turned out fantastically.  Well, today was international Star Wars day, and I didn't do anything productive; I played Star Wars themed games and then I watched Revenge of the Sith. It was awesome of course like always; great music, great visuals, sweet action, and a timeless story which can cross all cultures and ages. It is the new myth. Man, right now I am struggling to think of stuff to type. I guess that means that my life is pretty boring, which is true, although with how busy I am during the week, it's nice just to chill on the weekends. My editor is supposed to be done with book two of my fantasy trilogy this weekend, but I am not holding my breath. I have gotten to the point where it will get done when it's done, and until then I will just have to be patient. In the meanwhile though, I should do some other writing, but my motivation is gone for some odd reason. It seems that I have gotten to the point where I see very little...profit (for lack of a better term) in writing just for the hay of it, like for my website for example. I suppose the other part of it is, that I'm just too tired to be always writing all of the time during my two days off, and lord knows how that's going to change when I begin graduate school. Even in my blog things are slower and less than they used to be. Maybe I'm just in a rut or a less interesting part of my life and will soon, or rather eventually be getting out of it. Well as Master Yoda says, "train yourself to let go, of everything you fear to lose." Not quite certain why I wrote that, but have an excellent night everyone and a good rest of the week.

Star Wars "The Chosen One" Documentary

Revenge of the Sith Deleted Scene

Return of the Jedi Deleted Scene

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom!!!

Wow! What a heatwave! Apparently everything is done in extremes here in the Midwestern United States concerning the weather at least. It's gone from frigid weather, to weather you wouldn't typically see until June, and it's only May 1st. It has been quite warm the past two days, although I hear it will be cooling back down later on this week thank goodness. I really don't want summer to come that fast, some spring would be lovely for a while. Work has been....difficult and busy. Yesterday I had a client who...has a lot of problems shall we say. My heart bled for him, and yet there was very little I could do except offer my support and wisdom, which are so little compared to what he really needs. Those are the times when as a therapist, you feel highly inadequate; when people who truly need help and want it, seem just out of the grasp of your ability to really help. It is quite frustrating. At any rate, President Obama and his cabinet seem to be changing the beat of their drum concerning the Syrian civil war, yet again. I have no idea what they're thinking, but hopefully someone will come up with the brilliant idea for military intervention and help those people, as it should have been done right from the beginning of the Arab Spring. President Obama made some good decisions, but in my opinion made a lot critical errors concerning places like Syria, Iran, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the Arab Emirates. To lighter matters. This weekend, or rather Saturday is International Star Wars Day!! May the 4th (May the Force be with You)! I don't know how all of you plan to celebrate this pop culture and mythological phenomenon, but I plan to watch Star Wars (a film) and do something else celebratory, although I'm not certain as to what quite yet. If you don't like Star Wars or don't know about it....Well, I have to say about that is, what a shame. I watched Lincoln tonight, and seeing it again certainly did reaffirm my believe that Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the finest actors in the world; such a brilliant performance and capture of one of America's greatest statesmen and U.S. Presidents. Steven Spielberg certainly has a talent for directing intimate dramas, and yes I know that he can do the big action budget stuff extremely well, I think he excels at the drama far more. Schindler's List, Munich, and The Color Purple to name a few. Lincoln is a spectacular film, with an excellent screenplay, excellent cinematography, and an excellent supporting cast. Watch this film, and if you have any good taste at all in film, then you are bound to fall in love with it, as I have along with many others.

Biography of Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln Documentary