I may not live in a daily reality where I am starving, under threat of death, fighting for my survival or living through any other extreme trauma, but it has been a long, stressful and hellish month for me; at least if I was fighting for something I believed in, perhaps I would feel like I'm actually doing something useful with my life rather than just getting ready to do something useful with it eventually. People call it March madness for basketball, I call it that because crazy people get crazier at least here in Illinois. Kids have been going into crisis up the fricking wazoo; cutting themselves, overdosing, threatening to hurt themselves and others, and having psychotic breaks with reality. All the while the program is putting on spring break camp for those with mental health needs, and people are rushing to get stuff done, stay above water, and of course run the camp, which means that we're short staffed because they're aren't enough people to adequately take care of all of the needs, which puts pressure on those not directly involved with camp. I also have grad school, which of course is Statistics this term and another part of my capstone course which is becoming increasingly more and more challenging. I also have to keep tabs on my book progress. I don't know how people who have second jobs, work on-call and have families are managing to remain sane; I am barely keeping my head above water. I swear I'm working close to 50 hours a week and then doing work at home on top of what I am doing for grad school. Thank God I am going on vacation this weekend! Yep, that's right I am returning to sunny, warm and beautiful San Diego for a whole 2 weeks! Granted I will still have to grad school work, but I won't feel overwhelmed like I do now. I just have to get through this week without blowing up, getting fired from saying things I shouldn't, or screaming at anyone; hopefully I will get through it all unscathed. Some good news is that I am okaying the cover art for Book 2 of A Warrior's Tale, so God willing it shall be out very soon. And I just have to say that the cover is amazing! I had no input on it whatsoever and the people or person who put it together was spot on. I was stunned with delight! You know what all of this means right, I have to start writing the third and final book. Where am I going to find the time? That I will worry about later. So much has happened since the last time I wrote, so I will have to summarize. President Putin of Russia has successfully pulled a Hitler and annexed Crimea without firing a shot (I think), and he is increasing his military presence along Ukraine's border. I don't know about ya'll but this is very disturbing and alarming, and I wish more Americans felt that way. The USA is Superman and Russia/Putin is Doomsday (got that reference from my brother in-law) and the only country that can and will stand up to Putin is the USA, no one else has the economic capacity, resources, or conviction of values (certainly not China) to do this, yet President Obama has only made threats and along with the EU sanctioned Russia and some of its wealthier elite, which I doubt will have any significant long term effect. Didn't they read history about when Napoleon and Hitler invaded Russia? Russia outlasts and survives everything that has been thrown at them, even the Mongol hordes; I think they will survive some sanctions. You have to ask yourself concerning an ex-KJB agent who thought the worst event in the 20th century was the fall of the Soviet Union; what's next? Between Syria and Ukraine, Russia's meddling is really costing a lot of lives and messing up geopolitical terrain. It seems reality sucks everywhere. So I decided to take a few breaks from it today when I was doing nothing when I should have been doing homework and work. I watched Gangster Squad which was surprisingly a good and entertaining film about a group of men back in 1949 L.A. who decided to work outside of the mainstream law and bring down a mobster and his flourishing empire. Sean Penn is the villain mobster, which he plays all too well. Josh Brolin is the hero, honest, traditional values minded detective/soldier who spearheads the operation, and he plays it very well; kind of makes you want for the olden days. Then there is Emma Stone who plays the good looking squeeze of the villain who falls for the young sidekick of the hero Ryan Gosling (who has come light years since Young Hercules) who was amazing; these two were the best part of the entire film. The film was perfectly cast with excellent talent left and right. Granted several of the fight scenes with bullets flying everywhere and no one getting hit was unrealistic (at least I would think so), but it was highly entertaining, the plot kept going, was surprisingly well written, and was shot very well. The film's pleasantness and delight actually surprised me, although it was very gritty, but it was very entertaining and I would definitely watch it again, and if you were going to watching a gangster style of film (which I often don't care for) then I would certainly recommend this one. Well I think I've waffled on long enough. Have an excellent weekend everyone and try to do something to help the people over in Syria and Ukraine; try calling one of your government representatives as that is what they are there for.
Gangster Squad trailer
Maleficent most recent trailer (looks so fantastic, and hopefully it will be thus.)
Da Vinci's Demons season 2 trailer (new season begins today!)
It/s amazing how one doesn't blog for a short amount of time, and during that time so much happens. Well, I'll just say it, although it was almost a week ago; the Academy Awards were a splendid delight, and there were very few bad surprises (if any). Gravity dominated, which surprised me, but Dallas Buyer's Club was another film that acquired a number of Oscars, which I predicted. Ellen was a blast and once again an excellent host that had a lot of fun, and that was what struck me; how much fun everyone seemed to be having. Good show, although John Williams should have won the Oscar for Best Original Score, but that's life. President Vladimir Putin has all but annexed Crimea, and I can't help but make a comparison to what Adolf Hitler did back in the 1930's when he annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia because they were a part of the "Fatherland" originally, and he was also reuniting the German people back with each other. No one thought that he would go any further than that, no one dreamed that he would invade Poland, France, and Eastern Europe and then eventually Russia. Appeasement was how Western Europe and the US dealt with Herr Hitler, and that is most likely what will end up happening with Putin. God only knows what the man is really up to, but if you give a mouse a cookie, he's gonna want a glass of milk. There's a lot going on in the Ukraine right now to write it all down, but ya'll better look into it. American should not isolate itself from world politics like it tried after WWI and believe that what happens in other hemispheres of the world stays there without affecting Americans. Terrorists and absolute dictators are seeing that weakness in America right now, and I guarantee all of you that they will not think twice about striking a blow, no matter on what level. We should keep the people of Ukraine in our thoughts and prayers, and also encourage our governments to take action against Russia, whether it be non-lethal or military action. So, now floating away from reality before one becomes too depressed or upset some good stuff came out in the past few days. Netflix aired the Lost Missions for the Clone Wars, and I have watched quite a few of the episodes thus far, and it still amazes me that they cancelled the show because the episodes were still continuing to get better and better.Granted the best of season 6 will be the last few episodes, but it was interesting watching the development of what "protocol 66" is and where it came from. It's a pity that this means that the show will have officially come to an end, but how ironic that there were 6 seasons, as there are currently 6 films; I like the irony. I have very little hope for Rebels as I have seen previews and had sneak peeks of the characters, and as for Episode VII....well, I am not holding out at all since George Lucas is not behind the writing and creative wheel as he was in all previous 6 films. That's what made it work, and I just don't think that it is going to work without him. So I watched this film Elysium this evening after I thought that it was going to be a lousy film, and I wasn't half wrong. It was entertaining enough to the point where I wasn't miserably bored, and Matt Damon did a fine job along with the rest of the cast, although my favorite character was played by Jodi Foster. I didn't like the premise of the film, which was class warfare; of the super rich vs. pretty much everyone else, which in this case apparently were the super poor (about 95% of the human population in the film). It was essentially a bland film that had fantastic potential, but it will be forgotten in another year or so, and definitely in 10 years. That's about as much as I want to even waste my time writing about the film; not something I would recommend. Don't forget to set your clock forward one hour, although I suppose that would depend on what time zone you're in throughout the world. Just so long as it doesn't snow again in the Midwestern U.S., I will be happy. Good luck to us all, and May the Force be with you all.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For trailer (looks intense, just like the first one was)
So I finally was able to watch one of the Oscar films; 12 Years A Slave. If the film win any Academy Awards it will be mainly because of two singular reasons, of which Sigmund Freud would only nod his head. The two reasons are; Sex & Violence. The cinematography was excellent, and Hans Zimmer did a fine job with the music, but the writing wasn't that great, the performances were genuine, but all it seemed to be most of the time were pure raw emotions like hate, passion, anguish, and desire. The film was very brutal in its portrayal of slavery and left the audience feeling similar to it's protagonist; hopeless, even at the end of the film I felt like "blah." Michael Fassbender played quite the villain; I think that Magneto looks like an angel in comparison to this character. Even Benedict Cumberbatch's character was somewhat villainous, but an excellent performance nonetheless. Chiwetel Ejiofor (the main character Solomon Northup) did well for his character, but I really wish the writers had come up with far superior dialogue for him to work with than what was there; didn't seem to do his talent much justice. Lupita Nyong'o (Patsey) has been nominated for an Oscar for her role, which seemed rather small to me, but whatever. She cried a lot, begged a lot, screamed a lot, and was also naked a lot, so she'll probably get the award. Her character didn't really get that much closure at the end of the film. In all, the film has been nominated for 9 Academy awards, and I have a feeling that it might just dominate unfortunately; if it isn't obvious yet, I didn't like the film, nor do I think that I could ever watch it again. There was an epilogue of sorts at the end of the film, and I think based off what happened after the real life story of Solomon Northup would have made for a better film than what they actually adapted from the book. Very depressing, dramatically dark, disturbing, and downright unpleasurable to watch. I wouldn't recommend it, even to see, unless you go for that type of thing. There was all sorts of bad news going on over the past few days and today. It snowed once again; yuck! I hate winter. Then of course President Obama made another "red line" and Putin crossed it and sent troops into Ukraine to "help" the ousted president regain control; big surprise. And now Ukraine is so destabilized that who knows how that will affect the rest of Europe; and who was it that said Russia isn't the US's biggest geopolitical foe? It wasn't Mitt Romney. The current Ukraine situation I could yack about for a while, but that is for another type of blog. It's interesting to note how many countries have been destabilizing over the past couple of years and how that seems likely to be the continuing trend. Regardless, the people of Ukraine are the ones caught in the middle of a power play, and so I think some prayers and positive thoughts would he helpful for them at the moment. Finished the 2nd season of Homeland this evening and I was actually impressed this time with how the season ended this time around; there was actually some good writing that was put into the show finally, and the two main characters suddenly became much more likable. We'll see if they can keep it up for the 3rd season. Academy Awards tomorrow night, unless they get drowned out by rain, which would be oh so funny.