Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Gambler

Rated R / 1 hr 51 min / Crime - Drama - Thriller

What is it about?

Mark Wahlberg plays Jim Bennett who is the gambler even though he wouldn't call himself a gambler if you ask him. He goes to a local gambling house, and quickly loses it. He then asks for more on credit. They grant him the amount requested that he doubles then quadruples up. He seems obsessed and keeps betting the full amount until he eventually loses. Now he's in debt to the Korean mob for over $200,000. He then borrows from a loan shark to pay back a portion of that debt and gamble some more. Both of his creditors give him seven days to pay them back. He has no money, and works as a professor at a university teaching English. His grandfather was one of the richest men in the world, but when his grandfather died he didn't inherit any of the money.

You will like it if...

You like brooding dramas where the protagonist is constantly trying to hurt themself. There are some interesting ideas that come through in this movie like the thought that if you're not trying to be great in sports or art then it's a waste of time. These ideas get lost throughout the movie in the long stretches of space that surround them. The movie could have easily been cut down to 90 minutes. Mark Wahlberg can scrunch his face up and play brooding with the best of them, but there is simply way too much of it in this film. You spend more time wondering what the main character is doing as he spirals down towards self destruction. The film turns into a study in depression and self loathing. The ending is disappointing and defies explanation as it flies in the face of everything that the movie had built up to. I would suggest waiting until the film is available on Redbox if you must see it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies

Rated: PG-13 / 2 hr 24 min / Adventure - Fantasy

What is it about?

Smaug has been awaken and is wreaking havoc on Laketown. The humans there are trying to escape with all of their belongings. Bard is in jail and the only one who wants to fight the dragon. He manages to escape and take down the beast. With the mountain now dragonless there are several armies marching on the stronghold. All of them want their shot at the treasure inside. Thorin is the new king under the mountain, but he's afflicted by a fever that compels him to hold onto all of the treasure. The armies gathering at the mountain are unaware of a massive Orc army that is coming to take the stronghold for themselves.

You will like it if...

You enjoyed the previous Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. Peter Jackson does epic fantasy as written by Tolkein for possibly the last time. It has been a good run, and this edition is just as good as the previous films in the series. The special effects are just as stellar as the previous films. Some parts of the story are a bit strange, but they are part of one of the small subplots within the movie. As with any complex work of fiction there is a lot of story to be packed into the two and a half hours of film. If you're a fan of the series then this is a must see. If you have missed out on the previous Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies I have one question for you. Have you been living under a rock? They are all worth watching if you enjoy fantasy movies with wizards and creatures other than humans.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Character Building Guide - Part 3: Describing the Character


In this edition of the character building guide we will discuss some basic techniques to describe your character on the character sheet we are putting together. I prefer to use a pencil and paper RPG system as a guide for a basic character sheet, but this is one of the areas I add another seperate sheet. Most systems will have some basic spots for descriptors or possibly a spot on the sheet for a picture. I still find it lacking in this department no matter what system you use especially since I can't draw. This will include some basics like name, height, weight, etc. which are most likely covered on the basic sheet. I will add in some other things that I sometimes like to include, so let's get started!

Method

  • Step 1 - Name Your Character. I usually like to wait until the end of the character building process to do this, and it can be done at any point of the process. This is one of the most important parts of building your character, so you want to put some thought into it. The genre you are writing for can have a big influence over what kind of name you pick. If I am having a hard time with picking a name, I will take a list of first names and another of last names. I will close my eyes and point at a random spot on the paper and use whichever name is closest to the spot I am pointing at. I would suggest looking into baby naming guides, especially if you can find one for the year your character was born. There are many websites with name generators as well that I have found useful from time to time. If you use a name generator be sure to use one that fits the genre you are writing.
  • Step 2 - Height and Weight. I put these two together because they tie into each other. I like to look at a list of healthy weights for a person of a certain height, and adjust the values using the chart based on what I expect the character to look like. So if you want a shorter character that is a little on the petitte side then you can look at the chart of what a healthy weight would be for a character of the height you wish then to be. You then subtract a few pounds from the minimum healthy weight you have found on the list. You can find a height/weight chart here: http://www.healthchecksystems.com/heightweightchart.htm
  • Step 3 - Age. Determine your character's age. This can sometimes indicate how naive the character is, or how much life experience the character has. That isn't always the case though. A young character who had grown up abandoned on the streets would have more experience finding necessities than someone who had been sheltered from the outside world by their parents for over twenty years.
  • Step 4 - Hair Color/Eye Color/Race/Gender. Now we're getting more into specifics of how the character looks. This can effect how other characters react to them especially if any of your characters are racist. I try to stay clear of race issues, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Some people don't react the same to characters that don't look like them. It's up to you if you want to tackle those issues in your story. If your character is an alien then you might want a seperate sheet to describe the alien race. Gender inequality is also a very real thing. If you create an alien race then you should consider the differences in gender if there are seperate genders.
  • Step 5 - Fashion Sense and Personal Style. This is where you decide how your character dresses, styles their hair, facial hair, etc.. Some characters will dress in a more functional way for their profession. Some will dress for comfort by wearing baggy or loose fitting clothing. This can also have an effect on how people react to the character. High society may look down on those who can't afford or don't dress using the latest fashion.
  • Step 6 - Other Distinguishing Features. Scars, tattoos, and birthmarks can be included here. Perhaps your character had their nose broken and it healed crooked. If your character is of an alien race then you can add face tentacles or hard spikes instead of hair. If you have a seperate sheet that describes the alien race then you can describe unique features that the character has for a member of that race.
  • Step 7 - Picture Your Character. Now that you have all of the physical details, you can get a good idea of what they look like. Close your eyes and picture them in your mind. If you want to be more visual then you can use google to try to find a picture of them. If you fancy yourself an artist then you can draw a picture of the character yourself. I prefer the mental picture to an actual picture because readers will form their own picture of the character that is unique from yours. I don't think their picture is any more or less valid than the author's picture of the character, and I enjoy seeing reader art.

Example

  • Name: Penta Torov
  • Height: 5' 3"
  • Weight: 103 lbs.
  • Age: 14
  • Hair: Black and curly
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Race: Human
  • Gender: Female
  • Personal Style: Penta prefers black or dark colored clothing. She likes tight fitting clothing that has good mobility, so she dresses in a more functional way. She likes hoodies.
  • Scars: On the back of the left hand going diagonally from the knuckles to the wrist.
  • Tattoos: An ornately designed cross on the right forearm.

Use

Penta has reached the jump, but there's a problem. The distance looks too far for her short frame. She pulls back her black hood revealing her equally black hair. She has lived in fear of a day like this for all of her fourteen years. The zombies are coming, and she's not sure if she can make the jump. It looks like the diggers were a bit overzealous on this side of the settlement.

She peeks with baby blue eyes over the edge of the trench. It's at least thirty feet down. She scratches at the scar on the back of her left hand. A reminder of the last time she didn't make it across a jump. Her parents were there to save her then, but this time she's on her own.

Penta walks away from the gap in the ground giving herself room for a running jump. She can see the zombies limping their way towards her, and now that she's closer she can hear their faint grunts. She pulls up her sleeves revealing the cross tattoo on her right forearm. It is still pristine with all of the ornate designs that are supposed to protect her. It is meant to be more of a warning. She had heard stories of people who had been bitten. Their cross tattoo did nothing for them. They were in agony for days, complaining about burning on their skin. Before they had fully turned, the skin containing the cross had turned black.

The zombies will be on top of her if she keeps procrastinating. There's no other path to escape other than the one in front of her. She takes off in a sprint towards the jagged gap in the ground that represents the edge of the human settlement and the barrier she must cross to reach safety. She reaches the edge and leaps.

So far so good. Next post in the guide we will flesh out the character's physical attributes and find out if Penta makes it across the gap!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings

PG-13 / 2 hr 30 min / Action - Adventure - Drama

What is it about?

The movie follows the Biblical tale of Moses. Moses has spent his entire life with his best friend Ramses. They were raised as brothers in Pharaoh Seti's home. The high priestess predicts that a leader will emerge from battle by saving the life of the Pharaoh's son Ramses. Moses saves his friend's life. After Seti dies and Ramses takes over, Ramses finds out that Moses is in fact Hebrew. He then exiles Moses against the advice of his mother who wants Moses dead. Moses eventually comes back with God's guidance to help lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt. Ramses doesn't want to let his slave workforce go. God unleashes several plagues to convince Ramses to let the Hebrew people go.

You will like it if...

You enjoy epic movies based off the Bible. Christian Bale is one of my favorite actors, and he does a fine job in this movie. Joel Edgerton's portrayal of Ramses is compelling as well. The special effects are also amazing. There are so many epic vistas displayed in this movie. This is one of the best looking movies I've seen in 3D, and it's well worth seeing just for how beautiful it is. The biggest problem is that it moves at a snail's pace throughout, and it doesn't help that they don't seem to leave anything out. Ridley Scott clearly has enough creative freedom to make his movies as long as he likes, but this one should have had more of it left on the cutting room floor. The story is the classic Biblical tale in all of it's glory with several inaccuracies sprinkled in which happens whenever Hollywood takes on a project like this. The movie is worth going to see for it's spectacular vistas, better than average acting, and the epic story. Just be prepared for the long runtime and slow pace.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Character Building Guide - Part 2: Getting Started

 Getting Started

Welcome to the second installment of the character building guide. In this part we will focus on setting up your initial character sheet. It sounds simple enough doesn't it? I prefer use to pencil and paper role playing game character sheets as a starting point. You can also use any sort of blank paper that is available. This post will not have an 'Example' or 'Use' portion because this step doesn't involve adding any character information.

Method

  • Step 1 - Gather your materials. If you are doing all this digitally then you will only need the programs you intend to use. Otherwise you will need loose paper or a notebook, pens, pencils, etc.
  • Step 2 - Determine your needs. Depending on what type of character or story you are writing, you might not need to know their detailed history or what their exact physical attributes are. For a romance novel you may want to spend more time on getting to know your character on a personal level. For an epic fantasy novel you may want to have a detailed list of spells for your mage character.
  • Step 3 - (optional) Find a Role Playing Game (RPG) system that fits. This is optional because you might not need what a RPG system can help provide depending on the type of story you are writing. Most RPG systems focus more on what a character can do physically. There are some that put an emphasis on character interaction that can also be useful. I personally like GURPS because it is a generic system that is easy to customize to your needs. Another advantage is that they have blank character sheets that have already been formatted. Those character sheets usually lack a few things that I like to include, but you can always customize them to your needs. There are tons of resources available online, and you can get a blank copy of almost any RPG system's character sheet here: http://www.rpgsheets.com/
  • Step 4 - Outline your character sheet. This is where you block off space for everything you want on your character sheet. If you're using a blank RPG system sheet then some of this has been done for you already. Any customization will most likely need to be on another sheet of paper. The most important suggestion I can give is to leave extra room for additional information. You may need to add things to the character sheet as the character develops. Things can always change while you are writing. Some things, like attribute ratings, may only need a single line, or a small section of a few lines. Other portions of the character sheet, like the character's history, may take several pages.

Now we're ready to start filling in specific character information!

Character Building Guide - Part 1: Introduction

Hello! Welcome to my character building guide for authors. I intend this to be a comprehensive guide towards building characters. This is a long term goal that will be built over the next few months, and I will continue to develop for years going forward. I don't personally follow all of these steps when building characters. To get an idea of my process, you can read my blog post titled Character Building in 4 Steps - http://brianbasham.blogspot.com/2013/07/character-building-in-4-steps.html. I have tried all of the methods listed in this guide at least once.

You can bookmark this post for future use as I will update the Table of Contents as additional information is added to the guide. If you have any ideas or suggestions for the guide then please leave them in the comments.

How to Use This Guide

This guide is intended to help authors develop characters for use in works of fiction. Writing is a highly subjective pursuit with an infinite number of ways to do it. This guide contains suggestions on how you can develop or get to know characters. Please keep in mind that sections that aren't useful to you might be useful to others. Take what works for you and leave the rest behind.

The posts will be broken up into sections as this guide grows. Portions of posts within each section may seem redundant as there are many ways to accomplish the same goals. To ensure this is a comprehensive guide there will be some overlap in topics.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction - This page
Part 2: Getting Started
Part 3: Describing the Character
Part 4: Basic Attributes

Structure of Posts

Each post in this guide will have the same structure as outlined below.
  • Topic - A brief description of the topic that will be covered and the method used in the current post.
  • Method - A longer description of how to reach the goal of the post step by step. There may be more than one method for each topic, but each method will have it's own post.
  • Example - A detailed example using the steps described to build a character that will be developed over the course of the guide.
  • Use - How to use the information in the example while writing fiction.

I hope you all enjoy this guide. Please leave any comments and/or suggestions in the comments. Thank you for reading!

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Pyramid

Rated R / 1 hr 29 min / Horror

What is it about?

A documentary film crew is sent to follow a group of archeologists who have recently made "the find of the century". They have found another pyramid near the Giza pyramids near Cairo. This one is unique as it has only three sides. Using satellite imaging they have found a tunnel that leads to the entrance of the pyramid. When the diggers break through a big puff of ancient air spews forth dust and debris. The digger in front absorbe the brunt of the blast which makes it look as if his face is melted off, but we're told later that he's OK. Egyptian police tells them to leave because of a possible civil war that is brewing in Cairo. The archeologists decide to send in a robot borrowed by NASA before they are forced to leave, but it is mauled by some creature shortly after entering. They can't afford to pay back NASA for the million dollar robot, so they have to go in after it.

You will like it if...

You like B horror movies that try to add a bit of Indiana Jones into their script. This movie is very similar to As Above, So Below which is the only other movie I can think of that mixes this blend of archeology and horror. There is a bit less Indiana Jones in this one, so it isn't quite as entertaining. Several scenes duplicate the closed in claustrophobic feel that As Above, So Below was so adept at. The Pyramid has more variety to it that gives the film more avenues to scare you. The special effects are done very well which gives it more of an A movie feel. The acting quickly bring you back down to the B movie level. There is one part where a female character starts screaming and acting like she is going to attack one of the men. It's by far the worst performance in the entire movie. It feels so fake that I'm surprised the scene wasn't cut out. The Pyramid ends up being a decent B horror movie that packs in enough scares to satisfy hardcore horror fans, but not good enough to cross over to mainstream fans.

Monday, December 1, 2014

WriteOn by Kindle

WriteOn is Amazon's answer to Wattpad and other writer communities. It's a writer's community program that is currently in semi-public beta. You will have to ask for an access key to sign up, but it only took a day or two to get my key after requesting one. Once you are able to get in, you can request extra beta keys to get some of your friends in. I have requested a few keys, so I will probably have a couple soon. If you would like one, and you haven't requested one yet then you can message me on one of the various social media outlets. I will hook you up if I can! For now, let's take a look at what's under the hood and what the possibilities are with this program. Let's keep in mind that this is still in beta, so there are more features and content to come in the future. If you want to check it out the link is at the bottom of this blog post.

Features

  • Browsing - Browsing for stories is as good as you would expect for something presented by Amazon. The main page features the top trending stories, authors that are looking for feedback, and new stories. The categories available are listed at the bottom. You can search for what's new, old, trending, popular, or you can search for tags that authors attach to their stories. You can also search for specific story titles or authors. As with most community sites there are reader comments that can be posted on each chapter to give you an idea of what people are saying about it.
  • Weekend Write-In - This is a writing prompt that is featured in the main graphic at the top of the main page as if it is a special event. I don't know if this is a weekly feature to try to build more content, but that's what it looks like to me. If you click on the link in the main graphic then it takes you to the create story page rather than a page explaining the event. Tricked you! It does look like people are participating. If you search for write-in on the site you'll get several stories. The most recent ones will be based off the most recent writing prompt.
  • Create - The editor for this is quite nice, and it contains many of the same features you would expect from any social writing website. One thing jumps out at me right away that I like more than the other sites I have tried. This won't apply to most of you, but I do all of my blogging and writing from my Android tablet. Most websites try to display a mobile version of their website or a dumbed down Android tablet version no matter what my settings are. This appears to be a version that retains all of it's features. Also a lot of the formatting buttons lead me to believe that it is primed for Kindle integration. I like the wordcount generator which works on Android. The feature is not available on Wattpad's editor if you are using an Android device.
  • Your Stuff and Profile - The profile is pretty standard stuff at this point. Your stuff is formatted nicely with your most recent story comments in the right margin. A list of your stories gets center stage with all of the stats on reads, comments, and likes. You can follow a story, the author, or both and those show up here also. One glaring omission is the lack of private messaging on your profile or on the forums. This is something that needs to be addressed, and I have to believe they will at some point. Most people are using the comment box on stories to pass on messages directly to the author for now.
  • The Community and Messageboards - There are quite a few writers on this site, but not a lot of readers. This is leading some authors to want to leave the site. Hold on there Tonto! You have to remember that the site is still in Beta. Once the site goes live there will be plenty of readers available to fight over. The community as of now seems to be pretty helpful. Everything is new and shiny and full of bugs. Don't worry, the exterminators are coming. I haven't noticed any significant bugs thus far, but I've only been on the site for a few days.

The Future

This is all my personal speculation, so don't look too far into this. Some of the things on this list look like the obvious next step for this project. If any of these have been announced, I am not currently aware of it. I haven't read through all of the news posts on the forums.
  • Kindle Integration - This is a no brainer for Amazon. It's obvious that is one of their goals. A community like this needs a mobile app of some sort. I would prefer a seperate app that allows many of the sharing and commenting features that are available on the Wattpad app. The Wattpad app has made many great strides in the past year that need to be integrated into the Kindle app.
  • Readers will flood in once it's made public - If this community goes public to every Kindle and Kindle app around the world then the readers will flock to it. I'm not sure if this is such a good thing. This could be a mixed bag because many of the works on the site aren't finished. Several of the stories are first drafts or in the process of being edited. The site will end up becoming more of a popularity contest instead of what I believe is the current intended focus of the site. I'll get into that later in my final thoughts.
  • Amazon Ebook publishing integration - If Amazon's intentions are where I think they are with this community then this would be one of the logical next steps. Looking at all the formatting options in their text editor, they are helping to create a clean text file with all of the HTMl tags needed. Normally you would only then need to run it through Callibre to finalize the ebook file and create the Table of Contents, but why would you do that if all you need to do is click one button on the WriteOn website?

Final Thoughts

This could end up being a launching pad for aspiring professional authors. I believe that Amazon intends this to be exactly what it looks like, a writer's community where authors can polish their works with the intention of publishing them for sale on Amazon. With the power of Amazon behind it and Kindle integration, it will be tough for other communities to compete for serious writers. Wattpad and other writing communities will still have their place for casual writing and fan fiction. I just wonder how they will be able to compete with WriteOn for serious authors/readers once Amazon catches up with the feature sets of these other established writer communities.

I encourage you all to check out Grim. It's a serial story about a grim-reaper that is caught in the middle of a game between an angel and a demon who are fighting over the reaper's soul. The final chapter of Season 1 will be posted later today December 1, 2014. You can read it here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/15571872-grim
The WriteOn community link is here: https://writeon.amazon.com/

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar

Rated PG / 1 hr 32 min / Action - Adventure - Comedy

What is it about?

This movie picks up right after the last Madagascar movie. I think it was Madagascar 236843. It was the one where they sang about circus afros through half of the movie. Anyway the Penguins finally get their long overdue spinoff movie. Their first course of action is to break into Fort Knox to get some golden goodness. A vending machine inside is the last place place to get a special cheesy poof which is their present for Private's birthday. An evil Octopus named Dave kidnaps the penguins and then unveils his plan to get revenge on all penguins who are too cute. The penguins escape and then are rescued by a group of spy-animals known as The North Wind. Now they have competition for who will save the other penguins from the clutches of Dave.

You will like it if...

You enjoyed the antics of the penguins in the other Madagascar movies. They undeniably have more charm than the now stale original Madagascar cast. The story in this iteration of the Madagascar franchise doesn't make any sense in spots, but it's a kids movie so move on already. Also that's part of the charm of the penguins to begin with. It's still packed with enough fun and laughs to keep the young ones entertained. The rivalry with The North Wind doesn't add as much to the movie as it should. The penguins are more entertaining when they are on their own trying to solve a problem, and the script fails to extend their charm past that. It's still better than the last couple of Madagascar movies. Unless you're a fan or have little ones that want to see it, I would wait for it to show up on Redbox.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Horrible Bosses 2

Rated R / 1 hr 48 min / Comedy - Crime

What is it about?

This time around the trio of friends has their own product that they are trying to build into a business. They want to be their own bosses this time. They go on TV to help promote their Shower Buddy or Shower Daddy depending on who you ask. In steps Bert Hanson, a potential investor. He convinces the friends to do business with him. He puts in an order for 100,000 units, and hooks them up with a bank contact for a loan. They complete the manufacturing of their Shower Buddies three days early. When they go to inform Bert of the good news, he cancels the order. It was all part of his plan to run them into bankruptcy then buy their product at auction for much less than what it would cost him otherwise.

You will like it if...

You like raunchy comedies about revenge. The first movie had charm to it, but the various sub-plots made it lose focus. This sequel isn't hampered by those problems. Everything has been stepped up in this sequel. The storyline is more interesting with all of the twists thrown in. The laughs are bigger than the first one. The cast brings just about everyone back. Jennifer Anniston is great as a sex addict. Christoph Waltz is fantastic at acting like a jerk as evidenced in his role from Inglorious Bastards, so his addition in the role of Bert Hanson is perfect. The three main characters played by Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day have improved the rapport they have with each other as well. If you liked the first Horrible Bosses movie then this is a must see. Even if you haven't seen the first one, I would recommend this movie you like raunchier comedies like the Hangover or There's Something About Mary.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Fight Over Immigration Reform

President Obama recently made an executive action to help reform immigration on Thursday. Before he announced the move, John Boehner and Ted Cruz hopped on Youtube to denounce the move. I have seen a lot of people talking about how Obama has overstepped his authority. Obama has since made a speech announcing the move. The media has now had a chance to poke and prod at the facts and present an opinion that misrepresents them. In this blog post I'm going to explore a basic timeline on how this came to be, and then I am going to also look at immigration reform through executive actions in the past.

The Timeline

  • July 1, 2010 - President Obama announces support for immigration reform framework set up by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
  • December 18, 2010 - The Dream Act vote fails in the Senate. Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated that the Dream Act would not be passed alone without some provision to help secure the borders. He stated that it must be part of comprehensive reform. Pundits state that it is unlikely immigration reform will be addressed within the next two years.
  • November 8, 2012 - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) stated that immigration reform would be a top priority of the 113th Congress.
  • December 21, 2012 - Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announce that the agency has surpassed it's record number of deportations in the past fiscal year. The new record is set at 409,849 deportations.
  • April 25, 2013 - Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) announces that the House Judiciary Committee will unveil a series of measures aimed at fixing the immigration system bit by bit. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) both state that this approach  has not worked in the past and will not work in the future. They both state that it must be a comprehensive bill.
  • June 27, 2013 - The Senate passes The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. A bi-partisan and comprehensive bill for immigration reform.
  • June 27, 2013 - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says, "The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes. We're going to do our own bill, through regular order."
  • January 30, 2014 - House Republicans release a list of general principles they plan to adhere to when talking about immigration reform.
  • February 6, 2014 - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) states that the President has to prove that he will enforce immigration law before any immigration reform will be passed. He does not say what actions the President would need to take to prove this.
  • March 13, 2014 - President Obama asks Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to do an inventory of current deportation practices to see how it can be conducted in a more humane manner.
  • March 26, 2014 - House Democrats start a discharge petition hoping to bring the bill passed in the Senate to a vote. They are unable to get the required amount of signatures with House Republicans blocking the move.
  • April 8, 2014 - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) states that President Obama has made it almost impossible to ever do immigration reform because of possible changes to deportation policy. He is referring to the study President Obama asked Homeland Security to conduct to make deportation more humane.
  • May 27, 2014 - President Obama asks the Homeland Security chief to hold off on completing a review of U.S. deportation policies to allow the House of Representatives more time to resolve the issue through legislation.
  • June 2, 2014 - President Obama declares an urgent humanitarian situation in response to a more than 90 percent increase of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the border. Most of the children attempting to cross the border are fleeing an increase in sustained violence in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. Republicans blame Obama for not securing the border, and Democrats blame Republicans for blocking legislation that would allocate more resources towards securing the border.
  • June 25, 2014 - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announces plans to sue President Obama "in an effort to compel the president to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country." He doesn't specify which laws the lawsuit would include. The White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, "The fact that they are considering a taxpayer funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job, I think is the kind of step that most Americans wouldn't support." Boehner's timeline includes him bringing a bill up for a vote in July that would authorize the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to sue the president.
  • June 30, 2014 - President Obama announces his plan to move forward with an executive action for immigration reform. He urges House Republicans to pass a bill to fix the problem if they are concerned about these executive actions. President Obama had spoken with John Boehner (R-OH) the previous week and was told that the House of Representatives would not vote on immigration reform this year. President Obama lashed out saying that the newest excuse for the Republicans lack of action equates to House Republicans saying, "because the system is broken, we shouldn't make an effort to fix it." He also said, "If Congress will not do their jobs, at least we can do ours."
  • July 3, 2014 - President Obama responds to a potential lawsuit brought forth by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) by saying, "Middle-class families can't wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me". He also said, "As long as they're doing nothing, I'm not going to apologize for trying to do something."
  • July 29, 2014 - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) states that the House of Representatives "will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion."
  • September 3, 2014 - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) states that immigration reform could still happen next year as long as President Obama enforces the law and doesn't change deportation procedures.
  • September 6, 2014 - President Obama decides to delay taking executive actions towards immigration reform until after mid-term elections.
  • November 5, 2014 - President Obama states that he still plans to make an excutive action to implement immigration reform before the end of the year. He also states that any future legislation by Congress would negate any executive action taken.
  • November 6, 2014 - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) states that there is no chance for immigration reform over the next two years if President Obama issues an executive action. He goes on to claim that the influx of unaccompanied minors caught crossing the border from Mexico illegally was the cause of inaction by the House. He also blames President Obama for this mass border crossing.
  • November 21, 2014 - House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) claims that the executive action has sabotaged chances for bipartisan legislation.
  • November 21, 2014 - President Obama makes his speech announcing his executive action. He asks Congress to "Pass a bill" if they question his authority to put forth this executive action.

Past Executive Actions

  • In 1987 President Ronald Reagan extended protection to minor children of parents who had been granted amnesty.
  • In 1990 President George H. W. Bush established a "family fairness" program that gave protection to family members who were living with immigrants that had been granted amnesty if they had entered the country prior to 1986.

Thoughts

While researching this blog post I came across quite a few things that I thought I knew which turned out to be false. It's surprising how effective a mis-information campaign can be when presented by the press. It just reiterates a blog post I made previously about verifying your news sources.

Based on what I have found, it seems like House Republicans have no intention of working on immigration reform. At least not anytime soon. This is a political ploy to paint President Obama into a corner, forcing him to use executive actions to address the problem. Any executive action is a temporary band-aid over a much bigger problem that can only be fixed by legislation through Congress. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has used every excuse he can make up to explain the delay. Any action that President Obama takes is a convenient excuse even if it's as innocuous as conducting a study to see if current execution of policy can be improved upon. The influx of unaccompanied children to the border has forced President Obama's hand, but the actions of House Republicans caused a delay in action in hopes that they might actually do something. Then Obama delayed action again because of mid-term elections.

Republicans seem to want President Obama to use executive actions, so they can try to portray him as an evil emperor. They will use that as a major talking point to push for the 2016 election for president. It doesn't help that Obama's frustration is showing. His comments telling them to "sue me" doesn't help, and it feeds into Republican complaints that the president is hard to work with. Perhaps he is, or perhaps he is less patient with the political moves that delay the process.

The future looks to have more of the same with the Republicans taking control of the Senate as well as solidifying their hold on the House even more. Any action taken is unlikely to gain bipartisan support because House Republicans seem to only want to address parts of the problem, ignoring the rest. Boehner claims that these executive actions have sabotaged future efforts, but I feel like the opposite should be true. If House Republicans don't like President Obama's executive action then they should feel an urgent need to pass a bill that invalidates the executive action. Thus far it seems as if House Republicans are the only ones delaying action. Instead it looks like they are going to use President Obama's executive action as an excuse to do nothing in order to use it as a political talking point in 2016.

Related Links

Details on President Obama's executive action: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration/

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) response on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/#/watch?v=p72ZtZcrhg0

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Rated PG-13 / 2 hr 3 min / Adventure - SciFi

What is it about?

When we last left Katniss she had just survived her second Hunger Games. She had tied an arrow to a cord of some special material that conducts electricity. She shoots it at the outer barrier just as a bolt of lightning hit. The force field fell apart along with the outer wall of the structure. Katniss was picked up by a rebel faction that lives in District 13. They failed to pick up Peeta, and this made Katniss very upset. Now they want to use Katniss as their mouthpiece to convince the other districts to join the rebellion. She isn't so sure that she wants to participate. President Snow makes the decision easier for her when she sees that he bombed District 12 into oblivion.

You will like it if...

You liked the first two Hunger Games movies. The Mockingjay for me was the worst of the three books in the series, so I wasn't sure it was such a good idea to split that one into two movies. This movie picks up on some of the better parts of the book. There is a lot of rhetoric with quite a bit of political back and forth throughout the film. The script contains more drama than the previous films, but it packs in enough action to satisfy fans of the previous movies in the series. The addition of Julianne Moore to go with Hoffman, Jennifer Lawrence, and others helps to bolster an already stellar cast. While not as good as the last Hunger Games effort, it's still a must see for fans of the series.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Effective Blogging

Normally I would be blogging about my favorite football team or my fantasy football team. This week I have decided to make a change. To be successful you have to constantly tweak and adjust everything you are doing. Looking at the posts that have made the most impact has led me to this change. Some segments of the blog that I enjoy doing are going away. There simply isn't enough support as far as comments or hits to support them. One of those is the writer's playlist that I have enjoyed putting together. I love music, but not everyone has the same taste when it comes to music. You have to cater to your audience. I want to provide value while spending more time writing.

Effective Blog Posts

There are 4 different kinds of posts that have been the most popular and created the most interaction. Let's take a look at each type and see why I think they are so popular.
  • Movie Reviews - I have been doing these from the start of the blog. I am a huge movie fan, so I am going to go see these movies anyway. Movies can give you that short term experience that is almost as intense as a book can be. Why have these posts been successful? You can go a lot of places to get movie reviews, and many of those places get more traffic than this little blog. I think the answer is that I have provided something unique and I have built up trust with some of my readers. People have come up to me to say that my reviews are right in line with what they think of the movie. What makes my reviews unique is that I don't give an overall rating. I feel like different people like different things. My goal when reviewing a movie is to give people what they need to decide if they should go see the movie. Giving people an overall rating on my opinion of the movie won't help towards that end if they like action movies with tons of explosions, and I prefer intellectual thrillers.
  • Guides - These posts teach others how to do certain things. I haven't posted one of these in a while, but my guide to building characters is still one of my most popular posts on the blog (you can read it here). I have found that authors and writers are always trying to find tips and tricks that will help them to improve their craft or make more money off of their work. I know because I do the same, and it's one of the reasons I follow Lindsey Buroker on Twitter. I promise you it has nothing to do with her being a wonderful person who I chat with on occaision. I really think she may be a dragon in disguise, so I'm a little scared when she replies to my tweets.
  • Current Topics - My most popular post to date has to do with E-book Subscription Services (read it here), and I did a follow up post about Kindle Unlimited when Amazon rolled that out which was also very popular (read it here). My recent post about being a feminist was also one of my more popular posts (read it here). It's easy to see why posts like these are popular. I try to provide a unique perspective that gives people something to think about. Sometimes I have some questsions that haven't been answered, so I strive to find those answers for myself and others who may be interested. Chuck Wendig is one of the best I have seen at tackling current issues while making it entertaining. Beware the potty mouth if you seek out his twitter or blog.
  • Events - The one critique event that I have participated in has been popular as well. It's always nice to help out your fellow writers/authors. I also posted an author interview that was quite a bit of fun. All of these posts have been popular because we have been able to pull in multiple sources to help promote them. Four of my top ten blog posts are part of one of these events.

The Future

I plan to spend more time on these kinds of blog posts. Posting daily or almost daily does help my overall amount of traffic to the blog, but there is less interaction with these posts. None of these posts are able to pull the kind of attention that I feel would justify the time spent on them. It ends up being a trade off of quality for quantity that I don't feel is worth it. I would rather spend that time writing fiction. I will continue to experiment with the format of this blog to hopefully find other things that work, but I will also strive to provide more content that fits into the categories above.

This is what is working for me, but it might not work for your blog. I suggest to everyone who writes a blog to re-evaluate what is working and isn't working for your blog every once in a while, and make whatever adjustments needed. This blog has become more of a diary and football blog as of late when I should be focusing on what is important. As much as I love football and music, I don't see either as being part of my future career plans. It doesn't make much sense for me to continue on that path when my time would be better spent on other projects.

Thanks For Reading! Catch up on the first season of Grim before it's done! Grim Season 1 on Wattpad! - http://www.wattpad.com/story/15571872

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dumb and Dumber To

Rated PG-13 / 1 hr 50 min / Comedy

What is it about?

Harry and Lloyd are back and just as dumb as ever. Lloyd has been catatonic for the past 20 years over the Samsonite girl from the first Dumb and Dumber movie. Harry has been visiting and taking care of him this whole time. Lloyd then reveals that it was a gag this whole time. Harry then lets him know that he needs a kidney or he's going to die. They both find out that Harry has a daughter from a postcard that was sent to him from the 1990's. They go to meet the mother to see if she knows anything. She tried to contact the daughter through letter, but it was returned to sender with a note saying not to try to contact her again. Harry and Lloyd now go on a mission to find Harry's daughter so she can donate a kidney to save Harry's life.

You will like it if...

You liked the original and can ignore the scumbaggery. What bothers me is all of the racism and sexism that plays throughout the movie that is just plain not funny. What's the point in it if it's not funny or original? Those kind of jokes are made to show how rediculous racism and sexism are and to show them in a negative light. Anchorman is a prime example. I love that movie even though sexism is a major theme, but it's so rediculous that you can't take it seriously. Anchorman doesn't portray sexism in a positive light either, it leads to the ruin of the main character's carreer at one point. Dumb and Dumber To portrays racism and sexism in a positive light as if it's OK and we should find it funny. It tries to show it as being rediculous because the main characters are so stupid. Instead it diminishes the characters because their reactions are similar to that of real racists and sexists that troll about society today. Especially Lloyd who comes off as a scumbag throughout most of the movie. I usually don't recommend that people not go see a movie unless it is a complete waste of time because of how terrible it is. I can't recommend that anyone go see this movie because I have a huge problem with anyone trying to perpetuate inequality because of race, sex, sexual orientation, the color of your socks, size of your truck, what level you are on in Candy Crush, etc.. Instead I will say that if you are looking for a fun movie that will have you smiling and laughing then go see Big Hero 6. It is vastly superior to this movie in almost every way. The trailer for it is below.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Writer's Playlist - November 12th Edition

The writer's playlist consists of fifteen songs that make a playlist of close to an hour. If you have any song suggestions for the list please leave it in the comments!

The List


  1. Kendrick Lamar - B*tch Don't Kill My Vibe
  2. Jodeci - Feenin'
  3. Elle Varner, A$AP Ferg - Don't Wanna Dance
  4. Sam Smith, A$AP Rocky - I'm Not The Only One
  5. B.O.B., T.I., Juicy J - We Still In This B*tch
  6. Jay-Z - Can't Knock The Hustle
  7. Ariana Grande, The Weeknd - Love Me Harder
  8. Tove Lo - Habits(Stay High)
  9. Hall & Oats - Maneater
  10. Rihanna - Stay
  11. Mary Lambert, B.O.B. - Secrets
  12. Dire Straights - Money For Nothing
  13. Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World
  14. Lady GaGa - Venus
  15. Miley Cyrus - Party In The USA

Friday, November 7, 2014

Interstellar

Rated PG-13 / 2 hr 49 min / Adventure - SciFi

What is it about?

There is a blight spreading across the planet. Millions have already died due to starvation. Those who are left try to survive, but plantlife is going extinct in the face of the blight. Matthew McConaughey plays former pilot who lives on his corn farm with his son and daughter. His daughter finds a signal caused by gravity that seems to have a message. He helps his daughter decipher the message, which leads them to a secret base. It turns out to be a base for NASA, and they want Matthew to pilot a critical mission. They are looking for a new planet for humankind to populate. He's the only one left who has any experience outside of simulators, but if he goes on this mission he may never see his children again. There's also no guarantee that the mission will be successful.

You will like it if...

You like epic science fiction movies. Christopher Nolan has become a master of making large scale movies like this. This movie is hauntingly beautiful in spots. Some of the visuals are simply awe-inspiring. The space shots aren't as pretty as those in Gravity, but the script isn't mind-numbing either. The pace is slow, but never feels that way. I was surprised to see how much time had passed when I looked at my smartphone to see that it was three hours later. McConaughey in particular gives a powerful performance along with decent performances from Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, and Matt Damon in supporting roles. With any movie like this the science has been fudged to help justify the narritive, so there are a few things that you have to ignore while watching. That goes for just about any great work of fiction. If you have any interest in seeing this movie then you should go see it. It's a long one though, so be sure to use the facilities before it starts.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Movement

With all of the craziness that took place on Tuesday it made me think of how we can make a change for the positive in our country, our world, and our lives. It's easy to say that things are messed up. What can we do to fix these problems? Some of these problems are on a scale that it is hard to comprehend how any one person can make a difference.

Interestingly enough we have been given the blueprint on how to do this by another movement that was corporately sponsored. The Tea Party. Unfortunately it took and still takes a lot of money to keep that movement going. There are some important lessons we can learn from them though. If you look at their success and how it was done, why can't we do the same for what we find to be important?

Research

We should first research the subject to the point of being an expert on the subject. If you have the facts on your side then it's hard for others to argue against you. Everything you can think of has most likely been tried or at least researched at some point or another. Information is your ammunition when arguing for a course of action. If anyone is able to break down your argument then you lose credibility. You might only get one chance to win someone over.

Once your initial research is done, a possible course of action should come to light. You should attempt to discuss your ideas with others. People will surprise you and come up with new ideas or thoughts you hadn't encountered before. You need to be thorough and obtain proof or information that backs up your assertions. You also need to be prepared for all counter-arguments no matter how bizarre they may be.

Make a Catchy Movement Name and Slogan

This is your chance to become a musician. We're looking to create a chorus that people can repeat over and over while protesting. It should be short, convey the message, and preferably rhyme or sound catchy. It's like building a brand. You might need several slogans to push forward with your idea. This is what you have written on posterboards.

The name of the movement should be even shorter. You will need something to call the movement for social media hashtags and any websites that you may need in the future. I'll get more into that in a bit. Coming up with the name of the movement and these slogans can be just as crucial as everything else. Having great ideas won't mean anything if it doesn't resonate with the average man. It not only needs to be a great idea, but it also needs to have a name that sounds good. People can be fickle and may not support you simply because your favorite color is blue. Don't give them any reason to ignore you.

Repeat, Repeat, and Repeat some more

This is one of the most important things I have learned from the Tea Party's campaigning. You can convince some people that water is dry and the sky is green if you keep repeating it over and over again. It's one of the most interesting ways to convince people of your ideas, but it can't just be you. Part of the Tea Party's success is their ability to spread the word across all of their supporters through repetition. Every one of their supporters is asked to repeat their ideas using the exact same phrases over and over again. If the same person hears the same thing from several different people then they are more likely to go along with it. This ties into the next section.

Be Social Everywhere

As an individual it will be hard to build a following from scratch. If you have great personal wealth then you can use the same model as the Tea Party. You can afford to use paid actors and speakers to pass along your ideas. You can build pre-made posters and placards that look professional and can be handed out to the curious people who show up to find out what's going on. Many of them will join in on the fun.

Unfortunately most of us are working paycheck to paycheck to pay the rent. The next best thing you can do is to build a following through social media, meeting people in person, and friends/family. It's unlikely you will be able to get any press coverage unless you are able to build a larger following. The best way you can do that is to socialize with people any way you can. The more you can get others talking about it the bigger the movement becomes. Unfortunately this could take several years before your movement gains enough traction to get noticed.

If there are any websites that discuss similar ideas then you need to be active in their comments or forums. This adds a bit of credibility if you are accepted by those who are regulars in these circles especially if they are considered experts. You also need a landing page that outlines your ideas with the proof or supporting documents included. Most won't read it all, but it may also spark further discussion with those who do. For those who skim your blog or website, you can use your headers to put emphasis on thosy catchy slogans.

Your Movement

So what are your ideas? What would you like to see changed within the government, society, etc..? I would love to hear and discuss them in the comments!

Monday, November 3, 2014

NFL Week 9

I'm coming off a high last week with my Redskins beating the Cowboys, our biggest rivals. Two of my fantasy football teams are going to need some help with Matt Forte on his bye week, and my other top running back Gio Bernard down with an injury. Please pray for the welfare of my fantasy teams this week. I'm just starting this blog post at about a minute until halftime, so I have a lot to say about the game as it has gone so far.

Redskins vs. Vikings


The Redskins offense so far has looked good with RGIII back under center. Alfred Morris has been running harder than I have seen him all year. He had 50 yards and a touchdown through the first quarter. RGIII makes his first bad throw of the game which results in an interception. I'll go more into that when I go on to talk about the refs. RGIII is holding onto the ball way too long. Take what the defense gives you RGIII! The Redskins take the lead again on a drive featuring some hard running with Morris. It's clear that the Redskins offense should run through Alfred Morris even if he doesn't get 8 yards a carry. The pass might be sexier, but the running game opens everything esle up. Some bad blocking has bottled Morris up which stalled a drive. Redskins settle for a field goal, and currently have a 6 point lead. RGIII just made 2 very impressive plays. He changed a running play to switch to the other side to turn a potential loss to a 7 yard gain. Then he hit Desean Jackson in stride for a big gain. Morris ends the drive with a 4 yard run for his second TD of the game. The Redskins go for 2 with a pass. RGIII holds onto the ball too long and loses the ball. The attempt fails. There is only three and a half minutes left in the game, and Alfred Morris is not in the game. What are you thinking Gruden?!? The offense runs through Morris. RGIII struggles and misses an easy throw on 4th down that would have given the Redskins a first down.

The pass rush and run defense has looked good for most of the first half. Bridgewater has missed on some wide open receivers running in the secondary. I've been worried about our secondary all game, and it's justified. Right before the half the Vikings finally hit for a TD to make the game 10-7 going into halftime. The first drive after that half and all of a sudden the Redskins can't stop the run. Bridgewater has been very inconsistent, but for the most part has made good decisions. The Vikings offensive line has not looked good, and the Redskins defenders have been in Bridgewater's face almost the whole game. The Vikings just went down the field with Teddy Bridgewater picking the Redskins apart. The Redskins put no pressure on him at all that drive and they give up an easy touchdown. The Redskins are doing a bit better on putting pressure on the Vikings QB, but they are leaving multiple receivers wide open for some inexplicable reason. The Redskins can't seem to stop Asiata or anyone else for that matter on the Vikings offense. I think it's obvious that the Redskins play man to man better than zone, and they are playing zone over and over again. The Vikings take the lead again. They also convert on their 2 point try to make it a 3 point lead.

The refs have singlehandedly brought the Vikings back into the game before halftime. They took away a clear interception from the Redskins. A few plays later when the Redskins have the ball they give an interception to the Vikings when the ball clearly bounces off the ground. They are now reviewing a play for a TD throw to Desean Jackson. It's clearly a touchdown and the call stands. This officiating crew hasn't overturned a call on the field yet today. It seems like certain crews don't care how bad their call is, they aren't going to overturn it.

I put this loss squarely on Jim Hazlett's shoulders. There are times when he will call a perfect game like last week when Dallas inexplicably decided to pass and pass some more when the Redskins could not stop Demarco Murray. Then there are other times, like today, where the players on defense look lost out there. There did not seem to be a gameplan on defense today. They started off by putting lots of pressure on Teddy Bridgewater, and the Vikings needed the refs to make a couple of bad calls in their favor to score 7 points. Then the second half comes and they let him off the ropes. Teddy finally gets into a rythm and picks apart our secondary who weren't playing within 5 yards of anyone. This is such a disappointment after such a great game last week.

Surprises

The Dolphins are destroying the Chargers. Phillip Rivers who has been one of the most efficient QBs in the league has thrown 3 interceptions. What is going on here? I knew the Dolphin defense has been decent all year, but this is crazy. 37-0 victory for Miami.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

I Am A Feminist

fem·i·nism
noun
feminism

    the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I got into an interesting discussion today on twitter in response to a blog post about feminism. I will post a link at the end here. First I want to talk about why feminism is important and what we all can do to help change the world for the better.

Killing Stereotypes

Look up and re-read the definition of feminism. Does it say anywhere that feminists must be unattractive lesbians who hate men? There are several zombie stereotypes that need to die first before progress can be made. I suggest you aim your confetti cannons for the head.

Feminists are regular people like you or me. Err.. maybe more like you than me. I like Legos and everyone knows that feminists can't play with Legos or their face will explode. See how rediculous that sounds? That's how rediculous it is to try to fit all feminists into a nice neat box of stereotypes.

Feminists can be anyone, even people who don't identify themselves as feminists! That's right! There is no secret handshake to get into the club. We don't need no stinking membership cards! All it takes is for people to stand up and support gender equality.

The Denial Mentality

It seems like there is always an excuse for men and women to keep the status quo. Some people don't like to rock the boat because it might sink. Well I have news for you all, the boat already has a leak. We're bailing out water slower than it's filling up, and then saying it's OK because this is what we've always done. It's denying the facts.

The fact is that a lot of women live in constant fear, and it shouldn't have to be like that. How many times have you heard that 'boys will be boys', 'she should take it as a complement', or 'she deserved it because she went to a bar/wore skimpy clothing'? These are all copouts. People making excuses for what shouldn't be excused. When someone responds like that they are denying that the man's actions were wrong. They are saying that the woman shouldn't be threatened or frightened. Yes it's possible that they are overreacting, but isn't it just as possible that the guy was being inappropriate? Why do guys get a pass for that kind of behavior?

Making excuses like that undermines and invalidates the woman's feelings. Instead of making excuses or ignoring it as a bystander, people need to stand up. If a man is being inappropriate then everyone should let him know. There is strength in numbers. All too often people ignore the problem or do nothing to stop it. We need to promote a culture of action where people stand up for women and men who are being wronged. Too many people have the mentality of 'not my problem'. If you think that then what's going to happen when something similar happens to you? Do you think others will help you while you stand on the sidelines when others need your help?

A Guy's Perspective

Guys have been conditioned for hundreds of years to act the way they do. As teenagers we are never really taught how to talk to women that we like. It's something that we have to figure out on our own. Generally our parents are scared to death their sons getting a girl pregnant at an early age and possibly ruining the future for both. At least when I grew up that is how it was. Guys grow up knowing how to treat their mother, but they seperate that from the way they treat women that they are interested in sexually.

What guys learn is that persistent aggressive behavior works.. for the most part. That doesn't just go for talking to women. That seems to work for us in sports, business, putting our pants on in the morning, etc.. almost everything. We learn that fortune favors the bold. This in itself causes us to be more aggressive and persistent when going after what we want. Our ego and confidence play into it as well.

When a woman rejects us, we aren't sure how to react so we go with what we have learned has worked for us in the past. We have found that women have a lot of walls we have to climb to get to where we want to get, and that no doesn't neccessarily mean no. I can tell you that men have no clue what a woman is thinking. It seems to us that they change their mind as often as they blink their eyes. This causes a lot of men to go into things thinking that a woman's no really means maybe.

A lot of the inappropriate behavior men exibit in public has to do with our ego. Many of us like to show off for our friends. In our minds sometimes we think of the catcalls as being complements, but at the same time we're showing off to our friends or trying to amuse others. Everyone likes to think they are right. We justify our actions in our minds. That's why some guys don't seem to understand why it's inappropriate to say some of the things they say. They have already convinced themselves that it's OK. It's not something they would say in front of their mother. Deep down they know it's wrong.

The fact that men know it's wrong, even if only subconsciously, is reason enough to stand up to their crap.

Final Thoughts and Links

I posted this last night before it was finished, I had a few more things I want to say. Not all men disrespect women in public and treat them inappropriately. I don't think men should be rewarded for doing what they should be doing anyway, but small things like a thank you or a smile is enough to encourage that kind of behavior.

http://youtu.be/gkjW9PZBRfk - This is Emma Watson's speach on the HeForShe campaign. I have heard all kinds of rumors about her being 'moody' or 'bitchy'. All I see is a passionate and intelligent young woman that has decided to speak out when the mentality of most is to keep their heads down and be quiet.

http://thefeveredpen.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/24054/ - This is the original blog post that started the conversation which in turn led to this blog post.

I also want to give credit to the two ladies who contributed to the conversation. Please follow them on twitter! @Greytopia and @laedwardswriter

Friday, October 31, 2014

Nightcrawler

Rated R / 1 hr 57 min / Crime - Drama - Thriller

What is it about?


Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou, a down on his luck man who will do anything to build a new carreer. Lou notices a car wreck on the side of the road, so he pulls over to observe. He encounters Bill Paxton filming the accident and then negotiating with a news station on the price of the footage. He asks Bill for a job, but is denied. He decides to go freelance with a camera he purchased from a pawn shop using stolen goods. He makes a deal with one of the local news stations, and thus his new carreer is born.

You will like it if..

You like thrillers with Jake Gyllenhaal. Jake Gyllenhaal nails this performance as a manipulative psychopath. The script isn't as good as Gone Girl, but it isn't too far behind it. The movie has a deliberate pace that will turn off some. Gyllenhaal himself sells the movie. His character is the type that makes you not want to miss what kind of craziness he is going to do next. His ambition is unmatched. If Gone Girl wasn't still in theaters then this would be the best movie in theaters right now. It's worth seeing if you are interested. The previews don't make it look as good as it is.

Monday, October 27, 2014

NFL Week 8

My fantasy teams for the most part are looking pretty good. I have one team that is up 60 points coming into tonight. That gap may lessen because the opposing team has Jordan Reed and Demarco Murray. I still have Jason Whitten in that league, so I doubt they will make up that difference. Another team has a 30 point lead with the other team having Dez Bryant. Bryant is certainly capable of a monster game. It's good that the Redskins have a fantastic seconda..  man I almost made it through that sentence with a straight face. The team I'm worried about is my third team. I basically need Colt Mccoy to outscore Demarco Murray by a few points. It's not looking good for that league, and yes I was desperate with Cam Newton facing Seattle's defense. Next week I will have to shuffle things around. Brian Quick who has been a solid and consistent piece of all my teams is done for the season with a shoulder/collarbone injury. Also Matt Forte is going to be on a bye week next week, and I have him on two of my three teams.

Redskins vs. Cowboys


The Redskins defense looks decent in the first quarter, but they aren't getting much pressure on Romo. If we can't get some pressure on him on third down without blitzing then it might be a long night for us. The Cowboy offensive line looks like the real deal. They might have the best O-line in the league, but it could also be that Hazlett has no imagination in the way he uses his pass rushers. The defensive linemen for the Redskins just line up and rush straight forward over and over again using the same moves. Jarvis Jenkins is out with a foot injury which will hurt. He's one of those big bodies that consistently pushes double teams backwards. Kerrigan finally gets home on the last play of the half on a stunt.. finally Hazlett does something different! Kerrigan is continuing what looks like it could be a strong Pro-Bowl type of year. He might be the only Pro Bowler on the Redskins. Hazlett brings an all out blitz on third and eleven with one of the Redskin middle linebackers coming free, and Romo is down in pain. This has happened a couple of times this game. Romo isn't adjusting protection because he doesn't know where the blitz is coming from or if it's coming. I hope he's OK, but I wouldn't cry if he was out for the game. In comes Brandon Weeden, and he hands it off to Murray for a big run.. the one guy the Redskins need to stop and they can't do it. Breeland and Ammerson are both playing very well for being so inexperienced. Ammerson has played well in his first two seasons, but Breeland was the one on Dez Bryant at the goalline and came up with two huge plays. It's the 4th quarter and we can't stop the run. No one covers Whitten on a short pass, and it's a tie ballgame once again. Romo is back for a final drive! Big blitz from Merriweather and a fumble! Kerrigan falls on it, but of course they go to commercial before you can see what happened. Somehow the ball got in the hands of a Dallas player. The refs have called a great game thus far, but they just missed a big hold on a Romo pass for a first down on 3rd and 8 from the goalline. Intentional grounding on Romo on 3rd down, Dallas will punt.

The Redskins offense has had a good break with the Cowboys turning the ball over. Mccoy then does exactly what Cousins did to get benched. He threw the ball into double coverage for an INT. He comes back to throw a bomb to Desean Jackson. It was a little short, but he wasn't going to overthrow Jackson anyway. Now that's three passes he's tried to get to Jackson that were a short. Jackson adjusted and had a chance to catch these next two, but failed to come down with them. Mccoy came out this second half and so far is playing smart. So far he's set two audibles that set up big runs for Alfred Morris. Morris is proving once again that he is a beast if given the chance. Feed him the ball in the right situations and the Redskins march right down the field. Touchdown Morris, and the Redskins take the lead in a tight game. Colt's adjustments in the run game opened up a play action pass for Jackson to give the Redskins the ball in the red zone. Mccoy shows his toughness on a QB draw for a 7 yard TD to take the lead. The Redskins are dinking and dunking their way down the field, and a short pass to Jordan Reed leaves them with a 4th and 1 situation. It looks like the Redskins might go for it. Derrell Young for a first down! We need to take the air out of the ball here. The more time we take off the clock the better, and then we can kick a field goal. Mistakes killed that idea.

Dez Bryant is a beast. I can't explain it any other way. He just made a rediculous move against two Redskins defenders and then stretched out for a touchdown. The Redskins have been able to stop Demarco Murray in spots, but they've also been gashed by his tough running on a few plays. It looks like it's getting harder and harder to stop the Cowboys. Henry Melton is playing like he did in his prime with Chicago. He has been very impressive this game.

Niles Paul just made a huge mistake on a holding penalty that negated a good ten yard run for Morris. It's immediately followed by a delay of game penalty. We can't keep making these dumb mistakes and expect to beat a team with a 6-1 record when we are the visiting team. False start on Compton hurts with the game tied in a tough game. Delay of game on a critical 3rd and 5 then a tough sack to put the Redskins out of Field Goal range. This is a disappointing end to the drive in a close game. Big mistakes made by an inexperienced quarterback who up until now has played a scrappy tough game.

Overtime

Redskins win the toss, and will take the ball. A touchdown will end the game. I love the first two playcalls so far in OT. Helu cuts to the wrong side on 2nd down to lose yardage. Jordan Reed bails them out on 3rd and short. HOLY CRAP! Jordan Reed makes a highlight reel catch on the sideline. Refs miss a minor facemask call. Morris turns a loss into a 2 yard gain. It's 3rd and short again. They run one of those screens that I hate on third and short to Reed, but as it has been over and over again they stop him short of the first down. Gruden has an unnatural love for that play on 3rd and short, but it's too predictable and doesn't work very often. Running comeback routes or curls or running a draw or sweep works more often. Forbath takes the lead with a field goal.

Dallas has the ball and we just need to stop them. Once again we can't stop the run. Riley makes a beautiful play on Murray on a check down throw. Riley makes another beautiful play on a fake all out blitz on Whitten. Game's on the line 4th down and 3. Cowboys take a timeout. Romo shaken by the pressure chokes once again. Redskins win! Wow! What a game!

Colt didn't play a perfect game, but he gave strong scrappy performance. All the experts called him 'noodle-armed', but I didn't see any of that. Accuracy was a problem on some throws, but he put it where his teammates could make a play. The biggest thing is that Colt helped to get the run game going by making some great adjustments. If the Redskins run game is going then we can beat anyone.

Other Thoughts


Who else is tired of political ads all over the television? I just saw a TV ad for Ed Gillespie who is running against Mark Warner. Gillespie's ad says that he supports the Redskins name and we should elect him because Dan Snyder should be able to name his business whatever he wants. This completely ignores all of the real issues that matter to people. I love the Redskins, and I don't want their name to change. I would much rather have my favorite football team be renamed something else than to have Gillespie in office. It makes me sick that he would use my football team as a crutch to get votes instead of tackling the tough issues and answering the glaring questions we all have.