Friday, August 29, 2014

As Above, So Below

Rated R / 1 hr 33 min / Horror - Thriller

What is it about?

A young educated woman is following in the footsteps of her father. Her father had died in the pursuit of the Philosopher's Stone. A mythical substance that can heal, create gold out of common metals, and perform other such miracles. She sneaks into some tunnels in Iran that contain old ruins that are about to be destroyed by the government. Inside she finds what may be the key to finding the location of the Philosopher's Stone. After narrowly escaping, she makes her way to Paris to explore the catacombs under the city. She believes she may have uncovered the secret of where the mythical item is located, but she might have to go through hell to get it.

You will like it if..

You like movies that build up tension throughout while using a shaky camera or 'found footage' style. This movie is part Indiana Jones and part The Descent. It starts out with several discoveries where the main characters laugh and talk excitedly like some nerds who just got a 3D printer (I know, I have one). The claustrophobic nature of feeling the walls closing in as the movie continues will rack nerves to the edge. Then you add in some truly strange people and events. There's an arch that also has the words that are supposed to be written over the gates of hell. That's when everything seems to go even crazier, but they have no choice but to go through. The main drawbacks come from the use of the shaky camera. When the characters run you have a hard time figuring out what is going on. There are a lot of points in this movie to cause the characters to go into 'Oh Crap!' mode and start running too. From a horror standpoint, there isn't much of a payoff in the end to justify all of the tension that is built up. The ending is a bit disappointing overall, but the movie is entertaining up to that point. This is another good movie to Redbox if you don't get a chance to see it in theaters.

The November Man

Rated R / 1 hr 48 min / Action - Crime - Thriller

What is it about?

A retired CIA operative played by Pierce Brosnan is contacted by one of his former bosses to ask for a favor. He is asked to help extract a former contact from Russia who has evidence against a Russian presidential candidate. The contact had asked for Brosnan's character by name to help extract her. The contact has her cover blown which results in a car chase. While trying to escape the contact is shot in the head. Pierce Brosnan goes after the people who shot her to find that it was the CIA. Now he's being hunted by their best killer, a man he trained.

You will like it if...

You like smart spy thrillers or any of the James Bond movies starring Pierce Brosnan. While not as flashy as his previous Bond movies, the story has many unexpected twists and turns. All of the characters have depth and a complexity to them that makes this movie entertaining to watch. There is enough action to please those who like action movies. There are a few parts of the movie where the story can get a bit confusing, but it makes sense in the end if you think about it. Overall I really enjoyed the movie, and it's worth picking up on Redbox if you don't see it in theaters.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Fantasy Football Draft

I just completed my first fantasy football draft of the season, and I just wanted to share with you all. I know I posted before that I was going to share some of my mock drafts, but time sometimes will get away from you when you are writing every day. Anyway I'm going to talk about my strategy and then go over my picks and why I made each one.


My basic strategy going into any fantasy draft is to pick the best player available at the time of the pick regardless of what position they play. At some point you have to make an effort to fill other positions to put together the best possible starting lineup available. With that in mind, I wanted to pick the best player available taking into account their value and average draft position. There are a couple of players that I wanted but waited too long on and ended up missing out on, but that's only because they were ranked so low I thought I could wait and snag them up a round before their average draft position. It happens sometimes when you're trying to get a good deal. Now let's take a look at my picks.

The Draft

I'm just going to go over my picks rather than showing the whole draft. There will be a brief description as to why I made the pick and any players I was targeting with the pick who I may have missed out on. Before we start I will say that I had the 4th pick in the draft in a 12 team draft. Middle picks are the worst you can have because there are so many picks in between your picks. Also you never have one of the top 3 picks in any round. It puts you at a disadvantage going forward.
  1. Matt Forte - McCoy, Charles, and Peterson were gone in the first 3 picks. I really agonized over this pick because Forte, while a great player, I put in the next level down behind the top 3 RBs. I wanted to try to get 2 or 3 elite players in their position. Ultimately I decided that Forte was worth picking here over Peyton Manning or Megatron, but it was really close.
  2. Giovani Bernard - By the time this pick came around all of the 'elite' players were long gone. I hate middle picks. Anyway, there were still a lot of quality RBs left and Gio Bernard is a dynamic playmaker if used correctly. He also catches the ball well out of the backfield, and this is a partial PPR league. The last elite player that I was targeting was Aaron Rodddgers, and he went 2 picks prior to my pick. It's perhaps a bit early to pick him here, but there weren't any other players available that I wanted more other than my 3rd pick, and I knew I could wait 1 more round for him.
  3. Alfred Morris - As much as I love my Redskins, I can admit that RG3 has looked like crap in the preseason. I think our offensive success is going to revolve around Morris. He's a beast, so I'm not too worried. The main problem is that he doesn't catch many balls out of the backfield, so they take him out on third downs. He doesn't have any competition for goalline carries though. I would have taken a WR in this spot, but there were a ton of them taken in the first two rounds. I didn't feel like I could pass up a solid flex/RB2. Especially since I have had a lot of success with picking up WRs in later rounds or off the waiver wire. There are also a lot of QBs left that are around the same value that I can pick up later. I didn't expect to take RB with my first three picks, but I was targeting Morris for my 3rd pick. I feel like he is grossly undervalued in most rankings lists.
  4. Wes Welker - I took a chance here that he would be healthy for more than 3/4 of the season and into the fantasy playoffs. I was really hoping that Andre Johnson would fall to me, or that the other teams would realize that they needed running backs too, but it didn't happen. There were more WRs taken in the first two rounds than any other position.
  5. Cordarelle Patterson - I saw this guy play last year, and he was a beast. This is one of the players I wanted to target because I strongly believe he is going to have a break out year. He certainly has the talent. I almost picked him with my previous pick instead of Welker, but felt that I could wait 1 more round.
  6. Cam Newton - He was simply the best player available when my pick came around. Considering his average draft position, he should have gone before my last pick. There were 16 picks in between those two picks. I really hate Cam Newton, and I feel like he has always been overvalued. At this spot in the 6th round though, I felt he was a great value pick. Also I was planning on trying to get Phillip Rivers later who I felt was grossly undervalued in the Yahoo rankings and in average draft position. Usually I would pick TE in this spot, but the TE run hadn't really picked up steam with only Graham, Thomas, and Gronk being picked so far.
  7. Greg Olsen - I could almost feel the TE avalanche coming. I was almost hoping that Olsen would be taken by the time my next pick came, so I could pick Jordan Reed. RG3 had looked terrible in preseason, so I couldn't justify in my mind taking Reed in a new offense with a shaky QB over a tested and proven Olsen who should put up similar numbers with Cam. I think Olsen has shown the potential to break out and have an even bigger year than last year. Even with saying that, I think Reed is an even more impressive talent. Reed went with the very next pick.
  8. Riley Cooper - A speedy WR in a high scoring offense with a QB that throws a good deep ball. What isn't to like? The Eagles defense sucks too, so they will need to score lots of points to win. I was targetting Golden Tate for this pick since he was still available. Unfortunately he went 2 picks prior. I also wanted to snag Fred Jackson as a backup flex position player, but he went 3 picks prior. Brandin Cooks went the pick prior to mine, and I was hoping to get him too. At this point I'm wondering if these jokers are reading my mind.
  9. Tony Romo - I don't have any explanation for this pick. I was still crying from Phillip Rivers going just before. Looking back I should have picked up my backup RB or another WR and gotten Roethlisberger with my next pick. No one's perfect though, and Romo isn't bad as a backup.
  10. DeAngelo Williams - A decent if older RB who is going to get the majority of snaps in an offense based around the run. Yes please. Cam takes away from his goalline carries, but he still should get his share. Jonathan Stewart has always been a threat to his carries, but he has never been able to stay healthy enough to take the starting spot from Williams. This far down you just want someone who is going to get the ball in his hands and could sub in for a game or two if needed.
  11. KC Defense/Special Teams - The value on this pick is pretty good considering their average draft position, but I still agonized over this pick. I almost picked Cinci's defense over KC. They are both good and similarly ranked.
  12. Jarrett Boykin - The slot receiver in a high powered passing attack featuring Aaron Rodgers. I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel, but it's possible he could break out and put up some numbers here and there. There have been several others who have done it in his position.
  13. Cin Defense/Special Teams - I usually hold onto 2 defenses throughout the season and switch them out based on the matchup. I missed out on Seattle's defense by a couple of picks, but I got 2 good ones late in the draft. I really wasn't expecting this defense to still be available in round 13.
  14. Jerricho Cotchery - At this point you're just hoping to get someone that can score some TDs, and Cotchery has some really nice red zone skills. He's a decent WR, but he's not going to scare anyone at this point in his career. He may end up being waiver wire fodder after the first few weeks, or he could eat up all of the red zone catches and TDs.
  15. Mason Crosby - Kicker round! I usually try to pick someone that plays for a high scoring team, but Crosby is one of those guys that is almost never available in the last round. Yay for me!

Final Words

I'm generally happy with my team as it is, but I do have a few concerns. My WRs aren't as solid as I would like. Welker's health is what concerns me the most because he plays so hard and goes over the middle so often. All of my backup WRs are a little shaky. I'm hoping one of them will step up to be a solid option, or I can pick one up out of the free agents. I feel like I am pretty solid everywhere else. What do you think? Leave me a message in the comments!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Writer's Playlist - August 26 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. ODB - Got Your Money
  2. Kid Cudi - Pursuit of Happiness
  3. DEV - In The Dark
  4. Chris Brown, Usher, Rick Ross - New Flame
  5. B.O.B. - Magic
  6. Juvenile - Slow Motion
  7. Jhene Aiko - To Love & Die
  8. Jaheim - Never
  9. Snoop Dogg - Sexual Eruption
  10. Rita Ora - I Will Never Let You Down
  11. Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are
  12. The Script - Hall of Fame
  13. Adele - Someone Like You
  14. Michael Jackson - Jam
  15. Wu-Tang Clan - Gravel Pit

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wrath of the Ninja: Road Rage

Sometimes while driving I am overcome with the urge to follow someone to their destination, going miles out of my way, just to smack the crap out of them. Today I came across several of these people while driving. I even spent most of my day inside even though it was very nice out. I did about 15 minutes of driving total today. Usually I will just laugh it off or ignore the idiots, but I just went on a three mile drive that took a total of five minutes and came across three of the same idiots doing the exact same stupid thing.

What were these idiots doing? Well I'm glad you asked! They were driving straight. I'm waiting for them to pass so I can make my turn. Then these idiots slow down and start waving their arms at me like they are having a epileptic seizure. I'm in my car like 'OMG I hope they are OK!' Then I realize that yes they are OK, but have the intellect of broken watch. They might be right twice a day, but the rest of the day... Those idiots are trying to make a turn and I'm in their way. I had to post on facebook about the amazing 'new' feature on cars called a 'turn signal'. If these people had used their turn signal then they wouldn't have had a need to wave their arms wildly at me. I would have known that they were trying to turn and would have moved out of their way. Instead I have to try to interpret their wild flailing arms as if it's the universal signal for "I'm an idiot that doesn't know how to use a turn signal and I'm coming your way. Also I eat poop." I swear idiotic behavior is a communicable disease that we must fight against.

Where do I send my money to donate against this disease? The education system in the United States is so screwed up right now. We can't even give our teachers an incentive to give a crap about the education of the children in this nation. The teacher's union won't allow bonuses for teachers who perform better, and the budget for supplies is nil. We are handicapping our teachers from being able to do the job that they are paid to do. When it comes time to make budget cuts guess what one of the first things cut always is? If you didn't say education then you should smack yourself right now. Don't wait for me to do it, do it yourself. Listen to that Nike swoosh and just do it already. Don't get me started on Common Core buddy unless you want to smack yourself again.

It's like today's Americans really don't give a crap about the future. They've been given a Camaro, and they want to rev it up until the wheels fall off. Well guess what? You know who is going to take care of you when you're old and can no longer do it for yourself? That's right..  the next generation. If we don't do something about this disease then we're going to be surrounded by stupid people when that time comes. They won't care about us either. Which shouldn't surprise anyone since we have screwed up their future, and only so we can enjoy the present slightly more.

I propose that we should have a drool cup challenge. You have to donate $100 to our education system, you can dump a cup of drool from the nearest idiot on top of your head to reduce that amount to $10, or you can drink the drool and let me smack the crap out of you to not have to donate a penny. I'm challenging Congress. You have 24 hours to comply.

Now where is my aerosol spray? We need some more holes in our ozone layer. The polar ice isn't melting quick enough.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The First Step

It's easy to talk a big game, but talk is cheap. It means nothing if you don't take action. You can prepare yourself, do research, make plans, and tell your friends about it. You still have to take that first step towards your goals.

People can be afraid to take action, to reach out towards their goals. It's OK to be afraid, but you can't let it stop you from taking action. There is always the possibility of failure. What is the worst that can happen if you fail? For me the worst that could happen is for me to spend a lot of time doing something I love and not make any money doing it. Boo Hoo..  I'm going to write anyway. Making money doing it is bonus. My other goals I know are easy to reach. I've lost weight before. I've revamped my wardrobe before. I know what works and what doesn't.

The reason for this blog post doesn't have to do with my writing though. I took that first step over a year and a half ago. I walked several miles today and did well on my diet as well. I have planned for a change in wardrobe also. I have been looking for shirts all week at different places. I found a few good deals, but had not purchased anything until today. JC Penny's had a sale today, so I purchased several shirts and ties. I didn't pay more than $25 for any of the shirts I got. The shirt I like the most out of the ones I purchased only cost me $16. These are shirts that normally would cost me $60 each if they weren't on sale. On top of that the salesman at the register scanned a coupon for me for another 15% off. I'm pretty happy with my purchases thus far. I plan to model them for instagram tomorrow. You can follow me here: or @ninjadueces.

Don't just talk about it, be about it. If you set goals for yourself then you should follow through with them. Don't be afraid to try and fail. It's how we learn. You can always adapt and overcome any obstacles in your way. Just because you fail once doesn't mean you will fail the next time. You are almost guaranteed to get a second chance, third, fourth, etc.. With enough perseverance, determination, hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears you CAN succeed. It all starts with that first step.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

Rated R / 1 hr 42 min / Action - Crime - Thriller

What is it about?

Just like the original Sin city there are multiple interconnecting mini-stories that are happening simultaneously. The first story shows Marv waking up surrounded by dead bodies, but he can't remember what happened. The next story follows a cocky gambler who is very lucky, but he chooses to gamble with the wrong man. The most powerful man in the city, Senator Roark. The next story is actually a prequel to the first Sin City. It follows Dwight who is fighting his inner demons. He is then pulled into a complicated situation by his former lover who wants him back. The problem is that she is married to a very rich and powerful man that is abusing her. The final story follows the exotic dancer Nancy who has become a drunk who only thinks about killing Senator Roark.

You will like it if...

You liked the first one. It's basically more of the same with some stories being better than others just like the first movie. They have perfected the visuals, and this movie is even prettier than the first. There are some character changes that have been made that might make connecting them a bit more difficult. Josh Brolin is playing the same character that Clive Owen played in the first. Dennis Haysbert is playing the same character that Michael Clarke Duncan played in the first one. The character "Miho" is played by a different girl which was the most disappointing part for me even though that character has no lines in either movie (I heart Devon Aoki just saying...). Eva Green is fantastic in every way (heart her too). That's all I can say about her, and I'm not just saying that because she is naked in almost every scene she has in this movie. The story with her and Josh Brolin is by far the best one. The gambling one was short and disappointing. I barely remember the first one. It's Mickey Rourke running around Hulk smashing. The finale was an OK revenge story with the first story, parts of the first movie, and the gambler story setting it up. This movie is worth going to see just for the third story with Eva Green and Josh Brolin, but also for the Hulk smashing of Marv and ninjabatics of the "Miho" character. It's not as good as the first Sin City, but at times it reaches and maybe even surpasses that level even if only for a few moments.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Author Interview with Martin Gibbs

This week I kidnapped an author, strapped him to a chair, and forced him to answer my questions with the threat of OR ELSE! I had no plan for the or else, but he didn't know that! The author of the novel "Love's Pale Road" Martin Gibbs is the first interview I have done, so be kind with your comments or you may be next!

BB: Thanks for agreeing to be tortu..erm.. interviewed here! How are you doing today?

MG: After the ordeal in the Turkish prison, I can no longer tell the difference between torture and a pillow fight with a rabid spider monkey. Today, I am doing well, thank you. I finally got out for a long run, and though I ache all over, it feels good to have been outside.

BB: Yes well we all know spider monkeys like to keep their sharpened sporks inside their pillowcases.

I was looking at the summary for your ebook "Love's Pale Road". It looks interesting. How does a ghost go about getting someone to do their bidding? Is it like "if you don't I'll haunt you forever scary BOO!"?

MG: Well it is a fantasy world so a lot of things are allowed in that world, that are not in ours.

Bailey is simple-minded (one might say he has a spectrum disorder), but he's a very skilled musician. The dead are able to visit him through the spaces between the notes; this is how Lyn gets in his head and tasks him with finding the warlock. But trusting the living is always a losing population.

Lyn hasn't threatened Bailey--Bailey enjoys the company and likes to talk to the man and hear his story. When Bailey meets Abigail, this upsets Lyn's plans and pushes him aside. And he's not happy.

BB: *scoots to edge of seat* But what can he do as a ghost??? I'm gonna have to read it!

What made you want to write this kind of story? Any kind of inspiration you would like to credit?

MG: That's the problem; he's stuck within Bailey's mind and is basically at his mercy. At any time, he could be cast out and left to drift in the void. Lyn (the dead guy) killed himself because he suffered from a bone-eating disease, and now his son is in danger from this mad warlock. His mistake was finding Bailey, a seemingly simple farmer, and sending him on this journey.

Bailey is not so simple and shallow as first shown, but we only see little shadows of what lies beneath; we only see what he chooses to reveal.

Well, a lot of this story actually comes from my first fantasy book, The Spaces Between: a Novel, but the names are changed and the outcome is totally different. That one starts a trilogy, while this one ends cleanly.

That book wasn't really selling at all and it was sort of therapeutic for me, as I wrote it after my own father died. Years went by and I realized that it really lacked a human component--sure, the main character was sad and mopey, but that gets old in fiction. I wanted to keep the main twist within, but it needed something/someone softer; a woman's touch. My wife gave me the names for the characters, and I went with it.

So Love's Pale Road turns the tables on the you, but it doesn't have such a harsh, dystopian ending that The Spaces Between had. In love, there is always hope.

BB: They do say that writing is rewriting. Not sure who "they" are. Might be the voices in my head, but sometimes they are pretty smart. Other times they run around screaming about Godzilla.

You said this one is stand alone and the other was the start of a trilogy. Is there any chance of a sequel? I gotta admit the concept has my idea bag bursting at the seams.

MG: There is always the possibility that we will pick up where this leaves off and follow a new thread with the character that remain. It really depends on how this book does, really. I'm under contract for four other books and only have two done--I gotta get my butt in gear and finish those before I'd start in on a sequel. Unless there was overwhelming demand, of course. :)

BB: One of the voices in my head is already demanding more. Now it's asking if you're overwhelmed. Now it's asking if the rain is really God peeing on us. OK that voice doesn't get to talk anymore...

So what is going to be the next project then? Do you have one you're working on now?

MG: Never overwhelmed. Buried under a pile of delicious gumballs while somebody plays Alkan on a Casio 9000; children laughing as they pour molten Velveeta over my body. Wait. No, that was last weekend. The rain is actually made up of tiny spherical particles called Uumba, that, when exposed to methane of Neptune, erupt in purple fireworks. True story.

The next project is really getting these books done for Ellechor. But I also have a contemporary Christian novel I'm working on... not sure if I'll seek a publisher or go the self-pub route. Will see what reaction that gets.

BB: Ah yes the eternal question.. to traditionally publish or not to traditionally publish. I think Shakespere wrote that or Adele. I always get those two mixed up. What has your experience been like so far with your publisher(s)?

MG: So far it has been a great experience. It is a rapidly-growing company with a clearly defined business plan and mission; they are very committed to their authors. However, there is some control that is lost--but for now I'm really okay with that, because I feel the books need a lot broader reach than I could probably give on my own.

BB: I'm a bit of a control freak. I'm not sure I trust myself to publish my own work. Now I have to get into the serious questions. The questions that will forever define you as an author. I hope you have prepared.

How much and what kinds of chocolate and coffee did you consume while completing 'Love's Pale Road'?

MG: I don't think I'd trust myself either.

Well there were copious amounts of Americanos during the day and Zen green tea at night, chased with either sharp cheddar cheese and/or Sour Patch Kids. Because I still haven't grown up and refuse to do so.

BB: I don't think I would trust Sour Patch Kids to publish my novel either. Their shifty eyes and sour attitude makes me think they are plotting to take over the world. What do you think their ultimate goal is?

MG: They've now added Blue to their lineup (read: gang), and it only paints a bleaker picture for the fate of mankind. We are collectively doomed, for they soften you up with Green and Red, then use Yellow and Orange to attack on the flanks; just when you think that you may have a chance at winning the battle, Blue is there for the nuclear option, and the game is effectively over. World domination? Hardly. These Sour militants want nothing more than to rule the entire universe my friend! Don't be fooled by their smiles and their calm words: They mean business.

And now they make gum. GUM! Any remaining intelligent life is doomed.

BB: As terrifying as that sounds I don't think that will be the end of humankind. The One Direction Apocalypse is the most pressing threat to humanity right now in my mind. What do you think will be humankind's undoing?

MG: Well I maintain that we must still be careful.

Humankind will do itself in at some point. I'd like to think that we will evolve past the point of senseless wars and violence; that we'd rocket off into the great depths of space and ensure the survival of our species through other-worldly colonization. But I'm afraid we will wind up nuking ourselves, or we'll get hit by a huge asteroid before we can do anything about it. Only roaches will survive.

BB: Ah yes.. Asteriods. I remember playing that on the good old Atari 2600.
I have one final question. What is the meaning of life?

MG: Why, don't you know? The most sophisticated computers spent hundreds of years processing, compiling, crunching, and parsing through complex algorithms to come up with the final, most precise, least-questionable answer: 42

BB: Thank you for participating in the re-educatio... uh.. interview process! Do you have any last words or shoutouts before we let you go?

MG: Just a hearty thank-ya! I appreciate the time taken to chat with me. *Ducks back into the dungeon and begins typing*

Martin Gibbs writes in several genres, from fiction to fantasy to bizarro. He enjoys cross-country skiing, biking, and burning béarnaise sauce.

He works from a padded cell, serenaded by Debussy and Swedish death metal. If he were to vacation to another planet it would be Pluto (yes, it’s a planet!) and rescue his friends from the mental asylum there. Yes, there is one. How do you know there is not? His favorite ice cream flavor is ginger green tea bubblegum, and the capital of Nebraska is LINCOLN!

Martin lives in the tropical paradise of MN.
Martin's blog:

You can check out his novel "Love's Pale Road" on Amazon here:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Upgrade Yourself

They say that you shouldn't dress for the job you have, but for the job you want to have. It's really the power of positive thinking. If you look and feel the part then you can convince yourself and others that you belong in that role. For a writer/author that doesn't mean you should always dress in sweatpants and a coffee stained white tanktop.

Think about what you see as being a part of being successful. Then make it happen. For me, I have several things that I want to do to upgrade myself. I am a bit overweight and I would like to fix that, so I am dieting and working out. Soda is getting cut out of my diet, and pushups will be added. I want to project more of a successful and businesslike appearance, so I am going to upgrade my wardrobe. I plan to phase out the polo shirts and jeans in favor of slacks and button up dress-shirts. Day by day I will take small steps towards reaching my goals.

The same thing can be done for your writing as well. It takes patience and hard work just like everything else. I have been editing and editing the Virtual Wars novel that has been in the works for almost two years. Every time I work on it, I realize how much I have grown as a writer. When I go back and read my first stories on Wattpad, I see that they could use a good edit. Everything up there is strictly first draft, so of course it needs an edit. Even though the writing on Wattpad isn't as good as it could be, it is still much better than the first draft of the novel I have been working on. It may take me another year or more to finish the first novel in the Virtual Wars series, but I'm not going to release it until it is done. It won't be done until I can only offer minor improvements.

I am at a crossroads in life just as we all are at times. It is time to make changes in my life to get to where I want to be. The power of positive thinking can show you the way, but you have to take action to make it happen. The time to reach for the stars is always now, and I am going to grab hold of mine any way I can. Where are your stars?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Writer's Playlist - August 18 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. Lauren Hill and Mary J Blige - Turn Your Lights Down Low
  2. TLC - Red Light Special
  3. Ginuwine - Wait A Minute
  4. Timbaland - Boardmeeting
  5. Brandy - Brokenhearted
  6. KT Tunstall - Universe & U
  7. Usher - Take Your Hand
  8. D'Angelo - Feel Like Makin' Love
  9. Lost Boyz - Renee
  10. Nelly Furtado - Do It
  11. Wale - Diary
  12. Blackstreet - Let's Stay In Love
  13. Aaliyah - I Care 4 U
  14. M.I.A. - Paper Planes
  15. Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sherlock Holmes Plays Poker

I have been watching Sherlock on Netflix, so naturally I am feeling super smart and noticing things I didn't before. Last night I used my new found superpowers while playing poker by doing everything exactly the same as always while at the table. I'm convinced that Sherlock would be very good at the game since it is a game of skill, but it does also occaisionally lend itself to luck. Sherlock would lose out on winning some pots that would be big if he could hold back on showing off which he is prone to do. If he applied himself to the game, he could also goad people into calling when they are at a disadvantage. It would be near impossible to bluff him as well. You would have to be an open book on misdirection. He would be a player that I would avoid butting heads with on a cash table, but I doubt he would have any reservations about doing the same.

Let's talk about some basic poker strategy. I'm going to be playing in a charity tournament tonight, and I like to think about my strategy going in. I'm going to assume that if you're reading this then you are a poker player and know the progression of hands. I'm going to assume that you know how to figure out how many 'outs' you have. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or hit me up on facebook, twitter, etc..

One of the most important things to know when playing poker is where you are at in your tournament life. The chips in front of you are your life. In tournament play the blinds are always going up, so tracking how your chip stack looks in comparison to the size of the big blind is important. If you have over 500 big blinds then there isn't much to worry about and you can usually play however you like. A mistake that I see people make all the time is to only compare the size of your stack to the big blind. You have to evaluate it against the size of the bet that is made as well. Do you really want to risk a quarter of your stack to chase that gut shot straight draw with a flush draw out there too? Every hand you play in and every time the blinds go up, it's time to reevaluate where you are in the tournament. Things you need to know and keep track of include your chip stack size, the amount of big blinds you have left, and how your chip stack compares to the others at the table.

When you are in the hand you also need to keep track of the pot size. This will help you determine your pot odds. There are so many people who misuse the term "pot odds". I'm convinced that half of the people I come across who use that term have no clue what it means. Pot odds is a comparison of bet size, pot size, and your percentage chance of winning the hand. For example, You have Ace King of diamonds with a flop that has two diamons on an unpaired board. The bet is 150 into a pot of 500. Let's say you have a good read on the player who bet, and are certain that they have top pair, which happens to be one of your diamonds, and he has an ace or king kicker. You can't be sure your ace or king hitting would be good, so you only count your flush outs which would give you 9. Using the quick and dirty rule of 2 and 4, if you see both cards then you have around a 36% chance to hit your flush(not exact), and if you see one more card you have around 18% chance (again not exact). If you think the next bet is going to be big then you want to use the smaller number, and if you think they may check it or bet small then you can use the bigger number.

It costs you 150 to see the next card with the 150 bet and 500 that you could possibly win, so you're getting a little bit better than 4 to 1 on your money. If you're going to see both cards then you have a bit better than 1 in 3 chance to win. I like to break these down into fractions because it makes it easier to figure out. You take the 4 to 1 money comparison and make it 4/1 which is just 4. Then you take the 1 in 3 chance to win and make that 1/3. Then you multipy them together which gives you 4/3. If that is greater than 1 then that is a money making bet, and if it is less than 1 then it is a money losing bet. That is a money making bet. Using the smaller chance, you get a bit worse than 1 in 5 chance of hitting the next card. With the same bet you're still getting 4 to 1 on your money. 4/5 is a money losing bet. If you do the math using a normal distribution then you will find that these quick and dirty calculations aren't exact, but they are very useful for finding out if you should call or not. You're just trying to determine if it's a money making or money losing bet. If you keep track of the pot size it becomes much easier and quicker to do this. After a while it becomes second nature.

Knowing where you are in the tournament will let you know if you want to take that risk. If your pot odds comparison is 4/3 like in the previous example then you need to evaluate your risk vs. the reward. What if you are short stacked in the tournament, and that bet size that gives you the 4/3 pot odds is for 1/3 of your entire chipstack. You are committing yourself to the pot when you have less than a 50/50 shot at winning. It makes more sense to raise and go all in than it does to call here. Maybe someone will folt and increase your chances of winning. It makes more sense to fold and wait for a better opportunity also. You have to evaluate your risk vs. reward. That's why a lot of times I won't look at my cards in the small blind unless there is a raise. If there are 2 callers and it doesn't look like the big blind is going to raise then you are getting 7 to 1 on your money. Most of the time your chances of winning with any 2 random cards against 3 players is going to be better than 15%. I have a really hard time folding when I'm getting 8 to 1 or better on my money in a pot. I've done it before but hated folding in that situation.

I could go on and on talking about position, bluffing, checking dark, etc.. etc.. In the future I may go into depth on each of those subjects. I do plan on continuing with bringing fictional characters to the poker table. Maybe next time I can play a few hands with Groot.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let's Be Cops

Rated R / 1 hr 44 min / Action - Comedy

What is it about?

Two roommates are going nowhere in their lives. They have failed thus far to make it in their respective careers. They are invited to a party and try to decide if they want to be ghosts or cops. Of course they choose cops. The party turns out to be a masquerade party rather than a costume party. When they leave the party, they notice that people are reacting to them as if they are real police. They decide to have some fun with that and escalate it to the point where they are taking calls on the police radio. They get into it with some real gangsters who are out doing evil things like gangsters like to do.

You will like it if...

You like comedies filled with mischief and police officers. The main duo certainly put themselves in some rediculous situations, but it never feels forced as most of these comedies do. The main character does a great job of projecting a desperate vibe that makes everything else seem somewhat believeable. They do give away quite a bit of the jokes in the previews, but there are plenty of big laughs that they left out to enjoy for the first time while watching. Damon Wayans Jr. as the sidekick is just as likable as his father, and I look forward to seeing him again in future comedies. Let's Be Cops is hilarious when it doesn't try to be too serious which thankfully isn't often. The action isn't too bad on it's own, but that's not what this movie is about. Go see it if the previews have you interested.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Conspiracies, Spies, and Authors

First off I want to thank a few of my friends who have supported me in my efforts lately. I have felt a bit down the past few days and any encouragement that they can offer is greatly appreciated. I also wanted to wish a Happy Birthday to several of my friends who have birthdays around this time of year. I might not have been able to wish each of you a happy birthday personally, but I hope you all know you can call on me anytime you want to talk.

OK enough of that jibba jabba. I just wanted to type up a quick update on a few of the shows I've been watching on Netflix. Why? Because of cotton candy that's why!?!


I love watching documentaries about conspiracies. I'm not really a conspiracy theorist or anything of the sort, but I like to explore how these things happen. It's interesting how people can see the facts based on their assumptions, many of which may or may not be true. This goes for the conspiracy theorists and the people trying to disprove the conspiracies as well. It would make things so much easier if the official report were not riddled with errors, but the chances of that are just about nil. People are going to make mistakes.

I recently watched a documentary titled '9/11 Science And Conspiracy' which is another interesting look into the 9/11 tragedy, but this one is a bit unique. It tries to use science to disprove the main conspiracy theories surrounding the event. It then takes this evidence and presents it to some of the biggest conspiracy theorists that have looked into the cause of the collapse of the twin towers. Some of the experiments that they run are interesting, and some of them seemed to be a complete waste of time. From a writing standpoint it's interesting for me to look at these things as an outside observer. In my novel some of the same themes are used, so I look at it partially as research. See? There's a reason to listed to the crazy people sometimes if you write about crazies or happen to be crazy yourself!


Another documentary titled 'Spies of Mississippi' was very interesting. It deals with the state government forming a secret agency that is trying to infiltrate the civil rights movement. The kicker is that most of the spies that were recruited and paid were also black. It's crazy how some people in this world will sell out others like that. Especially when it is against their best interests to do so. I'm looking at you Tea Party. Even after being caught and called out on it, some of these people deny being spies for the government. It's a dark blemish on American history, and an interesting show to watch.


This time I watched a movie *gasp*. Why would I do such a thing? The movie is titled 'Authors Anonymous' starring Cris Kline. You know that guy that looks kinda like Channing Tatum but more soft spoken and nerdy from the American Pie movies but has done just about nothing with his acting career since then? It's also got the girl from Big Bang Theory. You know Blondie Mcwhatsherface. I could look it up but this is a B movie and I'm not doing a review and stop looking at me like that.. I don't care OK? Anyway the movie is about a writing group which makes me think.. maybe I should join a writer's group, or organize one, or plot to take over the world.. One of those. So one of the writers in the group (Blondie) is signed by a publisher and the rest of the group starts trying to compete with each other for bragging rights or some other such nonsense. My favorite character is the old guy that refers to himself in the 3rd person. He goes through some crazy stuff. The movie is worth watching simply for what he goes through while trying to self publish through what seems like a vanity press.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Writer's Playlist - August 9 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. Daft Punk - Around The World
  2. JoDeCi - Get On Up
  3. Ice Cube / George Clinton - Bop Gun (One Nation)
  4. Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On
  5. Ginuwine - In Those Jeans
  6. Jason Derulo - Wiggle
  7. Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass
  8. Alicia Keys - You Don't Know My Name
  9. Robin Thicke - Get Her Back
  10. One Republic - Love Runs Out
  11. Cam'Ron - Oh Boy
  12. Tamia - So Into You
  13. Brian Mcknight - Anytime
  14. Monica - So Gone
  15. Everlast - What It's Like

Friday, August 8, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Rated PG-13 / 1 hr 41 min / Action - Adventure - Comedy

What's it about?

April Oneil is struggling in her job with News Channel 6. Her bosses want her to spend her time reporting on things like kitten fasion shows and new workout trends based on jumping on a trampoline. I mean who doesn't like watching Megan Fox jumping on a trampoline? Meanwhile.. The Foot Clan is terrorizing the streets, and April is chasing them because she wants to be taken seriously as a journalist. She sees a robbery in progress by the clan that is broken up by a vigilante or group of vigilantes who just happen to be turtles and ninjas and teenagers. The problem is that no one believes her, except for the bad guys.

You will like it if...

You are a huge TMNT fan that will like anything TMNT related even if Michael Bay is involved. I will say that the actual turtles aren't that bad as far as the special effects and the delivery of the lines. The problems infecting this movie are all the same ones that are in all Michael Bay movies. Even though he is listed as a producer rather than the director, you can see the same issues that have ruined the Transformers movies. The camera zooms in way too close in many of the fight scenes to the point where you have no clue what is going on. Just like in Transformers they like to zoom in way too close on the computer animated characters like "Look how gewd mah sechul effex R!", and the quoted text reads like some of the dialogue in the movie. It's so painful in parts that you can tell Will Arnett is questioning his decision to take his role in the movie. He tries to mumble the lines quickly to get through the terribleness. I'll give you an example of a line in this movie. "Drain every ounce of blood from their veins, even if it kills them." Right... Shredder himself looks like he would be more at home in the Transformers movies than in this one. The movie overall isn't as terrible as I was expecting, but it's not much better than your standard Michael Bay soul depleting experience.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Football is BACK!

If you don't like football then you can go ahead and skip this blog article. I don't know what you were thinking clicking that link anyway. Football is in the title of the blog post! I freaking love football.  American football.  Not the short shorts running around kicking a round ball back and forth until the announcer gets overly excited because someone happened to accidently score to break up the monotony. My favorite team is the Washington Redskins. As I type this they are playing the Patriots, and so far I'm liking what I am seeing. They are dominating the game so far.

Let's talk about what excites me about the Redskins this season. First off our offense looks like it's going to be scary good. It's still going to revolve around our workhorse Alfred Morris. It's a travesty that he doesn't get more credit or recognition for the work he does. Pierre Garcon led the league in receptions last year, and now we have a credible deep threat in Desean Jackson on the other side. The team also picked up Andre Roberts to take over the slot position that Santana Moss has held down for so long. Roberts is one of the better slot receivers in the league. As if that wasn't enough, Jordan Reed is back and healthy. He's a wide receiver in a tight end's body, and he was on his way towards a break out season before an injury ended it. The draft also brought in more offensive lineman which are always needed. The stronger the offensive line is, the more points we will score this year. We have more weapons than we know what to do with. Aldrick Robinson has looked like a beast every time he's gotten a chance to play, but so far he hasn't been able to break into the lineup. Maybe he can beat out Andre Roberts for that slot position?

I hear a lot of trash talk about the Redskins defense, but if you look at the stats they weren't as bad as most people seem to think. Deangelo Hall had the best season of his carreer and didn't make the Pro Bowl for some inexplicable reason. If you crunch the numbers and look at all the analytics then you will find that he was one of the best cornerbacks in the league last year. All the numbers I have looked at ranked him firmly as the 2nd best cornerback last year. Higher than many of the bigger name cornerbacks that come up when you mention top CBs in the league. I'm not saying that he's a better cornerback overall, but last year he played like it. He also rarely gets mentioned as being even a top 10 cornerback which baffles me. He has become a much better CB than his earlier years playing with other teams. Kerrigan and Orakpo is one of the best duos in the league at outside linebacker. Everyone seems to know this. Kerrigan looks more and more impressive every time I see him play. The biggest offseason addition is going to be Jason Hatcher. The line has been missing a guy that can put pressure on the QB up front since Carriker got injured three years ago. Hatcher will fill that void nicely. Rounding out the defense is David Ammerson and our safties. Ammerson played pretty well for a rookie, but hopefully with another year under his belt he will improve on what was a decent rookie season. Our safties played terrible last year. I'm hoping that someone will emerge at safty, OR that our improved pass rush will make them less of a factor.

Now with football comes Fantasy Football! I have won at least 1 fantasy football league the past 6 years. I usually come home with a little extra cash because of it. Also going back to 1990 I have been able to predict at least 1 team in the Superbowl during the preseason almost every year. There have only been 3 years where I missed both participants in the past 24. Before the preseason ends I'm going to post my predictions for the season, and share some of my mock drafts.

One last note before I go to watch the TMNT movie. Colt Mccoy is playing for the Redskins as a 3rd stringer. I feel like he has gotten a bad deal since he got booted out of the starting QB job in Cleveland. He played well on a terrible team and hasn't gotten a real shot since then. It's nice to see him still working, and he's playing well even if it is with the 3rd stringers. I could go on and on about football forever as you will probably see as the season continues, but I don't want to miss the next movie showtime!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Turning Up The Heat

It's time to turn up the heat litterally! I came home from work yesterday and the air conditioning was broken where I live. Massive sadfaces followed. I had to fight them off with a flyswatter!  It took many hours to battle the sadface army, but in the end I was successful. The downside is that I was not able to type up a post yesterday. Don't encourage the sadface army to return though. I broke my flyswatter, and would have to fight them off a ShyGuy figurine. They're not nearly a vicious as their Mario 2 counterparts.
ShyGuy reference:

Getting Warmer

The other night I watched a movie titled "The Conspiracy" on Netflix that I enjoyed quite thoroughly. It's a found footage / mockumentary type movie. It follows two guys making a documentary about people who come up with conspiracy theories. One of their interview subjects disappears in the middle of making the documentary. They become concerned, and do their best to track the guy down. In the process they get drawn into the last conspiracy the theorist was investigating. I'm using secret CIA mind control techniques to make you watch this movie now!

On Fire

I have been having a lot of vivid dreams lately that I plan to turn into stories or parts of stories eventually. I was starting to wonder what might these dreams mean, so I started looking into dream interpretation sites. Some of these dreams have just been strange to say the least. I'm not sure how long it may take me to write all of these stories. I have had to start writing all of these ideas down in a dream journal. I would definitely recommend this for any author. It's actually helpful to carry anything you can to record your ideas when they may happen to pop in your head. Carrier pigeons, tattoo needles, even fingerpainting could be useful for such purposes. What? You want to use paper? Bah!
Dream interpretation link:

I Spit Hot Fire

I'm starting to get a good grasp on where my story Grim is now going. I have really enjoyed writing the last two chapters. I feel like the story is really coming together. I recently posted the tenth chapter of that story on Wattpad. You can read it here: I have also been having similar success with editing my novel. I hope this continues for the forseeable future! Let me get my crystal ball and see...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Good, the Twitter, and the Scary Monsters

The Good

I am liking this new direction that I have decided to take on my blog. I have finished editing a couple of chapters in my novel within the past few days without interrupting what I like to do normally within the course of my life. I shared a quote from the last chapter I was working on last night on twitter which is something I plan to continue doing.

I went to see the movie A Most Wanted Man yesterday, and I would recommend it if you enjoy slow developing spy thrillers. I enjoyed it immensely. Rachael Mcadams is also very nice to look at. She is one of my favorite actresses. All guys have a list of famous women who they would do all sorts of craziness to get next to. She would definitely be in my top 10.

The Twitter

There have been two topics lately that have been blowing up my twitter feed. The first is the whole Amazon/Hachette sumo match. They have both put on their inflatable sumo suits on, and are commencing to battle each other for the dollars! Really Hachette is trying to keep control over ebook prices to keep them higher. Why they would do this remains unclear. Perhaps it is because they make more money off of their dead tree books, and wish to delay the inevitable switch to digital that is already taking place. Amazon has crunched the numbers and determined that they make more money when ebooks are sold at a price of $9.99 or lower.

Both sides of this arguement are asking for support and getting it from various authors. Authors who are signed on with Hachette are supporting them or keeping silent. Their paychecks are being effected, so it's in their best interests to have this resolved as quickly as possible. Amazon doesn't understand Hachette's stance because they see it as a win/win/win scenario. Amazon makes more money off of ebooks, Hachette makes more money off of ebooks, and the readers get lower ebook prices so they can buy more ebooks. It's easy to side with Amazon in this public argument when they are pushing for something that is good for consumers, even if it is for selfish reasons. I buy mostly self published books, and they are usually priced from free to $5. I really don't care who wins this negotiation too much. Hachette is only hurting themselves and their authors with their continued fight against the growing trend. To them I suggest that you adapt to the times, or you will end up losing more than you can afford to.

The second verbal pillowfight that has been commencing on twitter is about Israel/Palestine/Gaza strip fighting. Apparently there are some Palestinian sympathizers that are fighting against backers of Israel. Frothing at the mouth has ensued. A lot of the argument has to do with ignorant people being misinformed by partisan media. Do your research before you start stating what appear to be "facts". They may not be as true as you think they are. There are others who are just trolling to cause an outrage from those who support Isreal. I suggest that you don't feed the trolls, it's not worth your time or energy.

The Scary Monsters

I've been watching a show called Unsealed: Conspiracy Files on Netflix lately. It's a laughable show. They have put together a bunch of possible conspiracies with guest speakers who talk about what could possibly be happening. They present it like a 20/20 show with fast changing pictures that present the "truth". What makes it laughable is the severe lack of hard evidence they have to back their claims. Most of the evidence they provide is second hand witness testimonial, but they don't actually provide evidence for most of it. They show computer generated case files that are now "unsealed" then have a narrator guide you through what they want to tell you. It's almost as misleading as Fox News.

Don't worry my friends. These monsters can't hurt you. Just like Godzilla, Zombies, Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, and King Kong these monsters aren't real. The One Direction Apocalypse is coming though. I'm prepared for it, I have Duct Tape.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The White Buffalo

The white buffalo is the unattainable thing that you want more than anything. The one thing that no matter how much you strive to reach, you can never quite obtain. Sometimes these are unrealistic goals, but many times it is something that you can reach.

Today I saw an article on talking about the Dallas Cowboys sending season tickets out just as every other team does, but they also sent out tickets for playoff games including a possibly NFC Championship game. They haven't made the playoffs in several years. This is a business decision to make things easier IF they make the playoffs, and other teams are likely to follow suit. Most are seeing it as unwarranted optimism for a team that looks more likely to be in the running for the number 1 pick in the 2015 draft. One comment on the article asked, "Did they include a voucher to have their picture taken with a unicorn?"

The article made me think of my goals and aspirations. I must admit that it made me feel good to make fun of the Cowboys for a minute as a Redskins fan, but the optimism towards the upcoming season is not something to completely disregard. We all have things we want that are just out of reach. We all work towards goals that may or may not be within reach. Some of us will succeed, some will fail. I have to believe that I will succeed.

We keep going hoping that one day we will reach our white buffalo. We must keep that optimism to keep going. The struggle is eternal, and it takes hard work to make progress towards our goals. The trials you must go through will discourage you from continuing on your path. Sometimes it will force you to take another path that you never considered before. You must adapt to the challenge, and never EVER give up. The only guaranteed way to fail is to stop trying.

I will ride my white buffalo, and it will be glorious. If I decide to, I might even get my picture taken with a unicorn. I hope you all will be there with me when it happens.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Writer's Playlist - August 1 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. Digital Underground - Kiss You Back
  2. Bel Biv DeVoe - Poison
  3. KONGOS - Come With Me Now
  4. The Temptations - Ain't Too Proud To Beg
  5. Creedance Clearwater Revival - Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
  6. Ludacris - Sex Room
  7. John Legend - All of Me
  8. Trey Songz - Smartphones
  9. Rob Base - It Takes Two
  10. Lil Wayne - Belive Me
  11. Cassa Lio - No Place I'd Rather Be
  12. Wyclef Jean - 911
  13. Black Eyed Peas - Let's Get It Started
  14. Jaheim - Just In Case
  15. Kelly Rowland - Motivation