Saturday, December 7, 2013

10 Days and Counting

10 days left before escrow closes on my house. I still have a ton of things to do and I feel like I haven't made any progress on anything. I'm stressed out and a bit overwhelmed. I can't wait for this whole process to be over.

Since I was feeling a bit out of control and in panic mode I decided that this wasn't going to help me.. I had to come up with a game plan.. so I took a few deep breaths and made some decisions. First I decided that I was going to put everything into a storage unit and crash at my friends and/or brother's house and look for a place to live when I have time and not really worry about finding a place in the next ten days. Along with the storage unit I also made a game plan on when I want to move things out of my house. First this Wednesday I will move all the boxes to storage and then on Sunday I'll move all the furniture. I put a request out there to see if anyone would be will to help. I got a few friends for Wednesday and a few for Sunday. All help is appreciated.

Friday, December 6, 2013

America Young, Letter from Chris & a Harry Potter Short

First I want to say Happy Birthday to Miss America Young. I met America a few years ago through our mutual friend Greg Aronowitz. Our friendship grew and I got to know America better and I have to say that I have never met anyone sweeter, she is genuinely a nice person. She has this smile that's so infectious you can help but feel great when you see it. She is so talented, she's a stunt women, actor, director, voice over artist and so much more. We don't get to spend as much time hanging out as I would like, but the time we do is very precious to me. So Happy Birthday America.. you deserve all the best life has to offer.

I got my first hand written letter from Chris (who's in Kuwait, if you didn't know). Even though we talk via Facebook chat almost everyday it's still cool to actually get a hand written letter in the mail. I remember the day when this was the only way to communicate other then the telephone. It's sad that we don't do it that often anymore. I try and send cards with written notes to friends once in a while but I don't do it as often as I would like. I started to write a hand written letter back and it's so strange as it's been a while since I have actually written a letter by hand, and it feels very foreign.

In geek news I came across this amazing fan created short movie called "The Greater Good". It's Based on an account told by J.K. Rowling about a young Albus Dumbledore, "The Greater Good" chronicles the climactic and tragic duel that changed the fate of Dumbledore, and his family, forever.

They could do a entire movie on Dumbledore's life but this mini movie is a great start. The acting is good and music is perfect and the special effects aren't that bad. There were a few that made me cringe but for the most part it's a very well done fan film. I enjoyed their interpretation of this scene from the book. And I loved the underlying theme of love, you can sense that Dumbledore realizes that he let his love for Grindelwald blinded him from the truth... it's some powerful stuff. If you're a Harry Potter fan then this is a must see. You can watch it below.

"Get Fit" Week 18

Well this isn't much of a shocker to me but I gained weight this week. Between Thanksgiving, my final movie marathon and the stress of moving I haven't been eating right or working out on a regular bases.

I was at 197lbs for the past four weeks but this morning when I got on the scale I was at 199lbs. I try and look on the bright side and tell myself that at least I didn't go above 200 again. But still 2 lbs is so tough for me as it takes me forever to lose just a pound. It also pushes me further away from my end of year goal.. to be at or under 195lbs. I know once all this moving crap is over I'll need to start all over again with my veggie shakes, proper eating and workouts. I just have to work hard at not gaining any more weight until then.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spiderman 2, X-Men & Sound of Music Live

Morning didn't start off that great as the guy who was suppose to pick up my spa flaked on me..again. This is the third time he's not shown up, The first time his wife was going into labor and then the second time he had a new baby and lack of sleep. And me being the naive person that I am thought that sounded truthful. Then we texted few days ago and confirmed everything for 10am today.. that came and went and I texted him around 4 to see if something came up and nothing. So that's three strikes.. time to put the spa back up on craigslist and see if I can find someone who will actually follow through with their promise.

Got two more screeners today.. Nebraska, which I had never heard of but did see a commercial for it afterwards. And 12 Years a Slave which I have heard about and was hoping to get a screener. So I'm looking forward to checking those out.

Sony Pictures released a trailer for The Amazing Spiderman 2. Lot's of action and almost a bit to busy for me. Things were flying across the screen so fast you really couldn't tell what was going on. With that said it's just a trailer and it's not going to deter me from seeing it in the theaters. Check out the trailer below.

Bryan Singer announced on twitter that next years X-Men: Days of Future Past already has a sequel in the works titled X-Men: Apocalypses. I love that we haven't even seen the next X-Men movie and they are already planning a sequel... sounds like the sudio has a lot of faith in the next installment... can't wait.

Posted another Random Geek Question: Which Fandom do you think is the most passionate. Trekkies, Ringers, Whovians, Star Wars, Harry Potter, another?? And to my surprise I got nothing on Twitter and only a few responses on Facebook. I thought it was a fairly interesting question, maybe it was too difficult to answer. I mean for me I don't know if I could pick one fandom over the others. I mean I'm part of many fandoms, Trekkies, Star Wars, Potter, Ringers, Whovian, Whedonite, and many more.. I think they are all passionate in their own way.

I ended my night with watching The Sound of Music Live on NBC. This was live stage play of The Sound of Music. Social media went crazy, mostly negative, complaining that the sets looked fake, I just wanted to yell.. "it's a stage play not a movie".

For me personally I loved it. I enjoyed the movie Sound of Music and this was like watching it live on stage. Folks complained about Carrie Underwood who played Maria. She has a beautiful voice, maybe it's not perfect and meant for stage (yet) but I think she did a really good job. I am happy to say that this show had over 18 million viewers and was one of the biggest success for NBC in years. So even though the social media folks were more vocal and nasty, the majority of the people enjoyed it. I need to keep telling myself to not let the haters effect me... Haters are going to hate.. all that matters is what I think and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - My Review

So my buddy Doug got invited to a pre-release screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and he invited me to be his guest. He told me this a few days ago and I've been going crazy having to wait but the wait if finally over. The screening was happening at the Director's Guild of America, which is a fairly nice theater.

We wanted to make sure we got a good seat so we got into Hollywood around 4:30pm. The screening wasn't until 7:00pm but like with all screenings they overbook them to make sure they fill the room and this being The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and the fact that there was a Q&A with some amazing people afterward we knew we needed to get there early. We figured we'd get in line an hour early so that gave us some time to eat dinner across the street at The Counter. We finished around 5:30pm and headed over to the theater where there was already a line. We were about six from the front.. so we thought. when they let us in we found out that there was another line of about 30 or so people on the other side of the room. Luckily we got there when we did as the line behind us was HUGE.

We found some prime seats, as you want to be in the middle but not to far forward but close enough to see the guests for the Q&A. We were about seven rows back from the front. And with the folks in front of us (who were short) I had the perfect view of the screen and the stage.

So the movie started and I was beyond excited. I have been waiting an year for part two of this Hobbit trilogy.

My Review (SPOILERS: Nothing major just my overall thoughts on some key points in the film) My over all thoughts on this movie.. LOVED IT!!! but of course there was never any doubt that I wouldn't. Folks complained about the pace of the first movie, well there is no way they will be able to make that claim with this installment. After the prologue it's non-stop action from beginning to end.

Martin Freedman is incredible at Bilbo. His subtle or not to subtle facial expression are amazing. There is this fantastic scene where he has to fight some sort of insect creature for the ring and he just goes ballistic and afterward you can see that he is terrified at what he just did, the ring is already effecting him.

Ian McKellen does it again as Gandalf the Grey. There is a sequence towards the end of the film where we finally get some awesome Wizard battle. It reminds me of when he was fighting the Balrog from Fellowship of the Ring just a 100 times awesomer. It's one of my favorite scenes from the film.

Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) is a brand new elf character created just for these movies. Tauriel is a warrior who is cunning and swift and will not hesitate to defend herself, yet she is also kind and nurturing and brave enough to defy her king and prince to do what she knows is right. She's a great addition to these films. There is also a kind of love triangle between Legolas, Tauriel and Kili. Well Legolas likes Tauriel but she's a lonely Silvan elf and not worth of the prince of the Greenwoods (according to Legolas' father). But Tauriel and Kili have this awesome moment and the sparks fly.There is also a scene at the of the film between those two that is very sweet.

As I've said this movie is fast paced and what feels like minutes we are at the end of the film and Bilbo's confrontation with Smaug the Dragon. First I have to say that the visual effects for Smaug were amazing, just as if not better then the CG for Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movies. Benedict Cumberbatch did an fantastic job bringing Smaug to life. They added this big action sequence at the very end of the film, which is not in the book and I'm sure folks will complain as it defiantly changes things up. And when you get to that final scene and the screen goes black, you scream a little inside as you now have to wait an entire year for the conclusion of this story.

Other great moments in this film.. the barrel ride is visual stunning and action packed. Bombur has his shining moment during this scene.. it's pretty amazing and hilarious. It was great seeing Beorn I just wish he was in the film more, hopefully he'll make an appearance during the five army battle in the next film. Radagast is back and is as great as ever. Lee Pace is pitch perfect as Thranduil, the King of the Greenwood. He is intimidating, regal and clearly stuck in his old ways. Luke Evens did a great job bringing Bard the Bowman to life. His character is more fleshed out in the film then in the books. I can go on and on.

Purist will complain about all the changes that were made from the book to the movie. We all have our opinions and expectations, but I personally do not hold to the idea that Jackson, Walsh and Boyens have gone too far. One thing that must be remembered overall is that this is just one interpretation of a 75-year-old story. Do I think it is a great interpretation? Absolutely! Can I see how others may not see it that way? Of course, but this is what we are given like it or not.. and I for one love it!! I give The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a solid A

Afterwards there was a Q&A with some of the cast and crew. I was just as excited to be there for the Q&A as I was for seeing the film. Guests of the Q&A were Filmmaker Peter Jackson, Production Designer Dan Hennah, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri, Singer-Songwriter Ed Sheeren and Actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Yes... Peter Jackson was sitting just feet from me, he is just an amazing director and creator of all things Middle Earth. I could have sat there for hours and listen to him talk about the filming process. The Q&A was quick with each person getting one or two questions and then taking a few questions from the audience. One thing I learned from the Q&A is that Cumberbatch has a foul mouth on him, he was hilarious at times. It was great hearing little tidbits about the production design and visual effects. Also Ed Sheeren wrote and sang the main theme song to the movie "I See Fire". He talked about how he wrote that song within just a few hours. 

This was the perfect way to end a perfect night. I got to see one of my most anticipated movies of the year and also see up close the man himself Peter Jackson. Thanks Doug for letting me be apart of this amazing experience.

Wonder Women & R2D2

Today Warner Brothers announced that Wonder Woman will be in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel tentatively titled Superman Vs. Batman. Gal Gadot, most well known for appearing in the "Fast & Furious" films got the coveted role. I had never heard of her as I have never seen any of the Fast & Furious movies. But after seeing a picture of her, I can see her playing Wonder Woman. Of course as soon as they announced it the internet went crazy as they did with the announcement of Ben Affleck playing Batman, okay maybe it wasn't that crazy, but still lots of opinions from everyone online.

As I have mentioned I think she has the look of Wonder Woman but she will need to bulk up a bit as Wonder Woman is an Amazonian Warrior. In a statement, Zack Snyder stated: "Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character."

I know Man of Steel got mix reviews from fans but I for one LOVED it and I trust Zack with Wonder Women. I'm in the mindset of lets wait and see what happens before we start bagging on this poor actress who I'm sure is already stressed out that she will be playing one of the best known heroine in the world. 

And just for fun... I saw this awesome R2D2 USB Hub for your car.... I want!!! Thinkgeek has so many awesome things, I could do some major damage to my bank account (well that's if I had money in it). You can check it out HERE.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Packing, Christmas Music & Screeners

Started my day at 7am and jumped right into packing up my Kitchen. I figured it would take me a few hours to pack up everything.. yeah that was a mistake. It actually took me all day long and I'm still not done with it.

While I packed today I listen to Christmas music. This is the first time I've listened this year. I love Christmas music and would listen to it year round if folks didn't give me strange looks, but then again if I listened to it all the time I guess it wouldn't be special anymore.

Sent off my Christmas care packing to my best bud Chris who is serving in Kuwait. There were several friend who contributed various items with this care package. Thanks Doug, Rupert. Robert and even my Dad for contributing. He should get it in 10 to 12 days.

Two more screeners arrived... Despicable Me 2 and Lone Survivor. I've seen Despicable Me 2 and loved it so I'm super excited to have a copy of it. I'm sure I'll be buying it on Bluray as well since there are lots of extra BTS stuff on it. I've never heard of Lone Survivor, but look forward to checking it out.

Monday, December 2, 2013

House Sold, Hobbit Premiere & Christmas Gifts

So I got word today that the buyers took off their contingencies, which means this house has sold. There is always a slim chance that things will fall through but they are at a point of no return. If they pull out now they can lose the 3% that they had to put down. So this is pretty much a done deal.

Now that I know this I can start packing up everything and look for a new place to live. I was putting off looking for a place as I didn't want to get stuck having a lease on an apartment and have the deal fall through at the last minute and be stuck with a house as well. But it looks like clear sailing from here so I'm going to begin my hunt.

I have actually been packing for a week or so but now I'm pretty much packing up everything that I won't need in the next two weeks. I have 15 days before the escrow closes and 2 more days to get out of the house... if things weren't stressful enough it just got 100 times worse... I have to much to do.

I took a break from packing to watch The Hobbit premiere, it was happening in Los Angeles and they were airing it on youtube live. A few of the stars from the movie were there as well as the man himself Peter Jackson. If I wasn't in the middle of all this craziness I would have dressed up in my Hobbit outfit and gone down to the Kodak Theatre.

To my surprise I got 2 Christmas presents in the mail. One was from my buddy Ken Todd who lives up in Canada. He got me Seasons 1 & 2 of Sherlock (I've been wanting to see these.. super excited). He also got me a Sherlock Companion book. Can't wait to check it out once I've watched both seasons. Thanks Ken for being such a special friend.

The second gift came wrapped and is from my best bud Robert. I don't have a clue what it is and he asked that I wait until Christmas to open it. This is actually the third gift he has given me. A few weeks ago he got me Man of Steel on blu-ray and then last week he got me a new set of hair clippers. Robert likes spoiling me.. but I don't mind :) Thanks bud for another Christmas gift, I can't wait to open it.

And to finish off this blog... I got another screener today.. this time it's The Butler. I have heard of this movie and actually was looking forward to seeing it so I'm super excited that I got a screener for it. 

Lord of the Rings Remixes

I heard this song on Middle Earth Radio Network and I fell in love with it. I was able to get the name of the person who created the song, Chetreo, and looked them up on youtube. Not only did they do a remix for Fellowship of the Ring but they did one for The Two Towers and Return of the King. What makes these unique is that fact that they only uses audio from the movie. No additional audio of any kind is added to the mix. All three of these are truly amazing, this person has an amazing ear for audio, you can download just the audio files (for free) which I did and I've been playing them over and over again. Here are the video versions of the three remixes.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

All Good Things Must Come To An End!!

Saying goodbye to folks as they left the final movie marathon made me think about all the awesome times we've had here.

These movie marathons started because I wanted to hang out with Chris more and since he lived three hours north of me and was coming down for the weekend I figured I'd throw a movie marathon party and invite all my new friends that I had met on set of season five of The Guild and it just kind of snowballed from there. I've had marathons with just 10 people all the way up to 30 people. We've had a ton of great times and a few not so great times.

The Geek Mob was born out of these movie marathons. Friendships that will last a lifetime. I have 1000's of pictures and awesome memories from these marathons. This was a once in a lifetime kind of thing. We were all in the right place in our lives at the right time that everything just clicked. We will never see the likes of these marathons ever again. 

List of Movie Marathons:

Indiana Jones marathon in July of 2011
Star Wars marathon / My 41st birthday party in September of 2011
Lord of the Rings marathon / Thanksgiving in November of 2011
Christmas movie marathon / party in December of 2011 
Back to the Future marathon in January of 2012
80's Scifi/Fantasy Costume movie marathon in February of 2012
Jurassic Park marathon in March of 2012
80's Teen Movie marathon in May of 2012
Christmas movie marathon / party in December 2012
Superman marathon in February of 2013
Harry Potter marathon / Thanksgiving in November of 2013

A few of these movie marathons were integrated with birthday parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We use pretty much any excuse to have a marathon. When Chris left in April of 2012 that kind of took the wind out of my sails for throwing these parties for a time but that wasn't the only reason, I hit some rough spots in life and these marathons had to take a back seat. I am happy that we were able to have a few more of them before the final one this past weekend. I think these marathons will continue in some form at my new place but they will never be as great as they were in their heyday.

I want to thank Chris, Robert, Will, Josh, Jes, Jen, Kim, Anne, Nicki, Luis, Dallas, Rupert, Olivia, Aaron, Brett, Doug R, Kevin R, Doug L, Thomas, America, Michele B, Anthony, Red 5, Greg, Gabe, Michele T, Jennifer C, Jennifer L, Matt L, Andrew, Adam, Scott, Jared, Patrick, Cait, Tamar, Becca, Barbara, Brian, Nicole, Michele C, Ashphord, Leslie, Leo, Ron, Shenah, Troy, Harry, Michael S, Theresa and Justin for making these movie marathons EPIC!!!!

Final Movie Marathon Weekend Day 3

This is it.. the final day of the final movie marathon weekend. Joining me for this final day was Jes, Doug, Aaron, Barbara, Dallas, Rupert, Cait, Robert and Jen.

We started out day like all other days.. with breakfast. We then went out and played some extreme bocce ball for the last time. This was in honor of our buddy Chris (who created the game.. well the extreme part) he is currently in Kuwait and couldn't join us for the festivities. 

After bocce ball we headed inside to start Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1.

I'm so happy that they finally spit the book into two movies. As I mentioned I think they should have done that with book four, five and six as well. There is alot of walking and talking in this book but I think they did a good job at keeping that to a minimum but still getting across that time was passing. Some of the scenes were directly pulled from the book and some were altered to fit the movie better. I think they did a great job at the cut off point between the movies. And I still cry every time when Dobby dies in Harry's arms.

For lunch we once again did left overs, turkey, sandwiches and pizza. We then got started on the final movie in my Final Movie Marathon Weekend, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2.

This was a prefect ending to a great series of movies. This was all action, they went out on a bang, as did the books. I was extremely happy with the final movie. I think overall they did justice to the book series. And if you're never going to read the book series then I think you got a good tasty of what it was like living in the world of Harry Potter from the movies.

So ends the final movie marathon with Harry Potter, 3 days, 8 movies for a total of 1199 min (20 hours) of awesome. It was great watching these movies back to back to back. You got to see the actors grow up right in front of your eyes. It was also great to see how each movie really did lead into the next one. I'm so happy that all eight movies had the same actors playing the same roles (with exceptions to Dumbledore). The movies had various directors but pretty much the entire crew was the same throughout the eight movies and it shows.

I want to thank all who came and joined me in this final marathon. I have to admit that I was bummed that some people were not able to make it but also very grateful for all those who did. It was a nice end to something that has been very important to me. Will I do movie marathons at my new place? Who knows but I do know they will never be the same.