Saturday, August 8, 2015

Visiting the MASH Site and My Fantastic Four Thoughts

After the workout I came home for a half hour, showered, and ate before meeting up with some friends and heading out to Malibu Canyon Park to hike to the old MASH site. This started as a Dallas and Kenny hike like we did when we did the Hollywood Sign hike but since it was Dallas' birthday yesterday we opened it up to anyone who wanted to join us.  We had a good turnout.. joining us for the hike was birthday boy Dallas, Lydia, Jen, Hayley, Justin, Doug, Kevin, Robert, Cait and Aaron.

I did this hike back in 2009 with Harry so I was looking forward to a return visit as it has been a while I heard they made some changes. It was warm outside high 80's but we were all prepared and after a few wrong turns (thanks to Wazes) we all managed to find parking and each other and begin the hike. It's about an hour hike to the actual site, about half of the hike are large paths with some occasional trees but the last half of the hike is my favorite as you have to hike single file between a mountainside and a creek (dried up now), but it's a little winding trail that leads you to the entrance of the old MASH set.

To start off the only things that were at the site back in 2009 was a burnt out jeep and a rusted over ambulance. Now when you enter the area they have an actual MASH ambulance that you are able to get inside and take pictures. They have added stands with plaques explaining where all the tents were with diagrams. They also have stakes and ropes noting the location of each tent though most of these were either falling down or covered by over growth. There is a new picnic area with benches covered by some army netting. The burnt out jeep is still there along with the rusted ambulance. But I think the best part is the re-created Swamp sign post with all the cities and miles on it. The Helo pad is still up there with a bit of brush on it. Someone actually spelled out in rocks GoodBye which was pretty awesome.

Overall the improvements are pretty fantastic. And if you're a MASH fan this is definitely a trip you have to take. You can check out more of my MASH site pictures HERE.

After the hike a few of us (Dallas, Robert, Cait, Aaron, Hayley and I) headed to Sherman Oaks Arclight to watch Fantastic Four. I've heard all the negative comments about this film and very little positive but I wasn't going to let that affect my enjoyment of the movie. Here's a quick synopsis of the movie. Transported to an alternate universe, four young outsiders gain superhuman powers as they alter their physical form in shocking ways. Reed Richards becomes Mr. Fantastic, able to stretch and twist his body at will, while pal Ben Grimm gains immense strength as the Thing. Johnny Storm becomes the Human Torch, able to control and project fire, while his sister Sue becomes the Invisible Woman. Together, the team must harness their new abilities to prevent Doctor Doom from destroying the Earth.

Now for my thoughts... I enjoyed the movie overall. The acting was solid, the effects were amazing and the story was good. It's another origin story and I liked how it started with Reed as a kid and befriending Ben. It moves along at a rather slow pace until it gets to the halfway point when the accident happens and they get their powers. Then it's more of the slow pace building up to he big finale which happens within all of ten minutes. 

Though it's slow that doesn't necessarily make it bad. My issues is the build up to the actual superheros and we see them for a few minutes before the final battle which is over in a few minutes. I think this a great first act (stretched over 2/3's of the movie) and could have been a cool beginning to a great story... but atlas it was over just when it truly got started. 

Like I said.. I don't think it deserves all the hate and negativity, but to each their own... I give it a solid B-

After the movie I took Dallas out to dinner for his birthday, and those who watched the movie joined us. We hit up P.F. Changs for some tasty Chinese food. It was a nice dinner and everyone had a good time. 

Once we were done I dropped off Dallas and Aaron at his place and then went back to my apartment to crash.. I was exhausted and had several blisters on my feet that were gonna feel great for tomorrow NerdStrong workout... but it was totally worth it.. it was a great day.

NerdStrong Gym - It's The Little Things

Today's workout was an interesting one.. after a quick warm up we started our next 3 week movement workout which is going to be HandStands.. this makes me extremely happy as I already have my handstands down so I get to improve upon it now. But first we have to start with the basics and start with strengthening our core.

This was fun because we all did this together. We all laid down on the floor on our stomach and tightened out gluts and shoulder area and then turned on to our side and held for 10 seconds, we then rolled onto our back and did a hallow hold. We then rolled to our other side and held that until finally rolling back onto our stomach. We did this a few times and though it's an easy movement it starts to burn after the first few times.

Next we did 3 rounds of 10x Contracting Bridge-Ups, 10x External Dynamic Scapula Push Ups and then 10x Inchworm to Inversion. Again these are all helping us with the handstands and strengthening our core. And like the previous workout they aren't hard to do but man do they start to burn after a while.

But the burning was going to get even worse with the next workout.. TABATA V-Ups. A TABATA is :20 seconds of work and :10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds. Stomach crunches after stomach crunches and by the third set I was in pain.. but that didn't stop me from doing 5 more sets.

Since we had time there was a last workout called the Hert Locker which consisted of 8 minutes of 20x Plyo Lunge, 15x Slamballs and 10x Slamball Push Ups. I couldn't even tell you how many rounds I did, all I know is I was hurting but continued to push forward until time ran out.

Today's workout was a lot of little things that added up a pretty fun workout.. yeah I was in pain but it's a good pain. I can't wait to see what we do for next week Handstand workout.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Being Positive on Facebook

So the past week or so I've been trying to post positive things to my Facebook feed. I feel like there is so much negative and hate being spewed everyday online that I didn't want to be part of it. Here are some of the videos and pictures that made my heart smile.

First one is about a family who started a car wash company so that their autistic son and others would have a place of employment.

Next is a video done to show the evolution of Men's Swimsuits.. it's interesting to see the different styles over the years.

Next is a very touching video of two foster kids who found a forever home with the unlikeliest of people... have some tissues ready.

Next isn't a video but I picture I came across of a blind women "seeing" her unborn child thanks to 3D printing technology.. it's pretty amazing.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

NerdStrong Gym - One Rep Max Bench Press

Yep.. it's still Test Week.. today is the Bench Press one rep max test.

We started with a good warm up that felt more like a mini workout. We then moved into our 1 Max Rep Bench Press. I teamed up with my buddy John. We had to do three sets, the first was 5 reps for a warm up, my weight for this was 95 lbs. The second set we had to do 3 reps and add more weight and I went up to 135 lbs. For the third set we went for our 1 Rep Max.

Since my last one rep max was 180 lbs, I stared at 185 lbs and did that with ease so I bumped up to 190 lbs and again that was fairly easy so I jumped up to 200 lbs (which was my goal for today). It took some effort but I got the bar up so I went for 205 lbs. That was tough and I struggled and barely got it up so that's it... I found my 1 rep max... 205 pounds. That's 25 lbs more then my last 1 rep max that I got three months back. I'm extremely happy with that number.

After the testing we move on to our next "Strength" workout, Hang Cleans. I was not thrilled to see this as of all the barbell workouts I have the toughest time with Cleans. I know what I'm suppose to do but there are so many moving parts I can't figure out how to do them all. I guess it's good that we will be working on these for the next few weeks as I need the help but I hate feeling frustrated after a workout. So for today it was basic and we broke down the Hang Cleans and did each component 50 times. I'm hoping by the time we are done with this segment I'll be able to do Clean a little better.

So overall it was a great day for Bench Press and an okay day for Hang Cleans.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

NerdStrong Gym - Endurance Testing

Test week continues.. today was our Endurance Test. We started with a good warm up before moving into the testing stage.

We started with a 1 Mile Run, that's 8 laps around the parking lot (which they actually measured and found it that it's not 250 meters round it's 230 meters), but since we did 8 laps we actually did 1.14 miles. Coach Blair wanted us to try and keep our laps pretty steady with less then a 10 second difference. I did pretty good the first four times around but on my fifth I was about 20 seconds off my time and I fell even more behind on my seventh and eighth time. But I run this 1 Mile (actually 1.14 Miles) in 11 minutes 51 seconds. I'm hoping to get it under a 10 minute mile the next time we test in October.

After a short rest we moved on to the Rowing. We were doing a 2000 Meter (1.24 Miles) Row. Since we only have a limited amount of rowers we did these in heats of 500. So we rowed 500 meters and then rested why someone else did their 500 meter row. Like with the running coach Blair asked that we try and keep our times within 10 seconds. My first 500 meter row was 2:15, second was 2:09, third was 2:12 and my final 500 meter row was 2:10 for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Coach said 8 minute row for 2000 meters is ideal so I'm not that far off.. maybe I'll hit that number in October.

Overall I'm happy with my numbers. I ran the entire 1.14 miles which was great and I'm happy with my pace for rowing.. of course next time we are going to be doing the entire 2000 meter at one time. As you can see from the picture we were all dead tired after this workout but it was good indicator at where we are physically. And we get to do this all over again in October.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation - My Review

So after work today my buddy Robert and I went to a PGA screening of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.This is the fifth Mission: Impossible movies. Here's a quick synopsis for the latest one, With the IMF now disbanded and Ethan Hunt out in the cold, a new threat -- called the Syndicate -- soon emerges. The Syndicate is a network of highly skilled operatives who are dedicated to establishing a new world order via an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Faced with what may be the most impossible mission yet, Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with Ilsa Faust, a disavowed British agent who may or may not be a member of this deadly rogue nation.

Now I'm not a big fan of this movie series.. I did see the first movie and hated it but watched the second and wasn't impressed to so skipped the third but got a see a free screening of the fourth and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to this one and I have to say I wasn't disappointed. This latest movie is non-stop action. From the moment it starts to the very last scene it's action, action, action. I enjoyed the story though it felt very much like the last movie, but still good. I enjoyed the acting, Simon Pegg's character was hilarious and I liked the edition of the British agent Ilsa Faust. She could kick some ass and don't need any man to save her.

Would I watch this again.. sure, but I don't need to buy it. The last two films in this series have been fun popcorn movies. You just sit back and enjoy the ride. I give Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation a solid B+ 

NerdStrong Gym - DEX Testing

Back to NerdStrong I go.. today is a DEX Test and man was it a good one. We started with a mini workout for a warm up. 2 rounds of 10x Banded Pass Thrus, 10x Banded Pull Aparts, 10x Good Mornings and 10x Squats. We then had to do 50x Jump Rope, 40x Mountain Climbers and 30x Lunges. I was winded just by that warm up alone.

For the first test we had to do 2 minute max reps for the following, Push Ups,  Sit Ups, Kettlebell Swings, Squats and Pull Ups/Ring Rows. So I did 33 Push Ups in 2 minutes, up about 12 Push Ups from my last max. I did 40 Sit Ups in 2 minutes which is impressive for me because I'm extremely slow at sit ups. I did 56 Kettlebell Swings in 2 minutes which I was somewhat disappointed in. I was hoping to hit 60. I manged to do 51 Squats in 2 minutes but expected to do better since I'm really good a Squats. For the Pull Ups/Ring Rows I can actually do 2 Pull Ups, but I went for the Ring Rows for 2 minutes and did 35 of them which I was happy with. So overall I was satisfied with my 2 minute test this go round.

We then did 3 rounds of :30 seconds of Box Jumps and then :60 seconds of Box Step Ups with no rest in between, before finishing the workout with TABATA Planking.

It was a rough workout but a good one. We test again in October so hopefully I will improve on those numbers next time.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Boys - Another Amazing Movie - My Thoughts

Since I've been taking off Fridays from the Gym to recoup and still getting up at 6am (stupid internal clock). I had about three and a half hours to kill before work so I continued my movie watching from last night.

Up first was another five star movie (according the Netflix) called Boys. BOYS (Jongens) tells the story of Sieger, a sporty, rather quiet 15-year-old boy who discovers love during the summer holidays. Sieger is training in the new athletics team for the national relay championships and meets the intriguing and unpredictable Marc. The friendship that develops seems nothing out of the ordinary, but Sieger secretly harbours stronger feelings for Marc. He engages in a lonely struggle with himself when it emerges that Marc is also in love with him. Events soon take on a momentum of their own as Sieger quickly becomes involved with Jessica. Sieger struggles with what his heart wants but what but his mind is telling him. It becomes increasingly more difficult to deny his feelings for Marc.

This movie is from the Netherlands and came out last year. Like with The Way He Looks it also had English subtitles. And also just like with The Way He Looks I really enjoyed this movie. Not as much as The Way He Looks but it's definitely in my top 10 of "gay" themed movies and top 5 coming of age movies. This movie took a different approach to a gay teen dealing with his emerging sexuality. Sieger pushes down those feelings, he begins dating a girl to mimic his best friend.

There is some very sweet scenes of Marc and Sieger at a pond horsing around until they final kiss for the first time. And later there this great moment when their at Marc's house playing with his sister and you can just see the love Marc has for Sieger.

Unlike The Way He Looks, Boys has a bit more conflict. Sieger is with his girlfriend at a fair and Marc shows up only to be given the cold shoulder. The look on Marcs face is devastating (and just breaks your heart), but that's nothing compared to one of the final scenes when Sieger is with his brother and their girlfriends and come upon Marc who is just broken hearted because Sieger promised to meet him at the pond but didn't. Sieger pushes Marc aside so the car can get by but minutes later is in tears and jumps out of the car and goes home.

The last scene has Sieger with his family and friend when his dad ask if he's okay.. he replies with No and then takes his brothers moped and the last shot of the film is Sieger riding into the sunset with Marc on the back.

It's a great ending but I would have liked to have seen the reconciliation of the two. Marc looked devastated when Sieger pushed him on the road and I would have liked to see them reconnect.

I give Boys a solid A, it's a fun, sweet and heartwarming at times.. but also heartwrenching.

So I still have an hour and a half to kill so guess what I watched.. yep.. The Way He Looks. You can check out my extended blog post about his amazing movie HERE.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Way He Looks - Amazing Movie - My Thoughts

Okay now it's time to talk about my favorite movie I watched today... "The Way He Looks" This is by far my favorite coming-of-age films of all time. The Way He Looks is a beautifully told Brazilian film that follows Leonardo, a blind boy dealing with the everyday struggles of life due to his disability. He is teased and ridiculed by others in his high school on a daily basis, and his best friend, Giovana, stands by his side every step of the way-physically and metaphorically.

Yet, Leonardo yearns for independence. He longs to discover the world, and moreover, discover himself. His life slowly begins to change as he befriends a new student, Gabriel. The two instantly click and become extremely close friends, sparking jealously from Giovana and afflicted feeling from Leonardo as he attempts to make sense of his thoughts, experiences, and sexuality.

The Way He Looks is a subtle yet magnificent tale about friendship, love, and hardship, and it is one that is flawlessly presented with sentimental and humanistic meaning. I can't stop praising this film. It's been a long time since I have been moved by such an amazing film.

As I mentioned it's a Brazilian film and the language spoken is Portuguese (with English subtitles) but that didn't stop me from falling in love with these characters and story. The main three actors are amazing especially the one who plays Leo (the blind boy). He's acting is incredible and I actually had to look this actor up to see if he truly was blind (he's not btw), just goes to show you how amazing of a job he did.

There are so many scenes that I just loved but I don't want this blog to go on forever so I'll try and just pick a few of my very favorite.. the first one is early on in the film where Leo is taking a shower and then starts to practice kissing on the shower door. It's a very tender moment and the music that accompanies this scene is just beautiful. That's one of many things that I loved about this movie, the music is perfect in ever scene. Another amazing scene is when Leo is out with Gabriel "watching" an eclipse and Leo asks Gabriel what does it mean "The Moon disappears" and Gabriel comes up with a cool way to explain an eclipse to a blind person. It was just a very sweet moment.

Another incredible scene, that is not only shot and lighted beautifully but has the perfect music and the acting is amazing without a single word being said is when Leo is by himself in his bedroom just getting home from "watching" the eclipse and Gabriel left his hoodie in his room. He gently picks it up, puts it up against his face and inhales deeply. He then gets undressed and puts the hoodie on and lays down in his bed as though he is being embraced by Gabriel.. it's just an amazing moment of self awareness.

There are so many touching scenes in this movie but I'll try and limit how many I talk about because you all are gonna watch this film. A great moment that is very sweet is when Leo's dad helps him shave or when Leo is upset because everyone is controlling him and no one wants to kiss him so Gabriel kiss hims unexpectedly but then runs off.

And then you finally get the big moment when Gabriel expresses his interest in Leo (in a very cute and sweet way) and Leo stands and in one of the sweetest, gentlest and loving things I've ever seen, kisses Gabriel and they embrace... make me tear up just thinking about it.

I can go on and on about this movie, if you couldn't tell...

I obviously don't blog each night (I tend to play catch up after a week) and it's been five days since I watched this movie and I have watched it everyday since.. sometimes multiple times in the day. I honestly can't remember a movie that has touched me so much as this one did and still does ever time I watch it.

I've done a bit a research over the past five days and found out is this movie is based off a short that came out in 2010 called "I Don't Want to Go Back Alone". Of course I had to find it and luckily enough it's on You Tube.. It has the same three main actors but of course they are 3 years younger then they are in the 2014 movie. It's a similar theme but of course it's only 17 minutes compared to the hour and a half movie, but I love every minute of it. The only downside to loving this movie is finding stuff online like interviews with the cast and crew but since it's native language is Portuguese I don't understand a word they are saying. Speaking of Portuguese I'm actually learning some words because I've watched this movie so many times already.

Anyways.. watch the short below (like I said it's 17 minutes and well worth your time). Then find the movie on Netflix (it's new there) or else where and watch it. You won't be disappointed. I give The Way He Looks a HUGE A++++++++++ (and I'd keep going with the pluses but that would be obnoxious)

Movie Day

After a great Indy workout a few of us headed out to brunch at the Hungry Fox. Joining me for this brunch was Shannon, Brett and Lauren. As with all of our after workout brunches it was a great time; tasty food, geeky conversation and good friends.

Back home I decided that I wasn't going to do a thing today. Yesterday's and today workout were killers and all I wanted to do was sit in front of the TV and veg.

I noticed a few new "gay" themed movies available on Netflex so I figured I've give them a go. The first one had five stars and was just added to Netflix. It is called "The Way He Looks" I'm going to do a separate post about this movie as it's now one of my all time favorite coming of age movies and I'm totally in love with it.

After "The Way He Looks" I moved on to another new addition to Netflix called "The Falls", it had four and a half stars. The Falls is a feature film about two missionaries that fall in love while on their mission. RJ travels to a small town in Oregon with Elder Merrill to serve their mission and teach the words of Joseph Smith. Living together and sharing the challenge of leaving home, the two men help each other discover their strengths. They share a passion for their faith and learn to express their feelings, risking the only community they have for a forbidden intimacy.

I really enjoyed this movie, it reminded me of Later Days but this one had a much stronger message at the end. The last fifteen minutes of this movie becomes a somewhat PSA about the Morman Church (and for that matter all churches) on how they teach love and take someone into their fellowship only to discard them like a piece of trash when they admit that they are gay. I like the way that final speech was shot as the main actor is talking to the head of the church but he's looking directly into the camera and really talking to those who are watching. I enjoyed the story, the acting and overall feel of the movie. I'd give The Falls a solid B

The third movie I started to watch as called Gerontophilia, it only had one and half stars but the topic seemed interesting and the main actor was cute. A male youth begins exploring his attraction to much much older men while working in a nursing home.

Now the description on Netflix all it said was that he is a young man and he's attracted to older men. Unlike the description on IMDB which is above, he's attacked to very old men, like in their 70's and 80's. After ten minutes I just couldn't continue to watch. I mean I tried my best because the guy cute.. but I just couldn't do it. Now I'm open to all kinds of relationships but this was just to much for me. And to be honest I'm a bit ashamed for saying that but it's the truth.

So I stopped that movie and moved on to The Seminarian. A closeted gay seminarian's struggle in a troubled relationship leads him to question everything he had known about God and love.

Again this had one and a half stars on Netflix but the topic sounded interesting to I gave it a go. I enjoyed the story and the characters of this movie. The acting was just okay but the direction on this was horrible. I felt like I was watching a really bad student film. Of the many issues the one that annoyed me the most was when two, three or four people are talking the director keep the camera on one person for the entire conversation. So you're watching someone's facial expressions as others in the conversation are talking, this would go on for minutes.. I was yelling at my TV.. okay.. cut to another person.. ok now show us the person talking... I kept telling myself this must be this directors style because he/she can't be that bad.. I mean it's basic movie 101 common sense.

Needless to say I watched the entire hour and a half as I did enjoy the story. I probably won't watch this movie again and I give it a C-

Unfortunately I watched the best movie first and it just kind of went down hill from there. But that's how it goes when watching any movies.. they can't all be hits.. I just happen to get a few more duds then hits this time around.

My Willow Podcast

Today the Treks in Sci fi podcast that I co-hosted with my buddy Chris was released. We discuss one of my all time favorite fantasy movies Willow.

"This week we have a special guest podcast for everyone to enjoy.  Kenny & Chris take over the show for a little Trek in Fantasy with a look at the very cool & classic film “Willow” from 1988.  I really like this film too and the guys cover it well and share their thoughts and opinions about this dive into fantasy for George Lucas.  Big thanks to them for doing this special show this week.  I will be back next weekend with a round up of the current comics I am reading as well as a look at some classic books you might want to check out too.  Until then take care and enjoy the week ahead."

Take a listen to the podcast HERE

NerdStrong Gym - Dodging a Boulder

Today is the Indiana Jones workout. This was my very first "team" work out back in February when I started. Unfortunately I did not complete it and was ran over by the boulder which meant I had to do the 30x Wall balls, but since I was new (literally my second workout) coach Andrew took pity on me and said I didn't have to do them.. but coach Marla didn't agree with him and wasn't going to let me slide so she made me do 30x Air Squats :) instead.

Anyways after the warm up that felt like a mini workout with 20x Jumping Jacks, 20x Seal Jacks, 10x Air Squats, 10x Lunges, 10x Samson Stretch and 5x Inch Worms we moved onto the actually workout.

This one has a 12 minute time limit. If you can't complete the workout within that time limit you are crushed and have to do the wall balls. I teamed up with one of my usual team mates Lauren. She and I have are pretty similar with our fitness capabilities. We had to choose what we were going to do before we actually started. I opted for the "Hard" workout with one modification to the Sit Ups, I opted to do only 12 instead of the 20 since I'm rather slow at doing sit ups.

So what I had to do was five rounds of 5x Burpees, 10x Box Jumps, 15x Kettlebell Swings and 12x Sit Ups. The time started and I did my first round, as Lauren was doing her first round coach Andrew came over and asked how many times I had gone.. I said once and now Lauren is going. Come to find out that one person was suppose to do all 5 rounds of this at one time and then your partner would do their 5 rounds afterwards. But it wasn't just us who misunderstood, about half the class was doing our way. So she finished her first round and I started my second, third, fourth and my fifth. Time was running out as I struggled to finish my final 12 sit ups. They called time and I finished my final four sit ups seconds after my time had run out but because Lauren had done one of her rounds during my time (which took a few minutes) I actually considered getting done a minute and a half before the 12 minute limit, so I finished before the boulder got me... woot!!!

Lauren then did her final 4 rounds well within the 12 minute time limit and there was almost three minutes still left so I decided to do a bonus 6th rounds with the full 20 sit ups after she finished.

Overall I was very happy with the results of my second attempt at the Indiana Jones workout. Unlike last time where I did all the "easy" stuff, This time I did the majority of the "hard" workouts and still finished in about 10 and a half minutes.

Only 3 people from the 10am class were crushed by the boulder.. so the majority escaped. Can't wait to do this workout again in another six months.. see if I can improve upon my time even more.