Monday, March 26, 2007

Halfway House - Book review

Genre: Family Epic
Premise: Girl has a psychotic break at a swim meet and the whole family starts to crumble.
Author: Never heard of her, but I saw her at a reading. She read the opening swim-meet scene and I just had to read it.
Movie it reminds me of: American Beauty without the violence.
Why I chose it: The reading I went to. She had some really original analogies and the writing was very fresh. Plus the story kind of hooked me early on.
Fun facts: Her husband, Eric Puchner, is also a writer.
Verdict: It's great, entertaining writing. It makes me wonder if I would enjoy a book that had great writing but no story. This wasn't it, but since the writing was so good and so enjoyable, the question popped into my head.
Favorite: The analogies. The voice of the girl and the insight it gives to mental illness.
Underlined: "Her mouth was jagged, like a bottle broken off at the neck."
Should you read it? Simple. Get over to Borders, find it, take 15-20 minutes to read the first chapter, the swim-meet part, and you'll know if it's for you or not. If it is, you're in for some fresh writing.
Time: Week and a half.
Next up: The Wal-Mart Effect

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The Namesake - Review

Genre: Family Epic
Premise: Indian man comes to America, has kids, kids adjust, parents try to adjust to childre adjusting so easily. Somehow, it's all very interesting. Scenes where you will cry ensue.
Who: The guy from Harold and Kumar, Kumar, though I've never seen it and have been told it's brilliant. The author of the book, Jhumpa Lahiri, makes an appearance as well. The two Indian parents are great in this.
Dictionary word that describes this movie: ethereal. adj. light, airy, or tenuous
Talking point: It's a long movie. It's got lots of emotional scenes. It's got a lot of India scenes. It follows the book to a T. Would you ever change your name? Why? To what? Isn't it funny how they try to make an actor look both 17 and 30 in the same movie? Kumar just got a job to teach at some university.
Verdict: I thought it was great. I absolutely loved the book, but the movie does a good job of using its advantages to tell the story. The sound/music and cinematography really creates a sense of two different worlds existing side by side. This is one of those movies that sounds lame when you describe it in one sentence when it's actually pretty good. I wish Gogol was played by someone else though.
What to tell your girlfriend to get her to see it: "I will probably cry, baby."
What to tell your boyfriend to get him to see it: "Ashima is a MILF."
What Randy Jackson would say about Kumar's performance: "It was kind of pitchy, dude."

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Crank - Review

Genre: Action/Comedy
Premise: Guy gets injected with mysterious Chinese poison, meaning he has to keep his adrenaline going for 24 hours or he dies, which means the movie has an "excuse" to be one, long uninterrupted action scene. Hilarity ensues.
Who: Jason Statham, the guy from The Transporter, who is the picture you see in the dictionary under "cool."
Talking point: The hangover you would get the next day if you took all the over-the-counter stuff this guy takes. And the public-sex scene, of course.
Verdict: It's funny and it's an action movie. Because it doesn't take itself seriously, you can enjoy the crazy action scenes without feeling like an idiot. Especially the ending. Rent it, it's what I did - it's an original idea with original cinematography.
What to tell your girlfriend to get her to see it: Jason Statham is in it.
What to tell your boyfriend to get him to see it: Jason Statham is in it.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Subprime Mortgage Devastation

Forget about the economic effects of this meltdown, this article points out the reality that many neighborhoods around the country will soon be facing.

As an aside, I had been following a business for a little under a year called New Century Financial, a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) that was a provider of sub prime mortgages. Their dividend yield was outstanding and I even went through their annual report and the more detailed 10-Q statement. Seeing nothing wrong, I decided to add it to my watch list for a possible purchase.
That was when the stock was hovering around $40. Today, because of the crash, it's trading as a pink stock (de-listed) for under a buck.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Body for Life - Week 1

So I've gone through just two days and I can say right away this isn't going to be as easy as I thought. The running really gassed me and it reminded me of the days or practicing with the Guatemalan National Baseball team. It's a hell of a workout and at the end of the 20 minutes you're glad it's over.

The weight training is almost a cardio workout because of the little rest and the continuous increasing of the weight. That last rep of 12 is a killer and it makes you feel like you're doing a serious, hardcore lifting workout.

As for the food, I'm kind of modifying the whole thing. I'm definitely cutting down on my portions and I'm eating more vegetables. I'm also trying to do 5-6 small meals a day instead of 2-3 bigger ones.

Starting point: 185.4 pounds, 15.7 body fat %, 56.2 Total Body Water Percentage

By the way, I have a neat little Tanita scale that tells me the numbers. We'll see what the effect is since these numbers have pretty much been static for over a year.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Body for Life

A coworker of mine told me about this website and the physical fitness program that it details. I guess it's based on an old book that's famous. Well, since I've been looking to really work out consistently and stick with it, I'm going to try their "challenge." It's three months long and it consists of watching your portions and doing a certain type of exercise six times a week. Interval training plays a big part of the program but it's basically watching how much you eat, doing 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, and a weight-lifting program.

I could describe the whole thing on here, but go to the website. I know the before and after pictures are hard to believe but I'm going to try it out. I'm taking the picture and everything. I'll try and put messages on here as often as I can to kind of let people know what it's like and how hard it is. And, of course, to see how effective it can be.

I'm looking forward to just following a plan that's laid out because I can't be trusted to stay on an exercise program that I've created. I get lazy or inconsistent and it loses its effectiveness. So this program fits with me because you just "follow the map" and it gives you a little flexibility to keep you from getting too bored.

Sunday's are "free days" where you rest and you can eat whatever you want.

Watch out Taco Bell.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Super Bowl Complaints

Here are some fun comments on the Super Bowl halftime show. My favorite:

"It was obscene to show Prince, a HOMOSEXUAL person through a sheet, as to show his siluette (sic) while his guitar showed a very phalic (sic) symbol coming from his below-midriff section. I am very offended and I would preffer (sic) not to have showed it to my 4 children who love football. One of them has hoped to be a quarterback and now he will turn out gay. I am actually considering to check him for HIV. Thanks CBS for turning my son GAY."