Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm a quitter.

I’m a quitter.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.  I think from now on, if I post, it probably won’t be often.  My life as it is currently isn’t going to be as interesting to anyone who found previous posts interesting.  There will be no more posts about losing weight, since I stopped weighing myself over a year ago.  There will be no more dieting posts, or counting calories posts, since I quit dieting a year ago as well.  The truth is, I decided to take my health and my life, much more seriously.
Did I post when I was counting calories and losing weight for my wedding that I also was losing my hair?  That was the first sign to me that something needed to change.  My hair was never exactly full, but it had never fallen out before.  At that point in my life, I thought I was so healthy.  I was running several miles almost every day of the week, I was restricting my calories to about 1200 a day, I was consuming low-fat, low-calorie foods.  I was making sure to eat breakfast, the most important meal of the day, and I was eating 6 small servings instead of 3 big ones.  I had tons of recipes on how to make chicken breast taste good without adding any calories or fat.  I had a drawer full of low-calorie snack bars to take with me just in case I was starving.  
I had headaches all of the time.  I blamed it on the sun, on too much coffee, on too little coffee, on job stress.  I wasn’t sleeping very well.  Almost every day, driving home from work, my stomach would hurt, it would be pressing against my pants.  I felt gassy and bloated, even though by the time I was driving home I had probably only eaten 700 calories.  
Worst of all, I was depressed and anxious.  I was worried about my job, money, my husband, my dog, my family back home.  So I cried a lot.  
Funny, I didn’t sit down to list all of these side effects.  I was just going to say that my hair was falling out, and I’ve made changes to my life in response, but then I started to remember the rest.  Healthiest in my life?  Nah.  I was skinny.  That’s about it.

Is it any wonder that nobody wants to “eat healthy?”

You may have read in previous blogs about how doing a whole30 challenge changed my life.  Very briefly, it is a 30 day challenge in which you remove from your diet a bunch of different types of foods.  I had accepted just because it was a challenge, and hell, I can do anything for 30 days.  I am glad I just accepted because I didn’t read about it first.  If I had, I would have declined.  It sounded so unhealthy.  Some of the rules made sense, like cutting out sugar (I could see how sugar can make you unhealthy), but among the “healthy” foods that I would be cutting out of my diet included: peanut butter, whole grains (all grains!), oatmeal, quinoa, milk and cheese, beans, corn, peas, soy,  anything processed and sugar substitutes.  The first question that everybody asks is “what can you eat?”
Turns out that there is a lot of food out there.  There is a lot of healthy food that I had to find.  I had to fight some major misconceptions and beliefs that I held about food.   
Here’s just a few:
  • “Fat is bad!” Truth: There are good fats and I was probably starving my brain by avoiding all of them.  I began adding them to my life.  Avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, fat from pastured beef, chicken and pork.
  • “You need to drink milk for the Calcium!” Truth: You get a ton of calcium from vegetables.  Most people just don’t eat enough of them.  But you certainly don’t need to drink milk if you are going to be eating your leafy greens.
  • “You should replace most of your food with “healthier” versions like low-fat mayonaisse and sugar and calorie-free cookies and “lean cuisines.”  Truth: The real thing is going to kill you a lot slower than the low-calorie versions.  What the hell is even in a sugar-free, low-calorie cookie?  I am astounded now when I read labels.  If you do nothing else, start reading labels.  And if you’re going to eat a cookie, eat a real cookie.  With flour and sugar and salt and stuff not laboratory created.  That low-fat cracker is poison.
  • “A calorie is a calorie.”  Doesn’t matter if it comes from a banana or from the sole of your shoe, they are the same thing.  How do we even allow ourselves to believe this?  Do we really believe that our body digests and uses a brownie exactly the same as it uses broccoli?  I mean, we are not stupid.  If you give a child a helicopter puzzle and tell them to create a giraffe out of it, they will look at you (rightly) like you are crazy.  Why then are we asking our bodies to do the very same thing?  Take that sugar and flour and make lean muscle mass and create blood and fat and all of the vitamins and minerals that your eyes and ears and brain need.  Try to make it out of that lean cuisine.  Try to make it out of that diet soda.  

These are just a few.  I’m sure you can find a better list somewhere else, these were the big ones for me.  

And so, I gradually became a quitter.  For 30 days I got rid of soy, alcohol, dairy, grains, sugar, processed foods and felt awesome.  After the challenge I inevitably added most of that back, because factory processed foods is so delicious.  I wasn’t ready to say no when offered donuts.  I went through several phases of guilt-ridden “binges” where I ate tons of crappy food and felt bad about it, then went back to “healthy” eating.  I didn’t realize quite yet that I was dealing with addictions, not motivation problems.  I didn’t realize that every time I quit alcohol or bread it was practice for the next time.  I made many, many mistakes.  Then in December 2013, this last year I was drinking a lot.  Maybe not very much compared to other people, but for me, it was a lot.  My husband had quit drinking years ago when his mother got a liver transplant and he never went back.  So I was drinking by myself.  And not just a glass of wine to relieve the stress or offer my heart some healthy resveratrol, but a couple of glasses.  Or a couple of tequila or gin drinks.  By myself.  And then, there I would be at 8pm.  Drunk.  Watching tv or playing on the computer.  I didn’t want to live that way, I didn’t like it.  I was going to quit drinking for the New Year.  I asked myself if I was ready.  The surprising answer was “no.”  So I listened to myself.  I decided I would wait until it actually felt right.
On January 4th it did.  I stopped drinking.  It was strange.  I’ve quit drinking many times in the last couple of years.  It might not have the same effect on you, but I easily get hangovers, and when I’m drinking I eat tons of crap.  It makes me feel bloated and nauseous and tired.  I don’t sleep well.  In fact, after drinking I would fall asleep fast, but wake up at 3am in a feverish sweat.  With the air conditioner on I would be so freaking hot.  For all of these reasons I quit.
And this time, I was ready.  I can honestly say I don’t want to drink anymore.  That’s not to say that someday something will change that, I don’t know, my life has changed so many times.  This is right for me right now.  
This blog is about the things I’ve quit.  
  • I’ve quit soy (that was easy, except for soy sauce.)
  • I’ve quit drinking alcohol.
  • I’ve quit running or doing any distance cardio (paddling, jogging, bike rides).  Your body might be able to.  Mine was screaming for me to stop.
  • I’ve quit sugar substitutes.  Which, I figured out later, was the reason for my headaches.
  • I’ve quit peanut butter.
  • I’ve quit weighing myself.  I seriously have no idea what I weigh right now, and it is immensely freeing.
  • I’ve quit judging myself by the size of my waist.  It might sound conceited, but I am a good-looking lady.  It’s stupid to spend my time shaming myself about some muffin top over my usual jeans when my stomach is in a bigger phase.  You know who cares about that?  No one.  Or stupid, judgmental people.  They are not my friends anyway.  Why was I trying to impress them in the first place?
  • I’ve quit eating meat and eggs from unethical sources.  I’m doing my best with this one.  I’m sure there’s someone out there who thinks they know my body better than me and will tell me I can live without meat.  Sure.  If I want to feel sick all of the time.  I’ve tried it.  So I have pledged to get my meat from local farms, the farmer’s market or Whole Foods, which, at least out here, tells you where it’s sourced from.  I can’t pretend like I don’t know what’s going on at mass producing CAFO farms.  I can’t unsee the images.

On my list to quit for good:
  • Bread.  (Including cookies, donuts, all flour) Turns out that this is way harder than quitting drinking.  If you tell someone that you’ve quit drinking, I think they assume you have some kind of alcoholism that has destroyed some part of your life, so they don’t bother you too much.  But if you turn down a donut or a cookie, it’s like you’ve slapped them right across the face.  The reactions that you get from people are astounding.  “Just one, it won’t hurt you, but it’s so good!”  I have literally had to lie to people at work and tell them that I am grain and dairy intolerant.  I have to tell them that I am allergic and that it will make me sick.  Even though I’ve just told them that it will make me sick or possibly kill me, they will continue to offer.  Or they will give me this sad look that says how sorry they are for me.  Quitting bread is HARD.
  • Dairy.  It’s on my list, but not high priority right now.  My biggest problem is that it gives me acne on my chest.  It’s annoying, but so far not annoying enough that I have stopped.  Some day, maybe.
  • Judging myself for eating bread and dairy.  Nobody is perfect.  I am still stuck in the cycle of shame that comes every time I “break down” and eat bread of some kind of fried food.  I’m working on it.

And to those people who say “everything in moderation,” screw that.  I don’t enjoy hangovers in moderation.  I don’t like headaches in moderation.  I don’t want to feel bloated and gassy or depressed or anxious in moderation.  I would still prefer to eat a cookie if I want a cookie, but that doesn’t mean my long-term goal isn’t to quit.  I know that I’m not ready yet.  Some day I hope to be. This blog isn’t about you.  However you want to eat or drink or exercise to be healthy!  Awesome! Doing something, anything is better than nothing.  I have just moved past wanting to be skinny.  I don’t want to be skinny and unhealthy.  I want to be curvy and clear-headed and happy.

Is there anything in life you would like to quit? Share your story here!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Toenail

Sadly, today I had to skip out on Murph, the hero CrossFit Memorial Day workout. I think I have an ingrown toenail. That shit hurts! Hopefully the pain and redness will go away and I won't have to see a doctor. I bought a basin to do Epsom salt soaks and I put neosporin on it. All the articles I read about it recommended that you put cotton under the nail to keep it separated and from getting worse. 
So I've been walking around with this cotton ball in my toe. That's sexy. My dog loves me anyway. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Enjoy Every Moment

The old me used to get really antsy about being on time or other people being late. It was like I thought there was something that I was supposed to be DOING or maybe I was missing out on something. I've discovered over time that the thing I'm supposed to be DOING is enjoy the moment. To find a quiet spot, enjoy the lady who sat too close next to me, slurping her soup, the meager breeze, the sound of cars riding by and slippers slapping the pavement. It's pretty blissful when you can relax and truly enjoy the good and the strange, all the things that used to irritate me, now I find hilarious. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Lazy Crossfitter

Kermit's Awesome at Yoga
Today I discovered something very, very sad.  It turns out that I have lazy shoulders.  In fact, I believe I may actually be a lazy crossfitter.  This morning I started off with a yoga class.  I love yoga because it forces me to feel all of those muscles in my body and you really can't ignore them when they scream at you.  Your teacher's like, "hold that pose for three more breaths," and you're like, "holy shit, how long is a breath?"  And your muscles laugh at you and tell you how you've been ignoring them all this time.  You think to yourself, "I am a crossfitter, I am strong and I have large muscles that lift big, heavy things" and your muscles just chuckle.  "Try holding your arm straight above your head," they say.  "Reach down and touch the floor while your back leg is straight and your front leg is in a lunge, keeping it in a 90 degree angle, tough guy."
Normally when this kind of smack talk is bandied about, I ignore it by thinking about what I'm going to have for lunch when I'm done and dreaming about what I'm going to make for dinner.  And what I might have for snack in between.  Today, for some reason, I decided to listen.  And they stopped screaming and started telling me the truth.  They told me that during my crossfit workouts, in order to get through the full thing, I try to conserve energy.  I power through moves using the least amount of effort as possible.  I do this instead of using my full body.  A part of me thought I was being smart, but the truth is I was being kind of a wuss, afraid of it hurting a bit.  The problem is, at some point, you stop getting stronger because those muscles you've been neglecting are important.  I have been stumped on a few maneuvers that I should have been progressing on.  For me, it's over head squats, pushups, hand stand pushups and handstands.  They stump me.  I'm pretty strong, but no progress.
After a quick lesson from the yoga instructor today on how to position my arms for down dog, I noticed there were some muscles that I haven't been engaging to avoid getting tired.  But I realize that had I been doing my best to keep them active from day one, they'd be stronger today, and I would be further along in a couple of moves.  After doing some shoulder and back work, I tried out some overhead squats with those muscles engaged and banged out some sturdy, smooth reps at a normally heavy weight for me.  I made sure to keep my shoulder blades together and it totally changed my ability to hold the weight over my head.
I learned about the muscles in my arms that I need to strengthen and stop ignoring.  I learned that I need to engage my whole body in every move.  I need to be aware of when I should be flexing and when to relax.  And stop being a lazy crossfitter.

Before you get upset, I'm not talking about modifying.  I modify the crap out of a workout to find the right weight, the right reps that will challenge me, make me stronger.  It will make it safer, and will make injury less likely.  Find the right weight then engage your whole body in the workout.  If you're exhausted, try your best to stay engaged.  I'm going to do my best from now on.

What do you think?  Are you guilty of the same?  Do you completely disagree?  Love to hear from you in the comments!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Spartan Race Hawaii- Coming Up, March 23rd

My Sister Anna, Swamp Romp 2012
Over the past couple of years I've had the pleasure to run several different obstacle course races on the island.  The Makahiki Challenge, the Warrior Dash and the Swamp Romp on the Marine Corps base were all amazing experiences.  I've never done the Spartan Race, but I've heard from many people that it is hard core!  This year it is located at the Aloha Stadium and by the looks of the pictures there's going to be more than just obstacles, there may also be challenges such as picking up weighted bags and running the stairs of the stadium.  The race challenges and obstacles are always a fun surprise.  It's going off on March 23rd, the last day to register is March 19. 

Makahiki Challenge 2013
Swamp Romp 2012
I happen to run across their affiliate program and was able to join.  If you buy your tickets through the link on my page, it cost you no extra, and I get a small fee.  Please, especially if you were thinking of running the race anyway, click here!!  You may or may not know that I have a lot of money to raise this year, I am trying to get home to visit the fam in July (feel free to donate here) and I am determined to make it to a 7 day seminar in September.  

Hawaii Spartan Sprint at Aloha Stadium March 23, 2014! Signup for this Reebok Spartan Race Now!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Olympics Have Begun!!

So, I guess the Olympics have started.  I was a little surprised that they have some events happening already, I thought I missed the Opening Ceremony.  It turns out, however, these are just some preliminary runs and the ceremony goes off tomorrow.
In the meantime, you can amuse yourself by checking out posts like this one about the various states of the hotel rooms that the athletes have been checking into.  There are reports of hotels not being completely built and having rooms being completed, like literally built, while the athletes wait.  There's great pictures from twitter showing the various states of the bathrooms as well, like this one from Russian Market on twitter.

Pee With an Audience
There's also reports like this one suggesting that there may be surveillance cameras in the bathrooms as well. Probably more bathroom controversy in this Olympics than in previous years.  

Less funny are the reports that they are poisoning the stray dogs that are all over Sochi.  There's animal rights activists doing their best to round up as many as they can, but the situation is pretty disturbing.  It's sad that there are so many stray dogs in the first place and now, because of the big event, they are being mass exterminated.  

I'm pretty torn about watching the games.  I am a huge fan of curling, but I'm not a big fan of mass exterminations.  So, I'm going to have to compartmentalize, I guess.  I do, very seriously, want to support the athletes who were brave enough to go out there.  I'm not sure there's anything the Russian government could tell me to convince me that it is a safe place to be.  With their ban on gay propaganda, rumors that Putin has siphoned off some of the 15 billion dollars that it cost to put the big show on, and the ever present fear of terrorist attacks, I'm not sure you could pay me enough to go.  So the fact that so many athletes have gone to represent our country makes me very proud.  I wish the best to the competitors, that they may be comfortable and safe, and that the best side of our country shows its face to combat the nonacceptance of our host.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Paleo Plantain Chips for Your Superbowl Party

Martha Stewart's Plantain Chips

The Superbowl is one of the hardest days of the year to stay 100% paleo.  Superbowl snacks are breaded and fried, cheesy, beany dips and chips and crunchies.  Well, have no fear!  I finally found a chip that would stand up to the crunch and saltiness of real potato chips!!  

I made plantain chips yesterday. I wish I had taken the time to look up how to make them a long time ago, since they ended up being so much easier than I thought they would be.  They also ended up being as crunchy as the ones I buy from the store.  The ones from the store are good in a pinch, I get mine from Whole Foods, but they are fried in canola oil.  I don't have any pictures of the chips I made to show you today, because I ate them as they were coming out of the oven to "test their doneness" and then I promptly ate the rest with regular old salsa because I was so excited about how crunchy and yummy they were.  The recipe I tweaked was Martha Stewart's Baked Plantain Chips.  I don't use vegetable oil anymore, so I substituted olive oil in.  My chips actually came out looking a lot like the picture except for the shape.  Some of mine came out in that nice long cut, but a lot of mine came out in a wonky circle-ish type of shape.  I probably just need more practice with the mandolin.

2-3 Tbs of Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
2 Green Plantains (one of mine was starting to ripen and it was much harder to slice and took longer to bake)  Apparently you can also use green bananas, but I cannot attest to this.  I have not tried it.
Optional seasonings- whatever flavors you love on chips.  Some ideas might include garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, cayenne powder.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  (Optional- preheat to 350 and cook longer, I am going to try that next time)  Use a knife to peel your plantain.  Pour oil and seasonings into a bowl and stir a little.  Use a mandolin or a sharp knife to make very thin slices (the thinnest setting is maybe too thin.  It worked, but burnt around the edges easily.  Maybe go one setting up.)  of your plantain on an angle and toss them into the bowl with the oil.  I used my hands to toss then around and then spread them around on a cookie sheet.  I like to cover my sheet with aluminum foil first, but if you have parchment paper that is probably a healthier option.  They do crisp up and stick slightly to the bottom, so it's nice to be able to pull the sheet off the chip instead of trying to scrape the chip off of the pan.  My chips were very thin and only took 8 minutes to be crispy.  Some of the thicker ones and the ones in the very middle had to go back in for about 3 minutes.  At 400 degrees you need to keep checking on them, because you want to catch them when they are brown on the edges, but not turning black yet.  At 350 Martha says to cook them for 30-35 minutes, but I would check on your first batch often to see what the timing in your oven would be.  In my oven, at 350 my chips would be burnt at 30 minutes.  

And voila!  You now have an crunchy vehicle for your favorite Superbowl paleo dips, like this Mango Salsa, this Ranch Dressing or this Tuna Dip.  Enjoy the game!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Paleo Coconut Milk, Chia Seed, and Fruit "Pudding"

For the new year a few of my friends and family and I are focusing on nutrition.  I am doing a paleo challenge through my Crossfit box.  The general guidelines for me, at level 8 (in this challenge there are 10 levels- check out the crossfit page or contact them for more info) include eliminating all refined and added sugar , eliminating grains/gluten and soy, legumes, beans and lentils, dairy, rice, alcohol, starchy vegetables and vegetable oils.  I've done this before, so it's not too hard anymore.  I haven't quite gotten to the point where I don't, at times, get an urge for something sweet.  So this is my recipe taken from many different recipes I found online.  It is not totally original, it is just the simplest form of the recipe.  No honey, no agave, no maple syrup or stevia.


3-5 frozen (or fresh) strawberries (or any other fruit of choice, pineapple was also yummy)
1 can of full fat coconut milk.  Look for a can with no more than coconut milk and maybe guar gum.  If you can find with nothing but coconut milk, that is best.
1.5 tbs of chia seeds.  I found these at the bulk bin at Whole Foods out here.  They also have them at Down to Earth here in Kailua.
A jar with a lid (or tupperware or something you can shake)

My ingredients
Pour the coconut milk into the jar.  You might have some left over, you do not want to fill the jar all the way up to the top.  Leave some room for the fruit and chia seeds.

Take about 1-1.5 tbs of chia seeds and grind them up. I used my coffee grinder and it worked great. You can put them in whole, it also works, but it doesn't get as pudding-y as I like. I forgot to take a picture of this. 

Cut up strawberries or whatever fruit you're using into small pieces. I left mine kind of big, because I like to have a full fruit bite, but you might decide to make them smaller.

  Then add the fruit and chia seeds to the coconut milk.

Close the lid and shake it up!  Of course, you could also add chia seeds, fruit, and coconut milk to a blender and have a smoothie, but I like it chunky.  Leave it to sit for 2 hours, either on the counter or in the fridge.  If you put it in the fridge, it's best to let it warm up a bit before eating.  This is a very pared down, very basic version of this recipe, some people choose to add other ingredients.  You could add honey or stevia, you could add chocolate chips or other fruit.  It is a really great base for lots of things.  But if you love it like this, as I do, let it sit, warm up for a few and eat with spoon!

Have you made this before?  Do you have some good recipe ideas?  Other possible additions to this that you would recommend (or not)?  Comment below!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2 Guns- Movie Review

A DEA agent (Denzel Washington) and a naval intelligence officer (Mark Wahlberg) are both undercover, each investigating the same drug cartel.  Together they set up a fake bank robbery in order to gain money and evidence that could put the drug cartel away.  You soon learn, however, that neither of them realize the other is an undercover agent.  The robbery goes off, but things start to look suspicious when there is millions more money than there was supposed to be in the vaults.  They grab it and go, and soon they find out that they are both undercover for different agencies.  There, of course, is a set up, and they both end up on the run from both their agencies and the drug cartel.

What we dug:
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg made this movie watchable.  They have great banter and play off of each other well.  Marky Mark continues to surprise us with his good acting.  I always expect his characters to be emotionless and unbelievable, but he ends up pulling it off very well.
Lots of little funny moments.

What we did not like:
The Navy actors aren't great. The storyline itself was disappointing.

Life lessons we learned from this movie:
43 mill looks like a shit-ton of money.  It takes up a lot of space.  Plan ahead if you're going to move that much money.
If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
Don't trust your girlfriend, she is probably secretly sleeping with the enemy, and giving you up to the authorities or to the drug cartel.
And never rob a bank across from a diner with the best donuts in three counties.

The Colony- *Some Spoilers* Movie Review with Mary and Nathan

The Colony, starring Laurence Fishburn, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Rogers, was an interesting film.  The basic premise is that in the future, weather changing technology was invented.  Things were going great until it started to snow and just never stopped.  The movie is set at a time when all people have had to move into underground systems in order to survive.  The featured colony that the movie focuses on has some food due to the animals and plants that they are able to keep alive.  However, in most locations, food has run out and people have starved to death or they get sick and die.  This colony is also losing members to sickness and things are getting dire.  They receive a SOS from a neighboring colony that they keep in touch with.  A few members go off to explore and find that it has been overtaken by a wild group of cannibalistic humans.  There is some fighting and they try to escape.

Some things we liked:
We liked the storyline of the the future apocalypse and how it was set up with the weather changing towers and never-ending snow.
Some of the fight scenes were entertaining.  It was graphic at times, Nathan enjoyed it, I actually covered my eyes a couple of times.
They thoroughly captured the desperate feeling of the colony.  They were cold, lonely, hungry, sick and some were starting to get a little crazy.
The scenes where the colonists were walking above ground were interesting because you could see that they were in a well-known city, they did a neat job of showing how all of the skyscrapers were snowed under and abandoned.  There was a cool helicopter that Nathan liked that they used as a waypoint on their journey.

The disappointing bits:
It appeared to me that the human race did a horrible job of dealing with the snow.  Although it took years for the snow to build up, nobody figured out how to grow food above ground, raise any animals, shovel or tunnel into the snow, melt it any way, and the characters in this movie were not good at fighting, defending, planning, preparing, or making any decisions in general.
We were also disappointed by the feral, people eating, human pack that was, for some reason, not really affected by the cold temperatures and could run hella fast and were hella strong.

Life lessons learned from this movie:
If it begins to snow and doesn't stop, start getting stuff, like a shovel, a warm jacket and some books on how to grow stuff without the use of the sun.
Keep seeds around you at all times.  You might need them later.
If it begins to snow and doesn't stop and all of sudden people start to die from sickness and hunger, you should learn and practice self-defense.  You will need to know how to fight off the cannibals.
Don't eat people. No matter how hungry you are.

The Colony

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cockneys Vs Zombies- Movie Review

The movie, Cockneys Vs Zombies [HD], is set in London.  The story begins and you soon learn that a retirement home is due to be demolished by property developers.  You then run into two bumbling young men who have decided that they will be robbing a bank in order to save the retirement home, the place that their grandfather has lived for many years.  We rented this movie due to the very funny previews, including a hilarious bit with the zombies chasing an old man in a walker.  The old man in the walker is going about the same speed as the zombies behind.  There were a few funny scenes like this scattered throughout the movie, unfortunately the preview itself was much more entertaining than the actual movie.  The dialogue was slow and the characters were a little too unbelievable.  There were some random, slowed down shoot-em-up scenes where they showed you how "bad ass" the characters were as they shot the fancy guns they picked up.  The best parts of the movie probably all involved the zombies.  They shuffled slowly, were pretty easy to kill, and sometimes showed personality- for instance, one zombie picked up and confusedly looked at the leg that just got blown off of him.  All in all, my husband and I give it 2 out of 5 stars, we wished it had been more entertaining.

Old Boy- Movie Review

So, the hubs and I saw a preview for this movie, and it's about a guy who's locked up for 15 years and in the preview he's watching TV, watching as life goes on and he has no idea why he's locked up, no one talks to him.  And then he's let out and wants to go find the people who put him in there.  Awesome!  Looked like a great B movie, so we put in on our Netflix queue.  The movie showed up in the mail and we put it in thinking how cool it was that it came so early!
We put the movie in, and it goes straight to the movie.  Never a good sign.  No previews, nothing.  And then we realized that it was Korean with subtitles.  Then we looked at the cover that the DVD came in.  Oh boy.  It turns out the new movie coming out is a remake of a 2003 Korean "thriller" of the same name, Oldboy, which is what we got in the mail.  (The newer one hasn't even been released on DVD yet, so I'm the idiot.) Well, we decided to give it a try and watch it anyway.  Let me tell you, this movie is strange.  I can't decide if I am encouraging you to watch it or not.  After the movie finished, I kind of wanted to magically scrub that time out of my life.  I felt a little dirty, and sad that I couldn't get those 2 and a half hours of my life back.  It was a well done movie, a well told story.  The lead actor was interesting- Oh Dae-su, played by Choi Min-sik.  In the beginning of the movie, poor old Oh Dae-su is wasted, and it is a pretty funny opening scene.  Unfortunately, it is his daughter's birthday, and right after he calls her to tell her Happy Birthday, and that he's coming home to give her her birthday gift, he is kidnapped and put into a cell.  He is released 15 years later with no information about why he was in captivity, except for the clothes on his body and the cell phone in his pocket.  He, of course, goes on a quest to find and kill the people who did this to him.  He happens upon a lady chef who begins to help him with his quest, since he is such an interesting character.  From there, the story gets wacky as you follow him on the journey.  I suppose I do recommend you watching it.  It certainly makes you think, if nothing else.
I will say, the movie was extraordinarily long for me.  I multi-tasked during boring parts of the movie, making dinner and futzing around on facebook.  So, you may want to watch it at home, where you can ignore the movie for a little while until it gets interesting again.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ender's Game- Book Review

I just recently finished reading the book, Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet), by Orson Scott Card.  I usually like to read the book before I see a movie version.  This time I wasn't all that interested from the previews, but my husband asked me to order the book from the library.  It showed up and he started reading it.  One day, while in the bathroom, let's say... brushing my teeth, I picked up the book that he had left there.  I immediately got hooked into the story.  It starts immediately with the adults talking to each other and just giving you a taste of what the overarching story is.  Then it goes into Ender's side of the story in much greater detail.  Ender is a lovable character, chosen for his abilities, and you right at the very beginning that his journey is going to be lonely and painful.  The adults in charge of his life are going to purposefully manipulate his environment so that it will be so.  The book follows his journey as he goes to Battle School to undergo extraordinarily rigorous battle training for such a young boy.  The children at the school are being trained to be able to fight the "Buggers" an alien race that has attacked Earth twice before.
I am glad that I read the book before seeing the movie.  I don't know how they could possibly pick up the moral struggles that Ender, as well as his sister and his brother go through.  The action in the book keeps you turning pages, but it also endears you to the characters.  The ending of the book itself was a little long, and it appears to be written to set you up for the next couple of books in the series, which I shall be reading and will review here as well.  While the very ending might have been slow, the third quarter of the book had me literally shaking my head, and saying, "Aah...." out loud.  Generally I have a good idea of what the "twist" in a book will be, and I am usually on to the author long before the big reveal.  But this book kept surprising me.  Last Sunday I meant to read only a couple more pages and ended up reading until the end, it kept me riveted for 6 straight hours.  I highly recommend picking up this rather quick read before hitting the theaters.