Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Random Thoughts

I haven’t written one of these random posts where I talk about nothing for a while now. I guess I could do it today. What do you think? I’ll write it and if anything comes from it, I’ll keep it. If not, you’ll never know I had written it for Freedom Friday.

Jurassic World
Jurassic World

The first thing on my mind is the Apple EarPods I’ve been using for the past year. I’ve had the older model where the sound just didn’t quite make the cut in quality. The music sounded like it was playing through a tin can. I had wished a redesign of them since they came out with the first iPod I had purchased in the early 2000’s. Well, to say the least, these new ones are impressive. I love the warm sound they give, and I enjoy listening to things in the music I never heard before. Equally as great is the comfortable feel in my ears. I wish I had these years ago before I went out to buy expensive headphones that don’t nearly give the same awesome sound. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Next on my list of random things I’ve wanted to mention for a while is 3D in movies. I’m not sure, but is anyone else feeling 3D has had its day in the theater? For instance in Jurassic World, don’t worry I won’t spoil the movie, a few of the flyby scenes showing landscapes seem too clean and precise. Helicopters, especially, look like models. I’m not knocking the movie. I thought it was intense and I got my money’s worth. The thing about it though, 3D didn’t do justice to this film. That’s my opinion, of course. Avengers: Age of Ultron is the same. I saw it in 3D, but there really wasn’t a wow factor associated with the film. I suppose if the film is great, then the 3D is great, but that’s neither here or there. However, Furious 7, which I didn’t see in 3D, was awesome. It proves to me that story is everything, regardless how much studios would like to convince its audience 3D is better.

Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock

Movie trailers are on my list, too. When did all of a sudden movie trailers become mini movies? Even more so, why do trailers have to give away vital plot elements to lure the audience into seeing the film? Take the original trailer for Jurassic Park from 1993. Watching it, you’d declare an oath you saw all the dinosaurs featured in the film. If you think that, you are wrong. What you see is a foot, a paw, an eye. You don’t see the entire dinosaur in all its glory. That’s because trailers back then were cool. They didn’t reveal the film, but they did know how to entice an audience with sights and sounds much like Alfred Hitchcock did with his movies. He didn’t show the murder, but you knew it took place because you heard the screams, you saw the knife, and you saw the terror on the victim’s face. Trailers nowadays, reveal too much.

Last thing on my list is mowing the lawn. I agree, it is a weird topic. Hear me out, though. Doing the lawn is fun again. Last year, I bought one of these fancy schmancy lawn mowers that propels itself. Actually, that’s not true. I have to hold it, but I don’t have to push it to where I want it to go. I point the way and it travels on its own. It’s a marvel of technology. Considering my backyard is hill country, this lawn mower beats dragging my tail to get the lawn done. I’m telling you, it’s the next best thing since the invention of the fridge.

Okay, that’s all I had on my mind.

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RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What’s on your mind? Anything new and exciting you’d like to chat about?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Our Anniversary Weekend

The cool thing about being married for over twenty years is that we finish each other’s sentences.

Me: Honey, where did you put my slippers?
Her: Did you check under the bed?
Me: Yep.
Her: Did you check the closet?
Me: Yep.
Her: Did you check—
Together: The bathroom?

The other cool thing about being married for over twenty years is that we can go on an anniversary weekend getaway without worrying about the kids.

Our walk by the marina.
Our walk by the marina.

In fact, just recently, that’s exactly what we did. For a number of years now, we’ve packed our bags, loaded the car and headed to wherever the wind would take us. This year we ended up going north into cottage country where the moose are aplenty and the wilderness is our friend. We booked a hotel in Barrie, Ontario and took each day as a blessing without worrying about what came next.

My wife took the liberty to grab the honeymoon suite with a gorgeous Jacuzzi in the middle of the room. I must say, she knows me so well. I should have been a water baby.

The first thing we did when arriving on the Friday night was to unpack, jump on the bed, then relax a bit before heading to our favorite sushi restaurant. It’s a tradition of ours to find a sushi restaurant and stick with it for life. We have a modest dive in our town that only seats twenty. The food is incredible, and we wouldn’t give it up for the world. Similarly, in the town where we were staying, we found a sushi place a few years ago that we always go to regardless of the drive.

I would say the best part of the trip is the unwinding part. Whatever we had brought on the trip, we left in the sushi restaurant when talking about the day. A funny thing happens when we do that. It feels like a cloud lifts and we officially hit vacation mode. In between the Salmon Maki and the Chicken Fried Rice, our life suddenly become less complicated after knowing we have a few days of relaxation to do whatever we want.

Salmon Maki, my favorite of all.
Salmon Maki, my favorite of all.
Seriously, Sashimi is incredible.
Seriously, Sashimi is incredible.

From there, we headed to the theater to watch Tomorrowland. My wife enjoyed it. I, however, was so tired by the week that I fell asleep about halfway through the thing. Interesting tidbit of the evening: A couple of teenagers were sitting next to me doing nothing more than kissing up a storm. I was surprised to find by the end of the night their seats hadn’t caught fire with me going up in flames next to them.

On the Saturday, we spent the entire day in the hotel room. Yes, some of you might be thinking what a waste, but if you knew the hectic schedule my wife and I have during the week, you would take a month in deep cryogenic stasis to regain your energy. Besides, it had a Jacuzzi in the middle of the room—I mention that, didn’t I? I don’t think I need to say anything else.

That evening, we headed over to Boston Pizza then took in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This time, I did not fall asleep. What a great movie.

It looks like an abstract but it's really the blue lights illuminating the outside of our hotel.
It looks like an abstract but it’s really the blue lights illuminating the outside of our hotel.
The marina where my wife and I took our walk.
The marina where my wife and I took our walk.
I'm not sure what this is, but it was awesome to photograph.
I’m not sure what this is, but it was awesome to photograph.

The next day, we checked out early. My wife suggested we try out the marina about ten minutes away. Wow, if there ever was an idea so awesome, this was it. We stayed there a few hours taking a walk on the boardwalk, talking about our future. We dreamed of having a boat someday. Actually, it was I dreaming about the boat and it was her saying, “You’ll have to take care of it. You know that, right?” My feet came back to earth and we continued hand-in-hand talking about other dreams.

We wound the day by heading home, sweet, home where we took the kids out to eat in the evening while talking about our weekend getaway.

I don't eat them often, but chicken wings sure hit the spot.
I don’t eat them often, but chicken wings sure hit the spot.

In the midst of it all, my wife and I eventually concluded as much as we love our getaways, there’s nothing quite like family.

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RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Do you take weekend getaways with your significant other? What is your fondest memory?

Posted in Freedom Friday

The Avengers

Who is ready for the new Avengers movie? I know I am. I’ve been waiting for it ever since the studio announced it. It’s the summer go-to movie, which I also suspect will break every conceivable opening day record known to humanity—not that I’m making a big deal out of it or anything.

The Avengers
The Avengers

Freedom Friday wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t tell you which character of the team I love the most.

Okay, forget about the suspense. My favorite Avenger has to be Captain America. I like him because he stands for good. When I say that I don’t mean he represents good, but sometimes does bad things for the benefit of the good. He genuinely represents the crystal clear interpretation of virtue. He attempts to stay within the confines of the law, and he sticks to decisions that will not compromise his character.

My second favorite is Thor. He’s great. I love the character to death. In the first Thor movie he announces an awful lot. He announces when he’s hungry. He announces his intention to leave. And he announces his glorified ego as the God of Thunder. Like I said, he announces a lot. But you know what? I love that the most about him. There’s no lying in him. He says what he’s going to do, then does it. No second guessing.

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Avengers: Age of Ultron

Iron Man is my third favorite. Gosh, and here I thought Thor had an ego. Iron Man takes the prize for the most befitting rendition of a contemporary AC/DC song ever. Whenever his alter ego Tony Stark walks into a room, it’s all about him. And why not? He’s earned it. He’s saved the earth a few times in the comics, so a little hero worship does Iron Man justice.

Rounding out my favorites is Black Widow as the kick-ass martial arts expert. Does anyone get excited whenever a gang of thugs has her surrounded with an impenetrable wall of bodies, six-packs and all? I’ll be the first to put up my hand. Then there’s Hulk—oh, yeah. Whenever I see him on screen all I can hear in my head is: Hulk. Smash. I don’t think you need me to explain what that means.

Of all the villains The Avengers have fought Loki is best of all of them. This is what a true villain is all about. He stands for evil, but he does it such a way that it’s difficult to hate the guy. He has a certain appeal with the audience, and I’m one of those guys he has a fan for life.

Now, what would I love to see in future Avengers movies? This is an easy question to answer. Spider-Man. Oh, what an amazing movie to have Spider-Man in the midst of all those superheroes. His sarcastic remarks would play well against Captain America’s matter-of-fact approach to situations. Hey, wouldn’t it be even more awesome if Wolverine were thrown into the mix? Wouldn’t that be something? Imagine the banter that would go back and forth between Spidey and Wolverine. I’d go see it, and I’m pretty sure the entire planet would, too!

Jack is looking forward to Avengers: Age of Ultron.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Who is your favorite Avenger and why? Are you going to see the new movie hitting theaters today?