Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Spider-Man: Homecoming


     I saw this film the night before I saw Infinity War and thought it would be a good idea to review this one (and several others) before I reviewed the third Avengers movie. Now, I'll be the first to say, I have never been a bog Spider-Man fan. I just feel like there have been too many (3 can be considered a lot!) and so when I found out there was once again, another Spider-Man. I didn't think much on it. However, this Spider-Man was connected to the MCU/Avenger's and so his storyline was going to be different from prior Spider-Man interpretations.

     Played by the wonderfully charming and handsome English actor, Tom Holland, this Peter Parker is introduced in Captain America: Civil War when he is recruited by Tony Stark to aid him in his fight against Captain America. Peter Parker has already become Spider-Man in image, but is still a 15 year old boy trying to figure out what to do with these new found abilities. Now you may remember that I gave Peter Parker a less than warm welcome in my movie review of Civil War:


     Then after re-watching the movie, I felt I may have been a little too hasty in my judgement and found Peter to be an endearing and lovable character. So, now that finally led me up to watching Spider-Man: Homecoming and really, honestly, actually finding a Spider-Man that I like!

~ ~ ~

Peter Parker/Spider-Man

     Two months after being recruited by Tony Stark, Peter must go back to his mundane life as a teenager in Queens living with his lively aunt, May Parker. While Tony allows Peter to keep his specially made, tech suit, Peter is bored and desperate to get back into the action. His one goal in life now is to become an Avenger and he will do whatever it takes to make it happen...only there is not a lot going on.

     It's difficult for Peter to readjust to life after the Avenger's Civil War. From fighting along side his hero Tony Stark/Iron Man to going back to being the typical bullied loser and geek in school. Now Peter's biggest concerns are trying to keep his identity hidden, surviving the day to day grind of high school and finding the courage to talk to his crush, Liz Allen. However, Peter's identity soon comes to light when his best friend Ned finds out and he unexpectedly becomes a source that Peter begins to rely on.

     Soon, life for Peter becomes anything but boring when he comes across illegal arms dealers with technology that isn't exactly of this world. This leads Peter to Adrian Toomes, a former respectable salvage worker whose company was run out by Tony Stark's Department of Destruction (D.O.J.) after the battle in New York (first Avengers movie). Furious at Tony for almost ruing him, Adrian begins to steal the alien parts from different Avenger battles over the years and create weapons of intense destruction. He then sells them to the highest bidder which overtime lets him provide well for his 
family. 


     While Peter tries to fight Adrian and his gang, he ends up doing more damage than good which leads him to parent/child confrontation with Tony Stark. Although Peter's heart was in the right place, Tony cannot let him be careless and takes Peter's suit away telling him that his abilities aren't in his suit. It's not long before Peter understands what Tony is talking about, realizing that he has the strength and intelligence to outsmart his enemies without the need of technology to aid him. 

~ ~ ~

     I've always found Spider-Man as more of superhero geared toward boys because Peter Parker is a boy. Not a billionaire, renown scientist, demigod or super soldier. Just a regular kid who got bitten by fate and will spend the rest of his life either at the mercy of fate or creating it himself. So, it's strange that I would actually find myself enjoying this Spider-Man/Peter Parker so much, but I really do.


     Tom Holland managed to create a nerdy hero in training that was relatable and fun. He clearly based his performance off of the former interpretations, but pulled off a Peter that didn't have the angst of Tobey Macguire or the moodiness of Andrew Garfield. Not to mention his classically handsome looks made him easy to watch as well....at least that's my opinion.  

     Adding Tony Stark as a mentor and father figure did great things for the overall story as well as Tony's character development. Tony and Peter have a great father/son dynamic and it's easy to see that Peter wants a male adult figure in his life who will train him, but also challenge him to be better. Seeing Tony as a dad is a little scary, but he slides into the role effortlessly; and the relationship that is created in Homecoming is certainly made manifest in Infinity War.

     So, to wrap things up, not being a Spider-Man fan, I can't speak on the behalf of all Spider-Man fanatics, but as someone who is following the Avengers Universe, this movie is great. You can see the beginnings of Peter's journey to becoming an Avenger and the start of his coming of age, taking the leap from boy to man with guidance from Tony Stark and hopefully other superheros to come.

Note: Reviews for Thor: Ragnarok and Dr. Strange coming soon!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Congratulations Prince Harry and Meghan Markle!!


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

May, 19 2018 at Windsor Palace


Now The Duke and Duchess of Sussex 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My History, My Heritage, My Honor


If this comes off as racist, I'm not sorry. I'm proud of my Norwegian and Irish heritage.

  •   My family came from the Viking ships and would then leave the English oppression of Ireland for a better life in America. 
  • Within my family line is a knight of nobility who fought in the Crusades, settled a city in Europe and still has memorials in his honor.
  • I come from a history of cowboys who helped settle the west and brought immigrants into the US through routes in Canada. Not to mention ties to Al Capone and the Mafia
  • I can claim to be a Daughter of the Revolutionary War as I had a distant uncle who was George Washington's personal bodyguard. 
  • While I may not be a direct descendant of either Lagertha or Boudica, they represent the beauty, the hardship, the trials and victories of my heritage.
  • And no political correct society will ever make me ashamed of who I am based solely on the color of my skin.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Stranger Things


     Unless you've been living under a rock, pretty much everyone has at least heard of Stranger Things. The supernatural, sci-fi series that is a complete throwback to all things from the 1980's, especially the movies. The story itself was inspired by such 80's classics such as E.T., The Goonies, Firestarter, Close Encounters and some classic John Hughes teen drama thrown in as well. This little Netflix series has taken the world by storm, however, I wasn't originally interested in it until my family started watching. Eventually, I came around late into the game, but I can certainly consider myself a true Stranger Things fan. 

~ ~ ~


      November 6, 1983
     
     Hawkins, Indiana

     Four middle school boys, Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, Lucas Sinclair and Dustin Henderson have just finished their all day game of Dungeons and Dragons. As they all ride back to their respective homes, Will Byers hears an odd noise in the forest. Curiosity gets the better of him and he walks into the woods. 

And that's when things get a little strange.

     Will Byers disappears without a trace and his family and friends are at a loss to know what happened and where to search for him. While trying to find their friend, Mike, Lucas and Dustin come across a frightened girl, with a shaved head, who can hardly speak and whose only identification are the numbers 011 on her arm. 

And then things get stranger.

     The boys hide the young girl in Mike's basement and start to call her El. Soon they begin to see that El is no ordinary girl and has certain perceptions that are not natural at all. Meanwhile, there is another disappearance, this time it's a teenage girl and her best friend is just as scared and worried, knowing she may be responsible. 

And the strangest of all...

     People from the government run facility, Hawkin's Laboratory, start roaming around town looking for a  girl with a shaved head, withholding information from its residents and taking out anyone who dares to stand in their way. Eventually, Jim Hopper (or Hop) the grouchy and reclusive police chief of Hawkins, becomes the one person who has the knowledge to be able to find Will; as well as protect the people of Hawkins and keep a little girl safe from 'the bad people' and the world of 'the upside down.'

~ ~ ~

Eleven/El/Jane

     Found alone and scared in a forest, patient 011 has been a science experiment at Hawkin's Lab her whole life. Gifted with telekinetic and telepathic abilities, Eleven is treated like a lab rat by Martin Brenner who she refers to as Papa. Brenner is a manipulative scientist, bent on using his young subject and her telekinetic to communicate with the supernatural world. While Eleven has no contact with the real world, that doesn't mean she is incapable of feeling. It is her ever growing understanding and use of emotion and feelings that causes Eleven to distinguish between cruelty and kindness, bad and good, freedom and bondage. Finally El, manages to escape Hawkins Laboratory and finds herself among the goodwill of the most unlikely people, but that doesn't stop Brenner from hunting down his prize science project.  

~ ~ ~

Residents of Hawkins, Indiana


     Jim Hopper (Hop): A solitary man who simply wants to do his job and be left alone. Jim Hopper is hardly what one may perceive as a hero and no one knows that better than Jim himself. Still reeling from grief at the loss of his young family, Jim is not one who is easy to get close to and he drowns his anger and sorrow in alcohol. However, Jim is a skilled police officer and when things get difficult in his town, nothing will stop him from protecting those that need him the most.  

     Joyce Byers: While Joyce is a struggling single mother of two boys, she is also a loving and protective mother that will not allow any harm to come to her children. Oftentimes seen as flighty or eccentric, Joyce is a person who has no time to care about what people think about her. Joyce's intense maternal instinct is her most formidable strength and gives her hope that her lost son will return to her. 

~ ~ ~

Top: Mike Wheeler and Lucas Sinclair
Bottom: Dustin Henderson and Will Byers
     Michael (Mike) Wheeler: The undisputed leader of his gang, Mike is stubborn, pragmatic and refuses to back down from a challenge. When Mike and his friends find Eleven in the woods, he out of all of them is immediately taken with the girl and he allots himself as her protector and guide to the world of Hawkins. 

     Lucas Sinclair: Lucas is fiery, fierce and unafraid. Built for adventure and danger, Lucas tends to be a lone wolf when he feels that Mike is being unfair in his judgments as the gang leader. However, Lucas remains loyal to his friends and overtime becomes accepting of Eleven, eventually seeing her as an asset to their group.  

     Dustin Henderson: A brainy and bubbly science geek who completely owns all of who he is. Dustin tends to be the most practical and easy going member of the group and also acts as peacemaker between Mike and Lucas. He has a gift for experimentation and building as well as charming and endearing personality that always puts everyone at ease. 

     Will Byers: The quietest member of the group who finds his voice in his love of drawing and art. Will's disappearance and subsequent search is the crux of the story and he is oftentimes only seen in mostly abstract form. Yet, even before Will was taken there was always something different about him and in Hawkins, different doesn't always mean safe. 

~ ~ ~

Top: Jonathan Byers and Nancy Wheeler
Bottom: Steve Harrington and Barbara Holland
     Jonathan Byers: Like his younger brother, Jonathan is artistic as a gifted photographer, but is introverted and closed off from people. After his dad abandoned the family, Jonathan does whatever he can to help his mother with the finances as well as take care of his brother. Hawkins High School isn't so understanding and Jonathan finds himself the target of constant bullying because of his quiet nature. 

     Nancy Wheeler: A pretty, but very insecure teenager who is desperate to be accepted by the popular crowd at school. Things start looking up for Nancy when Steve Harrington, the most popular guy in school, starts paying attention to her and invites her to his house. One night at Steve's house though puts Nancy through several nightmarish situations and she finds her loyalties divided between what she wants and what she really needs. 

     Steve Harrington: The undisputed King of Hawkins High, Steve is a stereotypical spoiled rich kid who is use to getting what he wants. And when Steve gets something he has no problem fighting people to stay away from it. Especially the annoying Jonathan Byers who seems to be stalking Steve's new girlfriend, Nancy Wheeler. However, Steve eventually gets a hard hit with reality and begins to see that maybe it's not always about him.

     Barbara "Barb" Holland: Nancy's protective best friend, who feels that maybe Steve isn't the right person for Nancy. Barbara believes that Steve is only playing around with Nancy and warns her of this. Only, Nancy's dreams of popularity and acceptance seem to be more important and Barb's warning are put to the wayside. If only there was someone protecting her...

~ ~ ~


     A lively, comical show that has no shortage of drama, mystery and even romance. The casting was brilliantly done with each person seemingly at ease with their character. The homage to the 80's is probably another brilliant factor and remembers a simpler time before the internet and i-phones when people really had to rely on their wits to get out of trouble. It's pretty easy to get wrapped up in the show because just when you have one question answered, three more pop up and you get more intrigued than ever.

     Season 2 is just as good and I'll be doing a review on that soon. So, if you want something that is pure nostalgia or in need of some good sci-fi craziness, then Stranger Things is a good pick for your Netflix watch list. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

News (More like scandalous details about my former job)


Wow! I can't believe that May is almost here!

     It's been a while since I've posted just some random, day to day news about my life, however, the news I have is really far from random. Tomorrow, it'll be a month since I left my job at the restaurant. After almost a year and I had finally had it with my boss. To be honest, I enjoyed my work as a waitress, but both of my bosses were very difficult to deal with. They were a father and son and to be honest they were not the most fair of employers. 
  • They cheated the waitresses out of their pay (I was suppose to be making around $50 a week, I was only making $26.50)
  • They were violating health service laws (smoking indoors, using expired food, continuing to serve alcohol pass the actual closing time, etc.)
  • If a waitresses made an order mistake with food, then they expected the waitresses to pay for the food.
  •  They allowed men to harass waitresses. 
  • If a waitress left and asked them for a reference then they would say that this particular worker was lazy, selfish, late, argumentative, etc.
  • After one waitress left, they went to that person's house and threatened them to never talk about where they worked before.
  • They allowed several drug deals to go on outside the restaurant.
  • They hired heroin addicts. 
  • Once my boss "came on to me" by coming up next to me and beginning to stroke my back, which made me very uncomfortable.
     So, as you can imagine it was time for me to leave. After an incident where my boss threatened to fire me for telling the truth, I was well and truly done. My boss had been smoking inside the restaurant and several customers could smell it. They asked me about it and while I was tempted to lie, I said that it was the boss. One of the customers was highly sensitiveness to smoke and they weren't able to stay because she was beginning to have an allergy attack. 

     My boss came out and asked them what was going on and the customers confronted him saying that smoking inside of a building was a health violation and against the law. My boss then bold face lied to their faces and told them he hadn't been smoking! The customers then pointed out that they had asked the waitress and I had said that he had been the one smoking prior to them entering the building.

     After they left, my boss was enraged and went off on me. Spewing nonsense such as "How could you do something like that?? And if you ever do something that stupid again, I will fire you!" If I do something stupid? You were the one breaking the law genius and you're taking it out on me because you effed up and got caught. So, finally I made the command decision to leave after my shift and I did.

     And it has been glorious! I've been helping my mom with her business Virginia Soaps & Scents which has been a Godsend for her and I've really enjoyed being in the shop. Meanwhile, I have been looking for another job and I finally have a job interview!!!

     On May 14, I have a job interview for a full time job at The Children's Center in Suffolk! This would be an amazing career opportunity for me and I'm so excited! So prayers for a successful interview would be much appreciated!

     It is unfortunate that I stayed in my former job situation for so long, allowing myself to go under such abuse so I can make next to nothing. Thankfully, not all food service jobs are like this, but I would hope that anyone who finds themselves in situations where their moral decisions are compromised will find the strength to get out. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Goodreads Reviews: Self-Raised



     Upon finishing Ishmael, I was excited to read up on its sequel Self-Raised. However, I was somewhat disappointed, solely because the whole story did not focus on Ishmael, but rather the melodrama of Claudia Merlin. In the first book, Claudia Merlin is the spoiled, selfish heiress who has captured Ishmael's heart, but Claudia who is so intent on money and title could never see lowly Ishmael as her equal.

     So Self-Raised, which is toted as the continuation of Ishmael Worth's journey, is actually just the soap opera of Claudia Merlin's actions. Now, the book was good, but I could hardly see it as a sequel to Ishmael Worth. While Ishmael did have his heroic moments, I didn't see any general development to his story. I was hoping for more challenging court cases, his constant fight toward injustice as well as untangling himself from the romantic web he's caught himself in. It doesn't help that Claudia is so very unlikable in the the first book, you find it hard to sympathize with her plight in the sequel.

     The story itself is good, but unlike the first book it was more of a Victorian mystery novel that deals with deceitful spouses, murder plots, forbidden love, shipwrecks and the controversial issues of the slave trade in the United States. I wouldn't say the book itself is terrible, but don't go into the story expecting it to be about Ishmael Worth's life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Goodreads Reviews: Ishmael


I know I've already reviewed this book, but I'm doing the Goodreads book challenge this year and one of the books I read was the sequel to Ishmael, Self-Raised. So...it would make sense to review this book first and then review the second one. Also, I'm going to try and review every book I read in my Goodreads challenge as a new series for my site, as well as other books that I've already read and aren't part of the challenge (Ishmael for example).

These reviews can also be found on my Goodreads page.

~ ~ ~


     Finding a good story, with a strong hero that has good Christian morals, but doesn't come off as to good to be true can be difficult. However, Ishmael Worth's story from obscure, poor beginnings and his journey to become a respectable gentleman in pre-Civil War American society, really has the makings of a great Christian hero.

     Ishmael was written by E.D.E.N. Southworth in 1876 and is loosely inspired by the life of Ishmael Worth who became the first man to ever defend a woman in court. Ishmael's life started with love and loss. His parents came from two polar opposite social circles. His father, Herman Brudenell, is immensely wealthy while his mother, Nora Worth, although beautiful and generous, comes from the poorest class. They meet, fall in love and marry in secret, but like all tragic love stories, they are separated. Herman leaves for Europe while his heartbroken bride dies in childbirth to their son, whom Herman is unaware of.

     Now, orphaned and alone, little Ishmael Worth is raised by his strict spinster aunt, Hannah Worth. From a young age, Ishmael is instilled with a strong work ethic, the importance of education and the strength of faith in God. These three qualities begin to mold Ishmael from a destitute child to a young man whose life is forever challenged by the immoral acts of others.

     Yet, with each challenge, fight, victory and even losses, Ismael continues to persevere and grow. In his early age he witnesses injustices done to those of a lower social status and the abuse of power; which eventually leads him to pursue a life of jurisprudence or simply, he wants to become a defense lawyer.

     When he's not out on the course of justice, Ishmael's heart seems to set a course of his own. He finds himself in love with a beautiful, but vain and selfish young heiress, Claudia Merlin. Yet, Claudia, so wrapped up in herself, is clueless to Ishmael's pining heart. Meanwhile, Claudia's sweet cousin, Beatrice "Bee" Middleton is madly in love with Ishmael, but he only sees Bee as a sister and nothing more.

     And then of course, we have Ishmael's big court case...but I don't want give anything away...

~ ~ ~

To sum it all up then:

     So, we have a coming of age, rags to riches character that's the paragon of the American dream. Christianity is important to the story, but is not too preachy. It's simply a part of Ishmael's growing up and is the moral foundation of his life. Ishmael is described as being extremely handsome, but his description is summed up in a few sentences instead of three of four paragraphs (thank goodness).

     Are there times when Ishmael comes off as too good to be true? Absolutely. Yet, there is is something endearing and likable about him too. He stands up to injustice and tyranny without breaking a sweat, but becomes an awkward idiot around his crush, while he is utterly clueless to the one woman who is completely perfect for him.

     I'm not sure if Ishmael Worth was real or if he is based on someone else, but the character and story of Ishmael is truly inspiring. People may compare Ishmael to the Christian likes of Elsie Dinsmore, but they are hardly the same given their circumstances in life. Yet, the moral Christian themes of faith, standing for those who cannot stand for themselves, honesty, integrity and unwavering faith in God remains the same in both characters.

     I found Ishmael to be a wonderful story, Ishmael himself, to be a great character who is forever on the pursuit of bettering himself for the benefit of honoring the God that he loves. And in so doing can better the people and the world around him.






***Ishmael's story has even made it into the movies! The 1921 silent film, Hearts of Youth is based on the original Ishmael novel, but primarily focuses on the romance between him and Beatrice.***
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