Monday, July 24, 2017

Movie Review: Dunkirk

Last Friday I took a mini vacation (hashtag #minivaca) and went and saw the new Christopher Nolan movie Dunkirk in IMAX. And (not to give away the ending) I was blown away.

Dunkirk is an amazing movie. Based on the true events at the beginning of World War II (1940) when the British needed to evacuate nearly 400,000 soldiers from France that had just be overrun by the German army. The movie gives us three points of view: 1) a soldier trying to get back to England, 2) a Spitfire pilot trying his best to stop deadly German bombing of ships evacuating the men, and 3) a civilian who, like many others, takes his small boat across the English Channel to rescue as many of the trapped soldiers as possible. Each, in their own way, show amazing courage, even though the solider is trying desperately to get off the beach.

You feel the terror of the soldiers out in the open on a beach with no cover as German Stuka dive bombers attack both the men on the beach and the ships trying to evacuate them. Messerschmitt fighters engage with Spitfires that are trying to shoot down larger German Heinkel bombers that are bombing ships, both military and civilian.

Nolan made an interesting choice to never name the enemy. You never hear the words "Germans" or "Nazis." You never see the enemy until the last few moments of the film during the final fade to black.

Another choice Nolan made was not to make the film gory in the model of Saving Private Ryan. He certainly could have and there were plenty of opportunities. But blood and gore and minimized earning the film a PG-13 rating. The gore wasn't needed to make the move intense.

Even if you don't like "war films," Dunkirk is a very good movie and mostly historically accurate. The biggest problem I had was the train interior that the soldiers get on after arriving in England. It did not look like an early 1940s train. More like a late 60s/early 70s train (there might even have been plastic around the seats). But that's a small quibble after the rest of the amazing movie. Go see Dunkirk. You'll be happy you did.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Throttled by Netflix...Again

For some reason, Netflix DVD service back in March and April decided to throttle me again. I have no idea why. But it took me until this past week to finally get the last movie that was released in March.

"Throttling" is when Netflix doesn't send you the latest releases to punish you for watching too many discs. It costs them at least $1 per disc sent out so they discourage watching lots and lots of discs. But I didn't think I was watching too many discs. Before and after March and April, I was watching three discs every two weeks. So why did I get throttled in March and April? I have no idea. But as the chart below shows, I was definitely throttled waiting as long as 16 weeks to see a new release.

(Netflix doesn't reveal release dates once a disc is released so I had to estimate the release date based on what Amazon.com said it was. Netflix release dates are often four weeks after Amazon release dates. This chart only shows new releases. I also watched a lot of old releases during this time, mostly older movies/series I hadn't seen yet.)

But then after March/April, the only time I didn't get a new release right away was when I didn't send in enough discs such as there are two new releases that week but I only send in one disc. I have highlighted those in gray.

I did learn a trick that I think helped me get the throttled new releases. I used to send in two discs on Friday and they would both arrive Monday. Then I started sending one disc Thursday and it would get there Friday or Saturday and I'd have more chance of getting a new release that I hadn't gotten yet. If I hadn't started doing that, who knows how long I would have waited for Silence.

I'd still like to know what I did in March/April to piss off Netfix's computers.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Speculative Fiction Cantina Replay with Ronald Chapman and Debbie Kump


Today on a Speculative Fiction Cantina Replay episode we are pleased to welcome writers Ronald Chapman and Debbie Kump.

Ronald Chapman
Ronald Chapman

Ronald Chapman is an author, speaker and facilitator of approaches that increase well-being-ness and produce breakthroughs when practiced deeply and in a sustained fashion. He is the creator of Seeing True™ and Progressive Recovery, resources dedicated to exploring the concepts of engaging, releasing and transcending, essentially the core of forgiveness practice. Ron is an internationally accredited inspirational speaker and workshop leader, and the author of two novels, two works of non-fiction and two audio sets. He holds a Masters in Social Welfare.

Ronald's Books:

My Name is Wonder

A Killer’s Grace

Seeing True: The Way of Spirit (nonfiction)

Ronald's Links:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube

Debbie Kump
Debbie Kump

As a teen, I enjoyed writing and illustrating my own books. I’d spend hours pounding away (literally!) at the keys of my mother’s archaic typewriter, dreaming of one day getting published. I put those dreams on hold to pursue my other love: teaching. After graduating from Cornell University with degrees in Biology and Education, I taught middle and high school science in Maui, Seattle, and the Twin Cities and worked as a marine naturalist aboard a whale watch and snorkel cruise. When I’m not teaching or working on my next novel, I enjoy coaching my sons’ soccer, hockey, and lacrosse teams and dogsledding to school with our three Siberian huskies.

Debbie's Books:

Elemental (Book 1 of The Elementals Trilogy)

Essence (Book 2 of The Elementals Trilogy)

8G

Debbie's Links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

From Today's Program: Do Black Holes Have Event Horizons?



Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Person Who Inspires Me

Cannon Beach, Oregon
Back to the 52-week blogging challenge and today's prompt is "A Person Who Inspires Me." I had to think about this one.

The person who inspires me is . . . you! You who read my blog, perhaps follow me on Twitter or Facebook. And maybe, just maybe you buy and read my books. And a few of you might even leave a positive review on Amazon.

You are the one I'm doing this all for. You are the one who inspires me to write, promote, blog, and write some more. I want to entertain and perhaps enlighten you with my writing. I want to use my talents to make your world just a little better place.

So the person who inspires me, is you. How does that make you feel? Comment below.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Movie Review: Life

Last week I watched on Netflix disc the movie Life. Even though it had horror elements (and I don't do horror), I watched it because of its science fiction based setting. It takes place in an International Space Station of the near future (it has holographic displays).

First the good: the movie always had the characters in free fall, as they would be in Earth orbit. When the thrusters were fired (there are thrusters on the space station?) the people inside felt the acceleration. The movie did a good job portraying free fall, with only a few times where it didn't work well. For instance, a character sets down a tablet and it obviously is in gravity because it drops a bit when he lets go of it. So I had less problems with the basic science of this movie than I did for a movie such as Gravity (which also took place in near-Earth orbit).

One other problem is sound. The movie (like most scifi movies) had sound in space, including debris flying by a space probe. The only movie I know got this right was 2001: A Space Odyssey. I say again: there is no air in space and therefore, no sound outside of space ships with air inside them.

And the movie Life was very derivative. It's a "trapped in space" horror flick (think Alien) about something scary brought from Mars (sort of like The Andromeda Strain). While the actors do a good job and the movie is scary and tense most of the time, you do have to over come the disbelief that the monster (named "Calvin" by the space station crew) grew that quickly from a single cell.

Also, the crew sleeps in these over-engineered sleeping chambers (which become important later in the film). On the space shuttle and on the current space station, crew sleep in bags attached to the walls. This is simple and works and doesn't require a lot of resources. An engineer would love it.

If you like horror and trapped-in-space movies, you'll probably like Life more than I did. It's probably pretty good horror and it's fair science fiction.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Ronald Russell Farnham and Leisa Ebere


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Ronald Russell Farnham and Leisa Ebere.

Ronald Russell Farnham

Ronald Russell of the family Mass-Lavori is the Authorized Representative of RONALD RUSSELL FARNHAM [a UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CORPORATION].

Ronald Russell holds a Bachelors Degree in Business. He is a screenwriter, author, director, actor, and a member of the screen actors guild.  He has performed in live-theatre, worked on hundreds of studio level feature films, live TV, pre-recorded TV, been a commercial spokesperson, and has hosted unscripted reality shows.

He has been a casting director, line producer, executive producer, and has just released the feature film that he produced and directed in Los Angeles, titled, HOLLYWOOD AND VINE, which is an action adventure conspiracy about the female messiah who writes the book to end war and poverty on earth and she teams up with a female Russian double agent and a CIA agent to stop Islamic Radical Terrorists from detonating a dirty nuclear bomb at the Hollywood and Vine Train Station; saving the world from a devastating global nuclear conflict.

Ronald held a Top Secret Clearance with the department of defense where he was an active duty Army Intelligence analyst, Korean linguist, counter terrorism analyst, and a trainer of Special Forces Analysts and Head Quarters Special Operations Command.

Teaser for HOLLYWOOD AND VINE   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_OAdjYKdik

Ronald has created, produced and directed music videos, documentaries, reality shows, episodics, and feature length motion pictures.  Ronald’s personal theme with everything that he creates is “Enlightenment Through Entertainment.”

In addition to reading thousands of top secret messages about situations across the world through which he garnered a picture of the true nature of geopolitical relationships that are diametrically opposed to the information distributed on the nightly news, he is an avid reader of metaphysical books, motivational material and spiritual enlightenment books.  He is a fan of Gene Rodennberry’s Star Trek concept of a galactic federation and an earth that operates without a monetary system.

His newest book and documentary that will both be out the holiday season of 2017 is titled, THE PEOPLE VS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. It contains his truth-based solution that will end war and poverty on earth.  The solution must be released into the mainstream before the final stages of World War Three [the Global War on Terror] reach the point of no return, which will destroy mankind leaving only the Global Military Industrial Complex.

Ronald recently released a DVD titled, RONONYMOUS which contains the first step of the solution to end war and poverty and it can be found on Amazon.   https://www.amazon.com/Rononymous-Ronald-Russell-Farnham/dp/B01J4E22GC/

His book, The Second Coming of the Messiah may be categorized as science fiction, but the metaphysical concepts are based on the most recent theories.  The government and military portions are based on his real experiences.  The solution for planetary sovereignty by collapsing the world government and its monetary system is based on a viable and executable idea that he has researched and created.

In 2009 Ronald began producing and hosting the reality show, The Ronald Show, Documenting the collapse of Life as we know it as Perpetrated by the Global Military industrial Complex.”  Ronald hosted and distributed 47 one-hour episodes and has 20 more episodes in post production.

In 2006 while Ronald was the Pathfinder trainer of Special Forces analysts at HQ SOCOM, he was faced with a dilemma after undergoing an awakening by reading the book “A course in Miracles”.  His dilemma was to either continue serving the psychotic and corrupt Global Military Industrial Complex, or quit and devote his passion to Enlightenment Through Entertainment.  He chose the latter and resigned from the world of the Department of defense where he had held a Top Secret Clearance for 13 years.

Ronald also just published the first of his series of Docu-Dramas, TRUE STORIES EPISODE 1 THE UFO ABDUCTION OF ROB AMOS. It begs the question if a military psychological operations program is perpetratring fake USO abudctions to create anti-alien sentiment throughout earth.   https://www.amazon.com/TRUE-STORIES-Episode-Abduction-Amos/dp/B01FT6W566/

Ten years ago, in 2006 Ronald created Enlightenment Thru Entertainment Productions [E.T.E. Productions] in his effort to create motion pictures that speak directly to the subconscious of his audience.

Ronald's Works:

Hollywood and Vine

True Stories the UFO Abduction of Rob Amos (DVD, nonfiction)

How to Write a Screenplay in 30 Days or Less (nonfiction)

Ronald's Links:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Movie (Hollywood and Vine)


Leisa Ebere
Leisa Ebere

Leisa Ebere, was originally born in San Francisco, California and now resides in Gravesend in the UK. She is married with three children and one grandchild.

Leisa has been writing poems and stories since the age of twelve and was inspired to write Crows and Angels, her new novel, by the stories her grandmother told her, of her ancestors settling in the Dakota Territory.


Leisa grew up on a horse ranch in the Northwestern United States and is 1/16 Sioux Indian by birth; and has a special place in her heart for Native Americans. Her aim is to tell their side of the story through her writing.

Leisa's Book:

Crows and Angels 

Leisa's Links:

Blog
Facebook

From Today's Program: Scientists Teaching Computers to Track Asteroids









Thursday, July 13, 2017

Recharge

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge and today's prompt is "What I do to Recharge."

You know, being a writer gives you a lot of freedom in your day. You can wake up when you want (although I usually wake up earlier than I want), go to bed when you want, spend the day how you want (mostly, unless I have freelance assignments due). And usually about 2:00 PM in the after noon, I take a nap. Almost every day. Doesn't seem to matter how much sleep I get, about 2:00 PM I'm ready for a nap. I'll sleep from half an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how tired I am. I even have a "nap hat" I wear to keep the sun out of my eyes that comes through the upper windows in my family room that don't have shades.

But sometimes that nap can hit as early at 10:00 AM. I've even taken naps at 7:00 PM. I once took at nap at 8:00 PM, woke up at 9:00 and went to bed and slept fine.

But a nice little nap in the afternoon is a great way to recharge.

How do you recharge? Comment below!