Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Guests and Interviews

I am the guest blogger on Murder by 4 today. I’ve posted a short story for your reading pleasure. Please stop by and check it out. Be sure to leave a comment over there, so I know you’ve come and gone.



Also, don’t forget, tonight I will be interviewed on the awesome internet radio show, Romantic Dialogue.The show broadcasts every Monday night at 9pm EST.


To have readers and friends participate, you can share the following instructions:
Call the show at (310) 984-7600 and enter Show ID 245692. Or, visit the show at http://www.nowlive.com/show/AlekaNakis.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book News and Friday 55

Have you read The Dance yet? Are you holding out for the print version? I realize that there are still a lot of people who just can’t bring themselves to read an e-book.

Well, if this is the category you fall in, I have some fantastic news. The Dance is now available in print!

Click on HERE to order a copy directly from the publisher.

It’s also available at Amazon.com You can reach it by clicking HERE

So don’t delay, pick up your copy today (rhyme intended).

The Dance




Here is a blurb:

Nearly a decade ago, Detective Tom Wiley worked a case that continues to haunt him to this day. But while the nature of The Puppeteer’s horrific crimes will always remain in Tom’s memory, it’s the guilt of not catching the serial killer before he vanished that still weighs heavily on his heart.

Eight years have passed since the last victim fell under the blade of that maniac during his vicious killing spree. The time of peace and quiet has come to an abrupt and gruesome end.

The Puppeteer is back.

With the unwanted help of his newly assigned partner, Detective Anna Perez, Tom will stop at nothing to end The Puppeteer’s latest reign of terror. But as the detectives follow the trail of bodies, they quickly realize The Puppeteer may not be their deadliest enemy, and they’re up against something far more sinister than the twisted workings of a serial predator.

Can Tom and Anna survive this world of insanity and death, of love and loss, of myth and magic, where the lines between good and evil are hard to discern? Or will they be forever swept away in The Dance?

And if you are looking for the Friday 55:

Alright folks, the object of the game is to write a story using exactly 55 words. Susie is the one that started it all, but she has passed the torch to G-Man.







Sand burns my eyes, but I don’t dare blink. They’re close, sounds like three of them. My rifle’s useless, a bullet smashed through its chamber in the ambush. The rest of my squad have fallen. The enemy still searchs. I grip a blade in each hand and spring from my hole. No one lives forever.

Also, don’t forget that Monday is my very first radio interview on Romantic Dialogue.The show broadcasts every Monday night at 9pm EST. My interview will be on March 31st, so mark your calendars.

Here are the particulars:
To have readers and friends participate, you can share the following instructions:
Call the show at (310) 984-7600 and enter Show ID 245692. Or, visit the show at http://www.nowlive.com/show/AlekaNakis.

I hope you can make it by…


Have a great weekend!



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When Words Aren't Enough...

There was an incident that happened last weekend, which reminded me of something that happened when I was in the Army. Confused? Allow me to elaborate.



Last weekend I met my ex-wife in the parking lot of a convenience store in a little town called Muskogee. She lives a couple hours away from me and this is a reasonably halfway point to drop off/pickup on visitation weekends.



As I gathered my son’s belongings, M and I discussed how the visitation had gone and how life in general was going. This isn’t unusual as we are still on quite friendly terms. We both count ourselves lucky to be able to maintain such amicability, especially after what was about to happen.



Just as I prepared to bid her adieu, a car came screeching into the parking lot and came to a stop behind her car and partially blocked mine. A rather grungy looking man pried himself from the passenger seat. His apparent SO sat glaring from the driver’s seat. A woman, clearly dressed for work, got out of the car on the other side of M’s and that’s when it all went horribly wrong.



They yelled, fingers pointed, threats were made. A 12 year old boy moved from car to car, not sure who to listen to as both parents tried to use him as a bargaining chip right there in front of everyone. I told my son to get in the car and turn on the radio. I didn’t want him to have to witness what was going down, but I couldn’t very well leave either, even if the other car wasn’t blocking my exit.



I tried to ignore them, smiling at my son through the rolled up window. Then I heard the woman say, “You’ve been drinking! You’re drunk and driving around with my son in the car.”



I looked at my watch. It was barely two in the afternoon. My first thought was that he needed to build some liquid courage to get up the nerve to do something major…like toss a world class smack down on his ex.



I perked up and turned to face the warring couple.
They got in each other’s face, screaming, spitting, fingers jabbing inches from each others eyes. Just as I pulled off my cell phone to toss it in the car, the woman pulled away, stormed off to the store and informed him from the door she was calling the cops. Tragedy averted.



The incident reminded me of something that happened many years ago when I was a young soldier. Some friends and I went to a bar just off base to blow off some steam after a particularly grueling week of training.



We were having a few drinks and shooting pool when this rather burly looking cowboy type came barreling through the door. One look at him, told me that he was going to be trouble. His nostrils flared and he was already breathing hard as he scanned the faces in the tiny joint. Suddenly he stomped passed us and approached a rather meek looking woman at the bar. Words were exchanged, then elevated to screaming. He insisted she leave with him, she insisted that she stay.



Without warning he grabbed her by the hair and yanked her off the barstool. By the time I could reach him, he was already smacking her in the face. He gave her two blows, one open hand, the other backhand. He pulled his arm back, hand balled in a fist. The next swing was going to be a devastating punch.



I grabbed his arm before he could deliver the blow. I spun him around and told him to leave the woman alone. He took a swing at me (understandably in retrospect) and I proceeded to pummel him. We had worked our way between the pool tables and I knocked him up on top of one of them. I grabbed him by the hair, jerked him closer to me and was about to rain down a few more blows, when a whirlwind of claws and fury latched onto my back.



The woman I was trying to rescue was now attacking me and with a vengeance. She kept screaming things like, “Get off of him! Leave him alone! You’re hurting my baby!”



By this time, my buddies who had previously just watching, laughing, and taunting, stepped in. They pulled her off and drug me out of the bar.
“Leave ‘em to it,” one of them said.
“We’ve gotta go before the cops get here,” another one added.
“That’ll teach you to stick your nose in other people’s business,” a third one laughed.


His was the comment that bothered me the most about the entire event. How can anyone be expected to sit idly by while such a travesty is taking place?


What would you do in such a situation? What in the world do you think was going through that woman’s head when she attacked me for protecting her?


‘Tis a strange, strange world sometimes.



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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.


(2 February 2008, New York) A 50-year-old man was bird hunting in Upstate New York with his buddies and his faithful canine companion. They stopped for a smoke, and he noticed that his dog had found a bone. It was a deer leg! The man tried to take the bone away from the dog. Like any right thinking dog, the animal would not relinquish its treasure, and stayed just out of reach.


Frustrated with this blatant show of disobedience, the man grabbed his loaded shotgun by the muzzle and began wielding it like a club. Each time he swung it, the dog dodged. Suddenly the "club" struck the ground and fired, shooting the man in the abdomen. His friends called 911 and he was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries.


He did remain conscious long enough to confirm this account to police; otherwise, his poor friends might now be under suspicion of murder.


At least he didn't hit the dog!



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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Movie Review: I Am Legend

“My name is Robert Neville. I am a survivor living in New York City. I am broadcasting on all AM frequencies. I will be at the South Street Seaport everyday at mid-day, when the sun is highest in the sky. If you are out there... if anyone is out there... I can provide food, I can provide shelter, I can provide security. If there's anybody out there... anybody... please. You are not alone.”

I Am Legend is a sci fi horror film that takes place in a post apocalyptic America. This is the third attempt at a film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel of the same name. The first two were…well, they were stinkers, so I won’t even mention their names here, but in this case the third time really is the charm.

Dr. Robert Neville thinks he is Earth's only surviving human not affected by a vicious man-made virus. He works to create a cure while living in a city inhabited by mutant victims of the virus that appear to be a mix of zombies and vampires.

We are given a glimpse into the life of a man who has spent three years with only his dog as a companion and the effect it is having on his sanity. It isn’t pretty.


Synopsis


In I AM LEGEND, Will Smith joins the ranks of Vincent Price (in 1964's THE LAST MAN ON EARTH) and Charlton Heston (in 1971's OMEGA MAN) as the star of an adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name. Often surprising in its focus on loneliness and loss, this thoughtful, eerie, and restrained sci-fi horror film provides a parade of startling visuals, but never allows special effects to overcome the human element. Smith, in a strong performance very different from his usual persona, is Robert Neville, the lone survivor in a New York City where streets are overgrown and deer gambol among deserted automobiles.

Following an epidemic, the Earth's population has been turned into an army of nocturnal zombies. Immune to the virus, military scientist Neville searches for a cure in his Washington Square townhouse. Haunted by visions of his family leaving quarantined Manhattan two years prior, he drives through the city with his German Shepherd, Sam, by day and barricades his home from the monsters nightly. But when Anna (Alice Braga)--another immune stranger-finds him, they will have to fight the onslaught twice as hard.

Akiva Goldsman and Mark Protosevich's emotionally-charged script showcases the charisma of Smith, who commands the screen alone for most of the picture (aside Abbey, a talented German Shepherd). Director Francis Lawrence (CONSTANTINE) uses music minimally, wisely allowing the eerie cityscapes to remain mostly silent. The set pieces, including an overgrown, deserted Times Square and a lion hunting a deer in the Flatrion District, are goosebump-inducing moments of stark beauty. Though some may question the rendering of the monsters in CGI instead of using actors, it does allow them to be frighteningly acrobatic. A chilling and effective adaptation of a horror classic, I AM LEGEND is also a thought-provoking piece of Hollywood filmmaking.

I highly recommend this movie.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


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Monday, March 24, 2008

Weekend Recap

We had a wonderful holiday weekend. I even managed to squeak in several fantastic little jaunts on my bike. Yes, the weather here is finally cooperating enough for me to venture out on the open road. We played, laughed, loved and just generally enjoyed each other’s company. My poor computer felt horribly neglected, I’m sure. I barely looked at it for the entire three days. It’ll get over it.

My son spent the majority of his spring break with his biological mother, but we were able to have him join in the family funfest by Saturday afternoon. I think he really missed us on this trip, because he actually wanted to hang out for the entire rest of the day. Most of the time, when he spends just the weekend away from us, he comes in visits with us for an hour (two tops) then he’s off to play with his friends.

This is the first year that we didn’t have an Easter egg hunt. My son informed us that he is officially too old for such activities. Ah, it’s the end of an era, but I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. Once they figure out that there isn’t an actual Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are soon to follow. Everything else goes quickly downhill from there.

So, how did you spend the weekend?

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Meme Answers and Not a HNT pic!!!

Ok, folks. By popular demand here are the answers to the Movie Meme from Monday:
1. “Yeah, in the sense that they all sort of, uh... fell down... and then got up... and started eating each other.” Dawn of the Dead

2. “I got a business to run. I gotta kick asses sometimes to make it run right. We had a little argument, Freddy and me, so I had to straighten him out.” The Godfather...
  • G-Man
  • nailed this one with the quickness. :D

    3. “It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's fritters.”
  • Nurse Ratched
  • has spent the night at Motel Hell and lived to tell the tale.

    4. “The ship brought me back. I told you she won't let me leave - she won't let anyone leave. Did you really think you could destroy this ship? She's defied space and time. She's been to a place you couldn't possibly imagine. And now... it is time to go back.” Mark took a trip to hell with Event Horizon

    5. “Heaven and hell are right here, behind every wall, every window, the world behind the world. And we're smack in the middle.” Constantine

    6. “Don't mock me my friend. It's a condition of mental divergence. I find myself on the planet Ogo, part of an intellectual elite, preparing to subjugate the barbarian hordes on Pluto. But even though this is a totally convincing reality for me in every way, nevertheless Ogo is actually a construct of my psyche. I am mentally divergent, in that I am escaping certain unnamed realities that plague my life here. When I stop going there, I will be well. Are you also divergent, friend?” 12 Monkeys

    7. “I didn't say I was different or better. I'm not. Hell, I sympathize; I sympathize completely. Apathy is the solution. I mean, it's easier to lose yourself in drugs than it is to cope with life. It's easier to steal what you want than it is to earn it. It's easier to beat a child than it is to raise it. Hell, love costs: it takes effort and work.”
  • Angie
  • has seen Se7en.

    8. “Well hello Mister Fancypants. Well, I've got news for you pal, you ain't leadin' but two things: Jack and shit... and Jack just left town.” Army of Darkness

    9. “Well, that makes you a very clever librarian, Talamascan. I knew I left that journal somewhere. So, was it a good read?” Queen of the Damned

    10. “You know, we arrested a dentist last week who liked to play with kids a bit too much. He lived two blocks from here. The sewer lines run under this neighborhood too, doctor.” SAW

    11. “Uncompromising men are easy to admire. He has courage; so does a dog. But it is exactly the ability to *compromise* that makes a man noble.”
  • Angie
  • has a Braveheart.

    12. “Now wait a minute. You just got finished saying you couldn't hear anything down there. Now you say it sounded like the place was being ripped apart. It would be nice if you get your story straight, man.”
  • Breazy
  • watches classic zombie flicks like Night of the Living Dead

    13. “Because it was a fifty fifty shot on wheter you'd be going left or right. You see we're both going left. You could have just as easily been going left, too. And if that was the case... It would have been a while before you started getting scared. But since you're going the other way, I'm afraid you're gonna have to start getting scared... immediately!” Deathproof

    14. “That, what just happened to you there, that was nothing. You've just been playing with the ghosts. Wait til somebody lets out the real darkness in this place, that's... that's a whole new bunch of crazy shit! You'll hate that shit!” House on Haunted Hill

    15. “Jealous? Jealous? You don't even *exist* to me! You don't exist! You are nothing! You are *shit*! You don't exist. The only way you know how to treat women is by treating them like whores! Well, you're the whore! And this is gonna stop! Do you understand! Do you understand what I'm saying? Hmm?”
  • Breazy
  • is spellbound by The Craft

    Also, I’d like to announce that my book The Dance is going on pre-order for the trade paperback edition any day now. Check back sometime next week.

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    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Dar-Wednesday

    It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

    Today’s installment comes courtesy of Lime. Thanks for sharing such a shocking story…


    (10 January 08, Pennsylvania) Christian Weikel, of Birdsboro, was pronounced dead by the emergency room personnel at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center.


    Police said Weikel was allegedly seen attaching electric clips to his chest piercings, sending 115 volts of electricity through his body. Weikel was employed at a construction-based company. Several of Weikel’s co-workers advised him not to attach equipment to his body. He was working in the assembly station, functional testing safety controls for boilers. The employees were waiting in the area for an inventory to be performed in the off-line work area.


    Idle hands, body piercings, access to electrical equipment, and a lack of common sense led to the early demise of 23 year old Weikel. By the time the police arrived at the scene, employees were engaged in CPR and rescue breathing emergency procedures, but they were unable to save the life of this obviously gifted young man.




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    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Book Review: Eyes of the Dead

    Eyes of the Dead by Aleka Nakis is a fun read. Before I go any further, I have to give major kudos to Aleka and Resplendence Publishing. A portion of all proceeds from this book go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.


    This is a supernatural romantic thriller, filled with action, jungle excursions, jaguars, drug lords, kidnappings, shootouts and even ghosts. It has a pulse pounding storyline that makes it easy to devour the entire book in one sitting. Aleka creates very vivid imagery. One almost feels like they are actually trekking through the exotic locals she describes in the book.


    Eyes of the Dead will suck you into an adventure so intense, you nearly forget that it is actually a romance novel. Well, at least until you get to the romantic scenes. Aleka can produce gripping suspense, but have no doubt her love scenes will have your temperature rising.



    I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book.





    Synopsis



    What would you endure to find the cure for the disease that killed your mother? Exposure to venomous snakes? Raging rapids without a life jacket? Drug lords who dab in sex trafficking? Would you relinquish control and trust your life in a dead man's hands? Tiffany Jensen, a young breast cancer researcher, confronts her greatest fear and flies on a plane to a foreign country alone. Venturing into the dangerous terrain of the Mayan jungle, she is willing to do just about anything for the cure. Antonio Francisco Fernandez, aka Agent AFFCROC, is open to only one possibility: getting Tiffany out of his territory and safely back to the States. Will his insistence deny her success, or struggling to find her way, will she come face to face with the eyes of the dead?



    Rating: 5 of 5 Stars






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    Monday, March 17, 2008

    The movie meme

    I first saw this meme on Draw Circles and it quickly made its way around several blogs I frequent. It was a hoot racking my brain to come up with the movies to match the quote, so I thought I’d share it with all of you. Since it has been done so many times, I tried to pick movies I liked, but havent’ seen on any of the boards yet.


    Here are the rules:
    1. Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
    2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
    3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
    4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly in the comments, and put who correctly identified the film.
    5. NO Googling or using IMDb search functions.


    1. “Yeah, in the sense that they all sort of, uh... fell down... and then got up... and started eating each other.”

    2. “I got a business to run. I gotta kick asses sometimes to make it run right. We had a little argument, Freddy and me, so I had to straighten him out.” The Godfather...
  • G-Man
  • nailed this one with the quickness. :D

    3. “It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent's fritters.”
  • Nurse Ratched
  • has spent the night at Motel Hell and lived to tell the tale.

    4. “The ship brought me back. I told you she won't let me leave - she won't let anyone leave. Did you really think you could destroy this ship? She's defied space and time. She's been to a place you couldn't possibly imagine. And now... it is time to go back.” Mark took a trip to hell with Event Horizon

    5. “Heaven and hell are right here, behind every wall, every window, the world behind the world. And we're smack in the middle.”

    6. “Don't mock me my friend. It's a condition of mental divergence. I find myself on the planet Ogo, part of an intellectual elite, preparing to subjugate the barbarian hordes on Pluto. But even though this is a totally convincing reality for me in every way, nevertheless Ogo is actually a construct of my psyche. I am mentally divergent, in that I am escaping certain unnamed realities that plague my life here. When I stop going there, I will be well. Are you also divergent, friend?”

    7. “I didn't say I was different or better. I'm not. Hell, I sympathize; I sympathize completely. Apathy is the solution. I mean, it's easier to lose yourself in drugs than it is to cope with life. It's easier to steal what you want than it is to earn it. It's easier to beat a child than it is to raise it. Hell, love costs: it takes effort and work.”
  • Angie
  • has seen Se7en.

    8. “Well hello Mister Fancypants. Well, I've got news for you pal, you ain't leadin' but two things: Jack and shit... and Jack just left town.”

    9. “Well, that makes you a very clever librarian, Talamascan. I knew I left that journal somewhere. So, was it a good read?”

    10. “You know, we arrested a dentist last week who liked to play with kids a bit too much. He lived two blocks from here. The sewer lines run under this neighborhood too, doctor.”

    11. “Uncompromising men are easy to admire. He has courage; so does a dog. But it is exactly the ability to *compromise* that makes a man noble.”
  • Angie
  • has a Braveheart.

    12. “Now wait a minute. You just got finished saying you couldn't hear anything down there. Now you say it sounded like the place was being ripped apart. It would be nice if you get your story straight, man.”
  • Breazy
  • watches classic zombie flicks like Night of the Living Dead

    13. “Because it was a fifty fifty shot on wheter you'd be going left or right. You see we're both going left. You could have just as easily been going left, too. And if that was the case... It would have been a while before you started getting scared. But since you're going the other way, I'm afraid you're gonna have to start getting scared... immediately!”

    14. “That, what just happened to you there, that was nothing. You've just been playing with the ghosts. Wait til somebody lets out the real darkness in this place, that's... that's a whole new bunch of crazy shit! You'll hate that shit!”

    15. “Jealous? Jealous? You don't even *exist* to me! You don't exist! You are nothing! You are *shit*! You don't exist. The only way you know how to treat women is by treating them like whores! Well, you're the whore! And this is gonna stop! Do you understand! Do you understand what I'm saying? Hmm?”
  • Breazy
  • is spellbound by The Craft


    Ok, so there you have it kids. Knock yourselves out.

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    Saturday, March 15, 2008

    Changes

    You may or may not have notices, but I've tinkered with my template a bit, moving items around on my sidebar. While I was at it, I added a few new blogs and removed a few old ones. If you find youself short on things to do today, try checking out some of these wonderful people. I can think of worse ways to spend a rainy afternoon.

    Either way, I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend.

    Peace out!

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    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Friday 55

    Alright folks, the object of the exercise is to write a story using exactly 55 words. Susie is the one that started it all, so be sure to drop by her site as well.


    Clouds roll in, a storm on the hunt. It will not rest until it can release its pent up energy. Shadows spread, chewing up streets, marking its territory as the power builds. Darkness rules, the sun turns away, unable to bear witness. With a mighty roar, it unleashes it’s fury, cleansing the world once more.


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    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    My First Time

    I’ve just received word that I will be interviewed on the awesome internet radio show, Romantic Dialogue.

    The show broadcasts every Monday night at 9pm EST. My interview will be on March 31st, so mark your calendars.

    Why am I telling you so early? Well, there are a few things you may have to do in order to log into the show. I wanted to give you plenty of time to get set up and try it out before my big day. :D Here are the instructions they sent me:

    To have readers and friends participate, you can share the following instructions:
    Call the show at (310) 984-7600 and enter Show ID 245692. Or, visit the show at http://www.nowlive.com/show/AlekaNakis.


    If you visit the show via the link, there is a chat room available for use by those who either don’t want to or are unable to call into the show. I checked it out last Monday and the activity in the chat room was almost as entertaining as the interview.

    It would mean the world to me if all of my friends in cyberspace could come out to show their support during my on-air debut. I’ll admit it, I’m a bit nervous, but there’s strength in numbers, so please try to stop by if you get a chance.

    I’ll send out another reminder on the day of the show.

    Other than that, I have to trek over to Ponca City for a meeting and will likely be gone all day. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

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    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Dar-Wednesday

    It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.


    (2 February 2008, Bulgaria) It was a cold but sunny February afternoon. Lidia, a biology teacher from Sofia, was driving home from a memorial service, accompanied by her husband and a friend. Suddenly, the vehicle stopped. Bystanders saw all three occupants dash from the car to a nearby manhole, and start pouring down liquids and powders from various bottles and jars.



    Apparently, Lidia had been doing chemistry experiments in her free time, and had some noxious chemicals left over. It is still not entirely clear what the chemicals were, but two of the bottles had labels: diethyl ether and methanol, both highly flammable substances. The former is also used as a sedative, so one explanation for their actions is that they felt dizzy from the ether vapors, and thought it was a good idea to pour them in the sewer.



    As it turns out, a good idea it definitely was not. The cocktail of flammable substances in the enclosed space of the sewer caused an explosion so powerful that it launched the manhole cover into the air, decapitating the (briefly) surprised Lidia. Left without a head on her shoulders, she decided it was time to kick the bucket.



    The other two people were not left unharmed, but were alive. They were taken to the hospital with burns on their faces. After several hours in the operating room, it appeared unlikely that they will regain their eyesight, but hopefully are able to speak well enough to tell their children that tossing random chemicals down the drain is not as wise as it might at first appear.



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    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Movie Review: Michael Clayton

    Michael Clayton is a movie about a seriously scummy kind of lawyer: The firm fixer.
    Of course, Mr. Clayton (George Clooney) thinks of himself more as a janitor, but a serious of disastrous events forces him to rethink the life he lives. He takes a deep look into what’s left of his soul and doesn’t like what he says, but does he have the strength to change it? You’ll just have to watch the movie to see.



    Synopsis



    Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is what is known in the legal world as a "fixer," or in the character's own pejorative version, a "janitor" who cleans up legal messes for VIPs and corporations on behalf of a prestigious New York City law firm. A former litigator, Clayton has found a niche that capitalizes on his legal acumen and shrewd people skills, and yet, after 13 years on the job, finds himself increasingly disgusted with his clientele.


    The film covers four pivotal days of his life, in which a midlife crisis and a crisis of conscience neatly converge when he is called in to "fix" a situation unfolding in one of his firm's hottest cases. Brilliant lawyer Arthur Edens (another powerhouse performance by Tom Wilkinson), representing a huge agro-chemical corporation being hit by a class action suit, has a bipolar breakdown, compounded by guilt over his defense of a company that is probably in the wrong, but is wealthy enough to buy its innocence either way.


    The company's CEO (Tilda Swinton) will stop at nothing to keep Edens from sinking the case. Clayton must decide how much of Edens's mad rebellion against the company is sheer mental illness, how much is true, and how much it will cost him to do the right thing. Clooney delivers a rich performance as a hangdog and haunted man who wants to stay on the side of good, but is a little too skilled at moral margin-walking to make that an easy choice in every situation. Swinton glows as a secretly frail Amazon who somehow won't let a tortured conscience prevent her from getting ahead. The final third of the film is as suspenseful as any courtroom drama, without ever resorting to legal-thriller cliches.


    I highly recommend this movie to anyone who loves a good thriller.



    Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars




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    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Ups and Downs

    The weekend started out a bit poorly. On Friday afternoon, I set about doing our weekly shopping. I hopped in my vehicle and was on my way. About a mile from the house, my air pressure sensor beeps at me…repeatedly. I appear to have a tire that’s going flat. I make it to the tire shop, but just barely. I sit their in the lobby, twiddling my thumbs, watching the clock, wondering what could be taking so long. I get my answer after an hour. Turns out that my sensor has failed to boot and has to be replaced. My Friday afternoon flat wound up costing me over a hundred dollars. That sucks… It was definitely the low point for the weekend.

    Friday evening we settled in to watch movies and relax. My wife picked up Beowulf, We Own the Night, Michael Clayton and Saw IV. We only made it through Beowulf that night and sprinkled the rest throughout various free time found over the weekend.

    Saturday we attended the thirtieth birthday party of one of our closest friends. It was a grand ol’ time. There was enough food, laughter, beverages and memories to last until the next benchmark birthday. Since today is actually the day, I want to give a giant shout out: Happy Birthday Amy!!!!!!

    Sunday we caught up on a few home projects for part of the day and helped my son work on a pretest for the state exams coming up in April. The school sent home a booklet that was a representative sample of the test to come. He did better than any of us expected on the first go around. We went over the few he did miss and made sure he understand where he went wrong. It was a surprisingly painless process for all involved.

    So, how did you spend your weekend?

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    Friday, March 07, 2008

    Friday 55

    Alright folks, the object of the exercise is to write a story using exactly 55 words. Susie is the one that started it all, so be sure to drop by her site as well.



    His eyes burned with desire. Nostrils flared. She turned away, his face too much to bear. Rain bounced from the tin-roof, comforting, distracting. His hands found her arms, pulled at her, strong with need. She resisted, putting her hands on his shoulders. He begged; she relented. Her teeth met his throat. He was her first.



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    Thursday, March 06, 2008

    Mutha Nature!

    It’s official… I’m sick of this weather. No, not literally, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before my body follows my mind. Nearly everyone I know has come down with the flu or some other nasty bug. I’m sure these crazy weather patterns we’re having played their part. It snowed here on Monday, climbed to the high forties on Tuesday, reached 60 yesterday and…it’s going to snow again tonight. WTF????? That’s pretty much been the story for most of the winter.

    I need something to cheer me up. How about you? Oh, I know! Let’s have a joke. They say laughter is the best medicine.

    Here’s my contribution:

    Drug Used to Seduce Men
    Men, please read this if you go to bars or clubs:

    Guys, be more alert and cautious when getting a drink offer from a girl. There is a drug called "beer" that is essentially in liquid form.
    The most effective varieties are being shipped in from other countries. "Beer" is now being used by female sexual predators at parties to convince their male victims to have sex with them.

    The shocking statistic is that this "beer" is available virtually anywhere! All girls have to do is buy a beer or two for almost any guy and simply ask the guy home for no-strings-attached sex. Men are literally rendered helpless against such attacks. Please! Forward this to every man you know... There is safety in numbers...

    So, what’s yours? Come on, brighten my day, make me laugh (or at least groan).

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    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    Dar-Wednesday

    It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.


    (Date Omitted) An enterprising lumberman jacked up the rear end of his pickup, and swapped one of the rear tires with a tire rim. He attached one end of a rope to the rim, and the other end to a large felled tree. He put the pickup into gear, apparently expecting the rim to act as a makeshift rope crank that would pull the tree up the steep embankment, saving him lots of sweat.



    A great idea? Not if you're reading it here! You see, the tree vastly outweighed the truck. The man was standing with one foot on the ground and the other foot on the accelerator. When he gunned the engine, the tree acted like an anchor, and the truck yanked itself backwards. The open door rammed into him, and he was swept over the embankment along with the pickup.



    When the dust settled, our lumberman had entered the great beyond. But his escapade served as a warning for others. The next lumberman cut up the tree where it lay, and carried it off.


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    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Book Review: Rules of Darkness

    I recently read Rules of Darkness by Tia Fanning. This is the first of a stack of books I purchased from some of my fellow authors at Resplendence Publishing.


    Rules of Darkness is a paranormal romance written in the first person. It is the story of a young woman (Katia) trying to escape a destiny she never wanted and finally coming to grips with the importance of her special abilities.


    Tia is a fantastic pacer and plotter. The story grips you from the first page and refuses to let you go until you reach the conclusion. Whether it’s a confrontation with an angry ghost or surrendering herself to the touch of her husband (Warning: Explicit Content), Tia’s attention to detail creates a vivid picture of the world Katia must live in.




    If you ever enjoy a good romance novel, I highly recommend you add this one to your collection.





    Synopsis




    They tell me that I am special, that my ability to heal mental illness is a gift that should be treasured and appreciated. But nothing in this life is free, not even gifts. There is always a price to be paid somewhere, somehow. My healing gift came with twelve Rules of Darkness, rules that I must follow at all times, until the day I die. The rules are ingrained in who I am. They dictate how I live my life when I am awake, and they haunt me when I'm asleep. Don't look into a graveyard, Katia. Don't touch the dead, Katia. Never seek out the lost, Katia. It's enough to drive a person mad. And perhaps that's where I find myself now. A victim of a disease I can cure in others, but not in myself. It's madness to break the rules, and yet, I don't care anymore. I'm tired of living my life this way. I'm tired of the rules. I won't do it any more, and if that means I suffer the consequences, then so be it.




    Rating: 5 of 5 Stars






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