31 December 2012

Big Trouble In Little China (1986)

To the Summary!
Jack Burton cracks one liners as he gets involved in some sort of super natural battle.  +Jason Hawk of Atomic Trivia War 9000 claims its the best Christmas movie ever.

To the Cast!
Kurt Russell - Jack Burton
Kim Catrall - Gracie Law
Dennis Dun - Wang Chi
James Hong - David Lo Pan
Victor Wong - Egg Shen
Kate Burton - Margo
Donald Li - Eddie Lee

To the Deeper Thoughts!
So, one of the fine podcasts I listen to Atomic Trivia War 9000, has several fine hosts.  Two of them +Jason Hawk and +Kevin Archibald along with +Ro Karen of Starbase 66 suggested that I watch this film as they felt it was required viewing.

So I viewed it.

While it was not quite the greatest Christmas movie ever (that honor goes to Die Hard), it was definitely entertaining.  One trouble I had was I kept trying to insert quotes from the greatest Kurt Russell movie ever.  (Hint: Tombstone).  Distracting, but not nearly as much as seeing Kim Catrall play a lawer named Gracie Law.  A lawyer, with the last name of Law.  The facepalms were loud.

All kidding aside, I liked this movie.  It was a bit of 80s cheese.  Not too sharp, or not too soft, but aged just  right.  Quite possibly something I will add to my collection one day.

30 December 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

To the Summary!
Bilbo Baggins, a rather ordinary Hobbit, is chosen to go on an adventure to help the Dwarves reclaim their homeland.

To the Cast!

Ian McKellen - Gandolf
Martin Freeman - Bilbo
Richard Armitage - Thorin
Ian Holm - Old Bilbo
Elijah Wood - Frodo
Hugo Weaving - Elrond
Cate Blanchett - Galadriel
Christopher Lee - Saruman
Andy Serkis - Gollum
Sylvester McCoy - Radagast

To the Deeper Thoughts!
At long last, we have the prequel to The Lord of The Rings.  The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, uncle to Frodo.  See, Bilbo was a quite little Hobbit, enjoying good food, good drink and the quiet of his little Hobbit hole.

That is, until Gandolf shows up.

Gandolf is in the company of a group of Dwarves.  And the Dwarves need help.  Turns out when you have a whole underground cavern filled to bursting with gold, Smaug the dragon will come and take up residence.  Understandably, the dwarves are upset by this and aim to re-claim their home.

To do this, they require the help of a thief, in this case Bilbo.  Not sure what he has to steal, but we have two other movies for that.

There's a party, some traveling to Rivendell, some Trolls, and Orcs, and oh ya.  That Gollum guy.  Then the movie ends, so lets get ready for part two!

I liked this.  I felt it was right up there with The Lord of The Rings.  Which makes sense given how  pretty much everybody came back to work on this film.  Visually this is a stunning movie.

Speaking of visuals...

I declined to see this in 48fps 3D.  I enjoyed it in good old fashioned 2D.

Now, lets be honest.  The one part we were all looking forward to in this movie.  The meeting between Bilbo and Gollum.  This was a great scene.  Subtle and not to overplayed it was a great re-introduction to Gollum.

Its tough to write a decent review for this one.  Being the first in a trilogy, you can't yet judge the whole.  But, so far, we are off to a good start.

11 December 2012

Trailer Review!

So a couple of trailers have hit the internet over the last couple of days.  Perhaps you have heard of some of these properties?  Star Trek? Superman?  Lone Ranger?

Star Trek Into Darkness

There has been much wailing and nashing of teeth over this one.  Who is the villain?   What's the plot?  Enterprise under water???  Well, some of those questions have been answered.  Alice Eve is playing Carol Marcus, Benedict Cumberbatch is playing John Harrison and Peter Weller is playing... we don't know yet.  I've read some speculation that Peter Weller's character could be a bigger deal than it is being made out to be.  People still think that Cumberbatch is Khan.  But his name is John?  (John/Kahn... roll that on your tongue for a bit.)  Plus, the whole Miranda Tate issue from TDKR has been mentioned as well.

I'm going to see it.  It look like it should be pretty good, probably awesome.

PS - Enterprise underwater?  As far as I care, if it can survive space, it can survive the ocean.

Man of Steel

I just..  I...  I have no words for this trailer.  Based on the trailer, I'm almost more excited for this than I am Star Trek.  I liked Superman Returns, and I really enjoyed the two Christoper Reeve Superman movies.  But this... this I think will surpass them all.

Lone Ranger

This looks good.  I know almost nothing about the Lone Ranger.  Johnny Depp seems to be playing somebody else other than Jack Sparrow, which is nice.  Seems kinda dark as well.

09 December 2012

Training Log - Week of 2 DEC 12

3 DEC 12 - Abs week, month three.  What this means is pain.

4 DEC 12 - Did a double class tonight.  It was no picnic, but I got through it.  My sparring partner and I pretty much killed a tombstone.  Oh, and he complimented me on my kicks, which was pretty nice.

5 DEC 12 - BJJ seminar with 7th degree black belt Marcio Stambowsky.

Master Stambowsky is the guy standing up.  I'm the one in white.
I learned a lot at his seminar.  Can't say I remember it all, to be honest.  At least not in detail.  I remember bits and pieces of what was taught.  I do remember that it was all pretty cool stuff, especially something called the helicopter choke.

03 December 2012

Training Log Week of 25 NOV 12

26 NOV 12
ABD - Month three!  Woot!

BJJ - Another side mount attack.  This time working your opponents arm to get there into a key lock.  Did ok with this.

29 NOV 12
ABD - Second day of review in preparation for belt test at the end of the month.  Need to work on rotating my hip when I throw a kick.

BJJ - Need to focus more on maintaining a solid base when rolling.

27 November 2012

Moonraker (1979)

To the Summary!
Its Bond!  In SPACEEE!!!!!  Oh, and there's a guy, Hugo Drax who wants to populate the Earth with pretty people.  And there's lasers, bad science, bad jokes, and BOND!  IN! SPACE!

To the Cast!
Roger Moore - James Bond, 007
Lois Chiles - Dr. Holly Goodhead
Michael Lonsdale - Hugo Drax
Richard Kiel - Jaws
Bernard Lee - M
Desmond Llewelyn - Q
Lois Maxwell - Miss Moneypenny

To the Deeper Thoughts!
Le sigh.  This is the movie that triggered my theory of Bond.  There are no bad Bond movies, just some that are better than others.  This is near the bottom of the pile, in my opinion.  I mean, I know that at the time this was made, sci-fi was really taking off (thanks Star Wars!) so I can see why they took Bond where they did.

This is Roger Moore's fourth outing as Bond, and he has settled into the role.  Maybe a bit too much.  Moore's interpretation of Bond was always a bit too aloof for me.  But, this again could be the product of the time in which it was made.

But the cheese.  Oh my, the cheese.  I mean, I  know Bond is known for cheese, but this almost gets over the top.  Basic premise is that Hugo Drax wants to kill all the people on the planet, and replace us with his hand picked beautiful people.  A plus to this movie is the introduction of Jaws.  And by introduction I mean his second appearance, the first being The Spy Who Loved Me.  Jaws is an interesting villain, what with his mouth full of metal teeth.  Who also can't seem to die.

*** I've been working on this review for way to long.  Time to call it quits.  Summary:  Moonraker is probably lowest on my list of favorite Bond movies.  Sure, it has its moments, but overall its pretty weak.  Absolutely see it if you are a completionist like me, but not a good one to start with.

19 November 2012

Skyfall (2012)

This review is For Your Eyes Only, as it contains massive state secrets, also known as spoilers.

To the Summary!
James Bond faces his most personal attacks yet, as the one family he knows comes under attack.

To the Cast!
Daniel Craig - James Bond
Judi Dench - M
Javier Bardem - Silva
Ralph Finnes - Gareth Mallory
Naomie Harris - Eve
Berenice Marlohe - Severine
Albert Finney - Kincade
Ben Whishaw - Q
Rory Kinnear - Tanner

To the Deeper Thoughts!
Bond, James Bond has returned.  Making a triumphant return to the screen since the lackluster Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig once again holsters the Walther to fight the enemies of Queen and Country.

We join Bond in pursuit of a hard drive that contains a list of all NATO agents embedded in terrorist organizations.  Chasing an assassin through, well over, Constantinople Bond ends up fighting him on a moving train.  His partner in this mission, Eve, is tracking them and finally has a (not clean) shot.  With little remorse, M orders Eve to take the shot.  She misses and Bond is presumed dead.

Cue the opening credits and the requisite song.  All I will say here is that Adele knocks it out of the park.

We rejoin the world of Bond three months later.  He's been hiding in some island country, playing drinking games with scorpions.  That is until he hears about an attack on MI6.  He breaks into M's flat, and declares he wants back in.  MI6 has done the reasonable thing and retreated in the tunnels below London.  Bond is tested, and although he fails, M declares him fit for duty to her boss, Gareth Mallory.  After a fitting out by Q, Bond starts chasing down to clues, and those clues lead to Raul Silva.

Raul Silva.  It is easy to make the argument that he is the now the greatest villain in the Bond film cannon.  He has quite possible the greatest entrance ever.  Descending from an open air elevator, Silva starts telling Bond how best to get rid of a rat infestation.  Short form:  get the rats to eat each other until there are only two left.  And here we have our two rats.  See, Bond was not the first agent that M left for dead.  Silva was once an agent in Hong Kong that went bad, and M turned him over to ensure a peaceful transition of Hong Kong back to Chinese control.  And here we have a similarity to Bond.  Bond could have easily made the decision to get revenge and work for the bad guys, or to set himself up nicely.  As Silva did when he hacked into MI6 and rigged an explosion.  That's right he used a computer to rig an explosion.  Gives you an idea of the kind of bad guy we are facing here.  An enemy who has no known affiliation, and lives in the shadows; who can strike anywhere.

So, obviously Bond has captured Silva and brought him back to the MI6 secret base.  Except, Silva has planned for this.  Q gets to work on hacking Silva's computer, but wait!

Its a trap!


Silva executes one hell of an escape and heads to some governmental building where M is giving testimony as to why MI6 should even still exsist.  Well, the stuffed shirts are about to get a lesson.  Silva barges in and starts shooting the place up.  Bond shows up, and with the help of Eve and Mallory, force Silva to run.  Bond decides to get ahead of Silva, and takes M to his childhood home in Scotland, Skyfall.  Oh, and they get there in THE Aston Martin DB-5.  If you don't know what I mean, go watch Goldfinger and Thunderball.

The final battle at Skyfall is nothing short of epic.  Devising some pretty cool bobby traps (including said car) Bond, M, and the groundskeeper Kincaid, fight off the first wave of Silva's men.  But then Silva shows up in a helicopter with more.  Losing ground fast, Bond blows up the castle, taking out the helicopter and more of Silva's men.

Tracking Kincaid and M to the onsite chapel, Silva corners M.  He attempts to get M to kill themselves, but at the last minute Bond shows up, kills Silva and declares: "Last rat standing."

And then it got dusty in the theater.  Having been shot earlier in the battle, the stress and blood loss are too much for M, and she dies.  Side note: just prior to the movie, my wife and I were talking about who should replace Judi Dench as M.  We get that answer very soon.

And so begins my favorite sequence in the film.  Bond is standing on the top of MI6 as Eve shows up and presents him with a ceramic bulldog that used to sit on M's desk.  Eve suggests that perhaps its a message from M to Bond to take a desk job.  Bond states that it is quite the opposite.

Walking into a room with a familiar coat rack, Eve says she is not cut out for field work, and that she is taking another assignment.  Oh, and her last name is Moneypenny.  And then the door.  The door with the leather padding from so many Bond films opens, and you see that first glimpse into The Office.  Tanner (M's Chief of Staff) walks out, and tells Bond "He's ready to see you."  Bond walks in to see Mallory behind the desk as the new M. M tosses a file at Bond and says: "We have work to do."

This has got to be the best of the Criag Bond's, and quite possibly one of the greatest of all.  If Casino Royale was a bump, and Quantum of Solace was a (weak) set, then this is the spike.  Bringing back familiar elements (Q, Moneypenny) and setting up a new world of evil for Bond to fight, this movie declares that Bond is back.

Also, this is the 50th anniversary of the Bond film franchise.  So, there were subtle reminders and tributes throughout.  A few of my favorites:
  1. Q telling Bond to return the gear in one piece, and that they don't do exploding pens anymore.  Hell, all the exchanges between Q and Bond were fantastic and reminded me of past Bond movies. (Goldeneye, et al.)
  2. Bond escapes from some Komodo dragon's in a very familiar way (See Live and Let Die)
  3. The Aston Martin DB-5.  Need I say more?
There were many others, but these are my favorites.

Skyfall is a hell of a movie.  I think its the first that has a chance of some acting Oscar nominations, especially for Javier Bardem.  He just plays Silva with the right amount of sinister, mixed with the right amount of crazy.  He approaches the edge of campy, but then steps back.

I LOVE this film.  It is a high note for the franchise.  I can only hope the next chapter can carry this wave of momentum.

18 November 2012

Training Log - Week of 11 NOV 12

12 NOV 12
ABD: Ramp up for stripe testing next week.  Two gun defenses plus the second half of our muay thai combination.  Really pushed at the end (drill consisting of punches, groin kicks and sprawls)

BJJ:  Worked on a side mount submission that is taught by Marcio Stambowsky, our head head instructor.  Ends with the paper cutter choke.  And then there was rolling.  Tonight happened to be a HUGE class, so I rolled with what felt like 15 other people.  I had fun.  Got tapped out several times, managed to hold my own others.  Got a good sweep and an almost submission with one guy.  Overall, a good session

13 NOV 12
ABD:  More ramp up for stripe testing.  Felt pretty good, considering how hard I pushed the night before.  As I write this (on the 14th), I'm still feeling the last two days of training, especially in the shoulders.  Ah well, it was still awesome.

12 November 2012

Training Log - Week of 4 NOV 12

5 NOV 12 - Second week of month two.  More gun defenses to learn.  More parts of our current Muay Thai combination.  Tonight was a really great class, in no small part because of my partner.  One of my friends from high school joined the school a while ago, and tonight I worked with him.  We both pushed each other during the drills.  It was awesome because as we trained we'd claim past offenses (usually made up) from high school.  It was pretty awesome.

8 NOV 12 - Day two of week 2 of month 2.  Refined the stuff learned on Monday.  Had a great BJJ class today as well.  I'm still new, and get tapped out a lot, but instead of getting tapped out every 10 seconds, I would only tap out 2 or 3 times in a two minute round.  Which was kinda cool.  Especially when rolling with my instructor (a brown belt)

06 November 2012

01 November 2012

23 October 2012

20 October 2012

Training Log - 15 OCT 12

15 OCT 12 - Review for stripe test.

BJJ - scissor sweep; felt better about the material

18 OCT 12 - More review for the stripe test.

BJJ - feeling better about the material.  Hopefully this is an upswing.

15 October 2012


Keeping things close to home after his adventures on the other side of the Atlantic, James Bond is set on the path of wealthy inventor Sir Hugo Drax.

One slow day in the offices of MI6, M invites James Bond, 007 to join him for dinner and cards at the most exclusive of clubs, Blades.  Turns out there is a prominent player that has decided to cheat at Bridge.  Which is odd, because he's loaded and something of a national hero.  Turns out he's good at designing missiles, and went a created one heck of a missile for the United Kingdom.  So why cheat?  After enjoying an excellent dinner, Bond proceeds to take quite a bit of money from Drax.  Because that's what Bond does.

Turns out that there's been some shenanigans at Drax's base.  Bond is sent out to investigate under the guise of becoming Drax's new head of security.  He will be helped by Gala Brand, a Special Branch agent who is already working undercover at Drax's base.

And clearly, because this is Bond, nothing is at is seems.  As Bond digs deeper into the mystery of the base he learns that England is about to get one heck of a blow dealt to it.  See, Drax is not the upstanding British citizen that he claims to be.  Turns out, Drax is actually a former German officer that managed to get into this high position by effectively switching bodies with a British civilian.  So obviously, the missile is not going to be a harmless test fire.  Oh no, fellow readers.  Drax has reprogrammed it to land in the middle of London carrying a nuclear bomb.  Cause that's what evil madmen do.

Bond escapes the trap, saves the girl and saves the day.  Moonraker is probably one of my favorite of the Bond books.  Well written, and with a... I was going to say plausible plot.  I think that's slightly inaccurate.  Given today's lens of plausibility that is.  I can see this when it was first written and the tech, and fears of Nazi uprisings and Soviet Russia takeovers how this would be completely plausible.  Given how much I like it, its really sad what they do to this book with the movie; but that's a rant for another time.  Third book in, you still don't feel as if you NEED to read the previous books to catch up with whats going on.  So, if you have not yet, pick up a Bond book.  You won't be disappointed.

14 October 2012

Training Log - Week of 8 OCT 12

9 OCT 12 - Did a double tonight, which was double fun because it was abs week.  There were medicine balls involved.  New gun defense technique and the second part of our Muay Thai combination.  Everything felt pretty good.

12 October 2012

The Cabin In The Woods (2012)

To the Summary!
Five college kids head to a remote cabin for a weekend of intense studying and higher learning.  Or they head there for a weekend of drinking and partying.  Either way, nothing is as it seems.

To the Cast!
Kristen Connolly - Dana Polk
Chris Hemsworth - Curt Vaughan
Anna Hutchison - Jules Louden
Fran Kranz - Marty Mikalski
Jesse Williams - Holden McCrea
Richard Jenkins - Gary Sitterson
Bradley Whitford - Steve Hadley
Amy Acker - Wendy Lin
Sigourney Weaver - The Director

To the Deeper Thoughts!
What if you have a horror film where, quite literally, everybody dies?  How does one approach this in a meaningful and believable way?  You create a mythos where the world has been offering sacrifices to the Ancient Ones so they don't rise and take the world over and reshape it in their image.  Obviously you don't use willing sacrifices   You create elaborate scenarios where the intended victims chose the manner of their demise.  Oh, and you try to manipulate the situation so that you can ensure everybody dies.  But watch out for that left hand plot turn, cause it turned everything on its collective head.

I really liked this movie.  I'm not generally a horror film fan, so I almost gave this a pass.  I started hearing good things about it though, and that it had the involvement of Joss Wheddon.  So I gave it a go; and I was glad that I did.

08 October 2012

Training Log - Week of 1 OCT 12

1 OCT 12 - First night of new material.  First part of our Muay Thai combo and our first of our new Krav defenses for the cycle.  All I'm going to say is that I'm quite excited for the start of the new cycle!  BJJ however...  I don't know.  Part of my really does enjoy it.  But a much larger part of me is worried that I might perhaps hurt myself in a way that might hurt my ABD training.

05 October 2012

Farscape: Season One

Well, I just finished the first season of Farscape.  I was...underwhelmed to begin with.  It was not really until the last three or four episodes where the series picked up for me.

Farscape tells the story of John Chriton, an astronaut that is shot across the galaxy when his prototype ship hits a black hole.  There he joins up with a crew of escaped prisoners as they try to find their way home.

I found the first season to be... uneven at best.  I thought the puppet work was great, and the special effects good as well.  I'm not sure why I'm so ambivalent to it.  I didn't dislike it to the point that I won't watch the rest, but it did not grab me quite like I thought it would.

Well, onto season two.  That's where I hear it really gets going.

04 October 2012

Live and Let Die (1973)

To the Summary!
Roger Moore makes his debut as the MI-6 agent, James Bond.  Bond travels to the states to track down what happened to three fellow agents.  What he discovers is... the undead!  And heroin...

To the Cast!
Roger Moore - James Bond
Yaphet Koto - Kananga/Mr. Big
Jayne Seymour - Solitaire
Clifton James - Sheriff Pepper
Bernard Lee - M
Lois Maxwell - Moneypenny

To the Deeper Thoughts!
Roger Moore has not always been a Bond that I held in high regard.  But Live and Let Die is not the reason I think this.  Those movies come later.  Here though, Moore plays Bond very well.  James bond is tasked to go to New Orleans and check out why some of his fellow agents have been... liquidated.  He stumbles across the operation of one Mr. Big, a gangster who owns a series of restaurant/night clubs called 'Fillet of Soul'.  Obviously, these are fronts for the criminal organization.  At one, he meets the fortune teller Solitaire, whom Mr. Big uses to see the future.  But, this being Bond, he eventually, uh... removes Dr. Quinn's Solitaire's fortune telling abilities.

Now, about that undead business.  See, Kananga (who is the dictator of a random island in the Caribbean) is actually Mr. Big, the crime boss.  So since he is one and the same, he grows poppies on his island.  (I'm getting to the undead!)

Ok, its taken me way to long to finish this one up.  Short version:  Roger Moore does really well in his first outing as James Bond.  Its one of my favorites and the closing scene is just perfect.

Oh, and there really arn't any undead.  Just a crime boss playing on local superstitions.

Link of Interest

Added (or will add) a new tab to the top of this here blog.  Its a collection of links that I find interesting, and want to share with all of you fine folks.  I'll have it organized in some sort of rational order.  I'll start with fitness related links.  Keep looking out for more!

America's Best Defense - Norwich - The main web page for the school I train at
Norwich Krav Maga - Web page specific to Krav Maga/Muay Thai at my school
Norwich BJJ - Web page specific to Brazilian Jujitsu at my school
McShane Training - Training log for my Sensei.
Jay Pawlowski -Training Partner
Michael Park - Training Partner

30 September 2012

Training Log - Week of 24 SEP 12

24 SEP 12 - Stripe test was tonight.  Felt pretty good overall.  Still need to work on my spinning back fist; but the consensus of my training partner is that this will always be an awkward move.  Let's review my numbers shall we?

  • Push Up
    • 10-10-6
  • V's
    • 14-16-15
  • Squats
    • 29-30-22
  • Cut Kicks
    • Right Leg - 26-23-26
    • Left Leg - 16-24-26
So, not terrible.  Next up - BELT TEST!

Jiu Jitsu was frustrating in part, but at the end got better.  I still like it, and I know that its a much slower learning curve.  I am learning and I am lucky to have great people to train with who will talk me through what I am trying to do.

27 SEP 12 - Today was the belt test.  It was an awesome experience as always.  Ended up doing a total of 650 jumping jacks and 650 squats by the end of it.  I hurt for the next three days, but a good hurt.  Purple belt - unlocked.

24 September 2012

Training Log - Week of 17 SEP 12

17 SEP 12 - Week 3, month 3.  This translates to legs week.  Le ouch.  Especially so after running a road race.  Ah, well.  Overall felt good about everything.  Feeling strong going into stripe and belt testing week.  The BJJ was fun as always.  Learning a little bit more each lesson at a time.

20 SEP 12 - Week 3, month 3, day two.  Nothing new here.  Final prep for stripe and belt test next week.  Bring it!   BJJ was a lot of fun.  High intensity drilling.

17 September 2012

Training Log - Week of 10 SEP 12

Not too much to report this week.  ABD went well.  Big thing this week was

HAMMERFEST!  Me, Leanda and my sister Liz did a relay triathalon.  Leanda swam, Liz biked and I did the run.  We all did really well and really enjoyed it.  In fact, next year I'm going to try and do the bike and run, and Leanda is going to do the whole thing.  So, goals are set, and we will see what next year brings.

10 September 2012

Live and Let Die

Building on his own personal experiences, Ian Flemming sends James Bond to the USA and Jamacia.  His mission:  track down the source of gold pieces being smuggled into the USA.

Arriving in NYC, Bond is teamed up once again with his best  pal Felix Leiter of the CIA.  Their target:  Mr. Big; a crime lord based in Harlem whose reach extends all the way to Jamaica   And that's where Bond comes in.  Being a British territory, Jamaica can't be touched by the CIA, hence Bond's involvement.  The theory that MI6 and the CIA come up with is that Mr. Big has found the lost treasure of the pirate Henry Morgan.  And just what would Mr. Big be using this gold for?  Why, to fund Soviets of course!  Since this money could also go towards SMERSH, well this just gives Bond a chance to strike back a bit at those that caused the death of Vesper from the previous book.

The adventure starts in Harlem, where Mr. Big has the town sown up tight.  From the moment Bond and Leiter enter Halrem, there every move is tracked by Mr. Big.  Upon capture, Mr. Big have a heart to heart with the assistance of Solitaire, Mr. Big's fortune telling lady friend.  Bond escapes un harmed and plans his next move to Florida.  Once there, Bond and Leiter track down a lackey of Mr. Big.  Turns out  Mr. Big is indeed smuggling in gold.  Rather ingeniously too.  Sink some boxes of gold into tanks of poisonous fish, and no customs agent is going to think twice about sticking their hand into the tank.

The final act takes us to Jamaica.  Once there, Bond meets up with some local back up and gets with the taking down of Mr. Big.  He does some sneaky SCUBA diving into the lair of Mr. Big, and promptly gets captured.  Never fear!  Even though it looks like Bond and Solitaire are going to be literal fish food, this is not to be the case.  Turns out while Bond was doing the sneaky SCUBA, he planted a mine on the hull of Mr. Big's ship.  Just when you think there will be no more Bond adventures, the mine goes boom, Mr. Big becomes dinner for sharks, and Bond gets the girl.

A strong second outing for Mr. Flemming and his dashing hero.  Delving into a little mysticism and gangsters, this is a little different than the previous adventure.  I like this one just as much as Casino Royale.  A nice thing about Mr. Flemming's writing is that you don't need to start with the first book in a series.  One could easily read this one first and not feel like you've missed anything.

James Bond returns in Moonraker.

09 September 2012

Training Log - Week of 3 SEP 12

6 SEP 12 - Class tonight.  No power.  Chalk sparring.  No power meant no AC.  No AC meant sauna like conditions.  Class was good.  I think it may be my favorite class to date of ABD.

03 September 2012

Training Log - Week of 27 AUG 12

27 AUG 12 - Strip testing week.  Review tonight.  Everything felt ok, but I still get frustrated with my endurance on some of the cardio stuff.  I know I won't be perfect overnight, but I think I'm just a tad to hard on myself.  Ah well, stripe test Saturday!

1 SEP 12 - Stripe test today.  Went well.  Had some improvement on some areas, others stayed the same.  Stayed after class for sparring class.  I really enjoyed that.  45 minutes of muay thai sparring.  Learned a few new things, but still have a lot to learn.

28 August 2012

Casino Royale (2006)

To the Summary!
Newly bestowed with 00-status, James Bond goes after Le Chiffre, banker to the worlds terrorists and general bad guys.

To the Cast!

Daniel Craig - James Bond
Eva Green - Vesper Lynd
Mads Mikkelsen - Le Chiffre
Judi Dench - M
Jeffrey Wright - Felix Leiter
Giancarlo Giannini - Rene Mathis
Jesper Christensen - Mr. White

To the Deeper Thoughts!
We all know that Daniel Craig is not the first the wear the mantle of 007.  But, in my humble opinion, he is by far the best.  By what do I make this bold statement?  Having read the book (my review of which can be found here); I found Daniel Craig to be the closest interpretation of the literary Bond.

So here we have James Bond, newly bestowed with 00 status, and he stumbles onto the trail of Le Chiffre, a financier to the worlds bad guys.  After nearly causing an international incident in Madagascar, Bond shares some information with M (in a particularly gutsy manner), and heads to the Bahamas.  Learning that Le Chriffe plans on making some serious cash by blowing up a plane, Bond rushes off to Miami.  Crisis averted, M gives Bond the official ok to head off to Montenegro to play Le Chriffe in a high stakes Texas Hold-Em game.  Along the way, he meets up with Vesper Lynd, the MI6 agent who is in charge of the money.

The players are in place, the scene is set.  Lets get with the poker!  Folds!  Raises! Blinds! The action of Texas Hold-Em moves the plot forward, right up to the point where Bond loses!

What, you thought he was going to win right off the bat?

Understandably upset, Bond tries to get Vesper to release the funds required to buy back into the game.  She refuses.  But wait!  Here come the American's to save the day!  Felix Leiter, knowing that he has zero chance of winning, loans Bond the CIA's emergency fund. Re-energized (and after a fight and almost getting poisoned), Bond wins it all.

This pisses off Le Chriffe.  Engineering the kidnapping of Vesper, Le Chriffe draws Bond into the middle of nowhere... and... well, Bond does not have a good experience, though he laughs through it all.  A Mr. White shows up and indirectly saves Bond by killing Le Chriffe.

While relaxing and preparing for his new life post MI-6 with Vesper, Bond gets word from M that the money he won has not made it to the accounts.  Um, what?

Well, this does not go over well with Bond.  Turns out Vesper was being played by some mysterious people.  Racked with guilt, she traps herself in a sinking elevator.  Bond gets the money back along with a new mission... find the people behind this.

This is probably my favorite of the Bond movies.  It strips away a lot of the fun gadgetry of the previous films and brings a grittier edge to the series.  This follows VERY closely to the book also, which is nice.  Craig plays an excellent Bond.  If you have never seen a Bond film, this is a great one to start with.

Training Log - Week of 20 AUG 12

20 AUG 12 - Review for stripe testing; BJJ, well, I can only get better.

23 AUG 12 - More review for stripe testing.  Getting better with the ground defenses; well one more than the other.  I think I am over thinking the one.  As far as sparring goes still blocking kicks with my hands.  That is not how you block.

26 AUG 12 - Training run for the relay triathalon that I am doing with Leanda and my sister Liz in a few weeks.  I'm doing to run portion, Leanda the swim and Liz the bike.  I did the 4 mile run in about 45 minutes so I think it will go well.  Leanda did great on the swim (.5 mile in about 30 minutes) and Liz wasn't able to join us to give the bike a tri (get it?), but she should have no issue doing 14 miles on the bike.

20 August 2012

Training Log - Week of 13 AUG 12

13 AUG 12 - ABD and BJJ tonight.  Nothing too exciting.  Kicks felt off at one point.  BJJ is still a bit of a stuggle, but I will get better at it.

16 AUG 12 - ABD this morning.  Kicks felt much better.  Absolutely an area to work on.  Also: when sparring block kicks with your leg, not arms.

18 August 2012

Casino Royale

So, back in the 50's, there was this British guy who had done some pretty awesome stuff during World War II.  What did he do with this experience?  He went on to write some of the best spy fiction there is to be read.

Ian Flemming introduced the world to James Bond, here in Casino Royale.  James Bond of the literary world is NOT the James Bond you see as portrayed by Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.  Even Sean Connery doesn't truly accomplish the translation of Bond from book to screen.  Fear not, I will not analyzing the role of each Bond actor.  Well, not here anyway.  Look for that in posts about the movies.

Ian Flemming's Casino Royale is our introduction to the world of James Bond, 007.  Bond is a cold blooded professional.  He has two kills to his credit, which is what earned him the 00-status; permission to kill for Her Majesty.  M (Bond's boss) details Bond to travel to Royale-Les-Eaux in Northern France.  There he is to play high stakes baccarat, with the goal of bankrupting Le Chiffre.  Le Chiffre is a major player for SMERSH, the Soviet anti-spy agency.  SMERSH is loosely translated to 'death to spies.'  Warm, loving group; right?

Throughout the book, we are also introduced to Bond's very particular habits.  As he states (and this is me paraphrasing) since he has little else in the world, he takes an almost perverse pleasure in food and drink.  And boy, does he.  The precision with which he orders is fascinating, and I think gives a real good look into what the 50's were like.

So, needless to say, Bond makes it to the game.  After some troubles, he is able to defeat Le Chiffre.  But, that's not the end of the story.  Le Chiffre orchestrates the kidnapping of Vesper Lynd, the finance representative from MI6, who was in control of Bond's money.  Fun fact: Bond, the cold hearted bastard, starts falling for Miss Lynd.  Bond chases after Vesper, and is caught himself.

He is then tortured by Le Chiffre.  Le Chiffre is in deep with SMERSH and REALLY wants the money Bond won from him.  Just as Bond is sinking into deep despair and acceptance of his fate, a gunman walks in and dispatches Le Chiffre.  Turns out SMERSH caught up with Le Chiffre, and Le Chiffre's time had run out.  Bond is saved because the SMERSH agent had no orders regarding Bond.

After this experience, Bond decides to quite MI6 and marry Vesper.  Too bad; so sad.  Looks like Vesper was a double agent for SMERSH!  Racked with guilt, she takes one too many sleeping pills and ends her misery.  In a letter left for James, Vesper details how her lover had been captured by SMERSH, and how they were using him as leverage to get Vesper to work for them.

Bond, understandably pissed decides to NOT retire, and communicates to MI6 that Vesper was a double, and that 'the bitch is dead.'

Not gonna lie.  That closing line is one of my favorites.  Leading up to those lines, we see a Bond who has a new, albeit personal, mission: stop SMERSH.  This will be a minor and sometimes major plot point in the following books.

I really enjoyed this first entry in the Bond literary saga.  Its well written, and at under 200 pages, moves quick.  Even the description and execution of the baccarat game is fascinating.  Clothes, cars, food and locales are described in a way that makes you feel as if you were there.  Any fan of the movies should give at least this first entry a read.  Or, if you are fans of modern thrillers check this out.  Being written in the 50s gives this an almost fresh feel after years of reading Clancy, Cussler, and the like.

James Bond returns in Live and Let Die.

16 August 2012

Fall TV Preview 2012

So the time of year approaches where us TV geeks anticipate the return and premier of shows for the fall season.  I can't take credit for the following list, but it can be found on i09's site here.  For simplicity's sake, I'm going to follow the format that they have laid out.  Oh, and I'm only going to talk about shows I'll be watching.

Currently airing
Grimm (Returning/NBC) - I first wrote about this show for last years preview (click here for that tasty piece of blogging history).  Picking up where last season left off, we find Nick coming to terms with several issues.  The season started off strong, and I am looking forward to more good things out of this fine fantasy show.


Doctor Who (Returning/BBC America) - 
I just starting watching Doctor Who last season.  And boy am I hooked!  I really like Matt Smith as the Doctor.  We are getting a new companion this year, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the new season plays out.

Revolution (New/NBC)
Brought to us by JJ Abrams, Revolution follows a group of people as they navigate the United States after ALL the lights go out.  The promos look good, and I always love me some post apocalyptic fun!

Last Resort (New/ABC)
A US Ohio class sub goes rouge for some reason or another, and sets up their own nation on an island.  I have issues with this already, but being as I am a sucker for Navy shows, I'll be checking this out.  I'm hoping there's a better premise than the one being presented in the previews, so we shall wait and see.

Fringe (Returning/FOX)
Yay!  Fringe is back!  Boo, its the final season.  I'm actually ok with that.  Its going to go out while its still doing well.  I'd rather see that then have it drag on for no reason at all.

Once Upon A Time (Returning/ABC)
Not gonna lie, I did not think this was going to be renewed.  It was a good little show, and ended in a way that would have not left any hanging questions.  I'm glad its back, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they are going to resolve the now standing issues from the season finale.

And that covers it folks!  What shows are you looking forward to this season?

12 August 2012

Training Log - Week of 6 AUG 12

6 AUG 12 - New material in ABD.  Ground defense that is a bit challenging for my flexibility challenged body.  Gonna have to work really hard on that move.  Otherwise, everything felt fine.  Skipped jiu jitsu because of the new tattoo.  Possible skip next week as well, depending on how its healing.

9 AUG 12 - Still having trouble with the ground defense, but I got some good advice on how to execute it better.  Sparred some.  Practiced clinching.  Did ok.  The one thing I really need to work on right now is blocking kicks with my legs instead of my arms or hands.

12 AUG 12  - Walked to downtown Moosup for the VJ Day Parade.  4 ish miles.

08 August 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

As always, standard spoiler warnings apply.  Read at your own risk.

To the Summary!
Eight years after the death of Harvey Dent, Gotham City is virtually crime free.  Batman/Bruce Wayne is in seclusion; Wayne Enterprises is running out of money, and a new threat arrives in Gotham City with a plan to save it by destroying it.

To the Cast!
Christian Bale - Bruce Wayne AKA Batman
Tom Hardy -  Bane
Gary Oldman - Commissioner James Gordon
Anne Hathaway - as Selina Kyle
Marion Cotillard - Miranda Tate
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - John Blake
Morgan Freeman - Lucius Fox

To the Deeper Thoughts!
How does one top one of the greatest modern super hero movie franchises?  If theatrical history has taught us anything, three is a dangerous number.  X3 and Spider-Man 3 both had their share of plot and antagonist issues.  Additionally, how does one top your own, best entry into a film franchise?  The Dark Knight was (and is) hands down one of my favorite films of all time.  Here, check my Flickchart, and you'll see that The Dark Knight is number 1.  But, The Dark Knight Rises comes in at 43.  Which doesn't mean much, as Flickchart still suggests I rank both of those with five stars on other sites.  In talking with some co-workers who have seen The Dark Knight Rises, we all agree that The Dark Knit edges out based solely on the performance of Heath Ledger.  But that's a post for another time.

There are two performances I would like to highlight here.

First, Tom Hardy as Bane.  I have seen and read a lot of criticism aimed at the clarity of Tom Hardy's voice. To be honest, I could understand him just fine.  I feel that it added a bit of menace to the character.  He made you want to sit up and listen to what he had to say.  He made you want to respect him.  Now, this moves to my next point.  He was massive.  I was seriously afraid of Bane.  He was huge, he had power and he know how to control it.  You can best see this in his first battle with Batman.  As Batman is going all out, Bane takes him apart.  And then he breaks him.

All during the lead up to this film, a co-worker and I had a range of theories of how this movie would play out.  Our favorite was that the movie would end with Bane breaking Batman, with a smash cut to black, followed by the credits.  Talk about a gutsy end, right?  But I do like how they did it, even paying homage to the comic.  When I found out what Bane's mask did, I was a bit underwhelmed, but given the restrictions of Nolan's universe it fit.

Second, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle.  The best word I can think of to describe her performance is understated.  I can't (and won't) compare her to Michelle Pfeiffer's take on the character.  I think that Anne Hathaway brilliantly plays the role of the thief looking for redemption, or at the very least a fresh start.  She plays all the sides she needs to in order to survive, and right up to the end, you're never really certain who she is working for.

Also of note is Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake.  When he was first announced, I posited that he might be playing Robin. (I swear!  It was my fist thought about his role!)  Turns out I was right.  Kinda.  Given a lot of the discussions throughout the movie, I'm more inclined to believe that Blake takes up the cowl, and stays Batman.  Regardless, I would watch a movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the Nolan Batman universe.

Christian Bale once again turns in a fine role as Bruce Wayne/Batman.  I've never been bothered by the 'Batman growl' that others have complained about.  Bale does tortured well; and in this movie Wayne is plenty tortured.

I'm going to wrap this up.  I've already dropped some minor spoilers, and am quickly approaching the point of major spoilers.  I know I've given the warning, but I really don't want to ruin it for those that have not seen it.

I felt this was a fitting conclusion to the trilogy.  In many ways everything came full circle.  Was it the best of the three?  I still don't know.  Heath Ledger lent a lot to The Dark Knight.  Tom Hardy comes close to Ledger's performance.  I think final judgement will have to wait for a second viewing.  If you liked the others, you will at minimum like this one.

06 August 2012

Training Log - Week of 30 JUL 12

30 JUL 12 - Stripe test prep.  Muay Thai combination felt good, as did the Krav defenses.  I did 6 chin to floor push ups tonight, which is a new best.  It was almost 7, but my chin did not touch at all, even though it was REALLY close.   Jiu Jitsu was triangle choke tonight.  I need more flexible body parts to execute this well.  Once I get into position, I get it on tight, but its getting there that I need to work on.

2 AUG 12 - Stripe test.  10 push ups.  That's a new personal record right there.  Starting Monday, new material!  Woot!

Got a tattoo... does that count as a workout?

01 August 2012

Man of Steel Trailer

So, this came out the other day.  Another movie that I am really looking forward to.  I've been a fan of Henry Cavill since his days on The Tudors, and I think he will pull off Clark/Superman quite well.  Not sure what the boats have to do with anything, cause Kansas is a major player in the ocean.  Russell Crowe sounds pretty damn like Marlon Brando, so that should be fun.  So far, it looks good!

29 July 2012

Training Log - Week of 22 JUL 12

23 JUL 12 - Review for Krav Maga and Muay Thai.  Stripe test next week already!  Felt good with the Krav.  Muay Thai still felt a bit off.

Worked on taking the back in BJJ.  Felt really good while sparring.  Learning a lot.  I'm not always tapping out, nor am I tapping out my partners.

26 JUL 12 - Second class of review for stripe testing.  Feeling really good with the moves.  Practiced clinching for sparring.

29 JUL 12 - Ran this morning.  4.5 miles in 1 hour.  Not bad.  Felt ok throughout.  There were a couple of points where I thought I'd have to call it quits.  According to my Nike+, today also had my fastest mile of 11:44 at the start.  So, I'll take it.

Next week, prep for and execution of stripe test in ABD, more Brazillian Jiu Jitsu fun!

22 July 2012

Training Log - Week of 15 JUL 12

16 JUL 12 - Yay for more new material!  More ground defense in Krav Maga.  For Muay Thai, the next chunk of our form for the cycle.  Felt good tonight, with one exception during a conditioning drill.  Could not get my kicks right.  Side note: medicine balls suck.  BJJ was awesome.  Worked butterfly sweeps, which I felt really strong about, at least during drilling.  Sparring was a different matter of course.  But, I did manage to land a foot lock on my instructor.  Apparently I set it up with a somewhat advanced move.  Well, it was a great class either way, and as always I learned alot.

19 JUL 12 - Great class tonight.  Felt really good throughout, even with the medicine balls.  Also, sparred tonight.  Good as always.  Need to work on my left hook.

Not much more this week, unless you count walking around Sesame Place.

17 July 2012

An Old Pic of myself - 2/12

Around 2001ish

Training Log - Week of 8 JUL 12

9 JUL 12 - New material tonight with ABD.  Ground defense for Krav Maga.  Some crazy stuff that's going to take a bit of getting used to.  BJJ was all about escaping side mounts.  Still don't feel like I'm very good at it, but I look at BJJ as an additional work out.  I know I will learn something and gain skills, it will just take time.

12 JUL 12 - Second day of new material.  Did some work with sparring.  That was fun.  Sparring gear is hard to move in, especially the ab protector, but that will get easier with time I think.

12 July 2012

EuroTrip (2004)

To the summary!
Scott Thomas races across Europe to reconcile with his German  pen-pal Mieke after (whilst drunk) telling her to never speak to him again.  Accompanied by his pal Cooper and their best friends Jenny and Jamie, they have a series of mad cap adventures.

To the cast!
Scott Mechlowicz - Scotty Thomas
Jacob Pitts - Cooper Harris
Michelle Trachtenberg - Jenny
Travis Wester - Jamie
Jessica Boehrs - Mieke Schmidt
Kristin Kreuk - Fiona
Vinnie Jones - Mad Maynard
Matt Damon - Donny
Jucy Lawless - Madame Vandersexxx

To the deeper thoughts!
I first saw this movie while in college when my roomate basically sat me down and told me to watch it.  We watched it every night for the next week.  Hands down one of the funniest movies I have seen.

I spent a couple of days trying to write a decent review of this, but it kept degrading into a quote fest.  And if you haven't seen the movie, the quotes would have no relevance and appear to be less funny than they are.  Trust me when I say this is a fantastically funny film, with many hilarious moments strung together by a typical plot.  See it.  You'll like it. And they you will know what I mean when I say 'That is not a robot move.'

And don't forget that Scotty doesn't know.

07 July 2012

Training Log - Week of 1 JUL 12

2 JUL 12 - While the regular instructors were on vacation, we had guest instructors in the form of senior student.s  The Krav/Muay Thai class was led by a 2nd degree black belt.  Nothing too crazy.  Started with a warm up, then went into a crazy obstacle course.  Fun fact:  I learned tonight that I can do a forward roll after jumping over a stack of pads as high as my chest.

A stack of these
BJJ was also guest led.  Just covered basic stuff.  I rolled with a gentleman with the nickname of Old Dirty (brown belt) and Sensei McShane showed up and I rolled with him as well.  Plus a slew of students my own...level.  It was good.  Learned a lot.  Best part was when I was being taken once again to Arm Bar City by Old Dirty, and Sensei McShane tells me to 'not let him do that'.  Right, easier said then done.  But, it was all learning.

4 JUL 12 - Went for a run after eating way too much.  About 45 min.  Felt pretty good.  No complaints.

05 July 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

I'm going to get something out of the way right off the bat.  There will be no comparison to Spider-Man (2002).  As far as I am concerned the two films have nothing to do with each other.  Also, give Marvel's propensity for multiple universes, I choose to believe that these two Spider-Men movies exist along side each other, never to interact.

Savvy?  Then lets proceed.

To the summary!
Peter Parker moves in with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben after Peter's parents discover that his dad's office has been ransacked.  We fast forward to a Peter who is attending Midtown Science High School.  He takes photos, gets picked on, and is an all around nice guy.  He learns a bit about his parents past, and sneaks into Oscorp's (yes as in Norman Osborn) headquarters.  He goes where he shouldn't and gets bit by a super spider.  Que transformation montage.  He gives a bit of help to Dr. Curt Connors, a former co-worker of his father's.  Dr. Connors now has the keys he needs to create the serum required to grow back his arm.  Pressured into human trials, Dr. Connors tries the serum on his own arm and finds it works.  But, it turns him into The Lizard.  Peter learns of this, and since he helped created The Lizard, he feels the responsibility to stop him.  He does, but not without losses along the way.  Movie ends with promises of a sequel.

To the cast!
Andrew Garfield - Peter Parker aka Spider-Man
Emma Stone - Gwen Stacy
Rhys Ifans - Dr. Curt Connors aka The Lizard
Martin Sheen - Ben Parker aka Uncle Ben
Sally Field - May Parker aka Aunt May
Dennis Leary - Captain Stacy

To the deeper thoughts!
I liked this movie quite a bit more than I was expecting.  Andrew Garfield was a great choice to play Peter Parker.  I thought he nailed the uncomfortable, geeky, nerdy aspects of Peter.  Once he was transformed Garfield nailed the snark of Spider-Man.  I also enjoyed how they seemed to include all of Spider-Man's abilities with the webbing.  Speaking of the webbing.  I know in the comics he creates his own shooters.  Which he does here, and was a really neat sequence of the film.  But this was one thing that always bugged me.  He gets ALL the powers of a spider, except web generation?  But I got over it quickly.

Emma Stone was great as Gwen Stacy.  I must admit, I'm not all to familiar with her source material, other than she came before Mary Jane Watson.  And as far as her father.  Played perfectly by Dennis Leary, they are drawn into Spider-Man's world rather quickly, and both of them come to accept and help Peter/Spider-Man in their own time and way.

Of course there was a Stan Lee cameo.  Lets just say this was one of my favorites.

Short aside about Aunt May and Uncle Ben.  I've always been a fan of Martin Sheen and I thought he and Sally Field were great choices for Aunt May and Uncle Ben.  There is the obligatory Uncle Ben power speech and death.  Both of which were done differently than we've seen before.  And done well.

I have no doubt that there will be a follow up.  I'd like to think that they won't go straight to Green Goblin, but the end of the film seems to point that way.  I would like to see Kraven the hunter myself.  A very different villain for the new films.  Heck, I'd throw The Rock in as my choice to play him.  I'd also like to see Venom brought back and done better (ok, so I made one reference to the other films)  Its clear that they will have some old favorites in the next film as well.  I think this is a great start to a new series of films, and I look forward to the next installment.

02 July 2012

Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the USS Indianapolis (1991)

Having recently finished the book 'In Harm's Way', I fired up the made for TV movie, Mission of the Shark.

This tells the story of the USS Indianapolis.  The importance of the USS Indianapolis is this: it delivered components of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan to close the War in the Pacific.  What happened to this ship next is the real story.

Many of you could already have a general idea of the sinking of the Indianapolis and the aftermath.  How many of you have seen Jaws?  Quint's story is a fairly accurate to the real events.

En route to Letye, the Indianapolis is sunk by a Japanese submarine.  Lucky strikes were made, as the torpedoes cause massive destruction to the Indianapolis.  The order to abandon was given moments after the strikes; and the Indianapolis went down moments later.

Now, under normal(?) circumstances, being relatively close major commands, rescue should have been quick.  Through various mis-communications and different interpretations of orders, the survivors of the Indianapolis were left to float in the Pacific Ocean for three and a half days.  With the speed of the sinking, supplies were sparse, leaving many of the men without water and food.

To make matters worse, sharks begin to attack the survivors, leading to what has been called the largest number of shark attacks in history.

Eventually, the crew is rescued.  Sadly though, the captain, Charles McVay is brought up on charges for the loss of his ship.  The Navy blames McVay for not zig zagging (a maneuver designed to throw off targeting).  McVay is initially found guilty, but in 2001, McVay's record was cleared of all wrongdoing as the only officer to be court martialed for the loss of their ship during WWII.

Now to the movie itself.

The movie stars Stacey Keach as Capt. McVay.  Overall the movie was accurate to the original incident.  There were a few mistakes such as how the Indianapolis sank and the first appearance of the sharks.  I also get the impression the movie compressed the timeline a bit.  Also, the movie states they were in the water for five days, when it was only three and a half.

I liked it.  It brings to light a piece of history not all of us are familiar with, outside of Quint's speech in Jaws.  Worth a watch, IMO.

29 June 2012

Hiking Log - Mt. Greylock 24 Jun 12

There's the summit
So it occurred to me that I need to get moving on bagging the three highest peaks in three different states.  Plus, its been since 2009 that I went on a hike.  Realizing that there was a great one in my (relative) back yard, I picked up the Zupka Phone and dialed my good buddy, and writer of New England Outside, Grant.

Me: Prithee good sir; would thou leadest me to the peak of yonder Mt. Greylock?*
Grant: Yes.

So, with the date set, I tossed my overpacked backpack into my car and headed off for the scenic drive to Adams, MA.  Well, scenic once you get off of 91.  I meandered through the back roads of western Mass, arriving at the trail head for the Gould Trail.

Start of the journey
At this point, I would like to offer a few points to the Massachusetts department of outdoor stuff.  Would it kill you to have better trail markings?  To be fair, once we got onto the right trail, the markings were fine.  But, after ending up in a giant field and a false trail, we started on the right trail.

Stay to the right of this tree, cross said bridge and you're fine.
This was a spectacular hike.   A constant 5% up slope for the entire 3 mile summit journey.  Views were not in too much abundance, as we never got above the tree line.

The Trail

Finally we broke upon the summit trail.  It was a bit different than what I was expecting.

A road?

Actually, this summit does have road access as there is a WWII monument at the summit.  The trail continued just on the other side of the road.  Another short jaunt and we arrived, two hours after beginning.

View from the summit; Grant's head

Summit celebration
We rested, drank and feasted.  Then began the trip down via the same trail**.  The return journey was a bit shorter, coming in at 1.5 hours.  But, this time gravity was on our side.

I would absolutely climb this mountain again.  It was a great hike, with some great views at the summit.   The 5% grade made it challenging but not difficult.  There are a variety of trails to the summit, so next time I will choose a different trail and see more of what Greylock has to offer.

*The conversation may not have gone exactly like this
**The Appalachian Trail runs through the summit.