Friday, September 26, 2014

TV Review - The Killing

So recently I came out from the cave I was living in (cable!) and got Netflix where I proceeded to binge watch a little show called The Killing.
I made a long list of TV shows I've missed watching but I decided to start with The Killing because after seeing her hold her own against Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sagotage; be a hippy mom to Hit Girl herself (Chloe Grace Moretz) in If I Stay; and then break a board in two with her bare hand on the Ellen show; I absolutely love Mireille Enos!

Here is my review, there may be mild spoilers:

The first two seasons of The Killing are riveting! It is dark and sometimes unsettling watching a murder investigation of a teenage girl unfold over the course of a month or so. So the dynamic parts of the series involve many plot lines. Det Sarah Linden (played by Mireille) is trying to balance life and work. It is supposed to be her last day on the job, she is scheduled to start a new life with a new husband, in a new state but the case of this murdered young lady abruptly takes precedence. Starting with the fact that her boss won't let her leave and then because Linden just doesn't want to. Factor into that the new guy, Det Steven Holder (played exquisitley by Joel Kinneman) and we get some good old fashioned headbutting. Then there are the side characters who round everything out nicely: the girls family and the aftermath of what losing a loved one does to them; the political camps; the kids at school; etc. Although the political stuff started to bore me and I did skip alot of it, I really fell in love with the show right away. It had alot to do with the character of Sarah Linden and how Mireille portrayed her. She reminded me of me. Linden is no-nonsense, doesn't take crap from anyone. Short but scrappy and also a bit of a lone wolf because of a past that involves alot of people leaving her. She really resonated with me.

After they wrap up the Rosie Larsen murder (with a twist I DID NOT see coming!) they move onto a new case in Season 3. This is where for me it bombed badly! Something got lost in the equation and other than about two really decent episodes and a few interesting moments (hello awkward headbutt kiss on the couch!) this season made me want to throw in the towel.

I stuck it out and was rewarded with a pretty crazy season finale. So with only 6 episodes to season 4 I just let them rip one afternoon. The case they were investigating was all over the place. Even guest start Joan Allen couldn't make that work. But it was the B story, the investigation into Linden and Holder, that had me glued to the set.

Now I've read alot of reviews online about the very end and how it was "too happy" for the series. I disagree, I liked the closure. I was just happy they didn't cut it off with a random pan shot of one of the lead characters driving away, that would've sucked. I'm one of those people who believes they dropped the ball by...


...not having them actually kiss at the end. Anytime you have a male/female partner show they are expected to hook up at some point, so robbing us of that moment is kind of a let down. But at least they had Linden turn the car around and everything was "implied." I'll take that in the very least.

Here now is an interview with the showrunner on more of the finale:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fitness: My Other Life

As you may or may not know along with writing my passion for fitness stands high. I was a fitness competitor for about 4 years in a show called Women's Tri Fitness. After that I became a personal trainer, which I still am to this day. But I've always loved the world of fitness. My brother was a pro bodybuilder and upon his passing left a gift for me to start on my own journey.
I'm in the midst of writing a memoir/training manual of sorts that details that journey.
But today's blog is going to touch on the uniqueness that is the world of fitness, mostly bodybuilding. I grew up with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a personal hero, as did many others. To this day I admire him, not just for his physique but his incredible business mind and determination.
This past weekend was the annual Mr. Olympia competition. I look forward to it every year. It is a fun and exciting time, especially at the Olympia Expo. It's like Halloween for the bodybuilding scene because you leave the show with bags full of supplements! If you're in the industry or the fitness world you know how stoked that can make you. If not then just imagine your best Halloween as a little kid where you spread your booty all over the floor and wanted to roll around in it!

But besides the tons of freebies you get there is also the opportunity to mingle with the fitness minded and to meet some of your favorite celebrity athletes and trainers.
This year I would like to touch on meeting a few people and the one that got away. What I came away with this year was that the people I took the time out to meet were incredibly generous with their time; were humble; were incredibly nice and friendly; and gave me not only sage advice but also hugs!
Those moments stick with you. It's the equivalent of having a nice experience at a hotel or restaurant v. a bad one. The reviews are going to come out every time you talk about the place, or in this instance the people.
WWE Diva Eva Maria & her husband Shredz athlete Jonathan Coyle
In this instance I have nothing but good things to say about the WWE Diva Eva Marie, her husband and fitness pro Jonathan Coyle, celebrity trainer Ashley Conrad and Amber Elizabeth Dodzweit, and 4x IFBB Figure Olympia Champion Nicole Wilkins. All of them gave me time and attention that made my day. And I'm sure some of them were exhausted from meeting so many people, especially Nicole Wilkins who had to compete the next day!
But I thank them for making my time memorable in a pleasant way. I mean I didn't even expect to be able to meet Ashley Conrad because the line at the booth was like a mile long! But she saw me standing there, actually recognized me from Facebook, and called me over! I won't ever forget that.
Amber Dodzweit and Ashley Conrad

Because there was another year that I went up to talk to figure competitor Erin Stern (yeah I'm calling her out by name!) and she was a total bitch. She wasn't in a line, she wasn't busy so I knew I wasn't bothering her, but she dismissed me like I wasn't worth talking to.
All I wanted to do was ask some advice because I admired her physique. But guess what? Now I can't stand her and I'll let everyone know about it. Bad day or not your actions reflect on your character and she was just plain rude.
And unfortunately this year another person left a bad taste in my mouth next to all the good. Sylvester Stallone was scheduled to sign autographs at one of the booths. We stood in line for over two hours waiting. He came on time to his credit but about 1/2 hour in he abruptly took off leaving a line full of disappointed fans. I don't know if there was some kind of emergency but I doubt it and I won't forget it either.
If I'm ever in a position to sign some autographs or take a picture with people who have been waiting to see me I'm going to stay there. I'm going to remember the Ashley's and the Eva's and the Nicole's and I'm going to try my best to make fans happy because you just never know how you can affect a persons life with just a few words.
4x Figure Olympia Champion Nicole Wilkins
So again I say thank you to those who took the time and really cared! You're all incredibly inspiring and I strive to better myself day-to-day thinking of you all.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Book Review - From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz

Today marks the first of a new addition to the Cyn City blog, I am going to start doing book reviews. The first on the chopping block, so to speak, is from my favorite author of all time Mr. Dean Koontz. It is one of his older novels, From the Corner of His Eye.

This book started out fabulous. It had the descriptive prose and endearing characters that I've come to know and love from Dean. The introduction of the antagonist Junior Cain was shocking to say the least. And this guy got worse and worse. A perverse mind that sees the world in a way in which the evil things he dishes out are twisted so they don't seem so evil anymore. For example: every woman wants him all the time even when in reality they do not.

But here is where it takes a turn. About a 1/3 of the way in I noticed we were spending way too much time with Junior, IMO. I'm all for getting inside the mind of a killer but this was constant. Every chapter was Junior Cain and his bullshit reasoning. It also seemed that things started getting repetitive. How many times can Junior throw up? Or how many times can the brothers of the protagonist feel like something evil is about to happen but they don't know what? We also saw the introduction of new characters that really didn't need to be focused on. It started to drag on and on to the point where I really just wanted to see Junior get what was coming to him. And that's where it failed me.

I don't want to spoil the ending so I won't say exactly what happened but it was a HUGE let down. After all the bad things Cain did to people what happened to him wasn't nearly satisfying enough. It was like watching the edited version of The Hitchhiker on TV where they only show C. Thomas Howell shoot the killer once instead of multiple times. The guy deserved much worse than that after all the torture and murder he put people through!

All in all I have to say that this was a let down. It is the third book I've read from Koontz that I really didn't like at all. Luckily, not in succession. I enjoyed Odd Thomas very much. So I'll just say they can't all be winners and move on to the next read.

If you would like to have a book reviewed please send me a message or leave a comment below! *Please note I actually prefer print books...I'm old school that way.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughts on Robin Williams

*Note: This is a social commentary and there is some strong language in this post.

This week we lost 3 more entertainers, one of them was the talented comedian and powerful actor Robin Williams. I've chosen to write about Robin because of the circumstances surrounding his death and I needed a bigger forum than a Tweet or a FB post because the man himself was larger than life.
Here is a guy who, for all we know, struggled with a bi-polar disorder, addiction, and severe depression most of his adult life as well as Parkison disease which his wife just revealed. I say "for all we know" because how much do we ever really know about another person?

Even those closest to us will only divulge to you what they want you to know. We all have our secrets and we all have our dreams. Robin had his demons but he still went out and entertained with his comedic performances, making you laugh until you cried. His emotional roles brought more tears and sometimes even more tears. We cried again upon hearing the news that he tragically took his own life.
This is where it gets ugly. The media, in an attempt to sell stories, starts asking "why?" or "who did he leave behind?" and ultimately the slap in the face from Fox news and others calling him a coward for taking his own life!
People on social media, safe behind the neon glow of their computerized screens also label him a coward and talk about how rich he was so why didn't he just get help? He was getting help. It's not an overnight fix that's why they call it a struggle. But you sit there and you judge a man you never met and call him a coward. But you went to his movies didn't you? You enjoyed seeing his antics and he made you laugh didn't he? Was he a coward then or only now when it suits your forum?
Unless you are in that persons skin you have no idea what goes on in their life or the struggles they face. Imagine how much pain he must've been in to think that hanging himself would be the only way to make it stop.
My sister killed herself. Does that make her a coward? Say that to my face and I'll break your fucking jaw! She was clinically depressed as well. That doesn't just mean I'm sad - look it up, its extreme and leads you to do things you might not do if in your right mind.
All too often people think they know celebrities because they see them on screen. That's only the side they want to show you. But they are people all the same. People in EXTREME positions with all eyes upon them. Think about it, that's pressure ontop of illness. How well would you cope?
So to those calling Robin Williams a coward I say shut the fuck up and stop talking about things you don't understand. Stop judging. Only God can judge.
Show the man some respect for all the good he did in this world. Let his family and friends and those who loved him mourn for him.
I for one hope he found his peace and I celebrate the great legacy he will leave behind, including Comic Relief and going out to entertain the troops. The countless comedy specials, the hilarity of Mrs. Doubtfire Jumanji, Mork & Mindy, and so on.
The emotional depth of Good Will Hunting, Dead Poet's Society, and What Dreams May Come (which brings me to tears everytime I see it!) And shocking turns like One Hour Photo or Insomnia. The man had limitless range and more importantly, or as important, he had a huge heart! From all accounts he was a giver and he gave so much to everyone else that he just didn't have anything left for himself. Is that cowardice? No, it's sad.
Rest now Mr. Robin Williams, your journey is over. And thank you for the memories!

I would also like to say RIP to Lauren Bacall and JJ Murphy.