All posts by Andrew

Wonder Woman: Movie Review

When Batman v. Superman was first being advertised I was probably more excited at the prospect of the movie than I was about any other comic book movie to date, with perhaps the exception of Captain America 2 and 3 (Winter Soldier and Civil War). Wonder Woman had been teased as a character that would be fighting alongside the Caped Crusader in some of the final trailers just before the films release. This raised my interest but still wasn’t my selling point for BvS. Then when I saw BvS in theaters for the first time I was so incredibly impressed with Gal Godot’s Wonder Woman that she was one of my favorite aspects of the movie. So much so that the then Wonder Woman movie which was still over a year out movie made it on to my must see list for 2017.

While I admit I still enjoyed Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Suicide Squad, none of them were great movies like can be said for some of Marvel’s MCU offerings. The bad part of a movie setting the bar so high for a genre is that it’s almost impossible to reach. The bad part about setting a bar so low is that you can’t help but trip on it, and even when you manage to make a decent movie it’s easy to fall victim to the “well of course it’s a good movie, look what we’re comparing it to” attitude. I worried that would happen with Wonder Woman.

Lucky for me, that didn’t happen. Yesterday my fiancé and I saw Wonder Woman in theaters and I was impressed. I mean thoroughly impressed. DC finally spent some time on a movie and didn’t just rush it into theaters. This movie was thoughtfully put together with a good story, a good set of characters, solid plot, great acting, good pace, and above all else, good action.

I love the slew of comic book movies we’ve enjoyed over the past decade and a half but even I can admit that we run the risk of genre fatigue at the rate these movies are being popped out. Wonder Woman was a much needed breath a fresh air in a genre that was starting to become stagnant.

We can talk about what this movie is, but I think it would be a better idea to first talk about what this movie is not.

It’s not boring. Not even a little. Nor is it rushed. The movie has a great rhythm. They don’t spend too much time on the origin aspect, nor do they rush through it (I’m looking at your X-Men Origins Wolverine). This porridge is juuuuuust right.

It’s not a testosterone fest. I love me some action. Daredevil season 2 has some of the most badass fight scenes to ever grace the television set and that’s great if you want to watch two men kick the snot out of each other. But this movie is different and while Wonder Woman no doubt kicks ass her fighting style is more fluid than it is brutal. She’s quick, she’s graceful, she’s always on point, and she still hits like a ton of bricks. There’s no Civil War chest pumping, no Batman brooding.

It’s not a chick flick. Just because it’s got a female lead doesn’t make this movie a slouch, or make it a chick flick. Diana Prince brings a new perspective to what it means to be a hero. Yes, a more womanly based approach that we’re not used to seeing, but a valid one. Fellas, this is not a movie meant to trick you into seeing an action movie that ends up turning into a romantic comedy.

It’s not a SJW shit flick. This movie is not trying to shove some anti patriarchy, man hating, women rule boys drool propaganda down your throat. It’s not. Don’t worry that you’ll get dragged into this movie to be told how evil you are for having a dick.

It doesn’t look CGI heavy. I say look because there’s no doubt this movie used a ton of Hollywood magic but the movie still appears very clean. The CG is not in your face, it’s very subtle. Basically, this movie wasn’t Avatar. It wasn’t Transformers. It didn’t make your eyes bleed.

It’s hard to believe that the DCEU could make a legitimately good movie. While none of the other three films were commercial flops by any metric, they just weren’t great movies. The DCEU up to this point has been a hot mess, and considering that no movie studio, not even the successful Disney / Marvel studio has made a comic book movie with a female lead, it seemed like very dangerous territory for DC  to venture into. But it looks like a female lead and a female director we’re exactly what the doctor ordered for this studio and wow, did it work.

So here’s what we got. This movie had a good amount of action and it progresses with the movie as Diane comes into her own, with the realization of what she is, and what she’s capable of doing. There are many different types of action sequences with scenes so ranging they feel like they came out of Troy, Captain America Winter Soldier, and Saving Private Ryan.

The casting was great. The best of any DCEU movie so far. Gal Gadot is absolutely beautiful, I mean just stunning (and a much better pick than Ronda Rousey). She can pull off the warrior princess, but she can also pull the sophisticated, elegant Diana Prince. Whether she’s flaunting a dress, a pea coat, or a sword and shield, Gadot steals whatever scene she is in. Remember, this is her second debut as Wonder Woman in just over a year and I have high hopes for her third debut in November’s Justice League.

I heard Chris Pine’s character as being the ‘damsel in distress’ and that’s far from the truth. This wasn’t about one gender being helpless, and the other having to save them. This movie illustrated that men and women have different qualities that can augment the other. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor struggles to find the balance between duty and conscience that most men do. At what point do you abandon orders and do what you know in your heart to be the right thing? Diana Prince helps him to see that morality and duty don’t have to be mutually exclusive. At the same time, Steve Trevor tries to teach Diana that things are not always as simple as black and white, and sometimes you must get your hands dirty to clean up a mess.

Robin Wright did a great job as Antiope. Wright is elegant, sexy, poised, and poisonous as Claire Underwood in House of Cards, but she is straight rugged in her role as a badass Amazon warrior. Her role was short lived, but certainly memorable.

David Thewlis as Ares, the god of war was a bit of a surprise to me, so it might be a bit of a spoiler to you. But IMBD has him listed in the role, so the cats already out of the bag.

Danny Huston does a good villain, and he performed as expected as General Ludendorff, the main protagonist of the first two acts of the movie. Fox Studios botched his role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (as they did most of the entire movie) so it was nice to see him get a role suitable for his abilities.

Wonder Woman will not be a movie soon forgotten. This movie easily gets an 8/10 score from me, and will be the first movie from the DCEU that I care to own on Blu-Ray. Here’s hoping that Gal Godot is not acted out, and can pull off this character a third time in just a year and a half with this fall’s Justice League. I expect this movie will do commercial well. Just like children’s movies result in the parents having to buy a ticket, this movie will probably draw not just the usual male comic book movie crowd, but their wives and girlfriends (if those dorks have any). If you want an action and adventure movie to jump start your summer, I recommend this over Disney’s seafaring five-quel.

Go see Wonder Woman. And bring your wife and kids too.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2: Movie Review

Last night I saw an early screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as part of a 3D double feature of GOG1 and GOG2 back to back. While I am not a huge fan of wearing the 3D glasses, watching both movies back to back certainly was fun and really added to the experience of the second movie. While the sequel certainly time skips a couple years or so, it doesn’t feel like. Right from the beginning you get that gangs all here vibe. Even with that annoying kid who kept kicking my seat, the movie just felt right.

Director James Gunn did a wonderful job with the sequel. That’s doesn’t sound like much but in the world of sequels, sequels of sequels, pre-quels, and side-quels, it’s really easy for a story to get run out. So the simple fact that this was a good sequel is actually a huge freaking deal. We’re so used to sequels and reboots that it’s easy to get jaded, and some Marvel titles are among the worst offenders. I’m looking at you Spider-Man. But fear not, this is a sequel that lives up to the hype of it’s predecessor.

It wasn’t a runaway better sequel like Dark Knight was to Batman Begins, or Winter Soldier was to Captain America 1, but GOG2 was at the very least on par with GOG1. And considering how good the original was, saying this movie was “good enough” is actually a huge complement.

There were a lot of similarities and a lot of differences in this movie, some of which are splitting hairs.

Family

Whereas Guardians was more about friendship, this movie was more about family. Everything from the way the group interacts as a whole and how individual members interact with one another, to how they perceive satellite characters and the world around them. Peter Quill and Gamora have an ‘unspoken’ burgeoning romance and assume a sort of paternal and maternal role in the group, which is hilariously referred to in the mid-credit scenes.

Everyone misses the family they lost, or never had to begin with. Quill’s heartbreak over his mom and his frustration with not knowing his father plays front and center most of the movie. It also focused a lot on his relationship with Yondu. Gamora tries to reconcile her relationship with her estranged and murderous sister, Nebula. Drax misses his wife and child. Rocket who has never had a real family struggles with learning how to embrace his new adoptive family. And Groot… well… ha… you’ll just have to see the movie for yourself.

We see the Guardians start to function as more of real team or family unit, as opposed to ‘a bunch of guys running around shooting guns’ to quote Steve Rogers. In Vol. 1 they were for the most part winging everything. Vol. 2 gives us a well-oiled albeit argumentative machine. The guardians have hit their stride and saving the world is all part of the routine.

Humor

Everyone knew this movie was going to be funny. If the original movie didn’t clue you off, the marketing campaign should have made it abundantly clear this movie was going to have you laughing, but the ads didn’t do the movie justice. This movie delivers the laughs. Chris Pratt needs no introduction to comedy. Bradley Cooper’s Rocket of course brings foul mouthed comedy and that was no shocker.

To my surprise, Dave Batista’s Drax the Destroyer stole the show in terms of pound for pound comedy. Drax had me about to cough up a lung I was laughing so hard.  But don’t worry, you’re beautiful on the inside.

The jokes and moments are too many to list, but if you want to laugh, go see Guardians 2, you won’t be disappointed.

Heart

What you probably didn’t expect was that this movie has some serious heart. More so than any other movie I’ve seen in a long time, and certainly more so than any other comic book movie. At one point in the movie I was borderline crying. Like seriously, about to cry.

This wasn’t some thrown together chemistry like that awkward ‘romance’ between Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley in Pirates. James Gunn very carefully laid the framework for real characters you could relate to, and real connections you can commiserate with, and the actors did an amazing job making this all believable. When the characters laugh, you laugh with them, and when they cry, you feel it too.

This is what makes GOG2 so much more than just ‘another comic book movie’. This isn’t just thrashing and shooting and blowing shit up, even though that does happen too. There’s a huge reservoir of emotion beneath the surface. The movie is galactic in scale but it doesn’t have to be. It wouldn’t make any difference if took place in Nebraska. GOG2 wasn’t using eye boggling graphics and CGI scenes as a crutch for good story telling like some other movies starring robots. Guardians stands firmly on two feet with the cast, story, and directing alone. The graphics are just a welcomed bonus.

Graphics

But yeah, about ‘dem graphics. Like I said before, I don’t like wearing those 3D glasses but if you can spare a couple bucks to see Volume 2 in 3D it’s certainly worth doing at least once. The graphics in this movie really are something else. Avatar was incredible when it came out for it’s vibrance and surrealism. Guardians 2 is incredible for it’s vibrance and realism. Despite the fact that I know none of this stuff is real, it actually feels real. One particular scene that takes place on the ‘planet’ Ego comes to mind, where Disney/Marvel literally made a planet in outer space and synthesized their own new alien vegetation just to film this scene. I’m pretty sure. Like 99% sure that was actually filmed on an alien planet….

I swear to God if you kick him one more time I’ll sue Disney.

Soundtrack

Everyone had to be looking forward to the soundtrack and movie score. The retro 80’s esque band poster and the amazing soundtrack of the first movie had me curious to see what the sequel had in store. It definitely had some nice tunes, specifically Fleetwood Mac, but sSadly this is the one aspect of the movie that was not as good as the original.

Summary

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer, you’ll get an adrenalize rush. This movie has everything you need. It had everything you liked about the first movie without feeling redundant. And it has a bunch of really cool new stuff without feeling avant-garde and forced. The cast as expected did an amazing job turning a ragtag bunch of Marvel’s bottom of the barrel characters and turning them into generations of memorable heroes and millions of dollars of brand merchandizing for Disney.

It might not sound like I’m singing praise for this movie because I keep likening it to the first movie. Because I don’t have to. Guardians of the Galaxy was, in my opinion, one of the best movies ever made, and this movie is equally good, if not just a tad better. So if you know how much I loved the original, that alone should tell you how great I thought Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 really was.

I give this movie a 10/10. Run, don’t walk, to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Beauty and the Beast Live Action Movie Review

As a kid I really enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast Disney cartoon. Almost everything about the film was great, from the music, the animation, the amazing scenery and backdrops, and the incredible job Disney did with the ‘Tale As Old As Time’ ballroom scene which perfectly blended still frame and computer rendered animation and to this day still stands the test of time.

Character wise there was something for everyone. Lumiere was hilarious and charming and pushed the story along. Mrs. Potts was endearing and lovely. Chip was playful. Cogsworth was the Winney the Pooh Rabbit and kept things grounded. Lefou was comical relief, and Gaston in my opinion stole the show. I pretty much liked everything about the movie except the primary titular character – Belle.

This new live action version of Beauty and the Beast pretty exaggerated the few things I disliked about the animated movie, and ruined the things I enjoyed.

Belle was already a pretentious, stuck up, gold digging bitch in the original but at least she lived up to the name, and was amazingly beautiful (ya know, for a cartoon).

Emma Watson is lovely, pretty, and cute as a button but I wouldn’t define her as classically beautiful. And if you didn’t like Belle before, you’re not going to like her now. She’s ruder, more pretentious, and more stuck up than ever before except now she’s just a weensy bit less beautiful and doesn’t sing as well.

This movie really went out of its way to paint Gaston as a bad guy. You might be thinking, wasn’t Gaston already the villain of the first movie? And I would respond, no, no he wasn’t. Not convinced, read my blog from Jan 2015, The Cold Hard Truth About Beauty and The Beast. In the animated film, Gaston and the village legitimately thought that Belle’s father, Maurice, was insane and that’s why they had him committed to the asylum. In the live action movie, his motivation was changed entirely to extorting Belle to marry him. It’s as if Disney thought “the lead straight, white, male was villainy enough in the original, so we reaaaalllly need to drive the point home this time”.

There was also possibly some anti-gun sentiment injected into the movie. In the animated version Gaston used a bow and arrow when he confronted the Beast. In the live action this was changed to a pistol. Because, ya know, guns are bad mmmm’k.

The new film pretty much slaughtered the barroom ‘Gaston Song’ which was one of my favorites from the original. LeFou gave people in the bar money to convince them to sing along in praise of Gaston even though in the cartoon, everyone in town legitimately likes Gaston and doesn’t need to be bribed. And they got rid of Gaston’s awesome three-shot-musket scene!

The remake didn’t seem like a live action movie as much as it did a play that just so happened to be filmed. That might seem like the same thing to many people but there is a difference in that plays have more flare and drama. Everything from the impassioned inflections to the wardrobe to the action is intentionally dramaticized, and would seem awkward in a movie, especially a live action movie. There is a reason for this. In plays, not all the audience has the same view. However a 6 foot actor cannot be blown up for viewers in the back. To accommodate audience members in the far back, the characters have intentionally simple wardrobes with glaringly obvious colors, and disproportionately large props that will make them easier to discern from long distances. Since filmmakers can zoom in on a specific character when the scene calls for it, the overly simplified opera style wardrobe looks out of place, and almost cartoonish in live action films.

Basically, while the animated film was visually stunning, the live action film was visually unappealing. I disliked how the movie looked.

The pace of the new film was also very fast. There was hardly a moment to soak it all in before moving to the next scene. I think Disney felt they could get away with this because there isn’t much to think about if you’ve already seen the animated 1991 film. I didn’t like that Disney presumes you’ve seen the animated film. After all, that was close to 20 years ago and a huge part of the target audience probably wasn’t even alive when that movie was made. Even so, as someone who has seen the original countless times, I like for a movie to stand on its own two feet and not be dependent on another film when it’s not part of some greater franchise (ala Marvel’s MCU).

And not to be ‘that guy’ but it did seem a little weird that about 20% of the villagers/cast were black. The story takes place in 1700’s France, and not only that, 1700’s rural France. It just seemed forced. I won’t call it full blown historical correctionism because after all, this is a made up story about singing dishware but there is still a historical context, and just as you wouldn’t expect to see a 20% white populace in 1740’s Beijing, you wouldn’t expect to see that many black people in 1740’s Europe.

I don’t usually give bad reviews of movies and TV shows as you can see from my past reviews. I have what many would consider to be a low bar when it comes to cinema, but I really did not like this movie. It wasn’t fun. The songs you know and love weren’t as good. New songs you don’t know and won’t enjoy were introduced which no one is ever going to sing. The characters lacked that certain something, that je ne sais quoi from the animated film that made them so likeable. For a Disney movie this sure felt a lot like a B Studio production both in terms of final product and project foresight.

I give Beauty and the Beast (2017) a 3/5 and really don’t care to ever watch it again.

Step aside Belle. There’s a new best princess in town, and her name is Moana.

Valentine’s Day, the Extra Credit Holiday

Oh yes, one of these blogs again. Some hater hating their haterade on poor, defenseless Valentine’s Day.

Naw. I don’t actually hate Valentine’s day. But it’s become like so many other holidays where it started small and pure and manageable, and eventually bloated into this competition to see who can out V-Day the next.

I’m not going to pretend to know what the origin of Valentine’s day is, because I don’t care. And I’m actually too lazy to look it up on Wikipedia and regurgitate it in my owns words to pass it off like I always knew, just for the sake of this post.

We know the gist of it. Show affection for the one you love by making a nice gesture. If you’re a guy this means buying flowers. And if you’re a girl, this means….receiving flowers? And if your kid’s in elementary school this means going to the grocery store the day before and spending $20 on those pink, chalk flavored hearts and Disney, Batman or Barbie themed valentine’s day cards so they can give it to every other kid in the classroom, half of whom they don’t even like.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!….. you.”

But Valentine’s day likens itself a lot to one specific aspect of our childhood schooling days, which I will get in to.

Valentine’s day is the equivalent of the extra credit assignment your teacher would pull out of her ass in the last few weeks of the semester. The sole point of the exercise was to give the students who dicked around the whole semester a chance to get their grades up ever so slightly.

The assignment was always of ‘bullshit’ difficulty level, meaning that all you had to do was bullshit your way through the assignment, and voila, 10 extra points. Now little Billy has a C- instead of a D+. His parents will be so proud. The kids with good grades never needed to do the extra credit assignment, it wouldn’t make or break their grades, but they still felt compelled to do it because ‘it’s what everyone does’. In turn, everyone would sort of reluctantly drag their feet and do the damn assignment because of the chronic under-performers.

Sound familiar?

R.I.P. Gene Wilder

I never treated Valentine’s Day differently than any other day. If you’ve been a good romantic partner you shouldn’t need to celebrate Valentine’s day. If you’re already scoring a B+ or better, then you can sit this one out. But you can’t. Because of assholes. Those assholes who rarely buy their women flowers. Those assholes who rarely take them out anywhere nice for dinner. Who rarely compliment them. Who rarely help around the house. Who avoid their in-laws like the plague. Well this is the one day of the year those fuckers band together and act like semi decent human beings and do something ‘romantic’ and make their women hate their lives just a little bit less.

And men, your wife goes to work with the women of these assholes and see their flowers and ridiculous heart shaped balloons and she starts to feel bad if she didn’t get anything even if you’re already scoring a 98% in the good partner department. Because reasons. So just like in the 3rd grade, we good graders must cater to the lowest common denominator and do the extra credit assignment for fear of looking like a slouch. Never mind that you got her flowers just the week before.

“The only people who seemingly enjoy Valentine’s Day are those sad women in horrible relationships”

Do I hate Valentine’s day? No. Hate is a strong word, but I dislike it because of what it’s become, the beacon of under performers to give the under performance of their life time. I think most people dislike Valentine’s Day. Couples (in otherwise healthy relationships) dislike it because there’s this expectation to be unusually cheesy. Singles dislike it because they spend the entire holiday, holiday eve, and post holiday on suicide watch gaining 10 pounds feeling alone and miserable. The only people who seemingly enjoy Valentine’s Day are those sad women in horrible relationships that hope “Please God, Please, give me this one small sliver of hope! My man is such a fucking dick hole that his idea of dinner night is $2 taco Tuesday at that shitty dive bar we used to go to back in college.”

And for those women, I hope you get your consolation prize this, and every Valentine’s Day. You need it more than the rest of us.

My girl broke our tradition this year and got me a bad ass Valentine’s Day present, one of those free standing pull-up, chin-up, dip bar contraptions so I can get prison ripped. I get the message 😉 So baby, thank you so much! I love my present! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Guys, continue to do what we do. Take it on the chin and do something nice. We must continue to make the dick holes among us look horrible by comparison. It is your manly duty!

Sig Sauer 1911: Product Review

For Christmas 2016 I decided to get myself a present that I had wanted for a very long time, and that was the venerable, timeless, 1911.

For those even remotely familiar with firearms the 1911 needs no introduction. For those unfamiliar with firearms, the 1911 is a pistol that was first designed for use by the United States military by the legendary John Browning. The adoption of the M1911 was actually to help American fighting units better kill Moro fighters during the Moro Rebellion in the Philippines. Oddly enough, the Philippines are still dealing with Islamic insurgency, and the United States is still dealing with Islamic extremism all this time later. And ironically, the Philippines makes some of the most 1911s today outside of the United States and Germany.

The original design used by the military was coined the M1911, and it gets its name from the year of it’s design. Yes, the 1911 is over a 100 years old and in that time the design has seen very little change, because perfection requires very little of it. A century later, it’s almost poetic that the 1911 hasn’t changed much, and neither has the crisis that spurred it’s adoption.

The civilian model is now simply referred to as a 1911, and makes the short list of must have firearms every American ought to own.

I’ve wanted one for years. I’ve wanted one since before I was legally able to own a firearm. But 1911’s can be just a little bit cost prohibitive so I put off getting one until very recently. But I made up for it with interest and purchased a very nice, Sig Sauer 1911 .45ACP as a Christmas present to myself, and I couldn’t be happier.

Sig Sauer, or Sig for short, is one of the most reputable brands in the firearms industries. Their to hell and back mantra is baked into every weapon they design. And the 1911 is a weapon well known for it’s reliable and ruggedness. So what happens when one of the worlds best firearms manufacturers makes one of the world’s best firearms? That’s the $1,000 question.

I’ll spare you the suspense as the answer should be pretty obvious. The gun rocks. I’ve had my Sig 1911 for a little over a month now and I wish I had bought it sooner. I had originally been looking at the Sig 1911 Tac-Ops but California blows and that specific model is illegal here. But my model is almost identical sans the 1913 rail on the bottom, and I actually like the clean, classic look vs. the tactical look. It’ll probably make holstering it easier too.

I finally had a chance to take it to the range yesterday and I was impressed.

About 150 rounds through it and not a single failure. No failure to eject, failure to feed, failure to fire. The magazine always dropped. The slide always held open after the last round. Even with shitty Russian made, steel cased Tul-Ammo (shhh…. don’t tell the gun range I was using steel cased ammo) the thing never let me down. But that’s all a matter of how the gun works.

What about it’s performance? Equally impressive, if not more so.  One of the defining attributes of a well designed firearm is it’s ability to extract the highest performance out of the shooter. I’m not a bad shot. I rock with trap and skeet. I’m a competent rifleman. I can shoot a tennis ball with irons from 200 yards. I’m okay with revolvers. But I’ve never considered myself great with pistols by any stretch. For one reason or another, pistols have been my weak spot, probably from a lack of experience.

But my 1911 might just change that. First shot of the day I wasn’t even sure if the thing would fire. Well it did, and it did beautifully, and my grouping with it is much tighter than it is with my 9mm which I have owned for many years, and put several hundred rounds through. See the images below of my target. Both are of the same paper target, but the second image includes color coded visual aids to make better sense of everything.

Grouping
Grouping
Grouping with color coded visual aids
Grouping with color coded visual aids

Not bad for my first time shooting it.

My first group in green was not bad.

My second group in purple got a little tighter.

And my third group was me having fun trying to empty the magazine.

This gun is so good it actually makes me a better shot. I’m even considering lowering the pull weight of the trigger to see if that helps even more. I think the target speaks volumes about the gun, and does it more clearly and concisely than I could.

Full steel frame 1911s are heavy. So if you are used to Glocks or other polymers like my Sig 2022 you’ll notice the additional weight. But this con is also a pro, as the extra weight helps keep the barrel rise from the .45ACP at bay. Follow up shots were a breeze as the front sights fell naturally right back on target after firing. This is a mere convenience while at the range, but could save seconds, and lives, under non-recreational circumstances.

The only, and I stress only thing about this gun that didn’t get a 10/10 is that the steel beaver tail safety started to hurt the right side of my thumb’s knuckle – but again this was after 150+ rounds down range in maybe a 45 minute span. Give me a leather shooting glove and this can be fired all day.

Some guns are for practice. Others are strictly for fun and there’s nothing wrong with that. However I bought this as a self defense / every day carry. It doesn’t matter if I liked shooting it at the range, in a controlled environment. What matters is would I feel comfortable using this in an emergency? Would I trust this gun with my life? Absolutely. Not only do I think the gun itself is reliable but I am confident in my ability to use it under stress.

1911-resized

While I think a 1911 is a must have for everyone, if you are considering a firearm of your own for self defense, my opinion doesn’t matter. What matters is your preference and how competent and how comfortable you are with whatever firearm you choose.

I have a new pistol holster, a new double magazine holster, and two new factory magazines on their way from Mother Sig as we speak. When I have a chance to try those out I will follow up with a quick review of those as well.

Trump, Clinton, the Election, and the Inauguration

We’ve got less than an hour and the time I started writing this, so I’ll make this quick.

This has been one hell of a roller coaster. The primaries were insane. The general election was insane. Election night was something else entirely. The post-election response was unprecedented and unruly. And the path from election night to inauguration day has been anything but a peaceful transition of power.

I want to rattle off some quick points before Trump takes the oath.

Trump

Building a wall is not racist. America is our home. I have a home, and my home has a fence around the property line between my house and my neighbors’ house. It’s not racist. It’s intended to keep people out who don’t have permission to be on my property. A wall around a country is no different. And let’s not forget that we already have a large metal fence on the southern border which is traversed regularly.

Trump talked about people coming over the border and raping and killing. And he was right. Do ALL of them rape? No. Did Trump say that ALL of them rape? No. So what’s the big deal? We know for fact people come into this country illegally through Mexico from Mexico and other countries in Central and South America. Do we know that some of the people here illegally and raped and/or murdered Americans? Yes we do. So again, these remarks from Trump weren’t racist. They were factual.

Talking crap about some women is not the same as thinking all women are inferior. A lot of people have made the claim that Trump is a sexist because he’s called some women disgusting, or other insults. Again, saying that about one woman, or multiple individual women, is not the same as an insult against all women.

Yeah, the grabbing a pussy remark was raunchy. But I find the outrage from the left more than comical considering all the filthy, raunchy, overtly sexual stuff peddled by liberals in the cinematic and television industry. Lefties chide conservatives and religions people for being too prudish, to sexual reserved, no sterile. So it’s rich that the residents of New Sodom are taken aback by someone talking about sexually groping someone. Also, the context amazingly enough, does matter. Anyone with half a brain knows Trump doesn’t (or didn’t mean that he) walks around town and grabs women’s crotches at Starbucks. But a billionaire party boy like him probably hung out in circles and parties where that kind of stuff wouldn’t have been out of the norm. If you went to a swingers party or one of those filthy nightclubs in Vegas, doing certain things there might be perfectly normal whereas they would be taboo and entirely unacceptable in public.

Clinton Losing and the Blame Game

The Democrats lost, but instead of simply conceding, they have blamed nearly everything under the sun. To name a few, they blamed:

  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Islamophobia
  • Transphobia
  • Media Bias (that’s rich coming from Democrats)
  • James Comey and the FBI
  • Julian Assange and Wikileaks
  • Huma Abedin
  • Bill Clinton
  • And finally, Russia though there has been no concrete proof this happened

They have blamed everyone but themselves for picking a politician that the majority of Americans on both sides of the political aisle consider to be corrupt and dishonest. They never stopped to blame the Democrat establishment for choosing their candidate, and running a horrible campaign. Clinton took for granted blue states and assumed she had their votes in the bag. That arrogance cost her marginalized voters in blue states that had been hit economically.

The Inauguration

It’s childish for so many Democrats in office to not attend the inauguration. Do they have the right to do it? Yeah, duh. But is it immature? Yeah. And then there was the Project Veritas video showing Democrat citizens planning to basically perform an act of terrorism by putting acid in the sprinkler system. I hope this 5 year old style of temper tantrums doesn’t continue for too long.

It is incredibly praiseworthy that Hilary Clinton and her husband came to the inauguration. Same goes for Barrack and Michelle Obama, and both former first ladies look fantastic.

It’s cool to see Bush and Carter at the event. There are going to be five U.S. presidents in one place, and that is pretty epic.

Alright, we’ll the inauguration is official starting so I’m gonna blast this post, typos and all, and watch this go down.

Baby Bear Cabin Renovations 2017

I am incredibly excited about the the recent renovations to one of my cabins up in Big Bear, and very pleased with how everything turned out. In late 2015 I bought several cozy cabins in Big Bear Lake, CA and while all they are all awesome in their own way, some needed a little bit of tender loving care to bring them into the 21st century.

After a couple weeks of renovations, many one day trips up to Bear and back, and several dozen trips to hardware store, the immediate work is done. And while there is always something more to do, I am proud to show off “Baby Bear 2017”.

It was a journey. When I bought the home, this unit was tenant occupied and she owned a cat. The place was a wreck. There was cat fur everywhere and traces of kitty litter all over the bedroom and bathroom. The lighting was outdated and the room was very dark. Several floor lamps were required to illuminate the living area and even then it was reminiscent of a mausoleum. The kitchen had a 7 foot ceiling so head space was at a minimum. A drop down room divider prevented light from the living room from breaking into the kitchen, which made the cooking area incredibly dark as well. The kitchen had an all-in-one sink/oven/stove/refrigerator/freeze that I think had been there since the 1960’s if not earlier. Amazingly, this antique still worked, but it was not efficient, and was more suitable for elves than humans. Cabinetry and storage was sparse, and counter top space was non-existent.

We gutted the kitchen entirely. We took it down to the studs and put up new dry wall with a fresh coat of paint. I hauled lightly used cabinets from a kitchen demo a homeowner in La Mesa was doing. For $200 I got an entire kitchen worth of cabinets, almost sink, faucet and garbage disposal, and brand new cabinet stainless steel hardware. Left over tiles from my bathroom remodel in San Diego that had been taking up space in my garage for a decade became the new counter top and back splash, and left over grout from our winter 2016 kitchen remodel helped as well.

The all-in-one appliance was replaced with the new sink, open box but new studio sized gas stove/oven combo, and a studio sized fridge/freezer combo. It still needs a microwave but for the time being, the appliances are almost good to go.

The drop down room divider was removed. It’s amazing the difference that extra 12 inches of unencumbered space has on the brightness of the kitchen. The kitchen is now replete with pots, pans, utensils, glasses and dining ware as well as miscellaneous kitchen nick-knacks like pizza cutters and ice cream scoopers.

The old, cat tainted green carpet was ripped out and replaced with new wood laminate flooring which extends from the living room into the kitchen. This one feature made the whole home brighter even before tinkering with the actual light fixtures. Carpet absorbed light, while the floor reflects it. It makes the room feel more spacious as well.

A new ceiling light/fan combo was mounted high on the ceiling to help illuminate the entire room, which it does nicely. The fan will help circulate the heat in the winter, and the cool air in the stuff.

Jenny replaced some of the older curtains with newer, lighter ones which again brightened up the room. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, this cabin was dark before the renovations. It would have felt like medieval living.

The old linens, pillows, blankets, towels and throws, were replaced with new, lively ones, complete with new mattress and pillow protectors. And we stocked the restroom with nice, thick Charmin toilet paper, none of that cheap single ply for our vacationers!

Several drafts around windows and doors were sealed, and sealed well. Remember, Big Bear days can get down to 30, and Big Bear nights can get down to single digits, so retaining heat is just as important as producing it. A little bit of caulk, foam sealer, and rubber tube gaskets goes a long way. This home is now air tight.

Last but most importantly is the home got a great scrub down. New stuff and niceties won’t last long if things are maintained and even a home complete with top of the line everything can be an utter dump if not clean. Cobwebs be damned! This place is spic and span now.

Am I happy? Absolutely?

Is there more to be done? Always. I do have a laundry list of things I would like to eventually do like insulate the floor and crawlspace, and re-floor the deck. But the immediate future holds a futon sleeper and double pane windows. But for now, I am very pleased with how it all turned out and am looking forward to putting this bad boy to work in 2017.