Guest Post -James M's review of the Austin Powers films

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Spy films, comedy films, we love them.
The James Bond films along with other countless spy films were very popular back in the 60s and seventies, they still are today. But after years of being unchallenged in the film industry, James Bond got some much needed competition from a new, kinda sorta action spy hero, Austin Powers.

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"YEAH BABY YEAH!"

During the 1990s, Canadian actor Mike Myers was already popular enough having been on Saturday Night Live and starred in the Waynes World movies. However, things changed when Myers wanted to do a film that served as a spoof of the 1960s spy genre movies. Due to him impressing his wife with British accents a lot, Myers eventually got the idea for Austin Powers; International Man of Mystery. Eventually, after the casting was done and the script was finalized, Austin Powers was born and so was his nemesis (and, unbeknownst to us at the time, long lost brother) Doctor Evil.

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Since Austin Powers is basically a James Bond spoof, think of Doctor Evil as the Blofield of Austin Powers. Heck, his organization screams Specter. Doc Evil's ambtion? Take over the world. But his schemes can come off as a little over the top. Look at Austin 3, he wants to flood the world by dropping a meteor onto the arctic. How is that guy gonna rule the world if its flooded? Then there's his superlazer plan in Spy who Shagged Me, how is he gonna rule over a devastated planet. What helped Doctor Evil become super popular was his trademark "finger up to his lip", his laugh, his "frickin" and most of all "One Billion Dollars".

The first Austin Powers movie hit theatres May 2nd, 1997 and was a big hit, proving to be very popular. But the spy genre wasn't the only thing Austin Powers gained reputation for, Austin was not only a superspy, he was a swinger and was capable of hitting on any attractive woman he met. Not only was "oh behave" and "yeah baby yeah" his main two catchphrases. There was shagadelic and a lot more from that walking talking swinging spy. Due to A.P being a James Bond parody, you had the Bond girl dymanic in there from Vanessa Kensington to Alotta Fachina to Foxxy Cleopatra, Ivanka Hamplot and Felicity Shagwell.

June 11, 1999. The Second Austin Powers movie hit theatres and was a big hit too. But unlike in the first film, where they tried to keep all sexual and dirty jokes to a moderate minimum as possible, the second film went all out and ended up bringing in the ugliest character ever who'd remind Dr Who fans of the Asorbalof. The character...

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Fat Bastard. Yeah, that guy is the stupidest and most ridiculous character ever. Though not so bad if you gloss over him. He may be from Scotland but that accent sounds pirate-y. Yeah, lets talk accents. while Austin Powers is supposed to be British. His accent sounds cockney and Australian. Maybe in the fourth film he might fix his accents. Oh yeah, I forgot. Mike Myers plays not just the titular character and Fat Bastard, he plays the main villain Dr Evil too. Originally the role of Doctor Evil was going to go to Jim Carey but that changed at the last minute.

Due to how crazy Spy Who Shagged Me was, that's why Austin Powers 2 ranks lower on my ranking of the Austin Powers films. Its OK, could use improving. I enjoyed the movies and they're really good.

Then we get to the third film, finally, they once again try to minimize all sexual and dirty jokes to a minimum and focus on good humor and the plot itself. While the first two films were successful, Austin Powers 3 kind of didn't do so well and was panned by critics, even though it was somewhat of a box office success in the end. Not only does Myers reprise his roles as Austin, Doc Evil and Fat Bastard in the third film, he ends up playing the villain Goldmember as well. Yup, the film's called Goldmember, obviously a parody of Goldfinger of James Bond fame.

They even brought in Michael Caine to play Austin's father Nigel Powers, really impressive. Famous singer Beyonce got in on the act as a former crush of Austin, Foxxy Cleopatra.
After Austin Powers 3 came out, the film series went dormant, but Mr. Myers has been promising that an Austin Powers 4 is on the way, but it will be a while before it comes.

Mike Myers is the best actor of all time and the Austin Powers films are really good for the most part, as long as all dirty humor is minimized and they do only good jokes.  Oh, I forgot to mention, Goldmember hit theatres July 22, 2002.

One day, Austin Powers 4 will drop and may put Mr. Powers back on track. Hopefully there will be a strong sense of continuity with Dr Evil's son Scott as the new villain after what happened in Goldmember, Seth Green is a great actor.

Mum dislikes it, but me and pop like it.
-James M.










Guest Post: James M’s movie review The Terminator



Hiya people, James McCormack the Crazy Video Gaming Wizard aka CrazyGamerHistorian1999 here today and I'd like to discuss something and do a little review. Yes, as you can see, I am here as a guest on my mum's blog to talk about the classic 1984 movie known as The Terminator starring our former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. I saw the movie months ago and it was really good, James Cameron did a good job and all the actors, Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Kyle Reese actor Michael Connell Biehn were incredible actors.

The idea for the Terminator all started when film maker Cameron, as you can guess, had a nightmare about a huge robotic being emerging from the fire with red eyes. Since that day, Cameron began working on a movie inspired by that. Well, fun fact, not only was the movie inspired by a dream, the other main inspiration was Outer Limits. Specifically, the episode Soldier and the episode Demon with a Glass Hand. Soldier was the inspiration more so due to the fact there was the whole soldiers from the future deal.

So whats the plot of the movie you may ask?
In the 21st century, Skynet, this evil computer system thing, saw humanity as a threat and instigated a nuclear war which devastated the planet. By 2029, Skynet and its robo-cyborg armies rule the planet and the survivors of the nuclear holocaust, with help from John Conner, have formed a resistance named TechCom and are fighting to defeat Skynet and its forces. With the Resistance smashing Skynet's defense grid and on the verge of victory, Cyberdine is left without a choice but to send a T800 (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) back in time to 1984 to eliminate Sarah Conner, John's mum, before the man himself comes into existence

All of this, sending back the Terminator, was not long after the Resistance captured the Time Displacement Machine lab. John sends Kyle back in time to intercept the Terminator and protect Sarah. Arriving in 1984, the T800 (its metal endoskeleton surrounded by human tissue) meets up with a group of punks and, after demanding clothes, attacks them, actually ripping out a punk member's heart. Kinda gross and dark, I kinda would prefer people getting shot, stabbed, decapitated or knocked unconscious. But anyway, the Terminator obtains some clothes and manages to buy himself some guns from a gun store for its mission.

Meanwhile, Kyle Reese arrives and steals some pants from a homeless guy before getting some shoes and clothes as well as stealing a gun from the police. Sarah Connor? She lives in LA in the 80s so you can say Terminator boy and Kyle are in L.A. Not only that, she's near the end of her teens and is working as a waitress at a restaurant. The Terminator, looking for Sarah, actually uses a phonebook to try and find her, actually murdering two other people who share Sarah's name. The first is a Sarah Connor who is the mamma of two kids.

Eventually, after "terminating" Ginger, Sarah's roomate, and Matt, Ginger's boyfriend, the Terminator tracks down Sarah Connor to the Tech Noir nightclub and is about to shoot her down when Kyle Reese arrives in the nick of time, gets Sarah out of there and they escape the Terminator. Along the way, Kyle has to explain everything; where he's from, his mission, the Terminator's and what happens 20 to 40 years after 1984 with Judgement Day. During the car chase with the Terminator, the police apprehend Kyle and Sarah and a battle damaged T800 (don't worry its the same model) escapes to repair itself. By repair itself, we mean do surgery on its arm(revealing the chasse underneath) and remove its broken human eye.

Meanwhile, criminal psychologist Dr Silberman is brought in to question Kyle Reese, who tells him everything, being a soldier from the future fighting for the resistance, Skynet and the Terminator as well as almost anything. Just as Reese is deemed a nutcase and people doubt his and Sarah's accounts, good old Arnold walks into the police station, says "I'll be back", (after being denied entry to a guard) and returns with a car and some guns, beginning a shootout. Reese and Sarah escape and eventually take up residence in a motel. There, Kyle confesses his feelings for Sarah (eventually) and, yes, they actually have sex (unknowingly to them for now resulting in John's conception *spoilers*).

But not before Sarah tries to call her mum, only for it to turn out the Terminator is impersonating the voice of Sarah's mum and is now hot on her tail again, leading to another chase sequence which ends with Reese getting injured and a Terminator with its flesh burnt off, revealing its robo skeleton. The barely functional T-800 continues its pursuit of Sarah and Kyle into a Cyberdine factory where Reese ends up losing own life protecting Sarah as the Terminator gets its legs blown off. Still alive, the freaking cyborg pursues Sarah a bit more until finally being crushed under a compactor thanks to Sarah herself. "You are Terminated."

Six months later, not only is Sarah on the run from society (for now), she has become six months at best prego with John Connor. During a road trip through Mexico and while stopping for some gas, we see Sarah doing tape recordings to give to John when he's old enough and that she not only has a gun (to protect herself) but has a dog with her. Dogs can detect Terminators as demonstrated in an earlier scene set in the future.
 During her stop by the gas station, the attendant's son snaps a photo of Sarah in the car and (guess what) its the same photo a soldier gave Kyle in the future (or will give to Kyle.) ARGH, I HATE TIME TRAVEL PARADOXES! Anyways, the film ends with Sarah driving off as a storm looms in the distance, practically setting up the next movie.

Overall, The Terminator is a legend of its own time. Arnold Schwarzenegger was already made popular early on in his movie career. But after Terminator came out, Schwarzenegger was more popular than ever before along with lines such as "I'll be back" including "Get Out". The Terminator was well received by critics and was a box office success within the first two weeks of its release, grossing billions of dollars within the day it was released. The film was so successful it not only paved the way for sequels and a TV show years later, it paved the way for a franchise consisting of comic books, novels and video games. Heck, in 2008, the film was selected by congress for preservation due to being the most significant in pop culture history.

Well, people, thats my review of the movie. When its good its really good, when the film gets dark and serious, it gets dark and serious. The film had very little cringe moments unless you call ripping out hearts cringe-worthy.

Have a good day out there.
Peace out.

James M
CrazyGamerHistorian1999


Writerly Wednesday: Moving Forward


Artist - Marie Anne Foucart

Moving Forward


Keep moving forward, looking ahead,
staying in the present,
learning from the past.
eyes to the future. No regrets.

Thoughts, fast and fleeting,
heart beating a timpani,
nerves and stress.
Nothing in reserve.

Time to regroup.
You gather yourself together.
Give up what you can't control
and charge forward.

Time to write, 
time to ponder,
wonder and believe
everything will fall into place.

You press for movement.
Do this, do that. 
Why nots and how comes,
demand a finish date.

How do we pay for it all?
Ever anxious, always afraid to ask.
We sit back in wonder.
Grateful, thankful.

Possible becomes probable.
Money, help, advice
Comes to hand,
never early, never late. 

Creativity stilted, blocked, quieted, 
hums in the background,
never ending, waiting for hand
to put pen to paper.

Some days,
one sentence, two.
Other days, pages.
Angst, thanks and snafus.

Characters jump to the fore.
Hello, what's new?
Not stewing, if that's what you think
Living, loving, breathing.

We'll jump back into place,
ready when you are.
We've made new friends
in the meantime.

Would you like to meet?
Characters, old and new.
How do you do?
We're ready, let's move.


~R.L.McCormack


Killing Floor by Lee Child





My introduction to Jack Reacher was reading 61 hours after hearing Lee Child speak at Bouchercon in 2010.  After finishing  the book, I had to find out what happened to Reacher and continued reading forward in the series.  Once I reached the end, finally decided to go back to the beginning to read the book that started it all - Killing Floor.

Reacher finds himself in a big mess when he wanders in to a small town his brother had told him about, looking for history on a blind blues singer, Blind Blake.  Within minutes of sitting down to eat breakfast in the local dinner, he is arrested for murder and things snowball from there. Imagine small town politics, town tough guys masquerading as do gooders, horrific murders, as well as a blooming attraction with Roscoe, the only female police detective as Reacher attempts to prove himself innocent. Six months out of the military and he's tough and doesn't back down for anyone. There are plenty of twists and turns while he tries to help the good guys expose and stop the bad guys. He has no qualms about ambushing the bad guys and taking them out anyway he can.

Writerly Wednesday: Persistence and Practice



I'm currently reading Jordan Rosenfeld's A Writer's Guide to Persistence: How to create a Lasting and Productive Writing Practice.   Every year I find an inspirational book that lights a fire under me, spurs me on to continue writing. I have a tendency to let family and work demands, stress and worry, all life's obligations short me out. I read about the writers who write through thick and thin, like the postman who works no matter the weather, those who have been writing all their lives and I start comparing myself to others. The well dries up and I escape into a book, the internet, television avoiding the page. Which leads me back again to the question, "Why do I write?"  

Probably because I get all crotchety and grumpy when all those thoughts, feelings, ideas, and characters are waiting in the back of my brain festering, wanting, needing to be expressed. Why do I resist instead of persist?  Then call it what you will - God or coincidence, synchronicity - I'll stumble back to the page and the well opens up again.  

This time I found Jordan's book who encourages writers to persist and practice their craft.

..."Writing is not just a means to an end but a way of life, of processing information and experience and expressing oneself on a regular basis...   Writers must write. How you do it, where, when, and why are all up to you. Excuses are a way of keeping yourself 'safe' from the demands of a writing practice... Writers are the people who find a way, no matter what, to keep writing, polishing, and persisting.  No excuses.  No one will do it for you. Your writing practice is in your hands."

Rosenfeld then takes it a step further with asking 'what is the value of your writing?"  

"If your burning reason to write is because it makes you happy or releases the wild voices from your head or helps you analyze the world around you, you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  You must learn to please yourself in the process of your practice or you will become vulnerable to discouragement, despair, and giving up. At the end of the day 'writing must be its own reward' as  Anne Lamott famously said."

"The moment you see it as a 'practice' that derives from an authentic place inside you, you step outside the bounds of success and failure and enter a wholly new, deeper territory in which everything you do for and with your writing is a part of the greater sum.  No words or work are ever wasted. No failure is ultimate, instead everything is another step further on the path of your writing practice."

"Everything counts as long as you choose to see it in that light. The value of your writing practice is ultimately up to you. And once you know what the value is, no one can take it away from you through rejection, criticism, or competition." 

And the icing on the cake of life, again synchronicity, is Laura Benedict's post over on The Kill Zone - Quit Trying to Write  and her very simple statement 'If you're writing, you're a writer. Keep writing' and quoting Yoda's sage advice. "do or do not, there is no try."  I love Star Wars. *grin* 

No procrastination, no resistance, no excuses as I persist and practice, spilling words onto the page on a regular basis.  At the beginning of the year I joined the 10 Minute Novelists 365 Writing Challenge and set writing, editing, consistency goals for each week which has helped keep me on track as well.  

This month is also Mytwoblessings 12th Anniversary and I'm looking forward to sharing my continuing journey on a more consistent basis.  



"Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel."
 ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.






Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter





Circle of the Moon

By

Faith Hunter 



Witches, vampires, bloodlust, Soulwood, love, pain, life, reading the land, vampire trees, and Occam...sigh! 

Faith Hunter hits it out of the park again with her fourth installment in the Soulwood series. I read it once, way too quickly because I just had to know what happened. Then read it again, savoring, absorbing, melting into the story and experiencing the action along with Nell, Occam and the PsyLed team. Man against man as well as man against nature. Soulwood and the vampire tree are characters in their own right, with major roles just as complex as Nell or Occam or Rick. Circle of the Moon takes you on a whirlwind adventure with unexpected twist and turns which will keeping you reading long into the night.  Totally enjoyed it and going back on the shelf for a series reread. 

If you haven't read anything by Faith Hunter yet, check out her website and the first book in her Jane Yellowrock, Soulwood, or Rogue Mage series. I've read and reread them all.  She creates engaging, strong characters and action packed story lines that capture you from the moment you start reading and make you want to stay in their worlds for as long as possible. 


Epiphany






Epiphany 

Two things on your mind today.
One says pay attention to life at all times.
Eyes and ears and senses
 open wide. 

Another says it's all in your head, 
Rule nothing out and spill it all.
Fill up the page with your rage 
and your fear and the blame. 

A word becomes a sentence,
a paragraph, a page.  And
an idea is born with the 
change of a name. 

Fake people and places to 
perplex and harass.  
Cause a fuss, make them dream
Give them purpose, create a scene. 

Not true, says one character.
You give us life to live. 
None are you and you are all. 
We live through you and you through us.

 We breath, we eat, we love and
experience the profound to the silly. 
We delve into the deepest ocean of your mind 
and pull out what we find.

Tears and fears, imaginary and real.
Firsts and lasts, life and death,
Sweet and fierce, cold and soft.
You give us room to spread our wings.

You give us meaning,  
A face and a place. 
You give us space  
to be.  





2018 Reading Wrap Up

Courtesy of Josephine Wall 


2018 Reading Wrap Up 


Yikes, I only read 37 physical books versus ebooks this year and explains why my book stacks didn’t decrease much.  Plus it tells me I've been spending way too much time on my Ipad getting distracted by the internet. 
During your travels did you have time to stop and smell the flowers with our Blossom Bookology challenge or explore a plethora of mysteries with 52 Books Bingo? 
I finished the Blossom Bookology spelling challenge and squeaked by the last three months with flowers mentioned in the stories as colors or characters.  I forgot to keep track of all the reference mentioned in my reads, but pretty sure there were more than a few mentions of a variety of flowers so I'm calling this challenge completed. 
Did you stay on the detective bus, join the rebel bus or hang around with Bertram Wooster?  
I joined the rebel bus and bounced back and forth between London.  I did manage to make it to London Scotland Yard, York, Buckinghamshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Somerset, Kent and back again to London.
·         London: Spymaster's Lady What Angels FearMidnight Riot as well as Last Chance Christmas Ball
·         York - Sunne in Splendour as well as I found You
·         Buckinghamshire - Flowers from the Storm
·         Herefordshire - Foxglove Summer
·         Leicestershire – Dinner Most Deadly
·         Somerset - For Deader or worse  and Cozy Tea Shop in the Castle
·         Kent – Midsummer Moon
Did you remain earthbound or take off for worlds unknown? I think I remained pretty much earthbound although I did visit quite a few alternate realities.  I also traveled through different centuries to England, Africa, Germany, France, Antarctic, Ireland, Canada, Amsterdam, and Ceylon.
Did you reach your reading goal or did you decide to just meander about and follow rabbit trails and end up getting lost in the enjoyment of reading?  I totally lost track two thirds of the way through the year but I did make my goal of 100 books.
Did you set any aside to read again at some point and savor the story all over again?   Oh yes. Rachel Caine’s Great Library series, Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling trinity with Silver Silence and Ocean Light, as well as Roxanne St. Claire’s Dogfather series are all well worth rereading.  
Which books intrigued or entertained, made you laugh, cry, dance or sing?  So many and it is hard to narrow it down.
  • Anna Richard’s The Road Home and Laura Kinsale’s Midsummer’s Moon touched my heart.  Thank you to KarenI  for introducing me to these two authors.
  • Lian Dolan’s Elizabeth the First Wife and  Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm made me laugh.
  • Robyn Cadwaller’s The Anchoress and Julia Drosten’s The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter enthralled me while and Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour pulled me into the history of the times.  
  • Tahareh Mafi’s Shatter Me and Mindy McGinnis’  A Madness So Discreet and Dean Koontz Innocence gave me the chills.
  • Mark Helprin’s Soldier of the Great War pulled me from the present into the past and back again and put my emotions through the ringer.
  • Two WWII novels - Leon Leyson’s The Boy on the Wooden Box made me cry while John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas irritated me with the child’s naivete.
Stats Wise
I read 114 Fiction books and 9 non fiction. I read quite a few series so have many repeat authors I enjoy which include Nora Roberts aka J.D. Robb, James Rollins, Keri Arthur, Nalini Singh, Jennifer Estep, Roxanne St. Claire, and Faith Hunter to name a few. 
Female authors -  47
Male authors – 11
New to me authors – 29
The majority of my reads were Fantasy and Mystery/Suspense/Thriller with quite a few contemporary romance, historical and a few nonfiction thrown in.

Blossom Bookology Challenge completed






I completed 52 Books Blossom Bookology spelling challenge and squeaked by with a couple with flowers mentioned in the stories as colors or characters.  I forgot to keep track of all the reference mentioned in my reads, but pretty sure there were more than a few mentions of a variety of flowers so I'm calling this challenge completed. 


January - Chrysanthemum


C: Genevieve Cogman - The Masked City (fantasy) 

H: Thor Heyerdahl - Kon Tiki  (NF)

R: Robyn Cadwallader - The Anchoress (historical)

Y: Rick Yancey -  The Infinite Sea (fantasy)

S: Sharon Kay Penman - The Sunne in Splendor (historical)

A: Anna Richland - His Road Home (military romance) 

N: Natalie Goldberg - Writing Down the Bones (NF)

T: Thomas Merton - Thoughts in Solitude (NF) 

H: Mark Helprin - A Soldier of the Great War (WWI historical)

E: Emma Hamm - Silver Blood (Paranormal)

M: Haruki Murakami - Hear the Wind Sing/Pinball (literary)

U: Lisa Unger - Beautiful Lies (Mystery)

M: Haruki Murakami - A Wild Sheep Chase (literary)




February - Rose


R:  J.D. Robb - Dark in Death (Futuristic)

O:  Melissa Olson - Dead Spots (Paranormal)

S:  John Sandford- Secret Prey -  (Detective)

E:  Jennifer Estep - Bitter bite (Paranormal)




March - Clover 


C: Chosen - K.F. Breene (fantasy)

L:  Louise Penny - Glass Houses (mystery)

O: The Overlook - Michael Connolly (crime detective)

V: Carrie Vaughn - Discord's Apple (paranormal)

E: Elizabeth the First Wife - Lian Dolan (Literary fiction)

R: Rachel Caine - Ill Wind (paranormal)



April - Mountain Aven


A:  Atlantis Fallen - C.E.Murphy (Paranormal)

V:  Mud Vein - Tarryn Fisher (Suspense)

E:  Black Echo - Michael Connolly (Mystery) 

N: Nerd's Pocket Pets - D.R. Grady (Romance)




May - Lily 


L: Alan Alda – If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on my Face

I:  Innocence - Dean Koontz (Thriller) 

L: Lake Silence - Anne Bishop  (Paranormal)

Y: I Found You - Lisa Jewell  (Mystery)



June - Tulip

The Golden Tulip - Rosalind Laker




July - Edelweiss


E: Elephant Keepers Daughter - Julia Drosten

D: The Art of Deception - Nora Roberts (Romantic suspense)

E:  Jennifer Estep - Unraveled (Paranormal)

L:  Luke - Barbara Freethy (Romance)

W: Where Dreams are Born - M.L. Buchman (Romance)

E:  Jennifer Estep - Snared (Paranormal)

I:  Ice Hunt - James Rollins (Antarctic, thriller)

S:  Where There's Smoke-Susan May Warren (Romance)

S:  Spymaster's Lady - Joanna Bourne (Regency) 



August - Jasmine

J: James Rollins - Demon Crown 

A: Ash and Quill - Rachel Caine

S: Foxglove Summer - Ben Aaronovitch

M: Midnight Curse - Melissa Olson

I: Ink and Bone - Rachel Caine

N: Nora Roberts - Leverage in Death

E: Ellie Weisel - Night 



September- Lotus 

L:  Peter the Latvian - Georges Simenon (Detective)

O:  Nalini Singh -  Ocean Light, #2 Psy/Changling Trinity (e)

T:   Twyla Tharp - The Creative Habit

U:  Unfit - Keri Arthur (Paranormal)

S:  Shelter in Place - Nora Roberts (Suspense)



October - Marigold

Flowers from the Storm - Laura Kinsale: Marigold flower colored wall paper 

or Foxglove Summer - Ben Aaronovitch with Marigold gloves 




November - Daisy

The Cozy Tea Shop in the Castle - Caroline Roberts with a character named Daisy



December - Holly 

  Last Chance Christmas Ball - Word Wenches.  The Ball is being given by Lady Holly who is character in every story that makes up the whole book.