Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review: AMC 14 Westroads (formerly Rave) and World War Z

When I'm not out fishing, working or being with family, I enjoy watching movies, playing tabletop RPGs and other games and spending time with friends.

Nestled on the North side of Westroads mall is a 14 theatre... theatre... previously owned by Rave.

Since there are obviously no AMC pictures up yet, just replace that big sign with the AMC logo and yer good.

It was here I went with fellow moviegoers Dan N., Adam D. and Jon S. for World War Z.

Produced by and starring Brad Pitt, World War Z is a movie about survival and sacrifice against incredible zombie-rific odds. 

Before going further on my review of the theater and the movie, I want you to know that I'm a terrible critic. Go see it for yourself and make your own decisions. 

And, of course, I can't review a movie without the flagrant spoiler alert.

First, the theater. 


Old building, new feeling. People were friendly and helpful. Even the gal who came in to clean up after the show was bubbly and helpful, offering her near-overflowing trash can to anyone walking by that needed to throw something away. The floor wasn't sticky like I expected, which was cool.


The chairs squeaked and rocked. DBOX seating was only available in one theater. Sour Patch Kids - bag, not box - cost $4.25. That's about it.

Now, the movie.


The special effects on this movie excited me. I built up a lot of anticipation for this, wanting to see Brad's take on worldwide takeover of zombie hoards. Many people asked if I had read the book first, and frankly, I'm glad I didn't. I wanted to see the movie for what they could make of it. 

Dialogue was clear and to the point. They didn't overload it. The movie clipped along at a pace that wasn't hard to follow.

Another zombie pro: they ran like the dickens. I thought that was a clever twist, as I, in my sheltered existence, have not seen that variation before. Made the "swarm" that much more terrible to imagine as they cut down thousands of people.

All of this tied together with the suspense of avoiding a terrible demise at the mouth of zombies made the movie entertaining.

His amputating the hand of the Israeli commando was a great part of the movie. He doesn't think, he just acts, then he counts to check if she changes. Very intense.


Within the first 5 minutes, there was a noticeable mistake. Laying in bed, the two daughter characters jump on them and Brad covers his head with his hands playfully. Cut to another angle, no hands on head. Cut back to previous, hands on head. Woops. Sounds small, but I noticed it. Womp womp.

Thank heavens the daughter found a hunting rifle in a closet of the RV. Too bad she was supposed to be getting her sister a drink. Kind of a strange scene insertion.

Several of the troops on the aircraft carrier during helicopter landing sequences were obviously CGI. I found myself thinking, "Well, I guess it is a lot cheaper to animate. That's cool." But it's not. I don't want to be thinking that during a movie!

Overall, the movie was far too cramped and rushed. I mentioned above that it is not hard to follow, and it isn't. What is Lane's UN training, and how does it apply? Who is this Terri and how did they meet? Wait, the president is dead? Jet fuel in the water? His family is ordered off the ship via phone call? SLOW DOWN AND MAKE THAT CRAP HAPPEN.

I expected this to be a trilogy. At this point, it looks like they bagged the trilogy idea and decided to end the movie with the montage of "we're still fighting, but now we've got deadly/non-deadly pathogen camouflage" that insinuates "it all works out in the end." 

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being "good flick" and 1 being "I'd rather be fishing", I give this movie a 6. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day, "Born to Run", and Baby Girl

I had honestly forgotten Father's Day usually brought gifts until my wife handed me beautiful cards from my daughters and an opened FedEx envelope.

Inside? XeroShoes.

My beautiful wife ordered me the 6mm black Contact featured here.

"I tried looking for minimalist shoes, but you've got such big hobbit feet... I just got you some of these," she remarked.

I was so thrilled. I had wanted to try Merrel brand shoes, but they were above $100 and nowhere near my width of foot. This was better. I felt a thrill as I took them out and got ready on the instructions.

Later on that day, they were done.

I took them for a test jaunt yesterday for a few blocks - since it is crucial to go suuuuuper easy at first after years of foot binding to avoid stress fractures, etc - and loved them. In fact, it was like being a kid again. I love that thrill of "feeling the world".

They are super light-weight being nothing more than a 6mm pad of textured rubber. All they are for is making sure you don't tear your foot up on glass, rocks and other debris while out and about.

Yesterday, I couldn't help myself. I had to run. I started jogging behind the lawn mower. After a bit, I put on the side-eject attachment - allowing for faster travel with same cut - and took off my grubby tennis shoes to put these bad boys on. Beat my 1 1/3 hour mowing time for my and my neighbors lawn by completing in 35 minutes, and I was looking around at other possible lawns.

The fact is, I've been astounded by the facts presented in a book recommended - and gifted to me - by a fellow runner at work. 

I've been more than astounded. I feel inspired. It makes sense! Among many other interesting points, and a wonderfully gripping storyline, McDougall extrapolates on:

  • The correlation between commercialized footwear and injury
  • The way the human body is formulated for endurance and long-distance running at speed
  • The freedom that comes from one of humanity's hard-wired proficiencies
  • One of my favorites, "Persistence Hunting"
This book is moving. I have no other way of explaining it. I highly recommend it to anyone who runs or wants to run. It will help open your eyes to the truth of our bodies and what we can do and entertain you all at the same time. 

Don't read it if you are sensitive to language, though. He doesn't pull any punches on quoting his acquaintances verbatim.

Even more moving was the ultrasound yesterday wherein we found out we're having another girl!

She is due the first week of November. It will be lots of drama and creativity, attitude and sensitivity. It will be epic. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

6/15 report, and week anecdotes

Took off about 10 to a carp flat looking for active fish.

Heavy storms and high winds have dropped activity levels. Carp a a little deeper, with the little guys feeding more sporadically close to shore. No opportunities to sight cast, really. Tried to put the fly near some breakers with the intent of trying to catch some in feeding patterns. No luck.

Found the darnedest thing, though. A beaver lodge.

Unbeknownst to me, beavers are friggin' EVERYWHERE in Nebraska. You've got to be kidding me. This amazing engineer, and the largest rodent in North America, doesn't just live in the Rockies?

Wait, it's not carnivorous and eats primarily tree bark?! Seriously?! Mind = blown.

Dropped a HORRIBLE chenille San Juan Worm - horrible because it's the cheap chenille that just falls apart; turned into a black string with a bead on it. I need to tie some more of these.

I felt the tug almost immediately. I was SHOCKED. I pulled up sharply, and set the hook with everything I could muster.

Shot that thing right out of the water, you wouldn't believe it.

Beautiful weather. Wonderful clouds... a little heavy on the wind, but all-in-all, the best way to spend a lunch hour in my opinion.

Just saw this on Facebook and had to add it. Love it!

Orvis Instruction on how to catch carp.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Success is spelled C-A-R-P

NPR let me know at 6:30 AM that chances of rain today in the area were at 70% after 1 PM. It was fishing day for lunch. I made a mental note that I would need to go early.

Planned early with the team, volunteering to go to lunch break at 10 AM.

The conversation continued after that with my co-worker Tim when he asked if I was going fishing. Turns out he used to do laps around Cunningham - all the way around - and he pointed out a spot on the West side that "nobody ever goes to." He showed me where. I got directions, and decided to check it out.

Work was hectic for a while. Didn't make it out until about 10:15. It was raining lightly.

"No sweat! I've got a rain coat in the trunk!"

I drove off. Got to the lake, parked in the indicated area and got out to check my trunk.

No rain coat.

I had a nagging feeling this was going to be epic, so I did what all crazy sport-fishermen tend to do... I found a  plastic baggy for my phone and my keys, then saddled up.

Two hundred yards of waist-high, wet grasses were ahead of me. It ran along the side of old tire-tracks. Birds were singing and the rain came straight down. It was emerald and quiet. I smiled to myself as I felt a bump on the pole as I walked. A robin had popped it while flying off. I apologized to it and continued on.

I hesitated on the edge of the grass with the water in sight. Paranoid of ticks, I tentatively walked sideways, pressing the grass down. It was a short trip to the water.

Dual fly rig on, line wet, first fish was a green sunfish. Unhooked.

Heard a sucking sound, and almost a groaning about 8 feet down the shore. Shore was tall grass, mud overhangs and root-shelves over about 6 inches of water. I thought, "Well, that's a strange sounding duck."  Splashes and churning accompanied the noises. Dolphins rose and fell out in the pond. I looked 50 yards down the shore near an inlet and BINGO.


I immediately started dropping along the shore near the splashing. It was obviously single fish feeding. Nothing at first. Roll-casted back to and area I had been before. Felt two very light bumps and lifted.


The drag sounded and I looked at the sky and whooped like a madman!

Tried to snap a picture of my bent pole, but the bag made it blurry. It wasn't a MONSTER, but it took off like one! Sadly, ended up running under debris. Had to break off the leader completely. 

Hands shaking, excitement up, I re-rigged and set off east along the shore. I cast to activity, nothing. Alarm started going off on the phone. Waited till the last minute. I picked up my rod and let a length of line drag along the water near the shore while I moved to better casting position. Went to lift the rod to backcast, and had a fight on my hands.

Ladies and gentlemen, success is spelled C-A-R-P.

I felt really good on a lot of levels after this, but the biggest thing that stuck out was something I will privately cherish. 

Others may laugh. Finding carp flats is something I've dedicated to those side-"you might think it's silly" prayers. It has been a personal quest and desire of mine for nearly two years. Today just happened to be the day that my co-worker tells me about "this one place", and that it just feels right to visit. To me, it was more than a simple rainy fishing trip. This was God saying something to me as a child. 

Tight lines.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Lunchtime Report for... yesterday.

Ok, a day late. Sorry!

Went to the SW corner of Cunningham by the dam. There is a drain station there loaded with flotsam. It is a DREAMY carp flat with dolphins flopping everywhere 30-40 ft away from shore. West side of drain station is a cove, max depth of about 18-24". Perfect for bluegill, and they are big this year. I think I'm actually pretty grateful for bucket brigades on this water.

Started throwing a white Walmart popper by itself. It was about 15 mph headwind, so I would imagine the fish weren't paying attention to the surface.

Tied on a bead-head soft-hackle and BAM.

Little green sunfish. Bad picture. 5 inches long, maybe.

I kept getting strikes. The bead would pull the walmart popper down, so it was a slow steady descent. I put it in deeper water and would let it sink before "popping" it under water.

I knew there was action to be had right by the outflow of the drain station, so I dropped it right in front.

These were little flies, people! This was the first bass to hit. It was a thrill to see it fight on such a small fly. 

I cast around for a while more. Didn't want to try to cove because I was working and afraid of ticks. No luck. 

Put the fly right by the front of the drain again.

All in all, a great lunch break... now WHERE are those hungry carp?!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Memorial Day Week

Memorial Park, Omaha. A big thank-you to servicemen and women everywhere.
Memorial day is an emotional soft spot for me. So many men and women in uniform have died fighting in the armed services. I am overwhelmed when I attend services like the one pictured above. I feel grateful beyond expression for their sacrifice.

It was a great week on many levels.

One of the other highlights was a highly successful morning of fishing in the rain. After doing some research on the internet about burying fish guts for fertilizer, my friend and I hit an over-stocked/full-of-stunted-sunfish pond in CB and harvested a bunch.

Some white crappie and a bluegill
In my post about planting a fish, I miscounted. There were more white crappie in that bucket. These are just the too-small-to-filet ones. Nevertheless, there was a yummy catfish, a larger crappie and a green sunfish that yielded tasty goodness.

I planted the too-small-to-eat fish and the remains of the others near my broccoli, cucumbers, roses and other flowers.

When I was done, there was some fishy-smelling residue in my bucket, so I made a slurry and dumped it around my potted tomatoes. They turned a deeper green color and started sprouting "sappers" like crazy afterward. They loved it!

Tight lines, everyone.