Sunday, July 24, 2016

I am Thor

I was never a Thor fan, but as a big music bio fan I had to watch "I am Thor." Bodybuilding and heavy metal? Fuck yeah, I'll check it out.

In talking with Uberti about said movie today he described it as, "like a second rate The Story of Anvil." And that's a very good, succinct description. A lot of the production is handled by one dude. The audio is sketchy. The video quality varies quite a lot throughout the movie. It's all done on a shoestring budget.

Is it a good movie? No, not really. Is it an interesting story? Yeah. Is Thor any good? No. He should have stuck to bodybuilding. Dude was a beast. But y'know, a lot of people like his shit, so good for him. Whatever floats your boat.

The whole thing was worth learning one pretty crazy tidbit about Jerry Only and the Misfits. But I won't spoil it for  you...

He looks like He-Man.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Conspiracy of Brothers

I picked up a used copy of this at some big ol' book swap meet type of thing a while back. Booktopia, or Bookapolooza, or Bookmageddon, or something along those lines. It was at a mall. Zillions of individual book sellers. It had a biker on the front and purported to be about, "bikers, murder, and the law," so I was in.

Before we get into the book itself, just look at the typeface on the cover. The "C" is very interesting. It's like a condensed bastard child of Helvetica, Frutiger, and some unique display font. I dig it.

Anyway, the book is about a biker-on-biker murder in Canada, the trial, and the aftermath. It's a true story from the late 70's / early 80's. Mick Lowe does a great job as an investigative journalist diving into the minutia of this case. He builds a vivid picture of the fateful night and then takes the reader on a lengthy trip through courtrooms, penitentiaries, and outlaw clubhouses.

I found the courtroom drama a bit tedious, to be honest. But ultimately it was worth the ride. It was an inspiring and also incredibly sad and disappointing story. Do you like true crime? Do you ride? Read the book!


I joined the bookclub at work. First book I read with them was "Grit" by Angela Duckworth.

The idea of grit in the workplace is a bit of a buzzword right now. How do I hire for grit? What separates the men from the goats? We need gritty people, etc etc. I consider myself a pretty determined and disciplined person, so I was interested in reading up on the academic interpretation of grit. Are there lessons to be learned? Ways to teach it? Ways to hire for it?

In talking with my colleagues most felt the book was a bit long-winded. Duckworth seemed intent on showing the inner-workings of her conclusions to a point than some people felt was overkill. Example after example. It didn't bother me too much, though. It was a quick and easy read. The first night I read it I drank an espresso and stayed up until 2am getting through the first 100 pages. So for a business book / academic book, you could consider it a page-turner. 

I think grit is important. I'd be interested in hearing what my wife has to say about the book, if she chooses to read it. There's a brief chapter on parenting for grit. I paid particular attention to that as it will come in handy after October 25th. Fortunately for me, my parents were excellent examples of how to instill grit in a child. They just did what came natural to them, so I imagine their parents must have raised them in an equally gritty fashion. Disciplined and supportive. 

I'd recommend this to anyone in business, any parent, or anyone about to embark upon a particularly daunting new chapter or task in their life. Starting a new business? Prepping to run a marathon?

I think it's a pretty good book but I wouldn't rave about it. I'm recommending it cuz it's such a quick read that it's not going to take up too much time. You'll get something out of it.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Generation Iron

I watched this last year and decided it was time to give it a second viewing. I just re-read my original review, and while it was complementary I think it was a touch harsher than I feel about it now. That's how I felt at the time, so whatever. I liked it even more the second go round. 

If you lift and you've haven't seen it, get to it!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

We Are Twisted Fucking Sister

Never been a Twisted Sister fan. I mean...look at them.

Still not a fan. But I respect the hell out of them! Definitely thought Dee was a really articulate and intelligent dude for a long time. No doubt. Testifying in the PMRC musical hearings in DC was a big deal. Dee was awesome. But cool dude or not, I still didn't like Twisted Sister.

I watched this 2 hour 15 minute doc about the inception and rise to fame of Twisted Sister and walked away with even more respect for them. The doc doesn't get into their "famous years," it's 100% on their struggle to the top, which is cool. The untold story, if you will.

There's not a lot to the doc. Talking heads and archival footage. Not much in the way of interesting motion graphics or anything else. It's slick enough, but very basic.

I'd definitely recommend it if you want to see a doc on some gritty, determined motherfuckers. This is a story of pure determination and a stubborn drive to succeed. They slog their way from tri-state clubs to selling millions of records and playing all over the world.

It's a cool story. Inspiring. And there's a lot of make-up.

Ramesses II: The Great Journey

I've decided to get back into Egyptology.

Every child, or at least every male child, grows up with a fascination with the universe, dinosaurs, and Egypt. You just do.

So considering I'm 36 going on 11, I'm going back to my roots and I'm going to read some books and watch whatever I can on the subject. I already got a book on how to read hieroglyphics for x-mas. So I'll dig into that soon enough.

I watched this video on Amazon Prime. It was kinda crappy. Didn't like the narrator. Interesting, but I need something that doesn't feel quite so second rate...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Top Spin

I'll watch a documentary on almost anything. Case in point, I just watched one on ping pong. And loved it.

It's no secret I really dug Spellbound back in 2002. It's an Oscar nominated doc about the national spelling bee. Riveting stuff. Well, Top Spin is like Spellbound but for table tennis players trying to make it to the Olympics in London in 2012. Kids who are 15 years old just kicking major ass.

Top Spin is really well done. Doesn't need a big budget. It just follows some students, tells their stories, and puts it all together in a quick narrative with a well-defined arc. Simple and effective.

The kids who are profiled are paragons of grit, as Angela Duckworth would say. It's true. These kids are the embodiment of steely grit and determination. I'd be super proud of them if I were their parents.

This is only 80 minutes. Stream it on Netflix. You'll learn about something you never knew about before....unless you happen to really, really be into ping pong.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pumping Iron

I'm lifting shoulders with Pickle* on Sunday. I had to get psyched up so I watched Pumping Iron again.

Okay, that's not really why I watched it again. But whatever. It was good to revisit. I'm gonna watch Generation Iron for a second time soon, too.

It's a classic. Just like Ahnold.