Twilight (**)

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Before anyone wants to take my man card away I want to say that, one I am back to about 100% so I can probably hurt ya, and two, next Monday we are going to go drink beer and see football. Yesterday I got tickets for the midnight showing of twilight for Bea and I go see it. While I was being nursed back to health Bea gave me the first book in the series to read and I was hooked.

Simple writing, compelling story, almost comic book like action got me hooked. I ended up reading all of the books in probably a weeks time. The characters all have some flaw that even when they are immortals make them very human.

But I guess everyone wants to hear about the movie… and I am going to have to be a harsh critic. As a standalone movie, it fails. To fully appreciate the plot and understand the characters behavior you have to read the book first.

A movie goer will be dissapointed by a movie that will feel very slow in some parts and then too fast in others without any transition.

That said, the movie was cast flawlesly. The actors do an excellent job at delivering lines that everyone that has read the book was waiting to hear. There was attention to detail and many of the locations looked very close to what I had imagined them. However it did not have the wow effect that the Harry Potter universe did when the first movie came out.

Bella, played by Kristen Stewar was amazing. She played a very complex character who has the least amount of good lines since most of the book happens through her narration. She comes off likeable without being cheesy, a real person rather than the cartoon most trouble teenagers seem to look like in todays movies. She is a great actress because even though you have seen her in plenty of movies, each character stands on its own. She was in Zathura, Jumper and Panic Room.

Edward played by Robert Pattison who you probably first saw in Harry Potter playing Cedric Diggory plays the perfect vampire from the books lore. He has the best dialogue which he used to stop the hearts of every girl in that theater. I was amazed that there was actually no screaming during the movie, kuddos to all the tweens.

Taylor Lautner played a good Jacob, but his role does not really develop until later on the books. I hope this kid goes through a huge growth spur and can play the rest of the movies which I am pretty sure they are going to make.

The special effects in the movie worked quite well. Visually it did its job. The biggest misstep was the music. Even though the score was not bad, there were plenty of opportunities missed to use excellent songs. I think it would have made the slow not drag so much.

I give the movie two stars because the source material is some of the best I have ever read. Once you read the book, see the movie, it will be very entertaining. If you have not read the book, then be ready to feel like you are missing tons of stuff when you watch it.

Closer inner circle

I have had the opportunity to meet many of the acquaintances I have made online. Very soon after meeting me you will know that I am a people person an love making friends. I honestly believe that everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to give, an experience to share. I find people fascinating and love to make those connections with them both lasting and true. However, the older that I get, the more I learn that some people just don’t appreciate those connections as much as I do.

I spend a lot of my time thinking. My work requires me to solve problems and find ways to present data in a meaningful way. I find self actualization vital to my well mental health. The moment I stop trying to become a better person I feel like a puddle of stagnant water. Last week I had come to the realization that there were several people that were affecting my self image that really should never have that much power. Some people’s perceptions really affected me more than I was ready to deal with.

In my need to make connections with others I became a laptop with no firewall, and in today’s world of viruses I cannot afford that kind of vulnerability. Some people might not even realize how infected they are by fear, intolerance, or just plain ignorance and before you know it they have full access to your hard drive.

Life is not defined by others, it is defined by our choices. Take some time to evaluate who is in your inner circle right now. I am talking about the ones that truly matter or and what they think or say really affects you. I bet you that before the end of the exercise your circle might get smaller and smaller.

There was a point in my life where I trusted a very limited number of people with my thoughts and feelings. During that time I considered just dissociating completely from everyone I knew and just starting all over somewhere else, the thought back then seemed like such a good idea.

I have come a long way from those dark days and have been lucky enough add a lot of people to the circle of people that actually help shape my self image. The most important addition is obviously my wife and without her I would probably be a hermit. I have also been blessed with some awesome friends that accept me for exactly who I am and are getting to know the real me, and not some caricature of what they think I should be.

True friends keep you honest and are always happy to tell you the truth but never try to change you. People who are not happy with their own life are never good judges of what your situation is. Just because a person is good at something, it does not make them a subject matter expert on everything in life. So be careful about what people in that situation say about not just you and your life, but just life in general.

The most surprising thing about my inner circle is how much bigger it keeps on getting. The closer people get to me, the more they shape my life, the happier as a person I become. That is not to say that some people have completely been removed, but overall I am way closer with a lot of those connections than I ever thought I would be. I used to think that losing a friend was a huge personal loss. The reality I have found is that you never lose a true friend, you only find out that someone was not your friend to begin with.

The Visionary

Thanks to my employer I had the opportunity to attend the Get Motivated Seminar at the Sprint Center this past Wednesday. My favorite speaker was Colin Powell who spoke about leadership, but I also liked Krish Dhanam a lot, I will have to write about him some time soon. There were many more speakers and I actually missed Rudy Giuliani, but one of them had such a great message that I wanted to share it with you guys.

Her name is Tamara Lowe, and she is a great speaker. She might come off as a little cookie to some, a little to Christian for others, but when she was talking about motivational DNA I was pretty impressed.

Many people think they know how everyone around them is motivated. Motives are probably the easiest thing to guess on, but probably the hardest to guess right. Some people are as cynical as to believe that for most people it boils down to money, sex or power. Funny enough, that is not the whole truth, and with her little method you can find out quite a bit about how people are motivated.

I took the online test and came up with the following.

Logtar’s Motivational DNA Type is PVI
(Production-Variety-Internal): The Visionary

Visionaries are persistent, energetic and confident. They are able to organize people and projects. Visionaries exhibit strong leadership potential and react quickly to crisis. Creative thinkers, Visionaries have the ability to craft a vision and get others excited about it. They enjoy working on multiple projects at the same time and like to be involved in exploring alternative concepts. Farsighted and imaginative, Visionaries are good at finding original solutions to difficult problems. Visionaries enjoy change and thrive under pressure. They have the ability to shift gears and turn on a dime. They are confident in their ability to master new skills. Visionaries enjoy challenge and desire personal growth. Visionaries want to know that their work matters and desire to “go where no man has gone before.”

PVI Motivators: Inspiring work environment, opportunity to originate and initiate ideas, peer respect, credit for work accomplished and a strong sense of mission.

PVI De-Motivators: Rigid structure, routine, delays, time-consuming details and bureaucracy.

The funny thing is that it is very accurate. I think this is a great tool for managers to read their employees, or sales people their potential customers. I ordered her book and plan on reading it. The simple online test gives you more than the usual; it actually gives you some tips on how to get motivated right now in ways it will work for you. Take the test, I found it quite useful.

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Baby Mama (*)

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From the previous I had high hopes for this comedy. I thought that they were funny, but not too SNL like. I was disappointing when I started watching it and saw more movie cliches than actual comedy. I would bother with trying to save the spoilers if I actually thought this movie was somewhat enjoyable, but trust me, you will want to just turn it off. If it was not because both Bea and I had long weeks and were kind of trying to just kick back and relax, we would have probably turned it off and went to do something else.

The problem with the movie is not that it is too predictable, or that it feels like a bunch of SNL skits tied together. The problem is that the characters are never people you could connect with. The moment you were trying to feel for one of them, the punchline to some joke would make them feel too cartoonish to actually be real people.

I am not a Steve Martin fan, I don’t quite dislike him, but I have never found him extremely funny; however his little role in this movie was perfect. He was cartoonish enough that you never took him seriously so he ended up being the only character that really worked.

Do not rent or buy this DVD, please wait for it to come out on cable and maybe then give it a try… but trust me, after a half an hour you will want to turn the channel.

The best country in the world

All around me I have been experiencing the reactions some people have when faced with something they did not expect. They tend to pretend that everything is all right and do nothing to change the situation. Then they look at someone like me, and think that my positive thinking is the product of the same mentality. I am not a hippie that thinks everything is alright, man, just chill and wait for it to happen. (no offense to anyone that might take the word hippie as a derogatory term)

Action IS necessary, and the current government and party have failed me. I had to act by voting for someone that had a better agenda, at least in the open political arena than then status quo. Bush let the government get bigger, not the social justice way, but the earmarks kind of way. The republican party failed to distance themselves from that, and did not provide the best candidate for me, and in turn failed me as a republican that had began to lean independent.

I am an idealist and I do believe that life can be “perfect,” but just like happiness, it is a very hard thing not just to achieve, but maintain.

I never pretend in my head that nothing is wrong, but I strongly believe that everything is going to be alright. Even though a huge portion of my way of thinking for me comes from faith, a lot of it also comes from logic. Mixing feelings and logic is a very hard task; I believe that it is one of those opposites like Mars and Venus in some ways. However difficult it is, enough force can hold two magnets together. The physics of it is kind of cool and measurable, but in life, how do we measure the force that makes us interact with other humans that might be rejecting us with their magnetic field?

I call that love… family… friendship… bonds.

In my life I have tried to befriend almost everyone that has crossed my path. Some people from the get go did not want to have me be a friend, some others I have lost along the way for many reasons… it always goes sour when I realize that the other side is not as willing to compromise as I am, or just simply do not understand what the word compromise really means.

I was taken by surprise when some of the people that I still call friends took very harsh stances against me as soon as our new president was elected; even though I had humored their constant ridicule of a candidate I thought will not just change America, but could change the world. Not in one or two terms in office, but planting the seeds of unity and hard work that will be required to make America the BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

One of the most hurtful comments to me after the election is why didn’t I move back to Colombia and tried to fix my own (insert your word here) country. That hurt… I thought that someone that had seen me go to college, learn things there not just about computers, but life, the way the system works, the way relationships shape our live. It thought the way that I had affected their lives and they had mine, had given them an understanding of who I am and made me a part of their lives… not just a removable piece. Just like the remote that serves such a purpose when changing the channel but you want to chuck out the door the moment you sit on it and feels uncomfortable. I can only hope that they realize that I did serve a purpose in their lives and I am not something that should be discarded… in that case I honestly believe it would be their loss.

So let’s talk about it… is Colombia a worse country than this one is? The answer is so relative it will take not just a PhD in political science and Latin American Issues to truly understand everything about it. To me personally it is a little easier to answer. In many respects YES, Colombia TO ME, is a better country than the US. I lived a middle upper class life over there, have family and friends that even though I been here for half of my life still receive me with open arms… and now there is the new addition of my wife’s family that are nothing but some of the best people I have ever met. Is my country or origin riddled with problems? Absolutely, but I have NEVER voted for a presidential election there even though I can… why? BECAUSE I LIVE HERE! and THIS IS ALSO MY COUNTRY.

Listening to the radio yesterday people were asked if Obama being elected had already changed American society. To answer the radio show question, I believe that yes, America has shown that even by a small margin the majority of this country elected who they thought was better for the job and not the race, that is a big step in the right direction. In my little microcosms it also has changed my life, I have felt how harsh some people can be with their words… I can only wonder how harsh they are with their thoughts.

At the end of the day I still believe that my parents came to the best country in the world, and I live in a country that is now in many fronts falling behind as a super power. If someone has not checked the numbers in China’s military in recent years they are foolish. If someone has not checked the earning power of the Indian middle class they are just plain blind. To believe that we are the only ones in the world is just moronic, and to rest on our laurels still thinking that America is going the right direction and there is no other point of view than the republican point of view will get all of us nowhere. That is not why this REPUBLIC was formed, quit trying to turn this in to the REPUBLICAN DICTATORSHIP and don’t be such sore losers. Work together to make this country better and instead of trying to predict doom and how Obama will ruin everything, see what YOU can do at the local level to make sure that our country DOES become the best country in the world once again.