Review

Words I enjoy and why I like them

In my last post, I made a list of the 10 words and phrases I hate the most.  It wasn’t necessarily a list of the words I hate: it was more so words I hate and words I dislike in certain situations.  After writing it, I realized I should share something positive on the subject, so here’s a list the words I like the most.  Again, there’s not particular order to this list except for number one.  Let’s do this!

  1. De La Rosa.  You can call this a cheat or a cop-out if you’d like, but this is my list, so you can shut up.  It’s not really a word as you can see.  It’s technically three words put together to create my last name.  It’s number one on my list because it’s so elegant, and when said correctly, it sounds so beautiful.  Growing up, I had so many people just say my name in a Spanish accent because they too saw heard and saw the beauty in it.  And when I sign it, it looks so elegant!
  2. Nyctophilia.  This word means the preference for night or dark.  I chose this word because it helps to describe me: I enjoy the night and darkness mostly because of the peace and quiet and brings.  Also, I like this word because it sounds naughty.
  3. Onomatopoeia.  When I was in school, I had encountered this word a number of times.  It intimated me because of the number of vowels in it and because it looked difficult.  Then one day, my teacher handed out a list of words for that week’s spelling test.  On that list was the word onomatopoeia.  I was worried because I didn’t think I could master it.  The day of the test, I finally figured out that the word may seem intimidating, but I could make it phonetic to help me out.  I totally aced that test.  Since then, I’ve looked at the word as a beautiful tragedy: a word that was unnecessarily long but wonderfully challenging.
  4. Voluptuous.  My weakness when it comes to words is a long, vowel-filled, phonetic word, which voluptuous is.  Aside from the phoneticism of the word, there’s also a sort of sexiness that comes along with the word, regardless of the definition.  It just rolls of the tongue.
  5. Macabre.  I enjoy this word because I enjoy writing styles that demonstrate this characteristic.  I prefer horror, thriller, and crime novels, and those genres greatly exemplify this.  When I think or say this word, I hear the song “Danse Macabre” playing while skeletons rise from graves and dance in the cemetery.  A ghastly sight, I know, but there’s something interesting about it.  That, and this is one of the few instances that I like a word for the fact that it’s not phonetic.
  6. Metamorphosis.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed the trend quite yet, but I prefer words that are longer and complicated.  This is no different.  Well, it’s not complicated, but it definitely is longer.  One of my favorite literary works is The Metamorphoses by Ovid.  It’s an umbrella composed of several different poems that have one common theme: change.  A synonym for change, if you’re wanting to get fancy, is metamorphosis.
  7. Necessarily.  This isn’t actually a favorite word, but I do use it a lot.  For example, I didn’t want to use actually in the previous sentence.  Instead, I wanted to use necessarily.  I’m not sure why I tend to turn to this word, but it could be that I’m comfortable with it, and I come across many situations that allow for my use of the word.
  8. Definitely.  Again, like necessarily, this isn’t a favorite word, but I use it a lot.  I just guess I’m a definitive person, so I use the best word that says just that.
  9. Eloquent.  To me, the best compliment you can give anyone is to compliment them for their eloquence, for being able to articulate their thoughts.  More points for being verbally persuasive with their verbiage.
  10. Fuck.  Remember that video from the early stages of YouTube?  
    Yeah, that one.  To summarize, fuck is a very diverse and adaptable word to be used in any manner of conversation.  Its versatility allows it to be used as a noun, verb, or adjective allowing the user to create an entire sentence with just a handful of words. It can be used to express a variety of different thoughts and emotions.  In the words of Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star, it’s a sentence enhancer.

 

Personal Experiences · Review

A local bar had terrible service

Over the weekend, I went to the movies to go watch Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. (Great movie, but I’ll do a review in a later post.)  My movie theater of choice is the Cinemark at First and Main Town Center.  It’s situated in the center of an outdoor shopping plaza surrounded by several eateries and some shopping boutiques.  I prefer it for 2 reasons: I really enjoy the Cinemark experience, and it’s a 5-minute drive from my house.  My parents had accompanied me on this trip.

Upon arrival, each of us had gone our separate ways for different tasks: my mom to the boba tea shop for drinks, my dad to purchase the tickets and grab seats, and myself to buy fries.  We had gone at the 2:50 p.m. showing because it’d end right at dinner time, so we planned to get food afterward because there’d be fewer people inside the cinema.  At this time, there were no lines at any of the concessions or ticket booths, so the Cinemark staff was very attentive and quick to help.

After the movie, we decided on burgers and bar food for dinner, so we headed to our usual spot, Bar Louie.

Bar Louie is a restaurant/bar place that boasts a local feel.  It’s actually right next to the theater on the second level of the complex, so we head up and enter into the dining area.  Two hosts are sitting at the first table and tell us it’s all open seating.  My mom and I detour to the bathroom to relieve ourselves and discuss how she had fallen asleep during the movie because she had worked all morning in the yard.  My dad heads to the bar to grab a table.

When we head back, my dad leaves for the restroom, so my mom and I peruse the menu.  At this time, I’m waiting for a server to bring over some waters and to ask for our drink orders just like every other time I’d come here.  A server walks past our table and greets another group that sat down after we came in and then checks on the larger table next to us.  She then walks past us to the bar to refill some drink orders.

I become a little concerned because the place isn’t half-filled, and there are two groups of servers, each consisting of about 5 or 6 people, standing around and chatting with one another.  The server that checked on the two other tables drops off the drinks for those two tables and heads back to the group of people behind the bar to continue talking.

We decide to leave because we’re all hungry, so we set the menus back in their holder.  At this time, we’ve been in the place going on 15 minutes.  I know because I checked the time stamps on some texts I’ve sent while there.  As we head out, a server from one of the groups says, “Leaving so soon?”

“No one acknowledged us, so we’re not staying.  This is terrible service,” my dad answers.

Even though it was a short amount of time, I was insanely disappointed with the service that Bar Louie demonstrated.  As I stated earlier, this is a spot that we frequent after our many daytime movie ventures, so we were expecting a certain level of service from the place.  Every time we had come to the place previously, we were greeted as soon as we sat down, and the server would engage us in some nice conversation about the movie we had just watched.  And the last time that we were there, we learned that one of the servers was actually from my dad’s hometown, so we all ended up talking about growing up there.  Last time, our waitress was way friendly and super attentive, and this time, they couldn’t give a shit.

Across the plaza is Rock Bottom, a brewery-style restaurant under the Old Chicago umbrella company.  We walk over there and head to the bar. The bar is all open seating, just like Bar Louie, so we quickly find a table, and as soon as we sit down, a guy comes up to introduce himself as our server, takes our drink orders, and quickly brings us water in the meantime.  A vast difference to earlier.

Compared to Bar Louie, Rock Bottom was actually a lot busier.  Most of the tables were filled, and the place was loud.  Throughout the entirety of out stay, the place managed to get busier and a bit louder, but the waiter still check in on us frequently, and he brought our food out in a timely manner.  There was one moment when someone else had checked in on us, but I think it was because our server was busy delivering someone else’s food or drinks.

In retrospect, I am surprised we found a table as soon as we walked in. But I guess that goes to show that good food and good service will put cheeks in seats.  Yes, I did very much enjoy the atmosphere at Bar Louie during previous visits, but this time it put a bad taste in my mouth.  The drinks are good and the food is delicious, but I don’t think I’ll be back anytime soon.

 

Personal Experiences · Review

OrangeTheory gave me muscles

Last summer, I think maybe end of May, one of my coworkers invited me to a gym class that she swore up and down was going to change my life.  I was hesitant, mostly for the fact that she said the class started at 5 a.m. Yep, that’s five in the morning, way before the sun even gets up.  I didn’t want to, but I said yes just to appease her.  One of my faults/strengths is that when I promise someone I’ll do something with him or her, I will do that thing with him or her, even if I’m on my death bed.  So, at 4:30 that next morning, I struggled out of bed, got my gym clothes on, and met her on the curb in front of my house.  She was a ball of excitement, and I was fighting sleep that was trying to creep back in.  She was right, though: that early morning gym session changed my life.

Kayla had taken me to OrangeTheory Fitness.  OTF is a high-intensity, interval training class, which usually consists of anywhere between five and 30 people.  The class is led by a trainer or coach that leads you through the workout.  During the class, there are three areas of the gym that you workout in: treadmills, rowing machines, and a weight room.  On the treadmills, the coach leads you through three different paces: a base pace which is a challenging yet doable pace, a push pace which is either a higher incline for power walkers or a faster pace for runners and joggers, and lastly, an all out pace which power walkers max out their inclines and runners/joggers run and jog at their fastest pace possible.  On the rowers, the coaches lead you through the three paces, but focusing on lowering the split time, or the time that it takes to row 500 meters.  The base is 2 minutes 30 seconds, push is 2 minutes 15, and the all out is preferably less than 2 minutes.  The weight room, or strength floor, is actually just guided weight training with free weights and TRX bands.

Orange-Theory-Brickell-12
This isn’t my gym, but this is all the equipment we use.

What’s different about this workout is that you’re trying to get your heart rate into what they call “the orange zone.”  There are five zones for your heart rate for the class, which are gray, blue, green, orange, and red.  The idea is that you spend a majority of the class in the green zone and at least 12 minutes in the orange zone.  The green zone is 71% to 83% of your max heart rate, something that’s determined when you take your first class.  The orange zone is 84% to 91% of your max heart rate.  There are TVs around the place that show your heart rate so that you can keep track of where you’re at.  The reason for the 12 minutes in the orange zone, or the Orange Theory, is that when you spend that time in that zone, you’ll burn between 300 to 600 calories up to 36 hours after the workout.  Each minute spent in the orange zone is considered one splat point.

And instead of body part focuses like arm day and leg day, OTF actually switches class focuses between endurance, power, strength, and a combo of the three.  Their reasoning is so that your body is continuously being worked out to improve our overall strength and fitness.

Now, we get personal…

For me, I really enjoy OTF for the fact that it is class-based and that the focus is the heart rate.  I have had a few gym memberships in my time, and I do really great going and working out, but some of the problems I had with them, like any other person, is consistently going to the gym and knowing how to use the equipment.  At OTF, the trainers took the time to talk to me and see what my fitness goals were.

When I started, my biggest goal was just to become fit.  I’ve always been overweight and trying to get down a few dress sizes, but nothing ever stuck.  But here, the staff, I feel actually tried to help me succeed.  I told the head trainer that my biggest goal was regarding my butt: I want a butt so amazing that I could star in a rap video.  Such a weird goal, but he told me it would be achievable, hard but achievable.

During my initial workouts, I was focusing on getting comfortable with the workouts and hitting the 12-minute goal.  At the time, I was only going three times a week.  I was new to working out consistently, and I didn’t want to overdo it.  It was fucking hard!  I was power walking on the treadmill: my base was a 1% incline and a 3.5 mph speed.  At these settings, I was able to remain in the upper green zone at around maybe 80% heart rate.  But because I was still new, I thought it was too much.  To me, I felt I was pushing too hard, so I’d want to slow down or quit, but after looking at the screens and seeing everyone else in the class, I knew I could do it.

Screenshot_20170504-223950
My stats pulled form when I started.

OTF compiles all your data on their app, so that you can review your data.  As you can see above, I was fluctuating with my calories burned and my 12-minute goal, or points in the screenshot.  It was hard, but after the first few weeks, I was getting in the rhythm.  I wanted to get that bubble butt!  But what I really noticed was how toned everything was getting.  My thighs were getting firmer, my butt was getting perkier, and my arms were getting harder.  I was loving it.

Then winter happened.

Around the Thanksgiving, I started slipping.  I was only going a couple of times a week, and I was eating junk food, essentially preparing for Thanksgiving.  The good things were that everything was staying where it was at and I was spending more time in the orange zone, but I wasn’t improving: nothing was getting firmer, and my weight stayed steady.  I was stable, but I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to get.

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My stats from the beginning of 2017.

Then, the new year came.

I made a New Year’s resolution, something I had never done before, and I told myself I’d stick to it no matter how much I wanted to quit.

It totally didn’t happen.

Then March came, and I decided to get my ass into gear and make some changes.  I started eating right, prepping meals, and going more frequently.  And not just going more frequently, I was challenging myself to do more when I wasn’t feeling the burn in my muscles.  I was upping my dumbbell weights, I was jogging instead of power walking, I wasn’t stopping while rowing.  I was doing all these things to improve and get better and to push myself.  I wanted to improve my overall health.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to my weight during this time.  Instead, I focused on how my body was feeling, both my state of being and physically how I felt.  I noticed I was happier and had more energy and not tired as much as when I started.  I also noticed that my muscles were hella firm!  Even when I wasn’t flexing!  Holy shit, I was getting strong!  I loved it!

And I think I succeeded!

Screenshot_20170504-224018
Most recent stats.

I’m at the point now where I’m enjoying my new and improved body and sharing my successes with everyone.  For instance, this morning while I was getting dressed, I put on a shirt I hadn’t worn in a few months.  Before, I had a bit of stomach pooch sticking through the shirt.  Now, it’s actually loose on me!  As soon as I got to work, I showed everyone that was willing to listen to me brag about it.  I even went around and had people poke my thighs to show how rock solid they were!  Yeah, I’m that person now.

My favorite part is that my underarm wings are going away and my arms are getting so toned.  When I flex, I can see and feel a lot muscle definition.

Right now, there’s still a lot of work, but I’m so happy with the progress that I don’t want to stop any time soon.  I mean, I went to a class right before I started typing this out.

Screenshot_20170504-224147
Stats from May 4th, 2017.

As you can see, I’ve burned almost 60,000 calories so far this year!  And not just looking at my numeric success, I also feel great!  And that right there, I think, is the biggest success.

 

Review

Review: Get Out

First official post of the newly minted blog!  Who’s excited??!?!?! … Just me then.  OK, well here goes:

Also, spoilers below!!!!!

Get Out is the directorial debut film by Jordan Peele, who is best known for being one-half of the comedy duo Key & Peele.  The film came out in February of 2017 to much critical praise.  I’m a big fan of movie reviews both from experts and moviegoers alike, so when I saw the 100% rating, at the time, I figured why not.

I watched the trailer, and I was insanely intrigued!  It was a thriller!  One of my favorites!  Anyway, in the trailer, it shows a white girl, Rose, and her black boyfriend, Chris, going out to visit Rose’s family in some rich, suburban neighborhood.  The trailer pretty much screams that the movie is going to be about race, especially when Chris points out the fact that he’s black and dating a white girl.

I didn’t see the movie until about mid-March when the movie had been in theaters for a while.  But I went to a midday showing, mostly because there are fewer people in the actual theater, so less talking.  I got a large popcorn with white cheddar cheese and a medium sprite.  (Not the large or I’d have to run out to the bathroom halfway through the movie.)  The theater dimmed, and the movie started.

Chris is played by Daniel Kaluuya, a guy I recognized from a reality show episode of Black Mirror.  While on the trip out to her family’s house, Rose, played by Allison Williams, hits a deer.  This leads to an uncomfortably racial encounter with a cop.  Thus begins the first foray in cringey encounters.

Once they arrive at the house, Rose’s family tries too hard to welcome Chris by being overtly comfortable with his blackness, like her brother commenting on his physique or her father stating he would’ve voted for Obama for a third term.  They also have two black people employed, a gardener and a maid.  We also learn that her father is a neurosurgeon and her mom is a hypnotist under the guise of helping him quit smoking.  HUGE FUCKING RED FLAG!!!!

Later that day, Rose’s family prepares for a large party/barbecue for all their friends, all their white friends.  Again, Chris ends up in a situation where people make racially uncomfortable comments about how much they like black people to Chris.  He disappears to call his friend Rod, a comedic character who works at TSA.  After, he ends up meeting another black man, which leads to a startling fiasco.  Chris recognizes the guy, and takes a picture, the flash of which causes the man to freak out and scream at Chris to “Get Out!”  Chris forwards the picture to Rod, who states that that man is someone they know that went missing, along with several other black people.

Chris is made uncomfortable and demands that he and Rose leave.  While she is packing, Chris stumbles across a box filled with pictures of the black people working and visiting her family’s house.  He does not confront her about this.

During their attempt to leave, Rose and her family reveal themselves as the kidnappers.  They capture Chris, mostly due to the mom’s hypnotic techniques, and tie Chris up in their lavish basement.

While in the basement, Chris is strapped to a chair and watches a movie explaining why Rose’s family is behaving so weirdly: they believe black people to be superior physical specimens, so when the members of their community get old or sick, Rose lures a strong, young black person back home under the premise them being her partner to meet her parents, but instead, that person’s brain is removed and replaced with that of one of the community members.  That person’s life is then extended, and he or she gets to extend life by living as a black person.  The old or sickly person is chosen via an auction for the black person.  Creepy, right?

Meanwhile, Rod calls Chris’s phone where Rose picks up and tries to convince Rod that Chris has left.  She even tries to seduce him.  Rod doesn’t believe or trust her, and he even tried getting the police involved, but he’s on his own.  Rod is convinced that the rich, white people are kidnapping young, attractive black people to keep as sex slaves for their weird kinks.

Back to Chris!

Chris manages to escape his captors, even killing a few on the way.  Rose grabs a shotgun and attempts to hunt him down.  In his attempt to leave, Chris runs over the maid, and he sticks her in the car.  While driving away, we learn that she’s actually Rose’s grandma.  Grandma makes Chris crash, and the gardener, Rose’s grandfather, attacks him.  Chris gets the grandfather out his hypnosis, who then shoots Rose then himself.  Chris attempts to strangle Rose, but he’s interrupted by a car with sirens approaching.  (Chris called the police earlier which cause him to hit grandma.)

It’s actually ROD TO THE RESCUE!!!!!

Chris is finally safe, and he and Rod drive off into the night.

End Credits

The movie was insanely amazing!  It was well-written and well-shot, and it spoke about the racial tension some ethnic people still experience.  For instance, the scene where the cop asks for Chris’s ID even though he wasn’t the one that hit the deer was the scene to introduce the racial struggle to me.  Yeah, Chris touched on the fact that he’s dating a white girl at the beginning of the film, but this scene foreshadowed the rest of the film by depicting Chris being comfortable, well not comfortable but more familiar, with certain instances or injustices that white people don’t encounter.  A white cop rudely asks to see Chris’s ID, and Rose becomes offended for him because it’s her fault the deer was hit, not his, so she’s wondering why the cop is trying to involve Chris.  And then the rest of the film’s racial awkwardness just spirals from there.

The only times that Chris is truly uncomfortable is when he encounters black people that don’t behave or act similarly to him, like when he tries to fist bump someone, and the guys grabs his fist for a handshake instead.

The racial tones did make me uncomfortable, but Jordan Peele did a great job at breaking it up with humor.  He used Rod for that.  Honestly, Rod was my favorite part.  He cracked a bunch of jokes about white people being crazy, yeah, but it helped alleviate that tension.  He made it OK for people to laugh and stop squirming about the serious race issues.  And the fact that he attributed Chris’s rescue to him being TSA made it all the better.

“I’m TS-motherfucking-A.  We handle shit. That’s what we do.  Consider this situation fucking handled.”

Daniel Kaluuya did a great job at expressing his discomfort with each of the awkward situations he was in.  You could actually read the emotions on his face, especially in his eyes.  And then at the end when he started fighting, you could see his exhaustion and his willingness to survive.

Allison Williams, the crazy, white woman, was fantastic.  I liked her as Chris’s companion up until she revealed herself to be crazy.  Then, I just wanted her dead.  I always commend actors for the ability to make me them in their roles, and she was wonderful at being terrible.

Overall, I think Jordan Peele’s Get Out is an outstanding film.  It was thrilling and uncomfortable enough that I wanted to see how everything panned out.

10 out 10 from me!