Monday, July 1, 2013

John Carter [of Mars], Exercising, and New Job Musings

John Carter [of Mars]
My week off while between jobs allowed me to watch 15 DVDs that I checked out from the library. Many of the DVDs were of favorite films I have seen before, but a few jewels stood out. One that I was excited to see was John Carter, last year's much talked about "box office bomb" from Disney starring Taylor Kitsch. An article I read at Vulture 'The Inside Story of how John Carter was Doomed by its First Trailer' provides an interesting back story as to how Disney totally ruined and mismanaged the marketing of John Carter. I was suspicious of all the bad reviews and dissing of the film last year. My favorite film genre is science fiction, so when I learned that John Carter was a film with a plot about Mars, my interest was piqued. But to someone like me who was not familiar with the book by Edgar Rice Burroughs, one would think that the title of the movie would be much more clear about what the movie was about to appeal to people like me. This movie is an otherworldly adventure that needed to be treated with a modicum of respect.

Why wasn't the movie titled, 'John Carter of Mars'? If Mars was added to the title, I believe more people would have been clued in to what the film was about and given it more of a chance to watch it in the theaters. You'd think Disney would have wanted to ride the Avatar wave, but they just couldn't be arsed I guess.  As I watched the DVD, I was enjoying it very much. The twist of having a late 1800s cowboy type guy being chased into the dessert by Indians and hiding near a cave that had a portal to Mars was pretty cool. He's then transported to Mars during the height of a war between two races of Martians. This was a fascinating story that deserved much more respect than it received from Disney and audiences last year. The movie cost over $250 million to make, and only opened with $30 million, and went on to earn about $73 million. That's embarrassingly pathetic, and again, the movie was quite entertaining so it should have been able to earn much more if people knew what it was about.

The moral of this story is to watch trailers of the movie, ignore critics, and go see a movie if the synopsis of the film catches your fancy. If there is a book involved, research the book. 'John Carter' [of Mars] should have been treated with more marketing care that a film of its budget justifies. In the end, Disney screwed itself, but I think that if people give John Carter a chance via DVD/Blu-ray rentals and purchases, they will like it, and it may become a cult classic one day. I certainly hope so.

Score: 8.5/10

Today I started my new job and it felt so good being with a new company and going over benefits and IT training. This is the first time in almost two years since I had a 'real job' that gave me benefits, and the first one in many years that paid me a respectable salary. For the past week, I have been thinking about all the things I can do now that I'm earning a living wage that will allow me to take care of matters in my life so that I can be at peace and have less stress. With the economy in Michigan, and many other states, still in a recession, most people are lucky just to have a job. But sometimes, just having a job is not good enough especially if you are a part-time worker, a contractor, and not earning enough money, etc. I was at a point in my life where I was feeling really down about things and getting more nervous about what my future held for me as I obtain my Master's degree in December. Like many grads, if I did not secure a good job within the six months of graduating, how would I be able to pay back my student loans? So as you can imagine, I have had a lot on my mental plate, and that's all the more reason why I'm just beginning to feel good about myself again, and my future.

My favorite cardio equipment, The Elliptical.
One of the things that I am now able to do again is get a membership at a fitness club, and I was able to do that today. My Bikram yoga is fun, but I need more variety in my exercise regimen, especially when it comes to cardio. Before I was laid off back in 2009 from my last good paying job, I was paying $65 a month for a gym membership. Yes, that was exorbitant, but I was able to afford it. Once I got laid off, I couldn't afford to workout at that gym anymore, so I canceled my membership. That was four years ago. I used to work out   15 hours a week, mostly on cardio (elliptical, recumbent bike, treadmill), and some free weights. My body was in great shape! Today, I'm still small per Michigan standards, but I'm very soft, I don't have much definition and most of my size 6 clothes are very tight, or worse, I can't fit into them, and that's unacceptable! I signed up with One on One Fitness here in Ann Arbor, and although it's not one of the newest and fanciest fitness centers, it is a very popular and nice gym. My new job will be relocating our office just down the street from the gym, so it will be perfect for me to get off work and go straight to the gym! And I signed up for the $10 a month fitness plan. Sure, they tried to woo me with the $49/month plan, but it was going to allow me access to stuff I don't care about. I don't need to use the tanning booth. I make my own smoothies at home, I don't have time to go to a lot of fitness classes... I just want 'basic' gym access to use the equipment, and then leave. Paying for this new gym membership, and continuing my Bikram yoga, is enough for my current budget.

My goal is to lose 10 pounds and look kick ass cut in time for my sister's wedding in mid-August, and then TIFF in early September. Thanks to the bikram yoga, and my avid walking, doing some jogging, and trying to eat good, I am in decent shape, but compared to four years ago, I feel and look 'doughy' and that's just so not cool!

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