The Tattoo

I’ve wanted a tattoo my entire life. For whatever reason, I could never really wrap my head around what to get or taking the time/money to sit down in a chair and actually get one done. 

When I was in my 20’s, I really didn’t care about tattoo that much. As I entered my 30’s, I thought that I had the perfect design in mind. It would be a blend of my over-the-top personality while still telling the story that I had finally gotten what I had wanted for so long in my life. It was something in my mind that was very close to this…

A little silly, I know. But to me it showed that after years and years of trying, Wile E. Coyote FINALLY captured the Road Runner…and screw anybody that was every going to doubt him again. Of course, using the cartoon approach would be my way of still being myself.

As time went on and I separated from my wife, I realized that I hadn’t, in fact, captured the Road Runner. I was still the coyote, but I was still using ACME products in an continuing losing effort to get what I wanted out of life. It took me a long time to straighten myself out and focus on all of the good that life has to offer.

Today, as I approach my 45th birthday in a couple of months (ugh), I’ve decided that now is the time for getting a tattoo. My wife is getting her first one this weekend and she has inspired me to finally do what I always wanted to do but was too afraid to actually do it.

 No, I have zero plans to get the Wile E. Coyote cartoon tattoo that I wanted years ago. Instead, I have something in mind that has been with me for a very long time, but only now seems appropriate: 

To me, at this point in my life, I honestly feel as though I have broken the chains that have prevented me from finding true happiness…both internally and externally. Let me explain…

I have a good job with a bright future. Without going into much detail, I’ve finally found a job that is everything I’ve ever really wanted. It blends a combination of sales, account management, personal and professional growth, spreadsheets, reports, helping others, and the freedom to not be micro-managed on a daily basis. Add to that a decent pay structure and I’m one happy, nerdy camper! 

In addition, I have a blended family with five amazing children, three of which I’m having a fantastic time helping to raise. Long time readers already know that I wasn’t around in the beginning to help raise Rugrat (who just graduated from high school and is 18 years old now!). We have a good relationship, but I feel as though I missed out on a lot with her. My oldest daughter (Pebbles, who I only met for the first time four years ago) is almost 21 and is definitely her mother’s daughter. Thankfully, I’m having a hand in raising the three youngest kids — my 10 year old son (Ankle Biter, who is almost 11) and my two awesome stepdaughters (Lil’ Mo – age 12 – and Kiddo – age 14). I never wanted to have children when I was in my 20’s, but now I couldn’t imagine my life without them in it every single day.

Of course, I have an incredible wife who is everything I could have ever asked for in a partner. She is beautiful and, quite frankly, way out of my league. Because we initially met online, we’ve been able to focus our relationship on personalities and really getting to know each other. As we approach our fourth wedding anniversary (WOW!!), I realize that we’ve been together for almost nine years and I don’t ever want to be away from her. She’s my best friend, my soulmate, and the most incredible woman I’ve ever met in my life.

SIDE STORY: I never had a girlfriend in high school. Well, I dated a girl for a week once…but that was about it. Seriously. From eighth grade thru twelfth grade, I never had a girlfriend. I had a ton of girl friends, but was always the guy that was in the “friend zone”. I didn’t hate it, but it certainly made my high school years tough at times. I remember a conversation that I had with a female friend of mine while at a party close to graduation time. She told me that one day I’d find a beautiful woman who would love me for who I was. Little did I realize just how true those words were. 

Finally, I feel as though I’ve made some personal breakthroughs recently that have helped me grow as a person. Without getting into too much detail, I have gotten out from under a thumb that has been on top of me my entire life…even when I didn’t realize it was there. I have finally come to realize why I have certain shortcomings and am trying to work my way through them. This new “freedom” has helped me realize that I’m entering the second half of my life with renewed purpose. It’s like I’m getting the chance to live life all over again, only this time I just happen to be a bit older than the first time I lived. 

So the chains mean a lot to me. I firmly believe that I’ve broken the chains that have held me back for so long so I can now move forward in life without anything holding me down. 

I’m not looking for a massive tattoo or anything; I just want the chains to be on my upper left shoulder on my bicep area. The only question I’m having, though, is what chain photo I should actually get. This is where I need YOUR help.

I’ve got my top 5 choices for a chain tattoo. Which one should I get??

 

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CBG’s Netflix Suggestions – July 2017

It’s hard to believe that summer is already here, but yet here it is. The kids are finishing up school, the days are longer, and there seems to be more time to go outside and enjoy the beautiful world around us.

But what do we do when it’s raining? We turn to NETFLIX, of course!! And believe me…there are a LOT of reasons to turn to Netflix in July. There are too many to mention, so I’m going to provide some of my recommendations here:

Friends From College

July 14

I had no idea what this Netflix Original was about until I saw the trailer and I gotta say…I’m so glad that I did!! 

This looks to be the exact type of quirky, well-written, well-acted “dram-edy” that I enjoy watching from time to time. The cast looks fantastic (Colbie Smulders! Keegan-Michael Key! Fred Savage??), it’s from the director of one of my favourite movies (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and the trailer makes this series look REALLY good.

Basically, it’s about a group of friends from Harvard who are facing down their forties. The show has interwoven and complicated relationships in a comedic exploration of old friendships, former romantic entanglements, and balancing adult life with nostalgia for the past. 

I hope my expectations aren’t too high…but right now I can’t wait!!

Ghost

July 6

This classic love story is back and available on Netflix the first week of July! It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen this blockbuster, so I’m hoping it hasn’t aged poorly.

Starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg, the premise of the movie sounds really cheesy and REALLY bad. The movie is about a young man who is murdered, but then finds that his spirit stays behind to warn his lover of impending danger…all with the help of a reluctant psychic. 

When you read it, it kind of sounds like a goofy 80’s comedy. It’s not, though…so if you’re looking for a romantic evening with your significant other, this is highly recommended!

Snowden

July 1

I’ve heard a lot about Edward Snowden…from theories on why he is an American traitor to explanations on why he is an American hero. With a cast headlined by the incredibly talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I’m really intrigued to watch this and see the story unfold.

Of course, where it’s an Oliver Stone movie I’ll have to take it with a grain of salt as his versions of “the truth” can sometimes be a bit slanted, but with a 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes I’m willing to take a chance that I’ll still be entertained.

Pixels

July 11

I know, I know…it’s an Adam Sandler movie and was critically panned (only a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but my son LOVED this flick. And yes, I realize that it wasn’t the best acting or storyline in the world, but if you want to turn off your brain with your kids for a couple of hours, this is the perfect movie for that. 

Plus it’s kinda fun to re-live some of the older arcade games that I grew up with come to live as actual alien invaders!

Castlevania

July 7

This is a Netflix original series that is based off of the very popular classic video game series. Castlevania is a dark medieval fantasy that follows the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan as he tries to save Eastern Europe from extinction at the hands of Dracula himself! 

Adi Shankar, producer of the series, recently stated that the series is “very much done in the vein of Game of Thrones.” Taking that into consider in addition to (a) being familiar with the story and (b) having watched the trailer, I’m certainly willing to give this series a shot. 

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

July 14

My wife and I watched the first Jack Reacher movie with zero expectations and were pleasantly suprised. Tom Cruise was riveting in the role…even though we weren’t exactly sure what that role was. Months later, we couldn’t tell you what the movie was about…but we could still remember that we liked it a lot.

We entered the sequel with slightly higher expectations.  Again, don’t ask us what the movie was about (I know it co-stars Colbie Smulders, though!), but we both ended up liking it again. 

So if you like your action “straight-up” and not “in your face”, I think you’ll really enjoy this movie. Cruise may be on autopilot here, but it’s still a great performance.

Arrival

July 28

I feel as though this movie was just in theatres a couple of months ago, so I think it’s pretty awesome that it’s already available on Netflix.

The plot of the movie is that twelve mysterious spacecraft have appeared around the world (I know…haven’t we been here before?). But instead of a Will Smith-led war movie for the ages, this is MUCh more subdued as linguistics professor Louise Banks (played by the awesome Amy Adams) is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.

The movie co-stars Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker, so the cast is top notch. If you think you’ve seen this type of “alien invasion” movie before, you haven’t. This movie was one of those “quietly successful” blockbusters that kind of took people by surprise because it was that good of a movie. Definitely recommended!

To The Bone

July 14

I’ve heard really good things about this Netflix original (it was a pick-up from the Sundance Film Festival and currently has an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). So even though this type of movie is “not my jam”, I’m willing to give it a shot.

The film shares the story of 20-year-old Ellen (played by Lily Collins) and her battle with anorexia. Ellen enters a group home run by an unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves) where she and the other residents go on a sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing journey – navigating their addictions and finding the path to choosing life.

Finally…July 2017 sees the Netflix Canada debut of…

ROGUE ONE:

A Star Wars Story

July 18

I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it is to have Star Wars movies streaming on Netflix. Sure, I own the blu-rays (as I owned the dvd’s and the VHS versions before that!), but there’s something about the convenience of watching it thru Netflix that just makes things more fun.

If you haven’t seen this movie, you are in for a treat. This takes place in the short time before the original Star Wars: A New Hope, as it tells the story about how the Rebel Alliance actually captured the plans to the Death Star and placed them into R2-D2 and C3-PO…thus launching a movie universe that is ever expanding.

And if I can be 100% honest here…Rogue One is one of the best movies in the entire franchise. I’d dare say it’s even in my “Top 3” in terms of Star Wars movies, and for a life-long fan that’s really saying something!

Want to see what else is coming to Netflix Canada in July? 

*****

Have I missed any? Are there any of your own “must sees” coming out in July? If you have any suggestions of your own, please don’t hesitate to let me know as I would love to hear them. You can always hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email.

I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, but all opinions are my own.

 

CBG’s Netflix Suggestions – June 2017

For whatever reason, I find myself having more opportunities to watch programs during the summer than I do during the other three seasons. Maybe it’s because school is in session the other times of the year, which means spending time with the kids whenever possible and running errands whenever my wife and I have free time together.

Of course, it doesn’t help when there are good programs to watch, either. As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, I’m always given a listing of shows that are coming out each month. Whether by design or not, the month of June looks incredibly entertaining and I truly believe it has something for everyone.

These are the programs I’m most looking forward to watching on Netflix in June:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

June 1st

This isn’t a movie I have had the opportunity to see yet, but my stepdaughters have told me it’s really good. Because of their recommendation, I’m anxious to give it a chance once it premieres on Netflix.

The story of the movie is how a teenager discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times before finding a magical place known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers… and their powerful enemies. Ultimately, Jacob discovers that only his own special “peculiarity” can save his new friends!

 

Orange is the New Black

June 9th

I’ve been following the crazy ups and downs of Piper Chapman since the initial season debuted back in 2013. The ONLY problem I have with the show is that once my wife and I binge-watch an entire season, we have to wait 11 ½ months before the new one is released!

 

Vacation

June 13th

I’ll be 100% honest here…I wasn’t too keen on watching this movie in the theatres when it came out. I mean, how can you reboot a comedy as classic as Vacation with Chevy Chase?? I, however, am a big fan of stars Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, so I figure why not give it a shot? It’s designed as a modernized reboot of the original in addition to being a sequel of sorts. That type of description gives me interest, as does the movie trailer.

 

Disney’s Moana

June 20th

Unfortunately, I can’t deny that my “man crush” is Dwayne Johnson (of course, my wife will tell anybody within earshot so I couldn’t deny it if I wanted to…lol). I initially was hesitant to see Moana simply because it didn’t look like a movie I’d enjoy, but the success of the film in theatres and the subsequent positive reviews have meant that it’s definitely on my “watch list”.

 

GLOW

June 23rd

I’m a wrestling geek. Yes…I admit it. My wife, however, is not. Thankfully, I have convinced her to give this series a shot and in doing so am really hoping it’s as good as it looks.

Back in the 1980’s during the “wrestling boom” era of Hulkamania, GLOW was a real promotion that tried to blend beautiful women with athletic competition. It was ridiculously bad and failed miserably after trudging along for six years, but from those ashes comes this fictional story an out-of-work, struggling actress in 1980s Los Angeles who finds one last chance for stardom when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women’s wrestling. Where this is a Netflix original series, how can you go wrong??

 

Okja

June 28th

This is an extremely unique film in that it’s made by a South Korean-American director and isn’t entirely set in English. It’s got an ensemble cast with a crazy story, but it was realistic and gritty enough that it competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

As you can see in the trailer, the story is about how a young girl has befriended a massive animal over the course of 10 years in the mountains of South Korea. The animal (aka Okja) is taken by a multinational conglomerate in New York who believes that it can do great things for humanity with this animal, but that results in a rescue mission while different groups (demonstrators, consumers, capitalists, etc) all want to control the fate of this incredible creature.

I really can’t wait to see this with the entire family.

 

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Have I missed any? Are there any of your own “must sees” coming out in June? If you have any suggestions of your own, please don’t hesitate to let me know as I would love to hear them. You can always hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email.

I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, but all opinions are my own.

CBG’s Netflix Suggestions – Hidden Gems

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always take the advice of friends or co-workers when it comes to Netflix recommendations. Sometimes I feel as though if EVERYBODY loves it, then I will probably be disappointed when I finally get around to watching it. Of course, when I’m part of “the movement” and am one of those people recommending a show, then it’s completely different.

Of course, when you have your own blog to sound off on about Netflix recommendations then it doesn’t matter if people are actually interested or not. I figure if you’re here reading this, then you may want to know my thoughts on a few Netflix recommendations that you may not have heard about already.

So here we go…

COMEDY – Grace & Frankie

I’ll absolutely be the first one to admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of this show when I initially reviewed it a couple of years ago. Sure, I wanted to promote it and all, but I just didn’t think it was that funny and didn’t finish watching the first season.

My wife ended up watching it on her own and fell in love with it. I ended up watching the second half of the third season with her and was intrigued by the characters and the humour, so we both watched all three seasons from the beginning all over again.

Without question, this is one of the most uniquely quirky and enjoyable comedies on television. Jane Fonda is fantastic as Grace, Lily Tomlin is brilliant as Frankie, and Martin Sheen is 100% believable as Robert. While I’m still not completely convinced by Sam Waterston’s portrayal of Sol, the rest of the supporting case more than makes up for it.

The first season saw this show have difficulties finding its footing. The second and third season saw it off and running. If you are tired of the mindless “comedies” on network television, I highly recommend this one as an alternative.

THRILLER – Black Mirror

I wish I could adequately describe this show and give it the type of justice that it deserves. My new manager threw this suggestion out to me during our initial “get to know me” meeting about a month ago. She was a big Netflix fan and said this show would throw her and her boyfriend into a “tizzy” afterwards because it made them think so much.

Basically, this is a science fiction / fantasy series that revolves around the unexpected consequences of new technology (but not in a “20+ years from now” type of way…but in a “few years from now” type of way that makes you wonder if this could actually happen within our lifetimes.  Every single episode (which are completely standalone and separate from each other) can be pretty dark with satirical themes that circle around society today and where we’re going as “humanity” in the future, even if that future is next year.

While some of the episodes are extremely hard to watch (if you can get past the first episode and appreciate it for the messages it is conveying and not simply seeing it as what they’re presenting), my wife and I ended up watching and loving this entire series. There is a new season coming at some point in 2017 and it’s definitely going to be on our “weekend binge” list.

DRAMAThe Fundamentals of Caring

I gotta be honest…I was NOT looking forward to this movie based on the title alone. But every other Friday my wife and I take turns choosing a movie and the other one has to watch it without complaint (at least until it’s over), and one Friday night this was her choice. I’m so glad that it was!

This is a Netflix original movie that stars Paul Rudd (a writer turned caregiver), Craig Roberts (as a sarcastic 18 year old who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy), and Selena Gomez (as Dot, a mysterious hitchhiker) about how a simple road trip helps two men both learn about life from the people they meet along the way. It’s a “dramedy” that blends drama and comedy together in a very believable way.

I realize my description makes this sound extremely cliché in nature, but trust me…this is a surprisingly entertaining movie with some great performances by both Rudd and Roberts. It’s got a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (with an 83% audience score) and a 7.4/10 on IMDB, so I’m not just blowing smoke here. It’s definitely worth a shot.

AWESOMENESSWentworth

If you’ve been on Netflix for any time whatsoever, you may have already binge-watched every season of Orange is the New Black. And with good reason, too! OITNB is quite simply one of the best programs on television and has to be considered revolutionary for its portrayal of women.

But one program that you might not be aware of is Wentworth. While some may call it “Orange is the New Black – Australia Version”, that’s really too simplistic of a description. Let’s put it this way…if OITNB was grittier, darker, less comedic but even more all-around awesome, it would be Wentworth.

The show is set in modern-day Australia and focuses on Bea Smith when she first enters prison after being charged with attempted murder of her husband. While it has a lot of similarities with OITNB, the supporting cast and ensuing storylines are completely different. Quite frankly, if given the option of choosing only one, I would probably pick Wentworth simply because of the incredible directing of the program (almost every episode in the first season looks like a “miniature movie” in how it’s directed). I think you’ll be a lover of Wentworth, as well, once you finish that first season. And thankfully, the show hasn’t gone downhill since!

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So these are just some of my Netflix recommendations for programs that you may not be overly aware of. If you have any suggestions of your own, please don’t hesitate to let me know as I would love to hear them. You can always hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email.

I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, but all opinions are my own.