Behold, the Cover for How the West Was Zombed

Final Book 1 Version

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Movie Review – The Glass Castle (2017)

It is possible for your parents to be dicks…and loveable…at the same time.

I know.  #MindBlown, right?

BQB here with a review of “The Glass Castle.”

Based on the biography of journalist Jeanette Walls, this movie is a family drama/tearjerker/coming of age story/quasi-Oscar bait though it’s a bit too early for award season.

Brie Larson, and her younger alter ego, Ella Anderson star as adult and child versions of Jeanette, respectively.

Her parents, Rex and Rose Mary (Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts) are, for lack of a better description, total buttholes who are utterly incompetent when it comes to parenting.

Rex drinks.  Rose Mary dreams.  Both parents are like adult versions of children with their heads stuck in the clouds.  Neither of them is capable of holding down a job which means they roam the countryside, squatting on vacant properties or living outdoors.  Worse, just when they start to make it in a community, Rex will inevitably do something stupid that requires the whole clan to pack up and haul ass out of town lest they get on the bad side of the law.

Rose Mary fancies herself an artist, spending all her time painting instead of, oh I dunno, making sure her children are fed.  Rex considers himself a great thinker/philosopher and constantly rants and raves about all of his deep thoughts about the world, but can’t figure out how to earn a steady wage.  He’d rather spend his time designing a grand castle made out of entirely of glass, an achievement he hopes will one day prove to the world that he isn’t a total loser.

And losers these parents are.  Rex and Rose Mary (but mostly Rex) are constantly making bad decisions that put their children into harm’s way but the rub is at the end of the day, they love their children and both have their high points where they endear themselves to children.

Thus, a quartet of young cherubs, lead by young Jeanette, are put in a tough position.  They hate their parents for putting them through hell…but they also know their parents are doing their best that their limited, roomy brains will allow and the harm they cause is unintentional.

In short, Rex and Rose Mary suck…but they can’t help it.  And there’s the lesson that maybe a lot of viewers can relate to.  Unless you have super awesome perfect parents who are great at everything then at some point in your life, you might just have to suck it up and admit that your parents aren’t always right about everything, so sometimes you’ll have to learn to tell them no and strike out on your own (when you’re adult, of course.)

The film moves back and forth between young Jeanette dealing with her young parents shenanigans, and an older, more mature Jeanette who has overcome a life of poverty and parental stupidity to become a well-to-do gossip columnist.

As older Jeanette looks back on her youthful memories, she must come to terms on whether or not to make amends with her elderly parents now that they are, God help her, squatting in an abandoned New York City building because…poor Jeanette…her parents just won’t leave her alone.

Perhaps you don’t have parents as crazy as these two, but I think many people have a love-hate relationship with their families.  Perhaps they have said or done things that have harmed you in some way…and yet they have probably also done things that have helped you along the way.  Such is the deal with Rex, whose drunkenness, day dreaming and constant failure has ruined the lives of his children and yet, at times, he offers words of wisdom or provides grand gestures that helps them.

Sometimes it is possible for parents to suck…and yet be loveable…because they don’t mean to suck.  They just can’t help but not suck.

Brie shows off her acting chops and she’s still holding strong as the hot new actress to beat.  We see a more fragile side of Naomi Watts than we’re used to as she appears as a weathered old lady at some points in the film.

Woody Harrelson steals the show as the Dad you love to hate…or even…hate to love.  He’s a dick…he’s nice….he’s mean…he’s evil…he’s a drunk…but he wants to change….he’s a failure….but he has it in him to be a success…he sucks…he doesn’t want to suck…he’s a walking contradiction in terms.

Overall, the suggestion seems to be that to ever be truly free of all the family drama in your life, you need to move the fudge away as soon as your eighteen and not look back.  Forgive your parents for their failings and love them for their goodness because, chances are, yes, there were times they failed you but maybe they didn’t mean to or they were trying their best but were limited by their own personal issues.  Still, was it all bad?  Surely, you can rustle up some love for them too.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Get My Book for Free!!!

Hey 3.5 cheapskates.

World renowned self-published author Bookshelf Q. Battler here with some good news.

First, I’ve renewed “BQB’s Big Book of Badass Writing Prompts” for another term with KDP select, which is great news for Amazon as I know they have really been counting on all those extra cents I have been bringing in for them.  Jeff Bezos can finally afford to put some crème in his coffee and it’s all thanks to me.

Second, there’s good news for you 3.5 skinflints because now, you can read my book for free.

Look, I get it.  You’re all poor.  Really poor.  But that’s cool because now you don’t need money to enjoy my book.  You can get it for free right now and all this weekend right into Tuesday.

So what are you waiting for?  Go grab my book today and you’ll be able to write like me, BQB:

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A Question 

Is the Wu Tang Clan something to fuck with? Discuss.

How are you 3.5 readers?

Sorry, got nothing again today.

Movie Review – War Dogs (2016)

Guns, money!  Money, guns!

BQB here with a review of “War Dogs.”

David Packouz (Miles Teller) is a young man in his twenties, facing a problem that many young men face, that of money.  It makes the world go round and without it, his world is barely turning.  He’s a massage therapist, barely making ends meet while he deals with old men who expect him to rub their disgusting rear ends.  Worse, he’s trying to become a bed sheet salesman, but no one will buy what he’s selling.

Enter David’s old high school friend Efraim Diveroli.  Efraim’s started a small business, buying and supplying small amounts of guns, ammunition, supplies to the U.S. military during the Iraq War.

Out of a desire to keep the bidding process open, the government has a website that provides details for all manner of government war related purchasing contracts and if this movie is to believed, any old schmuck off the street can bid and win and make moolah, assuming he can provide what the government is looking for.

Efraim and David become partners and at first, it would seem, legit entrepreneurs who are making dough off of a solid business idea.  Alas, as you might expect, they get greedy, taking on bigger contracts they have no business getting involved in, and digging themselves deeper and deeper into an international world of gun running corruption in order to obtain the goods they need to fulfill the contract.

Shady characters, crooked third world businessmen and even mobsters are all faced by these two Miami dudes who are just trying to live the American dream.  Ironically, the movie even suggests that the U.S. government may be semi-aware of some of the practices their bidders are involved in, i.e. if you ask for a larger than usual amount of an item, you must sort of know that whoever provides it is doing so illegitimately.

But there’s the rub.  It’s a don’t ask, don’t tell world.  The government doesn’t ask how they get the stuff and the dudes don’t tell.  In the process, they make mad cash, but are the profits worth it?  Will they survive?

I gotta be honest, I didn’t expect a lot out of this one.  The trailers seemed like it was going to be a preach fest about the ills of the Iraq War.  While we can debate ad nauseum over the pros and cons (mostly cons) of that war, that’s the whole point.  Like most Americans, I’m tired of hearing about it.  The war has been USA’s been long itch case of crotch rot for years so while I’m not saying important people shouldn’t still be discussing it, I just didn’t know if I had it in me to devote two hours to re-hashing it.

Truth be told, it’s a modern day rags to riches cautionary tale, reinforcing that old adage that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  Like any story where ordinary dudes rise up by doing unsavory deeds, you root for the dudes at first, until they start crossing lines and then not so much.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Happy Labor Day, 3.5 Readers

3.5 readers, I just want you to know that I spend all year long laboring for your amusement so really, you should be wishing me a Happy Labor Day for all that I do for you.

How the West Was Zombed – Cover Contest – New Poll

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

I’m stuck.  Having a hard time picking a winner for my How the West Was Zombed book cover contest.

It’s down to two.  There’s the first with the cowboy in the trenchcoat, a shadow of the cowboy looking down over the shadow of a cowboy riding a werewolf, chasing a train and fighting zombies.  I like it because this designer actually attempted what I was looking for and it reminds me of a Louis L’Amour novel cover.  They all usually feature a solid color on the front and then a drawing of a cowboy doing some cowboy shit in the center.

The second one seems pretty standard, a bit of a tribute to Clint Eastwood.  I put two different versions, blue shirt vs. black shirt.  He wears a black shirt in the story but the blue shirt seems to pop more on the cover.

I think I like the first more but my gut tells me the thumbnail of the second would pop more in the Amazon store and sadly that’s usually what matters most.

What do all 3.5 of you think?

https://99designs.com/contests/poll/d5bp3j

 

 

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Movie Review – Death Note (2017)

OMG, 3.5 readers.  OMG.  Y’all got to drop whatever you are doing (unless you are reading this fine blog) and watch this movie post haste.

BQB here with a review of Netflix’s original movie, “Death Note.”

OMG.  It’s witty.  It’s smart.  It’s original.  It’s a clever idea.  Who knew that such a film was still possible to make in Hollywood?

Light Turner (Nat Wolff) is a typical moody, angst ridden teen, down in the dumps over the untimely death of his mother, which causes him to act out and get in trouble in school.  All this changes when he obtains a mysterious notebook dubbed, “Death Note.”

As Light quickly learns, it is possible for him to write a name and the method of death down in the book and bam – the person named will die in that way.  Initially, Light wields his power on a school bully, but quickly graduates to bigger prey.

The young lad realizes the “Death Note” has been misused by previous owners for petty acts of revenge, but in his hands, he can use it to change the world for the better.  He takes on the moniker “Kira” and summarily executes the world’s most infamous dictators, criminals and villains.

No one is sure how all these baddies are dying, but to the untrained eyes of the masses, it looks like the work of a clever serial killer.  Little do they know it’s the work of a high school kid and a demon with a dark sense of humor.

Some worship Kira and approve of the justice he’s doling out.  Others, like the eccentric private detective known simply as “L” (Lakeith Stanfield) and even Light’s own police officer father (Shea Whigham) see Kira as a dangerous vigilante who can’t be allowed to operate outside the law.

Ownership of the “Death Note” includes the assistance of a rather nasty advisor in the form of Ryuk, a spikey, wild-eyed demon voiced by Willem Dafoe.  As we all know, demons aren’t the best creatures to strike a deal with as they always find a loophole to exploit, and Ryuk is no exception.  Ryuk’s presence in the film is subtle yet understated, coming in and out at just the right times, sometimes to strike fear in our hearts when he toys with Light, other times to act as comic relief when he heckles the boy.  Ultimately, Ryuk is the one who dispenses the death that Light writes about, so these two are stuck together, for better or worse.

Rounding out the cast is Light’s girlfriend Mia (Margaret Qualley) who, let’s face it, like most women, might be good or evil.  It’s up to Light to find out.

Honestly, it’s rare for me to offer up such fawning praise for a movie but this one really deserves it.  It’s so fresh and new and witty that it gets a standing ovation from me, especially in an era when Hollywood is just spoonfeeding us the same old, tired, recycled drek.

If anyone from Netflix is reading this blog (maybe a Netflix exec is one of my 3.5 readers?) I want to ask them, nay, beg them to turn this movie into a full blown series.  There’s a whole formula as to how the “Death Note” book works, the rules of what the owner is allowed to do and not do and the possibilities for people to use the book for good or evil are limitless…so, yeah, if Netflix were to turn this into a series I would watch the ever living shit out of it.

Yes, I know it’s ironic that I’m lampooning Hollywood for making sequels but, yeah…in this case…this movie was really good…and I want more.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Stop Sucking with Vinny Baggadouchio – Why Do I Suck at Weight Loss?

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World Renowned Motivational Speaker/Anti-Suck Expert Vinny Baggadouchio

I’m Vinny Baggadouchio and I’m anti-suck ninja using my fists of fury to knock the suck out of big fat suckers the world over.

Do you suck?  You know, you don’t have to suck anymore, especially when you can buy one of my many fine anti-suck books, guaranteed to help you mend your sucky ways:

You Don’t Have To Suck Anymore

You Don’t Have to Go Home and Suck, But You Can’t Suck Here

Bring in Da Noise, Bring Out Da Suck

Who Let the Suck Out?

Coming to Terms with Your Inner Suck

I Cast You Out, Suck!

Everyone Sucks But Me

I Suck, You Suck, He Sucks, We Suck

Beyond the Valley of the Suck

The Anti-Suck Workbook

101 Ways You Suck

How to Stop Sucking in Twelve Easy Steps

3.5 readers, when it comes to food, there’s a big old suck/anti-suck paradox.  In moderation, good food does not suck.  Nope, it doesn’t suck at all.  In fact, it’s really delicious.

Alas, if you eat too much food, it’s easy to get fat and in doing so, suck up your health and suck up your life.  Just look at this letter that a big old sucker sent to me:

Dear Vinny B,

I’m a big fat sucker.  I don’t like to admit it but I am.  It started innocently enough.  An extra helping at dinner.  An extra slice of pizza.  An extra glass of soda.  Pretty soon I was busting out of my pants and buying extra sizes.  Worse, whenever I try to stop, it’s difficult.  My body has become so used to all the fat and sugar that when I try to drop it, I feel like a big fat werewolf that needs to be locked in a cage just to keep me from devouring a pint of ice cream.

I’m so fat that everyone hates me now.  Whenever I walk down the street, people go out of their way to walk up to me and say things like, “I hate you because you’re fat” and “You’re a bad person because you’re fat” and “You’re dreams will never come true because you’re a big dumb fat person.”  And that’s just my family.  You don’t want to hear what strangers say to me.

I try to exercise but I get winded just walking out of my car to the front door of the gym.  I try to eat less but by the end of the day I’m sucking down a bag of barbecue chips like they’re the last bag in the world.

What can I do, Vinny?  This sucks.

Sincerely,

A Big Fat Sucker in Milwaukee

Hey Big Fat Sucker.  I’m sorry to hear about your problem.  It sounds like your life really sucks, so let me do my best to help you un-suck it posthaste.

First, let me point this out – fat people are literally the last group where it is acceptable for literally everyone to discriminate against with reckless abandon.

No word of a lie.  Go back and watch movies that are even ten years old and you’ll find jokes about race, jokes about sexual orientation, jokes about gender.  Obviously, I’m not saying those jokes didn’t suck but since then, we a society have begun to suck less at hurting feelings and so those jokes have been purged from the public square.

Meanwhile, on the rare occasion a fat guy is still allowed on TV, it’s never without stereotypes.  Fat people fart a lot.  Fat people hide sandwiches all over the place and they run to the bathroom and pull a hoagie out of the toilet tank and eat it and cry.  (Not gonna lie, I did that once during my darker, suckier days.)

You never see just like, a nice fat person in a movie who, despite his fatness, manages to help people.

Outside of the media, fat people face all sorts of sucky discrimination.  It’s hard for a fatty to get employed.  After all, no one likes a fatty.  Some of that is valid.  I mean, if you’re too fat too run, you can’t expect to be hired as a firefighter or a policeman.  On the other hand, if you’re a competent, intelligent fatty, there’s no reason why you can’t be hired for say, a receptionist job, except that the boss will probably prefer his clients to be greeted by a hot skinny chick than someone who looks like they free base whipped cream before they get out of the bed in the morning.

Fat people get all sorts of sucky comments when they walk around all day.  There’s a social stigma that has worked to prevent people from saying all sorts of hateful, discriminatory comments, yet literally no one ever thinks twice about shouting, “Hey fatty!”  whenever a fatty walks onto a bus.

Sadly, few people trust a fatty.  Old ladies have been known to clutch their grocery bags just a little tighter whenever there’s a fatty around.  I mean, sure, that fat person is fat, but they aren’t going to steal your groceries.  They’re going to go buy their own food and eat it and then be sad.

Often, for a fatty, it’s a vicious cycle.  They eat too much.  They feel bad.  They want to lose weight.  They’ll work real hard on it for a week only to see like two pounds tick off the scale when maybe they have a hundred or more to go.

They can literally feel the world giving them the shaft and life passing them by and so it becomes difficult to not just reach out for the only thing that doesn’t say no, the only thing that never denies them comfort, i.e. – food.

You laugh, but if you’ve had any kind of addiction, you’re doing the same thing.  Alcoholics, smokers and sex addicts are also putting their bodies at risk, it’s just that, you know, you can’t look at a person and realize right away that they’re an alcoholic or a smoker or a sex fiend.  Alas, the fatty’s problem is plain for the world to see.

In short, you can hide an alcohol problem, but if you’re fat, the whole world knows you eat too many donuts.

Big Fat Sucker, there’s probably no advice I can give you that you already don’t know, but I’ll try.

#1 – Forgive yourself.

Hard, but necessary.  You hate yourself for ruining your life with food.  You can see how good life has been for skinny people and you want in.  You’re mad you’ve missed out on it for so long.  Stop beating yourself up…you have to.  The more down you get, the more likely you’ll reach for the fridge.

# 2 – Exercise

Not easy and maybe at first you won’t be able to do much, but a little everyday builds up and eventually you’ll be able to exercise a lot.

#3 – Eat less and better.

A no brainer.  I feel like I’m insulting your intelligence by saying this.

#4 – Recognize You’re an Addict

Recovering alcoholics stay out of bars.  Recovering fatties should stay out of pizza parlors, candy stores, places that could trigger a fatty relapse.

#5 – Stay Away from Negative People

For some reason, people like to get into each others’ business.  If you’re a recovering alcoholic, no one will ever shove a beer at you, but if you’re a recovering fatty, everyone shoves food at you and they act like you’re a dick if you don’t take it.  The average person just sees food as a nice thing.  They don’t understand what it does to you.

Thus, you’ll go to a friend’s party to be polite.  You’ll sit there and try to sip a glass of water and enjoy a light snack but guaranteed, every asshole at the party will shove hot dogs, hamburgers, cookies, cake, Aunt Gertie’s casserole and so on at you and they’ll act like you’re Hitler if you say no.

You’ll never succeed at trying to explain to these folks your point of view.  Just smile politely, take the food, drop it in the trash when they aren’t looking.

#6 – Imagine How Happy You’ll Be

Do you sometimes think that if you had just begun your weight loss journey a year ago, you’d be much happier today?  Don’t worry.  Just start today because next year will be here before you know it.

#7 – Consider Other Options

Bariatric surgery and other weight loss surgeries might be something you’d want to look into.  I can’t really advise you on that.  You’d have to talk to your doctor and really you should consult your doctor on any weight loss plan.  In fact, BQB’s lawyer reminds you that I’m just talking out of my ass here, so you shouldn’t follow anything I say in this column but rather do  your own research.

CONCLUSION

Being fat sucks and like any addiction, it’s not easily beaten.  However, it can be overcome and all of you Big Fat Suckers can do it.  Just know that your old pal Vinny B believes in you, so drop that pizza, pick up a celery stalk and get on the treadmill.

Most importantly, stop sulking over the years you’ve lost to fatness.  Start looking forward to a life as a skinny, non-fat sucker.  It’s a life that’s just a few good, non-sucky decisions away.

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