Something to mull over...

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lifted (movie) - Absolutely inspiring, ridiculously good!

I initially saw this film through Prime, then purchased a personal Blu-Ray copy.  An excellent film like this doesn’t come by every day.  Excellent acting, excellent story line, excellent inspiration, but I could tell that they had a limited budget to film it.  It doesn’t matter though, this film does not need the gloss and makeover of Hollywood. It’s that good!

If you are looking for a great family movie, look no further!  I highly recommend this movie, especially if you fall into any of the following categories:
(1) You have a family member currently or previously deployed to the war;
(2) You have a family member who has under-recognized musical talent; or
(3) You are often misunderstood by family or schoolmates, and are harassed or bullied because of this misunderstanding.

This film does not offer unrealistic expectations to the above situations.  Rather, it provides encouragement and inspiration.  A line quoted from the film says it all – “Life is not PG.”

This is now the favorite film of my pre-teens.  That is how much they’ve connected with it.

If I could, I would gift this to anyone and everyone who has family currently serving in the military. They deserve the encouragement and inspiration that this film provides.

This stars Uriah Shelton, Dash Mihok with guest stars Trace Adkins and Ruben Studdard.

Available in Amazon in various formats (Streaming, DVD, Blu-ray).

Saturday, June 11, 2016 - Legal documentary drama similar to an episode of 20-20 by Kenneth Eade (5 out of 5 stars)

This book had the overall feel of a 20-20 episode, coupled with a real-time stream of the legal proceedings.

In a capsule, the story revolves around the defamation of Brent Marks via public internet forums, and the subsequent complication of him having a high profile client that angered the same set of cyber-stalkers. A series of murders, including the client and a number of the cyber-stalkers, take place, and behind it all is an unseen paid killer that strategically framed Marks as the culprit. Marks is caught in a bind, since all motive and circumstantial evidence point toward him. Hence, the 20-20 journalism style of unraveling the facts of the case, and the drama of proving the presence of reasonable doubt in order to acquit Marks.

The conclusion is more of a statement about the harsh reality of internet crime and harassment, rather than a “happily ever after” end. This is the reality show aspect of the entire story.

This is an unusual legal thriller that made me think and reflect on these realities. Hmmmmm – this isn’t pure entertainment, but an expose veiled as entertainment.

Available in Amazon.

Looking for a non-traditional duffle bag for the gym? Check this out!

I take this gym bag with me to the office and on weekends. I got this in the grey color with brown leather accents. It is large, so I have no need to use a second bag in addition to this whenever I use it for out-of-town trips.

1. Roomy enough to fit 2 pairs of gym clothes, including a jacket and a jogger, a pair of shoes, a basketball, a towel, and several smaller items
2. Made of thick and heavy canvas with supportive leather reinforcements and accents
3. Thick cotton lining with several inner pockets
4. Sturdy top handle with comfortable snap-on leather wrap-around
5. Main zipper goes both ways and is metal, not plastic
6. Extra wide, long and thick cotton webbing strap which are adjustable in length. The duffel can be worn slung on the side shoulder, or cross body
7. Antiqued metal hooks, clips, zippers, magnetic locks and other hardware accents
8. Multi-purpose bag – can be used for the gym, short out-of-town trips, or as a weekender
9. Practical design
10. Good stitching and attention paid to details
11. Perfect for carry-on luggage since it is flexible enough to fit the measuring caddies in the airport

1. Leather accent pieces arrived wrapped in in plastic affixed by tape. When removed, the taped portions tore off a thin layer of the suede leather
2. Even at its shortest length, shoulder strap is too long for shorter people. I am 68” tall, but I have to wear the bag crossbody for a more comfortable fit that isn’t too long.

This is a great gym bag, which is very different from the usual nylon sports bags, but equally, if not more useful.

Check out Polare canvas duffle bags at Amazon!

Friday, June 10, 2016

A weekend messenger bag - Let's go old school!

This is a useful messenger bag which I wear to church and other weekend activities. See short video to see how I utilize this bag.

Pros: It looks like an army messenger bag, so it has a vintage vibe. Shoulder strap is sturdy and comfortable. I wear this as a messenger bag but if I travel to my crowded hometown in SE Asia, I will probably wear this as a chest bag. It has several useful pockets - 3 outside and 2 inside. It is sized correctly and can fit my usual church stuff - Bible, Kindle and journal.

Cons: Personally, I don't really like it when people give compliments, but the vintage look draws attention and comments so I have to at least say "thanks". Also, I don't know how to wash this bag should it get dirty. Maybe I just won't wash it. Price-wise, it is up there with leather/canvas backpacks - so it isn't cheap. It is something that one will have to save up for.

The Kaukko New Design Stylish Messenger Bag for Men

Where to buy - Amazon will have it.  Check out Kaukko bags.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A simple laptop messenger bag for the office

Are you like me - mid-management level - laid back but prefer to dress business casual in the office?  I found a good middle ground for a laptop bag and would like to share it with you.

The Augur Retro Laptop Messenger Bag.

My observations:  This bag fits my 13”x9”x1” office laptop perfectly, with room for another 1-1.5” of paperwork or other electronic devices.  It is made of thick canvas with a high quality leather overlap and a solid leather handle bolted on to a stiff and sturdy canvas-covered board, making the overlap fall neatly over the body, while maintaining the rectangular-shaped top.  The bottom is just canvas, but the stitching and the way that the shape is made, the laptop does not move around, nor cause the bag to sag in the middle.  The buckles and bolts are antiqued bronze, and they are attached to several leather accents.  The zippers are also antiqued bronze metal, and the zipper pulls are leather loops.  The shoulder strap is cotton-webbing, with a middle strip of canvas (same color as the body) sewn onto the middle of the strap to add to the design flair.

The bag’s dimensions are approximately 16”x11”x3”.

My impressions:  This laptop messenger bag is a smart business accessory.  It is very well-made, and the quality is outstanding.  The leather itself is the focal point and draws a lot of compliments.  This is perfect for my spring and summer business clothes and jackets.  The contrast of the grey with the dark brown leather is very tasteful in a Hampton’s kind of way.

Moving on to pockets and organization:  The most useful pocket is outside and has a 12” zipper.  This is where I store my office ID, train pass, car keys and cellphone.  There is a zippered divider inside.  This is convenient for a tablet in case it is not in a protective case.  Note that this sleeve will not fit an iPad pro.  There is another small zippered pocket on the back inner lining, and that is perfect for coins or any small pieces of loose jewelry.  

On the other inner side (the front side), there are open sleeves for a calculator, business cards, a phone (in case you don’t want it outside) and 2 pens.

Overall, this laptop messenger bag is a great, solid piece of handicraft.  I appreciate the fact that it is more formal than the usual canvas or nylon messenger bags, and yet not as stiff and traditional as the full leather laptop briefcases.  I also really like the fact that it holds its shape really well.  This, along with the high quality of leather used, is what makes this bag ‘smart business’ and not just casual or rugged.

Where to buy - Amazon will have it.  Check out Augur bags.