Tag Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Bucket List: Read a book set in Every Central American Country

Yay another section of the world I have read about.   Although I have traveled most of these countries so it was fun to read about them.

Reading books this year has been a challenge I was shooting to read 200 books but I don’t think I am going to make my goal.  We will see.

That being said I did read a book sent in EVERY Central American country.  Yay!

I have a deep passion for Central America and it was so much fun reading books about places that I have been too.   So out of all the Central American books I read which one was my favorite?

Honeymoon For One by Beth Orsott

I LOVED this book.  Belize was one of the first countries I visited and my second passport stamp so needless to say it holds a spot in my heart.   This book was a laugh out loud novel that made me fall in love with just about everything Beth Orscott writes.

So another bucket list goal bites the dust and it is now time for me to tackle another region of the world.  South America.

Do you have any recommendations for me?


First Comes Love then Comes Malaria by Eve Brown-Waite

In this laugh-out-loud funny memoir, a pampered city girl falls head over little black heels in love with a Peace Corps poster boy and follows him —literally–to the ends of the earth.
Eve Brown always thought she would join the Peace Corps someday, although she secretly worried about life without sushi, frothy coffee drinks and air conditioning.  But with college diploma in hand, it was time to put up or shut up. So with some ambivalence she arrives at the Peace Corps office–sporting her best safari chic attire –to casually look into the steps one might take if one were to become a global humanitarian, a la Angelina Jolie.  But when Eve meets John, her dashing young Peace Corps recruiter, all her ambivalence flies out the window. She absolutely must join the Peace Corps – and win John’s heart in the process. Off to Ecuador she goes and – after a year in the jungle – back to the States she runs, vowing to stay within easy reach of a decaf cappuccino for the rest of her days.

But life had other plans.  Just as she’s getting reacquainted with the joys of toilet paper, John gets a job with CARE and Eve must decide if she’s up for life in another third world outpost. Before you can say, “pass the malaria prophylaxis,” the couple heads off to Uganda, and the fun really begins–if one can call having rats in your toilet fun. Fortunately, in Eve’s case one certainly can, because to her, every experience is an adventure to be embraced and these pages come alive with all of the alternatively poignant and uproarious details.
With wit and candor, First Comes Love, then Comes Malaria chronicles Eve’s misadventures as an aspiring do-gooder. From intestinal parasites to getting caught in a civil war, culture clashes to unexpected friendships, here is an honest and laugh-out-loud funny look at the search for love and purpose—from a woman who finds both in the last place she expected.

My Review: I love travel memoirs, I really liked this one.  This one was unique because she joined the peace corp and gave a very real story.   Most of us hear about the great accomplishments of the peace corp, but what if something goes wrong?

I loved this story because it was also a love story and the distance (literally) someone is willing to go for those they love.

The story of Uganda was amazing, Uganda is a country I really hope to visit someday.  The Pearl of Africa.   While Uganda isn’t always shiny it was nice to hear the good and the bad, because I do think a lot of times people who write travel memoirs they want to paint the most positive light to the point it doesn’t always feel real.

This book is perfect for ANYONE who wants to visit Ecuador or Uganda.  It is also perfect if you are contemplating the peace corp.

This is a refreshing take on living abroad and I think it is a great read for the casual reader or the world traveler.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: ONLY THE BRAVE

ONLY THE BRAVE is incredible. If made 20 years ago, between 1995 and 1999 (which is impossible because this true story tragedy happened in 2013), it would’ve been a massive blockbuster hit, with a lot of possible award nominations. Instead, due to this insane movie culture we have now that is obsessed with superhero films, reboots, remakes, franchises, and all that stuff, this film is more than likely going to be lost in the shuffle. But hey, there is still such a thing as being a cult classic or successful when it hits video right? Which is a shame. It is easily the best firefighter movie since Backdraft, has incredible acting and in the 90s Josh Brolin certainly would’ve been nominated for an award as well as Jennifer Connolly, and pretty fantastic special effects. I really loved this film.

Do you know why I mainly loved it? Because the film took its time. In a good way. Some films, when they take their time, tests the audiences patience, and in the end, the payoff isn’t worth the journey, and you end up being bored. Only The Brave accomplishes the rare feet of taking its time AND being incredibly entertaining. We get to know the characters very, very, very well. In fact, I would like to nominate this film as probably the best character development I have seen all year. We get to know the characters so well that, well, I won’t spoil anything but you can easily find out what happened to the Granite Mountain Hotshots if you go on Wikipedia, but suffice to say, when characters are in dangers, it stings like a motherfucker.

I was surprised to find out that this film was directed by Joseph Kosinski, who also directed Oblivion with Tom Cruise and Tron: Legacy, a cult classic to some of my friends (but I feel is highly overrated). This is easily his best film to date. The films climax doesn’t go into avoiding fire action movie territory, the climax is swift, brutal, and realistic with what was happening. All the characters seem like they truly do know and care about each other in real life. We get to know them several layers deep. It contains the best performance from Taylor Kitsch that I have seen. It also contains another Miles Teller fantastic performance as well playing a junkie that the hotshots take in.

The fire spreading and killing everything in its path in this is scary and real. Everything about it seems real. We see the firefighters actually work to take care of the fires, doing some things that I haven’t seen them do in movies. Usually its just a quick montage and everything is taken care of. Thankfully, not in this. It isn’t just about the Yarnell Hill Fire of 2013, we go back plenty of years before that and see how the team actually got certified as a team. Its engrossing from minute one. Josh Brolin and Jennifer Connolly share some scenes that any year in the 90s would’ve gotten them supporting actor and supporting actress performances.

The ending of this is so powerful, I teared up. Usually on this biographical dramas, I don’t tear up because I don’t care enough about the characters to actually feel their plight. This one I felt to my very soul, and that was all due to direction, the chemistry of the actors, and the screenplay actually taking its time to flesh everything out. If you read this review, and if you normally only see one movie a week or one every two weeks, try and put this one into your schedule. It’s incredible and I promise you it doesn’t waste your time.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE SNOWMAN

THE SNOWMAN is one of the most poorly edited and unfinished films I have ever seen. How can I say it is unfinished? This article my friends: http://www.joblo.com/movie-news/tomas-alfredson-says-he-was-unable-to-shoot-10-15-of-the-snowman-146 . 10-15%?!?!? To me it was more like 20-25%. I could tell that large chunks of this movie was missing, and the film is still two hours long?!?!? How a studio can allow a film to go into rushed production and then not even really have a finished project before releasing it into theatres is mind boggling. This is one of the rare times where I’ll say the movie might have benefit if an extra hour had been tacked onto the run time. Everything about this movie sucks except for the hint of genius performances barely peeking their ways out of the frames. The Snowman is definitely one of the worst films of the year. And has the worst use of Val Kilmer I have ever seen.

Michael Fassbender must’ve read a tremendous script if he wanted to shoot this movie. Because he seems like he wants to be there. So does Rebecca Ferguson, so does J.K. Simmons. They all glimmer a little in their parts. Somewhere in this giant mess of a film, shoot schedule, and screenplay must’ve been a fantastic noir type serial killer thriller. When the credits rolled, I was confused as to what the film even really wanted to truly be? Tonally it is all over the fucking place, with not a shred of dread like there was supposed to be. The film is so poorly edited that one scene completely reveals the killer although I don’t think it was meant to be the case when shooting it. (the killer isn’t that hard to guess in the first place, the film sticks to one red herring and doesn’t let go until the last possible minute, and other than that there weren’t too many suspects).

And Val Kilmer in this. Sheesh, what the fuck happened to Val Kilmer. The guy in his personal life kept denying that he had cancer, but with this film, you can tell he completely had it. THEY DUB OVER HIS ENTIRE VOICE WITH THE FEW SCENES THAT HE HAS. His voice does not match his lips and you know that isn’t Val Kilmer talking. Why didn’t they just reshoot with another actor? Probably the rushed production mentioned above.

If you don’t know the plot or even care, it’s based on a series of novels with a character named Detective Henry Hole. In this novel, he is after a killer that kills women, lops their heads off and puts them on snowmen. The women that are being targeted are women that come from damaged families, are unhappy and unfaithful. You can tell that the production was rushed from the first scene, which uses CGI so terribly you know they weren’t actually filming where they were supposed to be and the editing is so choppy is never lets up.

I consider The Snowman an incomplete picture. In fact, I would like for director Tomas Alfredson to maybe try to get money from the studio, do reshoots, finish the picture and release a director’s cut and maybe I’ll try it again to see if I feel any differently. But this is one of the messiest films I have ever seen. And no, I haven’t read the book, but I want to, I feel that reading the words will get the bad taste out of my eyes and ears.