Happy Holidays!

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CREDIT: someecards.com

CREDIT: someecards.com

No matter what or how you celebrate the holidays, here’s hoping you’re able to take some time out to relax a little this season and spend some precious moments with loved ones. If you’re working, then thank you for being there, and hopefully you’re being rewarded handsomely for your efforts.

If you need a backdrop for opening gifts, here’s a Yule Log with Lil Bub — perhaps the greatest gift one can receive. Is there anything better than a purring Lil Bub by a fireplace for an hour?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Working Out & Daily Disclipline

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I’ve been exercising a lot more lately — doing a lot of strength exercises, as well as team sports. I’m not in bad shape physically, but I’m not in great shape either.  More than just getting back to a healthy weight and physique, it’s been just as important for me to honor the discipline of working out. The act of getting to the gym, having a game plan, and sticking to it is an important achievement by itself.

I feel like I’m getting stronger, because what I’ve learned is that I have room in my schedule to be disciplined with a creative workout, too. And this list published in Inc. is a solid start to following in the footsteps of successful people. Among the practices that inspire me: Focus on others; give yourself a break; and sleep. These are things that I can’t always do as well as I’d like to, and I look forward to getting better at them.

So whether it’s at the gym or in the boardroom, here’s hoping you can find a way to exercise and improve yourself!

(h/t Inc.)

MONDAY MOVIES: “Whiplash”

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CREDIT: sonyclassics.com/whiplash/

CREDIT: sonyclassics.com/whiplash/

It’s not surprising to learn that “Whiplash” was filmed in 19 days. The brief timeframe speaks to both the surprising simplicity and intimacy of the film, as well as its intense tempo.

Tempo: That’s the key word. It’s a mad rush toward perfection and madness. But at what cost? That’s part of the reason that I wanted to include it on Justin’s Jobs. It’s a common theme of some of the best films this year: People who follow their passions to dangerous levels.

In the case of Andrew Neiman (played by a very focused Miles Teller), he wants to be the greatest drummer in the world. His goal — the same as many of his classmates at an elite music conservatory — is to play for infamous conductor Terence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons in a performance that is sure to earn him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. But Fletcher is a perfectionist — to the point of verbally and physically abusing his pupils. And this is where the heart of the movie lies: As a teacher or mentor, how much should you push to help someone achieve perfection? To achieve one’s greatness, to become the best in the world at something, what are you willing to do to achieve it? How much pressure are you willing to tolerate?

The relationship between Neiman and Fletcher is intense, and at times, cringeworthy. This is not a lighthearted film. You can even argue that there’s no “good guy” here. The characters’ obsessions make for some great music and an exciting plot line — and it left me wondering what would come of their tortured partnership. Will their tune have a happy ending? It all depends on the tempo.

MONDAY MOVIES: “The Theory of Everything”

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Courtesy: focusfeatures.com/the_theory_of_everything

Courtesy: focusfeatures.com/the_theory_of_everything

So many of the movies that you can see in the theater right now are about the work we do and how easily it can possess us and drive away those who we love. “Birdman” and “Interstellar“, just to name a few, focus on people who have extraordinary talents but must sacrifice time and energy toward those passions and away from family and friends.

The Theory of Everything” is no exception — but for different reasons. The true story of Stephen Hawking and his battle with motor neurone disease is superbly acted in this film by Eddie Redmayne, in a role that may well earn him the Oscar for Best Actor; if so, it would be well-deserved. Hawking’s first wife is performed by Felicity Jones, who plays a powerful and understated role in the movie. As Hawking’s condition worsens, so does their relationship — the challenges of taking care of him and a family become overwhelming and daunting for his wife. He also pours his life into his work, and with his brilliance and wit, he becomes a celebrity in his own right — taking more attention away from his wife, who is almost singlehandedly holding the family together.

It’s a moral dilemma, because Stephen Hawking isn’t known as a brilliant husband and father — he’s known as being a brilliant scientist, perhaps the greatest of which we may know in this lifetime. But can he be all of those things? If not, what’s the cost of that on loved ones? The movie is able to address all of these issues, in a way that’s very relatable.

In the search for a “theory of everything”, a simple, efficient, mathematical formula for everything that “is”, it’s important to remember where we find that inspiration and those who help us discover it. Hopefully this movie helps you do just that.

MONDAY MOVIES: “Interstellar”

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Before I talk about this excellent movie, I would like to say THANK YOU for helping to make November the most popular month on record for Justin’s Jobs! We had the most number of page views and visitors last month than any other time in the website’s history, and that’s all because of you. So again, thank you.

Sorry I wasn’t able to do more with “November of News” — but there’s essentially only one movie about news that you really need to see, and that’s “Network“. Once you see that, you’ll never see the news business — or any business, really — the same way. One of the best films ever made. That said, I hope to do an update soon on my “Nightcrawler” post. Stay tuned!

And now, “Interstellar”.

interstellarmovie.net

interstellarmovie.net

It’s Oscar season, and it’s one of the most exciting times of the year for me. Not only do I enjoy watching and tracking these films, but I also take a lot of joy in applying their messages to our daily lives.

“Interstellar” is no exception to this. It’s the story of a talented pilot-turned-farmer who lives with his family in a dusty, dystopian landscape in the not-so-distant future. Through a variety of bizarre circumstances, he finds himself in a position to explore space for the future of mankind. But will he return? What happens to his family as a result of this opportunity?

I don’t want to give too much away — but let’s say you’re the best at something, and while it’s usually hard to make a living with it, one day you have the opportunity to make it your life’s purpose. It could mean, however, potentially losing those people and things that you love. Would you do it? What if by doing it, you actually save the lives of the people you love?

This isn’t necessarily an original conundrum, but “Interstellar” delivers it in a nearly three-hour package that moves along well. Movies about space exploration and theories of existence aren’t exactly my top choice, but I thought this film wove in those themes with faith and destiny in a way that made it — so to speak — out of this world.

And it’s a good reminder that no matter what opportunities may come your way, always be your best and do your best. You never know what may be around the corner — in this galaxy or another one!