Top Ten Favorite Songs Based On Films

Greetings friends,

These songs are based on films. I have not included songs that were made for films. These are also songs that I personally enjoy and from genres that I normally listen to. I limited each artist to one song so that certain bands would not populate the entire list. There are some bands like Iced Earth, Star One, Iron Maiden, Wednesday 13, and Metallica that have multiple songs that fit into this topic. Warning, I do talk about the movies that the songs are based on so I am obligated to give an alert for spoilers. I felt that it would be practically impossible to talk about the songs without talking about the movies as well.

10. My Chemical Romance – Early Sunsets Over Monroeville
This song was inspired by Dawn of the Dead (1978) (R.I.P. George Romero). I’m not a huge fan of “emo” bands. However, I did enjoy some of My Chemical Romance’s work, especially the two albums The Black Parade and I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. The latter of which is home to this song. George Romero is well known for his zombie films, this being one of his best. When it comes to zombie films I tend to prefer Lucio Fulci, that is beside the point though. This song does a good job of capturing the source material. The beginning of the song depicts the setting (which is a mall), “Up and down escalators, Pennies and colder fountains, Elevators and half price sales.” The middle and end of the song explores the dilemma of the character struggling with having to shoot his wife because she has turned into a zombie, “Not knowing you’d change from just one bite, I fought them all off just to hold you close and tight, but does anyone notice? But does anyone care? And if I had the guts… To put this to your head, but does anything matter? If you’re already dead…” Zombies are fascinating for reasons described amazingly well by the Nostalgia Critic (I’ll let him talk about it so I don’t have to).

Loved ones turning into zombies is something that is explored well by sources like George Romero’s movies and recently with the series The Walking Dead. Some of my poetry explores this idea too. Most notably my poem Winter of the Dead. It has some similar inspiration as the song above. I wrote it around the time of The Walking Dead premiere.

Winter of the Dead
My love is lying in the other room.
The fever has already started to spread.
I got up to be beside her.
I placed my lips upon her head.
Why have the gone began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
We were walking home.
When she was bitten by the dead.
It’s not the zombies I’m afraid of.
It’s the losing her that I so dread.
Why have the gone began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
The evil ones they walked behind us.
As I ran home with her in arms.
We both knew she was infected.
She had the virus in her head.
Why have the gone began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
Is it snowing yet? she asked me.
You see my love she loves the snow.
I opened the curtains and the white dust fell.
The beginning of my frozen Hell.
Why have the gone began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
I kissed my love one last time.
Her lips they tasted so divine.
I felt the blood stop within her heart.
We had promised to never be apart.
Why have the dead began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
I laid down beside her.
Gun in my left hand.
I put my arms around her.
I put a bullet in our heads.

9. Rush – Cinderella Man
This song was inspired by Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). Rush did a great job with this song. Since Rush is one of the greatest bands of all time, it is no surprise that they made it on the list. The more shocking thing might be that I listed them so low. Part of this is due to the fact they have much better songs than Cinderella Man. If Tom Sawyer was based off of a movie then it would be much higher on the list. The movie Mr. Deeds starring Adam Sandler is a loose adaptation of the original movie. I have never seen the original movie but I have seen Mr. Deeds and I have listened to this Rush song many times. The gist of the storyline seems to be about a rural man that inherits a large sum of money from an urban relative, “A modest man, from Mandrake, Traveled rich to the city, He had a need to discover, A use for his newly-found wealth.” The rural man has to go to the city and is introduced to many characters that seek to undermine him for his inheritance. The rural man comes face to face with the greed that is an unfortunate characteristic of the urbanites that he is surrounded by. They mock him and do their best to break him emotionally, “Because he was human, Because he had goodness, Because he was moral, They called him insane.”

8. Wednesday 13 – Haddonfield
This song was written about Halloween (1978). 1978 was apparently a good year for horror movies. John Carpenter helmed this movie who is also a well-known horror director. Halloween is about the slasher Michael Myers. Myers escapes the sanitarium he is being kept at (for the murder of his sister as a child) and returns to his hometown to kill again, “It was the night that he came home, So you don’t go out alone, When it’s dark in Haddonfield.” Myers fixates on one of the teenagers in the town by the name of Laurie Strode and stalks her, “And now he’s looking for Laurie, But she doesn’t even know.” Anyone that gets in the way of him and Laurie gets killed in the process. Myer’s psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis finds out about the escape and knows about what Myer’s intends to do and thus tries to stop him, “But Loomis is trailing him, And he won’t go without a fight, oh no.” Loomis does end up finding Myer’s in the end and shoots him. However, the body is never found. The song does a good job of capturing the character of Myer’s and retells the story of the movie for us, albeit a cliff notes version. The comparison of Michael Myer’s to the bogeyman is a nice touch, “It’s only the boogie man, And he knows what he wants tonight.” No one is safe when Myer’s is in town.

7. The 69 Eyes – Lost Boys
This song is inspired by The Lost Boys (1987). It is from the perspective of the lost boys. It has been a long time since I watched the movie, it is a horror movie about vampires. It centers around a couple of brothers that move to Santa Carla, California with their mother in order to live with their grandfather. The brothers meet up with some of the locals and end up finding out that some of them are vampires. One of the brothers is turned into a half-vampire (they are not full vampires until they kill). The head vampire of the area intends to turn the brothers mother into a vampire so that she can in turn be a mother for his lost boys which is another name for his clan. I can’t help but nod my head along to the groove of this song. It is really catchy and in my opinion one of the best songs by The 69 Eyes. The lines, “Morning light hurts your eyes” and “We are dead until dark” reference the vampire condition. The indirect sunlight causes pain and the direct sunlight can be fatal. When the main character Michael is discovering what he is in danger of becoming he experiences sensitivity to the morning light. Sunlight keeps the vampires of the area at bay during the day so although they are technically the undead, in their own way they come alive at night.

6. Metallica – Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
This song is inspired by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). This song is haunting and I think tries to capture what it is like to be in an actual sanitarium (although I cannot speak from experience). Some of the lines that stand out are, “They keep me locked up in this cage. Can’t they see it’s why my brain says ‘rage’?”, “Whisper things into my brain, Assuring me that I’m insane.”, and “Keep him tied, it makes him well. He’s getting better, can’t you tell?” I have never watched the movie that the song is based on (it is on my to-watch list) but from what I can gather from the song it is about a mental patient that is stuck in a sanitarium and does not enjoy the experience (not that one would). The mental patient towards the end is planning an escape. Throughout the song the character calls out for the sanitarium to just leave him alone. This could be the caretakers at the sanitarium or perhaps it has a deeper meaning of the actual building having a presence of its own.

(Vid)
5. Evergrey – Nosferatu
This song is inspired by Nosferatu (1922). Once again, I have never seen the film that this song is based on. The song is from the perspective of Nosferatu as they hunt their prey. They refer to themselves as an embodiment of darkness, an embodiment of despair, and classify themselves as the undead, “I am despair.”, “All the stories you’ve heard are true. The tales of my darkness too.”, “You must leave your breathing life. Only to be reborn in mine.” The song refers to the vampire bite as planting dark seeds. It also implies that in addition to drinking the blood that the soul of the victim is harvested.

4. The White Stripes – The Union Forever
This song is based on Citizen Kane (1941). I have not seen the film that this song it based on either. Some research led me to the site Songfacts. There I found the following breakdown that does a good job of explaining different aspects of the song.

3. Iced Earth – Dragon’s Child
This song is inspired by The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). There is beginning to be a pattern here of movies that I haven’t seen. I’ll have to correct that one of these days. This song is one of my favorite songs that comes from Iced Earth’s Horror Show album. The album also features songs based on other films and works of literature. The song Wolf is inspired by The Wolf Man films. The song Damien is inspired by The Omen films. The song Im-Ho-Tep is inspired by The Mummy. The song Jekyll & Hyde is inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The songs Frankenstein and Dracula are inspired by the stories of the same name. The song The Phantom Opera Ghost is inspired by The Phantom of the Opera. While I enjoy the entire album, Dragon’s Child stood out to me because when I listen to it I almost feel as if the creature is actually chasing me. The vocals capture the essence of the character and the music flows at a chilling pace setting the overall tone of the song. “Oh, beware the blackened water. The creature has come to take you away!”

2. Star One – The Eye of Ra
This song is based on Stargate (1994). I’ve seen this one! The movie is great and this song is an amazing tribute. Star One is a creation by man by the name of Arjen Anthony Lucassen that seems to exist for the sole purpose of creating songs with themes usually borrowed from sci-fi movies and shows. In addition to Lucassen, most of the albums feature guests from bands such as Symphony X, Nightwish, and Headspace. There were many to choose from and but this song stands out to me. In order to narrow the list down I started by picking my top five songs that follow the theme of this list. I then narrowed the top five down to my top two. From there it was agonizing trying to choose only one. Perfect Survivor (based on Alien) was the other contender for this spot until The Eye of Ra pulled ahead. I love how the backing vocalists complement the lead vocalist. It creates what in my opinion is practically a perfect song. The song switches perspectives throughout featuring a storyteller, archaeologist, marine, native girl (native to the planet they traveled to through the Stargate), and then all of them together. Archeologists on Earth discover what they call a Stargate in Egypt. After they find a way to activate it and program it, a team of archaeologists and marines travel through the gate to explore the other side, “I have finally found the key, to chart a course to the other side of the galaxy.” Unfortunately, once there they find themselves lacking the coordinates to program the Stargate on that world to return them home, “Unaware of our coming fate, we disappear through the ancient gate. We arrive in a desert land, and set up camp on the burning sand.” The team discovers a group of humans that are slaves to the god Ra and mine the planet for minerals for him. Ra turns out to be a member of another race that once had come to Earth in order to possess human bodies and extend his life. Ra enslaved the humans of Earth to mine for minerals and moved some of them to the new planet where the team find themselves, “Behold, a thousand slaves. Mining ores in the planet’s caves.” In the past, the humans of Earth revolted. Ra thus far has kept the humans on the other planet under his rule but the team of archaeologists and marines help the currently enslaved humans revolt as well, “A bloody battle has begun, we must destroy this king of the sun.” Eventually the final symbol for the coordinates to program the Stargate is discovered and the archaeologists and marines can return home, “We have found the seventh sign. Down in the catacombs. When the seven points align. They will lead us all back home.”

1. Iron Maiden – The Wicker Man
This song is inspired by The Wicker Man (1973). There is a remake of the The Wicker Man that came out in 2006. The remake is a steaming pile of shit. The original is a horror movie classic that is based on a book called Ritual by the author David Pinner. This song is in my opinion one of the greatest songs of all time. The movie takes place on an island called Summerisle where the islanders worship pagan Celtic gods. A police Sergeant by the name of Howie is sent to Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl by the name of Rowan after receiving an anonymous letter. Howie is shocked to find out about the ways of the islanders. After doing some research Howie comes to the conclusion that Rowan was chosen for a sacrifice which is part of a celebration by the islanders. However, Rowan is actually not the intended sacrifice, Howie is. The chorus of the song I believe alludes to the world becoming anew at the start of every day. They are dancing to celebrate the coming of their May Day celebration where all must join hands around a burning wicker man that contains a human sacrifice. The chorus is as follows, “You watch the world exploding every single night. Dancing in the sun a newborn in the light. Brothers and their fathers joining hands and make a chain. The shadow of the Wicker Man is rising up again.” I believe the ending of the song, “Your time will come, your time will come” to be suggesting that eventually the wicker man will choose you.

A special thank you to Wikipedia, Songfacts, and Dark Lyrics for the research assistance.

Thank you,
Jake Jeffries

The Dark Watchlist: June-July 2017

The Dark Watchlist: June-July 2017

Greetings friends,

This is a combined watchlist for the months of June and July. There have been a lot of family events lately. Some of those events include bad things such as deaths in the family and good things such as wedding planning and finding out multiple family members are planning on getting married.

Marco

My music interest for the last couple of months has heavily featured multiple bands that have one member in common, Marco Hietala. If you are unfamiliar with the name I recommend checking out the bands Nightwish, Tarot, Delain (he is a guest for many songs), and Northern Kings. I don’t know how he has the time for all of his projects. In my opinion, he is probably one of the most important figures in the music industry today.

yugioh.jpg

In order to distract myself from a lot of the stressors as of late, I have been playing the mobile game Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links. Growing up I was a fan of the show and the card game. I still have some of those cards from my childhood and it is great being able to log into a mobile game and get a swift kick of nostalgia and sharpen my mind with strategy at the same time. One of the best things about the mobile version is that the cards don’t take up as much space, you can store thousands in your virtual card catalog. I enjoy the animations (skippable animations I might add) that accompany certain cards when played by certain individuals. For instance, if you are playing as Yami Yugi then you are treated to a badass animation of The Dark Magician being summoned, assuming that card is in your particular deck and you play it. It does a great job of igniting my fiero into a blaze of glory.

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reality

This book is fascinating so far, especially as a gamer with a love of studying psychology. It goes into detail theorizing how games have been used in the past and can be used today as a fix for societal and individual issues. The author describes how her and her husband use games in their relationship and how she has used games in the past to help with symptoms of a terrible concussion. She talks about how games these days aren’t so much an escape of reality as they are tool to complement reality.

blues

This book is a companion book to one of my favorite books of all time, “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him.” This book is setup like a daily desk calendar but with no particular year. Each page is different day and contains some bit of wisdom. Some are certainly better than others depending on what kind of mood you are in. The setup of this book slightly detracted from the overall feel of it but on the other side of that coin it added the flexibility to read a snippet here and there without fear of losing track of where I was at in regards to the cohesiveness of an actual story. In the future, I plan on referencing this book periodically and having fun with being reminded of what chunk of wisdom is on the page of the particular day I decide to read it. One of my favorite excerpts from the book is as follows, “Some children were raised without enough parental validation of who they were and what they were worth. When these neglected youngsters grow up, they usually don’t feel entitled to other people’s recognition of either the existence or the value of their identity. As if trying to ransom back their stolen identities, they try hard to please others so that they’ll validate their uncertain worth. Paradoxically, they are more likely to expect and accept criticism than appreciation in return, and they pay an exorbitant price of unnecessary accommodation and deference. Ironically, when people betray themselves in these needlessly degrading ways, they do not ransom back who they are. They become unwitting accomplices in the repetition of the original theft. ‘Once you’re a grown-up, no one can kidnap your soul unless you act as an accomplice.’”

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Death Wish Coffee is awesome. My favorite kind that they make is the barrel brand rum version. There is practically no bitterness whatsoever to the coffee and you detect a hint of rum flavor that the beans have absorbed from being aged in used spirit barrels. They also have whiskey and bourbon versions. Their coffee isn’t cheap, but using the adage you get what you pay for you can expect great things from Death Wish Coffee.

oreos

We finally have an Oreo that has the flavor of coffee infused into it! I have dipped Oreos in my coffee before and enjoyed the result and now I can have them combined into one and still get to dip them in milk. These are high up on the list of reasons why it is a good time to be alive.

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They make mini-bottles of sparkling apple cider! I am probably more excited about these than a grown man should be. Sometimes when I am eating dinner I want it to be classy and other times I just want there to be a little bit of class. This bottle is great for adding a dash of class to the evening without having to break open a larger bottle, which is great if you want to have a classy dinner by yourself.

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There is a recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook for sweet sausage rolls. It uses mini-smokey-links, crescents (that you have to cut up), and a mixture of stuff in a pan that gets baked. The clean-up for that particular dish sucks because it uses honey, brown sugar, etc. that just congeals and sticks to the pan. I wanted a simpler version. I came up with using regular smokey-links with honey-butter crescents in order to mimic the flavor of the more complicated version but with less ingredients and steps to the overall process. Of course, like every food item the ratio of crescents to links do not match but is fixed by making a couple of them with two links instead of one. I heat the oven to what it says on the crescent package and cook it for ten minutes. I cook them on a cookie sheet covered with non-stick aluminum foil and clean-up is as easy as removing the foil and placing the pan back in the drawer. It is a fairly low-cost meal as well.

bag

shenron

This is a must have for any Dragonball fan. It is a great addition to my Funko collection and pairs nicely with the other Dragonball Funko figures. It was made exclusively for Galactic Toys but I found it on Amazon.

ttobf-poster

This is a movie made by Jakob Bilinski whom I have the pleasure of being Facebook friends with. I have seen most of his other films to date and highly enjoy them. I went to high school with one of the actresses in a few of his films which is how I discovered him. I look forward to his future works and especially to checking this movie out. I plan on making it a part of the horror movie marathon this year.

Percy-Bysshe-Shelley

Percy Shelley is an author that I was unfamiliar with until recently. I had heard of some of his works, but never knew the man behind them. He is the husband of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. One of his quotes from Ozymandias was used in the movie Alien: Covenant, “Look on my works, ye mighty and despair.” His works also inspired the character Ozymandias in the comic Watchmen. I purchased The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley for $1.06 for the Amazon Kindle and highly look forward to reading it.

Thank you,
Jake Jeffries

The Dark Watchlist: May 2017

Greetings friends,

This is one of my favorite albums of the year thus far. I foresee it being in my top five if not top three albums of the year. The album is solid pretty much all of the way through. Their other albums had some tracks here and there that stood out but damn they brought their A game for this album. If you like classic rock, progressive rock, and being taken on a musical journey then I highly recommend this album to you. One of my favorite tracks from it is Gemini which is posted below. Some of my other favorite tracks include Midnight Flyer, Sad State of Affairs, Domino, and Something Mysterious.

May the force be with you. I’ve always loved Star Wars and re-watch them from time to time. This month I took the time to watch all of the currently released Star Wars films. Yes, even the prequels. Much to my surprise the prequels were better than I remembered them being. They still aren’t great by any means but if you subtract pretty much everything that involves Jar Jar and the entire romance between Anakin and Padme then they aren’t as bad. I re-watched Rogue One which is awesome! I loved that stand-alone film, especially K-2SO and Chirrut Îmwe. The original trilogy of course is classic and I am lucky enough to have the unedited versions that Lucas didn’t mess with. Every time I watch the original trilogy there are new things for me to take away from it. One of my favorite quotes this time around was from Yoda, “You must unlearn what you have learned.” The marathon concluded with The Force Awakens which I thoroughly enjoyed as well. I have also discovered that there are many psychology and philosophy books that are inspired by Star Wars, I have added some of them to my wish list: Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind, The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy: You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned, The Dharma of Star Wars, and Star Wars and Philosophy: More Powerful than You Can Possibly Imagine.

This cream soda is awesome. It tastes sort of what I imagine butterbeer tasting like. The only thing that I have tried that might be closer to butterbeer is Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer. The Boylan creme soda I can get at my local Kroger. I have seen it at Elevation Burger and Jungle Jim’s. It is by far my favorite drink from the creme soda class. It is actually one of my favorite drinks period. The Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer I have only spotted at Jungle Jim’s.

Recently I found myself in dire need of a new device for transferring videos from VHS. I am one of the designated techs of the family and there were some important family videos that needed transferring. In the past, I used a device made by Diamond. However, it would not work when I tried to use it. Upon further research, I discovered that the Diamond device does not play well with Windows 10. Some people have had good luck but I was not one of those people. I had access to a Macbook Pro that I tried the Diamond device on, also to no avail. Enter the Vidbox for Mac. I wasn’t real happy with the price tag but in the end it paid off. I have never had an easier experience converting from VHS. The software that the Vidbox uses is way more user friendly than the software that came with the Diamond. I am hoping that the Vidbox will not suffer the fate of being too out of date when and if the time comes again for me to convert from VHS. If you need a device for a VHS converting project and have a Mac, then this is for you. They have a Windows version as well but I cannot say whether or not it works as well.

It has been on my list to check out some of C.G. Jung’s books. He is pretty much a must read for those that enjoy studying Psychology. I had some Amazon points that I traded in for The Undiscovered Self. A visit to Half Price Books added Memories, Dreams, Reflections, and Man and His Symbols to my collection.

I was looking for another book by Philip Zimbardo called Man, Interrupted. However, I stumbled across The Lucifer Effect instead. I went ahead and bought it because it sounded interesting and I have been interested in checking out Zimbardo’s work. He is primarily known for the Stanford Prison Experiment.

It has become apparent to me that I need to read more book by Alan Watts so using some Amazon points again I traded them in for The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. Thus far, I have not been disappointed by any Alan Watts book I have read and have gained many insights as a result of reading them.

The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy: I Link Therefore I Am. The title alone was enough to warrant purchasing this item. My love of philosophy is icing on the cake. Lately I have been playing the Zelda games as part of my “studies” and I believe that this book with be a valuable primer to complement those studies.

Thank you,
Jake Jeffries

Top Ten Favorite Songs Based On Comic Book Characters

Greetings friends,

In honor of today being Free Comic Book Day 2017 I am posting my top ten favorite songs based off of comic book characters! I have also taken the time to provide an analysis of the song. The analysis is of course my opinion of what the song could mean. There are some songs where I have more input than others. Many artists leave songs open for interpretation so that the listener can form their own relations or opinions of songs. Feel free to comment below with your opinion of the songs or to share some of your favorite songs that are based on comics books. I have limited each artist to one song in order to prevent an overabundance of songs by certain bands. There are many bands that have released companion comics such as Soilwork, Within Temptation, KISS, Alice Cooper, etc. but these are songs that are not based off of comics and often times the band bases the comic off of the songs. There are some songs that have become synonymous with certain characters (looking at you Iron Man by Black Sabbath) but the song is actually independent of the character. These are also songs that I personally enjoy and from genres that I normally listen to.


10. Our Lady Peace – Superman’s Dead
This song was of course inspired by Superman. It also takes a hard look at bullying, societal expectations, and media messages. I love the grunge feel of the song. Multiple times it broaches the subject of ordinary not being good enough. Superman is dead according to the POV of the song and thus he unable to save us from ourselves or from others. Perhaps we will just have to laugh instead, laugh in order to keep from crying. The lines, “are you worried about your faith, kneel down and obey” seem to bring attention to the idea of religions pushing their agenda and expecting their congregation to follow unquestioningly. The ending, “doesn’t anybody ever know that the world’s a subway” could be relating to the idea that on a subway everyone fends for themselves. Another way to take the ending, which correlates with the idea of the song exploring dark media messages is to take into account the amount of subway advertisements there are. I don’t live in a city with a subway but during some of my travels I see a lot of billboards trying to sell us sex, gambling, materialistic obsessions, etc. I can only imagine how one might be bombarded with these messages when a ton of advertisements like those on billboards are crammed into a subway system.


9. Black Lab – Learn to Crawl
This song is inspired by Spiderman. It was featured on the soundtrack to the Spiderman movie starring Tobey McGuire. I believe that it specifically is about Peter Parker’s infatuation with Mary Jane. He is in love with her and in a way, it was a love at first sight which relates to the lyrics, “I could feel you like the spider sting”. In the same way that Peter is learning how use his powers responsibly he is also coming of age and exploring a relationship with Mary Jane. At the start, Peter mainly kept his distance from Mary Jane and watches from afar with admiration (or like a stalker depending on how you want to look at it).


8. Charles Fox – Wonder Woman Theme
This song was the main theme to the 1970’s Wonder Woman TV series. It is a great mix of rock and funk. Yes, it has the lines, “In your satin tights, fighting for your rights” but that is one thing that comics are equal-ish on is that heroes and heroines wear satin tights. Albeit they usually portray the women in comics with more skin revealed. It is almost a testament that Wonder Woman just might be the only character on this list that gets an almost sexism debate. Overall I still really enjoy the song though! Even the latter half of the line reference above calls out Wonder Woman fighting for women’s rights which is unfortunately something that women still have to do today because of the society we live in. Wonder Woman as an icon today is a great proponent in the battle for women’s rights. I love the lines in the song, “Stop a bullet cold, make the axis fold”. Wonder Woman has a history of fighting the Nazi’s. The Nazi’s and the Axis of Evil were quite possibly the worst of humanity. Wonder Woman in contrast is one of the best of humanity or would it be super-humanity? Either way I think we can all agree that Wonder Woman is awesome! As the end of the song goes, “You’re a wonder, Wonder Woman!”


7. 3 Doors Down – Kryptonite
This song is inspired by Superman. If you know of Superman then you probably know of his weakness which is the mineral from his home world of Krypton, commonly known as kryptonite. I absolutely LOVED this song when it came out. I would have probably put it higher on the list but it fell victim to the radio effect (incessant overplaying to the point that the next time the song plays it has the effect of kryptonite or igniting a Hulk-like rage). The first part of the song goes like this, “I took a walk around the world to ease my troubled mind, I left my body lying somewhere in the sands of time, I watched the world float to the dark side of the moon I feel there is nothing I can do, yeah” I believe this to be from the POV of a hero but it could theoretically be from the POV of anyone struggling with coming to terms with the state of the world. The latter part suggests a feeling of helplessness as to whether or not anything they do can actually help. Now I want to explore the lines, “I really don’t mind what happens now and then, as long as you’ll be my friend at the end. If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman, if I’m alive and well, will you be there holding my hand. I’ll keep you by my side with my superhuman might, Kryptonite”. The POV character is coming to terms with their inability to affect the outcome sometimes and feels like they will be ok as long as their friend is with them through it all. They pose questions to their friend asking if they will there for them through the times when the POV character feels insecure or losing their mind and if the friend will be there for them when things are going great as well. The POV character further expresses their desire to have the friend by them through thick and thin by stating that they will keep them by their side with their superhuman might. The POV character then in my opinion calls the friend Kryptonite as if to say that their relationship with them is a form of weakness for the POV character but they don’t mind.


6. Queen – Flash’s Theme
This song was made for the movie Flash Gordon. Queen was actually responsible for most of the soundtrack to the movie. I am not real familiar with the source material and I have never seen the movie but I did really like theme that I stumbled across whilst listening to Queen’s discography. I am a fan most of Queen’s music, especially Bohemiam Rhapsody, The Show Must Go On, I Want to Break Free, etc.


5. Drowning Pool Featuring Rob Zombie – The Man Without Fear
This song was made for the movie Daredevil. The movie sucked. God, it was awful. However, the soundtrack was good. Especially this song by Drowning Pool which is a band that I kind of like and Rob Zombie who is a legend. My favorite lines are, “Everything was shapeless, is clear now, I visualize with a drop of sound, I am the man without fear”. The lines are of course referring to the accident where Matthew Murdock lost his sight and gained his ability to visualize practically everything around him with sounds. He becomes hyper-aware of his other senses and uses those abilities mixed with training to fight crime. The Netflix series does a much better job of capturing the character and is why I chose the video above featuring scenes from the show instead of the movie that the song was made for.


4. Megadeth – Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
This song is inspired by The Punisher. The beginning of the song chronicles a war, possibly a war that Frank Castle was involved with. I’m not sure if that was the intention of the writing of the song but that is how it feels to me. By the end it evolves into the classic characterization of The Punisher where he wages his own war on organized crime and especially those responsible for the death of his family. One of the lines is literally, “Killings, killings, killings, killings” which is apt for character who in the name of vengeance kills, kills, kills, and kills.


3. Ron Wasserman and Shuki Levy – X-Men Theme Song
This is one of the greatest instrumental tracks of all time. Your childhood was not complete if this song wasn’t a part of it. There are too many shows that they have done to list here but some of the notables are this one, Dragonball Z, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, etc. The flow of the song captured the action theme of the series perfectly.


2. Danny Elfman – Batman: The Animated Series
Danny Elfman has been involved with many movies and series over the years. One of the best of which was his composition of the Batman: The Animated Series theme. This was an instrumental piece that captured the character. The theme was dark like the Dark Knight himself. It would give me chills down my spine sometimes. The series itself was one of the greatest animated series of all time and it definitely helped that the score was up to par with the quality of the show. This was another theme that made my childhood. When I heard it start up I knew it was Batman time. If it was Batman time, it was time to shut the fuck up.


1. Iced Earth – Question of Heaven
This song is inspired by Spawn. Spawn (Al Simmons) is my favorite comic book character of all time and imagine my surprise when I found an entire damn album based on the character. Iced Earth’s Dark Saga album is inspired by the character and has Spawn on the cover. The entire album is great but the standout song in my opinion is Question of Heaven. Spawn is stuck in a war between Heaven and Hell. Hell creates hellspawn by making deals with the deceased. They wanted Al Simmons to be a general in their army but they deceived him with lies that he would get to be with the love of his life again. He gets to see her, but she has moved on after his death. If he had known it would be too late to reunite with his love then he would have never taken the deal. He would rather just be completely dead but he is denied this due to his status as a hellspawn. Instead of following Hell’s orders he goes off on his own often playing the role of a anti-hero. My favorite part of the song is, “I did what I thought was right, all for the love of my life, I know it’s sad but true. Something is very wrong, condemned to suffer so long, for a love so true. The question that lies within, is so hard to understand, it still tears at me. And in my dying breath, my heart holds no regrets, I wouldn’t change a thing. My spirit, begins to rise to the heavenly skies, just to be shunned away by you. Now all I want is to die, no streets of gold in the sky. And I wash my hands of you”. Spawn feels betrayed by both sides. He knows that he hasn’t made the best choices and hasn’t lived a perfect life but one thing that he has always done consistently is loved. He doesn’t want entry to Heaven, he just wants it all to end. Finally he asks the question of Heaven, “Why won’t you let me die?”

Thank you,
Jake Jeffries

The Dark Watchlist: April 2017

Greetings friends,

This post is going be my version of things that I was really into for the month. I was inspired by Youtuber Nikki Limo and her videos about Shit I Really Like Right Now. I encourage you to check out her Youtube channel.

I was also inspired by a video I watched a long time ago featuring Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer doing a bit about What’s In My Bag.

When I was remembering it, I remember it being closer to the theme of Nikki Limo’s lists but it is actually more of a what they were buying from a particular store at the time. In that vein, I have decided to include a short What’s In My Bag list at the end of the Watchlist. Without further ado, please see the list below.

Starbucks DS + Energy

It should come as no shock that to anyone that I have a coffee addiction. My favorite type is Death Wish Coffee but the is this pesky thing involved with it where right after brewing it is really hot. So, instead of drinking as much Death Wish or any hot variety of coffee, lately I have been mixing it up with a chilled Starbucks drink so that I can get the initial boost to get me going without losing any taste buds in the process.

Mingua Jerky

I have my one of day job colleagues to thank for this. He introduced me to the jerky by sharing a bag that he had and I have been getting it for myself ever since. It can be found commonly at Circle K. Thus far I have tried three different varieties: Cajun, Sweet and Hot, and standard Mild. My personal favorite is the Cajun. It is spicy but I wouldn’t call it overboard by any means. If you like spicy things then the Cajun should be nice for you. I would say it is close to the spiciness of a slice of pizza that has been seasoned with crushed red pepper.

NES Classic

The NES Classic is awesome assuming that you managed to get it for the list price of around $60. Luckily, I happened to spot one sitting on a shelf in a Gamestop one day and snagged it. Prior to that I had been trying to hunt one down with no success unless I had $200+ to shell out for it. In my opinion it would not be worth that. I love having access to so many of the games that I grew up with. Lately I have been playing through the original Zelda games that are on it. I hear that there is a way (probably not legally) to rig up what is called a cherry pie with emulators but I just don’t feel like trying to pursue that method.

Five Guys

Recently our city opened up a new Five Guys, “But Five Guys is so expensive.” If I hear that line one more time…

Yes, it is more expensive than McDonald’s. You know what else, it is infinitely better than McDonald’s as well. Plus, even with a regular fry you get pretty much a bagful. The quantity and quality in my opinion make up for the price difference. I’m not rich, I’m not poor either and I’m not saying to eat there every night (doing so with ANY fast food restaurant is bad for your health) but if you frequent Chili’s, Wendy’s, Culver’s, etc. then Five Guys relatively isn’t that bad. Also, on a slightly related note here is a hilarious video with John Cho and Karl Urban.

In Treatment – HBO

I was doing a search on the Google for a show that was like House but with the protagonist being a psychologist instead of medical doctor. It lead me to the HBO show In Treatment. There aren’t as many side characters but I can see why the specific search led me to it and I am loving it so far. It is mainly from the perspective of a psychologist that is treating patients and focuses on the struggles of the individuals and some of the personal struggles the psychologist is having due to factors within and outside of the therapy sessions.

Alan Watts

I just finished reading The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts. Holy shit, reading it was a psychological and philosophical trip that I haven’t experienced since I discovered the works of the psychologist Dr. Sheldon Kopp. I’ve also read his book The Way of Zen and although I enjoyed it, it did not have as significant of an impact on me. In my opinion Alan Watts is one of the greatest contemporary philosophers. I believe that The Wisdom of Insecurity may be the most important book that I’ve read this year and possibly one of the most important books I’ve read in my life.

I am an avid reader of philosophy and discovered that this magazine exists. It was a bit difficult to find and come to find out, it is a British magazine which is part of why I struggled to find it in the United States. Thanks to Ebay, I was able to procure it and am glad that I did. It was worth the price of the magazine just for introducing me to the philosopher Derek Parfit. Derek Parfit wrote a book in 1984 called Reasons and Persons. In it, he explores the idea of what if we had the technology of teleportation. The transporter works by copying you, recreating you at your destination, and destroying the you that was copied. However, what happens if the transporter malfunctions and fails to destroy the you that was copied? Now, there are two of you that exist in the universe. Who is the real you?

This magazine was fascinating. It opened up a world of thought. One of my favorite articles in it was about a FBI agent that was responsible for shutting down one of the largest spy rings in history. It goes into detail how the agent used psychological methods to capture the initial spy and then used him to branch out and bring in the entire web. There was also some great book suggestions and an awesome section that broke down the different psychology careers.

This is a purchase based on a recommendation by Alan Watts in The Wisdom of Insecurity. He stated that the book was out of print. Using the tools available to me in today’s technological world (Ebay) I found a copy of the book that was published in 1932 and promptly bought it. It should come as no surprise that I am also a lover of vintage books.

This is also a purchase based on a recommendation by Alan Watts in The Wisdom of Insecurity. He stated that this book was out of print as well but it was easier to find than Trigant Burrow. It was published in the 1950’s. Most of the copies I found were expensive or possibly in a different language but once again Ebay came to my rescue.

Iced Earth is one of my favorite bands. They are probably tied at the top with Nightwish now that I think about it. They have a new album releasing in June and they released the pre-order information for the album this month. I ordered the limited edition because I wanted access to the LP and the exclusive art book photos and information. The artwork was partially completed by the owner of a tattoo parlor that I have had all of tattoos done at and where I plan on getting all of my future tattoos done. Here is the lyric video for the first single released from the album.

Thank you,
Jake Jeffries

Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2016

Greetings friends,

I would like to share with you my top ten favorite movies of 2016. These are movies that had to be released in theaters in 2016.

10. The Legend of Tarzan

The Legend of Tarzan was a huge surprise for me. I didn’t go into it expecting anything special and it delivered on an epic scale. Alexander Skarsgård gave an awesome performance as Tarzan. Margot Robbie performed extremely well as Jane. Prior to this film, I had hardly seen anything with them in it. Samuel L. Jackson was hilarious and as always sometimes ended up stealing the scene. Christoph Waltz played the main villain and has cemented his title in my mind as one of the best villainous actors. Djimon Hounsou played an additional antagonist that had some history with Tarzan. The action scenes are top notch, the visuals of the jungle are great, and overall I had a fantastic experience with the film.

9. Ip Man 3

There is something about seeing Donnie Yen beat the shit out of people that I will never get tired of. He doesn’t want to beat the shit of them, but they make him do it. Master Ip is for the most part peaceful. I have watched most of the Ip Man films and although this one isn’t the best, it is still a solid entry. If you love martial arts films then you have probably already watched this, if not then go do it now! After watching the earlier Ip Man films of course. This film also deals with the struggle of Master Ip’s wife being ill. Another rival opens up a school and tries to challenge Master Ip during this time. Master Ip decides to spend time with his ailing wife instead. In the end, there is an epic rematch with the rival. Mike Tyson makes an appearance in this film as well and has a cool battle with Donnie Yen.

8. Don’t Breathe

This was a great entry in the home invasion genre. It tells the story mainly from the point of view of the invaders. They break into the house of a blind man in order to rob him. They forget to take into account the blind man has lived in the house for years and knows it better than them. The intensity of this film is hard to describe, I found myself holding my own breath during parts of it. There is a reveal that shows that the blind man may not be as innocent as he seems.

7. Passengers

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence? I’m there! Chris Pratt shined in Guardians of the Galaxy and Jennifer Lawrence shines in pretty much everything she touches so I was stoked for this film. It did not disappoint, me. I read some other reviews where people felt betrayed by one of the big reveals in the movie because of the conflict that it caused but I thought that made it a better film. It depicts how the characters grow from that conflict and overcome what at first seemed like an insurmountable issue. For most of the movie there are only about 2-4 characters. It was awesome to see a movie deliver so well with so few characters.

6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Okay. Let’s start with what we can agree on. That Batman scene where he takes down the criminals when saving Martha is badass! I felt that most of the movie was badass. There were parts of the film where it did feel like they were trying to cram as much into it as possible. There was the whole Martha thing and the fact that Lois couldn’t have heard them in order to explain it (I have not seen the extended version so maybe it was a victim of editing). The birth of Doomsday was kind of weird. Everything with Lex Luthor Jr. was kind of weird, he was not a very well thought out antagonist. The battle scenes between Batman and Superman were well done. Hopefully the extended version has more of Wonder Woman in the final fight scene. Contrary to the thoughts of many, I really enjoyed the nightmare scene. If you have read the comics, then it makes much more sense where they were headed with that aspect of the story.

5. The Wailing

This is horror as it should be. The events that unfold and the pacing of the film are perfect. The depictions of the forces of evil and their intensity are done amazingly well. A policeman is investigating a case of various murders tied to an underlying disease that results in the infected eventually dying after murdering those around them. The disease appears around the same time as a strange man in the area. The policeman’s daughter is eventually infected and he does everything that he can to try to cure her of the disease.

4. 10 Cloverfield Lane

The main thing I remember about the first Cloverfield movie is the damn shaky camera. Luckily 10 Cloverfield Lane did not suffer from shaky-cam-syndrome. This is another film with few characters and few locations that tells a hell of a story. I would say that 95% of the movie takes place in an underground bunker. The main character is in an accident and wakes up in the bunker where supposedly an attack has happened that has made it unsafe outside. The host of the bunker is seemingly nice but suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and potentially another or multiple mental disorders. There is another guest in the bunker as well who hits it off with the main character. This movie made up for the shaky camera in the first film and was a surprise hit for me. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

3. Doctor Strange

Mads Mikkelsen and Benedict Cumberbatch? I’m there! They are two of my favorite actors. The fact that this is a Marvel movie and part of the overarching Marvel Universe of films is icing on the cake. The special effects in this movie are stunning. I love the M.C. Escher style. Doctor Strange bending time and space might be the closest we get to Benedict Cumberbatch playing THE Doctor. I guess at least he is still a Doctor in this. Mads Mikkelsen plays the main antagonist and does a damn good job. Ultimately in the end it suffered from the wipe the villain slate clean effect that Marvel is good at but at least Mads Mikkelsen made his villain memorable even if the big bad was someone else. I didn’t feel as cheated by their depiction of the big bad as I did when Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer gave us a damn cloud as Galactus. The post-credits scene was hilarious. Also, the real star of the movie is the cloak!

2. Star Wars: Rogue One

This movie earns its spot just for the badass Darth Vader scene! If you have seen it, then you know the one I am talking about. This is also the second Mads Mikkelsen and Donnie Yen movie on the list. I love those two actors and although their roles aren’t the largest in this film, they are still very important. In addition to the aforementioned Darth Vader scene the rest of the movie is enjoyable as well. We finally get the full details of the rebels gaining the intel of how to destroy the Death Star. My favorite characters were K-250, Chirrut Îmwe, and Baze Malbus.

1. Shin Godzilla

I’ve been a fan of Godzilla ever since my childhood. I grew up mainly knowing the late Showa era movies that depicted Godzilla as an ally against other monsters. Shin Godzilla is not like those at all. It walks the path that Godzilla 1954 and 1984 walked before it. Godzilla is more of a God incarnate, a God of destruction that has appeared as a monster to collect on the sins of mankind. The sin of trying to play God themselves by messing with the laws of nature. The movie overall has an anti-nuclear/anti-war message but that is basically what Godzilla has always been. Radiation is after all how Godzilla is created. Godzilla has forever cemented his status in pop culture as a cautionary tale against the horror of mankind using nuclear weapons and their effect on everyone and everything around it. Politics play out as close as I can imagine them playing out if the situation in the movie happened. The risk assessment and possibility of having to drop a third bomb on Japan is handled with the criticism that you would imagine.

“Man is more frightening than Godzilla.” – Hiromi Ogashira

Here are a couple of interesting Godzilla related links that I stumbled upon while doing some research:

GODZILLA: The Embodiment of a Living Atomic Bomb
Godzilla: Through the Ages

Thank you,
Jake Jeffries

Top Ten Favorite Books Read In 2016

Greetings friends,

First off, I apologize for neglecting the blog for a bit. My day job has been very demanding since the last post. Moving forward I will try my best not to let as much time pass in between posts. In 2016 I attempted to complete a reading challenge based on Popsugar’s yearly reading challenges. It was for 50 books in various categories. Unfortunately I did not finish, but I did have a lot of fun trying. I would like to share with you my top ten favorite books that I read in 2016.

ready-player-one-book-cover

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 5/5

Wow. Just wow. This is one of my new favorite books of all time. My childhood was brought to life within a wonderful story of science fiction and fantasy. I loved the dystopian themes as well. This book is nostalgia porn at its best that definitely ends in a nerdgasm of epic proportions. I look forward to the film and hope that it does the book justice, however I don’t know how they will get around all of the licensing that will be needed. Although I have never read any books by Patrick Rothfuss I kept imagining him as Ogden Morrow. I have been in attendance at many panels that he has spoken at though, perhaps that is where I got the image. Anyways, I highly recommend this book especially to anyone that loves the 80’s.

in-the-hand-of-the-goddess

In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce 5/5

This is a spectacular book that continues the story that began in Alanna: The First Adventure. This book takes some of the elements of the first story and explores them further. It also adds in plenty of new trials for the squire. One of my favorite things about this series thus far is the boundaries that Alanna has challenged by pretending to be a boy so that she can become a Knight. Alanna continues to grow up and as she gets older she starts getting pulled more into two directions. She struggles to balance her identity as a young woman and as a young Knight whilst keeping the fact that she is female secret from most. I couldn’t put the book down until I finished it.

The Hanged Man by Sheldon Kopp 5/5

The Hanged Man by Sheldon Kopp 5/5

Once again Sheldon Kopp has managed to give me a swift kick in the psyche. I can’t stop reading his books. No doubt I will continue to review them for the remainder of my life. To date, the only other author that I can think of in the self-help/psychology genre that has had this much impact on my thought processes is Brené Brown. I don’t practice Tarot reading or have much faith in it but I do find myself obsessed with them from time to time. This book does a great job of exploring your personality and ego with help from the major arcana.

Raise Your Right Hand Against Fear by Sheldon Kopp 5/5

Raise Your Right Hand Against Fear by Sheldon Kopp 5/5

I discovered Sheldon Kopp via the TV show Fringe when they featured his book: If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him: The Pilgrimage Of Psychotherapy. That book was awesome and got me interested in checking out his other works. Words cannot express how grateful I am for the help that If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him: The Pilgrimage Of Psychotherapy has given me and for the help that this book has given me. In my opinion his works should be required reading in place of some of the other books on those lists. These books are fantastic if you are looking into exploring and deepening the understanding of the self. Unfortunately a lot of Sheldon Kopp’s works are not currently available for e-readers. I intend to do some research and find out why. Luckily, I have managed to track down most of his bibliography and bought them fairly inexpensively from third-party sellers on Amazon.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown 5/5

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown 5/5

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown is in my opinion one of the most relevant epic tomes of this day and age. I am not easily moved to tears but I found myself with wet eyes at various times whilst reading this book. Shame and vulnerability are no easy topics especially when viewed through a lens of the self and this book helps to walk you through the journey thereof. It will no doubt be a book that I keep coming back to in order to inspire myself to dare greatly as the name suggests.

Forgotten Colors by David Forés 5/5

Forgotten Colors by David Forés 5/5

This book is amazing. It is full of many inspiring tales. Some of my favorites are about the characters Bella and Griselda, Chew Wang, and the futuristic tale. I almost cried a couple of times. The creative endeavor that went into the genesis of this book is phenomenal. Bravo!

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Jones 5/5

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Jones 5/5

This book is fantastic. I loved the magic throughout and the interactions between the characters. I actually have not seen the film by Hayao Miyazaki so I was able to be introduced to the story prior to watching. I am really looking forward to watching the film now and I have faith that Miyazaki does it justice because of the quality of his other films. But back to the book, I chose to read it on a whim after another book fell through on a reading list that I am working on. After reading this it makes me wish that I was a Wizard like Howl or at least had houses and a moving castle like he did. He can keep the spiders but I would love to be able to travel to different places just by turning a knob on a door a certain way. There is a nice twist in the book involving the Witch of the Waste and part of her source of power that I didn’t see coming even though I probably should have. I want a Calcifer of my own as well.

1984 by George Orwell 5/5

1984 by George Orwell 5/5

This book is fantastic, especially if you are a fan of dystopian and/or totalitarian fiction. George Orwell has painted a picture, albeit a daunting one, of a future that could still be relevant today. Fiction such as this should serve as a warning to society to be careful of what you become. Be warned, this tale does not come with a happy ending. It does however send us an awakening message. I shall write no more in this review for fear that Big Brother could be watching.

Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold! by Terry Brooks 4/5

Magic Kingdom for Sale–Sold! by Terry Brooks 4/5

It might be better for me to review this book in halves. The beginning half of the book moved pretty much at a snail’s pace and there was a lot of reluctant autopilot emotions going on with the protagonist that almost made him come across as fairly wooden. There is a reason, he had lost his wife in an accident and that would definitely throw the emotions out of balance. Deciding that he needs a change he buys a Magic Kingdom in a magazine and it turns out that it is legit. However, the Magic Kingdom isn’t in the best of shape so he has to harden his resolve and do something about it. Partially because the person that sold him the Kingdom isn’t as trustworthy as he made himself out to be. It takes pretty much the entirety of the first half of the book for him to finally decide that the magic in the Kingdom is actually real. Granted I can understand his skepticism coming from a world without magic. I tried to give him the benefit of a doubt the best I could for this situation. Enter the second half of the book when he makes the decision that he is indeed going to stay on as King of Landover and he is going to do the best damn job he can to take care of the bad things that are happening. By then most of his supporting characters are established and have grown on me because they finally get a chance to be something other than beggars pleading him to stay. He meets another supporting character that also becomes great in her own right. One of the more powerful scenes of the book for me is when he is forced to face some of the ghosts that are haunting him. This actually in a sense validates the beginning of the book and I am glad that I pushed through the beginning and made it to the very well created end. I look forward to checking out the rest of the books in the series!

Alanna by Tamora Pierce 4/5

Alanna by Tamora Pierce 4/5

This is a great fantasy book no matter what age you are. I would have given it 5 stars but it started out a bit slow for me. After the first third of the book I flew through the rest of it. My favorite characters are Alanna the protagonist and George the King of Thieves. The attention to detail in the story is fantastic. If you enjoy stories with an interesting and powerful female protagonist then I highly recommend this book! I can’t wait to start the next book in the series.

I am also happy to announce that I am taking part in Popsugar’s 2017 reading challenge including the advanced section. Click here to check out their page!

Here is my currently planned list:
2017-reading-challengeMy lovely fiancée took the time to convert the list into a friendly Excel format which in my opinion makes planning much easier. Click here to download the Excel format for your own use.

Thank you,
Jake Jeffries