Out & About

How I Learned to Love Movies Again

How I Learned to Love Movies Again

A frank and open reason as to how I stopped seeing movies as the numbers associated with their profits, and the art that they were intended to be portrayed as. This also explains my recent boredom with superhero franchise films.

Operation City Quest, Sarasota Review

Operation City Quest, Sarasota Review

My wife and I tried out Operation City Quest in Sarasota, FL, and you guys, I think I found the cheat codes for being married to an attorney: Find something competitive and then let them go crazy and try to beat everybody. Trust me, it will keep them occupied for hours.

Block Snapchat, Instagram, and more with Netsanity's new Apple App

Netsanity, the popular service that enables parents to create a safe online environment for their children, has announced they have launched an iOS edition on the Apple App Store. The iOS version of the app provides features for content filtering, safe search and as well as the ability to block apps and games on iOS and Samsung devices.

"Having a child or teen encounter troubling or inappropriate content online, or worse, make contact with a bad person through a mobile device, is one of a parent's great fears," said Carl Petrovsky, CEO of  Netsanity. "The challenge has been to provide appropriate child controls that are easy to manage. If controls are overly complex to deal with, parents inevitably let them slip and expose their kids to risk. We solve this problem with an easy to use and intuitive new app interface."

App enables parents to manage children's mobile app access to content, apps, games and search through an intuitive mobile interface. // PRNewswire

App enables parents to manage children's mobile app access to content, apps, games and search through an intuitive mobile interface. // PRNewswire

The Netsanity Apple app lets parents control their accounts from their iPhone or iPad, rather than requiring a log-in from a browser. Parents can check their children's accounts and access the most popular features. These include Appblocker, Catblocker, Timeout, Safesearch, and device restrictions. More features will become available in the app with each update. 

The app's "Timeout" function allows parents to give their child a mobile "timeout," remotely. Safesearch protects children by filtering search results to show only appropriate content, images, and videos. The Appblocker feature can block over 50 apps, such as Snapchat, Instagram, and games with a single button click. Catblocker filters over 40 content categories including such as hate speech, porn, social media, and advertisements. 

Parents interested in trialing the Netsanity service can start a 14-day free trial on their website. The iOS app is available for free on the App Store and is fully functional throughout the free trial.

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Double Feature: Studio Movie Grill VIP Night and Murder On the Orient Express

I was invited to attend the Studio Movie Grill VIP Night in Seminole, Florida last night and I have to tell you, I had an absolute blast.

Check out my photoset on the Studio Movie Grill VIP Night on my photography portfolio.

I am really looking forward to spending some time in this new restaurant/theater combo. We were given a tour through the kitchen and it seemed well staffed. For an opening night, they did an awesome job with the food.

The waitstaff definitely had a much harder time covering their backs as far as their nervousness goes. As we were ordering drinks, a waiter dropped a very large tray of champagne glasses. Luckily, they were plastic. Also, luckily, my camera didn't get soaked in champagne.

There are first night jitters for everyone. I think I have done similar things in similar situations when there wasn't a gigantic movie theater attached to the restaurant I was working in. So, it is what it is.

Let's talk about this movie theater, by the way. The seats are set up in a way that a pivotable tray can be swung in or away from the patron. On the tray are a cup holder and a shiny red button, that I had to press several times because, yes, if you must know. I AM a very tall child (well, not very tall but you get where I'm going with this).

The button tells the server you need something or that you are ready to order, so as not to disturb the other movie watchers around you. GENIUS!

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE FOOD Now listen, I love movie theater popcorn, candy, and soda as much as the next person. But holy hell, I'm not 16 anymore and this shit is starting to hurt my teeth!

What we ordered:

  • Starter: potato skins
  • My Meal: Classic American Burger (because it's hard to screw up a burger and the thing looked AMAZING in the press photos)
    • Choice of protein. American Cheese, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Sweet Red Onions Served with French Fries. (I still don't like onions or cheese so those came off my order)
  • My Wifes Meal: Macaroni + Cheese
    • Three-cheese Cream Sauce, Cavatappi Pasta, Bacon, Green Onions. Served with Toasted Sourdough Bread.

I cannot complain about either of our meals. The one "complaint" we have is the waitress either didn't submit the potato skins order or gave them to another group of diners. It was not on our bill so we did not complain about not getting them. But it would have been nice to try them out.

I will certainly be back to SMG Seminole.

I have been a member of the "Kenneth Branagh Can Do No Wrong" club since Joe Bruton got my attention in 11th grade Lit class by telling me that Branagh's Hamlet was better than Mel Gibson's Hamlet.

"BULLSHIT!" I believe I yelled out in the middle of class. (Side note, yes, this is the same teacher that told me I was the spawn of Satan and that I was a pushy broad - all teaching styles that would get him fired and would not have created a writer like myself... sooooo oh well)

So listen, just because he was right doesn't mean anything.


Moving on.

Murder On the Orient Express is a clever remake that literally, somehow, got me to forget the twist in the story. I've read so much Agatha Christie over the years and I used to watch the original film with my grandmother.

You guys, I loved the original. It would end up on one of the older movie channels and I would sit there on the floor, eating sauce and bread like a good Italian child after school. I'd watch Lauren freaking Becall and Ingrid Bergman. Sean Connery. And Albert Finney was the Detective.

It was awesome.

So I really need to understand how I forgot who was guilty of the Whodunit mystery in Murder On the Orient Express!

Either way, it was an expertly made remake. I loved the nuances of the characters and how closely (or, not so closely, in some cases) the new actors followed suit to the original.

Branagh shines as a director and actor, once again. And I guess I how Mr. Bruton another $5 wherever he is hahaha.

Preorder your copy of Murder On the Orient Express today!

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3 Daughters Floating Dock IPA

A sampler of the 3 Daughters Floating Dock Light IPA and a pint of Beach Blonde Ale

A sampler of the 3 Daughters Floating Dock Light IPA and a pint of Beach Blonde Ale

A big group of us at the Tampa Bay Bloggers invaded 3 Daughters Brewery in St. Petersburg on Monday evening. It was a blast to learn about 3 Daughters' new beer: Floating Dock Light IPA


I'm sorry, did you say "light IPA?"


Let me break down how awesome this beer is for you: You can spend an entire day paddleboarding on the Gulf and crack open a Floating Dock for LESS THAN 120 CALORIES! The last thing I wanna do after paddling all day is throwing beer on top of all the "I'm She-Hulk" endorphins (You know EXACTLY what I'm talking about, don't play). I don't wanna do it, but I REALLY deserve a beer at the end of all of that.

So, 3 Daughters Brewery Floating Dock Light IPA is the answer to all my #FitnessGoal problems. 


We got an informative tour of the facility with the story of how the 3 Daughters Brewery got started. I really enjoy the interactive experience that 3 Daughters has going on. It was nice to catch up with some of my friends and watch as one of the brewers was working on boiling some early stage beer.

One of the sexiest walls in the history of modern construction: THE BEER CAN WALL

One of the sexiest walls in the history of modern construction: THE BEER CAN WALL

To get more info on 3 Daughters Brewery stop into their awesome facility and get yourself a tour. You'll learn an awful lot about beer! Check out this nice promo video while you're at it:

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OneFilmNY…. Wait, one film? ONE? You realize it's New York, right?

The NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment has teamed up with chief film critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis of The New York Times to choose five great films all shot in New York City.

To help New Yorkers decide, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment has enlisted the help of several prominent New Yorkers. Sting and Trudie Styler, Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness, Laverne Cox, Katie Holmes, and John Leguizamo each shot videos where they touted their personal favorites. Those celebrity videos, trailers for the five films, and instructions on how to vote are available at NYC.gov/OneFilm.

The winning film will be screened on September 13th, for free in all five boroughs, in parks and select independent movie theaters. The aim is to give every New Yorker access to a night out at the movies and to support these vital cultural institutions.

I'm all for unity but New York City can't even agree on a baseball team. I'm just saying.

The winning film will be announced on September 6th, and the public parks in every borough will host an outdoor screening of the film. Select independent theaters throughout the city will present free screenings the same night. Screening locations will also be available at NYC.gov/OneFilm.

Happy Voting, NYC!

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When I got to work Sunday morning, I was smiling and happy and had a Selena Gomez song stuck in my head. My plans for the day were to go to yoga class, meet up with my fiancé and then go to The Dali Museum to see the last day of the Disney/Dali exhibit.

Then I saw the screens in the satellite control room; Police lights on top of multiple vehicles in front of a building I recognized: Pulse Nightclub.

I turned up the volume on the monitor: Sirens. Screams of pain. Shouts offering their help. Popping.

Instantly, I went into robot mode. I handed out microphones, set up the studio for the broadcast, and got my show rundowns. I got through the morning shows just fine until about 8:45am. My fiancé, my wife to be, texted me to check in on me.

My heart sped up. I felt my head spin. Almost immediately, my anchor asked me "Are you ok? You look pissed off."

Thank all higher powers for resting bitch face.

"I'm good." I responded quickly. I wasn't good.

After the shows had ended, I asked my director if I was needed to stay late for a breaking news cut-in or possibly just to help. He said I was cleared to leave.

Normally when I drive home from work, my car is bumping loud music, the windows are down and the sunroof is open.

I drove home in silence.

I got home and sat with my dog, River, for 10 minutes without moving. It felt like she knew what happened. She put her head on my leg and sighed heavily as I turned the television on to see what the latest was.

I sat, stunned, for hours. I sat the same way I did when I was a 17-year-old college student watching the live coverage of 9/11 in 2001. 

I just watched.

The Orlando Police held a press conference around 11:30am-12pm and that is when the victim count went from 20 to 50 people dead.

The press corp gasped.

The tears came then. I broke down and cried for what felt like an hour.

My mother called around 3:30pm and told me that I should come have dinner with the whole family, including my 2 year old niece. "Meet us at our house and then we can take one car over to your brothers," she said.

"That'll be a nice change, I could use some baby time right now." I thought to myself. I had a Tampa Bay Rays hat that I had won and had been meaning to give to my little niece, so I was relieved to see her. My fiancé and I drove to my parents house and car pooled to my brothers house.

We went into our usual routine when I finally got to there: She sees me and smiles, chats up a storm, begs to be read a book, etc.

A little while later, I sat there at the dinner table staring at this little, beautiful child. The images from earlier in the day, the non-edited, graphic ones that come over the feeds, bore into my brain. I looked at her smiling face and I saw the horrors from earlier in the day.

I started to breathe heavy and my fiancé put her hand on my knee to try and steady me. I was alright momentarily. How… how could this happen?

"I think we need to leave soon," I whispered to my fiancé and my mother. They both nodded, seeing the look on my face.

"Give Auntie a hug" my mother said. This little, adorable toddler walked up to me, and with the little strength I had left, I squeezed her and waited for my kiss on the cheek.

"I lub you Auntie" my sweet niece said, and then kissed me on the cheek with a smack of her lips.

That was the tipping point. I knew I needed to get away from my family at that point. In the car ride back to my parents house, the tears came down. I heard my fiancé talking to my mother about a funny cat video and I tried to focus on that.

"Samantha doesn't think 'shopping cats' is very funny," my fiancé tried to lighten the mood.

"Samantha doesn't think anything is funny anymore," I responded, flatly. There was silence for the rest of the car ride.

My mother hugged me when we arrived at their house. She held onto me for a minute and said "I love you, Samantha."

I shut down. I got into my car and waited until my mother wasn't nearby and started to cry. I felt like I couldn't breathe. My fiancé did all she could to calm me down. We got home a short while later and sat together on the couch with our dog. 

Our tiny family.

I sit here now, trying to understand… But I cannot.

Let's Go to the Movies: Cobb Luxury 10 Theatre VIP Tour

On Tuesday, I joined the Tampa Bay Bloggers for the VIP media event for the new Cobb Luxury 10 Theatre in St. Petersburg. The following opinions are my own.

I was completely blown away by the design of this theater; from the reclining seats to the amazing food from the scratch kitchen to the extreme detail of every facet of this theater.

Far from the stadium seating of other branded cinemas, these reclining seats have the ability to make you fall asleep during the film you're attempting to see. Also available are trays, that connect to the seats via the cupholder and swivel for comfort, which you can grab while you're at the dope snack bar that has the ability to kill the long lines that most theaters aquire.

Gone are the days of the crummy theater and burnt popcorn: this facility has it's own scratch kitchen, Cobbster's Kitchen & Bar. And let me tell you: they put out some bomb ass food. The pizza is made in house with gluten free options that, I'm told, were just as good as the gluten heavy version (there are gluten-free folks out there, so I'm not one to jump on trying food that someone else might NEED to ingest)

And that's coming from a former chef, so you know I'm for real.

Let's go back to the seats for a minute: this theater is reserved seating only. When you purchase tickets online, you can reserve the seats immediately, or you can pick the seats you'd like when you get to the theater. The ticketing options at the theater are totally automated with clerks on standby if help is needed.

The screens and sound system were off the charts for me. As an A/V geek, I was impressed with the booming sound from the huge screen (we're talking better than IMAX) and amazing digital sound system.

Cobb Theaters also does a monthly Sensory Friendly Films event, that creates a safe and inviting space. The lights are left on during the film and the sound is turned down a bit. It's kind of an awesome feature in my book.

Cobb Theaters boasts via their website that they are "the most immersive movie experience" and I'm going to have to agree. Check out the image gallery below:

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go grab some sangria and check out a flick!

If you're interested in becoming involved in  Tampa Bay Bloggers , get in touch!

If you're interested in becoming involved in Tampa Bay Bloggers, get in touch!