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  • The Green Knight
    confidence and determination gives me chills Well done The Force Awakens is far from perfect though so here s The Bad The plot is largely recycled from Episode IV and VI From starting with a droid hiding some secret on a desert planet to ending with a ground strike team taking down shields so that x wings can make a trench run to blow up a death star and including the defenseless older mentor character being struck down by the Vader like character it all feels more than a little familiar I get that they were trying to pay homage to the original trilogy but I would have liked a little more original plot Even at 2 5 hours it felt rushed in several places There were some major events that didn t linger long enough for them to sink in For example when the Starkiller base is used to destroy an entire planetary system and the New Republic fleet it just moves on immediately to OK how are we going to respond depriving the scene of the gravitas it might have otherwise had Similarly Finn just up and decides he s not buying what the New Order is selling and starts shooting storm troopers the guys he has grown up with his entire life without a second thought I would expect some more conflict in him which would give his character more depth Finn also develops strong bonds with both Poe and Rey really quickly with very little relationship development I suspect that many of these omissions are the hallmarks of cuts that were made to keep the movie under Hollywood s pre defined blockbuster time limit so I m hopeful for an extended edition to be released that will fill in some of the gaps There are also some disbelief suspending plot holes R2D2 randomly comes back on and takes a long time to do so because convenience Poe s sole mission is to recover BB8 and yet he leaves Jakku without him for some reason to head back to the Resistance hops in an x wing and doesn t go immediately back to Jakku because convenience Fortunately there really isn t any ugly in The Force Awakens so here s The Amazing I love love love how gender is treated in this movie There are strong female roles Leia is now a general not a princess and the stormtrooper Captain Phasma is a woman The men are conflicted emotional and not infallible It s a much more even playing field than I m used to seeing in action movies and especially Star Wars movies One female protagonist really stands out to me though Rey She is strong capable unsure of herself vulnerable driven and at the end of the day totally badass It s the first time I can recall ever being totally inspired by a female hero Every time I watch the movie I get starry eyed OMG I wanna be like that feelings in ways that have traditionally been reserved for very masculine heroes I wonder what the implications are when an entire generation of boys grows up having had not just male idols but females as well Workplace equality Men more capable of doing things that have typically been considered feminine in the workplace things which research shows are incredibly valuable for leadership and teamwork Women able to be leaders in organizations without adopting masculine traits and being derogatorily labeled for it I don t know but I have a hunch that if popular media continue to level the playing field between male and female heroes it could be tranformative to our collective psychology Rey s character wouldn t be nearly so compelling without fantastic acting and Daisy Ridley absolutely crushes it Writing and direction must get credit too She s not the only one though In the best scene of the movie Maybe one of the best scenes of all time she and Adam Driver deliver absolutely virtuosic performances During the interrogation scene let s be clear that he is straight up raping her It may be rape of the mind rather than the body but if anything that feels even more heinous to me You know I can take whatever I want He is exerting total domination and power over her as she lies helplessly restrained And then she resists You can see the determination written all over her face You can then see her confidence grow and his shake as she fights and ultimately overpowers him There is almost no dialog special effects or even blocking it is an entire journey of psychological epiphany and empowerment told exclusively through the faces of two actors locked in an epic performance It s glorious and I can t remember the last time I was able to say that about a scene in a movie blockbuster So there you have it my take on Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens It wasn t perfect but it was very very good and some of it was straight up amazing What did you think Please preface your comments with SPOILER tags if they contain them Posted by Bryan Hassin at 09 58 5 comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Star Wars 2015 12 20 The Force Awakens and It Is Strong After much waiting and anticipation I saw Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens three times this weekend TL DR it is very good Spoiler free zone It s no secret that I love Star Wars I was too young to have seen the original trilogy in the theaters but I grew up with it on home video and I loved it The consummate contemporary mythology of the epic struggle of good vs evil it called to me long before I could even understand much of what was happening on screen When I was in high school the original trilogy was re released in the theater which was an amazing opportunity to see the movies in a way that I never had before Funny story my girlfriend at the time had never seen Star Wars so I took her to see it in the theater She didn t like it We broke up Not because of the Star Wars directly but it was a clear litmus test that we weren t a fit The prequel trilogy came out while I was in college I wanted to love it and for some time I convinced myself that I did but eventually I came to realize that I did not much as I did not love the additions in the Special Edition of the original trilogy No matter I still loved the greater Star Wars universe so much so that I even gave a TEDx talk about it With all that in mind you can imagine the mixed emotions I had leading up to Episode VII I really really really wanted it to be good but I had been burned by that before with the prequels Accordingly I tried to set my expectations low but as much hype as there was leading up to the movie s release that proved impossible Opening day I took the day off from work and attended a Star Wars marathon at the theater 24 hours of episodes I VI I actually skipped episodes I III and got some sleep instead It was fantastic to see episodes IV VI in the theater though for only the second time in my life They were the Special Editions but I just turned away during the objectionable parts Finally Thursday evening the big moment arrived My primary hope was that Episode VII simply wouldn t suck If I dared to dream though I hoped it would be amazing Long story short it most definitely did not suck It was very good maybe even amazing but I m not sure about that yet still processing The new characters were well developed the acting and direction was excellent the old characters provided good fan service and the cinematography action special effects were all breathtaking I have some beefs with the plot but overall I was very satisfied I ll post a separate spoilery review but the take away is that I thought it was so good that I saw it again Friday night and then again Saturday night It became better each time The Force is strong with this sequel Posted by Bryan Hassin at 22 44 1 comment Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Star Wars 2015 12 02 November Whirlwind November was a whirlwind We were barely back from Dubai when we hopped on a plan to Austin Texas for a dear friend s wedding It was a grand affair and although we were only in town briefly it was long enough for us to get our fix of Tex mex BBQ etc Shortly thereafter I was in Houston on business a trip that happened to coincide with Rice Homecoming While the outcome of the game was ahem less than desirable the experience of reconnecting with friends classmates students faculty and the institution I love so much was hard to beat The weather was perfect and the trip was nourishment for my soul The second half of the month kept me in NC and my focus turned even more so than usual to food I attended a wine dinner at Watts Grocery and a beer release at Beer Study that included flights of fantastic stout beers paired with Rise donuts so healthy Of course there was Thanksgiving as well Mom came into town and in addition to an early Thanksgiving with extended family here in the area we did a second Thanksgiving at our house with a fried turkey from Time Out I m still recovering Fortunately mixed in with the gluttony were some opportunities to work off the turkey as well The Saturday before Thanksgiving I ran my third annual Chestnut Ridge 4 mile trail race It s not super competitive so I finished 6th overall and 1st in my age group It was a glorious fall day so I celebrated with apple cider and ginger bread optimal recovery food Thanksgiving morning I ran my third annual Gallop and Gorge 8k road race It s much more competitive so I didn t even come close to placing but I did improve my 8k PR by 45 seconds so good deal We also did lots of hiking over Thanksgiving weekend and we continue love living in a place where so many hiking opportunities are available Through all of my running in November I have been wearing a new toy a Stryd powermeter I m still collecting data and formulating thoughts on it so I ll save additional commentary for a future post It s easy to get caught up in all the different things going on this time of year but we have still taken some time to pause reflect and be grateful Each year it seems that we have more and more to be thankful for and this year is no exception As we head into the holiday season we are truly grateful for our blessings family and friends and we wish you all the same Posted by Bryan Hassin at 14 02 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Homecoming Rice running travel 2015 11 02 IMD Reunion in Dubai Last weekend Katie and I joined my IMD classmates for a reunion in Dubai It was our first time to the UAE and it left quite an impression We departed Wednesday night and after the longest flight I ve been on in some time possibly ever we arrived Thursday evening We checked in with our hosts and then met a few of the other early arrivals for a drink at a hotel bar In Dubai hotels are the only establishments that can sell alcohol These aren t your typical hotel bars though they are full on bars clubs lounges discotheques that just happen to be affiliated with hotels They seem to be pretty loose with this requirement too In the airport for example there are numerous hotel bars but I didn t see anywhere to rent a room At any rate Thursday night we had drinks served up by an award winning bartender right on the beach with a fantastic night view of the Burj Al Arab Friday morning we had a chance to see the city in the daylight and it is hard to describe it in any way other than impressive It s a veritable forest of skyskrapers but with a very different feel than say New York City Whereas NYC is populated by buildings with an older brick and mortar aesthetic these all look like buildings of the future all chrome and glass Considering that just a couple of decades ago this was all desert you can see why the architecture might be more modern Still first impressions were a bit dissonant with expectations There didn t seem to be any local architectural styles rather these buildings could have been anywhere in the world Another difference from a place like NYC is that there is no grid pattern among the blocks As such there are no lines of sight along long avenues in any direction no matter where you go downtown at least you are just surrounded by tall buildings Another first impression was Where are the locals Everywhere we went there were expats and all of the service staff seemed to be imports as well Perhaps we weren t going to the right places but I m not sure we met a single person who was born in Dubai on our trip Our first meetup Friday was at The Dubai Mall the world s largest mall Walking into the mall was again impressive However as we looked around we found that most of the stores were brands that we already knew from the US or Europe There was a bit of a feeling of Did we really fly 13 hours just to find ourselves right back in the US Once we explored a bit however we did discover some pretty unique things about the mall including the Burj Khalifa the world s tallest building and the aquarium Several of us took a tour of the aquarium which was really impressive and immersive In the afternoon we went on a desert safari taking Land Cruisers offroading and racing up and down the sand dunes That was a lot of fun and we ended up at a campsite where we rode camels ate middle eastern food and were entertained by a belly dancer Finally we felt like we were getting some local flavor even if it was clearly just for tourists We capped the evening with drinks at 40 Kong a rooftop bar with views in every direction of downtown Dubai They tried to sell us an expensive bottle of wine that when it arrived at our table was clearly a fake After that we stuck with more accessible drinks and had a great time Saturday we did our own things during the day For Katie and me that included a stop by the Mall of the Emirates to gape at the indoor ski resort We all met for dinner along the waterfront of the marina and drinks at another rooftop bar called Pure Sky The view from this bar was interesting because we could see the entire Palm Jumeirah We could also see all the construction cranes working at full speed even into the wee hours of the morning Clearly one of the keys to building a megacity in just a few decades is 24 7 construction Sunday Katie and I met some classmates out on the Palm for some sun sand and beach volleyball It was nice not only to add another country to my beach volleyball list but also to play with some people with whom I haven t played since we were in Switzerland together After a lazy afternoon lunch and a nice evening dinner with our hosts Katie and I departed around midnight for the return flight home It was a very short trip but it was interesting exposure into a very different place As I wrote earlier Dubai is very impressive However it is so overtly trying to impress that some of the luster is lost From villas designed to showcase the owner s Bugatti to a self proclaimed seven star resort everything in Dubai is just so over the top From having to have the biggest tallest most luxurious everything to trying to sell fake high end wines to being populated seemingly entirely by ex pats one starts to wonder where is the real authentic Dubai rather than the Dubai that is trying to convince you that it is something spectacular Does a real authentic Dubai even exist Finally one has to wonder how sustainable Dubai is From the incredible pace of construction and not just paint by numbers construction but engineering marvels such as world s tallest buildings and man made islands to the obscene energy and water a ski resort in the desert it must take to run the place I found myself considering whether Dubai was here to stay or whether it was a house of cards After all it seems that Dubai doesn t produce anything per se it imports everything from natural resources to human capital and it is hard for me to see how that works in the long run It was a very nice place to stay for a few days though and we were treated like kings er Shuyukh Katie has never been called Madam so often in her life Perhaps the best part was staying with an IMD classmate and his family rather than at a hotel During our down times

    Original URL path: http://greenknig.ht/ (2016-02-01)
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  • The Green Knight: Redskins Playoff Magic
    on their sideline to boot The Falcons sang To Hell With the Redskins a mockery of the Washington fight song Hail to the Redskins and sent out 47 players to the opening coin toss The Redskins let their play do the talking Rookie Ricky Ervins led a dominant running game that opened up Mark Rypien s passing game to The Posse hat tip to the front five Hogskins for effective run blocking and solid pass protection especially my favorite Art Monk Fullback Gerald Riggs accounted for two touchdowns which was fire in the belly for this wide eyed aspiring fullback On defense too Darrell Green led a stifling performance By the fourth quarter the Skins were sitting on a solid lead and it was becoming evident that we would be headed to the NFC Championship When Riggs made it 24 7 effectively ruling out any potential Falcons comeback the crowd went wild Someone threw one of those yellow seat cushions down onto the field I remember it as if time slowed down for those few seconds as we all watched that cushion fall several stories to the ground Then suddenly time resumed and every body threw a seat cushion in It was raining yellow confetti The ref was blowing his whistle It was pouring It was cold But we were going to the championship A quarter century later I remember that moment as if it were yesterday That time standing still experience was truly magical for this young football player I had thrown my cushion in along with everyone else but Sam held onto his and let me keep it I still have it to this day It s a reminder not just of that special moment and of that Superbowl winning season but also of how much magic it

    Original URL path: http://greenknig.ht/2016/01/redskins-playoff-magic.html (2016-02-01)
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  • The Green Knight: The Force Awakens: the Good, the Bad, and the Amazing
    I can recall ever being totally inspired by a female hero Every time I watch the movie I get starry eyed OMG I wanna be like that feelings in ways that have traditionally been reserved for very masculine heroes I wonder what the implications are when an entire generation of boys grows up having had not just male idols but females as well Workplace equality Men more capable of doing things that have typically been considered feminine in the workplace things which research shows are incredibly valuable for leadership and teamwork Women able to be leaders in organizations without adopting masculine traits and being derogatorily labeled for it I don t know but I have a hunch that if popular media continue to level the playing field between male and female heroes it could be tranformative to our collective psychology Rey s character wouldn t be nearly so compelling without fantastic acting and Daisy Ridley absolutely crushes it Writing and direction must get credit too She s not the only one though In the best scene of the movie Maybe one of the best scenes of all time she and Adam Driver deliver absolutely virtuosic performances During the interrogation scene let s be clear that he is straight up raping her It may be rape of the mind rather than the body but if anything that feels even more heinous to me You know I can take whatever I want He is exerting total domination and power over her as she lies helplessly restrained And then she resists You can see the determination written all over her face You can then see her confidence grow and his shake as she fights and ultimately overpowers him There is almost no dialog special effects or even blocking it is an entire journey of psychological epiphany and empowerment told exclusively through the faces of two actors locked in an epic performance It s glorious and I can t remember the last time I was able to say that about a scene in a movie blockbuster So there you have it my take on Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens It wasn t perfect but it was very very good and some of it was straight up amazing What did you think Please preface your comments with SPOILER tags if they contain them Posted by Bryan Hassin at 09 58 Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Star Wars 5 comments Nick Farmer said Agreed on all counts To me the major fail of the movie is the death of Han Solo which seemed strangely devoid of gravitas I think because not enough had been done to establish his relationship with his son to that point Honestly I think I would have reacted differently if it had been Leia that was killed Because the back story was absent the first scene where father and son are together lacked emotional grounding It was good but could have been

    Original URL path: http://greenknig.ht/2015/12/the-force-awakens-good-bad-and-amazing.html (2016-02-01)
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  • The Green Knight: The Force Awakens . . . and It Is Strong
    imagine the mixed emotions I had leading up to Episode VII I really really really wanted it to be good but I had been burned by that before with the prequels Accordingly I tried to set my expectations low but as much hype as there was leading up to the movie s release that proved impossible Opening day I took the day off from work and attended a Star Wars marathon at the theater 24 hours of episodes I VI I actually skipped episodes I III and got some sleep instead It was fantastic to see episodes IV VI in the theater though for only the second time in my life They were the Special Editions but I just turned away during the objectionable parts Finally Thursday evening the big moment arrived My primary hope was that Episode VII simply wouldn t suck If I dared to dream though I hoped it would be amazing Long story short it most definitely did not suck It was very good maybe even amazing but I m not sure about that yet still processing The new characters were well developed the acting and direction was excellent the old characters provided good fan service and the cinematography action special effects were all breathtaking I have some beefs with the plot but overall I was very satisfied I ll post a separate spoilery review but the take away is that I thought it was so good that I saw it again Friday night and then again Saturday night It became better each time The Force is strong with this sequel Posted by Bryan Hassin at 22 44 Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Star Wars 1 comment Kathryn Osborne said it was amazing Tuesday December 22 2015 at

    Original URL path: http://greenknig.ht/2015/12/the-force-awakens-and-it-is-strong.html (2016-02-01)
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  • The Green Knight: November Whirlwind
    some opportunities to work off the turkey as well The Saturday before Thanksgiving I ran my third annual Chestnut Ridge 4 mile trail race It s not super competitive so I finished 6th overall and 1st in my age group It was a glorious fall day so I celebrated with apple cider and ginger bread optimal recovery food Thanksgiving morning I ran my third annual Gallop and Gorge 8k road race It s much more competitive so I didn t even come close to placing but I did improve my 8k PR by 45 seconds so good deal We also did lots of hiking over Thanksgiving weekend and we continue love living in a place where so many hiking opportunities are available Through all of my running in November I have been wearing a new toy a Stryd powermeter I m still collecting data and formulating thoughts on it so I ll save additional commentary for a future post It s easy to get caught up in all the different things going on this time of year but we have still taken some time to pause reflect and be grateful Each year it seems that we have more and more to be thankful for and this year is no exception As we head into the holiday season we are truly grateful for our blessings family and friends and we wish you all the same Posted by Bryan Hassin at 14 02 Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Homecoming Rice running travel No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom About Me Bryan Hassin Cleantech entrepreneur with global experience Rice Owl IMD alum and lover of both wine and sports View my complete profile Google Badge Twitter

    Original URL path: http://greenknig.ht/2015/12/november-whirlwind.html (2016-02-01)
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  • The Green Knight: IMD Reunion in Dubai
    aquarium Several of us took a tour of the aquarium which was really impressive and immersive In the afternoon we went on a desert safari taking Land Cruisers offroading and racing up and down the sand dunes That was a lot of fun and we ended up at a campsite where we rode camels ate middle eastern food and were entertained by a belly dancer Finally we felt like we were getting some local flavor even if it was clearly just for tourists We capped the evening with drinks at 40 Kong a rooftop bar with views in every direction of downtown Dubai They tried to sell us an expensive bottle of wine that when it arrived at our table was clearly a fake After that we stuck with more accessible drinks and had a great time Saturday we did our own things during the day For Katie and me that included a stop by the Mall of the Emirates to gape at the indoor ski resort We all met for dinner along the waterfront of the marina and drinks at another rooftop bar called Pure Sky The view from this bar was interesting because we could see the entire Palm Jumeirah We could also see all the construction cranes working at full speed even into the wee hours of the morning Clearly one of the keys to building a megacity in just a few decades is 24 7 construction Sunday Katie and I met some classmates out on the Palm for some sun sand and beach volleyball It was nice not only to add another country to my beach volleyball list but also to play with some people with whom I haven t played since we were in Switzerland together After a lazy afternoon lunch and a nice evening dinner with our hosts Katie and I departed around midnight for the return flight home It was a very short trip but it was interesting exposure into a very different place As I wrote earlier Dubai is very impressive However it is so overtly trying to impress that some of the luster is lost From villas designed to showcase the owner s Bugatti to a self proclaimed seven star resort everything in Dubai is just so over the top From having to have the biggest tallest most luxurious everything to trying to sell fake high end wines to being populated seemingly entirely by ex pats one starts to wonder where is the real authentic Dubai rather than the Dubai that is trying to convince you that it is something spectacular Does a real authentic Dubai even exist Finally one has to wonder how sustainable Dubai is From the incredible pace of construction and not just paint by numbers construction but engineering marvels such as world s tallest buildings and man made islands to the obscene energy and water a ski resort in the desert it must take to run the place I found myself considering whether Dubai was here to

    Original URL path: http://greenknig.ht/2015/11/imd-reunion-in-dubai.html (2016-02-01)
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  • The Green Knight: My Family, the American Dream
    Italy but the family returned to the US when he was still a baby There he and his four sisters grew up down the street from Bill Clinton While I have to admit a small flash of pride in having my family mentioned by a US president the real pride is in America For all its faults sometimes it truly does live up to its reputation as the land of opportunity It is a place where poor immigrants can come start a new life and have children who grow up to be physicists accountants teachers nurses or even President of our country Both sides of my family came from modest means and both sides have worked hard to create secure futures for their children and grandchildren I m not only proud to live in a country where this is possible but also grateful beyond measure My family is truly living the American Dream Posted by Bryan Hassin at 15 00 Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Bill Clinton family No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom About Me Bryan Hassin Cleantech entrepreneur with global experience Rice Owl IMD alum and lover of both wine and sports View my complete profile Google Badge Twitter Blog Archive 2016 1 January 1 2015 28 December 3 November 1 October 2 My Family the American Dream International Travel September 5 August 1 July 1 June 4 May 1 April 3 March 2 February 3 January 2 2014 26 November 4 October 3 August 3 July 3 June 7 April 1 March 3 February 1 January 1 2013 32 December 2 November 3 October 3 September 2 August 1 July 1 June 2 May 2 April 1 March 2 February

    Original URL path: http://greenknig.ht/2015/10/my-family-american-dream.html (2016-02-01)
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  • The Green Knight: International Travel
    Rome I wound up right up at the front of the stage Both shows were incomparable to any of his huge stadium shows in the US Last week I went to Costa Rica for the first time It was for a bachelor party so obviously the details won t be reported here Suffice to say however that we had a wonderful time Not only did I get to celebrate a dear friend s impending marriage and spend time in a green country both in terms of its environmental responsibility and in terms of the lush tropical rainforests that extend all the way out to the ocean but I was able to practice my español as well With the Costa Rica trip still large in the rear view mirror soon I will be traveling to Dubai for my IMD class reunion I have never been to the UAE before so it will be quite an adventure I only wish I had more time to learn to speak Arabic first As my readers should know by now I believe in collecting experiences rather than things Things can be quite burdensome but experiences stay with you forever and no one can ever take them away from you Plus they pack up quite easily when you move Here s looking forward to many more grand experiences through travel and to all the frequent flier miles Posted by Bryan Hassin at 22 01 Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels travel No comments Post a Comment Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to Post Comments Atom About Me Bryan Hassin Cleantech entrepreneur with global experience Rice Owl IMD alum and lover of both wine and sports View my complete profile Google Badge Twitter Blog Archive 2016 1 January 1

    Original URL path: http://greenknig.ht/2015/10/international-travel.html (2016-02-01)
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