The Inspiring Movie 23 Blast is Based Off a True Story and in Theaters Now

~I received compensation for this post. Opinions and stories are my own.~

I absolutely love to watch movies and even though my normal go-to is action and adventure there is just something special about a film that touches the heart. 23 Blast is one of those sports movies that speaks to me in a special way by reminding me that true stories really can be incredible.

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23 Blast features Travis Freeman, a typical teenager growing up in a small town in Kentucky, who is a local hero on and off the field. In the fall of 1997, in the prime of his youth, he is unexpectedly stricken with an infection that destroys his optic nerve. He becomes blind overnight. Under the influence of parents who love him, a physical therapist who challenges him, a coach who inspires him, and a best friend who he cannot bear to leave behind, Travis shows us what true bravery is by competing on the gridiron, helping his Corbin High School team advance to the state playoffs. 23 Blast follows Travis and Jerry Baker, his closest friend, from the time they meet on the football field as kids through high school. Baker’s attraction to the dark side of teenage temptations, beer and drugs, threatens to pull the friends apart. It is only on the football field where they truly connect.

The film stars Stephen Lang (Avatar, Terra Nova), Alexa Vega (Spy Kids, Machete Kills), Mark Hapka (Day of Our Lives, Criminal Minds), Max Adler (Glee), Bram Hoover, Kim Zimmer (Guiding Light, One Life to Live), Becky Ann Baker (Men in Black, Freaks and Geeks, A Simple Plan) Timothy Busfield (Field of Dreams, thirtysomething), Dylan Baker, and Fred D. Thompson (Sinister, Law & Order, Die Hard 2).

23 Blast is written by Bram Hoover (who also stars as Jerry Baker) and Toni Hoover, directed/produced by Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2 & 3, 13 Days) and produced by Gary Donatelli and Toni Hoover. Executive producers for the movie include Daniel Snyder (owner of the Washington Redskins), Misook Doolittle and Brent Ryan Green.

Fun Facts:

  • 23 Blast was shot entirely on location in Corbin, Ky. (where the true story actually took place)
  • Travis Freeman has been busy since his football days. He recently earned a Ph.D. and is currently an instructor of religion at the University of the Cumberlands in nearby Williamsburg, Ky.
  • 23 Blast won the 2013 Heartland Film Festival’s Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature.

Check out THIS LINK to find a theater near you where it is playing.

If you are looking for a film showing true courage and determination than 23 Blast is definitely it. This movie reminds you of the truly important things in life and it would be especially great for parents to watch with their teenagers. Even with it’s PG-13 rating I would be comfortable showing it to kids a bit younger than that as it is not offensive or using foul language with the only situation being a scene where Jerry is drinking. I especially liked watching the coaches as they are also inspiring for sticking with Travis through it all. I enjoyed all the acting in the movie as well as the more realistic football scenes. This movie will show you that Vision Comes From Within.

Connect: You can connect with 23 Blast on their website, Facebook, YouTube and/or Twitter.

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Arts America Features Emil Frei and Associates

~I didn’t receive anything for this post aside from the information. I’m a big supporter of Channel 9!~

Arts America is a weekend series showcasing local art organizations and their stories from the Nine Network and PBS stations across the country. It’s a full afternoon of local and national arts starting on Saturday at 3:30pm and then on Sunday from 1pm to 4pm (CST). An amazing collaboration between 30 PBS stations sharing their best art segments for family’s across the country!

This weekend they will be featuring a St. Louis local family run business, Emil Frei and Associates, who create amazing stained glass windows. This art has been passed through the Frei family for over a century. In fact, almost half of St. Louis’s churches contain windows crafted by Frei!

Saint Francis of Assisi

Saint Francis of Assisi – Lincoln, NE

During the tenure of Emil Sr., the studio became known for some of the highest quality Munich pictorial stained glass windows in the world, as evidenced by the grand prize won at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition for windows done at Holy Family Church in Waterton, New York. This style, characterized by its utterly life-like portraits of saints and biblical scenes, particularly of the life of Jesus, was the pinnacle of painting on glass. So detailed were these windows that many of the artists at the studio would spend their whole career painting nothing but faces and hands.

Currently the Emil Frei and Associates company is held by the fourth and fifth generations of the Frei family. They carry on this most beautiful craft as glaziers, cutters, cementers, artist’s assistants, installers, and theological consultants. This Saturday you can learn more about their contribution to modernizing the art of stained glass!

Other features on Arts America this weekend include: 

  • David Tart, Former Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios Artist
  • A Collector of Street Corner Penny Scales
  • Sacramento Painter Lauren Laundau

These Arts America segments will be featured on Saturday, October 25th at 3:30pm CST. If you happen to miss it, it re-airs on Sunday at 1:00pm!

To learn more about the Arts America series or see past video segments, check out The Nine Network! Make sure to follow @TheNineNetwork on Twitter and/or at Facebook for upcoming features. 

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Meet Ozobot – The Little Game Piece That’s Taking Over!

~I received an Ozobot for review. Opinions and stories are my own as long as he has not brainwashed me.~

Let me introduce you to our new little friend Ozobot. He’s the world’s smallest intelligent robot that offers children (and techies) a way to learn about robotics in socialized and interactive settings. This adorable little thing follows a path of lines, mazes and tracks users have on their tablets, smartphone, game boards or paper! You can draw your own moves or just drop him on there and let him roll! His ability to make independent decisions via random logic algorithms allows him to function on multiple surfaces. Just think of him as a physical game avatar!

ozobot

Tot and I received an Ozobot Dual Pack and it comes with everything you need to get started, plus a beautiful carrying case. 

  • Box set includes Titanium (or) Crystal Ozobot
  • Original skins
  • Game
  • Instruction cards
  • Carrying case
  • Micro-usb cable
  • Your 1”x1” Ozobot is also equipped with a quick recharge LiPo battery for 90 minutes of action

There are multiple different colored skins for Ozobot: black, white, blue and yellow. This allows each person to have their own color game piece. The skins are easy to put on and have openings for the charger and operating button.

ozobot-suit

Ozobot works by reading patterns and color sequences. The pack comes with different OzoCodes and BrainTeasers to get you started, as well as an interactive play mat. This way you can start playing immediately, or learn a few tricks like how to make him speed up or jump lines!

ozo-track

What my son loved the most was creating his own tracks for Ozobot. You can do this easily with a white surface and a few colored markers, but there are a few things you should know.

First, the line has to be roughly as thick as the practice sheets. If the line is too thin Ozobot will stop and blink. You can put in color codes, but make sure that the color marker and the black marker lines run together as smoothly as possible.

drawing-roads

I let Tot draw out a pattern and then I went over it to smooth it out. Secondly, we learned a few different OzoCodes first that we placed on the ends. Here’s a few to get started!

  • Blue/Black/Blue is for going fast.
  • Green/Red is to make him do a little victory dance with colors!
  • Red/Green/Red: Jump Right – Green/Blue/Green: Jump Straight – Green/Red/Green: Jump Left

If you put in a different colored line, Ozobot will flash that color as he rides along. If at any point he gets confused you can place him on the calibration card. This keeps his behavior consistent and optimal. 

create-track

However, the most fun is when you get Ozobot running around on Smartphones and Tablets. He works best on a 9″ screen tablet. Unfortunately, we were playing so much on our tablet that the battery died and I couldn’t find the cord to take a picture! So, check out this video of how it’s done.

 

 

Did I mention this little guy can dance! He knows all the right moves. He really gets Tot movin’ and groovin’ around here. You can download OzoGroove and choreograph dance moves to your favorite songs! You can also download many different Ozogames and play them anywhere, anytime you want! They’re also available in the Google Play Store and for Apple iOS.

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Just in case little Ozobot needs a pick me up, he comes complete with a USB charger. You simply plug him in to a USB port and let him rest for awhile. At full charge he has 90 minutes of play! 

This is such a wonderful educational toy for kids that bridges technology with social play. I don’t know any child that if asked if they want to play a game with robots would say no! It’s a nice opener for kids to interact and sometimes kids with with social difficulties need that little push, Ozobot is a big help.

You can find more about Ozobot on the website. He’s not yet ready to ship out, but you can pre-order him now and he’ll be ready in 8 days and counting! Just think, it would make the best holiday gift ever! 

So, do you love this little guy or what?!

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An Out of This World Film – Earth to Echo on Blu-ray Combo + Giveaway! {US & CAN}

~I received Earth to Echo on Blu-ray Combo as a Fox Home Entertainment Insider. Opinions and stories are my own.~

The recently released Earth to Echo is a story about how friendship no knows boundaries. Shot in found footage format, it shares the journey of Alex, Tuck and Munch, an inseparable group of friends facing the real world challenges of separation. As a highway construction project begins destroying their suburb, their families are forced to move away. On their last night with Alex they all decide to go out to the desert and begin an eventful night that changes all of their lives. 

Earth-to-Echo

Earth to Echo features an excellent cast: Teo Halm (Bukowski) as Alex, Brian Bradley (Red Band Society) as Tuck, Reese Hartwig (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) as Munch and Ella Wahlestedt (Goosebumps) as Emma. And multiple Bonus Features, including: 

  • Creating the Truck Scene
  • Casting the Characters
  • We Made That!: The Making of Earth to Echo
  • Friends No Matter How Far
  • Deleted Scenes

The premise of the film is to show viewers that no matter how far away your friends are, they are still close to your heart. It’s a wonderful piece for children, tweens and teens that have ever dealt with moving away from a friend or being away from someone they care about. Earth to Echo goes beyond the stars to teach us what friendship truly means. 

Although it’s been said that it has an E.T. feel, there are a great many differences. However, I can see how it would be the Ex-terrestrial movie for the younger generations to grow up with and Echo is one of the sweetest sci-fi creations out there. Plus, I think it’s a pretty modern and interesting perspective to have it shot found footage style through their phones and cameras!

You can find more information about Earth to Echo on the website as well as see other videos and stills from the film.

Giveaway: How would you like to win a copy of Earth to Echo on Blu-ray Combo? Simply fill out the Rafflecopter Form below for your chance to win!

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