Aug 14, 2019

Order of the Thinned Veil - Pt 2

You might remember a couple months ago I posted about The Order of the Thinned Veil membership package. The second half arrived last week and while it's not quite as much stuff it more than makes up for it with the quality!

And with the Harbingers of Halloween, the monster cereals, on shelves it 


Just as before, it arrives in a plain white box that turns into a Halloween party when you open it.


What lies inside?
Let's see!

Aug 7, 2019

Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture - Fantasy

As promised in the horror post, here's more of Seattle's Pop Culture Museum!I know I teased sci-fi would be coming up, and it is, just not this go round.


When you think of Fantasy, the first thing that pops into your head may be Harry Potter or mighty warriors fighting dragons. There's some of that on display but we're starting with a different kind of Wizard.

Aug 1, 2019

Monthly Movie Recap - July 2019

Can you believe August already? It's just about Halloween season! I've seen photos of some stores putting stuff out in July and that's a shame. I blame it on Christmas getting put out in October. Remember when Christmas stuff wasn't seen until after Thanksgiving?

Okay, maybe I'm just old.

Trying out something a little different for the Movie Recap header graphic. What do you think? Is this better than just the MMR logo?


Jul 25, 2019

Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture - Horror

If you are ever in Seattle with a few hours to spare, you should...no, need...to visit the Museum of Pop Culture. You can thank me later. Plus, it's right next to the Space Needle.

Photo from Seattle Times
That is the actual building, it's not covered in giant tarps blowing in the wind. It used to be called the Explore Music Project and they do still have a couple of music exhibits. I don't know if/when they change the exhibits in the museum but right now they're featuring horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and indie video games. And that's not even everything!

I'm having a hard time trying to figure out where to start so I'm just going to take you through as I went with my photos.

Jul 22, 2019

Belated 8th Blog-iversary

I'm about a week late but here's to 8 years of blogging!
I don't know how I keep almost forgetting this every year. The first post was on July 13th. 7-13, you'd think that would be easy to remember.


If you're reading this, thank you! If you're not reading this, you don't know what you're missing. Literally, you have no idea what you're missing!

Every year I like to take a peek at the most popular posts of all time.


Not much has changed since last year.

Christmas Fear moved up a spot and the Monthly Movie Recap for December 2018 has pushed out October 2016 as the most viewed movie review post.

So that is that. I'm currently working on another vacation post that I hope to have up later in the week. I think I have around 50 photos to share out of the 153 I took that day. Now I just have to pick the ones to feature on the blog itself. For a lot of you, this will probably be the most exciting of my vacation blog post so stay tuned.

Jul 17, 2019

Kickstarter - The Decline of Mall Civilization

If you were around in the 80s, you no doubt have some special memories of going to the local mall. It was the one place where you could do it all: shop, hang out with friends, eat, and play video games. Unlike the malls today, there was actually "mall culture" back then.

Hold on to your leg warmers, because Michael Galinsky wants to take you back to 1989.


I wish I had known about the first book when it came out because I totally would have gotten one. If you don't want to miss out, head over to Kickstarter and snag yourself a copy for $44 or for just $10 you can get a 4x6 postcard featuring an image from the book. They've just about hit triple their funding goal already so this is definitely going to happen!

See you at the mall!

Jul 10, 2019

Vacation Pt 1 - Seattle

Hey folks, here is the first of a few vacation posts. It's probably going to be a bit long so grab a drink and some snacks. The vacation started in Seattle, WA. I was only there a couple days but was able to see a few things after getting some suggestions.


This is my favorite shot of the city taken from the cruise ship just before leaving Seattle. The Space Needle lets you know where you are and I really like the different colors of the buildings in the foreground. We may as well start there, you don't travel across the country and not go to the Space Needle!


The Needle is right next to the Museum of Pop Culture which will be its own post because I have SO many pictures. The top of the Needle has a great view of the city and we were lucky enough to get there just before sunset.


The observation area is pretty cool. Instead of a fence to keep you away from the 520' drop, there are large sheets of plate glass that are angled outward. Not only can you walk up to the glass but you can lean forward to look below. There are also a few glass benches where you can sit and lean back to rest on the glass, if you're brave enough. The lower level used to house a rotating restaurant but is now another observation deck.


This area does still rotate and has a glass floor so you can look down 500 feet. What's really interesting about this is that all the mechanical bits that make it rotate are also visible through the floor as well. It's not like a merry-go-round, it rotates very slowly.

With the Needle being built in the early 60s, there's a lot of retro-future stuff in the gift shop. Even if going to the top doesn't interest you, definitely check out the gift shop.


The Needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair and this wax mold machine still works. They do keep some pre-made ones behind the counter in case the machine breaks down.


Some retro-future style art.

From here, we'll travel to the waterfront and hit Pike Place Market.


The original Starbucks is in the neighborhood and had a line going out the door of all the caffeine faithful. For some reason, I didn't take any photos of it! In the Market area, the are plenty of vendors offering flowers, fruit, and enough seafood to choke a whale. There are also a few levels below the market with various shops, including a comic store and a magic shop.


The Pike Place Fish Market (above) is famous for its flying fish. Not actual flying fish but because the staff are known for throwing fish over the counter instead of just passing them by hand. I'm talking 3' long salmon here!

If you wander the market area, you may find yourself at the infamous Market Theater Gum Wall. Now, when someone told me to visit the "gum wall" I had pictured maybe a 5'x5' section of brick wall with gum stuck to it. I was so very wrong.


It's not just a single wall...

Every bit of color you see on these walls is someone's chewed up gum.
Every. Bit.

I definitely had an odd feeling walking through here.
Not like spooky or gross out odd, I dunno.


The gum wall started around 1993. In 2015 the area got a scrub down to try and preserve the walls. What you're seeing is just 4 years of gum! If you look at the ceiling in the first pic, you will see some pipes. You can see those same pipes in the above pic to give you an idea of the area. It goes beyond what you can see here too! As you walk further away, the walls are covered less and less.


I invite you to click on these photos to get an up close view of the masticated masterpieces.

The final stop for this post is Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, founded in 1899.


As the name suggests, this is a shop but it's also part dime museum. There is all sorts of tourist kitsch for sale and then there's the slightly more oddball stuff.


Like this wall of mounted insects. There is a display case below this with spiders and scorpions encased in glass. There are all kinds of taxidermy animals around the place both real and imagined. Check the top row for a rabbit-headed bird and a Jackalope head.

Among a Fiji mermaid and real shrunken heads is the star attraction, Sylvester.


Sylvester is a mummy from the late 1800s.
Here's more info on him.


What a crazy dentist, huh?

That will about wrap up the touring around Seattle part. There are a few more pics I didn't post/link here on Flickr if you still want to do some sightseeing.

I'll leave you with this fun fact about Seattle.
They have dedicated bicycle lanes and traffic lights.
You can't walk more than a block in any direction downtown without seeing bicycles for rent.

Jul 1, 2019

Monthly Movie Recap - June 2019

Hey, everyone! I just got back from an amazing vacation to Alaska with a pit stop in Seattle. There will be plenty of posts with "vacation photos" but I promise they won't be boring! I'm going to space them out so you're not bombarded.


Streaming

Black Mirror (Netflix) - Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this new season is that it's only 3 episodes! I never imagined I'd be saying my favorite episode from any series would have Miley Cyrus in it, but here we are. Striking Vipers was great. I love sci-fi that challenges the brain.

Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix) - I am really going to miss this show! The sense of humor it has is just perfect. If you haven't checked out this zom-com yet, it's worth your time.

On to the big screen!

Predators (2010)
A passable action flick. Doesn't really do much for the Predators, they just seem to keep introducing a bigger, badder one every movie. Because they don't talk, we have to rely on the humans observing them to get any insight into them. If you're going to keep making movies about them, we need to learn more about them. That said, it wasn't as dumb as The Predator.

Rating: 5/10


Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four (2015, Amazon)
Whether you've seen it or have just heard stories about this odd, never released movie, I would highly recommend this. There's plenty of interviews with the people in front of and behind the cameras that really paint a picture of the production. It just might give you a new appreciation, or at least a new view, of this legendary catastrophe.

47 Meters Down (2017, Netflix)
This was okay. I didn't know if two people trapped in a cage underwater would keep my attention but it did. Although there's nothing supernatural or genetic with these sharks it plays a lot like a typical horror movie with jump scares and a couple of fake outs. I do have to give it props for the whole trapped underwater thing though, it got the claustrophobia/running out of air feeling across well. I don't know why but there's a sequel coming. Doesn't exactly scream "franchise" to me.

Rating: 6/10


Possum (2018. Amazon)
First, thanks to Mr Chad Savage for raving about this one, otherwise I may have missed it. This is the kind of movie I love. You may have some expectation going into it then it takes you on a completely different ride leaving you wondering where you'll end up. I don't think it's for every horror fan but I encourage you to give it a shot for the experience.

Rating: 8/10

John Carter (2012, Netflix)
I wanted to love this movie. Everything my eyes were seeing was saying I should love this movie. I never connected with Carter and had trouble keeping up with who was on which side and why I should care that the bad guys don't come out on top. Ultimately I think what it lacked for me was fun and I got a little bored with it. If I had seen this before any other scifi movies in my life I'd probably liked it more. The original story may have come before lots of other movies, but I've seen a lot of this already.

Rating: 5/10

Men in Black International (2019, RealD 3D)
I really liked Hemsworth and Thompson in Thor Ragnarok and they seem to be having fun here. The movie is just okay unfortunately. The script is pretty by the book. When they discover there's a mole in MiB, there's no surprise when they "reveal" who it is. The movie exists in the same world as previous ones and it's a world I like but there wasn't enough newness to keep it fresh.

Rating: 6/10, I wouldn't suggest full price, but good for a matinee or drive-in.


Joan Jett Bad Reputation (2018)
I love Rock N Roll! I've been a fan of Joan's since that song came out and have only become a bigger fan as she has released new music and I discovered The Runaways. This documentary gives a good account of Jett's journey to becoming the bad ass that she is. There's plenty of celeb interviews from Miley Cyrus to Micheal J Fox. I love Joan Jett, not just for her music, but because she's also an awesome person that uses her status to help other people.

Month
New: 7  Rewatch: 0

Year to Date
New: 40  Rewatch: 2

Jun 19, 2019

Book Report - The Scooby-Doo Encyclopedia

Need something to pass the time on your next road trip to a spooky castle?


The Scooby-Doo Encyclopedia was released just last year and thanks to Reis O'Brien on Instagram, I know it exists! I also pretty much inst-ordered it after seeing his post. This book is packed with all kinds of Scooby-riffic stuff!

Let me start by saying I wouldn't call this an Encyclopedia. If you were to flip through it in the store, you'd see it's really more of a character guide. I know Scooby-Doo Character Guide doesn't quite roll off the tongue. Maybe Scooby-Doo Case Files? Do kids even know what an encyclopedia is?


It's broken down into several sections. Each of the gang and the Mystery Machine get their own entries. Then there's a few pages on family (including a Doo family tree!) and some notable friends/guest stars.


Then it gets into the really good stuff: the villains! The cover claims to contain every bad guy from the classic series. I'm no Scooby-phile so I can't verify that, but considering each of the 93 pages has multiple entries, I'm going to take their word for it.


Every once in awhile, one of the gang will pop up in a bubble to provide a tidbit related to the entry. Shaggy tells jokes, Velma provides case breaking clues, Daphne give facts, Fred talks about the location, and Scooby naturally talks about snacks.

For better or worse, the book also includes The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo. On one hand, you have Scarppy-Doo but on the other you have Vincent Van Ghoul who was voiced by Vincent Price. I can tolerate a lot of Scrappy-Doo if Vincent Price is involved!


If I had to nitpick the book, my one quibble (how often do you get to use that word?) with it would be that it doesn't give any reference to the episode in which the baddie appears. Yes, I know we live in the internet age and there's probably a Scooby-Doo Wiki that can get me the info but it would have been nice to have that info in the book.

That very minor thing aside, this is a really fun book for Scooby fans of all ages. While flipping through it I found plenty of classic favorite villains as well as quite a few that I didn't recognize, which is why I'd like it to have episode information. The last page even has a recipe for Scooby snacks!

You can pick up the Scooby-Doo Encyclopedia on Amazon for just $7!
Like, zoinks, that's totally worth it!

Jun 12, 2019

Order of the Thinned Veil 2019

After basically becoming obsessed with the Jackling figures from The Cryptocurium, I decided this year was the year to join the Order of the Thinned Veil.


The Order, or OTV, is a yearly membership for Halloween fiends to get tricks and treats all year long. There are three levels of membership, basically the more you pay, the more stuff you get. I went for the Trick or Treat level which is the mid-level option. That means I get one package now and one later in the year.

The first shipment is the first level, or Candy Corn membership. It arrives in a plain white box but as soon as you open it, it's all black an orange.


What's this black envelope with the pumpkin imprinted wax seal?


Why it's my official membership card signed by the weirdos behind the order, Jason McKittrick and Sam Heimer! No matter when you sign up for the Order, the membership is only good for that calendar year.

Let's unpack the box and see what goodies lie within...


In the top left is a welcome letter from Lisa Morton, who's written a few books on Halloween. Next to that is the Legend of Lantern Jack who is the basis for a lot of the art. Speaking of art, that print "Vessel Vassal" is by Sam Heimer who has some absolutely amazing Halloween/horror art. Just below this is the OTV 2019 Membership pin.

On the bottom row we have a small cloth bag with pumpkin seeds! Members are encouraged to plant them and participate in carving. Then is the Pumpkin Clown wall plaque. There's a great little legend that goes with it, you can read on the OTV page. And of course, candy corn!

While this is all wonderful, what really made me want to join this year were the extras. The first 25 people that signed up, got a couple of bonus items.


Another print from Sam Heimer, called "Harvest Bound" and a witch Jackling. I can't overstate my love for Jacklings so getting this great Halloween loot and an exclusive Jackling was a no brainer!


I love this little figure so much. All the Jacklings have that country/folk art look to them but this one is a little different. She almost seems a bit creepy to me because of all the little nicks and scratches (which you can't see well in the pics). This one really makes me imagine it would be something you'd find maybe on the floor in a barn or in the woods somewhere. The others all have personality, to me this one seems to have history.

I can't wait to get the next part of my membership which will include another wicked art print and a figure of Lantern Jack!

Please check out the sites of the people behind the Order
Cryptocurium
Sam Heimer 

Jun 1, 2019

Monthly Movie Recap - May 2019



Streaming

Ash vs Evil Dead - Netflix finally got the last season and it was everything you'd expect. I'm a little disappointed at the way it ended because that is a setup I'd like to see turned into a new series!


The Umbrella Academy - Finished this up and it was fantastic! It really felt to me like X-Men by way of Watchmen. It's not a typical superhero type of comic story.

Game of Thrones - Thanks to a free 7 day trial of HBO I was able to catch the final season. I can see why people might not be happy with the way it ended but I was completely satisfied with the ending. Not many show finales do that for me.

Let's head to the big screen!


Clint Howard plays a bullied student at a military academy. I almost feel sorry for him with a last name like Coopersmith. He finds a Satanic text that he (get this) has to enter into his Apple PC to translate the Latin into English to get his revenge. Eventually things get crazy. It's a very slow build to the final 15-20 minutes and that's likely all you'll remember about the movie.

Rating: 4/10

I'm familiar enough with the original but by no means a hardcore fan (whatever that might look like) so I didn't really have any reservations revisiting the character. I was nicely surprised that it felt like a return to the classic Disney era. There's a fantastic bit of combined live action/animation and the songs, for the most part, are bouncy and catchy as heck.

Rating: 7/10

This is definitely an Art movie. One that I felt was a bit long and was a lot less on the horror than I was expecting. The look of it and the dancing were great but I think I would have been lost on some of the story had I not seen the original. I have to give props to Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, they were both excellent.

Rating: 5/10


It's a nice change of pace from the usual zombie/infected flicks with grade school kids being the antagonists. Sure watching adults beat on flesh eating kids wears thin after awhile but it's a decent time. The cast is what makes it watchable.

Rating: 6/10

Better than what I was expecting. It was good to finally see how it all started. The main character may be ex-military but his bad ass-ness takes this Purge more into action hero territory than it should for me. Worth a look if you're a fan of the series.

Rating: 5/10

I really enjoyed the first one and was interested to see what a sequel would bring. This one switches gears from horror/slasher to more of a scifi vibe. A killer is still on the loose but the story focuses more on the time loop aspect and something else I don't want to spoil. If you liked the first one, I highly recommend this one too!

Rating: 7/10

Month
New: Rewatch: 0

Year to Date
New: 33  Rewatch: 2

May 29, 2019

Monster Prom - Game Review

While browsing Steam game suggestions, I happened upon something called Monster Prom. Monsters? Sure ok! Prom? Um...I guess?

Love interests
Monster Prom falls under the "dating sim" or "visual novel" style of game. And while that's not my usual thing, the fact that it features monsters and some fun cartoony art sold me on it.

Players
Monster Prom allows you and up to 3 friends to walk the halls of Spooky High to try and woo a date for the prom. You start by selecting one of the four students, giving them a name and choosing your gender pronoun. You're not locked into gender roles here, monsters just love other monsters! You then answer a few questions that determine your initial stats like Smarts, Fun, and Charm. The only difference between the player characters is their looks so there's no reason to play one over another aside from personal preference.


You then click around the school having crazy experiences that can boost/drop your stat levels. You'll also encounter other students in pairs and it's up to you to settle what's going on with them, usually helping out your intended prom date.

Each "week" is broken into three stages: Morning, Lunch, and Evening. Morning and Evening let you pick where you want to visit on the map that turn. Lunch brings you to the cafeteria where the love interests are paired up at different tables so you can choose who you want to interact with.

The game is presented with no instructions so you may feel it's just a Choose Your Own Adventure type dating game. Not so! Your scores matter. The love interests will only go to prom with you if you meet minimum scores in specific stats. I played through a few times to get a feel for things. But of course, there is a Wiki if you want to peek behind the scenes.


You'll have the chance to buy weird items that will either change your stat scores or open up new story content if it's flagged as "event." Just be careful, you don't know how an item will change your stats before you buy it!


If you play you're cards right, your crush might go to prom with you! Or you may face crippling rejection. Either way, there's a fun little epilogue where you get to see what some of the students are up to post-school.


In the base game alone, there are 1472 possible outcomes! It's a lot of replay value but the more you play, you will see the same events again and know how best to handle them to drive towards your desired outcome.

The art style is cute but the dialog and writing would most definitely get this game an R rating for profanity and not-so-kid friendly subject matter. The humor is funny and occasionally crude but it gives this game its own vibe. Each of the love interests has their own quirky personality and you'll quickly figure out what they like to get on their good side.

I'm having a lot of fun with Monster Prom exploring the wacky stories and experimenting with playing characters in different ways. I can only imagine how crazy it would be with multiple people playing at the same time, especially if you're going after the same person!



This Valentine's Day saw the first DLC pack, Monster Prom: Second Term, release with 2 new love interests and plenty more events and secret endings. And if that's not enough monster antics, they're currently doing a Kickstarter for the sequel, Monster Prom 2: Holiday Season. This one sounds like a lot of fun too as it will have three mini-stories to pick from: Camp, Winter Retreat, and Roadtrip.
They are crushing the $36k goal as they close in on $400k!

May 22, 2019

Spring Cleaning with Steam

Okay I know it's almost Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of Summer, but it's never too late to do some Spring cleaning, right? Today I'm going to show you how to have fun with Steam this weekend!


Nah, not that kind of Steam.
This kind of Steam!


Over the years, I've picked up my fair share of Humble Bundles (discounted groups of video games) and I realized I have a lot of codes that I'll never use. So if you want a free game or two, here is what you'll need:

Windows PC
Steam account (it's free)

The only "tricky" bit to this is that it's on you to look up the titles to find out what they are and to make sure your system can run them. I don't think any of them are that beefy so they shouldn't require a hardcore gaming rig to run.

To claim a game, message me on Twitter, Instagram or leave a comment below (making sure your profile or comment has a way to contact you) with your choice and I'll send you a code to redeem on Steam. There's a lot of games and I know I don't have a ton of readers so feel free to pick a couple and/or send friends over.

ADR1FT
Crashlands
They Bleed Pixels
UnderRail
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Lethal League
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Regency Solitaire
Super Time Force Ultra

1001 Spikes
Absolute Drift
Bulb Boy
Craft the World
Deathtrap
Snakebird

Telltale Games
Poker Night at the Inventory
Puzzle Agent
Puzzle Agent2
Sam & Max: Devil's Playhouse
The Walking Dead: 400 Days
The Walking Dead: Season 1
The Wolf Among Us

Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space
Enforcer: Police Crime Action
Meridian: New World
Victory At Sea
Beware Planet Earth!
Chariot
GoD Factory: Wingmen
Tooth and Nail?

May 15, 2019

Space Inavders Dice & Kickstarter

A couple weeks ago, I got an email from Miniature Market about their latest clearance sale. I always browse the sales but rarely buy anything. But when I saw this on sale for less than $10 I figured why not check it out.


Note: the invader does not come with the game, he just showed up for the photo shoot.
What you get in the box are a bunch of dice, a pad of score sheets, and a rule book. I have to say, the rule book could have been written better. This isn't a terribly complex game yet I couldn't find answers to a couple questions I had while playing. Thank the Internet gods there is BoardGameGeek.com! There I was able to find better clarification on the rules.


You get one UFO die, 3 fire dice, 8 attack dice, and a pad of score sheets (see below).
 One fan on Board Game Geek made up this sweet custom playing sheet.

I was going to break down how the game plays but decided I'd basically just be posting the rule book and most people don't want to read that. I am not most people. I, for some reason, really enjoy reading game rules and exploring their mechanics.

Here's a quick 4 minute video that covers how to play.


Despite have a couple questions that the rule book couldn't quite answer, I had a lot of fun when I played. I don't know if I'd say a surprising amount but it was definitely more fun that I was thinking it would be. I didn't get as high of a score as Matt here in the video but I did almost clear the board.


The box says the game is for 1-4 players and the rules offer up some options for "multiplayer" but I really think the game will play best solo. In fact, I think this would be a pretty great mobile game to kill some time. That will likely never happen as the company that made this game, Turn One Gaming Supplies, has vanished into the virtual ether. Their former web address now brings you a sketchy site that wants to install something on your PC.

As of this post, Miniature Market still has the game on sale for $7 and I think it's totally worth it at that price if you're a Space Invader fan. They also have a set 6 regular dice with Space Invader graphics replacing the pips for just $3.

If you're looking for something a little meatier for your game night adventures, zip over to Kickstarter and check out the just launched campaign for Space Invaders - The Board Game.


It looks like it could be a good time! And if you've got an extra grand burning a hole in your pocket you can get a limited collectible art piece that is absolutely beautiful.


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