Mar 28, 2014

League Post - Square Life

This week, the League of Extraordinary Bloggers has given us a photo assignment:
Arrange items that describe you within a 12″ x 12″ space and take a picture

Before I dive into what's in the photo, I'm very unhappy with it at the moment. I spent the time picking key items, laying them out and getting a good composition. It wasn't until I broke it all down and put everything away that I realized I forgot to include the AEIOU and Sometimes Why header logo in the photo because it really should be there! See that big emtpy space in the lower right? That's where it should have been.

Anyway, ranting over. Quite a few of the objects hold more than one meaning, so here's what's what starting bottom center and going clockwise.

 Very important, pocket-sized gear. I love taking photos, see for yourself on my Flickr page. 

Wedding Ring
Not only to symbolize my marriage, but also my family.

A+ Certification Book
 Since January I've started IT classes to secure a few certifications that will hopefully help me land a decent job when all is said and done. Also, computers!

Books in general 
I've been an avid reader since I can remember.

Halloween, An American Holiday
 Unless you're here for the first time, it's no surprise that I LOVE all things Halloween. Not just the candy and costumes, but also the history and lore around it.

Star Wars book
 Just happened to be the most readily available Star Wars I could grab (and it's a damn good book!). Star Wars is right up there with Halloween for me. 
The movies, TV shows, comics, games, all of it.

Doctor (Doom) in the TARDIS
Yep, I'm a Whovian and a comic geek. I've always connected more with the Marvel Universe and read most of the titles out there today.

iPad (ft. vinatge Boba Fett figure)
 An easy way to carry a little bit of everything! Gaming, books & comics, social media, movies, cloud storage.

House of Wax (Vincent Price)
 I enjoy older horror and scifi in general but have a soft spot for Vincent Price. Not just as an actor but also as a human being, he was an amazing man.

SciFi Ultimate Collection
 50s/60s scifi/horror is another genre I'm into, especially if it involves people or animals shrinking/growing beyond their normal size.

Adventure Time
Might be hard to believe among all the silliness that usually goes on, but once in awhile this show will trigger feels, which makes me love it even more.

Pac-Man cabinet
A general place holder for video gaming, both vintage and modern. I grew up in the golden age of arcades and owned an Atari 2600.

Tron Lightcycle
Another franchise I'm crazy obsessed with.

LEGO Punk Rocker
Symbolizing both my adoration of LEGO minifigs and music in general. Music has been a big part of who I am since high school when it helped me figure out who I was.

Creature from the Black Lagoon Minimate
My absolute favorite of the Universal Monsters.

Other League Members
Happy Haunted Sunshine House (love that name!)

Check out the full list of participants over here

Mar 25, 2014

March 2014 Loot Crate - Titan

Welcome to another edition of "What's in the Box?!" brought to you by the fine folks at Loot Crate who send me the stuff I share with you each month.

The theme for March is big...huge...TITANic even!

It's a pretty interesting Crate dealing with Titanfall and Attack on Titan. Sadly it's a little wasted on me. I don't know much about either beyond commercials and memes/Pinterest respectively. Given how much Attack on Titan seems to be in the pop culture consciousness, I may have to check out the anime.

Loot Crate March 2014

First, as always, is the latest issue of Loot Crate magazine featuring a cover mashing up both Titan properties. It's got a few pages on Titanfall including a first look, mini strategy guide and interview with Abbie Heppe, the voice of Sarah in the game. There's also a brief review of AoT, which they tell me is on Netflix. That will make checking it out a lot easier! Next to it is the monthly Loot Crate button which has a closeup image of the mech on the cover.

Loot Crate March 2014

Next is an exclusive Titanfall t-shirt. We've been getting some really cool shirts lately, and I love it! I don't know much about the game and if I wear it, I'm sure someone who's a mega-fan will come over to me to start up a gaming conversation. Of course, my only reply would be to smile and nod as I listen to their adventures and how they totally fragged that guy that one time.

Loot Crate March 2014 Titanfall goodies

Here's a couple more Titanfall goodies: a code for a digital version of Prima's strategy guide for the game and a lanyard based on the C101 custom console design. Below that is an Attack on Titan Scouting Regiment wristband to show your bravery, which leads into...

Loot Crate March 2014

The first volume of the Attack on Titan manga! This is where it started before becoming an anime. I haven't read a lot of true manga and I'm definitely going to check this out no matter how long it takes me to get used to reading right to left. Beside that is a magnet with the Attack on Titanfall mag cover art. And lastly, a couple pieces of green taffy for St. Patrick's Day! So thoughtful, those crazy Loot Crate people.

If you want to get cool geeky and/or gaming stuff in your mail every month, head on over to Loot Crate and sign up. And please use promo code AEIOUWHY for 10% off your order.

Mar 20, 2014

League Post - Why Did I Buy That?

This week, the League of Extraordinary Bloggers wants you to ask yourself:
 Why Did I Buy That?

At first I didn't think I was going to have anything to contribute this week as my initial reading of the topic brought to mind something you regret having purchased. Sure there's probably something Episode 1 related sitting in my basement that would cause me to question my collecting judgement, but I wasn't about to go looking for something to fit the bill. Then I paid a visit to one of my local Savers and found a sweet bag o' stuff.

I went back and forth in my head several times as to whether or not I should pick it up. Sure, it was only $3 but did I really need it? After walking around the store, I went back to look it over again and found something I missed in the first look over which sealed the deal.

So after getting it home and sorted out, here's what I scored for $3...

Happy Meal Toys

I think the animals are Littlest Pet Shop? At any rate, they're Happy Meal toys. If they're not adopted, they'll be going to a nice farm in the country. The Robin is also McDonald's Happy Meal toy from a LEGO Batman tie-in, missing the bat-projectile. The little guy is from a company called Brio that makes wooden train sets. Internet says he's a fireman.


There's also couple of ImagiNext figures. They have their headgear but no other accessories. They look like a tribal warrior and...? His head gear says fighter pilot but the flames on his outfit make me think stunt driver. They're cool but they should really live somewhere where they could have have more friends for awesome adventures.

Playmobil 1

Ah, now this is the main reason the bag caught my eye! Lots of Playmobil! Single figures could go for at least the cost of the bag so even without the bonus at the end, this would be awesome. The accessories were loose in the bag and I tried to match them up as best I could or, failing that, what looked cool.

Playmobil 2

Watch out for zombie fireman! Poor guy had no hair. The objects in front of the odd man out there are detachable sleeves you can put on his arms to turn his vest into a jacket.

I'm not going to keep all these guys, my main Playmobil focus is Halloween-ish figures and gladiators (Do you like movies about gladiators, Joey?). I know some readers like to do custom work with them so if you're interested in any of them, drop me a line.

LEGO Luminara

And here is the pièce de résistance which I only noticed when I went back to look at the bag again! Star Wars Minifigs can get a decent price on their own, especially if it's a figure that was only available in a pricey set. The set she came from is currently eBaying for $150-$200, yikes! What I didn't know until I got Luminara out of her plastic prison is that her lightsaber lights up when you push down on her head! Granted, she's probably not glowing as bright as she used to, but it still works.

And that's the story of how I met your mother, I mean, why I bought that.

Other League members tell you why they bought stuff
Jathniel got swindled by a suave intergalactic con man.
Why didn't you buy that stuff, That Figures?
Not to be outdone, CrookedNinja lists his Top 5 WDIBT? Moments.

Check out the full lineup over at Cool and Collected.

Mar 13, 2014

League Post - Obsession

Despite a lengthy break that could have spelled the end of the League of Extraordinary Bloggers, we are back! Better, stranger, faster!

The topic for discussion this week is current obsessions. I don't really have anything I'm going absolutely crazy for right now, but these couple things are close.

Cherry Limeade

Whether it's a scorching summer day or the middle of March when we should be having more Spring-like weather (you HEAR me up there?!?), anytime is a good time for cherry limeade. I tend to average a trip to Sonic about once a week for the sole purpose of this beverage.
And I've recently discovered...

I don't think I've been so addicted to a "kids" drink since Ecto Cooler. I've been meaning to grab some Sprite to mix with the Kool Aid to give it the carbonation of its Sonic cousin.

Pepe and Rizzo Stop for Gas

My second obsession is a commercial I love and loathe at the same time. Although the Muppets were schilling on TV before I was born, I'm not sure how I feel about them selling cars. At the end of the day though, I don't think I'll care as long as they continue to be funny and entertaining. The fact that they with Toyota is far from my mind when watching this.

First, Pepe the King Prawn is my absolute favorite character to come out of Muppets Tonight. He's easily in my top 5 Muppets, maybe even right behind Uncle Deadly.

The parts I love:
0:26 - "It's not ice cream."
0:50 - Pepe beeping the horn. What he's hitting it with, I'm not sure.
1:20 - Teriyaki Towwwwwwn!

Welcome fantastic, first time poster The Dusty Shelf to the League!
Monster Cafe wrestles with his obsession.
Things get a little creepy over at the Nerd Cantina.

Check out what other League members are obsessed with over here.

Mar 7, 2014

Revenge of the Jedi Call Sheet

A member of a Star Wars fan Facebook group recently posted this pic of his new acquisition and I thought it was too cool not to share.

Revenge of the Jedi Call Sheet

You'll have to open a larger view to read along, but here's a few highlights...

One of the great things about this call sheet is that is says Revenge of the Jedi at the top. I'm sure most people have heard the story of how the movie changed names so I'm not going to get into that. It looks like this sheet was for January 27th, 1982.

This particular scene is in Jabba's Palace. I think it's interesting (because I haven't seen many call sheets) that it has the time the actor should be at make-up and the time they're due on set. It gives you an idea just how much work goes into some of the characters looks. I'm not sure what the D/R column means. Anyone?

You'll probably recognize a lot of the actors/characters listed. For the non-Star Wars geeks: Oola is the sexy green skinned dancer that Jabba feeds to the Rancor and you may remember "Fat Dancer" as the large woman that looks like she might have six breasts. She was later named Yarna D'al Gargan.

A little further down is the required Art Dept/Props: Han Solo on wall. Haha!

If you look just below that in the SFX (special effects) section, you'll see an odd item: Light for Light Man. Who is Light Man? Thankfully, he was cut from the final film. You can go here to read a brief interview with stuntman Peter Diamond about his recollection suiting up for it. Diamond was the stunt coordinator for the first two films and still helped out on Jedi. He also played several characters in the films.

Mar 4, 2014

Book Review - Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves

Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves by James S.A. Corey
When the mission is to extract a high-level rebel spy from the very heart of the Empire, Leia Organa knows the best man for the job is Han Solo—something the princess and the smuggler can finally agree on. 

But when Han locates the brash rebel agent, Scarlet Hark, she’s determined to stay behind enemy lines. A pirate plans to sell a cache of stolen secrets that the Empire would destroy entire worlds to protect—including the planet where Leia is currently meeting with rebel sympathizers. Scarlet wants to track down the thief and steal the bounty herself, and Han has no choice but to go along if he’s to keep everyone involved from getting themselves killed. From teeming city streets to a lethal jungle to a trap-filled alien temple, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and their daring new comrade confront one ambush, double cross, and firestorm after another as they try to keep crucial intel out of Imperial hands.
Honor Among Thieves very much reminds me of some of the early Bantam Books, and I mean that in a good way. Our heroes are racing against the Empire to stop a potentially devastating super-weapon, new minor characters are introduced, and even though the main characters start off in different directions, they're all brought together at the end to save the day. It might sound a little formulaic, but I was very excited to return to this point in the Star Wars timeline. For those new to Star Wars in book form, you don't have to have read any of the voluminous prior history to enjoy this. All you need to do is see the original movie.

What sets it apart from those earlier books is the focus is mainly on Han, my favorite of the Big Three. They did a great job of capturing Han on the page, especially his interactions with Chewie. At times they're bantering back and forth and other times they're bickering about how best to fix the Falcon. They also do a fantastic job of making Chewie come to life even though you can't understand him.

The most major of the minor characters, Scarlet Hark (that's her on the cover between Leia and Han), is a great companion for Han. She's someone who can give just as good, if not better, than she gets. The only thing I'm not too fond of is her name, for some reason it just doesn't roll off the tongue for me. I think it's the double "ar" in her names. Not a huge deal and I'd like to see more of her in the future.

But considering this is the last of the "old guard" adult Star Wars novels, no one can say what the future will hold for Star Wars in print yet. It's a little weird to not have any new books on the horizon since the 90s.

My biggest gripe? The use of "crap" and "piss." They might be acceptable on TV now but they ejected me from the story each time I came across them because they are so un-Star Wars (twice and once respectively). Not over used by any means but there are at least a handful of in universe curse words that could have been used in their place.

Overall, this is a pretty straightforward, fun romp with some old friends that I've been missing. I recommend it for fans of the original trilogy and especially for fans of Solo. Is there such a person that isn't a fan?

Mar 1, 2014

Monthly Movie Recap - February 2014

Hey there, reader! February was a pretty solid month for movies for me. Definitely one for the books as far as enjoyable movies go. I'm not saying they were all great movies, but I liked some of them a lot!

Justice League: War (2014)
I like seeing the new DC animated features but it's not very often I've already read the books they're based on. This does a good job of covering the JL: Origins arc that happened with the New 52 reboot. For some reason, they put Shazam in here, who wasn't in the comic. With Supes, isn't Shazam kinda redundant?

Cool: It's cool seeing the New 52 JL come together
Lame: It feels like half the movie is the JL fighting paradeamons and Darkseid, not really bad if you like action but it gets a little boring after awhile; Wonder Woman's voice just does not fit her; I think they needed to build more on the public's distrust of superheroes, it's here but not enough.
Rating: 6/10

The Old Dark House (1963)
I stumbled on to this one late night when I couldn't sleep. It's a remake of the 1932 Karloff movie done by one of my favorite directors, William Castle. I'm sure I would have gotten to it sooner or later since I want to see all his films, but I'm glad I found it sooner! It's a wonderfully funny murder mystery.

Cool: Title sequence by Charles Addams! I'm used to 80s TV Tom Poston, I never would have expected to see him carry a movie so charmingly.
Lame: According to Wiki, this remake was not generally liked by fans of the original.
Rating: 8/10

Tourist Trap (1979)
One of the weirder horror flicks to hit my screen in awhile. I know it's from '79 but I don't want to spoil anything if you haven't seen it yet.

Cool: Creepy, weird stuff going on! A raven haired Tanya Roberts spends most of her screen time in a tube top.
Lame: This is the kind of movie that you'd stay up late to watch as a kid and have it scar your brain for life.
Rating: 6.5/10

The Penny Dreadful Picture Show (2013)
This is a horror anthology with three segments, each representing a period of horror movie history. "Slash-in-the Box" seems to be more modern day and is also the shortest of the three. "The Morning After" is a 60s/70s Hammer-esque vampire tale and feels a little long. Probably the best segment is "The Slaughter House" with Jeffrey Combs and Sid Haig, which draws inspiration from Texas Chainsaw and has a very grindhouse feel. But really my favorite part is the glue that holds the stories together: poor Penny Dreadful searching for true love's kiss and showing her dates these segments in her movie theater.

Rating: 6/10

Mad Max (1979)
Previously unseen franchise of the month! I was definitely expecting more of what I'd seen in Thunderdome, so this was refreshing. I really like the feel of the movie overall and that they actually build up Max's character.

Cool: The vehicle segments are beautifully shot; The motorcycle gang are great despicable bad guys
Lame: It could be a dystopian future or it could be what I imagine highways are like in the Outback.
Rating: 7/10

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
Now this is more what I was expecting! It's like a post apocalyptic Western with a kickass road battle for a climax. I always wonder in these situations if civilization would really devolve so quickly.

Cool: Australian cattle dog (one of my favorite breeds); The baddies are even better than in Mad Max; Incredible finale!
Rating: 7/10

*Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Not having seen the previous two movies, I don't recall why I went to see this in the theater when it came out. But at least I didn't wait 30 years to see those first two! I had totally forgotten about everything outside of Bartertown before rewatching this. Probably because that's what's lodged in the pop consciousness.

Cool: You can't go wrong with Master Blaster and Thunderdome!
Lame: It feels like two different movies: In Bartertown and Outside Bartertown; Not a fan of Tina Turner.
Rating: 6/10

Unlucky Charms (2013)
Back in the 90s when we still had video stores I would rent everything and anything made by Full Moon, so you could say I'm a fan. Most of the recent stuff has been leaving me cold though. There was an art to their earlier stuff. Even though they were direct to video B-movies, they were fun to watch. Lately, they seem to have lost their fun if you're not in an altered state of mind.

Cool: The music, I guess?
Lame: Not so great makeup; No good violence; "actresses" obviously there for their bust size; Charlie (not Jerry) O'Connell that should be a fair warning right off...
Rating: 3/10

Angels Revenge, aka Angels Brigade, aka Seven from Heaven (1979)
I couldn't find a trailer, but the above video is the entire movie on MST3k! This version is different from teh one I watched because it starts at the end and flashes back to the start. I watched the non-MST3k version and absolutely loved it! Charlie's Angels + The A-Team - Bras = this movie. Or as Crow calls it "The T&A-Team". It kept reminding me of Jet Dream.

A Vegas singer's younger brother is roughed up by his pot dealer and when his teacher comes to talk to her, they formulate a plan to take down the distributor by assembling five other women. You've got the singer and teacher, a black stunt woman, an Asian karate teacher, a blonde cop, a model and one of the teacher's teenage students

How do they know these other women? It doesn't really matter. They're all on board within 20 minutes and tricking out a van (with rocket launchers and a tailgate to deploy a motorcycle!) that would make BA Baracus happy.

Cool: I don't know what it is but this movie is perfect Saturday night fun; The bad guy is Jack Palance and Alan Hale and Jim Backus have minor roles; Fight sound effects straight from Hanna-Barbera!
Lame: It's an obvious knockoff of Charlie's Angels, but I still think it would be an awesome TV show.
Rating: 7/10, by no means a great movie but it's a load of fun!

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time (2014)
This one may have snuck under your radar as it was initially a Target exclusive release. How weird is that? This is going in a more family friendly direction than most of the direct to video stuff coming from DC lately. If they were to reboot SuperFriends today, I think this is what it would be like. Plot: A couple of wanna-be heroes in the future release Luthor from imprisonment. He gets hold of a time portal and basically tries to prevent the JLA from becoming heroes.

Cool: A few winks at the long time SuperFriends fans; voice cast
Lame: One of the future kids looks like he raided Samurai's wardrobe and his name is Karate Kid! Ok so apparently he's in the comics, but Karate Kid? He's no Macchio.
Rating: 5/10

The LEGO Movie (2014)
Yes, Everything is awesome! The animation, the voice talent, the cameos, the story. All of it.

There is a big element to the story that they've either somehow kept under wraps or through blind luck I managed to avoid knowing about it before seeing the movie. But wow, the movie just sucker punches you in the final reel.It's solidly entertaining from start to finish and is absolutely something I think kids should share with their parents.

Cool: In addition to what I've already said: Batman and Unikitty!
Borderline Cool/Lame: "Everything is Awesome" will get in your brain quicker than a Ceti eel (yeah, I had to Google the name)
Lame: Why did they not put the blooper reel at the end?
Rating: 9/10, anyone that complains modern LEGO sets force kids to not be creative should be made to see this movie.

Month Total
 New: 10  Rewatch: 1

Year To-Date Final Total 
New: 16  Rewatch: 3