Jun 23, 2016

A&W Root Beer Pop Tarts

In this time of DVR, On Demand, YouTube, and assorted ways to watch your favorite programs, advertising has become something we've learned to ignore, no matter how hard they try to make us watch it. But once in a great while, it does what it's supposed to: inform me about a product I wasn't aware of...and then send me on a crazy hunt until I find it.

Case in point: A&W Root Beer Pop Tarts!

Even though Pop Tarts and I are not as close as we once were, I swing by every once in awhile to see how things are going and catch up on what's new. My favorites have always been the non-traditional flavors. While Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough has become a regular flavor (one of my favorites!) I also really like Watermelon, which is a seasonal flavor. They also introduced a Pink Lemonade which I'll probably check out but I've only been able to find it in 12 packs so far. Too much of a commitment for a trial flavor for me.

A couple weeks ago I somehow managed to see the ad announcing not only A&W Root Beer but also Orange Crush Pop Tarts. (And if you like those flavors, there's also ice cream topping!) I found them just last week and almost missed them. Had I not seen the Orange Crush ones, I wouldn't have looked harder for the A&W ones.

As I popped them in the toaster for the inaugural tasting, a perplexing conundrum crossed my brain: what does one drink with A&W Root Beer flavored Pop Tarts? There are certain things in life that do not create taste sensations to sweep the nation such as orange juice and toothpaste or milk and soda...unless your name is Laverne. With Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, milk is a no brainer, but root beer? It being breakfast time, I still went with milk.

So yeah, they're Pop Tarts with A&W Root Beer flavor. While they're two things I like individually, I don't think I quite enjoy them as much together, at least for breakfast. They leave a Root Beer-ish aftertaste that I can only describe as having sucked on a Root Beer Barrel for about an hour. Even a tooth brushing didn't help much.

If you're not a Pop Tart connoisseur, you may not be aware there are other ways to enjoy Pop Tarts other than a breakfast food. They are good as a snack right out of the foil, no toasting required. They can also be enjoyed after being refrigerated or even frozen. I think that's where these will end up for me because my brain auto-associates Root Beer with cool and refreshing. I definitely recommend them for Root Beer fans!

I was right, these are much better as a chilled treat than a breakfast food!

Jun 15, 2016

Kickstart the Empire

You wouldn't think a huge organization with the ability to build a planet sized super weapon would end up on Kickstarter looking for funding to drop an album. Normally, I wouldn't be for supporting an evil Galactic Empire, but this is one exception I'm willing to make...

Head on over to the band's Kickstarter page and check out the pledge levels. Just a buck gets you a download of the Imperial March. Higher levels include signed physical media like CDs and vinyl albums, a hoodie, and a very cool concert tour shirt.

Check out their video for the Star Wars Main Title. It's more than them just playing the song, I promise it's worth watching the whole thing...plus you're hearing a rocking cover of the iconic main title.

If that's enough to convince you, check out their Imperial March...

I don't know if this project is going to get the plug pulled by Disney/Lucasfilm but I really hope not! These guys are making some great music and real high quality videos.

You can get more Galactic Empire at these places

Jun 8, 2016

Comic Review: Scooby Apocalypse #1

In case you missed the news, DC Comics has launched a series of comics featuring beloved cartoon characters being updated, rebooted, re-imagined, whatever you want to call it. The first was Future Quest which crosses over Johnny Quest, Space Ghost, Herculoids, the Galaxy Trio, Birdman, and more into a shared universe.

Scooby Apocalypse is next up to bat and was released a couple weeks ago. Naturally, there's been a lot of skepticism, to put it lightly, about all of these books. We geeks don't like people messing with our beloved childhood icons...until we see someone do it right and then we forget how much we hated the idea when we heard about it.

Let me lay it out and then I'll get into my thoughts.
Spoilers ahead, if you care.

It's sometime in the future and Daphne is the host of a failing paranormal reality show that's been shuffled off the knitting channel at 4am. Fred is her cameraman and secretly pines for her. They're at the Blazing Man Festival to meet up with a government lab scientist, Velma, promising a big story that might get them back on top.

Meanwhile, Shaggy, who works at the same facility as a dog trainer, has snuck out smartdog prototype Scooby to the festival for a bite to eat. The all come together and Velma takes them through the underground facility amid a ton of exposition.

The all new Scooby gang
She eventually leads them to the facility's super-secret Safe Room where she explains the true agenda of the Project Elysium: seeding the planet with nanites to make people not only less violent, but more submissive. The nanites have already been spread and wait to be activated by the scientists from the Safe Room. Suddenly, the room goes into lockdown.
Someone has activated the nanites!

As the gang wonder what has happened, we cut to a splash page of the above ground world where there's an all-out monster war including werewolves, mummies, gill-men, winged demons, and some suspiciously familiar looking xenomorphs.

There's a 6 page backup story titled "When Shaggy Met Scooby" that shows Shaggy's first day on the job as dog trainer and how he basically prevents Scooby from being killed by the successful, more aggressive smartdogs.

I think this issue suffers from the same thing as a lot of pilot TV episodes: they have to drop a lot of exposition to get things ready for where they're going. But it also helps get in some background on where these familiar characters are in this reality. Shaggy looks more hipster than hippie. Scooby is a failed prototype with implants that allow him to speak but he doesn't speak as well as the other smartdogs, keeping his trademark speech pattern.

I'm not a big fan of the art style. No wait, now that I went back and looked it over, it's the faces I'm not digging. I much prefer the cartoon style of Jim Lee's cover art than what's in the book. But maybe "more cartoony" won't fit the tone of the book once it gets rolling. It does have a Teen rating after all.  The character design is about what you'd expect for the slightly future forward gang and keeps the color schemes they're known for. Fred now sports a neckerchief instead of an ascot. Strangely absent from this first issue is the Mystery Machine, but I'm sure it's coming. How can you do Doo without it?

The story has me...intrigued. We've got a secret government project and what looks to be all sorts of monsters coming up. It probably won't be for every Scooby fan but for now, I'm interested to see where they go with it and if nothing else, there's monsters.

3 out of 5 Scooby Snacks

Jun 3, 2016

May 2016 Loot Crate - Power

If you got the May Loot Crate, you'd be playing with Power!
Because that's the theme...not because it came with a Power Glove.

Loot Crate provides me with product every month in exchange for review/promotion.

This month's mag has a Hulk-tastic cover and fun things like Thanos' Muffins of Death (by Chocolate) cupcake recipe, a 5 page interview with Warcraft movie star Robert Kazinsky, and a guide to the Infinity Gems. They wrote some of the articles around the items we got which I like. Before, the loot was featured by itself with brief text talking about it.

The pin is from the new video game Battleborn and it unlocks same rare in-game items.

Our first item this month is an Age of Ultron based Hulk Q-Fig from Quantum Mechanix. This is the third Q-Fig we've gotten in recent months and they're pretty cool for being a few inches high. I really like the art style and the amount of detail they pack.

Now you can control of all Time and Space in your kitchen with the Infinity Mitt! But I wouldn't suggest using it for anything other than maybe taking toast out of the toaster. It doesn't seem to be well insulated or thick enough to pull something out of the oven.

UPDATE: Since writing this post I received a voluntary recall from Loot Crate stating there have been "isolated incidents" of the mitt not performing as it should:

"Loot Crate will take appropriate steps to secure the Infinity Gauntlet Oven Mitts that were distributed on an urgent basis. Please store this product in a safe place until we can develop the appropriate return or disposal protocol. Our sincere apologies for this inconvenience. Loot Crate stands behind the quality of the products we offer and will ensure that our Looters receive a replacement product of equal or greater value, or a sufficient refund."

Next to that is a Dragonball Z Plush keychain. The book says it's a keychain, I say it's a backpack buddy. I've never watched DBZ but yeah, it's a cute little Chinese dragon.

And this month's shirt is from Warcraft. Another insanely geeky thing I have had no interaction with whatsoever. There's only one Alliance for me, and it's got Rebels!

Here's a shot of the Hulk Q-Fig against the inside of the box. I love the grin on him. It looks like he could be really angry but it also looks like he's going to enjoy smashing you.

This month may have been Power, but I'm feeling more Prince Adam than He-Man. It happens to everyone from time to time, the loot just doesn't hit your preferred areas of pop culture. Not a big deal, considering how good they've been the past few months.

If you want to get Powerful loot breaking down your door every month, jump over to LootCrate.com and use promo code AEIOUwhy for 10% off any subscription.

Jun 1, 2016

Monthly Movie Recap - May 2016

Wow, June already! We are now 197 days away from the next Star Wars movie! I saw some pretty fun stuff last month, what about you? Got anything to recommend? Share in the comments.

The Running Man (1987, Netflix)*

I had to get  in on the Running Man craze that's sweeping social media! But really... I stumbled on this in Netflix and hadn't seen it in decades so I decided to give it a spin. Kinda scary but given the current Presidential race, I can almost see this future 2017 becoming a real thing. The reality TV show concept was way ahead of its time for 1987 which makes it hold up pretty well today. This pretty much boils down the essence of 80s action Arnold.

Cool: Richard Dawson! The high stakes reality show.
Lame: Arnold's one liners

Rating: 6/10

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Awesome, awesome, awesome! Really liked Spidey's appearance even though it was kind of shoe-horned in there. Black Panther was also very well done, can't wait for hie movie. I can see both sides of the issue but I"m still firmly Team Cap.

Cool: More totally amazed by the airport battle after reading about how much effects work went into it
Lame: What is it with superhero movies and parental issues this year?

Rating: 8/10

The Purge (2013)

I was expecting a bit more from this based on the trailers. It's a step or two above an average home invasion but they could do sooo much more with the premise. I felt like the ending is where it really came together and it needed more of that vibe. Sadly, like The Running Man, I could see this in our future after the election.

Cool: Great concept
Lame: The family needs to throw their son out there

Rating: 6/10

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

Now this is what I was expecting from a Purge movie! Mayhem out in the streets! Frank Grillo is just about playing the Punisher shepherding a small group of civilians through Purge night. The introduction of a resistance gives the series a place to go and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Cool: Bigger scope, you get to see just how crazy it is

Rating: 7/10

Next up is a Cannon Films/Tobe Hooper double shot! I decided to see both of these thanks to the Cannon Films documentary that was on Netflix.

Invaders from Mars (1986)
Despite my love of classic scifi and horror, I haven't seen the original movie that this is remaking. But I think if you enjoy the scifi of the 50s/60s, you'll like this. It does a wonderful job of capturing the feel of those movies from the sets to the bad acting. It's a body snatching movie that would have been just as relevant in the 80s as it was in the 50s.

Cool: The alien design is pretty rad.
Lame: Bad opening credits and ending

Rating: 5/10

Lifeforce (1985, UK cut)
Starts out like Alien and turns into Return of the Living Dead, which isn't surprising since Dan O'Bannon wrote all three! Definitely a crazy, fun movie!

Cool: Great practical effects; space vampires; Patrick Stewart with hair!
Lame: Never trust a strange, attractive naked woman that's not concerned about clothes

Rating: 7/10

Goosebumps (2015)
Great movie for those at the Goosebumps reading level or monster kids at heart. Not too scary and plenty of comedy. Even though I decided last year to start reading the books, I haven't gotten very far so I didn't recognize a lot of the monsters but it will be fun to go back and watch after reading more books.

Cool: Oodles of monsters (even though only a few get the spotlight)
Lame: I know it's a kid's movie but I had a handful of logic problems with the plot, but it's a fun ride so I don't really care.

Rating: 7/10

And while I won't count it as a movie, I finally got around to watching Kung Fury on Netflix and completely loved it! They need to make a retro-style beat em up video game based on it!

Month Total
 New: 6  Rewatch:1

Year Total
 New: 29  Rewatch:2