Friday, January 02, 2015


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vacation day one (and a half): Ireland

So, the time has arrived and I am finally on vacation in Europe with my dad!!

This whole thing started on Wednesday morning at 3:30 am when we got up to head to Skyharbor Airport in Phoenix. From Phoenix we flew to Newark (Direct TV makes the flight so much more enjoyable!). Then after a five hour layover, that included a little lunch and a ton of Arrested Development, we were on our way to Dublin.

While the hop from Phoenix to Newark was nice...the six hour skip to Dublin kind of sucked!! The seats were smaller and more uncomfortable plus there was no Direct TV. But, on the bright side the in flight entertainment was I did watch Captain America and a ton of one off tv episodes.

So, what started out as an early arrival at the Phoenix airport turned into an early arrival in Dublin, Ireland. How early is early? Well the sun wasn’t up yet. Which, if you have never driven a car on the left side of the road (on purpose…because it’s the law) is a great time to be driving!  We dropped our bags at the hotel and off we went to see Cork southern Ireland and all points in between.  The drive to Cork was uneventful once we made our way through a gauntlet of roundabouts. Actually, the drive reminded me a little of the Midwestern United States in the fact that it was a ton of farm land and major roadways. Once we made it to Cork we sought out the tourist trap of all Irish tourist traps…Blarney Castle.

Along the way we realized that with the exception of of the mountains the drive was a lot like heading through Wisconsin (with more sheep...none of which appear in this picture).

About an hour outside of Cork the flow of traffic seemed to be slowing to pass a single vehicle. When we caught up we saw what the slow down was all about. So, for the second time in my life, as far as I know, I came across a Google Maps car.

So after acting like complete idiots while passing the car we finally pushed forward to Cork and then to Blarney Castle.

Let me say that once we got onto the grounds of Blarney Castle that was more of what I had imagined the countryside of Ireland would be like.

 The grounds to Blarney castle were amazing.  Serene rolling grounds with streams, gardens, groves of trees are the norm here. Like many landmarks in the states there’s a calm feeling you get as you approach. A silence, that seems to be equal parts amazement and respect, that none seem to want to break.  Not until you are in the shadow of the main tower do you begin to hear people talking to each other.

For those of you who have not made the trip to the castle let me lay it out for you like this. In the movies where you see all the stairwells to the castle battlements are wide enough for two guys in full battle gear to run up and down side by side…this is not that type of castle. The climb to the top is scary in the fact that the stairs at some points are no more than 6-7 inches wide while going almost straight up on a tight right hand twist. It really made me happy that I had done as much cardio training on the workup to the trip. As you make the climb you have the chance to step off into man of the side rooms like the kitchen, master bedroom and a few others. A luxury that dad was more than happy to take advantage of when they presented themselves. It was either that or induce a heart attack!. The payoff though was worth it. Once you reach the top you are presented with two gifts.
The first gift at the top of Blarney Castle is the chance to walk the battlements and get a 360degree view of the grounds and surrounding lands. The second gift is, if you are so inclined, to lay down flat, bend over backwards….and kiss the Blarney Stone.  Dad and I both engaged in that oldest of Irish tourist traditions!  Really , you climbed to the top of the bloody castle, why the hell not?

After making our way down we spent a few minutes walking through the poison garden. Where all the plants are deadly to either smell, touch or ingest. Good Times!!

After finishing up there we made the long drive back to Dublin and grabbed a bite to eat. A meal that neither one of us made it through without nodding off at some point.  So, food was eaten Guiness was drank and we were both passed out within minutes of getting into the hotel room.  Day one ended at 10pm with the plan of getting up around 8am the next day to drive to County Carlow and Duckett’s Grove Castle

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Torchwood Miracle Day/Strike Back Series 2

Just finished the finale of Torchwood: Miracle Day. The fan boy in me was going to love it no matter what. But, the realist in me knows that there were some major stumbles along the road. I have to say that the finale was really good. Not great..but really good. I hope that Russell T. Davies gets a chance to carry the story forward. The last 30seconds could be a game changer for Torchwood if it gets a new series in the states or elsewhere.

On the flip side of American/British TV show projects...season two of Strike Back keeps getting better and better with each episode. While I thought the new season was going in the wrong direction by the end of episode one (shocking!!) it has picked up running since then and never looked back. The first four episodes are as good as anything in the first series run, which was solely aired on SKY if memory serves.

This is how the formula should  be handled. Torchwood stumbled by taking away the charm of Cardiff and exchanging it for Washington DC and sunny California. They also tried to appeal to an American only audience. A mistake that I hope doesn't cost the show a chance at a fifth (overall) series.  Strike Back, on the other hand, has kept the international setting in place (kinda had to given the subject matter) and has replaced a one man show (Richard Armitage) with a kick ass ensemble.

Both shows are great in their own right. If you've never watched Torchwood, don't let this season sour you! Go back and start and series one and take the ride from the beginning. Or, at least go back and watch Children of Earth...but some of the emotional impact is lost without the back story of seasons one and two. Grow with the characters and learn to love them!  Strike Back is the same way. GO back and watch the amazing performance that Richard Armitage gave over those first six episodes and then give me your opinion of episode one of season two!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Movie Review -- Alien Opponent (2010)

Some movies defy explanation...some combinations are money. This movie is a little of both.

I came across this movie the other day on the Chiller  network. Why did I watch? Strippers, rednecks, aliens, Jeremy London and Roddy Piper. I'm shocked that this movie is in no way available on Netflix. Streaming or disc.

Aliens crash land in a rednecks junk yard...shortly after the redneck was killed by his hot young wife's crazy mother. The problem is that they can't get his body out of the junk yard in order to collect on his life insurance. What is a person to do? Why put out a $100,000 reward for the person who will go into the junk yard, kill the alien and bring out the dead redneck losers body.

At this point the movie becomes re-DAMN-diculous.  Yes, up to this point the movie was just its ridiculousness is on a whole new level. Including a drunk Jeremy London, a housewife with a full on Thompson submachine gun and Roddy Piper as a fighting priest. Oh, did I mention the French maid? Yeah, there's a girl who gets kicked out of a car at the start of the movie and spends most of her screen time in a French maid outfit even though she is dragging around a suitcase.

Apparently in this redneck town all you need to do is have people sign a waiver and it's okay for them to run around trying to kill an alien (or each other for that matter).

At the start of the movie the alien is what appears to be, how do I put this....a bear in a space suit with a Halo helmet on. But, when the idiots start to run wild in the junk yard they turn into the slugs from Slither. If this movie had a coherent thought I must have missed it.

The collection of characters ranges from the above mentioned nutters to: A man who is looking for his long lost daughter,only to find her before having a grenade blowup in his hands. A group of kids and their karate teacher. A bunch of jar heads. A woman looking for a husband (while dressed up like she belongs in the movie Gone with the Wind). A Lara Croft wanna be...or maybe Jill Valentine would be a better choice? A high school football team and baseball team!  (for the record I refuse to spend time looking up/remembering any actual character names!)

Death scenes have't been this cheesy since, well, I really don't have a good point of reference for this level of crap. Jeremy London just acts like a dick the whole movie. At one point tossing a puppy for no reason other than he must really hate dogs. There's something that can only be described as a mechanical alien land shark.  Oh and the alien makes some sort of mech out of the junk that has saws and shoots cell phones. (I COULDN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP IF I WAS TRYING)

Seriously it was like this movie was written by 12 year olds who were asked what was cool?!! Ninjas, guns, girls in bras, rednecks, more guns----cool, cool, eh.., cool and cool!!!

Classic Lines:

***Reverend Roddy Piper (I don't care enough to look up his real character name):

"Jesus doesn't approve of you ripping my fucking leg off!"

"I've got God on my side. What do you got tin can?" followed shortly by, "Robots don't go to heaven!"

***Crazy Mother: (after the first day of carnage) "We can't have those bodies lying around the yard! They'll attract flies!"

***Jill Valentine type: (after redneck dude kills zombie Roddy Piper) "I want to fuck your soul!"

What the fuck moments:

Cheerleaders fighting over the head of the recently decapitated football captain.

Guns, flame throwers and football players can't do a damn thing to the aliens mech warrior. But, Roddy Piper is able to rip it's arms off with his bare hands!

The dog that Jeremy London shows back up only to have his neck snapped by the crazy Jill Valentine girl!


How do I describe the end of this movie? It was a little like Super 8 mixed with the last Predator movie. If either of them had a cannibal biker. I wish half this shit wasn't in the movie. It would make this so much easier!! There was a nice twist at the really! It was kinda out of left field. Almost like it was something they thought of at the last minute and decided to throw in two extra lines to make it work! But, they did!

I wish I could say that I hated this movie. But,I didn't. I can't rightly say that I liked it either.  It was fun in a jacked up, no real story, how did this get made type of way.  If  you enjoy bad movies I'd say avoid this one. If you like horrible movies I'd say avoid it. If you like movies that make no sense, have no plot and even less character development then this is your Citizen Kane.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I'm a nerd. There I said it! How can I prove my nerd-y-ness?

I spent the better part of an hour the other night trying to re-thread my broken 8-track (nerd) copy of the soundtrack to Star Wars (double nerd). In the end I couldn't get the ends to match up correctly with the length of tape I I made a splice and edited out about 8 seconds of music. Essentially I created my own cut of the master work! Can't wait until the 8-track makes its way back around to that spot to see what it sounds like!

I've also been re-watching a ton of Torchwood and Doctor Who. Which has led me to notice things that make me more nerdy for seeing them! But, also less nerdy for it taking this long to notice. Case in point.

The Resurrection Glove (or the "risen mitten" as Ianto said) from season one & two  of Torchwood. 

Jack talks about not knowing where it comes from or who built it. After the second glove was destroyed following the mishap with was never mentioned again.

Just one of those strange Torchwood alien artifacts that popped up over the first two seasons that were cool trinkets but never really had a long lasting effect on the show. I think the glove(s) were the only items to make more than one appearance in multiple episodes.

So imagine my shock when watching the last episode of the David Tennant Doctor Who series when I noticed Time Lord Timothy Dalton sporting this fine accessory!

So, it would seem that the glove is a perfect match for Time Lord technology. Makes sense, everything relates back to the Time Lords.

Again I felt a little nerdy when I was all of a sudden saying, "Wait, haven't I seen that iron gauntlet with magical properties before?"

In the magical world of Who everything is connected. So I am not shocked that it was included. Either on accident or on purpose. Consider the scene in Flesh and Stone where Matt Smith's Doctor appears to Amy Pond in the forest when she had her eyes shut. That Doctor had lost his jacket whilst escaping from the Weeping Angels and was sans coat when he headed off with river. But, just a few moments later he appears to Amy and he's wearing his jacket again.  A situation that I noticed at the time (cause I'm a nerd who is tuned into those things). But, it wasn't explained until the last episode of the season!

See the Doctor frolic in the woods with his swish pink/red stripped shirt, suspender and bow tie (bow ties are cool).

Then only a second after running off he's back and you can detect an obvious shoulder of tweed!

Seriously, only the doctor can pull off the combo of pink/red shirt, maroon bow tie, red suspenders,
 brown slacks and a tweed jacket! That alone should be considered a super power.

It's those little things that make watching and re-watching shows like Doctor Who and Torchwood so much fun!

It also makes me wish I could make it out to Sand Diego  for Comicon this year to see some of the amazing SciFi related goodies that will be on display.

I guess I will again have to resort to my back up plan....Paducahcon!!  Follow on twitter at @paducahcon

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Wait is Over

Captain Jack is back...

Very few things in life are worth a two year wait. The return of Torchwood is one of those things.

I would call myself a fan boy. I would say so in public with no shame. To show how little shame I have in this respect let me share this little glimpse.....

I gave a little yelp when Captain Jack Harness (AKA John Barrowman) showed up on the screen for the first time.

To ready myself for the first of 10 new episodes I recently re-watched all the Dr. Who episodes that featured the former Time Agent and all around bad ass.  I also started to watch the original series from the beginning.

I've been looking forward to this ever since creator Russell T. Davis announced that BBC and Starz were partnering together to bring the show to the US as a joint venture. Very rarely do you get a favorite show back after thinking that there may never be more original episodes.

While the five day event "Children of Earth" was well received both in numbers and by critics there was no official green light from the BBC on a fourth series, limited or otherwise. There was also a brief time where it looked like Torchwood may find a US home on FOX.  That idea was bittersweet for me.

If FOX had gotten the show it would have had some decent production values and we would have gotten probably 13 episodes for the first season. But, if it wasn't an immediate hit from the first episode then it would have been doomed to a one off turn. Kind of like the US Dr. Who movie they helped get together (kinda crap movie but I did enjoy Eric Roberts as the Master).

So with 10 episodes in the can, a strong media push, and hopefully great numbers I think we can see more Torchwood for years to come.  Plush you can't hate a cast that has John, Eve Myles and Kai Owens from the original (oh, and the glorious return of Tom Price as PC Andy!) Then throws in Bill Pullman, Mekhi Phifer, and other great guest stars!! I'm looking at you Dollhouse babe Dichen Lachman.

Movie Review -- The Hangover Pt.2 (2011)

She-males, monkeys and Chow....Oh my!!

If you were offended by anything in the first movie...stay away, stay far away.

This movie is not so much a sequel as it is a slightly altered copy of the first movie. A comparison that is not meant to slight this movie or the first one. I loved them both equally.

Vegas is replaced with Bangkok. A lost soon to be groom with a soon to be brother in law. And Stu marrying a stripper with, well an encounter that leads to the best reworking of the Billy Joel song Allentown that I have ever heard!!

Nothing is as funny as having one of those nights where you black out and wake up with a monkey, a naked Asian man, no hair and someone in the party is missing. Well, nothing is funnier when it's a movie about it happening to someone else. I 'm fairly certain that if that happened to me I would piss myself and cry in a hotel room for the whole day!

But, lucky for us the boys have been through this before and night club fires, international criminals, and the constant threat that "Bangkok has him (Teddy) now" won't stop our heroes from their appointed rounds.

Like with many raunchy film sequels the comedy is ratcheted up to a place that will either make you never want to watch this (or any other) film again. But, it works here. I wouldn't be taking my mother to this film...but that's because she doesn't like movies in general. I think she'd find the dick jokes and drinking humor funny actually!

As follow ups go I don't think it's better than the original in the fact that the original was just that....original. But, I also think that it can stand alone as a funny "worst case scenario" film.  If you don't like bad things happening to people in movies, then don't watch this one.

If you look back fondly on your blackout dunk days then have at it. Or, even if you are still in your black out drunk days then enjoy. And with a box office take of almost $250Million on an $80Million budget it's no surprise that a third installment is being discussed for sometime in 2014.

Plus, you are kinda forced to respect a film that features Billy Joel's "Downeaster Alexa" for an extended period of time!! (Storm Front RULES)

Review: Transformers 3 (2011)

Consider this an open letter to Michael Bay....

Dear Michael,

I went to the theater and threw down my $20 dollars for a ticket, popcorn and drink to see the new Transformers movie....I fucking hate you.

The movie was exactly like the other two movies and a little like every movie you have ever made.

It was: loud, had a crap ton of effects, was loud, had crap dialogue, was LOUD, and had talking cars that turn into other shit...granted that last one is pretty much only reflected in the Transformers movie. (I would say that Pearl Harbor would have been more fun with things that turned into other things!)

Basically I really enjoyed myself!!

I have no doubt that this will be no where near the Academy Awards, in any major category. Not so slight sound mixing and special effects artist everywhere!  But, it will probably pick up a Teen Choice or two!  Overall I enjoy this series. I even like the second film. Nothing was lost with letting Megan Fox walk...alternate hottie was found to plug right into the formula. As a matter of fact I think that this whole franchise could go on without any of the main actors.

Shia LaBeouf could be replaced with any young actor, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson could be replaced by any halfway decent looking guy in an Army uniform to keep the ladies happy!

Comedy can always come from some wacky transformer or crazy actor a la John Malkovich and John Turturro....come to think of it...John Turturro may actually be the one actor that, if he didn't come back, I'd be pissed.

All things considered you know what you are getting with a Michael Bay film. Heavy on the action and SFX and low key on the dialogue. I didn't even have a problem with him using scenes from The Island in this movie. Hell, it was his film! Probably helped keep the cost low. Let's face it, the dude who noticed that scenes had been lifted from The Island for use in the freeway chase scene, must have been a fucking Michael Bay fan boy to start out with...either that or an extreme hater who was looking for a reason to rip the film. Either way the Island was a nice film...but I would have never noticed the lifted scene if it wasn't for the lead up buzz after the opening.

Michael Bay makes fun movies. Let's face it: The Rock was BADASS, Armageddon was a fun film, Bad Boys I and II both had their high points, Pearl Harbor...okay that one kinda tanked, and the Transformers films which will no doubt cross the $2BILLION mark once the third film runs its course...are box office gold.

I would say that if you had even a passing fancy with either of the first two movies give this one a shot. If you hated the first two? Don't expect sweeping changes with this one!

Oh, one more thing.....Leonard--FREAKING--Nimoy!! Nuff said.


Nothing to say...nothing to do...

I really wish I had a hobby that involved...well hobby like activities. Right now I am a half assed gamer. Started LA Noir...started Dead Rising 2. I'm a half assed reader. Started like three books and currently haven't finished one book in the last maybe...three months. Got a ton I would like to read if I had the patience and time to read! But, usually I will just check out the audio book. And by check out I mean obtain through other means than purchase (library if you were wondering)

I'm not artsy, I'm not crafty. I have no patience for models or things with little parts that take a long time to make. Essentially I have a limited window of opportunity to get involved in, well, something.

Does surfing the internet count as a hobby? Are there meetings for people to attend and discuss "surfing" stories? Can I join a club and pay a dues to pretend that I have a hobby?

I guess I could start stalking a celebrity on Twitter until they acknowledge I'm there...or until the block me. But, what fun would that be?

Honestly, I really don't want a hobby...because hobbies, like hookers, cost money.  Not sure I have ever strung those words together to form that sentence before!!

Oh well...I'll think of something. Maybe I can start a Justin Bieber fan fiction chat site? That should be good for a few million hits! Maybe I could take up crappy internet poetry...nah.  I guess I could take some online classes so I could feel like I was again wasting my time in college!! Those were fun years...and I seemed to always have something to do other than my homework!