Archive for August, 2006

2006-2007 Television Schedule

Posted in fall tv premier, TV, TV shows with tags on August 29, 2006 by Paxton

Hard to believe, but Friday is officially September. It’s usually about this time that television whores like myself start thinking about premiers for the new fall season. The meager (but still good) summer schedule is coming to an end; Psych ended last Friday, Dead Zone ended on Sunday and Closer ends on Monday. The end of the summer season harks the arrival/return of all of our favorite fall shows.

Don’t worry, faithful reader, I have culled the Internet looking for all the season premiers that are of interest to you and will let you know when your favorite show returns. The list is below and is sorted by start date. I’m not putting everything because I don’t care about half the crap that’s out there, but I’ll put the more popular choices. If you want to see the full list go here. Quick note, for me, the season starts tomorrow. Bones is scheduled to reappear Wednesday night. I can’t wait. Also, the MTV reality show Two-A-Days started last Wednesday. It features my high school alma mater and follows their football team around. I’m trying to watch that too.

Without further ado, here’s the season premiers for some of the most popular fall tv shows. I’ve highlighted the ones I’ll be watching (I may still tune in to a show I’ve not highlighted, but I won’t be watching it regularly).

Bones (Fox) Aug. 30
House (Fox) Sept. 4

Nip/Tuck (FX) Sept. 4
‘Til Death (Fox) Sept. 7
Family Guy (Fox) Sept. 10
Simpsons (Fox) Sept. 10
Dancing With The Stars (ABC) Sept. 12
Survivor (CBS) Sept. 14
Amazing Race (CBS) Sept. 17
CSI: Miami (CBS) Sept. 18
Deal or No Deal (NBC) Sept. 18
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip (NBC) Sept. 18
Two and a Half Men (CBS) Sept. 18
Wife Swap (ABC) Sept. 18
Boston Legal (ABC) Sept. 19
Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC) Sept. 19
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC) Sept. 19
NCIS (CBS) Sept. 19
America’s Next Top Model (CW) Sept. 20
Biggest Loser (NBC) Sept. 20
CSI: New York (CBS) Sept. 20
Kidnapped (NBC) Sept. 20
CSI (CBS) Sept. 21
ER (NBC) Sept. 21
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) Sept. 21
My Name is Earl (NBC) Sept. 21
Office (NBC) Sept. 21
Shark (CBS) Sept. 21

Six Degrees (ABC) Sept. 21
Ghost Whisperer (CBS) Sept. 22
Law & Order (NBC) Sept. 22
Cold Case (CBS) Sept. 24
Desperate Housewives (ABC) Sept. 24
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC) Sept. 24
Without A Trace Sept. 24
Heroes (NBC) Sept. 25
Gilmore Girls (CW) Sept. 26
Smallville (CW) Sept. 28
Bachelor (ABC) Oct. 2
Friday Night Lights (NBC) Oct. 3
Veronica Mars (CW) Oct. 3
Lost (ABC) Oct. 4
Nine (ABC) Oct. 4
South Park (CC) Oct. 4
Battlestar Galactica (SciFi) Oct. 6
Trading Spouses (Fox) Oct. 6
Bridezillas (WE) Oct. 8
What About Brian (ABC) Oct. 9
I Pity The Fool! (TVLand) Oct. 11
30 Rock (NBC) Oct. 11
Las Vegas (NBC) Oct. 20
The OC (Fox) Nov. 2
Supernanny (ABC) Dec. 4
Rome (HBO) Jan. 7
24 (Fox) Jan. 7
American Idol (Fox) Jan. 16
Psych (USA) Jan. ??

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Back to the Future Slots & Studio 60 TV Show

Posted in Back to the Future, slot machines, TV, TV shows with tags , , , , , on August 23, 2006 by Paxton

I’ve got two quick notes for everyone:

According to BTTF.com, Las Vegas has just started receiving the new Back to the Future Video Slots. Interesting that my last two articles involved the demise of Back to the Future The Ride and slot machines. It’s like two kids are walking down the street, one carrying the BTTF The Ride article and one carrying the slot machine article. Then, like the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercials, the kids trip, fall into each other and BAM!, everything is all mixed up into something new, different…and DELICIOUS.

Also of note in the above article is that Christopher Lloyd reprised his role of Doc Emmette Brown for the live action segments which were also overseen by writer/director/producer Bob Gale. Click here to see pics of the prototype of the Back to the Future slot machine.

Quick Note #2:

I watched a preview of NBC’s new show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It’s by Aaron Sorkin who created Sports Night and West Wing. It doesn’t premier until Sept 18, but Netflix is shipping out early preview DVDs as a promotion.

I watched it last night and the show, in a word, is incredible. I didn’t really get into West Wing like I wanted to, but I did love Sorkin’s Sports Night which showed the behind the scenes drama of a sports talk show similar to ESPN SportsCenter. It starred Desperate Housewives’ Felicity Huffman and was fun to watch. Studio 60 is very similar to Sports Night in that it’s behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show similar to Saturday Night Live. Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford play a famous writing duo who are asked back to Studio 60 after being fired because the eccentric show’s creator melted down during a live broadcast. The writing is sharp and funny and the actors are brilliant. I can’t wait until this starts airing during the regular season. I will definitely start watching it.

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Slot Machines: The Next Generation Part I

Posted in casinos, Elvis, slot machines, technology, video games with tags , , , , , on August 20, 2006 by Paxton

The grandfather of the modern slots, the Liberty Bell slot machine, was developed in California in 1887. Since then the basic premise has stayed the same; three reels, multiple prize symbols per reel, one lever to spin the reels. Originally payouts were given as complimentary items by the bars they were in but as electronic parts replaced the mechanical parts, slot machines started paying out hard cash. Even with that development, the basic idea and design of slot machines didn’t really waver, that is, until the mass-producing of microchips and the widespread use of computer software.

With the proliferation of the micro-processor, most modern slot machines became software based and play like a complicated computer video game. As a matter of fact, I see modern slot machines as the newer cousin to the upright arcade video game. My formative years were all up and down the ’80s. I loved video arcades. My friend Steve and I would search out video arcades in which to play our favorite games like Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros, Zaxxon, Tecmo Bowl, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, etc, etc. I am, a video game phreak…..a Super-Phreak, if you will. So it should come as no surprise that I am fascinated by the new virtual slots seen in every casino. Not only do they look and play like a video game, they have graphics, sounds and images from popular entertainment like TV and movies. The old 3 reel system has been replaced by virtual playing reels running between 30 and 50 paylines that a user can select. The software and intelligence to run these machines has become intensely complicated. Click here for a really good interview with Michael Shackleford, The Wizard of Odds. He is a slot machine designer and he de-mystifies some ideas you may have about the One-Armed Bandit.

I’ve been to many different casinos in several different places over the years. Las Vegas, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Atlantic City. During my travels I’ve seen some pretty cool and pretty funny character based machines. I began taking pictures and collecting some of the best. In this 2 part article I’ll show you some of my favorites.


Monty Python & Holy Grail – This is easily one of the best machines I’ve ever played. The graphics and gameplay were phenomenal. I actually didn’t care that I lost 20 bucks playing on it. There are tons of movie clips and quotes that are thrown about you. If you touch certain parts of the screen neat sound effects go off. Lots of fun and one of my favorites. Click the image for a larger pic.


Antique Appraisal – Very interesting slot machine based on the popular tv show Antique Roadshow. The money reels have pictures of appraisers and antique objects on them. So you could conceivably get a pasty-faced man with professor glasses in one reel and a beat up looking armoire in another. The bonus game is interesting too because you have to pick out the most valuable item from a group of antiques. Very wierd premise for a slot machine, but very interesting.


Lucky Larry’s Lobster Mania – This machine rocks. The idea of a slot machine based on the continuing adventures of a lobster by the name of Lucky Larry is patently absurd, but I LOVE IT!!. This typifies many of the silly generic slot machines you will find in big groups on the casino floor, but it’s very cleverly done. Cute characters, lots of colors, subtle theme of one being lucky or having lots of money. This one really makes me laugh because the idea is so random.


Elvis – Being a huge Elvis fan, I had to put this. These are slightly disappointing because they are the old-school three reel slots and not the virtual video game slots. They have Elvis images all over them and some of the reels have guitars and cadillacs on them. I only played about 5 bucks on these because they are labeled Elvis, but the Monty Python slots above were calling my name.

That’s about it for today, I’ll post more pics of my favorite slot machines soon.

Click here for Part II of this article.

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In Memorium: Back to the Future The Ride

Posted in Back to the Future, movies, reviews, Universal Studios with tags , , , , on August 11, 2006 by Paxton


It makes me very sad that I have to write this article. I’ve heard rumors for a while, but it was officially announced that Universal Studios Orlando was going to “phase out” the 15 year old ride for something newer, presumably a Simpsons ride.

I have a long history with Back to the Future. I saw it at the theater in 1985 when it was released. I remember my dad checking me out of school to go see an earlier showing (it was still packed). Then when the original was released on VHS, I had my dad (god love him for it) show up at Blockbuster the day it was released to rent it (we copied it). I remember losing my f’n mind when, at the end of the movie on VHS, there appeared the words TO BE CONTINUED… which didn’t appear in the theatrical release. I then eagerly waited the four years it took to release Parts 2 and 3. I bought all the magazines and books I could find. Click here to see my review of the Back to the Future novels. I also had the Back to the Future official movie magazine but it fell apart I read it so much. So, in 1999, when I was assigned to a project in Tampa, FL, I was beside myself thinking that I would be an easy 1 hour drive from Universal Studios Orlando and Back to the Future The Ride. I made several trips to Orlando to visit Universal studios and have ridden The Ride many times since then. I even got to ride it at Universal Studios in Hollywood. Everytime it takes me back to the feeling of watching the movie when I was a kid.

Now it seems that the studio brass feel it’s time to retire the ride. I hate to say it, but I agree. The ride was pretty shabby the last time I rode it. I love going to the ride and seeing the props and enviroments and the atmosphere, but the ride mechanism and IMAX dome screening always makes me motion sick. I would love to see it updated, but with the DVDs released a few years ago and no new movies or TV shows on the horizon, the prospects for the property have pretty much played out. It’s sad to see it go and I’m glad I got to ride it just a few weeks ago as the ride looks to be phased out by October.

Here I am outside the main entrance to The Ride at Universal Studios in Orlando in 1999.

Here I am outside the ride with a Doc Brown impersonator. We are posing in front of an actual Delorean model used in the movie. This is also from 1999 in Orlando.

Fun Back to the Future links:

1. Here is the video footage of Back to the Future The Ride. It’s the video you’d see if you were sitting in the ride, not the video while waiting in line. Very cool.

2. Bloopers from the filming of Back to the Future.

3. Did you know that Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly? Roughly 30% of the movie was shot with Stoltz as the lead but the director thought he looked too old and played Marty too straight. Here are some pics of the legendary “Eric Stoltz” footage.

Take care BTTF The Ride, we knew ye well!!

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Lazy Sunday…

Posted in personal, random, soda with tags , , , on August 6, 2006 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

It’s been a lazy Sunday for us. Actually, it’s been a lazy weekend. We celebrated our 5th anniversary on Friday. We grilled steaks and scallops and had many, many cocktails. It was a very fun evening (wink, wink, nudge, nudge…if you know what I’m sayin’….meeeooooww!).

Saturday consisted of clothes shopping, then us getting tired and going home to drink cocktails and watch the movie The Mummy with Brendan Fraser. Last weekend we went to Universal Studios in Orlando and loved riding the new ride, Revenge of the Mummy, based on the aforementioned movie. The experience of that ride made us want to watch the Mummy and its sequel, Mummy Returns, again. So we did. The movie was awesome and we passed out drunk, fat and happy around midnight.

Sunday involved Steph going to her classroom to prepare for Monday and me running a few errands. While out, I discovered the below:

You can understand my fascination. Finding a new flavor of Pepsi is like finding the Fountain of Youth and realizing it’s mango flavored. Totally unexpected. Diet Pepsi Jazz?! I mean, really? Black-Cherry-Vanilla Diet Pepsi? Could they have crammed anymore flavors into this bottle? I think not. In case you were wondering, it tastes like creme soda flavored Pepsi. Pretty good, but not good enough to replace regular Diet Pepsi, for me. Definately better than the Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi they released.

Anyway, hope everyone else had a good weekend. PEACE!!!

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Today Marks the Fifth Year of my Marriage!!

Posted in holiday, personal with tags , on August 4, 2006 by Paxton

Happy Anniversary!!!

I’d like to wish my lovely wife a Happy 5th Anniversary. I look forward to grilling steaks and getting wasted this evening. Love you, bunny.

You may continue to today’s regularly scheduled article.

Death by Taurine: Energy Drink Reviews Part II

Posted in coffee, Death By Taurine, humor, pop culture, reviews, soda with tags , , , on August 2, 2006 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

Welcome to part 2 of my energy drink reviews. If you missed part 1, just click here for reviews of Red Bull, RockStar, MDX, SoBe No Fear and TaB Energy. If you read those, then move along to part 2 below where I discuss 6 more energy drinks.


Full Throttle – This is Coca-Cola’s first entry into the energy drink market. So far, on taste alone, this is one of my favorite drinks. It’s like a stronger Mountain Dew or Mello Yello. Very good and the Sugar Free version (0 cals, 0 sugar) tastes exactly the same as the full Full Throttle. As far as its energy boost, there is none. No energy boost in an energy drink is like taking the bus to cross the street. What’s the point? On taste alone, this is one of the best, but there is, inexplicably, no energy boost.

Full Throttle also makes a version called Full Throttle: Fury. There isn’t a lot of difference between Fury and the regular FT. The taste isn’t as potent, and the kick is still non-existent. That’s the difference. Just acknowledge that it’s there and move on.


Von Dutch – You’ve seen the Von Dutch label on celebrities’ clothes, jeans and trucker caps, now taste the energy drink. Overall, it’s really good. It has the second best energy kick next to Diet Rockstar, and its taste is actually better, not so black licorice-y. What the hell is in the drinks that make them all taste like black licorice? I hate black licorice. Sugar Free has the same kick as regular with an even better taste. I would almost say this is my favorite because the taste is pretty good and the energy kick isn’t so potent that I feel like I just freebased cocaine and chased it with heroin.


Vault – This has had a pretty big marketing campaign based on the slogan “Drinks like a Soda, Kicks like an Energy Drink”. That tagline should read, “Drinks like watered down soda, Kicks like a One-Legged Man”. It tastes like an even blander version of MDX, if that’s possible. The Sugar Free Vault even manages to step down the taste ANOTHER notch. It’s like drinking water with a splash of Diet Mountain Dew…and no energy kick. Very disappointing. Move along.


Monster Energy – This energy drink has the tagline ‘Unleash the Beast’. Somewhat silly for a drink that tastes like jolly ranchers. This is a fairly good tasting energy drink with a mild kick. If Diet Rockstar has the highest kick, and Von Dutch is second, this would be third. Von Dutch still tastes better as this drink is too sweet. Even the Lo-Carb version tastes sugary. Calorie levels are similar to all the other drinks; regular has 200 calories and Lo-Carb has 20 calories. A not bad, if somewhat pedestrian, choice for your energy drink.

Like RockStar, there are like 4 versions of Monster Energy. I only tried regular and lo-carb. I didn’t even bother with the other two.


Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng – This is not officially labeled as an energy drink, but it definitely gives the buzz of an energy drink. Back in 1999, before the energy drink boom and during the time when dot-coms were considered good investments, I was consulting at a client in Tampa, FL. A fellow consultant liked this tea and he got me liking it too. We weren’t really using it for the energy boost, at first, but it gave us such a great buzz that we began to use it for that very reason. He would drink them like crazy. He drank like 5 one day and was bouncing off the walls. Back then the tea came in a really cool bright blue/violet bottle with finger grooves in the side. Now it is sold in a regular bottle with a picture of a tree on it. It’s also sold in giant cans that look like the regular bottle. Still gives a good kick and it tastes pretty good too. Check it out, there’s also a Diet version with only 20 calories.


Jolt Cola – I used to drink this in college when I was cramming for an exam. The last time I used it was in 1997 while studying late for my COBOL final exam. It gives a great buzz but the sugar crash is heinous. You actually feel hungover after drinking a bunch of this stuff. I thought it had been discontinued, but it’s still sold in certain parts of the country. Jolt Cola today has a new package that looks like a battery (get it? Energy=Battery…clever) and it comes in several varieties (Cherry, Ultra, Blue, Cola and Red). I’ve tried the Cherry and Ultra. Very tasty and still has the sugar/caffeine kick I remember. The sugar crash has been toned down with some other ingredients like Vitamin B and Ginseng. If you can find it, I still recommend it.

UPDATED!! Click here for Death by Taurine Part III – 5 NEW energy drink reviews.

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