Archive for March, 2009

The Grocery Aisle of long forgotten breakfast cereals Pt I

Posted in breakfast cereal, Cap'n Crunch, cartoons, food, nostalgia, Pac-Man, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by Paxton

Cereal Boxes potpourriMy good friend Steve emailed me a few weeks ago and asked me to write an article on a subject he and his wife had recently been discussing.  He wanted me to talk about breakfast cereal.  More specifically, he wanted me to talk about some of his favorite breakfast cereals he remembers when he was a kid.  Now, Steve and I have known each other since first grade, but I won’t know all of his favorite breakfast cereals.  So, I thought I’d take the general topic of cereal, and look at it from the nostalgia perspective.

There is a surprising amount of cereal box enthusiasts out there.  If you go to Flickr, there are two main groups dedicated to cereal from the ’50s up through the ’90s.  There are more groups than these two, but the two I’m talking about contain the majority of the images.  So, scanning these groups, I thought I’d discuss some forgotten and long discontinued cereals that we may all remember.  So, let’s head on over to your local Western Supermarket or Safeway, and walk down the Nostalgia aisle (Aisle 7c) and see what we all used to eat when we were kids.  FYI…There were so many awesome, awesome cereals that I found that I decided to split this article into two parts.  Come back later this week to see Part II. For any of the pictures below, click them to go to a bigger version (most likely on Flickr).

All set, then let’s begin with the first batch…

No talk about breakfast cereals is complete without talking about Capt. Horatio Magellan Crunch (aka Cap’n Crunch for the noobs).   And if we are talking about the Cap’n, I’m going to have to talk about the elephant in the room.  It is a harsh truth that all cereal enthusiasts are aware of.  Cap’n Crunch is an incurable media whore.  Currently, there’s like five versions of Cap’n Crunch on the shelves.  That alone is enough, but if you look into the past, and include special editions, we are looking at a number north of 17 versions of Cap’n Crunch.  Seriously.  He will pimp his image/cereal out to any idea that comes across the table.  Here are 9 versions of Cap”n Crunch you may have never seen.

Choco CrunchVanilly CrunchCinnamon CrunchPunch CrunchDeep Sea CrunchHalloween CrunchXmas CrunchHome Run CrunchPolar Crunch
Deep Sea Crunch? Vanilly Crunch?  Seriously? And that’s not all of the images. How about Treasure Hunt Crunch? Or maybe you would prefer Choco-Donuts Crunch? This never ending parade of Crunch madness has got to end. The Cap’n is sick, he needs help.

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Weekly Geeks 2009 – 11 – My favorite historical fiction

Posted in Billy the Kid, books, pop culture, reviews, Weekly Geeks with tags , , , , on March 26, 2009 by Paxton

Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks #11. This week’s theme is about historical fiction.

Do you have a favorite book that really pulled you back in time, or perhaps gave you a special interest in that period? Include a link to a review of it on another book blog if you can find one (doesn’t have to be a Weekly Geek participant).

At first, I wondered exactly what they meant by historical fiction. Most commonly, historical fiction includes books that take place entirely in a past time period including a mix of real and fictional characters.  However, there are newer books that have become popular that mostly take place during the present. Books like Angels & Demons and Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown as well as The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry and many of the Indiana Jones fiction books investigate and examine past historical events, but do it from the present.  Many times including passages that take place entirely in the past.  I really enjoy reading these newer books because they are usually good adventure tales, but it feels like I’m learning a bit of history too. I would consider this historical fiction, but looking around the net, it doesn’t seem like other people do. I was set to pick one of the above books, but I’ll dig back into my “Books I’ve Read” shelf a bit further for a more traditional historical novel. It takes place in one of my favorite genres that, now that I think about it, I haven’t read in years; the western. I used to love reading books about and that took place in, the Old West.

Young Guns

I think what actually got me interested in the Old West was the 1988 movie Young Guns staring Emilio Estevez.  More specifically, it got me interested in the history of one William H Bonney, aka Billy the Kid.  After seeing the movie I read everything I could get my hands on having to do with gunslingers and the Old West.  Many of the books I read told the real history of the west, but I also started reading fiction based on legends of the Old West.  There was an old “Garage Sale” store in Birmingham I used to go to in order to search for old and interesting books to read.  In fact, this was the same store in which I would purchase my collection of Back to the Future movie novelizations.  Inside its musty book room I found a ton of old paperbacks featuring gunfighter stories.  Louis L’Amour’s The First Fast Draw, the Cemetery Sam western series, old fiction books about Wild Bill Hickock and Butch Cassidy.  I bought them all and devoured them.  Especially anything that focused on Billy the Kid, my favorite western gunfighter.

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Twilight: The Art of making vampires lame

Posted in books, movies, pop culture, reviews, Twilight, vampires with tags , , , on March 24, 2009 by Paxton

Twilight posterSo, Twilight came out on DVD this past Saturday.  I’ve had people ask me to read the book or see the movie because they want to know what I think.  I’m told I would love the books and/or movie because I love fantasy/sci-fi books.  Well, as a litmus test, I decided to watch Twilight the movie to decide whether I will continue on with reading the books (I got the first book for Xmas).  I admit, I do love vampires (they are, appropriately, AWESOME) and I do enjoy teen fiction, so this should be a good fit.

So I be-bopped on over to Blockbuster on Saturday afternoon and was able to pick up a copy (one of many left on the shelf) of Twilight on Blu-Ray.  Interesting, because I would think that more copies would be gone from the shelves based on the popularity of this movie.  Conversely, the movies Role Models and Sex Drive were gone completely from the Blu-Ray stacks.  I had to pick up these last two in Standard Def (disappointment already).  Anyway, the wife and I ordered pizza and popped Twilight into the DVD player.

Here’s what I thought: Awful.  Terrible.  Horrible.  I realize I’m about to piss off the collective throngs of Team Edward, but it’s got to be said.  This movie is terrible.

Even my wife didn’t enjoy it.  She didn’t hate it like I did, but she said she preferred the movie Watchmen to Twilight, and to me, that speaks VOLUMES about the enjoyment level of this movie.  Acting, script, the portrayal of the vampires in general.  Just plain God-awful.  Stephanie Meyer takes what’s awesome about vampires, rolls it up into a tiny ball and wipes her ass with it.  Then she sets it on fire and pisses all over the ashes.  Everything I love about vampires is stripped away and made into the Harlequin Romance version of vampires.  And Edward Cullen, is the Fabio of this fable.  They may as well have cast Fabio as Edward.

harlequin twilight

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Movie adaptations that are better than the original book

Posted in books, reviews, Watchmen with tags , on March 18, 2009 by Paxton

So you just finished my Weekly Geeks entry about the worst book-to-film adaptation of all time.  What now?  Well, as a bonus, I thought I’d compile a list of movies that are actually better than the original book they were based on. It’s rare when this happens, and it’s the exception, not the rule, but it does happen.  I could think of three.

Let’s begin:

The Natural

The Natural by Bernard Malamud – The movie with Robert Redford and Glenn Close was fantastic. One of the all-time classic baseball movies. The book? Pretty much the same story until the very end.  I guess Malamud thought that Hobbs hitting the home-run that wins the Knights the pennant was too Hollywood.  In this book, Roy strikes out, loses the game and dies penniless, alone and forgotten in a New York City sewer.  There’s actually a bit at the end where someone wonders, years later, what happened to him.  Yeah, that’s a much better ending.

Forrest GumpForrest Gump by Winston Groom – Granted, I’m not a HUGE fan of this movie, but it was sweet and entertaining enough that I don’t hate it. The book, however, receives the full brunt of my white hot hatred.  It contains a lot of the story in the movie, plus so much other utterly  insane crap that several times I had to look at the front of the book to make sure I was still reading Forrest Gump.  Part of the book takes place in the African Jungles where Forrest is lost for years (he even marries a tribal woman from an African tribe he lives with). There’s also an entire section of Forrest going to live with Jenny at college and them doing nothing but having sex everyday. Seriously.  EVERYDAY.  Jenny even mentions it.  And don’t worry, I checked, I was not, in fact, reading the novelization of Forrest Hump, it was Forrest Gump.  That wasn’t the only thing.  He also becomes an astronaut and blah blah blah.  It’s endless monotonous marches through history that we got plenty of in the movie.  But it was more.  And more obnoxiously over-the-top.  Needless to say, I really didn’t like the book.

Watchmen graphic novelWatchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons – I talked about this last week, but I have never been a fan of this graphic novel. The premise and the overall idea that Moore was trying to get across, I loved. However the presentation left a lot to be desired. It seemed dense and all over the place to me. The movie took the book and set it in a more focused timeline and gave you the same ideas that were posited in the graphic novel but in a more satisfying way. So, to me, the movie is better and more enjoyable than the graphic novel. However, I am going to give this novel one more chance (third time is the charm) to wow me, but I’m not expecting any difference than the first two times I read it.

Weekly Geeks – 2009 – 10 – Worst book/movie adaptations

Posted in books, Jumper, movies, Weekly Geeks with tags , , , on March 17, 2009 by Paxton

Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks has really been on a role lately with some very good topics. Last week was the favorite author quotes and this week they want you to discuss what, in my opinion, is the worst book-to-film adaptation ever. Here’s the challenge:

Worst movie adaptations: The recent release of Watchmen based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore got me thinking about what I thought were the worst movie adaptations of books. What book or books did a director or directors completely ruin in the adaptation(s) that you wish you could “unsee,” and why in your opinion, what made it or them so bad in contrast to the book or books?

This is an interesting topic because people can really get bent out of shape when their favorite books are supposedly done “wrong” on the big screen. To me, a book-to-film adaptation has to be taken as something completely on its own.  The movie can be a good movie on it’s own merit, but also still adapt the source material poorly by changing the story or characters.  To me, that’s still a win.  If the movie makers take the source material and make an interesting movie, then I’m happy.  I figure, if the movie is good, maybe it will entice people to check out the source material for themselves. That is a big win, because now more people will read the book and get the author’s original vision. But if the movie turns out, on its own, to be a bad movie, then you have people turning away from the original source, and that’s bad.  So the question is really this; Is the movie bad, or is it just bad because you care so much about the source material you can’t separate the two? It’s the classic “chicken and the egg” syndrome.

So, having said this, I think, for me, the movie that is a poor adaptation of its source book, regardless of its merits as a movie, is Jumper.

Jumper book Jumper movie

I saw this movie without any knowledge of the book, or that there even was a book. I enjoyed the movie as a whole, even though there were flaws. Hayden Christensen isn’t great as the main character. He’s a little whiny and immature. I loved Jamie Bell’s character of Griffin and the entire concept of people born with the ability to Jump. So, overall, this was a good action movie with nice special effects. Then I find out it was based on a series of books. I was intrigued.

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