Archive for January, 2011

Awesomeness Elsewhere – Jan 28, 2011

Posted in 80s, blogging, movies, nostalgia, personal with tags , , on January 28, 2011 by Paxton

Back to the Future wide

Hello everyone. It’s Friday. TGIF. I just want to catch you up on my activities elsewhere.

— I wrote a nostalgia piece today over at Strange Kid’s Club. I answer the question, “What Makes You a Strange Kid?” It involves Back to the Future, my dad and the Birmingham radio station I-95.  Check it out here.

— I also wrote my weekly DVD column.  I’m getting some really good feedback on it.  If you want to know what to buy this week in DVD/Blu-Ray, then check out this week’s On The Shelves.

Stay tuned, next week I’m going to put up my yearly review of the Oscar nominations.  Should be a blast watching me completely second guess the Academy.  Did they get it right this year?  Come back Monday or Tuesday to find out.

Have a good weekend.

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More fun with my camera phone

Posted in camera phone, cell phones, random, technology with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2011 by Paxton

I bought my first camera phone back in 2006.  It was the original Motorola Razr V3.  It was pretty cool being able to snap pics of stuff I came across at any given moment.  So, in December of that same year, I wrote an article that  took a look at some of the random photos I had taken with my phone.  One of my blogging/Twitter buddies Trish just posted a very similar article and it got me thinking that I want to do it again.  It has been 4 years.  Plus, I have a much better phone now, the iPhone.

So, I’m going to delve into my cell phone photos and see what randomness I can come up with.  Here we go.

Croc Lobster
I found this odd statue outside a restaurant in the French Quarter in New Orleans. I call it “Croc-Lobster” (get it?…The B-52’s song?…hello?).  I find myself completely fascinated by the idea of a Croc-Lobster.  This needs to be a monster that fights Godzilla.  NOW.

P A X
Before the baby, my wife was an elementary school teacher. So she had these alphabet letter cards up on the walls of her classroom. I took pics of the letters P, A and X (because it’s my name, duh) and texted them to my brother.  It looks silly now that I’m looking at it but that’s the stuff my brother and I text to each other.

Knight Industries truck
I got so excited when I saw this truck. I have to wonder if a black Firebird named KITT was inside as this is very similar to the truck that transports that awesome car in the show Knight Rider.  Even the logo is similar.

Margarona
Went to Charleston, SC a few years ago with some friends. In the middle of the night, drunk and hungry, we wound up in a small Mexican restaurant in the middle of downtown.  Featured on the menu was this unbelievable site, The Margarona.  A frozen margarita served with a full bottle of Corona turned upside down into it.  It never even occurred to me to try something like this.  My mind can now be considered BLOWN.  For some reason, they wouldn’t serve it at 2am, which seems to me to be the only time someone would order it.

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Awesomeness Elsewhere – Jan 21, 2011

Posted in blogging, movies with tags , on January 21, 2011 by Paxton

Each Friday I’ll try to keep you up to date on some of the goings on for me around the Internets.  In case you didn’t remember I also write columns for Strange Kids Club and I run a vintage movie advertisement blog called Held Over!

Zapped! poster

– This week in my Strange Kids Club column, Forgotten Favorites, I talk about the 1982 teen comedy Zapped! starring Scott Baio, Willie Aames and Heather Thomas’ breasts.  I also looked at an ad for Zapped over on Held Over.

– All this week on Held Over I looked at 4 other ads (besides Zapped!) for 1980s teen sex comedies like Porky’s and Fast Times at Ridgmont High.  Head on over there to see them.  My personal favorite was the ad for the movie Joy Stick.

– Also on Strange Kids Club I posted my weekly look at DVD/Blu-Ray releases for Jan 18 in my column On The Shelves.  See me talk about Takers, Death Race 2 and Justified.

Go forth, check out the awesomeness and I’ll see you back here.

Year End Book Report: The best books I read in 2010

Posted in books, reviews, Star Trek, Star Wars with tags , , , , , on January 19, 2011 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

Okay, time to “wrap up” my end-of-the-year “wrap up”. Last week I posted my annual Movie Board articles featuring the best and worst movies of 2010.  I’ve been doing those lists since 2007Starting last year, I added The Book Report reviewing all the best books I read throughout the year.  Today is the 2010 Book Report.

During the year, I keep a Google Spreadsheet logging all the books I read.  Here’s a screenshot and link to the spreadsheet.

Google Spreadsheet
Google Spreadsheet containing my book log.

The spreadsheet tells me I read 62 books this past year.  That’s about 10 more books than the year before.  I read a lot more graphic novels this year as opposed to last year which accounts for the increase in books.  Those graphic novels can be read in an afternoon, so it pumps up my book totals.  Plus I read several Young Adult books that took only a few days to read.

I also did a lot of re-reads this past year.  I re-read 6 or 7 Star Wars novels I hadn’t read since the 90s. I also re-read the final Harry Potter book. Every once in a while I get in a kick of re-reading books I loved but haven’t read in years. After two or three years, you’d be surprised how much you forget about the story. It’s like reading the books again for the first time.  But I will not include any books I re-read in this list.  Only books I read in 2010 for the first time will be included.

Anyway, on to the list. Here’s the best books I read in 2010 in no particular order.

7 Deadly Wonders 6 Sacred Stones 5 Greatest Warriors
Jack West, Jr series by Matthew Reilly – I found the second book, Six Sacred Stones, in a box of books my buddy Dr Mike was getting rid of a year or two ago.  I read the back and it sounded good, so I took it.  Mike mentioned he thought there may be a book before it because he felt he was missing some of the story when he read it.  I searched Paperbackswap.com and found out he was right.  So I ordered the first book, Seven Deadly Wonders and read both books back to back.  And I loved them.  The story is very much part Indiana Jones, part Da Vinci Code and part National Treasure.  The action is very fast paced.  I had read two other Reilly books, Area 7 and The Contest, before this and they were equally as awesome.  Reilly really can write fun action books.  The story centers around Jack West Jr, an Australian military solider and his international and eclectic team who discover that a supernatural event will soon cause the end of the world and set out across the globe, uncovering clues to find out how to stop it.  That’s a really high level explanation, but you get the idea.  The third book in this series, Five Greatest Warriors, was just released in paperback on Dec 28.  I read it last week.  Unbelievable.  I love each one of these books.  The first one, Seven Deadly Wonders, is the best, followed closely by Six Sacred Stones and Five Greatest Warriors which are tied.  Such good reads.  I am concerned though.  The final page in FGW actually says THE END.  I don’t know why you’d start a series counting down from 7 and then not finish it because the story in Book 3 ends with no cliff hanger.  However, Reilly has stated he has other ideas and if he continues Jack West’s story, it’ll count down to 1.  I’m glad, because I adore these books and want more.  I may have to continue Reilly’s other book series about a special forces soldier code named Scarecrow while I wait.

Demonata 1 Demonata 2 Demonata 3
Demonata series by Darren Shan – I was recommended this series by my brother-in-law’s brother-in-law (brother-in-law once removed?)  Anyway, he knew I liked Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak series so he told me to give this series a try.  And I did.  And it’s awesome.  Very dark and sinister, Shan is building up a very interesting world of magic and demons.  The story is kind of in depth and builds over the entire series so it’s tough to nail down a synopsis for you without ruining anything.  But the world is dark and the demons are horrific.  Know that so far I’ve read books 1 – 3 in this series and I plan on reading more.  So far the series sits at 10 books.

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Movie Board: The worst movies I saw in 2010

Posted in movies, reviews with tags , , , , on January 13, 2011 by Paxton

Movie Board

So, on Tuesday I talked about my favorite movies of 2010. Now it’s time to take a look at the Movie Board and pick the worst movies I saw last year. Here’s a quick refresher of this year’s Movie Board:

Movie Board 2010
My Movie Board 2010

You can see previous years’ Movie Boards here.

Now let’s see what movies I felt were a waste of my valuable time in 2010.

In no particular order.

Sex and the City 2
Sex and the City 2 – Yes I saw this.  My wife loved this show.  She has the full box set of DVDs she watches nearly every summer.  I watch the show every once in a while with her.  It’s not awful.  I can’t watch too much of it at once, but I don’t hate the show.  It can be pretty amusing at times.  I even went to see the first movie with her, and enjoyed it.  So I expected at least some light humor and to be mildly entertained.  Instead, I HATE THIS F***ING MOVIE.  Hate it with all the fiery hatred in the bowels of Hell.  They should have stopped at the last movie.  The Samantha character is RIDICULOUS.  At 60, they are still trying to make her the fiery sex bomb and it doesn’t work anymore.  She looks old.  And her antics are cringe inducing.  The Carrie character, who was never my favorite anyway, is off the charts irritating in this one.  Why anyone would go out with, or stay married to her is beyond me.  This movie was worse than terrible.  It was offensive.  If there’s a part 3, I will not see it.  But judging from the box office, there won’t be a part 3.  So there is a God.

The American
The American – F**k movie studio marketing departments.  F**k. Them.  They totally played this as a European Bourne Identity.  However, it’s more like those old, slowly paced ’70s action movies everyone remembers loving but when they watch them now, realize how goddam boring they are.  I think I was more pissed at the bait and switch than this being a bad movie.  If I had known what I was in for and adjusted my expectations, I think I might have enjoyed this.  I say MIGHT.  It is a very European style movie with long boring shots, minimal dialogue and some nudity.  I just went in expecting something completely different and I totally blame the marketing departments of the movie studio.  They can suck it.

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I’m joining the Strange Kids’ Club

Posted in blogging with tags on January 12, 2011 by Paxton

Hello everyone.  Hope you enjoyed yesterday’s “best of 2010” movie article.  Tomorrow I’ll be posting my “worst of 2010” movie article.  Stay tuned for it because you are either going to really enjoy it or really want to rip my liver out through my belly button.  It’s gonna be epic.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you a head’s up that I’ve been asked to contribute content to the website/blog Strange Kids’ Club.  For the last year or so Rondal’s great site has been a friend of the Cavalcade and I check his site regularly.  I talked about Strange Kids Club back in June when they interviewed Shawn Robare from Branded in the 80s.

Well, Rondal asked if I would join the Clubhouse and start writing articles for the site. I had to agree because I love his site and any chance I get to “flex my writing muscles” is one I like to take. So I am on board and my first two articles were posted yesterday. Currently, I have two recurring columns I’ll be writing. The first is called Forgotten Favorites and it’ll focus on forgotten but awesome items from our pop culture past. The first installment talks about the Atari 2600 game, Yars’ Revenge. Check that here.

The second column is called On the Shelves and will be a weekly look at the DVDs/Blu-Rays available to buy that week. I’ll make funny comments and some recommends/not recommends for some of the bigger and geekier home video releases. The first installment of On The Shelves also went up yesterday. Check it out here.

Don’t worry, I’m still going to write this site in conjunction with my articles over there, it’s just another outlet for my overwhelmingly awesome creativity.  So mosey on over to Strange Kids Club and check out some of the awesome stuff.  I guarantee you’ll really like it.

Held Over

And check out my vintage movie advertisement blog, Held Over.  This week I’ve been updating with ads for movies that were picked by the Library of Congress to be added to their archives.  It’s been a lot of fun.

So stay tuned, tomorrow is my “worst of 2010” movie article.  It’ll make me either a God or a goat.

Movie Board: My favorite movies of 2010

Posted in Academy Awards, Harry Potter, movies, reviews with tags , , , , , , on January 11, 2011 by Paxton

Movie Board

Here we are again.  It’s time for my annual encounter with The Movie Board.  We’ve been through a lot, Movie Board, and it’s time to do it again.  Let’s dance.

First off, let’s take a look at this year’s Movie Board.

Movie Board 2010
My Movie Board 2010

According to it’s all-knowing whiteness I saw 52 movies this past year.  Very close to last year in which I saw 53 movies.  I was on a tear throughout the summer, way ahead of my pace for last year, but the pace slowed to a crawl in September with the birth of my son.  However, I rallied and was able to get my movie viewing total back up over 50.  Actually, the number of movies I saw was probably closer to 60 as I also saw movies like True Grit (the original), Death Trap and Harry Brown, but they were all released before 2010.  And this list is for movies released within the calendar 2010 movie season.

Anyway, from this list I’ve culled my favorites.  And here they are in no particular order.

Inception
Inception – Mind bending.  Best way to describe this movie.  Leo is great in this.  I think I prefer this movie to Shutter Island.  I’d definitely watch Inception again before watching Shutter Island.  Sure, some of the dream mechanics are a little…ill defined.  Sure, Ellen Page’s character actually going into the dream made little to no sense.  But I enjoyed it all the same.  Fun and interesting story, action and a cliff hanger ending that usually SERIOUSLY pisses me off but didn’t here.  I love that rotating hallway fight sequence.  So awesome.

Salt
Salt – I was blown away by this movie.  It’s brutally AWESOME.  The action is intense.  I was not expecting the action and suspense in this movie to be as balls out awesome as it is.  Angelina is great and Liev Shreiber is also great (as usual).  So ridiculously good.  It’s like a female Bourne Identity.  I seriously think this is nearly as good as the first Bourne Identity (not the last one, the first one).

Harry Potter 7-1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I – I have seen every one of these movie in the theater.  And dammit if every one of these movies hasn’t gotten better and better.  Prisoner of Azkaban is phenomenal, Goblet of Fire is pretty good, but then Order of Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince are nothing short of spectacular.  And this movie just continues that awesomeness forward.  However, many people I know have been saying they were disappointed with this one.  I think it’s all expectations.  This movie is much darker than any other of the movies.  Plus, it covers the section of the book where Ron leaves and Harry and Hermione are running/searching for horcruxes alone.  Many people thought that storyline was boring in the book but I loved it.  It shows just how difficult a time they had and just how cut off from the rest of the wizarding world they really were.  Makes what happens later mean more.  I love this movie and I can’t wait to watch the next one.  Oh, yeah, since this is a Part I, it sets up a lot of the story for Part II, which may throw people off also.

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