Archive for August, 2012

Behind the scenes of AWESOME-tober-fest…

Posted in blogging, Halloween, holiday with tags , , , , on August 31, 2012 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Well, here we are, the first week in September. You know what that means? AWESOME-tober-fest is only a month away. Less than a month away, actually.  And as I announced earlier, the theme for this year is Movie Maniacs.  I’ll be investigating books, comics, movies and TV shows featuring our favorite movie killers; Jason, Freddy, Leatherface, Michael Myers and Norman Bates.  Since we are a month out, I am in full on “go mode” to get things read, watched and written for this year.

You probably don’t realize this, but I start planning AWESOME-tober-fest in January or February.  I decide on a theme and start listing out all the different media (books, movies, comics, TV shows, etc) that I can include for that topic.  These lists usually involve yellow post its.  I have a post it for each media which lists all the candidates for inclusion that year.  I print out a free October calendar from General Blue calendars online and start mapping out what is going to happen during each day of AWESOME-tober-fest.

Here are pics of the notes/calendars I have for last year’s (2011 – Vampires, left) and the year before’s (2010 – Werewolves, right) celebrations.

AWESOME-tober-fest notes

I usually try to get all of my stuff done by the first week or two in September.  As I finish reading books and comics and watching the movies I usually write up my articles as soon as possible so I can get my immediate thoughts.  Then I’ll edit and modify as it gets closer to October.  I’m still trying to finish up the books and movies as we speak but a lot of the material is getting done.  I’m liking how things are looking so far.

I’m really excited about this year’s AWESOME-tober-fest.  I hope you guys are as well.

2012 banner
This year I will also be participating in the Halloween Countdown celebration that is hosted by the blog Countdown to Halloween. I’ve participated in that for the last four years or so and it’s a lot of fun.  Many other bloggers participate as well.  It’s co-run by my good friend Shawn Robare from Branded in the 80s.  Check it out if you get the chance.  They are also gearing up for the month long celebration.

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Creating a team of 80s ninja killers

Posted in movies, ninjas, pop culture with tags , , , on August 29, 2012 by Paxton

LEB

New assignment from The League. This week we are pitted against an evil conglomerate that is protected by an army of bad ass Russian ninjas (Russian ninjas, wha-?!).  So I need to put together a team that does nothing but kill goddam ninjas.

It would be too easy to say, “I’ll take the JLA” or “The Avengers” and be done with it.  However, I’m going with non-super powered heroes.  As a matter of fact, I’m staying away from all supernatural characters.  I’m going to treat this as an 80s movie/TV project.  Which means I will also limit myself to characters from the 1980s, so no Jack Bauer (sad face) or Jason Bourne (well, the Matt Damon version).

So, let’s do this.  The five members of my own personal team of ninja killers from the 1980s:

The Master
1. John “The Master” McCallister (The Master)- The older, wiser ninja leader.  Plus Lee Van Cleef is just BAD ASS.

Sho Kosugi
2. Sho Kosugi (Ninja Trilogy) – I didn’t pick a character here, I picked the actor mainly because Sho transcends the characters he plays. It doesn’t matter if I pick Cho Osaki from Revenge of the Ninja or Shiro Tanaka from Rage of Honor. They are all the same bad ass ninja mo-fo and I need him to help defeat the ninja army.  Plus, he catches ninja arrows IN HIS TEETH.

Scott James
3. Scott James (The Octagon) – Scott James was built to kill f’n ninjas.  He single handedly takes on a terrorist organization comprised of deadly, deadly ninjas (led by the awesome Tadashi Yamashita) with just his wits, super fast roundhouse kicks and copious amounts of chest hair.  Qualifications ACCEPTED, Mr James.

Joe Armstrong
4. Joe Armstrong (American Ninja) – Another dude created to kill ninjas.  Joe here defeated one of the fiercest ninjas ever, the Black Star Ninja (played, again, by the awesome Tadashi Yamashita).  He’s the American Ninja and he’s on this team.

Jonathan Cabot
5. Jonathan Cabot (Gymkata) – Former gymnast turned master of the deadly martial art Gymkata, which is a mash up of gymnastic moves and the ninjitsu fighting style.  I only need to make sure that the team goes to places that have things like high bars and pommel horses just lying around so he can “do his thang”.

More ninja killers from around the League:
1. Shez Crafti’s Ninja Force 5
2. Green Plastic Squirt Gun also recruits Chuck Norris as well as Ash
3. Memories of Toymorrow recruits a bunch of awesome ninjas to fight ninjas
4. The Man Who Stares at Toys recruits Sarah Connor and Tackleberry
5. Cool and Collected recruits a malfunctioning robot and the hot chick from Buck Rogers

Bionic Reviews: Cyborg #2 – Operation Nuke by Martin Caidin (1973)

Posted in Bionic Man, books, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by Paxton

Bionic Review
SMDM Book

This is an ongoing feature where I read, watch and review books, comics and TV shows featuring The Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman.  Click the Bionic Review banner to see the Bionic Review archive page.  Click the smaller banner to see only those specific reviews.

One year after Cyborg, in 1973, Caidin released his followup Steve Austin novel, Operation Nuke.

Cyborg 2 Cyborg #2

The original hardcover release is on the left.  At this point, the original book was being adapted into the first The Six Million Dollar Man TV movie. As you can see, the paperback cover for this book on the right follows the same design as the later cover for Cyborg with Lee Major’s face and the mention of the TV show at the top.  By the time this book hit paperback, The Six Million Dollar Man had three TV movies and was beginning its regular season run.

Cyborg 2 Operation Nuke

This is a good 70s “spy novel” but it’s not a great Bionic Man (or Cyborg) novel.  Literally, Steve Austin doesn’t use any of his superhuman bionic abilities until like page 135 (of 175 pages).  And he doesn’t use them again after that either.  Also, at the beginning of the novel, when he’s getting his assignment, he is asked how much he knows about nuclear devices.  Steve says that he had to actually build a nuclear device for one of his instructional classes with the military.  This is very convenient considering the plot.  And for something he did so long ago, the book makes Steve out to be a nuclear physicist with intimate knowledge of the inner workings of all nuclear bombs.  That got old after a while.

Steve Austin spends most of this book infiltrating a criminal military organization in order to find out who is the leader and where they are getting their nuclear weapons.  A task that doesn’t require the use of any bionic limbs.  He finally uses his bionics at the end of the book when he has to carry a nuclear device from one room to another and he manages to disarm that device despite not ever seeing the insides or how it was built.

So, this was a less than satisfactory story if you are coming in expecting bionic action like the first novel.  Even for a regular 70s spy novel it leaves a little something to be desired.  Another thing that makes it tough to read is Caidin’s writing style.  Caidin tends to describe things a lot.  He may start off a chapter or section of a chapter by talking about certain objects or the surrounding environment and it’ll take a page and a half before people start talking or some action pertaining to the story happens.  It causes the reader to “skip ahead” a bit to get things moving.  So, all in all, this was a very disappointing book.  Hopefully the next book will deliver more bionic goodness.

My Ultimate Saturday Morning TV Schedule

Posted in cartoons, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by Paxton

LEB

New assignment for the League this week. And it’s another doozy of a topic.

You’ve been hired to program the ultimate Saturday morning experience for kids across the nation–create your own ideal Saturday morning cartoon schedule.

Unfortunately for the TV network that hired me, I hid a clause within my contract that specifies I’m in charge of ALL Saturday programming. Not just the morning hours. Queue the look of horror from the network execs. That’s right, everyone at the network, prepare your faces for Cavalcade TV.

Cavalcade TV

I’ve programmed an entire broadcast day with badass awesome shows designed to melt your brain and impregnate your wife.  So step back and prepare your face, chest and wife’s uterus for an invasion.  An invasion of pop culture awesomeness.

The broadcast day starts at 6am with:

Looney Tunes Tiny Tunes
6-8am – Looney Tunes/Tiny Toons – For this 2 hour block I would show various episodes of Warner Bros Looney Tunes and Tiny Toons.  I’d probably use the 6-7am hour for the former and the 7-8am hour for the latter. These are all classically awesome cartoons and I feel they are essential to start the day off right.  I’d probably also include the Loony Tunes/Bugs Bunny movies (Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, 1001 Rabbit Tales, Fantastic Island, Quakbusters, etc).

He Man logo D&D characters
8 – 9am – He-Man and the Masters of the Universe/Dungeons & Dragons – This is sort of the “fantasy hour” I guess.  Two of my favorites, back to back.

Super Friends Spider Man and his amazing friends
9 – 11am – Super Hero Block
– 9 – 10am – DC Super Friends – During this first hour I would rotate a bunch of the old, pre-WB DC cartoons; Super Friends, New Adventures of Batman, Ruby Spears Superman, Plastic Man and The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure.
– 10 – 11am – Marvel Super Powers – In this second hour I would rotate old Marvel cartoons; Spider-man and his Amazing Friends, The Incredible Hulk (1982), Fantastic Four (various series from the 60s and 70s).

Fangface Teen Wolf
11am – 1pm – Monster Block – I love monster based stuff.  Especially cartoons.  For this 2 hour block I’d rotate through some of my favorite monster based cartoons; Teen Wolf, Fangface, Drak Pack, Gravedale High, Groovie Goolies.

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Help Support Strange Kid Comix Anthology #3

Posted in magazine, pop culture with tags , , on August 21, 2012 by Paxton

Rondal over at Strange Kids Club has prepped and ready the third issue of his comix anthology. However, he needs our help to get it off the ground. Go check out the Kickstarter account for issue #3.  There is a lot of content packed into this issue of the anthology by a lot of really awesome contributors.

Here’s the amazing cover by Jason Edmiston:

SKC Comix #3

Like I said, Rondal has packed the issue with art by some awesome folks like Brent Engstrom, Jon David Guerra and John Rozum. There is also written content by such blogging luminaries as Brian Adams (Cool and Collected), Shawn Robare (Branded in the 80s) and myself (here).

You will not want to miss this.  Plus, each level of contribution has tons of extra swag you can grab.  Super secret production blog site, limited edition postcards and prints, ebook versions of the first two issues of the Comix anthology, plus much, much more.

So head over to this issue’s Kickstarter page, show your support for this most awesome collection of art and content.  You will not be disappointed.

Movie Manathon: Freddy Krueger, Crystal Meth and high tech space prisons

Posted in movies, reviews with tags , , , , on August 20, 2012 by Paxton

Steph went to visit her parents last week, so I took the time to watch several movies and TV shows she wants nothing to do with.  I’ve done this several times before, check out some previous movie manathons here.

The wife’s away, so Pax will play. Let’s start with the movies I watched.

lockout
Lockout (2012) – Starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter Stormare.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed this.  Good action, quick dialogue.  Pearce is wonderfully sarcastic.  Loved it.  My only issue is that Maggie Grace is terrible.  I just do not like her and she continues proving to me that she can’t act with every movie she’s in.

Chronicle
Chronicle (2012) – I think of this as “that super hero Facebook movie” because it was advertised so heavily on “the book”.  I was well aware of it but I hadn’t really heard a lot about it specificially.  But the premise sounded great and I knew my wife would never watch it so I got the Blu-Ray from Netflix and popped it in the PS3.  And it’s AWESOME.  Wow, I didn’t expect it to be this good.  This is how I imagine it would actually happen if teens received super powers.  And the movie gets pretty dark at the end.  I also like that it’s essentially a “found footage” movie which adds a bit of realism.  If you like super hero movies, this is definitely a different take on them.  Give it a shot, I think you’ll like it.

Nightmare on Elm St
Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) – Starring Jackie Earl Haley as Freddy.  For some reason I keep thinking of this movie receiving a lot of hate from fans.  I’m not sure why.  Is the movie perfect? No.  But neither is 9/10 of the entire Nightmare franchise.  This movie is good and I like Haley’s performance.  I like how they fleshed out Freddy a little more and made him less jokey with only 1 one-liner.  The effects were spectacular as well.  The movie looked gorgeous.

Paranormal Activity 2
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) – Saw the first one and loved it, so I decided to check out the second one since Steph doesn’t like horror movies.  And it’s good.  These “found footage” movies I really love.  I do.  They are actually pretty scary.  I think they are scarier than something like Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th because they feel more “real”.  Screw that torture porn crap like Saw and Hostel, these movies like Paranormal Activity, Blair Witch and Fourth Kind really creep me out (Blair Witch not so much any more).  I started watching it one evening and actually had to turn it off to watch it the next afternoon.  It’s pretty creepy.  The “found footage” genre gets a lot of crap for some reason probably because it’s more of a creepy factor than out and out gore and kills.  It’s a slow, suspenseful burn.  I’ve even heard The Atomic Geeks say the genre is played out which is retarded because there are way more superhero, time travel or fantasy movies than there are “found footage” movies and none of those other genres are considered played out.  I thought this movie was well done.

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I listen to one of my old mixtapes from 1996

Posted in music, rap with tags , , , on August 16, 2012 by Paxton

LEB

The assignment for the League this week wants us to talk about mixtapes.  Specifically our own mixtapes.

What songs were forever being looped on your car’s stereo [tape deck] back in high school?

I loved mixtapes.  I made dozens of them over the years.  Mostly for myself, but some for friends and some for “the ladies”.  I would make the mixtape and listen to it on my portable headphones whenever I would go somewhere.  I could be seen bobbing my head while walking along listening, most likely, to my current crop of hardcore rap songs.

My mixtapes usually weren’t random. I tended to theme them by genre. I had rap/hip-hop tapes, Disney soundtrack tapes, oldies/Motown tapes and novelty song tapes (ie Weird Al and Dr Demento). However, most of my tapes back in the day were hardcore rap because that’s what I listened to. And when I labeled the tape, I usually used a lyric from one of the songs on the tape.

Well, as for today’s assignment, I don’t need to recreate a mixtape because I still have a box of my old mixtapes in my basement. So, I just pulled out one of those mixtapes, popped it in my tape player and gave it a listen.

Below is Side 1 of today’s mixtape. I labeled it “I Think You Better Recognize”, but that’s hard to see because the ink has faded over time. That is actually the title of a song by Sam Sneed, but that song for some reason doesn’t appear on this mixtape.  You may be wondering how I know this is from 1996, which the easy answer is that the newest song on the tape is from 1996.  Which may not be entirely correct.  But that was around my last year in college, so that sounds about right for these songs.

So let’s take a look at the song list for Side 1.

Mixtape Side A
1. N-Trance – Stayin’ Alive
2. Run DMC – Rock Box
3. Quad City DJs – C’mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)
4. MC Lyte (feat Xscape) – (Keep On) Keepin’ On
5. DJ Quik (feat AMG, 2nd II None, Hi-C) – Skanless
6. Ice Cube – When Will They Shoot?
7. 2Pac (feat Stretch) – Pain
8. MC Ren – Bitch Made N***a Killa
9. D-Nice – Time to Flow
10. Eazy-E (feat Knocc Out and Dresta) – Real Muthaf’n G’s
11. Coolio (feat WC) – U Know Hoo?
12. Too $hort – Hoes

This first side had a bunch of good songs. I had a lot of fun listening to them again. Surprisingly, I remember nothing about that Coolio song, U Know Hoo? I don’t remember it and I don’t know why it’s on the tape. That’s just odd.  You’ll notice lots of NWA/Ruthless Records influence with Eazy-E, MC Ren, DJ Quik and 2nd II None.  I also always enjoy Bee-Gees influenced rap songs like the #1 track in this list as well as Wyclef Jean’s We Tryin’ to Stay Alive (which I know was on other mixtapes I’ve done).

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