Saturday, March 27, 2010

Last night TCM had a Ray Harryhausen special on because as you might already know they are remaking the film, Clash of the Titans. It will be in 3-D and remade with newer CGI technology. So I watched this film again along with Jason and the Argonauts, which it seems I never tire of--I guess a classic is a classic. I don't have many of the Harryhausen films on DVD, except for Mysterious Island, but at some point in time, even though I've seen them so many times already I'll probably pick more of them up on DVD. Clash of the Titans like all of Ray Harryhausen films is very entertaining, and some might think it's not as good as some of his other ones. But last night as I watched it I thought to myself, it's every bit as good. What I found fascinating was how he envisioned doing the scenes of the Greek gods, which is a bit abstract if one were to think of how to do that on film, and how to work that into the storyline. There are many memorable scenes: the capture of the winged horse, Pegasus, the blind witches in the cave that like to eat human flesh, the killing of the Hydra slithering around in her lyre is a really exciting scene, and finally the killing of the Cracken. I guess I should give a spoiler's alert, but I thought the final scene when the Cracken comes out of the sea, and then when he views the Medusa head, turns to stone and indeed you can see it cracken to pieces was thrilling. (Sorry for that lousy pun--Zeus told it to me.)

At any rate, Robert Osborn, the host last night on TCM stated that Harryhausen was 90 years old. I'm sure he's proud of the work he's made. I was surprised that this film came out in 1981, after Star Wars: A New Hope. I imagine Harreyhausen influenced such film directs as George Lucas, Spielberg, et al. and viewing Clash of the Titans, the comedic relief of the robotic owl seemed a tribute to R2D2 in the Star Wars movies. I've never read that anywhere mere speculation on my part, but struck me eerily strange.

As a bonus aside: I ran across this fandom magazine you can download off the web, called Publish Something. It's already on the fourth issue. I haven't had a chance to read it myself, but if you're interested in that sort of thing, you might want to give it a look too. The current issue #4 has an interview with writer extraordinaire, Martin Powell. Give it a look if interested, here a link:


Friday, March 26, 2010

So I've been a music fan for about as long as I can remember. Even back when I was a kid I remember listening to my parent's RCA phonograph to all sorts of music and stuff. It was one of those with a logo of a dalmatian dog holding his head to a megaphone speaker.

Sometimes I might run into a country and western station or sometimes I might run across a fire and brimstone preacher trying to scare religion into you, but mostly I went for the rock music. At first, being a kid, as I was drawn to novelty songs. These were songs like Flying Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley with its weird horror lyrics, or even things like Big John by Jimmy Dean about a miner who dies down in a mine, or The Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton, Jaguar and Thunderbird by Chuck Berry about some cars racing around some stretch of lonely road. All of these songs I'd hear on the radio, and then whenever I did have some spare dough, I'd try and find them at a place in town that was called The Record Shop.

The Record Shop mostly sold 45 rpms, which was fine as that's all my parent's phonograph would play. It resembled a lot of those old record shops you see in pictures with listening booths to hear the song, and rows of 45s, which were the big item back then. Not many people bought 331/3 long playing albums back at that time. Unless I guess you came from a larger metro area and were from a wealthy family.

So not long after that we were home on a Sunday night after church, and we usually watched the Ed Sullivan show, and along came the Fab Four. I along with a whole new generation sat and watched dumbfounded as these guys from England called The Beatles did a short set of songs one of which was called I Saw Her Standing There. The rest was history. I remember how teens started to change their looks, and a lot of the guys would buy Beatle boots, and grow their hair longer, and some bought black slacks and so forth, and the girls would look a little mod in their clothing too.

That Christmas in 1965, my parents bought me a Sears Silvertone stereo. Wow, I was bowled over. It was sort of like the stereo above that came in a cabinet, and the turntable folded down, and the speakers detached from the sides. It had four speeds on it so I could virtually play any record. And not only that, they also gave me as gifts two new long playing albums. One was the new Beatle album called Beatles '65, and the other was a Roger Miller album. If memory serves it had Dang Me on it, and I Won't Go Skating in a Buffalo Herd (sort of another novelty song). I still have the Beatles' album by the way, and it still sounds nice after all this time. From that point on my interest in music is still with me, I guess it always will be. It has grown exponentially through the years. I still like rock music, but also blues, classical, jazz, and so forth. Whenever I'd take a vacation I'd want to go to some record store so I could see if they had some cool albums from bands I'd never heard of before or not seen.

With the advent of compact disc and later computers some of that has changed, I no longer have to look all over for a particular album or band, and a lot of the fandom stuff, reviews, and stuff you can find right on the computer--it has become a lot easier to access, particularly helpful if you don't live near a metro area. but the one remaining constant is my joy for music.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I watched a couple of movies this past weekend as it was such bad weather on Saturday that that's about all I felt like doing. We didn't get any snow on the first day of spring as they were predicting, but the winds blew so much and it was cold, so it was pretty much stay inside weather. I did a few of my chores later that night like laundry and channel surfed until I hit Turner Classic Movies and Lawrence of Arabia was show. I'd recorded it some time back onto VHS, but never got around to watching it, and as my VHS recorder is working so funky, and eating tapes and all, watching it off the air seemed a good idea. Sure enough it captured my interest pretty quickly. The story is about a British army lieutenant, T. E. Lawrence, that enlist the desert Arab tribes on the British side during WWI to fight against the Turks. At first it seems that Lawrence is reluctant to take on the role of a leader other than out of curiosity, but once thrust into the role gets a bit more instrumental, charismatic, and even lets his ego get the better of him. Near the end of the film, however, he's willing to give up his role, and just wants to go back to a simpler life. All in all great cinematography and story that is one part biography and another part adventure story that kept me entertained.

Sunday morning I got up and put in Michael Moore's latest movie call Capitalism: A Love Story. It was enjoyable on some level too. But what I've started to notice, which is a bit irritating about Moore's films has less about content (because I salute Michael for being the gadfly and whistle blower, etc. that he is), but I'd like to hear more about solutions that might exist to help solve some of these problems. I do follow politics to some degree and vote, and was even represented by a union throughout most of my working career, so I can indentify with the working, blue-collar class. But try as I might, it still seems like I'm not represented as well as I'd like to be by Democrats, and even less so by Republicans. The same people in the film that caused a lot of the current financial mess worked for both Clinton, Bush, and I'm sure they're still floating around in the Obama administration or went on to be a CEO somewhere or some adviser. So how does the working class that is raising children, working, and trying to have some sort of normal life deal with politics, corruption, and all that? I don't know really, but at least I'll hand it to Moore for at least shedding a bit of the spotlight on some of these issues.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Like a lot of kids from my generation, we grew up on a diet of a couple of television shows like Tarzan, serials like Flash Gordon, Three Stooges, cartoons of all sorts and comic books. Now there wasn't much TV to choose from back then, so that either left reading a little bit and going outside to play with the neighborhood kids.

I had a friend ask me recently to post some of the sites I go to frequently that deal with comics. There's tons of them, but I have a few main sites that I go to, and sometimes I'll find a link from those sites, which leads me to newer sites.

Also if you click on my logo-icon (that of the alien) you'll see my home page, and there will be a few sites I go to often there as well.

Some of the main sites I like though are:
you can also see their archive shows at:

I like the way they put their show together, and if you want to know more about current or past good comics it's a fun place to start.

Some other ones are: (a friend's online comic site) has some news and online comics you can read news about comics, movies, and related fandom site is about drawing and cartooning in general site and fandom, spy stuff, SF, and fandom manner of comic stuff is like an encyclopedia of comic artist with a few samples of their art work and small biography information.

Like I've said this is a sample of a few sites I like, and then they offer other links as well, but it should get anyone started that's interested in comics and related topics. I plan on writing a few other things on the topic of comics so as time allows I'll post those.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I usually hit Big Lots ever so often as I discovered some time back that they sell cutout or remainder DVDs from other stores. Most are around $3., but I've notice that this year they've gone up on some of their DVDs and some are around $5., but still that isn't bad for a new, unplayed DVD.

At any rate I was poking around in Big Lots the other day, and found the DVD I Married A Monster From Outer Space. In some ways it's a classic, not on the level of say, This Island Earth or a few others. It's probably a cut below that, but for me holds special status as it's the first SF film that I went to the theater and saw when I was a kid. It was showing on a double bill with the original Blob starring Steve McQueen. I remember walking into the theater not quite knowing what to expect, but there was a large lobby card right in the entrance showing the Blob engulfing a diner, and also under that was some art from I Married A Monster From Outer Space. Both features were very much 50's SF featuring malevolent aliens
intent on invading earth and in I Married A Monster (which was the first feature) wanted to disguise themselves as earth men and marry the women to revive their race. No matter that we were both a different species, the horrors that they could disguise themselves as us, and the shocking way that they were presented scared the living daylights out of me.

Earth did win in the end, and that too freaked me out, as a group of earth men found out where their space ship had landed, and would pull wires from the captured men as they hung in midair like cadavers, and when that happened the aliens would fall over dead, and goo would flow out of them in a sickening fashion. Now if that didn't make you want to puke in your popcorn as a little kid or wet your pants, the next feature, The Blob, would. Something about an jello-like blob creature as a kid that really freaked me out. And even though I had nightmares for a week or more, I still remain a bona fide SF fan.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I met up with some friends over in Midland on Sunday. Midland is like the sister city to Odessa, and about a fifteen mile drive east of here. We used to have a Dr. Who club out here called West Texas Time Lords and a Star Trek club too. Both groups were thriving about fifteen or so years ago. But due to the economy it spit up the clubs, and many of the people in them had to move on for their jobs. One friend, Mike and his family that worked for Texas Instruments moved to another part of Texas when they closed the big plant here, one worked for Chevron and had to move (along with his wife) back to Houston, another friend moved also to Houston that had worked for Huntsman for many years, when that plant eventually closed, and so on and so forth. One moved back to Phoenix, AZ. that also worked for TI. So really after everyone had moved it only left two of us--not much of a club. Such is life I guess, but when I can meet up with any of them it's a ball still as we can discuss all manner of Science Fiction. I feel as though I'm not only amongst friends, but share some common bond. I guess that's what friendship is all about or at least a part of it.

So I guess my favorite actor playing Dr. Who is Tom Baker. He's a pretty popular doctor with Whovians. I first started watching Dr. Who again off the Sci-Fi Channel back in 90's. It had also run earlier here back in the 80's on PBS when we used to get KERA out of Dallas over cable, and although I really didn't know much about what I was watching, I knew it was some sort of British SF. When it was showing on PBS it was before the advent of the personal PCs and so forth, and although they'd announce the program as Dr. Who, I had no idea who he was or any of the fandom around it. Gradually though I did meet a friend, Allon--the one from Phoenix, and he also enjoyed comics, Pink Floyd, Yes, and some other bands I was into, and he turned me onto the club around here, and the rest is history.

It was a fun time, as we'd meet over in Midland on Saturdays, eat pizza at a mutual place, talk about all manner of SF, and then after when everyone was ready we'd meet over at a friends apartment complex to watch an episode of Dr. Who or part of one, and save the next half for the next weekend. It was a loose group so if you couldn't make it that was okay, but darn if it wasn't so infectious that you'd want to go the next weekend. Through that group, I found about all manner other SF. There were programs and movies that I discovered I'd never heard of before like: Blake's 7, UFO, Space 1999, The Prisoner, V for Vendetta, Gene Roddenberry made for TV movies, Red Dwarf, and well too many things to list. Granted you can follow fandom over the internet, but the personal interaction is missing. I'm also interested in books, movies, comics, music and some other things. It's fun and keeps me busy. It's also fun to reflex upon the past at times. Be seeing ya.

Friday, March 12, 2010

So yesterday I had a storage building cut up and hauled off, and today I'm getting a new roof. They're already up there scrapping around and making noise. I just hope the day goes by without a hitch, and I'll be happy.

The Tube: I think my favorite nights for TV have become Mondays and Thursdays. I love Mondays because I can watch Antique Roadshow, and continue on through the History Channel's Pickers, which is about these two guys up in the northeast that go around places like Iowa to farms and such looking for antique things to fix up and resale. And then, from there I'll watch Pawn Stars about the goings-on inside a Las Vegas pawn shop that's family owned and run. I guess there's a thread or common bond with all three of these shows for me, in that it deals with used stuff, collecting, hoarding, and pack ratting, of which, I can certainly relate. I think my idea of being rich would be that I could own a warehouse so you could accumulate all sort of crap. George Carlin made a comment in one of his routines where he describes a house where people store all their stuff. When it fills up, you have to move into a bigger place so store all your stuff. I can relate, George... Seems stupid to write it down, but I've got that collection gene. John Waters, the film director, once said in an interview his idea of rich, was to be so wealthy he could walk into a books store and buy any hardcover book right off the self (I think he achieved his wish). So how do you perceive rich? I guess we all have our indulgences.

At any rate, I come from parents that were antique dealers on a very small scale, but at least it allowed them to travel around a bit in Texas, and go to a few estate sales or an auction here and there, and pick up some stuff, and the things they didn't like, they'd resale in their shop. They did it small scale, but I think it drew them closer together sharing a hobby they both enjoyed. My dad was more a lamp guy, and being an engineer could rewire them and made some interesting lamps functional again. I could kick myself for not learning more about electricity and such from him while he was still alive. Mother enjoyed stuff that just was pretty like glassware, or she also seemed drawn to pottery or stuff that had figures in them. Mostly she just had an eye for things that pleased her whatever it was: glassware, woven textiles, lamps, furniture, etc. So I picked up the bug from them. Once gotten it's rather hard to shake.

I enjoy going to flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, conventions, and so forth for no other reason than just to look. I love getting a bargain too. Growing up I started on accumulating a taste and collection of records (vinyl). The first long player, 33 1/3 records I got were for Christmas back in 1965. I know this as one of them was the Beatle's new album, Beatle's '65, and the other one was Roger Miller's second album (if memory serves). It had the novelty song on it, You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd. So I was hook from then on, and went to a lot of garage sales, etc. looking for vinyl. That spread over into movies, VHS, and now DVD, and also books, comics, and whatever else just struck my eye. Now that I'm moving, those items seem a bit more a nuisance, but I suppose it's a part of me, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mike test, mike test 1, 2, 3... . Having goofed around with being an amateur musician (guitarist, synth-keyboards), that's sort of the first thing that comes to my mind before beginning this. I'm one of those people that's pretty good beginning something, it's the endings that are hard to do. Because life is a process or journey anyway, right? Hum, but I guess life also have an ending. At any rate, who knows where it will take me or if it will stick or float or any other euphemism. So I'm up early today, which is not my normal schedule. I'm in the process of moving, odd experience for me. I'm planning to move from west to east Texas--head's up Tyler--an escaped wild man has been seen in your area :) It's weird though to go through all you stuff, and get rid of all this stuff that you've hoarded over time and throw out some (which is hard for a amateur hoarder, collector, pack rat). It revives memories, times, places, and such. The real estate agent told me I'm unusual in that statistics saying most folks move every five to seven years, sometimes sooner. I told him, "How can they stand it?" Not me, man, I like growing roots somewhere, and I consider myself lucky for being able to do so. Granted I've moved a bit in my life, but I generally hate it. So here I go again with filling up cardboard boxes. Trying to get my house market ready, and all that fun stuff that goes with a move. It's a bit scary, foreboding, and anxious, but I know at the end, it will be somehow be better, I hope.

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