Friday, June 22, 2012

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A pretty uneventful week, but a quick week here as it seemed like it flew by.   I've mostly been busy doing a few chores, so it's not a lot to talk about really.   I sprayed  for bugs, and even climbed up in the attic and set off one of those bug sprayer bomb things to try and help with the problem.  I'd read that the bugs were going to be bad this year, due to a mild winter, and though I've struggled with them every year since I've been here, I keep tweaking my exterminating process.  It seems after I put one of those bug sprayers in the attic, they've retreated for a bit.  I've mostly had problems with these odd bugs that sort of look like overgrown silver fish.  I'd never seen them in West Texas, they have several legs like a caterpillar, but aren't worm-like, and you can swat them with a shoe and they pretty much disintegrate--so there's not much to them.  But one things for sure, there's more bugs and critters in East Texas than West Texas.  I guess there's more water, food, and stuff as a habitat here.  I saw a dragonfly the other day that was around six inches long.  So anyway it's more bug populated, plus add to the fact that we had a mild winter, and I guess this is to be expected.  I did get out one day and found one of the later Harry Potter films, Order of the Phoenix, that I didn't own at a pawn shop, which wasn't one of my favorite episodes. But it was one I was missing and I wanted to rewatch it to see if I could get into it this time around.  I never saw the last two films, The Deathly Hallows, either, so I'm a bit behind in that series, but I can catch up as time allows.  I also found a 3-disc set of the Peter Jackson's King Kong at Big Lots for $3., which I picked up.  I was on the fence about that one, but I've been in a dinosaur mood lately, so got it.  I still prefer the original King Kong best, but the Jackson film does have some neat scenery, and dinosaur action.

From Netflix, I rented The Woman in Black film.  It has Daniel Radcliffe, from the Harry Potter series, in it.  It's a horror film produced by the Hammer studios, which is really nice to see them back in action again.  They made some really cool movies in both Sci-Fi and horror.  I really enjoy their remakes of  Dracula and  Frankenstein during the 50's and 60's.  They also did pretty cool Sci-Fi films like the Quartermass series of films, The Creeping Unknown, an interesting version of The Hound of the Baskervilles  with Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville, as well as One Million Years, B.C. with Raquel Welch, and another strange dinosaur movie, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, which I keep hoping at some point in time, they'll release, in the uncut, original version. 

At any rate, The Woman in Black, like most of their other movies is done well.   I might describe some of their movies sort of like a genre based Masterpiece Theater.  In other words there's great attention to costumes, period sets, and getting the atmosphere and tone of the film just right.  Which is not to say the plots and acting is bad, because it is above par as well.  They are just well made movies in my book.  The Woman in Black is basically a throwback to the ghost story and also haunted house story.  Daniel Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, and he is sent to the old vacant house to obtain paperwork from it, so his company can sell the house.  He is told by his employer that he needs to do a good job on this or he'll be fired.  We find out that Radcliffe's wife had died when having their son during child birth, and we presume that he's had difficulty adjusting to that loss.

The location of the house is in a rural out of the way part of England, and he's confronted by unwelcoming town folks, although on his train ride to the location does meet and befriend one nice gentlemen, Sam Daily.  It turns out Daily has lost a son as well, so they share a bit of commonality. Arthur Kipps finally make it out to the old mansion and  starts sorting through the paperwork, but it doesn't take long until spooky occurrences begin to happen.  One of my little objections or nitpicks about the film are the loud noises meant as jump scares. Sort of like a cat jumping up into your face unexpectedly and what have you.  I wish they hadn't done the film that way, as it's a bit of a cheap way to get a scare, but a minor annoyance.  I would have been fine without it, but I guess it does does work to some degree in getting the adrenaline flowing.  At any rate, it's a pretty fun film if you enjoy a good ghost story and mystery.  It's worth a watch.

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I found out about another film this past week called Humongous, which out of print.  It's an 80's horror slasher movie, and I saw that it was available for watching on Youtube.  It's a crazy film that was a lot of fun if you enjoy that sort of thing.  It's sort of an unknown classic for some horror fans.  I can see why.   If you are interested in watching that you might want to check it out pretty quickly as Youtube has a way of taking films like that down off their network, particularly if there's any nudity or too much gore, etc.  You can find Humongous here.

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I guess I've just been in a horror mood lately, as I also rewatched the movie, Prophecy again. I'd seen it some time back, when a friend showed it to me some time ago one Saturday night. It's a pretty interesting environmentally themed horror film. It has Talia Shire, from the Rocky films in it among other actors. It has nice location shots of forest areas and such, and has a nice outdoors, summertime feel to it.  It's out of print as well, but you can view it on YouTube as well, just do a search on it, it's easy to find.  It's in several parts, but if you're in the mood, it's worth a watch. 



Saturday, June 16, 2012

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It's been a pretty normal week around here.  Yes, the weather has turn hot and into summer, I guess that's to be expected.  Summer is my least favorite time of year.  In East Texas it's the pits as you have to deal with the heat and the humidity.  At least in West Texas after the sun goes down, it cools down pretty well.  All I can say is thank God for air conditioning, otherwise, I had to move up to the Rockies or further up north.

So we've had a chance of rain all week, and it's rained all around the area, keeping everything humid like a steam room.  I've been trying to get to the cinema to see Prometheus, a prequel by Ridley Scott, the director that made the first film, Alien.  The weather kept me from going a few times, as I just can't see driving across town to the theater, and have a hail storm roll through, messing up my car.  If you think that might be something silly to be afraid of, check out the hail storm that rolled through the Lakeview area in Dallas recently.  It was bad--golf ball and tennis ball-size hail stones with spikes on the ends of them.  It really did some damage to homes and cars.

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At any rate, I finally got my act together, and made it to the cinema on Friday.  Prometheus was a great film  too as I think there was only me and one other guy in the audience.  I just went to the 2D version, and had a heck of a time.  If you are a science fiction fan, you'll want to watch this one at the cinema as due to the large scale of the film, it really is great to see it that way.  Even if you are fortunate enough to have the 52 inch plasma 3D set with the home audio maxed out speakers and such, you still won't get the immersive effect of the theater.  I won't give away story plots or spoilers as I hate that as well.  I think it's fair game to say though that it's a prequel to the Alien franchise of films, and since Scott directed the first Alien film, everything that was spectacular about that film is present here as well.  It has the H. R. Giger landscapes, out of this world sets, costumes, special effects, tension, a good story, and if you're a SF fan, make the effort.  If fact, I enjoyed it so much, if it's still around next week, I'm thinking about going to the 3D version just to compare the two versions.  I think it would be amazing to see in 3D. 

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I read an issue of Prehistoric Times magazine.  This is a neat magazine I was unaware of, but ran across someone talking about it on the web, and decided to check out an issue.  I assume they have small print runs and only come out quarterly, however, if you are a dinosaur fan, you probably should check one of them out.  In the new issue they talk about the Top 10 dinosaur fight scenes in movies.  Now I'll admit, there aren't enough cool dinosaur movies around.  I say that as a dinosaur fan.  Once you get past the original King Kong (and it's two remakes), the Jurassic Park movies, the Disney movie, Journey To The Center of the Earth, One Million Years B. C., and a few other prehistoric films, there's not a lot left really that's worth mentioning.  Granted being the dinosaur, monster SF film fan that I am, I can also enjoy stuff like Godzilla, Rodan, and all those crazy Japanese monster films as well, and I even enjoyed Quest for Fire and a few others.  I just wish they'd make more!  At any rate, I thought I'd list the movies that Prehistoric Times thought were their favorite Top 10 dinosaur fight scenes.  For a bit of ground rules, this list is only for fights of dinosaur vs. dinosaur, so it excludes King Kong because he wasn't a dinosaur.  Plus the writer states, they'd already previously done a list in their #75 issue, Top 10 Dino-Movies of All Time, which I haven't seen or read.  I'd like to pick up that issue just to see what they picked, and they mentioned, King Kong makes it onto that list. I'm not going to list all the details of the movie because the magazine article does that, so if you are interested in reading that pick up a copy of the magazine, plus it has a great article in it about the dinosaur artist Charles R. Knight, and has some other art work and articles  in it as well.  It's filled with content.

1. Valley of the Gwangi
2. Jurassic Park
3. Fantasia--the Disney animated film
4. Dinosaur--another Disney animated film
5. One Million Years B.C. (Raquel Welch)--Triceratops vs. Ceratosaurus
6. Jurassic Park III
7. Prehistoric Beast--a short film not a feature length film, I wasn't familiar with it either, however, it can be viewed within the film documentary, Dinosaur! hosted by Christopher Reeve
8. The Animal World--another obscure film title, it's an Irwin Allen documentary
9. Journey to the Beginning of Time--another obscure film from 1955, the stop motion animation is done by Czech Karel Zeman.  Hint: you can find the BBC film, here on YouTube. 
10. One Million Years B.C.--this film also has a fight scene between Pterosaur vs. Pterosaur





Friday, June 08, 2012

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Well, I had to change up the comments section on ye ole blog,  to get approval from yours truly.  I started getting spammers leaving their little bird droppings in there--there's always bottom feeders around to muck up the rest of society.  At any rate, I'm cooking a brisket today.  My brother had been talking to me about how he'd cook a brisket in his dutch oven, on low heat in the stove.  He kept it simple and I do too.  Just wash off the brisket, salt and pepper it, I also added some brown sugar, and I popped it back in the refrigerator last night.  When I got up today, I put it inside one of those oven bags for baking. (I don't have a dutch oven, but would like to get one, they are pretty versatile.)  I warmed up the oven to around 350 degrees, and then lowered it to 325 or 300, and just let it cook slowly until done, around 6 or so hours.  I liked mine pretty well done.  At any rate, it smells pretty good in the house while it cooks.

I found some online comics if you are in the mood for reading something light.  This first one is really light, not much dialogue at all, but it's pretty cute, and I like dinosaurs. 

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You can Dawn of Time: here.

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Here's another one that's a takeoff on the Star Trek franchise, called Boldly Gone.  I haven't read any of these yet, but it might be fun.  It take place during TOS, but on board a different starship, the USS  Mandela.  You can find it here.

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The last one is a takeoff on the Justice League, with Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, and that crew, but takes place when they are around grade school age.  It's called Little League, and looks pretty fun, and has interesting art.  You can find that here.













Thursday, June 07, 2012

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Welcome back to the Bat Cave.  I went for a walk yesterday.  We've been expecting some rain, so it was humid as a steam room.  I listen to my small media player when I do this to make the experience a bit more interesting.  At any rate, I listened to a podcast with Kelley Jones, whose art work I used to enjoy in various comics.  He has an unusual art style that whenever you saw it on the stands you knew who it was just by the art alone.  He did a run on Sandman for a while, some Batman stuff, and an Alien limited series.  He also did the art for Batman: Red Rain on the DC Elsewhere line.  It's sort of a alternate reality/ what if type story, and was written by Doug Moench.  It's a story where Batman meets up with Dracula.  At any rate, it was fun to listen to as I walked, and he mention some older artist that he admired like Marshall Rogers, and a few others I was not familiar with.  At any rate I found the interview over on Sidebarnation.com if interested.

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 When I got back home, I cooled off a little bit, and got a call from the library telling me that a DVD series that I'd reserved, Game of Thrones, had come in, and they were going to hold it for me until Friday.  I heard and read from various sources that it was an interesting series, so got cleaned up and went downtown to pick it up.  I'd already rented the first disc of the series from Netflix, so I had a pretty good indication what it might be about.  It's a medieval fantasy series and has a history of several thousand years, and concerns several families from Seven Kingdoms that scheme and plot for the Iron Throne.  Some of the families are noble, some are treacherous, some honorable, while others are cruel and cutthroat, and some are a mixture of good and bad, so the characters are pretty complex.  But the way it's directed, I think they did a good job of plotting the story so that's it's pretty easy to understand even for those who haven't read the books (like me) to get into the storyline and understand what's going on.  At any rate, it's been fun to find another adult fantasy series, like Lord of the Rings, but perhaps even moreso, as there's more nudity, sexual situations, and violence in Game of Thrones, so be warned ahead of time, not quite as family viewing friendly.  That may or may not be a drawback to some.  For me though, I'm enjoying it.

Later on that night though I had to turn off everything as we had a storm roll through, and we had a bunch of lightning and so forth.  So rather than risk something getting hit by lightning, I turned off the computer and TV and just read for a bit.  Since I'd heard the Kelley Jones interview earlier in the day, I decided to read a story he'd mentioned, which is one in the collected book, The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told. 

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The story is a two part story, the first called, The Laughing Fish, and the second part is called, The Sign of the Joker.  They came out in DC's Detective Comics #475 & #476 respectively back in 1975.  It's a story by Steve Englehart with art work by Marshall Rogers.  The basic story is about the Joker and he has devised a way to chemically contaminate fish, which causes an abnormality in the fish that gives them this Joker-like grin.  His plans are to copyright these fish, therefore he'd get royalties from fishermen, manufactures etc., which would net him millions of dollars.  But first, he's got to get a few government officials and lawyers, etc. on his side to copyright the fish for him.  Of course, the Batman is a major obstacle as well.  It's a famous story, and one of the main reasons I wanted to read it, aside from it being a famous story is that it had Roger Marshall's art.  Since I'm not real familiar with his art, I'm not so sure that he would be a comic artist that I might mention or think of when talking about comic art that I like a lot, but it's hard also to judge that sort of thing on just reading two stories as well.  Nevertheless, it's a good story, and I enjoyed reading it.