Blogs > Confessions of a 20-something Manchild

My name is Dave Herndon, ever since my homeworld of Gallifrey was time locked I've been just travelling the cosmos, then they invented comic books, and cartoons. Now I run this blog and talk about nerdy things whenever I can. No matter what happens, if you stoke me a clipper, I'll be back in time for breakfast.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hogwart’s Express to offer magical experience at Flat Rock Model Train Depot

Harry Potter fans will have the chance to climb aboard the most famous train in the magical world when the Flat Rock Model Train Depot and Museum opens to the public this weekend.
The museum will open for the season  from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 27. With that opening, train enthusiasts will be able to see a scene right out of the books and movies as the Hogwart’s Express rolls through Diagon Alley, the very place where a young Harry Potter buys all of his magical supplies before heading off to school each year.
Over the years, Leon Simeck and his wife, Pat, have visited train layouts across the country to find new ideas for their display.
“We’ve went to many train museums all over the country to see how they put up their displays,” Pat Simeck said. “Then we came back here and took our favorite parts and built them, and added our own twists. We have the best display of anywhere.”
The museum’s main display features American Flyer and Lionel trains winding past towns, a carnival, zoo, circus, farms, bridge, tunnels and mountains, among other attractions. Many of the attractions are designed to look like local attractions from around the region, while others just make for interesting scenes to drive a train past.
In addition to model train displays, the depot, 28700 Arsenal Road, features dioramas that run below the trains that depict important pieces of train history, and a few other scenes from history.
The train depot also has its Halloween display set up. Lights and sounds add special effects to the display, which will be up through the end of October.
Leon Simeck said members will be putting up their Christmas items at the beginning of November.
In addition to Saturday, the Halloween and Harry Potter displays will be featured from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 5, 11, 19, 25 and 26.
Christmas at the Depot will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 1, 8, 16, 22 and 29, as well as Dec. 6, 13, 20, 21, 26, 27 and Jan. 3.
Were it not for the Simecks efforts more than seven years ago, the museum never would have existed, and the building would have been torn down. Located inside an abandoned youth center in the city, only another nonprofit organization could have taken over the building.
Pat Simeck said the building was about to be demolished when they started the museum, which gave residents a place to celebrate railroad history, and saved the building.
Now, as funds allow, the building will be expanded, with plans to bring in larger pieces of rail history once the space allows for it.
Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and students and free for children 10 and younger.
Call 734-782-2786 for more information.
Contact Video Coordinator Dave Herndon at 734-246-0867 or dherndon@heritage.com. Follow him on Facebook and @NHDaveH on Twitter.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Man in Stormtrooper mask steals prescription drugs from warehouse

A delivery company reported $7,700 in prescription drugs stolen from a warehouse in Taylor.

A representative of Prestige Delivery Systems told police a delivery of prescription drugs was dropped off at the company’s warehouse in the 25000 block of North Line Commerce Drive Aug. 30. The drugs were to be delivered to a Kroger store on Aug. 1.

Surveillance video showed two people entered through an unlocked bay door and immediately cut the power from a switch that was not near the point of entry.

Police said that from the video, it appeared that one of the thieves was a thin black man wearing a Star Wars storm trooper mask. The only description they could give of the other burglar is that he or she was possibly wearing dark clothes and a winter mask.

The warehouse is in the area of North Line Road and Beech-Daly Road.

Police did not have information on what type of prescription drugs were stolen. Kroger set the value of the stolen drugs at about $7,700.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Climbing the ladder: Teen actress finds success in Hollywood

Mandalynn Carlson got a foothold in acting when the film industry was booming in Michigan, and she’s continued to make a name for herself in the City of Angels.

The 15-year-old Taylor native has an impressive list of projects to her credit, and work isn’t slowing down for the fresh-faced teen, who’s lived in Los Angeles for the past three years.

Now living in Los Angeles, she and her mother, Sherri, recently returned to Taylor for about a month to visit family and take care of the house they still own in the city.

Mandalynn’s TV credits include appearances on “CSI: New York” and the ABC drama “Scandal” in which she played the daughter of Lisa Eddleston (“House”) and had a major scene with the show’s star, Kerry Washington.

“‘Scandal’ was awesome and probably my favorite TV show that I’ve done,” she said. “Kerry was so nice. Seeing her go into her character before we started filming was astonishing.

“I hadn’t been on the lot of a bigger set before that. I liked that she talked to the crew. I’ve been on some sets where the bigger actors don’t do that. Without the crew, there wouldn’t be a movie and they don’t really get the credit.”

Mandalynn even had her own hashtag — #hamandpineapple — created from the episode.

“We started off the scene arguing about pizza,” she said. “I wanted ham and pineapple.”

On the big screen, she’s appeared in “Machine Gun Preacher,” with Gerard Butler, and two films with Dean Cain — “Holiday Miracle,” which is due out on DVD during the 2014 holiday season, and “A Horse for Summer,” which also stars Christopher Atkins and will be released in Walmart stores in December.

A starring turn came in the thriller “The Dead Kid,” a film based on a short story by Gillian King.

Set during the 1980 child murders in Atlanta, the movie tells the haunting tale of the torment of a young boy and his subsequent disappearance, as witnessed by a young girl, Annie Baxter (Mandalynn’s role).

The project holds a special place in Mandalynn’s heart as it deals with bullying, a problem she’s faced firsthand.

The teen actress’ hazel eyes flash as she smoothes her auburn hair from her face, talking earnestly about her craft and what separates her from many of the “Disney” teen actors of today.

“I’m more of a serious person, which is different from a lot of kids out there,” she said. “I’ve been trained to be a movie star and that’s what I watch. I don’t watch Disney, but Disney is great — it launches a lot of people’s careers.”

Rather than being bubbly and bouncy, Mandalynn takes a more mature approach to the craft.

“My coaches and directors say I have this quality of stillness when I’m acting, where I just connect and suck you in,” she said. “They compare me to George Clooney a lot, which is amazing. I’ll take it!”

She cites Sandra Bullock as her acting inspiration and admires Mark Wahlberg for his directing and producing success.

Growing up in Taylor, Mandalynn was a performer from a young age, making up commercials and putting on “one-girl” plays for her parents on a basement stage at their house.

She began acting at age 2 and working in the craft professionally at 10 when she landed her first supporting role in a major feature film in 2011’s “Machine Gun Preacher,” starring Gerard Butler.

“When I landed that I thought, ‘Hey, I could do this for the rest of my life,’” she said.

An only child, Mandalynn was named by her father, Eric, a chef who named her after one of his favorite cooking instruments, a mandolin.

Her parents owned a film catering company. Being on set with them and meeting actors felt natural to Mandalynn at an early age.

“I was bullied in school, but these adults just accepted me,” she said. “I didn’t have to try and be someone else, which I loved. That’s when I got really serious about it.”

The actress credits Nancy Criss of Nandar Entertainment with much of her success.

“She brought me into a movie with Dean Cain … and when she did her next project, she invited me to come on,” she said.

The director/producer also helped the budding actress learn another aspect of the entertainment business.

“I brought up that I’d like to go into directing and she let me shadow directors and producers,” she said. “By the end of the month, I knew everybody’s job. She’s also going on to do more TV shows and has brought me onto two so far.”

One of those is a recurring guest role on “The Sparrows,” an hourlong family drama slated for Fox affiliate stations in October; the other is a series lead in a half-hour family comedy called “Fishes ‘n Loaves” now in development.

“It’s about a pastor and his family that go from a big-time church to a small rural church,” she said. “It’s kind of like ‘Green Acres’ wackiness.”

While age-appropriate parts for teen actresses might be difficult to come by, Criss is doing her part to make that easier.

“Her goal is to make family friendly content — movies as well as television shows,” Sherri Carlson said.

And finding suitable roles isn’t the only trial of being a young actress.

“There are less younger people trying to make it, but also the problem of getting people to take you seriously, especially when you’re trying to do drama,” she said.

“There aren’t a lot of young kid roles in serious drama, and when they do those, they go with big names or adults to play them.”

Mandalynn’s other projects include “A Christmas Promise,” starring Patrick Muldoon and Dominique Swain, coming out on cable during the holidays, and the feature film “Deadly Sanctuary,” with Daniel Baldwin.”

After a two-month search for a young star, she was cast as the series lead alongside co-star Ellie Kemper (“Bridesmaids,” “The Office”) in an NBC comedy called “Brenda Forever.” Ultimately the network decided not to pick up the pilot.

That kind of disappointment is something that you have to get used to in the business, she said.

“You really have to understand that there’s a lot of rejection,” she said. “You need a strong support system and can’t take it personally. A lot of times it comes down to things like who’s older or who matches the father better.

“If you love it, you love it, though. Don’t give up. I was out there for a year just training before I even auditioned because I wanted to make sure to be the best of the best.

“When you’re out in L.A., everybody is giving 100 percent so you have to give 200 percent.”

Mandalynn is homeschooled, which frees up her schedule for auditions, and she’s already starting college.

Her parents help keep her grounded and grateful for her success.

“My husband and I work really hard to help her not take it for granted,” Sherri said. “It’s a gift, and you have to treat it that way because it can be taken away so fast.”

As her career grows, Mandalynn hopes to focus on films with deeper meanings that leave lasting impressions on viewers.

“If I could be choosy, I’d like to do movies that leave you thinking about them after dinner or if you’re on a date afterwards you want to talk about what you saw,” she said.

One of her favorite recent films, “The Way Back,” is an example of that.

“I’ve been talking about it for months,” she said. “I want to do movies like that — ones that you watch over and over and always find something new.”

She’s on her way to that goal, having been nominated twice for Young Artist Awards in the “Best Performance in a TV Series — Guest Starring Young Actress” category for her turns on “Scandal” and “CSI: New York.”

Her film “A Horse for Summer” also earned the audience choice award at the 2014 Gwinnett Center International Film Festival.

Aside from film and TV work, she has done stand-up comedy five times at the famous Hollywood Improv and hosts a teen Internet radio show called “Beyond the Spotlight” with her co-host Sam Lant.

“It’s all teen run — even the sound engineer is a teenager,” she said. “We come at it from a teen point of view … and interview people in the entertainment business that teens would want to know.”

When she’s not behind the mic or in front of a camera, her interests range from reading and hiking to geocaching and putting together puzzles.

But acting is where her true passion lies, and that’s evident as she talks about her lofty aspirations.

“Ultimately, I want to win an Oscar … and then win another and another until I die,” she said.

Visit mandalynncarlson.com to keep up with her career.

Written by Andrea Blum for TheNewsHerald.com. Reprinted with permission.

Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch to introduce 'Holy Ghost' at Saturday’s World Premiere

Wanderlust Productions, the independent film studio behind the hit “God adventure” trilogy FINGER OF GOD, FURIOUS LOVE and FATHER OF LIGHTS, is challenging Hollywood’s established business model with the debut of its Kickstarter-funded, faith film for Millennials, HOLY GHOST. This Saturday – September 6th – Wanderlust Productions is presenting the HOLY GHOST World Premiere Experience, a live, one-time digital event where anyone in the world can see the film and the event free of charge. 
The HOLY GHOST team is pleased to announce that Brian “Head” Welch, lead guitarist of the world-renowned heavy metal band Korn, will be introducing HOLY GHOST from the Redding Civic Auditorium in Redding, CA. Welch will also make a rare, solo musical appearance during the event, joining Christian band Jake Hamilton & The Sound for a live performance.
“We’re deeply grateful to Brian for his avid support and the prominent role he has agreed to play at the upcoming world premiere. There’s no question he’s going to add his own unique touch to the event,” said Darren Wilson, Director of HOLY GHOST and founder of Wanderlust Productions. “The HOLY GHOST World Premiere Experience is designed to engage fans in an incredible, one-time event built around the film. We’re expecting thousands of young people to physically join us in the Redding Auditorium while others simultaneously participate in hundreds of churches, at thousands of HOLY GHOST home screening parties, and in coffee houses, restaurants, and parks around the globe – anywhere where there’s an Internet connection. We are confident that this film and the experience itself will be surprising and richly rewarding for everyone who participates.”
HOLY GHOST was crowd-funded by 2,500 investors who surged to support Director Darren Wilson’s Kickstarter campaign, raising a record-breaking $360,000 in just 45 days to become the #1 most-funded, faith-based film—and the #2 most-funded documentary—in Kickstarter history. Wanderlust Productions is now crowd-promoting and crowd-marketing this film by mobilizing 25,000 of its most deeply dedicated fans through the #HolyGhostExperience campaign.
Director Darren Wilson shot HOLY GHOST with no script, no plan, and a single goal—to capture real-life evidence of God’s presence on Earth. As a result, HOLY GHOST is appealing and fresh from start to finish, documenting actual instances of divine healing, miracles and seemingly impossible events in improbable places. Filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, at a Korn concert in Iowa, and in Varanasi, India, HOLY GHOST moves seamlessly at breakneck pace from edgy street ministry to life-threatening encounters to interviews with acclaimed Christian artists like Michael W. Smith and noted recording artists like Lenny Kravitz—keeping the audience engaged without missing a beat.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Former Miss Michigan to appear on newest season of 'Survivor'

A familiar face will grace TV screens this fall.
Local fans of the reality show “Survivor” will recognize Wyandotte native and former Miss Michigan USA 2013 Jaclyn Schultz as a contestant on the 29th season of the reality competition, “Survivor: San Juan Del Sur — Blood vs. Water."
Her boyfriend Jon Misch, a Waterford native and former football player at Michigan State University, will appear with her on the show, which pits a group of contestants isolated in the wilderness against each other to compete for a $1 million prize. The couple are one of nine competing on the CBS show, which debuts at 8 p.m. Sept. 24.
Schultz said she decided to take part in the show because it’s the ultimate challenge — physically, mentally and socially — in the most extreme conditions.
“I live by the motto ‘never stop learning and growing as a person,’” she said. “This was definitely an experience that helped me grow a lot and realize more of my strengths and weaknesses as an individual and as Jon's partner. I knew the experience would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
She said she looks forward to watching the show with friends and family every Wednesday, and is both excited and nervous about reliving her time on the island.
“It will be bizarre to watch myself in that environment, stripped of literally everything, no Internet, phone, food, shower, makeup — no one to trust 100 percent but Jon,” she said. “I had a lot of highs and lows. It was hands down the most challenging thing I've ever done.”

Schultz graduated from Roosevelt High School in 2006. She then graduated from Central Michigan University and went on to earn a master’s degree from Michigan State University.
She currently lives in Las Vegas, where she works as a media buyer at SK+G Public Relations.
She is the daughter of Wyandotte City Councilman Donald Schultz.
Her Wyandotte pride continues to shine.
“Just like when I was Miss Michigan, I'm always proud to represent my hometown, Wyandotte,” she said. “It's different this time though. I'm not on a glamorous Miss USA stage, I'm literally living in the jungle stripped of everything.”
But she said she’s confident that she always can count on support from people in her beloved hometown.
“I know everyone in Wyandotte who has supported me from day one will continue to do so, regardless if it's a gown or if I'm covered in mud,” she said. “Love the people! Go Bears!”
During her time on the pageant circuit, Jaclyn Schultz made Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome her cause. The congential condition causes a woman’s uterus to be underdeveloped or absent and affects one in 4,500 women, including Schultz herself.
She has served as spokeswoman for the Beautiful You MRKH Foundation as she works to spread awareness and to provide support to girls and women struggling with acceptance of the diagnosis.
If they win the money on “Survivor,” the couple said they plan to use it to adopt a child or hire a surrogate.
“Survivor: San Juan Del Sur” premieres at 8 p.m. Sept. 24 on CBS.

‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ set to film Downriver

The blockbuster comic-book movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” will be filming Downriver soon, according to an unnamed source at River Rouge City Hall and other media reports.
The employee, who did not give her name, said negotiations have been going on for more than a year to use at least one location in the city.
The website OnLocationVacations.com reported Aug. 18 that Nicholson Terminal and Dock Co. will be the site of filming.
A report on the site said “telltale CCP crew signs,” which have been used by the production company in other filming locations, have been seen around the business.
The business, at 60 East Great Lakes St., has been used for several productions in recent years. “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Real Steel,” “Kill the Irishman” and The Double” have all used the location for filming, the site reported.
A Nicholson Terminal and Dock Co. official refused to comment on the filming, citing a confidentiality agreement.
Comic book movie fans in the region were delighted a few months ago by the announcement that "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" would film in Detroit.
In recent weeks, fans across the state have delighted in sightings of stars Ben Affleck (Batman) and Henry Cavill (Superman).
Romulus firefighter John Thiede has been cast in the movie as a Metropolis police officer.
Detroit and surrounding cities are thought to be standing in for Batman’s hometown of Gotham City, it is unclear why the Metropolis police would be in Gotham City, or if parts of the city are standing in for Metropolis as well.
Due to contract restrictions, Thiede has not commented on his role other than confirming that some of his scenes included Ben Affleck.
The film is set to be the live-action movie introduction to many characters that make up the DC Comics team the Justice League.
When Marvel Studios released its superhero team movie “The Avengers,” the film made more than $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office.
"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, the core trio of the traditional Justice League in the source comics.
It is expected to be released on March 25, 2016.

The film is being produced in conjunction with the Pontiac-based Michigan Motion Picture Studios, which is working on many of the film’s special effects.

Star of 'Gotham’ visits Big Ben’s comic book store

Comic book culture is taking the world by storm.
There are no fewer than 23 comic-related television shows either currently on the air or set to debut within the next year. That doesn’t factor in the numerous movies and straight-to-DVD releases also in the works.
PHOTOS: Erin Richards visits Big Ben's Comix Oasis
That’s why it was no surprise when Erin Richards of the upcoming Fox TV series “Gotham” showed up at Big Ben’s Comix Oasis last week on the spur of the moment.
“Gotham” is set to make its debut in September. The show is set in Gotham City and will follow a young detective, James Gordon, as he investigates the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents. Wayne, of course, is Batman. Richards will play Barbara Keane, Gordon’s girlfriend.
Richards flew in from Dallas to do a one-hour signing at the store and a couple of quick interviews before moving on to Chicago and then back to New York, where the show is filming its first season.
“I love it here,” she said when she walked in the door.
Because of the short notice given to the store, only about a dozen fans were on hand to meet Richards, but that didn’t dent her spirits as she personalized autographs for everyone, posed for photos and struck up conversations with everyone around her.

One such conversation was with a pair of young fans. She spoke with them for about 15 minutes and gave them a giant poster as they turned to leave.
“It doesn’t take any effort to be nice to people,” Richards said between drinks of tea made by a member of the store’s staff. “It’s the easiest part of this job.”
Richards said she was a fan of Batman growing up, specifically the Tim Burton films.
“I used to dress up as Batman and put on plays,” she said. “I would make all of my cousins dress up and put on plays with me. To this day they are all scarred from that.”
She remained tight-lipped about spoilers of the upcoming season.
“It’s the first season, so you can expect to find lots of origins,” she said. “It’s going to be great.”
While she was at the store, she agreed to help owner John “Big Ben” Davis complete his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as the celebrity pourer.