Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How I ended up with a teammate's photo tattooed on my arm.

First off, let me start by saying that no I don't regret getting either of my tattoos. Even though I was young when I got them, and one was put on upside down. I do not regret getting either, they are both in places on my body that you don't even know I have them unless I want you to know about them, so there are no repercussions on my personal or professional life in that regard.

I got my first tat, which is a very intricately detailed armband toward the end of my sophomore year of high school. There were various reasons for me wanting it, but I won't go into those now, they aren't important.

Near the end of my junior year, I was at an off-season wrestling tournament some where down in Ohio, Avondale or some place like that, and I saw a picture of one of their hall of fame wrestlers, and he had a cool wrestling tattoo. I decided that I liked that and wanted one of my own, but I wanted it to be unique.

Not only was I an athlete, but I was on both the yearbook and newspaper staff so I took a lot of pictures and the like. I went through my photos, found one I liked and asked the school art teacher, that happened to also be my wrestling coach to draw up a tattoo design based on that. The photo was of our 119 lb. wrestler who was also a good friend of mine, he was wrestling against a guy from Dundee in the photo.

I wasn't sure how I would afford the tattoo as I wanted it quite large, but now I had a design at least. Going forward I just happened to run into a guy that had done tattoo work for my mother and aunt more than two decades prior while he was in town visiting. Luck be me, he had his gear with him, and for the family discount rate of $50 he looked at the photo, and the design and then freehanded a very large tattoo on my left arm.

The photo's included here are a couple of years old, and so the tat itself needs to be recolored, but I'm still quite happy with it. It's very unique, and reminds me of the sport that I spent so many hours practicing in my youth.

I'm thinking about getting a couple of more, but haven't decided on the exact placement just yet.

So come on people out there in the internet world, tell (or show) me yours now that you've seen mine. Will you get another? Do you regret the any that you currently have?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday deals I picked up.

I didn't do much shopping this year, but I did pick up some DVD's. A few seasons of shows from a best buy, in Taylor, MI and then I got several deals on used DVD's from Family Video. Here's my haul:

From Best Buy: Dexter Season 4, Justified season 1, The Big Bang Theory season 4. Picked up each for less than $9. I also got a Blu Ray copy of Trainspotting for $3 and for a buck a copy of How William Shatner Changed the World. Also from Best Buy, I grabbed a new pair of ear buds, with Wolverine on them, now I can really rock.

My Family Video deals included Blu Ray copies of Captain America, the first Avenger, True Grit, and Transformers Dark of the Moon, along with standard DVD versions of Pirates: Quest for Snake Island, The Last Lovecraft Relic of Cthulu, Growing the Big One, I Am number Four, Horrible Bosses, Win Win, Your Highness, Boogie Woogie, Legend of the Guardians the Owls of Ga'Hoole, Hard Breakers, Christmas Caper and A Christmas Carol (The Jim Carrey version.)

I'm quite pleased with my haul.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Horrible Bosses: Not entirely horrible.

Horrible Bosses poster 


For Nick, Kurt and Dale, the only thing that would make the daily grind more tolerable would be to grind their intolerable bosses into dust. Quitting is not an option, so, with the benefit of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con, the three friends devise a convoluted and seemingly foolproof plan to rid themselves of their respective employers -- permanently. There's only one problem: even the best laid plans are only as foolproof as the brains behind them.

Cast and Crew

  • Directed by Seth Gordon
  • Produced by Brett Ratner, Jay Stern
  • Written by John Francis Daley, Jonathan M Goldstein
  • Starring Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Paul Rudd, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day
  • Quick Review

    I was hoping for a lot more than we got, but it wasn't terrible. Some of the jokes were ok, nothing that supremely stands out though. On the other side of the coin nothing supremely stunk either. Just a middle of the road comedy. 

    I had hoped for something uniquely funny here, but instead what I got was just average, maybe even slightly below average. Sure everyone has had a bad boss at some point in their life, so there is a relate ability factor, but there just wasn't enough substance to make me care about what happened to any of the characters.

    The worst part is that in the end, everything wraps up with a nice little bow on it. It should have been more realistic and not have things wrap up so well, it would have been a better story for it in the long run.

The Geekly Reader: It May Be Time To Sign Up For Amazon Prime

One of my favorite blogs on the, check it out.

The Geekly Reader: It May Be Time To Sign Up For Amazon PrimeDo you own an Amazon Kindle or plan on buying the new Kindle Fire?  If you do, you may want to also add the Amazon Prime service.  For $79 a year you can join Amazon Prime, which provides members with free two-day shipping (or $3.99 for next day shipping) on nearly everything on the Amazon site.  Earlier this year Amazon added a number of streaming movies and television series to the prime membership.  Amazon's streaming video selection is nowhere near the size offered by offered by Netflix, but it is a start.  Now Amazon has offered even more to the Amazon Prime Membership.

The Amazon Kindle Owners' Lending Library debuted this week.  Now, Kindle owners are able to borrow from a library of over 5,000 titles for no charge.  Readers may only borrow one book at a time.  There are also over 100 current or past New York Times Best Sellers available to borrow.  To borrow books, Amazon Prime members must own a Kindle, users of a Kindle app on a phone or non-Kindle tablet do not have access to the library. 

As an Amazon Prime member, I find this to be an amazing offer.  I frequently use the free two-day shipping feature and $3.99 for overnight is very reasonable.  Add in the free streaming videos as well and the lending library, and it is easy to see why some are calling Amazon Prime the "greatest deal in tech."  I may have to pick up the $79 Kindle, just so I can take advantage of the lending library.  I do most of my e-Reading on my iPad2, and I do have the Kindle app, but as I mentioned above, the lending library will not work with my iPad2.  What about you?  Will the addition of a lending library encourage you to buy a Kindle and/or add Amazon Prime to your Amazon account?  Have you already tried it out and borrowed a book?  How did it work for you?

Check out more of Mike's work on his blog, or at

Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown

Let's get this out of the way early, the movie is a total stinker. I love the Peanuts gang, I've read most of the published works over the years, and I've seen every movie/TV special. This is easily the worst among them.

The voice acting is bad, in the sense that none of them sound as they did in the originals, not even close. The story line is asinine, and the animation is a strange bastardization of the older style and new computer animation to the point that it's neither reminiscent of the old, or a model of the new.

All in all is just plain stinks. Save yourself the trouble and just stay away from this one. 1 start, our of five.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Immortals: The Gods Need a Hero

Release Date : November 11th, 2011 (USA)
Director : Tarsem Singh
Starring : Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Freida Pinto, Kellan Lutz

Let me start out with, I did not know the source material, and therefore the story heading in. Other than knowing that it was set in a time of Greek gods and goddesses I knew very little about what to expect. Basically we just wanted to see a movie. The we being my cousin who is home from out of town, her boyfriend (Whom I just met, and definitely approve of) and myself. I had picked our earlier in the day activities of watching the Michigan/OSU game (Which the good guys won) so it was up to them to pick a movie.

My official tagline here, is it didn't suck. I had low expectations after watching the horrendous Clash of the Titans remake last summer. Man was that one a big steaming pile-o-crap. I just assumed that Hollywood would make similar mistakes and ruin this. I was wrong.

The action scenes were fun, (especially in 3D, which I'm normally opposed to.) the acting was surprisingly well done, and for the most part the dialogue managed to stay away from cliche's that we are all used to from that time period. The story moved along pretty well, with very few things that needed to be either cut, or explained better.

All in all, I'm giving it 3.75 stars out of 5.

Thanksgiving at Granny's House

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wolverine (Claremont, Miller) reviewed

Canadian born X-Man Wolverine, heads to Japan (for the first time in the comics) in search of his lost love Mariko. He finds her quickly, only to discover that she has been married off by her recently returned, previously though to be dead father.

Frank Miller's art on this book is simply stunning, so obviously it was done in a pre "I'm crazy" era, the only thing that surpasses Miller's art on the story is Chris Claremont's story. The story is introspective and thought provoking. It manages to not be dragged down by the slow beats when they drone on about honor and commitment. Not that I'm saying discussing honor is bad, it just causes the story to miss a couple of beats occasionally. 

The first half is particularly strong, a dark, moody odyssey into this fantasy Japan of honour and ninjas, and a journey into Wolverine's psyche. Chris Claremont & Frank Miller easily suck you in with words and images and a convoluted plot promising twists and turns. But it weakens a little toward the end, particularly the final climax in which all the twists and turns are gone and we just have a lengthy action piece -- action largely devoid of suspense because Wolverine is such an unstoppable fighting machine. And the climactic duel with Shingen is problematic. No matter how much Chris Claremont tries to pretend that it's an equal match, it's impossible to believe the middle-aged, normal, Shingen has any chance against the almost invulnerable, unkillable, Wolverine.

And, to quibble about comic book continuity for just a moment, Mariko was supposed to be the cousin of Sunfire, a Japanese super-hero. So where was he while this corrupt patriarch was despoiling the family name?
Wolverine, the story, seems less like a comic than a movie, or novel. That's partly thanks to the off-beat story and solid characterization (and the lack of other super-hero trappings like Sunfire).

But it's also because, as one would expect from a story featuring the ruthless Wolverine, there's little comic book-style morality. Instead it features violent, kill-or-be-killed action -- though there's more moralizing than in, say, an Arnold Schwarzenegger film. There are, in fact, decidedly disturbing elements to the story, as Chris Claremont (through Wolverine) goes on various tirades about honour and duty, and the warrior's way, all as a justification for characters hacking their way through each other. There's just the whiff of martial fascism to the thing.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Things I'm thankful for.

   Not to sound cliche, but the things I'm most thankful for are my family and friends. I won't dwell on that though, as I don't wait for a special day of the year to tell them that. I tell them as often as I can how I couldn't be me without them.
   I'm thankful for several other things as well this year. There are the things I don't think about much, like the fact that I have my health or that I have an enormous DVD collection. OK I think about that last one a lot, but you get what I mean.
   Then there are the things that I do think about a lot, how luck I am to have finally gotten a job I truly enjoy, something I haven't had in a long time, or how since getting this job I have become closer to my father than I ever thought possible. We still don't always see eye to eye, but we spend a lot of time together. That is thanks to him living Downriver, and me living in Ohio, so I stay with him at least once a week when I work at night. It's been good to get to know him really for the first time over the last few months.
   I'm thankful for the rest of my family as well, my sisters whom I rarely get to see, my mother, who is my mother and I'll leave it at that. My grandmother, who had a hand in raising me, and helped to shape the man I became, despite out obvious political differences. Mostly this year, I'm thankful for my soon to be new step-father, who has been in my life for just over a year now. I know I'm an adult and all that, but it's wonderful having him around, and to see the spark in my mother's eye that never used to be there.
   I'm thankful for all of the blessings in my life, including but not limited to my friends, new and old. I'm the type of guy that has always known a lot of people, but not really had many friends. As open as I am with things, I've always kept things close to the vest as well. I've done that by carefully selecting my friends. I'm very thankful for the relationships I've had, and continue to have with my few close friends. I'm also thankful for the relationships I've made with new co-workers since starting at the News-Herald. Some of the people here have already become members of my 'close' friends circle, though I wouldn't ever tell at least one of them that, she'd make fun of me for being sappy.
   I'm also very thankful for one very special Australian lady, and she knows exactly why, words can't fully explain it.
   I have many other things to be thankful for as well, but I'm more interested in what you are thankful for, so please drop me a note and let me know.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011 Gift Guides: Gifts for a journalist.

Since I've been doing gift guides, I can't help but do one for my own profession.

6. Tyvek Wallet - Newsprint design. The perfect gift for any journalist that carries a wallet, it's practical and fitting of the profession. This can be picked up at
5. Mmm, Chocolate Pie...Chart. Yes journalists love statistics and figures, and what's better to show off those numbers than a beautiful pie chart? How about if that pie chart were made of chocolate. Available for about $20 from

4. USB Microphone. It turns your computer into a recording device, and allows the journalist to be able to upload the audio content directly to a website as needed. Available at

3. Bulletproof Polo Shirt. Perfect for the journalist that is on a crime beat, or that works in a bad neighborhood. No longer will you have to worry about your favorite journalist getting shot and dying if they are wearing this shirt. Available at

2. Crime Scene Scarf. Another fun, yet practical gift for the journalist that works in a cold weather climate. These are available on
1. Mobile Portable Bar. What's the one thing all journalists have in common? A drinking problem, and the need for mobility. This gift combines both, so it's perfect for your favorite journalist. Available at

The Flash: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Francis Manapul (main story) and Scott Kolins
Publisher: DC Comics
Collects: The Flash #1-7; The Flash: Secret Files and Origins 2010

The Flash is generally the post boy for upbeat fun within comics, he's always joking and laughing and generally just having fun.

The Dastardly Death of the Rogues is an excellent example of just how much fun both the Flash and his series can be, without sacrificing gravitas.  An outlandish time-travel murder mystery wrapped around some not-too-heavy drama and lovable character moments.

Of course recently resurrected Barry Allen doesn't think that anything could force him to commit cold blooded murder. Eventually the future "cops" or renegades and they name themselves convince him that yes if certain things were to happen he could be driven to kill.

The rest of the book focuses on the rogue cop that told him what he supposedly would do, and why, and the events that lead up to the next big event in the DC Comic Universe, Flashpoint.

I would have liked to have seen more made of Barry's first reunion with the Rogues, especially Captain Cold, and I don't think I love the Renegades quite as much as other readers, but the ever-moving forward plot was engrossing at every step, including some surprise (Geoff Johns) Johnsian twists (how does he get us every time!?), and still left us with little moments to enjoy in between. Aside from the difference behind the mask, this felt like the good old days. And, like those bygone tales, we are left with a few irresistible breadcrumbs of things to come.

4.25/5 on this one.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 Gift Guides: Gifts for Comic Book Lovers.

 Does your loved one, love comics more than anything else? Here's the ultimate list of must have graphic novels. Whether the person has read or even currently owns a copy of these books or not, a new copy is always appreciated as the pages will be less worn. Every one of these can be read over and over to non-stop enjoyment. Stop in to any local comic book store to pick up copies of these books.

15. Y: The Last Man. This series can be had in either 10 softcover or five hardbound editions. It tells the story of the last man on planet Earth. Not only is he the last man, but barring his pet monkey, he is the last surviving mammal on the planet. Pick this series up to discover why.

14. Sandman. From another of the masters of the medium, this time it's Neil Gaiman. The series ran for 75 issues, but has since been reprinted in 4 ultimate hardcover editions. The story is of the personification of dreams. The main character is Dream, though he goes through many names throughout the series. Other aspects of fate are also featured in the series.

13. Justice League of America: Tower Of Babel. Several members of the Justice League have been attacked with bizarre, but dangerously effective, methods. From a blind Green Lantern who can't use his imagination to make constructs to now water-fearing Aquaman, the race is on to find out who's responsible and what's their endgame. Soon to be a new DC Animated straight-to-DVD film, it stands as one of the best written arcs of the Justice League.

12. Wolverine. Written by Chris Clairemont and penciled by Frank Miller, this four issue arc, that has been reprinted in graphic novel form several times took the character of Wolverine from a flat two dimensional raging character, to one with depth, feeling and back story.

11. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. Dwight McCarthy thought she was out of his life forever. But he was wrong... women like Ava Lord never really leave you. And when she crosses his path again, he's going to wish he never met her... Second in the sensational Sin City series, this is said to be the main story to be adapted for the sequel to the 2005 Sin City adaptation. A noir story like no other, and one of the best Frank Miller works.

10. V For Vendetta. Alan Moore, who wrote this, is a true visionary. He's helped to define what graphic novels are, and what they can strive to be. V for Vendetta tells the story of V, as he revolts against the British Parliament in a myopic future.

9. Black Summer. Originally an eight issue arc, now you can get all of the individual issues in graphic novel form from one of the masters himself, Warren Ellis. The story is about masked heroes and villains dealing with political strife in the 1980's.

8. Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight. Picking up about a year and a half after the events of the TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the titular heroine faces new challenges, new roles and a new villain as she struggles to cope with all the changes she's been through. Old enemies rise again but can they defeat an army of Slayers and their network? The official continuation of the show and just as fantastic as the show that started it all, Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight is a great revival. Catch up with Buffy and the new Scoobies, starting with the first arc, The Long Way Home.

7. Civil War. After a horrible incident involving a staggering amount of fatalities, the superhero community becomes divided when a new bill is proposed, stating that all costumed crimefighters must register their identities with the government and work in tandem with them. Iron Man leads the side willing to work with the government, Captain America leads those wishing to remain unmasked. A landmark event in Marvel history, one with ramifications lasting years after its conclusion.

6. Scott Pilgrim. falling hard for aloof newcomer Ramona Flowers, Scott Pilgrim learns if he is to win her heart completely, he must defeat her seven evil ex-lovers in combat. A six part series, this is a hilarious and invigorating ride which the movie, while compressed, was extremely faithful to. Volume 1 is entitled Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life.

5. The Walking Dead. Winner of the 2010 Eisner Award for best continuing series, this follows a group of survivors as they try to make their way in the world following a zombie apocalypse.

4. Runaways. Six kids discover their parents are a criminal cabal known as The Pride and that each of them have powers or weapons at their disposal. Gathering what they can, the kids (Alex, Nico, Karolina, Chase, Gert and Molly, as well as their newly discovered genetically engineered dinosaur) leave their homes and try to find a place to stay as they fight their parents. Currently on hiatus, now would be the opportune time to start reading this excellent series, starting with Volume 1: Pride And Joy.

3. The Dark Knight Returns. Bruce Wayne has been retired for 10 years as Batman. However, crime has gotten even more out of hand and he can stand it no more. His body may have aged, but his mind is as sharp as ever as the Caped Crusader bursts back on the scene, leaving many to question if the Dark Knight's return is a gift from the gods, or the cataclysm Gotham has been heading towards. A pivotal read in the long and wonderful history of the masked man hunter of Gotham

2. Watchmen. Set in an alternate 1980's, where Richard Nixon is still president, and super heroes have been deemed illegal, this book starts with the death of the Comedian, and ends with a massive attack on New York City, but do the heroes come out of retirement in time to save the city? Pick up the book to find out. This is the only graphic novel to make Time Magazine's 100 all-time greatest novels list.

1. DC Comics: The New 52. A hardcover book that won't be released until Dec. 13, not only is it new, but it's timely. This book will compile all 52 number one issues of the newly relaunched titles in the DC comics universe.

Bonus Buy: JLA/Avengers. One of the most anticipated crossovers in comic book history the flagship superhero team from each of the industries top publishers, end up working together to stop an evil so great it threatens both universes.

2011 Gift Guides: Gifts for Geek

Unsure of what to buy for your favorite geek this Christmas? Well here is an inside look at some of the best gift ideas for geeks and nerds alike.

10. Star Trek: The Original Series 365. Sort of like a word a day calendar, though it's in a full length book form, with photos and stories from the cast and crew of the series that started the phenomena that has stretched more than 45 years through films, TV, books and more. The only problem with this book is that it's too short, every true Trekker knows that the Klingon calendar has 284.2 standard earth days.

9. Hi-Tec Art U.S. Map. Well what can I say, it's a light up map, complete with light up push pins. With this large size wall map, every geek in the house can pretend that they are going to take over the world, complete with battle plans and all.

8. The Star Wars Franchise on Blu-Ray: Sure you're average geek already owns probably two different versions of each film on DVD, and depending on their age they may own a VHS copy or three as well. However, the Blu-Ray version was just released in October, and can be purchased in one of three versions. The versions include the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy or a version with all six films. Whether you buy the two sets separately or the combined larger version the extra features are the same. Bonus gift for the Star Wars fan, a 22 minute short film called Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace was recently released to very little fanfare and your favorite geek may not even be aware of it's existence yet.

7. An Arcade Game. It could be your nerd's favorite game, but any arcade game will suffice. Word of warning here though, this gift is best for people with the space to enjoy it properly.

6. Nerf Stampede Gun. This gun is not your father's Nerf gun. The stampede comes with a shield to hide behind in case your friends also have one, this is the gatling gun of foam dart guns.

5. Star Wars Chop Sabers. Ok so Star Wars gets two entries on the list, I may be biased, but what is cooler than eating Chinese food with chop sticks that are designed to look like miniature light sabers? The answer to that will come quicker than one would think, just look down to the next gift idea.

4. Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter. The twin warp nacelles serve as a handle, and the saucer section serves as the cutting blade, complete with the call letters of the Enterprise engraved. Your favorite geek will enjoy a five year mission to explore pizzas and to discover strange new toppings while seeking out new cheeses.

3. Kindle Fire. E-Books have recently overtaken the sale of print books for the first time in history, and the Kindle Fire is the best e-reader on the market at the moment. It does everything that the older models of the Kindle did, but also has Internet access, and the capability to do hand held gaming, stream videos and do all manner of other cool things.

2. Kuru Toga Pencil. Sure, some might think it's just a pencil, but it's a highly engineered mechanical pencil that actually rotates the tip as you are using it so that the lead never never forms a chisel point.

1. RockPaperRobot Float Table. Just as it sounds, it's a table that levitates, no batteries required. Using advanced engineering and natural forces of magnetism this table is fully customizable, and just downright cool. Beware the price on this one, the simple designs start our at $2,000 before shipping is factored in.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: "Pay It Forward"

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: "Pay It Forward":

This past Friday, for the first time in I don’t even know how many months, I was sitting at home. I have been craving a day to myself for months now, so it was nice to finally get one.

I first decided to watch the hours upon hours of recorded shows I had on my DVR. After a while, I was starving and needing to move. So I got up, took a shower and went to the local pizza place to grab a bite to eat. When I came home, instead of returning to my recordings, I decided to see what movies were playing on the various channels I have.

That’s when I found Pay it Forward. I had seen the movie several times before, but I decided to go ahead and watch it anyway.

For those who haven’t seen it, the story focuses on 11-year-old Trevor McKinney played by Haley Joel Osment. On his first day of 7th grade his Social Studies teacher (played by Kevin Spacey, in what I believe to be one of his best roles) gives out an assignment to create and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better.
Trevor comes up with “Paying it Forward” a charitable pyramid scheme. Basically, he does three good deeds, but instead of receiving something in return, he asks that they do something kind for three other people. Thus, creating a pyramid scheme of kindness.

I don’t want to give away too much of the movie, but if you haven’t seen it, I HIGHLY recommend it. (It is available on Netflix, for all of you computer users!)

While I was watching the movie, I kept thinking to myself, what if more people did things for others and didn't expect anything in return? Would it actually be a good thing for the world? Or is there a such thing as being too kind?

I thought about this for the rest of the night. I came to the conclusion that maybe, all of us could be a little more helpful.

Christmas is right around the corner. The holidays tend to bring out the best in people, but I’m asking all of you reading this, why can’t we be like that all year? Is it too much of an inconvenience to do something nice for someone? I say, we could all do a little bit to make this world a better place. But it starts with you!

Whatever it is you do, whether it be helping out an elderly neighbor, or simply holding the door open for a stranger. Don’t worry about what you will get out of it; just tell them to PAY IT FORWARD.

Read more of his posts on his own blog, linked at the top.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

2011 Gift Guides: Gifts for kids 15 and under

Compiling this list, was like taking a trip down memory lane, many of the toys that are popular this year are based on franchises and properties from the 1980's and 90's. Some of the top toys this season include such blasts from the past as the Thundercats, Power Rangers and Cabbage Patch Kids. Other toys are completely new such as the Justin Bieber Keyboard Guitar, or any of the Dora the Explorer toys. Some of the top toys are listed below.

10. Legos. A classic toy that can provide hundreds of hours of fun. Specialized sets based on Star Wars, Pirates of the Carribbean and many other multi-media franchises are available. Just beware the potential of stepping on some of the small pieces if the kids don't clean up every one when they are done.

9. Barbie. Another classic toy, Barbie and her friends now come with hundred's of variations and accessories, some that even the boys can play with.

8. Squinkies. Squinkies are a new toy, based on an old model. They are similar to the Mighty Max and Polly Pocket toys from the mid 1990's, but with a new take in that they are miniature toys based on versions of other things, such as Marvel Comic's heroes like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. The toys can be bought as individual miniatures or in conjunction with larger play sets.

7. Pillow Pets. These can be used as pillows, or folded up and with a small piece of velcrow played with like any other stuffed toy. The official Pillow Pet line includes such plush items as Thomas the Tank Engine and Spongebob Squarepants. There are other knock-off brands that include other properties with the same concept.

6. Rockboard 2-in-1 Adjustable Self Propel Scooter. One of the cooler new toys on the market this works much like a traditional scooter at times, but at other times the rider can flip a switch and ride along on electric power.

5. Spy Net Stealth Video Glasses. Sunglasses with a built in video camera over the bridge of the nose. People will never suspect they are being recorded as you built evidence to make your case. The camera holds up to 20 minutes of video, or roughly 2,000 still photos.

4. Justin Bieber Tour Bus and Concert Stage. This or any other Justin Bieber toy is a good gift for the musical person, or the person that is just a fan of his music or acting careers.

3. Hot Wheels Race Track Sets. Fun for both boys and girls, there are hundreds of different sets to choose from. They can provide hours and hours of fun.

2. Kinect for the Xbox 360. For the kid that already has an Xbox gaming system, this is the the perfect add on for added gaming experience. The Kinect puts the player into the game, giving the system the ability to track the user's real life movements and put them on screen.

1. Playstation Pocket (PSP). A hand held gaming system that is as powerful as home based consoles from five years or so ago, games for the system can be bought for any age range. The PSP officially came out in 2005 itself but is continually receiving tweeks and updates to its software.

Spider-Man or Wolverine? You decide.

2011 Gift Guides: Gifts for the Pop Culture junkie.

5. If you've never heard of Banksy, don't feel bad, unless you're a pop culture junkyyou probably haven't. Banksy is a street artist whom has managed to keep his true identity a secret despite placing his art on buildings and streetscapes across multiple continents. He was the subject of the documentary film “Exit through the Gift-shop,” though he was also the director. The film was nominated for an Academy Award, though no one is sure if it was a real film, or another piece of performance art from Banksy. The gift here, is a trip to Banksy's website visit the shop section and download a piece of art, he gives it away free. Then take it to a local print shop and have a shirt, or a poster made for the pop culture fan you need a gift for.

4. Trivial Pursuit, any edition of this classic game will suffice for the true pop culture junkie. If there is one thing that a pop culture junkie enjoys more than pop culture it's proving to everyone else that they are the most knowledgeable in the room about whatever the topic is.

3. A laptop cooling strip, because after all, how does one become a pop culture junkie? By watching, and reading about it for one, and many do both on their computers these days, so do your favorite pop culture junkie a favor and get them a laptop cooling unit to allow them many extra hours of enjoyment from their laptops.

2.A Netflix subscription, either strictly a streaming video account, or one that allows the person to receive DVD's in the mail as well, you can't go wrong with movies and TV for a pop culture fan. Netflix is currently the company with the largest library of said movies and shows so it's the perfect gift, and good at several price points.

1. A handmade gift from the store RecycledArts. The store is run by the mother of two young girls, ages 14 and 9 that hand make all of their products. The stuff they make are all pop culture related and range from notebooks made with the covers of old books and DVD cases, to envelopes made from old calendar pages with various pop culture references. I've already added the Doctor Who notebook and the Spider-Man envelopes to my own gift list. The best part of this is you are giving back to charity as well, the girl's donate 25 percent of their profits to various charities.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Top 10 Thanksgiving themed movies

Thanksgiving is not traditionally a holiday that is associated with films. However there are many films that
include at least some scenes set at Thanksgiving.

Here’s the list of the top 10 films with a Thanksgiving theme.

10.      “Home for the Holidays” (1995) — Directed by Jodie Foster, starring Robert Downey Jr., Claire Danes and Holly Hunter. In this story of a family on the mend, Hunter plays a single mother that decides to fly home for Thanksgiving, only to find out that her teenage daughter insists on staying home to spend the holiday with her boyfriend. The whole family is filled with crazy characters that leave the viewer thinking about the special characters within their own families.
9. “Funny People” (2009) — Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a world famous comedian that finds out that he has a terminal illness. He hires a new writer to help him return to his first love of doing stand-up comedy, and along the way the two of them become friends. Most of this film doesn't include Thanksgiving themes, but one of the best scenes in the movie is set in the apartment of the newly hired assistant in which we find out that you don't have to be related to be family.
8.         “Dutch” (1991) — Dutch Dooley is getting married, but he hasn't ever met his fiancĂ©’s son. In an attempt to get to know him, Dutch volunteers to pick the boy up from prep school and return home in time for Thanksgiving. Wacky adventures ensue as the two guys learn to share the love of the most important woman in their lives.
7.         “ThanksKilling” (2009) — What happens when the turkey decides to eat you for dinner? Watch this one to find out. This is the only horror movie to make the list.
6.         “Son in Law” (1993) — Yes, a Pauly Shore movie made the list, not because he is a good actor, but because there aren't a lot of movies on the topic of Thanksgiving. It's about college freshman that returns home with a fake fiancĂ© to upset her parents.
5.         “The Ice Storm” (1997) — Set the weekend after Thanksgiving, 1973, this film tosses an eclectic bunch of family and neighbors together that frankly don't get a long, yet are stuck together due to the worst ice storm in more than a century.
4.         “The Big Chill” (1983) — Not to be confused with the made-for-TV film of the same name from 1999 is a completely different story. This film is about a group of seven friends returning to a post Californian neighborhood around Thanksgiving time to mourn the loss of a dear friend.
3.         “Scent of a Woman” (1992) — Again not generally considered a “Thanksgiving” film, but it does have an excellent scene set around the holiday, and it is an excellent film that won Al Pacino an Academy Award for best actor in a leading role.
2.         “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947 and 1994) — both versions are excellent, and of course few would consider it a movie about Thanksgiving, instead considering it a Christmas flick. It's a fair thought, with Santa Clause being a main character, but the whole movie is set around the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
1. “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” (1987) — One of the funniest films ever made. This tosses Steve Martin and John Candy together and tells them just to be funny, and it worked. The men suffer through various modes of transportation while trying to get home to see their families for the holiday.