Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An interesting thing happened on my way home last night

As the title suggests, an interesting thing happened on my way home last night. I ran into my first real world fan.

(Warning, the following story may be very exagerated, but it is mostly true.)

I was covering the Allen Park City Council meeting for work. For the first time in months, a meeting let out in a paltry two hours, and I was sprinting to the exit so I could get home at a decent hour, you see I live about an hour south of the city, in a mystical land called Toledo.

I was nearly at the door when suddenly I was grabbed from behind. Immediately I went into defensive mode, saying that I would look into whatever story idea the person had, but that I was super busy and it may take me a few weeks. (All joking aside, I really do mean it when I tell that to people.)

It turned out to be one Allison Cline, who works in the police department as a grant writer, and I was partially correct, she did want to talk about a story for me to work on. That's not the reason for this blog though, you see what happened next is what had me beaming proud, she mentioned my blog by name, and said that she reads it as often as she can. That she even has it sent to her phone.

Now you see, she was the first person that I didn't know on a personal level that has ever come up to me in the 'real world' meaning not simply my friends, family and coworkers have ever mentioned reading my blog. I know that a lot of people read this, because I get thousands of hits a month, but knowing the people that read it make it so much more fun to write.

So I guess what I'm saying is that if you read this, and happen across me in the real world please feel free to stop me and tell me so. It'll make my day, and you might even be immortalized right here on the internet.

'Hamburglar' steals burgers from McDonalds drive-through customer

Augusta, Maine -- a man dressed like the McDonaldland character The Hamburglar snuck through a drive-through line and stole a bag of food as it was being passed out the window to a customer.

Police report that a teenage boy was dressed in clothes that resembled the former McDonald’s advertising character when he ran between a car and the building to snag the food right as an employee opened the window to hand it to the customer.

The theft occured at about 6 p.m. March 25.

A witness flagged down a police officer who was exiting a nearby convience store. The officer found the man in an Arby’s parking lot a few doors down eating the evidence.

The man fled into the woods while yelling obscenities at the police .

The man remains on the lam.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games: Which is better the book or the movie?

Office Intern Dennis Hinzman and I sit down and discuss which we liked better, the book or the movie. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

“Call me a 'Quack' it's right on target”

  The Robertson clan, owners and operators Ducks Commander, a company based in Louisiana that creates duck calls are set to TV's new first family. The family, is the star of the sure to be a hit new A&E TV series called “Duck Dynasty,” which debuted last week with a pair of hilarious half hour episodes.
The show follows the family as they attempt to both run their company, and learn to cope with being instantly wealthy after growing up poor. Willie is the company CEO, who struggles with running the family business and keeping it a family business, while also not being able to fire if employees for making mistakes, no matter how major since they are all his family members.
Phil Robertson
This is shown perfectly in the premiere episode when Willie is with his father Phil (Yes that Phil Robertson) and mother Miss Kay filming a cooking DVD to sell as part of their product line. His brother Jase is back at the production facility with the rest of the crew and come up with the idea that they need a research lab so that they can develop new products and test them out without having to leave the facility, so he decides to flood the loading dock and buy some ducks to stock it with.
Phil Robertson, the company founder is the same Phil Robertson that quit playing college football with a year of eligibillity left while at Louisiana Tech and topping the depth chart above one Terry Bradshaw. Bradshaw went on to win four Superbowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Willie Robertson
Willie, who thought that the crew was working on filling a 1,000 duck call order, returned to the plant right as they released the ducks. He through a fit, and forced the guys back to work, before they got to test the duck calls.
Willie manages to let his softer side show though a few minutes later when curiosity gets the better of him and he asks how it worked. Jase tells him that they didn't get to test anything and the episode concludes with the duck calls working and Willie claiming that he had the idea to do this five years ago and that Jase stole it from him.
The show isn't all about duck calls though. They play football, they go frog hunting and overall they just have some down home red-neck fun. The antics seem a bit over the top, but are completely believable within the confines of this show.
I'm not normally a fan of reality TV, but this show will be a must watch on my DVR playlist for the next several weeks at least. For a city boy like myself the family is a hoot to watch.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Photo blog: My new ride

The first time that I've had a halfway decent car even. It's a 2010 Hyundai Elantra.

The fuel economy should save me more money in gas than the monthly payments. As you can tell I'm pretty excited.

Unfortunately I don't get the keys until Monday mid day, and I have to work, so my mother gets to be the one to drive it off the lot, then I get to wait until whenever I can drag myself home to come drive it for the first time as my car.

That's OK though, nothing can get me down today. It's a happy day.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games movie review

Sorry for the stumbling and bumbling in the video, but it's my first attempt at this. I promise I'll refine it a bit and have it down better in the future.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Babble-On Begins: Episode 1

Anyone that knows me, knows that I enjoy listening to the Smodcast network, and that Hollywood Babble-On is my favorite of the shows on the network. Here is the fan film made to honor both Kevin and Ralph. I had absolutely nothing to do with it's making, just helping others to see some high quality work.

Battle Royale (DVD review)

Forty-two students, three days, one deserted Island: welcome to Battle Royale. A group of ninth-grade students from a Japanese high school have been forced by legislation to compete in a Battle Royale. The students are each given a bag with a randomly selected weapon and a few rations of food and water and sent off to kill each other in a no-holds-barred (with a few minor rules) game to the death, which means that the students have three days to kill each other until one survives--or they all die. The movie focuses on a few of the students and how they cope. Some decide to play the game like the psychotic Kiriyama or the sexual Mistuko, while others like the heroes of the movie--Shuya, Noriko, and Kawada--are trying to find a way to get off the Island without violence. However, as the numbers dwell down lower and lower on an hourly basis, is there any way for Shuya and her classmates to survive?

Normally I'm not one to watch subtitled movies, but a co-worker told me that I had to see this movie after I started reading The Hunger Games last week. He mentioned that there are some circles that think Suzanne Collins stole the idea for her book series from Koushun Takami who wrote the book that this film was based on. I can see that, and there will be a blog later in the week dealing with just that.

As I said above, I'm not normally one to watch subtitled films, but this one was riveting, and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I wish that it would have been slightly better explained where the Battle Royale act came from, and also why, other than getting stabbed by a student that the teacher Kitano would turn into the violent blood thirsty man that he had become. Maybe both of these are explained better in the book, but really those are my only complaints against the film.

While the sets weren't the greatest, it fit well within the story telling. The more and more of the big blockbuster films I see, the less I like movies with a lot of CGI in them. This film either had no CGI, or so little that it wasn't noticeable. I like when the blood and explosions and the like on the set are really done with stunts, rather than CGI, it gives an added sense of realism to the experience.

The film runs nearly two hours, but you don't find yourself watching the clock as it doesn't drag at all, the action and story keep moving at a fast pace to where you don't realize that you've invested so much time into the movie until you glance at a clock afterward.

I can't give a proper review of the special features because the copy of the movie I had was procured at a comic convention as no American distributor was ever found for the film. It's sad in the sense that the American audience would love this movie. Hopefully with the comparisons to The Hunger Games bringing this film back into the spotlight it may get a US release complete with an English dub of the film. I'd be first in line to buy a copy of the disc.

TARDIS socks? Yes please.

So while "working" I happened upon these socks on Pinterest. Now I MUST have them. Who wants to find a pattern and make them for me?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

Oh wow, this sounds so good. I can't wait to try it. SOON!

1 dozen eggs
1 cup milk
1 package (32 oz.) of frozen hash brown potatoes
1 lb of bacon – cooked, drained and cut into pieces
1 lb of sausage, browned and drained
1/2 cup green onions – diced
1 green pepper – diced
3/4 pound cheddar cheese – shredded
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
salt & pepper to taste
1. Layer potatoes, bacon, onions, green pepper and cheese in the crockpot in two or three layers.
2. Add cheese.
3. Beat the eggs, milk and mustard, salt & pepper together.
4. Pour over the whole mixture.
5. Cook with slow cooker on low for ten to twelve hours or until eggs are set and thoroughly cooked.

I'll let everyone know once I've tried it, though I'll need to scale down everything for my household.

The Hunger Games Trilogy, a review of sorts

Yeah, so I'm a bit late to the party, so sue me. The Hunger Games, the first book in the trilogy was first published in 2008. Though it is written for teenagers, adults can also find enjoyment in the series.

Set in the future, The Hunger Games takes place long after natural disasters, war, disease, and famine destroyed society as we know it. From the ruins of North America rose the nation of Panem, which consisted of a powerful Capitol ruling over thirteen surrounding Districts. The Districts didn’t like the Capitol’s oppressive rule very much and soon rose up together in a rebellion.
The results were disastrous. The Capitol quelled the uprising in twelve Districts and completely annihilated the thirteenth. As punishment, the Capitol created the Hunger Games. Each year, every District must send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve to eighteen as tributes. The tributes then fight each other to the death in an arena until only one person is left. These are not normal arenas. Armed with immense technology, the Capitol creates natural terrains that are enormous and range from forests to deserts to arctic landscapes. They can control the weather, climate, and even alter the terrain while the Games are in play. All this while the Games are televised across Panem, for the entertainment of the Capitol and for the sorrow of the Districts. This is the Capitol’s ultimate tool of fear, to keep the Districts in check so they can never rise up in rebellion again. It says, “Look at what we can do. We can take your children and make them kill each other while you watch. And you can’t stop us.”
So book one opens on the day of the reaping, which is the ceremony in which the tributes are chosen for the games. Katniss Everdeen, who has been supporting her family since she was young after her father died and her mother couldn't deal with it, ends up volunteering for the games after her younger sister is chosen instead.
The book is predictable in many areas, but still has enough twists and turns to keep it exciting and edge of your seat entertainment throughout, making it a quick read as well.
Catching Fire, the second book in the series starts up not far from where The Hunger Games ended. Katniss is living in the Victors Village with her family. You'd think that she'd finally be able to relax and live the cushy life. Well that wouldn't make a good book. There are rumors of rebellion and since Katniss and Peeta won the Hunger Games in defiance they have become the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol, particularly President Snow, is not happy with them. Now Katniss has to worry about looking as in love with Peeta as possible to quiet down the rebellion, but is that what she really wants? 
The major 'early' twist isn't that big of a twist if you ask me, I was expecting it just because that's what I would have done had I been the writer, but it happens much earlier than I had thought it would, probably because this is a trilogy, not a four or five book series.
Overall the second book, while not holding up to the standards of the first, it still a very good read.
The final book in the series, Mockingjay, is a major let down. It's a series of spikes and valleys rather than building up to a natural conclusion like it should. It's almost like a different writer wrote it, the characters are different, the pacing is different, and the plot unfolds differently. In all three aspects it is worse than in the previous two books.
The final chapters are some of the biggest let down of the entire series, I'm not talking about how the uprising concludes, but how characters react after the end of the uprising, it's just totally out of character from what we have come to expect.
Overall the series is still an excellent read, but primarily on the back of the first book, not so much on the sequels. At least they are all quick reads. I read them all in just a couple of hours each.