Loot Crate Box Opening–Woo Hoo!

Loot Crate

Loot Crate

Loot Crate

That’s right, I’m a looter. Of course I am. Last month was the time travel Loot Crate. This month a grab bag of goodies. If you want to get your own Loot Crate delivered each month you can go here.

Now this month we have a fabulous Mockingjay pin.

Loot

Loot

A Cute but Deadly mystery figure and magnet sheet which is pretty impressive.

Also included is a Vault Boy bobble head.

There’s a Street Fighter comic

The loot crate pin, catalogue and a Shredder Shades (of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame). Not quite as cool as the Doctors Sonic Shades but more evil.

Shredder Shades in the Crate

Shredder Shades in the Crate

Now, there is going to be a Pink Elephant gift exchange at work here soon and anything I have not wanted from any of my Loot Crates has been going in a box. It’s going to be awesome! And it’ll up the nerd quotient of one (or more) of my co-workers.

Oh! And there’s also an Anime Loot Crate if you like Anime.

Echos of #RCCC2014 #Mothra #Kaijucast & Gareth Edwards #Monsters

Mosura-ya

Mosura-ya

Mosura-ya

The wonderful people at Kaijucast posted a picture of the Mothra cosplay on their web site. If you love Kaiju you should really check them out. Their panel discussion at the Rose City Comic Con was so much fun.

I haven’t had a chance to catch up on all of their podcasts yet but they are the fine folks who suggested Daimajin to me and I really enjoyed those movies.

Kyle of Kaijucast with Mothra

Kyle of Kaijucast with Mothra

As a huge Godzilla fan (you might have noticed) I checked out Gareth Edwards short independent film Monsters while waiting for Godzilla to get released on DVD. While the film showed clear indications of potential greatness, it never quite delivered on its promise. As a first film it was brilliant. As a movie, not so much. Gareeth Edwards ideas about women were questionable at best but there were scenes and suggestions of what might be that were just breathtaking.

When I heard that, due to the success of Godzilla, Gareth Edwards was going to turn Monsters into a trilogy I was less than enthusiastic. And yet, I am willing to give thin and the movies a chance. Godzilla was very good. Sure the human characters weren’t the best and the story wasn’t anything that will change your life, but it was a solid, entertaining and well done movie. There were scenes on Godzilla that were spectacular. One of my favorite was the one where you see the huge traffic jam with the plain down in the middle of it. Another is at the airport in Hawaii and the leading edge of the Tsunami heralds Godzilla’s approach. It’s brilliant touches like that that I saw the potential for in Monsters. You can just tell that Gareth Edwards knows how to put together a scene that will have impact and make an impression. The shot of the male MUTO diving into San Francisco bay after that boat is just spectacular, brilliant and the way the movie almost goes black and white in spots gives it that war-time feel that the original Godzilla was after.

I think as Gareth Edwards grows as a director the flaws will get ironed out and he won’t make rookie mistakes like in Monsters having a woman who is unaccountably unhappy to be going home to her wealthy fiancee but the man who is interested in her not having the depth of character or human decency to ask her about it before displaying clear interest in her. Then again if a guy who had professed interest in me, in any way, had lost my passport to a one night stand he just couldn’t do without, I wouldn’t be quite so forgiving. Just sayin’.

Those are the kinds of things that get in the way of a good movie. Just ask Kevin Costner. If people don’t like any of the characters, or have no reason to care about them (Water World) they won’t enjoy the movie.

With all that being said, I love giant monster movies. I love Kaiju. So despite the fact that I didn’t much care for Monsters, I could see moments of brilliance and the promise of a great director in it and I am kind of starting to look forward to Monsters: The Dark Continent. K

Japanese Pranks Take Pranking To The Next Level (With Context)

The first video has been out for a while and despite the fact that I disapprove of pranks, because they seem to humiliate people which I don’t find funny–these are hysterical. So now I’m laughing and I have guilt.

This later one was just released and demonstrates pranking taken to the next level. The inclusion of the “Raptor Roar” is genius. Once again, I have guilt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZGNk8pUj4Y

The Sports Page in Tigard Scores High

The Sports Page Beer Menu

The Sports Page Beer Menu

The Sports Page Beer Menu

We discovered The Sports Page in Tigard a month or so ago and really enjoy having a mini-date on Monday’s there. Their Micro Monday’s are just ridiculous: Microbrews for $3.75 a pint! The Happy Hour menu is just sick, it’s so good and so cheap.

We broke our “Keno rule” to try this place out one Monday when we just wanted to relax a bit after work and we are so glad we did. For the record our “Keno rule” is that we don’t eat in restaurants that have Keno because we seem to always get terrible service when we do.

This is not the case at The Sports Page. The service is fast, friendly and just really a delight. The fish tacos are the best I’ve ever had and during happy hour they are $3.00 apiece. I kid you not. That’s less than a volcano burrito from Taco Bell and way more tasty. It’s a good portion too. While I wish I could eat six of them, one with the little side of chips and salsa fills me up. I never walk away hungry and I never finish my chips and salsa.

Of course it’s a sports bar so they have big screen high def televisions all over the place. You can sit and relax, have delicious food, good beer and watch your favorite team. Just so you know, we had a fish taco apiece, a beer and a cosmopolitan (and they don’t skimp on the booze either, my friend) and the total bill came to $15.00 before tip. Yeah $15.00 before tip. For two people with drinks. I know places where the cosmopolitan alone would cost that much. The food is absolutely delicious too.

As with most of the best places you’ll find, The Sports Page is tucked back behind a strip mall so you have to know it’s there. Believe me it’s a find too. It’s an inexpensive way to add a little extra date night to your work week and get delicious food with excellent service. K.

“O” Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas

Cirque du Soleil "O"

Cirque du Soleil "O"

Cirque du Soleil “O”

Yes I went to Las Vegas this last weekend. I flew in Friday afternoon and spent my first night in sin city taking a relaxing bubble bath and eating bon-bon’s in my room. It was heavenly. Because really, when do I get to do something like that at home? There are always eleventy-billion things I need to do when I’m home. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, that’s just the way things are.

Speaking of heavenly; we got VIP tickets to see Cirque Du Soleil “O” at the theater in the Bellagio Saturday night. Seeing Cirque Du Soleil is one of my ‘bucket list’ items so of course I couldn’t pass up the chance to see it.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Sure I knew it was acrobatics and fantastic costuming. But that’s like saying a Ferrari is wheels with an engine. The music is live just like the rest of the performance and they planted people in the audience to tell the story.

The costumes and choreography along with the vocals and music and the emoting of the dancers, acrobats and actors was so amazing, so purely beautiful that I was moved to tears more than once. Granted I’m a softie but this was so incredible, so beautiful it was as close to perfection as I can imagine anything being.

I use these words and they pale in comparison to what the experience was like. There is a nameless emotion that takes over when you are in the presence of a performance of such exquisite artistry that takes over and lifts you with it to a place of deep gratitude for being permitted to witness it. The last time I was moved by a performance like this was when Anissina and Peizerat were skating for the Olympics.

Cirque du Soleil has 7 shows in Las Vegas, I believe. We saw the “O” show which involved a lot of water. The genius behind it is evident in every motion of the acrobats, dancers and everyone involved. The costuming is out of this world and even though there are very few spoken lines, the characters come to life through the motions and expressions of the actors and actresses.

The amazing things they did with dance, the acrobatics and the contortionists were breathtaking. Every motion pushed the boundaries of what a human being could do, without ever sacrificing the beauty of it. I saw the most astounding examples of angular momentum, vector addition and parabolic trajectories I’ve ever seen. There is a purity to what they do that I cannot overstate. It is a purity of beauty, of art, of physics, of the human form, of music and dance that defies my grasp of language.

I am so happy that I got to see it. Given half a chance I would see Cirque du Soleil again. I’ll have to write a post about my personal “bucket list” since I’ve been slowly checking things off of it as the opportunity arises. If you get the chance, and you are at all interested in the performance arts, do see Cirque du Soleil. K.

The Depression Quilt My Grandmother Made

Grandma's Depression Quilt

Grandma's Depression Quilt

Grandma’s Depression Quilt

My grandmother lived through the Great Depression. She was a child then and she, very rarely, told occasional snippets of what it was like. One thing that stuck with me was that her father was so proud that he let his family go hungry rather than accept assistance, which he called a “hand-out.” I have very mixed feelings about that. On the one hand having pride and wanting to pay your own way is admirable. On the other hand, if you are out of work through no fault of your own, is it really all that admirable to make your children go hungry for the sake of your own pride?

Those are my thoughts because grandma never complained. She mentioned these things to let us know how difficult things were back then and how proud people were and how desperate people had to be before they looked to the government for help. Grandma never judged anyone. She talked about how my great uncles, her brothers would make machines out of bits and pieces of scrap they found laying around. Nothing went to waste. My grandmother could look at an empty refrigerator and somehow make supper for 4. Hot buttered noodles with a bit of garlic are delicious.

One year for Christmas, in fact the first Christmas I spent with my new husband after my marriage, my Grandmother sent me a depression quilt she’d made for us that year. My Grandmother had terrible arthritis when she made this quilt and it is one of the most beautiful quilts I’ve ever seen. She made it by using a worn out top sheet from a king sized bed as the backing. For the top she stitched together a myriad of scraps and pieces from her sewing bag. The note she included with this wonderful gift explained that this is how quilts were made during the depression.

People couldn’t afford to buy blankets so women returned to the old ways of making quilts from scraps and blocks of cloth. Quilting became a big thing during the depression because it was something that women could make a living doing and it was a social thing too. Patterns were shared and tips and tricks printed in local newspapers. Many quilt patters were old family patterns and they have identifiable geometries. Not so the one my Grandmother made for me. This kind of depression quilt is special. It literally uses whatever scraps can be found in a sewing bag. For this kind of depression quilt, quilters used pieces from worn out clothing, old worn jackets, trousers, blankets and anything else they could get bits of cloth from. This made these kinds of quilts completely unique and individual. It is a beautiful gift, full of love and thoughtfulness.

There is something very special about a quilt that someone makes for you. I think there really is love in every stitch. It’s a tangible expression of my Grandmother’s love for us and I think of her fondly every time I put it on the bed. Yes, I use it. It was meant to be used and I love it. Maybe the day will come when I put it away, preserve it for future generations but for now it was made to be used and I think of Grandma and her love and how much I love her every time I put it on the bed. K.

HISHEdotcom Superman Alternate Ending–Too Funny!

If you read my review of Man Of Steel you would know that I found the movie overall good but the ending a letdown. HISHEdotcom felt the same way, it seems and made this awesome youtube video. Please enjoy and if you do feel free to give them a like on YouTube or Facebook for their humor and creativity. K.

MST3K VS Gamera

4 of 5 Gamera movies from the MST3K VS Gamera collector's tin.

MST3K VS Gamera collector's tin and movies

MST3K VS Gamera collector’s tin and movies

In 1965 Daiei Motion Picture Company created their own Kaiju to capitalize on the success of Toho’s Godzilla. The Kaiju they created had the form of a turtle and was postulated as a prehistoric turtle in the first film Gammera the Invincible (in the US); original title “Gamera” (in Japan}. The second “m” was added to the US title to help people pronounce it properly. The original movie opens with bombers releasing the giant prehistoric turtle from an ice field in the arctic. From there, amid destruction and panic the giant turtle with teeth and tusks escapes into the sea and heads straight for Japan. In 1985 Sandy Frank purchased the rights to the original Gamera movie along with 4 others and returned the first to not just its original title of Gamera but also went with the original footage rather than the westernized version that was released in the states in 1965.

Gamera remained a turtle throughout the 1970’s and has managed to survive and become a Kaiju icon in his own right. Through repeated television series, comic books and even spoofing on Mystery Science Theater 3000, the giant turtle has remained in the consciousness of fans. It even had a reboot in 1996 that was pretty decent (which I will review later), and it was in this reboot that Gamera became something other than a turtle, although still kept the form. My real disappointment with the third movie of this reboot is that they spent part of the film setting up for a fourth movie that was, unfortunately, never made. More about that When I review that movie another day.

I remember watching Gamera as a child and loving it. As an adult I find the MST3K spoofs the only way to watch them. Joel and the Bots got the rights for 5 Gamera movies: Gamera, Gamera VS Barugon, Gamera VS Gaos, Gamera VS Guiron and Gamera VS Zigra. The tin is really nice and comes with some cute little MST3K VS. Gamera posters. Just so you know, each movie is more ridiculous than the last, culminating in Gamera VS Ziegra where the kids take the lead and Gamera plays “xylophone” on Zigra in the end. These movies are some seriously deep hurting. Joel and the Bots keep it light and fun which, honestly is in the spirit of what the Gamera movies were meant to be.

4 of 5 Gamera movies from the MST3K VS Gamera collector's tin.

4 of 5 Gamera movies from the MST3K VS Gamera collector’s tin.

It is a delightful set and a nice addition to any collection of classic Kaiju movies. Just, the early Gamera movies were truly awful. Gamera consumes fire and fuel oil to breath his fire breath and ignite his leg rockets. Gamera is a friend to children and that’s a premise that is strange and weird. Godzilla was never weaker as a monster and as a franchise as when they tried to go the “friendly” Godizlla route. I feel the same way fabout Gamera. The movies do capture the campiness and cheesiness of the kinds of movies and television shows that were popular at the time. Shows like Get Smart, which also debuted in 1965, Batman and Robin (1966) and Lost in Space (1965) were very campy.

In fact as a comparison if Godzilla (1954) is like Star Trek (1966), Gamera (1965) is like Lost In Space (1965). One is mostly a thoughtful treatment of the material and the other is just campy. True in the late 1960’s and for most of the 70’s Godzilla gave in to the marketing cry of campiness but not at first. Nevertheless some things you just have to love for what they are. K.

In Saturn’s Rings First Official Teaser in 4K

Wow! Thanks to the inestimable Bob Eggleton I just discovered In Saturn’s Rings. I got goosebumps watching this trailer on my computer screen. I can only imagine how amazing, how overwhelming it will be on an IMAX screen. Filmmaker Stephen Van Vuuren has edited together and animated hundreds of thousands of photographs from the Cassini-Huygens space craft. This movie is made without special effects, just animating those photographs. Again, Wow.

Even more amazing, and true to the spirit of scientific discovery, this film is non-profit. These people and this amazing film are spreading the word about the wonders of science and they want to give us something to reach for again. They want to see humanity dream and that is a worthy goal. We are dreamers and we are curious. If we loose that, then we loose a piece of our soul, both as individuals and collectively as people. What I’ve seen is absolutely breathtaking and that these people are doing it for us, for humanity, for our future speaks to hope and to the best of what we can be.

Here is the trailer:

And their official website In Saturn’s Rings.

As this is a non-profit undertaking they are accepting donations on their official site. Look for the full feature length movie in IMAX in 2014. I can hardly wait! K.