Monthly Archives: February 2012

Davy Jones Dead at 66

It’s always harder to write these things when it’s someone you like, and this is a rough one, compounded by death at such a young age. This morning actor, singer, songwriter and musician, among other things, Davy Jones, passed away from a heart attack in Florida. He was 66.

His career began early, acting in the British soap “Coronation Street,” and even working as a jockey before landing the role of the Artful Dodger in “Oliver!” on the West End stage in London. The cast performed on the same “Ed Sullivan Show” that the Beatles made their first American appearance, and after seeing them, Jones knew what he wanted to do with his life. He moved from British TV to American TV and was eventually cast as one of the Monkees, both on television, in the recording studio, and on the concert stage.

The Monkees broke up in 1971, and Davy Jones made a legendary appearance on “The Brady Bunch,” one which he recreated for the movie that came decades later. The Monkees reunited for a series of reunion tours, starting in the mid-1980s. I had the opportunity to meet the man twice on these tours. He was always polite, funny, and pleasant and gracious to his fans, no matter what they did to him, wanted him to sign, or embarrassed him with. He was a good guy. We have lost a legend, and probably the king of the teen idols. He’ll be missed.

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Paul’s Fresh Cut Idaho Fries

Comic Book Men

AMC wanted to cash in on “The Walking Dead” so bad that I guess they accepted any show about comic books. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a hardcore Kevin Smith fan, but “Comic Book Men” is, on many levels, a disappointment.

Unless Kevin Smith himself doesn’t know what he wants this show to be, it seems to be suffering from a lot of outside, or possibly even inside interference. It’s all over the place. Sometimes it wants to be a reality show, sometimes a bad imitation of “Hardcore Pawn” and other shows of its ilk, sometimes an extension of Smith himself, sometimes a podcast on video, and sometimes just an outright commercial for the Secret Stash store, Smith, and/or AMC. Could they really get any more Smith or Walking Dead merch in the camera frames?

Having frequented comic book shops all my life, I can tell you, that except for the guy who doesn’t work there and never leaves, this is sooo not like a comic book shop. They did however have to clean up the Secret Stash, which was a relief. I’ve been there, they cleaned, believe me. The occasion of folks coming in wanting sell stuff doesn’t happen all that often, neither do hockey games, or sadly women in the shops. And of course that’s the other thing that bugs me about it, the supposedly unscripted employees are more than a little sexist – perhaps they should be scripted.

Maybe they could focus on the buying comics from customers concept, or the roundtable podcast concept, or just make it Kevin Smith-centric – I really enjoyed the Jason Mewes/Batmobile episode. Maybe it could be cut down to a half-hour, but it must focus, and pick a direction. Sadly the one thing I enjoy about visiting a comics shop, talking comics, has only been featured once, and they mocked it. To me that’s what the show should be about, sans ridicule. If you’re fanboys (and girls), embrace it!

Right now, we’re three episodes into a six-episode run. I hope it gets better, and finds its center. It would be nice to have a geek home on television, especially smack between “The Walking Dead” and “Talking Dead.”

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French Fry Diary 343: Burger.Org

Late Night Kitchen Adventure

I have insomnia. Anyone who follows my Twitter, or my Miso which feeds into my Twitter know this, as they have watched me rip through entire seasons of television series in the dead of night. Yes, it’s true, not being able to sleep at night, the devil does make work for idle hands. I still write from time to time when I can’t sleep, watching TV on my iPhone is recent bad habit.

When I first got married, playing Atari was my can’t-sleep go-to. We inherited The Bride’s grandmother’s condo, and with it, most of her furnishings. Thus we had a tiny TV in the kitchen, one without cable. No cable, so not much point in watching it, but I got the bright idea to hook my old Atari 2600 up to it.

Now when I say ‘old’ Atari, it’s not an original system. It is one of those wannabe Gemini systems popular in the mid-1980s when Atari was having its first nostalgia resurgence. Back in the day, the Ataris I played belonged to seemingly everyone else in the world but me. This was my first Atari, circa 1985. The months after the purchase were spent madly collecting old 2600 games I loved years earlier at places like decrepit K-Marts, dead Kiddie Cities, and the Berlin Farmers Market.

One of the prizes of that game search was Adventure. Back in the day, this was the closest we had to a Dungeons & Dragons video game. There was no Warcraft, or Diablo, or even Bard’s Tale, just this great little vague pixilated game full of fun and forced imagination. This was a game with buzz, with everyone talking about what may or may not be the first videogame Easter egg – the dust speck. More on that later.

In Adventure, you were a small square that moved via joystick through a maze visiting castles of different colors seeking out keys, the sword, and finally the chalice. Along the way you had to dodge or kill the three dragons – Yorgle, Rhindle and Grundle (how’s that for having a brain that’s a vast storehouse of useless knowledge?). There was also a bridge that allowed you to pass through obstacles, and the mysterious dust speck hidden in the wall that led you to the game designer’s credit. Now that’s what the dust speck really did, although there was much speculation as to its other abilities.

It’s a fun but simple game, and by simple I don’t mean to imply easy at all. There was quite a lot of difficulty to it. And there still is. I play it today on my iPhone with the Atari’s Greatest Hits app. I miss the days of the original Atari, except for waiting my turn, which was maddening with Adventure, but most of all, I miss my insomniac late night kitchen adventures, they were the best.

Avengers Vs. X-Men Pregame Thoughts at Biff Bam Pop!

My most recent article at Biff Bam Pop! reviews my thoughts on the upcoming Marvel Comics event “The Avengers Vs. the X-Men,” the past confrontations between the teams, the reasons behind the upcoming conflict, and anything else that crosses my mind. Check it out here.

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Oil Change

My Oscar Picks for This Year

Okay, first off, yes, I have been lax this year with The Oscars. I am hesitant to admit this, but I really haven’t even taken a good look at the nominees until earlier this week. Nevertheless, I will take a shot a predicting the Academy Awards – both what will win, as well as what should win. And just to remind all you other latecomers, check out the nominees here.

Best original Screenplay – I want Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris which I thought was brilliant, but it will probably go to The Artist.

Best Original Song – Of the choices, it’s “Man or Muppet.” Only two songs nominated? Really?? And only one from The Muppets??? What about the songs in Captain America or Bunraku?

Best Animated Film – Nothing deserving was nominated, and the three I saw were abysmal. For the first time in quite a few years, I don’t care about this category.

Best Supporting Actor – Is it time for Nick Nolte to win this year? Plummer and von Sydow deserve it, but I think it’ll go to Nolte, just a hunch.

Best Supporting Actress – I looove Janet McTeer, and would love to see her get this, but I think one of the ladies from The Help will take this one.

Best Actor – I only saw Clooney and DuJardin, but I’m still going to say the latter.

Best Actress – Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. It’s her turn again.

Best Director – If Martin Scorsese doesn’t get this for Hugo, it will be a crime. Not only will the Academy admit they know nothing about direction, they nothing about film either.

Best Picture – The Help and Midnight in Paris were my favorite movies of the year in this batch, The Artist and Hugo are wonderful love letters to film itself, but I’m going to say they give it to The Help.

Check back later and see how I did. What are your picks?

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But I Wanna Play The Vision

After trying to download this one seemingly a million times, I finally managed to get one to stick, and I got a free download from the PlayStation Store of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. Now I’m a non-gamer so I’m a little fuzzy on who the competition is (I don’t even recognize anyone from Street Fighter), but I know my Marvel Comics heroes, so hopefully this should have been fun.

One thing, you have to buy the game. Usually the concept of the whole game vs. the demo game doesn’t really affect me, but here it does. The character choice is extremely limited. You get to be Captain America, Wolverine, or Cable – or one of the anonymous unknown anime fighter characters from the Capcom universe. Game play is nothing but button mashing and hoping for the best, so it’s another game where I would benefit from five minutes with the instructions. But that said, I don’t know if I would enjoy it more if I was doing things right.

It was another one of those games I could not enjoy by myself, another player was needed to even test it out so I recruited my buddy Ray, whose first remarks were about the introductory artwork on the Marvel characters, “worse than Liefield.” Now while I don’t share his thoughts on Rob Liefield, I have to admit the art is not great. Even the anime representations in the game itself are not so hot.

This was really not as much fun as it could have been, especially considering it was such a limited demo. But then even if it was the full version, featuring twenty-eight different Marvel characters, there really aren’t any that jump out at me to make me want to play. Maybe I’m just hard to please, but how about the Vision, Hellcat, Moon Knight, or the Human Torch as playable characters? With an entire universe to pick from, really, these are the best you got?

Closing Out the Blog Tour, and More

If you read yesterday’s blog entry about The Hungry Heart Stories virtual book tour, you know that I am giving away a copy of the book to the best comment or question by a reader along the tour stops. I will be awarding this prize on Friday, March 2, so there is still time to make your mark and add a comment to any of the stops.

Here are the stops for THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES Blog Tour:

“Writing – Art – Metaphysics” by Shelley Szajner, her interview can be found here.

“Becca Butcher’s Blog” by Becca Butcher, you can check out the tour with Becca here, here, here, here and the interview here. Yeah, Becca rocked the house when it came to promoting this tour. Thank you! ((hugs))

“Gilbert Curiosities” by Marie Gilbert features the author interview here and the review here.

“The Author-in-Training” by Mieke Zamora-Mackay has an interview with Fran about inspiration here.

“A Reference of Writing Rants or “Learn from My Mistakes”” by Jennifer M. Eaton, you can find her unique and entertaining interview here.

“The Dream Between” by Robin Renee, see her thoughts here.

“Literary Debauchery” by Krista Magrowski, the review can be found here.

And here at Welcome to Hell, I talk about Fran, the book, and the blog tour here, here, and here.

And make sure to check out all of the above blogs, and not just for the tour. They are all by terrific, talented writers and artists with much to say.

THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from the publisher Wilderness House Press.

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