Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Extra Den

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
I saw a few movies over the past week… first up was “The Den” which is a SUPER low budget horror movie shot… I believe entirely on security cameras, cell phones& laptops pretty much. Basically, the movie is about a college student that gets a grant to basically document her interacting on a webchat site called DenChat for an entire year to… I guess study people’s behavior online? Which institution would finance this study? Doesn’t matter… disbelief. Anyway, a few days into her “study” she starts chatting with this Pyagrl*16 who does some creepy things… and then creepy things start to happen… like her computer gets hacked into… emails are released… sex videos are sent through her login… and then her friends & family start disappearing… while she’s watching it online across town… and yeah, it gets super creepy at some point (no matter how loosely believable it might be at some points). Being essentially yet another “found footage” movie, there are certain things that pop up to circumvent how “found” this footage is… and like most independent movies it falls into the “great premise, horrible ending/execution” area… but yeah, if you’re into horror flicks with a tech savvy twist, check it out. It’s a scant 75 minutes or something like that. If not, feel free to pass.
Next up was another fairly low budget horror flick called “Extraterrestrial” starring Michael Ironsides briefly and… really the only other actor I recognized with Jesse Moss from “Tucker & Dale Versus Evil” who plays essentially the same role of Douche McDouchington… and comes from director Colin Minihan who did the “Grave Encounters” movies. This is the typical story about a group of five friends who go to a cabin in the woods… and then weird sh*t happens with alien visitors show up to… you know, probe them & stuff. That’s… pretty much the whole movie. There are some interesting effects… and some ridiculous ones… the acting is campy at best. The thing about the movie is… I don’t think what it knew it was trying to be. There were some genuinely creepy moments (like the mind control scene, some of the disorientating scenes in the basement, etc) but then there are some super cheesy scenes (like Ironsides two scenes, which is disappointing). The music was REALLY bad and didn’t fit the film at all (and no, not just the last song as the credits roll… the whole f**king thing) and frankly… the ending & especially the shoehorned love story… is absolute horsesh*t. It’s an okay movie… but not good at all. I elaborate on my least favorite part in the next paragraph. See it if you want… pretty well shot… but just not really interesting or provoking.
Spioler alert: The love story specifically was absolutely unnecessary & poorly executedl. “But $teve, you have to have it in there so that you’re invested in the characters.” NO! No you don’t! They can just be friends or acquaintances in these twisted circumstances. There are other ways to get invested in the characters. Also, if that was your goal, to get me invested, you failed miserably. Here’s the love story in its entirety: Around the end of the first act, the main girl & some guy (that I don’t even think it mentions that they’re going out… and if so, they surely didn’t act like there was any chemistry) asks to talk to her in another room alone… and continues to spout some stuff that friends might be awkward saying to one another like “we know each other pretty well” and blah blah blah, so he gets down on a knee and proposes… and she’s basically MORTIFIED!!! She seems shocked at the action… shocked that it was even brought up… and of course gives some excuses like she doesn’t “believe in the institution of marriage” and they barely know each other and she just doesn’t know and all that stuff. Now… I understand being in your early 20’s and not knowing all that… but if you’re been dating and/or dating for more than a week… you tend to know your partner’s feeling on stuff like… you know… the institution of marriage & if she’d be cool with the idea of… you know anything to do with you. Spending time, moving in, wearing a ring that you bought her that suggests it’d be really cool if you weren’t out banging others… you know, little things like that. Therefore, I’m already confused at what kind of relationship they’re supposed to have. It’s barely even plutonic. Okay, fast forward to the aliens start attacking… and there’s a scene where the guy basically locks the girl in a room and moves an empty drawer in the way of the door… to protect her from the aliens… and he makes sure to let her know that’s what he’s doing, sacrificing himself to… basically lock her in a bathroom or something. Yay! Spoiler alert: He gets taken onto the ship (they all do) blah blah blah… twist ending is… I’m not going to completely ruin the twist… but let’s just say that they die together… basically spooning while full of holes. BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! No chemistry, no real building of the relationship, just pure BS… and the ending is SUUUUUUPPPPPPER sappy and basically entirely in slow motion… I think to specifically make me want to stop the movie with ten minutes left and/or throw stuff at the screen. So yeah, if you can get past that… maybe not a bad movie to watch. I don’t plan on watching it again though. I wonder if “Grave Encounters” are any good though.
So… that’s kind of quick… I know… but it’s a busy week… and when I come back from vacation, you’ll have tales of my Utah Adventure… and the Annual $tevies Award Show will be shortly after. WOOHOO!!! Anyway, have a great holiday season everybody!!! And if I don’t say it beforehand, a happy new 2016 as well!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dino 13

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Monday night, Izzy & I stumbled upon a documentary called “Dinosaur 13” about the discovery of the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever found in the Black Hills of South Dakota… and incredibly bureaucratic sh*t storm that ensued once the United States government, Bureau of Indian Affairs & lawyers got involved. To sum it up, a few lifelong paleontologists were doing their thing one day… when they found the largest& most complete T-Rex fossil ever… and they bought the fossil from a guy for $5,000 which was by far the most ever given for a fossil & the guy agreed to it. Well, they took it back to their institute to excavate, clean up & prepare the fossil that they named “Sue” for a new museum in their hometown of Hill City, South Dakota… and then 30+ military vehicles popped up, threw them out, and confiscated all of their fossils… not just “Sue”. Well, what happens after that is borderline ridiculous… but hey, that tends to be the way when certain entities are involved. Now, the story is pretty interesting… and I ended up enjoying the movie overall… but I can’t recommend this movie from a pace standpoint. The movie is 90 minutes long… but I feel like if they had taken out a bunch of the unnecessary, super-pretentious, artsy fartsy BS that this movie would have been pretty entertaining… if only 70-75 minutes. Another major pain in the arse… was the subtitles. There were a lot… in small font… and always in white font… usually where at least a third of the subtitles were over a white image in the background… so you often have to pause the movie to see what it’s saying… or just fill in the blanks on your own… which if very frustrating and pointless to telling your story. So… if you like dinosaurs, check it out. If not, it’ll probably just frustrate the hell out of you… it’s on Netflix.
Friday night, Izzy, Katie & I had a booth at Zoo Lights located at the San Francisco Zoo… where they of course have thousands of Christmas lights up throughout the zoo for people to come see… and then a few booths of people selling their goods. We had a lot of super cute art and we made sure to have an emphasis on animals as the zoo clientele would hopefully appreciate some adorable sloths, pandas, and other animals… but unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of traffic on Friday night. How did we react? We went and checked out the lights. Here are some cell phone pictures…

BIG NEWS EVERYBODY!!! IZZY IS AN AUNT!!! Her sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Everett on Thursday… so Saturday we headed up to the Sacramento area with her mom & her half-sister Melanie (who I met for the first time) and we went to see the little bundle of joy… BEHOLD!!!

Afterwards, we stopped by The Canyon Grill & Alehouse nearby for some drinks and snacks… and then we met up with some family friends from the Jeep club that they were a part of and had dinner at a pretty unique place called Al the Wop’s… which sounds like a horribly racist name for a place… but hey… some terms get grandfathered in, I guess. It’s located in the city of Locke, which apparently is mostly abandoned… but it’s a pretty cool old Chinatown that’s been in disrepair for the most part. Again, a unique location… that I want to go check out during the day sometime. In the meantime though, here are some pictures…

Sunday night, we were set for another night at Zoo Lights… but it had been raining hard all day & incredibly windy, especially at Ocean Beach where the zoo is located… and with the anticipated low turnout, we decided to just stick in & watch football (also our fellow artist Katie had finals this week). However, Izzy & I also had some beer stuff to do… so we kegged our Belgian Chocolate Stout
…and bottled our Barrel Aged Cider.

Only a few more days until yet another EPIC Utah Christmas vacation to see the family… and I’m pretty grossly unprepared… but hey, it’ll be fun. Unfortunately I’ve had some issues with my credit card at the perfect time for present shopping… but hey, you do what you can do. Absolute worst-case scenario… I’ll be back in Utah where my bank is for almost two weeks, so I can just take care of my finances directly. Anyway, I’m digressing… probably one more post later in the week… but don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from the blog for a bit while I’m in Utah. I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’m doing most of the time… but I promise that it’ll be full of entertaining anecdotes& probably some brewery tours. So if I don’t see you before then, have a fantastic holiday season everybody!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mangria Bar Crawl & Central Valley Con

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Friday night, Izzy & I partook in a Mangria Bar Crawl through the SOMA neighborhood. For those who don’t know what Mangria is, it’s essentially a signature cocktail from podcasting legend, comedian and filmmaker Adam Carolla that allegedly is a mixture of red wine, vodka and orange juice… but in bottle form, it’s essentially a fortified wine that comes out at a hefty 19-21% ABV depending on the flavor (there are also options involving peach, pear, etc). I have a few bottles at home for special occasions. However, the bar crawl portion is when Adam’s wife Lynette, his buddy Ray Oldhafer, and a few of the “lackies” of the Adam Carolla Show podcast host events at four different bars across the city… and there’s even bus transportation provided to try one of the different cocktails at each location, and there was entertainment (and plenty of swag) as well…
The first stop was MoMo’s across the street from AT&T Park where there was a warmup cocktail provided by the hosts… and a live musical performance from Chris Laxamana & his band
Then we boarded a bus and drove over to Union Street in my deck of the woods, along the way socializing with the hosts… and they were handing out their own cocktails in Dixie cups (seems shady, but other than being very orange juice heavy, not bad & very appreciated) and the bus took us to our second stop, The Brixton


We walked a few block over to our third stop, Sabrosa, ahead of the group as the bar was a little overcrowded… and we wanted to beat the rush at the bar that is typical of large scale bar crawls… success… and here are some horrible pictures of Izzy with the hostess Lynnette Carolla
Since it was already pretty late in the evening… and we didn’t want to regret getting a few extra drinks when we had so much to get ready for the next day… we decided to skip the 4th stop… and just walk the mile or so to my apartment. Overall the bar crawl was a lot of fun & a great experience that I would highly recommend… and who knows, maybe when our podcast becomes a screaming success we’ll have a bar crawl or two of our own. Until then though, check out the Mangria Bar Crawl in your neighborhood… if it happens.
Saturday, we had a lot of stuff to do to get ready for Sunday’s event… but we started off the morning with transferred our Belgian Chocolate Stout to secondary fermentation… and we’ll be kegging that soon… probably next weekend…

Sunday, we awoke early and drove out to Modesto to host a booth at Central Valley Con, which is essentially a comic book convention where we were able to sell our wares and check out some other amazing artists. This is the first year of this convention… but there was a GREAT turnout and LOTS of great people in cosplay and just enjoying the atmosphere with their peers. There were some special guests including a few former Power Rangers, Dino Andrade (of video game voice actor fame), some great feature comic artists, and even Debbie Lee Carrington… who you might know as the gun-toting little lady from “Total Recall” and she also played an Ewok in “Return of the Jedi” a few years back. She was actually a LOT of fun to talk to & has a great bubbly personality.
As for our booth, we did pretty well from a financial standpoint (not as good as Treasure Island) but we definitely found that certain things move at comic cons and some things don’t. A lot more prints sold at the flea market… but we did a LOT more commission work at this event. Obviously the big sellers were the art of known entities like Dr Who, Pokemon monsters, and the recognizable icons… which makes total sense. However, there was also a LOT of interest in the original work… just not as many purchases… but they instead requested business cards. I know, I know, this is my whole business analysis of what happened… and that’s not what you came for… so here are some more pictures of some the events & cosplayers as well as Izzy & Katie at work…

Overall, it was a GREAT experience and we’re already looking into doing other comic book conventions in the area ran by this group… and now armed with more knowledge about what the customers & fans are looking for. Truly a fantastic & fun weekend!
This week… more of the same… as we have a booth at Zoo Lights at the San Francisco Zoo on Friday & Sunday… and of course there are always adventures that pop up in between. Until then though, have a great day everybody!!!

Where Should I Go Next?