Archive for June, 2011
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have watched only one episode of True Blood. Why? Someone told me I could see Anna Paquin’s boobies. The way I figured it, she owed me SOMETHING for her horrible accent in the X-Men movies. Thus, I flipped on an episode a couple of years ago and yep…
Since then, I’ve had a number of friends tell me to watch the series and others tell me the usual “the books are better” speech. Last year, my in-laws saw Charlaine Harris at a local book signing and (knowing that I collect autographed books) picked me up a copy of one of her latest novels: Dead and Gone.
This should explain why I am randomly reviewing book number nine without having read the others in the series.
The good news: the books ARE good. Charlaine’s ability to paint a real world picture with local color (Louisiana) is a far cry from the Anne Rice days. Mentions of day to day life and even the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina put you into the story with vamps, werecreatures and even fairies. It’s all packaged into a fun to read mystery story. Dead and Gone is a pretty good book – even without knowing the back story.
I’m tempted, now, to either read the other books or just watch True Blood. I guess we’ll see what happens first.
…aka “WTF is Sarah Jane wearing?!”
I haven’t had much time for TV lately (and I was away from the gym for a short bit.) Pesky conventions keep taking up my time. That said, here’s what’s I’ve watched thus far in the Who-niverse:
- The Ark in Space (4th Doctor)
- Planet of the Spiders (3rd Doctor)
- The Time Warrior (3rd Doctor)
- The Green Death (3rd Doctor)
- Carnival of Monsters (3rd Doctor)
- The Three Doctors (3rd Doctor)
- The Time Monster (3rd Doctor)
- The Mutants (3rd Doctor)
- The Claws of Axos (3rd Doctor)
- Terror of the Autons (3rd Doctor)
- Spearhead from Space (3rd Doctor)
- The Krotons (2nd Doctor)
- The Aztecs (1st Doctor)
I’m just going to skip past talking about the plot, acting, story and effects and go straight for the important stuff: Sarah Jane’s epic red and white overalls. They have three red stars on them. As a result of this brave fashion move, Sarah was described by one character during the series as looking “just like Andy Panda.”
There was something about a hand. And fear. And dramatic science fiction. And stuff.
…but those overalls.
This is the last (not counting very recent stuff) appearance of Sarah Jane in the series (which makes the overalls that much more unusual.) I do like the anti-climatic nature of her leaving… just very plain. She gets dropped off by the Doctor who has been summoned back to Gallifrey. Sarah, upon arriving home, realizes she has been dropped nowhere near promised.
The sad irony… the week i watched this series – this happened. :(
My television is a Samsung HLS-5679W 56-Inch LED Engine 1080p DLP HDTV. The other day, the left half of the screen started “ghosting” green around everything. You can see in these three photos (click each one for a larger view):
Now, I’m a “I can take it apart myself” type of guy (especially since there is NO ONE within 60 miles to work on this thing.) So what is the issue/what do I need to fix it… or is my TV fried after just four years? Please advise.
Additionally: the video explaining how to replace the bulb on my television from your website is incorrect. I learned this when I opened the back looking for the bulb. You may want to correct it:
I have been playing with fan conventions as an amateur (READ: not my full time job) event designer and promoter for over a decade. In that time, I learned that conventions are very similar to theme parks in a number of way. My favorite parallel? Con guides and park brochures.
Essentially the same thing, con guides and park brochures both present where to find entertainment (panels, rides, shows, etc.) and what time said entertainment is supposed to occur. Somehow, though, theme park employees still get asked the most obvious of questions:
“What time is the three o’clock parade?”
The point being: even if you print it, make it pretty and hand it out, people don’t like to read when they are out to be entertained. Thus theme parks and fan conventions both donate hours of time and creative energy to an element of their respective businesses that (let’s face it) less then 20% of attendees actually read.
Sure: everyone picks one up… but how many people keep them? How many get lost? How many get destroyed from a sweaty back pockets in fanboy jeans?
The solution: put it on smart phones. For a couple of years, fan conventions have been looking for ways to create an App for their respective shows. I noticed an article on The Convention Fans Blog about a universal app that can be customized for events and I looked into it for our (then) upcoming convention: The Florida Anime Experience.
Thus, I discovered the Guidebook App.
Guidebook is a clever app (for both Android and iPhone) that allows shows of all sizes to showcase and inform their attendees about not just their convention schedule, but also:
- Event descriptions
- Vendor info
- Key events (“Don’t miss our most attended panels!”)
- Guest Bios
- Twitter updates (based on hashtags and accounts)
In short: the Convention Guide app is a dream come true for convention promoters and tree huggers across the world: easy to access info for attendees and less wasted paper.
I should note, though, that the element that makes the Guidebook App so amazing to me isn’t the app itself (which I’ve already established as EPIC in it’s own right) but the ease of use as a promoter to plug in the information and artwork from my event. By the time I was done, the guide for The Florida Anime Experience didn’t look like “any other” event guide… it took on the character, look and feel of our Japanese animation convention. The guide conveyed the convention’s personality.
The team at Guidebook App make the creation process easy and painless which, in turn, allows promoters to create a quality and useful product for their attendees.
So why I am I writing such a blatant plug? Simple: because the product really is that good and I think other conventions should pick up on it.
As I stated yesterday, I go to concerts fairly frequently. The only thing that is consistent about the music I see performed, though, is that none of it fits in a genre that rhymes with “stuntry.”
Thus, I present the acts I have seen perform live since my first concert at the ripe old age of fifteen…
*NSYNC (@ Universal’s CityWalk)
Ashlee Simpson (at Sunfest)
Barenaked Ladies (@ Universal’s Mardi Gras)
Faith No More
Fiona Apple (at Sunfest)
Guns & Roses II aka “Axl & Friends”
Guns & Roses (2 times)
Ice Cube (at Lollapalooza ’92)
Joan Jett (@ Disney’s Pleasure Island)
Journey (2 times)
Jimmy Buffett (7 times)
Metallica (2 times)
Ministry (@ Lollapalooza ’92)
Nine Inch Nails
Pearl Jam (@ Lollapalooza ’92)
The Ramones (@ Lollapalooza ’96)
The Red Hot Chili Peppers (@ Lollapalooza ’92)
Right Said Fred
Sheryl Crow (at Sunfest)
Soundgarden (3 times)
Sponge (@ Lollapalooza ’96)
Squirrel Nut Zippers (@ Universal’s Mardi Gras)
The Spice Girls
Tori Amos (2 times)
Van Halen (with Sammy Hagar)
Voltaire (@ The Nightmare Before Thanksgiving)
“Weird Al” Yankovic (2 times)
Acts listed in bold have a link to a blog post or photos from the show. There are other posts, too, but that will have to wait for another concert list update in the future once I finish retroactively categorizing my past blog posts.
I have been to dozens of concerts over the past twenty years. (Note to self: write blog post with an updated list of said concerts.) The shows I attend have always been of a wide variety… blues, pop, rock, etc. The important qualifier (for me) for going to a show is that if I pay good money, I want to be entertained.
In seeing so many artists perform, I have learned that there are two types of concerts: concerts that are “concerts” and concerts that are “shows.”
Katy Perry is a show.
I took Shannon to the see the California Dreams Tour last Thursday as a surprise. She had mentioned how much she had gotten into Katy’s music and I’ll entertain anything to avoid listening to more Tori Amos albums around the house. The presentation that Katy puts on is nothing short of inspiring. You could tell that the stage show was as much of a creative outlet for her as an artist as her music.
Katy Perry on stage was having fun and (as a result) her audience did. The energy was infectious and it became hard to NOT get into the show.
Now before you judge… yes: I was a straight married guy who went to a Katy Perry and had fun. The bonus to the show was the fact that I was NOT the primary demographic. The primary demographic at the show was college age girls who all liked to dress like Katy Perry.
Musically, Katy Perry’s got talent. One of the highlights (I caught on tape) was her doing her own rendition of Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin’” and Rebecca Black’s “Friday”. Here’s the video:
ADDED BONUS: I took a photo of this girl taking photo of her friend taking a photo of the show. (I can’t confirm if anyone got a photo of me doing this or not.)
You can check out the rest of my concert photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomcroom/sets/72157626952038956/
AFTERTHOUGHT: Robyn was the opening act. You’d think that you’d play the ONE hit you had if you were touring… but no – she’s one of THOSE “artists.”
I have been a fan of letting millions of anonymous strangers across “teh Interwebz” know what I am doing and thinking since the nineties. It was made worse when I caught the blogging bug in 2003 and now?
Let’s just say that I am writing this on an app while sitting on an exercise bike at the gym because, defying all logic, I believe random online strangers give a shit about what I am doing.
That’s a lie.
I don’t think anyone gives a shit. I just like writing for fun and sport. (The bike part, though, is 100% true… check my Twitter for the Foursquare check in.)
So I actively post about my hectic life of fun adventures, but I have come to a crossroads. Thus, I am looking for some feedback from the masses of online peeps. Here goes:
Pros: Lets me check into TV shows and movies (which I do with Miso); Lets me check into video games (which I do for Xbox Live via Raptr); Mails me FREE STICKERS. Shannon (my wife) uses it.
Cons: Shows don’t have episodes… which I track to remember where I left off at in box sets.
Pros: Lets me check into TV shows (by episode) and movies.
Cons: No free stuff.
Okay Internet. Talk to me.