Friday, March 5, 2010

Counting down the days to New Zealand….. I have been planning this trip for no less than 4 years and it is finally here. I leave March 12th and will not return until March 27th. I cannot express my excitement, although anyone who has been anywhere near me in the past year has known about this, and can probably quote my itinerary.

3 of my friends and I are going to NZ, renting a car and exploring as much of that place as we can! I have been in love with this place for sometime now, and knowing that in a short time I will be immersed in this place of unparalleled beauty…. I truly cannot wait and I am ready for anything!!

With this trip I really wanted to do a few things that I have never done before… On the first day in NZ we are going to Bungy Jump, it being the first time for all of us… we picked a hell of a first jump…. This thing is terrifying!!

Yes!!! That is it! How do you like that? I mean my god I start to sweat just thinking about it… if that photo didn’t sell you what about this one?

134 meters or 402 feet! That is an 8 second free fall…. If I survive the first day in NZ the adrenaline will surely destroy any jet lag I might have… Hopefully

We are not planning on hotels or anything like that we are going to stay in hostels the whole time over there, which I am really pumped about because yet again something I have never done before and I can’t wait to find out what all kind of people I will meet… The whole trip is going to be chaotic though, because we are literally going to cover about 70 percent of the whole country in our time there!

I just got my camera, it’s the Nikon S8000. Every bit of info I have ever scene on NZ they all talked about the scenery and how it is not to be missed. So I really wanted to make sure I got a good camera. Friday the 12th cannot come any sooner, I am counting down the days and pretty much have my bags packed!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Remember your Saturday morning line-up??

I woke up relatively early on Saturday, poured myself a delicious bowl of Lucky Charms and sat in front of the television. I was curious to see what cartoons were on, because I like most of you I am sure remember the ritual of the Saturday morning line-up! After flipping through several channels there was nothing no cartoons so I felt compelled to make that the topic of today’s discussion….

Ok I am 27years old so I was watching cartoons in the late 80s and early 90s which clearly was the pinnacle of the cartoon era, let’s just recap some of the shows that you might have watched at that time. Here was my Saturday morning line up. Strap yourself in for this wicked awesome trip down memory lane…

I would typically start off early because when I was growing up we only had one television in the living room and my sister and I had the unspoken rule that if you were there first you decided what we watched. Lucky for me, my sister liked to sleep in…. Sucker!!

Camp Candy

Yeah that’s right the cartoon about John Candy’s summer camp where he was a counselor… I watched it, I know it wasn’t that good… not a whole lot to say about it, but I did it in order to hold my place on the couch… don’t you judge me?!

The Super Mario Brothers Super show

It was the cross live action and cartoon adventures of The Mario Brothers, and yes it was Captain Lou from WWF who played Mario, pretty much the best part of this show looking back at it now would have to be the theme song, because they totally rap on it. Look it up and listen to it…. It’s amazing!

After that I had an hour to fill and there were several shows that fit the bill you had Disney’s Tale Spin. The Real Ghostbusters and even Darkwing Duck could rotate because from 10 to 11 o’clock you were locked in to, in my humble opinion the best cartoon on Saturday mornings……

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

This was always top priority, even if occasionally you would have to sit through an episode of Muppet Babies (Although I always secretly liked that show) to appease my sister it was worth it! I mean how could you miss a single episode of this show. Everything about this show was awesome. Every man that reads this can recite at least part of the intro.

Remember all of the toys, and how impossible it was to get your hands on a Leonardo or Raphael?! I remember countless times the only action figure you could find would be an April O’Neil or rows of Foot Soldiers. I mean granted you needed an April and obviously had to invest in some of The Foot, but it was so frustrating because at least in our house you got the one weekly trip that you went to Wal-Mart, and you had to go through a grueling lifetime of groceries being on your best behavior so your parent would take you to the toys. All that only to find April O’Neal and the freaking Turtle Blimp?…. Uh no thanks!

If you ever owned the Turtle Blimp you understand just how lame that toy was, and it probably wasn’t your fault you got it…. That was grandma’s gift and you didn’t want to be rude but that thing didn’t even float. Some of you might be saying, “Well I had a friend and his turtle blimp floated??” (In a really lame voice) Well you are a LIAR because it didn’t. We have not even scratched the surface!! Remember the first Turtle Movie!! My god I wanted to stand up and clap in the theater when they were on the roof top and screamed COWABUNGA!! Don’t pretend like you don’t remember that… its ok, this is a safe place…. let the nerd flow out of you! Feels good doesn’t it?

After Turtles it was usually time to practice your ninja moves, grab a snack and wait for the show that every kid boy or girl watched, everyone liked it and knew most every episode…..

Remember when Jesse was taking the caffeine pills in order to study for the math test, and sing in the girls group at The Max…… and she was sooo sooo scared! Or the episode when they stopped the oil company from drilling on the school, simply by spraying the presentation down with a little oil. Or when Zack found out he was Indian??…. WHAT?? Yeah, that blew my mind as well!

Well hope you all have enjoyed this trip down memory lane, I know I have. Side note 22 days until I leave for New Zealand….

But that is a topic for another day!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Let’s talk Zombie’s….

So this week Zombieland was released on Blu Ray, and of course I bought it. I saw this movie in the theaters and loved it. I am a zombie movie fan, but even if you aren’t it is a great dark comedy! It follows 4 people and their day to day lives in you guessed it a zombie infested planet. Woody Harrelson is awesome in this and it is a must see! While watching it I can’t help but think what I would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?? My strategy totally depends on what kind of zombies we are dealing with…. To inform you all there are two types of zombie’s example 1….

The traditional zombie… in all honesty if there was a zombie invasion and it was lined up with these guys I am not going to be that worried. Stay in a big open place with a lot of ammo and just clean house. Then there is the other type of zombies…

Example 2

Running Zombie’s… NO CHANCE OF SURVIVING!! The new wave of zombies don’t so much groan as they do scream and the slow moving forget that these things all seem run like Usain Bolt! Only strategy here is to pray and get yourself the biggest machine gun you can hold preferably one that never runs out of ammo and make your stand! Although they make for a much more exciting movie in the event of it actually happening my vote goes for example 1.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snowed in….

So we probably had like 8 inches of snow on top of a sheet of ice this weekend. It was nasty outside; I spent most of the weekend in the comfort of my home. You know how people often refer to going out of their mind from boredom or cabin fever. I can’t relate to that because I kept myself pretty entertained with a combination of wicked awesome movies and playing videogames. I did finally see Avatar, so we will review that film along with one in the home DVD collection that were viewed this weekend. But first the videogames!!

The game I play the most is Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 on the PS3. I love to play FPS (First Person Shooter) videogames; I have loved them since the Nintendo 64 introduced me to a little game called GoldenEye…. Dun nun na na da nun na

Surely you remember this game! It was here that I got my first taste of the adrenaline rush associated with running around corners looking for proximity mines and that holiest of moments when you killed your friend in the facility as he raced you to the bathroom in order to grab the golden gun! There was also the added enjoyment of playing the unsuspecting fool who allowed you to be Oddjob what a rookie! (Those of you who don’t know Oddjob was like 3 feet tall and was impossible to hit.)

I had quit playing games mostly when I was in college, until the summer of 2003 I had moved up to Fayetteville to finish my degree at the University of Arkansas. Some of my friends were getting together on Sunday’s and playing Halo and invited me to come over. I didn’t know it on the ride over there but after that Sunday the weekends would never be the same…..

Before we get started… When the XBOX came onto the market they allowed you to link up your XBOX with other system as many as 4, with each XBOX allowing 4 players you could have 16 people in a match! They had a lot of different game type’s slayer and oddball and king of the hill but the best in my opinion was the capture the flag (CTF).

Ok so as I arrived to my friend Chris’s house there was probably 6 or 7 of us initially and we played CTF games. We would arrive at Chris’s house around 4p.m. and usually play solid until 10p.m. I remember on the drive home that first night I was going through the different levels and thinking of things I could have done differently. That whole week I could think of nothing else but the following Sunday. I took another beating that Sunday that was so bad that I couldn’t stand it anymore immediately went out and bought and XBOX and a copy of Halo was purchased by my friend Casey. I literally went home after work and class every night that week and played the campaign in order to get better at the game. From this point on Sunday’s in my life were dominated I didn’t do anything else Sunday except prepare for what was to be named Geek Night. It was topic of conversation for most of us during the week, you stop referring to people by there real names and started calling them by the Halo name. On Monday’s it was important that I send trash talking text messages to my friends, reminding them of a highlight reel moment that happened the night before! For those of you curious my Halo name is The Nothing… the unstoppable force that destroyed fantasia in The Never Ending Story! (My favorite childhood film)

We had been playing every Sunday for at least a year when I was in class and overheard some guys in the IT group at the University were going to put on a Halo tournament. I nearly broke my neck to turn and ask where I needed to sign up. The rules were simple 4 person team CTF $10 per person entry fee and the winners of the tournament would each receive a $50 gift card to buy Halo 2 scheduled to release later that year. After that we spent the next three weeks fine tuning our strategy and preparing. That Saturday still to this day is one of the best days I have ever had.

I remember walking in to what I would call nerd central! I loved it!! There were probably 12 teams there and everybody was sizing each other up. There was a team of guys called the X-Men each of their Halo names being of course an X-Men character and to top it off each one of them wore a t shirt with there character on it. I swear that is true!

Our team name was the Geek Knights. We won our first 5 games and it was a double elimination so when you lost you would go to the loser’s bracket. The team that won the losers bracket would have to face the undefeated team in the final and beat them twice. Well in the semi finals we played a team called We Aren’t Trying and these guys were trash talkers from the start. They were already talking in the dorm rooms about how no team stood a chance. In their defense they had dominated all the teams they had played. I was so pumped when we finally got to play them!

They made a request when we were in the lobby that we not rush the countdown to the game for fear that it might cause a lag issue, which we agreed to although we didn’t understand. That game they slaughtered us they moved in through the base and wiped us out capturing 3 of 5 flags almost instantly, we tried to regroup and scored 2 flags but they ended up winning the match… I was so furious because they had walked all over us. So we quickly regrouped and knew we had to go into the loser’s bracket.

As we waited for our next match, they did have Monitors (people in charge of making sure you don’t cheat) in each room and since the We Aren’t Trying Guys had made it into the finals they had a by and we fortunately had their Monitor watching us. We were still fuming about the match and discussing what we could have done differently knowing that we would now have to beat them twice in the finals if we won this match. As the match was beginning the monitor asked us, “Are you guys going to set up your timer?” None of us had any clue what he was talking about and he said “Those last guys used a timer in their room telling them when stuff was coming back?” So we immediately begin asking about it…. (In halo there are power ups on every level one is camouflage where you look like the predator so it is harder to see you, and an over shield which gives you double health.)

Well this timer would start a the beginning of the match and would say 10 seconds until power ups are returned, so they could make sure they had the power ups the entire time! That is why the asked for us to not rush the count, because it would start the game early and they couldn’t use the timer. So we explained to the monitor the kind of advantage that gave them. We quickly spread throughout the other nerds that we had been cheated, and demanded a rematch! The IT guys eventually sided with us and we were granted our rematch. The We Aren’t Trying guys told us they didn’t mind beating us again…. Oh man was it on!

In the rematch they quickly scored 2 flags on us again, we decided to travel as a team of 3 leaving one man back at the flag to protect. We charge the base with force scoring 3 flags. They quickly rallied and scored a 3rd flag we were now tied. Instead of leaving one at the flag we decided to go all offense and the 4 of us stormed the base like Normandy and captured a 4th flag. Then as the grabbed the flag from our base just as we had grabbed their flag now we were at a stalemate since your flag has to be at home to score….

So as we were trying to find our flag carrier, Chris who was holding our flag saw the flag carrier walk by him. (Important tip: when holding the flag all you can do is hit someone with the flag and it takes two strikes to kill that person.) As Chris went to swing he missed and quickly backed off we started firing at the flag holder weakening him as Chris made another charge and WHACK! Right in the face killed the flag carrier; he returned the flag and scored the 5th and final flag! Everyone in the room was on their feet yelling! We were so pumped that we had made it to the finals and now whatever team we faced would now have to beat us twice, not to mention we got some sweet justice on some trash talking cheaters!

The We Aren’t Trying guys won the losers bracket which we were so pumped about because we wanted to beat them again. The map was Blood Gulch…..

They set a time limit on this final match of 30 min, so our plan was to score a flag and then just not let them score and just let the time run out, after about 5 minutes we scored a flag and then I proceeded to camp the base…. Which anyone who plays games knows how frustrating a camper is! I smiled a little bigger every time they would send a team mate into the base I was there to greet him with a shotgun blast to the face!

We ended up winning the game and the other team was so frustrated one of the team mates ended up busting his controller!! Ha! Sweet Justice!!! We got to keep the bracket they used in the tournament all the members of the Geek Knights signed it and I have it framed in my home to this day! I love that story! Halo 2 and 3 were sadly huge let downs in comparison to the first game. Designers made the game to easy after that and when it was finally released online the cheating got so out of hand that the game just wasn’t fun. My friends and I still every now and again get together to play the original and we still reminisce about the tournament…

Now to Call of Duty… I spent a majority of my snow bound time with my friends’ online teaching lessons to trash talking 8yr olds all over the planet. People often laugh when they find out how often I play online and god forbid if they overhear me speaking to a COD friend discussing capture points or arguing what levels have the best choke points. I have to admit it is really nerdy but I love it and I always justify it by naming geekier things like L.A.R.P. often referred to as Larping. Live action role playing (Pictured Below…. You’re Welcome!!)

These people are hardcore they dress up as characters in a fantasy world and have battles! That’s right they battle although they have fake weapons and how the point system works I don’t know but they really dress up and fight! My god!! I would love to see that live! I mean check this next group the built a freaking dragon I mean look at that thing!!

Lots of people.. myself included would mock this. I do although have to respect the courage and the… I don’t give a damn attitude these geeks have. They do what they want and don’t hide what they are. Lets be honest most all of you have something nerdy about you, but sadly you hide it… why? Most everyone that knows me would say I am a geek or nerd, but I don’t care, it doesn’t mean they like me less. In fact, I dare say that people will actually like you more because of the honesty you portray of what you are… so come on lets show the nerds some love!! Ladies this goes especially for you if you see a nerd, throw him a smile or if you are feeling really adventurous how about a wink?! I mean really that doesn’t cost you anything but what it might do is make that guy stand up a little taller and trust me, this is coming from a nerd! Enough gaming for today, on to the movies…

As I mentioned earlier I did watch Avatar this weekend and I have to admit it was stunningly beautiful! I have never seen a film that was as aesthetically pleasing as this one. The only issue I can see with the film is that the story is very predictable but that didn’t bother me one bit. I found myself watching that with a child like wonder as to what was around each corner and felt immersed in this world of Pandora. James Cameron delivers 100% to the hype that this film was supposed to be and I would gladly go to the theater and watch it again!! If by some chance you have not scene it please treat yourself and it really is amazing to see it in 3-D.

Green Street Hooligans is the story of Matt Buckner who is a senior at Harvard when his room mate lets him take the fall for some cocaine that was found in their room that Buckner had no idea about. His room mate gives him 10K for taking the fall so Buckner goes to visit his sister in the United Kingdom. He then befriends his Brother in law Pete who is a Hooligan which is explained as essentially a cheerleader for a soccer team, but instead of cheering they fight the other team’s cheerleaders. Buckner gets drawn into this life and the story follows the lessons he learns. It is a really good movie and I strongly suggest you watch it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

As I mentioned before I am a huge fan of movies and music. With movies it’s easy… I mean all of your major retailer’s carry movies. Music however poses an issue, it is tough to find a not so well known band’s CD at Best Buy. Typically I have to go to Hot Topic to get some of those smaller bands album. I like going to hot topic, I am not the typical shopper there I mean when I think if a Hot Topic shopper this is generally the image that comes to mind….

I work at the mall at Banana Republic part time so I will usually go on my break to check for new stuff and it never seems to fail that the shoppers there look at me like I don’t belong, which I love to play along with and ask really loudly if they have any copies of the new Taylor Swift?? The employees there are awesome, and I have gotten to know most of them! Usually they mock my BR attire and I will always ask them, “Where are the newest twilight shirts?!” I went in this week to find the new Lost Prophets album, which sadly they did not have, although as it was quickly pointed out to me Hot Topic did start carrying the Amory Wars!

To bring you up to speed, my favorite band is Coheed and Cambria! Most of you have not heard of them but I strongly suggest you check them out. The lead singer of Coheed and Cambria is a man by the name of Claudio Sanchez (In the photo below he is the one with the hair). Now Coheed is a progressive rock band that has released 4 albums so far and the 5th will be released this April (Self congratulating fist pump). The amazing thing about this band is that each one of the albums goes along with a comic book story that was written by Claudio titled the Amory Wars. Which is usually a very tough book to get a hold of, and I would never expect to see it in Hot Topic, so you can imagine my delight. Now back to the story….

So as she pointed out to me the glorious cover another one of the shoppers was inquiring about it, so she politely told him that it was the guy from Coheed and Cambria’s comic book. This guy says with me standing right there, “Coheed is too emo for me!” As my HT friend looked at me in shock she knew, and for the briefest of moments I felt my pulse rate increase to well over 200 bpm and felt like Lou Ferrigno becoming the hulk!! (The picture below was not taken at that moment but it is essentially what I looked like)

I quickly calmed myself and expressed my disagreement with his previous statement and politely asked him to retract that statement. He told me he just couldn't stand Claudio’s vocals…. and in his defense his statement is pretty common, because his vocals are different. I told him not to be afraid of the vocals or the awesomeness look at Bruce Dickinson his vocals are strange but I love Iron Maiden, and Geddy Lee from Rush. Both of which he claimed he didn’t like. So then I went for the throat, “What about Robert Plant from a little band I like to call Led Zeppelin?” (Now let me set the record straight I am not comparing Coheed to Zeppelin, as much as I love Coheed to put them in that category would be blasphemous! The influence Zeppelin had on rock is unmatched by any of today’s musicians.) I was merely saying that Plant’s vocals were different, that didn’t make them any less awesome! After that he just kind of gave me a, “Whatever” and I graciously accepted his defeat in the argument. After that, I collected one of the books and made my way out the door and back to the BR to fold shirts…. but I folded those shirts with my head held a little higher that night, it was one of those days where you knew you had made a difference. If by some chance random Joe in Hot Topic reads this…… you are welcome sir!

Now time for some viewer mail!!

So I did receive a comment on my last post so I thought I would reply for all to see…

Overambitious and Lazy asks:

1) Why are you a random ninja and why did just say you’re welcome? Please explain.

Answer: I am a random because my mind wanders all over the place and I spend most of my time in my own little world, and to go ahead and head off the obvious next question of course it is awesome there! The ninja part is well because I can’t think of many things that are cooler than a ninja I mean you have a mask you walk around with a sword! Not to mention no one wants to start stuff with a ninja, I mean if you were out jogging and you saw some guys starting to pick on a ninja you would stop for two reasons A) You would probably say, “Sweet Jesus is that a ninja?” cause typically you would never see a ninja, I mean that would be like seeing a unicorn! Which makes me think what if you saw a ninja unicorn? Wrap your mind around that!

B) You would want to see what happened to the guys that were starting stuff with the ninja. I mean obviously none of them are going to walk away from that deal, its just a question of how bad is it going to be! You’re welcome I have said for years and will typically follow a statement that weather or not you will admit it…. probably changed your life!

2) In the next post, you are limited to five exclamation marks. Yes, 5 – no more. You had 27 in your last post so I’m expecting over an 80% reduction.

Answer: Ha! To put a limit on exclamations… you my friend are hilarious that would be like trying to limit this blog of awesomeness and that clearly can not even be quantified! In fact saying a statement like this to my face will most likely result in an 80% reduction in teeth! Just throwing that out there!

Well we covered a lot of ground today and I can’t wait for more comments and hope you all have a wicked awesome day!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My first step into a much larger world!

My first entry… I have decided to start a blog! Well I figured I am a nerd in every other aspect of my life… what’s one more outlet?! First things first my name is Stephen and I am 27yrs old. I am a huge nerd and am totally ok with that! I love movies and music; I think they are two outlets that can bring people of all walks of life together. I have some major plans for this blog so if you are getting in ground floor on this deal prepare yourself for the AWESOME…. You’re welcome!

Movie Reviews! Here are a few of the films I watched over the weekend... Self congratulating fist pump!!

Ok I have to be honest I had little to no expectation from this film. The previews looked pretty lame; apart from the elderly woman climbing the wall and attacking a grown man by biting him on the neck! (Oddly enough one of my fears is being attacked by an elderly woman!) I found myself watching a supposed horror film that I found really funny! I mean the acting was bad! Really bad! If any of you were sitting on the edge of your seats wondering if Tyrese will finally seal the deal on that Academy Award he so rightfully deserves…. Sorry kids better luck next time! On a side note Lucas Black (the kid from Friday Night Lights and Tokyo Drift) how does he get work?? I am so baffled by that! Personally I think his role could have been more dramatic being played by Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, and would have been much more entertaining! Not to mention would make one hell of a preview…. Angels come to destroy the earth and mans only hope rests in the will of a machine……lucky for us that machine is….. JOHNNY 5!! (Cue gigantic explosion).

My god I will gladly hand over my $10, with a smile on my face to view that! Kind of detoured there… that will happen a lot actually! Beyond that I mean the story is pretty simple, and the ending kind of leaves you with a say what? I still give Legion the laugh factor, not to mention it has some great quotes! Legion is worth seeing but I would list it as a comedy more than any kind of suspense thriller!

This movie was great! Set in the Iraq war it chronicles essentially the days in the life of a bomb squad. Jeremy Renner plays William James a lead bomb diffuser, who handles this job where he is disarming roadside bombs much like he is mowing lawns… just carefree at points about it! This movie has a lot of action in it and there are some points that you will genuinely find yourself at the edge of your seat, anxious to see what happens next. (For me a particular scene with a sniper battle had me almost standing!) I really enjoyed it and in fact immediately went out and bought the film! I would definitely rank this a must see!!

This is the true story of Burt Munro a New Zealander who wants to take his 1920 Indian motorcycle to Utah’s Salt Flats to break a land speed record, and his journey to get there. I really enjoyed watching this movie and in my opinion there are far too few feel good movies out there. I love a character like Burt Munro he is just a good guy, not judgmental has simple needs and is just trying to make his way. To no surprise Anthony Hopkins does really well in this movie, it is definitely worth watching!