Sunday, February 7, 2016

Battle Creek


I recently watched the series "Battle Creek" on Netflix and found it to be quite enjoyable.  Regrettably the series only lasted one season and while it didn't end on a cliff hanger it did end leaving you wanting for more episodes.

The series aired on CBS in the Spring of 2015 lasting only 13 episodes.  It was created by Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, and starred Josh Duhamel & Dean Winters.  Taking place in Battle Creek, Michigan Duhamel plays FBI Agent Milton Chamberlain who for unknown reasons is assigned to and FBI office in Battle Creek while Winters plays local detective Russ Agnew, a cantankerous individual who doesn't care for Milton and wants to know why he is there.

It's the formula of putting two people who are opposite of each other forcing them to work together for a common good.  This show features a great supporting cast, including Kal Penn, with each episode telling a really good story.  The two ongoing story lines involve trying to find out why Milton was assigned to Battle Creek and the romance between Detective Agnew and Office Manager Holly Dale, played by Aubrey Dollar.

Even though it was cancelled after one season it's well worth checking out.

Later Readers!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

X-Files Season 10 Episode 3

WARNING, HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!




X-Files Season 10 Episode 3 "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster"


I loved this Episode!  It ranks as one of my all time favorites for various reasons.  At the beginning of the episode Mulder reveals how everything he worked so hard to prove in the past can be so easily debunked with little to no effort leaving him jaded that he wasted his life on a fruitless pursuit, and by the end of the episode he finally sees a real honest to goodness, albeit friendly, monster.  This rejuvenates Mulder into seeking the truth.


Mulder meets the horned lizard humanoid Guy Mann
Yes this episode is more on the comedy side of things, but that is the tradition of such episodes as "Humbug" and "Jose Chung's From Outer Space".  Incidentally both of these episodes as well as this episode were all written by Darin Morgan. 


There are several great moments in this episode, the two stoners at the beginning are played by Tyler Labine and Nicole Parker-Smith who played the same characters in two other episodes in the early seasons of the X-files. 


Tyler Labine now and then
The Were-Monster in his human form wears an outfit playing homage to Darren McGavin's Carl Kolchak from the series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker".  Incidentally this was the series that was Chris Carter's inspiration for the X-Files.


Left: Guy Mann with Mulder - Right: Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak
In the cemetery there are two headstones that are prominently displayed with the names Kim Manners and Jack Hardy.  Both of these men worked on the original run of the series with Manners directing 52 episodes and Hardy the Assistant Director on "X-Files: I Want to Believe."





The story is a crazed animal control officer that bites his victims throats killing them.  He bites our monster, Guy Mann, in his throat and it turns him from his normal form, a humanoid version of a horned lizard, into a man.  To go along with becoming a human he is also overcome with thoughts and emotions making him human question our futile lives.


Sincerely this is simply a fantastic episode from beginning to end.  I absolutely love it and would really like to see Guy Mann comeback somehow. 


Later Readers!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

X-Files Returns!


This is a spoiler free zone, so read with confidence that I haven't ruined anything about the  new episodes.

I cannot fully explain just how excited that I am that the X-Files have returned to television with all new episodes.  Granted it's only 6, but still that's 6 new hours with Mulder and Scully!  I have worked very hard to avoid any and all released footage, news, spoilers, and everything about the new series.
Obviously it's impossible to avoid everything but I have succeeded for the most part. 

I remember watching it when the series originally debuted I was 14 years old, the perfect age to absorb a show like this, I never missed a week!  Back before re-runs and the on-demand TV world we live in now people bought books that were episode guides recapping and breakdown each episode.  When it came to the X-Files I owned those books.  I even bought a few of the VHS releases before there was DVD. 

As much of a devoted fan as I was the later seasons that didn't feature Mulder weren't as good to me but I never missed and episode.  I watched both movies in the theater.  Currently I own all 9 seasons from when they were originally released and both movies on DVD.  They have since re-released the seasons with different packaging and lacking the bonus features for the majority of the seasons.  I also own the Lone Gunmen season on DVD. 

I have watched the first episode 2 times now and while the 2008 movie was good but a bit of a disappointment, this first episode is nothing but amazing!

First off they use the original opening and then they jump right into the deep end of the pool with both feet tackling the alien conspiracy and government cover up mythology.  So much is packed into this episode it feels much longer than the 43 minutes that it is.  The episode ends very strong!

Episode 2 is on Hulu now so I will be going to watch that one and I will be right back.  

BRILLIANT! 

Classic monster of the week episode, I know I said it was spoiler free, but it's just one spoiler, it's their first case officially back with the FBI.  Written and directed by James Wong who wrote some of the best episodes on the original run along with Glen Morgan. Scully and Mulder's son William is touched upon in this episode.

Back in the day I found an address for the X-Files production office on the internet and mailed both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and letter and I got official X-Files photos signed by both, not pre-prints like they started sending out once the show exploded.

I cannot wait to see what the next four episodes have for us.  

Later Readers!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Canaan Turns A Decade!

That's right Canaan has turned 10 years old and I truly can't believe it!

So I tried to do something special for Canaan for his birthday because to me 10 is quite a milestone so I took him to a Maine Red Claws game.  He had been wanting to go for over a year and it all lined up with the game being a couple days before his birthday and my days off.  I asked him who he wanted to bring and he picked his cousin Landen.

I called the box office back in December and told the guy I was looking for decent tickets as we hadn't been before and he said he gave us the area he likes to sit.  I must say he set us up with some fantastic seats, I would gladly buy those again.

The weather held out for us and we picked up Landen just after 5pm.  Being the big spender that I am I treated the boys to some Wendy's dollar menu that we ate in the van on the ride down.  We got to the Portland Expo right about 6pm for a 7pm game time.  We were stopped at a seat belt check by Portland Police and as we were all wearing out seat belts were given vouchers for free t-shirts at the traffic safety table.  Also it was free Red Claws sock night for the first 1000 people, so we got free socks and a free t-shirt!!

My coworker Kelly, her daughter is a member of the Lady Red Claws and she spoke with her about the team taking a photo with the boys, which the did at the start of the game.

I'm not a fan of basketball but I had a really good time at the game.  The boys had a fantastic time together, which wasn't a surprise.  The building was pretty near packed and the claws have a very vocal local fan base.  Sadly they lost but it was good competitive game.  At one point the boys were on the "jumbo tron" Landen noticed and they started dancing, it was hilarious!


At half time I bought them a Red Claws Cruncher ice cream, even though I wasn't allowed to walk around with them.  Two chocolate chip cookies filled with chocolate ice cream dipped in chocolate.  The boys made messes of themselves, Landen had it running down his arm and he couldn't have cared less.


It was a new experience going with two 10 year olds instead of just Canaan.  I suddenly went from "cool Dad" to "try not to embarrass us Dad" but I guess I need to get used to it.  I would gladly take to two of them to another event again.  Canaan expressed interest in going to a Pirates game and Landen WWE.  If the opportunity arises I'll take Landen with us to an Indy show.


We are having Canaan's birthday party on the 23rd should be a great time, Canaan should love his gift that we got him.

Later readers!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Looking back at 2015

Well here we are in a New Year once again so that means it’s time for the year end blog, and quite a year it was. 

First off we had a baby!  Of course pretty much anyone reading this already knows that, but what you don’t know is that Wesley now has three top teeth coming in making him a big 5 toother boy!  I know I’ve seen it twice before, but the rapid progression of a baby is amazing with how quickly they grow, change, and advance.  Truly amazing!

Both Canaan and Addison are so happy to have a younger brother, especially Canaan.  It amazes me how much they enjoy playing with each other given the age difference. 

Canaan had a good year his 2014/15 basketball team went undefeated, his Gardiner Cal Ripken Minor League team won the championship his second in a row. He had a great season playing football, went into the 4th grade, became a Webelo, joined chorus and started playing the recorder at school.  Canaan had just about the greatest 4th of a July a 9year old could have.

Addison was the center stage star of her dance recital number last May.  She became a big time first grader, and is very serious about her art.  Her plan is to give her paintings to museums to display as well as family members.

Katie got a promotion at work to Branch Operations Supervisor! 

While Kate was on maternity leave and through the summer Kate and I managed some pretty awesome day trips that you can read about in my past blogs.  We went to Marshall Point Light, took a ride to Jackman stopping at Moxie Falls, the New Portland Wire bridge, and more.  A Northwestern Maine trip took us through Rumford, Coos Canyon, Height of Lane, Rangeley, Small Falls, & The railroad in Phillips.  We also hit the Railroad in Alna with the big kids, Andrew, & AJ.  Another grand day found us traveling to Grafton Notch State Park to Screw Auger Falls, a couple covered bridges, Snow Falls and more.  We really hit the highlands and western area of Maine.

I think this year we are going to hit the County again and southern Coastal Maine.  I do have a Greenville trip in mind, but it’s got to be the right time to accomplish all I would want to up there.  One other place I would love to travel to is Monhegan Island, it’s someplace I’ve always wanted to go.

With Mom and Irving we had an overnight stay in New Hampshire going to Santa’s Village once again this year.  In September Dad & Linda took us all to Funtown again for the BIW family day.  Two great days at Amusement parks. 

We had some great family social gatherings as well for holidays, taco nights, Tuesday dinners, and other grand occasions! 

I think 2016 will bring us great things!

Later Readers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Christmas Story 2

Warner Premier
Release Date October 30, 2012
Runtime 85 minutes 

A Christmas Story is a classic beloved holiday movie written and narrated by the legendary Jean Shepherd.  The movie is also drawn from his classic stories.  There have been several movies over the years based on Shepherds works and they are all written and narrated by Shepherd himself.  I have watched and own them all and they are great!

A Christmas Story 2 features the same characters from Shepherds works however that is where it ends.  I cannot find one trace of any written works of Shepherds involved in this story, and I have read 5 of his books. 

A Christmas Story 2 is not good.  The underline back story is actually really good, however the slapstick and day dream segments are excessive.  They tried to spoof as many moments and elements from the original as possible. 

I can't imagine I'll ever watch this again.

Later Readers!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Scrooge 1951


Scrooge
1951 run time 86 Minutes
Renown Pictures

Starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge this is my father's favorite version of the film.  Alastair plays a much more laid back and arrogant version of Scrooge.  In the other versions I've scene Scrooge is mostly played as a grumpy old man.  Critically this is heralded as the finest adaptation and the one that is the closest to the original works.  Although the entire backstory with Mr. Jorkin is not in Dickens story.

The film opens on a bookshelf with copies of Charles Dickens books in identical binding with very ominous music playing.  A hand removes the book and sets it down opening it to a montage of the film credits and the music switches to "Hark the Herald Angel Sing."  This is the adaptation that uses this song in such a prominent role.  In the 1932 release it is the opening & closing credits and Tiny Tim sings it.  In the 1938 release it used in the opening & closing credits and is sung by the parishioners at the church service.

After the credits a narrator opens with the first line of the book as the camera goes into the page fading too a scene of Scrooge having a conversation with two men that ends with Scrooge saying Christmas is a Humbug.  Outside the hall he is stopped by a man who owes him money begging for more time so he doesn't go to debtors prison.


Entering his counting house Scrooge is confronted by two men looking for a donation for the poor and destitute while Cratchit takes his coat. The men are dismissed and Fred promptly enters to invite his Uncle to Christmas dinner.  Scrooge tosses him from his office.  Fred stops off in the outer parlor to speak with Bob Cratchit.

Tiny Tim is shown looking through a display window of some nice mechanical toys.  His mother comes from the butcher shop with their giant prize goose and they head off home.  Back at the counting house Scrooge begrudgingly grants Cratchit Christmas day off, hits up his favorite dive restaurant before heading home where the image of Jacob Marley greets him on his door knocker.  The effects were good on this. 

Scrooge retires to his room where strange noises signal the arrival of Marley.  He appears on screen in a transparent state, the effects are quite good.  Marley delivers his message of the arrival of the spirits before departing. 

The Ghost of Christmas Past is a long hair angelic elderly man who take Scrooge back to him as a teen at the boarding school where he believes he is being left for the holiday.  His sister Fran arrives to take him home, in this version Fran appears to be older where as in the 1938 version she was younger.  She died giving birth to Fred, as Scrooge's mother died giving birth to him which is why Scrooge doesn't like Fred, similarly as to why Scrooge's father didn't like him.

Next we are at Fezziwig's for the party, Scrooge is scene with his lady Alice pledging his love to her.  Sometime later Fezziwig is shown refusing to sell to a Mr. Jorkin while Scrooge looks on from his clerks table. Mr. Jorkin lures Scrooge to turn on Fezziwig. 

Scrooge at his sisters deathbed
We are now at Fan's bedside where Scrooge watches his sister die and with her death his heart turns to stone.  He leaves the room before she can say her finals words which is asking Scrooge to take care of her son.  Old Scrooge begs forgiveness and cries.

Man this Past segment is really long compared to other versions.  Mr. Jorkin introduces Scrooge to Marley upon Scrooges start working for him.  Scrooge and Marley eventually buy out Mr. Fezziwig turning his warehouse into their counting house.  Alice comes back into the picture where she breaks up with him because he loves gold more than she.

Mr. Jorkin talking to Scrooge
We travel a few years into Scrooges life and find out that Mr. Jorkin is being charged with embezzlement.  Scrooge and Marley show their shrewdness by buying the company from the shareholders at 50% the going rate.  We travel to apparently to 7 years in Scrooges past to the night when Mr. Marley died.  He was sent for at 5:45 but at the shop didn't close until 7pm he said he would go at the end of the business day.  Scrooge arrives to find Marley near death who tells Scrooge to change his ways but Scrooge doesn't get the message.

Finally the past is over and we get to the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Once again the spirit is represented by large robbed man surrounded by a feast.  A touch of his robe and we are off into the celebration of that Christmas.  First up is a throng of people around the fireplace singing, yup, "Hark the Herald Angel Sing."  Next we see Bob Cratchit with Tiny Tim on his shoulder, once again eldest daughter Martha is hidden to play a joke on Bob that she's not coming for Christmas this year.  Peter's collar is ridiculously huge, Bob goes to toast Scrooge and his family balks at the sentiment.


We segue to Fred's who also toast his crotchety Uncle before breaking into dance.  Quickly we fade to Alice who is taking care of the sick and indigent.  The present leaves Scrooge in the street and the future appears in the form of a clocked being with only and extended hand exposed.

Our first stop in the future is at the Cratchit household where everyone is saddened because Tiny Tim has died.  We cut to a group of people who are happy to see someone has died and they have taken this persons belongings to sell to Joe the pawn broker.  We see the men that Scrooge was talking to at the beginning of the film, they make disparaging remarks about the recently deceased as well.  Scrooge starts to realize it might be him.  The cemetery is the last stop where Scrooge sees his own tombstone and vows to change his ways.

Scrooge awakens in his room to the knocking of his laundress a new man loving life and Christmas too.  His exuberance and happiness scare her.  He tries to do an handstand in his chair and she runs screaming from the room. Scrooge gives her a raise and the day off.

Scrooge hires a passing boy to buy the prize turkey to send to Cratchit.  Goose must have been cheaper than Turkey then.  The Cratchit's receive the turkey but it doesn't say who its from.  For some reason Tiny Tim feels that is was Mr. Scrooge, but no one else does.

Scrooge arrives at Fred's surprising all in attendance.  He apologizes to Fred's wife, for some reason and not Fred.  Then they all break into dance with Scrooge and niece-in-law leading the way.


The next morning Cratchit arrives at the counting house late while Scrooge pretends to work.  Scrooge makes like he's going to fire Cratchit but instead raises his salary.  This Scrooge wants to help's Bob whole family and not just Tiny Tim.

The narrator returns with Scrooge now having become a loved community member.  Tiny Tim calls out Uncle Scrooge and runs crutchless jumping into his arms before fading to black.

This was a good flick, but I still maintain that the 1938 version is my favorite.

Later Readers!