March 18th, 2018 by Proprietor
One of the things I did after purchasing my Apple TV 4k, and getting it set up was watch a documentary, titled, Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s the Fantastic Four. This was a documentary that brought some sense of nostalgia in regards to movies, since I remember how big of a deal this movie was going to be.
Granted, Roger Corman was known to make cheap ripoff movies, but the idea that someone was making an actual Fantastic Four movie set all the comic book geeks and nerds, who love Roger Corman movies to begin with, a buzz. It was pre-internet days, so fanzines and fan based magazines, as well as word of mouth, was the only way to generate buzz.
Then the movie ended up never being released. It was disappointing. About a decade later the big budget Fantastic Four movie would be released. By that time, bootleg copies of the Roger Corman version were circulating amongst fans, and being sold at conventions across the world. I have not seen the Corman version personally, but I have heard mixed reviews. Some compare the acting, and claim Corman’s version was better acted. When it came to CGI, the none Corman version was without a doubt better.
The whole story behind the Roger Corman Fantastic Four is interesting. It started with Marvel losing a lot money on some bad investments, and needing to gain capital. Marvel began licensing rights to characters or various properties to anyone who had the money. Bernd Eichinger had purchased the rights to the Fantastic Four, and the contract stipulated he make a movie or lose the rights. Bernd recruited Corman to make a movie that by today’s standards was terrible, but would have generated a lot of fan interest. Though the movie is not good, it still sells well in boot leg format at conventions. Because retaining the rights hinge on producing a movie, no matter how terrible, anyone who owns the rights can keep them. This is why Sony has in perpetuity rights to Spider-Man, and Fox seems to have the same deal with X-Men and Fantastic Four. No matter how bad the movies are in regards to the previous mentioned groups and character, Sony and Fox keep the rights as long as they release movies. To be honest the most recent Fantastic Four movie sucked. Even seeing bits of the Corman version I would prefer to have seen the Corman Fantastic Four to the most recent version. Cheesy special effects and everything.
When Disney bought Marvel, Disney did so to gain the rights to properties that had not already been sold off in desperation. Hence the string of movies related to comic book characters that might have been little know to none comic book fans. Now the Disney has purchased a 20th Century Fox, it is more than likely going to fold the Fantastic Four back into Marvel, and maybe make a proper version of the FF. Disney has done a great job with the Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man and Black Panther. Hopefully once Disney does have the X-Men and Fantastic Four rights, we will see a good FF movie.
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Growing Pains Of Technology
March 14th, 2018 by Proprietor
I decided to upgrade my Apple TV, since I had a Generation 2, and it was about eight years old. The Gen 2 Apple TV was instrumental in my eventually cutting cable television. It cost about $99 at the time, and the savings on subscribing to cable television paid for the expense within several months. Considering the usage I have gotten out of my Gen 2 Apple TV, it was worth the investment. Due to Apple no longer supporting Gen 2 Apple TVs, and I was having multiple issues, I decided to upgrade.
Not being the most frugal shopper, and deciding I had enough with issues, I drove to Best Buy. Surprisingly Walmart did not physically carry the Apple TV, but an order could be placed and I could pick it up at the store in two to three days. Nah. I was being impulsive. As stated, I drove to Best Buy, found that Best Buy only had the 32GB 4K version at $179 available. I purchased it, since I do not really see myself as needing more than the 32GB. I download anything I purchase from iTunes to my computer anyway.
After coming home, I restored my Gen 2 to factory settings, which took some time, and I did not really care. Since I am not too tech savvy, jailbreaking the Gen 2 is not something I wanted to do. I will more than likely sell it on eBay in the next month for a few bucks, and someone else can do the jailbreaking.
Once I disconnected my Gen 2 Apple TV, I plugged in the Apple TV 4K. Then the pain and suffering began. I am not tech savvy. I have heart palpations when I update apps and things do not go well. I have anxiety attacks updating operating systems because there have been times when things have not gone well, and I have had to spend two hours fixing a problem. I blame computer people for not beta testing, and being arrogant.
Since you have to now download apps from the app store for Apple TV, and nothing is really pre-installed, I spent about two hours having to enter in passwords, and confirmation numbers and whatever to not only download apps, but activate the apps. It is not easy when the remote does not have a keyboard. Did Apple not think of this? For part of the process, I had to use my iPhone, why could I not use it to get the apps for the Apple TV? I have touch pay programmed into my iPhone.
After several hours of cursing the powers that be at Apple, taking the Lord’s name in vain, and sort of preying the Lord would curse the powers that be at Apple, I had Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video set up on my Apple TV. OK. It was worth it. With the home sharing set up on my computer, and my Apple TV now working with it, I could jump nearly seamlessly from one form of media stream to another. That was not entirely possible with my old Apple TV Gen 2.
The Gen 2 Apple TV did not allow for Amazon Prime Video. If I wanted to watch anything I had purchased from Amazon to stream, I had to use the app on my Blu-Ray player, which meant switching between devices or I could sync my iPhone up with the Apple TV, and stream from the app on my iPhone. Streaming from the iPhone via WiFi sucked the battery down to nearly nothing after a few hours. Not recommended.
Now I can sit and watch Hulu, then flip to Amazon Prime, and even YouTube. The growing pains were horrible, but I guess worth it. Now I can wait another eight years before I upgrade, and that is enough time to forget how horrible it had been.
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March 11th, 2018 by Proprietor
Nostalgia is a funny thing. It tests your perceptions. What was cool when you were 10 or in your teens, might not be so cool when you are an adult. Sometimes the fond memories are best left untouched. In some cases, reviewing those memories only reenforces why something was good or fun.
There are many things in my past that I get nostalgic for. I grew up at the start of the major video game era. I spent untold numbers of quarters in video games like Pac Man, Centipede, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Defender, the list can go on and on. Now all the games are available in some form or other in emulators on consoles or computers or hundreds are loaded into a stand up unit that imitates the old arcade game cabinets.
When I have watched documentaries about the era of video games, like King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters or Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade or recently, Atari: Game Over, there is some sadness or joy brought up by these documentaries. That is nostalgia. The joy being recalling a childhood time in an arcade, spending all those quarters to never get further than a few levels beyond the first level. Many would say it was a waste of time. For modern children it was like chasing a barrel hoop down a hill and trying to keep it from falling down using a stick to guide it.
Even sitting with friends and playing a rousing game of Warlords, because it could be a four player game was awesome. Everyone fought over playing one particular position, the lower left, because with the right quick spin on the paddle, you could arc the ball to where someone could not stop you, and the upper right player was instantly killed. There were better gaming consoles at the time, but nothing was as awesome or widespread in popularity as the Atari 2600.
Many of the arcade games, like Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Frogger were reproduced, somewhat poorly for the Atari 2600. It was fun to play those games without spending the quarters. Even though the cartridges were about $20-$40 a piece depending on the game, but it was easy to go through a ten dollar roll of quarters in an arcade in less than an hour on Asteroids or Space Invaders. Saving up for the cartridge and playing the game hours on end saved lots of money. The arcade money could be spent on newer games.
Documentaries about toys, comic strips, and comics also bring about the nostalgia. Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys, brought a sense of pride to my being a Star Wars fan and keeping all my toys into adulthood, only to sell them on eBay for some decent money. Though it is fun to remember walking into a store and seeing the peg wall full of action figures on blister cards is wonderful to recall. As is the joy of hours of play with the toys as a child.
Today, Star Wars figures are as ubiquitous as dinosaurs or plastic army men. Children seem to go through a Star Wars phase, then move on. In some ways it is sad to see something so incredibly life changing and wonderful in my childhood become just another phase for young people who could be my children.
There are still loyal collectors out there who spend plenty of money and have rooms full of the toys from the original release to the more modern movies. The evolution of action figures from being stiff arm and legs to having more poseability and the manufacturer’s willingness to produce 6″ versions give greater options for collectors. Though the die hard collector does not care and will buy everything. I admit to walking down toy aisles at stores from time to time to check out what is now out there. To some extent I envy the variety of choice the children have. Superhero toys that are near exact reproduction of characters on screen, to even 3-3/4″ scale figures that are extremely detailed. Lego versions that are very representative of the vehicles and characters and not clunky. Seeing all the toys, and realizing some child will have similar memories to me in the future makes me smile.
Dear Mr. Watterson was a documentary about Bill Watterson, who created the characters Calvin and Hobbes. A six year old boy with an over active imagination, and inflated sense of self importance, who saw his stuffed toy tiger as real. This was no pedestrian comic strip, and it added in hints of satire and politics that are genius and still ring true today. There is now an official Calvin and Hobbes website. I guess Mr. Watterson decided to break some form of silence. He has not broken into merchandising yet. A plush Calvin and Hobbes, please, or at least action figures. The complete collection of comic strips is well worth owning, the strips are still incredible and mind blowing today as when I first read them. There is some keen insight into human beings. Reading a Calvin & Hobbes strip from twenty plus years ago, and realizing how apropos it is to today’s world makes me realize Mr. Watterson was a genius. The comic strip is a classic, just because it stands the test of time, and can be very applicable to today’s life.
Comic books are another part of my childhood, and even adulthood. Though I no longer collect everything Marvel prints or any major titles from DC. It is still nice to see documentaries made about the history of comic books. Everyone credits Bob Kane as being the creator of Batman, but few people know of Bill Finger. Batman And Bill is a great documentary about a man’s quest to rectify an injustice, and get what is due to Mr. Finger’s heirs. It takes a twisting path and years of work, with possible dead ends, but the Dark Knight would be proud of the level of diligence, and work done for the pursuit of justice. I wrote a blog about this a while back.
Nostalgia motivates someone to sometimes purchase DVD sets or even bootlegs of television shows one loved when they were young only to realize you had bad tastes as a 12 year old. Yeah it was cool at 12, but not so cool, even downright painful to watch 30 years later. Because of Nostalgia I purchased Buck Rodgers In The 25th Century on DVD, and could not watch more than four episodes before I decide to sell the set on eBay. Gil Gerard was the coolest to me, and Erin Grey was gorgeous. Years later I ended up getting their autographs at a convention, mainly spurred by nostalgia. Those were the last autographs I got at a convention. Even though I had enjoyed getting autographs from people who were in Star Wars. I decided not to further destroy my memories and feelings of nostalgia by meeting the people whom starred in certain shows. Erin Grey though brought back some interesting feelings I had when I was twelve.
Battlestar Galactica and the sequel Galactica 1980 were also shows I ended up purchasing DVD sets for or downloading onto my Xbox 360. I managed to watch all of the episodes, but realized how cheesy those episodes were. Loren Green, who played Commander Adama was the only person to appear in both series. Both only lasted around one season. Unfortunately the story telling became better near the end, but was not enough to save the shows.
I have plenty of complete collections of shows I loved when I was a child, but because of experience with the sort of disappointment or realization of a show not being as good as I remember it, I have yet to watch them. Sometimes knowing you have them is just as good as actually watching them. You have the nostalgia without the disappointment.
Ultimately, it comes down to distance, and experience. Those things kill off certain nostalgic feelings when rewatching old television shows. Though there are just some shows that seem to be timeless, and bring back the same joy one had when first watching. I have posted numerous snarky and a little off center blogs about the Brady Bunch. So many that I made a separate category for them, 49 at the last count, and I will probably post the 50th in the future.
It makes me wonder what the next several decades of my life will bring. Thirty years from now, will I look back with nostalgia at Game of Thrones? Will I think about how awesome the comics I read 30 years ago are? Will I still have the same sense of nostalgia for the Brady Bunch? Will I still love the Legion of Superheroes? What about Calvin & Hobbes?
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Places I Have Stayed
March 7th, 2018 by Proprietor
Having been to Las Vegas nearly 20 times in almost three decades. I have stayed in 15 different resorts, one no longer exists and a second is rebranded. There was a lot of change since I first stayed, Las Vegas is always growing and evolving.
I have stayed in multiple resorts during one trip, and in several resorts multiple times. All of the resorts I list are in order of my staying, unless I have stayed in them multiple times, and I noted this. All are listed on my top 10 list. One of the things I mention is reasonable walking distance. Reasonable distance is about 10 to 15 minutes of walking time that any healthy person could reasonably manage. One of the things a person does is walk in Las Vegas. I have also written a post about how to get around, the monorails are a very handy way to get between places.
Economics and circumstances often dictated where I stayed. Sometimes it was just location, location, location due to travel. A few times, it was just, I wanted to stay at the resort, and did not care.
Aladdin was the first resort I stayed in. My family and I stayed in the motel portion, which afforded us a nice view of a parking lot and strip mall. My brother and I walked to the Dunes to see a comedy show, and simply looked both ways, then crossed in the middle of the strip. These days, you cannot do so, most of the sidewalks are walled off, and you have to use overhead cross walks. The Dunes was destroyed to make room for Bellagio. Eventually the Aladdin would be destroyed, and a new version built on the property. The new Aladdin would be rebranded as Planet Hollywood a short time later. The parking lot I looked out on from the motel room, is now occupied by the Paris.
Sahara was the second resort I stayed in. It was pre-monorail times, and the only other casino in reasonable walking distance was the Stratosphere, which had opened the year before. The only way to get from the Sahara to the center part of the strip or even further south, like the Excalibur and Luxor was walking, cab or rent a car. When the monorail between MGM Grand and Bally’s was extended to the Sahara, it made travel easier. Eventually the Sahara was brought, remodeled, and rebranded SLS.
Harrah’s was the choice for my third trip. It was situated near center strip, which made it easier to walk to a variety of other places. The monorails from Bally’s and Bellagio made travel easier to the Tropicana/Strip corner. There were shuttle buses available to off strip resorts, like Sam’s Town as well.
Treasure Island was the forth resort I stayed in. A friend and I went there because it was affordable, and not too far from various places. The Venetian had just opened up, and was right across the strip. The monorail to Mirage made it easier, but the infrequency of the monorail made walking easier. Stardust, Riviera and Circus Circus were in reasonable walking distance from TI. It was pre-monorail days, though the monorail existed between Bally’s/MGM and Bellagio/Monte Carlo, so walking and cabs were viable ways to get around.
Bellagio would be my fifth resort, and ten years after staying, I would stay a second time. Bellagio was my idea of high end, and still is, I enjoyed staying there. The rooms were more spacious than regular hotel rooms, there was a soaking tub, and separate shower in each bathroom. Walking across the strip to use the monorail at Bally’s or using the monorail to Monte Carlo made getting to Tropicana/Strip very easy. The second time I stayed, Aria was built, and the monorail at Bally’s extended the entire length of the strip, so getting around was very easy. The location of Bellagio at Flamingo/Strip or center strip puts many casinos within reasonable walking distance.
Monte Carlo would be my sixth resort. The monorail tying it to Bellagio made getting to the center strip easy. A reasonable walk put you at Tropicana/Strip. The Monte Carlo is very affordable. Recently MGM opened up a park area between Monte Carlo and New York-New York to invite people to T-Mobile Arena which is behind both resorts, and expanded the resort itself. In a few years, the Monte Carlo will be rebranded as The Park At MGM.
Luxor has the distinction of being the only resort I stayed at three times. First time was economics, the other two times was due to situations. All three times were enjoyable, and I stayed in the pyramid. I recommend the Luxor for an affordable and interesting place to stay. Luxor is tied to Excalibur and Mandalay Bay via indoor walkways or the monorail. Except the monorail stops running at 10:30PM.
Excalibur is sometimes viewed in a bad way, but it is a very affordable place to stay in a very nice area. It is tied to Luxor and Mandalay Bay via monorail or indoor walkway. It is across the street and a reasonable walking distance from half a dozen other resorts. If you walk to Monte Carlo, you can ride the monorail to Bellagio and be center strip in very quick fashion. Then there is the walk to MGM Grand, and the monorail on the east side which gives you access to the entire strip.
Mirage is considered the first premier resort in Las Vegas. When I first stayed in Las Vegas at the Aladdin, the Mirage was near completion. When I stayed at Sahara the second time, we saw Sigfried and Roy at Mirage, I wanted to stay at the Mirage, and it took some time, but I did. It is a very nice resort. It is located across the strip from Venetian and Harrah’s, which means a walk to the Harrah’s monorails station brings all the strip within easy travel. A brief walk brings you to the entrance of Caesars Forum Shoppes, and that is tied to Caesars Palace.
Mandalay Bay is my favorite place. I have stayed twice, and in the near future may stay again. What off puts some people is the fact that it is the furthest south resort on the strip, but it is far from remote. Mandalay Bay is tied to Luxor and Excalibur via enclosed walkways, and a monorail. Though the monorail shuts down at 10:30PM. Currently the Raider’s Stadium is being built across the interstate from Mandalay Bay. A crosswalk will be installed, and the monorail that runs along the east side is going to be extended to Mandalay Bay. This will end some of the isolation. Overall it is a very nice place to stay, and a reasonable walk from the famous Las Vegas sign.
Palms is the only off strip property I stayed at. Having visited it several times using shuttles to Rio Suites, then walking, I liked the vibe. Eventually I decide, even though it was not on the strip, I had to stay there. It was worth the stay. A short cab ride to Bellagio or if you want to walk to Gold Coast or Rio Suites you can catch a shuttle.
MGM Grand is large and intimidating, which made me not want to stay there, until I stayed there, and enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much, I stayed a second time. It is a quarter mile walk from MGM’s strip entrance to the monorail platform. Originally the monorail went to only Bally’s, which was the original MGM Grand. Then it was extended nearly the entire eastern side of the strip. This makes MGM Grand a sort of hub to get you from north to south on the strip. It is reasonable walking distance to Hooters and walking to Excalibur can get you to Luxor and Mandalay Bay.
Paris was one of my favorite casinos to go to, but the hotel is so-so. It is located between Bally’s and Planet Hollywood, and is across the street from Bellagio. Access to the Bally’s monorail station gives you access to the entire strip. I stayed at MGM the first time, then rode the monorail to stay at Paris. My stay at both resorts was due to certain events. It is the first time I stayed in two different resorts during a single trip. I might consider doing that again.
New York-New York rounds out my list. It is a very affordable, well located resort, on the corner of Tropicana/Strip. It is reasonable walking distance to several other resorts, and easy access to monorails from Monte Carlo to Bellagio, Excalibur to Mandalay Bay, and the MGM Grand monorail station to the rest of the strip. The pretzel stand on the second floor is awesome. I had been to the casino numerous times, and wanted to stay at NY-NY, so I finally did.
My next trip to Las Vegas is in the planning stages. As always various things dictate where I stay. I am planning on the Cosmopolitan, but who knows.
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March 4th, 2018 by Proprietor
This new story line takes place after the events of Bad Boys, Moves, & Smoke Break. To fill in some details, Death Boss is now Death Swimmer due to events in Bad Boys. After those events, Death Swimmer and 2B-Bot traveled to the Cigar Man Universe were Calamari had become a major super villain. Calamari sent Lefty and his crew to kill Gorilla Fish & Dr. Menace, instead both were forced out of the BagBoy Universe. Maybe to return. Cigar Man attacked Calamari’s base, forcing Death Swimmer, 2B-Bot and Calamari to retreat. Where the three villains fled or what their plans were is now just loose threads I will tie up at some point.
Due to the events in Moves, 2B-Bot’s base is essentially abandoned, was located by PinBot, probably due to a deal with Gorilla Fish made in Bumps. The Mighty League of Justice deciding to go after Death Boss (Death Swimmer) was a logical story. How they can travel to another dimension will be explained. If you are guessing that after the Bad Boys story, Death Swimmer & 2B-Bot did something to trash the dimensional equipment, they probably did. Except damaged equipment can be analyzed and rebuilt or duplicated if someone is smart enough.
Bringing back the whole Dimensional Travel aspect was something I was intending to eventually do. Though Gorilla Fish fits nicely into the BagBoy Universe, and 2B-Bot was a main foe in the BagBoy Universe, I removed them for a reason. Their return may happen in the far future, considering I post once a week.
Mighty League of Justice was an homage to some of the cartoons I loved watching as a child. MLJ and their main protagonist Death Boss were products of a dream I had. I woke up, thought, wow, I better write this down, and I did. Once I got the initial idea down, I began crafting. MLJ was at first part of the BagBoy Universe, but I spun it out to an alternate dimension. Both universes operate on the same concept. Woefully underpowered or even no powered heroes fighting villains who should essentially mulch the heroes, but the hero succeeds due to dumb luck or mistakes made by the villain. As shown in Kid Spider, as powerful as he is, he is actually outclassed by his villains. Oarsman intervened and saved Kid Spider’s life. Helper Monkey came in and stopped Cob Boy.
Now that I have brought Kid Spider in line with events in Gorilla Fish, it now makes sense to bring Mighty League of Justice into the BagBoy Universe for a visit. How the MLJ enters is in the story.
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