Friday, June 24, 2011

Conan Finds Grady

Conan O' Brien is at his peak right now. He owns his show and is doing exactly what he wants every night. Plus the documentary "Conan O' Brien Can't Stop" recording his tour hits today.

But Conan was always great. If you want proof here's a series of clips form 1996 where he tracks down the legendary "Grady" Whitman Mayo. In college we became obsessed with Grady so this hit us right where we lived.




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Green Lantern Animated Series

And we're back.

With Bruce Timm on this, it will redeem the franchise, at least in the eyes of fans and kids.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Green Lantern

I didn't think it was so bad. I also saw it in a theater that serves alcohol.

I've mentioned my love for Green Lantern before. I've also mentioned how grateful I am that Geoff Johns turned the franchise from a rudderless obligation for DC to its third most popular franchise. That success lead the WB to spend $200 million on a feature film. Shame they didn't treat that investment with more care.

It's been rumored that Johns had input into the film. It must have been early and disregarded. There are his signature touches; the discussion of willpower as a force, the ability to overcome fear, the Sinestro Corps symbol and Parallax as a living entity. There's also Krona and Hector Hammond and Hal's brothers and the death of his father. But it's all jumbled and thrown into the film haphazardly.

Several characters fight for screen time and no one seems to win. Sinestro, Kilowog and Tomar Re all get extended cameos. They throw a few lines of exposition out, look cool in cg and leave. They're also nowhere to be found until the final battle is over when they couldn't be any less help.

I like Ryan Reynolds. I used to dislike his smarmy, entitled persona but like Ben Affleck it's been tamed over the years and it works for Hal. Mark Strong is a solid Sinestro and well prepared for becoming a central villain in a sequel. Several good actors (Peter Sarrsgard, Tim Robbins, Angela Basset) are good and wasted. But Blake Lively is terrible, coming off as a waify girl rather than the career-minded, angry woman that makes up half the dysfunctional relationship in the comics. Like Kirsten Dunst, Malin Ackerman and Katie Holmes, the studio was more concerned with pretty girls than fully-rounded characters.

The cg is passable. It never really bothers you but when you think of other cg fests like the terrible "Tron: Legacy" you realize how much better most blockbusters look. Restraint could have helped. Did the Guardians need to be outside on a mountaintop. Couldn't they have been in a room and save some detail to make Oa look more believable.

There's no focus. This is not a Green Lantern story. It's Green Lantern in live action for two hours. Part of me is grateful we got anything. Part of me hopes they'll fix it in the sequel. Part of me knows there won't be one.

Monday, June 13, 2011

SDCC Indiana Jones Figures

Pics are out!

I'm very happy. They look incredible and as sorry as I am there won't be any more, I'm grateful Hasbro found a way to release these. Whatever the price is, they're worth double.

Thanks to rebelscum

Friday, June 10, 2011

X-Men: First Class

Anyone who has seen this needs to tell people who haven't seen it. Because it doesn't look good, the last two were not good and yet it is very, very good.

This movie is an apology for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film nearly everyone involved considers bad. The fact that First Class contradicts that one is more a testament to how far afield Wolverine went.

Matthew Vaughan manages to capture the world of the early 60's through the prism of "Mad Men" and James Bond. Lots of sharp suits, brushed metal and nightclubs with secret passages. He also manages to keep you involved with a handful of characters that would never sell a comic series on their own. Charles Xavier is more interesting, complex and fun than he's ever been. James McAvoy channels Patrick Stewart the way Ewan Macgregor did Alec Guinness. Just enough reference to tie it in and just enough room to make it his own. And Kevin Bacon makes a surprisingly effective villain.

It doesn't line up with the comic series much. The "First Class" combines only one of the original five (Beast), a later Neal Adams era character (Havok), a Giant-Size one (Banshee) and even a Grant Morrison New X-Men version (Angel). But it lines up seamlessly with the trilogy adding weight that pushes Singer's films up to greatness level and almost makes The Last Stand decent.

Yes, there are some holes and some obvious missteps (I'm now considering every non-comic accurate mutant to be a red shirt) but the movie actually turns the whole franchise around. It should be doing much better than it is. The fact that there are some amazing cameos that were never spoiled (and I won't) shows how little people are talking about it.

Marvel doesn't seem to have a lot of faith in this film. When I saw the trailer I said that FOX had turned the X-Men franchise into "Smallville". It's a pleasure to eat those words.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Vote for PJ Brady's BBQ sauce!

I've known PJ over twenty years now. We're lucky if we get together every couple of years or so. So I had no idea that he could create an awesome BBQ sauce. One you can vote for on

Vote here!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Mos Eisley Cantina - Google Voice Theatre

Paul F. Tompkins has problems with Google Voice. So much so he transcribed a section of "Star Wars" into it and read the transcription at Largo. Someone cut it to the film itself and here it is.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ron Zabrocki in Guitar World!

Ron's started a weekly online column on, a magazine I've been subscribing to since before I met him. If his column is as helpful as sitting in a room with him for twenty minutes, you will learn lessons that will affect your playing for the rest of your life. He gets it off to a great start here:

First lesson

Monday, June 06, 2011

Master Cleanse

I'm 39 years old and I eat badly. Left to my own devices, I will eat cheeseburgers, tacos and pizza for every meal, with ice cream after. I don't but I could do it without looking back. I'm disinterested in fruits, vegetables and fish. I don't dislike them but they are never my first choice. Jamba Juice was a huge breakthrough, teaching me I could have twenty fruits for a meal.

Two months ago my dentist made me quit soda. I'd been drinking diet but it wasn't the sugar hurting my teeth. It was the acid. Apparantly, the phosphoric acid in cola is only one step above battery acid.

It came as a blow but a month or two later I forgot all about soda. I started leaning heavily on lemonade, which between the sugar and citric acid, may be no better. But my lemonade addiction, coupled with the diminishing summer appetite, led me to ponder the Master Cleanse again.

The program lasts you ten days, eat nothing and drink a mix of fresh lemon juice, grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Supposedly it gives you enough nutrition to fast and flush the crap that's stuck in your system. I've fasted before, up to 4 days, so the not eating doesn't scare me. What does scare me is the program of it. 10 days. It's like getting on a roller coaster. Once they pull that bar down, you can't get out. That's why I'm giving myself a caveat; I can bail at any time. As soon as it pisses me off, I'm out. No honor, baby.

Here's a lot of detailed information about the Master Cleanse Diet. It's day 2 and all the information I can give you is that it tastes pretty good.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Our first show is June 11. And our demo is just about done.

Making a demo was such a big deal in the analog world. When I worked on the first Q South demo it was like we'd been signed to a record label. Psychasm spent more time making our demo than actually gigging. And they each cost thousands of dollars.

This demo was literally done in the off hours around practice. If anyone showed up early, they would start recording. We took one Saturday afternoon to learn how to mike drums. We still have one song to finish.

I used the BOSS BR-8 I bought in 2000. It still runs on zip discs. It's digital yet antiquated. But I know it well enough that I can get tracks faster than with Pro Tools. Sound Forge did the mixing and mastering.

And posting it has never been easier. Thanks to Reverbnation, uploading mp3s is finally like getting videos on youtube. The player is also easy to drop on Facebook and here.

The widget will remain on the right hand column but here's a big version to listen right now. Four songs. One original. One live cover. Two studio covers. And one coming. Not bad for a couple of weeks.

June 11 9 p.m.
8601 W Grand Ave, River Grove, IL