Monday, February 1, 2016

Update, Plus a Follow Up to my Wizarding World and Disney Haul Video

Hello, folks! Sorry it's been so quiet here. I know I'm long overdue for my planned graphic novel page postings that were intended to begin the first or second week of January. This was held up a bit when my mother's holiday visit was extended a bit longer due to her becoming ill. Following her recovery, I as usual took a weekend to drive her back home, and now I'm ready to get cracking with the book, albeit a bit late. I should have something up sometime this weekend for realz, but in the meantime, I did manage to record the follow-up video to my previous Wizarding World/Disney World Haul, as promised, to mention some stuff I forgot and to throw in a few extra things as well. So, enjoy, and again, stay tuned here for my graphic novel very, VERY soon! Oh, and if you enjoy the video, please subscribe on YouTube!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Management Notice: Site Update and Vacation Haul Video

Hi-Dee-Ho, folks! Long-time, no see! My sincerest apologies, a lot has been going on. Here's a ten peso update on me, the future of this site and Moonlight Motel, and a bonus Harry Potter Wizarding World and Disney Haul video to boot!

First, so no one gets too concerned, the site update. Don't worry, we aren't going anywhere. Obviously, it's been difficult for me to find the time to come on here and post stuff. I wish this website were my full-time gig. However, I currently don't get enough hits to make a dime off it, partly my own fault for not focusing on the original intention of the site, a web comic. I'm planning to change that this year. Moonlight Motel is my passion and my expression, and I love it, but I have hardly put out any new strips in the past few years. There have been some huge distractions since I started the comic, and subsequently, this website. A little hit film (which just had a sequel) about monsters running a hotel didn't boost my spirits any either. I can just imagine how many folks think Hotel Transylvania came along before we did. It didn't. Not that we are THAT similar in tone or style, but a hotel run by monsters, a motel run by monsters, most people probably won't look beyond those similar, superficial descriptions. That being said, I do enjoy Hotel Transylvania (Selena Gomez makes one hot CGI vampiress, no surprise), and I was probably harsher in my original review of the first film than I should have been (haven't seen the sequel yet), as it's actually really good, but I digress. Point is, I have spent most of my time here writing articles, reviews, and other filler that I enjoy greatly, but that are not at all the purpose of this site. I'm not saying I won't do anymore of that stuff, but probably very rarely, and eventually I might do that mostly in video format. For now, as I mention in the video below, I want to start focusing on getting a comic post up every week if possible. And, it's actually gonna be very different for a while. I've been talking for a long time about my first Moonlight Motel graphic novel. However, it's been really hard to find the time to work on it. I even had to cancel my Wizard World table for last October, because I hadn't made any progress on the book beyond the initial concept and long existing cover art. Well, hopefully starting next week, but definitely this month, my intention is that future posts on this website will mostly be a new page of my graphic novel every week. Will these be in full color? not sure. Will they be the final version of the book, maybe, but I wouldn't be surprised if more editing is done before the official version is made available for purchase. These Moonlight Motel posts will be different from the usual strip posts. They will be pages of a graphic novel, not single strip gags. This will all add up to one big story in the end. Then, I'll go back to making new strips until I start working on another graphic novel. 

Other posts on this site will be rare and random. Crush of the Week? We might still do crush articles on rare occasion. The title will have to be different though. It hasn't effectively been a Crush of the Week in quite some time. Movie Reviews? I wish I could have at least done Star Wars 7 and Krampus reviews before deciding to make such posts far less frequent. However, while I LOVE movies, I may not be the best critic anyway, and my reviews of these particular two movies are simple. Loved 'em both. If I can get a better video making situation going, perhaps I will start up with movie reviews again in video format, but that will take some time. Other articles I've posted here were random reviews, events, and rants, and they could still appear at random. My point here is just to say it will be far less often. I will mostly be focusing on the comic strip here. I probably won't even go back to those multi-part articles that were started but not continued, specifically ones about trips I took over the past few years. I might go into those again at some point, maybe, but while I started talking a long time ago about my 2013 Disney World trip and my 2014 New York trip and never got past day one in either case, I doubt I will be coming back with day 2 after all. It's just too important that I refocus this site. I'm not ruling out the possibility I will be particularly free one random week to just sit and write about old trips or whatever, but I am not promising anything. Remember though, you can keep up with my daily doings on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook. Mainly, I just post things on Instagram and share them to all those other sites, including plenty of images from my travels, holidays, and just my daily life. Also, I do these occasional YouTube videos. I'll keep sharing those here on the site (but please go to YouTube and subscribe, most videos include crucial annotations that are not displayed when viewed on this site). I just really wanna start getting some things done that are important to me as an artist, because I haven't done a huge amount with my career as yet. Developing my comic strip was a big deal for me when things finally started to fall into place after previous attempts, but I haven't done enough with it and don't have much excuse for that, and now I feel like I'll always be in the shadow of Hotel Transylvania, because I didn't get my work out there fast enough. That old chestnut. I'm still gonna try, and I hope people will see past the setup, which I have no wish to change, and that my strip really has very little in common with that film franchise. As for the website, that's pretty much what I wanted to say, that for a while it's going to be a showcase for my graphic novel in-progress. Maybe some familiar articles will appear on rare occasion, definitely some occasional updates on myself and stuff, but mostly we're gonna focus on the first book for a while.

As for an update on me, well, like I said, I've been so preoccupied with life that the site has suffered, which is why I wanna start to prioritize this. I'm not getting any younger. In fact, I now find myself at 40 (almost 41), and far behind everyone else my age. I don't care too much about that, really. Everyone says I look 10 years younger than I am, sometimes more, I have a youthful spirit (my interests and goals don't sync up much with my actually age group), I have so little dating experience that I am more compatible with much younger women (and they look better in pigtails), and most people my age are only so much further along because they've settled in some way. I've never been about settling, but I HAVE allowed myself to get lazy (or more accurately, distracted) in going for the things I really want. I may not be about doing the kids and sensible career thing, but I do want a comfortable income and someone to snuggle with at night. No, I didn't get a sensible degree and settle into a boring but reliable, well-paying office job, but I do work in a boring office job that doesn't pay well and offers no benefits while I sit on a useless art degree, and that's not much better than being Joe Schmo Settled-In if I'm not working on my dreams while I suffer for my art. Hence the more aggressive website/graphic novel plan, and also my intention to finally do something I've thought about since high school and start more aggressively checking out the stand-up comedy thing. At least, I need to start looking into it. It's a difficult issue, because I do have very high social anxiety. I'm what's called an introverted extrovert. Yes, that's a real thing. It's what many entertainers are, actually. I am initially extremely shy and awkward with strangers, though if people will give me a little time to get to know me, I will open up like crazy, but most folks don't do that. Of course, it also requires the other person to initiate things. It's been one of my biggest issues with meeting women too. I almost never do meet any, in fact, though it also seems none of the women I'm attracted to are ever single, so I really don't know what to do in that department. That's not really me asking for advice though. I've been hearing dating advice for years. It's mostly been shit. No offense. But, I notice none of my friends have ever tried to set me up with anyone. What the hell? That's supposed to be a thing. Sure, I probably wouldn't like your choice, but at least offer! Anyway, this year, one of my two best friends (the unmarried one) is actually getting married, and I'm supposed to be the best man. Personally, I'm not wild about weddings, and he told me once he wasn't ever going to get married, so I was thinking, "Phew, that's a load off." I can't dance and have never written a toast or anything. Am I supposed to throw a bachelor party? Because I live pretty much hand to mouth, and I've never been to a real bachelor party, either. I've only been to like four weddings in my life, because I hate them. But, I love my best friend, and hopefully I can drop some weight before this summer, but it's still gonna suck to be the 41 yr old best man who has never had a real date himself. No, I've never had a REAL date. I went out on date-like excursions several times with one particular girl over the past 5 plus years (since coming to Austin), but I don't feel like she ever agreed that they were real dates. I was madly in love with her, but she didn't feel the same. She went away, but came back into my life last summer, but that didn't last very long at all. I just never could get my feelings to rub off on her. Not sure why she comes back to me sometimes, but I think that was probably the last time,... and, no, I'm not okay with that, but I am tired of being hurt. So, that was something else that made the past year very... complicated for me, and that I'm still dealing with on a daily basis in my head. 

This winter and spring will be a bit tough, as I need to raise a lot of money. Gonna be selling a lot of stuff I no longer want on Ebay, I guess. I need to figure out dental and health insurance, I need to get a lot of dental work done, I may have a hefty tax bill, because Obamacare got me all confused and screwed me over, and there's the wedding and the usual stuff: rent, car issues and all that. Tried to start collecting comics again recently. Boy, had to cut that out quick. The trips I've been taking the past couple years, frankly, have been at no cost to me aside from souvenirs. I couldn't afford to date right now if I wanted to, but I gotta solve that problem too or I'll never find anyone, because after a few more years, I'm done looking. Sorry, I can't see myself dating anyone over 40 (not really comfortable with the over 30 crowd, for that matter). It's not that I can't be with someone as she grows older, once I'm in love, I'm hooked, but I just can't start off with her already looking like Jack Palance. You gots to ease me into that, and hopefully I'll be dead before you hit that point anyway.

Anyway, so I'm gonna try to get going with the graphic novel and stuff right away, but I'll be most at ease when I figure out what's happening with all these sudden expenses I'm gonna have. In other words, hopefully, after tax time, things will be clearer. I don't really know HOW I'm gonna work that stuff out, but it's sorta like preparing for finals. At least I knew that once they were done, one way or another, I could move on (and sleep!). So, I don't know if I'll be job hunting soon or what. Maybe Ebay will prove fruitful, maybe other things, but that's something I'll be dealing with over the next few months, among all that other stuff: Trying to raise money, trying to get in shape for that wedding, trying to get the graphic novel going and focusing the website on that, trying to check out the local comedy scene and write some material for myself, probably still being hopeless in the romance department and hung up on someone I'll never see again, maybe looking into other job possibilities to boost my pathetic income, and lastly, yeah, I am definitely, this month, gonna get all that long owed art to people who probably stopped waiting for it a long time ago. Yeah, I owe art to about three people. They've waited a ridiculously long time. I don't even do commissions anymore, because I just can't be timely about it anymore, but I am gonna get those pieces to those people this month for sure. You know who you are. So sorry about the wait. If money was exchanged, you will be offered some future freebies too, if you are interested in any. 

That's about it for me. That's what I've been doing and dealing with. And the holidays. Monty persona aside, as you know, the real me lives in an apartment with my younger sis, and our mom comes and stays with us a lot. We're more comfortable having her here than far away, but that also slows my productivity considerably, because we do more recreational stuff when mom's around. For example, the recent trip I took to Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando in early December. Incidentally, I had noticed before going (and highly anticipating the Wizarding World of Harry Potter) that it has become a thing on YouTube to post videos of Wizarding World Hauls. That is, videos showcasing all the stuff you brought back from your trip to the two Harry Potter sections of the two Universal Orlando theme parks. I decided to go ahead and make one too, and I did, though I made the video before Christmas and only just recently uploaded it. So, here it is. And, yeah, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was awesome! Unfortunately, there's a new thing at the theme parks with their new coaster type rides: Extremely tiny seats with confining restraints that can't fit larger people. Yet another reason I am gonna have to drop a great deal of weight in the coming months. I did not get to ride either of the main Potter rides, nor the new Sever Dwarfs Mine Train. Quite a disappointment, and I don't expect to go back for another year or two. The parks were still awesome. The Wizarding World was still amazing and loads of fun, but, yeah, that was something that sucked. I'll take care of the problem, as other aspects of my life have also been affected, so it's time to do something effective about it. Pretty sure it factors in heavily in my problems meeting women too, particularly since I'm really only attracted to very small, skinny girls. Big girls can get skinny guys, I see it all the time, but I never see the opposite outside of television... Well, enough of that talk, enjoy a look at the goodies I brought back from Florida in my own Wizarding World of Harry Potter (and Disney) Holiday Haul 2015 video, and I'll get back with you guys very soon. In fact, start looking for the first page of the Moonlight Motel graphic novel here within the next two weeks!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Moonlight Movie Reviews - Peanuts, Crimson Peak, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Goosebumps, and What We Do in the Shadows

Time to finally get around to some movie reviews I should have done right away, but as usual, didn't.  You know how busy I get during October, often just trying to get a costume together. Over the past month, I saw 4 films in theaters and one through Amazon. Here are my thoughts on those films. I'm gonna try to keep these short and start with the most recent screening.

So, having grown up with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang, I was very eager to check out the new, mostly computer animated Peanuts film. It was certainly a new way to see the Peanuts, and I was really curious to see how it would fair without their late creator, Charles Schulz, involved. Naturally, I was there at the Drafthouse on the day it came out. Kicking back with my fave pizza and soaking up the nostalgia. Of course, the film was preceded by the usual Drafthouse preshow goodies...

I think I had that Snoopy's Doghouse toy as a kid! I know I had the windup Snoopy and Woodstock! 

Anyway, yeah, it was a packed house, mostly people with their kids. Oy. And, before the film, there was a Scrat short (the little squirrel from Ice Age) called "Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe". It was highly entertaining. Basically, Scrat comes across a UFO frozen in ice and ends up accidentally riding it into outer space, resulting in basically arranging the planets and stuff. It's pretty amazing, really.

Then, the feature film, "The Peanuts Movie." Charlie Brown is that kid we all remember from the comic strips and animated specials and shows, and 4 theatrical films before. In this film, he occasionally recalls moments from those nostalgic cartoons, but also seems to be experiencing some things (we've seen before) for the first time. For example, the Little Red Haired Girl first moves in, right by Charlie Brown, in fact. Charlie develops that classic crush on her. Snoopy discovers a typewriter and starts concocting a story in which he's a flying ace trying to rescue his love, a poodle named Fifi, from the Red Baron. And, for some reason, Peppermint Patty and Marcy are in the same school and class as Charlie Brown. I could have sworn they went to a different school. I should say right now though, that while I love the Peanuts, I'm no expert on them. I grew up mainly a fan through the holiday specials. I watch the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's and Easter specials every year. I own the decade DVD sets of specials, so I've since seen their other specials from the 60's and 70's. Unfortunately, further sets were never released. I have the first two movies on DVD, but I only vaguely remember the other two movies and later specials and the moment. I only casually watched the TV series, and let's face it, This Is America, Charlie Brown isn't important (I like it, it's great and very educational, but it's not a continuity thing). I have only read the actual comic strip randomly. So, I'm saying, I don't know if Patty and Marcy eventually move to Chuck's school, or if the strip is different from the animations, or what. Also, I don't know if, in the past, Charlie Brown actually ended up with the Little Red Headed Girl or had any other great successes. I'm used to Charlie Brown being the eternal failure, but who is admirable for never giving up. Getting depressed, yes. Almost or temporarily giving up, yes, but, never fully or permanently. I have always loved Charlie Brown, because I've always felt a great personal connection to Charlie Brown. And, I've had my share of crushes on little red haired girls. And blondes and brunettes, but even right now, there's a little red haired girl at work I have a bit of a crush on. She's an adult, don't get me wrong. Where was I? 

Anyway, that stuff I said before, yeah, that's actually the whole plot of this movie. Charlie has a huge crush, Snoopy imagines battling the Red Baron, oh, and there's the big popularity thing. Yeah, that's a huge part of it. See, Charlie Brown ends up getting the highest score on one of those major tests they make you take in school. You know, one of those scan-tron tests? He gets a perfect score, in fact! This makes everyone think he's a genius, and they all start looking up to him and coming to him for advice, and Charlie Brown all of a sudden is the Teen Wolf of his school! I'm referencing Michael J. Fox Teen Wolf, not that fake one on MTV. So, yeah, Charlie Brown keeps trying to use that to get the Little Red Haired Girl's attention, but he also is struggling to keep living up to the new expectations everyone has for him, which proves super tough. Plus, his efforts to be kind and help his family and friends frequently gets in the way when he's trying to make an impression on his crush. In the end though,... well, I'm not going to give any spoilers, though that might make the rest of this tricky.

Okay, overall, I really enjoyed this movie. The visuals were very impressive. They took a little getting used to, but once I did, they were very pleasant to look at, and very true to the comic strip, which was very nice. They could have screwed that up so badly taking the Peanuts to CGI. The film does a great job honoring the memory of its creator and trying to be true the the Peanuts' long history. The characters all seem to be their old selves, even better than I've seen them in some of the later specials. Snoopy steals all his scenes, as usual, and he is the same as he ever was. I think that's even the same voice actor making his sounds, though I'd have to double check that. I just have a few issues. As often is the case, the few times in the film when they work in some modern pop songs are a bit awkward, almost cringeworthy for us fans of the oldschool Peanuts material. Not as bad as in some films, but, yeah, it's a thing. I'm sure the younger kids love those parts though, and that's who they're in there for. Still, I could have done without that. Would rather have had some original music that was more Peanuts sounding. I can deal with it, but I know some folks who will definitely have a harder time than me, ha. It's a small quibble though. The plot, I mean the whole Little Red Haired Girl crush thing, it's cute, and it's nice that they stuck with something that fit the characters and classic tone rather than inventing some big story with a villain and whatever else. It was very Peanuts. The only issue I had with it was that it was something we've seen before. We all know about the crush on the Little Red Haired Girl. But, I think it's good that I took some time before writing this review. It bugged me at first that they used a plotline that seemed already done before, but looking back on it, it's an important part of the plot, but the bigger issue was Charlie Brown's struggle with confidence and just not feeling like a failure and all that. So, I really don't have an issue with the plot feeling like a rehash anymore. One thing about it will continue to bug me though, as someone who has often felt like the real life Charlie Brown. Okay, I gotta say it, SPOILER ALERT here...

Yeah, SPOILER ALERT, because I'm about to give away something about the ending. Charlie Brown, in the end, has a chat with the Little Red Haired Girl. She has selected him to be her class penpal over the summer, and he wonders why. She then gives Charlie this monologue about why she likes him. It's basically a "nice guys finish first" kind of message. This really irked me, I gotta admit. I can tell you right now, girls do not fall for guys because they're nice. I have 40 years of girlfriendless experience and know a lot of women who will back me up on this. In fact, women are hardwired to reject "nice guy" types. As Sally would say, we're just too wishy-washy. Her words not mine, but a good example of what women really think of nice guys, without ever being willing to take the time to get to know us. So, yeah, I enjoyed this movie very much, all but that end part, though I was still happy for Charlie Brown. Even if I liked the message though, it was given out in a speech manner that made it not one bit subtle, but that aside, I didn't care for the message, because while I totally get that it is nice and the way the world SHOULD work, it doesn't ring true to me at all. Most people will openly admit it's not true too, but sometimes you run into people who are like this movie (especially here in Austin), who try to tell you that life is really like that. Don't pee on my head for 40 years and tell me it's raining. I've been called nice and sweet and every other good word by females in the past, but not a one ever saw me in "that way". Then again, maybe the Little Red Haired Girl just wants to be friends with ol' Chuck too. Maybe she's getting his hopes up. I guess, if I look at it like that, it's not so bad at all. Yeah, that's probably what's going on there.

Overall, I really did like the movie though, and it's getting a lot of critical praise. Hopefully, it will turn a profit when all is said and done (last I checked, it had only made half its budget back, but everyone is praising it). I do highly recommend going to see it. It's mostly an excellent update of a classic American treasure. The main issue I had, admittedly, was a personal one that probably wouldn't bother the average person at all. 

Oh, I almost forgot, the film had a special menu available at the Drafthouse screening I went to. I don't know if these menu additions will be available throughout the film's engagement there, but in case it is, here's an image. The people next to me got the macaroni, and I must admit, it looked pretty tasty. I'm not huge on macaroni, but I did wish I'd given this one a try (maybe with some wings too, ha).

Now, as you probably remember, my friends were in town for Halloween weekend. On Sunday, the day after Halloween, we all went out to the Drafthouse together. They had never been. However, there wasn't much out that I wanted to see which I hadn't already seen, or that they might want to see, aside from "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension," and they do seem to really enjoy that film series, so that's what we saw.

I can't seem to find any images taken from that evening, so I guess I didn't snap any to avoid looking weird in front of my friends, I really don't know. Anywho, this time, for real, I'm gonna keep the rest of these reviews short. I think this was the 6th Paranormal Activity movie. I actually liked the previous one. I'm not sure I've seen the 4th fully awake. The first three I saw with the same friends I saw this new one with. I remember really liking the third one, though it takes a lot of shit. The second seems to be popular, but I only remember being bored with it. The first I have seen with Rifftrax so many times that I can't remember watching it straight. It was okay, as I recall, but not great. However, I found them all watchable, all having their fun moments. This new one is about a little girl who starts to get possessed, and a doorway to "the ghost dimension" opens up in her room. But, yes, they do tie the story to the original film. There's this demon that haunts the house too, and it looks a lot like Groot made of ink (and evil). There are some cool scenes with it though, and overall, this movie was surprisingly entertaining and fun. Probably moreso than any of the others, because it was more like a movie than the others, but still...  found footage. I admit, I'm a little tired of found footage. However, like I said, this proved to be a pretty fun movie. We all enjoyed it, even my sister, who is probably the most critical of this sort of thing. Everything gets measured up against the classics (and the best of the James Wan stuff). So, yeah, if you enjoyed the previous Paranormal Activity movies, you'll probably enjoy this one.

I had tried to get my sis to go see this next one with me, but I ended up going to see it by my lonesome, ha. Before I get into it, here's a bit from the preshow. Love their Halloween-themed preshow stuff!

So, obviously, this was the "Goosebumps" movie. My family was more of an "Are You Afraid of the Dark" family, but we watched Goosebumps on occasion, and Jack Black is pretty funny, and I just love monster stuff, naturally, especially around Halloween, so I wanted to make it out to see this one (wanted to see Hotel Transylvania 2 as well, but I missed that one). It was about a teenager who moves to a new town (that old chestnut). He ends up discovering that his next door neighbor, using a false name, is actually Goosebumps author R.L. Stine (Jack Black, playing the role as a pretentious author type rather than as an impression of the real Stine). He also learns that Mr. Stine has a gorgeous and really charming daughter. Concerned that the daughter is being mistreated (this is before he discovers her dad's identity), the teenage boy ends up snooping in her house one night with his new sidekick at his... side. They accidentally set a vicious Yeti free from one of Stine's manuscripts. While trying to get the Yeti back in the book (oh, basically, Stine's manuscripts are all magic,... just because), they unleash an evil ventriloquist's dummy bent on revenge. The dummy starts letting all the other monsters out, and it's Jumanji and Zathura all over again, this time with a Goosebumps theme. Not the most original or creative concept in the world, but seriously, it's loads of thrills and fun! The cheesy and flimsy premise gives it a real Goosebumps feel, too. If you enjoyed the old show, you'll probably really get a kick out of this one! Or if you enjoyed Jumanji, Zathura, or any of the Disney Channel movies. It's that kind of stuff, but Jack Black and the lovely Odeya Rush take it from cheesy fun to pretty awesome! Great for Halloween, but if you're like me and like to celebrate Halloween all year round, yeah, this is good anytime!

Now, I mentioned in my last article that I had a bad experience last month that hit me very hard. I won't go into it, because I don't want to upset anyone. But, my sister was very sweet about it and ordered a pizza and rented a movie for me, and this was the movie we watched that night. "What We Do in the Shadows" is a vampire mockumentary comedy from New Zealand. I've been known to refer to it as the "Spinal Tap" of vampire movies. That really is the perfect description. It's billed as being from the creators of "Flight of the Conchords", one of my all time favorite comedy shows, and you'll see some of the cast members in the film. Basically, the documentary crew follows around a group of vampires that share a house in New Zealand. They all have very different personalities, and they are all totally hilarious. This movie is so much fun, seriously! It even tugs at your heartstrings sometimes. But mainly it just has you laughing a lot! If you like "This Is Spinal Tap" and "Flight of the Conchords", you'll like this. I can't recommend it enough. Unless you just don't like that mockumentary style. Admittedly, it's been used a lot for TV shows (The Office, Parks and Rec), and when the Muppets started doing it with their new show, I had to roll my eyes and think, "This format again?" I am still adjusting to it with the Muppets, but it still totally works for feature films, as far as I'm concerned. Love this one! Gotta get it on Blu-Ray sometime.

And, going back to earlier in the month, before my mom went home from her last visit, we all headed out to see "Crimson Peak", a movie we had been anxiously awaiting, simply because a cool, old-fashioned haunted house movie was just what the doctor ordered to ring in the season. Well, we rang in the season already in Florida, but this was our local ringing in of the season. Anywho...

So, the Drafthouse was selling some nice Crimson Peak pint glasses, but we had to pass. We love that the Drafthouse has brought back the tradition of movie tie-in glasses like the old Star Wars ones we used to get from fast food joints back in the 80's, but we also have limited shelf space. We have to pick and choose. We got the Jurassic World glasses and have some Force Awakens glasses coming to us with the tickets we already bought for that premiere, and had they made Peanuts Movie glasses, I probably would have gotten one of those, but we really do have to pick and choose. Wish I hadn't missed the Princess Bride and Back to the Future glasses though! I'm getting way off topic, sorry.

Crimson Peak was very much an old-fashioned ghost story. It started out in America, where a young woman meets a charming British man who is Stateside seeking investors in his drilling venture. After losing her father, she marries the young man and travels to his decrepit old home to start her new life. There, his sister already lives with him, and the strangely red colored clay has a tendency to stain the snow outside a blood red color. Also, there are ghosts. Really freaky looking ghosts.

Crimson peak isn't really the scariest ghost story in the world, but it's very atmospheric and classic feeling. The first act that is set in America had me worried. I didn't care for much of the acting from the rest of the cast, honestly. However, once that cast is killed off or left behind in America, the film really gets good, and has a classic haunted house movie kind of feel to it. The story may be predictable, but the acting (again, once they all move to England) is excellent and the atmosphere is wonderful. If you like moody, creepy, spooky haunted house movies, you'll probably like this. Especially if you're one of these girls who is always squeeing over Loki, he stars as the leading man of the film. Not everyone is satisfied from a viewing of Crimson Peak, but I very much enjoyed it. Don't go into it for the scare, go in for the haunted house atmosphere and an old-fashioned, spooky tale.

And, that's it for now. I guess I rather enjoyed everything I saw this month. I actually went to the Drafthouse a lot in September for a couple of special events I should really write about too, but we'll see. The holidays are sure to keep me very busy, and I"m way overdue in getting some new comic strips out to you guys too. I still wanna write about my Halloween Florida trip though, if you don't mind reading about something Halloweenish this far into November! Ha ha

Monday, November 9, 2015

Okay, Okay, I'm Sayin' It. Bye for Now, Halloween.

Well, better do this before it's too late. Did everybody have a good Halloween? I certainly did for the most part. It all happened shortly after a very difficult, heartbreaking personal situation, so there was that, but I tried my best to keep my mind blank and not let that familiar pain ruin yet another holiday for me. My sis, who, as usual, was the main person I hungout with this Halloween, declared this the best Halloween ever. I suppose that's true if you factor in going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Universal's Halloween Horror Nights early in the month. I nearly forgot to mention that, so, yes, that certainly makes a difference, and I guess I will need to make one more Halloween post after this one to go into detail about that three night trip. 

Actually, I also still wanna review some scary movies I saw throughout the month, however late those reviews might seem now. Treated myself to Goosebumps (nobody wanted to see that one with me, harumph), went with my mom and sis to Crimson Peak before that, my sis ordered a pizza and rented What We Do in the Shadows for me when I had my bad night, and I went with my friends the day after Halloween to see the new Paranormal Activity movie. I'll try to review those for ya tomorrow, if I can. Sadly, I missed Hotel California 2. I'll have to catch that on Blu later. I also saw the Peanuts movie, which I'll review soon as well, and there was Back to the Future Day, which mostly just served to remind me that I had to sell my Back to the Future DVDs for rent money recently (with a ton of other stuff), but I only did that knowing that new editions were already hitting shelves, and I'm upgrading everything to Blu-Ray, so it's all good, I'll get it back soon. On the day after Back to the Future Day though, I had to wake up super early to make sure we got our copies of this:

Yes, they actually released the newspaper from Back to the Future 2. Too bad the one from the later scene in the film was an exclusive for folks who attended special screenings or something in certain big cities. But, this is not Halloween material, so, getting back on topic...

I prepared for Halloween the usual way this year. All month, I watched my favorite Halloween specials and movies, ate Monster Cereals while doing so, and the place was all decked out, as always.

At some point my sis discovered Trader Joe's, and she introduced me to it shortly after. Great place, and what a selection of pumpkin products! Ha. We came home with some pumpkin ice cream and cookies, and pumpkin cereal, pumpkin butter, and a ton of other stuff I still need to try!

I did try the ice cream and cookies though. Very nice!

My sis had a thing at the office where she works, some kind of decorating competition, and they decorated their area with a Frankenstein theme. As always, she got really into it, and I helped her sculpt the monster's head. I believe her team always wins, ha. This pic isn't even the whole area. There was a lab and everything! On Halloween, she dressed as the Bride, but that was just her work costume. She usually has multiple costumes.

And, speaking of costumes, after quite some time, as you know, I settled on doing a costume of Pete, AKA Peg-Leg-Pete, AKA Black Pete, Disney's first villain. 

See, every time I get my heart broken, I put on like 50 lbs or somethin', that makes it hard to think of a GOOD costume, but I think this one turned out pretty awesome when all was said and done, and hopefully next year I won't have to look for a fat guy costume anymore. Diet starts Monday! Ha ha. 

No, seriously. Gonna work on that. Still, after multiple makeup tests, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. But, boy, I did the perfect amount of makeup tests. Funny thing was, the first one was pretty good, then they got uglier and uglier, but then I figured it all out on Halloween night, and it turned out perfect!

This was the first makeup test. Actually really liked this one. I don't know why it looks like Pete to me. It really doesn't, but it has a Pete like Personality. Also, something about my eyes in this, they're just so beautiful. Ha, nah, something about them really gives this a Jim Carrey Grinch look to me that I thought was pretty cool. Of course, the fact that I had gone unshaven for so long is really what made this look...

This beard was already too long for Pete though, so I shaved it off to wait for a new shadow to great that was more Pete length while I sought out the rest of my costume. Not an easy task, since this year there was an odd shortage of Halloween stores; never found a Spirit, and no Halloween Warehouse! Just Halloween express... Not my fave, but I got a few things there and at some other place, I forget the name. Got my net at Wal-Mart though, and some other stuff at Hobby Lobby and even Burlington Coat Factory. Already had Pluto.

 Next makeup test, I tried the more common Pete look with black all around the eye area. I screwed that up a bit by not covering my eyes completely and not taking it down over the bridge of my nose. Also, this look just made me look awful, ha.

The next time, my sis suggested teeth were necessary, and a widow's peak. That was the night before Halloween, when I did one last test. This was the result. I liked the teeth idea, but realized, after studying the picture a long time, that I still didn't have the makeup right, I needed a better way to do the teeth than bits of foam I'd have to keep adjusting all night, and the ears were too big. All together, I looked like a bat rather than a big cat.

On Halloween, I was down to the crunch. I had worked on my ears, and now I had to figure out the makeup and teeth.

I actually went higher with the widows peak. The stubble was close enough, luckily. Covered my ears totally black, and as for the teeth, I realized the best option was just to paint them on. Someone made me think of that. Someone talking about a vampire costume or toy with the teeth just painted on. Maybe a friend at work telling me about her Monster High dolls, I'm not totally sure if that's where I got the idea or not, but it worked, and I loved the final result!

I'm getting ahead of myself though. Knowing we were gonna go downtown Halloween night to see the costumed crowd parading up and down 6th st (here in Austin, TX), largely because we know of nothing else to do here, we had our traditional Halloween feast on Halloween Eve.

That's our Halloween feast. Pizza Hut stuffed crust, Tyson Hot Wings, apple cider, Lays Sour Cream and Onion potato chips and Nacho Cheese Doritos with French Onion Dip on the side, cookies for dessert (always chocolate chip and usually something else, this year it was Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter cookies), and, of course, plenty of Halloween candy (the good stuff), which we'd had out all week for our prime Halloween movie watching. This particular night, we would watch some of the best stuff, from Worst Witch to Midnight Hour. Normally, we'd watch Hocus Pocus last, but I guess we'd watched it a lot that month already, and time was limited. In fact, for me it was a work night. This is normally what my Halloween nights used to be like in my hometown, by the way, as I would pass out candy in costume, often with a pretty nice display on the front porch. I used to back shaped cookies and my graveyard cake, too. Someday, I'll back my graveyard cake again. It's pretty incredible. But clearly, we had plenty of goodies since it was just the two of us. Yeah, this stuff lasted a while. 

Halloween itself was soon upon us. If you remember, I had to cancel my table at the Wizard World Austin comic convention this year. Well, two of my best friends from back home came to town to see it anyway. They had a great time last year, but this time they texted me that it had been pretty dead, and they actually abandoned it to go to the local comic shops instead. Certainly made me feel better about canceling! We thought it being on Halloween would make it a big deal, especially on a Saturday. I guess people were more interested in going out and getting their freak on! Well, that wasn't all the interesting information my friends had for me. Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi of Evil Dead (and lots of other) fame were here for the comic con and to party on 6th at a screening of the premiere of the new Evil Dead TV series. Yeah, pretty freakin' awesome! And at our favorite hangout on rare occasion that my sis and I arrive on 6th a bit early for a Terror Tuesday showing, the Jackalope! The Jackalope is basically the coolest bar on 6th. Well, it's the one we like, anyway. So, heck yeah, we made plans to meet up with my friends there. We actually got this news while putting on our costumes to head that way anyways.

Man, I remember when I was still able to dress as Ash for Halloween. my costume was perfect! I really need to get to where I can do that again, among other costumes I've always wanted to do. Oh well, like I said, in the end, I was very happy with how my costume turned out, all things considered. And, if you didn't get it yet and didn't read my previous article, yeah, it's Pete as a dogcatcher. I do wish I had a Pluto three times the size of this one though. He matches my Mickey fine, but for this. Oh well. I still love how it came out.

My sis dressed as Jessica 6 from Logan's Run. If you remember that Scifi classic, you're pretty awesome. Well, you've got some knowledge. Or you're old. I don't really know how awesome you are. I guess you could still be an asshole.

Well, we headed downtown as quick as we could, but I guess we were still cutting it pretty close. When we got to the Jackalope, we really had to squeeze through. But at least we could still get in. Later in the night, there was a line and a cover, and all sorts of reasons not to want to, ha, but by then we were heading home, because 6th St on Halloween, on a Saturday, gaining an extra hour that night from Daylight Savings, that place got crazy crowded earlier than usual, I think. Again though, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Basically, we squeezed in, found my friends at the bar, said hi, and then had to find some empty area to stand where we weren't in the way of the traffic, which unfortunately was not near my friends. On the bright side though, it was right near Bruce Campbell's table, which was roped off and all, but right there on this elevated area where we all could see. Above him, and everywhere around, were TV screens where his new show would be premiering later in the evening. So, we stood around and waited, and sometimes we talked to people who commented on our costumes and even asked to take pictures with us. It was a much better atmosphere than out on the street that particular Halloween. We were amazed at how many people recognized our costumes, in fact, though most people recognized me via Goof Troop rather than the tons of other Disney cartoons Pete has been in, which is funny, because I was not at all dressed like Goof Troop Pete, who was an RV salesman and almost always wore a suit. But, I digress. Still pretty good that it was recognized, especially considering how drunk some of those peeps were. Anywho, as you can see in the pics below, my sis managed to land a photo with both Bruce and Ted Raimi. Pretty freakin' cool. I decided to hold out for some future comic con, since I know you can get great pics with Bruce at those, and he was getting pestered enough. Oh, man, I wish I had a photo of this one girl who bought Bruce a drink and clearly was hoping to go home with him or something, ha. She was dressed as Baby Doll from Sucker Punch, and she was almost a dead ringer for her, except even hotter! Damn, I wonder if she had any luck with that! Ha. Unfortunately, I don't get to go around taking pics of costumed hotties this time either. I always seem to have costumes with big gloves, ha.

That last pic is of me out on 6th with two of my three best friends from back home, Albert and his wife Marisa. Albert is actually the inspiration for my comic strip character Russell Scarecrow. My other best friend, Marty, AKA Robert "Fish" Gillman, was back home planning his wedding. And I only call that place "home" for lack of a better word. I currently have a best friend at work too, but he insists Halloween is a holiday for kids. However, he hates Star Wars, so all his opinions are invalid.

Well, the TV show, by the way, was fantastic! Longtime Evil Dead fan here, and the only thing that sucks is that they apparently don't have the legal rights to Army of Darkness, the third Evil Dead film, so that have to be careful not to reference that film in the series. I hope they'll be creative with that rather than trying to convince us that film is no longer canon. Man, all these copyright issues just keep mucking up everything these days, don't they? Music on DVD releases, Marvel characters on the big screen, everything! But, as I said, the show was awesome! Now, I just need to see how I can watch the rest of the show online so I don't have to wait till each season hits blu-ray.

Bruce Campbell started tending bar after the premiere, and we hungout for a while before deciding to go check things out on the street. That was a mistake, since we heard later from an inside source that Bruce eventually was dancing on the bar Coyote Ugly style. Ya know, I still haven't seen that movie? And that place is like right on 6th, too. 

Oh yeah, got my sis to take a picture of a sexy Ewok. "She was furry nice." Love this style of sexy Ewok costume. I've seen some famous cosplayer with a thing for Star Wars wearing it online before. Unfortunately, this one came with some red armed pirate dude in camo. Anyone know who that's supposed to be? And, no, I still don't like tattoos.

So, as I said, we headed out on 6th. Here are some random shots my sis got out there.

Check out that dude dressed as Mr. Tumnus! That's pretty freakin' awesome!

There were lots of Red Riding Hoods, too, which I also highly approve of. One in particular I wish I'd gotten a pic of, not to mention this really hot Wednesday who made me wish I'd gone as Pugsley again. Actually, I've never gotten to wear that on 6th. It'd be a great excuse to take pictures with Wednesdays. I do have a fetish for girls dressed as Wednesday (among other things). Though, I still hope I don't have to do a chubby costume next year. Oh, look, Michonne!

Ooh! And good on you sis for landing this sexy Scarecrow pic! I didn't think you'd gotten that one!
Very nice!

Actually, I think this was a weaker year than usual for sexy costumes in terms of numbers. But they might have all been dancing it up in the clubs. Walked by one bar with big windows, and the people dancing inside were putting on quite a show. And by that I mean they were vigorously dry humping each other in front of the window, small children not more than a few feet away. Don't get me wrong, I was more surprised to see so many children out on 6th at that hour. I mean, we're talking little kids. Jeez, take them trick or treating or something! Anyways, yeah, there were some hotties still, but just in general there were so many people not wearing costumes at all. I think more than usual.

Yeah, except for this one more shot of us, and, I don't know, is that Lady Rainicorn back there? Or a pinata? Either way, Jimmy want, but yeah, that's about it for the pics we got. Ew, meat people.

Overall, the actual 6th street part, I mean, the parade of sorts outside, it's been a lot better. We got recognized more inside the pub, and on the street this year, maybe it was the hour we went out there, but it was just too hectic and too many folks not in costume, and the crowd got really thick really fast. It always eventually gets to a point that you are literally caught up in a crowd so thick you can't move. You literally have to push or let the crowd push you down the street, hopefully in the direction you want, and everyone is all angry and getting injured, and their costumes getting destroyed and so on. At that point, we are usually already gone or I am safely watching from the sidewalk. This time, we unfortunately got caught up in it, but we somehow made our way out and headed home. That last part was a bit rough, and 6th Street, the actual street part, was disappointing compared to previous years. Like I said, we might have gotten out onto it a bit too late in the evening. But, we loved our costumes, got to hangout with good friends I rarely get to see anymore, and watching Ash vs. the Evil Dead at the Jackalope with Bruce Cambell and Ted Raimi was pretty effin' cool! And I was off the next day, so that was sweet too. That meant I got to end Halloween the way I always love to: on the couch with more goodies and Halloween movies and specials!

I continued to celebrate the following day and night as well. After all, there were plenty of goodies left and more traditional Halloween stuff I hadn't seen. Yeah, it was a pretty good Halloween. If you include all the stuff we did all month, definitely one of the best. Yeah, one of the worst things ever happened to me that month that I won't discuss, but... thank Sam for Halloween. Talk to you guys later.