Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I which I Attack the Soda Shaq

Saturday was one of the few days where it was actually warm enough, if you consider twenty degrees to be warm, to be out and about. On my return home I was greated with a small gift. Behold!
Yeah folks. In case you weren't aware, Kazam has his own soda. Four of them in fact. My brother-in-law nabbed the entire line from the nearest 7-eleven and since the weather has returned to a nightmarish chill I've spent my last few days incarcerated with few ways to better spend my time than drowning in cream soda. Before we get to the individual write-ups I oughta note two things. First is that these come in the traditional Arizona tea cans which while great for the regular teas and tonics, provides way to much soda to go through in a single sitting without feeling the onset of a diabetic coma. Unlike regular Arizona drinks these are actually made with sugar and honey in place of corn-syrup, so they've got the semi-healthy angle going for them too.

Round 1: Cream Soda.

I figured it'd be best to clear out the most basic entry first and I must say it didn't set a good tone for the its' brothers. Everyone expects a nice smooth and sweet drink from cream soda but this stuff is harsh and bitey almost more like a cola. I didn't found it outright gross but it's almost a complete failure at what it's supposed to be. Hard to believe that a pitch-man for the icy hot back patch would sully his name with such an inferior product (internet sarcasm). Still; at least the sugar/honey combo within the can provided me with the giddy energy I needed for my triple feature of Sleepwalkers, The Willies (definitely doing a feature on this one), and the Nest which made for possibly the best night of viewing I've had so far this year.

Round 2: Blueberry Cream Soda.

It's not a secret that I maintain a veracious love affair with anything even lightly affiliated with blueberries. Under the right circumstances, I might even eat a blueberry scented candle. Surely there was no way that someone could possibly screw up a drink like this for me.....or could they? Alright; it's not as weak as the basic cream soda but this completely fails to live up to it's potential. Opening the can unleashed an almost heavenly smell but upon actually taking a drink it was just the same gross cream soda with a thin layer of berries to help lift it out of oblivion. I think I'm more offended by this one as it should have easily been my favorite rather than a sad footnote in a blog entry.

Round 3: Strawberry Cream Soda.

Finally! They got something right! Basically what you're getting here is strawberry shortcake in a can. It still fails as a cream soda but the strawberry flavoring for this one was actually strong enough to make something good. However; the damn can size is still an issue. Even with as much as I liked this one I got tired of drinking it around the halfway point. Sure you can put in the fridge and come back to it later but then you're stuck with flat shortcake water. Still; the sweet refreshing flavor makes this the only can of shaq-fu that I might seek out again. Consider that to be spoilers for the last one.

Final Round: Orange Cream Soda.

You couldn't ask for a more classic flavor combination than orange and cream. With the good will this line-up earned with strawberry I was willing to believe in this one but it just didn't work out for me, though I will note my sister seemed to think it was good so maybe I'm just off on it. Actually it reminds me of the orange creamsavers they used to make years ago. It has that same kind of medicinal flavor as those old candies, so if anyone has been looking to recreate that experience give these a try. All others can easily find better orange-cream drinks floating around.

Tomorrow is supposed to mark a return to somewhat normal temperatures for my area which means I can catch up on some exorcise instead of staring out the window, spooning peanut butter into my waiting maw. Since this is most likely my last entry for the month, I'll leave you with this confounding image. Ta!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Over-analyzing DVD Art: Sleepwalkers and The Willies

Not an hour ago, the UPS man knocked on my garage baring a tiny amazon box just for me. Knowing that it's in the single digits out there, I bounded out in the snow to recover my package before the weather had its way with my prize. Inside the box were my two newest acquisitions for the horror collection. Both of them bring my total up to a nice & plump 605 but what makes them more exciting is what they represent. The last few weeks I've been working on clearing out multi-feature and franchise sets which for as good as the Psycho sequels and Daimajin movies are, working on several series at once can start to turn horror time into a chore. Thous I made a move to break up the monotony with some early 90's cheese. Of course it's always more fun to get new toys in the mail when you've been up for hours in an attempt to fix your schedule.

Looking at these things is just an absolute delight. So happy that they each have their original artwork and not some floating heads hack job. Sadly, the studio couldn't resist adding that bubble about the King and Barker cameos in Sleepwalkers. It's a real shame as this is a piece of art I can remember gracing the walls of almost every rental stores horror section. Just something about an army of cats laying siege to a country house that sticks with a kid. The Willies oddly keeps it classier, even featuring the artists signature in the bottom-right corner. It really shows how far the art of posters has sunk that even a total under the radar flick like this had proper artwork to show it off. Now even the summer tentpole flicks just feature the star surround by either smoke. fire, rain, or some combination of the three.
I adore the assertion that only Stephen King could write Stephen King's Sleepwalkers. Shouldn't that always be a given? I know there are many King flicks written by other people, but when I see his name as the start of the title I usually assume it's him. Maybe I should adapt that for the site though. Only CosmicSparky could write CosmicSparky's Den of Madness!
Blame it on the lack of sleep, but the site of Rudy hobbit staring at me from the side of the Willies case just completed my day. Sorry for the lousy photo. It was the best I could get while that cat alternated between trying to clean my hands or make sweet love to the dvd case.
Oh wow. The back of the Willies case is so much like a good Tales from the Darkside gallery. I've been waiting to watch this one for a few years in the understanding that it's basically a nastier version of Are you Afraid of the Dark. The whole full moon over the woods bit totally sells the campfire story angle. It's giving me such a yearning for better weather so I can spend some time out in the backyard, shooting the shit. Christ! I think this case is convincing me to move to a warmer climate!

And with that I'm off to try and make something of this six degree day. Star funky people.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Storm Number...I Forget.

Anyone reading will have to forgive this article for being a bit scatterbrained. Frankly the proper tense usage has been lost to it being altered and added to over the course of the whole week. At the very least there is the pervasive theme of almost Lovecraftian weather.
Yeah, Winter storm Ion has sat its' hefty white ass down upon the state of Michigan like the proverbial toilet it is. Whereas the last storm preferred thick sheets of ice, this time it's mounds of snow taller than my dogs combined with below zero temperatures. Honestly, I never expected weather to be a recurring topic for this site yet this winter seems dead set on resembling every exterior shot from The Thing. Don't believe me? Just take a gander at this.
The majority of snowfall came in on Sunday which also marked a friends' birthday. I've learned that it's usually better to leave the more personal stuff out of blogs so let's just keep to a simple reminder. We had what was essentially a private screening of Anchorman 2 in the local tiny theater which was playing it on a film projector. It's been a few year since I last watched a flick projected this way. With the deadline for all digital projectors coming up soon, this could very well be the last time I see a movie this way so the intimate experience of it just being us few friends was definitely the right way to send out the format.
The other things of note that night were a dinner obtained through the nearby shell station, a game of King of Tokyo, a stellar walk home in the midst of the blizzard, and one mighty barbarian leap into a snow bank which nearly got me stuck in place.
Monday was the embodiment of the waiting game. Temperatures took a dive well into the sea of negative numbers making staying indoors the only real option for the day. Of course that didn't stop me and mine from venturing out to see gas stations that had bagged up their freezing pumps. While out in the frozen wastes we managed to pick up some taco bell and doughnuts to make life a tad merrier.
Tuesday brought a nasty surprise in that a person I dog sit for slipped on some of this frozen horror show and injured themselves. Subsequently; a great deal of this article is being written at her house in an attempt to pass the time while I keep an eye on the dog. Honestly it reminds me of college except that instead of rooming with a strange smelling guy from Taiwan, I'm paired with a mopey corgi.
I'll never understand what it is that makes living in someone elses' place so difficult. While dog-sitting I had the same range of activities available to me that I do at home, but as I could never get 100% comfortable there's always that weird strain on both mind and body. There's a special range of survival skills required to deal with that kind of situation. My method was to reconnect with my inner sloth. That guy who just sits glassy eyed in front of a Tales from the Darkside marathon whilst cramming cheese crackers into his maw only to be amazed at how many landed on his shirt. It's been a while since I fully indulged that guy but it was required to make it through all three days.
Friday morning allowed me to finally return home where I showered, shaved, crapped, devoured bagels, etc, before leaping into my clean bed and spinning like an alligator during a death roll...or is that crocodile? My joy centers where so engorged that is was nearly impossible to think. I swear I could feel ideas forming at the back of my mind only to collide with this wall of contentment like a bird slamming into a clean window. I spent the entire day in that manner. Honestly it's a great feeling to remember how much you love your own little spot and the stuff you keep in it.
Yet another Sunday. Just one week after mother nature buried us up to our ass in frosty hell, the temps are high and the snow's been melting away. My group ended up at an Asian Buffet wherein I set my new record for most types of animals consumed in the same meal. The magic number was nine. One of these was my first ever frog leg. It's tasty.....just not as tasty as alligator.

Thous concludes the tale of one of the oddest weeks I've had for a while. Next time we'll get away from this slice of life nonsense and back into snack foods, horror movies, and board games. Here's a little teaser for you. I had a beef jerkey chocolate bar......I wouldn't recommend it. Ta!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Howdy There 2014

The new year has arrived folks. Frankly I'm excited as I accomplished a good bit last year and am hoping to continue the trend. One kind of lackluster note for any readers (anyone? Me?) is that I obviously didn't start my big project in mid-December. The not so big secret is that I was trying to start up a public domain movie show in the fashion of MonsterVision or Elivra but I decided that given current circumstances I won't be able to make the show to my desired level of quality. I plan on starting it up this year, after I give myself a few months to work on the logistics and get some other major accomplishments-jobs, book writing-cleared out. Now I'm aiming towards a launch date of spring/summer, so as many Japanese folks like to say, Please look forward to it.

Now that 2013 is over, I figured I'd note a few things I accomplished over the year that made it memorable. Most of these are things that occurred before I started this site, or just neglected to write about.
#1. My first website: Of course starting this site is chiefly notable. I'd been dreaming of having my own blog for years,a task I'd neglected for whatever reason before originally starting it up on wordpress. It was less than a week before I moved to the far superior blogging tools available here on blogger. Granted, this little enterprise isn't everything I want it to be just yet but here's hoping I can make it into something special over time.
#2. New hobbies: 3 new obsessions joined my already hefty portfolio of interests over the last twelve months. First up I fully dived into the world of tokusatsu. Previously I'd flirted with some classic Japanese heroes like Ultraman and Iron King but the time finally came for me to expand into Super Sentai and the like which resulted in me viewing all of Dairanger, both seasons of Akibaranger, and almost half of kakuranger, This year I plan on making my way through more shows, including my first Kamen Rider. Anyone have a suggestions for which one to start with?
Upcycling worked its way onto my life thanks to a combination of boredom and the need for some more furniture/decorations. I didn't complete anywhere near the amount of projects I wanted-thanks to the early onset of cold wet weather-which is going to have me jumping at the bit come spring.
Finally the big new hobby is getting into the board game scene. I started up around July, mainly thanks to a clearance priced copy of Settlers of Catan. That small start soon ballooned up to something like 15-16 games with multiple expansions as well. It's even led to my first kickstarter item. It's honestly a great-though pricy-hobby and there will definitely be more coverage on here about it.
#3. Public April Fools gags: Far too many years passed by with me usually forgetting about April fools. Last year I decided to make a proper tradition out of the day by making odd things to put around town in the hopes of fooling complete strangers. It's a tough thing to write about as there's only so much I can reveal about each prank without ruining it. However; I aim to continue this idea each and every year, finally making the first of April a very important day.
#4 Nerdy accomplishments: Finally beat my first Zelda game in the form of the minish cap.
I've now seen every single Godzilla flick.
Completed Star Trek Voyager, which was my last trek show meaning I've seen the whole franchise now. Honestly I'm feeling the need to delve into the books to get my trek fix.
Right before New Years I bought the last item needed to get my horror movie collection up to 600 titles, which made me feel amazing.
#5 Miscellaneous: Danced on a road sign. Chances are you won't come across a downed road sign, but if you do, I highly recommend doing a little jig on it.
First Maple Syrup Festival. Not a huge event by any means but it was nice to finally experience it after living nearby for so many years.
I'd been meaning to give to toys for tots for years, and thanks to a few decent toy deals at wally world I got my chance. It's an odd feeling to give to other people without ever witnessing the final results. Still very glad I did it.

There are so many other things noted out on my sheet of paper that I won't get into seeing as I've made my point that 2013 was a productive year and I hope to keep up the pace and finish some major projects. May good luck come to all of us this year.