Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Retro A to Z Challenge: T – Terminator II 1991 (plus some Awesome Challenge Themes)

Terminator II: Judgment Day – 1991

Released seven years after the first movie, this sequel was bigger than life. It was the first movie to cost over $100,000 million to make, and the budget showed in its amazing special effects, most notably the T-1000 made of liquid metal. Ground breaking effects snagged four Oscars for this film. Hasta la vista, baby!

1991 fun facts –
*Cost of a new house - $120,000.
*Average income - $29,430.
*Cost of gas - $1.12
*The Soviet Union ceased to exist when Gorbachev resigned
*The Internet was made available for unrestricted commercial use. At that time, one million computers were online

Movies released –
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Silence of the Lambs
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
City Slickers

Music released –
Nirvana – Nevermind (launching the Grunge era)
Dangerous Toys – Hellacious Acres
Guns ‘n’ Roses – Use Your Illusion 1 & 2

Games released –
Sonic the Hedgehog
Neverwinter Nights

And why is 1991 special?
It’s the year Edi married his wife, his daughter was born, he got a new job, and they moved to a new home!

Edi was the first book blogger I found online, and since then has become devoted friend and fan. If I ever venture to Germany, we are definitely sitting down over a brew and discussing books and movies! Edi reports on books, films, and interesting things around the web every weekend, and what he finds is often amazing. One of my best friends and an awesome guy. Edi blogs at Edi’s Book Lighthouse.

Great A to Z Challenge Themes

We’ve less than a week to go, and I’m sure you’ve all been following bloggers with some really great themes. I will be highlighting some of these themes this coming year at the A to Z Challenge Blog. (So let me know if there’s someone I must feature.) Some themes that have worked really well, and the ones below might give you ideas for next year.

Unique locations
Lexa Cain has been posting about haunted places and Andrew Leon has been posting about abandoned locations. Coupled with photos and facts, both have been fascinating.

Blogging about one’s book
This one is tricky, because it could come off as really promotional. Plus it might cater mostly to fans or be a book someone doesn’t want to read. However, Julie Flanders has done an outstanding job, as she’s focused on the location of her book, Martha’s Vineyard. Several others are also doing a similar style theme.

Another tricky topic, as it might not catch those who don’t start from the beginning. Quite a few of you have been blogging really great excerpts though! I’ll just give two examples. Loni Townsend has posted snippets from a serial, Murder Most Fowl, and her voice and sense of humor have made these a great read. Equally riveting has been CM Brown’s short teasers from her upcoming title, Forces of Mist.

And I’m sure you’ve found many more awesome themes!

Fan of Terminator II? Following the amazing Edi? What themes have you seen that were interesting and made you come back for more? And what do you remember best about 1991…?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Retro A to Z Challenge: S – Star Trek Generations 1994 (plus new Edge of Tomorrow Trailer and Poster)

Star Trek: Generations – 1994

The seventh Star Trek film, Generations passed the torch from the original cast to Next Generation. Captain Picard and the Enterprise must stop Soran and they receive help from a long-dead Captain Kirk. Three more Next Gen movies followed, including the amazing First Contact.

1994 fun facts –
*Cost of a new house - $119,050.
*Cost of gas - $1.09
*Cost of a movie ticket - $4.08
*The first genetically engineered tomato was created
*America’s baseball season was cancelled due to the strike
*The first satellite digital television service was launched
*The Tunnel Channel between France and England opened on May 6. It’s thirty-one miles long and took 15,000 workers seven years to complete

Movies released –
Forrest Gump
True Lies
The Lion King
Pulp Fiction
The Crow
Clear and Present Danger

Music released –
Alice in Chains – Jar of Flies
Soundgarden – Superunknown
Stone Temple Pilots - Purple
Pink Floyd – The Division Bell

Games released –
System Shock
Final Fantasy III
Elder Scrolls I: The Arena

And why is 1994 special?
It was the year Karen Walker met her husband, bringing great joy to her life!

Karen is an author and a singer in a band called Sugartime. She lives in New Mexico with her husband and enjoys traveling and dancing. Karen is on an amazing journey of peace and her posts are reflective and honest. She’s a special friend and devoted to those in her life. She blogs at Following the Whispers.

Movie Review - Haunter

A teen and her family are tapped living the same day over and over, like a supernatural Groundhog Day.

Abigail Breslin stars as the teen trying to find out why she and her family are trapped. They aren’t the only things trapped in the house and she begins to unravel a mystery that encompasses the past, present, and future.
There are some genuinely creepy moments as the film starts layering on clues. Breslin carries the movie and does a fine job with her role.
There are a few clichés, and the ending could have been more, but overall it was an effect story. I appreciate that the crew really tried to make a good movie. That effort shows.
If you enjoy intimate supernatural thrillers, this is worth a rental.

Edge of Tomorrow – New Movie Poster and Trailer

Courtesy of JoBlo

And if you haven’t seen the new trailer:

Fan of Star Trek Generations? Following the wonderful Karen? Have you seen Haunter? Intrigued by Edge of Tomorrow? And what do you remember best about 1994…?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Retro A to Z Challenge: R – Rush 2002 (and Lone Ranger Movie Review)

Rush – Vapor Trails 2002

This album marked the return of the band after a five-year hiatus. In 1997, drummer Neil Peart lost his daughter, and the following year, lost his wife. He took time off and travelled across North America on his motorcycle, which he chronicled in his book, Ghost Rider. The result was an incredible and deeply personal rock album.

2002 fun facts –
*Cost of a new house - $228,700.
*Cost of gas - $1.61
*The Mars Odyssey found signs of water on Mars
*Serena Williams won both Wimbledon and the US Open
*Kelly Clarkston won the first American Idol
*The Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, Utah

Movies released –
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Blade II
The Ring
Reign of Fire
28 Days Later
Die Another Day

Music released –
Shadows Fall – The Art of Balance
U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind
Foo Fighters – One by One

Games released –
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit II
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Resident Evil

And why is 2002 special?
It’s the year Jen Chandler went to Ireland!

Jen is a writer, food enthusiast, and cat lover. Recently in college, she’s in the process of finding her way, and invites others to share her journey. She always has such a happy and joyful attitude. She’s had several blogs and been on hiatus, but her new home is The Cup and Page.

Just Released!

White Hellebore by Nicole Zoltack is available today!

Movie Review – The Lone Ranger

I find that most film critics are harsher than I am.
However, in the case of The Lone Ranger, they may have been too kind…

The movie has no identity. It’s a slapstick comedy one moment, fantasy the next, and then dark western next. None of the elements work well together.
I also didn’t buy into Depp’s Indian character. There are many fine Indian actors who could’ve played the role far better.
The worst part – the film is just DULL. And way too long.
The last twenty minutes are entertaining, but not enough to save this boring, odd, awful  film.
Don’t waste two hours and twenty minutes of your life on this film. Save yourself!

The Showdown!

Coming next Tuesday, the final installment of Lord of the Clones, a video masterpiece courtesy of Father Dragon Al. Three judges, including Jeff Hargett, will decide the winner. Lady Jezebel will be there serving punch. Who will win? Who will truly be Lord of the Clones…?

Did you know the story behind Vapor Trails or read Peart’s book? Following Jen’s new blog? Had the misfortune of watching The Lone Ranger? Think I can beat Baldernot and be Lord of the Clones? And what do you remember best about 2002…?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Retro A to Z Challenge: Q – Queensryche 1988 (plus Batman Vs Superman, Captain America 3, and The Mummy reboot)

Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime – 1988

This album rejuvenated the concept album and showcases Queensryche’s amazing talent. Nikki is the confused and drug addicted young man who gets involved with a revolutionary group as their assassin. The song I Don’t Believe in Love was even nominated for a Grammy. When on tour for Empire in 1990, they performed this album in its entirety, and released it as Operation: Livecrime. This album is a MUST for any rock fan!

1988 fun facts –
*Cost of a new house - $91,600.
*Cost of an existing house - $61,020.
*Cost of a movie ticket - $3.50
*First class stamp - .24 cents
*Cost of a new car - $10,400.
*The first major computer virus infects computers connected to the Internet
*The Hubble Space Telescope is put into operation
*Mystery Science Theater 3000 debuts

Movies released –
Die Hard
A Fish Called Wanda
Young Guns
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Music released – 
Cinderella – Long Cold Winter
King’s X – Out of the Silent Planet
Metallica – And Justice For All

Game released –
Final Fantasy II

And why is 1988 special?
It’s the year Sandra Almazan graduated from high school!

Sandra is a speculative fiction author and a mother. She’s also a science geek and sharp as a whip. Sandra regularly features other author at her blog, which you can find HERE

Ninja and Movie News!

Available today!

Vampire Lies – Blood and Snow Season 2 by RaShelle Workman

Born of the seven magics, Jasmine is different in every way, including the obnoxious wings on her back courtesy of the original Vampires…

Buy it on Amazon

From JoBlo it’s the release date shuffle!
With Marvel and DC set to go head to head on May 6, 2016, one finally flinched. Batman Versus Superman will come out on April 29 instead. (Captain America 3 will maintain a May 6 release.)
A reboot of The Mummy comes out April 22, so it will be a busy three weeks at the box office.

From Blastr - The sixth season of SyFy’s Face Off wraps up on April 22 – and there will be a season seven!
"When it returns, Face Off will have quite a few new faces to hang out with on the schedule, with shows like Dominion, 12 Monkeys, Ascension, The Expanse, Z Nation and Olympus all in different stages of development — not to mention unscripted fare like Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge, Opposite Worlds, Heroes of Cosplay and Ghost Hunters."

Fan of Queensryche? Following Sandra? Picking up RaShelle’s new book. (She rocks, you know!) Wonder which studio will win spring of 2015? See any new shows you want to catch? And what do you remember about 1988…?

And everyone have a wonderful and Blessed Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Retro A to Z Challenge: P – Porcupine Tree 2007 (and Special Thanks)

Porcupine Tree – Fear of a Blank Planet – 2007

This band has undergone many changes over the years. Their earlier work is surreal and trippy, but they continued to progress and are now an outstanding prog rock band. The title is a play on another album, and there are six amazing tracks. The longest - Anesthetize at almost eighteen minutes – is by far the best, and like a blend of three songs. They are a mellow prog band, with great melody, and an easy introduction to someone venturing into the world of progressive rock.

2007 fun facts –
*Cost of gas - $3.38
*The Tesla Roadster, the world’s most efficient electric car, debuted at car shows
*On June 29, the iPhone was released
*The last book in the series was released, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Movies released –
The 300
Ocean’s Thirteen
No Country For Old Men
3:10 to Yuma
The Bourne Ultimatum

Music released –
Rush – Snakes and Arrows
Chevelle – Vena Sera
Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace

Games released –
Mass Effect

And why is 2007 special?
It’s the year Misha Gericke was a freshman at University, and the first time she truly got to spread her wings in a world was filled with possibility!

Misha is an author with goals to make it a career. She crafted a detailed plan and schedule to make it happen in five years and is well on her way. She shares all nitty-gritty, from the good to the bad. Misha is genuine, honest, and an inspiration. She blogs at The Five Year Project.

Ninja News!

CD Coffelt has a prequel for The Wilder Mage available now, Out of Magic. And Saturday and Sunday, it is free! Get it on Amazon HERE

River Fairchild revealed the awesome cover for her next book, A Dragon's Lament, Jewels of Chandra, Book 2. It’s due out next month.

And the Ninja’s lair has been spotted! Father Dragon’s dwarves snapped this shot while out scouting the neighborhood. However, they are no match for my security system and will be teleported off the premises immediately!

Special Thanks!

I would like to take this moment to thank two very special groups of ladies.

First, I would like to thank the awesome admins over at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group : Joy, Michelle, Joylene, Susan, Diane, and Lynda.
All of you have done an amazing job with Challenge posts at the site. Before April even began, you had the schedule filled and ready to rock. Thank you for your dedication to the IWSG!

Second, I would like to thank my A to Z Challenge Minions: Joy. Michelle, SL. Susan, Rhonda, Madeline, LG, Cathy. Diane, and Melanie
You have done an awesome job keeping up with our section of the list. As the keeper of the Linky List (I’m the one who spends at least an hour a day fixing and deleting links) I could NOT do this without your help. Thanks for all of your efforts to stay on top of things!

You’ll notice several of these ladies are on both lists. Many are pulling double and even triple duty, as some are also posting for the Challenge. They are uber-awesome! If you are looking for dedicated friends, you’d do well to follow them.

And notice that all of my helpers and admins are women? I am one lucky dude!

Familiar with Porcupine Tree? Following the awesome Misha? Excited about the new releases? Think you know where the Ninja lair resides? Do you have an support team that just rocks? And what do you remember best about 2007…?