Monday, July 26, 2010

Grilled Gold

In my efforts to discover fun new recipes, I have stumbled upon a good one. It's still in the works but I'll give you what I have so far.

Hot & Cold Dogs

Ingredients:
-Hot Dogs & Buns
-Sriracha
-Cole Slaw

It's a simple enough recipe. Grill up the dogs and put them on buns. Drizzle the dogs in the Sriracha. Top with cole slaw and add a little black pepper to taste. Enjoy. Homemade slaw is best but store bought will serve in a pinch. It's a nice balance of taste. Crack open an cold one and enjoy!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Call Me Editortron

Or don't, really. Just got done with a several hour editing session with Rob on the music video we shot for his friend. I think it turned out rather well, so does he. We might have had to stretch a little at the end of it but it worked out just fine. It's amazing how, when editing to music, the shots just drop into place and match up perfectly. It's like fate. Or luck. Probably luck. Its good stuff though. I can't wait to get that sucker uploaded. We're just waiting on the credits information, or rather, to see if we can put some on there for me and Rob or at least Rucksack Films. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Steadicam


I can't remember if I ever uploaded a photo of the steadicam that I made and use on a regular basis for filming. Well, here it is in all of its unholy glory. The recipe to make one for yourself is pretty simple. It's based in part on the Poor Man's Steadicam recipe that you can find on the web that utilized lead pipes. Or steel. I can't remember. Instead of that, we use a monopod as the base. On the lower shaft you attach a weight like you would on a barbell. You can also use the velcro ankle weights if you don't want it as permanent.

After that, you put a layer of foam and tape on the top shaft, pretty much right under the handle. Then you slide the t-joint onto it. It should be a tight fit. You drill two holes for thumbscrews before attaching and insert them after you have it where you want it and tighten away. Then you, again through previously drilled holes, screw in the pvc pipe and cap. Wrap some foam and tape around the end where you will be holding so you have a good grip. If you like, you can paint it before hand so you have it all black and the white doesn't stand out.

I don't particularly care that it is white or looks odd as I made it for about 15 bucks so that's just fine with me. Depending on your camera, you may need more or less weight and by extending the monopod, you can either use it as a monopod or change the center of gravity, which helps with the balance. The more you know, and all that jazz.

Orange Lantern Hal




Did this one awhile ago. Looks more orange in person. Honest. He's looking good standing next to Larfleeze on my shelf. It was a pretty simple repaint, in all honesty. Sometimes those are the best though, as they just let you knock one out really quickly without any sculpting or much to do. I still have a ton of customs on my desk I need to finish. Might have to work on some tonight to give me more room, though the hockey figures I'm waiting on decals for and have to order them first, so that's going to be awhile.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review: Midnight Movie (2008)


Since the wifey was going to bed early tonight, I decided that I was overdue for a horror movie. Considering that I have a ton on DVR that I haven't watched yet, it was a tough decision on exactly what to watch. In the end, I chose Midnight Movie. I can't say I regret it but I'm not exactly thrilled by it.

The premise sounds neat enough. A bunch of people come to a theater to watch a cult horror film and end up getting picked off one by one by the killer from the movie. The execution is a little lacking in places and it leads to an uneven film. The main part is shot competently enough, but the movie within a movie was rather terrible. I'm not saying they needed to make a classic, but when you're watching something that's supposed to be from 1968-ish and in B&W, you should at least put a little effort into the filters. Converting a film to black and white and putting some scratches on it does not authenticity make. They could have fiddled for about 5 minutes in FCP and done better if they tried. Honestly.

The cast is likable enough and do a good job, though there are the usual stereotypes found throughout it like the asshole, the final girl with a secret, the burly tough who has a good heart, a little fucking kid. You know the drill. You get to know most of them and care a little bit when they get killed and you find yourself rooting for them against the killer, who has a cool mask, kinda like Leslie Vernon in a way, but a shitty weapon, which looks like a metal ice cream cone. In the end, it doesn't matter, as there isn't really an ending. What leads up to a third act doesn't really pay off and you're left wondering what happened to everyone. I know it was semi-magical and I didn't need to know exactly how the film comes to life, but I do want a little sense that I didn't just waste a half an hour, which is what I'm kinda feeling.

If you can catch it on tv, I'd say give it a whirl, but prepare to be disappointed in the end. The rest of it was worth it but the ending just killed me. Maybe they're just waiting for the sequel.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More verse

Down came her tears,
Down came the rain.
Out came the bourbon,
Out went my brain.

Weekend of Non-Horror

Been a busy weekend for me. In addition to my normal duties of taking care of my lovely daughter, I got to see the A-Team, which was awesome. It actually hit on the right notes for an adaptation. Most of the ones coming out like Land of the Lost and Starsky and Hutch are played for comedy and border on parody, so it's nice to see something that treats the source material with a little more reverence. The story is pretty solid and the cast is top notch. I expected good things and got them from Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper, but complete surprises were Rampage Jackson and the dude from District 9. Both played their parts very well, and I was happy to see Murdock was rather insane and nailed it completely. Definitely worth checking out.

Next up, I met with my buddy Rob tonight to film a music video at Monmouth Beach. It was a dusk shoot with fading light so we had to move quickly and we did so with great aplomb. I rocked my HV20 on a steadicam (home made) while Rob used the Digital Harenizumi 2. I think we have more than enough for the video, with 20+ minutes alone being recorded by me, so in addition to Rob's stuff, we should be sitting pretty for the edit session. It was rather crazy, being at the beach where the surf was pounding us. We all went barefoot and I had my cam wrapped in a DIY weatherproofing rig (ziploc bag) to protect it mainly from sand, but it turns out that surf was to be my enemy. It was wild, definitely one of the cooler shoots I've done. Look for that video soon.

Now my arms hurt from wielding the camera, so I must bid you adieu. Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jim Wynorski is My Hero

I mean, in addition to directing the legendary classic Chopping Mall aka Killbots, he's got a pretty solid body of softcore films that are parodies of mainstream blockbusters, such as Cleavagefield, the DaVinci Co-Ed and the Bare Wench Project. Then he's done fun little cheapies like Ghoulies 4, Munchie, The Return of Swamp Thing and Komodo vs. Cobra. It's like he combines the two things I love into films as much as possible. I love the exploitation sensibilities of his films and they're pretty fun. And in the instance of parodies, particularly Cleavagefield, they're more entertaining than some of the original film they mock. I mean, shit, as goofy as the monster was in the parody, at least you saw the fucking thing. And then there's the copious amounts of sex. Never a bad thing for some late at night viewing.

I only bring this up since I taped The Hills Have Thighs, his newest epic, on Cinemax last night and plan on being entertained by it. Maybe I'm in a schlocky, softcore kind of mood. Maybe I'm just curious about how it holds up to the original and the pretty decent remake. Maybe I'm just a dirty old man now at heart.

Either way, at lot of his stuff is pretty top notch budget film making in my book. Check him out.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Colloctor's Corner FNM Top 4

Friday I played FNM at Collector's Corner. There was a huge turnout (28 players) which is more than double their usual turnout. I played my version of Beastmaster Monument based off of Zvi Mowshowitz's Pro Tour San Juan block constructed deck. The changes are due to either a) not having all the cards or b) the addition of M10 options. Here it is:


Beastmaster Monument 1.0 (07/02/2010)





Planeswalkers
Side Board
4 Garruk Wildspeaker 4 Leatherback Baloth


3 River Boa

Creatures 2 Naturalize
1 Avenger of Zendikar 2 Tajuru Preserver
2 Elvish Archdruid 2 Gigantiform
4 Joraga Treespeaker 1 Gelatnis Genesis
1 Khalni Hydra 1 Forrest
4 Kozilek's Predator

4 Lanowar Elves 15 Total
1 Lotus Cobra

4 Nest Invader

1 Oracle of Mul Daya

1 River Boa

1 Wolfbriar Elemental






Instants






Enchantments

4 Beastmaster Ascension

1 Eldrazi Conscription






Sorcery

1 Bestial Menace






Artifacts

2 Eldrazi Monument






Land

16 Forrest

1 Dread Statuary

4 Khalni Garden

3 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood





60 Total


My first match was against Dan who was running Elvish Monument. Dan's deck still needs some upgrades like three more Eldrazi Monuments so without the big win conditions, it wasn't a huge challenge. It was a fun match and great for a warm-up since I haven't played standard in 2.5 months.

Win 2-0.

My second match was against John playing Jund. John was playing really fast and I started to get pretty nearvous. I won game 1 after dropping some elves, Nest Invager, Kozilek's Predator, Avenger of Zendikar with three plants, then popping Garruk's Ultimate with a Beastmaster Ascension in play. That was sick. Second games I sided in the 3 additional River Boa's for their regenerate ability (removed 3 Nest Invaders). I was able to get out 2 River Boa's Early and he was mana screwed with only a Putrid Leach in play. I had Beastmaster out and was attacking with the two River Boas. I got it charged up to 6, but he Jund Charmed it. I don't remember exacltly the whole match, but I had him down to 3, and then the game just swung in his favor with a couple more Jund Charms and the Leach. He took me down to one and I thought I had a chance until he played Blightning for the win. Nerves were kicking and I know I made some mistakes in this game (forgetting an Eldrazi Spawn when I played Nest Invader!). After the match was over we chatted a bit and he told me I could have won game 2 if I had attacked with my plant token one turn to get the full charge on Beastmaster. Bad mistake that cost me the game. Thinking back I think he may have suckered me on that one when he said "attacking with river boas?" and I did. I could be speculating, but that may have been the turn I could have won if I had slowed down and played more carefully. Lesson learned, stay calm and think each play through. Game three I added in the 4 Leatherback Baloths in place of 3 Kozilek's Predators and Bestial Menace (this card ended up getting sided out just about every time). I don't remember much about this game but John took it for the match win.

Lose 1-2

My next match was against someone playing vampires. This match was over pretty quick by popping Garruk's ultimate in the first game. Second game my deck played pretty smooth again and he was short on mana.

Win 2-0

My next match was agains a red blue black deck with Sedraxis Specter and Abyssal Persecutors. The first game was close because I was able to get out a monument to block his flyiers (he also had Sarkhan Vol out and was making 4/4 dragons). The problem was I had to sacrifice to the monument every turn and eventually he was able to swarm me with his fliers. From my sideboard in the second match I grabbed the Leatherback Baloths figuring I could take a shot at just pounding him early. I got lucky and one baloth came out on turn two or three and was able to start pounding him. I didn't really see the specters or persecutor that game and was able to take the win. I don't really remember the third game, but took the win for the match win.

Win 2-1

At 3-1 I was looking pretty good to make the top 8. I was paired up with my friend Keith who was currently in fifth place (I was in fourth) and we were able to draw in to top 8. He was playing his Red-Green Elves. We played two games for fun and split 1-1. It was an odd match-up but fun.

Draw

My overall record was 3-1-1 and I made the top 8. Who did I get paired against? Keith.

So our decks run kinda similar but he had a small advantage with Elvish Archdruid pumping all his creatures, and Nissa being able to grab Nissa's Chosen to sacrifice to Monument. First game was crazy with both of us getting Monument online. It was pretty much a stalemate and I was using Garruk to make beasts to sacrifice to the monument. Eventually I just ran out of creatures and he swarmed me. Note the Elvish Visionary was also a big advantage for him being able to draw a card off it and then sac it to monument. Second game I sideboared 11 cards! The baloths, boas, Naturalize, and Gigantiform all went into the deck. Second game the deck ran really well getting two baloths out on turns 2 and 3. He played Pithing Needle and named Garruk Wildspeaker who I was holding in my hand, so that was a dead card. I eventually won the game by dropping an Eldrazi Conscription on a spawn token and he scooped. The third game was close and his mana was running odd with all green for a few turns (actually that may have been the second game). He got out a Pithing Needle again and named Garruk and the next turn dropped Monument. I was thinking I was in trouble here, but was holding Naturalize, Garruk, and Khalni Hydra. I was about to naturalize the Pithing Needle, but then realized that stupid and the Monument was the real threat since I had the hydra. I naturalized the monument and played an elf. Then I think I played Wolfbriar Elemental kicked twice next turn and was able to play the Hydra for GGG the following turn. With that on the field I was able to take the game.

With that win I made top four and we split since it was almost 1:30 am by then.

Overall this was a really exciting night. I played mono-green which I love and did really well. I was also able to trade for a second Lotus Cobra to replace the Oracle of Mul Daya. I also picked up another Wolfbriar yesterday to replace the Bestial Menace and substituted Pithing Needle into the sideboard to replace the Gelatinouss Genesis.

M11 comes out next weekend, so I'm not sure how that will affect this deck in the future but I guess we'll find out in a few weeks. This deck is really fun, so I'll probably continue to play it.