Tag: Blog

[BLOG] A Little Something About Gremlins…

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Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) - IMDbSo to start us off – this whole discussion spawned off of our recent ‘Franchises That Should Have Stopped‘ episode. Apparently, I touched a livewire with some controversy that I had never stumbled upon. Surprising, given I love a bad movie and I love a weird story… the tale of Joe Dante and Gremlins 2 had passed me by.

I appreciate some of our listeners telling me how wrong I was about how Gremlins 2 being bad.  They explain that it is, in fact, kind of brilliant if you understand what’s going on.  I went and read the tweet thread on it (with a big shoutout to Professor Murder and Kess) as well as watched some interviews with Director Joe Dante, and fell into the rabbithole that is Gremlins 2.

The short version – Warner Brothers didn’t expect Gremlins to be a hit, but it was. They wanted a sequel, but Joe Dante, director of the first one, didn’t want to make it. They kept throwing money at him until he relented, and in turn, used the budget to make a commentary as to why Gremlins didn’t need a sequel.  Dammit… that’s good.  He went in with making a movie that embodies the absurdity of commercialism culture, sequels, lampoons Ted Turner and Trump, the bad reviews that Gremlins received, and the disregard of classic cinema.  So, let me state, right here and now, that as an adult looking at the call and response of an artist making fools of the studio with their own money…

BUT!

Why Gremlins 2 Is Better Than the Original | Den of GeekWhen lil’ me was 10 years old with my Gizmo toy and perfect impression of Stripe going ‘DEEAGLE DEAGLE DEAGLE’ who saw the original film at the drive-in, watched Gremlins 2 and read the novelization (which does not feature Hulk Hogan, but a cut-in by Brain Gremlin which may have been my first real exploration into meta-text) — I was confused. The movie I got felt so much closer to Critters or Killer Klowns than it did the perfect scary Christmas movie about a terrorized small town that was the original. As an adult, I don’t even know what I could have received that would have sated my Gremlins love. Ghostbusters 2 was good, but not great. Honey I Blew Up The Kids… meh.

What could G2 been that would have held any candle to the original?

I have to accept that maybe the correct answer is that the only movie that deserved to follow Gremlins, was the Gremlins 2 we got – and knowing the whole of the tale makes 40-something ol’ me appreciate its balls a lot more. Amusingly enough, I stand by that the original movie didn’t need a sequel, and the man who made that sequel apparently agreed with that idea so much… he made this particular sequel.

If you would like to fall into this rabbit hole – here are a couple of the places I did research:
Gremlins 2 Q&A w/ Joe Dante
The Institute of Gremlins 2 Studies

 

[BLOG] PCR talks Actors he can’t stand!

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Hey Somethings, PCR here!

So, this week’s blog, I wanted to talk about some actors I’m… well.. just not fond of.  I’m not talking “Oh, I didn’t like so-and-so in this role…” or “I thought they’re portrayal of blahblahblah was…”  No, I’m talking about a level of “I couldn’t care less” that sometimes makes it difficult to watch things they’re in.

Anthony Mackie – Is he Captain America?  Yes.  Will I go see the new Cap movie in the theaters when it comes out?  Most likely not.  It’s convoluted.. it’s not because I don’t want him in the role.. as a comic book fan it 100% makes sense.  It’s also a huge point of diversity which is also awesome…. I  just don’t like him as an actor.  It’s not that I find him “bad”, I just don’t find him compelling.  I was able to make it through his previous MCU movies because his screen time was tempered by his castmate’s screen time.  I was “meh” on Falcon and the Winter Soldier (mostly due to having to watch him more).  His episode of Black Mirror was intriguing, but to me, still middling… and I couldn’t even finish the first episode of S2 of Altered Carbon when I saw him in it.  He just doesn’t grab my attention.

Aaron Paul – Now, to be fair, I haven’t seen him in much that WASN’T Breaking Bad.  Yes, the show was amazing, but any time Jesse was on the screen, I just sighed and sucked it up because I knew he HAD to be.  El Camino?  It was… how do I say…   “boring”.  I recently started binging Westworld (more on that in an upcoming episode).  Seasons 1 and 2 were phenomenal… Season 3 had… issues.. and… Aaron Paul.  As soon as I saw him on my screen I thought “Well fuck… he’s going to end up being integral and we’re going to see a lot of him aren’t we…”  I wasn’t wrong.  I haven’t started S4 yet, but, I’m hoping Caleb ends up getting the “Teddy” treatment before too long.

Joan Cusack – Ok look, I don’t have an answer for “Why?” on this one.  I just can’t stand seeing her on my screen.  I couldn’t watch the American version of Shameless thanks to her.  I was mildly interested in A Series of Unfortunate Events until she showed up on my screen and I turned it off and never went back.  I’ve only seen 2 movies she’s ever been in, and they were long enough ago that I don’t think I even knew who she was at the time.  I’m sure she’s a great person, but she can be a great person and not be on my TV ever too.

What about YOU?  Do YOU have someone who.. you just can’t stand to watch?  Let us know!

ALSO

Do you like Star Wars?  Do you like Audio Dramas?  Well how about a Star Wars Audio Drama?!

Author Crystal Storm has been doing just that!  Check out “Legacy : A Star Wars Audio Drama”!

[BLOG] Hatton Talks Reroll…

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There’s a podcast I really enjoy, and if we’ve ever talked podcasts with guests, I’ve almost always mentioned it. It’s called Film Reroll and the premise is pretty simple. Take a bunch of actors playing GURPs, but have them play out movies. The DM builds character sheets and plots based on the film, and sometimes if the dice go well, the heroes play a game that is similar to the movie. If the dice fly off the handle, the heroes may not get beyond the first action sequence. (One particular movie of note has this amazing ..but we didn’t even get to the movie.. moment) The final variation is the one where the players and plot go in wildly different directions from where the movie went or includes rules that allow for other plots and characters.

It’s fun. Tons of fun. It makes me want to play games in movie worlds. It makes me want to build an entire Planescape Cineplex Quantum Leap game where the characters won’t know what movie they’re in until .. well, until they know.

So I thought I’d give a little list here of some of the movies I have pondered building a roleplaying scenario around. Every single one of these movies has crossed my mind on being interesting enough to make a good ‘Reroll’ and I yearn for the day I get a chance to try them out.

Tremors – This has been the one flick I always go back to. Aside from the fact it is a favorite horror franchise of mine, it is such a great gaming scenario with a cool selection of characters with diverse skills. What’s the goal? To get away? To kill the Graboids? To warn the government?  Hell, I could imagine a game where the dice went sideways where the real goal is simply to figure out what the hell is killing people!  What happens when your party decide to go traversing in the tunnels or try and discover where these things came from!?  It’s my gold standard for what a cool Reroll game could be.

Nightmare on Elm Street – The first thing that’s great about the Nightmare franchise is that you have a whole big bucket of characters to work with. Sure, you could play Nancy and Glen… but what if your group were playing as the parents?  If I was to run this movie, my players would all be the kids, but the first session would be them as their parents confronting the real human of Kreuger. We know that because they burned him in the boiler room he is what he is… what if they drowned him? What if they poisoned him? What would the Nightmare Creature be in a world where the parents decided his fate differently?

Reservoir Dogs – One thing to note in Rerolls is that sometimes you have to change the rules so you can fight meta knowledge. It’s real easy to know who the snitch is if you started playing Dogs… so what if the players didn’t know?  One of you is a psychopath… but which one? Every player starts the game with a quirk and a private win condition, so when the game starts you don’t know who anyone is and the game is all the better for it.

Die Hard – Lastly, what if you turned an entire movie on its head. Instead of you playing as John McClane, what if it was the reverse of Tremors, where you are a group of bank robbers trying to pull the best job, but this one superhuman cop is just in your way?  Or, to play in an entirely different game, you were the hostages and this war is going on between good guys and bad guys all around you? Or, to give you one last bit to chomp on, one player is the hostages, one player is the cops, and one player is the media. Can you find ways to work together or is it just a bloodbath?

What movies do you love that you think would make a great roleplaying campaign?  Let us know in all the usual places!

[BLOG] PCR’s Memorable Sports Moments!

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Hey Somethings!

I know we don’t talk a whole lot about sports on our show, but I’ve been thinking about some blog topics lately, and today, I’m listing off the Most Memorable Sports Moments that, in some way, I was witness to.

Super Bowl XLIII 

I’ve been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan all my life, and this game ranks up there as one of their most memorable. Second quarter, Steelers leading 10-7 and on defense up against their own goal line, Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner fires off a shot to receiver Anquan Boldin with 18 seconds left.  Steelers Linebacker James Harrison had faked a blitz and fallen back in coverage, intercepting the ball a yard into the endzone and begins to run it out.

What started as a fortuitous interception became the (at the time) longest return for a Touchdown in NFL history as the 6 foot tall, 245 lb Harrison ran the distance along the sidelines, his teammates blocking the whole way, to score a touchdown and put the Steelers up 17-7 at the half.

James Harrison runs 100 yards for Touchdown

 

Tony Hawk hits the 900

The time?  1999.  The place?  X Games V.  The TV coverage should have ended, but no one was going to deny Tony today.  Standing at the top of the half-pipe, other skates banging their trucks against the coping in time with the crowd cheering him on, Tony dropped in.  Attempt after attempt he failed, twice landing on his board only to have it slip out from under him.  One of the announcers can be heard saying “We know time is over, but we make up the rules as we go along.. let’s give him another try”.  It took him 10 failed attempts, but on the 11th he landed it, and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve heard a louder crowd pop when he did.  Watching the video still gives me chills.

Tony Hawk hits the first 900

 

The Intimidator at Daytona

Yes, this last one is a tragedy, but because of it an entire sport made amazing changes to do an even better job of protecting their drivers.

Daytona 500, Daytona Florida, 2001.  February 18th.

Daytona, like Talladega, is a restrictor plate track for NASCAR, designed to limit the top speed of cars on these super fast tracks.  in 2001, they instituted some new aerodynamic packages designed to keep cars bunched up and closer together, therefore allowing for more drafting and more exciting racing.

Headed in to Turn 4, final turn of the final lap… Dale Earnhardt Sr. was in 3rd behind Michael Waltrip and Dale’s son, Dale Jr.  Contact with Sterling Marlin sent Sr’s car up the track and in front of Ken Scrhader who collided with Earnhardt as both cars sailed up the banked turn of Daytona.  Dale slammed head on into the outside retaining wall at about 160 miles an hour before both cars slowly rolled back down the track to the infield grass.  Waltrip would win the race with Jr. second as infield safety crew raced across the grass to Dale’s car.  Dale was quickly taken to Halifax Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.  Less that 2 hours later, NASCAR President Mike Helton had to make the most devastating announcement he’d ever have to make.

2001 Daytona 500 Final Lap

– PCR

[BLOG] Happy Birthday!

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Ok, yeah – Rob got to do his thank you letter to celebrate, so I’m doing one too.. sorta..

Quite a few of you came to the Somethingcast from my time over at Inside Pulse, with another podcast I did, or perhaps didn’t do, depending on if they deleted the evidence like I requested…

After doing professional wrestling news and shenanigans for a bunch of years, like a lot of us have, I got sick of it. When you are reading wrestling and comic book news day in and day out, you really stop enjoying it at all. What’s exciting when I know precisely who is showing up in the Impact Zone? Where’s the fun in being aware of the direction the entire company is going towards for Wrestlemania next year?  It just drags you down, so for that and a few other reasons I only talk about when I’m drunk, after doing it for less years than I’ve done this show, I bid adieu to the fine world of cutting edge wrestling and comic reporting.

It took two years before I got it stuck in my craw that I wanted to talk into a microphone again. The idea hadn’t been bobbing in my brain for long at all when I went to a local watering hole and I bumped into a guy I hadn’t seen in – no bullshit – fifteen? twenty? years.  We had a drink, shot the shit, and I invited him to Wild Pig Comics to play some games and spent the time in between deciding if I wanted to get back into podcasting. (spoiler… i did)

The rest is the last nine years of goofing on Lost, Sleuuuuuuththths, the Mysteries of the Universe, and throwing anything at the wall to see if it’ll make us laugh.

That said, I’ve had the occasional person ask me to guest on their show or I’ve hosted a burlesque show with a co-host, and not a single one of them holds a candle to the chemistry Rob and I have. We joke about it, and it is true, that he and I have entirely different ethos about getting shit done and what should work and what doesn’t. He throws an idea and I shoot it down because of some off the wall complexity. I throw an idea and I can tell immediately in his voice he has no interest in it.. and, let’s be clear, the times I get my way, he’s usually right. (Why you people don’t want to watch the last episode of Small Wonder is utterly beyond me…) Somewhere in the middle though, there is this vein of gold that we don’t always hit, but sometimes you walk away from an episode going ‘Dammit, that was a good time…’

Anyway, Rob went out of his way to thank all of you – and I obviously do too, but it’s rare I talk about my side of how we got to where we are and thank Rob for making it as good as it is.

So thanks to all of you, and thank you Rob.

Happy Birthday Somethingcast!

Ok, here we go and go and go and go and go and go and go and go and go! (That’s 9, you don’t need to count)

[BLOG] 9 Years down…

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Hey Somethings, PCR here!

What a crazy train ride this has been!

9 Years

5 different studio locations

Numerous format changes

Over 340 episodes

Over 50,000 downloads

I’m gobsmacked.

If ANYone told Hatton and I 9 years ago that we’d still be going in 9 years, and we’d have gotten to talk to some of our favorite creators/tv personalities because of this show, we’d have thought they were crazy.  Hell, we still do.

This show has meant a lot to us both over these past nine years.  It’s been a creative outlet, a social outlet, an emotional outlet…  I know personally it’s gotten me through some rough and dark times, but we.. and it… are still here.

We’ve met so many amazing people through this show.. people we otherwise would have never gotten to interact with, and that is something I will always cherish and be thankful for.  It has gotten us opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.  It has gotten us friends that we otherwise never would have met…  all because 2 guys wanted to hear themselves talk.

For all those who’ve been on our show, Thank You.

For all those who’ve had us on their show, Thank You.

For all those who’ve recently found us and said “Huh.. let’s see what this is all about”, Thank you.

For all those Twitch Streamers we connected with, Thank You.

And for those of you who were there when we started… whether you never missed an episode, took a break, or are catching up on the backlog, Thank you.

I know it sounds repetitive, but.. my head is still spinning that we’ve been talking for 9 years… and people have been listening.  YOU are the true legends, and we wouldn’t be here without you.

Do we have another 9 years in us?

Let’s find out….

OK HERE WE GO!

[BLOG] Hatton Just Bought Playstation Plus…

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Oh no – it’s the Steam Summer Sale again… please help me, no.

Amusingly enough, I recently came into a lot of different video games, so I’m really loathe to look through the endless deals that are going on in Steam. Playstation changed their whole monthly service, meaning instead of the two sub-par games they were providing you every month, you now have a library of games available to you for a couple bucks more.

I have faded a bit on playing console games, but when I saw some of what they offered, I paid upfront for the year and we’ll see what I think when it comes time for renewal.

Here’s the games I downloaded first.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – This was up front top of the list on their advertising, and for good reason. It’s a game that sold very well, so they probably aren’t losing a lot of money in giving it away. For a budget gamer like me that was waiting for the price on this to drop to below $30 to now get to play it for almost free? Easy.

Anyway, it’s an almost on-rails action game with a ton of character. They really went somewhat deep into the comic lore, blending it with the movie lore so it’s fun for everyone and they don’t have to pay Chris Pratt for likeness licensing.

GHOSTS OF TSUSHIMA – This is the game I installed first. I have head nothing but good things, and with already 8 or 9 hours in, I get it. It’s Dark Souls combat, but easier. It’s Grand Theft Auto with samurai. It’s gorgeous landscapes and mythology. The fact that the world isn’t as engaging as something like Red Dead doesn’t matter when I’ve stopped to watch flowers bloom as I ride my horse across the world.

CHOCOBO MYSTERY DUNGEON: EVERYBUDDY! – It’s a loot-grinding dungeon crawler with rogue’y elements. Originally for the WII, it features big fluffy Chocobo in outfits as you give them classic Final Fantasy job classes. My wife, looking the list with me, looked at me like I had two heads as she is downloading the zombie world Days Gone, and I’m squeeing like I just got let out of elementary school early because I get to play with Chocobos.

So do you do Playstation Plus? What are you downloading. Tell us in all the usual places. Till then – this has been Hatton.

[BLOG] PCR’s Favorite Non-Mainstream Comics!

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Hey All, PCR here!

While driving home from work yesterday, I was re-listening to when we were on Gutting the Sacred Cow (Our episode, 92, can be found here…) and we got off on a brief tangent about collecting comic books and.. it got me thinking…

I collected a lot of varied titles.. from popular stuff, to stuff I (mistakenly) thought would increase in value, to things I… just LOVED reading regardless of what other people thought or how popular it was.

So here’s a not-entirely-comprehensive list of the stuff that was my guilty pleasure, even though they weren’t mainstream titles!

Badger – First Comics

Created by Mike Baron and originally published by Capital Comics before it landed at First Comics, Badger was the story of Norbert Sykes, a Vietnam vet who suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder.  One of those identities is “The Badger”, a guy who calls everyone Larry, talks to animals, and is possibly the best martial artist vigilante around.

 

Dreadstar – First Comics

Originally published in Marvel’s offshoot “Epic” (it was Epic’s first title), it eventually landed at First where I found it during my collecting phase.  The stories of Vanth Dreadstar, Iron Angel, Oedi, Willow and Skeevo was some of the best writing I had read in comics.  The issues I had in my long boxes were written by either creator Jim Starlin or Peter David, and the artwork by Angel Medina was jaw dropping.

 

Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! – First Comics

One of First Comics’ first titles (you’re probably seeing a pattern here…) American Flagg! was one of my first ‘non mainstream’ titles, and the one that introduced me to all the other First titles I collected.  The story of Reuben Flagg, a former porn star turned Plexus Ranger in 2030 Chicago… Chaykin’s style was perfect for this title.  The gritty and stylized artwork, the amazing characters, the story…  Chaykin isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but man did I fall in love with this title.  It was the only title I collected that I went out of my way to eventually pick up the entire run of.

 

Aliens – Dark Horse Comics

I was never really in to Black and White comics.  Aliens changed that.  The artwork by Mark A. Nelson and story by Mark Verheiden (later of Falling Skies fame) were riveting, and the original 6 issue run is nothing short of a masterpiece

 

Grimjack – First Comics

While Flagg! was my first foray into… well.. First, Grimjack filled that void once Flagg! ended and is easily in my top 3 all time title.  Originally created by John Ostrander and Timothy Truman and later drawn by one of my favorite artists, Flint Henry, sometimes the character was John Gaunt, other times he was James Edgar Twilley, but he was always Grimjack and if you ever needed him, you just had to find your way to Munden’s Bar in downtown Cynosure.

 

 

For those who collected, or still do… what are YOUR favorite titles?  Let us know over at @STSTCast on Twitter!

– PCR

[BLOG] A Little Something About Data…

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The internet has made us all boiled frogs.

The boiled frog syndrome is that people don’t accept bad situations at once. If I was to suggest you need to listen to screams all day, you would think I was bonkers. If I told you that you would be given a dollar for every scream every hour… maybe you would say yes. Then the scream got a little longer. A couple more screams, but a slightly higher payout. Longer screams. A little less payout. More screams. Etc etc until your life is now making nothing and listening to a scream all the time. You would be a boiled frog, the temperature getting higher and higher until you didn’t even know you were dead.

So on one side of the internet, places like Facebook and Youtube have removed your ability to see things the way you would like to see them in lieu of providing you the things it expects you want to see. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen them before or they are years old – their science has shown this content will provide them with the best situation for revenue, and what you want bedamned.

I spend more of my life than I would care to admit trying to find ways to give me data the way I want it. The people that have grown with the modern internet, at times, don’t even realize that these are options! The belief that for your video to be relevant it must be on Youtube or have high Ups on Reddit… all the while your work, your art, your podcast, your video, is chaff on the wheel of data aggregation.

Here – to help you all on your journey of freeing yourselves from the shackles of Big Data are some applications and programs I use to help me fight through the drudge of companies telling me what and how I want to look at things. If you have any more, you know where to find us….

BNTP – Bookmarks in New Tab
This is actually the thing that spawned this article. I lose links. Google is getting harder to find fine-tooth detail the way it used to. This bookmark app puts all of your links right up front and they’re super easy to read and organize. Love it.

Fluff-Busting Purity
Facebook is a nightmare. Ads. Data spread out. Timeline in hodgepodge order. Ads. Sponsored posts… which are really just ads. Only seeing 20 of your friends posts and feeling like you are missing out on so many other people’s lives. Fluff-Busting gives you a giant list of ways to change Facebook from dark mode to removing sidebars to tabbing everything. I have no idea what modern Facebook looks like.

Reddit Enhancement Suite
This is almost a gimme if you are a reddit user – but I have to assume there are some that aren’t aware of it. RES adds so many useful desktop features to Reddit. Sadly, organizational control over when articles came in isn’t one of them – but tagging users, mass opening, color coordinationn, tabbed viewing and grouping. It really makes Reddit a slightly less home for scum and villainy.

[BLOG] Spoiler-Free Obi-Wan and holding on to the past

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Happy Friday Somethings!

So, I’m 3 episodes in to Obi-Wan and… it’s…  shrugs.. Ok… I guess.

Mind you, I do not consume all things Star Wars.  Never saw Rebels or Clone Wars if only because I never checked them out… not because of some “anti show animosity”.  Mando was great, BoBF was… okish, but Obi-Wan I wanted to enjoy more.

Are there cool aspects of it?  Sure.  Are there mind-numbingly dumb things that happen for the sake of moving along the store in a 6 episode show?  Yes.  SHOULD it be 6 episodes?  Can’t give a full answer yet till it’s over, but I DO hate how these shows have become exposition to movies and nothing else.  D+ “Shows” went from 9 episodes (still short) to 6 and personally, I feel like they’re doing their fans a disservice… but that’s a conversation for another day.

What I *don’t* enjoy.. is that the Star Wars universe is SO VAST.. they literally could tell any story they want and set it in the SW universe, and it could be awesome and make that already rich universe grow even more.. instead, we keep having stories set around the main players we’ve already seen for years.  The latest SW trilogy took a half step in that direction, but rather hamfistedly in my opinion, and… to be fair.. the toxicness and entitlement of some of their fans (not that only SW suffers from this… EVERY fandom has it’s toxic side) makes it hard to strike out in new directions.

I’m hoping the last 3 episodes turn the show around for me, but if it doesn’t shrug oh well….

Want to hear some original Star Wars stuff?  Go check out our friend Crystal Storm’s audio drama “Legacy” in your podcatcher of choice!

– PCR