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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Book Review: December 2010 + Zombie Books!

  • Rot & Ruin: Grade A
  • Patient Zero: Grade C- (Same author as Rot & Ruin but very clinically written and boring at times)
  • Handling the Undead: The author of the novel that inspired both Swedish and U.S. film's Let The Right One In/ Let Me In (boring).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So Cal Comic Con 2010 Review

Mr. Monster attended the First Annual Southern California Comic Con (aka SoCal Comic Con) on Saturday, November 6, 2010 and it was a nice little show (actually a bit bigger than the one held monthly at the Rose Bowl...more dealers here).

Photos courtesy of SPDREYCER, more here.

Getting To The OBGC!
Arrived around 11:00 a.m. expecting slim pickings of vendors and guests since it was being held at the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club (Northern San Diego Country) and saw the parking lot a bit packed. The place was busier than I was expecting which was cool and a lot more dealers than I thought would be there. Cost to get in was $3.00 which was fair and you could also buy $1.00 raffle tickets for three drawings held in the afternoon for comics and comic-related prizes.

On their bare-bones website it stated you could get in for free with a flyer from one of the local comic shops, too bad it didn’t list which shops you could pick them up?

Selling The Wares
There were good amount of sellers with CGC and GA/SA items as well as two to three smaller sellers letting go from their collection with .25 and .50 bins that I was able to picked up a few fillers from. Not any rare finds in the cheap-o bins, though I was able to finally get The Demon Annual #2 (First Hitman appearance) from a dollar bin.

If you’re into pre-modern comics then this was a nice little show to attend since those were the types of dealers you would find setting up the longer tables for along with CGC graded items. A few sellers were there with the usual 40-50% off TPBs and some comic-related toys. I was able to pick up a Hot Wheels Batmobile (first Keaton film) for $2.00!

Show Me The Art . . .
Now I stopped by the show since I was going to be in the area anyways and what got me to attend was a couple of artist attendees that were going to show up there.

First off was Mr. Bob Layton who was the Iron Man artist from my days of reading that comic. I was able to get Bob Layton to sign some of my Valiant books he wrote and/or inked and an Iron Man comic as well. He had a table with some of his prints and was doing commissions as well. He had a portfolio with some original art for sale including art from the un-published Iron Man: The End. Unfortunately Mr. Monster’s budget wouldn’t allow for the purchase of Iron Man art that day, one day though!

There were a group of Wildstorm artists in the alley there and I was able to pick up an OA from artist/inker Richard Friend of a piece from the Batman/Superman comic and got him and Whilce Portacio to sign the piece as well. Wish I had more disposable cash to get some Iron Man OA from Bob and some other OA from the alley artists.

Show’s Over Folks
For a first showing it turned out pretty well and if the event producers decide to continue hopefully they can attract even more vendors and industry people. The only thing I could suggest is to give paying attendees at least a raffle ticket as part of the admission price instead of buying it separately. Since I didn’t expect to be there during the three raffle times (starting around noon to the end of the show at 5-ish) there was no particular incentive for me to buy one if I had to stick around to win something so when there was a drawing I didn’t even pay attention. Give attendees some raffle tickets along with their entry purchase to keep the audience excited and they can buy additional tickets if they want to increase their chances.

Overall a nice small con and hopefully they repeat it and get some other cool artists like Bob, Whilce and the Wildstorm team too in the future!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Long Beach Comic Con 2010 Event Review

Mr. Monster went to Long Beach Comic Con 2010 on Friday, Oct. 29th and had a pretty good time.
Goth-Harley Quinn & Black Mask (Left). Star Wars Honda Del Sol-style (Right)

Ticket Registration Woo-Hah!
On some online comic boards there were those writing about their online registration experience and bad ticketing information after you bought it online, it was pretty bad on-site too. Got to the convention around 2:00 p.m. and saw a line at the ticketing booth, I thought that was for the people who were paying for the tickets online...nope, those were the pre-registrants.

If you pre-registered online you had to get in line, and for me it was a 20-30 minute wait. BUT if you didn't buy it ahead of time, you were directed to the cash or credit card booth which had NO line. So it was better to not even pre-register there. Man, between LBCC and Wizard World Anaheim (jacked up “convenience” fee on-site) you would think they would have learned better line and pricing management from San Diego Comic Con.

For Friday’s event there was only one booth for pre-registrants, but there were two booths for on-site payees (one cash, one credit), and even one booth for Exhibitors (which the person manning it was just lonely sitting there). I overheard the a volunteer saying that the opening of the con earlier that day was messy with bad line management. LBCC needs to step it up with figuring out that online registrants should be FASTER in getting into the Con than payees just...I mean that's what they had on their Buy Tickets page noting pre-registration should be a good deal faster.

Oh, and I think on-site parking at the structure was $10 or $15 bucks. The parking signs for the Con pointed to the three-level structure at the back side of the Con so you had to hoof it a couple blocks across the street and then back up the stairs to get in.

Bring On The Show!
The Hulk angry about the Con pre-reg line as well.
Overall the Long Beach Comic Con was nice once you got inside. The last time I was at the Long Beach Convention Center was six years ago when Wizard World held their first So. Cal event there before moving to Anaheim. Outside at the front entrance of the Convention Center were some Star Wars cosplayers as well as the semi-famous Honda Del Sol decked out as an X-Wing ship.

Compared with Wizard World Anaheim (WWA) earlier this year the show booths were more comic-related instead of celebrity. mini-SDCC lite, though I did like WWA since they had more quarter bin booths vs. the mostly dollar booths (I'm a bargain reader). Some of the celebrities there were the WWF/WWE Honky Tonk man, Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, currently on Supernatural t.v. series) and couple others that I didn’t really know too well. The celebrity signing booths were set up in a circular manner and probably had 7-8 booths, small in comparison to the three long double-sided rows of booths at WWA.

Original Art and Autographs
The Justice League hanging out.
Lots more artists at LBCC as well and picked up some nice OA from a couple of them and got some signed comics as well. This was the first show I brought some of my comics to get signed by some of the show attendees though not all of them appeared that Friday (ie. Rob Liefield, Mark Waid, etc.). I did get in line for a couple of the set-time signings for both writer Jeff Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman for All Seaons) and creator/artist Mike Mignola (Hellboy).
The signing for Jeff Loeb took me 20-25 minutes since there were a couple groups of fans that brought a box, and I do mean a BOX, of comics for him to sign. I’m guessing he signed about 50+ comics for each three people (flippers/resellers) there. I grossed to one of the other people in line about them bringing in their entire collection but this fellow collector (both of us along with the rest in line had maybe 1-3 items to sign) said it was expected since they don’t put limits on amounts to sign for such a small Con and since Loeb’s a writer they’re generally o.k. with signing tons of stuff. Not cool with me, either impose a limit or have those with more than 10+ items do it at the end. Waiting that half hour wastes my attendee time and I PAID to be there and not wait in line when I could be elsewhere in the hall.

Thankfully the signing for Mike Mignola was a lot better. I expected his line to be even longer since he’s creator of the famed Hellboy series and a cool artist in his own right. I only brought a couple old Phantom Stranger comics to sign and bumped into the signing area near the end of his signing time and saw there was only about two to three people in line. I asked one of the show volunteers (lots of them there and pretty good in answering questions) if the line for Mike was long earlier and he said no. I got Mr. Mignola to autograph my two comics (will bring the remaining two left in the mini-series next time) and asked him if he could sketch a Spectre on one of my blank comic covers. Mind you this was the first time I ever asked an fully-published artist at a show for a sketch. Mike asked if the Spectre had a moustache, which I replied the Corrigan version did not but the new Crispus Allen did. He did a quick marker sketch for me of the hooded Spectre. I’ve since read Mike doesn’t sketch at bigger shows like SDCC, so this was a cool treat being last in line for once.

I was able to get a Blackhawk comic signed by Howard Chaykin, Wetworks #1 by Whilce Portacio and a Swamp Thing comic by Bernie Wrightson. Unfortuneately Mr. Wrightson doesn’t do sketches at Cons anymore (one of the few I would’ve paid for a quick sketch) but had some preliminary ST panel art for sale there.

One of the cool things about the LBCC from the days I attended Comic Cons (7+ years ago) is now I’m into original comic art and this show had a good amount of artists to pick up items from. The show had artists tables separated into opposite areas of the Hall, some attendees didn’t like this but I felt it helped make the show feel bigger by letting you peruse artists a bit less claustrophobic.

I walked around the artist alley and being there still pretty early the area wasn’t too crowded and some artists not fully set-up yet. So one of the first tables that caught my attention was for artist Drew Johnson who was a penciller on the recent Wonder Woman, Supergirl comics and the past The Authority. He had his original art (OA) portfolio open and some nice un-published Wonder Woman caught my eye and so I checked out the other pieces in there. While the WW art was out of my budget I did pick up four nice Supergirl OA pieces and asked Drew to sign the accompanying comics they were in that I found later that show. He was also cool enough to do a quick Wonder Woman head sketch on my Zero Hour comic cover. Definitely an artist to check out and chat with. Next time I’ll have to see if I can pick up one of his Authority pages to add to the collection.

Near the end of the show I saw one of the cool recent Supergirl comic covers as part of an artist’s booth and found that the artist Joshua Middleton was drawing and had some OA for sale. I poked around and found one of the Supergirl comics he drew the cover for as well as a few issues of the Superman/Shazam: First Thunder that I waited in line for him to sign. As I waited for him to finish a commission piece I saw he had some nicely priced OA and I ended up picking three pieces out; one Metamorpho/Aquaman interior page (along with the comic) and a couple from the aforementioned Superman/Shazam series.

I do regret not waiting in line at Amanda Conner’s booth for a sketch since by the time I walked around and went back to her booth about 1-2 hours later she was packing up for the day. I also wish I found out how much Arthur Sudyam (Marvel Zombies cover artist) charged for sketches since I would have liked to get one done by him as well.

There was a booth by Cool Lines Artwork who are professional OA sellers and they brought tons of OA from different periods to gawk at. Too bad buying one of their pieces would pretty much cause me to default on mortgage payment otherwise they had some pretty iconic Silver Age- Modern covers to drool over.

Overall if you’re looking to meet artists, get OA or chat with industry people, LBCC is the place to be.

Took a couple photos of the few roaming cosplayers that day but there wasn’t too many running around. There were a few DC-group themed people and a big Zombie-Hullk there. There was a cool Firestar there as well. Ended up in line in front of a Gothic-themed Harley Quinn and Black Mask from the Batman series as well. From photos of the Con there were a tremendous more during the Saturday event.
The Books, It’s All About The Books!
Now Mr. Monster is generally a low-budget reader and what I liked about Wizard World Anaheim earlier this year were the couple big booths with 25 cent comics for sale. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be here at LBCC. Most booths were dollar or higher-end GA/SA sellers. There were only about a couple booths dealing with 50 cent bins that weren’t just junk 90s fodder. Picked up a big stack of items at one booth near the entrance for artist signings and fillers as well as one booth that had a few o.k. hardcover TPBs for 5 for $20.

The rest of the show were standard Con fare with toys, comic-related clothing, etc. Few booth babes there, but again this was a thin-Friday crowd. I was able to circle the entire hall in about 45 minutes but with thorough digging spent 4-5 good hours there.

That’s All Folks
Good times there apart from the ticketing fiasco, should be back next year!
Sergio Aragones signing at Hi De Ho Comics.
P.S. Attached a shot of Sergio Aragones (MAD magazine writer, Groo creator, artist) who was signing at Hi De Ho Comics in Laguna Beach today as well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Comic Books: Trade Paperback & Graphic Novel Reviews

Books of Doom
Captain America: Red Menace
Captain America: The man with no face   
Justice League of America: Team History
Thor and the Avengers    
Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk
World War Hulk

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Event Reviews: Rose Bowl Comics & Collectibles Show (Pasadena, CA)

Went to the Rose Bowl Comcs & Collectibles Show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. It is located inside the Rose Bowl grounds and is part of the large Rose Bowl Flea Market event, so you will have to pay the $8.00 admission fee to get in; the parking is free but be prepared for the crowds.

The actual Comics area is located right in the main entrance area to the left and is situated under the Rose Bowl area along an underground passage way in a room location unlike the rest of the flea market. The rooms is roughly the size of a class room and had about 15-20 vendor tables mainly selling comics and toys. A good majority though were toys that were modern and comics for $1.00. I popped in to check it out and didn't see anything that was that different than what you could see at the Frank & Sons Collectibles show in the City of Industry. 

I did pick up four 25 cent comics to help fill in some gaps in my run. Several of the dealers had Silver Age and Copper age books for sale and some 50% off TPB (but none that was of interest to me). The event is pretty sparse so I don't recommend going to the Flea Market just to attend the show but more like a side-trip if you decide to check out the entire Rose Bowl market which is huge. It was pretty hot today so be prepared with drinks or you'll be paying $5.00 for a lemonade slushie from vendors there. Found a few vendors in the main market area with comics varying in ages, but were priced way above what they should go for, for example 90s glut comics for $1.00 which wasn't even worth it for haggling.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Comic Books: Trade Paperback & Graphic Novel Reviews

Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn
The Flash: Rebirth
Tiny Titans: Welcome to the Treehouse
The Sandman presents. The furies     
Strange tales
The stuff of legend         
Arkham Asylum : madness
Greek Street: Blood Calls for Blood
The Stuff of Legend
Arkham Asylum: madness
Strange Tales (Marvel)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Comic Books: Trade Paperback & Graphic Novel Reviews

Recently read TPBs:
Swamp Thing : love in vain
Swamp Thing : reunion
Swamp Thing : Earth to earth
Swamp Thing : a murder of crows
Swamp Thing : the curse
Saga of the Swamp Thing 
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen : black dossierLeague of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Century, 1910
Superman. Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow? 
DC universe : the stories of Alan Moore
Top 10 : the forty-niners
Tom Strong: Terra Obscura
Tom Strong's terrific tales
Supreme : the return
Supreme : the story of the year
Superman: Brainiac
Superman, New Krypton
Superman. The coming of Atlas
Superman : Kryptonite
Superman, Batman. Vengeance
Superman, Batman. Enemies among us
Superman, Batman. Absolute power
Superman, Batman. Supergirl
Superman, Sacrifice
All-star Superman
Superman : secret identity
Superman : the wrath of Gog
Superman for tomorrow
Batman. Battle for the cowl
Batman. Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader?
Batman R.I.P
All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder
Batman : lovers & madmen
Batman, detective
Batman. : Death and the city   
Batman and son
Batman : fear itself
Batman : hush returns  
Batman : under the hood. Vol. 1 & 2    
Batman. War drums
Batwoman: Elegy
Final crisis
Justice League of America
JLA : world without a Justice League
Infinite crisis
I can't believe it's not the justice league
Identity crisis
Green Lantern : rage of the Red Lanterns
Green Lantern. Secret origin
Green Lantern : the Sinestro Corps war. Volume one & two
Green Lantern. Revenge of the Green Lanterns
Green Lantern : rebirth  
Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn 
Secret invasion
Secret invasion : Runaways/Young Avengers
The mighty Avengers
The road to civil war
Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways
Avengers disassembled. Chaos 

Will post some min-reviews and rating when I get a chance.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Free Comic Book Day Recap: May 1, 2010 Review (Orange County, CA Edition)

Review: First time I have attended a Free Comic Book Day event after starting to slowly get back into reading comics. For those not in the know, FCBD, is a day held once a year where people can go to their local comic book shop (usually) to choose and pick comics selected for them to take home for free. 

You get a selected group of comics from different publishers that offered reduced prices to the comic shops to try an entice readers to get into comics, so it's a win-win situation for both the publication and stores to try and woo new/returning readers into checking out comics books...for free.

Check the website for a list of the available comics you can choose. Some are full comic stories, others samplers or preview versions of stores giving you a snippet of a story with the continuation available if you buy the full comic. The free comics usually have "Preview" or "Free Comic Book Day" on top of the cover, so these aren't the same as the regular comics off the shelves. Some of the free comics are reprints of recent stories, or short stories to get readers into a story arc.

Pay attention when you go to your comic shop as some limit how many of the free comics you can choose. Some allow only one comic, while others more depending on how many they ordered. So if you want to try a few extra comics, you may need to visit a couple shops to get more reads. 

I found the promotion of FCBD a great way to re-introduce myself and other back into comics and also get to visiting their local comic shops (these are available online) to peruse the aisles and possibly purchase event more comic-related items when stopping to pick up the free issues.

Local Orange County, CA Reviews on Free Comic Book Day 2010:

ALAKAZAM COMICS - Irvine: My first stop of the day, right before noon. Store is located near UC Irvine and in the adjacent outside shopping center. The comic store is not particularly big, just almost the size of a living room. There was a good selection of toys and new issues on the wall, they also have a shelf of graphic novels available for rent...good idea. Not too much to say of their back issue bins, a few long boxes but I did pick up a few of their 3 for $1 to check out some recent and 80s reads. 

For FCBD they allowed one comic per person and had a good amount of comics to select, mainly the super heroes.

COMICS TOONS 'N' TOYS- Tustin: Located off the 55/5 freeways, this shop is tucked away in a corner of a small strip mall. From the  outside it looked small, but when you walk through the doors it is a pretty big location with a long wall of the most recent comics and plentiful back-issue bins in two rooms as well as a large variety of toys and collectibles. Picked up a couple back-issues from their 50-cent bin, and may come back again just to look around more thoroughly.

They were very generous here for FCBD and allowed visitors to choose a total of five comic books with almost what seemed like the entire FCBD publication assortment that I didn't see at any of the other stores I visited, I was even able to get the Marvel "War Machine" HeroClix that I never spotted elsewhere. During the noon time, there was a medium-sized line, but was kept happy by having the very nice artist Deanne Trippe draw free sketches for the customers in line. Check out Dean's portoflio and see his cool work, reminds me very much of Darwyn Cooke's style. I first became aware of this artist through his simple yet endearing image of Supergirl from this io9 article 

Good store, excellent FCBD selection list, free sketch, lotsa comics and toys. Score one for Comics Toons N Toys.

COMIC QUEST - Lake Forest: My usual local shop located right off the 5 fwy. Excellent selection of new comics, medim-sized back issue bins (though mostly recent titles only), and half the store is for gaming, so your D&D and Magic people check this out too. Nice quarter bins for perusing titles on the cheap, they do mark the UPC with a Sharpie though.

For FCBD they allowed up to three comics per person and pointed out certain titles people might be interested in, which is great for people not in the know and looking for "funny", "super hero", or "kid friendly" titles.

COMICS UNLIMITED - Westminster - Got to this store just past 4 p.m., so late int he day. They advertised the event so was very disappointed that by the time I got there all the FCBD comics were gone with only the BOGO Simpsons and a couple others available. Disappointing to say the least.

I went specifically to check their special 20 for $5 comics and it ended up just being four boxes of really, really, crappy 1980s books. The only discount they had was 25% back issues and some graphic novel discounts. Nothing spectacular at all for such a large store with a good location in a prime shopping center. it would have been nice if they at least reduced their back-issue bin prices to tempt customers into buying back-issues. They did have an artist signing there too.

Walked out empty handed here.

Conclusion: See you next Free Comic Book Day 2011!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Theater Review: Dreamgirls at the OCPAC

Description: Direct from the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York City, Dreamgirls comes to the Center in a brand new, sensational stage production. Full of onstage joy and backstage drama, Dreamgirls tells the rags-to-riches story of a 1960s Motown girl group and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune. Dreamgirls features the unforgettable hits "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," "One Night Only," and "Listen."

Review: Went to see the musical after watching the film on dvd recently. Originally paid for tickets on the third tier at the Orange County Performing Arts Center for $50 a piece. Once arriving at the theater and going up to the top level to get to our seats, was approached by an usher and swapped our tickets for a second tier seating. This has never happened before, last time we actually got bumped front row seats to a mid-seat location when the OCPAC mis-judged seating for the Phantom of the Opera and we ended up sitting further away when I specifically wanted front row seats. We didn't ever get an apology or comped seats for future shows, so getting slightly nicer seating for Dreamgirls was unexpected.

So we were on the second, final week of the run in Costa Mesa and there were a good many seats empty. A lot of the third tier and even the back rows of the main floor remained empty. The show itself was very good with great performances all around.

Notably was Syesha Mercado, a second runner-up from American Idol, playing Deena (the role played by Beyonce in the film). The actor playing James Early (the Eddie Murphy role) was great and a show stealer with all the jumping and movement. The actor playing the manager (Jaime Foxx role) reminded me very similar to the film actor with a similar sounding voice. Dynamic stage set-up with lots of moving backdrops and video used. It was nice to see the musical and compare the differences with the movie and song lists.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Monday, April 26, 2010

Golf Equipment: Mr. Monster's Golf Equipment History Checklist

List of Mr. Monster's inventory of golf items since starting golf back in 2006 that I can remember.

Cougar Power Cat -10.5 reg. flex
Pinemeadow Tour780-10.5 reg. flex
Top Flite HCT Tour-10.5 reg. flex
TaylorMade R7 Draw with stiff flex Aldila NV shaft
Intech Ripper-10.5 reg. flex
Cleveland HiBore -10.5 reg. flex, gold shaft
Macgregor MacTec NVG2-10.5 reg. flex
Cleveland HiBore XLS-10.5 reg. flex with Graffalow ProLaunch Blue shaft
Nicket 4DX Draw (9.0) with Aldila NV shaft

Hybrids: 8
Cougar Power Cat 3 & 5
Pinemeadow Command #3
Pinemeadow Excel #4
Top Flite HCT Tour 5
TaylorMade Rescue Mid 3 & 4
Nickent Genex 3DX Ironwood 2

Fairway Woods: 5
Cougar Power Cat 3 & 5 wood
Top Flite HCT Tour 3 & 5 wood
Macgregor MacTec NVG2 3 wood

Irons: 3
Cougar Power Cat 5-PW
Top Flite HCT Tour 6-PW
Titleist 775cb 5-SW

Wedges: 11
Cougar Power Cat PW & SW
Top Flite HCT Tour PW & SW
Cleveland 588 Tour Action SW & LW
Titleist 775cb GW & SW
Wilson Harmonized SW
Nickent 3DX SW
Nicklaus Bear Trap SW

Putters: 8
Cougar Power Cat blade
Top Flite HCT Tour blade
Knight EZ Roll ZR10
RAM Laser EV1
Wilson Alignment 3000
TaylorMade Monza Roza
Never Compromise GM2 Exchange 3
Arnold Palmer P-101

Golf Shoes: 4
Dunlop brown/white saddle
Top Flite IN04-57 white sneaker
FootJoy Impulse
Nike Dri-Fit black

Golf Bags used: 7
Cougar Power Cat stand bag
Top Flite HCT Tour stand bag
Taylor Made F1 stand bag
Deluxe Sunday Golf Bag by Wilson
Fila Sunday bag
Spalding leather cart bag
Viper by Hippo Golf stand bag

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Toy Review: Astro Boy- The Movie Toy (2009)

Comment: Got these two Astro Boy- The movie toys at the Dollar Store today. They had these two and also Astro Boy dressed in a blue track suit and an armored-police looking guy (never sae the movie).

Quality is bad, so these may be rejects since most of the regular Astro Boy figure had bad paint applications.  Can't tell what figure collection this is from since it's not the 3 3/4" set on the Jazwares site. Picked it up since I needed an Astro Boy figure for the collection, otherwise if it was $2 i would've passed due to the bad QA on these.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movie Review: Legion (2010)

Comments: Those of you expecting some exciting Angels vs. Angels vs. Demons movie with lots of cool action, this isn't the movie for you.

You get a lone angel (who cuts off his wings at the beginning of the movie anyways) who acts more like The Punisher or 80's cliche action stars with dual-guns bein wielded. Think more of the movies where people are trapped in a building with terrorists/mafia/aliens/zombies trying to get in and instead make them evil angel possed people.

There's one neat battle of a steel-winged angel versus our lead non-winged angel and cheesy wannabe Mary & Joseph, Messiah plot. The big action and scariness you see in the movie trailers are pretty much it. There's a lot of scenes of the characters acting very stupidly and getting themselves killed.

If you've seen the Prophecy direct-to-dvd series from the late 90s and 2000's, this would fit right in it. The two angels pretty much act like any Rambo/Predator hero-types but without the charisma.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Movie Review: Planet Hulk DVD (2010)

Comments: The Planet Hulk movie DVD is a screen adaption of the comic book saga of the same name. I’ve previously read the original Planet Hulk graphic novel so I do remember the elements of the series which could be described as Hulk meets the Gladiator-movie genre. So if armored monsters clashing in an arena is your thing, then this animated movie is for you.

There’s a brief bit in the beginning of the film that explains why the Hulk is being sent to another planet by the big-time heroes of Earth. If you do not know the storyline or keep up with what’s happened in the comic books, then you’ll probably not get why Hulk is skyrocketing out of earth and why he’s all of a sudden able to speak intelligently and not the behemoth of old.

There’s some changes in the storyline to accommodate the running time and character use. Planet Hulk covers roughly the beginning and middle of the Planet Hulk storyline with Hulk landing on an alien planet, fighting in the coliseum, and taking over the planet. The portion of the post-“King Hulk” storyline from the comic series isn’t covered and so if sales are good, there might be a sequel. There are some cameos from the comic series in the background and due to licensing issues probably, the Silver Surfer is replaced with Beta Ray Bill (aka Horse-Alien looking Thor).

The action is well-made and there’s a bit of drama going on. Pretty violent, so watch out for the kiddies. Animation style matches previous Marvel films like the recent Iron Man and Dr. Strange films.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Monday, February 8, 2010

Furnture Review: Hemnes 8-Drawer Dresser by Ikea

Comments: Well it was finally time to ditch some old furniture in the bedroom and what ended up being on the list to buy was a dresser to class up the joint a bit. The strategy so far was to keep the look of the home in the dark wood color so that was the first step in the search. So where’d Mr. Monster end up at? Ikea of course. Found the Hemnes 8-Drawer dresser for $299 with its dark wood and silver knobs that should fit the look perfectly.

Trudging through the store the drawer comes in two long boxes. Assembly for the drawer I highly recommend having a second person with you to help hold up sections of the piece as you bolt on the parts. Now putting together furniture is not Mr. Monster’s cup of tea, so putting this bad boy up took about three hours with two items installed incorrectly and one item missing from the box.

First, the instructions called for the base (dark brown front) that was instead installed in the back of the body so I had to spray paint that piece to match since by the time we saw the piece was backwards, all the bolts were in place an could not be pulled out. Second, there was four bolts that were a bit different from the rest, we missed it and ended up digging into the middle center of the wood since the normal bolts were too long, that was our bad. Out of all the parts, there was one screw that was missing from the packaging (we looked), so ended up going to Home Depot (Lowe’s cost $2 more and we just needed one), to get the missing bolt which had to be purchased in a four-pack.

All in all it’s a nice piece. Would have been nicer without the mistakes and missing piece. Not bad for $300.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Golf Equipment Review: Arnold Palmer P-101 Blade Putter

After getting into golf there are things you start to notice that differs it from other games, mostly how equipment changes on an almost monthly basis and trying to not get addicted and spending money out the wazoo. I’ve done counts before and I was really into buying new clubs once in a while. I t wasn’t uncommon to get a new driver every few months or try out new putters or even get multiple golf bags. After moving and consolidating all my gadgets, I decided to dwindle the equipment and use the money to pay greens fees.

I purchased a Never Compromise GM2 Exchange 3 putter a few years back that just sat in my back-up bag and ended up selling it. I went to a local thrift shop last summer and came across some old putters and saw one in a ratty condition but had good potential. I was previously using a Taylor Made Monza Roza mallet putter and wanted to try a blade more regularly. I purchased the Arnold Palmer P-101 putter and took it home to clean off the well-used putter. With the nicks on the head I ended up using some filler paint to cover the blemishes and was able to soap and clean off the original Golf Pride grips that was still in remarkable condition.

Comments: The Arnold Palmer P-101 blade putter has a classic look to it, stands out with a black-colored head with the trademark Arnold Palmer umbrella logo on the far left of the face. It’s heel-toe weighted and the neck is a nice flowing non-plumbers neck flange. I believe the one I have is 33”-34”. The feel is a bit above average and allows for goof swing speed management with a good overall weight to it. Off-hits do result in shorter length, due to the age (I don’t know how old), it’s not one of the recent putters touting high MOI.

It sure is s beauty with its simple and elegant look that I’ve had other golfers comment on the putter’s look that I haven’t had with others. If you like classic blade putters that you don’t often see (*Scotty Camerons* cough), check your local used bins for this club.

Score: 4 out of 5

Monday, January 25, 2010

Golf Equipment Review: Cleveland HiBore XLS Driver

Comments: After selling my last MacTec NVG2 driver (see last equipment review), I decided to go back to the HiBore line from Cleveland after keeping the original version in my bag for close to a year (longest driver in use!), so I ended up with the 2008 Cleveland HiBore XLS version.

I previously tried the driver at a demo day and got good distance and low flight at the time. There was a sale at the local Dick’s Sporting Goods and couldn’t pass up the chance to get another 10.5 degree HiBore with an upgraded aftermarket shaft. Dick’s had for the same price as the stock Cleveland Fujikura Gold, either (in Regular flex) Aldila NV or Graffaloy ProLaunch Blue. I previously had an Aldila NV on my TaylorMade r7460 Draw driver and decided to try the ProLaunch Blue since the shaft seem a bit stiffer since I was looking for a lower launching ball flight.

The one thing I missed from the original HiBore that the XLS didn’t was the great metallic crisp sound off the face. The XLS had a deeper, more hollow sound to it. The sound isn’t as bellowing and muffled as the MacTec NVG2, but doesn’t have the “wow” factor as the original sound. The head is a huge 460cc and the deep scoop and alignment aid is nice. Red/silver graphics on the sole are nice as well.

For performance issues, the XLS is a good follow-up that has finally gotten me to consistently go 235+ yards on hits with some pure hits going up to 245-259 yards. Sweet spot is definitely larger and provides forgiveness that I needed. I routinely hit off center and shots still give considerable distance.

Haven’t been able to compare the XLS to the XLS Monster or the previous XL so I can’t compare the leap from the all-black XL or the huge Monster head.

The Cleveland XLS is recommended for those looking for a good amount of forgiveness and require a sweet spot for off-center hitters. Check your local stores for good prices with upgraded shafts that you may be able to get for around $130.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Friday, January 15, 2010

Golf Equipment Review: MacGregor MacTec NVG2 Driver

Its been a while since I’ve done a golf equipment review, so for the new 2010 year I will try harder to give all you budget minded golfers my personal reviews on value-priced equipment that I’ve personally tried. So here’s the first golf review of the decade!

Comments: Recently replaced a few months back my previous MacGregor MacTec NVG2 10.5 degree driver. While I really like my MacGregor NVG2 3-wood, the driver just didn’t have the pop or additional distance I was hoping for.

The MacTec NVG2 3 wood is a blast to hit, crisp metallic sound, thin face for hitting off the deck and provided me a good 210-225 yards off the tee. I was hoping for the same magic when I got the driver and the honeymoon did not last long. The NVG2 driver afforded me approximately about 5-10 additional yards only when I hit the face on the sweet spot. If I mis-hit the shot (which I almost always do), then the carry would just be the same as the 3-wood. The sound of the hit was also totally different than the fairway wood, while the 3-wood had a nice high metallic sound, the driver had a low, almost tinny sound to it. The best sound I’ve had from a driver was the first generation Cleveland HiBore with the smashing metallic sound that made even my bad drives sound like pure zingers. The MacTec NVG2 driver lacked the sound and performance overall.

For those looking for traditional looks, the NVG2 line was not for you. It had an almost all chorme-like silver exterior with rivot-looking weights on the sole. The Fujikura shaft was a Regular flex for me and did an ok performance. Grip though was a minus, MacGregor used a corded grip, which for oft-tight grippers like me would cause blisters. As mentioned, the sweet spot on the face was small compared to other 440cc faces I’ve tried, causing hooks/draws when not properly hit, odd for a game improvement driver to not have such forgiveness.

The headcover had a nice black look with a zipper so a player didn’t have to struggle pulling the cover over. While I’ve read others say the zipper scratched the gofl shaft, that didn’t happen to me.

If you would like to try out this driver, you should be able to find a good price for it as it was not a hot seller. Since the performance wasn’t for me, I do recommend the looks of it, I’m into the modern look and its mechanical silver exterior looks like a space ship on its way to knock your golf ball into outer space.

Score: 2 out of 5

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