Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween 2011: Priceline Negotiators score epic win as William Shatner re-Tweets our costumes!

What a crazy day this has turned into!! A little while ago we were at Woods of Terror in nearby Guilford County and had our photo taken with Addy Miller, AKA the cute lil' zombie girl from the very first episode of The Walking Dead. But before we did that, this afternoon there was the Trunk or Treat event at Fairview Baptist Church. What a great opportunity to pull off something that I had the idea for way back in the spring...

So here we are: Kristen Bradford as Naomi Pryce, Yours Truly as William Shatner, and Steven Glaspie as Big Deal from the TV commercials for Priceline!

But that's not all! After Kristen posted that pic onto her Facebook page I immediately Twitter-ed about it.

And William Shatner himself re-tweeted it!!!

Click on the link, and behold the visual record of our epic geek win...

Honestly don't know what else to say. Just... wow. To be re-tweeted by The Shatner. The Shatner is not a mere mortal: he is... a force of nature. And tonight The Shatner beheld one of my best friends, my girlfriend and I as the Priceline Negotiators.

The Shatner saw me portraying him and acknowledged that before all creation.

Whoa.

I think I gotta lay down after that...

THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS hit DVD this week!

But I got to see it last month at a/perture cinema in Winston-Salem, along with Forcery co-producer Ed Woody and star Chad Austin, who appears a LOT throughout The People vs. George Lucas as, well... George Lucas!

The screening was on September 12th. Why didn't I write about it sooner? Because it still hasn't sunk in yet: that was my film Forcery, the idea for which hit just over ten years ago (I began writing the script on the night before 9/11), and my most life-long best friend playing George Lucas on the big screen as part of this multi-award winning documentary that has played at film festivals all around the world!

But as surreal as the experience was, that was mild compared to watching Melody Hallman Daniel's performance as Frannie Filks from Forcery, which The People vs. George Lucas is exceptionally peppered with! In fact, director Alexandre Philippe has told me that at every screening he has attended around the globe, that Melody's performance is a huge hit and has never failed to arouse cheering and clapping. There certainly was at the screening we attended last month! In fact, her rant about "Greedo never shot first!" even made it into the pages of Time Magazine this week!

Apart from seeing our own lil' film in it, The People vs. George Lucas is quite an intriguing work examining the Star Wars phenomenon, its creator and the love/hate relationship that Lucas has enjoyed(?) with the saga's fans (particularly since the Special Editions started the "retconning" ball rolling in 1997). Philippe doesn't take any decisive sides in his film, but rather lets the viewer decide on his or her own. As far as this viewer is concerned, I learned quite a few new things... as well as was led to consider quite a lot of what it means to be a Star Wars fan from a fresh perspective.

It's a fascinating film, and it's now available on DVD at Amazon.com and probably a few of the big box retailers. Highly recommended!

Giant LEGO minifig washes ashore in Florida

An eight-foot tall LEGO "minifigure" was found on the beach at Siesta Key Village, Florida earlier this week...

From the story at Boing Boing...

Boing Boing reader Jeff Hindman says he chanced across a "giant Legoman washed ashore" today while strolling on the beach at Siesta Key Village, Fla.

"It is very big, about 8 ft. tall," Hindman said. " ... I worked with Lego in my younger days, but this piece is amazing, it's still there on the beach."

A photo of the creature shows it beached on a sandbank, in otherwise good condition. On its chest is the message, "No real than you are."

This suggests it has the same origin as Lego men who washed ashore in Zandvoort, Holland, three years ago, and then in Brighton, England.

Doesn't look like the LEGO man is in any distress from his ordeal. I mean, look at how big his smile is :-P

Dude accidentally slices off arm with homemade guillotine

Hey Jenna St. Hilaire, hate to tell you this girl but your hometown is in the news again for all the wrong reasons...

A homeless man in Bellingham, Washington nearly became a nominee for the Darwin Award when the guillotine he was building in a wooded camp "unexpectedly" cut off his arm. At right you can see the photo that police released of the decapitation machine.

Feel free to post whatever jokes cross your mind about giving this guy a hand etc. But seriously: why was a homeless man building a guillotine at a campsite? And just look at that thing: it's easily one of the more sophisticated guillotines that I've seen built by a layman. Something like that takes some skills to pull off. As much as I have to wonder about his motive, I have to also wonder why he wasn't putting that kind of ability to work in carpentry or metalwork.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Tuesday evening reflection

The world tells us that we must be celebrity. God tells us that we can be legend.

The Knight Shift Seismic Forecast #2

Less than 24 hours following my most recent post regarding a theory I've been developing about seismic activity, Turkey was hit with a 7.2 earthquake.

In keeping with this blogger's goal of observation and collecting data, I will now state that if there is indeed validity to the theory, that there will be a significant possibility of severe seismic/geological activity within the next three to four weeks of this writing, with a chance of occurring much sooner. That seems to be the window of "opportunity" (for lack of a better word).

Harry Potter movies aparating away on December 29th

This has got to be the stoopidest marketing maneuver in the history of anything...

The folks at Warner Bros. are planning to remove all the Harry Potter movies from store shelves come December 29th. After that date, your only chance of getting Harry Potter on the shelves of your personal library (legally 'course) is to buy it secondary market a'la eBay.

Apparently Warners thinks that Disney's "Vault" model is the way to go with a film series that has already generated $12.1 billion. That should be enough money for anyone, right?

I haven't watched a Harry Potter movie since the fifth one, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, came out in theaters. Guess I could be honest and say that I've just been... waiting for the right time to revisit that film franchise (for a number of reasons). If that time comes in the near future, looks like I'm gonna have to buy the Blu-rays now and put 'em in the trunk for later. Not something I particularly care to do (also for a number of reasons).

Dumb, dumb, dumb business move. The one rationale that I've heard for Disney's treatment of the home market is that it allows for its movies to take advantage of whatever is the dominant technology at the time (VHS, then DVD, now Blu-ray etc.) I can't see how that possibly figures into Warner's strategy here. The only reason I can think of why the company is doing this, is to compel people to rush out and buy the Harry Potter movies as soon as they can for this holiday season.

Guess it'll be several more years before I or my children (Lord willing that I have any) will get to enjoy the Harry Potter series in the comfort of our own home...

Monday, October 24, 2011

I've had to watch last night's THE WALKING DEAD twice!

AMC's The Walking Dead has been firing on all cylinders from the first episode last year. This week's installment finally brought the story to Hershel's Farm: a place I'd been eager to see realized since I first began checking out the graphic novels.

Okay, watching it with the girlfriend last night, we had to shuffle the DVR back a couple o' times: when Daryl nonchalantly tells the walker to "Shut up" before coolly putting a crossbow arrow through its brain, and then the scene where Hershel tells Lori that he's a vet... as in, animal doctor and not a combat medic (the look in her eyes in that scene alone oughtta give Sarah Wayne Callies a best actress nomination at the Emmies).

Watching the episode again this afternoon, post the initial shock of yesterday evening's viewing, I gotta say: anyone else seeing a definite "faith versus hopelessness" vibe already in this season? Last week's season premiere had that full-bore already (even though that's the oddest Baptist church that I've ever seen: I mean, a crucifix in the sanctuary, no baptistery, and Orthodox-ish icons on the walls?!?). But it was Scott Wilson as Hershel Greene that really slammed it home last night. His quiet faith in God and his hope that things would get better in spite of how the entire world has seemingly gone down with no chance at all... well, I for one found it intensely refreshing, uplifting and encouraging.

This is why I love The Walking Dead so much. Yeah it's a show about a zombie apocalypse... but that's not what it's really about. It's about very realistic and sincere and frail human characters trying to keep going in the face of the very worst of circumstance. For my money, it's the best show on TV since Lost.

Can't wait for next week's episode! And for a certain friend of mine (name o' Michelle): are you sure that you still hate Shane after last night's chapter? :-P

Finally got my iPad 2 updated to iOS 5

The initial rush by everyone to update to iOS 5 along (has there ever been a file so large downloaded by so many at the same time?) with other factors kept me from upgrading my precious iPad to iOS 5 until this afternoon. But now that I've got it loaded... wowzers!!

The split keyboard alone is enough to compel me to tip my hat to the good folks at Apple. I'm also discovering that there are some new features on the camera (well, new to me anyway). Didn't have any problems updating: many people reported that stuff like contacts info etc. became lost during their own update procedures but happily, that time seems to have passed (something about how Apple's iTunes servers couldn't validate properly with all those folks attempting to install simultaneously).

Meanwhile I'm considering getting my first-ever smartphone, an iPhone 4S. Don't know if that means I'm officially "dumb" now or what... :-P

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Follow-up to previous post about seismic activity

On September 26th I wrote about a theory that I have been developing for some time now and in regard to that, there was a strong possibility of a moderate to severe earthquake happening in the near future. Well it's been almost a month since then and I thought it would be wise to revisit that prognostication...

There has been an increase in geological activity since I posted that, particularly around the Pacific Rim (the so-called "Ring of Fire"). In addition there have been numerous earthquakes in excess of 4.0 Richter throughout the American Southwest following the "forecast" (or whatever one wishes to call it) and now increasing volcanic activity in Iceland and a very interesting rise in earthquakes around El Hierro in the Canary Islands.

So what does this mean for my theory?

I suppose it could be some validation, but something like this still needs long-term data before I could comfortably say "Hey, this makes the possibility of earthquakes more likely to happen!" Although in the past month there has been one peer-reviewed and published journal study that kinda dovetails with this concept of mine.

So here's what I'm gonna do: I'm gonna keep watching this thing that I've been observing, and the next time the conditions are "favorable" (for lack of a better term), I'll make a note of it and we'll see what happens.

William Shatner sings "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Been quite busy behind the scenes here the past week or so folks, hence the sparsity of posts. Lots more coming soon, and that's a promise!

In the meantime, this oughtta tide y'all over for the weekend. It's Queen's classic song "Bohemian Rhapsody"... covered by William Shatner!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Libyan dictator is dead!

So sayeth various reports this morning...

I would spell out his name, but nobody seems to agree on HOW to spell it correctly in English! And my keyboard ain't so hot with Arabic. Me neither...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just saw the Season 2 premiere of THE WALKING DEAD

Ummmm...

WHAAAAAA...?!?!?!?!?

This was the best new television series last year. And after tonight's 90-minute season opener, this new one looks to be even better.

Just... wow!

Must. Watch. Again.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oops... forgot I had a blog

Been busy this week. I'll try to post some over the weekend if the cats will let me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It was a weird, WEIRD Saturday night!

So some friends and I went to "Weird Al" Yankovic's show in Charlotte on Saturday night, the latest stop during his new Alpocalypse concert tour.

And not for the first time (actually it's my third and I think Ed's ummm... fourth or fifth?), we got to meet Al :-)

Here's my filmmaking partner "Weird" Ed Woody with Al...

Here is good friend Marissa with Al! Okay, Marissa is, like, one of the most mature eighth graders that you will ever find. But on the trip to Charlotte yesterday she steadily began turning into this whole other person and when Al came out on stage Marissa went totally berzerko!! She is a bigtime Al fan and, well... you can imagine what happened when she got to meet her hero :-)

When we brought her back home at 2 a.m. I warned her father that he was going to see a Marissa that "I didn't know ever existed... but I mean that in a good way! She's just gonna be bouncing off the walls for the next few days" :-P

And finally, here is Yours Truly along with m'lady Kristen (proudly wearing her Nerd shirt which she ordered just for the occasion!) with Al...

Expect a write-up of the concert in the next few days (I'm still recovering/catching up on stuff), which was by far the most electrifying and fun concert that I've ever seen Al perform!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

And I'm thankful for it, too...

My own understanding of Christ will NEVER be YOUR standard for salvation!

(Just something that God put on my heart to write, at this very early morning hour.)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Charles Napier has passed away

It is being reported tonight that mega-talented character actor Charles Napier has passed away at the age of 75.

Napier was in a wazoo of stuff over the many decades that he was active, including The Silence of the Lambs and The Blues Brothers. But to many (including myself) he'll forever most be remembered as Adam: the "space hippie" in "The Way to Eden" episode of Star Trek.

Here's a montage of some of his work...

Thoughts and prayers going out to his family tonight.

Steve Jobs has passed away

Breaking everywhere right now.

Dear Steve, thank you. During your time in this world, you really did leave it a far better place.

Thoughts and prayers going out to his family tonight.

Sent from my iPad

My esteem for Sarah Palin just soared

The big news this hour is that Sarah Palin has announced that she will not be running for President in the 2012 election.

Here's the letter that she has sent out far and wide across the Intertubes...

October 5, 2011
Wasilla, Alaska

After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.

My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency. We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the “fundamental transformation” of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.

From the bottom of my heart I thank those who have supported me and defended my record throughout the years, and encouraged me to run for President. Know that by working together we can bring this country back – and as I’ve always said, one doesn’t need a title to help do it.

I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for President where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables. We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen the economy and allow the private sector to create jobs.

Those will be our priorities so Americans can be confident that a smaller, smarter government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people can better serve this most exceptional nation.

In the coming weeks I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House.

Thank you again for all your support. Let’s unite to restore this country!

God bless America.

– Sarah Palin

I've posted criticism of Mrs. Palin on this blog before. Mostly about why I couldn't vote for her in good conscience, given how she managed Wasilla when she was mayor. And I couldn't vote for her for President in light of how she surrendered her job as governor of Alaska.

But all the same, I've thought that Mrs. Palin, despite her mistakes, only had the best of intentions at heart. And reading this letter from her, my respect for her has risen considerably. I've no doubt that she stood a great chance of winning the election in 2012, and she had to have known that. To have given up that opportunity should evoke enormous pause among supporters and opponents alike.

I've believed for some years now that it takes a strong person of deep conviction and principle to not grasp the chance for power. And unless she has some ulterior motive in making this choice, I can't but give Mrs. Palin the benefit of the doubt and believe that she is adhering to her principles.

My biggest beef with her decision is that apparently she's already putting the kibosh on running as a third party candidate, stating that any third party would guarantee Barack Obama winning re-election.

Mrs. Palin, if you ever happen to read this, more than anything else I would feel morally obligated to tell you: unshackle yourself from partisan labels. America does not need party operatives anymore... none at all. This country needs visionaries who aren't defined and will not be defined by party affiliation. America needs leaders who seek after and trust God first, to the detriment of all institutions of this broken world.

Mrs. Palin, I don't think you are that visionary yet... but, I do sincerely believe that you could be.

Stop defining yourself as a Republican. Indeed, stop defining yourself as any kind of partisan.

Simply be defined by what God has made you to be.

In the end, that is nothing more and nothing less than any of us should aspire to become.

Harold Camping is back, saying end of world is really THIS month

Harold Camping is at it again. The on-air Christian evangelist who predicted that this past May 21st would herald the Rapture and the return of Jesus Christ (uhhhh, it didn't happen) is now saying that the Rapture will be on October 21st instead.

As for that failed May prognostication, here's what Camping's outfit has said...

What really happened this past May 21st? What really happened is that God accomplished exactly what He wanted to happen. That was to warn the whole world that on May 21 God’s salvation program would be finished on that day. For the next five months, except for the elect (the true believers), the whole world is under God’s final judgment. To accomplish this goal God withheld from the true believers the way in which two phrases were to be understood. Had He not done so, the world would never have been shaken in fear as it was.

Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on October 21, 2011, on the last day of the present five months period. On that day the true believers (the elect) will be raptured. We must remember that only God knows who His elect are that He saved prior to May 21.

Ummmmm... oooh-kaaaay...

And on the chutzpah-ish side of things, televange-pest Pat Robertson is telling his viewers to be wary of those like Camping who make false predictions. Click on the link to peruse a list of many of Robertson's own prophecies, none of which came to pass.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

If this is what "Occupy Wall Street" is about, I gotta agree

Have to confess that until tonight I haven't seen any rationale at all for the "Occupy Wall Street" protests going on right now in New York City. I mean, isn't part of the American dream having the freedom to get as rich as you want to be from honest hard work and taking risks and making investments on those risks?

Let me be more succinct: in my mind, the Wall Street protests are being driven by activists determined to bring about socialism, to the detriment of industry that has allowed this country to boast the highest standard of living of any nation in recorded history.

Is our country perfect? No... and it never will be either. There's always going to be room for improvement. But socialism has never proven itself in the long term to be a viable model and we would be wise to remember that.

However, tonight I was sent this video and, I have to agree with at least this young man who has made himself part of the demonstrations on Wall Street. Because he's not advocating socialism at all. Instead he's speaking in favor of honest government and a sound economy build on actual money... and not the fiat currency issued by the Federal Reserve!

I dare anyone to watch and listen to the following, and not be persuaded that this guy is 1000%, absolutely RIGHT!

It's 8 and a half minutes long, and some mature language... but well worth viewing.

Thanks to good friend Eric Smith for passing this along!

Popcorn Sutton's mythic moonshine now on sale. Yes, LEGALLY.

I kept meaning to post an extensive write-up about the Second Annual Popcorn Sutton Acoustic Jam, held in Maggie Valley, North Carolina two months ago. Guess it just sorta collided with some other stuff going on in my life at the time. But I have heard bunches from event organizers who were delighted at the turnout and now, there is serious talk afoot about making it an ongoing yearly festival. Maybe even one taking place across an entire weekend (and in the fall when it would be cooler :-)

Well anyhoo, here's the BIG news of the day, friends and neighbors!

Popcorn Sutton's Tennessee White Whiskey - AKA real honest-to-goodness moonshine - is now being sold in Newport, Tennessee! This is the real deal: made according to Popcorn's very own original recipe with the permission and blessing of his family, which is in a partnership with country music legend Hank Williams Jr. to bring Popcorn's legendary likker to store shelves for legal consumption.

(Longtime readers of this blog can rest assured, that I am already planning to make a border run to get some :-)

Here's the website for Popcorn Sutton's Tennessee White Whiskey, which currently leads only to an e-mail alert sign-up page. But rest assured: the good stuff is being sold as of this evening. That's the word from Popcorn's widow Pam Sutton and now, it is my good pleasure to spread the word :-)

Wanna see my girlfriend dance a Mambo in a "really sexy little tiny costume", along with a HARRY POTTER Viennese Waltz?!

This past weekend was the fall Showcase of the Arthur Murray Dance Studio at the Hotel Roanoke (in umm... Roanoke. Virginia. I think...). It went on most of the day and well into the night and it was a blast! I saw ballroom dancing that boggled my gray matter bigtime.

Here are two of them for your viewing pleasure. The first is none other than my girlfriend Kristen, in what the announcer describes as her "really sexy little tiny costume", performing a Mambo...

Now this next one, I really regret that I didn't get the first part of it because I was... well, confused about what they were doing initially. And then the first notes of "Harry's Wondrous World" from John Williams' score for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone began playing.

What followed was a Viennese Waltz perhaps unlike any other, performed by Beth Craighead and Mohammed Taher ...

For those curious, yes I am starting to learn ballroom dancing. A little of it so far anyway. Maybe when I begin taking lessons on a regular basis I might eventually post a video of me dancing a Rumba to "Imperial March".

A contemplation upon Christian license and liberty

There are orders of magnitude difference between a thing being unscriptural and that thing being ANTI-scriptural.

Just watched Apple's iPhone/iPod/iTunes iThingy...

Apple, yer a great company... but until y'all finally roll out iPod touch with 128 gigs of storage, I ain't letting go of my now four-year old iPod classic.

The iPhone 4s's new camera rocks though. That will be niiiiice on the next iteration of iPad.

Other than that - and the new Siri feature - it wasn't that big a deal, in my opinion. Oh well, maybe next September...