Sunday, May 12, 2013
Thanks to the wonders of social media, each Mother's Day I get to see hundreds of friends, co-workers, family and acquaintances on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ wish their mothers the very best; and each Mother's Day I am reminded of how my own mother was taken from me way too soon. Losing your mother at any age is tough, I imagine, but losing my mother before I had a chance to turn 30 or have children of my own was (and continues to be) especially difficult for me.
I have come to realize, however, that despite my loss, I have been extremely fortunate to have so many other great mothers and motherly figures in my life.
My sister Carmen has always been like a mother to me. She babysat my brother and I as kids. She wrote me letters and sent me money when I was in college. She took me out for my first legal beer after I turned 21. She's always been there for me and continues to be there for me, even as I'm nearing 40.
My stepmother, Audrey, always took care of us on the weekends when my brother and I would visit our dad. She was (and probably still is) a great cook and a good listener and she took good care of my father and kept him off our cases whenever he got in a particularly nasty mood.
My friend John's mother, Diane, was like a mother to me growing up. I practically lived at John's house after school and on the weekends and Diane always set a place for me at their dinner table and kept a box of my favorite cereal in their pantry for weekend breakfasts. I felt like family whenever I stayed in their home.
My sister Kelly, my sister Lee Ann, my Aunt Joan, my Grandma Murphy...all great mothers and mother figures for me growing up. I've watched my friends from High School and College become mothers over the years and I've enjoyed seeing the joy and happiness they get from being parents.
My mothers-in-law, Judi and Linda, both welcomed me into their families with open arms and, despite my faults, loved me like their own sons. Mothers really are wonderfully forgiving, aren't they? A mother's love makes the world go 'round.
Finally, I am thankful for my wife, Heidi...a mother to be. We are expecting our first child in the next month or two and I couldn't be happier. I know she will be a great mother, because she already is.
I guess what I'm trying to say is "thank you" to all of the great mothers in my life! I miss my mother, but I feel so lucky to have (and have had) so many other great mothers help me make it through these past 40 years...
Happy Mother's Day!
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Halloween is here! AMC is having Fear Fest all week, but if you have Netflix streaming and you're looking for a horror movie to watch that isn't all cut to hell and full of commercials, you're in luck!
The selection's not as good as last year, but there's still a pretty good variety of great horror movies you can check out on Netflix streaming to give your 2012 Halloween some thrills and chills...
Creature From The Black Lagoon - They're remaking this. Why? It's perfect the way it is...
The Mummy - Boris Karloff... 'Nuff said!
The Last House on the Left - Wes Craven's disturbing 1972 original.
The Car - Underrated! Made for TV movie about the Devil's ride!
I Spit on Your Grave - Not for everyone. Brutal. Still a classic exploitation horror movie.
John Carpenter (The Master of Horror) Films:
The Fog - Jamie Lee Curtis helps Carpenter again in a non HALLOWEEN role.
The Thing - One of the five greatest movies of all time, in my opinion.
Prince of Darkness - An underrated gem.
Ghosts of Mars - Gets better with age.
Village of the Damned - Christopher Reeve, Mark Hamill and Kirstie Alley!
Bonus: Non-Horror Classic Assault on Precinct 13!
Non-Glittery Vampire Movies:
Nosferatu (1929) - The original Max Shreck silent classic.
Dracula (1931) - Bela Lugosi's finest (darkest?) hour...
From Dusk 'Til Dawn (1, 2 and 3) - Quentin Tarrantino's new classic!
Dracula 2000 - Wes Craven has a lot of movies on this list...
Vamp - You need to see it to believe it.
Creepshow - The 80s classic still holds up today...
Creepshow 2 - Not quite as good as the original, but still pretty cool!
Waxwork - Lesser known gem. This one's a lot of fun!
Tales From The Hood - Terror from the bad side of town!
Black Sabbath (1963) - Three tales of terror from Horror's classic era.
Bonus: Every season of THE TWILIGHT ZONE is on Netflix streaming!
The Burning - One of many (and among the best) Friday the 13th inspired imitators.
Candyman - The original Tony Todd classic!
Satan's Little Helper - Underrated horror gem from 2004 with a Halloween theme...
Midnight Movie - Straight to video slasher fare with a Nightmare on Elm Street feel.
Thankskilling - A killer turkey? You gotta see this one to believe it...
Do a search for "Zombies" and you'll find all kinds of crap. And by crap, I mean CRAP.
Land of the Dead - is certainly watchable if you're desperate.
Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies - is surprisingly fun for a low budget, straight to video flick!
BONUS: Seasons 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead...
Modern and Miscellaneous:
Insidious - One of the scariest PG-13 horror movies ever...
The Relic - Classic creature feature!
Mimic - Another classic creature feature...
The Keep - Another long out of print gem.
The Hazing - A modern horror gem with Evil Dead type roots.
Slither - Creepy, modern creature feature. Good stuff!
Honorable Mention/Bonus Tracks:
Leprechaun: In The Hood - Oh yeah...
Pretty much every HELLRAISER movie from part 3 through 10!
There you have it! Netflix Streaming is a haven for horror. If you're in the mood for thrills and chills, you won't have to look far...
Happy Halloween, everyone! Have a good fright!
Monday, October 15, 2012
The cast, featuring Ethan Hawke, Fred Dalton Thompson and Vincent D'Onofrio is top notch. The direction and the atmosphere are superb. The script, while not perfect, doesn't disappoint...or fall apart at the end like most modern horror seems to do. It also doesn't suffer (much) from "stupid character syndrome."
I think the reason I feel such a special connection to this movie because I really related to Hawke's character...a struggling creative type who's worried about his family and his financial future while wondering if his career peaked 10 years ago. I found myself actually caring about the man and his family. I think that's what really drove this movie home for me.
If you're looking for a good scare this Halloween season, get out to the theater and see SINISTER. Oh, and if you're looking for something to watch at home on Netflix streaming, check out INSIDIOUS before it goes to Disc Only.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
I had a bit of trouble finding one. It seems everyone and their brother went out and bought one when it was released. I went from store to store for weeks trying to find it in stock, but every place was sold out. It reminded me of the old days, before the Internet and eBay of hunting from store to store for certain comic books or toys from a wave of action figures. It was both exciting and frustrating!
Finally I happened to go to Microcenter and the manager suggested I check the website on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for inventory and then do a store pickup option. I checked Monday and there was nothing, but Wednesday I hit the jackpot! By Wednesday afternoon, the Nexus 7 was mine!
So far, I love it. The display is beautiful. It's fast and responsive. It has great battery life. It doesn't run too hot. It's sturdy and not cheaply constructed. As with all Android devices, it has tons of cool apps and games available for it. AND, it came with $25.00 in Google Play money to buy new premium content! What's not to love?
It's great, but don't get me wrong...it's not perfect. I started writing this post using the Android BLOGGER app, but I was getting frustrated with their picture integration, so I decided to finish the post on my PC. Now that I'm an early adopter of the Nexus 7, I have no doubt the Nexus 7 2.0 will feature a better Blogger app to go along with more memory, a rear facing camera, more storage and an SD Card slot.
Unlike the $800.00 iPad, though, if a newer, better Nexus 7 comes out in a year, I'll actually be able to afford an upgrade.
I'm hoping to use it to get organized at work. There seem to be a ton of productivity apps, so I've been testing them out, looking for the best ones. If you have any suggestions for great apps, productivity or otherwise, please e-mail me or post them in the comments!
Monday, June 25, 2012
"I know you gentlemen have been through a lot. But when you find the time...I'd rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!" ~Garry
Happy birthday to John Carpenter's horror masterpiece THE THING, which debuted 30 years ago today (June 25th, 1982)! It's in my Top 5 movies of all time and some days it's even number 1, despite the lukewarm 2 1/2 star review Roger Ebert gave it when it came out...
I know there's at least one other guy who loves this movie as much as I do, and that's THIS GUY...the guy who made this awesome stop motion tribute to the film using G.I. Joe figures:
If you haven't seen this movie, you need to see it! If it's been more than a year since you've seen it, you need to see it again...
Happy 30th birthday to one damned amazing film! In another 30 years I have no doubt it will still be just as awesome...
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
I had a craving for something Mexican inspired, so I whipped up this little recipe on the fly. Let me know what you think!
Cheesy Taco Bake Recipe:
1 LB Ground Beef
1 Packet McCormick Taco Seasoning
1 Can Black Beans
1 Box Kraft Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese
1 Bunch Green Onions (Finely Chopped)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (Drained)
1 Can Rotel's Tomatoes & Chilis (Drained)
1 Can Sliced Black Olives (Drained)
1 Can Chopped Black Olives (Drained)
1 Bag Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
- Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain grease. Add taco seasoning, 1/2 cup water and black beans. Stir and simmer on low heat.
- In a separate, large pot, boil the Kraft macaroni noodles for 8 - 10 minutes as directed. Drain.
- Return noodles to large pot.
- Pre-heat Oven to 350 degrees
- Combine taco meat mixture with noodles in the large noodle pot. Add onions, tomatoes, Rotel's
- and black olives. Add Kraft cheese sauce and stir everything together in the large pot until well mixed.
- Spread mixture evenly into large glass baking dish. Top mixture with shredded cheese.
- Cover dish with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Serve with Tostitos or Fritos "Scoops" chips and enjoy!
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Kenn's Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole!
1 lb. Baked Chicken, Shredded
1 26 Oz. Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 7 Oz. Can Mushrooms Pieces & Stems (Drained)
1 12 Oz. Bag Broccoli, Frozen, Chopped
1 14.5 Oz. Box of Farfale Pasta (Or Rotini or Penne)
1 8 Oz. Bag Shredded Cheese (Cheddar or Colby Jack)
1 2.75 Oz. Packet Pioneer Brand Peppered Gravy Mix
- Remove the baked chicken from the bones, shred, put in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large pot, start the water boiling for the pasta.
- In a separate medium sized pot, make the Pepper Gravy as directed with two cups of hot water. Add in the shredded chicken, cream of mushroom soup and the drained mushrooms and cook over medium heat.
- Start cooking the pasta noodles in the boiling water (takes about ten minutes).
- While the pasta is cooking, put the frozen broccoli in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water in the sink for a few minutes to defrost, then drain.
- Add the broccoli to the gravy/soup/chicken/mushroom mixture and stir in over medium heat.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Drain the pasta noodles and return them to the large pot. Add the contents of the medium pot to the noodles in the large pot and mix together thoroughly.
- Spread the combined gravy and noodle mixture evenly in a large, glass baking dish. Top evenly with shredded cheese.
- Cover baking dish with tinfoil and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes to heat through and melt the cheese.
- Serve hot with Pillsbury biscuits (Optional) and enjoy!
Let me know how you like it!