Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween 2012 Horror Movies on Netflix Streaming!

♫ Happy, Happy Halloween, Halloween, Halloween! Happy, Happy Halloween, Sil-ver Sham-rock! ♫

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...

Horror Classics:

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.

Anthology Horror:

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

SINISTER Is The Best Horror Movie of 2012 (So Far)

I got a chance to go to the theater over the weekend and check out SINISTER.  I loved it.  It's honestly one of the best horror films I've seen in a long, long time.  It's meatier than the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies and carries the edginess, intensity and graphic nature of the SAW films without the over the top "torture porn" vibe that's become so prevalent in the SAW/HOSTEL horror era.

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

My First Non-Kindle Tablet: The Nexus 7!

Despite working in the technology field for the past 15 years or so, I'm admittedly a slow adopter of new technology.  I love my tech toys, don't get me wrong, but you'll never catch me waiting in line at midnight at an Apple store (or any other retail outlet for that matter) forking over big coin to play beta tester just so I can say I had something first.

I've had my eye on Tablets for some time, but I refuse to be Glen, the guy from THE WEDDING SINGER, bringing home his $500.00 CD player simply because it was a shiny new toy he couldn't live without, even though he had no real use for it.  I don't NEED a tablet.  I have been content to sit back with my Kindle, my PC and my smart phone and watch everyone buy their $800 iPads, only to turn around and get pissed off when the new, improved model comes out a year later.

Well, I've waited long enough.  After much deliberation, I finally went out and bought my first Tablet this week...a Nexus 7!

I've been reading about the Nexus 7 for quite a while now and I had high hopes for it.  I love my Android phone and the Samsung Galaxy Tabs were (and are) really nice, but as I said before, I just couldn't justify spending the money on a tablet.  That's why the deciding factor for me with the Nexus 7 was the price...just $249.00 for the 16 GB model.  Awesome!

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

John Carpenter's THE THING Turns 30!

"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

Cheesy Taco Bake Recipe

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

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Recipe

If one positive thing came from being unemployed for a year, it was that it gave me time to teach myself how to cook. I've come up with a number of recipes over the past year, including my famous Tex Mex Casserole Bake. That was a big hit! Hopefully this will be, too...

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!

Happy 72nd Birthday, George A. Romero!

It's after Midnight, I realize, but "today," February 4th, 2012 was George A. Romero's 72nd birthday! George and his films have been a big influence on me (as most of you know) over the years, so to celebrate the milestone, I watched the European cut of DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) and followed it up with DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007) tonight!

I think my first exposure to George's movies was probably CREEPSHOW (1982). This was followed by DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), which I also saw in the early 1980's on VHS. I absolutely loved it. I loved the idea of survivors barricading themselves in a shopping mall and trying to make what passes as a normal life for themselves while the world outside was anything but. A memorable, powerful film...

DAY OF THE DEAD (1985) followed. I admit I wasn't super impressed with it when I first saw it, but over the years I've come to realize it's one of the better films in the series. It helped cement my status as a Zombie fan for life. I watched the Romero produced TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE in high school and I was ecstatic in 1990 when the modern NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD came along.

I so enjoyed the Tom Savini directed NIGHT remake that it led me to watch the original 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD for the first time in 1991. It was George's original Zombie masterpiece that showed me that older, black & white films could be a great source of entertainment, story, imagination and inspiration. I saw horror (and film in general) in a whole new light.

I admit I wasn't impressed with LAND OF THE DEAD (2005), but I did enjoy DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007) and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD (2009) tremendously. THE CRAZIES (1973) and KNIGHTRIDERS (1981) also have a special place in my heart's shrine to Romero.

Nowadays, Zombies are everywhere. Quite frankly, Max Brooks can kiss my ass with his bullshit survival guide and WORLD WAR Z nonsense and so can the people who make THE WALKING DEAD comics and TV show. More to the point, they can kiss George's ass. I guess that makes me a bit of a hipster when it comes to Zombies. I can honestly say I liked Zombies before they were cool...

Happy birthday, George! Cheers and best wishes for many, many more...

Now someone pass me a flannel shirt, a stupid looking beret and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, I've got an ironic poetry reading to attend at Starbucks!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A New Sports Blog + 2012 Progress Report!

I outlined several goals for myself in 2012 in my first blog post of the year. How are they coming along, you ask? Not too shabby, I guess, but there's still room for improvement.

So far I've:
  • Read The Scarlet Letter and started reading The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Watched The African Queen
  • Lost another 4 or 5 lbs. (I'm still working out every day.)
  • Been playing Chess regularly.
  • Updated my journal every day (not yet today).
  • Blogged more often (Twice already this month!)
  • Been working on my writing portfolio slowly, but surely.
  • De-cluttered, some. I've been throwing stuff away and getting other stuff ready to sell.
And finally, I wrote a new article for Pocket Doppler: The 10 Most Heartbreaking Playoff Losses In Green Bay Packers History!

The article was inspired by the 37-20 beatdown the Packers suffered at the hands of the New York Giants this past Sunday. The loss came in at Number 5 on my list. Of the ten games, I've actually personally witnessed 8 of them. Lots of heartbreak in Packer land over the years... Head on over to Pocket Doppler and give it a read!

One other goal I've decided to add to my resolutions is to take better care of my teeth. I had a dental exam and I need to have a bunch of fillings. I brush twice a day, but I need to use an electric brush and I need to force myself to floss. I've been flossing at least every other day since my appointment. That's better than I was, but still not good enough.

Bring it on, 2012! I'm ready for you!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Words With Friends = Rage Against Friends

Zynga's WORDS WITH FRIENDS has become a cultural phenomenon in the past few years. It's got millions of users and fans and it even got Alec Baldwin kicked off of an airplane. It's basically electronic Scrabble. You can play up to 20 games simultaneously with your friends on Facebook or on your smart phone. Sounds awesome, right?

Well, I hate it.

Why, you ask? I have an English degree with an emphasis in writing and I've been a writer my entire life. I have a vocabulary that's larger than most. I love to read every day and my spelling abilities are far above average. So why can't I win when I play this stupid game? I've been trying to figure it out.

When I play WORDS WITH FRIENDS, I try to make the biggest words I can with the letters I have. I generally start out the games pretty well, but inevitably my opponent kills my six, seven and eight word masterpieces with a bullshit word like "Qi" played on a triple word or triple letter score.

Do you know what Qi means? Of course you don't. No one does. It's a variant of the word "Chi," as in Chinese energy. I'm telling you, no one knows that. But the game does. And so does every WORDS WITH FRIENDS player who's had it dropped on them. It also allows other B.S. two letter words like "El," and "En," and "Lo," and "Et."

Why does that matter?

Because it allows people to basically play random letter combinations in order to nail a Triple Word Score in another row. That's what's happening. People sit there and play random letter combinations until they find something the game will allow, legitimate word or not. It's crap.

I've learned that to keep games competitive with these "I'll just try the letters until something works" players, you have to strategically try to keep the game in the center of the board as long as possible and away from the Triple Word Scores. But what fun is that?

It isn't.

It's only a matter of time before the punk you're playing gets a break with a two or three letter word no one's ever heard of that allows him to make a big Triple Word. I've won about 30% of the games I've played, lost 30% and rage quit about 40%. I've decided it's just not worth it anymore.

The final straw? I was playing a friend of mine from college. He had a 30 point lead on me in the middle of the game, but left me an opening. I played "JIVE" on a Triple Word and Triple Letter score for 97 points and felt so guilty about what a bitch move it was, I wanted to kick my own ass.

I haven't seen him online since. I get the feeling if I ever see him in person, he's going to punch me in the face.

I think that's enough WORDS WITH FRIENDS for me, thanks.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year, 2012!

It's hard to believe it's 2012 already. With the exception of my wedding in August (which was amazing!) and the Packers winning the Super Bowl (hooray!), 2011 was a complete and utter waste of time for me. Let's not kid ourselves...it was a Goddamned horror show.

Pi Studios imploded back in February and I've been out of work and looking (with very little success) ever since. Money has been a problem. The housing market in Houston tanked big time. I had unemployment issues. I failed to start a business. The Badgers lost the Rose Bowl. Yes, 2011 was truly an awful year in every sense of the word. Good riddance.

I guess there was one other bright spot: I still have my health (*knock on wood*). I managed to lose 20 lbs over the course of the year. Back in January, I was sitting at an all time high of 252 lbs, but as of this morning I was down to 232. It's still a long way to go to get to my goal weight of 210, but I'm hoping to do that this year.

That brings me to the point of this blog, actually. Goals. Resolutions, if you will. I have big plans for 2012 and even though you probably don't care much, I thought I would share them with you anyway. So here goes...

My 2012 New Year's resolutions!
  • First and foremost, get a job that doesn't make me want to jump off a cliff and get back to being a productive member of society.
  • Finish the long overdue repairs to the house (I may have to sell it soon!)
  • Cross off a bunch of movies from the AFI Greatest Movies Of All Time list that I haven't seen, including Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, Singin' In The Rain, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, All About Eve, The African Queen, Dr. Strangelove, Bonnie & Clyde, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Annie Hall and To Kill A Mockingbird.
  • Read more of the classic literature I failed to read in school growing up, including, The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, Lord of the Flies, The Prince, The Catcher in the Rye, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Brave New World, East of Eden and The Red Badge of Courage.
  • Get my weight down from 232 lbs to 210 lbs.
  • Play a game of Chess at least 3 times a week
  • Write something in my journal every day (the first time I've ever kept a journal in my life)
  • Blog more regularly (minimum of twice a month)
  • Assemble a polish a diverse writing portfolio I can be proud to show people
  • Re-design and re-launch Thundarr.com (or pay someone else to do it)
  • Become more proficient in Microsoft Project and Microsoft Visio (building my job skills)
  • Write and publish at least one sports article per month for PocketDoppler.com.
  • Finish writing at least one feature length screenplay
  • De-clutter my life by throwing away, giving away, selling or donating all of the extraneous crap I've assembled and have been carting around with me over the last 38+ years.
There are probably other things I should be doing, but I think this is a good start. I really do have high hopes for 2012 and I hope you do, too! Cheers to bigger and better things for all of us in the New Year!

Oh, and let's hope those pesky Mayans didn't really know something about 2012 that we don't... ;)