Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve!

It's the 24th of December, and almost 80 in my house. The wife and I took the dogs for a walk earlier, and we managed to break a sweat. In other words, it doesn't feel much like Christmas. Still, we're doing our best to stay in the holiday spirit.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Force has awakened. Thoughts on Star Wars and Episode VII

Hey guys, I'm not sure if you've heard, but there's a new Star Wars film that's just been released. I had told myself that I was going to wait a while before I went to see it, in order to let the crowds die down. Then, curiosity got the best of me, and I discovered a theater that allowed you to reserve seats. I probably don't need to tell you that my mind was quickly made up, and my tickets were soon ordered. Sure, it was an hour and a half away, but this was going to be my first time seeing a Star Wars movie in a theater, and I was willing to make the trip.

That's right, my first Star Wars experience in a theater. I was only two when Return of the Jedi was released, so I was still a bit too young to go see a movie in a public place. In fact, I wasn't even introduced to the series until 1989, when Return of the Jedi was the Sunday night movie on NBC. Even at the ripe old age of 8, there were still parts that scared me. I'd have nightmares about being chased by the Rancor, all while Jabba's laughter echoed through the hallways. I still enjoyed the film, but it never really made an impact on me. I didn't pretend my G.I. Joe's were Jedi's, and Cobra Commander never teamed up with Darth Vader. It never bothered me that the movie seemed to start in the middle of the story. I had skipped to the last chapter and didn't even realize it. It would be another couple of years before I would see A New Hope, and even then, I never put the pieces together. That movie was Star Wars. The one I'd seen years earlier was Return of the Jedi. Why would I think they were connected? It wasn't until my early teens that I was introduced to the trilogy as a whole, and that's when my love for the series began.

It's strange to think that I "discovered" the series so late in life. I began to see just how influential it had been. It also opened my mind to a whole new world of toys I never knew existed. At that point, it became a yearly tradition for me to watch the entire trilogy either the day before Thanksgiving, or on Christmas Eve. Sometimes I would watch it on both holidays if I had the free time. It's funny, but my late discovery of Star Wars sort of set a precedent for me always being late to the party. I had missed out on the craze, and the only toys to be found on store shelves were a handful of Bend-Ems.

That trend would continue through the release of the special editions, and the prequel trilogy. By that point, I was too busy with work and college to worry about a galaxy far, far away. When I finally saw the new movies, it didn't just feel like someone had let the wind out of mysails. I felt like they rolled them up, tossed them in a fire, and scattered the ashes. Over the next few years, there would be rumors of a new movie in the works, but after the travesty that was the prequels, I wasn't sure I wanted more Star Wars films.

Fast forward about 10 years, and I found myself sitting in a theater Thursday night with my wife and 65 other people, watching Episode VII scroll up the screen. I had been cautiously optimistic over the teasers and the trailers, and I had managed to avoid seeing any spoilers. In my mind, Star Wars and I had been broken up for a while, and I was giving her one more chance. I'm glad to say, that it was a great date, and I'm looking forward to seeing her again. In other words, Star Wars is back.

I loved the new characters, especially Rey, Finn, and the ace X-wing pilot, Poe. There was a chemistry there that was sorely lacking from the last batch of movies. It was great to see Han and Chewie again as well. They felt like an integral part of the story, rather than being shoehorned in as fan service. The new Sith Lord, Kylo Ren, actually felt like he posed a threat to the heroes, and I'm looking forward to seeing his character grow over the next couple of films. Everyone seemed like they were having a great time, and it showed in their performances.

If I had one complaint about The Force Awakens, it's that it didn't really introduce anything new to the story. The First Order, though it seems to be a much smaller entity right now, still feels like the Empire. I don't want to give anything away, but the Imperials really do like ball shaped weapons.  The whole deal kinda felt like A New Hope 2.0, but I would gladly take that over A Phantom Menace. I've seen some people complain that there was some contemporary humor that seemed out of place, but I can't say I remember seeing anything that jarring.

In the end, The Force Awakens looked, sounded, and played out like a Star Wars movie should. It was like seeing an old friend that's been away for twenty years. And I for one can't wait to get reacquainted.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Town of Exmore Christmas Parade

I have to admit, I've never loved parades. I've always watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it was mainly because I was hoping to get a glimpse of a float of my favorite cartoon characters. It was well worth sitting through a bunch of soap opera stars or daytime tv hosts, for a chance to glimpse live action versions of He-Man or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Okay, and it was always kind of cool watching the Spider-Man balloon crawling high above the crowds.

This being the Eastern Shore, our parades are just a bit smaller. And you're more likely to see Santa wearing waders than you are to see Spider-Man floating overhead. 

The route is only a mile or so long, and runs down Main St. in Exmore. Many years ago, even before I was born, that road was part of the main highway that ran the entire length of the Shore. Now it's little more than a side street, home to the handful of businesses that still occupy the streets of Exmore.

The majority of the parade was made up of fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars from the local stations. It makes sense really; they're already covered in shiny chrome, and lit up like Christmas trees. All they have to do is give the trucks a good cleaning, get in line, and flip a swtich. Instant Christmas! 

It's not just emergency vehicles that take part in the parade though. Many of the local businesses and churches also put together floats. Obviously, they're not as elaborate as their Macy's Thanksgiving Day cousins. Most aren't much more than tow behind trailers with a few pieces of garland and folks wearing Santa hats. Still, it's nice to see folks getting into the holiday spirit. 

This year also saw the inclusion of a few classic muscle cars ( I badly wanted to snatch the driver out of that Camaro and ride off into the moonlight), and a couple of motorcycle clubs. Sure, they aren't very Christmas-y, but then who doesn't love a good burnout? Nothing says "Happy Holidays!" like clouds of burnt rubber floating down the street. Even the town's employees took part in the fun, showing off their donut skills on their zero turn mowers. 

You know, when I said you shouldn't expect to see floats full of characters in the Exmore parade, that wasn't completely true. There was one truck that caught my eye as it drove down the street, and it wasn't just because it was completely covered in lights. 

Oh my god, there's so much to love about this float, from the large inflatable R2-D2 and Yoda on top, to what appears to be a Stormtrooper masked Darth Vader. Or maybe it's Captain Phasma. Shit, why did my photos have to turn out so blurry? Either way, there looks like there's at least three of them on there. I'm not sure who the portly fellow is to the left, but if I had a guess, it would be Uncle Owen. A bit of an obscure choice, but I'll go with it. There's a couple of Leia twins as well. Apparently Queen Amidala isn't the only that uses doubles to throw off her enemies. My favorite costume of them all, has to be that Chewbacca, who seems to have started dressing in Obi-Wan's robes, and carrying a lightsaber. If that happens at any point during the next trilogy, I'll likely get kicked out of the theater for squealing loudly with delight. Sure, they may have been a little off on the details, but at least this group had fun with it.

Santa wasn't far behind the Star Wars group, and I have to say, it was a bit of an underwhelming finish. Then again, it would have been hard to follow up that float with anything but an actual flying sleigh with magical reindeer. And really, that was about it. There weren't as many participants this year, which makes me worry about the parade's future. Hopefully there will be enough people to keep it going for next year.

If not, at least I got to see Chewbacca become a Jedi Knight. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hostess gets minty!

Hey everyone, it's Christmas! That means pumpkin spice is replaced with peppermint, and there's pine trees and snowflakes on every package. Keep on going and read about 700 words about minty snacks that usually aren't minty.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kid Connection Dinosaur Play Set

Growing up, I was all about getting the most toy for my dollar. Why would I spend $4 on a WWF figure that didn't have any articulation or accessories, when I could get a G.I. Joe that came with a butt load of pieces for $2.99? Honestly, I think that's one of the main reasons why I loved Lego sets so much. "Look at how many pieces I got for $7.95!" I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I saw a 14 piece Dinosaur Play Set for $4.99 as a 7 year old, I would have grabbed it and not let go until I was back at home. Hell, that's pretty much what happened today.

So, what do you get for less than the price of a McDonald's combo? Well, scroll down and find out.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Shipyard Brewing Co. Melonhead

I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about this post. I tend to look for stuff that I might enjoy drinking or eating, though it doesn't always turn out that way. I've never had any requests for product reviews, especially from folks that haven't even seen my blog before. But, that's what happened when one of my coworkers heard I like to try oddly flavored foods and beverages and write sentences about them. I was given the task of trying out Shipyard Brewing Co's Melonhead, with the warning that it was "abso-fucking-lutely awful". Of course, I agreed to do it. Crap. Hey, at least I get a free beer out of it, right?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sky Bar Zombie Food

Hello ladies and villains! It's your ol' pal Stunt Zombie, back from a short hiatus. I hate that I've missed so much of the month, but I was a little preoccupied with a slight case of marriage. That's right everyone, now there's a Mrs. Stunt Zombie. Who woulda thunk it? Anyhow, I plan on making the most of the rest of the month, starting now. Today, I'm gonna tell you all about Sky Bar Zombie Food.

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