Monday, May 26, 2014

Godzilla 2014 Movie Review

I've been looking forward to the new Godzilla movie for some time.  I grew up watching the Godzilla and King Kong movies in the 70's and have been a huge fan ever since.  As they did with the 1998 Godzilla movie they went a different direction.  I really like the '98 version  (I think I'm in the minority there) and I'd put this on par with that one. 

The reboot of the origin is fine but I just want to see Godzilla fight and destroy stuff.  How he got to be isn't the most important thing in the world and I'm not looking for a lot of explanation.  As with many movies I got restless at the beginning waiting for the fun to begin.  But I know it is important to give us the back story so things make sense.  The fighty fighty was good and I thought they dealt with the "what, our military couldn't blast this thing to oblivion" pretty well though that is always a tricky part of these movies.  The "bad" monsters were fine as well.  Not sure they've actually named them as of yet.  While I enjoyed the movie very much I'm probably not going to sound overly excited.  It wasn't blown away but don't take that as a negative.  I think this movie is good and recommend it to everyone interested.  I could nit pick but it definitely isn't worth it. 

I'm going to start something new with giving things I review a rating.  I feel like I say the same things over and over when talking about whatever I may be reviewing and wonder if I'm really getting my point across.  I'll make it an easy 10 point scale.  I'll place my rating at the bottom of each review to make it easy.  I may even go back and add it to older posts.  With that I'll give this movie 7 out of 10 stars.  Go watch it and be open to the new way they take Godzilla. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

2013 Topps Archives Football Cards

Wal-Mart has recently put their older retail boxes of trading cards on clearance.  I doubt they are losing anything but dropping the price from almost $20 to just under $12 helps me to take a look at some of the sets I haven't had an opportunity to look at before.  To that end I picked up a 2013 Topps Archives football box.  It contained 7 packs with 8 cards per pack. The basic premise is the cards are based on a set from previous years (1959, 1976, 1985, or 1986).  The checklist can be found here at cardboardconnection. 
I'm not a guy who normally likes the older card designs. I like seeing retired players in new sets but usually the older designs are not something I care for.  These mix it up just enough to keep my interest.  The backs mimic the design of the original sets.  Pretty decent variety of current players and those who are retired.  A few retired players to include one of my all-time favorites in Roger Staubach and John Elway showed up in this pack.  The inserts and short printed cards I received are a LaMichael James thread card, mini Alfred Morris, Tony Romo glossy, Matt Forte 1000 yard rusher card and Mike Rozier and Kevin Mack high number SP cards. 
While I'm not sure I would pick these up again I do like them.  They are bright for the most part and just different enough that I like them. I think most collectors will find them interesting.  With the price point Wal-Mart has them at it is worth picking up a box and finding out. 

2014 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball Cards

I've been a fan of the Topps Gypsy Queen baseball cards since they came out.  This is the fourth year for Gypsy Queen.  I purchased a pack of the latest set for $2.99.  It contained six cards which I listed below.  Another good set from Topps.  I'm not always a fan of the retro card look (I'm all about players from yesteryear but not necessarily the older card designs) but I've really liked these.  Whatever they do to the photographs really appeals to me. 

The fronts have a design not too un similar to other years.  I like it.  While void of stats on the back the photos are good and the card is simple in design.  Normally I wouldn't be so high on a card like this but I like it even without my beloved stats.  I recommend everyone pick up a pack to at least put your eyes on this set to see if it is for you. 

The Harper card is my favorite from this pack with the different color border (blue) that stands out and the picture of A.J. Pierzynski is a good one where he is showing emotion.  The minis don't do anything for me but they don't in any set.  Again pick this up if you see it on the shelves.  I don't think you'll be disappointed. 

A.J. Pierzynski #166 - basic
Ryan Zimmerman #235 - basic
Wade Miley #245 - basic
Jose Bautista #341 - basic
Bryce Harper #AS-BH - All-Star
Nolan Arenado #9 (stamped 050/199) - Mini look at the set
Beckett First Look

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Trail Blazers Beat Rockets in Seven and Will Play Spurs in the Second Round

Portland edged out Houston thanks to a spectacular last second shot to win their first round matchup with the Rockets.  I thought this would be a close series and it didn't disappoint.  Damian Lillard's three as time expired in game six closed out a series that was hard foughtand any Portland fan, to include myself, has to be happy about.  You wanted Portland to close this out at home in game six and watched teams like Atlanta, Memphis and Toronto fail to do so only to lose in seven.  This was huge.  The starting five of the Trail Blazers played well with Lopez the only starter not to average 15 points or more per game.  And he still had a good series averaging 9 points, 8 boards and almost 3 blocks per game.  Of course the stars are Aldridge (29/11/2.7 blks) and Lillard (25/6/6.7 asts).  This is what you want to see.  Those guys stepping up and taking it to the opponent come playoff time especially when you have a bench that won't give you a ton of quality minutes (only Mo Williams had more that 13 minutes a game off the bench with 25 per).  While I didn't get to see every minute of every game I did get to see quite a bit and it was great.  I really thought they played as a team.  Didn't mean they were always in sync but I believe the starting five can hang with just about anyone out there. 

Now they move on to play the Spurs.  I figured Dallas would only get one victory at best but the Mavericks took it to San Antonio who had to win the series in seven games.  Not sure exactly what to take out of that.  It could really irritate them, hopefully have worn them out or not affect them at all.  It seems like a crap shoot when determining what a series like that will do to a team.  Considering the veterans and coach I'd say it could be the former.  No matter I think this will be another good series.  I'd love to say Portland wins but the Portland stars are matched up with guys of equal talent and savvy.  While Tim Duncan may not be better than LaMarcus Aldridge at this point in his career I am a big believer in Tim and think it will be a completely different series for Aldridge than what we saw in round one.  Houston didn't have a great matchup and Aldridge took advantage.  Duncan is that guy that has been around forever and can make the best of power forwards look bad.  Lillard will be matched up against Tony Parker who can match his intensity and can play defense.  Lillard can run him around the floor and will get his assists but he isn't the best defensive point guard around so this could be tough.  I think it is a push at the other positions.  That said the edge goes to San Antonio who also has a deeper bench (they had eight players average 16 minutes in round 1).  Hopefully I'm jinxing Yaz and the Spurs.  Nothing personal my friend.  I expect some close games but again the veteran presence and coaching of the Spurs should make this a six game series with the Spurs advancing.  Hopefully Portland can rise to the challenge building off what they did last series and maybe pull out the upset.  That is the fun part.  We won't know until the games are played... 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Donald Sterling Banned for Life

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life and fined $2.5 million dollars for racist comments he made in a conversation recorded by his "assistant".  No matter how these comments got out they are from a bygone era that must never return.  The NBA commissioner's decision to ban Sterling, fine him and also seek to have the other owners vote to force him out is the right decision.  I do get Mark Cuban's comments about being cautious about doing such a thing and the precedent it sets but even Cuban has sided with commissioner Adam Silver on this.  I would be surprised if any owners don't vote Sterling out.  Would you want to be that guy defending his position?  No way.  I applaud Silver for acting so quickly though the perceived threat of NBA players going as far as not playing in playoff games I'm sure helped him speed up the process.  Again good on the NBA.  I'm just hoping this doesn't drag out into the courts for years.  It would be nice to see this settled prior to next season's tipoff. 

Star Wars Expanded Universe Gone in 60 Seconds...

Not my collection of books but it mine looks real similar.

So Star Wars has decided to do away with the Star Wars Expanded Universe as we know it. They released a statement on 25 April with their reasoning.  For those not familiar with the Expanded Universe (EU) it is every one of the officially licensed, fictional background of the Star Wars universe, outside of the six Star Wars films produced by George Lucas. It is derived from and includes most official Star Wars-related books, comic books, video games, spin-off films, television series, toys, and other media. 

I was introduced to the EU via the Star Wars books around 1995 and I haven't looked back since.  I've read all the books released in the past and I'm catching up now on a few that have been released recently.  The EU, and for me, specifically the books have given me this awesome universe full of many great characters that we've seen grow throughout all the different series throughout the years.  Many of the original characters have grown older, gotten married, had kids and some have died.  Many of the supporting characters have grown into full on stars.  Other books have explored timeframes many years before and after the core six movies George Lucas created. 

Characters from the series Star Wars: New Jedi Order
So this was a tough pill to swallow when I read this.  I've invested much into the EU taking it to heart.  Now it is all gone.  Now I'm not get overly dramatic.  Don't take what I'm saying wrong.  It is just there are many great stories and you tend to get invested in what is happening to all the characters whether they were from the movies or the EU.  That said I'm looking forward to the new movies and what they'll bring.  I understand doing way with the EU gives the creators of future movies much more leeway.  They aren't confined to what is already out there.  That would be tough to ask of any screenwriter.  Much has been done with the core characters and their siblings.  So they might be forced to use an existing EU storyline or work around all those that are out there.  To that end this makes some sense.  Doesn't mean I'll like it though...for now.

The announcement has already been made relating to the immediate future of Star Wars books.  While I can't say Grand Moff Tarkin was high on my list of books I was waiting for from the Star Wars universe I'll definitely read it along with all those that follows.  Again, I'm very excited about the new movies and I'll get past the demise of the EU as I know it and I know I'll enjoy what follows in it's footsteps.  But it is hard to say good bye to something I've known for almost 20 years.