Monday, July 27, 2020

2020 Update

So, looks like I've gone about another nine months since I've lasted posted on my blog here at my website. Amazing how the world has changed in this span of time with COVID-19 hitting us and all the turmoil in the world. 2020 has been one heck of a challenging year. Since March, I've been working remotely from home in my studio and social distancing trying not to catch this disease... especially since I am in the high risk category with my asthma and Type 2 diabetes.

With social distancing, I've found that I do enjoy working from my home in my studio office where I feel things are more productive for me. Plus I can crank my music while I work. I hope that I can continue to work from home after the pandemic quarantine is over as I realize that I can fulfill all my duties from home without every having to step inside a cubicle again. We'll have to see.

As for what I've been up to? Well, I've been doing small renovations around the home with my wife Jennifer to spruce up things around here and make improvements. We still have much to do, but I am happy at the changes and fixes going on around here. One thing I've worked on during this quarantine is to organize and curate my comic book collection getting them out of deep storage and removing them from the white long boxes. I have a new system in which I am caring for the books and archiving them for easy access in a new system of bookshelves that no longer need the white long boxes. The process has allowed me the chance to re-read some classic comics and have them available at my fingertips instead of putting them into storage in a garage. More on this later.

I've also had lots of introspective time. I think I'm ready to come out of my hobbit hole and share some thoughts with future posts. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

According to HOLLYWOOD REPORTER... Favreau may be replacing Kennedy to lead Star Wars in the future.

Rumormongering Star Wars hubbub aplenty here. Feel free to read or move along... move along:

Seeing rumors from various sources (including from THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER) that after that yesterday's cringe-worthy interview by ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE (online only) with Kathleen Kennedy in which she talks some backhandedly passive aggressive smack talk about George Lucas, says her future and Star Wars future is unknown (other than they're "ending the Skywalker Saga" with Episode IX next month) and states some untruths (especially about not having "source material"), Disney may be amping up quickly to say goodbye to Kathleen Kennedy and say hello to fan-favorite writer/producer/director/actor Jon Favreau to lead the direction of Star Wars in the future.

Lucasfilm Star Wars President Kathleen Kennedy, whose contract runs out in 2021, probably will not get renewed by Disney is what the hubbub is all about in reportings and rumors, and that instead, MCU Executive Producer Keven Feige's protege Jon Favreau looks like he may be Disney's choice to replace Kennedy and take over Lucasfilm and direct the future of Star Wars after Episode IX.

Fellow MANDALORIAN executive producer/writer/director Dave Filoni, the bearded guy always wearing the cowboy hat, has been the protege of George Lucas since THE CLONE WARS cartoons, is said to be rising up with Favreau to be his right-hand man. If you also read between the lines in various articles, rumblings, and sources, and look at the chain of events and start putting them together, looks like there are plans for Favreau are already subtly moving in place for "universe building" ala Marvel Cinematic Universe style. MANDALORIAN actor Werner Herzog recently touted that Favreau is already building us a Star Wars universe "...filled with new mythology."

Hint. Hint.

Now, most fans know first-hand that the Star Wars community is argumentatively torn in half about the controversial direction that Disney has taken the Star Wars franchise since acquiring the IP. Disney dumped Lucas's Star Wars Expanded Universe (and relegated to "Legends") and said no-thank you to the notes that George Lucas gave them for the future film direction of the series when he sold Lucasfilm to the House of Mouse (see Disney President Bob Iger's new book where he acknowledges Lucas felt 'betrayed' when Disney threw out the Lucas plans and went their own direction trusting Star TREK "Kelvin Universe" director to do his own thing and put his own stamp on Star Wars). Fans to this day either hate or love what Kathleen Kennedy, JJ Abrams, and especially what Rian Johnson have delivered with the franchise with Episodes XII and XIII. Disney's nervous their investment isn't giving the proper return on investment and has suffered some major backlash with the films, the direction, and the ancillary things like action figures sitting not selling like they used to or even the new Star Wars Galaxy's Edge at the Disney theme parks not hitting the numbers they expected, perhaps part of the backlash.

Well, it seems, Disney knows as well as all of us that THE MANDALORIAN on Disney+ seems to be the first real all around critical "hit" they've had with even the most cynical of fans who have lost hope with what Kennedy had done during her tenure. It seems like Jon Favreau (with Dave Filoni) may be everyone's post-Kennedy "only hope" at the moment. This stuff interests me being a longtime fan since opening day 1977 and my own vested interest in the success and continuation of the franchise. I believe in Favreau and Filoni. Personally, I hope the rumors are true.

May the Force Be with You. I have spoken.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Updated GREEN ARROW Chili Recipe

Today, we had a chili cookoff luncheon and potluck here at work. It has been a few years, but this year, I made my infamous GREEN ARROW chili. I originally had a chili recipe in a DC Comics issue of our favorite Emerald Archer entitled "Ollie's Stupendous Chili Recipe". You can find it in GREEEN ARROW SECRET FILES & ORIGINS #1. It is also the issue where I created and named Moira Queen aka Oliver Queen's mama, who has appeared on the CW series ARROW.



Here is the original page of art from the comic book. I have adjusted my recipe since this publication and I do include the "secret ingredient" of RED STRIPE beer. Back in the day when this was published, the lawyers at Warner Brothers had to approve the recipe for possible lawsuits, and of course, I could not have beer as an ingredient.

Just as James Bond likes his trademarked "Vodka martini -- shaken not stirred" and Popeye likes his spinach, our hero Green Arrow was known for his chili.

Here is the "NEW" recipe for GREEN ARROW chili that I currently make which makes adjustments from the originally published recipe in GREEN ARROW SECRET FILES & ORIGINS #1:


INGREDIENTS
·         8 Slices of Smoked Hickory Bacon – Cooked Crisp and Chopped to bits
·         3 White Onions
·         2 TBSP of Minced Garlic
·         2.5 lbs Hamburger Beef – Browned and Chopped to bits
·         3 bottles of Red Stripe Jamaican Beer
·         1 TBSP Hot Mexican Chili Powder
·         1 TBSP Ground Cayenne Red Powder
·         1 TBSP Chipotle Chile Pepper
·         2 TBSP Cumin
·         1 TBSP Montreal Steak Seasoning
·         1/2 TBSP Kansas City Steak Seasoning
·         1/2 TBSP Dried Basil
·         1/2 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper
·       3 TBSP Chopped "Bell" Green Pepper
·       2 TBSP Chopped Celery
·         2 TBSP Paprika
·         1 Cup of Water
·         1 Can of Diced Tomatoes 
·         1 Can of RoTel Chili Fixins with Seasoned Dice Tomatoes and Green Chilies
·         12 oz. of 100% Natural Tomato Sauce to Chili Pot
·         1 TBSP A1 Steak Sauce
·         1/2 TBSP Worchester sauce
·         1 TBSP Olive Oil
·         Couple of Dashes of Tabasco Pepper Sauce
·         16 oz Can of Bush's Best Reduced Sodium Dark Red Kidney Beans
·         8 oz. Can of  Bush's Best Grillin' Beans with touch of Bourbon and Brown Sugar
·         2 oz. Lime Juice
·         Grated Cheddar Jack Cheese
·         Saltine Crackers or Oyster Crackers




Recipe – “Slow Cook” 10 Hours in a Crockpot
·         Cook 8 Slices of Smoked Hickory Bacon. Chop it Up into Crispy Bacon Bits. Add to Crock Pot.
·         Chop One Onion to bits. Add to Crock Pot.
·         Brown 2.5 lbs Hamburger Beef. Drain Fat. Add hamburger beef to Crock Pot.
·         Add First Bottle of Red Stripe Jamaican Beer to Crock Pot.
·         Add 1 TBSP EACH of Hot Mexican Chili Powder, Ground Cayenne Red Powder, and Chipotle Chile Pepper to Crock Pot.
·         Add 2 TBSP of Cumin to Crock Pot.
·         Add 1 TBSP of Steak N Shake Seasoning Salt to Crock Pot.
·         Add 1/2 TBSP EACH of Kansas City Steak Seasoning, Dried Basil, and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to Crock Pot.
·         Add 2 TBSP of Paprika to Crock Pot.
·         Add 1 Cup of Water to Chili Pot. Stir Thoroughly.
·         Add 1 Can of Diced Tomatoes with Chopped Green Pepper, and to Crock Pot.
·         Add 1 Can of RoTel Chili Fixins with Seasoned Dice Tomatoes and Green Chilies to Crock Pot.
·         Add 12 oz. of 100% Natural Tomato Sauce to Crock Pot.
·         Add 1/2 TBSP of  Worchester sauce to Crock Pot.
·         Add 1 TBSP of A1 Steak Sauce to Crock Pot.
·         Add 1 TBSP of Olive Oil to Crock Pot.
·         Add a Couple of Dashes of Tabasco Pepper Sauce to Crock Pot.
·         Add a Second Bottle of Red Stripe Jamaican Beer to Crock Pot.
·         Drain 16 oz Can of Bush's Best Reduced Sodium Dark Red Kidney Beans. Add Beans to Crock Pot.
·         Do not drain. Add Can of Bush's Best Grillin' Beans with touch of Bourbon and Brown Sugar
·         Add 2 oz. of Lime Juice
·         Add Couple of Dashes of Tabasco Pepper Sauce
·         Add HALF of a Third Bottle of Red Stripe Jamaican Beer to Chili Pot. Drink the rest. You deserve it.
·         Turn Heat up to Medium and simmer for 6 minutes. Stir.
·         If chili appears "too thick" with meats and beans after 6 minutes, add the rest of the third bottle of beer to give it more of a liquid content. Let cook for 2 more minutes. Make One Final Stir.
·         Finished. Should have taken approximately 10 hours in a Crock Pot to slow cook. Let set on” warm” or possibly turn off  heat to let cool. Stir thouroughly.
·         Add Grated Cheddar Jack Cheese, Onions and Crackers, or Fritos Chips to taste






UPDATE: I won two awards at work in the chili cookoff competition:








Monday, October 21, 2019

Hello, is there anybody out there?

It's been about a month since I've posted last here on my blog at my website.

QUICK NOTES:
  • Bummer about my St. Louis Cardinals.
  • I've been a bit busy lately and working on the house and other projects. 
  • I also built a new computer at home that replaces one I've had for a decade that I kept upgrading. Got rid of it and started with all new components to build a brand new computer. She is a beauty and runs sweet.
  • Our Labradoodle puppy C.C. is also growing and growing. She's doubled the size since we got her this summer. Still working on training. Two steps forward, one step backwards it seems.
  • Loved the new Beatles Abbey Road 50th Anniversary boxset. Perhaps I should review it?
  • Can't believe ARROW is ending and we're getting CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS on CW Television this season. Not sure how I feel yet...
  • BATWOMAN series is making me yawn thus far. Gonna watch episode 3.

John Lennon was right. "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."

I'll aim to catch up with some posts soon.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Appreciating HGTV's "A VERY BRADY RENOVATION"



TWO QUESTIONS:

Have you been watching HGTV's "A VERY BRADY RENOVATION" these past two weeks?

ANSWER: I have seen it and I've love the series.

Have you been a lifelong fan of The Brady Bunch?

ANSWER: I have been a lifelong fan since childhood. You betcha!




If you don't know the premise, last year the house that served as the exterior shot of the original Brady Bunch home from the television series that aired from 1969 to 1974 went up for sale. HGTV ended up buying the home for $3.5 million dollars and convinced the surviving cast members of the television series to work with them to renovate the home and restore it to the original look from the classic series. The interesting thing was that the interior of the home looked nothing like the set pieces from the television series. But with some far out and groovy retrofitting, architects and designers from HGTV have remodeled the home to follow the set plans. They've restored the look to how we remember it and they got the original cast to help in the renovation.



In this day and age, it warms the heart and has brought joy to the viewers, the cast, and all who have participated in making this fictional home all so real.

I highly recommend watching it.

You can catch episodes on HGTV.



On a side note, a few days ago I responded to a Tweet by Maureen McCormick (aka Marcia Brady) and she responded to me with a "Thanks". That made my day!




Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Mego Custom Figure - "Yellow" Daredevil (First Appearance)

 


I thought I would share another look at one of my custom action figures. Today, it is the original Matt Murdock "Yellow Daredevil" in his first appearance costume from DAREDEVIL #1-6 circa 1964. I've always loved this "Year One" look of Daredevil outside his more iconic all red outfit. In times past, I always tried to collect his "variant" figure in other toylines, but never got my hands on one. With my return to collecting Mego figures, he was one of my first choices. 



This outfit comes from the Diamond Select limited edition Daredevil Collector's set that I placed on a reproduction Mego figure that I purchased through the ClassicTVToys.com website. The backing card I designed and had printed on a vinyl adhesive "sticker" that I placed on chipboard and cut out. Yesterday, I shared my Speedy figure. I am doing these custom backing cards for the figures that I am collecting and placing them in FTC clam shells. Eventually I will create cards for the classic Daredevil in red as well as the blind Matt Murdock lawyer figure.


PDF Art - Front Side of "Yellow" Daredevil Mego backing card

PDF Art - Back Side of "Yellow" Daredevil Mego backing card

Monday, September 09, 2019

Mego Custom Figure - Speedy


When I was a kid, I collected various action figures that included GI Joe Adventure Team, Star Wars, Mircronauts, The Six Million Dollar Man, Evel Knievel Stunt Motorcycle, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, and Mego action figures. I had a blast as a kid.

I am an avid G.I. Joe collector that still collects vintage and reproduction 12" action figures. I also like to kitbash my Joes. I always loved my Mego figures, but traded most of them around 1995 for some vintage G.I. Joe Adventure Team figures that I didn't have when I was a kid.

In 2010, I picked up a reproduction Green Arrow figure by Mattel. For those that know me, Green Arrow has always been my favorite comic book character. I never picked up his sidekick Speedy, that was released as part of the original Teen Titans figures back in the day. Well, this past month, I picked up a reproduction Speedy figure after all these years. I kitbashed and customized him to be more comic book accurate and I also designed my own Mego-like backing card that uses Nick Cardy artwork.

The original Speedy figure (and the reproduction figure) placed Speedy in a pair of shorty-short speedos like Robin and Aqualad. That was all wrong. I corrected it and gave him custom long red pants and a short sleeve red t-shirt like he had in the comics.

I know that I shouldn't get into any more collecting, but I have recently got the bug and I've been picking up a few reproduction Mego-like figures and I've been doing some customizing. I thought I would share a picture from my hobby. This was my first. I've also picked up a few other figures, but I'll hold those back to showcase at a later time.