Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween again, and what better way to celebrate than with the original 1984 trailer for Ghostbusters?

(It's a good thing trailer-making has come a long way since then.)

Or how about the trailer for Ghostbusters II?

Or, just for shits and giggles, a video from the Halloween Special episode of the Real Ghostbusters, featuring a Halloween song-and-dance?



Halloween Treats!

What's Halloween without Jack O'Lanterns? If you've visited this blog before, you've probably noticed that we showcase the best carved pumpkins we can find. But more than just showing off other people's pumpkins, Lauren and I like to carve our own. This year, our pumpkins came out so good that we are excited to show them off to you.

First up, Lauren made this cute little Adipose pumpkin. Adipose is a thing from Doctor Who, which Lauren is infatuated with as of late. She thinks her pumpkin looks bad, but I disagree. I think she did a good job, especially compared to mine.

Lauren's Adipose pumpkin

I carve out Jack Skellington's face. The main character from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack's face was fairly easy to do, with the mouth being the most time consuming. Though it was pretty easy, I'm still proud of it.

Michael's Jack Skellington pumpkin

Lauren also spent some time making this awesome graveyard brownie cake for her job's Halloween party. The brownie was an easy, out-of-the-box brownie mix, but she decorated it awesomely. The gravestones are made from mini-Hershey bars, and the piled-up dirt is crushed Oreo cookies. Lauren rounded out the design with little pretzel sticks for a fence and little pumpkin candies.

Delicious graveyard brownie... At least it looks delicious.

So, how did it taste, you ask? I have no idea. I didn't get any. Which is good, because it means that Lauren's creation was a major hit at the Halloween party. I just hope she makes another one soon so I can try it.


The Fire Inside - A Book Review

An exemplary superhero story
I’m a sucker for superhero stories. So when I heard about The Fire Inside by Raymond M. Rose, I was excited to read it.

The first book in Rose’s Sidekicks series, The Fire Inside focuses on Jack King, an ex-superhero who is happy with his retirement from saving the world from a host of super villains. That is, until his best friend and ex-partner is killed mysteriously and Jack gets pulled back into the game. Rose does a nice job of establishing his characters identities, both as superheroes and civilians. The world has changed in the ten years since the event that caused most of the superheroes to hang up their tights, but Rose manages to keep it exciting by flashing back and forth between then and now. Little by little, characters are revealed as they become integral to the plot, which prevents the book from being weighed down by to many names and faces from the start.

The overall plot of the novel is unexpected. For a story based on superheroes, Rose chose to not concentrate on some over-blown plan to take over/destroy/enslave the world. Though there is evil for evil’s sake, Rose gives his villains a purpose, taking  the idea of super-powered beings and placing them into a well-thought-out drama of political espionage. The story retains what I enjoy about superhero stories, like the awesome powers, colorful characters, and tongue-in-cheek repartee, but becomes believable.

Unfortunately, The Fire Inside is not perfect. Quite a bit of the dialogue is overly cheesy, the kind of thing that would make Adam West roll his eyes. The most distracting part of the book is the number of typos. As a self-published novel, one would expect a few misspellings or incorrect tense usage to slip into the finished product. However, The Fire Inside has more than just a few. But every writer learns from their mistake, and it's certain that Rose will be more cognizant of his mistakes in future novels.

Despite the novel’s setbacks, I would totally recommend The Fire Inside to anyone who enjoys a good superhero story. As the first part of a ten-book series (as Rose has stated his Sidekicks series is planned to be), there is a lot of room for improvement. If Rose is able to make his cast of characters this exciting in the very beginning, I can’t wait to see what he has in store as they begin to evolve.



Oh. No, wait. It was just the annual Zombie Walk at Asbury Park this past weekend. With blood on the streets, screams in the air, skin peeling off faces, rolling eyes, occasional drooling, and slow walks, who wouldn’t want to be a part of this awesome experience. And should you have missed it or were too scared to join us, let me help to recap some of the highlights that I thought were pretty cool.

To start off, I want to say Thank You to all of the locals who welcomed us with signs around the area and discounted deals in their stores. You guys rock!

The Welcoming Demon
Now back to the walk. The day was pretty chilly, especially by the water on the boardwalk, but that didn’t stop the diehard zombie fans from wearing whatever they wanted. Dedication would be one of the words that I would use to describe some of the ripped, dirty and rundown costumes that I saw. To give you an idea, I snapped a few shots of the ones that I categorized as being creepy, creative, adorable and gooey, which you can see labeled below.

Before the walk even started, they had a Thriller dance that was done by zombie volunteers who actually took lessons starting in September. If you’re interested in joining them, I would recommend checking them out for next year. Inside the Paramount Theater was a set-up of the Undead Festival, where you could meet with famous zombie writers and artists, professional make-up artists that could do a zombie look for you for a small fee, and lots of vendors.

The walk started at 5 PM, with mobs of people on both sides trying to snap pictures, the walking dead crew filming some action shots and professional photographers galore. It seriously did look like the dead had awakened and were walking through town. At this point my feet weren’t hurting too bad. It was the walk back when my feet were killing me! Yes, my feet hurt but what can a girl do? When it goes with the outfit, it goes with the outfit.

'Gimme gimme gimme!'
Once we completed the walk, we gathered around a small stage where the organizers were giving away books, gift cards, coupons, The Walking Dead action figures, shirts, “prescription” sugar pills, and recyclable bags. I was lucky enough to get a free book and a gift card to Sideshow Collectibles. I want to thank the G.I. Joe zombie girl who pushed her way to get to the front and got nothing. Just an FYI…saying “I’m sorry” after every time you push someone doesn’t mean it’s OK to continue to do it!

Bagpipe zombie family
After all the free stuff was gone, they had one more Thriller dance and the show was over. Some zombies stayed around the area while others headed home. We went back to the boardwalk and had dinner at a place called Metro, which I would recommend as a place to eat should you visit Asbury Park.

So will I go back for another year of the gore, screams, and my feet crying out in pain? The answer is…YES! Not every day can your scream out BRAINS and not get looked at like you’re crazy.

Brains… brains… BRAINS!
How NOT to be a
Creepy-ass Clown zombie

Damn shame what they did to that dog

Awesome zombie-job
Cute little Dorothy zombie

TWO creative zombie costumes

Melty face zombie
Scarecrow zombie

Gooey zombie stew

Me outside Paranormal NJ, a cool
occult book store in Asbury Park, NJ


The Sexy Armpit Halloween Special 2011

A couple of weeks back, Jay from The Sexy Armpit asked me to be a part of his new project; a series of web videos. After a week and a half of strenuous filming and hardcore special effects work (not really), the Halloween Special is complete. And, for your viewing pleasure, here it is!

Creating this video with Jay was a blast! Not only did we have a lot of fun making up, with his killer edits the final product came out great. I also got the chance to visit a really cool store down in Asbury Park, NJ. Paranormal NJ has a ton of great books, supplies, and other shit related to the occult. There's also a Paranormal museum in the back of the store, though I didn't get the chance to go through it. If you're in the area, check it out.

And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for future videos from Jay and me. We're aiming to make about one a month, so we should have a new one fairly soon.

Thanks for watching!


Why Batman Shouldn't Be In A JLA Movie

Jay from The Sexy Armpit and I were discussing the new Avengers trailer the other day, wondering why DC and Warner Brothers didn't take the same route as Marvel, using individual character movies to introduce a full-fledged JLA movie. Jay stated that DC was always weird when it came to Batman, not wanting to pair him with another hero and having him share the spotlight. Thinking about this for a moment, I feel DC and Warner are right to not include Batman in a JLA film.
Art by Brad Green

Batman is the kind of character that needs to be in control. The loss of his parents at a young age would have caused such a deep seated psychological trauma, proving to himself that he has no control over life. The young, scarred Bruce Wayne would go out of his way to prove this belief incorrect by immersing himself into as many different things as possible and pushing his body and his mind to their limits. Most of his career was spent as a solitary soldier against evil, with only some behind-the-curtain assistance from Alfred, his family's oldest and most trusted employee. He didn't enter into a more public partnership until he met Dick Grayson, whom he molded into his partner, Robin.

That's the main point here. Batman did not form a partnership until he was able to control their learning.

Every sidekick Batman has ever had has been taught closely by Batman himself. He knows how they think, showing them how to react to situations. In a battle, Batman is confident that they have the skills necessary to provide support. But, in a team setting like the JLA, Batman doesn't have those guarantees.

Granted, the JLA is comprised of DC's most powerful and talented heroes. They have so many different skills and knowledge-bases to take on whatever they need to. I'm sure Batman trusts their abilities, but does he trust them to make the right decisions?

For someone like Batman, I wouldn't think so. Batman would know the way his teammates thinking, putting in the time to study their past actions. But his teammates wouldn't be so studious and wary of the other JLA members. Batman would understand their psyches, but they wouldn't understand him. This would prevent him from joining a team like the JLA.

I'm well aware that Batman has been a member of almost every JLA team in the DC Universe. However, this is mostly a ploy to sell the series. Would the JLA be interesting without Batman? Absolutely. Would it sell as well? Probably not. Despite the fact that Batman is a full-fledged member of the JLA, judging by his psychosis and trust issues, were he real, his being a member of a team is completely unbelievable. Sure, Batman can be a team player, when he's in control. With the JLA, Batman needs to relinquish much of that control, which I doubt he would be comfortable with.


Review - Mercury Rises

Mercury is up to his old
tricks in "Mercury Rises"
A few short years ago, Robert Kroese self-published his book, Mercury Falls. Though it took a little time and a lot of effort on Kroese's part, it became a breakaway hit, garnering the attention of Amazon Encore, who later published it under their banner. Today, Kroese revisits his eccentric characters in the follow up book, Mercury Rises.

In Mercury Rises, Kroese gives us a little insight into the past of his titular character, Mercury. An angel who doesn't quite feel up to snuff to perform angelic duties, Mercury is paired with the Babylonian goddess, Tiamat, and tasked to keep an eye on her and her plan to expand the kingdom of Babylon.

The glimpses of Mercury's past are interspersed with events happening currently, in which Christine Temetri, who helped Mercury to stop the Apocalypse in Falls, gets tangles tangled in yet another plot to destroy the world. Only this time, the bringer of the Apocalypse is billionaire media-mogul Horace Finch. Rises also introduces a new character, FBI agent Jacob Slater, who managed to get himself mixed up in the end-of-the-world plot in much the same way as Christine; completely by accident.

Mercury Rises features much of the same tongue-in0cheek humor that Kroese exhibited in the first novel. Mercury continues to make his droll remarks concerning his cohorts and his situations, which, in themselves, are outrageously hilarious. One particular situation that springs to mind involves a naked, drunk Noah (yes, that Noah) and a rather lurid puppet show. So many times I had to explain to my fiancee exactly why I suddenly broke out into a deep belly-laugh that I had to start reading in the other room.

As the second book in a proposed trilogy, Mercury Rises stands alone quite well. Granted, it would be in readers' best interests to read Falls first, if for no other reason than as a source of amusement. But Rises holds a well-told story that isn't too continuity-heavy. Mercury Rises is for anyone who is a fan of religious fiction that doesn't take itself too seriously. Or, I should say, "at all seriously". If you enjoyed Mercury Falls, or if you have a sense of humor, then Mercury Rises is a must. I cannot wait for the final book in the series and the further adventures of Christine and Mercury.

Mercury Rises is available beginning today, in both paperback or as an e-book. For an added bonus, there is a short-story available for free, called Mercury Swings. While you're over at Amazon picking up Mercury Rises, you may as well toss Swings in your cart as well. Like I said, it's free.


NYCC: A Whovian In New York

A Tardis! I didn't get it,
but I want it!
This past Friday, Michael and I traveled into New York City to visit the New York Comic Con. This is the second year we attended and, at first, I really wasn't too happy, mostly because my feet starting hurting by the time we got there and we had to walk ALL THE WAY around the building to get on line. We waited there for about a half an hour until they opened the doors then, of course, we had to walk ALL THE WAY around the building to get in. To top it off, some girl in front of us almost hit me in the eye with her pink, paper sword, so I wasn't too happy about that. Needless to say, I was a little grumpy.

But by the time we got into the Javits Center, I was a little happier, especially after seeing a Doctor Who booth.


The booth was run by DoctorWhoStore.com and they literally had everything you could possible want from Doctor Who. OK, maybe not everything, but almost. Like posters, toys, sonic screwdrivers, DVDs, Daleks... Not kidding about the Dalek. Check it out.

Fezs ARE cool!
What's also awesome is that they had a fez. Yes, I bought one. Know why? Because fezs are cool.

I also got a Sonic Screwdriver pen (Matt Smith, MY Doctor) and a TARDIS pendant.

But what was really cool is that Ian McNeice, who played Winston Churchill was there signing autographs. And I got one! And took a picture with him and the Dalek!

Lauren & Ian, BFF

I also got this cool set with mini-figures of all 11 Doctors, and an Amy Pond figure with her dressed in the Police uniform.

With all of this cool Doctor Who stuff that was available, I think they should change the name from "New York Comic Con" to "WHO York Comic Con"!


The Avengers Official Theatrical Trailer

The wanton destruction of the streets of New York. Breathtaking views of the city from the air. Captain America with an uzi. All of these things define the official theatrical trailer for The Avengers, Marvel’s next blockbuster.

I really don’t know where to start with this trailer. Since I’ve been stoked about this movie since Iron Man hit theaters back in 2008, to see the trailer and realizing that it’s almost upon us is absolutely amazing.

Jeremy Renner looks awesome as Hawkeye. Mark Ruffalo, I think, will make a great Bruce Banner. And Scarlett Johansson…I hope the trailer portrays her character as it will be in the movie; a quiet but dangerous super-spy/fighter. While I am disappointed that the trailer lacked any footage of Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, I’ll get over it based on everything else I was given. (Yes, I am pretending that this trailer was made just for me. Because it was.)

There is no doubt in my mind that The Avengers will be fantastic. My only problem is that I have to wait 7 months before I can see the goddamn thing. Stupid passage of time. May 4th cannot come quickly enough.

The Avengers character posters make one awesome diarama.


Bad-Ass Pumpkin Line-Up 2011

It's October again, and with Halloween right around the corner, I've decided to make the Bad-Ass Pumpkin Line-Up an annual thing here at Caution: Idiot At Play. If you missed the first installment of BAPLU, you can revisit it here. If you have, or just don't give a shit to dwell on the past, then may the Pumpkin Games begin!

Mad Scientist
Comic book artist Ray Dillon posted on his website a breakdown of how his Mad Scientist art was turned into a pumpkin. It must be cool to learn that, as an artist, someone found your art so striking that they would take the time to carve it into a large gourd. Good on Ray for reaching that status.
Tony Higgenbotham

When I first started my search, I didn't think I'd turn up any results on Pokemon-themed pumpkins. In my broad search, I found one. When I searched for "Pokemon jack o lantern", I got flooded with responses. Here are some of the best.

Ho-Oh and Lugia

Espeon and Umbreon

Wow. The amount of detail in this pumpkin is staggering. Doing all of those webs would drive me absolutely nuts. But I'm certainly glad someone has the patience for it, otherwise the world would be denied this awesome Jack-o-Lantern.

Doctor Who
It's kinda hard to hold onto Geek cred and not be a fan of Doctor Who. So far, I've been doing OK, but my fiancee has been breaking my resolve lately (don't tell her, please). Anyway, here's two Doctor Who themed pumpkin and BONUS! Each of the websites link gives directions and/or a template to create your own. YOU'RE WELCOME!
David Tennant

Harry Potter
Finally, two Harry Potter designs. One realistic, one minimalistic. Both pretty cool.
Harry Potter
Harry Minimalism

My fiancee and I just went pumpkin picking yesterday, so we have two virgin pumpkins waiting to be sliced up. Granted, whatever we make will be no where near the quality of these pumpkins, but we have fun with it. Once our designs are complete, you can expect to see the finished product here.
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