Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend of Horrors October 2010

This past weekend, Brandon and I and a friend of ours attended part 2 of Creation Entertainment's Weekend of Horrors. We had a great time, going to panels and meeting some of our favorite celebrities. The convention itself was quite small and while that meant there were less vendors, it also meant that it was easier to meet with the actors who attended and almost all of the seats in a panel were good ones.

One of the first things I did was pay $1.00 for this awesome pin:

That is Bub from George Romero's Day of the Dead. "Day" is my favorite of the living dead films and the character of Bub is possibly the best in the movie.

After the pin purchase and a short trip to a nearby hotel to check in, we returned to the con and I spotted Joe Pilato at his table. Joe was also in Day of the Dead as Captain Rhodes and has the best lines in the whole movie. While I was talking with him, Brandon took a photo of his table (just to check the camera, but I like the photo)

Those are all images of him from the movie. And Joe's alcoholic beverage.

As we were standing at his table this guy comes up and starts talking with Joe. It turns out he is Zebediah De Soto, a new director directing a new Night of the Living Dead movie. And Joe Pilato is playing the part of Harry Cooper. Good idea since Cooper spent most of the original movie yelling at Ben. Pilato is good at yelling. Anyway, when I asked to have my picture taken, Zebediah offered to shoot it for me. We took one with all three of us and then one with just Joe and I:

Look at my awesome Zombie shirt and my Bub pin!

Joe was so nice. He signed our DVD for free (see photo above), took a photo for free and only charged me $10 for a signed 8X10 photo (they were supposed to be $20.) Here is my awesome signed photo:

This shot is right at the end when Rhodes gets attacked by the horde of zombies that overrun the compound.

Here is a close-up of the quote:

By the way, that says, "Sit down woman or I'll have you shot!" NOT something about snot.

Friday concluded with a panel Brandon was very much looking forward to, Joe Bob Briggs. JBB was the host of such shows as Mostervision and Joe Bob's Drive-in Theater. These are not shows that are terribly interesting to me as they mostly consist of movies of lesser quality, but listening to him speak was quite interesting. I did not get any shots during the panel because I was unsure if photography was allowed but on Saturday Brandon talked with Briggs and got a photo with him at his table.

Brandon also bought from Briggs a DVD on which he does a commentary track. The movie is Samurai Cop a parody of the horror classic Maniac Cop, both starring Robert Z'Dar:

Saturday I was very excited because the first panel of the day was on AMC's The Walking Dead TV show. Included in the panel were Norman Reedus of Boondock Saints fame, who plays a newly created character on Walking Dead, and the person I was most looking forward to all weekend, Greg Nicotero! Greg is the 'N' in KNB Effects the Academy Award winning effects group that has done such movies as Drag me to Hell, Mirrors and The Mist. Before creating his own effects studio with Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman, Nicotero got his start working on George Romero's living dead films. In fact, the first film Greg worked on was Day of the Dead under the supervision of effects master Tom Savini.

I was so excited to hear that KNB was doing the effects for The Walking Dead. Who better to bring Robert Krikman's zombies to life (heh) than the man who started his career working for the man who made zombies what they are today? The only other person I would want to work on this is Savini himself but he doesn't do much effects work these days.

Anyway the panel was pretty good and the questions that followed weren't too silly or stupid. I don't really remember much of what was talked about other than the fact that someone asked Greg if he had kids and, if so, if said children dominated all the others when it came time for costume day. I thought that was a hilarious question with an even better answer: Yes! Greg said he had recently made his son a Godzilla costume and that it was just awesome. He also said that his daughter has the best zombie walk. How precious! He asked her to come to the panel but she declined because she was afraid of being in front of all the people.

I got some decent photos during the panel (I found out that it was OK to take photos, just no recording.)

The background lights kept changing and that coupled with the bad lighting overall made for really red and orange photos.

Norman Reedus (left) and Greg Nicotero (right) and some guy's head (in front.)

Also present was Joe Giles.

Don't be worried if he doesn't look familiar to you, I didn't know who he was either. He works for KNB and they did all of the zombie test make-up on him. Director, Frank Darabont, liked him so much he is in the show! You may have seen him as this zombie:

Now that I know that is Joe, I can totally see his face under the make-up.

After the panel Nicotero got a little swamped with fans wanting autographs and photos. He was very nice about it even though it was obvious he wanted to leave. Brandon and I had him sign our Day of the Dead DVD and our Land of the Dead DVD. Here is a shot of the autographs:

We didn't want to pester him so we didn't ask for a photo. Yet. A little while later we noticed that he was still in the main hall, talking and signing. I begged Brandon to take a photo of me with him but he kept saying we shouldn't bother him, it was clear he was trying to leave. Finally he gave in and we walked over to him. I apologized for bothering him and he was very nice about saying that that was the reason he was here. I got a pretty good photo:

Be jealous of my awesome Walking Dead shirt! Thanks Aaron!

We did some more shopping (well, Colin did most of the shopping. He ended up buying like 30 DVDs) and had some lunch before making it back to the convention hall for the costume contest. I actually did want to see the contest but the ulterior motive was to get as good seats as I could for the Bruce Campbell panel immediately following. It seemed others had the same idea so my seats weren't as good as they had been in the morning but they weren't too bad. At least I was on the end (easier to take good photos.) Here are my photos from the costume contest:

A pretty good zombie costume.

A zombie Nazi from the movie Dead Snow, which was a surprisingly good movie.

This was the winning costume and I must say, it is quite good.

Here is a full length shot of the winner.

For those of you living under a rock for the last 25 or so years, Bruce Campbell is a horror icon, starring in The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, Man with the Screaming Brain, Bubba Hotep and My Name is Bruce. Most recently he has been in the hit TV show, Burn Notice. The Evil Dead was Campbell's first feature length film and is considered a cult classic.

Bruce was hilarious in the panel, playing the nice guy pretending to be a dick. He seems to genuinely love what he does and he graciously answered (most) of the audience's questions. (If they were silly questions he went to the next person so as not to waste our time.) After his panel was the autograph signing which, unfortunately you had to pay in advance for, and I wish we had. He was very nice to everyone who came up and talked with them rather than just signing and sending them on their way. Here are some shots from the panel:

The man himself!

He was singing :)

This was the only panel that was completely packed (at least that I went to, maybe the Boondock Saints panel was too but what is an action movie doing at a horror con?) and I was happy for the small venue because, as I said before, none of the seats were terrible. It was also nice because unlike Comic-Con there weren't thousands of people milling around being rude and all of the celebrities were there because they believe in what they do, not because of the money.

After Bruce's panel we did some more shopping and talking and I finally went to Ken Foree's table to ask about the price of a large Dawn of the Dead poster. It was only $20! I used the last of our spending money (and some of Colin's) to purchase this poster and have him sign it. Ken is one of the leads in Dawn of the Dead and says the movie's tagline, "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth." At Comic-Con a few years ago Brandon and I went to Ken's signing and Brandon got a nice photo with him and now I wanted one. Unfortunately, Brandon was not paying enough attention to the lens and the photo is completely out of focus. First I will show you the poster, then maybe I will show the out of focus photo. Maybe.

Please excuse the clothes, I needed something to keep it from rolling up.

I guess I will show the blurry photo. I am so disappointed. Here:

:( My chance for a picture and it's out of focus. Oh well.

We also stopped at Fred Williamson's table so he could sign Brandon's copy of From Dusk Till Dawn, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's amazing vampire movie. (Interesting trivia: Tarantino was paid by Robert Kurtzman, formerly of KNB, to write the screenplay for Dusk Till Dawn based on a short story he had written.) If you have not seen this movie, see it. Brandon and Fred Williamson:

He makes Brandon look so pale! (He is!)

Some other movies that were purchased over the weekend: a copy of Submersion of Japan (the link is to "Tidal Wave" an apparently crappy American re-edit of the film.) a film I have never heard of but Brandon had been looking for for a long time, and an 18 DVD set from Charles Band, called the Archive Collection. Some photos:

The top.

The side, signed and numbered.

That was the end of the weekend for us, we decided not to go on Sunday because there really wasn't anything to see (although we did want to go to the auction) and we had run out of money. Overall we had a great time and I can't wait to go again next year, John Carpenter is going to be there! Brandon is very excited. On an only slightly related note, here is a Halloween decoration in front of someone's house between the con and our hotel:

It kind of looks like the creatures from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal**.

I know this post has been long but I hope you have enjoyed the photos and stories!

P.S. Yes, I love zombies. Yes, running zombies are stupid. Yes, I would freak if I ever got to meet George Romero, he is the reason I love horror movies (and zombies!) No, 28 Days later is NOT a zombie movie, you have to be dead to be a zombie.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cinnamon Pear Bruschetta

Some time ago, while browsing Tasty Kitchen, I came across this recipe for a pear bruschetta. It sounded delicious and I knew I had to make it.

I told my mom about the recipe and she was excited too so she agreed to buy the ingredients. I have never cooked or baked with mascarpone so I was looking forward to that.

This recipe is fairly easy and turned out a product I would be happy to serve to guests. I hope to make it again for Thanksgiving this year. I did have some difficulty getting the results I thought I should. In the directions for the recipe it says to allow the pears to slowly caramelize. Now I don't know if my pears were too ripe and therefore there was too much liquid and this did not allow for caramelization or what, but it didn't matter how long I cooked the pears, they just got softer and no caramelizing was in sight.

Next time I will buy my pears the day I want to make this and maybe use a different pear, we will see. I hope some of you will make this, it is so delicious and looks really pretty. I adjusted the recipe slightly with the bread  and spices and really liked the flavor I came away with.

Original recipe here

1 loaf Baguette, sliced
1 T. butter
3 whole pears, chopped
1/4 t. salt
1/2 T. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t. allspice
1/2 c. mascarpone
1 t. honey
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. balsamic vinegar

Heat the oven to 400
Place the baguette rounds on a baking sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes or until toasted and golden brown.
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat.
Add the butter. Add the pears and sprinkle with cinnamon, allspice, ginger and salt.
Allow to caramelize slowly for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
In a small bowl, combine mascarpone, honey, nutmeg and sugar.
Spread on baguette slices.
Once the pears caramelize, add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1-2 minutes more.*
Spoon pears over bread.
Serve warm or cold**

* I completely forgot to add the balsamic vinegar when I made this. It still tasted good!
** I recommend serving warm, it's kind of like eating a pear pie :)
By the way, make sure not to add the pears to the baguette while they are really hot, they will melt the mascarpone.

I took some nice photos and instead of showing you only one, I am going to show you all of the good ones!

The cinnamon stick was my mom's idea :)

I love how this looks against the fall tablecloth!

My mom thought it needed some green. It looks pretty good!

As always, thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pear Cake

Remember this? I knew I wanted to bake a pear version of this cake and one day while I was out shopping I found a bag of bartlett pears for $0.97! They were smaller than the ones I usually bought but the bag had enough in it to make up for size. So I ate a few and let the rest ripen just for this cake recipe.

As I was gathering all of the ingredients for the cake I noticed that I probably did not have enough white sugar to fulfill the two cups needed. Luckily I did have an even one cup so I used brown sugar for the other cup.

What an amazing difference! This cake was waaaaay better than the peach version and the brown sugar was the only difference. This cake is so tasty and tastes just like fall. Perfect way to start the season.

I posted this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website, Tasty Kitchen, so I am going to make you go to that site for the actual recipe. I urge you all to make this cake and then serve it warm, perhaps with some vanilla ice cream. But for now you can see some photos of this lovely cake.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


The grade came in for my Christmas paper and I received an 'A'! This brings my GPA up to just over a 3.0 which is what I needed to qualify for the TAG so I can go to UC Santa Cruz next fall.

The above is the only positive thing about this post. Just warning you.

Once my grade had been posted I started to work on the TAG application. I was a little worried it would be complicated, the school offers workshops on this application. The worry was unfounded, the application was easy, although a little time consuming. (I guess this part isn't so bad either. Don't worry, it will get crappy really soon.)

I finish the application and then it comes to the 'Submit' portion where I have to check these boxes before I can actually submit. One such box asks if I have met the minimum requirements of all UC schools at this point. I click on the link and my world shatters.

To transfer, even with the TAG, I need 2 transferable English classes and 1 transferable Math class. What? I have not taken any English or Math classes yet. I saw TWO counselors about this application and they both told me about having to meet the requirements for the TAG. Neither of them mentioned I would also have to meet these requirements. That was the whole reason I wanted to do the TAG, because I had not yet done Math or English.

I talked with someone in the transfer center at school and she said there is pretty much nothing I can do. I can call UCSC and see if they are doing Winter admissions but there is not much hope in that. Budget cuts being what they are, they have only been accepting people in the fall.

So now instead of going to this school next fall, the earliest I can go is next winter (January I guess.) I don't think I can wait another year! This is complete and utter bullshit! I was misinformed and now have wasted more of my time at this stupid community college. I am so done with VCCCD. I want to go to a real school and finally get a degree instead of wasting time and money and earning nothing.

Brandon says that we should move up there as planned and both attend the community college there. That might be a good idea, getting a change of scene. I am so angry at both Ventura and Moorpark college and so depressed that this whole thing is happening. I don't even want to deal with school anymore.

I feel so pathetic and unsuccessful in life. I look at my friends and so many of them have degrees and good jobs and are moving on with their lives. I am 26 and still going to a "two-year" school where I have been for 4 years. I have no job because without a degree and the economy what it is I can't get a job. Or I get some lame retail job but I can't keep it because I am in school so my availability isn't open enough. I have no money because I have no job and life just sucks.

I hope this post has brightened all of your days!