Your Next Favorite Band, The Amorettes!

Game On art

Listening To Their Newest CD

I usually post about nerdy topics in this blog.  Comics and science fiction are the primary focus for me, but if you know me a bit better than casual readers, though, you know that I love listening to music, particularly bands like KISS, Motley Crue, Dio, and others.

In the last few weeks I’ve been listening to the blistering tunes that emit from Game On, the second album by the entirely too awesome trio of Gill Montgomery (vocals, guitars) and sisters Hannah (drums, backing vocals) and Heather McKay (bass, backing vocals), collectively known as The Amorettes.

The Amorettes. L to R: Gill Montgomery, Hannah McKay, and Heather McKay. Photo Credit: I totally stole this from a Google Image Search.

My immediate reaction to this band was to label them as the second coming of The Runaways (who gave us the dynamic forces known as Joan Jett and Lita Ford), but listening to their tracks a bit deeper, I feel that while the comparison to that legendary group of ladies is warranted, there’s something a tad more polished about this group (and when I say “polished,” I mean it as a good thing).  I can hear the influence of bands like AC/DC and the Ramones.  I also sense a trio that is on the cusp of worldwide fame.  There’s something special about these ladies that makes them stand out from the recent influx of rock groups that lean heavy on old school rock n’ roll and punk influences.

What that something is evades me for now, but I do know that whenever I put Game On into my car’s stereo, it doesn’t leave until I’ve listened to the entire album.  I don’t skip any songs on the album and I wish that it had more tunes on it.

Hannah’s driving drums carry tunes like Get What’s Coming and Bull By The Horns to levels of rock that force the listener to tap their foot and sing along.  Heartbreaker and Son of a Gun get a nice injection of attitude from Gill’s vocals and guitar work, and Heather’s bass keeps everything in line on songs like Give’Em Hell and Daddy’s Got Money.

There isn’t a bad track on the entire album, and I can only hope that these ladies make a trip stateside (specifically Louisiana or Texas).  They’ve pumped up audiences for established rockers like Europe and Black Star Riders, and hopefully they will do the same for bands in the United States.

Heather, Gill, and Hannah (my current crush)! Photo Credit: Again, I stole this from a Google Image Search.

Take a listen to the tune below and let me know what you think. Bands like The Amorettes excite me because as long as these types of bands exist, I know that real rock n’ roll will never die.  They bring a fresh new take on classic rock n’ roll.  Keep rocking, ladies!

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope to add more coverage of current and up-and-coming bands in the very near future.

P.S.  I believe I have a crush on Hannah!

Speeding To The Finale!

The Flash CW

Central City

Last night’s episode of The Flash set the stage for next week’s big season finale.  I have to admit that the first season has been a whole lot more than I expected, and four of the last five episodes could have easily been the season ender.  The writing has been excellent, enemies and friends have been introduced without bloating the cast too much, and nods to the old television series have been greatly appreciated.  Also, the constant hints to other heroes and villains in the DC Universe have been handled quite well.  I can’t wait for next week’s big episode and can only hope that next season is just as good as this one.

Now, with that primer out of the way, I have to let you know that there might be a few spoilers in the paragraphs that follow.  SO, if you haven’t watched last night’s episode, STOP READING NOW!!!!!  SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

The Flash -- "Rogue Air" -- Image FLA122B_0161b -- Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash, Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen / Arrow and Robbie Amell as Ronnie / Firestorm -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Flash — “Rogue Air” — Image FLA122B_0161b — Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash, Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen / Arrow and Robbie Amell as Ronnie / Firestorm — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Last night saw the return of two characters (one who has his own show and the other, possibly a part of a series featuring the “lesser” heroes in CW’s DC Television Universe) who show up near the end of the episode to give our favorite red runner a hand against the very menacing and no longer hidden Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells/Reverse Flash.  Reverse Flash plans to power up the particle accelerator for some nefarious deeds, but in doing so, he (most likely intentionally) put the lives of the metahumans in the containment unit in danger.  Barry decides that he needs to move these villains out of the city for their own protection.

Barry has a plan in mind, but it isn’t that easy to execute.  He hopes to fly the villains in the accelerator to Lian Yu, Oliver Queen’s former hell away from home and an A.R.G.U.S. prison where plenty of Ollie’s old baddies now reside.  In order to do that, he has to truck the villains to Ferris Airfield (Green Lantern reference, kids), suppress their powers while doing so, and then get them on a plane and out of the city without anybody noticing.

At first Barry tries to get Joe to go the somewhat legal route by asking the DA for help.  After getting a stern talking to by the DA, Joe returns empty-handed.  With the accelerator powering up (and with less than sixteen hours to go), Barry seeks out the help of Captain Cold (despite Joe insisting that it’s a bad idea).  Cold agrees, but only after his life as Leonard Snart is erased from everything…..literally, everything.  It’s as if Snart never existed.

Cold’s sister, the Golden Glider, pops up as well, and offers her truck driving abilities to ship Peekaboo, Deathbolt, Weather Wizard, the Mist, and Rainbow Raider to the airfield.  Barry zooms ahead to barricade the streets while Cold provides security all the way to the airstrip.  Of course, things go wrong, and an all out battle between the five villains (who conveniently get their powers back after being contained all of the way to the airfield) and Barry ensues.  Cold arrives on the scene a bit later to put an end to the whole ordeal (he kills one of the villains), and then cuts a deal with the survivors (except Peekaboo, who leaves the fight before it gets too intense) in which they’ll help him if needed.  Barry is on the ground and in pain thanks to a double shot of villainy from Weather Wizard and Deathbolt.  Cold tells the Flash that he and Glider sabotaged the truck so that the metas would regain their powers and that he plans on using all of them in the future.  He then leaves, allowing Barry to live……

The Flash -- "Rogue Air" -- Image FLA122A_0179b -- Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash and Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart / Captain Cold -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Flash — “Rogue Air” — Image FLA122A_0179b — Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash and Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart / Captain Cold — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

But then Reverse Flash pops up.  He’s ready to take on Barry mano y mano until……

Green Arrow and Firestorm magically appear.  The trio take on Thawne in a very quick but very exciting battle.  I find it funny that Oliver Queen is the hero who actually gets the upperhand on Thawne and tags him with an arrow (twice) with nanite technology lovingly provided by Ray Palmer.  Leave it to the guy WITHOUT any super powers to take down the baddie!

The episode ends with Thawne on the ground and unconscious.  Ollie and Firestorm take off and Barry is left to deal with Reverse Flash.  This sets up and excellent finale next week, and I’m wondering if any back-up or new heroes may pop up to help out the Scarlet Speedster.

Now, was this episode a bit crazy?  Yep.  Was the hype around the big fight a little bit too much?  Probably, but the payoff was great even though that big battle at the end wasn’t very long.  The real successes of this episode lie within the character development of Captain Cold, Golden Glider, Eddie Thawne, and Iris.  Cold (Wentworth Miller) has firmly established himself as the Flash’s toughest villain in this series.  He’s going to be an even bigger problem for Barry than Eobard in my opinion.  His sister is no different, although her prey appears to be Cisco.  Poor Eddie has seen the future, and he doesn’t want any part of it if it includes him marrying Iris.  Iris stepped up to help Caitlin in this episode, and is also fighting with her own feelings much like Eddie.  It will be cool to see how she and him manage being around each other as the series continues and how Barry will fit into the whole picture as well.

Barry grew up a bit also in this episode.  I’ve read other reviews of this episode where people are saying that Barry’s actions were idiotic.  However, I have to say that his actions were the result of him still finding his way as a hero who doesn’t want to kill his enemies if at all possible.  We have to remember that Barry hasn’t been a superhero as long as Oliver Queen in this world.  He’s going to make more mistakes, and possibly bigger ones than attempting to truck a bunch of villains across town.

Now all we can do is wait for next week’s episode.  I’m really hoping that it’s a good show, because this whole season (excepting a couple of episodes) has been stellar.

As always, thanks for reading, friends.  Let me know what you thought about the episode in the comments section.

Avengers, Conventions, Weight Loss! (All Spoiler Free)

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Lake Charles, LA

I’ve been out of the loop for a bit.  I must apologize for that.  After CyPhaCon back in April, I became extremely busy with both work and family life, so I haven’t been able to blog as much as I have wanted to recently.  A few things have passed and a few more things are on the way that I’d like to cover, so I won’t waste any more of your precious time.  Let’s get to the good stuff!

Avengers:  Age of Ultron recently came out, and I managed to see it on the opening weekend.  The theater was packed (as expected) and apparently everyone enjoyed the film.  It featured loads of action, a brief bit of romance between two core characters, and a few surprises that I managed to avoid right up until I saw them revealed to me on the big screen.  Hopefully I can avoid spoilers with the upcoming Star Wars flick as well.

While I enjoyed Age, I have to admit that having had a few days to let it stew over in my brain, there was nothing extremely memorable about it.  In all honesty I enjoyed Captain America:  The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy a whole lot more than this film.  I also prefer the first Avengers flick to this one.  Why?  I can’t really pinpoint one specific reason.  I enjoyed the film to be sure, but it didn’t stick with me like the first film.

I’m more excited about the upcoming films Ant-Man, Captain America:  Civil War, and Thor:  RagnorokAge of Ultron ended with a couple of open ends and teased the next chapter in the Avengers’ Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it just isn’t as excellent in my opinion as a lot of other people seem to believe.

In other news, I’m going to miss out on Comicpalooza in Houston this year.  They’ve loaded up their media and comic guest roster over the last couple of weeks, and I’m really agitated that I can’t make it to the convention.  Space City Comic Con is also looking like another convention that I’m going to miss even though they have an excellent guest list as well that includes cast members from Star Trek:  Voyager and the captain himself, William Shatner!  They also have Lori Petty listed as a guest and I would LOVE to meet her!

Hopefully I’ll be able to swing at least one day at Space City, but things aren’t looking too good for me so far.

The only other convention that I will definitely be attending this year is Bayoucon, which might be better called NomadCon, as it is changing venues once again.  This time around, though, the convention will not take place in Lake Charles, LA.  Instead, it is going to be held at the West Cal Arena & Event Center in Sulphur, LA.  I’ve attended a few rodeos at this venue, but have never ventured inside the event center.  The rodeo arena is definitely nice, so if that’s any indication, the event center should be excellent as well.

The convention takes place in late June (right after my birthday) and features media guests like Anthony Montgomery (Star Trek:  Enterprise), Robert Axelrod (Power Rangers and lots of anime voice work), and Alex Zahara (Once Upon A Time).  Also featured are Todd Haberkorn (Star Trek Continues), John Mangus (actor and stuntman on a number of projects including Jurassic World), and many local and regional artists, actors, and writers.

I’ve hosted and participated in panels at this convention in the past, but I decided against doing any panels this year.  I’m just going to walk around and catch up with any friends that happen to attend.  My favorite green ladies, Orion’s Envy, will also be in attendance, so that right there is reason enough for me to show up at this convention.

In other news, I’ve started working out again.  I’m doing Insanity and am also experimenting with whey protein for the first time.  So far I’ve seen noted improvements in my muscle mass (I am by no means a bodybuilder, but my little bicep bumps make me proud).  My waistline is finally starting to go back down after a six month expansion that was entirely all my fault.  I have friends who are fighting their own weight right now and I’m using their successes as motivation for my own struggle.

insanity

Gotham recently finished up its first season and I must admit that it was excellent for the most part.  There were a couple of stumbles (Fish and Barbara) and some of the episodes were duds but, overall, Gotham has proven that a world without Batman can be just as interesting as a world where he patrols the night.

The Flash has been almost perfect all season long.  Three of the last four episodes could have been season finales in my opinion, but there are still two episodes left before the season wraps!  Grant Gustin and the gang have made me huge fans of the show, and I can’t wait for next season.

Well, that’s about all I have for now.  As we near the midpoint of the year, I need to sit down and take a long and hard look at my life.  There are a few things that I definitely want to change about my current situation, but some of those things are out of my control.  I’m hoping to start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and I pray that it doesn’t turn out to be a train.

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope that all of you have an excellent rest of the year.

Too……What?

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Lake Charles, LA

It’s been a week since I attended CyPhaCon.  That event was as excellent as expected, but something happened to me on my way out of the convention on Saturday evening that I feel must be addressed.  Before I continue I must say that what happened to me on that evening did not occur as a result of any actions by the convention staff or volunteers and it definitely IS NOT a reflection of the convention as a whole.  In fact, CyPhaCon is very accepting of ALL flavors of people no matter what race, religion, creed, or fandom that they happen to be a part of.

So what the heck happened?  I finished up my last panel for the day and closed up shop on the USS Lafitte fan table.  I walked around the convention for a bit, visited with a couple of friends and then decided to hit the road.  I was wearing the Star Trek tee in the featured image for this post.  As I was walking out of the Lake Charles Civic Center, I passed two young girls that I would estimate to be around sixteen years of age.  As they walked by, one of the young ladies said, “I don’t know if that shirt is too homo or too Trek.”

I stopped in my tracks.  Did she just say what I thought she said?  Too homo or too Trek?  I do not know if either of the girls noticed me stopping, but neither of them stopped walking.  I briefly looked over my shoulder and then thought to myself:  Let it go.  She’s an immature little girl.  It’s not worth it to say anything.  People that have known me for a long time know that I rarely speak up about anything, and I eventually talked myself out of addressing the young lady.

Still, her words bugged me.  No, check that.  The fact that she said her words out loud and with enough volume so that I could hear them really bugged me.  I honestly couldn’t care less about her personal feelings on me, Star Trek, homosexuals, heterosexuals, or anything else.  Those are her personal feelings.  But what about my feelings?  Why did she say what she said out loud without thinking about how I might react or be affected by her words?

I could easily say that she’s a homophobic idiot and leave it at that, but that’s not the biggest of her problems in my opinion.  Her biggest problem is that she didn’t think twice about making a comment that could be deemed derogatory or the consequences of saying those words.  If I were a homosexual man, how would I react to her words?  Would I just blow them off and get on with my life or speak up to her and give her a piece of my mind?  As a heterosexual man, should I have stopped her and given her a lesson in respecting others or just tear into her and tell her how rude she is and how her parents obviously failed her?

Well, homosexual or heterosexual, I didn’t do anything, but I am going to do something now.  I’m going to say that this young lady needs to seriously take a look at how she treats others.  I do not care if she is scared of or has a general dislike of homosexuals.  That’s a problem she needs to look into for herself.  I’m also not too concerned if she said what she said in an attempt to insult me, homosexuals, or Star Trek.  She lacks respect for humans in general.  That’s the thing that concerns me the most.

She’s not alone, either.

I see a lack of respect for humanity almost every day of my life.  Whether it is someone who insults another person for being gay, black, Catholic, or poor, or someone simply cutting in a line or using strong language in front of a child, we as a nation and a world are LOSING respect for one another.

Yeah, this girl made a simple statement that was probably meant to hurt or provoke me, but she’s definitely not the first person to do so and she definitely won’t be the last.  We need to change how we treat each other.  If you see a poor person on the street, offer to buy them a meal or give them a couple of bucks.  If it’s cold outside and you see a cop freezing his backside off directing traffic, offer him a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  If a gay person happens to be walking down your street, don’t cross over to the other side in fear (they won’t hurt you, I promise).  Instead, give them a smile and ask them how they are doing.

Simply put, BE NICE!  There is no need to insult anybody because of their race, sexual orientation, religious or political leanings or any other reason!

Oh, and to answer the young lady’s question about whether or not the shirt is too homo or too Trek.  NOTHING is ever too homo or too Trek!  It’s perfect just the way it is!

As always, thanks for reading.  Now go respect each other.

Five Years Strong!

Myself and Vic Mignogna.  You know him for his anime work.  I love him for his work in Star Trek Continues!

Lake Charles, LA

Since 2011, southwest Louisiana has been home to two fan-run pop culture conventions.  Both of these conventions can trace their history back to the now defunct ConDuLac which first appeared in 2009.  That convention lasted for two years and then became two new and wholly different conventions called Bayoucon and CyPhaCon. CyPhaCon recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and despite southwest Louisiana’s smaller market (in comparison to metro areas like Houston and Baton Rouge), the convention has grown each year and appears to have no intentions on stopping that growth any time soon.

I attended CyPhaCon’s fifth anniversary as part of the USS Lafitte’s fan group.  The Lafitte is the Lake Charles Chapter of Starfleet International, the official Star Trek Fan Group.  I set up the table on Friday night alongside the crew of the USS Neptune and the USS New Orleans.  These ships would prove to be extremely helpful over the weekend.

Friday night was packed (especially for a fan-run event), and there was a steady crowd throughout the evening.  I didn’t get to do much looking around since I was flying solo at the table, but I did manage to pass through the vendor area once and I made my plans for a few purchases over the weekend.

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Saturday morning brought with it a much larger crowd and it was on this day that I got to see a whole lot more of the convention thanks to my fellow Starfleet members.  They helped man the table while I walked around a bit and snapped photos of cosplayers and met Vic Mignogna, anime voice artist supreme and, as I told him, the “Kirkest Kirk outside of William Shatner” for his portrayal of the iconic captain of the Enterprise on Star Trek Continues.  Vic was extremely nice and I have to admit that he ranks near the top of my list of coolest media guests that I’ve met.  Miltos Yerolemou (Game of Thrones), Chuck Huber (anime and Star Trek Continues), Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek: DS9, Re-Animator, etc), Larry Nemecek (Star Trek Continues, all around Trek database), and Marie Doll (cosplay guest of honor), were also on hand for fans to meet and interact with at the convention.

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I also hosted two panels on Saturday that were well attended.  Roughly twenty people attended my “Southern Geek:  The Walking Dead” panel.  Other members of Southern Geek were supposed to assist with the panel, but due to issues that they had no control over, they couldn’t make it, so I had the place to myself.  The panel covered the TV series for the most part, with a couple of attendees tossing in a bit about the comic books.  We couldn’t talk a whole lot about anything beyond Season Three of the show, though, since a lot of folks were still playing catch up with the series.  On a strange note, we ended up talking a bit about Twilight during the panel.  Yikes!  It was still fun, though, and I’d do it again if necessary.

My second panel was “Deja WHO?” and was an attempt to cover the repetitive nature of Doctor Who since Steven Moffatt took over as show runner.  Of course, with quite a large mixture of new and old Whovians in the mix, the panel sort of snowballed into a big discussion about the actors that have portrayed the Doctor and everyone’s favorite villains over the course of the series.  About twenty people attended and it was a very lively panel.  Hopefully I can do something similar next year.

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DDK made an appearance on Saturday as well and, as the above photos prove, he was grossly outnumbered by villains.  No matter for him, though, as he handled everything quite well.

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Other conventions were well represented at CyPhaCon.  In the above photo you can see me and the lovely Jett and Zee, mascots for MechaCon which is coming up soon.  Other conventions that were represented included CoastCon, Geek-O-Nomicon, and Space City Comic Con among others.  A screen-accurate TARDIS was also on site, hosted by Tulsa TARDIS and a group that has recently started producing episodes for their own Doctor Who fan series.

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The convention was well attended on Sunday as well, and it also featured the best part of almost every convention I’ve ever attended:  Orion’s Envy.  I’ve known these lovely ladies for quite some time now and even though I’ve seen their performances countless times, they still manage to surprise me.  They were only able to attend on Sunday, but I’m glad that I got to catch up with them.  I believe that their next performance will be at Bayoucon in June.

Overall, CyPhaCon was an excellent event.  There were a couple of bumps in the road, but considering that this event has consistently grown with each year of its existence, I’m sure they will find a remedy for next year.

I really enjoyed this event.  Fan groups were treated quite well and offered snacks throughout the event.  There was also a fan appreciation party, but I was unable to attend since I had a panel going on at the same time.  I look forward to next year and can’t wait to see what the CyPhaCon bunch has in store for us all!

The next convention on my radar is Bayoucon in June.  This year it takes place in Sulphur, LA.  There’s a very slim chance that I will be attending Comicpalooza, but I doubt that I’ll make it over to Houston for that show next month.

As always, thanks for reading.  If you attended CyPhaCon or any other events recently, let me know about them in the comments section.  See ya later!

CyPhaCon In Less Than Two Weeks!!!!

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Lake Charles Civic Center

The best anime, gaming and sci-fi convention in southwest Louisiana is less than two weeks away!  CyPhaCon will take place from Friday, April 17th, to Sunday, April 19th, at the Lake Charles Civic Center.  The convention has expanded in both size and attendance every year, and its fifth anniversary is no exception.  There will be events, panels, and performances held on all three floors of the Civic Center and special performances will take place in the recently renovated Rosa Hart Theater.

I’ll be there helping at the the U.S.S. Lafitte table, so if any of you happen to attend, be sure to stop by and say hello.  There will be lots of other fan groups there as well, including the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion (Star Wars), numerous ships from Starfleet, Steampunk fan groups, and other groups such as Southern Geek (which is very near and dear to my heart).

As usual, expect a lot of cosplayers with varying levels of expertise.  This year’s cosplay guest of honor is Marie Doll.

Media guests include Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel on Game of Thrones), Vic Mignogna and Chuck Huber (both well known for their work in anime and currently part of the fan-produced and seriously awesome Star Trek Continues), and Mr. Trek himself, Larry Nemecek (who has also appeared on Star Trek Continues).

Fans of horror, many of the different Star Trek incarnations, Gotham, Re-Animator, and tons of B-movies will be pleased to see that Jeffrey Combs will also be in attendance.

Also, one of my favorite performance groups, Orion’s Envy, will give a special performance on Sunday at the convention.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen those lovely ladies, so that’s definitely something I (and you) cannot miss!

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This convention has become one of my favorite events in the Gulf South.  If you can attend, please do so.  Also, swing by the Lafitte table or check out my Dr. Who and/or The Walking Dead (done with members of Southern Geek) on Saturday and be sure to say hi.  Also, if you are an author, actor, performer, cosplayer, or fan group founder, be sure to come and talk to me about setting up an interview if you’d like and we’ll do just that.  I’m still looking for folks to interview in the wonderful world on nerdom, and would really appreciate a few volunteers.

I’ll have a full write up after the convention, so keep an eye out for that in the very near future.

As always, thanks for reading!