I’m Jealous!

Not At A Convention!

I have to admit that I am super jealous of all of my friends that have been attending conventions this year.  Many of them went to Wizard World NOLA earlier this year, but this weekend a ton of them headed over to Pensacola, FL for Pensacon!  It’s one of my wishlist conventions to attend because they seem to bring the big guns every year as far as guests go.


You don’t know how hard it was to see my friends taking photos with the likes of Sophie Aldred (frickin’ Ace from Doctor Who!), John Wesley Shipp (The Flash, the original frickin’ Flash!), and Lita Ford (a legend in hard rock and my ex-wife in way too many dreams).  It pained me to see Ming from Comic Book Men hanging out with my friends in Southern Geek and Southern Geek Fest.  It bruised my innards whenever I saw that the Nature Boy, Ric Flair, was also a part of the festivities.

To top it all off, Pensacon had the audacity to really rub it in my face by announcing guests for next year’s event (February 23-25) including Lou Ferrigno (The Incredi-frickin’-ble Hulk), Paul Blake (gosh darned Greedo from Star Wars), former WWE star Lita (she hangs out in my dreams with Lita sometimes!), and Frazer flippin’ Hines, Jamie from Doctor Who!  Don’t you dare click here to learn about this year’s event and to keep up with what’s happening next year!  Hopefully the scheduling gods will smile upon me and I’ll get to attend this wonderful event!


You’re probably thinking:  Ken, why don’t you just go to one of your all-time favorite conventions, CoastCon!  Brilliant idea, you!  Except for the fact that I have work scheduled for that weekend!  CoastCon truly is one of my favorite conventions.  It’s one of the oldest fan-run conventions in the southern United States and it’s celebrating forty years this year!


This wonderful event decided to stick it to me this year, inviting some of the coolest guests that they’ve ever had like Oded Fehr.  You know this guy.  He’s killed mummies in the flippin’ The Mummy franchise, taken on zombies in the Resident Evil franchise, and dominated in Showtime’s Sleeper Cell.  To make the fact that I’m going to miss this event even worse, they’ve added awesome authors like Claudia Gray and the Gothic Queen Supreme (and Facebook friend) Kimberly Richardson!  They’ve also thrown in stuntman, actor, and all-around cool guy (and friend), John Mangus!

This excellent event is taking place March 3-5 at the lovely Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.  Visit their webpage for more information about this great, long-running convention.

Okay, okay.  So I missed Pensacon and won’t be able to attend CoastCon.  What about something a tad more local?  CyPhaCon, perhaps?


Yeah, it’d be awesome to attend CyPhaCon, which has consistently put on awesome events in Lake Charles, LA and will do so again from April 7-9, but work is going to prevent me from attending the bulk of the convention.  Hopefully I’ll get to visit on Saturday afternoon and meet Julian Glover (Star Wars, Game of frickin’ Thrones), Chuck Huber (Bones from Star Trek Continues and anime vocal mastermind), and the lovely Luciana Carro (Battlestar Galactica).  I’ve met Luciana at CyPhaCon before, and she’s an awesome lady.


To really bust my chops, CyPhaCon also added the very talented Jessica Von Braun, who happens to be one of my favorite artists.  My family loves her work as well.  There’s going to be awesome tunes, awesome authors, and all sorts of cool panels to attend.  Check them out here and see what all the fuss is about.

Despite missing all or most of some of these wonderful events, the month of May has graciously offered me a small window to attend another of my favorite events, Southern Geek Fest.  This one is close to my heart, as I’ve become good friends with many of the folks that are a part of this event and love the fact that Southern Geek, a Facebook group, gave birth to this wonderful convention.


Southern Geek Fest will feature tons of awesome artists, authors, and panels, as well as a lot of celebrity guests and cosplayers as well.  One of my favorite wrestlers of all time, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, will be in attendance, as well as Peyton Wich of Stranger Things, Victor Gischler (who has done work on titles such as Deadpool and The Punisher), and one of the loveliest, friendliest cosplayers on the circuit, Kimberly Battista.


Oh, and rumor has it that DDK will make his triumphant return to Hattiesburg, MS once again and turn it into Hottiesburg!  Visit SGF’s webpage to learn more about the event.  I promise that you’ll have a great time!

So, I might be jealous of all my friends at the moment, but whenever I return from SGF with an autograph and photo from Hacksaw and a pic with the wonderful Kimberly Battista, we’ll see who’s jealous then!

As always, thanks for reading.  If you happen to attend any of these events, especially CyPhaCon and/or SGF, be sure to drop me a line so that we can meet in person!

Give Monster Trucks A Chance!

In An Almost Empty Theater

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to spend an entire Saturday with my son and no one else.  The rest of my family was involved in an event that I was not obligated to attend and my son didn’t want to attend, so we had a Father/Son day.  We did the standard family things like eat at a restaurant, have ice cream for dessert, and buy one or two goodies just for ourselves.

We decided to check out a film as well.  The only problem was that there weren’t very many options for us.  Most of the films showing at our local cinema were either rated R or not at all interesting to the both of us. We settled on seeing Monster Trucks.  It was PG, family friendly, had monsters INSIDE of trucks, and looked like it would contain enough action to hold our attention.


In all honesty I wasn’t expecting much from the film (and I don’t believe my son expected much either).  We were just happy to sit together at the movies, share Coke and popcorn, and get away for a little while.  After watching Monster Trucks, though, we left the theater feeling pleasantly surprised.

The film stars Lucas Till (X-Men:  First Class, MacGyver reboot) as Tripp, a young man who doesn’t like his home situation or his mom’s boyfriend (gamely played by Barry Pepper).  He helps out at a local scrapyard/tow truck service run by Mr. Weathers (Danny Glover), who gives Tripp parts from different vehicles to help him complete the construction of his own monster truck from the ground up.

Nearby, a company is drilling for oil when they come upon an underwater lake that appears to have a thriving ecosystem within it.  The company’s owner (Rob Lowe, in a wickedly fun small role) pushes his crew to continue with their drilling work.  This leads to three subterranean creatures escaping through the drill site.  Lowe has his crew capture two of the three creatures, but one of them escapes.  That creature eventually finds its way to Mr. Weathers’ scrapyard and after a humorous encounter, it befriends Tripp.  Tripp gives it the name “Creech” and he and a would-be love interest, Meredith (Jane Levy), team up to rescue the other creatures and return them home.


The duo gets help from Mr. Weathers, Rick (Barry Pepper), one of the scientists (Thomas Lennon) that works for the oil company that captured the creatures, and a few others in order to save Creech and the other creatures.  What follows in a huge chase involving trucks with monsters for motors, a sinister henchman (Holt McCallany), the local sheriff, and lots of special effects.


The film is lighthearted, sometimes silly, but ultimately a very family friendly yarn that will please most children under the age of ten.  I don’t even believe that one strong word is uttered in the film.  There’s a little violence and action, but none of it comes across as too unsettling.

The creatures are funny.  They tugged at the heartstrings of young and old audience members alike.  The special effects are excellent as well.

The cast is extremely solid, especially for a family film.  Lowe, Glover, Whaley, Pepper, and Lennon all deliver solid performances in supporting roles.  Till and Levy have great chemistry on the screen as well.

Ultimately there is nothing overly amazing about this film.  It’s just a simple, funny, family flick.  It’s the perfect distraction for an afternoon with the youngsters.

So, ignore the professional critics and the idiots on Rotten Tomatoes.  This film is worth a watch.

As always, thanks for reading.  I’ll have more movie reviews, Ten Burning Questions, and lots of other stuff.