Another whacky season in Game Of Thrones Land has wrapped up, leaving plenty of highlights and low points. Lots of horrible people doing horrible things and less horrible people doing horrible things. Stay tuned after the photos for an in-depth review of Season 5!
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
I liked the parts with the Zombies and the Dragon.
Early in the morning on Friday, March 27 2015, my brother Gary passed away after a long fight with cancer.
He fought for two years against a cancer that only gave him a few months to live, time after time proving doctors and everybody wrong and hanging on for just a little longer. He was an awesome inspiration throughout his entire fight.
In his time here, he married an amazing wife while I was still in high school, gained an amazing daughter, and had an awesome son. He may have only had 41 years here, but he made it count.
He was an awesome older brother. When I was in first grade, he walked me to and from school everyday. When I was in fifth grade, he picked me up from school when I had after school stuff I had to do. And all the way until I got my license, and even after, he would drive me to see movies, ALL THE TIME.
Gary always had awesome friends growing up, but he was always one that loved what he loved. He loved movies, even though his friends weren’t really into them the same way he was. That never stopped him though, as he was always more than happy to make the 30+ minute drive to go to the nearest movie theater that was playing the newest releases, often by himself. Eventually, he realized he was going anyways, so he may as well take me with him and let me tag along.
Movies are a HUGE part of my life now, and always have been. I absolutely love movies, and it’s still my lifelong dream to get one made. All of that came from Gary. While babysitting me when I was younger, all we did was watch movies. But never Disney movies, or kids’ movies. We always watched what he wanted to watch, which was awesome. That’s why I saw and fell in love with Gremlins when I was 5 years old. That’s why I saw Maniac Cop the week it released on VHS. He never filtered anything for me, and I was always grateful for that.
I’ve said it many times, and I will say it forever, my love of movies would not be nearly as strong as it is if it weren’t for my brother Gary. He gave me a lot of memories and great things throughout our lives, but my passion and love for movies is one of his greatest gifts to me.
It’s been over a week since he passed before I’ve felt like I could even really talk about it, and now that I’m letting it sink in a little bit, I could go on and on about how sad I am and how much it hurts, but I know Gary wouldn’t want to read that. So instead, I want to celebrate him.
To do that, here are MY FIVE FAVORITE MOVIE MEMORIES I HAD WITH MY BROTHER GARY
5. Son Of Batman
This was the last movie I was able to watch with my brother. I bought the DVD while visiting so he and his son, Nick, could watch it. I was lucky enough to enjoy it with them. As much as I credit my love of movies to Gary, I also owe him greatly for my extreme love of Batman. Watching this movie with him, his son, and my kids, including Talia and Grayson, whose names come from characters that each make an appearance in this movie, was something special and something I’ll never forget. I wish I’d have gotten to watch more movies with him and his family, but I’m insanely grateful for the ones that I did.
4. Enter The Dragon
One thing Gary always loved that I never got too into, were martial arts movies. He loved Bruce Lee, and we were going to movies all the time when Van Damme, Seagal, Speakman, and the likes were all over the box office. I was never into them, but went along just because it was cool to see how much Gary loved them.
Whenever we’d go visit my grandparents for longer than a few days, my Aunt Laura, who is also largely responsible for my love of movies growing up, and who I sadly lost to her fight with cancer just a few days before Gary, would always take us to the video store on our first day there to get movies to watch during our stay. She’d always let each of us pick out two or three movies. And she’d always get so annoyed by us, because no matter how many movies she’d let us pick, Gary would always pick Enter the Dragon and I’d always pick Gremlins. Every. Time. And no matter how many movies we rented, we would watch each of those movies at least once a day. We enjoyed them that much. My Aunt Laura was so tired of those movies, but we always loved them.
3. Top Gun / Labyrinth
A big part of Gary and I’s movie going experiences were double features. Occasionally we’d be able to talk Aunt Laura into taking us to two movies in the same day, and this was one of the combos I got to enjoy with both of them. Gary would always pick the movies, and he did an awesome job. Top Gun and Labyrinth are both awesome movies and were amazing movie going experiences, and I got to see them both in one day thanks to them. I was able to have a lot of awesome double feature days, but this one has always stood out.
2. Star Wars
If you ever met Gary, you knew he loved Star Wars. Growing up, Star Wars was such a gigantic part of my childhood. Mostly because of Gary’s love for it. We had all the toys, watched all the movies weekly, and bought anything Star Wars we could. I have a lot of great Star Wars memories involving Gary. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t into the prequel trilogy as much. Maybe I needed Gary to make me appreciate it as much as I should have. Or maybe they just weren’t as good. Regardless, I’ll be there opening day for the next trilogy, and the whole time I’ll be wishing Gary were able to be right there next to me.
1. Point Break
Maybe this is a silly movie to be at number one, but if you’ve ever heard me talk about movies, you’ve more than likely heard my Point Break story. When we would do double features, Gary would often go out into the lobby while I waited in the theater for the second movie that we had just sneaked into. He always said it was just to get refills, but I’m pretty sure he would always go out and buy tickets for the second movie. He was that kind of great guy. He loved movies, and had no problem making sure he was paying for the ones we were enjoying, even if we could have easily gotten away with seeing the second one for free. After we watched Point Break for the first time, I was blown away. To this day, I have no idea why I love this movie so much, but I do. No joking, no irony, I legit love this movie so much. After it ended, Gary asked me what movie I wanted to see next, and I simply said, “This. I want to watch this again.” He smiled, didn’t argue, and went out to get us refills and sat through this ridiculous movie a second time in a row just to make me happy.
The week he passed away was far and away the roughest week of my life. I lost my Aunt Laura that Tuesday and him on Friday. All while being in the middle of a crucial point in my new job where I could not miss any time to even get away for a day. As rough as the week was, it did have a happy ending as Erin and I welcomed our fourth child, Kira, to the world that Sunday. It was the longest, hardest pregnancy of the four, and the hardest, most brutal labor and delivery. But she was worth it all.
As much as I was hoping Gary would be here long enough to at least see a picture of his newest niece, I know he was there with us throughout the whole thing. Immediately after Kira was born, our doctor found a true knot in her umbilical cord. He said she was a very blessed baby and that in the case of true knots, things can go very wrong. We were very lucky that they didn’t. I have a hard time not thinking Gary at least had a little something to do with her being a healthy, happy baby.
If you love somebody, make sure they know. If you love something with somebody, enjoy it. Never take it for granted. Make as many memories as possible, because you never know when those memories will be all you have left. And when that happens, it’s those memories that give you reason to smile, no matter how hard it gets.
For years, I had to drive an hour each way for work, which is a large reason why podcasts were such a large part of my life for so many years. Of all the shows I listened to, and of all the shows I loved that were incredibly important to me, there was always one that stood above them all and instantly shot up to the top of the queue each time a new episode was released.
That show was the Australian podcast, TOFOP, featuring comedian Wil Anderson and actor Charlie Clausen.
I had no idea who Wil or Charlie were when I started listening to the show, but instantly fell in love. It lead me down a rabbit hole of seeking out any work of Wil’s I could. Charlie was out of work through most of the time, so it was harder to find work of his that he hadn’t gotten cancelled already.
All I could find from Wil was a body of work that made him instantly become my favorite comedian. Between TOFOP, where he was incredibly quick and hilarious nonstop effortlessly, his standup bits, that were brilliantly written and expertly performed, and his TV show, Gruen Transfer, which is an amazingly hilarious look at advertising, it was like there was a comedian that was put on this planet just for me. With his love of comic books, specifically Batman, a love of puns, an adoration of pop culture, and a TV show focused on advertising, he wrapped so many of my interests into one hilarious package. To make all this even more likeable, it was all wrapped up in this extremely charming personality and a genuinely all around nice guy.
From 2010 to 2012, Wil and Charlie released 83 episodes of TOFOP, which will forever be my favorite run of a podcast ever. I was crushed when they announced they were taking a break, but ecstatic at the same time because it was only happening because Charlie got a great job. After 83 episodes with them, I felt like they were my friends. I was happy for Charlie. Sure, it’d suck that we wouldn’t get to “hang out” as much anymore. But it was for an awesome reason for him, so it was worth it.
After those 83 episodes, Wil eventually returned with FOFOP, which I loved almost as much. Wil then eventually started Wilosophy, TOFOP returned in June of 2014, and Charlie recently launched That’s Aweson! It definitely didn’t end with TOFOP. It’s also been awesome to follow Wil along the way as he continues to be one of Australia’s top comics while also trying to catch a break in the states. It’s been cool to follow.These two have kept me entertained in so many ways for the past five years.
They’ve also very regularly used artist from the amazing James Fosdike. Including the TOFOP banner abover, and this sweatshirt that promoted Wil’s Wiluminati Tour. If you look near the bottom from the very far right you can see my face, which is very awesome.
Even with all the entertainment TOFOP, Wil, and Charlie provided me that I am extremely thankful for, they also provided me with something else that I may appreciate even more: MOTIVATION.
In all my time listening to podcasts, I always wanted to start one of my own. I had done a lot of episodes of Podcast Squared, but that was always Andrew’s show. I wanted my own, but I had no ideas. I didn’t have an angle. I didn’t have an idea. I didn’t have a format. But Wil and Charlie showed me that none of that was needed. They proved to me week after week that two dudes who were funny and had great chemistry could just sit down, hit record, and bring joy to many.
About two years into listening to TOFOP, I finally decided to put the ball in motion and start my own. I eventually asked my buddy Erik Cribley if he wanted to start a podcast, and he surprisingly said yes. Thus, Erik and Dave Talking with Erik and Dave was born.
I met Erik when I was doing standup regularly. I was never on a show where he wasn’t the greatest set of the night. I was never in a room where he wasn’t the funniest person in there. I admired and adored him as a standup, and actually really liked him as a person. He was easily my favorite local comedian, and there were a lot of them that I admired and respected, so that meant a lot.
I didn’t know Erik all that well at first, but I really wanted him to be a part of Juggalohio. Asking him to be in it, despite it feeling super awkward, was one of my most brilliant decisions ever. We had a lot of good times filming, and that lead to a couple other fun times spent filming other projects with our pal Tony Hartman, including a movie and a music video.
Erik always made me feel at my funniest. I felt like I had to raise my game just to hang with him. We developed a pretty solid chemistry, and that’s why I thought a podcast with him could possibly somewhat entertaining.
So we started Erik and Dave Talking with Erik and Dave. We learned on the first episode that we weren’t as smooth as Charlie and Wil. We couldn’t just sit down, hit record, and let magic happen. So we adapted, started creating bits, wrote lots of fan fiction, and had a lot of fun.
We went the full first year and managed to put an episode out each week. That first year ended with a live show that failed miserably and made us wonder if we even wanted to do any more. We remained weekly for the next few months, but then I went through moving and switching jobs, and our hiatus lasted a little longer than expected, then Erik moved to Cleveland for comedy purposes, and we both just kinda lost the passion. We never fully got back in the swing of things after that. We were hit or miss for the rest of year two, that ended in a clip show, then only did three total episodes in year three, but still thought it’d be funny to do a third anniversary special. As we enter year four, who knows? I’d kinda like to see us put out at least one episode per month, but we don’t have the best track record.
Despite our flaws, I feel like the best thing Erik and Dave did was keep Erik motivated. When he started slacking on his standup, I was there to give him shit for it. Doing fan fiction made us keep writing actively, even if it was just about our friends getting space raped or silly shit like that. Eventually he went and start FACTS! with Mike Kolenich, which had an awesome run, and eventually lead to the creation of FACTS! and FRIENDS! and Perfect America. Erik is a funny dude, and the more people that can be exposed to him is better, and podcasting has let him reach a wider audience.
As entertaining as he is in podcast form, standup is his natural calling. He is a phenomenal joke writer and bit former with an incredible stage presence and energy. Every show I ever did with him on it felt like he was a pro among amateurs. He stood out that much. I was so happy to see him move to Cleveland to immerse himself into their budding comedy scene.
It’s worked out pretty well for him so far, as he was recently announced as part of the Alan Cox Comedy Tour, which is being headlined by Wil Anderson. I’m super proud of him.
Even better than the fact that I get to see two of my favorite comedians on the same show, I think it’s super awesome to see the guy I’ve hosted a podcast with for three years be on the same show as the guy who gave me the motivation to ask him to start a podcast with me in the first place.
Last week, one of my favorite bands in the world, Punchline, released the title track off their upcoming album. I’m not one to blog anytime a band I love releases something new, but Punchline has always been pretty special to me. And for the last year and a half or so, I’ve been afraid that there would be no more new Punchline music ever again. Needless to say, I was pretty damn Thrilled when this was released.
Punchline hit me at the right time in my life. The first album of their’s I heard was Action, which to this day is still a Top 10 Ever album for me. It’s a perfect rock and roll record. Here is the band performing the entire album a couple years ago.
After Action was 37 Everywhere, which for some reason I hated on first listen. I don’t know if it’s because it came out on the same day as some other great albums, or if my expectations were to high, or what. But whatever it was, I was very wrong. I revisited the album about six months later and fell in love all over again. It wasn’t Action, but it was damn close. This is another one that to this day, is a Top 10 Ever album for me. I regret not getting that on first listen, because I lost out on six months of enjoying this album.
Action and 37 Everywhere were huge for me. They hit me at the time when music meant the most to me. I couldn’t ask for better timing. No other albums of their’s, or of anybody’s, will ever mean to me as much as those two do, which isn’t a bad thing at all. They were albums I loved at a time when I loved music the most. For some reason, music doesn’t hit me now like it did then.
But in no way does that mean I haven’t loved anything since then. Every album since has been great in it’s own way, and every album has songs on it that I love just as much as those two earlier albums.
I can’t stress enough, if you love this band, or even enjoy them greatly, read Chris’s blog where he ranked every Punchline song. It’s pretty amazing. I can’t imagine the time and effort put into creating such a list. I can imagine how little effort would go into making a Top 5 Favorite Punchline Videos Off Of Albums That Came After Action and 37 Everywhere though, so here it is.
TOP 5 FAVORITE PUNCHLINE VIDEOS OFF OF ALBUMS THAT CAME AFTER ACTION AND 37 EVERYWHERE
5. I Swear I’ve Been Here Before – off of So Nice To Meet You
Ok, so maybe I’m biased with this one. If you watch closely, you may see me show up as the Evil Mayor. If you look more closely, you may see Erik Cribley as one of my henchmen. If you look even more more closely, you may see Steve Soboslai make a cameo. And if you just watch, you’ll see my sweet hoopin skills.
4. Ghostie – off of Just Say Yes
This is a perfect Punchline song with a silly video. A great mix.
3. Coyotes In B Major – off of Delightfully Pleased
Punchline has always written great hooks, and this is one of their best. The combination of Steve and Paul’s voice has always created some of the most beautiful music ever and this song sums up perfectly why I was so excited Paul was back in the band for this record.
2. The Hit – off of Just Say Yes
They were on fire with this and Ghostie this album. Great songs, great videos. This is the epitome of a great Punchline song.
1. 21 Forever – off of Delightfully Pleased
Not as fun of a video as the other ones posted, but this is my favorite song of their’s that isn’t on Action or 37 Everywhere. Chris ranked it #2 on his list, but I felt like it deserved a #1. Nothing against Universe, it’s a great jam, but it’s not 21 Forever.
HONORABLE MENTION: Rollercoaster Smoke – off of Delightfully Pleased
I’ve always loved this song, but I’ve never watched Lost, so I’ve always felt like I would like it more if I “got it.” Great song though, and some dude went through a lot of effort to cut together this video.
I used to blog weekly about my podcasts, then I stopped. And I kinda stopped talking about them in general for the most part because I never wanted to be the “Hey, listen to my podcast!” guy, even though I love podcasting. I don’t know if I’ll start the weekly posts again or not, but probably not. I just figured I’d post an update about where all my shows stand currently.
MOVIES ON UP! Movies On UP! has been my most successful/consistent podcast. This May will mark three straight years with at least one episode up a week. We had a phase where we were doing two episodes a week, but that was stupid and we stopped.
It’s a ton of fun. Each week is either a random list where we dig into subgenres, subsubgenres, and even subsubsubgenres, or a discussion on a specific movie. We’ve gotten it down to a science and still put out consistent content with the least amount of work involved. It’s pretty fun.
DAVE AND MIKE HAVE DADDY ISSUES Dave and Mike Have Daddy Issues is my newest show. It’s Michael Kolenich and I talking about Dad stuff. It’s a lot of fun. We record it with the kids around, so they interject occasionally. It’s cool to be able to talk about being a dad with a fellow dad, and it’s a nice change doing something family friendly, which I’ve never been good at.
We’re only two episodes in so far, but new episodes will be dropping every other week from here on.
ERIK AND DAVE TALKING WITH ERIK AND DAVE Erik and Dave Talking with Erik and Dave is technically my oldest show. We started three years ago this week, but haven’t done it weekly in a year and a half. First year was every week, second year was weekly for the first half, then sporatic, third year we did three total episodes.
BUT, that didn’t stop us from putting up a 3 Year Anniversary special this week to celebrate. It was a ton of fun, and maybe almost enough fun for me to want to do an episode more often than every four months. We’ll see.
PODCEST Podcest is a new site I just threw together this week. It will get a lot of work soon, including a new logo and a fairly detailed site. With all of my podcasts, and Erik Cribley recently launching two more (Perfect America and FACTS! and FRIENDS!), I figured I’d put together one site to put all those shows at to make it easier for fans of one to stumble onto the others.
This one is coming soon. I was really hoping to have the first episode up by now, but it isn’t. This will be a new show, that will pretty much just be me talking about advertising, with guests and cool stuff occasionally.
I’ve been collecting Funko POP! figures for a few years now, and it always blew my mind that there wasn’t a Punisher one. My collection always felt like it was lacking something, because The Punisher would have been one of the first ones I ever bought.
Finally, early this year, The Punisher POP! was born. I won’t go into how terribly it was handled by Walgreens, and how they don’t deserve anymore exclusives after this series, but after lots of effort, I finally got my hands on one. And instantly, he became one of my favorites in my collection.
I absolutely loved The Punisher as a child. Not only did I love him, but so did my best friend in the entire world, Zane. We met in the fifth grade, and instantly bonded over our love of Frank Castle. We could try to take a deep look into why we were so drawn to the character, but it can probably be boiled down as simply as we were young children being drawn to the extreme violence.
Our love didn’t stop at reading and talking about The Punisher comics though. It also extended to a sleepover involving the very disappointing Dolph Lundgren take on the character.
But more importantly, it was our love of making our very own Punisher comics that got us through the fifth grade. If we didn’t entertain ourselves with these comics, maybe we would have dropped out and never even seen the sixth grade. We’ll never know. Hell, maybe without those comics, our friendship never would have gotten as strong as it’s always been.
Our comics kept us going during down times in class. They were violent, bloody, ultra violence, and included a more one-linery Frank Castle than the comics we loved. In other words, they were perfect. I used to keep them all in the top drawer of my dresser for a few years. One of my biggest regrets in this lifetime is throwing them all away. It still bums me out to think about it.
In memory of our custom made Punisher comics made by our fifth grade selves, and more importantly, to celebrate me finally getting the POP! figure piece I’ve wanted since I started my collection, I have done my best to recreate one of those comics made by our fifth grade selves. The violence, the swearing, the nonsensical one liners are all present, as is the same quality artwork.
There have been multiple versions of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over the last 30 years. These are the most handsome ones.
10. Leonardo – 1987-96 Everybody loves a man in blue.
9. Raphael – 2003-10 The early 2000s series wasn’t good, and the design of the Turtles was terrible. They were giant, hulking monsters and all around lacked fun. That didn’t stop Raph from being a looker though.
8. Raphael – 1990 Everybody loves a bad boy. And the brooding leading man thing is so ‘in’ right now. Movie Raph was ahead of his time and looked great doing so.
7. Michelangelo – 1987-96 Party dude with a great smile, what’s not to love?
6. Raphael – 2007 Even darker. Even broodier.
5. Michelangelo – 2012-Present Even more fun loving with an even greater smile. Slightly dumb, but super cute.
4. Raphael – 1986-97 Not as dark as other incarnations, but super sarcastic and hella charming.
3. Michelangelo – 2007 Everything great about Mikey, with the best smile yet.
2. Donatello – 1987-96 Who says smart and nerdy can’t be sexy?
1. Raphael – 2012-present All the best aspects of the coolest Turtle executed flawlessly. The snarky, fun loving sarcasm without losing the dark, loner mentality. SWOON.