Thursday, March 29, 2012

This & That: Save These Shows!!

Fringe (Fridays on FOX, CityTV in Canada)
I am a huge fan of the TV series 'Fringe', which is currently in it's 4th season. A 5th season is still up in the air, and the Producers have said if they are not renewed they will do season 5 in comic book form. I'm sorry but a comic book season 5 will not do for me. This is a great series and if it takes a 5th season to complete the story I'm hoping the FOX Executives wake up and allow them to finish their show properly. This is a series which has had it's ups and downs and lately this series has really hit it's stride and it would be a damn shame if it were not able to finish it's run on Television. 

Alcatraz (Mondays on FOX)
This series just finished it's First season last Monday. I'll admit that this series is a little bit hard to follow at times, much like the TV series 'Lost', but it definitely has great potential and the first season ended in a cliffhanger with the shocking death of a very important character, or is that character really dead?? Again this is a show with potential and it would be a shame if it were not to be completed. Too many questions have yet to be answered. If this series is not renewed by FOX is it possible for someone else to pick it up, like FX for example? 

Both series are Executive Produced by JJ. Abrams. Both are great series and both need to be renewed for new seasons. Period.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blog #22: Encounters Of The Geek Kind, Part II

The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo 2011 
Now I'm going to tell you about my first trip to the city of Calgary last year in June to attend the 'Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo' at the BMO Centre. My step-children Bailey and Kayde spent the weekend with their biological father while Shelby spent the weekend with Nana Darcy and Bubba (Grandma) LaBerge, Crystal and I made the trip alone to Calgary. Our first stop was in Stony Plain to pick up the t-shirts my cousin Curtis created for me to wear at the convention. One was a Ghostbusters design made by him with 'Slimer' and the 'Marshmellow Man' which was awesome. The other two were based on ideas I submitted to him for my meetings with William Shatner and Jonathan Frakes. The Shatner shirt read on the front "William Shatner For Prime Minister", and on the back it read "Because He's The Shat". The Frakes shirt read on the front "Captain Riker, USS Titan' and on the back it read "The Next Star Trek Series". When I met them Shat didn't really notice me or my shirt, Frakes did notice and said 'The Titan, that's great!". Very cool and thank you Curtis for that. If anyone is interested in thees shirts or any others Curtis has designed check him out on facebook: Curtis Sarapuck. Now we were off to Calgary. We actually had no problems navigating to the hotel room in downtown Calgary. The Marriot Hotel was very nice and fancy, maybe a little too fancy for us red necks. Then we were off to the expo. I got to meet comic book artist Amanda Conner, who I am a fan of and got a picture of her 'Power Girl' autographed by her and writer Jimmy Palmiotti, which is now proudly framed in my living room. In the autograph area we seen Tia Carrere (from 'Relic Hunter' and 'Waynes World'). We also seen Mira Furlan (Ambassador Delenn from 'Babylon 5' and Rousseau from 'Lost') and got her autograph, and later got our picture taken with her. She was nice but seemed a little shy. We also got our pic taken with Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) and I have a hard time believing she is actually 60 years old!!! She looks amazing!! I would say she looks like a woman in her early 40's. She was stunning.
Saturday I payed for the most expensive breakfast I ever ate!! $46 for Crystal and I to eat breakfast in the fancy hotel restaurant, and it really was not that good. We went to the expo and there was easy 3 times the amount of people there that day compared to Friday. I got to meet up with a school friend, Taryn Francis (Lawton) who was there to get her picture taken with Shatner. It had been too many years since we seen each other and it was great to see and catch up with her.
Crystal and I caught the 'Battlestar Galactica' panel with stars Micheal Hogan (Colonel Tigh) and Kate Vernon (Mrs. Tigh) and they were both funny and great to listen to on stage.
 I later caught a Matt Frewer panel. Frewer is best known as 80's icon 'Max Headroom', but being a Trek nerd I was more interested in his guest appearance on an episode of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. I even asked him about it and I was so nervous having him and the entire room staring at me...but I got out my question. I said "I....I...I wanted to ask you about your role on Star Trek. Did they call you for the role because I had heard a rumour that that role was originally written for Robin Williams (who apparently was a big fan of the show)". He said to me that he was asked to take the role and also heard the Williams rumour but doesn't know if it is true. He also had hoped to make another appearance with that character, but it never happened.
Later Saturday we caught an 'Innerspace' panel. 'Innerspace' is a sci-fi news show in
Canada on the 'Space' cable channel. The hosts Ajay Fry and Teddy Wilson were entertaining and informative. I was happy to hear that an Space HD is eventually coming.
I got an autograph from Jonathan Frakes, Star Trek's 'Captain Riker'. I told him that the next Trek series should be about Riker and the USS Titan and he replied by saying 'I couldn't agree more!". Very cool and nice guy.
William Shatner was awesome at his panel. Shat came out on stage with a arm full of hot women in the green orion slave girl make-up, very cool. R2D2 presented the Shat with a white cowboy hat from the Mayor of Calgary. Apparently the white hat ceremony is a big thing in Calgary. A guy behind me said "That's not right. R2D2 should not be giving him the hat. The mixing of universes is not right!", and I thought I was a nerd... Shat was great on stage and announced a special documentary series he has done interviewing all the Captains of the Star Trek series... looking forward to that. The line up for the pic was crazy busy. When we got to get our pic with him I didn't get to ask him anything.There was a little boy who got his pic before us and after the pic the boy didn't know where his dad was and Shat said to me "Who does he belong to?" referring to the kid. That was it. It was very much get in and get out or get tossed by security. Shat just wanted it to be over, you could tell he had had enough at that point. Still very cool to be standing next to him!! The guy is 80 years old and the fact he still does so much is amazing to me.
We had a great supper at the hotel lounge. While sitting next to the window we seen 'Innerspace' co-host Teddy Wilson walk by. I waved at him, he waved back and must have noticed my 'Shat For Prime Minister' shirt and gave us the Vulcan salute. We asked him to join us but he said he had to go. After I sent him a message on Twitter and he actually got back to me. He and Ajay are very cool guys!
Sunday at the expo we watched an awesome Zombie version of Micheal Jackson's 'Thriller'. Crystal got a zombie scar on her thanks to a cool make-up booth. We both got our pics taken with R2D2. We attended the 'Innerspace'  autograph session and got to meet and talk with Ajay Fry and Teddy Wilson. I learned that Teddy was actually a child actor who starred on a 80's Canadian kids variety comedy show called 'You Can't Do That On Television', which was actually the show where Canadian singer/song writer Alanis Morissette got her start. I loved to watch that show as a kid!! They signed autographs and took their picture with Crystal and I.
We got our pic taken with Jonathan Frakes, Captain Riker himself!! He even shook my hand and noticed my USS Titan shirt... awesome!! 40 minutes later i got my pic taken with Battlestar Galactica stars Micheal Hogan and Kate Vernon. I shook Kates hand then Hogan's hand and he even noticed my shirt. Then in his 'Colonel Tigh' character and Tigh voice he said to me "Hello Captain, well lets get this done!" which was awesome. As I left I said 'thank you' to them and Hogan replied "The pleasure was all ours". They were so nice and it was very cool to have met them.
Crystal met 'The Excorcist' star Lynda Blair. She was very excited to meet her and learned a lot from her about her animal rescue group. We then went to the Jonathan Frake panel and he was very entertaining.
We left Calgary Sunday at 4pm and stopped in Red Deer for supper, with Crystal still with her zombie scar on her face. This was normal at the Con, but imagine the stares at the 'Ricky's' restaurant in Red Deer... what people must have been thinking...
The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo 2012!!! 
I highly recommend the Calgary Comic And Entertainment Expo to everyone, and the next one is scheduled for April 27-29,  2012. I'll be there too! Hotel is booked, money put aside and I am ready to go with Crystal. Aside from meeting the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation at the 'TNG EXPOsed' Reunion Show we will be meeting John Noble and Jasika Nicole from 'Fringe', Richard Hatch the original 'Apollo' from the original 'Battlestar Galactica'. Adam West, Katee Sackhoff, Stan 'The Man' Lee, Jon Bernthal & Laurie Holden from 'The Walking Dead'... the stars are coming to Calgary once again. Also legendary Comic Book Writer Peter David and Artist George Perez will be there. I am very excited, just hope the weather is nice that weekend for the drive.
Anyway have a great week and talk with you soon!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blog #21: Podcasts I listen to

'The Atomic Geeks' and 'Nerd Lunch' are at the top of my list of podcasts that I listen to. They are both great podcasts because they both  feature a group of friends who share same interests, discuss topics, and laugh at each other and themselves. What makes them both great is they are actually funny guys and their chemistry from their friendships translates over the airwaves. No one member of TAG or NL is trying to out do the others.

 But I do have a long commute and these are the 'other' pod casts I listen to. My podcast list on my iPod is currently as follows:

- Breaking Bad Insider Podcast (Also while watching an episode last Summer I seen they advertised a podcast with this show so I checked out iTunes and sure enough I found the 'Breaking Bad Insiders Podcast' which is a podcast featuring actual people from the show. Several episodes I listened to included Bryan Cranston himself and series creator Vince Gilligan. To listen to them talk about all the work they put into making that weeks episode was awesome. Well worth a listen!!)

- Comic Geek Speak Podcast (A must listen for me. Again these are a group of funny guys who loove to read comics and debate many comic book related issues)

- Hollywood Babble-on (Another must listen for me every week. Kevin Smith and Ralph Garmen are hillarious)

- iFanboy: Don't Miss (depends on the creator they are interviewing)

iFanboy Comic Book Podcast (Another must listen Comic Book podcast every week)

- Jay & Silent Bob Get Old (I don't listen all the time but I do like to catch up and listen when possible. I only like to listen when Kevin Smith is there, sometimes it's just Jason Mewes and a guest co-host when Kevin is away and those I tend to skip)

- Masters Of The Universe Chronicles (I am a fan of He-Man and sometimes listen to this show. )

- Nerd Lunch (My #1 podcast must listen. Great job so far CT & crew!!)

- SciFi Surplus (I like the news these guys provide on geek stuff, but they are almost at times too Nerdy to listen to. They will make really terrible jokes that are not funny and laugh at themselves too much... but still great info)

- Smodcast (Kevin Smiths original podcast. I don't listen every week, but it is one of those shows you can pick up anytime.)

- Starbase 66 ( A great Star Trek & Sci-Fi discussion show. They don't put out shows on a weekly basis but when they do put out an episode it is well worth the listen)

- The ABC's of SNL (the Kevin Smith interviews Jon Lovitz podcast. Only a few episodes so far but very hillarious stuff)

- The Atomic Geeks (Also my #1 podcast and must listen every week!!)

- The Nerdist (hillarious podcast I listen to depending on the guest star)

- Word Balloon The Comic Book Creators Interview Show ( I listen depending on who is being interviewed.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This & That: Road To The 'Nerd Lunch' Podcast

It was about a year and a half ago when I first discovered The Atomic Geeks Podcast, and at first listen I was hooked. This group of fun loving Canadian guys sounded a lot like myself and my friends when we have geeky discussions. It was while listening to their podcasts I was first introduced to CT, from the 'Nerd Lunch' blog. CT from time to time would guest appear on The Atomic Geeks (TAG) Podcast, and I really liked his appearances. CT fit right in with the other members of TAG, and last fall CT announced that he would be starting his own podcast called The Nerd Lunch (TNL) Podcast, and that it would be a part of the TAG Network. Immediately I was excited, and I know from his TAG appearances that he is a dedicated Star Trek fan like myself. TNL was a success right from the start as far as I was concerned and they had a fan/listener in me. The format of TNL is they have a different Nerd/Geek topic they cover every week with fellow bloggers Jeeg and Pax joining CT on the podcast. But they left a '4th chair' open for others to make guest appearances on the show. I had chatted previouslyon the TAG forum at with CT on several occasions, and after episode #6 of TNL I wrote CT an E-Mail asking if I could sit in the 4th chair for a future Star Trek episode. CT agreed to have me on board for a future Trek episode, we set up and had a Skype 'Test Call' in mid-January where CT and I had a conversation about geeky stuff for about 45 minutes. We were having such a good conversation I almost didn't want to end the call, but all was set and I would be making my podcasting debut in March.

As I continue this post it is Tuesday March 6th, and a few hours ago I finished recording my first appearance on the Nerd Lunch podcast. I'll admit I was a little nervous but the entire episode went well I think. CT, Jeeg and Pax were all great to talk with and were very kind to me during the recording. I was very nervous because I am not only a listener of the Nerd Lunch podcast but I am a fan of it, so being able to sit and chat with these guys was especially thrilling for me. It is episode 28 of the Nerd Lunch podcast and the concept for this particular episode is essentially some 'What If' scenarios regarding Star Trek. It breaks down as follows:

1. A Star Trek without Shatner. Jeffrey Hunter is not replaced when they make the second Star Trek pilot and Pike remains Captain instead of Kirk.

2. Star Trek: Phase II happens. In the mid/late 70s, a new Trek television series almost came to fruition called Star Trek: Phase II. This was to have most of the original cast except Spock and three new characters, Decker, Ilia, and Xon. Due to the failure of the new Paramount network, the show fell through and became Star Trek: The Motion Picture instead. However, in our scenario, the deal did not fall through and the show launched... what would have happened?

3. At the end of the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Picard is assimilated by the Borg and Riker gives orders to fire a super weapon on the Borg ship. For months we had to wait to see what the resolution would be and it was made more tense because there were rumors that Patrick Stewart might be leaving the show. In this scenario, we discuss what would have happened if he had left the show.

4. Similarly, in the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Second Chances," the crew meets a transporter duplicate of Riker who is a bit testier and surly. An original idea was floated around that the show would kill off Will Riker and the duplicate, Tom Riker, would take his place on the show. What would have happened to Trek had they made that decision.

Also the Lightning Round:
- Didn't resurrect Spock in Star Trek III
- Michelle Forbes agrees to join the cast of DS9 (This was my lightning round scenario)
- Genevieve Bujold does not walk off the set of the filming of the Star Trek: Voyager pilot "The Caretaker" and remains as 'Captain Janeway'? (Everyone contributed to this scenario)
- Denise Crosby does not leave the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation?

All in all it was a great experience, my first attempt at podcasting. Hopefully I didn't sound too much like a fool. Can't believe I forgot 'Julie Benz' in my 'Nerd-To-Do' list... again I was a little nervous. But if you are reading this post I urge you to please give this episode a listen. It is episode #28 of the 'Nerd Lunch' podcast and is available for free downloading off of iTunes. If you liked the episode be sure to check out their other episodes as they are all great to listen to. Also it would be much appreciated by the Nerd Lunch crew if you could leave them a positive iTunes review. iTunes reviews help them out on iTunes so please leave a review. Also check out the following websites:

The Nerd Lunch Blog:
The Cavalcade Of Awesome Blog:

I would like to personally thank CT, Jeeg and Pax for including me in on episode 28 of the Nerd Lunch podcast, I really appreciate that. I had a blast and it was great exposure for me and my blogs. Thanks guys, I appreciate everything and keep up the great work you have been doing on the podcast!

Take care and see you next time!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

This & That: Beer And Balls March 11th, 2012

The first 'Beer and Balls' was a good afternoon. Small turn out but thats OK. Had fun playing ball and trying different beers. Bonus was that money was won on the VLT's so the afternoon didn't cost me anything!! Hopefully more will be able to attend #2 on June 10th!!

This & That: Edmonton Oil Kings

Saturday night my Step-Son and I got a chance to attend our first WHL 'Edmonton Oil Kings' game. Bailey, my step-son, plays in the local fun hockey league and as a special promotion all the kids in the fun hockey league got a free ticket to the March 10th game.

For a parent to go the ticket was just $15 bucks. Not a bad price considering that the Oil Kings play in the home of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, at Rexall Place.

The retired Edmonton Oilers numbers
The fun hockey league even arranged for us to ride a bus from Barrhead, to Rexall Place and back again. About a hour and a half ride. It was nice not having to drive but I forgot just how uncomfortable those bus seats really are. Also one of the kids on the bus had really bad gas, very very nasty. But over all it was a great experience and a fun night out for me and my son.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On The Menu #2: Little Italy Pasta Panini & Coffee Bar

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Italian food. Last year my good friend Gerry Graziano opened his own Italian restaurant called 'Little Italy Pasta Panini & Coffee Bar', located in the Acheson industrial park, west of Edmonton, Alberta. I have had the pleasure on occasion to sample Gerry's cooking at social functions and I have always been impressed with his skills in a kitchen. Due to my schedule I have been previously unable to make it out to Gerry's restaurant, but on March 7th my Grandma Yvonne LaBerge and I made the hour long drive to Acheson to check out Little Italy Pasta Panini & Coffee Bar, I brought my appetite (and camera) with me.  

Our meal was excellent. I went with tradition and ordered a full order of spaghetti and meatballs, my Grandma had the half order. It came with tossed salad and garlic toast. We had Sanpellegrino's to drink, I had an orange and my Grandma had a lemon. Gerry was kind enough to bring us some 'Tiramisu' for dessert and it was beyond excellent. It was an excellent meal, and it made for a great day spent with my Grandma. Thanks again Gerry for a great lunch!

If you love Italian food like I do you have to check out Gerry's restaurant. 

Owner & Kitchen Magician Gerry Graziano

Business Card Info:

Little Italy Pasta Panini & Coffee Bar

Located At
#106-D Fulton Rd.
Zone 3 Acheson, AB

Ph 780-960-8500


Fresh Daily Pasta Specials!
Hot or Cold Panini, Italian Sweets!
Fresh Coffee & Specialty Coffee!
Dine in, Take Out & Catering

"Your Kitchen away from home"

The walls have several great pictures including this awesome Rat Pack Poster

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beer Goggles: March 2012

As part of my 'Random Nerdness' Blog I have included a monthly update I am calling 'Beer Goggles' where I will share a brief outline on what I am drinking, reading, viewing and listening to for the month.
Beer: My favourite beer is Kokanee and I recently bought a case of them, so I will be enjoying them soon. Kokanee is made in BC and is 'Glacier Fresh'. What ever they are doing works because this is the best beer made in Canada in my humble opinion. 

Comics & Books: I recently bought the 'Compendium' of the comic book series 'The Walking Dead'. I recently finished the first trade and I was blown away by what I read and saw. I loved it so much I went out and ordered the first Compendium of this comic series, and I will buy the second one when it is released. Robert Kirkman is perhaps one of the greatest comic book writers in history!

At this years Calgary Comic Expo writer Peter David will be there. Last summer I bought his book on how to write for comics, but I have not yet read it so I'm hoping to to read some of it so I can ask him some questions at the con. David wrote some of my favourite comic runs in comic history. 

Also I bought a special 'Batman Incorporated' comic titled 'Leviathan Strikes!'. Right now for me Batman is my favourite character to follow in comics and I am especially looking forward to reading this Grant Morrison story. 

Viewing: I am still watching season 2 of the North American version of 'Being Human'. Also be sure to check out 'The Walking Dead' TV series on AMC. This show is one of the best TV series on TV right now!!
I recently bought a 'Directors Cut' of the 2009 'Watchmen' movie, which I intend to watch. I really liked this film and feel it is one of the best comic book movies ever made. Also last summer I purchased the DC Animated Movie 'Green Lantern: Emerald Knights', which I have yet to watch but will watch soon. Look for a possible review on 'The Cola Dog' blog. 

Listening: Having a long drive to work every workday I tend to do a lot of listening. 'The Atomic Geeks', 'Nerd Lunch' and 'Classic Film Jerks' are all great podcasts I love to listen to. Some other great podcasts I listen to are: 'iFanboy', 'Comic Geek Speak' and 'I Sell Comics'. I've also downloaded some great audiobooks I hope to crack open this month: 'Bradbury 13', radio-like drama's about some of Ray Bradbury's classic sci-fi tales. Also 'World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War'.
Well that is all for March's 'Beer Goggles'.