Saturday, August 31, 2013
Hoping to see at least a few of these bad boys tomorrow at the 5th Annual VW Beach BASH in Pass-A-Grille, FL. Camera battery is fired up and ready to go. Kinda looking forward to it, fingers crossed that the weather is okay.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Matthew Christopher's Abandoned America - An Autopsy of the American Dream
Cool site I found whilst searching for photos of planes! Check this out, it's got some interesting photos on it.
Cool site I found whilst searching for photos of planes! Check this out, it's got some interesting photos on it.
All The Rods is excited about attending the VW Beach Bash which will be held Sunday Sept 1st in Pass-A-Grille Beach, FL. I will be taking tons of photos and hope to speak to some of the folks that will be showing their cars. I think that this is going to be a great way to spend a Sunday.
I adore the old-style VWs, especially the VW Bug or VW Beetle. My mom had a 1974 yellow Super Beetle and I believe that car is the one that got my interest started in them. My cousins also had a blue one and my grandfather got on the bandwagon and also bought a tan VW Beetle. They are just so cute and you can always tell when one's nearby. The older Bugs/Beetles have a ringing sound to their engines that sets them apart from other cars of that era. I once had someone from a VW Club tell me that it's because the engines are water-cooled. The engines of that era were always in the rear with a generous trunk in the front of the car. Whenever I saw a hood up on a VW Bug back then, it always reminded me of a giant mouth being opened.
I am always thrilled to see a vintage VW driving on the roads around here. I ponder how old that particular car might be. They are usually in very good condition. I also tend to see some vintage VW buses around here as well. I see one on the way to work, that makes me turn my head to watch it pass every time. That one is a turquoise green and tan color. It's beautiful. I hope that whomever owns it shows up at the upcoming VW Beach Bash. I am dying to get a picture of it.
VW Bugs and Beetles prominently figured into my childhood for many reasons. It seemed that everyone in the world had one or knew someone that did. When taking long trips by car with my parents and brother, I would count the amount of Beetles we saw enroute to wherever we were heading. One time I counted 100 for an hour's trip. This is also the car that was used for me to learn how to drive 'shift' or 'manual' as it's sometimes known as. The appeal of this great little car crossed over into the film industry with the 'Herbie-The Love Bug' franchise. ( Yes, I have the box set). In 2005, a newer Herbie movie came out, 'Herbie-Fully Loaded' which starred Lindsay Lohan. I was probably one of the few that actually thought this was a great movie. One can find many Herbies at various carshows. I'm sure that I will see plenty of them at the upcoming VW Beach Bash.
Another thing that was great about the old 70's versions of the Bug/Beetle was that space between the back window and back seat, which my family dubbed 'The Well'. The Well was made more for storage than anything else. But one fine summer day when I was a teen, my friends and I settled the age old 'How many people can you fit into a VW?' question. The answer was seven. We did lap-sitting and the smaller of the kids fit nicely into The Well. We were in a parking lot and we did not take to the road. If I recall correctly, I don't think we even tried to drive the car. Too bad that camera phones, Facebook and Twitter didn't exist back then, we would have had a field day!
Whenever I see a great looking VW in a parking lot somewhere, if I can, I try to get a picture of it.
The above group photo was taken at Daytona's Spring Fling 2005.
^^^ This little sexy was spotted at a local mall parking lot. I love the eyelids over the headlights; it gives this car a lot of personality.
The above photo isn't mine. I found this on The Road to ME Facebook page. The lady who runs that blog (Teresa) uses a lot of VW Bug/Beetle imagery in her posts. It was one of the things that drew me to her site.
As you can see, the VW is one of the All The Rods favorite cars of all time.
'Wacky Shenanigans!' is an expression that is used early and often on the great podcast known as Slow Robot A Go-Go. If this name sounds familiar to you, this may be because earlier this year I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with one of the hosts mOw. (You can find mOw's interview under 'Podcasts, B Movies and Asian Influence-Oh My!' which ran on 2/13/13.)
Recently during a listen to Slow Robot A Go-Go, I felt compelled to write about them again only this time, I would be mostly concentrating on how much I love this show and why you need to check it out. Slow Robot A Go-Go is nothing like anything else I've heard and that's a good thing. Sure, there are a lot of podcasts and radio shows dedicated to the discussion of movies. I've heard a few great ones but for one reason or another, I cannot seem to get enough of this one and it's become my 'Go To'.
This show is manned by mOw and his cohort Dr. Morbius (from parts unknown). These two guys really sound like a couple of old friends just hanging out, shooting the breeze about movies and a whole lot of other interesting topics. The fact that they sound so unrehearsed and real makes the show even more appealing.
A few notes before I delve into this show review...You should have a pad and a pen ready to make a list of movies. The reason being is because once these two guys get going discussing movies, you might just be intrigued enough to find out more about or just to watch whatever they discuss. My Netflix queue has tripled in size due to a lot of the movies that mOw and Dr. Morbius have discussed on their show. Having an open mind is also a great idea. If you're looking for someone to discuss the latest thing at the box office, you may be disappointed. (Yes, at times, they DO discuss current movies but that's really not their stock in trade. More on that in a minute.) My movie viewing horizons have been broadened due to listening to this show and I'm watching things that I might have passed on previously. Last but not least, if you're a lover of the old black and white films, really obscure stuff or just flat out love B movies, this podcast is for you.
The format of this show is that mOw and Dr. Morbius (from parts unknown) review and mull over B-Movies of all eras. Some of their movies are complete stinkers and others are beloved classics. The show will usually begin with information on where you can find and listen to this show. (I will include that info at the end of this review.) After that, the two then discuss what they've watched in the prior week. The things they watch are sometimes movies and at times, just documentaries or football shows among other things, often with hilarious commentary.
One of the current things that mOw has been spending a lot of time with is his 'Van Damme A-Thon' where he is watching every single Jean-Claude Van Damme movie from the first one to the most recent. He then discusses each movie and his thoughts about them.
The two hosts also will sprinkle a good bit of chatter about music in amongst their movie talk. Both mOw and Dr. Morbius have avid interest in music and really delve into the merits of a band, musician or musical style, often in great detail.
After they've gotten that out of the way, they settle into more of a formatted show. Some of their pre-mpvie reviewing patter includes a 'This or That' list which may or may not have to do with movies. An example would be 'Coke or Pepsi?' or 'Mustang or Camaro?'. Other times they have a Top Ten List(s), again movie related or not as this past show demonstrated where they both had their own lists of 'Favorite NFL Football Players of All Time'.
They also have a 'Versus' format to the show where they each pick a film and compare and contrast their opinions of the movies that they've chosen. Normally, however, they just choose one movie and break down the good, the bad and the ugly of the chosen movie. They're not always in love with everything that they've picked out for the week's show and they will lay out their reasoning in an amusing yet honest way.
Both mOw and Dr. Morbuis are fans of such things as Roger Corman movies or flicks that the great Ray Harryhausen worked on for example. I love the fact that they are willing to discuss more of the classic movies as opposed to the newer, flashy, CGI-laden products that one finds at any given theater. The show seems to harken back to the movies of older eras, where the action wasn't so ' in your face' and you could also use your imagination more. Due to listening to this show, I've gone back to watch a lot of older horror movies such as 'The Abominable Dr. Phibes' and 'The Island of Lost Souls' which came out in 1932. I've also rented such things as 'The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms' and the original version of 'The Fly' to name a few.
When it comes time to take their two breaks, you can bet that mOw and Dr. Morbius will run a trailer or two of some super obscure or Grade B movie from 'back in the day'. I do not know where they find these trailers but in my eyes, they are B Movie Gold.
This past show, the guys watched three versions of 'King Kong', the 1933, 1976 and 2005 versions. They compared and contrasted each one. I've seen all three of these and was wowed by how great the original was, knowing that back then we didn't have the technology that exists nowadays. Dr. Morbius' viewpoints on the 1933 version was that he liked this version the best and went on to say that this was 'one of the best movies ever made' and one of his 'all time favorites'. Both he and mOw then discussed the 1976 version noting that there was a lot that alluded to the 1970's culture within the plot and dialogue. mOw also shared that a 40 ft King Kong robot was created that ended up not working. (One of the best parts of listening to this podcast is all the trivia that the guys love to share with the listener. I eat that stuff up!) They had this to say about the 2005 version of the movie that Peter Jackson was very faithful to the source material and that the CG was well done and the movie well casted. After they rated the three films, they then threw out names of other movies where an ape/chimp/monkey dominated the plot, including 'Mighty Joe Young' and 'Son of Kong'. (You can bet I will be adding these to my Netflix queue.)
This show runs for an hour but I could easily listen longer. The patter between the two hosts never gets dull and I find myself learning something along the way. My rating for this podcast would be two thumbs up. (Or 5 stars.)
You can find out more about Slow Robot A Go-Go by going here-
slowrobotagogo.wordpress.com or bunchofdorks.com. You can find them on Facebook at the Slow Robot A Go-Go Facebook page or you can follow them on Twitter at @slowrobotagogo. You can listen from links on each of these places.
You can also hear them on Slice Radio as well as Stitcher Radio. (stitcher.com) and iTunes.
So, go ahead and check them out! If you like what you hear, feel free to hit them up on any one of those links above and tell them yourself. They will be happy with any new listeners that find them!
Saturday, August 10, 2013
I just don't talk about cars and trucks within the All The Rods realm as planes will at times get equal billing. Having said that, I'm pretty stoked to see the new offering from Disney which is known as 'Planes' or as I've seen in a few locations 'Cars with wings'. I already know that the critics have savaged this new movie but that won't be enough to keep me away. From what I've read, the plot is fairly close to 'Cars 2' which came out in 2011. I'm not going to give too much away here. It appears that cars are part of this movie as well. For me, my interest mostly lies beyond the general story and more with the way that each plane is characterized.
I adored 'Cars' when it first came out back in 2006. I've even gone as far as buying the DVD and collecting quite a bit of the diecasts that were offered by various stores. Disney definitely made their money on me as I also collected Cars dishes and towels among other things. I don't think I'm going to go quite as nuts this go-round but we'll see.
My interest in planes came about in a strange way actually. Soon after I had become a car addict, I began a slow-growing passion for planes...
I had flown before but the last time I stepped foot on a plane was September 9, 2001. I had flown to Massachusetts (Boston's Logan airport to be exact) on September 7, 2001. I was up there visiting with friends. The weather was gorgeous that weekend and plenty of fun was had by all. I stepped onto the flight to head back home on Sunday, never imagining the hell that was to be unleashed on us in a couple of days.
September 11 was a day that sticks in many minds and it is still never far from mine. I was in the process of starting a job on the night shift at my company and my body was still on first shift hours as I awoke that morning. I signed onto the computer to start my day and came to realize that life would never be the same again as I read one horror story after another, regarding planes being flown deliberately into buildings as well as one into an empty field. I felt like I was in a bad dream, one which as much as I tried I could not awaken from. To make matters worse, a couple of the flights that had been flown into the Twin Towers had left from the same airport that mere days ago, I had also flown out of. Also the friends whom I had just visited lost friends of theirs on both of those flights. (Flight 11 & Flight 175.)
Like the rest of the country, I was glued to CNN for days, watching the aftermath of this disaster. At that time, I was a nervous flyer at best and knowing what I knew then, I became someone who was deathly afraid of flying. At that time, I was locked in my fear so deeply that any trips I would take thereafter would only be via car. I think the fact that planes had flown out of Logan to crash into the World Trade Centers really left quite an impression on me. I could not stop personalizing this and the nightmares were plentiful.
Right around this time, the National Geographic Channel on TV was airing a show called 'Seconds From Disaster' in which an accident, a bombing or some other tragedy was highlighted. Each episode would break down what happened, how it happened and the scientifics behind it. As 2002 rolled around, some plane crashes were also featured on this show such as Flight 77 which crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11 as well as many others. I began to absorb all I could, learning about why some planes crashed and the safety inventions that had been implemented to ensure that such accidents would never occur again. Around this time, the channel was running another program called 'Air Emergency', also known as 'Mayday' or 'Air Crash Investigation'.
As the years wore on, I began to find more of this sort of programming online especially on You Tube. I began to watch these shows with avid interest, gaining knowledge on what made these planes crash and how some folks managed to survive them. I think that the knowing how these accidents happened went a long way in lessening my fears. I began to learn new terminology as well. And as I have a mind for memorizing dates and other information, I could recite the history of a lot of these crashes. These programs would show the crashes, what led to these and even have interviews with some of the survivors. Along with all of this, I became interested in different types of jets and could tell the difference between a 747 and an L1011. I don't feel confident enough or know enough to build a plane from scratch but can appreciate the majesty that the Concorde or an Airbus A380 brings.
As my interest in planes picked up, I wandered around You Tube, watching documentaries on such things as The Concorde and the 747. (As an aside, the plane that I most wanted to travel on was the Concorde because for some time, their safety record was excellent. This was well before the crash in France in 2000.)
A couple of years ago, MacDill Air Force Base had their annual Air Fest. (This program was sadly ended due to government funding cuts.) I braved the rainy and windy weather in late March 2010 to attend this. The Blue Angels were supposed to be there but cancelled due to the weather. I took a lot of photos that day as a good portion of planes and jets were open to the public. I was able to climb onto the Coast Guard's C130 Hercules as well as the Stratofortress. At that time, I began to appreciate the beauty of these immense machines. My favorite part of the whole day was a demonstration using a C17. We were not allowed on it but instead the pilots took it up for a flyover. What a beautiful plane!
The plane in the photo above is a C17. This is the cargo jet that carries such things as tanks, trucks, ammo, tanks and at times soldiers. To see something this massive flying so gracefully is something that I love to witness.
Below are some of my photos from Air Fest 2010....
B52 in shot above. Also known as the Stratofortress
The above shots are of the C17 taken at Air Fest 2010.
The above photos are of another favorite, the Coast Guard's C130 Hercules. I loved seeing this amazing Rod of the Sky close up. The public was invited to tour this one as well. The local Coast Guard Air Station is located at the St. Pete Clearwater Airport and has the honor of being featured many times on the Weather Channel's 'Coast Guard Florida' program. There are about 4-5 C130s at this station at a given time. They are also out and about flying over. I see them often while I'm on break at my day job. You can always tell when they are near due to the steady and constant thrum of their four props beating against the sky. Like an old Volkswagon Beetle, they have their own distinct sound.
A good friend of mine uses a phrase that would be pertinent here, 'what used to curse has come to bless', meaning that something that once filled me with terror and fear has taken on a life of its own. I no longer fear flying as I once used to. I just haven't had an opportunity to fly anywhere lately. I no longer fear planes or jets and now find myself looking skyward on a daily basis. It doesn't hurt that my home is in the flight path for Tampa International Airport. I tend to see a lot of the gorgeous Southwest Airlines planes coming over.
Above is the gorgeous Southwest jet. Whenever one is flying over, it's hard to miss.
Another thing that I would love to explore is Plane Spotting. This is where people will gather at some of the larger airports with bigger planes and the airlines with more international flights. With more international jet traffic will come bigger and more unusual jets in an array of colors. I once read an article on CNN about this and it sounded like something really cool. The people who do this are normally found outside nearby the runways, where they gather to take a lot of photos of the planes they see. You can find tons of these videos on You Tube. There are also great websites dedicated to planespotting as well as airline information. My favorite site is NYCAviation.com. They also have a great Facebook page. If you're interested in aircraft in general, there are many blogs on Tumblr and dozens of Facebook pages dedicated to this.