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Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

There once was a song, I’m sure you’re all familiar with it. The verse went something like, “What once was lost, now is found.” Such is my life as a fan of film. The once was, a man who loved to explore the filmscape in search of random treasures, treading through the mire of filth that once happens upon in such a search, and enjoying every smelly kernel of the trip. That film fan was lost though. He became swamped, overwhelmed with the act of keeping up and worrying about things he shouldn’t, such of fans and stats. Said man took a hiatus; he left to find himself, to locate that fan that once lay within him that he celebrated daily. The hunt took some time, but that film fan of old, now is found. The film fan stumbled upon a time where he could once again sit and enjoy a movie because the poster looked cool, of the cast impressive. He apologized to his circle of friends, hoped they would welcome him back and maybe he settled back in, things would go back to the way they once were. Let’s hope the reunion goes better for our intrepid film fan than it did for Yul Perkins in “Hit & Run”.

In my time away, I’d seen trailers for “Hit & Run”. It looked weird; I mean, it featured Bradley Cooper in White Man Dreads! That’s certainly an attention grabber. It also had a cast that caught my eye. I’ve long been fan of Kristen Bell since her days on “Veronica Mars” and Dax Sheppard’s always been hilarious. Knowing that they are real life ‘life partners’ as well, the idea of them working together on screen was a draw. The plot seemed odd enough to be something different, Dax Sheppard plays a former getaway driver who is in witness protection after ratting out is former gang, then falls in love with Kristen Bell in is newly adopted town. Her job situation lands her an interview in L.A., the very town that Dax is sworn to stay out of for his own safety. Thankfully, the contrived setup and stellar supporting cast combined to make a road movie that was at the same time hilarious, rather engrossing and a bit action packed. Really, it all fit together to make a really good story.

As I said, I’ve always found Dax Sheppard to be a solid actor. He’s proven his comedy chops in flicks like “Idiocracy” and he’s proven his more dramatic side on TV’s “Parenthood”. Here in “Hit & Run” he manages to put together a solid character that has a few facets to it. You know he’s done something wrong, yet you still find yourself cheering for him throughout the film. At times, you feel sorry for him and at others, you’re confident he’s going to win the day. He makes a character that’s easy for we the viewers to connect with, which is essential for this type of film. Kristen Bell plays well off of Sheppard. She’s sweet and innocent and you can understand where her frustrations come from when they arrive. You’re engaged throughout her and Sheppard’s ups and downs. Despite Bell’s solid performance though, you find yourself sticking with the film for Sheppard. Seeing as he directed the film, in addition to starring in it, it’s nice to see him stand out so well.

While the main plot of “Hit and Run” was its solid and true story telling, what made this movie so enjoyable for me was the supporting cast. With out this crew, the hilarity of the movie would not rank so high. Tom Arnold, believe it or not, is a scene stealer. His moments are all over the top, but honestly, what would you expect from Tom? Watching him ghost ride his mini van while discharging his fire arm was enough to bring out some loud laughter. When you find out after this fact that he’s actually a US Marshall? Even better. There are some other stalwarts that show up here, such as Kristen Chenowith and Sean Hayes, all of which are great in the short scenes they show up for, helping to round out the movie quite well. Seeing Bradley Cooper play against his stereo type was a nice change. Though his performance was nothing particularly mind blowing, it was a nice change from Mr. Hunky Leading man.

In the end? “Hit & Run” was easy to dismiss form the trailers alone, and I don’t think it fared very well in the box office. The marketing push was short, so I’m not surprised if most readers hear about it and say, “Oh, I remember that flick, Bradley Cooper in dreads…” Thanks to Neflix streaming though, you can go back and give it a watch and I think you’ll find it well worth your time.

So for now, your long lost film blogger bids you a fond adieu. He can’t really say if he’s back full time, or even regularly. He can say that he’s starting to feel his oats once again and that the time away has done him well. The landscape of movie geekdom looks mysterious and new once again, instead of stale and frustrating as it once was. If you’re feeling froggy, he’ll be happy to have your company on the journey once again.

Monday, August 12th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’ve decided to play around with making some game video casts. Not sure where the idea’s going yet, but I figure why not! I play a lot of video games and I make a lot of podcasts…it all seems pretty logical! This first game, Super House of Dead Ninja’s is a lot of fun and I talked about it here on CF last week, so I figured it would make a good test subject to see if I had all the ins and outs of Fraps figured out!

More to come? Probably! I still don’t have a name or anything picked out and as of yet, I don’t even know if I’ll post them at BGH or Cinema Fromage, so stay tuned. You can always find out what’s going on with them on twitter by checking me out @CaseyBGH or on Steam http://steamcommunity.com/id/CinemaFromage/.

Find the free version of SHoDN at Adult Swim Games: http://games.adultswim.com/super-house-of-dead-ninjas-action-online-game.html

Find out more on Megadev and their Projects: http://megadev.tumblr.com/

Find SHoDN on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/224820/

Coming up Next: The Swapper

Enjoy!

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week, my health coach was out and had to miss our last group meeting for this session. In her stead, I was told I’d be running the group in her absence! (Note that I wasn’t asked!) Everybody expected me to talk about running, but I went a different direction and decided to spend today’s meeting sharing the various sites and apps that I’ve used along my journey! So, I figured I’d go ahead and share that list here for you all as well!

Enjoy!

Learn to Run:
Couch to 5K – http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
Zombies Run 5k Training – https://www.zombiesrungame.com/
Hal Higdon Training Plans – http://www.halhigdon.com/training/
GPS Tracking:
Run Keeper – http://www.runkeeper.com
Endomondo – http://www.endomondo.com
Nike+ – http://www.nikeplus.com
Strava – http://www.strava.com/
Exercise Tracking:
Fitocracy – http://www.fitocracy.com
JeFit – http://www.jefit.com/
Google Docs – http://docs.google.com
Exercise Training:
EXRX.net – http://exrx.net/
Livestrong.com – http://www.livestrong.com
Starting Strength Wiki – http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ:The_Lifts
Brain Over Brawn – http://brainoverbrawn.com/ (body weight exercises)
Stumptuous – http://www.stumptuous.com/workout-6 (Female Centric fitness blog, good dumbbell program)
Entertainment:
Spotify – http://www.spotify.com
Pandora – http://www.pandora.com
Audible – http://www.audible.com
Jog.fm – http://www.jog.fm
Calorie and Weight Tracking:
My Fitness Pal – http://www.myfitnesspal.com
Physics Diet – http://www.physicsdiet.com
Sparkpeople – http://www.sparkpeople.com/
The Daily Plate – http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/
Recipes and Food Info:
Nutritionix – http://www.nutritionix.com/
Sparkpeople – http://www.sparkpeople.com/

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Monday, June 25th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

It took a long time, but I’m finally getting back to watching movies for watching movies sake. To some extent though, this return to movie watching tends to be dependent on whatever is on Cinemax or HBO while I’m playing Diablo 3! I’ll be damned if I can stop long enough to change the channel!

But seriously though, it feels good to get back to watching movies simply for the sake of it being fun to watch movies. This weekend found me with some extra time, so I indulged quite a bit.

First up….


Abraham Lincon: Vampire Hunter

For a more indepth review on this one, you’ll have to be sure to check in to the upcomng Bloody Good Horror Podcast. For our purposed here, I’ll just go ahead and say: I enjoyed the hell out of it! In fact, my comment to Colleen afterward was; “that was dumb as hell, but by god I loved it!”

Let’s be fair here: The premise is down right zany. The book was pretty zany too, although quite enjoyable. To expect anything less that zany in the movie version is just setting yourself up for disappointment. The crazy wire fu antics an over the top action scenes are this flick’s bread and butter. The story is secondary, yet still fun. For those of you coming from the book, this story is fairly different. Overall it is very condensed chopping out a good portion of the middle such as the Speed family and Abe’s rise through politics. It still hits the major points though! The ending however, is fairly different. Still, good fun all the same.

Safe House

BEEFCAKE! Er…Denzel and Ryan Reynolds. The commercials for “Safe House” pretty much spell everything out for you; there’s reall no big mystery going on here. For an action/spy flick, this one’s pretty by the numbers. However, Denzel is star caliber and Reynolds is getting there, so the acting makes this pretty watchable. The action sequences are pretty rote as are the twists but…it’s engaging. That’s really all I can say. Denzel’s Tobin Frost character is a good one and Reynold’s green behind the ears CIA agent is pretty solid as well.

That said, I can honestly say that I’m glad that I waited for video on this one (read: Screeners!) as opposed to shelling out ticket $$ for it when it was at the theaters. It was pretty good; not really $12 good though.

Project X

This flick promised a lot with it’s trailers. The crazy party, hints of some truly out of this world events taking place at said party, yadda yadda. Being a fan of the handheld trope when done right, I figured this would be worth a shot since that was the main gimmick they were going for. In a lot of ways, this worked in “Project X”; it had some really solid moments and some cool stuff going on from time to time. None of it really turned out to be mind blowing though. In the end, I sat through this expecting something outrageous to happen but instead I was given….”Animal House” as shot by handhelds. This still makes for some good laughs and a decent flick but it was just somewhat anticlamtic by the time it was all said and done.

The characters were are main driving force in this one and really, “Thomas” and “JB” did a pretty decent job. I’d have to say “Costa” did a decent job too, but if I was Thomas, Costa would have been murdered pretty early on. Then again, that just means that the kid play Costa was doing his job right!

All in all? I’d watch it again.

American Psycho

I watched about half of a lot of movies while playing Diablo 3, but most of them I’d glance over at pay attention to for 10-15 mintues at a time. It shows the power of this classic that I actually pushed the keyboard and mouse away and sat and watched “American Psycho” through to the end. Especially considering I’ve seen it three or four times already!

There’s much to say that hasn’t been said before about “American Psycho”. Christian Bale was simply fantastic at the role and there’s not much arguing it. I can say that having read the book in the time since my last viewing, it was pretty cool to see how well they did adapting it to a film. There’s a lot of idiosyncracies that were spelled out in internal monologues in the novel that actually translated well to the big screen. My first viewing, I’m not so sure I caught all of the subtleties, but they definitely stood out post read.

And finally….

True Blood 5×3: Whatever I Am, You Made Me

This season still can’t make up it’s mind if it’s going to be any good or not. All I can say is that so far, it’s better than Season 4. Man, they’re getting a bit long winded in parts though. Then again, I’m biased. I can ‘t freaking stand Tara and I’m still pissy that they didn’t keep her dead after Season 4. I honestly don’t know home much more I can take.

On the plus side? The Pam history lessons are fantastic! (As is the Pam.)

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Monday, June 04th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’ve not heard of Branded until I stumbled across this trailer on Google +. At first blush, it looks pretty fantastic though! You could say it looks like it was here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and it’s all out of bubble gum.

Okay, that was cheesy. But…you can’t deny that this looks like the spiritual successor to “They Live” from this trailer! Subliminal commands, some kind of weird alien stuff going on under the ‘surface’. All in all, this really strikes a chord with my inner dystopian sci-fi geek! Casting Max von Sydow is just icing on the freaking cake, man.

Sunday, June 03rd, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

Allrighty. Enough silence, back to what I do best.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I loved “Men in Black” and “Men in Black 2″. They both have the elements of classic summertime popcorn flicks. They have a lot of laughs, a lot of special effects and explosions, some solid talent and decent action. Mix in this whole pseudo universe they’ve created, one where aliens are common and well varied and there’s a top secret government agency out there to police them? Well, it just plays straight to a science fiction nerd’s heart.

Over the years, I have in fact thought to myself, “I wish there was another Men in Black movie out there”. Not because I thought that there was a particular story that needed to be told, but simply because they’re fun and Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith make me laugh. And honestly, isn’t that exactly what movies are supposed to be for? So when “Men in Black 3″ came out of nowhere, I was pretty surprised. Granted, I’ve slipped away from the movie news scene a bit, but I’d never even heard that this movie was being considered. As you can understand though, once I did hear about it, I was pretty damn excited. Here we are a week or two after release, I’m sitting in the theater when that familiar Danny Elfman theme starts to spin up and I start to feel a bit giddy as I get ready to visit some old friends I haven’t seen for awhile.

The trailers for “MIB3″ don’t leave much to the imagination. The pretty much outline everything for you right up front. Yes, this is annoying, but I was still prepared for some fun. We kick off the film with Nicole Sherzinger in a pair of pretty amazing thigh high leather boots coming to visit “Boris the Animal” in jail. It’s a super high tech jail, so it’s pretty obvious that it’s a “MIB” unit, so we know we’re getting right in to the nitty gritty as far as our film’s bad guy goes. With this being the third film in the franchise, we’re ready for this. This is how they all start out. Our big bad for this film is played by Jemaine Clement from “Flight of the Conchords” to a bit of success. In comparison to past villains, he’s not much standing next to Vincent D’Onafrio in a dead Edgar suit. He’s suitable though. He’s big and ugly and has some pretty gross alien features, so he fits mold. After learning that K has done Boris a great injustice in brief monologue, chaos ensues, Boris is on the loose and away we go. Bad guys vow to travel through time to nefarious ends, good guys vow to follow to thwart plans and *bam*, there’s your movie.

When I spell it out as such, “Men in Black 3″ sounds like it could be problematic. Pretty basic and rote. In truth, it is, but again it’s propped up be fun performances and some crazy action scenes. Will Smith has a certain schtick that he goes for in his role as J. It’s a tiny bit Fresh Prince, a whole lot of “Independence Day” “Welcome to ERF” swagger and a bit of some new stuff to round out the character. He’s got lots of zany facial expressions a even more quips, but that’s what I paid for. Tommy Lee Jones has limited play here. He’s got his gruff persona down pat; hell he’s made a career out of it. That’s what we love him for. The real star of “Men in Black 3″ is Josh Brolin as the young Tommy Lee Jones. This cat’s uncanny!

Josh Brolin has had a weird career you could say. He was great in “Goonies” and then was kind of quiet for years. (At least to me anyways, maybe I just wasn’t watching his flicks.) Then he blasted back in to prominence in “Grind House”. When he returned, he had a particular brand of cool that was akin to his father’s and started to dive in to a lot of genre flicks. Here, his aping of Tommy Lee Jones is pretty astounding. He’s got the cadence of his voice, the gruff deliver, even the steely eyes. It’s seeing this performance of a young Agent K that makes this movie pretty damn fun. It’s also fun to see a lot of the past years of “MIB” and such in the typical franchise fashion of what culturally prominent people were aliens, which were aliens, etc. but they could have done even more to be honest.

Yes, it’s popular to hate on time travel plots. They’re pretty cheesy and typically ham-fisted and typically do nothing but create plot holes and present themselves as a glaring MacGuffin. For “MIB3″, it’s a thin time travel plot, let’s face it. But, it’s pretty straight forward. They don’t pull any zany plot twists that involve people popping up out of nowhere, there’s no weird space time continuum confusion that makes your head hurt to figure out. It’s simply Agent J going back to 1969 to stop a bad guy who went back to 1969 to murder Agent K. Easy peasey, just like the trailer spell out for us. With them keeping the time travel conundrums at a minimum, this leaves us to focus on the laughs and Will Smith making faces and keeps things light and entertaining.

Is “MIB3″ perfect? Nope. There are many scenes that come across as awkward pauses in the general flow of the film. The camera tends to linger a bit too long on these moments leaving us wondering what we’re supposed to be catching in the background. (There typically wasn’t anything going on in the back ground in these moments.) It’s a lot of fun though. My family and I laughed pretty hard and enjoyed the 3D antics. It felt great to see Smith and Jones working together again and Brolin made a great addition to the mix. Ultimately, this movie left me with a good dose of closure for the franchise, so that I could walk away and feel that the whole package is nice and complete. I’ll look forward to the eventual Bluray box set and watch them periodically, with gusto!

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Friday, April 13th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week for the writing experiment, I give you a piece of a story that’s actually been sitting around for a bit. As a long time reader of fantasy fiction…I’ve not spent much time trying to write it. So this, the story of Dega the Black, is my first attempt. There’s actually quite a bit of plotting for this story that is going on in the background, so some day, this may become a serious effort. At least that’s the hope!

A select few of you out there may get a chuckle when you see the name of the Necromancer, Dega the black. I had a very direct and obvious inspiration for this character, in the form of… my character from the MMO Rift! Cheesy, yes. But, the hours I spent playing that character put some serious ideas in motion I think, and that’s what counts! No for clarification, this is “Rift Fan Fiction” in the slightest. In fact, it’s not even tangentially related to Rift. It’s just an inspiration for a character and nothing more. The world itself is all made up by me.

As I said, this is an piece I’ve been sitting on for a bit. I’ve found myself a bit stuck carrying on with the next chapter, but the ideas are still percolation and I’m hoping that airing this out in the public helps to inspire further writing. I like the character and the idea quite a bit. For next week, I’ve decided that I’m going to serialize the tale of Troublegum and bring you a full story in quite a few parts. This week, it just didn’t come together with house projects, putting together a new episode of the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club and preparing for recording for 1951 Down Place. Excuses, I know, but hey…at least you still get something out of it in the end!

Until next time weird friends, I leave you with a quote from the late great Douglas Adams….
“So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish.”


Crowded Houses Pt. 1

The stately bedrooms of Simca Escher held all the trappings befitting the daughter of a Trader Baron of the Walovian Marshes. Sumptuous wall hangings that draped the rooms in rich dark brown fabrics, ornate wooden bed posts that towered over the common man and dressing tables strewn with sparkling jewels and shining gold. Even Simca herself embodied what one would envision when someone mentioned “Trader Escher’s Daughter”; flowing blond locks that cascaded over sun kissed skin, framing her high cheekbones dusted ever so lightly with pigment so that she looked her best when her maidens came to wake her in the morning. It was the grimace of fear that settled into the rigor of a death mask and the deep purple that stained the pockets of Simca’s throat that made the room feel off, perhaps alien to those that could call themselves regulars to the Baron’s chambers. The blood that seeped from the depths of Simca’s ears, nose and throat heightened the feeling of nausea that came with the dead princesses appearance, off setting the glamor of the rooms around her.

more…

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Tuesday, April 03rd, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’m a long time fan of Hammer as we all know. My time spent with the studio has actually been tightly focused. I love the Peter Cushing “Frankenstein” flicks, I love the Christopher Lee “Dracula Flicks” and I love anything with Ingrid Pitt. The best part of doing the 1951 Down Place podcast for me is that it forces me to broaden my horizons and check out a large part of Hammer’s other offerings.

Going into Episode 7 of the show, I had heard of “Paranoiac”, but that’s about it. I’d heard the name, but knew absolutely nothing about the movie itself. Heck, I didn’t even know Oliver Reed was in it. The further I get away from the movie however, the more I like it. That’s not to say that I’m happy to see it behind me; it’s the fact that here even a few weeks away from my two viewings of the movie, I still find myself looking over bits and pieces of the film and really enjoying what they accomplished here. Everybody loves a good Hitchcock movie, and I still feel that “Paranoiac” is a pretty blatant take of that style of film. That’s okay though; it’s nice to see the touch of somebody else such as Jimmy Sangster or Freddie Francis put their own touch on Hitchcock’s classic formula.

Episode 7 of the 1951 Down Place Podcast can be found over on our official site! Once you give it a listen, we’d love to hear your feed back!

For our next episode, I’m really excited for the movie as it’s another Hammer film I’ve never made the time for. While I’m well known for being a horror fan, what I’m not quite as vocal about is my love for science fiction. My love for sci-fi is in fact…greater than my love for horror. I can’t get enough of the stuff, so being able to dig into 1955′s “The Quatermass Xperiment” is pretty damn exciting as I don’t get to podcast about sci-fi too much. (The Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club is starting to scratch that itch though!) I had watched the earlier “Quatermass and the Pit” and enjoyed it a lot; I’ve just never made it back to the good doctor. When it comes to talk of classic sci-fi movies, “Quatermass” is always on the top of the list, so it’s a pretty natural fit.

Other than that, I received a new book on Hammer films from my co-hort Scott, and it’s pretty great. Looking forward to drop some Quatermass knowledge on the next episode after giving that a read too!

Until Episode 8…..
-C

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Monday, February 20th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

This coming weekend, Derek, Scott and myself will be sitting down to discuss the excellent (and Ingrid Pitt-Tastic) “Vampire Lovers” over at 1951 Down Place. This was one of my first and favorite Hammer flicks, so I’m pretty excited!

P.S. I won’t lie…Ingrid Pitt and Madeline Smith play a significant part in why I love this movie!


Over at Bloody Good Horror, things are cooking as we get close to episode #200! (We’re like…3 weeks away!) Our latest episode, #197 – Chronicle just hit the tubes this morning, so be sure to check that out! Tonight we’ll be sitting down to dig into Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, so be sure to watch for that next week!

Since we’re recording, you can always feel free to ask questions for the show by using the #askBGH hastag on Twitter!


The Dad and his Weird Friends Podcast is going great! Right now, you can check out Episode #7 where I sit down with Mike Chiseck from Night of the Living Podcast and discuss The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. It’s a good ep and should be on the free feed for another week!

This week, I’ll be recording the next episode and it’s an exciting one. For the first time, I’ll have be doing an author interview for the show instead of a book discussion! I’ll be sitting down with Jesse Petersen, the author of the great “Living With the Dead” series! It’s my first inteviews, so I’m a little nervous! I think it’s going to turn out pretty great though!

For those of you who don’t know, the contact for Dad and his Weird Friends is Casey@BloodyGoodHorror.com, so if you have questions or comments, shoot them over there!


A little birdie tells me that starting this week, you might start hearing me pop up on the Mail Order Zombie Podcast this week. The rumor has it that I may start doing some Zombie book reviews for their show and it might turn into a regular thing. If I told you that my first review was for David Moody’s “Autumn”, I might have to turn you into one of the undead horde!

(The new episode comes out this Thursday, check it out and let me know what you think of the new segment!)


Sometime here in the near future, I’ll be hanging out with Louis Fowler over on Damaged Viewing, which is always a blast. I love action flicks, comedies, thrillers and all that good stuff, so it’s always fun to talk stuff non-horror with Louis! (Louis good for keeping me on my toes too!) As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ll be sure to let you know what movies we’ll be talking about as soon as we iron out the details.

Beyond that, who knows where I’ll show up! Need a guest for your podcast, hit me up! I’m always down for podcasting of some sort! You can reach me at casey@bloodygoodhorror.com or through Twitter (@CaseyBGH)!

Kudo’s to Con-Buddy Ken who dubbed me with the ‘CPC’ on my birthday, or “The Criswell Podcast Corporation”! Corporation sounds a little stuffy though, so this week, we’ll experiment with ‘Compound’ :D

Until next time…..Buh Bye.


Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

Last week, word drifted through to us that one Mr. Nigel Burton had written an article on podcasts for The Northern Echo, a newspaper in England. In the article, he spoke of two podcasts that he enjoyed, the The B Movie Cast and our own 1951 Down Place! The article was full of high praise and as you can imagine, made our day!

The 1951 Down Place podcast is perhaps even more hardcore. Even the title – Down Place was the name of the house on the banks of the Thames that became Bray Studios – would be a mystery to casual subscribers. Recorded on a monthly-basis each show examines on a single Hammer Film in great detail. It’s not as amusing as the B-Moviecast, but 1951 Down Place is high professional – easily the equal of a commercial station – and required listening for British horror fans.

We three Americans, talking about British Horror Films, being declared required listening for British Horror Fans…by a British man himself? That’s high praise indeed! Nigel, if you ever come across this blog post? Thanks a bunch, your kind words made Derek, Scott and I all feel pretty spectacular.

As a final note, we found at last night this story went out in their print edition as well! Scans are linked below!

Cover Article

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