Looking for my iPhone pictures? Here’s where they are

keith instagram

Longtime readers of this blog know that I used to post iPhone photos I’d taken here.

I haven’t done that a lot lately and Instagram is to blame!

Actually, I just think Instagram – the photo sharing and filtering app – is a better forum for iPhone photos. I still post some photos here occasionally – the sky and cloud photos with my recent post about being a weather obsessive were photos that I had taken – but Instagram is the place to go to find the best phone photography. Even from me.

It’s strange to say that, because I was pretty skeptical of Instagram at first. Its a photo filtering app, right? Who cares about that?

Well, it is true that the novelty of being able to make your photos sepia-toned wears off pretty quickly. But Instagram is photo sharing in a very pure form. It’s just your photos and a couple of words or sentences of info and feedback from readers.

You can find my Instagram page online at instagram.com/keithroysdon but I’d encourage anyone who likes taking and seeing good photos to get the app and enjoy it that way. Just as with Twitter, if you’re uncertain about who to follow, take a look at who I follow. It’s a mixture of Indiana folks and people all around the world who have something to contribute, phone-photo-wise.

Enjoy.

Classic: ‘Shock’ theater ad for TV

shock theater ad

For those of us who grew up Monster Kids in the Monster World, this marked the epicenter of that world.

Shock – also known as Shock Theater.

I saw this ad bouncing around the internet recently and wanted to share it here. Regular readers of this blog know I’ve written a lot about Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and what an influence it had on a couple of generations of kids. FM came decades after the movies it celebrated – including the classic Universal monster films – so the 1960s monster craze might have seemed unlikely.

Except for Shock.

In October 1957, Columbia Pictures’ TV subsidiary, Screen Gems, released a package of 52 horror films – including the classic Universal horror films like “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” – to TV.

The Shock package was a huge hit. Usually airing late at night – as was the case, a few years later, with host Sammy Terry on WTTV Channel 4 in Indianapolis – but sometimes airing at other times, Shock popularized the old Universal pictures once more.

Everything that followed came because of this. Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, horror hosts, the wave of monster toys, cartoons, comics and novelties that began in the 1960s and continued for decades.

Long live Shock.

Life of a weather obsessive

weather flag

It’s hard being a weather obsessive these days.

Oh sure, there are more ways than ever to check the current weather and the forecast. There’s more radar, both past, present and future. There are more ways to see it all, from TVs to computers to phones.

So why is this weather obsessive so dissatisfied?

It’s because the pure heart of weather – current conditions and forecast – are buried beneath a top of distractions and other reductive irrelevancies.

The Weather Channel iPhone app is still okay, but the Weather Channel itself I wrote off long ago when it stopped doing forecasts and updates “on the eights” every 10 minutes. First it relegated those updates to a small portion of the screen. Then it bumped them altogether for hours each day for inane shows about prospectors and outdoor adventurers. Weather Channel, you lost me when you tried to be something other than the place where I could find the forecast every few minutes.

The last straw might have occurred in recent weeks when I noticed that the Weather Channel page that I had bookmarked on my computer had omitted radar. Really, what’s the point of looking up current conditions or the forecast if you can’t see the radar?

weather rays

Of course, I turned to the Weather Channel in the first place because local TV weather reports were so inadequate, and they remain so. After spending several minutes on some silly story and what’s “trending” online right now – useless info to anyone who actually goes online and sees what’s trending on Twitter or Facebook – the weather people rush through a forecast that spends as much time on current conditions as it does on what we can expect next. Seriously, I don’t need to know what the temperature is right now someplace else.

So we weather obsessives are forced to mix and match our weather checking to get a true picture of what’s happening and what’s to come. I’ll look at radar on my phone. I’ll check out the radar channel on TV to see the live radar but I’m wary of the forecast on those channels, which is hours old. I’ll watch a TV weather person occasionally when I want a forecast that might, just might, take into account changes in the past few hours.

That’s assuming the weather people will acknowledge changes in their “storyline” intended to keep people tuned in.

It’s not easy being a weather obsessive.

‘Ant-Man’ – Yep, it’s the real deal (Spoilers. Duh.)

ant-man poster

“Ant-Man?” “Ant-Man?” Ludicrous. Silly. Comic-booky.

Exactly.

Go see it.

It’s late and I’m tired, but some first impressions upon seeing the movie tonight:

Spoilers ahead, more likely than not.

It seems like every new Marvel movie has naysayers convinced – at least in advance – that this will be the one that destroys the studio. We heard that with “Guardians of the Galaxy” last year. We heard it with “Ant-Man” this year.

Nope. Hasn’t happened. Sure won’t happen with “Ant-Man,” which is smaller in scale than some of the Marvel movies but still has high personal stakes for the characters, as well as fun action and character scenes.

Credit scenes, because this is what you want to know: As these things go, the scenes have some heft. The first – in the mid-credits – at least promises a new, female hero. The second sets up the entry of the Ant-Man character into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe and next spring’s “Captain America: Civil War.”

The final credits scene, however, is foreshadowed somewhat by the extended cameo played by Anthony Mackie’s Falcon character, however. After Falcon intercepts and fights with Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang at the new Avengers facility and Falcon turns up again at the end of the movie, looking for Ant-Man, there’s little surprise to the post-credits scene. Still, it’s pretty cool.

The movie has Easter eggs – more than I could catch – and plot threads for the overall MCU. But the best of those by far is the opening scene, set in 1989, with an uncanny, younger CGI version of Michael Douglas’ character, Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man. Loved this scene  and loved how it filled in some blanks in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it so far.

There’s a surprising amount of comedy in the movie, maybe not really surprisingly. The whimsy makes for some of the best moments in “Ant-Man,” however.

I’ll come back to the movie at a later date, maybe after I see it a second time.

And by the way, here’s my earlier post on why Ant-Man matters to the MCU.

It’s sobberin’ time

fantastic four thing naked

And also, apparently, nakeder. And less penis-ier.

You know, Ben Grimm is a tragic character and all, but … damn, man.

In the “Fantastic Four” comics and movies, there’s usually been an attempt to give the characters a consistent look in their costumes. This was done even for Ben Grimm, who turned into the rocky Thing. Benjamin Grimm usually had trunks on – blue to match the costumes of the other members of the FF – and or sometimes had on a whole jumpsuit-type-thing.

In the new movie, which comes out in August, the Thing apparently doesn’t wear any kind of costume.

And he apparently doesn’t … have … a penis.

I was already pretty uncertain about what I thought about the movie.

Now this.

Other people have noted this online, but does the Thing in the movie not eat or drink? Does he have any means at all of eliminating waste?

Is Ben Grimm’s longtime girlfriend, Alicia Masters, in the movie?

Are they going to address all this in the storyline?

Okay, now I’m just depressed.

Have a Boris Karloff Fourth of July

karloff fourth of july

You don’t necessarily think about Boris Karloff, king of the Universal monsters, on the Fourth of July.

You do think about drive-in movies on the Fourth, and here’s a Karloff-centric drive-in quintuple feature ad.

It’s likely this drive-in Karloff marathon took place in 1965. The top-billed picture, “Die, Monster, Die,” was released that year. All the others were older.

Karloff had been well-known as a horror film actor for decades by that point, since 1931’s “Frankenstein,” and continued to appear in movies and TV up until his death in 1969. Beyond his death, actually. Although his health had declined over the years and he was often confined to a wheelchair, Karloff worked on movies late in life and some of those were released as late as 1971, two years after his death.

In 1965, when this quintuple feature was released, he was considered a horror movie elder statesman at age 77.

Karloff wasn’t known to a new generation of fans, by the way, until he narrated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in 1966.