Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Aliens are Here... Where's President Bill Pullman?

On the way home from work yesterday, one of the coolest storms I've seen was rolling toward our town. It looked like a gigantic jellyfish or alien spacecraft, and I pulled into the driveway as it was approaching at high speed. I grabbed Valerie and our camera, and stood outside taking video and pictures. It looked like something out of Independence Day, and we half expected a huge spacecraft to materialized out of the cloud bank. I'm not sure the pictures tell the story very well. It was an amazing experience. There were two identical cells. One passed right over us, with the other keeping pace in the distance. It also answered the question of whether or not we would survive an invasion. As most the people in the film, we just sat there gawking at it instead of running. BOOM, we're toast!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Favorite Foreign Films: Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)

Film: Brotherhood of the Wolf
Country: France
Director: Christophe Gans

A beast is on the prowl in the countryside of 18th century France, and the king sends Fronsac and his Iroquois friend, Mani, to investigate and deal with the creature. Soon, both men are knee-deep in the machinations of the local gentry, as well as the local brothel. As the beast continues to kill, the plot also thickens. I'm an unabashed fan of this very French film, which is filled with gorgeous visuals and top-knotch fighting. Mani, played perfectly by Mark Dacascos (later the host of Iron Chef America), is a striking character, especially in period costuming. Treat yourself.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Favorite Foreign Films: Tokyo Drifter (1966)

Film: Tokyo Drifter
Country: Japan
Director: Siejun Suzuki

Suzuki's Tokyo Drifter is the ultra-stylish story of Tetsu, a yakuza hitman wanting nothing more than to support his boss in an effort to go straight. Rival families, however, have other plans for both of them. From the high-contrast black and white opening scene to the bursts of symbolic color (and every stylized handgun battle in between), this film has been incredibly influencial on everyone from John Woo to Quentin Tarantino. See why!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Roadside America: Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden

Attraction: Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden
Location: Bishopville, SC

In the same area as the Button King Museum is the home of Pearl Fryar. In the mid-1980s, Pearl, an African American, had been discouraged from purchasing property in town because, "Black people don't take care of their yards." Not only did Fryar buy land in the area, he made it his goal to win "Yard of the Month," which he accomplished. But he didn't stop there. Fryar's amazing creations fill 3 acres of land, and have been featured prominently on Home and Garden Television. Pearl continues to maintain his creations, which include various peace-themed metal sculptures, and is a great personality to meet. It's a unique place, and one we will never forget.

Spoiled Rotten Movies

I posted our latest episode yesterday, and in writing it up on Twitter today, I remembered that the episode includes a reaction/review of Predators, with little warning about spoilers. I'm usually the first to howl about movies being ruined by talk, especially in today's instant-information environment. It's increasingly tough to see films without having major points spoiled ahead of time. I do give a half-hearted spoiler alert during the show, but it's not enough. I'm guilty, and should be transported to the nearest alien hunting preserve planet.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cavebabble Episode 74: Americana Tour- The Return Home

Myrtle refuses to allow us to stay on her beach forever, and so we must return home. The second half of our Americana Tour kicks off with waves, and ends with The Button King. Along the way, we find time to watch and review Predators, and detour along the back roads of Illinois. The Button King himself wrote and performed the Insomniac clip. This episode is brought to you by Rush Hour.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Roadside America: The Button King

Attraction: The Button King Museum
Location: Bishopville, SC

Dalton Stevens is over eighty years old, and since 1983 he's been attaching buttons to everything from clothing to cars to toilets. The result of insomnia, Dalton's button fascination has gained him quite a reputation over the years, including appearances on The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman. The museum is housed on the King's property, in a Quonset hut. Even if Dalton isn't around, the museum is open, a donation jar the only admittance fee.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Roadside America: Superman

Attraction: Superman Statue
Location: Metropolis, Illinois

A dominating presense in downtown Metropolis, Superman stands guard over the Massac County Courthouse. At fifteen feet tall, the Man of Steel isn't quite as large as Big John, and isn't made of steel. He's bronze, with a snazzy coat of red, blue and yellow paint.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Roadside America: Big John

Attraction: Big John statue
Location: Metropolis, Illinois

Big John welcomes customers to the Big John grocery store at the outskirts of Metropolis, Illinois. He towers over all, but has quite a cheery disposition. He also handles four large bags of groceries with ease. Watch over us, Big John.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cavebabble Episode 73: Americana Tour- Missouri to Myrtle Beach

The first half of the Cavebabble cross-country tour covers six states and two days' worth of roadside attractions. From Superman to psychics to Civil War battlefields, we babble our way to the ocean. Super spies, clipper-wielding guys, and fireworks on the 4th of July. Join us! This episode is brought to you by Follow the Signs.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Show Traffic Some Love

The Cavebabblers are home again! Our driving marathon yesterday included three major cities, all during rush hour, as well as 45 butt-numbing minutes of construction delays which eventually forced us to find a secondary route through the back side of Illinois (which ended up being enjoyable). It was a long, long day, spent with thousands of our best friends, parked or barely moving along the highways of America. Doesn't matter. We're here again.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Link Loves the Ocean

I'm no longer a Zelda virgin. I'm in the middle of the GBA version of Minish Cap, playing at I sit on the balcony overlooking the beach. Link's a bit pale. He needed some sun. He's still not able to save anywhere, though.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Storms Aren't So Bad

A storm blew through Myrtle Beach, bringing lightning, a little rain, and the best waves of the trip. I spent the evening getting beaten by those waves, and it was my favorite night of the trip. This isn't Hawaii or anything, but it was an absolute blast.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bodies Are Not Boards

Bodyboarding at high tide can be a painful experience. The waves dump you directly onto the piles of shells left over from the last high tide, and the board isn't big enough to protect you. At one point, I was on my knees, my board bobbing happily beside me as I tried to stand, while a series of waves dragging me back and forth across the shells. What's not to like?

Monday, July 5, 2010

From the Road...

The first two days of the Great Cavebabble Americana Tour 2010 went better than expected. We stopped at all the places we planned, and included another- Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, TN. This battle was one of the bloodiest of the Civil War, and so it seemed appropriate to visit on the 4th of July. We just happened to catch a sign on the highway, and we certainly are glad we did. It was a great experience to add to our adventures. We watched fireworks in Easley, SC. Today is being spent with Amber's boyfriend. Tomorrow, it's on to Myrtle Beach, with two Americana stops along the way. Onward!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cavebabble Episode 72: Americana Tour 2010 Launch

The Cavebabblers are launching their cross-country Americana tour, visiting various roadside attractions on their way to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Join us for a preview of these stops, including Superman's home town, a psychic's grave, and a button-obsessed old man. This week's mini podcast is brought to you by Plastic Heroes. The song at the end of the show is Sundogging, by EyeOh.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Favorite Foreign Films: Das Boot (1981)

Movie: Das Boot
Country: Germany

Wolfgang Petersen's epic WWII film focuses on the crew and battles of a single German U-boat as it harasses Allied craft in the Atlantic. Petersen demanded the most detailed submarine set possible, and forced the filming crew to work within its confined spaces with portable camera rigs. Cramming crew and actors into such tight quarters paid obvious dividends- The result is one of the best war films ever made. It goes far beyond any political ideologies, instead focusing on individuals caught in the madness of war. Worth every second of the long running time!