Monday, August 31, 2009

Cataract Falls & First Family Picnic

Well it is official we had our fist family picnic on the 22nd of August and used the picnic basket Mary and I received for a wedding gift too. Needless to say we have never used it the ten years that we have been married so it was about time to put it to use. Laim had never seen a real waterfall before and since he has seen pictures from my Smokey Mountain trip, has a Thomas the train waterfall track and movie we took him to Cataract Falls. He had been asking about what they were so this gave him the opportunity to see one first hand.

Ready for a road trip and feeling relaxed to be with my family we all got in the car when the inevitable “how much longer” rose out of the back seat. This would have been fine except we had only just backed out of the driveway when he started in. Though he did not like the long drive to the park once we were there Liam did seem to have a good time. There was a covered bridge, many waterfalls and even a little play area for kids. We got the picnic basket out and had a very enjoyable meal, and Liam was ecstatic because we had packed his cookie. I was able to spend some time taking pictures along with just taking in the beauty of it all. After lunch we went down to the lower falls for a couple more pictures then called it a day.

Thoughts on the Park:

Thought I would add a few thoughts on the park in general. I really liked the upper falls and all of the rock formations which made for several sub-falls. It was very scenic and I really love the sound of rushing water. The covered bridge they have on the property was pretty cool and makes for a great picture. You can read more about the bridge here if you would like. The lower falls while nice lacked the more scenic view of the upper falls, but is well worth the short trip down the road so you can say that you were there.

Now I now the “pit toilets” or what I like to refer to as “outhouses” are pretty bad, but there is nothing like watching men in the wide open taking a leak out in the general public. If you feel the need to skip out on the parks “facilities” I under stand, just head off the beaten trail to do it. I really liked the redneck with his 16oz beer taking a wiz right next to the waterfall, really come on.

When my grandfather was alive he had a little piece of property in Spencer, Indiana which we had to pass through Cloverdale in order to get there and all that time I never knew the falls were just a short jaunt away. I cannot believe it took me this long to discover Cataract Falls. Below I have some links if anyone is interesting in heading down on a trip of their own. I have also posted a couple of pictures in the “Al’s Selects” on my website, the rest I’ll upload with the August pictures. I also have some pictures up on my Facebook page for all those who visit me there.

Cataract Falls Links:
> http://www.cataractfalls.com/
> http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2960.htm

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

SPOILER NOTICE: There are spoilers in this write up, so if you have not seen the movie yet and want to remain surprised I would avoid reading this for now.

I figured I might as well write a review for this movie since I have already seen it four times. Now mind you I had to watch it once to preview it for Liam and then the other three times Liam wanted to go of course I didn’t put up any arguments. Thought I might also give some brief feelings on the whole transformer genre past and present.

The major plot of this movie is that Sam (who is now going to college) gets information transferred to him from a piece of the Allspark that gives clues to where The Matrix of Leadership can be found. The Fallen is actually a transformer who was one of the original primes fell to evil and became the first Decepticon. The Fallen is looking for the Matrix to use it for powering a machine that will create energon by destroying the Sun. While protecting Sam Optimus Prime dies so it is up to Sam to find the Matrix in order to bring Optimus back to life.

I know a lot of people really didn’t like this movie or the first one, but I didn’t mind it at all and thought it was enjoyable. If you go back and watch the original cartoons you really have the same basic plot over and over again which is the Decepticons are trying in some way to steel energy from Earth in order to take over the universe. So the plot really doesn’t bother me all that much. What I don’t really like about the movie is other then Optimus, Bumblebee, and Megatron there is really not much character development with the Transformers. You cannot get that emotionally attached, because there is just nothing there. I was very happy that they gave you some more of the old Megatron and Starscream infighting, it really added to the much lacking character development and gave you a sense of the old series.

I thought the fight sequences from this movie far exceeded the first in both visual and emotional sense. I still think they move too fast, but that seems to be how directors are doing action scenes as a whole nowadays. The second movie also had the transformers losing parts and spiting lubricates, oil or what have you. I’m still not sure how I feel about this but I know that they added it to give you more of a sense that the transformers feel. A fairly comical part was when Optimus ripped off Starscream’s arm then beat him with it and then after the fight Megatron beats Starscream with it as well. Of course the best fight scene was at the end when Optimus comes back and lets Megatron and the Fallen have it.

The whole transformer genre I think has grown especially the toys. The toys look a whole lot better now, but you almost need a PHD in engineering to transform them. Some of Liam’s takes me forever to change them from robot to vehicle modes. While I miss the original cartoon, I have to say I really like Transformers Animated on the Cartoon Network. When I first saw pictures and a little bit of the story I really didn’t think that I would enjoy it, but I was wrong. The story and plot are good and the character development far exceeds both the original series and the movies. What I don’t like is Optimus is not the overall Autobot leader, he is smaller then Megatron and Peter Cullen is not doing the voice.

Links:
> http://www.transformersmovie.com/
> http://www.hasbro.com/transformers/en_US/