Book Review: VHS Video Cover Art

VHSVHS Video Cover Art is a book dedicated to the lost artform of VHS Tape cover art.  Most of the covers featured are from the 80s and 90s, when selling and renting videos was at it’s peak.  The book is broken down by Action, Horror, Sci Fi, Comedy, Kids and Thrillers and features some great covers.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Video cover art is a unique and largely lost artform representing a period of unabashed creativity during the video rental boom of the 1980s to early 1990s. The art explodes with a succulent, indulgent blend of design, illustration, typography, and hilarious copywriting. Written and curated by Tom “The Dude Designs” Hodge, poster artist extraordinaire and VHS obsessive, with a foreword by Mondo’s Juston Ishmael, this collection contains over 240 full-scale, complete video sleeves in the genres of action, comedy, horror, kids, sci-fi, and thriller films. It’s a world of mustached, muscled men, buxom beauties, big explosions, phallic guns, and nightmare-inducing monsters. From the sublime to the ridiculous, some are incredible works of art, some are insane, and some capture the tone of the films better than the films themselves. All are amazing and inspiring works of art that captivate the imagination. It’s like stepping back in time into your local video store!

Book Review: Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe

sabbathBlack Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe is all about the band Black Sabbath and their career over the years. They were basically a bunch of dummies who were just trying to make some money to get out of the slum.  They were always fighting and always had their share of drama going on within the band.  Ozzy split from the band early on and then did various reunions with the band afterwards. Ozzy’s image was changed when he did his reality TV show with his family.  The book has a lot about sex, drugs and rock n roll – which I guess is to be expected 😉  The book has very long chapters and is full of a lot of great information about the band.  The end of the book has some great photos of the band through the years.

This is a really thorough book and has just about anything and everything you’d want to know about the band.  I received a free e-copy in exchange for this review.

About The Book

Decades before reality television was invented, Ozzy Osbourne was subversive and dark. Ozzy was the singer in the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, and they meant business. In an era when rock bands were measured by how ‘heavy’ they were, no one was weightier than Black Sabbath. All four founding members of the original Black Sabbath grew up within half-a-mile of each other in a tiny Birmingham suburb. Though all shared a deep love of music–The Beatles for Ozzy, the Mothers of Invention for Geezer, the Shadows and Chet Atkins for Iommi, and Gene Kruppa for Ward– they formed their group “as the quickest way out of the slums.” This is the story of how they made that dream come true–and how it then turned into a nightmare for all of them. At the height of their fame, Sabbath discovered they’d been so badly ripped off by their managers they didn’t even own their own songs. They looked for salvation from Don Arden–an even more notorious gangster figure, who resurrected their career but still left them indebted to him, financially and personally. It finally came to a head when in 1979 they sacked Ozzy: “For being too out of control–even for us,” as Bill Ward put it. The next fifteen years were a war between the post-Ozzy Sabbath and Ozzy himself, whose solo career overshadowed Sabbath so much that a reunion was entirely on his terms. Or rather, those of his wife and manager–to add a further bitter twist for Sabbath, daughter of Don Arden –Sharon Osbourne.

Book Review: Michael Landon

landonMichael Landon is a biography on the great actor.  Michael was always one of my mom’s favorite actors so I remember watching lots and lots of episodes of Highway to Heaven and Little House on the Prairie as a child.  Michael was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz to a mother that was suicidal. Michael didn’t often like to be home so he would run off and beg for money to help out the other beggars (it was easier for a kid to get money than adults) and used a lot of his experiences growing up when he was writing later in his career.  Once he left his character on Little House on the Prairie, his daughter actually had a part on the show.  Michael died of cancer in 1991.  This book focuses on his professional life and not so much on his private like a typical biography does, but he had such an amazing career that you won’t want to miss out reading all about it.

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for this review.

About the Book

MICHAEL LANDON: Actor, Writer, Director, Producer For over three decades, Michael Landon’s creative gifts touched millions of viewers around the world on Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven and in several other productions. This is the first detailed examination of his work both in front of and behind the camera, including information about every Landon script. Among the illustrations are some rarely seen photographs. “I am grateful that one of Michael’s greatest admirers has devoted an entire book to a serious study of his productions, and I hope readers will appreciate David Greenland’s efforts as much as I do.” – CINDY LANDON

Book Review: After Snowden


After Snowden is a book of essays analyzing the effects of Snowden in the information age.  There are 7 essays written by various experts looking into: The Press, Protected News in the Era of Disruptive Sources, What Should We Do About the Leakers, Judging State Secrets: Who Decides – And How?, The Future of Privacy in the Surveillance Age, and Secrecy, Surveillance and the Snowden Effect.

I admittedly have not really been following this as closely as I probably would have been had it happened several years ago when I was in college and studying Journalism. However, I think that the essays all make very good points and certainly gave me a lot to think about in regards to what ramifications there will be based on these leaks.

I received an e-copy in exchange for this review.

About the Book

Was Edward Snowden a patriot or a traitor?
Just how far do American privacy rights extend?
And how far is too far when it comes to government secrecy in the name of security?
These are just a few of the questions that have dominated American consciousness since Edward Snowden exposed the breath of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program.
In these seven previously unpublished essays, a group of prominent legal and political experts delve in to life After Snowden, examining the ramifications of the infamous leak from multiple angles:
• Washington lawyer and literary agent RONALD GOLDFARB acts as the book’s editor and provides an introduction outlining the many debates sparked by the Snowden leaks.
• Pulitzer Prize winning journalist BARRY SIEGEL analyses the role of the state secrets provision in the judicial system.
• Former Assistant Secretary of State HODDING CARTER explores whether the press is justified in unearthing and publishing classified  information.
• Ethics expert and dean of the UC Berkley School of Journalism EDWARD WASSERMANdiscusses the uneven relationship between journalists and whistleblowers.
• Georgetown Law Professor DAVID COLE addresses the motives and complicated legacy of Snowden and other leakers.
• Director of the National Security Archive THOMAS BLANTON looks at the impact of the Snowden leaks on the classification of government documents.
• Dean of the University of Florida Law School JON MILLS addresses the constitutional right to privacy and the difficulties of applying it in the digital age.

Throwback Thursday: John Mayer August 15, 2004


Headliner: John Mayer
Opener(s): Maroon 5, DJ Logic
Cost: $45


Bigger Than My Body
Why Georgia
Something’s Missing
Only Heart
Trust Myself
Back To You
New Deep
Come Back To Bed
Your Body Is A Wonderland
Inner City Blues
No Such Thing


I got to do a soundcheck party with John Mayer through his fan club for this show. I must have decided to only take photos during this and not during the actual show.  This show was John and Maroon 5 co-headlining which I thought was awesome. I don’t remember much more about it and the pictures didn’t really jog my memory as I had hoped!


Product Review: Scrapbook Crafter

Scrapbook Crafter is an app for Macs from Pearl Mountain Technology. I have reviewed several of their apps in the past and have been quite impressed and I feel the same way about Scrapbook Crafter. The app is easy to use for all level of scrapbookers. If you’ve never done any pages before, you’ll have no problem using this program from the moment you open it. It is “WYSIWYG” (what you see is what you get) and you can preview everything you’re doing in real time so have fun moving the elements all around the page until you find the perfect place for them!

You can pick out templates depending on what you are trying to scrapbook. I was scrapping pages from my trip to Tulsa, so I chose travel.  There are 60+ professional kits included with 240+ pages to help you make albums quickly. They are designed for various holidays and occasions – Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Travel, Baby, etc.

There was a set of 4 premade travel pages which I used as templates but I removed the elements that didn’t work on my pages (like the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty)  I was able to go through a bunch of other embellishments and add in more things that worked like guitars and generic luggage.  I also went through and added different frames to the photo as well as made the photos into different shapes – all of which are features of this app. Overall, it took me almost no time to put *4* pages together. This may make me consider more strongly switching from traditional scrapbooking to digital – or at the very least using it a bit more if not switching over completely! To do these 4 pages out by hand traditionally would probably have taken me 2 weekends and wouldn’t have come out anywhere near as nice looking!

When you are done, you can export your pages to PDF, JPG, PNG, TFF, BMP or PSD. You can also print the pages directly if you would like. Or save the images and share them via email with friends or post online to share 🙂

I received a free app in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

Tulsa Hanson Trip Recap 2015!


I had originally intended for this to be a 2 part recap on the 20th and 27th, however I didn’t even have my photos uploaded until the 22nd so obviously I underestimated the amount of free time I’d have once getting home! (And I’m still not even unpacked…)

So here goes a bit of a shortened version of the weekend activities!



I hit a detour at 2am on the way to the airport that had no actual end so I had to turn around and go back. I made it to the airport with plenty of time but got held up at security because of a nail clipper attachment that is considered a “blade”.  I had no idea.  The TSA agent asked me where it was because the inside pocket in my purse was something she didn’t see. (It’s actually rather huge so I’m a bit concerned)  Fortunately I knew exactly where it was and once she had it I was on my merry way.

My flight to Chicago was fine, I slept for most of it. I had about a 3 hour layover in Chicago after they tried to bump me to a 30 minute layover.  Glad I switched things back because they left me in a wheelchair for about 20 minutes because the people who usually transport were “behind”. No doubt I’d have missed my connecting flight!

Chicago to Tulsa was not bad either. There were 2 Hanson fans in the seats in front of me so I basically just eavesdropped on them for the flight. Hey, they were talking loud enough for me to hear!

When I landed in Tulsa I met up with one of my fellow ST Leaders, Tara from Mississippi and she gave me a ride to the hotel and we went to get lunch with some other friends and ST Leaders. It was a nice calm before the storm.


We had heard a rumor that check in may start at 2 instead of 4, but in typical Hanson time fashion, that was not the case.  We decided to wait anyway and once the line started moving it was relatively quick to pick up our tickets.


I found some other friends and we headed to the Hanson Store – where we waited in line for I’m not even sure how many hours. (Too many.)  I was so sunburned and hot by this point I said I couldn’t wait to get back to my hotel to take a 100 year shower!  I somehow ended up spending nearly $400 despite limiting myself to only 3 shirts (I actually only ended up buying 2!)  It was the accessories that did me in – AND I had friends pick me up MORE stuff when they waited in line and bought more stuff online too. I am out of control!


I went to Ida Red’s party with one of the other ST Leaders, Katie and then we went out to dinner at The Brook.  It was nice to finally be face to face with her after chatting with her online for so long!

That night I was on my own in the hotel room and had to work the early shift helping to get everyone checked in Friday morning.  When I made it outside it was raining pretty hard and I was told to wait for the clouds to clear and head down there.  I ended up staying a bit longer than my shift just to help out – the tent kept flying away in the wind.

eab32efb0e79c7bbc8f6c27aff50ce1dPHOTOS WITH THE BAND

Once my friends made it to the front of the line for the photos I jumped in with them. I ended up next to Zac for the photo and he told us that them playing Disney this year was “positive” but that they weren’t really allowed to say.  (At this time last year we were already booked for Disney flight and all so I’m not sure why Disney is delaying things so much!)


After the photos it was time for lectures.  Surprisingly everything was running relatively on-time considering photos were only for 2 hours but had started late and I thought there would be no way they could get through us all in that time!

Taylor was up first and he did “Song Stories”.  Fans who were attending Hanson Day were asked to submit in 300 words or less their stories about Hanson songs and what they mean to them and Taylor would talk a bit about what happened when they wrote them, how they were inspired, etc.  5 fans were selected but were not told until that night that they were chosen. Songs they talked about were Never Let Go, Follow Your Lead, Waiting For This, MMMBop and With You In Your Dreams.  After the chats with the fans, Taylor brought out a keyboard and performed With You In Your Dreams.

Next up was Isaac, who did “Inside This Time Around” and broke down the tracks to the album (which is 15 years old this year) so that we could hear the different elements. He played some of Jonny Lang’s guitar solo isolated, remixed the songs into some rap and metal sounding songs and even explained how usually Zac sings the high harmony but if Isaac is singing lead then Zac sings the low harmony.  He played the isolated Zac track from “Lonely Again” which blew us all away. He also played an unreleased track “Bridges of Stone” which was nice to hear!

Zac finished out the night, where he wrote a song based on poll results from that he had posted. He was bummed that he had robot as a choice but it didn’t win – he loves robots and told us we all failed the relationship test he was giving us!  The song he wrote was “Searching For Signs of Life” about playing a video game (go figure) and the guy you are playing with seems to have gone idle. He did all the instruments and lyrics piece by piece and played them back for us and even had us sing some of the lines as well. He’s crazy and I can’t wait to hear the finished product that should be up on soon!

20150515_204545ST LEADERS DINNER

After the lectures was the Street Team Leaders dinner. There were 24 of us from around the world this year and it gives us a chance to mingle, share ideas, etc. The leaders are a great group and I was worried I’d be a bit of an outsider because they all bonded over a lot of manual labor last year that I couldn’t help out with but they were all very welcoming and willing to help me out J Hanson showed up for a bit to tell us about some of their plans (that were later shared at State of the Band)


Saturday morning we went to the gallery to see Zac’s paintings. By that point they were all already sold out (one of these years I’ll get one!) but they were so much nicer in person than in the gallery booklet they had for sale.  I was glad they did have the booklet this year though because at least I have some sort of keepsake if not an original!

Taylor also had some photography displayed and there was 1 photo I ended up buying. The first I had ever bought in the 4 or so years since they had been doing them!


This is one of my favorite spots and there’s nothing I love more than bringing new people there. I had hyped it up to the point that I think Jillian and Becca were a bit scared as to where I was bringing them – but I couldn’t give it away because the reaction to it has to be natural! I think they ended up having fun with it!


Then we took a walk  to Dwelling Spaces and some other shops which were about a mile from our hotel. With frequent breaks I was able to do it! And the stop for gelato half way through helped too 😉 I picked up a dream catcher at one of the indian stores because I tried to make myself one and failed miserable. So I got a cute little blue one, I just need to figure out where to hang it in my room now!

20150516_152700STATE OF THE BAND

State of the Band is when Hanson lets us know their plans for the upcoming year.  They talked about the website and the new logo associated with it – which I was NOT a fan of but once they explained what it meant I liked it a lot more.  When they had to approve photos and the like, they’d all draw a line and if all 3 of them liked the same photo those 3 lines would become an H which would later be circled. So is Isaac, Taylor and Zac approved.

They talked about their upcoming tour which I am so excited for.  It is 20 dates in 10 cities in October.  Details are coming in June but they did mention New York (and LA and Chicago which don’t really help me any) and that the first night would be a regular Hanson show but the second night would focus more on COVERS! Since I’m all about fun setlists and hearing songs live I haven’t heard before I think this show will help do that J  There will also be after parties.  I’m really excited for June and to get more details!

They did Q&A with the audience but had to stop people from asking what cities were on the tour.  While it is all planned already they don’t want to tell us until June! L

20150516_181439FAN CLUB DINNER

After the State of the Band we went to the fanclub dinner at Mexicali’s.  Not many were there at all – since most wanted to line up for the show. We had a nice time and met a fan from Trinidad!  Everything was going well until I stood up to head to the bathroom and my leg brace went POP! The screw popped out and we got some duct tape from the restaurant to put it back together again.  Of course on the walk down to the venue the other end of the screw ended up digging into my ankle, but we made it.  Unfortunately, the one time things were NOT on Hanson time so we didn’t get as great of a spot for the show as I would have liked, but it was certainly not the worst view I’ve ever had.


The Members Only show is a celebration of the latest EP release – so they typically sing all 5 songs off of it. (Easy way to boost your numbers for rare songs heard live) however, they started off this set with just 3 of the 5. They did end up playing one more later in the set but never did play “Don’t Hide Your Tears” which has quickly become my favorite track off of the EP. Maybe it’ll end up in a setlist in Jamaica – or maybe even on tour?

In addition to the new EP songs, they did some songs from past Eps as well as a mix of album tracks as well.  Don’t be surprised there’s no MMMBop – it is hardly ever played at Members Only shows – probably because they assume we’ve all heard it many, many, many times before!

They each did solos – I could have done without Isaac’s and Zac’s (I’ve heard them many times) but Taylor’s was a beautiful rendition of Lost Without You and even if I have heard it before it was wonderful to experience again.  A couple also got engaged during this song in the crowd!

Roller Coaster Love is an EP song from a few years back – and apparently Taylor could not remember any of the words.  At one point Zac said “Guys, I’m going to be honest” and then magically Taylor seemed to remember the words? Not really sure what was going on there!

They ended the set with an acapella tease of the song “Sexy Robot” which is a bit of a parody that came along while they were streaming the song writing process for the new EP.  “Sexy Robot” as well as a song called “Guns and Bacon” came out of those nights and have ended up on merch.  One can only hope they end up recorded on one of these days! (Especially Sexy Robot – any song about robots, binary and javascript are ok with me!)

Give Me Your Best Shot
What Are We Fighting For
Scream And Be Free
Best of Times
Been There Before
On and On (acoustic)
Lonely Again (acoustic)
Call Me (Isaac solo)
Need You Now (Zac solo)
Lost Without You (Taylor solo)
Grace Unknown
Follow Your Lead
Get Out Of My Heart
Roller Coaster Love
Sound of Light
Rock N Roll Razorblade
White Collar Crime
Up All Night
Sexy Robot (acapella tease)



After the show we had to clear out so things could be set up for the after party. My friend Keena warned us that a storm would be coming through in about 10 minutes.  It was drizzling so we took cover under the highway overpass.  Keena was right and the skies opened up and it was pouring and lightning and there were talks of possible tornadoes in the area.

We finally get let back in, and we thought we had a break in the rain to make it inside but just as we hit the door the skies opened again.  That’s when the after party turned into a wet tshirt contest!

All the girls had gone to the stage (where nothing was set up at all for Taylor to DJ from) and then he ended up in the back at the sound board so they had to turn around and go to the back of the venue.  In the beginning of the afterparty Keena was texting me and telling me to go to the door to hear Tornado Sirens in person – but I decided that was not going to be happening and was glad that the music was too loud to hear them inside!

The after party was supposed to go until 1 am but ended up shutting down around 12:30.  Probably because Taylor’s computer seemed to no longer be working and we had heard Another One Bites The Dust 3 times.  Not in a row – but it was in the mix 3 times. And No Diggity sounded like it was about to be played for a 2nd time.

Taylor thanked us for coming and reminded us that The Hop Jam would be tomorrow.

We walked back to the hotel and watched the lightning out the window for a bit and the thunder was even shaking our room. The storm doors were also closed from earlier when the sirens were going off!

20150517_114215THE HOP JAM

When we woke up Sunday, the hop jam stage was right outside our hotel room window! We saw the guys walking down the street to get ready for soundcheck and were able to listen from the room. I was surprised they allowed some girls in the street during sound check – the guards last year were much more strict!

I listened to the first 2 bands from the room since my ankle had been bothering me (but Keena bought me some tape so I could get everything fixed up to last me until I got home) but after Jillian and Becca had gotten their photos taken with Zac – I decided it was time for me to head downstairs and check out merch and find Zac.

Little did I know just how easy it would be.  After being outside for all of 2 minutes I found Zac, we took a selife and that was that.  Isaac and Taylor were wandering around too but I wasn’t sure I could navigate in the beer area by myself so I didn’t bother.

I ended up finding a ledge by a restaurant to sit on for the show and stuck it out there for the rest of the evening.  All of the the bands I really enjoyed!

The beer area closed down just before Hanson took the stage so the crowd got a lot bigger, but since I was so far back I wasn’t in the middle of all the chaos of the crowd which was perfect – and I was actually outside unlike the year before!

They ended up cutting a few songs from this setlist as well (Jillian got it after the show from the stage so we were able to compare!) The one I was most bummed about being cut was Okie from Muskogee – just a song I’d never heard before! But they did ‘livin on Tulsa time’ with all the bands on stage as the encore.

Already Home
Minute Without You
And I Waited
Been There Before
Thinking of You
Lost Without Each Other
In The City
Madeline (acoustic)
Penny and Me (acoustic)
MMMBop (acoustic)
Ive Got Soul
Thinking Bout Somethin
Wheres The Love
Get The Girl Back
Roller Coaster Love
Fired Up
Livin on Tulsa Time


Love With Food Box April


The theme of this month’s box was “Starry Night”. After a long winter, it’s all about clear skies, bright stars and a little time to exhale. Celebrate the quite moments. Take it to the porch or sneak a snack when everyone else is asleep.

Shortbread by Walkers
Since 1898, these Scottish classics have been the bright spot of high tea. Paired with a cup of chamomile, they’re also an ideal bedtime ritual.

I think these have been in a box before – but that’s ok with me because they are one of my favorite things! I had to eat these first and loved every minute of it.

Garlic Olive Oil Pasta Chips by Vintage Italia
60% less fat than regular chips – made with olive oil, garlic and semolina flour, one night of munching is destined to start a lasting relationship.

As of writing I’ve not yet tried these.

Green Tea Tropical By Mighty Tea Leaf
Green tea has been said to improve brain function and fight the aging process. Low in caffeine and high in fruit-forward flavor, we say, “Pinkies up!”

Always a fan of green tea!

Sour Beans by Yumearth
Real fruit extracts, no artificial dyes or flavors and one serving of these organic jelly beans packs 100% RDA of vitamin C. Talk about sweet dreams!

My brother tried these and said that “they tasted like they were good for you”, take that to mean what you will. (He did eat the whole package)

Lemon Zest Mini by Luna
If every night ended with this bar our days would be a whole lot healthier. High in calcium, folic acid and protein – move over more milk and cookies!

This was very weak in flavor, but was nice for a snack when I got home from work without being too many calories.

Mini Chocolate Chunk Cookies by Back to Nature
Rainforest alliance certified chocolate chips, no high fructose corn syrup and fresh baked flavor make these tiny cookies stand out among the stars.

These were SO GOOD! My only complaint is that there were only about 5 in the bag 🙁

Wild Garden Hummus Snack Pack by Ziyad
Be careful not to wake the neighbors! This wholesome combo of flavorful hummus and protein packed quinoa crackers delivers quite a crunch.

At the time of writing I haven’t tried this yet either.


Music Monday: Rixton


Let The Road
Wait on Me
Beautiful Excuses
Me and My Broken Heart
Hotel Ceiling
I Like Girls
We All Want The Same Thing
Make Out

I have been trying for so long to hold out on liking Rixton because they are signed with Scooter Braun and I fear they will end up taking the same path as The Wanted and I’m not sure I can handle that again.  There also seemed to have been another force making sure our paths didn’t cross because I won passes to meet them and wasn’t able to end up making it and I had a party to go to the night they were in town with Ariana Grande.  BUT I bought the CD to listen to on the way to that party and from the opening notes I was in love!  I guess I’ll just have to try and not get too attached now. (Famous last words)

The album is great, there are no songs that I skipped even after listening to it multiple times – and I think it has a couple of contenders on it for my “Dirty Boyband Playlist”!  Definitely a ConcertKatie recommended album, for sure!

Product Review: Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Recently I’ve been sleeping on what could considered a cloud. Ok, well it’s actually a Shredded Memory Foam Pillow – but close enough.  I just love how it cradles my head and is so comfortable to fall asleep on!  The problem with man pillows is that you shape it to give good support – but it ends up collapsing on you and you lose the support which causes stress on your body and you can wake up tossing and turning or trying to flip the pillow the cool side.

The Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam pillow and Kool-Flow ™ bamboo cover can help eliminate these problems! Everyone is different and likes their pillows shaped to an individual preference. This pillow shapes your head and neck in any position while maintaining proper support all night long helping you get a better nights sleep. They claim it o be “the most comfortable pillow you will ever own” and I have to say I agree.

I love that this pillow came all rolled up. It was so much fun to unwrap it and watch it gather its shape! The pillow is pretty big and a bit on the heavy side, but I have tossed my old pillow to the side and have been loving using this pillow.  I used to wake up all the time hot from my pillow and have to move my head or flip the pillow over to the cool side.  Even with temperatures getting hotter, I have not had that problem since using this pillow for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve also found that I have less pain and stress from sleeping and hope that with continued use of this pillow this will continue as I am much happier!

I received a free pillow in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

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