A while back I was at Steel City Comic-con in Monroeville, Pennsylvania; when I saw two Cobra Viper Cosplayers walking down the aisle.
If you are unfamiliar with what a "Cobra Viper" is, it is my distinct pleasure to educate you. Cobra Vipers are the foot soldiers for Cobra, from Habro's toy line/comic books (originally by Marvel) and tv cartoon "G.I. Joe". Side note, G.I. Joe (the comic book) was one of the first comic books to have it's own TV commercial.
(Pictured above are professional Cosplayers- Joe Colton and Maggies Madness, go give them a LIKE on FB)
I have been a die hard GI Joe fan since I was a child. A love that has followed me into adulthood. So the Cosplayers and I begin to talk, and I quickly ask about their movie quality helmets. The tell me about this Prop studio called Pit Viper Studios.
I quickly found the Prop makers on Facebook and even ended up joining their closed chat group. Lenvil King the owner of Pit Viper Studios and I soon became fast friends. A veteran of the Merchant Marines, Len has forgotten more about prop manufacturing than I will ever learn.
From Ant Man to the Flash, Berserker Dwarves, to GI Joe and Cobra; The versatility of Pit Viper Studios knows no bounds!
Red Hood has to be one of my favorite pieces made by the master manufacturers. I have come to know many knew friends and grown my knowledge of Cosplay all thanks to Pit Viper Studios. I even have my own 1986 Cobra Viper helmet coming to me from Lenvil.
Salt of the Earth, the crew from Pit Viper Studios is the best in the business. Take the time to give them a LIKE on Facebook and check out their catalog. There is something for everyone on their, and the quality is beyond compare.
Ghouls, Goblins and Demon Slayers beware. There is a new keep in the land where magic, adventure and tales beyond compare, lie in wait.
Nestled in the wood line, along a babbling brook in fair Munhall, Pennsylvania, stands an establishment unlike many others. Where the adventurous and intrepid can embark upon grand adventures. Where the meek may become mighty. Where the fair may become heroic. Where legends are born and destroyed all in the same day.
CHECK THEM OUT ON FACEBOOK AND GIVE THEM A LIKE!
I simply speak, of the Nether Void Games. Where table top card players and role game players flock in droves. The new and daunting establishment, is owned by one Chuck Lang and run by one R.J. Serafini. Two brave lads I have seldom had the likes to meet before.
To be honest, It is REALLY hard to write like I am talking in a renaissance accent. Maybe I should have hired John Cleese? Anyway.
This store is AMAZING! Check out these pics!
CHECK THEM OUT ON FACEBOOK AND GIVE THEM A LIKE!
From Magic the Gathering, to vintage video games, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, D&D, Warhammer and much, much more. I am like a kid in a candy shop! I almost got whiplash from all the head turning I was doing. The warm environment with a touch of Industrial Awesome, lets you know that you are welcome and that this place, this experience, is THE PLACE TO BE.
Having to darn near re-build the place from the ground up, Chuck and his crew have worked tirelessly to make Nether Void a virtual fantasy made flesh.
Some of the biggest challenges the crew at Nether Void face are things like expansion and construction. With plans to expand adding a deck and possibly a coffee shop/bistro; I know where I am going to be spending most of my free time.
CHECK THEM OUT ON FACEBOOK AND GIVE THEM A LIKE!
The warm and knowledgeable charisma of the staff is something I have seldom seen in a Gaming Store. Most of the time I am treated like a plebeian because I am , "not well versed" in all facets of gaming at other stores. Not at Nether Void Games. ALL ARE WELCOME HERE.
Many tournaments and game gatherings I have attended, there is usually a "Male bravado" that is very prominent. Like myself, Nether Void Games frowns on this. It is no secret that there is an ever growing following of females in the gaming community. Unlike most gamer's and gaming facilities ; NVG is very inclusive and encouraging to all gamer's regardless to who they are. It is truly refreshing to be among like minded gamer's.
As I stood there chatting with Chuck, R.J. and Adam ( the stores resident gaming judge/officiant) I couldn't help like feeling that I was among family. One thing is for certain, I have found my permanent Gaming Store.
CHECK THEM OUT ON FACEBOOK AND GIVE THEM A LIKE!
Gamestop's release of it's game "Song Of The Deep" is a welcome surprise!
Not saying I didn't know about the release, I am saying it's THAT DAMN GOOD!!! Something the gaming industry has been missing for a long time, is a puzzle adventure game of this magnitude. The graphics are phenomenal, the soundtrack is elegant and brilliantly composed and the story line is sheer poetry.
"Song of the Deep" is the "Echo the Dolphin" of the 21st century. Period.
Everybody and their mother has their first person shooters, action rpg's, mmorpg's, and the like. However I truly feel that it is high time a game such as S.O.T.D. came into fruition.
***SPOILER ALERT***- If you don't want to have the game ruined for you, stop reading now and go buy the thing. It retails for $14.99 BRAND NEW! Yes, you read that correctly. Gamestop being the company that put this out along with Insomniac games and CI Games and Gametrust; they don't have to charge us, the consumers an arm and a leg. And our 1st born child. And a kidney....
But I digress, You start out with the narrative told much like a children's book, with exquisite art that looks like a water color painting. Your character, Marin; is the daughter of a fisherman who told her fabulous stories her whole childhood. Stories about sea monsters, underwater cities of gold and lost civilizations.
One day he doesn't come home from fishing and Marin sets off on her quest to find her father. By building a mini-submarine. You begin your hunt for Dad in the "Glow Kelp Forest"
You start off with just your submarine, but through exploration and adventure you gradually get upgrades such as a magnetic claw, torpedoes, engine boosters, search lights and much much more.
This game challenges cognitive reasoning on an epic scale. You have to think outside the box on this one kiddies. Even on the easiest game difficulty, S.O.T.D. poses a challenge. Even to a gamer like me with 35+ years of gaming experience.
With more games to be released from Gamestop, I can't wait to see what they come out with next. In the mean time, GO BUY SONG OF THE DEEP!!! IT's AMAZING and it's only $14.99!
Great job to all those who worked on this project.
We give Song Of The Deep:
Located on Reynolds street in a quiet little section of Pittsburgh is an amazing little restaurant named, Pino's Contemporary Italian Restaurant and Wine bar.
The friendly persona of the eatery, is only equaled by the pleasantness of the staff. If you have never been to this section of Pittsburgh, Point Breeze is a well kept secret. Everyone is friendly, and the little block long shopping section of business are cute and bursting with charm.
My wife works close by, and every time I pass this place, the aromas emanating from it make my mouth water. So today, I decided to take my wife and son inside for dinner. The decor is warm and trendy. The wooden bar with brass rail is very pleasing to the eye. The well lit spirits behind the bar are tempting to the palate, and if I wasn't driving I would have most definitely sampled some of their diverse wine selection.
Our server, Mary greeted us and sat us at the beautiful stone top tables. Adorned with multi colored frescoes, the tables add a whole other level to the ambiance that fills Pino's. From hand made pasta dishes to fresh to table appetizers, this place has something for everyone.
My son, who is 6, spots the spaghetti and meatballs right off the bat. Our server, Mary was kind enough to explain that the portion would be massive. "I can eat it Daddy!" he says with the type of confidence only a six year old can muster. My bride orders the fried calamari, and my eye is drawn to the tempting whispers of the Margherita pizza.
The hand made pasta with "all beef" meatballs is only what I can imagine eating if I had grown up in an Italian household eating recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. The tomato sauce is well seasoned and not acidic. The pasta is cooked to perfection, and has explosions of texture that can only come from freshly made pasta. The meatballs are evenly cooked with an abundance of flavor that only enhances the already delightful dish. My son ate the entire dish by the way. I was lucky to even get a bite in.
When it comes to seafood, I'm a bit of a snob. Having served in the U.S. Navy, I was spoiled to being stationed on bases that were on the ocean, so we had access to "Fresh" seafood, that was caught THAT DAY. The more "inland" you go into the country, the more frozen things like seafood becomes.
Not at Pino's. The fresh calamari is out of this world! Battered in a secret recipe, that according to staff took many tries to achieve until the chef reached perfection; is fried in peanut oil and served with lemon and a tomato dipping sauce that is hands down, damn near heaven sent.
The crunch, the floral accent of basil, the brightness of the San Marzano sauce and the creamy delight of the fresh mozzarella all come together into the perfection that is this Margherita pizza. Perfect for sharing or even indulging ones self, this pizza is a must try!
I can only imagine how everything would have been elevated by one of the wines that are available at Pino's. I can honestly say that, although not a place I could afford on a regular basis; Pino's is a definite destination that should be on all Pittsburgh "Foodies" lists of places to eat.
I give Pino's of Point Breeze 4.5 Stars.
Having served in the U.S. Navy for many years, I have traveled around the globe. Exotic destinations, fascinating cultures and of course; AMAZING FOOD!
Spending a good portion of my enlistment on the west coast, Mexican cuisine is a staple in everyday life out there. From mom 'n' pop bodegas, to hole in the wall Mexican eateries and lets not forget the usually surprising taco trucks. Mexican food is everywhere out west.
So needless to say I am a fan, however moving back to the Pittsburgh area, I find the choices for latin cuisine wanting. There are many big corporate chain restaurants that serve "Mexican style" food. (Not really. Their menus are a pathetic attempt at the exciting flavors and bizarre food combinations that TRUE Mexican food offers)
So while I was attending 3 Rivers Comicon 2 weeks ago, I took a break from signing autographs and stepped outside for air. The vibrant facade ornamenting the restaurants front really catches your eye. I thought to myself, " I have to try that place. I've been looking for a Mexican place to eat..." So today, I took my wife and fellow "foodie" on a date. Destination? Old Mexico Mexican Restaurant in Century III mall.
Our first impression as we walked in was of how tidy the place was. Festive and fun, but it was also very clean. I don't mean in a bleach aroma kind of way. I mean, you can tell that the facility is well maintained. No dust, no stale beer smell, just warm and inviting.
We were greeted promptly and sat at our booth. Our server Alberto came to our table with fresh and hot tortilla chips and two types of salsa. The regular house salsa and a cilantro and lime salsa. Which is amazing! He took our drink orders and let us view our menus.
My beautiful bride, not having really been in a REAL Mexican restaurant before, was asking questions about some of the menu items. I explained what was what and she was able to decide. Pictured above is her order. A Carnitas Chimichanga with beans and rice. Carnitas is closely comparable to pulled pork. Just with way more flavor and preparation. The tender meat melts in your mouth as the crunch of the chimichanga adds a fun texture that blends smoothly with the guacamole, salsa, beans, rice and sour cream.
I ordered the carne asada burrito with white rice, cheese, tomato and lettuce covered in a spectacularly seasoned queso fresco sauce. Carne asada is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Carne asada is a well seasoned flank steak cut into strips, there is no substitute. The flavors and spices danced in my mouth. Everything blending together to form a taste bud fiesta.
One bite, and I was back in Oceanside California, sitting at a cantina, eating burritos, drinking cervezas, hanging out with my Marines and watching the pretty girls as they roller skated by at the beach. The memories and good times flashed through my mind with every single mouthful I took. Now THIS! IS REAL MEXICAN FOOD!!!
Look, I love Pittsburgh. Born and raised here. But when it comes to authentic cuisine, a vast majority of the Three Rivers residents haven't a clue. People, Old Mexico Mexican Restaurant is the REAL DEAL! Go! EAT! ENJOY! I will most definitely be back!
Old Mexico Mexican Restaurant - 5 STARS *****
I have been to many Conventions in the past 2 years. Pop culture con's, Sci-Fi Con;'s even Anime cons.
All have been fun, and enjoyable. I love meeting new people, seeing the Cos-Players and even meeting celebrities. However, Pittsburgh FINALLY has what it has been missing for so long.
A comic book convention. This past weekend was the inaugural convention for 3 Rivers Comic-Con, put on by the crew from New Dimension comics, and it was a BLAST! With more focus on the artists, illustrators, writers and creators; I have never felt more welcomed or content.
The whole vibe the entire weekend was that as a creator/writer; I was important. The focus was all about the the guests that attended. We' were/are the celebrities. With a most friendly and outgoing staff, every single thing was attended too. If you needed a break and didn't have someone to watch your booth, a crew member had your back. If you needed a drink, or something to eat, a crew member would get it for you. Or you could take a stroll to the guest lounge and have your choice from the smorgasbord that was provided for the attending guests and vendors.
With amazing names from comic book and cinema universe, there was no short supply of awesome! John Russo (writer of Night of the Living Dead), Daryl Banks (Green Lantern illustrator), Bob McLeod Illustrator/Co-Creator of New Mutants: Marvel comics), Renowned pinup artist and illustrator Joe Linsner, and so MANY more talented and amazing creators were in attendance!
The camaraderie and networking that occurred at this convention was astronomical! I made so many connections that I lost count. I am eager to see the new creations that will now exist all because of 3 Rivers Comicon bringing us all together.
I honestly have next to no complaints. For the 1st in what I hope to be many more to come conventions by New Dimensions; I have to say, WELL DONE GANG!
My only negative, is that towards the end of the last day, some of the vendors and guests started packing up early. It is what it is, I would have liked to seen their wares and art. It was the only chance I really had to walk around. Because the whole weekend was SO BUSY! Great attendance for a 1st time Con!
I truly loved it, and guarantee that I will be back at their next show!
5 STARS *****
There are NO INTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS ARTICLE! There. I said it. Are you okay? Is the heart attack and almost spontaneous utterance of Internet Troll language gone? Good.
As stated before, there are no intentional spoilers here. If that's what you're looking for, go else where. Also, you should be ashamed. You're like the kid who sneaks around the house looking for where his/her parents hid the Christmas presents. SHAME ON YOU, but I digress.
I will not be revealing plot lines, telling you about whole scenes or that the Butler did it in the final scene. (Inside family joke)
In true "Deadpool" fashion, the movie was AMAZING! Raunchy, bloody, gruesome, warped, filled with profanity and tons of sexual references. THIS IS NOT A MOVIE TO TAKE YOUR 6, 10, 12, 14 year old too!
"...but Spike, it's a comic book movie...." Yes. Yes it is, and if you have ever picked up a Deadpool comic in your life and read it; you would know that this is an ADULT oriented comic book.
"....I'm taking my kid. He's not a wuss and he's 11...." Awesome. Good for you . How very progressive of you. Then you can explain all the breasts, camel toe, sexual positions, strap on up Ryan Reynolds backside and why he masturbates so much in the movie. Okay, there's one spoiler. But no more, I promise.
It's rated "R"
Under 17 not allowed without parent.
"....but Spike, who are you to tell me how to raise my child?"
I'm a parent. I tell you these things because I am trying to help. I don't want you to have to go through the embarrassment I saw today when MULTIPLE parents brought their children to see the "Merc with a Mouth" and then had to leave 20 minutes in because their kid was crying.
I sat there watching the movie, when out of my peripherals I saw parents getting up and leaving, mumbling phrases like, "...Oh my God! This is supposed to be a comic book movie..." and my personal favorite, "...sshhh, sshhh sweetie, I know he's not wearing any pants...."
There are many different types of comic books in the world. From the heroic Captain America and Batman, to the raunch of Deadpool or Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. All it takes is a little time and effort to do some research on the web to find out what you're getting into.
There. Now that I am done preaching, I will get off my soap box and say this. DEADPOOL was EPIC! Not exactly canon to the Comic, but pretty darn close. Tons of 4th wall breaking, quips, one liners that I plan to use in the future and tons of action. Enjoy the movie. I did and so did my wife! Which totally blew my mind.
Give us a LIKE on FB
CHECKOUT OUR PODCASTS
CHECKOUT OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Follow us on Instagram!
I remember well, the first time I played a 'Devil May Cry' game. On PS2, sitting in my barracks room, duel wielding pistols and laying waste to scores of demon brood. Good times.
So when I was in Best Buy the other day, with a gift card in hand from the holidays; I was on the prowl for something new to play on Xbox One. There it was, tucked in the back. Very much over shadowed by Fallout 4 and Call of Duty titles that surrounded it. $12.99! The price on the merchandise divider caught my eye. Not that I am always looking for a bargain, but as being somewhat new to the Xbox One platform, I was intrigued as to what other games exist for the system.
So when I rifle through the games and happen upon it, I was a little surprised. "They came out with a new 'Devil May Cry' game?" I ask myself. I glance at the back of the case and decide to make the purchase.
I get home and begin the install, only about 20 minutes this time. Sorry, I have a beef with long install times on the Xbox One platform; then the game begins. At first I thought the graphics in the cinematic were pathetic. Horrible skin and character design. Then I realized the characters were supposed to be demons, and they are meant to look like a consciousness had been forced into a human meat puppet suit.
The game play is KILLER! The fight combos, the way the character develops. Very well done. The way the character proceeds through the well written script is very well thought out. At first, I thought the action was stifled with story line. Then after about an hour, my hands were cramping a bit because the fight sequences really have you on your toes. Combos and special attacks, it does pose a challenge for the most experienced gamer in my opinion.
Without a doubt, DMC is a true under appreciated bargain GEM.
So when you think "Airsoft" what is the first thing that comes to mind?
For many, it might be, "that's that wanna be paintball game, with BB's and the guys all dress up like 'Call of Duty' and run around the woods shooting each other like they're commandos and stuff..."
For me, and like minded individuals, we think AWESOME! We think Brotherhood! We think, a cost effective way to hone your training and stay frosty when it comes to all the weapons training we have. We also think FUN!
For me, I think; Stress relief. I think, good times and friends. I think, ... Airsoft @ The BATTLEGROUNDS PITTSBURGH!
I had the honor and privilege of being the General Manager of the Battlegrounds under Owner Matt Krupp. We had a blast, and at the same time; a TON OF WORK! I came in towards the tail end of initial construction of the original opening of the BG. Long hours, blood sweat and tears; we worked tirelessly to get that place going. After I left to start Irregular Mischief Publications, Matt and the crew kept on.
Initially starting with just one indoor field with an EPIC post apocalypse setting of an invaded town. Complete with a Junk yard, bank, row homes, grocery, pizza shop, carnival and with no less than 8 actual cars on the top field. Yes, that's right. I said "top field", the BG Pittsburgh, now has multiple fields, a full service armorer and top of the line Pro-shop!
The Battlegrounds Brigade has added 3 more fields to this Historic 3 story building. Now not only is there a dystopian invaded town on the third floor, but there is a Night Club/Casino on the second floor and a CQB (Close Quarters Battle) room called the 6-6 room. With no more than 6 on 6 players it is a field of pure intensity!
I headed down today and met players, staff and family. The consensus is that of AWE! Manager Jake, my successor and friend, says that with the new fields opening they have had to run anywhere from 3-4 groups of two teams in each group.
The owner Matt and I have a long running "grudge" match going when it comes to playing against each other. It's all in good fun. For having no military or law enforcement training, I have to say Matt is pretty good. He gets some good hits, and when in rare occasion we play on the same team; the other team almost always get's decimated.
So, taking pictures and talking to player he comes to me. "Get your butt up on the field, grab a mask and gun. I'm going up against you on the new field!" he says to me.
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED OLD MAN!
Years of Military and Police training come back to me in an instant. Clearing my corners, working the angles and cover; I start to hunt. Matt has me at a distinct disadvantage as to I have never played the new field. Bar, kitchen, casino teller booths, a tricky and winding hallway are only some of the obstacles on the new field. The built in sound system is cranking out AWESOME house music, which only adds to the adrenaline level. The hunt was tit for tat. I'd get him, he'd get me. It was good to play again.
I have to say, the Battlegrounds Pittsburgh is a true ICON in the Airsoft community. I have seen tons and tons of arenas. Outdoors, Indoors...but never have I scene themed fields that were invaded towns, the inside of casinos and clubs. All of which are indoors. I can't wait to go back!
I'm not going to show you TOO much in this article. I'm saving that for when I go back to play this week! If you're an Airsofter, you have to go PLAY HERE!!!
Give them a LIKE on FB
Check out their Web site!
Check out the Battlegrounds Instagram!
Give us a LIKE on FB
CHECKOUT OUR PODCASTS
CHECKOUT OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Follow us on Instagram!
So, how does one review a movie without giving away any spoilers to those that haven't seen the movie yet?
One has to approach it as only a True FAN BOY can. You write the article the way a zealot like Fan Boy would want to read an article about his/her favorite Sci-Fi Saga. With class, style, respect and elated Geek Goose Bumps!
There will be no spoilers here. If you want spoilers, you are not a true fan, and should be ashamed. You're lazy and should feel like a low life . Go see the darn movie.
To say that I was eager, excited even flabbergasted to see this movie is an understatement. With no disrespect intended to George Lucas for giving us the original 3 episodes. Episodes 1-3 left me wanting. Were the special effects amazing in Episodes 1-3? Yes. Was the light saber duel between Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi amazing? Hell yes! However George Lucas did Episode VII a huge favor when he said, "...I don't like it...".
I walked into the theater with my 6 year old son, and the intrigue and excitement was overwhelming. The title rolled, the audience clapped and cheered and the story began.
It felt like home. The character development, the humor and "one liners", the action sequences. This is what Episodes 1-3 should have been. A perfect blend of Modern day technology, C.G.I. and classic "original" style film making. I seriously feel that J.J. Abrams did a service to the die hard's by getting back in touch with what the original movies were. Home.
The character attachment you develop to the new and original characters is almost instantaneous. A touch of old with a smothering of new is not overwhelming. The special effects are fantastic! The dog fighting between X-wings and Tie-Fighters is phenomenal!
I have to be honest, I was worried Disney and Abrams were going to botch the whole thing. However they did us justice and put out an amazing movie. I have no doubt that Disney is going to milk every penny they can out of their acquisition of the Star Wars franchise, but if they do what they did with Episode VII; I'm okay with it. The second that it begins to suck, I promise... I will be the first to declare shenanigans!
I GIVE "STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS" 5 STARS *****
Be sure to give IRREGULAR MISCHIEF a LIKE on FB
and Subscribe to our Youtube Channel.
POD-Casts coming soon.
CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
Grunt Geeks PODCAST!!!!
Friends of Ours!