Saturday marked my seventh straight year going to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra here in Greenville at what is now known as the Bon Secour Wellness Arena. This year I managed to score 3 pairs of tickets so Tessa and I were able to take two couples who have never experienced the wonder that is TSO! Joining us this year was Rob and Michele Young who own Borderlands Comics and Games as well as my old friend and former bandmate C.C. and his wife Jill.
Since we were going to the afternoon performance, we all met up at Borderlands around 2 pm so at least one couple could carpool with us. The show, as always, was absolutely amazing and I got to enjoy being able to share the experience with not just two newbies but four all of whom loved it!
After the show, I hit the merch table and picked up a tour tee and a TSO beanie! C.C. and Jill had to head back to Seneca while the rest of us grabbed some dinner at Grill Marks downtown. I had the amazing burger of the week, the Sawmill Burger!
After dinner, we roamed around downtown hitting places like Mast General Store and Poppington's Gourmet Popcorn. Tessa grabbed her a sweater blanket and a mug from Mast and we got some sea salt and dark chocolate popcorn from Poppington's - the latter of which is no longer accounted for! Oh well, it's not like we're going to be losing any weight this week with Thanksgiving in two days!
Oh yeah, this week has been a geek's wet dream! Marvel's hammer-wielding god returned to the silver screen in the sequel Thor: The Dark World on Friday and DC's legendary alien superhero landed on Blu-ray with the reboot Man of Steel yesterday. Needless to say, my ass was at the movies Friday night and at Best Buy securing myself a copy yesterday morning!
Ok, by now almost everyone is aware of the upcoming Batman vs Superman film featuring Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight, but c'mon, is that really a fair contest? Unless Batman discovers kryptonite which, so far, hasn't been introduced in the rebooted Superman franchise, what chance does a mortal with no real superpowers have against an extraterrestrial of almost limitless power and invincibility?
Now, if Marvel and DC were to ever cross comic book universes on the big screen, just think of how epic a fight between a Norse god and the last son of Krypton would be! Damn, I've got to go change my underwear and get on the air! While I'm freshening up, just picture this:
After our limo from Celebrity Limousine dropped us off at the house following the wedding, Tessa and I got our things together and waited on Mimi and Cheryl to pick us up and head down to Florida to board Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas. When they got to the house, they brought in all the gifts as well as some to go plates of food from the reception including plenty of Walnut Lane Inn's delicious meatloaf! So we ate and loaded up their Expedition and took off for Port Everglades. We got about as far as the outskirts of Savannah before we threw in the towel for the night and got a room.
We got up bright and early Sunday morning so we could hit the road in time to board the ship before departure. Needless to say, we did not do much the first night of the cruise but we did enjoy the surprise oceanview room upgrade Mimi and Cheryl had waiting for us!
Our first full day of the cruise was spent at sea so we did not do much that day either but on Tuesday we were at port in Labadee, Haiti. We booked an excursion that took us around the island on a boat for a nice little sightseeing trip.
Wednesday was another day at port this time in Falmouth, Jamaica. I have to say I was very impressed with Jamaica as we took another sightseeing excursion through historic Falmouth (including St. Peter's Anglican Church) and then took a beach break in Ochos Rios.
Thursday was another at sea day as we made our way to Cozumel, Mexico. Early Friday morning we went on our longest excursion of the trip as we took a ferry boat from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen then a bus to the Mayan Ruins in Tulum. The ferry ride damn near killed me as it was storming during the ride and the boat rocked like crazy. People were puking left and right and thankfully I wasn't one of them but my heart was about to bust out of my chest!
When we got to the mainland, we had to find our tour group for our specific excursion and I am pretty certain we walked though a river of human feces in the process. Oh yeah, an authentic $h!t Creek! Once we found our group, we walked further to get to our bus and then made our way to Tulum.
After Tulum, we went to a nearby beach and had an authentic Mexican lunch buffet catered to us. After the beach, we had to take the bus back to board the dreaded ferry once again to get back to Cozumel so we could board the ship. Thankfully the ferry ride back wasn't as bad since the weather was considerably calmer. We actually boarded the ship late but, since we were on a Royal Caribbean sanctioned excursion, the ship did not leave us. In fact, we had made it back to our cabins then out to the hot tub before the ship left the port. Evidently, we weren't the only ones late getting back to the ship as we set sail an hour past schedule.
Saturday was another day at sea as we made our way back to Port Everglades where we made our grueling trip back home. Surprisingly, we made it home in less than 13 hours which is incredible since we made numerous pit stops along the way.
It was a fantastic honeymoon filled with lots of food, entertainment and adventures! Aside from all the excursions, we took in various shows on the ship including the musical Chicago (which thrilled Tessa) as well as feature films such as Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel. And I gained at least 6 or 7 pounds from eating at damn near every free place on the ship and even a few that were extra charges like Johnny Rockets and the ice cream parlor on the Boardwalk level of the ship!
Now it's back to reality and planning the next cruise! Hopefully that will be taking my mom on her first cruise and making it Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas which will take its maiden voyage late next year.
Well, folks, it finally happened! I am a married man and Tessa is now officially the Twisted Missus! The ceremony was amazing and went much smoother than I had anticipated considering that the rehearsal the night before was a bit of a train wreck. However, thanks to numerous friends and family members, it took off without a hitch!
My cousin Debra, despite it being the day after her 40th wedding anniversary, stepped up to lead the charge on coordinating the wedding and had lots of help from my Aunt Pat, my best man Kenny, my groomsmen, Tessa's maid of honor Krista, her bridesmaids, her cousins and others. Krista's husband, Brandon ran the intro and outro music and Mike Burket played a killer interpretation of Pachelbel's Canon in D during the ceremony. Troy, one of my groomsmen doubled as the DJ for the reception and belted out some killer 80s hit tunes including mine and Tessa's song "We Belong" by Pat Benatar which we danced to during the reception.
After the reception, we took off in a limo provided by the good folks at Celebrity Limousine and headed back to the Twisted Homestead to pack and head out to Port Everglades down in Fort Lauderdale, FL to catch a cruise to the Western Caribbean on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas. More on that venture in Twisted Gets Hitched Volume 2: The Honeymoon....OF DOOM!!!! Okay just kidding about the doom part! Here's just a few of the pics from the wedding with more to come on Facebook as well as honeymoon pics!
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Twisted Todd
Last night was date night for me....and BOOGER! Since Tessa was working, we went to go see the new METALLICA concert film Through the Never in IMAX 3D at Regal Simpsonville Stadium 14 & IMAX. The film was fantastic with great effects and an intriguing plot for the concept part of the film. LED ZEPPELIN only wished they had the kind of toys METALLICA had to play with for The Song Remains the Same and it's the best musical concept film since PINK FLOYD's The Wall.
The film follows a roadie trying to take some fuel to a band truck that has run out of gas. On his ill-fated journey to the stranded vehicle, his vehicle gets T-boned thus leaving him stranded on abandoned city streets that will soon lose their vacancy in a swell of turmoil that engulfs the city in mass rioting.
The only thing that could have improved the film would have been had it featured the band as they were over 20 years ago. That being said, I highly recommend the film to any and all fans of the band. You will not be disappointed!
The new album from Avenged Sevenfold, Hail to the King dropped in stores yesterday and I managed to score a copy (gotta love my job)! Overall, it's a really strong record for the band with just a couple of major weaknesses.
The album starts strong with the track "Shepherd of Fire" followed by the powerfully defining title cut. The operatic acapella at the beginning of "Requiem" is a bit awkward and falls flat from it seemingly intended and the ballads on the album ("Crimson Day" and "Acid Rain") are simply awful. Their ballads are prime examples of where they could have taken better notes from bands like Metallica who were masters of power ballads. As I stated yesterday on Facebook, I fear the art of writing killer power ballads is forever lost.
Speaking of Metallica, I hear a lot of comparisons of Avenged Sevenfold to Metallica which I don't think is such a bad thing being a fan of some good old school Metallica. I also heard similarities to some mid 90's Megadeth in the song called "Heretic". Again, it's not so much a criticism as it is an observation because, like I said at the beginning of this review, I think the album is a really strong record for the band and would highly recommend it to fans of the band as well as folks who are on the fence about the band. I'm not going to try and sway the haters. We all know they're gonna hate!
AVENGED SEVENFOLD Hail to the King 3 1/2 Rocker Horns
....is all the work that goes into getting a week off around here and being too broke to go anywhere! However, I did get to do some really cool stuff on a budget like going to MonsterCon! Granted I had a media pass to get in!
While I was there, I got to meet Chris Sarandon ("Jerry Dandrige" in the original Fright Night, "Humperdinck" in The Princess Bride and the voice of "Jack Skellington" in The Nightmare Before Christmas among many other impressive roles like being Susan Sarandon's first husband!) and got an autograph for Tessa!
Not only did I also get to meet David Prowse, the man behind the mask of "Darth Vader" in the original Stars Wars trilogy, I also got his autograph as well AND did a video interview with the man behind the legend! And, yes, I was a total bumbling starstruck idiot once again!
Over the couse of the week, I worked in the yard, got things ready for the wedding like getting our marriage license and mailing out invitations and managed to have an X-Men marathon which led up to me and Tessa taking her mom out to see The Wolverine. Surprisingly, I was disappointed with this one but the scene after the credits more than made up for it! Tessa was even jumping up and down in the theater she was so excited by what was revealed in the scene that will surely lead into the next installment, X-Men: Days of Future Past which will once again be directed by Bryan Singer who directed the first two films but abandoned the third to go make a piece of crap Superman movie that we will NOT be discussing.
Last Saturday night we went out to the Ultimate Basement up in Rutherford County, NC to help raise money for the owner, Gerb so that he can keep the place running for the youth in an area where there's not a lot going on leading many kids to get into drugs and other troubling activities. I have always been impressed with what he has been doing in Tessa's hometown since my old band Dethro Tull played the first of our only two shows there three years ago. God willing I will one day be able to return to the venue with a band once again!
For those of you who do not recall part one of this blog, let me take you back to late summer 2009:
I was going out to check my mail at my old apartment complex on Roper Mountain Road when I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. I looked down and saw a copperhead striking at me directly in front of my mailbox. Long story short, I made a few calls and waited a while before actually collecting my mail!
Fast forward to last night, I was getting off the air and heading back to my office and getting ready to run to Best Buy with Booger. As I got to the door of my office, I noticed something lying in the doorway. At first I thought maybe Booger had dropped something and then I noticed it was a snake. Initially I thought it was a rubber snake and that someone was pulling a prank. Upon further inspection, I noticed how realistic the snake looked then saw it move. I threw my headphones down on the floor of the hallway and ran back down the hall towards the studio squealing that there was a snake in my office.
Booger came running to check it out followed by Diesel and, in the commotion, the snake began its retreat. By the time we found it and I was able to take a picture of the serpent, it had moved onto a shelf on the back wing of my desk.
Booger went and grabbed a shovel and blocked it off into a corner in my office while Diesel scooped it up and put it in one of the boxes I conveniently had lying around.
The three of us took it downstairs through the bay area and let the snake out into the woods behind the station. Judging by the size and markings on the snake, I'm assuming it was either a black corn snake or possibly a not fully grown black rat snake. Needless to say, I am a bit jumpy now in my office as I am writing this! Especially considering it may have dropped down from the vent that is positioned directly over my head!
Ok, not one of my best blog titles but it adequately sums it up! The story begins on Tuesday with a studio visit from TRAPT who was in town playing a show at the Handlebar later that night. They came in and did a few acoustic songs including their big hit "Headstrong" as well as a couple of singles from their new album Reborn (out in stores NOW!), "Love Hate Relationship" and "Bring It".
After their mini acoustic set, they posed for some pics with a few of our listeners and yours truly!
Tessa was fortunate enough to get called off from work on Wednesday so I took her out to see Despicable Me 2 after I got off of work. I gotta say, DreamWorks has actually got one up on Pixar with this one as it was a better sequel than Monsters University was as a prequel! And that is saying a lot! If you loved the first one and have been anticipating this one, you will not be disappointed!
Unfortunately, Tessa was not as fortunate on the 4th. She had to work as did my Aunt Tina so my mom, Aunt Pat, Uncle James Ray and I gathered for a small cook out at Aunt Pat's house. Afterwards, mom and Aunt Pat hopped in my car and we did some exploring around Fountain Inn.
I took some leftovers home for Tessa so she wouldn't have to cook when she got in. No, ladies, I am not much of a cook! Just be envious that she gets all the sexiness of my hot, naked orangutan body!
Well, judging from the title, wanna guess what movies I saw this weekend? Oh yeah and it was good!
Tessa and I went to catch the 8 pm showing of World War Z after I got off work on Thursday. I gotta say it was good for a PG-13 rated zombie flick starring Brad Pitt. I've heard how far it was off from the book but I've also heard the book was a bunch of individual stories that meet in the end which would have been a pain in the ass to follow in a two-hour film. Besides I didn't read the book because I can't read. I just write really well. Or I use ghost writers for my blogs. You be the judge.
Moving on! Sunday Tessa and I made the trek to her hometown in Rutherford County to pick up her mom and take her out for her birthday. We grabbed some quick lunch then went to see Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters, Inc. where our heroes Sully and Mike Wazowski meet for the first time and, surprisingly (or not surprisingly), do not hit it off right away. It's a fun venture into the background of some contemporary classic Disney characters! Definitely worth a look as I am sure Despicable Me 2 will be! Can't wait!