Friday, October 31, 2014


Halloween is here, which means there will be costume parties to attend, and candy to distribute, and costumes to wear. But perhaps most importantly, it means it's time to snuggle up under some blankets, grab some popcorn, and watch a good, scary movie. Of course, horror movies often aren't runaway box office successes, so finding out about a good one can be a challenge. Luckily, I've been watching said films via streaming services since September 1, and can make some recommendations for you, so here are 10 great horror movies, in alphabetical order, that the average person has probably not seen, and which in many cases even horror aficionados may not have gotten around to yet, along with links to where you can watch them online.

See the list after the jump.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


20th Century Ghosts My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This turned out to be an ideal read for the Halloween season. While many of the short stories here have a pretty "literary" feel, and some don't necessarily qualify as horror, they each have a haunting quality about them. The characters are always engaging, and I found myself caring for most of them, which is quite a feat given how few pages some were given in which to develop. And don't mistake my earlier comments to mean there is nothing scary in this book. There are quite a few tales here that left me creeped out enough that I will likely remember them for some time to come. This collection isn't perfect, but it really shows the promise of just how great a storyteller Mr. Hill would ultimately evolve into.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It's great to know that we, as a society, have reached the point where a transgender rapper can actually achieve some degree of notoriety. Of course, there has to be more than just the inherent novelty of the concept to really pull it off, and as she has proved over the course of her previous EP's, Mykki Blanco has what it takes. "Gay Dog Food" is easily one of the year's most vital albums, from a truly unique and talented voice. The harsh techno beats and squelchy sounds combined with the alternatively sad, angry, and dirty vocals add up to essential listening for anyone at all interested in the state of music in 2014. This is a near flawless debut.

Monday, October 27, 2014


There was much excitement a few weeks ago when Apple announced that they were launching an NFC payment service called Apple Pay which would allow users of their latest model iPhones to make in-store purchases using their mobile devices. Of course some, including me, pointed out that many Android users had been able to do this using Google Wallet for quite some time, but even we were excited as the hype around Apple entering the space meant that adoption for NFC payments in general was likely to skyrocket. Alas, that may not be the case. Retailers don't like that they have to pay credit card companies a fee every time someone uses one in their stores, and as such have been busy working on their own mobile payment service called CurrentC. Now, how would this save them from paying those fees, since a proper mobile payment service works like a wallet, letting you store all of your cards and pay with whichever one you choose at checkout? Well, CurrentC does not let you do that. Instead, it takes a direct debit from your bank account, with only a handful of store credit cards expected to be supported, severely restricting your options for how you would like to pay for something. Okay, you may be saying, but if it's an NFC service, they still have to have NFC readers, so I should still be able to use Apple Pay or Google Wallet or my NFC enabled credit card right? That would be accurate, except CurrentC is NOT an NFC service, instead the app generates a QR code which displays on your phone that a clerk must then scan to enable payment. And to make matters worse, many retailers that already were accepting NFC payments are now shutting the readers down in order to force shoppers to use the new service, which doesn't even launch until some time next year. Since many of the nation's largest stores are involved in this scheme, this leaves us with 2 choices. We can either trust a service that is run by our nation's retailers with our bank account information, despite their repeated demonstrations of just how poorly they protect our data already. Or we can give up on the convenience of using our phones to pay for goods in stores and continue using regular, old, insecure credit cards to pay for things, which means the stores would still be paying the same fees, and would have invested tons of money into something that nobody uses. FULL STORY (AND OUTRAGED COMMENTS): THE VERGE

Sunday, October 26, 2014


The latest release in the long-running "Civilization" game series was released on Friday, and if you're a fan of the games, it is definitely worth your time. In some aspects it is more of the same 4X strategy gameplay you've come to know and love, even occaisionally feeling like little more than a reskinned version of "Civilization V". But there are many elements that are completely new. Most notable is perhaps the use of a "tech web" as opposed to a "tech tree". This allows for a considerably larger amount of freedom in just what direction you want your civilization to follow, and is something that would be interesting to see incorporated into the next iteration of the base game. There are quests which arise throughout gameplay as well, each offering its own challenges and rewards, which also puts an interesting spin on the formula. It is a worthy addition to the Civ family, and while it may not feel quite as different as I had hoped, it will undoubtedly still provide me hours of "just one more turn"-based entertainment.

Friday, October 24, 2014


This week's hottie comes to us from the world of international superstar DJ's. Dutch 18 year old Martin Garrix rocketed to stardom with the release of his hit single "Animals" last year, which even managed to make it all the way to #21 on the US Billboard Hot 100, which is pretty much unheard of for an instrumental club track. Of course, he is not being featured here because of his ability to write a catchy hook, but rather because he is flat out adorable. See for yourself below.



Halloween is only one week away, which means it's time to bundle up under some blankets, eat lots of candy, and watch some horror movies. If you need any inspiration for what specific films to put on, you could start with this list of the best horror movie posters. There are some real gems in there, and a couple of movies I have yet to see, but if nothing else, you can at least look at some genuinely unique pop art from the world of cinema over the last several decades. FULL STORY: ROTTEN TOMATOES

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Seeing as this is the internet, and I'm talking about the next "Avengers" movie, there's a pretty good chance you already know that the trailer for it has leaked. As a result, Marvel have gone ahead and posted it officially to their YouTube account in hi-def. So, in case the bootleg copy you watched an hour ago was too grainy, or in case you didn't know yet, you can watch it below. It doesn't really reveal very much that we didn't know (or at least suspect) already, but it does look really cool. See you all in the theaters next year!


Sure, there's a lot of important things going on in the world, but many of them are very depressing, and almost certainly receiving better coverage elsewhere than they would here. Instead, let's hear some good news, like Starbucks' announcement that beginning on November 14th they will be launching their first new holiday flavor in 5 years; the Chestnut Praline Latte. If that doesn't help put one in the Christmas spirit I don't know what will. FULL STORY: THRILLIST

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Back in the 90's and somewhat into the early 2000's there was a glut of mainstream dance mix albums released on a fairly regular basis. Some of them weren't so good, but others wound up being classics in their own right. A couple of the "MTV Party To Go" and "Dance Mix USA" collections were so good I played them nearly constantly, sometimes still expecting songs to blend into the specific track that followed them on those CD's whenever I hear them to this day. There aren't nearly as many being made anymore, aside from the "Ultra.Dance" series and its offshoots, probably because streaming services sort of negate the need for them. So, in order to help me relive the glory days of the amazing dance music compilation whilst simultaneously helping to hammer the final nail in the coffin for said concept, at least in its original form, I have been putting together a semi-regular series of playlists on Spotify with the same general idea. They are designed to be listened to in the order presented, and I recommend that you turn on crossfade to 10 seconds to get the "mixed" feel, but of course you are free to listen to them however you like. Here is the most recent one to help you get your next party going strong, which features music and remixes by Avicii, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, Kendrick Lamar, Calvin Harris, Tiësto, John Legend, Iggy Azalea, Nick Jonas, RuPaul, Charli XCX, Benny Benassi, Mary Lambert, Clean Bandit, Duke Dumont, Gorgon City, Laidback Luke, Childish Gambino, Ultra Naté, Crystal Waters, StoneBridge, TKA, Eelke Kleijn, Kele, Mr. Probz, Hostage, Dillon Francis, Harry Romero, Deorro, Alesso, Treasure Fingers, and more.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Every fall it's hard to escape football here in the US, which can either delight or annoy you depending on your opinion of the sport. I personally don't mind it, especially when it lets me get a look at hotties like ex-player and current ESPN analyst Jason Taylor.



Hot on the heels of HBO's announcement of its upcoming streaming service, CBS yesterday launched their own entry into the field; CBS All Access. The service provides next-day availability of many of the network's most popular shows, including full seasons of several, and an extensive back catalog of classic programs. While that is enticing enough, the really interesting thing about the new offering is that you can use it to watch live feeds of your local CBS station in several of the nation's top markets. Live local news has been one of the most glaring omissions in most cord-cutters' set-up but this looks to remedy the situation for many people. There are a couple caveats. First, at least for the time being, the live feed will black out during NFL games. And second, while the service does offer apps for iOS, Android, and Windows devices out of the gate, it is noticeably lacking from the most obvious places like Roku, Xbox, Playstation and Chromecast; though support for those is rumored to be in the works. TRY IT HERE: CBS ALL ACCESS


"Civilization: Beyond Earth" launches in exactly one week, and promises to be one of the highlights of the year for PC gamers. It's the first time the long-running series has entered the realm of science fiction since the unofficially related "Alpha Centauri" came out back in 1999, and as you can imagine, much of what we expect the future to hold has changed since then. The designers took inspiration from scientists and sci-fi authors to come up with as plausible a future for humanity as possible (while still keeping things fun), and it's interesting to see just where the game gets its ideas. FULL STORY: PC GAMER

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


In news that is long overdue, and is bound to make a lot of cord-cutters very happy, HBO has just announced at a share-holder meeting that they will begin offering a standalone streaming service some time in 2015. No doubt the decision comes as a result of the success of rival Netflix, who has recently surpassed HBO in the number of total subscribers. While cable companies are undoubtedly less than thrilled, this is good news for everyone else. There is no word yet on pricing or an exact release date. FULL STORY: THE DISSOLVE

Saturday, October 11, 2014


In news that is sure to horrify anyone with a (perfectly rational) fear of spiders, it turns out that a home in Weldon Spring, MO has been infested with thousands of venomous brown recluse spiders for at least 2 years now. In what can only be described as something out of our collective nightmares, the family was forced to abandon the house when spiders, "started bleeding out of the walls." The mortgage company that now owns the house has just this week taken action against the arachnids, covering the structure with a tarp and filling it with toxic fumes. FULL STORY: ABC NEWS


There is certainly no shortage of examples of greed in this country. But every now and then someone goes ahead and does something so galling, that it makes everyone else look like humanitarians by comparison. Former C.E.O. of AIG, Maurice Greenberg, has decided that he wants to take a turn at being that person. He is now suing the US government because he feels that the terms of the bailout they gave his company, which desperately needed it and voted to accept it, were unfair. Jon Stewart discussed the situation at length, and with some much needed doses of humor, on Thursday's episode of "The Daily Show", and it is absolutely required viewing. I certainly don't advocate violence against anyone, and I strongly discourage anyone from resorting to such methods against Mr. Greenberg, but while learning more about this lawsuit, it's hard not to wish ill upon him.


Hybridized pop and trip hop has been around for a couple decades now, so it's hardly anything new, but when it's done well it's hard to resist. On this 4-track EP, Melanie Martinez does it well. The heavy beats, techno noises, and unusual instrumentation combine with Ms. Martinez's prettily haunting vocals to create some of the best tunes the genre has seen since Jem's debut album a decade ago. "Carousel" especially stands out, and has me anxious to see what's to come from this promising new artist.

Friday, October 10, 2014


I can't say I ever found any of the Jonas Brothers to be unattractive, but they weren't ever really high on my radar either. I can't say why that might have been, but I can say that Nick Jonas' recent push for a solo career has definitely captured my attention. Sure, the fairly catchy pop tunes he's been releasing recently deserve some of the credit for that, but the sudden willingness to show off his pretty buff physique all over the place (even in gay mags) isn't hurting either.



There's certainly no shortage of electro-pop crooners in operation at the moment, but Australian singer Josef Salvat still manages to stand out from the crowd. With influences ranging from Sia to Björk to Woodkid he combines just the right blend of deeply personal lyrics, catchy melodies, and quirky electronic flourishes to create something truly memorable. Check out this 4-track EP in advance of his forthcoming full-length album.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Who knows whether upcoming toy-based horror film "Ouija" will be any good, but at least we get to see this bit of clever viral marketing to support it. They set up quite the scary little scenario for these unsuspecting Brooklynites, and have created what is easily one of the year's funniest videos.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


In case you hadn't yet heard, it is officially no longer safe to share any devices that you plug in via USB with other computers. Of course, one doesn't find a lot of instances of people sharing mice, keyboards, or webcams; so those wouldn't seem like such an obvious threat. But one does see a lot of people using USB flash drives to carry around and easily access all manner of important files. Unfortunately, these devices can very easily be turned into hosts for malware that is then transferred to any computer they come in contact with post-infection. So, it is probably best if you finally take the plunge and start using cloud storage. And if you must use a flash drive, make sure you only plug it in to devices that you, personally, are 100% sure have not been in contact with a USB device that has been in contact with any shared computers. FULL STORY: THE VERGE


In a move that is unlikely to surprise anyone, the new owners of Atlantic City's NBC affiliate are rumored to be telling employees that the station will be going dark on December 31. It certainly wasn't a very good station, with a pretty obviously low production budget and a history of relatively poor coverage of any "local" news story that got more than a few minutes away from Atlantic City itself, but the news still inspires feelings of sadness. I can't say I watched the channel very often growing up, as it often felt that any major news stories in the Cape May area were better covered by some of the Philadelphia network affiliates, and I definitely haven't watched it lately as I have long since "cut the cord", and am therefore not watching any local news programming, but I do follow TV40's team of meteorologists on Facebook, and I find them all to be very entertaining and informative, and I hope they manage to land on their feet if this news turns out to be true. There is still no mention of the news on the channels official webpage, so it may wind up just being a rumor, but if it's not, I wish all the best to everyone who would be losing their jobs as a result. FULL STORY: FTVLIVE

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Find yourself missing phone calls or text messages while you're at your computer? Maybe you had Spotify cranked up too loud, or maybe you forgot to unmute your phone? Perhaps you just didn't want to be bothered to pick it up and see what it said? Well worry no more. Thanks to Pushbullet, you can have all of your phone's notifications sent to your computer, and can even respond to text messages without ever touching your phone. It works with a wide variety of software and devices, and once you start using it, it quickly becomes one of those things that you wonder how you ever lived without. GET IT HERE: PUSHBULLET

Friday, October 3, 2014


Some of you may recall that at one time this site was becoming moderately popular for its "Hottie of the Week" posts. For a variety of reasons, I stopped doing them, but seeing as I have recently become interested in restoring this to some of its former "glory", and because people occasionally ask me about it, I have decided to bring the column back.

To kick things off we will visit the world of the NFL. While the league has been under heavy criticism as of late (and for good reason), it is important to remember that there are many attractive men who play in it, and if anything should help with the sting of knowing how poorly some of its players treat women it would be turning around and objectifying one of them. And if any player is worthy of objectification, it's wide receiver Eric Decker, who joins the New York Jets this year after having been a member of the Denver Broncos. With his classic, All-American, boy-next-door good looks, and a very nicely muscled physique, he's the perfect choice to relaunch this feature. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 2, 2014


It's hard to resist the idea of getting a great bargain at a factory outlet store, or at a place like TJ Maxx that purports to be filled up with overstocks or slightly off the mark production runs, and while it is true that you will spend a lot less money at these places than you might at Neiman Marcus or a brand's regular retail locations, you may not be getting what you think you are. It turns out many brands make cheaper lines specifically for outlets and even license their name out to cheaper stores to make you think you're getting something nicer. That's not to say you shouldn't shop at these places, but you should be aware of what you're getting. FULL STORY: MEDIUM

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


It seems as if I've only really been sharing trailers today, and that would be because that's all that's really interested me yet. And here comes another. So far, the new Christopher Nolan movie has only released teasers that hinted at exactly what would be going on in the film, but that has changed as now there is a full length trailer for "Interstellar". And wow, does it look incredible. Can't wait for this one.


The name is ridiculous, and the trailer is just okay, but there has been considerable buzz building around this Australian horror film, with many people citing as one of the scariest they've seen in a long time. It's currently scoring a very impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is great for a horror movie, or any movie for that matter. I am definitely interested in seeing this one. FULL STORY: ROTTEN TOMATOES


October is upon us, and with it comes the promise of another season of "American Horror Story". Season 4 sees the show telling the tale of a traveling freak show (as you probably guessed from the title), with most of the usual cast returning, along with a few unusual additions (Patti LaBelle?). While the premise makes it sound like it could be one of the series' crazier tales, the trailer makes it look somewhat more straightforward than usual. I guess we'll find out for sure when it begins on October 8.