December 2011 Grab Bag!

Finally I get a chance to take out the Grab Bag one last time in 2011. For the uninitiated, this is when I take a bit of step away from the world of comics and just share a few things that I found kinda interesting and wanted to share with you, the mighty iFanbase.  So, without ado, one more unto the Bag, dear friends!

We’re going to start with movies because, for some reason, I have been obsessed with today, December 13, also known as the day I finally get my grubby mitts on Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  I saw the movie with a few friends on a total lark, and, I must admit, when I think about it, I really do think it is one of my favorite films of 2011. It’s well edited, it’s a technical marvel, it treats the audience like adults, and is almost a bit subversive…I dunno–well worth checking out, especially you are enjoying the excellent Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes miniseries.

The new Men In Black III trailer came out, which was kind of interesting, though I think the film is coming out a few years too late – does anyone even remember the second one?  MiB3‘s trailer is a lot easier to understand compared to the madness that is the Battleship trailer, which literally took my breath away as I tried to figure out just what the hell was happening in the damn thing.

As the holiday movie season gets underway, I have to tell you I am looking forward to Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, partly for the movie and partly because I am just looking forward to seeing the six minute prologue for The Dark Knight Rises that will be shown before the movie begins (only in $19 IMAX theaters!).  Usually I eschew this kind of thing–I can imagine myself being frustrated that my Batman movie was being interrupted by a Tom Cruise flick, but, hey, why not? I did something even worse years ago, paying full price for some movie (I literally can’t remember what it was [it was actually Meet Joe Black – mike]) just to see the trailer for The Phantom Menace at the mighty Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. I was so wonderfully optimistic back then.  Speaking of trailers, I have been kind of embarrassed at how much time I’ve spent watching them on my AppleTV. I literally will waste thirty minutes just watching trailers. It’s embarrassing, but if did not do so, I couldn’t urge you to go and watch the one for Project X, like, immediately. Curious to see how you react to it.

Oh, and here’s the new The Amazing Spider-Man movie poster, which somehow promises the untold story of Spider-Man. Which, okay, maybe this exact story has never been told, but, I mean, it will have only been ten years since the Sam Raimi version of the story came out. I guess we have short memories.



Speaking of movies, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has made more money than Avatar and Harry Potter, making $1 billion in 16 days (don’t panic–it only took another day for those movies to do the same thing, but still)–making it the “fastest selling entertainment product of all time.”  There have been so many good video games coming out that I haven’t actually picked that one up yet; I am still working on Batman: Arkham City and looking forward to playing Skyrim a second time. I am going to have to get my act together, though, there are two video games coming out in 2013 that I am really looking forward to, Mass Effect 3 and Diablo III (funny how the sci-fi game gets a number, and the fantasy game gets the triple “I” treatment).  The second version of Diablo came out a very long time ago; I was unemployed, living on George Foreman-pressed sandwiches and spending hours and hours playing Diablo II on a “bronze keyboard” Powerbook (one of the best laptops Apple has ever made, I continue to maintain). But I must say, while I am a fan, I haven’t really paid much attention to the series for the past few years, so perhaps I should consider putting Diablo III: Book of Cain on my Amazon wish list to get myself ready for the game. (pause) Yeah, I’m not going to do that.  (I will, however, check out the opening animation for it!)

For those of you who are curious to see how I can link the movies and video game sections of this article, I will point you to this page of the many video game previews and trailers that were aired during the apparently awful Video Game Awards, with footage from the aforementioned Mass Effect 3 as well as “exclusive” trailers for Bioshock Infinite (because you need more nightmares) and the Metal Gear Rising – Revengeance, the title of which should probably be added to

Finally, I am curious to find out if any of you are playing Minecraft, which I continue to put off paying for.  I watched the Totally Rad Show crew do their review and I am interested but, like…I would much rather beat up the Penguin than spending a bunch of time building stuff in some 8-bit grid, you know? Until then, I guess I’ll just continue to play Infinity Blade II while sitting on the can at work.  (Too much?)


This is the time of year when everyone seems to be suggesting some kind of gadget in the various gift guides that are coming out (check the excellent iFanboy collection of guides;  Kotaku has a few suggestions as well).  I have been trying to declutter my life of gadgets, but I admit, there are a few that look kind compelling.

I have become a big fan of Instagram–Apple’s top iPhone app of the year, apparently–and find myself taking more pictures than ever now that I have a phone that is in actual working order.  These folks at photojojo, in addition to having a fun sounding name, have created a few iPhone accessories, including the very handy Macro Cell Lens Band (shockingly detailed phone shots!) that seems kinda all right and almost an impulse buy at $15.  They also make this crazy-ass iPhone SLR mount which actually makes a bit of sense to me — I took that pic of the ice skater, above, by sticking a pair of binoculars in front of my iPhone’s lens and it worked out pretty nicely  (I had nosebleed seats). This mount screams “dropped lens catastrophe” to me, but it’s kind of a better way of doing it.

Long time readers might remember that I have been really happy with my AppleTV, but this TV Flash package seems to be kind of the bomb, adding web browsing and other services to the box. Of course, it requires a jailbroken AppleTV, which is kind of lame, but hey, maybe I should just go for it. Or not. I should probably just trust my Apple overlords while checking what the new Xbox dashboard update actually does for non-Kinect guys like myself.

And while I still don’t’ feel like paying for it, I am pretty impressed with this new Hulu feature that lets you click on an actor’s face and get all kinds of really important information about the performer. Kinda cool, but I assume this kind of technology will get much more interesting to people when they can click on a product or a piece of clothing and be taken to a site where one can purchase said item.  Just a matter of time, I guess.


Okay time for lightning round! You have stuff to do and there are only so many links I can throw at you, I realize, but take a deep breath and take a look at 10 images from this crazy year of 2011.  After you are sufficiently bummed, rejoice that the Game of Thrones DVD set is looking mighty awesome (of course, it doesn’t come out until March, a mere month before Season two begins (that’s Renly, above, getting ready for…well, you know).  And if you are still bummed, at least you are not the guy who won a jackpot at a casino only to be told there was a software glitch and he didn’t actually win the $57 million.  

Underage drinkers around the country must be frustrated to hear that Apple’s taken off that incredibly usefu–silly app that allowed people to make fake driver’s licenses. Speaking of Apple, check out some of their hot fashions from 1986. (Can we just all agree how terrible we all looked in the 80s, by the way?)

Finally, it’s always this time of year when I miss New York City a bit, so this video was both great and kind of depressing (or maybe it’s just Facebook making me bummed?  Not as bummed as I will be when everyone around me is wearing social networking bracelets.) – but I must say, if you haven’t seen this video of extreme pogo stick jumping, you’re in for a treat.  A bit long, but wow.


So there you go, the last dregs of this year’s Grab Bag. Hope you found something interesting in there! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see ya in seven!


Mike Romo is auditioning in Los Angeles. You can reach him through email, visit his facebook page, connect with him on google +, and collect his tweets on twitter. He’s on Instagram as “mikeromo”, too.


  1. That movie you paid full price for to see The Phantom Menace trailer was Wing Commander

    The only reason I remember it is because my friends and I were the only ones in the theater for that particular showing and we made fun of it the whole time.

  2. Damn dirty apes! Or damn cute than bad dirty… ahhhhh..yah..Happy Holidays to ALL!!


  3. no! I remember–it was “Meet Joe Black”!!


  4. Thanks for those trailers mike… i had missed some of them… and wow battleship does not look like the joke that everyone thought… at least in the effects department.. and you cant go wrong with liam niesen. Been wondering about daiblo 3 too…. hopefully.. its as good as possible.. i never got to play 2.. it glitched on my computer for some reason…i remember a friend of mine talked about how he enjoyed running around online and just killing people to take their stuff and leave them with nothing in the original diablo…. i only played the original offline…. and his story didnt encourage me.. ha..