Can “Regular Show: The Movie” Cash in With Streaming?

Image credit: Turner Entertainment.

Image credit: Turner Entertainment.

Next week Turner Entertainment and Cartoon Network will be doing something unprecedented: it will release a full-length feature film for digital download ahead of a DVD release…and even further ahead of the film playing on Cartoon Network itself.

Our family had the chance to watch a preview of the movie, which will be available online starting September 1st. Regular Show: The Movie, is a 70-minute film featuring Mordecai the blue jay (J. G. Quintel) and Rigby the raccoon (William Salyers) in an elaborate time travel story. True Regular Show fans will remember a Season 5 (2013) episode, titled “A Skips in Time” about the gang traveling through a time-traveling tornado (known as a “Timenado”) to meet Skips (Mark Hamill) as a much-younger version of himself, named Walks.

Will Cartoon Network make any money doing this? Will kids beg their parents to make the small investment so they can watch this movie in September…before their friends do in November?

And how will viewership of the network television premiere be impacted if their true fans perhaps saw the movie already via download or DVD? Perhaps Cartoon Network trying to tap into the “binge watching“/”I want it NOW” generation of television fans.

Let’s see. Continue reading

Good Idea or Bad Idea? Taking the Kids on an Anniversary Vacation

We couldn't bear to see Alaska and the Pacific Northwest without our sons, so we brought them on our anniversary celebration -- and we're so glad we did! Photo: Patricia Vollmer (with a selfie stick!)

We couldn’t bear to see Alaska and the Pacific Northwest without our sons, so we brought them on our anniversary celebration—and we’re so glad we did! Photo: Patricia Vollmer (with a selfie stick!).

Earlier this month, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Well over a year prior, we had decided to plan a very nice trip for our anniversary. Since we had such a wonderful experience with our 2012 Disney cruise, we made reservations for a Disney cruise to Alaska. Continue reading

Need to Visit My 50th State: North Dakota

North Dakota, inspire me. Image: Wikimedia Commons by user TUBS via CC BY-SA 3.0

North Dakota, inspire me. Image: Wikimedia Commons by user TUBS via CC BY-SA 3.0

This summer my family and I have done quite a bit of travel. In fact, we recently wrapped up an Alaskan cruise that included driving from Colorado to our cruise port in Vancouver, British Columbia. And back. At the tune of 1500 miles and 2 days in each direction.

There were numerous benefits to our driving instead of flying to include the cost savings and the ability to be liberal with our packing since we didn’t have to pay extra to check luggage for a flight. Obviously driving took more time but we looked forward to seeing a new part of the country: the Pacific Northwest.

The most appealing reason for my husband and me was the chance to “check off” more states. Before the road trip, my husband had been to 48 of our 50 states (all but Oregon and Alaska), while I had been to 47 of them.

By the end of our cruise, my husband could claim having visited all 50 states in the union**. However, I remain at 49 and I am flummoxed at how to check off that 50th state.

I need a reason to visit North Dakota. And so far I’m coming up short.

I don’t know anyone who has vacationed in North Dakota. I’m sure there are plenty of parks to see, but I don’t hear about them the way I hear about the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, or even Lake Okoboji in Iowa! I know people who deliberately plan vacations to those places.

In addition, the weather makes it tricky to visit. The climate is pretty extreme, with snow possible any time of year.

I don’t even know many people from North Dakota. I’m close enough to two people to ask them specifically how to plan a trip so I can say I’ve visited all 50 states. They each suggested parts of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which happens to be in the southwest corner of the state—closest to my home in Colorado. That part of the state has petrified forest, badlands, and ancient glacial lakes. I’m sure it’s worth visiting!

Ironically, I have a friend here who also wants to check North Dakota off her list. As a fellow military spouse, she also has visited the other 49 states. We are discussing a road trip this fall just to the “Welcome to North Dakota” sign on U.S. Highway 85, which is about a 9 hour drive. But frankly I think it’d be a more fruitful visit if we find something to do or see there.

If you have suggestions about what I could do on a short road trip to North Dakota, feel free to comment below!

**Our definition of “visiting” can include merely driving through a particular state, but we didn’t count air travel layovers.

Geeky States of America: Bishop Castle, Near Pueblo, CO

Bishop Castle is tucked back in Colorado's Wet Mountains. The nearest large city is Pueblo. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Bishop Castle is tucked way back in Colorado’s Wet Mountains. The nearest large city is Pueblo. This doesn’t stop hundreds of visitors from paying homage to Jim Bishop’s creation every day. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

In July my family and some friends took a camping trip into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado. We were near the northernmost part of the range, and our family’s plans included hiking in the mountains, as well as a trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park near the town of Alamosa.

On the drive back from the camping trip, our family took a detour to a place known as Bishop Castle, tucked deep in the Colorado backcountry, along the ridge topping the Wet Mountains west of Pueblo, Colorado.

I hadn’t heard of Bishop Castle, and my girlfriend said, “You have to see this place, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.” She also prepared us for the weirdness that was forthcoming, “Don’t expect the Biltmore or anything like that.”

So we made the drive through the incredibly-windy Colorado Route 165, expecting a quiet, pretty castle in the woods.

No.

Do You Trust Your Kids?

Out of nowhere, the road became clogged with parked vehicles and families walking along the very skinny shoulder of the road. We passed numerous hand-painted signs, such as this one:

Here is the sign announcing our arrival. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Here is the sign announcing our arrival. The smaller words at the bottom read, “Open to the Public on a Donation Basis.” Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

We parked the vehicles, unloaded the kids and our dog, and headed in.

The first thing visitors see is an honest-to-goodness drawbridge, gate, and moat! Unfortunately, that area is heavily wooded and it was tough to get a good photograph of it. You cannot raise or lower the drawbridge, but it wasn’t difficult to walk around it.

On the other side of the drawbridge is a clearing with the castle.

A full view of Bishop Castle. Note the people all over the catwalks. I'll get to that momentarily. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

A full view of Bishop Castle. Note the people all over the catwalks. I’ll get to that momentarily. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

I called this the hamster ball. Visitors can climb up one of the turrets to enter the ball. I didn't make the trip up, nor did anyone in my family. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

I called this the hamster ball and it’s about 60′ high over the ground. Visitors can climb up one of the turrets to enter the ball. I didn’t make the trip up, nor did anyone in my family. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Bishop Castle is private property, but has invitations throughout the area for visitors to explore the castle. There are also warnings that visitors are exploring the property at their own risk.

There are handmade wrought-iron catwalks all over the exterior of the castle, and people can walk all over it. Knowing everything is handmade was somewhat nerve-wracking, but I explored some of the areas. My husband, sons, and dog remained firmly on the ground.

The interior is very rough-hewn, and there is evidence everywhere of the handmade nature of the castle.

The interior of the main hall of Bishop Castle.

The interior of the main hall of Bishop Castle. All of the iron work seen here was handmade. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

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An upward view of one of the turret staircases. The steps are tiny, and two adults have a hard time passing each other on these steps. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

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Can you see me? I’m in a very open opening in one of the turrets. With little more than a single horizontal bar keeping me safe. Photo: C.P. Keyser.

The castle is empty, and there are numerous areas still under construction, or else undergoing repairs. There are safety hazards everywhere! Parents need to keep an eye on younger children, and I saw dozens of very young children exploring.

Bishops Castle is a good place for a conversation about repurposing. The dragon's head is made from repurposed stainless steel warming plates that was discarded from a Pueblo, Colorado hospital. The top of the head sits 80' above the ground! Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Bishops Castle is a good place for a conversation about repurposing. The dragon’s head is made from repurposed stainless steel warming plates that was discarded from a Pueblo, Colorado hospital. The top of the head sits 80′ above the ground! Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Bishop Castle is a combination of creepiness and danger, but once you understand some of the story behind the castle, you too will find it worth checking out if you’re ever in southern Colorado.

Jim Bishop’s Dream

The castle wasn’t supposed to be a castle. Jim Bishop, an ironworker, had purchased 2 1/2 acres of land as a teen, and over the years worked on making the land a summer getaway location for his family. Bishop’s affinity for ornamental ironwork and architecture, along with the natural resources of the area (in other words, endless rocks!) made a small cabin project bloom into the castle visitors can enjoy today.

Jim Bishop’s dreams haven’t gone completely smoothly, though. He encountered numerous confrontations with federal and local authorities, between his use of rock from the nearby San Isabel National Forest (federal lands), to his posting of homemade signs on the local highways inviting visitors to see the castle. In 1996 the state made up official signs helping bring visitors to the castle.

Plan Your Visit

Even the locals know it’s a must-see for families, whether native to Colorado or just visiting. Once you arrive at the castle, allow at least one hour to visit, which includes a stroll through the eccentric gift shop.

If you’re lucky, you might see Jim Bishop himself sitting on the property. He’s happy to talk to anyone about his view about federal government (which I won’t get into here). However, he was recently diagnosed with cancer, so his appearances have been more scarce than in recent years.

Bishop Castle is located on Colorado State Highway 165 near the town of Rye, Colorado. Visitors can easily reach the attraction via I-25 exits 71 or 74. There is no admission fee, but there are donation locations throughout the property. The donations help with the Bishop Family’s legal fees and their non-profit foundation for newborns. On weekends someone sets up a hot dog stand, with meals for $3-5. Visitors need to parallel park along Highway 165, so be careful when taking children in and out of vehicles.

‘Adventure Time: The Complete Fifth Season’ Offers Nearly 10 Hours of Fun!

Image credit: Cartoon Network Enterprises.

Image credit: Cartoon Network Enterprises.

This week, my family and I had the chance to check out Adventure Time: The Complete Fifth Season on Blu-ray, which was released this week through major entertainment retailers. Unlike the 26 episodes in previous seasons I had reviewed, the fifth season includes 52 episodes of Pendleton Ward’s pop culture phenomenon.

It takes some mental adjusting to fully realize what “Season Five” actually includes. The season spanned 16 months, between November 2012 and March 2014. After watching the first couple of episodes, I realized that I had seen the majority of these episodes on DVD already through Cartoon Network’s other Adventure Time compilation releases, such as Jake the Dad, Frost & Fire, and Finn the Human (all of which I had reviewed over the past couple years).

My Adventure Time fan is very excited to have the complete fifth season. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

My Adventure Time fan is very excited to have the complete fifth season. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

That being said, this is my first Adventure Time Blu-ray review (as opposed to DVD), and the difference is quite evident on my television. The colors are more brilliant and the sound is clearer.

In addition to the 52 episodes, Adventure Time fans will especially enjoy the two extras. First of all, the 15-minute documentary Adventure Time Forever is a series of interviews with artists and writers about the journey into Adventure Time’s popularity. In addition, fans will enjoy the animatic clips of all of the episodes, in which storyboard panels are played along with the original soundtracks. Both extras offer a fun glimpse into the creative process.

Nearly 10 hours of Finn and Jake should satiate anyone’s appetite. Don’t worry, the series has been renewed through Season 8 so there’s plenty more fresh adventures to come! Enjoy a clip to learn more about the Fifth Season release:

In summary, the complete season 5 release is somewhat underwhelming when so many of the episodes had already been included in other DVD releases, but to have them available on Blu-ray provides true Adventure Time fans with the beauty and clarity you don’t see on a DVD. My youngest son had lamented that we can’t take the Blu-ray discs on our upcoming road trip to play in the vehicle’s DVD player.

Adventure Time: The Complete Fifth Season is a two-disc Blu-ray or DVD set and has a run time of 572 minutes. The set will included an Ultraviolet Digital HD download code which works with the Flixster app for iOS and Android devices. The set is available at major entertainment retailers for an MSRP of $39.99 for Blu-ray and $29.97 for DVD. It will make a great gift for the Adventure Time fan in your life!

GeekMom received a copy of this product for review purposes.