Want a Free Car? Throw a Party.

October 16, 2008

Today I’m heading over to the Saturn dealership to pick up a brand new car – for free.  And just how did I get this car?  I threw a party – a House Party to be exact.

House Party is a grass roots campaign that partners common people like me with companies trying to promote their products.  The companies send samples of their products to hosts (like me).  In turn hosts throw a party where they share the product – and sometimes other goodies – with friends.

The Saturn is a party favor for my latest House Party – the Saturn House Party.  The party is sponsored by Saturn to promote TLC’s new show Real Simple. Real Life.  As a host of the party I get a brand new Saturn for my use for the weekend.  I also got a gas card and a cookbook for entertaining.

All I had to do was throw a party for at least 10 of my friends on a given day (or sometimes they give you a range of dates to choose from).  In this case my friends will be gathering Friday night to view the premiere episode of Real Simple. Real Life.

But I’m not the only one who benefits, so do my friends.  In my care package from the sponsor are goodies for my guests.  For this party, they are getting canvas bags, water bottles, recipes, a coupon for an oil change and a discount offer for a subscription to Real Simple magazine.

This party is actually my third House Party.  The first was also for a television show.  In September 2007, I got to preview the Season 2 premiere of Friday Night Lights two weeks before it aired.  Party favors include megaphones, rally towels, kuzies and stadium seats.

Then last spring I hosted a party for Hershey’s Bliss – what’s better than a party for chocolate or for that matter any excuse to eat chocolate.  I combined two of my favorite things and we made our party into a wine and chocolate tasting.  My guests each brought a bottle of their favorite wine to share and Hershey provided the chocolate.  Each guest also got their share of chocolate to take home among other goodies.

That party was such a hit that it inspired my friends to host similar “tastings” – even without the free party favors.  In fact we just went to a beer tasting/cook out last month.

My friends love these parties too.  They are always asking me when I’ll be hosting another one.  As for me I love any excuse to throw a party.  And the swag is a bonus.

They have House Parties for everything.  You can view a list of upcoming parties at houseparty.com/events.

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Another Reason to Drive a Hybrid

September 15, 2008

Having you been considering a Hybrid?  The rising gas prices are a big incentive these days.  Or maybe you are just one of those save the planet types.

How's this for an incentive?  Courtesy of Marc LaFountain

How is this for incentive? Courtesy of Marc LaFountain.

But now here’s a reason for getting a Hybrid that even the laziest of us can get on board with – better parking.

According to Marc LaFountain’s blog, Ikea is adding Hybrid-only parking right up front next to the handicapped parking.

Pretty cool.

Anyone thinking about a hybrid? Would this entice you to go ahead with the purchase? Any hybrid owners out there? What’s the best thing you’ve found about owning a hybrid.


A Look at the new Speed Racer Trailers

March 10, 2008

I grew up around cars.  My father used to lull me to sleep as a child with a trip around the block in his dragster.  I spent many weekends during my youth at the racetrack.  So it’s no surprise I like television shows with great cars and, as a kid, liked a cartoon about a boy and his car – Speed Racer.

Mach 5But in reality, I haven’t watched a Speed Racer cartoon in ages.  In fact, I’d forgotten all about the Mach 5 and Speed, Trixie and the gang until I heard that the Wachowski brothers, the duo behind the Matrix trilogy, were bringing the ‘60s Japanese anime to the big screen in a live action feature in May.

At the time, I was intrigued by the resurrection of a childhood favorite.  After seeing the two new international trailers just released, I am a lot more that intrigued.  I am eagerly anticipating the May 9 release date.

At let me tell you, from what I saw in the trailer, this movie isn’t the cartoon of my youth.  Wow!  If the trailers are any indication this movie is going to be action packed with a Mach 5 that will blow your mind.

And the characters are not stuck in the ‘60s either.  In fact, the Racer universe seems a bit futuristic and very colorful.

I’ve followed the casting news for the movie, but wasn’t sure how the actors where going to fill the shoes of the cartoon images.  Let’s just say, hats off to the casting and wardrobe because I was blown away the resemblances.

Speed RacerEmile Hirsh is perfect for the role of Speed, right down to the spit curl on his forehead.  Although Speed is a little older than I remember in the cartoon.  And Christina Ricci looked great as Speed’s loyal girlfriend, Trixie.

The Speed family is rounded out with John Goodman as Pops, Susan Sarandon as Ma and Paulie Litt as little brother Spittle.  Although we didn’t get to see him in the trailer Scott Porter will play Speed’s older brother, Rex and Kick Gurry will fill the shoes of the quirky mechanic, Sparky.

But we did get a look at Speed’s one-time nemesis, Matthew Fox as Racer X.  (Loyal fans of the series might have a question here.  But I don’t want to spoil the movie for newcomers, so let’s just say you’ve got to watch the movie to understand).

In the movie, Speed is going to team with Racer X to win the Crucible, a dangerous cross-country race that took the life of Rex.  But Speed has to do more than avenge his brother; he must defeat the rich and powerful Royalton (Roger Allam) who is behind the fixing of races and the plan to stop Speed at all costs.

This summer is going to be a very popular summer at the theater.

Are you looking forward to the Speed Racer movie?


Can NBC’s ‘Knight Rider’ Live up to the Memories?

February 18, 2008

I had prepared myself to be let down when I saw NBC’s two-hour movie/pilot for Knight Rider.  However, I must say that producers Dave Bartis (The O.C.) and Doug Liman (Bourne Identity) did a fair job of bringing a second-generation KITT and story into the 21st century.

***The following might contain spoilers, but I’ve done my best to keep them to a minimum****

Sarah and MikeI was a big fan of the original ‘80s series, Knight Rider.  Was it because I was 10 when the show first aired or that we just had lower – let’s make that different – expectations from our television shows 25 years ago?

Needless to say I haven’t seen an episode of Knight Rider is 20+ years and can just barely remember the premise of the show.  Still nobody wants memories of their favorite childhood shows to be blown to bits with a bad remake.

But NBC’s two-hour movie that doubles as a pilot should the network decide to go forth with a new Knight Rider series is more of a sequel than a remake.

The creator of KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), the car from the ‘80s series, Charles Graiman (Bruce Davison) has continued his work as a cutting edge genius developer in solitude pushing away his wife and his daughter, Sarah (Deanna Russo).  His work includes a new improved KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) and a weapons program called Prometheus for the Pentagon.

KITTThis next generation KITT makes his predecessor look like a cheesy ‘80s special effect.  The new improved KITT doesn’t just talk; he’s connected to Internet, satellite and GPS.  Nano technology still makes the car indestructible, but now KITT can morph his appearance as well.

But the car isn’t the only one that got a generational upgrade.  Michael Tracer (Justin Bruening) is show in bed with two women and FBI agent Carrie Rivai (Sydney Tamiia Poitier, daughter of Sydney Poitier) is a lesbian – two things you’d never seen in the ‘80s version.

For the premise of the movie, some apparently well funded thugs have broken into Charles’s secluded home in an effort to steal Prometheus.  They manage to steal the hard drives with the intel, but need someone to unlock the information.  Only three hold the key to unlocking these files – Charles, Sarah who is away at Stafford working on her doctorate and KITT. 

Detecting a threat on the Graiman house, KITT activates and follows a pre-programmed mission to ensure Sarah’s safety and procure the help of bitter ex-Ranger Michael Tracer.  Tracer, who’s been wasting his life – and money – racing cars and chasing women in Vegas, was once a neighbor and love interest of Sarah. 

The trio eventually crosses paths with Agent Rivai, who seems to have a past friendship with Charles, and Michael’s mother, Jennifer (Susan Gibney) on their quest to save Prometheus.

Given the history of Knight Rider and rumors that this movie might be turned into a series, the ending is a bit predictable, but nonetheless well told.  David Hasselhoff’s cameo as Michael Knight was well-played if expected.  My only complaint is that we didn’t find out what he’s been doing for the last 25 years.

As far as TV movies go, I ranked Knight Rider up there as a decent effort.  And maybe this next statement is a consequence of quality show withdrawal as a result of the writers strike and the continual influx of reality and game shows, but I would be willing to tune into a revived Knight Rider series.

If you didn’t catch the show, NBC is re-airing it Saturday night at 9 p.m.

What did you think of the show?  Did it do the past series justice or was it just another cheesy remake?  Where you a fan of the original ‘80s series?  Would you want NBC to go forth with a Knight Rider series?


DeLoreans like in ‘Back to the Future’ might be back on the market

August 2, 2007

Everyone remembers the car from the Back to the Future trilogy.  Aside from being a time machine, the car was cool because the engine was in the back and the doors opened up.  Well DeLoreans, like the one in the movie, are about to be back on the market.

DeLoreanAccording to the LA Times, DeLorean Motors is planning on re-releasing the DeLorean car in the next year or so.  Since production of the car ended 25 years ago, the company has been repairing and refurbishing the more than 6,500 DeLoreans still on the road.

Who knew when the last car rolled off the production line in 1982 that the car would be made famous in the 1985 hit Back to the Future.  To be honest with you before the movie, I’d never heard of the DeLorean.  But hey, I was only 13.

Also, little did I know, that besides the actual cars used in the movie, there are still so many DeLoreans driving around.  Yet, I can’t actually recall coming across one on the street.  But apparently, if you head to the Universal Studios theme park in Hollywood next week you can catch sight of one due to an event that is suppose to attract DeLoreans in the three digits.

However, if you’d like to own one of the new DeLoreans due out, you’d better put your order in early.  The DeLorean Motor Company is only expecting to produce 20 or so at a time.  Although no price was mentioned in the article, I bet you can expect a pretty price tag.  The cars ran in the $20,000 bracket in the ’80s.

Still you have to admit the car has class.  With the gull-winged doors and all that chrome, the car looks futuristic, even today.