Sunday, November 21, 2010

You're a big winner tonight.

You're a big winner. I'm gonna ask you a simple question and I want you to listen to me: who's the big winner here tonight at the casino? Huh? Mikey, that's who. Mikey's the big winner. Mikey wins.

We had the only painted army, but I believe my models were painted such that they would have done just fine in any pool of painters. We played Warhammer all day, so everyone won.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


In 1995, soon after my birthday, my parents got on a big Edmund Fitzgerald kick because the newspapers were noting the 20th anniversary. They talked about how great the song was and how sad and big of a deal it was that the ship went down. I sat there with a blank face and knew not what they were discussing. For some reason, this sent them into extreme disbelief.

"C'mon! You remember it. It went down right after your birthday."

"The song was everywhere on the radio. Everywhere. Right near your birthday."

"How can you not remember? It was the only thing on the news or the tv."

I just knew nothing about it. I understand that kids in Michigan and Wisconsin learn about the ship in grade school, but the Chicago punks never did as far as I could tell. As much as it is a Great Lakes story and Chicago is a Great Lakes town, Chicago is big and broad shouldered enough to really not care too much about what happens up in that place where you go to drink Old Style and fish. Sure we care, but not enough to incorporate it into our schooling. I'd like to think we were studying some denser, more urban information, but that is probably not true. Suffice to say, St Nick's didn't preach the gospel of Big Fitz.

My parents frustration grew to such silly heights until I finally popped the balloon.

"What year did it go down?" I scanned the article. "Oh, I don't remember it because I was 6 days old."

"And the song was a big hit the next year, when I was 1."

So the tension lifted and we all ended up with a chuckle. I was alive and it was on the news, so why shouldn't I remember it?

"Well, you remember everything else that ever happened."

Over the years I have actually become quite fascinated by the story, even visiting the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in the UP (a place I cannot more highly recommend visiting).

So as today's headlines tell of the (now 35th) anniversary of the sinking, I chuckle at the frustration of my parents at our kitchen table in 1995 and listen to this killer track many, many times.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Ray Bradbury stories I've been reading have been zipping by at the rate of 2-3 every lunch hour. Some are terror tales, others science fiction, and many simply fiction. All are charmingly written and very palatable. Halloween always draws me to such things, though I also like to indulge in some straight up splatter flicks.

AMC always incessantly runs the Halloween movies during October and I always get sucked in. Now, the original Halloween has been one of my favorite movies for as long as I can remember. We had it on VHS and I watched it as much as possible. Honestly, we may have had it on Beta as well. While I can certainly appreciate the weaknesses of each Halloween sequel, I'm a softy for them and find something to enjoy about each one.

It all got me thinking about other John Carpenter flicks that I hadn't seen in a while. I revisited The Thing earlier this year and it was excellent -- easily as good as I had remembered it. Prince of Darkness quickly rose to the top of my list of films to revisit. I don't believe I've sat through it since I saw the theatrical release at Ford City West in 1987. I remember enjoying it, but finding some of it confusing, ultimately having me conclude that the movie was a misfire. After watching Prince this weekend I found that I really enjoyed it and that what I disliked about it as a kid was that at times it was a bit chatty, though this time the verboseness worked very well. Most movies from my youth that I revisit are absolutely terrible (see Spaceballs, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Sleepwalkers, etc.), so it was great to find the reverse.

One of my favorite weekly rituals is to download the podcasts of Nick Digilio, place them on my jump drive, and then listen to them throughout the work week at my desk. Even when I lived in Chicago and had easy access to AM radio, it was difficult to make it through his shows as they were over night. Thankfully the podcasts have solved that problem. In particular, I loved his segment with finalgirl. It sent me happily to her site and fed even more fuel into my horror film appetite. Her site is well worth bookmarking.

Thanks to finalgirl and a few other recommendations I made an effort to catch up on The Descent. I was very underwhelmed. The spelunking was exciting and the jump scares were good, but it just never built to enough for me.

Monday, November 01, 2010

No more skateboarding essays for a while. I'm all theorized out.

We had 4 total trick or treaters yesterday -- a single and a group of 3. Across both groups we had two butterfly/princess combinations (with snowpants incorporated). Did I miss an animated film here? Last year we had a single group of 3 so we are moving forward. For a townhouse complex in 30 degree temps those are decent numbers.


There will be more snow in town any day now which means we are a few weeks away from groomed ski trails in town. I'll be buying XC skis very soon as planned and hopefully cruising around Russian Jack most nights this winter. As excited as I am for a good snow base to arrive, I've now begun to excitedly plan for next summer. The small list at my desk turns into a dream set of goals for next summer. I may not accomplish half of them, but right now I honestly believe that backpacking to Symphony Lake, over Crow Pass, and then near Hope are all easy check marks for summer 2011. If I reach for a great deal and only achieve half, that will be pretty satisfying.


I've had really good luck with horror movies lately. Devil and The Last Exorcism were nice little flicks and well worth the budget theater price. I say this having spent plenty of time ranting about how my $3 was completely stolen from me after walking out of some terrible movies there.