Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Here We Go Again...

And it comes to this.

38 years ago I saw a film that altered the way I viewed the world.  Star Wars unlocked another level of my being.  It was the first bit of external stimulus that really captured my imagination and showed four year old me that anything was possible...as long as you were a dreamer.

Star Wars was my first friend, first love and first obsession.  I would draw pictures of space battles, re-enact scenes from the movie at my nursery school, and regale my bewildered grandparents with tales of Luke and Darth Vader.  I collected the toys, comics and trading cards with an unparalleled fervor.  Even through high school and college, when no new movies were being made, I kept the fires stoked with novels, comic books and assorted collectibles. At a time when being a fanboy or nerd wasn't as cool or as easy to be as it is today, I waded through the judgments of friends and the chuckles of family as I kept the love of the series alive.  Star Wars even made it into my wedding vows, as I promised my bride to be that she would never take a back seat to Star Wars and that my collection would never take up more than one room of any house we live in.

Star Wars has been a huge part of my life for so long.  Now it continues with the release of The Force Awakens.  I'm happy to see it continue and I would be a fool to not mark the occasion here.

And btw...I'm calling my shot.  I'm guessing that Kylo Ren and Rey are brother and sister and their parents are Han and Leia.

We'll see.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rediscovered Childhood

I finally broke the seal.

My mother saved almost everything from my childhood, including all of my school papers, homework and etchings from my time at Marion T. Morse Elementary School in Lisbon Falls, Maine.  I have never gone through them until today.  Was there goodness to be found? Yup.  Here...take a gander at these gems...

That's right. I got a "Super" and a star! Yeah, no gold stars here.  Small towns in Maine couldn't afford glitz like that.  However, the real jackpot was on the back of this paper...


HOLY DOG SHIT! Look at that action! Obviously, after I flew through my math problems, I decided to express myself creatively.  The red ships are, of course, Colonial Vipers, and they are blowing the hell out of some generic spaceships.  I guess I decided to take the Millennium Falcon and add my own, unique twist to in by attaching another arm with a cockpit.  One of the Vipers took a critical hit...oh well.  I never liked Rick Springfield anyway.  At the top of the page is the Galactica herself.  It looks like a Bejeweled piece on skis.  In the end, the Vipers smoked the baddies 3-1. 
I remember having my Kindergarten teacher talk to my mother because I always colored people yellow.  She thought I had some kind of vision problem or was just stupid.  Well, here is my redemption.  I made them yellow because the fucking box of Crayolas that the teacher gave out to each student did not contain a flesh colored crayon.  In my 6 year old mind, yellow was the best alternative.  I can understand why I was confusing everyone with every picture I colored looking like an extra from a Godzilla movie.

The Letter People! God, I loved them! Every week in Kindergarten our teacher would have one of those huge, inflatable Letter People in the closet where some lucky student would get to open the closet door and introduce him or her to the rest of the class.  I was never picked.  Sigh.  I found this in the piles of papers.  I don't remember it at all.  Here we have Mr. W at his "Winking School". Sounds bad right from the start.  I'm guessing he is the teacher due to his mortarboard.  I don't know why he is wearing a bowtie on his balls though.

And here come the students who are going to learn how to wink.  There is a Worm, a duck who has a Wing and a dog who has a tail that Wags.  So he is teaching facial expressions to animals? I still can't stop looking at that bowtie...


Ok...class is in session.  Mr. W is showing everyone how to wink.  Either that or he is telling the class about the stroke that he suffered last Easter after his wife cooked the ham for too long and he blew a fuse.  I guess the worm is the first one to receive instruction.  The duck is checking out his ball bowtie...

The duck and worm nailed it! A+ for the course.  The dog just can't wrap his mind around winking.  Oh oh...I hope Mr. W doesn't loose his temper like he did with his wife and her stroke inducing ham...

And Mr. W snaps! My first thought was he was going to give the dog a spanking, but it looks more like he is tickling the poor thing.  Whatever is going on, the duck and the worm like to watch.

We don't know if the dog learned how to wink since he doesn't have a winking medal around his neck like his voyeuristic buddies.  So we will just call that a 66 % success rate for Mr. W.  No sooner is one class over than another class comes in.  This time he is teaching a witch and a watermelon.  A FUCKING watermelon? With watermelon slices for feet? He is teaching anthropomorphic fruit? I have a feeling the state is going to close down Mr. W's school very soon.

More soon...


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Billy Beer - The Nectar of the Rednecks With Political Connections

This is what I want out of the world today...I want politicians and their families to be brave enough to take that extra step and let everyone know what floats their collective boats.  A senator likes running model trains? A congresswoman enjoys bare knuckle pit fighting? Let them back it up.  Nothing would give me more pleasure than seeing a president's daughter coming out and stating that she enjoys her yearly trip to the running of the bulls in Pamplona.  Everyone is so uptight nowadays...afraid that their actions or behaviors will cost them votes.  So what do they do? They take their hobbies to the dark corners of their lives and hope that nobody will find out.  Of course, they are eventually forced into the daylight and admit that they enjoy hunting bears in the nude or banging their secretary in a Motel 6.  Of course, some of these things have greater ramifications than others.  However, none are more cooler than...


BILLY BEER!  Yes, Billy Carter did indeed like to drink beer.  Did he hide it? Hell no.  Did his then President brother try to bury it?  If he was smart he would have.  Billy Carter did the only thing one can do when something is loved that much - He put his name on it and made it his own.  Can you imagine if this was produced today? The president's brother creates his own beer? People would be out for blood, calling on the president to make a statement condemning his brother's actions.  Promoting drinking and "what about the children" and "my son died in a accident where the other driver was drunk".  What balls good ole Billy had...

Yes, I own three cans of unopened Billy Beer.  And, yes...they are sitting on top of my sandcrawler.  Billy Beer saw the light of day back in 1977 when Billy Carter decided that the world of beer needed a higher end brew.  I know it's a top shelf beer because it says so on the can...

     I had this beer brewed up just for me.  I think it's the best I ever tasted.  And I've tasted a lot.
     I think you'll like it, too.  - Billy Carter

I mean, look at it for Pete's sake...the fucking can says "Billy".  You will never see that again as long as you live.

These are pretty easy to find.  They made millions of these things and they are still floating around.  I think for the next milestone of my life, I'm going to pop one of these little guys open and see what 35 year old swill brewed by a president's hillbilly brother tastes like.  Until then...I'll just put it back on my shelf of goodness like so many others have done...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chasing the Christmas Dragon...

I've got to be honest with you all...I've been chasing the dragon for well over 30 years now. Since the day that I finally understood that Santa Claus totally flew against my newly developing understanding of how the world worked, I've been chasing that peppermint flavored, red and white striped, carol singing, tinsel hanging dragon. 

Let me reminisce and maybe I'll be able to explain it better....

I got some great gifts as a kid.  I remember the Kenner Death Star playset that was assembled under the tree.  I remember the box of said playset had "CRAFTS" stenciled on the side of it and my mother was quick to say that Santa had to deliver a bunch of these things and he marked them all to know where to bring it.  I remember getting a pack of special arms that were interchangeable with the Six Million Dollar Man Doll.  At that point, I didn't have the doll.  After opening the pack of arms, 4 to 5 year old me wondered out loud just what was Santa thinking? I can't use these! Of course, the next gift I opened was the brand new Steve Austin doll that Santa had left me.  I remember getting the Space 1999 Eagle One spaceship in 1976.  I vaguely remember seeing the show as a kid, but I wanted that toy so bad because my cousin Mike had one and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I remember being happy.

However, that is not why I'm chasing the dragon.  There were some very early Christmas mornings in my house.  One year, I woke up at one in the morning and asked my parents if we could see if Santa had showed up.  My father told me we could in one hour.  I hopped back into my bed and watched my little clock with the illuminated face and glow in the dark hands tick it's way from one to two o'clock in the morning.  At two on the nose, I jumped out of bed and asked my parents the same question.  Their answer was the same...one more hour.  This went on until I finally broke their spirits at 4 in the morning.  They gave the green light and I sprinted downstairs.

And this is my most vivid memory of the Christmases of my youth:

I entered our living room.  The lights were off.  Our real Christmas tree was placed in front of a large picture window.  The streetlight down the road from our house just gave off enough light to make out the silhouette of the tree.  The tinsel didn't glitter, but it caught enough light from the outside source to make it distinguished.  In the semi-darkness of that Christmas morning, I could make out the shapes that were under the tree - Shapes that weren't there before.  I couldn't see sizes or colors of wrapping paper or ribbons....just shapes.  The landscape of our Christmas tree had changed and it was amazing.  It was magical.

That is what I'm chasing - pure wonder and amazement.

That feeling you have as a child, when everything is so huge to young eyes and innocence prevents any jaded, cynical views of your world, that can only be found on Christmas Day. 

I know I'll never catch the dragon, but I'll keep trying.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm Thankful For...

....The Marx Brothers, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Coffee, The Star Wars Franchise, Godzilla, Lindsey Buckingham, T.V. Trays, The Ability to Walk, Snoopy, Blu-Rays, Pierogis, The Minnesota Vikings from 1973 to 1978, Comic Books, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Moonsault, Hal Needham, Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, Toilet Paper, MP3's, Charlton Heston as Moses, Smoked Meats, WKRP In Cincinnati, Alan Moore, The Notion That Jim Morrison Is Alive, Lawn Darts and Unbroken High E Strings On My Guitar.

I'm thankful for my friends and family, my amazing wife, and the fact that this might be read by a couple of people.  Thanks and good night...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What The World Needs Now Is....

Gene Gene The Dancing Machine.





It Was A Very Good Year....

My friend Tyson and I saw the Pixies this week...and it was good.

However, as we made our way into the venue, it hit me in the face like a bucket of cold mop water - I'm old.

There were too many differences between where I was, and where I used to be.  Granted, part of it is growing up and having maturity creeping in on my actions (some would say that it's nowhere to be seen in my actions, but trust me...it's there), however my being old factored greatly into what I saw as a closing of a chapter of my life.  Let's compare and contrast the evidence...

On the one hand - The Pixies.  One of the few bands still in existence that I really wanted to see.  November 1st, 2011.  I am 38 years old.

On the other? The Monsters of Rock.  Oxford Plains Speedway. June 25th 1988.  I went to see Metallica who were sandwiched between several crap metal bands.  Van Halen headlined the show.  I am 15 years old.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

THEN - Something was drank and smoked.

NOW - A chicken sandwich was consumed and a really good banana milkshake was downed.

PROTECTION AGAINST THE ELEMENTS

THEN - Outdoor venue.  Rained all day.  I walked around, soaked to the bone, wearing both of my recently bought Metallica t-shirts.  When it got really bad, I sought shelter in the men's room or under the bleachers.  At one point, my friends and I started a fire under the bleachers using a discarded pizza box, just to get warm.

NOW - Inside show.  I brought my coat just in case it got chilly.

OPENING ACT

THEN - Kingdom Come.  They sucked.  We threw rocks at them while they tried to get through their 30 minute set.

NOW - Surfer Blood.  They sucked.  We sat in the back of the hall, discussing their weak points and how they could be better.

LOCATION AT THE SHOW -

THEN - I was down front for all the bands.  People were dancing, moshing, puking and punching.  About 9 hours on my feet.

NOW - Sat down for Surfer Blood...was talked into going down front for The Pixies.  Three songs in, my back started to hurt and my feet started to cramp.  Someone accidentally dumped a small amount of beer down my back.  Eww....

SOUND TOLERANCE -

THEN - The louder the better.  If I could have crawled into the PA and watched the show from there, I would have.

NOW - "Hey Ty? Is the bass too much? It's really making my sternum rumble..."

SHOW'S CONCLUSION -

THEN - Still feeling the rock n' roll.  Don't want to go home but can't stay there.  Would give anything for one more encore.

NOW - During The Pixies second encore, thought that now would be a good time to leave so we could beat the rush and hit the road before all of the concert traffic started.

It's so hard....to say goodbye.....to yesterday.