Friday, November 13, 2020

18!!!!!!

 18 years ago, I started this bloodletting thing men call a blog.

I'm not here as much as I used to be, but I appreciate all who continue to visit, seeing if I'm still farting around.

The answer is: yes.  I am still farting around.

Monday, November 02, 2020

November

 We vote as a nation tomorrow.

A great many still believe in the demagogue.

Just remember that the demagogue does not believe in you.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

A Pessimistic Post

 So, the con man you guys elected hasn't been paying his due taxes.

Writing off 70,000 on hair care?

There are still tens of millions in the country who will vote for him.  And happily.  

I hope we have enough to vote against him.

And I hope we don't have an even bigger storm to weather in the after.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Dispatch from the Plague Zone

 Another vacation week.  Much appreciated, though not as stressed out as the last vacation week.  Which is saying something, considering what the last six weeks have looked like.

It's a different kind of tired some days.  The Public has many problems with rational thinking, with data processing.  Interpreting data is not a strong suit.  It's very much why we're in the state we're in.

Official position?  Mandating masks isn't a violation of any of your rights.  Come off it.  And if a place makes you wear a mask?  Yelling at a 19-year-old clerk or a 49-year-old cleaning guy or even management doesn't change the business's mandate.


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Monday, July 13, 2020

Returning to work and whatnot

Welp.  Another staycation come and gone.  Here are a few random thoughts.

This week, we saw Itsabit move into the house with us.  It's been an easier than expected transition.  She took the litter box like a pro.  Aside from a bit of confusion at night, where she meowed for attention, she's done great.  The past couple of nights she's crawled up onto the couch to watch TV with me.  She rather liked Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, but was bored by Match Game last night.



This vacation one wasn't originally marked as a staycation.  If everything had gone according to plan, I'd have gone to Atlanta with this one (I originally thought this was earmarked for a potential trip to New Jersey, and I may have been wrong about that, or maybe even both had been planned).  If everything had gone according to plan, the Braves and Cubs would have played this past weekend, right before we headed into the All Star Break.

I'm not terribly optimistic that we'll get even a 60 game season, but if that goes according to plan, the season starts in 11 days for the Cubs.  I like their chances over a short season.

The Barnes & Noble Criterion sale started Friday.  Had thought about wandering down, but ended up just ordering online.  Interested in War of the Worlds and Spike Lee's Bamboozled, which just had Criterion releases. 

Tired of the Coronavirus.  Tired of people.  Had hoped we'd be past it at this point, but apparently not.  Turns out a former neighbor is one of the folks locally who passed, when it got into the LifeCare retirement center.  So, to those who say "Well how come nobody you know has it?"  I'm one of the ones who knew somebody (3 somebodies actually), and actually knew a body who passed.

Mostly tired of the arguments about it.


Saturday, July 04, 2020

Happy Birthday, America

America turns 244 today.  

I thought about getting it a present, but it never cashed in that gift subscription to Shudder that I got it last year, so I think I may just text it Happy Birthday.  We don't get together like we used to, even prior to Covid-19.  I dunno.  I'm 43.  I can take a hint.  

A few random thoughts, as I drink whatever beer I find in my fridge:

  • Man, Karate Kid still pushes all the right 1980's Kid buttons in me.  Even if I find its message of a shortcut alternative to practice and study repugnant.  A thought that crosses my mind as I watch:  I wonder how many of the Cobra Kai's parents are at the All Valley Tournament at the end.  I know upbringing gets touched on somewhat in the first season of Cobra Kai (which is all I've seen of a show that was better than it had any right to be).  But it's something that crosses my mind every time I watch that movie.
  • I'm on vacation this week.  I'd gone back and forth about whether to take it (and indeed, my hand was forced somewhat by a couple of call-ins and quits).  But, I'm taking it.  The tired, the last few months, has been a different kind of tired.  We're running 40-50% up vs. Same Store Sales from last year.  The trend in the region is 20-25%.  We don't have a good reason to point to, except:  my boss and I run a good store, and we fell apart less than a lot of our competitors over the initial shock and rush in March, and it made a good impression, and we've kept a lot of those new customers.  So, the upswing in business is there.  But we're dealing with a lot of stressed out folks, still, and that has a cumulative effect over the course of a day.  Especially on a week where I worked 6 straight.  Even on the first day of vacation (which is my first Independence Day off maybe since 2004) , I don't feel like I'm on vacation.  I'll probably start to decompress tomorrow.
  • Not a good flick:  Crawl.  I wanted to like it.  I just found myself losing interest.
  • Good flick, such as it is:  the Disney+ showing of Hamilton.  Yeah, that's as fun as everybody's said.  It was one of those things that I'd avoided simply because too many people were recommending, and it couldn't meet the expectation I'd built in my head.  Yeah, still fun.  It deserves the praise.
  • Kittens is the buzzword of the past couple of weeks.  Mom got a new couple of kittens from a family friend.
  • They're not tribbles.  They're cats. Young.  She hasn't named them yet because she'd like to learn their personalities.
  • We've also had a couple of visitors.  They showed up with their mother a couple of weeks ago, and disappeared, only to reappear sans-mother this week.  Here is the one that has taken on the temporary label of Greavey (pronounced Gravy):
  • She and brother may be slightly malnourished, but we're working on correcting that.  Greavey is friendly.  The brother is wary, but kinda likes being held once the initial shock wears off.  We're not looking to make them inside cats, but we're thinking we're gonna get them fixed and maybe let them hang around to take care of pests, along with Yard Cat Lester
  • I really liked Christopher Moore's Shakespeare for Squirrels.  You should buy it and read it.
  • This is two in a row humdingers from Moore, whose Noir is delightfully funny.  A pretty good balm for this asshole world around us.....

Monday, June 29, 2020

2020: The Reads, halfway post

Hey look!  The once monthly post!!!!

Here's a quick look at what I've been reading in 2020, which has been a fucking roller coaster of a year.  I'm management at a grocery store, and the Covid rush in March and April pretty much made my attention span worthless--the same thing generally happens around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the first three weeks of our crazy rush in March were like the day before Thanksgiving combined with a Snow Rush every day.  A handful of long days and a shortage of days off left me unable to sit and read much more than 8 or 10 pages at a time.

Things started to edge back toward normal in May.  I think this past month, I've finally begun to relax. 

The last book on the list, Shakespeare for Squirrels, by Christopher Moore, I'm almost done with, and should probably finish by tomorrow, so I'm going ahead and counting it for June.....

Favorites, so far?  It was and is an amazing book.  I was giving The Water Dancer a B or even a B-, but I've kept going back to a couple parts of it, and I think I like it better now with some distance.  Dog of the South was a lot of fun.

I'm really proud of my friend Janet for publishing Salt + Stilettos.  It's not my normal choice of genre, but I dug it.  She does good work, and I'm excited to see what she does in the future.....

January

It by Stephen King
Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World   by: David Koenig
The Water Dancer    by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Another Man's Moccasins     by Craig Johnson
Cold Storage    by David Koepp

February

Bucky F*cking Dent   by David Duchovny
I Stooged to Conquer   by Moe Howard
Quincy Harker: Year One   by John Hartness
Dog of the South   by Charles Portis

March

Carved from Stone and Dream: Los Nefilim, Book 2     by T. Frohock
Heart of Darkness   by Joseph Conrad
The Eyes of the Dragon    by Stephen King
Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters     edited by Tim Marquitz and NX Sharps
Ready Player One    by Ernest Cline

April

The Splendid and the Vile     by Erik Larson
Under the Black Hat: my Life in the WWE and Beyond    by Jim Ross w/ Paul O'Brien
The Deep    by Alma Katsu

May

Buzzsaw: The Improbable Story of How the Washington Nationals won the World Series
      by Jesse Dougherty
Ronan Boyle and the Swamp of Certain Death    by Thomas Lennon
Misery    by Stephen King

June

The Game    by Jon Pessah
Salt + Stilettos   by Janet Walden-West
Time's Demon     by DB Jackson
The Stench of Honolulu      by Jack Handey
Dark Tower:  the Drawing of the Three    by Stephen King
Jaws     by Peter Benchley
Shakespeare for Squirrels      by Christopher Moore




Thursday, May 07, 2020

Wrasslin'

I don't know what's occasioned it, but I've been watching a lot of wrestling over the past month.  It might have something to do with the COVID-19 stuff, where I feel inundated with both info and emotion over the course of a day.  Wrestling's an easy watch.  Little to no thought involved.  I'm on vacation this week, and I've been listening to the Grilling JR podcast while I do chores, and I've ended up watching a lot of the shows Jim Ross has been discussing....The Spring 2000 WWE run, and the Spring 1989 feud between Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair for the NWA World championship....

During the podcast, JR and Conrad both mention one or multiple occasions of the Flair/Steamboat feud as favorite matches.  I'd definitely call the feud a favorite myself, and when asked, I often cite the 2 out of 3 falls match at Clash of Champions VI as my favorite match of all time.

Which got me thinking, apropos of little, what are my favorite matches in the year 2020, especially since I've paid as little attention to the wrestling world in the past couple of years...

In almost chronological order:

Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat      Chi Town Rumble 1989
Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat      Clash of Champions VI
Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat      Music City Showdown 1989
Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat       Wrestlemania III
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect          King of the Ring 1993
Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart            Wrestlemania X
Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper       Wrestlemania VIII
Royal Rumble 1992      (Flair wins WWF Title)
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels     Wrestlemania XII
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin      Wrestlemania XIII
Taz vs. Sabu          Barely Legal 1997
Underaker vs. Mankind      King of the Ring 1998
Steve Austin vs. The Rock     Wrestlemania XIX
Low Ki vs. Jerry Lynn vs. AJ Styles      NWA TNA, August 2002  (Favorite Match seen live)
James Storm/Chris Harris vs. Elix Skipper/Christopher Daniels   NWA TNA    June 2003
Jeff Jarrett vs. Raven       NWA TNA, April 2003
Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker       Wrestlemania XXVI
CM Punk vs. John Cena       Money in the Bank 2011
Triple H vs. Undertaker      Wrestlemania XXVIII
Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar (vs. Seth Rollins)    Wrestlemania XXXI


I don't watch or get into as much Japanese wrestling as a lot of hardcore wrestling fans do.  I've seen a lot of really good stuff.  The Omega/Okada stuff is great, but I don't have emotional ties to it.  And that's the fact of the matter....a lot of it is about the nostalgia of the time, as well as the emotion of the match.....


Monday, April 06, 2020

A Request From a Grocery Store Manager

I had a beer in me last night (just one...I'm a cheap date now).  I went on a Twitter Screed.  But, it was a humble request....simply put, it's how to act in the grocery store.

Here it is now, slightly edited, because I can actually type on a keyboard, as opposed to trying to rant on a touchscreen phone.

Hello.  I help manage a grocery store.  I've worked 17 of the last 19 days (and 26 of the last 30).  I'm worn down.  Mentally and physically.  Kicking high but slow.  I've been thinking on it, and I have some thoughts.  Requests?  Yeah.  Requests.  Here are a few requests that I have from the public, when they go shopping:


  • Get back in the habit of shopping just once or twice a week.  Whether you believe in Covid 19 or no (and that's a discussion for another day, but suffice it to say, there are a fair number of you that Still don't think things pertain to you), we're seeing far too many of you every day.  We appreciate the business, but for the sake of cutting down lines in the store, try just shopping once or twice a week.  We're not on spring break here, guys.
  • Make a list.  If you know how the store's laid out, make your list in a logical order.  Also, for your items, try to have a plan B and a plan C for what you're looking for.  Truth be told, 4 weeks in, the supply chain is still trying like hell to recover.  We're at the mercy of the warehouse, which can only receive so much itself, on top of being able to pick and stack a finite amount.  We're likely to be out of something you're coming in for.  Depending on the day between trucks, it might be many somethings.
  • It's just fine to ask if we're out of something.  In fact, that's the best way to phrase it:  "Are you out of French Cut Low Sodium Green Beans?"  It's not insulting.  Just be prepared to get a yes.  Just don't beat around the bush.  It's possible you'll get lucky, and we'll have it in back, especially if a truck's recently arrived.  But chances are, if you don't see it on the shelf, it's not here.  (A minor point...even before this, most stores don't keep a large amount of stuff in back, if they can help it....it ties up dollars).  Don't ask "can you check in the back."  I know it sounds ludicrous, but a few of us have a pretty good idea of what's in the back, especially now since we're somewhat depleted of stock status.  If we think there's a chance it'll be in the back, we'll check.  But there's a good chance we know.
  • No, we didn't forget how to order.  At this point, we don't know if you're serious, or just trying to lighten the mood.  In my store's case?  There's a 99% chance that it's being ordered, and it's either out at the warehouse or it's being time-prioritized behind a more "staple" item.  Anyway, stop joking or thinking that we're just not ordering enough.  We're regularly ordering 5500 case grocery trucks, and receiving 1000 pieces (or less) of that.  While that's a bone of contention I have with the chuckleheads at my warehouse, it is a truth of how things are going right now that All the stores serviced by the warehouse are coping with this, and it's an impossibility to keep up with it all.
  • In some cases (for my store, dairy, produce and most meat categories), the folks at the warehouse ordering have done an amazing job of meeting demand.  In others (beef, dry grocery and frozen), they're struggling.  They're working as many days as I am trying to rectify it.  This is hard, on a lot of levels.
  • I say that to say this:  we know we're out of a lot of stuff.  Please stop being surprised or annoyed by it when you come in.  It's not due to laziness or lack of planning.  In almost every case, it's beyond our control.  And we're even more frustrated by it than you are.  (My manager, and department managers all feel about the same about all this....it's stressful to look at these empty shelves...we're trained from early on that a good looking store is of the utmost importance, and we've gone a month almost without having a good looking store...it's psychologically impactful to the point of being mentally exhausting, believe it or not).
  • Absolutely, you can ask when trucks are coming.  Just know that they give us a window, not an exact time.  It's like a cable repair man...it'll be here between 6:30 and 8 PM, depending on traffic.  I'd say many, if not all, chains are this way.
  • While you're in the store, don't dawdle.  You're not there to visit.  You're not there to browse.  Use your shopping list and get in and out as quickly as possible.  We're not your destination to soothe your cabin fever
  • When you get to the checkout, follow the social distancing requests we have in place.  They're there so we can try to wipe down and sanitize what we can between customers.  Use that time that we're cleaning to do a couple of things:  Find your store loyalty card (if your store has one), and get your payment method ready.  Most times, you've got a couple minutes to do that.  When you fiddle fart around, you're making folks wait, possibly exposing more and more people to this thing.
  • I can't stress this enough:  Get off your phone.  It's rude, even if there's not a pandemic on.  Right now, cashiers will have a couple specific requests or questions.  Get off your phone so you can focus on that conversation.  You're not the great multitasker that you think you are.
  • That said, you can use your smart phone for a couple of things.  If your store has an app, use that app to call up that mentioned store loyalty card.  You can also use your phone to pay in most places without having to touch anything....
  • Don't get annoyed when you have to wait.  I'm sorry.  That's just a reality.  Lots of people shopping at the same time will do that.
  • You don't need to bring the whole family to the store.  Just bring you.  Truth be told, it was kind of annoying pre-pandemic.  It's irresponsible now.  Especially if you have a lot of young children.  Please don't bring them, unless you don't have any other option.
  • No, you can't go in the back room.  We're working back there.  You will be in the way.  It's not a secret space for us to do magical things.  We're just trying to work.
  • Don't park in the fire lane.  Just park in a space.  We're not at Thunderdome yet.  Just park in a space and walk the extra steps.
  • If you see a store employee or vendor pulling a pallet, please don't stop them to ask a question.  Those pallets are heavy (especially the ones with water or soda on them).  They don't stop on a dime.
  • If a stocker, vendor or other worker is working in an area you'd like to shop, don't crowd them.  Either wait until they're done, or say "excuse me."  I prefer the latter.  I want you to shop.  There are only 3.4 million other things I can do in the interim.  You wouldn't think a refresher in manners was required here, but judging by the family of five that crawled over my back on a Saturday to get to the Chef Boyardee, we're lacking a little bit of common sense, courtesy or some combination of the two.
  • We don't always have time to answer phone calls.  We're trying.  But if you're in the habit of calling to find the cheap soda price in town, stop that.  And if you're calling to try to find toilet paper, I understand.  Be patient if the phone keeps ringing.  I know this contradicts an earlier point, but it's probably quicker to just wander in to see yourself, some days.
  • The number of people are seem honestly perplexed and annoyed by seeing the shelves bare rankles me.  "I just don't understand what the problem is," is a variant of a statement that I'm getting a few times a day.  I'm sorry you don't.  I guess that's part of my attempt here, to try to lay a couple things out.  For the time being, you're probably going to have to change your shopping patterns.  I know that's inconvenient, and even difficult.  We're doing our best to make it as easy as possible...you have to have that faith in us.  The truth is, you might have to change these patterns for a while.
  • I wish I knew how long.
  • Be patient.  I say some variant of this around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Be cool out there.  We're all going through this.  Not just you.  Do not yell.  That's important:  Do Not Yell.  Or cuss.  For any reason.  Be patient with us.  I'm tired.  My crew is tired.  We've all worked our asses off under what's an unusual and difficult set of circumstances.  Truth be told, it wasn't until this week that I really started to understand the anxiety of some in my crew beyond my own.  That's on me, and I own that.  It's easy to get blinders on and just keep trucking for the finish line.  Too easy, especially since I need to keep putting a foot in front of the other, sometimes, to keep from thinking too hard on things....
  • That said, this week will be the first week I've had 2 days off scheduled or taken since the first week of March.  And it's not guaranteed:  if a huge grocery delivery does make it our way, it's likely that I'll end up working my day off again.  
  • A couple small things tangentially related to this:  it's still Service Dogs only inside this store.  You don't need to bring your dog with you.  And there's a special place in Hell for you if you lie about your dog being a service animal.  Also: it's starting to get warm out there (82 yesterday at the Big Stupid Tompound).  That's actually too warm to leave the dog in the car, even with windows cracked.  Just leave the dogs at home.
  • If you've applied for a job with us (and we are looking for help), answer your phone when we call.  Set up your voicemail.  That's how that phone number works.  And be prepared to be interviewed at an odd time.  (I had one balk when I asked him to interview on Sunday.  Sorry chief...we're open Sunday, and that's the only day we're not receiving any deliveries).
  • Last thing:  Thank you.  Most of you, the overwhelming majority of you, have been very cool about this.  Most of you seem to understand this thing without my having to bullet point it.  And that's awesome.  We've been thanked, which is always nice to hear.  A couple folks called us heroes, but I don't think of myself that way.  I'm just doing my job.  It's all good.  Besides, wearing a cape would only be a distraction.  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Corona Blog Post

Two weeks ago, today, it exploded at my store.  Not actual Corona.  That we know of.  But it was two weeks ago that it really went insane.  We'd been up all week.  A significant amount.  But it was manageable.  It was doable.  I'd told the departments to order very heavy for the weekend, figuring on an increase of 30 to 40%.  We'd been running 15-20% up to that point.  Thursday blew up, and we were instead up 220%.

Friday was up about 280%.  Saturday was similar.

We stayed crazy until about Sunday of this week.  It was busy, still.  But not insane.  The 10 days from 3/12 to 3/21 or so were like doing a snow scare and the day before Thanksgiving every day for each of those days.

It's wandered back to manageable.  I am unsure if that's because the people of Cleveland are heeding the requests to stay home, or if they're just out of money.  I guess we'll find out as we cross back into April next week.

As far as my health?  I'm fine.  I'm tired.  But I'm ok.  I am worried about the prospects of Corona coming to my hometown or the town I work in.  Because I feel like there's no way to truly avoid it.  Like the best I can hope for is to take a mild case, and hope I get over it.  It's worrisome because though I don't get sick often (like once every three or four years), but when I do, it seems to involve some manner of chest infection.

It is what it is.  I can only hope that this blows over by summertime.....


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Leap Day Marvel Movie Thoughts...

It wasn't planned as a project or anything, but over the past five or six weeks, I've watched the entire MCU in a narrative order that I appreciate, and I have a few thoughts.

First, my narrative order doesn't really deviate too much from the release order, with a couple of exceptions.  I just moved a couple things around so that we don't have two of the same franchise back to back, or to move it closer, relatively, to the events surrounding it (Black Panther close to Civil War, GOTG 2 back aways because their events aren't really that far apart...).

I went:

Iron Man
Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Thor
Captain America: First Avenger
The Avengers
Iron Man 3
Thor: Dark World
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ant Man
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Captain America: Civil War
Black Panther
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Doctor Strange:
Thor: Ragnarok
Avengers: Infinity War
Ant Man and the Wasp
Captain Marvel
Avengers: Endgame
Spider-Man: Far from Home

A few thoughts, about performances:


  • Gwyneth Paltrow should get a lot of credit for being part of the glue that holds the whole Universe together, and for being a fucking professional.  She got a little bit of crap for mentioning that she wasn't a huge fan of the movies, and for not realizing that she and a couple actors had appeared in the same movie.  And that's fine.  They're not her taste.  That's cool.  She still showed up every day and didn't once act like she was slumming it, or doing somebody a favor by just being there.  There are a couple through the 23 flicks that cannot say that (looking right at Natalie Portman, right now....).
  • Don Cheadle is another that just shows up every time.  He's got a handful of the best line deliveries across the whole shebang, and he really deserves his own series on Disney+, if not his own movie.  He's a favorite actor of mine.
  • Let's do the Iron Man Trifecta...Jon Favreau does so much with such little screen time.  Tell me that his staring at the back of the kid's head in Spider-Man Homecoming isn't hilarious.  I held it together during Endgame, but his talking to Morgan at the end of Endgame just broke me up, and got me again this time.
  • Dave Bautista just knocks it out of the park.  It's tough to play clueless for laughs and not seem hammy.  He's just right in the groove in both Guardians movies and Infinity War.
A few wishes:

  • I really wish that we'd found a way to feature the new lineup of Avengers in a flick or as backup before we got from Age of Ultron to Civil War.  There are a couple interactions between War Machine and Black Widow, and Falcon and War Machine, that tell you that this team is a really tight knit unit.  I wish we'd gotten to seem them gel as a unit on-screen, before we get to Civil War.  
  • I don't think Tilda Swinton did a bad job at all.  But that just wasn't good casting.  I mean, Michelle Yeoh's out there.  Jackie Chan is out there.  I feel like there was a better choice out there for Ancient One.  
  • There's a place in the multiverse where Ed Norton and Marvel came to some accord, and he plays in the greater MCU instead of being replaced by Mark Ruffalo.  Ruffalo did a great job, and I still hold that Avengers was probably the best depiction of the interplay between Hulk and Banner on screen, to that date (Ragnarok would later surpass that...).  But I think Norton brought something different to the character.  Maybe not necessarily better, but something different, and I wonder what the stew would taste like were he there.
  • I want more Justin Hammer.  I just love Sam Rockwell.  I hope we get to see more.
A few more thoughts:

  • If Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy flops, I wonder if the whole thing comes to fruition.  I think Gunn gave Feige and the Marvel folks a little more confidence in letting people play in the sandbox.  Similar to the Norton thing above, I'd kinda like to see what a Jenkins Thor or an Edgar Wright Ant Man ends up looking like.....
  • Doctor Strange keeps falling in my esteem.  It's just Iron Man, turned about 10 degrees.  And wasting Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams.
  • I like both Spider-Man movies more and more every time I see it.  If only for their humanity, and their humor about how superpowers play in the real world.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Favorite Movies A to Z

Just making my brain wake up.  I will not be loyal to these answers.  I have not had coffee.

Favorite movies starting with each letter of the alphabet

A         Amedeus   (Forman)
B         Batman      (Burton)
C         Captain America: Winter Soldier      (Russo)
D         Dr. Strangelove       (Kubrick)
E         Empire Strikes Back    (Kirschner)
F         the French Connection      (Friedkin)
G        Ghostbusters     (Reitman)
H        Harvey            (Koster)
I          Inglourious Basterds       (Tarantino)
J         Jurassic Park          (Spielberg)
K        King of Comedy      (Scorsese)
L        A League of Their Own      (Marshall)
M       Monty Python and the Meaning of Life     (Gilliam/Jones)
N        No Country for Old Men     (Coen)
O        O Brother Where Art Thou?       (Coen)
P         Pulp Fiction        (Tarantino)
Q        the Quick and the Dead     (Raimi)
R         Rashomon         (Kurosawa)
S          Star Wars          (Lucas)
T          This is Spinal Tap      (Reiner)
U          Usual Suspects       (Singer)
V          Vacation      (Ramis)
W         Wizard of Oz        (Fleming/Cukor)
X          X-Men: First Class       (Vaughn)
Y          Yojimbo       (Kurosawa)
Z           Zero Effect       (Kasdan)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Lake, and whatnot

Shyam and I took Thesaurus and got out of town for a couple of days.  We found a good deal on a cabin at Fall Creek Falls, a state park about 90 minutes to our west, and jumped on it.  It wasn't a certainty that I'd get to take this vacation...there seems to be a person who revels in jerking the rug out from under my feet, here lately, and I was halfway sure I'd get a call as late as Saturday saying "you can't go on vacation this week."

But I did.  And we went.  A few pics:

The view from our deck.  It was chilly, but not cold this week....

We rented a Fisherman's Cabin, which are built on pontoons out over the lake...


Thesaurus was ready for a vacation....

Checking in was a minor adventure....in years past, you check in at the inn's front desk.  Well, they've torn down the inn to build a new hotel and conference center.  Had to traipse all over creation to find our keys....

Monday, after the rain let up, we wandered out to the actually Fall Creek Falls, which I hadn't looked at for years (if ever).....

It actually turned into a really, really pretty day.

Fog came the next morning.  You couldn't see the other shore.

Compare with above.  The fog stuck around for hours, yet you'd hear construction noises in the mists....


Sunrise this morning.....


Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Reads of 2019

A listing of what I've read in 2019.

I've got a couple going, one of them a re-read of Stephen King's massive It, which unless I decided to lay out of work, I won't finish for a while.  The other is a history of Walt Disney World on the Kindle.  I likewise probably won't finish it until 2020, so I'll count them there.

It breaks down almost half and half as to what were listened to as audiobooks, and what were read either as physical copies or e-books.  

Lots of good, and a couple of stinkers.  Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything that I started but didn't finish this year, though I'm sure there were a couple.  Month by month....

January

Best in Show:  the Films of Christopher Guest and Company, by John Kenneth Muir
One Summer: America, 1927,  by Bill Bryson
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring,    by J.R.R. Tolkien
Dark Tower:  the Gunslinger, by Stephen King
Things We Lost in the Fire,   by Mariana Enriquez
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: a Sortabiography,  by Eric Idle

February

The Troop,  by Nick Cutter
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
Hounded, by Kevin Hearne
This Dark Chest of Wonders: 40 Years of The Stand, by Andy Burns
Big Fella:  Babe Ruth and the World he Created, by Jane Leavy

March

The Coen Brothers:  This Book Really Ties the Movies Together, by Adam Nayman
Christine,  by Stephen King
Adrian's Undead Diary: Dark Recollections, by Chris Philbrook
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The Elephant of Surprise, by Joe R. Lansdale

April

Kenichi Zenimura:  Japanese American Baseball Pioneer, by Bill Staples, Jr.
Star Wars:  Thrawn,   by Timothy Zahn
The Million Dollar Policeman, by John Swartzwelder
Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin
Wounds:  Six Stories from the Border of Hell,   by Nathan Ballingrud

May

What Stands in a Storm:  Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South's Tornado Alley,  by Kim Cross
Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles, by Thomas Lennon
Pet Sematary, by Stephen King
The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman
The Disaster Artist:  My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, by Greg Sestero
North American Lake Monsters, by Nathan Ballingrud

June

Time's Children, by D.B. Jackson
Lucky Town, by Peter Vonder Haar
The British are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777, by Rick Atkinson
The Friends of Eddie Coyle, by George V. Higgins
The Hum and the Shiver, by Alex Bledsoe

July

Chernobyl:  The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe, by Serhii Plokhy
The Cycle of the Werewolf, by Stephen King
Growing Things, and Other Stories, by Paul Tremblay
The Toll, by Cherie Priest
Wild and Crazy Guys, by Nick de Semlyen

August

Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
The United States of Beer, by Dane Huckelbridge
The Talisman, by Stephen King & Peter Straub
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling
The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth

September

The Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse
The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
Into the Raging Sea:  33 Mariners, One Megastorm and the Sinking of El Faro, by Rebecca Slade
Thinner, by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)
For the Good of the Game, by Bud Selig with Phil Rogers

October

Hinge Factor:  How Chance and Stupidity have Changed History, by Erik Durschmied
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North
Star Wars: Black Spire   by Delilah S. Dawson

November

Skeleton Crew, by Stephen King
The Ice Harvest, by Scott Phillips
Where Oblivion Lives, by T. Frohock
Call Me God: The Untold Story of the DC Sniper Investigation, by Jim Clemente, Tim Clemente, et al.

December

Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi
Still Life, by Louise Penny
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Haunted Mansion

I'm no stranger to the idea that amusement park rides take your picture.  In fact, such a thing has been the subject of an internet rabbithole or two.

I mean, just search roller coast puke under Google Images and while away the hours.  The secret is to look at the folks in the row just behind the puker, and delight in the magnitude of the change in disposition they're about to have.

We went to Disney World last week.  It was a long planned trip, and it was one that had started to be threatened a couple weeks beforehand.  But we made it.

And I'll write a little more about it.   But I'm playing on the computer, going through a couple of the pictures, and this one, which was taken on the Haunted Mansion, is my favorite:

I mean, that's practically an advertisement for the Haunted Mansion.

I invite Disney to use it.

In exchange for another day's admission so that we might do Rise of the Resistance.

It's actually not my favorite picture of a ride experience.  We rode Twilight Zone's Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios.  It was my big omission from the trip with my sister.  While riding that, a particularly curvy member of our riding party was having to hold herself into her top.   I think Disney nixed that one.  I would have liked to have had it, if only because the roller coaster and Dinosaur ride pics don't convey much emotion, but the picture from Tower of Terror really did show some anxiety on both our parts.  I'd have liked to have had that one.....

Anyway.  I think we'll be going back in a little while.  I'm not sure how long that while will be.  I really really really really really really really want to do Rise of the Resistance.  

I'd also like to ride the Skyliners.  And eat at Sanaa.  And get a beer at the British pub at Epcot.

I don't think we'll be one of those couples who goes every year, but I think we might see this become a not so unusual destination, either.....