Friday, October 28, 2011

TV Stuff, and Crosstown Football, and Some BBall

"Beavis & Butt-head" returned to MTV last night. Of course, I had to watch (someone told me there was a baseball game on or something?). I found it to be quite satisfying! Which is about as high as I'd ever go as "praise" for that show. Since MTV doesn't believe in the music video anymore, the boys have to watch the other crap MTV programming, and they skewer it pretty well! After 14 years away, have they grown up at all? Oh, hell no! Though Beavis' voice seems a little bit deeper. I find it funny though, that the new B&B's audience is more likely to be parents than their kids!
Speaking of other programming that's geared for parents...Halloween's Monday Night "RAW" will be guest hosted by the Muppets. Which seems appropriate--colorful characters being manipulated by others...
Big crosstown football game here tonight (oops...just found out it's Saturday afternoon!). The winner should go into the state playoffs as the #1 team. I realize full well that many cities have as many high schools as this state has total. Which makes the crosstown game so much more intense. Even the towns here that have three high schools don't have the same feeling to them as a true crosstown. Of course, you don't see my cookies freezing off watching it...
It's not much of a secret that Carroll College is a national powerhouse in NAIA football. And has been since the turn of the century. Their basketball team has had some success on the national stage, but not anything past the semifinals. However, tonight they are playing the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Yes, THOSE Gonzaga Bulldogs. Ranked #23 in the NCAA. I don't expect a win from the Saints tonight...
I've been browsing through my cable channels. Seeing as how I'm paying for them, I figured I should see what I've been missing. Not much, from what I've seen, though I'm going back to check out BBCAmerica a bit more, and the National Geographic channel is pretty good. But the one that's grabbed my attention, in a carwreck sort of way, is RFD-TV. "Rural America's Most Important Network". I really don't want to pass judgment, but good golly, is this thing ever...I can't think of the right word. Think of a "Hee-Haw" audience, with ag news, music shows, crop reports and a good dose of gospel. Plus reruns of the aforementioned "Hee-Haw"! And I'm hooked. Well, on the music shows, at least.

There's THREE different polka music shows! Lawrence Welk, but with smaller bands. I was mesmerized. My first thoughts in watching were that there's these guys playing on a big stage, with not much audience. I could empathize with them, as I've played plenty of polkas in my life, and there's nothing worse than playing to a handful of people. Then the cameras panned the audience. Think of the large Baptist mega-churches--that sort of audience. While the production value of these shows isn't spectacular, I can't help but be impressed with the musicianship. That is hardly lacking! Polka music is a bitch!

And there's plenty of gospel music. I actually like watching gospel shows. Not so much for the message (that sounds terrible, doesn't it?), but for the actual performances. Impeccable harmonies, great range of voices, and when you get into the uptempo stuff, some blazingly fantastic piano playing. Again, as a musician, I have a real appreciation for it. Could I do it as a vocation, or listen to it 24/7? Oh, hell no! But now I know that if I need a fix, I have a channel to tune in to to get it!

My Top 10 Best Scary/Monster Movies
(plus the extras I've added since I first posted it...)

Reposted from the past couple of years. No additional edits this year. Last year's (or was it 2009's) edits in yellow...

I figured I should re-post my annual Halloween movie list. I have edited little bits of it though ...and even added one two. If you're partying for Halloween, have fun but be safe (yes, Dad...). I'll be home all night watching scary movies and drinking beer testing my blood! This year's additions to the list include "Thir13en Ghosts". Which is a remake of the 1960's "13 Ghosts". There's something about the glass house and the mechanics of the ghost traps that really intrigues me. And Shannon Elizabeth isn't terribly bad on the eyes... Also added to the list is "Five Million Years to Earth", about an ancient Martian ship unearthed during a London excavation. Another one of those movies where the public can damned near walk up to the thing. And with a hot babe scientist! And a spoiler--the Martians look like giant grasshoppers. Speaking of giant bugs, the last addition this year is "Them!". The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization. Damn, I miss the classics! No specific place in the list. Just added to it...

As promised earlier last week, here's my top ten list of my favorite sci-fi/monster/scary movies. They may not be the goriest, or most hi-tech, but I prefer them this way. They are far better movies than gorefests. I will almost always watch these to their conclusion if I happen upon them while switching channels. I got to see a couple of these over the past week while watching AMC's "Fear Fest '09". In fact, I'm adding one to the list that I saw. It should come somewhere in the middle, but then I'd have eleven. But I don't want to knock any of these off the list. I'll number it with a Roman numeral. But I digress...

Here's my top ten faves:

#10-The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)--"Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" Perfect example of substance over flash. Effects not all that good, even for 1951, but I suspect that in its day, it was quite discomforting. If a spaceship landed in D.C. today, no one would be allowed within miles. In 1951, you could bring the family down to look at it from no further away than 30 yards!

#9-Tales From the Crypt (1972)--No, not the cheesy HBO TV series. The original movie. Five tales of impending fate for five imperfect strangers. They are given the option of avoiding their fates - by avoiding living out the rest of their lives. Many memorable moments, including a young Joan Collins being murdered by Santa Claus. Also brings to mind the movie "Asylum", also from 1972.

#8-Frankenstein (1931)--The granddaddy of them all. Not the first monster movie, but the first that truly made the genre such a hit. Frankenstein's monster was grotesque, the story was horrifying, and it was eaten up by the public--at least those who didn't faint! The attempt by man to play God once again fails. But at least he launched a whole new series of movies! By the end of the movie, you actually feel some pity for the monster. Perhaps the mob outside burning down the windmill was the real monster??? Hard to believe that the same guy who could play the monster would go on to narrate "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas"!

#7-Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)--I can't remember exactly when I first saw this--grade school, I'm sure. I love this monster! He lives in the Amazon, swims around among some gorgeous scenery, and then falls in love with the girl on this boat. He swims a few feet under her as she's out in the water. He's just shy and horny. This movie was originally filmed in 3D, so there's lots of harpoons and bubbles and swimming towards the camera action going on. As with many of the monster movies from this era, you sort of have feelings for the monster by the end of the movie.

#6-The Omen (the original trilogy)--Creepy little kid is born as the anti-Christ. This is one series that I actually liked all three movies. Following Damien as a little boy, to his teenaged years, to his adulthood. You don't feel sorry for him in the end...

#5-Night of the Living Dead (1968)--This movie shows what you can do on an incredibly small budget. Yeah, the make-up is cheesy, and the dialog pretty cliche, but the story not only scared you, but also touched on race relations, family relations, distrust of government and the like. Great scene of zombies munching on intestines, organs and limbs at the burned out truck!

#MCMLXIXa-The Amityville Horror (1979)--This story is based on real events, though there's a great deal of controversy whether it was all a hoax or not. A family moves in, the walls in the house start talking to the family, blood oozes out all over the place, and the family leaves in less than a month. The real house in question is currently inhabited, apparently without incident. As Larry the Cable Guy says in his act, the realtor responsible for selling this house must be really good! No one in the family dies, but there's plenty of eerie sounds, dripping blood, and the voice of the house. All in all, it's got all the necessary elements!

#MCMLXIXb-The "Alien" series--Another new addition this year. Thanks to The Panserbjørne for mentioning it. The first one (1979) was amazing, with the face-sucking embryo planter, the stomach pop, and then actually seeing the alien for the first time (God bless HR Giger!). Probably one of the finest concepts of an alien in all of film! The second one was pretty good too, with the little girl as the lone survivor on the colony. The third and fourth installments seemed to milk the concept a bit much. Though, the final scenes of the fourth one almost evokes sympathy for the mutant alien/Ripley creature. As its guts are being sucked out of the porthole, you can't help but feel sadness as it seems to be crying for its "mommy" (Ripley). A good set of movies, particularly the first one.

#4a-Young Frankenstein (1974)
#4b-Mars Attacks! (1996)--OK, so they're comedies. But fine examples of movies based on the genre. "Young Frankenstein" used some of the original movie's lab equipment, and used references to it and other Frankenstein classics. With a healthy dose of puns and laughter. Someone called in alot of favors for "Mars Attacks!". Patterned on the UFO movies of the 50s, its cast included over a dozen big-name, big-buck actors, including Jack Nicholson (in 2 roles), Glenn Close, Michael J. Fox, Pierce Brosnan, Jack Black, Paul Winfield, Rod Steiger, Natalie Portman, Annette Benning and Danny Devito. And Tom Jones. Among numerous others. While it could have become quite cartoonish, the movie was played seriously, and even had a couple of grotesque moments!

#3a-Poltergeist (1982)
#3b-Poltergeist III (1988)--Another trilogy that worked pretty well. Except for #2. And #3 was a little weak, but the concept of evil characters in the mirror (or any reflective surface) was a bit freaky. No, the scariest part of the movies are the deaths of those associated with the movies, in particular, the death of 12 year old Heather O'Rourke ("They're heeeerrrreeee....!). The real life stories are far scarier than the movies (though that clown in the picture still gives me chills...

#2-The Shining (1980)--"Heeeeeerrree's Johnny!" Stephen King's novel as envisioned by Stanley Kubrick. As mentioned in an earlier post, the music to this movie is amazing. The scenery outstanding (for the little bit that you get to see). While the movie's best scenes involve Jack, there are plenty of others. The tidal wave of blood from the elevator. The two very disturbing twins. Danny holding a large knife screaming "REDRUM! REDRUM!" This movie has just about all the good things that a horror movie should have. Great story, just enough blood, twists and turns. And Jack is phenomemal.

#1-The Exorcist (1973)--No real surprise here. This movie scares the bejeezus out of me to this day. To the point that I have only seen it all the way through without breaks twice in my life. I usually have to get up at the point when the mother first hears "rats" in the ceiling. Having been raised a good Catholic, I definitely remember the outcry that followed this movie. Crowds stood outside the theaters to pray for the souls that the devil would take from those who watched the movie. Some scenes were so disturbing that people got physically ill, or fainted. Certain scenes never made it to the screen as they were deemed "too graphic"--one of which is the famous "spider crawl" scene depicted in the b&w picture.
On the other hand, I spent an evening with Moose and watched "The Exorcist". She just laughed.

So there you have it. I would recommend all thirteen these movies (yeah, I know. There's more than ten. Deal with it.).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blood and Gore HNT

From a make-up supply webpage:
Lots of blood and gore is needed if you want to scare your victims.

Blood dripping down from your open wounds. Blood dripping from the corners of your mouth after the your vampire just drank the last bit of their victim's life.

Gore goes hand in hand with blood. Can't have gore without some blood.

You need blood and gore with all your Halloween props too. Don't forget that!

Sometimes too much.... IS too much so watch that a bit.
While it's not really "gory", it IS bloody! And the first picture from my new phone!!
Not a normal sort of Mystery Guest this week. Way back in the earliest days of HNT, I had my camera stolen at a gig. This, as you might imagine, caused all sorts of consternation. The biggest of could I possibly continue HNT??? Cooler heads prevailed, and one particular blogger suggested that I have guest HNTers, somehow using any of my prior pictures, so that I wasn't left out each week. Thus was born the concept of the Mystery Guest. Since this happened in the fall, and some of them were appropriately seasonal, I offer some MG examples from the old days!

I was a bit surprised that we didn't get a lot of Halloween themed pictures for "...the Other HNT" (remember the pumpkin guts that someone finally had the 'guts' to do last year?!?), but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go check them out! Be sure to leave some comments for your fellow HNTers!
I've got no plans for Halloween this year. In years past, I haven't even needed to worry about trick or treaters. Something about apartment complexes with dark hallways that keep the kids away. Unfortunately, within the past three months, there's been 3 or 4 families who have moved in, all with at least 3 kids. I suspect that I might have to actually go buy some candy this year. Grrr... If any of you are partying (hi, Vixen!), enjoy yourselves, and don't drink & drive! And post pictures!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Post!

Here I am, in my effort to not go three weeks in a row of only posting HNTs!
Not sure when it happened (actually, I think it was Thursday), but all the leaves in town came crashing down. Or fluttering down. Anyway, all the side streets are ankle deep in the yellow leaves of the elm trees--especially in the upper westside (the former "rich" part of town). It's absolutely gorgeous. Or at least it will be until the first snow blankets all of the unraked leaves and they start rotting and stinking up the place. There's a bit of laziness in that regard around here...
I've been having all sorts of fun with my new phone. Especially using "Siri"--the 'assistant' application. It's sort of like the HAL 9000 from "2001". You can even carry on a conversation with it, and apparently others have discovered this as well. There's a whole site dedicated to it at "Shit That Siri Says"! The responses are great!
Of course, playing with the phone took the back seat to the symphony concert this weekend. The concert was one of the best I've been involved with in years. But man, what a lot of work involved. The highlights include staying up until 3:15 AM re-editing 180 Powerpoint slides, ripping my shins open on the U-haul's trailer hitch (twice on one leg, two days apart!) and bleeding like a stuck pig, dealing with the Keystone Kops we had to move a 9' grand piano, and surviving on about 10 hours of sleep for 3 days. On a more positive note, it didn't rain or snow all weekend! I'll bet it's waiting for December...
Read online that Lindsey Lohan has struck a deal with Playboy for a photo shoot at the end of this week. They offered $750K, she insisted on $1M, and they met somewhere in the middle. In the meantime, she's still cleaning toilets at the morgue as part of her community service. Anyone wish that she'd never grown up from that precocious "Parent Trap" girl?
I listen to Pandora at work almost exclusively these days. And my current genre is "classic soul". For the most part, it's pretty good, though Michael McDonald sneaks in on occasion (wth??). But it's damned hard to concentrate on work when Barry White comes on.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I was so excited to get my new iPhone 4S. Announced just one day before Steve Jobs' death (rumor has it he died because it wasn't the iPhone 5...), the pre-order date was Oct. 7th. Being the smart, resourceful guy that I am, I went in on the 8th and plunked down my money. I got a receipt telling me that I would receive my phone on Oct. 21st. Imagine my dismay when I found out that you could actually buy the real deal a full week before that!! I've had to put up with my boss' glee (he really likes the Siri feature!) since last Friday.

Ah, well. My trusty, but broken Droid can last for an extra week. And by pre-ordering, I was eligible for a 30% discount on accessories. If I bought five of them. Even though I only really needed three, I sprung for the five. I got a portable battery charger, for those times I'm on OsTour. I got the Otter case for protection (bought the insurance on the phone, too--live and learn!). I got the dock so that I can charge it and use it at the same time. And I got the car charger, also for mini-OsTours. The fifth accessory (not shown) is the package of screen protectors. So while I haven't gotten the big prize yet, I got the next best thing. I can't wait for Friday to roll around. Of course, I'll be busy with symphony stuff all Friday, and through the weekend, so I don't know when I'll get to learn all the ins and outs. But I'm sure I'll make time!

(Oooh! Click on the pic for a late afternoon surprise!!!)

No Mystery Guest this week. Sad panda.
A smaller sampling over at "...the Other HNT" this week. Be sure to stop by and see who's there. Not terribly explicit, but still probably NSFW...
I noted last week that it had been a full week since I'd posted. Well, I did it again. Grrr... I will try to do better in the coming one! Time has been spent watching football and AMC's Fear Fest, among other horror offerings. And the aforementioned symphony concert. And a big secret project that I can't tell you about yet. But I absolutely promise you that I will!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Playing With My Food HNT

Over the weekend, I found these pictures posted by someone on FB. It absolutely blew me away. A simple concept, really, but one that's pretty much outside the box. Well, any box that I grew up in. It doesn't have anything to do with taste--just a different approach on preparation and presentation. And I immediately decided that I had to do it myself! Of course, someone told me to take pictures...

The first thing I found was that I'm not very good at visual art. Though I knew I wanted to do more than just sticking spaghetti into hot dogs. I thought I'd try to come up with an entire zoo. There's only so much you can do with hot dogs, though, when you have no talent. Add in the fact that spaghetti is surprisingly wobbly when trying to make giraffes or an AT-AT, and my creativity, such as it is, was falling by the wayside. But I regrouped, and made a doggie, a tiny giraffe, a spidery thing, a centipede-ish thing, and one of the ghosts from Pac-Man. Or whatever you think you see here...

My final opinion--as a single guy in his mid-50s, well, this sort of plays right into that, doesn't it? But if you have kids, it's possible to make a fun project out of it. Maybe. If your kid has more talent than I do...

"We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don't think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you're hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time."

~Art Buchwald

Our fun-loving Mystery Guest will be revealed Thursday afternoon!
She may be out of sight, but never out of mind! The hell-raising MG this week is Barefoot Dreamer, of course. No more blog, so no link, but we can all remember her fondly!

We've some good stuff over at "...the Other HNT" this week, as usual! Be sure to stop by and check out your fellow HNTers. Leave some comment lovin' too. They like that! Definitely NSFW.
Geez...I didn't post anything since last week's HNT. Don't even have a good excuse.
Have you seen the Geico commercial with the girl who 'lost' her fish? Love it!
If any of you are interested (and I can't believe that any of you would be...), I finally got the rest of my HNT's (through September) posted on my separate site. If you're so inclined, go here.
Considering pulling out my 35mm camera in the next few days. Now I just have to find somewhere to buy some decent film. Hopefully I'll have some good shots to share!
Thanks to everyone who joined in on the Post-it® theme from last week! I knew that most of you would nail it, and you didn't disappoint! No more themes until the standard December ones. I'll post more on those in a few weeks...

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Post-it® HNT

Well, if you didn't hear about it yet, Steve Jobs died this afternoon. Love him or hate him, you cannot deny the impact of the man on the way we live our lives today. Even if you don't own a single Apple product, or even used iTunes, his influence on the entire computer/electronics industry was huge. Wow.

You know...this was a much better idea when I first had it a couple of weeks ago! I hope you all had better luck than I did! You might have to click it to big it to read it.

"I wish I had a Teddy Bear
To sit upon my knee.
I'd take him with me everywhere,
To cuddle up with me.
I'd scorn young men,
No lover then
My lot in life should share,
They might go to Jericho
If I'd a Teddy Bear."

From Pelissier's Follies - 1909

Our Mystery Guest is choosing not to reveal herself this week. She's shy.

We're a little short on quantity this week over at "...the Other HNT", but the quality is high, as always! Stop by and check out your fellow HNTers! Definitely NSFW.
Don't forget that Boobiethon is continuing through Friday night. It's never to late to submit photos (or to donate to ogle them!). HNTers have been pretty good supporters over the years of previous Boobiethons, and I've already seen at least a half dozen of you over there this year. If you've never heard of it, go to their site to get more details.

As an update since I first drafted this post, those who run Boobiethon have decided that this year's will be the last. You can read their blog announcement here. So now is your last chance to get in on this most worthy event!!
I have a love/hate relationship with October. Twenty-one years ago in October, I was unceremoniously arrested. Twenty years ago this week, I finished up my jail sentence (yes, Os was in jail--no, you're not going to hear about it). Two years ago this weekend I was enjoying the experiences of I.C.U. But October is also all about great weather, football, and of course, Halloween! Which means the great monster/scary/psycho movies will be running non-stop! Look forward to AMC's "Fear Fest" starting on the 16th (looks like they're actually starting early, too!). And TCM and SyFy have already started their scary stuff. Woohoo!

Monday, October 03, 2011

A Day in the Mountains

I had the afternoon off today, so I headed up into the mountains. The weather has been ridiculously gorgeous, and I really haven't been up where I was headed in close to ten years. My parents owned a cabin up this way, nestled between the forest road and a small creek. But that has nothing to do with this post.

There's a turnoff from the main forest road that takes you to a reservoir higher up in the mountains. I've lived in this area for over 50 years (except during the 80s...), and I have never been to this place. All I knew is that there was a mountain road to this place that actually continued past and joined up with some other mountain roads that I was familiar with. Since it was a lovely day, I figure I'd take care of that.

I immediately found out why it's not really someplace to head to. It's a one-lane rock road, and very unfriendly to a regular passenger car. And steep.However, it was obvious that there had been traffic on it recently, so I forged ahead. About 3 miles up this road, there's a locked gate with a "NO TRESPASSING" sign. Just past a few trees was a monster house! With a lawn. A lawn!! It was big enough that it had to be a year-round residence, but I can't imagine how/if they get out during the winter! The pictures below don't really give a sense of how high these places are!

Anyway, just past the top of the mountain sits the Chessman Reservoir. I had no idea it was as large as it was! And I couldn't tell that there was any public access to it. I suspect not. But it was spectacularly pretty. After getting mad at myself for not bringing a camera, I pulled out the phone. It might be on its last legs, but it still doesn't do badly!

I then decided to continue on, rather than double back. Anything for more adventure! I then found out that, rather coming in from the west as I had, I should have come from the east. The roads were actually somewhat developed! Lots of logging operations going on to clear out the trees killed by pine beetles. Sad, really. Nothing terribly exciting on the rest of the trip. The trees are in the midst of changing up there (not in the valleys yet). Definitely thinking about heading back with a camera this weekend!

Theme Alert! - Don't forget that we've got a theme coming up! It's going to be "Post-it®" HNT on October 6th. See my HNT from two weeks ago to see more details!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Birthday, Old Age, Death and Promise

We celebrated Mom's birthday (yesterday) by taking her out for Thai food. There's only one Thai place in town, and only S3 and N2 had ever eaten there. Not sure what I thought. Everyone raves about this place, as it's very homey and small. But is it all that good? I don't know--I've got no reference points. We went for the big family style serving, so there was lots of everything. Did I try everything? Yes. Did I like it all? Yes, actually. Was it spectacular? I don't think so, really. Anyway, I'm glad I had the chance to try it!
A high school classmate of mine recently turned 55. He made a comment on FB that now he can start taking advantage of those senior discounts at Applebee's and Denny's. At the moment I read that, I have never felt so old. It passed quickly, but damn...
The tragedy that won't end... Finding out about Stealth's death this spring was a shock that still gets into my head from time to time. For some reason, I went to her FB site over the weekend, and to sort of see if anyone had posted anything new there. Her boyfriend/fiancé had posted a thank-you to all of us that were late in finding out. A couple of people did one of those stupid FB games that I don't think anyone actually plays (think spam). But there were two posts that seemed odd.

Short story--the boyfriend died on June 4th. You can do your own investigating if you'd like, but there's not much to find. No mention of the cause of death. A comment left in the online guestbook used the word "tragic", but nothing more. Sadly, and somewhat surprising--no mention of Stealth preceding him in death. Any way you look at it, it's all sad...
I always like it when a potential project looks like it's going to be a success. Can't tell you anything about it right now, but so far, all indications are remarkably positive! You're going to be impressed!