Monday, December 27, 2010

A Thank You for My Wife

Christmas is much more to me than presents, but I wanted to use this post to thank my wife. Being unemployed limits most non-essential purchases on my part. So Christmas is also the one time of year (other than my birthday) where I might receive some of the things I wasn't able to purchase throughout the year.

My wife did an awesome job this year. I know it's hard for her. She hates getting a list from me. She'd rather come up with original, surprise treasures.

I've always been a collector. Some would correct that statement and say I'm a hoarder.

When I was eight years old, He-man toys hit the scene, followed shortly thereafter by the cartoon series. Both were firmly cemented into my childhood. Nothing makes me as effectively nostalgic as Masters of the Universe.

A few years back, Mattel announced an adult collector's line that is only available online for one day a month offering only one or two items per month. Little did they know, the one day time frame would shrink to around one hour due to demand. Most of these action figures sell out in about 45 minutes, and getting on Mattel's website during that time is a nightmare. Add in my before mentioned unemployment, and any hopes I had of collecting this new line quickly vanished.

Heidi stepped up and bought me two of the lynch pin characters for Christmas this year with He-man and Skeletor.

I also received the Wolfman remake on Blu-ray. As a fan of the original Universal films, I was skeptical when I heard they were remaking this one. I was surprised to find it was appropriately updated with effects, small story adjustments that made total sense, and the acting was spot on. The film stars Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.

I finally have a Joe Hill novel in my possession. Hill is a pen name. He didn't want his famous father's name to drive his career. I'm not so sure you can escape a name like Stephen King however, especially in the horror novel business.

I also have Stuff Christians Like, a funny look at stereotypical Christian behaviors.

Our parents and siblings went a bit overboard this year too. The best part about the special day was getting to spend time with everyone. No one had to work. We didn't rush from house to house. There was warmth and familiarity.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Horror Fans and the Holidays

There are tons of Holiday themed horror flicks out there, but few are actually worth watching. None work on both levels, though some of the holiday movies being produced today could easily qualify as horrifying (Santa Paws anyone?).

If the monster in a horror movie is a snowman, Jack Frost, or Santa Claus, prepare yourself for the silliest wastes of time you've ever encountered. Some folks are into that type of thing, movies that are fun to watch for their unintended laugh factor. The movie where Michael Keaton plays a deceased father that turns into a snowman enabling him to learn the value of his surviving son is scary in description alone.

If I had to recommend a few movies, I'd have to push the following:

1972's Tales from the Crypt features a young Joan Collins in its first segment. She plays a wife and mother who gets away with the perfect crime… in a way. This might make you think twice about teaching your kids about Santa Claus or teaching them how to open doors and windows.

The original Black Christmas from 1974 is a perfect horror movie. Pre-dating the slasher onslaught of the eighties, the film avoids most of Hollywood's trappings and delivers a film that's not afraid to leave a bit of mystery in its mayhem. It's also a great 'who done it.' More holiday chill than cheer and full of seventies Christmas decorations and fashions. Avoid the 2006 remake at all costs. They attempt to take all of the mystery away in a very, very lame way.

Let the Right One In isn't exactly a holiday themed film. I caught it in the summer of 2009 at my local Art Institute. The beautiful Winter cinematography plunges you into the film's stark setting perfectly. If you haven't caught this one yet, wait for the rumored upcoming DVD re-release with the original subtitles. They add a little nuance that might be lacking from the current DVD. Note the photo of the fire angel - ouch.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Long Overdue Random Post

  • I know. It's been a while. I've been studying.
  • When Halloween drops, the holidays just seem to arrive faster and faster every year.
  • What's going on with my eyebrows? I'm not even fully adjusted to all the hair growing where it shouldn't. Now, the hair that is supposed to be there is getting unruly.
  • Victoria's Secret sells sweaters? Do they have a lot of holes in them? Strategic holes?
  • Owen said to me one day that he wanted to be in the other morning Kindergarden/Early Fives class because there's a girl in that class that he likes. He doesn't know her name, but she has brown hair.
  • On another day, he told me that he would be growing up soon, and then there would be two papas in our household. And when Gage gets older, there'll be three. I explained that he would likely get married and have children before we would consider him a "papa."
  • "Well, who would I marry?," was his response. I explained he would likely 'like' a girl at some point. He said that he already likes a girl, but he also likes some boys but not in the same way. He then supposed he'd marry Kendal, a girl in his class.
  • I think Toys 'R' Us should be the first store that allows you to checkout via a microchip in the back of your head. For a store filled with such fun things, their checkout lines always seem to dial up my aggravation level.
  • We were in Genesee Valley Mall yesterday (the biggest, most popular mall in our immediate area). It wasn't very busy. There are a lot of empty stores there, and of the few that remain, fewer are very popular. Santa Claus was the biggest draw.
  • I started thinking about twenty years ago. I was sixteen. Back then, it was a rare thing to visit the mall. We lived in Lapeer, and we might make it out to Genesee Valley once a year during the back-to-school season. Flint and Genesee County were pretty foreign to me, but my parents entrusted me with the car. I filled it with friends and a few cousins from out of town. I remember the mall being crazy. People were shoulder to shoulder in the hallways. The stores were full of things you couldn't find anywhere else.
  • The mall used to be an event. Now, it's just sad.
  • Trick or Treating on the 30th because it's a Saturday… lame.
  • Chuck E. Cheese has really went down hill. I know they had an increase in violence a few years back when they decided to serve alcohol (by the way, WT?). They replaced/updated their animatronics with versions that look like they came from the sixties, which doesn't really make any sense. They're less cartoony than the old ones.
  • Why don't fast food restaurants have recycling bins?
  • I decided I wanted to be an artist in the first grade, Owen decided in Early Fives (with no input from me).
  • "We're here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us." Charles Bukowski
  • Gage calls Santa Claus, "Ho-Ho-Ho."
  • Sometimes it's just Gage's timing that amazes us when it comes to his ever increasing vocabulary. While taking a vision test last week, he seems to get bored and simply answers, "I don't know." We've never heard him say the phrase prior. "No way" has also come up.
  • I heard an interesting perspective on the parcel bombs that someone in Yemen tried to send our way. If the bombs had detonated, they'd likely kill 8-10 people. The entire country would have been in an uproar (which I'm not saying is in any way wrong), but on the other hand, we seem to lack a certain amount of outrage at the estimated 1500 homicides that occur in our country every year.
  • There may be photos of me with cheerleaders somewhere out there. It really wasn't my intention.