Sunday, December 28, 2008
If you're looking for something to do over the Holidays, why not watch Battle Wizard? It's seasonal fun for the whole fighting monkey loving family!
Anyone reading this from NYC, hit Kim's on St. Mark's before they close the store at the end of the month. There are deals to be had if you don't mind looking around a bit and while a lot of the good stuff is gone already, it's not so picked over that it isn't worth checking out. Between the soon to be closed location and the new one at 1st Ave. and 8th St. I dropped a good chunk of change but I found a bunch of out of print Something Weird Video titles (hooray for Chesty Morgan and Mexican wrestlers!) and Anchor Bay Hammer Horror titles for less than $10 a pop. Money well spent.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
With that out of the way, we finished a quick bit of Christmas shopping before heading to my mother's place and then moving on to my dad's, Swiss Chalet for dinner, and then my grandparents' apartment. Friday was busy, but it was great to see everyone on that side of the family again.
Saturday morning we went for breakfast with mom and my stepdad and then drove up to Toronto to see my mother's side of the family after checking out my Grandmother's swanky new digs in Niagara Falls. We all crammed into my uncle and aunt's house and enjoyed a nice dinner. Once that was over, Alison and I went to Young and Dundas downtown. I hadn't been there in over eight years and was amazed at how much like Times Square it has become. We drove down Queen West only to find that almost everything had closed at 8pm before heading up Bathhurst and parking near Honest Ed's. We peeked inside Suspect Video, I was relieved to see it was still there as it played a huge part in my movie watching habits while I lived in Toronto, and then spent a good hour combing the CD bins at Sonic Boom before hitting the hotel in Yorkville. We ordered some BBQ from a place that delivered, watched TV, and crashed.
During all of this, I accumulated some pretty rad Canadian content in the form of:
The Hilarious House Of Frightenstein DVD Collection Vol. 2
The Hanson Brothers - Sudden Death CD
Stompin' Tom - The Ballad Of Stompin' Tom CD
Stompin' Tom - Bud The Spud CD
Stompin' Tom - Kic' Along With Stompin' Tom CD
The Gruesomes - Live From Hell CD
The Forgotten Rebels - In Love With The System CD
Thor - Keep The Dogs Away 30th Anniversary Edition CD
I was disappointed to see that no one was stalking the new Hanson Brothers 2-CD set called It's A Living, but I'll snag it online sooner rather than later.
Sunday we woke up and drove back to Niagara Falls to visit with my sister, her husband, and their two super cool kids but once noon hit, it was time to drive back to NY. We made it back late Sunday night and as rushed as the trip was and as exhausted as I was from it, I'm glad we did it.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Made after spending $1500 on A/V hardware...
Edited in about 20 minutes....
The Amazing Super RadDog Sitting Video! (notes: the background music has some naughty words in it. Blame Prince, not me).
My first short film. I bet my parents are so proud right now they're shedding tears of joy.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I'll admit, I wasn't sure about this and I splurged on the VIP tickets for her sake and was a bit skeptical about whether or not this show would deliver or not. Before the show we eat some tasty Indian food and I was also worried that I might poop my pants later in the evening. Thankfully, that didn't happen.
At any rate, we got to the venue and didn't really care about the opening acts so we sat at a table and people watched. I drank some beers and we saw a dude who look a bit like Mark Tolch wearing a Manowar shirt on top of another Manowar shirt. He would periodically switch them throughout the night. I thought that was pretty metal and for once felt out-Manowared. Now I have something to aspire to.
After people watching, we wandered into the auditorium where Eddie Trunk was on stage getting people stoked to see the band. Mick Foley was also wandering around, which was pretty rad. Once Trunk was done, the lights went down and the music started up. Once the curtain went down and the lights came back up, the band came out, one at a time... everyone except Dee. A few seconds later, Mini-Kiss came out carrying Dee on a sled of some sort, he was dressed like Santa.
The stage was pretty rad. It had a machine up top where good Santa dolls would go in and 'metal' Santa dolls would come out. On the left there was a thing that looked like the pod from The Fly and periodically people would pop out of it, but more on that in a bit. The stage hands were all dressed like elves and would throw inflatable balls shaped like Christmas ornaments into the crowd throughout the show.
The Santa suit came off and the band went back and forth between doing heavy metal Christmas tracks and older actual Twisted Sister tracks. Remember that Fly pod I mentioned earlier? Well it opened up and Lita Ford came out dressed in red pleather cat suit thing. I don't know how she fit into it. I was hoping she'd sing a Lita Ford song or two, or maybe bust out a Runaways tune but no. She and Dee did a duet to I'll Be Home For Christmas though, and that was kinda cool. Once Lita was done, Mick Foley came out on stage and asked everyone what they wanted for Christmas. Eddie wanted some wine and a smoke, AJ wanted to be tall, The Animals wanted a twelve car garage, some tools and a tank to drive around NYC, and I forget what Jay Jay French wanted, something about not having to use lipator, which I think is cholesterol medication. Dee wasn't sure what he wanted... he thought about it for a minute, and then, surprising nobody but pleasing everyone, he screamed out, I WANNA ROCK! at which point, they played that song. Which made perfect sense. They finished up and then came out for the expected encore where they did the whole twelve days of Christmas thing before closing with We're Not Gonna Take it, at which point Lita Ford and Mini-Kiss came back out again.
All in all, it was one of the most fun shows I've seen in ages. I had my doubts, but they were definitely put to rest about 2 minutes into the show. These guys may be getting on in years but they still deliver live and Dee's still got amazing energy up on stage. They sounded great, really tight and super heavy and they had the crowd eating it up. What a killer show.
But the night was not over!
After the show, cause we had the fancy VIP tickets, we got to go backstage and do a meet and greet with the band. They were all pretty friendly and Dee made me do one of those 'respect knuckle punch' things when he noticed I had a Warriors t-shirt on. He also wished Alison a happy birthday. We also got rad Christmas cards from the band, that they signed, which was kinda funny. After that Mark Mendoza yelled at everyone and told them to get out of the room, so we went home. Alison fell asleep on the subway. When we got home we drank Snapple and I ate a Twix bar.
Friday, November 28, 2008
-Family, friends, and people I can trust.
-A job, even though it drives me nuts, that allows me to pay my bills and leave a little bit left over.
-A car that's paid for and that is a reliable mode of transporation.
-My writing gigs and the interesting side projects that they've opened up for me over the last year.
-Living somewhere interesting despite insansity that NYC brings with it.
-Brooklyn Lager (cause I can't get Bridgeport IPA here and everyone needs a vice).
-A girlfriend who I love beyond words and who loves me just as much in return and who, for the first time ever, really and truly understands why I am the way I am and why I do the things I do and not only accepts me despite those qualities but genuinely appreciates them and encourages them allowing me to finally feel comfortable in my own skin.
The years not over, but it's been an eventful one and a good one so far. Here's hoping the trend continues.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Saturday afternoon, after Salem-ing ourselves out, we got back into the Adventure-Mobile and drove further north to New Hampshire, stopping in the White Mountains area in a small town called North Conway, which lead to my making many a Conway Twitty joke. Alison loves Conway Twitty jokes. She just can't get enough of them. At any rate, she got us a room at this rad hotel that was more or less attached to an outlet mall (which was odd but also rather convenient as there were bargains on Judas Priest CDs and Midnight Movie DVDs to be had!). We had a huge room with a jacuzzi in it and the staff there were all really nice. The first night we were there we met up with some friends who had driven up from Maine to have dinner with us. We wound up at a local steakhouse for a really nice meal before heading back to the hotel bar and befriending a waiter named Bamtu from South Africa who decided that rather than bring me the bourbon and lemonade I'd ordered he'd bring me a bourbon and ginger ale - that tasted weird. It was promptly replaced. Anyway, good times.
Sunday morning we woke up and checked out the town for an hour or so before getting on this neat old train that wound its way up through the mountains before stopping at a cider house on the way back. A great way to kill two hours and enjoy some gorgeous scenery, it was well worth the price of the ticket and I got some neat pictures and some good footage. We drove around the mountains for a while that after noon and then did a bit of shopping before heading back to the hotel for dinner. Our waiter? Good ol' South African Bamtu again.
That night I also went swimming outside. There was a heated outdoor pool that I took advantage of - had the place to myself - and it was neat swimming around in nice, warm water while snow fell around me. Monday morning we took our time driving home bringing an all to prompt ending to one of the most relaxing weekends of my life. I think I want to move up there, it was so pretty and peaceful but not so far removed from civilization that it was dull. It reminded me of a cross between Oregon and the Muskoka region in Ontario.
At any rate, a few random pictures...
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I also bought an HD camcorder. Best Buy had 18 months, 0 interest on them last weekend and because Alison and I are going away on a 'mystery vacation' this weekend it made sense to buy one. The downside is that in order to edit anything, I need more ram and maybe a faster processor. Blah. The camera is a neat toy though and I'm looking forward to playing with it. Earlier this week I recorded our dog sitting on the floor. I used some editing software to loop Prince's 'Pussy Control' over top of it and the results are pretty amazing in a 'wow look at that potentially kinda sloshed guy making stupid home movies' kind of way. We'll see how things go once the ram we ordered from Dell shows up.
Today on the way home I got on the F train at the 35th St. stop I always leave from. I walked in to the train and notice a scruff looking man, possibly of Jewish origin, reading the paper. Hmmm... says I, he looks familiar. It was Handsome Dick Manitoba from the Dictators, sitting there reading the paper. I thanked him for the Dictators contributions to rock n roll and he told me that he was going to mention 'Ian from Queens' on his Sirius radio show tonight. Rad if he does, if not, still rad to run into a member of one of the city's greatest bands on the subway.
Friday night we leave for Salem, MA. Creepy! Should be neat though. We spend the night there and Saturday we head to... wherever it is we're heading to. Alison won't tell me. I guess I'll find out soon enough. Mystery vacation.... neat!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The results aren't in and until they are, it's anyone's game (as Gore and Kerry found out the hard way) but things look good for Obama. Hopefully those pesky Neo-Nazi's will stay out of the way and let what's left of democracy happen. Scary that stuff like that still happens in America, that someone can be made a target for assassination based purely on skin color. That said, in a free country you can't force people to think logically and by the very nature of the beast I suppose you have to accept the ignorent as well as the intelligent.
Regardless, I'm looking forward to change I can believe in. Always a sucker for a good slogan (speaking of good Slogan's check out the French film Slogan starring the late, great Serge Gainsberg out now on DVD from our friends at Cult Epics - it's pretty rad) I think it's time that Washington started to care again. The last eight years... it hasn't felt that way. Having been in DC just last week for work I was reminded how great a city it is. It's a beautiful town with a rich history and a lot of good people living in it who really do want to do the good thing. It's also the epicenter of political corruption. A mixed bag to be sure, but I was there on the company dime and the food was good, so whatever.
Monday, October 27, 2008
We crashed pretty hard upon arrival. We stayed at the Wyndam Mayfair, a neat old hotel built in 1925. It was a bit old fashioned but nice. Saturday our friend Jeremy came to pick us up after we played around at the newly constructed Lumiere Casino in downtown St. Louis. From there we had lunch at a place called Show-Me's, which was basically a low-rent version of Hooters. Surprsingly, they had Widmer beers on tap.
From there, it was off to the set. Once everyone was there I had some make up effects applied to my head. Then I stood around for a few hours. Once everyone else was ready, we did three takes of the opening scene of the movie. I play a corpse, but I do it well apparantly. It was interesting to see it all happen - the effects work (no CGI, all old school), the acting, the camerawork and all that stuff. It was also cold. And a long night. Alison was a good sport about it all and everyone was really friendly though and that made all the difference in the world.
Sunday was play day. Jeremy came and picked us up again and after lunch and beers at a great pub called Growler's, which much to my delight carried Bridgeport IPA, we went rollerskating at Rock Roll O Rena which doens't look like it's been touched since 1973. I'm terrible at rollerskating but I only fell one and I didn't hurt myself. It probably looked odd though as it was almost all kids there and they skated circles around me.
From there, back to the airport is where we went only to find out that our flight was delayed and that we might not make our connection in Chicago. Thankfully, our travel mojo was working well and we wound up on a direct to LGA which got us in a half an hour before we were supposed to have been there in the first place. All's well that ends well, right?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
As such, I'm still tired. It was three days of non-stop 'stuff' and while I was happy to do it and look forward to doing it again, it reminded me that I'm getting old. Couple that with more work related bullshit than I care for and it's been a long week. Add to that the completely unexpected death of a former co-worker from my last job and you can understand how I'm tired, and so I've opted to find solace in the finer things in life.
This week, what has occupied me?
-Shaw Brothers Kung Fu - definitely see Kiss Of Death if you dig Kill Bill style revenge films done right and House of Traps is fun if you like guys in bad outfits running around in houses filled with... traps.
-Deception - Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor star in this very mediocre and predictable film that features more naked ladies than you'd expect. That said, naked ladies can help but not save a film that lays all its cards on the table from the on set. If you have half a brain, you'll see the twist coming.
-Pieces - Juan Piquer's trash classic got a 2-disc release from Grindhouse Releasing. Just get it. It's awesome. And bloody. And it has a rad Bruce Lee dude in it.
The Jesus And Mary Chain: The Power of Negative Thinking - four discs of JAMC's demos, outtakes, covers and b-sides. I'm of the belief that feedback actually helps purge the bad stuff from your head when life beats up on you and this set definitely does the trick. It's worth getting just to hear their fuzzed out and dirty sounding wall of sound cover of Prince's Alphabet Street. Awesome stuff.
These things, coupled with a nice bottle of mid-priced Aussie merlot, are a good combination. That said, the next couple of months have a lot to look forward to. St. Louis/movie work is the weekend after this one and Alison is taking me on a secret vacation to an undisclosed location the second weeke in November. I've got the seed for a screenplay or story of some sort brewing in my brain and in December I'm hoping to take off to the great white north for a few days to see the whole fam damily. Life is good over all, really. I've little to complain about, but the little there is, I'll take full advantage of.
Without further ado, some odd pictures Alison took of me at the Coney Island aquarium earlier this week...
Monday, October 6, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
It infuriates me that the government would bail out an economy that has been brutally sodomized by greedy bankers and brokers at the expense of the American (or legally naturalized) tax payer.
What about health care? $700 billion dollars would help a lot of sick people get better. Let the greedy pricks on Wall Street tread water for a couple of years. Let the housing market tank. Let the economy recover naturally even if it takes some time. By voting in the bail out the government is essentially 'faking it' (interpret that comparison as you will) while the Democrats fling crap at the Republicans and the Republicans fling crap at the Democrats and the blame game goes on and on and on.
Bush urges the House and the Senate to pass the bill - but does he care or is he simply using a bucket to bail out the sinking ship that will likely be his political legacy so late in his undeniably assinine Presidential career?
It pisses me off that big business wins again while unemployment rates skyrocket (the highest in seven years as of today), small businesses fail, and hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in this country can't afford to see a doctor. The two party system in this country continues to fail and I sincerely believe that the founding fathers would be horribly, horribly embarassed by all of this, as everyone who has played a part in the economic downfall of the former superpower that was the United States of America should be.
It might sound ungrateful for an immigrant such as myself to bitch about things like this, but if I didn't truly care about the direction the country is taking I wouldn't be here in the first place. At least in Canada I could go to the hospital without having to sell an organ on the blackmarket to fund it. America is awesome in so many ways and it is such a truly great country on so many levels that it just adds insult to injury to see this happen....
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
And I've lost my leg
A climbing up the topsails
I've lost my leg
I'm shipping up to Boston
Shipping off to Boston
Shipping out to Boston
To find my wooden leg
Hopefully I won't ever have a wooden leg but I am heading to Boston in half an hour for a company event. I'm back tomorrow evening. It's still really weird to me to be away from home and away from Alison, even if it is only for a single night. I'm sappy that way I guess. I mean, there are worse places to go and the reason I'm heading there is to oversee a company dinner at a very nice restaurant with a good group of people. Free food, free booze, and a nice hotel to crash at. Years ago this would have really appealed to me. I'm mellowing in my old age, as to be honest, I'd rather be at home watching TV with my girl.
In other complete unrelated news, we're heading to St. Louis in late Oct. to pitch in on a movie that I invested in. I'm apparantly going to have a brief cameo role and am also supposedly going to be a murder victim in the film! haha.
My mom's coming out to visit second weekend in October - that'll be fun. It's only for a couple of nights but I've already booked some fun activities to keep us all busy while she's here. It'll be good to see her again.
Other than that, just keeping on keeping on. This weekend some of us local yocals are planning to hit up a tiki bar in Brooklyn called the Zombie Hut. I'll bring my camera.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
One of the coolest things about getting to the top of the peak was the random stuff that we were able to see. This lone squirrel was just going to town at the top of the tree that you can see in the first picture. I was able to zoom in on him a bit. What a cute little squirrel. Hooray!
As you come down the hill, you get a nice view of the mighty city of Boulder. I believe that was were Mork and Mindy was filmed, but don't hold that against it. It's a nice place, even if it is ripe with dirty hippies. Seriously. I saw guys dancing to the Grateful Dead while playing frisbee in the park and just about wanted to puke. Or at least steal their frisbee. That said, if you don't mind exlporing the city a bit you can find a couple of good record stores and score Jerry Reed LPs for your girlfriend at a fair price. If that's your thing.
Another thing to be aware of is that Boulder is definitely bear country! They make no qualms about letting you know this when you come into the park and warn you not to approach the bears. We didn't see any (I was hoping to see a mountain lion or a bear or something but we had to settle for squirrels, deer, and a frighteningly buff sixty year old dude who was doing push ups by himself at the top of the mountain) but the stickers on the garbage can prove that, yes, I was in bear country. Go me.
Here's a peek at the peak. It was a good hike and man did I feel it the next day but it was definitely worth it. Why bother going all the way to a hippy town like Boulder if you're not at least going to get outside for a bit and see what makes it interesting in the first place? Sure there's a shopping strip and a lot of neat bars to hit but you can get that and more in NYC (and believe it or not, you'll spend a lot less doing it). You don't get big ass mountains in NYC though. We had them in Portland, and that was pretty rad, but work didn't fly me to Portland (yet - it's on the books for August of 2009 so Portlanders mark your calender now as Alison and I want to plan a vacation around it).
On the way up and the way down you see some neat rocks and outcrops, formed by the movement of glaciers thousands of years ago. At least that's what the guide said. The guide was cool. He was in his sixties and his calves were like the size of my chest. He was in super rad shape and kept telling us about how when he was in college everyone would smoke weed on the front lawn of the campus.
So yeah, here's me. On a mountain. Looking rugged and in dire need of a haircut and sporting a couple of nice pimples. Since I got home, the pimples went away but I still have to get that haircut, lest I wind up smoking weed on the front lawn of a campus and developing freakishly large leg muscles.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Here's the proof.... three floors of caves, mariachi bands, arcade games, and all around tackiness.