Sunday, August 27, 2006

Courtesy of TwinkleSchwester

I only modified it a little. . .

Thank you Twinkle! That was fun :).

Yesterday was going to be practice day at the Huntingdon track while today was going to be race day in Altoona. Yesterday's practice was cut short by Max's school picnic and a radio glitch in my truck I've been chasing forever. Today's race was cancelled due to rain. My inner Thtuart Thmalley says "That's great! I won't have to clean any cars this week". My inner Mr. Grumpygills wonders how I'm going to get any practice before the big East Coast Race Against Cancer in September

Max & I figured rainouts make good movie days, but the only kids movies out right now are Zoom and How to Eat Fried Worms, neither of which seemed to flip the boy's cookie. So as I blog we're watching the DVD of Thunderbirds I picked up for nearly-free last week. It's a B-movie with an A budget, and Ben Kingsley as the-evil-villian-in-bad-eye-makeup-and-a-kimono. How did he go from Ghandi to this? Oh yeah, and Anthony Edwards reviving his breakthrough role from Revenge of The Nerds. Wasn't he a huge TV medical drama star a little while ago? Remember the other guy in Revenge of The Nerds? He fell off the map immediately post-Nerds. I saw him recently in John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars. He had one line. Then the ghosts got him.

I've had a hankerin' for super hero movies lately. Any recommendations? Videostore girl recommends the Blade trilogy. How are the X-Men films? Aeon Flux? What's good?



Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bad blogger. No biscuit.

I'm sorry. No idea why I haven't been blogging as of late.

Maybe it's because in our culture a man's career is his identity. So when a man leaves his career, he leaves his identity, and has to find a way to reinvent himself. And that's a personal, private, difficult thing to do, so maybe I'm not in a good place for sharing.

Maybe I've lost my sense of humor. AK feeds me fiber now, I'm losing all sorts of stuff, maybe it's been flushed.

Maybe it's because I am STONED on Benadrool Abbergy 24 hours a day. Really. The second the stuff begins to wear off, my whole face itches, my throat tickles, I sneeze incessantly and produce fountains of muucus like the hotels in Vegas produce fountains of colored, coreographed water.

Oh well, on with life.

Glasses: Finally got to go get my eyes checked, and the fancy doctors in the fancy Optometry mansion who have skinny manicured secretaries in expensive tight business suits (must be good money in eyes!) confirmed my suspicion. Indeed, my lack of periferal vision is caused by my glasses and there don't seem to be any prescription sports glasses or anything that wraps around so that I can see the whole world at once like I did before I wore glasses.

And oh yeah, I need BIFOCALS!!! I'm 36 years old, and they want me to do that old-man thing where I tilt my head up & look down my nose to read, then tilt my head down & look over my specs to talk to people. Nope, not this year, I'll get regular glasses. Maybe I'll buckle and get bifocals (now called "Progressives") when I reach the ripe old age of 37.

Contact lenses were talked up as a cheap alternative that would give me my field of vision back, but I knew there was a reason I had never considered them before. I couldn't remember what the reason was. AK told me with my allergies & severely irritated, swollen eyeballs they'd be a bad idea. Yeah, ok, there's a point. But if they're really cheaper, I'm thinking I should at least try them. I decided to put it out to the blogosphere and ask y'all your experiences and opinions of contacts vs. spectacles. But in time, AK confessed the REAL reason I can't have contacts: she thinks I'm hot with glasses on. :) End of discussion.

So where do I shop for interesting, cool glasses? Maybe ones that will increase my field of vision over the little specs I have now? She won't let me get the Elvis Costello glasses I really want. Even though I do a GREAT Elvis impersonation . . . "Wha's so funny 'bout peace love and understaaaaanding, UUUHAAOOOUH. . . ". There must be more than what I saw at the Optimansion. Or where do I find out what kinds of glasses do well on what types of faces? There must be something like that somewhere on the internet?

RC Max and I had a very nice RC day last weekend. I've been trying to start a spec class with these inexpensive, indestructible little tanks of 4WD buggies, figured if I had one I could let people try it out, and Max could probably drive it better than his 2WD truck. Sure enough, he could control the thing even with the trigger pulled all the way. Flying roost = happy son. For the first time, he actually enjoyed the RC part of our RC day! This has not been important lately, I've focused on just being around and hanging out, but it was nice to share that with him -- really -- for the first time.

Max's new Tamiya Gravel Hound

Max Gladly Participating in Pre-Race Smack Talk

Sold my Gas Truck, so now I'm strictly electric. MUCH simpler to pit for flashlights only and a little cleaner too. Lux Graphics is sponsoring a big charity race in the middle of September and that will be a lot of fun. 3 days & 2 nights of nothing but RC, and lots of my local 'Toona Town homies are going too. I'm hoping we can all stay at the same hotel and terrorize the place with XMODS. XMODS are tiny, 1/28th scale cars that are truly useless, really, unless you've got to get your race on away from home in confined quarters. And are slightly if not completely inebriated.

Flix I've taken in so many movies lately I don't know where to start. 3-part documentary on globalization called "Commanding Heights: Battle for the World Economy". Did you know we started this century with a global economy very much like the one we have now? I love the historical stuff more than the current events, it's just so much easier to wrap my brain around. I finally found all 3 Matrix movies cheap enough to buy the set, so that entertained me for one afternoon of painting. Neeto effects, neeto plot. Has Keanu Reeves ever had a facial expression or variation in voice tone? He'll be the new Gary Sinise if he's not carefull (Forrest Gump excepted). Max of all people pointed out to me that LOTR Priscilla Queen of The Elves (the Head Elf who also starred in the aussie film) plays the important role of Agent Smith in the Matrix films. I'd never made the connection.

I went on a Mars kick recently. I've unknowingly collected films about Mars! Mars by the way IS still a planet (Justin Roberts is going to have to write his song about the NINE planets). I've got Mission to Mars, Red Planet, Total Recall and Ghosts of Mars. Who knew? What Mars movies am I missing? Do some Google Fu?

FOOTBALL is going nicely thanks to Max's new team/coaches. They are really working with him one-on-one and that's not only what he needs it's the way he learns best. Like me, his is a mentor learner, an auditory learner. We learn by talking through what we're learning, and that takes some one-on-one with the teacher. They're showing him a world I was never a part of, the grunting, physical battlefield world of football. And bless them for that! The more I learn about life the more I see it's hard for a man to be a man. The gridiron is a place for him to slay dragons, conquer foes, hunt & gather, protect his pack. I've completely disattached myself from it and become a spectator. This is also good for Max since it takes some pressure off. My football advice: "Coach good. Listen to coach. Do what coach say."

Blog good. Make blog more later.



Sunday, August 06, 2006

Detritus. Flotsam. Jetsam.

There is a spider living in our Ford Expedition's rear view mirror assembly. It is the size of a German Shepherd, it's web would snag our poodle Thor it's so big, and driving 60mph does not phase the spider or it's web in the least. On our way home from Max's swim party yesterday, I think the guy was actually windsurfing.

Netflix Report:
Liberty! The American Revolution This is the first thing I've seen or read that actually made the revolutionary war interesting to me. It's a 3-disc series, highly recommended. Watch these in conjunction with National Treasure and it's a lot of fun.
Roll Bounce OH MY GOBBLEDY GOOKIN' GIZZLE this was fun! The story was totally formulaic and most of the characters completely 2-dimensional aside from a standout performance by Chi McBride as an out-of-work widower & father. BUT man the soundtrack was a stellar collection of soul, funk and the Disco that I will argue to my grave is not disco! And SKATING in every other scene! The cool kind, the kind you used to see in the park on Saturday, the kind that the very best at Roller World did, the kind we all tried to do and fell on our butts. There was a po' old skate rink and a shiny new one that looked like Studio 54. My beloved Roller World out in Clayton was exactly in between the two in the movie, in that it wasn't as old as the older rink but all the cool stuff like carpeted mushrooms to sit on, funky carpet designs and a disco ball -- was really worn out, dirty & beat up. This movie makes me want to go right out to a skating rink (do they still exist?) and do the little cross-over bop-up-and-down thing that me and JT Crawford (with his 'fro out to the moon) taught ourselves to do. I had a pair of black skates with super-wide, bright green wheels and I loved them so much I wore them even when they were 3 sizes too small. My only beef with this silly but deliciously nostalgic (for me) movie was that all the skating was cuts between the skaters on the bottom and the actors on the top. I wanted to see more whole-body jam skate dancing like the dudes in Golden Gate Park. I SOOOOOO wanted to be those guys.
Dazed & Confused Got this for $4 along with some others (Roll Bounce as well, check out your local Hollywood for this deal) and it's not a bad coming of age, torment & turbulence of High School movie. Honestly, the only interesting part was seeing young Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Matthew McConoughey & Milla Jovovich. -- who I kept wanting to say "MOOLTEEPASS". She never did :(.
Hitch We're all Big Willie fans in this house, but Kevin James totally stole this movie. I'm surprised he's not a huuuuuge comedy star by now. Or is he & I don't know because all I ever get to see that's current are kids movies?
Kinsey Sometimes cute, mostly sad movie about the first American sexual revolution and the man who made it happen. Like most movies, it stars Liam Neeson. I have a special affinity for Laura Linney who plays Mrs. Kinsey so that's worth the $4 right there. A fellow PGMUFCPSC associate pointed out that Laura Linney has a smile/look similar to those of The Lovely & Talented Mrs. Hults. Word.

Perhaps my Lauralinneyphilic tendencies have been explained? I know, it's not a fair comparison, Alaska is so much prettier. And she's never kissed Liam Neeson.



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

So that was good.

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days: This is a vintage motorcycle swap meet, the largest in the country, and it's where I spent last Thursday through Sunday. MUCH fun. Really hot, & I spent more time manning my sales display than cruising the cool shows, races & events, but very very much worth the investment.

The primary goal of course was to sell some weenybikes and start a Realbike Fund. I also brought a bootyload of MC crap and Honda paraphernalia that was taking up space in the garage. While ultimately neither of the 2 weenybikes I brought sold, I did come home with almost $450.00 and that looks to me like the start of a Realbike Fund. It's not as motivating as the $3K I'd hoped to have by now, but it's a start.

Another goal of this adventure was to see just how much of what kinds of motorcycle things still light my fire. It was a bitter divorce, my parting with Honda, and I've left a great deal of my enthusiasm & passion behind. Going on 2 years now, I've felt some of the old riding pangs come back. Curiously, they are the same pangs that got me into bikes way back before I went into the industry: must leave, must cross state lines, must smell foliage and hear wind while doing it. Well I learned something along these lines as well, attending AMA VMD: for me, riding is as much about the people I ride with/to as it is about the riding. Seeing my old friends and making new friends really was the highlight of VMD, and motivates me even more to get the Newbike Fund growing. On The Newbike, I will follow my friends on adventures and I will see my friends at my destinations. HUUUUGE part, apparently, of what its all about for me.

Lux Graphics: Things were slow & I was pretty happy about that before VMD. The love was gone, I just couldn't light those creative fires. I'd been struggling with a new technique called "Trueflame" or "Realfire" or "ReallyRealCombustoBody", in which a car is painted to look like there are real flames instead of stylized traditional hot rod flames. Very frustrating, but one of my top clients ordered it so I couldn't put off learning the technique any longer. Now I'm back, and it was VERY therapeutic to not read e-mails or even handle an airbrush for almost a week! The orders are coming in again, I've finally made some progress with the new technique. . .

. . .and I seem to have gotten my groove back. The writing gig that I had seems to actually be happening now, my first Lux Graphics Wheelchair Things are almost done, and other avenues for revenue are opening up regularly. So, you know, that's good.

FREAKIN HOT: That's what it is here. Strangely, it doesn't make me wish we'd serviced the AC. I don't think the coolness we'd feel would be worth the cost of it, believe it or not. It's possible to acclimate to heat (I SUCK at it, but at least now I recognize it's a possibility). Cool showers and remaining as motionless as possible can go a long way. Fans are good. Cooking is an issue, but AK cooks on the porch grill a lot and that means we eat outside a lot and aside from the gnats (which, lets be reasonabe here, are NOT MINNESOTA MOSQUITOES) what could be more neeto? Oh. . .

VEGETABLES are pretty neeto. I've gone on record for 36 years as a staunch Veggiephobe, but fresh garden veggies can even change my mind. Wow! As I type AK is making sweet pickle relish, which is unfortunate since it involves boiling and lots of heat. But it makes the downstairs smell like fresh cukes and the upstairs smell like easter eggs (vinegar) and those are much more fun to smell than the stale humidity that normally greets me at the door. We had a parent conference in the kitchen just now and downed a whole jug of lemonade. Punchy dehydrated parents sing. . .

"With the lemonade, she wants more, more more

'till the pickles are made, she cried 'more more more, more more more. . . '"

Here is a photo of The Twinkies after picking a particularly Larry-Boy-like cuke from mommy's garden. . .

Babies looooooove cucumber. Cucumber love babies?



Pupp Daddy Dog spends his days working as an entrepeneur and as a Dad. He is passionately in love with/obsessively neurotic about his family. Imagine Kicking Bird mixed with Albert Brooks. Oh, and throw in some Notorious B.I.G.


Alaska is the frustrated but caring cat at the center of our canine universe. All of us alternately worship, rely on and ceaselessly whine to her. Her need to control everything is confounded by the fact that she really pretty much does control everything, so in her few free moments, she knits and searches desperately for things to fuss about.



Max is smart and handsome, with a big heart. He is not only growing like a weed, but he has the attention span and concentration abilities of a weed. Despite my best efforts, AK keeps feeding him and he keeps growing. Our plan is to keep him so busy with school, sports & the arts that he won't notice he's a teenager and is supposed to hate us. T minus 2.5 years to teen launch, so far so good.



 Ben and Milo are phenomenal little creatures who remind us minute-by-minute not only how little control we have in this world, but why we should cease our controlling efforts and just laugh at all of God's jokes. Lately, Milo likes to dance and is good on the piano. Ben likes to mimic Max and enjoys manipulating adults and anyone else who has no idea how quietly brilliant he is. Both of them would love your full and complete attention. Really, stop reading silly blogs and join the fan club now. Ok? Ok.








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