Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of Year Meme

Electronic Cerebrectomy posted this, and I am following suit:


1.What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Went to Halloween Horror Nights.



2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Well, if you are asking if I lost the weight I wanted to lose, then no. If you are asking if I am gonna try again, then yes.



3.Did anyone close to you give birth?



4.Did anyone close to you die?



5.What countries did you visit?



6.What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

More willpower to get up and walk.


7.What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

Was pretty shocked the week we lost a buttload of celebrities. Halloween was memorable, too. And Christmas is always a great memory.



8.What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Wrote another novel.



9. What was your biggest failure?

Not losing the weight I wanted to.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Threw out my back twice, but it isn't anything extraordinary.


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Hmmm... The Trick 'r Treat DVD!



12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Well, I am pretty proud of our oldest and his wife. They found and purchased and moved into a home of their own that is just awesome!


13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Appalled? Tiger Woods or Jon & Kate, I suppose. Depressed? Rob Zombie and his Halloween 2 crapfest.


14. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, bills, food, the usual suspects.


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The new Friday the 13th movie, which wasn't earth-shattering awesome, but was pretty good. I liked it!

Camp Crystal Lake 6


16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

That movie mash, The Golden Age of Video, a YouTube video/song.


17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier, without a doubt.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, but working on it.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, in more ways than one.


18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Walking. Writing.


19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Eating! And worrying.


20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Well, I SPENT Christmas 2009 with my family and I plan on doing the same in 2010.


21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Already deep in love.


22. How many one-night stands?



23. What was your favorite TV program?

Modern Family is great. Also love Sanctuary.


24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Not really. Annoyed, yes, but not hatin'.


25. What was the best book you read?

Enjoying the Alfred Hitchcock compilation I am reading right now.


26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Feist. Love her!


27. What did you want and get?

The Trick 'r Treat DVD. And a set up for a couple of pet rats, which was a surprise, since I wasn't planning on doing it yet. Exciting!


28. What did you want and not get?

Another season of LIFE or My Name is Earl.


29. What was your favorite film of this year?

Trick 'r Treat. Also liked the new Friday the 13th.



30. What did you do on your birthday?

Spent the day with my wife and kids, just chilling out. Think we may have eaten at Chili's or something.


31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A lottery win? I dunno, not complaining here.


32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Hah! Jeans, t-shirts and a much-worn hoodie.


33. What kept you sane?

My wife. Watching my kids grow and change. Coffee. Writing.


34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Kristen Chenoweth. :)



35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Health reform, I suppose. I tend not to get too political.


36. Who did you miss?

My little brother, I suppose. We don't get to spend too much time together.


37. Who was the best new person you met?

Tie, I suppose, between Cal and Dr. Monkey.


38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:

"Sometimes you just need to unsubscribe."


39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"We came, we saw, we kicked its ass."



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Musings

Just wanted to mention a couple of things I saw on the Net yesterday.

First, the Friendly Atheist showcased this display by The Triangle Freethought Society Raleigh, North Carolina.

click to enlarge

I like it. As Hemant says: "It's positive without being disparaging."

The Triangle Freethought Society site.


AlterNet had the a great column by Greta Christina:

7 Reasons for Atheists to Celebrate the Holidays

A great list and I agree with many of her choices. Last year, I did a similar post. If you want to read it, click here.


UPDATE: Dr. Monkey over at Monkey Muck had a very similar post today. Check it out!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Movie Monday - A Stocking Full of Christmas Films

Lots more holiday viewing this week:


Holiday Inn (1942)

[Bing Crosby; Fred Astaire; Marjorie Reynolds; Virginia Dale; Walter Abel; Louise Beavers]

Plot: Tired of the bright lights of showbiz, Jim Hardy retires to the countryside to become a farmer. He converts the farm into the Holiday Inn, open only on holidays, then competes against his pal for a singer-dancer's affection.

This was my very first viewing of this classic, and I shouldn't have waited so long. Musicals aren't really my favorite kind of flick, but this one is fun and the songs are great. All are great in their roles, especially Crosby and Astaire. Great combination.

This film was also the first appearance of the perennial Christmas classic song "White Christmas". Great song, great film.


White Christmas (1954)

[Bing Crosby; Danny Kaye; Rosemary Clooney; Vera-Ellen; Dean Jagger; Mary Wickes]

Plot: Crosby and Kaye play war buddies turned entertainers who fall for a pair of sisters. The boys follow the girls to a resort, which is owned by their former commanding officer, and he's in danger of losing the place. What better reason to stage a show than to keep the resort out of hock?

Another classic I had always missed, this year I made a point of watching it. And I like it, even more so than "Holiday Inn". Crosby and Kaye make a great team, and paired with Clooney and Ellen, they really shine. Music is great throughout, including the title track.

Also love seeing Wickes, she has been a favorite character actress of mine for years. Always fun seeing her in anything, and I probably would have watched this one years ago, had I realized she had a part in it.


The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas (1996)

[Sam McMurray; Ann Magnuson; Bug Hall; Sandy Baron; Mary Woronov]

Grandpa has accidentally captured Santa Claus and two of his elves, while Lily is trying to win the local neighborhood Christmas home decorating competition, and Marilyn has invited family and friends from the "old country" to stay for Christmas. And Eddie is sad, and nothing seems to cheer him up.

Hoo-boy. Sometimes, I just wonder how movies get made. This flick is just bad. Not funny, at all, ever. The plot is thin, at best. And the actors barely work to bring the Munster family to life. Just not good, at all. Bleh!

Couldn't find a trailer, and you are better off for it.


A Very Brady Christmas (1988)

[Florence Henderson; Robert Reed; Ann B. Davis; Maureen McCormick; Eve Plumb; Barry Williams; Christopher Knight; Mike Lookinland; Jennifer Runyon]

Plot: The entire Brady family manages to overcome personal obstacles to spend a happy holiday together.

I will be the firs to admit that this movie is schmaltzy. It is a guilty pleasure flick if ever there was one.

That said, I like it. It is goofy, moralistic, cheesy. But it is what the Bradys were always all about and stays true to the family I (and many of us) grew up on. The only major "flaw" I have with it is the fact that the actress who originally played Cindy (Susan Olsen) was unavailable for this reunion, so Cindy is played by the 80s cutie Jennifer Runyon. Having Olsen would have made this movie near-perfect.

I realize some of you may be shaking your heads, but I stand by this flick. It is just a good old holiday visit with some old friends. Recommended.

This is part one, but the whole movie (I believe) is available to watch on YouTube!


Black Christmas (1974)

[Olivia Hussey; Keir Dullea; Margot Kidder; John Saxon; Marian Waldman; Andrea Martin]

Plot: Terror reigns inside a sorority house a few days before Christmas break as a series of menacing phone calls -- and the discovery of a dead girl's body -- transform yuletide cheer into fear. This 1970s horror gem comes from director Robert Clark, who told a much happier holiday tale with his 1983 classic, A Christmas Story.

This is my favorite holiday-horror flick, it is just so well done and so damn creepy! The killer is SO freaking crazy, we are left scared for the characters and ourselves. And we are left wondering so much more about this madman. Great early 70s stuff.


It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

[James Stewart; Donna Reed; Lionel Barrymore; Thomas Mitchell; Henry Travers]

Plot: Frank Capra's inverted take on A Christmas Carol stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a good man who's spent a lifetime giving up on his dreams in order to keep life in his small town humming. When a guardian angel named Clarence finds a despondent George poised to jump off a bridge, he shows George what life would've been like had he never been born.

I don't really need to say much about this one, it is a classic, and deservedly so. The unrealized ambitions of a small town man lead him to believe his life has been meaningless. But he soon comes to see otherwise.

The ending of this flick always gets to me. I know what is coming, I have seen it before. But when you watch the movie from the beginning, by the time you reach that final scene you are just wrapped up in the whole story. Moving, indeed.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Theme Thursday - History

The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less

Quantum fluctuation. Inflation. Expansion. Strong nuclear interaction. Particle-antiparticle annihilation. Deuterium and helium production. Density perturbations. Recombination. Blackbody radiation. Local contraction. Cluster formation. Reionization? Violent relaxation. Virialization. Biased galaxy formation? Turbulent fragmentation. Contraction. Ionization. Compression. Opaque hydrogen. Massive star formation. Deuterium ignition. Hydrogen fusion. Hydrogen depletion. Core contraction. Envelope expansion. Helium fusion. Carbon, oxygen, and silicon fusion. Iron production. Implosion. Supernova explosion. Metals injection. Star formation. Supernova explosions. Star formation. Condensation. Planetesimal accretion. Planetary differentiation. Crust solidification. Volatile gas expulsion. Water condensation. Water dissociation. Ozone production. Ultraviolet absorption. Photosynthetic unicellular organisms. Oxidation. Mutation. Natural selection and evolution. Respiration. Cell differentiation. Sexual reproduction. Fossilization. Land exploration. Dinosaur extinction. Mammal expansion. Glaciation. Homo sapiens manifestation. Animal domestication. Food surplus production. Civilization! Innovation. Exploration. Religion. Warring nations. Empire creation and destruction. Exploration. Colonization. Taxation without representation. Revolution. Constitution. Election. Expansion. Industrialization. Rebellion. Emancipation Proclamation. Invention. Mass production. Urbanization. Immigration. World conflagration. League of Nations. Suffrage extension. Depression. World conflagration. Fission explosions. United Nations. Space exploration. Assassinations. Lunar excursions. Resignation. Computerization. World Trade Organization. Terrorism. Internet expansion. Reunification. Dissolution. World-Wide Web creation. Composition. Extrapolation?

Copyright 1996-1997 by Eric Schulman.

Original post here.


Sorry for the 'cut and paste' post. Had nothing original for the theme and having a cough/cold didn't help with thinking creatively.

I am sure there are much better takes on the theme at the site:

Theme Thursday ---> History


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Movie Monday - Christmas Flicks

Been watching lots of Christmas specials and movies with the family.

Here are a few of the holiday-themed films I have laid my eyes on:


Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

[Barbara Stanwyck; Dennis Morgan; Sydney Greenstreet; Reginald Gardiner; S.Z. Sakall; Robert Shayne; Una O'Connor]

Plot: Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a magazine columnist who touts herself as a blissful wife, mother and expert homemaker living on an idyllic Connecticut farm. Trouble is, it's all a lie. When her publisher cooks up a scheme to boost circulation by having Elizabeth entertain a war veteran on Christmas Eve, will her charade unravel?

I love this old flick! Stanwyck and Greenstreet are great, as usual, but Sakall and O'Connor shine in their "minor" parts, as a good-hearted chef and a harried housekeeper, respectively.

Just a great, ultimately heartwarming tale about how far people will go to conceal the truth.


Holiday Affair (1949)

[Robert Mitchum; Janet Leigh; Wendell Corey; Gordon Gebert]

Plot: Leigh stars as Connie Ennis, a young widowed mother who has an unfortunate first encounter with department store clerk Steve Mason, inadvertently causing him to get fired just before Christmas. Despite the mishap, Steve takes Connie on a date, much to the chagrin of her better-established suitor, Carl, but much to the delight of her young son, Timmy, who would much prefer Steve to Carl as a stepdad.

This is a great movie that seems small, due to the focus on the few main cast members. All are great in their roles, and it is fun to see Mitchum in a part that is so different from his usual tough guy roles.

Great movie, a tale that reminds us that sometimes, the heart just wants what it wants.

Click here for a clip.


O. Henry's Full House (1952)

[Fred Allen; Anne Baxter; Jeanne Crain; Farley Granger; Charles Laughton; Marilyn Monroe; Richard Widmark]

Top movie talents lend their gifts to this 1952 anthology of O. Henry short-story adaptations, introduced and narrated by Nobel laureate John Steinbeck. "The Gift of the Magi," "The Clarion Call," "The Cop and the Anthem," "The Last Leaf" and "The Ransom of Red Chief" come to life, thanks to an impressive roster including directors Howard Hawks and Henry Hathaway.

A great film, the five segments here are fun and moving, a tribute to the great writing O. Henry is famous for. It aired around the holidays mainly due to the final segment, the oft-imitated "Gift of the Magi".

Great film!


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Theme Thursday posted "Snow" as the topic this week.


Snow may bring to mind the onset of winter,

Tiring hours of scraping and shoveling.

Or a Christmas wonderland of white,

Exciting days spent sledding and skiing.

To me, snow recalls a late December afternoon,

Magical moments with my baby girl, snowflakes swirling.


My daughter was born four days before Christmas.

That night, as I held her in my arms, I looked out the window and saw snow falling.

My nickname for her was born in that moment.

She is so much older now, a young woman I am constantly amazed by and proud of.

But she will always be my little Snowflake.

Love you!


For more Theme Thursday, click here ---> Snow

And Happy Birthday, Ravyn!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Great Masterpieces in Coffee

Cup o' Joe this week:

Artsy Spot showcased the world's greatest masterpieces in coffee.

Since it is Christmastime, I chose this one as an example:

Coffee Art

To view the site, go to Coffee Creations. Many incredible works of art done in coffee/espresso there!

You can also learn more the artist, click ---> Karen.

Here is what she had to say about her creations:

"Coffee art is a truly unique art form. It requires a thoughtful and delicate touch. Capturing the depth of these classic works is only possible through a slow and sophisticated process of building layers upon layers of espresso.

I first thought of the idea of painting with coffee while watching rich, red-brown espresso pouring perfectly into my cup. As I enjoyed my hot latte, it occured to me that perhaps I could take my passion for coffee to a deeper level. So I dipped my brush and began painting, and to my delight, it worked beautifully.

Painting with coffee is a completely enjoyable experience…Most often I paint in the coffee shop immersed in the delicious aroma of freshly ground coffee and sounds of low conversation, steam, and grind, which continue to inspire me as I watch my brush add new dimensions to the painting.

I hope that each painting brings you into the same warm atmosphere."

Beautiful & interesting art!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Theme Thursday - Friend

Theme Thursday posted "Friend" as the topic this week.

I thought it would be a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on some of the people I have met online, people who have become more than just a weird name or a funny avatar. People who have become true friends.


Ravyn (@ Ravyn's World)

I was going to limit this list to just friends, but I couldn't do it. I had to start with the one person, above all others, who has become not only my best friend but also my love - my wife, Ravyn.

We met way back in 1994, when this online world was still so new. We bonded as friends before we ever met, and fell in love when we did. We have been through so much since then, including raising all of our amazing children together.

We are coming up on 15 years since that first, 'real-life' meeting, and I wouldn't change one thing about any of it. She has shown me not only that there are good, caring, loving people in the world, but that I deserve all that for myself, as well. I only hope I have done the same for her.


Jeff (JeffScape @ Irreverent Irrelevance)

I have known Jeff the longest, in terms of online friends (well, 2nd longest, if you count my Ravyn). We met a long time ago in a comic book chat or forum, I can't recall now.

Our mutual love for, and frustration with, the comic book world was a basis for a friendship that has withstood distance, overcome differences (me = settled family man/him = nomadic soldier) and grown with a shared passion for writing.

Jeff is as loyal and honest (and frustrating) as you can ask for in a friend, and even if he doesn't like to get all mushy about, I am thankful to know him.


Cal (@ Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness)

I met Cal after stumbling across his blog a year ago. I was shocked and amused to find someone posting some many photos, links and anecdotes that I loved and identified with.

Over this past year, I have come to also know Cal as a great guy with a big heart, an eye for the beautifully strange and unusual and a prolific love for blogging that keeps me inspired.

Cal is also always vigilant in the war against the cephalopods, and we will be thanking him for it one day!


Steve (Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein @ Monkey Muck & Dr. Monkey's Retro Blog)

I met Dr. Monkey earlier this year, we had a crossing interest in different blogs, and I soon came to appreciate the strange mix of content he offers daily.

His blogs can be a source of wonderful inanity, with posts featuring creative replacement dialogue mixed with cheesy photos or vintage pics. And the next day it can be a heartfelt post about something dear to him, or a rant about something that just inflames his sense of what is right.

Dr. Monkey is a man who has learned to love and enjoy life while still holding accountable those who need a good kick in the rear. Thanks for saying what some of us find hard to articulate, Doc!


Hector (Curious George @ tvandcelluloid)

I met Hector about a year ago, on a forum for the show we both have a deep-seated love for, "Friday the 13th: The Series". It is a show that has an enduring appeal that goes much deeper than the 80s look it sports.

Hector and I agree on so many points regarding the show, it is amazing sometimes. But I was also taken by the good nature, laid back attitude and generosity that is just who he is.

He has had quite a roller coaster year, but he has maintained quite a positive outlook and a sense of humor about it all. I applaud him for always being able to look on the bright side, and wish him tons of luck in the new chapter he has just begun!


Laura (@ The Aquaman Website and Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog)

Laura is another old friend, er... I mean long-time friend! We met when I surfed on over to her amazing, comprehensive site for all things Aquaman. I was as astounded by the work she put into the site as I was by the fact that there was another fan so fanatical about the King of the Seas. Back then, it seemed like we were few and far between.

I have known Laura throughout the ups and downs of our hero, and he has had plenty of those, but also through the ups and downs of normal life. She hasn't always had an easy voyage herself, but she keeps on keeping on, and I am always rooting for her.

I also owe the creation of this blog to her. Back in the Fall of '08, when she posted about one of her Blog-anniversaries, I was inspired to start this one myself. So, thanks Laura!


I could go on and on, really. I have met so many great people here.

Jason Soto (@ Invasion of the B Movies), who shares a love for films that don't always deserve it, and those that deserve more attention than they get.

wiec? (@ when is evil cool?), who is not only quite prolific in his blogging, but also shares a passion for the pop culture world and horror flicks that makes me feel less alone in my weird tastes.

Otin (@ Wizard of Otin), a man with a talent for writing that is always surprising and engrossing. His twisted tales always entertain.

Brian Miller (@ WaystationOne), a man who has a love and appreciation for family and friends that is constantly expressed in great prose and poetry.

Mr. Beautiful (@ The Leroy Lockhorn Appreciation Society), who has a shared love for the wacky and weird comic The Lockhorns. There must be something wrong with both of us.

Gilligan (@ retrospace), a blogger who has an eye and heart for the cheesy, out-dated and always wonderful stuff from our pop culture past. He is an archivist of our groovy memories.

Rob (@ The Aquaman Shrine &, a man who continues to amaze and inspire with the sheer amount he is able to accomplish each and every day. I wish I had half his energy.

Jon (@ Random Acts of Geekery, Saturday Morning Superstars, Dracula's Crypt of Collectibles and many more!), who entertains every day with his multitude of blogs, and inspires with his wonderful family.

George (@ Macabre Drive-In Theater), who spotlights the odd and obscure in the horror world we both love.

Carl (@ I Like Horror Movies), who has his finger on the pulse of the horror flicks, both old and new, good and bad, that I connect with.

Johnny (@ Freddy in Space & Win Free Horror Shit!), who has such a love for the horror world that he goes above and beyond to share it with the rest of us. Thank you for all your work and passion, man!


If I missed anyone, it was not intentional. Like I said, I could go on and on.

Thank you all for making life entertaining, exciting, funny, strange and unusual.

I hope to always be your friend.



For more Theme Thursday, click here ---> Family


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 - Whew!

Another November has come and gone, and with it another NaNoWriMo.

And I won - I finished my novel, just over 50,000 words, about noon yesterday!


It was stressful, at times. Some days, the words were right there and my count rose steadily. Other days, not so much.

But I am done. I have now written three novels.

Big thanks to my wife, the lovely Ravyn. Thank you for all the support, advice and enthusiasm. I appreciate it all!

And I had to laugh when I looked at my blog post from last year regarding the 2008 NaNoWriMo. I mentioned possibly doing another novel on my own in January. Yeah, that didn't happen.

But heck, there's always this January!

And if not, I will be back for NaNoWriMo 2010 next November.