Monday, January 30, 2012

Sometimes, there are no right words.

Most of the key emotional ties to Up the Lake are due to the kids.  Many adults aren’t visibly upset when the summer ends, until it's time to say good bye to the little ones.  Part of the connection comes from seeing the joy, freedom and activeness the place brings out in them, part of it is witnessing succeeding generations enjoy the same things you did, and part of it is watching them grow up as each year passes.  I feel a great sense of pride when now adults (that I still think of as kids) come back Up the Lake, and tell me they remember that I introduced them to a game they really enjoyed or a novelty song or comedy routine they still laugh at.  Those kinds of connections are what make Up the Lake as special as it is. One of the problems with strong emotional bonds, like anything worthwhile in life, is that the better and stronger attachments you form the more danger there is of being hurt when they're lost.

I still picture Jay as the little boy playing Marvel and Talisman and singing “Shaving Cream” over and over again with his cousins (or belching along to "Its a Gas"). Even though he wasn’t a little boy anymore, he was far too young.  Jay was only 22 when a car accident took him from his family.  I feel really stupid saying anything about pain and loss, because I know that even though Up the Lake is a family, the effect on his actual family is indescribable.

There are no right words for something like this. None. Everything is inadequate, nothing explains it and there is no justification.  As a defense mechanism, I guess, I fall back on quotations of others.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Top Ten Awesomest Lines in 1980’s Icky Boy Movies

This is simply a list of my favorite lines from 80’s Sci Fi/Fantasy/Horror movies.
It is based solely on my own opinions and criteria, including an attempt to avoid the most well-known or overused ones.

Straight action movies (which always shot for a catch phrase during that time) have been omitted in the interest of fairness.

The movies RoboCop and Predator, which consisted solely of awesome lines and would need more than ten spots each have also been omitted in the interest of fairness.

Numbers 10 and 9 were released in the early 1990’s, however.
A)   I don’t care.
B)   A movie doesn’t have to be released between 1980 and 1989 to be an “80’s Movie”
C)   Shut up.

For those it really bugs, feel free to substitute 80’s Hall of Famer’s

"I'll be back"

For the rest who realize the ‘80s were more of a state of mind than a time span: Join me, won’t you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

What a Guy!

It’s been about five months since the whole DCnU thing started and I haven’t bought a single issue of “The New 52” for myself.  Granted, on Wednesdays, I tend to get twitchy… and sometimes I break out in hives... but on the whole it’s been working out, as I haven’t really seen anything in the solicits, or issues other people read, that has tempted me.  Considering I’ve gone from multiple books a month including EVERY Green Lantern title, this is quite a change.  The overall weirdest part is that out of all the Lanterns that I faithfully followed, Guy Gardner is the one I miss most.

This is extremely odd, as for many years I considered the greatest Guy appearance of all time to be Green Lantern Volume 3 Issue 25, where Hal (my favorite since childhood) beat the snot out of him and took his ring.  Other highlights were the classic JLI “One Punch” moment with Batman, and the Armageddon 2001 possible future story, where he railed against President Superman and had his ring, once again, forcibly removed. (Note to non-comics readers: That last sentence makes perfect sense.) 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Carnivore’s Guide to Cardiology: Burger Time

At the risk of spoiling the suspense, there's a happy ending!
Almost two years after the exam that started my whole ride down the healthy life road, I needed to go back for some of the same tests.  The reason was a combination of “It’s a good idea” and “I had no symptoms when I had a major blockage.”

Frankly, I was extremely nervous because if I discovered that, despite all my changes to diet and exercise, and all my excellent medical care; blockages were still forming, what the hell do I do now?

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Carnivore’s Guide to Cardiology: Exercise to me is like standing still, only faster

Ever since my knees and calves have informed me in no uncertain terms that we would no longer be doing this running thing anymore, life has become a series of pieces of equipment designed to cause me sweat and discomfort in order to elevate my heart rate while remaining in one spot.  This recumbent bike is the latest example.
I would have moved it to a spot not in front of any superheroes...but I don't have a spot like that.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Old Guy Game Guides: Rainbow Six-Vegas 2

I’ve always been a fan of First Person Shooters. They used to feel much more immersive than third person games, adding an element of fun to the explosions.  I developed what (for me) was a decent amount of skill at Operation Wolf, Operation Thunderbolt, Space Gun, Lethal Enforcers, and others after countless piles of wasted time and quarters at the arcade.  That genre adapted particularly well to the point and click shooting method of PC games as well.  Therefore, I was very excited to find out how my previous skills would translate to the exciting new graphics and game play of the PlayStation 3.
Stylish, yet still spastic.
After some initial research I settled on what sounds like a minor league sports score instead of a battle game - Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.  This was my introduction to the idea that there are different TYPES of first person shooters. All of my experience translates into the “run and gun” or arcade type…buying a tactical shooter may have been more of a tactical error.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Last Friday Night: Engineering School Version

I heard Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” recently, and realized that, compared to Friday nights back in college, that song might as well have been written on another planet.

Here are some lyrics that better match the Friday nights I remember at good old Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I make fun of G I Joe the Rise of Cobra a lot…because it deserves it.

However, I did see it twice the week it was released, several times since, and it remains   mindlessly enjoyable, a hoot and a half, and full of crazy action.
Yes, you look cool, but it was still goofy.
While not quite as good as the original Transformers, it’s also not nearly as dumb and drawn out as Transformers 2, and a close third place for the summer of 2009 (Star Trek is still way in the lead; I think I liked Monsters vs. Aliens a little bit more than Joe, it gets bonus points for jokes about classic Fifties’ sci-fi.)

Every time I try to talk about this movie, though, I can’t help complaining about what they did "wrong", proving that I'm a total geek, I suppose.

The overwhelming impression is that its a two hour big stupid pile of fun that flies by just as fast on each viewing. (There are probably spoilers below, but seriously, if you're looking to G I Joe for intricate secret plot elements, I can't really help you.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bad Geek Confessions: Star Wars

OK, it was 1977 in the Bronx, but I can be forgiven some poetic license on my hundredth post, can’t I?

My folks took me to a movie I hadn’t seen any trailers for, but the newspaper write ups made it sound like my sort of thing.  (I kind of pity the youth of today, who have access to every single detail of films months before they premier, now.)  After a lengthy mysterious underground trip we arrived at the theater. (Again, probably just a subway ride, but - poetic license.)

The room darkened, the above words appeared, and suddenly the screen exploded with the most awesome thing I had ever seen in my young life.  There was a brief pause for my brain to process:
“Wait, he’s the best part of this, and he’s the BAD GUY?”