BEDA (Day 15)

•April 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Just filed my taxes. I always wait until the last minute. Time for some “Conan” then bed…

BEDA (Day 14)

•April 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I know I haven’t posted in a little while, but it’s still April, right? I haven’t completely failed at BEDA 2013 with a measly three posts, have I?

The reason I ask is I look outside the window and see snow. It doesn’t feel like April. It feels like January. And if I truly did miss the entire month of April and it is January, then that means it’s January 2014. That’s even more concerning because that would mean I didn’t just miss April, but another eight months as well. I am in…the Twilight Zone.

But seriously, there’s snow outside. Not just snow that hasn’t melted yet. This is snow that literally fell from the sky two days ago and accumulated. And it’s snowing right now as I type this. It’s surprising for that to happen in April. Surprising but not out of the question. After all, I live in Rhinelander, Canada. Never heard of it? Well, it’s a small town in the Canadian province of Wisconsin. That’s a joke by the way. Kind of sad too because I’m sure there’s some people out there who are unfamiliar enough with the U.S.’s 50 states that they would believe Wisconsin is in Canada. I’m close. I could jump in the car right now and make it to the Canadian border in six hours. To put that in perspective, it would take me nearly that long to drive to Illinois.

But back to the winter wonderland I can see just outside the window. It’s comical. I had to laugh the other day when I woke up and saw snow. This isn’t just cold weather lingering and slightly delaying spring. It’s still winter. Temps in the 30s. Snow on the ground. More in the forecast. There’s a few days here and there where highs might get to the low 40s. With temps like that it’s going to be June before the spring melt is over. Crazy.

I hope that’s not the case. Unlike some people, I truly do enjoy winter. The beauty of the landscape after a fresh snowfall, cross country skiing, the satisfaction of a mug of hot cocoa or a bowl of warm soup after being out in the cold. But at some point, it has to end. There’s something called Seasonal Affective Disorder and at the moment it’s hitting me hard. I used to live in Florida and while the Wisconsinite in me never really got used to the heat, I also grew accustomed to a certain amount of Vitamin D. Come on spring. Get here…

BEDA (Day 4)

•April 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Roger Ebert died today. I remember watching him and Gene Siskel while growing up. Their show was always on Sunday nights after the 10 o’clock news. At that time I think what I enjoyed the most was when they would disagree about a movie and have a little back and forth. Later on, as I developed more of an interest in film as well as film criticism, I focused more on what Ebert actually had to say about movies. Opinions often differ and I can recall several times that Ebert ripped apart a movie I enjoyed or vice versa. However, I eventually grew to really appreciate the way Ebert would review a movie. There are a lot of critics out there I would classify as film snobs, meaning if something isn’t “high art” they immediately disregard it as garbage. Yes, I’m talking about you A.O. Scott of the New York Times (Initials. Give me a break.)

Ebert was no film snob. He was a lover of film. Everything from your typical well-produced Oscar-nominated drama to the “B” movie with cheesy dialogue and low production value. Ebert didn’t discriminate. He understood the entire spectrum of film. Ebert’s favorite film was “Citizen Kane” but that didn’t mean everything had to reach to those heights in order to receive a good review. Ebert had no problem giving a “thumbs up” to a corny “B” horror movie or a “stupid” comedy if the filmmakers executed it effectively. I appreciated his ability to be able to see a film for what it was and not force everything into a single category of what an elitist culture considers to be a “good film.”

RIP Roger Ebert.

BEDA (Day 3)

•April 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I missed Day 2 of BEDA. I acknowledge it. I move on…

I was perusing the Internet while eating lunch today and I came across a story about former Packers QB Don Majkowski. For anyone reading this who is a Packers fan born before 1985 and has a vague recollection of the pre-Favre era, I suggest reading the story. Otherwise, to summarize, the story basically details the various physical struggles the Majik Man has experienced in recent years due to the beating he took during his NFL career. To quote from the story, “It’s very difficult to even sit for five minutes. It’s been a nightmare.”

Unfortunately, Majkowski’s story isn’t all that unique. We hear a lot about this sort of thing these days as the public awareness continues to increase about the potential long-term effects of a football career. Some former NFL players escape any serious physical calamities. Others, like the Majik Man, seem to get hit hard with all sorts of issues. He’s 49 and has the body of an 80-year-old — all because of a fairly brief NFL career.

Reading the story made me sad because I remember the Majik Man. In the Packer history books he’s kind of become known as that QB who got injured which allowed Brett Favre to come in and start a bajillion games in a row. But the Majik Man was pretty good back in the day before his body started failing him. He was runner-up in the MVP voting in 1989 and was on some OK Packers teams. That 1980s time period of course pales in comparison to what came in the 1990s and the years after that. Still, the point is that in the late 1980s, you couldn’t do much better at QB than the Majik Man.

As I was reading the story today, I thought back to Sept. 20, 1992 when Majkowski tore a ligament in his left ankle in a game against the Bengals. In came some young gunslinger named Brett Favre and he led the Pack to a come-from-behind victory with a last-second TD pass. I was at that game with my dad. I was 8-years-old. Now, after subsequent injuries to that ankle and 11 surgeries, the Majik Man says he can’t move it at all. It’s just locked in place…

BEDA (Day One)

•April 1, 2013 • 1 Comment

It’s been almost two years since I posted anything on this blog, and even then, the only time I’ve ever really blogged regularly has been for BEDA (Blog Every Day in April).

I noticed via my friend Becky (who prompted my initial BEDA participation in 2010) that it’s once again BEDA time. I figured why not give it a go. I was pretty successful at blogging every day during BEDA 2010. I was less successful in 2011. And last year I didn’t even make an attempt. In looking at the last time I posted, one of the excuses I made for not blogging consistently was that I didn’t have Internet access at my apartment (by choice. My frugal side did not care for the cost). It was inconvenient to have to go to a coffee shop or something for some free WiFi just so I could maintain a blogging streak. That is an excuse no longer. I have Internet in my apartment thanks to a nice little partnership with a neighbor where we share a WiFi connection and split the bill. There is still no way I would consider footing the entire bill myself. I’d dump the Internet first. But splitting the bill with someone puts my Internet expense at $20 a month, which conveniently is the maximum amount I’m willing to pay for Internet.

So long story short, I have Internet at home and now there really is no legitimate excuse to not successfully complete BEDA again…as well as continue to blog on semi-regular basis. I don’t know if many people will be reading my posts. Not blogging for almost two years kind of kills one’s audience — not that I had much of an audience to begin with. But you have to start somewhere, and maybe if I do start blogging regularly I’ll build up a small readership of people who find me amusing. Blogging regularly would also probably help me form an identity for this blog which has also been an ongoing problem. I’ve always thought it would be better to have a “theme” for the blog rather than a “dear diary” sort of thing. Maybe something will emerge in the coming days and weeks.

Here’s to BEDA 2013. Time to end this first post because “Conan” is almost over, and for me that means bedtime…

“And then?”

•April 19, 2011 • 5 Comments

Whoa, I really disappeared there for about a week. I can’t really explain what happened. Pure laziness really. Last year, I killed BEDA. No problems. The fact that I was unemployed at the time I think helped a lot. Blogging kind of became the one thing I HAD to do everyday, so it helped to have that one constant. Gave me a routine. Being employed can really sap your blogging energy. I thought about blogging a lot last week. Never did it. Not having Internet at my apartment doesn’t help either. The prospect of going back to the office just to blog isn’t that appealing. Enough excuses though. At least I’m making the effort now.

So, like millions of other people I was working on my taxes at the last minute yesterday. Got about $1,400 coming back to me, which I’m happy about. Journalism isn’t exactly a really lucrative career in case any readers out there didn’t know. I live comfortably pretty cheaply though, so I don’t want anyone to worry. Still, the $1,400 will provide a nice cushion in case of emergencies.

Went to the movies the other day to see “Source Code” and ended up seeing “Your Highness” instead. Get ready. Here comes that rant I was supposed to write on Day 10…

So, “Source Code” was playing at the small four-screen theater just down the street from where I live. It’s considered the cheap theater in town with $5 ticket prices. I get there, say, “One for ‘Source Code’ please” and am informed that I would be the only one in that showing. Apparently they won’t play the movie for just one person. Is there a different movie I would like to see? My choices are “Your Highness” and something else. In retrospect I should have said, “Nope. Only wanted to see ‘Source Code.’ Guess you’re going to lose my business. Peace out.” But I was already there, I was in the mood to see something, and decided to go with “Your Highness.” Pretty mediocre. Mildly amusing in a stupid way. More on that later. Later on I was thinking about it, and realized what bullshit it was that I couldn’t see “Source Code” the movie I actually wanted to go to. Why the f@ck couldn’t they show it for just one person? What kind of lame rule is that? Do the operational costs of showing the film to just one person not make it worth it? Is there something I’m missing here? I think the guy was being lazy and didn’t feel like getting the movie started for just me, so he thought he’d try to sell me on one of the films he already had the reel going for. I came in just a few minutes before the movies started. My theory is that if I had shown up 15 minutes sooner I would’ve been able to see “Source Code” since he wouldn’t have known who else was going to show up for it. I’m never going to let that theater jerk me around like that again. If this same scenario happens again, I’m walking out. They’re not going to take my money and force me into going to something I don’t want to see.

So, about that movie that was forced on me, “Your  Highness.” It’s stupid. There are a lot of dick jokes. And…that’s about it. There’s a movie review for you in two sentences. But it did make me laugh a few times. It got me thinking about other movies that are just plain stupid, but in that stupidity a little humor somehow surfaces. So, on that note, here is yesterday’s Day 18 topic, a Top Ten list (one of the themes I suggested to Becky). My Top Ten Stupid/Funny Movies (in no particular order and open to suggestions):

10. Dumb and Dumber. A classic. Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!

9. Anchorman. Completely absurd. Doesn’t really make any sense at all. Somehow it works.

8. Billy Madison. Fifty years from now, if you wanted to show someone one movie that embodies the essence of Adam Sandler’s entire filmography, you’d perhaps go to this film.

7. Team America: World Police. There’s a hardcore sex scene. With puppets.

6. The Jerk. Steve Martin stars as the son of a poor black sharecropper. And that’s just the beginning of the ridiculousness.

5. The Austin Powers franchise. Other than some clever nods to classic James Bond films, these movies are the definition of stupid/funny.

4. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Twelve-year-old Blake loved this stuff.

3. Zoolander. Almost as stupid as the title character.

2. Super Troopers. That scene where they’re chugging bottles of syrup? They are actually chugging bottles of syrup.

The order of the nine films I just mentioned doesn’t really matter, and are interchangeable with movies I didn’t even list. The following movie though is truly my no. 1 stupid/funny movie of all time. It is pure, concentrated stupid, and yet it is funny to me in a way that defies all logic.

1. Dude, Where’s My Car? The premise is completely absurd. Two stoners can’t recall their activities from the night before, and begin retracing their steps to locate their missing car. Along the way they encounter aliens and have to find the Continuum Transfunctioner in order to save the planet. What? Much of the humor is derived from ridiculous exchanges like this:

Jesse: Dude! You got a tattoo!
Chester: So do you, dude! Dude, what does my tattoo say?
Jesse: "Sweet!" What about mine?
Chester: "Dude!" What does mine say?
Jesse: "Sweet!" What about mine?
Chester: "Dude!" What does mine say?
Jesse: "Sweet!" What about mine?
Chester: "Dude!" What does mine say?
Jesse: "Sweet!" What about mine?
Chester: "Dude!" But what does mine say?
Jesse: "Sweet!" What about mine?
Chester: "Dude!" What does mine say?

“Tell you where I’d go. Zihuatanejo.”

•April 11, 2011 • 1 Comment

A tornado touched down about 45 minutes south of Rhinelander last night. Today a photographer and I headed down there to cover the aftermath. Nobody died and only three people sustained injuries that required them to be helicoptered to the hospital, but the damage was pretty significant. This house was nothing but foundation and chimney post tornado.

The family who lived there was at church during the storm. They came home to find their house literally gone. Can you imagine? One day you’re just living your life. Waking up, eating breakfast, going to school/work, socializing, etc. Then something happens and all of that stuff becomes inconsequential. A tornado wipes out your house, and suddenly your life becomes salvaging what you can, finding a temporary place to live, and beginning the process of rebuilding your home. A whole new set of worries you didn’t want or need.

Of course in this situation it’s just stuff. Stuff that can be cleaned up, and rebuilt like nothing ever happened. It doesn’t compare to loss of life and something like the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Maybe that’s why the people I talked to today were upbeat for the most part. They realized how lucky they were that Mother Nature only destroyed property and not human lives. They were just going about their business, helping each other out by breaking down fallen trees and moving personal belongings out of destroyed homes. In between they took breaks to throw back a few beers. Sure they have the hassle of repairing or, in some cases, rebuilding their homes. But there was an “oh well” attitude to it all, which is admirable. It happened. Now let’s move on and do what we have to do. Still, the sudden, life-changing power Mother Nature has is always surprising. It took 30 seconds for this tornado to rip through and cause damage that will take the area’s residents months to fix. 30 seconds.

One minute something is a certain way, and the next it is not…