Posted on December 25th, 2019
I may not celebrate the holiday now, but when I was growing up Christmas was a huge deal. And because of that, my childhood Christmases are well-documented. There are many, many photos from over the years. Thanks to them being digitized, I can look at them any time I want. And what better day than today?
Here is just a tiny sampling...
Christmas Day was always the same routine when I was young...
My brother and I wake up way too early and wait for mom and dad to wake up so we can open presents.
We'd tear into the mountain of gifts under the tree.
Mom would pull out a tray of Svenhard's Swedish Bakery "Horns A Plenty" sweet Danishes, slather them with butter, then heat them under a broiler. Then serve them up with hot chocolate. Best breakfast ever.
We'd play with our Christmas loot until it was time to pack up the car and head to grandma and grandpa's house.
More presents followed by Christmas dinner at the grandparents.
Back home to play with new toys until we'd pass out.
As I got older, Christmas was increasingly more sedate, but Svenhard's "Horns A Plenty" for breakfast never changed. Except eventually we got a microwave, so mom would nuke them instead of broiling them. A couple years ago I bought some for nostalgia's sake and was shocked at how sweet they were. I remember them being more "buttery" than "sweet" and now it's the opposite.
But the memories themselves are pretty sweet.
And so... to all those who celebrate it... have yourself a happy Christmas!
Posted on December 24th, 2019
Unlike last year when I had to chain up and drive through a snowstorm, this year it was a piece of cake to drive over the mountains.
It always surprises me how there are people who must not drive except that one time of the year when they have to... because Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the absolute worst. People just have no clue and I'm surprised that there aren't more accidents than there are. Because ideal road conditions just means that people pay even less attention to what they're doing.
Oh well. I survived the journey, so I guess now I just get to relax and settle into some holiday meriment...
Hope everybody has a good pre-holiday holiday.
Posted on December 25th, 2018
I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about Christmas now that both my grandma and my mom are gone. For my entire life, they were Christmas. Even once I decided I didn't need to celebrate the holiday, it still meant something to me because it meant something to them.
But now? Forever more, it's just another day without them here.
Which is to say that it's just a day like any other day.
Might as well see a movie?
We ended up seeing Vice which I was a bit excited about because Adam McKay wrote and directed it. Having his wit turned towards the steaming pile of garbage that is former Vice President Dick Cheney...
Didn't care for it.
It was funny in spots (and really funny in one particular spot), which was entertaining... but it was a kinda slapped-together documentary-style movie that didn't expose or enlighten. And while it did present some of the horrible shit Cheney unleashed... it didn't show it in any real context, nor did it really explore the consequences. It's just laid out the stuff we already knew.
Dick Cheney is a fucking monster.
I want to see a movie that takes what he did and follows it through to what happened because of it. Not with a title card at the end of the movie, but with and actual exploration of just what a heinous blight on all humanity he has been.
All that being said, the performances in this flick are phenomenal. Christian Bale... Sam Rockwell... Amy Adams... they all deserve their Golden Globe nominations, and are a shoe-in for Oscar nominations as well. Truth be told, Steve Carell was brilliant as well. But best picture?!? Seriously? Nah.
Have a happy Christmas, if that's a thing you celebrate. Otherwise? Happiest of Tuesdays to you.
Posted on December 24th, 2018
Apparently squatting down to apply and remove chains to my car for the drive over the mountains yesterday worked some muscles I haven't used in a while... because my gluteus maximus is all kinds of sore today. Guess I need to look into assercize or something like that. Or, I dunno, just exercise at all maybe?
And speaking of chains...
Yesterday after I made my way through Tourist Town, there's a sign before you head into the mountains advising you as to road conditions and closures and such. If the roads are impassable, there's also an arm-block that drops down to keep people from going any further.
This was the sign which warned me that chains were required over the pass... 21 miles ahead.
Some people decided that they didn't want to wait 21 miles and were pulling over to apply chains for driving on bare roads. Since the roads were bare, everybody with chains was driving way too fast. And so... chains were flying off tires and being busted to shit left and right. Which meant that some people wouldn't have chains for the pass and would be ticketed if caught.
Welcome to the hazards of winter driving.
But it was worth it to spend the holidays with friends...
Bring on the jolly fat man!
Posted on December 12th, 2018
I've taken a break from Hallmark Christmas movies to watch other Christmas films I like. Though, technically, most of them aren't "Christmas films" they just take place around the holiday.
But they totally count!
Here's a list of the movies I'm making my way through...
Over the years I've removed movies like Batman Returns that haven't held up well enough for me to want to bother. But the rest of them? Every year. Especially movies like The Long Kiss Goodnight which totally hold up.
Ho Ho Ho.
Posted on November 6th, 2018
Washington State is 100% vote-by-mail, so I already voted last week.
When it comes to local races here, two of the biggest are too close to call. We won't know the outcome until the remaining mail-in votes are tallied on Friday. Frustrating, but it's a small price to pay for a system which allows you to vote in the privacy of your own home without standing in line. And now that we have automated voter registration for all of our eligible citizens, Washington State has one of the highest voter participation rates in the nation...
Now that Halloween has passed, the country is already preparing for Christmas.
Back when I had work in Orlando two and three times a year, I'd fly in for my conference then fly home the next day. I'd rarely go to Disney World (even though work would pay for it) because it got to be more of a chore than fun. I just can't handle the lines and crowds of people.
In December of 2007 I was working in Orlando when some work friends and I decided to go to Epcot for dinner in "Italy." After that we took the bus to Disney Studios to goof off for a bit. While I was there, my mom called to tell me something. "What's all that noise?" she asked.
"Oh, that's The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights," I replied.
"It's a show at Disney World where they have a bunch of Christmas lights flashing to music. I'll send you a picture..."
"That's pretty! I want to go to Disney World!"
"I've taken you to Disney World lots of times!"
"But not at Christmas! I want to go at Christmas!"
"Okay. Next year I'll bring you along then."
One year later I kept my promise, and here she is...
It immediately became her favorite thing. She loved it so much that I ended up taking her a couple more times. The last time was in 2012, I think, since that was the last year I had work in Orlando. They closed down The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in 2015.
This morning I was flipping through my newsfeed while waiting for work to start and saw this terrific video from Disney World showing how they transform The Magic Kingdom Park for the holidays with Christmas decorations...
A part of me is glad that I don't have work in Orlando any more. Especially over the holidays. It would be really tough to go there knowing what it meant to my mother. Perhaps it will be easier over time. But right now? I just can't fathom it.
It's that way for a lot of things though.
I miss my mom.
Posted on November 1st, 2018
Hooray! It's November 1st!
This is the day where I switch my television from defaulting to Home & Garden TV to defaulting to The Hallmark Channel. Now, for those of you not in the know, The Hallmark Channel is home to more crappy original Christmas romance movies than any other network. Period. Which is why their annual "Countdown to Christmas" marathon is one of the best things ever. This year they produced thirty-seven new holiday movies. THIRTY-SEVEN! That's up from 33 in 2017, 28 in 2016, and 21 in 2015.
The films are always the same story.
Well, maybe they're not always exactly like that... but they are all a lot like that. And you have well over a hundred to watch each season.
And I am totally addicted to them. Mostly because I can have them running while I'm working. They're so brainless that you don't have to pay much attention to them to know what's going on. And it's not like you can miss anything, because the story is all the same. I mean, just look at this shit...
Can you tell them apart? I've seen all of them and I can't!
If you don't get The Hallmark Channel... or you live outside the USA, you might still be in luck. Netflix has seen what a raging money-maker Hallmark has on their hands, and has invested a huge chunk of money in producing their own slate of Christmas movies.
Last year they had a phenomenon with A Christmas Prince, but my favorite of theirs is The Spirit of Christmas...
As is typical, the guys they find to act in these movies are so brutally hot that they have me questioning my sexuality. Daniel the Ghost makes my ovaries explode...
And now, if you'll excuse me, The Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas is in full swing and I have to make sure my DVR is set to record everything.
Posted on December 25th, 2017
To everybody who celebrates the holiday... wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
Which, apparently I can do now that President Trump has taken back this beautiful phrase from the relentless eight-year war on Christmas that happened under President Obama's watch...
Oh... wait a second... like so many things that come out of Dear Leader's Twitter feed, he's completely full of shit...
No surprise that our lying asshole of a president has bought into the false narrative that there's ever been a "War on Christmas"... despite the fact that you can walk into a United States Post Office and buy stamps with Jesus on them for Christmas (as you've been able to do for decades). Here's the selections for this year...
Meanwhile, seven years ago...
Posted on December 7th, 2016
How's Maine? Maine is cold.
I didn't have a car until noon, so I skipped breakfast at the hotel and decided to have pizza at Otto in downtown Portland. They make a Butternut Squash and Cranberry pie that is one of my favorite things. And it totally delivered...
While eating I got to watch a woman let her baby stab the wood table repeatedly with a fork. When she noticed me watching, she took the fork away.
Then gave the baby a knife to stab the table with.
I don't know that it was an improvement, but okay.
On my way back to my car I saw two pumpkins on the sidewalk, assumably waiting to be tossed in the trash...
I guess the magic of pumpkin spice has passed. They look to be in great shape, so somebody should totally save them and make pie.
The hour trip north was boring, which is the best you can hope for when driving in Maine during winter. After checking into my hotel, I look out to see that the Androscoggin River has once again closed down for the season.
Here was my view from last year, around this time...
And here we are now...
Exciting, I know.
Since there's not much to do while I wait for my job to start, I've been getting some work done and catching up on Facebook. It was while looking through the latter that I ran across a video of Christmas tree shearing. It's fascinating to watch. Relaxing even. Very zen...
Depending on size, these guys can shape 2,000-2,500 trees per day! They don't say how many ninjas they could slash their way through. Oh well.
As exhausted as I am, I suppose I should take a nap before starting work at midnight.
Or search YouTube for more Christmas tree shearing videos.
One of those two things.
Posted on December 24th, 2015
It's all I want.