So, yeah! A few weekends ago (July 11-12 to be exact), JR and I took off and hiked into the Cataloochee Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On the first day, we hiked up the road to Purchase Knob and then took the Cataloochee Divide Trail past The Swag to Double Gap. From there we went down the Hemphill Bald Trail to Caldwell Fork and Campsite 41. The next day we hiked down the Caldwell Fork Trail and back to JR’s truck. I am estimating that we did about 7 miles the first day and about 5 miles the second day.
This was a really awesome trip! We had perfect weather/temps and Campsite 41 was amazing. I really want to go camp there again. I have apparently become quite the master as getting damp wood to make a cheery campfire. Go figure. The only downside was the numerous water crossings on Caldwell Fork the second day. Thankfully, only one was challenging as there was a bit of guesswork to figure out where the trail was on the other side. All the others were pretty calm as far as rushing water and slick rocks are concerned … though I don’t think I would do this section of trail after a lot of rain since most of the crossing were already at least knee deep (and that was in good weather conditions). We didn’t see any wildlife in person but saw a lot of tracks in the trail. Oh well.
Here’s random assortment of pictures from the trip. Enjoy!
And now … the obligatory collection of trail signs. Double enjoy!
Yeah. Still alive. Plugging through life a day at a time. Blah, blah, blah
I bought four of those cool Bacardi red skull glasses we drank out of in Charleston last year. Alas, the eBay seller didn’t pack them the greatest. Bah! At least two of them survived the trip. Half busted seems to be a theme for life right now.
But, I did manage to find a copy of the way out of print Deluxe Expanded Edition (3 CD/1 DVD) of Prince’s Purple Rain. Yeah. I have been a bit Prince obsessed as of late.
Pandemic life continues. Daily I wonder when the national nightmare will be over. Ugh. David and I are somewhat seriously discussing moving to Canada if Trump is re-elected. I like to think that people will be smart this November. Then I remember that dumassery won the day on November 2016.
One of the most exciting things that has happened recently was the purchase of a vintage Federal Housewares Food Chopper thanks to eBay. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this thing. Seriously! They really designed things better back in the day. It chops like a beast and reminds me of my childhood at the same time.
I had bought a chopper at Walmart a couple of years ago but it’s made totally of plastic and is lame as fuck. The blades don’t move for even chopping and the cap comes off easily allowing the stuff you are chopping to spill all over the place. Ugh. Now I can kick this hunk of junk to the curb. Yay!
I guess you have become an old fart when you wax poetic about a vintage food chopper.
JR and I went on another camping trip this past weekend to the Caldwell Fork in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a SUPER awesome trip. You’ll see those pictures soon. Yeah … that was a post tease.
Well … we are now half way through what is arguably the worst year ever. And there looks to be no end in site. Ugh.
Some things that have happened recently:
– Sat around in a really black depression for several days.
– Saw A&A for takeout pizza and fire pitting.
– Saw a few friends (less than 10) for a short, socially distanced July 4th cookout.
– Sat around the house a lot.
The biggest news of the past week is that I formally submitted my resignation letter to the local theater. The entire staff got laid off at the end of March because of the COVID-19 induced shutdown. So, I have technically not been an employee since then. Last week I made it official that I won’t be returning as their graphic designer when they re-open (God knows when that will be). Today I went and turned in my keys and handed over all the art files. This has been a decision that’s been a long time coming (nearly five years). I have been feeling burnt out with the work and pissed off with the lack of appreciation from the higher ups. That being said, it’s been a depressing few weeks working up the nerve to actually go through with it considering I have been doing art for them for almost 30 years.
But, in fun “I spend too much money on shit considering I have officially quit my second job” news, I managed to find a copy of the 5 CD/1 DVD Super Deluxe Edition of Prince’s 1999 album for retail out of Canada. This is the second time that Sonic Boom Records in Toronto has come through. This set came out last November, went immediately out of print, and is already selling for $200+ on the secondary market. So, I consider this a real score as I got it for $70 shipped (the price tag is Canadian dollars).
Holy Christmas, Batman! It’s been announced that my favorite Prince album, Sign o’ the Times, will be released in an 8 CD/1 DVD Super Deluxe Edition this coming September.
The Super Deluxe Edition includes all the audio material that Prince officially released in 1987, as well as 45 previously unissued studio songs recorded between May 1979 and July 1987, and a complete live audio performance from the June 20, 1987 stop on the “Sign O’ The Times” Tour at Stadium Galgenwaard in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Also included is a brand-new DVD containing the complete, previously unreleased New Year’s Eve benefit concert at Paisley Park on December 31, 1987, which was Prince’s final performance of the “Sign O’ The Times” Tour stage show and his only on-stage collaboration with jazz legend Miles Davis.
The Super Deluxe Edition set also features a 120-page hardcover book containing Prince’s previously unseen handwritten lyrics for many of the songs from the era, including the hits “U Got The Look,” “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man,” and “Hot Thing,” iconic unseen images from the era taken by Prince’s primary photographer in the mid-1980s to early 90s, Jeff Katz, plus images of archive assets including original analog tape reels and studio tracking sheets.
It retails at a hefty $160 …. but, damn … I NEED THIS! *drools*
Yeah. I am feeling like I am stuck in the pandemic rut … just mostly hanging around the house watching movies and feeling depressed. I am currently only making trips out for supplies, the bank, and take-out. 2020, get thee behind me!
Here are some random thoughts and things:
– I have developed a real hatred of people who won’t wear a mask when in a store.
– I am hoping like hell we have competent government at the beginning of 2021.
– Father’s Day is coming up and I am not looking forward to it. Ugh.
– I am currently hooked on pimento cheese.
– I am on my way to alcoholism as drinking every day seems like the thing to do now.
– I am obsessing over Saint Etienne.
– I don’t understand businesses (four so far) that don’t respond to emails with questions about placing a special order. I guess they don’t need my money?
– In reality, I really shouldn’t be buying more things.
– I am very slowly working my way towards formally ending my employment as graphic designer at the local theater. I need to stick to my guns!
– If I weren’t too lazy, I would start an OnlyFans account to make up the money.
– I am really just joking about that OnlyFans account. Nobody wants to see that.
I was just shy of turning 29. I had just started shaving my head. I had the most unfortunate glasses on the planet. And selfies were a thing even with a digital camera that stored it’s files on a 3-1/2 floppy disk. Hello, 2000!
The trail guide lied to us about a few creek crossings that could be rock-hopped. The water was too deep and we had to take off our boots and wade. I was a bit annoyed by this and attempted crossing a tributary with my boots on. Needless to say, I fell and ended up with a couple of trail trophies and totally soaked boots. Hiking in wet boots and socks is not fun.
We ended up wading through a pool of water on the left (just out of frame in the above photo) and along the left side of the creek until we climbed over the root ball of a blowdown.
After nine miles, We got into camp early enough to have the pick of the best spot, get set up, and even take an afternoon nap. Heavenly! I always set my tent up close to JR’s so he can rescue me if there are any bear attacks in the middle of the night.
We had a relaxing, uneventful night and were up on the trail early the next morning. Five miles later we arrived at the lower trailhead outside of Bryson City.
And for no real reason, here’s a collection of trail signs along the Deep Creek Trail.
Anyone that really knows me knows that “West End Girls” is my favorite single song of all time. So imagine my delight to see that Pet Shop Boys have dropped a new updated 2020 version of their classic first single. This is so fucking smooth.
I lost my second job at the end of April … yet all I can think about is all the cool shit I want to purchase. I need to start pimping myself out! Any takers out there?
The first feature-length film starring the Pet Shop Boys alongside Joss Ackland, Gareth Hunt and Barbara Windsor finds Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe on an extraordinary adventure from the coast to London, encountering a curious array of eccentric characters along the way. Pop surrealism meets classic road movie, the film is peppered with hits from the duo’s first two studio albums, including ‘West End Girls’, ‘It’s a Sin’ and ‘Always On My Mind’.
- Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
- Limited Edition 48-page Digi-book includes a new interview with Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys and previously unseen excerpts from his personal on-set production diary, as well as an introduction to the film by director Jack Bond and writing on the film by Anthony Nield, Jason Wood, Omer Ali, John Ramchandani, William Fowler and Vic Pratt
- Comprehensive feature commentary by Jack Bond, James Dillon and Simon Archer (2020)
- West End Boy: Jack Bond (2020, 27 mins): the director discusses his eclectic career as a filmmaker and his enterprising approach to the making of It Couldn’t Happen Here
- It Can Happen Here: Arlene Phillips (2020, 26 mins): the renowned choreographer reflects upon a life in dance – and the trials and tribulations of working on It Couldn’t Happen Here
- Always on My Mind (1987, 5 mins): the full-length promotional video for the Pet Shop Boys’ acclaimed ‘Christmas Number One’ hit, featuring Joss Ackland and footage from It Couldn’t Happen Here
- Actually: an unfilmed early version of the script for the film, included here in its entirety for the first time anywhere
- As it Happened: Image galleries including the complete final version of the script, the director’s shot lists, Pet Shop Boys reference lyric sheets and promotional materials for It Couldn’t Happen Here
- Original theatrical trailer (digitally reconstructed for this release)
Dawn of the Dead Limited Edition 4K UHD from Second Sight Films
With the U.S. in the grip of a zombie apocalypse, four desperate survivors find refuge in a shopping mall. But the flesh-eating hordes, still possessed by an instinctive desire to consume, are drawn to the same destination. What follows is a nail-biting fight for survival. George A Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remains one of the greatest horror films ever made, often imitated but never equaled, and is now presented in a brand new restoration.
UHD DISC 1: THE THEATRICAL CUT
- New 4K scan and restoration of the Original Camera Negative by Second Sight at Final Frame New York and London supervised and approved by DoP Michael Gornick
- Presented in HDR10+
- Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono – New restoration of the original OCN Optical / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Commentary by George A Romero, Tom Savini, Christine Forrest
- NEW commentary by Travis Crawford
- New optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired
UHD DISC 2 – THE EXTENDED (‘CANNES’) CUT
- Produced using 4k scan of the Theatrical Cut Original Camera Negative and 4K scan of the Extended Cut Colour Reversal Internegative
- DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono
- Presented in HDR10+
- Commentary by Richard P Rubinstein
- New optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired
UHD DISC 3 – THE ARGENTO CUT
- 4K scan of the Interpositive by Michele De Angelis at Backlight Digital, Rome
- Audio: DT-HD Master Audio Mono 1.0 / Surround 5.1 / Stereo 2.0
- Commentary by Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Emge
- New optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired
BLU-RAY DISC 4: SPECIAL FEATURES
- NEW Zombies and Bikers: with John Amplas, Roy Frumkes, Tom Savini, Christine Forrest, Tom Dubensky, Tony Buba, Taso Stavrakis and a whole host of zombies and bikers! (59 mins)
- NEW Memories of Monroeville: a tour of the mall with Michael Gornick, Tom Savini, Tom Dubensky and Taso Stavrakis (34 mins)
- NEW Raising the Dead: The Production Logistics: with Michael Gornick, Christine Forrest, John Amplas, Tom Dubensky (23 mins)
- NEW The FX of Dawn with Tom Savini (13 mins)
- NEW Dummies! Dummies!: An interview with Richard France (12 mins)
- NEW The Lost Romero Dawn Interview: previously unreleased archive interview (20 mins)
- Super 8 Mall Footage by zombie extra Ralph Langer with option of archive commentary by Robert Langer and new commentary by Ralph Langer (13 mins)
- Document of the Dead: The Original Cut with optional commentary by Roy Frumkes (66 mins)
- Document of the Dead: The Definitive Cut (100 mins)
- The Dead Will Walk 2014 Documentary (80 mins)
- Trailers, TV and Radio Spots (TBC)
Limited Edition Contents
AUDIO CD DISC 1
- The Goblin Soundtrack – 17 tracks including Alternate and Bonus Tracks
AUDIO CD DISC 2
- The Complete De Wolfe Library Cues Part 1
AUDIO CD DISC 3
- The Complete De Wolfe Library Cues Part 2
- Rigid box with lid featuring the original iconic artwork
- 2 inner digipaks
- 150 page hardback book featuring 16 new essays, archive article, archive George A Romero interview and rare Behind-The-Scenes stills
- Dawn of the Dead: The novelization book by George A Romero and Susanna Sparrow with exclusive artwork
Kiki and I took a hike on Saturday to soak in the views from the rocky outcroppings near the summit of Chestnut Bald. I also showed her one of my most favorite places on the planet.
If the weather cooperates, JR and I will be off this coming weekend for an overnight backpacking trip on the Deep Creek Trail. Please be sweet to us, Mother Nature!
I have been in a mood all week. Not much to talk about anyway. Blah, blah, blah. At least there is random eye candy on Twitter.