So, my time at The Magnetic Theatre and their 3rd Annual One Act Play Festival ended on November 13th. Tooth or Dare (about a couple’s run-in with a pissed-off Tooth Fairy) was a lot of fun to do. The audiences seems to really like it and we got voted to be in the Best of the Fest! performance on the final Sunday. Out of the 20 short plays that were presented, only six were voted in to do the final performance. Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
Criterion is shipping out a replacement disc for the Citizen Kane 4K and standard Blu-ray sets due to an encode issue. I got a shipping notification on January 7 and this is what the tracking still says 17 days later.
I am not sure if this is a Criterion issue or a USPS issue … but this frustrates me endlessly. And, yes … I know this is totally a privileged, first-world problem thing.
Meanwhile … the sunrise (as seen from the Walmart parking lot) yesterday morning was quite pretty.
Here are some things that have been going on.
We welcomed a 12-year-old Italian Greyhound named Chip into the family. He’s totally derpy and we love him so much. What we don’t love are his bad teeth, stank breath caused by said bad teeth, and his occasional desire to pee on the back of the sofa or trash can in the kitchen. Oh well. Bowser seems to tolerate his presence and it looks like Chip will have a good home.
Vaccinated friends can hang out (thanks CDC guidance)! So, Michelle and I got together a few Saturdays ago and drank too much beer. What a fun night that was. The next morning was not so much fun. Yay, hangovers.
Finally made it back to Biltmore to tour the house and walk the grounds. I timed it badly for the gardens though. There was nothing blooming in the walled garden and the azaleas were past their peak. Bummer. But the flower arrangements in the house were spectacular as always.
We went and Alex in his new band, The Deathbots, when they played an outdoor patio show at The Grey Eagle last week. The band was quite awesome and we got to actually see other humans in a public setting. Whoo!
So, about a week and a half ago, I got my second COVID vaccination shot. Yay! The next day, I was down for the count and spent all day on the sofa under a quilt feeling like crap with aches, chills, and fever. Boo!
Thankfully, the after-effects only lasted one day and I was feeling great the next day.
Krispy Kreme had OREO-themed donuts for a limited time and we just had to have them … even though it’s 30 miles to the closest KK. But, damn! That Cookies and Creme filling was quite tasty. No worries about diabetes here!
I unexpectedly ended up in Charleston this past weekend. I initially didn’t want to go, but I am so glad a did. There was great weather and great food and drinks … including a Fried Chicken Biscuit from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. Yum! Charleston is such a cool city. I need to win the Powerball so I can buy a place downtown.
Yeah … I am still alive. I just haven’t felt like posting.
Thanksgiving came and went last week without much fanfare. Our friends who normally host a “Friendsgiving” that we go to every year (wisely) decided to not host this year. It was disappointing but understandable. So, David went off to see his family and I stayed around the house and didn’t really do anything but consume pizza and be a generally depressed bastard. Yay, 2020!
I did get this year’s batch of egg nog made on Thanksgiving Day. Later this week, I get to decide who has been nice enough to receive some and who’s on the shit list and is out of egg nog luck. Ha, ha.
COVID-19 case numbers are going crazy here in our little mountain county. It’s a bummer since we’ve done pretty well for most of the year. It seems like precaution fatigue has people letting their guard down and thus getting infected. I am so ready for all this to be over!
One (well, two really) of the bright spots of the past week has been the arrival of the Dawn of the Dead 4K UHD Limited Edition release from Second Sight and the Midsommar Director’s Cut 4K UHD Limited Edition from A24. Squee!
On Saturday, I had a solo shopping appointment at my favorite record store in Asheville, Harvest Records. I managed to snag the 2020 Black Friday Record Store Day release of Amiee Mann’s Bachelor No. 2 or, the Last Remains of the Dodo. I also found a rare Japanese pressing from 1985 of The Sisters of Mercy’s First and Last and Always. So cool!
Sunday morning, we went for a fancy brunch at The Ascot Club at Highland Forest. We have recently become social members there because a) the membership is cheap and b) all of our friends were joining and we didn’t want to be left out. The food is good and the atmosphere pretty quiet. So, it’s a great place to go for a relaxing meal. We drank mimosas and had fancy brunchables … Chicken and Waffles for me and Steak Caesar Salad for David. Très chic.
Since there were no Black Friday sales to go to in person, I bought a few movies online for cheap. Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season arrived yesterday. Horray for 2-day shipping! But, thanks to Amazon’s amazing pack job, it’s already being returned. The slipcase was damaged and (it might be hard to tell from the photo) the case is actually curved and bent. Amazon’s crapping packing/shipping strikes again. Sheesh.
Some other randomness that I might post more about later:
– I framed some enamel pin sets I have recently acquired.
– We watched Unhinged. It’s nowhere near as bad as the critics made it out to be.
– I have become obsessed with color matching my jockstrap and shirt colors when I can.
The workweek is now underway. December is nigh (which means 2021 is just around the corner. And they are calling for SNOW tonight!
Oh, and … because I was bad and missed the actual day on the 21st … Happy 18th Birthday to The Boy Wonder. I guess this blog finally legal! I know I say this every year … but, damn … I never thought it would last this long. So, a big thanks to the constant (or even occasional) readers that still come here and read my ramblings.
Editor’s Note: No links ’cause I’m lazy.
MonsterFest 2020 is in the history books now.
Thursday, the weather was dodgy as Hurricane Zeta (by then tropical storm strength) blew into the mountains. We left in the wind and rain but soon drove out of it. One the way down the Saluda grade, we managed to miss a jack-knifed semi. Fun times. The ride down into South Carolina was pretty smooth until we ran into rain showers that dogged us all the way into Florida. Fun.
As planned, we just hung out at Dr. Phibes and Co.’s house the whole time with very minimal trips out. Damn, pandemic. It would have been nice to have a day out sightseeing. Maybe next time. I did get up at the ass crack of dawn on Sunday and went out to the beach to watch the sunrise. It’s become something I look forward to doing when I am down there. This year, the waves were really aggressive, so it was no surprise there was a rip current warning in place.
Monday, we had a (thankfully) uneventful drive back to the mountains. It’s always good to be home, but always sad to say goodbye to the good friends I only get to see once a year.
There was too much food eaten. There was too much alcohol consumed. There were not enough movies watched. Ha, ha.
And now, the MonsterFest 2020 Movie List:
Friday the 13th (1980)
Kolchak: The Night Stalker (Chopper)
The Invisible Man (1933)
The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Jack Frost (1997)
Grave of the Vampire
As always, a big “THANKS!” to Dr. Phibes and Co. for hosting.
Bah! It seems I am posting more infrequently now. Is it my mood? Probably. Is it also that nothing super exciting is going on since we are still not really able to go about as freely and hang out with friends like the old days. Yep. And, it’s sad to think that the “old days” of normal life were just six months ago. It feels like 60 years ago.
Events of the past few weeks:
– Have gotten totally obsessed with collecting all the official recordings of Sunset Boulevard.
– Finally got a copy of Cocteau Twins’ Four Calendar Cafe on vinyl.
– Been crushing hard on the new Róisín Murphy album, Róisín Machine.
– Helped Michelle (no longer a refugee) set up various items for her new house here.
– Ate too much pizza.
– Binge watched The Haunting of Bly Manor and didn’t really like it.
– Got shat on by a pigeon.
– Turned 49.
I stopped trimming my beard quite a few months ago. So, now it’s the longest it has ever been … and it’s so unruly. I really need a professional trim/shaping but I am too paranoid to go to a barber and sit there unmasked while doing their work. I have been thinking about trimming it back down to a reasonable length but just haven’t worked up the nerve.
I *might* also have been on a jockstrap kick for the past few days. They are just so damn wonderful. So, now I am toying with the idea of making the jockstrap my daily underwear of choice. In aid of this, I might have purchased a cheap-ish 3-pack (in grey and black because those are the best colors). It would be nice to be able to afford a full complement of PUMP, Diesel, or Cellblock 13 (of which I want all the colors!) jocks. I guess I will see how this works out. Ha, ha.
And what would be an update without talking about an expensive movie purchase? I am super excited that Haunt (a great little horror movie from last year) is FINALLY getting a Blu-ray release from Ronin Flix. And, of course, I ordered the stupidly expensive Collector’s Edition. Just look at all the cool features and swag!
Includes the Original CD Soundtrack by tomandandy, four 16” x 20” movie poster reproductions, a 16” x 20” reproduction of the haunt map, six enamel pins featuring costume masks featured in the film, four 2” x 3 ½” replica VHS box-style magnets, and over 5 hours of special features.
DISC 1 – Haunt (2019) Feature Presentation
– NEW To Escape the Haunt: The Making of HAUNT featurette including interviews with writers/directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, actors Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Andrew Lewis Caldwell, Lauryn Alisa McClain, Schuyler Helford, Justin Marxen, Chaney Morrow, Special Makeup Effects artist Chris Bridges and co-composer Andy Milburn (tomandandy)
– NEW Audio Commentary with actors Justin Marxen (Clown), Chaney Morrow (Ghost), and Damian Maffei (Devil)
– Audio Commentary with writers/directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods
– Behind the Haunt
– The Sound of Haunt
– Deleted Scenes with an introduction by Scott and Bryan
– Popcorn Frights Q & A with Scott, Bryan, and some of the cast
– Egyptian Theatre Premiere Q & A with Scott and Bryan, moderated by Eli Roth
– Short Film: The Sleepover – Scott and Bryan’s first film
– Director’s Diary
– Theatrical Trailer
DISC 2: Haunt (2019) Soundtrack
GIMMIE!!! GIMMIE!!! GIMMIE!!!
Every time I go to the Biltmore Estate I absolutely have to listen to Cocteau Twins when driving onto the estate. I think it’s because I was listening to them when I first visited the place back in 1989. Something about the Cocteau Twins’ sound just seems to fit the place … especially their albums Treasure and Victorialand.
This past Sunday, I visited and just walked around the grounds and gardens as all the time slots for admittance into the house were full. It was a lovely day but the reminders of COVID-19 were everywhere with socially distanced lines, mandatory mask usage, and reduced capacity. That was a bit of a bummer since it’s one of my favorite places to go to try and relax and reset my brain.
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!
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.
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!
Here we are on week “whatever” of our “stay at home” adventures. North Carolina has extended our stay at home orders until May 8th. After that we will begin a slow 3-phase reopening plan. Hopefully, this is the smart way to make things happen. It’s going to be interesting to see if Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina get spanked with a lot of new infections because of their sudden re-openings. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, these Cheese Sticks from Sauced were one of the major highlight of the weekend. Ha, ha.
We *might* have disobeyed those stay at home orders and tripped to Gatlinburg on Sunday to pick up some moonshine from the two distilleries that were open. It was a bit weird to see NOBODY out and about on streets that are normally teaming with tourists. We saw maybe 10 other people and about as many businesses open. Craziness.
Back at home, we tried out some new things with the moonshine that was purchased. Needless to say, Moonshine-Laced Mini Milkshakes are gonna be my new lover. Sugarlands‘ Dark Chocolate Coffee Sippin’ Creme is perfect for this task. Yum!