Thursday, October 28, 2010

Of Mice and Sleepy Men

Picture from The Commons on Flickr

Thursday mornings are usually like any other work morning for me. I stumble downstairs, plop down in front of the computer, and spend at least a half an hour convincing myself that I am actually conscious. This morning started as usual, with the only major difference being an elevated level of grogginess from actually sleeping past 7:00 am for the first time in months. Then, the tortilla chip bag that had somehow fallen to the floor began to move. At this point there were two possibilities: either the chips were possessed by the spirit of the Frito Bandito, or I had a mouse in the bag.

Since Nicole and I live near a lake, in the country, surrounded by forest and fields, mice have become a daily reality in our lives. Unfortunately, neither of us have the killer instinct to take care of the problem. I have a weird guilt complex that makes me utterly unable to kill even the smallest living creature, and Nicole isn't exactly a fan of inflicting brutal death either. Thus, our daily routine includes cleaning up after a few furry creatures that apparently can't be litter trained, and continuing to find ways to thwart them in a non-violent fashion. So far, the score in this war has been approximately: Mice 3830, People 0.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Random Listening, Volume 2

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

The month of October is nearly finished, and thus the holiday season has officially begun for the family business. Since I’m in charge of graphic design, the webstore, and anything utilizing technology more recent than the 1950s, I find myself a little overwhelmed by the onrush of tasks to be completed. Once again, I find that my brain is some form of congealed jelly whenever I try to sit down and write anything resembling coherent thought. Randomness is always a good cure for these situations, so another Random Listening seems to be in order. Here’s what’s currently playing in that dusty jukebox in the back of my mind.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NSP Review: Chiodos- Illuminaudio

Album cover from Equal Vision Records' Website

Album: Illuminaudio
Artist: Chiodos

Chiodos is a band I first discovered during my brief phase of emo obsession during college. Well, rather faux obsession, as I will never be mistaken for an emo boy, as even when I lost a bunch of weight and grew my hair long, I still resembled either a 70s rocker or a mopey indie musician trying to look like a 70s rocker. I will never, ever be one to pull off skinny jeans or hair cuts that would make A Flock of Seagulls proud.

Anyway, during my senior year of college, I found that the only common point musically for all my friends and acquaintances were various bands that fell under the general term "emo." If I was going to discuss or write about music without receiving blank stares, I had to adapt to others' tastes. During that year I purchased and listened to lots of music I wouldn't get near anymore, but I also found some groups that had some redeeming qualities, at least to my ears. Chiodos was one of those.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Give the Kids a Chance

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

I tend to focus my writing on things personally important to me, but not traditionally considered important topics. This is partially because I over-think everything and need to distract myself constantly to stay sane, but also because I don't believe there needs to be yet another place on the internet where people bicker about politics or religion. However, some people have to live with these hot topics as part of their daily lives, and a teacher named Kathleen Hicks is one of them.

When I interned in London for a summer, Kathleen, or Kate as I knew her, was one of the dozen or so fellow students interning through the same program. Although I never became especially close to anyone in the program, I do remember Kate being an especially sweet girl that seemed to have grown her own garden of four leaf clovers. She was given a video game system for free by someone she had never met before, once appeared on Price is Right and was a major winner, and just gave the impression of having good luck in general.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NSP Review: Belle & Sebastian- Write About Love

Album artwork from Belle & Sebastian's Webstore

Album: Write About Love
Artist: Belle & Sebastian
Label: Matador Records

Even though they've been around for over a decade, most people's only exposure to Belle & Sebastian is a brief scene from the movie High Fidelity, where Jack Black's obnoxious character dismisses them as "sad bastard music." At least with their early albums, this would be an easy mistake to make. B&E have always functioned in an odd world where music never grew much after the late 60s and the volume only goes to 6 or 7, 11 being completely unnecessary. However, thanks to their story driven lyrics and literary bent, they've also managed to create many subversive, sarcastic, and even dark songs hidden behind beautiful melodies. This is the band that can make a song titled "Calculating Bimbo" classy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

KO'd by Florida

The view from our first hotel, two stories from the very top.

I’m finally back from a week away in Florida, and I have to say I’m ready for a vacation. I over planned things a little too much, and ended up with a very fun week that also managed to drain every bit of the energy from my body. By the 4th day in Florida I was lying in bed, moaning in horrible pain as something like a stampede of elephants happily pranced through my forehead. I recovered in time not to ruin the day, but it’s telling that I was essentially having a hangover when I wasn’t drinking alcohol.

The trip had two main purposes, finding an apartment and recovering from the chaos that is Nicole and I’s life. On count one, we didn’t find any actual dwelling places, but we did manage to explore a lot of places and find where we might want to inhabit. On count two, we definitely didn’t recover or relax, as I’m still nursing a constant headache and a distinct inability to wake up in the morning, and Nicole is suffering from some monstrous cold. Still, we enjoyed ourselves, and in the end that’s all that matters.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Distracted by Life... and Puppies

Look at the adorable puppies. See them frolic and play. Let them distract you from the fact I haven't posted anything in nearly a week, and this post contains barely anything you can call "content." Just stare at the puppies, and smile.

Alright, for those of you not hypnotized by such a simple trick, it is completely obvious that my old ambition of posting 5 times a week has slowed a bit, and in the last week, come to a complete halt. The reason for this stalling is simple: I'm going to Florida for a week starting Saturday and I'm currently doing about 3 weeks of work in 3 or 4 days to make sure I'm ready.

Friday, October 1, 2010

OK Go Makes My Dog Day Bright

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

Today is the fiftieth post for the blog. I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to post for the 50th entry, or whether I should acknowledge it at all. Then I managed to not sleep well for 4 days in a row, steadily growing loopier and less coherent. Although I’m feeling moderately together today, I’m also catching up on work that fell behind in my somewhat delirious state. As such, any grand plans for some magnificent blog entry went right out the window.

Instead, I’m going to present something that amazes me and warms my heart every time I see it. It’s OK Go’s latest music video, for the song “White Knuckles.” The song is a nice, Prince’sh trick, but the video is another one-shot masterpiece featuring a bunch of the best trained dogs you’ll ever see. All the dogs were rescue dogs as well, which is even more amazing (you can donate to animal rescue through the band's website). If this doesn’t brighten your day a little, I don’t know what will.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Pioneer Photography Practice

Pioneer Village

Last Sunday was the Umpteenthsomething Annual Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival in Huntington, IN. It's much like any other festival of the type, a big group of people set up tents, appear in era appropriate garb, and sell exceedingly inappropriate for the time period merchandise. I don't believe those unfortunate individuals on the Oregon Trail were sporting peace sign necklaces or looking forward to filling their new homestead with tacky lawn ornaments. Maybe I just missed that chapter in my history book.

Nicole makes it a yearly tradition to visit the festival, and since we may not be within a thousand miles for next year's, she wanted to make sure we made a visit. Unfortunately, this meant we got there about 1 hour before it closed. Cue "Yakkity Sax" and a Benny Hill style run around in circles as we attempted to locate everything on Nicole's must buy list, all while trying to avoid tripping over lots of 19th century skirts in the way of our mad dash.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Unfortunate Tale of Ms. Gabriele Nichols

Apparently, I live a double life. To my friends, family, co-workers, and pretty much any person that actually knows me as a human being, I am Gabriele Nichols, an adult male in his middle 20s who could only be mistaken for a female if we’re talking about the bearded lady. To countless advertisers, credit card companies, and various producers of junk mail, I am Ms. Gabriele Nichols.

The tail of this confusion begins before my birth, when it was determined by my parents that I should have the name Gabriel. However, due to a desire to do something different, I received the spelling-of-indiscriminate origin Gabriele. Apparently, this spelling is French in origin, though it took my language expert English professor in college a full 5 minutes of thought before he could place the nationality. This man could give you the entire history of the word “beer” in 5 seconds flat, so my being able to stump him was quite a feat.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Great Honeymoon Debate

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

While I’m definitely obsessed with selecting the music for Nicole and I’s wedding next year, what I’m really thrilled about is planning our honeymoon trip. Travel is one of my loves in life, and this is one of those few opportunities where you are expected to spend loads of money and disappear from the real world for a week or two.

At first, I was obsessed with one idea. We would go to Europe. A large part of the time would be in London, and then maybe Germany for a few days since Nicole knows some German. Oh, and of course Paris, because it’s the city of romance, and there’s Disneyland Paris of course. I’ve also always wanted to go to Italy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

NSP Review: Matt & Kim- Grand

Album artwork from Matt & Kim's Website

Album: Grand
Artist: Matt & Kim
Label: Fader Label
Sounds Like: Someone took the White Stripes, taught Meg White how to drum, gave Jack White an electric keyboard instead of a guitar, and took away about 3/4th the melody and the blues influence.

Matt & Kim are an extraordinarily simple band, so this is going to be a short and simple review. Hailing from New York, everything about the band seems to evoke the idealistic view of the place, with art school origins, album artwork built from collages of the city, and live shows where the two-piece loses itself literally in the middle of the audience. “Constructive Chaos” might be the best way to describe the band, as they seem to put a lot of effort into seeming random and destructive.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Requiem for a Record Store

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

I have spent nearly every day since this past Tuesday trying to find a single CD. This is not uncommon, as I happen to live in a town where there are literally 3 sources for music, a Wal Mart, which has eliminated half its selection, a K-Mart, which has eliminated 9/10th of its selection, and a place called Karma, which probably only sells a bad selection of CDs to disguise the fact that it is filled with pot memorabilia. Add on the fact that most music I consume is completely unknown by anyone else in this city, and you’ve got yourself a typical problem.

The more frustrating part of this search, however, came from two factors. One, it was the new album by Grinderman, entitled Grinderman 2, which is Nick Cave’s side-project. Nick Cave also happens to be one of my favorite artists ever, and one of the few that would turn me into a screaming pyscho fan if I ever got within 10 miles of him. Second, my search wasn’t just of my hometown, but also of Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana, two of the biggest cities in the state. I finally found the disc today, but was almost to the point of vehicular homicide by the time I discovered a store that carried it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Florida Invasion Plan: The Reconnaissance Mission

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

In just a few weeks, Nicole and I will be infiltrating Florida to find our new base of operations. We will arrive via air, and commandeer a commercial vehicle to investigate potential sites. We will break for R&R, then share intelligence with a fellow operative already deep in the field, before returning via air to resume our civilian jobs.

You could say it all that way, but that would be ridiculous. Instead, here’s a rough plan for our apartment hunting trip next month.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Absence of the Other Half

Nicole is not a spirit helping me solve mysteries, because she is, in fact, alive.
Photo from The Commons on Flickr.

Lately I’ve suffered not seeing my better half often enough. Due to Nicole’s work schedule and vastly different sleep schedule, I managed to see her a grand total of 10 hours, non-consecutive, including falling asleep, in the last 3 days. Yes, I did the math, because I’m that intensely bored without someone else in the apartment. If it wasn’t for Team Fortress 2 and random music, I’d be tugging my hair out at the roots, and the former is only possible when our intolerable internet works. As anyone can tell, however, she’s not only absent often in my life, but also on this blog.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wedding Music Part 1- Tears of a DJ

Photo from The Commons on Flickr.

There are many important things to plan for a wedding. Location, date, menu, decorations, honeymoon, the list goes on forever. There is one essential part of the wedding that I know will take the better part of the next year to plan, at least for me. I only have a year to figure out what music I want to play during the reception, and that seems like barely enough time.

If you’ve read other posts on here, it should be obvious that I’m a little obsessive when it comes to music. It’s one of the few hobbies of mine that hasn’t diminished over time. Nicole is also a music lover, though not quite devoted to the weird and obscure as I am. We are already formulating our lists, and over the next months I’ll be recounting some of my potential picks. I pity the DJ that will have to follow my stringent demands, if I even bother with one in the first place.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tie Me Kangaroo Down

It's Friday, and the weekend beckons once again. According to something I heard recently, but I can't track down if it's true for the life of me, they've started to end the workday early on Fridays in Australia. It's becoming standard business etiquette, in some areas, not to call in the afternoon, as the office has already adjourned to the nearest pub. I think this is a respectable and decent practice that all American places of work should seriously consider. I mean, who really gets work done on a Friday? Oh, right, I am, but I think I'm the exception to the rule a lot of times.

Thus, not a lot of time for an entry today. No long winded reviews or rants about impending moves. Instead, just a simple song about a dying Australian. All together now, "Tie me kangaroo down, sport, tie me kangaroo down!"


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chime- More Trance Inducing Than a Room Full of Hypnotists

Game logo from Zoë Mode (the developer)

Based on the recommendation of one of my favorite blogs, Twenty Sided, I downloaded the game Chime, which was just released for the PC on digital release platform Steam. The game is the first release by OneBigGame, a charity group that plans on getting developers, in this case Zoë Mode, to make games for free, then donate the profits to good causes. It's an intriguing idea, and for only five bucks, I thought it was worth supporting a charity and getting a few minutes distraction. What I wasn't expecting was one of the most relaxing, zen-like experiences I've ever had playing a computer game.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NSP Review: Murder By Death- Good Morning, Magpie

Album Artwork from Murder By Death's Discography

Good music is not always easy to find in Indiana. Unlike many areas of the country, there isn’t, and maybe never was, a comprehensive “scene” or music city. Like anywhere in the country, the larger cities have their struggling bands, and the small towns have aging cover bands and high school kids with little talent but huge dreams. Thus, the band Murder By Death, which hails from Bloomington, Indiana, came as a big surprise to me when I discovered their music. They quickly became one of my favorite bands, and their new record, Good Morning, Magpie, is no exception.

For those who have never heard of the band, Murder By Death is an alternative group that sounds something like the love child of Nick Cave, Ennio Morricone (famous composer of classic westerns), Johnny Cash, and a literature major on a three week bender. So, more of a love grandchild, really. At their start, they were not easily distinguishable from some of the more theatrical emo and punk bands, with ridiculous song titles like “You Are the Last Dragon (You Possess the Power of the Glow)” and “Intergalactic Menopause.” Even on their second album, Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them?, song quality was occasionally sacrificed to support the bizarre plot line about the Devil unleashing zombies on a small, desert town.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Picture from The Commons on Flickr.

As it should be quite obvious, I have missed two of my regularly scheduled days for posting, last Friday and yesterday. My past blogging attempts haven’t lasted past eight or nine posts, so I definitely do not want to abandon this one, or even let up too much on my posting schedule. Keeping up the writing plus the insanity that is life right now, however, was quickly pushing me to a case of burnout that was going to leave me as roadkill on the highway of the universe.

This last Saturday, I had dinner with my Father (who is also my boss) while Nicole was unfortunately working the evening shift. At least half of our conversation revolved around making comments like “It’s been a long year,” “What happened this last year,” “Seriously, what happened, I don’t remember,” and random sounds of confusing thought. Essentially saying, it’s been constant chaos at the family business, and the last few weeks have been no different. Over two weeks ago we liquidated everything but the property at the farm, and since then I’ve been constantly trying to revamp an entire webstore by myself.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The New Car Shuffle

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

With our big move rapidly approaching, one of the things Nicole and I have had to accept is that we must get her a new car. There are no ifs, ands, or buts to this situation, except the butts which will be sitting in said new car’s seats. Both of us need an automobile, and there is no way that Nicole’s vehicle will make it all 1000 miles we have to travel ahead of us.

My old car, the Chevrolet Beretta. Photo from

I already replaced my long neglected, continually falling apart Chevrolet Beretta a year and a half ago. This car got a flat tire and was technically totaled. I replaced it with a brand new HHR, a vehicle I thought was pretty neat until I realized that everyone in the tri-state area apparently had the same thought. Now I can’t find a parking lot where at least 2 other cars look identical to mine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NSP Presents: Random Listening, Volume 1

Photo from The Commons on Flickr.

With work being a little ridiculous right now, and all the big move, wedding, and other planning, I find myself listening to a lot more music lately than I have since college graduation. This is good, as music has always helped me focus and made me a happier person. This is also bad, because I suddenly gain an insatiable craving for more new sounds, more new albums, and I have to use every bit of self control not to purchase any random song that seems interesting.

As such, here’s the first of potentially many little overviews of some albums I’m listening to at the moment, with a few thoughts on each. No guarantees I won’t milk these for full reviews later.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Florida Move Update: Staying in Hotels I Can’t Afford

Picture from the Universal Orlando website.

In a little over a month, Nicole and I will be heading back to Florida to look at potential apartments and attempt to avoid bug ridden slums. It’s quite frustrating evaluating apartments online, as one can find a website with great photos and glowing comments about a place, and then find a seething tempest of hatred in the reviews by former tenants. We’re not looking for the most spectacular apartment ever, just one that is affordable, safe, pleasant, and big enough that we can actually fit our stuff this time. Winning the lottery would certainly help in this search.

Our current plans have us leaving on October 9th and spending 3 days and 2 nights searching the area around Orlando for decent living accommodations. This process is going to be a bit exhausting, I’m sure, and possibly even a little stressful. I’m hoping it will go smoothly, but apartment hunting is a tricky, unpredictable business.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Animatronic Friend

Picture from Garner Holt's website (The builder of this Oogie Boogie animatronic).

The internet was made for people that like getting lost down rabbit holes. Today I started my groggy morning by reading the regular Monday update of Miceage, a Disney Parks discussion board and news site, with emphasis on Disneyland. Monday is dedicated to construction and renovation updates around Disneyland and California Adventure. Greeting me in this update was the following photo (originally found on a twitter account called "MurphyTracker"):

Friday, August 27, 2010

NSP Review: Despicable Me Original Soundtrack

Image from

This year in movies has been pretty good for me so far. How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and Despicable Me have all been winners, hitting both themes of maturity and complete silliness and oddity. Despicable Me is one of the biggest surprises, as I expected some Shrek-like reference fest with lots of scatological humor. Instead, I found a film that combined the emotion and heart of the Pixar films with the absurd physical humor of classic Looney Tunes, and somehow made it work beautifully. Plus, it featured the protagonist, Gru, punching a shark in the face, which is always a good time.

The soundtrack of the movie also tries to blend a party atmosphere with sweeter moments, and doesn’t manage to succeed quite as well. Part of the problem is that it’s a short album. There are only 10 tracks total, 2 of which are classic disco tunes “Boogies Fever” by The Sylvers and “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Revenge of the Fear Sombrero: Universal Studios Taunts Me

The thing featured in that video above is called “Fear,” at least so far, and he’s the icon (host monster) for Halloween Horror Nights XX. A few weeks ago I wrote about my fascination with, but dislike of attending these Horror festivities, with my own suggestion of a “Fear Sombrero” for those of us with a more cowardly nature. (See said article for a full explanation, but to summarize, I suggested horror attractions let people who don't want to be scared wear a silly, obvious hat to let the actors know not to bother them.) With the theme and haunted house list officially released, I can now see that someone at Universal Studios Orlando is taunting me.

First of all, knowing that I’m a chicken and don’t like being scared, they go and make the theme of the entire event “Fear.” The event is already about making people change their underwear repeatedly, that theme just adds a bullet point in blood to my least favorite aspect of said events.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gabe Vs. The Insects

One of the many creatures I'm actually not bothered by. I just didn't want to look at the ones that do bother me.
Photo from The Commons on Flickr.

I am not a fearless person, as I’ve established before. This is especially true when it comes to tornado spawning thunderstorms, needles, and various insects of a certain disturbing ilk. Unfortunately, something of these exact creatures are numerous in Florida, and I’m having to face the possibility I may have to face them one on one.

I find 99% of living things some level of cute, even ones that I wouldn’t hug with a 10 foot pole. I’m not sure how I’d hug something with a 10 foot pole, but I’m sure I’d fine a way. There’s a spider that lives on my car I consider a surrogate pet almost, and I find the Komodo Dragon at the zoo adorable. I’m pretty sure he finds that I look like a 5 course meal.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

NSP Review: Los Lobos Goes Disney

Image from

To those just joining us, on our previous entries I have professed my undying love for both things Disney and music. Surprisingly, my love of both does not often cross paths. While I do like some music from Disney films, and I do love the atmospheric music at the theme parks, I don’t generally go out of my way to listen to it. There’s so much great music in the world that it barely crosses my mind.

That is, until I saw a relatively new (okay, released late 2009) collection by Los Lobos. The album, entitled “Los Lobos Goes Disney,” is a bunch of covers of various Disney songs from both movies and the parks. Los Lobos have a definite connection with Disney, including providing the theme song to preschooler beloved Handy Manny. Thus, the album isn’t exactly out of left field, though I was definitely interested to see how the Lobos incorporated their Chicano rock with Disney classics.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Unbearable Heaviness of a Bazillion CDs

Image from The Telegraph UK.

Note: Yes, a bazillion. You expect me to count all these things?

Now that work’s last big event for the year is finished, as we’re spending most of the year’s remainder reorganizing and planning, it's time to seriously plan out my quickly approaching move. One of the biggest obstacles I face is the unholy load of general clutter that Nicole and I have collected over our life. For me, one of the leading contributors to this mess is my out of control cd and dvd collection.

I’m sure there are many young men of my age that have far larger collections, but what I do have takes up way too much space in our apartment, and spreads its tentacles across every other surface. I can’t go a day without knocking over some random pile of music or movies. I predominately listen to music on my computer or in my car on my iPod, but I refuse to get rid of the physical copies of everything.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Weight is a Gift

Photo from The Commons on Flickr

“Maybe this weight was a gift

Like I had to see what I could lift
I spend all my energy
Walking upright”
-Nada Surf, “Do It Again”

Those lyrics are from a song by Nada Surf, an indie pop band who was most famous for being a now forgotten one hit wonder. They still release very pleasing records, but ones that I generally use as background music and don’t give a lot of thoughtful consideration. Sometimes, though, the lyrics shine through, and the above is one of the greatest examples.

Right now, there is a lot of weight bearing down on my family. My only remaining Grandmother is slowly, very slowly passing away from terminal cancer. This has virtually imprisoned my Mother in her own home. My Father and Stepmother are selling off their miniature horse farm, something that has been a part of my life for over a decade, while wiping the slate clean with everything in the family business. Even Nicole has her own weight, as she continues to deal with the day to day realities of a job she doesn't enjoy and is worn down by daily, with doubts that she’ll ever find something better.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NSP Review: John Mellencamp- No Better Than This

Album art from John Mellencamp's Webstore.

I have an interesting history when it comes to John Mellencamp’s music. As a child, I liked it along with everything else I absorbed, not really having the facility to distinguish good, bad, or mediocre. All I heard was music, there was no divide between country and rock, and I had no clue why people found AC/DC offense or why Achey Breaky Heart was ridiculous. When I reached my high school and college years, I developed a pretentious loathing for my home state, and since Mellencamp is a product of Indiana, he received that hatred as well. You should have heard me howl when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Since graduation, however, I’ve matured in my opinions, and somehow wrapped back around to loving John Mellencamp. Partly its because his music is just plain good and enjoyable listening, without pretension. He’s also an artist that does what he wants and doesn’t care about image, changing his name back from his rock star moniker of “Cougar” and stopping politicians who misuse his music. Integrity is the best way to describe it, something a lot of artists lack these days.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Don’t Hate Indiana (We just have issues with each other)

Some people might assume that I hate Indiana. Let me start over. Pretty much everyone would assume from what I’ve written that I loathe Indiana and view it as a giant black hole that sucks the life out of all who remain in its grasp. This is understandable, since while I do write nice things about parts of it, I also have a manic drive to escape as soon as possible.

However, this does not mean that I hate Indiana. I have a lot of fondness for the state, even with its many, many, many flaws. Recently, I’ve run in to some individuals that use “midwestern” as an insult and generally look down upon my area of the country. It’s incredibly irritating and frustrating, and makes me stand up and defend my home even when I’m planning my departure. I really do wish I could stay in Indiana at least part of the year, but since Nicole or I have yet to win the lottery, that dream isn’t possible.

Monday, August 16, 2010

NSP Review- Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Last night, Nicole and I ventured off to Fort Wayne to look at crafty wedding items, eat dinner, and see a movie. That movie was Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. This happened to be the completely wrong choice for Nicole, since she was suffering from having slept only 2 hours the previous night, and wasn’t feeling very well either. Bad fiance moment on my part, for sure, and general tip: don’t take a suffering girlfriend to a movie with extremely loud music, explosions, and lots of pretty flashing lights that may or may not induce seizures. Also called common sense, which I lack.

As for me, here’s the short version of the review:

If you’re under the age of 30, the movie is pure awesome exploding into the movie atmosphere like an awesome comet, and should be viewed immediately.

If you’re between the ages of 30 and 45, it’s a fun movie with a sweet romantic story wrapped up in a huge, video game related metaphor. The movie is loud, flashy, and chaotic, but it’s also genuinely funny and worth seeing.

If you’re over 45, don’t bother unless you actually liked the previews. It’s a movie targeted toward a particular generation raised with insane postmodernism, and it is probably going to go over the heads of anyone who doesn’t have at least a minimal knowledge of what is Final Fantasy or Zelda.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Disney World- Optimistically Pessimistic

Recently lots and lots of news has popped up about Walt Disney World. Most of the stories are tales of the amazing spate of new attractions and additions at nearly all of the different parks. Examples include a new Monsters Inc. roller coaster at Hollywood Studios, a new country and renovated pavilions at Epcot, and new developments at the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland expansion.

The latter story is based on actual interviews with Disney executives and while there are little details, at least present real information. In contrast, the other stories are equally vague with no real sourcing, based on rumors and “rumblings.” This means it must be a slow news week, since these kinds of rumors have fun rampant on the internet for years upon years.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nixon Segretti Productions- A Manifesto

Turkey presentation for Thanksgiving, 11/18/1969
There are two turkeys in this photo that received pardons. Photo from The Commons on Flickr.

One of my favorite movies of all time is 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'. The tail of two con men competing for dominance on the French Riviera, its a movie that combines beautiful locations, great writing, and two brilliant actors (Michael Caine and Steve Martin) at the top of their game. Another reason I love the movie is that I can relate to Michael Caine’s character so well. I mean, other than the whole conning people out of huge sums of money bit.

Michael Caine plays a sophisticated, classy gentleman who bilks money out of the greedy and stupid, and utilizes it to fund public gardens, museums, and other preservations of art and culture. One quote in particular strikes especially true: “Freddy, as a younger man, I was a sculptor, a painter, and a musician. There was just one problem: I wasn't very good. As a matter of fact, I was dreadful. I finally came to the frustrating conclusion that I had taste and style, but not talent.”

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Opening Pandora's Box, Volume III- NSP Radio

Draagbare radio / Radio hat
From The Commons on Flickr. Most awesome photo and hat, ever.

It’s been a week of Pandora Radio listening, and I have held true to my goal. Even though I’ve reached for iTunes many times wanting to hear a specific song, I have focused my listening completely on Pandora. Which really, really sucks when you want to listen to some pure background music but have to hear some blaring Guns and Roses track for the millionth time in your life instead.

As noted in my last installment, Pandora focused almost completely on indie rockers for the first 10 songs, with some classic ultra-soft rock thrown in for good measure. The only songs that picked up the tempo much were screechy alternative kids trying to sing, but failing miserably. The station was turning out alright, but I wasn’t exactly impressed so far.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Mighty Boosh Makes My Day Bright

Today's blog post was short because I was busy producing the physical catalog for our latest auction. I manage to put them together in record time, but it pretty much wrecks any creative juices I have for a good period of time. When I feel tired and drained, I just need something silly to lift me back up again. Lately, that thing has been The Mighty Boosh.

It's a thoroughly bizarre British television show that makes little to no sense, even if it does have a plot line every episode. It's also apparently airing on Adult Swim now, though I prefer it in its original, unedited form. The series follows Vince and Howard, two lifelong friends of completely different outlooks on life, that somehow manage to continually encounter surreal, psychedelic adventures and not die in the process, all while never learning anything from it.

Sometimes the humor is downright twisted, but other moments are just pure, simple pleasure, like the "crimp" (short, A Capella song) above. Now I just need to find a bouncy castle to celebrate another project's (near) completion.


The Heat Goes On

Hot day in N.Y., after a swim in fountain. (LOC)
From the Commons on Flickr.

Nicole and I have received many different responses to our plans to move to Florida. While most everyone is supportive, we still receive some advice and information that’s meant to make us consider our choice more closely. One of the top things we hear out of everything is “You know, it gets really hot in Florida.”

On the surface is a true statement, though one that’s bleedingly obvious. I’ve been to Florida in the summer, and I have experienced the heat. Yes, it was hot, and I did sweat a lot. However, this statement of hotitude also implies something else, that Florida is so much hotter than Indiana. Bull chips.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Art of Screaming Seagulls- A Winona Lake Evening

Canal Boats

Yesterday, Nicole and I made one of our ventures off to nearby Winona Lake. This may seem odd, since we currently live in an apartment across the street from a lake. The big difference is that while our lake is packed with houses and has no real beach to speak of, Winona Lake has a nice beach, a canal filled with turtles and fish to watch, and an entire artist’s colony known as the Village at Winona. As mentioned before, it’s one of the few places I’ll truly miss when we move to Florida.

Village Barber
The Village at Winona has a whole collection of random stores and restaurants packed into a few blocks. There's a barber (who happened to be on vacation, apparently).