Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Aww hell...

So I decided to read this survival book that Elise got me for my birthday. I was looking forward to it. ( can probably see where this is going)
The book is supposed to be a guide on urban survival, but a quirky one. Flipping through it, there are lots of drawing and humorous pictures demonstrating various things. It seemed like it might be a fun read.

My first indication that something was amiss was in the acknowledgements where the author gave some final thanks:

"Finally, I give my greatest loving gratitude and heartfelt thanks to all of the Ascended Masters and Cosmic Beings, the Archangels, angels, Elohim and elementals. Time and time again, They have freely given Their life's energies to me (and all of us), sustaining me in times of self-perpetuated darkness. It will not be forgotten."

I thought "Ok, that's weird, but he may still have some useful knowledge to impart."

Then he goes on to say, in the intro and in the first few pages of chapter 1, that "I'm not going to go in to detail about blah-biddy-blah because there have been other books written about that already"....but he says this THREE FREAKING TIMES in about 5 pages. So I'm left to wonder, "Why the frak I should be reading this book?"

Then he introduces the cartoon characters that are going to be teaching me how to survive, Head Candy, a lollipop, Vinny the (Uptown) Cockroach, Robbie Rubbish, uh, Trevor...and Holy Cow.

Now before I go much further into this, let me point out that in the introduction, he also says that:

"This is not a book based upon religious prophecy, dogma, or "end times." Regardless of your faith or lack of it, I'm betting that you reside in a human body that lives upon a physical planet. If this is true, you and your loved ones will benefit from the contents of this book whether Armageddon happens or not. That said, embracing and strengthening a personal and family spiritual path will deepen your connection with the Source, the only truly permanent supply on Earth."'s not about God, but it should be? Is that what you're saying? The "Source"? Is that like the Force? Are we also equating an urban disaster as Armageddon? This is really starting to stink of something...why do I keep thinking of the county fair?

Ok, back to Holy Cow. So despite this not being about God or even if we have faith in some cosmic being, he gives us this...

"Although Holy Cow has at times been labeled a busy body, her true intentions have simply been misunderstood by our pass-the-buck society." "She...acts as the great recorder and doer of all that needs to be done." "Holy Cow is the patron saint of the decisive decision-making and fearlessness."

Nope, nothing religiousy or religiously deceptive in there.

The one thing that he really wanted me to understand was that "Ultimately, we are all the cause of the distress in our lives, whether we care to acknowledge the fact or not."

This is a book about urban survival. So I guess that dam break that flooded my neighborhood is my fault? The tornado that killed my relative and destroyed my home is my fault? WHAT?!

This is all in the first 20 pages of the book.

What I have gotten out of the first 20 pages of this book is that the disaster I'm trying to survive is my fault and that only faith and being at peace with my energies is how I and my family will survive....but he's not going to tell me how to do the surviving, he's only going to give me common sense knowledge to keep me calm, so that I can survive... brain hurts.

If you want to read a real survival book, check out Survive! by Les Stroud (my other birthday present from Elise) and Wilderness Survival by Gregory J. Davenport. These will teach you about survival, long term and short term, with no bullshit.

"When All Hell Breaks Loose" -FAIL.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Fun, and it's located in that Spot...right there...

I've been neglecting this blog a bit lately, but I really haven't had that much of anything really interesting to say, so I thought I'd put up a post about a fun arcade we go to occasionally.

I know the blog title is pretty lame, but it was the best I could come up with. The FunSpot is in Laconia, NH near Weirs Beach and, according to their Facebook page, is the largest arcade in the world! That I find a bit surprising, it is pretty big, but they aren't very good at keeping up with new video games, the most modern game I remember coming across was Primal Instinct for crying out loud :)
But where the FunSpot excels is in classic video games. They have pretty much all of them and they are usually in great working order. I occasionally find a game that's under the weather but considering how old some of them are, it's a good track record.

If you have ever seen The King of Kong, then you may be familiar with The FunSpot. They have the Pac Man and Donkey Kong games that the world records were broken on. If you haven't seen King of Kong, I recommend it, it's a fun movie about classic games and the culture around them.

If you find yourself up that way, pop in, it's a lot of ...well, fun. They also have some really old coin op games, some Skee Ball, pinball, table hockey, all that good stuff.

Just a bit further down the street you will find Weirs Beach. They also have 3 old arcades, although these arcades do have some newer games along with some classics. It's basically set up in a boardwalk style and the arcades are open all along the front, so that means these particular spots are only fun in the summer (see what I did there?).

So if you are up for a trip, it's about 2 hours away or so, it's a fun day. You get to relive some of your childhood, have some fried dough and ice cream and look at touristy crap that you are surprised people actually buy. Well, I love looking at that crap anyway.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Here comes Comics! The Blog Without Fear!

Howdy! Welcome back. I had wanted to get this up earlier today, but we were out last night for dinner with family and blah blah blah, I didn't get to it.

But here it is now. So enjoy!
So, for my latest installment of comic blogs, I wanted to focus on the comic that probably changed the way I thought of comics...for good or ill.
This particular comic fell into my hands back when my great aunt had to be moved into a nursing home. She was living alone in the home that her husband built with his own two hands. I never met him, and I only knew Aunt Joan as the very warm and generous woman that lived in a crazy house. She was a severe pack rat and had TONS of crap lying around, so much that you could barely walk and well, there was really no ability to clean, especially given her age and health, so the house was fairly filthy. My sister and I recognized this, but weren't really too bothered by it probably because we enjoyed visiting. Aunt Joan was an excellent gift giver :)
Eventually she couldn't continue to live there so for a number of weekends we would go and clean. I'm not sure to this day what happened to most of the stuff but we packed all the things that she needed and the rest was left to us to divvy up or get rid of. Among the things I came away with were quite a lot of art supplies (Aunt Joan fancied herself an artist, and she wasn't bad when she was a younger woman) and a handful of comics that we found shoved into a book case.
There weren't many comics but the few that there were turned out to be pretty nice. I'll show you one or two of them as we go along. But the comic that was my favorite then and still holds a place in my heart now is...

I didn't think too much about the comics when I got em, I was happy to have some "new" books to read and I stuck them into "The Father Collection" for safe keeping. This one particular book I read over and over again. I even carried it around with me to school a few times.
[Commencing embarrassing]....and attempted to get the other kids to nickname me Daredevil just like they did to Mat Murdock. Of course Mat's nickname was in irony and meant as a taunt, I was just asking people to call me Daredevil. So yeah, that didn't work out so well and I dropped it pretty quickly.

If you don't know much about Daredevil, he was struck blind as a teenager in the process of saving an old man from an oncoming truck. The truck was transporting some kind of toxic waste, which was apparently not secured very well because when the truck swerved to avoid the old man it lost a drum which smashed and splashed right into Mat's face.
He lost his eyesight, but came to realize that all his other senses were heightened to superhuman levels. He also developed a radar sense, which allows him to "see" 360 degrees around himself. When his father, a washed up boxer just trying to scrape out a living and raise his son with all the opportunities he never had, is killed Mat puts on a costume and brings the thugs to justice. There's a bit more to the story than that, but that's his origin in a nutshell. It's a damn good origin story and while I don't read Daredevil much anymore I'll always have a soft spot for him.

I eventually realized that the book was a #1 and therefore must be worth something. I started to look at the comics I had differently. Around this time I was starting to pop into my local shop more and more often, often enough that I started to see the shop as kind of crummy. Luckily I had also met another friend that got me to go with him to NEC in Harvard Sq. and the next thing I knew I had the fever and was there every Wednesday.
I eventually decided that if I'm going to be serious about this thing, then I should treat my dad's comics a little better and get them their own bags and boards. Since they weren't in mint condition I wrote them off as mostly worthless but sentimental. As I mentioned in my first comic post it wasn't until recently that I really saw what I had.
This book in particular I knew was something I would normally never be able to add to my collection, so I am pretty proud to have it. I stopped looking at comics as an investment, now I look at them as art suitable for framing as well as reading, instead of things that are kept in a dark box away from the light.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Trip For Some Proper Fish.

One of my favorite dishes is Fish and Chips. This came up in conversation with a friend a few months back and he said that the only proper fish and chips he's had in this country was from a place in NY called A Salt and Battery. Dave, being from London, knows a thing or two about fish and chips.It was suggested that we take a trip out there one day for lunch. Eventually we pinned down a date and made plans to go. That day, was yesterday!

Elise and I met up with Dave and Garth at 8:30 and headed out. It was a long trip, we were making pretty decent time until we hit some traffic around 11:30 in Connecticut. We had a good time chatting and joking and grilling Dave for some travel tips, since we're actually planning a trip to London for October.
We finally arrived at 112 Greenwich Ave in Manhattan about quarter of two or so. The shop was really small so it was pretty crowded, but the guys behind the counter knew what they were doing and things moved along pretty quickly.
I ended up getting a large Pollock and chips, pickled onion and a side of curry sauce, plus an Idris Ginger Beer (which claimed to be "Firey!" but was not. It was quite good, but if you want a spicy ginger beer, you need to find the Goya kind. THAT'S spicy!)

Unfortunately I was too busy mowing through my food to bother to get a pic, so this is Elise's. So just imagine that, but bigger and there you have my meal. Plus a small onion.

The fish was great, the chips also great and only made better by the curry sauce. The onion was also quite good. There were a TON of things on the menu, we all spent a fair bit of money trying things but we also shared some too.
For dessert I got a Banana Fritter, which was basically a battered and deep fried banana...

Soooo good.

After eating we drove around the city a bit and got to see some sights. For example:

The Flatiron Building!

We drove through Times Sq, around the Empire State building and along the perimiter of Central Park. It was pretty nice, but damn, I don't think I'd want to drive around the city myself, Dave was amazingly calm for the drive being so hectic and a bit crazy at times. But it was a lot of fun.

There were no sightings of Spider-Man, unfortunately, but Elise and I want to come back for a long weekend to do some touristy stuff, so we'll have another chance to see him then ;)

It was a great trip and if you're ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping for lunch!

(all pics are by Elise, by the way)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

OMG Anniversary!

I don't have too much to talk about, but I wanted to mention that today marks the anniversary of the first date of Elise and I. We've been together for 7 years now! Man how time flies when you're having fun!
To celebrate, we're going out for some sushi from the place that's conveniently across the street and who also conveniently has some great sushi.

While we're on the subject of fish (and changing the subject slightly), this weekend we're heading into New York for the day to seek out the best Fish and Chips in the country. At least in the opinion our friend from England. As a great connoisseur of Fish and Chips myself, I'm quite looking forward to it!
A blog will follow! Stay tuned!