Wednesday 07.31.2013

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A few updates ago I went off on a tirade about the lack of video stores in Philadelphia (and much of America, I’m sure) and how we have less options these days than we did five, ten years ago. Luckily for us, Philadelphia at least has Exhumed Films. I’ve been going to their shows off and on since I moved to Philly; sometimes in New Jersey, sometimes in the city proper- wherever they have a location. They’re a group of movie fans who screen rare 35mm prints of cult, horror and exploitation films, sort of like a less commercial Alamo Draft House save that they don’t have their own location. It’s moved around quite a bit and most recently has a home at the International House on Chestnut Street.

My schedule these days means that I miss most of their offerings, but when things line up I always try to make screenings, even if I’ve never heard of the movie being shown. Last night the boys hosted REMOTE CONTROL; a little seen 1988 horror flick from by BLUE SUNSHINE director Jeff Lieberman starring Kevin Dillion, Deborah Goodrich and Jennifer Tilly. Best of all, Jeff was on hand to introduce the movie, show a 16mm print of his first short, an ironically trippy antidrug PSA called RINGERS. The turnout was good; I always want to see more people at these screenings but there were at least 100 in attendance, so that was pretty rad. It’s always good to see these movies with a full and appreciative audience. Having seen ONLY GOD FORGIVES in San Diego with a packed house of people who didn’t realize they were seeing a weirdo art film a few weeks ago.. I really appreciate an audience that knows what it’s getting into. Jeff stuck around for a Q&A after the movie but I had to jet; missed out on that as well as picking up a poster/print for the screening. I always do that. I swear I’m going to start biking there with a poster tube in my bag.. I missed out on the TCM2 print a few months ago for the same reason. One day I’ll learn.

But all that aside.. it was a great night. The film was appropriately cheesy and worth seeing. I love when they do movies on my free nights. I was sad not to see my friend and fellow cult film nerd Rob at the showing, but as luck would have it, I randomly ran into him today and we had an in-depth movie nerd sidewalk conversation that ranged from old work stuff (Apparently Dave Clark, the biggest douchebag I met in all my years at Amazon- bigger than Paul Lysko, Jenna Owens or Fern) just shared the stage with President Obama in some Amazon PR crap. We had a lot of sport with that, then moved on to discussing 1980s porn, cut scenes, the death of the video store culture… all the stuff that makes life worth living. Rob and I have this weird friendship where we see each other in random spots. Been that way since we worked together and has continued the three plus years I’ve been out of the DFC.

So much nerdery.

Otherwise it’s a nice slow day. Haircut, finally. Gym time. Playing mediator between Bailey and
Mervin as they both fought to use me as a pillow. Built a bicycle for Julia and then m
ore Game of Thrones reading and gearing up for movie night with Erin at 7pm. Full day so far and it feels like it’s just starting.

In two days I turn 39.
Ugh.

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Friday 07.26.2013

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This is been a good year for travel.
I fully believe that how you start a year sets the tone for what’s to come, and ringing in 2013 on a roadtrip to Boston must have done the trick since the last seven months have been filled with adventure. I’m finally rested having gotten back from San Francisco and finally able to budget some time to sit back, catch up on MASTER CHEF and TRUE BLOOD and process all of the good times that the last week have given me.

vegasskiesAfter the last few really negative experiences with Southwest Airlines I was dreading the outbound San Diego flight, but the fates were kind to me and both legs of the first part of my trip had me leaving on time and arriving early, which is more than I could have hoped for. I had a fun little layover in Vegas and made it to San Diego with no troubles. My buddy Shain arranged a ride for me at the SD airport so I could avoid public transport and before I knew it I was starting my Comic Con 2013 Adventure.

I had only planned on attending the convention on Sunday for the Pushead event, but my buddy Ayelet, who I haven’t seen since the last time I visited SDCC, invited me out with her to check out the con on Friday, and the prospect of spending time with her outweighed the chaos of Friday at SDCC and I braved San Diego public transport to get downtown to have a little fun.

Comic Con on Friday is chaos. Way to many people, no one paying attention to anything because they’re too busy paying attention to everything, getting hit in the shins by strollers, getting knocked into by fellow nerds rushing a booth for an exclusive… it’s a weird combination of the worst thing ever and a really great time.

It was really rad to catch up with Ayelet, talk about the joy (and horrors) of home ownership and where we are in life. The whole SD trip was like that; instead of doing blow off a strippers ass I found myself having Icecream with my friend Pineapple and his Mom and Son, talking about therapy and fitness with Erica… being a grownup is surreal but ultimately rewarding. I’ve never really done much in SD beside Comic Con, so I tried really hard to get away from the Convention Center to do some actual touristing. My old friend Erica took me out to Ocean Beach to wander around and take pics, get sprayed with sea water and catch up… all of which we managed to do as well as getting BBQ. Can’t really complain about any of it, even the seawater bath!

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Sunday finally came and with it the Pushead 21 event. I’ve only been to the NYCC Pushead events so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from San Diego; it’s a much bigger draw for folks and I’ve always been super jealous of the pictures that have come out of it. This year the lines were set up in four parts: P, U, S and general. I was lucky to pull P10 which put me in a great place to grab some really fun toys. It also put me in line with some really great guys; I rarely get to bullshit in person with other Pushead collectors so spending time with Heng, Ed, Carl was rad as hell. I’ll put some toy pics up over on My Pushead Addiction, but needless to say… I got my moneys worth despite the plane ticket and associated costs of the trip, ten times over.

I capped off the SD trip with Shain, Dustin and Didier; having sushi, shooting the breeze about the old days of body piercing (well, Didier and I did. Part of being old guys is getting to wax poetic about the old days of anything) and just unwinding before I headed out to San Fran.

Hit my first snag heading north- hour delay leaving SD airport which screwed up my timeline re: meeting up with my San Fran hostess but things work out how they do and Z was kind enough to leave a key for me so ultimately it all worked out. I was in San Francisco briefly last year; Kathleen, Atom and I drove down for a sidetrip but I didn’t really have a chance to be the goofball tourist that I wanted to be so as soon as I dropped my bags off at Zoe’s, I was out and about enjoying the city.

heyjackI tried to hit up all of the prime tourist spots; City Lights Books, Fisherman’s Wharf, Haight-Ashbury, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, the Castro… I did all of the things that goober tourists are s’posed to do. I ate a garlic lover’s dream at The Stinking Rose, snapped pictures of landmarks and zoned out just being on an adventure. I met up with Hilary, Robin, Kristin, Brooke, Kelly, Tony and Jackson at Burma Superstar for dinner, braved the wilds of Oakland to spend some time with Steve Joyner and finally headed back to my basecamp to wait for my airport shuttle.

Finally at 6:25am I said goodbye to California and started back to Philly and Julia. As much fun as I was having, I missed home. I missed Bailey and Xanadont and Julia; adventure isn’t as much fun these days without her by my side. Austin is coming up soon…

Thanks to everyone who made my trip so rad; Shain and Zoe for hosting me on my adventures, Wes and Amanda for getting me into Comic Con, Chris and Pushead, Heng, Ed, Mikee, Carl and the rest of the toy nerds, HonkeyKong, Ayelet, Pineapple and family, Didier, Mick and Becki @ Cold Steel, Hilary, Robin, Jackson, Brooke, Tony, Kristin and her lady, Kelly and Steve… you guys kick ass!

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Photos: Golden Gate Shawn, view flying into Las Vegas, Ocean Beach CA, P10, Kerouac, card from Julia.

Thursday 07.18.2013

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Summer Vacation 2013.
The plan this year was to skip APP, which has almost become a given (and as such, not really a vacation) and instead attend the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. Ultimately I chose to do both and with APP behind me- fun though it was- I’m now just over 24 hours away from boarding a plane to California for what’s turned into the longest sequential-days vacation I’ve had since 2000.

It’s going to be tough; I’m a horrible planner so there is a lot of holes in my itinerary that I’ve yet to fill like transportation routes/schedules, it’s going to be difficult to be away from Julia and Bailey for that long and my roommate is unexpectedly moving out this week with only a few days notice so I know that I’ll have to start the ‘new roommate chaos’ when I return, but despite it all I’m geeked as hell about the trip and counting the minutes till it’s time to start it. I’ve technically been on vacation since Tuesday, taking it easy, eating water ice after a long, hot bike ride and generally being a bum. Once I get to the airport tomorrow the real fun will start.

Since I’ve been so lax on planning everything trip related, I decided to jump the gun and get my bags packed early. So despite not really knowing what’s going on for most of my trip I’m at least 100% certain to be doing it with clean socks, enough Emergen-C to stave off air travel related sickness and my traditional good luck bag of beef jerky.

I’m trying to decide if I’m going to take it easy today, bum around, have a hot diggity date with Erin and Julia and keep up with the lazy thing, or if I should go get a set in at the gym. I’ll be out of routine for almost a week so I should probably commit to a 5k at the very least. Meh. Decisions are the cancer of vacation.

Photo: Cool Down. Swedish Fish Water Ice

Monday 07.15.2013

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My first job in Philadelphia was at an independent video store.
I arrived on a Thursday night (where I saw Danny Trejo walking down South Street and first met the incomparable ┬áStormin’ Norman Brown) and found myself being interviewed by the GM- artist Randy Sellers– early the next afternoon. By that night I was hired and on Saturday had my first shift as a fill-in clerk at the 4th Street location of the legendary TLA video chain.

Strange to think about; it will be fourteen years next month. As I laid in bed this morning stoned and playing with my dog, trying to remember if I owned BETTER OFF DEAD on DVD or not (not, sadly) and checking to see if it’s on any of the streaming services I have which include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu+ and HBOGo (it wasn’t) I realized that there are no video stores left in Philadelphia proper. With all of the streaming choices we have, we have less choice than we did fourteen years ago. Less bookstores. Less record stores (and the ones we do have never have what you’re looking for in stock) or places to DISCOVER new titles. It’s a weird balance- working at TLA where you had ten thousand movies to choose from then moving to Amazon where we crippled and destroyed small video stores/chains/etc.

The moral of this story is that I really want to watch Better off dead.

I’ve been in a weird mood lately, Internet. My life is amazing. Work is fun. Julia is perfect. Bailey is, as always, loyal and affectionate. I don’t think I’ve ever been in this good of a place, mentally, this often. But I’m finding myself annoyed by people lately. Like really annoyed. Since rebooting myself, going to therapy and all of that, I think I just expect more out of people and man, I’m not getting it. I’ve had to really look at some of my friendships and get some distance from them. Not that I don’t care about them, but I just can’t take some of the rhetoric. Some of it I agree with. Some of it I disagree with. But the constant reinforcement of it, I just can’t bother with. Specially now that I’m actually happy with my life.

I’m really looking forward to San Diego/San Fran to get out of my head, offline and back on an Adventure!