Thursday, December 21, 2006

Believe it or not ...

...She said yes!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Another random thought ...

I've said it before and I'll say it again ...sometimes gravity pisses me off.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Random thought for the day (probably because I'm hopped up on Dayquil)

What if getting bitten by a dog, stung by a bee, or feeling sad are some of your favorite things ...isn't remembering them simply repetitive?

Monday, October 09, 2006

'The Departed' review - Let's keep it simple

The Departed

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Vera Farmiga
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Year: 2006

I could go on and on (as is usually my way) to carry on about 'The Departed' movie of the year, best movie that Martin Scorsese has ever directed (or at least right up there), Leonardo DiCaprio (who I'm not the biggest fan of) is a legitimate contender for Best Actor for the year, and on and on. It really comes down to three words ...

Simply f**king brilliant!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

'Hollywoodland' movie review


Starring: Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck
Directed by: Allen Coulter
Year: 2006

All-in-all a fine little movie. I wasn't blown away by it, but I found it enjoyable. The 'based on true events' premise surrounds the investigation of the 1959 death (ruled a suicide) of actor George Reeves (Superman/Clark Kent from TV's 'The Adventures of Superman'). The film is played rather low-key (doing a good job of conveying the shallowness of Hollywood in the 50's along with a certain level of defeatism that accompanies a directionless life), and quite aptly portrays the rather bleak cloud (metaphorically anyway) that's cast over the sun-drenched California landscape. With the nature of the film being what it is, that's fine …if it were played flashier and more in-your-face it probably wouldn't come across as much more than a TV movie.

Things that worked for me:

The look and sound of the movie …it realistically conveyed the feel of 1950's era Hollywood (at least from my perspective, although not having been there at the time you can take my perspective for what it's worth), from the set desi
gn, to the soundtrack, to the costumes, to the general period feel.

The cast performances are quite good. This is, without a doubt, the best thing that Ben Affleck (portraying George Reeves) has ever done. Now, I realize that ('Dogma' aside) this isn't saying much, but even throwing out the past body of Mr. Affleck's work, it really is a very strong performance. He conveys the proper level of resignation, hopelessness, and apathy from being stuck in the circumstances that Reeves is stuck in (i.e., being a kept man and typecast due to having portrayed the 'Man of Steel'). His performance is really surprisingly good. Who would have thought (in light of such past gems as the animal cracker scene in 'Armageddon' and basically the entirety of 'Pearl Harbor' ….shudder) that he had it in him.

Diane Lane is (in my opinion) always good and that holds true here. Now, understandably, 'always good' sometimes can translate to 'always hot', especially when it pertains to Diane Lane (yeah …gotta throw the male perspective in there every now and then), but it is a very strong performance. It's interesting when an actress who has maintained a general air of youthfulness in her past performances (whether in her teens, 20's, 30's, or 40's) is playing a part where the character is very definitely in her later middle-aged years, but Ms. Lane does so quite convincingly (and truthfully, whether she's in her teens, 20's, 30's, 40's, or later middle-aged years, she's uniformly quite hot …just had to throw that out there).

Adrien Brody (who admittedly for me is somewhat of an acquired taste depending upon the role he's playing) possessed a nice air of quasi-sleaziness balanced by a certain degree of, while not exactly nobility, at least a measure of wanting to try and do the right thing.

Most of the supporting cast is quite good (in particular Bob Hoskins and Joe Spano), although Robin Tunney's party girl/future Reeves fiancée
character is pretty one-note and forgettable.

Things that didn't work for me:

Well …nothing would really qualify for me as such. No major missteps, but then again, nothing that I got too terribly excited about. A decent, solid, entertaining little movie …but not one that I'd say you absolutely, positively have to rush right out to catch it in the theatre, but think about giving it a look when it comes to home video as it will translate perfectly well to the small screen (and truthfully, it might actually even play a bit better there).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

'The Illusionist' movie review

The Illusionist

Starring: Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel
Directed by: Neal Burger
Year: 2006

A subtle and low-key (although never slow-moving) little movie that plays out like a chess game unfolding on the screen and is equal parts character study, mystery, and romance. It reflects a certain type of Kafka and Caleb Carr (author of the novel 'The Alienist') feel to it (at least as far as the tone of the film) and, although there's still a ways to go, at this point I'd call it one of the better (if not one of the best) movies of the year.

I was engaged throughout the entire film and, while the direction that the story takes really doesn't prove to be that surprising a twist even though it's set up that way (it's pretty obvious what's going on as soon as it begins), what does keep you engaged is being sucked into how things will play out and the performances of all of the characters in getting there.

Although the degree to which I enjoy his work is primarily dependent upon the character he's playing (and there have been some movies that he's been in that I just haven't been that keen on, and as such haven't been blown away by his corresponding performance), Edward Norton can justifiably stake a claim to being one of the most talented actors of his generation, and his role here (as the title character, a stage magician in turn-of-the-century Vienna) helps to support that claim. It could be the kind of part that an actor might play over-the-top with, but Norton keeps it very low-key and mysterious, which suits the atmosphere perfectly.

As good as Norton was, for me the movie was Paul Giamatti's. I'm of the opinion that you should just hand him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor now (although I imagine his performance will be completely overlooked when the nominations come out …that's just what happens …stupid Academy). Giamatti portrays the Chief Inspector of the local constabulary …a rather staid and small man (who nonetheless has at his center a basic decentness and a certain wry outlook on things) and Giamatti’s acting is a wonder to behold. As the movie progresses you can almost see the gears turning inside the character's head as he slowly acknowledges and accepts his role (and responsibility) in the events that are playing out. Just look at his face in the last scene, where the character unravels in his mind just what has occurred …it was quite impressive. What with his performances here, in 'Sideways', and in 'American Splendor', I find it somewhat remarkable that his was (in my opinion) one of the more annoying parts of the rather annoying Tim Burton film, 'Planet of the Monkey-Boys' …Oh well …everyone is entitled to a few missteps …he's more than made up for it since then.

The look and style of the film is perfect, as is the Phillip Glass score (which balances being a complimentary part of the background with being a very attention-drawing part of the movie).

So, the big selling points for me were:

  • The performances …very engaging and uniformly good across the board, with Giamatti and Norton standing out
  • The look of the film (from the standpoint of direction, cinematography, and production design)
  • The musical score …I'm not always a huge Phillip Glass fan, but I thought his work here was wonderful

All in all a very fine little film that, although it won't be because of its scale, low-key marketing campaign, and summer release date, should be remembered at award time. While I'm quite happy that I caught 'The Illusionist' in the Cineplex, it should translate quite well to the home theatre (as I wouldn't categorize it as a 'big' or 'event' type film), so if you don't catch it in the theatre (and I rather doubt that many have or will), give it a look at home. It's definitely on my 'A-List' for when it comes out on DVD.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

One from the heart (which, believe it or not, really does exist)

Alright …so here's the thing (and stick with me, I’m going somewhere with this) …the name of my blog pretty well captures (in varying shades of gray) my perspective, my demeanor, my charm, my …shall we say, Je-ne-sais-quoi …In other words, my outlook on things in general is usually rather bleak. Melancholy and despair have been my companions for quite some time now, so much so that for awhile there I needed to take some time off from blog posting as things were coming across as being even bleaker than usual (and brother …that’s gotta be pretty bleak).

I'm also not one who has the desire or the comfort level in proclaiming my feelings from the rooftops. Having taken multiple personality / leadership / working-social style tests (Myers-Briggs and others too numerous to mention) over the years in conjunction with whatever managerial position I held at the time, it's safe to say that the phrase that typically captures my usual outlook is "Emotions Bad". To illustrate my grinch-like view of things, in a previous post from a number of months ago (on the former site where my blog resided), I shared my somewhat cynical (make that cranky) perspective re/certain fairy tale-esque cliches, including "there's someone out there for everyone".

The purpose of the previous paragraphs that illustrate my somewhat less than bright and cheery way is to help set the foundation for …well …it appears that a retraction to that last "there's someone out there for everyone – yeah right" sentiment just may be in order, as yes …(at least for this everyone) there was (and is) indeed someone out there. And, miracles of miracles, she feels the same way about me. So with that being the case, I’m throwing caution to the wind and posting my thoughts (or more to the point), posting my thoughts regarding my (shudder) feelings.

Now, I'm not saying that I've exchanged my bifocals for rose-colored glasses and suddenly transformed into equal parts Mr. Rogers and Pollyanna. But if ever in my life the word 'giddy' could be used to describe where I'm at, now's the time. Now, I could go on and on citing the wherefores and whys of this rather unexpected state of being, but it comes down to three simple words (which, when you think about it, really aren't so simple) …I'm in love.

Now before you start rolling your eyes, I'm not going to go into a litany of poetic sonnets that talk about hearts and flowers and springtime and singing and hey-hey-hey since (with the exception of entertaining haiku or jaunty limericks), poetry really doesn't fall under my list of marketable skills. I simply felt the overwhelming urge to put this fact out there for the world (or at least the portion of the world that my little corner of the Internet resides in) to see. And besides, in the rather apropos words of Stimpson J. Cat, "Hey …this is private".

No …no feeble attempt at romantic musings …instead, I’m simply going to let ‘The Carpenters’ do my talking for me (hey …Hey! …quit that snickering) …Just because grim and moody are two words I’d typically use to describe my mindset doesn’t mean that I don’t like The Carpenters …they were a fine group and just because my tastes typically run more towards a ‘Tom Waits’ style of looking at things (and man …talk about bleak …his is a bleakness I can only aspire to achieve) doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the occasional melodic strain from Karen and Richard …so anyway …Cathy, this is for you.

We've tried our hand at love before.
We've been around the game enough
to know the score.
But then is then, and now is now …
And now is all that matters anyhow.
Make believe it's your first time
leave your sadness behind …
Make believe it's your first time
And I'll make believe it's mine.
The door is closed
It's you and me.
We'll take our time with love
the way it ought to be.
This moment's ours
tonight's the night …
And if we fall in love,
Well, that's all right.
Make believe it's your first time
leave your sadness behind …
Make believe it's your first time
And I'll make believe it's mine.
Make believe it's your first time
And I'll make believe it's mine.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lights ...Camera ...sssssssss

Alrighty then it's been about a year since my last movie review post. So what did it take to get me back into the fray? C'mon know ...
That's right ...

Snakes On A Plane

Starring: Samual L. Jackson and a lot of snakes
Director: Oh, does it really matter?
Year: 2006

To provide a quick qualifier, I have to admit that I became fascinated with how 'Snakes' seemed to develop a life of its own via the Internet community and found myself becoming more and more stoked by the hoopla that surrounded it. As a result, I went in with high hopes …not that this would prove to be a great movie (I'm not quite that gullible), but more that it would prove to be equal to the gleefully excessive, giddy at the prospect, have-a-smile-on-my-face-throughout-the-whole-movie type of experience that I've had in the past with some other 'what in the hell were they thinking, but I sure am glad they thought of it' type films.

While I can't necessa
rily say that I was disappointed, I also can't say that it fully lived up to the expectations that I (and the Internet buzz) had set. While there were certainly examples of gleeful excessiveness, it wasn't quite the roller-coaster ride that I was hoping for. Truthfully though, I'm not sure that anything could live up to that degree of hype, so I'm keeping that in mind while writing this since, for the most part, I really did have a fun time with the movie.

I found the first part of the movie (before they get to the snakes and the plane and the hey-hey-hey) to be rather pedestrian. True, the filmmakers had to provide the set-up to explain h
ow/why they had the snakes and the plane and the hey-hey-hey, but even so …The staging of these early scenes seemed like they could have come straight out of a mediocre 90's TV cop show (which is to say, rather forgettable), while some of Samuel L. Jackson's dialogue during this part of the film was written (and spoken) as if it could have been coming from the mouth of Robert Stack on 'The Untouchables' almost 50 years ago (which is to say, rather clichéd). Gratefully it didn't take a painfully long time to get to the snakes and the plane and the hey-hey-hey, but it seemed longer than I'm sure it really was.

But, once they did get to the snakes and the plane and the hey-hey-hey it turned into a fun little jaunt. True, pretty much all of the characters were rather two-dimensional (honestly, most of the snakes seemed to have more personality than the people did), but hey, if I was looking for an exploration of the complexity of the human psyche and inter-personal relationships from a film titled 'Snakes on a Plane', then I'm probably lacking some dimension myself.

Aspects/moments of the film that brought me (at least) borderline giddiness included:

  • Snake-cam (gotta love that snake's-eye view of things).
  • The afore-mentioned gleeful excessiveness that manifested itself by the fascinating tendency that the snakes had for latching on to some rather unmentionable (oh alright …I'm going to mention them) areas such as a nubile young lass's exposed nipple (hey, what's a plane-based movie without showing a comely young couple joining the Mile-High Club) and a gentleman's privates as he's relieving himself (and then having the snakes stay latched on to the afore-mentioned areas as if they were clinging for dear life to an E-Ticket thrill ride).
  • The fact that …well …some of the snake effects were pretty cheesy looking (which in the confines of a film like this, I was fine with!).
  • 'The' line of dialogue …you know …the "Mother-f***in'" line from Samual L. Jackson that seems to have cropped up everywhere. While one line of dialogue does not a script make, that was the line I (and most of the theatre) were waiting for (since truthfully, most everything else that the characters said was pretty forgettable) …regardless, it brought a grin to my face.

So overall I had fun with it and will no doubt end up getting it when it comes out on DVD, but it didn’t quite deliver as much as I was hoping for. Oh well, at least there are two larger-than-normal crocodile movies coming out 2007. Perhaps those will fit the bill.

It's like our own little Algonquin Round Table

Dear Diary,

Went to breakfast the other day with 3XHAR and kwik2jujj.

We discussed the shaving of the balls.

3XHAR had strawberry pancakes and kwik2jujj and I had french toast.

Wacky Road Trip IV - Observations, Highlights, and 'You Had To Be There' Reflections (Day 7 – The End of the Road)

Tuesday, 07/25

12:00AM–6:59AM: Pretty much the same as how yesterday was spent …driving …continual, endless, unyielding driving.

7:00AM: The journey has reached its end. We pull into 3XHAR's driveway, slide open the minivan doors, and proceed to share with his neighborhood the breathtakingly potent scent that we've been living in for the past 32 hours. Gratefully, the tornado sirens aren't set to register that type of atmospheric disturbance, so we unload in relative peace.

Ahhh, the end of the road. And what a road it's been. For many a day we'll remember the sights, the sounds, the smells …(no matter how we might try and forget the smells, they'll unfortunately linger long after the last bag has been unloaded) …of our travels to the far-off shores of the Xanaduesque land known as Wash-Ing-Ton.

With a hale and hearty farewell (i.e., the male equivalent of a hug, sharing a high-five with one another) we bid each other a fond adieu and head back to our respective lives that, for this ever-so-brief a moment, were left behind in our quest for grand adventure (i.e., the perfect sushi, new and unequaled cleavage perches with which to snap pretty pictures …purely for the artistic integrity mind you, free samples of Red Bull, and the majesty of our country that only a journey on the open road will bring).

We like to think we've learned a little bit not only about each other, but about ourselves as well.

But wait ...we're not done yet ...

Now that a few weeks have passed since our return, we've had the chance to look back on our travels with equal measures of fondness, nostalgia, and 'what-were-we-thinking?' epiphanies. As a result, some takeaways/observations that shall be recorded in the historic record of past and future Wacky Road Trips are as follows …

>The State of Montana came close to breaking us …it was perhaps only the gaping chasm of hopelessness that lay ingrained in the deepest part of our very souls when viewing the long, long road of Montana that prevented a mutiny from occurring. Oh …we've had similar experiences in the past …traversing the entire State of Illinois from the southernmost point all the way to the Wisconsin border (and the bleak and gray coffee that we encountered there) on Wacky Road Trip I …the unending flat that is Kansas (flaattt …so very, very FLAAATTTTTTT) from Wacky Road Trip II …the roundabouts (i.e., inspired works of pure evil) that we encountered in Washington D.C. on Wacky Road Trip III …none of these seem to have accomplished the bending of our spirits that was achieved by the long, long, so very long road of Montana. With that being the case, 3XHAR and I have agreed that it may be prudent to implement a 'maximum distance' qualifier on subsequent Wacky Road Trips (and oh …rest assured …there will be subsequent Wacky Road Trips). Otherwise, if our destination lay beyond our yet-to-be-determined maximum distance, we shall implement the contingency plan that shall come to be known as the 'Wacky Plane Trip'.

>When you travel across the country, time zones change. When calling back home to significant others, said time zone changes should be factored into the equation (sorry about that Melissa).

>When six people are squeezed into the 'Das Boot'-like confines of a minivan for 30+ hours, one should refrain from utilizing spray cologne inside of the minivan lest he spray not only himself but every other person, item, and inch of the minivan interior. This is particularly important to remember if the afore-mentioned cologne (even if it does bear the markings of 'Old Spice' on the label) brings to mind the dichotomous sweet and sour aroma of a tarted-up courtesan eating Fruit Loops and playing a robust game of fetch with a wet, longhaired dog while in a tepid swamp.

>Sugar-free 'Red Bull' tastes better warm than it does cold.

>When the person (hereafter referred to as the 'requester') who is putting together the Wacky Road Trip Mix CD's requests of the other participants (hereafter referred to as the 'requestee') of the Wacky Road Trip some particular songs of their choosing to include on said Mix CD's (with which the direction/tone/theme of any individual-specific Mix CD will be derived), it's probably in the best interest of the requestee to actually provide some particular songs of their choosing to the requester, otherwise they leave the direction/tone/theme of the individual-specific Mix CD open to the discretion of the requester. (And believe me, as 'He Who Shall Have No Name' can attest to, there are some rather filthy songs that can be gotten on iTunes …sorry about that Rik).

>When a veteran of every past Wacky Road Trip tells a 'rookie' to "turn left here", he should indeed turn left here.

>When making solo use of your host's outdoors hot tub/Jacuzzi during the evening hours, you should cover said outdoors hot tub/Jacuzzi when you're finished lest you wish to provide an open invitation to every manner of insectoid visitor to make use of it as well. While past posts re/WRTIV have gone to great lengths to praise the outstanding cuisine that Seattle has to offer, it's doubtful that 'bug stew' is on anyone's menu when it comes to fine dining.

>We're fascinated by the fact that a country music/trucker song from the 1970's (namely, 'Convoy') references the color 'chartreuse' in the lyrics. This prompts a number of questions regarding the Trucking industry, however, recognizing the fact that "accidents happen" (i.e., Jimmy Hoffa is still missing), none of those questions shall be asked here.

And so closes the tome that shall come to be known as 'Wacky Road Trip IV'. Stay tuned for the chronicles of 'Wacky Plane Trip I - Viva Las Vegas', tentatively coming your way in March of 2007. Be there ...Aloha!

Wacky Road Trip IV - Observations, Highlights, and 'You Had To Be There' Reflections (Day 6)

Monday, 07/24

12:00AM–4:59PM: We drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive he's on the phone again and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive they can burn the entire state of Montana for all I care and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive dear God will this never end and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive Tra la la tra la la la tra la la tra la la la la one banana two banana three banana four four bananas make a bunch and so do many more and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive are we there yet and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive quick someone teabag Rik and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive I'm just saying and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive which one of you bastards took the last Red Bull and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive huh huh huh you said rod and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive shave it f**ker and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive all work and no play makes jack a dull boy and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive and we drive.

5:00PM: We leave the state of Montana …an enfeebled "Hurrah" escapes the lips of those who still have some modicum of consciousness.

5:01PM-11:59PM: And we drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive an drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive an drive and drive and drive and drive and drive …AND STILL WE DRIVE …you get the picture.

Wacky Road Trip IV - Observations, Highlights, and 'You Had To Be There' Reflections (Day 5)

Sunday, 07/23

9:00AM: Our last day in Seattle …we are still sad. But regardless, we're going to make the most of it! Off to breakfast at a restaurant owned by the same group as owned the one we went to for dinner last night, hence this one changes themes/menu items monthly as well. The theme for this month is 'Greece'. A wonderful meal was had by all.

Hmmm, I sense a trend with this WRT …most meals on the past ones seem to consist of pulling into a 7-11 for beef jerky, Krispy Kreme donuts, and the caffeinated beverage of choice (just to keep things on the cheap …which, of course, is one of the tenants of the WRT). This trip has shown us the benefit of visiting a locate where friends live, in that we've had the advantage of visiting a number of great restaurants that only locals would know about, including this one. Mmmm …salmon sausage …gingerbread waffles …lemon drenched potatoes …da-rool, da-rool.

11:30AM: Prior to coming on the WRT we had heard about Seattle having a Science-Fiction Museum. We had actually walked past it yesterday just to scope it out, but events of the day were such that we didn't have the chance to stop in. Today seemed an opportune time to do so …last day here …extreme heat so spending time inside in the air-conditioning seems prudent …geek factor.

In the front lobby there's a life-size (which in this case equates to 8 feet tall) replica of the robot 'Gort' from the movie 'The Day The Earth Stood Still'. We sense a photo opportunity …we don our Mexican wrestling masks (including our hosts …yes, we brought ones for them as well) and impose upon the person at the ticket counter to snap our picture with the afore-mentioned robot. The locals viewing this are amused.

So, in we go …Truthfully, while I thought it would be somewhat cool, I wasn't terribly excited (thinking that it would be rather one-note and gimmicky), but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a rather serious representation of the science-fiction phenomenon, from movies to art to novels. The highlight for me was that there were a number of displays (theme based) that contained quite a few first-edition science-fiction novels. That, and the pictures/displays of girls with guns …can't stray too far from the old base instincts, now can we?

2:00PM: We head back to Alice and H-B's home to wind-down before we go out for dinner and then hit the road. It's a somber ride, as we're all somewhat tired from the long weekend and still a bit sad that we'll be leaving in a few hours. Well …when you're down there's always one thing you can do to perk up …that's right …we sing, Sing, SING! (And, with apologies to Alice …sorry about this …it went so well the first time, we bring it back for an encore) …

"High on a hill stood a lonely goatherd,


What would you give for a girl and goatherd,


You get the idea.

3:00PM-6:00PM: Last minute packing, naps, and clickee (i.e., smashing vehicles in a visual ballet of bloodletting via H-D's X-Box).

6:00PM-8:30PM: Our last dinner in Seattle. We eat at a seafood place that's on Puget Sound (very nice), spend a bit of time on the boardwalk there, snap a few last minute pictures, and then head to Starbuck's to get some caffeine for the road.

We bid our fond farewells to Alice and H-D, and then off we go, basking in the warm glow of camaraderie and enlivened by the fact that, although Seattle will be fading into the distant memories of time, we st
ill have 30+ hours on the road to look forward to (look forward to?) …oh well, Huzzah!

9:30PM: But before we get too far down the road, we call Alice and H-D one last time and share with them our group yell/goodbye/WRTIV mantra of …"Shave it, F**ker"!! …(Long story).

11:30PM: So here's the thing …on past (and present) WRTs we have yet to run into any encounters with 'The Man' (i.e., being pulled over by the police). The code of the open road seems to suggest that, theoretically, as long as you aren't going any faster than 9 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, you should be fine. Well, in the grand scheme of things theories run the risk of being proven wrong, and as such our time had come …well, more to the point (since I was driving), my time had come. Sure enough …while still in Washington the red flashing lights appear in the rear-view mirror. My mind briefly flashes back to 'Eastbound and Down' from 'Smokey and The Bandit' (the first song on the first Wacky Road Trip Mix CD that we played) and I consider making a bold and manly vehicular maneuver and leave the officer of the law in my dust …hah!!! I then remember that we're in a minivan packed to the walls with six guys in it, as opposed to a souped-up Trans-Am with a hot girl in the passenger seat. I pull over.

As a related side-note …one of the things we noticed when in Seattle is that people there are very nice …one might even say that they were consistently bright and cheery (and even though these states of being/mind/demeanor are, for the most part, foreign and somewhat frightening to me, I still found these interactions to be rather pleasant). Now granted, we were basing this observation primarily from interactions with the Baristas that we encountered at various coffee shops (whether Starbucks or other local-only establishments), but nonetheless …

So, the officer of the law walks up to our side, and after taking a look at my license and the minivan rental agreement and reminding us that the speed limit is 70 miles per hour (not 79) continues our interactions with very nice (one might even say consistently bright and cheery) Washingtononians and wishes us a good rest of the evening and a safe trip back …no ticket, no warning, no lecture …just a bright and cheery good evening to send us on our way.

I regret my passing thought of throwing one of the rookies out of the minivan (pantsless, or course), shouting “look out …he’s got a hologram” (sorry …inside joke), and thus enabling the rest of us to speed away in the ensuing chaos.

Wacky Road Trip IV - Observations, Highlights, and 'You Had To Be There' Reflections (Day 4)

Saturday, 07/22

9:00AM (or thereabouts): Into the city we go!

10:30AM-4:00PM: After breakfast …mmmm, donuts …we check out Pike's Market and other similar venues that are nearby in the open-air market locale (and underneath! …The area has a wide-variety of stores that are located below street level). It's quite entertaining. My goal/request/'monkey on my back' of nurturing my inner-geek (i.e., buying some toys) is fulfilled.

4:00 PM: Time for a bite to eat …we head to a 'Taste Of Seattle' type event to sample some cuisine unique to (or at least specializ
ed in) the Seattle area.

They have brats.

Seeing as how we're from Wisconsin, we already have a familiarity with brats, so that (combined with the extremely high temperature and humidity …oh, didn't I mention …we seem to have brought the warm weather and sweat-dripping humidity with us, as Seattle is undergoing the hottest temperatures they've had in many a moon …oh well) prompts us to decide to head to the air-conditioned comfort of a restaurant that our hosts are familiar with. It's rather unique in that it changes the theme of the décor/menu on a monthly basis.

Coincidentally (and what a marvelous coincidence it was), they have a southern California/Mexico-related theme this time around, which includes in the décor, heavy doses of Mexican wrestling (i.e., Lucha Libre)!! The placemats and menu contain pictures of various masks, including the exact one that was gotten by Super HOTPA …we are amused.

6:30PM: Off to the beach to provide Bag Man with the opportunity to snap some pictures of the local flora and fauna (i.e., girls in swimwear) …many pictures are taken …no, let me rephrase that …many, MANY pictures are taken. I limit my picture taking to the water, sand, and sky. It's only coincidental that some of the afore-mentioned girls in swimwear happen to have gotten in the way.

8:30PM: We head back to H-D and Alice's home. We have to leave and head back to Wisconsin sometime tomorrow …now we are sad.