MAY 2015, Part 2: Playing Hooky, Pancakes in Iowa, and Memorial Day Shenanigans…

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NecRoSarX Chronicles Header

RED GREEN!

Spotted at my Aunt’s house…sadly, it didn’t come with a roll of duct tape…

Continuing on with my assessment of the month that was May…

Weekend 3 (May 16th): This was the day I planned on going to a folk metal show in Lincoln, but decided that morning to skip out and do nothing. I wasn’t feeling like traversing all the way to a city that bears nothing but bad memories and the like, just to get my face melted off by a trio of bands that, admittedly, I am not very familiar with, outside of checking out some clips online. They’re very obscure, and I know I would have enjoyed them more had I gone, maybe even picked up some merch and looked into buying a download of one of their albums. I would have even been supporting live \,,/METAL\,,/ playing in Nebraska. But, my despondency levels due to my ongoing depression won out, and I instead remained in Omaha. I do not regret this decision.

Weekend 4 (May 23rd-May 25th): Memorial Day Weekend. Due to the events happening last year, I decided to once again participate in the annual Pancake Feed that the Dunlap, Iowa Volunteer EMT puts on in the Firehouse the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. I actually enjoyed helping out last year, and this year I thought it would be a good way to come full circle for certain things. I arrived Saturday morning around 10:30-ish to my Aunt and Uncle’s place (it’s been a familiar home-away-from-home since I could remember), and napped in my Uncle’s easy chair for a while, as my Aunt Joyce was called away to help with an accident that happened on Hwy 30 a mere fifteen minutes after I had driven in that area myself. Chilling. But, she finally arrived back, and after chatting for a bit, I accompanied her to the local cemetery. She was helping map the entire place, and she had to go back and double check a few things. I got to walk around a graveyard, which is one of my hobbies. Don’t act so surprised. She pointed out some of the more interesting monuments there, including some gravestones dating back to the Civil War period, and a couple of her favorite ones there. Gleeful chats of the morbid abounded. I’m beginning to understand the part of the gene pool that got sloshed onto me. So now, whenever one of my parents ask me, “Where do you get that kind of morbid behavior from?”, I can now smile conspiratorially, instead of wonder myself.

Dunlap Graveyard

Later on, Aunt Joyce had to take part in some church activities, so Uncle Pat and I joined my Cousin Rob and his kids at the local ice cream and burger joint for some dinner and catching up. My Cousin Julie and her family showed up as well, so it became a nifty family reunion of sorts. Then we all went back to the firehouse to a surprise party thrown for Uncle Pat for his birthday. Yeah, I forgot to mention that it was his birthday that day. There was cake. Very good cake. The kind with toys on top that the kids there made short work of removing to play with when the cake was cut. After all the birthday-related hobnobbing was over, those who were to be involved with the Pancake Feed commenced with the pre-setup duties. For me, that entailed helping to bring over all the foodstuffs needed, breaking open several dozen eggs into five gallon buckets for the scrambled eggs (the highlight of the whole thing), bringing over various cooking implements and the like. Basic grunt work, like last year. There were a few there that remembered me from last year. A couple of people I didn’t recognize praised my work ethic, which always makes me rather uncomfortable, as I’m always thinking that I could always put more effort into whatever it is I’m doing than what I am. Kind of a messed-up situation, having people tell you you’re doing awesome, while you’re thinking that you’re really sucking at what you’re doing. Anyway, we finished that up and went back to Casa de Cogdill, where I immediately went to bed, on account I was looking at a 5:30am start time the next day.

Uncle Pat's Birthday Cakes

the cake, sans the toys…the kids made off with the majority of them…before I could play with them…

I awoke to the alarm at the prescribed time, somehow managing to not instinctively throw the Android across the room to make it shut up. I don’t care if I was raised in a farming family, 5:30 in the morning is a time when only the truly bent really enjoy being up at. Oh, I’ll do it, but just don’t expect me to be cheery at that time. Or coherent. Or able to conjugate verbs, for that matter. I was lucky enough to conjure up the motor skills needed to turn the shower knobs. But, shower and dress I did, and I was off to meet Uncle Pat at the Firehouse to begin the final setup for the Pancake Feed that was to start at 7am. Others started trickling in, as we set up some signs, moved the emergency vehicles outside, set up tables and chairs, and got the food prepared. I nominated myself for juice duty, as it was something I did last year, and it also kept me from having to manhandle the food serving too much. That, and I could indulge my OCD side, in making a bit of a game with seeing if I was able to keep an even amount of juice-filled styrofoam cups out at any given moment. The goal itself was to maintain a perfect square of juice-filled cups, which…okay, I’m beginning to now see how kind of sad that is. Still, no one ran out of juice cups to grab. Yay, me.

Juice 3 juice 2

The pancakes were really good. The sausages were fantastic, though. They were Farmland brand, I was told, and I found myself having to make myself not snack on those tasty links of spiced breakfast pork meat the whole time. The eggs were good, though needed a bit of salt. The ham was good, but I do have to admit that I kept looking at the bunch of ham that was being served, and couldn’t help but think about a certain Patton Oswalt bit and snicker, which drew a few confused looks from the servers at times. I didn’t really explain, as I’m not going to do so now, really.

HAM!

“ALL OF THE HAM!!!!”

Massive amounts of people came, consuming mass quantities of carb-laced goodness. I think Uncle Pat gave more firetruck rides for the kids there than before, not certain exactly how many he gave. It was a lot, enough for him to comment on it later. I managed to stay and help out until a bit after Noon, when my body began aggressively insisting that I go lay down somewhere, and soon. So, I was given leave to head back to Casa Cogdill, where I gratefully crashed on the couch for a few hours. I was told I looked comfy. I was.

Pancake Feed 2 Pancake Feed 1 Inside Pancake Feed 3 Inside Pancake Feed 2 Inside Pancake Feed 1classic dunlap fire truck

The next day, Memorial Day, I didn’t have to be at work, so I stayed one extra night, and went to the nearby town of Woodbine, where my cousin Rob dwells with his family, to hang out a bit. It was his youngest child’s third birthday, the one I came to nickname “Boo”, on account of her uncanny resemblance to the toddler in Monsters, Inc. Watched Big Hero 6 (which is something I have to get around to reviewing now), hung out with the kids, chatted with the cousins and family, then I made up a cup full of various fruit and grabbed a diet Root Beer for the drive back to Omaha, for the planned Cookout & Movies gathering at Nex’s place. Got there in time for a couple of hot dogs, then watched Stargate and The Grand Budapest. I did more socializing that weekend than I normally do in a handful of months. And my introvert nature was making me hyper aware of this.

cowboy hat n' motorhead

As my Gran’pa always said, “Son, if you ever get the chance to wear a pink cowboy hat, don’t pass it up.”

Last part is coming up…

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Sunday A’La Carte: December 7, 2014

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manufactured crisisWell, another birthday has come and gone for your Uncle NecRo. If you haven’t been paying attention—and I don’t really blame you much if you haven’t—and are now wondering how old this self-described \,,/METAL DEMIGOD\,,/ and overall equal opportunity nerdboy is, let’s just say that I’m one year shy of being the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Eleven years past the expiration date on my birth certificate. No wonder I’m so rancid and sour. On with the A’La Carte, then.

happy birthdayAll things considered, the marking of this year’s celebration (or mourning, depending on how you look at it) of the Birth of the NecRoSarX (where did you think “Uncle NecRo” derives from?) was fairly agreeable. And by “agreeable”, I mean “epic”. While the actual day that was my official birthday was spent merely passing as your standard work day, it was on the next day, which I took some personal vacation time on, to make this a three-day weekend, which I properly celebrated with family and friends. The day started with renewing my driver’s license (and with the beard-n-hair combo, I quipped that I would have to maintain that look for another 5 years, just so anyone who has to look at it would recognize me, to which my mother said “NO YOU DON’T” without missing much of a beat, there), then meeting the family—mother, step father, sister, brother-in-law, and my 4-year-old nephew—at one of the HuHot’s in Omaha, where we all went a bit overboard on the Mongolian goodness. And since I had some time to kill before the Grand Event, I finally managed to stop by the Plumes in mid-town Omaha to visit someone I hadn’t seen in a while. Pleasant, that was, good to see she’s doing well. Also, the concept of “Zombie Blood” as a flavoring intrigues me. Then I stopped by ½ Price Books, with the intention of merely browsing for a bit to kill time, and ended up dropping a bit over $50 on eight Doctor Who books within five minutes. Yeah, that happens more frequently than you would think when I go there. At least I got a free calendar thrown in.

So, with a goodly portion of my Birthday Spendings budget suddenly gone bye-bye, I figured the best option to hold on to the rest for purchasing merch at the show was to just park outside of the dwelling place of the guy I was accompanying to the Opeth/In Flames/Red Fang show later, and wait. I loaded the Pandorica with a couple of movies to watch, one of which was the adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel Radio Free Albemuth. Not to get too detailed, but…yeah, this was a movie in serious need of Nicholas Cage. He should have done this one instead of Next. What, you didn’t know that was a Philip K. Dick adaptation as well? There’s much more of them than you would know. It’s like…a conspiracy or something…

Anyway, just to move this boring story along, the time arrived, and my fellow \,,/METAL\,,/ geek and I headed out to go see the bands Opeth, In Flames and Red Fang play the Sokol Hall. Along the way, this happened:

Yeah. Chilling stuff, there. And did you notice the lawn only had the head of Frosty? That just raises more questions. But, regardless, we made it in time for the show, and for four blissful hours, had our faces continually melted off through the night. We rubbed elbows and fellowshiped with various other \,,/METAL\,,/heads, was only laughed at once for wearing earplugs (though, I saw many more like-minded individuals using them, and said laugher admitted to his hearing being shot, so we’ll let him have his fun, there), and a nice afterglow that only a full-on \,,/METAL\,,/ show can give was had well after Opeth left the stage at the end of the night.

constructive criticismThe next day, I met up with some more friends at the Aksarben Village to watch Matthew McConaughey IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE! While waiting outside of the theater for memebers of the party to show up (as I arrived about an hour or so before the designated meet time, as I am wont to do), I witnessed a very convincing Santa and Mrs. Claus emerge from inside the theater—they offered me a candy cane, which I had to decline, but thank you very much surreal moment—followed periodically by a couple of clowns with balloons and helium tanks, people of varying ages with elaborate face paint, and a couple of people dressed in Red Bull can costumes. I got the sense that, either I was missing out on a great party inside, or perhaps the fruit I consumed for breakfast earlier was a bit overripe after all. So, anyway, everybody shows up, we watch Interstellar (which, all said and done, was a good movie, but did come off like they couldn’t decide to remake 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Black Hole, so they smooshed them both together and threw in some Heinlein for flavoring), then we dined next door at a place called Dudley’s, which has a signature pizza that utilizes Feta cheese that was rather interesting, in a good way. Then I went home and promptly collapsed and slept through the rest of the day, because being the introverted freak that I am, while those past couple of days were very, very good ones, they still drained me considerably. So I spent most of today by myself, chilling out and letting things get back to abnormal.

Okay, sure, there was that one guy at the Sunday morning adult Bible class before church who wanted to be “friendly”, but after a couple more of his types joined the table and started talking about the Huskers as part of the group discussion on Hebrews 12, I decided to pack things in and relocate to an empty table. I do have my standards, after all.

do you believe in ghost peppersEnough babbling. Let’s link to what I’ve found interesting on the interwebs, here. First, here’s a news piece from the New York Daily News that demonstrates my continual belief that the days post-Thanksgiving (and sometimes even the day of) is a microcosm showcasing the very worst of American behavior. What leaves me scratching my head a bit is that it looks like Britain is getting in on the act as well. I mean, they don’t really have a Thanksgiving, do they? Eh, nice to know that we’re not the only crazy ones, I guess. Next, here’s a very interesting interview that Doug Walker (aka The Nostalgia Critic) did with Noah Antwiler (aka The Spoony One) that you really need to watch…after you’re done reading this, of course. Spoony gets rather personal and candid about his own struggles with depression, which is something I can very much relate to.

h138C0863STUFF I WROTE: Well, it looks like the pre-scheduled postings are beginning to thin out a bit. Soon, probably at the beginning of the New Year, I’ll go back to scheduling a small cluster a week in advance (so as to not incur the wrath of the moderators and such), with some randumb posts here and there. In the meantime, this week there have been no music reviews, just a bunch of movie reviews and articles. The movie reviews consisted of The Unborn, Underworld, the Jon Bon Jovi vampire flick Vampires: Los Muertos (never thought I’d ever see myself writing that), the ultra-low budget suck-fest (no pun intended) Vampiyaz, V For Vendetta, the Megadeth episode of VH1’s Behind The Music, and the John Carpenter take on Village Of The Damned. As for the articles, I share some 30 Randumb Things You May Or May Not Know About Me, and muse a bit on my birthday this year.

I'm With Qui GonAnd that’s it for this week. And, in honor of the awesomeness experienced on Friday, I leave you all with a triple-shot from Red Fang, In Flames and Opeth. Cheers, all, and see you next week.



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Post-Birthday Brain Droppings

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happy birthdayI turned 41 yesterday.

Yes, yes, I understand that 41 may not be considered one of those “milestone” years that one really wants to mention publicly. You know those “milestone” years: they come a bunch of times when you were young and celebrating birthdays were important and fun—1, 5, 10, 12, then the big ones of 16 (driver’s license!), 17 (legally able to go to R-rated movies!), 18 (voting! End of High School/beginning of college! Cusp of adulthood!), and then 21 (legal drinking age!). After 21, the “milestone” birthdays begin to settle back into a nice rhythm, essentially once every ten years or so. You know, the Decade Mile-Markers. And considering I celebrated my second Decade Mile-Marker last year (namely, the big 4-0), there really should be no point of mentioning that I turned 41 yesterday. Nor should there be any reason for anyone else to care.

And I would agree with you whole-heartedly, gentle reader. As a matter of fact, the day of my birth came and went like a warm fart after eating a bunch of sushi—I went to work, then I joined the rest of the Coven of Exalted Geeks at the Irish pub that we congregate at every Thursday night like usual, having our usual discussions that we usually have. Only difference this time was, instead of my customary salad, I threw caution to the wind (not another fart joke, I swear) and ordered a plate of wings slathered in BBQ sauce. Which, I discovered, is a culinary act that takes on a new meaning when one grows a beard as epic and \,,/METAL\,,/ as mine is getting.

Forgive me. I know there was a point to this early-morning blog post, I just can’t seem to recall what it was. My brain skips around like that, if you haven’t noticed by now. Oh, yes, now I recall.

At this middle-age of mine, I’m not so much contemplative on the years gone bye, as I am marvelling at how much contrast there is to the me from back then, and the me of now. Heck, even contrasting the me from only ten years ago, there is a difference. That’s the point, though, isn’t it? That, if you’re the same person that you were ten years ago, then you’re wasting your time? Or something like that. Echoes of your past self still remain, but what has emerged through the tempering of living life is something far better than what started. The rough edges of youth have been smoothed down to a multi-faceted jewel. You might say that time is the great Rock Tumbler that knocks us about but smooths us down, or something to that effect.

Gads, early mornings and groping for metaphors don’t seem to mix well.

Anyway, if you’ve managed to stick to this pointless rambling this far, I’ll just wrap things up by saying that, while I really didn’t expect to live much past the age of 30, overall the eleven years past my birth certificate’s expiration date have been, I think, rather worthwhile. Not just the positive and good things. Not that I’m expecting another ten-ish years; at this point, I’ll just take everything on a day-to-day basis, and see what happens.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go renew my driver’s license. One of the perks of being an adult and all that. Cheers.

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Sunday A’La Carte’ – September 28, 2014

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unnamedI know, I know—technically, it’s Monday morning now. Forgive me, but around the time when I get around to actually start writing these bits, I found myself rather wanting to sleep off a sudden onset of depressive funk (not the fun music style, either). It’s been a surprisingly heavy day, first not being able to go to church in the morning due to some overheating issues with the Aluminium Falcon this past week, then receiving word that the church I attended from childhood through graduating from High School—Uehling Congregational Church—is closing its doors for good at the end of the year. And to top it off, I finally caught up with the season premier of Bones…AND THEY KILLED OFF SWEETS. Oh, um…spoilers, there. It was like having a rather loyal dog killed in front of you. And I’m a cat person. At that point, I thought: “You know what? I’m just going to escape reality for a bit. Nap time.” That was at a quarter to 6pm, CST. My body dragged me kicking and screaming from the Dark Realm around a quarter to 12am. So, I figured I’d get some writing in before heading back for a few more hours…

habits of the common book wormI guess I should go ahead and make the unofficial announcement here: I’ve decided to effectively end production on NECRO SHOCK RADIO. I shall explain more in-depth in my more official announcement / explanation in a few days, but the general reason is that my heart just isn’t in it like it has been. I might just do a special Final Session, where I just play the songs I like, rather than throw everything into the Randomizer and pick them out that way. But, yeah, to quote The Doors: “This is the end.”

umbrellaOne of the things that has me rather down (among the other ones, mind you) is the fact that the era of Saturday Morning Cartoons is officially over. No more lazy Saturday morning blocks of fun, animated goodness to watch with a big bowl of artificially colored and over-sweetened cereal of choice. It was more than just mindless entertainment, though. I credit them for the stronger bond that I have with extended family members. No matter our disagreements, Saturday Morning Cartoons brought us all together. Well, other things too, but for the sake of the issue at hand, Saturday Morning Cartoons played a big part. I mean, sure, cartoons themselves are going nowhere. And in this day and age, with entire cable channels dedicated (for the most part) to cartoons, and websites offering 24-7 animated nostalgia fixes, it’s a good time to be a cartoon geek. But, I can’t help but feel that a little bit of Americana has gone the way of the buffalo. To think that there will be an entire generation of youngsters who will never know the joys of getting up at the crack of dawn, pour some cereal and watch several hours of cartoons on a standard broadcast television channel. Rather disheartening, really…

forbidden doorsA few days ago, I posted some spontaneous brain-droppings on how the so-called “grown-up” birthday parties I attend now are really bigger versions of the kind I attended as a kid. Kind of like how Dave N’ Buster’s is the grown-up version of Chuck E. Cheese’s – all the fun with way better food. Anyway, the actual celebration happened Saturday evening, and by all accounts was completely awesome. We stuffed ourselves with sushi, home-made pretzels and red bean buns were brought, along with several mixers for those who partook of the adult libations. Discussions on computer programming, some sort of roll playing card game was being played on the dining room table, an 8-bit style video game called “Crawl” was the point of amusement for a bit, then we all gathered into two groups and played the space-faring interactive video game called Artemus. Think Star Trek, with cooler looking ships. I was the Science Officer. Essentially, I scanned enemy ships in various quadrants, and reported on their weaknesses for optimum blowing up. I had to leave before Midnight, alas, on account of the hour-long drive ahead of me. I have no qualms with that. Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young…

Have to get back to bed. Needing to get the Aluminium Falcon into the shop to have her looked at, then work again. Here’s to a better week. I leave you with an episode of one of my all-time favorite Saturday Morning Cartoon shows back in the day. Cheers, all.

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From the “The More Things Change” Files…

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grumpy catI’m sitting here tonight, winding down my thoughts before climbing into my coffin for sleeping, musing a bit. This Saturday, I shall be joining some of my fellow members of the Coven of Exalted Geeks to celebrate the birthday of one of our own. While I make preliminary mental lists and notes as to what to bring and buy for that night, it occurs to me:

When I was a kid, the best birthday parties that I attended were the ones where we ate a lot of not-quite-good-for-you food, and played a lot of games, video or otherwise. We also couldn’t wait to be adults, all sophisticated and stuff. Certainly our celebratory markings of our yearly milestones would be much more…well, grown-up.

Now, here we are, adults–“grown-ups”, if you will–a couple of decades under our belts, and we’re celebrating the birthday by…eating a bunch of not-quite-good-for-you food, and playing a bunch of games, video or otherwise. Granted, part of the food involves a sushi bar, and the drinks having a bit more than your standard punch, and the video games a heck of a lot more involved than the old NES and Atari systems I would remember (though, I wouldn’t put it past any of these guys to have those available), but the basic structure remains the same.

Not certain whether there will be hats or not. Hats would be awesome.

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