Sunday, May 31, 2009

Something Exciting This Way Comes

Just a note to mention I just submitted my first column to DVD Snapshot, a fantastic site filled with reviews, contests, and interviews! The site's about to relaunch with a slate of movie and culture-related columns, including one featuring yours truly!

Column name and post regularity to follow. I'll also be posting the articles here AFTER they go up on DVD Snapshot. I'm very excited about this opportunity and hope you'll join me and check my first column out. Just like me, the subject matter is just a tad highbrow... but mostly trashy.

Also, I have created a new email for this blog: You can reach me at:

BigLugLand at (written in a spider-unfriendly fashion, of course!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Whatever Makes You Happy: Ten on Tuesday

Darling Barry over at asked around for people to share for his new feature "Ten on Tuesday" - this week on the subject of "Ten Things That Make You Happy."

So here's ten - in no particular order:

1) Hitting the wall during exercise. As much as I'm hating confronting that I can not immediately succeed at every leg press or lift as much as I'd like, or hold the plank for a full thirty seconds yet -every time I hit the wall and get angry about it I wind up very happy a few minutes later. It's either some delayed euphoria or the gratification of accepting these limitations. They're why I'm going to the gym again now -- to overcome them. They're pure encouragement.

2) My niece. A picture in the mail or an anecdote about her brightens up my day. The trip I have to go see her in a month --and meet the nephew who's on his way -- is keeping me going as all else falls around my head. Pure sunshine.

3) The feeling of achievement I get when I solve a problem at work -be it for a customer or a coworkers, for whom I fix more mistakes before they go "on stage" than my employers would likely be comfortable knowing- the satisfaction of a job well done always gets a smile on my face. I need to turn this to greater success -- somewhere perhaps where I feel a tad more appreciated (a sentiment which makes me in no way unique). That satisfaction is about all I have right now that's tolerable.

4) My friends. We laugh. I feel supported, unselfconscious, and safe. I wouldn't trade 'em in for the world.

5) Lost in a good book. How can people not read? It beggars my imagination -- there are worlds beyond worlds out there to explore, all yours for the choosing. Pick up a book and join me.

6) Lost in a so-bad-it's-good movie. I do loves me my trash -- and when you find me mesmerized in some schlocky story of zombies or bad girls or go-go dancing ninjas just let me be. I'm getting my grin on.

7) Getting flirted with. It's immensely validating as I still carry around all the insecurities that were cemented into place over 20 years ago. Being found cute or charming goes right to my head like bubbles in champagne. What others take in stride can have me feeling like the most valued man on earth. That keeps my heart open and, much as it hurts, I'm not sure I'd ever want to change it.

8) When I figure something out by myself. I figured out what was leaking on the toilet the other day. It took a couple hours and new parts, but it's all fixed. I cut my hands up, nearly blew a blood pressure gasket, and swore far too much -- but it's fixed. And I did it all on my lonesome too... thanks to four different home repair guides helping me!

9) On vacation. I do love me my mini-breaks -- 10 quickie trips out of town do more for me than one or two long vacations a year and -although my neighbor gets awfully tired of feeding the cat every other weekend -it's another thing I don't want to change. I think a lot of it lies in the travelling, actually. Open road with some loud music or a book on tape, hopefully with a window down, is where my head clears out. I get some of my best thinking done this way.

10) Feeling hope. My job has me feeling trapped. The doom'n'gloom in the news is near-overwhelming. Don't bother to mug me as there's no cash to take. But, I know others have it worse, we're all in it together, and a hundred other aphorisms... right now I still have hope. Hope at least that I'm getting me together. It's a good thing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Comics Project

Thanks to deep-DEEP-discounts at Jesse's Gem City show (and a Borders
Gift Certificate for the long-awaited Doom Patrol collection), I now
have over 4,000 pages of fab, old comics goodness. Think I bit off
more than I even want to chew...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bite the Bullet, Write the Check

Well, after putting the call off a month... after putting the decision off for years. I finally had a necessary repair done to my home. Namely, the replacement of the main water shut-off valve.

This came to a head due to a leak IN my toilet tank. I replaced the ballcock, but in doing so, cracked the seal in the toilet's shut-off valve. When you find out you have to have the water turned off at the street to change a washer you realize it's time to be responsible and have the proper repairs made.

I hemmed and I hawed after much tooing-and-froing after researching what it would take to repair. Wrenches, repacking, replacing -- all terms that strike fear in a somewhat-lazy homeowner with no confidence in their repair prowess.

Well, after an hour and a half, much swearing, removal of paneling behind the valve, and then finding out the valve originally there isn't even manufactured anymore (something turning out to be typical of my beloved shanty); I have a fabulous new shut-off valve and it was only $90. (Why, yes, that IS a run-on sentence... and sometimes such sacrifices must be made for the sake of sounding conversational, n'est pas?) Not only am I singing my plumber's name to the hills, I got to observe and learn what to watch out for when I eventually attempt such a repair myself.

I know I could have done it myself now... and it would have been four hours, much swearing, and probably a small stroke from boilingly-high blood pressure. I know my limitations. This is one of 'em.

Now, on to replacing that shut-off valve... if you hear me ranting just ignore it, mmmkay?

Monday, May 4, 2009

You Should Really Go Down

I'm unforgivably tardy with this note, but on Thursday I was lucky enough to attend the final dress rehearsal of a terrific new musical any fan of camp aesthetics should attend.

I'm not the type of critic who wants to tear down, I prefer to build up. Here, I didn't find much that needs building, really. This is the kind of bawdy, broad show I love. Just a sweet, funny evening with it's heart in the right place and a ragtag glamour worn like the finest furs.
"Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical" is a musical adaptation of the 1970s classic "The Poseidon Adventure." Written by David Cerda, it starts with a framing device of obsessive fans (not unlike "Rocky Horror" fans) breaking a newbie in on her first screening during their screening party. These characters recur and a few of their monologues run a little long. That, I'm happy to say, is about my only complaint with the show.

It's camp with a "Mickey and Judy in the Barn" style and the Falcon Theatre makes the most of the show in a barebones production. Some people may quibble of about the mostly bare stage and special effects no more expensive than blue silk standing in for flooding water. I say that's part of the charm -it's a show like following a silly track in your own imagination. Standard rules need not apply.

The large cast of 17(!) is talented and game to playing things straight, "Airplane!" style. I enjoyed the whole cast and thought they had great flair. It's not easy to be a big ham, without being a... you know... big ham.

The showiest parts are:
-the sexually precocious Robin is played by a very game Donnie McGovern having fun with a character who gets frankly a bit icky when they keep pointing out how young the character is in the movie. Otherwise he's selling dirty jokes with right.
-the sexually voracious Linda Rogo. Stella Stevens in the movie, a confident Marypat Carletti vamping it up in big hair and a tiny dress shirt.
-and, of course, the not-too-sexual Belle Rosen. This was the legendary Shelley Winters in the movie, here the delightful Joe Stollenwerk playing a true broad character more than the simple loud drag I expected. He gets the best running gags and one of the most enjoyable songs, which I believe was called "In the Water, I'm a Very Skinny Lady."

I was also a fan of Nonnie, the near-zombie lounge singer played by Michelle Shaffer and Carol Lynley in the movie. I love that particular kind of deadpan-dense character and wished for more of her.

The singing voices get a tad lost in the music tracks once in a while, but the cast seem to be accomplished singers. I'm not an expert, but I thought the songs were fun. While the program did not include the song titles, I tried to keep notes with a list that follows:

"Bachelor Haberdasher", a theme for the aging bachelor (read: asexually gay) Mr. Martin. A really fun tune with what I saw as a 50s flair.
"Upside Down"
"Just Panties (What Else Do I Need)" Linda Rogo's theme for slipping out of evening dress to skimpy dress shirt. This is actually a more logical transition than how they got Stella Stevens into it in the movie.
"Mr. Rogo, the Only Way Is Up"
"Air Pockets"
a little bit of "Mame" - I'm not sure if this is from the movie or inspired by the recently deceased Bea Arthur... it works though.
"Shut Up"
"Through and Through"
"In the Water I'm a Very Skinny Lady"
"Bad Girls Need Love Too" -one of the wittier ways to get a character off stage I've ever seen.
and a show closer that I think is called "Keep On Climbing".

In the end, I was entertained and left on a high with fun tunes still in my head. I really can't recommend "Poseidon" enough for a fun, no pretension evening of two hours of laughs.

"Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical" runs May 8,9,15,and 16 at 8PM.
$15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors.
The Monmouth Theatre is at 636 Monmouth St, in Newport, KY
For tickets and information call 513.479.6783 or visit