“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”– Edgar Allen Poe
Remember the smell, and feel of those old-school rubber Halloween masks you wore back in the late 1980s and early 1990s? My favorite one was of a werewolf, and I must have worn that costume every single year until it started falling apart. As a child, I remember going up into the attic to retrieve the decorations and seeing the box marked “Halloween” and getting excited to break out that mask. I may have gone eight years in a row with it, but each year changed the outfit, football player werewolf, baseball player werewolf, or werewolf in a plaid shirt. Halloween has always been an entertaining holiday. I mean, you get to dress up as something scary, from POP! Culture, or anything! You get free candy, and you have a valid reason to watch several scary movies, both good ones and terrible ones. Halloween is amusing, and while it was exciting as a child, it can be and has been enjoyable as an adult.
Recently, my wife and I moved away from our home after a lengthy selling process. We wanted to move closer to work, as well as family, so we sold our house in Salem, MA, and with it our time in “Halloween-town.” With September ending and tomorrow we welcome October, I got to thinking about the holiday and what I remember about it and what it has always meant to me. It does not hurt that things are wicked weird with the pandemic, and who knows what October will look like this year. So, as I usually do and as any good historian does, I look to the past, my wicked travels, and find solace, comfort, and possibly a new narrative.
“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, to draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”– The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
As far back as I can remember, I have always loved LEGO bricks and sets of various sorts. I used to enjoy getting them as gifts on my birthday or at Christmas or as an unexpected treat when I was able to pester my mother long enough to get them from Kmart or KB Toys. Whether it was the pirate ship Black Seas Barracuda or Skulls Eye Schooner, the medieval King’s Castle, or any of the space sets, I had them all and enjoyed constructing and displaying them. It was the gift I received frequently and the one I looked most forward to getting.
Therefore, it is not surprising that when the pandemic hit, and we went into lockdown, I needed a daily outlet, besides my weekly movie chats with my brother, which I detailed in POP! Culture on Repeat, or video game adventures with my brother-in-law Kyle, discussed in A Newcomer Joins Borderlands 3. I sought out fun and unique LEGO sets to use my hands, shut off my mind, and follow instructions and build something. Again, I sought comfort in my past to help cope with current turmoil. So, I went online and bought the LEGO Volkswagen T1 Camper Van and Beetle. It didn’t take long before I felt like a kid again and was hooked on those classic LEGO bricks!
“Nashville could just as soon be called Punk City or Rock City. You are just as likely to find the word artisanal hanging over the door of a sandwich shop or a cupcake shop or the slow-drip-coffee laptop zone as anywhere in the land of man buns in the cities of the North.”– Anthony Bourdain in “Nashville” of Parts Unknown
By the end of this post, you will see that I love Nashville, TN. In April of 2018, my wife Corinne, brother Jeff, sister-in-law Lauren, and I traveled to the hip, fun, and lively Music City. This trip brought tons of fun and left me wondering why I had never considered Nashville before. Filled with the NFL Draft, breweries, a half marathon, tons of BBQ, and side trips to historic sites, my trip to Nashville proved far better than I could ever imagine. What started as a trip to run the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon turned into a beautiful memory that, especially during this pandemic, can easily be called upon to provide happy feelings when I am feeling down.
My brother and I run a half marathon every October or November and have done so since 2014. After an incredible trip to Denver in October of 2017, we wanted to find another fun and unique location. After some research and internet scouting, I discovered that the Rock n’ Roll Marathon series was going to be in Nashville, and it just so happened that the NFL would be holding the draft the same weekend. I talked to my brother and my wife, and we decided to make it a group trip to the city. We booked our flights, registered for the race, and secured an Airbnb in East Nashville. We were ready, but was Nashville prepared for us!
“Hayley: Why did you invite both of us? / Roger: Gee, I don’t know. You think it might have something to do with me being drunk all the time? I’m an alcoholic. I have a problem. I’m just not ready to deal with it yet. But I will. I promise. No more empty promises. No sir. Not from this alcoholic.”– Hayley & Roger in “Chimdale”
Welcome back, everyone, for another in-depth discussion of the funniest animated comedy, American Dad. I wanted to get this blog post ready and submitted to coincide with the release of the 300th episode of American Dad, airing on TBS September 14, 2020. This blog, as I have mentioned before, is the second of what will be three parts. The first blog post, American Dad Rewind – Part ONE, which I published a couple of weeks ago, covered seasons 1-5. Today, we are back with the Seasons 6-10 and the top episode from each season. So far, we have discussed what I argue are the best episodes from each of the first five seasons. For a list of those, please go back and read Part ONE, because we are going to jump right in and begin with Season 6. Buckle up, hold tight, and put your sunglasses on; we are speeding back to American Dad!
“We met at Starbucks. Not at the same Starbucks, but we saw each other at different Starbucks across the street from each other.”– Parker Posey in Best in Show
I am a latecomer to the coffee world. Never really drank it until I started dating my wife, back in the early 2000s. She is from NY, so coffee was pretty much injected into her veins at an early age. While I may have been late to the java party, I have more than made up for it over the last two decades. Now, I can’t start the day without a nice cup of Café Bustelo. When my wife and I travel, we love to find unique and fun places to get a cup of coffee. In this blog post, let’s explore some of the coffee shops we have visited in our recent travels.