My Top 5 Halloween Movies

I was going over a few older blog posts and found this one from 2010. I thought it needed some updating so I ended up going over the whole thing again.

Now right off the bat let me just say that I’m not a fan of scary movies.  In fact, I’m not a fan of horror movies or gory movies, either.  So you’re not going to find Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th or Halloween on this list.  Those movies just aren’t my bag.  Neither are the Saw or Hostel movies. But there are movies I do enjoy watching around this time of the year. 

Sleep Hollow. This is one of my favorite “once-a-year” movie.  I’ve always been a Tim Burton fan, although he’s really hit-and-miss lately (just saw Dark Shadows last night and was tremendously “meh” about the whole thing). This movie, however, has a lot of great actors outside of just Johnny Depp, so from that aspect it’s already off to a good start. The movie is cheesy at times with massive over-acting (which is definitely part of the point with this movie) and it’s got heads flying off in a way that’s both funny and slightly gory. Depp’s acting is absolutely brilliant in that his tongue is firmly planted in his cheek but it’s played 100% seriously.  It’s just a really entertaining movie and I’m looking forward to watching it again soon.

Rocky Horror Picture Show.  C’mon, kids…this is simply one of the most entertaining movies of all time, especially around Halloween.  And let’s be honest…the acting isn’t great, the story is kinda lame, the directing isn’t the best, and it’s one of those movies that people either love or hate.  So why is it a favorite of mine?  Very simple: the music.  Far and away this is one of the best musicals ever created (not as good as Grease, but still pretty awesome).  Hot patootie, kids…this is just a hell of a fun musical ride.  And I don’t know about you, but I could listen to The Time Warp at any point during the year.

Scream. I never found this movie overly scary or overly gory, yet it’s still considered a “horror movie” or one that “reinvented the horror genre”.  Since I wasn’t a fan of the genre to begin with, I couldn’t tell you either way.  But what I can say is that this is: from opening scene with Drew Berrymore to the very end, this is an entertaining movie.  The premise is so unique in that they skewer the horror genre and parody themselves, yet still go forward with the whole “serial killer thing”.  Then, in something that was totally unheard of at the time, they killed off one of the (supposed) main characters in the first ten minutes.  If nothing else, I just couldn’t help but respect the film for going out on a limb like it did.  But set aside the originality of it all, it was simply well-made and fun to watch.

Blair Witch Project. Now I know some people are going to roll their eyes at this one and that’s fine.  This movie is one of those “love it or hate it” movies, with very few people landing somewhere in the middle.  For me, I loved the originality of it all.  Not once is there blood or gore or some undying killer walking around…it’s just a couple of cameras and some people in the middle of the woods with a storyline.  Maybe it’s because I have a vivid imagination, but I was so freaked out watching this movie that once that final scene faded to black…with Mike standing in the corner…I had to stay sitting in the theatre trying to process it all.  It’s also one of those movies where you need to pay attention to all of the story-telling at the beginning of the movie because the ending relies so much on the plot.  Y’know, I haven’t seen this movie in awhile so it’s going to be fun to re-visit it this weekend.

The Walking Dead. Yes, I realize that this isn’t a movie…but I’m such a huge fan of this series that I just had to add it to my list. This series is simply incredible on a number of different levels. The acting is superb, the storylines are believable, and the premise is realistic. I mean…it’s a zombie show where the primary focus isn’t on just killing mindless zombies. It’s a series about people and how they change in order to adapt and survive a zombie apocalypse that they just happened to be thrown into. The third season just debuted a few weeks ago (to monster ratings, too) and I’m really looking forward to seeing how things change over the coming weeks.

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So what about you?  Have any movies that you enjoy watching around Halloween?

You Know It’s A Good Day When…

You know it’s a good day when…

 …the sun is shining and the birds are chirping (even if they are getting ready to head south for the winter).

…the elevator door is open waiting for you when you arrive.

…the boss hands you an unexpected compliment.

…your iPod plays your favorite song on the random setting without you having to search for it.

…that big truck on the highway pulls over and lets you pass.

…when your child gives you an out-of-the-blue hug for no reason other than to say “I love you”.

…a co-worker brings in a crock-pot of home-made soup because she doesn’t want everybody to get sick. 

…the hard work you’ve put into your job over the past couple of weeks is recognized and appreciated.

Bonus Points!!

…your significant other is taking you out on a Friday night date to kick-off the weekend!

Heh…

Here’s the best part…the reason you know it’s a “good day” is because of the way you look at things.

Seriously, kids…make sure you stop and smell the roses every day. Never lose sight of the following truth… “a happy life is 90% mindset and attitude“. You can’t afford to not appreciate how life around you is really pretty good. Be full of goodness and have fun. Besides… what’s the alternative? 

NO Excuses.

My Concert Bucket List

For those unaware, a bucket list is basically a wish list of things that you want to do before you “kick the bucket“.  It was an idea brought to the forefront by a movie that came out in 2007 starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman called…you guessed it…The Bucket List.

I remember watching the movie and thought it was an incredible idea that I needed to follow-through on.

I made a two-part bucket list back in 2009 (part one and part two) and then generated a “final” list the next year (here), since I felt as though my priorities in life had changed.

But recently I was talking with Sunshine in the car about wanting to see somebody in concert and how it would be incredible. Then I thought about all of the concerts I’ve been able to see in my lifetime and how I’ve been able to scratch a few “bucket list” concerts off of my list already (KISS, AC/DC, Eagles, ZZ Top, Barenaked Ladies, Alice Cooper, & Bryan Adams to name a few).

Well…I’ve made a bucket list of who I would LOVE to see in concert at some point before I die. I’ll be quite disappointed if these don’t end up happening…

1. Billy Joel. I realize that Joel doesn’t do a whole lot of touring anymore, but he’s absolutely at the top of my list. It’s funny, because I’ve spent the vast majority of my life as a “casual” Joel fan. It wasn’t until I heard his in-depth interview with Howard Stern last year that I truly got an interest in his music. As I began to experience his pre-80’s songs for the first time, I became an instant fan. It’s great because I’ve only truly enjoyed his catalogue for two years now…and I’m just in love with so much of his older songs. The lyrics are deep and meaningful, the music is compelling, and I’ve seen enough YouTube clips to know that he would be incredible to experience in concert.

2. P!nk. Both Sunshine and I have a huge crush on P!nk (she’s on BOTH of our “Top 5” lists) and it was listening to one of her songs that had us generating this discussion. The great thing about P!nk isn’t just how awesome her music is, but it’s that she always has a rock “tinge” to her pop music…which makes me enjoy it just a little bit more. I’ve seen enough live performances of hers to know that it would be a fantastic concert to listen to (and it wouldn’t hurt the eyes, either).

3. Green Day. I’ve been a fan of Green Day since before Dookie was released. Because I’m a rock fan and because they’re the same age as me, I always felt a connection to both the music and the band.  Since I’ve been able to cross off some of the artists I had on my Bucket List (KISS, AC/DC, the Eagles, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, Steve Miller Band), there aren’t that many bands that I would absolutely LOVE to see before I die.  This band is definitely one of them.  The problem is that I know Sunshine isn’t much of a fan, but I’m totally willing to see somebody on her Bucket List in exchange for this.  Totally.

4. Phil Collins. Really…this would probably #2 on my list if it were in an actual order of some kind. One of my all-time favorite artists has always been Phil Collins. And honestly, one of the first live cd’s that I ever purchased was …Serious Hits Live and, to this day, remains one of the best live albums I’ve ever heard. Because Collins has retired to spend time with his family, I’m pretty certain I’ll never be able to enjoy his music in person. Still…this would be an incredible concert to see in person.

5. Aerosmith. I kick myself repeatedly for NOT seeing Aerosmith a few summers ago when they performed a couple of hours away on Prince Edward Island.  I just didn’t t have the finances to make the trip there and back (not to mention the bridge fees).  I know that Sunshine has mentioned that she would love to see them in concert, too, so this pick seems like a “win-win”.

6. Bon Jovi. This is another artist that I’ve grown up with and have missed playing in my area a couple of times over the past decade. I mean, from the moment I first heard “You Give Love A Bad Name” I just thought this band was awesome. And through the years…even though they’ve mellowed considerably…their music has always been enjoyable.  They’ve got more than enough great music to fill a two-hour concert.

7. Journey. Yes, I know that Steve Perry isn’t the lead singer of the band anymore. But you know what? I’ve seen their new singer, Arnel Pineda, enough times on YouTube to make me a believer in this new version of the band. And in a similar situation with my love of Billy Joel, I’m a late-bloomer when it comes to the music of Journey. I can appreciate their music for the pop-rock fun it was always meant to be and I think this concert would be a blast.

8. Roxette. Make this another “guilty pleasure” for me. Since the first time I heard “The Look” back in 1988, I’ve been a huge fan of Roxette. For a long time, I was out buying their cd’s and enjoying their pop-rock stylings. Then I just stopped hearing about them for the next decade. Turns out, a cancer scare for singer Marie Fredrikssonstopped the band from touring and recording. They released another album last year and began touring again. Then they actually released another album this year and even toured North America this summer (they never made it past Toronto and Montreal, so they didn’t get this far east). Hopefully, they’ll find their way back some day to this little part of the Great White North.

9. Foo Fighters. It’s funny…I’ve always enjoyed the Foo’s, but never really LOVED the Foo’s. Then last year I realized that they’ve been around for over a decade and I’ve always enjoyed rocking out to their music. Then I saw them perform “Walk” at the Grammy Awards earlier this year and that performance confirmed with me just how awesome of a rock concert this would end up being. Who knew that the Foo’s would end up being so great?

10. George Michael. Okay…I realize that this pick seems COMPLETELY random and really odd considering the rock-influenced picks on the rest of my list, but Michael is an artist that I’ve grown to respect as I’ve gotten older. I know how much Sunshine loves his music and I really think his concert would be absolutely incredible. The guy has an amazing voice and it would be a blast to be able to sit there with Sunshine and sing along with all his cheesy goodness.

So that’s my list. Who would be on YOURS?

Not Any Easier

I just spent the weekend with my son. While he seems to be adjusting extremely well to the distance between us, saying goodbye to him on a Sunday evening is NOT getting any easier.

I’m adjusting to the distance okay, sure. Living with Sunshine and her girls is a blessing…I truly feel like we’re a happy family when we’re together. And my son and I have a great time when we’re together, too. So it’s not like I’m regretting my decision to move in any way at all.

It’s just when I’m cleaning up on a  Sunday afternoon. Both he and I are counting down the minutes until he goes back to his mom’s. For him, though, there is excitement because he’s anxious to see his cat and his dog and his mom. His time with me is over and he’s ready to get back to his “normal” life.  Maybe he’ll be more sad as he grows older…I don’t know.

But for me, it’s tough. It’s gut-wrenching every time I say that final goodbye, get into my car, and start making my way down the street. It’s at that exact moment that I feel like I can’t keep doing this. But after a few minutes, the feeling begins to go away a bit in the knowing that my family is waiting for me at home. 

My son is in great hands with his mom…he and I are getting along fine with video chats during the week…the distance really doesn’t seem that bad most of the time.

It’s just that initial “driving away” stage. That’s brutal and I don’t see it getting any easier as time goes on.  Thankfully, it really does help me appreciate the time that we spend together. Our time is special and it’s precious and I cherish every moment that we have. He knows that…and that’s all that matters.

Ankle Biter and CBG: 10-19-12

The Bookcase

Is there anything else that can rock a relationship to the very core more than do-it-yourself furniture? I think not.

So on this…a Friday that sees me hangin’ with my son for the weekend…I’m going to sit back and reflect on putting together the most atrociously difficult piece of furniture I’ve ever put together.

I’m going to sit back and wonder just how I ended up finishing it without (a) seriously injuring myself, (b) seriously putting it together wrong, (c) seriously getting into an argument of some kind with Sunshine (over nothing, really), and (d) seriously losing my ever-loving mind.

This thing SUCKED putting together. But now it’s done.

I shall stand back and marvel at how awesome I am.