Urban (mis)Advantures

The Perfect Man? — September 13, 2014

The Perfect Man?

So, summer is winding down, especially with the arrival of daytime temperatures only in the 60’s here in Massachusetts. And I saw the only movie that mattered this summer: Guardians of the Galaxy.  Having never read the comic book, or even heard of the comic book until the movie, I had nothing to compare it to and greatly enjoyed the film. Yeah, I know this deletes some of my geek points, but I still have plenty of geek left. Through this experience, I believe I have found the perfect man.

Ladies, meet Groot.

Yeah. Okay. So. He's a tree.

Yeah. Okay. So. He’s a tree.

What makes Groot the perfect man? Let’s start with the physical attributes. He’s tall. Dark. Has compassionate eyes and a great smile. His abilities range from very handy to extraordinary. He can reach all those things on top shelves that my short stature cannot. He can stretch and grow to help you bust out of an intergalactic maximum security prison if needed. He provides shade in the blazing sun and grows his own flowers for you on Valentine’s Day and birthdays. He produces light during power outages. And he speaks only when he needs to.  His personality is quite incredible. Groot is friendly to and gentle around children. He is a loyal friend. When others sit around talking and planning, he is doing. And most importantly, Groot would gladly impale anyone that tries to harm those he holds dear to his lively heart.

Fall in love with Groot.

‘Who’ did I not see at the Olympics 2012 Ceremonies? — August 13, 2012

‘Who’ did I not see at the Olympics 2012 Ceremonies?

The summer Olympic games opened and closed in the city of London England with extremely busy ceremonies displaying hundreds of people flooding the arena and moving around to some, ahem, interesting, choreography.  But I did enjoy the homages paid to Britain’s contributions to literature, music, and comedy in both Ceremonies.  Mary Poppins fighting villains, Annie Lennox’s amazing gothic display, and Fatboy Slim’s performance on top of an octopus were all highlights for me.  The torch was amazing, creative, unique and a very touching symbol.

Yet I noticed Who was missing from both the opening and closing ceremonies.  In fact, I noticed not one or two Who’s, but eleven Who’s that I did not see in either spectacles.

Image from ScienceFiction.com

Yes, the world’s most beloved Timelord, Doctor Who, was nowhere to be found.  At least for us fans across the Atlantic in the United States.  Perhaps he did make an appearance, but it was not aired?  Anyone know?

During both dizzying ceremonies, I awaited patiently for the industrial ‘whoosh’ sound of the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), the Doctor’s trusty blue telephone booth/time-space-dimension craft to sound.  I hoped it would rise up in the center of the stage, or even zip across the screens set up over the arena.  And then the door would creak open and there’s Matt Smith, or better yet, the deliciously charming and charismatic David Tennant, waving to the crowd and firing his sonic screwdriver at Daleks who were upset they didn’t get to send any athletes to the games.

But, alas, no.

Yet the eleventh and current Doctor Who, Matt Smith, did carry the Olympic torch.  But I anticipated an appearance by Britain’s premier and outstanding contribution to science fiction, who has saved us humans from weeping angels, Daleks, and other extra terrestrial beings since 1963.  And I, possibly like many other Doctor Who fans around the world, was quite disappointed when not seeing even one little flash of the TARDIS or any of the eleven Timelords.  But again, perhaps the Good Doctor made an appearance during one of the ceremonies, and the U.S. had to cut to a commercial, or perhaps he showed up at the after party, which I did not watch because I have to work in the morning.  😦

A bit of Missey Twisted history:  I started watching Doctor Who on PBS when I was about eight years old.  They showed re-runs of the Fourth Doctor Series, portraying the wildly popular Tom Baker.  I secretly wanted to travel with him in the blue phone box, borrow his cool scarf and brown trench coat whenever he wouldn’t be looking.  I probably would have eaten all his ‘jelly baby’ candies.  I was a big fan of his traveling companion, Sarah.  Yet the Fifth Doctor did not interest me so much.  I did not follow the show much until the Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, in 2005.  This guy was fun to me.  Then when he regenerated into the 10th Doctor, I fell absolutely head-over-heels for David Tennant.  My favorite of his companions was Martha, a medical doctor.

Next year, Doctor Who will celebrate 50 years of awesome adventures!

A Beautiful Moment in Evans City. — July 26, 2012

A Beautiful Moment in Evans City.

My most recent Urban Adventure took me to about thirty-five miles north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to a quaint town called Evans City.  I was in Pittsburgh for a wedding and wanted to do some sight-seeing.  Now, I know there’s plenty to see in Pittsburgh the Andy Warhol Museum, the Toonseum, and the double decker bus tours.  But I was more interested in spending time with family and being the colossal dork that I am, I wanted to visit a certain cemetery.

My nephew, his family, and my son made the short yet lovely drive North to visit this famous graveyard.  It is not Arlington, nor does it hold any famous people.  But Evans City Cemetery is the spot where the first cinematic flesh-eating zombie stumbled down the peaceful graveyard and terrorized a brother and sister.  It is the place where these eerie words were uttered:

“They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”

Yes, Evans City Cemetery is where the opening scene to Night of the Living Dead was filmed.

Upon reaching Franklin Road, my nephew calls and states he’s pretty sure we are on the right track.  And we both see the wooden sign.  I squealed like a girl at a Justin Beiber concert, “Omigosh, we’re here!”  With this exclamation, I awakened my son, who napped in the passenger seat.  I eased the rented car up the dirt road and immediately stopped at the famed chapel, which is the first recognizable image from the movie.  Barbara and her brother, Johnny, parked their car in front it.  The groundskeeper is parked near there an I asked him, completely knowing the answer, if this is the “old chapel.”  He did not seem to mind me holding a camera and wanting to walk calmly around the cemetery.

The chapel has aged quite a bit over the past forty-plus years, and is actually in danger of being torn down, as it is falling down as one can see in this picture.

Don’t want to see this historic chapel destroyed?
Visit FixtheChapel.com and donate!

Our stroll around the cemetery on this hot day took us by other spots used in the film.  The tall monument with the ball on top is clearly visible in the scene where the first ghoul stumbles towards Johnny and Barbara.

Here is the approximate spot where Johnny meets his demise after struggling with the zombie.

We also stood by the famed “Blair” tombstone, where Johnny teased his sister by telling her they were coming to get her.  This tombstone is just down the dirt road across from the chapel.   This last pic was shot in the area where Barbara fell and lost her shoe.  Yet there is a grave on the exact spot, so if you visit, show some respect and don’t go stomping all over the final resting place.

Evans City Cemetery is a peaceful and beautifully well-kept place of burial.  There are no signs pointing out that it is where an entire genre took its first steps.  And that is a huge part of what made this experience so wonderfully enjoyable and personal.

I’d like to thank Tom G. for his article on Dark Destinations, which specifically points out areas in the cemetery that are featured in Living Dead.  And I hope to hear that Evans City received enough money to renovate the chapel by October!

A Beautiful Living Dead Moment…. — July 2, 2012

A Beautiful Living Dead Moment….

For a time which quantity I cannot remember, I’ve rummaged through bargain bins of DVD’s in search of a certain 40 + year-old movie.  These hunts always ended with empty hands.  Every holiday, again I search the DVD’s on sale.  Every Halloween, I think “there has to be copies of it on display now!”  Nope.  Finally last year, I went to For Your Entertainment and asked if they sold copies of it because they have everything in stock.
“We have it on Blu-Ray.”
I have not made that technological jump yet.
It’s not that I don’t believe this masterpiece deserves me paying a full price.  It’s that I simply cannot afford it right now.

I’m talking about George A. Romero’s classic horror film, Night of the Living Dead, independently filmed and released in 1968 on 35 mm black and white film.
My appreciation for this movie began when viewing Night on cable television as a teen-ager.  During this time, the cable networks thought it was a great idea to colorize the classics.  Well, this does NOT work for horror films.  The shadows, drear, and dread disappear when fake colors are added.  So I patiently waited a few days until a network aired it in black and white around Halloween time.
That night, I lay on my bed, gripping my pillow and refusing to take my wide-eyed gaze off the screen.  Barbara watched in helpless terror when her brother was attacked by a walking corpse in a cemetery.  Strangers sealed themselves in a farmhouse, hoping to ward off flesh-eating zombies.  And *gasp* sweet little Karen (portrayed by an eleven year old) dined on her own father and killed her mother with a masonry spade.  To me, this whole idea was terrifying:  the dead coming back to life as soul-less beings, with no purpose but to consume the living; walling oneself in a house and with few options for survival; a child falling prey to the monsters and then killing her parents.  Mr. Romero appeared to spare nothing when it came to scaring the living daylights out of people.
And these concepts have survived near four and a half decades, spanned generations, and crossed into many medias: movies, video games, television, books, graphic novels, and music.  With no pun intended, the zombie genre is alive now more than ever.

So, back to my beautiful moment.
This weekend, I took the Boy and a couple of friends to the mall so we can get some air-conditioning.  We parted ways for a bit and agreed to meet back in Target.  But they were not there.  Hmmmmm, where would three video game playing, music loving, graphic novel/comic book reading teen-aged boys go?
Newbury Comics.  Right beside Target.  Of course.

The boys spot me immediately, and two of them head my way.  Upon turning to call for the third one, I see it standing on a low shelf, the cover printed over a gravestone background.  Could it be?  Is this finally happeneing?  Everything vanished out of view as I honed in on it.

Millennium Edition
George A. Romero’s
The Original Classic

After years of searching for them, The Living Dead found me at a completely unexpected moment.  I love you, Newbury Comics.

“Wait!  I’ll be just a few minutes!” I call to the boys as I scoop the DVD from its place, leaving a blank spot.  Ah, the last copy, at least on this shelf.   My son’s friends arch eyebrows in confusion when seeing someone my age dash into Newbury Comics.  But I did not care.  In addition to getting hard-to-find movie, music, and TV show memorabilia, I’ve discovered great bargains at the comic store in the past.
Instead of blabbing about how I’ve been searching for this DVD like a long-lost relative, I made small talk with the Newbury employee at the register, typically dressed in punk gear and her hair dyed orange and yellow.
On they way home, with three boys gawking over a Batman book, I realized this will be my second “staycation” within a year that I’m spending time with Mr. Romero and zombies.

A Beautiful Moment from the Blue Man Group — June 20, 2012

A Beautiful Moment from the Blue Man Group

Lately, I’ve been listening to my Blue Man Group CD in the car.  Recently, I find the lyrics to one song to be particularly inspiring:  “Up to the Roof,” featuring Tracey Bonham on lead vocals.  I am simply tired of working stressful jobs with low pay and dealing with a few people trying to tell me how to run my show.  I hope you all enjoy also:

All I see is not for me. What I want you have not got.
Tried to use things you sold me, no matter what the cost.
Tried to go the way you told me, but each time, I got lost.
The stairs didn’t lead me anywhere!

I’m taking the fire escape up to the roof.
Don’t care if it’s not the way you find the truth.
Time to make this climb: to rise above.

This room and all of you who say I should do like you would.
Tried to live the life you sold me, no matter what the cost.
Tried to walk the way you told me, but each time I got lost.
The stairs didn’t lead me anywhere!

I’m taking the fire escape up to the roof.
Don’t care if it’s not the way you find the truth.
And when I get up that high, I don’t know what I’ll find.
But I’d rather look at the sky than wonder why I let you take my time.
Time to make this right: to rise above.

I’m taking the fire escape up to the roof.
Don’t care if it’s not the way you find the truth.
And when I get up that high, I don’t know what I’ll find.
But I’d rather look at the sky than wonder why I let you take my time.
Time to make this climb: to rise above.
Time to make this climb: to rise above

My Date with Barnabas — April 28, 2012

My Date with Barnabas

As you’ve probably already seen, Johnny Depp portrays the vampire Barnabas in Tim Burton’s movie rendition of the 1960’s gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows.

(Image from moviecutlist.com)


     Don’t get me wrong.  I love Johnny.  I’ve been a huge fan or his work since Edward Scissorhands and the original Fox TV series,21 Jumpstreet.   When I saw the trailer for the new Dark Shadows, my first thought was:  “I don’t think so.”
I hold a very different view of the one and only Barnabas Collins.  For as a little girl in the 70’s, I stood in front of the TV with wide eyes, skin slightly crawling, and cringing away from the vampire when he graced the small screen.

Jonathan Frid as the OG Barnabas Collins.

     Perhaps it was because I was so young and thus, easily frightened when watching reruns of the soap opera.  Perhaps it is because I am not a huge fan or re-making everything.  Or perhaps it is because my memory is failing, and therefore I don’t remember the original Barnabas being so, so….boyish, looking like a porcelain doll.  So when discovering that the library could get me some DVD’s of the 1960’s Dark Shadows, I made a date to re-acquaint myself with Mr. Collins.
Although being a creature of the night, he was kind enough to join me in the day time through the Best of Barnabas DVD. And he mesmerized me all over again. Memories flooded me of the creepy intro music calling me away from my play time to stand in awe in front of the TV, awaiting what dark secrets would be revealed in the silhouette of Collins Estate.  Of Mama telling me that my older siblings raced home after school to also watch the soap opera when it first aired.  Decades later, Barnabas’ eyes still burn into the soul.  The lines around his high cheekbones accentuate his chiseled features.  The right corner of his lips curve slightly higher in that unforgettable grin.  Barnabas still watches us from afar, then creeps up on us from the dark corners of our imaginations.  He has once again captivated me so much, that I will be requesting the full seasons to watch the original Dark Shadows in order, from Barnabas’ first entrance into the new Collins home, through his yearning for Maggie because she resembles his love, Josette, and David’s persistence that the house is haunted, and the endless battle between Barnabas and the witch, Angelique.  Let the younger generation enjoy Burton’s movie.

Are Books Like Cats? — April 21, 2012

Are Books Like Cats?

I am a bit bizarre when it comes to books and things book related.  I am comforted by the feel of pages at my fingertips and the binding as I hold them in my hands.  I am content riding my bike to the library on Saturdays and roaming around the shelves or writing.  I check the “for sale” shelf often, and have brought home a few books for  50 cents a piece.  Last summer, I spent much of an afternoon sifting through boxes of mostly Agatha Christie and other mystery books that were free on the side of Maple Road.  We keep a couple of shelves at work full of books we’ve read and are willing to share with others, sort of like our own small library.  I visit this shelf every other week or so to see if there’s anything new.  It’s as if I believe that every books needs a loving home.

And my growing affection for books had me asking if I treat books like cats.  Think about it for a minute, and let me explain.

Books have their own characteristics.  They can be heartwarming and make us go “aawww,” like when we watch playful kittens.  They can be strange like cats’ behaviors.  Books can be creepy, like when your cat stares at you, relentlessly and unblinking, because he wants you to move from his favorite spot on the couch.

You can curl up and cuddle with a good book.  Nestle in the most comfy chair or lie down on the couch and get lost in a book.  Or read one in the warmth of bed at night before sleep.  We love to cuddle with cats like this also.  Granted, sometimes they wait until we are asleep and lay on our heads at night.  Or sit like sandbags by our feet.  But we still enjoy that company and presence of a cat, like I enjoy the presence of a good book.

Books and cats are both loyal.  Like cats wait for us to get home from work, books wait patiently on the shelf or nightstand to be read.  The words remain true, right where we left off from the previous reading.

Like I said earlier, books deserve a good home.  Like my heart goes out to stray cats or ones waiting to be adopted, I don’t like seeing books get ruined or left on the side of the road.  Last summer, I almost filled my car with all of the deserted books on Maple Road, because it was going to rain.  Sometimes I think I should have.  I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving them behind, unprotected, and alone.

I do not believe I am obsessed with books, for I do take only ones I am interested in reading.  But I definitely have a big heart for them.