Friday, December 31, 2004

Holy Crap

yes, hoooooollly crap, i have just finished consuming the absolute best meal ever to grace my senses, lovingly prepared by my wife, steak and lobster, and mushroom caps, champagne, veggies, and chocolate cake....

...i do not deserve this much awesome-ness in my life.

now it's time to watch the second half of 'return of the king' on our new 43-inch LCD television. Happy New Year, indeed.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Christmas Healing

And so another Christmas approaches, and my thoughts on the holiday continue to go through their continuous evolution. For the past few years, I’ve developed a rather cynical attitude towards this time of year and what it’s become for me. Thanks to my family, I had an incredible childhood, and many of my best and most vivid childhood memories revolve around Christmas. Various TV specials I loved, the anticipation of Christmas morning, the food, the presents, the church pageants & music, it truly was the best day of the year; there was nothing better (although Halloween was stiff competition.) It was wonderful! Perhaps that’s why when the magic stopped, it became that much more painful. What made it so special as a child, besides the specific nostalgic elements, at first was the magical belief in Santa Claus, combined with the childlike fuzziness brought on by the Jesus story. No connection was made in my tiny mind between the two, and there needn’t be…Christmas was Jesus’ birthday, and it was a day for ‘giving and getting’ as it literally says so in my 3rd grade diary. There was a fascination and mystery behind lighting the advent candles and playing with nativity sets, but the real excitement lay in what I was gonna get that morning. That was the real reason I couldn’t sleep and agonized through the long, torturous hours of peeking at that tree in the dark. Eventually I figured out through simple logic that Santa wasn’t real, and after confirming that with my parents, all that was left was the presents. On into the teen years, and Jesus wasn’t in the picture anymore either…he was shut out, and I never really knew him anyway; I liked him but didn’t understand why he had to show up in the first place. With Santa gone and Jesus gone, and presents ending up on a list I gave to everyone, there was still excitement, TV specials, and Mom’s awesome cinnamon bread, but all that was left were the presents, which I had asked for and expected, so there were usually very few surprises. Though I was happy to receive what I had asked for, in some of my later Christmases during high school and college there was an empty feeling when it was all over. Now Jesus, Santa, and the same childlike excitement of presents were gone, so what was left? Family. Togetherness of family was what Christmas meant; it always did for me. But at that time, even that was beginning to be a disappointment. We were supposed to be together and happy, but we were divided, and Christmas only emphasized that. I even ended up having to work at my movie theater job one Christmas evening during college, and got so depressed I literally made myself sick. What was the best day of the year in my youth actually made me barf as a young adult. I still get sick thinking about it.

The past few years have been a slow healing process from this time period of what Christmas became. Combined with the personal issues has been the simple sociological observance of how commercialized it all is, and how miserable it makes everyone else. I’ll admit the sappy songs, dumb jokes, terrible movies and commercials have turned me into a regular Scrooge. But what has helped with the healing is the fact that for the past 5 years, Jesus has been introduced back into the picture, and he’s given me a wife who loves Christmas for its true meaning (and loves decorating for it) with all of her heart and doesn’t let me stay a Grinch for very long. So that has certainly brought me out of the funk, but it’s still a work in progress at times. I believe that having children will help even more, because we will have blank slates to fill with the joy of Christmas that we both remember as children. It will be that joyous again.

The only remaining issue I’ve had to struggle with is Santa. It’s the thorn that has stuck inside me for awhile now, what to do with him? My heart’s discovery of the true meaning of Christmas only fuels the fire of the annoying materialism behind the season, and the Santa sell-out has been no exception. As much as I treasure my childhood memories, I still feel that I was tricked into the continual focus of every year being “What I want for Christmas.” Because Jesus was there too for awhile, luckily I was still taught that it’s better to give than receive, but at the same time I was being taught to focus more on what I wanted to receive. Not that receiving is necessarily bad in itself either, but for a child this contradiction is all too psychologically confusing. I believe that God in His infinite wisdom knew that I have been searching for an answer to these questions, and placed me in a ‘Church in Motion’ Sunday school class where Pastor Dave gave us an article that hit the nail exactly on the head of what I’ve been feeling. After tracing the history and origins of the real St. Nicholas and the pop icon he became, it tackled the issues raised by what the culture has done with him, and suggested alternatives for dealing with it. These suggestions, which include traditions and activities that focus more on who “Santa Claus” really was and what he did, are what I want to teach our children and incorporate into our future Christmases for years to come. Every passing year I feel more free.

Monday, December 06, 2004


well i got through another fall season of late late late late nights getting the damn dvd footage edited together for the school....jeepers, what a job! enjoyable enough work, and well worth it in the end, but not sure if i can handle doing that much again. i'll probably end up doing at least a little bit more in January. i wonder if there's a way to do it at the school somehow...hmmm. i dont know; i'm just glad it's over.

i've spent the last week coming home, watching TV with Jay and falling asleep at odd intervals of the evening to make up for all the 1am and sometimes 3am nights...LOL current music while typing this is Brak singing 'Magic Toenail', always make me laugh. poor jay suddenly became very sick with some kind of flu/cough/cold, a little bit of everything. wonder if i'll be next. ah, 'the neverending story' appropriate for the title of my blog. always makes me think of watching this movie in the cottage up north, on our new VCR. such a warm fuzzy feeling; i'll have to play it soon while animating. we just recently had the Esaus over for dinner and 16mm cartoon was a great time. and the current music moves on to Third Day, 'Your love oh Lord' hmm, sure would be nice to stay up and listen to music and ramble all night, but should probably get to bed, lest i succumb to the pressures of everyone around me getting sick. actually i think i might welcome such a turn of events at this point. gives me an excuse to watch Looney Tunes and Disney cartoons for hours and drift off to dreaming of things i'll forget when i wake up. Hmm, Switchfoot. Huzzah for Winamp shuffle. Joy....and on to the Thompson Twins. ok, throat getting tight. sleep you fool!


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Business as Unusual

So my last blog was written immediately after watching 'Passion of the Christ' finally. My thoughts were mostly very introspective and quiet afterwards; I was very moved by it overall, despite the glossed-over resurrection and melodrama. I know the story, so I didn't watch it so much as a movie, but more of an artistic interpretation, like a moving painting, or possibly a time capsule. I got pretty sucked into it, and found myself reciting the Scripture along with times wanting to reach out to the screen and shout out my belief and love to the Lord. It basically confirmed for me what I already believe and have experienced personally. The Jars song came to mind as the best reaction, since I connect with the fact that even if I can't explain theology or ethics completely well, the one thing I know is the historical and spiritual significance of those events....Jesus is God and He died & rose again to save his, you, me. He makes all things new. My mind boggles at this, that the creator of the universe would do such a thing for little ol' evil me.

In other news, today we got our greeting cards back from the printers, so we're very excited about taking them to the shop to be sold. Also we got our copies of the movie review book from HollywoodJesus yesterday, which includes our review of 'Home on the Range'....we're in print all over the place these days.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Read this my friends. He died for you.

Arms nailed down,
are you telling me something?
Eyes turned out,
are you looking for someone?

This is the one thing, the one thing that I know.

Blood-stained brow,
are you dying for nothing?
Flesh and blood,
is it so elemental?

This is the one thing, the one thing that I know.

Blood-stained brow,
He wasn't br0ken for nothing.
Arms nailed down,
He didn't die for nothing.

This is the one thing, the one thing that I know.

'Liquid' by Jars of Clay

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Come to Canada

I cordially invite all Americans reading this to come live in Canada/Vancouver. The air is cleaner, the meat tastes better, the people are great, and nobody is threatening to kill us.

Single guys out there, I highly recommend Canadian girls. I found at least one that is totally worth it.

Come to Canada....we will paint you a picture.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Well, just had a great weekend...Friday night after work I finally got to screen my new 'Spooky Toons' Halloween program for the students. Not as big of a turn-out as I had hoped, but those present had a good time nonetheless.

Saturday was teaching in the morning, chillin' out in the getting my absentee ballot-affidavit thing signed by a funny notary public...
Me: Hi, I need to have this signed for my absentee ballot.
NP: Oh OK, i'm not really open right now, but since you're here, I'll do it for ya.
Me: Thanks, I'm supposed to sign it here in front of you.
NP: (after photocopying my ID) OK, so you swear that all this is correct eh?
Me: Yep.
NP: (signs and stamps) OK, I'll have to charge ya $20 for that.
Me: Oh, well I don't have $20 on me but I can run across the street and get it.
NP: Ah no, that's OK, just give it to me next time you're in here.
Me: (Sure, I come here all da time!) No it's OK, I'll be right back.

I love this country.

Saturday evening was spent with dinner at Dad's and dessert at Stella's, for her 50th birthday, of which we were not aware it was her 50th, so that was a neat surprise. What a unique social life we have.

Sunday was a day that traditionally used to be spent frantically tacking up cobwebs and hanging dead bodies from trees, and occasionally splattering blood on my face and goin' to Rocky. This year it was church, quality time at home, and horror movies at Mikey's. We watched Evil Dead 2, my Spooky Toons show and some South Park. My costume was a piece of black licorice, meaning i wore a black shirt. Also watched fireworks at the neighbors' house with hot apple cider...mmmmm boy! I like these new Halloween traditions. I'm still somewhat torn on my feelings towards this beloved holiday of mine, and question how my reactions to it shall change over the years with starting a family and whatnot. Growing up it was in many ways the lynch-pin event of every year, and in later teen years I think it was yet another outlet for my rebellion. I still find ways to enjoy it, even if many of them are reminiscent in nature. It's interesting to note how my reactions to holidays in general are evolving. Should be a good Christmas...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Fast Food and Theater

We rented Super Size Me this was definitely the weekend of documentaries. We were both impressed. I was particularly blown away and outraged by much of it, and it surely made me want to eradicate McDonalds from my diet completely, not only on a nutritional level but an ethical & corporate one too. Not an easy feat, but I think worth it. Today I had a salad for lunch, and my liver rejoices...huzzah!

Last night we went to see a play 'The Number 14' compliments of tickets from Jen, who we also got to see and that was a special treat too! The play was absolutely brilliant, an inspired piece of genius. I love theater and all its's something I wish I were more involved in. For sure it's another thing to pursue and conjure up ideas for. I'm fascinated by too many things.
...much better than being bored though. I don't think the word is in my vocabulary these days.

Also yesterday got to meet a guy who worked on Lord of the Rings. Isn't life diverse and wonderful...such glorious opportunities abound. If I could only get more sleep. Heheh. Suppose I'll have to get used to that for years down the road.

Back to work...

Monday, October 18, 2004

mini break

Today is the last day of our little 4-day mini-vacation, which for us means sitting around the house doin' our own thing. Thursday night after work we stayed in the romantic suite at the Coast Plaza hotel in downtown Vancouver...complete with champagne & strawberries and a full room serviced breakfast the next morning. The room was on the 29th floor and had a jacuzzi tub right there in the room, with a swivel TV so we could watch Survivor in the tub. The view was amazing, though a bit foggy so the mountains were not readily visible. Friday we went shopping downtown and returned home to just chill out, watch 'Joan of Arcadia' as usual, Jay got to sew...unwinding is happy. Saturday Jay went to Stella's to quilt all day, so I stayed home with my animation table and worked on the film, which is mostly what I've been doing all weekend.

Last night we watched Farenheit 911, which I watched with a somewhat suspicious eye in terms of 100% of its facts, but accepted the majority of it as an un-doctored document of what's going on with the war and such. It certainly didn't make me feel any better about it. The atrocities that the American soldiers were committing against the Iraqis made me ashamed to be an American, and motivated me to fill in my Canadian citizenship paperwork. Not that it was the determining factor necessarily, as if I did it out of spite, as I have been procrastinating with it and planned on doing it this weekend anyway. That just added some fuel to the fire. I've always been proud of my nationality and I'm not planning on cutting it off all together, unless the government decides to do it for me.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Queensryche show

just saw queensryche with mike tonight...great show! this was my 4th time seeing them within 13 years, and the 2nd time getting to see them play 'Mindcrime' in its entirety. The first time was in 1991 (10th grade)...second in 1995....third in 1998. All of those times, the members of the band were head-crushing size, as I was faaaaarrrr awaayyyy from the stage in these big arenas. This time, I was only but 10 feet away from them. Very surreal. When they opened up with 'The Whisper' off Rage for Order, and Geoff Tate stepped out in his red & black outfit, looking debonair and creepy as usual, I was I said before, they're like old friends up close and personal, playing the soundtrack to much of my life. And they sounded incredible, even better than I thought they would. I do miss Chris DeGarmo though...he also had quite the stage presence; the new guitar guy seemed out of place, but his playing was adequate.

The first set was made up of the following songs, in something close to this order, from what I can remember: The Whisper, Empire, Another Rainy Night, Open, Take Hold of the Flame, Jet City Woman, When the Rain Comes, Last Time in Paris, The Lady Wore Black, and Silent Lucidity. (no songs from Promised Land, unfortunately...)

The second set, of course, was the good ol' Operation Mindcrime show, with some added twists and actors and more video footage, and an extra "Mary-suicide" scene which filled a gap in the original story and was quite chilling to watch. After seeing this show in a huge arena setting, it was a little strange seeing it played on a small stage that close, but it brought back lots of memories and was still as powerful as ever. I found it amusing to watch the crowd, which was full of hard-core fans, bouncing and singing along to the songs and going absolutely bug-nuts. It's not really a 'sing-along-with-Mitch' kind of record! It's extremely dark and scary! More of a 'thinking' album that looks at the underbelly of society and exposes the darkness of a bizarre crime story, and shakes you up to think 'something's going on, what should we do about it?' Oh well, I guess when you're drunk enough everything's a party. :)

While part of me felt like I was enjoying a nostalgia trip back to high school, which would afterwards be left behind in order for me to come back to being almost-30, another larger part of me continues to carry the torch of my love for this band into my present and future. Viva la Ryche, and good night folks. Tomorrow is another work day.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

the jay who....

my loving wife Jay is wondering if I can possibly write as passionately and deeply about her as I can about animatronic bears and gorillas at non-existent pizza parlors. Seeing as how we've been together almost everyday for the past 4 years, I'm sure I could write an entire novel if I had to. This is a novel that is still being written, with new chapters everyday, every year until death do us part.

my first encounter with Jay was in a recommendation letter in her VanArts application, which described her as 'serene and deep.' that is as perfect a description as i could possibly conjure.
most people who know my wife know her as the artistic Jay, the quiet Jay, the funny Jay, the contemplative Jay....i know and love all of these Jays very well. Given my honor and privilege of being husband of the Jay, I also get to know the cranky Jay, the emotional Jay, the tired Jay, the angry-at-me Jay, and all those Jays that only come out for me. This is not a complaint, as it comes with the territory of every marriage. As much as I may bite my lip, I would not trade it for anything. This is why Doug says 'marriage is work, but it's good work!' The good work pays off in the other Jays I've had the blessing to know that are for nobody else. The Jay who came to my birthday party all hyper and strung-out after a long day at work....the Jay who listened to me lament about my hardships over a candlelight dinner and looked at me with a look that is still the most loving 'look' i have ever seen.....the Jay who names all of the inanimate objects in the house, who even says 'hello' to the house when she walks in the door.....the Jay who obsesses over obscure TV shows and reminisces through her video game music tapes....the Jay who becomes silent when standing before water....the Jay who meditates nightly with her needle and thread....

....these are all little quirks and things that make Jay who she is for me; I've told her it's like living in a giant cartoon all the time. Not only because it's entertaining, but because anything is possible. Except for buying a car and a house, and a backyard outdoor theater, but we're getting there. My dreams mean more to me now that I have someone to share them with.

...but the Jay that stands out the most for me is the real Jay, which I like to symbolize particularly with one moment that pretty much sums up all of the other's the Jay who, on the day of our wedding, which all brides know is one of the only days when everyone focuses on her, cuz it's 'her day' and she should soak it all up, found out that one of the guests had to temporarily leave the reception because her mother was very sick with cancer, and was very upset because she knew that her mom would probably not be there for her whenever she got married...and because that very thing happened for Jay, she took the time out of her own wedding to talk to this girl outside the church and comfort her, and plainly admit that she barely knew her, but that she knew how she felt and wanted her to know that she cared....the Jay who put herself aside on her special day for someone else.

That's the Jay I know, love and appreciate, and who I too often take for granted, Lord forgive me.....and she makes me laugh like nobody else too.

a place to go....

So for some reason, i've recently renewed my obsession with the old pizza places I used to go to as a kid, looking at pictures and clips on the internet, and reminscing. Most of these visits were for birthdays and other special occasions, introduced to me first by my grandparents. The first one I went to was a Chuck E Cheese somewhere near Dearborn, I assume, as that's where my grandparents lived. This was a brand new concept to the world, the idea of a pizza parlor with video games and animatronic characters that would play songs and do skits. This would have been in 1981 or 82, when I was 6 or 7, that this obsession would start. Though the pizza was obviously very good, and the games kind of fun, what really got me was the animatronics. I'd been to DisneyWorld and liked puppets & cartoon characters in general, so this kind of thing has always amazed me. The original Chuck E Cheese had a main dining room with characters that were only shown from the waist up sitting in overhead balconies. There was Chuck E Cheese, Jasper T Jowls, Harmony Howlette, Mr Munch, Pasqually, and the Warblettes. Underneath them was a cheese-house play area with holes and tunnels you could crawl through. Different 'cabaret' style rooms had more characters: a hippo named Dolli Dimples, an Elvis lion, and the Beagles (dogs playing Beatles songs). This place, like all the others, does not exist anymore, though the franchise still does, and it's not the same.

A year or so later, another place opened: Major Magics. This place stayed around the longest...the last time I went there I was in college, and it hadn't really changed at all. The animatronics were better at this one, plus they were on a stage that was at ground level, so kids could reach out and touch their feet, a naughty thing we weren't supposed to do, of course. Major Magic's starred the Rock N Roll Rebellion, two country bears and a Dixie-land-style band of instruments with faces, and of course Major Magic himself. They had a red curtain that would open and close for each act, and we used to peek behind them between sets.

In 1983, Showbiz Pizza Place opened up, and this was the best one by far. The animatronics were smoother and the characters funnier, the music was better....this show featured the Rock-a-Fire Explosion (Dook, Fatz, Beach Bear, and Mitzi), Billy Bob & Looney Bird, and Rolfe & Earl. All of these stages would automatically play a song or two, then the curtains would close for intervals between them. As a kid, I remember the disappointment when a song would end and the feeling of excitement when the lights would dim and the shows would start. If you were in another room playing video games or something, and you saw the lights go down by the stage, you would grab your friends and make a mad dash to catch the show! At least I did...most of my friends at birthday parties were more preoccupied with the video games, but I was always more into these animatronic things. To this day, most of my friends are way more into video games, which is more of an active pastime...while I would rather passively sit back and be entertained by puppets. My dad snuck a tape recorder in a few times to make recordings of the Showbiz songs for me, and I would listen to them at home. I wish I still had those tapes...they got lost somehow (but I'm currently waiting for a CD in the mail that has the songs I remember, from the webmaster of the only major site dedicated to Showbiz). There are still a few Rock-a-Fire shows installed throughout the US, but the original Showbiz back home is no more.

So why do I still reminisce and obsess over this? What is it about these memories that linger? Some of it I think is because I often relate it to memories of Grandma Priebe, who I miss dearly and used to take me to these places. I think it also relates to my obsession with animation & puppets in general; this was like watching the Muppets, but it was LIVE! Another interesting thing is that while I may wax nostalgic about movies or music from my childhood, the difference is that those things I can still experience and apply to my present life. This kind of thing, I cannot... even if I still lived in Michigan, I couldn't. It's gone, and shall never repeat, unless I happen to travel to a place where a show is installed. So that in itself creates the intrigue in retracting as much as possible through memory, like a time period or person you cannot be with any more. So it's related to the same reason we think about loved ones who have passed on.

I just loved the feeling, the atmosphere that was in those places; the sounds, the was pure childhood. Kids today don't have anything like this, at least I don't think they do. Back then, most of us didn't have every Disney movie ever made on video, we didn't have arcade games at home, and cartoons were only on after school and on Saturday morning. Everything was an event, which made it more exciting. Now everything is so accessible or downloadable it's almost impossible to have anything be an 'event' without getting lost or losing its lasting significance. Or maybe this is exactly what our parents thought, and our kids today DO have 'events' in their lives like this. I'm not sure. All I know is that this whole concept of a physical place to go where you have all of these things, games, 'cartoons' which you knew were robotic but somehow magically had a life of their own after you left.....this concept does not seem to exist now.

Perhaps that's why we sometimes need to go back to the things which are gone. Perhaps that's why I love and appreciate it so much.

Monday, September 20, 2004

back in black

It's good to be back, Lloyd.

well, hopefully i've gotten my annual Autumn cold & sore throat out of the way early this year. what's going on, well, i started teaching again on Saturday but ended up cancelling my stop-motion class so i'm only teaching 2D in the morning, which is actually perfect for right now. i need a break, and more time to work on other projects. the 2D class is so much easier to teach, and it always gets me pumped to work on my film.

jay and i are starting our business up, turning some of our fantasy paintings into greeting cards, and eventually other things. this is a great way to ramp up for more opportunities down the road to keep us afloat and creating art for people, so i'm rather excited about it. tomorrow i'm picking up the Star Wars DVDs, so maybe i'll rant about them later. life is good. do de do....

Sunday, September 05, 2004

reflections from an overdue phone call

biting cold winter, walking from anita to hampton...the annoying 'alien ball' in my pocket..arch oboler's lights out everybody...the infamous birthday party all night with 'creepshow' 'friday 7', 'elm street 3', 'nerds 1'...couldn't drive in those days, so we walked with nighter and chip, or rode bikes...humphrey the bear cartoons..terror in the aisles...the python record...dominos and pixie stix overlooked by the big buffalo head...may rolls around, and the nighthawks return...they say 'beer' and dive...thrashing on the swings...watching horror movies and going outside to a huge thunderstorm, the street flooding....singing 'Paul Revere' stomping our feet with sheets of rain pounding the aluminum above us...watching the neighbors with an iced tea on the porch...end of an era, end of innocence, end of a decade......

why this time? why the obsession and ache to return to it? i think because it's a lesson in appreciation. we were alive, and still are to this day, even more so. any regrets from years afterwards are nailed to the cross, of which Ted reminded me today, thus creating an appreciation NOW even greater than any I had back then. The nice thing about memories is they improve with age, like wine, as long as they are appreciated and make ya want to keep living. And do I ever.

Friday, September 03, 2004

freaky giant rabbits

so i finally saw 'Donnie Darko' for the first time last night. holy crap, what a messed-up but awesome movie. it's been a long time since I've seen a cult film like that in a theater. took me back to college days when i would go to the Michigan Theater to see all sorts of weird stuff.

Labour Day weekend is upon us, and students are coming. maybe i can finally work on my film a little bit this wekend.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Ok, i know everybody gets songs stuck in their head...that's a common phenomenon. i wonder if anyone else besides me gets movie scenes or dialogue stuck in their head. i don't recall ever speaking to anyone else with this problem.

whenever i am angry or frustrated, as I have been today, i ALWAYS get the scene in my head from 'The Shining' where Jack is locked in the food pantry screaming 'G*Dammit! Let me out of here! Open the G*Damn door!' ...and it just runs through my head over and over again.

Is this healthy? I'm not sure. But it happens.

Monday, August 30, 2004

So whose Olympics was it?

I got to experience yet another interesting difference between America and Canada, regarding their news broadcasting. The closing ceremonies for the Olympics in Athens were on all day yesterday. The Canadian network ran theirs in the afternoon. They focused on the performances...the awesome music, the dancing, the costumes, the art of the show. Every song & dance number was broadcast in its entirety, and there were titles indicating who every singer was. The commentators didn't say much, just occasionally gave brief backgrounds on the various singers and groups, explaining the context of their popularity in Greece, or whatever country they hailed from. They explained where the children who lit the torches came from, and how they got to be chosen for the ceremony.

Later in the evening, we got to see NBC's coverage of the same event. Where should I start? The camera would not stay on the singers or performances for more than 5 seconds...they focused more on the crowds of athletes on the floor, mugging for the camera. Everytime the stage performances would get interesting, they would switch to an interview with one of the American medal winners, who all looked bored and pissed off that the reporter was wasting their time instead of letting them enjoy the ceremony. They would ask all of them the same questions....'how did you feel winning that medal?' 'what has this experience been like?' Who cares????? What are they going to say, 'it sucked' on National TV? GASP! How un-American!

Whenever they DID switch back to the actual ceremony, the commentators would not shut up! And the comments they made were inane...'wow the crowd is sure going mad!'...'look at the Canadians flying their colors'.....'these singers sure have a lot of energy'......'there's the flame going back up'.....(and after the flame was extinguished)...'just like that!'

For the Canadian broadcast, I felt like I was there in the stadium with everyone else...watching NBC, it felt like watching 'Moulin Rouge' with an audio commentary by Joan Rivers and Bob Saget.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Reminiscin' with the Ryche

So Michael and I are going to see Queensryche on October 7 here in Vancouver...yay! Mikey's taken a recent interest in them, which is good. It's a rare occasion for most people. I've usually been a bit of a loner in my fondness for their music.

So I've been listening to them a bit more lately in order to psyche myself up and reminisce. It's funny how when a band means so much to you for many years, they sort of become like friends. I was hooked from the start after seeing their 'Empire' video in 10th grade, and then once I became obsessed with that album I had to catch up with their previous work. I remember how disappointed I was after buying 'Mindcrime' and not liking it at first...but eventually it became my most-listened-to album through much of high school. I saw them play the whole thing live the first time I saw them, in 1991. I'm not sure what it is about that album that was intriguing...I think the songs are great, plus the epic-ness of the whole rock opera idea. From my older perspective now, I can listen for sentimental reasons and enjoying the tunes...yet the subject matter seems to me now to be cynical, dark and angry...just a tiny bit too much for my liking at times. It always was, of course, but back then I was also cynical, dark and angry. All in all, as brilliant as it is, it's not my favorite album by them. Now they're making a sequel, which, much like their recent CD releases, seems like a desperate plea for winning back their old fans...some of which, I'm guessing, have moved on. Their new material and approach is seriously lacking without Chris DeGarmo writing and playing with them. In so many ways, he made that band what it was. And as cheesy as it is, I still love their early gothic sci-fi metal from 'Warning' and 'Rage' too!

With the release of 'Promised Land' (my favorite next to Empire) when I was in college, their music hit me on a much more personal level. The song 'Bridge' hit home as my relationship with my dad was at its lowest points. The third time I saw them in concert, with my brothers at Pine Knob, was the same day that Mom told me Dad was getting fired from his job of over 20 years. I could barely hold back my tears when they played that song. The song 'Someone Else?' resonated many times through periods of identity crisis in my mid-20s. 'Some People Fly' gave me hope as I longed to move on to bigger and better things in my life, and break free to find out who I was. After moving to Vancouver, and becoming a Christian, the song 'Anybody Listening?' had new resonance as I related it to one of Dave's sermons.

My friends of the Ryche, like all artists, grow along with their music and change their styles as they go. Everything after 'Promised Land' has been hit and miss, a few promising moments here and there, but something happened; not sure what. I'm still looking forward to seeing them again (will be the 4th time) in a smaller, more intimate venue. Plus, what better place to see them than in the Pacific Northwest, where they hail from to begin with? I think their music is another one of those obsessions that subconsciously brought me to live here eventually. Therefore, I shall forever be indebted to the Ryche for being the soundtrack to my psyche over the years.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

whither scuzzbopper?

the name 'Scuzzbopper' is from a character in the animated film 'Twice Upon a Time', one of my's a cult film produced by George Lucas that didn't get much exposure. Scuzzbopper is the head writer of the Murkworks, where scripts are written for all the world's nightmares. What endears me to him is that he does his job reluctantly, all the while dreaming of writing the Great Murkian Novel.

the title of my blog, of course, is from 'the neverending story' film....and Fantasia of course, has no boundaries!


Sunday, August 22, 2004

In just seven days, I can make you a man....

I feel grown up. Bring it on.

I guess I've had a lot of experiences lately that have made me feel more like a grown-up who knows what it's like to not be one, because I didn't use to be one. I've been 14, so I can be 14. I've been 3, so I can be 3...yet at the same time be 29. Today at the 60th anniversary dinner for Abe & Emily Enns at church, I was inspired and given a glimpse of what the possibilities are for the future, in terms of building a family. Yet at the same time, I felt distanced from it, because I'm not there yet.

So I may be a grown-up, but I can still shake the walls by belching.

Thursday, August 19, 2004