Friday, August 17, 2012

Shop Smart, Shop Pet Smart: A Tale of Evil Dead Ownage

This post is for Paul. It will probably be of minimal interest to most of you, but he requested it and I've got a cheesecake in the oven, so here we are...

I finally had time to run some errands this week and one of said errands was to hit up the grocery store. Within this errand, one of the items on my grocery list was dog food since as of the most recent dinner time, Shasta was plum out of it. Conveniently, Pet Smart shares the parking lot with my grocery store so I hopped on over before the real shopping began so that I could have more food options for my pup. This is where the ownage takes place.

On this particular day, I was wearing my Evil Dead: The Musical shirt, which I procured at a preview performance in New York (at the New World Stages, I believe). Of all of my awesome t-shirts, this one probably gets the most comment, generally along the lines of, "there's an Evil Dead musical?" When I where it at work, I have the same conversation about fifteen times.

After wandering the many aisles of dog food (I should have just stuck with the grocery store. There are simply too many options at Pet Smart, none of which were Shasta's brand*). Having something adequate for Shasta's needs, I met my soon-to-be sparring partner/pile of bones left in my wake: the cash register guy (I didn't catch his name on his tag, but I'm going to imagine it was Chet. He didn't look like a Chet, but after our encounter, he sure seems like a Chet).
The design of my oh-so-popular shirt (without the Time/Life icon or "Cast Recording" text).
"There's an Evil Dead: The Musical?"

"Yeah. Though I don't recommend seeing the touring show because it kind of sucks. I got to see it in New York, and it was awesome." -- I'm not going to act like I don't come off as a pretentious know-it-all during this interaction.

"I don't really see how they could make it into a musical. I mean, it's got the clock scene and the dancing corpse, but that's about it." -- I pretended I knew what he was talking about. Only reflecting upon it now do I think he was trying to pinpoint scenes in the movie that had music. I have no idea what he meant about the clock, though.

"Well, it lovingly pokes fun at the series."

"Yeah, the first one is cool because you can take it seriously or laugh at it. One of my buddies new those guys when they were shooting at Michigan State."

"Well, they may have shot some of it there, but most of the film was shot in a cabin in Tennessee." -- I'm pretty sure that none of it was actually shot at MSU and that the member(s) of the crew who had gone there had already dropped out, but I wouldn't bet money on it. I also refrained from mentioning that the basement scenes were shot in one of the crew's parents' garage in Michigan (I think Raimi's).

"Really? I'll have to ask him. I've never heard that. Are you sure?"

"I'm certain. I've got the Evil Dead Companion to back me up. They shot in Tennessee because they thought it'd be warmer there at that time of year than Michigan. Tennessee ended up having one of it's coldest winters while Michigan had one or its warmest." -- I'm surprised I didn't mention having watched the commentaries for all the movies, plus all related DVD bonus features, plus reading Bruce Campbell's book, plus reading Josh Becker's Evil Dead journal.

With that, there wasn't much else to say. "Chet" mentioned that he loved Army of Darkness and I told him the musical only dealt with the first to since getting into the Army of Darkness stuff would make it a bit too expansive for the stage. I left, knowing that "Chet's" "friend" was an unreliable source and that I had won that day's socialization challenge. Immediately, I tweeted my victory.**

*The neighborhood pet store we usually go to was closed by 6:30 PM, which is when I was out.
**I have a very real fear that someone (say... Keith) is going to read this and correct some tiny or glaring inaccuracy in my assertions. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Some Thoughts on Regrets in the Shadow of My Popper

I've managed to live my life with very few regrets. Until recently, they've boiled down to not taking my piano lessons seriously and putting the minimal effort into learning French in high school (we could stretch it out into not putting more effort into high school, but I did pretty well for myself and I don't yearn to have a better understanding of Moby Dick or the ins and outs of cellular biology the way I wish I could speak another language). In the past few years (probably shortly after I moved to Portland), I realized that I there is another glaring missed opportunity from my youth: I wish that I had learned how to woodwork from my grandfather (henceforth known as Popper).

Obviously, hindsight plays a lot in this desire. I was a pretty active student. I played sports year round and dabbled in jazz band, pit orchestra, and stage crew (my mom stressed that I be well-rounded). There wasn't a ton of free time during the school year and even the summers could get pretty busy. Plus, all one wants to do during those school years is hang out with friends. It's only now when I look at myself and see that I don't have that many tangible skills and I'm surrounded by people who have a craft that they not only love, but are good at (seriously, Portland is a terrible town to be in if you don't have tangible skills).

I don't know if Popper was still making stuff by the time I hit high school. I know he built a lot of badass doll houses for my little sister and his house features a grandfather clock that he built (very literally a grandfather clock, for me). It's not as if I lack the time or access to pick it up now (my wife's dad just picked up the hobby in the past year or so), but there's a good fifteen years of practice that I've missed out on. Plus, even if he was passed handling the tools, certainly his mind was sharp enough to guide me as I gave things a go.

He also made this badass rocking/toilet training seat.
Popper passed away on August 5, 2012 and it's gotten me thinking about this missed opportunity a little more than normal. I learned he was ailing about a week before my wedding and he died a week after the last time I spoke with him. The last time I saw Popper was at Christmas and we generally spoke during events (birthdays, anniversaries, and the like). Even in my adult years, I was just hitting the bullet points.

There are untold hours I could have spent learning things from him and about him just by sharing an interest in his hobby. I don't feel guilty about it, because from a teenager's perspective, everyone has loads of life to live and I had loads of stuff that needed to be attended to immediately. As an adult, it's just as easy to take for granted that there's always time even though, rationally, you know that's not true. And I don't have any regrets about moving to Boston then to Portland. I met the wife and mother of my son in the latter. But I can't help but feel a little sad knowing that had Popper remained healthy, he and my grandma wouldn't have been able to make the trip to my wedding. And it's disappointing that Popper never got to meet Ollie. Lord knows they told me enough how they wished I hadn't moved. But that was all because they wanted to be able to share in those moments even though they weren't necessarily inevitable and I know how happy and excited they were/are for me.

I'm fortunate to have had someone who supported me so much throughout my life. It's just a shame I didn't realize that I could have learned some valuable skills from him until I'd long-since moved. I know Popper would have enjoyed that time, too.

There's a strong possibility this doesn't entirely make sense. There are lots of thoughts running through my head and everything fits together in there just fine, but it may read a bit scattershot. I apologize if that's the case.