Saturday, October 31, 2015

Same Song, Same Place, Different Performances

One of my favorite words ever is "Juxtaposition". The strange relationship between two contrasting people, places, or things based on their proximity to each other just always seems to catch my attention.

Last night, for the 6th time this year I went to a Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center event. This time it was to see a pop music legend in concert. 

I won tickets to see Don McLean from a local radio station. Although the show was in the middle of the week, I knew I had to go just for the experience of seeing him perform "American Pie". 

The song is as much a part of the legacy of American music as (insert your choice for greatest pop song of the last 50 years here). 

Also, McLean's second best known hit, "Vincent" is one of my all-time favorite "non-love song" ballads. It was one of the first 45 records I ever bought with my own money when I was a kid. 

But let's get back to "American Pie" and the juxtaposition I mentioned earlier. 

Of course hearing McLean perform his American standard was a unique experience in and of itself. 

However, it was actually the 2nd time this year that I heard the song's iconic melody played at SkyPac. 

Both of the performances were unique and memorable but artistically polar opposites.  

The first time I heard the tune was during the encore at the conclusion of the July 7 Weird Al Yankovich concert. 

That's when Al, amidst a standing ovation from the sold-out house, returned back to the stage surrounded by a group of costumed Star Wars characters. Dressed as a Jedi warrior, he sat on a wooden stool. Much to the audience's delight he sang "The Saga Begins"; a parody of McLean's "American Pie" that humorously tells Darth Vader's origin story. 

Just like the rest of the show, this finale was an amazing on-stage production. Here's a pic of what the stage looked like.   

Having seen Weird Al in concert twice in the last 5 years, in my opinion he is a genius performer. 

Fast forward to 16 weeks later and another SkyPac audience is gathered to hear McLean, the 70 year old member of the songwriters hall of fame, play and sing his hits. 

Over the course of 90 minutes he sang "And I Love You So", "Crying", the previously mentioned "Vincent" and finally his magnum opus, "American Pie." 

But this time the melody was not witnessed by Vader & company nor was the singer in any kind costume. 

The stage was set up more like a rehearsal hall than anything else. Here's the best shot I could get with my phone's camera. 

Juxtaposed along side Weird Al's elaborate production stage it would seem that last night's concert left a little to be desired. Yet McLean's signature song made Al's tour finale possible.   

Which brings me to yet another one of my favorite words: Irony. 

So there you have my ironic experience of hearing the same song in the same place twice presented in two totally different ways. 

Just one of those things that happens once in a while that continues to make life fun and interesting. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

December Vacation Plans

Last weekend Paula and I decided to do something we've never done before. We're going on vacation in December. 

Now that I have been at my job for close to a year, I can take a week off and Paula has vacation days she needs to use by the end of the year. 

With the week we're going being late autumn and very close to the start of winter; places we'd like to go up north would already be cold. We're going to be driving and don't want to take the chance of having to drive through or getting stranded by snow. 

Therefore we have decided to head south for our getaway; more specifically; we're going back to Central Florida. 

Now anyone who knows me, knows that Central Florida usually means just one thing to me: Walt Disney World. 

Because we have had 2 previous vacations that centered on the "most magical place on earth"; this time we are going to try to enjoy some of the other aspects of the Sunshine State. 

Already included in our plans is the fulfillment of a promise I made to Paula more than 4 years ago. I'm going to take her to spend time at a beach. She's not a swimmer so the fact that the water will be cold doesn't matter. She just wants to walk along the shore or sit in a chair and relax in the sand. Enjoying the sun and the waves. We will be visiting either Clearwater Beach or Cocoa Beach during our stay.

We have rented a house from "All Star Vacations Homes" in Kissimmie that has a screened in private pool.  

The only theme park we plan on going to for an entire day, at this point is Sea World. 

Now that doesn't mean that we won't be visiting Mickey and his friends in Walt Disney World.

Ever since December 2002, when things didn't work out for us to spend our honeymoon there, we have wanted to see how Walt Disney World celebrates, the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas. 

Our plans include exploring the resorts and shopping areas to see the decorations. 

One night we will be at the Magic Kingdom as "guests" at the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  

So now that the "when" and "where" and some of the "what" of our 2015 vacation has been decided I can now start my gathering information that will help us get the most out of it. 

I am in full trip planning mode. Over the next 6 weeks I will be gathering information on some of the "non-Disney" things we might want to do.   

Of course the Florida weather is tricky at this time of the year. The average high temperature is in the lower 70s but I have seen it be much colder than that. This only means that packing the right clothes could be a challenge. One good thing is that, on average, Florida gets its least amount of rain in December than any other month of the year. 

I am looking forward to our trip. It will be our first long road trip in our new Kia. The next six weeks will be full of excitement and anticipation. 

Of course, once we get back I will be sharing all we do on my blog. 

Have you ever been to Florida in December? What did you do there? How was the weather? Any hints or suggestions to help us have a good time? Let me know.    


Sunday, October 18, 2015

On The Aisle

As we reach the halfway point in the month of October, we are smack dab in the middle of the fall movie season. 

I have seen just a few of the fall movies so far but I do have some opinions and recommendations about them. 

Everest:  If you are interested in this "based on a true story" movie I'd recommend you see the 3D version. 

The cinematography and special effects are the best things it. Overall, it looks great. 
There were only a couple of scenes where it looks obvious that it was filmed on a movie set.  

The story is very slow and doesn't have a lot of action or suspense at all. The characters are very stereotypical. 

If you're looking for an entertaining visual experience, go to the theater to see this film. Otherwise, I would wait for the home video.

Scorch Trials: This sequel to "The Maze Runner" wasn't bad for the 2nd film of a series. There's nothing original about this story set in a post  apocalyptic  world. At one point in the middle of it the movie turns in to a nearly totally different type of film. I won't provide any spoilers but I'm glad it went back to the main story rather quickly. 

If you liked "The Maze Runner" and interested in what happens to the characters you'll enjoy this film. 

Crimson Peak: We saw this one on it's opening weekend. Paula was anxious to see it because the trailer made it look so good. Plus Tom Hiddleston (Loki from the Marvel movies) was in it and he's a very good actor. 
We saw it at the Imax theater in Nashville. But even the enormous  screen couldn't save this one. 

The plot is very predictable, procedural and holds almost no surprises. There are ghosts that look great but do almost nothing. 

The characters are, at times, interesting, but fade into dullness and never get back. 

I still can't figure out how they can live in that house in the condition it's in, especially in the middle of winter. 

It was very disappointing. I'd skip it in favor of some other horror film that comes out this Halloween season.   

The Martian: Men going to Mars has been the subject of at least a dozen movies in the past. However, this one is perhaps the best of them all. 

Matt Damon puts in a performance  reminiscent of Tom Hanks, but with his distinctive personality and very amusing ironic and situational humor.   

Again, I'm not going to give away any spoilers. Let me just say that at various times,"The Martian" reminded me of "Alien", Apollo 13", "Castaway", "Gravity" and "Star Trek 4". But it is in no way a copy of any of them. 

I went by myself to see this movie but I am going to make sure I take my wife to see it. Experiencing it a second time will be well worth it.

So there you have my take on the 4 fall movies I've seen. If you want to get the most for your movie dollar, by all means, go see "The Martian".  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Large Lego Catch Up

Thanks for coming back to the the RH Factors blog. It's been too long since my last post. (if I had a $1 for every time I've written that) 

Since it's been such a slow year for blogging I was looking for something worthy of the first post of the last quarter of 2015. Last week, the answer was literally delivered to my doorstep. I received the latest set in the Lego Ideas brand. 

I am really excited about putting this set together in the near future. 

After I posted this picture on my Facebook page I realized that I haven't shared many Lego pics on social media at all this year. 

Since I've assembled more than 2 dozen kits so far this year I'm not going to put the pictures up on this post. 

I have put them in an photo album on my Facebook page. You can see them there. 
The "Back To The Future" set, dragon, and parrot models are my favorites so far. 

Not pictured is a Technics helicopter that I've been working on for about 6 months because it's very detailed. The kit has over 1000 pieces and three instruction books; each with over 100 steps. Some of the assembly components have lots of little parts so I only work on it a little bit at a time. Thus the reason it's taking me so long to complete it. I will post pics of the chopper when it's done. 

But for now, go to my Facebook page and look at my 2015 Lego album. I'm sure you'll enjoy some of the models. 2015 Lego Album