Friday, March 17, 2017

My Personal Refrigerator Door

Bloggers Note: Before I begin this post I want to update you on an aspect of my last one. The song parody I wrote entitled "Moonpie" was chosen by the host of the BLT Lunch Break podcast as the latest winner of their weekly contest. I will be getting a commemorative t-shirt and a special package of Moonpies from the Moonpie company. Just goes to show you that sometimes creativity is rewarded.

It seems that you can't go into any retail store these days and without see coloring books for grown ups on display. (BTW I call them "for grown ups" because I once googled "Adult Coloring Books" and you wouldn't believe the embarrassing things that came up. Trust me, you don't want to go there). My wife has about half a dozen of them myself. As a stress relief exercise, the childhood of activity of coloring, has made a real comeback these last couple of years. 

My wife is one of those many who subscribes to coloring as a means of relaxation; me not so much. My stress relief activities are usually limited to assembling Lego kits or writing blog posts. 

But that's not to say that I don't like some coloring every once in a while. I don't do the coloring books and colored pencils thing. I use the Paint program on my laptop. 

Since August of last year, I have made some original art straight out of my own creative genius. Okay the use of the words "art" and "genius" may be a little extreme but I have "painted" some pictures. 

This on-going creative process falls under the philosophy expressed by Disney's movie executive, Don Hahn. The animator/director/producer wrote in his 2011 book, Brain Storm, that it doesn't matter if the product of your creativity is "good" or not. It's the process that's important.  

Since this is my blog and I can post anything that I want to, I'm going to use this post as a my very own personal refrigerator door and display some of my creations. Hope you like them. 

This was my very first attempt at drawing with MS Paint. I was just exploring what I could do with it. 

Drawing #3 shows some better use of the application and a yet another glimpse into my imagination. 

"Lollypop Meadow" is a scenic creation that started out as a picture of a butterfly drawn for my grand daughter. But it evolved into an entire scene. I really like the spider. 

Yet another "fun with shapes" creation. I was just seeing what I could do with the combination of geometry and color. 

A peaceful night scene featuring stars along the shore.

These next few pictures are my favorites. They are a lot more visually pleasant than my initial efforts. 

Finally, I am saving, what I consider, the best for last. This one, which I call "Shaded Shattered Glass" is my favorite. 

So there you have my personal gallery exhibit. I've spent a lot of hours drawing and filling in those pictures. Had to show someone. I have always known that I was not very talented when it comes to drawing. But, sometimes, the gift of creativity that God has given me comes out in what ever what it can find. 

Hopefully, this will encourage you to try your hand at something creative. If you are somewhat hesitant, let this post be an example of the fact that it doesn't matter what the results are. Just like the lyrics of the Joe Raposo song first heard on Sesame Street back in the 70s and made popular by the duo "The Carpenters" say, "Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song." Or in this case "draw". 

Now go on and be creative. I'd love to see what you come up with. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

RHFactors 2017 Digest #2

Time once again to gather a collection of things that have happened over the last week or so and share them with y'all. 

Let's start off with my opinion of a few movies that I've seen recently. 

I would describe Before I Fall as Mean Girls meets Groundhog Day. A young girl who is part of the "popular crowd" learns the error of her ways by reliving the day before her death over and over again. Not a bad movie but somewhat predictable. Not very many empathetic characters and some plot holes. I'd say this one is a rental. 

Get Out is a bizarre horror movie filled with social commentary and some comedy. Its written and directed by Jordan Peele, of the comedy duo, Key and Peele. The plot begins when a white rich girl takes her black boyfriend to her family's country house to meet her parents for the first time. 

Things start out on a very strange tone and get weirder and even stranger as they go along. The middle of the picture has a very "Rosemary's Baby" feel to it. The 3rd act plot twist takes the movie in the direction of "The Stepford Wives"with a little bit of "Frankenstein" mixed in. 

The best way describe this film is that it would fit very well as a double feature with the movie "You're Next." If you are a horror film fan, I'd go see this one. 

Logan: The third film was probably my favorite of the 3. Although going into the theater I was not the least bit interested in seeing it. I'm not a big X-Men movie fan. I've seen them all (except for the X-Men Apocalypse) but it's Paula who is the real fan. Initially, I was there for the popcorn. 

This is the first X-Men film that's rated R. It's apparent from the first moments of the exclusive trailer attached to this film that this was going to be a "grown-up" super hero movie. I won't give away any spoilers about the trailer but it's very funny and cutting edge. 

Set in a post-mutant era of the year 2029 the film starts Logan starts with the title character doing what he has to do in order to take care of Professor X (played wonderfully by Patrick Stewart) who has a deteriorating brain disease. 

The Wolverine is also in poor health for reasons that are essential to the plot so I won't give it away here. This is by far the most violent and bloody X-men film so far. At first it seems really strange to hear the super heroes using explicit language. But you kinda get used to it because it goes with the spirit of the film.  

As it turns out there are more mutants around than anyone ever realized. Logan very reluctantly gets pulled into being responsible for protecting one very special little girl. 

It is no secret to anyone who has an interest in this movie that this is supposed to be the last time both Hugh Jackman and Stewart will be playing their respective characters. The movie confirms that fact. The final scene in the movie puts a real very sentimental exclamation point on it as well.  

It seems to me that the way last year's Deadpool film resonated with adult audiences, has sparked an idea within the DC Comics cinematic universe. Logan's attitude and direction tells me that DC has decided to go into an aspect of story telling (more mature themes, attitudes, and story lines) that super hero movie fans want but Marvel/Disney will, most likely, never delve into. 

Its not for little kids or even younger teens but if you are a X-Men fan, Logan is a do-not-miss movie. See it in the theater you'll be glad you did. 

A Pair Of Parodies
When I was growing up, songs on the radio used to make you laugh. Not in a "that song is so bad" way. The songs were funny on purpose. The types of comedy songs fell into 2 categories. 

Original comedy songs in the 70s and 80s included those by artists like:  Ray Stevens, Cheech and Chong, Rick Dees, Steve Martin, Louden Wainwright III, Buckner & Garcia and Meri Wilson, to name a few. 

The other category of comedy songs are known as "Parodies". These are well known songs rewritten with funny lyrics. The artists best known for scoring hits with parodies on the pop charts during the 60s and throughout the 80s were Allan Sherman, and Weird Al Yankovich, respectively.   

Weird Al continues to be popular to this day. After more than 40 years later he is still touring with a magnificent show filled mostly with parodies of pop songs. 

But it is Allan Sherman, who had #2 hit in 1963 with, Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, a parody set to the music of the classical song, Ponchielli's Dance of The Hours, who was my influence. 

When it comes to my sense of humor, I cut my teeth on Sherman's album, "My Son, The Nut." For most of my life I have been writing parodies of songs on my own. I have written them for events at church, the amusement of my co-workers, my family, and even for my wife.

Over the last month I have had the opportunity to write and perform two parodies. 

One of them I actually got to do at a Karaoke night at the Mexican restaurant not a mile from my house. It's not a perfect performance but here's a link to  the video I posted on my You Tube Chanel. Twitter Song 

The other parody was created in an effort to win a prize from a podcast. To make a long story short (can, I do that?) the BLT Lunch Break podcast was giving away some prize packages of Moonpies. To win you had to do something creative to show why you should be chosen. My submission to the contest is written to the tune of the theme from the old TV western series, Rawhide. Click on this link and you see me playing the ukulele and singing my latest parody, Moon Pie

I have yet to find out if I've won anything from the BLT podcast but at least they got my creative juices flowing. 

I really like writing parodies. I think they are a very witty means of satire. If I do any more in the future I'll be sure to share them with you. 

Memorable Monday
This past Monday, I gave my wife a ride to work. We had left her car in her office parking lot on Friday night. Our plan was to pick it up on our trip into Bowling Green over the weekend. But we never ventured in. So I took her to work. 

I didn't mind taking her. It gave me the opportunity to do some things that can only be done in the mornings. These days when I go into "town" I don't get there much earlier than noon. 

First thing I did was go to Chik-Fil-A for some breakfast. I love their chicken, egg and cheese bagel sandwich. I also picked up a gallon of diet lemonade for Paula. She loves the stuff. 

Next, it was a stop at the Commonwealth Broadcasting studios on Campbell Lane. I wanted to check in with one of their morning hosts, Mike Shannon. 

I used to listen to his show while I was on the road during the days I was a driver back in 2015. I called in to win contests all the time. I used to have to stop by the station to pick up the prizes and hangout with Mike for a while. 

In the year since I left my job, I've traded listening to local stations on the radio in the morning for watching Good Morning America on TV. 

I checked in with Mike and found out that he's busier than ever in the mornings. I got him to agree to help me out with a project I'm planning for the future too. 

Next, I was off to see another of my radio buddies. I worked with Tony Rose at a local radio station almost 18 years ago when I first moved to Kentucky. I've been out of the radio biz since August of 2000 but Tony's career has grown exponentially. 

He is the driving force (no pun intended) behind the annual Stuff  The Bus charity drive which collects tons and tons of school supplies for needy Warren County students each and every year. 

He is also the PA announcer for the Western Kentucky University home basketball games. Those are just a couple of the many things he does throughout the community. 

His main gig is as the morning show host for station WDNS aka D93, which can be heard at 93.3 on your FM radio, online or through the smart phone app. 

I parked next to the D93 studios and walked up to the 2nd floor where the broadcast studio is located. Even though I came by unannounced he was glad to see me and invited me in to hang out. 
In between his time on the air, we caught up with each other. I asked him for advice about a charity project I'm wanting to pursue. We also talked about his recent trip to Walt Disney World earlier this year. He shared a very touching story about a moment with his daughter that really sold him on Disney magic. 

After leaving the radio station I took care of some personal errands and headed home.

Later in the day, I left for Nashville. For the 2nd time this season I went solo to a Predators hockey game. This time they were playing the Winnipeg Jets.

I arrived at Bridgestone Arena about 5:45. I parked in the same garage as last time, except this time I had to pay to park because there wasn't any handicapped spots left. 

I entered the arena through the door inside the parking garage. I took the elevator down to the 1st floor and entered the concourse right outside sections 119 & 120. 

Found my seat in Section 106. It was a handicapped seat at the top of the section. It had plenty of room to stretch out my legs which was a good thing. As I sat down I realized that they were celebrating St. Patrick's day at the arena. The ice was bathed in green light. 

The Predators warmed up in green jerseys. 

The game was another good one. The Predators fell behind 2-0 in the first period. At the end of the 2nd they trailed 4-3. Five minutes into the final period the game was tied at 4. That's how regulation play ended. About 2 1/2 minutes into the 5 minute overtime, James Neal scored a power play goal to give the Preds the win. It was the 2nd overtime win I'd seen this season. 

I got home about 11:30 and was very tired, having been up since 5:30 that morning. 

But after catching up with my radio buddies and enjoying some terrific NHL action in Music City USA I was glad to have had such a memorable Monday. Especially since it happened on the 18th anniversary of the day I arrived in Kentucky to start a new life with Paula.

And there you have RHFactors Digest #2 for 2017. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming by. I'll see you next time.   

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sand Art & You Tube

Last week in a post, I featured my use of this molded figure in a rather unique way. I found it because I was in the Dollar Tree store looking for something specific for my grand daughter. 

She loves watching You Tube videos that demonstrate the toys she wants or arts & craft project she's interested in learning about. 

I was watching a video with her a couple of weekends ago and heard the host say that the craft being shown was found at a Dollar Tree store. 

Always looking for something that might interest her when she's at our house, I looked for the kit the next time I went to the Bowling Green store. Here's what I found. 
 This past Saturday, Aria and Gabriel came for a visit. James and Brandi needed some time to work on organizing their new house, so a visit to Nana & Papa's house was the order of the day. 

Over the years I've gotten to be a bit of an year round Santa Claus to my grand daughter. Just about every time she comes to spend time at our house, I have a surprise for her. It's usually some small toy. They range from a few plastic eggs of Silly Putty to a new Lego set or a My Little Pony play set. 

The last couple of times I'd given her a couple blind bags with miniature versions of characters from "Finding Dory."  

But this past Saturday, I gave her the sand art kit; telling her that it was like the one from the Dollar Store featured on the video we watched on You Tube.  Of course, she was excited about it and wanted to open it right away. Paula was busy feeding Gabriel so it was up to Papa to help her make her sand art. 

We set up at the kitchen table. She was very excited. Then I got an idea. Not only was I going to give my grand daughter a cool craft experience, I was going to video it on my phone and then download it onto my You Tube channel. 

From the moment I mentioned it she was all in. Of course, she had never been on the production side of a demo video so, I had to guide her a bit. But we made a very special 15 minute show. Here's the link so you can watch it for yourself. Papa & Aria Make Sand Art 

Because I'm used to making my Lego videos solo, I talked a little too much in this one. After watching the video back for the first time I realized that if we do any more in the future, I need to just let her take the lead as much as possible. She's the real "star". 

I really liked making this video and hope Aria buys into making more in the near future. I will get another art project or two that she might want to demonstrate just in case. 

I'm already thinking about the possibility of creating a video channel just for our videos if they are an on going thing. But then again she could never want to do it again. We're talking about a girl whose flutters from one thing to another like a bee from flower to flower.   

Her interest has switched between: Lego mini-figures, Play Doh, Silly Putty, Shopkins, My Little Pony dolls, a yo-yo, plastic snakes, her Nana's jewlery, smelling essential oils, watching videos, playing games on an I-Pad, going outside, chasing bubbles and jumping in a pile of leaves. And that was just during few hours she was visiting us this past weekend.     

But no matter what happens, this video in and of itself is a memory that I will treasure for a long time. Just the fact that my granddaughter used the word "basically" twice in the video will always make me smile. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Another WDW Anniversary

This week is a special "throw back" time for me. One year ago this week my wife, son, daughter-in-law, and grand daughter were in Orlando visiting Walt Disney World.

It was a watershed experience for all of us. Not only was it the vacation I looked forward to sharing with my grand daughter since she was born, it was when we found out the news that Brandi was expecting our 2nd grand baby.

For me the trip was a juggling act between making sure we did everything we wanted to without any long waits, enjoying being at Disney World again, and handling the, sometimes, overwhelming emotion that came along with seeing Aria meet her favorite characters and experience "The World" for the first time. It was busy week that left us all tired, but it was a good kind of tired.

A year later, the memories we made were well worth the effort. You can read the details and see the pictures of our experience in a series posted on my Disney themed blog. The posts were published between the dates of 3/25 and 6/3, 2016. Here's the link: Goofy Guy 909 Blog

This past Monday morning, my daughter-in-law posted a video on Facebook that she took on the morning of our day at the Magic Kingdom. I had either never seen it before or didn't remember seeing it. It's now a real treasure to me. It shows both the initial moments of Aria's first day at Walt Disney World, a once in a lifetime experience,  and the MK's opening ceremony at the train station, something that's now gone away. 
Seeing this video on my phone, first thing Monday morning, launched me on a sentimental journey though the nearly 1100 pictures and videos we captured during that trip. 

They are all so precious but to me the quintessential video that captures my grand daughter's wonder and fascination with where she was is this one shot by Paula during our ride on the carousel. 

  That video will make me smile and touch my heart for the rest of my life. 

This week is also the 6 month anniversary of my solo birthday trip to "The World" last September. While I did enjoy the trip, I am not anywhere near as sentimental about it as I am the one from March.  

While I can say that I've done the "solo trip" so highly recommended by the most devoted Disney World fans, a lot of my 56th birthday trip falls under the "chalk it up to experience." 

I decided to do things that didn't turn out as planned, were a lot less rewarding than anticipated, or weren't the best use of my limited time there.  Nevertheless, I am glad I did it but it was a once and done thing for me. As far as I'm concerned Walt Disney World, for the most part, is something that needs to be experienced with someone else. 

I consider myself totally blessed beyond belief to have been able to go to Walt Disney World 3 times between December 2015 and September 2016. 

Because there is always something new happening there I'm ever ready to go back. There are at least 10 changes I could list even since my last visit. There are even more coming this summer; "Pandora: The World of Avatar" being the biggest one. 

We probably wont even plan to go back to central Florida until about this time next year. Of course if it just so happens that I get to go back before I'm there. 

I will continue to enter contests to win free trips. I've been entering them for the last 10 years and so far I have not come up a winner. 

As a matter of fact, today I watched "The View" who are on location at Disney's Animal Kingdom this week. Somebody in their audience is there because they won my prize in the show's WDW vacation giveaway contest.

Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not constantly scheming to find a way to get back to Walt Disney World, but it continues to be one of my passionate interests. I pursue my fandom through everything from listening to podcasts, to reading books about Disney history, to wearing my Goofy themed t-shirts.

If you are a Walt Disney World fan (and I know some of you who read this blog are) let me know what you like about going there. What happened on your last visit? I'd love to share some of your stories in a future post.

As always, I want to thank you for reading my blog. Keep checking back for my next post. I will be sharing with you the story of very unique video I produced over the weekend. See ya soon. God Bless.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Latest In Lego 2017-Volume 2

February was a very eventful month for Legos in my house. After several months of a rather slow pace, I have been putting together Lego kits rather quickly lately. I've got lots of pictures to share with you and an exciting look to the builds of the future.  

Let's start with the project I wrote about in my last Lego post: The Mini Cooper. 

 This was a challenging build but was also a lot of fun. Like the VW camper van from a couple of years ago, I had a bit of trouble with the roof and a couple other areas. But when all was said and done this was one of the best builds I've done.

This is a Lego Creator kit (product #10242-$150), as of the posting of this blog, is still available. But it's been around for a while. If you are interested in getting it, I'd do it soon.  

The model is on display on top of one of my living room shelves in a plastic case right next to the previously mentioned VW van.

Next up is the 2nd and 3rd models I made from the Future Flyers set: a race car and a cool robot. 

My granddaughter really liked this robot and so do I. I will add it to my collection 

Here are a couple of musical instrument models that aren't Lego. They are a brand called "X-Block". My son brought them back from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year. They are miniature to the extreme. 

I have to admit. I could not put these together. The pieces were difficult to handle and the instructions just didn't seem right to me. So a big "Thank You" to my wife who patiently worked to get them together. She even made some improvements to make them a bit more stable.
 I made 2 of the 3 Red Racers (31055) models. My wife and granddaughter made the other one. 

The pair of Lego Architecture buildings are next in my picture gallery. You've already seen it but here's a shot of the United Nations Headquarters from another angle. 
 I have built replicas of several famous US land marks but up until now only one from our nation's capital, The White House. That is until now. Here's my latest mini monument: The Lincoln Memorial. 

As you can see Lego is pretty good at creating sets of things that have hard lines: buildings, cars, robots ect. Sometimes they try to do animals which are not so easy to replicate. I have shared some animal sets in the past. 

One day soon I will share a Lego Zoo album on Facebook. Overall, they do a good job but some just miss the mark. This next one falls in the latter category. 

It's a Toys R Us exclusive based on their company mascot. I can safely say it's the strangest looking of all the Lego animals I've seen. With that said, here's Geofrey the TRU giraffe. 

Some Idea sets that I have been excited about putting together were the highlights of my February activity. 

On the heels of Lego's recent announcement that they will be putting out a fan designed "Women of NASA" set early next year, comes my putting together the retired Ideas set "Research Institute." It features women scientists: a chemist, an astronomer, and a paleontologist.  

This is a really cool set that I'm going to be happy to have my granddaughter play with. It shows women in a great light. It also has one of the coolest little things in any Lego set I own: A fossilized dinosaur. 

As a big fan of both the "Sue" the tyrannosaurus skeleton on display in Chicago's Field museum and Lego miniatures, this piece of this set is right up my alley. 

Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Gremlins, E.T. all of these films are classic 80s films. But along with "Back To The Future" there is one iconic movie from that decade that has made it to into the Lego Ideas catalog. I don't even have to write it's name. I simply have to ask, "Who Ya Gonna Call?"  

I bought a copy of this next set for my daughter-in-law in 2015. She put hers together a while back. About 18 months after I got mine, I finally put it together.

 I have been anxious to get to mine, because it's based on my current my favorite sit-com. Now it's gonna be on my living room shelf and not just my television. Say "hello" to Sheldon, Leonard, Penny and the whole gang from TV's #1 comedy "The Big Bang Theory" 

This is not an exact replica of the BBT production set but it's a great representation. I'm happy to have it as part of my Ideas collection. 

Let's wrap up this post with a look at some future builds that have been at the top of my wish list for a while. 

Almost ever since Lego started their Ideas I have been telling my wife that I wish they would do a model of the Titanic. Well, that hasn't happened yet but a few weeks ago I came across a Titanic set made by a European company called "COBI". 

After my bad experiences with K-REO sets I was a little hesitant to invest in a non-Lego brand again. But after watching a video review of the product by a fellow "brick" fan I decided that it was time to buy it. 

The 500 piece set, with an ironic product number of 1914, is now in my Lego queue ready to be put together. I can't wait to add it to my display.

I mentioned this first set in my last Lego post. I wrote that buying and building it was one of my Lego goals for this year. Well, I'm halfway there. As of last week I am the owner of the biggest and best Lego set ever. 

As I said at the start of this post, February was a busy month for me when it comes to building Lego sets. I hope you enjoyed seeing what I had fun making.

I don't know if I'm going to keep up the same pace for March but I do have a Star Wars set, another Architecture set, and a very cool Ideas set ready to put together. I'll tell you about and let you see them in the next Latest in Logo post.