The Secret of NIMH

Watching The Secret of NIMH tonight with the kids I’m reminded of how wonderful Don Bluth was in the 80’s and just how different – though similar – his stuff was from standard Disney fair. A little bit darker and grittier, though they both have their share of parental death.

I don’t remember many Disney films from my youth, but I can recall The Secret of NIMH for how magical and mysterious it is. The creepy old Owl, the scary cat “Dragon”, the amulet. Still holds up over 35 years later.

I never realized Wil Wheaton and Shannen Doherty did the voices of Mrs. Brisbee’s older kids, so that was a nice surprise to learn.

Watching the movie also reminded me of every trip I ever took to Showbiz Pizza in the 80’s. I must’ve lost countless quarters to Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace – two video games that used LaserDisc and which were produced by Bluth – that are still a little bit ahead of their time in terms of graphics and storytelling.

If you haven’t seen the movie in a while, or if you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it.

And if watching it sets you down a path of nostalgic cinema, I’d also like to recommend The Black Cauldron (Disney’s 1st PG animated movie AND one I could’ve sworn was also done by Bluth), Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, The Last Unicorn, and The Dark Crystal. All awesome animated/anime/puppet movies of the early 80’s that really shaped my love for dark fantasy and sci-fi.

On the occasion of turning 42

The critical angle of rainbows
Jackie Robinson’s jersey number
The answer to life, the universe, and everything

42 feels just fine this morning.

For the first time in a long while – as long as I can remember as a working adult, actually – I’m not filled with anxiety or dread about today.

I’m not worried that time is running out or that I’ll never create the “great thing” I sometimes fantasize about.

I feel happy, content, and confident in a way I haven’t experienced on my birthday in a very long while.

And this is a year in which I’ve had to embrace a bunch of change, primarily in my career, but also in my approach to everything from commuting to childcare to self care.

Needless to say I ought to be a wreck right now and I’m not.

Maybe this is the sense of purpose or peace or calm that I’ve heard other people in their 40’s discuss. (I’ve certainly became almost religious about exercise and sleep while not becoming monastic about the indulgences of beer or good food that I enjoy.)

Maybe this is the balance of age?

Whatever it is I’m happy to greet it with a welcoming spirit.

Happy Birthday to me!


[And if you’ve read this far, you should check out the whole Wikipedia entry for the number 42. Some pretty neat confluences around that number.]

Oktober Beer Blogging

Since blogging about beer seems to be the only thing I’m capable of sustaining with any level of frequency, I thought I’d update folks with a few items of interest.

First the Brewer’s Advent Calendar which occupied daily beer-blogging last December is now available for purchase at Costco. I snapped it up immediately and I can’t wait to partake again this year.

There are some repeats from last year, but I’m generally very happy with the selection. I may blog about my experiences again, but I doubt I’ll do it daily. Probably just a summary of the delta between 2017 & 2018 with any updates or new opinions about the repeats.

Second I’m very excited for a trip to NYC that Jenn & I are taking next weekend. Not the least of which is because two locations in Manhattan have IHOPS – a Pumpkin Pancake Stout – on tap.

Maybe this sounds gross to you, but it’s absolutely lip-smacking to me. Hopefully I can grab a pint before the kegs run dry.

Lastly here’s a great, brief article in the Wall Street Journal about Women and brewing beer.

If the above links share anything in common, it’s beers that appeal to a broad swath of tastes & palettes.

My hope for beer culture, in light of some recent negative attention that I won’t mention further, is that it retains it’s mass appeal. A drink for everyone and not just the domain of hop-headed, whale-seeking, beer nerds.


Stupid superpowers

I’ve long maintained that my one superpower was my ability to fall asleep & stay asleep so easily. I’ve never suffered from insomnia, I don’t brood or have anxious energy at night, and any time I’m feeling tired I can sleep: on a bus, on a plane, on the couch, or in my bed.

I realize that this is a huge advantage for me. It’s a gift and a privilege and more than a humblebrag, it’s totally legitimately braggy.

But it’s still not flight or invisibility or superhuman strength. It is, in fact, a pretty pedestrian superpower like something out of Mystery Men.

The great weakness of this superpower is that I rarely, if ever, remember my dreams. I don’t even recall the experience of dreaming, actually. I just seem to exist either sleeping or waking, never in between.

On the rare occasion that I do experience dreams they are almost always nightmares and last night was no exception.

I had the sense of being asked to report to a faceless manager’s office. Presumably this is my current employer or maybe my former employer (from whom I was laid off earlier this year). I take a seat and they begin talking, at which point I realize the familiar pattern of uncomfortable conversation. I’m being reprimanded for something and, suddenly, my conscious mind intercedes. A huge, booming voice like a god or a Morgan Freeman voiceover commands that this isn’t actually happening at all and everything should stop.

And so it did. All of it.

The dream ended and I don’t recall thinking anything else until the moment I woke up this morning.This development seems like an infinitely better superpower: willful banishment of unwelcome dreams. I bet tons of people would like to be able to simply opt out of their brain ruining an otherwise good night’s sleep.

Now I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to replicate this event. For one I don’t dream enough for it to show its potential. For another, even when I do dream, I usually only get colors and shapes, like an impressionist painting and not something as bright or as clear like an architectural schematic or like last night’s cinematic experience.

My anxiety about work is still there, hence the dream. The superpower of sleep still protects me for 8 hours a night from the intrusion of daily drudgery. And now I have a way, it seems, to ward off intrusions from the day realm into the night realm.

I just thought I’d share. Sleep tight.

How Muppeteers “Muppet”

One of my daily routines is watching videos on Uncrate while I eat lunch at my desk. (Exciting life, I know)

Yesterday I stumbled on a great video from Wired: Sesame Street Puppeteers Explain How They Control Their Puppets

It’s a pretty fun little video – about 7 1/2 minutes worth – that has some great behind-the-scenes info PLUS a look at the performers themselves embodying their characters (voices, mannerisms) without actually having their persons inside of them.

Better to watch than to have me explain, but it’s basically people pantomiming – which goes to why the characters are so memorable – the performers are great without the help of felt & wires!

Anyhow, just a little something for your Wednesday pleasure.