July 31, 2006

I don’t think that I ever have considered Rolling Rock to be one of my favorite beers. The history of my favorite beers has mostly been craft-brewed and imported beer. And before that, it was pretty much just anything I could get my hands on.

However, for most of my early (legal) drinking years, I spent my summers in Sea Isle City, NJ. The micro-brew revolution had just begun, but the impact of it’s battles were not felt in the remote reaches of alcohol distribution. When you went to a bar/club in town you had three choices for beer: Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Light.

That was pretty much it. When I was in the Ocean Drive, The Springfield Inn, or even Busch’s (where I worked), those were your choices. Now, today, Yuengling Lager is available (fairly cheaply) in every bar or restaurant in the Delaware Valley (ignore the ‘official map on Wikipedia, the South-East New Jersey region is unofficially included in the Delaware valley).

However, the Ocean Drive would have a few cases of Rolling Rock. And it had just a much cleaner, crisp taste. Especially when you had over 500 people crammed into the bar, a cold Rock was always a nice choice. And I always loved the look and the feel of the Rolling Rock painted bottles. And the beautiful, simplified, enigmatic, 33.

Hell, Rolling Rock had always been there. My grandmother (Madeleine Medd) would drink half-cans (8 oz) of Rolling Rock down the shore with a hoagie or other sandwich, when I was growing up.

So, I hadn’t been paying attention. I hadn’t really drank Rolling Rock in years. I liked it because it was anti-corporate. Apparently, it had been owned by a Belgium beer company for many years, before it was sold in May to Anheuser-Busch. And now, they are closing the brewery in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

I understand, that big chains are taking over small businesses. It’s the nature of commerce and industry in this country. I know that Rolling Rock probably couldn’t get their beer to small regional locations at the same price as their big competitors. But still. It just feels wrong to me.


History of Blogging, Part I

July 31, 2006

Dole Office Clerk: Occupation?

Robertus: I’m a blogger

Dole Office Clerk: What?

Robertus: Blogger. I take small bits of the general inanity of human existance, pepper it with bits of my own personal life and philosophical stance, and add popular-culture, mock-intelligencia, and deep geek trivia. I publish this to my online web journal known as a weblog or blog, hoping to amuse those few individuals who visit the website.

Dole Office Clerk: Oh, a *bullshit* artist!

Robertus: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

Dole Office Clerk: Did you bullshit last week?

Robertus: No.

Dole Office Clerk: Did you try to bullshit last week?

Robertus: Yes!

The Putting Away of Childish Things

July 24, 2006

So, here’s the deal. I live in a good-sized townhouse in Morrisville, Pennsyvlania. The place has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one powder room, a living room, a dining room (dining area really), a kitchen, and an unfinished basement that runs the length of the house. According to the real estate information, I have 1408 square feet in the house.

It’s plenty of room for Suzanne and I. And even with a new addition to the family arriving in November, there should be plenty of room.


It does make you appreciate what you need room for. Things need to be moved. Things need to be sorted. And things need to be thrown out.

There is a tendency to just chuck everything into the basement, and deal with it later. But when you start looking at certain items that you’ve acquired over the years, you really start to rethink things.

Primarily what I’m talking about are my comic books. Basically, I have 10 or so longboxes of comic books. Roughly, I’m guessing that’s probably 3000 – 4000 comic books.

And I really don’t want them anymore. The wife isn’t making me throw them out. It’s just time. And it feels weird for me to say that. I don’t like saying that. But yet, not liking to say that doesn’t make it any less true.

One of the truths of the world today, is that we can divide our stuff into three categories.

1. The Stuff that we must keep: valuable items, important mementos, items that still provide use, etc.

2. The Stuff that we should throw out.

3. The Stuff that we don’t need, but don’t want to throw out.

Getting rid of stuff from that third category is always the most difficult. Here are these comic books. I have no use for them. I never read them anymore. Most of them are in poor condition or aren’t worth anything in CBG Graded mint condition. But it is difficult to throw them out.

I wish I knew people who wanted them. Or people that would buy them. Not for the profit, but just for the giving something of value to someone who would appreciate it.

But there is no good solution. And I’d feel weird putting up a, “come get comic books” flyer in the comic book store.

I’m giving some away. And may sell some at the Yardley Friends Meeting Flea Market. But who knows.

Anyway, that’s all from me.



Extreme Sequelitis – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

July 21, 2006

One day…. one day in my lifetime…. I will watch a sequel to an action movie that doesn’t try to cram 5 hours of material into a 2 hour movie.

One day, I will watch a sequel that doesn’t say, “Okay, if we’re going to make a sequel, it has to be bigger, badder, more exciting, more fast-paced, bigger stunts, greater special effects, more action. MORE, MORE, MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

One day, I will watch a sequel that realizes that it was the quiet moments, and not the loud ones that made people like the original movie in the first place.

Unfortunately, that day was not last night, when Suze and I watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which is, of course, the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

It was not a bad movie. It wasn’t really. It was fine. The problem is that the original movie wasn’t fine, it was pretty damn good. It sparked a tremendous resurgence in the love of pirates (which is right up there with robots, ninjas, monkeys, and racecars). Just a primal, seafaring, take what you want, no rules, Arrrrggggghhhhhhh.

It’s like they removed all of the things that made the first movie unique, and focused on the stuff that was just okay.

– The “over-the-top” speech and demeanor of Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow.

I’d say that Depp had at least half the number of lines that he had in the first one. And most of them weren’t as funny.

– Great swashbuckling and fight scenes, that were enjoyable and light-hearted.

The main fight scene was so “over-the-top” ridiculous, that you couldn’t enjoy the simple swordplay or fight scenes. And they had Kiera Knightly’s character fighting waaaaay too much. I understand empowerment and all of that, and probably you don’t want to just have her be helpless throughout the movie, but still historically inaccurate, and not as much fun.

– Kiera Knightly moving around the Caribbean in sexy outfits.

In most of the movie, they had her in a wet disheveled dress with her hair completely messed up, or in men’s clothes.

– Witty barbs exchanged between Sparrow and Barbosa, Sparrow and Norrington, and Sparrow and Will.

Basically non-existent. There’s no mentor-student relationship with Jack and Will. Norrington is an after-thought, plot-device. And Davey Jones wasn’t very clever or fun.

– A fun adventure movie you could take anyone to go see.

The fun was completely removed from the movie. The danger was much more real. The humor and satire was replaced by slapstick.

– The movie kept you guessing which side Jack Sparrow was on for the entire film.

This movie, there was no guessing. Jack was in it for himself, and then the movie tried throw in a ham-handed, redemption plot.

And the set-up of a romantic triangle between Jack, Will and Elizabeth was extremely stupid. It’s like giving the shippers what they want.

And could we please have a movie where the camera doesn’t desperately need some Ridilin. I’d like to see the action happening, not move the camera around so much, so I see glimpses of movement.

Okay, the movie wasn’t all bad:

– Using “Bootstrap” Bill Turner on Davey Jones’ crew was a good idea.

– The sea creature crew was extremely well done, creepy, and original.

– The Pirate myths were flowing very well, and even if half have been cleaned up for the movie, it still felt like you were hearing real pirate tales.

– The first movie covered every pirate cliché in the book (in a good way), except the giant Octopus or Kraken. Including it in the movie, was a good, if over-the-top choice.

– The surprise ending was AWESOME. Wasn’t prepared for it at all. Didn’t know about it. And had me leaving the theatre with a smile on my face. Just tremendous. Never saw it coming.

I’d give it a **1/2 (out of five) rating. Major sequelitis, cramming a 5 hour plot into a 2 hour movie, and not enough funny quiet moments really hurt the movie.


Blazing the Trail

July 17, 2006

One of the worst things about the whole buying a house, getting married, raising a kid, domestic life, is that I’m always the one who has to go down that road without any real guidance.

Now, that’s not to say that during any of these decisions, that I wasn’t given any advice. (Hah hah hah hah, as if!) From the armchair quarterbacks to the aged veterans, of course the advice flies from everyone. But specifically, there’s no one in my life who is 3-5 years older than me, who I’ve known for long enough, who I can talk to about these issues.

For instance. With the impending birth of my kid in November, there’s the issue of clearing out some of the non “kid-friendly” items from the living room. Now, I am not in favor of Disneyfying my house, where anything remotely PG is removed. Quite emphatically FUCK NO. There will be R rated movies on a shelf, and we will tell the kid that those movies are for parents and not kids.

But I am not so bohemian that I think that certain items should probably be removed from immediate child perusal (porn dvds, and the Sin City graphic novel spring immediately to mind). But what about the stuff in the middle. Do I remove a violent graphic novel/trade paperback, just in case they decide to check it out.

When I was young (like under 8 or 9), I wouldn’t even dream of checking out something that my parents said was for adults. And even if I did, I probably would have been bored or just disinterested.

But, I can just imagine my son picking up a copy of 100 Bullets: The Hard Way, and seeing the image of Gabe with his jaw shot off, bleeding, and just rather regretting my not moving of the books to a safer location.

So, back to the point. Most of those who have gone before me, wouldn’t even see the need to own the book in the first place or that there’s no reason that the book should be in a bookcase in the living room. But, there’s still a sense of having it around, handing it off of the bookshelf and handing it to someone who is over at the house.

Who knows the answer. I may move them because the kid pulls them out and drools all over them. The world is an open book when it comes to future.

So, there I go (kicking and screaming) into the dark night.

Luckily this one wasn’t embarassing

July 12, 2006

I have had several ‘facts’, that I were fairly sure they were true, that they turned out to be totally totally false, several times in my life.

I’m not talking a mistake. I’m not talking something that got muddled in my head. Or something I misspoke. Or even a theory, something I say, but then I would probably say at then, “But then again, I really don’t know what I’m talking about.”

That happens. I tend to be an opinionated verbal know-it-all. Not quite a Cliff Clavin, but still.

Upon reading more about the death of Syd Barrett, I read that Dark Side of the Moon came out before Wish You Were Here. I was sure that this was not true. There are mistakes and typos in journalism all the time.

(BTW: The writer of the article, said that he would trade all of the collective work of Pink Floyd post Syd, for a another few albums with him… Okay, Syd might be a genius. And the world might have been robbed of a really amazing talent. But Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall are generally regarded as three of the best albums ever. And Animals, Obscured by Clouds, Final Cut, and the others don’t really suck either. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but come on now!!)

But no…. completely incorrect. Wish You Were Here came immediately after Dark Side. Don’t even know where I got the understanding of my falsehood.

Oh well. Would have just falled under music geek trivia. When I’m feeling more comfortable with myself, I’ll put on to paper my biggest and most potentially embarassing wrong factoid.



Can’t sleep anymore.

July 11, 2006

I don’t know what happened. I used to NEVER have any problems falling asleep. None. And I just can’t sleep anymore.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. (And aren’t you sick for thinking such things!!!!!). But, most people would say, ‘Well, with a kid on the way, it’s natural that you would be lying awake with worry’.

Believe me, that’s not it.

Sunday Night, I just could not fall asleep. I was wide awake. And with my wife’s current condition, she makes a lot more noise while sleeping. Now, most nights I can sleep through it, but not this night.

Recently, I’ve been listening to music. But on this night, all I heard was Miles Davis: Kind of Blue, with my wife sitting in with the band playing the snore-o-phone. I literally sleep maybe 3-4 hours that night.

So, yesterday sucked, right?

So, yesterday, my drive in sucked (the Burger King gave me French Fries with my Crossanwich, WTF!!!!). Work sucked as my brain wasn’t working due to lack of sleep. When I got home, I just wanted to sleep. I literally had to pull myself off the floor to go get food, and nearly fell asleep on the way to Taco Bell. My wife and I ate dinner, I watched the Home Run Derby, and talked to Zonker.

I go up to bed. I’M WIDE FUCKING AWAKE!!!!!! My wife had already gone upstairs, and she’s not even really snoring, but in my current state, it’s enough. My CD player is on the fritz, and likes to change the level of digital output (i.e., sound) at random, which is really good when falling asleep.

Of course, there are several solutions to this problem. Admittedly, some more severe than others.

“Sometimes a man will tell his bartender things he’ll never tell his doctor.
Dr. Phillip Boyce, (The Menagerie/The Cage) – Star Trek The Original Series