Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Found a Counterfeit $20 Bill...

Seriously. It was like xerox paper, no security marks, terrible texture...all wrong. And I didn't catch it until it was too late...

So we don't know where we got it from. We being the bank. If I'd have caught it coming in, the business would be out $20. So now it goes against the branch. No biggie, really.

I'm not out anything personally, but dang. I feel like a heel for taking it.

What a way to end the year!

Speaking of...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Out

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: Year In Review...

It's been another year. That's really all I can say about it.

I feel like I spend so much time thinking about what I didn't do, resolutions I didn't keep, things I didn't get. I'm making a resolution right now to start being more about the positive.

What did I accomplish in 2009?

Well, many things.

-I celebrated three years with Robb in February.
-I wrote a script in April starring my alter ego Pearl and Maury Povich.
-I (Robb, too!) adopted Marbles in late April.
-I successfully threw a surprise 30th birthday party for Robb in June.
-I visited San Diego in July on the longest (and best) vacation of my life.
-I went to L.A. for the first time ever (and I'm never going back).
-I wrote a novel in November starring Jesus and his posse in space.
-I volunteered to be a Co-ML for NaNo at the TGIO party in December.
-I upheld my 2008 resolution to work out regularly all year.
-Concurrently, I'm in the best shape of my life.
-I've written quite a few poems that I'm actually proud of.

What do I want to do in 2010?

Well, here's a few things:

-As I said before, be more positive.
-Continue working out regularly.
-Write a script in April.
-Write a novel in November.
-Edit a novel.
-Submit at least one poem for publication.
-Find a full time job.

So, yeah. There we are. The obligatory list post for 2009 and the resolutions for 2010, all at once.

I'm feeling good about this.

What is the biggest thing you did this year? And what is the most important thing you'd like to accomplish next year?

Out

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Morning...

This morning I was working out and reading poetry between sets. Billy Collins. My favorite poet.

When I went to take a shower and turned on my shower radio, the Diane Rehm show was on NPR. And as luck would have it (thank you, whomever is in charge of my luck up there), she was talking about poetry. Billy Collins was on her show. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning!

Out

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ICE STORM!!!

So...apparently on the only day I have to (HAVE TO!!!) travel, we're getting ice.  A quarter of an inch of it.  And rain.  Three inches of it.  And cold.  That means flooding and ice.  Woot.  Christmas Eve I'll get to skate to my mom's house and hope I don't die, and Christmas night I'll get to swim back home and hope I don't drown.

I'm dreaming of a mild Christmas...

Speaking of that particular holiday:



I probably won't be back before then, so Merry Christmas, all.  I certainly hope your travels are safe and your moments are merry.  Consider this your Christmas card.

From all of us at Viewtiful_Justin, merry Christmas and best wishes for a great 2010! 

With holiday love,
Viewtiful_Justin
Viewtiful_Robb
Viewtiful_Marbles

Ho ho Out

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top 5 Tuesday: No Computer Edition...

This week's list will be short. But it's here.

I give you the top 5 things I miss about having a computer:

5. Wasting Time. Now when I have fifteen minutes before I leave for work, I wander around the house, harass the cat, read a magazine, or write some poetry. Before, I used to hop online and check my email or my blog, leave a few comments, and generally waste time. I know I'm a little more productive now, but I miss it!

4. Getting Hints. I am playing through an RPG on my DS right now (Magical Starsign if anyone cares), and when I come across a particularly tricky boss, I like to try a few things on my own and then hop online and see what other people have said works well against them. Now? I just shut it off and walk away, telling myself I'll look when I'm at work. I forget.

3. Watching Videos. Seriously. The Wii's internet browser is faulty, at best. It doesn't load videos, it freezes regularly, and everything on it is really inconsistent. One day something will load, and the next you'll sit there for ten minutes before it tells you there was an error. When I send myself a link from work (videos don't load there, either), I like to come home and watch it, and then delete the email from my box. Now they just pile up...I think I'm going to have to plan a day to clean out my inbox and watch stupid videos.

2. Having a Keyboard. This was going to be number one on the list. Do you know how hard it is to constantly type with the Wiimote? The boy still hasn't come through on his USB keyboard promise. And both of our computers are old enough that they don't have USB keyboards. So yeah...point and click and point and click and point and backspace and point and click. Ugh!

1. All of You!
I miss you guys. I miss reading your blogs and commenting and hearing all of what you have to say. I thought it wouldn't be this hard to be away, but it really is!

So there you have it. My list of the top 5 reasons I want that computer back!

Out

Monday, December 21, 2009

This Monday Morning...

This Monday morning I rise
after sleeping until nine--from nine--
fold the southwestern print blanket
brown and tan and orange and blue--
my comfort--
fold the plaid blanket
and the white sheets with their blue stripes,
stop to play the blanket game with the cat,
and fold the futon into a couch once more.
I replace the displaced bicycles
feed the cat
go through my workout
relieve myself
and all of this before dressing.
I read Billy Collins poetry in my underpants
and then
I sit to write a poem
about this Monday morning.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's FINALLY Friday!

Holy hell! All week I've been waiting and waiting and waiting and then waiting some more. My work schedule gave me two days off in them iddle of the week. One of them had me coming in for a mandatory security meeting and the other had me filling in for a sick employee. So much for a glorious two days off in a row.

Add to that the godawful hours I've been scheduled for...nine hours a day.

And then throw in the fact that I was waiting for my paycheck so I could finish Christmas shopping and the fact that I AM waiting for my new glasses to come in.

It's the perfect mix for the LONGEST WEEK OF MY LIFE!

Seriously...

But it's Friday and I've been paid. And a Blockbuster in town is going out of business and selling off their movies for $1.99 a piece at the most. I'm going after work. Hopefully there are still some left.

I only have five hours of work left today and five tomorrow.

And my glasses should be in, too.

And now, it's off to lunch!

Things are looking up, finally! And with any luck, after Saturday I'll be able to see it!

Out

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Around...

I'm around. My Hardest Level internship is effectively over a month early. And November was a bust because of NaNoWriMo, so really I got a three month internship in one month. Bogus. I've sent three emails regarding the computer crash to various people there, and no one has gotten back to me. Apparently no one cares.

But.

We're looking at a sweet HP laptop. We can't afford anything at the moment. I certainly can't afford anything at all with Chirstmas on the way. Blah.

But life moves on. I won't be here much until we get a computer.

Miss me.

Out

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dirty Laundry List...

So, which do you want first, the good news, the bad news, or the ugly news?

Well, I'll let you pick, but they're all here.

The Bad News:

Our computers were updated at work. Now the comment section in 80% of your blogs doesn't work for me. I haven't stopped reading, and I'd love to leave you comments, but I can't do it while at work anymore. It's mainly pages that have the comments section built in (Tearing Up Houses, The Gay Gamer, Back of the Cereal Box, etc. I'm looking at you all). The ones you have to click and open up work fine, but the embedded ones never load for me. It's odd.

I hear you asking, "Well, why don't you just do your blogging at home?!"

That brings me to my next point.

The Worse News:

Robb's computer, the one that connects to the Internet, is officially dead. I went to work at noon two days ago and it was fine, and when I got home after 6, it was dead. Wouldn't turn on. So...we're in the process of shopping for a new computer or getting that one fixed, but until that's done, I can't even blog at home. Suckity-suck.

Now, the Good News:

My mom is buying me new glasses for Christmas. I know, it sounds lame. She think it's SO lame. But I think it's awesome. Best idea ever. Of course, I'd rather if she was spending $300-$400 on an XBox or PS3, but I really need the glasses. I've had the same glasses for at least 5 years, probably closer to 8...it's been a really long time. So...I'm EXCITED! My appointment is on Saturday, and I should get my glasses before Christmas. Suh-weet!

So there's that.

Out

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Art Vs. Entertainment...

It's the age old question:  Are video games art, or are they merely entertainment?

When you think about games like the latest John Madden game, it's easy to say they're entertainment:  Because really, what's artful about a bunch of guys on a football field who all look relatively the same.  There's no sweeping story.  There's no character development.  There's really not much to look at, right?



I don't know...the fog effects, the field, the mannerisms of players.  When an artist sculpts a lump of clay to look like a real person, we call it art.  These players look pretty lifelike to me.  Madden might even lean towards art just a bit.  But mostly, it's entertainment.

How about a better example:  Doom.



Eh...there's really not much to look at.  It's mostly about blasting demons.  There's very little story, per se.  Granted, it sort of defined a genre, but the art value of such a thing I think is pretty low.  This one I'd chalk up to evidence of games being purely entertainment. 

But then, if you look at a game like Grand Theft Auto IV, it's the same kind of a game, really.



You're tasked with shooting, finding, etc, just like Doom.  But these people have personalities, stories, and they're a heck of a lot more believable.  Scenery that looks like some of the best landscape painting you've ever seen?  Check.  Except this stuff you can walk right up to, examine, perhaps even climb on top of in between bouts of blasting drug lords and beating up on hookers.  It's kind of a blurry line.

Further blurring the lines are games like Shadow of the Colossus.



This, in my opinion, is art first and foremost and entertainment second.  Maybe that's just me, but I found myself stopping to stare in awe more often than I was climbing and shooting and stabbing.  It elicits an emotional response with its melancholy missions and its brilliant bosses. 

Maybe that's the crux of it:  Emotion.  Feeling.  Is that what makes a game more art than entertainment?  Is it story?  Beauty?  An emotional response?

Then what about this game?



Flower, for the PS3.  It has little to no story, doesn't really elicit any emotion (at least not for me), and is almost sheerly beauty.  But I would consider this art more than entertainment, I think. 

It really is a difficult question to answer. 

What do you think?

And Tomorrow...



Every night the same dance,
removing things from pockets--
Burt's Bees and Kleenex--
belt clinking, pants off,
setting aside the same undershirt
for tomorrow
while you put it all away in
the basket, rumpled.
Then underpants.
We meet in the hallway, honest.
And forget it all in the shower's steam
as we rinse today from our skin
in favor of sleep
And tomorrow.

-----

Out

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Woodwind Hootenanery...

I had a dream last night that the bank got robbed. At clarinet-point.

I have to stop eating Tim Tams before bed.

In other news, we put up our Christmas tree! The cat seems not to care one bit. That's great news, considering we both have a history of cats that like to dive into or out of the tree, knocking it over and casuing damage to walls, floor, tree, and ornaments. But Marble seems content to sleep on a blanket on the couch and lick himself. Fair enough.

I'm sure I'll post photos of said tree once I take some worth sharing. Horribly lackluster, my photo taking skills as of late. Boo on that.

My Christmas shopping as half done. Robb is shopped for, as is my mom. Thank God for Amazon.

Oh, and if you're wondering what to get the blogger that seems to have everything? He doesn't have squat and this is what he would like: [click here].

Oh the weather outside is frightful, and the heater is so delightful,
And since work is fivem inutes from home,
Let it snow,
Let it snow,
Let it snow.

Out

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baby's First Snow...

I am sitting at my computer at work. I look to my right. Against the dark green privacy fence that boxes in the crappy apartments' patios in the alley, I see something. It's white. It's falling. It's snow.

And I got excited!

I don't know why. Normally, I hate snow. But this is the first snow of the year, and they've been calling for it for two days now. It's here! Finally. It's microscopic, but it's here. And for some reason, I'm excited for it. Now maybe I'll feel like Christmas really is only a few weeks away.

Out

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Music Talk

Top 5 Tuesday will resume. Just not this week. Work is eating my face. Moving on.

Does anyone else feel like that Owl City song on the radio sounds like it was written by a four-years-old boy at church camp? I think the lyrics are ridiculous and idiotic. Write a song that makes sense, Owl City. I think maybe I'm the only person who isn't absolutely gaga over them right now. Am I deficient? Maybe I've reached that age where new music isn't appealing anymore. But then, I've heard a few songs in the past few days that I've really liked...so much so that I added them to my Amazon Wish List.

That was a shameless plug, by the way.

But really...what's the appeal there? Is this one of those cases where the song on the radio is the worst song on the album or something...or are all their songs this ridiculous, lyrically?

Help.

Out

Monday, November 30, 2009

Just FYI:

Some of our customers have really nice butts.

That is all.

Out

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It Is Finished...

I just wanted to say...



And also...



Oh, and...



Just in case you were wondering.  It ended up being 50,709 words by the NaNo counter and 50,736 words by the Microsoft Word counter.  I think there's another chapter to be written, but I'm done.  It'll have to wait for the rewrite.

Happy noveling to everyone who is finishing.  I'll see you at the finish line!

Out

Friday, November 27, 2009

Aftermath...

You'd be surprised how dead the bank is the day after Thanksgiving. I figured it would be so busy with people cashing checks and taking out money for sales. Instead, it's just slow.

Thanksgiving with the boy and my family was wonderful, and if I weren't at work, I'd have a smile plastered on my face from pie and wine and homemeade chocolate chip cheesecake (I made it--first time ever. It was soooo easy; have I mentioned this already?) and cranberry stuffing. Oh man. Good food and good times. Playing New Super Mario Bros Wii with Robb and my sister made for a fun, curse-filled evening.

And now I am fat on chocolate cream pie and turkey. Or...I will be once I get to go home for lunch. Damn late employees slowing me down from taking my lunch. BAH!

But even that can't keep the smile off my face.

Out

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...



...from our resident turkey!

What are you thankful for?

Out

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

San Diego By Way of Alberta...

It's dream time here on Viewtiful_Justin, and have I got a doozy for you today!

I dreamt that I was going to San Diego to visit my Uncle Howard. Pretty tame. But the night before I was supposed to leave, I realized we had a layover in Alberta, Canada. And I had no passport, but they assured me that if I wasn't getting off the plane and actually stepping on Canadian soil, I would be fine.

So I flew Southwest Airlines (my carrier of choice in real life--they take good care of the gays and they don't charge for bags...plus, their prices are impossible to beat). And I met this really nice older woman on the plane, big hair, big glasses, big front butt. She was so sweet, though. And I informed her that this plane was making a stop in Alberta. She said she knew that, since she bought a ticket, too, and that's where she was getting off.

I am an idiot, even in my dreams.

And then I think I fell asleep because the next thing I recall was getting out of the airport at San Diego. The ocean was washing up right against the doors to the airport, and I had to wade to the parking lot past a fat little black girl who was adorable and kept asking me my name. She asked her mother to bring her her voodoo doll, because I wouldn't tell her my name. So I ran. And right when I was about to call my Uncle Howard to let him know I was in town, he showed up.

Except he was 1980s Uncle with the long hair and the bad teeth and the whole nine yards. And we walked to where he had the car. I saw a guy carrying a jug of water and I shouted, "Hey, Nick!" because, as I explained to my uncle, every water guy is called Nick.

And it turned out to be MY Water Guy...Nick. He was in San Diego for something...and I got in his hoopty van that was full of junk, and rode off with him. We were talking about whether or not he liked his job. He told me he loved it. He seemed really happy and we were just chatting, and then we pull up to a stop light and our faces are really close (since the only place to sit was on the folded up back seat right behind his seat), and he kissed me.

It was awesome. And I was like, "Well alright then. That answers that question." And then we went to this hotel room. He kept trying to find out when he could nail me, and I was unavailable. I couldn't do it right then because of medical reasons or something...and this girl was in the room.

She was gorgeous! Wavy brown hair and a model's body, great smile, long legs, etc. And she says to the Water Guy, she says, "I want some honey, too!" as we're making out. So he gets a bottle of honey and startes dribbling it all over her, and the girl screams and runs away and is like, "That's not what I meant, bastard!" And so they're fighting and wrestling all in good fun, like they're siblings or something.

And then my Uncle comes in and I'm all naked and covered myself with a blanket. He's like, "Are you guys doing the dirty-dirty in here?" And I said no. Because, we really weren't. And then he left and I woke up...I think.

Weird. I told Robb about it this morning. He laughed really hard at the fat little black girl who wanted her voodoo doll. I am ridiculous when I'm asleep. Here's proof.

Out

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three Thousand, Nine Hundred Ninety-Three...

Yes. That is how many words I need to write before it's all done. And really, it's more like 3,991 because the last two could be "The End." Although, really...that's tacky.

I think the story is going to go one longer than those last four thousand-ish words. They've still got to break the last four disciples out of their prison island and get out of Hell right proper.

That's...going to take some doing in 4,000 words.

Anywho...I am going to kick back and take it easy for the holidays. I work the day before and the day after (which is a drag, since they promised me one or the other off--goes to show you what a promise from your boss is worth). But on Thanksgiving I'll finally get to spend a holiday with the boy. We never get to spend them together, because he's usually off with his family or working at the ski hill...which is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Blah.

But I get to spend Thanksgiving with him at my mom's house. And that means more to me than anything else. It even makes me smile despite the fact that we might get snow that day.

What else am I thankful for?

My health,
New Super Mario Bros Wii (which is the most fun I've ever had with my clothes on),
My Marbles Kitty,
The Boy,
and being so close to finishing this novel I can taste it!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I certainly hope yours is festive.

Out

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Clean House...

I retain an inherent distrust for people whose houses are so clean, they could go on the market at any time. 



You know what I'm talking about.  No fingerprints on the walls.  Nothing personal out ANYWHERE.  Glossy floors, eerily perfect furniture.  Yes.  THOSE people.

What have they done that is so bad that they are constantly worried they'll have to sell their house and get out of town without having time to clean?  No thank you.  I can't settle in with people who can't settle in.  Give me this, any day.



Well, okay...maybe that's a bit extreme.  How about...this?



Coffee stains?  Yes, please.  Dirty dishes?  Even better.  Rumpled blankets on furniture?  A lack of throw pillows?  All fine with me!  These are my people.  They will not be skipping town any time soon.  I would be completely comfortable around them. 

But that scary, guest-bathroom-no-one-uses, Realtor-ready stuff creeps me right-the-heck out!  Am I the only one?

Okay...now I'm just procrastinating the inevitable writing session for the day...DON'T WANNA!

Out

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cruel Fate...

I woke up with a sore throat. It turned to achy neck and back. Now I'm so cold I can't stand it. And I have to leave for work in 18 minutes. I am sick.

Let's hope it's not the flu. And if it is, let's hope it's not of the porcine variety, although I probably deserve it for laughing at fate a few weeks ago. She gave someone I no longer care for swine flu. We won't name names.

As it went with the chicken pox, when we made fun of the neighbor girls, twins, calling them "chicken pock pie" and generally being horrid boys. We caught it from them. Surprise, surprise. And then my older brother and I were the target of much ridicule.

"History repeats itself, and time flows like a river."

If you can tell me where the quote is from without googling it, you're my new best friend.

Out

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Favorite Wine Buddy...

Merlot, Riesling, Moscato.
In a tumbler, a wine glass--
The vessel doesn't matter
And neither does the wine,
It's the company.
Isn't that what drinking is about?
Company? Camaraderie? Connversation?
A warmth from inside,
Whether heart or drink,
That lasts past the hurt?

My favorite wine buddy,
And there are several
From which to choose,
Is my mother.

That is, until she falls asleep.

Out

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Over The Hill...

Yesterday I crossed the halfway point. There is no going back. There will be a novel this year. It might be silly and odd and maybe a little sacrilegious (but not really...I don't dispute or change the character of Christ), but it's SO FUN TO WRITE!

And after I crossed the halfway point, we loaded up in the car, got drugs for various instances of bizarre medical weirdness, and went into the city. Hooray for good friends and great food! And thrift shopping. We decided to put a two dollar limit on ourselves and try to find the ugliest, tackiest, never-going-in-my-house thing we could find. We're going to exchange them at Christmas. So fun!

We ran into an old friend of Robb's from LA...in a porn shop...in Boystown of Chicago...buying lube. How strange. And really, it was more of a novelty shop than a porn shop. But how odd is that?! I swear we could fly to the moon (possibly with Jesus) and run into someone we know.

And then Robb packed. This morning he left for a week to visit his bro in Albuquerque. And my medical weirdness is going away. Thank God for that. Let's never speak of it again.

Today? I'm going to work all day. Boo. But I might have time catch up with y'all later tonight after I get done writing for the day.

Have a great one! Who knows...maybe you'll run into a cute long-lost friend in a porn shop in the gay district of your city.

Out

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Am A Robot...

I just thought I should let you all know that I am a robot. Seriously.

I wrote this morning. And I wrote. And I wrote. And when I thought I was close enough to 25,000 to quit for the day, I wrote just a little bit more, adding three more words to be at an even 23,400 words. And then I did the math.

I wrote 4,200 words this morning. What? I went back and did my math again, sure that I couldn't possibly have written so much in one sitting. I added, I subtracted. I stood agape. What? I seriously wrote 4200 words in one sitting. From 10 until 1. Wow.

Hate me. Loathe me. Despise me.

I love me right now.

Out

Monday, November 9, 2009

Update...

After a somewhat disappointing weekend (word count-wise), I am just over 17,000. If write my arse off today, I can be over 20,000. That would be nice. I dont think I have time for that, but it would be nice.

In other news, I am experiencing some somewhat bizarre medical ickiness that I'd rather not go into detail about...but it's been a week and when I thought it was getting better, it just seemed to revert to day one. I'm really not happy about this and I can't afford to go to a doctor to get it checked out.

Meanwhile, I have a tooth that's arguing with me about what I'm eating. And no money for that.

Luckily, I'm too busy writing this month to go spend money (in theory), so I guess I'm saving...sort of. My last paycheck was so small there really wasn't much to save. Blah.

On a positive note, however, I'm excited to be spending Wednesday in the city with the boy and some friends. I love it that I work at a bank and they all work at libraries or have government jobs. Hooray for days off. Let's just hope I'm up for walking all day...

Out

Friday, November 6, 2009

NaNo(Friday)Mo...

Tomorrow I'll be over 15,000 words. Woot. It's effortless at this point. Okay, not true. Today was hard and my butt hurts from sitting so much.

But I'm almost 4,000 ahead. I could skip this weekend entirely and be fine.

I won't, because I'm a creature of habit, but I could.

Yes. I am bragging. It's the one time a year I get to.

Out

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stranger than Fiction...

So...I was flipping through our campus newspaper the other day and I came across something in the police blotter that I absolutely had to share. It's hysterical! (Okay, the story itself is not hysterical...but the coincidence within is golden.)

Elgin man found guilty of sexual assault with 2 underage males

The Associated Press
St. Charles
| An elgin man has been found guilty of having sexual contact with two underage boys.
Michael Jackson was convicted Monday of two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and one count aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Jackson waived his right to a jury trial and had his case heard before Kane County Circuit Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon.
According to prosecutors, the 32-year-old Jackson had sexual contact with two boys under 13 years from June 2004 and December 2006. Authorities say Jackson knew the boys.
Sheldon set a Dec. 10 sentencing date for Jackson, who is being held in the Kane County Jail.

------

I can't make this shit up!

Out

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One-Fifth...

I am one fifth of the way done. Ten thousand words. In four days. How crazy is that? It's super uncommon for me to be so far ahead...but here I am.

It would explain my absence.

Jesus and Co. were in a jam and needed my help...space slugs and lobster people and Pharisees...blah. It's all so difficult to surmount...especially when the inferno ivy keeps hunting you.

Yeah...anywho. I'm having fun with this one. It's silly and light. WAY better than last year...last year was SOOOOOOO depressing.

Hooray for NaNoWriMo and my lovely writing group. I can't wait to see them all on Sunday.

In other news...

Out

Monday, November 2, 2009

It Begins...

Here I am, two days in.

On Halloween I went to a party with my writing friends. At midnight it was officially November 1st. We broke out our laptops (or notebook and pencil if you're lame like me and don't have a laptop) and wrote. I managed 809 words. Then we got to gether at noon until 3 for our actual write-in and I managed 1700ish words total. I went home and typed it all up, expanded a bit, etc. It was 3206 words.

At the end of the day today I made it to 5075 words. I'm one tenth of the way there.

You?

Out

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I may be wearing a dress and heels (fishnets?) and a nametag this evening.

Photos to follow? We shall see.

Just call me Pearl.

Out

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clarification:

Just for the record, Robb and I are fine.

He actually encouraged me to write the letter and keeps telling me I should deliver it to Nick at work...Hell, he told me if I don't write it, he'd write it himself--and we both knew I wouldn't want that!

So no, I'm not leaving him for the Water Guy, regardless of what his supposed response to my unsent letter might be.

Sorry for the confusion.

Out

Seven Minutes...

I have seven minutes before I have to get in the shower and go to work all day.

Have I updated you on the Water Guy situation?

We were forced to go with corporate water because apparently PNC, the bank that bought National City, doesn't support local businesses. So we had to cancel the Water Guy. He came in last Friday and took the cooler away. I had a good long chat with him. He's actually a really articulate, funny guy. Which doesn't help.

Before he walked out I said maybe I'd see him around. He said, "I hope so." Hm.

I wrote him a little letter a few weeks ago when I found out he wouldn't be coming back.

It said I enjoyed seeing him and I was bummed he wouldn't be coming in anymore. I said I'd kick myself if I didn't at least ask him. So I asked him if there was more to the smiles and extended glances, or if it was just wishful thinking on my part. I said that if I was mistaken, I meant no harm and just know that I think you're pretty much sex on legs (not in those terms). And I left my phone number and email. Just in case.

But I didn't give him the letter. I was in such shock because I didn't think he'd be in the day he came in. I'm amazed my mouth even worked, let alone got something coherent out and made him laugh. So I forgot...and sort of neglected on purpose. Chickened out? Maybe. Decided I'd rather have that hope than an enemy? More likely.

But he's gone.

Nick, if you're out there, here's to you.

Out

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top 5 Tuesday: Ice Cream Edition...

Everyone love ice cream!  And if you don't, you must be one of those Commie Nazis.  And sure, it wouldn't be hard to list your top five favorite flavors, would it?  Cake Batter, Fudge Brownie, Moose Tracks...BORING!

No, no! 

Today I am here to give you my list for the Top 5 Failed Ice Cream Flavors!

5)  Spewmori

Spewmori is the offbeat cousin of an already questionable flavor:  Spumoni (chocolate, pistachio, cherry).  Spewmori is a tantalizing blend of three flavors we think you'll go gaga over!  Pomegranate, Onion, and Chutney!  Oooh.  Yum!  With real chunks of onion and pomegranate seeds (all the rage nowadays), you'll be a hit at any party when you serve this!

4)  Dill Pickle

I know, I know.  They HAVE this.  It's true.  Go to a very specialty ice cream stand and you'll be able to get a dish of this for $4.  It's a delicacy.  Yeah...right.  So are snails, but you don't see me chomping them down.  I'veh ad it, people.  Don't waste your money.  The combination of sweet and...dill...NO GOOD!

3)  Al Gore-gia Peach

This delicious blend of flavors pays homage to one of the leading political minds of our time!  Without his global warming scare film, people may not know enough to conserve our nation's natural resources, like the Georgia Peach!  That's why this blend features Peach, Corn, and Toupee flavors!  Mmm.  Nothing says delicious like a Georgia peach combined with one of the U.S.'s most abundant natural resources!  Corn?  No!  HAIR!

2)  Beef Jerky Fudge Swirl

You love fudge!  Who doesn't?  And you love beef jerky!  Why not put them together and swirl them just for fun!?  The salty, chewy jerky combined with the sweet, chocolatey fudge will make instant memories at any birthday party!  And with a base of vanilla, you can't go wrong!  Serve it with cake or steak!

1)  Neighborhood Stray Tracks

You've had Moose Tracks, Bear Tracks, Fox Tracks, Elephant Tracks, and any other tracks they've put out there.  I can guarantee you've never had this!  New, from the people who brought you all those tantalizing flavors comes Neighborhood Stray Tracks, featuring fur, caramel, and mystery chunks!  People love mystery, and this carton has it in droves!  Cat fur?  Dog fur?  Ferret?  Rabbit?  I certainly hope those brown chunks are chocolate and peanut butter!  Slap this into a dish and call up yer kinfolk!  It's time for fun!

And there you have it; the Top 5 Failed Ice Cream Flavors.  Who knows, with the publicity they'll garner here, you may see them in your grocer's freezer the next time you're looking for a late night snack!

Out

Monday, October 26, 2009

Health Care...

I don't talk politics. I think it divides people. But I will say this:

I have no health insurance. And my teeth are falling apart. I take great care of my teeth. But, I inherited my mom's bad teeth, genetically speaking. In the world of raw deals, this seems like the worst.

I need to get these taken care of, because every time I think of going through another tooth-related tragedy and the pain and agony associated with that, I literally panic. I get all hot and start freaking out. I can't sleep, can't eat...basically can't function.

This morning, I'm sort of feeling the same way. One of my back teeth needs work, and it's starting to let me know it's there...just barely. And now I'm so freaking warm I can't stand it.

This post is a bust, but tomorrow I may have photos from Robb and my trip to Lake Geneva yesterday!

Out

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's a destiny!))

I awoke wondering what to post about, only to find this in my Xanga inbox!

My name`s Cynthia
I really feel shy, but I have to tell you, Viewtiful_Justin, that you`r just so cool... It was a wonder to find ur profile but now I am sure it`s a destiny!))
You are so pretty... but I am sure that in ur real life u will excite me more and more, again and again!! -))

I would like to get closer 2 u, Viewtiful_Justin!
This site removed my pictures... (
so the most interesting and hot photos I hosted here: http://yourpersonalprofile.com/account/852775645/
Viewtiful_Justin, I think you`ll like them and will write me something 2 begin our thrilling challenge :)!!!
love you honey :))


Hmmm. I wonder what, exactly, our "thrilling challenge" is. Perhaps a woman's feeble attempts to come on to me? Perhaps a computer's feeble attempts to get me to look at straight porn and, thus, infect me with some horrible virus? It would be a thrilling challenge indeed to try to get rid of that!

How come none of you tell me "you'r just so cool" or "in ur real life u will excite me more and more, again and again!!-))"?

You're failing in your duties, people, and this mongoloid had to do it for you. Shame!

So Pretty...Out

Thursday, October 22, 2009

She Stuck Her Voodoo Pins Where My Eyes Used To Be...

Disregard the title. I've been listening to the new Mika album nonstop. It's wonderful.

And...I accidentally posted Top 5 Tuesday on my other blog yesterday, so...I may as well do it here today, right? Nothing like missing the mark entirely! It took me 3 hours before I realized it was Wednesday yesterday.

In other news...I'm driving to see the boy at work and having lunch with him. I love being a good boyfriend. It happens so infrequently.

Anywho...Top 5 Tuesday: Pinball Edition

Guess what, friends?  It's the triumphant return of Top 5 Tuesday!

I'm sure we've all spent a few quarters in a pinball machine in our lives.  Me?  I've spent more than anyone ever should.  I could probably buy every machine on this list with the number of quarters I've used playing pinball in my lifetime.  But some of you may not know where to start.  That's where this handy list comes in!  If ever you see one of these in an arcade, you'll know it's worth the quarters!  I give you the top 5 pinball machines I've ever had the pleasure of playing:

5) Tales From the Crypt



I remember playing this game in the general store of a campground we used to visit every year.  It's been probably close to fifteen years since I've played it, but I remember it being one of the most fun pinball machines I've ever used.  The Cryptkeeper was your guide through the game, and despite his creepiness, he never fell short of having a good quip when you failed.  The ball launger in the form of a doorknocker-representation of him was a nice touch!  I also remember this game having the loosest match numbers at the end of the game of any pinball machine I've ever used...and that means more free games!

4)  The Simpsons



This machine has eaten far too many of my quarters.  I would say that of all the games on my list, this one is the most unforgiving.  There must be something about the pastel paradise of Springfield under the glass that drives balls to the no zone.  It's not a fantastic pinball game, but, like everything else that has the Simpsons' name on it, people play it no matter how much it sucks.  I think maybe there was a little too much going on under the hood, but that's what makes it so much fun and captures the zaniness of Springfield.

3)  Hook



This game lands itself on the list because it's the easiest pinball machine I've ever played.  I'm no pinball wizard, but even I have trouble losing a ball in this one.  And with scores totaling in the hundreds of millions, it makes even the worst player feel like a big shot!  The skill shot at the beginning is a great touch and keeps me coming back to nail just one more launch.  The fact that it has an instant replay feature which gives you one free ball if you truly suck or have terrible luck on a ball is enough to set it apart from any other game on the market.  The icing on the cake?  Hearing Captain Hook say, "I hate, I hate, I hate Peter Pan!"

2)  Fire!



I know what you're thinking:  A pinball game based on the Chicago Fire?  How on earth does that work?  Quite well, let me tell you!  It's one of the only pinball machines that I've ever been able to figure out, goal-wise.  You're supposed to bep utting out the fires and saving the citizens of the city one flick at a time.  There's a rather loud fire bell on the top of this machine that rings every time you hit the multiplier, which multiplies your bonus at the end of a round by how many times you hit it.  That means huge bonuses and free games for people who can keep the ball going.  A great feature of this machine is a certain ramp that captures a ball and tells you a firefighter is trapped.  You're tasked with raising the ladder to the burning building and launching the ball up the ramp, triggering a multi-ball, the joy of pinball enthusiasts everywhere!  It's mayhem; it's loud; it's fun; it's Fire!

1)  Taxi



We've come to the top of my list, the cream of the crop, the best damn pinball game there is, in my humble opinion.  Doubtful?  Let me tell you this, then:  Nowhere else can you find Mikhail Gorbachev, Marilyn Monroe, Santa Claus, Dracula, and Pinbot in one place!  In one taxi, no less!  They're your targets in this madcap game with a sense of humor, and y'all know how I love a game with a sense of humor.  Your bonus at the end of every ball depends on how many of them you can cram into your taxi without losing.  Fill it full and take a joyride, and the points shoot through the roof!  Each character has their own voice and will call out when you're close to picking them up, and each shot gives you points depending on how many times you can "spin out" in the ramp off the main shoot.  It's a riot, and I've spent enough money in this thing to buy the machine!

So there you have it, my list for the top 5 pinball machines of all time.  Have you played any of these?  What would you put on the list?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

National Crazy Month...

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us. I am both giddy and terrified. So...you know...nothing special.

For those of you not in-the-know, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every year I, along with a hundred thousand other crazy nutbars, write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Want more info? http://www.nanowrimo.org

You'll be glad you did it! I've written three complete novels in three years, and I'm hoping for a fourth.

What kind of novels, you ask?

The first year I wrote a road trip story. DePaul to UCLA loosely along Rt. 66. There was pot smoking, fights, a pregnancy, scorpions vs. cheerleaders, and a man who was not who he said he was...oh, and a house fire.

The second year I wrote a novel of horror and interior decorating. Hauntings, bad smells, a skeptical husband, a cute daughter, and the mystery of that tiny room in the basement...oh, and a house fire.

The third year I wrote a novel about a woman who has an affair with the guy that runs the arcade and her son who is gay and how they both find out what the other is doing. It had Dungeons and Dragons, bigotry, Ms. Pac Man, adultery, laughter, dating, and fake internet personals...oh, and a house fire.

This year will be the first novel that doesn't have a house fire, I think. Although...maybe I'll squeeze one in just for good measure. If I write about the current idea I have, it will be Jesus in space. Trust me. It's a scream!

I look forward to it (and dread it) every year, and this one is no exception. Is anyone with me on that?

Out

Monday, October 19, 2009

Full...

Seeing 10 friends on three separate days whom I hadn't seen for months, making applesauce (that is expletive-worthy AMAZING) and cupcakes with the boy, going out for breakfast (one of my favorite things to do), being chased by a chainsaw wielding maniac in the haunted corn maze, too much junk food, great conversation, tons of laughs, new Mika album, writing group, and just a twist of sexual tension...

It was a full weekend, to say the least. I needed it.

Out

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sorry If This One's a Drag...

Now that I typed that, I don't feel like ranting anymore. Just know that I'm having a shitty day.

Know any good jokes?

Out

---------

You know what? I do feel like rainting. I feel like the universe has shit on me. Here I am SO EXCITED to be blogging for a video game blog, and then we have a meeting where all the negative examples are blogs I've done. And then I get discouraged and post about it and y'all are so great and helpful.

And I get over it.

And then I write some things that I feel like should appeal to everyone, things exactly like what we were told to do. I send the head guy an email about them, asking him if he thinks they're more relevant and accessible to everyone. And an email goes out to EVERYONE on the team and in it are two more points we forgot to cover in the meeting. In one of those points is a line that says something like, "And we all know the 'arcades are disappearing' post has been done to death!" Guess who just did a post about that?

I just feel picked on, I guess. And it's a juvenile feeling, I know, which makes me feel so much more silly and out of my league like a small fish in a big pond...

I thought it would be scary and hard, and I was hesitant to go through with it. And then I swallowed my fear and did something, which is RARE for me, and now it's turned out to be just as shitty as I was scared it would be. Why? Why can't I win? Or, rather, why the hell am I used as EVERY fucking example of what NOT to do?

My posts aren't offensive. They're not boring. They're about the kinds of things that brought ME to that site in the first place. And apparently I'm the only one who thinks that stuff like that is any good...

Or maybe our head editor has no idea what people like. I mean...they've scheduled all my posts for 10 PM and wonder why no one reads them. And yet, I have 500+ hits on posts that they say didn't do well or weren't going to do well. What makes honcho the head? Why does he get to decide what people like and don't like? Why does every fucking post have to be dynamite? Not everybody is going to like everything. It's just the way things go! So why do I have to suffer because of that?!

ARGH! I just feel like I stuck my neck out there and said, "I'm going to take a chance, because I'll never get anywhere not doing anything." And then down came the cleaver. To prove me right. Again.

I take a chance, I get smacked. I recover. I pick myself up (with the help of my friends and readers) and trudge on with higher hopes. And then I get smacked again! There are only so many times I can get back up. I'm tired....

Out

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Wish...

I've been thinking about my brother a lot lately...



At least three times a day I wish I could send him a text message, a terrible song lyric by Skee-Lo or some other crappy R&B singer from the 90s...

Iraq feels further away than it ever has before.  The last time he was there, I never had a cell phone, so I couldn't just fire off a text and wait for a laugh.  I had to write letters and wait a month for a phone call. 

I wrote this poem because I was disillusioned the night before he left from his last visit:

Shooting

This horror floated ashore from the sea of memory,
a corpse that looked too familiar to ignore
too much like myself.
It was only drunk talk on a Saturday night
guys shooting pool
shooting the breeze.
(But my own brother--
builder of snowbank forts
screamer of obscenities
bestower of bruises
the same man who stood up for me--
crossed a line.
"There is nothing"
he says
"like pulling the trigger and watching the guy fall down.")
shooting my image of my only brother.
He is never coming back.
---------------

My image of him was blown.  Completely.  And yet, all I can think about is how much I'd like him to sing "I Wish."  I wish I were a little bit taller; I wish I was a baller.  I wish I had a girl who looked good I would call her.  I wish I had a rabbit in a hat and a bat....

Out

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MISSING!!!

So...you may have noticed that Top 5 Tuesday was missing yesterday.  I wouldn't blame you if you didn't though...I sure as hell didn't...until about 11:00 PM when I was lying in bed and thought, "Shit..."

I guess you all get a week off.  My apologies.



My entire blogging drive has been put into blah mode after a meeting with the Hardest Level team last night.  Here's sort of how it went:

Leader:  This post Justin wrote is a prime example of what not to do.
Everyone else:  Agreed.  Yeah, whoever wrote this is an idiot.  Oh, they're in the room?  Moving on.
Leader:  So is this whole series of posts he's writing.  In fact, don't write about any specific games.  Don't write about anything retro or anything upcoming.  And stuff that's out now?  Don't write about it.  Have fun!
Everyone:  So....what do we write about?

And that's where we're left.  Writing about video games but NOT about video games.  And that nixes EVERYTHING on my ideas list.  So I'm pretty much fucked and not happy about it.  At all. 



Last night I was lying in bed in that insane place right before sleep (the same place in which I composed a letter to the Water Guy...but that's another story) and I just thought, "Why do I even do this anymore?  What am I doing blogging.  It just goes on forever and won't ever get me anywhere." 

And then I fell asleep and had dreams that I was stuck on a mini golf course naked.  Blah. 

So...I'll get there, I'm...sure.  But like everything, it can't just be fun.

Out

Friday, October 9, 2009

White Pines Adventure...

After visiting the nuclear plant and accomplishing my one lifelong goal, we decided to go for a hike.



Yes.  This IS a photo of us driving across water.  At White Pines State Park there are two bridges that are submerged that you ust drive over to make it to the parking lot for the lower half of the park.  It's so cool!

Once we were back on dry land and parked, we picked the hardest trail and headed off, crossing several of these:



Apparently the theme of  this park is something about crossing water in unconventional ways.  There's a life lesson here, I'm sure...but it was too pretty of a day to think about that.  The trail meandered into the woods, and we saw what was left of an old cabin:



At a particularly dangerous-looking spot, we decided to do some climbing and take some photos.



See if you can spot the Robb in this photo. 

The sun was brilliant and warm, and the trees whispered as we wandered through the crunchy leaves of our early fall.  A sign that said "Lookout Point" made us get off the main trail.  We made it to a little pavilion that overlooked the river and a grassy clearing twenty feet below.  Apparently what we were to look out for was this, though:



That would be Latin Kings graffiti.  It was everywhere.  Those gang members love their nature!  And apparently so does this person:



Three years ago...I'm certainly glad I wasn't here for that S&M blowjob...eek!  But maybe these people were?



Spud and Mary were also bitten by the "sex in the woods" bug.  Alright then. 

I suppose if you're not getting any, you might adopt the philosophy of this next guy:



"Mary Jane is the only girl that I (Stoners) will ever trust"

I guess he didn't think people would figure it out unless he added that little parenthetical road sign...Thanks for that.

We started heading back, worried that we might become pot-crazed, bondage-loving Latin Kings if we didn't get out of nature soon! 

And he wouldn't be Robb if he didn't take his shoes off and get a little wet.



Adorable. 

But do you know what WASN'T adorable?  This:



Damn thing said hello to me and then tried to bite my finger off.  He thought he was reeeeeeeal funny, too...laughing when I called him a little bastard.  I told the woman in the gift shop that I wanted her to let him out so I could wring his little neck.  She apparently didn't appreciate that.  Fine.

And that' friends, is why I love to hike.

Out

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nuclear Adventure...

I've been meaning to blog about this for a while, but with Cake Wrecks and ski lifts and the weekend all in a row...it got pushed aside.  And this weekend will be no different...we've got Rocky Horror Picture Show on Friday night at the Egyptian Theater in town here, and the we're jetting off to Michigan to stay the night near...eh....Saugatuck?   Yeah.  Saugatuck.

Anyrambler...last weekend was one of the last nice weekends we thought we'd get around here, so Robb and I took a trip to White Pines State Park, and on the way, we did something I've always wanted to do...like, ALWAYS.  My whole life. 

We visited Byron Nuclear Power Plant!



It was always smoking off in the distance, the huge plume of steam visible on cold days, but it was never close enough to justify making the drive over there.  However, today was different!



There's something about this pristine rolling farmland with the backdrop of the nuclear plant that seems somewhat ominous.  I love it!

As I expected, we weren't able to take a tour or anything (not since 9/11), but we did get to drive up so close we could see the water falling out the bottom of one of the stacks.  We were this close, y'all!



So I took this PSA below!



*Shooting Star*  In this world of oil crises and strife, it might seem like nothing is for certain.  But there is one thing:  Nuclear power...the key to a brighter future for our children.

I'm still waiting on those Exelon people to call me for the TV spot on that one...

It was so cool, though.  Seriously.  HUGE!



I love it.  Makes me feel so tiny...

Yup.  It really was a treat!  And now I can cross that off my list of things to do before I die.

Out

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Top 5 Tuesday: Special Guest Edition...

After guest blogging for someone else last week, I really thought it would be cool to do the same thing on my blog.  I haven't, in the five plus years I've been here, ever had a guest blogger.  It's about time that changes, isn't it?

So, I picked the person who is nearest and dearest to my heart to do a Top 5 Tuesday post about the thing that's nearest and dearest to his heart.

Now you have to understand something.  My boyfriend is a nerd.  A big one.  But not about computers, and not about video games (as much).  No, no.  He's a nerd about something most people don't think twice about!

Without further pish-posh, I give you Robb's Top 5 Tuesday list of his favorite ski lifts!  And it's a doozy!

*round of applause*

5.  1975 Borvig center-pole quad at Villa Olivia, Bartlett, Illinois.  www.villaolivia.com
   
This is the lift that I know the best from working at Villa.  First off, it’s rare to see a center-pole quad chair.



As far as I know, only two companies made this style of lift: Borvig and Riblet.  (If I’m wrong, please let me know).  This lift has seen little modifications or upgrades to it.  It still operates much the same today as it did when it was brand new in 1975.  Right about this time in 1975, Borvig was beginning to use a newer tower design; this lift uses an older tower design.  The tower itself is larger in size than the newer design, and the cross arms are thinner.  To compensate for thinner cross arms with a heavy quad chair, Borvig used additional support to form two 90 degree angles on either side of the tower.



Typical of Borvig, this lift sports the company’s signature "hanging sheaves" and "snowflake bull wheel".



This style of lift was known for its exceptionally strong grips.



The only modification to the lift is the addition of snow making equipment and lights to the towers; this was completed after the lift was installed.  The lift is also still using its original motor, but has a semi-newer gear box.  Towers 4 and 5 are also switched; when installing the lift, Villa accidentally put tower 5 in tower 4’s place and 4 in 5’s place.  Most people don’t realize this and you can only tell if you look at the lift as you ride:  tower 4 is slightly taller than 5.



4.  1968 Hall double at Skyline Ski Area in Friendship, WI

Skyline is the ski area where I first learned to ski, and for that reason it will always hold a special place in my heart.  For years I was terrified to ride this lift due to its speed and its steepness.  At one time, Skyline boasted that this lift was the fastest lift in the state of Wisconsin; it was run at 7 ½ mph.  Keep in mind that this is extremely fast compared to most lifts running at 1 - 2mph.  Some detachable lifts don’t even run this fast. 



Older Hall lifts that had two or four sheaves per cross arm had the sheaves standing on top of the cross arm.



Compare the older style of Hall sheave assemblies at Skyline vs. the newer style where the sheaves hung at tower arm level.



This lift has a steep climb for a portion of it, tower 5 perches on the edge of the drop off and sports a six sheave assembly.  For six and eight sheave assemblies, Hall used a different style of cross arm. 



This lift also has the older style of Hall bull wheels that have six support beams in it compared to the newer style of eight. 



Unfortunately, Skyline has gone through several owners recently and is currently closed to skiing.  The lift line has started to become overgrown,



and the cable is rusty.  Hopefully a new owner will come along soon and restore this lift.


3.  1989 (?) Leitner-Borvig High Speed detachable quad.  “Spirit Express”  at Spirit Mountain, Minnesota.  www.spiritmt.com
   
Spirit Mountain is currently home to an interesting “Frankenlift”.  A Frankenlift is a lift made up of multiple components.  The lift was originally built by Leitner and Borvig and later modified by CTEC.  This lift is an early model of a high speed, detachable quad lift.  Detachable means the chairs/gondolas actually detach from the cable in the station area for slower/smoother loading.  Older detachable lifts sometimes had a separate motor house that sat behind the loading terminal. 



The loading terminals and original chairs where designed by Leitner.  Borvig designed the motor house, the bull wheels,



towers and sheaves/sheave assemblies. 







The motor house is located at the base of the lift



and skiers line up under it and board the lift in the loading area.  The original chairs had plastic seats and backs and had a clear plastic shell that could be pulled down over the chair to help keep warm.  Spirit quickly got rid of the plastic bubbles on the chairs.  Later, CTEC switched chairs on the lift from the plastic seat style of Leitner



to metal CTEC chairs (which were on another lift at Spirit Mountain).  The original grips from the Leitner chairs stayed with the Spirit Express



When CTEC switched chairs, they also upgraded the controls of the lift.  Currently Spirit Mountain has a modernization master plan which involves moving and lengthening the Spirit Express. Whether they will keep the same lift and modify it again has yet to be determined. 


2.  1971 Hall Double “Eagles Nest Double” at Whitecap Mountain, Hurley, Wisconsin. www.skiwhitecap.com
   
This Hall double is unique in the fact that it is a partial two-way lift (most lifts you can only ride in one direction) and it crosses over a small valley.  It is also unique that the motor house uses an older design



but uses newer style chairs, towers and sheave assemblies.  It has two midway unloading points





on either side of the valley it crosses.  On one side of the valley is another unique feature of this lift: its lattice type tower.





On the Eagles Nest Mountain side, the lift uses two depression towers to ascend the extremely steep incline of the mountain. 





The other unique feature of this lift is that one of the towers sits at an angle.  Most Hall towers sit like this:    |    where this tower perched on a rocky ledge sits at an angle    /    over the ledge. 





If there isn’t a lot of snow, you can see the lake at the bottom of the valley that the lift crosses over; it has some amazing views from here.


1.   1966/1989 Hall Skycruiser gondola  at Lutsen Mountains, Lutsen, Minnesota.  www.lutsen.com
   
This is one of four remaining Hall Skycruiser gondola in the country.  This lift was originally installed at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire and then part of It was moved to Lutsen In 1989.  Lutsen bought the terminals





cross arms, and Skycruiser cabins and one original tripod tower from Loon.  This particular lift requires an attendant to move the cabins around the contour and send it back on its way;



Newer gondolas use automatic rollers in the station and to speed the cabins onto the cable; this lift uses good old fashioned gravity.  A lift attendant has to pull a cord to release the brake in the station and the Skycruiser cabin travels down a slight decline before being attached to the cable.

Skycruising


Lutsen kept the original, gravity powered coupling design and the original Skycruiser cabins and refurbished them to ensure a long life and a quaint, vintage feeling.  The original Skycruiser featured Hall’s tripod towers



for extra support and stability.  The gondola crosses over a creek and a goes down into a small valley



before making a very steep ascent into the summit station. 



During this portion of the ride, you get some great views of Lake Superior and the surrounding land.  I particularly love this part of the ride.  The three break-over towers are perched right on the edge of Moose Mountain



It’s a very interesting feeling departing the summit station and looking over the edge of the mountain before going down the decent.  The Skycruiser is a two way lift. Lutsen does sell tickets to non-skiers to ride the lift to the mountain top restaurant.  While I was skiing at Lutsen, I fell and tore my ACL; I had to take the Skycruiser back to Eagle Mountain where my car was.  I took this video of the Skycruiser on my trip to my car. 

Skycruising: 2 years later

For the memories associated with it and the rarity of the lift, this one grabs the top spot on my list of the Top 5 ski lifts of all time.

*round of applause*

There, now, wasn't he great?  We have a picture he took of that last lift hanging up in our bedroom.  Having been with him for almost 4 years, I could sit here and tell you about Borvigs and Halls and Riblets (not on the list because he hates them) and all that stuff.  I've definitely learned a lot from him, and I hope you all have, too!  If nothing else, maybe you're geared up for winter now.  God knows we're not going to get to see Fall this year...

Out