Sunday, December 26, 2010

Best Santa Movie Ever


Rare Exports... strange name for a Santa movie... took a long time before the connection is revealed. This is a Finnish movie, lots of subtitles, which make it a difficult kids movie. But it is the best Santa movie ever, and appropriate for kids (after all, the hero of the movie is about 10 years old, and a cute little dickens...).


We went to the opening on Christmas day, and what a fun present. It's hard to review this movie, since the ending is so hilarious that I don't want to reveal anything, except to say all the strange and weird elements of the movie finally come together.

Stark, wintery landscapes (some of them visually stunning). Reindeer ranchers, archeologists, corporate exploiters, hockey outfits, zombie elves, creepy Santas, child abductions, ancient woodcuts, and other inexplicable elements combine in this rather bizarre interpretation of holiday happenings.


OK, OK, too weird? Well, there is humor, especially the end (almost a shaggy dog story). One important thing to know... many Santa myths (Finnish?) from long ago describe Santa as mean... often punishing children rather than gifting them (check out the woodcuts flashing in the movie). This whole interpretation of "Santa" is worth more exploration. Here's a Finnish term from the pagan origins of Santa:

"Joulupukki means 'Yule Buck'. Joulupukki first came about as an evil, goat-like creature. He didn't give gifts to the children and he demanded their good behavior. He used to frighten people. In December, pagan people had big festivals to ward off the Joulupukki."

Admittedly, I was a little bored and lost during the first half of the movie. I suspect this was deliberate, to increase the impact of the ending (although, what did they do with the giant "buck" horns?). But if you check out this movie (hurry, it won't be around long and may be difficult to find in a theater near your), and obey the following safety rules, you'll be rewarded with a great Christmas treat.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Great Retirement Blowout

Well, what better place to have a retirement party than Junior's Tavern. Hell, I'd be there on a Saturday afternoon anyway. So, with Greg, Tom, and Randy's help, we pulled it off, including Junior's regulars, old friends, work mates, and #1 babe all joining in on the fun. (Click on pics for larger images).


Camera Girl was there to take these shots.


Choosing an outfit took a bit, but this seemed a popular combo... expressing my anarcho-commie-Darwinian leanings...


The world's greatest DJ arrived to great acclaim...


From work, my buddy Bill showed up with his son Mat, who refused a beer since he had a child care gig later that day and didn't want to hear "you smell like my grandpa"...


More Junior's regulars...



The Mingo Man slid off his Bar X stool to wander over to Junior's for a beer on me...


Brett brought me his wife... I gave him a present in exchange...


John Paul and I are plotting the takeover of the local music scene...


More guys...


More babes...


More bar...




Dan brought his beautiful wife down for a toast, But I think she just spied her uncle coming in the door...



Some old guys (lunch anytime, Michael), the retirement financial consultant, and the distinguished barrister and his wife...



Lots more folks from work showed up. I really didn't want to do the usual retirement fete at the office building with the shitty chicken salad sandwiches and the red punch and the sugar cookies... if I do sugar, I want it distilled! And if I'd known I was working with such hard core drinkers, I'd probably called for offsite staff meets!

And, yes, I've modified my will in your favor, Michelle...


I loved the way Anna whipped out her vibrator every time I called about an order... I'd like to think I have that effect on women... or was she thinking of hubby???


Annette is a saint... and wasted no time moving into my window cubicle... Bill will be so lonely... or does he get the new babe?


Stucki made it... and somewhere in this collection of photos is Denise... although it took me finding a shot of Patron to get her settled in...


And Matt... did he give up his usual Saturday feast and wine blowout? or just continue it...


Tom, the usual Saturday bartender, took the day off to join in the festivities...


And what better proof does anyone need that drinking red wine at Junior's makes you gay?


Finally, thanks to everyone who showed up, or emailed congrats. I appreciated this event more than you can know. Let's stay in touch... you know where to find me...

Oh, and I can't forget Lacey... who anchored this event, kept things together, and gave me a ride home (what a ride!). I hope retirement allows me the time to appreciate all you do for me.


Onward and upward... (and I've passed the 72 hour, Chuck Butler mark).

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pat and Pete

Great Saturday night... two parties and Pete Anderson performing at Pat's BBQ. For those of you unfamiliar with Pete Anderson, for 20 years he was the guitarist and producer for Dwight Yoakam. Pete has since launched a solo career with a new CD and tour. Pat's BBQ, which has an excellent performance area (as well as great BBQ!), was kind enough to book Pete and his group for the local fans. Pete announced that he decided that his personal music had to be blues oriented, and that's what we got. Some great original blues songs and some classics. Pete plays signature guitars from Reverend, and a setup that provides both wet and dry amplification.



Pete's group was quite good... excellent keyboards and bass, adequate drumming (although the drummer played most of the night with a click track in one ear... hadn't seen this before... a sign of drumming to come?).

Anyway, thanks to Pat for booking the gig (seen below with JP)... a fun night, I hope to make it back to Pat's more often for food and music.


As for the parties... tequila, baby! that's all you need to know... very happy holidays have started.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010