What Will It Be?

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What is the one thing you hope you leave behind when you’re gone? What do you want people to remember you for? I’m not talking about the world, but you friends, family and even coworkers. When they remember your life, what is the first thing you hope they mention?

Marvel Universe Live (Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN)

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We took our oldest son to see Marvel Universe Live this afternoon. The 3 o’clock showing at the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville, TN was the venue and doors opened at 2:00PM. We were lucky with traffic, arriving just after two and finding a parking lot nearby for a grand $15 for 2 hours of parking. It was only a block from the arena and we were there in no time. Normally we have to park down around the river front and hike right down the main strip. Not that this is a bad thing, as you get to experience downtown Nashville at its best. Vinyl record shops, Hard Rock Cafe, a local brewery and restaurant, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Open balcony cafe’s, live music, sidewalk musicians, cowboy hats, short skirts, police, horse drawn carriages … the smell of food wafting through the air. Mmmmmm.

Anyways, it was downtown.

Having arrived just minutes after the doors opened to allow the next show’s ticket holders, we didn’t have to wait at all. Flashed our tickets, walked right in and was in what appeared to be a mini convention of cosplay and overpriced souvenirs. A program guide with an exclusive collectible comic book that served as a prequel tale to the show was $25. A bottle of water (for my hacking and gagging) was $4.50, and the vendor at the bbq stand acted like he didn’t want to give me my $0.50 cents change back. In fact he grabbed the two ladies that kept telling him I was waiting for my change and they all turned their back to me. I finally just stuck my hand over the counter and stood there in everyone else’s way. So, already you get the expected over-priced knick-knacks that won’t last the entire show (more than likely) and ripoff vendors trying to hock their foodstuffs.

The seats in the Bridgestone Arena are not friendly to large folk. Once I sat down, I was pretty much lodged in my seat unless I was given notice so I could begin wiggling from side to side, sliding forward, twisting and then bracing my arms on the rows in front of and behind me to push out and up. So 15 minutes into my finally comfortable position, it’s to be expected that the guy behind me taps on my shoulder and says, “Sir, excuse me, but I dropped my phone under your seat. Can you get up so I can try to find it?”

Me and the guy from Bowling Green, KY sitting to my left both wiggled out to a standing position and found the guy’s phone. Then I dove back in to the crushing jaws of my seat. We’ve been to the Bridgestone Arena several times before, for hockey games, Disney on Ice, Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus, concerts and the like, so it wasn’t like I was surprised by the seating arrangements. I was, however, slightly larger than the last time we visited. But we’ll discuss that later on in the following week.

The show itself, Marvel Universe Live, is a fun little event. The special effects are right up there, the interactive screens and lighting were pretty advanced and awesome. The actors playing the super heroes and villains were all at the top of their game, but you could also tell they were worn out from the two previous shows they’d done that morning and afternoon. Spiderman looked a little weak on a few of those flips. Overall, they really delivered, though. It was impressive to watch their skills on display, especially with the motorbikes that were used through out the show.

The story was rushed and barely held together between acts, but there was one to follow. I only lost it once toward the end when they began using a lot of pyrotechnics and blowing things up and starting fires. The smell of the fuel was overwhelming and made me lose control of my cough.

Marvel Universe Live follows the breaking of a cosmic cube into pieces. Loki retrieves one of these shards and begins making plans to rule mankind. To power his tiny shard, he kidnaps Wolverine, Cyclops and Storm to harness their mutant powers. It’s up to Iron Man, Black Widow, Bruce Banner, Spiderman, Falcon and several more Marvel heroes to face off against their greatest foes. The likes of The Sinister 6 in an epic battle atop The Statue of Liberty done with really cool screens. Whiplash appears to battle Iron Man. Loki, of course as well as SHIELD agents Maria Hill and Nick Fury appear. And, of course, even The Hulk makes an appearance at the end. He’s a bit clunky and limited in movement, but the technical feats required to bring him out and alive are of no small order for the actor inside, I’m sure.

As with any kids show, the dialogue is a bit uneven, but there were a few references adults could grasp as well, such as Thor’s, “Let’s kick some Asgard!” or Iron Man saying, “That’s one pile of Chitari I’m not going to clean up.” Other than that, it’s fantasy pretend violence. Many of the punches you can clearly see aren’t connecting, but younger children may still have tons of questions about what is happening. The kids behind us, which were at least 6 or younger, seemed to be upset by certain scenes and confused as to why others were happening. They also continually asked who some of the lesser known Marvel characters were.

So over all, Marvel Universe Live is money well spent if you’re 1) a Marvel Universe fan, 2) have children young/old enough to appreciate it for what it is, and 3) just want to see a cool stage show featuring super heroes. The day before and the day of, I had short Twitter conversations with Romeo Brown as well. He plays Nick Fury in the show we saw. The cast is very open about talking to fans, it seems. You’re always welcome to send them a tweet of appreciation for the hard work that goes into making such a show.

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We Have A Winner!

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Following up on my Ugly Sweater post the other day, I wanted to announce that my wife did win the girl’s ugliest Christmas sweater contest. Her prize was a $15 Blue Coast Burrito gift card.

As for the party, it was actually really fun. I’m always antsy around large crowds due to my anxiety, but it all worked out. The folks were funny and not too uptight considering they were church folk. Though as we were leaving for the night, our hosts said to us, “Now remember, don’t go telling everyone how we really act.”

I’m still not sure if that was meant as a serious request or a joke. They weren’t really laughing. Either way, fun was had by all. Dirty Santa left me with a nonstick baking pan, which won’t go to waste, but I’d have much rather had the $15 iTunes gift card I stole from someone else.

The rest of my weekend consisted of hanging up a few Christmas lights – which was also successful as my oldest son jumped out of the car with his mouth hanging open and eyes wide. He liked it, and really that’s all that matters to me.

The rest of my week ahead includes getting in a little sleep and getting up early to head in to work for some over time while our supervisor is out after having a triple bypass last week. Good times, good times.

Y’all have a good week as well. Take care!

P.S. I would post a picture of my wife’s ugly sweater, but I don’t think she wants to be a star on my blog. Instead, I’ll leave you with a view of some of my decorating.

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Ugly Sweater

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My wife informed me last weekend that this weekend we would be attending an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. This is a get-together of 6 couples from the church my wife attends and us. It sounds more like a Dirty Santa type of deal, as the only requirements are to bring a male and female gift and finger food or dessert. Ever the one to be a standout, my wife has taken the liberty of actually creating an ugly sweater to fit the name of the party. It is pretty nasty looking, with huge ornaments hanging from it in various places and a candy cane here and there. The Yoda head in a Santa hat was a nice touch.

There was also one other rule for attending. No kids allowed. This makes me uncomfortable for a few reasons. 1) I’m not a big people person, so I’m already going to be uncomfortable in this large group of folks. 2) These are people that attend church together, what is going to be going on that children can’t be present for. 3) There are maybe 2 times that I can count in nearly 11 years that we’ve ever been anywhere without a child in tow.

In short, it just don’t feel right.

But I’ll go because it will make The Wife happy and prevent any arguments over the subject of how I never want to go anywhere. So wish me luck, people! And if you don’t hear back from me within a week or two, send help.

Hopped Up On Meds (A Personal Rambling Post)

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I’ve got that cough that won’t go away again. You know the one. The same cough that threw me an unexpected gut punch several months ago. Same one. I haven’t been to the doctor for this one, yet, but am planning on a visit possibly Monday if I’m no better. So far, though, I’ve been taking Benadryl Sinus and Delsym 12-hour cough syrup. Tonight is the worst I’ve had it in several days. It actually seemed to be getting better by Friday evening, then today hit and I’m reeling from the sinus pressure and scratchy/tickling throat that’s making me hack my head off.

But enough about that! There’s other events that happened this week besides me being a wuss with a bad cold. For starters, it was Thanksgiving! That’s right! How’d yours go? Our usual celebration consisted of us packing up the car around noon and heading to my wife’s grandmother’s house. There, she served us up a most delicious ham, dressing, chicken n’ dumplings, mashed potatoes, pinto beans, a beautiful turkey, scalloped potatoes, homemade rolls, creamed corn, apple crumb pie, chocolate pound cake, chocolate and peanut butter fudge … oh my I could just go on and on, but I’m going to have to stop and unbutton my pants just talking about it all.

Being sick with the hacking crud, however, I was sort of a “eat and run” guest. I hung around a few hours, but the Benadryl tends to make me drowsy, so I headed home and planted my butt in bed. That was some of the best sleep I’ve had in awhile, let me tell ya. I did have to wake up to take care of the kids, though, as my wife and mother-in-law geared up to head out on Black Thursday/Friday shopping frenzy. It’s their annual tradition, so I saw them off and settled down with just the baby and the 10 year-old.

Things went remarkably well. No fussing or tantrums from either kid and I actually fell asleep in the recliner due to being so drowsy. I sat up until 3AM, and finally sent a message that we were locking down the house and going to bed. I slept like a corpse. Not sure when the shopping spree ended for the ladies, but I woke up around 8 Friday morning and The Wife was crashed on the couch.

Today was probably my most active day of all. I got up and dressed and we took the kids to see Santa at the nearby shopping mall. A wait of about 20 minutes was all it took, then it was lunch at the Gondolier Italian restaurant. I can back home, once again to get some rest as it’s been my worst day so far (as I said). Nothing seems to be working, so I looked up on Google if it’s okay to take the Benadryl and Deslym together. Now I’m hopped up on some decent drugs and waiting for the cough to ease up before attempting to lay down.

Tomorrow … grocery shopping! We haven’t been grocery shopping in about a month and supplies are looking pretty darn low, folks. I actually had to resort to drinking (gasp!) tap water! I’m also scheduled to put up our outdoor Christmas lights tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully I won’t get to hacking and fall off the ladder. That’d be a sight, wouldn’t it?

That’s my holiday weekend, folks. Four days off and I’ve been sick, sleeping or traveling around and couldn’t enjoy it. Here’s hoping the Christmas holiday is better.