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Mark & Brian

Well today has been all nostalgia and feels. Mark & Brian returned to KLOS in Los Angeles to celebrate the station’s 50th anniversary and promote their Radio Hall of Fame bid. It’s been nothing but M&B content ingestion all day for me. Watched all of their promoting of the show on several different media outlets, listened to them on the Frosty, Heidi and Frank Show in the morning, and just got done listening to their four hour reunion show. It’s been great.

These guys were a significant part of my life. Four hours every morning through a lot of grade school, all of highschool, and well beyond until they left the air in 2012. I think about the changes and struggles me or anyone would deal with over those years, but one of the things that was always constant was Mark & Brian. No matter what stupid or shitty thing was happening, you know they were there to lift your spirits with all the gags and laughs. They went well beyond that, though, with how much they shared personally on the air, particularly some of the negative things like loss of loved ones, or loss of pets, or relationship struggles, or countless other life events. Needless to say, they were endlessly supportive and easily relatable. It sounds stupid, I know, but there was a moral compass behind a lot it and they definitely influenced mine. It was much more than a radio show for us listeners. Mark & Brian were damn near family. When they decided to leave, it was at a time I had to make some serious life decisions and their retirement was momentously symbolic that my 35+ years in Southern California were coming to an end.

And so as I fast forward, who’d of thought equipping my car with dual windbags all of those years would have been that important? I’m able to remember all of the little life lessons I got from a stupid radio morning show that contributed at least a little bit to the reason why I’m happy and healthy with an amazing family. Like I said, lots of good feels today.

My Own Damn Movie Awards for 2018

Another year, another plethora of flicks watched. Here’s my own damn list of favorites for 2018…

Best Pictures of 2018

  1. Leave No Trace (Best Picture)
  2. First Reformed (Best Screenplay)
  3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  4. Black Panther (Best Director)
  5. Thoroughbreds
  6. The Rider
  7. Blindspotting
  8. You Were Never Really Here
  9. First Man (Best Visuals, Best Sound)
  10. Wildlife

Honorable Mentions: Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Solo: A Star Wars Story, A Quiet Place, Avengers: Infinity War, Mandy, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, BlacKkKlansman, Annihilation, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best Actresses of 2018

  1. Thomasin McKenzie – Leave No Trace
  2. Carey Mulligan – Wildlife
  3. Claire Foy – First Man
  4. Anya Taylor-Joy – Thoroughbreds
  5. Olivia Cooke – Thoroughbreds
  6. Emily Blunt – A Quiet Place
  7. Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade

Best Actors of 2018

  1. Ethan Hawke – First Reformed
  2. Ben Foster – Leave No Trace, Galveston
  3. Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther
  4. Shameik Moore – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  5. Joaquin Phoenix – You Were Never Really Here
  6. Ryan Gosling – First Man
  7. Daveed Diggs – Blindspotting
  8. Jake Gyllenhaal – Wildlife

So yeah, there were a large amount of movies I missed this year. Life gets in the way and it happens. I wish I would have had time to see Outlaw King or The Sisters Brothers or Green Book or Boy Erased or Paddington or Roma or countless others, but it just didn’t happen. So with that, let’s go through the top five I did see.

Drain all of the remorse, all the empathy, and any of the warmth that the human spirit is capable of and you’re left with Thoroughbreds. It’s an odd mix of quirkiness and psychological thriller that you somehow smile through. Well, most of the time.

What can you say about Black Panther that hasn’t already been said? Ryan Coogler was able to build such a rich and vibrant world with just a single movie that no other Marvel flick has been able to rival. The guy has always had a serious vision with the serious chops to implement that vision, which he did to near perfection, yet again.

The best time I had at a theater this last year was, hands down, with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. They somehow managed to be so utterly precise with what it’s like in your own head when you read a comic book. And, seriously, can we just shelve Peter Parker for a couple decades and go with Miles Morales anytime we need to see Spider-Man on the big screen?

First Reformed is just layers upon layers of bleak and dreadful uncomfortableness. Purposefully ambiguous in nature, I love how many ways it can be watched and interpreted. Check it out on a good day could make it the most hopeful movie ever, but a bad day could bring the most dreadful of dire experiences. Whatever you get out of it, Ethan Hawke has never been more brilliant playing this person of faith in the middle of a spiritual breakdown. First Reformed is one that needs to be seen by all.

All great movies, but there can only be one best.

What happens when your struggles stop you from living a conventional life? How do you deal with those struggles or do you even deal with them at all? Moreover, how do you take care of the ones you love when you can’t care for yourself? Leave No Trace tries to answer some of this. Ben Foster is effortless as the wounded warrior who can’t seem to adapt to a modern society. His silence through most of the movie is down right deafening. His daughter can see the conflict, but struggles to identify how or if she should reach him. Played by Thomasin McKenzie, she’s so extraordinary confident in her role and is, without a doubt, a star in the making. This story is one of very slow burn, but never without purpose. It’s powerful and moving from start to finish with heartbreak at nearly every turn. Hellbent on burying the hurt and leaving no trace, this movie has definitely left a mark.

Not today

It’s been 24 hours of processing and, in that time, I’ve run the gamut of emotions. To my own disappointment, it’s mostly been dishearten and anger. I’m not a fun person to be around right now and the people closest to me would definitely agree. I’m sure I’ll have some apologizing to do to them in the next couple of days. It’s just hard.

In the past 24 hours, though, I’ve also discovered one thing I’m very thankful for. I’m thankful that my son is far too young to understand what has been going on. I’m thankful I didn’t have to wake up this morning, make his breakfast, and answer the questions he would inevitably have. Why bullying or belittling anyone isn’t a way to gain respect. Why hating and fearing people who may be different from you are not the values we should encourage or celebrate. Why racial, sexual, and cultural diversity isn’t something we want to run from, limit, or throw walls between. Or why sexual violence against women isn’t something that should be nominalized.

I would jump at the opportunity to answer my son if I needed to, but I’m thankful that won’t happen today and I entirely sympathize with and applaud all of the parents who had to. You’ll always be an example I can learn from. It’s just the people of this country just made it far too hard to justify any of those arguments. I so look forward to guiding my boy, instilling values, and teaching him about basic rights and wrongs. Just not today.

Grandma

Grandma passed away this week. She had just turned 99. She was always a part of our lives and was loved very much. I know she always told us how lucky she was to have us around, but we were the lucky ones for being able to have her for so very long. She was an awesome Grandma and, even with the small amount of time she had with Luke, was an awesome Great Grandma. My heart is broken and I miss her a lot.

Great Tutorial on Headlight Restoration

I’ve seen a lot of tutorials on YouTube for headlight restoration, but this one is, by far, the best, most comprehensive one and it still manages to be fairly brief. Gonna be doing this on the S2000 and MDX this week. Just make sure you have a good random orbital polisher or sander, such as my Porter Cable 7424 XP, if you go with the professional method.

2014 Euro Trip Map

A map of our recent trip to UK and Germany told from geotags. We started in London, flew to Berlin, flew to Frankfurt/Mainz, and took a train to Munich. Full album will be posted soon.

2014eurotripmap