Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Tornado Alley" IMAX Movie Coming in March 2011

It's been an incredibly long road for filmmaker Sean Casey. His idea to make an IMAX film capturing the intensity, power and beauty tornadoes and severe weather in the U.S. Plains grew from humble beginnings 8-9 years ago, with his chasing escapades over the seasons turning into a "movie within a movie". His ideas, creations and adventures sotrm chasing across the Midwest for the past 8 years spawned dozens of interviews, specials, and even a starring role in the on-going Discovery Channel series "Stormchasers". He's made friends and fans, and he's also made enemies in certain chasing circles. Sounds like your typical storm chaser to me. Nobody's ever doubted Sean's passion for his craft, and his reverent respect for his star of the film, Ma Nature.

Finally, the film he's dedicated the last 8 years to making is finally coming to the biiiiig screen on March 18th, 2011. Narrated by Bill Paxton, the film will feature some of the very best tornado and severe weather footage ever captured. I'm happy for Sean and the entire team that helped make this movie happen (some chaser buddies included). It wasn't without its share of blood, sweat & tears.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Letter 2010

There seems to be certain things that become widely accepted once you become parents. You instantly relate to any discussion regarding parenting, an experience that’s been lost on you as long as you could remember without a kid. You also feel compelled to cover the back window of your car or SUV with a lot of unnecessary family or activity-inspired stickers of various shapes & sizes. After the birth of your first child, you also become aware that with some time & effort you can finally fill a page with things that may be mildly interesting and entertaining to some friends & family.

And so it began, on Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2010 when Blaine Andrew Dixon was born at 2:16 PM. When I called Roger, my father-in-law, from the delivery room to tell him what his name was, the actual name was apparently lost in translation. I met the grandparents in the waiting room a few minutes later to tell them the great news in person, welcomed with hugs & tears of joy. Awkwardly, I was asked by my mother-in-law Lois what the impetus was for selecting the name “Duane Allan”. A fair & honest question, indeed. The miscommunication was quickly corrected, and a potential lifetime of uncomfortable explanations to inquisitive friends back in their respective hometowns was averted.

We brought Blaine home in the snow two days later, and upon sitting down for the first time in our house with the little man still strapped into his car seat, I had a good cry in the living room with our dog, Alexandria (or Alex. She has an identity crisis), finally succumbing to the totality of the event that every parent feels. Life had certainly changed for the better for all of us.

Since then, it’s been the predictable sleepless nights, groggy mornings leading to being notoriously late for work, and evening dinners eaten well past 8:30 PM, before attempting to fall asleep and stay in a dreamlike state for more than an hour at a time, doing it all over again the next morning, coming all too soon. Put all of these incredible days together, and it’s the fastest ten and a half months we’ve ever experienced. But what am I telling you parents that you don’t already know?

Also, predictably, Blaine’s gotten nothing but endless love and affection from his grandparents and extended family. His birth even inspired the impossible: Bill & Ida Dixon purchased their first computer. They look at it inquisitively, as if it should be doing something more than just sitting there on the desk. Ida resists coming within three feet of it, as to not provoke it and suffer a nasty bite. Outside of card games, Facebook and Skype, it gets little use of its true abilities. Nevertheless, Skype has been a huge help in keeping in regular contact with everyone. It doesn’t replace slobbery kisses from an infant, I’ll grant you, but we can’t complain with technology like this, linking us over the miles.

2010 was a year of obvious “firsts” for Blaine. There was his first family vacation to Leech Lake in Northern Minnesota in July, getting passed around to a sea of adoring women (some of whom were complete strangers) in a crowded restaurant in Malvern, his first Nebraska Cornhusker Football Tailgate in September, His first Halloween (a vicious, man-eating tiger!), his first trip to the magical Land of Christmas Trees, and, of course, his first meeting with Santa Claus (predictably, not a big fan).

Of course, Blaine won’t remember any of these “firsts”. Those big events aren’t necessarily for our newborns, are they? They’re for us. And we’re perfectly fine with that. There was his first real smile, his first try at real solid food, the sheer euphoria of the Jumparoo, and his first real laugh….one that made the past 5 months of our ridiculous baby talk and funny faces all worth it. Finally figuring out the art of the forward crawl, or pulling himself up to reach the keys on the piano. We’ve got ‘em all. And we can’t wait for more of the good stuff,…more “firsts”… over the years to come.

We wish you Happy Holidays, and many “firsts”, for you all in 2011!

J.B., Lisa, and Blaine

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last-Minute Gift Ideas for the Kids

So, uh, Barbie takes a knife once in a while. Or maybe Ken gets cut, you know what I mean?

Holiday Cold Remedy: Thrash Metal

My formula for fighting this Wintertime head cold: Green tea with honey, NyQuil/DayQuil combo, rest, and the shredding guitars of Dave Mustaine, Dimebag Darrell, and Scotty Ian.

Precision metal from Dave & Co. from Roskilde Festival 92.

Phil, Dime, Rex & Vinnie at their absolute brutal best, Monsters of Rock 1991, Moscow. A record that changed everything in metal, and made seemingly well-adjusted teenagers want to break things.

"Wake up dead in a plywood bed, 6 feet from the rest of your life
And when you couldn't see your own dependency....N.F.L. Nice Fuckin' Life."

They don't make 'em like they used to.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Breaking News: This is (not really) a Food Blog

Okay, so I'm going back on my word. This isn't a food blog. It isn't a music blog. It isn't a blog about anything, really. And contrary to popular blog belief, that's perfectly goddamn okay. Okay? Okay.

Truth is, I wasn't doing a very good job being a regular contrubutor at UUKBlog before I made the proclamation that this would be a food-themed site, with reviews, tips, tricks, pretty pictures, etc. But every time I wanted to throw some funny, interesting nugget of nutty-brown bullshit on here, I remembered that I had pidgeon-holed myself, limiting posts to a food theme.

Screw it. This is still good therapy, and good interaction with....well, whoever still cares to look for updates here from time to time. And I really don't have any other place to go with a lot of this stuff.

So, back to the shotgun approach. And here's something we've never talked about: Pearl Jam.

Wait. What?

Call it a welcome back. For the 5th or 6th time. No promises on timely updates. That, I can promise you. Here's PJ from their amazing Late Show with David Letterman appearance on May 4, 2006, after the release of the Avocado album. Dave let the band have the stage after the taping of the live show, where they played an amazing short set, including this particular highlight, a personal favorite, Present Tense.

Go find some food pr0n somewhere else. For now.