Log in

No account? Create an account
Pop Culture Universe
20 most recent entries

Date:2011-07-02 19:42
Subject:Bob Shortell

Bob Shortell passed away Friday morning. Surprising, but not shocking. I mean, Bob wasn’t in the best of health when I first met him 27 years ago (dear God, has it been that long?). I still have that memory of walking into his comic book store, (Time Warp on Main St. in Ansonia) for the first time and Bob and his then business partner (Ron?) started making fun of me because I was wearing a hat for Space Travelers, the other comic book store in the area. Despite the ridiculing, I quickly grew to love the place and eventually convinced my brother to start regularly taking me there instead of Space Travelers (I don’t think it took much convincing). But only when Bob was there. The other guy was just too grumpy.

Eventually Bob bought his partner out and it became safe to go down there anytime. And go down there I would. I would spend hours there going through the back issues or just talking to Bob. Bob would be kind enough to let me hang out there while my parents went shopping or something and once I had my own car, it’s safe to say I was there everyday until I was about 20.

I got my first real retail experience hanging out at Time Warp. Bob would let me ring up customers, or I would sort his back issues for him. Once I had my driver’s license, I’d go pick up the books for Bob or run various other errands for him. But mostly Bob and I would just hang out and talk, or watch movies on the TV in back.

Things really exploded when Bob agreed to let Time Warp become the local business sponsor of Explorer Post 130. Explorer Post used to be an off-shoot of the Boy Scouts for coed teenagers that focused on one activity only (in Post 130’s case, Dungeons & Dragons). Post 130’s monthly meetings moved to the store and it wasn’t long before everyone was pretty much just hanging out there all the time. You could go in on what would normally be the slowest time for a comic book store (or any store for that matter) and there could be 5 – 20 kids there. I think it intimidated customers sometimes.

Time Warp was way ahead of it’s time in one way as it was probably the first comic book store to ever put tables out so people could play games. Keep in mind, this was back in the mid-80s, way before Magic the Gathering and Heroclix came along. Oddly enough, it was very rarely that we’d actually played Dungeons & Dragons there. Often times, it was some card game that Bob had taught us: Cribbage, Setback, or Rummy 500 or some such.

My favorite memories of Bob though are of the late night pinball tournaments. There would be anywhere from 4 to 10 of us there and we would turn off the lights and just play pinball until 11pm or midnight. That was were I learned how to trash talk people.

Eventually though, things come along; new jobs, new friends, new responsibilities, and I eventually stopped hanging around Time Warp. I’d stop in on the rare occasion and Bob and I would chat for a bit. After he closed the store I lost touch completely.

I always tried to live my life so as not to have any big regrets. I only have one or two, but Friday, when I heard of Bob’s passing, I added another one.

Lots of the people who hung out at Time Warp during that time will tell you that Bob was like a second father to them. But to me, Bob really was a second father. It was during this period of time that my father’s Alzheimer’s disease had progressed far enough that he wasn’t the same man he had been. Bob was a big help to me dealing with that and just essentially being a surrogate father to me. He would listen to whatever problems I came to him with big or small (though I’m sure they were all big to me at that time) and would often give me advice. I may not have always listened to it, mind you…

I regret that I never told Bob just how much he meant to me. How much he influenced me. How grateful I was that he took this shy, low self-esteem kid and made him feel like he had value. I always thought I’d run into him again someday and I could tell him then. But I never did.

Bob, you were an incredible man. Giving of your time, giving of your self, giving of your heart. You helped shape the hearts and minds of many a teenager. Not counting family, 3/4th of my friends list wouldn’t be my friends if it weren’t for you (directly or indirectly).

I hope I’ve grown up to be at least half the man you were. Thank you, sir.

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2008-12-24 14:51
Subject:1 day until Christmas!
Mood: hungry

How about a nice holiday treat?

post a comment

Date:2008-12-23 22:12
Subject:2 days until Christmas

This one is for you Grinches out there.

post a comment

Date:2008-12-22 14:12
Subject:3 days until Christmas!

(This one's a shout out to all my friends who I used to hang out in the cafeteria in the mornings with during high school)

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2008-12-21 22:54
Subject:4 days until Christmas!

So not technically a Christmas video... it is in a Christmas special though. :)

post a comment

Date:2008-12-20 14:23
Subject:5 days until Christmas!

C'mon... you knew this one was coming...

3 comments | post a comment

Date:2008-12-19 10:11
Subject:6 days until Christmas
Mood: cheerful

This one falls under the nsfw&c area, but it's damn funny (especially if you like Scrubs).

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2008-12-18 15:26
Subject:7 days until Christmas!

(fried chicken with mac & cheese sounds pretty good right now...)

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2008-12-17 14:01
Subject:8 days until Christmas!

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2008-12-16 10:46
Subject:9 Days 'til Christmas!

What's with those dancers??

post a comment

Date:2008-12-15 11:28
Subject:10 Days til Christmas!

post a comment

Date:2008-11-27 08:14
Subject:Happy Thanksgiving (to my American friends)
Mood: cheerful

In the spirit of the holiday, I decided to post 3 clips from one of the Thanksgiving episodes of the West Wing. The episode itself is one of my favorites, hitting on the right balance of humor and drama.

First, President Bartlett finds out about the Butterball hot line and has to give it a call.

Next, Press Secretary CJ Craig had to choose which turkey to have the President symbolically pardon and can't bring herself to turn the other one over (this maybe my favorite humor scene of all on West Wing).

And finally, the end of the episode. Bartlett has been dealing with a group of Chinese refugees who have illegally entered America so they can practice their religion freely. The Chinese want the refugees back. Bartlett's solution is revealed. I personally love the speech Sam writes for the President.

Happy Thanksgiving if you're American. If not, have a great day none the less!

Date:2008-10-03 11:18
Subject:Fair & Balanced My Ass!
Mood: amused

Someone at Fox News needs to learn how to count:

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2008-09-25 01:00
Subject:Fun time in New Hampshire
Mood: happy

Got to admit, had a fun time in New Hampshire. I've really grown to love my cousins and I thank Greg & God for that all the time. Big party Saturday, Smores by the fire pit Saturday night. Sunday I sat around the house watching TV and talking (and eating) with cousin Dom. Monday, had a lamb lunch with Aunt Lu (the Godmother), Aunt Pauline, Denise, Abby & Zach (who Grandma Aunt Lu was watching) and best of all, Uncle Paul & Aunt Irene whom I never seem to get the chance to talk to. On the way home, I stopped at Mohegan Sun to play in a tournament. Played well but the cards didn't totally fall my way and I ended 15 out of 39.

Every time I go to NH I think about moving there when I'm able to. I know if I was there all the time they wouldn't treat me as special as they do when I visit, but I love being around my extended family. There's just so much love there.

Isn't it nice though, when someone you love treats you like you're special?

post a comment

Date:2008-09-02 13:18
Subject:Didn't End Well
Mood: grumpy

My brother came down with Cellulitis Friday night/Saturday morning. As is typical of my brother, he didn't go to the emergency room until Sunday afternoon. They prescribed him medication and said, "Rest your leg and keep it elevated." Mark interpreted that as, "Take the kids back to school shopping, do the grocery shopping and then insist on standing at the stove and cooking dinner, never once elevating your leg even when sitting down." Around 9pm last night, Mark had enough pain to warrant wanting to go back to the ER. He called around 1am to let us know he was being admitted and would be there until at least Thursday, but most likely Friday.

How was your holiday?

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2008-08-30 16:00
Subject:Poker Adventure
Mood: cheerful

So last night, Rich, Drew & I decided to celebrate my birthday by heading up to Mohegan Sun to experience their first night with a poker room. From the word go it was obvious that they were still working out some kinks, especially with the dealers. They were all new and making rookie mistakes (not moving the dealer button, forgetting to make sure blinds were posted, etc.)
I decided to enter into a Sit & Go tournament. Sit & Gos are different from regular tournaments in that they are usually just one table (9 or 10 players) and don't have a set start time; they just begin once the table is full. I ended the tournament in 3rd place, essentially winning back my entry fee. But a dealer mistake cost me, maybe even costing me the tournament.
The dealer for our tournament was actually pretty good. His one fault was in the actual dealing of the cards. He would often (on average once/revolution of the table) deal a card in a way that it would flip up and reveal itself. The casino's rule if this happened was that the dealer would continue dealing out cards, then once done would replace the exposed card and the exposed card would be discarded.
So, we were down to five players left. I was in the first position after the big blind (meaning I would have to be first to decide if I wanted to call, raise or fold). When he dealt me my second card, it flipped over, revealing itself to be the Kc. He finished the deal and then replaced my card. I looked at my two cards and saw an ace of clubs Ac and my replacement card was a 6d. Meaning that instead of having AK suited (the 3rd best starting hand), I now had A-6 off-suit; not a bad hand, but not a good hand if you're first to act, which I was. So I did the right thing and I folded. The guy next to me raised, the guy after him called and everyone else folded.
The flop came down Ah-Ad-9c. Had I stayed in, I would've had 3 aces. I never found out what the other two guys had because one bet and the other folded. But I probably would've had them both beat.
After the tournament was done, I went to the card room boss (who was actually a really nice guy and had been talking with me before the tournament started). I stressed to him that I understand it was their first day and all the guys were new and that I wasn't wrangling for any more money. I then told him the story and gave him my opinion of what should be done in that situation if it happens again (dealing stops immediately and the player must choose right away wither to keep it or not).
After the tournament I went and let video poker take some of my money. Then Drew & I went to Johnny Rockets for some totally unhealthy food (no calories on your birthday, right?). All in all I had a blast and can't wait to go up there again.

post a comment

Date:2008-08-19 17:57
Subject:I feel sorry for him
Mood: sad

Having been a collector of something most of my life, this really hits me hard.

The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

post a comment

Date:2008-07-27 12:33
Subject:Movie Time!

So, one time I was over at Mike & Peg's (back when it was Mike & Peg's) and we were doing something (probably playing a board game), when Peg suddenly went "It's 9:00!" and she & Mike rushed to the TV. Because X-Files was on. Now this was when the show was still in it's first season and Fox was advertising it as a UFO chasing show, so in my head I was like, "Wow, really? You watch this shit?"
Yeah well, I ended up just as obsessed with the show as they were, if not more so. At least until the first film, when the show got waaaaay too caught up in it's mythology and then Mulder left and was replaced by the T-1000, and then Scully decided to get pregnant and only show up for half of the episodes and blah blah blah.

That's a long winded way of saying, "Hey, I went and saw the new X-Files movie last night."

X Files: I Want To BelieveCollapse )

post a comment

Date:2008-07-25 07:46
Mood: annoyed

It seems like every time I'm getting really sick of the length of my hair and I want to cut it off, someone comes along and tells me how much they love it and how jealous they are of it. The other day it was the girlfriend of one of our regular customers.
I just get so sick of dealing with it. All the extra time to wash it; trying to drive with the windows down with it. Oh, and what the humidity does to it. Ick.

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2008-07-13 12:57
Subject:The most awesomist music video... EVAR!!!


1 comment | post a comment

my journal