Well, one out of three is a good batting average in baseball, anyway!
On April 29, the day after my birthday, my brother invited me out for supper. I took him up on it. We went here:
Ya gotta like burgers if you eat here. That’s what they do best.
It’s a fun place. So much fun that I couldn’t help playing with my food.
After supper we went over to where a band was putting on a free show. Rick Linzi and the Roustabouts does old time rock and roll, and they do it really well. The lead singer, Rick, is an Elvis Presley impersonator. He really looks the part, and has a very Elvis-like voice.
The drummer is Jim Marsella, and he is really great at it. I like to brag about him, because he is my brother-in-law and a very good friend. These guys are all fantastic musicians.
The show was paid for by Sanderson Ford, a local car dealership. They were also having a big hot rod show with many incredible cars for the public to admire. I went and took pix of some that I thought were really cool, though I admit, I would be really pleased to own any of these vehicles. They are all collectible, all great, and all require more attention and maintenance than I could ever give a car.
Looks like Ford is getting into the ecology business.
Neon motors. Ghostly.
Let’s make it a yellow cab.
Ford trucks. I think fire engine red like this is my favorite shade of crimson.
Steve Rogers must have come by the show. Here’s his car. Age of Ultron starts tomorrow. I keep seeing these movie reviews by people who are not comcs fans. I am not surprised that they don’t get it.
Some cars need a little extra room to breathe.
Beep, beep, my ass! These guys are heroes in the southwest,
Heh, this blog is Atroll’s Entertainment, and sometimes it is not about science fiction, fantasy, or gaming–just about what makes me happy in life. Food, cars, and rock & roll will keep me amused most of the time.
If you’ve seen any hot cars or listened to any great bands or had a good burger, and calories be damned, lately, why not leave a comment?
It’s no secret that I’m a gamer. Not a fanatical gamer, really–there are other things in my life more important than gaming, and there are many forms of gaming I will have nothing to do with, but on the whole, I support gaming for everyone. So, I’m a Tabletop fan of Wil Wheaton, and I’ve met him once at GenCon, and been in the same room with him perhaps half a dozen times, and he doesn’t know me from Adam, but that’s okay. I like the guy, and I admire what he does, but I’m not a fanboy. 68 year old game designers are a bit beyond the fanboy stage.
However, yesterday was National Tabletop Day, and in the spirit of the occasion, my son James, his friend Harley, and I went out to do some gaming with complete strangers outside the walls of my own castle. We found a new little game shop that just opened last January in west Phoenix, not too far from my place,. and spent about 5 hours there. During that time we played Magic, Munchkin, and Zombie Dice–alas, no Tunnels and Trolls. That would have required too much preparation and planning on my part, but now I know the venue is there, perhaps I will commandeer a table and run a game some time in the future.
Of course I took pictures. So, here’s what my National Tabletop Day looked like.
Here I am at the front door, taking a picture and capturing my reflection in the window.
The guy in blue behind the counter is Jeff. He is one of the partners who runs the place. He’s also the “card” guy and a champion Magic player. I was in a 5 way Commander game with him later in the afternoon.
Here I am showing off the store logo. The place provides free wifi, so if I ever wanted to bring a tablet or a laptop and connect to the internet . . .
My son James is the one who really got me moving and actually involved in Tabletop Day. Without his enthusiasm, I might have just stayed home with my other big interest–comics.
Most of the tables in the store were plain and functional. But they also had this beautiful painted table.
The store owners provided a feast–sub sandwiches, chips, and soft drinks all free for the gamers who showed up, and that food covered the painted table for most of the afternoon and evening.
They had various demo games available to play. This was the second game we played during the afternoon. Quick review: very well tied to the actual cartoon–funny, played well, but the cards were a little hard to read because of the font they used.
Now I’m jealous. I want a Tunnels and Trolls Munchkin variant.
We actually spent about 2/3 of our time playing this game. A 5-way Commander battle is not a short and easy undertaking. Harley wound up buying cards, so the shopkeepers did make some money from our visit. I’m thinking I might go back for some of their regular tournaments.
We weren’t the only gamers enjoying the place. Here’s a maximum-sized group playing Ticket to Ride.
And this group was playing Dixit. The redhead actually brought in a cake for the day–I had a small piece. So, how cool is that? I say, let’s encourage more girl gamers.
It was a very fine way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I feel like I should apologize to all my friends who spent their Tabletop Day at the Imperial Outpost (which, imho, is far and away the best gaming store in the whole Phoenix area–too bad it is so far away from me) way up on West Thunderbird Road in far northwest Phoenix. I considered going there for the day, but adding Harley to my group took me the opposite direction and it was just too far to travel. I’ve seen the pix of them at play, and they certainly appeared to be having a great time.
So, Saturday, I spent about 5 hours gaming, and over an hour in travel time. Got home a little after 9 p.m. and sacked out, completely exhausted by about 11.
If you went somewhere or did something special for National Tabletop Day, please go ahead and leave a comment.
On Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015, I drove 100 miles to eat dinner with my sister. Afterward, I got my brother-in-law to take me out for a ride in his rail. By Crom, that’s one tough buggy, it went up and down trails I wouldn’t want to tackle on foot. I got some pictures of the Arizona back country, and I’ll share them with you, but these are the tame pictures. I couldn’t take pix of the really wild fun stuff, because I was hanging on for dear life. Woooooooooo hooooooooooooo!
Granite Dells. Part of my ride was dominated by huge granite boulders. Trolls love this!
What you don’t realize in this picture is that I’m looking almost straight down, not straight ahead on the flat.
If you love to get out in the wild, or have ever taken a wild ride, why not leave a comment?
and I mean that in a good way. Once upon a time there was a small town called Sunnyslope. It existed just north of the city of Phoenix. And I lived there when I was in the 7th grade. In 1959 the community was annexed by Phoenix, because it had not yet managed to incorporate itself as a town. I was living there and attending 7th grade when it happened.
On Sunday afternoon, March 15, 2015, I went back to take my afternoon walk through the heart of old Sunnyslope. It doesn’t look much like it did when I was a kid riding my bicycle all over the place. I went back because I remember there being some strange statues up there. So, for the sheer heck of it, I took my camera and went hunting. This is what I found.
Both sides of the Dunlap Avenue have these weird flat iron sculptures lining the sidewalks. There are several different “people” shown here, but the same figure is repeated at least four times in different locations.
They all have the same general form and size, but the holes cut into them are different, and the head shapes and objects they hold can be different. They look a lot like tribal African figures.
The sidewalk in front of John C. Lincoln Hospital has some large, rather strange murals (for lack of a better word) set into it. The first one I noticed was the word Sunnyslope stretched out over about 60 feet. I could not get the whole word into a single photo.
A long shot of John C. Lincoln Hospital–one of the nicest hospitals in the city. I was a patient there back in 1968 when I rolled a City Delivery van down a mountain slope on 19th Avenue. It was a rather amazing high speed accident, and I was very lucky to survive. When they pulled my battered and bleeding body from the wreck, the ambulance took me to this hospital–it was the closest at the time–located at about 2nd Street and Dunlap.
As I walked east along the sidewalk, I found this man lying there casually connected by this stream of breath or smoke to . . .
. . . a pair of disembodied lungs, and that is connected to . . .
this other man–a mirror image of the first, but facing the opposite direction. You have to admit it is strange to find disembodied lungs on the sidewalk in front of a hospital.
This flatman appears to be female.
This one is holding a wizard’s staff. You can tell that it’s magical because it has a large gem or orb of some type at the top.
And then I found footprints in the rock.
walking east some more My shadow got into the picture here. Do you think this flatman is a doctor with a stethoscope? It is in front of a hospital.
what’s this? A brewery in the heart of Sunnyslope? I never knew this place was here. I saw some people sitting on a small patio, drinking beer. I asked a couple if it was very good, and they assured me it was.
So I went inside. The Diamondbacks were on television, playing a Spring training game with the Giants.
There were many tables inside, but I sat down at the bar and asked for their least expensive brew. The bartender, Lisa, asked if I wanted dark or light. I said I didn’t care–give me something good. So she gave me these two samples.
They were both good, but I chose the dark. She told me it was Scottish ale.
I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me. It occurred to me that I should get a picture of me in this place–evidence he called it.
He took two, using my camera, of me standing beside the brewery logo on the wall. This became my picture of the day for March 15, 2015. I’m not really all that wildly happy, but I thought a laughing, gesturing Ken would be more interesting than me just standing there. Another coincidence? I wind up inside a bar on the day when I’m wearing the only t-shirt I own that has anything alcoholic/drinkable on it. This green stuff in the bottle on my shirt is probably absinthe, and of course, Cthulhu is a strange and weird god.
After about an hour in the bar, I paid my bill and continued my walk. As I reached the corner of 5-points where Dunlap intersects with 7th Street, and Cave Creek Road angles off to the northeast, I found a flagpole with two flags. The Stars and Stripes flag is on top, and the tricolor below it is that of the Italian Republic circa 1946. That makes sense because the flagpole was in front of a big Italian restaurant, that I did not photograph, but I did not know what flag it was at the time.
The restaurant was on the end of a little strip mall running perpendicular to the street. There were two rather bizarre businesses here–this bony barber shop . . .
and a “House of Fashion” where the ladies of Sunnyslope can acquire elegant and sexy dresses.
There are two fiveway intersections in the city of Phoenix. This one is at 7th Street and Dunlap with Cave Creek Road running off to the northeast. The other is at 7th Avenue and Van Buren with Grand Avenue running off to the northwest. This one is on the north side of the city. The other is like a mirror image 9 miles south and 2 miles west of it.
Another view looking toward the hills east of town–hills with sunny slopes for which the place may have been named.
I crossed Dunlap and started back to where I had left my car, about 3/4 of a mile away, and immediately found this very strange garage. I mean, who names a garage after a character from Alice in Wonderland? This struck me as weird because I fancy myself as a bit of a Mad Hatter, and have created my own Mad Hatter costume.
Walking west, I found this cowboy on the sidewalk, or perhaps he was a miner. The hills around Sunnyslope were once full of old mines dug by prospectors in the 19th century.
A glowing rock next to a pickaxe? Definitely a symbol of mining.
Another one of our flat friends. He must not have liked me taking his picture without permission, because at this point my right calf began to hurt, and I went lame. I would limp back to the car from here.
Reaching Central Avenue, I found this remindrance of today’s namesake. The Ides of March is famous for the assassination of Julius Caesar. Little Caesar is here located next to another location famous for blades in use.
On the corner of Dunlap and Central there is a small grocery that apparently features some rather exotic booze. Perhaps I should have gone in and purchased some Devil ale, but I resisted temptation.
From here I crossed the street, got back into my car, and returned to my home, having finished my tour of everything worth seeing in downtown Sunnyslope.
If you’ve ever found weird stuff in a small town, or even just a small section of the city, why not leave a comment?
Friday evening, February 20, 2015, I accepted an invitation from my artist friend Gilead to come to an art show at a local Phoenix brewery. I did not go for the booze, but just to see my friend and admire whatever art might be present. I found the place at 30th Street and Washington and went inside, where I talked to my friend, and chatted with other artists and craftsmen. I stayed about an hour, and tried to take at least once picture of everything worth seeing.
Brewery front door at 30th Street and Washington in Phoenix.
Gilead and his wife Stellar. Gilead does the best goblins and monsters.
Gilead’s painting: Swordsman meets big lizard.
Artist in early stages of painting.
I’m fond of pretty rocks. This shows me something I could do with them.
Rings and things, originals for ladies. Royal purple–a great color.
More hand-crafted jewelry. Husband and wife artist team–I have seen them before at local sci-fi conventions.
I think it’s going to be Batman.
Just plain strange. I have no idea where this painting is going.
The musician thinks everyone came to listen to him. He wasn’t bad, but nobody came to listen to him.
Breweries seem to be about big aluminum tanks. Who knew?
No idea what is inside them. The tanks are not labeled.
Art on the wall in the back room–1.
Art on the wall–2
Art on the wall–3
Art on the wall–4
Art on the wall–5
Art on the wall–6.
Art on the wall–7.
The cafe/pub side of the brewery. It’s a small room, smaller than my living room at home.
Another artist at work. He works small, but it’s fantasy.
Tanks for the memories.
Best in show–imho. It took me a day to get it. This is a picture of Fox and Mulder in an alien encounter of the worst kind.
The pictures are displayed in the order in which I took them. After a little less than an hour of walking around looking at things and talking to artists, I took my leave.
If you’ve ever gone to an art show that was a bit underwhelming, why not leave a comment?
This morning I went out with a friend to go bargain hunting at thrift shops around Phoenix. There are a lot of these stores in town. People give their unwanted STUFF to the thrift store which turns around and resells it for about 1/10 of its current retail value as a new item. While you can’t always find what you want, you can usually find interesting stuff, and frankly, I don’t know why anyone would ever buy clothing new from a department store again. It is kind of like treasure hunting, only I’m not using a x-marked map or a metal detector, just my own keen instinct for a good deal when I see one.
So . . . we visited 3 stores–it took about 3 hours. My friend bought stuff in two stores, and I bought about $9 worth in the third. Her purchases weren’t very exciting to me, and I don’t think she was thrilled with the stuff I picked up, but that’s what makes it fun. Different strokes for different folks, and so on and so on and shooby dooby doo-beeee!
Anyway, I got a few pictures of the expedition, and thought I’d show you what passes for treasure when I go out hunting.
I like to take selfies that are unusual reflections of me. I really liked this faux metallic goblet, but have absolutely no use for it in my house, so I didn’t buy it. Can you see my distorted image in it?
The next bunch of pictures is all knick-knackery that I thought was cool–just not quite cool enough to actually buy and take home to an apartment already full of way too much junk. This is kitschy stuff–I am such a lowbrow.
This store in Glendale had all kinds of stuff that tickled my fancy, but didn’t quite get me to break open my wallet.
Porcelain bobble-head Uncle Sam. He reminds me of old pictures of President Andrew jackson.
Buccaneer with pet monkey carrying off a lot of treasure.
Painted porcelain snail. The other side of his shell features flowers and butterflies.
Princess Ariel in human form and the kitty. Only, this kitty is for collecting coins–a kitty bank instead of a piggy bank.
Cute stuff, don’t you think? But none of it has any place in a manly man’s house. (ha!)
So what did I buy? A dozen plastic shirt-hangers for $1, a new light-weight belt to hold my pants up, and the three items shown in the picture below.
Here I am with my trasure finds of the day–none of which cost over $3.
I have been playing Risk for more than 40 years now, but I’ve never owned the game. Got this one for $1.99. My 23 year-old son has never played Risk. Gonna teach him the game before the day is over.
I have never been a fan of twinkly vampires and I did not read the Twilight series when it was popular, but this media tie-in game comes in a tin box worth the $2.50 price by itself. If all else fails, I can wash it out and use it as a cookie container. The game board design shown on the back also looks interesting.
And lastly, another baseball cap, but not just any cap. This one has Jack from Jack-in-the-Box on it. I have never seen a Jack baseball cap before, and it is like new. Worth $1 for it? You bet! As an unregenerate fan of junk food, how could I pass up to show my allegiance to jaunty Jack? I couldn’t.
If you’ve ever gone Goodwill hunting, why not leave a comment?
Oops, the negative side of my personality is coming out, but Mr. Marx is so persuasive. I just want to join his little song and dance, usually several times a day, and definitely more than once a week. (If you listen to the song, you’ll notice that Groucho really has a very good voice.)
Groucho sang this in a movie called Horsefeathers back in 1932, I don’t think I ever saw that whole movie. Just one more thing for the bucket list: watch all the Groucho movies before I die.
Song: I’m Against It
I don’t know what they have to say
it makes no difference anyway
Whatever it is, I’m against it
No matter what it is or who commenced it
I’m against it
Your proposition may be good
but let’s have one thing understood
Whatever it is, I’m against it
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it
I’m against it
I’m opposed to it
on general principle
I’m opposed to it
He’s opposed to it
In fact, indeed that he’s opposed to it!
For months before my son was born
I used to yell from night to morn
Whatever it is, I’m against it
And I’ve been yelling since I first commenced it
I’m against it
If you’ve ever been against anything, why not leave a comment?