Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another New Addition

The baby making craziness continues!

Congratulations to my cousin Trevor and Misty...and Grandma Nancy. This is their new little boy, Titus Dean. I have it from a reliable source that he's cute as a button.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Top Movies of the 90's

I don't think it's enough to stop at 1989. I think it is time to unveil the top movies of the 90's.

This is an old list. My college roommate Steve and I compiled this list one day when we should have been doing something more productive...homework, studying, cleaning, making the world better for humanity, but no we decided it would be more fun to make a list of movies and then debate with each other for hours (or days) about it. I have not gone back to revise this list since then, but I may and you'll be the first to know when I have.

Again, I will only reveal the top 10. The other 15 I'll save for some other day. Without further ado, here they are:

1. The Shawshank Redemption - Stephen King...Morgan Freeman narrating...hope is a good thing...I hope the ocean is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I almost cry just thinking about it.

2. Schindler's List - I've only watched it once. Remember, this isn't a favorites list. This is about merit in filmmaking...merit, I say.

3. Leaving Las Vegas - You know what, I've only seen this one once also, but my was it good that one time.

4. Unforgiven - Morgan Freeman returns to the list again. Oh, and Clint Eastwood is there too, but really it is all about Morgan. (I have a cousin with the same name, you know, but the cousin is white and a girl...same name, though.)

5. Good Will Hunting - A math genius that gets the girl in the end...how could I not like this?

6. The American President - This list is also about favorites and I have most of this movie memorized so I guess that counts.

7. Philadelphia - Merit in film making, people...that's what this list is all about. Oscar nominees aplenty right here. (Or was this list about favorites...both...I don't know anymore.)

8. Braveheart - There was blood. There were epic battles. There was love. There were men in kilts mooning the Brits. And don't forget a man was disemboweled for his efforts...that's doesn't happen in every movie, only the very special ones.

9. Seven - I watched this in a frigid movie theater in Lincoln. When the sloth guy wakes up, everyone in the room left their seats briefly. After the giggling subsided, all that could be heard was the faint sound a water trickling to the front of the theater. (Okay, okay...I made that last bit up, but it could have been true.)

10. American Beauty - I watched this one in Salt Lake City. I may have been the only person leaving the theater that wasn't completely disgusted. That says something profound. When I realize what it is, I'll let you know.

Hmmm...the 90's must have been a less happy decade than the 80's. That or there is something to be said about the subtle difference between "top movie" and "favorite movie".

Friday, June 15, 2007

Favorite 80's Movies

Though the derision of my coworkers was in full flower when I mentioned that I had compiled a list of my favorite movies from the 80's, I am undaunted in my nerdy pursuits.

These sorts of lists are nearly impossible to compile without some study (and really what could be more fun than studying movies). The problems are one part coming up with all those movie titles, one part putting them in an order that isn't embarrasing but not Roger Ebert, and the largest part is knowing what was truly an 80's film (don't let The Wedding Singer fool you). I saw none of these films in a theatre. Most of these films weren't even rentals. The bulk of all my 80's movie moments came at home dialed into some UHF station out of Dallas.

As an illustration of the previous statement and a confession of sorts, I was out of college and contently sitting in the 21st century the first time I watched The Princess Bride. That shapes the experience and contorts the list.

The following is a list of my ten favorite 80's movies (don't worry the complete list goes up to fifty, but more on that later). The list has little to do with merit in film making. These are the movies I watch to be sent back in time and removed from the world around me just as I was transported the first time I watched them (in other words because they make me happy for 2 hours).

The Goonies


And who wouldn't want to be a Goonie? I ask you again...who?

Uncle Buck

And what if you could be a Goonie and have an uncle like Buck? Small slice of heaven, that's what.

Return of the Jedi


It's maybe not as good as Empire Strikes Back, but it has a happier ending...and Ewoks.

Empire Strikes Back


Yoda...need I say more?

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade


Was is Sean Connery that made it great or was it the blonde Nazi? Maybe both.

Ghostbusters


They had me at Slimer.

Beetlejuice


Micheal Keaton was in the movie for only 17.5 minutes, but what wonderful minutes they were. (And you have to be impressed with that bit of trivia, don't you?)

The Abyss


Honestly, I hold my breath through most of the movie. The lack of oxygen may enhance the movie watching experience.

The Last Starfighter

The Last Starfighter fulfills the fantasy of every video gaming boy in the world.

The Explorers


Oh the things I would have given to build my own spaceship and meet aliens that do stand up. Seriously, there is no number of things.

And with that I've let my inner nerd free to wander out in the world. I hope he comes back. I'm not much without him.

Monday, June 4, 2007

I ask that you indulge me for a minute. I'm going to do something I don't do much of...I'm going to talk about my feelings. Ugh...it hurts to even type it.

I was sitting in my silent apartment this past Sunday evening thinking about life. Where I’ve been, where I’m going, the people I’ve met and left behind along the way. It happens on Sunday nights sometimes that I need to do such a thing - a meditation of sorts. It was in the middle of these thoughts that I realized it was about this time ten years ago when I first met Thaddeus. So convinced was I that this remarkable friendship anniversary was near that I scurried upstairs to find my journals. (And yes I have journals and that's how I keep track of all the stories I tell about people - you don't expect me to remember all of this stuff on my own, do you?)


Thaddeus is mentioned for the first time on
June 15, 1997 and my words weren’t necessarily kind. Though I share it hesitantly, my journal from that day read, “Also two weeks ago we got Thaddeus and Jeremy. Today, we got Megan. I am suppose to train them. Thaddeus is suppose to be a manager and soon. I personally don't care for him no matter how well he is doing. Jeremy showed promise and then faded. Megan is just another nail in the coffin. Training is aggravating and always has been. I don't understand why others cannot learn as fast as I did and it frustrates me to no end. Thaddeus is especially troublesome because Tony can't or won't be nice to him.”

I have only the vaguest memory of Megan and I’m guessing Jeremy was the kid we’d later call Wa-boy, or however one would spell it. Tony was my most reliable closer and a redneck and a bigot come to think of it, but he got the job done and in those days that’s all I needed. Thaddeus was just one more thing in a list of things I didn’t need to deal with while the store manager was away on his reserve duty. Chances are I wouldn’t have liked him if Mother Teresa herself had recommended him.


Thaddeus wouldn’t get another mention in my journal until December as I recounted all the manager trainees that had come passing through my world. His name then pops up from time to time as I record the folly of my job and the politics of life in a pizza making world. Each time he was mentioned I found more good things to say about him - even defending my decision to my coworkers to spend an evening with Thaddeus and his wife in February. I believe there was free ice cream involved.


People who know me well may be aware that the word friend is not one that I throw around lightly. I have a remarkable capacity for keeping people at a distance never trusting them, me or the trials and tribulations of time. I often have questioned whether friendship can be a lasting commodity at all. In the course of one year Thaddeus showed up in a my journal numerous times and even in May, nearly a year after I first met him, I was still conducting a debate on whether to call him friend.


Then on
June 8, 1998, a year after I dismissed him as a nuisance, I wrote the following:

“When you are 65, married, and have grandchildren, will you remember the Fonck household,” Thaddeus asked.

“I think I will. I remember a lot of things,” I responded.

And I will remember. I will remember today as I sat in the golf cart making myself as small as possible trying to avoid the rain pouring down. I will remember wondering what it was that possessed me to stand out on a golf course in the first place, but I will also remember the answer. Right now, he is the best friend I have in the world. Many at work dislike him and they have their reasons, but I like him and probably always will. Our politics and personalities may differ, but in the end we enjoy each others company and that is all that it takes to be friends.


Yes, I will remember those nights in the Fonck home for a long, long time.

I don’t remember all the nights anymore, but that has been because so many have come and gone. I can’t count the nights staying up till 3 talking about politics, religion and whatever else it was that we thought was important. I can’t tally the nights we’d kill things on our computer screens until the sun came up.

We’ve had our rough patches along the road, but the stories are now so numerous and colorful that the arduous trip to Salt Lake City, the week in Branson and all the game nights and golf outings come together as one beautiful, vibrant quilt. Who can forget the night chasing would be criminals while enjoying the Volvo’s heated seats, the long night with the computer monitor that just wouldn’t work, the rainy night the dishwasher launched itself from the truck bed to the middle of the freeway or any of the countless times we found ourselves aching over a good laugh (from blowing bubbles in his Mountain Dew with two straws up his nose, for instance).

I don’t know what it was or even what it is that brought us and kept us together, but I’m thankful for it. My life is dotted with friendships I was unable or unwilling to maintain across miles and years. I’ve moved through four states and thousands of miles in the last ten years and still I go back to visit him (not as often as I should) and his kids even call me Uncle Brent. A price can’t be placed on that.


All those years ago I was wondering whether he was a friend at all and now he’s a brother I never knew I had. It would have been very easy in 1997 to have ignored Thaddeus and discarded him. That wasn’t my best year and making a new friend wasn’t on the top of my priority list, but Thaddeus persisted and conned me with free food and heated seats and my world has been forever bettered by it.