Mario’s Tahoe Journal

In the interest of converting my entire collection of physical representations of childhood memories into eternal digital archives, I’m scanning pages from Mario’s Tahoe Journal, my old pen-and-binder-paper-powered diary of our family trips to the alpine lake back in the 90s. You can now read the pages on this very blog! I’ve posted them with their original dates and typed them out as accurately as I can (misspellings and sullen teenage angst and all), and included photos I had taken during the same trips. They will all be posted under a single category for reference, which can be found here:

Mario’s Tahoe Journal

Please note that the opinions I had expressed as a teenager of siblings and peers do not reflect current opinions of same individuals. These entries are being posted unedited for posterity. I have nothing but love for my family and those we traveled with all those years ago. Blame the hormones, and forgive Baby Mario his transgressions.

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Blogsolidation

OB_IMG - LiveJournal Logo In the interest of combining stuff I’ve made in the past for posterity’s sake, I have imported all of my posts from my defunct LiveJournal account into Dot Matrix’s archives. The posts have been grouped together in the handy “LiveJournal Archive” category for anyone interested in seeing my random musings from all the way back in ’03! Or you can be sane and ignore them completely. Still, nice to see that WordPress is so capable; the process was quick and easy, and even carried over comments!

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In which I bake: chocolate chip cloud cookies

After a minor plumbing emergency last night, the household was in need of some relief in the form of delicious desserts. I stepped up and threw together a great treat I’ve made maybe once or twice in my life before, a heapin’ batch of chocolate chip cloud cookies!

I’m no baking expert (cookologist? mixmaster?), so I did what I always do in such situations and googled the recipe. Found a nice one from Free Cooking Recipes, which apparently offers free cooking recipes (I chose them because the recipe was more in tune with most of the ingredients in our house at that exact moment). I got a little extra enjoyment out of the project because I can still remember when I first made and tried a cloud cookie, back in middle school cooking class. Gotta love how strongly food can be tied to memory (especially me, since I generally have lousy memory).

I was a little hasty pulling them out of the oven (a common flaw on my part when it comes to making food; I just get hungry!), so the chocolate chips didn’t all melt as much as they could have, but overall they came out pretty much like I remembered them, light and crumbly and delicious. Natalie said they looked like cat turds, but hopefully they tasted better than that. I thought they did, though I have little basis of comparison.

Cinematic Titanic's The Oozing Skull! TODAY!

After several weeks of feverishly rifling through all those pesky credit card offers and no-doubt meaningless “bills”, my copy of Cinematic Titanic‘s “The Oozing Skull” arrived in the mailbox today. I absolutely loved it, but I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the rather lackluster packaging, because minutiae is cool.

The disc came sealed in a paper CD sleeve covered in mailing information that I had to damage to open, and the media was all smudged up! A quick rub of the ol’ iPhone chamois made it good as new, but if EZTakes wants people to use their patented movie delivery system, they gotta work on the presentation. In their defense, they primarily appear to do video downloads with the ability to burn to DVD and print cover art from their nifty-looking client application (I thank whatever deity is listening that they had the wherewithal to make a Mac version of their app; I’m waiting, RiffTrax Player!), but this is of little consolation as I can’t figure out any way to access The Oozing Skull’s artwork. Frustrating, but I will try to keep it all in perspective, as Joel and Friends probably have little control over the distribution schema. Once they secure the rights to sell their movies as downloads, I’ll be a much happier little human (plus I’ll save $2.99, enough to buy a two-man RiffTrax!).

But yes, the movie! The Oozing Skull, originally titled “Brain of Blood” (I sure must seem precocious the way I repackage press releases so it looks like I know a lot about obscure 70s Z-movies; I’m probably just being an asshole or something), was a sight to behold. Stilted line delivery, midgetsploitation, and gobs and gobs of red paint blood. These are the elements of a great MST3K episode, so it stood to reason that it would make for equally great riffing fare for a bunch of the guys that were involved in that puppet show. And it did! Even if only in silhouette form (or perhaps because of it), I couldn’t have been happier to see Joel, Trace, Frank, J. “Elvis” (as I can only assume he is known to his friends) and Mary Jo again (though I at least got to hear her voice and read her amusing iWeb blog in recent memory), talking while the movie is playing. Don’t they realize they might miss the good stuff? (I kid, I kid) I loved the paused movie sketches, Trace’s visual gags, Josh’s theme song (which I simply must make into a fashionable ringtone soon), and Frank dropping references far over my uncultured simpleton of a head.

Though I’ve been quite happy with my RiffTraxes and my The Film Crewseses, there’s just something extra-special about seeing the folks doing the heckling. Unfortunately, Jim Mallon and Best Brains, Inc. own the trademark on people sitting down and watching a movie in a theater setting, so I was quite excited to see Joel’s clever workaround of people sitting down in office chairs and watching a movie in a non-theater setting! Obzoive!


“Come along with us, to the glorious, annual Ugly Mug Ball!” That… wasn’t from the movie, I made it up. The actual stuff is much funnier, I just love a good Summer Magic reference.

This has seriously been my one single complaint with Mike Nelson’s otherwise stellar riffing projects, so needless to say, I’m pumped about the prospect of seeing more outlines of people to go with all the talky-talking. I’m not gonna try to get in a Mike vs. Joel fight with anyone here, they’re like my Midwestern older-than-me children. I publicly claim to love them equally! And really, more making fun of movies we shouldn’t be dredging up in the first place can only be a good thing for us fans in the end.

So march onward, Cinematic Titanic guys and girl! Continue to deliver quality content, possibly with the downloads the kids are talking about these days! And maybe do more crossover work with Mike and Kevin and Bill, they’re nice guys!! We like it very much.

And yes, Josh Elvis, I do remember you.

Hope for a better future (or at least one with less sniffling)

I am unfortunately stricken with a wide array of allergies. Pollen is the big one, but any day the wind picks up slightly, I usually have to pack the Loratadine and tissues. So any time I come across an article regarding the study of new allergy treatments, I get psyched, even if I never hear any followup ever again. Scientists at the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research have pinpointed a gene (GATA-3, for you gene freaks out there) that “block[s] the development of regulatory T-cells in the immune system by locking another gene. This gene, FOXP3, is key to regulatory T cells and when it is blocked new regulatory T cells stop being produced”. The article sums up how allergies work sufficiently, so go read that for further information, but the bottom line is that they hope to learn how to build tolerance in our weak-ass immune systems. My nose’s hopes and prayers go out to you, scientist guys.

(courtesy of Science Blog)

A rare foray into the realm of political discussion on my part, in order to help this guy I know

Hey all you people in California’s 15th District! You should seriously vote for Peter Myers for U.S. House of Representatives. I don’t live there anymore (District 1 in the hizzy!), but as a longtime resident of “Ol’ Fiffy” (as it is commonly known), I feel that Mr. Myers (I don’t actually call him that) would be an excellent candidate for the position. Even if you don’t reside in that particular(ly awesome) congressional district, you can help out in his grassroots campaign by clicking the following link a couple dozen times and spiking up his Google ranking:

Peter Myers for U.S. Congress

While you’re there, you can check out how he stands on various issues, read his campaign blog, and contact him to show your support! The site appears to still be a bit under construction (by cool guy Paul), so keep checking back, join the mailing list, or subscribe to an RSS feed or two. Good luck, Peter!

"How come you almost never see a smart person's belly?"

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD

What do you do when you have a secret that you really want to blog about, but feel like you probably shouldn’t divulge too much out of turn? I guess in my case I drop hints. Please visit the following website in about 5 minutes:

( – on )

+

+

+

+ ( – t )

Yeah, that should keep you guessing for the time being. Seriously, this is glorious stuff impending.

Apparently there’s a war on Christmas?

Roland S. Martin from CNN just posted this little commentary about how there’s a “push to remove Christ from the Christmas season”. I’m sorry, but is that actually true? I’ve never once been chastised for saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”. I’ve never heard anyone refer to a Christmas tree as a “holiday tree”. And which Christ-mentioning songs have been “axed”, and in what capacity? He’s not backing up any of his statements, he’s simply putting assertions out there and assumes that the reader buys into them.

Well I don’t!

The only situation where I could agree with him would be in the realm of marketing, but there’s a damn good reason for it. When a company is selling a product in the month of December, they’re potentially selling to people who observe other holidays as well as Christmas celebrators. Though he claims to be respectful of other religions, he’s basically saying that this time of year is about Christmas and Christmas alone (screw Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Solstice). Do you think that maybe a gift being sold on Amazon or eBay that doesn’t contain some element of a Santa hat could be sold to someone that intends to give it to someone else on a day other than December 25th?

Because December contains so many prominent holidays, there’s nothing wrong with wishing someone “Happy Holidays”, because you very well might not know what the recipient of the well-wishing celebrates. That said, I’ll say “Merry Christmas” to anyone regardless, and I fully welcome them to return a “Happy Hanukkah”, “Habari Gani?” or whatever else they deem appropriate to the occasion. “Right back atcha!” or “Aaay!” would probably be okay too. But I’ve never felt any semblance of societal pressure to withhold my personal religious beliefs, so I’m really having a lot of trouble seeing where Mr. Martin is coming from on this one.

Also, what’s wrong with giving gifts? It’s not like I’m just hemorrhaging my hard-earned money for people I don’t even like. ‘m just hemorrhaging my hard-earned money for people I do like, because I think they’re awesome people that deserve it. I haven’t lost sight of what the holiday means to me, and I don’t feel any pressure to open my wallet any more than I’m comfortable doing; if I were broke, I’m sure my family and friends would understand receiving tacos on Christmas morning. I mean, tacos are delicious, after all.

You want something to complain about regarding Christmas? TBS has announced that they’ll once again be playing A Christmas Story for 24 hours straight, just a few days from now. That right there is an affront to the sanctity of the holiday. I love that film, but how many times in the same day can you watch Flick stretching his tongue in a vain attempt to excise it from the frozen pole? Apparently the answer is 12 times.

But I’m genuinely curious: anyone here bear witness to a war on Christmas lately?