Archive for December, 2009

FINAL POST OF THE DECADE!!!

Posted in Stuff on December 29, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

Unless I absolutely feel the need to write something, this will serve as the final Big Daddy Gouda post of the decade.

And, as far as this blog goes,  I’ve come up with a fitting way to close out the last 10 years.

TOP 10 THINGS THAT I’LL REMEMBER ABOUT THE LAST 10 YEARS:

10. September 11, 2001: While I was not directly impacted by the terrorist attacks, being an American citizen I was indirectly affected. 9/11 is (unfortunately) one of the most historic things that ever happened in the history of this country and, along with millions of others, I watched it unfold live on the local news.

9. NICHOLAS PIZZA: Most of us can say we’ve had at least one job we loved. I can honestly say that about my pizza delivery job I held from 2001-2003. I had barely any responsibility, I absolutely loved my co-workers and, believe it or not, the money was really good. Nicholas Pizza on Water Street. The best job I ever had.

8. PARTY! PARTY! PARTY! The decade kicked-off  with what I’ll always remember as my favorite New Years Party ever, held at Jewett’s apartment just off campus at UCONN.  In the years that followed I did a hell of a lot more partying than I ever thought I would.  In the early part of the decade almost every Friday night was spent at bars in Hartford and as the decade draws to a close, area homeowners like Jay/Jamie, The Jewett’s and Gruzzy/Carie have opened their homes to picnics, parties and small get togethers. Here’s to hoping the tradition continues, even just a little bit, in the next decade.

7. WEDDINGS & BABIES: I must admit, I’ve been to some kick-ass weddings this decade. Goat and Carrie, Jewett and Gesette and of course, the legendary union of Aaron and Erin.  A few friends of mine even got married on a boat somewhere. And while the weddings were a blast it wasn’t long before the babies came. Now, most picnics and parties are populated by the wee-ones.

6. JOURNALISM: By chance I got a job as a reporter in August of 2007. I’ve basically been in the newspaper business since then.  It’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a career.

5. TURNING 30: Being a teenager, the thought of turning 30 was surreal. Too far away to truly comprehend. Since I hit the big 3-0 (ushered in brilliantly during a party at Jamie’s place) I’ve noticed subtle changes in my mind-set.  I’m more content to stay home. I worry more about money. I get anxiety about being single and childless. And while you really don’t get much more adult than 30, I still feel like that punk kid who thought being 30 makes you OLD.

4. HOME FOR SALE: My boyhood home went on the market in mid 2007. It didn’t sell. Since the ‘for sale’ signs went up nearly three years ago, my father and sister have left, leaving me as the sole occupant to a big ole house that once held so many. Recently Andy the puggle moved in and, as I’ve said before, has added a lot of energy to the place which is nice. But if you had told me 10 years ago that the last remaining occupants of The Gogolya Home (built 1934) would be myself and some half beagle/half pug, well, I would have called you a lying scumbag.

3. GRAM DIES:  My aunt Barbara said it best at Gram’s funeral: “It’s the end of an era”. And how right she was. I should have known that shortly after Gram passed, the family home would follow suit.  Never did the house shine as bright as it did when she was there.  Growing up, Gram truly was the glue that held the family together.  Relatives that I never see anymore would always stop by the house to visit. Especially around the holidays when they would take in Gram’s legendary cooking.

2. AIDAN NATHANIEL WEIK: No one has changed my life more in the last 10 years than little Aidan, born June 29, 2001. From the moment I visited him in the hospital the day he was born to this past Sunday, sitting in Dunkin Donuts before taking in Alvin & The Chipmunks, when he said to me, “Uncle Walt, What made God decide to create the world?”  Never have I enjoyed the decade more than the times I spent watching him grow up.

1. JULY 10, 2010:  That is the expected arrival date of the newest member to our family. Yep, just before Thanksgiving my sister informed me that she and her husband are expecting their first child in July, which will (finally) make me an “Uncle Walt” for real.

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10 Best Films of 2009

Posted in Movies on December 27, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

The last year of the decade really was an amazing year for movie fans.

Starting at the beginning of 09, great movies seemed to pop up at the cinemas every weekend.

Great movies I’ve seen this year are:

Taken, Observe and Report, Coraline,  Sunshine Cleaning, Away We Go, Star Trek, The Hangover, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Up, The Hurt Locker, Funny People, 500 Days of Summer, Inglorious Basterds, Drag Me To Hell, District 9, Precious, The Fantastic Mr Fox, Paranormal Activity, Julie & Julia, The Road, Invictus, Up In The Air, Avatar, and Sherlock Holmes.

But…for those of you who love lists….Here are my TOP 10:

10: STAR TREK: Great Story + Great Action + Great Acting = 10th best film I’ve seen this year.

9: FANTASTIC MR FOX: The second funniest (The Hangover) movie of the year.

8: THE ROAD: While this film is dark and depressing and leaves you with only a glimmer of hope for the future, it is a faithful adaptation of Cormac Macarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel and Viggo Mortensen gives an Oscar worthy performance.

7: Up In The Air: The story is simple and timely and the performances especially Clooney and Twilight’s (don’t hold that against her) Anna Kendrick are brilliant.

6. DISTRICT 9: A really cool alien Sci-Fi movie that unlike, say, Independence Day, shows what would prolly REALLY happen if spacemen ever landed on earth. The last image will stay with you long after the film ends.

5. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: The (second) best time I had at the movies this year. I’ve said it before and I’ll set it again, I’ll never forget that pretty boy sitting behind me in the theater screaming like a little bitch throughout the film. It comes out on DVD Tuesday. Check it out.

4. (500) Days of Summer: If you care, my original review is HERE and it still holds up 4 months later.

3. AVATAR: Don’t be turned off by the underwhelming previews. I almost was and I’m glad I went to see James Cameron’s gift to action movie fans . If you love movies you HAVE to see this film in 3D.  While the plot can be a bit clunky and almost a direct rip-off of Dances With Wolves (replacing Indians with Aliens), the action and special effects more than make up for any shortcomings. Best Special Effects/Visuals in the history of film. Really.

2. INGLORIOUS BASTERDS: Funny, moving and action packed. So good that teens everywhere may actually come to believe that Tarantino has changed history and WW2 truly did end in that French Cinema.

1. THE HANGOVER: Yep, the movie that made me laugh myself silly in June (twice) remains as my favorite film of the year. For me, when deciding how good a film truly is, I not only judge what I’m seeing on screen but how what I’m seeing makes me react.  I laughed from the second the movie began to the raunchy closing credits. The best comedy show I’ve been to in years is my favorite movie of 2009.

BEST FILMS OF THE DECADE

Posted in Movies on December 16, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

In keeping with my best of lists started last week with TV,  I will now run down MY 10 favorite films of the last 10 years.

Noticeably absent from this list is anything I’ve seen in 2009, since those films will be part of my annual Best Films list coming out either later this month or in early January.

And Here…We…Go..

1. THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY:  Yeah, you could argue and say, “Hey wait, that’s three movies!” but really it’s just one big ass film cut into thirds. The best trilogy to come along since Star Wars. And that’s saying a ton.

2. ALMOST FAMOUS

3. WALK THE LINE

4. MEMENTO: Trying to piece together the puzzle made this a fun experience at the cinema.

5. GLADIATOR: Russel Crow’s breakthrough role. A bad ass film with a scene stealing performance from Joaquin Pheonix.

6. MILLION DOLLAR BABY

7. OLD SCHOOL: The funniest film of the decade obviously makes it onto my Top 10. “You just took one in the jugular man!”

8. FINDING NEMO: After the TOY STORY movies Disney/Pixar took it to the next level with this story about fish.

9. KNOCKED UP: May have the best line of dialogue in romantic comedy history:

ALLISON: “I’m Pregnant”

BEN: “FUCK OFF”

ALLISON: “What!”

BEN: “What?”

ALLISON: “I’m pregnant”

BEN: “With….Emotion?”

ALLISON: :With a baby!”

10. HARRY POTTER & THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN: With the third film in the seven part series, this “children’s story” became much darker and took a turn for the better.

Best TUBE the decade had to offer

Posted in Stuff on December 7, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

It’s hard to believe that 10 years has flown by.  Every decade leading up to this one can be easily defined: Think the Vietnam/Hippie/Beatles era of the 60s, The disco 70s, The cheesy 80s and The Grungy 90s.

I’m guessing that when it’s all said and done, the first 10 years of the millenium will be remembered for its technological advances: iphone, ipod….hmm, The Apple Decade possibly?

Anyhow, Top “this and that” of the decade lists are popping up all over the place. I’ll try to do some over the next month starting today with:

TOP 10 SHOWS OF THE LAST 10 YEARS

1. THE SOPRANOS – Who’s gonna argue with that?

2. LOST – I can’t believe it all comes to a close in six months at which point it will ALL be explained. Right? Season 5 is now available on DVD, which means any ambitious person out there who still hasn’t caught on, can rent all the seasons just in time for the final season premiere in Feb.

3. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – don’t believe me? Rent it.

4. SIX FEET UNDER – The first HBO show I ever got into. I still miss the Fishers and all those dead bodies.

5. THE SHIELD – A great show made better by the series final few episodes and an ending where the main character, unlike say Tony Soprano, gets exactly what he deserves.

6. RESCUE ME – A show about firefighters in a post 9/11 world led by Dennis Leary- a loveable womanizing drunk.

7. NIP/TUCK – Soft core porn every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. for the past five years. Any young guy who says he doesn’t aspire to be Dr. Christian Troy when he grows up is a lying scumbag.

8. ENTOURAGE – Guys I can’t imagine NOT hanging out with every Sunday night during the summer.

9. 24 – Like watching a movie every week at  home for free.

10. SMALLVILLE – The only show about a famous superhero to ever actually work on TV. While Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk had cult followings, you have to admit those shows were pretty effing bad.

Andy’s Afternoon Adventure

Posted in Stories on December 2, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

“How’s the dog,” I asked my father, knowing he had stopped by the house during the day to pick up a few things.

“That’s a good question,” dad said, ominously.

As I cleared the lump from my throat and attempted to speak, dad beat me to the punch saying, “He’s fine, but you almost came home to no dog.”

Apparently, around 11 a.m. dad attempted to hook Andy to his chain and let him out the front door to do his business. Unfortunately, dad, with his arthritic hands and poor eyesight, missed the hook without realizing it.

Andy took a few steps down the sidewalk when his chain, which was laying loosely on his collar, fell casually to the ground with a clink.

The puggle looked at my father who was standing in the doorway, knowing that he was, for the first time…free.

Dad opened the door and calmly said, “Andy”.  That was the first mistake. The one time Andy got out on me, I raised my voice (which I never do) and he stopped dead in his tracks and came back inside, his head bowed, tail between his legs.

Dad, with his nonchalant call, was not going to convince the little rascal to come back. According to Dad, Andy bowed his head, his chin on the sidewalk and raised his backside into the air….He wanted to play.

Dad approached and like lighting, Andy the Puggle was gone, darting across the street into the neighbors back yard.

Dad pursued him, calmly calling his name. The closer he got, the further into the neighborhood Andy would run.

After about 10 minutes Dad went back to the house and got in his truck. He perused the neighborhood, calling for the dog out the window.

Occasionally, while weaving up and down the area streets he’d catch a glimpse of the puggle traipsing through someone’s yard, stopping to sniff a bush or a tree and then darting further into the woods when he heard my father call out to him.

After about a half hour Dad gave up and returned home, seemingly wondering how he was going to explain to me that he’d lost my dog and then probably wondering how I was going to explain it to Keely who would, in turn, have to explain to Aidan how sending the family dog to Uncle Walt may not have been the best idea.

Two hours had passed with no sign of the dog……

Then, as dad sat in the living room, he heard the unmistakable Italian accent of Mario Pesce, our neighbor for 40 years.

“Peter, Peter,” Mario yelled from across the street. “Zis youra dog!”

Dad looked out the front door and there was Mario, standing in his front yard, holding Andy by the collar.

According to the dad, the dog sat quietly, his tail thumping, until my father crossed the street to get him.

Mario snuck up on Andy, who he found in his back yard sniffing at his home-made wine barrels. He knew, from peeping out his window like all our nosy neighbors do, that Andy was a missing person.

So, it was no surprise to me that Andy, for the first time since I got him almost three weeks ago, was in no hurry to go outside when I arrived home from work at 6 p.m.

God only knows what he got himself into while running through our neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.

I’m only thankful that Mario did the honorable thing and returned the animal, instead of making sausage out of him that I’m sure would have gone oh so good with that wine that Andy found so appealing.

You better shape up Puggle or during my next trip to the grocery store, instead of doggy treats, I’ll  spend the money on chloroform, medium-sized Hefty bags and a shovel.