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Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 4 of 5: The Meijer Art Department

American Horse!

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, unless it threatens your life perforce…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

In Part 3 we walked you through the scenic greenery at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, years before a series of subsequent expansions turned it into one of Grand Rapids’ largest attractions. But as the name implies, we saw more than just gardens. Assorted sculptures are on display for the art lovers curious to see human creations in the natural mix. The largest piece by far is Nina Akamu’s 1999 The American Horse, which would be quite the destroyer if magic ever brought it to life.

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Yesterday’s Entertainment Repurposed

Event Horizons!

We talk, joke, and moan all the time about Hollywood’s constant reuse, recycling, and rebooting of the movies and TV shows of our childhoods and of the childhoods before ours. We enjoy, or just as often roll our eyes, when today’s musicians cover or sample all the favorite songs of previous generations to present echoes of them to new audiences repulsed by old stuff, regardless of its anointed “classic” status.

Last month we found one artist who asked: why stop with cannibalizing the works themselves? Why not repurpose their very containers? What if you take all those shiny, reflective objects that served as portals into our homes for Hollywood and the record labels alike, and converted them into brand new, abstract doorways to imagination?

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Best CDs of 2016 According to an Old Guy Who Bought 8

Violent Femmes!

Fun alt-rock crossover trivia: the cover art to this comeback is by Barenaked Ladies keyboardist Kevin Hearn.

It’s that time again! The annual entry where I look back at the previous year, marvel that I’m still buying new music at all, reaffirm my disinterest in digital, and boast how I’m one of eleven people nationwide still buying CDs. I don’t buy a lot of them, though. I rarely connect with the Top 40 acts that get all the social media attention. My favorite bands tend to be old and denied promotional push from their labels, assuming they still have a contract. I’m open to hearing new bands, but my styles of choice are narrowing over the years and I’m a lot less enamored nowadays of bratty whippersnappers who overestimate their own wisdom. Fortunately my finicky criteria don’t eliminate all musical acts. Yet.

Right this way for the countdown!

Old Guy with a PS3: Year 2 Results

Bioshock Infinite!

Pushing the boundaries of dark science fiction gaming: the dramatic Parisian cheese-shopping scene from Bioshock Infinite‘s DLC finale, “Burial at Sea – Episode 2”. Mmmm, brie.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, this time last year:

As a kid, I frequented video arcades regularly. As a parent, my son and I spent a good decade playing games together on his various systems. When he graduated and moved away to college, he took all his systems with him, leaving me with only my old Nintendo that won’t play cartridges unless you keep the Game Genie firmly inserted, and an Atari Plug-‘n’-Play Controller I got for Christmas a few years ago that interested me for about two weeks. On Black Friday 2014, I decided I wanted back in the 21st century gaming mode and picked up a used PS3.

Naturally I started off a generation behind the rest of the civilized world, but I didn’t care. After fifteen months without, holding a controller felt abnormal and rusty for the first few weeks. Once I got used to it again and figured out how to disable the “Digital Clear Motion Plus” feature on my TV, I could shake the dust off my trigger fingers, choose the games I wanted to play, sprint or meander through them at whatever pace I saw fit, and try some different universes beyond Final Fantasy and our other longtime mainstays. The following is a rundown of my first year’s worth of solo PS3 adventures…

So this was my 2016 in retro gaming, in two or three short sessions per week, in the order played and with my trophy percentages included to reinforce the fact that I’m neither a gaming wizard nor a helpless grandpa:

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My 2016 in Books and Graphic Novels, Part 2 of 2

Best books of 2016!

My ten personal favorites from the pile of 38, but not the only good ones in there.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Time again for the annual entry in which I remind myself how much I like reading things besides monthly comics, magazines, and tweets by self-promoters who pretended to care about anything I wrote exactly once each. Despite the lack of MCC entries about my reading matter, I’m always working on at least two books at a time in my ever-diminishing reading time. I refrain from full-on book reviews because nine times out of ten I’m finishing a given work decades after the rest of the world is already done and moved on from it. I don’t always care about site traffic, but when I do, it usually means leaving some extended thoughts and opinions unwritten due to irrelevance.

Presented over this entry and the next is my full list of books, graphic novels, and trade collections that I finished reading in 2016, mostly but not entirely in order of completion. As I whittle down the never-ending stack I’ve been stockpiling for literal decades, my long-term hope before I turn 70 is to get to the point where my reading list is more than, say, 40% new releases every year. That’s a lofty goal, but I can dream.

New for this year: I expanded the list to a full capsule summary apiece, because logophilia. I’ve divided the list into a two-part miniseries to post on back-to-back evenings (like they used to do with the ’66 Batman TV show) in order to ease up on the word count for busier readers.

Once more: onward!

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My 2016 in Books and Graphic Novels, Part 1 of 2

books 2016!

All 38 books on my list in order by size. For an explanation of the conscious lack of e-books in my literary diet, please enjoy this MCC treatise from 2013.

Time again for the annual entry in which I remind myself how much I like reading things besides monthly comics, magazines, and tweets by self-promoters who pretended to care about anything I wrote exactly once each. Despite the lack of MCC entries about my reading matter, I’m always working on at least two books at a time in my ever-diminishing reading time. I refrain from full-on book reviews because nine times out of ten I’m finishing a given work decades after the rest of the world is already done and moved on from it. I don’t always care about site traffic, but when I do, it usually means leaving some extended thoughts and opinions unwritten due to non-timeliness.

Presented over this entry and the next is my full list of books, graphic novels, and trade collections that I finished reading in 2016, mostly but not entirely in order of completion. As I whittle down the never-ending stack I’ve been stockpiling for literal decades, my long-term hope before I turn 70 is to get to the point where my reading list is more than, say, 40% new releases every year. That’s a lofty goal, but I can dream.

New for this year: I expanded the list to a full capsule summary apiece, because logophilia. I’ve divided the list into a two-part miniseries to post on back-to-back evenings (like they used to do with the ’66 Batman TV show) in order to ease up on the word count for busier readers. Onward!

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