Welcome to our web site. For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!

02/22/16: Today was the 30th anniversary of our first date. The fact that I remember the date on which I first took Stephie out surprises some people, but I lucked out on that. Back in 1986, a bunch of us from the Dominick's we worked at went down to Division Street to celebrate a couple birthdays, one of which was Stephie's. I took her home that night and wound up talking to her in front of her place for a long time before she went in. I asked her to go out with me the following Saturday, so as long as I can remember her birthday, I add seven days to that and it's our first date anniversary!
     Since we were celebrating thirty years, we planned something nice, but not too nice because I'm currently not working. We went to the Chew-Chew restaurant in Riverside. We had a great meal, then went home afterwards, where I noted that thirty years ago on our first date, we went to the show, then to dinner, then out dancing. This year, we went to dinner then went back home where I couldn't stop yawning because I was tired, and Stephie immediately put on her pajamas. It's good to know the magic is still there.

02/18/16: One of the benefits of not having a job is that I can stay out as late as I like since I don't have to get up early the next day to go to work, and that really worked in my favor last night when Stephie and I went to the United Center to see and hear AC/DC. Stephie always wanted to see them play, and I was "working from home" a few months ago when the tickets went on sale so I was able to get two.
     I saw the band play once, back in 1979, when they opened for Cheap Trick at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds on the 4th of July. That show was right before the Highway to Hell album was released, and Bon Scott was still lead singer. (Funny side note: I remember that show being Cheap Trick, AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, and Steve Dahl and Teenage Radiation. When I looked that show up on the 'net, I was surprised that there was another band listed. Apparently The Babys played after AC/DC and I don't remember them at all! It took me a while to remember, but I think I took a nap at one point during the day-long event. We left home early that day and everyone in the car but me slept the whole way there, so I caught some ZZZs at what I thought would be a low point in the show. I think I picked the right time.)
     AC/DC was in fine form yesterday, although I was not too impressed by the venue. This was the first time either of us were at an event at the United Center, and I thought the seats were uncomfortable, there was very little leg room, and on top of the expensive tickets, the parking fees were outrageous. (Granted the other show was over 35 years ago, but it cost more just to park last night than it did for me and my date to get into that show in Rockford!) We tried to buy two bottles of water and they wouldn't sell it to us in the plastic bottles. They insisted in pouring the water into a plastic cup. Still can't figure out the logic of that.

     As we walked across the lot to the building, there were a few people standing around with something blinking on their heads. As we got closer, I could see that they were devil horns like Angus wore on the cover of Highway to Hell. I don't recall how much they were at the concession stand, but they obviously sold a lot, as you can see from this brief clip from the show. Almost every song ended with the stage going dark, and all we could see was the hundreds of pairs of blinking horns in the audience.
     AC/DC put on a great show, and I'm glad we got to see them. Since Stephie and I've been together, I've tried to take her to see all the bands she "always wanted to see", and AC/DC is one of the few who are still touring. But as we left, we agreed it would take someone very, very special to get us to go to the United Center again. I'd really like to see Iron Maiden again, since I like their new album and I don't know how many tours they have left in them, but while I had been on the fence about going to their upcoming show, the fact that it's at the UC means that I'll miss them this year.

02/15/16: Today is a good day and a bad day. We spent yesterday at my parent's house, celebrating today's dual birthdays of Stephie and my Dad. As is the case whenever we get together with family, we had a great time. But it's also a bad day because today is my last official day at work. I've actually been home since the first of the year, only going in the office on my WITS days. (I'd volunteered a couple of years ago for that program, where they would bring third-graders into the office for an hour on Tuesdays so that we could read with them. It's a great program and I'll really treasured the time I spent with the students I tutored.)
     So thanks to the Saudi's, who sunk oil prices over a year ago, I'm one of the latest victims of corporate restructuring in the wake of falling profits. Wish me luck on the job market.

02/05/16: Lately I've been in the mood to watch some serials that I'd picked up over the years and hadn't got 'round to viewing. I recently finished Drums of Fu Manchu and The Hope Diamond Mystery, both of which I got from The Serial Squadron and both of which were excellent. The Hope Diamond Mystery was silent, and was one of Boris Karloff's first major roles. Fun stuff.
     A few years ago, The Serial Squadron tried something a little different when they put out a DVD "magazine" which contained individual episodes of lesser-known serials. The idea was that it was like one of the old pulp anthologies, where each issue would contain a few stand-alone stories and portions of other, longer pieces. The DVD experiment was apparently a failure, as only four "issues" were released (although their site lists issue 5 as "scheduled for future release.") One of the bits they included was chapter 1 of Adventures of the Flying Cadets, a Universal serial from 1943 starring some of the Bowery Boys/Dead End Kids, along with Eduardo Ciannelli (a favorite of mine) and the seemingly-ubiquitous (for his time) Robert Armstrong. They only restored chapter 1, but I liked it and when I noticed that someone posted the complete thing on Usenet, I downloaded it.
     The serials of the day were done quickly and cheaply and aimed primarily at adolescent males, so they don't usually feature top-notch dialogue, but there was one bit in the Flying Cadets episode I watched today that I thought was great. The kids are in Africa, and are caught in the middle of a dispute between some sterotypical arabs and some stereotypical Nazis, when one kid takes off and comes running back with armfuls of arabian robes. One kid asks him where he got them, and he replies, "I took 'em off some good Nazis." "What d'you mean, good Nazis?" his friend asks. "Dead ones!" is his triumphant reply. I laughed so hard I had to rewind it and watch the scene again. They don't write movies like that any more.

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