Thursday, January 31, 2013

the top ten coolest things of 2011

Okay, its finally here... you've been waiting all year for this... well, all last year for this, and here it is, only one solid year later... the Top Ten Coolest Things of 2011...

The 10th Coolest Thing of 2011... Tyler Gets Engaged
Its a little hard to imagine, but my brother in law got engaged in 2011.  Young Tyler Campbell, who I remember meeting at The Deuce back in the day, playing pogs and annoying My Best Mate Wookiee... Young Tyler Campbell, who we watched grow up, first with little hair, then with shaggy hair, and now with short, short hair and a beard... he finally found the one he liked, that being Brynn Bralley, this incredibly small little thing with a big smile and a warm heart.   He asked, she said yes, and it was on.  (expect the wedding to be a part of 2012's list)

The 9th Coolest Thing of 2011... Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2
I reviewed this movie mere moments after I watched it, and here's part of my review:

All in all, this is the best of the Harry Potter series. I think if you have only seen the movies, you will have a few questions and you'll find a few holes... and if you have read the book, you'll be like me, and have questions that start with, "I wonder why they did/didn't..." However, because of the scope and size of the book, I think you will agree that they did the best that could have been done. The screenwriter, Steve Kloves, got it right... absolutely right, and almost perfect.

And as the camera panned away from Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, and the familiar music came on and credit rolled, I had only one thought...

All is well.

You can read the full review by clicking here

The 8th Coolest Thing of 2011... 2nd & Charles
To say I was overwhelmed the first time I walked into this store is a bit of an understatement.  I was blown away.  2nd & Charles is really a used bookstore, but its huge... and not only do they have thousands upon thousands of used books, but also thousands of used CDs... and comic books... and DVDs... and record albums... and videos... and Blu Rays... and hundreds of electronics... and even fun t-shirts... I spent a good two hours the first time, and that was nothing but in the CDs and movies... it was a bit reeeedonkulous, but its worth it.  Their music is bargain priced, the movies are also cheap, and its a great place to hunt up used books.

The 7th Coolest Thing of 2011... "Rolling in the Deep"
The first time I heard this tune, I was driving across Mississippi, headed towards the other side to see The Revr'n Ty Coffey get married... The Lovely Steph Leann in the front seat, Shawn Sharp in the back, and this cool riff and this awesome vocals streaming out of my satellite radio, "There's a fire burning in my heart..."

Much in the same way I was mesmerized by KT Tunstall's "Black Horse in the Cherry Tree" with her multiple layers of vocals, smart instrumentals and great, if not somewhat puzzling metaphors, "Rolling in the Deep" drew me in and never let me go.  Adele rules. 

The 6th Coolest Thing of 2011... The Deucecast
Text from Mikey, circa February 2011:  Hey man, I got an idea
Text response from me, within a minute or so:  Sure, what's up?
Text from Mikey: So, wanna do a podcast with me?
Text response from me:  Dude!?  Seriously!?!
Text from Mikey:  Yeah.  I think it would be awesome
Text response from me:  I had been thinking of doing a podcast on my own anyway... let's do it
Text from Mikey:  I think we should call it The Deuce Podcast.  Or The Deuce Show.  Maybe... Deucecast.

And so it was.  We called those first episodes "Negatives", and we started with The Deucecast -4... and it was rough.  Really rough.  In fact, I don't ever want to hear it again, because I remember how bad we both were.  I talked to fast, Mikey rambled on about Sea Monkey oppression (I'm not kidding) and it was a bad 30 minutes.  But... we got better.  I'd say The Deucecast Episode -1 was pretty presentable.

And we had our big kickoff with The Deucecast Episode I: The Podcast Menace, and kept going, weekly.  Its movies. Its music.  We play random games with stupid names like "Faux or Show"... "The Ryan Phillippe Game"... "Reel or Unreel"... and Mikey's favorite, "Simple Star Wars Trivia".  Matty Rector joined us for about 30 episodes as a co-host, and we've had a number of special guest hosts along the way, including recurring hosts like Doc Earl... Hurricane Rhett... Steph Nipparector and even more.  Check it out... The Deucecast.

The 5th Coolest Thing of 2011... Wrestlemania XXVIII

The 4th Coolest Thing of 2011... Disney in February
Without knowing Campbell was on the way, The Lovely Steph Leann and I still had the mindset that every Disney trip we took could be our last without a kid. To be honest, every trip from mid-2009 thru all of 2010 was like that, but the more time went along, the more we knew "well... if we are going to have kids, then this trip might be it." And this February 2011 trip was, in fact, it.

Our plan was to do the things we wanted to do that we hadn't done, stuff that would be much harder to do with a child in tow... dine with an Imagineer... go see Cirque de Soleil: La Nouba... have dinner at the Hoop de doo Revue... take a Segway tour of Epcot... do the then-brand spankin new Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom... plus a host of other little things we'd missed--Flights of Wonder at Animal Kingdom comes to mind. Now, even after all of this, there is still a huge amount of activities and such we've never done, and maybe will get to at some point.

I won't give you the full recap, because it would take a while, but those things I listed are highlights... of course, I did get a little borderline sick halfway through the trip. We invited our good friends Melanie and her hubs Chris to join us for a few days at the end of the trip, and they flew down Wednesday morning... we did lots of stuff together, they had some coupley time, so did we. We all shared the La Nouba experience, including Chris purchasing drinks for both women--he went for the large $14 daiquiris... The Lovely Steph Leann chose not to guzzle it, lest she be hammered early.

I did deal with the that not-so-fresh feeling, including taking a long sleep on a Thursday night while the others went and did their thing and The Lovely Steph Leann went to Epcot and took pictures of French mimes and chair stacker dancer people. Or something like that.

Anyway, it was a fabulous trip, sickness aside... and it even culminated with...

The 3rd Coolest Thing of 2011... The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando
Let's be clear.  Disney beats Universal every time its tried.  The only reason that a Disney trip is one notch behind Harry Potter is simply because I'd been to Disney alot.. and never to the Harry Potter experience.

One of my favorite pics from that trip... the girls enjoying the Butterbeer
Towards the end of our Febraury 2011 Walt Disney World vacation, we scheduled to spend a day at Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios Orlando, notably to go into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Again, our friends Melanie and Chris went with us, with Melanie and I being huge Harry Potter fans, The Lovely Steph Leann being a pretty big Harry Potter fan and Chris somewhat indifferent...

And it was a blast... the only hindrance I felt at all was mid-way through trip, I had one of those not-so-fresh feelings... as in, I woke up and didn't feel all that great.  I battled a cold or sickness for several days, dealt with it through La Nouba and an entire day at Epcot... was able to sleep some on Thursday night (some of the best sleep I've ever had) and finally, on Friday, while not fully recovered, was able to enjoy the dreary weather and incredible atmosphere of Hogwarts. 

I could tell you tales all day of our adventure at Universal, but really, it can be summed up in a few words... incredible castle... incredible ride... Ollivander's is brilliant... and butterbeer?  Absolutely awesome.  Heck, that should have been its own number. 

The 2nd Coolest Thing of 2011... Mom
While its true I lost my mom, the woman I grew up calling mom, in September of 2011, I also managed to gain a mom too...

You can find it in the post called "Mom, Mama and Mother's Day", written in May of 2012... here's the link, and I hope you enjoy it.


The Coolest Thing of 2011... This guy:

How cute is this kid?  And the baby too!

What can I say?  The Lovely Steph Leann went in for a check up on November 30th, 2011, and called me from the hospital to tell me she was being admitted to labor and delivery.

You read what happened on Day One, as we began to realize we were about to have a baby... and what happened on Day Two, as we actually HAD a baby...  and then, the journey of how we brought Campbell Isaiah home...

Well, there it is.  All 10 of the top ten, preceded by 90 more of the coolest things about the year 2011... now... let's start a 2012 list, shall we?

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