Happy Black Friday!

I think it’s a real shame that the major retailers are now open on Thanksgiving. On the other hand, those retail employees join the movie theater and restaurant employees already working that day as well as the hard-working grocery employees catering to all the people who forgot the basting butter or suddenly realized that fresh cranberry sauce is awesome but the canned stuff is junk.

My wife and I waited to do our shopping today, Black Friday. She loves the early morning specials. I hate the crowds but she’s taking me to my favorite used book emporium, McKay’s, afterward.


McKay’s is a used book/CD/DVD/game store the size of a Wal-Mart. Below is one of my favorite walls, graphic novels.

McKay's comics



Mini-Vacation and Movie Theater Tourism

I’m not fond of the word Staycation yet that appears to be what my wife and I will be doing over the next few days. We were going to travel a bit while our daughter and granddaughter were away but the new septic tank and drain field put the kibosh on that. Apparently discovering oil on your property while digging is good but a spring under the house, not so much.


I’ll be offline for a few days, hoping that I can at least squeeze in a quick trip to McKay’s (the Knoxville location was just remodeled and they now sell board games in addition to books, movies, music and videogames), some good times with good friends, and perhaps even use some of my FREE movie tickets.

Studio Movie Grill

My loving wife had planned to take me to two famous theaters: the Studio Movie Grille in Wheaton, Illinois and The Music Box in Chicago. This has unfortunately caused me to wonder if ‘Movie Theater Tourism’ could be a thing. As if I need a new hobby/obsession.

McKay’s Books & Raiders of the Lost Ark IMAX

Yay! We (my long-suffering wife and I) went to one of our favorite mini-vacation spots, McKay’s Bookstore in Knoxville, TN. McKay’s has three wonderful warehouse-sized used bookstores – one each in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville. The Knoxville and Chattanooga ones are wonderful. I’ve not been to the Nashville one but it claims to be the largest on the planet.

I would love to know the whole sordid history behind McKay’s Books. There are three McKay’s Bookstores in Tennessee. In North Carolina, there is a chain of Edward McKay stores with the same basic concept executed on a much smaller scale. Asheville has a Mr. K’s bookstore which is a sad, anemic knockoff. Virginia has a Richard McKay store in Manassas.

(That’s me in front of the three horror DVD sections)

The Knoxville McKay’s has an upper floor devoted to music (CDs and Vinyl). They have a huge used DVD selection (so much so that just Horror DVDs covers 3 three-foot sections from floor-to-ceiling) and video games galore. The only complaint I have, besides being too far away, is that there is not enough seating. I can’t complain too much about that though because even with a huge warehouse, there isn’t much wasted space.

Unfortunately the amount of credit they offered me this visit was much lower than normal. I’m not sure what happened but it marred an otherwise nice trip.

Yay! To celebrate the release of restored versions of the Indiana Jones movies on Blu-Ray, there is a one week release of Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX. Yes, the tickets are ridiculously expensive but when is the next chance to see Indiana Jones on the big screen? Besides which I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to attend the AMC Indiana Jones marathon in Charlotte on the 15th as that is closing night for Richard II by the Montford Park Players.

* Just got back and I loved seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen. On the other hand, I do have a bit of a quibble with what they are calling ‘IMAX” these days. The Pinnacle Theater in Knoxville, TN’s IMAX is just a smidge larger than our RPX theater at Biltmore Grande.

I had not been in an IMAX theater in maybe a decade but wow have they shrunk. This was not huge at all but merely big or large. The sound system was quite nice and all of the employees were wonderful. When was the last time you got thanked for coming to a movie while you were exiting?

Where does their corporate office get off thinking that it is okay to charge $17 a ticket (a $7 surcharge on their adult price) for a slightly larger screen? We went to the 11 a.m. showing on a Saturday and there were only a half-dozen or so other patrons. Anyway rant mode off.


Lazy Weekend Musings – Unbridled Consumerism

Saturday we finally went to Knoxville and visited McKays Used Books, CDs, & DVDs. Yay!

After turning in a bunch of DVDs that I had Blu-Rays of or just simply did not care for, I used my credit to get:

Star Trek (the recent movie) and Zombieland on Blu-Ray

Darkman, Reign of Fire, Flight of the Living Dead, Stephen King – The Golden Years, The Last Winter and The Monster Squad DVDs

and two nifty box sets

Star Trek fan collective Klingon (I own the Borg set and really enjoy the best of different Trek series).

and my favorite find:

The Val Lewton collection – 9 wonderfully atmospheric B&W genre films: Cat People, Curse of the Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, The Body Snatcher, Isle of the Dead, Bedlam, The 7th Victim, The Leopard Man, and The Ghost Ship as well as Shadows in the Dark – The Val Lewton Legacy.

My wife found a few CDs and my daughter found a hardcover coffeetable book of The Rocky Horror Picture Show – I looked at the hardcover entertainment books for the table that will be in the home theater room but did not find any that appealed to me. I will certainly look again next month as my wife decided that we will make this a monthly ritual.

Afterwards we took our guest to Sonnys Barbecue, one of many restaurants available in Knoxville but not in Asheville. I thoroughly enjoyed my pulled pork sandwich on garlic bread and took a moment to remember my best friend Patrick who always loved their barbecue.

On Sunday we visited Big Lots where I am used to low prices but wow. I found a three pack of Margaret Cho DVDs (Cho Revolution, Notorious C.H.O., and I am the One That I Want) for a whopping $3. I bought a copy for myself and one for some friends of ours (which means I probably should not have mentioned the price :P). They also had a number of hardback books for $0.50 but none were from authors that I knew and honestly with all those movies, I really do not have time to read a book.

I also picked up a few more three packs of DVDs of garbage films mostly for McKays fodder after I have watched them. For some reason I have to watch every horror movie ever made even if I know ahead of time that they will be bad. Interesting trivia though: one of the three packs had Incubus with William Shatner. The Incubus claim to fame is that it is the ONLY film shot entirely in Esperanto.

My to-be-watched drawer is now entirely full and I am still two days behind on blogging about instant Netflix movies.