Sunday, December 9, 2012

The King of Horror

This weekend saw the debut of the University Of Massachusetts Lowell's Chancellor's Speaker Series, and for their first speaker, they brought in the man who's sold over 350 million books in the last 40 years and been responsible for probably just as many people having Insomnia, Stephen King, the undisputed King of Horror.
Joining me on behalf of Middlesex Community College was Donna Corbin, one of the more voracious readers we have on campus, and a true student of literature.  So needless to say, her It factor is sky-high and she's the toast of her book club after getting a few moments to chat with one of the most prolific writers who has quickened the Pulse of our generation!
For Donna, though, it was a two-fer, as she also got to chat with one of her favorite local authors, Andre Dubus III, who played host and questioner to King up on stage Under the Dome at the Tsongas Center.  A side note - interestingly, back in 1986, I was the Lowell Sun reporter who wrote about the tragic accident when Dubus' father was critically wounded in an Interstate 495 crash, losing a leg when he was hit by a car while stopping to help a disabled motorist!
Make no mistake about it, there's no airs about Stephen King, he's about as down to Earth as you can get.  Bedecked in jeans and a black tee-shirt, he spent however much time was needed intermingling with his fans, signing their books and addressing their Needful Things, taking photos with them, and generally, just making sure everyone knew he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like them.  He is looking a bit Gaunt and Thinner these days.  Some photos from my Cell:
Really, it was truly refreshing to see how comfortable he was, happy to Stand with his readers, chat with his Faithful fans, and thankfully Annie Wilkes was nowhere to be found this night.
The folks at the University should be pretty pumped with this Shining debut outing.
King debuted his new short story, Afterlife, reading the whole serial start to finish to an enraptured audience of more than 3,500.  He then opened the show up to really engaging questions from the audience filled with Laughs, even fending off a Randall Flagg type fan trying in Desperation to rush the stage, and thwarting the night from going Dunhill.
Here's a few of the gems I was able to capture from King's 90 minute presentation:

"You guys put my kids through college and I scared the shit out of you while I did it!"

Universal Studios "wouldn't want a ride I created because there'd be no repeat customers"

"I've got this reputation as a horror writer but I've really got a marshmallow for a heart."

"I don't have bad dreams or anything because I pass all that shit on to you guys."

And my personal favorite: "College is great because there's tuition costs but the dreams are free."

After the show, I was able to meet up with Stephen King aficionado and fellow E Streeter John Piekos, who has a decades-long history following King, and happens to be friends with some of King's extended circle of contacts.
Fans of King:  help yourself to the multiple references to King books and characters littered throughout this blog post.  First one to spot them all gets a spot reserved for them on Mother Abagail's team.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ben to a Super Bowl!

The Nashoba Chieftains, featuring our nephew/cousin senior captain Ben Nicholson, played the final game of their perfect season yesterday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, and hopefully, in a forecast of what's to come for the NFL team that usually plays at Gillette, walked away with a Super Bowl win!
Clan Nicholson was there in great numbers, including a road trip for Mamma, who made her first trip to Gillette in style!
Andrew, of course, had to pay homage to our favorite football team first
My two faves, rocking the Gillette fashion scene!
Off to the stadium!  On a day with freezing temperatures, and snowfall throughout the game, we had to make sure we were properly bundled up!
My bud Zachary, there to cheer on his big brother, the Nashoba Chieftain's center
After the 20-6 win, Ben knew who was Central Mass Number One
Taking time afterwards to celebrate with his cuz....
His proud grandmother
And his whole family
Afterwards, it was off to Patriot Place - no shopping, just lunch!
Congrats once again to the Super Bowl champion Chieftains!  It was a day you'll never forget!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hungry Like the Wolf Pack

The E Streeters became the Wolf Pack for the Wolf Hollow/Mine Falls Half Marathon (13.1 mile) trail race in Nashua, N.H.
Big and Bad, that's us.
We were joined by an incredible army of supporters, including Scott, Carlos, John (race photog), Jill, and Anne, cheering us on along the way.
Yes, it really was this cold, we're not acting
But Barry still manages a thumbs up for the starting line temperature
And they're off!
They make it look like they're the only guys on the race course.  Really, there were hundreds!
Like I said, the E Streeter support team was all along the course, so here's a battery of shots from throughout the 13.1 rambling pathways.  Again, thanks to the cheers that helped make the trek all the more bearable, not to mention the award winning pics!
Finally, at the end of the Wolf run, a father and son, medals and all, after Andrew completed his first official half-marathon.  He's training for the full boat 26.2 miles in Boston in April, so this was a notch in his belt on the training path.  Needless to say, he blew all our doors off.  Damn young wolf cubs.