Thanks, Mr. Ramis

"Never drive angry!"

“Never drive angry!”

When I heard of Harold Ramis having passed away today, I was extremely saddened to hear this. For one thing, he was only 69, and I was hoping to see much more from him as an actor/writer/director. But it was also because I feel as if I owed him thanks for helping me get through a rough patch in my life recently. Ramis didn’t help me personally, of course; but, strangely enough, one of his films wound up helping me far more than I realized when I first saw it.

I had never seen Groundhog Day, which Ramis directed, until just about a year ago, which was about two months after my father’s death. Up until that time, I had only seen Groundhog Day in bits and pieces, never all the way through. And so when I saw it playing on cable (this was back when I still had cable TV), I decided to finally give it a shot.

In short, it was the first movie I had seen since my father’s death that made me laugh out loud. It made me forget my grief ever so briefly, and that alone was enough for me to be very thankful that Groundhog Day exists. So, thank you, Mr. Ramis; watching Groundhog Day made me realize it was ok to laugh, and in retrospect, it also gave me an ever so gentle nudge to move on with my life.

RIP, Harold Ramis.

Snowy Movies for a Snowy Day

We’re presently enduring a bad winter here, with one snow storm after another pounding us. So what do you do when the snow is piled up high outside your house? Embrace it! After all, we still have six more weeks of the white stuff to endure, and crying about it will only freeze the tears on your face…so just tough it out with a movie marathon of snowy flicks.

The Thing (1982)

On a clear day you can see...the spaceship....

On a clear day you can see…the spaceship….

John Carpenter’s remake of the classic 1950s film takes place in the remote antarctic outpost that’s terrorized by a shape-shifting alien that’s picking off the crew one by one. This film takes paranoia to new heights as the men try to ward off the monster while also dealing with a very cold climate.

Whiteout

Yep, he's dead. Now let's forget this popsicle and go back, it's freaking cold!

Yep, he’s dead. Now let’s forget this popsicle and go back, it’s freaking cold!

Kate Beckinsale stars as a U.S. Marshall whose routine patrol is a scientific outpost in…you guessed it, Antarctica. While she’s not facing a shape-shifting alien, she’s still dealing with a group of killers who’re out for mayhem in the artic. A battle on a tether line in the middle of a blizzard is a chilly highlight.

Inception

I want this car, and I want it now! Where can I get this?!

I want this car, and I want it now! Where can I get this?!

While Inception takes place mainly in hotels and cute little cafes in the streets of Paris, there’s a really chilly section of the movie that’s set in a really snowy hell that only diehard skiers would love. It’s a thilling action set piece that’s worthy of a Bond movie (which makes me wonder when will Christopher Nolan helm a 007 film) with a really cool car that would make snow shovels obsolete.

30 Days Of Night

I don't wanna play any more!

I don’t wanna play any more!

Back to creepy things flitting around in the snow, there’s this delightful tale of vampires who have come to stalk an Alaskan town during winter, when there’s no sun. You might want to keep the kids away from this one…unless you’re trying to scare them into not going outside at night during the winter.

And there you have it: four films with murder and mayhem in the snow. If you’re wondering how these flicks could possibly cheer you up from the winter blues, consider this: these folks have to deal with killers and otherworldly monsters while battling winter, while all you have to deal with is shoveling your driveway. That makes winter a little more bearable…somewhat.

My Blue Angels Viper

My Blue Angels version of the Viper.

My Blue Angels version of the Viper.

I had another Viper model kit sitting in my stash, so I thought I’d build it–but this time, I decided to make another variation on the Viper fighter theme. So I turned this one into a Blue Angels variant.

02

The Viper is the main defensive platform of the Colonial Forces in the TV show Battlestar Galactica. The particular design is from the remale series that aired on the SyFy Channel.

03

I figured that, being proud of their squadrons of Viper, they would have their own Blue Angels team, which would do air shows all over the Colonies.

04

I painted the model Navy Blue (which is apt, since the Blue Angels are Navy planes). I painted the yellow stripes, and made up my own decals for the Blue Angels squadron.

05

She’s ready to soar high.