I, as well as the majority of the geek population, love the movie Blade Runner. Love it.

The thing is, though, when I fell in love with it, I fell in love with the original theatrical version - the one with the voice-over and modified “happy ending.” The Blade Runner purists will argue that wasn’t as good, that the Director’s Cut was much better as it stuck closer to Ridley Scott’s original vision. That’s all fine and good, but it’s akin to fighting over who the best James Bond was - generally speaking, you’re going to like the Bond whose movies you saw first. (I’m for Pierce Brosnan, but I used to be a Roger Moore man. Alas, that’s another blog entry.) I liked the voice-over. I liked the happy ending. I thought the Deckard-is-a-replicant thing was dumb. I thought the unicorn thing was dumb.

(And for the record, no version was like the book, so we won’t even go there.)

The problem is, they only released the Director’s Cut on DVD. If you want to see the original version, you have to go to Blockbuster and rent the one copy of the videotape that they have and try to watch it in its half-demagentized state (if someone hasn’t just stolen the tape altogether).

My problems are solved. According to Sci Fi Wire, they’re going to press a new DVD with a remastered version of the original Director’s Cut; create a new Director’s Cut (the “Final Cut”), release that to theaters in 2007; and issue a special-edition DVD after that with three versions of the film: remastered Director’s Cut, expanded international theatrical version, and original theatrical version.

My day just got made.

I got a phone call last night at about 11:15p from my mom. My granddad, her father, passed away from lung cancer at 11:10p.

We had just visited him on Sunday and he wasn’t doing too well, having to be on medication for pain and anxiety. I hugged him goodbye that day, and it didn’t really sink in at the time that that’s the last time I’d ever see him alive. I mean, I guess maybe I knew on an academic level, but just hadn’t really accepted it.

Granddad was a great guy and a hell of a lot of fun. Strong, confident, and multi-talented - in recent (and not-so-recent) times, he’s been known to play the guitar and the organ; mine gold (yes, by himself, for days at a time); work with wood, metal, and glass in a variety of fashions; ride his motorcycle all over the place; and travel from border to border in his motorhome.

He was a crazy old guy and he had his own way of doing things. He’d drive all the way to Mexico to get his dental work done “because it’s cheaper” and come out with a mouth so full of gold teeth any rap artist today would have been proud. He wasn’t remotely politically correct, and you may have been offended, but, well, it was Granddad and you’re just not going to change him. He’d only ever feed his dog Milk Bone treats even though that’s really not good for the dog.

And he always had a dog, at least for as long as I can remember. All of his dogs seemed to be wild around people, jumping on you, licking you, wanting to be part of the action. When I was little, he had a dog, Poncho, who wasn’t a big dog, but I was mildly scared of him because he was a jumper. The dogs didn’t seem to do that as much to Granddad, though, just the rest of us.


Granddad and Travis fishing, June 1988 - whoops! Dropped the fish!

Granddad and Travis fishing, June 1988 - Proud catchers of the smallest fish you've ever seen.


These photos are from a three-day fishing trip he took me on back in June 1988. This was the first fish we caught on that trip. In the first picture I dropped the fish and Granddad tried to catch it just as the camera snapped the photo. The second photo we figured out how to hang onto the fish.

We played Ray Stevens music the whole way there and the whole way back, laughing and singing along with the silly songs. Every time I hear a Ray Stevens song now I think of Granddad.

We had some pretty good times together, whether just spending the day at his place or driving out to eastern Oregon where he used to have a cabin by Wallowa Lake (actually, Dad tells me it was Pine Hollow Reservoir, but I somehow remember it as Wallowa Lake). Christmas was always a visit to Granddad’s place to see my mom’s side of the family and eat until we were stuffed. Hanging out with Granddad always meant there was some fun that was going to happen.

He lived by Meinig Park in Sandy, OR and the whole family would get together at his place every year to see the Sandy Mountain Festival and visit. Some years he let the Kiwanis Club (or, as he pronounced it, the “Kiawannas”) plug their ice cream freezer into his power outlet outside (yes, he was that close to the park) and we’d get free ice cream. In the last couple of years I didn’t actually make it out for the festival, having seen and done it so many times.

His latest craft passion was making things out of wood with his scroll saw.

Housewarming gift from
Granddad

This is a picture of the housewarming gift he gave Jenn and I when we moved into our current place. It’s pretty cool, and I still haven’t decided if it’d be better to paint it or stain it. Maybe I should have asked him what he thought.

With some of the stuff he’d crank out, though, you’d wonder what he was thinking. For example, one year I got a unicorn pencil holder with a clock in it for my birthday. But that was just him, and it was always the thought and the time he put into making it that counted.

He lived life to the fullest, and had an almost cavalier attitude towards his own health. He was taking nitro glycerin tablets for heart trouble he was having, and I remember him telling us about how he had felt pain in his chest, so he reached down to the floor of the truck where his pills were rolling around (you’re supposed to be careful with the tablets - they’re fragile) and he took one… but he didn’t feel the effects soon enough, so he just popped a couple more for good measure (you’re only supposed to take one and then call the doctor). In the end, it looks like it was his lifetime of smoking that took him from us, the cancer spreading from his lungs through the rest of his body. I’m sad that he’s left us, but I’m so glad he’s no longer in pain. Hopefully, wherever he is, he is reunited my Grandma Lovey (that’s what we kids called her), who passed away many years ago when I was young.

Rest in peace, Granddad. I love you, and you will be missed.

The weekend had high points and low points, starting high and ending low.

PUSH NEVADASaturday was spent with my dad, getting his network going and getting his Xbox 360 hooked up.

It took all morning to get the network going, as there was some oddness with his cable modem that would only let us connect up to it through USB. Turns out that there are some special undocumented reset steps you can go through to clear up trouble like that, so after contacting Comcast and getting that information, we did the reset and things worked fine. A quick trip to Fry’s to get some networking supplies and we got the Xbox 360 hooked up and on the network.

Dad signed up for Xbox Live so we can play against each other online. His gamertag is PUSH NEVADA, so if you see him trolling around in Halo 2, go easy.

After we got that set up, we went to see Mission: Impossible 3, and we both had fun with that. Was it the most in-depth movie you’ve ever seen? No. Did it entertain me? Hell, yes. It held its own with the Bond pictures I’ve seen, and I do so love the James Bond.

Sunday was the not-so-great portion of the weekend. My grandfather (Mom’s dad) is in the advanced stages of lung cancer, so we went to visit him. He is at home and he has hospice come in to help him out, but he can’t be left alone so my mom or one of her sisters stays with him at all times. He was getting a hospital bed delivered that day because he can’t really get up and walk around too much anymore, even with assistance. At the time we visited, he was on morphine for his pain and Ativan to calm him down, so he wasn’t really… coherent. He knew we were there, but he was very weak and slept most of the time. As I hugged him goodbye he was so weak he couldn’t lift his own arms away from me, so I had to help him with that. It’s really hard to see him like that - such a strong, proud, capable man rendered so helpless and weak.

After we visited him, we went to the hospital to visit my grandmother (Dad’s mom), who has been in there for a week (and actually should be headed home today). She was having trouble where spinal fluid was building up on her brain and not draining correctly, so they put a shunt in there to help drain the fluid off. On a positive note, she’s doing very well and seems to be more alert and spunky than I’ve seen her in months, so I think the procedure had a positive effect. That was hard to see her in there, though, with all the IVs and tubes in her head and everything. I’m glad she’s going to be OK.

And that was the weekend. One great day, one not-so-great day. Hard to say it balanced out, because it didn’t, but it wasn’t all bad. Here’s to looking forward to tomorrow.

My dad called me this morning at about 7:30 to tell me how he heard there were going to be Xbox 360s at a local store so he hauled ass down there at 7:00 when they opened and bought himself an Xbox 360 premium package and a copy of Halo 2. He can’t wait to sign up for Xbox Live so we can play against each other online.

I won’t lie - this made my day. My dad is the coolest and I can’t wait for him to sign up so we can both suck horribly at first person shooters

  • together, over the Internet. Plus, he gets all giddy and screams when you’re shooting at him or when he shoots you, and just thinking about that makes me laugh out loud. The voice chat with this is going to be sensational.

Could we have done this with standard PCs and some other game? Sure, but the “plug-it-in-and-it-goes” simplicity of the console, plus not having to worry about whether your hardware is out of date or incompatible or whatever… I don’t play PC games anymore, and that’s why. I can’t keep up with the latest video card and the 18 gigabytes of RAM required and the 10 terabyte SAN I’m going to need for the game to install itself.

Anyway, I’m stoked. I totally can’t wait for him to get this thing hooked up so we can play. Go, Dad!