Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Lee Child’s Jack Reacher: A Wanted Man

Lee Child’s 17th Jack Reacher novel, A Wanted Man, was released in various countries around the world today, and it’s coming out in the U.S. on September 11. I’ll be in New York the day it’s released to meet Lee Child and hear him talk about his new book. Speaking of which, below is a taste of what’s in store for Jack Reacher.

Official Description:
When you’re as big and rough as Jack Reacher and you have a badly-set, freshly-busted nose, patched with silver duct tape it isn’t easy to hitch a ride. But Reacher has some unfinished business in Virginia thanks to the intriguing voice of a woman he’s only met via phone, so he doesn’t quit. He’s picked up by three strangers, two men and one woman. But within minutes it becomes clear they’re all lying—about everything—and then they run into a police roadblock on the highway. There has been an incident, and the cops are looking for the bad guys.

Will they get through because the three are innocent or because the three are now four?

Is Reacher just a decoy?

Supermarket Stories: Bucket Hat

I just got in from a late night at the supermarket, so I thought now would be the perfect time to share another supermarket story.

Nearly five years ago, I set off to work and moved at a feverish pace so as not to be late. With the balmy breeze mussing my hair, I was in a delightful mood. My shift started off as usual and things were going well. Being a cashier, I have plenty of time to talk to customers, and this day was no different. I’d rung up a slew of my favorite customers as well as some that were new to the neighborhood. But one customer in particular caused a scene over sales tax.

My favorite line is express because it allows me to get people in and out at a quick pace, without having to spend an enormous amount of time bagging. When I saw that my next customer, an elderly man sporting a bucket hat, only had a six-pack of Pepsi, I was pleased. Such a small order would take no time at all. Boy was I wrong.

As the old man’s long, gaunt face peered up at me, he yelled, “That’s supposed to be $1.99!”

I replied, “Sir, the Pepsi is on sale, with a discount card. Do you have one?”

After failing to answer my question and staring at me suspiciously for several seconds, I said, “Here, I’ll use mine. The total is $2.12.”

“It’s supposed to be $1.99,” he barked, as spittle sprayed from his three-toothed mouth.

“Sir, there’s sales tax, which is why it’s $2.12.”

“F*%k sales tax! I’ll take you outside and kick you in the balls!”

At this point, other customers were staring at him and telling “Bucket Hat” he was being rude. Realizing I was in a no-win situation, I called the manager over to complete the order so I could walk away and calm down.

Following the incident, I came to two conclusions: First, this guy was passionate about Pepsi – although, considering his lack of teeth, he probably should have been buying Diet Pepsi. Second, his resistance to paying sales tax, more than likely, wasn’t linked to an unhealthy obsession with Henry David Thoreau. Instead, I realized, the cheese slipped of this guy’s cracker a long time ago, and there wasn’t anything I could do to help him find it.

I Paid Off My Student Loans

ImageI don’t like debt; it hangs over me like a cloud. The only debt I’ve had since graduating college four years ago was my student loans. Compared to some graduates that owed $60,000 or more, the amount I had to pay back was small potatoes. But last night I decided I didn’t want to have this cloud hanging over me any longer, so I paid the remaining balance. While I’m not looking forward to seeing the full amount withdrawn from my bank account in a few days, I’m glad I did it. That’s one less thing to worry about. And now that I don’t have a monthly payment anymore, I can replenish my savings account at a much faster rate.

  • How does debt make you feel?
  • Have you ever paid off something big (e.g., a car, house or student loans)?
  • If so, what did you wind up doing with the extra money?

Feel free to share your answers below.

Sammy Hagar’s Uncensored Life In Rock

Sammy Hagar is one of my favorite musicians. I adore his solo material as well as the tremendous body of work he produced with Van Halen. I was fortunate enough to see him live when he reunited with Van Halen in 2004, and I’ve followed his career ever since. I just finished his autobiography, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock, and it was a fascinating read.

While the book was slow to start, it kicked into gear when Hagar started discussing his time in Montrose. As one would expect, the bulk of the book is dedicated to Van Halen, and it doesn’t disappoint. Hearing how Hagar joined the band, what drove them apart and what the short-lived reunion was like was fascinating.

Beyond the music, I was blown away by the multitude of entrepreneurial endeavors Hagar has engaged in over the years. He’s invested in real estate, mountain bikes, fire sprinklers, and, of course, tequila. Speaking of which, Hagar sold his tequila brand, Cabo Wabo, to another company in 2010 for nearly $100 million. This is proof positive that the Red Rocker is one of the savviest musicians out there, which makes me respect him even more.

This book was highly entertaining and it felt like I was having a cup of coffee with the author. If you’re a fan of Hagar, Van Halen or classic rock, you should pick it up; I highly recommend it.

For your viewing pleasure, below are two videos: The first one is Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen performing together for the first time, in 1985, at Farm Aid. The second video showcases one of my favorite Sammy Hagar songs, “Little Bit More.” It’s a gorgeous, soulful number from Ten 13.

Journey: When You Love A Woman

I discovered Journey several summers ago while down the shore. It was fitting because the band’s music is perfect for this season; it’s uplifting and infectious. My all-time favorite Journey song is the #1 hit, “When You Love A Woman.” It was the lead single from Trial By Fire, the one and only time the classic lineup, featuring Steve Perry and Steve Smith, reunited for an album. As you’ll see from the music video below, this song is perfect. While the entire band shines on this track, Jonathan Cain’s beautifully powerful piano melody and Steve Perry’s majestic vocal steal the show.

Do you have a favorite Journey song? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

My First 1,000

My blog has been live for less than two months, and I just eclipsed 1,000 visits. While I’m sure this isn’t a big deal for some bloggers, to me, it’s exciting. I’ve come to learn that one of the addictive qualities of blogging is checking my stats page, so passing this threshold was a real treat. Thanks to everyone that’s visited, liked and/or followed my blog thus far. I’d also like to thank those that post comments; I’m always interested in what you have to say, so please keep it up. Here’s to the next 1,000!

Supermarket Stories: The Curious Case Of Facial Hair

I’ve been working part-time at my local supermarket for nearly 11 years. I started off as a bagger and moved up to cashier. It’s provided me with a decent amount of income and benefits throughout high school, college and now, grad school. It’s also provided me with an endless supply of stories; below is one of my favorites.

Several years ago, I was ringing up one of my regular customers – let’s call him Bill. Normally he sports a goatee, but this time he was clean shaven. I told him I thought he looked great, and that, in my opinion, all men look younger without facial hair. Then I jokingly said, “Women look younger without facial hair too.” As Bill and I were laughing at my quip, I turned toward my next customer. To my chagrin, it was a miserable older woman with – of course – a hairy upper lip. Needless to say, I was mortified, as I sheepishly asked her, “Do you have your savings card?”

Do you have an interesting, humorous or flat-out bizarre supermarket story you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to post it in the comments section below.

Monster-Mania: A Horror Fan’s Dream

Me being attacked by Freddy & Jason.

For nearly 10 years, Dave Hagan has been hosting a semi-annual horror film and memorabilia convention in Cherry Hill, NJ and Hunt Valley, MD. It’s called Monster-Mania, and yesterday was my first time attending. I met Doug Bradley, Nancy Allen, Claire Higgins, and Craig Sheffer, among others. I even ran into Freddy and Jason. In addition to meeting horror icons and getting autographs, I got to enjoy horror films I’d never seen before: Dressed to Kill, Night of the Living Dead and Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut. Needless to say, I had a blast and plan on attending future shows. Below are additional photos from my fabulous time at this stellar convention.

Me and the lovely Nancy Allen, whose starred in such films as Robocop, Dressed to Kill, Carrie, and Blow Out.

Meeting my favorite star from Hellraiser, Claire Higgins (Julia). She’s a tremendous actress and has a delightful personality too.

Meeting the incomparable Doug Bradley, best known for his role as Pinhead in the Hellraiser franchise.

Hanging out with Craig Sheffer following a screening of Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut.

WWE Launches Flagship App

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Being a lifelong fan of pro wrestling, I was thrilled to hear that WWE launched its flagship app this morning for iOS and Android devices. After trying it out on my iPad and iPhone, I have to say it’s very good. It provides a central location to access all things WWE; everything from video clips of classic matches to tweets by current superstars. While there’s room for improvement, this is a big step in the right direction. If you’re a fan, I recommend you check it out right away.

Book Review: Now You See Her

James Patterson is arguably America’s most popular author. He’s sold 260 million books worldwide and holds the record for most hardcover fiction titles to appear on The New York Times Bestseller list: 76. Needless to say, he’s everywhere – even my shore house.

During my trip to Ocean City last week, I found a copy of Now You See Her in the living room. This title caught my eye last summer when it was first released, so I was determined to finish it before coming back to Philadelphia. Like many of Patterson’s books, it was a gripping adventure filled with unpredictable twists and turns.

Here’s the book’s official description from James Patterson’s website:

The perfect life
A successful lawyer and loving mother, Nina Bloom would do anything to protect the life she’s built in New York–including lying to everyone, even her daughter, about her past. But when an innocent man is framed for murder, she knows that she can’t let him pay for the real killer’s crimes.

The perfect lie
Nina’s secret life began 18 years ago. She had looks to die for, a handsome police-officer husband, and a carefree life in Key West. When she learned she was pregnant with their first child, her happiness was almost overwhelming. But Nina’s world is shattered when she unearths a terrible secret that causes her to run for her life and change her identity.

The perfect way to die
Now, years later, Nina risks everything she’s earned to return to Florida and confront the murderous evil she fled. In a story of wrenching suspense, James Patterson gives us his most head-spinning, action-filled story yet–a Hitchcock-like blend of unquenchable drama and pleasure.

Similar to his previous works, Now You See Her started off with a bang and didn’t let go until the last page. It moved at a break-neck pace and featured over-the-top action. Moreover, the characters were believable and the villains’ dialogue was delicious. While Patterson’s prose would never be confused with Stephen King’s, if you suspend your disbelief and give Now You See Her a shot, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Below is an interview with James Patterson about Now You See Her:

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