#536: Obligatory Christmas Post 2016

This Christmas has been tinged with sadness.  Rick Parfitt, George Michael…and a man you haven’t heard of named Peter Cavan Sr.  I grew up with his son Peter Cavan Jr.  Pete was the best man at my wedding, and his dad Peter Sr. always treated me well.  The Cavans made me feel like part of the family.  In my first year of university, I decided to stay home from the cottage on Thanksgiving weekend, so I could study for my first exam undistracted.  Alone that Thanksgiving, Pete’s family had me over for dinner.  I’ll never forget their kindness.  I always enjoyed Peter Sr.’s stories, of growing up in Germany during the Second World War.  Those are tales you don’t hear every day.  And he was funny.  Peter Sr. was truly funny.  Whether intentionally or not, I knew his stories entertained us for many hours over the years.  I received the sad message on Christmas morning that Peter Sr. passed after a short battle with cancer, peacefully at home that morning.

So it is with profound sadness that I give you this year’s annual post-Christmas commentary.  My entire family knows and loves the Cavans, and we hope Pete and Joanne know we are there for them.

As it does every year, Christmas began early for me, at our office Christmas luncheon on November 25.  Just look at that food.  When you like the people you work with, an office Christmas party is a very rare and special chance to unwind with them.

My sister hosted Christmas Eve at her new place.  What a spread she put out!  Cheesey good appetizers, steak fondue, cheese fondue (the surprise winner), and chocolate fondue to boot.  The guests had a spirited debate on the merits of CD versus vinyl, with myself being the only holdout who still prefers CD.  (I know I’m not alone, just ask rock journalist Mitch Lafon which format he prefers.)  My sister did a great job of decorating her tree.  Have a gander.

And now, on to the good stuff.  Broken down into categories, let’s give’r!

Stuff You Listen To:

I have only played the Rik Emmett so far, given to me by Mrs. LeBrain who met Rik back in highschool as part of her guitar class.  Pretty cool!  It features a Triumph reunion on the bonus track, “Grand Parade”.  The Queen set is six discs of radio recordings.  The Rush set I am both grateful for and bitter about.  This is the third time I’ve received Rush 2112 as a gift in the last five years!  First as part of the Sector 1 box set, then the “deluxe edition“, and now this 40th anniversary edition which has some tracks not included on the deluxe (and a slew of artists covering Rush including Jacob Moon, Alice in Chains and Foo Fighters).  However, the 40th anniversary edition doesn’t include the 5.1 surround mix of the album, meaning…you kinda need both.  It’s sad that Rush reissues have become so exploitive.

The Keel reissue of The Right to Rock has a bonus track, a remix of “Easier Said Than Done”.  And this is my first time owning any version of Jethro Tull’s first album, This Was.

Stuff You Read:


Stuff You Play With:

The Force Is With This Stuff:


Stuff You Watch:

The Sopranos set I orchestrated myself.  Sometimes-contributor Thussy and I both always said:  “If the blu-ray set drops below $100, we’ll buy it.”  A few weeks ago he texted me that Amazon has it on for 24 hours only at just $80!  So this Christmas holiday, we will be enjoying some Sopranos and Italian food.

Stuff That Transforms From Stuff Into Robots:

Pictured below are the official Transformers Titans Return Astrotrain figure and a couple very interesting third party figs.  These are Masterpiece scale and heavy as fuck with plenty of die-cast parts.  Please meet Generation 1 Decepticon Reflector, incarnated here as KFC’s Eavi Metal series “Opticlones”.  Representing the Autobots is Dinobot Snarl, produced by the excellent Fans Toys in their Iron Dibots line as “Sever”.  I long ran out of room for more Masterpiece figures (especially Dinobots)…but who cares.

And finally…

Stuff That Flies:

I always wanted to try flying a drone.  My mom and dad surprised me with this starter drone, and is it ever a lot of fun.  I can almost get it to hover!  Getting it to fly in the direction I want is still a challenge.  So far there are no serious injuries.  Jen has a couple bruises.  I think my mistake was calling her into the room when I got it into the air, rather than when I figured out how the controls worked.  That was a lesson there.



That’s another Christmas for the books!  I hope each and every one of you had a safe and happy holiday.  As I think of my friends the Cavan family, I ask you to remember that life is short.  Tell the people who matter that you love them.  Let’s try and make the world a better place in 2017.



  1. Nice write up Mikey about your friend Peter Sr….Well Done..
    Cool haul under the tree dude…don’t be bitter about 2112 life’s too short dude! ha…i have listened to some of it and its good the jacob moon track is i think the best cover song on there…Having said that I skipped the Grohl track as I’m just burnt out on the guy period! Will revisit at some point but not today! haha
    The live stuff is always great when it boils down to Rush and thanks again Aaron!
    Keel..wowzers theres a throwback….I never bought this one as my buddy Muc had it but I did buy on cassette tape albums 2 and 3 from Keel ummmm whatever they were called…..haha
    Emmett look forward to the review at some point…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Emmett album is damn fine. Looking forward to writing it up soon. It won’t change my Top Five list, but it’s good!

      The 2112 reissue has been enjoyable. I really liked the AiC track but Jacob is absolutely A GREAT reason to buy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank U Mike! and Merry Christmas to you and your family. It’s so cool to read that u get toys for Christmas. I’m not that crazy myself collecting toys but I do have Dwayne Johnson figure which usually stands on my office desk :) Do u store your figures in their boxes?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent bunch of goods there, Mike. Should keep you busy (and entertained) for a while.Those Transformers look pretty special – the ‘third party’ Opticlones are unofficial type Transformers?

    Also, sorry to hear about your friend’s dad. It’s never a good thing, but this is a really terrible time to lose someone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unofficial, yes. I think I might have to do a post on third party products. A huge and interesting market. For example, right now you could choose from 4 or 5 versions of each Dinobot…because there is no modern official version. The market is wide open.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is pretty interesting. I think I remember you mentioning it before (?), but didn’t realise the unofficial stuff was really high quality (sometimes stuff like that tends to be junk, eh?)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sometimes! But not so much anymore because competition is so fierce. And also Hasbro/Takara are now finding themselves being the ones making the inferior products.

          The third party companies are fearless and seem to spare no expense. The company that makes my Opticlones, KFC, started out incredibly cheap and poor quality. I swore I’d never buy another KFC toy after getting burned once about 4 or 5 years ago. But a buddy of mine bought the Opticlones and allowed me to play with his…changed my mind completely.

          A lot of the third party companies will even leave blank areas on the toy to add your Autobot/Decepticon stickers…which you can buy from another third party company called ReproLabels.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. That’s incredible. You have to wonder what sorta motivation is there for companies to make really high quality unofficial products. I don’t imagine they’re cheap if they’re really good quality? Also, it would be tough to pull in cash from ‘mainstream toy’ shoppers, eh?

          Do a post, Mike. I’m genuinely really intrigued by this. Seems like such a strange market for toy companies to enter… but pretty crazy that they’re producing toys that are arguably better than the official product.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. You know what, for a toy costs such as the upcoming official “Masterpiece scale” Megatron ($230):


          You can buy the one I bought last year called Apollyon ($165):


          And I think Apollyon looks better too.

          In a lot of cases the official ones can’t even compete with the prices of the unofficial ones!

          Yeah I’ll write a post up!

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Wow. That Apollyon looks pretty impressive vs. the Megatron. Looks a bit more robust, too!

          Look forward to a post about this. Very, very interesting…

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t stop listening to the Queen On Air cd. I didn’t go for the deluxe edition though. I did get the new Metallica on SHM cd though. Magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Mike, for the kind words regarding my Father, my family and I. You and your family are and have always been such good friends of mine. I really appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At the service today we remembered a lot of good stories. There was one that is unrelated to Peter Sr but very much about Peter Jr that is going into Getting More Tale. We laughed pretty hard. How many people do you know who made trips to the US just so they could tape TV shows off American TV? That would be Peter and I.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh man the Joey people…they never responded to the final Joey post so I assume they’re done now. The last message said Joey wasn’t happy with me at all! LOL. If only he knew how many Europe albums my reviews sold.

          Liked by 1 person

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