The Essential MCF: 2K8-2K9

Cloakfest 2K9 continues! Last year I chose highlights from my fourth season, and now, hard to believe, the Nexus has existed for FIVE years! I've gone through a year's worth of posts, summing up and linking to the most important ones. If you're just joining me, or missed a few episodes, now's a good time to get caught up:


Don't Want to See That
In life, there may be things we don't want to see, but it's not always our choice.

Cloakfest Heroic Epilogue
I dusted off my very rusty drawing skills to depict a few readers wielding powers that they suggested.

Unfair Platform
An intentionally unfair game conjures memories of past video game challenges.

Ego Boost
A little physical contact from a makeup girl mesmerizes me and I almost buy what she's selling.

Wind Songs
The wind knocks out power for hours, and subsequently takes over my topic through song.

In the greatest and most obscure pop culture reference ever, a song from an animated childhood favorite surfaces in a current primetime show.

Short Days; Long Nights.
A black cat crosses my path, but how much worse could that make my luck for the week? I soon find out, and in hindsight I suspect I jinxed one of my favorite shows out of existence...

The Beauty of Saw
I cut through preconceptions to show why one horror series continues to impress me with its deep psychology, despite its surface appearance of being just another gore-fest.


Whatever Happens...
On my birthday, and the day of the big presidential election, I offer my predictions, feelings, and hopefully some words of reason.

Dear Mister Obama
I address our new president-elect with my well-wishes, thoughts, and concerns.

A day out of the house is just what I need when every little sound annoys me, but I soon find that tension and paranoia are not so easy to elude even on trails deep in the woods...

Blackened Blues
The shorter days of Winter are never more noticeable than when I spend a day without leaving my office building.

Sure thing, Bunny Rabbit...
If elected president, these are some of the code names I'd like to have. (And no one did get the Friends reference.)

It's not always about what we have, so much as how much of it we have.

Words About Bond: Part VIX
I weigh in on the latest installment of the gargantuan spy series.

More Rude
When people are rude for the umpteenth time at my expense, I wonder if I'd be better off being less polite myself...

Holey Shoulder
My dad, after being plagued by a recurring shoulder cyst for four years, ends up with an infected wound in its place. As frustrating as the doctor's lack of answers was at the time, we had no idea how much of a problem it would become two months later...

Balanced Equations
Two thursday night dramas offer extremes in a good and evil, making for their respective best seasons ever.

The Longest Weekend
One weekend out of the year I manage to get six consecutive days off from work, and I hardly plan to be idle. It's time to catch up with friends, family, films, and more.

Thank God
I have a lot to be thankful for, and I know Who to thank.

White Room
My uncle refers to his sister, my mom, as his mom, and exhibits other odd behavior that shows us just how old age and dementia have begun to erase the man we knew.


Vacation Time Flies
I have a productive and fun-filled long vacation weekend that seems all too short.

Rough Week
I'm sick, and angry, and tired, and make it to the end of the week, at which point my mom starts to catch the cold that's been going around. My dad, still healthy, continues using the device attached to his shoulder wound.

Gym Withdrawal
Between vacation and illness, I miss a few weeks of gym, both physically and emotionally.

PBW: Stars and Dolls
My mom does something really nice for an underprivileged child.

Subconscious Lucidity
Dreams fascinate me, from the “characters” to the blending of locations, and real life will never, ever compare to the places I go when I sleep.

Big Screen Comic Villains
Part one of a two-part look at the actors with the best portrayals of comic book villains. Heath Ledger's Joker probably tops them all, but a lot of these guys did a great job as well.

More Big Screen Comic Villains
A few more great villainous performances in comic book movies are cited, along with two of the worst.

Holiday Partied Out
Is there anything better than an office party full of great food, dancing, and fun games? Probably, but 2008's party was a good one.

A Good Question
What should an atheist tell his children about the existence of God and the afterlife?

Battle Humbug
My dad lugs in a tree by himself when no one is looking, bickering ensues, but somehow in the end we always get back our holiday spirit.

Christmas Memories 2008
I preserve them all for posterity, perhaps the most important of which is CHIMPANZEE RIDING ON A SEGWAY!

The Frightened Deer
I learn the hard way that it's never a good idea to panic while in the woods, and scamper off the trail into a thorny thicket, which you would think is common sense...


Meet the New Year
I look back on 2008 before embracing the challenges I'd soon face in 2009.

Knights and Docs
A struggling remake gets closer but continues to miss the mark while a veteran favorite sitcom gets a little more life.

20 lies and 5 truths
I don't know which was more fun, coming up with the lies or seeing which ones readers thought were true. I'm actually wondering about some of those myself, now, and I was there....

My dad, certain his days are numbered, wants to teach me how to take care of a house. His fatalism leaves me in a bleak mood.

Quick Update
My dad's persistent fever, shoulder pain and weak state land him in the hospital. 2009 is not off to a great start.

Still the Best Medicine
Scrubs returns at a time when I need and appreciate their inimitable balance of humor and hospital drama the most. My dad awaits the results of several tests to learn the cause of his suffering, and his mood and disinterest in everything has me worried.

Snooze You Gain
My trademark passivity and hesitation causes me to miss out on a great piece of geek artwork for my office. Meanwhile, I wish my dad could get some much-needed rest in the hospital and my own dreams take a turn for the stranger. What's freaking me out right now is realizing that one of those dreams came true a few months later!

Dad Mighty
My dad is a fighter. Slowly, I see more of his old self return, from being able to finally move a swollen arm to just his attitude and personality. He still has a serious infection to fight, but I start to believe he can win and, more importantly, so does he.

The Mood for Surgery
My dad tells a doctor he's not in the mood for surgery. Who ever is? There are definite risks involved, but I know it's his best chance at getting his shoulder infection cleaned out properly so he has a chance at recovering.

The “S” Word
We meet with my dad's surgeon as a family, and get the clearest picture yet of the situation. His wound needs to be cleaned, and the bone has to be checked to make sure the infection hasn't spread. I worry about how he'll handle anesthesia with a heart condition, and I bump up my praying to the next level.

PBW: Cast Iron
My dad survives his surgery. The doctor confirms that my father has no rotator cuff and will never lift his right arm higher than his shoulder again. Meanwhile, I focus on my dad's historical strength while he remains in a weakened, post-operative state.

Meet the Cast
2009 claims its first two celebrities, while my dad continues to show improvement. Is a return home in his future? With a chance to catch my breath, I finally acknowledge the cast of characters surrounding and supporting our hospital drama.

The Decision
My dad has two choices. His recovery is depending on regular intravenous administrations of a powerful antibiotic twice a day, so he can either come home and have my mom do it, or move to a nursing home for as much as 6 to 8 weeks where a professional staff can take care of him. He's not happy about his options; I'm just happy that a full recovery is in sight, no matter how many weeks it will take.

Speaking Too Soon
My dad's transfer to a nursing home doesn't go smoothly at all. By the time he finally gets there and gets settled into a room, there's a weird smell that has my mom and I wondering if we made the right choice.

Saturday Minutia
Things are frantic on the first day we visit my dad in the nursing home. My uncle calls to let us know his house was broken into and robbed. I get a new portable DVD player. And I have to turn down an invitation to see a movie with some old college friends who haven't heard about our situation.

The New Routine
Lost is back, and I wish my dad was back home to watch with me. His physical therapy continues along with his antibiotic treatments, and we all adjust to our new routines.

Return of the King
My dad might have a few weeks ahead of him in the nursing home, but he's still allowed to check out for a few hours and we look forward to his first visit home in almost a month.

Happy Birthday, Ma
My Godfather stops by the nursing home to see my dad and leaves my mom the worst birthday present ever.

Stream of Metallica
For the first time ever, I see one of my favorite bands in concert. It's good to finally have a night out, and the experience is overwhelmingly great.


The Switch
Upon making the mandatory switch from analog to digital, I discover that there seems to be no way to tape one channel while watching another, short of hooking up two separate converter boxes. Digital TV is better why?

Phantasmic Links 2.2.09
My dad finally gets to come home from the nursing home, his infection ordeal at last behind him! And then I post some links and stuff, but the important thing is I get my dad back.

My Murray Five
It's the daunted debut of the first new feature of 2009, My Fives! A few months later, a popular social network that shall remain nameless came out with something very similar and a lot more interactive, but my fives may still pop up from time to time.

PBW: 3D Trumps No D
I discover a simple method for turning my photos into 3D images.

Mistakes Amid Misplaced Priorities
As life gets back to normal, I discover a mistake I made at work during the period of my father's illness, and reflect upon how our personal lives can have an impact on our work.

A Man Called Uslan
At a convention, I'm inspired by the persistence and success of a man whose behind-the-scenes efforts led to the first serious film interpretation of a comic book legend.

PBW: NYComicCon 2K9
My annual pilgrimage to the largest comic book convention in Manhattan yields some of my best photos yet.

Sentimental Journey
With my dad finally home and on the mend, our attention turns to my uncle's declining mental state when he inadvertently “wanders” to Staten Island, makes a u-turn over a concrete divide, and is stopped by the police. We have to face the fact that little things like trailing off in the middle of a story or referring to his sister(my mom) as his mother may be early signs of dementia.

The Glau-Dushku Convergence
It was the perfect equation to please a geek on a Friday night. It's a pity it didn't last, but I hear there may be an even closer convergence of the two this season...

The Next Last Dragon
I discover an old favorite martial arts movie in the discount DVD section of the supermarket, and later read of an upcoming remake to the classic.

PBW: NY ComicCon 2K9 Part II
One day of snapping photos of minor celebrities and cute girls dressed like pop culture characters just wasn't enough for me this year.

Some Kind of Monkey
One of the year's more shocking stories of an animal attack has me reconsidering youthful dreams of owning my own primate.

My Megatron Master Plan Five
These are some diabolically evil plans that almost defeated some heroic robots. Yesssss...

MARCH, 2009

MCF vs. The Fog
Sometimes, my brain is overwhelmed by the everything, and I move on autopilot through a fog. And by “sometimes” I of course mean most times.

My Worst Mutant Powers Five
If the comments are any indication, the worst mutant power is apparently my own power of being me. People who I don't even know(possibly) will point out how much I suck.

State of Myclofigia
I give an update on Myclofigia, my mini city. It's not #1 yet, but it will be if we keep clicking once a day.

Technology vs. Parents
Hearing what other parents have to deal with in the internet age, I worry about keeping watch over my own children someday.

Who watched the Watchmen movie? I did, and loved it.

A Rich Life
In the corporate world, it's not always our decision when we leave a company. It's the same with life. When a former coworker leaves the world of the living, we're all drawn together to remember an outstanding artist and human being, because nothing severs our emotional bonds.

A bass drum appears in our yard while my parents are involved in a car accident that leaves my dad's bumper destroyed, my folks shaken, and the offender nowhere in sight. I never know what my voicemail will say...

Galactica: Ex-Machina
Grab your gun and bring in the cat. A remarkable remake comes to a remarkable and moving conclusion after four seasons. Opinions vary...

Just Because You're Paranoid...
I lose my temper while working on a gate with my father, lashing out and destroying a pipe cap in my fury. But the lesson I learn is that when I don't think anyone is watching me is the most likely time that someone is. Whoops....

Speculative Sitcom Spin-off Showcase

I think up some spin-offs that are too bizarre to ever actually happen...or are they?

As much as the 9(-ish) to 5(-ish) grind can suck, it's still nice that, unlike school, the work stays behind when I finally leave the office. But homework cemented my knowledge, and kept me out of trouble in my formative years, and I'd want future generations to have the same experience I had for those same benefits, as well as the appreciation of life when school ends.

The Empty Canvas
Creatively, the first key or brush stroke is always the hardest part.

APRIL, 2009

PBW: Paintin Blahg Wennsday
Me be good painter! What am date again?

Signs I'm Getting Old
It all seems like only yesterday, but the yesterdays keep piling up. You there! What day is this?

My ‘80s Cartoon Five
These are my five favorite cartoons from the 1980s.

Can't Stand Ya
It's a list of things I can't stand. #25 is “opinionated nerds who live to complain online about everything”.

The Oasis
After a rough morning at work, I'm drawn back to the beach on my lunch break on a day finally warm enough to do just that.

Out of Darkness
Our pastor prods greater spirit out of the congregation at the annual Easter vigil.

Fire and Water
There's a new BBQ place in town....

My ‘90s Cartoon Five
And these are my five favorite cartoons from the 1990s.

Question Re-Animation
A cult horror classic makes me recognize the talents of an actor whose work I was already a fan of, even if I didn't know it.

Umm, No
Do I think these are good things?

Without Whom
Thanks to my professors and my peers, without whom I wouldn't be where I am today.

A veteran comics author writes a series of webisodes based on an ‘80s cartoon that would ultimately prove to be darker, more mature, and more awesome than a live action version later in the year...

MAY, 2009

Nexus of Spillability
I marvel at a difficult customer's complaint about a drink lid, until the drink is on the other lap...

PBW: Under Construction
My parents have our entranceway gutted and begin a project to give us easier roof access. It was actually not a bad idea.

Glenn Matthews?!
Scrubs has one of the best series finales in sitcom history, even if it's not over(technically the upcoming season is a spin-off without a name change, in my eyes).

Boldly Go Again
Star Trek sets the bar so high for Summer films, that it took a few months before I saw a movie that didn't disappoint me even a little bit. It was a great reboot and relaunch for the franchise.

PBW: Secret Window, Secret Room
The renovations to our turret continue, and it's kind of cool to have a new room in the house after over three decades.

It's all so finale...
The 2009 television season comes to a close, and I look at how some of my favorite shows wrapped things up, some permanently....

PBW: Hi Jinks
I finally use the new turret room to get out on the roof to do some shooting(with my camera, of course).

On Towel Throwing
When my dad and I can't get my mom's car to run, it's hard to throw in the towel and ask for help.

I meet up with an Italian band to play for a Turkish parade in the middle of Manhattan. What could go wrong?

Everybody to the Limit
My dad, despite his recovery from his shoulder infection, learns that he's still not in any shape to finish one parade, let alone two.

Smoke R
Should smoking be a factor that gives a film an “R” rating? It couldn't hurt, unlike smoking itself...

My Second Soprano
2009 also included the time I met Paulie Walnuts.

JUNE, 2009

The World Outside
As my uncle's dementia worsens to the point that he nearly burns down his apartment, I realize that the internet is no substitute for the outside world.

A Little Respect
Respect is a rare thing, and people don't feed bands the way they used to. But my dad still commands respect in auto parts stores, among those that remember the old timer and know his reputation. It's a nice thing to see.

PBW: A Bridge Too Near
The bridge photos are nice, but really I'm including this post here for the Paulie picture at the end.

My Running Music Five
What songs does a geek use to mentally prepare for a big race?

For the second time in his life, my dad finds himself a spectator at parades rather than a participant, while I carry on alone for the both of us.

Lucky Day
After two years, a Mysteriously Cloaked Sanchez learns why he hasn't been getting any interoffice mail...

Once Around Manhattan
A business trip to the city turns into a great photo opportunity when my friend and I find time after the convention center and lunch to hit the park.

Michael Bay Go Boom
Michael Bay says he wants to move away from being the guy who makes the movies with all the explosions. As a fan of his explosions movies as well as things he may muck up with a remake like A Nightmare on Elm Street, I wish he'd stick to his strengths....

The Soak Must Go On
A little rain doesn't stop my fire department band from marching, and neither does buckets of rain. So...very...wet...

PBW: Central Perks Part I
It's the first batch of photos from my aforementioned visit to Manhattan.

My Transformers Voice Actor Five
These guys gave life to the characters in my favorite childhood cartoon.

Talent in Heaven
A lot of famous people died this year, but one week alone took out three stars, including the unexpected demise of the King of Pop.

Sturm und Drang
A procession on a Friday night after a storm yields the most amazing warm colored clouds.

Between the Lines
My mom tries coloring books to help her brother with his dementia. He makes his pig say “Wowee”.

Where's MCF?
And then there was the time our phones were down and I almost messed up my goal of posting for 2,000 consecutive days. Thank you, office connection...

JULY, 2009

PBW: Central Perks Part II
It's the first batch of photos from my aforementioned visit to Manhattan.

ROTF Deleted Scenes
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a great movie if you go into it with the notion that it includes scenes that should have been deleted....

A Disturbing Lack of Fries
What are the odds that the only traditional fast food joint near my office would run out of French fries?

PBW: O'er the Land of the Free
Check out the fireworks photos I took in 2009!

July is Going to Kill Me
In which I steel myself for the busiest month of the year.

Clash of the Humans
“Inevitably, when you put two or more people together, conflict is inevitable.” Repetitiously, some of my July prose was repetitious.....

PBW: Return to Barto
Who has a brass instrument, a camera, and more photos of a shrine in Pennsylvania? This guy.

Italians on the Streets
Red, White and Green. People shuffling their feet. It's the feast time scene.

Feast for the Senses
It's another long feast day, because I wasn't kidding when I said July was busy. It would also mark the first time I lost track of my dad at a gig this year, but not the last...

If you're ever at a feast on a hot day, DO NOT stick a bottle of water in your pocket with your cell phone. I killed a five-year-old phone, potentially losing all of my contact information, and the best solution I could find was to bury the phone and the battery separately in a box of rice....but would that work?

My Name is Christina
The rice thing did not work, at least not until after I got a new phone. Still, it was nice to have a camera and some other bells and whistles, and being able to turn the old one on, even sporadically, meant I could retrieve and data I thought I'd lost.

The Secret Origin of the Artist MCF
Among my demented uncle's possessions, we discover an abstract painting that turns out to be something I made when I was four years old...

Flat Tire
I buy new sneakers that are too small and too shoddily made, ****ing up my foot and jeopardizing my chances at running the race I'd trained two months for.

One of the things I did this past Summer was marathon through the series Avatar: The Last Airbender in its entirety. It was so good. I hope the movie trailer that inspired me to watch the source material is an indication of a good adaptation to come. Sadly, it probably is not....

WWW: Weekend Wrental Wreviews
It's the DVD-packed debut of a new regular feature!

Could I BE more improbable?
It's rhetorical, but things like a surly train conductor, surprise storm, a drunk driver, and my messed up foot answer anyway.

PBW: New Phone. Old Sneakers
It's a unlikely winning combination.

Now What?
MCF! You've just set a new personal record in a 5K race. And so the post title is phrased in the form of the logical question.

AUGUST, 2009

Getting There From Here
A lazy Sunday begins with a surreal subconscious trip down memory lane.

A Montage of Hughes
So long, Mr. Hughes, and thanks for all the angst.

Killing Time
A visit to my uncle's nursing home makes me realize how we all travel full circle. Make the most of the time in between the beginning and ending years of your life.

PBW: Uncle Jerry's Art
In cleaning out his old apartment, we found tons of his old paintings that I had to preserve, both physically and digitally.

10 Things I learned Watching G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
11) I'll definitely wait for the DVD with the sequel.

Go See District 9
In a Summer of disappointing movies, this one more than brought quality and innovativeness back. Easily in my top five for the year.

Tales of Baritone Horn
What do you call a party hosted by an ex-senator, a walk around the block as old Italian ladies balance vases on their heads, and a day of hot sun, red wine, and a five hour procession? I call it the third weekend in August.

Two Years Ago
On the anniversary of my new job, I reflect on how much has changed in what seems like a short time.

MCF vs. The Tarantino 20
A director chooses his twenty favorite films made since his own career began. I had seen 13, and have since seen one more. I have to get back to those other 6...

A Few Things
Inglourious Basterds; have you seen it, brother trucker? I saw a late show the night before an early dental cleaning, and I regret nothing.

You've got a ponytail and a cheesy goatee to make yourself look older than 12, and *I* look suspicious bringing something IN to the office? Freaking security guard...

Steps to Contentment
I typed it all up so I wouldn't forget it, and subsequently forgot all about it.

Phantasmic Links 8.31.09
This is included because it contains a funny story about how I drove for over an hour without noticing my trunk was unlatched.


Mouse of Ideas
A Mouse buys a Spider. Geek panic and speculation surges. In the coming months, there would be no noticeable changes as a result of the merger....

Idiots on Parade
A lot of nervy(and stupid) people drive over yellow tape and leave tire tracks on freshly sealed asphalt. Morons.

In Which I Steal From TWOP
I list my picks for ‘80s stars to make a comeback in today's shows.

A Life Lived
Within my relatively short lifetime, I'd had a certain impression of my uncle as an unemployed former alcoholic with a lot of rambling stories. It wasn't until I looked through old photographs that I got the full picture of a life lived to the fullest, and the truth within those stories.

PBW: World War Jerry
It's my uncle in the 40s, from his buddies in Brooklyn to his adventures in the army.

Burning the Candle
I anticipate it will burn at both ends well into October, a prediction that wasn't far off.

Downs and Ups
My day job is on the North shore. I agree to play a night gig on the South shore during the week. Getting there in time is the adventure.

Never Forget
I'm a day late in writing about it, but I Remember.

Phantasmic Links 9.14.09
A lot of interesting misadventures landed in my link posts this year. This time, I make a three hour trek to New Jersey for nothing because no one tells me a job is canceled. Whoops.

Off Day
A much needed one, too.

Unglued to the Tube
I realize my favorite shows are returning along with some possible future favorites, and track down the premiere dates.

Falling Forward
I want life to slow down but, not unlike falling, it seems to just gain momentum.

Of All the Shows I Watched Last Year
A lot of great shows came to an end last year, timely or otherwise.

Not A Great Start
I don't even get out of my block in the morning before I see a seagull make an unfortunate, possibly fatal, mistake...

World of Wackcraft
I'd like to thank my mom for limiting my video game time and curbing my addictive tendencies, and I'd like to thank both of my parents for not giving me any siblings who might have filmed embarrassing videos of me to put on the internet. That would be the worst.

Pearl Jam is back, trying some new things, and succeeding, in this fan's opinion.

PBW: Hobroken
My trip to Jersey wasn't a complete waste...


My Mondegreen Five
I share five lyrics I've misheard over the years, certainly not the only five.

Full Circle
FlashForward is awesome, and a fire drill at work reminds me of the time at my last job when it wasn't a drill, but it was my fault...

To Live Out Loud
We start to suspect that one of our cats may have gone blind....

Blind Cubby
The vet confirms our suspicions, and tries a steroid treatment to see if it can be reversed....as of now, we don't know if it's working yet...

for what?
I'd still like to know. I think Hanks said it best in Saving Private Ryan: “Earn This.”

Phantasmic Links 10.12.09
It's yet another link post with an amusing anecdote, this one about losing my dad in the Bronx for 3 hours. So much happened to me that day, that parts of the story fell through the cracks, like the little girl selling candy bars that asked if I went to her school or the car accident I witnessed as an ambulance sped through an intersection. Speaking of intersections in the Bronx, cross against the light at your own peril. People don't slow down; they lean on the horn and accelerate. At times, I was sure I was going to die there.

Cloakfest 2K9: Words and Pictures
On my blogiversary, I took your words and pictures and mashed them together, because that's what I do. Every day. For 8 or 9 hours. I need a girlfriend.

PBW: The Long Reveal
Hey MCF, why the long, eyeless, mouthless, face? No wonder....

* * *

And that's what I wrote about in my fifth year of doing this.

Cloakfest 2K9 is over! Thanks for reading; you might all be figments of my imagination, but you make it all worth it! Season Six starts....NOW!

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