Chapin City Blues

Writing is writing whether done for duty, profit, or fun.

Above is a clip from the 1994 indie film Clerks. In it, Randall Graves explains the darker side of the Rebel Alliance’s attack and destruction of the second Death Star. Now here’s Ransolm Casterfo in Claudia Gray’s novel, Bloodline. “‘Destroying the Death Stars, for a death toll of nearly one and a half million people, …

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Or how I feel guilty for not loving Rogue One There are so many things great about Rogue One: a great female lead, a diverse cast, a subliminal hint of queerness. And it paid the perfect homage to the original. And while it irked me at times, seeing a CGI’d Peter Cushing reprising his role …

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200 Cigarettes (1999)

January 2, 2017


  • Title: 200 Cigarettes
  • Rated: R for strong language and sexual content.
  • Year: 1999
  • Starring: Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Dave Chappelle, Guillermo Diaz, Angela Featherstone, Janeane Garofalo, Gaby Hoffmann, Kate Hudson, Courtney Love, Jay Mohr, Martha Plimpton, Christina Ricci, and Paul Rudd.
  • Studio/Production: Paramount, MTV, Lakeshore.
  • Synopsis: A collection of twentysomethings try to cope with relationships, loneliness, desire and their individual neuroses. (source)
  • Ratings: 5.9/10 (IMDb)

I fell in love with this movie when Comedy Central played it ad nauseam one New Year’s Eve. And every year since then, I depended on the channel to catch a showing. That is before I decided to buy myself a copy. Like A Christmas Story marathon, I await all year to pop this movie into my player and watch the shit out of it. (No, I don’t marathon the film, though I have watched it twice today.)

200 Cigarettes has everything you’d expected from a holiday romantic comedy. The pent up feelings between two friends, falling in love with the wrong guy, finding love between strangers, an ensemble cast of famous faces, and the unexpected advice guru. Yet it plays in away that avoids becoming such trite, which was the problem for films like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.

Released in 1999, an age before the term millennial was on the tips of tongues everywhere, the film transcends the test of time. Every character would fit in today’s cinematic storytelling world with a few tweaks to the costume design (the movie does take place in the early 80s). While the problems faced in the film are less than important (the old question of who are you kissing at midnight?), but aren’t all mild problems elaborated during our teens and 20s? But it reminds me to relax. Even when things seem dire, seem overbearing, and the neurosis of being alone sinks in—relax and learn to have a good time. And sometimes you need a yearly reminder of that lesson.

Blog Resolutions

January 1, 2017


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A Nutshell: 2016 Edition

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My last post detailed personal hopes and goals for the new year. This post details blog hopes and goals for 2017. And while I know that my blog resolutions (blogolutions?) in the past crashed and burned before they got started, I remain semi-hopeful that this year will be different.

As most of you know, I have never found a niche for Chapin City Blues. While A Book Hunter’s Journal chronicled book finds, reviews, and opinions, I’ve managed to keep this blog as a journal left lying open on the dining room table. And while my readership is low, I don’t expect any changes I make to boost my numbers. And who cares? This blog’s sole purpose was to keep me writing.

However, adding new features never hurts—right? In addition to tapping into my book hunting roots—something that died with Hastings and several book thrift shops—I want to talk about movies. Not in the film criticism sense, but in a film fan sense. I remember a time in my life where my world revolved around books and movies, sometimes combining the two when a film adaptation was released.

The idea for Film 365  came about at work one day after watching a wide variety of movies, most of them I wouldn’t have touched otherwise. Now Film 365 is the idea title. I’m sure better minds have already trademarked the phrase. In fact, a quick Google search could confirm this.

While I won’t have time to watch 365 cinematic titles—no parent does, right?—the idea is to watch at least one movie a week. So why not Film 52? Doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Another idea that comes to mind is listening to new music. Not brand spanking new, but new-to-me songs, bands, and albums. There might have been a time where Chapin City Blues wasn’t already music heavy, but it’s a time I cannot remember. With music streaming services (I use Google Play’s) at our fingertips, why confine ourselves within our comfort zones?

I’ve never been photo savvy with this blog. Personal pics have been used before, but mostly they’re borrowed from other websites or stills taken from videos. I want that to change. Not that anyone out there is dying to see my fat face plastered all over this blog, but using my own pictures (when I can) would give it a more personal atmosphere. Maybe.

More posts by Shaun. I promise this every year, but nothing has come of it. Shaun’s a complicated child. He’s almost five, by the way. And his personality has blossomed beautifully. He started pre-K last August, a milestone that Jeanna and I were both nervous and proud of.

More talk about games. Tabletop RPG, board, and card game reviews are still a long way from my expertise. But writing about my nerd nights with friends and coworkers might add more fluff to the blog. And with the Book of Malor on the horizon, there might be recordings as well.

And that wraps up the first post of 2017. I’ll be back later with the first movie of the year, 200 Cigarettes.