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Why Does Michael J. Fox Never Come to Our House?

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I’ll start by saying my son loves Back to the Future. He even dressed like Marty McFly for Halloween, to the delight of others of my generation. His generation? They were a little baffled. After all, BTTF has not been remade as everything else from the 1980s has been.

And thank God for that.

The McFly-est Marty

The McFly-est Marty

To be more specific, my son likes the last 40 minutes or so of Back to the Future III, because it contains a long sequence with trains: people stealing them, crawling on them, and eventually blowing them up. So, by now you understand that Michael J. Fox is pretty common in our household. We even celebrated Back to the Future day last October 21st. (The futuremost point in the trilogy, duh.) My son kept asking me why Michael J. Fox never comes over to our house.

How does a parent even begin to explain that one?

So, it wasn’t that strange that I should pick up Fox’s audiobook version of his book Always Looking Up from the library. It is read by the author himself, which was a big factor in getting it. I like him. I never had his picture hung on my bedroom walls, but he is highly likeable. Ashton Kutcher fills that void nowadays.

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox

Fox explains right away that the title has a double meaning. First, he is short and has to look up at everyone. He is so short that I am actually a quarter of an inch taller than him! The second is that he is an optimist.

I must admit I picked up this book hoping it would be some sort of “how to” book on how to convert me into being an optimist. No such luck. He does talk about a stool with three legs. The legs are Optimism, Hope, and Faith. He says if you are missing any of them, then your stool will collapse. I am not sure I even have a half a leg. Maybe that is why I am always falling on my ass.

Not being a guide, he instead tells stories about how his optimism pulled him through. The book includes how when he realized there needed to be more funding for Parkinson’s research, he started his own foundation. Then as government regulations put up huge roadblocks to further research, he began to get involved politically for candidates who were pro-stem cell research.

I have learned way more about Parkinson’s than I ever thought I would and hopefully more than I will ever need to. The swaying, talkative Michael J. Fox we have seen for the last couple decades on camera is more of a side effect of his medication than his actual disease. Parkinson’s actually makes you freeze up. It makes it hard to have facial expressions, to walk, talking to slurred. Fox takes carbidopa/levodopa to ease these symptoms. He has to calculate when to take the medicine so that it will be in effect when he will be on camera. Sometimes he gets it right. Sometimes he gets it wrong.

Always Looking Up makes me wish I had read his previous book, Lucky Man, first. Listening to him talk I wish he was my next door neighbor and I could hang out with him and be his friend. He is both intelligent (which cannot always be said for the character of Marty McFly) and funny. He is so affable that while listening to the CD in the car, my son asked since Michael J. Fox was talking to us, if we could talk back to him.

Sadly, no. He might be a Lucky Man, but he is also a busy man with a very full plate of activism, acting, and family.

I am glad Fox took time out to share it all with the rest of us.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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Crafting a Cardboard DeLorean

During the summer, my son became obsessed with Back to the Future Part III, because he loved the train at the end. In fact, usually he would only watch the end of the movie just to see the steam engine.

But in the months since, we showed him the other Back to the Future movies as well. He learned who Michael J. Fox was. My husband and I are not the only children of the 1980s that expose our children to the things we loved. My 4 3/4year-old son M’s BFF is heavily into Ghostbusters.

I must admit, I was a little sad that my son was in love with a 30 year-old movie. He would never be able to see the toys in the stores, or it talked about or advertised on television. Memes would be rarely seen on Facebook.

My son expressed interest in being either Marty McFly or Gizmo from Gremlins for Halloween. I gently ushered his taste toward McFly.

We took a trip up north to Mackinac Island. The first moment we walked onto the street, he saw some horses hitched up to a carriage. M pointed out that it looked like in Back to the Future III when Doc and Marty hooked up the DeLorean to horses to try to get it up to 88mph.

“Oh, I guarantee you that you will not see a DeLorean anywhere on this island. I bet you a million dollars right now that we won’t find one.”

I owe my son a million dollars. Not only did one of the stores on Main Street have ReAction figures by Funko, but also a Funko Pop DeLorean collectable.

Soon after we learned of the impending “Back to the Future Day”, October 21, 2015. It is the day that Marty McFly arrived in the future in Back to the Future Part II. It is the date furthest in the future within the movie franchise. (Now everything in the movies takes place in the past 😦 ) Having already assembled M’s costume for Halloween, I sent him to preschool that day in the most comfy aspects of it. And Back to the Future was ALL OVER television and social media that day. (Are you getting the “never say never” vibe yet?)

Ahead of Halloween, we also wanted to go to a trick or treating event that our local zoo holds, called Pumpkin Path. While his Marty outfit is so McFly, I just couldn’t help but think it would benefit from a DeLorean.

Marty McFly & Jennifer. Anyone even know what her last name is in the movie???

Marty McFly & his girlfriend Jennifer. Anyone even know what her last name is in the movie???

Sometimes, I get these ideas in my had that bang around and won’t go away until I create them. Sometimes it is a mix tape, sometimes a book or a blog post. This time it was an idea to build a DeLeroan treat bucket. It is based off the first DeLorean that Einstein tests, and Marty goes back to 1955 in. Don’t tell me it is missing Mr. Fusion, cuz it ain’t that version!

I will show you the process below. I had no plan from the Internet and no sketches, just the vision in my head. I picked a box that I believed when altered, would be roughly the right shape and size. Incidentally, it started off as a 11″ x 9 1/2″ x 5″ Hot Wheel shipping box. I had to cut down the width, and reattach one of the sides.

Other materials needed:
silver duct tape
black duct tape
black Sharpie marker
silver Sharpie marker
brass fasteners (the longer the prongs, the better)
scrap cardboard
something round for the trunk area (I used a 2 3/4″ Rubbermaid food storage lid)

I duct taped most of the interior first to make it water-resistant, as it tends to rain or snow in our neighborhood on Halloween.

Cut off one side of box, refolded to desired shape.

Cut off one side of box, refolded to desired shape.

Interior taping, removed side about to be reattached.

Interior taping, removed side about to be reattached.

Attach wheels with brass fasteners before entirely taping it together. It is easier that way.

Attach wheels with brass fasteners before entirely taping it together. It is easier that way. Handle lays nearby.

Fully-taped font

Fully-taped front

Fully-taped back. Note the circle, which is actually a Rubbermaid lid.

Fully-taped back. Note the circle, which is actually a Rubbermaid lid.

Handle attached with brass fasteners.

Handle attached with brass fasteners.

Finished side. The tire rims really give it a finished, slick look.

Finished side. The tire rims really give it a finished, slick look.

Finished front. Don't forget the DMC logo!

Finished front. Don’t forget the DMC logo!

Finished rear. I found some details were easier to draw than make.

Finished rear. I found some details were easier to draw than make.

NOTE: My treat bucket is designed for maximum cuteness and a little bit of ruggedness. It will not hold a typical 90 minutes of T-or-T loot. We are planning on taking an additional bag to move the overflow into.

I wanted to post this ahead of Halloween so that people could reference this post for costume and/or DeLorean ideas.

Marty without his coats on.

Marty without his coats on.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

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