Tuesday, October 13, 2015

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 67th 12 of 12

Normally it is 12 pictures taken on the 12th of the month. Since I only post once per day, you get my images the following day. All pictures taken with my iPhone. Click images to enlarge, if you choose.

Created by Chad Darnell and picked up from, what I can tell, any number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. Chad is no longer doing this, nor is successor coordinating the linking of other 12 of 12'ers anymore. Now it's just Erik (and sometimes Jim) and myself - that I know of. 

I still continue to do this, because of all my consistent post topics, I actually like this one the most.

06:40.  I'm up.  I'm up. 
Actually had been.  Just too lazy to get my hairy ass out of bed. 

07:05. Starting laundry from a weekend in the woods. 

08:25.  Morning doggie walk.  
It's all about the smells of nature for him. And pooping. Sometimes peeing. 

10:25.  Mid-morning snack. 

11:15.  Putting away first load of laundry

13:10.  Oh right. Columbus Day. No mail.

16:35  Winterizing - pt 1.

Temps are set to drop almost 15-20 degrees tomorrow....and looking to stay that way. Brought outside chairs into the basement. 

17:20.  Picking up coffee for 710. 

17:40.  Leaving grocery store with provisions for dinner. 


17:55. Picking up provisions for Petey and Sophie....when I saw heard 'him'. 

Good thing he was already adopted. I fear I would have taken him home. 

18:40.  Petey's 2nd walk. 

Our newer neighbors are way into Halloween. The corpse bride in the window is a nice touch. 
It just went up, but allegedly they light it at night. 

20:15.  Late dinner (for most). 

Pasta, tomatoes, Mozzarella, and basil = excellent.

Your Baker's Dozen......

Sophie. One the back stairs, watching me fix dinner. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

My Music Monday

We are still on Originals.

Blondie hit it big in 1981 with the first single from their album, Autoamerican (which is still a GREAT! album).

But "the Tide is High" is not a Blondie original.

It amazes me, one who loves to read album liner notes, that I never noticed that none of the members of the band had a thing to do with writing the song.

The Paragons recorded it back in 1967. One of their members wrote the tune.

Yeah - once again, I had never heard of the band, though they seemingly released several albums. They probably played them at Motormouth Maybelle's record store and possibly on "negro day" on the Corny Collins Show.

At least the songwriter lived until 2014, so he probably did quite nicely in the 1980s in regards to income flowing his way.

The song is well done here, though it sounds a little dated - and the pronoun and gender changes are throwing me off.  I might biased, but I don't think Blondie's is. Yes, it's 35 years old (almost) and yet it seems current to me.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Head for the Hills

We are in the woods.

This weekend we are in Hocking Hills to celebrate Becky's birthday.

It was supposed to be a surprise, but we will see if that happened.

Yes, I'm drafting this days ahead of time. We will have gotten here Friday afternoon, so the 'surprise', if there is one, will happen then.

I fear the 'surprise' is that her husband is taking her to the wood for her birthday. I'm not saying all surprises and pleasant.

My sister, who kind of hates everything, loves Hocking Hills, so I feel pretty good about going. But Morty and George will be there all weekend - in the same 'cabin' as us, so all is right with the world.

Worse case scenario, we can hole-up with beer, wine, popcorn and cookies. Alas, there is no wifi, so.......

And can you believe they don't allow dogs on site?  At a state park?  It would have been so much fun to have Petey and Georty's dogs in the same place.

I'm sure details - potentially photos and / or video - are to come sometime this week. Assuming we haven't all killed each other. But we've made it this long as a group, so I think we can manage a weekend - even if it is fueled by alcohol and no wifi.

Song by: Herzog

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Play for Today

Yes, even when I'm away for the weekend - which I am - I've got a Petey and Sophie post for you.

No worries - Petey isn't even at a kennel this weekend. My sister agreed to take him. She is VERY excited. If you remember, we got Petey from her due to other circumstance, but one of those was not their family not adoring Mr. Pete.

So, he'll be there, with his brother Boomer. I'm hoping she takes lots of shots to send me. It's only two days. I think he'll have a grand time.

Roly Poly Petey. 
Waking up - himself and the house. 

Pals for life. 

I'm not sure if he's deep in thought or forlorn. 
I'd be devastated if he were an unhappy pup. 

And you know it's serious when the ear doesn't move back into place. 

Sophie and me - with my "at risk" chin. 

Song by: the Cure

Friday, October 09, 2015

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!

I know I just did a Record of the Month. But I'm getting this out of the way early.

It's been a decade since New Order has put out 'new' material. The 'new' is in quotes, due to the fact that the band released outtakes from their last recording sessions for Waiting for the Siren's Call. Eight songs made it onto the 2013 disk, Lost Sirens, but it wasn't technically 'new' material.

I've been waiting for a long time for a new New Order disk and they don't really skimp.  11 songs, 65 minutes of music.

Music Complete is their first disk without bassist Peter Hook, who was co-founder of both Joy Division and New Order. His presence is sorely missed.

The album also reunites original keyboardist Gillian Gilbert (who is married to the band's drummer, Stephen Morris). Gilbert also did some work with Joy Division, though was not a band member.

The band released the first "single" (do those really exist still?), "Restless", back in August. The song breaks no boundaries with the New Order formula, but I like it a lot. And while you easily hear the bass line, it is not Hook.

The second download, prior to album release, that I got was "Plastic". Some music magazine called the song  a “...gold-plated, weapons-grade Eurodisco anthem”.  It isn't.  It maybe Eurodisco. It's not an anthem, and it certainly isn't weapons-grade. What it does have is the electronic beat of Madonna's "Future Lover" who herself lifted it from Donna Summer's "I Feel Love".  And admittedly, it took more than a few listens for me to really like it.

And the thing is with New Order - when saying Eurodisco - I saw them more as making club music, not dance music. And yes, those can be mutually exclusive, though I'm sure there is / was crossover. This possibly can be exemplified the best here with "Stray Dog" - music by New Order, spoken word by Iggy Pop. The song ranks low on the track here. I get that everyone thinks I should love Iggy Pop, but I never have. Never have I seen his appeal.

Pop isn't the only guest. Brandon Flowers appears on "Superheated".  I get that New Order is a huge influence for the Killers, but I've never felt the band to need "guests". There are a handful of other outsiders participating on this disk, with only four songs being solely New Order.

Maybe it is coincidence, but those four ("Restless", "Academic", "Nothing But a Fool" and "the Game") are more guitar driven. And maybe not coincidentally, these might be the strongest four songs on the Music Complete.

Still, I like "Superheated". And except for the line "did we ever kiss?", the song could just as easily be a message from Bernard Sumner  (and the band) to the departed Peter Hook or any romantic partner. This song too took me a few listens to appreciate it.

With "Tutti Frutti" maybe it's the vocal nod to Technique, or a slight bass line from Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It's a fine song, but nothing great. It registers lower in my playlist. It is down there with "Stray Dog".

"Singularity" and "Unlearn this Hatred" are good (the latter more than the former) and Tom Rowlands certainly brings a little bit of the Chemical Brothers to the table with both songs.  I swear "People on the Highline" uses a bass line from the Clash's Sandanista! and it seems to go on much longer than the timing says - yet it doesn't seem to go anywhere at all.

Overall, I am happy with the release - at least the majority of it. Not overjoyed.  Bottom line is: I could have done without so many outside participation (though I might overlook "Superheated") and the loss of Peter Hook is palpable.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Cooking with Blobby

OMG. So good!

Yes, it is another NYT recipe. It's extremely easy (well, in certain ways), the fewest ingredients, it's quick and it's tasty.

The recipe touts itself as one you can make if you have little time and almost no ingredients, and it's true. Most of the stuff you'll have at home - if not all the stuff.

Actually, of all the items you see, one wasn't even in the recipe and one was optional.

The hardest part came down to timing.

Thin Spaghetti - 1/2 lb
Eggs - 4
Garlic - 2 cloves
Olive Oil - 6 T
Parmesan Cheese - to taste
Basil - to taste

While pasta boils (I didn't think you really needed a picture of that....again), in a separate skillet, heat 4 T of olive oil. Lightly brown the slightly smashed and fully peeled garlic in the oil. 

Remove garlic. Add additional 2 T of olive oil. 

Cook eggs in the garlic oil. Letting the whites just start to set, but with the yolks still runny. 

Drain pasta and toss in with the eggs. The heat from the pasta fill finish cooking the eggs. Season with pepper. 

Break the eggs up in the pasta as you toss them together.  Add cheese and basil if you so desire. 

The dish is very flavourful and light. And you still get the protein from the eggs. Both 710 and I loved this. Normally 1/2 lb of pasta would be too much for both of us, but we did finish it off - partially because I was doubtful that the eggs would reheat well for leftovers. 

I will totally make this again.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Cup of Coffee

I am extremely happy to announce the opening tomorrow of the Square Peg Gallery in Hastings-on-Hudson.

I have no association to the gallery itself. It is just that one of the two artists exhibiting at the opening of said gallery is my cousin, David Joseph.

David has been photographing "abandoned" coffee cups throughout New York City for the last few years. I've been lucky enough to see the work as it has progressed. The title image is one of my favourites.

By trade, you would say that David is an architectural photographer - and a damn good one too - but he has some incredible fine art shots as well. And I'm not just saying that has a family member and friend.

While it is not a part of this show, he has a shot of carrots from the Chelsea Market that I just love. But I have few favourites in his coffee series too.

It should surprise no one who reads me for a while that while David and I had been separated for a few decades, the last 6+ years or so have found extremely odd similarities in our nature, behaviour and humour. Family and DNA are funny things.

One of those is coffee - or the lack of desire for it.

Neither of us drink it. Both of us love the smell, but we just don't partake. So I wouldn't call the show subject matter 'ironic', but the certain disjointedness from the subject matter is interesting.

The abandoned coffee cup subject matter has become a Baader-Meinhof thing for me. Now I see them everywhere.

A few weeks ago, while in NYC, I saw one stuck in a tree while eating in Bryant Park. I meant to grab a shot of it, but I was busy having lunch with my sister and well - I saw something shiny and got distracted.

But they are everywhere. Maybe not as interesting of shots as David has captured, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

My big regret is that I cannot be at the gallery opening tomorrow. But if you're in the NYC area, you should make a date and go. The show runs through November 21st.

For my Boston peeps, the show will be moving to your area in Spring 2016. I will be attending that opening - so be forewarned.

And for the record, the artist associated with the title is pure coincidence. I wish I could have been that clever and planned it out that way.

Song by:  Garbage

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Six Blade Knife

For the past few days we have been pseudo getting ready for Winter and really next Spring.

The last two winters have been hard on our bushes, trees and plants, and to be perfectly honest, this year, we've been rather lazy about doing any yardwork that hasn't been cutting the lawn or mulching some beds.

But a few of the put-on bushes just finally up and died and while it was fine to leave them bare for this Winter, it would be just as easy to get rid of them.

Alas, these were not just taking clippers and trimming them down. No - this required at least a ZawSaw. A high powered saw with thin blades that are very very very sharp.

The plan was to knock them all out in one day. But the first one ended up being so extensive and so much larger than it actually looks, it took us just that day to do it.

So with 710 away, I tackled the other three by my lonesome, because - butch!

The bigger takeaway was that I didn't cut off any of my own limbs. Knowing this was a probability possibility, I just had my iPhone fairly handy......in case.

It went swimmingly, though my hands are a little sore. The saw really kicks and vibrates. They don't make it easy to hold the trigger (?) down. I'm sure that helps with people not having accidents, but it takes some effort to get through a thick branch...........let alone multiple ones.

I guess in the next week or two we will really have to start winterizing:  storm windows and doors installed, hoses detached and stored, etc.  I am so not looking forward to that. Hopefully we will have a few good weeks before we have to start that - but it is a busy few weeks and weekends for both of us, so it might have to wait a little bit.

Now, if only I could hold off Winter.

Song by: Dire Straits

Monday, October 05, 2015

My Music Monday


That is the theme of the month.

Or as Erik and I are calling it:  Cover Opposite Day.

Not all popular versions of songs out there were the original take. So this is what we are exploring. Or attempting to.

Let's go with "Sepheryn" from Curtiss Maldoon from 1971.

Yeah - of course, you've never heard of him. Almost no one had. Until Madonna came upon it. Then she and William Orbit tweaked it, took some songwriting credit and made millions.

Oh, they also renamed it "Ray of Light".

The original isn't horribly good, so I'll give Madge (with the help of some ketamine......allegedly!) the ability to see past a bad version of "Classical Gas" and make it into a frenetic song that only the dancing homos would like. And not all of them, at that.

I thought the album Ray of Light had some decent songs. The title track was not one of them. My opinion, of course!

But here's hoping Mr. Maldoon (or his estate?) receives some nice royalty checks.

Don't be fooled by the parenthetical title on "Sepheryn" - it was posted that way, but the actual title is only one word.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Man From Mars

We had tickets to the opening night of the Martian on Friday.

It seems I'm the only person in the world - or the little part of which I participate - to not have read the book.

I kept telling myself that was ok, for the after-movie discussion I could bring a different perspective to it all. As it turns out - it just left me out of the conversation regarding what was cut out and what was changed. I should have seen that coming.

Let's say it was on par with Gravity and still leaps and bounds better than Interstellar (though what wouldn't be better than that movie?), though none of the movies are alike outside of space, logistics and survival. Though they are important themes here.

There won't be too many spoilers here, but I think it's ok to say the movie's premise is an astronaut is left for dead on Mars, when he is indeed alive and the subsequent scenario(s) of how can they get him back.

The cast is  - how do I say this - standard and yet eclectic for this type of movie. Matt Damon as the stranded guy seems standard. Jessica Chastain as a fellow crew member seems plausible. Jeff Daniels as head of NASA seems right for the part (though he eems to be nothing more than the serious variation of his character on the Newsrooom). . Chiwetel Ejiofor as a project lead? yeah.  And of course the funny Hispanic side-kick is played by Michael Peña. All well done.

More unexpected are Kristen Wiig as a NASA spokesperson, Donald Glover (Community) as a JPL guy. Both seem fine, though a little out of place. For a spokesperson, Wiig's character has a lot of questions of things you think she would know - but that is more for audience backfill of information - still it makes her look a little weak.  And there is Sean Bean as lead of the flight crew.

I'm big enough of a geek to laugh at a Lord of the Rings reference as they're all sitting around a table that includes Bean.

And for some reason, I really liked a woman who worked at the Johnson Space Center. I causally mentioned it after the movie, and our friend James immediately agreed. Never seen her before - and while I wouldn't say the role was a throwaway, but it wasn't that vital either. Little things like that can make a difference.

The movie is long - maybe 2.5 hours. After the rescue mission actually begins, the movie pics up the pace. That is not to say the preceding parts aren't important or are slow.  And like Everest last week, there were a few scenes heavy with foreshadowing.

I would say the movie is well done, including most of the science (I mean it is science "fiction"), the human factor etc. For a while I assumed the video diaries that Damon's character was doing it for NASA communication. In reality, it was that being a sole person on a planet, what / or how much monologue would be going on if not for that action. And while all other aspects of the movie include character interaction - Damon is mostly on his own - so that part is vital.  (think Bullock in Gravity.)

There are a number of scenes that made the audience laugh, and you need the tension release, but sometimes I thought they were too often for such a story.

I might have an item or two of questions on 'how....', but they're minor (no one at JPL uses Apple??? REALLY????) . And at least they made Damon's teeth look icky at the end of his year or so alone in space. Apparently not only can no one hear you scream there - but you can't floss or brush regularly.

We would have liked to have seen it in 3-D, but one of the theater-goers can't see movies in that format. I never did get the 4-1-1 on that.

MetaCritic and Rottentomatoes are creaming themselves over this movie in terms of ratings. It's good. Even very good. It wasn't so out of this world {get it? get it???} that I would go with excellent.

Ridley Scott did a good job with direction, but he's used to space movies (Alien, Blade Runner, Prometheus).

I think the Martian is a definite go-see, though now it seems silly to go back and read the book.

2015 Movie Count / Goal:  13 of 12

Song by: Joni Mitchell

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Sophie Smut (see? she gets top billing!) and Pete Porn.

It seems like an abbreviated week in pictures. They are good ones, but not many of them. It happens.

 I have no idea.  Don't even ask. 

 I know he wanted some of my bagel. I'm not sure what she was up to. 

Petey being a bully. 

Neighbor Mark was giving treats to Petey, BooBoo (the boxer) and Toula. Petey breaks from the crowd and jumps up for the beg / food.  He was not to be deterred. And he got his first because Markie thought seniority should be rewarded. 

Song by:  the Temptations

Friday, October 02, 2015

China Girl

I'm behind on posts - at least if I want them to be "timely".  But what is time, anyway? I mean - really?

This didn't need to be timely anyways, as the event would have been over before I wrote about it.

As Cleveburgh expands and becomes more lively, there are more evening things to do. Now, I will freely admit that many a night, 710 and I are home bodies. I like to cook dinner, and we like chillaxing with Sophie and Petey.

I know people think gay life is one big rave after another - but it's just a lie. I mean, except for the meth-heads. For them it is all one big party......until they OD.

Anyhoo...... we were asked to attend Night Market, which is a new thing in 2015. It runs down part of a street through our Asian Town. I don't think we can call it "China Town", as there are Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, etc places in this area of town.

This turned out to be the last one of the season. There were only four planned, as they didn't know how the turn-out would be. Allegedly the first had about 500 folks. The second closer to 2000. This last Friday was probably closer to 5000.

So Night Market is gaining momentum. Big time, I would say.

Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), we got there relatively early. So we had little wait for the things we wanted to sample. I stayed away from the Indian food because. well..........I wasn't sure of the bathroom situation. And I don't mean to stereotype Indian food into becoming gastrointestinal distress, but really - why risk it?

And unlike David and his wife, I did not try the squid or octopus.  {shudder}.  And....see paragraph above!

There were lots of food vendors, but also businesses (well, a few), there was also clothing, art, and performing art.

Sadly, they only brought this out for display. I was hoping to see folks moving it through the crowd.

They had really good music. A number of American songs done in Japanese, Chinese or the likes. But they had some of their own music as well. Most of it was not SoundHound-able. Trust me, I tried.

I did get one: the Cambodian Space Project.

HOW are you not going to love a band with that name?

I almost used it as my last song on My Music Monday for songs I dance to. That would be kind of a lie. I mean, I did groove to it - much to the delight of David, his wife and their two friends, Carlos and Sonya (sp), but before that night, I didn't know it.

But their song, "Dance Twist" was fun. I hyperlinked it there for you.

I had iffy Pad Thai. But I had one of, if not the, best egg rolls ever. Actually, I had three of them.

It was fun to people watch, and as David pointed out, it was a place we didn't run into anyone we knew. That is not such a small feat anymore - so it was nice to just hang - and I always love being with his wife. Though the reality is, she and 710 are cut from similar cloth, while David and I are.....wellllll....David and myself.

Oh - and I got to see this little guy.

If dogs do feel humiliation, I felt bad for this poor guy. I'm sure I wasn't the only person to take his picture.

Since the sun is setting earlier, it seemed like we were there for a long time. Until David said, "it's 7:30!".   That's it?  I figure it had to be 10p.

We stuck around for a little while longer, but mostly just to catch the light and the sunset.

I'm glad we got in on this before it becomes too insane next year. I mean, we'll still go, I'm sure, but we'll be able to say, "I knew it when......"

Song by: David Bowie

Thursday, October 01, 2015

South Wind of Summer

Yes, I am aware that Summer has been over for a week or so now.

Oddly, we are having some of our best and most stable weather of the year in these last two to three weeks. Bright blue skies. Good temps. Low humidity. And until a two days ago, little to no rain.

It makes up for the cold, sopping wet start to the Summer season. After yoga on those days, we were drinking hot chocolate and not iced tea. We were chilled to the bone.

But Autumn is here - in a few ways.

The days are shorter. Well, actually they're still 24 hours, but the light has shorter hours. The temps are nice, but cooler. Oh, and the Autumnal Equinox came.

So last Sunday was our last scheduled outdoor yoga for 2015.


I have barely stepped inside an actual yoga studio in months. Maybe during an inclement day, but not as a regular event. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), my plan is kind of a pay as you use your package of 10. So I'm not losing anything by not going - unless I get to the end of the calendar year without participating in the amount I purchased. I still have a few months.

David picked me up last Sunday and I vacillated between long and short sleeves. I went with short. It was nippy, but not freezing. As it turns out, before the practice was over, it was warm out. Mid 60s anyways.

But the wind.  Ugh.  And the sand.

Since "swimming" season is over, the parks department are no longer raking the beach. This makes for (more of) an uneven practice space.

I had a fairly crappy practice due to this. Finding balance was hard. Hand placement was hard and eventually painful. And then there was the wind from the south blowing sand everywhere - getting in places you don't want sand and flipping over parts of my mat.

It was one of the least attended of the season, but maybe that's not a surprise with questionable weather and a home Cleveland Browns game.

Having a bad practice isn't always bad. It helps you reassess what you're doing well, what you're doing wrong and where to focus.

Having a questionable weather day might just be a good way to sign-off on an outdoor practice season. It makes it more clear-cut to reestablish your studio and gym options.

I have to say, I didn't miss the indoor practice that much. It was kind of nice being out in nature. The moments when you are told to close your eyes - I just never did. Looking out at Lake Erie and the horizon was zen enough for me. I didn't need to look inside.

Starting this weekend, I'll be practicing inside.......and closing my eyes as such.

Song by:  the Flatlanders

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!

21 years ago, Shawn Colvin put out an album of cover songs - Cover Girl. It was actually pretty good. She walked the tightrope of doing songs that weren't extremely well known to many people and yet still made them accessible.

21 years later, Shawn Colvin tries to replicate that model - but with less success with the release of Uncovered.

First off, I will go on record saying I did not purchase this, but it had been available for full streaming for at least a week prior to the album's release. After her last two mediocre studio albums, I wasn't buying this sight unheard. Not again.

With Cover Girl, I knew about one-third of the songs fairly well, so I had the advantage of not having too many preconceived notions of how the songs had once fared.

With Undercover, I know about 90% of the songs well. This doesn't bode well for Colvin.

While I won't say that some of her selections are classics, but to me, they are songs that I love, and some of them that were recorded are not easy to interpret and even less to surpass in greatness. And while I know she's probably working on a shoestring budget, the arrangements and musicians are sparse - leaving too many songs sounding too similar, just in instrumentation.

Let's start with the good:  Colvin does a decent job with Paul Simon's "American Tune". It's not Simon, but it is decent.  John Fogerty's "Lodi" fares ok. I'm not sure it's an acoustic song, but at least this selection has the most 'band' feel than most of the songs here. Robbie Robertson's "Acadian Driftwood" is pretty good.

The bad: None one could truly touch Neil Finn's "Private Universe" and get away with it. This includes Shawn. I know Finn is one of her favourite writers, but still, it's ambitious song at best and it doesn't make the mark.  Ditto with Springsteen's "Tougher Than the Rest". I'm not a fan of Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" and I'll give her this, at least there is no annoying saxophone on it like Rafferty's version. I was hoping her rendition would show me that it was indeed a good song, but it just isn't.

And there are 10,001 versions of "Gimme a Little Sign" out there. And most of them have life attached to them. I know Marc Cohen is on the song, but he's so drowned out, I'm not sure why they bothered having him on.

If you want a better version of Tammy Wynette's "Til I Get it Right", even Tricia Yearwood has one with more heart.  It's a heartbreaking song and Colvin doesn't convey any of the emotion.

And that is what is really wrong with this disk - good to great technical readings of the songs, but no emotion, no heart and little warmth. A song evokes a feeling, and unfortunately, too few of these do.

Maybe one day I'll snag this from the library, but I'm not plunking down cash for it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

the Spoils of the Spoiled

I have to give credit where credit is due.

Magic Mike XXS (not a typo......well, I'm assuming) came through with his end of the wager, and while I made fun that I was getting cookies from an outlet mall consignment shoppe, I knew while his sense of humour wouldn't be beyond that, his ego would.

And I do say that in all niceness.  Honest.   Well, maybe not the "XXS" comment. That wasn't very nice now, was it?

First off, he endured the indignity of going into a branch of the USPS {oh, the horror!!!} - which is a real test of friendship. Then the man Priority Mailed the cookies.

Now the image below is where he makes it really difficult to be super-nice - which of course, I normally am!

The word(s) "supergay" might have slipped from my brain, past my lips and then to the keyboard of my iPhone. I mean, I am positive he had been saving this box from his Eau de Parfum manly cologne collection for months now.

Or - and this is just an 'or' - he was baiting me to say something and actually went out of his way to find a box like this to see what I would do or say. Though if this the case, it was a lot of effort as he knew exactly what I'd do and / or  say.

Mr. Mike (or Magic, as he allegedly likes to be called) did indeed ask me what type of cookie he wanted me to make - and I completely left it up to his judgement.

The man chose shortbread. They arrived intact, no breaks, no crumbles (well maybe a little at the tip of one wedge). Looking pretty - just the baker himself.

And of course, they are good. I knew they would. The combo of sweet, buttery and with a pinch of salt. I love the salt part in the cookies I make - I don't know why, but it give them that slight edge or bite.

I know I'll pay for this with some other contest, some other day. But for now, I'm reveling in the feeling of my win.......and shortbread.

Song by: the New Amsterdams

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Music Monday

It is almost impossible for me to not have a song from Blondie or Debbie Harry in a them with "shaking a tail feather" - and not just because she played Velma Von Tussle in the original movie version of Hairspray.

I love her group and solo work, but if I'm being honest, it's not all danceable. Listenable or singable, sure, but not always one that would make you wanna get up and move.

When it came down to it, I got my selections down to three: Harry's "the Jam Was Moving" from her album Koo Koo, or her cover of the Castaway's "Liar Liar", which she did for the movie Married to the Mob.

Still I went with Blondie and their song "War Child" off of their 1982 disk, the Hunter.

The song makes good use of guitar, percussion and horns. It builds quickly and stays there for the four minute duration. And Harry has a strong vocal presence, which isn't always the case.

"War Child" is 30+ years old and I never tire of it.

Blondie - War Child

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Top of the World

Well, we made it to the top.

I mean, not like in Everest, but to the top of our movie goal. And we didn't have to eke it out like most years.

We were done with said goal before the end of Q3. I will have to reassess the 2016 movie-going threshold.

Though I have to say, film selections for 2015 were pretty good - and we still aren't done. We already have tickets for the opening weekend of the Martian.

Anyways - for long time readers, or people who actually read for content - for decades, I've had an obsession with Everest. Reading, movies, well.......everything but climbing the mountain. The bathroom situation seems precarious at best. Oh - and the climbing thing.

Oddly, until seeing a movie a month ago, when we saw the preview, I had not heard a peep out this movie being in production. But having read the books (yes, the movie was culled from a few), and seeing the David Breashear's IMAX movie maybe 20 years ago, I was intrigued, though I was skeptical it would do any better than his movie or Jon Krakauer's book, Into Thin Air (though Everest does not use Krakauer's book at all).

Actually, as with most movies based on real-life events, liberties are taken. Everest is no different.

While it was briefly mentioned about too many teams ascending the mountain at once, when it came down to it, the movie makes it seem that there were only two, who combined into one.

While it was ever so briefly implied in a 10 second shot, but never explained if you didn't know the story, or infer it from those 10 seconds, many of the climbing teams were inexperienced.

While it was briefly described as a traffic jam of people ascending due to no fixed ropes, the actual bigger issue was people not being able to get off the summit due to multiple teams trying to get up and down the same passage, and added in would be those very slow inexperienced climbers.

Yes, the storm that hit the mountain was bad and ultimately caused the fatalities, but these other circumstances precipitated an inability for a quicker descent.

And since Krakauer's story was not used, his version of seeing a person walk off the side of the mountain in a blizzard is not told, nor was he really a dick by refusing to go help in a rescue effort.

David Breashera's and his IMAX team are mentioned once - barely - and never shown. While he is a producer of Everest, his actual (and real) footage of this climb was way more captivating than anything the director put to "film".

Oddly, the actual story itself would have been better than taking liberties. It's not like the events weren't exciting enough on their own.

Maybe because I knew the details of the 1996 climb, I felt the foreshadowing was extremely heavy-handed.

No offense to the cast, but no one was breaking any boundaries here. Jason Clarke fares better than the rest of the cast. Josh Brolin, was basically Josh Brolin, but in a parka.

Jake Gyllenhaal, as in the majority of his roles, could have been played by anyone - and if the character had "demons" they never explained them.

True that, Family Guy.  True that.

The reality is after the climbers get suited up in their North Face, it's hard to tell one character from another. Sure, they are unrealistic about taking off their gear so often so you can figure out who is who, as there is no other reason to do so.

We saw it in 3-D, which I think helped in some scenes, but you can never truly tell if it would have been less dramatic in 2-D. And there was actually a camera shot of climbers going up while the camera went downward, making it look like they were on an upward escalator. It was odd.

There were all of 9 of us in the theater (see cartoon Jake talking about being a box office drag), one being like a 8 year old who spoke the entire way through the movie and his parents answered every fucking question he asked.

I have to say, after the credits ran (yes, we stay for all the credits), one other guy remained, who goes, "do you think they took him home watch the Walking Dead?'.  I replied, 'probably Schindler's List'. We all laughed. I mean, the subject matter was a little much for an child.

The one thing the kid was spared some of the missing elements: like some of the survivors taking oxygen off of dying (not yet dead) climbers so they themselves wouldn't run out.

710 mentioned the movie, in a way, was a document of the events, and to leave them out was slightly changing history. I don't doubt that these people have to live with their decisions and to have it on the big screen would be horrendous for them - and that lawyers probably got involved.

Everest was ok. But just ok. I get that I had high expectations, but the filmmakers cut corners in a story where the actual story was fine in itself.

This is maybe a C+.  And I'm being a little generous.

2015 Movie Count / Goal:  12 of 12

Song by: the Dixie Chicks

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Soul Meets Body

Sophie has NOT been getting the love in these Saturday posts. Mainly, it is her fault for avoiding the paparazzi, but she does need to be seen.  I actually saved a few for next week in case she doesn't cooperate in the next seven days.

Petey meet-up with a newer neighbor dog, Emma.  Giving kisses to her too. He's such a flirt. 
We have to "Emmas" in the 'hood. And two Frankies. 

She makes a better door than a window, but that's ok. 
Though my face might not say it, I'm happy to have her there. 

One day I'll have to get video of Enzo barking and twirling as Petey approaches. 
He gets so excited for Petey visits. 

There is little better than her head resting on my hand in a beam of sun. 

Pete isn't much of a cuddler - we usually have to go to his level and show him the love.  

So when he jumps up in your lap, you have to cherish the time, and get a pic, because who knows when or if it will ever happen again. 

Song by: Death Cab for Cutie

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mercy Seat

Same-sex marriage nonchalantly comes to the funnies with a Speed Bump comic yesterday. 

But it came to the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Remind me to look for the foot-stomping Letters to the Editor insisting that the comic be dropped over this one. Srsly. 

Song by: Johnny Cash

Thursday, September 24, 2015

License to Thrill

As I rapidly approach senior citizenship, clearly I'm losing track of things. Nothing big - well, depending on who you ask - but just some points in time where 710 said we did x, y and z and I don't remember any of it.

I mean, he's going back years or even decades.

For anyone else you'd be like, "yeah, but that's years or decades ago". My friends will tell you I remember stuff, minutiae even, from any point in time. So, this might be a little blip, but one of those things to watch out for as I slip into dementia. Slowly, but surely.

Three days ago, I get a postcard from the BMV, telling me I'm more than 30 days late to renew my driver's license.


I've {almost} never missed something like this. But sure enough, I was 42 days overdue.

Since it was just 42 days, it wasn't a biggie. Had it been six months, I'd have to take both the written and driving portions of the driver's test all over again. Plus some kind of monetary penalty.

As it was, I just needed $25.75 and to pass an eye test - which was actually more difficult than it should have been. But I need a new prescription. I haven't forgotten about that - I've just been lazy about that.

Speaking of the eye exam - lord, that was tough. The blinking lights were fine, but focusing on what I was supposed to read was challenging, at least for one eye.

And the questions they ask. Honestly, they are new or I am truly not remembering these things:

Do you need contacts or glasses to drive?  Besides you just saw me eke through an eye test. Yes.
Have you always been a resident of Ohio?  Who cares. I have an OH license and just renewing it.
Outstanding warrants, or license suspended?  Wouldn't you have at least the latter in your computer?
Are you currently addicted to alcohol or prescription medication?  Even if I were, I wouldn't answer the question while tying to get a license to operate heavy machinery.

As you can see, those stories of the jam-packed BMV are tall tales. The last few times I've gone there has been almost no one. Though except for the license, most everything you can do on-line, so maybe that's the reason.

So, I got my license, but I laughed when reviewing the information that said my hair was 'brown'.

The woman corrected it, saying they now have a setting for 'bald'.

So...................there's that.

And now it's official.  I'm bald.

Song by: Billy Idol