Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Another year come and gone. Where does the time go?

It's rhetorical - don't bother to answer.

The year was pretty good, overall. At least nothing bad happened - at least to us. No one died. No one was fired. No one got really ill. In this day and age, sometimes that's all you can ask for.

We will celebrate all of this by doing nothing. Yeah - you heard me. Nothing.

While it would be fun to go out and drink, New Year's Eve isn't the time to do it. The night is for amateurs. It is a reason to drink. I don't need a reason. I never have. Mores the pity, I guess.

In the past I've had some pretty fun and pretty heinous year end celebrations. It really is ok to sit back and watch one pass without instance. At midnight, we'll be in bed, no doubt, wondering if the noise we hear are fireworks or gun fire. It's a 50/50 chance where we live. As long as no stray bullets pass through our windows, I'm sure how much I care which it is.

I will work most of the day. I have got things to wrap up in the office. I've been doing it the last two weeks. I have one more to go. But I'll be leaving early for the "holiday'. I ain't staying all day. As it is, there is barely anyone in the office these days. No one will notice me boogey-ing out early. What are they gonna do if I do leave before end of day - fire me?

Anyhoo - the 31st is just a day to mark an end of some calendar year - be it Julian, Georgian of Fiscal.

Whatever you choose to do for the evening, be good, be safe. Come back next year.




Song by: Nina Gordon

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Guilt is a Useless Emotion

This whole thing about leaving my job has evoked an emotion in me which normally remains absent: Guilt

I think that's what I'm feeling.

Taking my soon to be new job is the right decision. This I believe (maybe I should do an NPR piece!). But for the most part, I think you tell your boss you are leaving and that is usually where it ends. Not me.

I have, or get, to tell my remote work sites - the folks who report to me. There are 17 of those. I also get to tell the 12 clients that are associated with those sites. So, I get to have this conversation about 30 times.

Yayyyyyyyyyy! ?

Oddly enough, I find myself apologizing for leaving. Why is this?

I've thought about it, albeit, not tons, or deeply. But each time I dial that last number of whomever I'm calling, I get a small knot in my gut, at least momentarily. I haven't even told most of the people in my home office. I kind of want to just slink away at the end of next week and go gently into that good night.

I would like to think there are one half dozen of folks I worked with at this job that I can keep in touch with. I know that is probably a high number. Everyone wants that, but I just don't think that normally happens. Half of that half dozen would be an ok number. At least they'd be the ones I really would do things with.

Missing my areas and some co-workers must be a testament to liking whom I work with. But why feel guilty about it?

Pish!



Song by: New Order

Monday, December 29, 2008

Neon Bible

I'm not really late to the party on this one - I've just been blogging about other things, as you might have read.

Cenk Uygur had a good post two weeks ago on the Huffington Post regarding gay marriage. As you might imagine, there are bible references all around it and included in his piece.

No offense to Mr. Uygur, but this is nothing new. But I am always glad to hear the reinforcement of the argument, since we always hear the one line of 'man lying down with man' or the 'Adam and Steve' comment.

Yes, there isn't tons (if anything) new in Uygur's post, but it brought me back to a scene in the West Wing, where Jed Bartlet rattled off similar references to a thinly veiled Laura Schlessinger-like character. It's quite a fun scene to watch.



Even by the time Aaron Sorkin wrote this episode, things like this had been going around, thanks to the internets. But the West Wing probably provided the biggest audience for folks to see something of this nature.

Naturally, I have never seen any right wing nut job or christian conservative come back with any response to one or more of these other bible quotes. Most likely, they really don't have answers to or for them.

Anyway, I'm happy to keep the momentum going and call out the hypocrites when necessary.



Song by: the Arcade Fire

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Music

For the 2nd year in a row, I have not come across a disk strong enough that I would qualify as 'CD of the Year'.

Many releases had good aspects, but nothing that stood out so much that I went 'WOW'.

But there are some disks that had really outstanding music, so I'll do a top song list - in no particular order:
  • Losing Touch - the Killers
  • Juliet of the Spirits - the B-52's
  • I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab for Cutie
  • Mercy - Duffy
  • 24 Hour Break Up Session - Local H
  • Human - the Killers
  • Love Runs Deeper - Lindsey Buckingham
  • U Want Me 2 - Sarah McLachlan
  • Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon
  • Great Beyond - Aimee Mann
  • Supernatural Superserious - R.E.M.
  • Cowboys - Counting Crows
What'd I miss? What would you have included?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Hardest Button to Button

We made our way to movie #9 for this year. I know to most folks, you're going "only #9 ??!!"

For those paying attention, I've tried to make one movie per month this year, but really there just hasn't been much to see out there. .....well, that I'd pay for. As usual, the last month has been a plethora of potential Oscar releases, and while I now can make it to #12, time is not on my/our side.

So Friday's get out was to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The plan was to see Milk, but oddly enough, it wasn't playing at the Gooooogleplex.

The theatre was packed, but not sold out. Not like when we attempted to see Australia the other week. With those iffy reviews and it was sold out?

Long and short of it: it was ok. Maybe even better than ok. Was it really good or great? Nah. I found it to be a cross between Forrest Gump and the Hours. I loved the latter, but not so much the former.

All the buzz around Mr. Pitt's performance being Oscar worthy. What's that about? I don't get it. Granted, I haven't seen the other contenders: Seymour-Hoffman, Penn, Langella or......or...... Ok, maybe if the possibilities are that limited, Brad might be in the running. But I'm not sure he should be, let alone win.

Ditto for Cate Blanchett.

Tilda Swinton was really good, but when isn't she? ...even if her part is historically inaccurate.

So yeah, if you're thinking of going, it is worth a matinee price for sure, but questionable on the full priced evening showings.



Song by: the White Stripes

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Boxer

Today is Boxing Day in Canada. Actually, in more than just Canada, but most UK run or formerly run areas. Perhaps not India.

As it turns out, it has nothing to do with the dog breed, pugilists, or a certain kind of underwear. Go figure.

The funny thing isn't that I knew it was Boxing Day, but how I found out it was.

I got an email from HMV - which to be honest, I didn't even know was still in existence. I used to purchase a number of CDs there from on-line. You could find stuff there that amazon didn't carry....and this was back in the day when the exchange rate worked in my favour. It no longer does, and I would be hard pressed to find anything that they have as a stocked item that I can't find easier somewhere else. I've also been gravitating towards the non-physical aspect of music. I am more apt to buy it in downloadable fashion than to have the jewel case et al.

But yes, HMV is having a Boxing Day sale. If it were a Boxer-Brief Day Sale - they might have more of my interest.




Song by: Simon & Garfunkel

Thursday, December 25, 2008

(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)

Though we had the right, we didn't fight. Not for this year's holiday party that we usually have. The stars were not aligned for it to happen, though I suppose we could have tried a little harder.

Between my current job and its travel, my transition into a new job and that the holiday is falling in the middle of a week, there wasn't much of a chance to get our friends together for this year. Not that we needed a huge turn-out. Whomever we invite and however many can show is just fine.

But I also didn't want to do it half-assed either. So it kind of passed us by as much as we passed it by.

Yesterday was our big family get together. Today, it is just Denton and myself - sleeping in, hanging out, doing some gift exchange. Somewhere in between we made French Freedom toast. But we are all for the pagan aspects of the holiday. We love the tree and its 1000 lights. (all those gifts are not ours - we had 20 folks over last night, plus my parent's birthday.)

....and ladies and germs, I present the longest kitty kat in the world.......



Song by: the Beastie Boys

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jacob Marley's Chain

It's only a few hours until the ghosts of xmas past, present and future being to visit us. Consider this your visit from Ebenezer's deceased business partner.

Basically, isn't Marley just the predecessor for the line, 'be good, for goodness sake'? ....by about 90 years?

I'm not a huge fan of A Christmas Carol. I'm not sure why. It's down, for the most part - which I'm a fan of. Maybe I'm just not a fan of the holiday itself.

I do view this more of a family gathering than any true holiday - religious or otherwise. Today is my mother's birthday. Today is one of my brother-in-law's birthdays. Yesterday was my father's birthday.

I am happy to host (i wrote 'hots') the event and just sit around and eat and drink. But first clean. I guess I should get on that.



Song by: Aimee Mann

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to Quit

I'd say I neglected to tell my readership this story, but I haven't. Honestly, I've been waiting for a day where I get more readers. I don't get tons of hits anyway, and even less on the weekends. So.........

I quit my job this last Friday.

To be honest, it was bittersweet. The folks in the Cleveland office were some of the best folks I've ever worked with. Well, a handful of them were, but they were people I really enjoyed sitting near and/or traveling with.

The reality is, since we were acquired eight months ago, my career has become a job. Extremely little room for advancement and even if so, we're looking at that in maybe five years. Maybe.

I have been pseudo-alluding to my doing a casual interview process lately. 'Casual' might be too strong of a word for it. Laid-back might be too intense, even.

My soon to be new employer called me almost seven months ago and we have been in discussions ever since - whenever they got around to it, or I was in town to talk with them.

Oddly enough, for the most part, this was fine with me. It is not like last time when I was unemployed and needed the job. This time I had a job, a good one, but one that has morphed into something very different than what I had signed up for. So moving slow was not a bad thing in this case.

....unless you were Becky. She has been dying to tell her sister-in-law that I will now be working with her (the sister in law, not with Becky).

So anyhoo, after I got the results from my pre-employment drug screen back, which were contingent upon the actual job, I went in and gave my notice to my kind of boss. I've reported to him the last 18 months, but I now have a new boss out of NYC whom I barely know and have rarely seen, but she was on vacation.

"Marty" wasn't really shocked, or didn't show it, when I told him. He got it and was ok with it - maybe because technically I was no longer his direct report. He also wanted to tell my new boss, which was ok....with me and with him. As it turns out, not so much for her. She can be as pissed at me as she wants (and she is), but I only have to endure her for three more weeks and there are holidays and vacation days scheduled in there....and weekends. Bring it on.

Like my last jobs, going forward, I won't be telling you much detail. Unlike my last job, I won't be traveling. That is a good thing and a bad one. In theory, I really enjoyed the travel part and became quite the astute business traveler. But in the last two months or so, I was beginning to dread some of my trips. I also go back to wearing suits five days per week - for me, this isn't a bad thing. I like suits. I was never into the business casual look.

So, the plan is be at current company for three more weeks and then take a week off before starting the new job. I'm more excited than nervous. I was more nervous about giving my notice - as deep down, there were certain co-workers and clients I really do not want to let down. I still yearn for validation and acceptance.

I know how extremely fortunate I am, especially in this economy, not only to have a job, but to have the ability and opportunity to move into a new position. None of this is lost on me.

So - three more weeks and counting. And then, I think we will be taking a week away before staring a new endeavour.



Song by: Sam Phillips

Monday, December 22, 2008

One

The shortest day and the longest night were joined by the coldest day.

I'm not 100% sure, but the first day of Winter I believe was the coldest day of 2008. At least in NE Ohio.

I think the high was 21...maybe, and that was early in the morning. But most of the day we were in the single digits. One the ride home from my parents, it was 1 degree - and that doesn't include wind chill. ....and it will probably dropped more before the day ended and after I got in the house and just gave up watching the weather.

But the wind was a-howling all night long.

Cold Miser, even if he is called "Mr. Ten Below", sings that he never wants a day above forty degrees. He'd rather have it, thirty, twenty, ten or five. Even he didn't go down to 1 !!!!! It might be too chilly for his liking.

They said there is global warming. They said this winter would be milder than the last. WHY isn't it happening???




Song by: Three Dog Night

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter

It's that time. Today is the first day of Winter.

Not be my father (but hell, it seems to be a fate I cannot and will not escape), after today, the days start to get longer!!!! I could have conjured up a picture of a pretty winter's day. Not from here though. It's cold, but not white and not pretty either. Lots of ice around though, as you may have gathered from yesterday's post.

Today is also the first day of Hanukkah. (this is the spelling that I prefer. there are others, of course.)

All I got to show for it is my Jewish Troll. I've had him and his xmas pal for almost two decades at this point. They make an appearance for about 2 weeks of the year - and then as Pee Wee Herman would say to Grace Jones, 'back in the box!'.



...and speaking of, it is almost time for the annual viewing of the entire Pee Wee's Christmas Special - which by the way, is the bestest holiday special of all time. Charo, Cher, Dinah Shore, kd lang, Grace Jones, Princess Zsa Zsa, Miss Yvonne, Reba the Mail Lady, Cowboy Curtis, the dinosaur family, Frankie & Annette (before her MS kicked in!), Little Richard, Whoopi and the Del Rubio triplets.

It does not get more star*-studded or gayer than that. Seriously, do yourself a favour and go to amazon and order it.



*'star' is such a relative term, isn't it?



Song by: Tori Amos

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fall on Me

NE Ohio skirted the "big storm". The one that finally meteorologists are now calling a "pre-winter" storm. Someone in editing or production must have finally got the fact we are not yet in winter.

But the inclement weather skirted us, not missed us. I guess we got the hem. The way to work wasn't bad, just slower than normal. 27 degrees and something between rain and sleet. Everyone on TV was saying how it is going to be worse as the day goes on - but it never really did except get somewhat colder - like by 2 degrees.

There was no snow, the rain/sleet stopped and the day just, well, was. I think only the local networks are the ones unaware that their hype is just for them.

But apparently it was treacherous. I made a brief trip outside the office building in the evening before heading to my car - which ironically was parked in a connecting garage. It was casual Friday and I went tres casual - right down to my favourite pair of workboots, ones with heavy treads. As it turns out, those treads were useless.

Side-stepping a jagged small pile of slush that had turned into ice, I must have hit slick flat ice. I went down. I went down hard.

...and naturally, I went down on my bad leg. For those who don't know, due to some surgery 13 years or so ago, I have a metal plate and nine screws in my right leg. To add insult to injury, I was also carrying my laptop on that same side. So I went down on that hard too. Thank g-d, it was my work laptop.

I didn't damage anything more than my pride, as there was a woman walking behind me. She didn't see the ice and I think thought I was just a klutz, until she stepped right where I had and almost tumbled 4 her, herself.

She axed if I was alright, and I bounced back quickly. I apologized for the expletive that flew out of my mouth. You know - the one that starts with F and ends in K.......and has a U and C in the middle. She wasn't phased, by the word, nor my apology.

Though coming down the stairs this morning, I am feeling a bit sore. I've done worse. I've felt worse. I'll live.




Song by: R.E.M.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shopping with Blobby

Yet another installment in the drudgery that is everyday shopping. The camera-phone makes it a bit more fun - though I get looks whenever I take pics of products. Like I care what people think!


It used to be I'd just blog about funny named food or weird packaging. But lately I've been finding disgusting food. Taste. Looks. The whole shebang.

Chicken Feet??

I suppose I could Goooooogle what one might do with chicken feet, but I find that someone like RJ will usually tell me, in his infinite wisdom, who buys this stuff and for what.

I'm never sure I'd be hungry enough to eat it though.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sad Songs

Is it any wonder that mental health, or lack thereof, runs rampant in this country? Especially around the holidays? Or winter?

So while looking for some gifts in Barnes & Noble the other day, I stumbled upon this little ditty.
Nice, huh?

Cause nothing give person more self-esteem and more of a natural "can do" attitude than calling them a 'dummy'.

And really, should it not at least be called Overcoming Depression for Dummies? Or do you think it is for people who want to become depressed and just don't know how to be a sad sack?
It is like 'Swimming for Diabetes'. You're not swimming to get the disease!

It's ok to get down during the holidays...or winter. They are stressful and it is cold and dreary outside. Dickens didn't call it Bleak House for nothing.

I find that alcohol helps. And cookies. In that order.




Song by: the Frames

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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 will say, no one is more surprised by my like of the Killers than myself. I think I said that after I took my nephew to their concert pushing two years ago now, I would guess. Sure I had heard the hits of Hot Fuss on the airwaves and really took to "Somebody Told Me", but not enough to buy the album.

It was their follow-up, the underrated and under appreciated Sam's Town, that I really liked. Sure Sam's Town had some Springtseen-esque qualities, or almost plagiarism, but it still worked. Their third disk of b-sides and out-takes was just that - killing time until a new disk landed. And it has.

Much like their first two disks, the Killers' new release, Day & Age, comes across as trading on many older styles. Last time it was some Bruce, but this time they are back to (re)visit Bowie, Roxie Music, Duran Duran and New Order, as they did on their debut. Yeah, they have influences from my past, but on the other hand, they seem to pull much of it off as their own.

For musicianship and vocal talent, the Killers are quite adept and perform fairly well. They are all credible in their playing and singing.

Day & Age was produced by Stuart Price, who did Madonna's Confession on a Dance Floor. You can hear some of that in this work, especially in "Human", but for the most part, he blazes no new trails.

With "Human", the group may have achieved the best pop song of the year. While the song was built for, but failed at, radio airplay - I'm a bigger fan of the opener, "Losing Touch". With the horns and the vocal changes, it has a Bowie-like feel. "Spaceman" is also fun and could be a radio hit.

"A Dustland Fairytale" could be from Sam's Town (read: Springsteen again) in style. The slow burn of "The World That We Live In" is kind of surprising to me. Ditto with the chorus to "Neon Tiger". And I like the traditional disk closer, "Goodnight, Travel Well". None of these will make a radio playlist ever. (I say 'traditional' because the iTunes version contains an additional three songs.)

And while there are other strong songs on the disk, there are some clearly weaker material ("Joy Ride", "This is Your Life").

If you're looking for depth when it comes to lyrical content, you may as well look elsewhere ("you sold your soul, like a Roman vagabond". Really??). Brandon Flowers (no relation, I don't think, to the accomplished and world-acclaimed, Rebecca), might be the gayest straight man ever, but he is not passing off meaningful words to most of these songs. You just have to take it for what it is.

I guess Day & Age is a three and a half-star disk. I would bet the material presents better live, but this is just a regular recording that you can skip and play what you wish.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Caught a Light Sneeze

Blech. I'm sick.

My annual cold arrived a month early. I always get it the third week in January. What gives???

And it is working totally in reverse, I might add. The deal is to get some stuffiness, have it drain past my throat, making that raw and then settling into my chest for a dry cough, finally turning to a disgusting productive one.

This one started in my chest and is working its way up. The congestion has finally hit as of last night. The folks on my flights yesterday were loving me: Typhoid Blobby.

To be fair, I've been on eight airplanes and two trains in 13 days. And then got caught in that monsoon in DC last week. I'm like the girl in the mini skirt, with no underwear on, drunk, at an all guy party - I was kind of asking for it, no? (oh lighten up, it was a joke!)

I'm hoping to shake this before the holidays, but what are the chances it will be all gone by then?

Naturally, my schedule is booked, but I'm not going to work today. I can answer emails at home. Of course, if I feel good enough, maybe I'll venture out and do some holiday shopping, since I have done nothing about this season as of yet. Well, we have the tree, but it remains unadorned.



Song by: Tori Amos

Monday, December 15, 2008

Site of the Month

Why not make the SotM a seasonal one? I think last December I did the Office Max - Go Elf Yourself one for you folks. Or as Morty called it, Dancin' with my Elf.

So David G brings to you, via me, a new creepy version in the form of Macy's Department Stores.

It is from their Believe campaign - which someone in Cleveburgh has already condemned because it makes it seem to little kids that Santa doesn't exist in the first place.

Fuck, man - get a life!

I could probably never get my beard this long (oh yes, David was kind enough to use my own picture for this endeavour), but the going grey part is slowly creeping upon me - mostly in my beard. Not so much the hair.....not that it would take much, obviously.

You can build your own Santa at the above link, or you can watch the one David built of me right here.

Enjoy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rain

I've mentioned in previous posts that I've been on the road a lot lately. I will be gone more time in December than I am home. Or maybe now it will be about equal, as I am deferring one of my trips until mid-January (or so they think - but more on that in a week or so).

As always, most of the time has been in DC. And for the kerjillions of times I have traveled there for work, I had only encountered rain (or bad weather) twice. Once was last summer where I was treated to a cool-ass thunderstorm on one of the hottest days of the year.

The second time was this last week. It was the Morton's salt tagline: when it rains it pours. At times it seemed frickin' biblical.

I love getting to DC in Winter (yes, technically I know it is not yet winter!) and it's 65. It was last January too, and everyone was bundled in their hats, gloves and scarves. I laughed at them aloud. They had it coming.

So anyhoo, it was 65 when I arrived on Wednesday. Grey, but still....... It had been in the 20s when I left Cleveburgh. I'll deal with grey.

Thursday however, not so pretty. The temps from Ohio started to follow me, but DC is south enough where that precipitation that hit New England was rain and not snow or ice. And it was a lot o'rain. They were expecting as much in one day as they'd normally get in a month.

I'm a good business traveler. Even with all the good weather travel I have, an umbrella (ella-ella-ella) resides in my suitcase. I've just never used it. Until the other day, that is. It made it around DC and up to Silver Spring, before it died. The thing just collapsed with no hope of resuscitating it. It was D.O.A. FRICK!

5:30 p.m. in Silver Spring on a dark and rainy night is no time to go searching for an umbrella. At first I thought I could make it to the Metro, but it was a deluge. So I walked towards shopping the opposite direction. It was a deluge. My suit was soaked.

Many a store later, I finally found a little Totes in a DSW. The last black one. The rest were pink and red and some other girly colour (hush all of you!). DSW sells their rain cover gear in the women's section of the store, I guess because real men don't mind getting wet.

But I am a delicate flower. Spun sugar, even. I melt in the rain.

Closer to reality - I'm the Wicked Witch of the West. An evil crone.....and yet I still melt in the rain.

The temps had also dropped. As I walked yet again in the direction of the red line, my hands were freezing and it seemed not long before the water turned to ice. But it never crossed that threshold.

I got back to my hotel (this time, with no straight folks bumping uglies in the room) just to warm up and take off my suit and hope it dried before I had to pack it. Either way, it's going to the dry cleaner. I just kept looking out the window into the dark, catching rain hitting puddles near the glow of street lights.

I ordered room service. I wasn't going out in that. The food was as room service normally is: bad. I should have ventured out into the cold and wet and just found some hole in the wall place to grab some chow.

The next morning, while New England had lost most of its power, DC was dry. No rain. Cold, but no rain. And when I say cold, they were DC cold, not NE Ohio cold.

And I was home for a little more than a day - and today I am off to Miami. Don't get too excited - it is all work. Maybe a few hours to myself. I could not find a plane to get me there before my three hour meeting, so I get to spend the night! Whoo-----hooo?



Song by: Patty Griffin

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blood Makes Noise

What does one do when they are home for a mere 36 hours between trips?

Go get fasting bloodwork done, of course.

I had a doctor's appointment a few weeks ago, but he never got the orders for labs in before the actual visit. I mean, he poked and prodded me appropriately, and I paid for that privilege, but normally he provides results from getting stuck in the arm. This time it was all backwards.

Now, I'll have to call and email him to get my results - but that's ok.

With my travel, I have been gone way more than I've been home. Today was about the only day I could do it. Since I have to fast for 12 hours (I cheated - I only fasted for 11. Sue me!), I just waited until they opened, went down and had this done:

Step 1 - Get a tourniquet placed on the arm of your choice

Step Two - Get stuck by a pointy metal object that goes deep into your veins to extract blood into the vacutainer to the actual tube

Step 3 - well, there really is no Step 3. Take a pic of five tubes of blood roll around while they put a bandage on your puncture wound, while they ask, "what are you doing?"

They don't need to know. It's none of their beeswax.


Then there is always this popular signage - just to remind you that blood and body fluids (possibly yours!) are a 'hazard'. A biological one. Not unlike Anthrax. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Possibly like Anthrax.



Song by: Suzanne Vega

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blasphemous Rumour

You know the website, OverheardinNewYork website? I have an entry for them.

Penn Station last Friday.

30ish Girl (almost whispering): "Is Boy George.....gay?"
40ish Man: (laughing hysterically): "...and you're the last to know!"

This was all in a response to the Boy being found guilty holding that male hooker hostage, or so the 30ish Girl said. She saw it on the morning news.

40ish man responded, "Well how else was he going to get anyone to stay the night?"

Yes, I'm the 40ish man. The 30ish woman was one of my co-workers I was traveling with. I know she was probably too young for the "Do You Really Wanna Hurt Me" phase, but seriously, isn't BG big enough in pop culture where folks know he didn't like girls? Hasn't she ever seen The Wedding Singer?




Song by: Depeche Mode

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Record of the Month - Classic

Another installment of a disk I have enjoyed over the years. I'm trying to keep the Record of the Month posts to be fairly new releases. Classics are going to be ones that are at least 5 years old.

I think this is my first male artist Classic post. Granted, he doesn't get much gayer. Well, I don't think Chris Isaak is gay - but one could hope.

Silvertone was his debut disk, and arguably his best. The year was 1985 and I saw his video for "Dancin'" on Friday Night Videos (yes yes, I'm dating myself.......again). I went out and got the disk the next day. I thought he was tres sexy, but I really liked the music.

It was a bit Elvis, a bit Orbison, a bit rock and bit rockabilly and all good. ...and I can't say that about all Isaak's disks. He has some incredible music, and some incredibly marginal music. I'm not sure he has any bad music. For all his albums, if you took the good stuff, you could have 3-4 outstanding disks. As it turns out, he really only had one bona fide hit.

But back to Silvertone. There isn't really a bad song on the disk, but there are some really outstanding tracks. "Dancin'" being the lead-off. Simple. Clean. And just downright good. The epitome of cool.

I also love "Talk to Me", "Back on Your Side", "VooDoo" and most of all - "Another Idea". I really like his version of "Western Stars" - and kd lang does an incredible cover of it.

No - he ain't just a pretty face. He's a talented musician and a good singer/songwriter. But oh - whatta face!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shut Your Mouth

Once again, I have a mouth full of teeth. Sure, they're not all MY teeth, but at least I have them.

Yes, my new crown came in. Ain't she a beaut?

It was actually very hard to get a picture of it - none of them really turned out right, this being the best of the bunch. Yes, the techs just sat there and waited till I finished the red-hot photo shoot, so they could prep me for installation. Gotta love that my dental plan ("Lisa needs new braces!") pays for their time, eh?

Ok, so I added a second shot.

This time, there was no anesthetic. I felt every poke and prod. I felt it every single time the crown went on and off for adjusting. Then they had to water and dry the tooth - or where the tooth used to be. Yeah - that squirting water and high pressure air gun felt sooooooo good, I can't even tell you.

Overall, I've become much better at the dentist. I didn't grip the sides of the chair. I didn't flinch or jump or anything. Yeah, I winced with my eyes - but hey, I made it in and out in an hour, which included my bi-annual cleaning. It's all progress.

The better news than having the crown? My gums. Dr. Dorothy is thrilled with them. That gum surgery and my violent flossing have made my mouth better. The dentist was just hoping for slowing or stopping the deterioration that was going on - but it actually has improved. Bonus for me.

Hopefully this is the last dental post for quite a while. Be thankful. I am.



Song by: Garbage

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fool's Story

I'm not sure who the fool is in this story. Stories. I guess I could milk these tales of travel out for 2-4 posts, but I'd even be bored with them at that point.

During my NYC work sessions, I attended a holiday party for 140 or so staff members in the area. It was to be heavy hors d'oeuvers, and a bar. A cash bar after you used the two tickets they provided. I get it, there is liability involved.

Their idea of "heavy" and mine were not the same thing. The heaviest thing was a very very very mini kobe beef burger - which wasn't very good. Most things were the size of (small) Bugles (remember those?) filled w/"spicy artichoke" It wasn't spicy and it didn't taste like artichoke...but cheese.

But I didn't know that this was the only food - I kept assuming the heavy stuff would come out eventually - it didn't. But in the mean time, I used my two drink tickets. And my co-worker's who doesn't drink tickets. Then two more that the door person just gave to me and another one I found on the floor.

All the while, I had nothing to absorb that alcohol. I wasn't drunk they way most of my friends would classify "drunk", but to a mere mortal.....well.......

Here's what I looked like at 8a the next morning after boarding Amtrak.


And I took that Amtrak to DC, where I then took a car ride to Richmond. There I took one of my staffs to their holiday festivities. It is a smaller staff, so their spouses or significant others could attend. Did I mention it was Richmond? This folks is Southern Virginia. The part that voted for overwhelmingly for McCain.

My staff loves me, but the rest of the town...well, they might not.

Before getting there, some folks I traveled with go, "are you going to wear a tie?" I answered affirmatively, but not the kind one might be thinking. I went for something more non-traditional.

It is possible that no one, save Jon, has seen this tie. ...and even I had not seen it lately - and I haven't worn it in at least a decade and have owned it for almost two:

Yes, I am not a big fan of your lord and saviour, and yes, I wear this for kitsch. It was a crap shoot what folks would think of it. My lead nurse BURST out laughing when she saw it (and me) - she got it. Some per diem staff I barely knew thought it was a great tie - but mostly because they thought I was being respectful.

My absolute favouritist moment was when one of the husbands goes, "who's that?" I loved him immediately!!

He eventually figured it out for himself, but I did somewhat correct him in that it was only a likeness of what people assume g-d jr. to be. Most northern africans aren't fair-skinned and have honey blonde hair.

....are they?



Song by: Rachel Sweet

Monday, December 08, 2008

New York City

I told you guys I was going to New York - right?

It was for work, but I can never go to that city and just work. What's the fun of that?

To use an already overused phrase: I love New York. I always think I really love DC (and I do), but there is no place better than NYC. It is not an insult when I say it has a smell all its own. Almost 30 years of going to the city and if you got me there blindfolded, I'd know we were in Manhattan.

It's a shame I can never afford to live there, unless it's in squalor. I don't do that........anymore.

But I got to town early. Work wasn't until late afternoon, so I got to walk around the city and do some stuff. I had plans with family - real and assumed.

I met my sister for lunch - which was great, but she did pick the most populated area in all of the island. Yes, it was right across from Rockefeller Center.......on the day of the tree lighting. The place was a madhouse. Tourists everywhere, already camped out to watch what looked to me like a very unimpressive tree. TV must add something to the aura, but in person, it was just a tree.

Here I am with my half sister. Well half OF my sister. She's my whole sister. That was my attempt at a self-shot. See how well it came out? The maitre d took a better shot, but since I didn't axe her permission to post it, I opted no to. Normally, I think we look quite a bit alike, but I don't think this picture shows that.

We've been to this restaurant before, since well, her married family has a lot to do with it, and usually when I get there first, they go: "oh, you must be Adrienne's brother" - that is how much we usually look alike.

We had a great meal, but more importantly we had a good time for the 90 minutes we had together. She had to get back to work and I had to jump on a conference call. But even an hour and a half is great.

After my work function, I bolted from the group and went to visit David G. ....and Duck. They were just back from Paris and other places in Europe. They've been in their new apartment for about a year and this part of the view from their 34th floor pad.

We were all tired, so we just hung out - along with their two cocker spaniels. They were both really really cute. Both were rescues - one became blind and had to have its eyes removed. She was still really cute and gets around remarkably well. The other one was just all over me - and I loved it.

I've known David longer than any of my friends. 24 years, plus. I hate to say we never see each other enough, but we never did back in the day, and the friendship still works. So hanging out and doing nothing was just fine with me.

The rest of the trip was all work. And it wasn't all that fun. I'm glad I stole away the time I could.



Song by: John Lennon

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sing

I took up Tornwordo's Music Meme post for a few reasons - I'm big on music, and it is Sunday and a travel day.....and I had to post something!

I am not sure I have a type of music I like - though my friends will say 'good....but down'. Or is it 'down......but good'. Either way, the inflection on the last part of either goes up. I too have helped morph my partner's musical tastes......not that he doesn't have his own. But I am less likely to be influenced by his choice of artists. No judgement.

Since I travel a lot, I use my iPod a lot. I don't get shuffle. How it works, that is. I will find it playing the same artist a few songs later. I mean, I have 2000 songs on it.....mix it up Apple! And if I start over after rebooting, recharging, or whatever, I seem to get a lot of the same songs I had just heard (I swear Sarah McLachlan's "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" is always right there!).

That all being said - below are the 10 shuffled songs. No filters. Take it for what it is.

01. Counting Crows - Cowboys
One of my top favorites off their last disk Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings

02. the Killers - Sweet Talk
Had never heard it before this shuffle. I just put it on my iPod from their b-side disk Sawdust. Not bad at all. Is it radio material? No, or it wouldn't be on a b-side disk. Ok....as I keep listening, it kind of drags on.

03. Blondie - Die Young Stay Pretty
A little new wave. A little reggae. All good.

04. Dave Davies - Imagination's Real
Ray's brother and fellow Kink's member from his solo debut back in 1980 (?). It was the only song I liked from his disk. He's an incredible guitarist - not that you could tell from this song, but I still like it.

05. kd lang - So in Love
From Red, Hot + Blue. And AIDS fund raising disk with artists covering Cole Porter songs. Truly what kd's voice was made for.

06. Damien Rice - aime
Great song. Acoustic guitar. Some strings. That's it.

07. Rosanne Cash - Pink Bedroom
John Haitt song. And nothing is more fun than an upbeat song about a teenage girl who is young enough to have a pink bedroom, but also pregnant. 1985 song - and I love the line 'she's got her records and they're all imports'. ahhh....I remember only buying those.....because I was so cool!

08. Annie Lennox - Something So Right
Paul Simon has almost never sounded so good.

09. the Carpenters - Superstar
....because Karen Carpenter is just that good of a singer. Even if Richard was tres fey.

10. Marti Jones - Back of the Line
An oft mentioned artist here on my blog, but a rarely heard one. Seriously, check her out. Off her third solo disk Used Guitars (1988?). One of her first songs she wrote, as until this time had usually just covered other's songs.

Weird. I just noticed, not one song from the 90s. Two from the 70s. A number from the 80s and the rest from this century.


Song by: the Carpenters

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Making Whoopie

Yesterday was a day when I just realized this job isn't worth it.

I travel a lot, but compared to some, I am not a road warrior. But I've been in three cities in as many days - and it is just exhausting.

Actually, yesterday, I was in three cities in one day: New York, Richmond and DC. I'm in the latter currently.

So color me unamused last night/this morning when I finally got to my hotel at 1:00 a.m., after being up at 5 a.m.

The clerk at the desk was not around. The security guy kept saying he'd be back, he'd be back. But he wasn't. Not for a long while. I was pissed. And tired.

When he showed, he spoke almost no English and didn't really seem to grab the concept of a reservation or how to work the hotel systems. ...which was soon to became evident.

I finally got my key for a room on the upper most floor, I go up and key in and what do I find? People in the room. Correction: people "getting busy" in the room.

Mind you - they didn't stray in and just use this room for their fornication. They had luggage and clearly they had been there for awhile. And they were going at it. Hard and heavy.

They didn't see me, though I saw them. I'm not sure if they even heard me open the door as they never stopped doing what they were doing.

Any other time this might have been amusing. Might!

But this is the second time at this hotel they've assigned me a room where someone is already in. WTF???

Mind you, this is the first one I've seen someone doing the do, but still.... and maybe in another place and time I would have stood and watched, but I was exhausted. And pissed.

The more I thought of it on the way down to the lobby, the more pissed I became. Part of it was the fact that with frickin' computer systems, they can't tell someone is in a particular room. My bigger issue was, even though there were people in there, what if there weren't?

I mean - who the fuck are they giving these keys too. If my shit is in the room, but I am not and someone got in who isn't as honest - they could just go into the room and clear it out.

All of this was lost on the guy. Completely.



Song by: Rickie Lee Jones & Dr. John

Friday, December 05, 2008

No Title

Is this the longest I've gone without blogging in the last few years? It seems like it has been days. Weeks, even.

It's been a whirlwind of travel. New York City (drunk). DC (drank). Richmond (plan to drink). DC (plan to drunk).

I'll get to more specific stories, pictures, quips, the works later. Maybe tomorrow - when I wake up back in a hotel. Assuming I get to the hotel before morning.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cool for Cats

Since I'm preparing for a week of travel, I thought I'd just throw out a YouTube video. It is only 46 seconds long, but I just love it.



I want to get one for Sophie to ride around on. Tovah wouldn't do it for sure. But as it turns out, we just don't have much carpet.



Song by: Squeeze