Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hungry Like the Wolf

A few days ago, Morty sent me this video from a website. His email said something about the clip being 'cute', but I found it to be more 'cool' than cute.

It is a reinterpretation of Little Red Riding Hood. This thing totally rocks.

It's so reinterpreted, that Lil' Miss Hood, seemingly goes into the 100 Acre Wood. But at no point do I see her run into Eyore, Piglet or Tigger, let alone that pansy, Christopher Robin.

Still, I think this thing is awesome.

....and the music is great too.

Those Swedes are frickin' incredible! (I gotta kick out of the 'nutritional facts' part.)

Song by: Duran Duran

Monday, August 30, 2010

So in Love

I walked into our townhouse after a long day of work, waiting to see her. I was told she'd be there.

I went to the kitchen, where Denton had placed a folding closet door, taken off its hinges to keep her secured - free from harm; free from wondering. A barrier, if you will. She wasn't there.

I stood up and and there she was, on the stairs, looking down at me through the rails, as if to say, "who are you and what are you doing in my house!"

She was a little ball of fluff that could fit in the palm of your hand and already you knew she ruled the roost. Of course, we let her. I fell in love immediately.

She then promptly went and pooped behind the couch.

We named her Tovah, which translated, can mean 'good'. She was anything but. I guess we named her in jest. (Alanis: it's not irony if you do it on purpose.) As any kitten, she was a rascal and in all sorts of trouble at all times. And vocal. The kitten, and then cat, conversed like no one's business.

Tov as a barn kitty and while not feral, it took a lot to win her trust and affection. She came with a plethora of fleas, of which took weeks to rid her. She didn't like being held much in the first place - giving her dozens of flea baths did not help our cause for a cuddler. It turns out, we'd never really get one with her.

Oddly enough, from a young age, she'd crawl on me (in bed only) to knead my neck. At first it was pushing on my wind pipe and we were sure she had kitty murder on her brain. Eventually she learned to finesse things on each side of the neck while she planted herself on my chest. Eventually, Denton was the benefactor of this affection and I was left out in the cold, but it was a ritual she continued on an almost daily basis.

That is as close as she'd come to cuddling with either of us. She was never a lap cat and struggled if we attempted to hold her.

Tov could not be contained - easily. Even when we moved to Cleveland, we could not get her in a cat carrier. For the entire drive, she walked around my car - YELLING. She was on the backs of the seats, pacing and yelling. No matter how loud I turned up the radio, she got louder.

And there was no stopping for me to pee on that trip. I couldn't take the chance of opening the car door at a rest area and having her bolt. So I held it in - for hours. But folks on the freeway loved it. I got tons of honks and finger pointing notifying me that there was a cat loose in my car - as if I didn't already know.

Except for curling up on a bed, it took Tovah about six years to come up onto a piece of furniture. The first time was when I was home after one of my hernia surgeries and she laid on the arm of my chair - I like to think to take care of me. It was one of the best days of my life. She continued to do that from that moment forward.

As you seen here, she ended up liking to hold my hand or sleep atop of my hand. It broke my little heart each and every time she did it.

In bed, she was controlling too. She would sleep next to me, but only if she could sleep on my arm. This way, she knew where it was and limit what I could do with her being so nearby. Her tail would map out my arm....tracing where it was and to where it extended. Only when she was satisfied, did the tail and the rest of the cat settle down. How I loved that routine.

When we got Tovah, she had a big sister. Tovah tried to befriend Kylie, but Kylie was having none of it. They weren't mean to each other, just ignored one another after a year or two. But how she missed Kylie when she left us four years ago. It is the reason we got Sophie.

Soph and Tov, well......ignoring each other would have been a welcome relief now and again.

In our old house, Tovah was our protector. She scouted window by window making sure other cats did not enter our yard - which they did all the time and she was none too happy about it. Especially when Smokey came by and sat at our back door. He loved Tovah - of this I'm sure.

Smokey would sit. Tovah would charge the screen door, hissing all the way. Smokey never flinched, let alone left. But Kylie would come by, look at him once and he'd be out of there like a shot. And so it went, day after day. Month after month - until Smokey moved.

Tovah loved the outdoors too, but was a scaredy cat. She wouldn't venture too far off without retreating to the back door if she heard a noise that she didn't like or that was unfamiliar. She rarely ventured off our old deck (per our explicit instructions to her) and she'd lean as far as she could to munch on the tall grass, which she loved so much.

She also didn't take kindly to strangers. She wasn't mean, just scared or self-protective - so she hid. I'm not sure in 16 years that any of my family ever got a good look at her. She did well with men, since that's all she really knew, but if there was a group - chances are she wasn't around.

But oh, how she loved her dads. And we loved her.

She made us a family. Though he'll deny it, Kylie was really Denton's cat. She loved me and vice versa, but Tovah brought us all together.

Tovah was sixteen years and four months old. She lived a great life - she helped us live a great life. A wonderful life - because of her.

Her illness seemed to have come quickly, but you know how stoic cats are. She had a vet appointment a month ago with no real issues other than some slightly elevated kidney enzymes. But it was clearly more serious than that. In a day she went from vital to troubled. There was nothing we could do for her but keep her comfortable.

Yesterday, after it was over and Denton prepped her place next Kylie, I watched a monarch butterfly fly around the carrier that held Tovah. Clearly I am not the most spiritual man around, but I couldn't help but believe that with the what a butterfly represents and similar its colouring - that Tovah was now also free.

Song by: k.d. lang

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl

I'm having an iffy week, so no big intricate posts. Today it's mostly an image from Philadelphia's Chinatown. It made me laugh. (click image to enlarge.)

Last I checked, shoes do not even have a pancreas to produce insulin, let alone a malfunctioning one where a loafer, pump or strappy sandal will now need to check its blood sugar and give itself an injection once or twice a day.

And when the shoe's diabetes is out of control and it has to have a below the knee amputation, how does it fit into its own shoe?

I am thoroughly confused. So many questions............so many questions.......

Song by: Allison Moorer

Thursday, August 26, 2010

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.

How is it that I've gone this long without highlighting one of the best disks of the '80s?? But I went back and checked all my Record of the Month's - Classic and current, and did not find an entry. Go figure.

Thanks to my friend Jon, Laurie Anderson's Home of the Brave was the reason I purchased my first cd player. It was a co-first cd I bought (Kate Bush's The Hounds of Love, being the other).

Home of the Brave soundtrack was the companion piece to Anderson's movie of the same name.

The movie was, in essence, a concert film - but more the taping of a multi-media event that most would call a concert. It was and is performance art - and a movie I highly recommend, though it has never been released on DVD.

The Home of the Brave "tour", as it were, consisted of songs from Mister Heartbreak disk, some of which is covered in the film, but only one song from that set captured on this disk. The rest of HotB is new material.

Anderson, is technically not a singer, but she uses music, technology, humour and great supporting musicians to make up the difference. Her work is innovative (even 26 years later!), fun/funny and thought provoking.

Some of the songs don't even have words, per se ("Radar", "Credit Racket"), but it provides some great visuals - if you were watching the movie, that is. There is one epic-like song: "Smoke Rings" (Well I had a dream and in it I went to a little town...and all the girls in town were named Betty), and then there is the pseudo-most popular "Language is a Virus". It played on MTV, but I can't say it was really popular.

The songs here, while from the film, are not really live recordings. The film ones are live and for the most part these are studio recordings, save "Radar", "White Lily" and "Sharkey's Night". It works in either medium whether you watch or hear it.

If you're looking for something easy to listen to - this isn't it. It takes a little work, if that makes sense.

My favourite piece on the disk is also the shortest - "White Lily". Here's the clip from the movie.

It is a short album - like 34 minutes, but totally worth it. If you ever have a chance to check out the movie, I highly suggest it too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


There are some perks to being able to work from home.

One is the coming back from the gym at 07:30 and then eat breakfast in your own house. Oh, and if I opt not to, I don't have to shower at the gym, change and then come home. I can just head home and shower.............or not.

I will be the first to admit, sometimes that doesn't happen. Like yesterday. Sue me.

I am fully aware that I used to mock my beloved when he was a work at home guy for coming home to the same thing he was wearing when I left. So I got some ribbing last night when Denton came home and asked if I just worked out.

"Just" is such a relative term. If he meant 11 hours prior, then yes, it was "just".

In reality, I came home, ate my cereal and went right to work.

I have finally migrated from the kitchen to the upstairs office to work. That Aeron chair is a lot nicer than the wrought iron stools in the kitchen or the wooden dining room chairs. And I can leave the doors from the house to the apartment open for the best work perk of all.....

Kitty Kat visits.

I'd say I don't know why Sophie looks so big in these pictures, but in the last six months she's gained some pound-age. We'll have to monitor that. But she loves being around me when I'm home to work.

She just stretches out and sleeps when she's not wondering around the desk, or in the window, or in the would-be apartment bedroom.....howling like she got separated from the Pride. I thought cats were supposed to sleep all day, but she is one active feline. And she is always comes to me for kisses on top of her head. She likes to lean in, knowing she'll get a peck on her noggin. She's a good work buddy.

Very late in the afternoon, she finally conked out right next to my chair. Why she slept atop of that heavy industrial cord is beyond me. She could have easily slept a foot over and not had that. And man can she snore!!!!! But she makes me smile.

She makes her dad smile too - since I took all these pics and sent them to him at his work, 35 miles away.

Of course, Tovah is free to come and go as she pleases too, but I had no visits from her. I'm sad about that, but maybe next time.

Song by: Shakespear's Sister

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

South of the Border

When we went to see Avatar on January 1 (the same day I fell down and hurt my back), we were sitting waiting to see the Navi try to fight off those nasty miner/soldier of fortune types, my friend James sat there and told us a joke.

James is a great guy, and an outstanding neurosurgeon, but joke telling wouldn't be what you would call one of his strong suits. But he pulled it off flawlessly. One I had never heard and it made me laugh and laugh - perhaps due to my pain, perhaps just due to the fact I never expected him to tell a joke.

So fast forward eight months later, and I'm in Joseph Beth Booksellers and there it is: James' joke.

....and since I had nothing else to blog about today - there you go. Now it's yours to tell.

Song by: Chris Isaak

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Song for You

I've kind of been contemplating what makes a good song......or a bad one, I guess.

Glee did an episode of what they considered really bad songs and allegedly the worst of their worst was "Run Joey Run". I love how those "kids" thought it was so bad when the song was a hit 15 years before any of them were born - not that that really makes a difference.

I kind of went through rock and roll / pop music in its order when one of my first albums was the American Graffiti soundtrack - all that late 50s / early 60s music. I went up then through the Beatles and in the Stones and Jefferson Airplane (still one of my all time favourites!), before finally catching up with what would be music from my era. (Un)fortunately, this was the "Run Joey Run" era.......and "The Night Chicago Died" era.

Yes, none of them great, but none of them horrid either. A friend of mine, Josh, claims he doesn't think any music is bad. I can't quite agree with him on that one.

And sure, time changes things too when it comes to perspective - for better and worse. I know longer want to be the president of the I Hate Bob Seger Fan Club, like I did when I was in high school. Some of his songs to me now, don't completely suck. I kind of like "Turn the Page", "Beautiful Loser" and yes, "Night Moves". For the record, "Like a Rock" still blows!

Songs that are considered "classics" can still make me cringe though. "Hey Jude"? "Let it Be"? "Maggie Mae"? Thank you, no! ....and yes, we've all participated in the pleasure of naming the worst songs of all time ("Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty. "C'mon Eileen" by Dixie's Midnight Runners. "Kokomo" by the Beach Boys - the list goes on and on....)

I'm sure there are songs that I used to think were great that now are now just wretched, but they're not coming to mind.

But there is another category that has been nagging at me a bit, which is kind of the reason for the post: mediocre music that I like. Or kind of / sort of like.

A few songs come to mind, but I'm sure there are dozens more. How could there not be? I've got 14,000+ songs in my music liberry and I've even written in my Record of the Month segments that the only thing worse than a bad song is a forgettable one. But the question kept coming back to "why do I kind of / sort of like them?"

Let's look at three examples of ho-hum songs:

Muse - "Uprising". I think in a weak moment I put it on my best list of 2009. But that's what their guitar hook did for me at the time - and to a degree, still. The lyrics are uninspired and the keyboard work just so-so, but the two (yes, two!) guitar notes every like 18 measures kind of makes up for a lot in a song that would never resonate any other way. And I wait for those two notes to be played.

Sarah McLachlan - "One Dream" (ohhhh, David J is cringing now!). Her songs have become banal in writing, singing and production. Yet there are two spots I really like the song. One is a line: "we find the strength I've yet to find". Part is phrasing, part is using the word 'find' twice in a sentence. That doesn't seem right, but I like it. The second is the last half of the song - her own backing vocals and arrangement are more interesting than her main vocals. Maybe it's the combo of the two, but it kind of works.

Shinedown - "If You Only Knew". It's a song from Spin class (same as Muse, actually). It is the most forgetful song of the bunch. One that could have been done by any male singer from Daughtry to Nickelback to.....well...you get the idea. But there is a line in the chorus where a certain progression of like eight notes and lyrical phrasing really works. It's not predictable like the other 1,000 notes. But those few notes always draw me in and that's what I wait for in the song.

I always wonder if, when making the record, an artist realize where once they could have been creating art if they put their minds to it, that now they're just cranking out product. I wonder if they even know those little snippets they throw in there actually make the song borderline make or breakable. ...and if so, why not take the time to make the song more like those few seconds?

All rhetorical here folks. I'm just babbling. But it's been bothering me since Spin class where once again, I heard two of these three songs. Like I said, I'm sure there are others, and I'm sure you have your batch too. We all do. Right?

Song by: Gram Parsons

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Party Doll

Last night we went to a party down the street.

It's always a nice affair, given by two of our friends - and it's in walking distance, so I can imbibe as much as I need want. They cater it and normally have it outdoors, but Mother Nature did not cooperate with the party planners.

On one hand, I did feel bad about the weather screwing up the party plans for the guys, but on the other, we needed the a seven hour rain so badly! And these guys adapted so well - the tables came inside and everyone still had a great time.

It was a mix of neighbors, friends - gay and not, and a number of people from the gym and one of my former employers. Plus a number of folks whom I had not met before.

The good was good. The company was good. The house is incredible. ...and of course, an open bar!

And there was a new puppy.

This is Tulley. He's not the new puppy. But he is a sweet as can be Wheaten Terrier. I could have gotten a full-on facial shot of him, but I liked this contrast a little better for a pic.

Tulley's brother, Grady, unfortunately passed away a few weeks ago. Since birth, they had never been a part from each other even for a day. I felt so bad for him. I feel so bad for Bill & Marty too.

But this is Calley (Cali?). A new 11 week old female Wheaten. Or as Bill calls her, 'Spawn of Satan'.

How can anything this cute be evil???? She just has a lot of energy as any 11 week old puppy would have.

She has more red in her than Grady or Tulley had. And she'll lighten up in color, but keep some red highlights apparently. She was so cute and soooo friendly. If I could get her and keep her that size for life, I'd get one like her in a heartbeat. I think Denton would too (though someone at the party thought his name was Duncan - which was new, even for us), as he thought Calley was just adorable.

Trying to not be the last ones there, like we end up normally being, we took a somewhat early departure and walked home in the rain, hand in hand.

Song by: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Sky is a Poisonous Garden

On the way home from work yesterday, I decided to stop at G2H2.

I think this constitutes my 4th or 5th time in two years. I remain unimpressed.

In theory, for some reason I'm still hopeful, which sounds completely unlike me, yet there it is: hope.

Instead of a bar or club, this time it was at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. It seemed like a good place to down a drink or two. And it might have been.

I got there too early, it seemed - about 20 minutes after start time. There were only maybe two dozen folks there at this point and most of them.....get this.....lesbians!!!!

G2H2. That is Gay GUYS happy hour, not Lezbo Libations. ....and yeah, they way outnumbered the homo men 2:1.

I knew no one - again/still. As much as I've tried to be more social over the last two years, I'm still not making connections. I talked to few guys - or vice versa, I guess. They asked if I just moved to Cleveburgh. Ummm. No. So then they asked where I'd been hiding.

They seemed a little shocked when I said I didn't go out. Those days for me are long long over. Oh - and they kept calling me 'Richard'. I've been called worse.

Maybe had I stayed it would have been more enjoyable. It was a great setting and I'm sure more guys would have shown up, but I wasn't feelin' it, and I was happier to just go home (which is why these guys don't know who the hell I am) and have dinner with my man.

....and that's what I did.

Song by: Concrete Blonde

Friday, August 20, 2010

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

I haven't gone all south-of-the-border on you. Nope, I just went to an Argentinian restaurant last night with my friend, Chef Bob.

No respective spouses. Just us. This is what we consider our one date per year.

Seriously. That's about the only time we have to ourselves to catch-up. Yeah, we see each other at other events, be it dinners or parties, but there is no "us time". The last few years, it has been an annual event. Sad, when you stop to think about it.

I'd say we ate, but they were just small plates and to be honest, the food wasn't that good. I didn't even finish what little I ordered. I mean, I did drain my two tequilas. I'm not some kind of monster!

Tonite is date night. But with the respective spouse-to-be.

Oh, and this is my 1,900
th post. yikes!

Song by: Sinéad O'Connor

Thursday, August 19, 2010

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!

You know, even just sitting by themselves on the shelf at Fresh Markets, these have more talent than anything that "they" play on the radio.

I'm just sayin'...........

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In the Sun

You might remember the below image from yesterday's post. It was my immediate-post golf outing picture taking session.

Bad - huh? In actuality, I should have known, other than no burn at all, this was the best case scenario.

Fast forward 12 hours. The dark pink has become dark crimson. Of course it looks even worse against my alabaster skin.

It looks like I got burned with a red hot iron. My head, face and part of my neck actually looks like I have some colour. The chest is still porcelain white.

The pain will ease, the red will fade, unfortunately probably the memory will too. I'll be back - most likely in 2011 - with another burn or two, and with only these few posts to remind me of what occurred in 2010. ....that is if I ever go back to my archives.

Song by: Blondie

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sand and Water

The things we do in the name of business - or a job. It can just be horrid.

Take yesterday.....................please! (thank you Mr. Youngman!)

Yesterday, I played golf. Yes, golf. Clubs, balls, tees, flags and carts. Does this sound like me? Well.........the me that you guys think you know?

It really doesn't, but I can give you a little background filler: I have been playing golf off and on since I was seven. I grew up on a course and during those summer months, my parents kicked me out of the house at least twice a week for lessons - for years on end.

Fast forward a few decades, I'm still as capable of a golfer as I was when I was seven. As my father would tell me continually, "Drives for show, putts for dough". I was neither showy or a money-maker. I could do neither, but my short-game was, and is, particularly horrid. They don't call me "three putt Blobby" for nothing. Actually, the entire time I golfed and had to golf with him would borderline ruin what little relationship we had.

I find golf to be a lot like gambling. You suck at it for a long long time (or lose hand after hand - depending on which side of the analogy you're on here) and just as you're about to totally walk away, you do well - and it just draws you back in.

I had not picked up my clubs in over a decade and really thought I was done for good - not that I ever got rid of them though. But in business, sometimes you have to do things you don't particularly feel like doing. Such as golfing.

The fretting over this adventure had been nagging at me for weeks. Not enough for me to go to a driving range so I wouldn't be a complete embarrassment. Noooooooo. My recent back-thing was of concern too....all that swinging and turning couldn't be good - right? (oddly enough, I think it helped me in that arena.)

Here's the thing......I didn't suck at it. We played Firestone Country Club, you know the course where Tiger Woods just got the worst score in his entire career? I didn't do quite as well as he did, but I also didn't bang 19 skanks either, so........there's that.

I had some decent shots and a lot a number of awful ones too. This course had a lot of sand and a lot of water - and I found a bunch of them. But unlike other outings, I didn't just stop talking to people by the 12th hole and pout the rest of the way.

I am sooooo mature now!

But I thought I'd share a few pics of the day. Nothing too exciting.

The driving range. If it weren't for the clouds, I think it would just a ho-hum picture, but I think it came put pretty neat.

Some hole with some water I had to get around. You'd be surprised how many holes you have to go over water, there is no around.

I loved the fancy-schmancy toilet paper press where they had to emboss the name of the club onto something you'd wipe your ass with. Doesn't that sully the good Firestone name?

Can you see the V? Can you???

I'm such an idiot. I slathered my head with sunscreen, but didn't think that I was wearing a V neck t-shirt and a golf shirt. Yes, I singed myself again. I know some of you will say I should have learned my lesson, but clearly I haven't.

I think it's like this - if I went out in the sun more often for something other than a bike ride, I would, but I don't. So even when I think I do the right thing, I don't. Not completely. You don't even want to see the top part of my arms below the elbow.

Here's the really scary thing - I think I might want to go out and play another round soon. Avec sunscreen.

Song by: Beth Nielsen Chapman

Monday, August 16, 2010

Forever Young

Liquid Platinum.

That is the colour of my possible probable new would-be car.

The inkling of getting a new car is not new. I've toyed with it for the last few months and vacillated over not only whether to do it, but if so, what to get, how much to spend - blah blah blah. Let's not even get into colours and naming rights.

The husband-t0-be had his ideas of what I should do/get, but after looking at the exterior of his choice, the Infiniti G37x, I discounted it for being too dad-like. The price scared me off as well.

Hyundai seemed more practical, and while practical is good, it didn't do much for me. I gravitated to the Volkswagen CC. Still pricey, but its lines made me smile. Its warranty did not.

Saturday, I had to take Viggo to get that awful noise fixed. It they took care of it - at no charge. But sitting there on the auto-mile got me antsy. It didn't help when Denton had to work all day, so there was no reason to rush home. So off to test drive I went. We'll get to the car stuff on another day.

As luck would have it, I got the only cute dealer in the place. How was I going to not take a test drive with him? Adam represents much better in real life than in the covert picture I took of him. He was taller than me, better dressed (notice the French cuffs) and had a very firm handshake.

Yes, I'm shameless: meaning, I have no shame. Denton even put that into a text after I MMS'd him the picture.

Adam fell into salesman schmooze mode not often, but a few times, once that I had to call him out on it.

I was doing my test drive and he asked if I was married (just conversation or was he curious?), I told him I had a partner, and he was cool about it (hey, you never know sometimes, even when a commission might be involved) and he said he didn't see a need to ever get married and if he was with someone, he'd be with someone.

Then he asked how long we'd been together and I told him. As he tried doing the pseudo-subtraction in his head, I got asked the inevitable follow-up question: how old I was. I told him.

His response? "Get the fuck out!".

Then came the schmooze part. "I would have guessed you were only 28 or 29!". Oh, PUH-LEEZE!

It made me respond, "Adam, don't be 'that guy'". I said it kind of in jest, and that buttering me up doesn't work for a sale. He seemed sincere, but you know, fake-sincerity is a really good sales trick too. I wasn't biting.

Or was I?

After we got back to the dealership, we sat and talked finance options, etc and he saw my iPhone and said he had not seen the 4G yet and could he look at it. Sure, I said - then immediately regretted it.

I was thinking 'PLEASE do not look at the camera', you know, since the first pic he'd see would be one I covertly took of him. That'd be embarrassing. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), he didn't go into the camera roll.

He did see my Lightsaber app (no, not a euphemism) and was thrilled with that, then he showed me some Star Wars apps he had on his Droid. He also had a Star Wars ringtone. I used to have one, but got rid of it awhile back. Denton really would have only had to be worried about Adam if we got into a discussion on Lord of the Rings.

I will most likely make a decision on a car in the near future. But maybe one more test drive with Adam is in order. Ya know, just to see how he, ummmm....I mean it handles.

Song by: Alphaville

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Come On Come On

The title of the post is also the seemingly new phrase that is being used by my spin instructor - ad nauseum.

You know I heart Andy, and I know it's supposed to be a motivator, but him saying it just grates a tad on my nerves. Or nerve. It's possible I only have one left.

As this summer goes, I've been riding more outdoors and finding myself skipping spin class more and more often. In reality, I need to do both, but sometimes I am just lazy. Yup, it's true.

Last week, upon returning after three weeks away (or was it four?), Andy did his "well well, look who is back" routine, on me.

Normally, he does that to, what I consider, his regulars. His clique. Even though I've been in his class for well over a year, I still don't feel like I've earned a place as a regular. Yes, I am aware it has more to do with self-esteem issues, but truth be told, after well over a year, Andy still doesn't remember my name. More ego deflation.

Still, it is nice he did that shtick, cause it is kind of nice to be missed. It also reinforces that life is an extension of high school. The only difference is that now and again it represents the cool kid who is nice to the dork, but then goes back to the cool lunchroom table. (for the record, I am the dork in this scenario!) {sigh}

Oh, and I should say, I probably shouldn't have been as spin at all yesterday. As I alluded to in yesterday's post, I'm feeling quite old.

Thursday, in the weight room, my back went out. Again. I was almost to the point of tears - for a minute. The pain was - and is - still there (though not as acute), and the thought of tears lasted only a minute. I manned-up and didn't cry like a little girl.

...and get this, I wasn't even lifting anything. I bent down to move something and never got that far. I just moved the wrong way at the wrong time.

I knew after my accident earlier this year, and my stint in physical therapy, I was probably at risk for continual relapses. Backs usually don't go back to "normal", so I need to treat it with kid gloves. I just felt so much better over the last 4-5 months, I lapsed in judgement, but to be honest, bending over to get something wasn't how I ever would have thought I'd reinjure anything.

I just have to remind myself, "I am a delicate flower".

One who like cupcakes and ice cream, but a delicate flower, nonetheless.

Friday, in the office, I spent the day on the stability ball to fix my posture and to use it for stretching out my back. I think it helped a little bit, but I'm still tender and delicate.

So, I made it through an hour of spin, though it wasn't the hardest class I've ever been to. Far from it. Yet, I'm sure I will regret doing it later. (Oh, I'm drafting this on Saturday afternoon - so the post spin back pain has not yet hit.) But it had to be done. I'm dedicated to my routine.
My big goal is to stay out physical therapy for another round of expensive treatments, even if my therapist was handsome. The price is still too high.

Song by: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Golden Years

It's no biggie, but yesterday was my birthday.

It really is not biggie and it was way more important for me to do my 12 of 12 than go on about becoming another year older, let alone posting about it.

Yet, here I am - a day late, a few dollars short and using non-valuable bandwidth to catch you up on the non-event.

My 'team' sang me that crappy HB song and honestly, I've heard dirges sung with more life. I didn't want to hear it anyways.

The red velvet cupcake you see me eating was not for the b-day, but just something someone brought into the office as she's trying out recipes.

Let's just say 'yuck'. I'm not sure why it tasted so iffy, but I totally tasted something like vinegar. Don't get me wrong - I finished the entire thing. I'm nothing if not courteous. I took one for the team, so to speak.

Totally wasted calories. Blech.

Home was much lower key - which is exactly what I wanted. Dinner with Denton and two little gifts, even though I said I needed and wanted nothing.

But I'm old and feel old. My back is hurting again and I'm hoping it does not progress - like time, like age.


Song by: David Bowie

Friday, August 13, 2010

12 of 12

So I'm doing my sixth 12 of 12. 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.

Created by Chad Darnell (thanks Chad!) and picked up from, what I can tell, a number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. He intends 2010 to be his final year of doing this, but hopefully someone will pick it up from there. Time will tell.

05:12. Yes, this started my day. Earlier, actually. First I had to get up, brush my teeth, put in my contacts and put on my gym clothes. Then had to feed and water the cats. This was the time when I walked out the door.

05:24. The power station (some like it hot...and some sweat when the heat is on.....) for University Hospitals. A site I see each time I come out of the gym parking garage. I just liked the sky at this time.

07:00. Post-workout / Gratuitous shirtless shot. I'm totally rockin' my two-pack (not my 2Pac). And yes, you don't need to tell me - I'm pasty white. I get it - I need more sun.

07:05. What you don't see is that the shorts have been dropped and the gloves have come off. And yet, I still weigh more than I think I should. I hover in the 184.5 - 188 range. I guess I'm still on target for that.

07:15 (or so). Total accident shot. Found it on my camera later in the day. I guess it's the equivalent of pocket-dialing. Since the locker room towel bin is right in front of me, I'll assume I was walking over to toss it to be cleaned.

07:20. The sign of my gym as seen upon my exit. Across the street to the left is a parking deck for the hospital. To the right you can see one of the stacks that you saw from my first picture.

07:23. Cop butt....as seen when pulling out of the gym driveway. Not really directing traffic was he, but waiting for some event at the hall next to my gym.

07:48. My breakfast. I probably should limit the carbs and do less white flour, etc - but after being up for three hours and an almost two hour workout, I grab the first thing I can when I get to work. The cream cheese isn't even low fat. I'm pathetic.

12:15. Waiting at Teahouse Noodles. The place is a dive and I'd never physically eat in there, but it's great food and cheap. I just snag it and take it back to my office. I got a veggie bowl with Thai peanut sauce.

14:48. My favourite shot for this month. The last of my afternoon snack - four Rainier cherries. If someone put a pound (or four) in front of me, I'd eat them all. I like them better than Bing cherries. They are a little more sweet and are a little more firm. Of course, if someone put a pound (or four) of dark chocolate in front me - I'd eat all of that too.

18:20. It's a hose, people. A hose!!! No great mystery. Just a hose. I put the timer on for two hours to slowly try to save some of our trees and such. This 90 degree weather for weeks on end with no rain is killing us.....and the trees.

19:55. DJ will love the fact that I traipsed (yes, traipsed) through our big ivy patch after hearing the biggest accident crash I had heard outside the house. Violent, the crash was. I'll assume no insurance and no license, because no car. It never stopped. There had to have been at least two cars (I've learned to identify crash noises), but nothing was there. Fast & the Furious V, I guess. They raced off.

...and now the Baker's dozen.....

21:20. Ice Cream. Coffee and caramel ice cream, to be specific. Near 9:30 at night. It is one of the reasons I only have a two-pack. ....because I'm pathetic.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Private Dancer

I was trying to think of something clever and funny to say regarding this image I took a few weeks ago - like what is erotic about a pole?

Then I started playing all of your would-be responses in my head that would show up in the comment section and thought better of it.

I only know from dancing around the kitchen while making dinner, but I don't know much from pole dancing, other than "ladies" with c-sections do it at four o'clock in the afternoon for singles and watered down drinks. ...and by singles, I don't mean unmarried men.

I love how some places try to sell these thar poles as "exercise" equipment, because all the "ladies" purchasing them are striving for the body of a stripper. Is this really the gold-standard now?

Anyways, it's just a kit. It is the equivalent of a treadmill. You can set it up, but if you don't use it, you only drape your clothes over it. Well, not so much on a pole because.....well..........you can't.

It also doesn't help you get your GED or help you get over your daddy issues either.

Song by: Tina Turner

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

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!

Controlled chaos.

That might be the best way to describe the Arcade Fire and their new release, the Suburbs.

Most, if not all, the Montreal based septet are multi-instrumentalists and take some part in the writing of each song, though Win Butler does most of the writing/heavy lifting. But Arcade Fire is creative in ways of arrangements and mixing instruments like no other band.

The Suburbs is longer than their first two disks - over an hour of music. It is seemingly more of a combination of their debut Funeral and its follow-up Neon Bible than it is a departure. The jury is still out (with me) as if it is better than Neon Bible, let alone what I would consider the best disk of 2010.

Though not billed as a "concept album", one might take it that way if so chosen.

I can't help thinking that some of the disk is out of sequence if this were a concept disk. The excellent "Wasted Hours" would be right at the front of the playlist ("first they built the roads; then they built the town"). Then the disk could have kicked into "Ready to Start" - and it does kick.

With "Ready to Start", sometimes it seems this is the song with most energy, passion and sincerity. ("if I was yours, but I'm not" or "I would rather be alone; than pretend I feel alright", but then conversely Butler sings: "but to bow down to them anyway; is better than to be alone".) Yes, life is the suburbs is no picnic.

That song really is the killer track on this disk. I have played it dozens of times and am really into it. But I think AF does a great job on "Rocco", "Modern Man" (which totally has a Robert Palmer, "Mary & Johnny vibe in the rhythm section), "City with No Children", "Suburban War" and "We Used to Wait". The latter song takes a while to kind of get going. Hell, the first half of it is two piano keys, but I'm really digging it.

I also like both "Sprawl I (Flatlands)" and "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)". Ditto with "Half Light" I and II.

I'll be honest, I was not much of a fan of Régine Chassagne. But for her work on this disk, I'm at least enjoying: "Sprawl II" works, as does "Empty Room" "Half Light" Maybe on the latter tracks (I and II), she does more singing with Butler. Her songs here are somewhat reminiscent of "In the Backseat" from Funeral. I didn't like anything she did on Neon Bible.

I want to like the title tracks more. I like the lyrics and the melody enough, but the Joplin-esque piano drives me to distraction. The reprise is somewhat throwaway, yet necessary almost to end the disk.

"Month of May" starts out incredibly strong, until vocals are put into the mix. I was so excited when it started, but it is hard to sit through for me. But for all their mania, there are a number of slower songs, which while they existed on other disks, they did not seem as sparse.

Yes, there is a lot going on with the Suburbs, but the same can be said for all their disks. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I saw their live-stream Madison Square Garden set and much of this works better live than on album.

My current conclusion (always subject to change with further listenings), is that it's a very good disk, but right now, not great. Neon Bible struck me more from the first listen and three years later has held me there. We'll see if the Suburbs does the same thing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book of Dreams

I'm shilling for a friend who has his first book release today: Franklin's Big Dreams.

Yes, it is a children's book and yes, I have zero children, so what?? I'm sure many of my readers have nieces and nephews who might enjoy such a book.

While the word 'friend' might be a strong one to describe the author, I have known David Teague for about 15 years now, though I can count on one hand - or maybe two - how many times I have actually been in the same room as he.

That being said, we get along quite well and he's someone I genuinely like (and you know that is a rarity!). He's a great guy, a nice guy and he's an excellent cyclist (or so he claims!) - so he's got that going for him. ...plus he's got a book deal.

I'm just an ok guy, and sometimes nice and I'm a very average cyclist. I have no book deal. Yet.

I am a teensy bit disappointed in Mr. Teague. The plan was to put up on his site, a place for people to log their dreams. I thought it was a very cool idea. And I have some doozies, even though I'm sure it'd be a family-like site so I'd have to pick and choose my ones carefully. But I don't see where this has happened, though it could have been a nice tie-in and great reader participation.

Maybe that's phase two of the promotional campaign.

Song by: Suzanne Vega

Monday, August 09, 2010

Site of the Month

As you might know - I travel quite a bit for work and that means many a hotel stay.

I've done pretty well at picking my hotels, but in some parts choices are just not open to you - good or bad. Sometimes you only get the Quality Inn - and that sucks.

I have my favourite places to stay - and I am fairly brand loyal when I can be - again, sometimes you don't have that option. But you know the places that keep up appearances regardless of city and you hope for the best. I haven't really been too too disappointed, but there is the every once in a while.

I have not run across this - though I don't carry a blacklight with me when I travel.

I can take it even a little further than Michael Scott. I'm not saying I'm looking forward to staying in place that might have blood, urine or semen stained anything, but let's face it, it might look disgusting, but most everything that becomes airborne dies 30 minutes to a few hours afterwards. So now it's just unsightly, but rarely dangerous.

No, my new big fear (after breaking my teeth, of course) is.....duh, duh DUHHHHHH......bed bugs.

I have not had them, nor know anyone who has, but the horror stories (thank you, NPR!) scare the bejezus out of me. I'm not fond of bites or scratching but can take it, if I must. It's the carrying them home with you after they attach to your clothes and suitcase and then they get into your home mattress, carpet and get this - WALLS!!!


Then they are clearly difficult and expensive to get rid of. But the entire thing just grosses.me. out.

You may have seen recently, that a hotel and an Abecrombie & Fitch in NYC were closed down to bedbug infestation. It's a 50/50 thing for me - I've never been, nor ever plan to be in an A&F. I'm a little too old for that place. I'm sure some But the bugs aren't just for hotels anymore.

So back to my SotM. It might or might not work. The Bedbug Registry.

By city, by hotel or apartment, it lists where the critters have been reported. I don't know if there is a central reporting agency, because you know if hotels have to self-report, there is a lot to be missed, but it's a start.

I'll use it - and I'll hope for the best. I'll also check the beds for them, not that they always hide there, but somethings are out of my hand.

That's it. It's not a funny site - or even amusing, but it's something for all of you too. But maybe my fears are not yours.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Driving Me Mad

I'll give it to my neighborhood Firestone place - the seem to be way above board and honest. Since my warranty ran out on my car about two years ago, I no longer feel the need to drive to the Volvo dealership to have him serviced. The place wasn't horribly convenient and it meant I had to sit around there until they did their work - but at least they had wireless.

After my workout yesterday, I dropped Viggo off in the caring hands of the Firestone folks and walked home while they take a look-see under the hood. A few hours they called me back with the results.

Actually, they rang with the non-results.

They could hear the noise of which I described, but they could not find it - let alone fix it.

"We can throw darts and make guesses, but we don't really want to take your car apart with not knowing.", they said.


Sean, in his comment yesterday, was thinking as I was - they'd charge me some huge fee to fix a minor problem for a car I was planning on letting go anyway. Though when dropping off, they told me it was $45 to just look under the hood, they didn't know what they would find or what the final cost would be.

Turns out - it cost me squat. The guys were so nice, since they couldn't figure it out, and they feel they didn't do right by me, did not charge me a penny. I picked up my keys and drove home - avec noise still under my hood.

Firestone suggested that I, ugh, call the dealership. I figure I will at least try. Maybe they have been seeing this same issue with a six year old V50. I might take Sean's advice and when I do get a new car, just see if the dealer even notices.

If I let it sit for 30 minutes, and they don't drive it for a full 10 minutes, they won't even hear the sound.

On a plus note - we had a second date night. Two in a row. Unheard of. But it was a beautiful night and we do like to sit outside. And Lopez is one of our favourite places to go. So the stars aligned - and off we went.

These were just the beginnings of the food. I actually had a steak salad mostly because it was a nice summer meal. I also stuck to one beer. My restraint is amazing!

Song by: Neil Finn

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Engine Driver

I have very little to blog about as of late. Sorry about that.

I'm even getting a late start on what mundane things I write about, but it's Saturday and I may have had two date nights last night. One with my man-date, Scott and one with my fiancé, Denton. Oddly enough, I only had one drink with each of them. Of course, dinner was with the fiancé. Not a typical Friday night for me.

Yet, still I'm up late and dragging. Bad dreams and one smaller cat that wanted affection and attention most of the night. Not normally her thing, so I'm not sure what's up with her.

And upon my two dates, I found my car is making a funny engine noise. Not a ha-ha, funny noise.

Yes, it kills me that I'm looking for a new car, but I wasn't planning on really getting one for a month or so from now (at the earliest), and now I get to plunk money into Viggo so I can trade him in. The noise came from nowhere and as Denton said, he could hear it before he came out of the house last night. NICE! No one is gonna find him a good home if I don't fix him first.

So after the gime and spin class (really gotta move soon), it's off to the car fixer-upper guys and see if they can find the source. I'm pretty sure it's a belt. I'm hoping.

Song by: the Decemberists

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Climb

I'm posting some decent numbers for my blog. Not great ones, but decent ones - for me.

After the fiasco of a few months ago when my host server screwed the pooch (i.e. me) for about a week - I lost a lot of my readership. Clearly a fickle bunch follows me. Hell, I even gave a warning that I might be down, but apparently it became every man for themselves and screw the women and children first. And definitely screw BlobbysBlog. (Hell, I still don't have my images reinstalled from before that blunder.)

I'm not sure if I gained my old readership back, or I've gotten new folks following me, or a little of both, but the last month results are in - via Google Analytics - and the numbers look much better. You can click on each image to enlarge if you feel the need.

I'm up almost 34% over a month prior to. Don't get me wrong, it blows compared to some blogs, but I can only compare me to me. Sure, if I were raking in hundreds of thousands of hits per month, I'd be saying "in your face!" - but I'm can't, because I not!

I do worry that your average time on my site is 00:00:39. I don't know if I worry for you or myself. Is my writing so simplistic that you only need a half minute to read my rants prose? Or are my words so far above your reading comprehension that you just look at the purdy pictures and then move on? That will take some more investigating. I'm not sure I want to know the answers.

Over all, I'm pretty flat day to day. You can see where the readership started creeping back upwards and I peaked on the 17th of July. That was a post about my cousin, and as much as I love him, I don't think you folks were tuning in to read about our dinner (sorry David!).

More than likely it was residual traffic from a day before with my Site of the Month for July. Just a hunch.

Of course, I'd like to say: Greenland - where the fuck do you get off???

Not one of you in a month? No one?? Have you got something better to do up there? Je think not.

Africa I get - that whole no internet/electricity thing and being diamond mine slaves, and that Serengeti: "oooh, I can't stop to log on or the lions will eat me thing." Waaaaah. Cry me a river.

China - well c'mon - they're just censoring me. I don't need a tank to run over me to tell me that.

Belarus, Kazakhstan,Uzbekistan, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia,Lithuania, Norway well no one cares why you didn't tune in. No, I'm not pouting.

...and Svalbard and Jan Mayen, I speak for almost everyone when I say: no one has ever heard of you so just go away!

I've officially declared Montana and North Dakota the last two states I will ever visit. - if I make it there at all. Yeah, I'm holding a grudge.

I also track folks who refer to me. The referrers are important to my blog (and me), as about two-thirds of my visits come from them. There are the consistent few who always rank, not that it can't be a friendly competition to see who vies for my attention. Right now the top five are (in order): brettcajun, Large Tony, Sean, Stevie B, and Kelly Stern. But feel free to link and woo me.

So, I'm kind of doing my job here. It's not really a job and I don't get any commission on how many readers/countries/states/referrers I pull in to see what is what in my corner of the world. Sigh.

...but maybe I should.

Song by: No Doubt