Sunday, January 31, 2010

Site of the Month

I was stumped as to what to do regarding my SotM. Clearly.

I mean, I waited until that last day of the month to even slip it in (that's what she said!).

David G provided me a site that neither of us, at first could tell was real or not, but the more I delved into it, I came to the conclusion it was not. And not only that, to be a farce-like site, well then it just didn't come across as all that funny. ....and you know I try to be about the funny.

So David J provided me with another site, his. Not by permission exactly, but what the hell. I think he'd forgive me. And while he's funny, his site is not, nor is it meant to be.


David is a photographer by trade. Not an S&M (stand and model) kind of photog, but I guess, the closest term you can say, is that he does architectural photography.

Yes, as you can see on top, he does food. And while Jon and I used to joke we could be a food photographer, when you see David's work, it's more like art. It's not like you're looking at the Sizzler menu. He sent me the carrot photo (along with others) a few months ago, and I'm still really taken by it: the angle, the crispness of the shot.

Poor Cleveland Typewriter is now gone. It's now a Dollar Store. Sad sad sad. But typewriters are gone too. As falls Wichita, so falls Wichita Falls. I'm glad he captured the image before that went away.

Mostly David does the architectural side of the biz. Basically he takes interior and exterior shots of businesses and again, they skew toward the side of art. You can also see (not from his gallery) where if those got put into a tri-fold brochure for his client(s), how they might lose their impact and well....artiness.

He's a great guy and a talented photographer. And I'm not just saying that because he's my cousin.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Outbound Plane

Hurray for sleeping in my own bed! How do prostitutes do it? Well, I know how they do it, I just meant, don't they want the comfort of their own bed once in a while?

I made it out of Nashville, by the hair of my chinny chin chin.

You see, Nashville, like most of the south cannot handle snow, let alone ice. They were slated for both. I was doing my risk-benefit analysis all during the last two days of my stay on whether to change my flight or trying to make my 20:00 one scheduled for yesterday.

My rationale for keeping the original flight was "they'll have time to clear the streets and runways". As I got up that last morning, I thought differently. They think differently. They closed all the schools a day before the first flake even fell. This was not a town that was going to clear anything.

During sessions I should have been participating in, I went on-line and changed my flight. I moved it to 14:00, though there was a 15:30 as well. I almost went for the latter and just said, "oh fuck it" and did the former. ....and thank fucking g-d I did.

The normal travel time from the Nashville office to the airport is 20 minutes. Reports yesterday were that it was over an hour, so I gave my presentation and boogied on out of there with two others. I'm sure some were not happy that I left before sessions ended, but I can deal with that. And they'll have to.

Taking back roads (thanks iPhone/Gooooooogle Maps), we stayed off the parking lot of a freeway and got to the airport in 45 minutes. Plenty of time....considering. Instead of a direct flight, I had to connect in Chicago which I was good with. We pushed off from the gate almost on time.....and then that's about it.

We sat. And sat. And sat. And then sat some more. The 15 minute wait for the de-icer (yes, THE ONE...and only one), turned into 45, then 90 then 120. Mind you, the flight to Chicago is 65 minutes.

I can deal with the sitting and waiting (well, to a degree) if anyone was giving any kind of updates. But they did not. Well, that's not true. They flight attendants kept coming on to tell people to turn off their cellphones. "Fuck you honey! It's the only way we were getting any kind of info!" ...is what I said.....at least the voices in my head said that.

Of course, we were watching out the window watching it get worse outside. But it's all relative. It was Nashville bad - not Cleveland, Chicago, Philly bad.

And even though Southwest clearly changed my flight, I was still getting updates for the 20:00 flight being emailed to me. At 15:00, they delayed that original flight by an hour. Really? They are doing that five hours in advance? I says to myself, I says.......that really means cancellation.

Lo and behold, when we landed in Chicago (oh yes, we did eventually take off), the entire Nashville airport had been shut down. Bullet dodged.

I can't say it was really fun trying to make my connecting flight in 10 minutes, but I did - and made it home.

....and slept in my own bed for the first time in almost a week.


Song by: Suzy Bogguss

Friday, January 29, 2010

X Offender

I'm still stuck in Tennessee. And if weather predictions are correct, I might not be out today either. Ice. Wind. Snow. Nothing big for Ohio, but in TN, it's a show stopper. I'm calculating staying at the hotel versus going to the airport, where I might get stuck trying to sleep in those sucky black chairs at the gate. You know the ones I mean.

I've packed strategically, in case I'm only left with my computer bag.

But for some levity, I'm just throwing out a video from one of my newer go-to shows: Better Off Ted. I'm sorry, I find it tres funny.

And this is an outtake, which, I cannot only believe they did, but they posted too. And my favourite thing is, how good of actors they are. I could never get through saying 'fucktard' or 'peppy little spooge vacuum' and not even crack a smile.

Anyway - enjoy. Maybe it will get you guys to watch the show, so it gets picked up for next season.




Song by: Blondie

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Two Little Feet

This is going to be an icky post. One of those, Blobby doesn't wear deodorant, posts. You've been warned.

From my mother, I've inherited bad feet. Not like pigeon-toes or like I'm polydactyl man or anything. No, we (well, I) always made fun of my mom because her feet were so disgustingly dried and cracked.

Well folks, karma is a bitch.

Fast forward a few dozen years later and my heels are shot to shit. They have been for about I'd say 6-8 years. I pumice daily and, yes, get this, use Miracle Foot Cream almost daily. For a while these things helped. However, I've hit some kind of plateau on this "treatment" and I'm back to square one.

Q: What's a boy to do? I mean, one who is to embarrassed to go get a pedicure.

A: Get a Ped Egg, of course!

I know what you're thinking, that it's a fly-by-night gizmo like the Buttoneer II or the Egg Wave. I probably would have dismissed it entirely except that it got a more than decent write-up in Consumer Reports. Go figure.

So, while at Blood Bath & Beyond, I plunked down the $10 for the right to microplane the heels of my feet! Make no mistake, that's all it is - a mircoplane. But one in the form of an egg that catches your foot shavings.

Allow me to demonstrate:

This iPhone shot doesn't begin to detail how deep those crevasses go into my heels. Or how dry they are. But it's a good starting point.

You kind of get a glimpse at the same foot with icky skin in this shot, though it was just meant to demonstrate the Ped Egg itself.

Yeah, this is what it took off in just a few passes on one foot, nay - heel, alone. It is not grated parmigiano reggiano. I went a few more rounds and got equal, if not greater amounts off.

Honest to g-d: less than two minutes later, this is what my heel looked like. It looks a little red, but why wouldn't it be? It doesn't and didn't hurt in the slightest. And if you go to the first picture, the heel was a bit red to start with anyway.

It's not completely fixed of course. This was only my first shot and I'm sure I'll still pumice and moisturize, but maybe there is hope for me yet.

...and perhaps for my mother as well.


Song by: Karen Savoca

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another Plane Went Down

If you read any blog or on-line news paper, you know that the UScare plane that landed in the Hudson River just over a year ago is up for auction: As Is. Slight water damage. And you have to buy it intact - not just pieces of it.

"Just show me the PlaneFax!"

No engines though. WTF? How am I gonna fly that thing if it's got no power.

But "they" have just released video of the little plane that could after everyone was safely off the vessel and it sat and slowly sank in the Hudson for days afterward. Time-lapsed, of course. I found it highly interesting to watch the process.

I even liked the Howard Shore - like / Lord of the Rings - like accompanying music.


Song by: Shawn Colvin

Tuesday, January 26, 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!


Jenny Lewis' Rabbit Fur Coat was my original Record of the Month post way back in July 2006 (!!)

I wish I could say I enjoyed Acid Tongue as much as I liked her debut, but I don't. Not by a long-shot.

The debut was original and fresh. This is tired and just banal. I find it hard to decern one song from the next on many of the tracks. Kind of like a Rilo Kiley album (of which she is a group member).

When it was originally released in 2008, I sampled it on iTunes and didn't think enough of the 30 second clips to purchase it. I finally just ripped a copy when I checked it out of the library. It was one of the few times my instinct kicked in when it comes to music. More often than not, I buy based on past performances. Silly silly me.

What do I mean by tired? Maybe lazy? Let's start with "Bad Man's World". I'm not sure you can use two chords and five words repeatedly and call it a song. The same two chords are found in the opener, "Black Sand". It sounded kind of cool for starters, until you realize this all you're going to hear for the next 47 minutes.

I could go on song by song, but really - why bother?

There is no focus, no cohesion to this disk. Maybe three disks (2 hers, 1 Rilo Kiley) in three years was asking too much and she was stretched too thin.

Totally not worth a purchase price. Probably not even worth the cost of gas it took me to get to the library and back.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Round & Round

It's a miracle. I made it to (and through) SpinFest II.

Seriously, the 'to' part was nothing short of a miracle. I was taking Tylenol and codeine for my back up until Wednesday. And miracle of miracles, I woke up Thursday with some stiffness, but very little pain. Ditto for Friday.

I had already paid, so I though, WTF, I'm gonna ride. And ride I did - for 2 hours.

This was the venue before start-time. People could ride/pay in 30 minute increments, and I'd say about half of us paid for the entire 120 minutes. Yes, paid. All proceeds went to the Free Clinic of Greater Cleveland.

The bikes were assigned and damn it if I didn't get the last row (I'm #45 there) and I got stuck with a shitty LeMond bike. I prefer the grey Schwinns. They're sturdier, they are better rides and as it turns out, better built.

I'm the guy in the back row, white shirt, black shorts. 2nd from the left. The guy with little hair.

You can kind of catch a glimpse of part of me here, right past the person in deep blue who is blocking my photographic moment (as always, click image to enlarge)

In the 100 or so Spin classes I've been to this last year, I haven't seen any one of the Schwinns break. That is what we use in our gym, but they had to import the LeMond bikes in for the extra folks.

Oddly (or maybe not), I could get my left foot into the clip easily...but I it didn't stay. I can't tell you how many times it became free. And on the right one, I wasn't sure it would ever go in, but when it finally did, there was almost no getting it out - even if you wanted to.

But everyone else on the LeMonds were having a lot more trouble than I was. Pedals fell off. Handle bars would not stay up. The drink holder thingy wouldn't stay on. ....and hydrating yourself during an event like this is critical.

It wasn't a normal spin class, obviously. Five instructors, no cohesiveness to the ride, all of them had different styles and the music was crappy. They tried to appeal to everyone which turned out probably not appealing to most anyone. When they started out with "Flashdance" and moved into Scandal's "The Warrior", I knew we were in for a bad time. It was almost a sigh of relief when they finally played "Single Ladies" from Beyonce.

....I said "almost".

Oh...oh...oh....and in the last half hour, they brought in - get this - a live gospel choir! I shit you not. Can I tell you how many of the riders this might have appealed to, if were going by racial stereotypes? One.

Can I tell you how many of the riders were Jewish, if you went by the sign-up list? I'd say about 85%. So songs about Jebus setting us free didn't really really resonate with most of the crowd.

Besides that, the gym floor, as you can see, is a nice one. Having women in 4-6" spiked heels walk and dance on it - not the bestest of ideas. Having one woman with a mic and 16 others (estimated) with none, care to guess how many people you could ever hear sing? It's a gym! There are no acoustics for something like this. That part of the event was flawed at every turn.

So two hours of spin went ok. So far, no repercussions ala my back, so I'm taking it as a win. Maybe I can get back on the exercise wagon - slowly and more carefully. I mean, I've gained 1.5lbs in the last two weeks!

Update: I pre-wrote this, as I knew I was catching a plane to TN. Spinning might not be the cause of my back, but right now it aggravated it. It took 30 hrs or so to kick in, but kick in it did. Sore sore sore. I have packed the T3s to take while I work. Yeeehaw.

Song by: New Order

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'll Change For You

For the first time in quite a while, I've updated my profile picture. I thought it was about time. I was not only a bit tired of seeing that ugly mug each time I logged in, but also any time I posted a comment on anyone else's blog.

The other pic made my face look....um....a bit "fuller". Maybe it was the beard. Maybe it was the lighting. Maybe it was the angle. Or, maybe, just maybe, it was age and food choices I have made.

The age is still there, and then some. Actually, so are most of the food choices. Not all of them, but some of them. Most of them. But it is a better angle and better lighting. You know I don't care for most of my pics, but even I'm thinking this one isn't too shabby. It doesn't make me look completely heinous.

And no, I'm not smiling. Deal with it.

I have also made some additions to my blogroll, which I've been neglecting as well. At least this time, no one got cut - unlike in the past. But welcome Stevie, Nik, Dyl and Christopher. I know I probably need to add a few more loyal followers and I promise I will get to you, it's just late. And I'm ever so tired.


Song by: Rosanne Cash & Steve Earle

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hain't It Funny?

I have yet to weigh in on Conan vs Leno. Is there really a competition here?

Jay was doing stand-up eons ago about the complexities on how to program a VCR. Hilarious!!!! {sarcasm} Oh he was an everyman comic. Everyman who had an IQ of 12.

Crimmeny, the man was a bore 25-30 years ago. Stick him behind a desk to interview Sharon Stone on Basic Instinct 3-D and I'd rather you gouge my eyes out than watch him.

Actually, if he had all the most interesting people in the world on, I doubt I'd tune in, I find him such an insufferable bore.

And while I think Conan sold his soul to become the host of the lamest longest-running talk show ever, I will always give him props as a writer of some of the best Simpson's episodes ever, including Marge vs the Monorail.

Still, I think he got the raw end of a deal - even with a $32m pay-out. It is his non-disparaging that is a disappointment. That's where his comedy strength lies, as you/he/NBC can finally see from his now impressive ratings.

I still don't watch The Tonight Show, rarely ever did even in the Johnny Carson days. But I've been seeing some clips of Conan in the last few weeks and he has been on his game.

The other day had more potential, but it was just ok. Still everything is better with Conan and Pee-Wee (seriously, does Paul Rubens not look a day older when he does P.W.?).




Song by: k.d. lang

Friday, January 22, 2010

Like a Cat

It was a big blog day yesterday, no? (btw....Denton did read the post - and your nice comments!)

The evening was filled with lasagna and salad - and cupcakes the Denton brought home. Yayyy. Cupcakes are my dessert weakness. He got Starbucks Red Velvet cupcakes. Nice.

But since I'm committed to blogging for another 10.25 months (no promises), I figured I had to put up something.

That something? Sophie!!!


She's pretty photogenic, unlike her dad. Sophie likes to stand up on her hind legs asking to be picked up. And I'm nothing if not accommodating....for her or her sister. Sophie likes to be picked up - a lot. So we do.

That's it. That's all I got. Feel free to revel in her cuteness.


Song by: Cyndi Lauper

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Silver Lining

Hard as it is to believe, and as weird as this might sound, despite a few years break, today Denton and I celebrate our 25th anniversary!!!!

What you say? A quarter of a century??? But that's not what you're saying right now. Right now you're really saying: What????.....a few years break?

It's true. We were young and not necessarily equipped to handle all the things that two gay men in their early 20's have thrown at them. And we separated after 3 years together. We moved out into our own places but never really embarked on lives of our own.

We had keys to each other's apartments and Denton used his daily....or nightly, as the case may be (he worked 3-11p) and would stop over every night as I was getting ready for bed. We'd talk, he'd tuck me in and then he'd go home.

I would go to his place and house sit when he was out of town. I'd go down to use our (yes, it was still ours) washer and dryer. I'd go down to play with Kylie, which he got as a kitten when we lived apart - but it was I to set those wheels in motion by getting him kitten food, litter pan, etc so he would get a cat.

We went on vacation together. We basically did everything but live together and sleep together while we were apart. The two of us even dated other people, which all ended disastrously because deep down we knew that we were meant to be together. I think we even sabotaged those pseudo-relationships by introducing who we were dating to each other. Even most of those guys could see that we were passing time till we figured it all out on how to be together.

It was just a growing-up time for both of us and deep down, we never really feel like we've been apart and that this truly is our silver anniversary.

The image above isn't far from the truth. We were young and were lacking many funds, all I had to give was my heart. Regardless of what we have achieved financially, it is only the heart that really matters. It is all I really have to give that is of any value - not that Luigi, the Pawn Broker would give me anything for it.

When it comes down to it, I wouldn't be where I am without Denton. I would like to think he wouldn't be where he is without me by his side.

Regardless of what the religious or political right say, we have established very stable lives because of each other: personal, professional, family. So, they can't take that away from us as a couple or a group.



So - 25 years. Who knew?

Today we have no big plans, I mean, I have yoga! Just kidding. Kind of. I do have yoga. We'll do something over the weekend. A really really nice dinner out. We're pretty low-key people.

There are no gifts. We're planning a trip for mid-spring and that will be our gift to each other. I mean, who really wants to go away in January unless it were someplace like Hawaii? And in reality, I just started a new job. I can't really up and leave after only three weeks of being there.

Anyhoo - I'm pretty psyched to make this milestone. And the "joke" is, most every couple of guys we know are 10 years plus together, but more of them closing in on 20. Maybe it's the crowd we run in, but I think that we are and can be a committed cohort.

So, if he reads this - Denton should just know that I love him. That's it. Simple.


Song by: Rilo Kiley

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shock the World

It's funny - I didn't even have to doctor the photo for my own blog purposes. It's not like I'm proficient enough at photoshoppe to do too much with it anyway, if I even had the inclination or the time.

But yesterday I bought what is seemingly my annual pair of earbuds from Apple.

Years ago, when this first began, I was annoyed with this whole thing but after the umpteenth pair, you just see it as depreciated capital that needs to be replaced. ...or you might just see it as me funding one of Steve Jobs' alternative therapy treatments for his "liver cancer".

Granted, I use my earbuds a lot, but a pair a year? Really? That's all they last?

This last pair died a two-part death actually. See those little grey rubber-like things right below the white bud part (and above the wire part)? That separated a bit on both the left and right side and every now and again the exposed wires would actually shock me.

I'm assuming I'm not the only one this has happened to or someone else wouldn't have manipulated this image and posted it where some two-bit blogger might find it and use it for his own gain.

It is not like I was getting car-battery shocks, or sticking a fork in the outlet kind of jolt. Just little zaps here and there, and then only now and again. Annoying, but not enough to ditch the things. Or was it?

About two weeks ago, I've "misplaced" them. Honest. They're not in my gym bag, or my computer bag or any of my suit or pants pockets. I really don't know where they are or could be. I've been using my iPod Shuffle earbuds!!!! That's a bigger shock!

It is worse than it sounds. I used them like they were my iPhone ones. I can't tell you how many times I answered the phone while wearing them, only to figure out 20-30 seconds into the call that no one could hear me, as only the iPhone buds have a mic.

So yes, yesterday, I drove to the Apple store and plunked down my cash let them swipe my Amex card for my annual installment. It had to be done. How else am I going to listen to my tuneage?


Song by: Tom Tom Club

Tuesday, January 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!

Apparently, it is just not a name that I was called in high school. It's a real thing and it looks like it costs $8.19 for like a 0.5 oz container.

I do not think my relative value is equal to, or greater than, that.

I am a dillweed. Or hole. I'm not sure which. Possibly both.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pain

Here I thought I was doing so much better with my back.

The week in Nashville started out as sore as when I left Cleveland, but the pain dissipated a bit as Monday turned into Thursday.

Yes, it's true I worked out each of those days, but the just 30-45 minutes of elliptical and a little lifting, but nothing more than 40 lbs. And that all seemed to do the trick. Well, not the trick, but it didn't completely aggravate the situation.

So yesterday I woke up to almost tear-inducing pain. I think it was a three-pronged approach to how I got this way.

One was, I didn't work out on Friday morning. Work started early and I had no time to stretch the back at all.

Two was the plane rides. While the seats weren't horrible uncomfortable, I could feel a little seizing up of the lower back by the time I got off the two-legged flight, and then again on Saturday morning when I woke.

I should say this, the tailbone is much better. It's the lower back that is not. Someone (I cannot remember who) mentioned I was probably over-compensating with the lower back to help relieve pain in the tail bone. They are probably right. But it brings me to the third prong:

I worked out on Saturday morning. Yes, I don't doubt I pushed my limits, but all seemed good. I did my first spin class in almost a month and it felt good. I do think my issues came with the weight room and possibly with some yoga stretching I did. It's hard to say.

I am not looking to be chastised here. I'm not really looking for sympathy either. I know I over did it. Clearly. My back is screaming it - so I don't need anyone else to. My new health plan kicks in 2-3 weeks, so I will be able to see the doctor of my choice and yes, I am holding out until then to see someone, unless it gets to the point I cannot walk.

There are some plus sides to this, I suppose. I can't carry the laundry basket up or down stairs, so "someone" has to assist. I can't easily bend over to pick some stuff up, so "someone" has to help clean for me.

But I know I will not be at the gym this week. I can't see how I would. Which means no SpinFest on Saturday, though I promised to go - so I will give all the money I would have raised. Fudge.

So here I sat all Sunday, with a heating pad on my lower back, acting like a cranky old man. Ok - so maybe it's not an act. I thought I'd say it before any of you did.

Song by: Jimmy Eat World

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Like a Stone

I feelin' bad for one of my sisters and brother-in-laws. They can't seem to catch a break when it comes to their kids.

You might remember me mentioning my nephew's thoracic surgery in December. Well, his sister went back to college and on day three of the new semester, fell out of her bed - which happened to be the top bunk.

Unfortunately, she was asleep when it happened (and no, she was not drunk), so she didn't know to try to break her fall - and didn't.

The description of it made me cringe - I can't imagine it actually happening to me. Well, I guess I can, which is why I cringed.

That in itself would have been bad and painful enough, but it doesn't end there. In the fall, she dislodged a kidney stone. Can you believe that?

She was so incapacitated when it was realized, she had to be taken by EMTs from her class the next day. From the school infirmary to the hospital. With a week of being no better and with the stone around 5mm, she was back in the hospital yesterday. A stone that size is too big to pass.

The doctor and staff have been great and did extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy on her. Within an hour, she was back in her dorm. The stone hasn't passed as of this morning, but probably will in the next 24 hours.

I feel bad for her for any number of reasons. One is that she had to go through this alone, basically. Her RA and friends at school have been with her throughout most of her ordeal. My sister owes them big time. iTunes gift cards and cookies/brownie packages. I know the head of Residence Halls got a nice letter about the RA.

In a way, it's a good thing. She has learned to deal with something like this on her own. She's growing up fast and in touch circumstances.

The second reason it sucks is that she will have kidney stones all her life. This is just the first go-round. Her father has them and I have seen him in excruciating pain. When one stone passed, it is amazingly no larger than a grain of sand. Stone, my ass! But you'd think someone was stabbing him over and over.

Unfortunately, Katie has seen her father in this state too, so she knows what is to come for the rest of her days. That's a horrible thing to live with.

But she's good....or will be. She's surely better than she was.

And now she has the bottom bunk.


Song by: Audioslave

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Traveling Again

Oy - it's been a long week.

I was out the door on Monday at 05:10 and returned to home sweet home at 21:10 on Friday. A long week indeed.

While I bonded with some people in my new division, there was entirely too much time spent with each other. 12-16 hour days....always together. Sleep was the only time alone. Even my 05:00 workouts had someone from the group in that tiny hotel exercise room.

But in an odd way, I did miss the air travel. Kind of, but not really, in a George Clooney Up in the Air, sorta way.

There is an art to air travel - how to pack, how to check in and where to sit in the plane. I think some is intuitive, but much is learned behaviour if you take the time to truly observe how things flow.

For instance, if you have to use four or five of those plastic bins to put shit in to go through x-ray, you do not know how to pack for the plane. Two should be the max and only because your laptop can't go through with anything else. You pick out the experience business travelers in a heartbeat (it's a love beat).

We silently mock those who hold us up, but the people who roll their eyes or sigh at the offenders are closer to being the newbies than experienced travelers. For the most part we suffer in silence with all-knowing looks to each other, while never giving ourselves away.

One change, albeit a slight one, but that I picked up on immediately, was the verbiage in the emergency demonstration (not that I watched, but I heard snippets): In the event of a water landing......

No longer is the word "unlikely" in that phrase.

Has one plane landing in the Hudson, out of the thousands that take off and land daily, deemed this a higher probability? It doesn't seem to make sense when you look at the mean.

But I'm home - for a week. Last night the bed went girl, boy, girl, boy (the girls were the cats - this is not a Bob, Carol, Ted & Alice kind of thing), so all was right with the world.


Song by: Dar Williams

Friday, January 15, 2010

Love T.K.O.

Yes, it's sad that Teddy Prendergass has passed away. To be honest, until a short time ago I wasn't sure he was still alive - you know after that whole Rolls Royce crash into a tree, while he allegedly was receiving fellatio from a homo, tranny or prostitute, depending on which rumour you heard or believed. Oh and it left him to be a para or qudra palegic. There is one time when the price is too high for a blowjob.

But my friend Sal, when I told him about Teddy, (both are, or were, from Philly) he came back with some much more devastating news: the inventor of Spaghettios died at 83!

Not so coincidentally, Franco-American were based near Philly as well.

Now that is the Love T.K.O. I'm talking about. Spaghettios were my go-to comfort food growing up. And when I mean, "growing up", I mean up until about 10 years ago. No meat balls. No franks. That stuff was just disgusting.

I was telling Sal, I liked a piece (ok 2 or 3) of white buttered bread and then you just put some Spaghettios on top of that bread. I love(d) it. Or as Sal said, "ohhh, you're getting me hard". Nice!!!

But it is nice to know I'm not the only one who didn't look down on such tres déclassé food-like product.

So, no offense to Mr. Prednergass, but his death is overshadowed by someone who truly touched my life.


Song by: Teddy Prednergass

Thursday, January 14, 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.

Yeah - you are not seeing things here: Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle. Together.

One From the Heart was a Francis Ford Coppola movie from 1982. A visually stunning movie, set in Vegas (or a complete set to mimic Vegas that almost bankrupt the man), the movie was a little flat.

I love Teri Garr, but I never understood the idea to use her in the lead here. But neither here nor there, this isn't Movie of the Month - Classic.

The soundtrack. like the movie, was stunning as well. Unlike the movie, it doesn't really fall flat and I think it is with a few good reasons - two of them being Waits & Gayle.

The real reason it works? It is because you're not expecting it to. Gayle had never really ventured out of the country to adult contemporary crossover that of the late '70s. She certainly never sang songs like the stuff Waits had written - which he did for this movie.

In an odd way, Gayle's voice really fits for Waits' lyrics. I admittedly had prejudices against liking her because of her MOR stuff, but immediately I loved her on this disk. I'm sorry she never really did anything like this after the fact. Or I assume she did not. I never really followed her - before or after.

I am sure to make enemies with this, but I liken Waits to Dylan and Leonard Cohen: great writers, painful to listen to. I'd like to say Gayle made this more accessible, but as many people who never even knew it existed, the folks that followed these two artists were probably turned off by the very idea of the collaboration.

Waits does perform stuff on his own and a little of this is just instrumental which really does fit the tone of the movie and the town in which it takes place.

Highlights include the stuff Gayle is featured on, either by herself or dueting with Waits (let's face it, there is no harmonizing with the man): "Old Boyfriends", "Picking Up After You", "Is There Anyway Out of this Dream", "This One's From the Heart" and "Once Upon a Town".

For Waits purists, this probably isn't the disk for you. But I'm not one. "Pure" is hardly what anyone would use to describe me. And for what it's worth, this is still better than Scarlett Johansson singing an entire disk of Waits songs. I wish I were kidding on that last part, but it's out there.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm On Fire

Yes, it's my first real trip for my return engagement. I forgot how much fun it is to travel. Did you read sarcasm into that? You really should have.

Overall, I still like business travel. On my first day of the last engagement, it was a nightmare of cancelled flights and $90 cab rides. This time it was a power outage at the airport potentially delaying every single flight. Score!

But there's nothing I can do about these things and have long since stopped fretting about them. Beyond my control and I reset expectations - with myself and the clients. It's life.

Last night however was a new one for me. Well, not last night, but Monday night.

03:14. Nashville. Embassy Suites. Buzzers. Flashing lights. And an automated voice telling me there was a fire and to exit the room and building.

SCORE!

I will give the automated voice this: it was so repetitive (worse than LAX's 'the white zone is for loading and unloading of passengers only, there is no parking in the white zone' message) that you didn't want to stay in the hotel.

So I got my white nekkid furry ass out of bed (the rest of me was unclothed too)and dressed in my sweat pants, sweat shirt and cross-trainers and glasses. I was almost out the door when I remembered my wallet, iPhone and coat. Yes, coat. It was in the teens here.

I figured as long as I had a coat to keep me warm(er) and a wallet, I could buy anything else. So I trudged down seven flights of stairs, still with my sore ass and back, to be greeted by these guys:



First. I love that they actually carry axes to break down doors. Who knew?

Second. I love that one of the guys in the pic videoed the entire thing: people coming downstairs, the arrival of the fire squad, everything.

As it turns out, there was no fire - just a malfunctioning alarm. One they couldn't really get under control for the next 60 minutes - on and off. So there was no going back to sleep.

I hit the gym at 05:00 and did an hour of weights and cardio. I mean, why not? What else was I gonna do?


Song by: Bruce Springsteen

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tennessee

Did I mention I'm already on my first work trip? Yes I'm in Tennessee. But you probably already gathered that from the frickin' post title. That's why you're all members of Mensa!

TN. Home of Ruby Falls, Rock City, the Opry, the Lisa Marie, Twitty City and of course the mayor West of Mayberry, Large Tony.

Yes, week two of the job and I'm in Nashville for at least four days. Possibly five. And then I'm back again for another week - the last one of this month. So much for only 40% travel. It's all good.

I've pre-drafted blog posts to publish, on the off-chance I don't have to write something timely. This is one such post. It's like the 'Today' show when they show Matt L interviewing someone and then they cut back and he's not in the same suit. Yes, he wasn't interviewing that person live. It was taped. Get over yourselves! It's all smoke and mirrors here!

I'd like to say I'm going to go down to Broadway and hear some of the great music that is played in those clubs, but I will be working from morning until night. When I'm not, I'll stay in my little Embassy Suites suite and use their hotel gym and room service - probably in that order.

I'm over the thought of not packing gym/workout clothes because they weigh down the luggage. I've got to make a concerted effort to be active even when I travel or I will back-slide, and we cannot have that.

Maybe I should have given Tony the head's up I'd be in his state. I don't think he lives anywhere around Nashville, but I'm sure he'd have driven the one, two or three hours just to see me - right?


Song by: Shawn Colvin

Monday, January 11, 2010

Like a Virgin

Do not even know how I stumbled across this - so do not bother to axe.

It makes no sense if you haven't seen Avatar. It makes little sense if you have! Clearly this guy has too much time on his hands. The line about him being called a virgin in high school probably rings true. It'd probably ring truer if he said ".....and after high school too!".

I'm not sure making this video blog post is his oddest offense. The taped up sign that says "Jonas Brothers" is slightly disturbing, though I can't really tell you why. I mean, truly, I've never seen or knowingly heard them. Sure, I've heard of them, but listened to a song? Nah.

I thought that boy-group was for tween girls, not males in their mid-20s. Of course, may it a joke, running or non.

When I see something like this, it does make me take pause as to why I'd continue doing any video blogging. But then I snap out of it and think, there is no way I'm going to as much trouble as this guy.



If the video doesn't embed (and I can't tell if it is at this point), you can find it here.

I did take a screen capture at one point during his blog, because, well........when I saw this....

It immediately reminded me of this guy from Star Wars....

I wonder if the video guy realizes how ridiculous he looks. Probably not.

But there is certainly no questioning his virginity - still!


Song by: Madonna

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We Can Change

You would think with all I've done in the last 12-13 months or so, that I'd be one to embrace change. Or at least not cringe at it.

Yet here I was in yoga for the first time since my fall in 2010, struggling through a workout because of the pain, or worse, the potential pain in my butt.

I also had a new yoga mat to try out - one that Santa had brought me. It's thicker than your standard, and heavy! Much harder to lug around. But since it's thicker, it's easier on an old man's knees. That gym floor is unforgiving. (hint: do not leave the mat in the back seat of your car for days in below freezing temps. It is cold to lay on and do poses on.) But back to my first class of the year.....

I had it all figured out, of course. I'd tell my instructor what had happened, position myself in the back of the class and near the door. If I had to leave, then I would just have to leave.

Then something happened to which I did not anticipate: a new instructor.

I turned to a yoga-buddy, whom I only know as Matt (no Becca, not Nurse Matt). Lawyer Matt. Matt is taller than I by a good 2-3" and obviously has had his share of injuries as he struggles with some poses due to said injuries, which are not visible, but neither are mine. We bonded during our struggles when starting our practice.

I turned to him and I says to him I says....."change!!....I don't like change!". He nods and says, "me either!". Thank g-d, at least we're both in the same boat. Albeit one that is taking on water and in danger of capsizing, but still, we wouldn't die alone.

Deanna was a lot more new age-y than Barrie. Barrie is a giggler and talker. Deanna is just a talker talker. She ignored the fact that it was "yoga basics" and said in her basic class, she starts out with headstands.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. That was SO not happening. Oh, and she was dead serious.

But the class was less than basic compared to Barrie and more of a 'flow' class. A more advanced class if you will. I've been a-scared to go to a flow class because I felt I'm not ready. I no longer am sure of this.

At one point Deanna came over and tried to position me and I told her I could not because of my tailbone. She asked how long I had done something to it and I lied! I said two weeks ago, when in reality it was less than a week prior.

Why lie, you ask? Because I knew the answer she'd have given me. The same one you guys do. That it's too early to do these things.

For those who haven't practiced yoga (wow, that made me sound like a douche), it's not supposed to be about the ego. It is supposed to be about your practice (now new-ageyisms for you) and what you can do and to know your limits regardless of what the instructor says/does.

Even with my limitations and struggles during the 60 minutes, I do think the workout helped me - at least for a while.

Change wasn't horrible. It was work for two reasons: there was less explanation and more movement and oh yeah, that tailbone thingy impeding me from doing a number of things to the best of my ability.

Once I get into my work routine, I'll get into a new yoga routine too. It's time to move one and challenge myself. I hope Matt is up for it - I'd hate to go it alone, but in reality, that's what it's all about in that yoga world.


Song by: Belinda Carlisle

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Human

I'm not big on human interaction now and again. Specifically in the service industry.

I am the guy who gets annoyed when you walk into a store and the salespeople/clerks accost you to see if they can score a sale from you assist you. But I'm equally annoyed when they're not around or are around and then they don't or won't help you. You can't win with me some times.

In my former, and now again current, parking garage at work, no matter which exit you went out you had inferior attendants you could not avoid unless you had a key card (which I did not have for my first year) and had to pay cash to exit.

Attendant #1 was more focused on dancing in her enclosure than taking your ticket and sheckles so you could leave. Attendant #2 had a hard time taking and sorting money even when you gave her exact change. G-d help you if she had to make change. You may as well get out your copy of War & Peace and finish a chapter or two.

So now fast forward a year and there is a new system in place. A wonderful, magical place: no humans.

You take your ticket, put it in a machine in the lobby, pay there and use the ticket the machine returns so you can exit the garage via another machine. Ok.

Four of the five days this week worked like a charm. I loved it. LOVED it......and let's face it, I do not love a lot of things. No lines at the gates waiting for these "workers" to process the hundreds of other people who share my garage.

But on day five of five was a FAIL. A big one.

I left the office, late-ish. 18:00, or there abouts. But it was a Friday and impending bad weather had the office and building cleared out fairly early. So I go to exit the garage and there is a line of people waiting to get out. However, it is a no-go. The ticket-taking / gate-opening machine does not work at one exit. The gate is closed completely at the second exit.

....and no human.

A button the machine did summon a human voice - and as we all sat there with our collective engines running, doing the slowest mass suicide by carbon monoxide, we waited.....and waited....and waited.

Secretly I was hoping the soul sitting in front would just drive through that wooden gate and free us like Moses did the slaves. But he had a really nice car and I suspect he wasn't willing to scuff it - even a little. Even for precious precious freedom.

Eventually some sad sack worker appeared, most likely from another garage where there was still humanoids who manned the structure.

Yeah, I was annoyed that it was a Friday and I wanted to be gone, but I was dry, I was in a warm car, but still delayed for 30 minutes. On the plus side - I get my key card in the next few weeks and I won't have to worry about this crud.


Song by: Maria McKee

Friday, January 08, 2010

Snowed Under

...maybe 'under' is a slight exaggeration, but I'm already annoyed with the snow and it's only early January.

But we are getting snow....and snow....and snow.

My 15 minute commute last night took an hour. It really wasn't that bad out, but people are asswipes who try to make it through the intersection and cannot - thus blocking one or two sequences of light changes.

Then it happens the opposite direction. Then repeat over and over.

I know Cleveburgh is cash-strapped, but this snow (a possibility of 9" by this morning) was predicted, surprisingly accurately for a day. Yet not one salt truck or plow was seen from my office window as the snow started falling at noon. Nor did I see one at 5pm, nor at 6pm - or at 8pm, after yoga.

And yes, it was I who had to come home and clear the driveway.......again.

I will be attempting to make it into work this morning. But if not, I have my laptop and can work from home. Me and the cats - but I do want to try to make it into the office. As it is, I'll be traveling all next week.


Song by: Keane

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Boys Don't Cry

I just want to go on record: I did not cry.

I did not cry when I fall down and go boom almost a week ago. I did not cry when I worked out for the first time since that ass to ice/pavement incident.

That is not to say I didn't cross my mind, even if only for a fleeting second.

Then I figured: what good would crying actually do?? The last time I cried is when we had to have Kylie put to sleep, and I will go on record again - I have never bawled like that before.

But as I mentioned yesterday, come hell or high water, I was working out today. I just didn't figure hell and high water would prevail....in a way. Let's just say: ouchy.

I almost always start out with cardio. I find it easier to lift after I've got my adrenaline going a bit. I mean, it is 05:30 and you need something to start your day. Yesterday, it was the elliptical. It wasn't great, but certainly not horrible. After I got into a rhythm, I completed my 3o minutes on level 15 (out of 20). Sure I was sore, but I wasn't feeling it too much by the time cool-down came.

Normally after that, I do abs, on both an incline bench and one of them big balls (hehehe, I said 'big balls'). Let's just say, as I went to go sit and then lay on the bench, I knew this was not going to happen. I didn't even attempt the ball. The pain was pretty severe considering I'm a week in to this injury.

So it was down to the weight room with lowered expectations. This being optimistic just isn't paying off for me. I scaled down whatever weight I was going to try to bench, but the joke was actually getting on the bench......and then off. I was like an 84 year old man with scoliosis who was stricken by nerve gas. But just so you know I am a total moron - I did this two more times, so I could get three sets in, butt spasms aside.

As my friend Jon pointed out to me, something I already knew - I need to see someone about this, it can't really go on. Not like they can put it in a cast or anything. Naturally, while I have insurance, my current carrier will have me seen at one place and the new plan I get in 20 days will have me seen somewhere else. So what to do? What to do?

I'm hoping in two weeks I can do SpinFest II - but I'm trying to be realistic here. I don't know that is going to happen.

I won't cry over that either. .....not that I cried. I did not cry.



Song by: the Cure

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Working Hour

It's only been two days, but so far things are going well. I had my first client meeting yesterday and it went well.

Mind you, I went in with now business cards - and I don't yet have an email account and spent the first day without a laptop, but.......

So the laptop came day 2 and it is teeny weeny. It's actually a Dell netbook. My old Dell travel battery weighs more than this new thing, and the new travel battery is smaller than my iPhone. It will be a breeze to travel with. It might suck for big spreadsheets I have to work on, but I'll adapt. It beats trudging from city to city with it strapped across my shoulder and ending up with a bad back.

And speaking of...........I'm still sore. Not as sore as I had been, but it flares up now and again. Clearing snow the other day (not the day I fell) didn't help matters, but it had to be done. Either way, I'm out the door at 5:15 a.m. this morning, because come hell or high water I will be working out. It's been five days since my last work-out - I fell lost. I feel like I'm losing momentum.

I'm not going to overdo it. I know I won't be able to, but next week I travel almost all week. All I will have is hotel exercise room. It will not be optimal, but I'll use it because what are my other choices?

Song by: Tears for Fears

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

If I Could Only Win Your Love

Another year of having no chance in h-e-double-hockey-sticks of winning a 2010 Bloggie.

But who am I to stop any of you from taking the bull by the horns and nominating me? As you know - it's an honour just to be nominated.

I'm pretty sure you can't (I mean, that is, if you wanted to) qualify really for Best New Zealand, African, Latin, European or Canadian Blog. I shouldn't be on the short list for Photography, Food, Fashion or Gossip either. Definitely I should not in the running for best written, most humourous or teen site either.

I think it really only leaves me open for Best Kept Secret Blog. ...that is, if you wanted to nominate me.

But seeing how Jiggy Dance WhoreOff went, even if I get nominated for a Bloggie, I'm not expecting to get more than 11 votes.


Song by: Emmylou Harris

Monday, January 04, 2010

Return to Me

Today is the day.

New job starts this very morn. Old office of a year ago, but new job, new boss, new responsibilities. I might take my old desk back - as no one has occupied since my departure a year ago.

It is a 25th floor view of a crappy landscape, so I guess I could change desks if I wanted to. No one would care. And I don't really need to sit with my old cohort (not that there's anything wrong with them), but I'm no longer in their division.

Actually, in the Cleveland office, I might be the only one in my division. It's possible there is one other. The rest are spread out between Philadelphia and Nashville - and a few others around the U.S.

Looks like it will be crappy commute day - for day one, anyway. Single digit temps, not including wind chill....and probably lots of snow. But it's all good.

I got exactly like 24 hours off between jobs. I worked a bit cleaning up stuff Sunday morning at the old office and getting things taken care of - then turned in my key, locked my door and left for the last time.

So I'm back. That's the plan. I may or may not tell you how it's going - and if I do, not in detail. This ain't a work blog - but you know that already.


Song by: Chris Isaak

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I'm Hurtin'

Not much to say today. I'm late for a post, as I normally post a few hours earlier. But hey, it keeps you on your toes. Ya gotta want it!

But fall the other day has caused repercussions throughout my body. I should have assumed it would, but there is that optimist in me (or king of denial) that thought maybe the pain would be localized to my tush-area.

My cousin, David, left a Facebook message for me that had the word 'coccyx' in it. The man is just looking for that edge to get a rise out of me, or to spur some downward spiral conversation for all to see. He does this a lot. I'm not biting.

However, he has a point. I'm 94% sure that's what I've hit and it has reverberated up my spine in the last day or so. Yes, my tailbone area is still very very sore, but not as sore as my shoulder blade area and neck. Whatever trauma I did to that butt-area did a nice job up the spinal column.

So, I'm a bit out of sorts. No gym yesterday or today. No lifting. No sit-ups (ouch!). No two hour spin class (OUCH!). Just resting. My big plans to de-holiday-ize the house are out the door right now. I can't lift that much or travel up and down stairs easily with full boxes - and someone else isn't home this weekend. It'll have to wait until he gets home.

And there is supposed to be like 6" of snow today before he gets home. He's frickin' nuts if he thinks I'm going out to the driveway to clear it for his return.


Song by: Roy Orbison

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Drawn to the Rhythm

Apparently, Avatar wasn't about me and my Yahoo-like drawing. It should have been, it wouldn't have been as predictable.

Visually, the film was pretty cool - and we saw it in 3-D. And we saw it in a renovated theater, which was also pretty cool. I love that they are spiffying up a part of town on the rebound. The best part? They didn't show crappy ads or play bad music while you waited for the movie to start. Unheard of!

The seats were older but redone, which was cool too, for authenticity, but my butt hurt in them. Actually, my butt hurt before we got there. Big time. While cleaning off the driveway with the snow blower, my feet hit a patch of ice and I went down. I went down hard. I took the snow blower down with me too. With them blades and all - it could have been a Fargo moment.

But yes, I landed hard and there I lay in some serious pain. No one was home and clearly the neighbors didn't hear or ignored my loud scream that was filled with expletives. So, yeah, I was in pain - but nothing that sitting in a movie theater for three hours wouldn't cure! NOT!

So, perhaps I went in with the wrong state of mind, but I really don't think so. I mean I had Milk Duds. All was right with the world.

Yes, the movie was long, but that wasn't an issue. The visuals were great and as we all discussed afterwards (we went with friends), you really don't weigh in that the avatars were, well....avatars and not real characters. So with that, James Cameron did ok. The 3-D effects were not essential to the viewing, but they were done very well. And now I have a second pair of dorky glasses I can use nowhere else.

Unfortunately, it seemed the story was built around visuals. I'm not psychic, but it is safe to say 15 minutes in, I knew how the entire story would go, save a few lives and deaths.

From here, I'm putting in a Spoiler Alert thingy, because I'll probably say something to ruin the movie for you. But since it has been out for three weeks, most of you have probably seen it.

First - I love that Cameron cast Michelle Rodriguez in it. She was the best thing in Lost and she was probably signed before that whole drunk driving incident that got her booted from the show. Hell, this movie has been in production for a half-decade. It's possible. But I knew what her character would do and where she'd end up.

Hell, I love that a 60 year old Sigourney Weaver was in it at all. Always good to see her.

As for some of the movie: I never thought the tree falling down was so Twin Towers, but the other three with me did. I did, however, find the entire movie an allegory for the Iraq war. The brute force of the military to assimilate (and/or kill) the people they invaded. The war-mongering of the Blackwater/Bechtel types. The precious material these forces mongers and military are after. So maybe the 9/11 or twin towers thing was intended and I just missed that piece.

I do think the rest of the guys liked it more than I did - and I didn't think it was bad, just predictable. I wanted to see it. I'm glad I saw it. I cannot imagine this transferring well to cable or DVD. I would think you need the big screen for this - if you see it in 3-D or not.

Oh - and there is also a shiteous theme not sung by Celine Dion, but the song and the voice isn't all that different than the Titanic theme.

On a positive note: day one of 2010 and the first of 12 movies are under my belt. You know, where my sore butt is.


Song by: Sarah McLachlan

Friday, January 01, 2010

Light Years

Man, how many of this kind of post have I done? Six? Seven? Maybe only Five? - as those first years of blogging were sporadic.

But another year come and gone. I'm sure there are something to show for it - and somethings not. That is the way it goes, eh?

I'll get it out right now - I missed my 12 movies goal by one. I had the opportunity to go last evening and bailed. I don't think it was fear of succeeding that did me in - it was going out on New Year's Eve that was a bit daunting. That, and after almost a full day of work (I know, right?) and then my workout, I kind of took a nap. I don't think the late night and drinking the day before helped matters.

Years ago, we would have called this a "disco nap", but it has been years since I've seen the insides of a disco. I guess we can call it 12 if you allow me the fact that I saw Harry Potter twice. But that might be cheating the non-existent rules - you know, kind of like Tiger Woods' marriage.

And ya know? 2009 didn't suck. We are employed. We have our health. We have our good good friends. Our families are all still around. We have two great cats (I am not the crazy cat guy, I swear).

I blogged every day of the year. Obama could have been better his first year, but he is still better than Shrub (a name you haven't heard in this blog for about a year!). We went to Mexico with Morty and George - which was great. I got a new job, and while not ideal, it helped me advance to the new opportunity I am taking on Monday. I got the gym, and while that seems a bit all-consuming to you guys some days, I like the routine (shock!) and the results are showing, if not in weight loss, then in muscle gain.

I know for more weight loss, I have to change my eating habits. OUR eating habits. I don't think if you're in a household only one person can be successful - it has to be communal change, or there is too much temptation. But I also am not jonesing to give up wine or sugar, or carbs for that matter.

As always, I don't really have any resolutions. I will try to see 12 movies this year. I will look at changing my work-out routine. I feel I've plateaued on a number of levels and the new job might give me some opportunities to - get this - hit the gym more often than I already do and have shorter and concentrated workouts. A trainer might be in my future. Not all the time, just to teach me some new stuff.

These are not resolutions. I'm not even sure they're goals.

We also have plans for 2010. Travel. Some celebrations. Hell, maybe we'll get mallied in DC (mallied? yeah - mallied! sheeeesh!). It's on the table. And it didn't even come from me!

But to all of you - hope your 2009 was good and that 2010 will be as good or better.


Crap. someecards was right. I do sound optimistic. Yikes!


Song by: Pearl Jam