Sunday, February 28, 2010

Drive

Yesterday we went to the Cleveland Auto Show. Snore.

Normally we go like once every 4-5 years and that is enough gap in between to make me forget what a waste of time that it actually is. The one good thing this year - they didn't charge $8 for parking. It was actually free! It still cost $12 to get in the door though.

I would say, both Denton and I have a little bit of car fever....and I'm trying to quell mine. I think he is probably due for one. His nine year old car seems to be in the shop more and more often these last few months. My Viggo is still going strong, but he's only pushing six years old.

The cars were ok. Some better than others, as you might expect. I'm not looking at Porsches or the $74k Lexus models. I'm not one of those guys who goes to oogle things he cannot have - well, except the hot dads who are looking at those things.

Normally, the freakish folks dominate this scene - mostly due to their clothing choices. Yesterday was no different. Oh, to have a good way to shoot pictures. I'm not sure there was enough memory on my iPhone to accommodate all I saw and no good way to snap away without being caught.

But back to the cars. Out of the hundreds of cars there, I only saw less than a half-dozen that caught my attention and that I thought were semi-logical purchases. The Volkswagen CC is near the top of my list, if not the top. It is a sharp car. A beauty. Even Consumer Reports recommends it. The one drawback? Getting out of the car, I seemingly have to really bend to exit. It doesn't seem to be that way getting in, but I tried a number of times.

The Audi A3. It's very cute and practical. But it looks an awful lot like Viggo. If I were to change cars, it's gotta feel like something new. I do feel like one of us should have a hatch to put down the seats and load stuff into. That's been my job for the last 14 years. I'm a bit tired of it.

Then there were two cars I never thought I'd give a first look to, let alone a second: the Kia Soul and the Ford Focus.

Wait wait wait. I know what you're saying: "a Ford Focus???" It's not the model that is currently out. That model, I would waste my time spitting on.

But doesn't this look more like the C-Class Mercedes? If not, it certainly doesn't look like a Ford. However, you won't be seeing it in a showroom until 2012. I'll have forgotten about it by that time. The sign says not to touch - so guess what I did? I'm such a rebel.

Speaking of 'no touch' - this on a 'concept' car.


Locked for my safety! As if!

But I can see why some of the autos were locked. Some of these folks were just fucking taking up residence in them for the better part of the day. Or worse, letting their snot-nosed kids play pretend driver. GtFO!

Oh, the other car I thought was really really well done? The 2011 Ford Mustang. Maybe it was the 2010. The dash was nice and not clunky like most American cars. The seats were really comfortable and lots of leg and head room. Yeah, it has back seats, but not that are functional. It would be a total vanity car for me - not so practical to take anyone else with me.

Cars like the Mustang are on the way back (again). The new Camaro looks sharp, but not for up to $38,000. No sir! Some old/new Dodge car too. Once again, appealing to the guys who had the muscle cars back in the day and wanting to recapture their youth at a high mark-up that they now can afford whatever they charge.

It was a bit sad, the biggest display and the least populated were one and the same: Toyota. I'm sure plans for this show were set well before their misfortunes. ...and for the record, that lady testifying before Congress on how 'g-d stopped her car', is complete hogwash that no one is willing to question her on - except me. And not the g-d part either.

But if you're car was going 100 mph and you were trying to do the gas, the brake, the emergency brake and all that through traffic, exactly how did you call your husband on the cell phone and have a conversation, when all this took place over 6 miles?

Let's break that down: if you can go one mile a minute, doing 60 mph, you'd be done with your 6 mile ride in what - 3.5 minutes? Then she made some claim that even after the car stopped, it was going 35 mph. HUH???

Of course, no one from Toyota could question this without taking on more wrath. Even though someone should, no one was questioning an older female with a southern twang who invokes her lord g-d into her testimony. No doubt paid for by Chrysler, GM and Ford - to which they are rolling around like pigs in shit when it comes to Toyota as of late.


Song by: R.E.M

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bikur Moledet

Hey - today is Purim, the Jewish holiday almost made famous in For Your Consideration.
For those of you who did not see the movie, for the studio to make the movie within a movie more profitable, Home for Purim becomes Home for Thanksgiving.

Overall, it was the weakest of the Christopher Guest movies, but it was still serviceable. And it gives an incredibly brief synopsis of Purim - some of it included in this clip.



So enjoy the clip, as most of you won't be participating in the holiday.



Song by: David Broza

Friday, February 26, 2010

Only in My Sleep

Is $100 too much to pay for a sleeping bag? I'm not actually getting one, I'm just asking.

Overall, I'd say "yes", but this one is special!!!!


It's a Tauntaun sleeping bag!!! How cool is this???

Let's say you're camping out on Hoth. You can sleep in this like Luke Skywalker would, so he wouldn't freeze to death. The inside of the bag has patterns of tauntaun intestines, just like the kind Luke Skywalker slept in, so he wouldn't freeze to death. The zipper is a light saber, so when you open it, it looks like it's splitting open the tauntaun so you can sleep in it (like Luke Skywalker) so you won't freeze to death!

Think Geek made it as a joke (and initially not for sale), but since there is money to be made, LucasFilms got involved and ok'd the project. I'm sure George Lucas had to approve it since he's probably living hand to mouth - the poor guy!

The "joke" is, kids are not buying it and most adults are not really buying it for their kids. They are buying it for themselves.

Think Geek.....indeed!!!


Song by: Shoes

Thursday, February 25, 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!

I love that Office Max are selling personal (or professional) alcohol detectors.

"Test Friends, Family, Employees!!" ......at their intervention.

"Screen the presence of alcohol" ...um.....look around my house. You don't need a $45 device to do that, just a working pair of eyes.

"Estimate your own alcohol level". I can estimate it without a device. If I'm buying this thing, I want an accurate reading, not a guess. I can guess - I've been doing that for years. Lately it's been 'low', but there had been years days that it was "bending the needle".

If it were cheaper, it'd make a great gag gift or something for a gift exchange. But it's not cheap, so it ain't worth it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Beat Goes On

...drums keeps poundin' rhythm to the brain.....

I've always loved that line, or at least the way it was sung / phrased. Not so much the "la-da-da-da-dee, la-da-da-da-da" line.

I forgot all about this scenario until I was looking my iPhone photos. I really do snap away so many things it's amazing. Denton rarely flinches (anymore) when he sees me point, aim and shoot.

When I was in York (PA, not the man) the other day, I took my client there to lunch. It was a frigid day, as they have been for the last two months, so we ducked into some place he suggested for soup and salad.

As we were wrapping up our meal and conversation, I excused myself to use the Little Boy's Room, as I had to see a man about a horse (don't you just love euphemisms?).

So as I was leaving the table he says to me, he says...."Don't forget, you're a sonny". I kind of smiled and went on my way without asking him, "what the hell are you talking about?". But it soon became apparent.



I think I was still laughing when I got back to the table. ...and at least they didn't say Buoys and Gulls.

And ruckiry (not jon's boss), there wasn't a Chastity Chaz Room. Way too confusing.



Song by: Sonny & Cher

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weirdo

The other day, most folks in my long-time email group all got a Facebook invite request from a former friend/neighbor. Well, eventually we got them. It seemed I was the first. Trust me, on this, I'm not boasting.

Most of us had long lost touch with this person, who will go nameless as he probably Goooogles himself frequently. But it was Morty who has seen him the most recently (I think) and was the last to get the invite. He was miffed - though I think he was just posturing for the cameras.....had there been cameras.

But while anxiously awaiting his invitation, Morty said something interesting (I thought), that he no longer searches out friends, in Facebook or real life. If they come to him - he's fine with it. Though I never thought about it much, I pretty much operate the same way. Maybe most 40 somethings do.

So it was even more interesting to see an article in last Sunday's NYT about some website called Chatroulette. I was going to use it as one of my Sites of the Month and decided to just run with it in this post. I'd say I'd forget about by the time next month rolls around, but in reality, it's just kind of creepy and maybe unworthy.

To break it down, you log on to Chatroulette and there is 'you' and a 'partner'. You can see them via webcam (assuming you have one) and them you (assuming theirs is not disabled). And you either chat via text (ala mIRC from 1993) or via cam.

Or as the Times more accurately states is: it drops you into an unnerving world where you are connected through webcams to a random, fathomless succession of strangers from across the globe. You see them, they see you. You talk to them, they talk to you. Or not.

"Unnerving" doesn't even begin to cover it. While I tried to vet the system for all of you, it wasn't working for me. Literally, it was, figuratively it was not. I'm too old for this shit and the people on the other end were either too young or too weird, sometimes both. And for the most part, too fickle. They would click you off in a nano-second and move on to the next random stranger. And the number of folks there doing it in twos or threes were I think just there to mock - I'm assuming.

Russian Roulette shows more compassion.

If you were of low self-esteem, you'd probably pick up the gun and gladly use it, but not before pulling the trigger on your own monitor screen.

Of course there were the freaks, like the above image, but in reality, most of them didn't have any pants on nor were showing a face. This is chat? And then they'd click you off - not the other way around.

I'm not sure they understand what 'exhibitionism' means. All I can say is, go at your own risk. I can't imagine ever going back there - but that's just me.


Song by: New Order

Monday, February 22, 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!


Something like two years in the making and six years before that in the waiting. But Sade has never been fast at making music, unless you count the time between album one and two. Earlier this month, they finally released Soldier of Love.

While not a huge fan of their overall stuff, I did love their first disk and the rest of their stuff had enough good songs to make up an incredible second disk, if you collected all that good music.

My issue is that it starts to blend together too quickly. I suppose I like their first disk because it was so different at the time and now that they are on album six, there isn't tons new to explore.

Still, in this world of the auto-tuned artist, or Miley (it's Miley!) or worse, the unveiling that someone like Taylor Swift really cannot sing a single note in tune, it is great to hear a band rely on their talent and an extremely good vocalist who needs no embellishment other than a microphone.

Their lead-off "single", and title track, is one of the few places they do try new exploration, if you will. The rhythm section really changes it up from what they had done in the past and Sade Adu's vocals take on a new persona. Alas, it is mostly just for this song, though "Babyfather" somewhat breaks their traditional mold with some reggae influences.

After that, it is back to what they know - which doesn't suck. While normally I hate complacency and being too consistent in music, anything else for this band would be disconcerting and it probably wouldn't work.

I like it because of their talent in writing, playing and singing. I can't listen to this in repeated sessions, that's not how this music works with me. But in these days where you do not need talent to be an "artist", it is nice to know it still exists.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New York

I hate it when my friends do not think I'm as funny as I do.

....and for the record, none of my friends think I'm as funny as I think I am. Bastards!

Case in point: I was traveling last week to a town which had the same name as a friend I have known for 18 years. Since we live 2200 miles away, we don't see each other that often, or even email as much as we should. Oddly enough, I keep in contact with his partner more than the friend himself (thanks Facebook!)

Now, I've said in the past, I have some friends with really good names - Denton (whom you may have heard of now and again), Ivor, Hillel and Hunter. Not a foreigner in the bunch, either. And then there is York. Somewhere in this blog-thingy, I went through how I met him and how Morty and I were trying to understand that this was indeed his name - and his first name at that.

So knowing I was going to York, PA for the day, I pack the digital camera just in case I had some free time. It turns out I could have had more, had I known the returning flight would have had "mechanical difficulties" and been delayed for two hours.

But I still got some good shots to just "torture" the man with for the next few days. These are just a sampling of what I took, because as it seems, almost nothing is named in this town that doesn't start with his name....or the name of the city, I suppose.









I was hoping for a Theodoric of York Barber Shoppe, but I couldn't find one. Dang.

On this last pic, I happened to snap with my iPhone as I was walking back with a client I was visiting. I tried to be sly about it and all but I was caught and he asked what I was doing. Busted!

So, I told him my story and plan. He LOVED it. He loved it even more when he found out York's name was his first name and not last. He'd never heard of that. I mean, who has? It was a great bonding moment with a client. Who knew?

So this guy drags me across the street to the York Chamber of Commerce to see what there is to see. Unfortunately, not a whole heck of a lot. Some brochures and that's it. I should have searched for a t-shirt, but thought I didn't have time.

But it turns out that they actually do make York Peppermint Patties here. And York barbells. And they have the largest Harley-Davidson manufacturing plant in the U.S. - which doesn't say "York" and really ties into nothing in this post.

So, over the last few days I've been randomly been sending a pic or two to the Y-man and getting NO response. WTF?

I went way way way out of my way to do this!!! I even cc'd his partner on the emails and been getting nothing.

All I can say is - they had better be stuck under some kind of rock and not have access to their iPhones under said rock!

Luckily, I won't be visiting any towns named Morty, Becky, Meredith or Jon! I'm not going through this whole rigamarole thingy and not get at least the cursory "LOL" (or "ROR", in our case).

I guess I could go to Denton, TX.


Song by: Prozzak

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Worst Thing

Wasn't it just a week or so ago that I blogged that Forbes rated Cleveland the Worst Winter City, ever? (I did. The question was rhetorical.)

Well, they took it up a step or twelve - we are now the overall worst most miserable city in the land. Blogger Larry and my friend Tony both alerted me to this "fact". I'm divided on if it is legitimate in any way, shape or form, yet have to give credit where credit is due.

There is no denying we have some crappy stats, but let's break down Forbes' criteria:

Unemployment? We have that in droves. And it's mostly lower wage, blue collar positions that have been on the decline for decades with the demise of the steel mills and manufacturing that has gone off-shore. White collar jobs have moved their HQs out of the city and the state due to that slow down and to...

Taxes. I haven't really done a comparison county by county, or state by state. We're not horrid, I don't think, but we're not getting off lightly. Oddly, Forbes doesn't seem to list anything but sales and income tax. Nothing about property tax, which is out of line for our decreased home values. But if they were to decrease those, there'd be less money than there already is for any improvements in the city. Rock? Meet Hard Place. (The bigger joke is, housing prices, foreclosures, etc don't even seem to be in Forbes formula.)

Commutes. Really? We're not DC, NYC or LA. There is no place in Cleveland you can't get to in 30 minutes...or less. Unless you're a West Sider at morning rush hour at the Metro curve. Build in an extra 15 minutes for the drive. Done.

Weather. Covered a few days ago. It sucks. No doubt. And nothing you can do about this one. Nothing Forbes can do about it either - so suck it! We live on a major lake which produces vast amounts of snow and on the other side of that lake is Canada.

Public Corruption. Yeah, we have that in spades. No denying this one. And unfortunately, it's the democrats who are the offenders. I'm sure there are right wing offenders too, but Cleveland is a Dem town and absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

Pollution. I'm not sure we're horrible here. The lake is iffy. The river is much cleaner (it's been 40+ years, give up the fucking fact/joke that it once caught on fire.) With the steel mills gone, we're not Boulder, CO, but we're not Los Angeles either.

Violent Crime. We had a few for the record books (that 11 murder deal in '09; that fireman shooting five the year before) the last year or two. So it only stands to reason that crime should be on the down-swing. With the record number of murders and such, but with everyone being killed or moving out of the state, so it has to get better - right?

Performances of Professional Sports Teams. It's not even a matter of opinion here. WE blow!!!! We have the Indians - whom you know I love dearly - who started out and ended up in last place in '09. I think we made it out of that position for less than 5 days of the season. The Browns were not much better. Yeah, we have the Cavs, but once LeBron leaves......and mark my words, he will.....we are as doomed as doomed can be.

But here's the thing with Cleveland and this ranking: it matters for naught. Besides that we've had 2-3 revitalizations since I've been back (in the last 15 yrs), is Forbes magazine even relevant? Has it ever been? I would like to see the person who has a job offer to Cleveland and turns it down due to what Forbes has said.

Is it any wonder Steve Forbes never made a successful presidential run?




(oh yeah - as for the post image? If anything sucks with the word 'Cleveland' in it, it would be The Cleveland Show)



Song by: Natalie Merchant

Friday, February 19, 2010

Talk

It's time for a new vlog posting. Because, even though I have nothing relevant to say, deep down, you know you want to see me!



Song by: Coldplay

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Site of the Month

I know most of my SotM's are on the humorous side, but every now and again, I can go straight.
HA! Ok - within reason.

And while this is a non-funny site, it's far from being straight: Domestic Daddy.

....and he's cute. For a blonde!

He is kind of like a gay(er) Martha Stewart, without the pretension, the WASPy accent or the felony conviction. I'm assuming. That is the great thing about the internets.....you can be anyone you want to be.

But like Martha, you can see in his bio he's no slouch and he's not like you and me. I'm assuming. I know I don't have a NYC apartment, a house on Long Island and another in San Francisco. Do you?

And if I had a new born (and thank g-d I do not!), I certainly wouldn't entertain 12 times the first month we had that kid. Hell, I don't even entertain a dozen times a year....sans kid.

Actually, the more I write this, the more I resent him and his website/life.

Oh g-d. I think he is just like Martha Stewart.

His stuff is mostly common sense, but it's still a neat little place to visit now and again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lay Your Hands On Me

Physical Therapy is going fine - thank you for asking.

I'm into my second week and things are better, but I still have some pain or at least tightness. Adam, my big-nosed therapist, has been working one-on-one with me to get me back to "normal".

We are incorporating some yoga moves into my back stretching. Basically we're doing Cobra, and it seems to be working, along with the other few I've been doing. He had me walk on a treadmill for a bit too to see how that goes and so far so good.

I won't say Adam gave me a massage, but I did have to lay face down on one of those benches you see up top and he basically palpated my back and continues to apply more and more pressure to see if it caused any pain. It did not.

"But what nice strong hands you have, grandma...." Oh wait, that's a different story, though he was wearing red, as you can see.


Ok, it might not have been horribly ethical to take pictures of my therapist, let alone post them here, but......

Would you take a look at that schnoz? Isn't it beautiful. ....no, I'm not joking.

The pictures don't really represent well. He is better looking than this, and he's got a great smile. And then there are those strong hands. I'm ignoring that wedding ring - his and mine.


Song by: Thompson Twins

Tuesday, February 16, 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.

I think we can all agree that with my Classic selections, I'm not really looking to pick anything I don't like, right?

And while Emmylou Harris rarely puts out a mediocre album, I'm not sure she's ever put out a better album than 1995's Wrecking Ball. 12 songs and not a stinker among them. Hell, there's not even a piece of filler.

I had always like Harris, but admittedly, this was my first purchase of her solo stuff. I had a few disks where she was with Gram Parsons or even with Dolly Parton & Linda Ronstadt, but I never shelled out the moolah for her stuff. I don't know why I did either - at least now. I just remember taking it back to my office at OSU and playing it over and over (on my Sony Diskman!).

I cannot say I was overly thrilled with the thought of Daniel Lanois producing, as I thought he kind of put U2 on the road to ruin, but I gave it a shot and I'm glad I did. His work isn't bad, you do hear elements of his U2 work, but it's not as in your face.

While there might be country elements to the disk, you can't really call it a country album. It almost defies categorization. If anything, it's more of a religious themed disk, but that's not entirely accurate. However, with lyrics like "when that trumpet sounds...." and most anything from Julie Miller's "All My Tears (be washed away)", you can see where it has some spiritual references.

There are no Harris compositions on this disk (I think she co-writes one), but that's not where her greatest strength has ever been. She is an a unique vocalist, but a better interpreter of other's music and lyrics. There are exceptions of course. I'm still a bigger fan of Lucinda Williams' "Sweet Old World".

She covers Dylan (Bob, not Thomas), Hendrix (Jimi, not Nona), Gillian Welch - and while Welch also has a song titled "Wrecking Ball", the title disk is a cover of Neil Young, in which he does backing vocals.

But sonically, the musicians are great and have an incredible sound and well, Harris always sounds good, but even here she sounds more original.

As I was typing this and as I've been listening to it lately, it is possible that this could be one of my Desert Island Disks.

If you have not heard this, I highly recommend you pick it up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sweet Spot

I've made it through my first year of the gym, albeit with a few more days of breaks than I would have liked - damned old man back!

It's not really my first year at the gym, but for this go-round and this particular gym it is. And it has been definitely the most consistent I have been about going about this exercise routine thingy.

So, I think my routine will stick. Normally, I would have given up long ago, but I've been pretty good about being there at the very least, three days per week and at my most obsessive, six. Normally it is 4-5, not including double days when I do yoga.

I am starting back to yoga this upcoming week. I'll have had a few PT sessions under my belt and I won't do anything that bends/folds that back, only stuff that stretches it in a good way.

Missing Spin has been my hardship. I didn't realize how much I would miss it, but it's been almost a month since my last session - that two hour SpinFest. I ran into (cute) Andy, the Spin instructor, in the gym over the weekend and he'd asked where I'd been (he notices me!!! ...and has been tracking my non-whereabouts!!!!). I told him it'd be another 2-3 weeks before I can think about coming back. {sigh}

So on a year to the date I started back at the gym, the irony was not lost on me when some wisp of a guy asked me to spot him as he went to bench his body weight. Me!

Since no one has ever asked me to spot (nor have I asked anyone), I was not aware if there are protocols on how, or how not, to do this. As I stood over him, was I supposed to give him words of encouragement to do at least one more rep? Was I just supposed to wait for his verbal signs to help him with the bar? Was I supposed to really help with the bar at all?

Of course, I got a little distracted by his fingerless weight lifting gloves. This is a piece of equipment I do not have, nor seemingly have the need for. But this guy had little "silver" studs all over them, making them look less for the weight room as much as gear for a some fan at a hair band concert, circa 1985. You could see why I was distracted.

On his last rep he struggled and I went down to touch the bar but not take it from him unless I felt he really needed that assistance. It all seemed to work out, but who knows if any procedure was breached. Not me, that's for sure.


Song by: Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Slapstick Heart

Two hearts beat as one - so says U2, back when they weren't corporate tools.

The two hearts that got these two pieces of candy were my cousins, David and Bill. I thought it would be fun to ask them to be my valentine.

I did it at lunch the other day - and they accepted!!! Those boys (43 and 63 respectively) are crazy-ass motherfuckers. Sorry for going blue.

I'm not a horribly shy or mute person - ask just about anyone. But getting a word in edge-wise with those two is a frickin' chore. It's a good thing they make it fun to listen to them and that they are funny.

Oh, the poor waitress and anyone sitting around us. The conversation was (and always is) borderline inappropriate at best. Let's just say it started out with David asking Bill how his Viagra was doing - and then it deteriorated from there.

I got a kick out of David addressing Bill and saying, "you know, your brother....". He never said, "you know, my father.....". Like he was distancing himself from that relationship. Naturally I pointed it out, more to Bill's amusement than David's - not that he was offended or anything.

David really wants to see my parents again, but I just don't know how that would all go down. I don't mind David at all - actually, I love him and how he is. But if my parents think I'm a bit much (and they do), I don't know how they'd take him - and I don't think David has a self-censor mode and would be what my parent's might have issues with.

But enough of that for now. It's valentine's day - enjoy it. I have mine, they just happen to be my cousins.


Song by: Sam Phillips

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This Shirt

Yesterday I did one of the more extravagant things I have ever done for myself: I ordered three custom dress shirts!

Made to order. Not Maid to Order. That was a horrid horrid movie with Ally Sheedy and Michael Ontkean, that you will see some morons rated as 4.5 stars on amazon. Jon will try to deny it, but we actually saw it at the Olentangy cinemas. I have no idea what we were thinking. We were probably still riding high on her performance in Short Circuit.

Normally, I'd never do something like this - the movie or the shirts - but it was kind of for a good cause. A local um....tailor? men's shoppe? haberdasher? was doing this in association with Big Brothers.

It's not Big Brother, that Kenneth on 30 Rock does work for. “Oh, Big Brother isn’t affiliated with the mentoring program. It’s an organization that secretly watches people and makes sure they’re behaving properly."

No, this is actually Big Brothers/Big Sisters. One of my co-workers, and former boss, is the chairman of the local organization. He's a great guy and it was hard to say 'no'. And it was a decent deal.

The first shirt was only $45 - and hell, it's custom made. And half the price goes directly to the BB/BS organization - so it's almost like I'm paying $23 for the shirt. Any additional shirts were slightly more, but still half the cost going to the mentoring program.

I got measured to within an inch of my life - neck, arms, waist, chest, wrists...blah blah blah. Then got to pick my collar, pleat, pocket and cuff types. I opted for no monogramming on the sleeve. I'm not that guy.

So I got a really one nice white shirt, a beautiful blue one, and then went way out there and picked a deep purple (eggplant, if you will) that had white pin stripes. The last one seems like I'll look totally pimped out. It will be harder to coordinate that with suits and such, but something I didn't ever have nor could easily find in a store.

I guess I've come into my own. I don't know I'll be able to go back to.....shudder....store bought shirts!



Song by: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cook with Fire

Cook with Fire

Now and again, I will try to drive traffic to - gasp - another blog site! I know, right?

I am pretty sure I've mentioned here that I do like to cook. I find it very relaxing and challenging all at the same time. I don't mind cooking. I don't even mind clean-up. I can do without having to go to the grocery store if at all possible.

What I really struggle with: finding something new to cook or actually picking the menu. After that decision has been made, the rest is relatively easy.

Now and again, that is where Bloghungry comes in handy for me. He'll not only have a recipe that I can do, but that I want to do. And he makes them seem plausible.

Take his Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, Garlic and Oregano dinner. It totally works and pretty easy to prepare. I done right by his easy-peasy directions - which was really just the marinade. I'm not a complete moron - I do know how to grill chicken.

I have not used capers much, so I didn't know exactly what to expect. Capers, the way they are packaged, are a great business model. You can't get them out without losing all the juices of them. You can't really use them again if you take away the brine, so you dump most everything out to get the one tablespoon you need and end up tossing the rest. Pretty sneaky, sis!

With all the potentially strong ingredients, I worried that after being in the fridge for 10 hours or so, that the flavour would overwhelm the actual meat (that's what she said). I can tell you that it did not.

The chicken was tender and juicy - and it all blended well in terms of taste.

To not over-marinade, I actually prepared it the night before, but didn't incorporate the chicken until before I left for work the next morning. That still left like 10 hours to for the poultry to soak before I had to come home and grill it.

I think the biggest differences with mine and BH's was he most likely did his on an outdoor grill. Smart man. I guess I could have too, but would have had to shovel a path to the grill. So, I did it on an indoor grill - and well, let's just say, where BH said to have a water bottle handy because of the flames, well.............. There weren't really any flames, but a lot of smoke. A LOT.

But it came out great, as you can see.



My food photography isn't as good as Bloghungry's, but to be honest, I didn't try that hard.

I won't reprint the recipe here. I linked it above for you to try - and it also drives some blog traffic his way.


Song by: Heart

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Move to Work

So I finally went to physical therapy. Well, not finally - I mean, the doctor only prescribed it for me less than a week ago.

My appointment was bright and early yesterday. They can start at 07:00, which would be perfect for me, but I could not get in until an hour later. Bummer. But since I wasn't going to BWI, or anywhere else for that matter, it wasn't too much of an inconvenience.

This visit was mostly just my evaluation/assessment, still it took a full billable hour.

Morty and Becca told me what they thought the visit would be like. Words like 'massage', 'heat pads' and 'acupuncture' were thrown around. Lies. All lies.

It was nothing more than questions, sight evaluation of my movements and exercises to do there and at home and in the office.

Mind you when Morty said 'massage', I had to throw in a line about 'as long as there is a happy ending....', and I'm not talking Cinderella or the Goldilocks or the Deathly Hallows.

Let me just say this about "Adam", my new physical therapist: I would have gladly given him the happy ending. End of story.

Adam isn't what you'd probably call classically handsome, but that's not my type anyway. What chance does a guy like me have at classically handsome? Not that I have a chance at this either - or that I'd take said chance had it been offered. But if I have to spend 2-3 hours a week with a therapist, I should at least have some eye candy, right?

First, I've never seen a physical therapist who is out of shape - and Adam is no exception. And his Semitic good looks (ok, his nose) are a huge huge huge plus (so is his nose!). Yet the man was engaging and thorough and that's really what I was there for.

He really doesn't see PT as being long term for me. He saw some great things (his words) with some of the paces he put me through. I'm sure I'm on the low scale of some of the stuff they see in that office. So he doesn't think that there is nothing non-fixable, and he thinks it can all be done in three weeks or so.

Here's hoping.

But he agreed: no spinning. It is an activity that has you hunched over too much and too hard on the spine. He disagreed with the doctor about yoga, within reason. No poses that has me bent over or folded, which does limit somethings that happen in the studio, but the cat-cows, child's pose, pigeon and others that really stretch the back should be just fine and even beneficial to my recovery.

Oddly enough, he thinks weight lifting is just fine. My issue isn't really lifting as much as how to get on and off the weight bench. While I look like a moron doing it, apparently I am doing it the correct way for an gimp.

We both agreed: no sit-ups, inclined or otherwise.

Adam wouldn't look up my radiology exams, at least in front of me, as he didn't want to tell me something that he feels would label me. He said it better than that, but I get it. If I can move and he can fix me, what is the point of saying x, y or z. His rationale is that the two of us could have the exact same film (the tease!) and yet we could still respond differently to any therapy.

I ran into a guy from my yoga class at PT. He knew about my fall and my absence from the twice a week class. He's been doing PT for a while and had nothing but great things to say on how far he's come (I don't know what his issues were, nor did I ask, and he didn't offer).

So I will see Adam 2-3 times per week for the next 2-3 weeks. Not only will I see him, but I will keep looking at him too.


Song by: Fine Young Cannibals

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Come Down


Ok. I'm done with Winter. Done. Finished. Kaput. I am SO over this.

Yeah, I feel bad, to a degree, for the folks in Baltimore and DC, but you know, they usually get off light. When they do get hit, they get smacked around like......well......I can't think of a way to end that thought in a way that won't get me in trouble with someone!

The pic is just the beginning of our predicted 10-12"........of snow, that is.

Speaking of Baltimore.........I was scheduled to fly into there today and then drive 90 minutes up through the mountains of Pennsylvania to get to a client. That ain't happening. Not that I didn't make a valiant effort to go, but the airlines won't let it move forward.

This is how bad of shape that BWI is still in from their last snow fall and their impending 10-20" they are expected to get: they canceled my flight 27 hours before it was scheduled to take off.

Like a moron, I attempted for 2-3 hours to find another way to meet my obligation and find another way there. But it's not happening. I just caved and rescheduled until next week. So the reserved hotel and car have been 86'd.

And I'm sure DC and Balmare are just smarting from Forbes' new list that puts good ole Cleveburgh at the top of the Worst Winter Weather Cities. It's not really a list where you want to be #1.

Cleveland gets hit by lake-effect snow, averaging almost 60 inches every winter and its frigid winters help produce an average annual temperature of only 50 degrees, 10 degrees below the 50-city average.

Yes, that average of 50 is year-round, not our average Winter temp. And I don't know about that 60" of average snow. I suppose our few small years of snow bring down the average, like how one bad grade can fuck your GPA. Last year we were less than 3" off the snowiest Winter on record.

Hell, we hit the 60" mark before the end of January, and we had 6" this last weekend. If we get to the 10" mark today, we'll be past the 6' mark and only like 3.5 more months to go before Cleveland Winter ends!

Yes, I am ready for this to be over. But tonite, I'll watch House Hunters International and dream that maybe we can just move to Belize or somewhere like that.

Is it time to clear the driveway? I think it is.


Song by: Lori Carson

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Fan Mail

I wrote what I think is my first letter to the editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday. I've written others to different publications, but this, if published, would be the largest circulation I've been in print - well, except for this blog.

And yes, it has to do with being a homo.

I am for the repeal of DADT and am kind of excited by the steps that have been taken in the last few weeks to move this along. Don't get me wrong - even if I were of age, the military life is not for me, but it should be open to those who do want to serve. I'm just not one of them.

So, while the letter I responded to has all been written and done before, it was early Sunday morning and it just kind of nagged at me to where I picked up the laptop and sent off a hastily written response - all of which the likes of who read this blog have seen and heard before.

But what the hell. I figured I would share.

Here is the original letter:

'Don't ask, don't tell': Maintain moral standards

It's disconcerting that Adm. Mike Mullen has taken the lead to sanction gays in the military. I seek guidance from a higher authority when determining right and wrong, not from another imposing his moral interpretations on me. I look to God and the Bible, the foundation for our greatness as a nation.

I have no animosity toward gays and lesbians. Their personal choices are between them and their creator. However, Scripture is very clear on our moral responsibility regarding homosexuality: It is wrong.

By condoning homosexuality in the military, we're institutionalizing a belief system that allows one to rationalize what is right and wrong based on the circumstances and moral relativism. For example, killing innocent civilians in a war zone may be acceptable if the situation dictates. Genocide may be OK.

We should demand high moral standards in our military. Don't lower them.

Paul Barlow, Brecksville

Barlow is a retired U.S. Coast Guard captain.


Here was my response:

Paul Barlow's letter regarding gays in the military is a contradiction in terms.

While claiming no animosity towards gays or lesbians, he singles them, and only them, out for military service exclusion based on the Bible.

If he sees the Bible as the benchmark for right and wrong there should be no cherry picking. All those hundreds of other things that the book says is wrong - should any offenders who violate these "moral responsibilities" be allowed to serve? And if not, why not? I'm extremely curious to see where the line in the sand is drawn.

And comparing repealing Don't Ask/Don't Tell as much of a slippery slope with "killing innocent civilians in a war zone may be acceptable"? Really?

Where exactly does Mr. Barlow's "moral responsibility" lie.


I suppose I could have gone on (and on and on), but then I'd just be like all the old coots who write into the PD. But I guess, in email terms, I have started a "flame war" with Ret. Captain Barlow. So be it.

I do have to give credit where credit is due though. Of the half dozen or so letters that were in the Sunday paper, most (70%?) were pro dropping DADT and having gays serve openly.

...and there should be a distinction. There are a number of people who want DADT pulled and still not have 'mos in the military. They just never thought DADT should have ever been an option in the first place. Like Paul Barlow.


Song by: Blondie

Monday, February 08, 2010

Honey Don't

Oh - no no no no no no no!

Where are the fashion police when you need them??? Was it permissible of me to make a citizen's arrest?

This stunning display of fashion and womanhood was shopping yesterday on Super Puppy Bowl Sunday!!! (way to make me nervous the first half, Saints!)

Need I remind you that I/we live in Northeast Ohio? Need I tell you that 21 was our high temperature for the day? Fahrenheit, not Celsius. Oh, and we had hit that high about 8 hours before this picture was taken.

Lest you think she has a coat/wrap/long-sleeved shirt of any kind in her shopping cart, or being carried by her equally inappropriately dressed male "companion", I can safely confirm she did not.

Well, at least her wrist tattoo isn't completely skanky. Ok - maybe I'm just being nice.


Song by: the Beatles

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Big Chair

First off, don't think I don't know what this blog has become: a gripe session regarding my back.

But as they say, 'write what you know', and right now, this is all I'm knowin'. It was the same thing of multiple gym posts and travel posts as I go through those stages of my life. So bear with me - hopefully it won't last long - or forever.

To address Arnie's comment yesterday - yes, not doing all the things I want to do at the gym will drive me a little batty. I need to focus on the things I can do and not become complacent when my on-hold routines can be started. It's so easy to let that stuff go and not pick it up again.

To address Jon's comment about not being a compliant patient - ha! I will do PT, I know I will. I don't know when I'll start. I really would like a program that is addressing the cause of my pain though. But since Saturday I had little spasms here and there, I don't think I can not do it.

But now for a somewhat related, but totally separate post.

We've been in search mode for new chairs for our sunroom. Mind you - this has been a lackadaisical search for the last three years or so. Our current chairs are a bit worn and are a bit too cushy.

Here's the related part: with my back I need more support and less cush. And in the last few weeks, we've increased the expediency of this search.

And you know what? Finding a functional chair that looks half decent (not even fully decent) is that whole needle / haystack scenario.

But as of yesterday, I think we might have found one of them. Since we're not wedded to matching chairs, this one might just be mine. (and yes, the room within the store was actually called Hide N Seat. And no, they didn't have any recliners in that room, which was my assumption.)




I really don't know how to pick a chair in the first place. I fear that it feels great in the showroom but two weeks into having it that it's not all that.

Not only that, while I like the look of this chair, apparently there are almost 100 different kinds of leather and 40 kinds of apparel tacks (is that the right phrase?) you can pick from.

Seriously? I could never do that. I could never order something like this without seeing it. So if I get this chair, it will be just like the floor model.

And why the 'if'? Cost.

My g-d, these things are expensive. And of course, this is the most expensive chair I've seen. Is it worth it? I mean - it looks like it will last a lifetime, but still!

Denton's going to have to really talk me into this.


Song by: Tears for Fears

Saturday, February 06, 2010

I'm Looking Through You

So, the doc appointment is over. But then again, it's not. C'mon - no one thought it would be, right? One appointment? Get over yourselves.

No news is good news - right? Probably. And wouldn't you know it - the day of my appointment and it was the best day I had since the fall. Yeah, that should be great, but I wanted the doc to see the extent of my damage. I mean - I'm paying for this!

She put me through a series of evaluations of walking. Well, walking, prancing, mincing dancing ....you know, the standards.

At one point she had me sit on that exam table and flex my feet. Oddly enough, that hurt my back. Nothing else did.

When going through my medical history she became very concerned about my "cured" cancer (is anyone ever really cured?). It never occurred to me that somehow the cancer had returned - 15 years later - and spread to my spine. Oddly enough - it did to her. It's great she's looking out for me that way, but in reality, I had to talk her through what kind of cancer it was, as she had never heard of it. ....but let's panic the patient anyway. Oy.

So, she came to the conclusion that it was probably not cancer related. Duh.

She offered me stronger pain meds that were not narcotic based, but I didn't bother with those. What was the point? Maybe I'll reconsider if the pain goes back to where it was and continues on. If not, then I'll do OTC stuff.

She prescribed x-rays (see image above) and physical therapy. I did the first task immediately. I let them irradiate my insides, just to continue my on-going sterilization process. But I didn't immediately bite at scheduling PT.

Personally, I would like to know what we're working with here. I think physician and the therapists would too. You can treat the ache, I suppose, but don't we really want to know the cause so we can tailor that to the targeted problem?

I'm supposed to go back in three weeks. Until then - I'm not allowed supposed to Spin or do Yoga. Pffffffffffffttt


Song by: the Beatles

Friday, February 05, 2010

Heal the Pain

It has been one month and four days since I fall down and go boom. The pain in my rear has neaped and ebbed, but mostly it neaps and stays neaped.

I'm not complaining exactly, I'm just saying.

I've cut down on my gym routine, but I have not abandoned it. Since I don't know what in that routine continues to aggravate my back, I'm weeding things out of said routine and at one time or another scaled back on either cardio, spinning, lifting or yoga to see who/what the culprit might be. It is now safe to assume all of it complicates the back in one form or another.

So what's a guy to do?

Oh yeah. See a doctor.

That happens today - at 07:40. I'm headed to the Spine Clinic to see what can be done with my sore, aging body. My guess is nothing other than physical therapy, but we'll see. We'll see.

But as I was lifting yesterday (yes, I was. shut up), I thought to myself: maybe this is it. Maybe I'm of that age where I just have a bad back. Forever.

In certain ways, I'm a realist or fatalist. But in this regard, I had this minor-epiphany. This had never crossed my mind. Then I thought to myself, 'crud' ....and then finished my workout, showered and drove to work.

All day, my pain had ebbed. I kind of want it to hurt for the doc, but that's just crazy talk.



Song by: George Michael

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Tiger

Now that J.D. Salinger is dead, I guess Bill Watterson is the closest thing we have to a celebrity recluse.

Maybe he's not too too reclusive if you know where he lives. And I do. Oh, I do.

There was a nice, but slightly odd article/interview regarding the creator of Calvin & Hobbes, in which he breaks a 15 year silence.

Calvin & Hobbes ranked up there with my favourite strip ever. Doonesbury, the Far Side and Bloom County would be the others. Oh and Mark Trail. HA! Just kidding on that last one. I do own every strip he's done.

It's not like I'm stalking the man, by the way. Watterson took refuge in my hometown. Not Cleveland proper, but a farther out suburb known for nothing more than really being the home of Tim Conway.......and me. He became (or perhaps always was) quite the eccentric around town.

As luck interest would have it, one of my cousins bought Watterson's house after he shut down his strip and opted to move. Dan said he was just very strange to deal with, but it is kind of a cool house.

As weirdness would have it, Watterson moved from that house, and to one next to a great friend of mine. More tales of weirdness abound. Since Bob has to live next to him and who knows who Gooooogles what, I won't go into specific stories, but it is safe to say that what's normal to you and I might not be normal to Bill W.

I try not to let those stories colour my good thoughts on Calvin and his life long pal. They were fun, funny and insightful. Sometimes just silly - but that's what I needed for the 10 years they were in existence.

I've passed my love of the strip along to my youngest niece and nephews. So hopefully for a few more years, Calvin & Hobbles will be live in the hearts and minds of the next generation.



Song by: Paula Cole

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Something

I don't think I mentioned it, but "Santa" had a big fail this last holiday season. It's not entirely his fault, but if he were really on his game, this wouldn't have happened.

Little Blobby secretly wished for Something Something Something Darkside. Little Blobby did not receive it - and for the most part, he had been a good boy.

To be fair, 20th Century Fox released it only two days before the holiday. What right-minded Santa would have fought those crowds for the one he allegedly loved? Yeah, that's right - I went there.

Santa rectified the situation a few weeks later and finally we got around to watching it this last weekend.

Let me pull back a little: Something (x3) Darkside is a Family Guy parody of The Empire Strikes Back. A year or two ago, Family Guy did the hilarious parody of Episode IV.

Something was fun and funny, but I won't go as far to say it was hilarious. Maybe a few more viewings would change that for me.

The storm trooper in the mesh shirt scene could have been funnier or gayer. That he was just dressed that way cause he was planning to go out dancing afterwards wasn't good enough. The nipples were a nice touch.

And while you cannot really see it here, like Blue Harvest, some of the animation was really really outstanding. I'm guessing Geo Lucas didn't use as much in his original version back in 1979. I thought the detail to the exterior of the ships and parts of the Cloud City fight scene (partially above) were exceptional.

But there were some Family Guy running gags that were included that just make me laugh - like when Peter/Lois/Stewie fall down and grab their knee and go: "ohhhh.....ohhhh.....ohhhhh". It turns out, it's just as funny when an Imperial Walker does the same thing.

And of course, Consuela, the maid for the Griffins, Superman and now Darth Vader is one of the best bits they got going.

There is also a weird scene with Tom Selleck/Magnum and of course a cameo by Meg that just makes you pseudo bust a gut.

In the big picture, it doesn't seem to be as sharp or funny as Blue Harvest, but we'll see. ...if nothing else, there is a slight promo for We Have a Bad Feeling About This. Or as you might know it: Return of the Jedi.


Song by: the Beatles

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Shadows

Ahh today. The "holiday" which actually has less meaning than say, Arbor Day. At least I'm all for trees.

I'm sure I could wiki it, but I'm too lazy to really care. It won't stop me from asking the question though:

How the HELL did this come to be? Groundhog Day, that is. PUHL-EESE (say it like Squidward!)

Having an over-grown rodent predict the end of winter and/or if we'll have more of it.

OF COURSE, we'll have more of it. You're in frickin' Pennsylvania in early February. Guess what? You're going to have more winter. A lot more. Not six more weeks. Try 12.

The only thing this day did bring that was good - was the movie of the same name.

C'mon, yeah it's a little lot sophomoric, but it totally works - even with Andie MacDowell. So in fact, the day is not a total loss, because you can expect that some cable station will be playing this over and over and over today.


Song by: Rufus Wainwright

Monday, February 01, 2010

I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down

Pee Wee is alllll over the place lately. Yayy for him. Yayyy for me.

I'm a huge Pee Wee fan. And you might remember from a long-time ago post, that I may have frequented a certain x-rated theatre that Mr. Wee was arrested in Sarasota, FL. Granted, I was 16 and sneaked into the place and this was a good 10-15 years before P.W. made his now famous trek there.

But Pee Wee is making his comeback. Conan. His stage show in Los Angeles. A potential new movie. And now, Funny or Die.

I still wish I liked FoD better. Like some of their stuff, this video had potential. Much more. And is it just me, or is Clocky and Globie's voice different? Possibly Magic Screen too. It's disconcerting.



But the iPad is a bit disconcerting too. It's like a big version of the Newton with a little iPhone in there too.

Normally, I'm pretty much pro all-things Apple, but I'm not rushing out to get this. Not first generation - that's for sure.


Song by: Paul Young