Saturday, December 31, 2011

Think of Tomorrow

Au revoir 2011.  (can you believe I've been holding onto this image I took on a NC beach on Jan 4th of this year?)

For the most part you've been a pretty good year.  As with all of you containing 365 rotations, we have had our ups and downs.

I am optimistically saying we've had more ups than downs (not Upson Downs) this year - and that is not always the case, so for that I thank you.

Visiting with longtime friends has been a big plus this year.  Quite a few visits, in fact.  Everyone was in high spirits (and I'm not actually talking about the booze), and everyone is in relatively good health, save a detached wire or two to an internal defibrillator.  There is that nagging tendinitis that I continually experience.  But other than that............

We watch our parents age and internally we wonder.  Or I do.  Of course, I wonder about myself as well. It's my nature.  Any number of friends have said this year, "it sucks getting older".  It does, but I'm getting tired of hearing that.  My eldest sister pointed out years ago that you know you're old when you start comparing maladies. I have so been there since my late 30s.  Maybe my 20s.

This year has seen some losses in family and that has been sad, but we've had some additions in friends. I'll ignore the whole 'circle of life' thing.  Some of those new friends are joining us for dinner tonight at our house. I'm thrilled.

A big plus for 2011 was having had the opportunity to meet three bloggers friends with Dr. Spo, Stevie B. and John.  They were hyperlinked yesterday - and you know, I'm not giving it away for free. If you want to see their sites, you have to work for it a little. You have to want it.

The blogger meeting count would have been five, had it not been for BosGuy and Mike's busy busy schedules - ones that didn't involve me.  {sigh}  (I am giving it away for these guys - hey, they weren't hyperlinked yesterday!)

Then there was that pesky high school reunion. Eh, I got 2-3 blog entries out of it. Not a total loss.  And also had that semi-decade event when all of my sisters and myself were in one place. The rapture didn't happen in May nor the world end in October or again when the five of us were all in one room.  Further proof that g-d might not be all that.

710 and I did the entire 12 movies in 12 months thing - so that was a win.  We got broken into and robbed - that was a loss.  I stayed at the gym and even lost a few more pounds (win and win).  I did not keep my one 2011 resolution of hiring a personal trainer (loss).

I switched jobs, but at the stayed at the same company.  That alone has its ups and downs, but what job doesn't?  And with the new job, I'm sleeping better.  As bad as my sleep normally is, with the last position, it got worse. Before I'd wake up 3-4 times per night, now I don't and only sleeping four hours per night. I'm now up to six, and no interruptions.

It's been the wettest on record and I'm tired of that - it's even raining now, insisting on one more frickin' day of precipitation. Bastard!

Still I'm ready to move on from this year.  Time moves forward and hopefully so do we.  What's the alternative, really?

Hope you all had a decent year.  I hope you all hope for a good upcoming one as well.

Accueillir 2012

Song by: Chris Isaak

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Year in Pictures

Random pictures I have taken of me or my surroundings in 2011.  Some you have seen, some you have not. It's about half and half, I think. I will attempt to give some background as we go along.  Since we did have our theft in September, I am missing quite a few photos from the first part of the year - so you'll see mid to end of year images mostly.  Bummer.

Blogger Meet Up #1.  Dr. Spo from Spo-Reflections. This was in Mesa, AZ. Someone took the picture. (April).

Blogger Meet Up #2 - in Denver. Tim Tebow Stevie B, from Nice to See Stevie B. (June)

 The gang isn't all here.  Denton, Andrew and Jon are MIA. And this was taken pre-Greg. Still, it was a nice shot before our margaritas arrived.  And it was the third time we were together in the same year! Unheard of.  (July)
Not even my shot. My sister sent it to me and I loved it.  Boomer on a step going into the family room.  He's not supposed to be even that far into the room.  Wally on the step / floor below him.  I'm not sure if it is the different species I like, the different directions they are headed or the curl of Wally's tail.  Or all of the above.  (July)

 A restaurant in Boston. Loved the name. Loved the ellipse. (August)

 Sunrise in Ogunquit. (August)

 Blogger Meet Up #3 - in Boston.  John, from I Got Somethin' to Say.  (August)

 Apple store. Playing with iPad while awaiting replacement Mac after our break-in/theft.  (September)

Sophie claiming ownership of the new MacAir. To be fair, she claims ownership of everything in the house.  (September)

 Irvine, CA.  Please nolo moleste me. (October)

 Blobby and his darling David G in the City Center - Las Vegas.  We are going from being old friends to just being old friends. (October)

 Oh, thank g-d for DVRs. I made Denton rewind and pause while I got my iPhone.  Total CNN fail! (November). 

The man himself. Or the statue of the man - in the airport that bears his name. (November)

Freedom!!!  Another trip to the kennel to rescue my two would-be boys - Boomer and Petey.  My sister rewarded me with a book of coupons to have my car cleaned, since I do this a few times a year for her. Getting them in my car is the reward.  (December)

My possible submission to my last Site of the Month:  Passive Aggressive Notes

That is it folks, that's all I have in ways of images for 2011.  Not a great recap, just the one that I have still in my photo liberry.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Music of the Year

As we wrap up the year, I normally throw out a "best of" list, at least when it comes to music.  I go over my music for the still current year and pick out some highlights, or what I think are highlights, and force them upon you.

It was an ok year for music, but nothing outstanding.  I can't even say there was a favourite release that I'd put out there for all of you, but there are some good individual songs, and since the launch of iTunes, it's less about total albums and more about single songs. Sad, but true.

Some years I list five songs, sometimes 10 or more.  This year it is nine. I cannot control the output of good vs bad music.  It is all relative anyways - as no one has the same taste. My good isn't your good.  I just try to share what has piqued my interest.  Maybe you'll come along for the ride, perhaps not.

This year, instead of just listing songs, I can actually put the songs up here for you to play, if you so choose.  Yes, I'm that good.  Here are your, well my, nine:

the Decemberists - This is Why We Fight
Last year the band got a nod with a pre-release from the same disk, The King is Dead, with "Down by the Water".  I still love the entire disk and almost a year later, the song is still in heavy rotation.

Alison Krauss + Union Station - My Love Follows You Where You Go
From their disk Paper Airplane, this song uncharacteristically, somewhat positive for the band. Yes, it has one or two sad-sack lines, but for the most part, it is an up tune.

Alison Krauss + Union Station - Bonita and Bill Butler
AKUS gets a second nod from Paper Airplane. Dan Tyminski takes the lead vocals here in a song bound to annoy most, but I love it.  Total bluegrass. Good luck truly trying to understand how the words go together, but you get the gist of the song, but trust me it takes a few listens just for that.  Hint:  "Bonita" is the name of a ship.

Peter, Bjorn and John - Second Chance
Still a fun song, but it lost some of its appeal, for me, when it became the music attached to some horrid show I saw on a flight called Two Broke Girls.  I guess it's good PB&J are making money, but at what cost?

Gillian Welch - The Way it Goes
One of the few outstanding cuts on her last disk.  David J will hate it.

Arcade Fire - Speaking in Tongues
Their take on the Talking Heads song.  David Byrne even appears on it. This is from an expanded release of The Suburbs.

Shawn Colvin - All He Wants is You
No new disk for Colvin, but a cut from a tribute to Guy Clark. She does a nice job on it - and it is time for a new disk from her.

Rosanne Cash - Better Days
No new disk for Cash either.  Also a cut from the Guy Clark tribute. For someone trying to distance herself from her country music recordings, the last few years proves how good she is at that genre.

Glee Cast - Rumour Has It / Someone Like You
Yeah, you probably didn't see this coming.  I didn't. I like(d) Adele, but to me she's become tiresome as time goes on.  Ditto with Glee.  So it was nice when they did this mash-up that actually had some life, and some talent, attached to a number.  Yeah, there is a place or two where "Santana" screeches a little, but still, it holds my interest.

That's it..........until next year.  Assuming there is a next year and the Mayans were wrong, or that I'm still blogging in a year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Site of the Month

I missed a SotM in November.  Hell, if I miss two months in a row, I should probably just hang up this section.  I'm not quite ready to - at least yet.

Passive Aggressive Notes has been around for a long time, but I still look at it now and again to get a smile.

Yes, I know that some entries try too hard and some are probably prepared just to make it on the site but some are just so outright nasty and funny - all at the same time.  This one is a stand-out in my book:

Sure it might be a little extreme, but it certainly puts the "aggressive" in Passive Aggressive, dontcha think?

Jerry Brown, yes, that Jerry Brown, made me laugh with this one with his note to the California State Senate (click to enlarge).

But here is a sample of what I'm guessing is one for purposefully going out of the way to be included on this site.  I could be wrong, but........

It's a time-killer, but aren't all my SotM?  I even have a potential entry for them, which you'll see on this site in a day or two.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I don't think its inconceivable (say like Wallace Shawn) that after the holiday one feels like doing nothing.

As you can imagine, since I don't go for crud like 'Black Friday',  I am certainly not going out the day after xmas to look for any bargains.

First off, I need nothing that badly, nor do I need to fight the crowds if I did.

Actual xmas day, I barely left the sunroom.  I was up at 07:00 and my first nap happened by 09:00.  My second nap was around 15:00.  What's not to like about that?  Except for post-surgery (pick any of my five), I don't think I've ever taken two naps in one day.  It was heaven.  But any idea of going to a movie was out the door by the time I awoke from #2.

As you can see, Sophie was big on the naps too.  All those folks in the house the night before stressed her out and she was happy to have the house back to normal.  So was I.

Xmas night though, we did finally stumble upon Downton Abbey.  I think it is just a slightly updated version of Upstairs Downstairs.  I'd probably know that if I had ever watched that. Of course we came too far into the marathon to see all of them, so now we'll have to search and DVR them and catch up before Season 2 starts.

Yesterday was slightly more lively than the day before. We showered!  We went out!  We had lunch with Rebecca and her husband!  I enjoy them so much.  Lunch went way too fast and it seems I couldn't stop eating the hummus.  I suppose it's better than eating chocolate. But it would have been fun spend more time with them. I totally get I have an expiration date.

Later, 710 and I walked the 'hood and while sunny, I froze my ears off. I sholulda had a hat, but I didn't.  During said walk, I had an urge for hot chocolate, which I'm guessing I have not had for at least a decade.  BTW - Ghiradelli hot chocolate mix ends up being so rich, it's like your drinking hot pudding. Too thick for me and it easily forms a skin.  Ick.

I'm off all week, so while I won't be as lazy as the last two days, I'm not expecting huge strides in solving world hunger or disease management.  It'll be enough to get my hairy ass down to the gym a few times before the new year's resolution folks take over.....for their annual three-week stint.

I'm scheduling to post this early, as I at least plan on sleeping in late.  You know, 07:00.

Song by:  Ella Fitzgerald

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Music Monday

There are better Shawn Colvin songs than "Round of Blues". There are definitely more famous Colvin songs too.  Well, like two more famous. While she has a Grammy for "Sunny Came Home", her follow-ups weren't radio or video tv friendly.

Coming from her second album, Fat City, it was the only full Colvin disk that was not produced John Leventhal.  This one was mostly produced by Larry Klein, who, at the time, was Joni Mitchell's husband.

Colvin is a self-professed fan of Mitchell, but I suppose many female singer-songwriters are, as Mitchell paved the way for quite a few. Using Klein as producer works for and against Colvin, depending on your viewpoint.

In "Round of Blues" you can surely hear Mitchell-like stylings. I'm not sure if it is Colvin's homage or just Klein's limitations as collaborator.

The song is still good - and one of my first exposures to Colvin. The full disk is good too, though I do prefer either her debut or, oddly enough, the disk she least favours, Whole New You.

....and Shawn is all glammed up here.  This is not her norm.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday

They're gone. All of them.

Today is just 710 and myself.  I'm ok with that. More than ok.

As predicted, too much food was on the table last night and too much never eaten:  tenderloin, salad, cheese plate, fruit salad, shrimp cocktail, vegetable tray and a cookie tray.  Oh, and a full bar - hard liquor, beer and wine. What more could one ask for?

Oh yeah, and throughout the house, an assortment of nuts - and I'm not talking about my family.

Also as predicted, I barely had anything from the bar. Two partial glasses of red. Just too many distractions of making sure everyone had anything they needed and wanted.

Not unexpected was that the 80 and 90 years olds stayed the latest. I mean, where else do they need to be? Nowhere - that's where.

Still, we didn't rush rush to get stuff done. Usually we are still dressing and showering when folks arrive.  We were ready well before the first doorbell rang.

Yes, we had a few snafus, such as every light going out on the tree hours before arrival.  It turned out to be a short in the extension cord. And well, then there is my present wrapping. I do a horrid job.

For fun I thought I'd show you two of our ornaments - one old but newer. One old old.

Remember L'Eggs?  I mean, they still make them, but not with the plastic egg that never will disintegrate in any landfill ever. But in 2nd grade, while in cub scouts - yes, cub scouts - we made ornaments.  Clearly, I still have mine.  I'm keeping it to save the environment. I might be gay, but bad at wrapping and bad at art - I'm clearly missing a gene that goes with being a homo.

I have not missed the irony that an organization like the Boy Scouts, who spurs gay men, gave us paint, glitter and women's panty hose containers to decorate.

Then there is someone else in this house whose mother gave him an Easy Bake Oven ornament, and who asked her gay hairdresser (duh) to help acquire it as a gift.  710 had an Easy Bake Oven growing up. Probably not as much for the making of substandard treats, but to figure out how it worked, by taking it apart and reassembling. The ornament smells like vanilla.

I did fail this year. Usually we exchange one ornament so we can have new ones and we try to make them memorable. But I did not get one. I never even looked for one. It's probably ok to skip a year here and there.  I won't feel nearly as bad if he skipped this year too.

Today is a day of no one but ourselves, unless we go to a movie. We'll see how lazy we are feeling.  But first up, it is Eggs Benedict.  Or Eggs Benedict Arnold.  Or Eggs Benedict Arnold Ziffel.

Have a great day today.

Song by:  Marti Jones & Don Dixon

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Yes, someone in Chicago is making A Christmas Story leg lamp cake.

Of course, it's cute, if not just stupid.  I hate those Ace of Cake like shows. More PVC and plywood than cake and frosting.  I don't find cake to be cake that comes more from Lowes than it does a bakery.

Tonight is our night. It is when we have 17 family members over our house. It's for the holiday.  It's for a niece's birthday, a brother-in-law's birthday, and both my parents. One shot and it takes care of them all.

My father's sister called me yesterday evening in a slight panic as she been trying to get her brother on the horn to wish him a happy birthday. She was unsuccessful, but she was beginning to think the worst.  By the end of the call, I was a little worried myself.

I called and he immediately picked up.  I just said, "call your sister, she thinks you're dead". 

As it turns out he was at the doctor, but for a scheduled visit. Or as I call it, his 1, 092 month check-up.

But tonight we will have too much food and in theory, too much drink. In reality, I'll have three glasses of wine going and put down somewhere - and none of them finished. While we will be running around making sure everyone has everything they need, it is still a lot of fun for us - it keeps us busy and from getting too drunk. And of course, by 'we', I mean 'me'.

Not only that, but we have the room for 17 folks. My parents no longer do - at least not where I'm not completely annoyed at the noise level. Though one of my sisters even offers to host this, and I'm fine with that, even her kids want it at our house. You can't fight the kids, can you?

We'll still be able to clean up after they are all gone and be in bed before Santa arrives.

I do hope you all have a great holiday however you celebrate it, or whatever you celebrate.  And if nothing else TBS will show A Christmas Story for 24 hours straight.

Song by:  Sting

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mom and Dad's Waltz

I was at my cousin David's house a few weeks back and saw a picture of my parents attending his parent's wedding.  Did you get all that?

The year was 1956 or 1957. Depending on that actual date, my parents were just married or possibly still "dating".  It is weird to think of my parents pre-marriage, as they've been wed for 55+ years.

My father and mother are in the foreground second and third from the left, respectively. I don't ever remember seeing my dad smiling like this, let alone in a photo.  It is fun to see.  I like woman (the X-Files look-alike lady) next to my father, staring at him. Or more to the point - staring at him in utter disbelief.  It probably wasn't the first or last time someone has done that.

Yes, my mother was rail-thin.  She still is.

My uncle is on the other side of my mother.  I never knew Ernie, as he died 10 days after I was born.  I don't think it was my fault or anything. There is another uncle on the other side of the table. Eddie is mostly obscured, his wife, not so much.

I'm 89% sure that my grandfather is the unobscured man on the other side of the table, looking directly at the camera, but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that is not my grandmother next to him.  I'll have to ask on both counts.

Then there is that blonde lady who is clearly more captivated at something going on across the room than anything happening with the people at the table at which she was assigned.

David was kind enough to let me borrow the photo. I took it home, scanned it and sent it out for printing. They are getting an 8x10 for their birthdays, which are today (dad) and tomorrow (mom).  I'll be curious to see their reaction.

For our own house, I got a 5x7 copy to place on a shelf. It's nice to have reminders of the history from which you came.  Oddly enough, the only framed picture I have of my parents was taken at David's sister's wedding.  My father might be wearing the same tux for all I know.  I'll have to ask.

Song by:  Iris DeMent

Thursday, December 22, 2011

¿Dónde Está Santa Claus?

Remember earlier this week when I mentioned my red-hot photo shoot with one Mr. Kringle?

Well, I had completely given up on getting these pictures as it had been almost a week and they said I'd get within 24 hours. Apparently there are holiday miracles.

Yesterday I got all three pictures sent my way electronically.  Yes.  SCORE!

You know I'm not a big fan of myself in just about any photo, but I can't even completely say these are horrible (and that is about as positive as I get with the photo language). 

However, I'll run you through a day in the life of a supermodel.  Feel free to click on the images so they get all big and in your face.

Try #1.  Not horrid. The gloved hands on my shoulder felt strange......but I'm dealing. Santa said nothing. Awkward!!!!! 

Attempt #2.  Long time between shots as the cameraman tried to get his equipment working. There were minutes between shots. May as well have been eternity.

Never did Santa's hands come off my shoulder during the entire delay. The creepiness factor started to rise and at some point you could see it on my face.  I was becoming uncomfortable.

In between the pictures he tried make conversation about where I was flying to, where I was from, etc.  He wasn't big on Cleveland at all.  I mean, Santa has been all over the world, so he should know, right?  Still - lie a little.  Don't be such a let-down.

#3 and Final.  As you can see, Santa goes thumbs-up for success.  He wanted me to do that as well.  But if this were really Santa and can see me when I'm asleep or awake (yes, Jerry Sandusky references still come back to this), he'd know I had thumb-wart issues and wasn't about to capture them in a photo like this. 

Looking back, this may have been the first and only time I have gotten a picture with Mr. Claus. I think I can see why now. My little kid instincts were kicked into full gear even at a young age.

And do you know the real kicker?  He never asked what I wanted.  Of course I was ready if he did.:
"I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!"

I'll probably get a bunny suit.

Song by:  Guster 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I May Know the Word

It seems that Words With Friends can be all-consuming. This isn't a good thing.

I find myself waiting for people to finish their turn so I get mine back - all so I can lose another game.  I suck at the game, but I keep trying. And yes, it can be a total time suck. I'm even starting games with - gasp - strangers!!!!

For g-d's sake, the game isn't called Words With Strangers!

Unlike Morty or Becky, I haven't yet played strategy, so it always leads to my demise. Or almost always. Usually.

You see, I'm happy just to get rid of some of my letters and not focus on if it is both a double-letter and triple-word score - all the while using my Q, J and Z in the same word. This is why I lose - big time.

I find myself trying random letters to see if they make words that I do not know. I can't remember which word I did come up with but Becky called me on it and asked if I was cheating. Trust me - if I were actually cheating, I wouldn't actually be losing by 100 -150 points per game. I mean, I suppose I could be a bad cheater.

As you can see in my image, I can't even get the easiest words to work in my favor. And if it did, it would have only gotten me seven frickin' points. But the PC Police stopped me dead in my tracks. Yet Morty gets 34 points for LAZE.

Do you want to know the word I did end up using?  Look at my tiles with all those 'O's. That along with the 'F' I was trying to use ended up spelling 'ROOFIE'. And it scored quite nicely, thank you.

Two nights ago, the game actually let me spell 'JISM'.  Yes, I can spell date rape drugs and the consequence from them, but I can't use the name that many of us have been called since 6th grade.  Unfortunately, I wasn't playing with a friend, just a random person. I can only imagine what she thought.  I don't know why I assumed it was a woman, I just did.

I do like how 'fag' "not an acceptable word" - on many levels. And clearly, before some of the militant homos get on their soapbox, you know I'm joking and all I was just trying to use up my letters. It's about winning - any way you can.

Song by:  Natalie Merchant

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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!

710 likes to tease that he gets all my holiday gifts at Walgreens the day before the actual holiday.  While a great running gag, it's not the truth.

However, while looking for his office White Elephant party gift (at Walgreens), he stumbled upon this:

Not to worry, this is still Shopping with Blobby, as I was with him.  It's just Shopping with Blobby avec some Help.  710 made the mistake of "playing" it.  Some g-d awful song played, for what I'm guessing is what the American Dental Association - or 4 out of 5 of them - suggest be the amount of time each toothbrushing should take.

Either that or it was on for 10 seconds and it just seemed like three and one-half minutes.

The "beauty" is - there were two different Bieber brushes to choose from.  TWO!  I guess one for the morning cleaning, one for the evening.  I guess it stands to reason.

What does not stand to reason is this:

Oh, I immediately sent the video to Rebecca.  I don't know why.  I don't think or know her to be a big Jersey Shore fan.  But to be fair, I don't know her not to be either.

So, this guy is thankful 710 doesn't shop last minute, or any minute, for me at Walgreens.  We'd be in divorce court post haste!  Albeit with clean teeth.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Music Monday

No reason I can't have a holiday music for a My Music Monday.

I have little tolerance for xmas music. Most of it is drivel and even then it's poorly performed.  Dr. Spo recently commented that no one should ever cover the "Little Drummer Boy".

Normally, I'd agree with him, but perhaps he hasn't seen Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special - the holiday show to end all holiday shows.  I highly suggest you all pick it up on DVD.  Grace Jones does a "Drummer Boy" rendition that is done well and it probably doesn't hurt that it is only a 60 second version.  ("Ok Grace.....back in the box!")

I almost used it, but then opted for an early kd lang, doing "Jingle Bell Rock", also from Pee-Wee.  She's actually more lesbionic here than she'd be with Shadowland and the next few following albums.  Still she has fun with it, rhyming with Dirty Dog and Chicky Babe.  And it's always nice to hear Pteri cheering her on.  Even Randy is down with it, eh!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Baby

Once again, I did something for all of you that I wouldn't have done (I don't think), had I not had this blog thingy.

Whilst in the Nashville airport at the end of last week, Southwest Airlines was letting you take pictures with Santa for free. Allegedly there were no strings for this. You got a printed out copy and an emailed copy - and they swore they'd never use the email for anything else - selling it or advertising it.

Apparently, they aren't using it for answering me either. I don't have the photo and it seems I won't be getting it - I'm guessing. But let's backtrack for a sec, ok?

So, I go up and sit on a step in front of "Santa" (I don't think he was the real one), and his throne.  One on-looker goes, "aren't you going to sit on his lap?".  I replied that it might be awkward for both of us. What really ran through my head, however, were a half-dozen Jerry Sandusky comments / jokes.

Santa sat there with both hands on each of my shoulders as we waited and waited for the picture to be taken. The cameraman (we will assume his name was "Billy") was having trouble getting the shot, so I sat there feeling more and more uncomfortable as people watched a grown man getting his picture with fake St. Nick.

Once they got the shot, they couldn't boot up the laptop to print out my picture, but I didn't really want a hardcopy, just an emailed one to post here. For you.  {sigh}  Since they couldn't boot up, they just gave me the code to get the image from the website. Fine with me.

When I got to my layover in Chicago, and Southwest had a Santa set-up there too, I knew the first guy wasn't the real Kris Kringle.  But I thought, I should do another photo session, as I was having an uneasy feeling that the lack of PC connectivity at BNA was going to mean a lack of picture / blog post. But I wasn't in the mood to go through all that again, so I just went to my gate.

Now I regret that inaction.  My code doesn't work to retrieve the picture.  My emails go unanswered as to where this picture might be, when all I was expecting was an apology that it doesn't truly exist - much like Santa himself.  Like so many letters written to that man, I'm getting no response. Figures.

It should be noted that this was co-sponsored and co-branded by Microsoft. Just another reason to go Apple, if you axe me. If the picture ever presents itself, of course, I'll post. Don't hold your breath though.  I'm not.

On another note, we got our first real snow of the season yesterday.

Nothing detrimental, but it was nice having it on a weekend instead of a workday. Though we live in a snow belt, and many folks here have not migrated from the south, so they should know how to drive even on the first snow of the year, but they don't because they are complete morons. I say let them figure it out on a day where many have to be nowhere at a specific time - let them get it out of their system.

I've sat in my car in first 5" of snow (which is about what we got yesterday) of the season on a workday for hours trying to get home, which when working at an office, was only five miles door to door. Since I"m working from home now, I guess I don't, or shouldn't, really care.

It's pretty, that's for sure. And our evening plans were cancelled, so we were happy just to nest at home.

Song by: Eartha Kitt

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just One Victory

As g-d is my witness, and after years of making bogus attempts, we have made our goal, well my goal (710 was along for the ride) of 12 movies in 12 months.

We didn't even eke it out with a movie between the holidays when we are both scheduled off.  There is still two weeks left.  Even better yet, we didn't have to see Mission Impossible (or possibly the longest BMW commercial ever!) to get to the home stretch.

Our oft-going movie partners, David and James, axed us to go see that Tom Cruise probable piece of crap. James likes the popcorn movies, since over the decades, David has subjected taken them to the Hungarian sub-titled, never-seen-by-anyone-else films.  I like big budget action thrillers a degree.  But I am not a fan of the former Mr. Kidman, and I have managed to avoid the previous three releases, so why start now?

As it turns out, I had to work too late to drive to see the IMAX version anyway, so we did a detour and went to a local cinema and saw the Descendants.

It's gotten rave reviews, even with most of our group, as we sat around eating dinner afterwards.  It's a good movie and well done, but I rarely rave about anything.  I'll be more than kind here, but I won't rave.

The buzz is all about Clooney.  George certainly has his moments here, but he's not all that nuanced from role to role.  He didn't seem all the different here than Ides of March or Up In the Air.  He's fine and like I said, he has a true connecting moment or two.

The person who held my interest in the movie was the girl who played Clooney's oldest daughter, Shailene Woodley.  She really made every scene she was in work to her advantage, and to the movie's advantage as well. They talk about this being Clooney's award season, but she is equally deserving.

I also liked the father-in-law.  Tough as nails and heartbreaking for the few moments he is in the film.  And "Kitty" from Arrested Development is in it, so it can't be all bad.  And it is the first non-comedy I have ever seen her in - and she does a good job.

And while at first, I was annoyed at her tag-along boyfriend, and what seemed liked the obvious comic relief, there are just two lines from him that tie things together on how people cope with horrible situations.

I don't know if you call this kind of movie a serious adult comedy or a light drama. It has elements of both, I suppose. The story and directing work. There are moments of overacting from some ancillary cast members, but you deal with that.

P.S.  We got into the movie for free. I went to get tickets while 710 parked, and they said Key Bank was paying for our tickets and popcorn.  We don't even have accounts with Key Bank!  A Friday night movie on the house?  Unheard of.  But I let them incur the costs.

Oh, and P.P.S.,  Michael Ontkean has not aged well.

Song by:  Todd Rundgren

Friday, December 16, 2011

Date with the Night

Two weeks ago, when I was in Vegas for work, I noticed all these billboards scattered around town advertising big name "stars", such as Chris Brown, Bruno Mars and the former Duchess of York performing at various casinos for the year end holiday.

The question to me is, which year?  Isn't New Year's Eve 2012 like 384 days away?

Surely promoters in Vegas, where folks have attention span of gnats, they are not trying to book things a year out. If they are truly talking 19 days from now, on my calendar New Year's Eve is still falling in 2011.

On an unrelated note, USAToday had an article yesterday that over 50% of the US schools get failing grades.

Song by:  the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Bug

As the song goes, "sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug". These last few days, I've been the bug. ...and I ain't likin' it.

I'm on my last work trip of 2011 - and it is a total waste.  TOTAL.

Sure, I'm in Tennessee so it is much warmer than Cleveburg, but that's about all you can say. The work function is totally a waste of time, let alone three days of time.  And in the meantime, I had fires to put out at my client sites. That is tough to do from the office, let alone while ducking in and out of meetings.

I'm ready to be home for two weeks.  Or four.  I don't have foreseeable travel planned for January.  I know that will change, but right now I'm ok with staying at home with my family.  Oh g-d, not my sisters or parents - I mean the husband and kitty.  And we're getting a visit from my sister-in-law and her daughter, so I'm thrilled about that.

Normally, I really like the people I work with, but no one from my team is at this meeting. The two who were scheduled with me bailed - I will hold this against them for a while.  I've opted out of group dinners, as not only was I the only male (not that there's anything wrong with that), but most of these women are shrews. ...and somewhere I'm insulting shrews.

Heading home later today and glad to do it.  Sorry for the uninspired post, but sometimes that is the way that it goes.

Song by: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

App of the Month

This one is just too easy - handed to me on a silver platter by Shinehardt Wig Company VP, Jack Donaghy. Ummm....I mean, Alec Baldwin.

I know I'm a cynic ('s true!), but Baldwin getting kicked off a plane for playing Words with Friends must have sent that app through the roof in terms of revenue and downloads.  I know five of such people who did it days after "the event".

If Mr. Baldwin wasn't already spokesman for the creators, he is now.  But to me, everything screamed "PR move" for the company for which Alec probably got handsomely paid.  Yes, I'm a cynic.

So, via Jon, the rest of our little email group all downloaded WWF so we could play with each other. Noooooo.....not like that.  Clean it up.

The game is a drain on battery and time. My iPhone battery dwindles quickly, or at least it seems to me.  Is anyone else noticing this?

I see why Alec wouldn't turn off the game on the plane. I totally get it. Minutes and hours go by either forming words or waiting for your friend to complete their word so you get your turn back. Instant gratification takes too long!!!!

Here is my exchange with Morty on my first game.

Yes, "Alec Baldwin" is now a verb.

Oh, my contributions are in blue.  I'm a cynic and a sore loser.   BTW - I think 'fuckwad', is a triple word score.  Congrats Morty!

Naturally, we got the 'free' version, but you get what you pay for:  tons of pop-up ads, which annoy the 'fuckwad' out of me.  Mort ended up shelling out for the $2.99 version and I can see me doing the same thing.  Becca said she'd pay for it, but I'm not holding my breath.

Our initial thought was to have all five of us play, but I don't think that is how the game works. Sure I can have four games going at a time, but only playing Dith, then Mort, then Jon, then Becca. We're a group, we act as a collective on many levels.  Maybe not this one.

Anyhoo.....yes, I think I'll shell out the $$$ for the upgraded version, just so I don't see these ads. But it is something else to occupy my time - since I have so much of it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 22nd 12 of 12

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

Created by Chad Darnell (thanks Chad!) and picked up from, what I can tell, a number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. This is possibly / probably the end of the road for him on this, so I might not be able to link this to others, but I do believe it is a posting I will keep up with in the coming months.  Again Chad, thanks for starting this and enabling all us others.

 05:20.  Up and atom. Or Adam.  Or At them.  Whatever. 

 05:40.  Sophie sitting on kitchen stool watching me tie my shoes as I get ready for the gym. Even she doesn't look awake yet. 

 05:55.  Wind turbine on CWRU campus next to my gym.

 05:57.  Gym and Parking cards.  

 07:15.  Completed shaving my head.  Normally wouldn't use Barbasol, but I also hate toting around additional crap to the gym. 

 07:45.  Stop at post office for stamps. 

08:15.  Booting up PC getting ready to work.

 09:00.  Our unadorned tree.  That is not a present below the tree, but a clever water storage system for said tree.

13:00.  Data for work. 6700 lines of data.

18:15.  Had to print of my ticket for my trip tomorrow.  Whoo-hoo.  I'll get my pick of any frickin' seat but one. 

20:30.  Bag packed, ready for trip to Nashville.  Gotta leave house at 04:45.  Blech. 

08:00.  A bag from B.D. Wong's P.F. Changs.  Yeah, I'm not proud. 

Time Unknown.  Your Baker's Dozen.
Soph in the kitchen, somewhere in between yelling at me.