Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let's Be Friends

I'm kind of loving my social life these days.   Our social life, I guess.

I am pretty sure I mentioned we have new gays in the 'hood and we've done a number of the things with Tom & Sal.  This last Friday we joined them along with some more established friends for dinner and drinks at a house down the street.

Amongst those folks were some out of town 'mos as well.  I think there were 16 of us in total.  I really got along with one of those guests of honor and they'd be an ok couple to hang with, if they lived in the same city.....or state, but they don't.

It was a little sad sitting with one of the other guys in attendance.  He felt he was forced into a life of marriage and kids and was never able to truly come out to he cared most about while they were alive and actively hid his true self.  At 58 he feels he's too old to date and has given up on being in a relationship.   I am sure it was harder to be out when he was younger - the world isn't like it is now.  And I'm sure it's tougher to be almost 60 and attempting to date.  I'd like to think that I wouldn't have given up, but there's no way of truly knowing that.

Still, overall, there were many laughs and best yet, I could get drunk and walk home - which is just what we did.

Yesterday was our second viewing of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Pt 2.   This time with our friends David & James - whom we just adore.   And since David & James had not seen it - this viewing was in IMAX and 3-D.

The IMAX was seemingly no different, no better, than the other 3-D version we saw last week.  That all said, I liked the movie a lot more this time than the first.  Some of the issues I had with the film still existed, but I really noticed some nuances with other things and really could enjoy it - especially Snape.  He won't get it, but Alan Rickman is deserving of at least an Oscar nomination, if not a win

I do not doubt, I enjoyed the movie somewhat more because of the company, no offense to my nephew.  Denton & I enjoy their company so much and it was fun to discuss the film with them afterwards - for what little time we had before other engagements.

....and the IMAX 3-D glasses are soooooo much cooler than the regular 3-D specs, don't you think??

Song by:  the Lovemakers

Saturday, July 30, 2011

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 10 years old.

For 2011, I thought I'd focus on debut disks - just to make it more challenging for me. I don't think you'll care one way or the other.

As debut disks go, there are not many stronger, in my opinion (of course), than the Counting Crows and their first release, August and Everything After.  I'm not jumping on a bandwagon or anything, but clearly I'm not alone.  Of the almost 300 reviews on, 250+ of those are 5-star ratings.

That's what mine would be too.

Without a bad song on the disk, it has made it hard for any other Crows album to live up to - and while they all have their moments - none of them actually meet the brilliance of August.

11 songs of rock or rock/pop leanings that change moods and direction and all at the right time and place.  The sequencing of these songs is just as important as the songs themselves.

Yes, there is the continual oft-played "Mrs. Jones", but unlike so many other overplayed radio songs, this one has never worn out its welcome for me.  Actually,  it was the only "hit" on the record, though you could make an argument for "Round Here" as well, but I never heard it on commercial radio.

Oddly enough, it was the TV show Homicide playing "Raining in Baltimore" that made me pick up the CD.  The angst and loneliness of the song somewhat haunted me.  It is still a great song.

They all are.  I'd single out the good songs, but then you'd just have a listing all 11 songs.

Unlike most disks, even of this era, this was a well put together album and not a collection of individual/random songs that made up a disk.  Those kind have not string or heart running through them, connecting it all.  August has that.  There is no filler here.

Pushing almost 20 years old, it does not show its age, because it holds up so well.  This could have easily been released then or two weeks ago.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Here With Me

I'm home. I have no post planned. I have nothing poignant or witty to say. So where does that leave me?

Tick Tick Tick....if I want to do a Record of the Month - Classic this month. I had drafts, but I'm much too tired to dive into it.

I think it's time to call my doctor.  It's been almost a full week.  I'm kind of better, kind of not.  Not better enough, that's for sure.   This is bullshit.

I did have a brush with "fame" yesterday while at the Denver International Airport.  I got up from my seat to take a look at the upgrade board (I was on it, but #9 - so I knew it wasn't going to happen) and who took my seat(s)?  Fucking douchebags from Motley Crew.

Or as I titled this pic (or one similar) in my FB page:  Vince Neil and his two walking STDs.

These guys are such stars that they travel with their own sluts, and their manager is such an ass, he wears his tour badge around in the airport and on the flight, because someone is always checking his access, right?

To be fair, I somehow know who Neil and the only other true band member there, Nikki Sixx (sp?)
are, but I'd be hard-pressed to name a song and 99.99% I couldn't hum or sing one. score one for me!

At first I was happy I wasn't in first class, as they were and who wants that?  But then there was an empty seat next to me and the skanks were relegated to coach and as they walked down the plane I kept saying under my breath:  "please not here, please not here, please not here".   Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), they had seats together, further back, where they could talk about the debt ceiling and debate Steven Hawking's theories on the universe.

My favourite was walking behind the "ladies" up the jetway when we arrived in Cleveburgh.  Both wearing cut off jean shorts so tight that I'm sure they got yeast infections - but that's probably a continual issue for these two anyways. turns to the other and goes, "oh my g-d, my fly (do girls use the term 'fly' for their zippers too?) was down the entire time."

Yeah honey, because that was your biggest moment of embarrassment....and your one moment of modesty.  

Song by: Dido

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Private Idaho

I've been in Idaho the last few days.  I'm not hating it.

I was here two months ago, but for a total of 4 hours, including TSA, taxiing and take-off.  Yeah, it's been all work, but it's not a bad place.  Sure, allegedly the politics are way to the right,

Terrain alone, it's pretty cool.  The mountains, the valley, all of their designated bike lanes.  They tell me the winters are really not that harsh there - at least in the valley.

....but I can't get past their right wing-ed-ness. Or supposed right-leaning stuff.  I don't go "out" when I'm home, so I certainly don't go "out" when I travel.  ....well.....rarely.  I have to believe that Boise has gay bars....or bar....but I don't know how many homos are around here, let alone out.  They'd probably all be college kids who'd call me 'daddy' and then I'd have to fling myself off of one of those big hills.

I've played this all out in my head - and it's not a pretty ending.

I have other not-pretty endings.  My little stomach thing still plagues me.  Or plaques me. Either/or.  Right now it's not as bad as it was, but I could have said that 24 hours ago.....but then 18 hours ago, I would have told you that 'assisted suicide' seemed like an ok option.   Hey, I'm close to Oregon  - and it's legal there, right?  It's easier than raising Jack Kevorkian from the grave.

As for Denton, who claims he doesn't read my blog, because he lives it, emailed me yesterday to tell me he is the boss of me.   He really isn't.  That would be Sophie. .....and Denton knows that.

On the plus side, remember how I said that I was one good stomach flu away from my goal weight?

In BMI chart terms,  185 is my threshold for being 'overweight'.  This 185 however, included shirt, t-shirt, belt, slacks, shoes, one iPhone taking the picture and one blackberry attached to my hip.  That's like 17 5 pounds right there.

I know I won't keep that weight off - not via this method, but it's nice to know that I can make 180 given the chance.  Where do I go from here to a better state than this?  Where?

Song by:  the B-52s

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

App of the Month

I was going to say, "I can't take credit for this app....", but that's really true of all apps, isn't it?

I am not a software engineer, but if anyone wants to throw me the next 'Angry Birds' idea, I'll be happy to claim it as my own, cash in and retire.

No, Pac, from Pac's Pad posted this the other day and I axed him (I mean, not the way Lizzie Borden would) if I could steal it and credit him.  He was down with it. Very generous about it, actually.

Songify is my new App of the Month.

Basically, you read (I guess you could sing) into your iPhone after firing up the app and it will take your words and set them to "music".  Yes, that's in quotes.

Sure half the artists on the radio are sounding exactly the way I do, but they have better agents and managers.  I mean, how else do you explain Britney Spears or Key-Dollar Sign-HA!?  It ain't their talent.  They don't have any.

Spears' agent is so good that after her last tour where every review wrote how she overtly lipsynched the entire tour, I haven't heard one item saying she is or isn't singing on the one that passed through town.  I think it's safe to say it's pre-recorded, which of course, makes it all the worse.   I mean - you HAVE the technology and your voice is still reed-thin and out of tune??  Really girls - what is your excuse?

So by all accounts, I should be resting atop of the Billboard Hot 100 in the next month.  It's the only logical conclusion.  Right?

It seems that you have three or four "music" background choices.  There are more, but you have to pay for them.  I think we all know that is not going to happen with me.

So here I am reading/singing/auto-tuning the welcome card left on my bed at the Fairfield Inn.   I know you shiver with anticip.................................................................................(say it!!!!)................ation!

I feel like Angie Jordan (aka the Queen of Jordan) when she said "'My Single is Dropping' is dropping'  So with out further delay, here is my first released song, "A Promise is a Promise"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fire in Your Belly

There is a line in The Devil Wears Prada, where one assistant says, "I'm just one good stomach flu away from my goal weight".   I can relate.....not that it was the way I wanted to hit that milestone.

I've been a little under the weather for the last few days.  I don't know what is going on and while I assume a doctor might be able to help with the symptoms, it is doubtful they'd know the source.

I won't go into the graphic details, but technically it is not stomach flu.  Not that some of the symptoms are any less pretty.  To go this with continual "problem", it has also affected my sleep.  Big time.

In the past I have mentioned I don't sleep a lot.  I have been so much better these last few months.  Unknown to me, some of my sleeplessness may have been due to job stress.   Don't get me wrong, I'm not getting nearly the amount people recommend, but I'm doing better about sleeping through the night - just not adding to the total hours.  Hey, it's progress. 

Anyways, I have not gotten much sleep over the last two days at all.  When not actually being ill, I'm awake, or in partial sleep, worried about getting ill.  It has not been productive to getting rest or to heal.

And I had a temp, which now seems to be gone. I was only 100, but that's high for me. I normally run at 96, not 98.6.   Enough ibuprofin took care of that and the skin sensitivity I had on some of my extremities.

Of course, I'm forcing (or trying to) fluids, but that holds no appeal.  Neither does food.  Carrots and applesauce was my lunch yesterday, and I didn't even finish it all.

Today I get on plane for the west.  This should be interesting.

Denton told me yesterday, you can't travel if you still feel this way.  He's not the boss of me!!!  I really have no choice. It's a meeting I cannot miss - it's already a difficult client. One that doesn't really care about anyone's hardship other than their own.

I have a strategy, of course.  I've moved my seats to the back of the plane, closer to a restroom to minimize the risks.  

...and hey, if this continues another few days, I will have reached my goal weight.

Song by:  Liam Finn

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Music Monday

I was a forward thinking gay back in the very early '80s. I liked Bananarama when they performed with Fun Boy Three and way before the beginning of the end with their cover of Shocking Blue's "Venus".  That song and album were even fun, but they saw the commercial aspect and ran towards its light.

But even when FBT was left behind by Bananarama, for the hit parade, and helping out a fledgling music channel, I still liked some of Bananarama's stuff before it got all Stock-Aiken-Waterman produced and sounded just like the Rick Astley shit those producers also put out.

1984 was the year "Cruel Summer" made its debut in the States - a year earlier in the UK.

But oh, how I remember that summer.  I was in NYC that entire summer and it was a scorcher.  This was before most subway cars had a/c in them, so by the time you got to work, you were soaked through.  But everyone was.  Twas the way of the world.

The sweltering that goes on in the video is exactly how I remember that summer....but without the truck driver avec neckerchief and the Boss Hog and Enus-like doufus guys chasing them for closing down their gas station(?).  What's that about?

....and $1.48 for petrol.  Oh, that just made me laugh and laugh and laugh. did the way the three of them were meant to walk/skip together.  Oh, those crazy 80's music video directors!!!!  I also think it was a physical impossibility for those girls to throw banana peels out and around of a truck cab, and down past 25 feet to hit that police car windshield.  I just do not believe it!!!

Oddly enough, two of those three 'ramas are still around putting out some kind of music.  I stopped listening to them 25 years ago...or at least buying.  I did buy Sibohon Fahey (the one in the white overalls) who went on to do much better things like heroin and her post-Bananarama "group",  Shakespears Sister.  ....not in that order, I think.  She is still making music under that moniker.

Since it has been so hot for everyone in the U.S. who might read this blog, I figured this the perfect time to toss one back to the 80s and something to which everyone can currently relate.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kiss of Death

I don't think I've ever waited over a week to see one of the Harry Potter films.  But promises were made to see it with certain folks; and then work and personal travel complicated that - so here we are.

We have made seven movies in seven months. We are right on track for my never successful goal of 12 movies in 12 months.

Now that above intro is over - I can talk about the movie - The Deathly Hallows pt 2.  For those planning on seeing the movie (whether you've read the books or not) and don't want my opinion  - stop now.  There will be inadvertent spoilers most likely.  At best, I could tell you what makes the cut and what might not.

First off - there was nothing at all wrong with the cinematography, the music, the costumes, lighting or acting.  I rather enjoyed the music a lot - and said so even two minutes in.

All the actors did an excellent job - the "kids" on up.  Daniel Radcliffe did a great job in his last outing, and as much as Rupert Grint and Emma Watson had to do with last movie, their parts seemed diminished with this one.  That is understandable considering the story arc.

It was great seeing that all the Hogwart students were back this time - if you remember last, there was no school in that movie, however, I liked seeing Neville and Seasmus.  But the adult actors did a great job,  and I'm always a big fan of Alan Rickman's Snape, so I can't complain about his performance.  You never can - he always hits it out of the ballpark. Ditto with Maggie Smith.  Ralph Finnes did an outstanding job.

Don't blink or you'll miss Emma Thompson's 4 seconds and the guy who played Ron's dad. 

The movie was really good, but still lacking.  My opinion of course.

With all the other movies, I heard people complain about what was missing from the books, which is not unusual for any movie adaptation - and usually those gaps didn't affect me or how I thought the movie turned out.  This time, it did.

One part was material that was missing.  With one sentence - one! - they skipped about 70 pages of the book, all having do do with Dumbledore and his relationship with his family and one Gellert Grindelwald. It was big point in the book about the search for the Deathly Hallows and the grasp for their power. ....and that whole implied gay thing.

Neville also mentions the Carrows and needing to watch out for them, and while I saw their names in the credits, I'd almost dare you to pick out which scene they were in.  

There was another part missing for me as well:  the passion.  (and there are spoilers if you have not read the book.)

I wasn't looking for gratuitous violence, but all the talk of this being a big battle movie, I did kind of think you'd see the deaths of Fred, Remus and Tonks.  It was all after the fact and barely a blip. Where was the connection to their deaths after having been with Fred for 10 years and the other two for the last few?  A few seconds of film to show Ron's reaction to his brother's death didn't really tie me to that emotion.  I think it was a missed opportunity to put some heart into it all. The director does it (to a degree) with Harry and his parents and Sirius, but they don't really allow it with others.

And I wanted and needed more of an exciting demise of Bellatrix LeStrange.  Maybe I read the scene with a different sense than was conveyed in the movie.  Her fight scene with Molly Weasley was way underplayed....and done much better on Julie Walter's part than Helena Bonham Carter's.  Actually, it must have taken Bonham Carter longer to get into make-up than she was in all of this film.  (Side note:  I did enjoy Hermione's voice coming out of her as she tried to portray Bellatrix early in the movie, but there was a flaw with that when going to Gringotts - I'll let you see if you catch it.)

The last point was the epilogue.  There was a point in the book that described Malfoy at the train station that should have been more poignant.  It wasn' least for me. 

For all the hoo-hah about having to reshoot that epilogue, my first thought was - 'wow, how bad was the first version?"  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't tear inducing or anything.

Overall, it was still one of the better Harry Potter movies.  While I know people thought part 1 was bleaker, it may have ranked up there as one my faves. I like part 1 better than part 2.  But I also really like The Half-Blood Prince and I know many did not.

I am planning on going to see this again, in IMAX & 3D.  Yesterday was just saw it in 3D.  As with all the Harry Potter movies, we normally see them with our friends David & James and then with my nephew and niece. If it worked out with timing, it could have been all of them, but in some ways, I wanted to do it with my nephew, since I have seen all of them with him.  From the time he was 8 until now - right before he goes to college.  The circle has been completed.

So if for nothing else, it was totally worth it.

Still a good movie and maybe another viewing and time will give me a better, or different, perspective. 

Song by:  New Order

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I have some work to do on my technique on shaving my head.  Sometimes, things do not always go as planned.   As you can see.

Of course, the irony is, I was going too fast and being too aggressive, so I could check out of my hotel on-time.  That did not happen.

I did not have a styptic pencil with me and it seems I might have nicked an artery or something.  I bled like this for almost three hours.

I did check out and sat in the lobby, still applying pressure to the wound until the carnage did stop.  Eventually. 

Of course, I think I used every tissue my room in the Marriott had to offer.  I feel bad for the nice housekeeper who had to empty my trash only to see a sea of red paper handkerchiefs.

After that all stopped, I had a few hours to kill before heading to LAX, so I did something I'm not 100% proud of, but thought I'd check out another bloody scene.

I think I have mentioned here once or twice here that in 7th grade (yes, 7th), I read Helter Skelter.  ...and while yes, it's a disturbing book for any aged reader, the ins and outs of law & order were greatly intriguing to me.  Teachers at school took it away from me, and probably rightfully so.

So I took my GPS and rental car and passed by drove to Sharon Tate & Roman Polanski's former residence, where five murders too place back in 1969.  For you to be a little more disturbed, I probably didn't need the GPS.  I knew in general where the street was and it was only 18 minutes from my hotel.

The book had two or three lines on where it was located, and it was fairly descriptive, so it made it that much easier to find.  For me.  I know I'm not like everyone else.

The house itself has been sold, re-sold and re-sold.  Eventually the original house was torn down and a new residence put up in its place.  The houses off Benedict Canyon are huge and gaudy.  Not that you can see the new one from any of the roads.  You couldn't back in 1969 either.

Trent Reznor, from Nine Inch Nails, recorded an album in the old house, obviously before it was demolished and took the front door with him when he left.

The street itself is remarkably dumpy.  It's barely one car wide and with the hills and such, everyone keeps their trash containers at the side of the road.  Everyone thinks Bel Air as being very chic and while the prices may be, it's not all that. Most of the houses do not have gates and are right at the road. I mean right there!

They have changed the actual street address number.  The new tenants have put in a new gate with a lot of signs to stay out - and I get that.  You get freaks who come by that I'm sure are way worse than myself.   Ok, I'm not sure of that, but I tell myself that.

Honestly, I have no idea why I took a picture of the drive.  I could say: to blog, but that's not it.  That book, that story has been with me for so long, I feel like I've been there.  Again, don't get too disturbed at me. 

Total coincidence?  To get to from there to the airport, the GPS had me take surface streets where most of my travel was on Bundy - where Nicole Brown Simpson and her "friend" was murdered.  No worries - I did not look for that house.

I am not a freak.

Song by:  Concrete Blonde

Friday, July 22, 2011

Site of the Month

As movies go, things do not move me all that much.  I don't suspend my disbelief when it comes to schlock like Independence Day or The Transporter.  I watch the latter hoping Jason whathisname will take off his shirt - or have a full suit on.  Either way, I'm happy.

I'm never happy when I have to see Jeff Goldblum "act". 

But when I was young, I did like Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker.  And really, has Anne Bancroft ever done anything bad?  I mean, except for one of her husband's films, which name is escaping me at this moment. 

When you're a kid, you learn about Helen Keller and Louis Braille and how they were pioneers for people with disabilities.   Yeah, then you have to sit through Mary on Little House on the Prairie - which really didn't make you feel that bad for her. 

So I just happened upon a site that some info on Helen Keller and how helpful it probably is to kids who are learning about her and how she dealt with her struggles.

I hope it's something you take with you and pass along to those who are indifferent to the disabled.

Welcome to the site:  The Helen Keller Simulator.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Walking in L.A.

I don't feel the draw to Los Angeles that many people do.

Sure, the weather is nice and can differ by 20 degrees depending on if you're in 'the valley' as opposed to other places.

....not that one can get to those places!!!

OMG - I hate the 405.  But to be honest, I hate the 101 and the 5 too.  And the side streets.  At least I hate them at rush hour.  Like, hate-hate.  Not just hate.

Yes, no body walks in L.A., but they sure do crawl.

I was about 57 miles south of Los Angeles yesterday - and how long do you think it took me to get to my hotel?   Granted I left the client site at 16:15, so I knew I'd hit some traffic. 

I was to have dinner with my friend Tony who told me it would take 90 minutes.  I didn't mind.  He said he'd never do that for anyone.   Nice.   My GPS told me it would take one hour and 37 minutes.  Tony was off by seven.  The GPS was off by more.

That seven became nine, which became 30 which became 54. 

Two hours and 45 minutes to go 57 miles.  And let me tell you, for some of that - in the middle - drive, I was going 80 mph for quite a length of time.  It was the other 2 hours that I never made it past 20 mph.   ...and the only thing that's worse than having to take a dump (yeah, I went there) while stuck on the freeway, five lines over from an exit, is knowing you'd have to get back on the freeway.  Totally worth holding it in.

I got off the freeway at one point to try to take surface roads.   That did not help matters.  It was horribly frustrating.  I finally got to my hotel around 19:00 with just 30 minutes to spare before Tony swung by to pick me up for dinner.

We went out to Silver Lake and had dinner at Edendale.  OMG, it was great.  Too much tequila for Blobby, but he wasn't driving.   It wsn't the booze though - the food selection made it very difficult to decide what to order.  I finally settled on the bacon wrapped meat loaf.    ....somewhere Morty just ejaculated.   

However, the marinated sweet peppers for a starter was just INCREDIBLE. was the tequila.

I don't know that Tony or the meal made up for the shitty commute, but I'll let it slide. 

I could never to this day in - day out.  The drive that is.  I could eat dinner with Tony most any time

BTW, the title image pic does not even begin to show the horrors that are the 405.  It was much more packed with cars, trucks and motorcycels.    I'd have to kill someone if I did that daily. 

Song by:  Missing Persons

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Turning Up the Heat

I am back in Vegas....for a day.  Not even.  20 hours.

I had a meeting at which I needed to attend - and I was really hoping to avoid the 115 degree temps, but alas, that was not meant to be.  I am pretty lucky that this client despises their partners to wear suits.   Thin trousers and a golf shirt is considered overdressed for these folks, but that is the most casual I'm willing to go while on business. 

Still, it was warm, there is no denying that - dry heat or not.

Ruckiry (not Jon's boss) I had an outlet.  Two.

I had the option to go swimming - either in the hotel pool, which was the plan.  Or I could go over to David and Duck's house and take a dip there.

Now I love my Davey, but I should have opted for the hotel.  That man made me work!  I had to fucking skim the pool!!!  And skim and skim and skim. 

Actually, I did not mind it that much.  After I got a rhythm going, it calmed my OCD and I really wanted that pool clean clean clean.  I mean, it was not meant to be....too many very little floaty things, but still it cleaned up quite nicely.

Then I dove in - after doing a presto-change-o on the back patio from short to my swim suit.  No one was any the wiser.  Man-oh-man did that water feel good. 

David and I just floated around the pool for about an hour as my core body temperature came back to pseudo-normal.  We just chatted about jobs, family and stuff.  I got all pruned and it felt great.   Duck opted not to swim and stay in the AC. He was probably the wise one.

The odd thing was, getting out of the pool.  It was still over 100 degrees outside at this time, and I FROZE getting out of the water.  How is this possible?  The air was still 20+ degrees warmer than the water, yet there I was with high beams on, along with goosebumps and shivering just a bit until the towel dried me off. 

After that though, it was off to the dog park with David, Duck, Bonnie and Molly.  The latter being their two cocker spaniels.  One black, one blonde.

They were the sweetest dogs who loved my attention and the feeling was mutchal (as they'd say in Young Frankenstein).

I had never been to a dog park.  It was a wild time of canines running around sniffing, wrestling, chasing balls, wanting pets and of course, the occassional growl.   The girls were so well behaved and so cute - it was great to see.  It made me want a dog a little more, but I don't know of a dog park in Cleveland.  And....well....I'm rarely there these days anyways.

Here's a quick pic of Duck, David, the two girls and a wanna be play pal who got no love from Molly or Bonnie.  Girls! 

Today, it's off to L.A.  I haven't been there in years.  It's work, but I'm sure I'll try to see a friend or two, if schedules mesh.

Song by:  Any Trouble

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Close (to the Edit)

Per this last Sunday's post, there was video shot of my greatest friend's get together over this past Memorial Day.  The video was made while I was trying to draft a post while sitting in Morty & George's backyard.

I think the in-sight camera ran for about 25 minutes, so Becky took the opportunity to edit that down to just a few minutes.

Over this last weekend, tweaks were made. Laughs were had.  She is so much better with iMovie than I am, not that I've really tried. Still, her skills are apparent in some things that you are about to see.

It is unfortunate that the laptop sat focused on me most of the time and that I come off as gayer than I want to, but such is life.

As I think you'll see, it is a funny group of folk with which I associate.  It is tough to keep up with them, in the humour department. We are a tough group.  Period.  I do pity anyone new who comes into the perimeter - it can be quite daunting.

But enjoy the video.  It's tough to catch everything in one sitting, so if you have to view it multiple times, no one would blame you.

Be warned:  there are belches. 

Song by: Art of Noise

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Music Monday

At the end of 2010, I marked the Decemberists then new song, Down by the Water, to be one of my favourite songs of the year, even though their album wasn't going to be released until 2011.

I still hold to that, and I might make an exception and carry over this song for the 2011 list as well.

The disk is a good one and I expect it to show up on the 2011 list as well, but probably not as the top one of the year, but we will see. 

But the song is really good, though there is no "official" video for it.  Gillian Welch does a great job on the song and album providing harmony vocals - and is kind of a better gig than her own new release.

So the accompanying video is a live performance on Conan.   Enjoy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Maybe You'll Be There

As the email with this image read:  "this is something I imagine we would have said...."  {i'm paraphrasing}

Morty sent the email and the picture.  ....the sentiment is something to which the five of us in our email group could all relate.  At least, once upon a time.  We're all grown and respectable now, so those things we once did and how we once acted are a thing of the past.

Unless you get us together for a weekend.  Even if it is just a quorum.

It is almost standard to have most of the group together - sometimes with spouses, sometimes without - once a year.  These can include holidays, a special visit from someone, or what that certain someone decides to have a heart attack and go into ICU.

As annoying scary as that last item was, it did give us a reason to spend a weekend together in 2010.  Oddly enough, we drank as much as normal and still functioned during daylight hours.  We. Are. Good.!!!

But I've seen Morty at least once this year on our own.  I've seen Dith this year - in Columbus and Cleveland.  I saw Becca and her husband at the holidays in December.  We were all together over Memorial Day.  I'm not sure we've seen each other this much since 1990.

And now this weekend.  Twice in a year.  Twice in two months!!!   Unheard of!

I don't think I skimmed emails, but Becky sometimes assumes she wrote stuff that we should have read when she clearly did not write anything of the sort.   But she's coming to the state and wanted to get together again in Columbus. 

That's fine.  I was happy to host, but we're going back down I-71 south to see what there is to see.   That would be Rebecca, Morty and Ditto.  ...and doggies.   Maybe George - but there is probably only so much he can stand of us.  It's totally understandable.  The same goes for Denton and Becky's husband.

We don't talk in code per se, but about people that they might never have met and have no point of reference....or interest.  We should probably be better about that and include them in our reindeer games.    .....and it shouldn't be all about the past anyways.  We're not AARP members................yet.

I traveled most of this week.  I travel most of the next three weeks.....and only for these people would I take the two days I am not on the road and get back on the road.

Actually Denton was not able to attend, so it was just five of us.

I'll be honest, it is a drunk weekend.  Beer. Beer. Beer.   .......and Girls.

Just a bunch of friends sitting around drinkin'.   ...and playing pool (me, badly) and playing darts.  Electronic darts.  Not real darts.

 I'm a winner!  I needed a machine to tell me this, but I'll take the validation any way I can.

It's the group, plus one.  Nothing against Josh - on the far left, but he could be one of our kids almost.  So young.  So young.  ...and yes, this was taken in a bar.  

So later in the week you'll see a video that Becca made and edited.  Actually, it was filmed in May but we weren't sure what to do with all the video, but I think she did a good job.  You'll just have to wait a few.

Ok.  Off to lunch.......and drink.

Song by:  Diana Krall

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Art in Me

I went to a garden party......and all that Ricky Nelson stuff.

It was actually a gathering for the Museum for Contemporary Art.   It was in the 'hood and it was a nice time.

I don't have a lot of experience with MOCA.  The biggest thing I did was participate in their sponsorship of Spencer Tunick's installation a seven years ago.  One I'd do again in a heartbeat.

Here is one of the unofficial releases from that day.  These are all guys.  I could point out where I am in the group, but I don't want you all to gawk.

But MOCA is putting up a new building and revitalizing part of Cleveland that is much in need of getting some life into it.  It was a good cause - and they didn't ask for a dime.   Yet.

I mean, you know it's coming just not yet.   And I'm good with supporting the arts.

Even better, it was catered with a full (and open) bar from Fire, a Cleveland fine restaurant.  And for whatever reason, their head chef and owner was at the party, serving us food.  Sorry Doug, but don't you have a place of business to run?  Should you really be serving me panna cotta with strawberries instead of cooking up your wildly overpriced entrees a few miles away? 

Don't get me wrong, I ate it all, but I wondered what strings were pulled for this - and at what cost, especially since it wasn't really a fundraiser.   Yet.

Everyone in this 'hood knows me as the 'email guy', since I send administer the emails for the area.  I could cure cancer, but I'd still be known as the 'email guy'.  There are worse things, I suppose.  They are all very nice about it and appreciative of the service.

On even more of a plus side, I met someone from MOCA who is going to send me a DVD of the Spencer Tunick installation.  They filmed how it was done and honestly, I never noticed a video camera the entire day, so it'll be cool to get and see that. 

So after that wine there, Denton and I went out and had more wine.   Hey, it's summer.....and the weekend.  I can quit anytime I want to.......just not this weekend.

Song by:  Jars of Clay

Friday, July 15, 2011

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!

Yeah, I promised a month or so ago that I'd get off the country / folk / Americana / roots train when it came to my music selections.  Apparently, I lied.

But to be fair, not much new has come out that I have even purchased - not full album form.   And unknown to me, and most people, I didn't know that Gillian Welch had a new release on the horizon.  Even her label (which she runs, so this makes no sense to me) wasn't in the loop.

The Harrow & the Harvest is her new release.   Well, their new release.  As always, Welch is joined by her (musical) partner, David Rawlings.

I'm impressed and unimpressed at the same time.  Some of the writing is good.....some of the musicianship, especially Rawlings is great.  But some of the songwriting is just so-so.

Take the music on "Scarlet Town".  The guitar work is great.  So is the singing and songwriting.  It's one of the few stand-outs on the disk.    Ditto with "The Way it Goes".....actually, this is the true highlight for me.

If you've listened to Welch and Rawlings, there is no such thing as overproduction or anything put to tape other than a few instruments in any one song.  Sometimes they even take it down a level, if possible.  I really like "Hard Times" and "The Way the Whole Thing Ends".   The former is mostly just banjo and eventually guitar.  The latter is two guitars.  That's it.  I mean, vocals too.  And that works quite well.

Is the music a little bleak?  Yeah.   Such is Americana/Appalachian music, for the most part.

Normally I really like that, but on this disk it's almost too much of a downer for me - at least in one sitting.   ....and it's not that long of a disk: 10 songs, 46 minutes.   Not a lot of music after a seven or eight year wait.

I don't think Welch or Rawlings are to blame for my sometimes dissatisfaction.  Their disk, The Relevator, was such an outstanding album - and one of my all time favourites of all time, nothing they've really done since (which hasn't been that much) has measured up.

Still it's nice to hear something (anything) from these two.  It's not your summer fare disk, but it's honest and the two have incredible talent.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's Too Late's too late for a post.  I'm late.

Not in that 16 yo girl who panics after having sex in a car a few weeks earlier late.  Just late to getting to blog today.  And as it turns out, it doesn't matter.

I have nothing.  NOTHING.

I'm sitting in the San Jose airport waiting for my flights to Houston (ugh) and then onto Cleveland.  I got here earlier enough to try to switch to another flight to Houston, but they were deplaning.  The plane is broken or something, so now those 100+ people are scrambling for seats on other fights or airlines.  I hate that feeling. 

But I have my seat....and can you believe it?  I'm not upgraded.  I don't know I can continue flying coach.   At least I have an aisle seat. 

So I apologize for the post of nothing.  They are most that way anyways, no?  I'm just acknowledging it this time as opposed to burying my head in the blogger sand.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll have something better tomorrow.   No promises.

Song by:  Marti Jones

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 17th 12 of 12.  Sorry, it's a work travel day, which means mostly you'll be seeing the ins and outs of multiple state/multiple time zone travel. The exciting life of Blobby.  It also means I was not home, so no picture of Sophie.  Booo.

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. While he said he would stop it at the end of 2010, it still looks up and running to me, so I'm running with it.

 04:30.  Luggage at door as I head out to the airport.   Yes, 04:30. Probably 04:25.

 05:27.  Gate C22.  Mine is the only flight delayed.  Naturally.

 06:15.  Boarding United Express Jet - Flight 6233 to Denver.

Time Unknown.  Reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer somewhere over the midwest.  The article is on Bone Marrow Donation.

07:10 MST.  Denver International Airport

09:20 MST.  United 971 Denver to San Jose.  Some kind of Airbus. I was in the last row.  Each person on the plane uglier than the last.  What kind of eff'd up world is it when I'm the most attractive person in an airplane.....and you know I don't say that lightly.

11:15 MST/10:15 PST.  Did you know you can listen to air traffic control via that little ear piece that usually plays awful and outdated tunes through the airplane.  I listened for 50 minutes.  Boring to most.  Fascinating to me.

11:15 PST.  San Jose Airport Baggage Claim A1.  I didn't have checked luggage, I was waiting for a co-worker.
16:30 PST.  Some unknown (to me) mountain range in central California.

17:00 PST.  I'm almost ashamed to tell you how far out of my way I drove so I could capture this image.  I saw it on my last trip to CA and was with people who wouldn't have understood.  I knew being a 12 of 12, today was the perfect day to take a side-trip.

18:30 PST.  Monterey Bay
21:15 PST.  Work has gotten in the way of my blogging.  Here is my pic of me getting the 12 of 12 blog post ready for tomorrow.  Yes, this is how the magic happens.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Ledge

Sunday we went on a hike.  Yes, a hike.

Not a long one, but a fun and pretty one.

Denton had never been to Virginia Kendall Park and there had been an article in the Sunday paper on it, so off we went.

I had been there.  Often.

When running cross country in high school, this park was the location of many a practice.  Not on the hiking trails - those were too rough for that kind of run.  So I have been there, just not in this capacity.

For the most part, we stuck to the Ledge Trail - and yes, it is what it sounds like - a bunch of rock formations that equate to a number of high and potentially dangerous ledges.

But it was shaded and cool(er) on this 90+ degree day.  Not cool enough where we weren't all sweaty halfway though, but still it was nice - and the scenery was quite impressive.  Most of these things you do not see in most of Ohio.

So now, a few pictures, because I know you come here more for those than my words.

I loved this sign. ..and the vandalism on it.  Of course, I went to the edge to have my picture taken and got "caught" by a park ranger.  We were all good. 

I saw this sign and immediately thought of Becky....and the Simpsons.

"No, they weren't all happy days. Like the time Pinky Tuscadero crashed her motorcycle, or the night I lost all my money to those card sharks and my dad, Tom Bosley, had to get it back."

This is Icebox Cave.  Really - it's about 20 degrees cooler (at least) than outdoors.  Even 20 feet away from the opening.  It was very refreshing.....and dark....and a bit scary.  There were supposed to be drawings of horses and some portraits dating back.......50 years!!!! (ooooh), but we never saw them.

I got a boo-boo on my hand falling down some slippery rocks. It looks like a stigmata, so now I know how Jesus felt.   ...and by Jesus, I meant the guy who sometimes tends our gardens, who probably hurts himself on pruning shears once a year.

I had no bottled water with me to clean the wound, so I improvised with spit until I could do what was needed.  Lovely, huh?

Can you believe how this natural rock formation just happened to resemble and function as a stair case?

Some actual rock formations.  I wish I had more than my iPhone with me.  I couldn't help but think how my cousin could have taken pictures that would have done this place justice. 

.....and yours truly standing atop the overlook for the hike.  It's mostly just Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but it was still very neat to be up there.

Song by:  Fleetwood Mac

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Music Monday

I have talked about David Broza here before.

A Hebrew-Spanish-English singer (in that order) / guitarist.

I think the first time I purchased one of his disks was in the early '90s.  Most of this stuff I had to look for or find in the International Music section (people, this was way before amazon or iTunes! - yes, I'm ancient, I get it!!!) 

And actually, I had an opportunity to see him a few months after that first purchase - like three doors down from where I was living in Columbus.  Tom G (whom I dragged with me) and I were two of about a dozen people in the bar.  Yes, a bar!

Broza totally blew me away with his guitar playing.  It doesn't hurt that he is one hot Heeb.

I did see him a few years later when Denton and I moved to Cleveland.  There he sang in almost all Hebrew, but considering the population, it made sense.

Broza's last English language disk did not go over well with me.  That is unfortunate, because he so rarely puts those out.  It's not where his core demographic resides.  It's not an album I come back to often.

Yes, I follow the man on FB - sue me.   A few months ago he was soliciting people. via FB, to fund his new disk. I'm ok with this.  Certain donations got you certain things, be it album credits, signed stuff, "free disks".  I didn't donate.

But that is the new way music is being made, since many are foregoing the major record label.  I'm actually ok with that.  You gotta get music to the people someway and bucking the system if the way to go.

"Holem" (or "Dreaming") is the first song off of this soon-to-be-released disk.   Even if you don't understand the lyrics, you might like the tune.  I do until the end - when he brings in the background singers.  Totally not needed.

We'll see if he sustains it for a full disk, but I'm liking what I hear............................and see.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chance to Grow

We've never truly tried our hands at a vegetable garden before.

....and by 'we', I mean Denton.  I have no talent or patience for such things.  I don't tend to things, let alone plants.  It's not in my nature.  It is a really good thing I'm not a parent.

Don't get me wrong, I like fresh vegetables, be it tomatoes peppers or cucumbers.  Never a fan of ever present zucchini, that people always seem to grow, and always have too much of and try to give away - usually unsuccessfully.

Last year we did try growing basil without much success.  First, it was 90 degrees and up most of the summer and no one around much to water anything - including Mother Nature. 

Oh, and the deer ate it too.  We have deer......that have decimated many of our plants.

But my mother dropped off a little planter along with some basil, parsley and thyme.  No sage or rosemary.   Denton went out and bought a cherry tomato plant and crammed them all in this little planter.

Surprise of all surprises, things are growing.   Water this season has not been an issue.  I mean, I'm surprised the plants didn't drown, but irrigation seems to be fine.

...and while we have seen the entire family of deer continually, they have not touched the crops.

Now, as of yesterday, we the tomato flowers have started turning to the fleshy fruit.

Sure, there are only three tomatoes so far, but it's three more than I expected....or that we've ever had. Let's hope they ripen.

The basil is ready. Maybe I'll make some pesto.

Song by:  Wendy & Lisa

Saturday, July 09, 2011

What Can You Lose?

Apparently, a head coach, your star player, 10 games of the season - along with your self-respect (if you had any).

What you don't lose is the scholarships or any ban on bowl games during a self-imposed two year probation.

Oh, I'm talking about Ohio State and their football program, by the way.

Ohio State vacated all their wins for the 2010 season on allegations they violated NCAA regulations.  Yeah, they also vacated their bowl loss too, but I have yet to hear if they have to, or will, give back all the revenue and bonuses associated with it.

The players, of course, can just sell their championship rings for tattoos.

Oh wait.............

That is kind of the joke of the situation.  Selling rings for ink is what allegedly got them into this hot water.  It seems minor, but these were just the morons to get caught.  Of course were bigger offenders when it came to taking gifts and cash for just being a Buckeye.   ...sorry, a Buckeye athlete.  Regular student do not get these perks.

My favourite was Terrell Pryor coming to Jim Tressel's resignation in his brand new car with temporary tags on them and being photographed by most major news outlets.  Oh - and he had a suspended license.  Feeling entitled much?

But that the players claim 'hardship' for money as the reason to sell memorabilia seems funny to me.  While I have no idea what their home life is like, for most, they are on a partial if not full scholarship.  They have academic advisers to get them through their class schedule and someone to do their laundry.

Hardship?  Hardly.

OSU also reverted Tressel's resignation to a "retirement", no doubt allowing him to keep some benefits that he'll need, in case he didn't save anything from his multi-million dollar per year contract.

I don't feel sorry for Tressel, the players or the program one little bit.  And it's not just Ohio State, most college teams all do these kinds of things.   You would think with USC and Michigan's sanctions that were imposed by the NCAA that programs would clean up their shit, but apparently they all think they are untouchable.

Even now, I think that OSU thinks that by putting themselves on double-secret probation and getting rid of Tressel, they will thwart any additional actions from the NCAA.  ...and they probably will, but mostly because Pryor is gone and no longer has to participate in the investigation, so it will be harder for the NCAA to make a case or prove some allegations.

Gene Smith should have been fired along with Tressel.

We'll see what happens after the August 12th NCAA hoo-ha.

Song by: Madonna

Friday, July 08, 2011

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

I know I will get in trouble for this.   But you know, it's all good.

I actually got approval for one of the pictures to be used when I did my Vegas blog post a week or two back.  David was good with it......the one we took in the casino.

He wasn't really briefed on the one that was taken 18 years ago.

Time is a harsh mistress.  Oddly enough I don't feel too much different than I did back then. I don't act a lot different either.  Looks are another matter. But as the Bangles once sang, "time time time....see what's become of me."   Ok, really it was Simon & Garfunkel first, but few people actually know that.

David tried to tell me we have known each other for 37 years, not 27.  While that would have been great, I would have been all of 10 when I met him.  He was always worse at math than I was - and trust me, that ain't good.

This picture was taken in Tijuana.  I'm sorry - but I my head looks like it could have been on Frankenstein's monster but with a worse hair-do.  No worries - in a few years from this snap, there'd be nothing on top anyways.  .....for either of us.  I was also beanpole thin. Maybe the black was just slimming.  Not a great look.

At least David looks good in his Jew-fro.

Fast forward two decades.  Oy.   

Nothing wrong with these two guys.  We might be balder, we might be greyer, we might not be slim jims anymore - fuck, unless your Bobby Sands or Karen Carpenter, who is thinner than 20 years ago?   At least we still have winning smiles and personalities.

And just because I'm mega-queer, and am preemtively making David feel better about the 1993 picture I posted without his permission, I am tossing a pic up here that his partner, Duck, took of me in Vegas.

The only way this picture could have been any more gay is if I had thrown my arms in the air and did a big "Ta-Da!" pose.   Which I actually think I did, but Duck didn't get it on camera.   Thank g-d!

Song by: Fairport Convention