Wednesday, August 31, 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!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Old Yeller get rabies and then shot by Travis?

Eat up, boy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who Are You?

Pop quiz, hot shot.

Who is this?

My first guess was plastic surgery victim patient, Priscilla Presley (pictured below).  Star of well, nothing really.  You know a couple of movies that gave O.J. Simpson equal billing to her.

Oh, but how wrong I was.   Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.  ...and then wrong again.

Without a USAToday article, or any hints, it is safe to say I would have never ever ever have guessed the identity of this person.  Not even with forensic science.

It is...................wait for it..............wait for it.................

The formerly fat currently thin Carrie Fisher.  Princess Leia Organa, if you will.

Yes, she is the new Jenny Craig spokesperson, following in the footsteps of Kirstie Ally and Valerie Van Halen (I didn't want to have to take the time to look up how to actually spell her name)

While Leia might have lost a stone or three, it's the face that is throwing me.  Did she have a major lift too?  Would losing 50 pounds really change your look that much - just in the face?  Even with her weight gain since Return of the Jedi you could tell it was she - just a heavier she.  Not as much when the lard comes off.

More power to her if she can keep it off - ala Valerie and non-ala Kirstie, but man, do not get caught into that nip and tuck look freaky.

Song by: Tears for Fears

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Music Monday

A few weeks ago, Dith posted something on her FB page about naming your favourite song.  It turns out most people cannot.  I can't. 

I have many favourite songs, but I pressed to name only one, or a top choice I think would be impossible. 

I don't think I've ever done a My Music Monday pick of any of my top 10 songs.  

To be honest, I don't know what my top 10 songs of all time are. There are two or three I know would fall into that top 10, but most fall into the top 100 with absolutely no ranking.  I am 96.3% sure that the Guess Who's "Undun" is, however, in the top 10.  

Released in 1968 or 1969 (I suppose I could look it up), I clearly wasn't aware of it at the time since I was such a young young boy.   However, it is one of those songs I play often and will sing at the top of my lungs. 

Randy Bachman does a stellar job at the vocal and even the flute, which rarely ever belongs in any pop song, if you ask me. ....and I know you're not. 

Released before the music video, there is no real video to be had and attach.  There are some inferior live performances by the Guess Who during one of multiple reunion concerts 20+ years after their demise.  I just went with some fan kind of thing that shows graphics.  It's not about the video anyway - for this one, it's all about the music.

Sunday, August 28, 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.

There are those who only know Rachel Sweet from her title song from John Waters' 1988 movie, Hairspray Not the crappy John Ravolta version.   A few might know her from her one radio/video "hit" "Everlasting Love" -  a duet with, ugh, Rex Smith.

But years earlier, she had her UK and U.S. debut with Fool Around, back in 1978.  She was all of 16 years old, but with a voice of a well seasoned adult singer.

Sweet was signed by Stiff records, which back then was home to artists like Elvis Costello, Lene Lovich, Brinsley Schwarz, Nick Lowe,  Ian Dury & the Blockheads. 

With the U.S. version, a few songs were cut from the UK version, one was added to the U.S. version, and the art work was different.  Overall, it was pretty much the same.  The disk didn't catch on with the U.S. radio.   Still, it's a great disk.

It was new and retro at the same time.  It combines the elements of some more classic songs like "B-A-B-Y" (co-written by Chef, or Isaac Hayes), "Stay Awhile", "I Go to Pieces" (Del Shannon) yet most likely were new to the audience she was reaching.  Being 16, I'm sure they were new to her.

Then there was the new.  Riding on the post-punk and then new wave aspects of the disk.  Lene Lovich singing background, the still mostly unknown Costello contributing a track - and then a bunch of new songs by producer Liam Sternberg.  You don't know him by this disk, that's for sure, but you would know him as the songwriter of "Walk Like an Egyptian".  So, he eventually made his millions - at our expense. Most of the songs on the disk were written by Sternberg.

To be fair, he fares better with this than he would in 10 years with the Bangles hit.  I mean, some are not great ("Cuckoo Clock"), but some I really really liked.

Sternberg and Sweet were both from Akron.  At the same time, Devo and Chrissie Hynde, also from Akron were showing up on the scene.  Akron - who knew?

Anyway, Sweet had the voice and maturity to pull of songs of love and loss.   The record, oddly enough, as a twangy feel to it.  Clearly it is not country, but has some elements which show off Sweet's vocal abilities.  "Wildwood Saloon", "Sad Song" and Costello's "Stranger in the House".

I like all the songs I mentioned throughout the post (save "Cuckoo Clock").   I was never much a fan of the UK songs that were cut from the domestic version ("Girl with the Synthesizer", "I'll Watch the News"), but I'm a big fan of "Pin a Medal on Mary" and "Who Does Lisa Like".   On the latter, Sweet shows you how she can hold a note.

It's a good album, not stellar.  I thought her second disk, Protect the Innocent, was better and a lot more original.  But she never reached her potential before quitting music.

Technically, you can't get this version of the disk anywhere.  There is a combined CD version of Fool Around: the Best of Rachel Sweet that exists.  It has both U.S. and UK songs and a handful of other songs from her other three albums, plus "Hairspray".

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Between Something and Nothing

Helllooooooooo.  Is this thing on?

Blah Blah Blah Hurricane.  Blah Blah Blah Earthquake.  Blah Blah Blah Libya.  BORING.

Life and work have left this blog thingy a little lost and just there.  Sitting.  Waiting.  I don't have anything really to blah blah blah about.

I made it back from Idaho.  I know you were all on the edge of your seat. And this time, no hair bands were on my flight, so I dodged that bullet.  However, I was captive by the new version of Arthur playing on the video monitors.

Honestly, it was like a bad car wreck.  You didn't want to look, but couldn't help it.  Why oh why do people find Russell whats-his-name to be funny?  I truly speak for everyone when I tell you that he is not.  And how much money must Helen Mirren need to take on a role like this?  The woman has an Oscar® for g-d's sake!  I mean, Marisa Tomei does too, but....

So, after I got over that trauma (Dudley Moore and Liza rolling over in their graves.....what?  Liza's not dead?  hmmmm), I had Denton take me to dinner.  But I got the idea to invite our newer gay neighbors to go with us.

Tom and Sal are great.  So is their do Lola.  She loves me.  And since we were going on vacation the other week and they walk Lola like five times a day, I just asked if they'd look up the drive to make sure no one was you know, breaking in.

Sal was great and actually walked Lola up the drive and around the house.  So we brought back treats from Maine - for Lola.

We were at Stonewall Foods (they make the Barefoot Contessa retail foods) in Maine and they had a section on dog and cat treats.  We thought it would be the good gift to bring back for their thoughtfulness.

But we went out for Mexican. The company was good.  The food was good.  The tequila was great.  Someone from my high school (but not the reunion) sat behind us, but neither of us acknowledged each other.  And one of my former bosses at a job, now long ago, was there too. She hugged me (ewww) and wants to have lunch.  That's a little different for me.  But it's all about networking and not burning those bridges, so I'll shoot her an email to see if she'd like to.  It might all be chatter.

Ok, I got this off late today....and I probably have stuff to do.  Probably.

Song by:  the Ocean Blue

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hotel Paper

I have nothing planned to write about.  I am totally winging it.  Seriously.  I mean, I don't even have a title image.  L-A-Z-Y.

I am just typing, hoping something comes to me.  I sit here in room 314 of the Fairfield Inn in Boise fucking Idaho.  Sorry Arnie.

Actually, I don't mind Boise. I have a good staff here. I have a good client here. I like the area, though admittedly I have not been 'downtown'.  I hate eating at chains, but after a 13-14 hour day, it's all I can do to get carry-out and eat it in my room.  Sad Sad Sad. 

Next time I will try a local place. For some reason Boise has a large Basque population.  Who knew?  So allegedly they have a number of great places to eat.  Allegedly.  I've don't even know what a Basque menu would really look like.  Spanish rice?  A little Spanish flea?

I spend part of the evening texting with Rebecca about Arrested Development.  She's a little late to that party.  Better than never.

Oh, and one day after Steve Jobs steps down - ONE DAY - my FaceTime stops working.  Denton's too.  We couldn't have our nightly face-to-face conversation, nor could he show me Sophie.  What is this world coming to?

But my flight leaves for home at 06:00.  I'll be home for the weekend and right now only one day of travel next week.  What's that about?  ....and then a holiday weekend. 

Let's see....wrap this up. I hear the music playing me off the stage.........good luck to all those in the path of Irene - you know, the asian Eileen.  My niece just moved back to college in South Carolina, but she might not be in the big path at this point. It'll be farther north, even to Maine.  Thank g-d our trip was last week. 

Song by:  Michelle Branch

Thursday, August 25, 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!

Who knew?  Marti Jones and Don Dixon put out an album in April and I missed it.  I had no idea it had been released. There might be a reason for that though.

It's bad. 

It pains me to say it, but Living Stereo is not good.  Marginal at best.  At BEST.

The pain for me comes that Jones puts out so few recordings - last was 2002's My Tidy Doily Dream - and has never truly put out a bad record (two were better than average, but not her stellar stuff) and the selections on this disk does not measure up.  Hers or Dixon's.

It doesn't help matters that a few songs seem to use some instrument that sound like a Fisher Price piano / xylophone.  What's up with that?

As the co-billing suggests, they sing - together.  They have done this before with good results.  Really good results, but it might be one song every three albums. Not one album, every song.  This is a usually a bad outcome (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss or Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris).  Living Stereo is no exception.

Finding good duet songs are tough anyways. They find very few. VERY few.

I can live with "Trouble is as Trouble Does", "That Scorching Song", and "These Arms of Mine".   I like their cover of the Shoes' "Only In My Sleep", but it's about 10 years old from a tribute disk to the Shoes (a band no one knows that everyone should!).

A bad album from almost anyone else I can deal with. But a voice and talent of Jones, that I really appreciate makes me lose a little faith in the world.  I like Dixon too, but his stuff works even less than hers does.

Maybe it won't be 10 years till her next album.  Maybe it won't be a disk of duets.  I hate to say it, but I cannot recommend this disk - not that any of you know these guys or that they had an album out.  But now you do. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cat out of the Bag

I set yesterday's blog post to go and yet somehow forgot to hit publish.  Dopey me.

So it actually went up late yesterday evening....sorry about that.   Scroll down to the next entry if you missed it....which most of you probably did.

But today is a travel day and I have nothing planned.  Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), my sister sent me a new Maru video.

Who is Maru, you might ask?

Only the most celebrated cat in Japan - that's who!  Ok, I don't know if that is technically true, but he has dozens of YouTube videos.

He's a Scottish Fold, whose ears aren't actually folded.  He's quite adorable and a contortionist.   See for yourself.

and...Maru loves a big box

and...he likes small boxes too.

Song by:  Don Dixon

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wrap it Up

What the hell - I'm back at work and the glow of vacation has already worn off.   Damn those 280 waiting emails. Bother.

But I figured I would post a few vacation pics, both from Boston and Ogunquit.  They are just random shots with very little tying any of them together, but I will try to give brief descriptions of what is what.

I had no intention of going by "Cheers", but my cousin posted something nasty on my FB on our way to Boston that had to do with Cheers (and he didn't know we were going to Boston), so I felt obliged to respond accordingly.  I used this image in my response.
Somewhere in Boston that Mike or BosGuy could probably identify.  Waterfront.  Ferries and Fairies.  

A picture of the Bunghole t-shirt.

Not my picture.  BosGuy had read my Salem post and used it as an excuse to take a picture of a guy in a kilt in P-town got a picture to explain to me what a Bunghole is.   He was kind enough to email it to me.  : )

Believe it or not - NOT a black and white photo.  Or photo-shopped. Ogunquit marginal walkway on a rainy afternoon.

Sunrise from our porch.

Where we stayed.

Yes, there is a bar in town that has guys singing showtunes around a piano.  Apparently there is nothing like a dame.  Denton made 'fun' of me for rather wanting to do the bar than see 'tv's Peter Scolari' (as opposed to two-time Oscar winner...) do the Music Man.

I still think I was correct, Bosom Buddies be damned!

Low Tide.

High Tide.  Yes, I sang "The Tide is High" daily....what of it?

I'm kind of breaking rules.  Denton on the beach.  Or it could be anyone. You can't really tell, can you?

The Boston Public Liberry.  It was a very cool building with some great artwork displayed in it.

That's it.  Those are some of my memories and photos. But only some.

Song by:  the Eurythmics

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Music Monday

I'm in a Sia mood today.

While Sia has released a number of albums over the last few years, I think it is somewhat safe to say that most of the U.S. (myself included) was not aware of her until the final episode of Six Feet Under

I'm not sure the creator(s) of that show could have used a better song than "Breathe Me" for the closing moments of that show.   Of course, it was so closely tied to the epilogue that it's hard to separate one from the other.  We will never know if anything would have worked as well.

One thing I do love about the song is its simplicity...and its almost demo-like feel.  

If you listen to it with earbuds, you can hear the unpolished-ness of the song.  But that doesn't make it bad at all.  I like hearing the cracks, the audible sounds that anyone else would have cleaned up.  

The video version isn't completely representative of the song.  The creators put in additional bars of music to extend the montage of the end of the show.   The actual song is about two minutes shorter. 

....on an almost unrelated note, there is a YouTube version that is another three minutes longer with the intro of Claire saying goodbye to her family on the porch of the funeral home.  My friends York and Stuart purchased the front door of Fisher & Sons and it now hangs as their front door of their home. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

App of the Month

I don't think it would be any surprise to you all that my App of the Month selection would be iMovie.

For those unfamiliar with iMovie via Apple, the full version, for laptops and such, is a pretty slick product that not only helps you film videos, it is pretty good at editing, arranging, adding music and doing special effects as well.

Even for the novice, it is somewhat intuitive, and trust me, I am a novice.

I have edited some of my vlogs on iMovie and definitely did for the Jiggy Whore Dance I did for brettcajun almost pushing two years ago.

Becky used it for the video we posted a few weeks ago - and clearly is less of a novice than I.  Or has more patience......or both.

I do not do enough with it to feel totally comfortable, but when in Maine last week, I downloaded the iPhone app so I could edit and post the video that was shot on the beach and around the town.  In theory I could have waited until I got home to do it on the Mac, but I was impatient.   Shocking!

You can clearly do some things on the iPhone that replicate the full version:   add music, theme songs, fade in and out of black.  You can record voice overs or anything you want with the built in recorder.

My biggest issue with the app is the difficulty it is for editing.

In the big boy version, you can grab certain frames and place them wherever you want.  Easy Peasy.

In the mobile version, you have to take your original video and 'trim' it  - even if you only want 3 seconds of a 4 minute clip - save it (and save it as a new file or you lose 3:57 of the original clip) and then insert those 3 seconds where you want it.

Personally, I like just highlighting those 3 seconds and dragging them to where I need them - and then I'm done.

And let's face it, working off an iPhone for a video project is nice, but it's difficult....even if you had full functionality.  You're working on a much more limited platform and some of us have fat thumbs.

Maybe it will get easier, but in reality, I think I just bought a $4.99 app for a one-time use.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Switchin' to Glide

Our last day in Boston, we did something old and something new.  We opted to do a Segway tour of Boston.

We've been on the Segway before....that's the old. Before it was in DC, this time it was in Beantown....that's the new. 

I was unimpressed.

Not with the town.  Not per se. It's clearly a great town and rich with history, much like DC. What I was not impressed with was the company - Boston Gliders.

OMG, operationally, they are horrible. Just horrible. From the check-in process to the video instruction, to the orientation to the Segway itself.  That's not even the distributing of gear - headsets and helmets. 

The tour itself started 20 minutes late due to the tour guides not clearly delineating the 1 hour tour from the two 2 hour tours - all starting at the same time. Or the douchebag rider who was hotdogging while we were getting ready to go and crashed and wrecked a Segway - which is actually hard to do.  I had a little bit of satisfaction seeing him lying in the street, pride hurt - and maybe part of his scraped leg in pain. 

But the tour seemed a bit hodge-podge.  In DC, we got off our Segways once.  Here we got off a number of times - and for 10-15 minutes a piece.  For a two-hour tour (which didn't go a full two hours, since we started late), a half-hour of not being on the vehicles is a huge chunk of time.

And while in DC, we went to most sites we had seen before, the guide had good info on them. We had seen everything we toured in Boston too, but the guide was not all the knowledgeable and the audio system was 90% static - useless. 

I could not recommend this company. There might be others in town that do a better job. I do love the Segway, and the tours are fun, but you really need a good group and a good guide.  These things ain't cheap, so make sure you do it right.  Trip Advisor be damned with all the good reviews....I think they were all submitted by the staff.

Song by:  the Kings

Friday, August 19, 2011

St. Charles

Yes, I know the river going through Boston is the Charles and not the St. Charles, but I needed a title - and it's close enough.  Sue me.

We had to leave Maine yesterday.  I hated to leave, but we couldn't stay forever, so it was just as well.  My bad leg was hurting (it still is), which indicated what the weather channels confirmed:  low front on the way.  60% thunderstorms. 

We opted not to try another day in Ogunquit where we might have to sit in the room if it rained.  We could do stuff back in Boston in the potential rain.

So we did walk down the the river and hang out on some docks that they have there with some chained down Adirondack chairs.  We had nothing to do but look over at MIT and watch sailboats on the river.  It was a relaxing way to pass the time.

But my big to-do was to meet up with another blogger.  Yes, BosGuy and Mike can eat their hearts out.  They totally blew me off for Provincetown.  Can you believe it?  They wouldn't alter their vacation plans for my vacation plans!!!  They are so selfish!!!

I kid.  I kid.

They were great about my travels and anything they could do to help with my trip to Boston.  Alas, my big idea was to have a mini-blogger meet-up with the two of them and John., from I Got Somethin' to Say

So John and I did get to meet up - and it was great.  We had a really nice time and once again, it was a comfortable time - no awkwardness - at least on my part.  John is blogger #5 that I have had the pleasure of meeting. 

John was the guy I sent the Spo shirt to once I had taken my pictures, so it was a nice 360.

It was a meeting of the bald guys.   ....and for the record, we talked about all of you!!!  Nahhhh.....we didn't.   But we did talk about his son and of course, Scooter.  How, how I love Scooter.  Or at least the idea of him. 

It was a nice few hours of walking through Boston and stopping by for two beers.  Then I had to get back to my hotel.  I mean, I left a certain man back there to watch 30 Rock.  It's not that he didn't want to go, but felt a little out of the loop, and I get that. 

My leg still hurts, so I'm anticipating some iffy weather today, but hopefully the last day here will be a nice one.

Song by:  Jefferson Starship

Thursday, August 18, 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.

Debut. Shmebeut.  Lone Justice only released two albums, by basically two different versions of the band, but in my estimation, their debut, eponymously (is that a word?) titled disk is the stand-out.

Rockabilly, CowPunk or whatever you want to call it, the success of the disk was equal to the band and Jimmy Iovine who produced the album.  Yeah there were a number of session players, but the core band was solid.

And what a vocalist they had in a then 19 year old Maria McKee.  Strong.  Confident.  And yes, sometimes angry.

10 songs and coming in at under 36 minutes, each song is great in their own way.

I would say the "cowpunk" moniker only applies in four songs:  their "hit" "Ways to be Wicked", "Working Late",  "Soap, Soup and Salvation" and my favourite on the disk "Wait 'Til We Get Home".  The rest might be considered rockabilly or just alt-country.

Yeah, there's a heavy Tom Petty influence/vibe on the disk, but that comes from some of the Heartbreakers making an appearance and that Iovine and his team were heavy into producing Petty & crew at the same time.

I get that one has to be in the mood to like Lone Justice - the band and/or the disk.  I get that many might not be into alt-country rock.   Still they are well crafted songs and expertly sung by McKee.   I have my favourites - "Ways to Be Wicked", "Wait 'Til We Get Home", "Sweet Sweet Baby" and "After the Flood",  but it is one of those albums that really does not have a bad tune.

26 years old and the songs have held up well.  The don't show age and you'd be hard pressed to figure out a year they were released.  To me, that's a sign of a great, or really good, record.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I've Never Been to ME

Ooooh, it's video blog time.

I did not bring my MacBook Pro with me, so this was challenging to say the least.

All video was done on the iPhone, but that was no biggie.  It was the editing and uploading that proved to be the hurdle. Denton had his Mac, but the ability to use Dropbox and his iMovie was not working the way we thought it should.  I'm not saying our expectations were realistic, we just wanted what we wanted and when we wanted it.  What's so wrong with that?

So on a whim, I downloaded iMovie for iPhone.  OMG, I actually spent almost $5.00 on an app. 

It did the job, but it has its least I think it does.  The instructions are limited (at best), so I was flying by the seat of my pants.  It did what I needed it to do - not necessarily what I wanted it to do - or to the degree I wanted it to be done. 

Well, maybe when I get some time, I'll tweak as needed.  Until then - you get what you get.  I at least enjoyed doing it - and I think it shows. I hope it does.

Song by: Charlene

Site of the Month

You know, I almost forgot a Site of the Month last month. Oh well.
This month, it's about sports. ......and with that statement, I just lost 93% of you.


It blends certain sports (I stick with baseball) and my love of all things geeky: stats, charts and trivia!!!

On the surface, it's a very cool site, but it is not without its flaws.   It takes a comprehensive look at statistics from home runs, hits, strikeouts, etc.  However, it only goes until 2009.  I'm not sure if the creators did this and gave up or if they really can't keep up to the minute stats now that 2011 is winding down.

I mean, some of the stats go back to 1871, but they can't keep up to date?  You'd think there'd be stat feeds that did this real time.  It's the stuff from the 19th century that would be harder to load into a database.

And as much as I love graphs, this stuff can get a little busy, especially if you're not savvy enough to figure out how to pick the year you're looking for or where to hover.  If you do the latter in the wrong place, charts and shit pop up that you did not want and were not expecting.

Chartball is a cool idea that just needs some refining.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sisters of the Moon

Hell, if you're going to take a trip to Boston, you may as well go the extra mile and hit Salem.

Am I right, or am I right???   .....yeah, we know I'm right.

I really had no big desire to go, truth be told, but it wasn't far and it sure beats going to Mystic River Pizza or something.

There was controversy a few years back when the town opted to put up a statue of a witch.  Not your Margaret Hamilton kind of witch, or any of the ones from Macbeth. And Hermione Granger wasn't even a Hershey bar in  J.K.Rowling's back pocket way back then.

So, who do they go for?  Well, there really is only one choice:  Samantha Stevens.  

People, if news articles were to be believed, were up in arms over this. I wasn't.  I loved the show.  Even then  sexually confused Blobby had a wicked crush on Samantha, and her evil dark-haired cousin, Serena.  It was probably a litmus test of homo boys back then.  Uncle Arthur should have confirmed that.

Ok, Sam might have made Derwood the best double martini, but she wasn't really representative of what went on in Salem when it came to the practice of witchcraft.  But it's hard to have a bronze cast of Goody Proctor or any other witch being hanged or drown.  It's just a downer for tourism.

....and Salem is all about the tourism.  

So many witch museums.  So many psychics.  So many stores selling t-shirts with pentagrams. And so many stores on the occult.....and of course, a CVS.  {shudder}

The one place you will not find a word on witches in Salem?  The Salem Visitor's bureau.  It is all maritime, all the time.  The thought of total omission made me smile.....inside, where it counts.

Here is what you will find in the center:

Because knowing your exact coordinates is..........necessary?  I suppose if you were a sailor. I just had to navigate to the bathroom.  ....and there were signs, so no compass was needed.

There were two other points of interest in town and we saw them both.  One was the House of  the Seven Gables.

Yes Hawthorne wrote a book of the same title.  That his boyhood house was right next to the actual one let Denton to think, 'write what you know'.  "Um......I'll write about a house.....but which one...?" he probably pondered.

I'll admit, I have never read it.  Neither had Denton.  Neither had anyone who was talking as they were going to and fro.  "I started to read it", I overheard a late teen say, "but it was boring, so I just quit...".    Let's face it, Demi Moore in the movie version of 'Scarlet Letter' was probably a deal breaker for anyone reading anything else from Hawthorne.

It was a cool looking house, but we didn't pay to get in there.  The crowds were like a Who concert in Cincinnati.

The other attraction was 

Yes.  The Bunghole.'s funny because I'm 12!!   And yes, if you enlarge the picture, you can see a t-shirt for sale that says, "I got it in the bunghole".  ...and they have others.

It was an ok two hours - only because we got our cardio in by walking a few miles, but I was ok to get the hell out of there.   ....but clearly, not before I got my picture taken with Elizabeth Montgomery.

Song by:  Fleetwood Mac

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Music Monday

If you don't know, or know of, the "band" The The, I'd like to think you should check them out.  But of course, that is just me.

Band is quotes because, while there have been past members and are occasional players here and there, The The essentially consists of one person: Matt Johnson.

Talented, no doubt, but as Krusty the Clown once might have said: "angry.....angry young man".  But that anger works for his music.  It's not all loud and aggressive, but it can be.  Check out "Infected" sometime.  

Yet he uses his music to address social issues and injustices as he sees them - and for a lot of the time, it least for me. 

My choice this week the song "Heartland".  While it's clearly not a pro-U.S.A. song, it's meant more of a slam to the U.K. for becoming the 51st state of the U.S.   Also, keep in mind this is the time of Thatcher and her close association to Reagan.  Yes, this was released in 1986 and Johnson was not too happy with the state of affairs. 

But he does it nicely with tinkling of the ivories, some good harmony and his deep, rich voice.  This is one of these songs where I suggest listening to the lyrics, but I'm always a lyrics guy anyways. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Please Come to Boston

As you may have picked up from some of the comments yesterday, it was my birthday.

No biggie.  I'm a few couple years away from AARP-ville.

As luck would have it, we went to Boston for a get-away.  It was not planned for my birthday, as I don't really believe in that (at least until I turn 50!).  It's just that we had not taken any days off since we got married last November.

I know, I know.   We are horrible at taking vacation time.  And we are horrible at planning, but it works for us.

I am envious of Morty and George on taking months or years to plan their excursions.  We take hours - and rarely plan more than a month out of our departure date.  Sure, it leaves some limitations, but when we decide to go, it works for us.

As you can see, the streets of Boston knew of my special day.  g-d only knows what people thought as they saw me squat down for my red-hot photo session.  'Squat' being an appropriate word.  I had done too many of them the day before at the gym and each step, let alone going from sitting to standing, was painful.

But we had a full day.  We had a few things potential to do and left for our flight at the crack of dawn - or before.  Before 14:00 we put in a full day, but kept going. 

I love walking around the city - and we did.  At some point by the end of the day we jumped on the T, but the rest was all cardio and some quad workouts when it came to Beacon Hill.   I totally pre-worked off the ice cream I would eat after a late dinner. 

That being said, I didn't even finish my one beer (I know, right??) because the local wheat beer was just not good.  And I didn't finish the bread either, so I earned my dessert.

One of the things we did was head to the brand new Institute of Contemporary Art.

....a very cool space with some very average to above average art.  Nothing moved me - not really.  And the main exhibit was on music.....and you know how I feel about that.

I take that back. One piece I loved - and thought of my cousin David.  Guards were all around, and there was no way to take a picture of it - and I don't think a casual picture could have gotten the essence of it anyways:  Olympus 2009.   Even the link does not do it justice.

Boston, it is worth noting, is a great town. I am liking it better than the other two times I've been here, though it hasn't been as touristy for us this time. The first time it was 100% work, so I saw nothing that wasn't Boston Medical Center. 

But the people here do not smoke very much at all - unlike my trip to Denver.  ...and there are some really attractive men here.  Wicked hot.

It was a great day, birth one or not.  We did nothing special meal-wise or dessert-wise for the day.  My gift was getting away with the man I love and that was enough.  I didn't even get a t-shirt out of it - and the museum had two really cool designs, but they were in black.  I'm not a black t-shirt kind of guy.

So...............that's my story.  At least for today.

Song by:  Dave Loggins

Saturday, August 13, 2011

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 18th 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. 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.

05:35.  Nu Shooz.  Or new shoes.  New Balance Minimus cross-trainers.  A minimalist shoe - like a Vibram five-finger, but without those fucking five fingers.  Black and red wouldn't have been my first choice in colour, but it is all they currently come in.  I'm hoping they'll help with my on-going tendinitis.

06:50.  Shaving the head at the gym. Or the pre-shave.  The lather-up, if you will.   ...and my not so rocking body.  Lots of work to do.

07:00.  ...that being said, I grabbed my fat man shorts by accident and threw them in the gym bag.  Don't took too hard for anything to see "down there".  First off, I have briefs on.  Secondly, you can see right down to my sandals, so nothing is getting in the way to see.  That said, I am at my lowest weight in lord knows how many years or decades. 

 09:05.  Our little cherry tomatoes are coming in.  The few that are in taste incredible. 

 09:08.  Our sprinkler system at work.

 13:30.  On the phone with Client Reporting.

18:50.  After my IT debacle, I got them to restore some of my functionality, but so far, not all.  Here I am going through what used to be 15,500 delete emails to retrieve some documents that were sent my way.  Painstaking.  I'm also trying to clean up my email box.  9,474 to go.   Ok, less than that.  I won't delete them all. 

20:30.  I'm not proud of this meal. I am traveling tomorrow and it was going on 9pm. I worked until dinner and went back right afterwards.

21:45.  Yes, I closed up the office - finally!!!

22:00.  Stinky garbage ready to go out

23:20.  Packing.  Again.  This time, not a work trip - though I'm sure I will work during this trip.

Time UnknownStripey McBrownerson Sophie on her throne. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Keep Fishin

Oh sexy girrrrrrlfriend.

That's what Long Duck Dong might say.

When in Tennessee this last week, we went out to eat with the entire team.  I like them all.  Very good guys....and gals.  But mostly guys.  It is the first male-skewed team I've worked on in quite a while.  That's odd for my line of work.

I like sushi, but I'm not a big sushi fan.  Two or three pieces is all I need, but usually you end up with something that's cut into 6-8.   And it's like zucchini - you can't give it all away. 

This place was more fusion.  Everything had jalapeno and/or mango in it.  I had never seen that in sushi before, but I don't eat it a lot, so what the fuck do I know?

This was my dish.  The presentation was nicer than the meal, though the food wasn't bad. 

It was the saké  I liked.  This was cold saké.  I'm not a fan of the warm stuff.

I was texting with Rebecca after dinner and she brought up one line from, I dunno, 23 years ago?   Yes, we remember shit from 23 years ago.

We had taken Jon out for his birthday to a Japanese place.  The kind of place where they do cooking at your table and you go home smelling like hot grease until you do a load of laundry...and have a Silkwood Shower.

Anyhoo, at some point, our Asian (fey) waiter said " sexy", but in that Asian way that made it come out " sesi".

I'll be honest, I don't know if he was talking about Jon, Becca or someone else. I'm sure both will claim being "the one".  And it's just one of those things that stuck.  Also that night, we started calling Jon, "Jon-san".   Anymore, it's pretty much just a Becky thing, but it's acknowledged by all.

Saké did not do the trick to get my drunk though.  I still had to hit the hotel bar for that.

It seems I've been writing more and more about my drinking.  I should watch that.  Clearly, if I'm noticing, it's becoming an issue.  Or potential issue.

On another/gratuitous note:  this was our busboy.   CUTE.  And way cuter when he flashed his teeth. 

Song by:  Weezer

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Blobby is one unhappy camper.

I've probably never been the happiest, but yesterday just sucked.  Correction:  one moment just sucked and it ruined just about everything.

I'm working - duh! - and at corporate for most of the week.  Upgrades to laptops and to Windows 2010 were to be had.  And fixes to existing problems.  I should have known better than to give up my laptop to IT, but it was the directive.  Not the prime one, but still.................

It is against IT policy for individuals to back-up their computer via jump drive and such, but I should have broken the rules. Firing me would have been better than the alternative.

The task was to take 4 hours.  Meanwhile 46 hours later, I get it back.  Minus every file I have ever had.  EVERY one.

My contracts are gone.  My budgets are gone.  Performance reviews of my staff are gone.  All my reports are into the ether. Policies, procedures, performance guarantees, you name it is missing from my computer.  My hard drive is as clean as a whistle. 

I guess if there is luck, I delete very few emails.  So of the 15,000 I have, I can start to rebuild some of these items.  I just don't know where and how to start.  Who sent this stuff to me?  What did they name it?  What was the subject in the email? 

IT will work on trying to recover, but I'm not horribly optimistic about it all.

I suppose it would be one thing if I were just starting a job, but I have all this history wiped out and the truth is, clients don't care about my woes in this regard.  And we support these same clients in some of our IT systems for what we do, so I can't really bemoan my issues without sending up red flags to them that they are paying for this potential kind of service, or lack of. 

Right now, it is all too much to contemplate.  I'm going to schedule this to publish in the morning but I'm going to try to get some sleep.  I think it's gonna be a restless night.

Song by:  Arcade Fire