Saturday, April 30, 2011

Closedown

So yesterday was the final day in the office.   My things had slowly been brought home, my stash of dark chocolates have been gone for weeks - and left unreplenished.  I like Dove Dark a lot, but no need to keep keeping them around.

Yesterday I brought home my chair and docking station and that was all she wrote.  That was the last of the crap.

As it turns out, besides the move, it was an ultra busy day.  I stopped counting at 258 (!!!!) emails.  Ultra frustrating too.  One client was just off the wall insane.  Former client now.  I think the 'former' part is all for the best.  I'm not losing sleep over it.

I love that everyone else who hasn't been gone for days all left by 16:00.  I was the last one out the door 2.5 hours later.  I didn't even look around.  I grabbed my shit and let the door hit me in the ass on the way out.

I didn't get too emotional about it. I do plan on seeing these folks even if we don't share space.  Lunch every two weeks.  Everyone takes a turn planning it.  I don't have to worry about mine until the last part of July.

There is a week before I start working from home.  I'm right back on the road, so I'll have to come to terms with it later.

Oh and a week or so ago, we had our last chip contest.  Poor Marty - I love the man, but for a bit I think he snapped. I came back from a trip to find this: Chipapalooza

It's not even all of them.  There was another counter with more of them.  78 bags.  78!!!

Regular. BBQ. Salt and Vinegar.  Salt and Pepper.  Sour Cream and Onion.  Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese.  Jalapeno.  Hot BBQ.  Dill Pickle.  Crab (yes, crab!).   I'm sure there were other flavors.  There had to be at least two brands for each flavour to be included.  It was all very scientific and well coordinated....as you can see.

You try one of each chip, mark your ballot (oh yes, there were spreadsheets) to determine which of each flavour was best and then your overall best pick.

I didn't eat one of each. It's not that I'm against eating 78 chips at one sitting,  ohhhh no.  I just skipped anything Pringles related.  I skipped anything with vinegar.  And yes, the Jalapeno were hot.  And oddly, the hot BBQ were much hotter.

I actually was one of five who picked the winner.  It was a brand called Dirty and the flavour was Salt and Pepper.   But the thought of eating 50-60 chips, or even parts of them was a bit much and a bit disgusting.

Still, it was a great thing that Marty did to engage everyone in the office knowing it was one of the last times we'd all be together.   I'm going to miss not hanging with him on those days that neither of us were on the road.

The title pic is my office right before I left.  I didn't take my desk. I didn't need it or want it.  Someone else bought it and on the last day, I actually used Marty's office since he had moved out two days earlier.

Well, second week of May, I'll start over in a new office - a home one.  I guess I should set that up, huh?


Song by:  the Cure

Friday, April 29, 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.



I'm a man - I'm a goddess
I'm a man - Well I'm a virgin
I'm a man - I'm a blue movie
I'm a man - I'm a bitch
I'm a man - I'm a geisha
I'm a man - I'm a little girl
And we make love togethe
r


Ahhhh....I remember driving in 1983 and hearing this come across the car radio.

Unfortunately,  I was with my 15 year old sister at the time, and one of her friends.  Still I went out and bought Pleasure Victim, what is essentially a seven song EP. ....and not really a bad song among them.

Ironically, or not, the song that made me aware of the group, is also my least favourite and least played.  Thanks to MTV, most people really know Berlin from their song (or their video), "The Metro".

Yes, Berlin is a total '80s band, but they mix it up with the kitch ("Sex (I'm A.....))",  the aforementioned hit, the moody ("Torture",  and the title track) and the would-be hits, ("Tell Me Why" and "Masquerade")

Terri Nunn is in good voice and and the band is more than adequate for drum machines, synths and an occasional real guitar and bass.

Pleasure Victim was a good debut and their next year's release, Love Life, was fine, but I never thought it matched the EP.    .....and of course, once they got to "Take My Breath Away", from Giorgio Moroder and the Top Gun soundtrack, I was out.  I was done.  The affair was over.

The debut disk, is still fun to listen too.  I can see myself on Indiana Avenue in my shitty apartment with no heat and huge drafts, but I played great music - even if I say so myself.

Thursday, April 28, 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!

I suppose the jokes could write themselves, but I'm not really in the mood to start trying to rattle them off.

I did find the name to be amusing, though even without reading the box, I knew for how the product was to be used, so it kind of took the wind out of my sails on making too much fun of it.

Still, what marketing genius came up with this?  I can imagine the pitch, the sophomoric reaction.  I'd do either of those things, but I'm not sure who gave the green-light.

Hey, it's the end of the month, or almost.  These posts can't all be winners.  Hell, most of them aren't. I'm thinking it might be time to drop this segment of the blog.  I've run through all the funny store items, it seems.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stranded

Some days work travel just sucks.  SUCKS.

Yesterday was one such day.

As I was in Columbus for a morning meeting, I did not have time to drive back to Cleveburgh to catch a plane to Vermont, so I went out of CMH.

Naturally, flying from there, there is a rub. Isn't there always?

To go east to Burlington, I had to go west to Chicago. UGH. Normally, I have had no issues with all the horror stories that O'Hare is famous for. I can no longer say that.

Due to "bad" weather there, we sat and sat and sat on the Columbus tarmac. Due to "bad" weather in Chicago, after we took off, we circle and circled and circled Chicago....for almost 90 minutes.

I asked the stewardess (yes, I'm calling her that, as opposed to Flight Attendant or 'clueless bitch'.) To be fair, I don't think she was clueless, she just opted not to tell me since I think she knew the answer.  So many flights tell you about the connecting flights and their gates.......there was nothing.  And when asked, she said, "how would I know?"  Whore!

I had an hour buffer between scheduled landing time to my connecting flight. It's not hard to do the math - I missed the connection.

I get that it's weather related, even though there wasn't a drop of rain or even low hanging clouds. I'm sure it was "wind". BFD. Clearly it wasn't bad enough to stop planes taking off. Like my connecting flight.

United was kind enough to book me on a flight the following day (today), take-off scheduled for after my meeting would have actually started. No offer of going stand-by on their two other flights....until I asked about it. Oh, and no apology for the hassle or inconvenience.

I suppose a "we're sorry" implies liability or something, so they avoid it.  It's just poor customer service, if you ask me.

Stand-by was an option.  I made it from #4 to #1, but never made it onto the actual flight. There was no reason to try the morning flight, so I am trying to get back to Cleveland.  The stand-by didn't work there, so I'm scheduled for a 21:30 CST flight.  I'm drafting this before - so I have no idea if I will actually be taking off.  All signs point to 'yes', but how many times have I heard that today?  (update: I made it home around 01:00)

Oh, I did snap a few pics (naturally).  The glamour of travel.

 
 Buddy, no one - and I do mean no one - wants to see this. I speak for the universe as a whole. We had a meeting and I was elected spokesman. 

 And of course, I was in the last row (19B) and saw this little sign on my seat.  You know, if that wench could even make it to the last row during an emergency, she'd have to wrestle that vest from my cold dead hands.  Survival of the fittest, baby.  Survival of the fittest.


Song by: Shawn Colvin

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Over the Waterfall

I grew up in a small 'burb known for it's beauty and peacefulness.  Everything thinks, 'oh, how great it must have been to be raised there'.

Of course, these people are 40+ years old when then say that.  When you're 13 or 18, you're just kind of bored to shit at a place like this and want to escape.

I'm sure all the trouble I got into as a child was an outlet for my boredom.

Yes, the center of the town is a waterfall.  Well, actually there are three, but two are man made.  The one behind me is natural.

My parents still live there and we were in town to get my sister's dogs and had lunch with my mother.  Since there had been a hell of a lot of rain the week before, I knew the falls would be going strong.  Often, they are not and it's safe to say I've never seen them at this strength before.

If you look above my head in that image pic, we used to be able to crawl up where those trees are and sit up at the edge of the falls without danger.  Any number of people dove off the falls - that was never my thing. I'd sit and climb down.

You can see the water is moving way too fast to sit up there this last weekend, not that two stupid girls didn't do just that.  Live and learn.

The river was completely swollen, but not at flood stage.  The built in dams help, but considering I've seen this river and falls for 40 years or so, it says something when I've never seen it this full or this fast.

I used the iPhone to shoot a few videos and instead of uploading to YouTube, I'm trying to embed right into the blog from the phone.  I'm not sure how it will work.

video



Song by: Michelle Shocked

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Music Monday

While I don't ever remember seeing a video for this song, "Is It a Crime" remains my favourite song by Sade.

 Taken from their second disk, Promise, back in  - wait for it - 1985 (!!!!),  it has that same jazzy-pop style that the group is known for, but at least with this song, for me, had an extra element of artistry.

There are times during the song where Sade's vocals are not the strongest, but they're not supposed to be.   Clearly there are times during the song when they are a force, but vulnerability plays a key to her singing with this piece.

For the most part, I'm not a fan of the saxophone, but it is put to good use here and I do love the rising and cascading horn arrangement.  It's well done.

I also like the percussion.  Some really subtle work going on in the background.

I don't know if the song was a hit or not.  If it was, it was not on the level of something like "Smooth Operator", but I also think it has more character than that one.

The first 1:15 or so of the video has no music.  So, sorry if you have to sit through that.  You can always let it buffer and start at that mark, if you only want to hear the song.

...and as is standard, sorry if you have to sit through any ad before the song begins.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Wheel

Long time readers of this here blog thingy will know of my tales of car wrecks that happen outside our house, and sometimes into our yard.

It is the curse of having a corner lot on a busy-ish street - one that is one way with a decent curve right near us.

The speed limit is clearly marked at 20mph, but it is also clear that most everyone doubles that "suggestion".   Bastards.

So on Friday night, we were sitting around eating the lovely salads I had created via Mike, via Martha.  I may or may not have heard a disruption in traffic, to which normally my ears are very attuned anymore.  And yes, I may have heard emergency vehicles, but that means nothing since we live near two major hospitals.  I should have picked up on the fact that the sirens stopped as they came near our house.  Not always an indicator, but it can be.

As we were thinking of bedtime, Denton was walking through the house and saw the emergency vehicles.  We wandered outside to see what was what.

What was, was this.

Another car in our yard.  Yes, the exact same trajectory that the one last year took. Maybe not as far up into the yard, but still........

The ivy had grown back, where the car last year had ripped out a landing strip - now we're back to square one.   .....not that I really care that much about ivy.  That's not the point.

The point is, the city hasn't done anything about the plethora of accidents that happen here.  I mean, sure they did when that one guy went over the cliff in his car and died.  So I guess someone has to die in our yard before the city does something.  Fair enough.

C'mon fate's right hand - decapitate some moron driver! 

Last time, the folks were walking around and alright.  This time, there was no driver to be found when I went out.  The ambulance had already carted him off to the hospital that caters to the trauma level set.  That couldn't have been good.   He missed the telephone pole by an inch or so.  See?

But the biggest shocker was yesterday morning when Denton went out for the paper and saw the car's tire sitting near our house.  80-90 feet past the crash site.  Or - up the hill, past 8-10 trees, across the yard before coming to it's resting place.  See the title image and this one here:

Yup, it traveled all that way across this yard and landed right at the bottom of this pic, which you now cannot see.   That's fucked up, right?

And of course, if this tree gets hit one more time, if the car doesn't take it down, we'll have to.  Which means, there is one less barrier between the accident scene(s) and the house.

So far, the only upshot is that I contacted (again), via email, some city guy about fixing this problem.  He has seen every picture I've taken of every accident on the property.  Oh yes, I'm documenting any of them I come across.

On a Saturday, he not only emailed back, but forwarded it up the management chain.  Here's hoping.  Here is hoping!



Song by:  Rosanne Cash

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Martha My Dear

I don't think this is turning into a cooking blog anymore than it really is a music blog.  It's just a Blobby blog.

But here I am, blogger man,  off on another cooking adventure. Doo-doo-doo-dooooo. ("he'll be back!" - that line is for Becca and Sal)

I was over at Mike's Short Attention Span Theater and saw he had a recipe from Martha Stewart.

I didn't go all goo-goo about the recipe because it was from Martha. Truth be told, I've never turned a page of her magazine or any of her books.  I didn't really have much respect for her until her prison stint, then I figured she was all bad-ass. Still, I've never paid attention to any of her 152 shows and certainly had not made any of her food.  Until now.

Mike made her new spinach salad sound so good, I had wanted to try it.   Yes, 'new' is italicized because apparently she has an old, outdated, tired recipe.  I know this because as I was trying out the new one, Denton looked something up on-line and it was a very different one he was reading vs the one I was making.  I started getting confused, not that it is all that difficult to throw me off my A game.

Anyhoo......the salad sounded good and a little different so I figured, what the heck.

It actually was really good, and unlike Mike, I took pictures.

I have never cooked with chorizo before and I don't think I exactly purchased the right stuff.  It was ok, and it would have been better had I done it correctly.  Still, potatoes, sausage, uncooked baby spinach and egg on the surface sounds iffy - unless it's an omelet - but it really was good, and hearty.
Salad for dinner?  This works.   Filling, but not making you too full.  And the dressing couldn't have been easier.

 The ingredients, minus the shallots. I used them, I just forgot to photograph them.

This isn't the way that Martha says to poach your eggs, but these little bitty titty cups are perfect for doing it.  So, why should we mess with a good thing, even if the eggs don't come out so free form for atop the salad.

I took pics of the potatoes and chorizo cooking, but I didn't post them.  It bored me. I didn't have time to take pics of making the warm dressing.

But here is the finished product.

Like Mike, I'd highly recommend making it.  Except for the oil, everything is pretty good for you (and a little olive oil ain't killing anyone) - and salad with a little bit of protein?  C'mon, it's the best of all worlds.

It's Martha, so she seems to like us to dirty a lot of dishes and utensils along the way.  For salad you want it to come together more quickly, but it doesn't.  Still it's a good selection to put into dinner rotation.  It's a keeper.



Song by:  the Beatles

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl

Now and again here, I expound upon getting wrapped into having to bowl.

Sometimes it is a fund raiser like Big Brothers / Big Sisters, but usually it is some work event.  Normally team building, but this one was in regards to the closing of our office.

Even though the close takes place next week, yesterday was the day that most people were in the office and not traveling, so yesterday was the day.

I really went for the people, not the bowling. I like the people I work with.  I might have also gone for the beer, which helps me bowl.  Well, it helps me think I can bowl.

I don't completely suck at it if I concentrate, but I don't have the focus.  I'm very all over the board.......or alley as it were.   And I don't really care.  Bowling is a distraction (from drinking) and I do it maybe once or twice a year (the bowling, not the drinking!)

Anyways, everyone was very distracted and not taking their turn, so my man-date, Scott, and I just kept taking everyone's turn.....and I'd do great and then be horrible.   Just as it was meant to be.


He stuck around - drinking and mingling. I figured I had consumed 4-5 beer and it was time for me to call it a night.  I still had to walk back to the office and drive home.

But for good measure I put two pics in this post.  The top, it's hard to tell the ball and my head apart.  Both are round and shiny.   The other is of Scott.  He's my bestest friend at work and actually, he ranks up there with all the people I know.  We get along quite well and he has a wicked sense of humour - so you know that works for me.

As you know I'm drafting this the night before it goes "live", it is way past my bed time and I gotta take something for my soon to be headache.



Song by:  Nina Simone

Thursday, April 21, 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!


If nothing else, this post will get one person I know to just crawl out of his skin. That alone is worth it to me.     ...I kid....I kid.

Overall, I am a fan of Alison Krauss + Union Station.  Their new disk, Paper Airplane was released a week or so ago.

AKUS hasn't changed much over the last 10 years.  Three studio releases in this time frame, since the addition of Jerry Douglas on slide and dobro guitar - they are as close to bluegrass crossover as a bluegrass band can be.  I guess I mean - they are a popular bluegrass band, which is almost kind of an oxymoron.

Since the 1997 release of So Long, So Wrong, they have become a bit more formula-driven.  A number of the same outside songwriters remain, the same amount of more traditional bluegrass songs (two or three) sent Dan Tyminski's way (you might know him better as the singing voice of George Clooney's character in 'O Brother, Where Art Thou') and an instrumental that features Douglas' outstanding skills on the dobro and slide guitar.

I drafted the above before the disk was released, I hit all the marks except for the one instrumental. 

All good things, but when Lonely Runs Both Ways was released seven years ago, I almost found it too slick.  It's very good, but very polished.  At least when Krauss (who has more Grammys for any female artist - and is only three behind for the most for any artist ever) paired herself with Robert Plant a few years back,  I thought, well at least it was something different, even if it wasn't stellar.

Say what you want about the band, they possess the talents on their respective instruments and their harmonies are flawless.  Even non-fans, I think would appreciate seeing them live.  It's nice to see nothing but their musical abilities put to work with no studio enhancement.

The disk is good, if predictable. It leaves no room for errors. Like their last disk, it's a bit slick,  but not quite over-produced.  I keep coming back to the musicianship (Barry Bales bass and Ron Block's banjo and guitar work is always stellar).  It's outstanding and their harmonies are still shining, though they don't use them to their full potential here.

I really do like Tyminski's selections - especially "Bonita and Bill Butler".   It took a number of listens, but I'm liking with the title track more and more. The first soaring part of Krauss' voice seems jarring, but after a bit you are used to it.

Since I was in college and Richard and Linda Thompson released Shoot Out the Lights, I've been told by critics how much I should love Richard Thompson.  I have yet to find his appeal.  It seems AKUS' cover of "Dimming of the Day" is arguably the centerpiece/highlight of this disk.  The song is nice, it is well done, it's the longest of their songs, but I don't know that it is outstanding. I'm currently not finding it that way.

I'm much more into "Lie Awake".  It is one of those songs that just you know you like from the first listen. It is not done justice listening to it via a laptop/iTunes either.  It must be played through a proper system.  Even earbuds are better.  You need to hear the string bass for a song like this.  It's dark, it's moody - it is right up my alley.

I also like "My Love Follows You Where You Go" and the Bales written "Miles to Go".

If I have a true criticism, it is that Krauss doesn't use her fiddle as she used to.  It's buried on her songs, if it's used at all.  The only time is put to full use is on the songs she does not sing lead.  It used to be a stand-out instrument, but I suppose to play to a more mainstream audience, fiddle is a dead give-away that you're listening to bluegrass.  Not so much with a mandolin or dobro guitar.  It's a shame to downplay that talent.  Krauss current instrument is her voice.  It's clearly identifiable, like how Emmylou Harris uses hers.

I totally get that AKUS is not only a band, but now a brand/commodity, so it's easy and even necessary to play it safe, but it'd be so much fun for them to open up and just let loose now and again. I guess I will have to see them in concert to see that anytime soon.

While I could throw a video up for My Music Monday at a later date, I think I'll just include the clip for their title track right here.  It is the title track, "Paper Airplanes".

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Footprints

A few weeks ago I went on about my injured foot....and the new shoes I purchased.   Those did not help, though I didn't really think they would be the answer.

I even tried on those Virbrams, and g-d help me, they made my foot feel better, even in the five minutes I walked around the store in them. 

Maybe it was because I caused the rest of my foot so much trauma by trying to separate my little toe to fit into those 'five fingers', that I created more pain there than with my initial problem.

When it came down to it, I couldn't spend $85 and up and walk around in those things, even though I have an athletic trainer working for me who swears by them.

There are physicians I work with that I have just never gone to for medical advice or attention.  But before I made an appointment with a podiatrist, I sought out some internal counsel.  Turns out the doc use to be........ta da.....a podiatrist.

Who knew?

So, there in the office, Dr. V looked at my foot.

There was no swelling and I couldn't quite replicate the pain, though it was present.  Oh - and I should mention that it is no longer restricted to just my arch - it now radiates up to and past my ankle.  He knew immediately what it was:  my Peroneal Tendon.  

The immediate treatment is ice and ibuprofen.  What a moron I am.  It never occurs to me to take a pain killer for - duh - pain.  I still don't remember to take it like I should, especially for the anti-inflammatory.   It's taken months to get to this pain point, it will take quite a while for it to go away, but at least there is an answer.

And it didn't cost me a thing......except 3-4 months of pain.



Song by:  Squeeze

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Long Distance Winner

I have often "joked" about not getting out of this life early.   Damn!

One of my grandmother's died at 94.  My dad is past 90.  My mother's two brothers are 90 and 92. 

This last Sunday we celebrated my uncle and aunt's 70th anniversary.  70!!!!

Fuck.   That is a long time.

They had five kids, those kids had like 19 kids of their own and I have no idea how many great-grand kids exist.  Probably too many.

Like my father's side of my family, the 2nd cousins are much closer to my age.  Some of them are only one and three months younger than I am.  As with any family, some of them I like, some I barely know....and then everything else in between.  I know my 1st cousins on this side of the family, but again, they are a wee bit older (the oldest will turn 70 at the beginning of next year) and two of them are already deceased.

Denton and I had a nice time sitting and eating with two of my 2nd cousins and their wives. I like them, but never see them and never socialize outside of family functions.  We liked mingling with a few other ones too.

I will say I was a bit surprised for a milestone like this, that all (or at least more) of the grandkids didn't show.  Only eight attended.  To be fair, there is a faction that are probably incarcerated, so I suppose if they jumped parole, that might be their excuse. It's a colorful group all around.  It's great when the homo of the bunch (me) isn't the black sheep of the family.  I'm not even close.

My 90 year old uncle brought out some pictures of my mother's 70th birthday, which was 12 years ago (yes, I'll wait while you add it up).  Man, we were so young.   Or young looking.  Denton had dark hair.  He had hair!  I had more, but not a lot more.   Some of the elders looked so much younger, but oddly most of my sisters looked the exact same.  I'm not sure if that means they looked old then or haven't aged much since.

But it was nice to pass around the pictures and people kind of reminded that Denton and I were together that long ago.  Longer, but it's a good visual reminder.

Speaking of, as we were leaving I congratulated her again on her special day and she replied with what I perceived as this great comment; she said that she hoped I could celebrate an anniversary like this someday.

I'm assuming she meant with Denton, though I suppose she could have meant that I'd find myself a nice woman some day.  I don't think she did though - they have all been very welcoming of him.   They come up and hug him before ever acknowledging my presence.   Such is my life.


As for other long distance things - I wanted to mention that Morty ran the Boston Marathon yesterday.  It's like his 54th marathon or something.  I really have no idea how many he has done, just that I'm always impressed by what he does, and that he does it.

It was his second Boston run.  Actually he got a deferment from last year when he had foot surgery shortly before his scheduled run. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), this is the last year for deferments.

Anyway,  Morty didn't win.  I mean, he's not from Hawaii Kenya.  I think he did more than respectable, but his success depends on him and it is for no one else to say.  I'm in awe of his marathon, triathlon and IronMan abilities.

I thought about it today and I was so new to blogging eight years or so ago, that I had a dozen entries on his first race where I tracked him through his course.  No such entries today, though I did check in a few times at his splits to see how he was doing.

I love seeing folks who go the distance, be it family or friends. 


Song by:  Buckingham/Nicks

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Music Monday


There is usually an anonymous person who comments on some of my music choices.  They do not care for my selections.  That's their prerogative, of course.  Make no mistake though, I do know who it is.

I have mentioned my friend, Josh, thinks there is no such thing as bad music.  While I will not completely agree with him, I am trying to get into the mindset that at least my music choices are not bad.  (insert snarky/smiley emodicon here!)

Maybe some of my choices are predictable or milquetoast - but I like what I like.  If you catch on to something that you enjoy, great.  If not, at least you can say you tried it and moved on.  That's my take away with a lot of music.

It's quite sad, but lately most new music I hear is in Spin class.  Commercial radio plays the same 18 songs and most of them horrid. Satellite isn't that much better - being me, I notice patterns.  If the "new wave" station plays a Pet Shop Boys song, it's the same one over and over.  Eventually they'll switch to another one and then play that to death.  But if you want to hear Guns N Roses, Steely Dan or America, there is always one of their songs on XM.   I'm not saying this is a good thing.

I thought XM would bring me more choices of new stuff.  Not so much.  So I get it from Spin.  The problem there is, I might only pick up one song per week, since Andy loves his selections from the previous week's Glee episode.  I love the man, but oy....there is only so many times you want to hear Gwenyth Paltrow sing a mash-up of "Singing in the Rain" and "Umbrella".  The appropriate amount of times for that?  ZERO.

This week's selection may throw some folks off - like 'anonymous'.  And it threw me a bit too.  I'm not a big rap fan at all.  And by big, I mean, I'm not one at all.  But something about Dr. Dre's "I Need a Doctor", I really like.

Dre, if you might remember, was a member of N.W.A., and the force behind such rap artists as Snoop Dog and Eminem.  Mostly now, he's making his fortune off of new headphones that retail for $399 a pop.  I will give him this, they sound amazing!

Same with this song.  There are two lines of sung lyrics (repeated), I'm assuming possibly sampled from another song (ala Dido with Eminem a few years back), but the majority is rap.

Make no mistake, while credited as Dr. Dre, the majority of the rap is provided by Eminem. Dre raps at the end.  And yes, the Doctor in the title refers to Dre himself, as Marshall Mathers raps about how Dre is/was his mentor.

The song is like 5 minutes long; the video about 2:45 minutes longer.  I'd say skip the first 2:45, but some of the images of the Pacific are quite cool to watch. There is no music in that first 2:45.

Yes, this is the explicit version.  F-bombs are dropped.  As is the gay F-bomb, once by Dre.  At first I took a little bit of offense to it, but you know, I can't complain about it when they drop every other derogatory phrase too.  Do I wish he didn't say 'faggot'?  Sure, but I'm not gonna cry over it.

I totally get that most of my readers will skip this. And while rap still isn't my thing, now and again, I'm impressed by Slim Shady and how he just rolls his words out so effortlessly.  I can see there is an art to it, even if I don't always care for the message.  And when they bring in the singing part to offset the rap, they knew what they were doing on the timing aspect.

And the song is really good for Spin class too - especially on a heavy resistance hill. 

...and maybe, just maybe, by putting "I Need a Doctor" in here, I'll get some street crud cred with 'anonymous'.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Soul Kitchen

Blobby has been back in cooking mode.  ....and I'm liking it.

I only alluded to one work change (might there be more than one?) coming up in the next few weeks.  I am employed, but there are not enough Cleveland employees to sustain the office and its expenses.  So beginning May 1, I will be working from home when I'm not traveling.

This is not necessarily a good thing for me.  It is not that I won't be productive, it's just that I need better structure:  a need to shower, dress, eat and actually stop doing work.  When I currently do days here and there from home, few of those things ever get done.   I will really miss the human interaction and my co-workers.  I do like them a lot.

Anyway I'm off topic.  Kind of.  When I start working from home, I can take a little time to start dinner so it's ready when the better-half gets home.  No, I don't feel like the wife in this scenario.  I like to cook.

So,  the other day I made two meals at once.  Or in succession.  Both recipes came from Bo's Bowl.  It seems he's been my go-to guy lately when trying new stuff.  So far nothing has come up a loser.

I mean, I don't do all his stuff, but the things I think I want to eat and can tackle, I do and with success.

First up (kind of) was Chipotle Shredded Beef Tacos.  You don't have to make tacos out of the meat, but it is what I did.  The prep was not horrible, but the cooking does take time - 2 - 2.5 hours.  It it not a meal to prepare when you get home from work if you want to eat in a timely manner.  This is why I prepped it and threw it in the oven.  The plan was to use it as a meal the following day.  ....and that's what I did.

The half can of chipotles was exactly the right amount.  I'm not the biggest fan of the chipotle, especially the fast food place (somewhere, Morty just passed out).  But in this dish it worked well. Very well. Smokey and spicy.  It leaves a nice slow, but constant burn. The perfect amount.

Easy Peasy on the prep.  The chuck roast, garlic, onion, tomatoes and the chipotle.  Cumin and brown sugar are included too, they just missed the photo shoot. 

Brown the meat.  Pretty much says all there is to say. The one I picked could have been a little leaner, but it is what they had at the time.

Pour all that prep work into the pan, cover the meat with it.  Cook for that 2.5 hours.  When it comes out you shred it with a fork.  

It makes a fuck of a lot of meat, so it's good for multiple meals or if you're having guests over.  We're still eating some of the leftovers.

Unlike Bo, I did not deep fry my own tortilla shells. I didn't have the time or inclination. But I did go with blue corn ones to make it look purdy.


For my waist, I opted not to purchase sour cream.  It's not needed.  Missed, but not needed.  I like sour cream.

But while that meat was cooking for the next day's dinner,  I still had to make dinner, so I went with another Bo suggestion:  Pork Tenderloin with a Maple Dijon Glaze.

Another easy prep. Shopping is the worst part.  How difficult is it to salt, pepper and thyme a pork loin and put it in a skillet?  Not very.

It seemed to take a longer time to get to the 150 degree mark than I thought it would and I fretted that the pork would be dry.  Quite the opposite, as it turned out.

While the pork rests, you deglaze the pan and make the sauce.  It's very very good even though you might not think maple and mustard go together.  I know I didn't.  I actually think the apple cider vinegar left a stronger flavour and in retrospect I would have cut back a little on the maple syrup or added more mustard.  But that's me.

 All the ingredients you'd need.  Simple, right?

Two one-pound loins makes two meals for two folks, or would serve four.  I'd have only bought one, but then I would have to figure out how to readjust the recipe for all the ancillary ingredients, and to be truthful, I just couldn't be bothered.

I forgot to take pictures of the sauce being made.  After it is, you just put the meat back in to mingle in it all.  It reheats nicely for a second meal too.

The pork is a little pink has a nice crust and glaze on it.  The meat was very juicy and very tender.

As you can see from the above picture, the side was applesauce.  Yes, pork and applesauce.  That was not my first choice.  I was going to roast asparagus, but I had to take the second rack out of the oven so I could fit that big-assed dutch oven full of chuck roast into our oven. I had no place to roast the veggies. 

I suggest anyone who cooks to check out Bo's site.  He has some good and easy prep things to make for dinner and such.

So working from home will have an upside. I don't mind the cooking or cleaning part.  I just hate the coming up with idea for dinner.  That's the hardest part.     and yes, ......that's what she said.


Song by:  Patti Smith

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No Future in the Past

D@vid, over at Another Mile Marker, was wondering about a favourite picture bloggers had of themselves.

He didn't really say it had to be an older picture, but it seemed implied.

Stating I have a favourite picture of myself is like saying one clown is less scary than the other.

I'm not thrilled with how I look, or how I smile, etc.  I get that many of you will come to my defense and say nice things, and that's great, but it doesn't really change my perception of me.  It's like hearing yourself on an answering machine.

Sure, I was a precious 3 year old, but I'm not sure that's what D@vid was going for.

D@vid alluded to 'Yum' or 'Yummy'.  Yeah, that's never gonna happen.  I don't even use the word(s).  I might do the Froderick Frunkenshein follow-up of 'oh yes, it is quite good', but never the Igor 'you just made a yummy sound."   And yummy is not an adjective to describe me anyway - especially by me. {shudder}

I settled on this picture.  Look at all that hair, would you?  Back in 1990-1991 (that is as best as I can guess when the pic was taken).  But you can see the beginning of the end, with the start of what could have been a very nasty comb-over.....right in the front.

Brett might notice I'm not so pasty white, and it seems I might have always had decent legs.

I am there with my then two favourite boys:  Chase and Reggie.  One of my sisters has always had two dogs and I love(d) them so.  Chase (the golden) would let you pet him until your arm fell off.  He was so well trained.  Reggie (the spaniel) was a little more high-strung, but he was a good good boy.  Not to trash their memory, I still adore Petey (their beagle) the most. 

I do love that Reggie and Chase had a two story dog house with a 25' run attached.  Yes, believe it or not, that is not my sister's house, but the dog one.  Spoiled rotten, they were.  Mostly by me.  I'd take them down the hill and into the river.

It is hard to believe they've been gone for 8-10 years.  It's hard to believe my hair went bye-bye about 4 years after this picture was taken.  Well, 4-5, if anyone knows exactly when it was taken....or by who. I'll assume my sister, or Denton.

Apparently, I'm losing my memory as well.



Song by: Vince Gill

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Friend to Me

This post goes to my one earlier in the week where I said I might have a slight surprise.  I'm traveling for business, so that's nothing new.

I'm traveling to Phoenix, so that is new.  I've only been out here once before for work and while I was writing my blog back then, it was nothing to what it is now.  And I didn't have much on my blogroll other than new and entertainment sites.  I certainly didn't link to other bloggers way back then.

Now I do.  And now I have blogger buddies across the nation - and in Canada.

I'm assuming by now you've figured I've met another blogger friend, Dr. Spo.  Of course, many might recognize him from the picture I posted in the title image.

I also got to meet Someone.   Smell me.

Spo makes it three bloggers now that I have met.  Four if you count my brief introduction to Joe.My.G-d. back in 2004 (?) while having a drink at the Dugout with David G.  It's six if you include Becca and Kris (who I think has given up on her blog) - but technically I knew them before blogs existed., so they might not count - in that way.

I'd like to think we had a nice time over dinner. Conversation was easy and not forced or anything - at least I didn't think so.  I felt the same way with Tornwordo and Birdie.  I suppose it helps that we all read each other's blogs and right or wrong, think we know more about each other than we actuallyy do.   Eh - so what?

It was a very nice time for me. Jolly good fun, as Spo might say.  I can't and won't answer for them, but I enjoyed it.

I would say dinner went late, but it was 7:30.  But Pacific time. 10:30 my time.  I'm trying to stay on EDT, so it's not 20:09 and I'm headed to bed.  I have a conference call that starts at 05:00.  Ok, it's really 08:00, but I my clock will still say 05:00.

Night all.  Or morning.  Whichever side of this you're on.


Song by:  Garth Brooks

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How Am I Different?

A number of bloggers is taking Jim up on his question:  "How are you different in person from your blog persona"? 

Am I different?

 My first thought was - my real self farts.  My blog persona is flatulent free.  ....but that's probably not true.  I can totally see my blog self tooting while I write.  But you'll never hear it - or worse.

My blog self is a part of me, for sure, but is it the real me?  Yes.  It's the total real me?  No.

There are clearly a lot of aspects I put forth here that are the real real me, but I temper these things for the sake of some privacy.  It ain't about mystery - I'm not that interesting.

I don't put a lot about work here. I keep that for my own angst. And for the most part I don't really care to relive my daily work routine, dissect it and regurgitate it back for you.  No offense.  But I have enough trouble sleeping.

I put stuff here about Denton, but you don't get a lot about him; about us.   Just glimpses.  I do have family, as you somewhat read that now and again I mention a sister (or some of them), a brother-in-law or their kids. I do not go into detail about what kind of relationships I have with them.

I have strayed off the Stuff &Nonsense part of what the blog is/was subtitled.  I do still try to keep it light-hearted but now and again dive into some situation, be it political or media driven.   And those who know me, know I'm normally light-hearted and that most anything can be laughed at.  This is the beauty of my friends - as different as we are, there is a blue streak of recognition that runs through all of us, which is why we have been so close for a quarter of a century.

Overall, I think you get a good look at who I am, but you don't get it all.  How can you?  I don't believe you get all of anyone - from a blog, from a friendship, from a relationship or from work.  You see snippets.

Oddly enough, you get more than most here.  You see all those little facets of my life, even if not in the greatest of detail.  I can tell you, that most people at work don't know I'm a cancer survivor.  Some know I ride bikes, but not all.  None of them know my love of music, which I inflict upon you weekly.  None have seen me without my shirt on.

I don't think any blogger is the same in 'print' as in real-life.  It think it is almost downright impossible. 




Song by:  Aimee Mann

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 14th 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.

04:38.  Blobby can't sleep.  I'd like to say this is the time I got up, but it was the time I went downstairs, after lying awake, then dressing for the gym.  I still had almost an hour to kill before that even opened.  Insomnia sucks.

07:00.  Post workout. Pre work.  I figure, a little gratuitous shot never hurt hits to the blog.

07:35.  Work desk.  Half a bagel with light cream cheese - and my readers.  My contacts don't work so well for the close up stuff, even though they are bifocal contacts.  I'm old.

10:00.  The Craig Project.  
A VP in my office fired a guy named Craig months ago.  Now and again, Craig's head will show up in the weirdest places in his office.  I have no idea who is behind this.  hehehehe.   Marty keeps each one he finds.  He has not found them all............or so I've heard.
14:00.  A look down E. 9th Avenue - going south.  The last pic you'll see from this office.  They are closing it down.  I will be working from home at the end of the month.


17:05.  Part of Cleveland Illuminating Company.  We're a very industrial city.

17:10.  We also have a DayGlo factory. Who knew?  Well I did.  I pass it a few times per week.

17:50.  Second time at the gym yesterday.  This time it was for Spin class.  Yes, those are all my blue towels on my bike.  I sweat a lot.

19:15.  The Baldwin Water Treatment Facility.  It's a beautiful building, not that you can't really see it in this picture.

19:45.  Downloading my pre-purchased iTunes copy of the new Alison Krauss + Union Station album.  Oh yes, David, it will be my Record of the Month.  Brace yourself.

20:20.  Dinner.  Homemade tacos.  It was one of the meals I prepped the day before to which I alluded in yesterday's post. More on that in a few days.  But man, but a good heat they gave off.  A nice slow but steady burn.  Another recipe winner.

21:40.  One tired kitty cat.  Poor Sophie is always so tired the day we have our cleaning person come in. She follows her around like a dog might, so she is always beat at the end of the day.  And poor Denton - she take over his chair.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Times

What can I say?  It's been a decent few days.

Yes, it is easy to bitch and moan in blog-form.  I won't lie and say I've got life on a string, but the weekend was nice.

It is April.......in Cleveland........and Sunday it was 82 frickin' degrees.  1 degree off from the all time record.  Yeah, we could have done yard work or all the other stuff on the honey-do list, but we went downtown, sat outside and had a late lunch.

I have tons of work travel in the next three weeks.  Denton is gonna be lonely - so am I.  But at least he'll have Sophie.  I will have FaceTime so I can see Denton and Sophie.

I am trying out a few new recipes this week.  Well, actually, I did two of them last night.  One for dinner last night and one for tomorrow or the next day.  The second one took about 20 minutes prep and two and one half hours to cook.  No way I could pull it off after working all day. 

I know you want to know what I made, but I figure I can get two frickin' blog posts out of this little chore.  I can say that dinner last night turned out incredibly well.   I've got a good meal for guests.  I'm so psyched by that.

But of course, my big win so far of the week:   the Indians are in first place.

I know - none of you care.  Or few of you.  But you know, last year they started in last place and ended in last place.  With no exaggeration, I think I can count on one hand how many times they were not in last place last season.

We don't have a lot of chances to say we're number one.  I'm actually thrilled I can open the sports section again.  Honestly, I normally only read it during baseball season, but last year there was no good reason to do it without major depression setting in.

Don't get me wrong, I hope we hold on to our standing or at least don't plummet to the bottom of the rankings, but I'm a life long Cleveland fan - I know the odds and out trends.  Still I'm hopeful.

And the last bit of good new is Indians and baseball related:  former loser tribe member, Manny Ramirez, has retired before having to take a 100 game suspension and probably getting his ass canned due to steroid use and abuse.

So many people were enamoured of Manny when he played for Cleveland, but I knew he was a lazy SOB.  Yeah, he could hit, but I never saw anyone be so slow when "hustling" to catch a ball.   He never tried.  I saw it time and again in Boston and Los Angeles, but I figured it was now their problem.

The bastard will now not get into the Hall of Fame, which suits me fine.

I do have a trip coming up at the end of this week that might have a slight surprise blog entry to it - but you'll all have to wait and see.



Song by:  Chic