Tuesday, May 31, 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!
It seems I'm on a roll with more bluegrass, country and/or Americana music lately.  This month's selection is no different.

Emmylou Harris has a voice unlike no other.  I don't even think that is open to debate.  Like it or hate it, she sings like no one else and it has been this way for what, 35-40 years?  Personally, I love her voice.

Normally, I like Harris as a music interpreter as opposed to doing her own material, but now and again she shines in this aspect.   With Hard Bargain, she succeeds and fails depending on the track.  While it has gotten stellar reviews, I find it a bit uneven myself.

There are great great songs, like "The Road" (a tribute to her mentor, Gram Parsons), the gritty and fun "Six White Cadillacs" (though the iTune video version is even better!), the title track, "Goodnight Old World" and "Cross Yourself".

I know I should like "Darlin' Kate", but it is just ok. Same with "My Name is Emmett Till".  But I find them to be just fair and I'm left wanting more.  I'm all for Harris' dog rescue program, but "Big Black Dog" just does not fit here.

I am impressed that the disk is just Harris and two other musicians.  I think that takes great talent to do this.  I might have liked to hear Anna McGarrigale's backing vocals, but Harris took those out and sang her own harmonies.  Still, it sounds good.

Harris has done more with her own work (Stumble into Grace, Red Dirt Girl), so I expected and wanted more from this disk.  Don't get me wrong, it's good - better than most anything released this year, but I still expected and wanted better.

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Music Monday

I had to think to myself this last weekend:  was Memorial Day important enough to disrupt the My Monday Music post?

Actually, it was not.  I'm even delaying my weekend of friends post for My Music Monday.  So if my friends don't make the cut, I don't see how some veterans are rising above that.  No offense to them.  Either group.

That being said, the choice today, Dire Straits', "Brothers in Arms", I guess the title could be tied into the whole military aspect to the holiday.

As songs go, "Brothers in Arms" ranks up there in my top 20 favourite songs of all time. I think I can safely say this.  Mark Knopfler's guitar work, his songwriting and his actual singing come together perfectly.

I was always a fan of Dire Straits, but I can say I wasn't thrilled with the entire disk - where this was the title song.  "Money For Nothing" was a bit too overplayed and a little forced for my liking.  "Walk of Life"?  Nooooooo Thank You.

The video for "Brothers in Arms" is just ok.  It's a little "Take on Me"-ish, which was the style at the time, but the song is stellar.  It saved the album on its own merits.

...and hey, it was good enough for Aaron Sorkin to use it effectively in The West Wing for President Bartlet's re-election decision episode.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


We've been in Columbus for the long weekend, hanging with my peeps. I flew directly there from my work week and Denton drove in to  meet me.  Rebecca and Dith were waiting for me in the airport.  We never even made it out of there without having a beer.

That is the way a weekend should work. 

I will write more about the weekend as it wraps up, but while we were down here, I needed to get my hairs cut. It had been six days!! SIX DAYS!!!!  I was like frickin' Pippi Longstocking. You know I normally buzz my head two to three times per week.  Or did.

But yesterday I went for it.  I've been so close anyways but I went for broke.  ...and I like it.

While walking with the gang to a farmer's market and across the street was a good old-time barber shop.  I made a break for it, avec Denton,  I mean, I needed someone to take pics as I opted to actually shave my head.  Or have it shaved.

I paid someone to "cut" my hair.  I haven't been in a barber since maybe 1998.  Probably 1997.  It was a weird experience to be in such an establishment, and to have to dole out cash for someone to do what I normally at no cost.

There was slight disappointment.  I went over the bumps on my head with the barber, which you're all familiar with. No worries, he did not hurt me that way. And then I forgot to mention that I had a sunburn on my head. I realized that on like the their pass of the head with a razor. 

I was most bummed about no straight razor.  I assumed that is the implement that would be used to make me a chrome(r) dome.  Morty told me it probably wouldn't be that they don't seem to use them.  Becky confirmed this.  How they are the go-to source for barbers and razors is beyond me, but that is the beauty of them.

True to their word, Mike, the doer of the deed, pulled out a frickin Bic, single blade, disposable razor.  I user nicer razors to shave my shoulders!   ummmm....forget you heard that last part.

Mike slathered up my head with shaving cream and then putting steel to skin, like such.

Unlike others have said, I don't think I'm showing you a beaver shot.  And unlike my cousin commented, the carpets do not match the drapes.  I'm still native - down there.

But in a matter of minutes, the task was complete - and unlike that snotty 2 year old before me, I didn't get a lollipop.  I did though immediately text David G, who has been smooth up there for years, and I got a two word reply:  'bout time'.   Nice.

For what little hair I had to start atop, and what little was taken off, it felt completely different.  The way the sun and wind felt, but mostly to the touch.

Sure it all felt smooth, but there was a feeling to the skin I hadn't experienced before and the best I can describe it is like taut playdough.  I made everyone feel my head.  I don't think they were as enthralled as I was.

Yes, you can easily see my bumps, my bumps, my lovely manly bumps.  You probably always could, but not there is no cover for them at all.
Then there is this shot.  Because I'm so manly.

So now it is time for me to go do the shave myself.  We'll see how that goes.  While out to lunch yesterday with the gang, I did stop in Aveda to buy some manly shave cream - if you can use 'Aveda' and 'manly' in the same sentence.  Because I might be a butcher looking fag, but make no mistake about it, I'm still a fag.  I never really have a need for "product", but now I do.

Song by:  Santana featuring Rob Thomas

Saturday, May 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 don't drink coffee, but if I did, I'd head to Fresh Markets and buy this stuff.

Yes, I'm still a product of '80's music, so this tied-in marketing makes me the perfect demographic to buy crap like this - I mean, if I drank crap like this.

But I don't.

Still, sitting around in the pitch meeting could have been fun.  I think the "What's Toffee Got to do with It" is a little weak, but the other two made me smile.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Road

My travel luck is getting only slightly better.  I mean, how could it not?

Yes, I know you all stay up nights worrying about if I've gotten to my destination or if I've been cancelled or just delayed.  I appreciate the thought.  Don't worry your pretty little heads.

I don't know why 12 of 12 doesn't come on one of my busy busy travel days.  I wouldn't really have time to post, but I've been taking iPhone pictures like a mad man the last few days.

As mentioned, I am out west doing a tour with my new boss.  It's always iffy when you travel with someone new, let alone who is your boss, but so far so good.  And the reality is, most of the time this will never happen again and I'll be on my own, but we have spent a LOT of time together over the last few days.  ...a d he likes to drink, so there's that!

Even day one:  our flight from Boise was cancelled and we needed a way to get to Fresno.  Only one option was open for us to fly out of ID, to get remotely where we needed - jet to San Francisco and drive three hours.  Just what I wanted, considering I had already been in Cleveland, Detroit, Salt Lake City and Boise just that day alone.  Even going to Fresno by flight had us doubling back through Denver.  I was resigned to it, since it got me that much closer to Gold status.  I've said it before, it's all about the miles.

But since I'm traveling all day today (could not get a red-eye home), so I'm out the door at 04:30 to catch a flight back to Ohio - with multiple legs (yes, Gold, here I come!).  Feel free to click on the images to make them bigger and possibly better.

Yes folks, it's Patsy Stone, flight attendant. No Eddy or Saffie in sight.  Though my friend Stuart thought it looked more like Barbara Eden.

I can check Idaho off the list of states I've never been to.  I spent four hours at a client site and then a few extra trying to find a flight out of there.  I never left the airport in Salt Lake City, but I'm knocking Utah off that states list too.  You can get a ruling on that if you'd like, but I need any appeal to this ruling notarized by the commissioner for it to count. 

I love playing with the in-flight shit like the maps of where you are in your flight.  En español. I do not believe the plane is to scale. It's not an Airbus 360.

Per usual, I totally ignored the turning off electronics under 10,000 feet.  No one died.  I just took a bunch of decent pics from seat 7A of San Fran and the Bay Area.

I don't think anyone would argue that this is one of the better pictures I've ever taken....save for the cap that is askew.  I might be smiling.  I might not be.  You can't prove a fuckin' thing.   ...and yes, I am wearing a beard net.

But things were better when we made it to Monterey. A lovely city that Denton and I had visited back in 1994 (!!!) and I honestly don't remember much other than an encounter in a sports bar, ironically enough in the same hotel I stayed this time.  But from the dirty 9th floor window, I still got one of the nicer views I've had on a work trip.

And for the nicest day - yesterday - using my App of the Month, Photosynth, I took a panoramic shot of the 18th hole at Pebble Beach, where I had lunch with my boss.  I did take a 360 shot, but can't figure out to pull it off the phone and/or app.  Anyone?  Anyone?

I also got my dad a golf shirt there for Father's Day. sssshhhh.  Don't tell him.

Song by:  Emmylou Harris

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Brian Wilson

Ok, who doesn't not think Brian Wilson is hot?

No, not the fat, semi-deaf, loony from the Beach Boys.  You know the same guy who used his sperm to create two-thirds of Wilson Phillips.

I'm talking about Brian Wilson from the San Francisco Giants (that's baseball, Jon).  Mr. Wilson leads you to believe they are anything but 2010 World Champions.  Currently, they are not.

Granted Brian kind of looks like a younger Christopher Meloni (the Oz one, not the SUV one), but with a fake beard.  The only thing is, he's not and it's not fake.  Score!

....and he only looks good in the beard.  A quick Gooooogle search of him without facial hair renders him quite mundane. 

Maybe I'm just a bit smitten, but I love his delivery on his MLB siteTotally hot.

Touching his virtual beard doesn't do it for me.  I don't need to see badly acted woodland creatures living in that facial hair. It is just not funny or that creative.  But I will watch the intro a few dozen more times.

....and maybe a few more after that.

UPDATE:  MLB took down the link - why?  I have no idea.   But someone made a video of it - though it's not as clear, it will have to do.

Song by:  the Barenaked Ladies

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My lord it's been a wet year.   I think last week the paper said it has been the wettest year in the last 110.  I am now not sure if that means comparing year-to-date, or that we've already exceeded precipitation rates for the entire year.   Neither would surprise me.

Saturday was the first day in weeks I had an opportunity to cut the lawn - and even then, it was on the highest setting for the wheels because there was no way that the mower would get through it any other way.  Even at that setting, it still had to go through the mud and the muck.  And yes, it had to get through it.  I would have called in a professional service to cut the lawn if it went on another day or two.

And due to the inclement weather, we didn't get to work on our hillside before it greened in.   Normally we tackle about 25' of it, and think out the weed trees and such.  After it's greened in, you need pith helmets and machetes.  I guess we'll do it in Autumn.

I will say, the rain has made everything very very green, so at least it looks nice.  See?

While we do the landscaping for us, it's nice to get some positive feedback from the neighbors.  Many have told us that they like what we've done.  As we were taking out a bush last weekend, one stopped by in her car saying that in the 30 years she's lived here, the yard and corner have never looked this nice.

That was cool to hear.

Here's just one more shot of the front, street view. There still need to be more done by the house, but not this year.  We also have to replace a few azaleas that didn't make it from last summer's scorcher of a summer - before we put in the sprinkler system.  But udder than that - it's lookin' good.

Song by:  Lori Carson

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Things Change

As I launch into a new week of blogging and travel, and really it's about the latter, I need something to fill a blog post.

Not much is changing in my blog. On the other hand, the look of this tells you I'm fibbing a bit.

Older Long time readers to my blog might remember my current header, which in switching from Blogger to WordPress and then to my own URL, I lost tons of pictures and comments and well, the header.  This upset me greatly.  I mean, not enough to do anything about it for the last two years, but it was in the back of my mind for a while.

Since I still edit via Blogger, and was using their "classic" format, getting the header back was no easy task. I'd stop and start several times over....and then just give up.  All the instructions out there, or most of them, are for a new version of Blogger, which would make it easy.  But I was wary of updating to the new Blogger editor as there were warnings of losing content and all.

You can see where losing stuff two or three times made me wary.  But I took the plunge on Sunday, carefully backing up everything and doing previews before hitting 'save template'.

I'm not thrilled with the actual template, as I really like the simplicity of mine.  This is close.  And closer than any of the other choices they had out there.   I might look around for other templates, but don't expect any immediate change.  I'm still too hesitant to do much more at this point.

Other changes are to my blogroll.  Most won't see much, or anything, different.  Some people have kept their blogs, but are now using WordPress.  Some of changed their templates, most have not.  On one, I finally got around to putting in the correct name of the blog.  Their URLs have changed (or some of them), but all you're doing, if accessing from my site, is clicking the hyperlink anyways.  So no loss of functionality for you.

I have had to 86 a few links though.

My friend Kris has seemingly given up on her blog.  She's a great writer and friend, but I know work and motherhood have put her blogging way down the list of things to do.  I totally get that.

The other loss is of Curtis.  While rarely a frequent blogger or commenter, I always his enjoyed his blog and his comments to my blog, or his emails directly to me.  He's been deep into technical difficulties with his site for months and it is not looking like something he can resolve.  Not easily, anyways.

So, since some others were doing updates - visual or not - I felt it to be a good jumping off point for me to get going on this.

Now if ANYONE knows how to get all my images back that I lost about a year ago - and all the way  back to the beginning of blog-time, hit me up.   Some of those images I clearly have in a folder, but was hoping not to go and try to match them up to those 1500 posts that are now missing them.


Song by:  Dwight Yoakam

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Music Monday

I struggled with the song today.  Not the artist, just which song to pick.

I'm going way back in time, thanks to a suggestion a few weeks back from Mike over at his Short Attention Span Theater.

I think I would have eventually gotten around to the Carpenters, as their self-titled disk was the first full LP I ever purchased.  Yes, I was a geek, and a gay one, even back in first grade.   Nurture v Nature, my ass!

But even then I realized how cool and great Karen Carpenter's voice was - and that her brother was somewhat of a repressed homo.   Ok ok.......gay "acting".   He might not be gay.   There.  I think I avoided that lawsuit.

I also realized how cool it was for a girl to play the drums.  Granted, I was in first grade, so I didn't have a lot of experiences with bands, but I knew the Monkees, the Beatles and the Partridge Family did not have female drummers.  Sure, Tracy Partridge was, at the time, the hardest working woman in rock, but..........

Keep in mind, even when Karen died in 1982-83, videos were just coming around.  So finding one that was even remotely decent helped drive my song selection.  I believe this one, "We've Only Just Begun", came from a totally forgotten show (other than possibly by me), called Make Your Own Kind of Music.

Bands would be on weekly to lip-synch their music and Karen & Richard were frequent, if not weekly guests.

I totally wanted to put in "Goodbye to Love" because it has such an out of place, but incredibly long guitar solo, but the YouTubes for that song are horrendous.  ...and poor Karen is dressed like a sister-wife in most of them, which I suppose was the style at the time.  It would have drove me to drink but not purge.

Oh oh oh, and I'm very excited.  A friend of mine, who was a director of an international film fest, has a copy of Todd Haynes, Superstar.  For those who are unfamiliar with it, it was a movie acted out with Barbies and to the music of the Carpenters.   Richard got a cease & desist order and it was never released.  Of course, now we have to find a VHS player to view it.

I had all their albums until they started singing about "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft." Personally, I blame Spielberg and Close Encounters for that bandwagon.  Maybe having to sing that would have driven me to bulimia.

Still, there is no denying she had a great voice.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Heading West

Like Horace Greeley said, "Go west, young man."

Technically, I'm not going anywhere, and unless it is Andy Rooney saying it, no one is calling me "young man".

However, as work goes, things are changing.  I am staying with my company, but changing roles.  The job I have has morphed into something that did not play to my core competencies.  I'd say I was failing, but in reality, most of my peers are struggling as well.  The difference is, while they were somewhat unhappy, I was fairly miserable.

As luck would have it, I had a few opportunities internal to which I could make a move.  I'm partial to Operations and have done a great job at that - so I'm going back to my skill set.   And my new territory is out west.  And I do mean West.

We're talking Mountain and Pacific time zones.  But no, I'm not moving.  We're not moving.  That's why there are jet planes and such.

I don't know my client base yet, save two.  So my time away from home, percentage-wise, will be the same, and the plan is for me to be home more often, but when I'm gone, it will be for longer periods of time.

This plan was not made without consulting the better half.  If it works, it works.  If it doesn't, it doesn't.  I know I couldn't live being as unhappy in my work performance as I was.  The sad thing is, the team I'm leaving contains some of the greatest people I have ever worked with.  I truly like all of them and we get along so great - which is amazing since we are all decentralized and we see each other only a few times per year.   Maybe that's why we like each other.

I know a few people on the new team and I like them.  One of them is my man-date, Scott, whom I reference here now and again.  I'll be spending a number of days in June with them, in Denver!

So, I don't know how this will affect the blog.  Can I still blog daily if I'm traveling for longer periods and in different time zones?  The first test is this upcoming week.  Even though I have not officially started my new position, timing is everything.  I will be with my new boss visiting the two clients I know of - but I will be gone for an entire week starting tomorrow.

That week goes into a holiday weekend, so yikes.......I know it will be a struggle, but we'll be fine - you and me.  I have some "canned" blog posts ready to role if I can't find time to tell of you of my real time journeys (don't stop believing, wheel in the sky....and all that).

I'm excited, even though I don't know how I will transition off my current clients. I don't even know who to transition them to yet.  Tick tick tick.  And I'm excited for the upcoming holiday weekend, but more on that as, or after,  it happens.

Song by:  Cyndi Lauper

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Well, if today is the day, then you probably won't be reading this.  I mean, unless you're one of the 144,000 chosen few.

Of course, Manson thought he and his Family were in that cohort - and he was starting the end of the world with the Tate-LaBianca murders.......so there's that!

So, the rest of us not in that 144k, have ascended to big puffy clouds in the sky and learning how to use our harps.  And finally we have our those flying machines that have been promised to us for the last few decades.  Granted those flying machines are now "wings", not turbo jetpacks.   Blast!

Anyways, there is a group (or there are groups) out there saying that today is the day.  Judgment Day.  Cue the evil music.  duh-duh-duhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I'm not that worked up about it.

First off, I don't believe it.   Secondly, if it were to happen, there's not much I can do about it.   Thirdly, I'm most likely not in the group left behind or going to the pearly gates.  If Hell exists, I'll be in the VIP section - with velvet ropes and a posse.

But to be fair, I don't believe in Hell.  The only reason I want to believe in Heaven is because that is where good kitties go after they die and hop cloud to cloud.  I can frolic with Kylie and Tovah.

With these groups, logic is not a factor.  It doesn't matter that a dozen of these dates have come and gone without eternal salvation damnation.  They live in their own world - well, kind of - and will come up with some reasoning that the liberal media is to blame for misinterpreting "the facts".

A new date will be set.  TBD.

But we are judged, so be it.  They might have a few surprises coming their way.  Quite a few.  Not the good kind.   And if we be judged - and I'm a gay man, we judge all the time, so I'm used to it - it's not the end of the world.

Nope, that happens on October 21, 2011.  Apparently we have five months of torture between Judgment Day and my post that will clearly be titled after an R.E.M. song.

Yes, five months of torture.  Because that is what Jesus would do.

Do yourself a favour and rent the movie, The Rapture with the first ex-Mrs. Tom Cruise, Mimi Rogers, and Special Agent Mulder.  It was at least interesting while still being 100% as fictitious as this load of crap that multi-evangelical groups are pushing.

....and if I'm wrong with this, you'll never know it because you'll be dead or taken.  Or like me:  left behind.   Take that, Kirk Cameron!

Song by:  Blondie

Friday, May 20, 2011

Swallow It

Ok, first off, get your mind out of the gutter.  Second off, get your mind out of the gutter.

Yesterday, I woke up and had a sore throat.  It wasn't horrific and figured it was due to me doing mouth breathing at night and taking in a lot of dry air.

But as my gym routine went on and then work at home, I knew it wasn't right. That pre-thought of pain would have passed by then.  By noon I couldn't swallow my own saliva without massive pain. And then I started to get an all to familiar pain creeping up into my ears.  I'd been there before - 15 years ago, but the pain was as familiar as if it happened just last week.

Shortly after we moved back to Cleveland, I had a similar pain. I went to many a doctor who misdiagnosed me.  Mind you, I worked at one of the best healthcare institutions in the world, and these schmucks couldn't get it right - save one.  That doctor didn't even exam me before he figured out what was wrong - all by reading my chart.  Shocking.

He had it right with a problem with my Eustachian tubes. He gave me one more course of antibiotics and if those didn't work, he would aspirate my eardrums.  YIKES.    But they worked.

A year or so later, I had a similar issue and the eardrums self-aspirated on the landing in Key West.  The pressure ruptured my eardrums and for most of the vacation I couldn't hear much of anything.  It was problematic to ride around on scooters and I spent more than one day at the doctor's office there.

Yesterday, I didn't fool around.  As soon as I recognized the pain, I went to a retail clinic.  So much cheaper than an urgent care or a doctor's office.  But there are trade-offs.  It is walk-in only and there is only so much they can do.  I figured sinus/ear/throat infection would be one of those things.

Now I work in healthcare so I don't tolerate fools gladly when it comes to this.  The Nurse Practitioner was ok, but that's it.  She was convinced it was Strep. I knew it wouldn't be - and it wasn't.  After that she didn't know what to think, even though I told her my history.  The electronic medical record didn't give her decision criteria for Eustachian tubes.   How about your umpteen years of education, honey?

She reluctantly gave me a script for an antibiotic, which I promised not to fill for a few days to see how things progressed.  She gave me treatment options for a saline rinse with a neti pot like device.  But I fly on Monday morning and there is no way I'm going to blow out my eardrums again - let alone sob like a baby upon decent.

If things don't feel better by tomorrow evening - or at least on their way - that script is going to the pharmacy.  I don't see I have a choice.

Song by: Brandon Flowers

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Neighborhood #3

We have new homos in the 'hood!!!

It's not a real surprise, our enclave is a bastion (is that the right word?) for same-sex couples.  We are right about at the 10% mark.

If you're gay, male and single, you live on the west side in Lakewood.  If you're gay, male and part of a couple you live on the east side in Cleveland Heights.  Those are the laws.

Our neighbors love us.  The collective us.  Or at least they pretend to.  When the one lesbian couple who moved in (and then moved out 10 months later - it's a long story), one of our cutest straight neighbors asked one of the other gay couples: "are you guys taking over?".   

Buddy, we have.

Of course, the gays are how some people stereotype people of color or certain races:  We all look alike.

Marty gets called Blobby.  Blobby gets called Bill.  Denton gets called Blobby. I'm not sure what Bill, Dave, Ken, or Ron get called.

Now we have Tom and Sal.

We met Sal the day the last (known) car came into our yard, when we went out to inspect the property in daylight.  It took us a few more weeks to meet Tom.  Last Saturday, to be specific.

They had an open house and invited us. Dith was here, but she opted not to go.  It was dark and windy night, but I felt we had to being that we'd already met Sal and I do run the email group - and we are gay.  Plus, I really wanted to see the house.  It was not enough to entice Dith to go out in the rain.

Tom and Sal did what I would have loved to do.  Buy the house and renovate it before moving in.  Pure genius.   Also, pure piles of cash.  New roof, all new bathrooms, floors all redone on the 2nd and 3rd floors.  How great!

We weren't flush enough with cash to carry two mortgages and do renovations when we moved in here almost six years ago.  And we didn't know what we needed or wanted to do with the place.  We still don't.   I mean, we have ideas, but............

Our closest gay couple/friends were there too - Bill and Blobby Marty.  We took the house tour together.  Now Bill and Marty have a gorgeous house, but even they were impressed by some of the handiwork.  For Denton and myself - I think we silently came to the realization that we can never have anyone over again.

We don't have this gay gene - this decoration and planning thing going on.  Our house has great bones, but we don't have "stuff" to put in it.  We're not "stuff" collectors.  Few knickknacks and certainly no curio cabinets to put things in.

And it's all very well done, it's not like they're collecting Precious Moments or anything.  Yes, I'm making fun of Precious Moments, so if you have them - sorry in advance.......or I guess, not advance, since I've already made fun of them before apologizing.

The window in the title image is from their house.  I think it's original and I loved it.  We need something like that.  Clearly it won't be original to our house, but it's a nice element.

But we do have plans for the house.  The last few years have been outside projects, mostly landscaping stuff.  This year we are looking at a few interior things and I am determined to get off the dime and make them happen.  We have done nothing internal for 4-5 years.  It's time.

And yes, we will have Tom and Sal over.  I like them.  As you'd imagine, as the "party" wound down, it was the three gay couples sitting around chatting and laughing.  They'll make a fine addition to our conquest of the neighborhood.

Song by:  Arcade Fire

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fear of Wasted Time

Lately, even for me, air travel has become horrible.

I know I tell you my tales here and many of you non-work travel folks cringe at my stories.  I'd say my travel on Monday was a total waste of time, but then a friend I had dinner with would get bent out of shape.

For work purposes, it was a waste of time.  Kind of.

It started with me getting to the airport around 06:00.  Not bad.  Behind me in the security line was a friend of mine, John.  We had worked together many a-year ago.  I'm working on my Gold elite status, but I'm not there yet.  John actually travels more than I do and probably has Platinum.  Anyhoo...he asked me to join him in the President's Club.  I sheepishly had to say I could not get in due to my lowly Silver status.  Oh the shame.

He had enough clout to get me in the door and we sat and chatted. He had coffee and such, but since I don't drink it, I was only there to catch up with him.  It was nice.   I left and went to my gate.

As I approached it, my phone went off with an automated notification of a delayed flight.  FUCK.

As it was, my flight was landing with not much buffer time to get me to my meeting in a timely manner.  Before you all scoff, there were no earlier flights and I wasn't giving up my Sunday to fly up there anyways.  Vague excuses of weather or air traffic clogging were given - depending on who was giving up the lame reason of the hour.   The 30 minute delay turned to 90 minutes.  Unfortunately, that last 60 was after we were on the runway - no way get off the plane.  I was ready to grab two beers and deploy the shoot for escape.

Mentally, I made the best of it and emailed (ooh, I know, my electronic devices were on!) some attendees that I would be about 30 minutes late. 

That 30 minutes would turn into 120 after I landed, finally got my rental and then promptly got stuck on 476-N in what was a parking lot.  I went 4 miles in an hour.   And if you have never been on Pennsylvania's turnpike, there is a six foot wall between directions, there is no crossing over and going back.

Thank g-d for GPS, because when I did get off at the next exit, I had to majorly recalculate routes.  I went through some beautiful country that even at 25-35 mph, seemed like I was driving the Autobahn.

I love that the client was nice about it all.  I missed two hours of the three hour meeting.  I at least broke the ice when I came in and said, "ok, let's start from the beginning.....".  

Then I just turned around and went back to my hotel near Philly.  King of Prussia, actually.  There was not a hotel to be had 20 miles from downtown.  No idea what was going on, but some big convention, I guess.   Or huge bed bug break out.  Either or.

But I did get to have dinner with my friend Sal.

So with what little I accomplished business-wise, I got to spend a few hours and have a drink (yes, only one!) and meal.  We had a bunch of laughs and some good stories.  Most work travel stuff has you eating alone and being alone.  It is nice to have brief respite from air-car-hotel life.

Song by:  the Court Yard Hounds

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

App of the Month

Hell, I am going to try something out for a bit - we'll see if it works or is interesting to anyone.  iPhone App of the Month.

In general I don't download a lot of apps for the iPhone and many of them that I do have, I don't actually use.  Not that this will stop me from finding 12 apps per year that might seem interesting - and even if they're duds, so what?  You'll know not to get them.

I suppose a big caveat is that most, if not all, of them will be free.  I'm pretty much a cheap-ass.  On the off chance that there is one I put a crowbar in my wallet for, I'm assuming it will be a kick-ass one, or a game for longer plane rides.

Today?  Photosynth.

Yes, it's a Microsoft program in an Apple world.  CRAZY!

What it does is let you hold your phone/camera and it will take multiple photos to create a panoramic image.

I will be the first to admit, I downloaded the app because I wanted to try it out, but I didn't sign-up for an account.  It's the beauty of the iPhone - you can still save your images if you want and not have them go to a repository somewhere.

This was my first attempt.  Panera at lunch time with Meredity and Denton.  Don't ask me what went wrong, but Denton has seemed to dodge that BlobbysBlog bullet of infamy.   Him and his disembodied head.   However, I thought it looked cool as hell, so I didn't try to retake the pic. Click on it to make it larger.  Yes, that's what she said.

Of course you get my finger in the way of Ditto's head, but you get like an extra half of her as well, since she was caught almost two times.

The program allows it to learn where the first pic ended so when you move the device, it pics up  where it left off.  I don't think the issues in the picture above generated from the app, but from the user.  Me.

I'll play around with it.  Who knows, maybe my next 12 of 12 will all be taken this way.  It'll be a niche month.  We'll see.

I do not know if this app is available for any other device than the iPhone.  I did zero research on if it is for Droid or any other smart phone.

Still it is fun to play with.   Check it out.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Music Monday

I've blogged before about my liking Great Big Sea - a little known folkish band from Nova Scotia.

Some celtic like music, some sea shanty like music, and some good dive bar drinking music.  Like most of my choices here, it's not for everyone.

While they haven't tried to mainstream too much, there are signs of it and who can blame them?  You want the attention, success and cash that comes with your career, right?  But it's the less common stuff that I like.

Let's take my selection today:  "Mari Mac".

A fast song that goes faster as it goes along.....to an über-frantic pace.  Perfect for when you're drunk drinking.  If you can't actually sing along, you think you can.......and that's really half the battle, isn't it?

It is all of two and one-half minutes in length, but for most of you, it will feel like it goes on much much longer.  Deal with it.

The video is kind of creepy, but when are marionettes not creepy?   The guy who takes the lead on this song (who normally isn't the lead singer) is key-ute, so maybe that will hold your attention.

But a funny, unrelated story on the marionette thing.  I ran a program for new students entering college, a life time ago, and one kid got a note from his camp saying he couldn't attend since he was attending, yes, Marionette Camp.  The logo and tagline?   "Let's Give Puppets a Hand".

I still have the letter somewhere, along with my one from Collis B. Toomer.   ...but that's for another post at another time.

Enjoy the song.  But maybe have 3-4 beers first.  You'll see what I mean.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gold Rush Brides

Yes!  5 in 5.   Movies that is.  We are on target for our 12 movies in 12 months.

Normally I'd call a movie about bridesmaids to be a chick flick.  Now, I'm not above seeing those - I mean, I saw The Devil Wears Prada the first week of release and liked it.

But I didn't see Bridesmaids as a chick flick.  It is a Judd Apatow (Superbad, the 40 Year Old Virgin, etc).  ...and it has Kristen Wiig, so how bad could it be?

To be safe, we had a chick with us.  Dith came up to visit us for the day!!!  Yay!!!!!   So we could go to a women's movie and still not be too queer.  As it turns out, there were about a dozen other men in the theater.

It is not quite as raunchy as I thought it might. That is not bad or good. It just is.  It has it's crude moments (and you know I'm a fan of that) when it comes to some poop and puke jokes.  Morty and Torn would be fine with that.   More than fine.  Don't get me wrong, that scene was hilarious. Everyone in the place was in hysterics.  The good thing, it's not all about wedding planning - a trap they could have easily fallen into and would have sucked like all the rest of those movies.

The combo in the group works well, and while Wiig is great, the best bridesmaid is clearly Sookie who was in the Gilmore Girls.  She totally made the movie.   Becky will be happy to know this now that she just started watching the Gilmore Girls - 3 years after it went off the air.  Timely.

The chick from Reno 9-1-1 was horribly under-utilized in my opinion.

The movie had good sight gags as well as funny jokes.  And Jon Hamm, for what little he's in it, is funny including a scene where Wiig turns down an offer of performing oral sex on him - like anyone is denying him that!  I can only suspend my disbelief so much!

Poor Jill Clayburgh makes her final movie appearance. Not poor because she's bad, just that it mostly likely filmed shortly before her death...and she didn't look all that healthy.  A sad reminder.

Any movie who starts off and ends with Blondie's "Rip Her to Shreds" can't ever be bad, right?

We had a good time and good laughs.  Ditto and Denton enjoyed it too, I think.  There were not any really good previews.  Maybe one.....starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds.  Not good enough for me to remember a title or anything, but it's like the male version of Freaky Friday.  I don't know it will make the movie cut......time will tell.

Song by:  10,000 Maniacs

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Top

Last night was my first Indians game of the season.  Right on time, actually.  While a great reason to post, I also rarely would pass up an opportunity to post a pic of my would-be {please, believe me Santa, please} second husband, Travis Hafner.

It is sad, but until mid-May, the weather here is iffy.  And by "iffy", I mean too cold to sit through an evening game without bundling up, which is not what baseball is about (to me) unless it's the home opener or post-season play.   I've been to games where they've run out of coffee and hot chocolate by the third inning, it's that cold.

We had great tickets and it was a great night.  I haven't seen a crowd like this at an Tribe game since 1998.  8000 tickets were sold by people walking up to the box office before the game.

Last year we started in last place and save two or three days of the entire season stayed there. This is not the case this year.   We are number one.  And save a few days right at the beginning of the season, we have been number one.  It's a nice feeling to have.  As percentages go, for either National or American leagues, we have the second highest. We'd have the best if it were not for our two losses to Tampa earlier this week.  Painful losses at that.

Yesterday could have been more of the same.  We were up by two, then down by two.  And still down by two as we went into the bottom of the ninth.  It sounds oh so very cliche, doesn't it?  But then we were down only by one.

....and then Mr. Hafner came to the plate.....much like Mighty Casey.   And I think we all know how that turned out - right?  Well this story had a different ending.  The Pronk had been having a bad night of strike-outs and hitting the ball right to the first baseman.  He did get on base once.  But he's been having problems all year with injuries.  The last two or three years, actually.  But I love that we have retained him.

Indians had one person on and Travis hit it over and out of center field.  I think my hands still sting from all the clapping during the 9th.  It was GREAT.

....and now, a little photo montage.....

The Tribe welcoming Travis home 

The closest I got to Travis - mostly due to that restraining order.

 Your host.  Man, I need to have something done about my eyes.  Anyone know a good plastic surgeon?

Every Friday home game, there is a fireworks display.  As good as most 4th of July ones and without having to hear Lee Greenwood.

There is a hot dog derby around the 5th inning where Ketchup, Mustard and Onion race around the field.  Denton so nicely pointed out to me that Ketchup has my glasses.  The man had better be careful - the guy I'd divorce him for was sitting a few hundred feet away from me in the dugout.

Song by:  the Killers

Friday, May 13, 2011

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 15th 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.

A glitch in Blogger wouldn't let (or anyone else) post yesterday, so I'm late - sorry. 

 05:30.  Shuttle from Cleveland Hopkins Airport to the car rental terminal.  I was renting a car for a day of driving. I was the only one on the shuttle.

  06:45.  Self-Portrait #1,349.  

  08:00.  To be honest, except for the sign, no one else in PA welcomed me.  Bastards!

  08:45.  Nothing says 'approaching mining country' like a convoy for trucks, vans and rescue vehicles with this logo on the side.  How sad.

  08:46.  An accidental shot of my suit pants.  I opted to keep it.

  09:10.  West Virginia no more welcoming than Pennsylvania. 

  12:30.  West Virginia University Hospitals landing pad for critical care transport - the non-fixed wing kind

  12:32.  Across the parking lot from the hospital, the WVU Stadium.

  14:50.  Made it back to my home state.  EZ Pass reflected in the windshield.

 17:30.   Shuttle from car rental return to the airport, where my actual/real car is parked.

 17:40.  CLE Parking Garage.  I was going places.  Home!

 18:10.  We are not so gay that we have our undershirts dry cleaned.  Clearly one ended up on the dry cleaning bag and fuck if they didn't clean it - and charge us $3.50 for the honor.  Can you believe that shit?

20:45.  Your Baker's Dozen. 

Poor Sophie. She just seems like such a boy cat.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wherever I Lay My Hat (that's my home)

The title image has been sitting in my folder of images I've wanted to use and not sure how to incorporate into a blog post.  I've held onto it for almost a year.

I am, by no means, thinking this is going to work.  There is just no easy way to slide in a Hitler reference.  It's even more difficult to do it with Charlie Chaplin.  Who knew?

Before Denton and I went to the movie, which I referenced yesterday, our friends, David & James invited us over to watch the Kentucky Derby.  {sigh}

I don't care all that much about the Derby.  It's hours of prep and excitement for something that's over in a minute and whoever finishes first wins.  In my book, that's called:  sex.

However, since I was picking David & James up for the movie and dinner, we would only be showing up about 15 minutes early to see the race.  I was actually fine with going.

As they escorted all the horsies out the gate, I took notice of their names and deemed that I would root for Pants on Fire.  Mucho Macho Man seemed too gay for me.   Yes - me!

But when David did ask if we would come over, I queried if we had to wear a hat.  His response was 'no'.  BUT - the second the receiver went cold, I had a scathingly brilliant idea.....as I am apt to do.  I got home, did a quick Gooooooogle search and then sent the image to the printer.

A few minutes with a pair of scissors and some tape and I was good to go.

Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), I had completed my task and attaching my creation to my head before getting out of the car, because David met us outside when we pulled up.

The poor man just busted a gut laughing with at me.   ...and yes, I wore it through the entire race and until we went back out to the car to head to the movie.  The plan was to wear it for the car ride to the movie and do the royal wave along the way, but the interior roof of the car kept getting in the way.  I have no idea how Princess....um....what's her name (the dour f'ugly one) stood her ride to and fro the royal wedding.

Much to everyone's disappointment, I had to take it off before we even got out of the driveway.

.....and that is how Hitler and Charlie Chaplin went to the Royal Wedding.    The End.

Song by:  Paul Young