Monday, October 31, 2011

My Music Monday

Going with yesterday's blog title post, I'm opting to use it as My Music Monday.

I have no affinity for "the Monster Mash" or any other novelty holiday song, Halloween or otherwise.  I get annoyed at that shit - no........really!

I am not doing Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" either.

So I went through all my 'ghost' songs and this just seemed like a good tie-in for the previous day's entry.  A little continuity, if you will.

Alison Krauss + Union Station, just by means of being a bluegrass band is fairly unassuming and this song makes it even more so.  But "Ghost in this House" is a great song, or so I think.  Whether you like this type of music or not, I don't think you can deny their talent and no studio trickery.

There is actually another youtube version of this that has an intro, which shows you that the band has a sense of humour, but youtube or the video poster would not let me embed that version.  If you want, you can view the 20 second intro here.

If not, no biggie - you can just view the video / song below.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ghost In This House

I am being lazy and using a "trick" that many a-blogger before me have used:  recycling old stories to fill a post. This is not my norm, nor will it be. This is not really a lazy thing, just one of my better post things. 

We get no trick or treaters and we don't go to costume parties, so this is my one Halloween story - even though i t was not on Halloween. It was first posted in 2007. 

I also drafted a different, but similar, post for Becky's blog back in 2008.  You can read that here.  It looks like she's kind of / sort of, back to blogging. 

I feel like I might have posted about this in the past - but the story has been told so many times, I cannot remember if I committed it to blog-form. ...and I'm too lazy to look through the archives.

Someone asked me not too long ago if I believed in angels. I do not. But I responded that I do believe in ghosts.

Years ago (fuck almost two decades ago!), I was living in a hip upcoming area in Columbus. The building had two apartments - the other inhabited by frequent blog mentions: Morty and Ditto. We had a great friendship (well, we still do) and a sweet arrangement. I've said here before - the doors weren't always locked upstairs and we just kind of came and went into each other's pads as needed, but always respecting each other's privacy. At least usually.

...and yes, many of the days we were prone to drink. It's not like we were always shitfaced (oooh....I'm so back at 22 years of age when I could say things like that), mainly because we could hold our liquor, since our tolerances were so high.

One night hanging at their place - and to be honest, the only person I remember being there was Ditto. I know there was someone else, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it was Slusser (that bastard owes me $20!).

The room was set up that there was a couch and two chairs in the living room. We were not living large. As we were sitting around knocking them back and yakking - all of the sudden, Dith asked me if I was ok, as I had stopped in mid-sentence.....and let's face it, it takes a lot to shut me up sometimes.

But I wasn't alright. I wasn't in distress either....just a bit shocked. As I live and breathe, I saw someone walk right behind the couch where Dith was sitting. It was brief, but as real as real can be (yes, say like Ed Grimley if you must). He was tall, had dark hair and wore yellow button down shirt. It should be noted that the only form of egress was on the other side of the apartment. No one could have sneaked in.

I told the guys what I had seen, and from my tone they knew I wasn't joking (again, which I'm prone to do). It pretty much ruled the conversation the rest of the night.

Though I'm sure I told Jon, it made it no less surprising a few weeks later when he rang the doorbell and I had to trudge down the big flight of stairs to open the door. He asked why I had ignored him when he came to the door and I was at the top of the stairs a few minutes ago - and why had I changed my shirt.

Well, I had not been at the top of the stairs - as I'm sure I had music blasting and probably singing at the top of my lungs, which yes, I am prone to do. But I also had not changed any article of clothing. And Morty and Dith were not at home - just me in the building.

What Jon went on to describe is exactly the same guy I saw in apparition behind the couch. And I don't think he was yanking my chain either.

It should be noted that I never saw the ghost in my apartment, but we all called it 'my' ghost.

However, once when Becky (have you fucking pre-ordered her book yet???) was up from Houston, she stayed with me. Being the socially inept host that I was, instead of giving up my bed, or asking her to share it, she slept on the least for awhile. In the middle of the night she woke me up and crawled into bed because someone/something had touched her as she slumbered. Human touch - and not the Springsteen album.

Every now and again, I think of those instances and feel that something is out there....or stuck there. When in a Columbus bar a few years back, as I was there on business - the town, not the bar - a woman came up to me and said 'you're the guy who had the ghost in your apartment!!'.

It kind of freaked me out - more so than the ghost itself. Turns out she was a friend of Jon's - but it had been 10 or 12 years since I had met her (which was all of twice), but the story (or perhaps my striking good looks) stuck in her memory. Weird.

Now that we have this 97 year old house, my 16 year old niece asks if we've seen any ghosts. We have not. But she is undeterred. She fully believes it has to be haunted. You should have seen her face when I told her about the one at my old residence. Her mother was not amused that I might be keeping her up at nights.

Ditto, Morty and I are all gone from those $200-300/mo apartments, which now go for triple that (or more). But here's hoping the supernatural resident still lives there. It was a great view.

So Happy Halloween to you all. for the image post - just be thankful I didn't use a Patrick Swayze or Caspar .jpg.

song by: Alison Krauss

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My October Symphony

We have (almost) made it to the end of October.  My how time flies.

Work-wise, it has been a busy month.  Busier on the social level too, but it has mostly been work that has kept me occupied.

November will be busier.  I'm ok with that.  It beats the alternative.

But here it is, the end of October and not one leaf has been picked up by either 710 or myself.   I think that must change this weekend.

The plan was to outsource this task. I hate raking leaves.  There is momentary satisfaction in it for me, as when three more leaves fall after the clean, I become agitated.'s true.  I know you're shocked.

I'm home about 10 days this month and the last thing I want to do is spend two of them picking up leaves.  But I'm sure I will today and / or tomorrow.  If it is dry enough, maybe I'll just use the lawn mower to mulch them.

The sad thing is, only about 50% of the leaves have fallen, which mean, as many as we currently have, we will have to do this again.  Unless we get help.  ...and I'm ok throwing a little money at it to make it go away.  If anyone at OWS with a degree in Ceramics wants to do some yard work, I've got a job for them.

On a totally unrelated note, I am trying for a new little video project, which I won't go into now, as it might not work out.  I'm only partially pleased with the results of what I'm doing.  And even in the best case scenario, we are a month away from it being completed.  I know, it's a tease, but saying it out loud makes me try to commit to the bit a little more.  However, there is only a chance you've read this far to see that I'm doing it and less of a chance you'll remember it later I'm covered.

Song by:  the Pet Shop Boys

Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy Your Mind

Clearly I'm not the 1%.

Don't get me wrong - I'd like to be.  Who wouldn't want all that cash?  But unlike the 1%, I'm pretty ok with paying my fair share.

I'm not sure I am the 99% either.  I'm not sure there is a 99%.  Yes, if you separate the 1% from the rest, you could lump everyone else together, but that's not logical...........and it is not accurate, but it makes for a good "campaign".

There are varying degrees of that remainder.  To ignore that is just downright foolish.

I get that by not paying their fair share is what helps "them" become that 1%, but really - how do they sleep?  Probably in really nice digs under 1000 thread count sheets - that's how.

In theory, I empathize with the movement, but it is too disjointed for me. Everyone showing up to complain about "something", though most have their own agenda so it is beginning to sound like a big whine session.

The richest folks do not pay their fair share of taxes.  I'm on board with that.

Education is too expensive and they can't pay back their loans.  Ok.  Check. I get it.

Wall St. is unregulated and making life difficult for the majority and the bail out and subsequent terms of that bailout have been ignored and all of the fat cats have gotten fatter.  Got it.

There aren't jobs, or good enough jobs, for the youth of today.  Umm.  Maybe.

Yes, employment and job development is not what it could be.  Yes, companies have jobs to hire trained, competent people in many positions and they are going outside the U.S. to find them - if they are to be believed, because our higher education system is not doing the right things by them.  ...and I do love the stories of students (or their parents!) calling instructors/colleges to say they paid for the education and they should be getting the right grade since they forked over the cash.  "Give me the grade I want, not the one I earned!"  Um....I don't think that is the way it works.  Or maybe it does now.

We have brought up our youth to get trophies for just showing up.  Why wouldn't they think they are entitled to whatever they want?

What I don't get are the parents of this generation, who are my age, are/were usually a hard working bunch who made our/their way up and worked hard for what we have.  We got that from our parents. I did. Where did the break down between our generation and our kids actually break down?

Education is expensive, no doubt. I will say, I have a hard time sympathizing with the "kid" who admittedly excelled at math and science in high school, went to the college of his choice based on that, and majored in poetry, only to being on camera at a OWS event and bitch that he could only get a job sweeping up saw dust in a wood working facility. 

No offense dude, but the world owes you nothing, let alone Wall Street.  I have utter respect for poetry, but no one is there to guarantee you a check for that to pay off your loans, let alone with a dream job. That is not how it works.

I also like the people who are employed (or under employed) who willingly go in print or on TV and disparage their current employer.  I'm guessing that goes far with them {sarcasm!}   And it amuses me that they protest against corporate America - blogging and tweeting about it on their Apple products from the closest Starbucks.  I'm guessing they don't see the irony in that. .

I don't recall ever bitching and moaning about paying taxes. No really. Nor have I dodged them. To me, paying my fair share is the right thing to do. Would I rather not?  It'd be nice to have extra cash, so sure. But who do we think will pay for infrastructure and programs we all use?  I do think that 1% needs to step up to the plate, or be forced to.

So for that point, I do like the idea of OWS, but only if they were focused in their protests.  But like the generation that the majority of this occupation represents, they want it all and they want it right now. 

Song by: Dusty Springfield

Thursday, October 27, 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!


I have been a big fan of  Chris Isaak's debut in 1985 and he has done some incredible work. Beyond the Sun, his ode to the work done at Sun Records, is good, but it is not ranking amongst his best works. Hell, this isn't even his work.

I get that Isaak was retro when retro wasn't cool. I get that many folks have made years worth of comparisons of Isaak's voice to Roy Orbison. Isaak doing a cover of "Only the Lonely" did not help that cause to distance that.

He is in good voice on this disk of Sun Records artists and songs, but it doesn't really sound like his voice. Johnny Cash's songs sound mysteriously like Cash; and Elvis' songs sound like Elvis. They barely sound like Isaak doing Cash or Elvis.

Cover records are hard to do in the first place, but taking iconic singers and their best known material makes it all that much more difficult. In theory Isaak has the chops to pull it off, but he doesn't put that much of his spin on it and they come out more like imitations than interpretations.

I expected and wanted more from this disk. It's good, just not good enough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I love when work travel gets interesting - I mean, except when it inconveniences me.  It is after all, all about me.

So yesterday was a new one....and yes, Benatar came right into my head.

After boarding, closing the door, retracting the jetway and pulling away from the gate, this guy comes to the front of the plane and asks to be let out.  I know this, because I was sitting in row 3 in an aisle seat.

I actually felt bad for the guy, because while I think he was trying to keep it together, he was having an anxiety attack.  I'm assuming about flying, but I don't know this for sure. The flight attendant was great and didn't try to get him back to his seat.  She realized better to get him off the plane now than have him 35,000 feet in the air and freaking out.

While we waited to go back to the gate, for the jetway to come back and door to open, I watched this guy try to regain any kind of composure.  And then I watched him trying to catch his breath and not vomit.   And he did not do the latter - no thanks to the airline.

I saw the flight attendant desperately search for a barf air sickness bag.  By row 6-7 she gave up.  I don't know if this is where the airline is trying to cut back, but today was not the day.  Of course, as he was getting off the plane, I heard her ask "did you have any luggage?"   UGH.  Another 30 minutes of someone trying to find that and get it off the plane. 

I was late.  No shock.

Flying back through Denver should be fun on Thursday. They were expecting 4-8" of snow last night, their first snow of the season.  I haven't checked the paper to see if they got it or expecting anymore.

But you know, California in late October doesn't really suck.  It was beautiful yesterday and hopefully tomorrow. 
Monterey is a beautiful place. I stayed at a 'spa' since the Marriott was full.  I did none of the spa-like activities. First off, it was work.  Second, I'm not a spa-like kind of guy.

But the hotel/spa was right on Cannery Row, so that was cool.

It really is all work.  Dinner with the boss, worked all day...and work all day the next two days.  Then right back on a plane.

Sheila E was right.  It is a Glamorous Life. Unless you're afraid of flying.

Song by: Pat Benatar

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Field of Opportunity

For the second time in 16 years, 710 and I went to a pro-football game.  I know, we are so butch!

Last game, I don't even think counted. It was an exhibition game in July of some unknown year.  T-shirt, shorts and sandals were worn.  Hardly football weather.

The way some people find baseball boring (not me!), is the way I feel about pro-football.  I mean, I like Ohio State football and all, and while one could argue with all the exchange of goods and services for $$$ that go into that program one could classify it as 'pro', allegedly it is not.  Allegedly. 

I'm never sitting down on a Sunday (or Monday night) to watch a football game.  I just don't care.

I won't say I was duped into going to the Cleveland Browns - Seattle Seahawks game, but I certainly didn't ask the right questions when presented the opportunity. And even if I did,  I wouldn't have gotten the right answers, through no fault of our hosts.

One might have been led to believe that we were to be in loge or skybox.  One might take from that, that the seats were enclosed from the elements if need be.  For the record, Club Seats are not the loge/skybox.  They were nice.  They were padded.  They were outdoors.

Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), I don't think we could have had a nicer football Sunday.  Sunny and 62.  Granted, the sun was on the other side of the stadium, but it was still a no jacket kind of day.

One was also led to believe that food and drink were included in the - gulp - $200 per seat tickets.  Sorry, but for that price someone should have been peeling my grapes!

As it turns out, no longer in that price is food and drink included.  It seems at one time it was, but I suppose pro sports have fallen on hard economic times too.  And while our friends Tom & Sal got the tickets from work at no cost to them, we did feel the need to shell out for the food.  It was the right thing to do even if it was so-so food at not so-so prices.

I got a Philly Steak  & Cheese sammich......but I'm 99% sure it was brisket.  It was ok, but not what I was expecting....or wanting.  I get brisket at my mother's for Sunday dinner, not at a football stadium.  Still it was a small fortune price to pay to be out with friends.

Oh, and there was a game, I guess.  I know enough football so I wasn't a complete boob about it.  We sucked.  We won when we probably shouldn't have won, but to be fair, Seattle sucked too.  A game of three field goals.  Two for us.   Whoo-Hoo?

There was little passing from our end, and even when he tried, Colt McCoy (I know! I swear it's not a nom du porn) did little girly tosses going for 3-4 yards.  And "we" (like I have any stake in this) have no skill to be running up the middle it seems.  But a win is a win, I suppose.

The great thing, of course, is we got to hang out and laugh with Tom & Sal.  They are fun and funny.  They live three houses away and are just great to be with.

I also have to show you this pic of me.  I think it kind of makes my case for not posting 'smiling' pics.

First off, when did I get so many crow's feet laugh lines?  And secondly, it's that 'ancient Chinese secret' thing going on too.  And man, what a honker.  Yikes.

Song by: Neil Young

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Music Monday

Come 2012, I might have to give up My Music Monday. I don't think anyone but me is into it.

Dr. Spo liked one entry, but except for "anonymous", no one really ever makes any comment. I'm not even sure anyone actually plays the music selections. But I'm in it for 2011, so you have about 10 more to go. Deal with it.

This week I'm going back to 1981-82. While probably released in 1981, it hit radio in Spring of '82. I remember being drunk and out on the lawn of my fraternity and hearing it.  Yes, it was the middle of the day.  Don't judge.

Thomas Dolby had already racked up one hit with "She Blinded Me with Science".  I was not a fan.  At least of that song.

For one song, he changed my mind, the follow-up single "One of our Submarines".  I think he only had one other "hit" with "Hyperactive" and I went back to not being a fan.

Still, years decades later, when it comes on my iPod, because it's not really coming on the radio anymore, I still listen to - and not skip through - "One of our Submarines".   It just has a good flow, a more unique one, than most songs.  While I don't believe there is a true chorus, the seemingly logical one just grabs my attention even to this day.

David G says I play too much '80s music here, but it's my old stand-by and my comfort zone.  But admittedly, when I saw him in Vegas, he mentioned that lately I had some good selections.  That is high praise from him.  I'll take it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dog New Tricks

I'd like to go on record to say I'm the best brother.......ever.

That might be a bit of an exaggeration, since I have never, or probably will ever, donate a kidney or bone marrow to any of my sisters, but if they ask me to pick up their dogs, I'm more than willing to go out of my way for those canine cuties.

One of my many sisters was out of town and axed me to check on the doggies.  She never mentioned the cats.   At one point, I was going to sleep over in case Petey was still sick - he wasn't.  Or not enough so that it was necessary for me to temporarily move out the way-suburbs to tend to him and them.

We made the trek out and they were very very happy to see us.

I love Petey - and I shouldn't say this, but he is my favourite.  Not just of their current dogs, but any dog they've had. He's my buddy.

Boomer, whom you see here, is certainly quite the cutie and he ranks up there, but he was a distracted puppy.  Doggie ADHD.

Now into his fifth year, he's calmed down quite a bit.  A Miniature Australian Shepard, he is smart as a whip.  He not only knows how to open screen doors, he's figured out the sliding glass door and the actual doors with knobs on them too.  He has also taught Petey how to do most of those things.

He's gotten smarter about not herding cars and getting a paw run over.  Crazy dog.

The pooch also eats the head off of every flower he's ever seen and literally eaten his water bowl.  Weirdo.

But as time goes on, he's become a little more attentive and loving. He's always been that way with my sister, but now with others, he likes to hang out and take pets.  He's not big on giving kisses though.  What's up with that?  I love doggie kisses.

A year or so ago, one would have never been able to get a picture of Boomer with some body.  Now, he sat and kind of posed with me.

Yes, I've already been taken to task for 'not smiling' in my pictures.  Suck it.  I'm over that comment.  I'm happy.  You've heard it before, you'll hear it again:  I look Asian in pictures when I smile.  It's not a good look for me.

Anyways, when I'm with the dogs I'm smiling.  Inside.  Where it counts.

Song by:   Garbage

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Narrow Daylight

I am late getting going this morning. There's no good reason for this - just laziness.

It has been a busy few days at work, and a number more to come my way in the next week.  Travel.  Always with the travel.

Maybe I'll get to miss some bad weather in Cleveland this week.  I'll be in California.  Or as 710 says, frolicking on the beaches.  Yes, because that's what I do on these work trips  Building sandcastles in the sand.

I will get to miss the on-going construction down the hill from that collapsed retaining wall.  Yes, 8 months after the fact, they have begun fixing it.  Unfortunately, when there isn't three lanes of traffic going into one - and all of the honking to go with it  - there is the din of the electronic "SLOW' sign, or the one with directional arrows telling you to get over.  That doesn't really lull me to sleep at night.

Even though we are a on a 'feeder' street to that road, ODOT was nice enough to plant a 10' sign in our yard.  Sure you see little flags for the utilities but trust me, they were not there before they buried that stake in our lawn.

The sign is a little misleading - in my opinion.  Our road doesn't narrow. But the sign doesn't tell you that a road does, it is just that you have to take a right and go 300 feet before it narrows.

Since I work from home now, when I'm actually at home, I don't go past the site to see how progress is coming along.  I mean, on the way to the airport, it is 04:30, so it's a tad bit dark to see what's going on there - and of course, my eyes are firmly on the road and my hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel.

Hopefully they'll be able to wrap it up soon so the traffic flows and we get the sign out of our yard.  I'm a little surprised with all our rain, there has not been more collapse of the hill.  Maybe it has - I just have not been down the 300 feet to see it all.

Song by:  Diana Krall

Friday, October 21, 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!

One Dispenser to Rule Them ALL!!!!!

Geekiness in all its glory.   That phrase can no longer be uttered just about me.

PEZ is selling a Lord O'the Rings dispenser set.  Well.........I mean they are, but only kind of.

C'mon, not only do they not have the entire Council of Elrond here - they didn't even include Merry.....or Pippin.  I can't really tell which Hobbit they omitted.   I'm sure that Frodo and Sam are there.

I suppose they couldn't have a Boromir and then have his brother, so they scrapped them both.  Clearly, I'm making assumptions.  I have no idea.

And really, how cool would it to have had a Sauron one with a PEZ coming right out of his eye or something?

And PEZ could have a law suit on its hands.  There is a very thick glass ceiling in Middle Earth.   No Arwen?  No Eowyn?   And {gasp}, no Galadriel?????   Is this a joke?  She is the Lady of the Frickin' Wood!!!  (I added the 'frickin''.)

In reality it was just something I stumbled upon while at the grocery store.

I'm not sure any of these are as good as my Death Star PEZ, I'm not kidding.  They made one.  I bought one.  Yet, it is a good try.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

After the Flood

It's official.  As of 18:19 yesterday, Cleveland broke the all time precipitation record. Since it rained most of yesterday, we surpassed 53.84 inches of rain - and it's still raining.  Well, it is as of this drafting.

....and we still have two more months to go before the end of the year.  Oh, this record is going to be hard to beat.  Hell, this last one stood for 140 years.  With climate change, this new one might only last 2-3 years, tops.

But with going with the flood theme, let's turn to the Ark.  So, they weren't two-by-two, but this story of the released exotic animals in Ohio is certainly the way we like to get on the national news.  It is a horrible tale (ha! tail!!!, get it?) of a man collecting wild animals, letting them go and then killing himself.

I don't give a crap that he killed himself.  Call me heartless.  But if he was going to off-himself, why let all his animals out knowing what their fate would end up being?

I cannot really blame animal control or the police force for not being able to handle lions and tigers and bears.   Yes......oh my.  Being a gay man, I'm contractually obligated to say the 'oh my' part.  Anyways, there was no rounding them up and finding new homes or zoos for them.  It was frickin' Zanesville, Ohio - home of nothing.

So here is what ended up happening, and I'm not happy to show it.

Absolutely HORRIBLE.   Spoiler Alert: they're not sleeping.

This is even worse than Evan Almighty - and let me tell you that was possibly now the second worse thing I've seen that includes animals.

See how I bring it together?  Floods, Animals. Arks.  I'm good!

On another note, I had a nice lunch with my cousins, Bill & David yesterday.   David axed if any new features were coming up in my blog-world.

He suggested 710 and I get a house-boy so I have something to write about.  If I got a house-boy, I'd get a dog too.  I mean, why walk and clean up after the dog if I have a house-boy?   Fuck - he can do it.

Song by:  Lone Justice

Wednesday, October 19, 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 going somewhere a little different this month for my Classic mode.   Julee Cruise.

I'd say I was a big fan of Twin Peaks, but in reality, I was a HUGE fan of the first six or so episodes of Twin Peaks.  The killing of Maddie (is it a 'spoiler alert' when the show has been off the air for 15 years?) still ranks up there as one of the more violent and disturbing scenes I've ever seen - in movies or TV.

Anyways, I digress.

Angelo Badalamenti did the music for most of, if not all, the series - Julee Cruise came in and did the vocals and lyrics.

While kind of original in its design, there are musical themes, sounds and structure that by song six you seem like you've heard it all before.....and you have, on songs 1-5.

Personally, I can't take the record for a full listen through, not if it is the center of the entertainment.  It's fine for background music when you are sitting around talking with friends and knocking back a drink or two.  It brings up good memories of Twin Peaks, but as that gets older and older, that is losing the connection.

Still, it's worth a listen, even if you just sample it on iTunes.

Fitting for the series, the music was edgy, ethereal and a little left of center.  Maybe more than a little.

I am sure I bought it because I thought Twin Peaks was so cool, I had to have it.

Floating Into the Night is and was a good record to sit in the dark to and drink.  Yes, it sounds a bit sad and desperate, but it's not.  It's a moody album and the mood to soak in that music is dark.  You don't have to be drunk.

It is clearly not sing-a-long music.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the Imperial March

We are back on schedule.  10 movies in a 9.5 month time frame.  Totally going to make it to our 12 in 12.

On Sunday we saw the critically so-so Ides of March.

I've seen glowing reviews, I've seen just-ok reviews.  In reality, it is somewhere in between.

The story itself is seemingly tried and true when it comes to politics and political thrillers.  I will give it that the script has multiple layers that keep getting pulled back as the movie goes on.  Some are predictable, as one might imagine, but some are not, but it keeps you interested.

It is my second Ryan Gosling movie in as many months, and my third in a lifetime.  He seems nice and all, but has one affect.  One.  Does that make him an actor?  Does he pick roles for his limited range or do they pick him for limited character - or just a face that will get a certain demographic to buy tickets?

Gosling speaks slightly more than he did in Drive and ironically drives more than he did in that move.

I love (not), how the plot centers around the Ohio presidential primary.  And yes, they use the phrase, "as goes Ohio, so goes the nation."  That might be true in the general election, but not the primary.   But I am not a fan of that any election anymore centers around Ohio as decider - good or bad.  There are times when being a fly-over state doesn't seem so bad.

While George Clooney writes, directs and stars in the flick, his acting role is a little more limited. The movie is based more around his operatives, which I find more interesting anyways.  I like movies and shows about process and while this has some of it, it is not the center of the plot.

The word "Ides" comes from the Latin word "Idus" and means "half division" - hence not just the movie poster, but how the movie's political game is played.  No doubt all of campaigns are played this way.  Quid Pro Quo - and even the most honorable campaigns are probably anything but. 

The story certainly moves along and I was engaged, but not engaged - you know?  The joke is on me of course.  No movie regarding politics these days is going to be peaches and cream, and if it were, I'm too cynical to believe that storyline or ending - so either way you're - um....I'm - frustrated. 

Once again, a movie that is garnering Oscar buzz for Clooney as director and Gosling as actor, but I don't see it.  If Clooney gets the nomination or win, it doesn't do much for the view of general Americans that Hollywood is too liberal.  

Don't get me wrong - I'm pretty liberal, or at least anti-Republican. And yeah there is a line about how the Dems don't get down in the dirt with the elephant and that maybe they should.  I couldn't agree more.  It is nice to take the high road, but it hasn't gotten us anywhere.  Only eight Dem presidents in 100 years says something, no?

So Ides is a good movie, but I didn't find it great.  My opinion of course. 

...and naturally I chuckled just a little bit at the marquee outside the theater:

They use the ellipsis, but can't just add the 'H' and skip the "...".  Clearly there was room for the 'H'. 
Now it's just the Ides of Marc - whomever he is. 

Music by:  John Williams (yes, it's a 'Star Wars' thing)

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Music Monday

I've been taken to task by a few people (David G., Sal....yes, I'm naming names) regarding my music choices and that they might not be current enough. But what is current?  It is relative, no?

If you're looking for me to feature something that is current on the radio, you'll may as well play the lotto. Not only do I rarely listen to current radio, it is rarer to find most anything that I want to hear there. But never say never.

Today's selection, Paramore's "crushcrushcrush" isn't current, but it's not '80s either. 2007, I believe.

I don't know Paramore that much. They had a fairly big radio hit last year (?) with "The Only Exception" - probably made more popular by its cover on Glee. To me, it was a blatant attempt at MOR radio and to gain exposure, which it got.

And like so many other bands who hit that popular trend, they shed band members as if they were nothing. Think Evenesance or Panic! at the Disco. All these bands figured they'd be better off and then sunk into oblivion. Sure they put out music, and might even get some attention, but their multiplatinum success is gone and their presence sinks faster than a stone.  Paramore's fate with this change has yet to be decided.

But that all being said, I do like "crushcrushcrush".  It's got a good beat and you can dance to it.  I mean, I suppose.  If I ever danced outside my kitchen when I'm cooking.  Melodic and still a little harder edged, but certainly nothing more than hard edged pop.

So, I'm not hip with anything too new, but no one has ever mistaken me for being hip.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We are Family

Over the weekend we had a birthday celebration for my father's birthday.  His 90th.

I should let you know that my father had his 90th birthday 10 months ago.  He turns 91 in two months and one week.

Clearly, my mother who insisted on doing this was a little behind schedule.  I also don't know the impetus to go with this party.

Normally, my father eschews this kind of event, especially where he is the center of attention.  But he really seemed to enjoy himself and was lively.  Well, as lively as an almost 91 year old can be at a dinner hosted at a country club.

In attendance were some cousins, an aunt or two, an uncle or two, some long long long time neighbors (ok, three couples - but they've lived near my parents for 42 years), and four sisters (see above)........and myself..........oh our spouses and my sister's kids, or most of them.

The company was pretty good, the food was pretty bad.  But at least they are consistent.  I'm not sure I've ever had a decent meal at this place.  The dessert was good.  And well, as you saw in yesterday's post, the bar was an open one, ergo, it was good too.

I can't say there was time enough to truly socialize with some people for more than a minute or two.  Maybe that's the way it should be.  I have few social graces, so what the frick do I know?

My mother did ask us kids to get up and say something, and I was hoping no one would remember that request.  Alas, she did and my eldest sister said she'd stand up there with me while I spoke.  Fun.........for her!

As it turned out, you can see we all stood up.  My little sister started and I finished.  The others were eye candy, I guess.   It was a nice, but short, tribute to my father.

BTW, I love my glasses, but in each pic taken, they look like they've slid halfway down my nose - I'm not liking any of the pics at all.  At least the ones with me in them.

I will share two more:

Three of my sisters and myself.  I was thanking all attendees and wishing my father a happy birthday, both 90 and 91....since i wasn't sure which one we should be focusing on.   

Here is me, then me in 43 years and me in 38-ish years with a "blonde" wig.  It's my dad and his sister. Genetics are a scary scary thing. 

 I really need to work on my posture when I'm drunk.

Song by:  Sister Sledge

Saturday, October 15, 2011

All the Wine

I could post blog, but in reality, I'm a little drunk.

I'm blogging real-time drunk.   Shocked!  Yes, I know you are.

There is a good reason to be drunk - I mean, isn't there always?  I might have had a good reason.  I might have purposefully had Denton drive last night so I could have a designated driver.

I'm a little disappointed that the bartender had to repeatedly axe me what I was drinking.  Seriously, shouldn't he have known after round three?  It's not like there were that many people at the event too.

I'll blog more about it later, but it's late - and it is possible I have had a bit to drink.

But that's no big shock.  Right?

Song by:  the National

Friday, October 14, 2011


It took longer than it should have - Gold status, that is.

I mean via Star Alliance with the airlines.  I went from Black Sheep to Golden Boy with my parents years ago - though in reality, I believe I'm falling out of favour.  With my parents, that is, not the airlines.

You would think of all the travel I do, that I would have been Gold sooner.  I did.  But then there was September when I did little travel.  And there was that unfortunate booking of a number of trips on Southwest of Delta, which have their own frequent flier miles.

I do not discount the first half of the year, where the most I was flying to was North Carolina, Chicago and Philly.  Smaller trips. Fewer miles.  Fewer legs.  That wasn't getting me anywhere fast.

With Star Alliance, you achieve "status" by miles or number of legs. With the shorter jaunts - yes, I said 'jaunts' - you probably get to Silver by legs.  It's harder to make Gold.  Impossible to make Platinum.

With longer trips, you are probably better off by miles.  I did Silver by legs, Gold by miles.

And while I know I only have two and one-half months left of this calendar year, there is potential to get to Platinum.  I've done the math with the travel I know I have to do in the next few weeks, and I'm close.   What you see in my title image is still a half a trip not noted for yet.  I have another leg and another 2200 miles to add to my current total.

The joke is:  I don't know what to do with all these miles.  The Gold status gets me access to the President's clubs in the airports.  Yeah, I could cash miles in for free trips, but I use the status for upgrades.  This last trip I got bumped to First Class on the way out and back.  Back was nice, since it was a red-eye....and for as much as I can sleep on planes (which ain't a lot), it's better than I could in coach.

When one gets to Platinum, the upgrades are clearly more frequent.  It's not that I care about the food, it's about the butt and leg room - and sometimes the Direct TV.

Don't get me wrong, I know I sound like a complete d-bag talking about 'status', but when you travel as much as I do, these are the perks.  You rarely enjoy or see anything in the city where you do business that's not the airport or the hotel.  One may as well take what they can get out of it.

Song by:  Spandau Ballet

Thursday, October 13, 2011

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 20th 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.

Vegas edition. Yeah, I was in Vegas yesterday.  Clearly I had some free time from the end of work until my red-eye home.

06:00.  The bill slipped under the door.  It was actually there when I got up at 4:30, but I didn't feel like taking pics that early.

07:30.  I make no secret that I eat cereal like a kid would. I would never buy Fruit Loops at home, but they are just fine at a Fairfield Inn.

 08:00.  Luxor.  ...and a beautiful blue sky.

08:05.  New York New York. Around 9/11 this year, I found it odd that when this casino was built that they never put up the twin towers.  As old as this place is, and as iconic as they were, I would have just assumed it would have been part of the original design. 

11:30.  I'm not proud of this - my BMI: 23.7.   Norm for a man of my height and age:  11-21.9, which is quite a range in itself.  This can be explained by Fruit Loops.  I had a salad for lunch. We won't talk about the chili cheese dog and onion rings I had for dinner.

14:00.  Drunk Octopus Wants to Fight You.
 18:00.  Moonrise over the desert.

 18:30. Fountains at Bellagio.  "Luck Be a Lady".

 18:50.  Lobby of Bellagio.  Ceiling of Dale Chihluly flowers.

 19:00.  David G. in some weird store in City Center.  That is not his parasol.
I've seen David more in the last 5 months than I have in the last 5 years.  It has been great!  

19:05.  Same store. A Lego chair.  A fucking $72,666 Lego chair. Seriously.

19:30.  Whirlpool or Waterspout - contained.  David called the toilets. But is it "art"?

Your Baker's Dozen
20:10.  Las Vegas Blvd, heading north.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


So yesterday was not the day for travel.

It was a seemingly full moon, but I suspect it wasn't a complete one.  Wax or wane, I think it was off a bit.  Enough.

The day started ok.  Upgraded to first class, which I like, obviously. It was totally for the extra setting space and leg room.  Since I had to be up at 3:45 and out the door by 4:15, my only order of business was to sleep.

I am getting better about dozing, not sleeping, on planes.  Before, I'd never get a minute of shut eye, now I can do multiple minutes, but not one of those people who can sleep the entire flight away. I wish.  But in reality I'd be the guy who has his jaw open.  While not snoring or drooling, I would look like the guy whose life just ended and set in that state of suspended animation.  Not pretty.

So I missed the food - no big loss.  I missed Captain America.  I'm assuming this was no big loss.

That was just the flight to Denver. At the plane change, it was more.......complicated.

The first plane to Vegas had mechanical issues.  We found out before boarding so they moved us to another gate and another plane.  All loaded up and nowhere to go.........because this one had mechanical issues too.  And we waited.........and waited.........and waited........until they told us to get off so they could get us another plane. 

By this time, I was wide awake.  And very very late.  But I don't sweat those things too much - they are out of my hands.  My boss, who I was meeting also had delays.  We ended up getting in withing 10 minutes of each other. 

At least third plane was a charm.

It was an ugly day.  A Jamba Juice at DIA and that was it for food until dinner. Since we were running behind, there was no time for lunch or anything else.  I had a splitting headache and probably still will when I wake up in the middle of the night, Pacific time. 

Such is the life of me.

Song by:  Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

App of the Month

The iPhone 4S is probably a fine device.  I could always use a better camera or a faster processor.

I'm not sold that I need Siri.  Sure it would be nice to know what a good Vietnamese restaurant is nearby and do it by voice command.

But there is already a good voice command / recognition program out there:  Vlingo.

Unlike Dragon Dictation, it is clearer and easier to use.  It also does not translate Denton's name and change it into '710'.   That is a downside, as now all of the group calls him 710.

But Vlingo does a Press & Speak thing that lets you dial a phone number, send an email or text message - orally.

When tested the other day,  it was about 90% accurate.  Yeah, you might have to say last name if you know more than one 'Blobby'.   As if you know more than one!

Still 710 sent me emails, called my phone and sent me a text.   And this is the best feature:

A profanity filter!!!!!   Why the fuck would I ever turn this on???

But 710 did test with it, and it worked perfectly - if you're so delicate in your language.

So, "H-E-Double Hockey Sticks" is apparently now a "profanity".   Go figure.  Next is 'egads' or 'drat'!!! The 1700s has returned!

The big draw, of course, is it is free.  You know me, cheap as they come.  I've never used the Dragon Dictation, so I think I'll be deleting that.  I don't need it.

I wasn't really in the market to upgrade my iPhone and now I certainly don't need to for Siri.  This will do just fine.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Music Monday

Maria McKee has been all over the musical map - and on purpose.

As a 19 year old lead singer for the "cowpunk" band Lone Justice, she morphed into country-ish, hard rock, alternative and even a blues like disk.

While admittedly, I wasn't a huge fan of You Gotta Sin to be Saved, it had its moment, including today's selection:  "I'm Gonna Soothe You".

McKee, has a very good voice.  Sometimes she uses it better and this is one of the better times.  Sure it depends on the material and the producer, but some of the responsibility is on the singer.  She does ok.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ramble On

Sorry I'm late - I got distracted.  Kind of.

Actually, I had shot some stuff for a video blog post, but found out much of it was uneditable on the phone.  Who knew you couldn't shoot one way and then flip the camera around for a landscape effect.  Of course you can, but then stuff comes out all sideways.

So now I improvise.

As it turns out, yesterday was a friend's birthday. Fred died two years ago, but it got me thinking about him - again. I think about him a lot actually.

For some reason, I went back to read the post I wrote about his untimely death and then I just started scrolling through old posts.

Not unlike actors or musicians who claim the never go back and watch or listen to their previous work, I don't much go back and look at my old posts.  It was a spiral last night. I couldn't stop after I started.

I think I read four month of posts - some were actually pretty good.  Some, now to much.

Of course, that took me down an entire other path.  As many know, when my host server did an upgrade, I lost every image to every post from mid-2009 all the way back.  Allegedly there is a way to retrieve these, but I haven't found it to be successful - obviously.

As I read the stories, I tried to remember which image was with which entry. Some were easy, some not so much.  Then of course, anything I didn't lift of the internets, was taken by me. ...and unless some of those are backed-up on storage unit, I can't go back and replace them into the blog manually.

I can shamefully say, most of them are not on that server.  Vacation pictures, some wedding pictures, holidays, family, Sophie's first weigh-in at the vet - all 2.2 lbs of her.

The thought of that loss kept me up much of the night, kicking myself and/or wanting to kick the asshole(s) who broke in and took that from me/us.

There were a few police blotter reports this week about forced, or attempted forced entries into houses not far from us (but not our neighborhood) in the middle of the day - and that the folks had weapons.  I suppose it's a good thing I didn't come across them when they were her, assuming it was the same guy(s).  In the police blotter, these guys were still at large.

So, maybe I'll try to reshoot the video blog for later this week, not that I'll be here, but I can shoot it and edit it on the road.

I also have to finally get this new laptop up and running. I have be hesitant about loading all my music back (I am so going to pay for the iCloud!), and then resynching my phone. Denton lost and had to reload all his apps....and there is question on whether I will lose all or some of my contacts.  That can't happen.  It just can't.

So onward and upward folks.  Onward and upward.

Song by:  Led Zeppelin

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Absolutely Barking Stars

Yesterday was a long long long travel day.  Boise to Denver to St. Louis to home.   ....and I haven't been in the St. Louis airport since TWA existed.  They haven't renovated anything since that time and I'm not 100% sure they've cleaned either.  It is one step above a Greyhound station.

One working men's room in Terminal A.  I felt like a girl at any rock concert waiting in line to evacuate.

But between flights, I was looking at FB on my iPhone and saw John's (from I Got Somethin' to Say) video posted of his dog Scooter.  I was sitting at gate A14 just laughing and laughing.  People around me I am sure thought I was strange - and they wouldn't be wrong, but not because of this.

We all know I'm a sucker for doggies, even though (or especially because?) I don't have one myself.  I love Torn's Georgie, but on equal pawing, Scooter is right there.

Poor Scooter was forced a few years back to dress up for Halloween in a skeleton outfit - and now his owners are torturing him again.....but in a slightly different way.

I hope John doesn't mind me lifting the video for my own blog.  I don't mean to be stealing the video or his potential thunder if he blogs it.  I'm just sharing cuteness and humor.

...and c'mon, isn't he just so frickin' cute?  I love his little brown marking.

I like how there is no 'eye' contact and that as upset as Scooter seems, his tail wags.

Song by:  Maria McKee

Friday, October 07, 2011

Precious and Few

Because I have nothing but work to talk about - and who wants to hear about that? - I only have an image to post up here.  ....and it's not even mine.

....but it made me laugh and laugh and laugh................then laugh a little more.

Song by:  Climax

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Silver Wings

It is not that I have nothing to write about - which I probably don't - but it's been a tough day.

Mostly travel yesterday. Hanging at the John Wayne Gacy Airport and then sitting on the tarmac for an hour because SFO had crosswinds and planes couldn't land.  I've lived this before, usually they can take off, so I wasn't hopeful for my connecting flight.

It didn't help when we circled for 45 minutes over the Bay area not being able to land.  Boo. I made my connecting flight by seven minutes and only because the incoming flight was delayed.  Phew.  There ain't many flights into Boise.  ...which is where I am.

And it's cold here. 91 here less than a week ago. It is in the 40s now.  Boy howdy. But it was a cool sunset.

I am done with work today mid afternoon, but I can't get home. No flights all the way to Cleveland.  So I leave first thing Friday morning.  One more night in Idaho.  I can handle it.  Vegas next week!!!!

Ok, enough rambling.  I'm done.  It appears I do have nothing to day. 

Oh, and I missed my parent's 55th wedding anniversary. I guess I'll call them tomorrow.

Song by:  Rosanne Cash

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Charlotte Sometimes

One thing about work travel is, that every now and again, you get to meet up with people from your past.  This can be good or bad.

Generally, if I want to be left alone, I make sure I get left alone.  But now and again, when you're on the road forever, you just don't want one more meal alone or eating it from curbside pick-up back in your hotel room.

Thanks to one of my FB posts, a guy I knew found out I was in the OC.  We had dinner last night.  It was ok. Japanese Curry. Katsu.  Never heard of it before. It wasn't horribly spicy. More sweet than spicy.  So-so.

Anyhoo, Dan and I used to "see each other" years and years and years ago......and apparently pounds and pounds and pounds ago too.  My inner-Edna Turanblat kept saying all night: "Big As A HOUSE!". 

Dan was always a beefier guy, but not like this.  Now it is more like kind of a massive-coronary-waiting-to-happen / can't find shirts big enough to tuck in, kind of thing. What you can't see in this pic is that he is really like 3-4" taller than myself.  He's a big guy - in every way.  Well, not in every way.

It wasn't necessarily a good or healthy relationship. While he was nice and my friends liked him, he was a little psycho. Or at least that is my take on it.. Anyways, he got his Ph.D. and headed to Cal-a-forn-eye-ay. Yes, psychos can get doctorates. It's true.

Before that though, he turned me onto the Cure. I knew of them, of course, but as we hung out at his apartment, I heard "Charlotte Sometimes" for the first time and loved it.  Still do.

We got along last night, but we didn't really talk about much.  His work.  My work.  His gaybie.  Yes, he and his partner adopted.  It was an interesting story of procedure, but I wasn't really invested. in it. I hadn't seen this guy for 20+ years.

Don't get me wrong, Dan was nice and all, I just don't know how often I'd repeat this, even when stuck in town by my lonesome. 

I also don't discount I was having an off-night to a fairly bad workday.

Song by:  the Cure

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Orange Crush

After a full month off the road, I'm back on it starting today.

I am headed to Orange County, California.  Land of those housewives who have their own show that I've never seen. I hear it is the land of republicans too - so that should bode well for me!  

Last time to save the company some money, I flew into LAX and drove the 51 miles.  That was great until I had to go back to L.A.  If you remember that same drive took me three hours.

As much as I'd like to see some friends in Los Angeles, I'm not doing that this time. I am flying directly to John Wayne Gacy International Airport.   The "international" comes from that a plane from there once had to make an emergency landing in Cabo San Lucas.

I won't be there long. Just a day.  If that.  Then I'm back on a plane and back to Idaho.  As it stands, it looks like I might be taking the shitty Ohio weather with me.  I believe that the OC might only be in the a high.  Where's the sun?  Where's the surf?   Gidget and the Beach Boys sold us a bill of goods, if you ask me.

Idaho, which was in the 90s last Friday will be down to the 60s or 50s as well.   ...and rain.  Ironically, Ohio is supposed to get nice once I leave.  No doubt it has something to do with my sunny disposition.

....maybe I should apply for Andy Rooney's position after all.

Don't look for profound posts - not that you ever get them in the first place.  It is a week of thoughtless posts....unless something really cool happens to me.  I guess you should check back, just in case.

oh, and in the image, you get your clown reference of the week.

Song by:  R.E.M.