Thursday, May 31, 2012

Magneto and Titanium Man

Yesterday was MRI day.

I mean, it's not an "official day", say like International Talk Like a Pirate Day or Arbor Day.  Maybe it should be - as there are more people who get MRIs on a daily basis than do anything for either of those two events.

Just sayin'....

There is nothing to report - in the way of results. I won't see those for a few days. If it's all good, I'll get a phone call or a release of my electronic medical record to me. If it's bad news, I'll be asked to come in and then wait to see the doc for that rousing piece of information.  I've been down this road before with my sarcoma.  I know how it works.

It's been pushing 20 years since I've gotten my last MRI - some things have changed with the process. Some, not so much.

This was not an open MRI, but the same damned closed one I've had before. I'm not really claustrophobic so I was ok, but I can see where folks might not like the experience at all. My nose - as big as it is - can almost scrape the top of the tube I'm in. But this time I had a head protector on, mainly because they were mapping the head and brain - not the leg.

And this time they did the first half without contrast and the last half with - which meant I needed to have an IV.  See?

But before going this far, I was not as worried about results as I was worried about, ohhhh....metal ripping out of my body with the force of the magnet in the actual imaging machine.  With a metal plate and nine pins in my leg, I had to ask 3 or 4 (dozen) times "are you sure???"  Oddly until right before I went in, I forgot all about the Kevlar in my abdominal area.

Yes, since I don't have abs of steel, I went for the implant.  They didn't do a very good job at forming the 6-pack. I should sue!

I know I have a high pain tolerance, but I really didn't want this tearing from my insides out and have to have 710 hear about that whole, "he bled out" description.

But you know, the IV has metal on it. And this time, unlike last, they gave me headphones and I got to pick from a music selection!!!!!!

It's laminated and the overhead lighting makes it hard to read, but you can enlarge it to see.  The selections weren't great.  I went with Guided Imagery and Songs of War.

I kid....I kid.  I don't even know what the former is. And don't want to hear the latter.

It really didn't matter what you picked, because after they hit 'start', you heard nothing but the machine. Those noises were hammers on metal, jackhammers, or a series of noises you hear at the 00:00:13 mark of this Sixteen Candles clip.

Hearing the noise during the test actually made me chuckle because I immediately thought of this scene. I even did, in my head, the line the dorks with jockstraps on their head did.  Lord, I'm a dork.

So, like with my leg, I'm taking some of this in stride and with humour. I mean, what else can I do?  Like last time, I have to keep in mind my way of coping isn't like everyone else's.  So no longer will I answer the phone:  "Hello, Glioblastoma Hotline".

Apparently it is only funny to me. And maybe Ted Kennedy's widow.

...but probably just me.

Song by: Paul McCartney & Wings

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ripe Tomato

It's been a hot few days here and we're still three weeks away from Summer.  We hit a few days in the 90s already - and you know my thing:  I can't complain about that.

My deal - for any new reader - is you can complain about either hot or cold, but not both. I've opted for cold.  And this last Winter didn't even really suck in terms of below freezing temps, but most of you know, I have massive problems getting and staying warm.

And in the heat, I can take cold showers and then lie nekkid on top of the sheets under the ceiling fan.

But it's been too hot to cook. Sure, we can do the grill, but I'm not about to turn on the stove or oven. No way, no how. But there is an alternative.


No cooking or heating involved.  ...and no offense to my go-to guys, but I didn't use any of the cooking blogs I normally frequent.  I looked on-line for sure, but making gazpacho can be a little like clearing out the crisper in the refrigerator.

Red Onion. Tomatoes. Cucumber. Celery. Red Bell Pepper. Garlic. Sal. Pepper. White wine vinegar. Olive Oil. Tomato juice.  and some Worcestershire sauce.

Each on-line recipe is / was different, so you do with what you like, what you have and what you want.

It makes a lot for two people, but mostly I was trying it out for entertaining later this summer.  Ina Garten always says never to test new things out on guests first.  Wise words.

I would do stuff differently next time, I suppose.  First off, I wouldn't use the food processor and just hand chopped things a little coarser. It kind of turned out like salsa with tomato juice. Which isn't to say that it isn't good or tasty - it is.

Of course, having the flavours meld together over 24 hours helps.

...and naturally by the time I made it and the second serving a day later, the temps dropped back into the 70s.

Such is life.

Song by: the Jolly Boys (yeah, i don't know this song or group, yet I have it in my music library)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

App of the Month

I almost let the month slide without an App of the Month.

I can't believe I haven't done a travel app.  I think the reason I haven't is because most of them suck.  Delta's is sub-par, last time I checked UScare didn't even have one.  Southwest I have, but it's fair at best.

When it comes to air travel United, by far, has the best iPhone application. To be fair, it's not United's app - it was a Continental creation and United took it over when the two carriers combined in early March.

It is the only travel app I consistently use.  I sometimes use a rental car one, and every now and again, I'll use either Marriott.

United has a very extensive applications - and of course, it's free, as it should be.

While I've never booked a flight, I use the check-in feature all the time. And while I don't have any flights tomorrow, I don't have the electronic ticket to pull up to show you. But you can see the 'mobile boarding pass' link.

For fun, I'll use the 'my account' part just to see how I'm doing on my way to gold status.  I don't think I'll be traveling enough to hit platinum this year.  Never say never, though.

What I do use is the 'flight status' especially when I'm trying to connect from flight to flight.  Mind you, United has a great way of updating you via text message, but if you want more info, it will tell you where the connecting flight is coming from, when it will land and when you will board and take off - at least estimated times.  ....and change of gates.

There is the 'more' too.

Admitted this is stuff I never use, but it's there for those who might want even more.  I can't find it anymore, but with Continental, there was a list that told you where you were on the upgrade list.  It also told you if the flight had power - meaning you could plug a device in to charge it, but I don't think that exists any longer.  Pooh.

I am fairly intuitive when it comes to airports and how they're laid out - and in reality, there aren't many major airports I haven't been in by this time.  I have never looked at the layouts in the in-flight magazines. But I realize I'm not everyone, so the maps on the app are not bad - but they're not great.

One does have to use their finger to drag the map left or right and the gates are not that clearly marked. Maybe they show better on an iPad (assuming they have the app), but on the phone it is iffy at best. 

Still as free apps go, and for a travel one, it has been a life saver when trying to book a flight, get on a plane or change planes. I suppose it doesn't hurt that Continental United is my carrier of choice. 

I don't know the casual traveler would use this the way I would, but if your a road warrior, it'd even be worth a cost to use it.  But thank g-d it's free.  They make enough money off of me. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Music Monday

While I'm honoured that Don over at No Fooling Me has decided to occasionally do his own My Music Monday, I now feel the need to trademark the name - just to protect intellectual property. if there is anything intellectual about me.

So, perhaps now it will be My Music Monday™.  Or perhaps Blobby's My Music Monday™, but then there goes the alliteration.

Don might refer to me as "his Blobbyness" or "Sir Blobbiness", I might have to register those names just for safety.

I've been in an Aimee Mann mood lately, but I rarely stray too far from her work. I think maybe her music has been on my mind because I've read she's completed her new disk and will be released in September of this year.

When it comes to live music, there are some songs that actually work better in a live setting than the studio. A few come to mind:  Prince's "Anotherloverholeyohead", Fleetwood Mac's "I'm So Afraid" and Wings' "Time to Hide" are just a few.

Mann's "Going Through the Motions" can be added to that list.  It was released in live version, on her DVD from a concert at St. Ann's Warehouse. A while later the studio version was released on The Forgotten Arm.

Maybe it was because I heard the live version first that I am partial to it, but I don't think that is really the case.  The live version shows more energy and it just has a stronger vibe.

Yes, I have the St. Ann's Warehouse DVD, but don't know how to pull off a song to feature here....and while there are many videos out on the internets from this concert, none of them are "Going Through the Motions".   So unfortunately, you get just the audio player embedded below.

Also weird, that the normal player I use, OpenDrive, isn't letting me upload music to put on this blog, which is bothersome, at best.  So let's see how this works.

I suppose I could have tried to find a Memorial Day song, but I'm not feeling it, let alone know where to start...and like I said, I've been on an Aimee Mann kick lately.

His Blobbiness has spoken!  (oh, just hit the arrow to play)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Set the Prairie on Fire

A year ago this weekend, 710 and I were in Columbus for a  few days of hanging with long-time friends - and eventually the subsequent video

We have been together a few other times since, at least in one variation or the other.  Mostly it has been Rebecca, and we definitely need to see the others soon. 

Becca has been in and out of town for a number of reasons, but spending a night or two with us, which has been more convenient to drive to Columbus - no offense to Mort, George or Dith. No that any of them are chomping at the bit to head north. 

I will say, most of the time when Becky has been here lately we stay in, order in and drink in.  

Two nights ago, we were blessed with HBO showing parts I and  II of the Deathly Hallows back to back.  Geek heaven. 

Becky and I are two of the folks who actually think pt I (or what some call 'the camping movie') is the best of the Harry Potter movies.  Yes, we did MST3K pt 2 a little bit.  As much as I liked the second portion of book 7, we did kind of rip it apart a little, wondering why J.K. Rowling kind of never continued using Hermione's time turner - thinking the band of three could have avoided a lot of tragedy.  And limited use of the invisibility cloak? And there is a lot of running where Harry, Hermione and Ron could have just apparated to get where they needed to go.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of lives could have been saved. 

As I look back on some of the books / movies, I'm finding hole upon hole in the storyline.  ...but I digress. ..I think

Rebecca couldn't stay a second night with us, but we did meet her for drinks and appetizers yesterday - hence the picture of the decimated cheese plate.  The Prairie Breeze (cheddar) was really good. 
You really didn't want to see the bones of the eaten sweet chili wings. Oh, and wine.  We all had wine. 

Oddly enough, that was enough for dinner - for 710 and myself anyways.   

I tried taking a pic of the three of us - yes, 710 has been cropped out, as I respect his right to have to live this blog but not be in it to a degree - and oh my, did the lines around my eyes show...and my cheeks. They show here too, just not as severe as that first pic I snapped. Anyways, the hostess came over and took a few better ones for the one below. 

In another week or so, Rebeca will be back. Maybe she will stay with us, maybe not. But either way, I'm assuming we'll meet up with her. Depending on the time of week, maybe others could join??  Yes, it's a backhanded invitation, but it's the only thing they respond to.  (I kid....I kid.)

Soon enough, 710 and I will be odd-men out, and any visits will have to be conducted by us.  I just know it.  {sigh}

Song by:  Shawn Colvin

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What Do You Hear in These Sounds

I'm not supposed to bring drama to the table blog, so I've been told. But if I just gave you the boring details, who would stick around for this web-log diary?

No one - that's who!

Yesterday was my big day at Otolaryngology - and yes, it's true, I met Rebecca when she was working there at THE Ohio State University Medical Center - way back in 1988 (?).  So she can spell it - or at least say it.

I'd like to say the appointment went swimmingly well, and in certain ways it did. Of course, in certain ways it didn't.  Such is the nature of my healthcare.

When it comes to health my history goes like this: I go in for appendicitis and get diagnosed with bone cancer. I get one hernia fixed only to find out I have a second....and so on....and so on...

So going in for a hearing test one could only assume the worst, right?  Right!

Well, first off, the Resident was key-uuuuute. We went through my medical history and the recent events of the hearing loss to current day. Then he asked, "what else can you tell me about yourself....?".  I couldn't resist - ".....well, I'm a Leo and I like long walks on the beach...."    At least he laughed.

He told me a few scary things - like out of those who have spontaneous hearing loss, only about 40% of them ever recover the sense. So my earlier assumption of not being worried because it wasn't gradual was way off base.

He also said sometimes they order a scan of the brain "to make sure there is nothing going on up there."  I jokingly replied, "would you care to rephrase that?"  He said, "you know what I mean!".    Oh, Doctor / Patient flirting!

Then he used these devices on me....

....well, the tuning forks, not the ear speculum. The little ear stirrups weren't available.

Actually, it was interesting using the forks and placing them at the ears and on the bone behind the ear - as apparently some people hear better / more through the bone as opposed through the canal. Ya learn something new everyday, eh?

After that it was off to a series of hearing tests. Quite a few of them - some I participated in listening and either pressing buttons or repeating words and phrases at different sound levels. Some I just had to sit there while they tested wave patterns of my ear drums. A lot of beeps, yes indeed.  A few really really loud noises too, now and again.

Then with those test results - mostly normal, with some loss specifically in the left/affected ear -  it was back to see the actual Attending physician. She was nice, but scared me a bit.

Clearly, spontaneous hearing loss is not common and she made it clear that if it were to happen again, to call her directly and immediately - and gave me her personal contact info, and that I couldn't wait a few days to get in to be seen.  Yikes.  ...she even said if I were traveling she'd get me to the nearest center as soon as possible.  Double yikes!

We opted not to treat with steroids at this time. She does want to do an MRI on my brain - which I suppose where the "blog drama" comes in.

In reality, I'm sure there is no tumor, but until she mentioned it, the thought never crossed my mind.  Of course with my medical luck, I"m probably already in Stage IV of whatever I'll end up being diagnosed with.

Nahhh....I really don't believe it is anything. But I suppose I'll splurge the 20% I have to pay for that fucking MRI, which will an ung-dly amount of money. When it was my leg and they were unsure what it was, somehow I knew - or talked myself into worse case scenario (and was right), this time I do not have that feeling at all.

Oh, and I also got some over the counter meds to hopefully control the ringing in my ears. But I suppose if it is a brain tumor, who really gives a shit about the constant high pitched noise in my head?

We'll see.  We'll see.    ..........or hear.  Or, I guess.....not.

Song by:  Dar Williams

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rest of the Day Off

I'm not taking a day off of blogging - obviously, as you're reading this right now.

No, I am actually taking my first day off of the year, other than the mandatory New Year's Day.

I know, I'm a moron.  I get it.

Last year, I think I ended up losing 10 vacation days and I'm probably on track to do the same this year unless I can get it together.

710 and I have not even truly planned our vacation yet, but this weekend we will secure a week of a summer get away. Or two.  At worst, we will do our long week and then figure out 2-3 longer weekends to destinations yet unknown.

Of course, while I have the day off, I won't be lounging around.  Even though my hearing is mostly back to normal, save the constant ringing in my ear, I am seeing an otolaryngologist.  Naturally, I'm guessing they'll tell me nothing since whatever has probably cleared up enough that they won't be able tell me what was what.

I also get to get one of my favourite pairs of glasses fixed. I am finding it easier to sleep on planes, since I'm on them so much, but the other day I bent them. I looked like a dork the entire time I was at my meetings with my specs askew. I have to remember to start traveling with a back-up pair - I'm too blind to be without any visual correction.

I know, I'm exciting - right?

Song by: Neil Finn

Thursday, May 24, 2012

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!

Believe it or not, I have not done a Record of the Month since February. There has been nothing out there worth purchasing. There are a bunch of albums slated for release in the upcoming months, so I'm jazzed about that.

One of the disks I've been waiting for - for about six years - is the new disk from Garbage: not your kind of people.

Like an iTunes junkie, I once again bought the deluxe version - 15 songs as opposed to 11 on the regular version.

The sound is new but not new - such is the beauty of Garbage.

Each of their disks is slightly different but has a familiar vibe that go through all five of their recordings.  NYKOP (you don't think I'm gonna write that title out each time I use it, do you?) has a modern day sound and still sounds like they took some pointers from Blondie's 1977 disk,  Plastic Letters .  This is not a bad thing.

I don't know that this disk is better than their last one, Bleed Like Me, but I find it way more appealing than Version 2.0 and even better than or even Beautiful Garbage.

I am digging "Man on a Wire" - it is totally rocking.  Totally meant to be played LOUD (well, when I could still worries, I'm going to an ENT tomorrow).  Same can be said for "Automatic Systematic Habit".  I am loving that too.

"Sugar" has a nice ethereal feel to it.   You want a dance-like tune?  Try "I Hate Love".  If radio still played groups like Garbage, it would make a really good single.....which is more than I can say for their first radio release, "Blood Like Poppies" - I'm not digging it - at all.  It kind of has all the right elements, but it is not firing on any cylinder for me.   ...and "Felt" feels like something off their first disk. Not a bad thing, just a little too similar.

As for the four bonus tracks, they don't seem so bonus.  That is a good thing. Most extra tracks are total throwaways that you end up wishing you didn't spend the extra dough to get them.  But "The One" and "What Girls are Made Of".  "Show Me" is good.  "Bright Tonight" sounds a little too much in the vein of "Sugar", which was done much better.

Still  with NYKOP, Garbage releases a more than solid disk, which is great. Unfortunately, music trends have moved on in the 7-8 years since their last release - and even back then the industry was leaning towards marginal individual artists who have little to no talent and penchant for auto-tune.

I'm glad to see they can buck that trend while still doing something "old"....and do it with talent.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Good Friend

When I was in the Los Angeles area this last trip, I drove up a bit to see a longtime friend, York.

I know I've mentioned in one post having friends named York, Hillel, Hunter and of course, Denton. There is a Joe and Tom thrown in there too, I suppose.

I think I've mentioned him a few times before, but even with all the other trips I do to California, I have not gotten an opportunity to see him.

Morty and I met York 20 years ago this month !!!!  Can you believe that, Mort?  We were on a lost week(end) that ended in New Orleans.

I've remained friends with York ever since..

He's just one of those people I clicked with - and months, or longer, can go by and we pick up with no sense of weirdness. Not bad considering we've only actually seen each other in person a little more than a half dozen times in these two decades.

When we met, I was very smitten with him. That turned to friendship and has endured. When catching up with him for the six hours we sat around his house, I could see glimpses of why I was smitten.  Being older and arguably wiser, looking back, I can't imagine that would have ever come to fruition.

Ahhhh youth.  Though 28 doesn't seem that young. Well, I would have been 28 at the time, him a bit older.

This pic makes him look old too. He represents much better in real life than in the three pictures I took. I look slightly different in each one - he looks exactly the same frame by frame.

Still, it was good to catch-up. His partner, Stuart, was there when I arrived, and it was nice to see him again as well.  I was supposed to have drinks with the aforementioned Hillel, but my "lunch" with York went on that six hours - and I still had to drive an hour back to my Hillel will have to wait until the next trip. He understood though.

Just for shits and giggles - not so much the giggles part - here is York and myself back in 1994 (?) in LAX. I was flying through and he came to meet me between lay-overs. Pre-9/11 when one could still to meet people at the gate.

There is something to be said for youth, but something to be said for aging.

Song by: Matthew Sweet

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I'm Not Listening

I am the audio-impaired equivalent of Mary on Little House on the Prairie....or something.

I awoke yesterday morning feeling ok. The night before I had some post nasal drip, but nothing bad by any means. I had no pain, I had no discomfort.  I had no nothing.  ....including the ability to hear from my left ear.

This I found out when my phone rang. I'm a leftie and raised my phone to my left ear to hear absolutely nothing. But you know how you also get that, for lack of better phrase, tunnel effect where noise, and even lack of it bounces of your ear drum - so you know everything works?  I didn't have that. It was more like any sound or white noise absorbed there, going nowhere.

That's not a great explanation, but I have no other good way of phrasing it.

Holding the phone to my right ear, everything seemingly worked well. I didn't panic or anything. I figured something from the flight the day before, or that post nasal drip. Normally there is pain associated with either of those things - oh and no real hearing loss. Well, one time there was loss, but both my ear drums burst when descending into Key West.

Off to the shower I went, but when turning off the water, I noticed continual ringing in my ear. Bummer. That continued for maybe an hour.

Then I picked up a doc who works for me at the airport and told him of my problem. He said he'd check me over when we go to our clinic site.  ....and he did.

Oh, I should mention that last Friday, I did that thing where I whack the top of my head on some door frame. It left a very little, but very painful, contusion on my noggin. I thought nothing of it...well in this scheme of things.  No worries, he ruled out any connection considering the timing of the events.

But both ears looked good. No blockage. No inflammation. No nothing.  Admittedly, this is when I became a little more concerned.

Stepping in the audiometry booth did nothing for said concerns. I sat for 10-15 minutes going through a series of beeps that I heard or think I heard.  And some I apparently did not year at all.

Because I know you all wanted to see my results, there they are: left ear and right.  Allegedly, anything over a 25 is bad.  Clearly, nothing on the left is under a 35 - and goes all the way to 65.  I think Marlee Matlin hears better than I do.

As the course of the day ran on, I found myself situating where I sat and stood so I could see faces and do my internal Julie Brown impersonation ("so I leaned down and her good ear...Debbie, why'd ya do it??")...I mean, stand to the left of folks so I could hear from my right side.

A few times during the day, the constant ringing came back - so I guess there is some sound, right?

The doc had no real words of wisdom for me. He suggested maybe my Eustachian tubes, which would make sense, as that is how my ear drums burst before - yet there is that lack of pain, redness or swelling.

His parting words when being dropped back at the airport, if it isn't better by the time I land tomorrow night (yayy....the thought of the take off and landing in a plane with a bad ear excites me to no end!), then I should see an ENT in short order.

So the irony is, my father, who is stone deaf and refuses to admit it or do anything about it - and the son, half his age, will have one more thing in common, though I won't forgo getting a hearing aid when the time comes - and I'm not saying that time is now.

710 provided little support and less empathy. "Oh, I had that".  Whatever. He asked, "how will you ever hear your kitty purr". I suppose I will feel her, so will sense the rumble....a sort of Feline Braille.

I'm guessing / hoping this will indeed pass.  It wasn't gradual, so it doesn't seem probable that will be long term, as it wasn't trauma induced.

I guess we'll see.  And my sight will be better as those other senses will now become heightened.

Song by: Maria McKee

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Music Monday

I have had "the Lowlands" by Jaime Hanna & Jonathan McEuen along with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in my music liberry since maybe 2002?

I clearly remember it being on a CD of .mp3s, when I took my portable .mp3 player to San Diego for a conference. big and bulky but this was before Mr. Jobs manufactured the iPod.

Hey, at least it wasn't a Walkman.

I'm not sure how I came upon the tune. It's not like I'm a huge fan of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's series of Will the Circle Be Unbroken disks. And it's not like I've ever heard of Hanna & McEuen before or since (not that I've searched them out either).

While their two voices, used separately, they don't sound horribly different, but when they sing together, those differences blend very nicely.  TNGDB makes the bluegrass like, but not overtly so.  And like other Americana songs, it tells a nice story.

It is possible the video will look embedded, but won't play due to record company restrictions. YouTube has proved me wrong before, but in case I'm right, you can play the song here

10 years later"the Lowlands" still doesn't bore me and it is a song I never skip over.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Outbound Plane

I suppose I could have a better post for this morning - but I don't.

By the time you read this, I'll be on my way to Los Angeles.  Up at 04:00.  Out the door at 04:30 and if on-time rules apply, will be in the air by 06:00.  Eastern Daylight Time, that is.

Sometimes, or lately, I have been getting these early Monday morning meeting all the way out west that  i must attend. Since there is no way to get a flight that lands that early, I must cut my weekend short.

Yes, I could have left later in the day, but that gets me to California that much later body-clock time. And hell, if I have to be in SoCal on a Sunday, I might as well enjoy it and do something.  ....not that I know what that something is.  Maybe lunch or dinner with friends and then to bed.

Oh yes, I'm an exciting one.

I'll make up my day I'm losing. I don't know when or how, but we're going into a holiday in the next week, so I'll take some time to relax and do nothing. ......well, except yard work, laundry, groceries, etc.

So, sorry for the nothing post.  Enjoy the last day of your weekend for me.

Song by:  Suzy Bogguss

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Happy Meal II

Oh, how I love to have lunch with my cousins. Bill & David are just a blast to share a meal with and I wish we could do it more often.  I don't think if we scheduled it with more frequency that it would be less fun or special.

Another cousin, Betsy, was to attend as well and I really enjoy her company - but she bailed. Damn her.

Two unexpected (well, kind of) additions were my aunt and a cousin of my father's . I had maybe met Barbara (the cousin) once or twice when I was a kid. But I sort of mentioned here in this post from seven years ago.

Nothing against my aunt or anyone else, but I have lunch to hang with David and Bill.  I have seen those two much more in the last three years than I've seen aunt in the last 10-15. Hell, I've seen her twice in the last seven month - I can't tell you how many decades it has been that I've seen her twice in a year.

Bill asked a seemingly innocent question to her about how often she sees her two brothers - one of them being my father. The answer was odd and yet it wasn't.  To paraphrase, it was "I see them when I see them - we have our own lives.".

In a weird way I was totally offended by the comment and feeling very protective of my dad. On the other hand, not only was her response true, it wasn't surprising. And then there was a little pang that this is the road my sisters and I are probably headed.  ...and maybe that was the sting of the comment, just internalized.

Still it was a nice lunch, sitting outside and eating somewhat healthy - all the while getting my RDA of Vitamin D.....and possibly a little burn. Had I known we were going to sit outside, sunscreen would have been applied.

The club was packed with women (and a few men) playing what I'm guessing was Bridge. Oh to have that life of leisure - not that I'm a card guy.  Just the ability to do this as opposed to getting back into our cars and heading back to work.

Bill, who is currently single, looked in the room and mentioned there were a lot of attractive women in there, then stops, turns to me and says "not that you care".   I replied, almost without missing a beat, "well, I could go in and say 'any brothers like you at home?'".

I know the summer is ripe for travel for David, Bill and myself, but I am hoping we can find 2-3 times during the next few months to have lunch, dinner or breakfast.

Song by:  the Cardigans

Friday, May 18, 2012

Love to Love Ya Baby

I have no unkind words for Donna Summer or her passing. But I can't go out and say how much I loved her either. Her music was always right there. I knew it, but I never owned any of it.

You couldn't escape her songs - whether you were gay or not - and to be honest, by the time I came into being able to go out, Summer was the 'classic' song(s) they played at the bars, you know, they way they still insist on playing Black Box or CC + the Music Factory.

Ok....maybe it's been a while since I've been to a gay bar, but you know what I'm getting at.

Summer had moved even past "She Works Hard for the Money", let alone "I Feel Love" or "Hot Stuff".   Hell, she was appearing the Columbus Eagle by the time I was coming out. When you go from concert halls singing to pre-recorded tracks at two-bit Eagle in a two-bit town, you're not clawing your way to #1 on the charts anymore.

That said, I get what she was to the gay community, or part of it, in that inexplicable way that other female singers I have no true association with have made their mark. While I'm sure Liza, her mother, and such had their place, not only was it before my time, it is not my taste in music.

But the thought of men in leather, skipping to the dance floor when Summer played, so they could pull out their fans, or flags, and dance always seemed odd to me. best. I was always a hang at the wall drinking my beer kind of guy, if by myself, or stand with friends (drinking beer) and laughing kind of guy, if not alone. It is safe to say almost no artist had me running to the dance floor.

710 surely liked Summer and I'm ok with that. I don't rush to turn the radio dial when she's on. Oddly enough, as we cooked the night before she died, "She Works Hard..." came on the radio (oh oh on the radio) and I never changed the station.

I have exactly one reference I can truly blog about when it comes to Summer - and it's in the form of five words in a five minute Second City skit.  You really have to wait to the 3:00-3:10 mark in the skit and listen to Catherine O'Hara's Margaret Meehan's answer.

It is a line I have been using for years. Sometimes in context, sometimes not. It really depends on the audience I have when I pull it out of storage and use in my repertoire.

 Song by: Donna Summer

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Oooh.....yesterday was mulch day.

Yeah, it's a day.

Once a year, we have the undocumented workers lawn maintenance folks come with a dump truck and bring a few yards of mulch to fill in the beds and make them look grand.............which lasts about two weeks.

Just as the smell of outhouse is wearing off, then the dark brown starts to bleach in the sun making the mulch look like dirt.

In my mind, there has to be some better way to make this look better year-round.  Or at least summer-round.

It seems the mulch in other people's yard is a really putrid smell. Like blood mixed in diarrhea smell, after sitting out in the hot sun for 9 hours.

I didn't even hear the workers arrive, but with the windows shut, the odor started to seep in.

I knew we were getting mulch, but I was hoping it wasn't going to be the kind that made you hold your breath like you were riding your bike past a sewage treatment center. Seriously, why so many bike paths take you past those?

But it is purdy. They did a nice job.

Yes, we still are working on fixing patches in the lawn, but it is getting better.  Anyways, you're supposed to be looking at the beds, not the lawn. 

And if you take a look at the lower part of this picture, you'll see the nice deep tire track the workers left in our yard.  I'm assuming 710 will have them coming back to repair that. 

Song by:  Depeche Mode

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shopping with Blobby

I have veered off the grocery store Shopping segments and this is no different.  Finding fun and funny food items isn't as wide-spread as it used to be.  Or it might be, but anymore I don't linger. I have my list, get in and get out.

Technically, this one isn't even 'shopping'.  This item was found during the renovation of our rooms. I have no idea where exactly these were located, they were just left behind in our fireplace.

Yes, in.  You read that correctly.

We've been here for almost seven years and never seen them, and we certainly didn't bring them with us, so lord knows how long it has been in this house or where it came from.

Trout Sox.

You can see, when I took the pics, I didn't even dust the package.  Totally disgusting.

But you can also see from the package, how one is supposed to wear these....besides dorkily, that is.

It is unfortunate that I am posting this here, because now all those closest to me will have seen it (if they don't skim.......and lordy, how they like to skim) then I can't really re-gift this to them in the future.

I will have to find another in which to inflict this horrible horrible present upon.

...or we can just leave them for the next owner of the house....whenever that may be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Naked to the Eye

People's behaviour in the gym shower is just interesting.  Not always in a good way, mind you, but it makes me chuckle to a degree.

There are the guys who swing to and fro, nekkid as the day they were born going from locker to shower and back again. I might be one of these guys. Not because I have to show-off, mostly because those towels aren't built for a waist like mine. Sure, that towel will wrap around and tuck-in, until I take two steps, then all is lost.

Since it is all of 45 steps from shower to my locker, why even bother?  No worries, I can strategically place a towel in front of me while taking my stroll.

But there are the guys who go nekkid as in a show-off manner. Or seemingly. Maybe they just have a better body image and exude more confidence.

I'm not that guy.

Of course, there are the guys who are shyer but like to "look" at guys. If they exist, most are covert about it. I'm assuming. But there are those few guys who really have no shame. They exist in every locker room.

One guy stands out for me. Two really.

One at the old Larkins Hall at Ohio State. He did nothing but sit in the sauna and "stretch"- right on the floor of the sauna - as if he ever worked out, let alone warmed up, a day in his life. Anyone who ever worked out there knew of this guy - no matter what time you went to the gym. It was creepy. You'd think with all the time he spent in the sauna he'd have sweat away his fat, even if he never lifted a weight. But no, he was portly. ....and I'm being nice.

The second guy is at my current gym. I don't know him, but I know he's gay. That's fine. But he looks a tad bit creepy....and he looks at me.  The other day, he made a beeline to the locker room and shower when he thought I was headed that way.  I wasn't. I mean, I went to shave my head before I showered, so he was done before I went to bathe.  Crisis averted.

Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), I only run into him every few Saturdays, depending on what time I get my fat ass to the gym.

Last Saturday though, I came across a new one. The guy had two towels.  One wrapped around his waist, one he carried.  He came to the shower area, hung one towel up and kept the towel....for the entire time.  Face towards the wall (we don't have individual shower stalls), he washed what he could, and might have opened his towel, washed and closed back up.

That is modesty.

But from a physics perspective, I was perplexed. When my towel is bone dry (hehehehe....I said 'bone'), it doesn't stay on. Add 20lbs of water absorbing directly into said towel, all the while more is cascading onto it, how does it stay on??

After he turned off the water, he walked over to his non-wet towel, dried off what he could and then wrapped dry towel over the wet one then dropped the wet towel from underneath.  Pretty sneaky sis!

Of course my first thought was:  'why bother? Shower at home.'

Actually that was my second thought.  My first thought was a clip from Scrubs from years ago....that always made me laugh.

Song by:  Mary Chapin Carpenter

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Music Monday

It is easy to think of Joe Jackson as a one or two hit wonder. I kind of did.  My mind immediately went to, "Is She Really Going Out With Him?".

Then I started to think about it a little. There was at least one other song on his debut, Dress Sharp, that he had - though probably not a mainstream hit - "Sunday Papers".

But then Jackson went onto other albums and radio or video hits like, "Stepping Out",  "Real Men", "Breaking Us in Two", "Cancer", "It's Different for Girls"and even collaborated (if not co-wrote) Suzanne Vega's "Left of Center".

...and then there is "Right and Wrong".   So not a one hit wonder at all.

While I'm sure "Right and Wrong" wasn't a video or radio hit, it sticks in my head - clearly, since it was released in the mid-80s. But two or so weeks ago I woke up with a song in my head - as I am apt to do - and it was "Right and Wrong".  I sang it - in my head - for days. I am apt to do.

Feel my pain.

Seriously though, it is a good song and one that was well done. As there is no canned video for the tune, you get a live version. Oddly enough, his and his band's talent is spot on and there is barely a difference from the studio recording to the live one.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 27th 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 and picked up from, what I can tell, a number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. Chad stopped doing the 12 of 12 links in December of 2011, but I will continue, as I like doing it.  I just can't link with the others who participated monthly.  Bummer.

06:45. As you can probably guess from my search, the fan kicks on and stays on, even when just after booting up,  so I know it's not a heat issue.  For the record, to stop the fan noise - power down, then hold down Shift*Control*Option*Power at the same time. Release. Hit power. Poof. No more fan running at noisy rate. 

 07:00.  Someone's favourite blue ball was left in the middle of the living room floor. 

 07:15. Getting the paper in the drive. I cast a long shadow. 

 11:45. Hey, I'm takin' care of my Athlete's Foot. 
Oh yes, we live the exciting life! Actually I thought it would be interesting - it was not. Cameras were not allowed inside, post 9/11.   710 and our friends Tom and (part of) Sal are in the pic. 

13:20. Not a big soccer field (and you're seeing only half). Actually this is a the top of an underground resevoir.  The 2nd largest in the world - 130 million gallons of water under this "field". The largest one is in Africa. 

 14:30. Late lunch at Brennan's Colony.  So-so steak salad, but the outside patio was nice. 

 16:45. Euclid Avenue & E. 55th St. underpass. 

17:00. Cleveland Public Square (facing Southwest-ish) from the open sunroof of my car.  

17:30.  Hey, you don't need to give me another reason not to cut the lawn.

17:45. Sophie finding a bit of sun in the sunroom with her blue ball

18:05.  Accidental / Partial self-portrait.

22:05. Your Baker's Dozen.
Yes, cookies. Dessert. Almost per usual and on schedule. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Walk the Dog

This is Calli.  She is a Wheaten terrier.  ...and she needs so much love and attention.  ...and she's soooooooooo cute.

Calli and her brother belong to our neighbors.  You might remember me talking about our friend Bill passing away almost two months ago.  Bill was one of their dads.

So as starved for attention as Calli was before, it seems more so now. Same with Tully. Tully was more Bill's dog and he seems a bit lost now without him at home.

But with Marty traveling for work, now and again he needs someone to walk the dogs.  I am one of those someones. I can only be one of them, because clearly I travel for work and am not always around when they might need to go out.

So far the number of times I've actually walked them is zero. But I'm at the ready.

This is good practice if we ever get a dog - and now and again we've been thinking of it more and more.

710 and I were taking an evening constitutional last week and just kept running into others doing the same thing. Except the others all had dogs.

There are two kinds of folks in the 'hood who know each other - and one is the dog group and one isn't. I'm not sure the two mix so well.  Then there is me, who'll stop and get down and play with the dogs and let them jump and lick and nip at me.

 ......which is one reason 710 is hesitant to get a pooch.  I'm not big on obedience except when it comes to where they pee/poop and feeding them.  Everything else is fair game.

I like happy dogs - and doesn't Calli look happy?  Bill used to call her "Spawn of Satan", but she was just a puppy.  Apparently she like to eat their curtains.  Pfffft.  Big deal.  I can say that because they were not my curtains. Cuteness lets you get away with a lot!

I'm looking forward to my dog walking, because on that evening constitutional, one of the folks we ran into jokingly (????) said, "you can't be out here without a dog". But it is great that if people don't know neighbors by sight or name, you say, "they have the two standard poodles, Louis and Frankie" and the other person knowingly says "ohhhhhhh, right, I know them".

Because, seven years in we still live in the "Thompson house" (the previous owners).  I suppose when / if we ever leave the new owners will live in the Blobby and 710 house. At least if we get a dog, people who only kind of know us, would at at least know us by our dog's name.  .....and higher praise could not be had than to be identified by that.

Song by: Laurie Anderson

Friday, May 11, 2012

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 focused on debut disks - just to make it more challenging for me. I don't think you'll care one way or the other.  I don't think I'll necessarily continue on debut disks in 2012, however this one is - kind of. 

While many might not recognize Nina Gordon's name, you might remember her as a member of the group Veruca Salt (which was named after the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory character).  While this isn't her first time on record, in 2000 Gordon released her first solo album Tonight and the Rest of My Life.

For a long time, it was a go-to record for me. It was definitely rock-pop (yes, in that order) and it worked. 12 years later, I'm not sure I can say that. It is not a bad record and maybe I've overplayed a few tracks, making it harder to take in.

Produced by Bob Rock - who had helmed a few Metallica albums - he brought the rock part to the picture, though Veruca Salt was more rock than pop.  Gordon just tried her hand and it worked.

While I'm a big fan of the title track, 710 thinks it sounds too close to Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery".  I was a big fan of the lead-off track, "Now I Can Die", but I played that one way too often for sure.  Probably still good, but I can't listen to it much anymore.

There are some really really good track here though:  "Got Me Down", "Hate Your Way", "Badway" and I "Number One Camera" - which contains a line from The Lion in Winter (one of the best movies ever!) that has stuck with me for years ("I could peel you like a pear and g-d would call it justice").

There are two slower songs I like too, "Hold on to Me" and a cover of the Carpenters' "The End of the World".  It's not better than Karen and Richard's version, but it's nice. The other handful of songs are just iffy.

Gordon kind of fizzled after this.  It took her six years to put out her second disk which kind of blew - save two tracks.  She recorded something in between that was never released, so it either really sucked or was brilliant but the record company couldn't sell it.

The joke is, they never really sold either of her two solo disks. I don't think she's currently active. I linked her to her Wiki site because her URL hasn't been updated since 2003, which hell, was three years before her last release.  No wonder it didn't sell squat (well, except to this poor sap who bought it!).

Maybe Veruca Salt will get back together. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Secret of Marriage

I only blog once a day, so the big news of yesterday has come and gone and every blogger in the gay world has already commented on it - right?  What could I possibly say that hasn't been said?

Obama's statement on supporting gay marriage was inspiring and yet in ways predictable. Biden's time Meet the Press, to me, was a test balloon and it passed with flying colours - well, for the most part.  I've seen the West Wing, I know how these things work!

I will say, I did not really expect a four day turn-around from Biden to Obama, but hey I'm ok with that. My heart was full.

Naturally, you expect the Fox Newies of the world to have their take - and they did.  You knew the NOMs, and religious organizations were going to comment and probably could have written their statements for them, they are so predictable.

Almost as predictable were the homos who have nothing nice to say about Obama, as they think he should be on their timeline and be about their issues - everyone else be damned. Those are the folks that probably annoy me the most.

I've said it before - politics is a zero sum game. If you have power or on top of the issue, that means someone has lost those and DC is a town that retaliates.

As much as I like what Obama has come forward to say, there are those who crow if he had said it sooner, North Carolina's defeat might not have happened.  Bollocks.

Saying what he said, Obama put himself at political risk, but honestly I believe it to be minimal. By a narrow margin most of the U.S. population is ok with gay marriage, those who aren't were not going to vote for him in the first place.  Ok, that might not be true of the Latino and Black population, but I'm not sure they're swinging to Mittens over this issue.

And is it an issue?  He said he believed us gays should have the right to marry. He's not changing laws, but the Right won't portray it that way - like FOX saying he's declared a war on marriage.

I don't think it will hurt his re-election campaign and even if it does, it was correct thing to do. So, forget being the first black president, he'll be go down as the first one on record to support gay marriage.

Good for him.  Good for us.

Song by:  Sting

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


All I could think of when I was in Orthopedics on Monday, getting a "cast" of my foot, was Medusa saying, "you sure have big feet for a cameraman, Billy". 

I do not know the average size of feet that the U.S. male has. I don't even know the size of mine - not really.  I have shoes that are a 10 and some that are 12.  Most reside in the 11 range, but who the fuck knows?

It was somewhat funny, to me, that the caster asked me how big my feet were.  Dude!  You have it right there - can't you figure it out? Especially after I told him the same thing I just mentioned to you about how my shoe size isn't consistent.

It took me longer to drive, park and walk into the clinic than it did for the entire appointment.

I wasn't sure how they were going to cast me, but I didn't think I'd be basically stepping into what looked like a shoebox filled with a light Styrofoam.  It took about a minute per foot to have the guy place my feet into it and then press me down to make the imprint.

I suppose this is the perfect job for anyone who has a foot fetish....and the tech kind of gave you that vibe like he might be that kind of guy.

So in 4-6 weeks, I should get my custom orthodics to make my feet feel all better......and all for the low low price of.........oh never mind.  It's not cheap, that's for sure. Insurance should cover most of the cost, but still.....

Hopefully it is the road to recovery....and to me losing 8lbs when I get back to serious cardio.

Song by: Squeeze