Tuesday, July 31, 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! 
I'm so looking forward to the last half of 2012, at least for new music. Some really good things planned to come out - some with release dates, some not yet set.

I got the newest one from Fiona Apple a few weeks back. All hype on The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (yes, that's the entire title), there is no way it can live up to all the PR that it got.

...and it doesn't. Which isn't to say it's bad. It isn't.....but you build something up that much, it's destined to not meet expectations.

But I like it, or most of it. Like a lot of the music I buy, it's a little off-center, and while Apple has always been that way, she takes it to a new level with The Idler Wheel.

The disk is very stripped down compared to some of her other works, and those were never brimming with over the top production. Over her career, it took me a long time to warm-up to Apple, but I did and like her music and her risks.....and this is her riskiest. If you're looking for classic melodies or arrangements, this isn't really the album for you.

For those who want to hear something more innovative and interesting, you might take a listen.

Yes, she is angsty. Yes, there are semi-volatile moments, but that's her style overall, just in context of song.

Recorded a few years ago and held by her until she wanted to release it, the disk sat on a shelf since then waiting to see daylight.  But if you're looking for radio airplay - forget it. Maybe college radio or some obscure XM station, but even her most accessible songs were for MTV (eons ago) and not radio.

The first "single", "Every Single Night" is seemingly one of the most difficult song to grasp and it give attention to Apple's style for this disk, but I fear it won't make anyone go out an purchase the album because of this.  But it is only seemingly the most difficult - as it's the first track. The more you delve into the recording, the more you discover more obscure tunes.

But I like "Every Single Night" as well as "Daredevil", "Left Alone", "Regret" (that one took me a few listens), "Periphery", "Anything We Want" and "Hot Knife".

The other 3-4 songs are ok, one's if they rotate through my playlist, I'll let play, but doubtful they'd be ones I'd search out.

Still it is the most interesting disk of 2012, that's for sure, but it still couldn't stand-up to the pre-release hype.

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Music Monday

It's My Music Monday.   Yes, mine.  Me Me Me.

The open offer still stands of folks who want to submit / write a post. Alas, no one has stepped up to the plate. My cousin was chiding me in yoga yesterday when some horrible wussy female song came on (even by my standards) and he says almost under his breath: "this is like one of your music selections.".  

I should have been offended but I just laughed.

Even Tornwordo mentioned he likes pop music - and he made it sound like I think that's a bad thing. It's not.

I'm a huge believer in good pop music. Even iffy pop music you sometimes can't get out of your head. I hope that chick who is doing "Call Me Maybe" is saving her pennies, because if she never has another thing on the radio or viral video (what, are there1,832 of them now to that song?), her grandkids could financially be set for life.

I'm not a fan of the song, but I'll cop to the fact that when you hear it, it's hard to forget immediately. It sticks with you.

And yet, there is good pop music no one really knows or hears of - for whatever reason that might be.

While my choice of song this week, the Lovemakers' "Love is Dead", is almost three years old, it is still high on my rotation and is just one of those great pop songs that should have made it and never ever did.

The band no longer exists and there is no "official" video to it. And as much as I am not a fan of comic books, I'm even less of a fan of animae. But I've been doing a lot of the embedded player and I fear people might not use that to listen to my selections. Blogs are more visual and I think (correct me if I'm wrong) the embedded video is more conducive to actual playing.

But I like the music, I like the lyrics and really like the vocals. I will admit to singing aloud and sometimes struggle with what range I should be in - the Lovemakers make it easy, especially when both vocalists are singing - one (i.e. me) can find a third part of the harmony to make it work for my car-singing.

So no Torn, "pop" isn't a dirty word. If that's what you like and want to contribute - just do it. It just can't be "Call Me Maybe".  It's been done. It's been overdone.

...and sorry about the animae.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Whine & Dine

I figure I have one last vacation post in me - and it's all about food.

Oddly, I've maintained, even lost 2-3 pounds on or after vacation. I attribute it to all that beach walking and needing to stay camera-ready-slim. As it is, the camera adds 10 pounds, I hear.

I have to say (if I haven't already), the worst part of vacation was eating out. It's exhausting.  Seriously.

Maybe it's someone's thrill to eat their three squares out daily, but not ours. I miss the time we could eat in or make a meal.  ...and it's not the expense, or the wait for a table or even deciding where to go - though that has to factor into it somewhere, right?

Ogunquit is not known for any chains. Ben & Jerry's is the only food chain they have. the Life is Good shop is the only chain retail store they have.

I wish I could say more about their independent places to dine, one or two were really good, but most of them were average....and one was just downright bad, it's bad, you know it.

I really didn't snap pictures of most of our meals, but now and again.....sure.  For the most part, b'fast was the best and safest (and cheapest) meal out. It really did become our most important meal of the day. That we had to walk 1.2 miles each way to get it, I'm sure helped keep me less-fat.

But I'll step you through some of the meals - with pictures!

This was b'fast day 1 in Boston. Mul's Diner. Not Mel's.  No Alice or Flo. Just some South Bostoners. A disgusting amount of food for under $7. I ate approximately half of that they served and was bloated for the entire car ride the rest of the day.

The staff was great and the guys sitting next to us......um......well.....710 warned me not to try to take a pic of them, lest I get the crap beat out of me. ....but it might have been worth it.

This is our "free starter" at Wild Blueberry in Ogunquit. The cream was for 710's coffee. My French Toast was horribly done. We never went back there.

Best lunch we had was in Freeport. Honest to g-d, our server's (female) name was Zeus. How is that not hilarious?  Cafe Azure was great - good selection, reasonable and we had a god for a server.  I got a nuda el pomodoro fresco burger (no bun, with garlic, onion, tomato and olive oil on top).  Best lunch we both had.

Yes, we had lunch in Ogunquit, but noting special - a salad, or burger or pizza. All fine, nothing to write home about. Dinner was about the same  - at some of those same places we had lunch.

My one dinner pic: stuffed shrimp. Though nothing was stuffed. Bread crumbs were broiled on top of the split shrimp.  Yawn.  They were fine. This was down at Barnacle Billys, Etc.

I have to say we had one heinous meal at a place called Banditos. I mean, how can you fuck up Mexican food?  I'm not sure how, but they did. The margaritas were WAY overpriced and food and service just sucked sucked sucked.

It actually prompted us both to go on-line that evening and write scathing reviews on Urban Spoon and Trip Advisor. Physically, the place looked great, but it's a facade for a bad establishment.

As I said, b'fast was out best meal. Cafe Amore's service was impeccable and enough to choose from that it was hard to decide what to feed my pie-hole with. But twice I had French Toast with blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. And syrup. I'm not a fan of fruit and syrup touching each other, because that is just wrong - but omg, it was perfection.

On another day, I got eggs ranchero. Beautifully done, but not picture.  Also these were the beepers for when your table was ready:

Twice (thrice?) we got dessert ice cream at Sweet Pea's. It was hot out, so I wanted the cone, but not enough for the Raspberry with chocolate and brownie chunks to melt down my arm.  Problem solved.  Man, am I high maintenance.

FYI. I bought that jaunty hat you saw in the video at the store attached to Sweet Pea's. I knew you'd want to know.

And then there's out last b'fast in Boston. Thornton's had great eggs Florentine. Je did not care for the potatoes that much.

Song by:  the Lovemakers

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Opening Act

I really wanted to go out last night for dinner, but it was raining and it had been a shitty week. So we stayed in and watched the "opening ceremonies", even though they had probably happened hours before.

I had to be subjected to Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer's insipid commentary  - seriously, these people do this for a living and get paid upwards of $20MM a year?  Hacks.

As Olympic ceremonies go, it didn't suck....and that's saying something.

I quite liked the Industrial Revolution part, even if the workers coming out of the trees and the molten hot ring was straight out of Isengard and Mt. Doom. Tolkien was British - it kind of ties together.

I enjoyed the 40 years of British music, but was taken back by Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up".  My word - the Queen was there! (which btw, that little Jame Bond montage sucked, and could she have looked more annoyed at those deaf kids singing "God Save the Queen"?).

But back to the music - I loved that New Order was played. And not once during "Tubular Bells" did I hear, "Mother...........make it STOP!"  What gives?

While I liked that the U.K. was celebrating National Health Care (oh, you know Bohner was having a fucking coronary!), the creepy effigy of Lord Voldemort was just wrong. Had I not known it was coming or had to hear Lauer say it, I'm not sure anyone would have known what it / he was supposed to be.

It turns out, the U.S. did have some of the f'ugliest outfits in that parade. And what was it with the chicks holding the name of the country?  They looked like Joan Cusak in Sixteen Candles in her halo. I kept picturing her trying to dance or get a drink of water.

But Bob Costas bored me - and like I said, I had a shitty week, so I didn't wait until David Beckham drove the torch up the Thames. I went to bed.

It's a 24 hour news cycle. I'll catch it somewhere, somehow. Maybe.

Song by: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Friday, July 27, 2012


When I was in Boston and had dinner with Magic Mike (what?  he said that's what "they" call him.  no one else was there to prove otherwise....so I win).

Anyways, after my post regarding our meet-up and our poorly lit picture, he replies with this:  I did grab a couple of extra photos on my phone…I’ll send you one that I think is much more life-like and complimentary if you feel like posting.

Oh - I feel like posting.

He must have the iPhone4S. My crappy 4 completely missed these nuances.

Oh - also his head is ginormous! ....and not just in that 'he's full of himself' way, but he's got that going on too. 

On the other hand, this plays into my response to a neighbor's question of 'if you could eat only one thing every day, what would it be?

Without hesitation, I go 'Ryan Gosling'. 

That threw them, as it naturally would/should. 

Now my response just takes on a whole new angle that I'm not sure I'm comfortable with. 

Song by: Depeche Mode

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Can't Dance

Oh, I might dance around the kitchen, but make no mistake, I cannot dance.

But a few weeks ago, I might have mentioned a challenge of going to belly dancing with David.  Last night was the night.

He was smart enough to dress the part, if nothing else to distract from his lack of dance ability.  I had nothing to hide behind.

Oddly enough, earlier in the day, I said "not to be too gay about this, but what are you going to wear".  I just didn't know what belly dancers wore, other than skirts that had coins sewn into them so they moved and made noise.

That we were the only two males in the class* made it hard to hide from anything or anyone.....even though we attempted to stay at the back of the room.

David turned to me and said I should title this 'Fifty Shades of Gay'.  To further distance myself from copyright infringement, I'd go with '51'.

But it turns out - I ain't got no rhythm.  Morty could tell you that from the Aerobics classes we used to take two decades ago.

It made me wonder how drunk I must have been when going out to gay bars to dance. Or used to go out and dance. It's been a long time since that's happened. And I didn't go out TO dance. I sometimes danced when I went out, but it was never the primary activity. It got in the way of drinking.   ...and cruising.

It turns out, the belly isn't really used in this dance. The hips, sure, but the belly? Not so much.

David and I had a number of laughs at our own expense, not others. Well maybe when the mantra of the women, when we were doing a move of "if you were peeling off a skin tight skirt that had been on all night" and the women chanted "I love my ass, I love my thighs". 

That wasn't about to happen with the two of us. Even the Asian guy who came in late wasn't saying it.

Oh, and many many moves were called "juicy".


Yes, we didn't do it for the actual workout. We didn't do it to become belly dancers, or better belly dancers. We did it for the challenge, to hang out and to have some laughs.  As David texted me the day before: "it seems the most ridiculous thing we could do together".  And he was correct.

Mission Accomplished.

Of course now we'll have to find something to top this.  Oy

*two other men came in after the class was half over.

Song by: Gram Parsons

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

App of the Month

I have no new fun apps.  Actually, I've been thinning out the ones I truly don't use but thought I'd give a try.

I'm nerdy enough that I arrange my apps by category:  news. music. games.  photo programs. social media. travel.

Travel includes not just hotel apps (Hilton, Marriott), airlines or food (Trip Advisor, and Urban Spoon), but weather.  Weather is very important to me when I'm on the road.

The standard Apple weather thing sucks. It tells you nothing.

Weatherbug is ok. It worked better on a PC or laptop then it does on the phone.

A neighbor and her husband were going on and on about WeatherUnderground so I thought I'd give it a try.

It works. It's nothing outstanding and not a whole lot different that Weatherbug. They have the push notifications for alerts and such. They each can break weather down by hour - which is good.  They both have maps, but Underground might have it over the Bug.

WU will have maps of temp, precipitation or wind (that's wind and temps in that above image).

It's not a "fun" app, but then they can't all be Lightsabers and AutoTune programs, can they?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Suburbs

Sometimes there are just harsh realities one has to face: mortgage, jobs, wills and such.

While I am under no illusion that I'm some cutting edge kind of guy who lives this incredible life of leisure and spur of the moment events, but Sunday was an eye-opener.

Our friends and neighbors (Tom & Sal) are huge fans of Costco. We had a membership the first year they opened here, only because the first year's fees were free.  ....and you know I'm all about the cheap.

We went once. Once!

We are two men with no kids. Tom & Sal are too, but these guys go weekly.  Weekly!!!

Somehow, a few months ago they talked us into trying it again. We went, but didn't purchase a membership. We walked around and around and around. I suppose joining this kind of shopping establishment works if you have a family of six.

Marge Simpson came to mind as I wandered the aisles: "oooh, that's a good price for 12 pounds of nutmeg!"  

It ain't far from the truth.

When I overheard a man say to his family, "ok, everyone stop!  We lost grandma", I had to laugh.....and leave. I was done.

But we're family men now. And our son has special diet needs and food allergies. His food comes from - you got it - Costco.

As we got the comically oversized cart, 710 goes, "this looks so Pee-Wee-esque.".  True that!  ....and then we were off.

While waiting for 710 to get our membership cards, I'd say half a dozen folks left the store with these oversized teddy-bears.  And I mean, they were 5' tall. One person had THREE of them.  WTF.

Sure enough, when we went in, there was the display of them for the low low price of $30. This is a necessity?  People make and sell these in bulk?

As we looked around, again there wasn't much to buy if you weren't feeding the Von Trapp family. And it seems you have to use all the food in five days after you purchase it. Again, I suppose if you're feeding an army that isn't an issue. But for us, it means rebagging and freezing everything. Hardly worth it.

You can't buy one pork loin, it has to be two. You don't get a choice. Or the prepackaged cold cuts - like 7lbs of them. I don't want that much sliced turkey!

I'm thinking if I buy 4-5 bags of dog food a year, we'll break even on the membership fee. But other than that we just bought a gross of paper handkerchiefs, a bushel of granola bars and some of that CQ10 for my ear ringing problem (which isn't working).

Pushing that cart out the door made me feel like one of those housewives from the 'burbs. It was unsettling  Not only wasn't I feeling like a hip gay man (which I've never been), I felt that I was one Costco visit away from wearing mom jeans.

Song by:  Arcade Fire

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Music Monday

While I mentioned a day or two ago about some of "you people" (yes, I just went Ann Romney on your asses!), are sometimes less than thrilled with my selections for My Music Monday, I'm not sure what to do about that. 

Some (coughcoughDavidcoughcough) don't like if it's too country or folk or female. Some (coughcoughMikecoughcough) think my selections are too obscure. And some (coughcoughDavidGcoughcough) think I'm coasting if I do something too commercial or too '80s.

It's a no-win situation of course.

Oddly, since I have lived with most of this music for years or decades, it is not obscure to me. Do I recognize my selections can be out of the mainstream? Sure.  Do I look to expose you to it - even if you don't end up liking it?  Yup. It's a fine line.

So Mike "offered" to write a guest spot for MMM and I accepted.  Now Torn (another pseudo-defunct blogger) has wondered why I don't want him to write an entry as well. Everyone is so touchy when not included - life is just an extension of high school!

All I can say is:  bring it, boys!

But can it still be MY Music Monday, if it's not my music??  Slippery slope indeed. But I'm open to this idea. And I don't mean just these two, but I'd certainly consider opening the floodgates, per se.  This could go to hurt feelings if people insisted on Tony Orlando & Dawn (which I totally have a story about regarding my friend Jeremy - remind me later for that) or the DeFranco Family (featuring Tony DeFranco)  (oh yes, they have a website!) or, ugh g-d forbid, Jay Ferguson.

Obviously, email me your entry - and not just a song title. There has to be background text, people...and a video link if one exists. And if not, you have to email me the .mp3 so I can add and link it to a player.

Yeah, it's harder than it looks, betcha didn't count on that one, didya??

But if you all come through, it saves me having to write a few blog posts myself.  Win-Win!

That said, we're on to today's selection, so I'm sure I'll annoy someone. {sigh}

Female (ticking off David J) and '80's (irking David G), it's too birds with one stone - BONUS! - I'm picking Alison Moyet's "Love Resurrection", taken from her 1984 solo debut, Alf. No, not the puppet alien TV show. 

Moyet had been a member of Yaz(oo)* and I had come out during some of their bigger hits - "Situation", "Don't Go", "Nobody's Diary", etc.  But the group split and Vince Clarke went on to form Erasure, which had vocalist Andy Bell  - who at times, sounded so eerily like Moyet, it was strange. 

Moyet went onto solo work, and Alf had her biggest hit, "Invisible".  I like and liked "Love Resurrection" better. I even liked "Honey for the Bees" better, but when I sampled it recently, the music portion of it sounds so Bananarama - and not the good Bananarama. 

Poor Alison didn't fit the mold of video television and was always draped in something to cover her figure. It's a sad statement.

She's still recording - or was back a few years ago -  and still puts out decent music, you're just not hearing it anywhere in the U.S.

*the group started as Yazoo in the U.K. and shortened to Yaz for U.S. releases. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Home Again

We're back.

Glad to be home and in other ways, sorry to be home.  Vacation was great....as you've read along the way.

Now and again, during time away, 710 and I will even take time away from each other, just for space.

This did not happen this trip and all was fine, not that we anticipated strife.

Well, there was my drinks with BosGuy that we were apart, but that's it. ...and some bathroom time.  But that's it!

Our last day in Boston was beautiful. Mike or Peter asked if I was going to write about the three car accident we saw, but like I told them, it wasn't me having the accident, so no.....no I'm not.  (Two people walked away, one went bye-bye in an ambulance......that's all I know.)

But yesterday morning we were up at the crack of dawn in our great room at the Westin (I can't recommend the rooms enough - though the lobby was horribly crowded at all times!) at Copley Square. So it was out to b'fast. No worries, I'll be doing a blog post on vacation food soon enough.

Since we had hours to kill before our flight, we went back to the Hubway bike system and rode up to Harvard. Trust me, this is the only way I'd ever get to Harvard. Now I know just how Paris Gellar felt.

It was a nice 6 mile ride along the Charles River (each way), where we saw Harvard and Boston University rowing teams practicing. I so wanted to get a picture of a store in Cambridge called the Tennis & Squash Shop, but I didn't break my ride to do that.

Only at Harvard (or maybe Yale) would they have a shoppe for Squash (and, well, tennis).  Of course, you have to say 'squash' with that affected Ivy league voice that has your bottom chin moving more than ever parting your teeth.  You know the one.

Damn there are a lot of pretty handsome men in Boston what we passed on our bike ride. A LOT! Yes, most of them at the par course I mentioned a week or so ago, but damn!

Anyway, Sophie was very very very happy to see us. That my interpretation of her yelling at us for two hours straight. I'm sure she wasn't giving us lip (if cats had lips) for being gone so long. We'll see how she does today when we go pick up Petey. I bet she thinks she was rid of him, but she's not.

I'm very excited to get Petey and bring him home this morning. I hope he feels the same way.  But laundry is half done and grocery shopping has been achieved.

We're home.  Yayyy.............and bummer.

Song by: Carole King

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Lucky Guy

Seven is a lucky number, right?

I've never understood Craps, but I hear 7 or 11 is good.  But we're focusing on seven here. We're focusing on lucky. Try to stay with me.

Last night was Blogger Meeting #7 - Mike from his Short Attention Span Theater (temporarily defunct). Lucky him.

I've been following Mike for years and for some reason he reads me - and for content, which is a little disconcerting. No one reads me for content - even me.

But Mike is my age (well, naturally he's a little older - lucky me) and he's as handsome as he is wise and funny.  Take that anyway you like.

And while seven is lucky, third time is a charm.

Last year Mr. Short Attention Span blew me off for P-town and last weekend he blew me off for his "sister". This time he figured he'd just cut his losses and rip off the band-aid, figuring he could put it all behind him with the help of intensive psychotherapy.

All kidding aside, we got along swimmingly, as I knew we would. Just through writings and emails we play on the same level and I found kinship with Mike. Not bad for the blog world, no?

We met for drinks and had dinner as well.

But wait - there's more!

I not only got to meet Mike's partner, you know the one who provided the heinous recipe for sausage and veggies (I kid....I kid).

But wait - there's more.

Peter and Mike got to meet 710 !!!!  Lucky them.

Yes, you heard that correctly.  710 came with me for drinks and dinner and I think we had a great time - all four of us.  Of course, I gave Peter a faux-hard time regarding the recipe, but it was all a joke.  I'm sure however he made it was the correct way. {sigh}   My, I hope he knows I was kidding about that.

Conversation, jokes and jabs were all around and no one was entirely embarrassed until it came to picture time.

Oh, we tried multiple cameras, multiple angles etc and it's not that I didn't trust Mike to be the keeper of the images (though I totally didn't), I'm hoping his pics came out better than mine. Of the 5-6 on my phone, I found the one above to be the only usable image. Well one where he wouldn't come hunt me down.

Sodium street lighting is not our friend, but iPhone flash is even worse, so you do what you can. Olan Mills wasn't open to take our portrait.

Honestly, I had a great evening and would hope to do it again, here in Boston or host them if he and Peter ever made it to Cleveland.

Oh, and like many some of you, Mike has taken me to task for some of my My Music Monday selections. He's asked for, and received, permission to guest blog one of his own. Lucky him.

I have an idea of what he will pick, but that will surprise for the rest of you. .

Of course, he actually has to write the post.  Don't hold your breath just yet, but keep your fingers crossed. Either way, I don't think you'll be criticizing my selections any longer. So I'm lucky on that one.

We're all lucky.  It was the perfect end to a great trip.

(oh, and this is my 2600th post) 

Song by:  Rickie Lee Jones

Friday, July 20, 2012

Beautiful Day

I have no formal post of anything vital to say.  Though I've been keeping up with the news, I have nothing nice to say about Ann Romney probably eating at Chick-fil-A with a Boy Scout troop and  "you people".

I'm pretty relaxed, so I'm just kicking back and not over-thinking anything these days (re-entry to the real world is going to be a bitch!).

The week has been nothing but rest, reading, walks on the beach, dips in the ocean and pool - and food. There is really little else to do here and that is fine by me. I could spend all summer here.

But to knock out a blog post, after that art-filled video from yesterday, I'm just giving a few snaps of Ogunquit, ME.

The Sparhawk, where we are staying. We stayed at the building to the left last year. We're staying at the one dead ahead this year. There are other buildings that didn't make the shot. They have a pool, a tennis court and shuffleboard. Oddly enough, maybe of the places up here do not have pools, so unless you like 60-65 degree water, you're kind of screwed. 

View from the balcony of our room. Yeah it overlooks a parking lot but the water is great - even at low-ish tide.

 More low-tide pics from the Marginal Way. We walk the Way at least once a day. It's beautiful.

A great picture of the beach. I love the water on the sand, the colour of the water, the sky and clouds. How can you be uptight walking this?

 Perkins Cove at sunset. Or near sunset. 

That's it.  That's I got. Enjoy your Friday.  I will.

Song by: U2

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Waitin' on a Sunny Day

Getting a decent wifi signal in Maine is challenging at best. Even the place we are staying has like 5-6 wifii networks and all of them are incredibly weak signals.

I mentioned the other day a possible video, knowing I was going to damned-well do one, but not sure I could get it up into the intertubes, and it was a struggle. One video that took 3:14 to make and two minutes to fix in iMovie, took 38 minutes to upload to YouTube.  ...and that was on attempt number five. The first four went down in flames.

But I found a spot, where if I went down a bar, I'd adjust by millimeters just to get that additional bar back - and it still took 38 minutes.

Knowing what the video is and how it came out, it hardly seems worth it. But you, the adoring public, are never sated, so, I do what I must.........and what I can.

Mucho thanks to my cameraman, 710. He is a good sport for putting up with me, let alone this project.

Song by: Bruce Springsteen

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This and That

I'm just doing random updates from vacation. No specific order or anything - just thoughts that come to my head.

First - the main image. It was supposed to be a very stormy day yesterday. It was sprinkling when we got in the car and expected the 'severe' t-storms all day long. They didn't happen. 

Last year we never touched the car except to leave Maine. Yesterday we drove north. We ended up in Freeport, ME - home of L.L. Bean. 

I thought of former blogger buddy, Curtis, when taking this picture. He always appreciated my images of a building made out of a basket or a field of over sized cement corn. I was sure he'd enjoy a larger than life duck boot. 

The campus (oh yes, it's a multi-building campus) is large and is a catalog come to life. I bought two henley t-shirts and a gift for Petey.  Hey, I'm a new dad!

On the way up to Freeport, we drove past Kennebunk and the adjacent Kennebunkport - you know which houses the compound of Bush 41 and 43 - along with Neil and Jed and all their spawn. 

The compound sits on a piece of land where no one can get to, but all can see. The over sized U.S. flag that flies there seems like overcompensation to me - kind of like, my dick's too small; let's invade Iraq......twice. I found out later that Shrub Sr.and Babs were on-site for the summer. Had I known, I truly would have avoided. 

Then there is this family of four staying at our resort. Mom, dad, son and daughter  Dad is kind of wicked hot - and by "kind of", I mean "for sure".  But the girl is like 16 and rides "daddy's" shoulders in the pool and behaved a little inappropriate. 710 assumed it was his girlfriend, but alas, it was not. It was just wrong.

On Monday, I was walking home from the beach  - and it's a beach town - so I had my swim trunks and sandals on, but no shirt. I'm at a point in my life, and a point in my workout routine, that I just don't care and getting sun was more important to me. I'm not a total embarrassment.  Then this 5 year old girl yells at me from the passing Lolly the Trolley - "hey! you're naked!".   I just responded, "YES, I am!" I figured her parents could correct her if they chose.

It seems that places call Lobster Pounds, are not shelters for crustaceans looking for their forever homes.

And then last little tidbit - we ate lunch at that place where the lady dined and dashed. We had the same server we too.  She asked if we were the ones who pointed out where the two culprits had gotten off to. I affirmed.  Alas they did not find them, though they looked. But an interesting note:  the lady had come in the day before the episode to ask the specials of the day.  She was fine with some tomato and shrimp dish until she was told it was on a bed of linguine. Apparently she had some frickin' meltdown over that one and started screaming.

Mind you, it's not like she ordered it, or ate it. Or that someone was force-feeding her. She didn't even sit down, just asked the specials. Clearly, someone is a little unbalanced. Possibly more than a little. Or pasta did something very very bad to her at one point.

Oh, and I'm contemplating doing another video blog from Maine, like (but not exactly like) I did last year.  We'll see. 

That is it. Those are some of my current updates. More later. Probably. Possibly. 

Song by:  Michael Penn

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't Walk Away

I leaned over to 710 and asked "is that woman boring holes into me?"

She was at the next table, and granted I was not dressed up at all, but this is a beach town (did I mention we were back in Maine?) and it was 90 degrees. I mean, the guy behind her had a tshirt of cartoon dogs sniffing each other's butts.

710 though she was staring at him, not me.

I think we were both correct.

She had a poorly done Anna Wintour 'do and was a little gaunt in the face. She appeared to be alone.

Since her table was to my side, I wasn't always paying attention and she was majorly creeping me out as she watched me eat my so-so parmesan encrusted scallops.

I had also noticed a man walking up and down the way to the restaurant but never paid him much any mind. I certainly didn't notice him take a seat at her table.

While she was by herself, I did notice, but not pay attention, to her asking the waitress questions and ordering something. Then there was a time I heard her ask where the restrooms were, but I was paying far too much attention to the gaggle of gays in the corner of the bar and how all the homos seemed to know each other except for us.

Then there was a slight commotion from the faux Wintour, which is when I noticed the male with her. "Awful" I heard her say. Then she and her "husband" got up and left.

As I was not fully paying attention, I did ask 710 if they had paid, and we agreed they dined and dashed. Or considering they were in their '60s, they walked away, as "dash" probably isn't in their vocabulary let alone exercise routine. We alerted the waitress, who alerted the hostess / manager. By then, these two had disappeared into the crowd of the foot traffic on the street.

Looking around, others clearly had noticed too, but said nothing. In my mind, I back-storied that they go from place to place getting free meals by eating part and leaving before the check arrived after feigning disgust with the food or service.

After our meal, we walked around town and hit Bread & Roses, for what turned out to be a disappointing single-serving chocolate silk tart, we were approached on the street by the woman who dashed - no husband.

Assuming we had some connection, she begins to prattle on about her 'awful' meal (though she thought my scallops looked good - ick!) and I think thought we'd be on board with her not paying and just fleeing.  She was wrong - and I let her know it.

I told her she had 'dined and dashed' and she did not disagreed, because it was a bad meal, she tried to justify. Others would have mentioned it to the owner or server - she did not.

I said she was wrong and rude. Apparently I said it strong and loud enough to get more than a few heads to turn our way. We walked away and she yelled after me, "well then why don't you go pay for it!" with folks still looking on.

I went and told the hostess where she and her husband were sitting if she wanted to do anything about it.

I hope she did.

Song by: Toni Childs

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Music Monday

Chris Isaak has a lot of good music. He also has a lot of fair music.  Good looks can only get you so far - trust me, I know!

The obvious choice to show off his beauty would have to embed "Wicked Game", as Herb Ritts surely knew how to photograph Isaak. ...and it's still a good song 23 years later.  Somehow I've always been more partial to the first release off of that album, "Don't Make Me Dream About You".  He was sexier in that video.

But as I said, Isaak has good stuff, just interspersed over the years and even in certain albums.

That is why I'm included a little known single, "We Let Her Down" from his 2009 release Mr. Lucky. It's got a great tune and I like the lyrics, which flow nicely.  However, if you listen to them, it's a bit depressing. If the girl hasn't killed herself, then she's one lonely lonely gal.

It's hard to tell if this is a post-suicide tale or not. There are one or two current tenses, but the rest are past tense. And while I'm sure just a story and not auto-biographical, even in story form, Isask absolves himself of wrong-doing in the last line 'where they'll never hurt her again'.  

Still the style is classic Isaak. And 30 years into his recording career, he looks no worse the wear, though the video seems to have more vaseline on the lens than any camera Cybil Shepard has seen lately.

Since this is a Warner Music Group video there is only a 50/50 chance it will actually play embedded below. If it does not, you can just follow this link to YouTube for the video.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

City Middle

You know how my work travels are fairly painless.  Airport to car to hotel - oh and that client thing. Leisure travel was a frickin' nightmare the other day. 

Until we started to land, the flight was ok, but apparently we were too close behind another plane and the wake make our plane really jump and tilt. Then it was onto the rental car area.

No reservation that they could find by name or number. Lo and behold when taking my Fastbreak number they found it - and found another name attached to my account, though it had my home and work info and my credit card info.  Eeek.  Finally got that figured out and onto the hotel....

....where they didn't have my reservation.  WTF?

No worries, we got the room and it was off to a very late lunch. Granted we were hot and hungry, but Charley's really hit the spot. And the service was great. We tipped heavily. She totally deserved it. I ever mentioned her to the manager. 

But walking around Boston is always great and even more we did Bixi Hubway.

While the bikes at Hubway have three gears, they may as well be fixed-gear ones. They're not meant for heavy riding, but commuting. And there are no helmets to rent. I don't recommend riding in the city without one as we did. 

I'm happy to say, while we didn't have helmets, almost every Boston biker did. But we rode around downtown and up and across the Charles over to MIT and the surrounding area. I didn't get a snap of some of MIT, but there was a group of two dozen 13 year old Asian kids and I wanted to just say "freshmen class". 

I love these cities with bike-sharing programs like Montreal, DC and the likes. It's a great way to see more of the city you might not or can't normally do. Such as riding along the river and seeing quite a few incredible men on the par course. 

I so wanted to take the picture of one of them, but I was dissuaded. Incredible bodies and bits of show-offs. They've probably had their pictures taken willingly and unwillingly. I shoulda done it. 

Song by:  the National

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Secret Meeting

Ok, it's not so secret, but I haven't yakked a lot about vacation. But it has begun.

Landed in Boston yesterday and on our way to Maine later today. More on the logistic and doings of our day in Boston in another post. It will be a little out of order, but you'll cope.

I can give you a little update on a blogger meet up. I got to have two drinks with a blogger buddy - BosGuy.

So far I've had a 100% success rate on meeting up with quality blogroll folks. I haven't met a dud among them yet - though it's only up to six now. (I don't count meeting JMG in a bar for all of 45 seconds, nor do I count Rebecca whom I've known since the g-d particle came to be.)

BosGuy (I know his real first name, but I don't know the protocol for using it here) and I met for two drinks. That seems to be the norm. I had two drinks (oh, and lunch) with Stevie B. Two with Tornwordo. Two drinks to Birdie. Two with John. And two with Spo (oh, and dinner).

Bos seemingly knows everyone in Boston. We tried one place but it had no air on. It was 90 out, we weren't sitting inside with a crowd and no a/c. But he greeted or was greeted by at least a half dozen folks, one who assumed they knew me since I was with him. "HEY - how are you?" the stranger said to me. I don't know why, but it amused me so.

So off it was to Fritz, where I had drinks with John last year.

First off, I was a total ass. I brought no cash, not that I expected Bos to pay for a thing. "We only take cash on weekends", I was told. Really?? Someone's skimming something under the table. I never carry cash. I mean, I had $4 on me, but really?  BosGuy fronted my two drinks. He's a prince. A prince with cash, apparently.

I'll buy the next rounds. Honest.

My BosGuy meeting was somewhat different than other blogroll meet and greets. We did talk about NONE of you. None. We barely touched on blogging at all. I think the most was when some of his very nice friends sat down next to him and were ribbing him about that he should blog about some podunk down called Messina, NY. I don't think it's happening. (oh that guy from there is gonna read this and get maaaaad.) 

They then found out he knew me via blogging. Michael (the only name I remember, sorry), asked what my blog was about. Before I had a chance to answer, Bos goes, "it's about him". I chimed in saying people can deny it all they want but all blogs are about the person writing them. Even if doing a political blog, chance are you're skewing the stories to your leanings, hence it's about you.

We talked about family, partners, apartments and houses. We talked about Boston, Provincetown and Ogunquit and Coco Peru.. And most will hate this, but we talked baseball. Well you won't hate it, but you won't understand it, but baseball is the sport which the sex analogy of "bases" is derived. I know that is most of your frame of reference, so you can wiki it later. Or listen to a Meatloaf song. Eh, some of you will get that reference.

Of course, I "forced" taking a picture with him. I took my glasses off and couldn't see. I was happy to stop at the first pic because Bos said he was fine with it because he looked good. I'm glad we took another one. While I look iffy and it is grainy, the first pic really did not do him justice at all, so I didn't use it. I'll send it to him to use if he posts about this event.

I had a very nice time with Bos, as I suspected I would. I like his blog - and he blogs way more than I do, albeit shorter posts - and if you haven't checked it out, I suggest you do. But a big thanks to his hospitality and friendship.

Ok - off to wake you know who so I can buy him breakfast  Me so hungee.

Song by:  the National

Friday, July 13, 2012

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 29th 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.

This is a fairly dog-centric 12 of 12.

 05:05.  Time to put in the contacts.  It's gym day. 

 05:25. Sunrise from the gym parking lot.

07:15.  Petey's close-up, on his first walk of the day. He pooped twice on this outing. Just FYI.

 08:15.  the Invisible Fence guy showed up.

08:17.  the Invisible Fence guy is inked - on at least both arms and legs. I saw nothing else, except his ear lobes. Big holes, clearly had taken out his 'extenders'.  ick.

10:30. Taking Petey for a stroll showing him the white flags. He's not that thrilled.

 13:00.  Knock Knock.  Who's there?  Cantaloupe.  Cantaloupe who? Cantaloupe without a ladder.

14:00.  Printed out tickets for our flight tomorrow. I don't understand why they weren't available via iPhone.

15:15.  One tired pup.

 18:45.  Petey wants in. Is it me, or does he just look so sad?

19:50.  Sunset against the house.

21:50.  The single serving of Hagen Dazs. Carmel Cone. Vanilla ice cream, some caramel and broken up pieces of sugar cone. The single serve is a little more money, but it is all about portion control. Out of a normal container, I'd take three times twice as much.

Time Unknown.  Your Baker's Dozen.
It's not all about Petey. I still have a daughter whom I adore. ...and she's damned cute too. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Walk Outside

I should be thinner.

That's just not a statement of vanity, but of logic as well. Though I am totally fine on the vanity part.

We've had Petey a little over two weeks now. He gets 3-4 walks per day. Sometimes five. Most of them by me.

I should be thinner.

For not being leash trained, the old man has come far in the last two weeks. He pulls sometimes, but not nearly as much as he had at first. Not even remotely.

(for the record, the title image was taken on day #1, so he's really not like this anymore.)

Yes, we still have the unintended squirrel sighting, but I'm getting much much better at seeing them first and diverting his attention - though he always picks up the scent.

But through a series of standard behaviour stuff, he's much more obedient on these walks. He's not perfect, I mean, who is?  - but he's not the doggie we got a fortnight ago.

When Petey pulls now, I will stand still and not move. He turns, looks over his shoulder at me and falls in line - more or less.  I have also been using a series of clicks that he responds to. For those and saying his name, he'll look over his shoulder and fall in line - more or less.

Like a spoiled child, he doesn't exhibit this kind of behaviour in front of strangers or neighbors. It's pull pull pull or just lay down and ignore - and then suddenly he weighs 4,872 lbs.  He's going nowhere.  Which is why I carry treats in my pocket now.

Apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks.

But back to the non-thin me......

I'm totally killing the 10,000 steps a day rule.  And this is on top of my weight lifting, rowing, spin or yoga.  So why am I not thinner?

I've weighed in twice since getting him and still at the same mark. I know I'm not eating more - except fruit. Pushing water. Lots and lots of walks in the hot hot sun.  Why am I still the shlub I was?

On a note, he's met most of the neighbors and their dogs and everything has gone well. And he now knows the neighbors who have the treats. What a schmoozer.

Yet, I can still feel his ribs and he gets treats.    ...and yet, I should be thinner.

Song by:  Marti Jones & Don Dixon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Site of the Month

While I suppose this could be a Shopping with Blobby segment, it is not.

I guess even if it were, it'd be an Online Shopping with Blobby post.  But I don't have those.  So you get a SotM. Lame as it is.

710 sent this my way with no explanation. I'm assuming he thought I might use it some time, some how. That time and how is now.

Apparently there are some who don't like when men have sweaty balls. Those would be the folks at Fresh Balls.

I don't know who these people are or who they think they are.

It is possible that 710 was mocking me. Not that I have sweaty nuts - though I suppose some days I do. It has been hot out. Things tend to sweat, even my sac.  It is just life - deal with it.  Of course the silent mocking is because I rarely wear deodorant or antiperspirant under my arms - I'm certainly not applying it to my nether-regions.

There is always the chance he just sent it to me because of the name. One must not rule that out.

Before my female readers get bent out of shape that they don't like damp, and possibly smelly, balls, apparently they are no prize either - as there is the product Fresh Breasts - and we're not talking free range chickens.

There is also Fresh Feet and Fresh Baby Bottom.

I have a feeling it's like Miracle Foot Cream. There's a Miracle Hand Cream too, but I think it's just the same garbage in a different package.

I'll never know if it works, as I'll never be getting it.

What I really want is the t-shirt, of course.  I could even see 710 getting it for me and then not allowing me to wear it out - at least when I'm with him and getting the eye rolls if I wear it without him.

My life's hard!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Even Flow

Sunday was yoga day.

All things considered, I'm really enjoying yoga again. Those other things are that this class works me harder than that beginner class. The one I never felt I deserved to move out of.

Maybe I don't deserve the move, but I've done it and I haven't really crumpled yet. Oh sure, there have been times when my quads have quivered so much that I am sure I'd not only lose the pose, but go face first into my mat.

While we've only been to the class twice together, it only took once for us to achieve a reputation. Perfect. The high school lunch room should have been like this. Maybe it was.

I was greeted by a couple on the way in who talked non-stop about David, and why not?  He's fun and funny. He's done this class more with them too, so they don't know me - I got no street crud cred.  Not that Woodmere Village has "street cred".  They have an Original Pancake House, but no street cred.

Of course, what I found most amusing was a woman I had not noticed my other classes. She made a beeline for where David and I placed our mats and asked if she could be next to us. Then asked if we'd be doing any commentary like last week.

Now, I'll be honest, I didn't really think anyone but the woman next to us heard our banter, but my mother says I have been 'blessed with a voice that carried'.  And yes, I did make that one loud comment about 'being in hell', still........

The joke was on her. Save maybe two comments, we were pretty quiet for the hour. Sure, there was a time when the yogini was readjusting and rubbing the smelly stuff from last week on the hot Aryan Kurt from Sound of Music in front of me, and I might have said aloud, "I'll do that for you!!!!"

Before the class started, someone gave announcements on running club, other classes including - wait for it - belly dancing!!!!

The woman who wanted to be next to David and myself immediately turned and asked us, "are you going to do that??"  We both agreed to it.  David probably more in jest. Me, more for a blog entry.  Though in reality, I doubt either one of us will do it. I suppose I could do it and he could just video it. I can use if for brettcajun's next Jiggy Dance Whore-Off competition.  That is, if he ever does another one.

But besides the class itself, the hour after class has been great. David and I walk over to Barnes & Noble, grab an iced tea and sit outside and yak for the next 60 minutes. It's just casual chit-chat, but it makes my week.

It is unfortunate that I have to miss next week's class, but I'll be back for the following one - then on to belly dancing.

Song by: Pearl Jam