Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dear Mr. President

I'm sure it was a mass email, but I responded anyways.

No, I'm not helping a Nigerian prince by giving him my Social Security Number and AmEx card.  Not again!

This time it was from the Ohio Democratic Party. Possibly as corrupt at the fake Nigerian prince, but at least this is the devil you think you know.

The email was a "reminder" for me to apply to be a delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

A reminder? That implies I knew about this at all or that it was on my calendar to begin with. It wasn't. But it did get me thinking - why not?

So I completed the 'declaration'.  That asks for basic demographic information and a few other questions - one of them asking if I am a member of the LGBT community. I figure checking that box might give me a leg-up for being selected for the process. Or maybe they're trying to weed me out. I'm not sure.

If I get picked, it will be because of checking that box. If I don't, it will be for the same reason. Glorious bastards!

Going to a convention would be kind of cool.  My mother went to the 1996 one - and to Clinton's second inauguration....well one of them.  But it is a sitting president's convention. Yeah, there will be balloons, banners and speeches.  There will even be a nomination process, but only because there has to be.  I don't think anyone is going to oppose the guy.

But conventions are much different than they even were in the mid-80s.  Remember when he VP nominee was announced at the convention - not months before? I remember Linda Ellerbee reporting how she staked out the only button maker in town of 1976 election to see who Carter picked as his VP. She was on a rooftop with a pair of binoculars peering in the factory window.  Awesome.

Last election we had to sit through two years ten weeks of Sarah Palin (you must watch Julianne Moore in Game Change).  That will be the same for all elections to come - co-campaigning for months.

So the 2012 DNC will be a schmooze fest, but it's in Charlotte. Still it would be interesting to be part of the process, no?  And maybe, just maybe I'll get selected and get to spend some time with Jon.

Maybe I can get some foam core, make one of these signs and sneak it in:



Song by:  Pink

Friday, March 30, 2012

Calling For You

It's official - I'm a douche.....and I love it.

Denton got me a bluetooth headset for the home office. You might remember me wearing the headset that Judy from Time-Life would take your order for One Hit Wonders of the '70s.

That headset died a horrible static-y death. I had to resort to using - ughhhh - my hands!

For those short calls, it wasn't a problem, but for three back-to-back hour long phone meetings, it was tedious.

It is a little bulky to go behind the ear, especially wearing glasses. Actually, I can only wear one pair easily. My big bulky Spongebob glasses make it difficult.

However, I'm not tied to the desk. When on a conference call, I can pace the office - and I do. Quite a bit, actually. Oddly enough it keeps me focused on the task at hand. When I sit in front of my monitors, I can get distracted by incoming emails.

The sound is great - incoming and outgoing.  And it pairs-up with two phones....so it works with my iPhone and my work Blackberry.

I really didn't think I'd like it, but I am loving it.

...and I promise not to wear it in the grocery store or anything.  No promises about wearing it at the airport.



Song by: Iris DeMent

Thursday, March 29, 2012

(It's Just) Talk

As you might remember, we are still doing construction / renovation on our master bath, dressing room and now, a little unexpectedly, our master bedroom.

The majority of the work ends today - all that will be left to do is redoing the hardwood floors in the bedroom. This was not in the plan, that is until they pulled up the carpeting and we found really nice floors underneath.

Yes, they need a little work, but it will still be slightly cheaper than the new carpet we ordered (and that I cancelled).  So, that gets done in two weeks.  Two more weeks of living in the guest room, but at least we can defecate in the new bathroom.

Anyhoo.....the post was really about Sophie's prison term coming to an end. She's on house arrest up on my office, where she'll pound on the door to get out, rub her fur across my face as she walks by 4.817 times or just sits in front of my keyboard so I can't work.

Or, she'll just sit and yell at me.  ...and yell....and yell.....and yell some more.

video

This is actually a good day. She can be much louder. MUCH.

You would have actually heard her go pound on the door and bay like a hound, had it not been for my sister calling at the 41 second mark.  I didn't know that would automatically shut down the video  But it does.

I get mock frustrated at her.  I can never stay mad at her, but it can wear on the nerves a little bit.




Song by: Pat Metheny Group

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Radar

One of my favourite Office episodes is when Oscar comes out - or actually, is outed.

It's hilarious and very uncomfortable (on multiple levels) all at once.....like many Office episodes, I guess.

Of course, when trying to figure out who else in the office might be gay, Dwight turns to Jim about something called 'gaydar'.  Jim checks and says that Sharper Image is all sold out.  Dwight checks out Brookstone's site to see if they have any in stock.

As we all know, there is nothing really called Gaydar.  Or is there?

I'd like to think I have good built-in gaydar. We all think we do - or most of us say we do, whether it be true or not. I believe I'm more right than I am wrong when it comes to identifying a 'mo.  Of course, you get into variabilities when you get to 'wishful thinking'.  Stats get skewed. That could be a fatal mistake, if nothing else, for your credibility.

As you might know two things about me from this blog:  first, my oft-mentioned friends and I have kept a list of funny names (well, what we deem funny) for the last 15 years or so (Kirsten Payne?  Richard Tickle?  Pat Fenis? and yes, April Fresh), and second, that I read the obituaries on an almost daily basis.

Now and then, those two events merge. Not often, but now and again.  Like yesterday.



Yes, the family name should have been trademarked.  Gaydar®


Do you think she just knew - like the chicks from Medium or Ghost Whisperer?  That she was just walking down Main St. or at the mall thinking to herself 'yes.......yes.......no.....no........no........no.......no......yes...." and dying on keeping the secret to herself?  Or was she just a mouthy babe who'd tell everyone "oh I knew he was gay!"

Of course, maybe she didn't have the gift. She married into the name. She wasn't a blood relation.  Oh man, can you imagine her kids in high school?  Torture!

Naturally I sent this to 'the group'.  Two of them responded almost the same way (and yes, this is for John): RORRRRRRIP.

A double laugh.


...and yes, Debora Lee Gaydar® has made the list of names.



Song by: Laurie Anderson

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

If This is Goodbye

I hate losing friends.

I mean, I'm not losing Jeremy as a friend, but he is leaving town. Presumably. Probably. Allegedly.

He hasn't been in Cleveburgh that long and probably won't be much longer. It wasn't the fit for him. I get that.

Jeremy came from Phoenix via Kansas, via Baltimore via White Plains. Most likely he is off to California.

He couldn't find his place in this town. That kind of surprises me as he his such a schmoozer. But he found that being single and gay in Cleveland left him at a disadvantage of making good friends. I probably should have helped more, but I didn't.

He and I would do things - breakfast, lunch or dinner, but 710 and I are lame as a couple in terms of hosting events. I didn't feel really right inviting Jeremy to other people's parties - so I'm bad on that front. The other thing is: he is so young!  32!

He likes to make fun of the fact that he was born two years before I graduated high school.  Prick.

Actually, I only pretend to let it get my goat.

Still Jeremy is wicked funny - abrasively so. That is ok for me, but I could see where it might rub others the wrong way. Hell, I've lived that way, so of course I can see it.

Last night, he and I went out to dinner at a new-ish place in town: Nova.

It kind of worried me that it's URL was a wordpress site. They didn't even have the $35 to buy their own domain name?  I'm not holding out for it being there long.

We were the only table. I think we were the only two non-Argentinians in the place.  Five were at the bar, four were the staff.  The food was ok, the service was fun, but the drinks were horrid. Granted, I had beer, but Jeremey's two martinis - one cucumber, the second one tasting like liquid penicillin were bad.  Bad bad bad.   ...and like I said, we were the only table.

If Jeremy leaves, he'll probably head to Southern California. This bodes well for me, as I have clients there, so I can still see him 4-6 times a year. If he hits Northern California, email and phone will be the probable. Yeah, I might get there now and again, but not often.

I think he'd fit in better in the Bay area than the OC, but he likes the job better in the latter - and the cost of living is somewhat better there too.

He'll know in the next few weeks. If it goes his way, it will be a few weeks after that before he's gone. I guess I'll have to plan a few more dinners with him before that happens.

It won't be at Nova.



Song by:  Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Music Monday


I love Patti Smith.

I wouldn't expect you to remember me posting about seeing here back in 2007.  As I said in that post, most people know her from "Because the Night", that is if they know someone sang it before 10,000 Maniacs.

A few others might know her as Robert Mapplethorpe's roommate and muse. Smith wrote about it quite eloquently in her book Just Kids, which I talked about almost two years ago.

And while Easter was arguably her most commercial album, I am still more fond of Wave. At that point her band had really gelled and they were hitting it on every mark......well, except radio acceptance. I certainly like her cover of "So You Want to be a Rock and Roll Star" more than the Byrds' original. I love "Dancing Barefoot", but it is really "Frederick" that makes the disk.

A love song to her then husband (he died in '94), Fred "Sonic" Smith. (Yes, she married a "Smith".  It makes it easier for monogramming shit) from the punk group MC5. Not only was the Lp version great, which you get here, but a live version graced the b-side of the single.

It was actually the b-side that was stellar.  There are many-a-versions out there on YouTube, but nothing that quite stands up to that original live pressing.  It's quite possible I'm romanticizing it all from way back in 1979, but I don't think I am.  Even going to see ones from that era, or from current day - and they are strong, which says a lot about the song and singer.

As it was 1979, there is no official video. The one here is clips of live performance synced up with the studio version of the audio.  For all intents and purposes, it works.

I don't really expect anyone to know this, but I hope some might enjoy it.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Memories Can't Wait

It was hard, but it wasn't hard.

Yesterday was the memorial for our friend Bill. It was still difficult to believe he was gone and knowing the right way to act or say things. Not so hard to talk of him lovingly or have great thoughts of him.  Not difficult to approach his partner and offer condolences, but knowing it would be hard to keep him engaged without suffocating him - knowing when to step back, as he'll need that time.

Being a non-religious event helped. That was nothing Bill ever would have wanted. It seems he probably wouldn't have wanted this gathering either, but when is it ever for the deceased?

There were three official eulogies, all of them ok, but nothing that stood out. Then a folks were offered to get up and speak or give an anecdote. Very few did.

I considered it, but it would have been nicer to know ahead of time to think of something to say that wasn't off the cuff.

It was a very nice turn-out of neighbors, friends and co-workers. No family. Biological, that is. That was a different memorial.  That was a different story.

Yesterday, Bill was surrounded by his family. People from as close as across the street to those who traveled from as far away as San Francisco. Folk who knew him less than a year and those long time folks for over 35 years.

Of course there was good food and some incredible sweets. They were nice sitting on the back patio eating with the new(er) and old friends laughing and sometimes dodging the obvious reason we were together. So many instances we were all in these same physical places at so many great parties. But it was different - clearly.  Even just getting some wine, Bill was always there to pour. Eyes would well-up, if not pour over.

I haven't been thinking about tons else these last ten days. Of course, as I lay awake from 02:00 to 06:00 this morning, I wrote a great little thing - in my head - that I could have and should have said at the service.



Song by:  Talking Heads

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Site of the Month

I can't take credit for finding this  months site - Dollar Shave Club. That distinction goes to BosGuy.

LeBos' blog directed me to this a few weeks back and I've shared the site with a number of folks already, one being my sister who plays tennis and is one of the few who will DVR tennis the Australian and French opens so she can see them upon waking.  Oh, once you see the ad you'll understand why I said that.

DSC gets the nod this month mostly for it's video ad, which has totally gone viral.  It has made into a number of magazines, such as New York and Entertainment Weekly.  BosGuy can be happy he was way ahead of the curve on this one.

It's far enough left of center, that it just made me laugh and laugh.  Because of the ad, Dollar Shave Club might actually get my business.

$1 a month doesn't seem bad, until you realize how frickin' cheap I truly am.

I currently have five (FIVE!) razors in rotation. Three of them are the disposable kind (shower, gym bag, travel kit).  Two are the nicer brands (Fusion?) - for the face; one in shower another in gym bag.  The nice ones are usually free mailers - and Gillette and Shick know they get you with those, because it is blades that will break the bank, never the razor.

BTW, it's the disposable ones that shave the noggin.

Since there are five, and I don't necessarily shave daily (shut up, I know!) and I will use them until I am cutting myself left and right, I don't swap out my blades that often. Certainly not every month. I'm totally sure I should, but I just don't. Once again:  CHEAP.

So, for $12 a year, I could get a decent razor system going, but we'll see.  I have a number of blades to use up currently. I don't need more clutter.

For those who don't hit the hyperlink at the top of the post, you can at least see that viral video below. The spokesman (true founder?  I doubt it) is cute.  The writing is funny.  I love the line about the single blade and polio.  Allegedly, the ad was written by someone in the Upright Citizens Brigade - the comedy troupe that launched Leslie Knope Amy Poehler.  I can see that.


Friday, March 23, 2012

App of the Month

You know, I didn't do an AotM in February.  I blame the 1-2 day less of opportunity to blog than my own shortcomings. As you know, it's always someone else's fault.

As you know, I travel quite a bit for work. Sometimes to remote areas where I do not know the terrain geography all that well, let alone the business district(s).

Why is this important?  Why, you ask?  I'll tell you why.


THAT is why.

...and yes, there's an App for that.   Have2P

I suppose the marketing folks are being nice, because this could easily be called Have2Poo. Sometimes it is just not about #1.

Logic will tell you to find the nearest McDonalds when you must go. But believe it or not, the road from, say, Oklahoma City to Lawton isn't littered with fast food restaurants or gas stations.....or rest areas. Sometimes you need a guide.  Not like a Sherpa, but more like an iPhone app.

Now this app will tell you, based on someone else's entry at a static point in time, if the rest room is clean; or if it has a changing table; or if you need to purchase something - as it might be for customers only.  You can also put in your recommendations and discoveries for others to benefit from.

That is all well and nice - unless you truly have, as George Constanza might have said, a "pressing intestinal need".   Sorry - then all bets are off.

The ability to drive (if you're alone), log on to your phone, launch the app and then wait to find your current location, well, by that time you've probably soiled yourself.

But on the plus side, the app is free.  You knew it would be - I'm cheap.

For those who want a similar app with a corporate sponsor (amusingly by Charmin), Sit or Squat is also available.....and free.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring and All

I took a walk yesterday evening, and fuck, it was 75 degrees!!!

Global warming be damned, I'll take an early Spring.  I'll take any Spring.  The last decade we've gone from wet soggy cold to blazing hot with little in between.

But Cleveland racked up it's warmest Winter on record, and I'm ok  with that too - as you know how cold I get. So if all Winters could be like this, I'd survive up here. Alas, we know it was a fluke.

Just like this Spring. My sister thinks we have one more snow.  I don't.  I don't doubt it will go back to the 40s here and there, but these days of 70s and 80s are pretty frickin' sweet.

I love sleeping with the window open and the comforter off.  It seems exxxxtra special in March.  Usually the storm windows are still in place......until mid-May.

And flowers. Everything is on the way to blooming early. Tulips are pushing up, the maples are budding, magnolias are out, you name it.  Oh and the deer are back.  Three huge ones could have trampled me to death as I was picking up twigs and branches in the yard on Sunday.  Spring is usually the time we see the babies, but two of these seemed like they should have a ball cap on and a whistle around their neck.

I swear I feel bad for the polars bears and their lack of ice caps. I'm just not sure I feel bad enough.



Song by:  Mary Chapin Carpenter

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

State of the Art

I don't have much. I mean, how can I top video-me?

My friend Hillel sent me this pic, which I loved and he knew I would love.  ...and he was correct.


Oddly, it was taken and sent to him by a woman he sublet his NYC apartment to some 15 years back. He's originally from and is currently back in Los Angeles, but I find it amusing he still is in contact with someone he sublet his place to almost two decades back.  Maybe he still owns it, and maybe she still lives there. I didn't really think of that.

But Hillel is in L.A. and is, as they say, "in the business".  I know what you're thinking - a Jew in Hollywood??  unheard of!  But it's true. Crazy!

I love the fish-eye lens, and I really love the saying. I'm a big fan of art and am a huge proponent of the 'eh'.

Of course, I wouldn't use it with out his permission, even though technically it is not his image. If he wants to let his friend/tenant know,  I'm good with it.



Song by: Gotye

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Music Monday


What happens to member of a group who has only two albums with pseudo-big hits and then they break up?

Do you suppose they all work at a chip shoppe outside of London trying to make rent for their flat?  Residuals on those songs can't go far, especially when those were now going on 20 years later.

Yes, these are the things I think about.

I know the Fine Young Cannibals had their biggest U.S. hits with "She Drives Me Crazy" and "Good Thing", both from their second and final full release album.  But it was their debut disk that really was the fun one.....for me of course.

They did a decent cover of Elvis' "Suspicious Mind" and a great version of the Buzzcocks' "Ever Fallen In Love" which I still overplay to this day.  They had a slightly different version of the latter song on the soundtrack for the film Something Wild.  Not as good of a version, but again, my opinion.

But since I think the video for "Minds" was overplayed and the version for "Ever Fallen" is just badly done, I went with another great song from the disk, "Johnny Come Home".

Roland Gift was nothing to look at, not close up - not for me. Something about the teeth and maybe a partially fixed clef palate....or maybe I'm seeing things.

MTV made it about the looks, but it really is about the music.  I like the pop-ska mix that was U.K. music in the late '80s.  When it was done well, it was done well.  FYC blended those lines quite easily.

Still........it don't pay the rent.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand

The construction has been a pain in the butt for our daily living, and not just for us.  Poor Sophie has been a prisoner up in the apartment / office during the day - whether I'm traveling or not.

It seems in the last two weeks, I've gone from "warden" to "companion".


How can you not love this?

Sure, she makes it hard to type and sure my productivity is in the toilet.

....and it's totally worth it.



Song by:  the Beatles

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Greener

St. Patrick's Day on a Saturday.  Lordy.

Drunk. Drunker. Drunkiest.

I can safely say I've never participated in any festivities for this day.  Unless they are vegetables, I rarely eat green food, and I certainly don't drink green beverages.

You even saw, I don't eat the green jellybeans and there is some nonsense about green M&Ms that seems so fricking stupid, I don't even know what the urban myth truly is.  Something about making someone horny - yeah, because a stiff breeze doesn't do that to every guy over the age of 11.

Allegedly, Cleveland will have 416,000 people watching the parade today - the most ever, because it is a Saturday and most AA meetings aren't taking place.  So besides the drone of bagpipes, the instrument would most make want to be deaf, the streets will run with a river of green vomit.

Coming from someone who was a big fan of abusing alcohol, this is one "holiday"I do not understand. I never tried to drink to excess - well, where you'd actually be sick. But I've seen these people who seem to make it a personal goal.

I certainly do not understand what makes this day a drinking day.  What about the driving of snakes from Ireland - which is just a downright fallacy -  turns into a day to kill your liver?

I'm sure there are Wiki entries on the how this day came to be, but I really don't care all that much.  I really just needed to use my image of green Hostess Sno-Balls

You won't see me anywhere near downtown - for oh so many reasons.  But if you partake, enjoy.



Song by:  Lori Carson

Friday, March 16, 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, but this selection actually is.


While Blondie's debut and eponymous album might not be their best (I still say Autoamerican is their crowning achievement), it does rank up there in the #2 or 3 position.  For a debut, Blondie was wickedly strong.  It still is.

With a 1976 release date, it was a great mix of punk, new wave, pop and, in a weird way, surf music.  Produced by Richard Gotteher, who would go on to helm the Go-Go's first disk five years later, there are similarities between the two on how he approached those mixed genres with both bands.

It really went nowhere in terms of charting or hit singles in the states, but it made an impact in the UK, the Australia and of course, with me. It had great sensibilities on where music was going and really forged the American part of New Wave.

In my opinion, each song is great on this disk - six of the 11 would be what I would consider to be outstanding.  Almost anyone with any of the versions of Blondie's 2,318 greatest hit compilations will know "X Offender" and "Rip Her to Shreds" - two of my personal favourites.  Oh, how I always thought of Amy Broadhead when I heard the latter.  I wanted to do just that.

But it's hard to beat "Look Good in Blue", "In the Flesh" and the surfiness (it's a word!) of "Rifle Range" and "In the Sun".

Blondie is just a fun album with a great edge.  Where normally, without thinking, I'd pick the Pretenders debut as the best debut, but in reality it is probably Blondie.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Can't Make It Alone

This note was left at my desk, in my office yesterday.  It now resides on the bulletin board next to me so I will be able to see it daily.

Don't bother asking about the "Mr. MB" signature - there are somethings I will be keeping to myself.  Yes, normally, I vomit stuff out for everyone here, but private isn't always bad.

We had a friend and neighbor die quite unexpectedly on Tuesday. It was quite upsetting for us. By us, I mean the few neighbors who were aware of the event.  His partner was out of town on business, which added to the sadness and angst.

Of course we empathized and sympathized with our friends, but I also know that I wasn't the only one thinking the same fate could have been any of our own.

Bill was older than either 710 or myself, but he was at least in the same box.  You know those age-range boxes you check for certain things?  He was in ours. Well, in 710's. I'll be in that box in 17 months.

Sleep was restless Tuesday night, or actually Wednesday morning when we got to bed. We held each other tight with thought of Bill, thoughts of Marty, thoughts of us.

I've always had this "plan" that I get to go first. While, sure it would be convenient for me,  it was heartbreaking to see the sorrow that leaves behind. So there really is a no win in this scenario.

One (or is it just me?) has fleeting thoughts of would it be safer to be alone than have a lifetime commitment only to be left alone?  That is quite a sad thought to have, admittedly, but one that has passed through my head.

I suppose the pain of loss is worth the time of love.  At least in theory. Time will tell - at least for one of us.

Until then, one Mr. MB will love me forever.



Song by:  Maria McKee

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What is Life

I wanted to post this and only say:  "submitted without comment".

....but then I realized this is me and if I can say 10 words in a 100, I will take that opportunity.

While I am not the most spiritual guy around, this video below is science. But it would be tough not to feel a spiritual (not religious) connection to it all.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson can stray into corny on NOVA, I still like him and he is an interesting guy. And smart, obviously. I do so love the Hayden Plane-arium as well.

...and the video shots themselves are cool.

If you're ever in New York City, it is totally worth the trip to the plane-arium. While the rest of the museum is nice, the Rose Center is freaking awesome.





Song by: George Harrison

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 25th 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.


 06:08. About to put pots & pans way from the night before. 

 06:10.  While putting away said pots & pans, stepping in a present that Sophie left me during the night. 

06:15.  Daylight Savings Time.  Still dark when out to get the paper. 

 07:55.  The contractor's colour "wheel" ready for him to pick up.  In theory we should be done. 

 10:00. Sophie: Up Close & Personal.  Miss Whiskers. 

13:00.  It's Peanut Butter Jelly time. I had to make and assemble it myself.  No one to cut off the crusts of me.  {sigh}

 14:00.  Jellybean time. Except for the green ones. Blobby does not like "sour apple" flavoured jellybeans. Ick. 

 16:00.  Office bulletin board.  

Little homages to Kylie and Tovah there. Some art. Some pics of work folk, 710 and his sister and of course, a Nancy Grace bookmark. 

 19:30. The office / apartment bathroom. If we were renting it out, I'd gut it, but since it's only me, the salamander, seahorses and orange formica stay. 

20:00.  the Dressing Room. Painter was here yesterday. They start on those hardwood floors (under them paint cans) today. 

20:30.  Stripey McBrownerson Sophie "hiding".  I love how she thinks no one can see her. 

22:15.  mmmmmm.....Chocolate Chip Cookie time. 


No Baker's Dozen this month.  Hard enough to eke out 12 when it's not gym or travel day.  Enjoy the day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Music Monday


I was all in the mood for doing a Smiths video / song today. Sure, I can post the audio portion, but damned if the ex-group or label have not blocked all embedding capabilities of their videos.

Those not familiar with the Smiths (and really, I hope you all are familiar with them), they were four lads from the UK with a penchant for poppy tunes and not so poppy lyrics or song titles.

Back when living in Columbus, many a moon ago, CD101 had a daily contest on "What Would Morrissey Do?"

They would give a scenario and three multiple choice answers.  The answer was C. The answer was always C:  write a song about how lonely and depressed he was.  It never failed to make me laugh....but I'm easily amused.

My first choice of "official" videos was "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before", but then Morrissey was so much cuter in "Girlfriend in a Coma".  You actually forget how handsome he was.  I found an unofficial official copy that I will post below.

Of course, Morrissey is gay - but back then (you know, the '80s!) people only suspected, I suspect. But loved the story of a guy I used to go out with who was called a 'fag' by a kid wearing a Smith t-shirt.  Jeff's immediate response was, "you're wearing a Smith t-shirt and you're calling me a fag?".  The only good memory I have from him.

But being a youthful pseudo-angsty gay man, one could easily gravitate to his lyrics about killing the DJ, about the music that they constantly play that says nothing to me about my life. He made it relate.  Well, except for hanging the DJ part.

I'm still a big fan of the Smiths and Morrissey's solo work. Most songs really hold up, but honestly, and this is gay blasphemy, but I don't care if I ever hear "How Soon is Now?" again.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Second Choice

The construction project continues.  How long has it been - two years or three?

What????  Only six weeks?  Unpossible.

On other renovations, we have done the majority of the work ourselves, but this was not going to happen this time - the job was too big, too extensive and we no longer wanted to take 11 months of doing all weekend work to complete it. So it is our first time with a contractor.

When it was our job to do, we knew what to buy and had the materials either ahead of time or knew what was coming and when.  Not so much here.

Things here have changed so much even in these six weeks.  While I won't say we are settling exactly, most of the materials we have selected we have had to reselect. Some even re-reselect.

Our floor tile? As you seen in the image, it should have been the middle tile, but the boxes that came were mixed in with the other two - oh and there wasn't enough of the kind we selected in either the boxes or stock. So back to beginning.

Picking new floor tile created clashing with the paint on the walls, so picking a new colour and repainting was in order. I guess we should be happy that the granite had not yet been cut, as it didn't work with the floor either. And the new granite we picked was out of stock, so we went on to a third selection.

Oh, and the wall sconces we ordered are no longer manufactured (new ones selected and ordered) and the light fixture in the dressing room is back ordered until April.  The contractor wants us to pick another one, but I am not budging on this. I want one thing we picked originally to be in there. I'll wait.

You probably don't want to know of the shower tile placement we were unhappy with and had them rip part of it down and redo. It's not that we are ultra-picky, just that they did a sub-standard job that we still would have to pay full-price for.  Nu-huh.  Not happening.

Of course, we are over budget.  SHOCK!  Oddly, we are only a little off schedule.  We'll see as this upcoming week wraps up how far off we'll be. I'm guessing eight days.

I know the job is not over, but I have a laundry list of lessons learned. These are mistakes I will not be making again when we do another project.

Yes, there will be another project.  I don't know when or what, but there are things to do - that need to be done. However, I gave dagger-eyes to 710 the other morning as he was reading an article on kitchen renovations and he started talking ideas.

Too soon.  Too soon.




Song by:  Any Trouble

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Shopping with Blobby

Yet another installment in the drudgery that is everyday shopping. The camera-phone makes it a bit more fun - though I get looks whenever I take pics of products. Like I care what people think!


Normally, I find funny stuff to post for my SwB segment. There are enough weirdo products out there that I can post something that will make people laugh or smile.

Of course, the joke is, I never actually buy or us any of these products - but this time I'm actually plugging something - and I get no kickbacks.  First a little background.

For years I've been telling you about this wart I've had on my right thumb.  Eight trips to the dermatologist to have it burned/frozen off - and all it did was maim my thumb. I've "joked" that you should buy stock in Band-Aid as I'd be wearing one the rest of my life to hide the shame and ugliness that was the damage - and the wart, which ironically was still there under it all.

On a whim, last November, I axed a pharmacist if they had anything to help that wasn't Compound W.  She did.


So buying stock in Curad might pay-off after all.

Compound W has 17% Sallcylic Acid.  Mediplast has 40%.  Oddly enough, it doesn't burn at all - or better yet, smell.

They come in pads - and yes, I had to buy 25 of them - that you cut into pieces big enough to cover the affected area.  And yes, I put a bandage over it so no one had to see that either.

It was $30 for the package, but considering each burning treatment cost me $189 and I did eight of them, well, $30 was chump change.

The package said to use for up to 12 weeks.  Lo and behold at the 12 week mark I saw a huge improvement. Four weeks later, I won't go as far to say "cure", but closest thing I might ever get.

I'm posting before and after pics, and warning you ahead of time because Birdie gets freaked out by it.  She's a fragile flower.


Believe it or not, this was a good day. Ugly? Yes.  Painful?  It could be.  But months after 'treatment' from a stellar tertiary care facility. Boo on them.  But this is what I had to cover up day after day after day. 



Same thumb as of yesterday.  Not too shabby, huh?

The skin doesn't feel completely normal  - but with the trauma to the thumb, maybe it would be silly to expect that it would go back to the way it was.  And I actually have a full thumb print now. For years - yes years! - I had a mangled digit, but no print.

Skin is a resilient thing.

The joke?  I've used less than two of those 25 pads.  Cutting it to fit that spot went the distance. And now I have two full boxes of Band-Aids that are just sitting in a drawer going to waste.

I think I can live with that.

Clearly, I'm very happy as I truly never thought I could show skin again - well, at least on my right hand.

Friday, March 09, 2012

You Jamais Walk Alone

Morty and his partner, George just got back from Africa.  ...Morty is on the left.  It's an October - December romance.

I kid....I kid.

But Geo is on the right.

The duo went to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro - and they succeeded, which is totally awesome and cool.  Well, I heard it was / is.  I haven't been there, but I once went to African Lion Safari.  I'm sure it is the exact same thing

Morty ran yet another marathon (how many is this Mort?), and this is his fourth continent on which to run.  I don't think he ran one in Europe, but I might be mistaken. I am always proud of Morty's accomplishments. When he does one of these things it makes me want to run.......but then that idea passes after about 47 seconds.  Phew.

Who I am really proud of is George.

George walked the half-marathon. It's not that he can't run - half or the whole, he just opted for the half. The walk part?  He put one foot in front of the other with Margaret, an 88 year old woman.  At 81 she became the oldest person to complete a marathon on all seven continents.

....and Maggie did it by the time she hit 81.

While I would have liked to use Morty and George as the source of all truth on this, yeahhhh, I couldn't let that happen.  But thanks to Al Gore's internets, I was able to verify this as truth.

Morty has like 13 30 more years to beat this record.  Then maybe he can slow down and walk with the one he loves.

Still, what a treat for George to be able to walk and have a conversation with a neat lady like that.  And it was probably a thrill for Margaret too. George is a fun and interesting guy and I'm sure there were a slew of bugs over in Africa to discuss of which Margaret was unaware.

George is a fun and funny guy - and I'd even walk a half-marathon with him, but then there's that 47 second rule - and I'm out.  ....but I'd be waiting for him at the bar.




Song by: Jerry Lewis  (live on the Champs-Élysées)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Man from Mars

I saw a little news blurb over the weekend that made me stop, smile then get slightly annoyed.

A massive earthquake on Mars has been detected – suggesting there may be active volcanoes and even reservoirs of water that could sustain life on the Red Planet. Scientists tracked a series of boulder falls that resembled the deadly....

Earthquakes? On Mars?  Really???

Are we so full of ourselves, that we think we're the center of the universe?  Think about it - Miss Universe is never held on any other celestial body!

Is it really so hard to call them "Marsquakes"? It's not like it happened here and then we shipped it over  - to another planet.

Or are we all so dumb that we wouldn't understand the movement of plates under the surface of a planet that wasn't ours, ones that would change their geological make-up?  Can I even use 'geology'?

One of those other things that always ground my gears - and still does - was the use of 'gate'.

Yeah, it applies to Watergate, well, because that was the actual place that the spying on the DNC happened.

There was no gate for Iran-Contra.  Monica Lewinsky had no gate (or panties either, probably).  Janet Jackson's nipple had a gate....but only one!  Sarah Palin's Alaska troopers didn't have a gate either.

Yet here we are, 40 years later, slapping 'gate' on every pseudo-scandal.  There is even a frickin' Wiki site devoted to the 'gate'. (Seriously - am I the only person to not have a Wiki page?) Oddly enough, Clinton's Whitewater was never called Whitewatergate.

I know I sound like Grandpa Simpson with these tirades.  I am only a few years away before that becomes a reality.




Song by: Joni Mitchell

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

19

Monday (what? I couldn't miss My Music Monday, could I?) would have been 19 years since I became cancer free.

I'd like to say my baldness was the result of chemo or radiation, but it is really just hereditary. I didn't even have chemo or radiation for my cancer. The thought, at the time, was if they couldn't successfully cut it out, there wasn't much else they could do for me.

On March 5, 1993, my doc put me under to cut out part of my right femur, oh and the malignant tumor.  The plan was to take the tumor out of there, use some bone from my hip to replace it and send me on my way.

Ok - that might be a bit too simplistic of an explanation, but the result ended up being the doc needing to take much more femur than expected for the hip solution to work. Instead, I have cadaver bone in me.

Spoooooooky.  No wonder my apartment at the time was haunted.

What you see is my actual post-op xray.  I have no light box in our house, because 710 doesn't want to display this like art - like I do - so I just held it up in the bathroom and took the pic.

Nice pelvic bone, no?

The radiology technician put a lead sack on my sac, you know, to keep me from being damaged - like I was going to have kids in the first place! To be fair, how would she have known?  Anyway, if you enlarge the pic you might be able to see that, welllllllll, she didn't cover everything.  It's not like they ever made a lead bag that big to cover Blobby Jr.  Something was bound to spill over the side. ....and it does.

And yes, that plate and those nine screws are still firmly in place, though if you want to get grossed out, you can feel some of the upper screws when I walk. 710 does not like that at all.

I am not an animal!!!!

For some reason, now and again, the leg vibrates. It's not painful, it just buzzes like once every 10 seconds.  Sometimes it just goes on for minutes, sometimes for hours.  And don't discount the fact that most times I can predict the low-front that is 12-36 hours out.  It might not always rain or snow, but the low front? it's a-comin'.

Now and again I get checked-up, but it's safe to say that I remain cancer-free.

I've written about this since the beginning of this blog and it is even beginning to bore me. I just came across the xray and it coincided with my surgery date.

Man, I really want that light box.


Song by: Paul Hardcastle

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Primary

Super Tuesday is here.

"Super" might be overstating it.  Underwhelming Tuesday is more like it.

Seriously, could there be a more pathetic group of candidates than Paul, Gingrich, Santorum and Romney?  I suppose there could - if Perry and Bachmann were still around.

Not knowing where I'd be this week, I voted by mail weeks ago - and yes, we used holiday stamps from like 1974. There was a box of them and we used them up.  You just know we accidentally used one that was worth $63.000.

Cuyahoga County used to have pre-paid mail but these are tough times and now we have to pay $0.66 to vote.

Of course, I voted for none of the GOP candidates, even as a joke. In Ohio, for the primary, you have to change your party affiliation for that and it means four years of getting Republican propaganda. Totally not worth the joke of voting for Newt.  You know - just to fuck up the tight race between Mitt and Santorum.

Against what I ever would have considered most odds, Santorum is not only still in the race, but in a statistical dead heat with Romney - at least for Ohio.  And in some polls for the actual GOP nomination. Of course, I also thought Howard Dean would be the 2004 winner of the Dems.  So what do I know?

I'm voting more this time for judges, a few issues and county prosecutor. Our neighbor is running and oddly enough, I am supporting him and not just because he's my neighbor - he probably is the best one for the job.

I know how I'm voting in November for president, so this primary means nothing to me. I don't see a scenario where any of these guys don't self-destruct along the way - before, during or after the convention. They are nut bags.  I'm not thrilled with Obama, but what is the alternative?  Right now, he's the best we have.

Obama almost has to win if the GOP is going to take a long hard look at itself and start anew. They are so completely outdated and have painted themselves so deep into a corner they are almost going to have to clean house.

It is so 2004 again with them. They have no answers for real problems, so it is back to same-sex marriage, DADT and DOMA.  Scare tactics and they hope no one will see around that.

Welcome to the dumbing down of America - Pt XIV.


Go vote!  (if it's your primary, of course.)


Song by: the Cure

Monday, March 05, 2012

My Music Monday


You might know Sam Phillips. You might not.

You might know of her and not know it - but I suppose that is possible of so many people.

Phillips (not to be confused with Sun Record and Elvis discoverer, Sam Phillips) was a Christian singer who went secular a few decades ago. I discovered her via Morty back in 1990 (?) with a song of hers "Now I Can't Find the Door".

The song, and disk (well, cassette!), was produced by her then husband T Bone Burnette. You might know him from producing such music as O Brother Where Art Thou and I Walk the Line soundtracks, the Alison Krauss & Robert Plant album, as well as disks from Nat'le Merchant, Gillian Welch and a number of others that you have heard of.

Coming off of her second (non-religious) album Martinis & Bikinis, "I Need Love" was great pop with a good underlying message. Well, at least one for me.  "I need love / Not some sentimental prison / I need g-d / Not the political church". 

That may have said more for her move away from her previous musical genre than anything.

Her disks are good, but M&B was the best of them - in my opinion.

She never made too big of waves in the radio or sales world, but is still self-releasing music via her website, mostly one song at a time. She's even collected some of those stray songs and compiled them into one disk.  I haven't taken the bait as of yet.

Here is how you may have heard her, and not of her.  For anyone watching the Gilmore Girls, Phillips did the incidental music, the la-la-las.  Her album sales might not be healthy, but residuals from repeats and DVD sales should keep her eating above the Ramen noodle levels for quite a few years to come.


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sign of Love

By and large airports are the same:  ticket counters, security screenings, bathroom stalls that you can't maneuver your luggage in and out of, Hudson News, shitty food selections and never enough places to charge a phone or laptop.

Some terminals are scummier than others (LaGuardia is worse than most bus terminals).  Some have better flow or light (Denver). Some have horrid on-time records or security checkpoints (Philadelphia, Chicago).  National has the best ground transport - the Metro!

So it is rare to go to an airport that is not only nice, but doesn't have any of those other negatives. San Jose airport is one of those.  The new terminal at SJC is nicely done with some of the best (not great) food options, good light and flow, easy security even at their most busiest and if you know where to look, decent recharging places.

Even the architecture of the new Terminal B is nice to view.  The above image is not that building.

The image you see is actually the exterior side of their rental car return and parking garage.  It is double what you can see, I just didn't have the means to get an entire shot.

I've seen it before, but I always double take when I come back to return my car.  You don't see it as you leave with your rental. This time, I had time to kill after dropping off my car, so I went about a way to get a snap.  It wasn't easy.

I had to cross a four lane road that had no pedestrian access. I had to leave my luggage and laptop hidden in a corner of the parking garage. I had to dodge on-coming traffic of said four lanes and then stand in what looked like protected wildlife.

Totally worth it.

Nothing got stolen, no one was injured (meaning me!), no multi-car pile-ups as I zipped to and fro and best yet, I wasn't arrested for what I am sure was breaking a few rules and regulations of leaving bags unattended and trespassing.

I can work my way through most of the ASL alphabet and know one or two signs themselves, but if this mural (?) is actually signing / saying anything, I am unaware. Even if it is not,  I love it.

It is a covering of some sort of mesh that hangs from the top of the building.  I love when utilitarian structures become art - they change the landscape, literally and figuratively. They change your experience - and that can be important if you spend a good amount of time in airports.



Song by:  Til Tuesday

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Lemonworld

I have made no secret here of my love for cookies. It falls somewhere in between my affection for my cat and my parents........in that order.  Just an FYI.

Of course, like everything else when it comes to food, I'm picky about what cookies I like and don't.  The list for the like, actually, is very small.

It might sound funny coming from a gay man but........no nuts.

Not in cookies...or most food.  Now and again, if there is a peanut butter cookie with finely ground peanuts on top, I might partake.  Might.

Too many cookie choices are out for me because of this factor.  I'm not allergic, I just don't think nuts should be in food unless it is certain Chinese dishes.  Oh, how many salads I've picked almonds out of because one, they shouldn't be there and two, they are just bad nuts to begin with.

I will eat nuts by themselves (oh, shut UP!), but not in anything that isn't chicken with cashews or kung po something or other.  Normally, I would say it is a tactile thing, but then I'll eat M&Ms in cookies, and those don't really feel or crunch that differently than nuts - so that's not it.

...and no, I won't eat peanut M&Ms.  Ick.

So, when it comes times for Girl Scout Cookie time, it has almost always been about one cookie for me from them.  Yes, the classic:  Thin Mints.   .....save one year.

Almost a decade ago GSA sold a lemon cookie that was dusted with powder sugar.  They carried for one cookie season.  One.  

Those bitches!

I'll back up a little.  Much longer than 10 years ago Sunshine, when they existed, sold a cookie called Lemon Coolers.  Lemon cookies that were dusted with a lemon powdered sugar.  Sunshine went belly-up and I think Keebler bought and then trashed their recipes.

Those bitches!

Lemon Coolers were one of those things that helped Blobby get plump in the first place. The place between eating till full and satisfied never intersected. I could eat box after box after box. However, even in their heyday they were hard to locate, so when I did - I bought.  ...and bought and bought.

So, hit year 2000 or so when the GSA started selling them under another name. Oh, it was a happy day for Blobby and a year later, a very sad one. Clearly the rest of the cookie-buying public did not share his affection for these and they were not a top seller (I'm assuming). The following year, they went back to those shitty lemon cremes ones.  Blech.

So colour me surprised when this year, we are back with the cookies I love so much! I sought out where they were being sold, since no one comes by the house and there is no office where some pushy mother is selling them for her kid. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), GSA has this covered where you can search by zip code

I got my fix. Kind of.

On the table there were five boxes and I opted to buy only those, even though there was a case under the table. But those pushy mothers (no, not really) said if I bought six boxes, I was eligible to win cookies for a year.

I didn't ask the parameters of this "deal", but clearly, Blobby could financially break the Girl Scouts with that kind of arrangement. If I ate a box a day at $3.50 a pop, well, you can do the math of the destruction I would make.  But I'm guessing they limit you to something like one box per month.

Those bitches.

So the irony? I've had the cookies for a week and haven't broken the seal on the box, let alone ingested one cookie. I now have them and am in fear of well, eating them all - but more importantly, eating them all and then no longer having access to the supply and / or the Girl Scouts not selling them for another 10 years.

Yes.....say it with me.......................Those bitches!



Song by: the National

Friday, March 02, 2012

Misty

I feel so Dian Fossey here. Granted, it is central California, and not Rwanda, and where there might be silver bears here, probably no silverback apes.

Still below those clouds and Christy Lane sunbeams is a mountain that is enveloped by both. And a decent shot, since I was driving 55 miles per hour on a road I've been on three times. ....and no crashes.

I've been up for 23 hours now and ready for bed. I have a meeting tomorrow and then back to the airport for a red-eye back to Cleveburgh. But at least I have First Class from the flight from LAX to ORD - so I can sleep.

That is unless they show J. Edgar again.

I watched it twice on the flight out, only because the other choices were Happy Feet 2 (umm.no!), Silver Streak (is it 1976....again??). Or New Year's Eve (um......NO!).

I don't care that Dustin Lance Black wrote it. It was a hodge-podge at best. The going from early to late to mid life was too much - oh and the make-up was ghastly. Poor poor job. Clint Eastwood should be ashamed of himself.

Of course, having Hoover as gay was as much fun as watching Roy Cohn be a faggot.

There were one or two nice scenes in it, but Judi Dench couldn't save this, Dermot Mulroney was almost unrecognizable, and even though it's nice to see Lea Thompson still earning her SAG card, I couldn't help but be disinterested in the entire thing. Twice.

Maybe they should have shown Gorillas in the Mist, just to get me in the mood.


Song by: Johnny Mathis

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Gun Shy

I could prattle on about Davy Jones, but as Monkees goes, it was all about Michael Nesmith for me. Maybe it was his mutton chops, or perhaps his green knit cap. Perhaps it was his inherited fortune from him mother, who invented White-Out.  And arguably, he had made the first full-length video with Elephant Parts ("Lucy and Ramona and Sunset Sam" - if anyone remembers that).

So yeah, Davy Jones is dead. I got nothing on that. I'm not Marcia Brady.

If we are talking tragic deaths this week, I'd stick with the kids at Chardon High School, which is about 25 miles from us.

I get flummoxed at school shootings. I truly don't understand - on multiple levels. I almost get the pre-Colominbe thing, but not the post.  While measures were put in place to respond to such measures, I thought the bigger issues is to keep firearms from entering schools.  Yeah, I'm all for metal detectors and giving up certain civil liberties to keep teens alive - at least while in school.

In theory, I understand locking-down the school immediately after it was reported. But while the school was locked down, EMS and SWAT were locked out, while the kids bled to death inside. That doesn't seems quite the way that should happen either.  Yes, one tries to minimize more aggression or fatalities, but........

And not to minimize what happened, but the aftermath sucks. Not necessarily the grieving, but the letters.  Oh, the letters.

It all comes down to g-d and guns. It always does.

Chardon is in probably one of the more conservative places in NE Ohio.  So a letter like this - in a way - surprises me:

Let G-d Back Into Schools. I'm sure more precautions will be piled upon the ones in use. But maybe, just maybe, if God were allowed back into our public schools -- after getting kicked out by liberal educators, judges and politicians under the false premise of the separation of church and state -- some of the chaos in our schools could be minimized.

Of course, the writer doesn't live in Chardon. But let's blame liberal educators and you know, not the founding fathers for church and state separation. And trust me, Chardon probably has more religion in their community than most - so if people can't learn right from wrong outside school walls, who is to blame?  Parents?  Community?  g-d, himself?  Another asshole not taking responsibility and putting it all on schools to do all the teaching.  Perfect.

The second letter was the Weapon Isn't to Blame.  You don't need the letter to figure that one out, do you?
The bigger surprise is that it wasn't written by Wayne LaPierre.

I love this about Republicunts. If it can't be handled by g-d, then a .22 is the next best thing. There is little, or nothing, between these two options.

Maybe the issue isn't that this kid brought a gun to school. Maybe the concern should be, with "role models" like these letter writers, that it doesn't happen more often.



Song by: David Broza