Saturday, June 30, 2012

Italian Plastic

Last night was just a dinner out with 710 and our friends and neighbors Tom & Sal.

They are fun to be around and it's nice to have such great neighbors.

The plan was to go to a place where we could eat outside, but the heat forced us to find a place we could sit inside.  The joke is, by the time we got there, a slight storm moved through and the temperatures dropped enough to make it comfortable. But by then, we had selected and had arrived.

We ended up going to Geraci's. A place that has good pizza and pretty good pasta dishes. The wait is long, but we hoped due to the heat and impending storm people wouldn't show up. No such luck. Our 20 minute wait was 40. Alcohol helped.  It usually does.

You might know the name, as they are the family of Sonny Geraci, who had the pop hits, "Time Won't Let Me" (with the Outsiders) and "Precious and Few" (with Climax).  ....and well, that's about it.

Still, Sonny grew up in the area and his family is still running this money laundering endeavor.

They only accept checks and cash. You just know this isn't all being reported to the IRS.

But the conversation was better than the food, and definitely better than the possibly drunk waitress. That makes a night out better than most things.

...and it was Petey's first evening alone at home. Well, Sophie was here, but I'm not sure they interacted. Petey was dead to the world when we got back.  I had to wake him to take him out for a late evening pee. He wanted to hunt, but it was dark and I was tired.

Well, it's bed time and I might have had a few beers.  I suppose I could have wrote this in the morning, but I was on a roll.  A boring one, but a roll nonetheless.

Song by: Crowded House

Friday, June 29, 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 thought I'd focus on debut disks - just to make it more challenging for me. I don't think you'll care one way or the other.

I know I've been down the review road with other Marti Jones disks, but since this is debut album year, I figured I should at least cover her Unsophisticated Time recording.

I know I'm a bit biased, but I do find it to be her second best overall disk.

A bit rock, a bit pop, a bit folk and a bit alternative (well, for 1985, since there was no spandex, no electronics, no gimmicks). It's really Jones and her clear alto.

While there are a number of catchy songs ("(If I Could) Walk Away", "Show and Tell", "Talk to Me", "Lonely is as Lonely Does"), but not built for radio, let alone radio hits - not then and certainly not now.  The shame is, they are all likeable and singable sings, but since it was 1985, if you weren't Cyndi Lauper with a video in heavy rotation that included some WWF guys, you were dead in the radio waters.

Jones' soon to be husband, Don Dixon, produced the disk and wrote a lot of the music as well, but there are other writers who contributed.  And it's nicely balanced so not all of it is easy to sing stuff.

"The Element Within Her" is different for a pop singer.  Ditto with "Rhythm of Shallow Breathing".   It says more to Dixon's production and arrangement style than it probably does to Jones' talent.  Then there is the more pop-frantic "Neverland", which while not bad, probably is my least favourite song.

If there is a "hit" on here, it is "Fallow You All Over the World".  Without a doubt it is her most requested song at any concert she does and it's nice, but it isn't my most favourite of hers, even on this debut.  I am much more a fan of "Show and Tell", "Walk Away" and the "Element Within Her".

And when I say some songs are better than others, well that is true, but there really isn't a bad song on the album. Pushing 30 years later, I still play it often.

The one big problem - though not for me - is that it was never issued on CD. For a nanosecond efolkmusic offered it as a digital download, where I snagged it (though I still own the vinyl copy).  Dixon emailed me not that long ago asking if people would be interested in remastered versions of Jones' music on a flash drive. It's an interesting mode of delivery and her second, third and fourth disk are in dire need of remastering, but I don't know if it will actually happen. Or when.

Still, if you have a chance to sample or buy Unsophisticated Time, I don't think you'd be disappointed.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Walk the Dog & Light the Light

I will try not to make this a Petey blog, but I'm sure there will be a peak of posts as this is all just so new to me and 710.  You just have to assume there will be a peak of writing just because....well, just because.

Petey is good. We're ok. Sophie is a hissing mess.  I don't like her being upset.

He spends a lot of time outside on a line, only because we have no invisible fence.  I can't tell if he's happy with this or not.

Leash and walking are new to him. He's never needed that where he lived, so this a challenge, more for me than him. He pulls on the leash and he's not easily controlled - so we'll have to work on that.

And g-d forbid he sees a squirrel (and you have to say "squirrel" like Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).  OMG - he will try to climb up the tree, after pulling me there, and the squirrel is five trees over by that time, leaping branch to branch. Yet there he is, paws up the trunk and howling / baying.  There is no pulling him away, so yesterday, I had to pick him up and carry him 50 feet trying to distract him. That only worked 50% of the time.

One squirrel sighting had him pulling me back to the tree after that 50 foot distraction.

If we keep Petey - yes, nothing is set in stone yet, sorry folks - there has to be a different collar / leash situation. He's going to snap his neck or crush his windpipe the way he pulls against me. Though the thought of getting one of those harnesses on and off him to pull from the back seems cumbersome.

As mentioned, Sophie still has not even remotely adapted to him being here. I hate she hides when he's in the house. She might have the run of it when he's outside, but this isn't anyway to live. I want her to be around and now she's only around when we're at work.  We get zero Sophie-time except when she  paws at my face all night sleeps with me.

Since I haven't figured out Petey's schedule yet (how long he can hold peeing and pooping, when he eats, etc), I haven't worked out at all. I feel I can't leave him yet. I just need to slightly adjust things by a half-hour and a work-out should be fine where I can get home, feed him, walk him and then get to my office.

Don't start yet on when I travel what we'll do.  To mix my metaphors, I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.

Song by:  Laura Nyro

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hound Dog

Remember how I mentioned that we have talked about getting a dog, but you know, we weren't quite there.

Fate had other plans - as they always do.

You might remember me blogging pics of my sister's dogs, one of them a 15" beagle named Petey.  I love Petey.  I probably made that known too much to my sister.

She is having problems with having the dog. The poor guy had been taunted by neighbor kids who would throw rocks at him.  Being in an invisible fence didn't make it easy for him to get away. So lo and behold, after months (years?) of this (where the kid's parents took no action!), one of the kids came to retrieve something in my sister's yard. Petey went after him.

Rightfully so, I might add.  ....and I'll go on record, save for this, Petey is the nicest dog - unless you're a tradesman working at his house, then he'll just steal and eat your lunch.

Now the kid and his parents complained to my sister. As if!  (I hate most kids, btw.)

Fast forward a few years, my sister and family just moved to a new house with a much smaller yard. Though no one is throwing rocks at the dog, the behaviour is set and a kid cut through their yard and Petey went after him.

While the kid wasn't hurt (Petey had a hold of the bottom of his jeans) my sister didn't want a dog who went after kids coming into their yard.  Though if they come in via the driveway, there are no issues. It's just the back of the yard. Still I get their new neighbors had a 2 and 3 year old. That could be harrowing for everyone and just a potential accident waiting to happen.

For whatever reasons, their options were to see if we'd take him or put him down. Don't ask me why no rescue organization was not a choice. Maybe it's because he's 10 years old?  I don't know - I didn't really ask.  Well, I did, I just got no answer.

Well c'mon!  That's a lot of pressure on 710 and myself.  It's like Sophie's Choice, but not our cat, Sophie. While I love Petey, we felt boxed in to taking him.

We've had him for a little over 24 hours.  So far so good.

He's crate trained and loves his crate so that's not an issue. So far feeding him and leaving him on a tethered run outside hasn't been a problem either. He's gone on walks where he must smell and pee on everything - and picking up poop wasn't nearly as disgusting as I imagined.

Petey doesn't care about cats so Sophie isn't an issue to him.  Sophie does care about dogs, so he is an issue to her. Her tail is puffy, the hair on her back stands up. So far no hissing, but she's gotten no closer than six feet - and he was in his pen.

To be fair, she's never experienced a dog up this close. She might have gone checked him out in the middle of the night, but doubtful. She attached herself to me in bed the first night and she was hot. But I had to let her do it to remind her I loved her very much and would protect her. 

I should say, we are taking Petey on a trial basis. We will keep him for 5-7 days to see how things go. Sophie is and always will be my main priority - if she can't adapt, we can't adapt and it wont' work.

And adapting is hard....for all of us, Petey included.  He now has no brother, or the home and family he's known. Admittedly, we are a little selfish in the way we live and we could do what we want, when we want and without any planning. That has changed. 

Of course, part of us feels like he's our dog or ever will be. He's my sister and brother-in-law's dog and we're just keeping him. 

Maybe it's a way to break us into dog-hood, but that remains to be seen.  

Of course, it's only been 38 hours. 

Song by:  Elvis Presley

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Memory of Trees

On our way back from MD, we went about 17 miles "out of the way" and headed to Shanksville, PA to stop at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

....the red-headed stepchild of the 9/11 memorials. Unfortunate, but true.

Not in a metropolitan area and woefully underfunded, it doesn't receive the spotlight that the Pentagon or the World Trade Center memorial sites garnish. And that's a shame.

With truly little around it, one has to make the extra effort to visit. This is my third time past the area and finally we carved out the time to drive there. I'm glad we did.

While there is nothing special or glamorous about this memorial, it is simple and serene. The plane went down in a field and that is really all you get - or mostly.

After the investigation identified remains of all on board (not retrieved) and got what they needed from the debris, the impact site was filled in and the field looks like it did before September 11th.

Yes, there is some information and a "wall", but currently that is all that exists.

As you walk to the panel walls, you go down a path of black stone. I asked a park ranger, why some black panels had diagonal lines (see lower left portion of above photo) through them. It was told to me that they represented the branches of hickory trees. And a gate we would soon see was made out wood of a hickory tree. 

The black walkway ends into 40 white marble panels - one for each passenger and crew member.  The direction of the wall follows the flight path of Flight 93. The wall ends at the hickory gate.

I"m not a fan of the gate as it is. You can only see through slats, which means four or so people can be at the gate at one time and others back-up behind you and on a crowded day you'd struggle to get out for others to get in.  You also get a very limited view. It is not an optimal design.

The boulder you see though the gate in the image through the slats and in the one above of me standing on a bench, is the actual impact site. Save the boulder, the field has returned to what it once was.

As this is a gay-ish blog, and for the fact that I knew none of the names other than Todd Beamer ("let's roll"), I took a picture of Mark Bingham's panel.  While he wasn't the only passenger not to have a token placed at his panel, I thought someone should remember him - and I'm doing so here. 

But lest you think that all is sacred at or near this memorial - think again. As you approach the entrance, you get to pass by this...........

Always fun to tie 9/11 to abortion. Jesus and the 3-D plane coming out of the billboard is a nice touch. I don't think Fred Phelps has anything to do with this, mostly because he can't afford it, but it's still odd at best. 

One or two other cars pulled over to see it and take a pic.  710 said, "what are the chances anyone is taking the pic with a sense of irony?"   My guess?  0.  Besides me. 

Song by: Enya

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Music Monday

I think one of the reasons I have not yet featured Crowded House in a My Music Monday segment is that it was (and is) too difficult to pick just one selection.

Their first four disks are, while not completely flawless, rank up there with some of the best in consistency in playing, production and writing.

Neil Finn, arguably, has been a great songwriter since his time in Split Enz back in the late '70s.  That group included his brother (who would sit in on the third Crowded House disk Woodface) and eventually Paul Hester, who would be Crowded House's drummer until his suicide years after the release of Together Alone, where I pulled today's selection, "Private Universe".

I'll go slightly out on a limb here and assume many who read my blog are aware of three Crowded House songs - "Don't Dream it's Over", "Something So Strong" and "Better Be Home Soon".

Those barely scratch the surface of Finn's brilliance in writing (though I'm quite tired of "Don't Dream it''s Over".

I don't know why, but at the end of the movie, The Sum of Us, in the pull away shot of Sydney, I kind of tear-up when "Better Be Home" starts.

While I can't claim Hester was the ultimate drummer, the group never recouped after his death. A reformed version released two disks since, the first is decent, the second is not. Still with their first four disks, you care barely go wrong.

Yeah, it was hard to pick one song, but that's all you get. Lot of them are out on YouTube, so go explore.  Have fun.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Appalachian Spring

Ok, technically it's not spring, but there are so few songs I own that have "Cumberland", "In-Laws" or "Appalachia" in them.  ...and by so few, I mean one.

710 and I are in Maryland visiting his parents. He thinks I'm a good son-in-law because I go and see his folks 2-3 times a year.

The man has the son-in-law title all sewn up as he has to deal with mine 2-3 per month!

While this trip was mostly work - taking care of some estate and housing things for his aunt -  it still kind of felt like a get away.

We were tarred (that is Appalachian for "tired") from a long and hot day of working, as it was just the two of us. But there was a huge sense of accomplishment as well. I hope his folks feel the same way, but it's really not about the recognition....or shouldn't be.

I got to walk around the town while 710 was attending to other chores.  It is a charming town, or can be. Some of the scenery can be great, but from downtown, you don't get a sense of the mountains as much. And who doesn't like a quaint train station?

Of course, there was a dinner with the in-laws as well.  It was a nice meal.

And I love how doting they are on each other and how they walk together, like 710 and I do....I mean, if 710 wasn't 40 feet in front of his parents, and 55 feet in front of me. But I found them so cute, I couldn't help but snap a picture of them.

I can see ourselves like this - if I ever live that long.

Song by:  Aaron Copland

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Cave

You can't say you weren't warned.  Nothing big happened yesterday - that I know of.

Sure Jerry Sandusky is headed somewhere where buttfucking in the shower is not only not looked down upon, but is actually a requirement. In a way, he should be a happy man.

But that really has nothing to do with me, so what's the point of going on about it.

So instead, you get the dentist - just as I foretold. I'm like a Medium. Certainly I'm not rare nor am I well done.

The appointment went well. As you can see, it was xray time, which can always be iffy. It's a chance when they find problems and let's face it, I'm not a kid anymore, so these chompers won't last forever.

Still, there was no cracked fillings, no cavities, no decay. And I got a free toothbrush to add to  the dozen and a half I already possess.

I know most people who are about to go to the dentist obsess about brushing their teeth et al before heading to their appointment. I care, but I don't care.  I'm paying them to clean them better than I ever could, one more brushing session isn't going to undo a potential of six months of neglect.

Myself?  I have different priorities for the dentist visits. You lean back in that chair for 20-40 minutes, and sure they're working on your mouth, but they can see up your schnoz.

My #1 goal is to make sure there are no bats in the cave, not if there is something between my incisor and molar. They'll pick that out............they won't pick my nose.

Yeah - these posts have to get better.

Song by: Mumford & Sons

Friday, June 22, 2012

I (Who Have Nothing)

Maybe it's the heat.  Maybe it's the spotlight of the Sandusky trial. Of course, it might be the trauma of writing about the stealth vagina.

That can take it out of anyone.

But really I have nothing to write about. At least of interest. As I've said before, it can be argued I never have, but at least you've amused me over the years.

Today is filled with mundane things such as doing stuff like work, so they pay me. I also have my semi-annual teeth cleaning and then it is off to visit the in-laws.

Maybe 3.5 years of a post-a-day is getting to me - they can't all be winners. Or possibly any of them. But then I fear that slippery slope and before you know it I haven't written a thing in three months like a certain blogger I know but I won't name. He knows who he is. ....and I know who he is.

If I have nothing tomorrow, you might just get pictures of me at the dentist. You better hope for something big in the news to come along.

Song by: Shirley Bassey

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Site of the Month

I guess technically this could be a Shopping with Blobby segment, but a.) I've already done that this month and b.) who the hell would buy this?  c.) sorry for the following image.

Sorry for the shocker of a picture, but that's just the way the Stockroom site presented it.  

I am not the one to tell if you if it is "life like", but I hope to g-d it isn't.  I suppose it could be after I dunno, 3 kids and a double shift at Big Jim's Boobie Bungalow

Honestly, I don't know who sent me the link in the first place, but I naturally sent it to my cousin with the email subject:  "Why I'm Gay".   David was just amazed there wasn't a Brazilian option. However you can get enough different colours that your carpet will match the drapes.

I do like how it is called 'stealth'. It seems to be right. out. there.!  I'm assuming that is the string that is stealth and not the va-jay-yay. 

The description is GREAT:  It allows a man to have a vagina whenever he chooses to tie it on. 

When would that be????  I don't even think those "guys" on RuPaul have a strap on vagina.  Let me clarify:  I don't think they do!  Drag queens are like clowns - they scare me. 

But so do vaginas - stealth or not. 

I was too afraid to see what else the Stockroom....well.....stocked.  This was more than enough.  Way more. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Moved On

Today is the Summer Solstice.

If I had the opportunity, or time, the gym is doing a Solstice yoga session underneath the big wind turbine.

We don't have a rock formation created by the Druids, so you have to work with what you've got.

And I will be at work, so no posing to the sun g-d to me.  That is unfortunate, as I've never done a yoga class outside. For whatever reason, that interests me.

I will be spending time in the office with sweltering 90+ degree heat.  It's not pleasant but it's not 30, so I'm not really complaining.

...and just so I can complete the transition of me turning me into my father......while today is the longest day of sunlight, the days just start getting shorter after this.

Suck on that.

Song by:  a-ha

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Blobby has fallen off the yoga bandwagon - and quite a while ago, I might add.

It is not that I stopped liking yoga - I still do some of the poses and stretching after I complete my normal work out, just not in a group setting - but with me working and having more of my clients in the west, my schedule has not meshed with the noon or evening yoga classes at my gym.

Truth be told, there are some 06:00 classes but I don't see myself feeling the need to do Chair Pose at that time of the morning. I'd rather lift heavy weights above my head.

However, I was chatting with my cousin David, and his gym isn't offering yoga during the summer - though I can't imagine why, other than the yogini has something better to do with her summer months. So he's been going to lululemon on Sundays for a free session.

Of course, my ears pricked up at the word "free".

I suppose the "catch" is that it's at lululemon. It seemed like a girly store and you hear things about their cult-like attachment to their horrendously expensive clothes.

A few months ago I was speaking to another David, the husband of another one of our cousins, and he was going back and forth on how outrageous the cost was, but that they were really really well made. Spoken like a true cult member - always towing the line.

I mean, I don't think it's a Jim Jones or the Hale-Bopp cult kind of thing, just lots of cougar-ish women showing off their bods in form fitting workout clothes.

The plan was to meet David, the cousin, not the cousin-in-law one, last Sunday, but a fender-bender kept him from showing. Personally, it's just his way of saying, I really don't want to see your chaturanga..........and who can blame him?

Per David's instructions, I got there early as it gets crowded. First off, I didn't expect them to hold class in the middle of the retail space. I assumed there was a practice space in the back. There was not.......... I strategically picked my place two-thirds of the way back and to the side. 

Those are my little piggies as we waited for class to start. I was just stretching out and watching the 38 women or so arrive - and the two other guys. That ratio was even low for any class I've been in. 

I have to say, I somewhat enjoyed the class, but I forgot how much work it is. This was not the short bus beginners yoga class I was used to, but full-on flow where you never ever stop.  I was dripping in a disgusting way.  In a way that three quarter of the way through made it almost impossible to hold a pose because my hands and / or feet would slip.  There has to be a solution to that, right?

Honestly, I don't know how anyone makes it through a Hot Yoga class.

I forgot how non-symmetrical my body is. What I could "easily" do on one side, I could barely attempt on the other. It sounds odd, unless you've tried a class, as you really might not take stock of your body that way.

So I might never get back to where I was, or go as often as I used to do it, but maybe David and I can do this together and see how it goes. Having someone push me a little bit and then mock me later for it isn't such a bad thing - is it?  That's kind of how I've based all my friendship / relationships throughout my life.

Oh - and while I could afford a shirt or shorts from there, they are pricey. But I did pick up a pair of cool athletic workout briefs.  Maybe, if you're good..........and I work out more (a lot more).........I'll show them off.  That is how cool they are.

Like Medusa says, "ya gotta throw something in for the fans!"

Song by:  Rufus Wainwright

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Music Monday

The last few days I cannot get the Philosopher Kings' "I Am the Man" out of my head. 

My OCD becomes your My Music Monday.  Or I guess, My Music Monday™.

The Philosopher Kings were (are?) a Canadian band - mostly R&B, but to be fair, I only owned one disk. Believe it or not, it was hard to get their disks in the States back in the late '90s when they were around. Thank heavens for MuchMusic.

Perhaps my Canadian blogger friends will know who they are. Maybe they were just a Toronto thing. I'm not quite sure.

If you were to give a star-rating to "I Am the Man", it would get 4.5 (out of 5), mostly due to the last 30 seconds or so when it becomes erratic saxophone music.

Still the five Kings had it going on. I'm not sure what happened to the video for this, but it is nowhere to be found. Lead singer, Gerald Eaton was a looker - in my book - and in parts of the video he's wearing a dress.  ....not that there's anything wrong with that. 

I got to see them live once and in a small venue. I was surprised how many Clevelanders knew who they were - or maybe they just go to clubs all the time and just were there pounding them down.

The did splinter, with two of the guys forming the group Prozzak (who were fun, but got annoying real fast).

While the Philosopher Kings had some really good songs on Famous, Rich and Beautiful, "I Am the Man" is what brought them to my attention.  It really is a great song........except for that ending sax.

Sunday, June 17, 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!  

Shawn Colvin has a new disk out - All Fall Down.

In certain ways, I feel I should wait a month or 12 to review this disk, but it's the only new music I have to write about.

The reason for my potential delay is how long it took for her Whole New You disk to grow on me. If you read fan reviews of that disk, it seems to be people's least favourite Colvin disk. It's Shawn's least favourtie too. For me, it ranks as her best.  I'm not sure what that says about me - or her / them.

But i took me a while to get there with that one.

Her last disk, These Four Walls, save 3-4 songs, really quite bored me. I could not get into it. I still can't. But I had hope for her new disk. For the first time in a long time, she was not using John Leventhal as a producer. While I think overall their collaborations have gone well, I can see a need for a break/change, but I'm not sure Buddy Miller was the wisest choice for the job.

While Colvin clearly has worked with him in the past, her music is more centered around folk-pop than country-bluegrass, which are his strengths.

The result is a very mixed disk in terms of success. It doesn't suck, but it doesn't shine.

I was disappointed to see the track list included "Fall of Rome". Originally it was released as a bonus track on Whole New You (2001) if you bought the Borders version. That original track is leaps and bounds better than the rerecorded version here. And it's already been done, so I feel short-changed a track since this is her first disk in six years.

Ditto with "American Jerusalem" which has been kicking around out there since before her debut back in 1989.

With the title track, it starts so promising - and Bill Frisell's guitar work is nice and different, but I'm not a fan of the chorus at all, or at least the execution of it.

But highlights of the disk, for me, are "Seven Times the Charm".  While Jakob Dylan, who has never impressed me, has co-writing credit, the song really has a Leventhal feel (who also has writing credit). Leventhal also co-wrote three others, including the title track.

Oddly, if not looking at the credits, I would have assumed that "Anne of the Thousand Days" would have been the Patty Griffin co-writing credit, but it's not.  However, the execution of the song is pure Griffin-style. Eerily so.

I have never understood artists having guests that fail to use their talents. Alison Krauss appears on two songs and while she has a uniquely distintive voice, she sings co-melody as opposed to the harmony that not only would have benefited her, but the songs as well.  Jakob Dylan's is no better, but you already know my thoughts about him.

I can't quite pinpoint it, but the mediocrity of All Fall Down seems to come down to Miller's production. I'm a fan of his writing and playing with some artist, especially his wife, but it doesn't mean he's right for this project. I get the idea of stripping some of the music down even further than Colvin normally does.  I get the idea of recording it in more of a live setting for spontaneity. Yet it just misfires.

It's not a bad disk, but you can see where the whole effort could have shined and it had more potential. I never expected it to be like any of her other releases, but I did expect more.

From my perspective, Colvin has always represented better live than via recordings - and oddly, she does better when it is her and a guitar and no band.  I'd still like to see some of these songs in a live setting, but All Fall Down, isn't a must-hear or must-have disk.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I have to say, overall, my work travel is fairly uneventful. Some weather related delays, but that's about it.  I've been fairly lucky about getting upgrades to first class - and very lucky about that when on the red-eye flights.

I don't really sleep on planes, but I've been learning to doze a bit and even that helps.

Yesterday was different - and not in a good way. Even this gangplank to the regional jet to SFO felt like it would collapse as I walked up it. The flight attendant noticed this too. Not that they did anything about it.

Granted, I might have packed on a few pounds, but it's not like I'm taking down a walkway to an aircraft.

The trip to SFO was uneventful.

For all legs to Cali, back and forth, I booked myself on aisle seats and at exit rows. Extra leg room!!!!

With two hours to kill I tried to get in my step (10,000 a day!) and did a trek around a few of the concourses. Of course I checked my gate and there I was, one person away from being upgraded to first class. 12 seats, 11 people had checked in.......and then there was me.

Please believe me Santa, please!!!

Alas, it was not meant to be. I still had my aisle seat / exit row. But I'm ahead of myself.

So more walking and I saw this "woman" coming towards me. There was no way to get out my phone and take a picture of her by the time I saw her approach. I turned on my heels and followed.  She was that amazing.

I even went to her gate and sat across from her.  I had to.

I'm sorry, but this view does not do justice to see "her" in motion. But since she's writing, the education system didn't completely fail.  ....though as I said to Rebecca, "Beauty School Drop-Out".  Of course the joke is, I've never seen Grease, but I know the song titles.

So, back to my gate and my departure. I'm a fairly high-elite status (not bragging) and was in boarding group 1.  I go up and present my iphone ticket and the system beeps.  No biggie, it always does that when you're in an aisle road.

But noooooooooo................

The lady can't figure out why my ticket says 12D. She has me at 37E.  Oh fuck no!!!

37 is the last row.  E is the middle seat.  Oh fuck no!!!!

I opted to hold up the other 200 folks waiting to board while I argued with the gate agent. Allegedly there had been a "plane change".  Ok, Fine.  But that new plane still had an exit row and aisle seat.  You didn't sell that seat again - did ya?

I don't know how they made the determination of this, but I was not happy. Clearly.

And I don't meant to play the 'elite' card, but holy fuck. I don't mind not being in first class, but steerage - next to the restroom (and lord, someone took a smelly dump!) and absolutely no chance of sleep.

...and it was a turbulent flight, which made it fun.

But it really was the cramped seating and sardine-like atmosphere that sucked beyond belief.  Half-way though the flight, I swear I could feel myself getting a DVT on my back left thigh up to my ass.

Any other time I would have gotten up and walked the aisle of the plane, but I was one seat seat aways from that aisle and it turns out that guy could sleep, so I suffered in silence......until now.

I guess it's the luck of the draw, but I will be reaching out to United on this.

Next trip has to be better.........................right?

I didn't even come home directly from the airport, I drove directly to the gym what I thought would be to lift, but it turned into more stretching and trying to work the kinks out of my neck, back and butt.  Oh and a really hot shower and change of clothes.

By the way, I"m really tired.

Song by: Lit

Friday, June 15, 2012

Killing Time

I had another post partially completed, but it needed more time and attention - more than I have or can spare. Maybe it will finally be finished, maybe I'll end up scrapping it.

Such is the life of a pseudo-writer. Self-edit.

Anyways, I'm here in the OC.  The airport actually. Have to transfer in San Fran to catch the red-eye home.

But I'm killing time in the airport - waiting for a flight. What else was I going to do? Sight-see? Hardly.  It's the OC.

And oddly, I'm having one of the better meals I have had on a work trip, at least as of late. The night before it was iffy room service because I was lazy. Last the night, I stumbled upon a part of the concourse I've never seen - I have never had any need to go that far down.  The place was pricey - for an airport eatery.

It had a frickin' hostess.  But I didn't want CPK or McD. Granted it was only a steak salad, but it beats a Big Mac.  See?

Yeah, maybe I should have thought more about finishing that original blog post, eh?   Well folks, you get what you pay for.......just remember that.

I have to knock this out before my plane takes off.  As it is, it will publish before wheels are down.

Song by:  Clint Black

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Different Point of View

While they say opposites attract - or at least Paula Abdul and some animated "singing" cat say it - now and again I am struck what different reactions 710 and I have to certain things.

I would say usually we are on the same page, or at least know what page each of us would be on in certain scenarios.  The other night, not so much. Not that he knew it.

Monday morning, I woke around 3:30 and smelled fire. I also heard fire engines.

Now rescue vehicles coming and going at all hours of the night is not unusual, and I've even learned, for the most part, to successfully ignore them. If I didn't, I'd never sleep, or think.

Oddly enough, I was having an extensive dream that involved fire and that chick from Law & Order SVU. Perhaps, I incorporated fire into my subconscious, or the entire dream, because I smelled smoke. Or maybe like Firestarter, I conjured up flames.

I laid there for an hour or two a few minutes contemplating 'what to do'. The sirens were continual, but not really getting any closer.  Yes, the windows were open, but there was no breeze to speak of - so no real blowing smoke from a nearby fire into the house.

Finally, I lightly whispered to a sleeping 710, "do you smell smoke".  He awoke immediately and said, "yes!".

We were out of bed - both nekkid - looking for....well, I don't know what. He saw nothing, I saw nothing, the sirens had stopped and hadn't gotten close to our house, let alone in our actual 'hood.  Our house wasn't on fire.

He went back to bed and immediately fell asleep.

...and that's where our paths diverge.

I stayed awake. Wide awake.

What if?

Where was Sophie? How would we get her out - and what would we do with her once we did?  What exit would we use? Where were my clothes and glasses?  What do we try to save?  When was the last time I backed up my laptop - and even if I did, where was the external hard drive? Do we need the house reassessed to take into account the renovations - so when we filed an insurance claim we had entire coverage? Where would we stay during reconstruction time?

....yeah.....there  was no going back to sleep for Blobby.

I don't have ideations of how I'll die, but in a fire seems to rank up there in the crappiest fashion, which is most likely the real reason I never went back to Dream SVU land - all those questions just filled in the time.  Yet next to me was the man I'm spending my life with - asleep and unaware.

Song by: Pet Shop Boys

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 28th 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.

 05:15.  A wee fist full of pills.  I feel like I should have a role in Valley of the Dolls.

 05:18.  Someone sees silver at the bottom of her bowl and makes it known. This cannot happen. I bow to her demands/wishes

 05:30.  Locker 135.  Always 135.

 05:32.  Just my tangled up earbud string. I didn't bother to untangle. 

 05:54. Left weight room so I could go check in for my flight.  I'm a little obsessive about that.  ...and bonus, First Class upgrade.  I did end up moving my seat to 1E. I'd still rather have the aisle.  

Technically this is a screen capture and not a "photo", but deal with it. 

 6:50.  Shaving the noggin. 

07:05.  Had camera ready to take another pic on the drive home (doggies!), but the timing didn't work out. Then I noticed the phone in my lap aiming up at me. I liked the shot.  Not of me, but just the angle etc.

 08:00.  African Lion Safari this is not.  Just our driveway - and one of our deer.  Yes, we have three regular visitors.  They eat all the good stuff and poop in the yard, but they're kind of cute.

 12:20.  Sad, but we need a Post-It to remind us to schedule vacation.  As of yesterday we have secured a week in Maine.  Boston Bloggers - look out!!!

12:35.  Reading mail of the former owners of our house.  Oh hush, we're still getting it SEVEN years after we've moved in - and it's not like it was a bank statement.

Clearly the folks at the American Chesterton Society have a different version of 'summer fun' than say going to Cedar Point.

16:30.  My late afternoon snack.  We're kind of between really good fruit seasons. Peaches are not quite there yet. Neither are there really good grapes.  The plums are fairly decent - so that's what I got.

 17:15.  One attentive office mate.  And a pretty one at that.  It's amazing how much Sophie enjoys being there when it's voluntary as opposed to those months of captivity during construction when she drove me nuts.

19:30.  Your Baker's Dozen.

 I'm packed for a trip to Cal-if-orn-eye-ay.  Sophie is supervising - as she is apt to do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dimming of the Day

On Sunday, I got a great invite from my cousin David to go for Dim Sum. off to Bo Loong it was.

There are probably other places to get dim sum in Cleveburgh, but I don't know of them.  It is not a meal I go out for a lot, so my exposure is limited to begin with.

As a rule, we opted to skip the chicken feet.  I'll assume my readership, as a collective, are ok with this.

We went alone, no spouses, and we went on possibly the hottest day of the year. I mean, when it's 93 out, who doesn't want carts of steamed food to be brought to your table side?

I'd have to check with David, but I'm thinking 90% of everything we selected was shrimp-based.

While the food was good, it is the company I go for.  As annoying as we can be alone, or together (yes David, it's true!  it's true!) we are great fun to be around - not that anyone was with us to validate or experience this.

If I say so, I think our conversation was fairly low-key. It has been brought to our attention by spouses and other family members that we can be a bit much when we are together. I don't see it.  Perhaps our ADHD is in sync (bye bye bye!) and we know each other's line of thought, but others might not. I totally get that. It's been my problem all of my life - with or without David.

Still, we like an audience - and yes, I'm speaking for David. It's hereditary, I'm afraid. So next time there will be spouses or unsuspecting cousins. I mean, who else would have us?

I won't say the highlight of our outing was when I used the restroom, but it did give me time to get a shot of the stall wall.  It took me a few seconds, but it made me laugh.

Song by:  Alison Krauss + Union Station

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Music Monday

I'm not a big fan of Jack Johnson.

I can qualify that statement even more - I like one of his songs.  One.

Well, there might be others out there that I have not heard, but of the ones I have, I can count on one finger that of which I like.

The surfer turned surfer-musician, living off the island thing, didn't resonate with me. That persona is always seemingly two degrees away from a character at Ridgemont High.   And while handsome-ish, to me it seems he has a mild form of Acromegaly (which you have to believe Michael Phelps has too).  It kind of creeps me out.   ....but I digress.....

Even with this week's selection, Johnson's "Flake", the song isn't the fuller, fleshed out version that is on his debut, Brushfire Fairytales disk.

Stumbling upon him singing the stripped down version of "Flake", for a a while, it was the only one I had known. When I "was shared" the song via Napster in 2001 or so, I luckily got that version than the more fleshed out take which graces his disk. While the album version isn't what one would call a full-out performance, the bass and drums distracts from the actual song.

So yes, I like one Jack Johnson song - and really only one version of a singular song. Now you get to hear it.  Just Johnson and his guitar.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Little Bit is Better Than Nada

It is just one of those days.  As Spo would say - the Muses have left me, if they were ever here at all.

Work. Eat. Gym.  Nothing horribly exciting.

Well, the gym took a detour this last week, due to my back getting really fucked up while I was lifting.  I missed almost a full week of gym and I'm sure all my muscles atrophied.  But I'm back - at least to cardio and very very little of lifting, I'm babying myself.

Yesterday was just hanging out at a park, taking in my Vitamin D - 710, myself were joined by my friend Jeremy and a visitor of his.

Other than that - by the time you read this, maybe I'll have won $205MM from the Powerball.  If I do, you'll get one more post, and then I am out of here!

So, I guess I'll see you tomorrow.

Song by: Texas Tornados

Saturday, June 09, 2012

App of the Month

I'd normally say I'm all about health and wellness, but you know my proclivity for cupcakes, cookies, ice cream and booze. On the other hand, I do like salad.  

It all evens out - no?

But for fun, many of my iPhone apps are healthcare related, be it a way to log my exercise routine, access to my personal health record or a food tracker that' supposed to help me lose weight.  Clearly that last one is a flawed app. 

But one of my newer (and free) apps is the Instant Heart Rate Monitor.  Yes, the one that I linked to is the whopping sum of $0.99, there is (or at least, was) a free version. I pay enough for my healthcare, I'm not putting down another cent, if I don't have to. 

In theory, the app is simple. You launch it and it turns on your iPhone camera light (yes, you'll need a 4 of 4S for this to work). You then press your finger against the camera lens and it will read your pulse. 

Trouble was, if I pressed too hard, I flat-lined and there was no heart rate and I got no result. Other times, I'd get a resting heart rate of 177.  Yikes. 

Turns out, you can't press hard at all. So when it works, it works. 

70 seems much more normal. 

Like my personality, my heart rate is 'average'. On the lower end of average, but middle of the road no matter how you look at it. 

The app will also remind you when to take your heart rate again. It also stores the data of each time you complete it. This is great for hypertensive folks to see what kind of progress they are, or are not, making. I've done it three times (not all reminders - some just on my own).  

As you can see, I'm fairly consistent with where my heart rate is. 

More importantly - it kind of proves I have a heart.