Monday, June 30, 2014

My Music Monday

I gotta be honest, I am kind of glad this month of doing cover songs is over.

I have a bunch of good ones in my music liberry, but when coming to selecting it just seems to be a struggle to find ones that I actually want to use. I can't quite figure it out.

June might end with a thud, depending on your perspective (man, I am really selling this, aren't I?), but I am going with John Wesley Harding's cover of Madonna's "Like a Prayer".

It was actually a quick turn-around for a cover, only a few months after Madonna's initial release. In the age of the internet and YouTube that is nothing, but in '89 that didn't happen much.

Harding (not his real name, but a deviation from the Bob Dylan album John Wesley Hardin) is a good musician and singer - and I have a few of his earlier disks.

Harding strips down Madonna's opus to just a guitar and vocal and it works. I'll admit to at one time liking Madonna's version, but I'm not sure it has stood the test of time (well, for me, I am sure).

When it is broken down, the song actually isn't poorly written - it has its good qualities - and Harding's version cuts off about two and one-half there's that.

John Wesley Harding - "Like a Prayer"

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Believe

Friday night, I attended the second Believe in CLE yoga event at the Rock n Roll Hall 'o Fame.

Last year, depending to whom you speak, there were 1100-1500 attendees. This year, they were claiming more than 2000 folks signed up, but as of yet, I have yet to hear actual estimates.

There didn't look like many more people from last year, but I suppose those on the other side of that circle in the middle of the plaza could have been larger than before.

Publicity seemed to have an up-kick as opposed to 2013. The head of Believe in CLE, Tami Lyons, was making the media rounds. Actually, that worried me a bit, thinking that too many people would show.

With yoga mats spaced only 4-5" apart, organizers actually wanted people to move so they were only 2" apart. I saw one person comply with this request. There was room farther out, if people wanted it, but no one was willing to move closer just for the sake of being closer.

My take?  Get there on time. Every bit of information said to get their early due to the crowds. David and I arrived 45 minutes early to claim our space....and there were almost 1000 folks who arrived prior to us.

The practice itself was ok. Not great. Not as good as last year. This year it was about 75 minutes, as opposed to the almost 120 before. Maybe because I have done a few big events, the "magic" has worn off a little. Last year it was so frickin' cool to see (est) 1500 do the same movements. It was this year too - just not as much.

I think many of us agreed that there was a huge missed opportunity with the Hall 'o Fame.  2013 saw actual rock and roll music being played. This year, I would call it Menstrual Rock. You have to worry when Coldplay plays the most "rock" oriented song.  Honestly, we didn't know most of the songs, though Tami claimed often "sing all know's on the radio all the time".

Granted, I do not listen to radio often, but even I have a greater working knowledge of today's music - whether I actually listen to it or not. And for that 'sing along' shit.....I didn't hear one person, which means they're all to shy or no one actually knew this so-called 'hit'.

Michael Jackson was possibly the only Hall o' Fame inductee they played and it was some craptastic song at that. None I could actually name. As David said afterwards: "they had an entire year to come up with a play list."  True that.

Since the practice was shorter this year, it was not as necessarily creative, but that is ok, as there were a lot of different levels of experience in one place. I pride myself on that two years ago I could barely do a Balancing Half-Moon, even with a block, and now it is fairly natural with out any additional support at all. I'm still working on Inversions, even asking random yoga instructors if their studio does these classes - to teach, not just to do. I'm still waiting on a affirmative.

And unlike 2013, there was no fucking around with the food afterwards. The lines for the food trucks (which actually showed this year) were far too long. I'd have succumbed to starvation by the time I got to the actual truck, let alone got my order. Nor did we patronize the street which basically turned me away last year for not having sleeves on my shirt (though I did this year......just in case).

David kind of nailed it, that the build-up and anticipatory talk of the event far exceeded actually getting there and doing the practice.  Still it was fun and I'd do it again.

Here are some shots of Friday's events. Most are not taken by me. Obviously. Including the main image and the one below.

No.  Those pictures were taken by this:

My first drone sighting. 

2000+ doing Child's Pose. Or as we call it: Prison Pose. 

Group Boat Pose.

I got a little flack from a woman we were practicing with for taking this picture. But I figure if you put "Hello Gorgeous" on your ass, you kind of have to expect it to be snapped. 

One of the best pictures of the evening came from David himself. While he isn't resting in Shavasana, he took an amazing image of those of us who were.  (I'm at the bottom of the pic in a striped shirt.)

No matter my little criticisms of the evening, it was great to see so many familiar faces that I have met over the year through the gym and so many yoga studios and events.

And one handsome yogi basically got to see me deep-throat a popsicle that was melting everywhere. But that's a different story. And no, 'popsicle' is not a euphemism, though he friended me on Facebook moments later.

Song by: Chris Isaak

Saturday, June 28, 2014


How great. Our regularly scheduled Petey Porn Day coincides with the anniversary of our second year of having this precious pup. 

When he's bad (which is almost never) and I'm talking to my sister, I will say, "your dog......" and she'll stop me dead in my tracks and say, "no, he's your dog".

And he is. He's been our dog since day one. I'm pretty sure he's happy here - it's hard to tell, but he's content. I know we are thrilled with his presence. We can't imagine life without him.

I kind of chuckle how we have changed our behaviour since his arrival - like how long we can be out, when we go to a movie, when we have to be back from dinner.....all to accommodate his needs. Or our perceived needs for him.

He ain't no cat, that's for sure.

This week has been odd. Somewhat cool for a Summer, but at times it would get hot (especially for a 12 yo dog) and very humid. It made for a lot of lounging about.

I'm finding this year, Petey will go from his bed(s), to the sofa to the floor - just to find the right comfort level. 

Location. Location. Location. 

He has decided to cut out the middle step. He knows food goes into and come out / off of the oven / stove. It is just best to lie in wait for any dropped food potential. 

Another b&w on the sunroom floor. 

Not a flattering picture of me, but not the one that I intended to take. Our would be semi-posed moment turned into a kiss-fest.  I'm not complaining.

So two years and many more to come, we hope. I mean, in certain ways I've been with him since he was 8 weeks old, but it's different now.  It's all kisses and picking up his poop.  I wouldn't change a thing.   ...except maybe the poop thing. 

Song by: Love & Rockets

Friday, June 27, 2014

New Test Leper

Today is National HIV Testing Day. Yes, there is such a day. There's a day for everything.

It'd be nice to be at a place and time where a day like this is no longer needed, but depending on whom you listen to or read that could be years away - or decades.

Time has changed how I feel about testing, but I'm not sure how or if my perceptions are true. Mind you, I started getting tested back in the '80s. The 1980s, that is.

There was a basement portion of the Columbus Department of Health that only 'you know who' went down there to get 'you know what'.  I don't know there were really judging eyes then, but it seemed like there were.

Education is not the same as it was then - for the caregivers or the patients.

Hell, one of my first counselors was named Cesar Chavez. Surely, he was using a fake name, I thought (and don't call me Shirley). But alas, that was his actual moniker.

And while testing methods may have changed over the last {gulp} 30 years, some of the associated uncomfortableness has not.  The questions you must answer just seems like a huge pointing finger at your life, your choices - though no doubt, the counselors have heard it all before, if not worse, from others. Naturally, you think you're one of 'the others'.

Then there was the wait.

The wait for the test to be run - days upon days.  The wait upon your return, sitting in the lobby to be called back to get your results.

Then there was the longest wait: the walk to and sitting in that room. The time from sitting down, to opening your file, the counselor perusing said file, to getting the news. It was an eternity.

I would normally go with friends to get tested, but go alone for the results. There were some realities you just didn't want to face - let alone with others waiting for you.

Working more in the medical area, and the years of exposure (pun intended?), make you take a different look at it, though I realize I'm not everyone, nor they me. And there are those of us who have lived in a world without HIV and AIDS, but the younger generation have never known a time without - so to be honest, I don't know their perspective, their reality.

It is important to get tested. It's not necessarily a pleasant experience and I'm guessing it's still stress-inducing, but it is so much better than not knowing or assuming.

And on Sex and the City (or as Brian from Family Guy described it, "so it's about three hookers and their mom?")  for all the boinking they did over 14 seasons, as far as I know, only one half hour ever touched on HIV. Most of it encapsulated into a 1:14 clip, but it somewhat touches on what one goes through at an HIV clinic albeit with a little "humour".

Song by:  R.E.M. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Being the email administrator for our 'hood, I see lots of things come across that people want to send out:  houses for sale, road closings, lost dogs (oh wait, that one came from me!), babysitters get the idea.

And information about neighborhood crime is reported there too, which you no doubt remember I did back in March.

So last week, I was asked to send out two seemingly separate messages: one about a suspicious vehicle possibly casing the 'hood and the other one about stolen copper downspouts and gutters.

I don't think it is just a Cleveland thing, but the theft of copper is rampant here. Thieves hit vacant or foreclosed houses and steal the plumbing - inside and out. They also hit houses that are occupied, just not their indoor plumbing........that I know of.

Oddly, two days later it seems they caught the folks who stole copper downspouts and gutters from houses in the hood. Oh yes, multiple.

You see, in Cleveland, they now require scrap metal intake people to get information on anyone attempting to sell metal. It requires ID, and I think vehicle registration. And these morons are good at thievery, but not at forging they put down their real address and license plate numbers.

The vehicle in question was the one that was casing the 'hood. So not unrelated after all.

After they were caught, one of them 'fessed up multiple houses. When police investigated, other residents did not even notice their items missing. I sent out this message as well.

One would think that with that message, that one would go and look around his house to make sure one's gutters and downspouts were still intact.

One would think.

So Tuesday, in between humongous downpours, I went out to get the trash to the street for pick-up. At that point I notice water cascading from the roof into huge puddle. Normally one would not see this as the water would normally be transported to the ground via a downspout. That is assuming that downspout still existed.

It did not.

Nor did another one when I walked around the house.


Our entire gutters, going around the house are copper, but they are 30' up. But when it comes to downspouts, only two of the original ones are....or were....copper. The rest, over the years, prior to us, had been replaced by shitty aluminum ones.


You know our deal. We live on a border of two cities, neither of which thinks is their responsibility. But I called the more responsive of the two for one main reason: they had dealt with the other thefts and this might be wrapped up into that.

I can't honestly say when the downspouts went missing. It is an item one rarely looks at unless it's raining (which you are usually not outside during).

The cops arrived (not too bad looking) and we went around looking at what was what. They asked for an estimated value, but I had none. Not only was I not expecting to have to, they are original to the house - meaning over 100 years old.

Ruckiry (?) (not Jon's boss), the police recovered the stolen copper so they can see if the pieces match / fit. But as 710 said, he's sure the robbers were not gentle with them, so they are probably bent and / or broken. Replacements will most likely need to be obtained.

The cops.....

also did their homework....kind of.  The cuter of the two mentioned that someone from 'this address' identified other robbers back in February.

I raised my hand, saying it was me, and it was in March. I think that bought me some cred with the po-po. They also liked that I told their dispatcher not to send out a cop in the rain. The damage was done and it wasn't an emergency. But they came anyway.

Though the cops scared the shit out of me at 22:00, ringing the doorbell as I was doing dishes. They returned, wanting to take pictures. Being pitch-black out and pouring, I said it was fine, but if they wanted to wait to come back in the light.....but they waved me off.

They think the guy perp who is spilling his guts might let them know if they hit our house too.

We will wait to see....and then I guess have insurance pay for replacements, assuming it is above our deductible.

So, this makes the second time we've been robbed in less than three years.


Song by: Holsapple & Stamey

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Falling Falling Falling

I know I should not care so much, but gosh dang-it, I do.

Back in March 2011, I lamented that I had a sudden drop of 30 readers per day. I even went back to that day in question to see how offensive that post was to make people en masse suddenly move on. I remember it being a fairly innocuous entry. You all said not to worry about it.

Back "then", 30 readers was 20% of my readership. It was a big deal.

By December of last year, I was getting 1200-1300 hits per day. I knew I couldn't sustain that, but I was doing really well for a while.

Times have changed. Oh to have only 30 readers jump ship.

For the last year or so, I've been averaging 700+ hits of the blog per day. When I say 700, it is actually (well, probably) more.

The way the tallies are done via Blogger/Blogspot is: if someone hits on a specific entry, it gets noted as a hit. If someone just goes to the main URL and scrolls through 30 posts at a time and doesn't go into a specific post (as they're all just kind of laid out for you there), then I don't know what that number ever might be.

So conservatively, I'd been doing roughly a 700 daily average. Some days it is above 1100, and some down in the 600s. but rarely is it ever lower than 600. 

Until June 19th.  I saw a precipitous drop in one day (down to 397 from 778 the day before) and there it has stayed.....or gone lower.  One day I went down to 378. Yikes....and ouch.

Again, I didn't post anything offensive. I mean, what the fuck do you people have against Karen Carpenter? I got five glowing comments on the post (hey, for me that is a LOT), but still I started to tank in the overall viewing of the blog.

Granted, someone who once authored Mike's Short Attention Span Theater would have killed  - yes, killed!!! - to just rack up the daily numbers who have abandoned me, but I'm not that guy! He is. Or at least, was. Still I'm kind of taking to heart such a huge loss.

I was chatting with David from Facing Traffic and he said one of the things I was thinking: "people are busy with summer and whatnot".

Perhaps, but it could just be a bot server in Micronesia that has gone down or been redirecting traffic to a site that is more influential or topical. Or maybe my readership is laying in a mass grave due to ISIS, because you just know they were my core demographic. That's right: past every way.

Well, there isn't much I can do about it now. I will let things run its course. Maybe blog reading is waning. Maybe that's a sign for me. I'm not looking to least yet, but ya just never know. 

Song by: Mandy Barnett

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Amuse Bouche

Jon Favreau has all the 'fuck you' money a guy can need or want in Hollywood.

Director of two of the Iron Man films and producer of all three, plus the Avengers, he's pretty well set financially. He probably did ok on Elf and probably took a hit on Cowboys & Aliens. Still he has the bankroll to make any movie he probably wants.

That probably explains his indie movie, Chef - in which Favreau directs, produces, writes and stars.

Chef is a "cute" little movie that tells a story.  Sure, all movies tell some story (or try to) and many of them are of the guy who is big, hits bottom and builds his way up while also seeing the light of being a better parent.

I think I just described James Caan's character from Elf.

Chef, while food-focused, is more of an amuse-bouche. It continues to keep you entertained waiting for the bigger meal. In a way, it never comes in this film, but you don't seem to care that much. It's light-hearted, even at times when it should (or could) be more reflective and serious.

Favreau calls in two of his biggest stars from his other movies to do cameos - Robert Downey Jr. (who I never think is actually acting) and Scarlett Johansson. The latter does better than the former. And this is one of John Leguizamo's better acting gigs, though no limbs are climbed out anyone.

My favourite was a small small role by Amy Sedaris...who was also had a smallish role in Favreau's Elf. I'm not sure if she's had work done or they had a great make-up person, but I recognized the voice more than the face.

Like I said, Chef is "cute". Nothing groundbreaking. Nothing award winning, but a good afternoon distraction.

And yet again, here 710 and I are early to almost mid-50s and still we are the youngest people in the audience. I think that says more about our movie choosing habits more than anything else.

We also so saw three previews of movies we put on our list. Only one had a release month (not date). The other had no designation of when they might be released, let alone make it to the Cleveland art-house market.  But at least it is encouraging.

2014 Movie Count / Goal:   3 of 12. 

Song by:  Ficherspooner

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Music Monday

Beatles covers are a risky business. The songs are a tough nut to crack, mostly due to their familiarity and just the aura that surrounds the group itself.

It's tricky business at best. Bands either nail it or fail miserably, with little to no room in between.

Rufus Wainwright did an incredible job with "Across the Universe" Fiona Apple's take? Not so much.

As much I love Rosanne Cash, I always hit 'skip' if her version of "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" comes across my shuffle. Ditto with Sarah McLachlan ("Blackbird") or Sheryl Crow ("Mother Nature's Sun").

The Smithereens did an entire track-by-track cover with Meet the Smithereens - and it didn't suck at all.

Then you have something like Bananarama doing "Help". Oh yes, I own it.   ...and I own it.

Oddly, Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs do not embarrass themselves doing "And Your Bird Can Sing".  Aimee Mann & Michael Penn do an ok job with "Two of Us".  These are a few of the folks who can straddle the line.

Actually, to be successful you almost have to change the make-up of the song just a little - or more than a little. Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss come to mind ("Here, There and Everywhere" and "I Will" respectively) come to mind.

Shawn Colvin did it too with her version of "I'll Be Back".  Pared down in terms of instrumentation and vocals and slowed down to 4/4 time.  It's what Colvin does best. I've never actually seen her in concert with a band, just her and a guitar and it usually makes her music that much better.

Shawn Colvin - "I'll Be Back"

Sunday, June 22, 2014

No Blue Sky

It was another yoga "event".

Another Bri yoga event. A repeat if you will. We did a Yoga in the Sky last year - albeit with blue sky.

Not so much this last Friday. you can see.

The temps were ok, but not great. I forgot how breezy it is 19 floors above the street, right off of one of the Great Lakes.

But the afternoon was drizzly and threatening to rain. The sky showed it.

There were not great pictures of the skyline to be had that I didn't get last year.

I think there were more people this year than last, but I didn't count. I certainly knew more people this year than last. And got to meet a few more - and stare at least one more than I did at the previous event.

While I know 'x' (ok, I didn't get a name) is a carpenter (honest, he told me), I have to believe he's also a yoga instructor on the side. And no, no jokes about 'getting nailed' were exchanged.

I wish my 'Wheel' looked like this, but I'm not there yet. I'm better than I was a year ago - when I never even attempted one - but I don't look like this on any level.  And yes, it's totally gratuitous.

I had suggested that Bri put Sir Mix-A-Lots "Baby Got Back" on her playlist, but alas she did not. I mean - really.

Was the planning of the practice so spontaneous that she couldn't have queued up the song for when people did this?

Oh sure, it might have offended some, but it would have beat the lazy cover of New Order's "Temptation" that was used. I will thoroughly admit to liking the inclusion of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters". That was unexpected and perfectly timed.

Since the class had various levels of folks in it, the practice itself wasn't horribly strenuous. I think the most innovative thing was moving from Revolving Half Moon to Balancing Half Moon on the other side....and then back....and then back again.

Right as the class ended, it began to rain harder. That was well timed.

Afterwards it was beer and then food with a few folks from the class. 710 joined us, so now they can get off my back on him "not existing".

Saturday David and I had our pick of two Summer Solstice classes - both outdoors. After a later night for the likes of us and off and on rain until well after dawn, the idea of practicing on mud-laden polo fields or at a beach didn't sound so appealing.

So I took the day off of yoga.  I know, right?

No worries, I'm back at it this morning.

Song by: the Thorns

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cool for Cats

Petey Porn day.

The weather is all over the place. Hot. Hot and humid.  Chilly and no humidity. Rain. T-storms. And that's just this week.

Petey and Sophie had hard times keeping cool earlier in the week. Petey would rather lounge around on the cold tile outside than sleep in his softer outdoor bed. I get that.

We could power-wash this floor weekly and it would still look like this after 30 hours. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), Petey doesn't really care how clean or not it is. 

Soph opted to lounge in the living room instead of the a/c'd sun room. 

My nephew Matt came over before Elvis Costello. Petey was SO happy to see him. And vice versa. If you remember, Matt and his family had Petey before we did. 

WTF?!!  She gets curbside service and I get squat??

Song by:  Squeeze

Friday, June 20, 2014

Years Could Go By

I don't know if it happens more often or not due to Facebook, I just know that before joining, I have not met up with people from my early days at Ohio State.

These are not the same friends I speak of often, who are also from my Ohio State days and there after.

Yes, I belonged to a fraternity, and most of my relationships with these folks (and their girlfriends or sisters) fell away after I pulled away from the fraternity itself.

However, thanks to Facebook, I've reconnected with a handful of my brothers and some of their sisters or former girlfriends - many of whom I used to hang with at the house or in bars.  ...but mostly in bars.

Yes, I'm in the above picture, but you'll have to find me.

But Dee Dee, who is the woman and the bottom of the picture in the center, was up in Cleveland and we scheduled time to meet for a drink, which became two. And yes, I brought the above picture.

Of all the time I hung out with Dee Dee, that is the only picture I have of her - that I believe.

We had a hoot trying to identify some of the people in the pic. IF you can spot me, I'm with a girl. A would-be beard. Oddly enough, Dee Dee went to high school with her. I met Kathy (or Cathy) in my English 160 class. We got along great and yes, I asked her out. It was her first day off of crutches from a field hockey injury.

Drunk Blobby got between her and my lecherous roommate (you know, protecting "my property") and then promptly stepped on her almost healed foot. Save for class, I never saw Kathy/Cathy again.


Oh - and I was also a big homo who was secretly knocking boots Bass Weejun Tassel Loafers with a guy from the Beta house. So there's that.

Anyways, Dee Dee and I took a few hours and a few drinks to catch up. I knew her dad, who is still around and living with his "new" girlfriend in Florida. It was a nice time and not weird in the slightest, considering it had been 30 fucking years. Yeah - you heard that right.

...and it is odd how her youngest daughter, who is heading to college in this Fall, looks so much like Dee Dee did back in the Fall of 1981.

So next time I'm in Columbus, or she is up in Cleveland, we will get together again.

Song by:  the Devlins

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Site of the Month

I know I normally do "funny" (oh yes, that is in quotes!) sites when doing my Site of the Month. Now and then, I'll stray to something artsy or cool.

This one is none of the above - possibly.

For those who might not know, popular music is recorded in a bunch of different ways - but even back in the '70s the process was similar as it is today - minus ProTools and AutoTune.

Sometimes bands would record live with all or most of the players in the studio at once. But each instrument or voice could be isolated and changed out in overdubs.

Or there was never having the same person in the studio at the same time and the song(s) just get built track by track.

Someone over at Dangerous Minds went to the trouble to isolate Karen Carpenter's vocal tracks on a number of tracks that the Carpenters recorded.

I categorize this under the 'cool' moniker. Artsy is in the eye of the beholder, though it seems cool to now love Karen Carpenter's vocals.

Me? You've read before (not that you've retained) that my first full album purchase was the Carpenters self-titled album. I was in first grade! I eventually would go on to purchase many more disks by them, but eventually grew out of their style.

I also thought it was cool as fuck that she was a drummer. Girls as drummers. That's just crazy talk! Girls can't be drummers!!!

But for some of the cheesiness that went with some of their songs (yes, not all were classics), the most important instrument was Karen's voice.

While it doesn't (nor ever has) work on "Ticket to Ride", the rest of the selections are good. Some better than others and some actually could work 'as-is' with just the bass and drum tracks. (if you listen closely some have a very very muted piano track.)

I am especially fond of "Superstar".

It's hard, in your head, not to fill-in all the additional tracks that go along with each song. But for a moment, it's nice just to focus on the voice.

Honestly, in today's music - and I know I sound like Grandpa Simpson - but the vocals and the voice are secondary to the whole song experience. Having actual talent is tertiary.

It's nice to know that, at least for a while, having actual chops meant something.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

There's a Story in Your Voice

I like to think of my title image as 'arty', not 'poorly shot'. But listen folks, there is only so much one can do with an iPhone from 200 feet back.

What you see is actually Elvis Costello.

Through the grace and generosity of my cousin and his wife, my nephew and I saw Mr. MacManus live on Monday night.

It was all very weird in a way. David and Matt had never met. I was listening to Costello when I was younger than Matt is now. Matt's parents went on one of their first dates to an Elvis Costello concert and the Cleveland Agora, a show in which Costello himself referenced later in the evening.  I guess it is the circle of life thing.

I was not sure what the night would hold. Costello, who has roughly 35 albums - all varying in styles - so, in theory, had a minimum of 350 songs from which to choose, and it was to be just him and a guitar. I wasn't sure how it would all play out.  Pun not intended. Or was it?

Overall, the two and one-half hour show was cohesive. He did some of his newer songs (with the Roots), but dove back in time to do quite a few from his early works. And when I say "early works", I would go up until 1989.

I would say, I would have liked 'deep tracks', but many of them were. I can't say "Shipbuilding", "My Three Sons" or "the Slow Drag of Josephine" ever burned up the chart. But I was always a fan of "the Element Within Her", "Just a Memory", "Stranger in the House" "Sleep of the Just", "Monkey to Man", "Our Little Angel" and stuff like that. But since he only played like 30 songs (which is a fuck of a lot, I might add), he could not even cover one-tenth of what he has put to tape.

He did get around to a few of the biggies, "Alison", "Everyday I Write the Book", "Lipstick Vogue" and of course, "Watching the Detectives".  The latter was done with a bit of distortion that it was almost as if Neil Young and Crazy Horse circa 1980 were backing him up. He also incorporated one or two covers (including the Beatles, "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away") into two of his other songs. It was nicely done.

I'm sure everyone did get everything they wanted. Who ever does? Yet it did get me thinking about how big of a Costello fan I am, or at least used to be.

Actually, the mix at the beginning of the show was....I guess loud. It wasn't really muddied, but I had trouble hearing his words. You can say I'm an old man, but I think I was the mean age. Poor Matt, at 21, was possibly the youngest person there. But Matt is just getting into Elvis' first few disks, so it was good.

The problem was sonic and not my hearing. They did seem to clear up the sound problem early on. And while Costello wouldn't ever be categorized at the best vocalist, his aim was true (see what I did there?). He sounds pretty much like what he did back in '77. And that is kind of a feat in its own right.

The man was the king of "just one more?".  I stopped counting the encores and each one had multiple songs. At that point just give up the ghost and extend the show to include some of those.

I think he was five or six songs in before he spoke and I was wondering if he ever would. Some performers are not adept to actually speaking to their audiences. But he did and he was very engaging.

It was my first time seeing Mr. Costello (do you think in Middle Earth his name is "Elvish?) and it was so worth it.

I owe David and his wife big time. A great time was had by all.

Song by: Elvis Costello

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hot For Teacher

Outdoor yoga.

I didn't think this one through.

Sunday started off sunny and clear, but on the cool side. 70 degrees to be exact, when I left the house. But it was nearing 11:30 before the rooftop yoga session got under way. I should have planned better.

I thought enough to take sunglasses and slather myself with SPF 30. I did not think about my solid black mat. 

I have done outdoor yoga any number of times, but that has been in early morning or in the evening. Not mid-day. The mat was, and stayed, cool before.

In the past there had been shade, not what you see in the title image:  full sun, no clouds, no trees, little breeze and a hot hot deck. 

Remember when you were a kid and you could walk on hot asphalt while barefoot - or at least had contests on who could stand on the black top the longest?  What?  That couldn't have been only me. 

I was a master at that. I had no problems standing there, possibly in slight pain, but resolved in my ability to best my friends. Clearly, that time has passed. I am now a pussy.

My mat was set-up for maybe 10 minutes before class started. 


That was like putting a pizza stone in an oven to get warm. 

Oddly, my feet had little problems on the actual deck. But oy - the practice. For the first 50 minutes I suffered through my Down Dogs, Warriors I and II and any number of lunges. Those seemed to be the most painful. Singed feet. People on either side of me had to hear me say "ow"multiple times, and it was not because the poses were that incredibly difficult.

I would "pedal out my dog" not to stretch my hamstrings, but keep at my feet partially off the burning coals that became my yoga mat.

Honestly, I'd say I didn't know why I didn't just pick up my mat and leave.....but then on the other hand, I do know why.


Oh yes, he taught again yesterday.

Yes, he's easy on the eyes, but I do go for and like his teaching method and his booming yet reassuring voice that we are all doing a great job. I'm almost sure he's talking just to me.

...but it wasn't just because of him that I stayed.  I'm not one to walk out of a class, even though I should. I've learned this with Spin and Insanity. I mean, there are times I should have walked away, but stayed and regretted the decision.

I'm not sure I was doing a 'great job' the other day. I finally thanked the gods when we did some balancing poses. With Tree, Airplane and Eagle, I was assured of at least having one foot entirely off the mat for minutes at a time. And just when that one remaining foot would be unbearable, we'd switch feet.

I was never ever ever so happy to go into Boat and Bridge/Wheel poses. Those are on your back, for anyone who hasn't practiced before.

The guy next to me, Andy (?), - who had a light coloured mat - finally saw my agony and offered me a towel. While I graciously accepted, the damage was done. He kind of gasped when he saw how red and cracked my feet were. Oh and now we were on our backs, so the feet didn't matter so much.

While doing Down Dog, and looking through my legs, I saw a woman behind me who had the same mat as I. I have never seen a woman with this mat. While technically there are not girl or boy mats, the sturdier, darker ones tend to attract guys and the thinner pinker, purple, chartreuse ones have 'girl' written all over them. Figuratively, of course.

I did talk to her after class. She claimed her feet were burning too, but I mentioned she didn't look like she was struggling. She replied that I wasn't looking hard enough. So, at least it wasn't just me.

Since there are a number of outdoor classes coming up in the next few weeks, I have some take aways. Now, most of these classes are in the early morning hours or evening time. But at least two are in the day - assuming no rain. I will bring a towel to throw over my mat. Or I'll bring my lighter coloured mat (i.e. only semi-girly). 

And Scott was great as usual. He did a good job with folks he's never really taught before and kept us moving, seemingly oblivious to some of us being on the verge of getting heat blisters,

I'm not saying Scott is straight or gay. I would have no way of knowing. Nor is it any of my business, or matter. I'm just saying in his playlist he had throbbing, pumping, disco dance versions of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" and Simon and Garfunkel's "the Sounds of Silence" (the latter just fraught with irony).

I'm not much of a Van Halen fan, but....... 

Song by: Van Halen

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Music Monday

I'm still on my cover music theme.

This week I am going with Chris Isaak....and not just because he's dreamy.  Though he totally is.

Like so many artists these days, he has an album of covers out, but I'm staying away from those - for him and others. They all seems too calculated for me and they rarely work when it is so conspicuous in its attempt.

Isaak has sprinkled a handful of covers into his work over the last {gulp} 30 years. Nothing pervasive, just here and there.

I had seriously considered his take on Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely" as this week's selection, which is exceptional. Then I remembered a few other covers he did. Since I couldn't decide, you get a two-fer. None of them by Roy Orbison.

Both songs are from the mid-60s ('66 and '65 respectively).  This era suits Isaak it seems. He may have been born just a bit too late in life. Even "Only the Lonely" was originally released in '60.

One song has a video. One does not.

'tis a shame there is none for tune #2. He's so pretty (yes, pretty!!!) that all his songs should have videos. Alas, they do not.  But I'll go first with the visual - since that is which you people normally respond.

First up, Chris does a take on Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man".  It is a fairly straight forward cover of the song. He does a nice job with it.  This was taken from his 1993 album, San Francisco Days.

Next up is his cover of the Yardbirds' "Heart Full of Soul". Again, Isaak takes no chances or goes out on any limbs, but the recording has a great rhythm section. This song was included on his self-titled second album back in 1986.

Chris Isaak - Heart Full of Soul

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Diddley Daddy

I am not in a Father's Day post mode.

2014 has been a frustrating time for my father, which has made it a frustrating time for his son. Sure, 710 and I are going out to see him this afternoon and have dinner with him. Personally, I'd rather stay home, but it is the right thing to go and spend some time.

But more importantly, today is Sophie's 8th birthday. We didn't get her until four months after she was born.

It's hard to imagine she's been with us eight years. It does not seem that long, but from day one she was part of this family.

She rules this house with an iron paw.

Best yet, as you know, she loves her brother. That could have gone either way, but it was her acceptance that allowed us to keep Petey.

The title image was taken, has to be four years ago - as I'm not sporting a beard. ...and my face seems heavier. But she looks so cute there. And I have a hard time getting her to pose for pictures.

I suppose it is Father's Day in a way - we are here two dads.

Song by:  Chris Isaak

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday in the Park

It is Saturday. Or as the calendar review committee is considering renaming it: Petey Porn Day.

It could happen.

710 took this one. He calls it: Oblivious.

Sophie will sleep next to him daily, but usually it involves being near his paws. They can't smell that bad or she wouldn't be there, right?

I took Petey on a walk in the park. Tried to get him to shade to cool down. He won't pose. Bastard. 

Those big teeth are just for food. He's a very very gentle soul.

More next week, for your installment of Petey Porn.

Song by:  Chicago  (yes Morty, I"m sure you played it in marching band)

Friday, June 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 52nd 12 of 12

Normally it is 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, any number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. Chad is no longer doing this, nor is successor coordinating the linking of other 12 of 12'ers anymore. Now it's just ErikJim and myself - that I know of. 

I still continue to do this, because of all my consistent post topics, I actually like this one the most.

06:20.  Trimming back the every increasing grey beard. Had not trimmed for at least a week. It was looking scraggly. 

06:45.  Warding off potential / probable Athlete's Foot. ...which I guess means that I am an athlete. 

07:35.  Since "someone" gets a dollop of wet food (in which I hide his pills) every morning, I "let" Petey lick the spoon to get those disgusting wet food cling-ons. Or as I call it, "pre-rinsing". 

08:05.  Dog Walk #1. 

Picking up the NYT for neighbor who is away. Bobbi has two of her trees covered in knit wear. I'm not sure why. 

10:25.  My mid-morning snack: my last nectarine and some water.

12:15.  We were in need of cash. Not that this ATM helped me out. It was being rebooted.

13:00.  One Sophie cat yelling while I prepare lunch for me. She's starved....for attention!

14:50.  Was going to cut the lawn later, but the Scotts guy came to treat it - so I guess I'll have to wait until later today or tomorrow. Drat.

16:40. Dog Walk #2 (hehehe....#2).

The last vacant lot in our 'hood is officially under development. Crews are there digging trenches for utilities.

18:30. Someone is coming in from a long tinkle session.

20:00.  Outside to pre-heat the grill. Slight blue sky, possible rain clouds.

20:20. Hamburgers and corn on the grill. The corn was so sweet!

While it is 12 of 12, but it is also Friday the 13th, I figured I'd go that extra step for your Baker's Dozen.

21:35. Stimulating my gums. 

I gotta dentist appointment tomorrow and this is the equivalent of cramming for the exam.