Sunday, August 31, 2014

Loose Tongue

All clear.

What a month and a few visits to the otolaryngologist will do for a man.

As reported on over a month ago, and kindly asked to follow-up on by a few readers, it seems I am a-okay in terms of any oral cancer.

My first ENT appointment showed improvement already over the pictures that were sent his way from my dentist. I had residual stuff from the spots that were there, but he said they had "lessened".

On my visit last week, he said they were all gone.

On both my visits, he asked how my tongue felt. He couldn't seem to grasp that I was asymptomatic and never felt anything odd, raised or painful. Hell, I couldn't even seem them without the aid of a digital camera.

He was a nice guy but had no answers. It could have been viral. It could have been erythema anulare centrifugum. I know, right?

Most likely it was the former, but no way of really knowing. I mean, I'll get checked by the DDS in December, so hopefully there is no recurrence.

On a plus note: the last ENT appointment was the quickest doctor's visit I've ever had. In and out in seven minutes.

It's like sex - but without the need for a towel.

Song by: Neil Finn

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Right By Your Side

Saturday. Petey Porn Day. The best day of the week.

Devil on his shoulder.  ...albeit a cute devil. 

Any parked vehicle on the street gets the 'bomb sniffing' routine from Mr. Pete.  
Walks can take forever!

Hot day. Hot walk. 

Taken in my parent's neighborhood, this house (my sister's old one) is where Petey spent his first eight months. He didn't seem to remember it. 

Always by his side. 

Song by:  the Eurythmics

Friday, August 29, 2014

Black Cadillac

My father died last week.

I didn't know how to ease into that sentence, so I didn't.

I could have done the whole "the cat is up on the roof" joke intro, but then it'd be another week before I got around to telling you.

His death was not unexpected. The part that was, was his ability to hang on as long as he did. He'd been in somewhat of a decline for months, but the man was a fighter. He was four months and one day from turning 94.

My genes are strong and long. His mother died at the same age. I've said before, I have no hope of getting out of this life early.

He passed in the middle of the night, as I somehow knew he would. While I'm torn on whether I wanted or needed to be there at 'the' time, I believe many people choose to go when there is no one around to bother them.

I am not equating my father to a pet, but it is well documented that dogs and cats leave to be on their own for dying. When you're bedridden, you don't have that opportunity.

In certain ways, my father got to go as he wanted. He was at home with my mother.

We made the decision to put him in Hospice and bring him home as opposed to having him spend his final days in a hospital or nursing home. And while the Palliative Care doctor thought he'd only have a few days to live, he stayed with us for 16 more. The longer he stayed, the more I silently wondered if we had done the correct thing.

But in the end, we did. He really had no true alternative.

I saw him struggle with the one alternative he did have, but when it came down to it, he only considered that so as not to leave my mother alone. While that is a noble and loving gesture, the reality came down to quality of life, for both of them, had he opted for anything other than Hospice.

Oddly, or not, it was not my father I've been worrying about these last weeks and months. My thoughts have been with my mother and how she will do. I don't doubt every person who experiences this thinks similar thoughts about the one who survives.

My sisters and I have been diligent about making sure she has food and company. At some point, to a degree, that will taper off and she will find her footing - albeit a different foot, no doubt.

Over the years in this blog, I've mentioned several times about becoming an adult: making our wills, getting married, getting a financial planner for retirement - but this probably trumps them all.

I love that his grandkids knew him and were comfortable around him. I can't say I had that experience. The youngest is the age I when I lost three of my grandparents. So he'll have memories. The older ones have many more experiences that I never had.

While I was not there for him at the very end, I'm happy I was there for him and my mother for these last few months.

I know for me the grief will come, but part of me thinks I worked through some of it during the last month. But I've also had my focus on him, the hospital stays, the rehab stays and Hospice. Now that there is none of that, grief might look different to me.

He will be missed, but he gave all of us a good foundation and we will do our best and move forward without ever forgetting him.

Song by: Rosanne Cash

Thursday, August 28, 2014

App of the Month

There is nothing groundbreaking in terms of phone apps these days. At least, not that I've come across.

I got another free game. It's not just free for me, but for all of you. That is, should you chose to download.

And let me tell you - 'free' is an overcharge with Don't Touch the Spikes.

I'm all about the time-wasting with some games, but my quick review is "Don't Touch Don't Touch the Spikes".

I know that "reviews" can be manipulated by friends, family and co-workers entering skewed takes on certain items, but I do not get almost 14,000 giving this 4.5 stars (out of 5).  No one has that many friends.

So what am I missing?  You keep hitting 'jump' and moving the screen right or left so you don't - say it with me - touch the spikes.

Mind you, not that there is any tutorial I saw, so the first half-dozen tries went bust very quickly as I attempted to figure shit out.

I'd say it's possible I'm just a sore loser when I can't get the hang of something, or win at it, but I've been playing 2048 forever and still have yet to win that one.

My "friends" will tell you that I only sometimes win at Words With Friends, but I keep plugging away at that one too.

But I'm not liking this one. There are not true results except losing. Even when you 'win' you lose. You just lose on a higher level.....but trust me, you still lose.

And maybe that is it. Maybe it's just the frustration of never really succeeding. Though I have to believe you can 'beat' a level.

I'm just not getting there because I've already deleted the app.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Passport to Detroit

When did I get such big ears? Yikes!!!!

I can't believe it has been 10 years, but it is time for a new passport.

It is not like my old one got stamped tons of times - mostly just trips to Mexico and Canada. Oh, and it had to be shown when financing this house. But I'm hoping to change that in the near future - the trips, not buying a new home.

My last photo - taken on a whim when in Portland, OR - did me no favours. I probably should have had it redone, but you know me: it costs money and I'm cheap, but when it comes to things like that, I'm also lazy.

710's passport has already expired and mine is set to at year's end, but we've sent them in to be updated. Between friends and cousins, there are just horror stories from the State Dept. on getting them back timely - or at all.

My now infrequent man-date, Scott, had to drive to D.C. to pick his up  and drive back) a day before he left for It'ly. That is too much pressure for me. I'll have mine months in advance of whatever trip we want to take.

However, 710 not having his has potentially put a crimp in maybe a weekend trip to Niagara or Toronto.

Laugh as you might at Niagara, but we love the American side. It's not the tacky Canadian sideshow. Goat Island and the surrounding park is beautiful There isn't a main street running right next to it like the other side.

Though we do love the view from the Canadian side.

So for the time being, any long weekend trips we make will be bound within the contiguous 48.

I'm not unhappy with my passport pic and since they are now digital, I had the option of redoing it, but I left it as is. It seemed ok - though it might not represent me for another decade.

I swear the top and bottom views look different. Eyebrows and beard seems darker on the lower one. The smile seems a little different too, though both pics are actually identical. Weird.

So in six weeks or so, I should have a new passport. Assuming there are no fuck-ups.

Song by: Joe Strummer

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bicycle Race

This last Sunday, David and I decided to forgo morning yoga to volunteer at the annual Bellefaire JCB biathlon.

At first we considered maybe riding the 12.9 miles, but one our our cousins, Betsy, chairs the event and all of the sudden we were slated to be on the bike route directing race traffic.

Originally, David and I were also scheduled to be together, but at the last minute some scheduler split us up.

To be honest, it was probably for the best. In my mind, I see bikers piled up and blood and body parts all askew, all because we were having fun and making jokes about something else.

Instead, I got paired with a man named Harvey Wiseman. Harvey was the Jewish Abe Simpson.

I arrived at my post - the half-way mark on the route - at 07:45 and Harv was already there, orange neon flag, already to wave to direct bikers to 'stay to the right'. The problem was that the race didn't start until 08:00 and we were still 6.5 miles away from the starting gate.

So we had time to talk. Or Harvey did.

Why do we complain about education when we don't buy the schools paper and pencils? Why do we fund foreign countries? Herbal remedies are nonsense!

He was actually harmless enough. I felt bad admitting I wasn't a Big Brother for the JCB when he told me he had been for years, but can no longer relate to kids these days.   ....and he doesn't want to relate to them the way they are now. I get that.

But Harvey had been a Big for years, and I admire that.

The race itself was ok. Being at the halfway mark, there are no 'groups' by that point, just individuals, as everyone has had time to space out.

You had your over-achievers who took a little race like this wayyyyyy too seriously. $5000 bikes for their 12.9 miles with all the tricked out wheel shells to lessen Beachwood, Ohio.

But I suppose if I paid that kind of dough for a bike like that, I'd be entering every fucking race in the region.

There were the weekend warriors who were only doing personal bests...or attempting them. There were the folks just doing their part for their community - and chatting and exchanging recipes along the way.

I will give it up for a woman to told me she hadn't been on a bike since she was a kid, just bought a bike the previous day and was now on a 13 mile ride. Great!  .....but her 'taint  is gonna be sore for a few.

I was surprised at how many participants thanked me just for waving a flag. I wasn't going into this for any kind of thanks. I tried to give them words of encouragement - like "you're half-way through". Some people's eyes lit up like "YES!".....some were like "oh fuck.....I'm only half-way through".

I'm pretty sure the back of the pack thought I was an asshole when I would say, "keep going - you can totally win this!"  Or the guy who seriously wanted to know where the bike repair crew station was, and I told him that he was the bike repair guy.

My absolute favourite was a guy in the first third of the riders - and handsome as all get out - and as he rides by me, amusingly says "ewwww.....I'm getting beat by girls!".  I just started laughing.

Well maybe he was my second favourite. This guy might have been my first.

He never uttered a word to me.....but he didn't have to.

My friend Jeremy said I only volunteered because of the DILF.  Totally not true. It was for Betsy and then the JCB.......but I'd be lying if I said a benefit wasn't watching the DILF.

On an end note, since the race started at 08:00, I was done by 09:30 (the last straggler hit the half-way point then) and David and I still made yoga.

Song by: Queen

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Music Monday

The last of the Country-themed entries.

Hopefully the others (nor this one) scared you too much. Hopefully the word 'country' didn't stop you from clicking on 'play'.

If you did not click play, after today, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Like I said, nothing has been what you'd hear on the radio - not that I listen to Country radio. Artists like Blake Shelton....and....and...well, I can picture the artists, but their 'brand' is so mediocre, I can't really think of their names....are just milquetoast. I will take a Buck Owens over a Luke something or other.....

Today, you get Alison Krauss + Union Station....though Dan Tyminski takes lead vocals on "the Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn".

Technically, AKUS is not country but bluegrass - meaning all acoustic stringed instruments, no drums.

I went back and forth on a live recording versus the studio, but that's why I love AKUS, what they play in the studio is that you get on stage. There is little difference, as the need no tweaking in the recording booth, no auto-tune, no nothing. It's called 'talent'.

Union Station is known more of Krauss' voice than Tyminski's, but he has a great tone. His selections are always a bit more deeper in the genre than Krauss', but it all works.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

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!

There is an entire market out there for the female do-it-yourselfer.

Well, there's one product. But I suppose there it potential for the Susan B. Komen line of power tools. Because if Marketing 101 has taught us anything, it is that 'pink' is for Breast Cancer Awareness only.

All those little girls playing princess dress-up at age 3?  They're just future survivors or supporters of a cancer awareness program that funnels money to their board of directors, or worse, to pharmaceutical companies who will only charge back to these same women for the actual treatment of breast cancer that they gave money to in the first place.

Go Glaxo-Smith-Kline!!!!

Of course, this could just be the power source for her rechargeable vibrator....though that could be a huge money-maker.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Have Love Will Travel

Petey Porn Day.  Revel in it......because he's the cutest and most handsome pup ever.

Peeking at Dad (me) from the back seat. On the way to the vet. 

Rolling around after having his ears checked. He no likee. 

Relaxing at home. 

I'm 90% sure 710 and I have not used any of "our" pillows since he has come to stay. ...and we're ok with that. Whatever makes him comfy. 

Hangin' with his lil sis. 

Song by: the Sonics

Friday, August 22, 2014

Site of the Month

Feeding off a previous post on 3-D sonograms, today we will talk placenta.

...and why not?

It could be a service or a job opportunity.

You have to figure you only need one Placenta Encapsulation Specialist per town - and you could corner the market.

Oh yes, the "specialist" (and that is in quotes) takes the placenta  - after the female giving birth (one assumes) - and makes it into capsules to be ingested by the new mom.

While there is zero scientific proof it has benefits, allegedly, it can help ward off post-partum depression. Eat part of your baby so you don't kill the rest of it.

But that last line didn't make it past the marketing department.

Really, on that above hyperlink, you need to click through all 17 slides. It will take you through the harvesting, freezing, cleaning, etc of said placenta.

The frozen one that is thawing just looks like a cabbage roll to me. As for the steamer - well I will never ever ever ever be making pasta in that again.

I'll be honest, I couldn't even look at them all.

But I'll never be a parent, let alone a mother. I don't know what that bond is supposed to be. But breast feeding is one thing.....and it's another thing to eat the cord as opposed to cutting it.

It's all fucked up. But I'm sure there are women who pay a lot of cash to keep the after-birth et al.

More power to 'em.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's a Such a Small World

Before Facebook and Kevin Bacon, "they" said we were all separated by six degrees.

No offense to Mr. Bacon, but at that time, I wasn't in the mix.

Meaning: we are all six steps away, or less, from knowing each other. There was even a play and movie about it.

I read, a few years ago, that with the advent of Facebook, we are now 2.3 degrees of separation. I might tend to believe that.

For the most part, I use Facebook for friends that I actually know. I will admit to have accepted invitations from friends of friends. And there are one or two blog followers, whom I have yet to meet, are also FB friends. But those two groups are minimal in numbers. Single digits combined.

This blog-thingy factors into that degree reduction too.

Take Torn, from Sticky Crows. I started following him due to another (now ex) blogger. Torn and I were possibly the only two regular followers of RJ March, or at least we were the two main commentors on his posts.

Years later - in 2010 - I was in Montreal and had the pleasure of meeting him for a few drinks.

By this time, Torn and Serge had gotten Georgie, their beagle. While I was an uncle to a beagle, Petey was not yet ours.

And then there is Morty. Co-owner of two beagles. A friend for over a quarter of a century. A sometimes reader of my blog. But from my blog, he found Torn's blog, friended him on FB and will "like" any number of Georgie posts that Torn throws up there.

And then just this week, Morty met Torn while he was Montreal.

Mort and his "other" crew were in Montreal for an Ironman competition. (I don't think he won, as I'm sure he would have mentioned it at some point.)  But Torn, and his husband Serge, played Montreal tour guide to a bunch of guys from 'merica.

Judging by the FB pictures and the few international texts I got from Morty, things have seemingly gone swimmingly. I didn't anticipate anything different.

So now part of the world is a fraction of a degree closer from separation  ....and it's all because of me.

You're welcome!

Song by: Rodney Crowell & Rosanne Cash

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Bucket's Got a Hole in It

There is an awful lot of hoo-ha about this whole ALS ice bucket challenge.

I did mine a few weeks ago before it became the big meme it is now, or maybe was. Has it peaked already? I can't tell.

I see more and more people doing it on Facebook, but now it's assholes like Oprah Winfrey, who is truly only doing it to promote the movie she produced with Stephen Spielberg and starring Helen Mirren. Her participation is questionable at best.

And really - she'd need more than one bucket to cover that big head of hers. I did not say 'fat', I said 'big'. She ain't all that.

My friend Mike challenged me and I gladly took it up - if only not to disappoint him. I mean, have you seen him?

I do feel a little dirty participating in it, now that those Kardashian sluts have been doing it. Allegedly so has Justine Beiber, Robert Downey Jr., and fame-whore, Lady Gaga. But she had to do it, since her last album b-o-m-b-e-d. (S)He had to do something to get back in the news. And James Franco doing it mostly bottom-half nekkid. Seriously dude, just come out already.

Articles have come out saying this challenge is a sham and a scam and it doesn't nothing for providing money to ALS patients or research.

But I never thought that it would.

The challenge is supposed to be: complete dumping a bucket of ice over your head in 24 hours or donate to an ALS foundation. The probability of anyone forking over cash for that didn't register with me as being an actuality.

I did it for one real reason: to bring recognition to the disease and the research.

In another life, I worked with a physician who was getting his paycheck doing neurosurgery operations, but his research went completely to the treatment of ALS. He is a cocky little man, but then, in a way, he should almost have to be to aim that high.

Nick is also a brilliant man. We put forth any number of grants to do human trials for stem-cell research that the NIH and many private organizations just turned down flat. It was hard to keep his lab afloat without the funding.

Due to our inability to get grant funding and the institutions lack of desire to keep his lab funded through my normal budget process, Nick found three other institutions happy to take him and his research team and back them financially.

While Nick has since secured some grant monies - public and private - he has done stem-cell transplants in human subjects. None of the subjects expected to live longer than anticipated, but that wasn't the end-goal. It was to see if breathing on their own could be acquired for at least longer periods of time. So far, so good.

Getting past opposition to stem-cell research is still an issue. Religious folks and organizations still are very anti this process. Personally, I see nothing wrong with it. I still laugh at Family Guy's take on it too.

So yeah, I took the ice bucket challenge. Picking four people was not difficult. Picking only four people was. But here is the one I did a few weeks back - for those who have not seen it.

For the record, only 50% of my nominees did the challenge. I tried to pick people I knew would actually follow through. Apparently, I'm only 50% correct, which is still better odd than being a weatherman.

Bri and Nick did it immediately.

First off, that I was the first person to challenge Nick seemed unreal, but then this was in the early stages of the meme / challenge. And to his credit, he was in Boston to supervise a stem-cell transplant in an ALS patient at Mass General and was also picking up a $100.000 ALS research check at a conference. He did it outside the hotel while wearing an Armani suit.

He may have dropped the 'f' bomb a few times during.

Brett......well...........for all his diatribes about everyone else being "squishy", he had the audacity to say he "felt fat" after pigging out. Squishy, if you will.

And while I chide him in the video by saying he'd strip down at the drop of a hat, the real reason I wanted to see him dump water on himself is that I highly suspect he would melt, not unlike his sister Elphaba. He has yet to prove me wrong on that point.

The other person, Kristen, has gone radio silent.

As for the articles that say this is a stunt that does nothing?  Donations to the ALS society as of July 29th were $13.3 MM.  The same period last year raised $1.7 M. I don't even think this thing took off until August, so, they should see some more $$$ come their way.

I wanted to raise awareness. If it raised money - even better. Let's just hope they put that  dough to good use.

Song by: Dwight Yoakam

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This Boy

The premise for the movie alone isn't groundbreaking, the method in which it was achieved is monumental.

I'm talking about Boyhood.

If you haven't been up on it, the movie follows a family  - mostly the boy - over 12 years.

The movie was actually filmed a few weeks each year over a 12 year span, so the actors aged naturally - no CGI, no prosthetic make-up.

Director Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke, who have teamed up to make Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight (all critically acclaimed) do it again with Boyhood, though this film might actually be commercially successful, based on rave reviews (100% on Metacritic and 99 on Rotten Tomatoes) and from what I can see, packed theaters. Ours was on a Sunday afternoon. Go figure.

Aging from 6 to 18, Ellar Coltrane does a really nice job as a newcomer. Honestly, while it's hard to call him a 'newcomer' when it is one of the few roles he has ever had (yes, I looked on IMDB), he's had over a decade of on-the-job experience....just on this project.

Linklater's script (oh yeah, he wrote it too) is nicely paced but low key - much like the Before trilogy. The transitions from Coltrane's character year-to-year is very nicely done and without any cutaways. It is all very organic.

Much like real-life growing up, it happens, but not usually in huge moments, just over long periods of time. There are few big moments in this movie, but it is almost a three hour running time, though it did not feel that way. The character's progression seemed as natural as seeing him go from 6 to 18.

Coltrane's "Mason" clearly grows up, but so does his father (Hawke). Being a young father did not help dad mature, and while Hawke is integral and the argument can be made that he is one of two boys that grow, he is not in the film as much as Coltrane - who might actually be in every single scene.

I'd say at the latter part of the movie, as Mason nears the age of my nephew, some of the similarities in behaviour are amusing. His / Their deep thought process where they feel intellectually superior. I leaned over to say something to 710, but he knew what I was going to say. He saw the same things.

I did read one dissenting review of the movie asking about the lack of conflict in the movie. As I said, there are no big moments. Life is the conflict. Growing up day by day is the conflict. Even Mason asks his dad 'what is the point of it all'.

Dad has no answers, but he's honest about it. He tells him we are all fumbling are way through this thing called life.

And ain't that the truth.

I really enjoyed the movie. If you have a three hour block of time, I suggest going to see Boyhood.

2014 Movie Count / Goal:   7 of 12. 

Song by:  the Beatles

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Music Monday

Yup. Still going with this month's country-themed My Music Mondays.

As previously mentioned, I'm trying to stay away from conventional selections. So this week you get Allison Moorer.

Moorer's sister is Shelby Lynne (who inexplicably won Best New Grammy Artist after releasing six records). As children, both sisters saw their father murder their mother and then kill himself. Harsh way to start life. To their credit, neither sister will discuss this event in interviews.

Moorer has a great voice, but hasn't always made great choices. My opinion, of course.

A song from her first album garnered an Academy Award nomination from the Horse Calmer-Downer Whisperer. She had good songs on all her first four disks, but it was her fifth where I thought every one of them was a winner.

Written by Moorer and her-then husband (who produced it), there isn't one stinker or even filler track on Duel.

Moorer is classified as country, but not what you'd call traditional.

Her unwise choice was divorcing her then husband to marry Steve Earle, becoming his SEVENTH wife (no, he's not a polygamist). You didn't need a crystal ball to know that one wouldn't work out. She also put out an album of cover songs, which almost never works out - and it remains one of the worst album purchases I have ever made.

She hasn't recorded in over four years, though allegedly she has a new album out next year - but the reality is, I don't think she'll ever to Duel, which recorded and released shortly after the Iraq war began, took patriotism to task in ways, that if the Country-album buying public could ever pick up on would leave them scratching their heads.

So I just took a stab at which of the 11 songs to select and ended up at the opener, "I Ain't Giving Up On You".

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Games Without Frontiers

It's official. Gay Games 9 has concluded.

It was a great thing to have them in Cleveland - and I do not think I'm saying that just as a native.

Allegedly, the average athlete spent about $2500-3000 to be here, including lodging and fud. More if they flew into town.

The camaraderie seemed to be apparent, at least what I saw, but there were folks who relished in their wins and wallowed in their loses. They all took it seriously, so that the synchronized swimming thing didn't happen was not a bad thing at all.

I was speaking to what I would call a tall drink of water, about his teams loss in water polo finals - and to an unseeded team, at that. He was taking it rather hard.

I asked if he was happy with the way they played, as I was trying to have him be a good sport about it, and while he didn't necessarily blame his teammates, he did mention that some of them were out until 05:00 the day of the game. He also called out the other team for bringing in new guys for the final game. Well rested skilled athletes. He kind of stepped back a little when I called them 'ringers'.

Apparently, according to him, this is not an uncommon practice, at least for the gay water polo set.

It seems unseemly, but clearly there are no rules against this, or no one is pushing for punishment if there are. So I got his frustration.

But I did ask him about his reception to Cleveland. He couldn't have been more positive about it. He said he had done the last five games (he did not seem old enough to do the last 20 years of Gay Games) and that Cleveland was by far the most friendly experience he has seen. He though people in Chicago and Atlanta were much more hostile about them being in those cities. I found that interesting.  ....and he is from Atlanta!

I asked if he and his teammates had done anything good for food in town, but he said no - just slices of pizza and eating whatever they could, whenever they could. He didn't really take me up on my offer to make suggestions. That's ok. It was nice just chatting with him.

He stood up to make his exit and when he did, he truly was a TALL drink of water. 6'9" he said.

He looked big just sitting and chatting, but honestly I had no idea. I'm guessing he doesn't play water polo in the shallow end of any pool - though at 6'9", even the deep ends might be shallow for the likes of him.

I'm sure he's heard all the tall jokes and comments that ever been invented, so I didn't focus on his height. We shook hands, I wished him well and he was gone.

Closing ceremonies were last night, and while the participants didn't have the best weather here, from all accounts, they had a good time. And I have not heard on Cleveander say a bad thing about the games being in town.


Song by: Peter Gabriel

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lost Summer

It's Saturday. You know the drill.

Summer is not gone technically, but it dipped to the upper 40s two nights ago. We're barely ever out of the 60s lately and I'm not sure we made it to above 90 more than once. The year of this Polar Vortex is causing havoc all year round.

710 sending me a picture proving that Petey got b'fast. As if there'd ever be a doubt.

After 2+ years, Mr. Pete finally found the grill. Mind you, he's out in the yard daily and I grill out during the summer maybe 3-4 days per week. He was very interested in it. (sorry for the light, I took the pic from inside the kitchen.)

Just a walk with his ever-present tongue.

Meeting a new dog. I don't know if he's visiting or new to the 'hood. He's a 5 month old corgi named Laddie. 

Song by: Paul Hardcastle

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fishing in the Morning

I axed 710 what he wanted for dinner the other night and he came back with "fish".


As much as I like to cook, I've never had great success with fish.

Cooking fish is usually easy enough. But bare fish is just ok. It's making a good and relatively easy sauce that seems to be my hurdle.

Oh, and we didn't have any fish at home, which meant a trip to the store. So before I went, I did a quick intertubes search, I found a seemingly easy sauce. Seemingly.

Actually, the sauce was easy, but our smaller local market didn't make it as easy as it could have been.

Creme Fraiche? Noooooo.....not at our little store. But thanks to a smartphone and Gooooooogle, I found a substitute could be sour cream cut with some heavy cream. Done and done.

And while 710 said to go to the fish monger, he clearly isn't aware that the same guy who runs the seafood counter also slices your black forest ham. He's the monger of nothing. ....and the other day, he was all of 17 years old.

The recipe called for a red snapper like fish, but there was none to be had. I got two 8oz white cod filets. They were hearty and sturdy - they worked well.

The recipe is for two. Change the ratio for your plans, if different.

First off, pre-heat your oven to 425 F.

In an ovenproof baking dish, salt and pepper the fish liberally. 

The sauce is: 
1.5 T of Dijon mustard
1/2 T of whole grain mustard
1 T of minced shallot
1 t of drained capers
4oz of creme fraiche (or the substitute)

Boom. Done!

Coat both filets evenly. 

Cook for 10-15 minutes or until it is barely done. Do not overcook. 

Use some of the sauce in the pan to spoon over the fish. Actually, the sauce recipe made more than enough, and I tossed some, but 710 would have liked extra for his, but it was too late. 

It doesn't look like much, but the sauce was good. Neither of us thought it had too strong of a mustard flavour, even though it contained two kinds. 710 thought it was a winner and that's good enough for me. 

Song by: Dar Williams

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Synchronicity II

Today would have been the day, had I not kind of wussed out.

And by "kind of", I meant "totally".

Today is the competition for the synchronized swim teams at the Gay Games.

Yes, I was considering doing it on a lark, and I even found four people (including myself) to participate. But it seems when it comes to the joke competition, I'm not much of a leader. I probably would have gladly followed if someone took the reins for me.

First off, I sampled the YouTube vids of other teams from other Gay Games - these queers b serious. I had zero intention of being anything but a purposeful joke, and I figured that might piss off some fags.

I'm still not sure I agree with the Games' little league mentality of everyone gets a participation medal. (ok, I'm totally sure I don't agree with it.) Hell, I'm 94% certain you got that medal when you checked-in, so in theory you don't even have to participate - you just get to walk around with some faux medal you got for paying $70.

Oh, and when manning the First Aid station, I saw a guy with a medal and congratulated him on his win. It turns out he was wearing his medal from the 2006 Chicago Gay Games.

Gurl!!!! Michelle Kwan don't go wearing her old medals around the current games. See, I had to put it in context for them to understand: gay slang and female figure skating. I mean, because you totally know that Brian Boitano and Johnny Weir wear all their medals around all the time.

I only saw volleyball and a little body building (eww). The former are dead serious on their competition, but I had to laugh at one of their cheers: "I'd hit that!" - which clearly could go at least two different ways. (see yesterday's 12 of 12 of the tall bearded volleyball chap....because I'd hit that.)

The latter I'm sure are serious too. I've just never been a fan of that kind of body. Orc made. And when you add in orange spray tanning, well, it's just creepy.

I'm not sure I'd go on record saying the games were / are run well. In my limited exposure, I saw mucho opportunities to fix thing operationally.

Let's start with, the Volunteer check-in area that closed hours before the Athlete check-in, effectively making it impossible to get the gear you needed. When I did check-in, they looked up my name and said - I swear to g-d -  "Well, I've done that, but I don't know what else to tell you......"

Mind you, he's sitting there in Volunteer t-shirt with a credentialed badge. So, I says to him, I says - "I believe I get everything you got when you checked-in".  And it still took a few seconds for the lightbulb to go off. Lord. And the next day I still found out I didn't get everything.

But for both days, there were no clear instructions on what I was to do. Even the first, the people didn't know why I was there at all. I sat around and did literally nothing for hours. At least with the second day at the First Aid station, I had people coming in with pain and needing ice or a bandage, but for the most part it was quiet.

Still, no one thought to turn on the ice machines in the facility, so we had very limited ice for injuries. When a coordinator ran out to get some........they brought back one bag. One!!!! Dude, that was such a wasted trip, was what I said in my head.

"Do you think you'll need more??".  Um...yes, we're open for EIGHT MORE HOURS.

I can't say how things went on the athlete side. Hopefully little to no hiccups.

Walking into the convention center, three African-American women, all pushing strollers asked me about the Games. I wasn't sure where the convo would go, but they were quite curious and even asked if you had to be gay to participate. I told them people didn't even have to be qualified athletes to participate, but they were thinking of at least checking stuff out.

I was trying to be a great ambassador to CLE. I asked almost every player who came into the First Aid area how Cleveland was treating them - no one had a bad word to say about the town, even though it had poured on and off for at least a day. One even asked about about if we were on the upswing and I gave a little 4-1-1.

While I didn't play in any reindeer games, I felt good contributing somehow and I was surprised how many athletes thanked me for volunteering.

I always have the 2018 games to get my choreographed swimming down.

Song by:  the Police

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 54th 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 Erik (and sometimes Jim) 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.

06:30. Putting away the Oxo collapsible colander. I made spaghetti. 

07:00.  Getting Petey's b'fast ready - for whenever he wakes up. 
710 got me this bowl years before we had a dog, just in case. We just found it back in a cabinet.
07:45.  Reinserting my orthodic device into my shoe. I took it out for one day - one! - and I had pangs of tendinitis.....again. Blast. 

08:40.  HRH is up and we are walking.
This was between poop #1 and poop #2. I knew you'd want to know.

10:45. Arriving at Cleveland Convention Center to volunteer at the Gay Games - at the First Aid area.

11:02. Guy comes in with dislocated finger. Has to go to urgent care as that was beyond our scope. 
I probably broke several privacy laws. Sue me. 

12:15. Selfie #2017. 
Volleyball action. 10 courts. Homos play rough. Tons of calls for ice and bandages from injured players - mostly knees (ha!) and ankles. 

13:20.  Random gay guy playing with himself. So to speak. 

13:50. Windows out from the convention center sees this. 
Major updating to our 15 year old Browns First Energy Stadium. Paid for by us, even though the team's owner just shelled out $92MM for fraud of his company.

14:15. Snuck into lobby of the new Westin to snag a copy of USAToday for 710.
Looks more updated, but same lay out as the old Crowne Plaza...except the big-assed head is new.

15:55. Second doggie walk.
Walls went up today (finally!!) on the house they started two months ago.

19:10. Grocery store run.
I see a cooking post in your near future.

.....and your Baker's Dozen.

21:05.  Lounging Sophie. 
In the middle of the kitchen...right where I need to be, of course. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I have no songs with "Galaxy", "Guardian" or "Star-Lord" in their titles. This was the best that I could do.

But over last weekend, we went to go see Guardians of the Galaxy. Most of my FB friends have already seen it, which means most of my blog readers have probably seen it as well.

I'm rarely first to the party with this big budget sci-fi movies, let alone ones that are derived from comic book characters. As I've said before, with the Avengers, Spider-Man and Captain America - I've never purchased or read a comic book in my life. Sad (?) but true.

How do I know everyone else has already seen it? There were six people in the 400 seat theater.....including 710 and myself. The Milk Duds I purchased had their own seat.

The buzz was incredible for this movie, and I'm still trying to figure out why. The story itself, is very formulaic. It is like every other comic book turned popcorn movie. It's horribly predictable down to the "killing" of the bad guys and how they always always always come back to life - or never die in the first place. At least the first time. Peace is ultimately restored along with a set-up for a sequel.

The acting is what you expect from one of these movies - slightly over the top with the suspected band of heroes and villains. None of it bad, but no surprises, no one was ever going to go out on a limb. It's all about the mighty box-office and the back-end receipts. (Rotten Tomatoes give is at 92%....MetaCritic gives it a 76. Quite a difference.)

Chris Pratt does a fine job stepping out of his role of Andy on Parks & Recreation, but we've known he has had that ability from Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty. He plays an ok younger version of Han Solo - cocky with almost no reason to be. Everyone's talking about Pratt's "new body", which you see for a total of 48 seconds.

Zoe Salamander - or whatever her real name is - plays a character not too different than her one in Avatar. Or even as Uhuru on Star Trek. I'm not sure she's actually played a character that is situated on Earth. At least she's found her niche.

Is it wrong that I found Groot the best character in the movie? I hope Vin Diesel got paid handsomely for his 37 minutes in the recording studio to voice his four words. On the down side of him only being a voice, you don't get to see his face and body. On the upside, you don't have to see him try to act. Still, Groot exhibited the most emotion out of any of the characters....and he was an Ent.

And since we're going all Middle Earth, isn't the 'stone' in the orb, just a substitute for 'the ring' in Lord of the Rings?

Let's just say this:  poor John C. Reilly. I half expected him to be play a good and bad role simultaneously. Half the bad guys in space looked just like him with very little make-up done to their characters. Alas, he played no dual roles. Just an unfortunate bone structure coincidence.

I thought Benicio del Toro did a good job for what little he was in the movie, and luckily he had lots of make-up on to cover his ugly.

...and Glenn Close's hair....really?

Like most popcorn movies, they are fine for what they're there for - mindless entertainment on a summer's afternoon. There was nothing wrong with the movie at all, it's just like I've said with all the other Marvel movies, lots of action, no suspense.

Of course, they didn't answer the biggest questions of all: where the fuck does Star-Lord get batteries for his first edition WalkMan 28 years later? And better yet, who even had that WalkMan version in 1988?

I'm not tripping over myself like most folks who have seen this. It's fun but it's ok. Nothing more. Nothing less.

On a positive note: there were some decent trailers. I can (hopefully) overlook Matthew McConaughey's stupid ass drawl, hound dog face and one-note acting to deal with a new Christopher Nolan movie. I'm drawing a blank on the other trailer I thought was ok. But it might get us to our goal of 12 movies in 12 months.

We are a little behind track now, but with Boyhood coming next week (maybe), we'll be almost there.

2014 Movie Count / Goal:   6 of 12. 

Song by:  David Bowie

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Music Monday

I guess I'll keep with the Country-theme for this month. It won't kill you - and some of it you might actually like.

The chance of you getting anything from "today's country" is 0% chance. Nashville today is where people go who failed in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle - and yeah, I'm talkin' to you Sheryl Crow, Jewel and the Hootie guy.

While this selection, the Dixie Chicks' "Lubbock or Leave It"is pretty much full on country, especially with Emily Robison's banjo playing, the tune and the album were produced by Rick Rubin, who was responsible for the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and LL Cool Jay.

Sure he went on to produce Tom Petty, Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond - all with critical, though not necessarily commercial success. But I do think he did a phenomenal job with the Chicks' Taking the Long Way.

Like many of the songs on that disk, DCX addresses head-on or partially-on, the fall-out from those 13 words that Natalie Maines uttered in London on the eve of Shrub launching a war in Iraq. It also pretty much ended their commercial success - and possibly career as a group. While Taking did sell 2 million copies, it was far short of the 10, 10 and 6 million copies they had sold prior to.

Maines is originally from Lubbock and she sings about the hypocrisy of churches to drunken teens in town and how everyone acts like a good Christian on Sunday mornings. It also addresses how her hometown turned their back on her, like they did Buddy Holly before her.

Still, the structure of the song is great - or so I think. There is no real slowdown on the piece and even under the hands of Rubin, it is still a rocking tune.....though very very country based.

the Dixie Chicks - "Lubbock or Leave It"

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Friday night was another yoga "event".  Another Believe In CLE one - like the Rock Hall events of this year and last, or the Cleveland Museum of Art one

This last one was meant to correspond with the kick-off of the Gay Games, which started yesterday. 

While not officially tied to the GG9, the association tied-in and the yoga studio, Cleveland and the GG9 people certainly didn't seem to mind or object to the cross-promotion and exposure. And the cross-promotion was probably the best of all the events. 

Believe in CLE is a loosely run organization for residents (though mostly yogis) take pride in Cleveland. The GG, well, that is all about pride............and participation medals and probable Grindr hook-ups. Not necessarily in that order. 

Prior to, depending with whom you spoke the attendance was to be between 870 and 5000. That's quite a range, though it would be a stretch for Mall B to hold 5000 people horizontally.   ...and I think I just made a yoga pun.

Actual attendance was between 1500-2000 (no official tally yet, that I know of). It is fun to see the instructors I have currently or had in the past, the people from various studios with whom I practice or a few folks from other walks of life who happened to be there. 

Let it be known that yoga is supposed to be free of judgement, but sometimes I cannot let that go. No....really, it's true!

Whilst there were not 5000 people on-site, there was plenty of room to lay down one's mat when the person next to me showed up. If it were just him, it wouldn't have been a problem. But his wife (they both had rings on, so I assume....) was supposed to be helping and adjusting people. She didn't, as she clearly shirked her duties to focus her time on her beloved. 

They shared his mat....his one person mat...., so she ended up being about three inches from me, totally oblivious or just didn't give a fuck (I'm going for the latter). And of course, they were all over each other, in that 'get a room' way. And they had booze seeping from their pores. Lovely. 

So they made it really hard not to judge. Clearly, I have not gotten to that higher plane in my practice.

Still, the practice was good. 75 minutes flew by, actually. 

Afterwards there were the food trucks and 2000 yogis vying for them. I understand the business model, but I don't get it. Waiting 20 minutes to order and 10 minutes to get truck food, after you're already starving. Seems like a lot of wasted time and potential frustration. I don't know what the ROI is for truck owner either. How many people does one have to service to turn a profit?

I'm not quite sure who put on the art portion of the event, but it is bigger than the yoga event. It had more to do with the Gay Games. We just co-opted it a bit for that night. 

These were disks that would light up later. this......

The organizers also had that laser pride rainbow....or is it just a rainbow?......that you see in the title image. They had another one coming from the south, that I think was to connect in an arch, but it never quite made least from my vantage point. 

There was also projected light show on the wall of Public Hall

I'd like to say me going had more to do about pride in Cleveland, and that was a nice touch, but I went for yoga and community. 

But it doesn't hurt to get to be seen with my "friend", Mike. 

Song by: Robert Palmer