Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vicious Streak

You know, I wanted to like Vicious - the PBS series starring Gandalf the Gay.

It's only seven episodes per season, but the show title lives up to the tone.

Vicious is like an older, British version Fabulous Beekman Boys, though as a scripted "comedy" instead of a "reality" show.

If you haven't seen that show, it's about two princesses who move to upstate New York and based on their exchanges, seemingly cannot stand one another - possibly due to clever editing, or possibly just due to them being stuck in a bad relationship.

Both shows are somewhat painful to watch.

I kind of expect more out of a knighted Ian McKellen.

What you get is second rate (and I'm being nice) sitcom acting with third rate (and I'm being very very nice) repetitive sitcom set-ups - the unseen mother on the phone, the unseen dying dog in the kitchen, the bitter friend, the clueless friend and the would-be overly sexual friend.

When I type that out, those last three could be straight from Golden Girls.

But it is the two leads (McKellen and Derek Jacobi) who are just vile to each other - all in the name of comedy, though for the first four shows I barely smiled, let alone laughed.

In show five, there was a brief - 15 seconds?  - of emotion that wasn't veiled contempt.

But it was show six where they (kind of) stood up for each other. Also in that show was the decline of Ash, their 22 year old straight affable neighbor boy, who inexplicably hangs out with men in their 70s. While he seems young and unworldly, this last show sees him turning into them - with the way he exchanges nasty barbs with his girlfriend.

And that was kind of sadder.

I'm sorry that Frances de la Tour (History Boys, Harry Potter, Hugo) gets played off as the sex-crazed hag of these two bitter queens. She's so much better than this.

Actually, they're all much better than this.



Song by: New Order

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Site of the Month

Sunday, we were home bound due to some fun thunderstorms (not in the early a.m., no matter what I said the other day).

The plan was to go to a movie, but as it pouring so hard, without taking umbrellas into the theater, it would be difficult to make it without sitting for two hours soaking wet.

As it turns out, missing the movie was probably for the best. Cleveburgh had power outages. Due to the volume of rain, we had water in the basement. And then there was this.....


Oddly, just before this message came up on my iPhone (what a great way to alert, since as far as I know, it didn't come up on the tv until after we were headed to, or in, the basement), 710 was fooling around with a site he had come across: LightningMaps.

It shows you an almost real time view of lightning strikes across the country. The more you zoom into your location, the more detail you can see in your area's activity.


I say 'almost real time' because there is a 3-7 second delay from actual strike to them showing up on the website. It's not predictive modeling, so it is not telling you where a bolt will hit or when.

The tighter the circumference are post immediate strike and the reverberations from said strike grow - which you can see. What the site lacks is a good FAQ. It doesn't really say what those expanding circumferences actually mean. Is it the speed of light or sound, that now people on that outer band are seeing and hearing?

It was fun to play with, until the fun became a little too real. But like I said the other day, I love a good thunderstorm, I could just do without the flooding and tornadic activity.

On the plus side, I don't think we'll have to water our lawn at all this week.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tip of My Tongue

Isn't this the ultimate selfie?

A pic of my dentist taking a pic of me.

How very meta.

And technically she was taking a picture of my tongue.

During your semi-annual dental check-ups, your dentist is actually required (I believe) to do an oral cancer screening check.

All that consists of is taking a piece of gauze and lifting your tongue to look around and under it to make sure you have nothing going on - at least in that region. It's painless and takes seconds - I've never given it much thought.

But at my first cleaning of 2014, back in June, Dr. Dorothy took extra time looking at my mouth. I know the routine, so I know how long it takes. The longer she took, the more uncomfortable I felt - mentally, not physically. When she asked the hygienist to get her camera, I had a very mild "oh fuck" moment.

You know my theory on my doctor visits: anything that can go wrong will. This includes the dentist, but usually to a lesser degree.

On that first visit - oh yes, there's been more than one at this point - she used a real digital camera. She pointed out where I had 'a spot'. It's probably nothing, she said. Possibly from some hot / spicy food I ate in the last week, so to be sure, we'd look at it in two weeks.

I get the need for benchmarking something like this. Save for six months prior, she had nothing with which to compare, so it might be gone and no problem-o in a fortnight.

I tried to make light of it all and asked her how she would know which pics were mine, since she has a whole SD card full of Tongue Porn. She laughed. The new(er) hygienist didn't know what to think of me.

Get in line, honey.

Fast forward two weeks and I get the same look-see and again, it's not a quick evaluation. It should have been, but there was multiple looks and then the loupes went on for a more microscopic look.

And she couldn't find her digital camera and didn't know what to do, until I pointed out she had an iPhone. Lord.



These are her pics. I have no idea what she thought when I asked her to email them. I told her I was going to "something" with them - like xmas or valentine cards. She just rolled her eyes.

But per my earlier theory - what could go wrong.......

In two weeks, one spot had become two and the original one was bigger than it was 14 days earlier. Bummer.

The plan was.....kind of past tense.....to send the pics to an ENT to evaluate. Telemedicine is great, but I was feeling little comfort in this scenario. For the record, there is no sensation of pain, or any raised anything on the tongue. I'm very asymptomatic.

I mean, 15 months prior to, if you remember, I had that free Oral, Head & Neck cancer screening and walked away a winner. Even at my December 2013 dental visit, not an issue of any kind.

So I wait....and I wait.....and I wait. And hear nothing.

I send emails. I placed a call about the sent emails. Finally the receptionist, goes, "oh, I haven't read email today".  My reply was....."well what about the last 10 days, since I've send three in the last 10 days?"  Crickets.

He said the doctor would get back to me within an hour. Do I want it to be an email or phone call. I say the latter. Three hours later, I get a message back via the former.  Lord.

The ENT hadn't read his email (allegedly) and now he's on vacation. Do I want to wait?

FUCK NO.  And not because I think I'm dying. I emailed carefully - considering I'm not sure the ENT is at fault or if the dentist's office never actually sent the materials timely - that if a doctor's office or their assistant cannot read an email for over two weeks, I don't want them treating me.

I love my dentist, but I was trying to send that office a strong message without needing to find a new one.

Of course the joke is on me. Every other fucking ENT in the world is booked or on vacation in July - trust me, I've tried. So I'm finally getting in on August 1st.

That new ENT did email the dentist back while he was on vacation. He too (allegedly) thinks it is nothing but wants to see it in person. I give him points for looking at his work email on vacation. I give his office points for saying he had not appointment slots until September, but they'd get me in anyways (even if they are possibly stretching the truth).

I am going in with full expectations of not just a look-see, but a biopsy. I mean, they have to make money right? Just viewing isn't a huge billable expense. They want the professional and technical charges.

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing he won't be as down with me taking selfies during my exam. But that is not to say I won't try.

Since you know me and my worst-case scenario, I already told 710 that if I have oral cancer, I'm doing nothing. They're removing nothing. Oral or Head and Neck cancer is absolutely horrible. I won't live with half a jaw and shit like that. I don't want to end up looking like Roger Ebert.

Shallow?  Perhaps.  But I stand by it.



Song by: the Civil Wars

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Music Monday

Luck of the draw. That's where we are today. Another week with no plan on what song to put here.

So, you know the drill - or one of them - put iTunes on shuffle and the 10th song is what you get.

And what you get, kind of ironically, is a cover - even though my month of covers is over. But it is what it is.

I landed on the Roches from their contribution from a disk honoring Laura Nyro.

Arguably, Nyro's most famous songwriting credit would be "Wedding Bell Blues", which was made famous by the 5th Dimension, though she also wrote their hit, "Stone Soul Picnic" and Blood Sweat & Tears' "And When I Die".

For those who are more familiar with her folk music roots, she also wrote things like "Eli's Coming" and "Save the Country".

As for the Roches, they are a set of sister - Maggie, Terre and Suzzy - who sang folk music starting back in the '70s. With no real hits to speak of, they were something to see, if you've never seen them live.

While they all played instruments, it was the combination of their voices where their talents truly lie. Or maybe past tense. They have not released an album for over seven years and they no longer tour. Though I saw that Suzzy was on Broadway in something when I was there in May.....and for a while, she was Rufus Wainwright's stepmother....just a side note.

And on that Nyro tribute album, the Roches got "Wedding Bell Blues" as their selection. It's not quite a knock off of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis too, but it shows their talent in vocal arrangements too.

the Roches - "Wedding Bell Blues"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

App of the Month

No.

The answer is just "no".  No matter the question.  Such as......

"Is it fun?"

"Should I download it?"

"Is it intuitive?"

"Does it cost anything?"  (as if.)

I'm talking about Make Them Jump. It's by the makers of 2048, which I still have yet to master (though Sean "claims" to).

Overall, it has a three star rating. I think someone is being generous with those higher ratings.

The levels of the game are "Normal", "Nightmare", "Hell" and "Inferno".

If there are instructions, I didn't see them on the download, so as the faux-posed question above, it's not exactly intuitive to get through a level.

I was unimpressed.

But it was a suggested game while I was playing 2048. And by "suggested", I mean they automatically steered me off the game I was playing to direct me to this game.

Honestly, I liked the logo. I figured it was free, so WTF.

WFT indeed.

Save your time. Save you money.....oh wait.....it's free. So, save your time.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Take Me Out

It's Saturday - or Petey Porn Day - which seems to be your favourite day of the week for this blog. I guess I could be flattered or offended.......so we'll go with flattered.

Who wouldn't take a few shots of a 12 year old beagle over the ramblings of a slightly older male?


Petey has been a little under the weather this week. Stomach issues. He's fine. But here he is acting like Ferdinand the Bull  - and who am I to stop him?

Hey! That's not your H20 bowl. That's your brother's!!!!

Honestly, in eight years, I've maybe seen Sophie drink water 5-6 times. I know she does, but almost never see it happen. Tovah was all about being at her water bowl. Sophie, not so much. And of those 5-6 times, this is the third time it's been at Petey's water. 

Face is blurred, Super fast wagging tail is blurred, Paws on the counter coming to greet me and his harness. Someone is super-duper excited to go for a walk. 




Song by: Franz Ferdinand

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pretty and High

It is amazing (or sad) to what levels I will go when I don't have tons to write about. The plan was to never truly tell this story, but I won't lie: it's been weighing on me for a week or so. The story itself, not the telling of.

I was doing some work in cleaning up my gmail account when a friend's window popped up in g-chat (or whatever it is called). That is one function I don't use a heck of a lot, though I think it comes down to timing on when I'm in gmail and any gmail friend is also there.

Tony and I have been friends for maybe 16-17 years. He lives in Los Angeles and I would see him occasionally when I'm out there for work. We'd get together for dinner.

He mentioned in g-chat (or whatever it is called) that we had not chatted at all in 2014. It seemed implausible, but he could be correct. He asked if he told me about his hospitalization in December of last year. He had not.

It turns out Tony had one eye that wouldn't dilate and he lost vision in that one eye. Knowing this was a problem, he went to the emergency department and eventually they figured out this happening due to stage II syphilis.

Tony tells me quite a lot of things, so that he was so free with this information didn't phase me a lot, but I'm sure the bubble over my head, if I were cartoon would have been full of ??????????s.

Clearly the LA County Dept. of Health doesn't require people to squeal on their sexual partners once they're diagnosed with an STD, so they can contact those folks to get tested. Of course, I'm also assuming that those STD'ers might not know their sexual partner's names or contact information. I also don't know how long one must have syphilis to move from Stage I to II. I do know that when I had my on-going headache's last year, they tested me for syphilis to rule out neuro-syphilis, but all documentation says the neuro part might present itself 20 years into a syphilis diagnosis.

So anyway, Tony was in the hospital for five days for round the clock IV antibiotics. That's a little more than getting a shot in the ass. Alas, Tony's vision did return in that one eye. And as Tony's family, while not local, are very close, he told his parents this bit of information. I'm not sure I would have.....but that's me.

The next bit of information did not phase me at all, as you could see it coming a mile away: during his hospital stay, they also told him he was HIV positive. I'm seriously not casting judgements, but I've worked in healthcare too long to know that if you're prone to one STD that gets to a stage where you lose your vision, there's not a huge leap to assume you have one or more STDs going on.

We 'chatted' about that. He's doing fine. His counts are now under control. He did not mention if he told his parents and brother this bit of info, nor did I ask. I was just trying to make sure he was ok.

But it's the last bomb he lobbed is what still has me shaken.

He liked his Infectious Disease doctor so much, Tony told him that he's regularly been using Crystal Meth for the last two and a half years.

If the syph comment had a half dozen ?????? above my head - this one had two dozen more. This is not the Tony I know.

Trust me, I'm no poster boy for clean living - and admittedly did meth one night - but no.  No no no no no. And of course, I flashed on the times he's driving me around L.A. to dinner, and me thinking he's a horrible horrible driver. And me now wondering to myself if he was just high.

We chatted about the meth use too, and of course, I'm working on assumptions. Them being that after hospitalization, syphilis and HIV that he's on this massive road to recovery. So I was a little floored when I asked him how hard it was to stop the meth and his response was, "oh no, I'm still doing it.".

Mind you, it is text / chat, but of course, I read a slight boastful pride in that statement.

I tried not to judge, but truth be told, that was really difficult. I'd encourage him to stop, if I think that's what he wanted, but nothing in the conversation went "I know I should stop, but......". Instead he told me it's a better high to smoke meth than snort it.

The More You Know.

I also flashed on 30 Rock's Dr. Spaceman talking with Jenna about weight loss options, one being meth: "how important is tooth retention to you?"

In terms of friendship, I'm at a crossroads. Tony can't quit unless he wants to. I can nag but I'm assuming that puts a strain on, or termination to, our relationship. But to do nothing could put an end to much more.

I've seen him since on g-chat (or whatever it is called), but haven't yet initiated a conversation, nor has he. I'm not sure what to say. But I won't give up - at least not until he tells me to.


Song by:  the Roches

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thunder Clatter

While waiting for the Muses to return from their unscheduled PTO, I'll just ramble about thunderstorms.

Being in the mid-west (is Ohio really mid-'west'? je think not.), we are prone to the occasional t-storm. For the most part, I love thunderstorms.

There have been one or two that have scared the bejebus out of me - one being when driving from Columbus to Dallas where lightening was practically hitting the hood of my car. Morty, ever the alert co-pilot, slept through the entire thing.

We have also gotten a few house-rattlers. You know, when lightening is so close that the house just shakes when it strikes and you wonder what tree branch might be crashing down....and where. While intense, those can also be neat, as long as one has proper shelter.

Usually though, it is the rolling storm that comes. You can hear it approach, if not feel it, well before it actually arrives.

That got me thinking yesterday morning, around 04:30, as I was in bed and heard the thunder come near and could see some lightening through my still closed lids. I've done this hundreds of times, which is why I started thinking - it is kind of amazing that many of these storms come right before dawn. Right before I might head to the gym or into the shower or inexplicably, on trash day, when I have to trek out to the end of the drive once or twice carrying our refuse.

Don't get me wrong, we certainly get some storms at nigh or in the afternoon, but - and I don't have any data to support this - I would say the majority of these cels hit us right as we need to start our day.

The dog is smart enough to know what rain even sounds like, so unless he really has to go, he's staying on his bed and probably snoring. We are very happy to have a dog who is not afraid of the sound of thunder or fireworks.

A strong storm might stop me from a morning gym visit (because I'm probably looking for any excuse), but it won't usually stop my from my shower. Yes, I remember what my mother told me about not taking one while there is an electrical storm. 50 years later, I'm still here to talk about it. With the advent of cell phones, the old adage about being on the phone during one no longer really apply.

Maybe conditions are more favourable to thunderstorms in the early a.m., I don't know.

I've always felt bad for family and friends (well....maybe just friends) who move west and experience fewer thunderstorms. I hear from people, mostly in San Francisco, that they miss their absence. Some have missed things like that enough to move back east, though I think it's probably just that the city is cost prohibitive when it comes to housing.

Still, I lay in bed, listening to the thunder, seeing flashes of light......and then eventually rain on the roof.

710, as always, slept through it all.



Song by: Wild Cub

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blank Slate

It is one of those days. As Spo would say, the Muses have abandoned me.

This happens now and again - and why wouldn't it considering I write / post daily, but I'm never comfortable with that situation.

I fear it might take me a day or so to get back on track. I have no rationale for that fear  - it's just something I'm feeling.

More tomorrow.

Probably.

Song by: the National

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Honey for the Bees

Outside my office window, I've seen the comings and goings of bees. Lots and lots of bees.

Yellow jackets, to be specific. Or predatory wasps, as they are known.

Me no likee.

They have - well had - a nest in the garage roof, in the eaves. Ick.

While counting to 60 (it seemed like a reasonable amount of time), 16 bees went in and seven came out. That seemed like a heavy traffic area, if you axe me.

The house is 104 years old - I didn't need a bunch of bees expediting the need for a new roof, so I called a pest control guy.

Before you get all up in arms, these are not honey bees. I know there is a massive shortage of those critters doing the pollen / stamen dance. These are not those kind of bees. Honestly, I don't know what yellow jackets do, except sting the hell out of me - so for a lousy $65, a guy came and took care of them. He estimated 200+ in the hive.

Worth it.

He was telling me that 'most men' would just have caulked up the opening and why 'most men' shouldn't do that. Besides for the fact that I'm sure I'd get stung 200+ times, he said that the caulk wouldn't stay put and if it did the bees would eat through it.

Nice.

He also said not to seal it for 3-4 weeks. Let the hive dry out. If I didn't, the larva would ferment (or something) in there and the smell would be incredibly bad.

A few times, he mentioned how 'my wife' wouldn't like that.....and how 'my wife' probably didn't like the bees.

All I know is that 710's 'wife' doesn't like the bees or the would-be rotting smell outside my office and that I signed the check for him to come back in a week (with 90 day follow-up) to get rid of the little buggers.

A 'wife's' work is never done.



Song by: Alison Moyet

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Music Monday

My infatuation with the Civil Wars' last album was a little short-lived.

Don't get me wrong, it still is good, but I way way way over-played it and I have barely revisited it in the last six months.

Oddly, I made a copy of the disk for my sister-in-law and she said the same thing, so it is just not me.

With just two band members, their short lived career (as a band) was well-crafted and they seemed to fit well together.

But now and then there is a nugget of theirs that still exists out there. One of those is "Tip of My Tongue". It has been out there for years, but finally put out on a post-break-up release, so the record company can get something back on their investment.

What I like about the song is that John Paul White's singing and playing. I do like their arrangements too and it seems fairly seamless when you know it was a lot of rehearsing.

Joy Williams is talented, but now and then, especially live, her mannerisms are like that of an annoying girl at a party who isn't actually drunk but acts like it so people think she's cool when they just find her, well....annoying.

In the studio she sings well, and she can live, but sometimes it's a little mush-mouth. Such is the case here, but the pros still out weight the cons. Yeah, I wish White had a more dominant role in the song, but his talent makes up for Williams' showiness.

Sunday, July 20, 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!


Man, I hope Devo is getting some kind of payment for this.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Little Sister

While there certainly is some Petey in today's Petey Porn, I am going a little Sophie-centric today. The poor girl doesn't get the attention she did before his arrival.


Sister love. Always by his side. Or at least usually. 

See? 

Sometimes, she has love for one of her dads. Not a lot, but now and then. 

.....and apparently at night, I'm just a Grooming Station.  Worth it!!!



Song by: Rufus Wainright

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lives in the Balance

I read the notice as Paddleboard Yoga - something else to check off our yoga list.

What it probably said was Paddleboard and Yoga.  Ooops.

Sometimes I think that Evelyn Wood class just wasn't worth it.

Bri, who has done grocery store, museum and sky yoga had another event almost two weeks ago, about which I'm now just getting around to writing - though you gotten a teaser, if you read for content earlier in last week.

What it said was: Paddleboard and yoga.  Ohhhhhhhh.

I have never been on a paddleboard. At Becky's parent's house, I tried wind surfing with disastrous results - but that may have had more to do with my blood-alcohol content than my normal ability to balance on a fiberglass board.

Or maybe this time it was a bit easier that due to yoga, I have a better sense of balance itself. And maybe because I signed a waiver saying I was not allowed to drink and be on the lake at the same time. Silly details.

I was up on the board in seconds. I'd say 10 minutes in, my legs were dying because I was so tense, hoping not to fall in - which of course, is exactly what happened. But that turned out to be a good thing, as I no longer had that fear.

One does not really paddle like a kayak or canoe, so it took a while to figure out how to steer and such. And the lake was so calm, even with people around - potentially pointing and laughing - I tried a few poses myself.

That is the only one I know that was caught on film. Film. Ha. It's not 1977.  But I did a few Bridge poses, and not-so-ironically Boat pose too. Plank was fine. Down and Up Dog were fine. Warrior I seemed shaky but doable. Warrior II didn't work so well and Blobby ended up in the water more than once.

Some others were doing headstands. Some attempted handstands. Fucking show-offs. Oh yeah - this isn't about ego {big eye roll!}.

And we jammed to some very urban tunes. For a white girl, Bri is all about the "No Diggity". Though she threw in some Nine Inch Nails too.

video

After two hours (!) on the board, it was time for 75 minutes of yoga. While it was fun, it is safe to say that afterwards, I was sore. My shoulders ached (kind of still do) from two hours of paddling.

But between Bri's husband and photographer friend, they shot a fun little video.




I'm more psyched that there is another of these in 2-3 weeks. There are other actual classes that do yoga on the boards. It's $60, and you know I'm notoriously cheap, so we'll see if I break into my wallet for that or not.



Song by: Jackson Browne

Thursday, July 17, 2014

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! 



When I saw Marti Jones perform last January, she mentioned she was having a Bossa Nova record coming out in 2014. She played one potential selection, "Keep it to Yourself" and it was nice. But any new music from her is welcome.

That said, I want to love this record. But we don't always get what we want.

The thing with Bossa Nova is, you really have to want it. Brazilian in nature, it makes for great background music - or evening drinking music -  for one or three incredible songs, but rarely does one listen to the genre for a total of 42 minutes in a row.

You're Not the Bossa Me attempts the style - which works and doesn't. The songs have the percussion down. Ditto with the horns. The guitars are ok, but not quite authentic, though I don't think they're supposed to be.  This disk is heavily Bossa-infulenced, but not down to the letter.

It is the vocals with which I have one of my bigger issues. Jones has a great alto. But later Bossa Nova trends (which this disk is emulating) are known for the softer and more subtle vocal palate. Jones meets that requirement, but in turn minimizes and marginalizes her own talents. It really works on a few songs, but then it just falls flat  - literally. While I think it's the written music (and not her actual vocals), some of the words land on a flat note.

Kelley Ryan apparently / allegedly co-produced with Don Dixon (there was no digital booklet to see the writing / producing / playing credits - which irks me) and her style seems to dominate. Ryan is fine in limited doses, but you hear her in the music (which no doubt she wrote or co-wrote) and inserts herself into the vocals, which far too often.

Again, there are a few decent songs, but I won't go as far as to say they're outstanding.

I think the biggest issue I have with the disk is that what I normally get out of Jones' music is the ability to to connect, sing along and usually achieve some emotional resonance. I get none of that here. It's light-weight, which is fine for a song or two, but ultimately, they all run together and it's hard to distinguish one song from another.

And that's a shame. Bossa Me is Jones' first solo disk since 2002 (and only her seventh since 1985), so prolific she is not. I'd like to hear what she'll do on her next disk, but that could be a decade away.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Do It Again

Well, whomever edited the trailer for Begin Again, did a better job at film making than whomever the full-length movie.

We saw the preview at two different movies and I will admit to being the one who wanted to see it more.

On a lark eight years ago, we went to see a yet unknown movie called Once, which I loved. It was an unassuming movie where almost nothing happened but it still intrigued you. Or at least me.

They might have just called this movie Twice.

It was all very pleasant. I like Mark Ruffalo (hey, he's the Hulk). I like Keira Knightley (loved her in Bend it Like Beckham and the little seen Looking for a Friend at the End of the World). But I can't help think that the writer / director, John Carney, did this all before and better.....eight years ago.

Both films had musicians who had been dumped and down on their luck and a saviour of sorts (who is separated from their spouse) who lifted them up, gave them the hope of success (but not actual success) and miraculously not end up together. That last part would be the movie anomaly if Carney didn't do the exact same thing and better....eight years ago.

I get that we in the U.S. have a short attention span. I also get the 'go with what you know' mentality. And I get the studio's thing of, "hey, it was a hit before...." but this time it was all very average. Still - the same movie basically twice and twice in a row?

Apparently, someone felt the need to bring in Adam Levine to play a "rock star"....with that less-than-Jamiroquai-like scrodeling that he calls "singing". (what a stretch.) His acting talents should be reserved for staying silent and taking off his shirt - neither of which he does in this movie (oh...yeah....Spoiler Alert). Honestly, two of his songs were sooooooo bad - so maybe he wasn't "acting".

In Once, I found the music engaging. Hell, I bought the soundtrack. With Begin Again, the songs are mundane....at best. Knightley does her own singing, and she's not bad, but it's not stellar - though it is not supposed to be. And then, there is the lame material she had to work with.

But it is the little things that make me roll my eyes:  going to a rapper's house (Cee-Lo Green, who is way more natural at acting than Levine), and you see the skyline of Los Angeles, even though the movie takes place in NYC.  Or the recording session on top of a building that miraculously has a recliner, a table with a lamp on it. Or the whole set-up of Ruffalo's daughter who is to play guitar on one song, her mother goes on about how horrible she is on the instrument and of course in one take nails the part like a seasoned pro...........even though she's never heard the song she's supposed to play on, let alone ever rehearsed......and she's 14 (though looks 29).

Sigh.

And yes, those musical things happened in Once too. First time it was cute....second time it was much harder to overlook.

Ruffalo is fine in his role. He's done much better in other films. It is Knightley who makes the movie watchable. It is her energy and talent that move the film along.

The movie was all fine and good, but I wouldn't recommend anyone pay to see it. That's what cable is for. And if you've seen Once, you've kind of seen Twice Begin Again.

Oh - and they couldn't even be bothered to alter the poster images that much.




2014 Movie Count / Goal:   4 of 12. 



Song by: Diana Krall

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Theme for a Nude Beach

From gay marriage (last week), to naked weddings (today).

A friend of mine - who shall go nameless - sent me an email the other day, just discussing this and that. We started out with 4th of July stuff, then weather (there was a hurricane back then, ya know!) and then to family.

It was in his closing paragraph that he added this:

we are going to "attend my nephews wedding. It will surely be the social event of the season. Well, in upstate New York anyway. It's a clothing optional wedding reception so that will at least be interesting."

Yes, there is no apostrophe in 'newphews'. Oh the shame.  The shame!!!!  But I'm leaving it as is...well,  mostly because of the shame. At least he got "it's" correct. Batting .500.

Oh - and way. to. bury. the. lead!

Granted, it is upstate NY - which could or could not mean 'Woodstock'-area. Hippy Dippy Central. ...at least east of the Mississippi. But 'clothing optional'?  I'll assume that means for bridal party as well as the guests?

He didn't say. I forgot to ask.

I can think of one (or several related) or two positive take-away(s) from this type of wedding:  what to wear.

I mean, the guy in the pic has some kind of thong on. But it's "optional", right? Still it is not 'naked'. But going along with the what to wear is: less to pack.  And the wedding party will save a fortune on dresses they will never wear again - bride included.

I guess another 'win' would be digital photography. If the wedding photog and the guests with their Kodak Instamatics didn't have the ability to process their prints at home, the police would be waiting for them trying to get porn prints when they drove back up to the FotoMat.

The only other possible win is if the someone attending is hot. Granted, that is in the eye of the beholder, but it's like the holy grail - rare, if it exists at all.

Of course, the drawbacks are many more.  Many many many more.

Let's start with dear old dad walking his daughter down the aisle. Ick. Hell, we may as well just jump to the father-daughter dance. Double ICK!  Even more awkward when that dance is "Baby Got Back".

And since we touched on photos - oh those awkwardly posed bridal and family shots. Picking the matting and frame that doesn't clash with grandma's skin tone is going to be tricky.

For the groom, shoes are not optional if you're Jewish. You do not want to lacerate your Achilles tendon while breaking the glass.

Then there is the receiving line. Old Aunt Edna isn't the 'optional' kind of woman and she doesn't want to get your lactation juices, Vagasil or pre-cum on her new dress she snagged from the clearance rack at Chicos. I guess it's a handshake and how-do-you-do from Edna. There will be no hugs.

Now we are down to food. Clearly buffet is not an option. Even NY health codes have to agree with this one. Sure you have sneeze guards, but........there's a lot more than noses going on here...and little of it to do with sneezing. That would be a lot of plexi-glass. And man, please watch the sterno. Those things are HOT. And crab or foot long hot dogs should not be an entry option - not even for the laugh.

Yes, the wait staff might not be thrilled having to provide sit-down service, but it really is the only way. And for g-d's sake, I'm assuming everyone gets two linens?  One as their napkin and one for, well, covering the chair seat? You know how Cousin Frank was never good with personal hygiene. And on that same thought - best not to make those linens white.

It should go without saying, if I have to subjected to seeing your mother-in-law's saggy tits, then there had better be an open bar.

Top shelf.

...and that bar had better be fully operational four hours before the wedding.



Song by: the B-52's

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Music Monday

Once again, I let time get away from me and had not a song planned.

This going with the last song I hear in the car or #10 on an iTunes liberry shuffle works though. It kind of takes the pressure off - and that is not a bad thing.

Today you're getting Dar Williams.

I heard Williams on NPR back in the very early '90s singing "the Babysitter's Here", and went out and bought her debut disk, which she was then promoting. I went on to purchase her next 6-7 solo disks and have seen her live twice. Apparently she has two other original material disks out that I have missed.

Granted, she's not major label material, but that works in her favour. She puts out what she wants, when and how. While I really liked that song or two NPR played so long ago, I wasn't a huge fan of the entire disk. Her subsequent material got stronger.

On 2005's My Better Self, she does a not embarrassing cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb".

It is the same album from which I got today's selection, "Beautiful Enemy".

I'm glad my Music Roulette landed on this song, as might be my favourite from this album. I hope you don't mind it. Maybe you'll even enjoy it.

...and it's rare to get a song with the word 'hegemony' in the lyrics. And by 'rare', I mean 'never'.



Dar Williams - "Beautiful Enemy"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 53rd 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.  a dynamite blast had woken me earlier (implosion of an old bridge)....and Sophie was ready for her morning feeding time. 

06:30. Making sure the barrels are still in place.

People actually remove them to drive past the sign. I put snow stakes up on the right, as you can see some of the tire marks of people who would just drive on the lawn to go around the barrels.  Our neighbors across the street followed my lead.

On my way to yoga, I actually caught a mother having her 7 and 8 year old girls moving the barrels to go through. Oh yes, I called them on it and made them leave.

Oh oh oh - her license plate?  'JC4U'.  I should have questioned her on what Jebus would have done. I also should have said I was videoing it, along with her license plate and sending it to the police.

am the cranky old man, you know.


06:40.  Seriously. A 20 page special section of paper devoted to the return of LeBron James.
I wished he'd never come back. 


09:30.  Morning dew on a spider's web between / over flowers. 


09:55.  Yoga "Rocks" the Park.

Five minutes before start and yet barely anyone was set-up to go. About 2/3 more folks actually plopped down before we got going.  The musicians were actually good.

I really haven't done yoga indoors for almost two months. Outdoor yoga is awesome. (and yes, Scott taught this class.)

11:15. Post-yoga snack ready for consumption. And sharing.

I gave some of my Rainier cherries to familiar yogis. All female btw.


11:40.  Aftermath of that aforementioned bridge implosion. Less than a mile from my yoga practice.

14:25. Dude, we don't have many rules in this house for you, but try to stay on the cover.
Ahhh - that's ok. He's cute. Cuteness lets you get away with a lot.

15:15. Helping 710 with some electrical work.
Let's be clear: this is all I'm qualified with which to assist - holding the tester to show if wire is live.

17:30.  Returning after Petey's 2nd walk. 
His Invisible Fence collar gets taken off, and we leave it behind and pick it up once we come back.

19:50. Paws & Claws time. 
See the white part of the nail (the lunula)? I don't like it at all. I trim my nails at the first sign of it. Yes - even that little amount. So off they came. 

22:00.  Full moon. Supermoon, in fact. Peeking through the trees and the clouds. 

22:15. Your Baker's Dozen. 
Dessert. A cookie or a small ice cream wasn't going to cut it today. So I got both. 


Until next month......at least for 12 of 12

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Here Comes the Weekend

All week I was sure 12 of 12 fell on Petey Porn Day. But I was wrong. So I didn't really plan lots of Petey pics. 

Good for you (well, and me) that I have some back-log of unused images. And Sophie is in here for good measure. 

 Petey checking out the junk in David's trunk.  

 Can we go out now? Can we go out now? Can we go out now? Can we go out now?

Maybe "someone" is getting an extra treat while I was cooking. 

Sophie is perfectly able to open this door when she wants to. But if someone can come to her rescue - better yet. ....just like a girl. 

 It is truly a sad day when four seniors - one in a wheelchair - laps us on our walk. 

 Wakey! Wakey!!!

She is sooooo not supposed to be on the counter - albeit the one that only holds keys and no food. She was waiting there from when I came in from getting the paper. 



No doubt both of them will be making appearances in tomorrow's 12 of 12. I mean, assuming they do something cute. 



Song by: P!nk

Friday, July 11, 2014

Old Man

It's official.

I have become the Old Man [citation needed] who yells at kids to get off his lawn.

Due to construction, the road is closed at the end of our street, which also just happens to be where our house is situated.

While barricades have been erected to keep traffic from going in or out, people just don't seem to care. Forget the fact that they have to pass another similar sign and barrels 700 feet sooner that they just soon ignore.

While walking Mr. Pete, in a way it's kind of fun to see the lemmings. One car goes one way, and the rest all follow.....assuming. Always assuming. Until they hit the dead-end (even after passing one of the signs and multiple barrels) and have to turn around.

It's even funnier when the lead car puts it in reverse but has a line behind them who are just sitting there, unsure of what to do. But inevitably, they back up. Some into a driveway (usually ours). Usually missing part of the actual drive and their wheel go onto our lawn.

Or there is the poorly executed three-point turn, which almost invariably gets at least two wheels onto the lawn, since they're nowhere near the actual drive.

And then there are the kids who go down into the ravine to get high. These are teens arriving in the brand new Audi Q7s or their Lexus,  or my favourite, the $115,000(+) G class SUV. Kids. With a car worth over 100 grand. All of them adorned with their private high school stickers.

Those poor tots are forced to go into the mosquito-infested woods to get high. Isn't that why they have their servant quarters and country houses?

But since they're so entitled anyways, they have no qualms about dumping their trash on our lawn or backing over it.

I snapped the license plate of one of them as five kids sat in it waiting for me to disappear. As if.

The lone guy got out and asked why I was taking a picture of their car. My response is, "you know why - so you tell me". They left in a teen huff. As much as one can do in an expensive piece of German machinery that mums and dads gave them.

During the school year, it's easy to predict their traffic. Right after school till right before they have to be home for dinner or homework. During summer, all bets are off. It starts at 11:00 and goes until at least 23:00. Dozens of cars per day. The police do nothing.

And let me tell you, it's a little disconcerting to watch a 13-14 year old girl go down deep into those woods with 2 or 3 19-20 year old guys. But if she has to have a train pulled on her to get her fix, that's her life.

The kids speed out of here, going the wrong way on a one way street, or peel out going 50 in a 25 where kids play and old men [citation needed] walk their dog.

Honestly, I am praying one of them gets t-boned by an on-coming car, if not a full-on head-on collision. I hate to say it, but it won't matter that much if a kid who is high is injured or dies - it's got to be the innocent person in the other auto before the law takes notice.

But the actual yelling part, to which I referred in the beginning was a Davey Landscaping truck, trying to go around the barriers.....while I sat in my front lawn....watching......waiting.

Actually, I was cutting my lawn. There was no way they couldn't see me. There was also no way to get through. Well, I mean, even if they drove on the lawn around the barriers, there were a good 6-7 huge construction vehicles working at that moment. They'd have had nowhere to go. Still, they made weak attempts.

Oh, and it wasn't just a truck but a multi-wheeled trailer with all their gear. So when they decided to back-up - which is tricky in its own right - I stood and watched them roll over the tree lawn with their truck and trailer.....and even though they saw me, continued to keep going.

Until I yelled.

I killed the mower. I yelled again and stormed walked toward the street.

That is when they stopped. I mean, I could walk faster than they could back-up, not only with the trailer, but the soon to be other set of signs they'd have to maneuver around.

They apologized profusely. Like I cared. But I also told them since they were a lawn care company, they could fix the damage they just did.

And they did. I will at least give them that. Kind of. When I went back out I noticed a big chunk they didn't touch. So I left a message with the company.


Of course, had no one seen, they'd have kept going, of this I am almost assured.

I have had it with reseeding that part of the lawn 3-4 times per year due to assholes like this. Boulders are our next step. Small enough to fit, but big enough to damage their fucking cars. They can explain that to mommy and daddy how they have a $2700 repair bill.

And while some (especially Jeremy but also Geoffrey, David) have labeled me an alter cocker - I'm going on record to say, until my father passes on, that title does not pass to me.

...but yeah, I'm cranky.  What of it?



Song by: Neil Young