Monday, August 31, 2015

My Music Monday

The last of the duet theme. Phew.

Finding good duets was harder than I thought. I have tons of iffy ones, or too familiar ones. So it came down to the choice I opted for versus another one.

What to do?  What to do?

Well, I went with Fun Boy Three & Bananarama doing, "It Ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)".

Originally it was titled "T'Aint What You Do (with the parenthetical). Maybe even back in 1982 "Taint" wasn't looked on favourably by the record execs.

It was the two groups first duet, but later they re-teamed for "Really Saying Something" with Bananarama (oh yes, in some iteration, 30+ years later, they're still recording) at the top of the ticket.

Terry Hall had already achieved fame from co-writing "Our Lips are Sealed" which became a huge hit for the Go-Go's, but was recorded by FBT a few years after the Go-Go's made the song famous.

The song has a ska vibe and at the time, I'm not sure one would glean that Bananarama had a strong enough vocals presence to ever achieve the number of hits they'd end up having - though some would say that was more the doing of their producers than its singers (though Siobhán Fahey would later prove herself more than competent as founder and vocalist for Shakespears Sister) .

Still, for what it is, I still like "It Ain't What You Do".  It's less than three minutes, and that is just fine. I mean, it was the early 80's. It was expected.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Send a Message to My Heart

I don't have much today - that's for sure.

But a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon (though oddly enough, not at a long ad for Coke, El SMS.   ....titled as such, because I guess txt jargon doesn't translate

I'm not a huge fan of Dustin Lance Black, but he did a good job directing this ad. And clearly, clocking in at over seven and one-half minutes, it's more than just an ad for a soft drink. I don't think you actually see a Coke bottle until the six minute mark.

And yes, the ad is in Portuguese, but there are sub-titles. So if you don't have Adult ADHD, I think you can make your way though a 7:42 video and read along, that is, unless you already speak Portuguese fluently.

While there is a good story here, I hope that this signals an even greater change in culture, perception and education of a younger generation. It's great that Coca-Cola paid to have this produced, but I can't imagine where this actually plays. It's much too long for television.

I guess it is just for social media - and they suckered guys like me into writing a clip about it.

Still - take some actual time watch it (Morty!).  In theory they probably could have shaved at least two minutes off it in editing, but it works.

Song by: Dwight Yoakam

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Be Cool

It's the end of August, but this week has been like early October, temp-wise. Allegedly going back into the upper 80s next week. In a way it's been nice, as it is Petey's optimal walking temp. We can go far distances without him getting overheated.

...and he does like his walks. But now.......on with the photo-show.

Petey really is the mayor of a our 'hood. Everyone knows and greets him. Cars stop to ask about him, never actually addressing 710 or myself. "Hi Petey, how are you???"  Even a woman who hates dogs. But she likes Petey. 

And 2 year old Theo, is afraid of dogs.....except for Petey. He yells "PETEY!" when he sees us down the street. And then pets him very gently. 

His 9 month old brother, Owen, just goes "woof!".    ...even though Petey never barks. 

Pete is very happy to flop down and lie on my foot while trying to get something from the pantry. 

Stripey McBrownerson, doing what she does best. 

I couldn't get a great shot of Pete in front of the Black-Eyed Susans. 

I'm not even sure how these are still alive. Ours went away weeks ago. 

That's all for this week. Stay tuned. I almost guarantee there will be other Petey / Sophie pics next week. 

Song by: Joni Mitchell

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sweet Nuthin'

Not unless your jacking off over me, you're not!

BTDubs - this falls under the 'nonsense' category - which I do far too infrequently here.

Song by: Chrissie Hynde

Thursday, August 27, 2015

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! 

I want to say I love the new Rickie Lee Jones album, the Other Side of Desire, but so far, I'm a month and a half-in and it is not gelling with me.

Rooted and recorded in New Orleans, Jones tries to straddle the line of her version of pop with the jazz routes of the city, so it ends up not succeeding in either. In theory, that straddling could have made for a very interesting record. In reality - it doesn't.

Musically, "Jimmy Choos" is good, but Jones has some of the weakest vocals of her career on this song.  The light-hearted, almost children's song quality of "I Wasn't Here" is just distracting beyond belief. "Blinded by the Hunt", there are just times she sounds like Aaron Neville. I'm not saying this as a positive.

I really do like "Infinity".  But that is the only one that I really really like.  I can't help feeling that "Feet on the Ground" was a pseudo throwback to a Pirates era song, but not as well executed.

I can't, and don't, expect an artist to remain the same from year to year, or album to album, but I did expect more from Jones. I like how her artistry has changed on most disks in terms of style and production, but this one is not as welcome as some of her other iterations.

With the Other Side of Desire, I can listen to a song or two, but it is never an album I'll be able to sit through for an entire play.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Love Rollercoaster

Last Friday, 710 and I went (back) up to Cedar Point.

We went three years ago - and it was ok. It was a rough start for two old men and some of the coasters, but we rebounded nicely.

This year, we planned it a little better.

Since it was late in August - and a BEAUTIFUL day - most colleges have already started, and the majority of Ohio public schools had too. So we took our chances and thought it would be a great day. And it was. I think this last Monday would have been even better as any straggling schools definitely started this week.

As it was - there were few lines. The bigger ones (one 45 min, one 33) were only that long due to malfunctions of the rides themselves. The rest were less than 10 minutes each.

There is an included video below, but I didn't set stuff up as well as I should have - or done follow-up like I should have. So I'll do some fixing of that now here.

The one ride that was bad last year - Mantis - of which I hated, is now inexplicably called the Rougarou.  It's a suspended coaster, using the same track as the Mantis. It still sucks. It didn't bounce me around as bad as last time, but it did 710.

The big wooden coaster I reference which I would never ride again - I said that last year. I stuck to that this year, but didn't clarify that. Never will I ride the Mean Streak again. Horrid.

The biggest winner was the Maverick. I say it was our third attempt to ride it. This is true. What was unclear was that our third attempt in three visits to the park. The ride was closed the other two times. It was the one with the longest line this year - again, due to malfunctions and people actually hurling on it. Or peeing. Or pooping. They didn't specify what kind of "illness" they had on ride. I did notice that no one could sit in the back seat of two of the three cars. THAT can't be good.

The MagnumXL2000 (stupid stupid name) was a lot more rougher of a ride than it used to be. It may have been the second roughest ride of them all.

We only rode coasters this year. No spinney rides. Nor did we do the SlingShot ride either - first, it was $50 each (!!!!) and another $100 if you wanted the Go-Pro video of yourself.  That's bullshit. Secondly - it was a sling shot that threw you 350 ft into the air.

Millennium Force is still awesome. The poor woman behind us (in late 50s) who'd never ridden a coaster before was scared shitless - with her husband, son and myself trying to tell her how great it was. I'm glad she got on (and us too) as, shortly after, the ride closed for the rest of the day.

We skipped the Mine Ride (always do), the Blue Streak and the Raptor. The latter was where someone got killed last week for climbing the fence. You'll get a very very brief reference to that in the video.

Still - a great day. Couldn't have asked for a nicer one.

As the weekend wore on, I did have some aching to my shoulders and back. It's the small price to pay for 9-10 hours of fun.

Song by: the Ohio Players

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Among the Americans

Sunday night was movie night. And well, night was actually late afternoon.

We went to go see American Ultra, but judging by everyone who was being searched on the way in, was this standard protocol for anyplace showing Straight Outta Compton?

Should I be fortunate or worried that no one searched the only two white guys in the lobby (us)?  Should I mention that all the theater employees were of color? Mind you, this was the same theater where patrons were having their heads smashed by other members of the audience (with metal bars!), so they could rob them in the actual cinema while watching a movie.

We've been to this theater plenty - never being searched. Never seeing security, even after the head-bashing incidents.

As for our movie?  I liked it. A lot.

We saw previews for this when we either saw Jurassic World or Trainwreck - I can't remember which. But I turned to 710 and said it looked fun. Granted, the editing in the previews were probably a little better than the film itself, still I liked the full length film.

American Ultra will win zero awards. I won't be in many (if any) critic's top 10 movies of the year lists, but it's fun summer fare.

Think Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets the Bourne Ultimatum / Supremacy / Identity / Legacy meets Pineapple Express.

The story has somewhat been done before - but that's ok. There's very few new premises out there. That being said, there is a twist in the story I didn't see coming.

Normally, I can take or leave Jesse Eisenberg. Usually he's harmless....even borderline cute. But he works well here. Save for Panic Room when she was 10 (?), I've never seen Kristen Stewart in a movie. I'm not a 12 yo girl, so I've never seen (or read) the Twilight series. Allegedly she was / is great in Clouds of Sils Maria, but that was at our theater for all of two weeks, so I missed it. I actually liked her in Ultra.

Ultra is fairly fast paced and with some more than implied violence. I say "implied" because it's really there, but with much of the film taking place at night - and with good camera angles, you're spared much of the would-be gore.

If there are flaws in the movie, and there are, most are minor - and some (believe it or not) are nitpicking from me.

For some unexplained reason, I kind of like Topher Grace. But he's done this exact same role as the young upstart who is cocky and ultimately wrong. I can't remember the name of the movie, but it had Dennis Quaid and Scarlet Johansson in it.  Tony Hale is always playing the almost bumbling assistant. And I like Connie Britton, but it seems like she was either miscast for the role or had zero time to prep. She did ok, but I wanted more. Bill Pullman and his probable TMJ? While he was fine in his bit part, there was a portion of it that just didn't fit into the movie, though I doubt a single person other than myself noticed.

The movie is a little messy, but fun. I'd venture to guess not as good if Eisenberg and Stewart weren't in it. They seem appealing throughout. I'd give it a solid B........maybe even a B+

2015 Movie Count / Goal:  10 of 12

Song by: 10,000 Maniacs

Monday, August 24, 2015

My Music Monday

I guess it's a duet?

It's mostly Joe Henry "featuring" his sister-in-law, who you might determine is doing more of a background vocal thing than a straight-up (now tell me) duet.

Oh - and yes, Henry's sister-in-law happens to be Madonna.

I mentioned last month that Henry produced the Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris disk I just reviewed. He's a recording artist in his own right - more rock or Americana than say something is Madge might do.

Oddly, he's probably made more money having songwriting credits on her albums (mostly the last few, which have been lackluster in sales) than he gets for his own work. But volume is the key when it comes to making the doughnuts.

Henry / Madonna's biggest collaboration was her "Don't Tell Me" off her Music disk, which is very different than his song called "Stop". But I'm sure it made him some coin.

"Guilty By Association" is a subdued number, not even written by either of these two, but by Vic Chestnutt, who was paralyzed in the early '80s and died in 2009, about 13 years after this song was released (that's 1996, folks). The song was part of a benefit album to cover Chestnutt's expenses.

The song stays the course. It doesn't build - it just kind of plods along, but not in a bad way. I'm not sure unless someone told you it was Madonna singing on the track that you'd know it was her. I suppose, if you didn't know their relationship, you'd never ever suspect her to collaborate with the likes of Henry.

Nicki Minaj AND Joe Henry?  Madonna IS a renaissance woman!!!!  Is there anyone she won't "sing" with?  Anything she can't do???  I mean, except, you know, sing in tune without the help of pre-recorded vocals and an auto-tuner?

It's not a bad song by most standards, but it is unexpected.

There is no official video, but I'm having a little issue with just the embedded player I've been using always working - so this is the least offensive (read: Madonna oriented) fan video I could find.

(you might have to turn up the volume to actually hear Madge.)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

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!

Beer names are becoming as numerous, and as clever (?) and funny (??) as wine ones. Of course "clever" and "funny" are relative.

Sweet Baby Jesus.

Still a few weeks ago, while doing the grocery shopping, this display made me stop and give pause.

While I thought it was hilarious, I wasn't sure how, or if, it would play in Peoria.  ....and apparently it didn't. People were offended by the name.

The man turned water in to wine {allegedly}, so you think these Puritans would be ok with beer - it has a lower alcohol content.

I didn't buy it. I'm not big on porter - and chocolate peanut butter should be reserved for ice cream anyways - not beer.

Still - it made me smile.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cat & the Dog Trap

Saturday. Petey & Sophie.  That's really all you need to know - right?

Petey & myself - on a walk in the park.

We moved Sophie's fud back downstairs, and Petey thought he'd take a run at it. 
He's pretending like he doesn't see me, in hopes of getting around me. 

Petey is very friendly to all - but he has a special place in his heart for his cousin, David. 
Petey gets so frickin' excited when David comes over. Of course, maybe the treats David always brings might be part of the reason. But not all. 

And a very pretty portrait of Sophie. 

Song by: Cat Stevens

Friday, August 21, 2015

Under the Bridge

You'd think I would be smart enough, and savvy enough, to stay away from people who post political crap on Facebook.

Normally I do.

Usually, I post almost nothing political. I don't see what good can come of it. But 2016 - hell, 2015 !!! - is a contentious battle for the Oval Office.  More so than usual.

So every little thing is being put up on social media - bet it FB or blogs. I'm assuming Twitter too, though I do try to stay far away from that shit.

I do blog about politics now and again, but you really have to search this out to find it - and not open to FB "friends". Most of the people who follow me here are like-minded, or at least based in rational, logical thought.

Hey - I said "most of".

I'm amazed at how people so easily post the most inane stuff. And the most untruthful stuff too - things that can easily be discounted as false, or not even in existence, with a quick Goooooogle search. So I try to stay away from hitting 'reply'.

Sometimes, however, I can't help myself but to respond.

It started with a cousin of mine. Ex-military, dyed in the far right GOP - yet still one of the only family members to congratulate me on the SCOTUS ruling. But he FB'd something about Ann Coulter. I chided him about how vile the woman was and how could he even reference her for anything.  He at least copped to knowing she was a twat, but that she was right on this one issue (some 14th amendment thing she was saying on FOX).

Another was on John Kasich, who said he wanted to abolish all teacher's lounges at all schools. Don't even get me started on that statement. But I was wise enough to pose my comment because I knew the originator of the thread and felt on safe ground.

Then there was the one about how Trump is chipping away at Hillary's lead.

I couldn't help myself.  I said - you mean a lead in that election thingy that is 14 months away. The one where neither person has their own parties nomination? 

It got good responses, but some nasty ones too. I mean, just don't post stuff just to post stuff. Anyone with half a brain knows a poll that far out with that many unknowns is meaningless. And it is meaningless, but the media helps choose the winner of an election much more than the actual candidate does. To anyone with that half a brain it probably doesn't - it's the less brainiacs that you need to worry about.

Then I edged into a debate about this.......

Read it.  Think about it. And let me know what the inference is - if any.   Go on.  I'll wait.

I first started off saying that the VA problem has been around for decades. This is nothing new. But really started off saying that GOP is cutting funding for any veteran programs - including health care, so they really shouldn't be talking about it.

I got a reprimand that it doesn't matter if the VA issue was 5 years or 50 - it's unacceptable. I don't discount that, but once you are behind starting unnecessary wars and creating hundreds of thousands of veterans - many of them wounded, physically and mentally - you better have the resources to support that back and front.

I also said, that one of these issues of which Donny speaks are not related in any way, shape or form.

Now, when you read this - don't you think that is what he was inferring?

My friend thought they were two separate issues, but the way the sentence is constructed, there is nothing to make me think this. And that is what is wrong with politics - especially the GOP.

Maybe it was meant as two items, but the way it was said, would lead a lesser voter to think:  HEY! Veterans can't catch a break because of those Hispanics who come into our country illegally!!!!!

Yes, those immigrants who are 'taking our jobs'. You know the ones we are all clamoring for - picking tomatoes for 13 hours a day at $4 an hour with zero benefits. But that's another post.

Trumps comments have zero to do with each other. Immigrants aren't walking into VA hospitals. And if they have no insurance, they are self-pay and after a while a hospital writes off these charges as 'charity care'. All hospitals do this. And most not for profit hospitals are usually required to provide charity care.

But the crux is - the mixed rhetoric that politicians say. I'm a semi-smart man, I know those two things have nothing to do with one another. So did my friend. BUT, he thought it was clear they weren't conjoined. I think your average Joe would think the exact opposite.

Am I wrong here?

Song by: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Basement Scene

I won't say the basement is done done, but close enough.

We moved the washer and dryer back, and even rearranged them so they are more convenient than the previous owners had things set up for. We were lazy 10 years ago and just kept it as is.

There are actually five rooms to our basement. We've done one of them. Though I think for the adjoining room, we will paint the walls and floor too, but the rest of the rooms will stay as is. I don't really have need to go back to the 'canning room' and spruce that up. As it is, it hold old cans of paint, tile and the likes.

Since we had been out of commission for a few weeks, I had a bunch of laundry to catch up on. I keep banging my head in the new place the washer is situated, but I'm sure I'll figure it out - or buy foam from Homo Depot.

The cat boxes are moved back down stairs. The food gets moved today. No more 'snacks' for Petey.

It's not perfect, but again, it's an unfinished basement. It looks a heck of a lot better than when we moved in, and even a fuck of a lot better than it did in mid June.


It's not quite as scary as it was. Along one of those empty walls we need some new shelves. We had some that we tore down after the flood, but we need places other than the floor to store some stuff.



Not exact same shots, but you get the idea. Tool chest is back in place, the dryer moved a little more to the left than it had been. We wanted to get a lot more lighting down there too, and while we will, it will be less than imagined. The floor and walls make it that much brighter.

It's not as scary to be down there. Not scary at all, actually.

I don't foresee anymore basement updates for you.  Let's consider this case closed!

Song by: Deerhunter

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Baking with Blobby

Last Sunday, my mother sent me home with five lemons.

"Use them", she said.

It is a problem with her - buying things, or quantities of things, she doesn't need and cannot possibly use. I love her dearly, but she has almost zero need to shop at Costco, where you can't buy less than a dozen lemons at a time.

And truth be told, some of her dinners in which he utilizes the citrus is almost always overdone to the point of not enjoying it. Yet, I keep my mouth shut and clear my plate like a good boy.

My sisters and their families don't say a thing either, so either they're trying to be nice too, or they don't notice it. Or it's just me.

But I took the lemons and 710 suggested a dessert and not put them in my cooking, as he experiences my mother's use of over-lemoning things the same was as I.

I immediately came to the thought of an America's Test Kitchen show that had Lemon Icebox Pie. Bridget made it seem super easy, so why not. And since there was no way I was making a crust, it was going to be super SUPER easy. And it was.

The recipe called for sugar, but you can see I X'd that out. That is for the crust, which I did not make. Store bought was just fine.

Pie Crust - 1 graham cracker
Eggs - 3 yolks (large)
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 2 14oz cans
Lemon juice - 3/4 of a cup + 2 T (about 4-5 lemons)
Heavy Cream - 1 C
Vanilla - 1/2 t

Whisk the three egg yolks and condensed milk (save 3 T) together until smooth. 
I've never used condensed milk. It's kind of gross. Wayyyyy too thick. 

Then whisk in the lemon juice. I thought the extra 2T would be for the topping, but it wasn't. 
It is just for additional lemony goodness. 

Poor into shell and bake for 15-18 minutes in a pre-heated 375F oven. 
Middle should still be "jiggly" but the outer rim should be firm. 

Let cool on wire rack for an hour, then into the fridge for 3-24 hours. 
So you can totally make this ahead of time. 

As for the topping, you can make after the pie chills. I made it right before serving, but since we only had one small piece each, the entire pie does get covered. 

 In a stand mixer, put cream, rest of condensed milk and vanilla.  Run on med-low for 1 minute. 

Then run on high for 3-4 minutes or until you get stiff peaks. 

Cover the pie with the whipped topping. 

....and serve. 

The pie and topping are both very light. It has a great, but not overpowering lemon taste.

This would be great for a party, but as it is now, we have about 8/10 of a pie left for consumption. I'm sure we will take care of that though.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lake Song

Summer has been funny this year.

Not 'ha-ha' funny, but a little weird.  The first month and a half it was rain all the time. I thought for sure we'd rival our wettest year on record had it continued. But the last three weeks - or so has barely seen a drop, and our days went from the 60s to the 90s.

There is a lake near my parent's house. On one such day while checking on my mother, I stopped at the lake and just jumped in. Well - I guess I swam to the docks they have anchored far in the deep end.

While there were a dozen or so people on the beach - kids and their mothers mostly, I was the only person in the water. My mother and one of my sisters would confirm for me later than almost no one goes to 'the beach' anymore - no matter how hot the day. And it's not like ours was a 'hood where people had their own pools. I can think of only two out of a few hundred houses who have that - and one of those, the guy (a judge) killed his wife there, so no one was ever going near that house.

The other house was smart enough not to ever really make friends with anyone, so no one was ever in their pool - themselves included.

Tons of kids were at the beach. Granted, we belonged to a country club too, so we had use of that pool as well.

But this last Sunday I did something I have never done. Gone into Lake Erie.

Erie, being the shallowest of the Great Lakes looks pretty and is expansive. And while I've lived near it most of my life, other than going in ankle deep (and that's even a maybe) at Cedar Point, I've never been in it.

While it is cleaner than it used to be, like many of the Great Lakes near major cities, it is prone to bacteria levels, due to sewage run-off, and lord knows what else goes on in those waters. And with chemicals coming from farming, the last few years have been horrid for algae bloom, making the city water of at least Toledo undrinkable for days. Maybe longer.

Just another sign that the EPA has almost no clout, when farming and chemical companies can ruin the one natural resource they actually need to farm.

But David and I were doing yoga at the beach (again) this last weekend, and it was going to be a hot one, so I made a plan. After yoga was done, I took off my shirt and walked into the water and dove right in.

At its warmest, Erie might get to 77 degrees. I don't think it was there, but I was so warm from an hour flow class, the water might have seemed chillier than it actually was. Mind you, after you go in, you're fine almost immediately.

It's not like I 'swam'.  I walked in, dove under, posed for a picture.....

....stood for a few minutes chatting with two other yogis who waded in a little bit - and then I was out, changing into a dry pair of shorts, so as not to sully David's car seats.

No offense to David but what a horrid picture. Not the composition, just the subject.

My head is tan from cutting the lawn and walking Mr. Pete. As for the body, it looks like I have a white t-shirt on.  It's a little frightening.

Not that is was on my Bucket List - not that I even have one - but if I did, I guess I could check this one off.

Song by: the Decemberists

Monday, August 17, 2015

My Music Monday

Duets. We're still on that theme. And yes, I'm trying to find a little more obscure ones, though I still want them to be accessible.

This week it is k.d. lang & Take 6.

This will date me but.......back in the late '80's and early '90's I had a few cassette compilations of B-sides from Warner Brothers Records.

They were good songs, but some were extremely hard to find. It also exposed me to a bunch of new music too - much like their Just Say... series, which I had on CD.

lang & Take 6's song, "Ridin' the Rails" was one of those.

Until I searched youtube, I had zero idea this song was somehow associated with the 1990 Dick Tracy disaster movie. But to be fair, I've pretty much wiped out any memory I have of that movie at all - I bet Warren Beatty has too.

I just assumed it was a b-side from one of these two artist's albums. I guess I was wrong.

lang, as usual, is in great voice, though I might argue the late '80's and early '90's were vocally her best anyways. It was the first (and only) time I've heard of Take 6. Their six-part (!!!!) harmony is something to marvel at. It is quite impressive. '

I don't know whose idea it was to pair these, but it works on almost every level.

....except for the clips of the movie.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

App of the Month

Monument Valley is one app I actually paid for - kind of.

710 has had it for months and he tried to tell me about it, but truth be told, sometimes all I hear is "Blah Blah Blah...Ginger". 

It's sad, but true.

To be fair, sometimes he just hears the cat version of that.

So, I got the app free from cruising through Starbucks one day snagging two cards, only to be told by 710 that yes, he already knew about this, had it AND told me about it!  {hmphf!}

For a brief synopsis - a faceless girl with a pointed hat, Ida, goes through a series of mazes, staircases, doorways and ladders to reach certain places, and then to the next level.

There are 10 levels in all for the initial version.

Some of the levels are very very M.C. Escher-esque. Not all are what they seem to be, as things lift, turn and morph depending on where you task Ida to go. And sometimes stairways move and connect like you're trying to get to your house at Hogwarts.

There is a certain level of problem solving on your part to get from point A to point B. I would find myself on certain levels, just stymied and shutting it down, only to open a few hours later and just breeze through where I just was stranded.

Some levels are easier than others, and not necessarily the beginning levels. Some are just frustrating. 

There are crows that scream at Ida, not allowing her to pass - and it is up to you to find a way. And along the way, she meets a friendly Totem. 

He (well, I'm assuming it's a 'he') only has one eye but it is very expressive. As much as a one-eyed Totem can be, of course. He doesn't always travel with Ida, and at times his lack of presence makes you a little sad. 

But Monument Valley's graphics are very good. 710 finds the music very soothing, and it is, but like most things on my phone, I have the sound off - but I see where he's coming from when I do have it on. 

And at the beginning of the post I seemingly contradict myself on paying for the app and getting it free via Starbucks. 

Indeed, I got Monument Valley for free. After the 10 levels, I got access to five more with "Ida's Adventure".  But I finished those in just a little time. 

After that, you can access other levels, but it is for payment. $1.99. The original app also costs $1.99. Both costs are totally worth it.  .....and you know I don't say that lightly. 

The app is my new obsession. It has taken time away from Words With Friends. 

Actually, I've gone through the levels a few times. I'm not sure what it says about my short-term memory, but some of the the levels I cannot for the life of me remember seeing some of it or how I got through it initially. 

Maybe it's like Angry Birds - when they update, sometimes they change some of the screens completely. 

Anyhoo - while I write about an app per month, I can't say I've recommended a lot of them - this one is an A+

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Food for the Beast

Food is the semi-theme here. But when you have a hound, it's almost always the theme. Daily. Hourly, even.

Petey, supervising my mother's grilling abilities. 

aka - hoping for something to drop. It didn't, but I might have slipped him some from the table. 

Petey supervising Boomer's undercarriage. 

Petey totally worn out from a trip to Nana's house. 

Petey the cat fud thief. 

With the basement flooding and subsequent renovation, Sophie's food and box has been moved upstairs. On a daily basis, Mr. Pete somehow sneaks upstairs (and then back down), after cleaning her bowl. 

I finally caught him in the act - after the fact. 

It wasn't the best Sophie pic week. But I do love how she's comfortable enough to lie in the middle of a room. Dog and dads walking around her or over her. She's not afraid of a thing. 

Song by: Nina Persson

Friday, August 14, 2015

Card Cheat

It's no biggie - but yesterday was the birthday.

Normally, I don't even care to write about it much, but it's nearing midnight and I don't have anything planned or drafted - so you get what you get.

It is a day I don't really care that much about one way or the other. I'm happy 12 of 12 lands on the 13th, as it saves me from it to a degree. Yes, I'm getting older, but really, what is the alternative?

While it's not a 'milestone' birthday, I mean, after 50, aren't they all? I'm vertical, so that's something.

I'm 52.  Fifty-fucking-two.  I've said it before and probably will again - no one expected me to live this long, let alone me. But now I'm in it for the long haul.

Or as a friend put it to me yesterday - you're now a "full deck".  I had never heard that phrase before, let alone related to age.

Well, I suppose it is true, but that leaves out the Joker - and isn't that the irony!

For me, the day was nothing special and I was glad 710 did little to make it that way. We did go out to dinner and we invited my mother, who was very excited for the invite and accepted very quickly - which makes me glad we asked her to go with.

She was quite talkie, which was good. It was a nice night out for her, which it made it good for us. While I invited one of my sisters, I'm kind of glad she had other plans - though I didn't know I'd be glad about it at the time.

Another year come and gone, and I'm ok with it.

The bonus of the day is talking to people I might only chat with a few times a year. A text from David G (who now only remembers the day thanks to FB, though I will give him credit, as on August 1 he texted me to wish me a happy birthday knowing he finally got the month correct). A call from my friend Doug in Chicago - as we are separated only by three days in birth. A card from Jon - who is always scarily reliable about that.

In the big picture though - nothing to see here, except for another round and another shuffle.

Song by: the Clash

Thursday, August 13, 2015

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 65th 12 of 12

Normally it is 12 pictures taken on the 12th 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.

 06:10.  Had to touch up the facial hair a little bit. 

 06:25.  Irrigation system is functional. As seen while taking out the garbage for trash day.
Our summer has been so rainy, we didn't even turn on the sprinkler system until two weeks ago. 

08:15. Soldier down!  Medic!!  MEDIC!!!!!

As seen on a.m. walk with Petey....who is clearly no St. Bernard.

11:50. I don't drink coffee, but 710 does. And he was out. 

I find it is in my best interest that he gets his morning caffeine. 

12:25.  Taco Tuesday Wednesday.

Repurposing a previous night's dinner into taco lunch.

12:50.  Starting the dishwasher. 

16:50.  Off to go on Petey's afternoon walk - I always forget about this bad boy.

I know I can wait until colder weather to take it down but it is growing - and while I would loathe wasp stings, I'd hate for Petey to be stung when he goes out there to do his business.

17:30.  Applying first coat of paint to the basement floor. 

17:32.  Paint Penis. 

Big sac, little head.   ....yes, I'm 12. 

18:20.  Sophie holding my arm between grooming sessions for my hand. 

Who am I to stop her? 

19:05.  Post painting shower. 

Beard is way trimmed back. Stache is most certainly not. 
I just realized I'm one cheek shave away from being the Village People leather man

20:00.  A late-ish dinner. 

Chicken, peppers & broccoli 

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

22:10.  Technically, I did bake the cookies.  

The ice cream came out of a container.