Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year in Pictures - 2015

It is that time of year. A photographic look back at 2015.

Normally, I'd do this a few days before the end of the year, but posts didn't work out that way. But this way, we all get to skip my forced year-end post. If needed I can wrap it into the new year kick-off.

Hopefully, I don't use any - or at least too many - images that have been posted in the blog. No doubt some of have made it to Facebook or Instagram, but I'll try to limit those as well.

I tried for an average or two pics per month. Some have more. One or two have less. Some months provided better photo opportunities or more things happened in my life.

January 2015 - Not me. 

Just happened upon some woman (yes, a girl!) about to take a ride down to Lake Erie.
Cleveland is in the background. I love the shot, I only wish I had gotten some more sky above the sail.

February 2015 - Just Pete and myself on a very snowy / cold day. 

February 2015 - taking a boxing class.

 March 2015 - Renovated and Restored.

March 2015 - I'm assuming this went better thank Lakehurst, NJ circa 1937.

April 2015 - Doggie Stink Eye.

Petey throwing 710 some shade while he's building his Lego Falling Water

April 2015 - Cleveland Plain Dealer screen shot. 

May 2015 - I miss the fuller beard. Maybe after I'm at this new job a little while I can start filling it back in. 

May 2015 - at my nephew's college graduation....well at dinner the night before.

June 2015 - Virabhadrasana I on the beach

June 2015 - With apologies to Milton, I found this billboard hilarious....and I don't even like Chipotle....but then I don't have a food borne illness either. 

 July 2015 - Yoga Under the Chandelier.

Getting my zen on with David.  Clearly I did not take this photo.

July 2015 - ariel shot of Yoga Under the Chandelier. 

I didn't take this shot either. 

August 2015 - Lone woman at a bat mitzvah. 

Morty said it would be my Pulitzer Prize winning photograph, if I did it in black and white.
I played around with the tint and it looks better in its original form. 

August 2015 - see the resemblance?  Me and my great-great grandfather, Emil.

September 2015 - Believe in Cleveland.

I didn't take this, but a drone did. It was better than any of my shots. I'm down there somewhere. I could circle it for you all, but it would wreck the beauty of the picture.

September 2015 - Lincoln Center

Unknown woman reading.

September 2015 - the High Line public art.

It's not Gondor. White LEGOs only (#alllegosmatter). 
The public builds or adds to the existing structures....710 and myself included. 

September 2015 - having dinner with my niece, Maddie in NYC, where she goes to college.

September 2015 - Shoulder Stand on the beach.

October 2015 - at Soaring Cliffs zip lining place.

....doing my best Edith Ann.

 October 2015 - as seen on Iuka Avenue in Columbus, OH.

Crazy college kids? Or Luna Lovegood bullies?

October 2015 - at my old fraternity with two extremely right-winged brothers: Michael & Pat.

October 2015 - Halloween

Friend and Neighbor Markie and myself at his party. 

November 2015 - off to my mother's house for dinner. 

November 2015 - one of the last big Autumn walks with Mr. Pete. 

Such a handsome dude, he is. Me? It seems I have multiple crows feet.....and chins.  Fuck!

December 2015 - my pre-employment physical paperwork.

I couldn't not stop laughing at that one line....because how can you answer it if you cannot?

December 2015 - my artsy holiday photo.

Gravity did it - no animal interaction happened.

That's it. It is not all encompassing by any means, but just little snapshots of 2015. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Year in Music - 2015

Each year, in some form or another, I give my $0.02 on the music of my liking that has come out over the last 12 months. There is almost no continuity in how I set this up, though I think I'm getting better at it. {hah!}

Normally, I do a top album and a runner up and then for the actual best songs, they range anywhere from 3-10. Yeah - I'm not that great at consistency some times. But sometimes there are not 10 great songs.  Don't think to much about the order of my top songs - they are not in any order at all.


There might be more worthy albums out there - and many more that I haven't heard or even know to exist. But even with some of its faults, I'm still really enjoying New Order and their release, Music Complete.

Sure I can do without the Iggy Pop song. Sure, NO steals a little from U2 (guitar work on 'Singularity' is taken closely from U2's War disk) and the Frankie Goes to Hollywood ("Tutti Frutti" bass line) and Madonna / Donna Summer ("Plastic"), but overall it still works.

As with any disk, I like some songs more than others and I dig "Restless", "Academic", "Superheated", "Singularity", "the Game" and "Unlearn this Hatred".

It is a solid release and I've been enjoying it when it comes on.


New Order - "Academic"

While I'm not adverse to change, 'Academic' probably resembles the standard New Order song, more than any other on their new disk.

Chris Isaak - "Reverie"

Speaking of change - "Reverie" isn't a huge departure for Isaak, but enough of one that it is my favourite song on his new disk. First Comes the Night.

Adele - "Hello"

Yes, it opens with and has the same three chords as most of the rest of her songs, but I like it. It is a very well constructed song - and there is no telling if it would have gotten the same reaction if someone else had recorded it.  I especially like how Adele incorporates the lyrics "California dreaming....."   I found that clever.

Brandon Flowers - "I Can Change"  

Bronski Beat meets Killers meets Pet Shop Boys meets New Order. Brandon has been paying homage to the 80s since his band began. I do like the sampling of "Hometown Boy" though.

Foo Fighters - Saint Cecilia

Shortly after the ISIS attacks on Paris, the Foo Fighters released a free EP download (their site and iTunes), as a gesture. I'm continually amazed at and by Dave Grohl. I wasn't thrilled with their Sonic Highway release. A great concept and just an ok execution. I'm not even that thrilled with most of this EP, but do like "Saint Cecilia".

the Watkins Family Hour - "Where I Ought to Be"

For sure the most obscure song on my list. Fiona Apple and Sara Watkins. I'd have liked the entire disk more if there were more songs like this. I'm guessing you'll all hate it.

Lucinda Williams - "Burning Bridges"

While I am still a fan of Williams, her double disk at the first of this year was hit or miss. Too many songs for a single disk, but not enough good ones for a double. But I do like "Burning Bridges". And for those who care (Dith, Jon) her new disk comes out in March.

That's what I got for 2015 in terms of music. It was not a great year for full albums, but there is always hope that 2016 is better. Any 2015 suggestions you liked?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


I think we may have made it to our last movie of 2015. Sure, it's possible we could see something New Year's Eve - just unlikely.

So we will top out at 21 movies in a year. For us, that is frickin' amazing - and one we won't likely top anytime before we hit retirement (which will be never!). And while some of the films were duds, none of them were out and out losers - though I don't have particularly fond memories of Jurassic World, the Walk or Everest.

Sunday, we went to go see Carol - since too much champagne made me miss the time on xmas day.

I do love Cate Blanchett, but really enjoy director, Todd Haynes' movies. They are so detailed in their era that they make something like Mad Men look fake. I mean, at the end of Carol, I just kind of assumed I'd have emphysema.

Haynes does like his non-traditional / gay story lines set in the 1950's, doesn't he? Well, it does seem to work for him, as Far From Heaven is still an incredible movie - though sadly no Julianne Moore here.

I won't lie - I went into this somewhat knowing a little of the back story, though I didn't read the book. And while avoiding reviews, it was hard not to hear the raves being heaped upon it. But every critic loves a good girl-on-girl movie, no? Going by the raves, they seem to.

With Haynes, you clearly get style - you always do. But with the acting, you get substance. The actual story is fine, but it seemed a backdrop for the acting. In theory there was a good story there, but parts of Carol kind of became a non-violent Thelma & Louise.

I get it was the 50s and that the outwardly discussion of same-sex attraction was never really uttered aloud, so it makes sense that even the two people involved might not know how to convey it - especially when one of the characters is supposed to be young, inexperienced and a little naive.

Rooney Mara didn't do much for me. She was fine and all, but she seemed liked a somewhat toned-down  Zooey Deschanel (I'm not saying this was a plus!). Blanchett, of course, was great though she didn't quite do a lot of emoting, though again, I'm thinking of the timing of the piece.

Yes, there is a 'sex scene' in the movie. I don't know I would say it was graphic, but I know a double standard when I see one - two men couldn't get away with the exact same footage on screen and draw the same kind of reviews or audiences for this movie.

What movie or tv show isn't better with Sarah Paulson in it? I thought she was great, but I always do.

With only two small small lines and yet Carrie Brownstein has a credit (and not far down the list) with an attached character name, even though it's never said or mentioned. For some reason, that kind of annoys me as much as she annoys me with her roles in that annoying show, Portlandia, or worse, as the guitarist for that overrated rock band she's in, Sleater-Kinney. Don't even start me on those Old Navy ads. I'll assume her character had some other part in the book that didn't make it to the movie - which is just fine with me.

And let's face it - I would have been fine if they just called the movie, Kyle.

Throw a tux and some pomade on Mr. Chandler and I'm good for two hours. And he did a fine job acting too - so that was a plus.

There was some nice camera work too. I really liked the walk / camera "jerk" of the last scene in the Oak Room. I can't quite say I've seen that before.

I get from a studio perspective that releasing a stylish, gay-oriented flick at Christmas is easily nothing more than Oscar® bait, but Carol might actually rise to the least for acting. It might get a nod for best picture, but I'm not confident it would win.

Much of Carol was filmed here in Ohio and ironically, in some of the most conservative parts of the state, at that. I'm assuming that is because the hotels and diners which are featured haven't really been updated since the 50s.

I sat there and wondered if Gov. John Kasich was torn that the state was getting funds for a Hollywood film being shot in the state, versus that it was of a lesibonic nature. That just had to poke at him.

2015 Movie Count / Goal:  21 of 12

Song by: the Rolling Stones

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Music Monday

This month's theme  - soundtrack tracks - comes to an end today. So many have I, yet they don't all qualify. Some are covers, some are songs repurposed from other older albums to be included in soundtracks.....or worse, some I have already used in other themes.

Still, I had a few left in my bag, but not really sure which one to select. Yet, here we are.......

I'm going with a fictitious group with semi-fictitious song.

From A Might Wind, we will go with the fake folk-duo of Mitch & Mickey.  ...or as you might know them, SCTV alum, Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara, who actually play their own instruments and do their own singing.

Honestly, I know the movie was a comedy, but Levy especially should have been up for a Best Actor award for this role. He was so deep into it and so left-of-center, he was just lost in the role, and at times just plain uncomfortable to watch.

The song, "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow", however, did win awards....or at least an award....a Grammy. And it was actually nominated for an Oscar for it's writers, A Mighty Wind co-star and member of another fictitious band, Spinal Tap's Michael McKean and his real wife, Annette O'Toole.

"A Kiss" is a good and fair representation of the folk era of the mid-60s and O'Hara and Levy do a really good job on this live version, though the record version is a little cleaner.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


It can be amusing when you read about movies you've seen after seeing them.

I rarely read reviews ahead of time, though now and then it's hard not to see their star rating or their grade. Normally we choose our movies from previews......and sometimes word of mouth.

That can be a risky gamble.

Such as it was with Youth, which we saw xmas afternoon.

The previews made it seem like an interesting story.......and to a degree, it was. If PR is to be believed, the movie was conceived and written specifically for its star, Michael "send me the script, I'll do it!" Caine.

Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf Paul Dano and a brief appearance by Jane Fonda - who probably really looks like this in real life - all do a decent job with what they're handed.

Still the director makes the movie arty for arts sake. A few really cool shots, and one Lynch-ian scene, that really do nothing to add to the story at all. And some are more than just visual shots, but little scenes that are indicative of squat.

I take it the shots of so many female boobies is to wrap it all back to 'youth'......even if they're showing the old sagging ones.

The title is just kind of hanging out there - it's not that anyone is actually outwardly pining for their own youth, but for each character, I suppose, they made their career or life (and possible missteps) in their own youth and now they are here at Switzerland resort (some great shots, btw), contemplating those missteps or how and if anyone look beyond their seemingly defining accomplishments.

As much as I like him, Caine is Caine. There is no huge deviation of his acting ability or seemingly becoming another character from say - any of his other movies. I like Keitel. I can't say I was ever a fan of his before. And honestly, for the first half of the movie I though Dano was LaBeiouf.

The monologues however, belong to the women. Weisz has a great scene with longest length of script. Fonda might have the second.

Scenes, shots, storylines are almost non-linear. Again more art for arts sake than to tell any kind of actual narrative. It's almost as if there is a plot, but no actual story.  In ways it works. In ways it does not.

Admittedly, I got to the theater a little drunk, as I had two too many mimosas at a holiday morning get together at our neighbors. And while we were the youngest in the theater, I was the only one who had to get up and pee. 710 said my liquid intake wouldn't be an issue because the movie wouldn't be as long as Star Wars - but it was!  Two hours, plus.

As for those reviews - well, I reviewed them after. Some gave the movie and A+. More gave it a B. Or the Variety article which said that audiences at Cannes loudly booed the film....but they're French, so what do they know?

Youth wasn't "boo-able", but it wasn't A+.  I'd be more in line with that B or B- kind of review. It's certainly not the worst movie we saw this year............yeah, I'm looking at you Jurassic World!

2015 Movie Count / Goal:  20 of 12

Song by: Matisyahu

Saturday, December 26, 2015

We're Going to be Friends

It's my 2nd Annual Petey Porn / Sophie Smut for friends, family, my blogroll and readers.

There are a few 'stolen' shots, but most of them I asked for and received.....just like the love of Little Baby Jebus.

Thanks in advance to everyone who participated, willfully or not.

Pac Pad's pussies.  Ok.  Kitty Kats.  Cosmo (rear) and Rusty (front)

I might be in love with Harper - Dr. Spo and Someone's doggie.

I haven't yet met Mike and Peter's Portugese Water Dog, Otis (maybe this summer?), but I suspect there will be lots of ball throwing and maybe getting down and wrestling with him. It seems like Otis would like would I. 

CB's Phoebe. She's soooo cute. 

Ditto & Norman's caged beasts: Ripley, Rollo, London

Apparently, Rebecca's Barkley just got his learner's permit.

Clockwise from upper left: Tuxedo, Max Goldberg, Consuelo Roca and Ozzo are Bob and Carlos.

Morty's two pups, Logan and Skeeter.

Cat Benatar.  No. Really. 

Poor Harley and Holden (the "other Brett's Rhodesian Ridgebacks) - they always look so contemplative.

LiLou - Jon and Tommy's new poodle puppy. Oh yes, she's still a puppy.

Two of Erik's menagerie being pals.

Marvin and Walter - Mark's doggies.

Eva Braun Pippa.  My niece's cat.

Boo Boo:  the humiliated elf dog.

David's Ted.   The epitome of a comfortable dog.

.....and no offense to the above cuties, but here are the stars of the show......


....and Sophie

Song by: the White Stripes