Saturday, October 31, 2015

Treat Me Right

It's Halloween.

As much as I barely dress up, I'm never one to dress up the kids. Petey doesn't even like to have his nose wiped, do you really think he'd let me put a costume on him?

And Sophie......I mean, that is so not happening.

They are cute enough on their own.

I'd say she's giving me the 'evil eye', but it's just the look of contempt. 

Encroaching on Sophie's left-over cereal milk.

Handsome Autumn Dog. 

Petey and Kegger. 

Kegger loves to play but doesn't know his own strength and size compared to Pete. 
He jumped on Pete a few times. No worse the wear, no worries. 

Where Sophie is concerned, I have no Fortress of Solitude. 



Song by: Pat Benatar

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dressed to Kill

If you read for content over the last decade or so, and have a high retention level, you might remember that Halloween is not my holiday.

I do love how folks embrace it and go all out - but I've never been "that guy".  As I've said, I can think of two times I've dressed up in the last 30+ years.

Tomorrow it will be three.

Our new neighbors - gay, the both of them - are WAY into Halloween. Markie has been counting down the days - literally - for the last four months. His partner refused to let him start decorating the house until Oct 1, much to the displeasure of Markie.

So Markie and Scott are having a Halloween party - costumes heavily encouraged.  Curses! {say that like Mojo JoJo}

710 is off the hook, as he had a planned trip to see his parents. I considered either not going at all or not going in costume - what were they going to do, throw me out?  No - they'd just mock me. But I'm gay,  I've been mocked forever - this would be nothing new and doubtful I'd hear any original material.

That said, I did start thinking of what I could wear - should I go that route.

I did not choose the title image choices for any number of reasons.

First - I think it would imperative going as a team: one as Bruce, one as Caitlin.
Second - there'd be a fight over who would have to be Caitlin.
Third - for either one, I'd have to shave my beard
Fourth - the gold medal is extra !!!

It really came down to I am not shaving my beard for any costume. Or getting my junk cut off. Both seemed excessive. Though to be fair, Caitlyn hasn't cut off her junk either. Allegedly.

But I did come up with an idea. It's not horrible, but it is not out of the ball park either. It will get some chuckles, I'm sure.

I would have been happy to share a preview with you today, but a screw up (on my end) with delivery means an integral part of the outfit won't be here until late afternoon today.

And I'll have to "dress" early, as we have the possibility of trick and / or treaters and then as soon as that is done with, it is off to the party.

I like that it has an end time. So people won't be hangers on......and I know, inadvertently, I can be one of those. And since I'll be a single parent tomorrow, I'll have to get home to let Mr. Pete out to pee.

No worries - you will see pics in an upcoming post. Unless they all suck - then I deny everything.




Song by: 10cc

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cooking with Blobby

Another super-easy pasta dish. And it's light. Though there isn't any protein. And it comes together in about 12 minutes - but that's just because it takes that long for the pasta to boil.

¾ pound dry penne pasta
6 ounces high quality mozzarella cheese, diced large
2 cups heirloom tomatoes, core removed, diced medium
½ clove garlic, minced
1-2 sprigs fresh basil, sliced thick 
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


Cook pasta following the manufacturer's instructions. You don't need a picture to show that - do you?

In a large mixing bowl have tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic and basil in the mixing bowl

Once pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the mixing bowl and toss seasoning with olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes.

Add extra olive oil if desired (it really was not needed!)


Divide into serving vessels and enjoy.


If there are issues - and don't I always have them?  - is that who knows what 'half a clove' of garlic is. Every clove size is different. Just tell me the minced amount in teaspoons.  As it was, I ended up putting three small cloves in - but mostly because I like garlic.

Leftovers were good, but you have to be careful reheating the dish. The mozzarella melted and it became like the top of a pizza. Good, but not how it was intended. And when you reheat, it worked best that you added more fresh basil after it was done heating.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Museum

Well, since we talked about "the towers" yesterday, I suppose I could make it a two-fer.

Last month - was it only a month or so ago? - when we were in NYC, we took the time to go to the 9/11 Museum. We had been to the Memorial back in 2014, but the Museum was not yet open.

A month after our visit, and I am still not sure how I feel about the experience.

The museum is still new(er), so the lines are like amusement park long to get in. We got tickets electronically, which is fine for purchase, but good luck getting their wifi to connect to bring them up when needed. We were taken out that line, to another LONG line only to have someone print them out manually.

You'd think that being a museum of such a tragedy that the line workers would be.....oh, I don't know....not scowl-y, short and rude...........but they were all of those things. Getting in wasn't horribly welcoming.

I suppose I sound callous if I don't say it was sorrowful.........but it wasn't.

I get that we are desensitized to some of this. I get that 374 9/11 specials that run on cable from August 1 to September 12 every single year since 2002 has told the story 4,862 times. I've seen a number of the artifacts in one form or another over the last decade and a half. I have heard the phone calls from loved ones and flight crews.

But now I get to pay $24 to see it.......again. But close up.

Don't get me wrong, some things are just striking. Compelling, even. Some, well, there are only so many damaged emergency vehicles or parts of the antenna one wants to see. Of course, I'm speaking for myself.

I like the above tridents.

I liked the intact slurry wall. It was not all intact, so they ended up building a simulation next to it to continue the entire wall. That I didn't like.

I found the Survivor Stairs to be great. After the North Tower collapsed they remained pretty much intact allowing people to escape. Oddly the damage to them was not from the tower collapse, but from the cleaning and moving them. Crews were ready to destroy them while clearing the site. Preservationists had to fight to not have them demolished. 

It is hard to see, but each of those squares were the supports for the building. A building. I think my biggest take away was that you walked around the parameter of each of the towers and the bases of the above fountains came a few stories down, just as the towers had.

For some reason I think this was the highlight of the visit:


Spencer Finch's "Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on that September Morning"

9/11 had a crystal blue sky. Not a cloud in it - though I'm sure you're all visualizing that morning, and the film clips you saw as, or before, the planes struck.

There are 2,983 panels. One for each of the victims - including 1993.

Finch has the only commissioned artwork on site. And I think it was spectacular.


Oddly, we missed one wall - and I'm not sure how, but it had images of each and every victim. I'm sure that could have made things more sorrowful. I'm not sure if I'm glad we missed that part at all.

As it was, we were inside the museum for over two hours and moving at a good clip. And as it turns out we didn't see everything. Yet it doesn't seem like we missed out on much. One could easily spend many many more hours there - if they so desired.

I kept a look out for all the EXIT signs. The designers built in easily accessible ones for people who would be too distraught at the exhibits and had to make a hasty retreat. I saw the exits, but never saw a person who even remotely needed to use them.

I suppose I'm glad we did this, but I don't see the need to ever return. Once in a lifetime was enough.

...and I'm sure there will be 23 new specials on TV regarding the museum next August.




Song by:  Donovan

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I Walk the Line

I should have known that the Walk was not going to live up to the previews we saw months ago.

The movie has been out for two weekends here in the U.S. and it was already down to playing in only one theater and for one showing per day.

Not a good sign.

By all financial accounts - at least in the U.S. - it is a bomb.

Once viewed, it is not difficult to see why.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of Robert Zemeckis. Some of his movies have aged better than others, but it got to a point years ago that he seemed more interested in the visuals, the trickery and gadgets to manipulate film than he was in the actual story.

The tale of Phillippe Petit's high wire walk between the South and North towers of the World Trade Center, back in 1974, was fascinating, and in ways, suspenseful enough that Zemeckis didn't need to gussy it up with non-existent pressure points.

He also couldn't be bothered with the French - English thing either. Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and most of his crew are French - so the dialogue goes in and out of French or English as needed - sometimes even in mid-sentence. Including the guy they set-up who can speak no English - until then he can........and in full sentences. Or the girl who when speaking English has zero French accent, like the others do, but speaks with a full non-regional U.S. dialect. I found it all annoying.

The story was wayyyyy too slow moving at the beginning. It is not until Petit and his crew gets to Manhattan does the movie get any traction.

Some of the CGI is good - I'll give Zemeckis that. The towers close up are good. The interior from the third floor to the lobby are fairly accurate. I'm sure the walk looked good in 3D IMAX. Trust me, they pulled the 3D IMAX version a week ago to make room for more profitable films. You can certainly see where some of the 3D would have come into play in other parts of the movie.

One review said if you're not seeing it in 3D, there is almost no reason to go see the film. I actually believe that.

There were reports of people throwing up in the theater due to the effects - maybe I'm not that squeamish, but I couldn't see that really happening.

As mentioned, I did read reviews afterwards - many were good, just as many were not. I could not help but laugh at A.O. Scott's paragraph in the New York Times:

Let me see if I can put the matter in scientific terms. Philippe, in addition to being an aspiring wire walker, is a juggler, a mime and a unicyclist. He is, as I’ve mentioned, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This makes him, objectively speaking, the most annoying person on earth.

They did have Gordon-Levitt take off his shirt for almost no good reason, just so you could see his body. I mean - you gotta throw something in for the fans.

Seven plus years ago when we saw the mockumentary, Man on Wire, I found that very appealing. I still do. I thought, even with re-enactments and no actual video footage (though plenty of photographs) that movie was so much heartfelt than Zemeckis' film.

I would recommend Man on Wire before ever suggesting you see the Walk.

With the former, there was no actual mention about 9/11. Zero.  Technically, there is none in the latter either, but the last line and visual is so heavy-handed, they may as well just made the towers disappear via CGI.

The Walk definitely is on one of the lower rungs of the movies we have seen this year.





2015 Movie Count / Goal:  14 of 12


Song by: Johnny Cash

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Music Monday

Thank g-d - the last Opposite Day Cover.

Again, this might be a stretch of the "lesser known" original.

Today's selection might have something more to do with age than anything else. Or how gay you are. Or both.

As the song"Venus" goes (not the Frankie Avalon song), of course I knew the Shocking Blue version. The original from back in 1968 - when I was just a lad.

I was well into my 20s {shut up} before I realized the singer was a female! It never occurred to me that the vocal was anything but male. I stand corrected. I am also correct that she is a horrible horrible lip syncher .

But in my 20s, Bananarama covered the song on their album True Confessions. For what limited success the group had on their first two disks, the single and video for "Venus" was made for MTV and gay bars. I mean - let's be honest.

While their cover was fine, it did set off on how to copy the sound for their next few albums - and they became tedious. At least before, they mixed it up with a ballad, ska, Swahili etc. Now they just tried to appease the 12" extended play buying fags.

I know. I was one of them. At least for a bit. And two of the three are still angling that same market 30 years later. Sad. Sad. Sad.

But in their own ways, I like both versions. I doubt Shocking Blue ever meant for it to be a club hit - as I never saw Austin Powers or Mrs. Kensington dance to it.

On a side note - my friend Jon (nor his boss) used to change words to certain songs. This one was no different. All I can remember - and maybe all that there was - was:

"g-d on a mountain top / hanging by a silver nail / and Jesus was his name...."

Oh - it's not like I wasn't going to hell before that. Calm down.




Sunday, October 25, 2015

App of the Month

I believe the Apple Health app is part of iOS 9.

It is possible it has been on my phone longer, and I've just never noticed. Sometimes I am unaware of the things Apple sneaks onto my phone.

In my mind, Apple Health would have had to been here since the release of the Apple Watch, but with our researching that (and we all know I'm too eff'ing lazy to do that), it's just a guess.

I suppose this is much like a Fitbit or similar device. Except that it is much larger than clipping a Fitbit to your waist or strapping it on your wrist.

Sometimes it's just not that easy or practical to carry your iPhone everywhere. (Of course, I've never dived into a pool with my iPhone, the way I've done with my Fitbit either.)

While of course it tracks your steps and flights of stairs {don't they all?}


Apple Health does it in increments. It calculates your steps every few minutes. This way you can see how often the dog stops to smell something or take a dump, and you have to stop. You get 321 steps in at once and well, he's on the move. I'm not sure exactly what you're supposed to do with this, but you know - you can't change what you don't measure.

And it incorporates other things in that say Fitbit would do via their website: including nutrition, weight and sleep - though really, if you wear the Fitibt at night it tracks your sleep automatically and their scale sends your weight to the site for auto-tracking.

Here, you have to add manually. That's a chore.

But not as big of a chore as some of the other things:


Entering all your measurements, fitness, 'me' info - which is fairly easy enough. In theory.


At least with me, there is no way to enter my DOB, my sex (hehehe) my Blood Type (A-, thank you) or whatever the fuck my Fitzgerald Skin Type is.


There is inconsistency with what you can and cannot enter in the Results section. And sorry, but I've worked in healthcare all my adult life and I think most people would not know what an O2 Saturation rate is, let alone what theirs is or how to collect that data point. Ditto with Peripheral Perfusion, Forced Vital Capacity and any other number of info gathering.



And really who doesn't want to know their Cervical Mucus Quality?   Is it Dry? Sticky? Creamy!? , Watery? Egg White????  To be honest, I'm not sure there is a good answer there. And there doesn't seem to be an All of the Above category.

This is one of those Apple Apps you cannot delete - like Apple Phone, App Store, Messenger, etc. So use it or don't.

My beef with it is, there are lots of parts not able to be used even if you even know the data. And even if it worked, it is a lot of manual intervention. So, I'm not quite sure why Apple rushed this out when so much of it is unusable at this point.

I'll let it track my steps and flight of stairs climbing, but I can't imagine doing much else for it. My doctor has an EHR that I can track all my blood and system results.

Maybe in additional iterations Apple will improve upon this app. But for now, there is a lot to be desired.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Grand Theft Autumn

Autumn is only half done, but I now we are inching towards pre-Winter. The week has been very nice - great in fact. 60s and 70s. In frickin' late October !!!

Sure, allegedly it sleeted and snowed last Saturday. I wasn't in town, so I don't know this for a fact, but I hear things.

I took advantage of the good weather. Well, I used Petey as an excuse - and he fucking loved it. Car rides. Park walks. Sniff-fests. He was in his element.

He met a Jack Russell (so barky and growly - though it didn't phase Mr. Pete). He met a German Shepard (soooo nice). Het met lots of nice people. But mostly it was about the smells.

We won't have too many more opportunities to do this until Spring 2016!


The big take-away? 
He didn't come out eating anything or with a half-dead animal in his jowls. 

Behind a table. Tsk Tsk. 

He's not supposed to be there, because he tangles himself in cords and knocks over lamps.  ...but he's so cute. 

Petey does like to face me, propped up on a pillow while he rests. 

Usually his eyes don't get so creepy looking. But I love the closeness he wants from me. 

Sophie kicking back.....and yet still tracking Petey.

Trying to get Petey to pose on a beautiful Fall day. 

He's not about to cooperate. He never does. 



That's it for this week.



Song by: Fall Out Boy

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dance

Now and then - being a star blogger - I get asked to review things. Normally I ignore such requests.

Yes, more often than not, my blog is light-hearted, though I'll have the political rant now and then. But really, it's about stupid stuff that means nothing to no one. This is one reason I'm curious as to why anyone bothers to ask me to do anything.

If they read any of my music or movie reviews, they know I'm a tough critic. Morty even made me ROR the other day because he just assumes even my positive reviews sound like I'm panning whatever I write about.

I should be more careful about that, but it did make me smile.

The last time I was asked, I never officially accepted. They sent me the link to their movie and I didn't officially review it. I didn't even give you the name of the movie it was so banal.

I think the reason I didn't officially review it - or link it - was that some PR person was just doing their job sending out info trying to gain some traction, and well, the movie sucked. Part of me felt bad for that PR person and I kind of let them off the hook, even though they didn't make the movie themselves. At least I don't think they did.

But a month or so ago I was asked to review a book - and I agreed, so they sent me a promotional pre-release. A galley, if you will. I figured, if I liked it, I like it and if I don't I don't. Depending on, I might never get asked to review another thing again.

No offense to the PR person (whom I believe has left her position since sending me the copy), but I chuckled at some of the email - it was pure marketing 101:

"a groundbreaking new memoir"......"a dramatic and inspirational memoir"........."comes at a perfect time with LGBT History Month...and recent legalization of gay marriage...."

Groundbreaking? Dramatic? Inspirational?  You talk something up like that, it had better be one of those things. It's really few of those things. Or all of those things on a low level.

Having Bruce Villanch - the writer of soooooo many lame-ass jokes for award and variety shows - to endorse the book isn't the 'get' you think it is.

Anyways, the book is And I Danced (Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality) by Mark Segal.

Segal has been around for five decades, founding the Philadelphia Gay News, reporting on Stonewall until and up to recent events.

My issues aren't with Segal per se. He sounds dedicated, accomplished, respected and experienced. Some of his tales are interesting enough, so that is a plus in his favour. While he says in the intro that most things are chronological - there is a lot that is not.

With no forewarning, you're jumping years, even a decade or more. Segal talks about his nephew living with him during the break-up of his relationship, but doesn't bother bringing up how his nephew came to live with him for 50-60 pages. So when he talks about how Jeffery dealt living with them during that time, you are kind of going "who?  what?".

I'm all for out of sequence stories. as they can work - but they shouldn't involve each other if that is the case. Rosanne Cash did this wonderfully in her memoir, Composed. Each chapter was pretty much stand alone - that is not necessarily the case here.

Most of the stories are more anecdotes than deep dives into either his professional or personal life. I feel these are party stories he tells, committed them to pages from years gone by and just assembled them for the ability to publish them as a book. On many topics, Segal seems to skim the cream without a lot of what is / was underneath. That is a shame, as I'm guessing that is where the real stories are - though the average reader might not care about that kind of detail.

I know there are difference between memoirs and writing copy, but the use of first names for professional contacts had me going back to see exactly to whom he was referring.....like I'm suppose to remember the Philadelphia mayor by his first name. I suppose it's Segal's way to infer the closeness of their relationship, but this methodology doesn't work for me - the stories are supposed to do that, not how he refers to them.

No offense to Segal, but 'groundbreaking' doesn't apply here. While he was at the forefront of a lot of political and social change, so were many - and many of those have been chronicled years ago. I'm not sure 'inspirational' applies either - 'drama' is what you make of it, but it's all relative. Again, a story of an unraveling relationship due to AIDS, depression, infidelity and addiction is horrible, but not horribly new or original - at least to those of us who lived through those decades.

Don't get me wrong, And I Danced is a fine read - even an easy one. There are interesting stories. I suppose I was just put off by send-up the book got, and it doesn't live up to those expectations.





.....and that, dear readers, was the last time anyone will undoubtedly ask me to review anything. Ever.




Song by: the Lovemakers

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Run Joey Run

Or don't.  That's fine.

In theory, I think Joe Biden would have made an excellent president. In reality, I just don't know.

History has rarely been kind to vice-presidents who ascend to the higher-ranking position (not via assassination or political/criminal scandal).  Nixon and Bush 39 would be two of them. Most who run, never make it to the Oval Office (Humphrey, Mondale, Gore).

Biden, I think, has been more a part of the president's administration than most VPs. Normally they are punchlines and not given much to do other than vote on a once-in-four-lifetimes tie in the Senate.

I still think Biden was used at a test balloon for Obama's announcement on same-sex marriage. It never occurred to me that his comments were a 'slip' on Meet the Press. It was a gauge on how the American public would react.

I'm sure I mentioned it, but there was a decent chance of our marriage being at the Naval Observatory (the VP residence), back in 2010.  Jill Biden is the cousin of a friend and she and the VP were fine with us having it on the grounds, though lack of time for security clearance could be arranged. Or so they said.

As gaffes go with politicians, his were mild, but accurate. Rarely did he say anything that wasn't true, nor was it usually vulgar. He's not Dick Cheney (praise be!).

I had to love CNN's stupid fucking quote:

Vice President Joe Biden ended months of intense speculation about his political future on Wednesday with a sudden announcement that he wouldn't seek the presidency.

Sudden? You mean with filing deadlines for many state's primaries due in the next 2-4 weeks?

Sudden? you mean with the VP office SAYING he would make his decision and announcement this week?

Get a grip CNN.

I totally get where Biden is coming from. I saw him on Steven Colbert's new show and thought he presented wonderfully. There were no airs about him, he admitted his potential weakness as a candidate - that if you can't be all in, you shouldn't be there - and he wasn't sure he could be all in.

It's hard to say if the other candidates are all in, but it's highly doubtful any of them would ever admit such a thing.

I think Sanders has Clinton needing to lean more liberal - which I'm ok with. I like Bernie, but he's not truly electable. He won't win the Democratic nomination. He might make a heck of a VP.

The obvious problem with Biden running would have been him splitting the votes with Clinton, making it difficult for either to be a clear winner - and potentially weakening the Democrats chances in November 2016.

I honestly would have liked to see Biden in the race. I would have like to see him win - the nomination and general election. I think he's more ethical than most out there and with a backbone. But he's not a Washington outsider........because what we as a country really want is a fucking neurosurgeon who can't talk to people about foreign policy leading this country.

Sorry folks - you WANT an inside-the-beltway kind of guy or gal. Having a no name running this country is ripe for disaster. A bigger one than we have now.  (And the reality is, an outsider's advisers would be insiders anyway - and pushing their own agenda on a less experienced person.)

I do disagree with something Biden said yesterday:

"I believe that we have to end the divisive partisan politics that is ripping this country apart, and I think we can."

I'm talking about the "I think we can" part.  I agree with him on the section of it ripping this country apart.

I think with suturing the country back together, that ship has sailed. I don't know what fucking 2012 / Deep Impact / Day After Tomorrow / Independence Day / Ishtar / John Carter disaster would have to happen to set aside partisan politics, but it would have to be of epic proportions.

While Biden still might be grieving the death of his son, as time goes on, I think he will be much happier with his decision. The man has done a lot for this country - he has nothing left to prove.



Song by:  David Geddes

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Site of the Month

How could I not know about the Dogist ??

It's just a guy and a camera taking pictures of dogs which he posts on his site and Instagram account 4-5 times per day.

That's it.

But they're dogs, and therefore cute, so it gets the 'awwwwww' factor.

And of course, he has a book deal. EVERYONE has a book deal. Well, except for me.

710 shot me a link to the CBS This Morning segment (hopefully successfully embedded below) they did on the photographer, Elias Weiss Friedman. I love that his gear is a camera, squeaky balls and knee pads.

If it truly carried vision and dental, I'd be doing this for a living.



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Unknown Brothers

Greek life has changed. And it hasn't.

I know - right out of the blue, I start with that.

And I don't mean life in Greece, though with their economic turmoil, no doubt life has changed there too.

Normally, this last weekend's events would have been something I did for the blog's sake only. Just a subject to write about. But in reality, while I knew I would touch on it, I went for other reasons.

A few months ago, one of my fraternity brothers passed away. Chapter Eternal, if you will. Oh yes, that is a thing. One of the other members, a former roommate of mine, started a private Facebook group and organized what was to be a remembrance of Dave - but at a fraternity alumni event, and the Ohio State - Penn State football game.

I agreed to go.

I agreed for a few reasons. I love going back to Ohio State and Columbus. I really wanted to see a few of the guys from the house. But only a few. I knew I'd have to deal with the dickheads that I hated back then and still dislike now. I did the cost-benefit analysis in my head and weighed that the pros outweighed the dickheads.

Now, as it turns out, I probably ended up pledging SAE, one of the more racist and anti-semitic houses on campus, but of course, didn't know it at the time. That and being gay in a kind of not gay house always held me back with many people - of course, after the fact, it turns out a number of people in my house were homos besides me. But that all came much later in life that this was found out.

After agreeing to go and actually getting a hotel room (though Georty graciously offered me a room in their house, I knew my schedule would be sporadic and late, and that seemed rude of me to do that to them). I didn't go down on Friday, but Saturday morning, as what was supposed to be the main event was Saturday afternoon, before the game.

As it turns out, only a few folks showed to Saturday's event. Quadruple that number went to a bar the night before. That probably would have worked out better for me in some aspects, but that wasn't in the cards. And earlier in the week, two of the biggest draws to get me to come back out. Bastards.

Allegedly, my name came up a lot on Friday night. I never asked in what context, and it was never offered - but I can't imagine it was always in positive light.

Others who said they'd be there Saturday never showed, texting hours later, "where are you?" Really???

Saturday was a fraternity alumni thingy. A pig roast. The agreed meet-up time was 13:00 and I was kind of second-guessing going, but I was there, roaming around campus waiting to head up to the house. I love campus on game days. Not that it isn't always alive, but much more so the day of a big game.

As I traipsed up 15th Avenue - or Sorority / Fraternity Row, and arguably the one time main entrance to the University - a number of things leaped out at me. Many of the biggest, most popular houses (in my day!) were gone. 'For Lease' signs posted on them. Other, smaller houses, which could not have occupied the bigger structures on 15th now had moved there. Door after door had been shuttered. It was an odd sight to see.

Houses on Indianola were no different. Our house, looked the same - for better or worse.

I had not stepped foot in this house for 31-32 years. As I was getting closer, one of the folks I was to meet up with was across the street on his way. I hadn't seen Michael for that long either - and I was happy not to have to walk up the step alone.

It was great seeing Michael, who basically looked the same. His curls were gone and had some weight, but that's about it. His wife seemed nice, though very meek.

The current brothers at the house had something we never did - gumption. Most were all too eager to come shake our hands and know when we were there and how things were then.

When we had alumni functions, I would say we all went out of our way to avoid the returning brothers. I'm not sure how we weren't equipped for that, but we just weren't. Maybe social media and the internet age make things way way different in how people socialize.

Mike, Pat (who eventually showed) and myself talked about how different things were for them - and yes, I'm sounding like an old man. In our day, to invite anyone, you had phone banks, or had to copy letters, fold them, stamp them and mail them. Now it's a FB page, an email distribution list - it's all very very easy.

I joked that we were the old guys we use to try to avoid. Truth be told - I'd say about 3-4 older alumni showed, who were a few years older than us. And I met a few who graduated in 2012 - so I don't count them.

Mike, Pat and I roamed the house. The rooms haven't changed that much. Things were cleaner - though that's the other change. University Housing has taken ownership of all Greek houses - they maintain them, they clean them, etc. Which explains why the floors were never that clean when I lived there.

SAE's are a troubled bunch - nationally. Always getting kicked off of campus, no matter where they are. But that is true for so many nowadays. When our chapter got kicked off Ohio State's campus in the early 2000s (for the second time), the then brothers trashed the place, setting fires to all the old composites that hung on the walls. So much of the history vanished like ISIS in Syria.

One composite remained from my day. Michael and Pat had been gone a year, so I was on one.


Oh - that was unfortunate that this didn't perish in the fire. I don't even remember owning a convertible. As I looked at the others in the picture, I maybe knew one-third of them. It was funnier to watch the current brother's reactions see someone from the oldest composite on the grounds.

While there was plenty of beer there, the guys were well behaved. Walking up 15th, other places had rap blaring. Which is fine, and I smiled the 731 times I heard the word 'fuck' coming from their PA systems. SAE's made me smile and comment, that of the music they chose, not one of the current members was alive when the songs were released.

One of the alumni, who came at the end of my stay in the house, yet I don't ever remember, was kind of a dick. And by 'kind of' I mean 'was a dick'. He is the one who parked his Hum Vee (so you know he's got a small dick) on the lawn. He carried an ammunition case to hold his cigars. He talked about how he married and divorced the same woman three times. By all accounts, he was a bigger dick the night before, so I'm glad I wasn't there.  Some men just can't grow up and live that life they did in college.

It was fun to bring up people's names and tell stories - some I hadn't heard that were disturbing, but it was about one of the dickheads to which I earlier referred.

I have to say, one of the current members seemingly took a shine to me. I thought it was my imagination until Pat said something to the same effect. I was invited to attend any Chapter Dinner (every Monday!). Just to stop by. And when I ran into him later in the street after leaving the house, he was equally attentive. And very cute.

Pat just laughed at me. I laughed at me and the situation. Where was he when I was 19?  I mean, besides 20 years away from being born.

So we got one shot in front of the house and then headed to Varsity Club for beer.


I got chastised by that dickhead I mentioned earlier (though via FB - though I'm not friends with him there...or anywhere). He said, seems like I didn't get the message about it the game being a Black Out (wearing all black). I go to one game every few years - fuck if I was plunking down $60+ for a sweatshirt for one game.

He's a dick.

BTW, we did raise a glass to Dave. He was a nice enough sort.

Sunday, I met another brother / friend for breakfast. He couldn't make it Saturday, and he was one of the few I really wanted to see. I got to apologize to him for introducing him to his first wife - which did NOT end well. He laughed at me for that. He never once blamed me for that introduction.

He asked a lot about 710. He liked the fact we were married.

So the cost-benefit analysis still came up on the positive side. It was worth the trip - and we won the game, so, there is that too.



Song by: the Black Keys

Monday, October 19, 2015

My Music Monday

This is kind of a Fake Opposite Day track.

This theme was harder than I expected. Two I had thought of (and used) right off the bat - and the next two......well.....we will see how it goes.

The Bangles have made a lot noise about their best selling album - Different Light - not being what they wanted it and being strong-armed by the record company and producer.

At least to hear them tell it, they didn't really want what I'm guessing is their second biggest single  - "Manic Monday" - ("Eternal Flame" had to be their biggest - right?) on the record, because they didn't write - even though they didn't write Alex Chilton's "Complicated Gurl" but still committed it to vinyl (hey, it was 1986!)

Oh women with guitars.....and hormones. Crazy.

Though "Manic Monday" is credited to a songwriter named "Christopher", it was widely known it was scribed by Prince and not Mr. Meloni.

Prince never actually released the song, as it was written for that triple threat - gulp - Apollonia 6.

As it turns out, Apollonia sang worse than Vanity - so......chew on that.

And as it turns out, Prince couldn't even craft 10-12 songs for Apollonia to ruin on her / their debut and only album. That "masterpiece" had all of seven songs. But "Manic Monday" was not one of them - they just demo'd it and poof, two years later, Prince was raking in the royalty checks thanks to the Bangles.

Whatever you thought of the Bangles song - and pun fully intended - you'll now see it in a Different Light.

Granted the "original" is a demo, but in reality, it was as good as Apollonia was ever going to get and Prince sings on it, probably as a vocal guide or to cover the up horribleness that is the lead singer.

I'd say "enjoy" but it's highly doubtful you will.





Sunday, October 18, 2015

Southern Cross

A post for the 'nonsense' part of this blog. I've said it before and will say it again - I don't do 'nonsense' enough anymore. I used to be better at it. I need to be better at it.

My friend, and dedicated Jew, Jeremy sent me this the other day.

It's actually not bad, but even with one viewing I thought of 3-4 edits or rewrites I did in my head that would have made it funnier.

But they didn't ask me. They never do.








Song by: Crosby, Stills & Nash

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Weekend

Part of this last week in no particular order. No Sophie pictures this week. I will rectify that next time.

Petey stayed with my sister while we were zip lining / hiking. 

Boomer doesn't really use his bed, but stayed near Petey all weekend. The poor dog didn't get any sleep thinking he might miss Petey doing something. 

Petey meeting a new friend - Wally. 


I love Wally. I'd like to take him home. It's nice to interact with a dog that listens and does things that you say. 


Boomer when I went to pick-up Petey. 

He just wanted love......and for us to take Petey home. 

Petey barging in on the Boomer cuddle time. 

Petey - 2 minutes after we got him home from his weekend vacation stay. 

He was as worn out as Boomer. 

Petey with another new neighbor - Ted. 




Song by: Neon Trees

Friday, October 16, 2015

Across the Lines

So this last weekend we went hiking.  I'm sure to show you more pictures another time.

But part of the weekend was dedicated to zip lining at a place called Soaring Cliffs.

Blobby is not much of a thrill-seeker. You won't get me jumping out of a plane or taking a plunge off a bridge while {hopefully} attached to a bungee cord.

710 used to jump out of planes avec parachute, of course. I never went to see him do this, but at the time he seemingly had fun. As years go by, he'll just shake his head talking about how stupid and careless that all was.

He told me a story this last weekend that I swear I had never heard. The radio was out in his helmet but the instructors talked him into jumping. He had no audible directions after his last foot left that plane.

It turns out he got caught in some kind of draft or vortex (or something). He would get down so far and the wind would just take him back up - and it kept happening over and over and over.  While he kind of took in a lot of scenery, after he got down, the ground crew was a bit worried and weren't sure he was actually ever going to be able to get down.

Now 710 just thinks how dangerous every jump was.

I feel the same way about bungee. I'm trusting that cord to stay attached to myself or the bridge, or as not to rip on my limbs in the process. And I still don't know if afterwards they just end up lowering you down, hoisting you back up, or just let you dangle there for eternity. The videos on the Travel Channel never show that part.

Anyhoo....zip lining didn't seem that bad to me.

You would think that in doing this, I'd have read up on it - the sport and the place we were going.



You'd be wrong.



Thinking back, I was either lazy or just wanted to remain blissfully unaware of what was to come.

710 read. He told me there were 10 lines. But in my mind, I thought we would be doing one of those lines........and only once. And I thought that $75 was pretty steep for that short of a time, but maybe it was a really long line or something.

As it turns out, we were to do all 10 lines.

The one thing I did know was that it had a braking system and we wouldn't have to use our hands to help slow down - and you know, get that flesh eating bacteria where one then has to have all their arms and legs amputated later.

I did find out that Soaring Cliff has the longest (or was it highest) zip line in the United States. It's definitely a quarter of a mile long, and if Becky's dad counted correctly (and I know he did), it only take 30 seconds to do the run.

So while it takes about two hours to do all 10 lines - most of them taking less than 15 seconds to ride - and there were eight of us, there didn't seem to be a lot of time standing around waiting.

It was all very thrilling.

I'd say the first few, I didn't get to take in much of the scenery, as I was just trying not to fuck up. In reality, it goes so quickly, you don't get to take in much after you get the hang of it.

Only once was I cautious / afraid.

When they tell you that you must curl up into a ball as tight as possible so you don't hit the trees, well, then the worry starts. Everyone was to yell "cannonball" when leaving the platform. That didn't happen with me. I was thinking of doing a George of the Jungle and splatting right into a timber. I'm not sure I could have gotten into a tighter crunch.

Clearly, I lived.

After that, it was playing around. Trying to play cornhole (oh, clean it up!) from 60 feet in the air (I didn't even hit the wood, let alone the hole.......story of my life) or trying to do flips (nope, didn't happen) or zip upside down (kind of / sort of happened).

But at least two zips of mine were captured on "film".

video


video

I would totally go again. In a heartbeat.

One of my brothers-in-law, apparently, has been talking about it since we showed him the videos. He wants to go - so maybe in the Spring we will venture down and go again.




Song by: Tracy Chapman

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cooking with Blobby

Don't be frightened.

There are a LOT of ingredients in today's recipe. But with simple planning and some prep, the dish actually comes together quite quickly. It's really all about the prep, because things move pretty quickly once you get started.

Today "we" are making Singapore Noodles - even though it's not a "we" and it's not "today", as I made them a few weeks ago. I'm just trying to pace myself on cooking posts, as I know some of you (Morty!) skip over them.

I'm not going from an NYT recipe, but one from America's Test Kitchen.

Cooking with both curry and shrimp are a first for me. I've never done either. Cooking seafood scares me - as it is easy to fuck up, and pricey to do so. And I wasn't off to an auspicious start at the seafood counter, where some guy (who worked at another counter) refused to help me and sent to to the frozen shrimp case. Ruckiry (not Jon's boss), a manager overheard him, consulted with me on what I actually wanted, got it and then pulled the guy aside.......so I would have loved to have heard that conversation.

Neither the shrimp or curry gave me problems..........exactly. But more on that as we go.

4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
6 ounces rice vermicelli
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
12 ozs large shrimp (26 -30 per pound), peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salt
3 garlic cloves, minced to paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
2 large shallots, sliced thin
2/3 cup chicken broth
4 ounces (2 cups) bean sprouts
4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

I really did prep most everything before I truly started. It takes a little while, but worth it. I could have done more prep, like ATK, but I don't have 1,003 little cups to put one-eight of a teaspoon of a spice.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil, curry powder, and cayenne, if using, in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Christopher Kimball said (on the show) he thought it sounded like a lot of curry, but it wasn't when he ate the dish. I think it was a lot of curry. It overpowered most everything (more on that later). Personally, I might cut back a little.

Bring 1 1/2 quarts water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles and stir briefly. Soak noodles until flexible, but not soft, about 2 1/2 minutes, stirring once halfway through soaking. Drain noodles briefly.

Transfer noodles to cutting board. Using chef's knife, cut pile of noodles roughly into thirds (so much easier to handle while eating bc of doing this). Return noodles to bowl, add curry mixture, soy sauce, and sugar; using tongs, toss until well combined. Set aside.

Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp in even layer and cook without moving them until bottoms are browned, about 90 seconds. Stir and continue to cook until just cooked through, about 90 seconds longer. Push shrimp to 1 side of skillet.

Add 1 teaspoon oil to cleared side of skillet. Add eggs (which I forgot to add in the title image pic) to clearing and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently until set but still wet, about 1 minute. Stir eggs into shrimp and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp-egg mixture to second large bowl.

Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty skillet until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add bell pepper and shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shrimp.

Return skillet to medium-high heat, add broth to skillet, and bring to simmer. Add noodles and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Add noodles to bowl with shrimp and vegetable mixture and toss to combine.

Add bean sprouts, scallions, and lime juice and toss to combine. Transfer to warmed platter and serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.


In theory this dish should be great.

It was light. It had protein x 2. It had some burn to it. Quite a bit. Oddly, I'm not really sure it was the curry, ginger or cayenne (though those probably didn't help matters). I think a lot of heat came from the chopped scallion. I know they're supposed to be mild, but I think these weren't.

Maybe due to competing flavours, I could feel eating the shrimp but without much (if any) shrimp taste. I never felt or tasted the eggs.

Much of the work in this dish came afterwards - the de-currying of the kitchen, much like NBC and Matt Lauer did to Ann.



The next two days, I ate leftovers for lunch - minus the scallions. The flavours were much milder and had longer time to infuse together. Maybe everything was too fresh right off the skillet, but how was I to know?

I'd say the shrimp was the most expensive thing there, but really it wasn't ($5 for 12). The small jar of curry I got was as much.

Overall, the dish was ok. Not outstanding. It was a lot of work - more than ATK made it seem to be. I'm glad 710 got home for the last half to help me execute some of the things that seemed (but probably weren't) time sensitive.

I might make again here and there, but it won't be in normal rotation.

Still, I like expanding my skills and trying new things. It hasn't turned me off from doing such.