I've been accused of being a "Debbie Downer" many times in my life, but for the most part, I don't think I am.  I do think I'm a realist and try to look at things the way they are and not the way people fantasize them to be, so maybe that's where I get that bum wrap from.  I don't sit around thinking about death and dying and all that crap all the time.  Sure, I've spent a lot of time in the last two years thinking about death after my Mother passed away, but I think that's natural.  But I don't think about me dying or even contemplate it.

Today was a little different, though.  Not in that I sat at work all day thinking about what will happen when I die or how I'll die, but more about the fact that I'm getting older and I'm sitting comfortably in middle age.  I'm not a kid anymore, no matter how youthful (immature) I may feel or act.  My youth is long behind me, but I don't think I've ever really tried letting it go.  I'm forty-seven years old and maybe it's time I should own up to it.

The mother of one of my childhood best friends passed away early this morning.  I don't really have all the details, but I know she and her daughter were in a car accident back in October.  My friend went through the windshield, but remarkably made it through the accident without any major issues.  Her mother wasn't so lucky.  She's been in the hospital ever since, surgery after surgery, procedure after procedure.  It was all in vain as she passed away today.  It got me to thinking about back when I was a small boy.  We lived in Kinderhook, NY.  The family next door had a son my age and a daughter my brother's age.  The house next to them had a son my age and another my brother's.  We were all very good friends.  We lived there for maybe seven or eight years before my nomadic family packed up and started moving all over the northeast.  So Kinderhook is the place that I consider my hometown even though I wasn't born there.  That house is the first place I remember.  I spent most of my formative years there.  Whenever I'm in that part of the area, I always drive up my old street and just look at the houses and reminisce. Of the three families on that street (mine and the two families next to us), my Dad is the only parent still alive.  Of my immediate peer group, I'm the only one still alive.  The oldest sons of both the other families are long dead.  The youngest kids are all still alive and kicking though.  When I think about the parents, it makes me realize that I'm getting older.  When I think about my peers, it scares me because this is too young to be passed away.  It's a little hard for me to wrap my head around sometimes.

Last year, Mr. Kelly, the parent from two doors down passed away.  He was still living in the same house.  His son Eddie sold the house and was going to pack it up before it changed ownership.  Unfortunately this happened the same week I was away on vacation.  I was really anxious to try to get one last look at the house before it was too late.  I even told him that if I wasn't going to be away, I'd be more than happy to lend a hand with whatever needed to be done, just to get one final glimpse of my childhood.  At the very least, pictures were available on the real estate website and it made me smile to see how very little the house had changed in thirty-five years.

It's guess I'm just feeling a little sad today and a lot nostalgic.  I think I had just about the best childhood I could hope for before we started moving around.  I miss it.  But I'll always have memories and photographs.



Let's hope this comes out even slightly coherent. I'm still wiped out from my long weekend away and all I want to do is pass out, but I'm also afraid that the longer I wait to write so ethi g about the weekend, the better the chance that I'll write nothing. So here goes. Good luck trying to make heads or tails of this. 

I've been taking a lot of time off from work lately. I don't think I've worked a full five day week since sometime in October. It's been nice. Really nice. Between vacations and long weekends, I've been getting spoiled. This past weekend, for all intents and purposes, was the end of my vacationing. On Friday morning, I hopped a plane to Austin, Texas to celebrate the recent marriage of two of the best friends anyone could have the fortune to have. Back in October, my friends Freddy and Jed got married on a trip to New York. Since they were away from home, not many of their friends could join them. But they could for the reception and that's what the trip was all about. 

The reception was going to be held out at a far outside of town. Tents and tables and bonfires and all that jazz. The previous weekend, the temperatures were in the mid 80s. That's a foreign concept for me living in the northeast.  This time of year the temps are somewhere between 30 and 40. As the weekend approached, the forecast got less and less pleasant. Ultimately, Austin's weather became Albany's. Mid 30s with a chance for ice. Freddy did some scrambling and found a new indoor venue at the last minute. Thank baby Jesus!

The plan was for Ken and I to go. He's never been to Austin and this was finally his chance.  At e last minute he had to cancel because of his new job. He was crushed (and he still is). So I traveled alone.  What was different this time was (a) I wasn't staying with Freddy and Jed and I'd be driving in Austin, both new to me. I'm a fine driver and I've been to Austin enough to fake my way around, but I really learned that my sense of direction just isn't as strong as I think it is. The drive from the airport is about a half hour. Mine was an hour.  Yeah, I got lost.  I was relying on google maps to get me where I was going, but I lost my connection and for about 10-15 minutes had to rely on my instincts. I overshot my exit by about 12 minutes (which is when I got my connection reestablished.) but no big whoop. I planned on dropping my stuff and getting to Freddy's house by five.  I wasn't too far behind that schedule. 

Friday night was fun. Seeing Freddy and Jed and their kids, as well as my good friend Eric from NYC and Texas friends Heather and Amy Carr (my nemesis!).  I got to meet Freddy's brother-in-law, who also flew in from out of town that night. We hung out, had some awesome Mexican food and played Cards Against Humanity (on one of my turns to read, I ended up crying because the cards were too funny and I could barely read them.)  It was a fantastic night. Eric was staying about a mile or so from me and I brought him back to his place before heading back to mine. Freddy hooked me up with an airbnb owned by friends of his. I knew of them from his Facebook page, but I didn't know them. About five minutes after I got to my place, there was a knock on my door from Andy. He invited me over to the main house to hange out and to meet him and Ellen. I'm such and awkward person when I don't know someone (less  awkward than my usual awkward) and I hope I didn't come off too badly to them. I'm guessing I didn't because we hung out for nearly two hours getting to know each other. They're really great people. I didn't get to bed until a little after 1am, which i realized wasn't exactly true as I laid down to go to sleep. Because of the time zone change, my body thought it was 2am.  Considering I got up at 5:30 that morning, it was a long ass day. 

Saturday Eric and I were on our own for most of it. We slept in a bit and hooked up around 10 o'clock. I brought him to a restaurant near my place that is been to on a previous trip to town. The food was as good as I recalled. Because I'm a pig, I ordered the rocky road pancakes. Chocolate pancakes with mocha chips, nuts and topped with marshmallow fluff. Eric went healthy. What a putz! Just as we were leaving, I got a call from Freddy asking if we could help him bring some supplies down to the venue later that afternoon. In between, Eric and I did what any two nerds would do. We hit up a comic book store. Austin has some great shops. We planned on hitting two of them, but ran out of time. But the one store we hit was spectacular. Afterwards, we stopped for coffee (or hot chocolate for me) and a snack (this pig got a chocolate/peanut butter cupcake) and then to help out Freddy. We loaded my car with boxes and brought them down. We also helped out getting the place set up for the party before we were dismissed. Driving back to where we were staying, we tried to figure out if there was going to be enough time to hit another comic shop, but there really wasn't. Instead, we swung by Eric's for him to pick up clothes and then back to my place to get ready. Eric needed an iron. His place didn't have one, but mine did. We got ready and then got a lift down to the venue with Ellen. I mentioned to her that I was going to catch a cab so I could drink and she offered the ride instead. 

Man, that party was fun. Fun fun fun. I started drinking early.  I don't really think I had all that much to drink, but I felt it. I have a rather low tolerance for booze and I didn't eat anything all day after that cupcake, so I had nothing to soak up he alcohol. I wish I could learn to loosen up in sober life like I do when I have a little bit of booze in me.  From what I'm told and what I remember, I was really outgoing all night long. Really outgoing. I got to see a bunch of people I know already, like my friend Gregg, who I've know since waaaaaaaay before Freddy.  I got to see a bunch of people I know through Freddy like Kay and Darla and Leslie and Kevin and TJ. I got to meet in person a lot of new people who I feel like I already sort of know from Freddy's Facebook feed.  People like his co-worker Christy, who always cracks me up, and Elizabeth and Karissa and Julie and Shelli. And if that's not enough, there were people I wasn't all that familiar with from Facebook or previous trips who were just spectacular. One in particular was Stephen the bartender. I saw him when we went down to help set up the place earlier in the afternoon and thought he was fucking hot. But I'm not the type of person to say anything (because I'm awkward and repressed and uptight).  We'll, I'm not the type until you put some liquor in me and then I've got all the courage in the world to tell him to his face he makes me hard. Only, it's kind of embarrassing when his husband is standing there next to him when you spill the beans. Actually, it's only embarrassing the following day when you sober up. 

It kind of freaked me out at the party for people to come up to me and ask if I was Walt. It happened quite a few times and I felt like I was famous or something. It started with my new friend Karissa and kept on happening all night long. My favorite time was when Freddy's neighbor asked, "Are you THE Walt?"  That's not just any old Walt. I'm THE Walt!

I know I'm leaving out people, but it's not on purpose. There were so many people there and I don't feel like I got to spend enough time with any of them. I'm also pretty sure I was like a little boy constantly distracted by a shiny object, going person to person randomly. 

Sunday was both fun and sad.  Norman had to leave shortly before breakfast. Eric had to leave shortly after breakfast.  So did Amy Carr. There's something about saying goodbye in Texas that makes me emotional. The rest of Sunday was spent with the family. We hit up a big annual art fair.  I was really hoping to find something cool, but nothing really caught my eye. Dinner is something I still haven't lived down. Ken has been trying g to get me to go for Indian for dinner for years. We went once and it was not a good experience for me. Recently I told him I'm willing to try again, but not just yet. Sunday night, we all went out for Indian. It was posted online when we got to the restaurant and within minutes, I got an angry text message from Ken. I am now at his beck and call for when his next craving for Indian hits and I can't say no. 

Sunday was an early night. Everyone was exhausted and I had to be up at 4:30 on Monday to get showered and back to the airport in time. I'm happy I headed out as early as I did because it took forever to get through security. There was no traffic on the road that morning because I think everyone in Austin was in the security line. It didn't really occur to me that Monday morning would be a heavy travel time, but of course it is. It's a hell of a lot of business travel. 

But it's Wednesday now, I'm still exhausted and I've been nursing a sore throat since I got back. And I've been basking in the afterglow of this weekend, spending time with family and expanding my circle of amazing friends 



I can't believe it's December already.  I seriously don't know how 2013 flew by as quickly as it did.  It feels like it should only be about half over, not almost completely over.  It feels like I barely got much of anything done this year.  Hell, I was off from work all last week and I got next to nothing accomplished.  I thought about that on the drive in to work this morning.  I decided I was finally ready to get to that list of things I was going to do.  

I guess I got a little bit done, though.  I pulled out the Christmas trees and set them up.  Last year I never got around to doing that at all.  I cleaned the house, though to be honest, I didn't do that until this past weekend.  I got my teeth cleaned.  Whoopie.  And I have to go back in two weeks because I have a chipped filling with a little decay behind it.  I'm not looking forward to that.  When my teeth are good, they're really good.  When there's a problem, it always seems like it's a bigger problem than anticipated.  I'm going into the new filling with that in mind so that if something bigger is wrong, it won't come as a shock.  I intended on writing here more, but that didn't come to be.

On Thanksgiving Day, Ken and I traveled to Connecticut to have dinner with my Aunt and her wife.  I've been reconnecting with her lately and it's nice.  She's only about five years older than I am, so growing up she was more like my cousin and not my aunt.  She's the black sheep of the family, too.  Lives within a few miles of everyone else, yet has no contact with anyone.  So this visit was nice.  Seeing the area of Connecticut where she lives was nice, too.  We would travel there usually twice a year when I was growing up.  I don't know the area well, but I have some very strong and very fond memories of it.

My aunt lives about 40 minutes from a casino, so Ken, still feeling lucky from the cruise we were on a few weeks ago, wanted to swing by there on the way home.  He had a game plan, too.  We'd get there, walk around to see what was what, then set our timers for one hour.  We'd each play $100 and whoever had the most money at the end of the hour won.  I played for a little bit, but didn't win anything.  While searching for a machine about ten minutes in, I passed Ken who had already turned his $100 into $200.  Naturally.  I didn't see him again until time was up and we met at the pre-arranged spot.  He managed to get as high as about $225, he said, but ended up with $0.  He lost it all.  Me, on the other hand, didn't.  I turned my $100 into $100.09!  That's right.  I took nine cents from the Native Americans.  So I was the winner, but my prize sucked.

The drive home from Connecticut was kind of fun.  There was no traffic on the drive to my aunt's, but there was quite a bit on the drive home.  Every time we'd pass an exit with shopping visible from the highway, the traffic would automatically thin out.  Looking at the different shopping plazas we could see from the road was kind of sickening to me.  Lines and lines of people waiting for the stores to open.  Seriously, it's worth all that to save $5 on a piece of shit that you don't need anyway?  I did go out on Friday afternoon, but to the grocery store.  I didn't know before this year, but Black Friday is the ultimate day to buy groceries.  There was almost no one in the store.  It was glorious.  On Sunday afternoon, Ken needed to hit the grocery store because he wanted to try to make chicken noodle soup from scratch, so we ventured out to get his ingredients.  On the way home we stopped at Toys R Us to pick up a couple presents for these little bastards I love more than life itself.  The store wasn't busy at all.  I was a little freaked by the thought of shopping in a toy store on Black Friday weekend, but it felt like everyone had shopped themselves out by Sunday afternoon.

I need to find just a little time to get back to my year by year playlists.  The posts aren't quite coming out the way I'd hoped, but I'm still having fun writing them.  I just started 1998 at work today.  I should really be done with the 90s, but I took a little extra time off in between years.  My goal is to find do at least one this week, though I've got a lot going on again.  ::fingers crossed::


Frank Turner Part Two

I couldn't figure how to embed these videos from the iPad last night, so here I am on the desktop to do what I promised last night.



I'm kind of shocked and surprised it's been as long as it has since I last posted anything here. To say I've been busy is an understatement. I've been keeping myself fully booked these last few weeks.

This is going to be brief because I'm tired and need to get to bed shortly. It's another busy day tomorrow, starting with the dentist and errands, chores around the house and then catching up with Ken, who has been away all week. It doesn't sound like it's all that much, but there won't be time to goof off, something I'm in dire need of.

So, last night I took myself out on a nice date. I'd have taken Ken, but as I said, he's away right now and he would have been miserable.  Last night I took myself out to see Frank Turner in concert.  I've missed him the last two times I was aware he was in the area. Coincidentally, both times I missed him, I found out the night he was playing that he was in town.  This time I was more proactive. 

The show was fucking amazing. AMAZING. I really didn't know what to expect since I'd never seen him before. Whatever I might have expected was probably far less than what he actually delivered. From the first note of "Photosynthesis" to the last note of "These Four Words" he had the entire crowd hooked. I can't remember the last show I was at where the electricity in the air was so heavy. 

The crowd also surprised me.  I was expecting a smaller crowd and a much older crowd. But the place was sold out and the majority of the crowd was young enough to be my children. I didn't know he had such a young following in a market this small. But after watching the show, I completely understand. Frank is a former punk rock singer reinvented into a folk singer. He channels so much of his punk roots in his performance while never letting you forget these are modern day folk songs. Folk and punk aren't really all that dissimilar styles of music when you boil them down to their basics. 

I love what he does during his encores. He starts them all off with an area song, meaning he picks an artist from the general area and covers one of their songs. At my show, I got a cover of "Career Moves" by Loudon Wainwright. I spent a bunch of time today on YouTube checking out other shows. He did REM when he was in Georgia and Bob Seger in Detroit. I love that idea. 

If you don't know Frank Turner, you're missing out. I'll post a couple videos after this. I'm typing on the iPad and haven't figured out how to add the video directly into the post yet. Because I'm pretty, dammit!

All in all, it was one of the best, if not THE best concert I've ever been to. He best come back soon. 


Weddings And Stuff And Junk

There are many things floating around in my head that I want to write something about.  Most of them will be gone before I get around to it.  I'm just glad I found a little time for this post before it's forgotten.  Weddings.  The topic is still semi-fresh in my head, so hopefully I can get something down here that makes some sort of sense.

Let's be honest.  First and foremost, no one really likes a wedding.  It's true.  Sure, people love a party, but with a wedding, there's a lot you have to get through before you get to the party part.  I've been to all sorts of weddings, as anyone who might be reading this has.  And I've gotten to the age where all my single friends are either now married (and have been for a long ass time) or are never getting married.  I figured I was now off the hook for the rest of my days.  But then a funny thing happened.  Marriage equality.  Slowly but surely, spreading across the country, homos are being allowed to legally marry.  And it really makes me happy.  I've actually never been happier to go to weddings in my life.  Going to a gay wedding fills me with way more emotion than any straight wedding ever has.  Probably because I know the two people exchanging vows never thought that this would be a reality.  I know I knew it would never be possible for me (and I was wrong).

It seems to me that there are three types of weddings people have, no matter if they're gay or straight.  There's (a) not quite the wedding you want because of obligation (b) not quite the wedding you want because of circumstance and (c) exactly what you want.  I was lucky enough to have exactly the wedding of my dreams.  A simple affair with only my very closest friends present.  Family wasn't invited for a variety of reasons and I have no regrets about it whatsoever.  Family was, for the most part, the reason family wasn't invited, if you know what I mean.  Afterwards, we had a party at my house and invited over even more friends.  I think it was the best of both worlds.

A little over a week ago, I got to attend the wedding of one of my best friends in the entire universe.  I'm not claiming to speak for him, but if I had to classify his wedding, I'd call it (b) not quite the wedding he wanted due to circumstance.  He and his husband are from Texas, a non-marriage equality state.  On their recent trip to New York they decided to elope.  New York has no residency restriction so they were free to get hitched provided they got a license and waited out the 24 hour waiting period.  Because it was an elopement, they weren't able to have everyone they wanted present.  They've got one of the greatest stable of friends and family I've ever come across. They did, however, find some of these people drop everything and fly to New York to crash the event.  And I bet if they were able, even more would have done the same.  There will be a proper celebration in December for everyone, but I know that if they could, they would have much preferred to do this at home.

The other type of wedding I mentioned is the type that pisses me off.  The obligation wedding.  I hate them.  The people getting married seem to have little say in what's going on.  The entire extended family HAS to be invited, even if the couple hasn't seen any of them in 38 years.  The bride's mother HAS to have her entire office come.  I've been invited to the wedding of the children of Ken's co-workers before.  It's just awkward and there's no reason for it.  In my mind, the wedding is supposed to be about the people getting married, not their parents, not their relatives, not their best friends, not their plumber.  Just because the bride's mother couldn't have the wedding she wanted is no reason for her to finally have it, at her child's expense.  

As more and more states sign on for marriage equality, I find that I'm getting more and more excited for my friends all over the country and look forward to comparing their crap-ass weddings to my ultimate celebration! 


Syd Straw

As I posted a few days ago, Syd Straw was making a rare Capital Region appearance and I was going.  She's someone I've admired and have been a fan of for a lot of years.  Admittedly, I didn't know who she was until she came out for her first solo album SURPRISE, but I've been a fan ever since.  I hate that she goes years in between albums.  She's only put out three solo albums in her career so far, one in 1989, one in 1996 and one in 2008.  That third one I only just found out about recently.  Looks like she put it out herself without a label behind her and that's why I missed it.

I talked about how she randomly liked a comment on my Facebook page already.  That led to another comment posted shortly before the show.  I really have to tell you what a freaking boost seeing something like that is.  It's wild.  But what's wilder is the show she put on Saturday night.

She came out and played two songs before really having much interaction with the audience.  After the second song she mentioned that they told her to not talk very much between songs because it was being recorded for Northeast Public Radio, which of course lead to her talking a lot.  More than I think I've ever experienced at any show I've ever been to.  She also mentioned that she had to sign a form saying she wouldn't swear (again, taped for Public Radio), so all she wanted to do was cuss.  And during this chat section of the show, she said something the blew my mind.  Just randomly, she said the to crowd "Walt Curley is here tonight.  At least, I think he is.  Is he?"  I responded and she gave me a wave and complimented me on my second row seat.  LOL.  But that was only the first of three times she name checked me during the show.  The second time was when she said I'd made a request for a song before playing it.  I wish I knew when the request was going to be played so I would be ready to tape it.  I started recording right after that, but at least I knew to hit the record button on my phone.  

She gave a truly magical, yet surreal show.  She talked about a lot of stuff, whether it was song inspirations, stories from the road, stories from home, just all sorts of stuff.  And I love that the show really had no structure to it.  She had a set list written down in her notebook, but as the show went on, it became more of a list of suggestions rather than an actual set list.  She talked directly to people in the audience, told stories about some of the people there that she's known forever.  It was amazing.

After the show I stuck around and got to talk to her for a little bit.  She's so warm and open and just about the friendliest person you could ever meet.  I've seen a few great shows this year, but this show tops the list.  And in the last twelve months, this is the third show I've been to of an artist I never thought I'd ever get the chance to see, at least locally.  The other two were Morrissey and Midge Ure.  Now I'm stoked to see who else is going to swing through these parts that I would never suspect. 

 Syd's dog, Carol Burnett, wandered through the audience after the opening act was done and eventually joined Syd on stage for the rest of the show

Me, looking like I'm on To Catch A Predator, and Syd, looking AMAZING!

Back when her second album came out, we used to play it all the time at the store I worked at.  My friend Sharon and I grew to LOVE the song "Black Squirrel."  So naturally that was my request for her to play.  I got it on video and was thrilled to hear her do it live.



Getting back on track with these posts.

1984.  If you asked me before I set out to listen to these playlists in chronological order what year was going to be the best year for music, at least in the 1980s, I would have said 1984.  I seem to have a fondness for the year.  And while 1984 turned out to be pretty damn good, I don't think it holds up 1981 or 1982 like I thought it would.  Close, but not quite.

As I just looked over the playlist again, I can tell you a couple of things.  First and foremost, it's the year I really started getting down with the sassy black divas.  This year had "The Glamourous Life" by Sheila E, it had "Centipede" by Rebbie Jackson, "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by Deniece Williams, "I Feel For You" by Chaka Khan, but more importantly, it had the big breakthrough for the Pointer Sisters and the triumphant comeback of my favorite artist of all time, Tina Turner.  And I can remember vividly how I found out Tina was on her way back.  There was a full page ad in Billboard magazine touting the release of "Let's Stay Together."  I remember looking at the ad and thinking Capitol Records wasted a lot of money on this train wreck.  Little did I know that after seeing the video once, I'd be hooked for life.  The video was cheesy as hell, but considering when it was made and for a budget I'm guessing was next to nothing, it did what it needed to do.  Tina was back and the rest became the stuff legends are built on.

1984 was the year I graduated high school and about the only thing I can associate with my senior year is Bruce Springsteen.  I've never been a huge fan of his, but I don't really dislike many of his hits.  And he was all over the radio that year.  He was all over EVERYTHING that year.

Other highlights for me were the final (until 2001) album by the Go-Go's, one of my favorite bands ever, the start of Alison Moyet's solo career ("Invisible" was my jam for 1984), Romeo Void, Nena (discussed in an earlier post), seeing Rick Springfield's bare ass in the movie Hard To Hold and the joy that is This Is Spinal Tap.

This is the year I also started developing my mad crush on Howard Jones, which I will admit, has barely faded in the last nearly 30 years.

Looking through my playlist, I was pleasantly surprised to see my album collection started growing.  Here's what I added that year.



Wow.  Two posts in two days.  What is this world coming to?  I guess it helps having Ken away.  The time I spend with him after we both get home from work has been put to better use.  I got all the playing online I wanted to do done, ate dinner, did the dishes and have a load of laundry in the dryer already.  So I've got a little extra time to kill for a change.

I will probably come off sounding like a callous, unfeeling bastard, but it's been so nice having him gone.  This week is going to fly by, so I better enjoy it while it lasts.  I'm the type of person who needs a lot more solitude than others.  I'm feeling supercharged by it already.

Anyway, I wanted to throw out this quick post about music.  I know I'm falling behind on my year by year posts and I'll get back to that shortly.  I just started my 1995 playlist today and what I heard today alone more than made up for 1994, which I found surprisingly dull.  But anyway...

I'm in love with the whole crowd funding trend that's been happening in music lately.  Jill Sobule really brought it to the forefront a few years back when she solicited fans to help her finance her new album at the time.  It was looked at as revolutionary and now it's becoming more and more common place.  In the mail today I got the new cd by Jon McLaughlin.  He's a singer songwriter from Indiana who I discovered maybe ten years ago when he had a major label deal.  I loved the stuff he was doing and have been following him ever since.  Like many artist today, he's no longer on a major label and he's doing things his own way.  Without a label looming over him, he can make the album he wants to make, but also, without a label looming over him, he doesn't have the funds to do it right.  So I pitched in and helped out.  And I'm thrilled it's here.  I've backed a few albums lately.  Brendan James' new album, Graham Colton's upcoming album, the last Matt The Electrician album.  I would have done the same with the new Handsome & Gretyl album, but I think they did it themselves.  Instead, if you purchase their album, they send you two so you can share one as a way to spread the word.  After I did that, they put the album up for free on NoiseTrade.com.  I highly recommend that website and that group.  I've found so much good stuff there.  And it's all totally free.

Old artists, new tricks.  Sheryl Crow and Elvis Costello have new albums out.  Both are trying some (slightly) new things with varying results.  Elvis teamed up with the Roots on his new album.  Just the thought of it scared me, but I have to tell you, it's probably his best album in years.  Elvis is to the point in his career where he can do pretty much whatever the fuck he wants to.  He's done everything from pure pop to classical.  This new album is probably the most Elvis Costello sounding album he's done in decades.  All the pretense has been stripped away and it's really back to classic Elvis basics.  Sheryl Crow, on the other hand, has decided to try country.  Not that her usual stuff is too far removed from country music.  You take any Sheryl Crow album, change the arrangements around just a little, throw in a steel guitar and you've got a country album.  But this time around she went for a full blown country album, or at least, what she thinks passes as a country album.  Sister tried way too hard and the album shows it.  She thinks throwing on a country accent makes a country album.  She's got the arrangements, she's got some more country oriented instrumentation, but the fake accent and the terribly written songs are what ruins it.  She tried writing what she thinks are country songs.  She should just write Sheryl Crow songs instead.  This thing has one or two passable songs, but over all, it's laughable.

This morning a woman sat down directly in front of me on the bus.  She was wearing what had to be an entire bottle of perfume.  It was so strong I started getting a headache from it.  Seriously, why do people do that?  Anyway, I posted a status update on Facebook about it.  Later on during the day, I was looking at FB again and I saw this:

What you're seeing is my update, a response and Syd Straw's name.  Syd Straw saw my post and like it.  Syd Motherfuckin' Straw.  I was giddy, to say the least.  I LOVE her so much.  In fact, she's coming to town this weekend and I'm going to go see her.  She never tours, at least not here.  When I saw she liked my post, I commented that if this is her way to get people to buy concert tickets, it worked!  And then I requested she play her song "Black Squirrel."  Imagine my surprise when she followed up with this:

She's gonna sing motherfuckin' "Black Squirrel" for me!!  It's Monday and I'm supposed to be crabby and unhappy because the weekend is over, but how can I be.  Syd Straw posted on my FB page AND took a request for this weekend's show.  I'm so far over the rainbow right now, I can't breathe.  I had to email my friend Sharon immediately to share/rub it in.

I looked on YouTube to see if there's a video for "Black Squirrel" but it looks like there isn't.  So here's her "hit single" "Future 40's (String Of Pearls)"


Didn't really find the time this week to sit down and type anything out.  I know I've forgotten a few things I wanted to write already.  These are the thoughts I still remember:

Thursday night was a very welcomed distraction.  I had tickets to see Josh Ritter again.  This is the second time this year.  The first time was on his pre-tour warm up tour.  He was doing a handful of dates before the new album came out to get his sea legs.  It was the first stop on the pre-tour and it was AMAZING.  This time around, the tour is officially over and he's starting up a new acoustic tour.  And again, this was the first date.  For some reason, when I saw it was an acoustic show, I assumed it was just him and his guitar.  But I was wrong.  He had two of his bandmates with him to play along.  But it was still acoustic and was superb.  There was very little overlap of songs between both shows.  Maybe four or five songs.  So that made it even better.  The opening act was Sam Amidon.  He's odd.  Very odd.  But utterly fascinating to watch on stage.  He's got a very monotone singing style.  Ken compared him, in some ways, to Andy Kaufman, which I can totally see.  I enjoyed the hell out of him.  The next day I did a little reading on him (thanks Wikipedia!) to discover that being a singer is probably the thing he's second most known for.  The first is that he's married to Beth Orton.  And he's ten or eleven years younger than she. *gasp*

I ended up being out very late (for me) on Thursday and didn't get home until about 11:40.  Since I get up before the sun, Friday was difficult because I was so tired.  I actually snapped at a co-worker who shot me with a rubber band.  I told her to cut it out and that I was in no mood for her shit today.  Me.  Non-confrontational me.  You know I was tired if I did that.

Back in April I took a promotional exam for work.  Five months later they finally posted the test scores.  Why it took five months is anyone's guess.  It's a multiple choice test where you color in the answer (A B C or D) with a pencil and they feed it through a machine to grade it.  Granted, it was a state wide test, but five months?  Whatever.  Anyway, the grades came out and I was hoping to pass with a decent score.  I got 100.  Yay me.

This weekend has actually turned out pretty well for me considering what this weekend is.  I emailed my sister earlier this week to see if she wanted to go out to lunch on Saturday.  She agreed.  Saturday is important because it's the second anniversary of Mom's passing.  I really didn't want to be alone, not saying that Ken isn't good enough, but I kind of wanted to spend a little time with my sister.  And we did.  And had a good time.  Until I made her cry in the restaurant.  All I did was toast Mom, but that was enough.  I quickly changed the subject to pizza and everything was good again.  I hate that Mom is gone.  I hate how she went.  I miss her every day.  But I don't know why this anniversary was easier.  I don't know if I just turned off that side of me for the weekend or what.  I did end up crying myself when I dropped Tina off at home and said goodbye.  It'll get easier, I know.  But it's still hard right now.

Today was amazing.  Mostly.  I got up at 5:30 this morning, which I didn't care for, to get Ken to the airport.  He is away this week and I'm not, but I'm fine with that.  He's on a head clearing solo cruise.  He wanted me to go with him, but I have a lot of time already scheduled off over the next couple of months that I couldn't really justify it.  But being home alone is a vacation for me.  I wish I didn't have to work, but I'll make due.  Today was supposed to be all about decompression, but it didn't work out like I planned.  Not to say it wasn't about decompression, though, because it was.  My thought was I was going to drop him off, go to the gym on the way home and then lay around the house the rest of the day.  It started off like that.  I did drop him off, I did go to the gym, but when I got home and was showering, I had a hankering for pancakes.  So I took myself out to breakfast.  And then ran some errands.  Then I came home and started cleaning.  Then took a walk.  Then cleaned some more.  And made dark chocolate banana bread with peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Then cleaned.  Then sat down to read and passed out for about 1/2 hour.  While it wasn't the lay-around-the-house-and-do-nothing day I was hoping for, it was still very therapeutic.  I'm looking forward to a very quiet week this week.  Because I'm looking forward to it, something will happen to derail it.  Meh.


Maybe I Just Don't Understand How Relationships Work

Really.  Maybe I have no clue as to what makes a healthy relationship.  I've been with Ken for nearly twenty years and I think we've got a great one, but from comments and remarks I hear from others, we're just doing it wrong.

Apparently, to have a healthy relationship, you must be joined at the hip with your partner 24/7.  Independent thought is unwelcome and independent activities is the worst crime you can commit.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but I just don't understand why a huge majority of my couples friends are not allowed to do anything without their other half.  If an opportunity comes up for one of them, it's often passed over because it's either only for one of them or one of them is unable to do it, so it's off the table.  I don't know how people can live like that.  I love Ken dearly, but if I had to spend every waking hour with him, I'd kill him.  I like to do things on my own as much as I like doing things with him.  If he's got a chance to do something but I'm not free to do it, I'd feel like dog shit if he had to miss out on it.  Case in point.. Next weekend he's taking off for a solo vacation.  He found a killer fare for a cruise out of Florida and he's going.  By himself.  He's asked me a few times if I wanted to go, and while I'd love to drop everything and take off for a week, I've got a lot of time already scheduled off at work over the next two months.  Adding another week was just not feasible.  Because I can't go, am I going to hold him back?  Hell no.  I'll miss him, but at the same time, I'm going to enjoy a little downtime just for me.  It's a win/win situation almost.

Anyway, many of my friends cannot wrap their heads around this concept.  I don't know why.  I don't know if it's a trust issue in their relationships or a control issue or what.  I'm not a therapist, so I can't answer that.  But seriously, is your relationship on such shaky ground that you can't do something on your own?

Four or five years ago I took a vacation away from Ken.  I flew to Texas to spend about a week and a half with my friend Freddy and his family.  Everyone Ken knows questioned him about this.  Seriously.  Why would I take off for such a long time without him?  One "friend" even went so far as to sit Ken down to let him know that the reason I went to Texas without him was to fuck around.  (Keep in mind this person's longest running relationship lasted about three weeks.)  Seriously.  What the fuck is wrong with people?  So even people not in a relationship think doing something without the other is wrong.

One of Ken's friends is an exception to the rule.  He thinks it's the greatest idea in the world.  He would love to do it.  But he's married and he can't even think about going to the grocery store alone without his wife flipping out.

Can someone explain to me why doing things apart, whether it's going to the store, visiting a friend or going on a vacation, is a cardinal sin?  I really don't get it.



So I had one of those rare weekends where I not only had some things going on, but I got stuff done and had a great weekend.  That stuff doesn't always go hand in hand, but this weekend it did.  

Good things started on Friday.  My bi-weekly delivery of comics came.  That's always the start of a nice weekend for me, the nerd that I am.  In my shipment were my first installment of DC's Villains Month books.  It's a lame event where DC Comics has suspended the publication of their entire line and replaced it with a set of books that tell the story of their villains.  Instead of Aquaman, we get a book about Black Manta, or instead of Batman, we get a book about the Joker.  You get the idea.  Part of the Villain Months celebration is DC published the books with special 3D Lenticular covers.  Only they fucked this up real good and didn't publish enough copies to fulfill their orders.  There are shortages of a lot of these books.  Luckily all of the ones I ordered came with the 3D covers, so I was pretty stoked about that.

Saturday morning I got up and headed for the gym early.  I had stuff to do and the sooner I got that out of the way, the better.  And all that sweat has been paying off.  I stepped on the scale on Saturday morning to see this:

It's the smallest number I've seen on the scale in my entire adult life.  I don't really have an explanation for it.  I haven't been pushing myself harder than usual to see it, but it happened.  I'm so proud of myself.  I've come a long way since seeing 300.5 on the scale.  Today I was back up to 191 after a weekend of carb loading, but I'm okay with it.

Saturday saw the return of FantaCon to Albany.  It used to be the regular nerd convention here years and years ago when FantaCo was still in business.  FantaCo was a comic book store and part-time publisher.  But they brought the convention back and I wanted to attend for a few reasons.  The first reason was some of my favorite locally based artists were going to be there and I'm going to miss them in November when the next Albany Comic Con hits.  (Damn vacation!)  I've been loving getting my sketch book filled.  The Albany shows are prime for this sort of thing.  I brought my sketch book to the New York Comic Con once and got nothing.  Everyone was so busy or booked up through the weekend that it made it impossible. Here's what I got this time:

Adam Strange by Fred Hembeck

Blue Devil by Matt Smith

Doc Stearn -- Mister Monster by Michael Gilbert

Michael Gilbert doesn't do NY area conventions usually as he lives in Oregon, so this was my one shot at getting something from him.  I used to love this comic back in the 80s.  And I've been wanting to revisit the book for about a year or so now (ever since I saw someone got a trade paperback of Mr. Monster stories at a previous Albany Comic Con) but the stuff has been out of print.  Luckily he still had a stack of trades for sale and I picked one up.

I also got a one of a kind sketch from Fred Hembeck.  I've known Fred for decades.  I used to work in a comic book store back in the 80s and he was a semi-regular customer.  So I've known him forever and over the past few years got back in touch with him.  We see each other a couple of times a year.  Anyway, he wanted to draw me something proper, so when I got to the convention, he had this waiting for me.  I absolutely love it.  LOVE IT.  I'm going to get a frame for it because I want that up on my wall.

Night Girl and Polar Boy from the Legion Of Substitute Heroes.  Awesome!

But I have to admit, the biggest draw for me was meeting Geri Reischl.  She's best known for playing Jan Brady on the Brady Bunch Variety Hour.  Fake Jan.  The real Fake Jan.  She was at the convention because it was not only comics, but also horror.  She's done a bunch of horror movies, most famously I Dismember Mama.  I've been following her on Facebook for a couple of years now and she's got a wicked sense of humor.  She doesn't take herself too seriously and she loves being Fake Jan.  She's sort of made a career out of it.  She's had a show called Fake Jan Sings For Real, she's done movies, she's done albums.  And she has fun with it all.

This is me, looking all dorky, with Fake Jan.  She's so tiny.  But she was very personable, she gave me a big ol' hug, we talked for a little while and I got her to sign my Brady Bunch Variety Hour dvd.  And not only did I get her assistant Mary to take out picture, Geri also gave Mary her camera to do the same.  I really can't say enough good things about Geri.  She was fantastic.  

She asked if it was alright to write "Fake Jan" above her picture.  Of course it was!!  She even gave me a Fake Jan button.  I think she sells them, but mine was free.  Yay free stuff!

And the other geeky thing that happened to me this weekend was the arrival of my first Nerd Block.

What's a Nerd Block, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  You know what a Birch Box is, right?  It's a mystery box you get in the mail once a month full of neat stuff.  Birch Box gives you hair & skin products, gadgets and other cool stuff.  Well, Nerd Block is the same thing, just with AWESOME shit.

Here is the stuff I got in my first delivery.  A Gremlins t-shirt, a TMNT Funko Pop Vinyl figure, a Big Bang Theory Mystery Box (I got a Wolowitz.  I wanted an Amy Farrah Fowler), a HeroClix firgure, Wacky Packages, some cell phone sticker.  Neat stuff.  I like it.  I can cancel my subscription at any time, but I think I'll keep it for the time being.  I like the idea.  I went on Instagram and looked up the #nerdblock to see what other people got.  The t-shirt was the same, the Pop Vinyl figure was different in everyone's box, but was a TMNT figure.  Same with the HeroClix.  Different ones in each box. And a Big Bang toy in every package, too.  I feel good about that, that every Nerd Block is basically the same for everyone.

Today I wore my Gremlins shirt and actually got a lot of compliments on it.  I mean, how can you not love Gremlins.

Sunday was good, too.  I got everything accomplished that I set out to do.  Laundry is done.  Dishes done.  Banana bread made (we had bananas that were about to go bad.)  Finished the book I was reading.  Dismantled my old desk chair that broke and has been sitting in the middle of my office floor for the last few months.  Lawn mowed.  I didn't intend on cleaning the house, though it really needs it.  I "French showered" the house, though.  Basically, ran a quick vacuum and picked up a little bit.  I'm ready for next weekend already.  I hope that doesn't make this week drag, though.  I don't know if I can stand that.



I just finished up listening to the 1993 playlist at work earlier this week.  So clearly I'm not catching up on these reminiscences any quicker than I'm listening to them.  After I finished up the '93 playlist, I decided to take a break from it for the rest of the week.  Instead of jumping into 1994, I made a playlist of all the unplayed songs that are 9mb or larger.  I know, I'm a freak, but I'm enjoying it.  A little bit of the 90s, a little bit of the 00s and a little bit of the 10s.  Tomorrow I'm starting 1994.  I'm anxious because that's the year everything changed.  That's the year Ken arrived on the scene.  I'm curious as to what memories come barreling through as I go through the songs of that year.

1983 doesn't look to be too different from 1982.  I finished up my junior year of high school and entered my senior year.  There are a lot of songs that bring me back to high school.  The thing that brings me the most joy about 1983's music is the brief insurgence of Neue Deutsche Welle into mainstream America's consciousness.  Neue Deutsche Welle, in other words, is German New Wave.  The new wave scene was pretty big in Germany and a few artists managed to crossover in America with German language hits.  Nena's "99 Luftballons" and Peter Schilling's "Major Tom" and Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" all hit pretty big in the US.  Peter Schilling didn't get too much airplay with the German version of "Major Tom," but Nena did get as much German language airplay as English.  German was my favorite class in high school, so this is why I particularly loved hearing this music.  But I'm probably getting ahead of myself.  Nena's album wasn't released here until 1984, though the German album that "99 Luftballons" came from came out in Europe in 1983.  And Falco's breakthrough didn't come about until 1985.  But this is where it started.  And it started a life long obsession with German New Wave stuff.  I wish I was more versed in it, but I'm happy with what I've discovered over the years.

My lp purchases were starting to show a change in direction from previous years.  Sure, there's still pure through and through pop music like Billy Joel and the Pointer Sisters (man, I wore that record out), but Culture Club and Human League were paving the way to my growing obsession with New Wave and Brit Pop.  And I won the both SYNCHRONICITY and THE CROSSING in radio call-in contests.  Those two albums I also wore out.  And until that point, my entire collection, little as it was, was strictly vinyl.  The Police and Big Country albums were both cassettes.

Looking back at the songs and albums in my 1983 folder brings me so much joy.  There are too many things about that year to love and very little not to.  Aztec Camera, Kim Wilde, The Waitresses, Heaven 17, the first Madonna album, Ultravox, XTC, Paul Young, New Order, Laura Branigan, The Fixx, The Motels, Cyndi Lauper, Violent Femmes..... I could go on and on.



I'm emotional.  I'm not saying it as if it's news, I'm just stating it as a fact.  If you know me, you know that as much as I try to pretend I'm an evil, unfeeling douchebag, I'm actually really sensitive and I let my emotions rule my world.  Sometimes it's amazing to live like that, sometimes it's frustrating as hell.  Right now it's both.  

I'm not sure where to start this.  Because it's really two different parts of my life smashing head on into each other.  I guess the real starting point was the end of August.  One of the best friends I have made a random Facebook posting about maybe getting married.  I was at the gym when I saw it and it just started my mind racing.  RACING.  On the drive home, I couldn't not think about the possibility.  He's a Texas resident and there is no marriage equality there.  But he's coming to New York in October for Comic Con and here in New York, not only do we have marriage equality, but there's also on residency restriction on getting married.  So my mind raced.  "October is so close.  It's only about six weeks (at the time) away.  I was supposed to get married in October originally, but it didn't happen.  It didn't happen because Mom passed away.  And she wasn't sick for very long.  And it was Labor Day weekend when she ended up in the hospital.  And tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of her going in."  By this point, I was crying.  Tears streaming down my face at a red light.  I didn't realize that I was only a day away from the day Mom went into the hospital.  It's the first time I've cried about her since she passed away.  And then I got home and cried some more.  And some more.  Ugly Tammy Faye Bakker crying.

Over the course of the next few days, I could feel the inevitable numbness creeping in.  The year she went into the hospital I was pretty numb the entire month of September.  I thought I was doing pretty good until September hit last year and it started all over again.  And here we are in September again and I can feel it.  But it's not nearly as extreme as the last two years.  And I think an awful lot has to do with the upcoming wedding.  I find myself smiling and tearing up for no reason when I'm thinking about it.  Weddings are not supposed to bring me joy.  Weddings are a great big pain in the ass.  And maybe because the years of my life that are the "Wedding Years" I would be invited and attend these events knowing full well it was just a one way street.  I would never have a wedding because I like boys.  Boys can't marry boys.  But who ever thought in our lifetime that would change?  I never thought it would.  Even when it started to look real, the measure kept failing to pass and not getting enough votes to go into law.  So even when it looked like it might be a possibility, I was kind of relieved that it still probably wasn't going to happen.  But it passed and I was faced with my own wedding.  And I have to say, it was the single happiest day of my life.  I got the wedding that I wanted, no interference from anyone.  It was small, it was low key, it was easy.

But I'm getting off topic.  This upcoming wedding has sent me to the opposite extreme of the emotions I've been fighting off.  And it's leveled me and centered me.  I'm feeling less numb, less gloomy gus, less like I need to hide than I thought I was going to feel.  Sure, I have down moments, but they're usually followed by gleeful ones, too.  

I'm looking forward to this more than I can say.  And I'm looking forward to creating a tighter bond with two friends.  I'm actually not referring to the happy couple.  At least, not both of them.  But one of the grooms and another newlywed.  Both were invited to my shindig so we got to spend my wedding weekend together.  A couple months I got to hang out with both the upcoming groom and the newlyweds on their wedding weekend.  And now the three of us are going to spend a third wedding weekend together.  I think it's kind of fucked up and I smile every time I think about it.

And as much as I wish I was dead on the inside, I can't imagine living my life any less emotionally nutso than I currently do.


This Is Me 2013

I've been trying to put this post together in my head for a while now.  I just needed to find the time to actually sit down and figure out what I'm going to write.  I think I just got partially derailed, but we'll see.

  • Well, I'm easily derailed.  I was just finishing up commenting on a friend's blog when Ken called me.  On the phone.  From upstairs.  And then wouldn't get off the phone.  As soon as I managed to get him off the phone, but before I could finish typing up the blog comment, he yelled downstairs to me to reboot the cable box.  Seriously.  I unplugged it and then couldn't find the slot to plug the power cord back in.  And then he decides to yell down "helpful hints."  I'm already not in the mood for human interaction as it is.  Oi!  I know I snapped at him and now I feel both annoyed and shitty.
  • I try to live my life to the best of my ability, but I don't always succeed.  Previous bullet point is a prime example.  I didn't need to snap, but I did.  But I own my actions and don't blame them on others.  I just try to do better the next time.
  • On Sunday, I had my best single weigh in of the last 365 days.  Not my best weigh in ever, but the best one in a long time.  It's sometimes hard to believe I've lost over 110 lbs by myself, without any help from fancy diets or surgery or any of that stuff.  
  • I have no respect for people who say "can't" when the real word is "won't."  Especially when it comes to losing weight.  "I can't lose any weight no matter how hard I try" while stuffing your face full of McDonald's or M&Ms?  Gee, I wonder why.  People are lazy except for when it comes to making excuses.  "I can't get to work on time" is another prime example.  Why?  You're up three hours before you're supposed to be there posting on Facebook.  I'm just sick and tired of lazy.
  • John Grant is my favorite newish singer in a long time.
  • I cried for the first time late last week about my Mom since she died two years ago.  I've been holding a lot of grief inside, unable to find a way to get it out.  I know this is only the tip of the iceberg, and I welcome it.
  • Although I think my self-confidence and self-esteem are at an all-time high, I still sometimes wonder what people see in me.  I have such blinders on to that.  I would love to see what others see in me.  I live in my head 24/7, so I overlook the good things, I think, and obsess on the things about myself that drive me crazy and that I need to work on.  
  • I get angry at my body a lot.  It makes me mad that I waited until I was in my 40s before I finally got off my ass and got healthy.  I spent decades as an obese man working retail.  A 300 lbs man should not spend 10 hours a day on his feet.  I did so much damage to my body during those years, my body won't rebound back from some of it.  My feet and knees are not the happiest parts of me these days.  And when I'm aching, it really frustrates me more.
  • I should never be allowed to look at myself in anything but a full length mirror.  I still have body issues and when I look at myself in the bathroom mirror, I only see the top half of me and I don't like what I see.  When I see myself in a full length mirror, I see my entire body in proportion and suddenly everything looks great.
  • I don't remember the date, but sometime in mid to late August last year was the last time I knowingly ate meat.  I've made it an entire year and some days without eating an animal.  I didn't know if I could do it, but look at me.  And the longer I go, the sicker it makes me when I think of where meat comes from.  We were watching an episode of Two Fat Ladies recently and Jennifer and Clarissa went to a pig farm to get some pork.  And they showed a bunch of happy piggies frolicking in a meadow.  It saddened me to know they were about to be slaughtered.  Now don't get me wrong, I bet those pigs were delicious, but I just can't get past the slaughter part.  No matter how much I miss bacon, I don't know if I can ever go back.
  • Almost everyone I know drinks.  A lot.  Or at least a lot more than me.  This past holiday weekend I had two beers.  That's a lot for me (unless I'm at a party or some special event), but most people I know will do more than that in the course of a normal day.  In my early 20s, that was no big deal, but in my late 40s, I'm not interested.  If I'm going to fill my body with empty calories, give me some chocolate instead.
  • I used to be a heavy duty podcast listener, but I'm down to about two or three that I listen to on a regular basis.  For the most part, I just don't have much interest anymore.  But the shows I like, I don't miss ever.
  • I don't read as many comic books as I used to.  Ever since DC Comics rebooted it's entire line, the number of titles I read keeps getting smaller and smaller.  I understand the reasoning for the reboot.  Their books had become too continuity-laden for them to attract new readers, or so they said.  The idea behind the reboot was to strip things back to basics and go from there.  Unfortunately they've interconnected the books so tightly and given them all such poorly thought out back stories, the books are more heavily continuity-laden than ever before.  Plus, they keep changing their minds about things mid-stream making things even more confusing.  Hawkman's backstory has changed a couple times already.  Martian Manhunter and his role in the Justice League has been contradicted a number of times in the two years since the reboot.  And now the mess with Lobo.  It shouldn't be this messy.
  • Drugged out Judy Garland may be the greatest singer of all time.
  • "Obligation" is my least favorite word in the entire English language.
  • It amuses me to no end when people say things on Facebook or other social media outlets more to convince themselves of something rather than other people.  There are only so many times you can post about how much in love you are or what a wonderful man you've got or how amazing your life is going when in reality I've seen with my own eyes how untrue that is.  Maybe they should rename Facebook "Desperate cry for validation" book.
  • I'm cynical, but I don't care.
  • Next month marks the five year anniversary of the last time I had a soda.
  • There were a bunch of other things I had in my head for this post, but they're gone.  I supposed this is enough for now.  It's my state of mind currently.  



Okay, one last thing to say.

Last week I got a comment on my DIY project post.  It was someone I don't know and it could have been spam, but if it was, it was the kindest, nicest piece of spam I've ever gotten.  LOL.  Here it is:

Hey! Follower of your site, and know that you're a huge Doctor Who fan. Just wanted to share an infographic that my team and I made- not trying to be spammy, and please delete the comment if you're not comfortable with it! Also loved your post on biological family-- I'm from a small family, so extended family is an odd concept for me as well. 

See what I mean.  As far as spam goes, it was lovely.  She included a link to the infographic in her comment and it's pretty freaking neat.  So I'm linking it here.  As she pointed out, I love all things Doctor Who and I'm getting so excited for the 50th anniversary special coming in a few short months, as well as the next Doctor coming at Christmas.

Thanks, Sophia, for pointing me towards the graphic you and your team made!!

1982 (Bonus)

Speaking of 1982, DC Comics recently re-issued the trade paperback for the maxi-series Camelot 3000.  The series debuted in December 1982, and though it was intended as a 12 issue monthly series, it didn't finish up it's run until sometime in 1985 (oops!)  

It's been years since I read the book.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to read it monthly (or so) when it was first published because I didn't have access to a comic book store.  I do recall sometime in 1983 my folks stopped at a shop after visiting with my uncle.  They had the current issue of the series, which I think was #4 or #5 and I grabbed it.  I must have read that thing 100 times.  It wasn't until much later when I finally had regular access to a shop that I was able to read the whole series.

Knowing that the book was from the early 80s and that Mike Barr was the author, I went into this revisitation a bit wary.  That soon passed as I realized I was up way past my bedtime on Sunday reading and enjoying.  Thoroughly enjoying.  It really holds up so much better than I thought it was going to.  As I left it last night, I have the last two issues to finish and I intend on climbing into bed and doing just that as soon as I hit the PUBLISH button on this post.

I'm so happy this book turned out to be as good as it is.  A lot of times I'll go back and re-read something from back in the day, something I adored, only to find out that it was definitely something from it's time and only it's time.  This book has aged, but it's aged well.  I highly recommend it.


Where the hell does the time go?  I should be much further along than 1982 by now.  I just started the 1993 playlist this week.  My time management skills seem to be at an all time low state right now.  I've got to work on that.

Anyway, today I'm looking back at the music of 1982 and what I took away from it and where it brought me back to when I was listening to it again.

This was the year that music really, really, really came alive for me.  MTV couldn't have been bigger.  That 80s British Invasion was in full force.  New Wave and synths were the sounds that made me smile the most.  Even the traditional Top 40 crap that I adored was catching on and adding the cold electronic sounds.  Look at songs like "Gloria" by Laura Branigan.  Definite synth pop influences, but thoroughly Top 40 pop music.

ABC was big that year with "Poison Arrow" and "The Look Of Love."  Both those songs still sound as new and fresh to me today as they did back in the day.  Culture Club hit it big.  It still kind of boggles my mind that someone looking like Boy George did back in 1982 was able to become a superstar.  Dexy's Midnight Runners were another unlikely hit.  Duran Duran took full advantage of the platform MTV gave them.  Eurythmics.  Spandau Ballet. The Motels.  Men At Work.  The Waitresses.  All these huge names made a big splash in 1982.

As I was getting into the 1980s playlists, I was really getting excited for 1983 and 1984 to come up.  I just remember them being such great years.  But 1982 really surprised me.  I don't remember it being as amazing a year for music as it was.  

Again, it wasn't a big LP buying year for me.  I'm surprised that the only albums I owned were Fleetwood Mac's Mirage, Pat Benatar's Get Nervous, Asia's Asia and Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits Volume 2.  I'm surprised I didn't get beaten up more in high school looking at these selections.



I'm not a very crafty person.  I don't really possess those skills.  My dad can imagine something in his head and draw it or go out to his workshop and create it without a second thought.  I think that ability skips a generation, because I suck at such stuff.  It doesn't keep me from trying, though.

At work, I had my cubical adorned with lots of my favorite geeky things.  I had toys and posters and pins and buttons.  But over time, I noticed things started going missing.  Coincidentally, the office "pharmaceutical enthusiast" (that's the politically correct way of saying "crack whore") kept commenting that her son would love some of those things just before they'd vanish.  So I took everything home.  I found new homes in my office for most everything, but all my buttons and pins ended up living in a bag.  Until tonight.  A few weeks ago, I had an idea.  I had a picture frame just sitting in my closet.  The reason being that I cracked the glass on it while trying to frame something for another diy project.  I was pissed, but what could I do.  I was convinced I would find a purpose for it someday, so I didn't toss it.  It's been sitting and collecting dust for three years now.  The idea I came up with was to make a button displayer.

On Sunday, I ventured out to Jo-Ann Fabrics, a store I don't think I've ever been in alone before.  Ken is well versed in Jo-Ann's.  He's crafty, he likes to sew, all that jazz.  He didn't feel like going out on Sunday, so I did myself.  I knew I needed about a yard of fabric and enough foam to sit under the fabric.  It took me a while to find what I was looking for, but I did it.

Tonight, I put this all together.

Here's the glassless frame, complete with matte.

I bought a khaki colored fabric.  I was going back and forth between this and a gray fabric, but the gray one wasn't quite the shade I had in mind.

First thing I did was pull the matte out to use it as a guide.  The foam needed to be roughly the size of the matte to fit properly.  Ollie chose to supervise this part of the project.

I got my scissors out and lined up the matte.

And then Lucy decided I wasn't good enough to do this on my own.

In fact, she was ready to help.  But first she needed to make sure her paws were clean.

Ollie was keeping an eye on her, making sure she cleaned up properly.

Then he came in for a close inspection.  Deciding she didn't do a good enough job, he chased her away.

I cut the foam down to size.

Next up, I draped the fabric out to see how much bigger it was than the foam.

I laid the fabric out flat.

Ollie jumped in to help with the next part.  I flipped the back of the frame and the foam over and pulled the fabric over, wrapping it all up.

Then I shooed Ollie away.  His "help" was getting old fast.  As I pulled each side of the fabric around, I taped it down to the back of the frame.

This is what it looked like after it was pulled and taped down.

Next step was to place everything back into the frame and secure it.

And this is what I got.  Since I'm not a very crafty person, I see the mistakes I made.  I could have/should have pulled the fabric a little bit tighter.  I also should have ironed it, taking out the crease from when it was folded, but (a) I don't know how to iron and (b) I don't really care enough.  I'm going to cover this with buttons.  Who cares about a crease?  I certainly don't.

The next step was my favorite.  I took the bag of pins I had and started attaching them.  I was actually surprised when I had as much extra space left as I did.  I thought what I had would cover the frame completely.  There's a lot of room left to add more.  New York Comic Con is coming up quickly, too! 

I have one step remaining and that's to actually hang it on the wall.  I need to find the right spot in my comic book room to do it.  It will mean moving a few things around, but that's for another night.  I'm a little too tired to do that now.