|Saturday, November 17th, 2018|
Thursday was another concert. Yup! 2 in one week! It's a good thing I'm on vacation (more about that in another post). This time it was David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, and Nash fame. I had seen CS&N in 1984 and Crosby looked totally stoned. A few months later he was busted for drugs in TX and ended up doing time. You would think that his career would be pretty much over, but he got himself sober and went on to write a lot of material. He put out more solo albums as well as getting back with Stills and Nash. I saw that he would be performing at the same theater that Todd performed at on Monday, so I got tickets. Fortunately I read something about his upcoming performance in our local art paper, so I could better appreciate the show. He is touring with 3 up-and-coming jazz musicians and promoting a new album with them that just dropped a few weeks ago. People wanted him to perform his old classics, but he mostly played songs from the new album. And there was nothing wrong with that! The article said that the new material was getting a lot of positive buzz, and I can certainly see why. It was almost like a grandfather was playing with his grandkids. The old master was sharing his 50 years of experience with a new generation and they in turn were sharing new tricks to an old dog. The 4-part harmony was as good as ever. But it wasn't all new stuff. They ended the show with a jazzy rendition of "Deja Vu" followed by an encore of "Woodstock" and "Ohio." I'll say it once again; it's great living in a city where we can get such major performers in intimate venues at reasonable prices.
|Thursday, November 15th, 2018|
We finally had a hard freeze a couple of days ago. It was the cue to all of the trees to instantly drop all of their leaves at the same time. This was true for my fig tree. I thought I had about 2 dozen figs still on the branches that hadn't ripened, but I did a count and it was nearly twice as many. So the tree did produce a ton in its first year, but something didn't trigger the ripening mechanism. I did get several figs that did ripen, and they were delicious! I'm hoping it is a "new tree thing" and that next year the fruits will have a chance to fully ripen. Oh, I did try to ripen some of them off the tree, but that didn't work.
|Tuesday, November 13th, 2018|
|Hello. It's Me.
Back in high school I attended a party at a friends house and the song that got everybody dancing was "Bang the Drum All Day" from Todd Rundgren who had just put out the album "The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect." I immediately went out and bought it as the local prog-rock station had also been playing the song "Influenza" which I also really liked. When I got to college I bought Rundgren's seminal album "Something, Anything" which included his biggest hit, the subject of this post. Later I bought "The Hermit of Mink Hollow" which included the hit "Can We Still Be Friends" (later used in the "Vanilla Sky" soundtrack). I also bought a few albums by Utopia which was his rock band. So you can imagine my glee when I found out that Rundgren would be appearing in ABQ at a small venue. I scored some 8th row dead-center tix and the rest was musical bliss. The name of the tour was "unpredictable" because he and his band would play some hits as well as a lot of random covers. So while we heard the songs I had already mentioned he also veered into diverse territory such as The Captain and Tennille's "Muskrat Love" to Weezer's "Hash Pipe." It's no wonder he's currently nominated for the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. He is a master of pop with his solo stuff, a rocker with his Utopia stuff, a producer for albums by Meat Loaf and The Tubes, and an accomplished songwriter. It was a terrific 2-hour show. I even got a laugh from him when during a break people started shouting out song titles. He informed the audience that it was his policy not to play songs if people shouted out song titles to which I immediately shouted out "Free Bird!" He chuckled and said that they would not be performing their 9-minute version of "Free Bird." And unfortunately he also did not play "Bang the Drum."
|Tuesday, November 6th, 2018|
Here's a little something to make us laugh on this hyperpartisan day. I, for one, would welcome the silly party coming to the US (although some of the stuff that Republicans have been spewing has been pretty lulz-worthy).
|Friday, November 2nd, 2018|
Believe it or not, I have a job interview today. I had all but given up on getting another position this late in the game, but something came up at a sister agency and I decided to throw my hat into the ring. I have no plans on leaving the city since the house is paid off and I really can see myself retiring here. Job prospects are few and far between in my field. The most obvious move would be to the Corps of Engineers, but I can't stand the military culture. There are only a couple of other agencies that have hydrologists on staff and a vacancy opened up at one with a promotion potential. So I was all over it. I'm not looking for a major career change. I'm, as Supergrass would say, in it for the money.
Retirement in based on your "high 3" salary years. So if I can make an extra $5-6000/year for 3 years, that's an extra $100-200 a month for life. So we shall see. It would be interesting to jump ship at this stage of the game, but as I said, it would only be for a few years.
|Thursday, November 1st, 2018|
We had a nice chill evening. A few folks showed up to help pass out candy. Kitty, Scritch, and I hopped into fursuit for part of the night. the problem with wearing a fursuit, however, is that it severely limits your ability to drink whiskey. So after awhile I hopped into a pink bunny kigu instead. When the trick-or-treaters started to thin out, we retreated to the patio for some pizza. It was a nice evening.
|Monday, October 29th, 2018|
We had a relatively active weekend. On Saturday I signed the contract to have the downstairs floors redone like I had mentioned in an earlier post. Decided to go with the Costco-backed installer since if there are any problems, Costco will be on him like white on rice. Now begins the task of moving everything out of the downstairs; books, cds, nicknacks, etc. At least we have a few weeks to get the job done.
That night was also a Halloween party put on by a furry friend. It was so nice not having to deal with the setup and drama. In an odd turn, Scritch and I ended up being some of the least wasted ones there. Everyone was doing shots of various "potions" while we stuck to beer. It was actually quite interesting watching people slowly get more and more wasted as the evening went on.
On Sunday we headed over to Target to see what kind of storage bins they have. We bought a few to see what will work best. We also checked out their Halloween section just for the lulz. I think I have my costume picked out!
|Friday, October 26th, 2018|
|Morning Commute LOLs
There is a viral video of a guy driving very slowly on a 2-lane road because there is some farm machinery up ahead. Right in front of him is a cop. It is a long no passing zone, but the guy in back of him gets impatient and goes barreling past him as well as the cop. Lights go on and the guy gets busted much to the delight of the person filming. Something similar happened to me this morning.
I usually travel due east from home and then turn south on a street that goes right past my office. I know the timing of the lights so if it looks like I won't get past an earlier N-S street, I take that street instead because I know I will catch a green arrow to turn south. I then take a different street to get to the street I want. So I'm approaching the first street and know that I won't make it. I get into the right turn lane to catch the green arrow which should turn on as the light for thru traffic goes red. Right in front of me is a cop who is in a pickup instead of a regular car. I had been watching a car in my rearview mirror who was weaving in and out of lanes and riding peoples' bumpers in his/her quest to get in front of everyone. He/she saw an opening and went soaring through the intersection. Too bad for him/her the light had turned red a few seconds earlier. Yup. The lights went on on the pickup in front of me. Busted! I lol'd.
|Thursday, October 25th, 2018|
No, not a post about that horrible album by Sugar Ray (that at least gave us the song "Fly"). We are in the process of replacing all of the flooring in the house. The carpet has survived 20 years of cat and dog bodily functions and is in need of replacing. We're opting for tile to replace most of the downstairs since it should be easier to maintain. It might be cooler, but that's not necessarily a bad thing in the desert. There is certainly no shortage of tile/flooring stores in the city. There are literally dozens. They just opened up a new "Floor and Decor" which is like the Home Depot of flooring. Their prices can't be beat, but you still need a professional installer. Surprisingly we have found the best deal is through Costco. They have one local contractor that handles the installation and one product line. And since it's through Costco, you know that you're somewhat protected because their reputation is on the line. Plus the prices are great since it's essentially a member benefit. In addition to all of that, if you use your Costco credit card, you get cash back. Plus they are currently offering an additional 15% cash back with a Costco cash card. And it covers both materials AND labor! So a $5000 job earns you a $750 cash card PLUS $200 rebate on your membership. Win! We're almost to the point of signing a contract. We just need to decide on a color. We'll also probably get new carpet for the upstairs using the same deal. What is funny is that we received a whole bunch of samples to help us decide on a color. One color is a way-too-dark brown, but our cats have chosen it as their new favorite spot in the house. Here it is. A small 2'x2' swatch of brown carpet laying in the middle of the living room. That's exactly the spot where everyfur decided is the perfect place to catch a nap.
|Wednesday, October 24th, 2018|
|Monday, October 22nd, 2018|
|A Wicked Weekend
The latest home improvement project will be to get new flooring for the downstairs. I have been thinking ceramic tile since it just seems more southwestern. It should also be cooler in summer. We have checked several tile stores and are waiting on a couple of estimates. We hit up a couple more stores on Saturday and are getting close to picking a color. We also started looking at carpeting for the downstairs bedroom. It's kinda sad when the most important feature is how cat barf resistant it is.
On Saturday night we attended a performance of "Wicked" at the theater. This was our 2nd time seeing it. It's one of Kitty's favorite musicals. I'm just in it for the giant dragon that looms over the stage and the one character who is a professor at Oz University who is a goat. I think I mentioned in my first post about the play that the cowardly lion is shown once as a cub puppet and later as simply a tail with him supposedly off in the wings. As usual the singing was fantastic.
Sunday was football day. That was such a heartbreaker for the Bears. On the other paw, they really need to get out on the practice field and learn how to pass, catch, block, and tackle a WHOLE lot better. And now...another week at work. This shit just keeps getting harder and harder.
|Friday, October 19th, 2018|
I've had these thoughts rolling around my brain for some time (like a BB in a boxcar) and am finally putting them in writing. Basically I think that most of us "normal" people are sick of politics, at least in their current state. I read my Stupidbook feed and everyone is reposting shit about Trump. A few conservatives post shit about Hillary or Pelosi, but they are few and far between. Normally I consider myself a middle-of-the-road kinda guy, but for the first time in my life I am going to vote for every (D) on the ballot. To me the Republican Party is totally morally corrupt with no virtues whatsoever. I thought I could at least hang my hat on their fiscal conservative platform, but even that has gone out the window. Basically they stand for nothing. I would rather have a totally dysfunctional gridlocked Congress than one under control of the idiots that now reside there ramrodding through policies of the other idiot in the White House. In a way I can sort of understand Trump. I think he and Zuckerberg have a lot in common with their philosophy of "move fast and break things." It might work for a new start-up, but not for a world-leading economy. All he is causing is chaos which is exactly what The Market hates. He also doesn't seem to care that it's a bad idea to help a few hundred of his supporter farmers/steel workers at the expense of several thousand others. So I will be voting for chaos in the hopes that from the ashes might rise some bi-partisan legislation.
I could also write a whole post about the whole Kavenaugh debacle, but I would probably come across as misogynist and uncaring. What I will say is that I was highly disappointed in the shitshow that came from his confirmation hearing. The Democrats came off as total whiny bitches. Yes, I can understand the frustration of not having your guy confirmed under Obama. Mitch McConnell is a complete and total douchebag traitor, but there was no need to sink to his level. The lesson that should have been learned is YOU SHOULDN'T LOSE THE DAMN ELECTION! America spoke in 2016 because your policies sucked! Your candidate for president sucked! You lost! To the victor belong the spoils. I was sick of the whole "Oh noez! Now the Supreme Court will be more conservative!" And don't you think if the tables were turned there would be cries of "Oh noez! Now the Supreme Court will be more liberal!" If you hadn't lost power, you could have had more of a say. But you lost! So lick your wounds and get on with it! I certainly hope there will be a "blue wave" next month. We need some more balance. And as much as I like Bill Maher, I wish he would STFU about how Trump will eventually declare himself dictator and never leave power. Saying shit like that is just total fear mongering which should be left to the professionals...the Republicans.
|Tuesday, October 16th, 2018|
I guess I forgot to mention that one of the reasons I went back to visit Mom when I did was that it was my 35th class reunion. I went to my 10th and 30th and really didn't care about going to another, but the timing just worked out and the venue was about 5 minutes from my Mom's house. So the good news was that it was a pretty chill evening. The bad part was that most of my old homies didn't show up. So I talked with the few folks that I actually liked back in the 80's. I also chatted with a few folks who I follow on FB so I know some things that are going on in their lives. I met a few old teachers including some of the nuns. Yeah, I went to a Catholic school. I was good and didn't tell them that I had become a Pagan, bi-sexual furry. I had a gal sit down next to me and tell me her life's story since school as I struggled to remember just who the hell she was. But I did have some good conversations that came from having 35 years to think about shit. My own biggest revelation is that we tend to put down folks like Kavenaugh because he went to a prep school. I then realized that, "Oh yeah. This WAS a prep school!" At the same time I realized that I was the wannabe kid from the "ghetto" and went to school with Kavenaugh-types who lived in big houses in the suburbs who got dropped off in their daddy's BMW. I think it was because it was mainly a girls' school when I attended (3rd year being co-ed), and the more privileged people tended to be the girls. I really had no interest in most of the girls. The ones I hang out with just wanted to have fun and not play the popularity game. Another benefit of seeing folks after 35 years is that you get to hear the stories that you were clueless about back then. I was amazed to hear how many folks were drinking, doing drugs, and having sex on campus. All of the good little Catholic girls and boys acting like characters in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" or "Ferris Bueller" . So maybe the suburban high school experience is more universal than I had thought.
|Monday, October 15th, 2018|
Just a quick entry to say that I made it back to ABQ yesterday. Going through security at Midway was a shitshow. You would never guess that so many people are traveling at 7am on a Sunday. The story was the same once I arrived home. I stepped off the plane and saw the terminal packed with people. I then realized that it was the end of Balloon Fiesta and everyone was heading home. Kitty picked me up and we went down the street to Waffle House for breakfast. It's been awhile since we have been there. It was a nice change of pace from our usual breakfast haunts. We laughed when we saw a location map of all the Waffle Houses in the US. There are 2 in all of NM and several hundred in places like Georgia. After that we headed to Costco for a few things before eventually heading home. I unpacked and then got the rest of the houseplants inside from the patio since there are chances of a freeze over the next few evenings. Then I can move them back outside since it's supposed to warm up again. For dinner we went out for sushi with scritchwuff
to celebrate his birthday along with another friend. And now I'm back at work for at least another few weeks before I take off for a nice stay-cation over the Thanksgiving holiday.
|Thursday, October 11th, 2018|
Things have been going pretty well here in IL. The cold front has finally blown through, so temps have dropped from the 80's to the 50's. There was quite a bit of rain yesterday and the basement flooded a little bit. Everything seemed to be back to normal by this morning. I normally go to Henry's Hot Dogs on every visit, but this time I thought I would try Portillo's, another Chicago legend. My impression...meh. Maybe I'll go to Henry's tomorrow. In memory of quasiskunk
I decided to check out Buona Beef. He would frequently post about furries heading to "Boner Beef" after furmeets. I lived here for so long and never went. So now I have gone. My impression...tasty! I will now add it to my list of "must go places" when I visit Mom. I've gone trainspotting a few times so far. It gets me out and on walkies. I took Mom to a supermarket today that has quite a few Polish products. I found some pickled beets with horseradish. Mom was reading the label and noticed that they are from the small town where her mother grew up. They had better be tasty! So that's it for now. Just a couple more days until I'mback home.
|Tuesday, October 9th, 2018|
|The Great Circus Train Disaster
I have been just taking it easy at Mom's. Her home helper came today, so I decided to do a little trainspotting. Afterwards I wanted to check out a nearby cemetery where many people who were killed in a train wreck 100 years ago are buried. As a kid growing up I had heard about the great circus train wreck. You can see elephant statues from the street and the great rumor I remember was that they buried the elephants there. I think the only time I ever went to the cemetery was to ride my bike through there once. I read about the train wreck online
and wanted to see the memorial that had been set up. It's actually very sad to see so many graves where so many circus performers died anonymously. It was actually one of the worst train wrecks in American history.
|Sunday, October 7th, 2018|
Plane tickets to Chicago: $300
Canadian whiskey at Costco: $25
Having a highball with your mother: Priceless
|Saturday, October 6th, 2018|
|Back in Da Hood
I'm doing the "responsible son" thing and paying Mom another visit for a week. I wanted something close to her birthday and since my 35th high school reunion is scheduled for next weekend plus Monday is a holiday for us lazy federal employees, I thought this would be the perfect time for a visit. Plus it gets me away from ABQ during Balloon Fiesta. It was a quick uneventful flight this morning. Mom was excited to show off her driving skills by picking me up at the airport. While I'm not crazy about her driving, I figured it would be a big boost to her confidence. It was. While she was at church I decided to take a walk around the hood. I don't know if it's because the economy is doing better overall, but I noticed that the neighborhood seems pretty decent. There were quite a few homes where you could tell the owners had pride in their house. Many places were also really decked out for Halloween. It made me realize that just the ethnicity has changed over 40 years. It's still a lower middle class working neighborhood. I noticed lots of bustling little stores that had been vacant. I didn't see any graffiti. It did my heart good to see that things were alright. So no big plans for the week. Just chillin' and helping Mom around the house.
|Thursday, October 4th, 2018|
I never considered myself "trendy." I could care less what was hot at the moment. If it was something that appealed to me, I just did it. I never sought out advice on what one should be doing because everyone else was doing it. To me that was the epitome of "uncool" that you HAD to follow others so that you could feel part of a pack. I always thought of myself as a dweeb/nerd/geek because I went my own way even if the mob thought it was uncool. Once again, I do what I like. It seems that lately I keep seeing things that are "hot" now and I have been doing it for years. My prime example is microbrews. I started homebrewing back in '92. I liked to add a lot of hops for flavor since commercial beers were flavorless. Now all of sudden microbrews are the rage again, and there's this battle to who can make the most hoppy beer. The trend got so ridiculous that I started drinking the bland beers I once railed against. I liked Pabst because it was cheap. Then IT became the popular hipster things for the irony. How about beards. I have been sporting one for 30 years. Now they're the cool hipster thing. At least I never went the man-bun route. That would never have been cool nor should it have ever become a thing.
To me, the Wall Street Journal is the one of the most uncool things. Well, at least when they try to tell all the rich folks what's cool. They think $5000 dresses and $20000 watches are cool. You vacation on THAT island? Yawn. Everyone who is anyone now parties on THIS island. And the spa prices are so cheap at only $500 day. Yeah. No. But it did provide some insight into how I am once again cool. There was an article about the new hot look for older guys. Khakis and Hawaiian shirts are so in! The "dad look" is hot! Oh. So you mean the way I have been dressing for years is now hot? Wow. I'm a trendsetter. Yesterday we had a design person come over to our house to give us an estimate on a new floor. We have shopped around the various tile stores and had a pretty good idea what we wanted. When we told her the style we wanted, she said, "Ooooo! That style is so hot now!" Kitty and I looked at each other and laughed. Wow! We're trendy and we didn't even know it! And then there was the article the other day about the new trend in landscaping. People are planting fruit trees so that not only will it look nice, but you get fruit too! Oh, you mean the idea I had last year and am now enjoying the fruits of my labor (literally!). Maybe it's just the old adage about "What goes around, comes around." Trends and fashion all cycle back to some point in the past. Maybe on day I will be saying, "I was into that whole furry scene back in 2003!" as everyone walks around in their designer Versace fursuits.
|Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018|
|Not Another "Gritty"
I was reading in today's Trains Magazine online
that the Philadelphia transit system is looking for a new mascot. If you are keeping up with the latest mascot news (or watching "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver") you may have heard about the new mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers named "Gritty." No one is really sure WTF it's supposed to be. So let's see if Philly keeps up its new tradition of weird mascots. BTW, there are links to all of Philly's mascots in the article. Worth the price of admission!