Monthly Archives: July 2013

On A Dime…

Today’s Music: Soulive – Soul Serenade

I’m sitting back at home right now. I’m pretty relaxed. The errands and chores for the day are pretty much done.
I’ve had some time to poke around the web, read some blogs, laugh at twitter.
I’m listening to some good music.

Yes. That grumpy.

Yes. That grumpy.

My week didn’t start off that good. NYC was ridiculously hot and humid for about a week, and everyone was just miserable. I had Trombone Shorty tickets Monday night, with Soulive opening, promising to be a good show.
Soulive was great. Trombone Shorty was on fire. The crowd (as it did most of the times I’ve been to Central Park Summerstage) sucked.
It’s a personal thing, but my friends and I go to concerts to see the music, not to try and talk loudly over the music and pretend the venue is our living room.
Then it started to rain hard. So we left about twenty minutes into Trombone’s set.
Tuesday was a pain in the ass – email problems, computer problems, Big Red having issues with his computer stemming from the fact that he doesn’t know how to read what’s on the screen, other people having problems because obviously the instructions to do this and not that don’t apply to them because they’re special.
I kept thinking that the best solution would be to just throw their computer in the river, with them right behind it.
Wednesday was the same. New coworker thinks his job is 8 to 5. So any testing or maintenance or other work on weekends isn’t his problem.
I don’t mind doing the work because it has to be done, but it would be nice if there was someone to split the load with.

I was grumpy.
Then I got to Thursday.
I had a doctor’s appointment at 0930, and since I’d be out all morning, I figured I’d take the rest of the day as a mental health day.
My wife (The Most Wonderful Girl In The Universe asked if she should take the day off too.
Sure! I said, with one condition – it couldn’t be a chore day, and we had to go out and play.
She agreed (there’s a reason she’s TMWGITU!).

So we made a reservation to go stand up paddleboarding in lower Manhattan (Pier 40) in the early afternoon. Because it was late when my appointment ended, we drove in. On the way, it started raining. then it started raining harder.
We found a spot as the rain dwindled away and made it to the place (N.Y. Kayak).
25 minutes later, we were changed, on the dock, and ready to slide the boards into the water and shove off.
In we went. Kneeling as we paddled out, I felt the beginnings of a smile on my face.
10 minutes later, I stood up, took two strokes and with a shout of “GOING ON!!!” completely lost my balance and flopped backwards into the Hudson River off West Street.
I surfaced with a big grin on my face, no trace of grumpiness, and pleasantly untensed shoulders.
And my mood turned on a dime.

That's fun right there!

That’s fun right there!

The rest of the day was a blur of fun – two hours in the water, finishing with a fantastic foray into the river itself, with a current fast enough that it was all I could do to paddle and keep my place…a trip to Chelsea Market for one of the best burgers I’ve had in a while (it was a lamb burger, but still, delicious!) and a delicious bottle of ice cold American Ale (this wasn’t gluten free, but apparently that’s available these days too), followed by some incredible freshly made mini donuts and then a stroll along the Highline park, built on an old elevated freight line along 10th avenue.
My mood couldn’t be broken, not even when the guy from NY Kayak called and told me I’d left our bag of wet clothes behind. We laughed as we flew back down to get it.
Grumpy? Yeah, I can fix that...

Grumpy? Yeah, I can fix that…

Friday was a quiet day. Dealt with whatever came up (which wasn’t much), mostly sat at my desk and caught up on blogs. Then for the evening, we went out for a nice dinner and saw a great set by Paula Poundstone, along with a few bottles of the ever satisfying Rogue Dead Guy Ale, a beer that will always have a special place in my heart.

Now I’m sitting at my computer writing this, and in a few minutes, I’ll pick up my guitar and a beer (Blue Moon, I think) and spend a quiet evening with my girl.
I don’t know when the next time I’ll get to go out for an adventure, but I’ll start planning another mental health day as soon as I feel the grumps coming on.

Makes me wonder, how do you deal with them?

Friday Foolishness – Gripping Edition

Today’s Music: The Kinks – You Really Got Me
Note on Today’s Music: I have no idea what the hell is going on at the end of this video.

What a week! I was barely around for most of it. But the stuff I read kept me coming back for more!! Here’s some of what I saw…
H.E. Ellis got the graphic novel of Reapers With Issues on shelves! Eric Murtaugh back-country sauna, and Marsha gave me a Shine On Award. Probably because of that one time I stuck a flashlight up my nose.
Still, you should check out her site – always great stuff over there!
Something else I saw were the answers to last weeks poll, where we asked about your favorite 80s dance. Which made me realize, some things are best left unspoken.
Here’s what you said. (As always, my comments flail out of rhythm in italics.)

Moonwalk (is that 80’s?). I still do it down the grocery store aisles. –Lily In Canada
(‘Cause these are Chillerrrrs, in the Dai-ryyy Aisle…)
Wait, are the 80’s over? Ginger Snaapped
(Well, I still have a bit of them tucked into my thick socks with my jeans.)
The Madonna Mirror (Whatever dance Madonna was doing) ~RunningOnSober
(Nowadays, isn’t that the Adopt Everyone dance?)
Pole dancing without a pole. Long live sleaze! sandylikeabeach
(That’s like chili without the spices…jello without the wrestling!)
Spinning on one foot on a paper plate dance. Easy when sober John Phillips
(When done drunk, there’s still pizza on the plate.)
The Oscar Levant Stumble and Fall into a Coma- Linda Vernon
(I told them it was a dance.)
brickhousechick was brickhousing, macarenaing &bumping
(What, no Axl Rose Sway dance?)
Headbanging. I’m not ashamed to admit it – should I be? (Stacy)
(I smacked my head against many a desk in frustration at 80s music too.)
The awkward sweaty palm dance (i was hopeless) Sadly Marie Nicole
The “Parents Just Don’t Understand” Fresh and Jazzy Shake. thematticuskingdom
(Now known as the “Whatever happened to Jeff?” Dance)
The Amoeba Soccer Shuffle. thematticuskingdom
(If only the dancers were old enough to appreciate it…)
The Duke Nukem Two Step. thematticuskingdom
(Leisure Suit Larry was doing that dance before it was cool.)
NO… the 80’s are where music went to die in bad outfits and big hair,,, PMAO
(…says the man with the Risky Business shades in his avatar…)
Whatever looked good dancing to Brickhouse (my nickname) Benzeknees
(Sitting. In the 80s, sitting looked good.)
The Turtle Head Shuffle, invented after a mishap at a friends house. JoeHoover
(We called it The Tequila Faceplant.)
what? dances have decades?! omg. it all makes sense now. (UndercoverL)
(Some of them need expiration dates.)
Shovel Dancing to the Cure ~ Rutabaga
(I thought all dancing to the Cure involved tears. )
I think it was called the “Trying to Get Laid” dance. rossmurray1
(for me, that dance always ended alone.)

The I’m too wasted, the room is spinning & I am on my butt dance. (SilkPurse)
(Oh, that dance transcends a particular timeframe.)
the Mattress Mambo, but don’t worry. I practice Safety Dance – Revis
(Doesn’t anyone just call it the Lambada anymore?)
that thing Kevin Bacon did in Footloose SnB
(You got to yell at John Lithgow?)
Of course, the Poll Dance. (Frank)
(It’s always the quiet ones…)
The fully-clothed-dancing-like-an-Egyptian-bar-dance. Kayjai
(What happens in the Crypt stays in the Crypt.)
I did “the worm”. Don’t laugh. It was the 80’s – Twindaddy
(Must have made you paranoid when Bird was the word…)

Congratulations to Marie Nicole for this weeks winning answer! And from the offered choices, the most popular were The Peepee Dance. (Still is.), The Trip-and-turn-it-into-a-dance-move-so-no-one-notices Dance, and The Electric Slide (but don’t tell anyone. It’s my secret shame.). So congratulations to everyone who didn’t write in “Sweatin To The Oldies”!

The Gripping Eyes see all!!!

The Gripping Eyes see all!!!

But this week, it’s a very special poll. Dare I say, a Gripping poll?
Indeed, I dare.
Because the very day this post is published is in fact the birthday of everyone’s favorite wordpress Surrogate Mom.
I speak of none other than A Gripping Life. But how do you wish a happy birthday to a woman who’s traipsed her way to Dover? Who’s seen the movies? Who even finds the best music you’ve never heard of?
Well, you wish her a happy birthday.
And then you write her a poll!
So this one’s for you, Grippy. Thanks so much for your words and your company. I hope you have a fantastic birthday, and that every day gets better after that. And of course, Happy Birthday!

Now it’s your turn. How should Grippy spend her birthday? Answer soon, answer cheerfully.
But answer by 2359 EST Wed, 31 July. because that’s when this one ends. (And if you leave an “Other” answer, leave a way to identify you, and I’ll link back next week.)

And while we tally all the ways you’ve wished Grippy a great birthday, I leave you with this…

Have a great week everyone! Hopefully I’ll get to see you during this one.

Beatnik Poetry Slam – Vacation

Today’s Music: Iggy Pop – The Passenger

Feel the intensity of poetry. And my porkpie hat.

Feel the intensity of poetry.
And my porkpie hat.

*Zildjian Clevis whips two shiny silver spoons from his pockets, one in each hand. He moves them both to his right hand, and slowly at first but gaining speed, clacks, plunks and drums them together in a rising crescendo of madness, then-
*El Guapo strides to the stage, clove cigarette in hand, travel brochures overflowing his pockets, ostrich feather rising from his porkpie hat

He takes a long drag on the cigarette, the scent of cloves and fresh cut glass permeating the coffee house. He nods to Zildjian*

The car…
The steed.
Gleams in the sun in the driveway.
We sort…
We stuff.
Everything in its appointed place.
The water…
The snacks.
The GPS as a beacon.
Our clothes…
Our toys.
To accompany us on our way.
We journey…
Ever onward.
The road unrolls before us.
The miles…
The hours.
Quiet companionship interrupted by a question:

“Did you lock the front door?”

We turn around…

Friday Foolishness – Leg Warmer Edition

Today’s Music: Call Security – The River
Note on Today’s Music: It’s very rare that I’ll get my ass handed to me, and then say thank you for it. But that’s what I’m doing here after Running On Sober did this so wonderfully.
So Today’s Music is from a brand new band I saw this week that may have a great future. And just for RoS, listen to the chorus and you’ll hear a little bit of OMD (listen close starting at 1:01 for it). Then check them out for some more modern *cough*better*cough* stuff.

But my drubbing wasn’t the only thing going on this week! Madame Weebles grabbed me with a vibrant declaration of war. Revis Edgewater started a new serial, and Becoming Cliche became the envy of all PBS fans!
Thanks to them and all of you for a great week of reading around the ‘sphere!



And then there was last week, which asked what if this week’s poll didn’t happen? Here’s what you said. (As always, my comments are present and accounted for in italics.)

I’d find myself ice skating in hell~ Bipolarmuse
(I once found myself in Indianapolis. I’ve had words with me about that kind of thing…)
Simply where’s Guap vacationing. (Frank)
(Hey yeah! I’ll call it a vacation! That’s a much better euphemism for where i’ll be…)
I would get back to being a super hero and catch up on saving people…zannyro
(Curses! I’m foiled again!)
El Guapo would go back to doing what he was doing before…being Batman – Revis
(Hey! Stay outta my underoos drawer!)
learn to knit tea cozies. they are the new Ugg… (UndercoverL)
(I think that’s spelled “augh”…)
An impossibility, so no answer. Wait, is that an answer? (Stacy)
(Sorry, what was the question?)
The week wouldn’t officially end. Polls are necessary for our survival. –Lily In Canada
(*moves polls to Sunday so weekend never ends*)
I’d go scalloping which is what I did today! sandylikeabeach
(You…you do realize there was a poll today…)
It would mean El Guapo turned off his computer and we all disappeared! Linda V.
(the only thing that could be scarier then you all running free is you all being trapped in my head.)
(And not paying rent.)

I’d cry in my coco puffs x, Becca
(Would that make them Boo-hoo Berry?)
I’d figure you went back to the 80’s — in your DeLorean of course! –RoS
(Close, but when I want style, I ride in my Yugo. (1984))
My Friday would just be another Monday. 😦 (poly)
(Take two thursdays and call me on a leap year.)
brickhousechick says she’s have to increase her antidepressant!
(El Guapo has already purchased all of the tequila.)
Bend over & kiss my ass goodbye because the world was probably ending (Weebles)
(Big group here. I hope you brought enough to share.)
B srong, assume the foetus position & suck my thumb – Marie Nicole
(Careful! You don’t know where that thumb has been!)
I’d have to answer a telephone pole or poll. Elyse 54.5
(I have a smart phone. I don’t think it does calls…)
I wouldn’t have to suffer through this foolishness. Twindaddy
I would eat my own head… PMAO
(Um…so when I do post, you eat someone elses???)
I’d keep hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, till one turned up. Alex A.
(You know, the definition of insanity is doing something over and ove-…)

I’d get my comedy fix by eating a comedian, BRAAAAINS!!! thematticuskingdom
(Dane Cook is breathing a sigh of relief, knowing he’s safe…)
who knows, that’s too far away to think about. thematticuskingdom
(I didn’t start thinking about this reply til last night around midnight )
we’d hire a PI to find out what happened. thematticuskingdom
(You just want an excuse to run around in Magnum short shorts…)
There is no poll – it’s just me that exists – Rutabaga Solipsistic Mercenary
(I poll, therefore I am.)
That would be stupid. Gawd. GingerSnaaaaaaaaap
(Then it happening is probably a given!)
I would pine away at ma desk, feeling sad and a little depraved actually. Kayjai
(Wait – so it’s the polls that make you feel more depraved?)

Congratulations to Twindaddy for this weeks winning answer! And from the offered choices,the most popular was BRRRAAAAIIIINNNNSSSS!!!! It means something, people. It must…
And so we turn our neon and pleather clad view to this week’s poll, and hopefully that will end it for this bout of 80s mania. There were all sorts of 80s dance crazes: The Moonwalk. Breakdancing. The Electric Side. So this polls asks, what was yours?
Shimmy on down and answer as often as you like. But answer by 24 July, 2359 EST, because that’s when this one ends. (And if you leave an “Other” answer, leave a way to identify you, and I’ll link back next week.)

Thanks for coming by, and to send you on your way, here’s an anthem for the fathers of daughters everywhere.

And I think this is the only appropriate way to bring the 80s madness to a close.
Until next time, of course.

Have a great week, and keep on keepin’ on!

A Defense of 80s Music, by Running On Sober

It was bound to happen. At some point, I was guaranteed to put my foot into it.
You’d have thought I knew better by now.
You’d have thought wrong.
Todays rebuttal comes from Running On Sober. When she isn’t running or compiling the brilliant Words for the Weekend, she’s also putting together some of the worlds greatest playlists.
Which gives her excellent credibility to rebut me for what I said in a post about 80s music.
So please enjoy Running on Sober’s skewering of me as much as I did.
(And then check out her site and say hi!)
(Just don’t look for me. I’ll be gagging. With a spoon.)

A Defense of 80s Music
Today’s Music: Jam On It by Newcleus
*Note on today’s music: Guap confessed to once knowing every single word to this 1984 song in a comment I knew would eventually come back to haunt him. For fun, listen to the song and every time they say “Jam on it, jam on it, ja-ja-ja-ja-ja-jam on it,” instead change it to, “Guapola, guapola, guap-guap-guap-guap-guap-guapola…”

Obviously, it doesn’t take much to entertain me–maybe that’s why I love 80’s music. I try not to take myself too seriously, don’t worry, be happy!, and for the most part, the 80’s didn’t take themselves too seriously either. They still managed to teach us some important lessons though: don’t talk to strangers; don’t give up–when a problem comes along, relax, you can whip it; we have to fight for our right to party; watch out boyevery rose has its thorn; and the greatest love is inside of us–we are the world after all.

Cinderella even taught us to appreciate what we have before it’s gone

Cinderellaeven taught us to appreciate what we have before it’s gone

Some messages I heeded (white lines — never did them), some messages I didn’t (patience — yeah, not my strong suit), and some I may have taken too literally before sobering up (I wanna be sedated), but when I look back at the 80’s, I can’t help but smile. That was my decade, I’m from the 80’s!, so when Guap asked me if I’d like to come to its defense after his recent post, “Oh Joy. The 80s Live On,” I was like totally frothing at the mouth.

Even though I was down at the shore (in my bitchin’ Camaro), I started planning my counter by listening to nothing but 80’s music. Well, okay, maybe I was already listening to it. Fine, maybe that’s all I ever listen to, but I swear I’m not crazy–ALL I WANTED WAS A PEPSI!, I’m just a little pre-occupied. With 19, 19, 1985.

Wait, what was I saying? I forgot. Let’s just sing 80′s music instead.

Wait, what was I saying? I forgot. Let’s just sing 80′s music instead.

Everyone has an opinion on 80’s music. Seems we either love it or hate it; like Taco Bell, there’s not much middle ground. And when we think of 80’s music, usually the first images that come to mind are big hair, moonwalking, blue eye shadow, skinny ties, and Madonna writhing around stage in a wedding dress.

I really think MTV changed the face of music, at least for the 80’s. (Does MTV even play videos anymore?) MTV turned us into visual beasts, it desensitized us and took our imaginations away; each new video had to be a little more over-the-top than the last just to stand out. Who could be the most provocative? Who could show the most skin? Who could push the taboo-envelope? Who could have the biggest hair? Who could wear their underwear on the outside first?

Mötley Crüe or Madonna: Who showed their underwear first?

Mötley Crüe or Madonna: Who showed their underwear first?

Madonna was one of the best at working the MTV angle, and like most girls my age, I grew up worshipping her. She was liberated, yet sexy, and she was oh-so-unapologetically in your face. I remember falling in love with Madonna in her iconic Borderline video. Not only was she sassy and beautiful, but she also flaunted an interracial relationship, and I wanted to be just like her. I had the hair bows, the black tanks, the jelly bracelets, the long cross necklaces. If she was brunette, so was I. If she went blonde, I went blonde. If she channeled Marilyn Monroe, so did I. I spent my 80’s desperately seeking Susan.

Channeling Madonna at my Canadian boyfriend’s prom. (I wouldn’t have been caught dead at my own.) Totally love that his hair is bigger than mine!

Channeling Madonna at my Canadian boyfriend’s prom. (I wouldn’t have been caught dead at my own.) Totally love that his hair is bigger than mine!

The 80’s weren’t just Madonna and Mötley Crüe or Michael and Janet Jackson though. There were some major music breakthroughs, including the emergence of rap and hip-hop, thrash metal, new romantic/synth pop, post-punk, new wave, SKA, goth, house music and more. Many of the 80’s artists include U2, NWA, Billy Idol, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, David Bowie, The Clash, The Police, XTC, Run D.M.C, Joe Jackson, Simple Minds, Blondie, Public Enemy, Tracy Chapman, REM, Jane’s Addiction, Violent Femmes, Beastie Boys, Butthole Surfers, Howard Jones, The Smithereens, Squeeze, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, and my favorite artist, Sade. Some 80’s albums include Prince’s Purple Rain, U2’s The Joshua Tree, Paul Simon’s Graceland, The Police’s Synchronicity, AC/DC’s Back in Black, Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms, and Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs.

Love the 80’s, or love to hate them, you gotta admit they had their fair share of good tunes and good memories. Was some of it cheesy? Fer sure, dude. Even I throw up in my mouth a little whenever I hear “Eternal Flame” or “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” but every decade has its fair share of cheese. For some reason, we just remember more of it from the 80’s–I blame MTV–video killed the radio star.

Wanna talk more 80’s music? Call me, on the line at 867-5309, (ask for Jenny).

If you didn’t get enough 80’s music, check this out:

All your favorite 80’s memories crammed into 2.5 minutes:

And in case you are of the #Die80sDie camp, I’ll leave you with this, since Guap himself said:

It’s amazing how much a minute and a half of the Ramones can save!

We need change, we need it fast

Before rock’s just part of the past

‘Cause lately it all sounds the same to me

So said the Ramones. In 1980.

What say you? Love the 80’s? Hate ’em? Have a favorite jam or one so grody it like totally gags you with a silver spoon? C’mon, hit me with your best shot!

Thanks, Guap, for having me over, I had a totally rad time, totally!