Monday, April 07, 2014

Watch-athon results

So this year Spouse & I watched the entire 3rd season (12 55-minute episodes) of "Spartacus" and 2 full seasons (16 55-minute episodes) of "Magic City".

Normally I wouldn't be interested in a show like "Spartacus" because of all the fighting, blood and gore.  But we watched 2 seasons last year and the 3rd and final season this year because "Spartacus" is full of hot, buff, scruffy men wearing little more than leather diapers.  Call me shallow and see if I care!
And there's a fair amount of male and female nudity too, so there you have it.  Plus the fighting scenes are done in a sort of video game style, where the camera slows down into slow motion and the blood spurts out of the wounds with an unnatural force, as if it were being viewed in a video game, so it really makes it a lot more watchable and less real.

I'd not even heard of "Magic City" before.  But after finishing "Spartacus" I was looking at what else Starz had on-demand and I read that "Magic City" takes place in 1959 - the very year my Big Ella was born.  Spouse & I love mid-century furniture, architecture, clothing, and of course cars so we decided to give it a try.
Its about a Jewish beachfront resort owner and his family who live in the hotel in Miami Beach.  We liked the series a lot, and I would recommend it to anyone who liked "The Sopranos" or "Mad Men", or both.

Do you have Comcast?  Did you watch anything new or different during "Watch-athon" week?  I'd love to know!

Friday, April 04, 2014

This is Wholesome, part 2

In this post I shared with you my favorite of the "This is Wholesome" videos made by the Honey Maid graham cracker company, and I predicted there would be some backlash from the conservative and unenlightened.  Unfortunately I was right.

However, those clever folks at Honey Maid took that backlash and turned it into something beautiful!  How could they do that??  Watch and see.
"Only one thing matters when it comes to family... Love."

Now, please excuse me while I go buy a few boxes of Honey Maid graham crackers.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Pain in the neck, part 2

So last Thursday's massage didn't do much if anything about the pain in my neck and shoulder.  After several more days of pain I decided to go to a chiropractor.  This was not a decision I took lightly.  Growing up both my parents and all 3 of my siblings had to go to the chiropractor at some point or another, with my mother and my middle sister Dianne going extensively.  I have prided myself for being the only person in my family to NOT go to a chiropractor.

Until yesterday.  I just couldn't take the pain anymore, and really wanted to find out what was causing it.  Unfortunately I still don't know the cause.  I probably have a pinched nerve, and since I don't remember doing anything to incur it, the doctor says it was probably a long-developing thing that has just gotten worse over the years.  My posture and my age have intersected at a very uncomfortable place.

After asking me a bunch of questions, examining me, and discussing everything, the doctor stuck electrodes on my neck and shoulder and turned on the juice.  I could feel the electrical current stimulating the muscles, attempting to relax whatever was pinching the nerve.  After 15 minutes of that, I was back to work.

Today I went back to the chiro office for a therapeutic massage of my neck, shoulder, back, and arms.  Talk about painful!!!  That b*tch pressed and poked and punched me so hard I felt like I'd been run over by a truck.  It was definitely NOT a relaxing massage.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that yesterday's electro-muscle stimulation or today's therapeutic massage are helping.  I'm not sure where this is going but I hope it results in relief from this pain in my neck.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Watch-athon

Our cable company's "Watch-athon" starts today and runs through Sun.  That is where they open up on-demand viewing of past seasons of network shows and some premium channel content to all cable subscribers. 

For instance, during regular viewing times you may only be able to get the most recent season of "NCIS" or "Chicago Fire".  But during "Watch-athon", all previous seasons of those shows are available on-demand.  Its called "binge watching" when you start with the 1st episode of the 1st season and just keeping watching episode after episode, season after season, until you've seen the entire show.

The same principle is true for many (but not all) of the premium channels.  Even those who don't subscribe to premium channels can watch past seasons on-demand.  However, we were pretty disappointed to find that Showtime was not participating with any of the series we wanted to watch, such as "Masters of Sex" and "Nurse Jackie".  Booo for Showtime!

When they had "Watch-athon" last year Spouse & I watched a bunch of episodes of HBO's "Girls" and Starz's "Spartacus".  It was fun!

"Girls" is about Hannah and her 3 friends who all live in NYC.  Hannah wants desperately to be a writer.  Its kind of like "Sex and the City", only with poor, less attractive Jewish women with bad fashion sense.
 
We also watched the 1st and 2nd season of "Spartacus", the story of a men captured by the Romans and forced into slavery and become gladiators.  Normally this would not be 'my thing' but these gladiators are HOT!

So if you email, call, text, or private message me on facebook and I don't respond, its because I'm binge-watching cable shows during "Watch-athon" week.  Please be patient... I'm watching gladiators.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pain in the neck

Literally.

For the last few days I've had a pain in the muscle that goes from my neck to my left shoulder.  I don't remember lifting anything heavy or otherwise injuring my neck.  I don't think I 'slept on it funny' because that usually goes away in a day.  So I really have no idea what's causing this pain in my neck and shoulder.

So yesterday I got a massage, hoping the talented hands of Deiter could give me an answer AND some relief.  Overall the massage was nice and felt good, but Deiter wasn't able to tell me much about the source of the pain.  He said both of shoulders and neck were very tight, although the pain was only going to 1 of my shoulders.  He gave me some stretching exercises to do and suggested that I work on my posture.  I do recognize that I tend to pull my shoulders forward and lean my head forward, probably from so many years of sitting at a desk working at a computer.

So hopefully yesterday's massage will help.  So far I'd have to say it hasn't.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Weekend redux

On Sat morning we drove back to the DC area, stopping 1st at Spouse's mom's house for a visit and to change our clothes, and then we went to the wedding reception of our good friends Ron & James.  Since the District of Columbia has marriage equality, they actually got married on the steps of the Lincoln monument a few days earlier (on their actual 26th anniversary), but had their reception at their home in Virginia which does not have marriage equality yet.  
James & Ron eating wedding cake
The weather was very pleasant so they had the windows and doors open so the breeze could blow in and people could spill out into their back yard.  Their was food and drinks, of course, and many old friends we'd known from our former days as members of a very progressive and inclusive Presbyterian church where we met Ron & James.  It was a lovely afternoon of smiles and joy.

Afterward we returned to Spouse's mom's house, changed our clothes again, and then drove to visit our other dear friends Kerry & Hugh.  For the past 8 months they have been restoring an early 1900s Victorian home that sits just 2 doors down from their own home.  The home had been abandoned and was in very poor shape, to the point that the City was about an inch away from condemning the home and destroying it.  Kerry & Hugh couldn't stand the thought of this historic home being demolished so they formed a small partnership with a neighbor and a relative and quickly purchased the home 8 months ago, which a strict timeline from the City on getting its dangerous porch and steps repaired.  
The Prescott House 8 months ago
 After shoring up the home to comply with the City, they began the huge job or making the home beautiful and livable again.  They've replaced all the plumbing and wiring, converted it from a 4 bedroom 1 bath into a 3 bedroom 2 bath, added central air and heat, and were installing the new kitchen when we arrived.  We'd seen photos of the home and were eager to see it in person.  Though the inside isn't quite finished, we got a very good idea of how it will look once complete.  
The Prescott House 8 months later
Its been a true labor of love for them.  They are hopeful that it will all be worthwhile when they sell the home to someone who appreciates the character and charm of a grand home like this.  After the home tour, the 4 of us were joined by several mutual friends for dinner.  After dinner we stopped in to see Bob & Harriet's house, which is across the street from the one under renovation.  It was great to see our friends and their hard work!

The next morning Spouse & I went out to breakfast with his mom, sister, and nephew, then packed up and headed home.  We ordered pizza delivery for dinner.

Friday, March 21, 2014

This is Wholesome

"No matter how things change, what makes us wholesome never will."  - Honey Maid website.

With that in mind Honey Maid, makers of the graham crackers I grew up eating, decided to make a series of videos called "This is Wholesome". My favorite is this one which features a 'wholesome' gay couple enjoying s'mores with their son, and talking about what it means to be a family.
Although the conservative and unenlightened would portray gay people defective and mentally unstable, this video presents a very different story, one that I personally believe to be much more common.  You can view all the "This is Wholesome" videos here.

Although I expect there will be some backlash from the "christian" "right" (quotations used to imply sarcasm, since the Christian right is neither), I applaud Honey Maid for including this family in their "This is Wholesome" video series.

Oh, and have you ever tried a Honey Maid graham cracker with cream cheese on it?  Fabulous!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dieting

So after a brief hiatus (okay, 6 months) from my diet, I started back on it.  God, it is so boring.

One of the things about dieting that I resent is that I have to constantly think about food!  Friends want to go out to dinner and ask where we want to go.  I then immediately try and think of places that - not taste terrific, but - have low calorie options.  And I believe everyone who's ever read this blog knows how daddy likes him a Cosmo now and then.  Well, alcohol is a definite no-no when you're dieting.

The diet that makes the most sense for me is Weight Watchers.  It forces you to convert food into points and then not exceed the points that match your weight.  It works.  A few years ago I lost 40 lbs on Weight Watchers.  But I guess I'm lazy and I just get so damn tired of constantly watching what I eat and having to think about food.

One of the 'tricks' I've used with success is drinking water.  Its no secret - every diet tells you to drink lots of water.  But sometimes I get so hungry that I feel sick to my stomach.  I don't want to eat something if its not 'meal time', so I will drink water.  That will often quiet down my stomach and carry me over until its time to eat a meal.  And I TOTALLY make use of those chemical-laden, artificially flavored water enhancers because they give water flavor.  I don't care if they contain red dye #5, if they make water taste like a virgin cocktail, I'm in!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Another snow day

It began snowing last night around 8pm.  Lightly at first, then heavier just before we went to bed.

The forecast is for measurable snow.  Just like last time, the accumulations differ widely, depending on which source you check.  When I went outside to clear off my car and shovel a clear path from the house to my car around 4pm, it seemed the snow had all but stopped.  It looked like about 7" to me, but its difficult to tell since the wind always causes drifting here.

Except in front of my driveway.  You see, the snow plow came along and plowed a 2-foot snow bank in front of my driveway!

I know, he has to push the snow somewhere, right?  I just find it ironic that he pushed the snow toward the left side of the street, where me and my full-time neighbors all live.  On the right side of the street there are only 2 houses, neither of which are occupied except on occasional weekends.  So the driveways WITH cars in them got blocked by the snow bank, while the EMPTY driveways continue to have easy access onto the street.

Shortly after I came back inside, the snow picked back up again.  Now, 24 hours after the snow started, it seems to be winding down again.

Schools were closed today.

The state government was closed today, which meant that Spouse got the day off.

Many local businesses including my real estate office were closed so I got a 'snow day' too.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The blues


"What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around, some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down"


Suddenly, without any warning, and seemingly without any reason, today I've got the blues.  Just like the lyrics to this beautiful but haunting song, nothing is really wrong.  Yet, nothing seems particularly right today.

Its not depression.  I've known depression and hopelessness before.  Fortunately not recently, as those were symptoms of years of repressed feelings in my case.  Once I came out 20 years ago those feelings went away.

No, this is something different.  What I've got they used to call the blues.  No need to talk it out.  We know what its all about.

No need to worry, as I'm sure it will pass.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Continuing ed

Thursdays are normally my day off.  However, yesterday I spent the entire day and most of the evening in continuing education classes.

As a Realtor, I have to take 21 hours of continuing education (that's 7 3-hour classes) every 2 years in order to renew my license.  Each class must be from a different module.  7 classes in 2 years.  Really, that's not so bad.  Only I didn't bother to take any of them until recently.

My brokerage offered 2 classes in Jan that were free, so I took both of them.  Then Wed of this week I took another free course offered by another brokerage, and then yesterday I had 3 classes in 1 day.  9am-noon, 1-4pm, and 6-9pm.  That made for a looooooong day.

But the courses were interesting which really helped.  3 of them were taught by attorneys and 1 was taught by a broker.  They were about Code of Ethics, the legalities of our standard agreement of sale, and risk management.

So now I have just 1 class left to take, and about 6 weeks left to take it.  Hopefully I will find the module I need soon so I can take it and not have to think about it any more.  Then I'll be done for the next 2 years.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Snow day

All weekend long we heard the widely differing reports about the impending snow storm Titan.

2-4 inches.  4-8 inches.  10-14 inches.  Seriously, the estimates were all over the place.  This was apparently because the storm was wide but not tall, and was moving west to east, so if it dropped down a little more or less, our snow fall could be very different.

Then it was all about when the snow would start.

Between 6-9pm.  Between 9pm to midnight.  Then it was 2-3am.

Well, it started raining last evening, and then when it got colder it turned to sleet, all before midnight.  It didn't start snowing until about 6am this morning.

But the schools and even the state government were so sure we were going to get blasted by a huge snow storm that they announced Monday school and state government closings last night - before a single flake had fallen.  Even my real estate office was closed today.

The snow has all but stopped now, and its about 4pm.  Its hard to tell how much snow we really got because of the wind.  In some places I can see grass while in others there are drifts about a foot deep.  My best guess we got about 4-5 inches of snow.

But it was fun to have a good old fashioned snow day at home.  Spouse & I stayed in our flannel pajama pants all day and watched TV, spent time on our computers, played with Marvin, ate, and just relaxed.  The most strenuous thing I did was shovel a patch of grass near the front sidewalk on which Marvin could 'do his business'.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Asshole behavior, part 2

A couple years ago I shared the discovery of 5 open jars of peanut butter in our kitchen, which lead to a laughter-inducing conversation about "asshole behavior".  

You know, people who use the last of the toilet paper or paper towels but don't replace the role?  Yeah, that's asshole behavior.  Well I think its time to add some additional examples:

  • not pushing your chair or stool in when you get up from the table or breakfast bar
  • tossing trash in the direction of the trash can but not picking it up when you miss
  • never, EVER opening mail addressed to you, but then getting upset when you miss a deadline
  • opening a new deodorant/tube of toothpaste/bottle of shampoo when there is still some in the existing container
  • leaving the car's gas gauge on empty when you know someone else will drive it the next day
  • not using air freshener after you've used the bathroom
  • trying on an item of clothing, deciding it doesn't fit right, and then tossing it into the dirty clothes hamper rather than hanging it up (which is why I only wash my own clothes now)
  • waiting until company has arrived and is ready to go to bed to ask "Are there clean sheets on the guest room beds?"
When Spouse exhibits asshole behavior from time to time I will call him on it.  He looks as me with a quizzical face as if he doesn't understand, so I explain to him what he's done.  In detail.