Sunday, December 30, 2007
Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. Still unsure what I'll be doing. I have a few options. Here's something I won't be doing and it's killing me. I have friends who are attending so I expect to hear all about it and I'm hoping they'll be so kind as to provide video from the event.
BELINDA CARLISLE AND RUFUS WAINWRIGHT CELEBRATE NEW YEAR'S EVE WITH INTERNATIONAL FLAIR IN PARIS À GO-GO
Two Special Performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic
MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2007, at 7 PM and 10:30 PM
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles
Belinda Carlisle and Rufus Wainwright ring in the New Year in Paris À Go-Go: New Year's Eve in Paris in two special performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Monday, December 31, at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Belinda and Rufus share the stage which is transformed for the evening into a French cabaret. They will both perform in French and English in a program that includes classic French pop songs of Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg and others from Voila, Carlisle's first CD sung entirely in French, as well as a special surprise. Accompanying the elegant first-time pairing are top-notch musicians that make up a quintessentially Parisian-style band including Jay Bellerose (drums/percussion), Reggie Hamilton (acoustic bass), Fabrice Martinez (violin), Jean-Paul Monsche (accordian), Dave Palmer of Air (piano/additional sounds/music director/arranger) and Timothy Young (guitars). Sassy French dancers add to the electricity and elegance of the evening, capped by an unforgettable finale fantastique!
Sounds fun, huh?
Since I can't be there, allow me to share with you one of my favorite Belinda videos. This is the title track from her CD "Live Your Life Be Free," which was released in the fall of 1991. It did well in other parts of the world but didn't fare as well in the US. The videos that were released from this CD were the most creative ones she's ever done and this one includes beautiful men, great costumes, campy dancing, big hats and foreign language. Belinda herself once described this video as a "60's Christian Dior fashion ad on acid." Judge for yourself.
Happy New Year! Live your life, be free!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Today is Christmas Eve. I'm off from work today. Nothing planned, I've got a couple stops to make. I've got two items to return to the store, I overshopped, apparently. Does anybody want a Duran Duran CD? I have yet to listen to the first one. I ended up with a page-a-day calender that I didn't need and won't keep because I always forget to pull the pages.
I know I posted a picture of my tree, but here it is, again, this time with presents under it. Yes, some of you who read this blog have something under the tree right now. :) See if you can guess which package has your name on it.
I'm also going to make time to watch one of my favorite Christmas shows - Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. Here's a clip from the show opening:
Campy and fun! Enjoy!!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
My dear friend Vahona is a HUGE Duran Duran fan. So much so that I thought I would test her by slipping a name into my previous post that didn't belong. That's right, I said "ANDY" instead of "JOHN" when referring to the two Taylors that I met but did not photograph at the CD signing. Congratulations, Vahona. You passed!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Tonight we're on the eve of our third ice storm/freezing rain event in the past 2 weeks. I'm tired of this. I would rather just deal with snow. I don't do well on ice. Case in point, we had ice on Saturday. It wasn't too bad, I've seen worse. Cars were getting down my street which is a sign that it's not bad because I live on a side street so even without having been salted, the street wasn't a skating rink. Dan and I decided to go out Saturday night. He picked me up. We parked in the lot across the street from the bar. We got out, it was a bit treacherous but I was managing. We got to the street. It was fine. We got to the middle of the street - the median strip. He stepped on it and was fine. I took one step, lost my footing and first landed on my left knee, then on my hip. More embarrassed than hurt, I managed to get to my feet and scramble across the street before being hit by a car.
To add insult to injury, there was a drag show benefit happening at the bar. Bleh.
Dan and I left at about 12:30. I was dreading leaving the bar because I had to cross the street again. I made it without incident.
Tomorrow, freezing rain and ice is in the forecast. Bleh, again.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I think I'm finally over the hump with this cold. I've not taken anything in a couple days and my lungs haven't seemed to gotten any worse. I can breathe through my nose again. I'm still stuffy and I know I sound like I've got a cold. I can deal with that. What I can't deal with and am really upset about is the fact that my sense of taste and smell are out of sync. This became evident yesterday morning when I arrived at Starbucks for my morning coffee. I tasted it and thought someone had just poured me a cup of brown water. The only thing I could taste was what tasted like sour milk.
This morning, I hoped things would be better. They were not. My coffee still tasted terrible. I like coffee and I particularly enjoy my morning cup of coffee. But I don't like it when it tastes like dirty bath water.
On the plus side, I haven't been very hungry. I love that a bowl of soup (which doesn't taste very good either) fills me up.
As for my sense of smell, the worst thing is the smell of cigarette smoke. It just smells like death and it repulses me. I live with a smoker so it's been a very challenging few days.
Friday is the Holiday party at one of my work sites. I'm one of the main organizers of the event. Today, my coworker Sonny and I spent some time stringing big glittery ornaments on strands of dental floss. Is it wrong for the HR Coordinator to ask his coworker to help him with his balls? I think I don't want to know the answer to that. Anyway, she and I had a blast listening to music and getting the ornaments ready to hang. They were put on strings so that they can be hung from the ceiling of the party room. Afterwards we went into the room to hang them because we were curious to see how they would look. We were not disappointed, they look great. But what a mess. Because I opted for the assorted pack, some of them were very glittery. When all was said and done, we had glitter everywhere. I came home and looked in the bathroom mirror and found glitter all over my face. It was embedded in my sweater and stuck to my pants. When I changed out of my work clothes, I found that I even had glittery underwear. How in the heck did it get inside my pants? I did not grope myself. Is glitter so powerful that it can travel through clothing? Yet another one of life's mysteries.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Being home sick has it's advantages. Yesterday we had an ice storm. So, if I were remotely tempted to go outside, the ice falling from the sky helped me remain reasonable. Instead I stayed in and put up the Christmas tree. Okay, I had some help, I didn't do this all on my own but I deserve some credit. Not to mention I get points for moving furniture.
Let the Christmas fun begin!
Friday, November 30, 2007
I have a cold! It has been a nuisance all week. I was calling it a "Category 1" cold because most of the week it just kind of lingered in the background. My throat was a little sore and my sinuses were active. As of today it has become a Category 3. I can't breathe through my nose yet it runs like a leaky faucet. However, I don't feel very bad. It didn't stop me from walking around Andersonville this evening and enjoying "Late Night," an evening when the merchants stay open later and have specials and sales in their shops. It was cold but not dreadfully cold. It was actually nice to walk around a while. My friend Cyd joined me. We love to look at odd things and odd people.
Afterwards I stopped at Osco (drug store) and got some sinus pills recommended by the pharmacist. He said they might make me drowsy. YAY!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
These are a couple videos I filmed when I saw The Go-Go's in Las Vegas last January. They did two shows at The Luxor and they looked and sounded great!
First up, "Mad About You," the song that started Belinda's solo career back in 1986. This song was written by Paula Jean Brown, Jane Wiedlin's replacement when she left the Go-Go's. Paula joined the band and they were writing songs for a fourth album. Before they could record the album, they broke up. Belinda recorded the song and the rest is history. The band began playing it on tour back in 2006. This is probably similar to how the song would have sounded had the band stayed together.
Next up is "Unforgiven," the single that was released from their 2001 CD "God Bless The Go-Go's."
Lastly, here's their cover of Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself."
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I'll admit it, I LOVE The Go-Go's.
It goes back to the fall of 1981. I was a freshman in high school, absolutely miserable about being in a new school, having no friends, and failing my classes. I was not happy with life at all. On the days that I went to school, my escape was coming home and listening to music.
Chicago radio was good back then. There was a true Top-40 station, WLS. Being that they were a large station and very popular, they were the first in the city to get new music. New on the scene was a band who had become popular in Los Angeles. They grew from the punk scene, they softened their edges a bit while retaining their crisp sound, and recorded an album which was quickly taking America by storm. And one afternoon, I was introduced to The Go-Go's. I heard "Our Lips Are Sealed" and was transfixed. I begged for an advance on my allowance so that I could run down to the local record shop (Round Records in Rogers Park) and buy their album "Beauty and the Beat." Start to finish, I loved it. It made me happy. It gave me a reason to put up with all of the misery I was experiencing in my life.
Okay, so it didn't win me any friends. That would have meant I'd have had to talk to people. It didn't improve my grades. But it offered me an escape.
Not long after, I transferred to a different school. I made friends and I was getting better grades. Directly correlation to The Go-Go's, probably not. But they saw me through the tough times.
I've remained a fan for years. I was worried when Gina Schock (drummer) had open hears surgery. I cried when they broke up in 1985. I followed their solo careers. I was Mad About Belinda Carlisle, sat in Rush Hour with Jane Wiedlin, and wandered to the Middle of Nowhere with Gina Schock.
Belinda has had the most successful solo career, both in the US and abroad. As the voice of the band, her solo work evoked the memories of the early days, even if her sound wasn't the same.
Time heals all wounds and The Go-Go's regrouped in 1990, then again in 1994 and finally in 1999 and have been touring annually, since. They even released another album in 2001. This was the year I finally met all of them and got to know Jane Wiedlin a bit. I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to provide input for their website. Jane herself told me that she loved the idea and we collaborated on some of the text for my section of the site.
Over the years, I've seen the band 25 times. I've seen them in Florida, California, Nevada, Missouri and here in Chicago. I last saw them in Vegas in January 2007.
I found out this morning that they're coming back to Chicago. They'll play the House of Blues on January 30. Vahona and I will be there. I emailed her today and it made her day to learn that they were coming back to Chicago. I ordered tickets for us this afternoon. :)
Ernie Manouse is a newer friend to my cast of characters. He lives in Houston, Texas where he is the host of the highly successful Public Television interview program InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse. He lived in Chicago for a number of years prior to his move to TX but feels so at home in Chicago that he visits at least once a year. Ernie is one of those people who, had we met when he first lived here, we'd have become friends right away.
I met him at the start of his visit in 2006. He is a friend of my friend Brian. Brian, Dan and I were out together at Crew, celebrating nothing in particular except perhaps Friday. Ernie arrived with his friend Richard. After the requisite introductions, the pair chatted with Brian and because I'm nosey, I listened to their conversation. Occasional smiles were exchanged (knowing I had been caught evesdropping, I figured I'd smile and try to distract from the fact that I was listening in) and eventually I worked my way into the chat.
A while later, Dan and I left to go back to headquarters (Jackhammer) and soon, Brian, Ernie and Richard followed. At that point, it was non-stop giggles. As the night drew to a close, we decided we'd visit more during his visit.
Here's a little fact about Ernie. He misses Chicago food. He likes to bring some of his favorite things back to Texas when he visits. By the end of his first week, he had devised a list that included pizza (Gino's East, Art of Pizza, Calo), Italian Beef (Scala beef), and candy (Ferrara Pan). This was followed by a trip to Target for a giant duffle bag in which one could shuttle 3 pizzas, 5 pounds of Italian beef, 5 pounds of Italian sausage (spicy!), a gallon size jar of au jus (for the beef), a jar of hot peppers, and assorted boxed candies.
Last Christmas there was an interesting exchange of food. I sent him pizzas packed in dry ice, he sent me a 2-foot tall, 7-pound gourmet chocolate Santa. Yummy x 2!
Ernie came back to Chicago this past summer. The laughs picked up where they left off last year. The theme of this visit was ice cream. I'm told that because it was summer, ice cream has no calories because it melts.
He's a good guy, full of life and laughs and he's talented at his profession. To learn more about Ernie, check out his website http://www.ernieontv.com/.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Okay...this is the last of my DWTS posts. Here are the winners, Helio and Julianne. This is their quickstep, the dance they reprised tonight for the finale.
The runners up, Mel and Maxs reprised their Mambo from a couple weeks ago. Here's that dance.
Another season of DWTS has ended. What will my next TV Obsession be? Stay tuned...
Crazy doll lady (Marie Osmond) was the first of the finalists sent packing. I have to say, she was entertaining. I don't dislike her at all, I just was baffled that she made it so far.
But...she's done. Now it's down to Mel and Maks and Helio and Julianne. I'll be equally happy for either couple. They both are great.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Tonight was the final "Dancing With the Stars" show before the results are announced.
The judges were pickier than usual but with good reason. All of the performers made errors, though minor. Save for Marie but we'll get to her in just a bit.
The first round, each pair did the "Judges' Pick" and so they all did their lowest-scoring dance from the season. Mel and Maks did well, as did Helio and Julianne. Marie and Jonathan tried to distract with schtick. It didn't work, their dance was sub-par and the judges told them so. Round One ended with Mel and Maks in the lead, then Helio and Julianne, then Marie and Jonathan.
Round 2 was the free style. They could do anything they wanted. And they did. Mel and Maks did a hiphop routine that was cute and showed some talent but was a bit disjointed. Then, it was Marie and Jonathan's turn. Mind you, Marie had been reminding us all evening that she is a "very popular doll maker!" and had mentioned that her routine would would be a tribute to her dolls and her fans. In a word, it was SHITEOUS! It was a mess of cutesy antics and silly dance moves. NOT good at all!! The judges were beside themselves, they didn't know what to say. Finally Helio and Julianne came out and had good fun, lovingly mocking Helio's racecar driver background.
The final result has Mel and Maks in the lead, Helio and Julianne right behind them and in a distant third are Marie and Jonathan.
With all those damn Mormons, it's anybody's game.
The results show is tomorrow night.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I don't watch a whole lot of TV, but there are a few shows I watch religiously. One of those shows is Dancing With The Stars. This season has proven to be the most exciting season we've seen so far.
I picked my favorites early. Albert Reed, a male model is a total ham but also a talented dancer. He has good energy. But he got eliminated during week 2. Sabrina Bryan, a Cheetah Girl who I'd never heard of but after a couple weeks of watching her dance, I thought she would go a long way. She didn't. She got eliminated in week 6. Jenny Garth, from BH 90210 brought a wholesome quality to the show. Blond, big smile, sweet and nice. She lacked confidence in the beginning but really improved.
Then there's Marie Osmond. How could one not like her? She comes out, this big girl, wide-eyed, totally hopped up on Prozac, with this sisterly good cheer. She's an adequate dancer but not the best. In week 3 she fainted. BOOM, girl went down. She was fine. More important, she's safe to dance the following week. Then she dances quickstep in tribute to her parents. Next day her dad dies. Safe again. Then, news breaks that her kid's in rehab. Yup, safe again.
This week was the semi-finals. Helio Castroneves, a race car driver is in it, along with his partner Julianne Hough, who won last season. Also, Mel B (Scary Spice) and her partner Maksim Chmerikovsky (sp?) who danced with Laila Ali last season. Definitely this season's HOTTEST couple. Both have been scoring consistently well all season. Then there's Jenny who has consistently improved all season and her partner Derek Hough. Really cute, good chemistry together. Last, Marie and her partner Jonathan Roberts who is quite yummy but talks like he needs his adnoids removed.
So, the first couple announced as safe was Marie and Jonathan. Shocking, but not so, really. All those damn Osmonds and their fans. Mel and Maks were then announced as safe. Down to Helio and Julianne and Jennie and Derek. Well, it was a no-brainer, Jenny and Derek ended their run tonight.
I'm not thrilled that they made it so far, I was more irked that Marie got so far on sympathy and uppers. Next week's show will be fun to watch. Marie and Jonathan will be eliminated and then the battle will be on.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Here's me with my friend Denise:
I met Denise shortly after I met Dan. This is an important part of the story because Dan and Denise were roommates when I met. They have been friends for nearly 20 years and lived together many of those years. So, meeting Denise for the first time, I was a bit nervous because it was like meeting a member of Dan's family.
I think for our first meeting, Dan, Denise and I went shopping together. Right away we hit it off. She's fun, witty and sharp. Over the course of time we discovered our shared love of Christmas decorations, fun stores, and The Food Network, to name a few things. We have such fun together whether it's reviewing the results of "Dancing With the Stars" or following our favorite cooking celebrities.
Denise has been on a journey over this past year. She's lost close to 70 pounds and she looks amazing. YAY DENISE!
Stay tuned for details from our most recent adventure, seeing Paula Deen Live!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Computers are good things, but they suck, too. Mine is not behaving. I downloaded an upgrade to my virus protection program (Norton) last week and ever since, it's just not acting right. I can't type in a web address without locking up my computer. Half the time I want to open and check email, it won't. My browser is sluggish.
I want to toss the machine out the window and start from scratch but instead I guess I'll call someone to come look at it. What I really want is a new laptop. Next year, maybe.
My hot water is fucked up. I get up at 6 each morning, turn on the shower and the water runs cold. I have enough hot water to wash up at the sink. Luckily I shower at the gym after my workout each evening so I don't necessarily feel like I'm going to work all dirty. My hair is super short these days so it's easy to just wet a washcloth and "wash" my hair.
The landlady is useless. I've called her 3 times now about it. I keep saying "something isn't right." She insists they've checked things twice and the boiler is functioning, there are no leaks, we just have all apartments functioning and more people are using water at the same time. I'm not buying it.
I want my own place.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Gnome has been to gay pride parades, street fairs, work functions and IML. He is also well traveled and has visited with celebrities. He has even been on a television show.
Gnome's hangin' out with Ernie Manouse, host of the nationally syndicated PBS series "Innerviews with Ernie Manouse." Late last year, Gnome traveled to Houston to appear on Ernie's other show "The After Party." Ernie enjoyed having Gnome around so much, he took him to New York where they saw a broadway show and visited with The Naked Cowboy. To learn more about Ernie, go to http://www.ernieontv.com/. Watch for his profile here in the near future.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Vahona, aka Princess Whooosh, aka One N, aka 69-N's, aka Queen of Anarchy is one of those people who, the minute we were face to face, we were instant friends. Allow me to explain.
Vahona and I share a common interest. We love The Go-Go's. We became online friends when we were both members of a message and chat board. Every Sunday evening a group of us would chat. Since there would be freaks in the room, a few of us would engage in side chats to laugh at the freaks or think of ideas to inject into the conversation. Anyway, during chats, we all revealed where we lived. I found out that not only did Vahona live in Chicago, she lived about 5 minutes from me.
Ironically, we met in person for the first time at a Bangles concert. We also met one of the freaks from our chat at the show. We were all waiting to be allowed into the venue, in line together and the freak (we'll call her BAG) said something that had us in hysterics. We laughed so hard that Vahona finally tugged on my sleeve and dragged me into the gift shop at the venue. Well, to make a long story short, we began hanging out. We also began finishing each other's sentences, having similar thoughts and laughing at the same oddities that others wouldn't quite get. We decided that we were joined at the brain.
Vahona and I have traveled together. By plane, by automobile. Our most insane roadtrip happened when Vahona called me at work one afternoon and said "So the Go-Go's are playing in St. Louis in two weeks on Wednesday. She went on to say "we could work 'til noon, hit the road, be at the venue by 6, have some dinner, show starts at 8, we'll be back on the road by 9:30, home by 3." I said "That's just crazy." She said "I know!" I said "Let's do it!"
There was an opening act. We didn't get home until 5:50 am. We both had to work the next day. I was to work by 9, I think she got to work at around that time, too.
I did laundry that evening. I left all of my socks in the dryer at the laundromat.
Some day, I'll go into more detail about that roadtrip. It includes guest appearances by Bea Arthur, Angela Landsbury and "Blackula."
Vahona no longer lives in Chicago. She moved back to her home town of Portage, IN. She lives about an hour and 15 minutes from me. Not far by any means, but not "hey, wanna come over and watch a movie" close any more.
Back to Vahona. Here's some fun facts about her:
*She once dressed as Marie Osmond for Halloween.
*A Go-Go has fallen asleep in her breasts.
*Simply mentioning Simon LeBon makes her giggle and tremble a bit.
*She doesn't like mayonnaise.
*She was once employed by the big Mouse, working as a dancing waitress at a soda fountain at one of the Walt Disney World properties.
Vahona...she's good people!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
(Yes, I stole the term "Good Things" from Martha Stewart but she would forgive me, not only because this is a great tip, but because she's my real mother.)
Peel one sheet off of your Post-it pad and slide the sticky edge in between the keys of your computer's keyboard. Do this a few times, and see what comes out. Potato chip crumbs, dead skin, cat hair, pubic hair. Yes, I said pubic hair. We both know how it got there. If you're doing this for the first time, you may require more than one note page. You may also be really surprises with the pile of debris that you pull from between the keys. Discard both the used note page(s) and the wad of hair and chips. DO NOT attempt to reuse the sticky note for it's intended purpose, especially if you're sending a note to your boss.
My official title at work is Human Resources/Payroll/Benefits Coordinator. I wear many hats. I have two offices because some time ago it was decided that I ran one office so well, two offices would be better. Somehow, I've managed.
As many of you in the working world know, there's a little thing called "open enrollment" that happens once a year and during this time, we get to do stuff with our benefits. Sometimes it's a matter of dropping one coverage, switching a benefit plan, or adding some additional life insurance. Other times, it's an active enrollment and ever employee is supposed to attend a meeting so that they can be aware of changes and make informed choices. In my case, trying to get employees to attend meetings is like trying to heard kittens. In the past couple of weeks, I worked a Saturday, a Sunday and a couple late evenings. I will hold 2 final meetings tomorrow. Those that do not attend will end up with benefits that they'll bitch and moan over in about 4 weeks. I'll just hold up all the signs that I posted, the schedules that went to their departments, and the reminders that were atttached to their pay checks.
After tomorrow, I can concentrate on more important things, like the holiday theme for my offices. I'm thinking Christmas in Vegas. Lots of shiny things, loads of glitter. :)
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I'll admit it. I watch Dancing With The Stars. I love the show. Worse, I've always had a thing for ballroom dancing and would watch it when they would air the championships on public television. Something about the hair, the clothes, the sparkles. It's a throwback to elegance and style. Having always had a mild obsession with celebrities and Hollywood, I loved the idea of pairing celebrities with championship dancers and watching them learn new dances. It's exciting.
This season of the show has been a roller coaster ride. There have been family deaths, illnesses, faintings, falls and upsets. Last week, the best dancer was sent home. Even the judges found it appalling. This week, the voting fans redeemed themselves and sent home the contestant who needed to go. The remaining weeks are going to be both exciting and sad to watch because those who are left are all great.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Why is this "The Proper Gide To Life?" Well, some years ago, I was given the nickname "Proper." Perhaps it was sincere, maybe it was more tongue-in-cheek, I'll let you decide as you read on, and hopefully you will.
Please read, and please comment. Tell me what's on your mind, too.