Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dancing With the Stars - Week 2

File Under: Television Obsessions

Week 2 of Dancing With the Stars was this week, 11 teams danced on Monday, Tuesday, one couple was eliminated. Here's the recap.

Toni and Alec – A very lovely dance. Toni seems to be becoming more comfortable with pushing herself, given her heart condition. Good for her.

Brooke and Derek – Sexy and sassy. Wow can that gal move!

Misty and Maks – I liked it, a powerful paso doble. Maks really pushed Misty as he was teaching her the routine, and it was a tough dance. Nice backflip!

Susan and Tony – Elegant. Chests were a big part of this performance as hers was pushed up to her chin and his was exposed early in the number when she ripped his shirt open. Susan does well with her legs but still looks a little awkward with some of her poses.

Cody and Julianne – Sweet , good. Someone said that his dances have been age appropriate and I agree. Julianne is doing a nice job with her young dance protégé.

Lance and Lacey – Modern and fun, judges weren’t thrilled with it. Len was not pleased. If he can stay in it, they’re going to get really good.

Maurice and Cheryl – it was okay, nothing to write home about.

Kim and Mark – Not thrilling. My least favorite performance of the night.

Rocco and Karina – I liked it. He’s hot and sweet and looked good. Judges weren’t thrilled. He’s got good moves, just needs more time to polish.

Cloiris and Corky – she tried to be serious, the judges weren’t having it. I thought she had some nice moves. C'mon, she's 82!!

Warren and Kim – WOW! He’s big but boy can he move! Excellent paso doble. He just exudes charm, he’s definitely having fun.

Jessica Simpson performed a couple songs during the recap show. Yawn.

It was down to Cloris and Corky and Kim and Mark. Father and Son were in the final two.

The couple that went home was

Kim and Mark. Sadly, Mark won last Season with his partner Kristi Yamaguchi. It's a shame to see him leave so soon.

I'm thrilled that Rocco is safe. I'm happy that Cloris is safe.

Next week should be interesting. Rocco better bring it, as well as Maurice. It could be their last week to dance.

Dentist - Part 2

File Under: Proper Choppers

Yesterday I made my second trip to the dentist and happily (and hopefully) it'll be my last trip to the dentist this year. During my visit 2 weeks ago, my dentist recommended that we replace a couple of my fillings. Convinced that she was right, I decided to do it.

The appointment went well. I was nervous but she was so nice. After the novocaine injections, I was completely numb and before long, the drilling was done and in went the replacement fillings. My fear was gone before long and I walked out with two new fillings and the left side of my face completely dead.

Having been through it all, I decided I deserved whatever I wanted for dinner (considering I couldn't chew, it had to be soft food) so I opted for mashed potatoes with lots of gravy and then some lobster and corn soup. Both items were delicious!

Today, my mouth feels fine. My teeth feel odd because they're taller than the teeth on the right side. For now I'll leave them alone and see if they wear down a bit on their own. If they bug me too much I'll go back and have them filed down a bit. I'd rather not, though.

But, the best news, I don't have to go back for 6 months. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dancing With the Stars - Week 1 Recap

File Under: Television Obsessions

Season 7 of Dancing With The Stars kicked off on Monday with 13 celebrities, including Cloris Leachman, who at 82 years old is the oldest person to grace the DWTS ballroom floor. Cody Linley is the youngest to shake his stuff on the stage at just 18.

Monday the dancers came out and did their first of two dances for the week. There were some duds and some stars really shined.

The drama factor began early, already two went to the emergency room, thanks to rehearsal. Jeff Ross, one of the stars suffered an eye injury as he was poked by his partner, while Karina Smirnoff, partner of Rocco DiSpirito, turned her ankle.

New this season was the 3-night opening. The stars learned two dances, performed the first one on Monday then on Tuesday, one by one they were called upon to perform, all but one would perform, that couple would be eliminated.

First to go was Jeff Ross. He was a good sport about it but just didn't wow the judges or apparently the audience.

Most showed improvement on the second night but the ones who improved most were Rocco DiSpirito and Susan Lucci. In a category all by herself is Cloris Leachman who I can't say improved, but entertained the audience with her antics. Again, the performances were judged by both the three pro judges and the viewing audience.

Night 3 (thankfully there will be only 2 nights per week from now on!) was a recap show, with the musical numbers, professional dancers, witty commentary and the drama of the "guess who's safe now" stuff. After close to an hour, it was down to Toni Braxton/Alec Mazo and Ted McGinley/Inna Brayer. The result seemed obvious:

Ted was done, he was a perfect gentleman and appeared sad to be leaving.

Week One, done. 2 stars gone, 11 to go.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Road to Madison Leads to Jane

File Under: Madison-a-Go-Go

Flashback, 2001. Vahona calls me at work one day and said "Hey, the Go-Go's are doing a show next week in St. Louis. We could work until 1, hit the road, be there by 6, show starts at 7, we'll be on the road by 9, home by 2, a few hours sleep and we can go to work in the morning. Sounds fun, huh? I know it's crazy. What do you think?

My reply was..."Wow, that's really nuts. OK, LET'S DO IT!"

We did it. Left at 12:45 instead of 1, got there at about 5:30 (my Jetta was speedy!), met up with a bunch of our friends, had a bite to eat then the doors to the venue opened and we got right up front.


Go-G0's didn't go on until 9, we didn't get out of the venue until 10:30, on the road by 10:50 after gassing up the buggy and finding the expressway.

We played great road games to stay awake. Faith (another friend) slept in the back seat in preparation of being the relief driver, just in case.

We hit storms and overnight road work. Long story short, I didn't drop Vahona off until about 5:10, I got home at 5:15. My alarm went off at 7:30, I made it to work by 8:45. I had to be there because I still had to process a payroll. I got my tasks done and managed to stay the whole day.

I did laundry that evening, I left all of my socks behind.

It was worth it. We had a blast.

SO...last week, I emailed Vahona and said "Jane (Wiedlin, rhythm guitarist for The Go-Go's) is playing a street festival in Madison with the band she's producing. Want to do a day trip? It's not quite as crazy as St. Louis but still fun."

She replied "I'm there!"

Our friend Anthony joined us, and we hit the road by 1:15. Madison is about 2.5 hours from my house. We made got time, got there by 3:45 (we hit a bit of traffic and my Civic isn't quite as speedy as my Jetta but it got us there on 1/4 tank of gas!). Jane and her band weren't going on until 5 so we had time to walk around a bit, see the sights and have a bite to eat and grab a drink. Here are some of those sights.

We quickly learned that Madison is an unusual little town, or at least the neighborhood we were visiting was a bit odd. Not bad odd, just odd. It felt like we were back in the 60's. Lots of patchoulli in the air, and armpit hair. Togas, tye-tye and dreadlocks. Then there were piercings and tattoos...not so 60's I guess.
Eventually we got our lemonade shake-ups and with a little help, turned them into delicious vodka beverages. We grabbed some tacos to complete the food and drink requirement. We scoped out the stage and figured that there wasn't a bad seat in the house. :)
We found Jane and you would have thought she had seen her long lost friends. She hugged and kissed each of us and could not get over the fact that we came all the way from Chicago to see her. We talked, Vahona spilled vodka lemonade on Jane's shoe but she didn't care. Others came up to talk to her, she introduced us to them as her dear friends from Chicago who also happened to be "Go-Go's fans from WAY WAY WAY back!" Eventually she excused herself because she was helping set up the stage.
The first band was called "Whore du Jour," a band that Jane has been working with since she moved to Madison. They're fun and loud and so much like Jane. It helps that she's dating the lead guitarist. :)

They drew an interesting group of fans and interested parties.

An intermission was announced while the band reconfigured the stage a bit, and then changed into their outfits as the backing band for "Lady Robotica," Jane's latest creation which allows her to indulge in her love of electronic sounding music and incorporate her obsession with sci-fi and aliens. Hence the silver.

Jane performed the songs she described as crowd pleasers "Vacation," "Head Over Heels," and "Our Lips Are Sealed." She also performed some new songs which were really good.

Such a little rock star, she was up there striking cute poses and being really funny. Especially when she talked about alien abduction and getting anal probes.

After her set, she came back and chatted with Anthony, Vahona and I. She invited us to join her and her band afterwards to hang out and watch football. It seemed as though they were going to someone's house so we declined, not wanting to impose. Before we left, someone took our picture. Jane promised that he would take a great picture of us. You be the judge.

(photo courtesy of Anthony Meade)

We gave hugs and kisses and hit the road. The drive home was fun but uneventful and wasn't dreadfully long. I pulled up in front of my house at about 10:30. We said our goodbyes, and Vahona and Anthony went on their way.
Just another crazy Go-Go adventure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Have A Cold

File Under: sniffles and snot

I have a cold. I was in denial until this afternoon, I was telling people that it was my allergies. There's a chance it could be but it's not. It's a cold. Fuck the family dog!

I'm not happy.

Monday, September 15, 2008


File under: Proper Choppers!

I went to the dentist today.

I hate the dentist. A lot.

I had a miserable experience with a dentist when I was in grammar school. A dentist butchered my mouth, I ended up with 11 fillings. The novocaine shots didn't take so he kept stopping to administer another one. The final needle went in and he started angling it, hitting nerves along the way. I was writing in pain in the chair. Finally I just let him drill into my teeth and I endured the pain.

It took me years to go back to see another dentist. My friend Karen recommended hers to me and he was great. I was at ease in his chair and actually let him do a crown on one of my teeth (cracked it in half on a corn muffin!). He was gentle and very understanding of my fear. For a while I was going to him regularly...until I changed jobs and dental insurance and I could no longer see my dentist with my new insurance.

It took me much longer than I care to say to seek out another dentist but decided just do it. Today was the day.

I am pleased to report that my dentist said that my teeth are in great shape. Xrays show no hidden damage or cavities, and she was impressed with how clean my teeth were. She did say that I have two fillings which need to be replaced because they are damaged. They're over 30 years old, I'm surprised more of them aren't in bad shape. We're fixing them in two weeks. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Faces of Millicent

File Under: Feline friend

I'm typing this with my laptop balanced on one leg, and my cat, Millicent ("Millie") balanced on the other. Joy's blog and comments she made to one of my posts prompted me to share some pictures of my little, sometimes bitchy, furry friend.
I got Millie in August 2002. She was a shelter cat. After sitting with about a half dozen others, I asked to hold her and she just sat on my lap, perfectly calm, almost like she didn't really care either way. She was friendly though and when they told me that she was an adult who had delivered a litter of kittens and was then given up by her previous owners, I knew she was the one. I brought her home and she investigated, then hid behind the sofa for a few hours. My mom said "well, I guess she's kind of cute but I was hoping for a prettier cat." LOL I think she's very pretty and she's got so much more personality than any cat I've ever had. This picture was taken a day after she came home. As you can see, she's making herself at home. :)

Such a face!

Grouchy face. She doesn't like the camera flash.

When I was having my living room painted, she decided she liked being on one of the chairs that I had stacked up on the dining table.

Enjoying the sunshine.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


File Under: warm and wet

It's raining today. It started yesterday afternoon and has been constant since then. We've had some serious downpours. We haven't had any storms, just lots of rain. Granted, we're A LOT better off than those affected by Hurricane Ike. My thoughts go out to those who are dealing with it.

I woke up this morning with one of the worst sinus headaches I've had in a long time. As such I haven't felt like doing much today. I got up, I'm dressed and I'm just vegging. I'm making some macaroni and cheese (Trader Joe's organic white cheddar) and watching the news. I'm playing on the internet, chatting with my message board pals (shout-out to QTS!), and I'm looking at dirty pictures. I have even updated my facebook profile. My cat, Millicent is being a bit wild, I don't think she's used to having me around so much during the day and is vying for my attention. She's in constant competition with my computer.

I had an old iPod. I gave it to my sister a few months ago. She never set it up, instead she bought MP3 players for herself and her son, so I got my iPod back from her. I've reformatted it and gave it to my mom. I loaded all of her classical CDs on it. She's enjoying it, she sings along to the music with he headphones on.

My mom lives with me, not sure if I've ever mentioned that. She's elderly but feisty. Living with my mom limits my social life to some extent, but I get to keep an eye on her to make sure she's taking her meds, eating right and not having wild parties.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Joshua

File Under: Family Affairs

Today is my nephew Joshua's 19th birthday! This afternoon, I'm taking my mom over to my sister's house where we will have dinner and cake. Some of his friends will be there but the "kids" are going out later. Us old people are just making an appearance and dropping off cards and money.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm a Terrific Guy

File Under: Broken Record

I don't have luck with dating. I put myself out there only to set myself up for disappointment. Then I give up on the whole process for a while. Then I meet someone and get my hopes up, only to have it happen again.

Most recently, I met someone with whom it seemed a nice rapport had been established. We had great conversations, and we seemed to enjoy each other's company.

We spoke today, and I got the "you're a terrific guy" line. Once again, I took the high road and was gracious and polite and I wished him well.

As often as things like this happen to me, it should get easier. It doesn't. It shouldn't be such a disappointment. It is.

Life goes on. I guess I'll drink tonight.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Adventure - Day 5

File Under: Homeward Bound

All good things must come to an end. We awoke early Thursday morning, all of us in kind of a daze from the excitement of the previous days. The only theme park we would see would be Orlando International Airport, the only ride we would (hopefully) get on would be Southwest Airlines flight # 2002. With the weather being what it was, we wondered if we would leave on time. We ate breakfast, some enjoyed the last of that beautiful chocolate cake while others ate cheese and crackers, Oreo cookies and Pop Tarts (guilty!). Yes, an unusual diet considering we were cleaning and figured it would all get thrown out anyway. Sadly we left about 1/3 of a bottle of vodka. Oh well.

Cleaned up and packed, eventually we were all ready to go. The ride to the airport was completely uneventful. Traffic was light, the weather wasn't miserable, just gloomy with brief periods of rain.

At the airport we were pleased to find that our flight was scheduled to depart on time. We grabbed some lunch, then sat around for a while, all of us were pretty quiet. Tina was checking emails, Polo was reading magazines, Dan and I were on our computers. That was my first opportunity to log on to the internet since early Sunday morning. The feeling of being disconnected for so long is weird. Kind of like a junkie craving a fix. Not that I've ever been a junkie. ;)

The flight started off kind of rough but once we leveled off it was fine. I passed the time by watching a few episodes of "Square Pegs." Tina and Polo read and slept. Dan, Luis and Denise were a few rows ahead of us and were well behaved as we didn't hear a peep out of them.

We landed, gathered our bags and went our separate ways at the airport. Tina was parked out there, she drove Denise and I home. Dan, Luis and Polo hailed a cab.

In all, it was an amazing trip. It took me three days to process it all once I got home. Everything was in high-speed. I'm amazed that the group of us travel so well together. Admittedly I get a bit snippy at time and towards the end I barked more than once. But, we all came back with the same number of fingers and toes that we started with and there were no visible bruises.

I'm blessed to have such great friends and I love them very much. Special thanks to Dan for having a 40th birthday. :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Adventure - Day 4

File Under: Princesses, Queens and Aunt Fay

Our fourth day began a bit differently from the others. During the previous day, it was decided that we would try to have breakfast in Cinderella's castle. Dan made the call and due to the weather, they had a cancellation and were able to accommodate a party of six. When asked how many children were in our party, Dan replied "none, we're all over 40." We laughed, the woman on the other end was silent but gladly took Dan's information and gave him a confirmation number. Breakfast with the princesses would happen at 9:00 am.

We arrived at The Magic Kingdom just a few minutes shy of 9. Since this was before the park opened it was fun to race through the park and see it nearly empty. We arrived just in time.

While we all posed for a group picture with Cinderella, Denise also posed for an individual picture with the Princess. They also had a lovely chat.

Our server approached our table and was quite pleased to see Denise and Tina. He announced "I see we've got a couple Princesses at our table." Dan quickly replied "and four queens, too!" Everybody laughed.

Assorted Princesses make the rounds and visit tables during breakfast. We enjoyed meeting them, and we're sure they enjoyed meeting us.

Here I am with Belle.

Tina, with Snow White.

Polo, enjoyed meeting Princess Jasmine.

Dan and Luis had the pleasure of posing with Sleeping Beauty.

Breakfast was a delicious meal of scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon and sausage, juice and some delightful deep fried sweet rolls. These were very popular at our table.
Children are given toys at the castle. Boys get swords, girls get princess wands. Luis and Polo were pleased when they were offered swords.

After breakfast, we met the evil step-sisters. Dan felt a connection so he went right over to talk with them. They took a liking to him, too.

Polo, with his "cape" and sword.
The cool thing about being at the park during a storm is that the crowds were down. Coming from Chicago, where we have some pretty extreme weather, this was what I would call an inconvenience. But others must have decided it was not an ideal day to visit so the park was relatively empty. The longest wait for a ride was about 20 minutes. All of the favorites were visited - The Haunted Mansion, the Teacups, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo, It's A Small World.

Dan, Denise, Tina and Polo whizzing by on the Teacups.

Everybody's favorite ride "It's A Small World!" Notice Luis protecting us from whatever evil may lurk in the ride.

(wonder if Heidi Klum knows that Walt Disney stole her "Project Runway" catch phrase?)

Time for funny hats!

Their hats aren't supposed to be funny, but their patches and earrings are meant to make them look fierce.

Tina and Denise on the Dumbo ride, Luis and Dan are in the paciderm behind them. Neither of them ever got their elephant up.
Tina, with Walt and Mickey.

Rain or not, we decided to stay and watch the Main Street Parade.
Miscellaneous dancer. GAY! GAY!! GAY!!!

Brooms, or penises?


Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale:
Tina and Polo, on Main Street, at dusk.

Dusk created new photo opportunities, the castle was glowing and the buildings outlined in little lights.

Mickey balloons, blurred but a uniquely perfect photograph.

A purple/blue castle

A lovely turquoise castle.

With that, we made one last visit to the large gift shop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and we headed for the exit.
Tired but hungry, we headed back to Downtown Disney, again, for dinner. This time we dined at The Rainforest Cafe, where we were treated to a table-full of screeching kids sitting at a table in the bar. Thankfully we had a sympathetic waiter who poured us some strong drinks.
Fed and with drinks in our tummies, we went back to the villa for our final night of sleep in Florida.

The Adventure - Day 3

File Under: Auntie Fay Came a-Callin'

Tuesday morning we awoke to a sky different from what we had seen 24 hours prior. Once hurricane Fay (now categorized as a Tropical Depression) had reached the Orlando area and was going to present us with some challenges throughout the day. We knew we wanted to visit EPCOT center and decided we would go through with our plans, storm be damned!

Similar to Monday morning, our day began with breakfast at the Villa. Luis was busy in the kitchen, preparing eggs, bacon and toast. We sipped coffee and juice and waited patiently for our delicous meal.

Dan took the opportunity to climb on the furniture and take pictures.

One difference from the previous day's breakfast, Tuesday's breakfast included chocolate cake, left over from Dan's birthday dinner. When you've got half of a delicious cake in your refrigerator, it's an absolute crime to let it go to waste.

The sky went from the darkest grey to a varying mix of thick and thin clouds. Some peeks of blue were seen early in the day. My first order of business, while the rest of the group went on a ride, was to purchase rain panchos for each of us.

Gloomy grey sky.

The chosen activity of the day was to drink our way around the world. We started in Mexico, with margaritas. There was German wine, French champagne and liquor, Saki from Japan, German beer and Ale from England. Some just had a couple drinks, others had a drink from every country. Towards the end of the afternoon, things were getting pretty silly.
Assorted pictures from the day:

Creepy doll heads at one of the Around the World Pavillions.

An Asian temple.

Mexico. This was one of those moments where we got to take off our panchos for a few minutes.

Inside the Mexican market.

The Netherlands. Luis kissed a troll!

Japan. Once again wearing panchos. Functional, yes. Stylish, no.

In the rain and gloom, there was beauty to be found in the lilly pond.

Ominous sky, again.

Taking a break in Morocco.

France. The French Bakery was a popular stop. We enjoyed pastries, delicious bread and assorted cheeses. Tres chic!

Gnome, making an appearance.

The worst of the weather came as we were calling an end to our day and leaving the park. The skies opened and we were walking in a downpour. The panchos were only doing so much to keep us dry. Our shoes were wet and squishy. However, the parking lot was empty and we found our van right away.
We ended our evening having dinner back at Downtown Disney. We went for sandwiches and went back to the big gift shop where Dan and I bought rain jackets. We returned to our villa exhausted from the day and looking forward to a day at The Magic Kingdom, all of us hoping that the weather would be more cooperative.