Friday, August 12, 2016

Olympics

The opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Rio started 1 week ago.  Since then I've been trying to watch as much of the games as possible.

Some of the games hold more interest for me than others.  I find watching tennis to be boring.  I totally don't understand fencing.  But I've enjoyed watching the men's and women's swimming, men's and women's gymnastics, and beach volleyball.

In my area the coverage is odd.  During certain times of the day there are 4 channels with different games being shown.  At other times of the day its just 2 channels.

The accomplishments of Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky are amazing!

There's also been quite a bit of eye candy.  The internet nearly exploded after Pita Taufatofua carried the flag of Tongo in the Parade of Nations, oiled up and smiling.
Then there's Sam Mikulak of the USA gymnastics team who caught my eye.
Speaking of men's gymnastics...
Ummm, yeah.

Then there's the divers.  Probably the sexiest man I've seen so far at the Olympics is American diver David Boudia.
Sigh.  But he's married.  To a woman.  And has a baby.

Despite the obviously shallow-sounding nature of this post, I really do enjoy watching the competitions.  Anyone else watching?  Who are your favorites to watch?



Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Jimmy James

Last night I went to see the uber-talented vocal impressionist Jimmy James at the Blue Moon.  I saw his show there 3 years ago too, which was fabulous.  But this was a new show.

If you're not familiar with Jimmy, do a YouTube search.  Seriously, he's been around for 30 years, first gaining popularity from his expert Marilyn Monroe impersonations.  Since then he's expanded his vocal impersonations to include all the stars and divas:  Cher, Eartha Kitt, Mae West, Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand, Adele, Patsy Cline, Judy Garland, Tina Turner, Billie Holliday, and more.

Of course there's no shortage of celebrity impersonators in our (GLBT) community.  There are Cher impersonators, Brittney impersonators, Barbra impersonators, and so on.  But what's so amazing to me about Jimmy James is that he is able to seamlessly transition from 1 celebrity to another in seconds!  My favorite part of his shows is Jimmy's "8 Divas", where he sings "I've Got It Bad And That Ain't Good" as 8 different people.  Check it out:
Extrordinary!!!

Another part of his show this time included a bit where he proudly displays Bette Davis' album (yes, she produced an album!) and sings a song as Bette Davis.
Hilarious!!!

He also told a funny story about seeing Culture Club in concert recently, and hanging with Boy George.  And he did a duet with Elvis and Barbra Streisand!

As usual, Jimmy James was absolutely fantastic and I would encourage everyone to go see him whenever possible.  He'll be in NYC Aug 21 in Lady Bunny's Wigstock, and Aug 22 at the historic Stonewall Inn.  You can follow him on Facebook for other upcoming tour dates.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Note

The family left yesterday afternoon, around 2:30.  But before they did, nephew Eric gave us a very nice note.

Back in June when he graduated from high school we'd sent him a graduation card with money.  Rather than a traditional 'thank you' card, he created a photo collage from his graduation trip to Portland, OR and on the back of it wrote a lovely sentiment:

Isn't that just the nicest thing ever??

He signed it "Baby Eric" because his dad's name is Eric too, so when he was a little boy we called him Baby Eric and his dad Big Eric.  Once he grew up to be 6 feet 4 inches tall I half jokingly said to him that no matter how tall he got or how old he was, he would always be Baby Eric to me, and that I would not hesitate to call him that in front of his girlfriend, future wife, and future kids.  He acknowledged this fact with a solemn nod of his head.  From that time on he's never seemed to mind the title.  And I certainly don't mind being referred to as a "pretty cool dude".

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Family visit

Yesterday some of our family arrived for a short visit.  Spouse's mother, sister, nephew and his girlfriend arrived from the DC area around noon.  I was at work, but Spouse took off Tues, today, and tomorrow.

Our nephew Eric and his girlfriend Natalie immediately went to the beach, while Spouse and his mom and sister chatted and sat out on the screened porch.  After weeks and weeks of heat and humidity, the weather suddenly turned gorgeous when the family arrived so that was nice for them, and for us.

When I got home from work I found everyone hanging out on the back porch with the dogs.
Nephew Eric with Walter & Marvin

Natalie & Eric with Walter & Marvin

Marvin relaxing on Grandma's lap
A little later we all went for a casual dinner.  Our nephew Eric will be starting college later this month, as is his girlfriend, so it was nice to have this time to talk with them about this chapter in their lives.  Both are very smart so I have no concerns about their futures.  It was actually fun to be able to talk with them as adults about politics, career planning, travel, etc.  We really had a nice time.

Today Eric & Natalie are at the beach again, and Spouse and his mom and sister are doing a little bit of shopping.  I'm at work.  Tonight the 6 of us are meeting up with Steven & Thad for dinner at Dos Locos which I'm sure the family will enjoy.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Run DNC!

You may notice the lack of political posts on my blog.  This is not because I don't care, but rather, because I know other bloggers are better informed and cover the topics better than me, especially Bob.

But I'm taking this opportunity to talk about this week's DNC.  Spouse & I watched nearly all of it on TV all 4 nights, and I must say that I have never been so excited and proud to be a Democrat!  The quality of the speakers, the topics covered in their speeches, the factual information presented - all made me feel optimistic about this country's future.

While I didn't watch much of the RNC (honestly, I just couldn't stomach it) I saw plenty of quotes and videos on facebook.  Quite a stark contrast between the RNC and the DNC.

Then RNC's "celebrity" speakers (and I'm being generous by referring to them as such) included Scott Baio, Antonio Sabato Jr, and Willie Robertson from Duck Dynasty.  The political speakers included Ted Cruz who DIDN'T even endorse Trump during this speech, and various GOP governors, mayors, and senators.  Neither of the living Republican former presidents (Bush & Bush) chose to even attend, much less speak, nor did their vice presidents.

The DNC's celebrity speakers included actual celebrities you've seen on TV and films within the last decade such as Sarah Silverman, Lena Dunham, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, and Katy Perry.  The political speakers included Bernie Sanders, First Lady Michelle Obama, Second Lady Jill Biden, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Bill Clinton.

Not that celebrities should 'make or break' a convention, but it just seemed odd to me that the RNC appeared to be grasping for someone with a name to speak, while the DNC had current, relevent celebrity speakers.

But it was each convention's overall message and tone that couldn't have been more opposite.  

The RNC was all about making American safe and great again.  Trump and others talked about how sad our economy is and how the military was a mess.  I'm sure the fact-checkers had a field day with this, trying to find a single fact among all the rhetoric.  Trump also covered building a wall to prevent illegal Mexicans, restricting immigration of Muslims, repealing the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality law. It was an "us" versus "them" mentality, based on fear.  Hey, fear has worked for Republicans before.

The DNC was all about how America is already great, but that more work is needed to make it even better in many areas.  We're "stronger together" became the theme and there was a clear call for Americans to embrace immigration, expand healthcare, protect womens rights, GLBT rights, and campaign finance reform.  A message based on hope.

Probably the most heartening and inspiring thing for me was the absolute inclusion and welcoming of gays, lesbians, and transgender people.  I remember the 2008 debates when Presidential candidates were afraid to even express their belief that GLBT Americans should have equal rights, much less support legislation for such, for fear of turning off voters.  But just 8 years later at the DNC, speaker after speaker after speaker spoke about how we can't live up to our forefathers' vision for America without fully accepting our GLBT brothers and sisters and their talents and contributions.

Out gay congressman Sean Patrick Maloney spoke about his work with the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, his husband of 24 years, and their children. GLBT activist and fellow Delawarean Sarah McBride was the first ever transgender person to speak at a convention.  Historic and exciting!
Sarah McBride and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney

Looking out into the crowd of delegates there were lots and lots and lots of rainbow flags, rainbow clothing, rainbow signs, and enthusiasm.  Two friends of mine were among them.  Check out my friend Jon's rainbow wristband as seen on MSNBC:

I thought Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech was near perfection.  She managed to state her accomplishments and qualifications, welcome Bernie's supporters, welcome Independents, welcome Republicans who won't vote for Trump, explain the platform initiatives, explain how those will be paid for, describe how dangerous and unfit Trump is, and shared a commitment to working hard to protect and serve America.  It was probably one of the best speeches in my lifetime.

I feel inspired and proud to be a Democrat!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Transformation

Yesterday the painters finished the transformation of our home.  It took 5 men 14 days to prep and paint the entire exterior, from top to bottom.  I'm a big fan of "before and afters" so here you go...

Before...

After...
We're really happy with the result!

The home was 'pretty' before, with its benign color scheme, but I love how the new color scheme highlights all the trim and textured siding, and how it now 'feels' more like a Victorian farmhouse.

Notice how little white there is now.  This is by design.  We used to have to powerwash the house at least once a year to remove the dirt and mildew from all the white trim and scalloped siding.

And while it sounds like a small thing, I'm really glad that when talking about my home I no longer have to describe it as a "beigey/sand color".  Now I will say its "green and purple"!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Boy George

On Sat I performed as Boy George in the Legends show again.  

I did Boy George once before last month, but none of my friends were there.  So Steven & Thad, Joe P and Spouse came to see my new Legend.  Joe P kindly agreed to film my set so I could share it with you guys.  The video is too large to imbed here, so I uploaded it to YouTube and created a link.  

You can watch my Boy George set HERE.

Disclosures:
  1. Yes, this video is 8 minutes long
  2. This video was taken using an iPhone so there is ambient noise in the background (talking, laughing, etc from those standing near Joe P)
  3. Yes, I messed up some of the words so that's why it *MAY* sound like I'm mumbling in places
  4. If you can manage to tear yourself away from my hypnotic performance you may notice a shirtless man bumping and grinding with someone in the audience, starting about the 4:35 mark
  5. An enthusiastic female patron steps onto the stage with her glass of wine in hand to dance, starting at the 6:40 mark, before being asked to step down by the man in the black shirt and headset
The audience was very receptive and responsive, dancing and singing along during my performance.  As is our custom, once the finale is done we come out into the audience to greet folks and pose for photos if asked.  Everyone was feelin' the love for Boy George, as I must have posed for a dozen photos!  

It was really fun and I think I enjoyed it as much as the audience.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Scorcher

Today is going to be another scorcher!  While temperatures in the low-to-mid 90s may not sound that hot to those of you in dry AZ, here on the east coast its not only hot but also humid.  So today's 93 degrees will feel like something over 100 degrees due to the humidity.

Dehydration can occur quickly in weather like this so I'm reminding everyone to be sure and drink plenty of water.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Happy birthday!!

Today is Spouse's birthday AND Walter's birthday!!

Unlike Marvin's birthday which is unknown since he was a rescue, we actually know Walter's birthday.  The couple from whom we adopted Walter told us his birthday was July 20, exactly 8 weeks prior to the date we adopted him.

So 2 of my favorite guys share the same birthday!

Here's my favorite photo which includes all 3 of my favorite guys:

To celebrate, I invited Steven & Thad and Joe P to join us for dinner.  Afterward I gave Spouse his birthday gift which was a 12-slot watch case in which he can store his growing collection of watches.

These 3 guys have brought immeasurable joy to my life.  I can't imagine living without them.

Monday, July 18, 2016

House painting

Last Mon the crew began prepping the exterior of our house to be painted.  We have HardiPlank siding on much of the house so that didn't need much prep, but we also have a lot of wood trim.  Some of the wood trim was peeling and flaking, and there are a few spots where the siding was damaged due to a roof drainage problem that's since been corrected.  So they started scraping, priming and caulking.

We initially got quotes for repainting just the areas that needed it, but both painters said that since our home is 11 years old we would need the rest of it painted within a few years, and doing some now and some later would cost more than doing it all now.  This made a lot of sense, especially considering the height of the home (3 stories) and the time spent setting up ladders, tarps, etc.  

So, since the entire exterior is getting painted, we decided to change the color scheme completely.  This is what our house looked like before they started:
The siding is a sand color, the doors are burgundy, the shudders are dark green, and there's a lot of white trim.  This color scheme was the builder's choice; we bought it after the home was completed.  As a reproduction Victorian farmhouse I'd always thought the color scheme was very 'safe' and didn't reflect the way most Victorians are painted with multiple, stronger colors.

So, this is our new color scheme:
The siding will be sage green, the scallop siding in the gables will be Autumn Orchid, the trim will be Mardi Gras purple, and the doors and shutters will be Cameroon green.  What do you think of my pallet?

We actually selected the painter and the colors back in March, but it was still too cool to begin the work.  It has to be at least 50 degrees, so we waited for warmer weather.

And then it began raining.  We had at least 1 day of rain every week for 8 consecutive weeks, and many of those weeks had more than 1 day of rain.  This, of course, caused the painter to get backed up, which is why they finally got to our house in the heat of July.

So they spent 4 days prepping and then on Fri the 1st color went on:  Mardi Gras purple on the trim.  I loved it immediately.

I'll post more photos when the house is completed, in another week or so.  I'm really excited to see it all come together!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Karaoke compliments

Last night I went to karaoke at the Blue Moon as I often do on Thurs.  Since its now peak vacation season there were quite a few people there.

The 1st song I sang was "Crazy", made famous by Patsy Cline, and the 2nd song I sang was "Dark Lady", made famous by Cher.  I did throw in a bit of impersonation since both artists had such definitive singing styles.  I've sung both songs before so I was very comfortable with them.

I was kind of amazed that the folks were so forthcoming with their appreciation.  I mean, its not uncommon for me to get a compliment or 2 after singing at karaoke.  I've had lots of vocal training and performance experience, yet its still nice to get a compliment here and there.

But last night I had 6 different people tell me how much they liked my songs!

One gentleman told me he was a retired opera singer from NY, so when he said I did a good job I should really consider it a compliment.

Another guy said that he was a huge Patsy Cline fan and that he wasn't hopeful when he saw "Crazy" come up on the screen, since most people butcher the song.  He said I'm the only 'karaoke singer' he's ever heard do the song justice.

A couple complimented my singing and asked if I sung professionally.  I thanked them and told them I performed in the Legends show and explained what that was about, to which they responded  "Oh, so you're a star!"  I chuckled and said "Well, a local star perhaps."

I had a lot of fun and it was really nice to get so many compliments.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Grateful

I try to be grateful.

For instance, I had to work yesterday (Sundays are typically my day off) so I wasn't able to spend the afternoon at the beach, which is disappointing.

But, I'm grateful to have a job, especially one that I like.  Also, I'm grateful to live near the beach, which enables me to go there often.  I fully realize that many people wait all year long for a week's vacation at the beach.  I can go there anytime I'm not working and its not raining. 

So yesterday after work Spouse & I met up with Steven & Thad at the new Fresh Market, which has lots of prepared foods, then went to the beach.  The weather was very nice and there was hardly anyone there, save for the 2 families in semi-matching outfits having their portraits taken.  We set up our chairs facing the water and talked as we ate our dinner.  

Spouse & I shared some Thai noodle salad and a Mediterranean orzo salad, both of which were delicious, and even had white chocolate macadamia nut cookies for dessert.  Steven & Thad shared salads and sandwiches.

We stayed until sundown and I'm grateful for the time spent.