-ShakerConEast- TartFest - Hotel Deal


$129 per night a AAA 4 Diamond hotel in the Wall Street District.

Damn the non-working link! Check Travelzoo's Top 20. The deal is good for weekends through February 28th.


Quickies about Christmas 2006

1. Monkey was fairly ill on Friday, and sick enough on Saturday that we took her into the doctor's office. She had a fever of 101 and a terrible cough, but the doctor said her lungs were clear. He said to give her some Robitussin and plenty of fluids. We went home, and Loki went out shopping. There was nothing on TV, so I put on two shows I had recorded from PBS, Judy Garland Duets and Liza with a Z. This further cements my standing as a gay man, albeit a particular stereotype of a gay man.

2. Sio had a customer who got mad at her when she said "Happy Holidays" to him. She explained that she was trying to construct a friendly greeting that would be inclusive of all, believers and non-believers. He had no response.

3. The rather conservative middle-aged woman who sits next to me in the choir loft practically had an apopletic fit when Rev. Right-Wing started to suggest that, were Mary pregnant with Jesus today, she probably would terminate the pregnancy. I am not coming back to sing after this church year is over. I can't take this guy anymore.

4. What was your favorite Christmas gift? Here's a picture of mine:

5. We played Rummy Royal today after we ate. I had amazing poker hand after amazing poker hand, including my first ever straight flush, which kept netting me .05 pots, since we were only playing for pennies. But when we played showdown for the $1 plus on the King/Queen and 6-7-8, I got diddly squat. I ended up losing about .90 cents.


4 truths and a lie

ANSWER: Surprisingly, the correct answer is the only number that no one picked. I did once accidentally hit a beehive with a baseball bat, which netted me about 12 stings, but the event I described in #3 actually happened to my cousin Kevin.

I didn't talk to the school psychiatrist because I was in surly teen angst mode. I was a cheerleader, albeit a reluctant one, for 3 years (my younger sister wanted to be a cheerleader, and my mother didn't want her to do it herself, so I joined the squad, too.) I was in Hair, and I did the nude scene, and we sold out nearly every performance in a 125 seat theater for a 6 week run, so lots of people have seen me naked, however briefly. And as for story #5, the first time I went to Ireland, I was very excited to see the baby chickens. I managed to catch one, and I was so excited that I did indeed squeeze the life out of the poor thing. I felt terrible, and I have such a clear memory of my father taking the dead chick from my hands and tossing it into a field of thistle.

I've been tagged by Sis.

1. When I was a freshman in high school, I got caught forging my mother's name on a permission slip by my religion teacher. In addition to getting detention, I had to see the school psychiatrist, but I refused to talk to her.

2. Despite my hip displaysia, I was a cheerleader for the town football team for three years.

3. When I was about 11 years old, I accidentally fell into a wasp nest and got stung about 40 times.

4. Because I was in a production of the musical Hair, over 1100 people have seen me naked.

5. When I was three years old, I squeezed a baby chicken to death in my hands, because I was so excited that I caught it.


Not since the 70's

has a combination as bizarre as Chris Funk from The Decemberists, Peter Frampton, Eliot Spitzer, and Henry Kissinger appeared on one show.


A great compliment

We spent a good chunk of yesterday cleaning our living room to make room for a Christmas tree, which we agreed we would buy today. But when I got home from singing, Sio was still in bed, not feeling well, Loki was sleeping off the 3rd shift, and Monkey was doing homework. When she finished her math, we tried to see if anyone wanted to come with us to get our tree, but it was just me and her.

As we were driving to the tree farm, Monkey told me that she loves going out with me because we have so much fun. That made my day.


I don't photograph well, either as the subject or the person behind the camera. But here is a photo of yours truly. No make-up, my hair is not done, and I'm not entirely convinced that this is actually the face I see in the mirror.

Thank you! Thank you! You Really Like Me!

As you know doubt have read by now, Time Magazine has named ME Person Of The Year. Those of you who are surprised by this news clearly have not kept up with my scintillating and provocative commentary on my music history class, my ability to recognize talent by linking to other, better writers than I, and my YouTube obsession with Ben Kweller.

I've been passed up by the Weblog awards, and ignored by the Koufax awards, but damn it, my Time has come!


Perspective, dude

Last night, I was suffering from insomnia, as I occasionally do, and so I flipped through my DVR list to see if there was anything I wanted to watch. I had recorded, on a whim, the A&E movie "Wedding Wars", primarily because Sean Maher from Firefly was in the cast.

The movie was silly, and possibly even borderline offensive. All the gays in the movie were hairdressers, wedding planners, waiters, florists - except for Sean Maher, who is a state prosecutor, but we learn early in the movie that he cannot catch, which is some kind of fun double entendre, I'm sure, but made me roll my eyes - I bet he was terrible in gym. Although the payoff at the end....no, it was just stupid.

Not in the eyes of Peter LaBarbera, the man who cruises gay bars so you don't have to.

I would comment on the level of insecurity one must have about their own sexuality to make an entire career out of basically saying "I'm not gay!", but LaBarbera honestly just makes me laugh. More than Wedding Wars did. I mean, c'mon, we're supposed to believe that Uncle Jesse wants to marry Simon Tam, but he can't even muster the passion to give anything more than a tight-lipped "our lips are touching but we're not really kissing" kiss? If this is homosexual propaganda, I want to see some man-on-man open mouth kissing, at least. You know, like on Torchwood. Yeah, that's a kiss that would make me want to be a gay man.

I am so smart! S-M-R-T!

Who knew Windows had a movie editing tool?

Here is the newly shortened (or de-embiggened, if you prefer) version of Ave Maria


One Crazy Busy Day Down


Okay, one crazy busy day is done, only three more to go. Today: work, training, bid opening, training, work, dress rehearsal for school concert, actual church concert. Tomorrow: work, bid opening, bid tabulating (and it's a volatile commodity, so it has to be done fast and perfectly), after work concert for Sio. FSM, that's only Wednesday! Thursday I get a little break - not at work, but at after work. Friday we now have an extra rehearsal for our school concert from 3-5, so I have to find a way to get out of work, then the concert itself, and then the slow realization that any free time I gained will be quickly taken up by one or both of my children and/or the holiday season.

On the plus side, I did have time to talk to my friend Leslie today, although I'm kind of bummed that she turned down my offer to go see a porno this weekend. I don't know if I know anyone else who would go with me.

Anyway, as I wind down with my toasted almond (I was very generous with the booze, it's going to help me get to sleep, I am always keyed up after a concert), I will point you towards a hilarious story from my husband: Code Monkey (RIT) and Kelly's Saloon.


It went okay. My first solo (which I didn't record) wasn't so hot, it was really low and I was really warmed up, and it sounded better in my head then when I opened my mouth (although it got better as I went along.)

The Ave Maria trio went quite well, although I was seriously outmatched vocally by our awesome soprano section leader and our tenor organist. My voice is too untrained to really fit in well with them. I hate these moments when I realize that I may never be good enough to succeed at something I love so much. Maybe I should just sing for fun. Or maybe I just need more training.

Right now, YouTube is uploading the videos, although I may not be able to share them until tomorrow morning.

I watched them on my computer, and I was struck by the fact that in the recording, it's like we didn't sing with any dynamics at all on Little Lamb. I think we were just too loud for the whole song. I'll try to record Sio's a capella group performing this one for contrast - those kids are awesome. But really, our choir should be a lot better, considering a significant number of the singers are professionals. Maybe it's just the poor quality of the audio on my camera, but I'm a little disappointed their wasn't more dynamic contrast in this piece. Still, it's gorgeous.

I'll update when the vids are ready.
Shoot, can't put up Ave Maria. It's too big of a file. Any ideas, readers who are more technical savvy than I?

Concert Tonight

I have a concert tonight at the church. Every other year I've been there, the concert was called "What Sweeter Music", and we sang John Rutter's composition of the same name. This year, it's called "Sing, Noel", and it's a very British Xmas - Wexford Carol, Shepherd's Pipe Carol, The Holy Boy...everything sounds really super English. And I'm not thrilled about that, it's all so similar.

My favorite piece we are doing is Joel Phillip's Little Lamb - it is a gorgeous piece, and I hope to get Monkey to record it so I can put it up on YouTube later tonight. My next favorite piece is Franz Biebl's Ave Maria, I'm singing in a trio on Chorus 1. I'm having a huge mindsuckhole on the E flat at measure 6, though, and another mindsuckhole on the A flat at measure 18, and again at measure 43. For some reason, I cannot make myself hear these notes in my head before I open my mouth to sing. I'm just going to sit down at a piano before the concert and pound those notes into my head. I'll see if I can get Monkey to record that one, too. I'm sure I will resemble a rotund blue elf in my robe, standing next to our organist who is approximately a foot taller than me.

So wish me luck! And Sio, she's also in the choir, and she's incredible, I am always impressed with her musicianship.



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Favorite Car?
Don't have one

Favorite Car you've ever owned?
Honestly, I really liked our Dodge Shadow. The seats were comfortable, it had a good amount of power, it wasn't as embarassing in appearance as most of the cars we owned.

Car you would be embarrassed to be seen driving?
PT Cruiser. I'll go with Toast's choice. I hate them.

Next car you plan to buy?
While I would love to buy a hybrid, I am going to try to buy a very small used car, like a Chevy Aveo.

Next car you would buy for daily use if money were no object?
Prius or Civic hybrid.

What bumper stickers or other decorations, if any, do you have on your car?
None. Loki's old Saturn has a "May the Force Be With You" bumper sticker.

Average annual miles you put on your primary vehicle?
About 25-30K

Describe your driving style.
When I'm driving, I try to enter a state of zen meditation so I can not work myself up into a frothing rage. Doesn't always work.

Average highway cruising speed.
70 MPH.

Fastest you've ever driven?
90 MPH.

Do you race people at stop lights?

Will you cross a solid yellow or double yellow to pass someone?
Depends on the circumstances, but generally, no.

Do you tailgate or flash your high-beams at people in front of you?
No and no.

Worst accident you've ever been in?
Loki, Sio and I were heading north on Main St. in Portland, CT, which meant we had the right of way, and some dude on his cell phone didn't notice us and pulled out right in front of us. Killed our car, my left knee slammed into the dashboard, which jammed my already bad hip. It took me several days to straighten my leg out, and I was in hellish pain for all of those days.

About how many speeding tickets have you gotten?

Ever gotten a DUI/DWI?

What kind of car repairs and/or maintenance can you do?
I can change the wipers. I learned how to do an oil change (on a 66 Dodge Dart), but I don't do them.

Have you ever modified a car you own from stock?
Hahahahahah! No.

What do you listen to while driving?
CDs. The Clash, Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, "Once More, With Feeling", The Cure...all kinds of stuff.

Favorite driving song?
Rudy Can't Fail by The Clash

Do you use an air freshener in your car, and if so, what scent?Yes. Currently, coconut

Messy or clean?
Usually messy. Currently clean

When you and the spouse/significant other go out together, who drives?
Me, because I'm a control freak in the car. I am the worst passenger ever.


I probably shouldn't share this...

Sometimes, I write these little plays as I drive home. Tonight, I was turning a corner, and a couple of people didn't wait for me to finish my turn before they started crossing, and this triggered a little mini-play that had me getting hit by a car driven by Governor M. Jodi Rell, and she takes off, but there are witnesses, and even though she puts up a fight, she ends up having to pay me tons of money, because I have to have my leg amputated below the knee. And then I go on the campaign trail against her in the next election, stumping (quite literally) for her opponent, and Bill O'Reilly is furious and thinks I've stepped outside the boundaries of taste, and I go on his show and I slaughter him. Rhetorically speaking. He's a whimpering mess by the time I'm done with him.

This train of thought may be due to my head injury from Sunday.

Mars, bitches

Water on Mars. Evidence of water in the past few years. Awesome.


Dog Park

The hound and I visited the Wethersfield Dog Park today. Aside from the near-concussion I gave myself while opening the door of the car (I was bending down so I could grab Stinky's leash before he jumped out, and didn't pay attention to the door, and I slammed it - hard - into my head. I've got a nice bump) a good time was had. Stinky met another Basset Hound, 2 Great Danes (each had a different owner, and they were freaking enormous), a couple of Shetland Sheepdogs, a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier who found Stinky's long ears irresistable, a couple of labs, an Italian Greyhound who was humping all the other dogs (but mostly their legs), and assorted mutts of various sizes.

Stinky had a great time, and he actually came when I called him to go home. And he's basically been sacked out ever since then. I love the dog park, I hope someone in Manchester is working on building one here.

what does my birthday say about me?

via konagod

Your Birthdate: November 4

You have an extraordinary character - moral, responsible, and disciplined.
Your sincerely and honesty shine through in almost every situation.
Driven and focused, you rarely let your emotions get the better of you.
You're level headed and rational. People count on your to look at things objectively.

Your strength: Your unwavering loyalty and ethics

Your weakness: Your rock solid stubbornness

Your power color: Navy blue

Your power symbol: Shield

Your power month: April


The Importance of Make-up

If you are in line at the grocery store this week, you might see one of those gossip magazines that has the headline "The Importance of Make-up", alongside some pictures of female celebrities who had the impertinence to be photographed WITHOUT MAKE-UP!!! Naturally, they are monstrous and frightening looking, and I'm deeply offended that I had to look at women who looked their ACTUAL AGES while standing at the check-out.

I know anecdotes don't count...

But I live in New England. And I can go outside, right now, at 2:04 a.m. on December 1, 2006, and not have to wear a coat.