November 29, 2009

You say you want a resolution, well you know, we all want to change the world...

I used to be a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. Think obsessive list-making freakazoid with multiple draft and then final versions of resolutions listed by theme and ranked by priority. And then over the past few years, I have walked away from it, maybe due to more self-awareness and ongoing conscious planning of goals and continual evolution, or maybe I couldn't find a pen.

Anyhoo, as the world is in such a wonky state these days (I blame Sarah Palin), I think that having a game plan for next year is a grand idea. Whether it is resolutions, or priorities, or some kind of northern star to aim towards, I think is a good time to re-start the resolutions. And yes I am going to be hyper-organized about it, so am starting today, more than a month early.

Here's what I have so far:

1- As K and I go forward into wedding and marriage, I will work on my communication skills and "us" partnership perspective, while acknowledging that Alfie (and, yes, step-dog Quinn) still rule the roost.

2- I will struggle to control myself and not strangle the architect/contractor building our house, much as he deserves it because of his lousy communication.

3- I will remember that pizza is not a breakfast food, at least not daily.

4- I will exercise more often (granted, easy goal, as comparing to this year as my base line).

5- I will remember that other people are allowed to (mistakenly) think they have the cutest dog in town.

6- I will wash my car more often, so before it looks like random glassy-eyed strangers crazy-glued sand, mud and assorted forensic CSI-looking crap all over it.

7- I will be more patient with stupid people who do not deserve my patience (I see an opportunity to revamp this wording)

8- I will obey speed limits and turn into the appropriate inside lane at intersections (though that is waaay less efficient than how I currently do it)

You will notice there is no cure for cancer on here... like I said, just a starting point...

November 28, 2009

A thought about dogs...

"It is idiotic to say that a dog's life is empty and bestial. A dog has highly fastidious tastes in food; it knows how to play and be gay; it has a talent for amorous adventure; it acquires manners and prefers good society.
In all those ways it is surely much superior to the average Methodist."
- HL Mencken

November 27, 2009

I'm gonna write me a bucket list!

What's a bucket list? Yet another damn thing I don't have. Pretty much because I haven't sat myself down to write the friggin thing...

For those of you who don't know, rent the movie, google it, ask anyone, anywhere, because everyone but you knows: a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.

I first heard the expression in reference to the movie The Bucket List a couple of years ago. It was a cheesy and ultimately touching movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, about embracing life and having big expensive international adventures before you drop dead from some random long drawn out painful disease towards the end of your selfish mercenary life. Of course, I'm paraphrasing.

My hyper-organized partner K has a bucket list. Logical, inspiring, wide-ranging, well thought out, hanging on the side of his fridge. A plan for his life. Crosses things off as he accomplishes them. So organized that it annoys the crap out of me.

Inspired and with a burst of enthusiasm, I started a bucket list earlier this year. Still have it, in its raw format (scrawled on the back of a visa bill), in the box of assorted crap on my desk. I gotta go thru that box and action or file or toss it all. And finish off the bucket list.

Do you ever really finish off the bucket list, or is it ever-changing, do you work through the list and add stuff? I mean what if you are really efficient and get through everything quickly, before some flesh-eating disease or the "V" aliens do away with you? Then you are back where you started, no damn list. Zero sum gain after the whole damn thing. So I guess you never finish a bucket list off, it just keeps going and going and going and going and going.

I think we all have some version of a bucket list in our head, and over the past number of years I have done lots of the stuff I wanted to do - run a marathon, go to Hawaii, get a dog (Alfredo!), see Martina McBride in concert, go to Paris and see the Mona Lisa. Next year I am getting married, and we are building a house (ok the building a house was never on my list).

There's still tons of things I want to do, lots of places I want to go. And somehow it seems different when you go to write it down, more permanent, more official, more substantial. I have gone back to the list a couple of times and it all feels pretty mundane; fun and exciting, though lacking heft - it needs a passion project, and some sort of greater contribution? Not sure.

What's on my list so far? Only a few things, pretty random stuff: swim with dolphins, see the pyramids at Giza, ride the Orient Express, write the book that's always been waiting in my head, visit The Hermitage in St Petersburg, see Trisha Yearwood in concert, see all one hundred of the AFI's best films of all time.

Ok, so off to a half-decent start. Still gotta work on it, and still feels self-indulgent. Which I guess most bucket lists are, as it is stuff you want to do before you die. Hmmm... what to do?

November 25, 2009

Let's get physical (let me hear your body talk)

I had today off work and did something that I should do way more often. Nap.

Before the afternoon nap, I did something I seem to do even less of these days, I went for a run. Although it's winter here, we are getting off easy so far weather wise and today was a beautiful crisp sunny winter day.

The upside? Today's run in the sun with my ipod blasting felt amazing --- challenging, exciting, and invigorating. And I got a helluva good cardio workout.

The downside? Holy crap, that run knocked the wind out of me. I only ran about an hour, which is not a big deal for me, more of an average weekday run. Winded me like crazy. I need to run more. Or I will be old and feeble and broken. This weekend.

Beyond running I have also been working out at the gym for years. Totally hate it, and it works, and weekly workouts with a trainer ensure I have some consistency there. Also have fallen off the wagon there. I've bailed so often this fall my trainer has given up calling (really, Dean, I have been in the Czech republic since July, would I lie to you?)

Why exercise? Mostly weight control, for both health and vanity reasons. Okay, vanity first. I was a chubby kid, and am a Jewish guy from the suburbs, and let's face it, my people are not known for our athletic prowess. I started running about ten years ago and much to everyone's surprise, especially my own, totally love it. It is something that is tangible and challenging and valuable and mine.

Why fall off the exercise wagon? Busy with work, with life, with dogs, with wondering how the hell my suits have gotten tighter. Hmmmm....

That's it, I gotta run more often. Stand back, I feel there may be a new year's resolution coming on...

November 23, 2009

15 things that annoy the crap out of me

1- People who don't pick up their dog poop. Literally. It's gross, people, and this is coming from a dog lover.
2- Every local TV station in Edmonton, where every show is an hour later than other cities. Why can't you morons adjust for time zones, everyone else does.
3- Sarah Palin. You are annoying, hypocritical, and dumb as a plank of wood.
4- Levi Johnston. Even Sarah Palin doesn't deserve you.
5- Anyone named Gosselin. Just go away. Please.
6- The world's cutest dog climbing on my keyboard as I type.
7- That same cute dog stretching up and licking my glasses as I try to type around him.
8- The producers of "Brothers and Sisters". I loved your show, and you are now sucking the life out of it.
9- Gay celebrities who stay in the closet (rhymes with Bandersoon Booper).
10- The expression "You can't have your cake and eat it too." Why the hell not? Why would I go to all the effort of buying a cake if I couldn't eat the damn thing?
11- Head cheese (it's not cheese, and it's disgusting).
12- Standard iPod earbuds.
13- Elisabeth Hasselback.
14- People with outdated and unacceptable hateful views --- racists, sexists, homophobes, misogynists, anti-semites, people who say "waaaazup".
15- The producers of "Dancing with the Stars" --- who they hell are these people? Have you looked up the word 'star'?

I subscribe to crappy magazines, part deux

I have subscribed to Entertainment Weekly pretty much since it began in 1990. And I still do. That my friends is the blessing and the curse of automatic credit card renewal.

Truth is, I used to love this magazine, it was smart and literary, and pointed me towards books and movies I would never otherwise have heard of. The pop culture stuff was fast and smart and irreverent. And I still skim EW when it arrives, occasionally latching on to an article or section, though with much less enthusiasm and involvement than I used to.

So what has changed? Entertainment Weekly has changed, and the world has changed faster. The magazine itself is thinner and safer and less "wow". And in our world when high-speed Internet connections don't seem fast enough, pop culture news becomes stale fast, and weekly subscriptions just don't cut it as news. There are entertainment TV shows all over the tube, and there are tons of of entertainment news and gossip sites included EW's own site which is updated continually.

The magazine should be going more in-depth or unexpected or controversial or investigative or something, and it's not.

This recession is a bitch, and so far this year we have seen lots of magazines bite the dust, including Gourmet, Metropolitan Home, The Advocate, and Modern Bride, and according to the website (didn't know that existed, did you?), EW is likely next. Their prediction is that it will be folded into sister publication People magazine.

So EW is on its death bed. Do I mourn it? Well I still love love love pop culture news, trivia, reviews, opinions, fluff and crappola in general. But I can get all that online, so other than being able to carry a magazine around, why do I need it? EW needs to do more. Or I should get off my ass and cancel my subscription.

All hail Adam Lambert

Okay so last night I am in bed, half watching the American Music Awards, half working, half falling asleep (don't do the math here, or you will see I got no work done). Janet Jackson was high energy, Whitney Houston showed us what she can do, Lady Gaga did a huge space alien production number, Keith Urban rocked out, Jennifer Lopez sang a lousy song and literally fell on her ass. All good.

Then the show closes with this Adam Lambert guy, who I am quickly becoming a fan of. With Elvis-like hair and a glittery suit he sang "For Your Entertainment" in a big loud gaudy production number that was more an ad for Lambert than his song or album. It was a vulgar spectacle a la Madonna or Freddie Mercury, and I think puts Lambert on the map, beyond Idol or the tabloids or the Out magazine controversy.

I don't really remember the song or Lambert's actual singing, though I think both were fine. He is a performer, and his performance was a breath of fresh (vulgar) air. Sure it was crude in an over-the-top glamour kind of way, with dancers on leashes and sexual moves. It was an adult performance. For those who object, two thoughts:
(1) it was 11 PM on a Sunday evening, so if your kids are up watching TV, I think you may just be a lousy parent
(2) the sexual innuendo was nothing Madonna, Janet Jackson, and three million rappers haven't done before, the only difference being the same-sex angle, so homophobic much?

This guy may be a flash in the pan, or he may be around for a long time. Who knows? It sure looks like his career will be a hell of an interesting show to watch.

And as an added bonus -- the fact that right wing homophobe stick figure Elisabeth Hasselback trashed the performance made me like it even more!

November 22, 2009

Whatever happened to Michelle Pfeiffer?

This past summer, when Transformers 2: Revenge of the Loud Movies with No Plot was ruling the box office, an artsy little film called Cheri came and went. I'm not really sure it ever came to Edmonton as we are a smaller market, and on the rare occasion we get the good little films they are here for a blink and then gone. Cheri is now out on dvd, and I just watched it. And totally enjoyed it - fun, drama, romance, great one-liners, amazing costumes and sets, terrific acting, unexpected plot twists, the works.

is based on the French novel by Collette, and is the stylish romantic drama about a pre-war Paris courtesan (aka uppity well-dressed hooker). Think Dangerous Liaisons light, with more love, more humour, and less scheming.

It is the story of Cheri, a 19-year-old son of a former courtesan, who falls in love with a 50-year-old courtesan, Lea, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. Lea is brought on by Cheri's mother to school him in the ways of women, and so she does. Of course nothing goes smoothly, as age and money and society's expectations get in the way of love and lust and shopping. Like my life.

Pfeiffer is in full diva mode, the film has a supporting cast that includes Oscar winner Kathy Bates, and was directed by Stephen Frears of Dangerous Liaisons and The Grifters. So why did Cheri vanish without a trace?

Cheri is smart, sassy and stylish. And it made like four cents at the box office, while Saw 8237 is headed our way. Who's to blame? Much as I would like to blame the red states, truth is I own a piece of that because I didn't seek it out and pony up my dinero at the theatre. And it's not some boring NFB film that we "should" see, whatever that means, Cheri is an intelligent entertaining movie when I know that more and more I am seeking escapist fluffy stuff, although as I write this cannot remember a single film I saw this summer. Okay, think.... I saw Star Trek. And Julie and Julia. Loved them both. Still, two flicks ain't a lot for me.

So am I not going to the movies very often? Probably more likely to rent a movie, watch seasons of "Bones" on dvd, or spend time online. Maybe read. Is it just me that finds the movies less appealing? I have no desire to see loud junk like 2012, or some pompous art house flick. Christ, I am difficult to please.

And not to sound like some old fart pining for the golden days of hollywood - I mean, yawn - but what happened to Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford, Debra Winger, Julia Roberts? They used to make lots of good movies, and do good box office. Sure some of the movies are duds (that's you, Mary Reilly), and some are really good. Are they too old? Julia Roberts is my age. Is the entertainment world really revolving around Miley Cyrus and those Twilight kids? Holy crap, shoot me now.

So what's my learning here? Vote with the wallet, gegt off my ass and seek out smart movies (or at least not dumb movies), ideally in theatres or at least to rent or buy. Rent Up. See Capitalism: A Love Story. See It's Complicated right when it opens.

There is hope for the adults out there; Julia Roberts is filming Eat Pray Love, based on a charming and touching grown-up book I really enjoyed. Cross fingers now and pray they don't screw it up!

November 20, 2009

When is a day off not a day off?

I had yesterday, Thursday, off work. Nice perk, and one that will be balanced out in the universe when I work both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

So the question is when is a day off truly a day off? My favourites are the Sundays we spend at home, curled up in the basement with the dogs, watching DVDs and eating copious amounts of popcorn. Maybe venturing out for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and if I happen to go for a run then woo-hoo, extra points for me. Leisurely pace, no real expectations or accomplishments.

So yesterday was a day off work, but was it a day off? I checked in to work on the crackberry several times. Went for a run. Did a couple of loads of laundry. Cleaned the leaves and guck out of the gutter at the base of my driveway (yes, really, manual labour). Made a dent in the mail pile. Called my best friend. Spent time online. Tidied up the kitchen. Took care of the dogs. Read Sarah Palin's book. Ok totally kidding on that last one. Blech.

So is it a day off? Well it's 7.30 in the morning and I could use a nap, though that is due mostly to a certain beagle having to go outside at 3.30 AM. And having to eat at 5 AM.

So Thursday was a day off from career-type work, and yet not a day off from work-type stuff. They (whoever the hell they are) say a change is as good as a rest. Well, "they" are morons. A change is good, rest is better. I mean, after doing all that crap, I need a day off!

And as someone with a very social job where I am constantly interacting with people. I certainly had more solo time yesterday, so was less energy exerted. It was definitely a change of pace. More quiet introspective hermit like, which suits me, though not for long periods of time.

My plan? There will days off where you do stuff you have to do, and days off where you get to mellow out with the people you love, play with the pooches, watch five episodes of Bones on DVD, and eat popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn.

November 19, 2009

I subscribe to crappy magazines.

I am a big believer in shopping, especially shopping strategically --- buy what you need (pizza), buy what you love (Prada). And support companies that support your community and your causes.

I have subscribed to OUT magazine - think GQ and Details combined, and very slightly gayer - for years. Why? There is no real content relevant to me, the travel stuff is about bars and bathhouses, and the fashion is for skinny waifs. I subscribe because I want to support a gay publication and have the gay news content coming to my house, sort of like subscribing to Maclean's simply because I am Canadian (yep, do that too).

Once in awhile OUT surprises me with an article that I find really great; and it's usually with their year-end list of the movers and shakers in the gay world.

So that issue is now out, and it has solid choices like newly out Wanda Sykes and homo fairy godmother Cyndi Lauper. Also on the list is American Idol finalist Adam Lambert, who I fess up to not knowing much about other than he's gay and he didn't win.

And in order to promote the issue in these revenue-challenged times, we have a big gay controversy about Lambert. OUT's editor, Aaron Hicklin, wrote an open letter to Lambert, blasting him for the restrictions his management team put on the cover shoot, such as having a woman in the shot, and not appearing "too gay".

First of all - the obvious - "too gay"? This is a mascara-loving out gay pop singer willingly on the cover of super-gay OUT magazine. So what exactly is "too gay"?

Then - the big one - who is the editor of a magazine to blast Lambert publicly? Pretty tacky. This guy is building his career and has advisers and managers and groupies and whatever, like every other celebrity trying to manage the spin. If you don't like his rules, then say no to playing ball with him - don't first agree and then turn around and attack. According to my copy of OUT, Lambert is one of your notable people of influence as "Breakout of the Year", and is on the cover, so what's your beef? If you had such an issue with his way of doing things, don't put him on your cover. Why should he follow your way of doing things? Isn't a magazine like OUT about acceptance and celebration of differences?

Bottom line - the editor of OUT is guilty of a cheap and hypocritical publicity grab, albeit one that worked. Or he's simply an idiot.

November 18, 2009

Whaaaat? I'm not People's Sexiest Man Alive?

As you have probably heard, today People magazine named Johnny Depp as the sexiest man alive. To which I'm thinking.... snore.

Sure, Depp is incredibly talented - rent Blow if you haven't seen it. And yep he is utterly charming - rent The Pirates of the Caribbean. And yes he is very sexy in the dark brooding stranger kind of way - rent Chocolat. And still - the sexiest man this year? Who has even thought of Johnny Depp this year? He did that summer gangster movie that bombed - what was it called again?

Why Depp? Popular. Famous. Rich. Will get people talking, and buying People, and going to their website, and writing blogs. But the sexiest man alive for 2009? Who the hell decides these things?

You'd expect one of those jailbait Twilight guys. Or eye-catching Gilles Marini from Brothers and Sisters, or Jon Hamm from Mad Men, or Ryan Reynolds from The Proposal. At least those guys are on the radar this year.

If the people at People asked me, and they didn't by the way, I would vote for Reynolds.

November 17, 2009

Hello friends! It's a sign of our times: the Word of The Year is UNFRIEND

I enjoy Facebook. Yes, I was a bit late to the Facebook party as many friends colleagues peers relatives etc were on it long before me, and now that I am there it is totally entertaining.

Why? Catching up, staying in touch, reconnecting with long lost school friends, learning a bit, getting info, feeling connected in a life that can be very busy and isolating. And wasting time. Lots and lots of wasting time. Is it wasting time? or frittering away? Either way, lots of it. Probably a good thing that social networking sites like facebook are blocked at my workplace.

And other people agree, at last count there like 90 million people using facebook regularly.

A frequent label in facebook is "friend"; a facebook friend isn't a real world friend who you share your hopes and dreams with, it's someone who you give permission to view your pictures, write on your virtual wall, and generally be a voyeur into your life. And they give you the same access to their life when you "friend" each other. My facebook friends range from the people closest to me up to and including virtual strangers -- my fiance, real-life friends, work friends and contacts, former work peers, childhood schoolmates, my brothers, my mom, a rabbi (okay, also one of my brothers), assorted cousins, and some people I haven't met outside the virtual world. They are all interesting, in different ways.

After becoming facebook friends, at some point in time, for some reason, you may no longer want that person to have access - you rethink your priorities, you forget who they are, you post some drunk dialing pictures you don't want your coworkers to see, you are no longer sleeping with them, etc - and then you need to remove their 'facebook friend' status, or "unfriend" them, by restricting their access to that of strangers. Easy to do. And people are doing it, and they are taking that 'unfriend" terminology off-line.

The Oxford American Dictionary just announced their word of the year for 2009, and it is "unfriend" (verb): to remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as facebook. Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford's US Dictionary Program, says "It has both currency and potential longevity... In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year."

I think this is a terrific word to add to our language; it is clear and crisp and direct. No hidden meaning - you don't want to be someone's friend anymore? You know what to do!

Ending a facebook friendship is kinder and more gracious than ending a real friendship, with no drama, no ugly scenes. Facebook is subtle when someone unfriends you; they don't actually tell you at all, that person just disappears from your circle. You may notice, you may not. When you go to contact them, you will learn - you are no longer their facebook friends. You have been gracefully and graciously unfriended. You are toast. Over. Dead to them.

Don't want someone peeping into your life anymore? Unfriend them. Have a falling out with someone? Unfriend them. Don't want to ignore a facebook friend request from someone you don't care for? Confirm the request, then swiftly unfriend them.

Let's take it further, beyond facebook. Give us an Unfriend button in real life. Ugly scene with a coworker? Unfriend. Falling out with a family member? Unfriend. Give out your number to the wrong person at the bar last saturday night? Unfriend.

Even better - can I unfriend public persons from my life? Sarah Palin - unfriend. The cast of the new Melrose Place - unfriend! Anyone named Gosselin - unfriend!

That's beyond word of the year - that would be magical mystical fantastical power of the year!

Holy crap, I admire Paris Hilton ...but just for a second, otherwise she is dumb as wood.

November 16, 2009

Fido is dead. Let's resurrect Fido?... Is cloning your dog creepy?


Yes it is. Cloning your dog is creepy. Period.

No secret here, I love Alfie -- the furry little guy is the non-romantic love of my life. That being said, when he is gone, he is gone, and will live on strictly in memory and pictures. I am not sure how I feel about the afterlife and reincarnation. I do know that bringing back the dead through science is, well, unsettling. CREEPY.

There will be other dogs in the future, and I will love them too. But resurrect Alfie? Whether a clone like Dolly the Sheep or a zombie from Dawn of the Dead, that is just creepy.

However, if you want to clone your dog, apparently you can. Time magazine just listed the 50 best inventions of 2009, and on the list at #22 is "The Custom Puppy", a canine genetic replica (clone) of your late beloved dog for $144,000 US. Did I mention creepy? And yes they have had clients already.

There's lots of dogs out there people; let the deceased ones rest in peace.

November 15, 2009

She's So Unusual... Barbie does Cyndi Lauper!

Well it's about time - Barbie is catching up with the 80s!

Barbie just wants to have fun, and in January will do so by introducing the Ladies of the 80s collection - Lauper, Joan Jett, and Debbie Harry.

I love this idea, and yet wonder --- has Mattel read the self-gratification lyrics to She-Bop? "In the pages of a blue boy magazine... I better stop or I'll go blind... they say I better get a chaperone, because I can't stop messing with the danger zone"... totally fun, and just a little on the adult side.

As for the doll, c'mon you know you want one.. just so you can stare at it time after time!

I love the 80s, and have mixed feelings about Barbie as I think she cannot be a healthy body image for young girls to aspire to. There are too many teenagers with issues out there, shouldn't there be more realistic anatomically incorrect, squeezed and dyed, overdressed tiny plastic role models?

That being said, I have only one question here -- where is the Pat Benatar Barbie? I would so buy that one!

I heart Annie Lennox's heart

Former Eurythmic Annie Lennox is more than a musical legend, and this week was honoured for her passionate humanitarian work.

And yes I LOVE LOVE LOVE Annie Lennox, from the Eurythmics' Love is a Stranger in the early 80s, through her Diva solo debut, right up to her last solo album, 2007's haunting Songs of Mass Destruction. I saw her live when she was at the peak of Eurythmics mania, and again a few years ago when she was the opening act for Sting and gave one of the most dynamic most amazing performances I have seen by anyone anywhere (she blew what's-his-name off the stage, by the way). And Why remains simply one of the best pop songs of our generation. Period.

This week, Lennox got the Woman of Peace Award for her work for HIV/AIDS awareness. The award was presented at summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Berlin. In addition to hands-on involvement, she has raised over two million dollars to provide HIV testing, medical supplies, and education for South Africans. Go Annie go!

Her SING campaign is named for a song on her last album; if you don't know Lennox's more recent stuff, check out Sing from Songs of Mass Destruction, a great mix of music and message, a song about sisterhood sung by 23 women, with all proceeds going to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Guest vocalists include Madonna, Celine Dion, Melissa Etheridge, Pink, Faith Hill, Shakira, and Sarah McLachlan... how can you go wrong with that group?

November 14, 2009

Does this blog have a personality? Does it reflect my personality? What does this illustration have to do anything?

So I just put this blog through a Meyers-Brigg-ish personality profile thing-a-majig at; as blogs don't have personalities, I guess it is analyzing or reflecting my personality through the blog. Scaree stuff.

The verdict? ESTP "The Performers" -- Entertaining and friendly, especially attuned to pleasure and beauty.. pretty good so far, huh? Live in the moment and don't plan ahead? Yeah not so sure on that one, I love lists and goals and plans and agendas. Enjoy work that helps others in a visible and concrete way? Sure that sounds good. Avoid conflict and rarely initiate confrontation? At times, though getting better at it. The profile says that can make it difficult to be a manager, which is unfortunate as that is what I do for a living.

So I have two issues here:
(1) Because of the name "typalizer" I now have the Britney Spears song "Womanizer" running though my head over and over and over.
(2) I don't think this is me - the profile says I'm a "feeler" rather than a "thinker" which is pretty much the opposite of how I see myself; I am the smart sarcastic geek type not the caring feeling type.

So this is not as I see myself, and I think the blog reflects my personalty pretty well, so what gives? Is the profile just hooey? While this blog reflects me, it is an escapist creative outlet, outside of my everyday concrete responsibilities, focused on certain elements of life and ignoring others. So it is the feeling creative part of my brain not the big powerful logic part. Or the small puny logic part. Depending on how big you think my logical part is (okay, that sounds dirty).

A blog isn't a full portrait; though out there for all to see, it is selective and personal, as a feeling and creative escapist outlet outside of the logic and challenges of life. So the blog's personality profile is only looking at that part of your brain you are using to write the blog.

Still... kind of disappointing there is nothing about my fierce intelligence or endless charm...

November 13, 2009

I am... the thousand-year-old man.

Yesterday was challenging. Today was hell. This wasn't about work, which is fine with its usual stresses and challenges, it was about pain. Back pain. Slow burning aching prickly stiffening clunky awkward annoying back pain.

Today I started off sore and popping Advil like they were Pez. Later was the chiropractor, ice pack, stretches, and stronger pills. Then bags of frozen veggies (corn, I think) and K's infra-red technology doodad. All day I was hobbling around the office hunched over like a thousand-year-old-man. At work I am usually the energizer bunny... today I was office bound and irritable.

What causes back stiffness and pain? Who knows... I am a pretty fit 37 year old.... whoops, look at that, I lost a few years! I gotta get back to the gym, take off that 15 pounds that has crept up on me, get my own prescription pad.

This weekend I am going to take it easy, ice and stretch the achy breaky back, and then I see the chiro again on Monday. Good chance to catch up on reading. Or watch NCIS and Bones DVDs, talk on the phone, and write the blog as the Havanese climbs on the laptop.

I may FINALLY try acupuncture; it has intrigued me for years, not sure about all those little needles though...

November 11, 2009

Give it up, Barbie girl... Ken has another kind of dreamhouse in mind!

Yep, we have all been making the "Ken is gay" jokes forever... and now it looks like Barbie maker Mattel agrees with us.

When I was a kid, Ken was the buff beach guy who you knew was checking out the other boy dolls to see if they were anatomically correct. Well time has passed my friends... the Ken of today not only wants to check out the beach boys, he wants to pay their rent.

As part of the new Palm Beach Barbie collection, here is Sugar Daddy Ken! Part of the Elite Gold Label collection, whatever that is, he is made with the adult collector in mind and comes with a certificate of authenticity and accessories... what the hell kind of accessories, a black Amex card and some lube?

Sporting a 50s-esque jacquard jacket, silver-toned Liberace hair, and white pants (after labour day no less), you can almost see the face lift stretch marks on this dude. Think Paul Lynde walking a gay Toto.

And the little dog on the pink leash is apparently named Sugar. There are so many comments busting to jump out that my head may explode.

They say it takes on to know one, and I am telling you, Mr Ken is gay gay gay. Versace gay. Pride flag waving gay. George Michael in a public washroom gay.

And how does Mattel explain the new Ken? He is part of the adult collectible line, and as the dog's name is Sugar, then Ken is Sugar's daddy.... uh-huh...

A date with Barbie is the last thing on this little man's mind. And he would rather be called Kenneth, thank you very much.

On another note, I first saw Mr. Ken on one of my favourite blogs,; it's a great read, check it out!

November 8, 2009

Blending families, doggie style

K is out this afternoon, and I am at his house challenging myself intellectually as I grapple with the mysteries of the universe. OK truthfully I am watching Ellen DeGeneres guest on Oprah; world peace can wait.

I am here with our blended family, his Beagle Quinn and of course the world's cutest Havanese, Alfred. The ongoing process of merging our families aka our "kids" has been an interesting one, the easiest part of which was between the dogs themselves.

The pooches got along instantly, with the pecking order quickly established; at age ten, Quinn is bigger and older than 2-year-old Alfie, and is the alpha, with Alfie still being totally his perky self. They were quickly affectionate with each other and now when one isn't around the other seeks him out. Alfie has even picked up some Quinn-ism's: the loud yawn, the head down on the table, eating fast, expecting treats on the hour, and my personal favourite, fake peeing to stay outside longer.

My relationship with Quinn also fell into placed quickly: he is affectionate, he is playful, he is obsessively food-driven, I am allergic to him, I love dogs, he loves people, all is good.

Over time this has evolved, and recently I have noticed his affection has evolved. He sits with me, cuddles with me, sits beside me. Seems happy to see me and I am part of the household. I feel like more than the kibble dispenser, I feel like the relationship is there. There is a saying about shelter dogs that the family isn't sealed when you adopt the dog, it is a done deal when the affection is returned, when dog adopts you. That is what I see now with my stepdog Quinn, and I am loving it.

So, blended family - check! What's next? Why canine number three of course. Discussions about breed and timing are underway. We think next fall after we're in the new house. Maybe a standard schnauzer?

November 7, 2009

Is marriage political?

Being engaged is exciting - maybe because I never really thought I would get married, maybe because I finally met the right guy, maybe because it's a new way of perceiving family, maybe because it is such a positive way of looking forward, likely all of the above and more.

Our wedding will be small and informal. Intimate. And personal, like all marriages are. And yet somehow it is also political.

This week, the same week we sent out "save the date" cards, the voters of Maine decided to disallow gay marriage, voters in Washington state voted to protect their new domestic partnership law, and Portugal's new government announced they would legalize same-sex marriage. So if marriage is on political agendas, I guess marriage is political.

I guess we are pretty advanced -- two adult men getting married is legal here in meek and mild Canada. In my non-subjective opinion this is a civil rights issues and should be a right everywhere. Period. And don't even mention "don't ask don't tell". As Canadians we also have the right to serve in the military. Not that we want to.

Our right to marry is political. Is our marriage political? Hasn't seemed that way until this week. It has been all the fun and exciting personal stuff -- it's the right time in our relationship, as we blend lives, dogs, homes, order invitations, take pictures, plan the ceremony and food, etc. We want to celebrate and formalize our lives together.

So what's the political part? Something small and benign - putting an engagement announcement in the paper. Hadn't occurred to us to even do it, and as people asked it become an item on our to-do list. As we talked about it, we both waffled, as really all our friends and family already know we are engaged, and it become one of those many non-vital 'maybe' issues. Then as we talked about it, I said what I hadn't realized I was thinking: let's do it, not only to share our news with people, but also that it is a good thing to have a same-sex wedding announcement in the paper. Let people like it, or let people be uncomfortable, either way is a step forward.

The announcement is coming. We took engagement pics today, and once they are ready, airbrushing included -- political or not, still gay and gotta look good -- the announcement is coming!

Rosanne Cash and the fire of the newly alive

Music is more than personal. It's intimate. It sets the mood, or reflects the mood. It can be in the background or up front and loud. And what is noise to you may be music to me (just go with my taste, you'll be better off).

We all have our favourites - rock, pop, classical, opera, even, heaven forbid, rap.

Songs are our soundtrack, from the one-hit wonders (Rock Me Amadeus) to blink-and-they're-gone groups (that's you, Quarterflash) to guilty pleasures (Flashdance) to pick-me-up's (Abba) to all-time favourites (all things Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac).

And then there is that handful of albums that resonate for a long time. For me, if I had to take one CD to that metaphorical desert island, I think it would be Rosanne Cash's The Wheel. This is an album I go back to, and play over and over and over and over, then put away, and go back to again, when other stuff I 'loved' and 'had to have' has long since fallen off the radar.

Released in 1993, The Wheel is a catchy pop masterpiece by a country master. It is Cash's midlife divorce and start over album, and it's all there --- love, loss, trust, infidelity, pain, hope, desperation, breaking down, getting up, starting over. From the angry Roses in the Fire to the romantic Change Partners to the thoughtful You Won't Let Me in to the surprisingly celebratory Fire of the Newly Alive, this is fantastic pop soundtrack imbued with a beautiful journey of self-discovery: from "I know no man that I can trust" to "I crawl though an abyss, I struggle and resist, somehow I break free, someone becomes me."

I think The Wheel has more times played than any other album I have ever owned, and yet it is still fresh to me. It is lyrical and fun and deep and moving and smart. Go out and buy, or legally download, The Wheel. And get some Abba too, it'll get you moving.

Everything is beautiful at the ballet...

In A Chorus Line they sing: Everything was beautiful at the ballet. Graceful men lift lovely girls in white. Yes, everything was beautiful at the ballet. Hey! I was happy... at the ballet.

Well last night was the opener of the Alberta Ballet, Romeo and Juliet, and this is the first year we have a subscription. Yep, how artsy, how gay.

And yes everything was beautiful at the ballet. And... kind of snoozy. Wonderfully talented dancers, and amazing music, with a show that was waaaay too long, with way too much preamble before Romeo and Juliet enter the scene, and the place was so warm it was nap inducing. And after a crazy busy week, napping was pretty appealing. Not that I would doze off at the ballet of course...

Hmmm... jury is still out on this subscription. Will have to wait and see what the next one is like. And caffeine up before hand. And dress for the sauna.

November 3, 2009

Designer Doggie Doodads

Sir Paul Smith -- British fashion designer turned icon, knighted by the queen, GQ designer of the year multiple times, carried in the best stores worldwide, the man behind the ultra cool suits and shoes I lust after, and now... the name behind Alfie's new doggie dish!

November 2, 2009

Apparently my puppy isn't pampered enough...

You want your next life to be pampered? Come back as the dog of a gay man.

Alfred has a pretty darn good life --- love and attention, tons of toys, premium food and plentiful treats, many walks a day, friends, visits to the off-leash park, and doggie day care three days a week to which, yes, I chauffeur him back and forth.

Today though I learned that I could do better by the little guy. On there is a story about Unleashed Indoor Parks, a new $10-million Dallas dog park with 25,000 square feet of air-conditioned romping space. It opened in March and will be profitable in its first year, with the owners planning more locations.

Unleashed offers wi-fi and a snack bar (for people), plus a pet supply store. A staff of 25 play with and police the dogs, and pooches staying overnight can cuddle with employees in king-size beds.

This sounds amazing; why is it only in Dallas? Okay sure Texas is hot... I live in northern Canada where it's cold, we need a facility like this here!

November 1, 2009

Vacation, all I ever wanted, vacation, had to get away...

We are just back from eight days vacation, a quick trip to Connecticut and New York, visiting family, seeing Broadway shows, going to museums, and just enjoying being away from real life.

Even though real life for me is pretty darn good, we all need to get away from our lives once in a while.

But some people don't; according to The National Post, nearly 25 per cent of Canadians aren't taking the full number of vacation days they've been allotted, leaving 34 million vacation days unused every year. Not surprisingly, 42 per cent of poll respondents said they're feeling stressed, tired and vacation-deprived, up from 33 per cent in 2008. Why? Cost of vacations, worrying about job security.

And then there are the people like me, who take their vacations and really enjoy them, and still check in via blackberry to ensure things are running smoothly and assist where possible. Work is work, responsibility is responsibility.

We all have trouble balancing work and life. No wonder a buzz term such as “work-life balance” even exists; why is “work” considered a separate entity from “life” to begin with? There is overlap in time and focus and relationships and worry, and you don't just turn off one half your life.

We all need to work, for interest and challenge and learning and, let's face it, money. And days off and vacations and having an outside life are all important for health and happiness and sanity. Maybe it's not a healthy balance we should be going for, maybe it's a healthy blend.

And at the end of some time off, coming home is always a fantastic end to a vacation, because this is home, and the world's cutest Havanese is here!