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Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
Safely in Merlin for the night. I got on the road out of Rochester a little earlier than last year after a few quick stops there and a run out to Emily's. I brought her Orphan Black disks and a bra she'd left in the laundry area. Many hours later, surrounded by geeks at a sci-fi con, this led to speculation of what an Orphan Black bra would look like.

"It'd have 24 cups.

Helena's would be extra large to feed her bebbies.

Alison's would come out of the wash all full of glitter and soap.

Cosima would have a couple with real awesome science features.

Tony's would've been damaged during the surgery.

You thought it was cruel poking Rachel's EYE out?!?"

Yes, we just do this at these things.

First, though, I had to get there. Which was its usual good, bad and ugly self.

----

I remembered a spot for lunch near Cortland, which I'd been to once at one of its Connecticut locations on the 2012 edition of this trip:

11863263_1064717710206018_107956751050175484_n

Good eats, plus a souvenir cup with DICKEY'S on it I can ask John Barrowman to sign. In Cockeysville, Maryland. Plus, as with the date in 2012, R .A. Dickey was scheduled to pitch in New York that night. For the Blue Jays. Who did, indeed beat the Yankees.

I got outta there before 2 and hoped to make it into PA by 3 and out before 6. It's not THAT big of a state. And through Scranton-Wilkes Barre, across 80 and closing in on Harrisburg, not a single lane closure, massive accident or other bump in my road....

Until I hit the Ravine.

Curse PENNDOT. Fry them with the heat of a thousand suns. I expected this. I checked ahead for online advisories (there were none) and for roadsign warnings (all clear) until just past the Last Chance exit came the sign: Oh. You might've wanted to take the detour at the exit back THERE. (Yes, there's a posted detour. PA interstates have one permanently posted at every exit. They're color-coded.)

I'd arrived in Dead Stop, PA.

Ten miles of single Jersey-bariered lane. No active work zone. No accidents. Best as I can tell, just one trucker who couldn't shift for shit on the uphills. Close to an hour later, it finally cleared, and no worse ones followed I was at Chez Donna round 7:30 and we made it for first-night fun right before the Luna-C show started at 9.

Not without some spook, though. On the way, Tink told ghost stories about a longago friend who shared a home with a Colonial ghost named Charlie. So when I checked for wifi at the convention hotel, one of the first dropdown choices was "Charlie's Phone."

Boo.

But yay for the comedy. Although my two friends in the group weren't there this time, they riffed on all the usual sci-fi victims- including Yoda training Spock, a commercial for Mace, and my Torchwoody favorite:

P_20150807_212836

This can't be! Two of you! In the same time stream! It's a paradox!

No, it's a pair of Jacks
.

Also, plenty of fish puns, replicated Jaynes, regenerating Doctors and possibly an Alan Partridge somewhere.



I meet Barrowman at 10 and one of my favorite writers (from my high school, which is when I last saw him) at noon. The Mets also won and, with one more win or Nationals loss today or tomorrow, will be guaranteed to still be in first place even if we lose when I go Monday. (Given my lifetime record, this is quite likely.)

Still, for now, the Dickey's karma still holds.
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captainsblog
My day began with good news: it proved to be my final visit to the orthopedists to check the healing on the foot bone I done broked back in late April.  It appears to be all healed, and I am now off restriction! Which means 5Ks and treadmills are (much more carefully) back in my plans:)

It also ended with happiness: I took on a case that's really outside my expertise for an older couple from church, and it required a Night Court appearance tonight.  I duly wrote "night ct" on Eleanor's work schedule on the fridge so she'd remember- but somehow my chickenscratch registered with her as "night vet" or something similar- and she was confused, thinking I was out at a cat(s) vet appointment when all three of the little imbeciles were quite clearly in the house.  Once she knew what was what, she fed them all, and I proceeded to get matters against the sortof-client dismissed- but just by being there, I jumped them in the queue over numerous people who didn't have a lawyer with them.  They insisted on paying; I was even more insistent on not letting them. There will instead be a supper in our future, courtesy of the two of them.  And dinner here, once I finally did get home, was quite nice.

In between was a lot of running around- to a friend's office, to another friend's home to check out a possible not-so-small-claims case she might have, and finally to my own office before heading to Nightcourtland.  I didn't get everything done in between I wanted to, but managed it all well enough that I can plan on a peaceful all-day drive to Maryland tomorrow.

There was also one weird communication in there: from a Long Island court I'd filed papers in last week. They apparently finally arrived down there today, and they had issues with them. But instead of them calling, I got an email asking ME to call them- because, apparently, this long-standing cog in the Unified Court System of the State of New York cannot place long-distance phone calls anywhere beyond New York City or Westchester.

It immediately made me think of this as their apparent new court logo:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4d/Steinberg_New_Yorker_Cover.png

One more day driving through Flyover Country, then I'll stop in there before the game Monday to deal with them in person:)



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captainsblog
Tech The Second had the interwebs at the house back up round 3 yesterday afternoon. Those solid blue lights on the modem look awful pretty.

Also around that time, the Season 3 Orphan Black disk set arrived, and we watched the specials from it last night. We'd seen the blooper reel online (although not the full twerking scene that they showed complete with the full rap audio track underneath it), but the tech stuff about the sets, the new set of clones, the Technodolly from Hell, and this season's final scene were a lot of fun.

Then tonight, we finished up the second season of Alpha House.  They left a lot of loose ends for a still-unconfirmed third series to tie together. They also made a rather prescient prediction of a real-life storyline that occurred after the second season had wrapped and been released: Sen. Guzman breaks with traditional Little Havana and proposes normalizing relations with Cuba. Who'd have thunk before last December that this would even have a prayer of happening with a Republican-controlled Congress?

While most of the humor is pointed at real-life Republicans, a surprising number of their ranks have done cameos on the show- no elected officials I can think of yet, but RNC chair Michael Steele and government-bathtub-drowner Grover Norquist have both had walk-ons.  And so many of the fake teabaggers are just as real, and if anything less scary, than their IRL counterparts.

----

The week has remained Mostly Quiet, allowing some extra sanding to get worked in and hopefully more tomorrow.  Round 9:30 tomorrow morning, I have what I hope will be my final x-ray and checkup on the broken bone in the paw from April; my new workout class relies mostly on treadmills for the cardio component (and theirs are much better built to prevent falling off before turning the machines on:P), and I've been resigned each time to the single elliptical which is sortof, but not really, what everybody else is doing. It'll be nice to get off of the Kids' Table sooner rather than later.

And speaking of later, I will be saying "See ya later" to the clients for three whole workdays and a weekend starting early Friday. My hope is to make Maryland by mid-afternoon this time, getting out of here earlier and only stopping near Rochester for some quick filings and to bring Emily some stuff out her way.  I've got the Mets all set for Monday night, scoring access for less than the list price- a phenomenon that's going to be harder to find as they continue (dare I say it?) winning.  Then it'll be back here Tuesday, with, now, two more things slotted in starting the day after I get back to work plus the full plate I had to begin with.

Maybe I should try cloning. Or hire some dumb Republicans to live with me and make some of those appearances.
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captainsblog
To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower. And that's all she wrote.- Carl Spackler, the beloved groundskeeper in Caddyshack.

They came to fix the Internet.
They did not fix the Internet.
The wire inside, he did re-ground-
Solution, still, was not yet found.

The cable guy, he did not tire
But went outside- and found THAT wire
Showed evidence that we'd bequeathed
A smorgasbord to squirrelly teeth!

"New wiring," checked off the list-
That squirrel will be really pissed!
But still the modem's settings read
A big fat zero- signal dead:P

The problem's coming from the pole-
Its signal fails to reach our hole
An engineer was dispatched to go:
And we'll wait for him....

Like Godot.
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captainsblog
Internet's been down at the house since Sunday afternoon. Larry the Cable Guy is due this afternoon. 

Our connectivity is down to an iPhone 4 screen and whatever hotspots I can steal when out.

Hopefully the entertainment here will return later today.
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captainsblog
I mentioned about a week ago that I started doing some of the cabinet door sanding for the kitchen.  There turns out to be more to the story than that. 

A day or so after I finally started learning and then doing this part of the process, Eleanor asked me to set up the movie Surf's Up for her on a computer. I didn't have much recollection of the film, but whatevs.  Then, she brought it out to our usual viewing spot to continue watching last night, and I finally "got it."

First, and rather off-topic, I got to wondering about this, which was one of the many warnings and disclaimers shown at the start of the film:

Interpol77

What, exactly, was Interpol trying to prevent from being pirated in September 1977? Polaroid pictures of Space Invaders arcade displays? Prints of 35mm films?  This was years before VCRs became common household items, and the only way to even pirate music recordings was to hold a cassette recorder microphone up to a radio or turntable.  Maybe Marty McFly had something to do with it.

I let that conundrum pass, and we eventually got to the point in the film where the "star" penguin (voiced by Shia LeBouf) meets a mysterious older surfer penguin who Jeff Bridges basically plays all the way through as his Big Lebowski "Dude" self.  In time, we get to the point where he reveals his true identity as the younger surfer's idol, and sets out to teach him how to make a board:



This, it turns out, was the scene Eleanor remembered from the film which our prior-weekend warrioring had brought back to her memory. As I watched it, it reminded me a lot more of the way my father used to (failingly) try to teach me shit like this, more than it did the way she'd done it a few days before. She was a lot more patient and illustrative. But once I got the connection, I embraced it.

I did three more cabinet doors today after doing one other yesterday- and all of them went more smoothly once we realized that the power sander has a "hold" button on it that keeps it going without having to hold down the trigger- letting you use that finger's worth of arm strength to accomplish the actual sanding. But as she checked on things today, several times I just smiled and said, "My board. MY board." We got a lot more of it done today; she's lucky that, unlike the Dude's best friend, I WILL sand on fucking Shabbos.
----

As I get better at the basics of this stuff, I also get more into the more conceptual things- sometimes for good, sometimes not.

Earlier in the week, I suggested moving the microwave to the other side of the fridge from the spot the new one, and its two predecessors, have been on the one side since we moved here. The new one's both wider and deeper, and there's now very little usable counter space there. But, since Eleanor uses the counter space on the other side, we passed on that "improvement."

Yet my inner Martha Stewart was not done. Eleanor had added a "rope light" to the fridge top, which got plugged in on the side with the microwave where there was only one open outlet for three different items (the light, our kettle for making coffee, and the toaster). I'd previously moved the kettle closer to the sink where there was outlet room for it, but we still were looking at having to plug and unplug the rope light every time we needed the toaster, plus every morning and night to turn it on and off (it has no switch).

Wheels turned- and by the time she got home last night, I'd connected the rope light to an outlet hidden behind the fridge- AND put it on a 24-hour timer (one of the old-school mostly-mechanical type which spins and flips pins on the dial to govern the onning and offing). I set to turn it on at roughly breakfast time and off at kinda-bedtime.

Eleanor was impressed- "That's pretty HGTV of you!" was the compliment....

except what moi heard was, "That's pretty ADHD of you!" And we don't even GET that channel;)

And, come the middle of the night last night, I also discovered that we didn't get the desired effect of the timer; the dial's pins were shot and it was permanently on all night. But one Lowe's run later, I had it replaced with a more newfangled digital one that will turn it on at EXACTLY 0630 and off at PRECISELY 2300- and one that even has an internal battery backup.

The rope light abides;)

----

We're going to watch some more Alpha House episodes with John Goodman tonight. But it'll be after sundown, so he shouldn't have a problem with that.
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captainsblog
Today was rather quiet, after having court, clients or out-of-town commitments every other day this week. I even had enough quiet time late in the day to make some progress on the cabinet door sanding.

Next week is also relatively quiet. I'm beginning to work on a Business Related Project that's still under wraps but which will be ready to roll beginning in about a month.  My friend with the twins will also be returning to work next week, so I'm hoping to catch them for the first time.  And, no road trips are planned or necessary at this point until the morning a week from today, when I begin the biggest one of the year.

It's back to Baltimore for the third straight year for the Shore Leave convention, with the friends I will stay with and also attend with- plus author friends, comic-performer friends, and some guy from a Doctor Who spinoff who got skewered in absentia last year:



You can start writing the Cockeysville jokes in three, two, one.... go.

----

The past two years, I've gone to Shore Leave for just the first two days, heading back to NY on the Sunday morning following, but this time I'll be staying in the area the extra day, hoping to catch some college friends I last saw in Syracuse during the Reagan Administration.  Monday will be the dreaded drive up 95, probably getting to Long Island just long enough to file and/or check on some court stuff, and then to Flushing as the Mets (assuming they haven't been contracted or relocated to Winnipeg or something) return for a hopefully meaningful homestand against Colorado.  I'll then be home by nightfall on the 11th....

and, after a day or two to regroup, the rest will be over.

A deposition on the 14th. Court on the 17th. Three court appearances on the 18th. Another on the 20th.  And any number of things that can still get dropped on me between now and then which I don't even know about yet.  Plus the usual hangover of Time Away.

There will be a TARDIS at the convention hotel. I might need to stick it in the trunk for the last half of the month.
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captainsblog
The Mets lost last night- and not just a game. They lost a ton of credibility with their players and fans.

During the game against San Diego, word got out that they'd arranged a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers- for a respected hitter, a piece which their lineup has sadly lacked all year due to bad planning and injuries.  Two Mets were to be sent to the Midwest- a highly-touted pitcher (but one who had season-ending arm surgery right before the start of 2015 and isn't expected back until next June), and a somewhat underwhelming shortstop.

The traded pitcher was nowhere around to comment on the deal, but Wilmer Flores sure was: he was not only the dugout, crying as word of the trade wended through social media and onto the players' smartphones, but he was still in the game. That's virtually unheard of when a deal is done, lest one of the players get injured, ejected or otherwise screws the pooch of the trade.  And when he came up for what tens of thousands of Mets fans thought was his final at-bat for a team that signed him seven years ago when he was 16, the only team he's ever known, the emotion was all on his batting sleeve as the home crowd gave him a standing ovation:

[There's supposed to be an embedded video here. Apprently the Mets can't even get THAT right:P]




Just one problem: the trade didn't happen. There was a medical issue with either the incoming hitter or the outgoing pitcher. And in post-game pressers, the Met manager pleaded ignorance about not knowing about one of his nine starting players having been traded during the game; and his boss, who made and probably killed the deal, went all get-off-my-lawn on social media users for jumping the gun on the news.

Somehow, the Mets scored seven runs today without the reinforcement. Unfortunately, the Padres scored eight because suddenly our closer can't hold a lead.  All of this has become the latest illustration of an ongoing Internet Thing, with the twitter hashtag #lolMets mocking their utter incompetence off the field which eclipses even their frequent on-field incompetence.

Amazin' Amazin' Amazin'.

----

Yet I still love them, and the sport, which gets us to another potential source of crying.

A friend of mine had twins earlier this month: a boy and a girl. They're adorable.  I struggled with the What To Get for the occasion that wouldn't be repetitive or obvious, but then I remembered: Buffalo is the home, right downtown, of the world headquarters and flagship team store of the New Era cap company- the one that outfits all major league baseball teams and plenty of other sports.  I thought a nice pair of infant-size hats from one particular team would fill the,um, bill:



I walked in and said to the guy working the sales floor, a friend of mine just had twins, so do you know what I want?  He did not- but as soon as I pointed him to the Minnesota Twins sample (adult size) cap on display, he instantly knew where I was going with it. Alas, they don't cover many teams with smaller sizes, but he suggested I try online. Wot I did, and thanks to my remaining two weeks of Amazon Optimus Prime, it should be here by the time my friend goes back to work next week.

I just hope she doesn't prematurely announce a screwed-up trade that would've sent them off to Cleveland for a couple of long relievers;)
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captainsblog
Our oldest cat, and the only male in the house other than me, is going on 17 years of age. Most of the time, he's the same self he's always been- purring and affectionate most of the time, loud and strident when he wants to be fed, and quite, um, expressive when he's not getting his expected level of table service.

Increasingly, though, there are other times.

It"s pretty much all TMI from here....Collapse )
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captainsblog
Now, when I get into this grandfather clock, you hit me over the head with this bottle of Champagne, right here, set the dial for a thousand, and put in three dimes.

You likely have no idea what those mean relative to today, but trust me. The Karma was strong with this one- all four times through my office door.

The first was at 8:30 this morning. I had a routine bankruptcy hearing for a definitely not-routine client. He's 85, cute as all get-out, and today was his one day to appear before the Ministers of Finance making sure that he was entitled to discharge a rather large amount of debt he'd run up. I guessed that he (and his daughter who drove him) would have issues finding the hearing location, so we met at my office and I drove them downtown. I dropped them close as I could to the entrance (he uses a cane), circled the block, and found a space a few hundred yards short of the entrance.

On-street parking down there was especially scarce this morning, and to feed the parking-receipt machine they mostly use here, I had to wait for a woman to finish first- and she was having trouble. They take coins and credit cards but not bills, and she was coming up short. When she asked if I had change for a dollar bill, I fished in my car and found the aforementioned three dimes- which were just enough for what she needed. She offered me the buck; I of course declined. And sure enough, she wound up in the same hearing room as me- she, as a debtor about to be examined- once I'd fed that machine with my own credit card. Debtors can't use credit cards; even getting hands on a major card-branded debit card can be tricky. And what more indignity could you heap on someone going bankrupt than getting a parking ticket because there's no free parking anywhere near Bankruptcy Court? So I helped a sister out with the tiniest act of kindness....

and Karma's first repay of the day came moments later.

Even though my case was toward the end of the 9:30 list, the trustee called us first. He'd clearly figured out that my client was old, and cute, and that nothing was in issue. Although it took some yelling to get him to hear the trustee's questions, we were out of there by 9:45 and back at my office to drop them off by 10:30 (stop number two of the day). I figured that early exit would be payback enough for the small kindness.

Apparently, though, it wasn't.

----

The mail wasn't in yet, so I made a third stop around 2 to pick that up and have a disgustingly delicious piece of canoli-filled birthday cake somebody'd brought in. Once I finished getting another client's post-filing filing ready, I realized I had to head back out for some other stuff, and decided to work in an Orange Theory class at 4:15. I've been having problems keeping my heart monitor active for the full hour there; I just sweat too much and I think it gorks the battery.  So today, I wrapped the monitor in Saran wrap and it lasted the whole time!

But then I realized: I'd I'd forgotten the little man with the evil grin mail in my back seat that needed extra postage, so it was back to the office a fourth time. As I waited for the meter to warm up, I saw a blue envelope in my mailbox. Aww- I guessed it was a thank you card from the client or his daughter. It was nothing of the sort.

It was, essentially, full payment for work I'd done for friends of mine over last year into early 2015, which I told them repeatedly I expected no payment for. It was indeed a thank you card, and the thanks were expressed sweetly, succinctly, and sternly if I had any thoughts about not cashing their check.

I wrote them back that I was flabbergasted, but very appreciative. Between the reno being a constantly moving target, a trip coming up and the kids' car being of uncertain lifespan, it was just enough to give us a cushion to not have to worry about every bill getting paid on time, whether incoming or outgoing. It was a blessing beyond words- and while Eleanor doesn't necessarily believe in the connection between the three dimes and the day's end, she agrees that it at least makes a nice story.

Which I have now shared.
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captainsblog
But not forgetful enough to miss out on oxymoron67's birthday.

Your stories, old and new, and your cultural elitentures usually make us smile and always make us think.

I even found the perfect present for your classroom wall:



(There's a story of why that exists, but yours are so much better.)

I'm heading your way again two weeks from today. If I recall, you'll be heading the other way. I hate when that happens.

Best of years ahead:)
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captainsblog

Oh, sure, there are plenty of stories about the illegal ones-and even those are getting weird.  Just today, it was reported that cops from our town busted an Ecstasy lab on one of the richest streets in the whole area on Saturday, while sheriff's deputies one town over

arrested an ice-cream truck driver, after accusing him of screaming at people and wearing nothing but his underwear while impaired by drugs.

Deputies Lee Richard and Daniel Harris responded to Emily Court in the Town of Clarence on Friday evening after individuals at the scene had complained about the operator’s bizarre behavior.

Fortunately, he was arrested without incident, and was reported to be in good humor.

Barum bum.

My problems are coming more from medications of the legal kind. I have three, which I take one of each every morning, and which helpfully are refilled on 30, 60 and 90 day cycles just to keep me confused.  The first confusion came this morning, when I stumbled out, put my coffee on to heat, and poured out what I thought were the three pills.  Only they weren't. One, I'd just gotten refilled on Friday, and it looks almost identical in size and colour to one of the other two. But one has always had an Arabic number on it, while the lookalike has had a Greek letter.  Instead, I was looking at two Number Fives.



No, dammit. I said number FIVE.

Turned out I'd poured out two of the same pill from two bottles- the almost empty one and the one I'd just refilled.  They change the shapes and colors of these pills several times a year, so it's hard to keep up. I figure it's just a matter of time before I'm into one of these:



What an evil colour. How do they expect the fogies to find their Viagras in that?

----

But I wasn't done with the prescription, oh no.  Because it once again came with no refills, and I have no idea why. I get my annual checkup in January, and that's when my two long-time scrips used to get rewritten for the whole coming year.  When I added the third this January, that was originally written with no refills- and the other two also showed up that way.  (One change is they now submit them electronically to your pharmacy of choice, so I don't even see the order until I pick up and pay for the first fill.)  That new scrip, the monthly one, had to be renewed by phone at least three times before he extended it out a few, and the 60-day job also took two refills before I now finally have it automatic for the rest of the year. But the one I just refilled- which came back for the third straight time with "no refills" marked on it- produced a call from the Doctor today.  Apparently he only authorized it because I was out of them, and I will need to go in again before he'll refill it again (which, fortunately, won't be for 90 days).

But the question, it begs: WHY?  I've been on the stuff for years now. It does its job. It's something I can objectively check anytime (and do have checked fairly often) to be sure it's working. But now someone- the Doctor? the Insurer? River Song?- doesn't think I'm safe with the shit for more than nine months.

Not that I don't like the guy, but it just seems a waste of everybody's time.  Maybe after the next election, they can fix Obamacare in a practical way to make this all easier. I even have my preferred ticket:

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captainsblog

Not necessarily better, certainly no worse. Just different in more than a few ways. Today I:

* did not do church (which is where the "ordinary time" reference comes from).

This has been an increasingly Not Unusual Thing, especially in the summer.  I remain torn about the conflict within my denomination about treating all persons as equal- and when I read pieces like this one, written by a young United Methodist theologian who had his joy over the Supreme Court marriage equality decision slapped down by his own bishop- one who, despite, previously, having

largely remained silent about the ever-present reality of police brutality and race-based hate crimes, was quick to release his own letter to remind our conference of what the Book of Discipline says.

In the midst of the nation celebrating a small serving of equality, our church took the time to remind us we had no cause to celebrate because although Christ had set us free from sin and death, the laws of the Book of Discipline have kept the fetters firmly in place. So the deaths by suicide for queer Methodist youths and the sin of heterosexism and homophobia as well as the sin of lazy Biblical exegesis are still the sovereign lords of this body.

Nothing will change officially until a quadrennial all-church conference next year- and even that is by no means even a likely occurrence, given the asecendance of Fundies among the voting Methodists who will consider it.  If nothing has changed there by then, I see no choice but for me to change instead.

----

* Did not work out- in the organized, timed sense.

This was for, reasons. Some was getting alternative forms of exercise as below, but mostly it was to continue recovering from a heavy-duty hour yesterday morning. The class of the day was Run To Row: unlike the usual third-third-third split between jog/run on the treadmill/elliptical, row on the rower, and weight/core on the floor, this one was roughly half on the floor and the other half alternated between decreasing distances of first run, then row.  The latter did the usual number on my legs, but it was that first half on the floor that got me real good: we did a "Y lunge" using TRX straps (which I've used before and am usually decent at), but as soon as I got the bright idea to get real low at the bottom of the lunge, I instantly felt that wondrous feeling of sports disabled lists everywhere: a groin muscle pull.

It wasn't THAT bad, and didn't stop me from finishing the set or the hour; I was sore as shit all day yesterday, but by morning the groin pain had largely receded. Still sore in the legs, though, from the combination of the row part (close to 2400 meters by the time we shut it down) and from bending down and up while chopping off the heads of about 300 Queen Anne's lace plants in the front yard yesterday afternoon.

----

 * Did sand.

We're on to the cabinets, which are now being emptied one by one and having 10-plus-year-old paint stripped from them prior to being stained and re-hung.  I did two of the doors today, with a combination of power sander and manual demolition.  No major problems, but it's pretty exhausting stuff.

----

* Did actually SEE a Mets win this time.

Last night's surprise wasn't one I was actually watching, but this afternoon's game, I turned on while cleaning the fish tank (a fairly alternate Ordinary Sunday thing of mine). I did so just as the Mets' closer had officially blown a 2-run-lead save opportunity, and watched as he (and the Mets) then maintained the tie for the rest of the ninth and brought us to extra innings. Our broadcasters remain among the best in the business- even Eleanor commented on Gary's use of the verb "looming"- and they got a walkoff moment of joy when one of their newest players drove in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth:




(Can't embed the video- it's here if you care.)

----

* Did walk a dog.

I've been trying to get Ebony out for walkies more- as she gets older, she begs for it less, but it really seems to help her stay in good spirits, keeping up on the neighborhood "conversation" by at least getting her round the block and sniffing anything that does or doesn't move.  Today was especially fun at beginning and end: as soon as we stepped out, we saw Bandit, a neighbor's annoying indoor-but-she's always-out cat, sitting on our driveway. I pointed and started walking our 60-plus-pound lab right over to her to say hi to the nice kitty!  Bandit hissed, raised the fur on her back and amscrayed.  Then, right before the last turn home, another neighbor, walking his own dog, called us over and offered Ebony a Milkbone.  She was ready to go home with him, I think;)

----

* Did lose a cat, it seems.

When we got in, the other three, smaller moochers were all demanding noms, and everyone got fed. Finally, I grilled hot dogs and corn outside for the two of us.  We later noticed that Michelle, our middle-child cat and something of an annoyance overall, has been nowhere to be found for going on two hours.  She might've slipped out when I was grilling (although she never shows any interest in going Out There), or is stuck in a box or closet of some kind we've yet to hear her crying from- but most likely she's just hiding in plain sight, waiting to meow in my ear in the middle of the night and say,



MADE YA LOOK!

ETA.  Yeah, she did.



Hiding on Eleanor's dresser the whole time, the little shit. And now back to her usual perch on my wrists, annoying me as I finish this update.

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Number of games in 2015 prior to tonight in which the Mets scored 0 or 1 run: 23

Number of runs in one game on July 25 the Mets have scored up to this point: 13

Who ARE these guys?
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The divisions in this nation don't seem to be getting any better on account of more attention being paid recently to the Really Racist Shit that goes on, day in and day out. If anything, it's getting worse.  Just this week came the following items:

* A woman of color in Texas was stopped for a ticky-tack traffic violation, ordered around like chattel by the arresting officer, charged with resisting when she failed to comply, and ultimately died in police custody.  The po-po's posted the alleged "full story" of the traffic stop from the onboard camera, but astute observers quickly noticed that the video had been doctored (the same car passes the scene in the exact same manner on repeat occasions, for one thing).  The cop has been suspended but not charged.

* A candidate for public office in Beautiful Northern Buffalo was caught on tape leveling multiple n-bombs against multiple city officials of color. While he lost the Conservative Party nomination to run for a city council seat, he lost it due to a petition technicality and not on account of what he said. He refuses to resign from the board of the local public housing authority which he now sits on, despite having offended a major portion of his constituency.

* In the world of fake sports, Hulk Hogan has been scrubbed entirely from the website and other public presences of this country's major professional fake wrestling organization. Turns out he got caught in an epic n-word-laced tirade.  I guess all those times he told us to be good and say our prayers didn't really count. Oh, brother.

* And in the halls of the World Wide Leader in sports coverage, their mid-morning blowhard of a national radio host talked himself right out the door yesterday when he said this:

 suggesting that baseball is so simple, even Dominicans can play it. Hardball Talk has the transcript:

    “It’s too complex? I’ve never bought into that ‘baseball is too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has not been known in my lifetime as having world class academic abilities. A lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball is like any sport. It’s mostly instincts. A sportswriter who covers baseball could go up to Tony La Russa and make an argument and Tony would listen and it would seem reasonable. There’s not a single NFL writer in the country who could diagram a play for Bill Belichick. You know, we get caught up in this whole ‘thinking-man’s game.’ Is it in the same family? Most people could do it. It’s not being a concert pianist. It’s in the same family.”

Most sources stopped at the second sentence mentioning those dumb Dominicans, and he complained bitterly about it being out of context. Sorry, but I don't think the rest of it helps his cause. He's still stereotyping an entire (and rather large) population of MLB players on account of his exhaustive research about some. 

He was scheduled to leave the network by fall anyway, moving over to Fox. Yeah- he'll fit in just fine over there with those attitudes.

And every one of these outliers- the cop, the public official, the Hulkster and the Herd- all have their defenders. The PC Police are at it again! He's a good man! You just don't understand.

No, actually, that's not the issue. The issue is that we DO understand better now.

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Our oldest sister would've turned 76 today.

We'd have had her up here this summer, to see the progress in the kitchen. If they've got Youtube up there, now she can still see it, because Eleanor did a video tour of it:



She'd have enjoyed the new music we've brought into the house recently- James Taylor, Dar Williams, and the soundtrack to Fun Home, about a family which somehow managed to be more dysfunctional than ours.

She'd have enjoyed my spunk moment of the day- a day which overall went much better than yesterday (how could it not? it's her birthday, dammit;). I seriously resist spam on my business email account, and when I filed an appeal around this time last year, a bunch of appellate printers started calling and email-bombing me to get the printing business for the job. I told each I'd call them when and if it was ready (it never was), and told the spammer to stop spamming. Which he did, until he got cute the past few days: I started getting multiple nag spams about voting for them in some legal newspaper's "best of" annual survey. Once it got annoying, I got mad, and even. I took action, then replied to the jackass thusly:

We have previously asked you to stop sending us spam. You have instead bombed us multiple times with a results-rigging survey beg, Your unsubscribe link does not work. I signed up for the survey and voted for your competition. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

(The last sentence homages this, btw. And I haven't heard anything further from the dude.)

And she'd be sad, because our other sister's friend Sharon had to send her dalmatian Perdy to Rainbow Bridge today. She went peacefully, with her humans holding her paw. Later in the day, Donna went out to her pool and saw a bird on the steps back up to the house. It was a white bird, but it had spots. She's already got her wings. I'm sure the two of them have met already, along with so many of ours.

But she'd know she's never forgotten. Not one day. Her children, niece and grandchildren all make her, and us, immensely proud.
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May as well join me, because I did, indeed,



Where to begin? I suppose at the beginning.

I got stood up by the client who I'd left stupid-early to see in the other office first thing- but I could remedy that by heading home by way of the client's home, which is sortof on the way to Lockport, where I also needed to go sometime this week.

The second client did show up, but claimed to not know something that he was advised of at least three times in writing and a fourth time orally.  Fortunately, nothing bad has happened on account of that. Yet.

Next, I tried to connect with a third client who will be away all of next week, but who didn't get my message about meeting near her workplace until after I was 20 miles away from it. Which likely means a return trip Friday.

After a useless downtown stop, I headed to Client the First's place, who was close to half an hour late and kept me even longer than that- meaning I made it to the necessary Lockport place at almost exactly Five Minutes Past Sorry We're Closed.  At least I know exactly where it is now when I return tomorrow.

I also know that there's a bitch of a construction jam on Transit Road between there and here, because I spent close to another half hour stuck in it, meaning my hope of a late-afternoon workout was shot to pieces.

In between all of those, I got a call from Emily with bad news (their car is "sounding funny" again and that sound may be that of a funeral march if it's what I think it is- we've begun urgent planning of a long-overdue Family Meeting between us and his 'rents to see who can do what for them), and another one from my sister with worse news (one of her best friend's dogs is likely heading for Rainbow Bridge tomorrow- admittedly after a long and pampered life, but it still sucks).

Oh, and the Mets played an early game and blew an early lead, so at least they didn't disappoint me after dinner.  Being home has been more of a bright spot of my day than usual, in fact.

On the bright sides? I settled a long-overdue-for-settlement case, cleared all but a handful of overdue chores from last month's Closing from Hell, got friended on Goodreads by an actual author I might meet next month, and All That Driving was in lovely weather including a nice long stretch within feet of the Lake Ontario shoreline.  There's something tremendously comforting about that kind of view when you're otherwise stressing. And tomorrow, while I likely will return to Lockport (by an alternate route), it's lovely to know that I don't have to at any particular time.

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It took a stray reference to them, earlier today, on somewebsite-dot-com for me to realize it, but Key & Peele's new season of Comedy Central shows began two weeks ago. We began the catchup tonight with the season premiere- of which this was the best going:



Obama's Anger Translator also got to meet Hillary's. I'm expecting this to be a running gag.

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Speaking of running, and gagging,....

Anyone want to take a bet on when The Donald gets doxxed himself? And that he'll be reallllly pissed about it?
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I thought it was worth mentioning one more thing from our Long Day's Journey Into Cheektowaga yesterday, about the restaurant experience at the Fancypants National Steakhouse Chain.  We had a good server, recently moved back to the area after a tour of duty in the Air Force including in its DC-based honor guard, and other than sharing the unfortunate tendency of people that age to use the word "perfect" rather than "okay," he was fine- but he surprised us with one thing.

The place has a wine list- on the menu itself, highlighting the by-the-glass choices, but everything also can be had by the bottle.  We ordered one- birthday dinner and all, and ounce for ounce a cheaper choice than even their second-glass-half-price deal- but he said that in four months, nobody had ever ordered a bottle for their table from him.

I asked my friend Donna to check with her daughter, who works for Longhorn down near Bawlmer, and she confirmed- it's very unusual for their customers to order a bottle of wine for the table.  Whether it's even rarer here because of this location having a high Canadian guest percentage (in Ontario, wine is much more expensive, drinking-and-driving laws are much stricter, and everyone gets checked on the way home) or just changing traditions, I'm not sure.

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I am sure about one tradition having ended, though- and how much it sucks:



J.P. Bullfeathers has closed and told state liquor regulators it is being sold.

In a letter dated July 7, Bullfeathers put the license “in safekeeping” with the authority, “indicating that they were in the process of selling the business,” said New York State Liquor Authority spokesman William Crowley.

The restaurant had been open at 1010 Elmwood Ave. since the 1970s. Passers-by have reported it closed for several weeks.

Bully's was one of Those Places we just kept going back to for special occasions. A few years ago, it was our anniversary destination, a night where we continued a tradition of our own of giving a good server a rather ridiculous tip. We became friends with her after that, and have smiled through her getting married and them now having their first child- all because of a cozy but cavernous little place in the Elmwood Village.

S. knew about the closing- but not about the why.  Using my Mad Skillz, I checked the real name of the entity and did not find any bad things filed against it recently.  Their Facebook page was occasionally updated through late May with business-as-usual events, but nothing from the owners about what is happening.

I vaguely recall this happening once before, and the place coming back good as new- although the current owner has had it since at least 1984.

And yes, they never had a problem bringing a bottle of wine to the table. Tonight, though, I'm raising just a sparkling water glass with a mixture of hopes that hopefully won't be shaken, and of memories that have been stirred.

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We don't get out much- and when we do, it tends to be to the Usual Places: restaurants we've liked and are loyal to, and most films at two or three close-by cinemas.  Today, though, for a couple of reasons, we ventured one town over- to see Minions, and to redeem a pile of coupony-giftcardy things for Eleanor's Birthday Eve dinner.

The film was fun- just as it would've been at the Regal nearest us or the AMC with comfy sofa seating. And the meal at Longhorn was good, but hardly the "destination dining" it aims to be; some guy was actually taking phone camera pictures of the cowboy-silhouette framing along the wall behind us because, goll-eee that thar's ART! Or something.

But the strangest part of the experience was just navigating the 2015 world of shopping malls. Around here, that mostly means the Galleria- the biggest, the most exclusive, the weekend destination of thousands of Canadians, and one which, somewhere in the vastness of its bowels, manages to hide an entire movie theater.

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Oddly enough, Eleanor and I were probably among the first few hundred people ever to set foot on the hallowed grounds of the Pyramid of Cheektowaga.  Pyramid is the name of the multistate mall developer that still owns the place; I knew them from Ithaca, where they plopped a much smaller but still controversial downtown-killer in the then-wilds of suburban Lansing; the Cornell and hippie crowds opposed the effort, passing out Pyramid Mauls bumper stickers which we'd later have fun counting on cars in the mall parking lot.  I participated in some random acts of outrage against the mall machine over the years- helping to soap a water fountain outside the mall entrance to a department store one year, and not snitching when a high school friend of mine routinely used the ticket-window phone at the Pyramid Mall cinema to make long-distance and even international calls on the pretense that he needed to "call for a ride." (I suppose in theory a London cab or rickshaw could've shown up eventually.)

Pyramid had not yet begun building the Galleria when I first moved here, but after I met Eleanor back in our Rochester days, she worked in the construction department for Sibley's, a WNY department store that was the first to build on the Galleria site. We drove out here one day to check out what was then a nearly-ready standalone store waiting for a mall to be built on the back of it. The roads were mud where there were roads at all, and it was a surreal experience, all in all.  Over the years, the thing grew like topsy, reducing most of the other area competition to pages on deadmalls.com (where, ironically, the Pyramid Mall in Ithaca now subsists) and filling its parking lots with the old clothes of Canadians who change into their new ones so they don't have to pay duty on them.

I've been in there maybe a dozen times in the 20ish years since we moved here, usually under duress. It's got the only Apple Store in the area code, so that's taken me there a few times. And I think I came for a free film once, but I only vaguely remember it being on the second level and somewhere near a food court.  Today. while there is a traditional one of those upstairs, most of the Galleria haute cuisine is now in a separate area reached mainly from the car park- the Cheesecake Factory/P.F. Changs Row of Gluttony.

Today, though? I had NO idea where the cinema was inside this monstrously large complex- and nothing from the outside was telling, either.  We saw only one road sign listing the major anchor stores (including Macy's, the eventual successor-by-merger to that longago Sibley's store), but nothing on it said where the theater was. Nor was there a sign anywhere on the outside of the complex. Eventually we pulled into a space and I tried googling it, with no luck. Maps only told me where the mall itself was, duh, and Regal doesn't display a local listing for the multiplex but just shows a nationwide toll-free number. (I wonder if you can still call Hong Kong from the ticket window and order beef chow mein to go;)  So we resorted to old-fashioned technology: I rolled down Eleanor's window and we asked somebody.  She pointed us to Dick's (the most behemoth sporting goods store you'll ever see), up the escalator, down past three aisles of wretched excess, and finally, right before the Sears, a turn to Tinseltown.

It was easier finding our way back, easier still getting across Walden Avenue to the steakhouse (though Google still sadly identifies it with another casualty of Dead Mall Days:



That dead store is boarded up (see what I did there?), with promises of yet more restaurants COMING SOON on big signs. Funny how they do a better job on the signs telling you what isn't there than what is.

We got back on the 90 and passed the whole overdone complex on our right. Eleanor said it reminded her of a Hollywood back lot with just mockups of storefronts- all the glitz without any of the substance.  All that's lacking is a Howard Johnson's with ONE FLAVOR:(
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