Wednesday, April 30, 2014

17 Years Since Ellen Came Out - On "The Puppy Episode"

Seventeen years ago Ellen DeGeneras and her TV character, Ellen Morgan, made TV history by coming out publicly over an airport public address system.

The video cannot be embedded, but you can go to the link below to view it. It is still both funny and endearing after all these years.

Ellen Comes Out - "The Puppy Episode"

And gay actor Jeremy Piven as Spence Kovak on Ellen's Show is worth a mention here too. I'm sure I remember him as having a hairy chest in one episode when he emerged from a bathtub, I think. You must know him as Mr. Selfridge on the PBS/BBC series.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Earning My Keep or Another Chapter in How To Retire On Next To Nothing And Make Do.

I've decided not to write a commentary about the canonization of JPII and John XXIII. Or about the Harvey Milk commemorative Forever stamp. Or about lesbian Navy veterans. Or about UCC clergy suing for marriage equality.

I am finding that I am not up to such commentary. As a life-long under-achiever, I've never been "well-read" or well informed or particularly adept at teasing out political or social subtleties.

So for today I'll stick to frugality. Maybe I should write the book on how to retire on next to nothing. No, I'll do that tomorrow.
When the trellis was new
Today's project was repairing (jury-rigging) for the third time, the garden trellis that has served as our outdoor shower for at least eight years.
A couple of years ago - still looking good
The trellis is made of wood - obviously not pressure treated, but it has stood up to water and weather pretty well. Last spring it was beginning to fall apart at the glued joints and some of the wood was showing signs of rot.

I repaired (jury-rigged) it last spring and figured that it would have lasted through the season. This spring the whole thing fell over in the wind and was in about a dozen pieces.

So today's project was to put it back together - to rebuild it, better, stronger than before...

So I gathered up my tools and any scrap wood that I thought could be used and some wood glue and staples and screws and I put the darn thing back together. I re-glued the spindles and then fastened them with screws and staples, then reinforced the arch with wood pieces on the back. Then reinforced the whole trellis which was so lopsided. And rebuilt the planters on the sides.

It will last through this summer. Granted it doesn't look as good as it did when new, but I priced out some new models, none of which have that kind of Zen Garden look. And I was blown away by the prices.

Finished Project
Ours cost about $39 in 2006 - I think it came from Ocean State Job Lot. Eight years later, Home Depot and other retailers have trellises for $160 to over $500. OSJL doesn't have them anymore.

So we don't need to go out and spend anything and I earned my keep for the day.

I had to find some old photos and came across this one.
Wasn't just the trellis that looked better in 2006 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Deleted 2 Posts and Trying to Stay Out of a Rut

I deleted the last two posts as they were lazy and unthinking - I made no effort to research or do commentary. And I don't want to pass on a link even if it is from the New York Times, if the author has been discredited by other, more intelligent commentators than me. Russ pointed out that my last link may not have been entirely credible.

As I said to Russ, I think it best to stick to stuff I really care about and want to comment on - my own personal interests and perspectives. And lately, except for our trip to New Mexico, there is little I feel like commenting on.

Our vacation was great and I climbed out of my rut briefly - and I don't want to fall back in. 

As far as writing goes, my heart is not in it (blogging) at this point - at least when I have nothing new to say. I was not away from it long enough to really disengage from the political-religionist-opinionated-popcultural dominated babble.

I find that the blogosphere just gets me down too much. As much as I want to keep informed, I am coming to the realization that TMI is detrimental to my health and well being. There is substance for sure on the internet but so much is People magazine and Entertainment Tonight - to my way of thinking, drivel. 

"Trending" is the latest word I dislike. It says so much about our society: nothing is permanent - or even long-lasting - or even briefly important. Everything is a flash, a burst of light and sound and then it just evaporates into the void. What is real? What is worth keeping? 

I'm not sure what the correct balance is for me. I've spent some time writing a memoir because I felt compelled to do so. It may be published in September. Since completing that, I've tried to write again, but don't seem to have anything I want to say. My writers' group encourages fiction writing, but I'm not a great story teller. So I'm stuck there.

But it is finally spring and I would hate to spend these lovely days in front of my computer. 

I once thought that blogging would give me chance to write and see if anyone thought my writing was any good. I've had some good feedback now and then - but I think I have only about 20 followers (some are relatives and friends who don't really follow, so they don't count). My most popular post is about a big black lump that grew on our late Bruno's (our dog) head. So for what it's worth.

I've been here before. It reminds me of high school. I was in Advanced Placement English class - and pretty much hated it. I'm one of those under-acheivers - smart enough to know I'll never be as smart as the kid next to me.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Albuquerque Old and New, Petroglyphs and Other Stuff

I will not post much tonight, one, because we are flying out very early tomorrow and two, because this Ramada has crappy WiFi.

Albuquerque is a sprawling city with suburbs totaling nearly 1 million people. We have nothing like this in Connecticut or New England for that matter, not even Boston or New York have the kind of expansive, single level housing like you find here.

The Old Town is less refined than Santa Fe but very charming. We spent a good part of a day there.

Then went to see some old bridge that Leon had to see ... on the old Route 66. It was, how shall I put this, unremarkable.

Today we took a Breaking Bad Tour on our own - the big Car Wash was the highlight of that tour. The house where Hank and Marie lived is right at the start of a great hiking trail, so we had a nice hike this morning. Then we drove over to Petroglyphs National Monument and took another long hike to see the rock art. Leon called them hydroglyphs.

My theory on these is not that they were carved to commemorate any ancient astronaut events or that they have any special spiritual significance. I think they were drawn by some ancestral teenagers who had nothing better to do, and who told their friends,

"You know those black rocks over by where they're going to make a National Park? If you scratch them with a sharp rock you can draw on them. We made some neat drawings and so did some guys from the tribe down around the hill. But ours are better than theirs. Ours were best until that gang from past the flat sandy land came and carved out some real kooky designs. So we went back and out did them. You know, we can copy them on hides and blankets and stuff and sell stuff to tourists in a few thousand years."

Anyhow, I'll have photos later in the week and maybe a bit more travelogue.

P.S. Sorry guys, I haven't been keeping up with reading your blogs ... just not enough time when traveling.

Wednesday night update: we're home and here are a few more pics:
Checking out one more house in Santa Fe 
Down the street - some Bling?
Isn't my honey a cutie?
Old Town Albuquerque
The Car Wash from "Breaking Bad"
The tourist magazine for Albuquerque touted a trip on Route 66 to see an historic bridge.
We drove out of town on Route 66 for this?
Space Ships

Or just some Indian kids making graffiti?
A tree near, but not on, the Rio Grande in Albuquerque
I have to comment on the cuisine, and I'm not likely to make any friends in doing so. I don't care much for Mexican/TexMex/NewMexican cuisine. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, chimichangas, tortillas, empanadas, emphysemas (just to see if you're paying attention) quesadillas, (did I miss any?) - all taste the same to me. Lots of chili sauce and chopped iceburg lettuce and tomatoes, shredded cheese, guacamole, some kind of meat or eggs and refried beans with more beans on the side; all flavored with cilantro (yuck) or cumin (yuck).

Despite the fact that I don't care for the cuisine that much, The Burrito Co. in Santa Fe is very good. We had been there years ago and we went there for breakfast, last week.
The breakfast burrito at "The Burrito Co." Santa Fe
Huevos Rancheros at "The Burrito Co." Santa Fe 
I can eat the stuff once in a while, but not as a steady diet.

That's why we went for Chinese one night. That's why we went to Olive Garden on Sunday night - I needed a good (OK, mediocre) pasta and tomato sauce fix.

That's why we went to Applebee's last night (it was close to the airport hotel) and why it warmed my heart to see an entire Mexican family, some of whom had just returned from Mexico, seated in the large booth next to us and ordering some good (OK mediocre) All-American food. 

Apparently even (New) Mexicans need a break from beans and chili.


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