blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
December, 2014
Hello everybody,

What an eventful year in the Tim and Joel camp. After a particularly hellish winter, where we did not go a single week from mid-December through early March without a measurable snowday, we made a huge decision while basking in the warmth of Palm Springs California preparing for the wedding of Joel’s nephew Oren to his lovely bride Becca. We went looking at real estate, just for fun. We would both like to spend winters there once Joel retires (2016). We found a place for a crazy low price, had it checked out, and as of now we’ve become the owner of a modest winter home in the desert.

The place is a manufactured home in a 55+ mobile home park about a mile south of downtown right up against the big mountain that looms over Palm Springs. It's 2 bedrooms, 1 bath with a 2-car carport and patio in the back with a view of the mountain. The kitchen is beautiful - granite counter tops, an island, plenty of cabinet space. The place needs some work but is structurally sound.

No sooner did we sign the papers than it was time for the trip to India and Nepal. It was an amazing and mind-opening adventure. We got to see amazing ancient ruins, stunning modern opulence, bone crushing over-population surrounded by mind-numbing poverty. There was so much to see and the tour group did its best to get us to and from each location via special luxury busses, which helped to keep us in something of a bubble from the rest of the populous who, as soon as they saw a bunch of mostly white tourists stepping off a bus, swarmed you with either panhandling or attempts to sell you souvenirs.

But the tour was colorful, filled with a completely different culture from what you are used to. What we consider sacred and they do could fill a whole letter on its own, from the cremations along the Ganges river to the omnipresent cows.

However if we had only made one stop on the tour and spent one day, the Taj Mahal was worth the entire tour. We were rousted from our beds at 4:45 AM in order to get there ahead of the lines and – most importantly – to watch the sun rise over the complex. The buildings literally shimmer in the early light. It’s something no description or photograph can possibly relay. As Kishur, our Mr. Fix It of a tour guide noted, “There are two types of people in the world, those that have seen the Taj Mahal and those that haven’t.”

Oh yeah, Tim got to ride an elephant. One more thing off the bucket list. Joel was smart enough not to take that particular sea-sickness potential affair.

Nepal was equally beautiful and majestic. In addition to visiting a few Buddha Stuppas, we flew along Mount Everest, which is one of these thing that makes you think “Oh the Rockies are mountains? We’ll show you some mountains.” Oddly enough, our flight along the Himalayas took place just a week before a series of avalanches killed a group of climbers. Nature still is mightier than anything man can conjure.

Two weeks later, we were in Ohio for one of Tim’s Book events. Tim also hosted his annual Author’s Roundtable which always gets a small but passionate crowd. We’re always pleased by the attendance and the participation. There were other book events this year in DC, Palm Springs, Northern California and Philadelphia.

Then came Summer.
One cross country drive from Philly to Palm Springs. Two campouts. Joel had neck surgery. Two concerts. A renovation that turned the garage into a new family room. And one special announcement. Busy, busy busy.

The trip was an interesting one. Joel made the impromptu decision to buy a used van so that we could haul a bunch of things from home to Palm Springs, including two Kashmir rugs we had shipped to us from India. We wound up with a Chrysler Town and Country that has been affectionately been dubbed Wilma. We stuffed her to the gills and proceeded to drive. We did it over Memorial Day weekend, so my birthday was spent somewhere in middle America. Things turned out nicely, though, as the van is a joy to drive and gets better mileage than one would expect from such a behemoth. Plug in the Ipod and you’re ready to groove.

Before Joel’s surgery, we started in on cleaning out the garage clean out in preparation for the new room. Effectively a storage dump for decades of crap, it took us a full three days’ worth of hauling junk out, sorting wheat from chafe, taking trash to the curb and keepers to the Black Hole of Calcutta….err, the storage shed. As you can see in the picture, the trash was lined from curb to curb. To our surprise, the trash collectors took it all. Then came the contractor. He’s well known throughout the neighborhood, as he’s done work with several of our immediate neighbors and has impeccable credentials. 

Along with that came the banging, the breaking, the smashing, and the DUST! Since we didn’t have a passage from the main house to the garage, one had to be created. The new bay windows had to be created from a non-existent ‘porch’ area. Frames for floors and walls all had to be put into place. All of this while Joel was in the early stages of recovery.

Joel had been dealing with neck and arm pain for the better part of six months when he finally got diagnosed with a pinched nerve that would require neck surgery to alleviate. The Doctors originally wanted to schedule the surgery for before we went camping, but Joel talked them into doing it just after. The surgery went well, and the recovery went faster than anticipated. While he had a month’s paid recovery leave, he was pretty much ready to return to work in three. He did wear the brace to work a couple of nights, but didn’t really need it. The doctors have told him to be careful all the same as such surgeries take up to a year to heal completely. They went through his neck and infused the space between the affected vertebrae with bone shavings to fuse the discs and relieve the nerve pressure.

By then, the house renovation was well underway. Despite the disruption, things went by in a seemingly quick progression. We also had the majority of the first floor repainted. It all looks fantastic. The dining room now holds our marble table with semi-precious stone inlays from India. It’s beautiful and will never be moved: it weighs 300 pounds.

We decided to christen the new dining room set-up with a dinner with Joel’s youngest daughter Miriam and her partner Suzanne, and his recently married nephew Oren and Becca. They both decided to surprise us with the news: both Miriam and Becca are pregnant. We’ll be grandparents again (this makes 3) and Great Uncles.

In the midst of this, Tim had a ticket to see the Queen and Adam Lambert concert. Even though it has been almost 25 years since Freddie Mercury has died, Lambert more than filled the tights of Mercury adequately. Next was The Avett Brothers, a three piece folk band that we travelled to Bethlehem to see. What was as impressive as the show itself was what Bethlehem has done to revitalize their city. What used to be old steel mills are now venues for shopping and for seeing music, instead of being abandoned to the elements. While not a summer event, after years of not being in the USA, we got to see Cat Stevens in Philly.

November was an unusually odd month, even by any standards. We scheduled a trip to Palm Springs to do a little more work on the house and then to drive the van back to Pennsylvania. We even went out for Palm Springs Pride and I packed a suitcase of books to vend. Should have been an easy trip, right?

Well, on the Monday before we planned on driving back, we had a booboo. While trying to park the van at a mini-mall, Joel's foot missed the brake and hit the accelerator. We drove over the curb and into a plate glass storefront. No one was hurt. Fortunately, the only person in the store was a clerk and he was in the back. There was no-one on the sidewalk and we hit glass instead of concrete. It was the best possible outcome for a very bad situation.

The van went to a collision center until early December for some pretty heavy duty body work. Our original plan was to start driving, but that has obviously had to change. Joel flew back that Saturday and Tim decided to stay behind, waiting for the van repairs to be completed that they originally told us might take a mere two weeks. Insurance covered a rental, thankfully. When it was fixed, Tim planned to drive back himself, or Joel would meet up at an airport somewhere on the way and we'd drive the second part of the trip to PA.

As if we didn't have enough going on with the van accident, we went out for dinner with a friend, and when we got home, Tim couldn't find his wallet. We tore the house apart, went back to the restaurant, parking lots where we'd been that afternoon, and called the stores we'd visited. No luck. This was Friday; Joel was scheduled to fly out in the morning. So we started calling the credit card companies, the bank, looking up Tim’s driver’s license online and cancelled everything.

Still feeling bummed out, we resigned ourselves to not seeing that wallet or its contents again. Meanwhile, the lady who takes care of the yard and trash calls from the porch and asks, "Is your wallet turquoise?"

Tim had put it in with the recycling.

All was then well in the world.

After the series of  interesting events in Palm Springs, when Joel arrived home he found one of the trees in our front yard uprooted and toppled over. I guess the evergreens were jealous of the Palm trees.

On the sixth day of what Tim jokingly called “Exile in Palm Springs,” the collision center called and informed us that the van wouldn't be finished until after Thanksgiving. So Tim hopped a plane heading back to Philadelphia that Tuesday. When he left, it was 75 degrees, and then when he got home it was 28 degrees. He wanted to climb back in the plane and head back. But that would have meant missing Thanksgiving, when Tim’s Mom’s side of the family hosts the family reunion dinner. Always fun, food and plenty of joy. We have a very loving and inclusive group. It was held in Virginia, and since Tim’s Mom couldn’t make it this year, we took a side trip to Lebanon on the way home and stopped off to visit. Tim had to show off his “Team Gallagher” shirt.

Finally, the important announcement. We have decided to get married. Now that it’s legal to do so in Pennsylvania, we’re looking at a 2015 October date to correspond with the anniversary of when I moved here to Springfield. We also want to keep it close to home so that Tim’s Mother can attend. We want to keep it small, maybe less than 100 folks. The “Save The Date” notices will be coming in the not too distant future. That’s about as good a note I can think of to end the year on. So we wish good health and good fortune to you this holiday season and for the coming year.

blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
I've been a naughty, negligent blogger for the last month. Part has been busyness, the over part just laziness. I also have a two week excuse for the early part of May because I was doing this.

We took a two week tour of India and Nepal (mainly Kathmandu). It was a beautiful if eye-opening experience. You are surrounded by ancient beauty, modern opulence and mind boggling overpopulation and mind numbing poverty. It's a trip I'm glad we took but don't know if I'd ever want to return. I will return to my regular tour of my record collection soon. I hope somebody missed me.
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A couple of weeks ago, we went to Boston and did the unveiling of Joel's father Syd's headstone. The day was cold but about 20 people appeared to take part in the unveiling and dedication. It's been more than a year since his passing and I miss him greatly, as does Joel. The folks at the headstone company did a beautiful job.

blackleatherbookshelf: (Santa Brough)
The Friday before Thanksgiving was Grandparent's Day at Shoham's school. and Sabbas Joel and Tim made the dedicated trip to Albany to see Shoham in class, and to see her Moms and sister Advah. We don't get enough visits in, so it's always good fun. We also took them Hanukkah gifts. Advah got a doll and Shoham had made a list of books she wanted from her school's Book Fair. Then it was a stop at the frozen yogurt shop before the trip home.

Here are my sweeties.

And my honey.

blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
While we were attending Bootcamp in Northern CA last weekend, this little Miss Thing decided to lay herself down perhaps 40 yards away from our cabin. She seemed totally unperturbed that I was trying to snap a picture of her.

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Joel and I paid a visit to Albany to see little Shoham and Advah (who just turned 3 - where is the time going)? We went to see "Annie Jr," a truncated version of "Annie" that runs for barely an hour and features a cast of 6 - 8 year olds. Adorable.

blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
Joel and I attended services for my Great Uncle John Gallagher Saturday. Uncle John was a WWII hero who lost his hand at the Battle Of Normandy. He was buried with a full honor gaurd. A fitting tribute to a man who always inspired those around him.
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Joel and I took the humble Prius to Albany this past weekend for granddaughter Shoham's seventh birthday. My little baby is growing up so fast! We took her (and her sister, 2 year old Advah) birthday presents consisting mainly of the stuff we picked up at Disneyworld. Seems they're at the age where it is all about the Princesses and Tinkerbell, so the gifts were immediate hits.


We had to be responsible grandparents and be certain that each youngster got at least one gift each (although the birthday girl came out ahead). Then there was the party. Imagine 17 six and 7 year olds hopped up on frozen yogurt, cake and a giant screen Wii system. I considered it close to the 7th circle of Hell, but the children were heard to exclaim things like "This is the best party in the world!

One of the other things that fascinated me was that, when they got too wound up, the mere act of getting out the I-Pad out and tuning it to a Netflix Cartoon could calm them down. It makes for a great pacifier, although I was a bit taken aback to realize my 2 and 7 year old grand kids have an I-Pad and I don't! Where is the justice in the world?

I wouldn't trade it for the smiles these two children give me and Joel on our infrequent visits. Despite being (as Tone The Bone has joked about on some of his posts) "A Guy Without an I-Pad," where else can I see a child get ecstatic joy from a simple red balloon?

Perhaps I would not mind a little more technical enhancement in my little corner of the world, but sometimes the little things more than make up for that.
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After all the work Joel and I did in the aftermath of his father's passing, we made a decision to take a break for a week. Thanks to a week in a time share courtesy of one of my Aunts and AAA, we settled on Orlando and Disneyworld, with a side trip to Universal Studios.

The weather was very cooperative, with highs in the mid-70's and not to chilly at night. I was able to take my fill of roller coasters (Joel doesn't like thrill rides), with the exception of the Harry Potter rides at Universal. Seems they have size restrictions on these rides and I have a bit too much in the waist to fit the chairs. But the Aerosmith Rock and Roller Coaster (Disney) was a wild trip (one of the indoor - in the dark rides that really whips you around), and the Incredible Hulk (Universal) with some wild corkscrews and open air loopers.

I was also seriously impressed by the new 3-D technology. The Disney feature "Mickey's PhilharMagic" and Universal's Amazing Spiderman ride put the images right in front of you, along with effects like waterspray and heat blasts to add to the experience. Along with the new animatronics (the Aerosmith Coaster had the full band performing a skit before you boarded the cars) made the fantasy all the more realistic. It was a week to make my feet ache and give us many smiles. It was a real bummer to have to come back to snow and sub-freezing temperatures!

More pictures and amusing stuff here.


Dec. 5th, 2012 12:06 am
blackleatherbookshelf: (Santa Brough)

I did the Christmas cards this week, and as is my custom, sent out an end of year analysis. Here it is for my LJ friends. Happy Holidays.

I can't sugarcoat it; 2012 was a tough year. Despite my best efforts, I remain unemployed, although I did have two part time jobs at different points of the year. The class I was taking courtesy of a grant from the state turned out to be well beyond my comprehension level and I ended up not being able to complete the final exams to pass the course's accreditations. Between last year's letter and this one, I lost 4 very good friends, Joel lost his father, Syd, and we lost our beloved Sophie Cat.

Syd Uniform small

Joel's father was an amazing man, a World War II veteran and one time procurement officer in the Department of Defense before retiring. You may recall that, last year, we held a 90th birthday party for him here in our area. I consider this a good thing, as it will be how we will all have our last memories of Syd.  We should all have such a long and full life; He was a mere 6 days away from his 91st

When Superstorm Sandy hit just a couple weeks later, we found this in the driveway. Yes, that is a car…under the tree…in our driveway.

Hurricane Sandy in The Driveway small

Fortunately, thanks to good insurance, most of the damage was covered. But the car did spend two weeks at the car doctor. Joel's father also left us a Prius, which is getting great milage on the trips back and forth to Alexandria.

All is not total doom and gloom. Joel's job remains as secure as ever, and he has taken to a night shift in a good way. With only 3 nights a week instead of 5 days, he gets some extra time at home (and given his father's passing, we needed the extra days to clean up Syd's Alexandria apartment).

So what good did happen this year? Well, Joel and I did get to this year's Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, with beautiful weather and some great music from the likes of Jackson Browne and My Morning Jacket among others.

Joel's younger daughter, Miriam, got married on Labor Day to her longtime partner Suzanne. It was a lovely service held outdoors on a centuries-old farm. The brides both wore white and looked lovely. The wedding took place in Massachusetts. We drove up the Friday before with a fully loaded car, drove back Monday with even more in the car then we left with. How this keeps happening I don't know.

I did book signings here in Philly, as well as Cleveland, Chicago, DC, Asbury Park NJ, and California. I'm almost done with a new book, my first in many years. (The time off has to be used somehow.) And at the Thanksgiving regifting this year, Joel was the top number and procured a Time Share certificate, so we're going to Disneyworld at the end of January (Thanks, Aunt Sharon!) by which time we hope to have Syd's apartment rented. So here is to a better 2013 for all of us. I'm thinking Florida will be a great way to start it off.

Love to all.

Thank you

Oct. 23rd, 2012 02:01 am
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A big thank you to everyone who sent me and Joel good wishes on behalf of Syd, Joel's Dad. We're in he process of emptying out a condo In the DC area that he lived in and it will take a long time. 91 year old men accumulate a lot of things.

I had to give up my part time record store job in order to keep up with the estate clean-up and tear down. It's going to make things pretty damn tight for me for a few months before I can concentrate on getting back to work. My anxiety/depression has been kicking me senseless this past week. Going to the NJ Leather Weekend on Saturday was a much needed mental health break. Joel needs a few for himself.
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Hello All

Joel's father Syd passed away at about 6:20 this morning. Joel was not with him as he was anticipating having to do his weekly services Friday night, but had been there the night before. We had house gests as well, so Joel is down there now while I will be there Sunday.

Syd would have been 91 in 6 more days. As you may recall, we had a big 90th birthday party for him last year.
This was the video I'd prepared for him then.

He's in a better place now. Thank you for all your love and thoughts.

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Hello all,
We're back in PA after a few really scary days. We almost lost Syd this week. He was admitted to the hospital Monday with problems breathing and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Then he had heart, respiratory and kidney failure and had to be put in an intermediate care unit with a BiPap machine (a full face oxygen mask that looks like something from a space project).
When we got called on Wednesday, it was the Doctor basically saying 'get here now.' We drove down as quickly as possible and began camping out in Syd's apartment. Fortunately for all involved, it's just a few blocks from the hospital so getting over to see him was easy. Syd looked awful and it was tough for the two of us to see him that way. He was aware of us there, but couldn't do much.
The next day, we were able to communicate with pad and paper. He was telling us stuff he wanted us to get, which included things he wanted for the apartment, which we took as a good sign. If he wanted things for his place, it meant he still thought he was going to go home. However, the doctor also met with us and gave us the big "quality of life/end of life" talk, which shook us all up.
It must have really done a number on Syd, because the next day he was breathing well enough to get the Dr's to remove the BiPap mask and place him on a regular nose/nostril feed for his oxygen. By Friday afternoon, he was talking again and no longer needed the notepad. He was also doing well enough to want to watch the baseball playoffs Friday night.
On Saturday, the younger granddaughter (Miriam) took the train from Philadelphia and spent the day with us. The Doctor told us that his kidneys were improving their function due to medications, and were no longer the greatest problem Syd was facing. He was VERY happy to see Miriam, and also pleased that he could still watch baseball. His lady friend, Nan, was there on and off, and she has been a big help.
However, Syd still tires very quickly. We were limited in visits to about 90 minutes/ two hours before he would become too worn out and we'd leave for lunch/dinner/errands. The Doctors seem to think that his next step will be a rehab center and then, maybe, he'll be back in his apartment after a few weeks. Given where he was Wednesday night, this is a serious turnaround. We drove back late in the evening with Miriam after spending a little more time with Syd and being kicked out of the hospital because of the hour (and a test they needed to run on a patient in the next bed).
Thanks for all your thoughts and well wishes.
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As per my post on January 9th, I was offered a job that I thought might finally turn my situation from 2011 around. Unfortunately, things have been miserable since. I'd started the new job as an administrative assistant at a 5 Doctor medical clinic. It was a hectic and fast paced, stressful environment, and I thought I was doing OK. I was supposed to be learning the tasks of a pregnant female staffer before she left for maternity leave. She promptly had her baby boy three weeks early and well before I fully had the routines down. At the end of the 13th day, I was informed I was not picking up the procedures of the office and was asked to resign. I have to admit, the stress of the place was literally giving me panic attacks. So here we are again, The end of January and I am right back in the same place I was a year ago this time.

The computer class I'd been taking since October is over now, and I did awful in it. I just could not absorb the amount of advanced technical information that was being thrown at me, and ultimately will probably not be able to use anything the course had to offer. Had I been better informed, I would have angled for a more beginners oriented course, but this is the class the grant landed me in. I will put in more effort at picking up the specifics here at home (I have until May to use the test certification scripts to see if I pass or not), but my guess is I won’t be able to master it.

What I really must thank everyone here for, and the brightest point of an otherwise wretched month, was the wonderful outpouring of help concerning Sophie Cat, covering over a third of the bills. She will still need her weekly shots - and as you can see by the picture of her shaved tummy, a trip to the vet warrants me serious "I'm going to poop on your pillow, you know that, don't you?" looks. The vet gave me a little trick; as soon as I get her home, Sophie gets a fresh can of cat food. Works like a charm. The first time I got her home, she made a bee-line to the space behind the sofa. But as soon as she heard the can-pop, she was right by her food dish.

My book selling annual trip to MAL was profitable enough that I was able to pay off the remainder of the bill soon after. Plus an extra special howdy to Cliff Clockner - we finally met! Another good thing about MAL? My table was next to these guys.

There was also a house concert featuring my old friend James Lee Stanely, along with Cliff Eberhardt. They are out promoting their collaborative tribute to The Doors, called "All Wood and Doors." (With surviving members of The Doors contributing.) It was my first time hearing Cliff live, and he's pretty easy on the eyes. James' voice is high and smooth, Cliff's is gruff and bluesy. As a duo, they harmonize beautifully. Having known James Lee since the mid 80's, it's always a pleasure to see him live. 

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My friend and former co-worker Mel Tabbert passed away in his sleep early Wednesday after a long period in a nursing home. He was 68, and we'd been friends since I started working in the customer service department of TLA.

But during that time, he was having serious health issues. In the summer 2007 I had to go through some major stress a few weeks with him. I'd been doing Home Health care for him since the previous summer, when he was essentially a shut in. Mel got a Sheriff's Notice on his apartment door on a Weds stating that he had till Monday to be out of his place or he'd be forcibly removed. His apartment was basically a bedroom in an old building that is right near city hall, since renovated into condos. His itty-bity room had an asking price of over 100,000. He'd gotten behind on his rent, couldn't work, couldn't even leave the room (he had been outside once since the previous August) and needed serious help. Of course, he was in a total panic.

With the help I've been giving him since '06, connections at the Pennsylvania Council On Aging got him an emergency bed at a Nursing Home. We had to call them and insist that Mel's paperwork get fast tracked or he'd be on the street. I assisted him with his move that Monday morning. But he was still under a great deal of stress. I’d been taking suitcases of what few possessions he has left out over the weekend and giving him a shoulder to cry on...there were a lot of tears and hand holding. He was very frightened and rang my cell phone several times a day.

He needed 24 Hour professional care (something I am just not qualified for) and a good bed, which the nursing home provided. I signed him onto my cell-phone program to give him a lifeline to the outside world. I would visit every couple of weeks or so, take him movies (I got him a cheap DVD player) and snacks. Since he could not leave his room without assistance, I often had to play patient advocate for him. (He had only one sister; she is disabled and lives in MN.)

Last week he was having problems breathing and was taken to a hospital where they did a "stuffing" for a sinus issue. When he came back to the hospital Thursday, I dropped in and brought him some throat lozenges. we had a good talk, I showed him some of the latest pictures of the grand-girls and Sophie Cat, and as I was leaving he told me I was his guardian angel. I gave him a hug and told him "I love ya, buddy," like I usually did.

He did not wake up Wednesday. He "coded" in his bed and the staff called 911 while performing CPR. While Mel was still taken to the University of Penn via ambulance, he never revived. He was declared at the UoP emergency room. He was 68, which just seems too young these days, but more than anything else, he's no longer suffering. The nursing home let me gather his things, but there wasn't much. What I took were mostly things I'd taken to him over the years, some Military certificates (he was in the Navy during Vietnam) and a few wall posters he'd had. The staff was used to seeing me and told me they all liked Mel for being funny and generous, and we all shared a few cries. I have his Santa on my desk. I'm going to need some memories.

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Joel and I used some airline miles and an invite from our friend Peter Fiske to attend Palm Springs Leather Weekend. It was nice to get out of the house for a change and try to alleviate the fact that my depression has reached an almost crushing level of despair, along with my computer networking class being far and away harder than I ever imagined it to be.

Luckily, there are only two of us in the course and that allows the prof to answer all of my annoying questions. I fear I may not be able to catch up to the level of technology the course involves.

However, let's share some of the pictures.

My friend Alex Ironrod opened the weekend by reading from his new novel "Leather Nights" (a murder mystery) at Gear. I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout for him. I should add that I wrote his back-cover blurb.

My friend Bryce, whom I had not seen for a few years. This was in the party behind the Tool Shed where I'd set up a book table.

Mikal Bales (aka Daddy Zeus of Zeus Studios) took the time to come over to The Barracks on Saturday to say hello. He may be one of the men in California that I've missed the most since moving away. His new beau, Mick, is very sweet.

The gentleman here, Marshall, was a close friend of my late master, Gary Taylor. We had not seen each other since 1999. We had a long and somewhat emotional talk while he visited.

The notorious Gagbear and George (WetInSF) visited. It was nice to finally meet Jim after years of chat.

In what I can only say was the oddest moment of the weekend, singer Gregory Gray walked up to my table and said - in a thick Irish accent - "You don't even remember who I am, do ya?"

He was right, I didn't.  I interviewed Gregory over the phone in 1994 for Frontiers Magazine when his album "Euroflake In Silverlake" was released. When he played a show at the Virgin Megastore, I picked him up and we went to The Faultline for a wild night. He picked up a date and returned to his hotel after a few hours, and I'd not seen him since. That he remembered me and decided to hang out again was delightful and fun. Turns out he's a PS regular now and we have several mutual friends.

Of course, it wouldn't be a hot weekend if there weren't plenty of good looking men running about. (Hi Nipper!) That is, until The Barracks got busted for overcrowding (and yes, the place was mobbed), and the cops cleared everyone out. My first ever bar raid! Ah, well.

Then it was on-board the big old jet airliner for the trip home, for which we had enough miles to get first class seats. I never realized how comfortable flying could be before this. It made the end of the weekend easier to deal with. We arrived home to one very happy kitty. Now it's back to studies.

I am going to make a great effort to write more posts and reviews, if only to force my brain to write things.

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The Hurricane passed The Yellow Brock House in Springfield by with little trauma. We were fortunate in that - for a change - there was no power outages other than random flickerings. And for a change, no basement water!

However, several tree branches dropped from the trees alongside the house. They did not do any phone or powerline damage, so all I had to do was handsaw them into bits for the garbage men. Pretty hefty pile of wood when I was done. Miss Kitty was fine, but stayed close for most of the evening. The wind wnd rain was making a pretty good racket. There was a Tornado warning for the area around 11PM. but we were fortuinate enough to be spared. Areas in Delaware (Lewes, where I once lived) that got direct hits.

Joel called, as he is up with the grandkids. They had heavy rains and some basement water, but were OK otherwise. All is well. Now begins the countdown to Delta.
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PS, Red Sox lost to Cleveland.


or more pictures, click the Citgo Sign!
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