Thursday, October 29, 2009

Son of a Witch

Apparently my blog is turning into Oprah's book club!

My mom surprised me with "Son of a Witch" on Saturday afternoon. The book is the sequel to "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" and the second in the "The Wicked Years" penned by Gregory Maguire.

"Ten years after the publication of Wicked, bestselling novelist Gregory Maguire returns to the land of Oz to follow the story of Liir, the adolescent boy left hiding in the shadows of the castle when Dorothy did in the Witch."

"Son of a Witch" picks up directly after the events in "Wicked" following the story of Liir, the unclear son of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. The book chronicles Liir's journey from adolescence to adulthood and his attempt to find his place and way in the land of Oz. Liir transforms from a fearful boy with a feeling of no purpose into a strong adult who eventually, through wicked and goodness, can answer the question of who he is.

I couldn't put the book down, much like "Wicked" before it. Maguire is masterful at weaving a new story in a place we already know so well. Many critics found his second venture into the land of Oz uneven and no where near the level of "Wicked". Even fans of "Wicked" are split on the second entry. I couldn't disagree more. I found the book every bit as engaging as "Wicked" with previous and new themes to explore, most notably the struggle of commitment to oneself and to their community. Again the story to me is both heroic and tragic. The last chapter alone left me feeling heartbroken and triumphant at the same time for our hero Liir.

I'm officially hooked to this retold land of Oz. I'll purchase "A Lion Among Men" before the week is out.

Top Chef: The Phantom Menace

Last night's episode of Top Chef: Las Vegas was pretty bland. The quick fire challenge was based on TV dinners. Really? Each contestant was given a television show and was supposed to make a TV dinner based on that show. Kevin won the challenge with a meatballs with polenta, roasted cauliflower, and roasted pear dish inspired by the Soporanos.

The elimination challenge moved the contestants to Chef Colicchio's restaurant in Vegas where they were to cook any dish of their choice using the restaurant's great selections of meats, or so they thought. Right before the competition began they were visited by celebrity guest judge Natalie Portman who declared that she like all kinds of flavors but was a vegetarian. The chefs essentially had to cook a vegetarian dish on the fly for her and her friends. Once again Kevin came out on top with a duo of mushrooms, smoked kale, candied garlic and turnip puree.

That about sums up the episode for me. Here are this week's other observations:

Kevin is really taking command of the competition. Beating out everyone else regularly with the exception of the restaurant wars fiasco last week; however, he was the strongest member on his restaurant team. I still think more than ever that he's going to win it all barring some catastrophe.

Michael Voltaggio proved himself to be classless yet again with his reaction to Kevin's win, saying if he had chose to cook a simplified dish like Kevin he could have won the elimination challenge. He was imaginative with his banana polenta concoction, I will give him that but there's no reason to act like a child.

Eli also finished in the top three of the elimination challenge. I guess he's a big fan of Natalie Portman from her work in the Star Wars prequels (craptastic movies, thank you George Lucas for ruining fond memories of my childhood). Of course he is! As with most Star Wars nerds he lives in his mommy's basement. He's wrong though, Portman's best work was in V for Vendetta. After acting like a human being last week it was good to see Eli revert back to his usual douschbaggery.

Jennifer, Robin and Mike I. all finished in the bottom of the elimination challenge. I could really care less who would be picked to go home. Mike I. has been a tool from the get go but he has rarely been at the bottom of the pack. Jennifer's constant whining and self doubt is really starting to get under my skin. Obviously the pressure is getting to her. I found her to be more annoying than Robin this week. Again, Robin was being Robin. Her crystal meth inspired, rambling explanation of her food in the elimination challenge was truly cringworthy. Ultimately it was Mike that was chosen to go home much to his chagrin. Whatever, whatever. Maybe there is a god? Bye bye.

Hopefully next week we'll see Eli bite the dust but I have to imagine that Robin should be next!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Longest Sentence I Ever Wrote

I was going through my postings over the years trying to decide if I wanted to go back and tag them (something I only started this year). I came across an unpublished post from 2/7/2006. I remember the post but I can't remember why I never published it. Since I have nothing of interest to publish today I figured I would publish this long lost post. Keep in mind the politics of 2006 were a bit different than today, barely...

I was caught in the middle of an email exchange between my dad and one of his childhood friends. During the course of the conversation the friend of my dad sent an email saying the following:

"Okay, here's the plan:
Back off and let those men who want to marry men, marry men.
Allow those women who want to marry women, marry women.
Allow those folks who want to abort their babies, abort their babies.
In three generations, there will be no Democrats!!!
Damn, I love it when a plan comes together."

My response included the longest sentence I ever wrote:

"... and once we're down to no Democrats (i.e.dissenting voices) we'll be stuck with a totalitarian government where personal privacy is abolished thanks to government sanctioned, illegal and unconstitutional monitoring of it's CITIZENS all under the guise of Homeland Security, where our government spends tax dollars like drunk sailors on shore leave in Taipei even though there's a war going on and NO OTHER ADMINISTRATION in the history of the United States has EVER cut taxes and WAGED a war at the same time, and where we have a government that is more concerned about the WAR ON CHRISTMAS, the WAR ON DRUGS, and the WAR ON MARRIAGE to be concerned with the health care crisis in this country, the deficit crisis in this country and the poverty crisis in this country... Oh wait, we're already there thanks to years of conservative control of two and now three branches of government. Look on the bright side at least CHRISTMAS will be safe, no one will be SLEEPING with the same sex, and the ORPHANAGES will be full. No offense but whomever sent this sounds like a typical CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE throwing stones again and I would much appreciate being out of the loop of this kind of garbage in the future. Have a blessed day!"

The response I received said I was an atheist liberal. I deleted the email.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Moving Fun

I helped Shimmy move Saturday (All. Day. Long.) and all I got was to wear the hat of his people! Where are the Oklahoma City rice patties again?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Princess and the Frog

I love animated Walt Disney movies. I've always been more of an old school animation fan as well. I do enjoy the later movies realized fully in CGI but nothing beats the hand drawn classics. This is why I was extremely excited to hear about Disney's "The Princess and the Frog." Video below:

Visit the official web site. In theatres December 11, 2009.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fun With Signs

So while working today (browsing the Internet), I came across It's a nifty little website where you can create your own funny photos and graphics. I chose the church sign maker option. Have fun with it kiddos and try not to offend god, Jeebus, the virgin Mary or the space aliens you're waiting on to take you off to the promised land!

Going Rouge

"The most honest, revealing account of the Palin story to appear this fall? You betcha!"

Sarah Palin is going to have a little competition next month when "Going Rouge" hits bookstores on November 17! The cover and title is genius. Click here and here for more information.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Top Chef: Teamwork

Last night was the long awaited "Restaurant Wars" episode of Top Chef: Las Vegas. I guess it's one of the most popular challenges in the series. I know I always look forward to it simply because there's usually a meltdown by one or both teams. It makes for some good television.

The quick fire challenge centered around the same theme as the elimination challenge: teamwork. The contestants were split off into two teams, Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, Robin and Eli representing one team and Jennifer, Kevin, Mike I. and Laurine representing the other team. After being split they were to cook and plate a dish together with each team member only being allowed 10 minutes to work on the dish while the rest of the team was blind folded. Initially I agreed with Kevin that the challenge was ridiculous but as the challenge progressed I found it to be a lot of fun to watch. Each team was able to successfully add to the team members work before them and the dishes from both teams turned out rather well. Kevin's team (I can't remember the team colors) won the challenge and was rewarded with a 10,000 dollar chip that they could either keep and split or let the money ride into the elimination challenge and collect a 10,000 dollar chip each, provided they win that challenge. They opted to let it ride. If it were me I would have voted to let it ride as well. When in Vegas...

Finally, the elimination challenge: "Restaurant Wars" (insert dramatic music here)! Two teams enter, one team falls apart. Team Revolt (Michael, Bryan, Robin and Eli) versus Team Mission (Jennifer, Kevin, Mike and Laurine). I thought for sure team Mission was going to take the challenge. I just knew that Robin, Eli or the brothers would ruin their chances through conflict or personality clashes. I couldn't have been more wrong. Team Revolt totally kicked ass! In fact Tom Colicchio said it was the best performance in any "Restaurant Wars" throughout the series. High praise. So what went wrong with Team Mission? What usually does in this challenge, a poor front of the house performance, not to mention some pretty bad food. Everything seemed to fall apart for team Mission with the exception of a couple of dishes. Laurine got the boot for her poor front of the house execution as well as some under cooked lamb. This surprised me a bit after the beating Jennifer took at Judge's table. Basically everything she attempted to do fell extremely flat. Was she left on the show because she is a better chef than Laurine even though her performance may not have been on this episode? I wonder.

This week's observations:

It was nice that the teams weren't responsible for their restaurant decor this time around. I hope this decision continues in future seasons of Top Chef.

Laurine's performance running the front of the house was cringeworthy, especially to me having been a service and bar manager in the past. Just dropping off the plates to the judges and running off was particularly bad! I guess they were expected to figure out on their own what they were eating. I also agreed with Tom's assessment that she was hiding out in the kitchen and probably was just holding on until their restaurant nightmare was over. Eli's performance running the front of the house for his team was quite good. The only thing that bothered me was him using the word "guys" to address the judge's table. Ugh. It's so informal, I think, unless of course it's a couple of guys bellying up to the bar to have some brewskies and watch the game.

Michael Voltaggio was kind of a dick in the kitchen this week. There's nothing wrong with being a strong leader but his attitude stinks. In the end he did direct the team to a win and did offer to share his monetary reward for the individual win with his teammates which I thought was classy. I wonder why Michael became so angry with Robin cursing at him? Everyone on the show runs around cussing like a merchant Marine! I guess he didn't like it being directed toward him. Now he knows how his brother feels.

Mike I. and Eli were minimally annoying this week. The reaction Mike I. had to Natalie Portman being a guest on the previews for next week was hilarious. Close that mouth Mike and grab a drool rag!

Is it me or is Padme a complete hag this season? Maybe she always has been and I'm just now starting to realize it. She was more annoying than Toby this week. Usually (to me) no one is more annoying than Toby. Or maybe she's trying to be especially annoying as this is her last season (so rumor has it).

Prediction for next week: one of the top four is eliminated in a shocking upset while Robin continues to hang on for life.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

I've had an interest in reading "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" for some time now but my interest was piqued even further after seeing Wicked the musical a couple months ago in Tulsa. I finally had the opportunity to pick up the book while visiting Borders Sunday afternoon.

Wicked was published in 1995 and written by Gregory Maguire. It is the first of (currently) three books involving "The Wicked Years," a revisionist take on L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other works. The two books to follow Wicked are "Son of a Witch" and "A Lion Among Men."

The book follows the life and times of Elphaba, later to be know as the Wicked Witch of the West, starting with her bizarre birth all the way to her untimely death at the hands of an out of place 12 year-old Kansas girl, Dorothy Gale. In this retelling we meet familiar faces and see familiar places from Baum's books and MGM's 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz" as well as all new characters. I won't go into too much detail other than to say the people and goings on in the story are not nearly so wonderful in the wonderful land of Oz.

The book was amazing. I've been meaning to read it for years but I always forgot to buy it or borrow it from friends when offered. Be warned, though, while the musical adaptation may be based on the book, the two are hardly similar. They share common characters and themes but about a third of the way into the book I knew I was in for something different from what I had witnessed on the stage. This both surprised and eventually delighted me. The book is dark and (to me) tragic and sad with many themes to ponder: wickedness and goodness, perception and reality, religion and atheism, and destiny versus choice among others. I have considered these arguments the book lays out for the past couple of days. It's always nice to read something that makes you think a little. Highly recommended.

Monday, October 19, 2009

One For The Money

In order to break up the monotony at work I usually keep myself busy by writing a blog entry, texting, tweeting, browsing various news sites or visiting facebook and myspace. On the rare occasion when it's really quiet I'll read a book or two. It's not that I don't have the time, it's just that I need to be free from distraction to really get going. My last couple of shifts have afforded me the luxury (and quiet) to get some reading done. I finished one of the two books I'm currently reading today, "One For The Money" written by Janet Evanovich.

One of our programmers at work is apparently a heavy reader. He has a bookshelf full of mostly paperback books that he's read ranging from the classics to science fiction and everything in between. He leaves the books here for anyone else in the office to borrow or read during slow times on the job. Most of the collection isn't by authors that I would normally read, mostly because I haven't heard of many of them. On a slow day last week I set out to find a book and started reading "One For The Money" on his and my cousin's recommendation.

Supposedly Janet Evanovich is a New York Times bestselling author. I had never heard of her until reading the cover for the book. Apparently she started out as primarily a romance writer publishing several books before starting a whole series based on a character named Stephanie Plum, an out of work lingerie buyer for a department store who finds work as a bounty hunter for her cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company in Trenton, New Jersey. What can I say? It's not Melville but it isn't a bad read and an enjoyable way to waste some time!

The book is a super easy read, told from heroine Stephanie Plum's perspective. It chronicles her bumbling rise and eventual success as a bounty hunter. "One For The Money" is the first in an ongoing series of 15 books to date. I highly enjoyed the humor and fast paced storytelling that was provided and if I come across the next installment I'll definitely give it a read.

From the book's jacket:

"Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash - fast - but times are tough, and soon she's forced to turn to the last of the truly desperate: family...

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company. She's got no experience. But that doesn't matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water - wanted for murder...

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn't. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she'll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight - and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man..."

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

It's been a while since I made a posting about a Nintendo related product. To be honest there hasn't been a lot to be excited about this year concerning the Nintendo Wii. There are a ton of games I'm interested in but they're not scheduled for release until next year. The one exception is New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Set for release on November 15, 2009.

"This New Super Mario Bros. is a throwback to the style of the original Super Mario Bros. and allows four players to play the game together.
Players can navigate the side-scrolling worlds alone as before or invite up to three others to join them at the same time on the same level at any point in the game for competitive and cooperative multiplayer fun. With the multiplayer mode, the newest installment of the most popular video game franchise is designed to bring yet another type of family entertainment into living rooms and engage groups of friends in fast-paced Super Mario Bros. fun."

If the game is anywhere as fun as New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS, it should be enough to pull me out of the Wii desert I've been experiencing the last few months.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Top Chef: Swine and Wine

Going in to last night's episode of Top Chef: Las Vegas there were two chefs left that I was really rooting for, Ash and Kevin. Now I'm down to one.

The quick fire challenge was as boring as the elimination challenge was interesting. Incorporate some glorified potato chips into food and compliment the flavors. Eww. Product placement anyone? Unfortunately Eli won the quick fire challenge and was granted immunity in the elimination challenge. I was really hoping he'd be voted off the island this week. Maybe next week he'll be sent packing back to mommy. I've come to loathe Eli more than Mike I. and that's saying a lot!

The elimination challenge was a lot more fun, pairing pork with Pinot Noir. Jennifer, Kevin and the brothers Voltaggio seemed to have really nailed the challenge. These four chefs are definitely leading the pack of contestants. I give a slight edge to Kevin right now just based on the amount of wins he's accumulated. One of these four will be your Top Chef winner this year.

On the bottom of the elimination challenge was Ash, Robin and Laurine. No surprises here. Like I said I have been rooting for Ash because he seems to be a really nice guy but he's failed to step up to the plate for several episodes now. Robin is being Robin by holding on each week by not being the worst of the worst. I figured Laurine was toast when her food was compared to cat food! Surprisingly it was Ash who was sent packing. I guess cat food trumps a cold and slimy, one-dimensional pork dish.

So this was the week of infighting and for once the previews from last week didn't disappoint. Robin and Eli going at, Michael V. and Bryan going at it, and Ash taking a swipe at Padme on his way out. It's all petty and disgusting, I love it! Pretty much everyone showed their ass this week, except Kevin, especially by rooting for Robin to be cut when the bottom three were in front of judge's table. Classy. I guess their punishment is that Robin is still around to annoy them.

Next week is the dreaded restaurant wars episode. I can't wait. Here are a few predictions for the next couple of weeks:

Robin and Laurine should be heading home barring some kind of catastrophe by the better contestants. Eli and Mike I. hang on a little longer much to my chagrin.

At some point the brothers Voltaggio are going to have a meltdown based on their overly competitive feelings toward each other. Hopefully it won't be enough to send one of them home as they seem to be two great chefs.

Jennifer needs to calm the fuck down when cooking. She's too tough on herself at times and this could be her downfall or a trip to the ER with chest pains.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2010 California Marriage Protection Act

"Hell is eternal, just like your marriage is supposed to be."

I found the video below while reading The Huffington Post today.

Thoughtfulness Album Couture®

"Thoughtfulness Album Couture® is an independent design studio based in Chicago and San Francisco. Its core product is the limited-edition graphic t-shirt. Always daring in theme and unusual in design, each garment reflects the company’s fierce commitment to equal rights for all---particularly the underrepresented, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised. It’s all about graphic with and calligraphic charm and DIY. It’s all about high glamour and low art. It’s all about you. Each design is hand printed using nature-friendly ink on soft and comfortable t-shirts from American Apparel®.

© 2009 Thoughtfulness Album Couture. All Rights Reserved."

Michael was nice enough to give Dann and I each a shirt this weekend (pictured above). I told him I would provide a link to his myspace site in return. I believe the shirts can be purchased at Brief Encounters on 39th and Penn (I couldn't find a website link).

The shirt has a backwards Oklahoma graphic with the phrase "Shame on you, Sally Kern." The S in Sally and K in Kern is replaced with swastikas. Thanks again for the shirt Michael!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

National Coming Out Day

Today is a busy day for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) community. The National Equality March is taking place in Washington D.C., Oklahoma City is holding their annual AIDS Walk and finally today is also National Coming Out Day.

"Whether you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or not, be proud of who you are and your support for LGBT equality this National Coming Out Day."

I can't help but think of my coming out years ago. The first people I told in my family was my mom and dad. Their reaction was pretty much, "oh okay". Everyone in my family knows my sexual orientation and it has never been a problem. If anyone does have a problem with me being gay they have wisely kept their opinions to themselves. It would be their problem, not mine. I have been incredibly lucky, I know people who are adults who don't feel they can be themselves with their family, friends or co-workers.

Last night President Obama addressed the Human Right Campaign. It was a great speech directed to the LGBT community. He acknowledged that work has been slow on our issues. He did pledged to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and "The Defense of Marriage Act" in the coming months. He also said he would support legislation that supports LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace. Essentially he's still saying all the right things. We'll see if he and Congress delivers. To see a replay of his speech and events going on in Washington today, visit C-SPAN online.

Friday, October 09, 2009

200th Post Extravaganza!

This posting is number 200 for this blog! It only took a little over four years to reach the milestone, granted I have been a lot more active this year than in previous years. In honor of the occasion I thought I would provide a list of my top 10 postings over the years. Here is the Top 10 postings from Dave's World (Bitter Party of One Your Table is Ready!):

#10 - Fuck you... fuck you very, very much... The posting that started it all, again. Earlier in the year I had planned on giving up the blog as I had nothing interesting to say. This changed when I ran across the video in the posting. Suddenly I was back and more productive than ever. Other postings that contain the word fuck in the title can be found here and here.

#9 - Technical Support Horror Story of the Day A series of sorts. I love reading about the misadventures of support people and restaurant war stories because they are so true and usually funny. This is my contribution. There are two other support horror stories that can be found here and here. I plan to continue with these kinds of posts as soon as I'm given some more material from the fools I talk to at work every day.

#8 - With Friends Like This... I always seem to talk about the same people, Dann, Shimmy, J-Ho, Butter, etc. These are my friends! Without them I wouldn't have an audience to write to or about. In this particular post I think it's funny that we have a string of birthdays that never seem to end starting in November and ending in April.

#7 - Seven Tips for Camping Out for a Wii or PS3 So this post isn't original to me but it's still one of my favorites. I actually did camp out at Best Buy in November of '06 for a Nintendo Wii. It was a blast and a great memory. Shimmy also wrote a blog posting about it here.

#6 - My Jury Duty Experience I like reading postings like this. Short, sweet and to the point, detailing an everyday event we all experience that usually turns out to be wretched!

#5 - The Chinese New Year Has Gone To The Dogs Poor Shimmy. He has been the butt of many posts and jokes over the years... I love it!

#4 - Palin to resign as Alaska governor! It's easy to have something to post about with Sarah Palin around. I have one other post about the self anointed "hockey mom" that can be found here. I'm sure she'll be providing a lot more material for me to comment on in the future.

#3 - Would you like some ranch with that? I hate ranch salad dressing. I hate people who have to eat it on everything. I hated serving it to people when I waited tables. I just hate people.

#2 - Great Big Stuff! I get a kick out of this post every time I go back and read it. Not only is it kind of funny (at least I think so) but I also enjoy the interaction from others on the topic/post. Part of the reason a blog appealed to me initially was having some sort of spring board for discussion. I really miss Bruce blogging and commenting, sadly he has disappeared from this realm of my life. I do get a chance to see him from time to time in person though.

#1 - Loralei How could I not pick this post as my favorite? Casey is one of my favorite people in the world (if not my favorite)! I can't believe my little niece is a real person who is a married mommy with responsibilities and a life and all that shit.

Honorable Mention - Dave's World The first post I ever made. It all started with an email from my niece Brandy. The rest is history...

I've had a great time maintaining this blog over the last four years. Thanks to everyone who continues to read and comment. If anyone out there has some favorite moments of their own from this blog or anything else to add, please post a comment!

Oklahoma in the News

I usually cringe when I see a story about Oklahoma in the national news or on one of the political program shown on MSNBC or CNN. More times than not the news or story is not flattering to the Sooner State. What is usually reported is some backwards law the state is considering or has passed or we get to hear about some off the wall quotes provided by one of our two bat shit crazy Senators, Tom Coburn or Jim Inhofe. Case in point: The Rachel Maddow Show ran a story about a new abortion law that starts on November 1st. While I was aware of the law, it pained me to see our legislative ridiculousness aired for the whole country to see.

The new provision requires an official record of all abortions performed in the state so that it can be posted and viewed publicly online. Here is what's being reported:

1. Date of abortion
2. County in which abortion performed
3. Age of mother
4. Marital status of mother
(married, divorced, separated, widowed, or never married)
5. Race of mother
6. Years of education of mother
(specify highest year completed)
7. State or foreign country of residence of mother
8. Total number of previous pregnancies of the mother
Live Births
Induced Abortions

Does the information violate the privacy provisions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)? What happened to doctor/patient confidentiality? It's probably only a matter of time before the courts knock down the legislation. In the meantime we can continue to be the laughing stock of the Union while women in Oklahoma are discouraged from exercising their rights.

Below is the segment I saw last night:

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

I headed to my computer at home this morning after waking, droopy and tired as I always do. I usually check the news of the day before showering and starting my day. I was shocked to see that President Obama had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. My first reaction was "for what?". After reading the details I can understand the decision but I still think it's a little early.

"President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism."

President Obama joins only two other sitting Presidents to win the Prize. He joins President Theodore Roosevelt who won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson who was awarded the prize in 1919.

So is this award a repudiation of the Bush years by the left leaning committee? Does Obama deserve the reward for his work on lowering carbon emissions or for his work with Russia in lowering nuclear stockpiles or for his efforts to open up dialogues with the Middle East? I'm not sure. He at least has just over three years to prove the committee right.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Hate Crime Legislation Passed in the House

After nearly 10 years of trying, the House passed the "Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act" today.

"The act allows for added charges and harsher jail sentences for those convicted of what is deemed to be a hate crime, a crime against somebody's race, religion, sexual orientation, etc."

Finally a branch of the government I can be proud of, specifically the House of Representatives. As a gay man I am so proud of our "liberal" Congress, especially to Speaker Pelosi who has been working on this cause for many years even before the Matthew Shepard incident in Laramie, WY. Basically what it means is that the federal government can assist in the prosecution of expanded hate crimes where local authorities are unwilling or unable.

The measure was attached to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill. Conservatives are whining about its inclusion to the defense bill. I have no sympathy! It's not like they never did the same thing to try to push through their own agendas during the Bush years.

Next up: The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT).


Top Chef: Home Cookin'

Last night saw the return of Top Chef: Las Vegas after last week’s rerun. I actually thought it was kind of a boring episode but there were a couple of surprises. For the first time in the competition we saw Jennifer at the bottom (in the quick fire challenge) and Michael on the chopping block (in the elimination challenge). Jennifer had some issues with being sick and Michael had some issues with equipment. Jennifer bounced back to win the elimination challenge and Michael escaped from being sent home.

Kevin ended up winning the quick fire competition and the choice of 15 thousand dollars or immunity in the elimination challenge. He chose the money. That would have been my choice as well. The quick fire challenge ingredients were determined by the spin of a slot machine. What made Kevin’s win even more impressive was the fact that he never cooks Asian food. He’s looked strong from the beginning and I’m still confident he’ll make it to the finals.

The elimination challenge required the chefs to draw knives in order to team up and to determine what they would be cooking. It was literally a grab bag of food provided by the guest chefs who are all involved in the Macy’s Come Together program to provide 10 million meals for Feeding America. Once again Kevin was at the top along with teammate Jennifer. Jennifer was voted best on the team and won a 10 thousand dollar gift card from Macy’s. Lame.

Ashley and Eli were the losing team with Ashley getting most of the blame and sent home for some undercooked prawns and salty food. I understand completely, there’s not much worse than undercooked sea food. I was disappointed to see her leave as I thought she had turned the corner and was starting to get a rhythm, plus she seems like a really hard worker.

Some other quick thoughts:

It was funny to see Robin and Mike Isabella teamed together. His reaction was priceless! I really hope he gets some justice next week and is sent home. Unfortunately I think it will be Robin, again. I’m still surprised she’s made it this far but I still don’t like the beating she’s taking from the other contestants.

The judges seemed to be in a mellow mood this week. Even Toby wasn’t his usual d-bag self.

You’ve got to love the Bravo previews for next week. It looks like Eli and Robin will be going at it again and maybe we’ll see the brothers (Michael and Bryan) turn on each other. Probably not, in typical preview fashion it will be a lot less dramatic than advertised.

Just as I was over ceviche early in the season, I'm now starting to grow weary of scallops. Every week at least a couple of people prepare them in both of the challenges.

My first episode picks are all still alive. I think I'll remain safe for at least two more episodes.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Monday Night Happenings in OKC

Nothing to do on Monday night? Consider a couple of good venues in OKC for the worst day of the week. The Sounds will be playing at the Diamond Ballroom and ATB (German DJ, remixer, and producer André Tanneberger)will be present at CityWalk in Bricktown.

I sent a text to a few people today to see if they were going to either event and I got a lot of "who?" responses. I am familiar with a couple of The Sounds songs and I like their style of play well enough that I'd like to see them. Here's one of their videos:

Tony The Beat (video) - The Sounds

I became familiar with ATB years ago when I dated Shimmy. I'm a really big fan. In fact the ATB remix of "You're Not Alone" is one of my favorite songs of all time. Here are some samples of the latest release from ATB:

Future Memories

Decisions, decisions. I would jump on the opportunity to see ATB in a heartbeat if he was appearing anywhere else but CityWalk! In any event either show should be some good stuff.

Tulsa Trip: Going Out

After the Daves Matthew Band concert, Kim and I headed back to the Brady District to check out some of the bars. The first place we stopped was Club 209. I thought it would be nice for me to take Kim to a straight bar before I made her hang out at Club Majestic for a couple of hours. Upon arrival it was soon clear to me that Club 209 isn't a straight bar, or it was gay night (and I don't mean extremely happy). Actually the bar was very nice and clean with a nifty little patio area for the smokers. We had one beer here and then headed on down the district.

I was a little suicidal after the long beer lines at the BOK Center but Kim was able to talk me down!

We were going to do some more bar crawling before we hit Club Majestic but we saw through their window that they already had a good crowd before midnight. We headed over to find a Drag King show going on. A Drag King show is like a drag show but instead of males impersonating females, it's females impersonating males. It was the first one I've ever seen and it was just as wretched as any drag show. I may be gay but I've never really been a big fan of these kind of shows. I'd rather be dancing.

Not pleased about the show.

Waiting. Dancing, how long?

We were able to kill some time taking pictures in front of an industrial sized fan on the lower lever. I think it made Kim feel like a model, being photographed with her hair flowing back out of her face...

Kimmy my favey!

"The strawberry hotness," to paraphrase our friend Lacy.

Headed to the bathroom? Take a picture with random strangers!

Finally the dance floor is open! What's that? The bar is closing?

Not only was it fun to get out of town and go to some new places but it was a blast just chillin' with my girl. I had such a good time over the weekend I was a little depressed when I got home Saturday morning. As much as I've come to appreciate Tulsa lately, it's definitely the company that makes the trip!

2009 AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City

Just a reminder that the AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City is this Sunday, October 11th at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Registration begins at 12:30 PM and the walk is at 2:00 PM. For more information visit the web site.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I Gotta Feeling

Found this online today through another blog. It's pretty awesome.

Tulsa Trip: The Concert

Kim and I arrived in Tulsa with some time to kill before heading to the BOK Center. We parked in the Brady District since that's where we were going to party after the concert. We cleaned up a little and headed to a hole-in-the wall bar called Caz's.

Caz's was a great hang out before the show. They have a great selection of beers and a bra collection hanging above the bar! Wow bra!

Kim was able to find one of her favorite beers: Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde. "Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde is truly a unique beer experience. Reward yourself with our golden lager made of the finest pale and wheat malts and Cluster Hops, with a kiss of natural strawberry flavor."

I had one as well.

We headed to the BOK Center a little after 7PM, not worrying too much about missing the opening act, Willie Nelson. The facility is really nice but I do have one major complaint: more beer stands and/or working beer stands are needed. It literally took 15 to 20 minutes to go through the line to get a beer or cocktail. Part of the problem was the beer taps at the concession stands. They were freezing up so it would take several minutes to draft a 16 oz. beer.

One of the beer lines from hell.

A view of the stage from our seats. Very nice.

Brooke, Kim and myself.


Awesome concert. I'm not a huge Dave Matthews Band fan but I can appreciate how well they sound live and when they get going, they can really jam. Kim and I headed back to the Brady District for some partying after the concert was over. I'll post another update with pics either later today or tomorrow.

Tulsa Trip: Be Prepared

Kim must have been a boy scout when she was a little girl. She was very well prepared for the road trip to Tulsa last Friday:

Beer for her? Check.

Beer for me? Check.

Tampons? Check.

Pad? Check.

And finally, tickets to Dave Matthews? Check.

More photos from the trip coming soon...

New Link of Interest (5)

(The Customer Is) Not Always Right.

"If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working in retail, service or other public-facing jobs, you’ve inevitably come across that occasional customer that either makes your blood boil, tickles your funny bone or leaves you totally confused. We all need a place to vent, so Not Always Right is a collection of quotes from these particularly memorable customers."

I especially like the tags dealing with tech support and restaurants, two industries with which I can relate.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Dave Matthews Band

I am moments away from heading to Tulsa! I'm excited to hang out with Kim, to see Dave Matthews Band again and to see the BOK Center for the first time. Everyone have a great weekend and enjoy one of my favorite Dave Matthews Band songs below...

American Baby - Dave Matthews Band

Going Rogue

The new book by Sarah Palin, "Going Rogue" is due out in bookstores November 17th, well ahead of its original release time of spring. I guess she and her ghostwriters have been busy at work on the project since she announced her "retirement" as chief executive of Alaska.

Anyone plan on buying the book, either as a fan or out of morbid curiosity? I thought I would pick up a copy in case I ever run out of toilet paper or in case I need something to burn for heat during next seasons "ice storm of the century".

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Happy October!

I love this time of year, specifically the month of October. The return of jacket weather, turning leaves and of course football season kicks into high gear. My October didn't start out very well this morning, however. I sat in court for four hours today waiting on my lawyer to show up. As the lunch hour approached I asked the D.A. present about my case. It turns out my lawyer had been there earlier and moved my next court date to December! Thanks for the info. I'm still waiting for him to return my call. Not only could I have been more productive (and less bored) at work, but I also could've saved four hours of vacation time! Grrrrr.

I'm not sure how much I'll be posting the next couple of days. I'm going to see Margaret Cho tonight with Dann. Shimmy should be there too so I'll take the opportunity to torment him a little. Tomorrow I'm headed to Tulsa with Kim to see the Dave Matthews Band and to hopefully hit Club Majestic after. Kim is a complete Dave Matthews roadie. The last time we went to a concert of his she dragged me through the tightly packed crowd in an attempt to get to the front row so she could throw herself or her panties on stage! Fun fun fun.