Random Stuff from My Life

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Weekly update

On Monday, I worked late. On Tuesday, we did something but I can't remember what. On Wednesday, we had Bible study. On Thursday, Stan went to a strategic planning meeting at church so I stayed home and watched TV. I had forgotten how boring television can be when you're just watching it to have something to do rather than tuning into a particular show that you want to watch. Last night, we went over and had dinner with some co-workers. Ended up staying and talking until after 11:00!

Today, we got up and went to the mall. We both had eye exams, then I went and got my hair cut. Then we went to Sears to get new glasses (Stan needs replacement lenses, I needed a whole new pair--for both of us, the prescription has changed in one eye but not the other). Had a mall food lunch (can't remember the last time I ate pizza at Sbarro). Then we went to the casino. Came home and took a nap. Now I'm updating the blog.

Tonight a friend is calling. She's someone that I always end up spending three hours or more on the phone with, and we haven't talked in months. So that will take all evening. Tomorrow we have a church picnic and then a birthday party for a friend.

Monday I have a meeting that will run late. At some point we will need to pack for our trip. Then Friday night we will leave for the airport, and Saturday we'll be in D.C.

I need to figure out travel logistics for our next couple of trips. Lots of stuff going on, but nothing very interesting.

Talked to Dad while waiting on my haircut at the mall. He was losing his voice earlier in the week (side effect of chemo, apparently), but today his voice was pretty strong. Sounds like he and Mom are pretty bored with the routine of driving to the hospital almost every day.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Finally, a use for these things

As those of you who have seen our bathroom can attest, we have about a zillion of those small hotel shampoos. I don't generally swipe the new ones, but I figure a partially-used one they're just going to throw out anyway, so those come home with us. Often they're made out of that hard plastic that's not recyclable, so about a year ago my eco-consciousness got the best of me and I started saving the empty ones. No idea what I would ever do with them, but figured they'd be good for something eventually.

Now, thanks to the terrorists (and more directly to those fine over-reactionaries at Homeland Security), I have a use for these little plastic jewels. Since we now have to check all liquids when flying, I can just measure a supply of each liquid or gel for the number of days we'll be gone into a cleaned-out former hotel shampoo bottle, slap a piece of tape on it and label appropriately. I did the trial run tonight, gathering appropriate liquids for our upcoming D.C. trip. We are NOT going to have time to waste waiting for a checked bag when we get back to San Francisco; even if our plane lands on time, we won't be home until about 1 a.m. the Tuesday after Labor Day (and I have a meeting at 9:00).

Now the only dilemma is whether these will go into a landfill in the D.C. area, go home with our friend in Maryland, or get cleaned and dried so I can attempt to take them back on the plane in a carry-on.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Geez, this was a busy week. Last night, though, we may have found the PERFECT restaurant. Here's the recipe: Take an old neighborhood bar. Leave the outside as is. Inside, re-do everything in pastels with wall sconces and light wood accents. Reuse the old bar seating, but re-upholster the seats with a faux-snake print. Have an extensive menu of trendy martinis, and serve up a toasted almond (containing, conservatively, an entire BOTTLE of amaretto) in a tall frosty glass with nude female figurines running down the sides. Give patrons a pre-appetizer of jicama, corn and black bean relish. Start the meal with the most kick-ass clam chowder this side of Rhode Island. Serve up a filet mignon topped with cilantro. Mmmmmm.....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bad blogger!

Sorry I haven't posted anything in awhile. I had Internet access in Berkeley, but the seminar was so intense (and pretty uninteresting to anyone outside my professional circles) that there was neither time nor news to post. (Other than to rant about the hotel. For a supposedly four-star historic hotel, the rooms were crappy.)

Anyway, then last night when we got home I did a million other things. So, I'm still alive and I'll catch up soon. Right now I'm in planning mode for our next trip--to D.C.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Montreal, part deux

Sorry. It's been hectic since we got home. Okay, back to vacation...

So following the drive through Oklahoma City-esque 'burbs, we arrived in the central city and were dropped off at the main bus depot. From there, we caught a smaller shuttle bus to the hotel. (Aside: while waiting for the shuttle, we met a guy who was there for the country line dancing competition and was from Richmond, Virginia; two years ago in Amsterdam, we sat at an open-air cafe and shared the only open table with a guy from... Richmond, Virginia!)

The Hilton Montreal Bonaventure is set on the 17th floor of a big office building. It has two acres of rooftop gardens... and no elevator! Yes, there is an elevator from the lobby up to the hotel, but the hotel itself is a split-level affair and has no internal elevator. This is not convenient when one is traveling with a large rolling bag and a companion with a cane. Our room had a lovely view of... the parking structure next door. At least we didn't spend much time in it (awake).

We found the Metro station, bought three-day passes, and headed out to the Olympic Stadium. We hadn't had dinner, so we went to look for something quick to eat before the Opening Ceremonies. Montreal managed to locate its Olympic Stadium in a completely residential neighborhood. Despite being adjacent to a major street, there were no commercial establishments of any kind visible from the stadium. We walked a ways and found a place that did a really good hamburger steak.

Back at the stadium, we discovered that our tickets were really good seats. I knew I didn't go for the cheapest seats, but I didn't get the really expensive ones, either, so we were pleasantly surprised. The athletes marched in, then there were introductions (in multiple languages) from various dignitaries. The Mayor of Montreal nearly got a standing ovation, but the Minister from the Canadian federal government got a reception I can only liken to Donald Rumsfeld in the Castro. The Mayor had to take the mic again and admonish the crowd. The guy should have been glad that they were searching people for bottles at the entrance!

After the speeches, the show began. Martha Wash ("It's Raining Men") led off. The acoustics in the stadium were horrible, and they tried to make up for that fact with increased volume. The lesbians from Vermont seated next to us were smart enough to have brought earplugs. Other performers included Deborah Cox, Diane Dufresne (who is apparently NOT a drag queen, though she certainly could have passed for one), Sylvie Desgrosseilliers (very good singer), k.d. lang (who is as fat in person as Deborah Harry is old), and someone named Jonas, who is a total throwback to the '80's (picture Prince's wardrobe, Brett Michaels' hair and a Stevie Nicks song).

The real highlight of the show, though, (the reason the Vermonters had driven up and totally worth the price of the tickets) was Cirque du Soleil. We've heard people rave about their shows in the past, but I have frankly never been interested in spending valuable slot-machine time in Vegas paying $100 to see a "circus act." Wow, has my tune changed! I cannot wait to book a trip to Lost Wages and see every single one of the four or five Cirque du Soleil shows on offer there. They were amazing! There was this thing with two guys that was the most mind-blowing combination of athleticism and eroticism I have ever seen!

After taking the Metro (along with everyone else in Montreal) back to the hotel and changing clothes, we headed out to the "Body" official opening party featuring DJ Abel from Miami. This was a 10 p.m.-8 a.m. event. By 3:00 (midnight on this coast), Stan was tired and I was bored. I tested my theory, though; we didn't wake up until 12:05 p.m.!

Once we got ourselves together, we headed to the square that was the focal point of Outgames activities and milled around. We got a free souvenir newspaper and a really nice gift--new Gilette Fusion razors (worth $8.99 U.S. each according to this week's Walgreen's ad). Shaving luddites that we are, we hadn't even upgraded to the Shick Quattro, let alone the FIVE-blade Fusion. I was still using the Sensor and Stan was using a (gasp!) TWO-blade razor. After having tested the Fusion, I can't see any appreciable difference in the closeness of the shave, and it is a huge piece of equipment to stick on your face (bigger than the shaving surfaces of some electric razors).

Next we walked around the Village, Montreal's gay neighborhood. It is impressive; a larger strip than the Castro. Then we headed over to Parc Jean-Drapeau (a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River) to see the beach volleyball competition. That venue turned out to be a horrific walk from the Metro stop, but we made it and took a bus back!

Sunday night was the Pride (Divers/Cite) parade, which features a lot of illuminated floats. Very nice. (And they kept the dang thing moving, which has always been San Francisco's problem.) After that, we were so tired that we went back to the hotel and crashed.

We got up early on Monday and went to the badminton competition. (We wanted something easy to walk to after the previous day's nightmare.) For me, badminton was the "other" game that came in the package with lawn darts and I hadn't really given it much thought since I was a pre-teen. We were surprised at how big a deal competitive gay badminton is! We talked to a couple of guys from the London team and one from the Montreal team (a transplanted Vancouverite).

Then it was back to the hotel to check out, grab some lunch and the shuttle and head back to the airport bound for Chicago, then Wichita, Denver, L.A., San Francisco and finally home. With 20-20 hindsight, I can say that I should have booked two weeks in Montreal instead of three days. It was a great city (like I said in my earlier post, we didn't even see the city itself, just the games), and we want to go back. We also really enjoyed the games; we're making plans for Copenhagen in three years.