Thursday, December 18, 2008

Taking a tumble

You often hear stories about people slipping and falling in the shower. As far as I know, it's never happened to anyone I know, and I never thought it would happen to me. Needless to say, I was surprised when I went face first this morning.

I had just finished my shower, and I was holding onto the curtain rod for no more than a few seconds when the whole thing just collapsed and fell off the wall, and down I went, to the floor with a crash. I'm glad I just relaxed my body and just let myself fall instead of resisting, because if I resisted the fall I would have hurt myself even more. As I got up, I dried myself off and checked for injuries. I felt a few bruises, but nothing major. When I looked down at my knee, I saw a nice bloody gash. It didn't hurt or anything, although now that I'm cleaning it off it does sting a little. I began to laugh because of the ridiculousness of the situation (the curtain rod coming off the wall) and the fact that it took me by surprise. I thought it was such a strange incident that I decided to mark the occasion by taking pictures of my bloody knee (I know, I'm strange).

Now I have a nice little gash on my left knee and a bathtub without a shower curtain. Now I'll have to take baths instead of showers.

Moral of story: Never hold onto the shower curtain rod, especially if you're uncertain how stable it is.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter in Syracuse

My last blog entry was six months ago, in the summer. It is now the middle of December and Christmas is right around the corner. Winter has arrived in Syracuse. This city is know for it's cold, brutal winters. The weather here sucks. Fortunately, it is still early in the season and things aren't that bad yet. The worst is yet to come. Syracuse only has two seasons: Winter and road construction.

Right now it is clearly winter. Here's what it looks like out on my street at 12:50 AM:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pride '08 under the blaring sun

I meant to write this blog sooner, things have just been so busy around here. There have been a lot of people coming and going. Now that the bodies have finally filtered out, I actually have a chance to sit down and write.

Central New York GLBT Pride was on Saturday, June 7. This is my tenth year going to the Pride event. Donny went with me for the first time. Some of his teachers and fellow students went, as well, and he got to see them there. He knew more people there than I did! He marched in the parade with me and Jonathan, and he had a blast all day. I took lots of pictures.

The only problem was that it was so hot. Walking around in 90 degree weather all day can be tiring. We did a lot of walking, because after wandering around the Pride event for a few hours, we also went to the Youth Pride event at the Q Center. I've never seen Donny have so much fun! I'm glad he came along. Later, Jonathan and I came back to the festival to watch Sister Funk perform the last few songs of their set. Most people had gone home by then. So we went home to relax in the air conditioning. It was a fun weekend.

The beginning of this week was a scorcher. It was so damn hot. And then the storm hit us suddenly, and left just as quickly as it came. The downtown farmer's market started Tuesday, and I'm glad I went through there when I did, because if I had stayed there another 15 minutes, I would have been blown away. When I went into work, I was up on the 10th floor and there were plastic bags and things flying around. Potted plants were tossed about. People raced to save their fruits and vegetables. I feel bad for them. I hope they didn't lose too much money. What a bad way to start the farmer's market season. I hope next week is better for them.

Now the weather is nice. The sky is bright, blue, and clear, and the temperature has cooled off significantly. I guess we needed that storm to break the heat. Now all is back to normal. Not only has the weather quieted down, my apartment has quieted down, as well. I've had a lot of company lately. But at least now my apartment's clean. It looks great. I can actually have guests over now. But for now I need some peace and quiet for a few days.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

And Then There Was One...

After a long battle with the management, my neighbors have finally moved out. It's been a long, stressful process, and I've been a good, supportive friend to them through it all, as I always am. It is so quiet in the apartments on both sides of me now. It's almost like a ghost town. I don't hear Chris's music in the middle of the night. No more waving goodbye to Skip when I leave for work. No more hanging out with the neighbors and knocking back a 12-pack. It was fun to actually have people to hang out with that were literally right next door. As suddenly as they moved out, there are people getting ready to move in. I hope I have good new neighbors.

Skip and Chris found a 2-bedroom apartment. It's not too far from here. I'm sure I'll help them move in. I can't wait to see their new place. Most of their belongings are downstairs in the storage room here. Skip is using my storage room. They will be moving out their stuff soon enough. As soon as their stuff is gone, I will also begin the moving process. It's time to say farewell to this tiny dump.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Going co-Mando

After much research online and several visits to Guitar Outlet, I finally decided to buy a mandolin. The gentlemen at the guitar shop were very helpful and informative. I also learned that it's best to try out several instruments before I decide which one I want.

That's something that I failed to do when I bought both of my electric guitars. The first one I bought at Media Play before they went out of business. Since the store was closing, everything was marked way down. So I scooped up the cheap electric guitar thinking only of saving money (which is, unfortunately, probably the last thing you should think of when buying a musical instrument). The guitar, which wasn't that great to begin with, soon broke when something became loose and a wire broke inside. And, of course, the store's closed, so I can't take it back. I could always get it repaired, but I don't want to invest more money in a hopeless guitar. The second electric guitar I bought at Guitar Outlet. My mistake was that I got the first guitar that was handed to me instead trying out others to be sure which guitar feels right, sounds right, etc. The guitar doesn't have the greatest tone, and the strings rattle. I think I'm going to trade it in for a better one, even if I pay a little more.

This time, however, I did my research. I took several trips to the store and looked at all the mandolins. Several were way out of my price range, but I looked anyway. I picked them up, made some chord shapes, strummed and plucked. I inspected the instruments to check for damage or flaws, and sure enough, there was one with a broken neck that had obviously been repaired. It was only $99. I wouldn't be getting that one. The older gentlemen showed me some mandolins and explained to me the differences in quality. The really nice ones are all hardwood and the cheaper ones are laminate. The hardwood ones are sturdier and have better tone. He also recommended a brand name.

I continued to look at the other instruments and ultimately went with the gentleman's recommendations. I bought a Kentucky KM-150 (click the link to see it on the Saga website). It is a beautiful instrument. I am very happy with it. It is a very well-crafted instrument. The quality is superb. The gentlemen told me to keep the receipt, and if there are any problems with it, bring it back and they'll fix it for free. You can't argue with that. He also gave me the number of a mandolin teacher so I can get lessons.

I've had my beautiful mandolino for 4 days now and I am in love with it. I am learning to play some songs already. It is a welcome addition to my musical arsenal. Maybe one day, I'll get a new electric guitar. And some bongos. And maybe some more things. And a place to put it all.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Hello, old friends! Happy Spring! It's been a while since I've visited my blog. I know... I've been negligent. How could I keep away for so long? The truth is that I've been a busy man. I've been cleaning my apartment and getting ready to move, although I'm not sure where. Anywhere but here. Someplace on the bus line. My neighbor and I are looking into sharing a 2-bedroom apartment. It will be easier on both of us because we can split the rent and utilities. He's a good, trustworthy friend, and also the CLEANEST person I know. He's very neat and orderly, which is a good influence on me.

I've put my music project on hold in the meantime until I can get some things done and get into a better place with more room. I couldn't possibly make music here. I barely have enough room for my guitars as it is. Also, Stacy has moved yet further away, making it difficult for us to get together. I miss her, although she is doing well. I talk to her occasionally.

I've also started dating... SSH! Don't tell anyone! My friend Jon and I have started seeing each other again. We're taking things slow and casual. Rushing into things with high expectations, and going way too fast, head first, will only lead to disaster. So I want to keep things fun and lighthearted. No pressure, no stress. It will be nice to have a companion, since my *other* companion is so far away.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Music Project: Part One

The idea of some sort of music project has been lurking around in my brain for years. I've never played in a band, and I really don't have the connections to join or start a band. I am not a great singer and I could never be a "solo artist." Nevertheless, I love music, and I love guitars. I've been playing for almost 10 years now, and I'm confident enough in my playing to want to share it with others in some way. I've written several songs over the years and I would like to record some of them.

When Stacy visited over the holidays, she and I discussed making some recordings for fun. This idea completely makes sense because Stacy and I have the same taste in music. She listens to everything I listen to and more. We enjoy singing our favorite songs together. Most of the musicians and singers we admire are female, and I always had the idea that if I had a band, I would have a female singer. But this is not going to be a band. It will just be a fun recording project. It will be mine and Stacy's lovechild. The whole experience will be worth more than the actual music created.

I've never done any serious recording, just some noodling around on a cheap karaoke machine when I was a kid. My brothers and I used to make tapes of us doing silly commercials for fake products and singing ridiculous jingles. We also pretended we were radio DJs and played songs in between our nonsense ramblings. Despite all that, I never really attempted to record music, except for two occasions I can remember. One time I hooked up my keyboard to the karaoke machine with an adaptor Robert gave me and recorded a song and listened to the playback. Another time I stuck the microphone inside my acoustic guitar and recorded some riffs over the song "Angel" by Fleetwood Mac (from the Tusk album).

My neighbor Chris is also a musician as well as a computer geek (I use the term affectionately). I'm discussing with him some ideas about music recording, in which he has experience. I'm also going to ask my cousin (who is also, coincidentally, named Chris) and see if he has any advice or recommendations.

I plan on getting a small home recording device of some kind, one that allows me to record multiple tracks (guitar, keyboard, vocals, etc.) and mix them. I'm also going to need some sort of music software that allows me to mix the songs on my computer. Once the recording process is finished, I plan on making some CDs. That part will be easy. I have a long way to go...

I'm currently browsing through and trying to soak in as much as possible. I have a feeling this idea is going to be expensive...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's been a while since I've done any blogging. The holiday season kept me busy. Even though I anticipate it every year, it was still quite strenuous, yet fun. Actually, it seemed like one big, continuous holiday. It started at work. I got nice gifts from a couple of the agencies at work. It was so kind of them to think of me, and I know it is an expression of their gratitude for keeping their agencies clean and for being so friendly and sociable. I appreciate their thoughtfulness and generosity. I'm grateful to have a good job with such nice people. That same evening I went to a Holigays party at a Youth Center where I used to attend a youth support group when I was a teenager. It was nice to see some people I haven't seen in a while. I took a swing at the piƱata and sang gay Christmas carols (which has now become a tradition at the Youth Center). I also gave one of my paintings as a gift to the Youth Center, and the facilitator was thrilled. She said she would find a special place to hang it. At the end of the week we had a little party at work and it was a nice, relaxing day. My neighbor, Skip, also gave me a nice gift. I'm also fortunate to have such a nice neighbor.

I spent Christmas Eve with my mom, Don, and my brothers. I had dinner with my family and brought a few small presents for everyone. My parents didn't have the money for presents or a tree this year, but at least I brought them some Christmas joy. I worry about my youngest brother especially, because he's still a kid. It's unfortunate that he cannot experience the fun and magic of the holiday season as I did when I was a child. I think it's my duty to bring a little of that magic to him, to keep the spirit alive in is heart. I know he appreciated it. I overheard him talking on the phone to one of his friends who asked him what he got for Christmas, and he told them. Imagine telling your friends you got nothing at all... how horrible that would be! For me, it's not about the presents; I would still be happy if I got nothing at all, but Donny should be able to enjoy the holidays and be allowed the simple pleasures of being a kid. I'm glad I went over there and spent time with everyone, because all I really wanted for Christmas was for my family to be happy together.

The next day, my dad picked up Robert and I and we went over to Nonna's house. We had a great dinner (of course) and opened presents. My cousins had a good time playing with their toys. Tony got an animatronic parrot that moves and repeats everything you say. Nonna was teaching it to say words and phrases in Italian. I've never seen her laugh so much. We also watched the movie Ratatouille, which I missed when it was playing in theatres. After another great day at Nonna's house, I came home with a lot of food to fill my refrigerator.

That evening I got a call from Stacy. She was at her mom's house and wanted to know if she could come over that night instead of on Saturday. She came over and I got to spend Christmas with her, as well. She stayed with me for a week and a half. It was a different experience living with someone, even for a short amount of time, but it was fun. Stacy and I have a lot of fun when we're together. We stayed up late at night and listened to music, watched videos on YouTube, and sat around and talked. On New Year's Eve, I had my best friend beside me. We cruised through a 12-pack of Smirnoff, watched the ball drop, and at midnight, she was the one I kissed. I wouldn't want to ring in the New Year with anyone but Stacy. She is the love of my life. She went home yesterday, and now it's awkward not having her here. But we had a blast, and now I'm recovering and resting from my extended holiday!