Rerun.

I’m already in a weekend mood, so I think it’s time for a club bunny dance track.

This song originally hit the clubs in 1990 and tried to crack the American Top 40 in 1993 (when I was a baby radio DJ). It’s definitely a club track and anyone with an ear for dance music of the era can probably tell who the track was originally written for1.

I had a a clear 12-inch single of this track that I spun the hell out both in Jamestown and in Utica, as well as other gigs I was doing at the time. In fact, I still play it in my early set when I’m out and about doing the DJ thing.

Here’s Lonnie Gordon with “Happenin’ All Over Again”.

1 This track was originally written for Donna Summer and her the follow-up album to “Another Place and Time”. Donna is superstitious of recording tracks that talk about a love ending, so she passed on it. It’s produced by Stock, Aiken and Waterman who produced Donna’s aforementioned album, as well as Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue, Boy Krazy, Dead or Alive and many other tracks of the era.

Explanation.

I must be getting old. There are many moments that I long for the simpler times of days gone by1. To reminisce, I offer this little giggle.

1 Yes, I know that I would not enjoy the same freedoms as a gay man then as I do today, no need to remind me. I still long for the ‘good ol’ days’.

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Springtime.



Springtime., originally uploaded by iMachias.

After the brief hint at summer with temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit for the past couple of days, today is a typical April day in Central New York with abundant sunshine and closer to 60 degrees.

Tom is celebrating the arrival of better weather with his favourite springtime activity, which is sitting in the mulch along the back patio.

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Ready to Roll.



Frost., originally uploaded by iMachias.

The big camera is out and about today. Here’s my first shot at trying to be a little more serious about taking photographs. Bent license plate notwithstanding.

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Mention.



087.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.

I have been saying for a while that I want to get better at photography. Now I’m never going to be able to take breathtaking shots like my friends Kevin, Dale or Terry in Grand Rapids, but I feel the need to have a camera at my side and snap some slices of life from time to time. The camera on my iPhone is like taking an old Polaroid, you get the jist of the moment but you don’t really capture the quality of the photo, no matter how much you shake and blow on it. However, at times I’m lazy and I just take a picture with the iPhone that’s usually within arms reach.

I have a fairly new Sony Cyber-shot that I use for most of the photos I take. I was mentioning to Greg (another very good photographer) over the weekend that I want to take more photos, so naturally I left the camera in Connecticut when I headed home yesterday. Just mentioning the fact that I wanted to take more photos said to the Universe that I should leave the camera behind.

So tonight I pulled out my older Cyber-shot, a DSC-S40 that has a really small viewscreen but takes pretty good pictures.

I’m thinking that I’m going to start dragging around the “big” camera we bought five years ago, a Sony DSC-F828. I have to admit that camera was quite pricey when we bought it, we should probably use it more. Our friend Marcus always has his big camera with him, maybe I should follow his example in that department.

087a.365
087a.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.
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New Haven, Conn.

So this past weekend was spent in New Haven, Connecticut. Aside from the E-Z Pass fiasco of yesterday, it was the perfect weekend and luckily, a long weekend for me.

The reason for the trip was the spring performance of the Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus. This year’s theme was “69: Still Divine.” They sang songs from the year 1969. The show was comprised of several medleys that were themed: “TV themes” (my friend Greg can belt out the theme from Star Trek like nobody’s business) “Girls Night Out” and “Keep The Faith”. And of course, no celebration of 1969 would be complete without the Laugh-In joke wall and someone dressed up in a Cindy Brady wig as the guys sang the theme from The Brady Bunch.

Here’s Earl, Jamie, Jeff and I waiting for the show to start at the Shubert Theatre.

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There is one more show of the season, next weekend at the Bushnell in Hartford. If you’re in the area I highly recommend attending the concert. It’s a lot of fun.

After the concert we headed over to the York Street Café for a couple of O’Douls and then called it a night.

Sunday we had a breakfast brunch at Greg’s. Earl and Jamie headed back home, Jeff headed back to New Jersey. I had a long weekend at my fingertips so I stayed around was joined by our friend Dave.

Here’s Greg and I waiting for Dave’s train from Manhattan to arrive.

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Sunday night Greg, Dave and I went to ‘Bar’ in New Haven for pizza and salad. When it comes to pizza I prefer a thin crust and ‘Bar’ is really good at the thin crust. Their mashed potato pizza is really, really good. Dave and Greg pose by the brewing apparatus as we are waiting for our seats.

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As our table was being cleared, the previous guest there decided it was important to tell the hostess how terrible the service was. This proved to be just the yapping from a cranky woman, as the waitresses provided us with excellent service. Perhaps we were friendlier looking or something.

Yesterday I took Dave back to LaGuardia and then tried to navigate to the Major Deegan without a map. I ended up taking the long way around a bit (the Battery Tunnel was involved) before I found the West Side Highway and made my way up to the GWB and jumped on the Major Deegan, but all in all it was a good ride (aside from the E-Z Pass fun).

The weather was spectacular, the company was grand, the hot tub was bubbling and those important to me were all generally in the same place at the same time.

All in all it was a great weekend.

I Hate Them.

“A new password has been mailed to you and should arrive within a couple of days. Please check your mail.

This is a single-use password. You will be asked to change it after you login.”

Really? The best your system can do is take 36 hours to mail a password? With our current state of technology?

Now that’s certainly confidence building.

E-Z Pass. Bastards.

And It Continues.

800 333-TOLL

“I’m sorry, you have called the E-Z Pass New York center after regular business hours. Please call during regular business hours.”

How about I only pay tolls during regular business hours?

Bastards.

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The Fast Lane.

So I am on my way home from a spectacular weekend in Connecticut. I will write about the adventure later tonight, as I am currently sitting at the Sloatsburg Service Area on the New York State Thruway. I am having a quick lunch and taking a moment to chill before continuing the 200 or so remaining miles to home.

It was a year or so ago that the expiration date on our credit/debit cards from HSBC expired and the bank dutifully sent us new cards that were good until 2012 (impending date of doom notwithstanding). Good enough. However, a couple of weeks ago HSBC sent us an additional set of credit/debit cards with a completely different set of numbers on it. Since we pay many of our bills through online services using this account, this has turned out to be a pain in the ass.

One such service is E-Z Pass. Normally I would provide a link to this service but quite frankly I think they are a bureaucratic ball of red tape and quite frankly they can go suck it as far as I’m concerned.

Here’s the deal. We have been changing credit card numbers on the aforementioned accounts as we received notices from the organisations because Earl and I like to act like big-wigs and have multiple accounts with different banks and sometimes we like to spread the financial love around to the bank we deem most worthy. Apparently HSBC is the card on the E-Z Pass account.

Driving to Connecticut in Friday I received NO alerts that something was amiss on our account. I breezed through the tolls with nary a message aside from “E-Z Pass Paid”.  On his way back home, Earl encountered an “account low” message and promptly notified me of this. This has happened in the past; we make a call to the E-Z Pass center and then all is well.

This morning, as I was driving Dave to LaGuardia so he could do the flying thing I decided to try calling E-Z Pass to fix the issue over the phone. Admittedly, I shouldn’t have waited until I was on the road but I had more important things on my mind this morning. After fumbling through an endless menu of options I reached a woman that couldn’t help me, who then transferred me to a man that said I was at the wrong department who then transferred me to someone else. The third person was encountered as I was approaching one of the bridges; I figured I’d get an “account low” message and go on my merry way.

Wrong.

The gate stayed down. Traffic began to pile up behind me. A gruff looking woman came from a nearby booth and asked for my tag. As the THIRD person at E-Z Pass asked me for my account number (quick aside: we can use the account all over the Northeast but the call-in center can’t send my tag number with my call when they transfer me?) I said I’d give it to her as soon as I got my tag back from the gruff woman.

“Oh, you’re not getting the tag back”, she shouted over the sound of backed up traffic behind me.

“Never mind, she won’t give me the tag so I don’t need you”, I yelled into the speakerphone and then hung up the phone.

$5.00 later and without my E-Z Pass tag, along with a notification of account suspension, I was back on my way to LaGuardia.

After dropping Dave off at Terminal B, I decided to get E-Z Pass back on the phone to fix the issue. I might not have a tag, but at least I’ll get the account fixed and they’ll send me a new tag.

Nope.

You can’t fix this sort of thing over the phone. No tag number, no can do. They can look up the account by my address but they can’t tell me that I’m me, even though I confirmed the last four digits of my phone number, the make of my car, the license plate number and the fact that I had just had my tag taken away from me.

I have to go to an E-Z Pass center in person to pick up a new tag. The closest center to our house is 60 miles away and quite frankly I don’t have the interest nor the time.

So all in all, I snapped. I told the unfriendly phone person that she sucked, the service sucks and then I rambled on about something like Big Brother and I’m not going to be chipped by the likes of her.

Tonight I will log on and make sure they have the correct information for our account so that we make up a negative balance. Earl will still be able to use the account for work. But I am NOT going to drive 120 miles (and pay their high toll!) to get another tag. I refuse to do it and I’ll make sure hundreds of toll collectors choke on my exhaust before I set foot into an E-Z Pass Center to get a tag all in the name of convenience.

By the way, take a look at some Thruway overpasses sometime. You’ll notice there are E-Z Pass readers NOWHERE near an interchange. Someone is watching you. The conspiracy theorist in me knows they are going to start issuing speeding tickets via the E-Z Pass service someday. I just know they are.

But not me. I will NOT be using an E-Z Pass tag in my vehicle for as long as I live.

E-Z Pass can go suck it.

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And Then There’s Bea.

Bea Arthur died this morning. She was age 86. Family members reported that she was battling cancer.

One of the true greats, Beatrice Arthur was a strong woman and a phenomenal actress. Earl and I had the opportunity to see her show, “Bea Arthur On Broadway: Between Friends” back in 2002. We waited by the back stage door after the show to see her; she was unable to meet the fans waiting but she was cordial as she passed by, being escorted by friends.  I often thought of her as a ‘handsome’ woman. Her presence reminded me in some ways of my Aunt Jen.

Below is one of my favourite clips from “The Golden Girls”; Bea almost loses it during the scene.

RIP Bea. You will be missed.