The Ridiculously Awesome “Reunited Apart” Series by Josh Gad

I just finished watching the latest (and last, for this “season”) Youtube video series put on by Josh Gad (Book of Mormon, “Olaf”) and I’m in such a great mood.   Since the Pandemic started, he has put together the Zoom calls to end all Zoom calls by reuniting casts from epic 1980s movies – so basically, these are dream reunions for us in Gen X.   Not only is it awesome on its own that he does that, but he’s also raising money for various charities to help support those hurt by the pandemic’s economic toll, so I am only too happy to chip in $50 here and there to help.   Today’s episode that I watched?   Fuckin’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, that’s what!!!!!

It’s so goddamn good, and the entire time I had a smile or was laughing.   Honestly, nearly EVERYone from the cast was there (with the exception of Jeffrey Jones as he ended up getting convicted of pedophilia, so yeah, he’s persona non grata), even freakin’ Ben Stein AND in a surprise cameo at the very end, Kristy Swanson.   The 45 minutes blow by so damn fast watching Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck (who Larry & I saw at the In N Out in Burbank one time!), Mia Sara, Jennifer Grey, the parents, and more reminisce and re-enact scenes.   That movie is just the greatest.   I actually recently rewatched it some time during the pandemic and it just holds up so well.   The parade scene, everything.

You gotta watch till the end for obvious reasons, but there’s also a fantastic John Hughes dedication that brings out a TON of brief re-enactment cameos from mega stars of John Hughes’ movies, and I can’t stop laughing at Jane Krakowski reciting her “french kiss” line from National Lampoon’s Vacation.   It’s such a perfect line for her and she fucking delivers it just perfectly, still.

There have been other reunions that Josh Gad has hosted – I watched the first one for The Goonies and that was spectacular.  Also watched the one for Splash, but I haven’t seen them all.   I highly recommend you seek them out, as they’re magical, especially if you’re in the Gen X timeframe like me.   Larry would have fucking loved watching these.

Ups and Downs

No doubt that this is a really hard time.   For me, for sure, but for everyone.   But yeah, I’ll say I’ve got a bit of an extra heaping of bullshit that can overwhelm me at times.   I had a bad Wednesday.  It was not good.  My friends helped me out of it.  I would like to say I’ll avoid getting into that mindset again, and I’ll certainly try – but that kind of feeling kind of is just hard to avoid 100% of the time.  Anyway, I guess that’s enough to let you know that I’m trying my best to keep going and I can do so because of my friends and certain parts of family.   Enough said I guess there.   I’m just going to post some fun pictures and tell some stories briefly about good things that have been going on, fun stuff I’ve been watching or playing, howza bout that?

Crossrope:  I added jumping rope to my exercise activities.   So in addition to my daily yoga (I’m up to 126 days straight! go me! Thanks Yoga with Adriene!) I now will either do some jump rope routine or I’ll do the Bodyboss band system.   Hopefully that’ll help in the long run.  I need the cardio and the strength training.

The jump ropes are really good and assist in making it easier.  I had bought some junky Amazon rope and it was totally the wrong length and material.  Anyway, here comes my swimsuit body, lolololol.

2 weekends ago (June 14), I met up with my PwC friends and coworkers out at Valley Village park in North Hollywood.   We were nicely outdoors and socially distanced, and it was great to see people again.   It was a really wonderful day, perfect weather, and we got to celebrate Mel’s engagement from the day before!  It was the first time I’d been out to a social gathering of any kind since the lockdown.  Crazy.

While at the park above, Mel & Josh (her great fiance) brought a cool Bose portable speaker.   I was jealous and bought one online right then and there as my roofdeck needs something and the Beats Pill that Larry had got so long ago back in Silver Lake as a way to get that AT&T phone extender is getting gross and totally dead.  So, problem solved.  I highly highly recommend it if you’re in the market.  The sound is fantastic, bluetooth, etc.

Very exciting recently was Michancy came down last weekend (June 18-21)!   I’ve missed her so much and it worked out for her to drive down and we indulged in drinking everything, watching all of Picard, playing Ticket to Ride, drinking more, inviting Nicki over for rooftop fun and games, cooking wonderful meals (filet mignon on Friday night, and spaghetti carbonara the next even though I had basically passed out after daydrinking, managed to wake up and motivate myself as I knew the ingredients were there and goddamn it came out good), playing Just Dance and burning off alcohol, and overall, just having a fantastic time with BFFs while the world continues it’s march to destruction.  YAYYYYYYY.

After Michancy left on Sunday, I admit I think it was hard to come back down to reality and be alone again.  Maybe that was why my Wednesday was so hard?   Combination of reality check, my mom isn’t doing that great and keeps falling (I ended up buying a whole new bed after I had already bought her a whole new bed when moving her in March), and I really really miss Larry still.  I’d give anything to have him be here to get through all this with – whether it’s the pandemic, the issues with mom, my resentment of a lot of my family, the political nightmare that is our presidency…any one of those things would be enough to justify my alcohol consumption, but all of them at once?  And the fact i’m still grieving Larry and stuck alone for most of it?   It’s hard.   The good times pre- his final descent are what keep me smiling, but I can remember those last 3 months vividly and it wrecks me.  What he went through and to witness it.  It’s just fucking not fair and I fucking hate everything at times. Most times, really.

My friends talked me from the ledge Wednesday and on Thursday, as we had a nice zoom call and I can’t tell you how much I love them.   We’ll get through this all together.  I think Nicki probably recognized that maybe I might need some friendship and I recognize I do, so I invited her over this weekend to hang out, so we did.   It was a fun day and a half – we hung out and enjoyed the roof deck yesterday and I introduced her to the game of Mastermind, which is an old favorite my mom and I used to play way back in the day.  It’s a classic, and perfect for 2 players.  Then we watched two seasons of Search Party and damn, that show is something else.   It’s funny as hell and I love the characters, but it is a show that goes to some surprisingly dark places and there’s really no way it doesn’t continue to get darker.  The 3rd season is out now, so I guess we’ll be able to catch up.  We also watched a super fun movie on Netflix:

Eurovision, ABBA, Will Farrell, Rachel McAdams… hot Russian backup dancers and promises of even more great European songs?  I was in long before this came out, but holy shit, the final product is fantastic.   I really liked that it didn’t make fun of Eurovision – the original songs are like, really good.  Anyway, Jaja Ding Dong!

For dinner last night, we made Larry’s arroz con pollo recipe and it really is just a stupendous dish and it was nice to make that, hopefully with Larry smiling in satisfaction somewhere out there.

What else have I been watching or doing?

  • Detroit: Become Human – I heard about this game by seeing a picture of this cute guy from it and because i apparently can’t help but be distracted by hot guys, I read into it.  Saw a sale for it on Steam, bought it, and wow, I’ve been so entranced by the game.  So much fun, and I find myself playing it far longer than I probably should some nights.   It’s a cool story game about androids gaining sentience, and the androids are of course all attractive.   Anyway, I Heart Connor forever and always. 
  • Twin Peaks: The Return: I’ve raved about this plenty before, and it’s just so good getting to the end section The Return.  Still hard to believe Larry & I went to Seattle and did a Twin Peaks day just after the conclusion of the show.
  • Control:  A really cool videogame about the ultimate terrible office building filled with possessed-by-demons humans and you have the only way of defeating it.  Trippy environments and a relatable protagonist help make this a really fun play.   Occasional challenging to the point I have to walk away and think about it.
  • Anno 1800:  This game is just gonna be an always-playing situation for a while.  It’s so good and mesmerizing.  I’m nowhere near done or at the endgame, which is what it’s all about.

Anyway, I guess that’s it.   Maybe I’ll update more often – maybe that will help my emotional state.

Black Lives Matter

As a white man, I know I have privilege just due to the color of my skin.   It is not a surprise that across our country (hell, the world) massive protests are occurring against the police brutality and systemic racist policies in place that keep this 400+ year system in place.  It’s always been rigged to favor whites and/or the rich, and things have only gotten glaringly worse with income inequality gap growing ever wider as policies are pushed by governments to enshrine that.

This video featuring Kimberly Jones is amazing – the end of the video has gone viral, but the entirety of this 7 minute video is quite worth watching:

I’ve been blown away by what’s going on.    The shocking videos we see of police brutality, not just of George Floyd’s murder, but throughout our history, have desensitized us to the fearsome police force that has been put in place.  I’d love to believe it’s just a few bad apples, but not enough good apples are doing anything about it to stop or improve things.   I can’t write a dissertation on all that ails us as I do not have that experience or knowledge, but reading and listening and doing what I can (I’ve donated for money for bail funds, campaign fundraisers and more to help with the protests and to ensure that on November 3, we get that fucker out of office and most of his friends too) is where I’m at now.

This past Monday when we had our first curfew and that fucker threatened to use the military against American citizens (and yes, I say citizens and not just the “rioters” and “looters” – we can all see for ourselves that the police are NOT making a distinction between peaceful protesters and troublemakers) was not a good day for me.   I got far too drunk and got really emotional about everything – not just our current fucked-up state, but Larry, my mom, the Covid pandemic…it’s all a lot to deal with, and it’s not like there’s an ending in sight.    But I, as are we all, am persisting, with the help of friends, coworkers, and some family.  Let’s hope and work so we can all through this together, in a better place.

5 Years Ago & 2001

Today marks 5 years from the day when I asked Larry to marry me.

Engaged! (the whole story)

It had been a long time coming, and honestly long overdue on our part to finally make that leap, but we did. We leapt.  And 11 months later, we got married.   It was amazing times, and we had our life together, and then cancer came and ended it.  I can mostly ignore the end months nowadays, but those memories don’t truly go away.  It was awful.  It makes me cry when I do think about it.   I’ll never not cry when I think about that.

But the times before that, engaged or not, won’t be forgotten.   I’ve got pictures, blog posts, memories to help me remember those good times.   Nothing was ever perfect and I won’t claim that here, but god damn, it really was just wonderful to have found someone who got me.  I got him.  When we needed space we figured out how to reduce getting on the other’s nerves.  We helped each other live more full lives.   It wrecks me to know I won’t ever see him again.

Larry’s birthday is tomorrow.   A group of friends and family will be getting together on a call to celebrate.  Not everyone will be there, and I completely understand.  I’m not even sure how I feel about it – I want to see people but “celebrating” his birthday doesn’t sound right – he’s dead.  I just want him back and for the last 2 years to be undone.   It’s naive.

I am not in the same emotional state as I was earlier this year.   I don’t know how to really describe it.   I am used to being alone more than I was.  I guess old habits die hard, as yeah, I have been alone before Larry so it comes back to you.   The bed is all mine.  All this room is mine to manage, and not share.  Cooking meals is up to me.   If I get lazy, I can order and Larry isn’t there to mock my laziness.  No one is.  It’s just me.  The scar tissue is building up.   The good memories fill me with melancholy, but don’t hurt as much as they used to.   The bad memories rip me apart as I mentioned above just as much as when they were new.  I guess it’ll be about managing how to deal with that going forward.

I loved him so much.   I will always be so happy we had that time together.   He was the best husband I could have asked for.

I found myself reminiscing about times pre-Larry – basically, Air Force times.  I dove into looking at Azores memories – especially as I realized that my site links to those primitive HTML pages and small-res pictures still.   Those pages were also written when I was under DADT so it felt good to actually write a little bit more with that added context gone.  I’m going to keep diving into these older pictures and keep updating, but here are some recent ones I’ve posted – good times had by all!

Halloween Party at the Salga House

An Initiation to Tropical Point

So young!   I then also was thinking about my San Antonio summer in 2001 right before I left, and the fact that I jumped out of a plane that summer!   What a trip.  I found the official video that I bought through the company as it’s like, who knows if I’m doing this again?   Let’s get the video!

It doesn’t look like there’s a previous time I posted pictures and such from that time, and I guess when I get to it, I’ll do a proper post there and include this video again.   But it was too good to pass up and not show immediately.  Again, the youth of me back then, and I remember how much I hated how I looked then.   People are always so stupid about how they look – just give yourself 20 years and you’ll realize how cute you were!

A random thing that I was entertained by – while I’ve been heavily playing the game Anno 1800 (as it is amazing and addictive), I also work in occasional playtime of The Division 2, which I’ve talked about before.   So, there’s an expansion that puts you back in NYC, the site of TD1, but this time in the southern tip of Manhattan.  Anyway, you can wander around Battery Park and the Castle Clinton area, and I was doing that in the game when all of a sudden it looked and felt very familiar.  It’s not surprising, as the videogame makers did a really good job of recreating the city, but it was particularly jarring.   Then I remembered – oh yeah, Larry and I had walked around this park one day in February 2009.   I didn’t have a post about it but I did take pictures!  And I remembered a particular picture and was like, can I find that angle again in this game?  Yes, yes I can.

So here are the pictures from that day (Feb 15, 2009) so long ago – note I had just moved into the city so I was totally a local by then.

It was a nice day for that kind of a walk, and memorable.  And then I played the game, and you can take in-game photos:

Contrast with this:Crazy, huh?   Well, it’s not insane, but I just remember tripping out realizing I’d taken pictures right there!

I’ve been keeping sane by still doing yoga – in fact, this was Day 96 straight of Yoga w/ Adriene.   I’m currently doing her 30-day Dedicate series, and I gotta say, it’s a lot more intense than the previous programs.  I like it.

TV-wise:

  • Devs:  FANTASTIC.  Very visual, very interesting, and highly compelling sci-fi that while the main premise is highly improbable, everything else around felt right at home in 2020.
  • The Clone Wars:  Wrapped up my accelerated/targeted watch of this series and it was amazing.   The story of Ahsoka is amazing.  Obi Wan proves to be one of the more bad-ass Jedis, and I was here for it.  Made parts of the follow-up series, Rebels, much more emotional.
  • What We Do in the Shadows:  Season 2 is on fire, and it’s honestly one of the best comedies going.  I love that crazy crew but every time Nadja speaks, I just laugh.
  • The Great:  Another fucking amazing show, and while it may appear that it’s some kind of costume drama, oh boy you’d be wrong to overlook it.   Loosely it’s the story of Catherine the Great while she’s still married to her husband, the Emperor Peter (not Peter the Great, who we all agree to hate as he was the subject of my Final Jeopardy question, agreed?  HUZZAH!).   It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in quite a while, and the performances are all wonderful.  You’ll love it.

Alright, this post had a lot of schizophrenia in it.   That’s me lately.  Up, down, all around.   Stay safe.

“All Out of Love”

I know this is a sappy title, and while yes, my heart is utterly broken still by everything that’s going on, I’m not necessarily saying I’m “All out of Love.”  The issue is that Air Supply is in my head because one of their songs, “The One That You Love” is the #1 song in the current Number Ones article, and jesus that song is awful.   The video though, if you can deal with the song, is pure 1981 distilled into it’s heroin form, or so I’ve heard from “20/20”.

Anyway, Larry loved him some OTT melodramatic songs, and Air Supply was a band that provided those by the metric fuckton in the early 80s.   “All Out of Love” is simply fantastic, and is definitely the song I think of when I think of Air Supply.

It hits all of Larry’s song requirements, especially the powerful chorus allowing you to really belt the song out.  I miss Larry for different reasons at different times, and this morning I miss his singing.   He had a wonderful voice and really could hit those notes.   Anyway, as I sing along to it today, I get verklempt, but not inconsolable.  I’ve noticed a lot of love songs can work as grieving songs, except for the part where it’s just that the object of your affection thinks you’re nuts and isn’t dead.  I’m both happy and sad singing this song, in other words.

Yesterday (Mother’s Day) was a rough day for me.  I’ve told that to those who I talked to yesterday – and it was noticeably harder because I wasn’t prepared for it to be hard.   I first woke up and stumbled upon this article in social media, and damn, it hit hard, as yeah, many of these exact moments were ones we felt (and are still feeling).

Great way to start the day.   Then I tried calling mom with Stacie and she wouldn’t pick up the phone.  Gave up trying to talk to her with Stacie and repeatedly called, hoping she’d pick up.  Finally, after about 6 tries, she calls me back, without any sense of impatience or annoyance.   Just, her default state nowadays.   All that time waiting had already built my anxiety and emotions up and I couldn’t help but start crying on the phone.  She obviously was now aware I was not doing okay, and after talking for about 90 seconds (our average phone call time, nowadays), we disconnected.

I hadn’t really anticipated how much mom’s incapacity was going to hit me yesterday, so it came on like a freight train.   I was not good for most of the day.  I resent all those who still have a semblance of family that cares, that is still coherent, even in quarantine.   Seeing all the social media posts made me rage and cry and yeah, I cried a helluva lot yesterday.  It all sucks.   My friends and Stacie called me and that definitely helped – even just getting some of these emotions out, as painful as they are, helps.

It wasn’t until last night that I kind of turned the corner, when I started making dinner.   I hadn’t made one of the Instant Pot recipes since quarantine had started, and I wanted to do my fave, which is the Coq au Vin recipe.   I had ordered groceries via Instacart on Saturday, and they arrived Sunday morning, so I had everything I needed.   The mise en place always takes the longest time, but I managed to not fuck it up.  Watched videos on how to clean and slice a leek, as well as how to quarter a mushroom.   I was chatting with my friends during this time, and once I started cooking, I had opened my windows.   Across the way, my neighbors were also cooking, and we ended up having a brief conversation.  Having that really short moment of interaction, in person (but separate), was like a revelation.  It helped so much.  Other people interactions.  Go figure.  The dinner turned out fantastic, and while I was taking photos of all the prep and cooking, I ended up having a FaceTime dinner with Nicki so I actually didn’t take a picture of the finished product. D’oh.

Well, it’s back to the grind today.  An emotional day yesterday, but made it through.   The rest of the weekend is kind of a blur, tbh.   I played a lot of both Anno 2205 and Anno 1800, watched more of the The Clone Wars series (it’s so fucking good it’s shocking), watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Spiderman: Homecoming and ate food.  Go, me.

Since 2001 or so, sharing stuff