Tag Archives: san antonio

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.


  • 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.

Missy Elliott’s “Under Construction”

I’m assuming that for many people out there, certain songs or albums will always call up certain memories, times and places.  For the period of my life when I first moved to Las Vegas after having been living in the Azores, the soundtrack would definitely be Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s fantastic and, in my opinion, best album, Under Construction.

My first interaction with Missy came from my last year or so in college (1998-99) while living with Rolondo and Ryan at Casa Ophir.  Rolondo introduced me to the world of 90s Hip-Hop but I think my major favorites from what I heard were definitely the Timbaland & Magoo and Missy Elliott songs.  Back then, it was all about “The Rain” and Missy’s incredible videos from that period.

From that point on, I was a fan.  While I was living in San Antonio for my first assignment in the Air Force, Missy released my second favorite album of hers, Miss E…So Addictive.  It’s this album that has the ridiculously popular “Get Ur Freak On” but that wasn’t the song that I immediately fell in love with.  For me, it was ALL about “4 My People”, a way-ahead-of-its-time epic dance-floor anthem.  To this day, it’s still one of my favorite dance tracks and can easily hold its own against the new stuff you hear nowadays:

Missy’s music was a staple in all my dance playlists through my time in the Azores.  “4 My People” also woke up and clarified my love of dance music which was great in the Azores what with it being a Portuguese territory and hence caught up in the European tradition of loving dance music.  So yay for all that exposure!  Side Azores note:  It’s hilarious that one of the tracks that was ALWAYS played in any of the Terceira nightclubs you’d go to during that period (2001-2002) was Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” – that was a freaking anthem for those guys and would always result in a packed dance floor.  No new Missy Elliott album was released during my Azores days though, and I had to wait till my return to the States when I moved to Las Vegas.  That was when Under Construction was released and I was back just in time to appreciate it.

underconstruction_missyelliottNow, I could see that from a glance at this album cover, you’d be disinclined to see anything special here.  But Missy is special and she reaches the apex of her creative talents with this album.  Her collaborations with the best hip-hop artists of the time like Jay-Z, Ludacris, Method Man and even Beyonce show she’s at the top of her game but also having a lot of fun.  Timbaland’s production and creation of epic sounds and beats can’t be beat.  But what I think I responded to almost initially while giving the disc a first listen in my brand new 2003 black Volkswagen Jetta (miss you, Catherine!) was Missy’s humanity.  She reminisces quite often about a simpler time when hip-hop was about fun and the best rhymes, not about violence and death.  But this album is not about preaching; it’s about putting into action that desire to have hip-hop be fun, and DAMN, there is a lot of it to be had within this album.

051023 - 45 - Catherine on top
Catherine, my beautiful VW Jetta

Catherine and I indeed bonded through repeated playings of Under Construction.  Even though the lead single from the album was “Work It” with its insane and untypeable reverse lyrics and dirty grooves, that wasn’t my initial favorite song. Nope, I was blown away by the song directly following it, “Gossip Folks”.  Dear God, what an amazing song.  There’s a ridiculously amazing beat driving the song which is an unholy blend of “Double Dutch Bus” and lyrics that are barely understandable.  It sounds like a mess on paper, but when you hear it, there’s nothing you can do but just dance and turn that music up.

The video is also a lot of fun but the song by itself grabbed me and made me its bitch.  It was and still is incredible.  I can still vividly remember driving on Flamingo Blvd towards my new home on Nellis Blvd while cranking this song in my hot and amazing new car.  I really was feeling alive at that moment and I was so excited to be in Vegas with a new job and a whole new world awaiting me.  And best of all?  Casinos!  Now obviously, if you’ve ever read my blog/website during that time, you know that it kind of didn’t work out all that well, especially professionally.  But I did have a lot of fun with some great friends there and that by itself was what made it worth it.

“Work It” and “Gossip Folks” aren’t the only attractions of the album.  The intro track, “Go To The Floor” makes you do precisely that with an intense beat.  “Funky Fresh Dressed” is a bit goofy old school while “Back in The Day” wistfully remembers the good ol’ days of hip-hop.  The other driving track that gets me going is “Slide”, a song infused with a drawling dirty beat and a lyric of “don’t it sound so fantastic” that every time I hear I have to sing along to as if I’m bouncing down stairs as the way Missy sings it is so damn amazing.

I miss the Missy Elliott of the 2000s – hell, I just miss Missy Elliott, as she has seemingly disappeared from public view.  I have read that she’s fighting a disease which has kept her sidelined.  She did release two songs a year or so ago and I regrettably was pretty disappointed as it was very generic stuff.  Missy has always had a distinct voice with unique beats in her songs so to hear her no longer have that in those newer songs gave me pause.  But perhaps she is going to find that voice again and surprise us all again someday.  I’d love for Joan (my new red Mazda 3) to have a song of her own.