Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Neil Young Live at Massey Hall 1971

Neil Young is one of the most prolific artists, with his unique voice and
his insightful songwriting he led a generation of teens in the 70’s. In 1971, Neil Young performed live at Massey Hall in Toronto to sing the hits off his 1970 album “After the Gold Rush.” He also sang a bunch of never before released material that would go on his upcoming historical album “Harvest.” My father was a teenager during this time and worshipped this guy, he would play Neil Young’s songs over and over when I was a kid and I knew most every song by heart by the time I was four years old. It’s pretty obvious why I was named "Neil" after sharing this; my father named me after his favorite musician, Neil Young. My mother was going to name me Matthew Levi and my father nixed that before she could finish signing the birth certificate.

Above: My father in 1973, at the age of 16 years old. I was born less than a year after this picture was taken.

A new CD was released this past week of this historic concert that Neil Young did at Massey Hall in 1971 for the first time. I listened to the CD on iTunes and I was completely blown away by the power of this guys voice and the emotion that went into his singing. The entire CD is live, it’s sounds better than a studio album, and Neil sings all his songs to the tune of his acoustic guitar and playis the piano. I never really liked my first name much and never really understood why my father named me after Neil Young. I also was never a big fan of Young but after listening to this 'new' CD I understood why my father named name after this man and what the appeal was. Neil Young defined a generation and is unlike any singer songwriter that the world had seen at that time. My father was one of the many teenaged boys that were drawn to these touching songs and the whiny, high-pitched voice of this rock legend. Listening to this live CD as an adult I fully embrace my name and the meaning behind it and I understand the appeal of Young. I highly recommend this CD to anyone who loves music and if you have never listened to Neil’s music, this CD will make you an instant fan.

Monday, March 26, 2007

North Carolina Bowled Over

Above: Paul and me at bowling.

Paul and I used to be on a bowling league in Boston with two of our good friends, Charlie and Jack. Our team was called “The Wire Hangers,” a close second for team name was “The Donna Martin Graduates.” We came in second overall in the entire bowling league in 2005. We miss our old bowling buddies! So we were all geared up to go to bowling this Sunday with our future softball teams. I am not the best bowler, but I find bowling to be so much fun and a great way to get to know our teammates. Most of the guys on our softball teams are 30+ and everyone is super friendly. My softball manager, Terry and his boyfriend, Hakan, were on our team and we bowled against Paul’s coach, James, his boyfriend, and two of Paul’s teammates Lance and Gordon. Gordon was the guy who nailed my in the mouth with the softball, so it was nice to see him again!:-) Also, it was Gordon’s 50th birthday so we all had some delicious cake.

Above: Left to right, Lance, Matt, James, Terry, Hakan, Gorden,
Me and Paul.

The fun started when a bunch of big burly hairy guys started dressing up in drag to bowl. It was hilarious to watch all these big guys apply their make-up, style their wigs and bowl in strikes! It brought back memories when I won $700.00 in the bowling league in Boston…my raffle ticket was called and I had to pick out of a hat which way I had to bowl to win the big jackpot. The choices were, bowl left handed, bowl granny style or bowl in drag…. of course I got the bowl in drag and I NEVER get strikes But this time I bowled a strike and won &700.00 right before Xmas 2 years ago. It also reminded me I had this picture of Paul below; he had to do the same thing!

Above: Shirley Temple? No way, it's Paul trying to win some cash last year at the Beantown bowling league.

Bowling was a blast as you can see in some of the pictures below. It’s really cool that we are making some pretty great friends out here. Check out some of the pictures below:

After bowling Paul and I went to the Pilsner to meet another new friend, Matt. Paul met Matt a when he first came to SF while watching sports at the Pilsner and their dry wit and wisecrack banter cemented them as friends. So we met Matt to watch the college basketball game I have been waiting for, North Carolina vs Georgetown. Matt could be Mike Clisham’s twin brother…well maybe not twin brother more like younger brother, the similarities are uncanny. I was first in my work pool and if NC went to the final four, I would have picked all four team in the final four and would have been a shoe-in to win. I was all pumped up with my NC blue visor on and I felt confident that NC was going to win as they were hanging on to a 10 point lead for most of the game. It came down to the wire at the end and both teams went into overtime, I was starting to feel nervous but was confident that my boy Tyler Hansbourough was going to come through and win it. Then it all went to shit, the ref’s obviously had money on G’Twon to win and they called three of the worst calls in the history of college basketball and they helped G’Town win. It sucks when the ref’s bet money on a team and helps the team win with several bad calls. Oh, well. There’s always next year for NC to win it all.

Above: Clisham's younger brother? His twin? New friend Matt and me at the Pilsner watching North Carolina get clobbered.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My First New Business Win

Above: Me in bed after a lot of late nights at work this month.

**I am being very vague with this posting because my job is very confidential and I cannot talk in detail about where I work or what I am doing at work.

Starting a new job for anyone is a little rough especially when it's in a new city thousands of miles away from where you are from. I started my new job the first week of January this year working in new business. It's not easy getting into a comfortable mode at a new job, takes some time to get to know people and prove yourself as a good worker. My first full new business pitch from beginning to end started in January and it ended yesterday. The result was a win for the company and my first win at the new job!!! It's hard to describe the feeling over something that you work so hard at, all the hours you spend working and neglecting your family, neglecting yourself and disconnecting yourself from what's going on in the world. It was all worth it. What's nice about the place I work for is the recognition you get, it was very nice to get props for my hard work from the 'partners' of the company. All the people I worked with on this are incredible, smart and creative people. Let's keep the momentum going!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Happy Birthday...

Above: The most amazing face in Hollywood ever. Joan Crawford! I know most of you think I am crazy because I like this woman so much but she truly was an amazing person! Joan Crawford's date of birth is a mystery because she didn’t have any birth records. Her date of birth is 1904, 1905 or 1906. I have been working hard on the upcoming Joan Crawford book with co-authors Michelle Vogel and Joan Crawford's own grandson, Casey Lalonde. This book will hopefully shed a new light on Joan. Casey, Michelle and I also have a huge project that we are so excited about because it will without a doubt shed some new light on Joan Crawford. We will most likely announce this “news” in a few months. Anyway, happy birthday to an icon that deserves a lot more credit than she is given!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Life without a Binky

Above: Click the above picture to see Zachary the Grouch!

It's been a ruff weeks for Zebra!! Zachary went to the dentist last week to make sure his chipped tooth is okay and the doctor could tell that Zachary uses a binky still. My brother used a binky until he was four and ended up having these huge buckteeth, he had to get braces to fix them. So, Zachary can no longer have a binky, only at night when he goes to bed. Not only was Zachary starting off this week without a binky BUT ALSO he was also pretty sick on Monday and Tuesday. Paul stayed home with him most of the day and we both sat up with Zach at night while he was vomiting heavily. Sigh. I get so sad seeing him sick like that, you kind of wish you could just take away the pain when you see your kid not feeling well.

So Zachary came home from school again today with a rash on his lags, this kid can't catch a break! So Zachary has been a little bummed out because he is losing his binky. So he has been over compensating at night when he actually can have the binky, see the picture below that proves it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

Above: March Madness in Vegas!!

This is my fifth time in Las Vegas; four of them have been with PJ. This time it was for March Madness and I finally know what the "madness" is all about. The entire city was featuring every college basketball game and people were up at the crack of ass to grab a table to watch the basketball games. The picture of one of the sports books above shows just how packed it was. I arrived on Thursday night and met PJ and our good friend Kevin from Boston. It was great to see a familar face, yes, even Kevin's! I was completely out of it when I arrived in Vegas because I had only slept 2 hours out the past 48 hours, I had a few killer days at work, and so I went straight to our hotel room and crashed. We stayed at Mandalay Bay, a very nice hotel and the room was great.

Above: One of the best hotel's in Vegas, Mandalay Bay.

Friday was a new day and I was finally myself again after a good night's sleep. Paul and Kevin were out the night before gambling and had won some cash. We spend the morning watching some intense basketball games and rooting with and against other spectators watching the games. I found it very fun rooting against people who were rooting for the other team. The bantering and sneering comments were a lot of fun. I played some blackjack and craps and of course I lost, I never win money in Vegas but it's fun to play. Later that day Kevin and I went to the pool; they were having record temperatures in the 90's. So we sat out at the amazing pool and took in the sun. We only stayed for a short time as Kevin turned three different shades of red while were lying out and lucky I got a nice brown color after bathing in a vat of sunscreen.

Above: The pool at Mandalay Bay where Kevin and I were loungin.

It's Friday night and we were all pumped up to go out so we found this really cool new gay bar called Gypsy. When we arrived it was quiet but after a few minutes of standing around the place got packed. The bar had two dance floors, one playing pop music and the other hip-hop. I have not been out dancing in a long time and I love to dance. I don't mean to toot my own horn but anyone who knows me knows that I can move for a white boy. I danced mostly in the hip-hop section and even the brothas were impressed with my moves! I danced most of the time I was there, Kevin and PJ also danced. Seeing Kevin danced is a rarity but he danced, sort of, to the theme of Knight Rider! They had a few strippers as well, one of the strippers was walking around in his underwear and looked like a walking piece of leather he had seen so much sun. So he walked by me and I started talking to him and he just gave me a scowl and as he walked away I slapped him on the ass. First of all, if your going to strip in a gay bar you can't be straight AND a prick. You can be straight but be friendly also if your going to freak out because a guy touches you while you are in a gay bar walking around in your underwear, then you shouldn’t be doing it. So the guy threw his drink at me and I thanked him because I was sweating so much from dancing. He got even more pissed because I was not feeding into his anger, most likely because he is repressing his homoerotic fantasies, and he stormed off. I love other people's stupidity. Anyway, we all had a blast!

Above: Me at Vegas getting ready to go dance my ass off.

On Saturday, Kevin wanted to celebrate his Irish heritage since it was St Patrick's Day so we went to New York, New York where they have a really cool Irish bar called "Nine Fine Irishmen." It's built to look like a nice old pub from Ireland. Besides African Americans, I am the furthest thing from being Irish, but I was interested in going. My father used to take me to the St. Patrick's Day parade when I was a kid and it was always amusing to see the drunken Irishmen wobble around the street. The majority of the people at the Nine Fine Irishmen were dressed up in anything green they could find, hats, flags, shirts, and thongs. Thankfully Kevin didn't wear his thong, although he could get away with it now since he dropped 20 pounds. Paul and I were the only two people that didn't have anything green on but we enjoyed listening to the six Irish songs that played over and over and I had fun counting how many teeth the men over 40 had in the group. I think collectively there were 20 teeth for all the men over 40 and there were at least 50-60 men in attendance. Paul's friend from work, Sherrie, stopped by on Saturday night and we hung out with her for a bit, she was really cool and helped us role some dice at the craps table, but her luck was no better than mine. So I left Vegas with less money than I came with but it was so much fun, Vegas is a great place to go to have fun, just don't longer than the days otherwise you could be homeless on the Vegas strip playing begging for beer money or you could end up strangling your best friend as you can see Paul is doing to Kevin in the picture below.

Above/Below: Kevin & PJ spend too much time together in Vegas!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Stained Glass

Above: Me, as a teenager, with my younger brother Nathan.

When I was nineteen years old I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, no goals or a career path, a typical nineteen year old. I was three years into a relationship and my partner at the time kept pushing me to find a hobby or a skill that I liked. At the time I was really annoyed that he was pushing me to do something other than watch MTV. So I tried a variety of different things from sports, to painting, to carpentry but none of those were interesting to me at all. One hobby that I tried was stained glass, and I found I had a great natural skill working with it. My first project was ambitious and it was a Tiffany Style lamp. It turned out beautiful and I still have the lamp today!

Above: Not the best picture of my lamp, it's in storage, but you get the jist.

My stained glass passion and skills led to me making many more projects and eventually the stained glass work was incorporated in the antique store I owned in the mid to late 90's. I used to do custom designed pieces for people; most of my clients were in New York. When I left my hometown in 2000, I left my portfolio of work behind, all my patterns, tools and glass. In 2001, I worked for a small stained glass design studio called Anderson Stained Glass in 2001. I learned how to work in lead and acquired a vast amount of knowledge and improved my skills in stained glass. Since 2001, I have not worked or designed anything pertaining to stained glass but my passion for it has always been in my mind. I was going to work with Paul's mom, Ruth and our friend Jody back in Cambridge since they are both also stained glass artists but I moved to San Francisco.

Above: "Cradle of the Sun," a great little stained glass shop across from where we live.

Moving to San Francisco opened up a ton of doors for Paul and I and one of the doors that really is wide open and hitting me in the face is stained glass. Our apartment is right across the street from a huge stained glass store! For those that don’t know much about stained glass, stained glass stores are very rare and usually few and far between. So this was a sign that I needed to start working in stained glass again.

Above: My stained glass workshop!

I purchased all the tools, an old table and a great wire saw, and I set up a workstation on our large patio deck. The workshop is all set up and complete and I have started my first project. My first project is related to another passion of mine, Joan Crawford. I know,I know, you are all rolling your eyes but this window is going to be beautiful and one of a kind. Check out the pattern I drew, you can see the window in progress! The pattern is Joan Crawford from her 1932 movie, "Letty Lynton," one of her most popular looks. I am hoping to have the window complete by April 1st. Wish me luck!

Above: The pattern for the stained glass window
I am working on.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

March Madness Begins!

Above: I can only imagine the trouble these two are getting into
before I arrive in Vegas!

Heading out to Vegas tonight for a long weekend with Paul and, one of our best friends, Kevin Hourihan!! If you don't hear from me by Monday, I either won a few million, am homeless and penniless on the streets of Vegas playing a kazoo for coins or I got married to a Vegas stripper, a montreal stripper would be better:-)

Above: This Vegas Stripper is just looking for a sucka to get hitched to.

Click on the link below to keep rack of March Madness!

March Madness!

Above: Boston College is in a close game against Texas Tech with less than 5 minutes to go!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Angelina Jolie

Above: The stunning Angelina Jolie and her "DSL's."

What a glorious weekend it was in San Francisco, not a cloud in the sky and close to 80 degrees! A perfect day for softball! Paul and I had our first softball practice today and we were both pumped up to get started. My practice was at 10 am so I was on the field early and started warming up by throwing the ball with the two coaches. My arm was in great form and I was already to start to show my skills. The rest of the team made it's way to the field late, most of them I really don' t know and they struck up a conversation with me while I was tossing the ball with the coach. I turned my head to say hello when I heard the coach scream my name and I looked back and POW! the ball hit me right in the mouth. So this is par for the course for me, BUT these guys don't know that yet! They don't know that I tend to not pay attention while I am on the softball field and I am prone to getting hurt. So don't tell them, let them find out on their own.

Above: My new team on the bleachers after practice.

Back to my I thought I lost a few teeth at first as the blood trickled down my chin but thankfully I didn't loose or chip any teeth. Zachary and I would have been two peas in a pod with damaged teeth! The only damage was a big set of fat juicy lips, my lips are not naturally full and of course one always wonders what you would look like with alterations to your face, well I now know what I would look like with Angelina Jolie lips or DSL lips. For those of you who don’t know what "DSL" stands for, email me and I'll tell you!

Above: My injury close up so you can feel my pain!

Paul was not shocked to see I had an injury and Zachary felt a little bit more confident about his tooth after seeing my lip. I still followed through with my practice and al my teammates kept telling me that sports injuries are "hot" and "sexy." So stay tuned for a weekly update on my softball injuries:-)

Above: There I am sporting my new DSL's!"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Zebra is Back!!!

Zebra (Zachary) is back from his vacation in Florida!! Apparently he did a lot of swimming while in Florida and has found a new passion. With his flotation devices strapped to his arms he became an Olympic swimmer overnight! To become an Olympic swimmer you have to have the passion, determination and energy to put yourself into it 100% and that’s just what Zachary did! You also have to have a story to tell of all the blood, sweat and tears you put into it and maybe have a few scars to show for all that work. Well, Zachary even has a battle scar to proudly show off (see pictures below). Yes, Zachary chipped his front tooth while attempting a swan dive with a double back flip into the swimming pool and he is still smiling!

Click on pictures to see larger view.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

California Dreamin'

Above: Yours truly.

Today was a glorious winter day in San Francisco; it reached 70 degrees today, enough for me to get a little color in my pasty white face! The day started out great, Paul did his weekend ritual and got his coffee and thee yummy bagel sandwiches at "Holy Bagel." While we were eating we saw two of the most beautiful birds on our patio deck. We have this large patio off of our living room with a huge tree hovering near it and these two bluebirds live in the tree. So we met our new "neighbors" and gave them a housewarming gift of bread and cheese. They gave us a housewarming gift of bird shit and squawking at 6am. Not an even trade.

Above: Actual picture on our deck of our "new neighbor."

Paul and I decide to explore the San Francisco area and drove around with the rag top down so our hair can blow...wait..that's Vanilla Ice again; Paul is really rubbing off on me. We didn’t have Zachary with us because he is in sunny Florida with his mom and family. So, Zach is on vacation!!! Paul and I started our adventure by going to the Ferry Building Farmer's market. It was swarming with good food, crazy people and the sweet smell of urine from the homeless people! Below are some of the sites we saw while at the Farmer's Market.


Above: Two performers at the Farmer's Market, nice socks!

Above: Two enourmous metal structures made of junk yard salvage.

Above: Yummy mushrooms!!

Above: A homeless man washes his crotch in a fountain. I couldn't resist!

We then traveled to the famous Presidio, the old military base is quite beautiful and impressive and we followed it along the coast until we arrived at Baker Beach. This has to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. The views were breath taking and the fresh air was crisp and clean. People were strewn along the beach without a care in the world. Paul and I walked the beach when we came across the Bering Strait!! I was shocked because I thought the Bering Strait separated Russia from Alaska, but low and behold it was on Baker Beach! I am submitting the photo below of Paul leaping over the Bering Strait ever so carefully. I bet you want to know whether he made it or not....he did, so no pictures of him falling on is ass and getting wet, sorry!

Above: Paul leaps over the Bering Strait!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Happy Birthday!!

A very happy birthday to one of the sweetest and cutest guys in Boston, Randy! I believe Randy is 28 today? Josh, I hope you give him the spankin's he deserves! Enjoy your day Randy! Miss ya!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Child for Adoption

The picture above is a child that is up for adoption. This child is cute and lovable and from the picture, you can see that the child has a great sense of humor. The only catch is that child in the picture is 28 years older now....that child is me.

Above: My mother, me and my Dad in 1976.

My parents were much too young when they had me; they were both teenagers. I have had on going problems with my father all my life and after his mother, my grandmother died in 2004, I decided that I would cut all ties with him. I realized, at my grandmothers funeral, that would probably be the last time I would ever see him again. My father was never there for me, didn't accept me for who I am and only was concerned about what was best for him when I was younger. Now that he has turned 50 he has been trying to reach out to me and get to know me, but I have decided that I pretty much don’t have a father anymore and have moved on. The damage is done and so am I. Done.

Above: My mother and me the year I was born, 1974.

My mother is another piece of work. For the past 15 years I have been dealing with my mothers problems and bullshit and these past few weeks I have hit my limit. As sad as this may sound, it’s long over due. My mother is going through her 4th divorce and this one is probably the worst of them all. She kicked her husband out of his house and filed a restraining order against him right before Christmas. Which is fine if she feels the need to do that but her husbands teenage son is also living in the house with her. Now, the teenage son has a right to be angry that his stepmother has barred his father from being in the home. So, the tension has been building over the past few weeks between my mother and her stepson and they had an altercation that ended up with my 50-year-old mother getting arrested and thrown in jail for two days. She physically assaulted a teenager. She was released from jail on my birthday and calls me to tell me she is out of jail and proceeds to tell me about all she is going through and all her problems etc…she then paused in the middle of her drama and said, “Isn’t today your birthday?” “How old are you again???” This is coming from the woman that gave me birth, her first-born child!! How the fuck could a mother not only forget her child’s birthday but also forget how old they are?? So this really pissed me off.

Today I get a call from my mother telling me that she needs money to buy her “prescription medication” and wants me to ask PJ to send her money. She has to being doing crack at this point to even ask me that question. I am tired of being used by my mother. I have sent her hundreds of dollars because she says she never has any money but for some reason she always has money to buy a pack of cigarettes, the most expensive cosmetics and “prescription drugs” which she is addicted to and abuses. I am done with this bullshit. I know my mother has the link to this blog and I would love for her to read my blog, but she doesn’t care. She has not once viewed my blog and rarely asks me how I am doing. She just doesn’t care.

Above: My mother today, completely out of it.

So, I have finally some to the conclussion that I no longer have parents; I actually don’t think I ever did have parents. I personally am just coming to the realization that they really don’t care about me, never did...never will. I want to thank them for that because I am using my energy and this experience to make sure the child in my life, Zachary, never has to feel what I felt in life and that’s the feeling of being unloved. Zachary has so much love around him and that’s how it should be for any child and having Zachary in my life has made me realize how much my parents have fucked up. All I can tell my parents is that they missed out on really getting to know 'someone' that is a great guy, with a big heart and a huge love for life…that person is their son.