Thursday, July 31, 2014

Song of the Day - Waves - Mr. Probz

My face above the water
My feet can't touch the ground,
Touch the ground, and it feels like
I can see the sands on the horizon
Every time you are not around

I'm slowly drifting away
Wave after wave, wave after wave
I'm slowly drifting (drifting away)
And it feels like I'm drowning
Pulling against the stream
Pulling against the stream

I wish I could make it easy
Easy to love me, love me
But still I reach 
To find a way
I'm stuck here in between
I'm looking for the right words to say

Oh, Spotify!  How did I not discover you earlier?  After hearing so much about Pandora and Spotify from people over the past couple of years, I finally decided to try the latter, only because I had more in common, musically speaking, with those who recommended the app, and I am loving it!  In just a week I've already picked up some great new stuff and it seems the possibilities are endless.  Here's one of the first tunes I discovered on Spotify.  It's a tune called Waves, and it's by Dutch recording artist Mr. Probz.  It's a very soothing, summer-type chill song and I love the singer's raspy voice and the steady island rhythms.  Check it out...

Associated Content/Yahoo Voices - The End

Today is a very sentimental day, I'm sure not only for me, but for many of my fellow writers. Within the next 24 hours or so, Yahoo Voices, the former Associated Content, will disappear from the World Wide Web forever.  It's really hard to believe because it seems like just yesterday that the announcement came from Yahoo that they were shutting down the site.  And now the day has come.  It's going to be weird not to be able to check my latest stats (which have been good lately, too!) or see my profile page and all of my pieces...more than 600 of them, whenever I want.  I still haven't decided where to go from here, but I'm hoping something worthwhile will come up soon.

I've spoken many times before about the site and my background with it, so I'm not going to rehash all of that here.  I've had many blessings through AC/YV over the years, including the many interactions I've had with readers and fellow writers, being interviewed several times, getting one of my poems published in a textbook, being named one of the sexiest guys on AC, getting Ruth Buzzi to write a piece for the site, plenty of accolades and most of all, the friends I've made.  I tell ya, that old AC family of writers was...still is a great bunch of people.  Back in those early days there was a lot of camaraderie and support among us and many of us remain friends to this day, thankfully, via Facebook.

Since I'm feeling so sentimental, I just want to acknowledge some of the great people and talented writers I've been given the opportunity to get to know through Associated Content.  I've said before that it's amazing to be able to meet and get to know people you wouldn't otherwise have ever met via the Internet. These people and others have made me laugh, made me cry, and given me lots of support throughout my time there.  I only wish I'd had more time so that I could share their profile pages with you.  Perhaps in time on some other site, but for now I want to give kudos to the following people:

Abby Greenhill          Bridgitte Williams           Sherry Thornhill
Nancy Canfield         Patricia Sicilia                 Patti Byrd
Lori Lane                  Theresa Leschmann        Lyn Lomasi Evans
Rama Devi Nina Marshall                                Walton Tissot
Randy Duckworth     Roberta Baxter               Jennifer Wagner
Pat Bartels                Jennifer Waite                 Zachary Fenell
Sabah Karimi            Sheryl Young                 Victoria Miller
Becky Whitmore       Janet Hunt                      Lady Samantha
Michele Starkey        Langley Cornwell           Linda McCloud
Donald Pennington    Jersey Nana                   Rachel de Carlos
Bethany Marsh         Shelly Barclay                Jolie Du Pre
Bob Langham           Bobbi Leder                  Michael Segers
Nikki                        Brenda Vincent              Bridget Ilene Delaney
Tony Payne              Orchiolum                      Charlotte Kuchinsky
Malina Debrie          Mallory Collier                Jennifer Bove
Maria Roth              Mary and Mike Olberg
Julia Bodeeb            Christine Zibas               Crystal Ray
Marilisa Sachteleben                                      Maxwell Payne
Karen Bishop          Davida Chazan               Denise Larkin
Han Van Meegerin  Harriet Steinberg            Karen Gros
Kristen Wilkerson                                          Jack Aiello

Wow, when I started writing this list I hadn't realized how many people I'd come to know through AC over the time I'd spent writing there, and that's not even all of them.  But over the last 7 years, I've enjoyed reading their wares and interacting with many of them on a regular basis elsewhere, and I look forward to more.  From stories about a special black Lab in Tennessee to hysterically funny anecdotes about e-cigarettes, politics and more, co-authoring a very special series with a colleague, to sweet poems and helpful product, travel and movie reviews, countless useful how-to's, ramblings from a Byrd's nest and a wacky Aunt Lottie, personal tragedies and pop culture, I've done a lot of reading from some pretty talented writers, who like me, felt they had something to share.  And I love them all!


Two other names are missing from this list, two very special people who I grew to love and then lost.  Betty Malone was a good-hearted, optimistic person with a knack for speaking her mind through her writing and was always a big supporter of me when things got heated (long story!).  When she died suddenly on November 17, 2009, I was shocked and heartbroken.  It was the first time I'd ever felt so badly about the death of a person I'd never met face to face.  Betty, you are still missed!

Dan Reveal was another kind-hearted soul that left us way too soon.  He and I became 'fans' of one another early on, and through the site at first, and then via Facebook, we developed the trusting relationship of good friends.  Dan was not only a very talented poet, but a musician and songwriter, as well.  I remember once when he posted a video of himself at the piano, singing a tune he had written, I was literally in awe.  Such a multi-talented man! July 27th, this past Sunday, was a year that Dan lost his battle with cancer.  I couldn't finish this post without mentioning either one of them.  Rest in peace!

So that's it....I feel funny saying so long to Yahoo Voices, because I've always thought of it as Associated Content.  The website has been a constant part of my life for a very long time now, and it's hard to let go, but I have no choice.  Que serĂ¡, serĂ¡!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Song of the Day - Bang Bang - Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj

Here is a fresh new tune that just might turn out to be THE song of the summer as Jessie J joins forces with upstart pop star Ariana Grande and veteran rapstress Nicki Minaj.  The tune was released just yesterday and ooh it is very catchy!  Check it out...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Roller Coaster Road Trip 2014: Zip-lining at Louisville Mega Cavern

One of the most daring things Rich, Eddie and I did on our trip was zip-lining at the Louisville Mega Cavern. Now the three of us had zip-lined before, on our last trip, but that was in a camp in Ohio, and it was outside. This one seemed way in a cave.  I was intrigued!

The Louisville Mega Cavern is an old mine under the roadways of Louisville, Kentucky that's been transformed into a tourist attraction, and a cool one at that.  I'd find out later in our trip that this whole area of the country is full of caves (It's also prime sinkhole country, too!), and since there aren't many...any...caves here on Long Island, I definitely wanted to check some out.  The attraction is made up of over 17 miles of underground corridors and offers not only zip-lining, but tram tours and an aerial ropes challenge called Mega Quest.  Though we would've liked to have taken the tram tour, we only had time for one thing and it was the zip-line.

When I was researching things to do and I saw that this Mega Cavern had zip-lining, I quickly called my pals to see if they'd both be interested.  They were and reservations were made.  We got to the cavern 15 minutes early, as we were asked to do, and the butterflies were already kicking in.  Once we signed in, we had to wait for our guides in the Mega Quest area (which was hella cool), and before you knew it, we were gearing up for our adventure.

Once we were all dressed for our adventure, it was off to a quick practice run on a 'bunny zip,' which was located right there in the staging area.  Since the three of us, and most of the 10 or so people in our group, had zip-lined before, this was a piece of cake and eased at least my mind going into the first of 6 zips on the course.  That didn't last long, though, as our first zip-line was called 'Devil's Drop.' 

Now I know it's hard to make out in this picture, but this photo was taken at the top of Devil's Drop.  Those are little red lights waaaayyyy down there within the darkest reaches of the cavern and there's the line across the bottom.  Though I'd zipped before, those butterflies were fluttering oh so wildly in my stomach as I stepped to the jumping off platform.  I have to say, though, that once you jumped, it was nothing but a pure adrenaline rush, as were the rest of the zip-lines on the course.  

Our guides, Joe and Mallory, were awesome, friendly and knowledgeable, and the others in our group, an Aussie couple in particular, were great companions, as well.  In addition to the zip-lines, there were two 'challenge bridges,' which I hadn't worried about until I was actually on them.  Joe told us that people usually love them or hate them and I definitely did not like them.   Even though we were hooked on to lines overhead, it was terrifying to walk across the weak-looking scaffolds perched way above the darkened depths below. Picture Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom.

Joe and Mallory took a selfie with my camera, lol

All in all, zip-lining in a cave was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.  I highly recommend the Louisville Mega Cavern, especially for the zip-lining, but even just to check out via tram.  It's definitely one of the coolest attractions in Louisville.  In the meantime, check out some of the other things we did on our Roller Coaster Road Trip 2014 below and stay tuned for more...

Hitting the Roller Coaster Road...and then some!

Song of the Day - All of Me (Tiesto Remix) - John Legend

John Legend's All of Me really is a beautiful song.  It takes a lot for me to love a ballad and I don't really love this one in its original state, but this remix is smooth and danceable, one of those remixed ballads that works really well on the dance floor. My pal Dita  thinks John Legend is da bomb, so yeah, maybe he is...

Livin' Life, Right?

I had a great weekend.  This is the very first summer, since I've been a teacher that I am not working, for the most part, and I am living life...or so it seems.  After that great road trip a couple of weeks ago, I have kept on being busy, hanging out with friends and having fun, but after a day like today I have this sense about me that there is something missing.  And I know what it is, but first, the weekend...

Hoptron Brewtique

Like I said I had an awesome weekend, starting with Friday night.  Some of my teacher friends were planning a get together at a place called Hoptron Brewtique in Patchogue, where I live.  Patchogue is a hopping place these days, with restaurants and clubs galore, and this was one I hadn't been to.

Very cool place!  It seems that beer connoisseurism has taken center stage after wineries had become so popular and places like the brewtique have been popping up all over the place.  The tavern is a modern day beer garden, complete with large picnic tables, nice snacks, and with a rotating stock of 20 or so beers that you can try in 'flights' of four.  The staff was very friendly and the place comes highly recommended by me, even if you're not a beer connoisseur!

Cherrys' White Party and Sea Tea

Saturday and Sunday was all about dancing as I headed out to Cherrys for their annual White Party on Saturday and the Sea Tea in the city last night.  Both nights featured great tunes and lots and lots of favorite thing in the world!  I'd mentioned the White Party in my Song of the Day post yesterday, and as always it was so much fun.  Midway through the night I started dancing with this Latina chick, who's name escapes me, and the two of us burned up the floor all night long.

The Sea Tea was also a lot of fun.  Now I've learned over the years that you've got to hit the party boat on the right night, meaning with the right deejay and a good theme.  The music on the boat is what makes it a good night or not, because let's face it, if the music sucks, there's nowhere to go.  The theme of the evening can make or break the night, too, and going into last night's cruise we had no idea what HEBRO was.  I still don't actually, but I do know it's got something to do with gays of the Jewish persuasion.  I'll just leave you with that!

The deejay for the night was Steven Sidewalk.  Now I know Steven's style because he used to deejay at Splash on Thursday nights, my favorite night of the week to go there.  I convinced my friends that this would be the week to go, and we all went, me, Dita, Blanche, and our friends Tim and Steve.  I wasn't wrong.  The music, for the most part, was great, and we sweated out a lot of numbers on the crowded dance floor.

The only thing negative I'd say about the Sea Tea was that it got really expensive.  They've got a new boat for this season, a nice one, and it seems that they're passing that loan money on to the customers really quick. The price of the cruise not only jumped to $30 ($35 the day of the cruise), but so did the teeny, tiny drinks, which cost a whopping $13 apiece, up from $8 or $9 the last time I went in 2012.  Now that's a huge increase in this guy's opinion.

Livin' Life, Right?  Eh!

So now I return to where I started this post.  I know that the summer I've been having seems like all fun and well, fun, to a lot of people, and I do believe in making the most of whatever time you've got in this life. Unfortunately I know too many people who just go through the motions and don't seem to enjoy their lives as much, and I think that's sad.  That being said, after the Monday I had I can tell you that what's all fun and games is still missing something, and that's somebody.

This October, it will be 7 years that I am single.  In November I turn the big...I HATE to say it, but the big 5-0.  I never envisioned myself alone at this point in my life, and things are not looking good for me.  As always, I am all over the place with this one because I do love the single life that I've made for myself these past few years.  I've made many connections and I'm still looking as good, if not better than I ever did.  On the other hand, living alone absolutely sucks!  After all of these years, I finally understand what my dear old Aunt Vi was going through the last 30 or so years of her life.  There was a point towards the end when she would call everybody aimlessly, including me, just out of pure loneliness.  She needed voices and she needed to voice hers to somebody, anybody.

I do want somebody to take away some of my loneliness, but I don't have much optimism.  Being my age and gay does not bode well for me in that department.  It doesn't help either that I've become hopelessly picky.  After being in a relationship for 20 years, I can see now the trouble that was going to happen from early on and the next person, if there is one, I want to last.  I also tend to like guys younger than me...doubly difficult...and that's not to say there aren't guys my age I wouldn't want to be with, but the ones I'm attracted to don't want me.  Sigh!

So is there any hope for me?  I'm not even looking for a move-in partner, at least for now.  I just want a steady person to spend nice evenings or lazy days with...cuddling included!  I don't know, but every time I venture into the city, I can't help but think I'd have more of a chance there.  I mean, I live in suburbia for dog's sake!  There aren't too many options in Suffolk County, Long Island...but, my job is on the East End and my house is my financial partner, so I feel stuck.  Oh Lord!  Suggestions?