Thursday, May 31, 2007

She's Back and Dancing

Val and I want to thank everyone who has sent their best wishes, one way or another, after she put her right heel through a wine bottle holding coins and had to get six stitches to close up a couple of cuts.
Val had the stitches taken out Wednesday and she is doing fine with driving and getting around. We also found out how important it was to post her original injury; Val's sister Tricia, my sister Heather and Val's very good friend, photographer and State of the Art framing business (Hertel Avenue between Starin and Parker) major domo Mar Penner all found out about her injury by reading this blog.

Dear Ben and Jerry: Thanks

With thoughts of and thanks to Jaquandor, I'd like to talk about Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream a bit today.
With the recent warm/hot weather, Val and I have started to eat a bit more recently; I am a major fan of all things chocolate, so I recently tried a new flavor, The Godfather, a lovely combination of chocolate ice cream, nougat and chocolate-covered almonds; very nice. Val went with an old favorite, Cherry Garcia, which she was seriously enjoying.
I saw a variety we hadn't tried yet, Mint Chocolate Cookie, peppermint ice cream with Oxford sandwich cookies inside, and decided it was time for us to sample it. Wow; the cookies give the ice cream a nice contrast and chocolate edge, but man, the real weapon here is the ice cream. The peppermint ice cream has a good, somewhat strong taste, but is in no way overpowering, and the mint does not have that sharp twang that too many mint-based ice creams do. Basically, it lets the cream in ice cream have some space along with the mint.
An interesting part of Val and I eating this variety of ice cream is that because of the excellent taste of the ice cream, we were eating it in smaller spoonfuls than usual and it looks like we may be able to make it last at least a couple of days.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

'Cause I'm the Taxman

No matter how crappy your day has been, it always gets a lot worse when there is mail addressed to you and your wife from the Internal Revenue Service about 45 days after the tax payment deadline when you get home from work.
Yes, the too-fat letter was awaiting Val and I when I got home from work Monday; with a couple of other less-than-pleasant financial matters occurring in the last week, this was the last piece of mail I wanted to see. I feared that we had received an audit letter, which would have been a first for us.
I took Walker Evans on his walk so I could think about the situation, but I knew I had sent the check in just before the deadline, so the first thing I would do when we got home was check the online checking account. Indeed, I had sent a check for the proper amount April 13, and the check had been cashed and canceled April 19.
I called the IRS at the number on the letter, and after submitting some information and identification for about 5 minutes, waited 15-20 more minutes until I finally got a live person, "Ms. Bonner," on the line at 5:37 p.m. At 5:38 p.m., after I quickly explained my problem, I was put back on hold as she "researched" for five minutes.
At 5:43 p.m., she came back "with some good news." The funds I sent in had been credited to my account/Social Security number, while the joint return Val and I filed was under her account/Social Security number. "Ms. Bonner" said she would transfer the funds to settle the account.
Back I went on hold, and "Ms. Bonner" returned at 5:52 p.m. to tell me that the transfer was successful and that no penalties or interest would be charged. I thanked her, sighed mightily and finally hung up the telephone.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

On the Road, Short Exercise

With Val's schedule at work changing (not to her liking), she is now working weekends with two weekdays off, so we aren't able to take advantage of the Memorial Day weekend by taking any kind of trip.
But while we went to dinner and ran a couple of errands yesterday late afternoon and evening, we did get to blast some Southern Culture on the Skids ("Dirt Track Date" CD), which can temporarily ease the schedule pain.
Fortunately, we will be going to Val's sister Tricia's house tomorrow for a cookout to celebrate their mother Janice Dunne's XX (edited by the management) birthday.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Life Continues on Elmwood Avenue

How You Know the Weather is Warming Up in Buffalo: The woman who walks on Elmwood Avenue mainly between Bryant Street and Summer Street, yelling at the law offices located between the Epilepsy Association and the music store from across the street near the Wilson Farms parking lot, is in mid-season form.
But she showed a different side to Walker Evans and me Friday afternoon, as I took the pup on a long walk, much of it on Elmwood Avenue. The woman was in mid-rant as we approached her, but she stopped, looked at Walker, lowered her voice, smiled and said, "Hello there, pup. How are you doing? Are you a good boy today?" As Walker wagged his tail back, she looked at me, smiled again, and then picked up her rant from where she left off a moment ago.

I'm Still Pissed Off and Hurt

So, it has been eight days since the last win in the Buffalo Sabres' 2007 playoffs, and six days since the Sabres' season ended.
Does it feel any better? Well, the unhappy/unpleasant feelings over the Sabres being beaten in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference finals by the (superior this year) Ottawa Senators are dulled a bit, but otherwise, no, not really.

Blow Up Blown Out of Proportion

It may be a bit interesting, particularly given people's interest in destroying objects, but for cripe's sake, does anyone need a better example of how yokelish Buffalo/Western New York, mainly its news media, can be with the over reporting of the upcoming implosion of the Kaleida Health building at 50 High Street in Buffalo at 6 a.m. Saturday morning?
A story or two and some video footage is understandable, as the implosion is news, but do we need stations using multiple cameras shooting the implosion, including inside the building? I can hardly wait to see how many ways we get to see and hear implosion spectators marvel at how "they done blowed up the darn building." Sheesh.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

To Breathe, Perchance to Not Sniffle

In case anyone is wondering, I frigging HATE spring and summer colds, including the one I have had since Saturday.
It went from a dry and sore throat to full-on alternating running nose where the mucus is flowing like Niagara Falls and stuffed/swollen sinuses that rival the lower lip of Chris Drury after he got hit in the face with a shot in Game 5 of the Sabres-Senators series.
I have gone through more than enough tissues, napkins, toilet paper ... pardon me, I just had to empty my nasal chambers ... and hankies than is my normal seasonal ration, and, yes, I have grown sick of that whistling sound emanating from the middle of my face.
Do you think a plunger will help?

Heel Aftermath

Val continues to do OK and is healing from her heel-through-glass injury Sunday, and she really wishes she was back to 100 percent. I get to change her dressing every night, so it is weird but fascinating to see six blue stitches in the two major cuts on her heel.
I have been driving Val to work since Monday and it appears she will return to driving Thursday; she also continues to work on her photography, with a show she is part of this summer and a solo show in the fall. Stay tuned for more details.
While we missed the Gurf Morlix house concert at the home of Marty Boratin and Susan Tanner, Gurf, who stayed next door at the home of musician/childhood friend Jim Whitford, called here the next day to see how Val was doing and later stopped over to talk with Val and I in our backyard. Good people, that Gurf, and we swear we'll catch him next time he comes through town.

Monday, May 21, 2007

So, How Was Your Weekend?

As you might imagine, Val and I join many Buffalonians/Western New Yorkers in being rather unhappy and disappointed over the Buffalo Sabres losing their NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship Series to the Ottawa Senators, 4 games to 1, concluding with Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss at the HSBC Arena.
But I will have a bit more on that later; somehow, we got through the crushing loss, and Val and I decided that since we don't drink any more and can't drown our Sabres' sorrows, we would try to eat them away and went out for wings that night at Gabriel's Gate on Allen Street. Val ate a single order of medium wings (brought a few home), while I polished off a double order of barbecued wins (gave Val one at dinner and gave her another to bring home). Damn, were they good.
Sunday was supposed to be a very fun day; after we got the grocery shopping and usual errands done, we were heading over to the Eden residence of rock and roll chef Marty Boratin and Righteous Babe Records' Susan Tanner for their first house concert, featuring former Western New Yorker Gurf Morlix (producer, guitarist and singer best known for his solo work and with Lucinda Williams during her best years) and Troy Campbell.
After Val made her fruit salad and I had walked Walker Evans, she went into the shower and I eventually, um, processed my wings. As I was finishing my session, just after Val got out of the shower and went into the bedroom, I heard some noise and then Val kind of swearing, then going into the bathroom and saying, "Oh, shit, this is looking bad." When I called up, she said that I had better come upstairs because she needed some help.
It turns out that Val had some MS-related balance trouble and as she grabbed a wall and television in the bedroom, her right heel kicked out a very big glass wine bottle in which she kept change, putting a large hole in it. She was bleeding from four or five cuts, two which looked pretty bad and would not stop bleeding until we elevated her foot. After a bit of convincing, I took Val to the emergency room at Buffalo General Hospital, the nearest hospital and where the Jacobs Neurological Institute, Val's MS clinic with her MS doctors, is located.
After about 4 1/2 hours, Val was wheeled out by a nurse, and ended up getting 6 stitches in her heel, two for one cut along the tendon (not deep enough to do any damage to it) and four stitches to a cut on the bottom corner of her heel. As you might imagine, we missed the Gurf Morlix concert, but Val is mobile and doing OK. I realize that this is not the worst health situation the Buffalo blogging community is undergoing, but it had me worried.
Of course, there was some waiting room entertainment; one gentleman, a thick, stocky African American male wore a long, blond wig past his shoulders, a dress and had a doll in his arms which sang a song whenever he activated it, which was way too often. Another man tried to hit up most people in the waiting room for money, but smelled so bad that everyone scattered from him. I just read about 100 pages from the book I brought with me.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Some People Get It, Some People Don't

While Walker Evans and I were on Bryant Street in front of Women's and Children's Hospital during his walk today, something surprised and disappointed me.
A car parked there displayed a Philadelphia Flyers' hat; I checked the rear license plate, which was a New York plate bordered by a Flyers' frame. Ugh. Shortly after that, on Hodge Street, hope was restored when I saw a parked car with a Buffalo Sabres' hat in it and a Sabres license plate frame.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

That's More Like It

It appears that for most of us in Buffalo, waking up and getting out of bed this morning, going to work or school, working at home and even visits to the dentist went good today, following Wednesday's 3-2 victory by the Buffalo Sabres over the Ottawa Senators in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference championship series.
Ottawa may lead the Sabres in the series, 3 games to 1, but the series returns to Buffalo for Game 5 Saturday; this should give the Sabres a boost to help them get back into the series.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Late Congratulations

Two members of the Buffalo Prefecture of Blogistan, and more importantly, their wives, deserve late congratulations as they are expecting babies this year.
LC Scotty and Kelly are expecting their first child, while Prego and Mrs. Prego are awaiting the arrival of their third young hockey fan.

Sabres Must Win Tonight

It's do or die time, it's now or never, the season is on the line, the Sabres' backs are to the wall and they must bring their A game. All of these cliches and more fit tonight's Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship Series between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators, which Ottawa leads, 3 games to 0.
You can join Val, me and a host of other Sabres' fans, as well as a couple of douche bag trolls from elsewhere and even a couple of intelligent Senators' fans, at Bfloblog for the live game thread. Hopefully, it won't be the last live game thread hosted by Kevin and Mark we participate in this season.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

In Our Hearts and Thoughts

Jaquandor, better known as Kelly, and his family are in need of our thoughts, deeds and other consideration; you may know him best as the host and impressario of one of the best blogs out there, Byzantium's Shores.
As well as being a great writer, he is also one of the nicest persons Val and I have met in years, so here are more of our thoughts for a positive outcome for his family.

Sunday Reflections

After breakfast, errands and grocery shopping, and before Val and I join Val's mother, Janice, Val's sister, Tricia, and her husband, Brad, and son, Jack, for Mother's Day festivities (we spent time with my mother, Sheila, sister Heather, her husband Mike and their two kids, Kristina and Tom, yesterday afternoon and evening), I took Walker Evans for a long stroll through Squaw Island Park, one of our favorite weekend destinations, while Val rested.
It was a gorgeous time of the day to take Walker Evans to the park, with clear skies and a couple of small, high clouds, the breeze off the river not too strong and temperature nice but not too hot. The U.S. Border Patrol officers who patrol near the train bridge for attempted illegal alien entrances from Canada were at their post and we exchanged waves as usual, and there were a decent number of people fishing, joggers, bicycle riders and dogs with their families.
This all gave me time to not only enjoy the weather and allow Walker Evans to get some of his spring cabin fever out, but to think about a bunch of stuff.
First, while they are down two games to zero to the Ottawa Senators and traveling to Ottawa for the next two games, I am not giving up on the Buffalo Sabres in their NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Eastern Conference Championship series. The team is way too good to be swept in a series, regardless of how good Ottawa is, and the Senators are really good and showing it. The Sabres are and can be just as good, if not better, and it is now time for the team and players to prove that. Obviously, the power play has to improve for the Sabres to stand a chance, and maybe one or two lineup changes are needed, but even with no changes, Buffalo can, and unless the Sabres in fact do improve, their season will be over soon.
Second, there is a major difference between enjoyable and harmful unofficial public art. On the block of Norwood Avenue between Bryant and Summer streets, a young girl, in large detailed letters and artwork, has written and drawn in chalk "Buffalo Sabres: One Team, One Goal," with a cool drawing of the Stanley Cup. Very nice. Along part of the walkway/bicycle trail in Squaw Island Park, about halfway between the railway bridge and the Peace Bridge, some enterprising douche bag spray painted on the black pavement, "Fuck the Buffalo Cops." Here's hoping for an official, legal, personal response from the Buffalo Police Department to this idiot.
Third, is there anything much better than watching a mother/your mother enjoy herself, surrounded by her family, on Mother's Day? Yes, it is bittersweet, with my brother Brian and father Ed having died, but especially with grandchildren present, my mother Sheila was a sight to behold.
Fourth, the first project in the Hosey Dunne Estates World Tour of Renovations 2007 will occur tomorrow, the installation of a new back door and window. The window is an original fixture and Val and I think the door is as well, so we will be replacing two items that are more than 100 years old. Tune in here tomorrow when I detail the fun; we'll see if hilarity ensues.

Friday, May 11, 2007

"Goth" reading at Hallwalls

I am really looking forward to this. The essay, in the " Goth-Undead Subculture" anthology, written by Mark Nowak, is titled "Zero City". The reading will be at Hallwalls, Thursday May 17 at 7:30. As a lot of Buffalo-Continental music fans know, Zero City is the English translation of Nullstadt. David Kane and Donald Kinsman of the original version of the band Nullstadt, will be performing at Thursday's Hallwalls event.
I am proud to admit that I was obsessed by this band in the 80s. After my teenage years in the 97 Rock suburbs of Buffalo, I was blown away by the fact that a band this different and amazing was in my city. I saw them at countless weekends at the Continental (and I have the pictures to prove it).
So after finding out about the Hallwalls event, I did a little searching on the internet, and, lo and behold, BOTH of the band's videos have been posted on YouTube- big thanks to NickelCityDave for posting them. Hell, I only have vinyl and cassettes of the music, so seeing these videos was fantastic. I'm posting both here for your enjoyment.
I think the blurb on the Hallwalls site says it all-

This event is a must-see for forty-something fans of Nullstadt, aging denizens of the pre-Chippewa Strip Continental, Goths not even born yet when Nullstadt was a local favorite at The Continental (let alone old enough to go there!), punks, post-punks, neo-punks, and anyone of any age interested in rock criticism, contemporary cultural anthropology, Marxism, organized labor, or the post-industrial history of Buffalo.

Nullstadt- "A Similar Crisis"

Nullstadt- "Mayday"

Why Yes, That Did Suck

The Buffalo Sabres lost Game 1 of their NHL Eastern Conference Finals playoff series to Ottawa here in Buffalo last night, 5-2, being outplayed and, too often, outworked by the Senators.
While there is no reason to panic yet, the Sabres must get their power play going and inject more life into their play, as well as, heaven forbid, SHOOT the puck more often; not at every single opportunity from every angle, but at least a bit more.

Flatbed CD Release Party May 11

Flatbed, one of Buffalo's best Americana/roots bands, will hold the release party of its self-titled CD at 10 p.m. Friday, May 11, at Nietzsche's, 248 Allen Street, Buffalo.
Sharing the stage with Flatbed will be the Old Sweethearts, and with the Outlyers playing the 6-9 p.m. Happy Hour slot, this could be the best night of roots/Americana music in Buffalo for a while. Flatbed's CD sounds really good, rootsier than their live shows (which are a bit more rock and jam edged), and I mean that as a good thing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Hockey Award Time

Now that we are done with the first two rounds of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, I want to hand out my first award.
The NHL's Houdini Award, presented to the player who disappeared the most in a playoff series, goes to Sean Avery of the New York Rangers, for his almost total inability to influence any game or even period in the Rangers' series with the Buffalo Sabres, which Buffalo of course won, 4 games to 2. The trophy was informally know as the Daniel Alfredsson Cup, but the Ottawa Senators' forward has picked up his post-season play so far this year.

Don't Cross the Line

There are a lot of reasons to root for the Buffalo Sabres in their NHL Stanley Cup Playoff run, including the conference finals against the Ottawa Senators starting Thursday, as well as enough reasons to root against Ottawa.
But let's keep it all either good-natured, hockey based or at least not down to the level of vile, personal attacks. In particular, it is of absolutely no class and pathetically, sickeningly low to make fun of Senators' coach Bryan Murray because of the speech impediment that causes him to lisp.
While plenty of Senators' jokes are coming to mind, I will not mention any of them; fans, including Sabres' fans, who talk too much smack and make ridiculous claims and predictions are laughable and most of the time are suffering from the medical affliction known as Small Dick Syndrome.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Superstition? Religious Ritual?

I took Walker Evans on a long walk today, including passing Women's and Children's Hospital on both Bryant Street and Hodge Street.
Just after we passed the hospital going from the direction of Elmwood Avenue toward Delaware Avenue on Bryant, Walker stopped to sniff a tree, one of I think 528 sniffing stops he made.
A woman walked by us in the same direction, and just as she passed me, she tripped over a crack in the sidewalk; she immediately muttered "fuck" beneath her breath. But she continued walking, and as she did so, she turned around 360 degrees four times, and after the fourth time, she performed a Sign of the Cross and then kept walking without further turnarounds.
I really wanted to ask her what and why she did that, but it seemed like it would have been an intrusion.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Long Reach of Sabres Fandom

As I have written about here and as last week's article in the Buffalo News on Internet use by Buffalo Sabres fans demonstrated, people from all over the world are utilizing online blogs and sources such as Bfloblog to stay in touch with the team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
We have also received visits from across the world regarding the Sabres; Friday, through the search "Buffalo Sabres-New York Rangers," we received a visit from a reader in the city of Trezzano Sul Naviglio, region of Lombardia, in Italy. Welcome, new reader, and enjoy.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Yo Soy Muy Stupido

After a day of driving to and back from my sister Heather's house in Wayne County (Walworth, to be exact) for my nephew Tom Keenan's first communion party, Val and I came back to Buffalo at about 4:45-5 p.m. today, Saturday.
After I walked and fed Walker Evans (he seemed peeved we spent a great Saturday afternoon without him), Val and I tried to figure out where we would go for dinner. Val made a suggestion and I made a counter suggestion, Gramma Mora's on Hertel Avenue, which Val said was her next suggestion, so we went there.
When we got there, we noticed that the parking situation was much worse than normal, which we attributed to the kid's birthday party on Norwalk Avenue that had one of those inflatable jump areas or whatever you call them on the front yard. We eventually found a parking spot not too far away and walked to Gramma Mora's.
The patio was pretty crowded for the coolness of the early evening, and when we went in Gramma Mora's, every table was taken and the bar area was mobbed with people standing and sitting, with two parties called out and taken to their seats.
"Aw, crap. Honey, I think I know what's happening," Val said to me. "What's today's date?"
""It's ... May 5. Oh, geez, May 5; Cinco de Mayo," I sheepishly replied, finally realizing why Gramma Mora's was so crowded and how dumb I was forgetting the date.
We ended up having a good dinner across the street at Taste of Thai.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Nice Job, Steve, and Thanks, Everybody

I would like to thank Stephen T. Watson of the Buffalo News for taking the time, interest and effort to write his article on how us Buffalo Sabres fanatics are using the Internet as part of our following the Sabres through the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, as you can read here.
I also want to thank Robert Kirkham for taking about 30 minutes out of his schedule to take the photograph that accompanied the story, and appreared with it on the front page of the Sunday, April 29, 2007, Buffalo News. Kirkham, Val and I talked about music, Austin, Texas, and hockey while he was at our house.
I also can't forget to thank Kevin and Mark at Bfloblog for starting and hosting the live Sabres' game threads on their blog, not just so Val and I could be interviewed, but for providing us with an opportunity to enjoy the Sabres and professional hockey in a new and interesting community. It was also nice of Jaquandor, Jennifer, Buffalo Pundit and others to mention Val and I and to link to the story and photo.
As happens frequently in Buffalo, this whole story ends with a round of "It's a Small World After All." Watson called me at the office Tuesday morning and left a message; when I called him back, I told him thanks for the story in general and for interviewing Val and I and assigning a photgrapher to come to our house. He said thanks, but that this call was more family/personal. He said his mother called him to tell him she enjoyed the story, then asked to relay her greetings and name to me. It turns out that my parents, Ed and Sheila Hosey, lived next door to Watson's mother and parents on the West Side of Buffalo for years, and her parents, Watson's maternal grandparents, are my sister Heather's godparents.
Val and I will be glued to the television watching tomorrow's Game 5 of the Sabres-Rangers series, being played here at the HSBC Arena, writing away with our fellow bloggers, and not going to the Loomer show at the Sportsmen's Tavern until the game ends.

Inhale, Exhale; Inhale, Exhale ...

Yes, the Buffalo Sabres, after going out to a 2-0 games lead over the New York Rangers in the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, are now tied at 2 games apiece after losing twice in NYC.
But, with the series now a best-of-3 affair with two games in Buffalo, more than 24 hours past the last loss and more than 24 hours until Game 4, Sabres' fans need to calm down a bit and remember to breathe.
Val and I are pissed off at the last two Sabres' losses and a bit nervous, but we aren't down on Buffalo and we still need to function without driving our blood pressure through the ceiling. But, come 7 p. m. Friday ...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Loomer to Perform at Sportsmen's May 4

Loomer, one of Canada's best kept musical secrets and an amazing country and roots rock band with some Buffalo connections, will perform at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the Sportsmen's Tavern on Amherst Street near Grant Street in Buffalo.
With several former members of the late, great Saddletramps, Loomer formed in 1999 and played a bunch of gigs in Canada and the US with the Pine Dogs; indeed, former Pine Dogs singer, guitarist and songwriter Jim Whitford performs pedal steel guitar and is credited as "separated only by the sheer might of the US Border Service" in the credits of Loomer's new CD on Newtone Records, "Songs of the Wild West Island." The CD, which I will review very, very soon, is simply amazing and is in my Top 5 CDs of 2006, a list I should have published by the point.
The show is free, and the last time I caught Loomer, it was a great show (and my review seems to have been a bit longer ago than the archives of Buffaloroots goes back to). So, join Val and I after the Sabres' hockey game (being from the Toronto area, you may not want to bring up the NHL playoffs to the members of Loomer without gauging their feelings) at the Sportsmen for a fine roots rock show with Loomer, and Whitford will be sitting in on pedal steel.