Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday - The Wintertime Blahs ....

OK, I have to admit that I am human and have some of the failings most other mortals experience. “What the f**k are you talking about,” you faithful and loyal readers are no doubt asking and emailing one another?

Here it comes - I have been suffering through a massive dose of wintertime blahs - note I said “blahs” - not “blues” - I don’t do “blues.” Being in a blah mode manifests itself in allowing my lurking procrastination to surface, ergo, no current postings, among other things.

It has been very cold with lots of snow and ice and temperatures huddling in the low 20s and teens.

Oh, I have still gone out and done a lot of things and stuff since my last activities posting of almost two weeks ago but I have, gasp, also opted to stay in my nice warm and cozy apartment many more times than usual.

I have crunched the numbers from my daily log (not diary, as you know by this time) and I am still living my NYC lifestyle just not in such a frenetic pace. I do find that during the time from January 15-28 (14 days) I saw: 1 Broadway show; 8 Off Broadway shows; 2 New York Philharmonic concerts; 1 movie (Gran Torino); and, spent time with both Scott Reed and Ben Sears, but not together, since they are no longer boyfriends.

During this timeframe I also had my semi-annual appointment with my urologist, which was successful.

It snowed 4 times and the statistic that bugs me the most - I stayed in the apartment 4 days/nights without going out to some entertainment event. Gasp, and double gasp... 4 times ...

I know what some of you are thinking - “you must be insane, asshole, those are awesome stats.” And, of course, you are right, but what I am trying to convey that I stayed in, yes, I stayed in 4 times and I couldn’t even make myself write anything on this blog for you loyal and faithful readers.

Now, in the name of fair and impartial reporting - I have a partial excuse, but it is so lame - I have become almost addicted to watching YouTube on my iPhone. Yes, it is now out in the open ... more details about this later on, I think.

OK, let me get back into rhythm, if I can by telling you about the rest of the week, which is shaping up like this ...

Thursday - 6:00 - “Jason and the Argonauts” - Off Broadway. “See the world of ancient Greece through the restless and youthful eyes of two hilarious young lads with supersonic energy and imaginations to match. This dynamic duo makes the New Victory stage their playground, gleefully recreating the epic tale of Jason's perilous journey on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. Using both action figures and their own physical ingenuity, these swashbucklers barrel their way through dozens of characters at breakneck speed, battling mischievous sea monsters, harrowing harpies, a villainous uncle, and ultimately, the challenge of their lives…” (complimentary ticket).

This show has gotten very good reviews and is in its final week. The running time is just over an hour so I will have time to hop a subway and head up to the 59th Street Theater to see --

8:30 - “Ride” - Off Broadway. “When a man and a woman wake up in bed together naked, neither can remember how they got there, or who the other is. In the harsh light of the morning after, they attempt to make sense of what may or may not have happened between them. As they are forced to reveal more of themselves, a complex snapshot of modern intimacy gradually comes into focus.” (complimentary ticket).

I had scheduled this show for a performance earlier in the month but I was able to cancel it when the weather sucked. It has gotten excellent reviews.

Friday - 7:30 - “Sixty Miles to Silver Lake” - Off Broadway. “A moving car. A father and son. The father drives, the son's face is pressed against the rolled up window, and the drive from soccer practice to Silver Lake is somewhere between an hour and a lifetime. This new play explores the tenuous relationship between sons and fathers and the effect of the mundane on the complex journey to adulthood.” (complimentary ticket).

The New York Times gave this show a very good review.

On Saturday, Claudia and John, from Columbia, SC, will be in the City for a whirlwind visit to celebrate John’s 50th birthday. I will meet up with them some time and place for a late lunch. I will schedule a show for the evening.

Sunday is, of course, the Super Bowl, with kickoff around 6:20. I honestly don’t care who wins but I will stay in and watch it.

Before the game, at 1:00 and 4:00 I have scheduled two parts of the three part revival of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy, which ran from 1982-85 on Broadway for 1,222 performances. The story centers on Arnold Beckoff, a torch song-singing Jewish drag queen living in New York City in the late '70s and '80s. At 1:00 is “The International Stud,” and at 4:00 is “Fugue in a Nursery.”

A slight diversion - on Monday I called the Yankee ticket office to ask about the status of my season ticket request for 2009. I have requested an upgrade to the 41 game package, which begins with the opening home game and then every other home game thereafter. As I have previously reported, my 20 game Flex plan has been abolished. After waiting forever to speak to a live person, I was finally advised that it would be at least 2-3 weeks before I hear from them whether my request has been honored. My gut feeling is that it will be a NO!!! Not sure what I will do if that is the decision ...

Oh, on Tuesday I got the following text message from Scott Reed: ”Can I use u as a subject for a documentary for school?” My response was: “sure.” So, we will see where this goes.

OK, everyone, this is it - I will try to be better in posting, assuming YouTube permits it.

Go Gators!!!

Billi Pod

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Did They Make It????

I am confident that most of you loyal and faithful readers are waiting with baited breath to learn if the two young men written about in the last posting were successful in their quest to break the Guinness world record for the speediest time traveling around the entire subway system in New York City.

Yes, they did it in record time - 22 hours and 51 minutes. Awesome!!

This is an excerpt for the news article in today’s Daily News --
Chris Solarz (center) and Matt Ferrisi get signature from witness Bertie Williams yesterday on the friends’ arrival at Carnarsie-Rockaway Parkway station in Brooklyn, the last stop on their record-breaking subway marathon.

WE RAIL-Y BROKE RECORD - Pals first to ride whole subway system in a day.

“They were not to be derailed. After 22 hours and 51 minutes, 468 train stations, 25 subway lines and a single potty break, two Manhattan marathon runners yesterday hit the finish line of another endurance test, spanning the entire city subway system in record time.

‘I’m gonna go to the bathroom,’ Chris Solarz quipped, as he and Matt Ferrisi reached the end of the L line - and their underground odyssey - at the Canarsie/Rockaway station in Brooklyn.

The longtime friends, who work at a Manhattan Investment firm, bested the previous mark of 24 hours and 54 minutes, but now wait to be certified as Guinness world record holders.

The two had trained early for the four-borough ride by mapping out potential routes and putting in four weeks of trial runs. But as any straphanger can attest, the MTA isn’t always going your way.

Among the holdups, they said, were a suspicious package at Union Square and a long 2a.m. delay on the G line at the Long Island City Court Square station.

‘We went from having perfectly synchronized the trains to missing every one.’ said Ferrisi, 28

Under Guinness rules, the two pals were required to stick to local trains and stop at every station in the system. Solarz snapped a picture at each stop, while Ferrisi had witnesses sign a document stating they had arrived.

And, they were not unfamiliar to some of the subway riders they encountered along their journey. ‘Everyone knew us on the train. We’re like local heroes now. Everyone thought we were crazy, but we made it,’ Solarz, 30, said, crediting three cups of coffee for keeping him awake.

The new subway kings weren’t about to share their formula for crisscrossing the subway system in record time. ‘The route is like our secret sauce,’ Solarz said. ‘We're keeping it to ourselves.’”
I am really proud of these guys and a bit freaked-out to know that my name will be somewhere in the archives of The Guinness Book of World Records.

Much more to report about later.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009 - Was I just part of “history” in the making?

There was an article in this morning’s Daily News about two young men who were going to attempt to break the Guinness world record for the speediest time traveling around the entire subway system in New York City. Under the Guinness rules they must take local trains and stop at every one of the 468 stations inside the system. The record is 24 hours, 54 minutes and 3 seconds.

I had a show scheduled tonight, Thursday, for 9:00pm at a theater down in SoHo so a few minutes after 8:00pm I caught the usual E train at the station at 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue. The car I got on was not crowded. I immediately noticed a large “unattended” backpack and two young men standing near it, one with a small digital camera and the other with a clipboard containing several sheets of paper. The camera guy was taking pictures of the station and the clipboard guy was writing feverishly on the papers.

Man, thought I, this is really strange. I kept my eye on them and when we pulled into the next station at 53rd and 5th Avenue, the camera guy stepped out of the car taking pictures of the station and the clipboard guy was writing feverishly again.

“What the hell is going on? These are two neatly dressed, clean shaven young men - they don’t look like terrorists.” Then it hit me ... my God, they might be the guys who are trying to break the Guinness record, so I got out of my seat and approached them and, yes, it was them. Wow!! How cool!! We started talking, which was interrupted when we pulled into the 7th Avenue station. They took pictures and made notes.

They had started at 1:00pm and were, at this point, an hour ahead of their projected schedule of clocking in at a little under 24 hours. It was obvious to me that they were really pumped and excited. Hell, I felt excited just being with them.

They asked me if I would be willing to sign their “verification” log and I said, of course, so they handed me a sheet of paper that had what I estimated was maybe 15-20 entries. I was asked to enter the time (8:16pm), station (by this time 50th Street at 8th Avenue), car number (which I don’t remember), my name (Bill Norris) and comments (“Go Guys!!”). They took my picture signing the log.

Dammit to hell, I had left my iPhone back in the apartment, something I have done only about 4 or 5 times since I got it over a year ago, so I couldn't take their picture. Dammit!!

They got off the E train at the 42nd Street/Times Square station and raced to transfer to another train but I forget now which one it was to be.

Their names are: Chris Solarz, 28, and Matt Ferrisi, 30, and they both work at the same Manhattan investment firm.

They hope to exit at the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway station no later than 1:00pm on Friday, thus breaking the record.

Good Luck Guys!!!

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

PS: I know I have been remiss in posting. Nothing is wrong. I just haven’t done it. My bad.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday - Upcoming events report

Good afternoon everyone. The Big Apple is expecting a cold front to move in starting Wednesday, bringing with it the coldest weather of the winter so far. Not that much snow is predicted but over the weekend it is forecast to be in the low teens and single digits.

Has the weather forecast impacted my entertainment schedule, you ask? Well, if you are a loyal and faithful reader of this blog you already know the answer - of course the f**k not.

This is my entertainment and activity schedule for the next 8 days --

Tuesday - 7:15 - “Terre Haute” - Off Broadway. “A famous author comes face-to-face with America's most notorious terrorist. As the clock ticks on death row, the bond between the two men grows. A scorching new play inspired by Gore Vidal's famous essays on Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh from one of America's greatest living writers, author of A Boy's Own Story.” (discounted TDF ticket)

Wednesday - noonish - lunch some place with student/bartender/manager Scott Reed, if he will just get off his lazy ass and tell me where and when.

7:00 - “Third Story” - Off Broadway. This show stars renowned actress Kathleen Turner and the press blurb is: “A mother and son screenwriting team hunker down in Omaha after fleeing Commie-obsessed 1940s Hollywood. A romantically-inclined but socially-inept princess makes a deal with an ancient witch. And tommy guns meet test tubes as a way-too-well-dressed first lady of the mob forms a desperate alliance with a cloning scientist whose experiments have had, um, less-than-consistent results. Gangster flicks, fairy tales, and B-movie sci-fi collide in this epic comic fable from the imagination of Charles Busch.” (discounted TDF ticket).

I think this show sounds very interesting and Kathleen Turner is usually great.

Thursday - in the morning I have my semi-annual finger-up-the-butt (aka a DRE or Digital Rectal Examination) appointment with my urologist, Dr. Erik T. Goluboff, who is Director of Urology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

7:30 - “Krapp, 39” - Off Broadway. “A voyeuristic prefiguring of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, and a deeply personal window on one man's last moment of youth. Reeling on his 39th birthday, an actor's obsessive identification with Beckett's famous character compels him to examine his own quixotic life and failures. His hilarious and heart breaking self-scrutiny plays out through intimate audio tapes, archival video, raw journal entries, haunted letters, racy confessions, and recorded conversations with the living and the lost.” (complimentary ticket).

OK! OK! - stop your snickering. I know that I have scheduled a play called Krapp after having someone stick his finger up my butt. I get it, OK? Stop it. Don’t make me come and get you.

Friday - 8:30 - “Ride” - Off Broadway. “When a man and a woman wake up in bed together naked, neither can remember how they got there, or who the other is. In the harsh light of the morning after, they attempt to make sense of what may or may not have happened between them. As they are forced to reveal more of themselves, a complex snapshot of modern intimacy gradually comes into focus.” (complimentary ticket).

Saturday - 8:00 - “Oscar and the Pink Lady” - Off Broadway. The star of this one-person play is Rosemary Harris. The press blurb is: “The play tells the story of a young hospital patient and his uplifting relationship with an elderly volunteer "Pink Lady," whose daily visits provide him with inspiration and hope.” (discounted TDF ticket).

I am really looking forward to this show. Rosemary Harris is a true theater legend.

Sunday - a day/evening of football, first the 3:30 Philadelphia vs. Arizona game for the NFL Championship and then at 6:30 the Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh game for the AFC Championship. You know, I really don’t care who wins these games, I am just looking forward to good football.

Monday - open at the moment.

Tuesday - 7:30 - New York Philharmonic Orchestra @ Avery Fisher Hall. The program is: Knussen’s Violin Concerto performed by Pinchas Zukerman; and, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. (subscription series)

So, I hope you will agree with me that it looks like a very interesting 8 days.

Some observations about shows and stuff since my last postings --

“Home” (Tuesday, 1/7) - was a very well performed drama about a black farmer and his life from the 1950s through the Civil Rights era.

“For Lover’s Only” (Friday, 1/9) - this show-case production featured 5 performers weaving together 100 love songs and it was outstanding. I hope it can find backing for an Off Broadway run.

It was bitterly cold on Friday and I had scheduled a show called “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” which I described in an earlier posting, for 10:30. It was a complimentary ticket so I had to go or face problems with the ticket service, so ... gasp ... at 9:30 I braved the frigid weather, went downtown to The East Village, picked up my ticket and then ... gasp ... came on back to my warm and cozy apartment. My bad.

“The Wrestler” (Saturday, 1/10) - I had very mixed emotions about seeing this movie, starring Mickey Rourke, about a washed-up former wrestler who wants to make a comeback and also reestablish a relationship with his estranged daughter. Well, folks, it is terrific. Rourke recently won the Golden Globe award as best actor in a drama. I don’t want to give anything away, but this is a must-see, trust me on this ...See it!!

“LIGA, 50% reward & 50% punishment” (Sunday, 1/11) - In the January 6th posting I said: “Without a doubt this will be a ‘love-it or hate-it’ show for moi” ... so my verdict is: I actually loved it a bit more than I hated it because the performers were excellent. I haven’t a clue, however, about what point the playwright was trying to make.

Finally, on Monday night I saw a very interesting Off Broadway show called “The Event” - “The Event is a one-man, comic ritual. Armed only with his memorized words, can an actor say something else? Dealing directly, honestly and humorously with the technician, the stage manager, the critics and the audience, the actor moves into dangerous and slippery territory.” (complimentary ticket). I liked this show a lot.

Have lots more stuff I could write about, but I think this posting has gone on long enough, so ...

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Monday, January 12, 2009

2008 Report - An Awesome Year!!!

I am pleased to be able to finally post the much anticipated report on my activities for 2008, perhaps in more detail than even you, my loyal and faithful readers, desired. But, what can I do? It was an awesome year for me personally in The Big Apple and I want to report honestly about the things and stuff I have done.

Without a doubt the highlight of the entire year was the election of Barack Obama. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to witness this historic event. He must now lead us out of the malaise caused by the ineptitude of the Bush/Cheney administration and I have every reason to believe he will.

I understand that it may seem almost blasphemous to segue from the 2008 elections to my personal activities, but, hey ... this posting is about moi and the year 2008, so ...

In checking my daily log (log, not diary - real guys don’t keep diaries) and the contents of this blog, I find that during 2008 I saw/attended/did the following: 35 Broadway shows; 173 Off Broadway shows, plus 12 shows at the New York International Fringe Festival; 37 classical music concerts (mostly with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, including their Opening Night and New Year’s Eve Galas); 5 rock music concerts (Eric Clapton, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Bon Jovi, and Neil Diamond); 18 movies; and 33 Yankee baseball games, including the final game in The House That Ruth Built - their record for the games I attended was only 19-14, and that sucked, but what sucked most was the fact that they didn’t even make the playoffs. I was out of NYC 44 nights and stayed in the apartment 33 days/nights without going out for some entertainment event (down 10 from 2007 and still mostly due to nasty weather).

When all of these statistics are factored in it means, my loyal and faithful readers, that during my time in The Big Apple I went to some entertainment event 9 out of 10 days/nights, and I think this statistic in and of itself represents what Billi Pod’s New York City lifestyle is really about. I know it isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea, as “they” say, but it is mine and it is why I am here and why I will remain here for as long as I am physically and mentally able to.

I celebrated my 18th AA birthday on March 18 and my 74th birthday on April 23 (barf and double barf - I don’t like being 74 years old). Although I remain devoted to my various iPods (4 in number) and my name legally remains Billi Pod, I must report that I have become one with my iPhone to the point that he/she/it is my constant companion, with whom I share, among other things, my bed.

During the year I: was honored to be present when oldest grandson, Warrant Officer Alex Falletta, received his Wings as an Apache helicopter pilot; saw Alex’s wife Gina receive her BS degree from the University of South Carolina; re-subscribed to 3 concert series with the New York Philharmonic for the 2008/2009 season; made an application to upgrade my Yankee season ticket package to the new 41 game package in the new Yankee Stadium (I haven’t received notification yet whether my application has been accepted); and, on December 31st completed 14 wonderful years of retirement and I know that I am the type of retiree that drives pension-plan actuaries absolutely crazy.

I was out of the Big Apple for 44 nights, including: 5 nights in Fort Rucker, AL, and Columbia, SC, for Alex’s penning ceremony and then the move back to SC; 20 nights in San Francisco, Japan and China as part of my awesome Globus tour; 5 nights in Orlando to be with my son Bill as he underwent a procedure to correct an ear problem; 4 nights in Columbia for Gina’s college graduation; 7 awesome nights in Paris with my fraternity brother and former law school roommate David West; and, another 3 nights in Columbia, SC, for Christmas with my daughter Kathi and her husband Dr. John, son Bill and his massive Rottweiller Zeko, and grandson Alex Falletta and his wife Gina.

During the year I was able to spend time in the City with lots of folks, including: my daughter Kathi and husband Dr. John Bendeck of Columbia, SC; Dwight and Joanne Wells of Key West, FL; former roomie David West of Gainesville and Paris; retired Circuit Judge Susan Roberts and her husband, attorney Dan Brawley, of Lakeland, FL; mega-Bull Gator Stumpy Harris and his wife Dottie, of Orlando, FL, along with Dottie’s friend Sue from New Jersey; Gina Falletta and her friend Kelly, of Columbia, SC; Sandy Mullon of Anna Maria, FL; Gordon Warner and his now wife Carole of Taveres, FL; University of Florida classmate, attorney Stephen Gardner of NYC; Dian Crystal of NYC; student/bartender/manager Scott Reed of NYC and his mother Donna of Lakeland, FL; student/waiter Ben Sears; and not to be forgotten or overlooked - my AA buddies - you know who you are.

In April I became part of the blog community by creating this blog at 7:19pm on April 6th. It has been fun for the most part. I posted 166 times during 2008. Additionally, I forward the confirmation email from the blog website to the roughly 125 remaining cyberspace friends who were on my original newsletter email list.

As I have written many times before on this blog, 2008 was a wonderful year to be a part of The Gator Nation as the football team began its march toward the National Championship, culminating in 2009 with the win over Oklahoma in the BCS Championship game. Our only misstep was the inexplicable loss to Old Miss. In the 2007 summary I made the following prediction: “The 2007 Gator football team didn’t live up to my expectations, but I have a feeling that the 2008 Gators will be a powerhouse.” Will Tebow return? My gut tells me yes, and, if so, the Gators could go all the way again. (since I prepared this for posting Tebow has announced that he will indeed be back for his Senior year - awesome!!).

Other highlights include the surprise birthday trip to Staten Island via a Mini Cooper with Scott Reed and Ben Sears and the awesome Thanksgiving dinner at Spitzer’s Corner in the Lower Eastside with Scott, his mom Donna and his friend Ava.

Every year has downsides and, unfortunately, 2008 was no exception, highlighted, I think, by the economic downturn that has touched so many people I know here in the Big Apple and in Florida. Hopefully, our new President will push all the right buttons to get us back on track. The crane collapse in March at the building site on my block that resulted in 7 deaths still remains unresolved. The year also marked 5 years since I lost my dear friend Ray Coker, 4 years since Marvin Mounts left us; 2 years since Randy Bentley passed, and 1 year since Bill’s mother Donna Warner left us. During the year the mind boggling ineptitude of the Bush/Cheney administration continued, but, Thank You Dear Lord, it is almost over. As mentioned above, the Yankees basically sucked. It remains to be seen if their multi-million dollar spending spree will get them back on track. I think it will.

I am happy to report that my health remains very good and I still see my cardiologist briefly every 6-8 weeks to monitor my meds. I have experienced no major problems with my left knee and it remains pain free. During the year I maintained my weight within the targeted range of 162-164 pounds and I have pretty much achieved my target of walking 21 miles a week over and above the “normal” stuff. So, my Higher Power willing, I guess I will just “keep on keeping on” - one day at a time.

What do I think about the upcoming year? My predictions in this area haven’t been so good - last year, for example, I made the following prediction: “I think Hillary will be the Democratic nominee and probably Giuliani the Republican, with the winner being - tada - Hillary.” Really missed the boat on that one. Like most folks, I am looking forward to the first 100 days of the Obama administration. In April, over my birthday on the 23rd, I will be in Paris with my roomie David West. At this point I haven’t made any other travel plans although I am considering adding a week in London following my week in Paris with David. A lot depends on which, if any, season ticket plan the Yankees offer me and the exchange policy within that plan. Hopefully the Yankees will open the new stadium with a return to the World Series and, of course, bringing another World Championship to the Bronx, where they belong. Go to hell Boston Fucksox, go straight to hell.

Seeing a taping of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report also remains on my to-do list.

OK, this is enough information and details. You, my loyal and faithful readers, are now up-to-date on my 2008 activities. At this point the annual question recurs: “Has this 74 year old guy slowed down any?”

You be the judge. I report - you decide.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

PS: I apologize in advance if I have omitted anyone or any event. My bad. Please forgive me.

Friday, January 9, 2009


There is really nothing more I can add. It was a great game and I am so proud and happy to be a part of The Gator Nation.

Sorry Billyboy - you lost and your dear ole Dad won.

The Gators Rule!!

Billi Pod

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thursday - LET THE GAME BEGIN!!!!



My prediction - very close game for the first half, with the score 21-14. Not sure which team will be ahead. But, when the second half begins the Gator offense and defense will take control and the final score will be: GATORS 35 - Mooners 21.

Now, my bet with my son, Bill, who lives in Orlando and has been a longtime Mooner fan. He is a math teacher at Lake Howell High School in Seminole County. If the Gators win, he must wear Gator gear when his picture is taken for the next class year book. If the Mooners win, I have to end each blog with the phrase “Sooners Rule,” for a year.

There you have it.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rant - I f**king HATE tech manuals - they suck!!

OK, I gotta rant a bit about things and stuff, mostly about the virtually indecipherable manuals that are packed with various technological devices.

What am I talking about, you ask? Well, my loyal and faithful readers (who, ahem, have been strangely silent lately), this is what I mean ...

This Christmas I was given two state-of-the-art thingys ... a new digital camera from my son Bill and a digital picture frame from my daughter Kathi.

First, the camera - Olympus Stylus 1010, with: 10.1 mega pixels; 7x optical zoom; 2.7” LCD monitor; double stabilization; face detection; shadow adjustment; perfect shot preview; in-camera help; in-camera panorama; and, an 83 PAGE INSTRUCTION MANUAL

The instruction manual, all 83 fucking pages, has print so small that you really need a magnifying glass to read it. When you open the manual you find a “Quick Start Guide” so your first reaction is ... hey, this is gonna be easy, right? I mean, it says “Quick Start Guide,” right?... Then you notice that the so-called “Quick Start Guide” is 15.5 pages of material so draconian in nature that Einstein would have been baffled.

But, on I go, by first unpacking the rest of the box and placing the camera, camera strap, lithium Ion battery, battery charger, USB cable, AV cable, and Olympus Master 2 CD-ROM in front of me on a table. I pick up the manual and begin. Then I notice that I must first charge the Lithium Ion battery (specially designed for this camera only), and it will take at least 2 hours. Fuck!!

Oh well, what can I do, right? I figure out how to place the battery in the charger and plug the charger into an electrical outlet. I will read the “Quick Start Guide” while I wait for the battery to be charged. So I sit on the couch and start reading and ... 90 minutes later I wake up with the “Quick Start Guide” on my chest and drool coming down the side of my face. OMG!!

Everything goes back into the box. Since then, on 3 different occasions, I have braved the “Quick Start Guide” with about the same results, and as those of you loyal and faithful readers who are members of my family know ... Billi Pod rarely naps under any circumstance.

To make matters worse - I am the world’s worst follower of written instructions and have been so since I was a little boy trying to make model airplanes from scratch. Never was able to finish a single one, never ever.

Will I ever get this wonderful device up and running? Yes, but only because I am not satisfied with the camera function on my iPhone.

Now about the other techno-thingy - the digital picture frame --

Sony S-Frame DPF-D70 - stores 500 images to a 7” diagonal display, featuring: auto orientation sensor; 256MB internal memory; direct card slot; and 800 x 480 pixels.

And, the instruction manual for this nice thingy is a mere 46 PAGES, also of very small print. In many aspects this manual is filled with more techno-babble than the camera manual, mostly involving the process of transferring pics from other storage devices/sources.

I have to admit that all I have done to get this thingy up and running is read the first 5 pages of the manual. My priorities will be to get the camera going first and then the frame.

Well, I kinda feel better. At least I have something to do while waiting for the BCS game on Thursday and/or when it snows and/or when I need to go to sleep quickly.

On to other things - this is what the next 7 days look like --

Tonight at 7:30 is a New York Philharmonic concert @ Lincoln Center. The program is: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2; Strauss’s Burleske for Piano featuring Emanuel Ax; Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 4; and, Mussuorgsky/Ravel’s Pictures at an Exhibition. (subscription series)

Wednesday - 9:00am - annual sit-down appointment with my cardiologist Dr. Fred Feuerbach. He will determine if I need any tests or anything like that. This is a routine appointment. I haven’t been experiencing any problems.

8:00 - “Home” - Off Broadway. “Home is a wonderfully theatrical tale of one man's struggle to stay true to himself amidst a rapidly changing and turbulent America. Leaving behind his family's farm in North Carolina, Cephus Miles seeks refuge and prosperity in the North. Three actors portray more than twenty-five characters over the course of Cephus's epic journey from adolescence to adulthood, spanning the 1950's through the Vietnam War and Civil Rights eras.” (complimentary ticket).

Thursday - in the morning I will have blood work (for a PSA) and a urinalysis in preparation for my semi-annual appointment with my urologist on January 13th. Again, this is a routine appointment - I haven’t been experiencing any problems.

8:00 - BCS Championship Game. The Gators will kick butt!!

Friday - 3:00 - “For Lovers Only” - Off Broadway. “Five Broadway actors, two pianos, 100 love songs! Joyous, moving, funny, smile-inducing, tear-inducing and just the right mix for the start of a new year. This is a fully staged, off book performance of a work in progress. Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Always, 'Swonderful, All the Things You Are, You're the Top, Moon River are among the 100 songs performed.” (complimentary ticket).

10:30 - “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” - Off Broadway. “This show is an ever changing attempt to perform 30 original plays in 60 minutes. Off of sold out performances in Chicago since the Reagan era, Too Much Light... invaded New York and has continued to entertain late night audiences around the boroughs with its critically acclaimed energetic show of random original short plays. For each performance the audience chooses the order and the New York Neo-Futurists create a non-illusory collage of the comic and tragic, the political and personal, and the visceral and experimental while embracing chance, change and possibly a little chaos. (complimentary ticket)

Hey, I know that these are strange times, but, come on folks - remember, this is New York City, not Norman, Oklahoma.

Saturday - open at the moment.

Sunday - 7:00 - “LIGA, 50% reward & 50% punishment” - Off Broadway. This is the press blurb for the show being performed at the renowned Public Theater: “LIGA starts with the end. On a video we see how the highs and lows of the just-completed performance are re-lived as the actors enthusiastically congratulate and console each other. A live "flashback" follows as the actors begin to perform their play. We observe five characters. Young and easily influenced, the human need to conform makes them susceptible to manipulation. With rapid speed they learn how to please and how "to pretend." Meanwhile, the audience is left wondering just what kind of performance these characters are learning to give.” (complimentary ticket).

Without a doubt this will be a “love-it or hate-it” show for moi.

Monday - open at the moment.

Tuesday - 7:15 - “Terre Haute” -Off Broadway. “A famous author comes face-to-face with America's most notorious terrorist. As the clock ticks on death row, the bond between the two men grows. A scorching new play inspired by Gore Vidal's famous essays on Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh.” (discounted TDF ticket).

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod

Sunday, January 4, 2009

December 2008 in The Big Apple

There is no doubt about it, December 2008 was an excellent month for me despite periods of very cold and nasty weather.

Before listing the actual statistics I have to state that the highlight of the month was being in Columbia, SC, for Christmas. I have found that as I have gotten older the opportunities I have to be with family members take on a deeper, almost spiritual meaning for me, that sometimes I neglect to adequately express while everyone is together. During these difficult times FAMILY is so important and we must never ever forget it!

December marked 2 years since my dear friend and colleague Senior Judge Randy Bentley of Lakeland, FL, left us. He and his wife Sue and their families remain in my thoughts and prayers. I really do miss him.

Now, on to other things, that being what I did during the last month of 2008. In reviewing my daily log (log, not diary - real guys don’t keep diaries) I find that during the month of December 2008 I saw/attended/did the following:

4 Broadway shows (Spring Awakening, Shrek: The Musical, Pal Joey, and The Tommy Reunion Concert); 17 Off-Broadway shows; 7 classical music concerts (mostly with the New York Philharmonic, including their New Year’s Eve Gala); and, 2 movies (Milk and The Day the Earth Stood Still).

I was able to spend some quality time with my fraternity brother and mega-Bull Gator, Stumpy Harris and his wife Dottie, from Orlando and their friend Sue, who lives in the foreign country known as Jersey. I did have some face-time, albeit too brief, with student/bartender/manager Scott Reed.

My friend Georgie retired after serving as a doorman in our building for over 20 years. I miss you already Big Guy.

I was out of the City for 3 nights for Christmas in Columbia, SC, with: my daughter Kathi Bendeck and her husband Dr. John; son Bill from Orlando and his massive Rottweiller Zeko; and, oldest Grandson Alex Falletta and his wife Gina. As I have written before, unfortunately, youngest Grandson Chris and his fiancĂ© Sally were unable to join us due to work related issues, including moving back to Gainesville, thereby leaving that cesspool known as “Fleasburg.”

December was a great month to be a part of The Gator Nation as the Gators won the SEC Championship by beating Alabama, and as a result, will play the Oklahoma University Sooners on January 8th in the BCS Championship game. The Gators will kick butt in the second half of the game and win their second National Championship in 3 years.

I was disappointed that Tim Tebow didn’t win his second Heisman Trophy but I can certainly understand the rationale behind giving it to Sooner QB Sam Bradford. As you faithful and loyal readers no doubt remember, back in the December 1st posting I predicted that Bradford would win: “...let me make a prediction [about] who will win the Heisman Trophy - it will be Oklahoma Quarterback Sam Bradford.”

There were only 3 days/nights during the month without some entertainment event, each as a direct result of the nasty weather. This maintains my history of attending some entertainment event 9 out of 10 days/nights.

In closing, as part of the fairness doctrine, I have to report that I failed in the promise I made to you, my loyal and faithful readers, in the December 1 posting wherein I promised to be more timely and current in my postings. For the month I only posted, gasp, 10 times. My bad. I will do better in 2009, I promise.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod,

Saturday - OMG!! - Am I becoming a COUCH POTATO???

OK, OK, in the name of fair and unbiased reporting to you, my loyal and faithful readers, I must confess to personal shortcomings that have overtaken me since I returned to the apartment around 10:00pm on New Year’s Eve, following my New York Philharmonic Concert at Lincoln Center.

I must confess to being - gasp - make that double gasps - unable to focus on anything other than the college and professional football games that have been flooding my TV screen from 11:00am in the mornings until after midnight in the evenings and it doesn’t much matter who is playing who ... top-10 team vs. top-ten team or Poedunk State vs. Slimy U or Rose Bowl or Spit Bowl - if it is on, then I have to watch it.

What this means is that since 10:00pm on Wednesday night I have been out of the apartment only 3 times for trips to the grocery store and a pizza place and once, Friday night, to attend a theater event, a Broadway show in early previews called “American Plan,” which sucked. As soon as the show was over I raced back to the apartment to plop down in front of the screen for the rest of the Sugar Bowl.

Today, Saturday, was the two NFL Wild-card games and I have nothing scheduled for Sunday except the two NFL playoff games.

Oh, I had planned to see a couple of movies this weekend, “Doubt,” with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Clint Eastwood’s just released action/drama “Gran Torino,” but thus far the TV screen and cold weather (low 30s) have kept me inside and on the couch.

And, oh God, the upcoming week is also scary because the only thing I have scheduled so far is a New York Philharmonic concert on Tuesday. There is the OSU vs. Texas game on Monday, and, of course, everything is building up to the BCS Championship game on Thursday. I am nervous, I am antsy, but I am also confident that the Florida Gators will kick Sooner butt!!

On a positive note, I have finished the stats for December 2008 and also for the year 2008 and they are both truly awesome. Hopefully sometime within the next several days I can post them for your review and analysis.

So, as I said earlier, I write this confession so you, my loyal and faithful readers, can decided whether Billi Pod is in immediate danger of becoming a Couch Potato? The issue is: have I started down that slippery slope leading to the nether-world of Couch Potatoism?

I report - you decide.

Go Gators!!

Billi Pod