A Day Trip to Rochester

Kelly and I took a short trip to Rochester today. I really wanted to see Matt before he moved to Seattle in January, so my main purpose for the trip was to attend Game Night at the comic store. Kelly and I ate a late lunch at Magnolia’s, and then we went to Wegman’s in Pittsford (or, Mega Weg’s, as some like to call it). I had a request from Adrienne for Cocopop, which I’ve only ever seen at Wegman’s, and Daniel wanted a particular cereal. I do miss Wegman’s.

We also went to Eastview Mall for some holiday shopping. I’m visiting my brother tomorrow, so I wanted to get everything for him, his kids, and my sister-in-law wrapped and ready to go.

Finally, it was time for Game Night. I got to see Matt’s wife and kids briefly, then Kelly dominated us in Settlers of Catan. And then I lost miserably in poker, too. But it was great to see them, and a trip to the store means that Matt gives me and Daniel all of the stuff that they haven’t been able to sell. This includes random, terrible comics and bizarre action figures that probably shouldn’t exist.

I had a good afternoon in Rochester. It was nice to visit, but I don’t think I could ever live there again.


On the Way Home…

As this post is being published, I am driving to Upstate New York to visit my family.  I haven’t been back since February, but I’m sure it hasn’t changed much.

I just want to take this moment to add onto my last R. Kelly post.  He added more chapters to “Trapped in the Closet”!  As I feared, it answered absolutely none of the questions left from the previous chapters, but it did introduce some bizarre new characters, including one that had R. Kelly in blackface.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  Well, I will just post the link to the video.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Lately I’ve been trying to put up posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I thought I would do a special Thanksgiving post today.

I really love the holiday of Thanksgiving.  Yes, it’s great to stuff your face with the best comfort food and delicious turkey and amazing pies.  But if you think about the spirit of the holiday, it’s really nice.  There’s nothing religious about it, so nobody feels excluded, and it’s a time where people can get together and sit down for a nice meal and take a moment to be thankful for the things they do have.

This year, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a great full-time job that I still enjoy.  It’s also in the perfect location; I’m living in a fantastic apartment in downtown Durham, and it’s right where I want to be.  My commute to work is 10 minutes.  I love it.  My family back home is doing well, and everybody is healthy.  I have Daniel, which is one of the things I’m always most thankful for.  To top it off, today it was around 60 degrees outside.  My life is good right now, and that’s all I could ask for.

I hope everybody else can take the time today and reflect on what’s good in their life, and try to forget the things that are lacking, at least for a little while.

What are you thankful for?

A Quiet Weekend

This weekend was pretty relaxing overall.  After buying a growler of beer at Bull City Burger and Brewery, Daniel and I fired up the XBox yesterday so we could play through Halo and Halo 2 again.  The XBox doesn’t quite work the way it’s supposed to, so Daniel and I are going to be purchasing an XBox 360 for Hanukkah.  It’s going to be a gift from both of us to both of us.  We’re pretty excited, because our XBox is absolutely on its last legs.  Today it shut itself off for no reason.

Of course, an XBox 360 means we can play through all of the other Halo sequels.  I am also excited about Plants vs Zombies for the XBox 360, since it has a co-op mode.

Expect a special post coming later this week about Thanksgiving.  And, as I mentioned in the R. Kelly post, we will be doing a “Trapped in the Closet” marathon sometime this week, so there will be some mention of that.

An Early Hanukkah Gift

Look what Daniel bought me!

That’s Daniel with Doody on his head. (It’s a game…called Doody Head.)

I’ve been having a lot of problems with my laptop’s screen.  It’s actually a common problem among MacBooks like mine.  I bought this when they first released the aluminum unibody 13″ MacBooks (before they switched them all to MacBook Pros).  The computer itself still works great, so we just converted it into a desktop.  I love it.  It wasn’t meant to be an early Hanukkah gift, but I guess I came home early one day after work without warning Daniel, and he had set it up just to make sure that everything worked.  I guess he figured that since I’d already seen the gift, I might as well just have it.  Thanks Daniel!

Top 10 Favorite R. Kelly Songs

Before I decided to write this list, I had no idea just how many R. Kelly songs there were in the world, and I’d actually only heard a small handful from his entire career.  And, of course, in addition to his normal catalogue, there’s also all of the remixes he’s done, some of which I just had to include in this list.

Writing this post, I’ve noticed a few patterns with his lyrics.  He writes about 1 of 2 things.  The first is just things he sees, or whatever seems to come to him at that moment.  There are some examples below.  The second is just straight up sex or sex-related things.  That’s it.  This is what has allowed him to make record after record for over 20 years.

Below is one of the most difficult Top 10 lists I’ve ever written.  The list of songs to choose from was almost as daunting as choosing my Top 10 Favorite Daniel O’Brien Articles on Cracked.com.  But here it is.

10.  “I Believe I Can Fly”

I had to include this one for no other reason than it is just an R. Kelly classic.  Featured on the soundtrack to Space Jam, it was a huge hit in the ’90s for Mr. Kelly.  This is one of the only (if not, then the only song in his entire career) that doesn’t appear to involve sex or just random thoughts.

9.  “Havin’ a Baby”

Is this song a follow-up to the song “Pregnant“?  The song “Pregnant” almost made this list, but I figured that it really wasn’t necessary to include both “Havin’ a Baby” and “Pregnant”.

He’s so glad to be that baby’s daddy.

8.  “Real Talk”

This song is very reminiscent of “Trapped in the Closet”.  The entire song is R. Kelly sing-yelling at a person that we presume to be his girlfriend, who has accused him of seeing another woman.  But (and this is genius), we only hear R. Kelly’s side.  So, in the song he’s having a conversation with a woman, but we can only hear R. Kelly yelling things like “Wait a minute, let me finish!”.

Here are some of the things that he yells:

How the fuck she know I was with them other girls then?
When the whole club packed…wait a minute let me finish what I gotta say
I’ve been with you for 5 years and you’re listening to your motherfucking girlfriends,
I don’t know why you fuck with them old jealous,
No man-having, ass hoes anyway

And during one of my favorite parts of the song, the ending, he starts yelling for somebody named Milton.  Hmm.

The next time your ass get horny go fuck one of your funky ass friends,
Hell you probably already doing that shit.
Anyway you’re gonna burn what?
Bitch, I wish you would burn my motherfucking clothes,
With your trifling ass
MILTON!…you bogus girl,
MILTON!…start your car and warm it up and get ready to take me home,
This bitch done lost her motherfucking mind

I took a moment to just highlight what I thought were some of the best lyrics.  You can thank me in a comment.

7.  “Same Girl”

This is probably my favorite R. Kelly duet.  He and Usher are having a conversation where they realize they are “messing with the same girl”.  But the music video is truly the best because there is actually an amazing twist at the end.

I like the cute nicknames they have for each other.

6.  “The Opera”

This is the shortest selection on this list, clocking in at 1:23.  This is also the song that made me realize R. Kelly has just been screwing with us for nearly two decades.  It comes from his first double album, R., released in the ’90s.  He uses his best opera voice to sing lyrics like “Dearly be, are you down with me?”, and finishes the song with the sounds of an applauding audience, as though he had just sung an opera.  The man is brilliant.

5.  “Ignition (Remix)”

This is the soundtrack to everybody’s weekend.  It is quintessential R. Kelly, and it’s one of those remixes that I mentioned above.  Lyrically, the remix has absolutely nothing to do with the original version.

I’m like, so what, I’m drunk.

4.  “Sex Planet”

This song is about space sex.  What can be better than space sex?  The opportunities for lyrical double-entendres are limitless.

We’ll take a trip to planet Uranus, Anus.

Yeah, he just said that. I think R. Kelly deserves an award for best use of the word anus in an R&B song.

3.  “Echo”

This song is pure genius.  It’s all about having sex all day, until his lady starts to yodel in ecstasy.  He even yodels in the video!

This video is no joke.  This is the actual video for the song.  Take a moment to process that.  And just in case you didn’t know what an echo is, R. Kelly is here to explain it to you.

2.  “Feelin’ On Yo Booty (Remix)”

I think that R. Kelly has done so many remixes that sometimes he can’t remember which one he’s currently recording.  It’s also likely that he’s recorded so many remixes that there’s no way you or I could keep them straight, so he constantly reminds us which one we’re listening to.  He makes it very easy for us (himself?), because the first lyrics you hear are “What remix is this? (Feelin’ On Yo Booty)”, sung in that special R. Kelly kind of way.  (Before that, you can actually hear him saying “This sounds real familiar.”)  Now, I could have included the original “Feelin’ On Yo Booty” in this list, but for me the remix so eclipsed the original that there was no way I could have been happy just using the original.

The falsetto at the end where he just repeats the word “Booty” makes this remix extra special.

1.  “Trapped in the Closet”

For me, this was absolutely the high point in R. Kelly’s career.  I think this “hip hopera” was a huge accomplishment for him, even though it’s not finished (yet!!).  Currently, there are 22 chapters that you can watch on Youtube.  Below I have provided a link to a Youtube playlist on Vevo that will play all 22 chapters sequentially.  Unfortunately, the first video in the playlist is for the song “Share My Love”, which is an excellent song, but I believe was mistakenly added to the playlist.  Also, the last song on the playlist after Chapter 22, is “Sex Me”, which I believe was also included erroneously.

And now I’m in this dark ass closet, tryin’ to figure out 
Just how I’m gonna get my crazy ass up out this house 

You can also go directly to the Vevo page for R. Kelly and watch them all there as well, and avoid the first video.  Because they are through Vevo, they’re all very good quality.  This is great because he’s releasing a new chapter next week, on Friday November 23.  Daniel and I are so excited for it that we are planning on doing a marathon of the first 22 chapters.

That’s the list.  What are some of your favorite R. Kelly songs?

November Date Night!

Daniel and I enjoyed a little date night yesterday evening.  It was one of our best date nights ever, if I do say so myself.  We decided we were just going to do the simple dinner and a movie.  However, date night requires that you put in a little more effort than usual.  For me, that apparently amounts to an extra two hours that I spend primping.  I showered, curled my hair, did my makeup, and I picked out a cuter outfit than what I usually wear.  This also encouraged Daniel to wear a button down shirt and a jacket.  He looked excellent.

We dined at Pizzeria Toro, which was our first time eating there.  It was delicious.  For an appetizer, we tried the Burrata with charred tomatoes and crispy basil.  It was really good, but a little overpriced for the portion we received, and for what it was.  Now, the pizza was amazing and priced very reasonably.  We tried the spicy lamb meatball pizza.  Our bill came in at under $30 for the appetizer and the pizza, and that also included the tip.  It reminded me a little bit of a restaurant in Rochester called Veneto.  They both offer wood-fired pizza, but Veneto also offers a wide selection of pasta dishes.  Between the two establishments, the prices of the pizzas were very similar, but the portions of the pizzas at Pizzeria Toro are slightly bigger.  Despite the weird, uncomfortable chairs that they put you in, and sitting us at a long table with four strangers, it was a positive experience overall.  I complain about the strange seating arrangement because all they have for seating are long tables that are meant for multiple groups of people, which is bad if you’re looking for a more quiet restaurant where you can chat with the person you are dining with more privately.  But other than that, it has a very, very Durham vibe to it.

I admit that before we went to the theater, we stopped at Target to buy candy and Coca-cola Icees.  (They don’t sell Coke Icees at Wynnsong or Northgate.  This is a problem for us, because we love Coke Icees.)  We ended up at Wynnsong to see Skyfall.  It was certainly the best James Bond film I’ve ever seen, which probably doesn’t say much because I’ve only seen maybe 4 or 5.  But the consensus seems to be that it is the best one yet.  I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil it, but Javier Bardem’s character did remind me a little bit of The Joker from The Dark Knight.  Nothing specific about him screamed “Joker Ripoff”, but in general the character seemed reminiscent of that kind of villain.  This didn’t cheapen the film even a little bit.  I think the entire movie was a perfect combination of action, humor, and sexiness.  It’s definitely a movie that I want to own when it comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

On a side note, we saw a trailer for another Die Hard movie.  I am SO excited about that, words cannot express it.  This of course means that we will need to have a Die Hard movie marathon before we see it in theaters.

I will leave you with Adele’s “Skyfall”, the new Bond film theme song.  I don’t really care for Adele, but I do think this was perfect for the film.