Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bruce Springsteen is popular right now...


Looking up some old Bruce Springsteen videos lately. I've been trying to read his autobiography, "Born to Run",  when I have time.

It's pretty good. I just have trouble reading with a 10 year old in the house. There's also an interview in a recent copy of "Rolling Stone" that I started to read too. Again, the child interupts.

It's November which means I want to be writing for Nanowrimo, but again... failed. Ugh. I've got a pile of Lego that I haven't put together too. It just seems like the daily life of work, kitchen chores, and homework take up all of our time, with room for snuggles and conversation too of course. We're getting to a few events and doing the things we like to do but time for solitude pursuits is not happening right now. It's just the way it is.

Meanwhile I'll get back to Springsteen when I have time. I bought the book because I wasn't getting through the library copy fast enough and I've got some of his dvds and cds on my Christmas list at the moment. At work YouTube is running through my headphones as I write this. I know it's all been said before. His music is a mix of fluffy pop stuff and Dylan-esque folk music. There are anthems and ballads and top 10 hits. There's deeper stuff that makes you go "That's Springsteen?" and there's stuff that I think "Did I miss this back then or did I just forget?" Some of the music is memorable, and some of it I'm okay to forget.

Duchovny has another cd coming out sometime, with concert dates already announced. I wonder who has the bigger Twitter following. I'll have to look sometime. :-)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Duchovniacs are not all David Duchovny fans

Oops! I ticked off some people with my last post and because I don't read Twitter carefully enough I just caught it.

My last post should have been more clear. Duchovniacs is a website and a social media presence. It can be found here

On Twitter they are @waltfrasier and #Duchovniacs

And yes I enjoy their Twitter presence as well as some of the other Duchovny fans who are out there. My apologies for ticking them/you off in the first place.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fandom, fangirls, fanfiction... and David Duchovny

 Forgive me because this is REALLY quick!

I've never much had the patience or interest to drool over celebrities. Whether they were singers, musicians, athletes, or whatever in the public eye I've never been one to pin someone up on the bedroom wall and idolize them. I prefer my objects of affection to be at least SOMEWHAT obtainable I guess.

Anyway I stumbled on a whole world of fangirls and fandom after I read David Duchovny's book. The fangirls led me to his music and that got me looking for movies and tv shows that he'd acted in. I've never been an X-Files fans, sorry. Not going to happen. I like his writing though, and his songwriting is included in that. He was a writer before he was a model and actor.

I have a vague memory of a dvd of "Red Shoe Diaries" or something like that but I had no idea how prolific that had been until I started looking him up on IMDB and so forth. I attempted to watch a couple of his tv shows but no luck in finding anything that wasn't way too much to be viewed in a house with a 10 year old. Most recently I've watched parts of "House of D" which got pretty bad reviews. The "special features" were cool though and I learned from that he wanted "Bucky F*cking Dent" to be a movie, not a book. Interesting thought.

So while I'm still struggling to appreciate him as an actor I'm in awe of his fandom. Is it all based on his (perceived) good looks? I don't know. Maybe. In any case he seems to pander to it because that's how he has to make a living, but it's pretty amazing.

And there are other fandoms out there. Lots of them. A look into some fanfiction sites recommended by writers I know shows me that there is TONS of fanfiction being written, maybe even more than romance. It's crazy. I haven't had the time to sit down and try to sift through most of it yet, because again... I'm not REALLY a fangirl, but I see the temptation. This stuff is a break from reality. We all need a break sometimes. I just don't have time to take one.

Meanwhile my Twitter feed is filling with Duchovniacs and I'm enjoying the ride, and if I happen to say "Duchovny" in my sleep then I apologize.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lego Super Heroes and Lego promo item pictures

Picked up a few things last weekend and I'm slowly getting them together. While the Disney castle looks awesome it's a bit more than wallet can afford so we have to settle for the smaller items in life.

First up, the promo item, a double-decker bus that is too small for minifigures but it's cute nonetheless.

After that, we've got a DC Comics Super Heroes set. I like Harley Quinn especially and that's why I got this set. Usually I leave the Super Heroes sets for my husband to collect but recently I've made a few exceptions. Likewise I usually leave the Elves, Friends, and Princesses to my daughter but I've picked up a few of those as well. I still have the Elves mine set to put together. Maybe I'll get to it this coming weekend.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Latest Lego acquisitions

Haven't been doing much Lego in a few weeks but did get a couple of sets on Sunday and quickly put them together. First up is my favorite of the 2. The Lego Friends Hot Dog van.

And also the Lego City Ambulance Plane

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Actors/Musicians... a ramble through YouTube and my mind on a hot Wednesday in July

My last post was about Duchovny's book. I'm still stuck on him at the moment.

I've never been a fan of "The X-Files" but I know David Duchovny from at least one other thing that he's done, and when the book "Bucky F*cking Dent" crossed my desk at work I knew I wanted to read it. (If nothing else there promised to be baseball.) While looking up the reviews I discovered that he'd released an album last year. I had no idea! Seriously, I don't watch tv and I don't always pay attention to the radio.

Before getting the MP3 though my mind wondered "Is it actually any good?" I listened to a few songs online, on YouTube, on Amazon, etc... but the jury was still out so I got the MP3. It's not bad. The critics say he's imitating others but that's to be expected for his first release. Okay. I'm okay with that.

This got me to thinking about other actors who have released albums. The first two that came to my mind were David Hasselhoff and William Shatner. Classics. Shatner is of course terrible in a cheezy, 70s kind of way. He doesn't sing. He talks while music is playing. Hasselhoff is of course classic 80s. He does actually sing but he also thinks he's sexy and the videos are just.... cheese. What can I say?

Further curiousity led me to this--

Now I don't want to just repost all the videos that are listed in that article. That wouldn't be right. Some of them have me curious though and I'm continuing my research and exploration of "actors turned musicians" through YouTube etc...

Kevin Bacon is mentioned in that article, but not this video:

This isn't bad. It's newer so it doesn't have the cheese factor that those older actors have.

I can't judge country music, but Jeff Bridges was mentioned in the article and his music actually feels kind of genuine, like he was made for this. Here's one example-

I almost missed Bruce Willis! I guess Bruce had the chance to sing a little in one of his movies and decided it was fun. He's not writing his own material, as far as I know. He's just having fun doing covers.
God, that's the whole concert! Oops! 22 minutes!
Try this instead, it's shorter, only 8 minutes- 

Steve Martin is a comedian, an actor, a writer who has published novels, and a banjo player. His banjo playing has appeared in comic form in at least one of his movies. Bluegrass music is something that I learned in school and when I was younger but it's not always featured in popular culture. It's what he plays though, and good for him. Even back in 1979 he has a banjo with him while doing comedy as shown here-

I'm not big on Steve Martin though, I'd rather listen to Russell Crowe. The article mentions him doing "Testify" with his band but I did some looking around and found some other things-

I'm trying to think of what I want to say about this one. I'm making a short list for another post and I think this one is going to be on that list.

Crowe covering a Bruce Springsteen song-

So now circling back to where I started. I think William Shatner might be in the article, and man he's just... crazy bad, cheezy...  I shared this in a couple of places earlier today-

Duchovny's music is better than this thankfully! It's interesting that Shatner embraces this stuff though and continues to perform over the years in this way. I guess if it pays the bills then who am I to knock it?

I'm not sure with Hasselhoff if I should share something old or something new. Maybe a little of both.

This is from 6 years ago and pretty much sums it up...

And for older stuff--

Which brings me back to Duchovny, although I could go on about Russell Crowe because I might be his newest fan. As I'm writing this blog post Crowe's music is growing on me as YouTube slipped into "autoplay" and his music is continuing in the background.

Duchovny's music is the newest of the ones I'm covering here. This fan video is less than a year old.

This song is one of my favorites, although I had to look up the lyrics because I originally thought there was something sexier, dirtier, than what he actually says-
The audio isn't perfect on this version I admit but he actually looks a bit more like a musician than he does in some of the other videos.

ThinkSayRecords is David Duchovny's recording label I believe and the official video for "Hell or Highwater" is over here-

So I'm not sure how well the music is selling. He did a tour last year I guess, and now he's busy with his tv series "Aquarius" again, working on Season 2. Looking around Twitter and there seems to be a pretty solid fan base. This amuses me. I'm willing to join them and go for the ride but I also need to up my game and find the Russell Crowe fans too.

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Bucky F*cking Dent" by David Duchovny

Bucky F*cking DentBucky F*cking Dent by David Duchovny

Wow... this book isn't perfect but it exceeded my expectations. I am not a die-hard Duchovny fan but I was intrigued by the title of this book when it crossed my desk at the library where I work. I do know who Bucky Dent is and in a job I had a long, long time ago I worked with a guy with disabilities who knew Red Sox baseball from the 70s down cold. This game in 1978 was one I had heard about repeatedly. I was 7 when it happened so my memory... not so great. So I went into this story curious.

Another reviewer mentioned Duchovny using autobiographical material for some of this book and I wondered about that. I wish I knew more of his personal story, or where to find it. I did look him up on Wikipedia but that didn't answer all my questions.

I felt like there were many layers with this book. Our narrator, Ted, is a well-educated guy who likes to get stoned so there's some big words and wanderings as he talks to us sometimes and the story gets a little wobbly. I've taken some classes in marketing and advertising so I understood the stuff that was mentioned here about the history of advertising in the 60s and 70s and whatnot. I got that. Then there's the baseball stuff. Some of the chapters start off with statistics and dates and I think baseball fans, especially Red Sox and Yankees fans, will groove that. There's also some sexually explicit stuff that definitely puts this into a not-for-kids category. This isn't a book for a 12 year old.

As Patrick (another reviewer on Goodreads) said “But he packs the novel with seemingly every random observation or quasi-humorous quip that entered his consciousness.

While it's overstuffed and at times frustrating, there's still much to admire in this tale of finding love amid life's disappointments. (less)”-- Patrick

That's a pretty good summary. "Meredith" said the audiobook was worth a read and I plan on getting that from another library to listen to in the car. I'm not big into audiobooks but I think it could be interesting to hear this in book in Duchovny's voice.

So yeah... well-educated white guy, named after some Red Sox stuff, with a degree from Columbia working at Yankee Stadium selling peanuts gets the call that his father is dying and goes home to help him out. Along the way he's getting stoned, listening to the Grateful Dead, and reciting poetry. Duchovny's got a team behind him obviously that helps him get several copyright clearances to include poetry, song lyrics, and other writings that another writer might not be able to include. It's all good. The ending kind of cheeses out but I don't think there was any other way.

On a side note I was impressed with Duchovny's ability to slide the plane crash from 1960 into the story as well as the Greek from 2004. I really meant to look up the Greek to see if he got it right. The trip to Sturbridge and Friendly's was nice. I know where that is. The Paul Revere Motor Lodge... well that's in New York state, but maybe in 1978 there was one in Massachusetts that has since changed names. I wonder if Duchovny knows the back roads from New York City to Boston. He might. His ex-wife's grandmother and other family members are from Massachusetts, and at the end of the book he gives credit to a scene that happened in New England where he got the inspiration for the book.

I have heard that some New Yorkers recognized their own neighborhoods in the stories too. Given that Duchovny is a New Yorker I guess that's not a surprise.

And now I've got "Box of Rain" stuck in my head.

View all my reviews

Monday, June 27, 2016

Misc pictures.... Lego weekend sort of....

The girl is out of school for the summer, on her way to being a 5th grader in the fall. We took Friday off from work since summer camp hadn't started yet and went to southeastern Mass and Providence, Rhode Island. The Providence Lego store was celebrating their one year anniversary.

Random photos... it wasn't ALL Lego. We also stopped at this Army/Navy store.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Working parent drama on a Tuesday afternoon

I posted this in a series of Tweets and naturally it got ignored. Probably my timing was off. It could also be that my followers never actually see my tweets if I don't hashtag them. In any case here it is...

It was....

The kind of day when you get out of work and put the windows down and the music up.

Then a fruit snack wrapper blows out of the sunroof and you wish you weren't driving your mom-mobile. Windows up, music down. #realitycheck

Cell phone rings between work & school. Secretary says the  nurse is out and your kid got hurt at gym class but don't panic. [She could have a broken wrist!]

You are glad you pulled over to take the call because around the corner police are dealing with a tractor trailer accident.

You get through the accident scene before the road blocks are set up because that would be one seriously long detour & you have to get kid.

You arrive at the school and see a police car? Now what? It's not relevant. Talk to the secretary & teacher & find your kid.

Kid has an ice pack on her wrist but appears fine. Kid wants to stay at school & play on the playground but you say no.

You get home, let the kid play outside, and collapse in a chair because it's been a hell of an hour!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Trying to get back into things....

I've taken some time off from writing, and lately the camera hasn't been out and about. It's really kind of sad but life has just gotten in the way. My creative spirit has been... somewhere else. I'd like to say it was building Lego creations but I'm not sure it's been there.

I have been in design mode and learning and researching. I've been learning about Lego Digital Designer ( and a program called Brickificency (  Which has been cool. I've been using Bricklink  ( and I've started placing orders for parts.

What else?

In March we went to Brickworld Indy. We visited the town of Walton, Indiana and saw sights from my husband's childhood. I reviewed some of them on TripAdvisor. At BrickWorld I took pictures and posted them...somewhere. There was a lot of shopping on this trip. We managed to hit a Toys R Us and a Lego store on the way home in New York state.

In April, we went to a Lego KidsFest  ( event in Harrisburg, PA. We stopped in Yonkers, NY on the way and visited the LegoLand Discovery Center ( on Saturday and did the KidsFest on Sunday. It was my daughter's birthday so we had a lot of fun celebrating that too. We stopped at a Lego store and a Bricks & Minifigs store on the way down. By the time we came home the car was pretty full of Lego.

Next up? We've got some ham radio events on our family calendar. Work is sliding into summer mode for us, and I need to get on the ball and figure out summer camps and family time stuff.

There's a couple more Lego events that we may or may not get to later this year. One is at the end of May (but it's in direct competition with a ham radio event) and the other isn't until August. We'll decide on those things when we get closer.

More immediately because our house is filling up with Lego we really need to do a cleanout! I am trying to get the family interested in this before I drop the hammer and just do it myself. I think I'm being generous with the time frame, but really the sooner the better.

And lastly.... I need to get the notebook out some more. I am going crazy with NOT writing. Designing Lego creations is fun, but the words.... I need to be putting words on paper. So I've got to get back into that, and if the camera comes out along the way then that's fine too.

Hopefully as we slide into summer things will start to fall into place and you'll see more updates here soon.

And if you have gotten this far, don't be shy. Leave me a note and let me know I'm not talking to myself.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

UMass Campus Construction Projects

A visit up to Health Services this morning lended itself to bringing the camera along. I'm pretty excited about the new building going up near the Studio Arts  building. It's a new $52 million Design Building. They are using special wood and lots of energy efficient building techniques. When it's completed in 2017 it will bring together Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning, the Department of Architecture, and the Building and Construction Technology Program. These entities are all in different colleges so the new building will be promoting interdisciplinary studies.  (See article "Timber" UMass Amherst, Spring 2016 issue).  I say I'm excited because if they can keep my tuition waiver in my contract for another 10 years or so maybe my daughter will get to take classes in this building. She seems to have an interest in art and design and architecture so this could be her future classroom building.

Of course another "landmark of campus" is our duck pond and the geese were having breakfast, as usual.

Ah...almost forgot, this is looking over at the new classroom building next to the campus center. I haven't been inside it yet but I've heard it's very high-tech.

I cannot even imagine the horror of putting a foot in here, much less swim. I know they dredge it in the summer but it must contain huge amounts of water fowl poop, not to mention snapping turtles that eat baby ducks, catfish, and other things of the deep.

The Old Chapel and South College are both being "renovated". With South College it's been very extensive. There was only a shell there for a while. The new building is much, much larger than the old one. I also got some shots of the library, because nothing is more of a landmark than the library, right?

Chapel with missing windows...
 View of the library

 Another shot of the chapel with South College next to it

Chapel, library, geese..

Almost forgot about these projects. Morrill is getting renovated and the new Sciences building rises behind it in this photo....

Chapel up close..

And closer...

South College... notice on the left, the new building addition. It goes on and on...

...and on.... almost down to Dickinson Hall and the new band building.

Cement mixers in the South College renovation zone.

A close up of the front of South College, with Thompson Tower on the right.

There you go. It's not the view from above, but it's something. Lots going on as always.