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Frank Gumola - Journal | Weblog

The Napkin Fiction Project

"We put 250 napkins in the mail to writers from all over the country--some with a half dozen books to their name, others just finishing their first. In return, we got nearly a hundred stories."

List of authors and napkin images here.

(via mefi)

My Miso, My Self

A few months ago David decided to go home and visit his Mother for the evening. During the jaunt to his old stomping grounds his Mother confessed she could no longer care for his cat and asked him if he would like to take puss puss (not her real name) home. Here. To my home. I know I should type our home - it's just that when the phrases "adopt", "taking care of", "feeding", "grooming", and the ugliest of them all, "litter box" are thrown my way, I tend to twitch and become defensive about sharing my space. Just ask David how I reacted when he tried to "surprise" me with a rearranged living room. The bathroom door is still not hinged correctly.

I remember thinking I hated cats. I reminded myself how much I preferred the company of humans. Or other people's dogs. Or dried, dyed, and scented tree bark in a pretty bowl on one of the two perfectly placed pleather (looks great at a fraction of the cost) ottomans.

After a lengthy phone conversation and a thousand reassurances it would be fine if I said no, I caved and said I'd try to live with the cat now known as Miso.

Miso was introduced to me after an hour long car trip to my our home and promptly returned my greeting by relieving herself on the sofa. In three places. While running from me.

I glared at David's Mother and through a very forced smile said, "It'll be fine. Just fine."

I prayed she didn't notice the vein popping out of my neck.

Miso settled in and hid for two days. Come to think of it, so did David.

As I noted earlier, it's been about two months now and I've changed the way I feel about Miso. Miso has changed her ways as well.

I can't leave the room without her trailing two feet behind. She paces the bathroom and peeks in at me while I shower. She watches me brush my teeth, make coffee, and dress for work. She sleeps at my feet. She watches Desperate Housewives and Heroes (two screen interactive yes I'm a geek shut up) with me. She completely adores me, and I her.

She's small, stylish, and goes great with black; she's the perfect accessory I never knew I needed.

Dallasty Landing

It's three, three camp shows in one.

To Do, This Week

- Visit The Western Reserve Historical Society.
Why? "Diana, A Celebration". That's why.

- Take a fifteen minute train ride to Shaker Square. Have coffee, lunch, and possibly a movie with David, Mama Gumola, and YBJ.

- Get a much needed, long overdue haircut. The Reagal Beagle features a bar, a putting green, video games and a television at every chair. The stylists also know how to give me a killer fauxhawk.

Ice Capade

Mother Nature decided to turn the city of Cleveland into a block of ice this morning. By late afternoon I was actually able to navigate my way to Starbucks so I could grab a much needed macchiato. I almost landed on my behind a total of four times.

One of the "Frankie vs Icy Pavement" moments took place two feet away from the entrance of my destination. I could see the hot foamy beverage fading from my mind as I wildly flailed my arms trying to regain both my balance, and my composure.

I muttered (to what I thought was myself): "Oh come ON! I'm going to crack open my skull trying to get a caffeine fix."

This was suddenly followed by laughter and a firm hand pressing against the middle of my back.

I don't know who you are, but thank you kind stranger for stopping my rump from hitting the wet pavement.

The lesson to be learned here? Coach footwear is indeed stylish; just not practical in sub-zero temperatures.

* Struck

It's common knowledge my line of work is nothing more than a glorified "You want fries with that?" customer service position. What isn't so widely known is that on occasion the opportunity to interact with local Cleveland television, print, and sports personalities arises.

No, I didn't attend LeBron's birthday bash. Stop asking for photos. Besides, the man deleted me from his friend list on MySpace. True story.

Back to the subject at hand.

So far I've emailed, made witty banter, or have been photographed with the following (Witty descriptions are expected; who am I to disappoint?):

Kim Crow, Fashion Guru for The Plain Dealer
Kim Crow, Cleveland Plain Dealer Fashion Editor. Ms. Crow featured my mug and questionnaire in the Sunday edition of The Plain Dealer shortly after David and I moved to town.

Tim White, WKYC News Anchor
Tim White, WKYC News Anchor. Tim was rather pleasant and laughed politely at my jokes. I (almost) feel awful saying this; in his case, the camera takes away ten pounds. Makeup and lighting really are everything. Never doubt.

Kenny Crumpton, FOX News Personality. Kenny can be seen "kickin' it" around our fair city. I got nothing but love for Kenny.

Kelly Butler, Offensive Tackle for the Browns. I believe Kelly was not ready for my jelly. A bit standoffish.

Anderson Varejao, Power Forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers. This. Man. Made. My. Knees. Weak. His smile was genuine, and the fact that I had to crane my neck up another two feet to make eye contact helped the giddiness. This man treats his fans well. Sigh. I know. But I can dream.

I've also met a few of the bachelors featured on an episode of Inside Edition last year. Nothing but yum.

The List From A to Z

From Wikipedia:"In popular culture, the term SWAG stands for "Stuff We All Get". Swag usually refers to promotional items or gifts that are given away by companies or organizations, often at trade shows, festivals, conferences, or gala events. Swag at a smaller-scale event may include t-shirts, baseball caps, tote bags, mugs, or mousepads with a company logo or slogan."

A few weeks ago I dropped a line to Bolthouse Farms to let them know how much I enjoyed their products; specifically the juices and smoothies the company produces. In turn I got a lovely email thanking me for my support and the promise of a snug fitting little gift: a Bolthouse Farms t-shirt. (I have yet to see said shirt, but it's only been two weeks. My skanky neighbors may have stolen it from my doorstep...we'll see.)

This got me thinking. I wonder if I can go through the alphabet and email twenty six different companies (affordable products I actually consume or use almost daily) and get twenty six free items from them?

I'll finish the list and fire off the emails tomorrow. I'll keep you posted as the responses (if any) roll in.

Transit Troubles

I am completely and utterly exhausted. I can barely lift the vino to my lips. I'm also completely and utterly irritated with the public transit in this city. Working eleven hours with no break (save the hour between jobs to get from one to the other since I technically work for two companies at two locations) doesn't bother me as much as waiting for a regularly late, regularly no seats available, regularly noisy (even at ten-thirty p.m.) bus.

I have never, even while living in Chicago and riding the elevated train (El, for short) daily, felt as uncomfortable as I do riding public transit in Cleveland.

Patrons are generally loud ("...and I told him to FUCK OFF!": that's acceptable public vocabulary), rude (you paid for one seat, dear), or otherwise too preoccupied with something or someone to notice me trying to squeeze my size thin past them to exit the madness known as the 326.

Unlike these patrons; I have manners and a bit of decorum.

I hold it all in until I can get home to take it out on the unsuspecting boyfriend and cat. Writing it down here helps a bit as well.

But just once, just once I'd like to be the one with a cell phone strapped to my ear, groceries taking up three seats, all the while a bit of Beethoven blaring from my ear buds.

On second thought, the Beethoven bit would just get me beat up.

Rethinking Botox

"I'm Pete Burns, and here are some real cosmetic surgery nightmares."

I can't think of a more suitable host. Can you?

Not at all for the squeamish. You may need to register or sign in to YouTube.

That Loving Feeling

David phoned me at work yesterday. He'd been robbed, on his way to the bus stop. He's fine, just shaken up a bit. And a little peeved at me. Here's why:

David: "I got mugged. Robbed. Whatever. He had a gun. Dammit!"
Frankie: "You're not picking up dinner then, are you?"

I suppose it does come across as a bit insensitive.

Come Out (Squared) Wherever You Are

I work with an individual who hides things. The statement rolls off the tongue, and parses just fine in my mind. Understanding why this co-worker hides things is a different story.

Frankie: "I can't find a carrot peeler. I know we keep more than one around, and I can't find one."
HWHT*: "Did you look in the freezer?"

Of course it would be in the freezer. Why didn't I look there first?

*He Who Hides Things

President's Day

and I found this amusing. Hee.

Where The Heart Is

Showing up an hour and a half late at work, realizing I can't recall the minutes prior to nodding off, and the small new cut on my knuckle (I don't remember getting) all suggest a good time was had by Frankie. They also suggest I drank a bit much.

It felt good not feeling at home. I thought I'd miss it more than I did. I thought that letting go of certain habits, haunts, and horrible memories would be a bit more difficult than it actually was.

It felt great to see those I missed; it feels better here, at home.

What Not To Wear

My neighbor and friend George just asked David and I if we'd like to take a limo ride back to Warren this evening, with a few disco stops planned in the trip. We said yes, of course. Nothing says "Here I am", like arriving in a stretch. Whatever shall I wear? Calvin, Dolce, or Kenneth?

I'm on my second glass of wine and I'm skipping dinner.(Shut it, I want nothing to do with bloating.) I only hope I don't get hungry later and demand the driver to hit a Taco Bell on the way home. With my luck, it would be just like the episode of So Notorious where I end up climbing out of the sun roof because the limo would get stuck trying to fit through the drive-thru.

Hair Today, Gone Today

I hope it was done in a "shedding my past, here's to new beginnings" type of ritual. I once went through the same thing. But then again, I'm not a pop star, and she looks better with a shaved head than I did.

Cry, It's Not Milk

Sigh. I never claimed to be graceful 100% of the time. Still, I'm shocked I let myself have such a clumsy moment.

MySpace Isn't Thin Enough

top row, third photoI'm sure I'm not the only one just discovering IQONS. A MySpace for the fashionista set? I'm SO there. And look, so just there, I'm on the front page.

The Fab Four

You may recall me mentioning how much I enjoy a nice glass bottle of wine after a particularly exhausting day. Today, of course, has been one of those days. The snow piled up in the courtyard last night, and I found myself trudging through waist high piles of the stuff this morning. Getting to work was no easy task. Getting home is always much more enjoyable when I know I can look forward to unwinding with one of these wines. Working at an establishment known for their selection (Don't see it? We'll get it.) has it's perks. Listed below are four wines you will find on my wine rack any time you stop by. Fancy a glass? Help yourself. Just let the Madiran breathe a bit.

Ah, good old Crane Lake. The cheap stuff. At $3.99 a bottle, the price can't be beat. I especially adore the Sangiovese.

Next up, Vampire wine. I found this at a local corner market. I wasn't aware I could buy it from my employer until I asked. Buying by the case saves me ten percent. Price per bottle: $7-8.99.

Number three on the list is a wonderful French wine: Domaine de la Royere. I love the way this wine tastes, and feels in my mouth. I know that sounds strange; but my taste buds dance with every sip. Average price: $8.99 a bottle. Unless you find a 2001. I paid a bit more for one of those. (I've been told that 2001 was a tough year for French wines. Something about too much heat.)

And finally, my absolute all time, nothing will ever change my mind, thank something above I found you: Heart of Darkness, Madiran.

I discovered this wine in Chicago circa 1996ish (thanks, Jeff!) and have been drinking it since. This wine NEEDS to breathe for about 45 minutes. It packs quite a punch. A wonderful writeup can be found here. The color is nothing short of brilliant. Boony Doon Vineyards brings us this delicious treat, and for a mere $14.99 a bottle. More on Ralph Steadman, the man behind the label can be found here.

Suddenly, Last Summer

I finally got around to downloading the drivers and software I needed to snag some media from my phone. Here are a few shots from last summer. Mouse over them for a brief description.

my nephew psp, yeah you know me goodbye, ruby tuesday. fill that need, mister. snicker.
david, being too sexy for his shirt. my dad. hi, pops!

Kylie vs Geri

Yet another reason for me to love both of these ladies.

Top Design Rewind

When I lived in Chicago I worked for a wonderful man at an unbelievable home decor store on Halsted Street smack dab in the middle of Boystown. During those years I spent in the windy city, I had the pleasure of meeting and working with many talented interior designers.

Perusing the Bravo site today (and reading up on Top Design since I don't have cable) I thought I recognized one of the contestants. I haven't seen John Gray in years and when I realized he was on the show, I got a bit excited.

The excitement faded when I saw that John has already been eliminated. I'm a bit disappointed; John's quite a talented individual.

Without You

This article in the local free rag made my day. The author has inspired me to make a list of my own. My list doesn't pertain to dating, but it DOES pertain to the same subject matter: General Abundant Lameness.

Ahem. I give you: a list of humans I wish I never had to deal with ever again.

10. Mr. Stinky. Everyone knows a Mr. Stinky. Stinkman, Stink-o-rama, The Stinkster, does not believe in either laundry detergent or soap. My olfactory glands can't won't let me decide. Every morning I see you and your yellow stained smile walking through my place of employment. I nod politely and try to make a mad dash to get away from you. Yet every day you stop me and I nearly pass out. Can you not see the water welling in my eyes? Do you not understand why I use one word answers? I swear, one of these days I'm gonna Febreze your ass.

9. Madame Blinders. Get the hell out of my way when you see me coming. Nicole and Paris can pull off the shades, you and your oversized Coach bag cannot. Maybe I'm just jealous, but you make me bitter.

8. Religious Freak At The Bus Stop. The next time you hand me an issue of The Watchtower and strike up an unwanted conversation with me, I will set said newspaper on fire and use it to light my cigarette. I will then blow the smoke in your face.

7. Tweaked Out Queen. Get the fuck away from me you anorexic bitch. Please, for the love of Ms. Ritchie; eat something. Anything. Just stop twirling around me in that drug induced haze. I did nothing to warrant your evil glare. Except write this. And you are never going to be coherent enough to read it.

6. Oblivious Nancy. I'm gay. It's painfully obvious. Let. It. Go.

5. Islamic Man Who Won't Sell Me Lottery Tickets. Thanks for putting a deli in the back of the store. Thanks for being open late. Please understand that by refusing to sell me my paltry two dollar gambling ticket you are in no way saving my soul. You are filling me with rage. If my sister can win ten thousand dollars, so can I. Now just gimme my damn ticket. Thank you, please come again.

4. Blind Bus Driver. It's not easy getting out of bed when it's still dark outside. It's not a comfort to wait for you on the cold dark streets of Cleveland. Please stop driving past me. I can only run so fast, and so far before my nicotine filled lungs give out.

3. Bearded Creep At The Coffee Shop. There's a reason I only order drinks when you are behind the counter. You're gross. Shave.

2. Straight Dude With They Toy Chihuahua. Riiiiiggghhhht.

1. Street Cleaner With An Agenda. Stop it. My life is not a game of Frogger. I hope you lose control of your vehicle and end up careening wildly down West Sixth and into Lake Erie. Maybe you can take out Mr. Stinky while you're at it. At least he'll get the bath he so richly deserves.

Somebody Save Me

A few days ago the boiler in my apartment building decided to commit suicide. It didn't go quietly. David woke me at about three a.m. complaining of a headache. The apartment was filled with a horrid stench, something akin to burning oil or rubber. We have steam heat (read: free) and I just chalked it up to none of my business; thinking perhaps someone was cooking something foul or just burning something or someone in his or her fireplace.

I went back to sleep after giving the boyfriend some Advil. Big, BIG mistake.

At five a.m. we were woken by smoke, our neighbor pounding on our door, and the sound of several fire trucks. I gathered our wallets, personal papers, and anything I could carry (read: all my Kenneth Cole shirts) while David grabbed Miso and we bolted to the courtyard.

I looked up and coming from the top of the building was a stack of smoke so thick it resembled white cotton candy.

It turns out the boiler did indeed die and the landlord hired an awesome repairman because we were without heat and water for only one day.

Yet, dearest readers, all is still not well.

The radiators kicked back on for so long and with such force that some of the steam release valves have cracked, paint has bubbled on some of the walls, and my clothing smells like, well, a furnace repairman.

I wonder if I can deduct the dry cleaning bill from my as of yet unpaid rent.

2000 Bloggers

See? I've taken too long a break (again). I totally missed this meme. It's pretty cool. What's even cooler is that I decided to peruse the photos of said bloggers and came across my own in the montage. Woah. There's even a new home for the project.

Don't roll your eyes at me, missy; a flashbulb's a flashbulb.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Say what you will about Anna Nicole. Personally, I loved the bitch. My Mother loved watching her reality show with me. We'd nuke some popcorn, grab a few cans of soda, and plop ourselves in front of the big screen in the family room. Thanks for making us laugh; together.

Rest in peace, Vickie Lynn Hogan.

Me, MySpace, and Miso

Blogging on a PSP can be fun. It can also be the most annoying task in the world. This task is made even more tedious when Blogger decides to change the way one logs in to one's accounts. Hence the no posts from me in quite some time.

The good news is that I have recently acquired a laptop and my apartment building still has free wireless internet. Yay me.

I'm working on getting back in touch with a few people on MySpace again, playing with layouts, all that fun stuff.

And I'm proud to say that David and I are now the proud parents of one adorable kitty: Miso.

Yes, as in the soup. Stop laughing.