Ah, the last day of September. I love it. My favorite season is fall. I love the crisp, cool evening air; I love the smells of everyone starting up their fireplaces and wood stoves; fall and winter always seem more family oriented to me. We tend to see our families more with the impending holidays, and to me, there’s an overall increase in ‘human warmth’.

Tomorrow and Tuesday morning I have to go into work at 5:30 a.m. The radio station hired a new morning show team, Doc and Dee, and I need to make sure that they’re all set with the equipment and stuff. I think they’re going to be a great asset to the station, and I hope the ratings reflect it.

After struggling around a bit with my webcams, I’ve finally decided on the Kodak webcam for my system. I am really pleased with it, and I’m vain enough to say that I like the orange tint that it gives my hair and beard. You can take a peek at my webcam page if you want to see what I’m looking at these days.

On the technie-weenie side of things, I’m really like USB stuff. It makes hooking up stuff to the computer so much easier. It’s a shame that Linux isn’t keeping up with USB as quickly as Windows, because I really like using Linux as my chief operating system. But I always feel so limited about what I can do. That’s why I’m still running Windows XP.

I’m starting to use ICQ more and more for chat instead of Yahoo Messenger. It doesn’t seem to mess up my system as much. My ICQ # is 125628700 is you want to say hi. I have it on whenever I’m online. Yahoo is really sucking as far as their servers go. I can’t connect to their pages half the time, nor their webcam or chat servers.

I mowed the lawn today; it hadn’t been mowed in three and a half weeks, it really needed it. I have a feeling it’s the last time I’ll be mowing it this year. Earl cleaned off the back deck as well and put all the lawn furniture and stuff in storage.

Not much else going on this weekend, except we’re doing some shopping this afternoon. We’ll probably do a snappy trip to K-mart. I’m very anti-Wal*Mart; there’s always screaming, snot-nosed kids with abusive parents trolling around, a very kind senior citizen put on display in the front as a greeter and surly cashiers. Plus, Wal*Mart is slowly taking over the country, and I’m not a big fan of that. I’m more of a K-mart or Ames kind of guy, though I do admit I like Target as well, though Target won’t be moving to this area until Nov. 2002.

Earl and I took the day off from work on Friday. It was nice to get away, as I had been combating the latest internet virus until wee hours of the morning Wednesday and Thursday. We decided to go for a nice ride in the eastern part of the state, and we hit a good chunk of the Hudson Valley. We even took a look at a covered bridge … The Rexleigh Covered Bridge.

This is just off Route 22 about 30 miles north of the Thruway. For the life of me, I can’t remember the town it’s in.

It was a beautiful day for a ride, with the leaves just starting to show off their glorious colors. We took a picnic along with us for the ride as well, and enjoyed that at a road side stop. It was a wonderful day together.

On Saturday, we went to Syracuse for the afternoon and evening, basically just to goof off. We started by getting haircuts at Shoppingtown Barber Shop. I have this thing about men going to real barbershops, and Earl likes the way the barbers cut his hair there, so that’s where we went. Of course, I shave my head, so I usually just hang out with the other guys in the shop, but I had a little fuzz on top this time around, so I got that buzzed off too. Looks pretty interesting with a full beard! πŸ™‚ Then we went to Dinosaur BBQ. It’s a dive that can’t be beat. Great food, great atmosphere, we LOVE the place.

Then we went to the SU-Auburn game at the Carrier Dome. Being originally from the Syracuse area, I have a strong pride when it comes to the Orangemen. I’m glad they whomped Auburn 31-14.

Today we went to the Remsen Barn Festval of the Arts… pretty much arts and crafts and GREAT food. We picked up a bunch of homemade salsa and such.

When we got home I got the devil in me or something, because I completely ripped out the computer (wreck) room and rearranged and tossed a bunch of stuff out. The room looks a hell of a lot better!

We both feel energized and ready to take on another work week!

Here it is Monday. Life seems to be returning to normal, but in a way, we all know it’s not with a war looming on the horizon. I was asked today at work if I would defend my country in the armed forces, as if they would need an overweight 33 year old man. I responded with a hearty “yes, of course”. Words can not accurately describe the atrocities that occurred on September 11, 2001. Action must be taken to assure that those events are not repeated.

On to the geeky side of things. The new server arrived at work today. I’m very excited, as this is going to be our new mail server running Microsoft Exchange 2000. I always try to be creative when naming new servers that I maintain, and I’ve decided that this one will be named “chatterbox”. After all, e-mail is chatter, right?

In the late 1980s, I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in suburban Boston. I maintained a cluster of computers for one of the Corporate Personnel groups. My VAXstation was named ENDORA, so my e-mail came from ENDORA::WINGJ (which would now translate to wingj@endora.digital.com). It was kind of cool. ENDORA was part of the BWTCHD cluster, which also included ARTHUR, SAMTHA, DARRIN, TABTHA, CLARA and SERENA. So I’ve always been quirky about computer names.

Beard progress is moving along nicely, as it is now day 23.

If you’ve been reading the journal regularly, then you know that because I still have a beard, I have not spent any money unnecessarily. I’ve added a short addendum to the deal I made with myself. After all, if I do get bored with the beard, I’ll shave it off. But as long as I keep my soul patch (that little bit of hair under my lower lip), then I still haven’t spent any money I shouldn’t have.

Where to begin. I’m very tired because frankly, I haven’t been doing a lot of sleeping lately. Earl and I have been watching coverage of the terrorist attacks non-stop and it’s really gets your brain running when you’re trying to fall asleep at night!

I am very proud of America. I am very proud to be an American. With all the flags wavin’, all the candles that are lit, all the signs and such that simply say “God Bless America”, it’s hard not to get choked up driving down the street. It’s good to feel the American people band together again. But I guess that’s what we do best.

I’m a little perturbed at the media. They are doing there best to report what’s happening, but at times I shout at the television “Shut UP ALREADY!” I mean, what good does it do to ask some high government official? “So Mr. Blah Blah, exactly where will we strike first when we go to war?” I mean, let’s just tell our enemies what we’re doing beforehand. And then statements like “President Bush will be in New York at 11:48 a.m.” Great! Let’s just tell our attackers where to find the most powerful man on the planet. For God’s sake, shut up and let’s try to use some common sense on what we’re reporting! And there’s no reason to show those poor victims jumping from the World Trade Center. There was NO reason for that. Journalism? NO. Sensationalism? Absolutely.

Another thing that I don’t understand are these local rent-a-cop installations that are mad that the government is stepping in with airport security. Hello?!? Have you done a shitty job for the past ten years and now we’re finally paying for it? With all the video of security guards snoozing while guns pass by on the x-ray, people in wheelchairs sitting on a machine gun and not getting stopped or undercover CIA agents breezing right through a door and onto the tarmac, I think it’s very safe to say that the current system isn’t working. And who are the American people to think that they should just come breezing into an airport two minutes before flight time, jump on a plane directly from the curb, no questions asked, not pay any attention to what the flight attendants may demonstrate regarding safety rules and then get pissy when the steak tastes like chicken. The Federal government should take over all airport security. I think the passengers should have to get to the airport 2 to 3 hours ahead of time so that full security measures can be taken. I think armed guards should be walking around airports. Screw customer service and trying not to inconvenience the passenger. Get the passenger to their destination SAFELY, and let the rent-a-cops work at McDs. Enough of the soapbox.

I did something I’m very proud of today. I left work, unannounced, went to a local party supply store, and bought a huge 5’x8′ flag. A bunch of us hung it from the 16th floor at work for the whole city to see. You can’t miss it, you can even see it from the Thruway.

Beard progress is moving along nicely, as we are now on day 20.

I also grew a little fuzz on my head to make the beard seem more even. As you can see by my eyes, the allergies have been going wild! πŸ™‚

Earl and I went to one of our favorite restaurants tonight, Casa Too Mucha. I had some wicked spicy Cajun Shrimp, and it was great. Also a glass of merlot, that knocked me off my keister a bit! πŸ™‚ I don’t drink hardly at all, and when I do, it knocks me for a loop.

I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

I’m not going to make this a long entry as I’ll be late for work otherwise, and with news feeds and such, work is plenty busy.

I am still in shock and disbelief as to what occurred yesterday in New York, Washington, D.C. and southwest Pennsylvania. It’s amazing how fragile life can be sometimes, even living in the greatest nation on the planet. To see the second airliner crash into the World Trade Center tower, live on television, was astounding. The number of innocent victims killed or injured will be staggering. To think that human beings could commit such acts against other human beings is terrifying. There is already a renewed sense of unity in our great nation. I believe our lives changed yesterday at 8:48 a.m. forever. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

I’ve been asked by a couple of people as to why I keep an on-line journal. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know. It could be because there’s a certain “wickedness” to it, you never know who’s reading what you’re saying, unless of course I get an e-mail like “You’re a moron!”, of which I just hit delete.

It could be because I have so many thoughts racing around my mind all the time that I just say the hell with it and write some of it down. I must admit, that I am shocked at how bad my grammar and spelling has become as I have gotten lazy over the years.

Then I think of it as a time capsule sometimes, and someday I’ll look back on all the stuff I wrote and get a good chuckle. I hope I’ll be laughing over piles of money, because I’m not spending it recklessly anymore! πŸ™‚ By the way, I still have the beard, so that means I’ve been good with money.

We’re now 16 days into grizzly mode, and it’s looking like this:

I must say that it’s coming along nicely. I used my Kodak webcam for that one, because the IBM cam is putting pictures on the site, and it can’t do two things at once. If you haven’t seen the webcam page with shots from me at work and at home, take a peek here. I really like that picture of me, I’m using it on my Yahoo! profile.

On the geek front, I’ve been very successfully selling items on ebay this week. It’s rather satisfying selling items on ebay rather than buying them. I’ll have to go around the house and see what else we need to get rid of. πŸ™‚ I also received a bunch of information on that cash register system I was trying to get working. Unfortunately, I still can’t get it working so it’s going into storage until I can find more stuff for it, probably in a junk pile somewhere. Earl and I are still on a “cleaning the house” kick, with most of the stuff from the City Pound being tossed out, along with a bunch of other junk.

It turns out, by the way, that the cat indeed wrestle with a skunk the other night. If you read below, you’ll see that I mention that a skunk’s “perfume” was stinkin’ up the house as I was typing in my journal. Well, it was because the skunk sprayed Tom. Lovely. So I threw on a pair of shorts and drove to Hannaford’s to pick up a bunch of Tomato Juice and such, all at midnight, and then gave Tom a wonderful fur flyin’, claw scratchin’, screamin’ bath in it. He still stinks today, and it’s been five days. Not as bad though. He threw such a fit getting a bath that I couldn’t get him rinsed, and now he’s got tomato juice on his back that’s all dried up. It’s almost gone though.

Earl is just having a ball on his computer as we type. I think he’s just surfing the internet. He says hello.

Well I just got done watching “Big Brother 2” with some of the people from Survivor. I must admit that I was a little disappointed in it. It wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be, though it was nice to see the folks from Survivor again. And of course they kicked the house hampsters ass when it came to competitions.

I guess I’m a bit of a snob in the reality show arena. I only watch the reality shows on CBS. Survivor and Big Brother 2. I couldn’t give a hoot about the others. It seems like the other networks are ripping CBS off when they try to do their own series. Not that Big Brother or Big Brother 2 are any good. I’ve never seen such a bunch of self-centered people in my life. What a bunch of lunatics. I do enjoy going on the Big Brother web site and being a prick in the chat rooms. That’s always fun.

Earl is in Baltimore this evening on business. Sigh. I hate it when he’s not at home. First of all, I have this fear of him flying without me. I don’t have a fear of flying, but I do have a fear of him flying without me, or vice versa. It makes him too vulnerable to the fates I guess, and I’m not there to protect him. So I’ve been keeping busy cleaning out the computer/wreck room. Since the local cable company sucks so much, we’re unable to get high speed internet here at the house. I was hoping to put webcams around the house so you could watch us in all our glory, but I guess it’s too much trouble to run the cable TV/internet stuff an extra four poles down the road. That’s right. Four poles. The neighbors have cable, but we don’t. Maybe if I don’t go crazy spending money all the time we can save up for two way satellite internet service next spring.

I have a problem with money. I spend lots of it. Buying gadgets and books and other nonsense. Earl is so tolerant of this. I don’t know why he puts up with it, but he does. God Bless him. So I’ve made a deal with myself. And I’m only telling myself and anyone reading this page. I haven’t even told Earl. I’m not going to carelessly spend any more money. If I do, the beard goes down the drain, no questions asked. Now this is kind of an odd proposition, I know. But, growing this beard has become very important to me. People at working are asking when I’m going to shave. I’m telling them not until at least Earl’s birthday – February 20. They look a little horrified and say “You are going to trim it, aren’t you?” Guess what. I’m not. Only the mustache, and that’s just to keep me from eating my mustache. Earl hates my mustache scraggly, but I think he secretly likes the mountain man look. It must be the farm boy in me, because most stereotypical gay men would never go the Grizzly Adams route. But I’ve never followed the same road as others. I guess I’m not stereotypical (though my hands do tend to flair up a bit when I speak).

By the way, we’re 11 days into the Grizzly mode.

So I’m trying really really hard not to spend any careless money. In fact, I put a whole boat load of stuff on ebay today, so maybe we’ll get some money flowing that way! πŸ™‚

Now I’m going to continuing cleaning the wreck room here and then hit the hay for the night. The dumpster is still out front. I never dreamed that we would fill it up, but it’s almost full now. And as I type this, all I can smell is skunk in the late-summer air. I hope Tom (our cat) hasn’t been wrestling again. He gets so feisty.

A new month, a new page on the journal. πŸ™‚

A busy Labor Day weekend. But it’s with a sense of accomplishment. Earl and I got a huge dumpster courtesy of the radio station I work at (I traded it – they get advertising, we get the dumpster) and we began hauling out things we haven’t used in the last six months or so. So far we have the gray barn and the cellar cleaned out, tomorrow it’s the milkhouse. The dumpster is already half full and the majority of stuff is in the milkhouse, so this is going to be interesting.

Friday afternoon brought Earl’s youngest brother Rick and his girlfriend Helen for the weekend. We kicked back Friday night and watched “Remember The Titans” on DVD here at home. The DVD is such a great invention. I can’t stand to watch things on video now that DVD has come into existence.

Saturday we went to the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse. I love the fair, and have gone every year for as long as I can remember. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in farm country, if it’s because I grew up in Central New York or if it’s because I’m odd, but I love going to the New York State Fair, seeing all the animals and displays and riding a few rides. I guess I’m New York State proud or something. I have to say hello to as many animals as I can, sample all the maple products, watch the talent competitions and get nauseous on at least one ride. This year Helen and I tried out the new ride called “The Fireball”. It’s sort of a cross between the Merry Mixer (otherwise known as the Scrambler) and the Pirate. It spins and swings like crazy. Then we went on this souped up version of the Paratroopers called the Parasailers where you laid down on it. I didn’t like that one as much.

After the Fair, we showed them Carousel Center, the huge ass mall in Syracuse on what I remember as “Oil City”. Went to the movies and saw “Rat Race”. Not as good as “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (my favorite movie of all time) but enjoyable nonetheless.

Yesterday I had to work for a couple of hours, and then we cleaned out the gray barn. We can actually get the car into the garage again now! πŸ™‚

I got Windows XP RC2, which is very sweet. I can’t wait until the production version hits the street at the end of October. My compliments to Microsoft!

Beard progress is going well, we’ve gotten into the itchy phase, which means it’s moving along. It looks like this.

Well here it is Sunday night. The opportunity to kick back, relax, think about the weekend and get ready to haul off to work again Monday morning. And it was another busy weekend! I’m ready for fall, when the activities calm down a little bit! πŸ™‚

We started off the weekend Friday night with a bit of shopping at Sangertown Mall, the only full-fledged mall left in the Utica area. Utica originally had three malls, Riverside in North Utica, Charlestown in East Utica and Sangertown in New Hartford. Riverside has been converted to a strip mall (A move I question – I always liked Riverside), Charlestown gave up the ghost not too long ago and was converted to business space (it was originally an outlet mall – but I don’t think it really caught on), so that leaves us with Sangertown. I ate Chinese in the food court, while Earl enjoyed Italian food. I LOVE the chinese food at Sangertown, so much so, that I broke my vegetarian code and had sesame chicken. Outstanding, but the chicken was a little grissly.

Yesterday we went to Bristol, Pa. for Earl’s dad’s birthday. Drove down in the morning (five hours), enjoyed the party with the family, and drove back. We got home around 2:00 a.m. Then today, we went to my grandfather’s 86th birthday party up at his camp on Sandy Pond. It was nice, as I had not seen the majority of that side of the family since the holidays. My aunt/godmother is doing well; I’ve been concerned for her because she has breast cancer, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. She seemed to be in good spirits, I admire her courage, she’s always been a trouper.

Amongst all this fun and frivolity, I wiped my hard drive on my computer and installed Windows XP Professional Edition, beta 2. I’m waiting for my “Release Candidate 2” notification from Microsoft, so I can get the latest version of XP installed and start trying it out. I’m a big-time geek when it comes to new Microsoft products. On the way home from Sandy Pond, we stopped into Syracuse to pick up a Systems Administrator book for Windows 2000 Server, because I’ve just begun supporting it at work and I need some answers to some situations that have arisen. Wish me luck there.

My mustache is on day eight, and my beard on day one. I’ve given up shaving my face until 2002. I want to see how full my beard will get.

Another busy week. It’s amazing to me how fast time flies by! Here it is Thursday night already. Earl and I are planning a trip to Bristol, Pa. this weekend for his father’s birthday party. But then we have to hurry back on Sunday for a party for my grandfather’s 86th birthday. I can’t wait until we can chill out for a bit.

My sister and her fiancee announced yesterday that they are canceling, their wedding plans. The wedding scheduled for September 22. Of course the rest of the family is just in a fit about it, but Earl and I wholeheartedly support their decision. If they’re not 100% sure of what they’re doing, then why go through the motions, only to have heartache down the road? They’re still getting married, just not so soon, after they work out some details of their relationship. I admire them for the courage to make the decision, a decision that they made together.

Well now I’m trying a mustache again, and we’re five days into it. It looks like this.

I usually have a mustache, but I’ve gone most of the summer without one. I was planning on growing it in full for my sister’s wedding, but I’m going to keep growing it just for the heck of it. Stay tuned for progress on that front.

I think I’m giving up on the cash register project for the time being. It’s nearly impossible to find information on these old beasts. I’m going to put them in storage and see if I run across anything on them.

Had dinner with Dennis and Vic last night, it was Dennis’ birthday. We watched ‘Big Brother 2’… I’ve never seen such a bunch of self-centered people in my life. I know CBS wanted to make it more exciting than last year’s run (which was like watching paint dry), but these people are just full of themselves, and one guy even mentioned that nine out of twelve of them had agents before they went in. What the fudge. I wish these reality show producers would get a grip and put real people in these shows instead of these people that want to sit there all day, work out, smoke (there’s a contradiction!) and be a complete jackass on television. We’ll probably still watch the shows, but I wish CBS would answer the clue phone. It’s ringing.