Independence Day

For the first time in a while, Earl and I decided not to go on a wild road trip for a holiday weekend!

We kicked off the weekend by going to the new theatres and seeing “Spiderman-2”. Absolutely loved the movie! Much better than the first – it gave me a kick to try to be healthy again. If Tobey Maguire can do it, so can I.

Yesterday we went to a family reunion (Mom’s side of the family) in Syracuse. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so I decided to make it a long-distance cycling trip. Four and a half hours, 60 miles later, there I was joining in the festivities. I missed a spot on my left leg when I was spreading the sunscreen, so I have this whacky looking sunburn, but other than that I’m no worse for the wear. It was great to get together with everyone and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Today we did some work around the house, including replacing the sink faucets in the master bathroom. It was a relatively painless chore and now we have two working sinks, “his and his”. Little by little this place is coming together.

And then tonight we went to the new theatres (again!) and saw “Fahrenheit 9/11”. Wow. The movie is an eye-opener, to say the least. There were several facts presented that I was unaware of, particularly about the mess of the 2000 election. I didn’t know that what’s her name (the election person in Florida – the ugly one), was the head of Bush Lite’s election campaign in Florida. I didn’t know that the network news guy that broke the story that Bush Lite actually had Florida (despite everyone else saying it was Gore) was a relative of the Bush family. I didn’t know that the Bush family was friends with the Bin Ladens (except the big mean one). Even if you don’t agree with Michael Moore’s views (personally I think he’s slightly extreme, but I agree with a lot of what he says), the movie definitely makes you think. And I think that’s what it was designed to do. The November election is going to be very interesting.

Old Dog. New Trick.

Mother Nature has finally consented to full cooperation and has provided nice enough weather for Earl and I to enjoy our new pool. I’ve been really looking forward to splashing around and getting some fun exercise. However, I’ve always been somewhat afraid of diving. I’ve never been able to get my head to go first when I’m diving into a pool – I either have to jump in and then swim or I attempt somewhat of a dive, but I keep my head up and end up doing a big ol’ belly flop. And we all know how a big ol’ belly flop feels.

A number of years ago, Earl tried to teach my how to dive in his father’s pool. We were out in his dad’s backyard in the middle of the night, in suburban Philadelphia and he was showing me how to do, plus some other swimming related recreation (wink wink). I sort of mastered the diving, but then I tried to do a big dive at one of the Ithaca state parks and ended up looking like someone had thrown a lobster off the end of the diving board. Not only did I belly flop, but I chest flopped, leg flopped and nut flopped. It was pitiful and it was painful and as an added bonus, I spooked several people around me with my scream as I hit the water. They probably are still in therapy to this day.

Earl has been coaxing me to try diving again. After all, with my whole “lose the inhibitions” vibe I have going on, there’s nothing to be afraid of, right? Admittedly, he’s right. So I’ve been giving it a whirl once again.

Technically our pool, being only four feet deep, is too shallow for diving. But if you stand at the right place on the ladder and you have the wind at your back and not in your face, one can dive shallow enough not to bash your head on the bottom. And that’s what I’ve been doing. Each night I’ve been moving up an extra rung on the ladder and diving. I sound like a five year old yelling at Earl, “Watch this! Watch this!”.

I’m absolutely giddy with excitement now that I’ve mustered up the courage to dive. I can’t wait to show everyone at show and tell at the state park.

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Greatest Hits Tour.

It’s been a slow night for internet porn. Just when I get feeling all healthy again (after riding my bike back and forth to work, plus enjoying some swimming afterwards) and looking particularly “buff”, no one wants to play on the webcams with me.

I’m kidding, people, settle down. We have a house rule. Internet porn after midnight and only after midnight.

No, actually I’ve been doing what I do best. Amusing myself.

I didn’t say “pleasuring myself”, I’ve been “amusing myself”. We’re out of the gutter mode now, o.k.?

I’ve been amusing myself by reading old blog entries. Not any of my blogging-friends’ blog entries. No, no, I’m way too vain for that. I’ve been reading _my_ blog entries. I figure someone’s got to read them sometime, so I go ahead and look at my little witty stories from time to time. Sort of like a “greatest hits review” if you will.

My initial impression is “My God – I’m a complete and utter mess of wild emotion.” Readers must think that I’m an absolute freak. Between pleading (like a five year old) with my lover for an iMac, exploding on innocent co-workers and falling into emotional heaps because of snow, I’m surprised no one has thrown me into the local institution and hidden the key until the daily Arts and Crafts hour.

My second realization, and the stronger of the two, is that I am a really lucky guy. Earl puts up with my crap. I put up with his. We’re in love. We’re two very lucky men (yes, Bush Lite, two men, in love, that wear wedding rings and believe in God. Figure that one out) to have found each other. Many don’t have the opportunity to experience true love. I’m fortunate enough to be able to savor the feeling.

I enjoy reading bits and bytes of my witty dialog to Earl as he surfs the web on his shiny iMac. He doesn’t appreciate that at all. “You told me about it before.” “I was there, remember?” “You really crack yourself up, don’t you”. I don’t think he appreciates the male-Rosie O’Donnell in me.

I think Wil Wheaton has the right idea. Find some of your greatest blog entries and put them into a book and publish it. Erma Bombeck essentially did the same thing, she took her best newspaper columns and tied them into a neat little package and called them “The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank”. Hell, it was even made into a movie. Maybe my life should be made into a movie. I’ve been told that I resemble the younger guy on The Myth Busters. Which is a problem, because I find the older guy to be hotter. I wonder if they’re a couple. Probably not, they probably don’t date co-workers.

But I digress.

I see no reason why a movie of my life wouldn’t be wildly successful, like that movie on the independent circuit, “Super Size Me”. Lord knows I’ve crowed about the virtues of Sonic and Chick-Fil-A enough to get a fast food endorsement. Maybe that weird chick from Jerry Springer could duct tape on a few slabs of meat and moan a bit. That certainly would get attention as a sponsor.

We all know what’s going to happen. I’m going to just stay true to my inner geek and keep on blogging. Why bother to get it published when I live my life as an open book.

Lights. Camera. Action.

Working in the radio business does occasionally have its perks. Like tonight. Our radio station staff was invited to a ‘sneak preview’ of the newest movie theatre/cineplex grand opening. This is an exciting time in our town!

If you’ve followed my blog regularly, you’ll note that Earl and I often go out of town to go to the movies. There’s a couple of reason for that.

First of all, the two movie main movie theatres here in Utica were owned by Hoyts and were built in the 1980s. They haven’t really been renovated since, save for the theatre at Riverside Center which was surgically removed from the mall when Riverside Mall was ripped down in 1995. They still have their “Cinema High Fidelity” sound systems, small seats, crappy cup holders and sticky floors. Plus, there’s not a stadium seat in sight. And they are way overpriced. When Hoyts sold out to Regal a year or so ago, our theatres didn’t go with the sale, they were orphaned off to a company called “Northeast Cinemas”. They still carry their Hoyts logo and they still suck.

The movie theatre in Rome is actually eight movie theatres shoved into an old Great American grocery store. We often end up sitting in the old produce section to see the main feature. It’s a little disconcerting to sit in a movie theatre that provides seating for 50 and smells like wilted lettuce.

The Town of New Hartford (the largest suburb of Utica, if you will) has seen some tremendous retail growth over the past couple of years. In addition to the Pyramid owned “Sangertown Square” mall, we now have “Consumer Square” and “The Orchard”. Consumer Square is a big box store type of place and houses one of our three Super Wal*Marts, a Barnes and Noble, TJ Maxx, Best Buy and a bunch of other stuff.

The Orchard is just opening up this month and right now houses an Outback Steakhouse and Marquee Cinemas. By the end of the summer we’ll have a Ninety-Nine BBQ Pub Place, Pizzeria Uno, Cold Stone Creamery, Gander Mountain and I believe a Kohls.

Thank goodness for Marquee Cinemas! It’s their first theatre in New York State and it wins a big two thumbs up. Last night they had an invitation only family night, which our radio station was at and provided free popcorn and soda to everyone, as well as a free viewing of one of fourteen movies (which were about a month or so old). Tonight, it was media night. Again, invitation only, this was a catered affair (complete with fondue!), but also included free popcorn and soda, and again a free movie viewing.

The theatres have state of the art sound, stadium seating with high back rocking chairs that can be made into love seats and cup holders that will actually hold a large sized cup. Plus, the prices are LOWER than the other theatres.

Earl and I chose to see “Starsky and Hutch”. We’d seen most of the other offerings and thought that Starsky and Hutch would be a good movie for a freebie. I have to admit that I actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit, and I thoroughly enjoyed the theatre experience.

We’re so excited – we no longer have to travel 50 miles or more for a decent movie theatre! I’m beginning to run out of reasons to despise this area. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad to see this area moving into the 21st Century. Maybe there’s hope after all.

The Birth of a Geek.

I am proud to say that after years and years of trying, Earl has jumped into Geekdom with me and started his own blog. It’s called “Cooking with Earl” and features pictures and recipes of his favorite dishes. He’s already posted two entries and is planning his third.

I had suggested the title “Adventures in Gastronomy” (I admit, I stole that from someone else – whom I don’t quite remember), but he didn’t see the humor in it whatsoever.

So it’s Cooking with Earl. Take a peek and drop him a line if you want. I’m sure he’d love the encouragement.



Speaking of encouragement, I’ve had the comments option available on my blog for quite a while and only my friend Thom cares to drop me a comment or two. If I was an egomaniac, I’d be miffed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Plus, if you want to chat, you can reach me through AOL Instant Messenger and/or ICQ. My ICQ # is 125628700. I don’t know how that works with AIM or Netscape, but I’m told that it does.

Wind Whipping Through My Hair.

Earl and I went to Bucks County, Pa. this weekend for his annual family reunion. It’s always fun to get together with his family. They’re a jovial bunch and they make me feel very welcome, even though I sometimes feel like the Uncle in the Aunt slot.

I often refer to his family reunion as the Alphabet Assault. Since his relatives see me once a year at the most, I often get P.J., D.R., Z.Z., L.M. or Steve (I guess all gay men are named Steve). It’s better than “Asshat”, I suppose. At least Earl’s siblings have the “J.P.” part down, which is good. All in all, the food was great, the stories were entertaining and a good time was had by all.

We played miniature golf with Rick (Earl’s step brother) and Helen (Rick’s girlfriend). I’ve played miniature golf only a handful of times, so onlookers may find me amusing. At least I resisted the urge to swing the club around like I was in the band colorguard. Afterwards we went to a local diner where the waitress apparently paid absolutely no attention to what we ordered since all of our food was mixed up. But we ate it anyways, lest a surly cook in the back spit on our food. As frequent restaurant guests, we learned long ago to shut up and eat what is served, even if it’s hamburger patty served fresh out of the ice box, lest we have the cook get surly and do something suspicious to our food. On the other hand, I could just be paranoid.

Since the weather was cooperative, we put the top on the Jeep down and drove all the way home in glorious sunshine and somewhat seasonable temperatures. Thank goodness for the sunscreen! It was great to let the wind whip through my hair mustache.

Inhibitions.

I’ve been thinking about inhibitions lately. I think my inhibitions have prevented me from pursuing my dreams. I haven’t figured out what those dreams are yet, but I’m sure there’s dreams up there somewhere that have yet to be realized.

Growing up, and admittedly, probably to this day, I care what people think about me. Am I too fat. Do I look like a geek. Do I stick out like a neon light. I think this worry about what people think about me is inhibiting me from being my true self. I’ve always got my guard up. “What are they thinking.” “Why are they looking.” It’s ironic, because back in my 20s, I had a couple of dates tell me that I was the most uninhibited person they ever met, but we’ll save those stories for a seedy Saturday night.

I suppose my inhibitions stem from my homosexuality. “They’re going to know I’m gay.” Well, duh. I am gay. Since I’ve known for the past 29 years or so, you’d think I’d be over that by now. Maybe I need to work on that.

My dear friend Laurie has been in a number of beauty pageants scholarship programs in the Miss America Program. She is the most uninhibited person I know. Laurie can go up on stage and do her thing without thinking twice. Whether it’s putting 200% of emotion into performing the National Anthem in sign language, or testing out a new vocal performance on co-workers (knowing that it would probably tank), Laurie throws all caution to the side and put her all into whatever she’s doing – carefree and uninhibited. I greatly admire that in her. Besides, she’s quirky like I am and that’s always a plus. (Laurie is the Executive Director of Miss Mohawk Valley – go see her web site).

In fact, inhibition prevented me from supporting Laurie’s participation in the beauty pageants scholarship programs leading up to Miss America. I was worried what others at work would think of my support. I strived to go along with the crowd rather than being myself.

I should follow Laurie’s lead and be more uninhibited. I should throw caution to the wind and just do my own thing. Support the causes I believe in. Sing karaoke. Do stand up at the open mic night at the local comedy club. Dance in the middle of the mall.

There’s a wonderful world out there. I shouldn’t shy away because of a wall of inhibition.

Scatter Brained.

I’ve decided that I need to have a computer with me at all times, specifically for the purpose of writing in my blog. As I was getting through the workday drudgery today, my mind was wandering off to faraway lands… to the beautiful midwest where the land is flat, the folks are friendly and the meat is a mouthful. I wondered why Jerry Springer is still on the air. I smirked at the humor of Margaret Cho as I recounted something witty she had written in her blog.

I don’t know if this is the case with everyone, but I often have approximately 1,298,381,301 thoughts going through my mind at any given nanosecond, and that’s not including the standards like “breathe” and “beat your heart”. I’ve come to realize that I rarely pay attention to reality. I’m great at the “uh-huh, mm-hmm, yep, yep, nope” reflex response during a staff meeting. I wonder what people would think if I, at the very instant I’m standing in front of them, whooshed my hands in the air like Endora and popped out, complete with a fourth-season Bewitched cool sound effect. I think about popping to Nogales, Arizona for a taco. I notice that my co-worker is always impeccibly dressed and clean shaven, everyday, without fail. I notice that another co-worker is wearing the same clothes for the third day in a row. At the same time, I’m deciding on a “personal logo” (the owl in the ‘address bar’ fits the bill at the moment), wondering if I should stick with ‘thenetwarriorxp’ or go with ‘tuxcub’ as my online alias, and thinking about Earl and what we’ll do tonight.

I have so many thoughts zinging in and out of my ears and I’d really like to write some of them down and share them in my blog. I like writing in my blog. I find it relaxing and therapeutic. I have so many stories to tell, but each little inkling of a verse comes floating in, is pondered upon with all the other noise in my brain at that moment, and then goes floating off into ether, never to return. I’ve had moments that I’ve said “what a wonderful tale to spin in my blog tonight.” Unfortunately, I can’t remember a damn one of them.

Microsoft announced today that they’re developing a type of body-network that will send computer data, and presumably electronic impulses of some sort, through your body, allowing your earrings to chat with your wedding band, electronically. Why? Who the hell knows. The world is a f*cked up place right now and all we can do is come up with technology to allow our penis to communicate with our belt buckle so it knows when to disengage so we can pee.

Great. More noise in my already cluttered mind.

On The Road Again.

Like I promised myself over the weekend, I rode my bike to work this morning. I must admit that I was proud of myself for going through with my promise to myself, because I often make resolutions, promises and threats and never follow through on them. “I’m going to lose 10 pounds before vacation.” “I’m going to make sure the washer and dryer are empty before going to bed.” “If I eat this cream cheese covered strawberry I will turn into a toad.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever.

But when I awoke this morning, feeling completely refreshed after 10.5 hours of sleep, I was delighted to find the birds singing and the sun shining. So I got my gear together, ate an English muffin covered in organic peanut butter (which is quite bland, by the way) and then headed off to work.

I had forgotten what riding in rush hour traffic is like. First of all, road construction activity is at an all time high here in Central New York, so half the ride is on a rush board. But the vibration is perfect for soothing my aching bum, I suppose. Then there’s the Utica rules of the road – when the light turns green, wait for five seconds or five cars, which ever comes through the light first. And avoid all SUVs at all costs – they don’t know what they’re doing.

But the ride in kept my energized throughout the day – giving me a lively step in my gait and a song in my heart. It’s a shame that I need to travel for work tomorrow. I look forward to doing the ride again on Wednesday.

It’s nice to be on the road again.

Family.

With it being Father’s Day and all, we had a family gathering here at the house today. The weather was a little cool, but absolutely gorgeous. I had initially pledged to Earl that I was going to prepare the feast, what with my desire to be a good cook and all. But naturally he took over and I ended up playing assistant. I guess I didn’t really mind. He went all out – BBQ’d ribs and chicken, grilled pineapple, salt potatoes and Karen brought along some delicious macaroni salad. And for dessert, Earl made this delicious fruit dip (cream cheese and fluff) for strawberries and melon. I’m going to start a blog for him so he can share photos of his creations, along with recipes to share. In the computer world, I suppose Earl would be considered an open source cook.

It was great getting together with my sister Jennifer and my dad and his girlfriend. Just sitting down and chatting about old and new times is so relaxing. Karen brings me up to date on the renovation project going on at the school she works at, Dad chimes in with his commentary and occasional nostalgic anecdote and then we catch up on the going-ons with the rest of the family. One thing I realized is that it’s going to be a busy summer with weddings and family visits and whatnot.

It’s wonderful being in a family where everyone gets along. Or perhaps its that we’re really good at pretending that we get along. Either way, it is nice to get together.



Last night Earl and I ventured out arouind midnight and went to the local club – where I DJ’ed for a number of years. We hadn’t been out around here in about 18 months. It was the first time that we’d been in a bar since the new NYS smoking law had been in effect. While it was much more comfortable being in a smoke-free environment, I couldn’t help but notice that business was significantly slower than when I was DJ’ing there. Kicking my ego aside, I believe it was due to the smoking ban instead of the change in DJ.