Well, here it is a stormy Sunday night. I believe we are experiencing what is probably the last thunderstorm of 2001, and it’s a bit of a dud. I want some angry weather damn it! I love major storms, I always have. I think it’s because I grew up near Lake Ontario, where it seems that we had a lot of thunderstorms. And they were good ones. Lots of lightning, lots of wind, lots of thunder. If I had lots of money and had paid attention in my Earth Science class in high school, I’d probably be a storm chaser. Hurricanes, tornadoes, you name it, I want to be there. I think it’s because I have such a respect for what Mother Nature can do. Humans can build incredible life destroying bombs, dam up mighty rivers and put thirsty metropolises in the middle of the desert. But Mother Nature can sweep it all away with just one relentless downpour. The Earth needs to be respected and honored, not “used”. We went with our friends Dennis and Victor last night to Carousel Center to see “Hearts In Atlantis”. What a good movie! Unlike last week’s cinematic lesson in boredom (see last week’s entry), the time flew during this movie, and it was just wonderful. For the first time in my 33 years of existence on this planet, I did not have popcorn with the movie. I am an absolute popcorn maniac! I love popcorn! I could eat nothing but popcorn and be very, very happy about it. But lately, popcorn at Hoyt’s cinemas has sucked. Quite a bit. So I opted for Reese’s Pieces instead. Friday night Earl and I were antsy so we decided to go out to dinner. In Albany. 83 miles away. We ended up eating at Houlihan’s in Crossgates Mall. We also purchased a new inkjet printer for the house. This HP deskjet 960c is awesome. (The geek is now shining in me). It prints real PHOTOS! Very nice, very nice indeed. Today we just kind of lazed around the house. Is lazed a real word? I just took a shower 40 minutes ago, and it’s currently 7:38 PM. I don’t know why I bothered to take a shower since I’ll be going to bed in a couple of hours, but it was pretty nice nevertheless. The geek in me is also looking forward to the release of Windows XP on Thursday. I’ve been running RC 2, or “release candidate 2” since late August. I’m excited about the final version. I can’t wait to install it on my computer. That’ll be my project next week. I put some more pictures on the photo gallery if you want to take a peek of our trip to Watkins Glen.

Well here it is. Five years ago this weekend, I got down on my knee at the top of Bald Mountain in Inlet, New York and I proposed to Earl. Five years ago this weekend, I basically said to Earl “I’m in it for life.” And life has been wonderful ever since. We took Friday off to do a little leaf peeping. We ended up driving down through the Finger Lakes. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the leaves were at their peek. I could not believe the brillances of the golds, reds, oranges and all the other fall colors. First stop was Fox Run Vineyards near Penn Yan. A little wine sampling, a tour of the vineyard, a couple of bottles of wine for home, and we’re on our way. They had a lovely cafe that we enjoyed lunch at. Next stop was in Watkins Glen. We went to Watkins Glen State Park, which is known for it’s huge gorge. We hiked for about an hour before we headed back to the car due to rain. We took a bunch of pictures, which I’ll be posting this week. Then on to Corning. We had been to Glass Museum before, so we decided to just take a leisurely stroll down Historic Market Street. The weather was quite mild for mid October, in the mid 70s, so it was a nice walk. We then decided to drive up to Rochester. Ended up going to Chili’s not too far outside of the city, in Victor. On Saturday we went and saw “Bandits” with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton. What a sucky movie. I was so bored, I went to the bathroom twice just to relieve the monotony. We almost walked out of the movie, something we’ve never done before, not even during “Eyes Wide Shut.” I LOVE Bruce Willis, but this movie majorly sucked. We then had a snappy dinner at Wegmans in DeWitt. For you out of towners, Wegmans is a lovely grocery store here in Upstate New York (I think it’s in Pennsylvania too). Anyways, the large, large stores have a food court in them, much like MarchΓ© in Canada. You take your tray around and choose from a wide variety of types of food, and enjoy it for dinner. I know, I know, how domestic for two gay men to be eating at a food court in a grocery store. Those that are more in-tune with the lifestyle gay men allegedly live might say that our choice was rather mundane. But I guess Earl and I aren’t your typical fancy pants couple. And the food was dang good. πŸ™‚ Today we went to the first of many Christmas parties. You read right, we went to a Christmas party on October 14. My grandfather and his wife (they’ve been married since 1996, my grandmother had passed away shortly before) leave for Florida first week of November, so the whole family gets together for a sort of Thanksgiving and Christmas meal combined. It’s rather nice, and it was nice seeing the family. I did get to read a letter from my younger cousin. She and her husband, and their two toddler children, are missionaries and currently live in Yemen, spreading the word of the gospel and doing His work. I must admit that I admire them for their courage, as they do what they feel they were put on this Earth for. They are undertaking quite a feat, especially in these turbulent times. They are following their life mission, and we pray for their safety, as well as the safety of the innocent bystanders of these vicious acts. I had thought that they would be over in Yemen for a couple of years, do what they needed to do, and then return to the states. But from what I understand now, they plan on spending the rest of their lives there. We wish them all peace.

Well, the United States has begun retaliations against the Talaban. I say “God Bless America” and go get ’em. Earl and I have been getting into winter hibernation mode, stocking up the can cupboard, doing some baking, putting the lawn furniture away, etc. And not a moment too soon, because as I type this, my little “wetsock” weather indicator next to my computer clock is showing me a snowman, and says we’re going to get snow showers tonight. I’m very excited as I love winter. There won’t be any snow accumulation, but we’re getting there! Thursday night brought my mother to our home for dinner. It was great to get together with her, as we had not seen her since mid August. She looks wonderful, and seems to be doing very well. We had a nice time just chatting amongst the three of us. Earl and I went out to dinner both Friday and Saturday night, and both times we ate healthy! No desserts. Saturday night we watched “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”, as I got the DVD from Amazon.com a week or so ago. ‘Mad World’ is my favorite movie of all time. I can never get enough of it. And the DVD has the complete version of it, which is very cool. I put up a bunch of odds and ends on ebay this afternoon. I love selling and buying stuff on ebay. I sometimes get addicted to it. But, I’m selling more than I’m buying right now, so everything is o.k. in the financial department. Let’s make sure we keep it that way. Which reminds me. Back on September’s journal, I mentioned that my beard would stay around as long as my financial responsibility remained. Well, I gave in and shaved off my beard. But I am remaining financially responsible. My beard was just not coming in as well as I had hoped, plus as much as I cleaned my face and beard, I felt like I was dirty. So I went ahead and shaved, and have settled on this look. Just a mustache without a soul patch. I haven’t been without my soul patch in quite a while! I’ll probably trim the mustache a little more, but this is basically what I’m going with. I heard from someone about the IBM register system I was working on restoring. He has a similar system that he’s restoring. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only nutty geek in the world.

October 2, 2001 Wow, here it is October already! Tomorrow’s weather says it’s going to be in the 80s, but by the weekend, it’s going to be in the 40s. Gotta love Upstate N.Y. weather. I’m bushed. I’ve been going into work at 5:30 a.m. for the past two days, as I’ve been training our new morning show at the station on the on-air equipment. Tomorrow they fly solo for the first time, and they are going to be spectacular. I just know it! Today I was pretty much just a safety net for them, as they did most of the show on their own. I gotta say that I didn’t really enjoy going in at 5:30 but boy did I like getting out at 2:00. I was able to get so much personal stuff done before everything closes at 5:00. Back to the regular grind tomorrow. I think starting with this month’s page of the journal, I’m going to work my way down, instead of the putting the latest information at the top. It seems to make more sense as far as layout goes. I’m upside down at times I guess. πŸ™‚ Earl and I just got done watching “All About Joan” or whatever that show with Joan Cuzcak is called. I really like her. I really like the show. I used to be an avid Dharma and Greg fan, but after the second season or so, I got bored with it and haven’t really watched it since. So tonight between 8 and 8:30 we watched an old episode of Bewitched. It was from the fourth season, called “Once In A Vial”. The one where Endora gets bewitched by a love potion and is going to marry one of Darrin’s clients. It’s a pretty good episode, especially since Agnes Moorehead really gets to shine in it. Bewitched is my all time favorite television show, and I watch it every chance I get. I also liked “Tabitha” with Lisa Hartman back in 1978. I have several of them on tape. I guess I have odd TV tastes, because I also have all the episodes of “Isis” with Joanna Cameron. I remember them from when I was a kid. I picked up the episodes on-line, thank god for ebay. I think I have a picture of her somewhere on my hard drive. There she is! Now do you remember her? “Oh zephyr winds which blow on high, lift me now so I can fly…” Sometimes when I read what I’ve written in my journal, it frightens me just how much my erratic thought processes shine through as I’m typing. Take the last paragraph I wrote. I started out with Joan Cuzcak, jumped to Dharma and Greg, popped over to Bewitched and ended up putting a picture of Isis up. Figure that one out. You should try to have a one-on-one conversation with me! πŸ˜‰

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.