Fine Print.

Having some comp time in the hopper, I decided to take the afternoon off today in preparation for our night at the local casino. I’ve busied myself about the house waiting for Earl to get home from work, repairing my weather station so that I can get reliable readings again (weather info coming to the site soon!) and just goofing off on the internet.

One of the things I started looking at while browsing was penmanship styles. I’ve always been very interested in various penmanship techniques, ever since I was a little kid. I think my various grade school teachers used differing methods of penmanship instruction, because looking at the aforementioned site, I remember being taught all these different styles. No wonder my chicken scratch is somewhat of a mess.

Here’s a sample of what my writing looks like today.

Earl has commented in the past that I write like a girl. Now I don’t think that’s very nice. I’ve seen gay men write much “prettier” than I do so I guess I’m not insulted by his remark. I guess I should be wondering on why I care about such a trivial thing.

Looking at the various penmanship techniques, I wonder what grandparents will write like 60 years from now. My grandparents all had very similar handwriting. They were all undoubtably trained to write with the “Classic Palmer” technique. Now there’s all these different variations of handwriting, plus the encouragement to just do your own thing without regard to the basics. Will today’s kids still use hearts over their “i”‘s when they’re 70?

Anyways, now I’m not going to be able to listen to customers and jot down notes at work anymore with any sense of actually paying attention. I’ll be too busy trying to make my handwriting nice.


I don’t know what my problem is today. I just don’t feel my usually cheery self. I’m trying desperately to get into a good mood, but it’s just not happening. The best I can muster is an “eh”.

I should be happy – Earl is coming home from his business trip tonight, I’m working only half a day tomorrow and then we’re spending the night at the local casino.

This morning at work started a little rough, what with a crazy man walking up the street, purposely blocking my path and taking a swing at me. That was nice. I could hear him babbling as he was walking towards me. I moved left, he moved over into my way as he continued to approached. I moved right, he again moved in front of me, moving closer. I moved left again and he was close enough to yell that he was going to kill me and took a swing. I simply ducked out of the way of his poorly executed haymaker swing and kept walking towards the office. He continued on his way. I love the fact that when they closed the local mental institutions down, they just pushed everybody out on the street. They didn’t try to place them anywhere or give them a headstart. The shooed them away like a stray dog or something. It’s pretty sad when you think about it. Perhaps I’m thinking about it too much and that’s why I’m feeling kind of blah today.

Before the crazy man, I watched a woman who was driving up the main street not move out of the way of the ambulance that was trying to get through. She just kept puttering along, blocking the ambulance’s path. Flashing lights, loud sirens, it didn’t matter. She was the most important thing on the road, fogged up windows, cigarette in left hand, coffee in right, attitude in check. After the ambulance made a turn (still behind her), she proceeded to run two red lights before making a left turn into her assumed place of employment at the State Office building. I wrote down her license plate number. I’m keeping my eye out for her. There’s another driver that I keep my eye out for. She drives a Big Bird Yellow Nissan Xterra. Her license plate says “JANICE”. She has big hair and a lousy attitude. She uses the center turn lane as her private passing lane, ignores traffic lights and frequently double parks in front of the local sub shop during lunch hour. I know I sound snotty, but I hate people like that. I think that’s one of my pet peeves. People that go through life that have absolutely no idea of their surroundings. If people would just keep in mind everything that’s happening outside of their personal space and show a little human decency and respect to others, the world would be a much happier place.

Hi-Tech Exercise.

One of my gripes about riding my exercise bike is that I have nothing to do. I look at cinder blocks, cinder blocks and more cinder blocks in the basement, as I sweat away the few calories that manage to fall off my body.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was installing Solaris on an old computer in the basement. I originally intended it to be a file server, to store backups of our files off the notebooks, plus anything we chose to save off of TiVo and maybe some Garage Band stuff.

Well Solaris 10 offers a pretty nifty web browser as well.

While not quite as polished as my PowerBook, I am zipping around the internet while working out at the same time. It gives me something better to do instead of counting cinder blocks. I can even program this puppy to make inspirational bionic noises, instead of making the ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch sound with my mouth as I work off the extra poundage I’m carrying on this body of mine. Hey, whatever it takes to inspire oneself, that’s what I say. You should hear me when I’m on a long distance bike ride, doing the Xena battle cry on the hills. I did that when I was riding with the Ride For Missing Children a couple of years ago. Small wonder I ride alone.

Earl is out of town (again), but this time it’s by car instead of plane. Last night I surprised him and met him the airport, even though he had driven himself there and even though its about an hour from the house. We grabbed a bite to eat at the diner after surprising him outside the security gate. It’s not as fun since the whole airport security thing. You used to be able to sit there at the end of the jetway, tear in your eye, song in your heart, smile on your face. But now your loved one has to make the journey through the gate, up the long hallway and through the security exit before they get their little family reunion. Damn those terrorists for fscking it all up.

I’m finding that I type slower when I ride slower, and I type faster as I increase my cadence. I wonder if I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I don’t know that I’ve ever tried, not being much of a gum chewer.

I’ve been on the bike for five minutes, and on my blog for four. Time to take a look around the internet and not try to spend money on ebay.

Not until I’m down to my goal weight at least.

Memory Flash.

I was doing research here at work about a local diner (I’m thinking about supper and I wanted to know how late they were open), when I stumbled across information about one of our favorite places to eat, The Little Gem Diner in Syracuse. As I’ve mentioned before, my grandmother worked there for 24 years.

It turns out that the couple I knew as “Aunt Haddie and Uncle Hank”, dear friends of my grandparents, originally owned The Little Gem Diner!

Now it’s really starting to make sense to me why I love The Little Gem so much!

Locally Owned and Operated.

I’m still on my quest to Make This A Better AmericaTM by supporting local retailers whenever I can. The retail world has become exceedingly bland with the landscape being populated by Wal*Mart (Always White Trash, Always), McDonalds and their imposters. It’s disconcerting to walk into one of the four Super Wal*Marts in our area and not know which one you’re in. It’s a good thing they put “Thanks for shopping at your (insert city name) Wal*Mart” over the door, otherwise I’d be lost when I left the parking lot.

However, I am finding it difficult to stick to my locally owned and operated policy, especially in the department store arena. Unfortunately, the little guys have been wiped out by the big corporations. I liked the regional chains like Hills, Ames and Bradlees back in their day, but no, the big guys had to come in and wipe them out. When I was a kid, I remember buying school clothes at the local clothing store in the village, then walking down to the shoe store, then walking to the pharmacy to pick up school supplies. When I was really small, we had a soda at the soda fountain and the back of the drug store!

At least we still have a good sized locally owned grocery store that we can shop at. It’s called Chanatry’s and reminds me of grocery stores of about 20 years ago, though it offers the latest and greatest in grocery wares. I’ll support Chanatry’s until the day the doors close, even though the prices are a little higher and the selection is a little less, simply because they’re locally owned and operated.

Ditto with my diner obsession. Granted, we have Denny’s Diner offering their stuff 24 hours a day, but I’d rather eat at the local diner down the road or go hungry. Besides the last time I was at Denny’s (2 years ago), I asked for a piece of bread to go with my meal, and they said they were out of bread but could offer me a piece of toast instead. I didn’t pursue that conversation any further. I was too dumb-founded.

I think my locally owned obsession stems from the fact that my dad’s side of the family has owned a lumber yard and hardware store since the early 1950s. I’m worried for the store. I’m worried that a Lowe’s or Home Depot is going to open up nearby and put them out of business. I’m worried that some snot-nosed 16 year old without a clue as to what an 8-common nail is is going to be offering home improvement advice, instead of my father having that honor.

We need to get back to our roots. We need to know our neighbors. We need to smile at one another.

Let’s get back to the locally owned and operated days.

Thou Shall Not Nudge The PowerBook.

Tom (our cat) is having a hard time understanding the use of computers in bed. It’s not that I’m shunning extracurricular bedroom activities for the computer, that’s hardly the case, but when Earl’s away on business, I tend to bring my PowerBook to bed and read about the day’s happenings, catch up on a few cheesy television shows and write in my blog.

Now if I could only get our son to understand.

He doesn’t understand the whole geek in bed thing. He thinks the keyboard of the PowerBook makes a wonderful place to take a nap. He nudges the corner of the screen, making the pixels dance a little bit in the corner. Thankfully, he hasn’t taken up to nibbling on it yet, for then he would probably be starring in the “Flying Cat Across The Bedroom” sequel.

Not that I would purposely send him flying or anything.

As I type this blog entry, I think we’ve worked out a truce. He sleeps next to the left speaker, on the bed, listening to Mac Arthur Park Suite by Donna Summer via iTunes. He occasionally looks up at me, doing the cat I love you with a seductive blink of the eyes. I blink back at him.

Yep, it’s a truce.

Musical Expression.

I’m having this need to express myself musically. I started messing around with Garage Band over the weekend (courtesy of the new iLife ’05) and I downloaded some of the free loops you get by subscribing to .Mac.

I now have visions of turning one corner of the basement into a recording studio.

Like many people, I once had dreams of being a famous singer. I don’t know if its a reflection of the self confidence I was lacking at the time or what, but I used to always picture myself as a backup or session singer, not a solo act. In college I always sang back up vocals. In fact, I was at one time able to shriek the high part in “Love Is A Battlefield” by Pat Benatar. Can’t even come close to it now. I’ve sang plenty of solos in my time, especially in high school and college, but I’ve always enjoyed blending with others in a group setting. There’s nothing more satisfying to my ears than a well sung, complicated, harmonious sound.

So I’m messing around with Garage Band a little bit, trying out different effects and instruments and such. I need to land my hands on one of those keyboards I saw at the Apple store so I can start putting in my own instrumentation. I lack patience for my art, but I need to slow down and take my time. I want it flashy and I want it now! For some reason, I have this notion that Stars On 45 is ready to make a comeback as “Stars On CD”, with some 80s and 90s music strung together in a medley set to a disco beat. It’s something that I could easily accomplish on Garage Band. Stars on The Human League, anyone?

There’s one song from the 70s that I sing at karaoke that I could record to a more contemporary sound. I don’t want to mention the title yet, not until I have a little snippet to share. But I think it’ll be cool.


What an odd weekend it has been. Being on call, I’ve had an electronic leash of sorts, courtesy of my work pager. I’ve logged quite a few hours of overtime this week. It’s a good thing that I enjoy my job, or I’d be really cranky about now. But on-call ends tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., and tomorrow night I’m going to celebrate by getting in the Jeep after work and just driving and hitting a diner for supper.

Not that my cooking has been bad this weekend or anything like that.

Last night I went for a little drive, again in the Jeep, but had to head back home when the pager went off. I fully expected it to happen, so I wasn’t surprised or disappointed. I hit a Burger King (since our area has no 24-hour real diners, the bums) and took care of the customer that was having difficulties. I was happy that I could help out.

So now I’m continuing my little project of setting up Solaris on the old computers lying around the house. It’s a slow going project, but I’m getting there. A learning experience. I’m setting up file servers so that if we get Mac Mini I’m dreaming about, we’ll have a place to store all of our music and video files that we put together. That’ll be fun.

I look at the clock and see that it’s kickoff time at the Super Bowl. Earl has called a couple of times, last time to let me know that he was leaving his cell phone in the car because security is rather tight at the game and he doesn’t want the hassle of dealing with the cell phone. I’m so happy that he’s had the opportunity to see this game in person. Go EAGLES!

It was a year ago tonight that the whole blowup started with Boob-gate. It’s amazing how much clamping down there has been on America since Janet Jackson flashed us a nip. Now Sir Paul Mc Cartney has to get his songs approved by some tight-assed censorship board and Budweiser is afraid to show a quite hilarious commercial during tonight’s game. I wish I could join all those red-state people and thank the government for restricting our liberties and doing our thinking for us. I feel much better knowing I won’t have to see a naked breast on television, he says sarcastically.

I personally believe that Republicans weren’t breast fed.

I’m also amazed that while our forefathers spent a couple hundred years, with thousands upon thousands of lives lost, to gain the freedom that we so enjoyed, it took three airplanes and 3,000 people to just as easily lose them. Not that I’m faulting those in the 9/11 attacks, they were the victims of a great evil. It’s the idiocy that has followed that has me baffled.

Now with that off my chest, I’m going to go watch the Eagles slam the Patriots. And watch for my huzbear in the stands.

An Interesting Weekend.

Earl is off to Jacksonville, Fla. for the Super Bowl (go Eagles!) and I’m at home working an on-call weekend. It’s going to be interesting. This is one of the few occasions that I thank the universe for the cell phone, as Earl and I can easily keep in touch while we’re so far apart.

I’m busying myself around the house as super geek, installing Solaris on our old computers in the basement so that we have a place to back up our files. I’m contemplating shaving my beard off, simply because I’m becoming a little bored with it. I might do an all popcorn and iced tea diet for the weekend. I’ll exercise a lot. And I’ll goof off on the internet half the time.

I don’t think I’ve spent an entire weekend alone since Earl and I started seeing each other. This is kind of weird. Oh well, chalk it up to another experience.


A co-worker is celebrating her birthday today. She is describing today as one of the worst days of her life, simply because it’s her birthday. I think she’s nervous as she approaches the big 3-0, turning 28 today. It’s kind of unfair that she has to work on her birthday (I believe people she get their birthday off), but two others in our five person team had the day off, so she couldn’t really take it off as well. She generously offered to take tomorrow off instead. But it still kind of sucks that she has to work on her birthday.

It’s funny, but as I look back I don’t think I would ever want to relive my 20s. Definitely not my early 20s. I didn’t feel like I fit in with the crowd, I didn’t really know who I was and I didn’t really relate well to others around me. Part of that is still true, I’m the first to admit that I hear a different drum beat than most.

With most gay men, it’s about youth, youth, youth. “I need to look young.” “I need to feel young.” “I need young guys to like me.” At 36, I don’t really feel that need. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that need, even when I was 22. I’ve always been young at heart, but I don’t feel the need to be perceived as younger than I actually am. I’m always looking for new experiences. That can sometimes be perceived as a ‘young’ thing, but I just see it as part of life’s evolution. In my eyes, when you stop experiencing, you stop living. Then you’re coasting, and that’s no fun.

I recently saw an early 50s something guy at the mall desperately trying to look younger. He had an open shirt revealing a shaved chest. His hair was dyed various shades of platinum and strategically placed to cover up bald spots. But his eyes didn’t lie. His eyes revealed his true age, framed in the wrinkles and such that one earns through the passage of time. There was really nothing wrong with the way he looked, but he gave off the vibe of being afraid of what lies ahead. He didn’t carry himself with the confidence one would expect. Like he was playing a character part and he didn’t know all the lines.

I wanted to tell him to just celebrate his life. Celebrate all the experiences that have brought him to where he is today. I’ve recently learned to do that myself… look forward, accept life as it comes at you, make adjustments and changes as necessary and have no regrets.

Even if it’s not your birthday, celebrate who you are today. You might like what you see.