Christmas Shopping.

Earl and I went on our annual Christmas Shopping Trek last night. Actually, it was part 2 of the trek, as with all the activity involved with moving into the new house and everything, we found it easier to stay relatively local and to divided the annual trek into more manageable chunks.

So we shlepped our way to Carousel Center in Syracuse (the mall that is to become DestiNY USA, the largest mall in the world someday). A couple of months ago, Carousel instituted a Friday and Saturday night policy prohibiting people 18 years and younger in the mall unless they are escorted by a guardian. In a word? Halle-freakin’-lujah. Like The Walden Galleria in Buffalo, which instituted a similar policy over a year ago, mall traffic has dropped considerably. But retail sales have not, since people are actually at the mall to shop, instead of just hanging out and being obnoxious.

So we went on a merry trek through the mall and finished everything up, save for our gifts for each other. I hope to accomplish that tomorrow.

After the mall, we headed to Barnes and Noble to pick up some gift certificates. We took this as an opportunity to sit and relax in the café, something we have never done despite the thousands of hours and dollars we have spent in Barnes and Noble. (Well, maybe hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars). I had a blueberry scone that was absolutely wonderful. Not being a coffee drinker, though, I settled for a trendy bottle of water. Very nice.

On the way, I discovered that we were frightfully low on gas, so we headed to the trendy Delta Sonic. The place was all a glow and bustling with activity. I proceeded to swipe my ATM card and pump gas when the pump just stopped. The pump next to me stopped on the guy pumping his gas as well. After pushing some buttons and squeezing some handles (the pump, not the guy’s next to me), I decided to head into the convenience store to find out what was up. Between gum snaps, Ms. Bitch Behind The Counter informed me that the store closed at 10:00 p.m. and she shut the pumps off. No warning. No “attention Delta Sonic Pumpers…” announcements, nothing. So I had pumped all of $.02 (that TWO cents) worth of gas into my car. That’s right folks, $.02 (that TWO cents) was charged to my ATM debit card. I saved the receipt and plan to make a rant page against Delta Sonic with a scan of the receipt for everyone to see the foolishness involved. It’s fun to spread holiday cheer.

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The new symphony of life.

I’ve made a very important electronic discovery today. I’ve discovered iTunes. I’ve mentioned from time to time that I would really like an iMac, like the big brother version to the one I bought for Earl for Christmas last year. But my HP Pavilion is not that old, is quite functional (when I allow it to be) and works like a charm. I’ve messed with alternate operating systems (Linux, FreeBSD), but I’ve settled back into the routine of Microsoft Windows XP Home. And today, I took the opportunity to install iTunes for Windows XP.

Oh my God.

I’ve already purchased one complete album and 17 miscellaneous songs. I’ve burned two CDs that I intend on listening to in the car this weekend.

I’m hooked on iTunes. After struggling with “alternate operating systems”, it’s nice to have something that works so easily and is yet so very functional.

If you haven’t latched on to iTunes, you need to get it fast.

Earl and I invited our friends Dennis and Victor over for supper tonight. We haven’t seen them in over a year for various reasons. Our lives were very hectic with Earl working many extra hours. Our house was always a wreck. So it was nice to get together and catch up on all that’s been happening. It was a nice, relaxed, casual evening. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

And last but not least, I may have mentioned that I started a beard the day we made a purchase offer on the house. Not wanting to jinx the purchase, I decided to not shave until we closed on the house. Well, we’ve closed on the house, and I still have the full beard. I kind of like it, as does Earl, and I think I’m going to let it grow until at least his birthday (end of February) or until the 1st of March. Who knows, maybe I’ll let it grow until The Ride for Missing Children. That would be pretty cool. 🙂

If you want to take a look, the webcams are up and running again. Now that we have high-speed internet AND I’m running Windows, it’s easy to share my face with the world!


I must admit that I haven’t felt very inspired to write in my blog lately. It’s not that there’s not a lot going on, because with the holiday season upon us and in a new house on top of it, life is very busy. In fact, it’s downright hectic.

Earl and I have been getting along swimmingly (why don’t people say swimmingly anymore?) so it’s not like we’re in a rut or anything like that.

No, there’s nothing *wrong*, I just haven’t felt inspired enough to write in my blog. Maybe I need more meditation time or something. I’ve been reading a bit more than usual. Reading up on meditation and being focused and psychic powers and such. I’m gearing up for the Great New Years Resolution Plan, I suppose.

Earl and I did take the time to watch “The Golden Girls” reunion tonight on Lifetime (I hate the ‘television for women’ part). It was hilarious. If only sitcoms in 2003 were written half as well as The Golden Girls. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a reality check to see how much the girls have aged, but they’re doing it gracefully and without a lot of plastic augmentation, which is nice to see.

I did have a little boost in my holiday mood on Friday. I was at work, being all down in the dumps about the holiday season because at a radio station, this is one of the most busiest times of the year… lots of holiday geared contests, pre-planning for extra days off, etc. Anyways, Earl decided I need a kick in my Jolly Old St. Nick and decided to surprise me with a beautiful Christmas plant and ornament. He showed up at lunch with a big goofy smile on his face and made my day 1000% brighter. Now I can say without hesitation, “the holidays are now officially merry”.

Home, Sweet, Home.

If’s officially been one week today. Earl and I have been in the new house for exactly one week. Home, Sweet, Home. It’s a nice fit. I look forward to spending 30 years here!

We started last Monday early with the moving crew arriving around 8 a.m. These guys were efficient, and had everything out of the old house by 10:30, and everything in the new house (mostly stacked in the garage) by 12:30. Nice! A big check, a big tip, and off they go. That gave Earl and I about an hour to get cleaned up, meet the owners of our old house for their walk through, and to the lawyers to close on the old house by 2:00. Sign, sign, sign, whip through McDonalds drive thru for french fries, and on to the lawyers to close on the new house. Sign, sign, sign and whoops, there it is! Thank GOD everything went smoothly!

Last week we spent each night after work getting the house organized. I’d love to say that everything is now in it’s place and it’s like we’ve been here forever. But, I would be lying if I said that.

We still have 35 boxes and all our old furniture in the garage. Sorting through boxes makes me realize that I kept a lot of junk over the years. So I’m working on throwing out more stuff. And more stuff. And another load just for good measure.

We are all set up on high speed internet and it is working wonderfully! I’ve accomplished more online in the past week than I did the whole month before. I’m still tweaking away at my computer to live up to my new netidentity of “unixcub”, but it’s going really well. I’m feeling pretty good about things.

On Saturday the new washer and dryer was delivered. We’re very pleased with them… they washer is the base-model front loader from Frigidaire, along with the matching stackable dryer. Pretty much the same set that we had in the old house, except for the controls being mounted on the front, and the Frigidaire name badge (instead of the Kenmore on the old set).

One thing we did do is go a little crazy on the home entertainment system for the Great Room. We decided to treat ourselves and buy a Sony Wega 42-inch plasma television, with a Yamaha surround sound system with Kliptsch speakers. This is going to be sweet. It’s delivered tomorrow… I CAN’T WAIT.

My folks came in installments over the weekend to see the place, and it was nice visiting with them. Everyone seems to be in good spirits.

And now we can buckle down for the holidays. We bought an artificial Christmas Tree tonight at Wal*Mart of all places, but I wanted something that we could put our own lights on, yet something very tall. We decided on a 9 foot tree, rather than the 12 foot tree we were originally looking at. I can’t wait to see how that looks!

As soon as I figure out how to get pictures from my camera to this computer, I’ll be sharing photos of the new house. I’ll also use that talent to sell a bunch of crap on ebay.

Home, Sweet, Home. How sweet it is.


Well, the blessed event is finally upon us. Tomorrow, Earl and I (God willing) become the owners of our new home. We close on the old house at 2:00 p.m. and on the new house at 3:00 p.m. Since our mortgage commitment expires at 11:59 p.m. on December 1, 2003, there’s nothing like enjoying the feeling of “taking it right to the wire”!

The current owners of our new house have been gracious enough to allow us to move things in, even though we don’t actually own the house yet. We had furniture delivered last weekend (looks fabulous), and Earl and I have been moving small things in yesterday and today. We put the bed clothes on the new bed and it gave us the feeling of “it’s finally happening”! The movers arrive at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. A day off from work, and I have to get up 1 1/2 hours earlier than usual! Oh well, what are you going to do.

So this is my last blog entry for the next week or so. High speed internet is going to be installed on Wednesday afternoon, and I must admit that I am very, very excited about it! Actually, we’re both very excited about the new house and the high speed connection is just gravy for the potatoes.

I discovered earlier today that my e-mail was all messed up and some messages weren’t being sent. If I haven’t responded to something you sent me, please resend it and I’ll respond when I’m back online. I wasn’t being rude, I was just being techno-dumb.


Earl and I are just settling in to our home after a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. It’s a running joke that my mother always has to say what she gives thanks for (and gets wicked emotional about it while doing it), but I wanted to take a moment to say what I’m thankful for. It may sound like I just won an Academy Award or something, but hey, life is a stage after all….

  • Thank you for Earl. I can not imagine my life without him. Without him, my life would not be complete.
  • Thank you for showing me my spiritual path, and accompanying me on my journey down it. It may not be the road taken by most people, but it is a journey full of love, joy and life.
  • Thank you for giving me a most wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Cherished memories were made with family and friends, and the feasts were wonderful.
  • I am thankful for the joy our cat Tom brings into our life.
  • I am thankful for a beautiful, safe and harmonious home, supportive family and friends, a wonderful job.
  • Thank you for my health and well-being.
  • And finally, thank you for helping me find the love and happiness in the world. Thank you for showing me how to shun negativity and helping me perfect my ability to do so.

Still waiting.

Ugh. Earl and I are still waiting for the closing of our new house. We’ve been calling the “transaction handler” every other day for the past two weeks. Each time we’ve called, we’ve been assured that everything is moving along smoothly! Not a problem. No siree, don’t you worry your little head, everything is fine!

We were lied to.

Come to find out, the unupdated abstract for the new house has been sitting on someone’s desk for the past three weeks. Since it’s sitting on someone’s desk, it hasn’t been updated. It hasn’t been touched.


This is not good, especially since our mortgage commitment runs out on December 1 and with a short next week, this could be a problem.

After much screaming, hollaring, swearing and jumping up and down (I think we may have banged the phone on the counter a couple of times as well, bad habit), we received a call from our lawyer. The wise word of the law. We’ll close before December 1st come hell or high water.

I’m betting on hell.

So, Earl and I are probably going to be celebrating Thanksgiving in the back of a U-Haul. Lovely. Once the closing of the house is complete, I’ll give the name of the fine real estate company we’ve been using so you can avoid them at all costs.

Payback is a bitch.

On a cheerier note, I spit on Bill Gates’ fine piece of software and wiped Windows completely from my machine. FreeBSD is humming along nicely. I just feeling like I’m downloading new software through molasses.

I had a wonderful dream last night that involved working for C.J. Cregg on “The West Wing”. Allison Janney (at least as C.J. Cregg) turned out to be quite a lovely woman. I was her assistant in my dream, typing away. Come to think of it, Ms. Janney has come across as a wonderful woman in the interviews and such I’ve seen her in. Put her with Amy Brenneman in my “attractive women” listing. They’re both people I’d like to do lunch with. I think I obsess about television way too much. And speaking of cool women (or television?), I see that Kathy from Survivor 4 is going to be on “Survivor 8: All Stars”. I think I may just have to watch that version of Survivor just to see her. I always thought she rocked.

I’ve been feeling remarkably cheery these days, though the waiting on the closing of the house has been a small little nag in the back of my mind. I must be concentrating too hard at work or something… people keep asking me “what’s wrong?” “You o.k.?” I guess I’m a little too intense about my job. I’m still feeling very productive – I like to get what needs to be done, done, so I don’t have to worry about it!


So the geek in me yelled “Uncle” once again and I’m back to booting up Windows XP Home Edition on my computer. I wisely never wipe it off when I experiment with Unix or Linux, so I just pick up right where I left off. After messing around with FreeBSD for a while, I’ve decided that I need a high speed internet connection to use it effectively. Didn’t wipe it off, just letting it rest until we are in the new house…

… as if that will ever happen. At least that what it seems like. Earl called the transaction handler today to find out what is taking so long with the closing date. She has no idea, she’ll call the seller’s (the enemy’s?) attorney. No, they’re not the enemy, but I am starting to feel that way. Am I still antsy? Way past that… now I’m RAW.

Work is plodding along nicely, I can’t believe that it’s Thursday night already. We just tried to watch Will and Grace, but the latest belch from the sun fried DirecTV for half the show. Judging by the half of W&G that we did see, we didn’t miss much at all. Apparently the producers are signing up special guest stars to make complete asses of them because Dylan Mc-needs-a-shave from The Practice truly made an idiot of himself tonight, per the script provided. Earl and I have said that we weren’t going to watch the show anymore but we had a few brain cells that needed killing off anyways.

I guess it’s cheaper than doing drugs.

Speaking of television… I am LOVING Judging Amy this season. I still find Amy Brenneman totally hot (stop snickering, I really do!) and I really am enjoying the show. It was nice to see Dan Futterman on the show again, even though it was for one episode. The show is interesting and I look forward to it every week.

And back to NBC… what the heck is going on with The West Wing? There’s the drugs we aren’t doing… the director’s doing them! The characters on that show have all traded in their personalities for a cranky one, the cinemetography SUCKS and the show has been dumbed down way beyond belief. The President went AWOL this week. Yeah, right. And Air Force One did a loop over the Hudson River last week.

Good days.

People always crow about how Mondays are awful. Back to work. Dreary weather. The weekend is over. How do I know these things? The telemarketer that called me at work today because I’m the guy that takes care of the computer printers told me so via her poorly written script! Never mind that I picked up the phone after she dialed 0 for receptionist.

But back to Mondays. I must admit that I was looking forward to going to work today. As I’ve mentioned before, I *love* this time of year and 2003 is no exception. I was mildly productive and had a good attitude about it to boot. I felt good throughout the day… perhaps a little tired, but not all draggy and crabby because it was Monday.

Yesterday we went to my father’s side of the family’s (follow that?) holiday party. Yes, I know it was only November 2, but, my grandfather and his wife leave for Florida about this time every year, and they throw a Thanksgiving/Christmas party first weekend in November for all families involved. It was great seeing everyone and I think a good time was had by all. I was able to talk geek with my cousin Nathan… he’s going to school to be an IT Administrator type, and he seems to know his stuff. I was able to talk FreeBSD with him, which is a nice change of pace. It’s funny, because Nathan and I used to chat over modems back in 1984 or 1985 when I had a VIC-20 and he had a TRS-80 of some sort. We dialed in long distance to the GEnie service so that we could chat back and forth, even though we lived about 10 miles apart. I bet my folks loved that phone bill.

Speaking of FreeBSD, I’ve made great strides on learning this new (to me) operating system and I must say that I am quite pleased. It seems much more cohesive than Linux. One thing that I like is that I am being forced to build my software from the ground up, whereas Linux throws everything but the kitchen sink into an install and tries to follow the “it just works” scenario, but doesn’t quite live up to the bar set by an iMac. FreeBSD, on the other hand, requires that you read, study, chat with other users and keep your wits about you to get it working, but once you do, it’s working the way *you* want it to. I like that.

We are awaiting one final piece of paper before we can close on the house – the abstract on the new house. I’ve given up waiting and am plotting ways to torment our lawyer’s paralegal. Earl has discouraged me from doing this and has taken matters into his own hands.

On a final note, my beard is progressing along nicely, though I had to give into a bit of a mustache trim because Earl said I wasn’t getting any unless I did. I do have my priorities.


The waiting game is still on. Earl and I received some good news today. The “transaction handler” at the real estate office called to let us know that the current house purchaser’s mortgage was approved… call the lawyers for the closing date. Well, well, well. Good news indeed. Earl placed a call with our lawyer, we hope that she’ll return the call tomorrow with some good news. It would be sweet if closing was scheduled for Nov. 13, as that would fit in with the whole 13th theme we’ve had going on our whole relationship.

We did get to walk around our new house again today. We’ve been trying to pick out furniture and such for the house, since it’s considerably bigger than our old house, but being in the house only two times, it was hard to gauge room dimensions and colors and such. So we asked our real estate agent if we could get back in there and take a look around, measure rooms and such, and surprisingly, he agreed. So tonight we got to drink in the whole house again. What a wonderful feeling! 🙂 Now I’m more excited than ever to get into the house – I hope that the closing happens soon.

I am so glad that we are back on Standard Time. I’m not a big fan of Daylight Savings Time, I never have been. I know that it’s suppose to be better because then we have more daylight in the summer after work and I can go bike riding and all that, but honestly, I don’t mind it getting dark a little earlier and everything. There’s such a mystique about this time of the year – chilly winds, rustling leaves, early darkness. It all seems so magical to me.

I think I’ve been a little antsy, maybe ‘cranky’ is a better term, at work. I shouldn’t let my needless worries about moving et al reflect in my professional attitude, but alas, it does. Now that there’s been more signs of activity, I know I’ll be better.

I haven’t spoken to Earl about this, but I’m thinking about taking some online courses from the University of Illinois after the holidays. Computer science courses, so I can get certified in Unix. I’ve been promising this for a long time, and it’s high time I went ahead and did something about it! It’ll be easier to accomplish once we have the high speed internet connection that will probably be installed the first week that we are in the new house! I’ve dumped Linux in favor of FreeBSD, another derivative of Unix. I’m liking it! We stopped at Barnes and Noble so I could buy a new book – I’ve already implemented a couple of things and I’m loving it!

Earl and I relaxed and watched “The West Wing” and “Judging Amy” courtesy of TiVo tonight. My two favorite current television shows. “The West Wing” seems to be faltering just a little bit this year, which is probably due to a changing in writing team, but I think Judging Amy is going along wonderfully!