I must admit that I’m really looking forward to th…

I must admit that I’m really looking forward to the weekend. The reason? Earl and I have no plans. It’s one of those weekends where we basically have time to ourselves, and can do anything that we want. I really enjoy this type of freedom. No deadlines. No restraints.

Earl and I arrived home on Tuesday to see that our new landscaping is finally being installed. It’s been a year in the planning stage, and now it’s coming to fruition. Very exciting. We’re having new brick walls installed, all new shrubbery and greenery… I think it’s going to make the house look fabulous! I’ll post a picture when it’s done so everyone can see.

Maybe I’ll get motivated and do some other landscaping around the outbuildings this weekend. That would be productive.

Honestly, I’m itching to go on a bike ride, but I’m not sure that I’m ready for it. I rode to work today (and plan on riding home), but this is the only riding I’ve done in about a week and a half – mainly due to weather. I was originally going to do a century ride tomorrow to the Finger Lakes, but I’m not sure my legs could keep up. Maybe I’ll do 50 miles on the canal trails.

Work is moving along at a reasonable pace today – which is refreshing. It’s been quite frenetic lately and it’s nice to simmer down and actually think about what I’m working on rather than flying by the seat of my pants.

I took my own advice and set TiVo to record “Bewitched” off TVLand every night for a while. It’s nice to watch the older shows – especially since “Bewitched” is probaby my favorite show of all time. I’m glad TVLand is showing it again. Wednesday night I decided to turn off “Paradise Hotel” and watched the clothes in the washing machine instead. Now I admit that sounds a little whacked, but I’ve always found laundry exciting, and at the very least it was more exciting than watching “Paradise Hotel”.

Drama.

What happened to “real TV”? I’m not referring to that farce “reality television”, no, I’m referring to real, wholesome, television programming. Earl and I flipped around the dial tonight (we have over 200 channels) looking for something to watch. We had been watching that IQ-dulling “Paradise Hotel” for the past couple of weeks, but about five minutes this evening into it I made a pact with myself – I’ll never watch the show again. Ever. It was making me nauscous. So I went and folded laundry. After that, I watched our washing machine tumble and spin. It was more entertaining. Personally, I think the government should send that steroid stackin’ freak “Toni” (yeah, she’s 29… probably for the 6th time) over to Iraq so she can beat the crap out of the enemy and get that whole thing over with. That woman, and I use the term very loosely, is a beast, has been on too many reality shows and is an absolute mess. I pray for her, because apparently she thinks her path is “The Way Of Idiocy on TV”.

What happened to go old fashioned shows like “Bewitched” or “Little House on the Prairie”, or even “Maude”? Mostly talented actors and actresses did their thing on television and it was an escape from reality. You knew that the people that were being buffoons on television were being buffoons because the script told them to. And from June to Labor Day, we watched reruns of what we had watched all year, but it was o.k., because reruns weren’t shown during the regular TV season. These reality TV shows are making me ill.

Now you’re probably saying “What a minute. Did J.P. audition for a couple of reality shows this spring?” As a matter of fact, I did. I sent in two tapes – one for Survivor 7, who never bothered to call me back (I guess they didn’t like my Wonder Woman spin into Super Survivor), and one for “Big Brother 4”. I was called back for the semi-finals of BB4, but I declined after thinking about it for a week because quite frankly, I knew it wasn’t right for me. I couldn’t take the thought of all that phoney baloney for three months. Good thing… I hear one of the house hampsters freaked out about the fact that he has genital warts and threw some kitchen chairs around. Sexy. Apparently he thought the warts wouldn’t go into the Big Brother house with him? What a freak. So you’re probably thinking that I’m being all evil because I’m not on television. Not the case. I’ve had my fifteen minutes of fame as “J.P. Marks” on Top 40 radio. I don’t need anymore fame.

Where was I? Oh yes, wholesome television. Now I’m not saying that we should have totally fake Donna Reed type situation comedies where the biggest concern is whether Dad grew a mustache or not. (Though I must admit I thought Donna Reed’s husband was very handsome in the episode that he grew his mustache.) No. That would be fantasy television. What I’m saying is keeping going, more or less, with the current television shows but only keep the good ones… The West Wing, Judging Amy, American Dreams – just show repeats of them over the summer rather than assault us with these idiotic reality TV shows. Yes, believe it or not, I said “SHOW THE RERUNS”. And forget the current crop of sitcoms. “Good Morning, Miami”? How about goodbye. Instead, come up with something creative for sitcoms. Not every gay man is a scream. Not every group of friends are that interesting. Not every office has three people that can drop one-liners about sex. And stop this “Hey, CBS is doing a show about funny dogs, so we’ll do a show about funny cats.” Be original! Be creative!

Enough about television. Earl and I have been enjoying life. We went to Kingston, ON with my father and his girlfriend and my sister on Sunday. Had a lovely boat ride and a wonderful dinner at “The Pilot House”. Saturday we saw “Pirates of The Carribean”, which was very fun. Did some plane spotting as well at Syracuse Airport.

I can’t believe that tomorrow is Wednesday already! Time is flying by. I want to get out on my bike again soon – I hope that weather cooperates sometime this week.

The Zone

I’m feeling GREAT today! I had a wonderful bike ride to and from work today, and I think I experienced THE ZONE. I was on my game. I made it home in a record amount of time, effortlessly. I feel wonderful.

I’m surprised I’m feeling so good tonight, to be quite honest, because I didn’t get much sleep last night. Earl and I watched “Paradise Hotel” (which I’ve once again vowed that I’m done with it – we’ll see tomorrow night) and then he went to bed while I snarked on the show on the message boards. I think I must be a frustrated comic or something, because I really enjoy dropping one-liners on these message boards. There are so many wainkers out there that think these shows are real and live and die by what’s going on with the contestants. They think that there’s cameras just rolling with no outside intervention. I guess I like to make fun of them or something. Probably not very nice, but its fun to hide behind a pseudonym and point out the obvious.

Anyways, after playing on the message boards for a bit, I decided to join Earl in bed. Problem was, he was sleeping like a baby and snoring so loud that cattle in the next county were getting restless. I don’t mind his snoring at all, in fact, after 7 1/2 years, I’m quite used to it, but he when he’s snoring like that it means that he’s sleeping really well and I didn’t want to disturb him. So I decided to be Mr. Nice Guy and sleep in the living room. Most guys would sleep on the couch. Honestly, I can’t get comfortable on the couch, so I slept on the living room floor in front of the sliding glass doors. The view was awesome. After living in the house almost six years, you would think that I would have done that before, but I hadn’t. It was nice to fall asleep under stars in a way. But sleeping on the floor isn’t the most comfortable way to sleep, so when I heard Earl padding around to the bathroom at 4:30 this morning, I used the opportunity to jump in bed with him. Wouldn’t you know that work called at 6:00 a.m. because all of the phone and DSL lines were down. (If you’re thinking about getting “Choice One” for your phone and/or internet provider, please send me e-mail so that I can tell you about the experiences we’ve had with them). Not a good thing for a radio station, since one can not get news without the internet (what happened to the days of the AP wire?) and one can not get calls from listeners without phone lines. Needless to say, there was nothing I could do about it, but I couldn’t fall back to sleep, so I ended up getting up and getting ready for work early. The bike ride to work this morning was sweet as well.

Now Earl and I are just relaxing here in the wreck room. I’m very excited because there’s the possibilities of thunderstorms tonight. We haven’t had a good thunderstorm yet this year. I bought a book over the weekend to learn more about the weather, and Earl got me a weather station for my birthday. It’s suppose to be here by Friday – I look forward to installing it and learning as much as I can. I’m interested in becoming part of the Skywarn Severe Weather Spotters network – I’d like to get involved with amateur (ham) radios as well – the two sort of go hand in hand. I’ll let you know how that progresses.

We didn’t make it to Buffalo this weekend because Earl came down with a 48 hour bug – but that was o.k., it was nice just to relax this weekend. I hit the canalway trails with my trail bike – got quite the workout with that.

And I’m not feeling any ill feelings at all about being 35. I like being 35. Life is good.

Call me Mr. Onion head

I’m writing this blog entry at work. There’s a couple of reasons for that… I’m bored and I don’t feel like working right now. It’s Friday afternoon, it’s very quiet here in the office and I’m already in weekend mode. Now I know that I shouldn’t really be in weekend mode, since it’s only 2:12 p.m., but you can only do what you’re destined to do.

Earl and I are heading to Buffalo this weekend. It’s my birthday on Sunday (35 years old!) and Buffalo is having it’s “Taste of Buffalo” festival in the downtown area. I will probably hit a five digit calorie count by the end of it all. We’re going to spend the night and paint the town red. Probably take a few county line sign photos for my road geek project while we’re out there.

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I’ve been going to bed around midnight, which is unusual for me during the week. The weather has not been conducive to riding my bike to work so I haven’t been as “pumped up” as I should be – though I have been in good spirits. I like sleeping in late, but being to work by 9:00 doesn’t really lend itself to that. I’d probably be better suited to a 2nd shift job.

My head is peeling from a sunburned I got last weekend at the family picnic. I look like an onion I suppose – a peeling shaved head isn’t the sexiest thing to happen. I’ll have to soak my head tomorrow. 🙂

It’s official

It’s 9:03 p.m. Eastern Time. I can now admit it. The premiere has been shown. I can come out of the closet. I was a semi-finalist for “Big Brother 4”. That’s right, I got the call. Thought about it for a week, and decided not to go for the in studio interview. I had too many things to do this summer after all, and quite honestly, I didn’t want to be away from Earl for three months. I made the right decision. I initially wasn’t going to watch the show this season for fear of rethinking my decision – but I decided to go ahead and watch it, and yep, I MADE THE RIGHT DECISION! Now, if Match Game ever starts up again, I’m so there, but for now, I’m content outside of the TV business.

Earl and I spent the Independence Day holiday in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pa. We woke up Friday morning and hit the road at 10:00 a.m. Took the “scenic route” – driving through the mountains of Central Pa., ending up in Pittsburgh around 7:00 p.m. We stayed at the Sheraton on the Riverfront (Station Square?), ate at Jack’s Crab Shack and enjoyed the wonderful fireworks. On the way down, we drove through Cortland, and were delighted to see that A & W is open once again!

That’s right, after hearing that it closed, it was a delight to see it open once again.

Since it was the Fourth of July holiday, we decided to do something different to remember our country. On the way home from Pittsburgh, we stopped in Shanksville, Pa. at the temporary memorial for United Airlines Flight 93, the flight that crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside on September 11, 2001.





Earl and I truly believe that the people on UAL Flight 93 were heroes that day as they decided to do something about the hijackers. It was a very emotional visit to that memorial. It was an honor to take a moment to remember them.

On Sunday, we joined my Dad’s side of the family to celebrate my Dad’s birthday at his house. My aunt, cousin and her two daughters are up from Florida -we hadn’t seen them in quite a while. It was good to get together with everyone.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been following Paradise Hotel religiously. I don’t know why. Boredom I suppose. I’ll probably get caught up in Big Brother 4 as well, though I must admit I don’t find anyone that attractive on there this year. I hope my IQ doesn’t suffer too badly.

Schoolhouse Rock!

Another night of writing the blog on my Palm Pilot. The computer is updating my road geek web site, and instead of slowing down the internet connection by doing other things at the same time, I thought I would play it safe and work on my blog on the Palm Pilot until it finished.

I’m getting such a kick out of working on my road website. I recently added a “County Info” section, originally with the goal of having me stand next to a county-line sign of each of the 62 counties in New York. Then I decided to do a little background information on each county — and I am learning such fascinating facts about the state we live in. For example, Montgomery County was originally named Tryon County, and had it’s name changed to honor General Richard Montgomery, a Revolutionary War hero. Albany County originally encompassed most of New York State and Vermont – and originally extended westward to the Pacific Ocean! I’m finding this little history lesson quite fascinating.

I’ve been cycle-commuting to and from work everyday this week. Considering it’s only Tuesday, let’s see if I make it the rest of the week! The weather is suppose to hold out. I’ve been taking a little bit more streneous route (a little longer and a few extra hills). According to the scale, it’s been paying off. I’ve been asked lately, “What’s with the beard?” Faithful blog followers will know that I usually tie beard growth to something, and this time it’s my weight goal. I’m going to shave off the beard into a really cool looking mustache when I reach my weight goal for the summer. I’ll post a picture when I do it. Until then, its a bushy beard. I’m really diggin’ the look… I decided to keep my head shaved and just have the beard. Pretty funky.

Something different, a short little meditation…

Take a moment, if you will and clear your mind. Stare at the screen blankly as you read this. Forget about work. Forget about the noise around you. Don’t think about the desktop theme on your computer, or the things your co-workers said to you today. Ignore the laundry for just a moment. Clear your mind of extraneous thoughts. Take a deep breath. Feel that breath enter your lungs and fill you up, all the way down to your abdomen. Your body is filled with the wonderful breath of life. As you exhale, breathe out all the air you can. Every ounce of air left in your body. Because with that air the leaves your body, so does all the negative thoughts, hurtful things and unkind words that were hurled at you today. As all that negative energy leaves, it is instantly filled with happiness, answers to your questions, positive thoughts, a different view, a grasp at a passing thought.

Now do something you may have not done for quite a while today. Smile. Feel it. Feel the happiness. Feel the “upside down frown” of your face. Enjoy the smile.

Now enjoy the rest of your day. And while you’re at it, enjoy tomorrow too.

Thank you for sharing this little meditation with me.

Stella’s Got Her Groove Back!

Over the past six weeks or so, I’ve been complaining that I haven’t felt quite right, that I’ve been feeling off centered, or unfocused or something.

Something snapped inside of me today. I can’t put my finger on the exact instant that it happened, but suddenly I felt like myself once again. Everything seemed so clear. The future was lying ahead of me like a clear, unfettered road. Little things aren’t bothering me anymore.

I rode my bike back and forth to work. I got a flat tire about ¾ mile from home. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me. I just walked home. I’m going to fix the flat when I get done writing this blog entry. By the way, I’m testing my laptop from work out, and this is the first little project I’ve done on it. So far, so good.

Yep, the laptop is a new addition to the stable of computer systems at work. It’s not a beast by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a NEC Versa 6230. A Pentium 233, 192 MB RAM, 10 GB hard drive. Not the strongest computer in the stable today, but it’s a good little workhorse and I think I’m going to enjoy using it.

I went to take a shower after my bike ride (and walk) home, and found that we have no hot water. Apparently, our five year old furnace decided it didn’t want to work today. So I didn’t take a shower. I didn’t let that bother me either. Earl and I called the service guy and hopefully he’s en route. If not, tomorrow, then I go to work tomorrow all stinky. 

It’s nice to find my focus once again. I feel great. Life is wonderful.

One thing that I find surprising is how I’m becoming hooked on this “Paradise Hotel”… the latest Trash TV from FOX. I hate to admit it, but I think it’s going to slap Big Brother 4 right across the face in ratings.

Merrily, we stroll along…

You ever feel like you need to weed through your life? That’s how I’m feeling today. I woke up this morning, weighed myself, sneered at the scale and drank a SlimFast shake. (“How yummy is that”, he says dryly.)

Figuring that I’m a little heavier than I was at the beginning of the week because of excess “junk”, I’ve decided to clean out the wreck room. If you go to ebay, take a peek at the crap I’m selling. It’s sort of comical. All the things I meant to accomplish but never did. Wonderful things like “Learn French While Driving Your Car”. That lasted a day. Then France got pricky about the Iraqi war and all of a sudden it seemed rather un-American to be speaking the language.

One thing that I couldn’t bring myself to sell is my training kit for Microsoft certification. I am determined to get that certification. I dusted it off and put it in a prominent place on my dsk to remind me that I need to be studying up again.

I exercised yesterday and today for about 20 minutes each time. The weather is still not very cooperative, lots and lots of rain. At least there’s peeks of sun this afternoon. Maybe I’ll have time to go for a bike ride before the end of the night. Unfortunately, bike riding doesn’t seem to do much for my abs. I guess I’ll stick to the ab crunches.

For those with a sense of “peek a boo”, I’ve started up the webcams again. We’re running DirecPC again here at the house (broadband for rural folks via satellite), so it’s o.k. to have the webcam on again. Nothing kinky or anything like, you just get to see me working at my desk here at home, and after I set it up tomorrow, at work as well.

Earl and I took a ride through the Adirondacks yesterday that was quite enjoyable. We took more county-line pictures, and enjoyed a great on the street supper in Lake Placid. I think we are going to go to Lake Placid for my birthday weekend – it’s a fun little tourist spot. We’ll have to see .

Monday, Monday. So Good To Me.

I think that’s how the song by the Mamas and the Papas goes. Anyways – it’s summer! Well, actually summer begins on Saturday, but the weather seems to have finally made its way to summer here in Central N.Y. Clear, sunny skies and mid 70s… perfect!

Earl and I had a busy weekend. Friday night we trekked up to Watertown to a little restaurant called Barkeaters for supper. I don’t know that it was worth 160 miles round trip, as it’s just an eatery in a mall, but then again, when do we ever do anything that makes sense. Last week was very tough for both of us work-wise, so it was a nice escape.

And then on Saturday, we decided to continue the escape. Got up at 9:00 and on the road at 9:30 a.m. I have a new project for my road-geek website. I’m going to get a picture of me standing next to a sign for all 62 counties in New York State. We knocked off ten of them on Saturday. We ended up driving out as far as Erie, Pa., where we then had dinner at Red River Roadhouse at Millcreek Mall (again) and then came straight home on the Thruway. We got home at 1:30 a.m. So that wasn’t too bad, only 16 hours. Our record is 19 hours… 🙂 And the food in Erie, Pa. was great as usual.

On Sunday, my Dad and his girlfriend Karen, and my sister came over for a little cookout for Father’s Day. It’s always nice to get together with them. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits. We’ve made plans to all go to Kingston, Ontario in July for the day which should be a good time.

Since the weather is suppose to be great straight through the whole week, I am on my bike big time commuting back and forth to work. I got a nice early start this morning and was taking a leisurely ride when something caught my tire and ripped a nice gash right through it. I was able to patch up the tube, but the tire was shot and I could feel the bump-bump of the gash for the rest of the ride to work. I made it just at 9:00 a.m. since I rode a little slower. Earl picked me up from work this afternoon and we drove the bike over to the bike shop, where it’s getting a new tire and some gear adjustments. I guess I’m going to have to face the fact that I shouldn’t be riding my road bike to work as the ride is just too rough on the bike, so I’m going to join the masses and ride my older hybrid back and forth to work. I hadn’t ridden the hybrid since last summer, so I jumped on it after work and rode up the street and back. While it does ride nice, I forgot how much extra work is involved with riding it… it needs a lot more effort to get it going! 🙂 But the tires are much sturdier and I suppose I’ll get a better workout on it. Tomorrow after work I’m going to drop off the hybrid at the bike shop for a tune-up and pick up my road bike at the same time. Then we’ll go back and pick up the hybrid after supper so I can ride it to work on Wednesday.

I’ve been having a few allergy related sniffles today, which is kind of odd because I didn’t get too sniffly this time last year. I think I’m going to have to meditate upon that a little bit tonight because I absolutely refuse to be physically ill or have allergies of any kind. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. this morning all sniffly so I downed a Claratin, which made me irritable. I wasn’t trying to be irritable mind you, I just was. I was conscious of it at work and trying to be at my best, but I suppose I was a little snappy. So no more Claritin. Maybe I need to drink more water or something. The de-tox dandelion tea is working well, but it makes my kidneys hurt. I don’t know if it’s suppose to do that.

I’m going wild and woolly for a while with a little fuzz on top and a little fuzzy beard. I’m going to let the beard grow (I’d like to let it grow until Christmas!) and keep my hair buzzed. It’s a look I feel comfortable in. Today anyways.

I haven’t had a Xena dream in a week or so. However, I did order the Xena soundtrack to the “Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire” episode which has a bunch of great music on it. I’m really looking forward to having that CD for the car. Earl and I have saved that episode on TiVo and we watch it weekly for a pick-me-up of sorts. 🙂 Actually, my dreams have been unimpressive the past few days. Maybe I’ve hit a low spot in my astrological cycle or something. Maybe I’ve eaten too much meat. Maybe my chakras need cleansing. Who knows. At least I’m feeling a little more focused.