O.k. I’m going to try for the 3rd time to write my…

O.k. I’m going to try for the 3rd time to write my blog entry tonight. Every time I try to post my entry, something about Microsoft SQL screws up and it loses it. Lovely.

Earl and I went on a wonderful drive to Ithaca yesterday. I wanted to shop at a Natural Foods store, and there’s a co-op down there so off we went! Ironically, we stopped at A&W in Cortland for lunch on the way. Can I tell you, I love that A&W. It’s one of the older ones. You can park out front, order on the intercom system and they’ll bring it out and hang it on your window (just like on Happy Days). Or you can eat in the dining room. Here’s the neat part, you still have to order over the intercom! It’s great! There used to be one outside of Syracuse in Cicero that we went to when I was a kid, but that was ripped down for a Taco Bell in the late 1980s. What a shame.

When we got to Ithaca we decided to walk around “the Commons”, which is really the Downtown area. It reminded me very much of Burlington, Vt. I loved it. I’ve been in a “granola boy” mood over the past couple of days, and this just enhanced it. I’m trying to get in touch with Mother Nature again – getting back to basics… making my own bread, putting more effort into recycling, trying to be aware of the non-replaceable resources I’m using, etc., etc. I’m growing out my hair and beard again, at least for a while. I suppose you could say I’m moving from the “Greg” side of my personality over to the “Dharma” side. I’ve been called kooky before. I don’t deny it.

The co-op was fabulous. I wish there was one closer to home. I could see myself working in a co-op. I went to the bulk section and tried to buy these organic M&Ms for the office. Well I dumped 1 1/2 lbs. all over the floor. Eeks. After apologizing profusely, the attendant cheerfully cleaned it up. If I had done that at Wal*mart, I would have gotten a stern stare, a click of the tongue and a big sigh. It was refreshing to see a nice human being working in a store for a change.

Earl and I also went to Best Buy at Pyramid Mall just north of Ithaca. I picked up a couple of DVDs — “V” and “V: The Final Battle”. They are both mini-series that NBC showed in the early 1980s. Earl and I have been watching “V” from the Action channel off the Dish over the past couple of nights. And last night we watched the entire “V: The Final Battle” – all six hours! Earl tried to feign not being interested, but about 30 minutes into it he started showing interest. I know Diana is the bad guy and such, but you have to admire her determination and tenacity.

I’ve been reconfiguring the spare computer we have here at the house. It’s a DOS machine. I’m trying to see if I can do everything I need to do with DOS without compromise. Let’s see if this little experiment works. If it does, I’m going to switch to DOS for a while, because I enjoy typing in command rather than clicking with a mouse. Maybe I’ll convert all the applicable workstations at work back over to DOS so that the employees don’t waste time surfing the web and downloading music. I don’t think that’s being too rude.

I’ve been working on cleaning up the wreck room today. It seems like every Sunday I’m cleaning up the wreck room. I guess that’s why it’s called the wreck room.

Earl and I went grocery shopping for some perishables that we couldn’t pick up at the co-op yesterday. Picked up some vegetarian TV dinners for work and some other goodies. I think the time change has kicked me back into this granola boy mode I’m in. I worked out this morning (and feel great) and I look forward to doing it again tomorrow. I’m a little sore since I’ve been out of my routine for the past couple of weeks, but that’s o.k. I like standard time so much better than daylight time. I’m more comfortable with it getting dark earlier. I really like fall and winter the best – I like the prospect of getting dumped on with snow. I like a chill in the air. I like the shorter days. I think it’s the way I’m wired.

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written in m…

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written in my blog! I think I’ve been suffering from major computer burnout. The Linux experiment has been a fiasco, I’m back on Windows XP. I’m seriously considering moving my computer to good old MS-DOS – let’s see if I can do that and still get things accomplished!

My little telephone project at work is nearly complete. I have successfully installed an Executone IDS-84 phone system with Infostar/DVX voicemail. All purchased refurbished. After a couple of little glitches (and user errors), we now have an auto attendant answering the phones at work and calls are successfully be processed through the company. I think I’ve found a new facet of my geekdom. I really enjoyed the project although I worked A LOT of hours doing it. If I find myself in search of a career change, I definitely think it’ll be into telecommunications. It’s funny, I haven’t been paying much attention to the servers at work and they’ve been doing great. I wonder if the trick to using Microsoft Windows successfully is not to do anything with it.

I haven’t written since Earl and I have been to Toronto! We went to Toronto the weekend of the 12th. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called the Bantinghouse Inn. This place was absolutely charming and I *highly* recommend it for anyone planning on visiting up there. We both love Toronto so, and for that matter, Canada in general. I really think that we’re going to end up living in Canada at sometime – it’s so charming up there. I’d really like to retire to the very southern tip of Quebec (southeast of Montreal), but we’ll have to see on that one.

I’m really antsy to go cycling, but the weather just hasn’t been cooperating. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Sunday – it’ll be cool, but hopefully it’ll be dry. I’ve been maintaining my weight (loss) for the most part. I think I need to do more aerobic type things. I’ve been reading about Yogilates, which is a cross between Yoga and Pilates. It looks quite interesting. Last night on Survivor they snapped another chicken’s neck on TV and I commented to Earl that I really need to become a vegetarian again. I don’t like what’s happening to animals. Earl’s only beef (ha ha) with my becoming a vegetarian is that he feels he needs to cook two meals. I guess I’ll have to pull up my boot straps and help out with the cooking if I want to be serious about this. And eat lots of peanut butter so that I maintain protein intake. I have a wonderful cookbook for “almost vegetarians” – maybe I should do some experimenting with dishes in that cookbook.

Then I feel totally hypocritcal for being a vegetarian and wearing a leather coat. But I really like my leather coat. I guess that’s what the difference between vegetarian and vegan is? I have noticed that I’ve become lactose intolerant over the past couple of months which is weird. Good thing I’m grooving on rice and soy milk.

I really can’t get into Survivor this season. I’m not routing for anyone and we’re almost half way through already. I guess I want Helen (the Navy swim instructor) to win. They’re all just sort of there and don’t really have any stand out qualities. Not like Kathy last season – she had charisma and personality and everything and really should of won.

What’s up with Will and Grace this year? I think Hanna-Barbera should take it over and make it the cartoon it really is.

Speaking of Hanna-Barbera, Earl and I picked up “Scooby Doo” on DVD last week. Jinkees, I loved it! I was hesitant to get it, because of the wreck they made of Josie and the Pussycats a couple of years ago, but Scooby Doo stayed pretty much true to the cartoon. And the cast did an excellent job of bringing the characters to “life”.

It’s midnight on the nose, time to call it a night!

O.k., I’ve been obsessing over my computer for 24 …

O.k., I’ve been obsessing over my computer for 24 hours or so. As I mentioned yesterday, I switched it to RedHat Linux (version 7.3 for anyone that’s keeping track.) Pretty cool, except I feel like I’m hitting so many obstacles when I use it.

Some of my big problems:

1. USB webcam support sucks. I have two USB webcams, an IBM NetCameraPro and a Kodak DVC-325. Both work well, I just can’t get them to work in Linux. I know it’s the manufacturer’s fault that they don’t work, as they haven’t released drivers for Linux, but it would be nice to have the webcam work without too much problem.

2. I’m having a bugger of a time installing a Java Runtime Environment. As you may have noticed, I have a couple of nifty little buttons, courtesy of FrontPage, on the index page of our site. I can’t see them unless I install Java. Now that kind of sucks. I think I’m going to make them static buttons, because if I’m having a problem with it, other people are having a problem as well. Plus, with the issues going on with Microsoft and Sun fighting over Java, it’s a little too difficult for people to navigate our site without buttons. So I suppose that was an eye opener. But please stop me, I’m rambling.

3. I have a beautiful HP Scanjet 4400c. I love it immensely. It doesn’t work under Linux.

4. Now this may be a trivial thing, but the sounds that come with KDE suck. They sound like they were recorded on an 8-track or a GE cassette player from the 1970s.

5. My “hot keys” on my HP internet keyboard don’t work, nor do they glow. Again, another little nit but it makes me crazy when things don’t work the way they should.

6. The internet connection is slow, slow, slow. Earl and I connect through the internet courtesy of Direcway by Earthlink. To put it in layman’s terms, we have a satellite dish on the roof of the barn that beams the information up to a satellite which beams it back down to Direcway headquarters, which in turn gets what it needs courtesy of land lines and does the same thing in reverse. It’s not the speediest process by any means, but it’s REALLY REALLY slow using Linux. I think it’s because of Microsoft’s “internet connection sharing” functionality, but because Direcway doesn’t have anything but Windows software for this beast, I’m stuck with it.

7. CD burning, etc. is a NIGHTMARE.

I’ll probably get my geek card revoked, but before leaving for work this morning I decided to install Windows XP Home Edition AGAIN. As much as Microsoft angers me with their strong-arm tactics, I can’t help but use their stuff because it does what it’s suppose to do, with everything that I have, about 90% of the time. Yes, Windows XP does crash from time to time, and Earl thanks the computer gods for living with a geek nightly, but at least I can figure out what Windows is trying to do when it crashes and prevent it from happening again.

If I had a server at the house, it would definitely be running Linux, because Linux servers are wonderfully reliable and easy to maintain. But I don’t think Linux is ready for prime-time when it comes to the desktop.

Just had to get that off my chest. Honestly, if I had some loot in the bank account, I’d buy us two Macs and go from there. I’m very impressed with OS X from what I’ve read about it and the little I’ve played with it.

I’ve received several compliments on my “fashion plate” look I’ve been sporting today. Makes me feel kind of good I must say. I dare say that I am very vain, but who cares, I’m beautiful damn it. πŸ™‚ Just kidding.

Tonight Earl and I are cleaning up the house, which looks like Yucca Flats after the blast. The wreck room is definitely living up to its name and I really can’t mention in polite company why Earl’s underwear is in the kitchen sink. πŸ™‚ Just kidding – but we do have to clean up a little bit before the cleaning lady has a heart attack. Isn’t that weird – we clean up when we know the cleaning lady is coming. I seriously need to catch up on e-mail as well. With the computer being such a challenge, I’ve been neglecting my e-mail. I’ll have to catch up tonight.

Almost time for bed, but I decided that I needed t…

Almost time for bed, but I decided that I needed to write in my blog before calling it a night.

I went for a really long bike ride today – about 35 miles around the general area. I purposely threw some steep hills into the mix to keep it interesting and to keep my legs in shape.

This afternoon and evening I decided to install RedHat Linux on my home computer, and I’ve been acclimating to that. It’s been a little bit of a challenge, but I’m enjoying it. Blogger isn’t working right, as I have a 3 line by 15 character window to type this entry in, but I think I’ll get that little bug worked out. If anyone reading this knows how to get my IBM Netcamera Pro working on Linux, I’d really appreciate the help. Please drop me a line at jp@jpnearl.com.

Yesterday, Earl and I went on a leaf peeping ride through the Catskills and then we decided to go shopping at “The Galleria at Crystal Run” in Middletown. Since I’ve lost so much weight, I really needed to get new clothes. Earl said I could get some stuff only if I let him dress me. So now I’m going to work tomorrow looking like an absolute Fashion Plate – head to toe all new. I got these clunky shoes and everything. I usually get my clothes at Target or JCPenney, but this time I went to “Structure” and Filenes. Tres chic. πŸ™‚ I’ll have to post pictures.

I’m writing a blog entry at work again. You can te…

I’m writing a blog entry at work again. You can tell things are a little slow. We just had problems with our internet connection that we repaired after a little bit. I hate it when hubs go bad.

Last night Earl and I joined my sister and her boyfriend and my mother for dinner at Olive Garden outside of Syracuse. It was pleasant enough. We were going to go to Plainville Turkey Farm, but mom wanted wine with her dinner and we didn’t think Plainville served wine. We had a really nice meal.

I did a “past life regression” self-hypnosis session a couple of nights ago that frankly scared the liver out of me. As I was doing it, I came to find out that I lived in Virginia in 1785, my first name was Barnabas, and I was locked up in a crate and thrown overboard off a ship. Apparently this is what they did to people with the plague. A couple of odd things have happened since: I’m not nervous on the elevator anymore and I’ve seem to have lost track of time. Usually I’m very aware of what time it is, but lately I don’t know what time of the day it is nor do I even realize what time of the year it is. I think I’m just nuts.

Here it is Sunday night and I’m looking forward to…

Here it is Sunday night and I’m looking forward to another week at work. And I mean that sincerely. Work has been kind of odd lately, with some people coming into work very cranky. I try to be as upbeat as possible, trying to set a good example, trying to be the best that I can be. But it seems like some people bring all this baggage to work with them. I don’t mean to sound cold, but when you come to work, you have a job to do. You should leave your problems at the door and you should focus on the task at hand. And you should enjoy it. If you don’t like it, then you shouldn’t be there. Simple as that.

There was a time when I didn’t enjoy my job. I was Program Director of a Top 40 radio station (owned by the company I currently work for). During the last nine months or so of that position, I was starting to feel a moral conflict with myself. Over the past ten years or so, Top 40 music has gotten very angry. Especially since I was programming a “rhythmic” station – lots of rap music, Eminem and the like, along with the usual ‘N Sync, Backstreet Boys and that sort of thing. All the rappers seemed so very angry. I always hated it when they took a great song from the 70s and starting spewing garbage rhymes over what used to be great music. I despised the fact that I had to play a “clean version” of a song, yet the record company gave us CDs with parental guidance labels on them for giveaways. I never understood why Top 40 music had to be that way. But that’s what got the ratings, and I guess like every other Top 40 radio station, we had to do what the public wanted. But by doing that, were we just feeding the hate? I was very happy when the owner of the station came to me and said he was selling it. I was offered a chance to go with the station, and it’s an offer I happily turned down. I didn’t want to contribute to the unrest in the world. But when I was doing that job, I didn’t complain about it. I wasn’t too miserable about it. I did what had to be done and I made the best of it. And that’s what I expect of the people that I work with.

I went for a bike ride yesterday along the canal trails. It had been about 10 days since my last ride, and my body complained about it, but I did it. Ended up getting caught after sunset, so I had to have Earl come pick me up at the end of the trail, rather than riding home. Today I mowed the lawn for the last time of the year and Earl and I put the lawn furniture away. It’s been a wonderful summer. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to next summer. I’m going to do that week-long bike ride next year. And I’m going to train for it all winter long.

I gotta say that I love the fall though. The crispness in the air. The way the leaves sound when the chilly wind blows through them. To me, there’s something very spiritual about the fall. The month of October always feels so mystical to me. Like there’s a certain magic in the air. It’s something that I only feel in October. Summer is too hot and heavy. Spring is full of the bloom of life. In the winter, Mother Earth is resting. But there’s something about Fall that I find so moving. I spend much more time outdoors, even at night in the fall. I don’t care that I have to bundle up. I don’t care that I can’t wear shorts. I just need to be outside.

As I was bike riding yesterday and mowing the lawn today, I found my thoughts drifting to my spirituality a little more than usual today. I really want to get involved with a Novus Spiritus study group here in Upstate N.Y. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Gnostic Christianity. It all makes so much sense when you really think about it. It frightens me how “Joe Public” can tend to put such a human face on God. Why would God want to punish his creations to eternal “hell” just for being different? Just for being themselves? It doesn’t make sense. I laugh when I think about Dr. Laura saying that God “made a mistake” when He made people gay. O.k., let’s take that one step further. If God made a mistake when he made gay people, how are we to know He didn’t make a mistake when He was telling his disciples what to put in the Bible? How do we know He wasn’t making a mistake when He made man? God doesn’t make mistakes. But Dr. Laura does. She’s human. He’s not. What also amuses me is when the Catholic Church said that if you ate meat on Friday, you were going to hell. Then they decided that you could eat meat on Friday. What about the people in hell? Do they get a “get out of hell for free” card? There’s God making a mistake again. “You can come up now.” Please. God is all-loving, all powerful. He’s not human.

We never made it to Syracuse this weekend. We ended up going to the Remsen Barn Festival on Saturday – which is a big street festival with crafts and food and everything. Earl and I have gone every year we’ve been together. We bought some of those canned recipes – the canning jars with all the ingredients for something yummy – you just add oil or water or whatever and bake it. Today I made “beer bread” and brownies. Both came out wonderfully. We also bought some Champagne and Garlic mustard that is out of this world.

I’ve been trying very hard to get rid of my Central N.Y. flat accent and trying to sound a little more distinguished when I speak. I think I’m focusing on Canadien radio too much or something, because Earl said I was sounding very southern-Ontario. Which I think is delightful. I love the way Canadiens speak. Kind of like Gwenyth Paltrow losing her British accent, I suppose.

Speaking of her – we pay-per-viewed “The Royal Tenenbaums” last night. Very dark, but enjoyable nonetheless. I don’t know if I’d watch it twice, but I think we enjoyed it.

I’m going to call it a night!

I am writing this entry at work as I wait for my l…

I am writing this entry at work as I wait for my lunch to arrive. I’m caving in and eating Chinese food again today. I’m determined to be a man that’s not afraid of anything, and I’ll just have to deal with it if something obscene arrives in my General Tso’s Chicken! πŸ™‚ My office mate is not in today, he came in 45 minutes to late for work with pink-eye so I sent him home (I have the authority to do that) and told him not to come back until his eye is checked out and he has been cleared by the doctor to return.

My geekdom has proven fruitful, as I successfully transferred the company over to the new phone system I installed on Wednesday morning. Now if I could just get everyone to figure out how to use it. It really isn’t that complicated of a system, but some people are slow at the sort of thing or something I guess.

We watched “Big Brother 3” Wednesday night, and my girl Lisa won. I was very excited to see that, though I really felt bad for Danielle, because she did play a good game. I guess this proves that yes, the good guy does win these reality shows sometimes. I guess Danielle just bent her integrity a little bit one too many times. Honestly, I was surprised that Lisa won 9 to 1, I thought it would have been closer than that. I sit back and wonder what I would do if were in the Big Brother house. I suppose that I would be pretty much myself and lay all my cards on the table in that what you see is what you get with me. I’m the type that kind of naturally flies under the radar a little bit, at least in my own head, but I don’t believe in purposely not winning competitions and that sort of thing. So I would give it my all and just be myself, I suppose.

I’m looking forward to the weekend, as Earl and I really don’t have that much planned. We’ll probably go get his haircut in Syracuse and do that sort of thing. I just sort of hang out in the barbershop because I don’t have hair to cut. I am growing a little goatee though, because I’m getting bored with shaving my face. Tonight we’re joining the folks from Earl’s office at happy hour for a drink or two. That should prove enjoyable.

Well, it’s official. I’m a big ol’ geek. :) First…

Well, it’s official. I’m a big ol’ geek. πŸ™‚ First of all, I can’t believe how lazy I’ve been about writing in my blog for the past week. I was working hard to write in it every couple of days, but then I kept putting it off, and here it is a week later. And I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t answered my e-mail either. Maybe I’m suffering from computer burnout.

The reason I’m a big ‘ol geek. We’ve decided to put a new telephone system in at work. It’s a used system that we purchased for next to nothing. I picked it up yesterday (Saturday) and took it to work. I thought I’d spend a couple of hours tinkering around with it, as I plan to take at least two weeks getting this system installed. Well I got to work at 9 a.m. and worked on the system until 4:30. Earl and I then went out for supper, we had some good, down-home BBQ at Piggy Pats in the little hamlet of Washington Mills, just south of Utica. We then went for a little ride and then headed home, where we watched Big Brother. I’ve mentioned my obsession with Big Brother before. I’m really happy to see Lisa in the final two, I hope that she makes it! Now it’s up to the jury to decide if Danielle or Lisa gets the $500K. I’m routing for Lisa. Anyways, we weren’t in much of a mood for more TV, so we played around on the computer a little bit, and then Earl decided to go back to bed at 10:00. Here’s the ultimate geekdom part – I went back to work and worked on the phone system until 2:30 a.m. Yes, that’s right. Amongst the guys parking to go to the strip club, I was headed to the office. On a Saturday night!

I tried to sleep in this morning, but was awoken at 9:00 a.m. because the cleaning lady at work decided to plug the vacuum into the same surge protector that the servers were plugged into (the $2000 one) and decided to blow everything up. Lovely. So I had to go in and put a $19 power strip in until tomorow when I can better assess the situation. Earl and I then went for a ride looking at houses in the general vicinity. We’re not planning on buying a house, but we may build one and we want to see what the housing market is like, since we’ll be selling the house we’re currently living in.

We then went grocery shopping as the happy household couple. Went to a new P&C, which is completely backwards from the one we usually go to. What’s up with that. Why don’t retail outlets make their store much the same, instead of doing this mirror image thing. It’s like being in a weird dimension.

Now I’m trying to catch up on e-mail. I worked on Earl’s computer as it was getting cranky again. I’m going to buy him an iMac for Christmas. Now, I can’t believe that I am buying an Apple product, but they seem to be so much easier to maintain and run then these Windows beasts that I think it’s the best way to go. Once my current HP Pavilion 760n runs its course, I’ll be getting an Apple as well.

Here it is the end of the weekend and alas we are …

Here it is the end of the weekend and alas we are getting ready for another work week. The weekend flew by, as we had a lot going on, but nonetheless enjoyable.

Friday night we went to Olive Garden in Clay (north of Syracuse) for a little din din and wine. It was an enjoyable meal, at least what I remember of it. You see, Olive Garden has a wonderful house white wine. And I don’t drink very often, like maybe once every six months or so. So two glasses of wine and I’m throwing the car keys at Earl, the room is spinning a little bit and I’m giddily happy. Frightening. This sort of scene happened before, but at least this time I didn’t hang out the car window like a sick dog waving to the truck drivers on the Thruway on our way home.

Yesterday Earl had his company picnic, and of course I accompanied him. It was enjoyable afternoon, but the rain started up about 3:30 and it disbanded early. It was suppose to go until 6, but everyone was out of there by 4. Afterwards, we went to the 25th anniversary party of the couple that owns the radio station and advertising agency I work for. They’re good friends and we’re friendly with the entire family, so it was nice to get together with everyone outside the office.

I’m still a little obsessed with Big Brother… I guess I’ll never understand strategies unless I’m on the inside looking out, but either Danielle and Jason are really good at hiding their alliance or the other two in the house are just blind. I suppose we have a vantage point that the contestants don’t really have.

We just got done watching Thursday’s episode of Caroline Rhea. I enjoy her show, but sometimes it feels like it’s still getting a solid footing. I hope that she does well, though.

Now Earl and I are just doing maintenance stuff around the house – getting ready for the work week. A ho-hum relaxing day!

"Weapons of Mass Destruction". I’ve heard that ph…

“Weapons of Mass Destruction”. I’ve heard that phrase so many times in the past few weeks in the news that I’m really beginning to become sick to my stomach every time I hear it. I must be so naive. I can not understand how any human being could have such hatred toward another living soul, let alone a country full of people. To come up with these horrible weapons with actual plans to use them. To actually plan out a way to kill hundreds or thousands or more of fellow human beings. Where does such evil come from? I don’t know if I’m very simple mind or more spiritually advanced, but I really, really, really can not understand the magnitude of this evil. Quite frankly, it frightens me.

With the anniversary of September 11th tomorrow, one can’t help but think of these things once again. The country is at status “orange”, which of course is high alert. Talks of attacking Iraq are all over the news and on everyone’s mind. I find myself praying a little longer, a little harder I suppose, supplementing my many daily prayers with a couple of extra thoughts and moments.

I read the “pieced together” accounts of Flight 93, which crashed in Southwestern Pennsylvania on September 11, after the passengers and crew all became heroes and apparently overtook the hijackers, thwarting their plans to crash into the White House. I read this account at work yesterday, and found myself tearing up as I read it. It’s amazing that even a year later, one can be still moved to tears. And my recurring nightmare of nuclear war has reared it’s ugly head once again – with Earl and I consciously making the decision to cross over to The Other Side. I’ve had this nightmare pop up once or twice a year for as long as I can remember. Funny thing is, I remember crossing over to The Other Side, or waking up just before I do – and it was always with someone else, someone I knew, but couldn’t place the face for the longest time. After Earl and I met, he appeared in the “someone else” role. What an ironic way to find out that you’ve met the kindred spirit that you’ve always dreamed of. I guess it’s an odd affirmation that Earl and I are suppose to be together.