Going Through Life In The Dark.

Earl commented this morning that I’m starting my day out in the dark. I don’t think he was calling me dense, though he could have been alluding to that in some way. He doesn’t really understand why I start out the morning, especially this week on the early shift, walking around the house getting ready for work in the dark.

It’s just that I enjoy the natural light, be it starlight, firelight, moonlight or sunlight. I also enjoy watching the neighbors shower, and keeping the house dark allows me to peer directly into their bathroom without their knowledge.

I’m kidding.


I went on about this recently but I just find natural light so much more pleasing and centering. I have a better focus throughout the day if I don’t assault all my senses with the harsh, bright glare of artificial light. On the other hand, perhaps I’m hiding in the dark from what I don’t want to face throughout the day. I can psychoanalyze myself from here to eternity and back.

I guess it’s better being in the dark than going through life in a fog.

Getting The Worm.

When I was a kid, I was always the type of guy that went to bed early. I usually called it a night around 10:00 p.m. and woke up, reluctantly, around 6:30 to get ready for school. I’ve always treasured my sleep and to this day I still do.

I didn’t discover the art of staying up late until college. It was there that I discovered the joy in staying up until 2:00 a.m., or later, and sleeping in until the crack of noon, 8:00 a.m. classes be damned. No wonder I never finished school.

I’ve pretty much lived the “night owl” philosophy since then, opting to stay up until wee hours of the morning. Goofing off at parties back in my single days or just dinking around on the computer these days. Now that I think about it, perhaps I was dinking around in my single days and goofing around now.

This week marks my first week on the early shift. We take turns rotating shifts, and I’m now in the rotation, working 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I was all paranoid about it last night, turning in at 8:30 p.m. and then waking up every couple of hours to make sure that I didn’t oversleep. I hate it when that happens.

I ended up getting out of bed at 5:15 a.m. this morning and I can not believe how much I have accomplished today and how wonderful I feel! I don’t feel the groggy, sleepy, hangover feeling I get after sleeping in until 10:00 a.m. I feel alive, I feel well rested and I feel wonderful!

Perhaps there is something to being an early bird to get the worm. Maybe I should try this out for the next couple of weeks and see how it goes.

Firefox. A little rescue for Windows users.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, so I thought I would share a little Window goody with you.

There is an alternative to Internet Explorer called Firefox. I’ve used Firefox for quite a while at work, both at my present job and at my previous position. I’ve been using the program since it made its beta debut a while back. It’s based on Mozilla, which in turn is based somewhat on the old Netscape. It has a few more features than Internet Explorer and it is much more secure. I’m also a big fan of Thunderbird, which is an e-mail and usenet client from the same group of people.

There’s no reason in the world that you can’t use Firefox and Thunderbird on a Windows machine, even though Microsoft has built Internet Explorer into the operating system. Give it a try. I’ve included a “Get Firefox” button over on the right side on the page for your convenience.

When you install Firefox, it’ll import your settings, bookmarks (aka favorites) and cookies from Internet Explorer right into Firefox, making the transition very smooth.

Happy surfing!


While the Philadelphia Eagles are celebrating their victory against the Atlanta Falcons, headed for the Super Bowl, I am celebrating my own little victory as well.

I won the fight against the snowblower.

We purchased a new snowblower a couple of weeks ago at the everpresent Lowe’s, another one of those behemoth corporations that I have occasionally vowed to give our money to. The weather forecast contained snow, and since this is the first winter without the benefit of Earl’s work truck (he drives a car now being a big executive), I was not about to tackle our long driveway with a shovel. So we purchased a mid-range, mid-price snowblower. It was pre-assembled, pre-tested and ready to tackle any job, big or small. Except whomever assembled it installed the fuel line incorrectly, resulting in a pinched line that was starving the engine of fuel. This did not make the task of snowblowing as wonderful as it could have been. Quite the contrary. It caused frequent stalling and frequent cussing.

We called Lowe’s and they advised us to bring the snowblower back. Not an easy task to accomplish during a major snowstorm. So I decided I was going to fix it myself. A few clamps, a little bit of extra fuel line, a snip of the scissors and a quick plug in the fuel tank, and viola! we were in business.

I think Earl’s impressed that I figured out that the problem was with the fuel line and that I knew how to fix it. I guess I don’t seem like the grease monkey type.

So while the Eagles are celebrating their trip to the Super Bowl, I’m celebrating the fact that we have a clean driveway.

Snowy Saturdays.

The big topic on the news today has been the weather. Half the country is being socked by a snowstorm. The people of the City of New York are in a panic because it’s been in the single digits for the past day or two.

It was 18 degrees below zero when I started up the car yesterday morning for work.

I don’t mean to sound indifferent to the hysteria that seems to grip people when wintry weather arrives. The nerve of Mother Nature, blanketing us with snow! In January of all things!

Right on cue, drivers have abandoned all pretenses of following the traffic laws and common sense while on the roads. Turning right from the left lane and left from the right lane is o.k. during a snowstorm because after all, you can’t see the lines under the snow. There’s a nasty rumor that the lines on the road have heading south for the season, but I don’t believe a word of it.

Then we have the folks that purchased an SUV because it’s “safer” and “easier to drive” in the snow. I can’t think of anything more safe than a Hummer sitting in the ditch along Route 5 with the driver, dressed to the nines in her furs, waving down passerbys for assistance. Like my Impala is going to be able to pull her big Hummer out of the ditch. I waved back and resisted the urge to throw red paint on her furs as I passed her by. Perhaps the Hummer should have been left in Iraq where it belonged. And don’t get me started on the SUVs with handicapped plates. Somehow they can lift themselves up into their Escalade, but they can’t walk from the parking lot to the front door of the store.

Earl and I attended a beauty pageant scholarship program today. I was a judge, Earl ran the lights and sound. There were only 15 people in the audience and three contestants on stage. I guess beauty pageants scholarship programs don’t stop for inclement weather. On the way home, we stopped for a few groceries at a grocery store that rhymes with “Lice Hopper”. We noted that the management there is really swift. With everyone stocking up for the storm and jamming the checkout lanes, they sent most of the staff home on account of the weather. And Earl refuses to use the self serve checkouts because they don’t offer a discount for doing the task yourself. The waiting made me a bit frosty, I must admit.

And last but not least, I must give major kudos to our fine neighbor, who plowed out our driveway, simply as a nice gesture. It was must appreciated.

Keep warm!


All the house is in darkness, save for the dim glow of various electronic devices scattered about. The thermometer shows the outside temperature at 19 degrees below zero, and falling. As I look outside, the surrounding houses are in darkness as well, their inhabitants tucked away snug in their beds, undoubtably sleeping peacefully. Earl is upstairs, sleeping peacefully as well after a long week of hard work.

As I get ready to gather my thoughts, center myself and prepare to enter the dream world for the night, I take a moment to look outside. The sky is brilliantly clear. Stars are twinkling and shimmering to their heart’s delight. The moon is basking in all her illuminated glory, shining a cold, yet comforting light upon the backyard. No creatures are stirring in the woods behind, as they are probably snuggled up with one another, sharing the warmth of their companions.

It’s a beautifully clear night. What a peaceful way to end the work week and begin the weekend.

Little Tech Update.

For those of you on Microsoft Windows, I’ve made an important discovery today. The Microsoft Anti-Spyware solution is a piece of shit.


I installed it a week ago on my work computer (because of course, we’re all Apple at home) hoping to keep out spyware that was trying to invade my machine. It appeared to be doing its job, even though my computer was running very slow. Just for kicks, I ran a different spyware program on my computer this morning. That program wiped out 33 different spyware threats and sped up my computer considerably!

I’ll post a link to the software I used later this afternoon so that you can download it. It comes with a fully functional 30-day trial. Now that I think about it, perhaps I’ll create a spot on the website where you can download the goodies I come across. Just another public service for the internet.


I find it absolutely amazing that I have been married for as long as I have. Newly married or partnered couples often worry that something big and damaging is going to happen to their relationship. I’ve got news for you. The big stuff you can handle, it’s the little stuff that’s so grating.

Take late last night for example. In short, I was a dick.

Earlier in the evening I made some adjustments to our wireless network, hoping to increase performance. The changes involved slight configurations on our iBook and PowerBook. As with all computer changes, there was room for error. After a wonderful evening of catching up on TiVo and watching American Idol, we played around on the internet a little bit before calling a night. Earl went to print, and was unable to, due to the changes I had made earlier in the evening.

For some reason, I took this as a compromise in my ‘geekulinity’. I had to face the fact that I made a mistake and was not as perfect as I pictured myself to be.

Did I do the mature thing and simply fix his computer? Of course I didn’t. I took it out on him. He obviously didn’t click ‘print’ hard enough.

I can be such a jerk.

So naturally when I realized I was being an ass, I tried to cover it up with humor, which fell flatter than a fart in church. Long story short, there was tension in the air when we went to bed.

Have I learned a lesson here? I hope so. That’s the important part… to move past a rough spot and learn from your mistakes.


My brother- and almost sister-in-law got me a nifty hat for Christmas. I love this hat and am pretty much wearing it all the time around the house. I thought I’d model it, since tonight seems to be the night for excessive blog entries.

I like this hat because it’s all black, including the Phillies logo on the front, and it doesn’t have that big gap in the back that leaves a weird sunburn on my shaved head.

She’s Conda Cranky.

Wow! Three posts in one day. I’m on a roll.

In our office at work, we constantly have CNN on the screen. We never have the volume up, so we kind of have to figure out what’s going on on the screen without audio assist. The past two days we’ve had to look at Condoleezza Rice and her whole confirmation deal.

Why does little Condy always look so cranky? She’s always got a furrowed brow, hair moving only with her eyebrows, as if they’re all attached as one unit. Perhaps they are. There’s no twinkle in her eye. No spunk. Just a moving mouth, hairdo and set of eyebrows.

When does Condy let her hair down? What is she like off camera? Does she dance on the Xerox machine at office parties? Does she do a performance of “The Jackal” a la C J Cregg on The West Wing for good old Bush lite? I don’t think so. She’s the type that sits in the corner, adding the sour to her Whiskey Sour. She says ‘yes’ a lot.

I realize that not everyone can have the “gosh, darn I’m just normal folk” grin on their face like good old dubbya, but Condy honey, you need to lighten up a little. Perhaps all that Soviet study made her cranky.

Or maybe she knows more than she’d like to admit about the state of the world.