November 2002

It’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Tomorrow ni…

It’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Tomorrow night Earl and I are making the trek to suburban Philly to visit his family. We’ll be there until Saturday morning. I’m looking forward to seeing them as we haven’t been down there since late May! Plus, we get to go to Chick-Fil-A, which is always fun.

I’ve been messing around with some shareware and now have Windows XP looking like Mac OS X. It’s pretty cool. Since there is sure to be some Macs in my life, I need to get familiar with how they do things, so here we go. Let’s see what I can do. At least people can be talking about my screen at work, as I’ll do the same thing there. I’ve found some pretty nifty toys. You may want to check out and see what they have to offer. They can do some pretty cool things to Windows – and it doesn’t have to look like a Mac if it doesn’t want to. πŸ™‚ The other thing I’m playing with is “ObjectDock”. It puts these little dancing icons at the bottom of your screen – it’s pretty cool. If you want a copy, drop me a line. No guarantees and no documentation, but you can mess around with it and get it to do things.

“Judging Amy” is on in about 5 minutes. I’m really looking forward to it. I dare say it’s my favorite drama this season. Actually, it’s probably my favorite show on television right now. Last week’s episode was really good and thank goodness they sort of ended the stalker story line.

I’ve been maintaining my weight pretty well. I tried TaeBo last night for the first time and thought I was going to die, but I made it through and I felt wonderful afterwards. I look forward to doing it again in the morning.

Work has been hectic and I’ve probably been more stressed than I needed to be. I need to work on that. (Note to self).

Well I’m going to get some water and call it a night.

Can I tell you that I love my HP Pavilion 760n. I…

Can I tell you that I love my HP Pavilion 760n. I really do. It’s a fast, reliable machine that looks pretty nice as well. There’s only one problem with it. It’s running Microsoft Windows.

I have been, for the most part, a Microsoft proponent all my life. I started using Windows back in 1988 when I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation. The first version of Windows I used was called “Windows/386”, which translates roughly to “Windows 2.0”. There were no screen savers. There were no nifty looking 3d-type icons. It was very flat, but functional.

For those that have kept up with my blog, you know that I mess around with Linux from time to time. I recently used RedHat 8.0 and I must admit that I loved it. It just had too many hardware shortcomings to fulfill all my needs. It wouldn’t cooperate with my scanner, my webcam and my TV card. And that’s a problem. It’s not RedHat’s fault. Hardware manufacturers are scared silly of Microsoft and keep their drivers secret so they can’t be easily reversed engineered and ported over to Linux. This is how Microsoft keeps the upper-hand and this is how Bill Gates became the richest man in the world.

Earl and I played with an iMac again this weekend. Jinkees, I love that machine. The Jaguar interface on OS X is absolutely beautiful. If I could have that interface for all my users at the office, I would be one happy IT Administrator. My life would be so much easier.

I am thinking about getting a copy of Appleworks for Windows and giving it a spin. Maybe it won’t be as cranky as Microsoft Office and I won’t be getting dumb questions anymore! Office 2000 and Office XP has become so bloated that it drags down the machines we bought just one and a half years ago! This is unacceptable. I work for a small company that has a very limited IT budget. We don’t have the resources to upgrade the machines constantly.

So I have decided that I we are going to become a Mac household. Soon. I do love my HP though – I wish Apple would release a version of OS X for it. It would be the perfect marriage. For now, I’ve put the “OS X” theme back on my Windows XP machine so it looks like it’s running Mac software. Almost, not quite.

O.k., enough geekrant for one night. Earl and I went to the movies last night and saw “The Emperor’s Club”. We LOVED it. Absolutely loved it.

Today we went to Syracuse to my sister’s for Thanksgiving dinner with my Mom’s side of the family. It was great seeing everyone and the food was absolutely wonderful. I snapped a couple of pictures, which I am going to include elsewhere on the site this week.

There’s not much else going on. We’re looking forward to going to Philly on Wednesday night to visit with Earl’s family. It’s a short work week, which will be hectic, but nonetheless enjoyable.

I think I’m going to call it a night.

It’s a snowy Saturday here in Upstate N.Y. I’ve b…

It’s a snowy Saturday here in Upstate N.Y. I’ve been keeping busy about the house while Earl has been at work wrapping up the company’s month-end finances. It’s inventory time for him. Last I knew there was a database glitch and he would be delayed. Oh well.

If you look around the site, you’ll notice I did some major housekeeping, and there’s a bunch of new photos up there. I hope you enjoy them. I have a hunch this will be easier once we get an iMac into the house, but Windows XP has been keeping up pretty well today.

The scrape on my head has a lovely dark scab on it. Shows up wonderfully! I think I’ll end up with a cool looking scar. Makes me look rough.

Last night we went and saw the new 007 movie. It’s was pretty good, though there were some really far-fetched parts of it. And a cameo from Madonna. Ironically, she’s in Britian in the movie so she uses her Detroit accent. She really should give up movies. They don’t suit her well. And the way she copies Cher’s electronic processing in the theme song is a bit nerve wracking. That’s so 1999.

Tomorrow we’re going to my sister’s for the first of three Thanksgiving dinners this week. Let’s see how healthy I can eat this week! πŸ™‚ I’ve been doing well and have lost a total of 33.5 pounds since Easter Sunday. I need to get back to exercising though, I’ve fallen off the routine a little bit.

Wow I’m writing in my blog tonight and it’s going …

Wow I’m writing in my blog tonight and it’s going along at warp speed! Whaddya know. I’ve been using RedHat 8.0, and I must say that I love it, but our DirecPC connection doesn’t. If you haven’t heard of DirecPC you’re lucky. Because Earl and I live in a relatively rural area, we don’t have cable or DSL access for internet. It’s either a slow dial-up connection or a satellite connection. DirecPC is actually now called Direcway. On top of one of our barns is a oval satellite dish that sends and receives our internet signal. It’s super fast for downloads, but upload speeds can suck from time to time. And the software that drives the beast only works on Windows. Earl’s Windows XP computer connects for us and shares the connection, but whenever I try to surf with Linux the connection drags right down to almost nil. So I’m using Windows XP for surfing at the moment. Which is sort of a shame, because RedHat 8.0 is damn pretty and works great! I look forward to using it again in better circumstances.

I was a real geek at work today and finally got the phone project done. I can now monitor the status of the phone system from my PC. It’s way cool. While I was wiring, though, I was standing on my desk and stood up quick and gashed my head on an overhead beam. Since I have a shaved head, you can really see the mark. It hurts quite a bit. It’s more of scrape than a gash. I guess I won’t be shaving up there for a couple of days.

I’m feeling much better since my little bout with the sniffles on Monday. I think the dried skin on the nose is worse than the actual sniffles sometimes!

Last night we went to my sister’s office in Syracuse to hook up her new computer. It’s great being her IT support person. She has a beautiful new Gateway with a flat-panel monitor. I’m insanely jealous. Afterwards we met up with my mom and went out to supper. It was good fun and everyone seems to be doing well.

I talked to my dad tonight and he seems to be in good spirits. It’s nice that the family is holding it’s own, especially with the holidays coming up.

Earl and I are going on a road trip this weekend. I’m not sure where yet, but Earl said that we can eat at Chick-Fil-A. So that either means Nashua, N.H. or somewhere in Pennsylvania. Attention Chick-Fil-A, you need to come to Upstate N.Y.!!!

Well already I’m into my next adventure with Linux…

Well already I’m into my next adventure with Linux. I installed RedHat 8.0 this evening, but this time I was smart about it and made my computer “dual boot”. I can go into Windows XP or RedHat 8.0 when I boot up the computer. Much more convenient this way. At least now I can try it out before wiping out the Windows system and avoid a reinstall. I should try the same thing at work.

Earl and I got ourselves into the holiday spirit a little bit this evening by watching “White Christmas” on DVD. What a charming movie. I hadn’t seen it in a couple of years and I must admit that I enjoyed it very much. It makes me realize how fast paced the world is these days – people enjoyed each other much more back then, and took their time to relax. I need to do more of that.

I’ve been fighting off the sniffles desperately and I’ve been hinging on a losing battle today. I ended up going to work very early because of personnel issues, came home and took a nap, went back to work to do my regular stuff and then came home early and slept until Earl got home. We had a wonderful vegetarian supper this evening too. Earl’s helping out with my healthy lifestyle best he can. I’m glad that he’s supportive.

The holiday season officially starts on Sunday for us with Thanksgiving dinner with my Mom. Then it’s off to Philly for the actual holiday with Earl’s family, and back on Saturday for another dinner on the following Sunday with my dad. Whew! I am determined to make the holidays mean something this year and I am determined to enjoy them. Now I don’t mean to sound like I’m going to be a bastard about it and everyone is going to be happy if it kills them. I just want to feel the true spirit of the season and not get caught up in the commercialism of it all.

Can I tell you that I am getting quite sick of the banking industry? We’ve been using a locally owned bank here since we’ve been together, but now they’re being gobbled up by some corporate entity and now we’re stuck with it. Time to look for a new bank.

There’s a storm across the valley, clouds are roll…

There’s a storm across the valley, clouds are rollin’ in. πŸ™‚ The weather folks have been shrieking about a Nor’easter coming through this weekend, but it hasn’t been much a big deal yet. Of course, it’s only Saturday night, let’s see what Sunday brings!

Earl and I drove to Syracuse today for the tri-weekly haircut. I actually got my haircut as well, as I’ve been growing it out with my beard. I had them shave my head. So I’m bald and bearded again. It’s a look I like. I’ll keep it for a while.

We went to Barnes and Noble where I picked up a book on programming in SQL. The IT department at work (that’s me and one other guy) has been asked to redesign a database application that was written years and years in FoxPro 2.6. Whoever originally wrote it never coded in a way to delete data, and now there’s lots and lots and lots of extraneous junk in the database. So we’ve decided to learn SQL and build it from the ground up. It’s going to be interesting, since I haven’t done anything with SQL since my Digital Equipment days back in 1990, but I’ll make a go of it.

We also went to CompUSA to pick up a laptop for my boss. The folks there were pretty much brain dead and were trying desperately to get us to spend more money than we needed to, so Earl told them off and we sent three of them to the store room to pull out computers for us. At that time, we left. I suppose it was rude but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

I then took a nap upon returning home. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I’ve been groggy ever since I woke back up. I don’t recommend taking naps during the day. I have a little bit of a headache too that I’m going to have to sleep off.

We watched “The Caroline Rhea Show” off of TiVo and then an episode of “Wonder Woman” off an old VHS tape I made back in the early 1990s. You know, I’ve always wanted to be a superhero. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I’ve been eating healthier, so I could kick someone’s ass if I had to. I’d have to have a groovy name like “SuperNova” or “Captain Freedom” or something like that. I’d like to be fighting for your rights in satin tights. O.k. now, I think I’m getting a little carried away.

I need to go sleep off this headache. Talk to you tomorrow!

I’ve been maintaining my healthy lifestyle pretty …

I’ve been maintaining my healthy lifestyle pretty well this week. I must say that I am quite proud of myself. I weighed myself today and I’m at 188. Not bad for a guy that weighed 220 on Easter Sunday back in April. Today was a bit of a challenge – the office ordered Wendy’s for lunch (I know, she’s hot and juicy, ho ho, suck wit) and I got the Chicken BLT salad. Well the thing was covered in cheese, which I delicately put in a pile on a napkin. Then they provided honey mustard dressing which I gleefully spread all over the salad. As I was doing this I noticed that the dressing was 310 calories per serving. A packet of dressing has to be one serving, right? WRONG. It was 2 1/2 servings, which, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to 775 flipping calories. Jinkees! So I carefully ate AROUND the dressing and left a big pile in the middle of my bowl. But at least my body is thanking me for it by rewarding me with lots of energy and life! Then, Earl had an extremely stressful day and we both got home late, so we ordered some Eggplant “Roll Ups” and Baked Ziti (which he oddly calls Pencil Points) from the local pizza joint. Of course my “roll ups” rolled up cheese and then had cheese baked on top, so I pulled out the eggplant and chucked the rest. I’ve never done that before, but come hell or mad cow, I’m not going back on dairy. I feel to good. To top it all off, I decided at 10:05 p.m. that I needed to run a mile, so I ran the length of our property and back, which about a mile.

Now I’m relaxing in front of the computer.

Last night I reinstalled Windows XP because while I love Linux very much, I still have issues with the scanner and the webcam. Now I know it’s not Linux’s fault that the manufacturers of my hardware have not allowed them to reverse engineer the Windows drivers to make them compatible with Linux, but I don’t have the money right now to buy new stuff and I need to be able to use all the stuff I have attached to my computer. Plus, I am vain and I like my picture being updated regularly on the webcam page. I never got a chance to try out the newest release of RedHat… that’ll be my next venture into Linux I suppose.

As I’m typing this I’m multitasking and looking for a downloadable version of “The Jackal” by Ronny Jordan. I saw C.J. perform this on “The West Wing” during the first season and I’ve been looking for it since. I wonder if she’ll ever perform it again. If you watch The West Wing, no doubt you know what I’m talking about. And I think Allison Janney is beautiful. Just my 2 cents.

You know who I think is absolutely stunning is Amy Brenneman. I love “Judging Amy”, but I wish they would end the whole stalker story line. I don’t like the whole “Amy is vulnerable” thing. I don’t think it fits her style. Tyne Daly is wonderful too. I dare say that West Wing and Judging Amy are tied for my favorite show this season.

I must admit that I am somewhat disappointed in Survivor this time around. We are down to seven people and I really couldn’t care less who wins. This whole cast has been boring boring boring and I really wish it would just end. I am looking forward to Big Brother 4 next season. I do enjoy Big Brother. I know, I crank about it from time to time how self serving it is, they’re media whores, blah blah blah. And I sometimes still feel that way. They need real people on that show that aren’t all looking to be famous. Second season was famous for that (no pun intended), third season was much better. But I think the premise of the show is really cool. I think they should do more things to freak out the house hampsters (as I like to call them) like turn off the air conditioning and lights or something like that. Or turn off the water. Something cool. Whee, I guess I’m a little sadistic, don’t you know.

O.k. I’ve found a RealAudio sample of the “Jackal” but RealPlayer is being cranky about it. Gotta love DirecPC. They promise ultra high download speeds, the easiest internet ever, clear skin, blah blah blah. I’m lucky if I can it fast than a 1200 baud modem sometimes.

I was very productive at work today. I’ve been trying desperately to be more organized. You see, part of my job is to be responsible for the radio station’s billing. I have this habit of “double” billing customers (I charge them $500 for two months instead of just one for example), and while it does generate extra revenue for the company, it’s probably not the best way to go about it or to keep customers. So I’m setting up additional systems to keep things running smoothly.

I’m finally cooling down from my little run this evening, I think I’m going to call it a night.

O.k., I’m working at home on my computer and I’m u…

O.k., I’m working at home on my computer and I’m using Linux. I can’t believe how well it’s working for me this time around. I am cautiously loaded RedHat 7.3 and plan on upgrading to RedHat 8.0 after downloading it at work this week. I was going to install Mandrake, but it refuses to recognize my USB keyboard during the installation, which makes it very hard to type in responses to the installation prompts, so I decided to give RedHat a whirl again. For some reason it’s working much better than it did the last time around.

Earl and I went to Buffalo for an overnight stay last night. We took our time driving out there and toured around Rochester. With Earl so heavily involved with his company’s Buffalo plant, we like to know more about that part of the state in case we need to move out there or anything like that. After touring around both Rochester and Buffalo, I have to admit that I felt much more comfortable in Buffalo. I instantly felt more at home there. Rochester has a more yuppy feel to it to me at least.

We checked into the hotel in Cheektowaga and then decided to head to the Walden Galleria mall just off the Thruway. It’s basically the same as Carousel Center in Syracuse without the tall center part. They have a really cool thing going on there – no kids under 18 allowed without parental escort after 6 p.m. And they were strictly enforcing it. I saw the security guards ID a couple of kids and ask a couple others where their parents were. The merchants say that traffic is way down, but everything there is actually spending money instead of being a menace, so that it’s all working out for the best. I found the experience enjoyable. We bought some new shoes at DSW.

We then drove up to Niagara Falls and toured around there a bit, freshened up at the hotel and then went to Buddies. It was “bear night”. Finally, a night out where Earl and I felt totally comfortable. I look forward to going back there again.

Today we drove back and stopped in Rochester again. This time it was for lunch at Tom Wahl’s. They have a great vegetarian burger. πŸ™‚

Since getting home I’ve been playing with the computer and I must say that I am quite pleased with how it’s working. Let’s see if the trend continues.

Well I’ve been on this health kick for a couple of…

Well I’ve been on this health kick for a couple of days and feeling pretty good. I’ve given up, for the most part, dairy. After reading about the negative aspects of dairy products, I’ve decided to just stop eating and drinking dairy products. I’ve given up caffeine as well, and I’m feeling pretty good. I thought I’d get a nasty old headache, but I must have calmed down on it beforehand or something because when I’ve tried to give it up before I had a caffeine headache like you couldn’t believe.

It was a bit of a rough Monday at work but I got through it easily enough. Personnel issues can become so muddled. Communication is this key! You think it wouldn’t be a problem working at a radio station, but it is.

Earl and I are thinking of going to Buffalo this weekend to check out gay life a bit. I know, I know – gay life in Buffalo. Believe me, it exists! When Earl and I go out on the prowl (as we call it), we tend to go to the more masculine type bars and such and hang out with the bearish guys. There seems to be some of that in Buffalo and we want to go see.

I was doing some tweeking on the website and noticed that I have some really odd pictures of us up there – especially the one when I was young and Earl’s graduation picture. It’s a good thing we don’t give a hoot of what people think of us!

I’m getting the Linux bug again and am thinking about installing it on my work workstation – Mandrake 9.0. If you know anything about this and how much better it is than the last version of Mandrake, I’d like to hear from you. I’m looking specifically for webcam support for the IBM/Xirlink webcam and for DOS programs. (I use a DOS program at work that I can not get rid of).