September 2003


It’s been weird in the life of J.P. lately. There’s been a lot of changes going on, and I don’t know where to even begin.

Earl and I started the week last Monday by looking at a home that was still under construction. To put it simply, it was gorgeous. 2,500 square feet. Rural setting. Cathedral ceilings. A wonderful, “open-air” feel to it. We fell in love with it. So we decided to take a leap and made an offer on it, with absolutely no idea how we were going to finance it. We were outbid (and we ended up offering asking price!) by an eager couple, however, the builder offered to build us the same exact house on another lot that we own adjacent to our current home. We told him we’d talk to him in the spring.

So now we’ve got the new house bug going on around here. At the moment, I can’t elaborate on any more details, simply because I don’t believe in putting anything in my blog that I wouldn’t want to appear on the front page of the New York Times… this is a valuable thing I learned back in 1987 when I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation and a co-worker said some very not nice things (o.k., she was a bitch) about our mutual supervisor on a Usenet newsgroup. To do this day, you can still do a search on Google and come across it. It’s sort of frightening yet very intriguing, because I can do a search for some key phrases that I use to this day and come up with stuff I wrote back in 1987… kind of cool in a way, giving me a sense of immortality.

Anyways, if you’re still interested after that rambling, stay tuned as I’ll probably post more details later in the week.

Earl and I spent the weekend in suburban Philly with his family. We attended his niece’s wedding. First of all, I must say that the “Fab 5” from Queer Eye would approve of the outfits we donned ourselves in, as we were looking trendy, yet not over the top. Can we talk about how pretty we were? (I had to say that … ) Secondly, the wedding was absolutely beautiful and Karyn made a beautiful bride. Thirdly, while I knew that her new husband had a brother or two, I didn’t realize that he had an identical twin (including complimenting goatee) and I found it a little disconcerting to find him (the twin brother, not the groom, I think) making out with the maid of honor (o.k., just kidding – he was making out with the ushers – ha, ha, ha I’m kidding people, settle down.)

Anyways, at the reception I enjoyed my first martini, while Earl enjoyed his. We enjoyed martinis together. We like a very dry martini… Spanish Gin, Italian Vermouth and a Greek Olive. O.k., I stole that from the third episode of Bewitched. I have a little Endora in me. But the martini was indeed fabulous. I kept it at one though, because I was driving. Earl switched to Bahama Breezes or something equally fruity and then to more gin. Surprisingly, I didn’t pour him into bed last night, though we did make full use of the hotel room. That was indeed a change in attitude (the martini, not the sex), and I don’t find it unpleasant. Normally I don’t drink at all, well except maybe for some that Olive Garden swill they hock when they serve your radarange-heated entree, but other than that it’s Diet Pepsi (with a twist of lemon) for me. I don’t really care for Diet Pepsi Twist because it tastes like Lemon Pledge to me, though I’m not sure because I don’t think I’ve ever drank Lemon Pledge. I do enjoy Pepsi Twist, but not the diet version.

I did dance a little and apparently the martini kicked in at the end of the night when the DJ played Meatloaf’s “Bat out of Hell”, because I decided that I need to dance with my sister in law. I guess “dance” is the right word – I sort of hopped around like I was doing the mashed potato or something equally as foolish. It probably could be called the “homo hop”. I’m sure Ellen Degeneres has done something similar. I was told that I looked like I was hanging from a string by Earl’s wonderful Aunt Dot. I guess that’s good in a Pinnochio sort of way. We all want a woody! Oh, I’m tired, but I could go on. Not that you want me to.

The weekend.

It’s a Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody… Now we all know that’s pure horsepuckey! Earl and I are working on our computers late on a Saturday night – ah, the joys of married life! I’m kidding of course. After 7 1/2 years, I am delighted to say that we are blissfully happy.

Last night we went to the movies and saw “Secondhand Lions”. We both enjoyed it very, very much… one of our favorites this year. Definitely a DVD buy. Before the movie was a trailer for “Good Boy”, a kids movie about talking dogs from Sirius. Kind of cute, but I must say I found the talking poodle saying “Can we just talk about how pretty I am” in this wild voice most humorous. I can’t wait to yuck it up at work with the same line on Monday!

The remnants of Hurricane Isabel blew through Thursday night and all day Friday. Came home to a little bit of a surprise – a huge tree trunk in the middle of our lawn. Fun part? When it fell, it pulled the powerlines to the house down with it, ripping the line off the side of the house and depositing it in the front yard. I was glad to see that we still had power. The meter was lying face down in the shrubbery, but it was still ticking along. We didn’t go near the wires, but called Niagara Mohawk (our power company). They came today and restrung everything. Tomorrow Earl and I will be out there with a chainsaw cleaning up the mess.

Today we took a drive to Syracuse to get a few things at CompUSA. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the modem I needed for my computer. So I’m making do with my external modem, which explains why weather isn’t currently available on the site. I only have one serial port… and right now it’s dedicated to the modem.

Earl and I talked it over and decided that the DirecPC satellite connection really wasn’t worth the expense, so we ditched it. I’m back on dialup, which isn’t a real big deal since the speed was about the same anyway.

Since we’re not entertaining the satellite anymore, I was able to switch over to Linux full time here on my home desktop. Let’s see how this goes, especially during web page development! ๐Ÿ™‚

Catchin’ Up

My, my time has flown by since my last blog entry. I’ve been meaning to write in my blog but haven’t found the time to do so. I wish I could say that I’ve been very productive while being very busy, but that’s not the case. I’ve just been really good at filling time I guess.

I did a little research on “The Body Shop” products, and while they are labeled “Not tested on animals”, they are referring to the FINAL product. Before the brew is mixed together, involved “third parties” may doing some testing on animals, so there you are. The Body Shop – in the trash. So now I’m using Tom’s of Maine and Kiss My Face. Works pretty well. I’m a shaving cream connoisseur, what with a shaved head and all! I highly recommend “Kiss My Face”.

Earl and I have been groovin’ on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”. A fun daytime talk show again. Definitely TiVo worthy. As I’ve mentioned before, we were big fans of “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” back in it’s first couple of seasons, then we came back to watch her last season. The we tried the first season of Caroline Rhea – but, while Caroline had the best of intentions, it just didn’t feel right. I think there was too much Rosie influence on it or something… it seemed like Caroline was struggling against the format or something, I don’t know. She didn’t seem comfortable or confident. Ellen on the other hand seems to have everything under control right out of the gate! I hope that her show continues to be a success, Earl and I are definite fans.

Speaking of new television shows, what the hell is that Whoopi show suppose to be. The pilot episode was moderately amusing, but last night was just plain weak. I give it six weeks.

It’s hour-sister, Happy Family… same deal, I give it eight weeks.

I completely blew up Windows XP on my computer last weekend and re-installed it, hoping for better results before switching over to RedHat permanently. No such luck. It’s still sucking. As well as Direcway. As soon as I’m sure that we won’t be charged any cancellation fees for getting rid of the satellite, it’s out of here and Windows XP goes out with it. It’s not the I absolutely hate Windows XP, I just feel like the computer geek in me has progressed way beyond what Windows has to offer. I also feel like I’m sitting at work in my underwear – very vulnerable to bad things, what with Microsoft security flaws and such.

When I reinstalled Windows XP, I did install my old copy of Office 97. I believe that this older version of Office is more than capable to handle what I need to do. I was delightfully reminded of one of the features of Office 97 I absolutely loved…

… SCRIBBLE! I love Scribble! Unfortunately, she only appeared in Office 97, and you had to download her from the Office web site. I’m going to try to get her to work on my Linux workstation somehow… she’s quite cute, and can cheer up any cranky day.

Let’s Play Dress Up

There’s a cool, crisp feeling in the air. The winds are bringing about autumn, and quite honestly, I am absolutely thrilled. Fall is my favorite season. I always find the cool nights with a light wind to be so magical. Frankly, it seems a little early this year, since it’s only September 9th, but I couldn’t care less.

I’ve been on a “dress up” kick for work. Over the summer, we tend to get to get casual in our attire in my office. I usually have a button-down shirt and khaki shorts on. Come Labor Day though, I busted out the long sleeve dress shirts and nice pants and I donned a tie. I don’t know what so important about Labor Day that I feel I must dress up for the occasion, but it certainly has helped me find a little more confidence. I’m trying to lead by example at work, what with the business attire and increase in confidence. I hope that others will follow suit. Oh, that was witty. ๐Ÿ™‚ Work has been going along pretty well. It’s a busy time around the office with high school sports on the radio station. I’ve had a couple of special projects on the back burner that I’m getting around to. Everyone has been commenting that I’ve been mopey… but I haven’t felt mopey at all, just focused on the task at hand. I’m trying to be more professional in my demeanor. I mostly fail at that, but I like to think that I succeed once in a while.

I’m typing tonight blog entry on Earl’s iMac because I’m dinking around with my computer again. As I’ve mentioned before, we have high-speed (ahem) internet through the Direcway satellite system. Unfortunately, it seems to have left out the high speed part. I’m seriously thinking about going back to dial up this weekend, since quite frankly, Direcway doesn’t seem worth the $70 a month. Earl can’t connect to it with his iMac and it doesn’t work with Linux, and since my “technology pendulum” is STILL stuck in non-Microsoft mode, I think I’m going to dump the satellite high speed and Windows all together. Let’s see where I stand in a month.

Earl was away Sunday and Monday for the Eagles game in Philly. His brother has season passes and he invited Earl along for the season opener in the new stadium. He got back this afternoon and said he had quite a good time, even though Tampa spanked the Eagles.

Healthwise I’ve been feeling wonderful. I can say that I am still solidly vegetarian and enjoying every minute of it. While Earl was gone, I took the opportunity to throw out our toiletries that didn’t say “not tested on animals” on them. Bye bye Neutrogena shaving cream, hello “The Body Shop”. I know, Neutrogena shaving cream sounds really prissy, but I am extremely vain, and the stuff worked pretty well. Honestly, I like “The Body Shop” stuff better though. I’ll let you know how my complexion feels in a week.

I went on a little bit of spending spree last night and bought a new TiVo for the household. The old one has been slowing down a bit, plus, we’ve been having problems with our satellite connection and I thought it had to do with one of the receivers in the TiVo. Well, I hooked up the new TiVo and we still had the satellite problems, only faster. So tonight I did some rewiring and replaced connections and things seem to be working better. Let’s see how that goes.

My spiritual path has been taking some interesting turns lately. As I’ve mentioned before, I consider myself a “Gnostic Christian”… I fully believe in God and all that, I just reason these things out rather than just blindly follow what I’m told. For example, and you’ve probably heard this before, I don’t understand why Catholics think they can’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, when before Catholics couldn’t eat meat on Friday any time of the year. If you ate meat on Friday, you went to hell. Well then they said that you could eat meat on Friday except during Lent. O.k., what about all the people that went to hell for eating meat on Friday before this “revelation”? Did they get a “Get Out of Hell Free Card”? Did the gatekeepers set up a “Fish Eaters Only Express Line” at the entrance to heaven? Of course not. People have to think and then believe.

The reason my spiritual path has been taking a few turns lately is because I’ve been thinking about spirituality more. I love Sylvia Browne. Or rather, I love her message. “Do good, love God and then go home.” It’s so simple. But it seems like she’s really turning the whole deal for a big buck lately. The woman comes out with four books a year at least. No one can write four books a year without a LOT of help. Either that or she’s ‘cut and pasting’ from one book to the next. And then she says that she can’t be “tuned in” to everyone, but she can tell a woman that wrote a letter to her office that she was a banished woman burned as a witch in Salem in the 17th century and that’s why she doesn’t want a fireplace in her house. What? Perhaps because I’ve never met Sylvia in person, or I’ve never experienced any of her gifts, I don’t really understand how it all works. I’m not doubting her abilities in the least. I think she has been endowed with many gifts and she really does teach a good lesson, she does a myriad of wonderful things in the world. But I can’t help but notice she charges a lot of money to do good. ($800 for a half hour? Whew!) And now she’s on this ghost kick. Let’s talk to the ghosts. Let’s see the haunted house. Wooooooo. Boo. Just tell the ghost to head home. Leave us alone, you’re dead, head towards the white light, everyone is waiting. Don’t make such a big deal of it.

Am I doubting my spirituality? Absolutely not. It’s stronger than ever. I just don’t have a price tag attached to it. Of course, I don’t say much about it out loud except with Earl. I think I freak them out at work… gay, vegetarian, Gnostic Christian, Linux user… sometimes they look at me like I just parked my UFO out on the roof and I’m pointing a ray gun at them. As I’ve mentioned before, people think that because I don’t blindly follow a particular religion I must be pagan. I must be a witch. I must not believe in God. And that hurts since that couldn’t be further from the truth. So now I just shut up about the whole affair and just try to keep a positive attitude.

Boy, I’m on the soapbox tonight! I’ll leave you with this little gem… I was recently being grilled about why I’m a vegetarian. I try not to talk about it during meals because I start to get preachy (a fault that I recognize), but my dining companions were pushing about why I don’t eat cheese. I replied that I don’t eat cheese because it’s animal derived and I don’t like how animals are treated in farms… besides, humans don’t need cow’s milk. We don’t see people sucking on a cat’s tit but we can drink cow’s milk? Why don’t you milk your poodle? Anyways, I was informed that the reason human drinks milk is because cows will be sick if we don’t milk them. Apparently, cows will EXPLODE if they’re not milked. So there you have it. Before these huge dairy farms, Earth was covered with exploding cows for millions of years.


Earl and I are back at home after a wonderful vacation. I took the laptop along and typed up a log entry every night before going to bed, with hopes of uploading it to my blog when I got home. Apparently, Mr. Bill Gates didn’t agree with that philosophy, as his handiwork (read ‘Windows 2000 Professional’) chewed up and spit out my blog entries. I certainly hope it wasn’t an editorial comment of some sort. Nevertheless, I am installing Red Hat Linux on my laptop as I type this on my workstation. I’m switching this over to RedHat as well over the weekend.

Anyways, we had an absolutely wonderful time in the midwest. We left Tuesday afternoon, around 3 p.m. and headed for our first hotel stop, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. This was a planned overnight stay on our way to Madison, Wisconsin. I’ve been complaining a little bit about the lack of thunderstorms this year and someone must have heard my complaints, because we had quite the storm that night around 2 a.m. The wind was gusting around 40 MPH, the thunder and lightning was crazy, it was GREAT! Best part? The hotel fire alarm system went off and we had to evacuate in the middle of it. Since we were on vacation, we didn’t really care. No reason to stress.

After a quick breakfast, we were on the road. We ended up driving right through the middle of Chicago. Apparently, the folks in Illinois don’t really know the meaning of “express”, as we spent two hours in a parking lot on the express lanes of I-90.

After a bit of that, we finally arrived at our hotel in Janesville, Wisconsin. A nice little Hampton Inn, with lots of Harley riders since it was the 100th anniversary of Harley-Davidson and everyone was celebrating.

It was refreshing to see that Wisconsin is rather laid back when it comes to laws and legal stuff. There’s no helmet law for motorcyclists. You can walk on the street drinking a beer (apparently). People can talk on their cell phones while driving. I could go on. I find New York State to be entirely too stifling when it comes to that stuff. Government is too busy worrying about everyone else and making a law to cover everything. I feel that a motorcyclist should be wearing a helmet. But I don’t believe there should be a law saying that he or she has to wear the helmet. Government is there to be leaders, not baby sitters. Sorry about that little rant.

Anyways, Wisconsin is absolutely beautiful. It’s sort of like the Colorado, east of Denver (to the west is the Rocky Mountains). I really like the flat areas of the midwest.

We ended up eating at an Olive Garden in Janesville on Wednesday night. You know what that means. J.P. had a little too much wine to drink! Earl ended up driving us back to the hotel. And I had a headache the next morning.

On Thursday we went to Spring Green, Wisconsin by way of Madison. I picked up a modem for the laptop at CompUSA (much lower sales tax… 5.5% in Wisconsin, 8.25% here in New York!) and then we proceeded to Spring Green. Our first stop was the House on the Rock, which is an architectural wonder of a house built around a 60-foot chimney rock. If that’s not enough, the owner collected anything and everything and just about anything you can think of is on the grounds at the House on the Rock! Google yourself over to their website. It’s quite interesting.

After a quick picnic lunch at a scenic rest area, we proceeded to Taliesin, the estate of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect. Earl and I had visited Taliesin West when we were in Arizona this past spring, so we were anxious to compare it to Mr. Wright’s “summer home”. In fact, it was one of the principal reasons for this trip. We weren’t disappointed. We decided on the house tour, as we really wanted to see the inside of his house. When Earl and I build a house, we really want it to be in the Frank Lloyd Wright style… words can’t really describe it. Google yourself over to their site as well. It’s pretty cool.

We headed back to Janesville after supper at Chili’s and walking around one of the malls in Madison. We decided to call it any early night.

On Friday we were on the road again headed for Chicago. We stopped by Earl’s Aunt Olive’s house in St. Charles, but alas, no one was home. We were hoping to surprise them with a visit. So we proceeded to our hotel. We decided to stay at the Sheraton near O’Hare. I could do some plane spotting, plus it was very conveniently located in that we could jump on the train at O’Hare to go into the city.

We had dinner at the Webber Grill, as we both wanted to eat on the street. Plus, I really like the taste of grilled vegetables. The waiter was taken aback that I’m a vegetarian, but he muddled through it o.k. Afterwards, We went and saw “Mamma Mia”, the Broadway play based on songs by Abba. It was one of the better musicals I’ve seen. We both really enjoyed it.

On Saturday we took the train into Chicago and were a couple of tourists. We went to the aquarium and the planetarium, and then walked along Lake Shore Drive to the Navy Pier. Had dinner on the pier as well as did some sightseeing and then headed to Hancock Observatory at the top of the Hancock Tower to cap off our evening.

On Sunday we headed home by way of Michigan, across Canada from Port Huron to Niagara Falls and then along the N.Y. Thruway. We were originally going to stay in London, Ontario for the night, but we were really making good time, so we were able to make it all the way home before midnight. All told, we drove a little less than 2,000 miles.

All in all, it was a really enjoyable, relaxing trip. Honestly, I prefer driving over flying simply because I like to know what’s between here and there.

I’ve posted some pictures in the photo gallery.