January 2004

The Message Board.

As I’ve mentioned over the past couple of weeks, Earl and I have been watching “American Idol:3”. They’re in the first round of the competition, where tens of thousands of hopefuls get together and caterwaul at a round of producers, a round of no name judges and then hopefully make it to Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. It’s obvious that the lovely people at Fox want to make it interesting for the home viewing audience, so they let some bad talent through on purpose so they can make complete idiots of themselves on national television.

That’s just mean.

However, they sound like cats in heat.

It’s kind of disenchanting to think that the television viewing audience has stooped so low as to be entertained by watching people make fools of themselves. Why do we turn to American Idol for this sort of entertainment? Sit in front of Wal*mart on super duper discount day and you can see plenty of jackasses without the high cost of cable.

Always ready for an adventure, I decided to log onto the American Idol message boards and share my opinions with others. Because of the somewhat anonymous nature of the message board system, I feel it’s the perfect opportunity to share some of my wit and humor.

Me: “I think the surfer dude that sang ‘I Think I Love You’ was pretty good! He was cute and he could carry tune, it’s a shame he didn’t make it through. I thought he could have been marketable.”


Me: “Regardless of the fact that your literary skills leave a lot to be desired, I can see your confusion about my commenting on the looks of the surfer dude. Please also note that your CAPS LOCK key is on. While I do find him cute, I think he was pretty ‘fun’ with his go lucky nature and big smile.”


Me: “O.k…. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but YO! [trying to sound hip] In the future, could you please translate your comments to English before you type.”

A third participant: “Y you hatin’ on the hood”

Me: “Dude! I don’t hate anybody and I’m nowhere near my car. [ho ho! Such wit! – I knew he meant the ghetto]”

Victoria, Cyber-Slut: “Hey baby, let me give you a ride in my car. Just put your coin in my slot.”

Me: “While I’m sure that’s a very kind offer Victoria, I’m not really into cybersex. If I was into cybersex, I’d be looking up the surfer dude that sang ‘I Think I Love You’ (grin) [another attempt at humor]”


… and it went on and on. I finally gave up after being accused of “hating on” gay people (?) and trying to steal the “surfer dude” for Star Search.

But now I face a bigger problem, well more of a mind numbing reality. I’ve grown old. I don’t know what anyone under 21 years of age is saying on the internet. I’ve been using computers since 1984. I’ve been online since 1985. I’ve known that 🙂 is a smile since I owned a Commodore VIC-20. But I just figured out today, January 30, 2004, that ‘puter meant computer. To a geek like me, using “‘puter'” is almost as sacrilegious as X-Mas (and I REALLY hate that).

To top it all off, I got this when I thought I’d give the message board one more try.

Topic: Age and location

Participant:18 and Nebraska

Participant:24, L.A.

Participant:14, New Orleans

Me: 35 and Upstate New York


I’m hanging up keyboard and asking Earl to take me to Shady Pines.

I’m affectionate. Bite Me.

Our darling son (cat) Tom has picked up a peculiar habit since we moved into the new house in December. He’s always been the nudgey type… he purrs, purrs and purrs while sitting on my lap, and likes to nudge my hand, rubbing his nose and various excrements against my wrist in a gesture of love. But lately he’s been been augmenting his rubs with a little bite. Not a malicious, “feed me you bastard” type of bite, but rather a little nibble of affection. Usually I pull my hand away, mostly due to surprise. This startles him and he jumps off my lap. But then he’s back one minute later doing to same thing. This is a routine that goes on and on.

I don’t think he’s fond of nibbling on Earl. Honestly I don’t know why he doesn’t nibble on him, because I heartily support nibbling on Earl in times of affection, but that’s better left for another blog entry. No, Tom keeps his nibbles for me. Now that I think about it, he places most of his demands on me. I must feed him NOW. I must change his litter NOW. I must pet him NOW. I must let him out NOW. Whenever Earl engages in any of these activities, Tom has a delightfully bewildered look on his cute little cat face. I don’t know why, Earl does all those things for me without hesitation. I don’t know why he’s surprised when he does it for him. Maybe he should try nibbling him. It’s worth a taste.

Standing Room Only.

Everyone at the office thinks I’m crazy. Actually, they’ve always thought of me as crazy, but I’ve just added another reason to the list. I want to stand in my office. All the time. Now don’t think I want to stand there all hunched over my desk, ass in the webcam. No, I want to raise up all my furniture so that I can stand at my desk, rather than sit at it.

“Why on earth do you want to stand all the time?” “Won’t your feet get tired?” “Your legs can’t support your weight all the time unless you eat meat.” “You left wing tree huggers are so weird.”

Actually, there’s quite a few reasons I want to stand in my office.

First of all, I don’t really sit at my desk, I kneel. I have one of the ergonomic chairs that you kneel on. It’s suppose to do wonders for your back and such by putting you in a more ‘natural’ position. While I’m sure many have entertained the thought of me kneeling in front of them, I have found that while this chair is comfortable for an hour or so. But after a while my right hip somewhat dislocates itself from my pelvic area (a great bar trick at office parties, I assure you), my knees tingle a bit (not as much as when I see Earl, quite honestly) and my patience grows thin (typically me).

Secondly, I find that I am much less productive during my work day if I’m sitting at my desk. I tend to dawdle on my duties… talk on the phone, talk to the plant, check out slashdot (in the name of “information technology research” of course) and basically become rather stagnant in my ability to get tasks completed. O.k., I admit it, sitting in a chair at work makes me lazy. Once I get in a chair, the only thing getting me out of the chair is the thought of lunch.

And finally, I like to think that I’m burning a few more calories by standing rather than sitting at my desk. Ah ha! Gay vanity kicks in. Nah, that’s not it at all. But I don’t want to look like one of those bitchy, wretched, puffy office people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome who has been hunched over an IBM Selectric since 1977. I want to stand tall, feel sleek and be productive.

I began the slow conversion to SRO in my office today by hijacking an unused entertainment center and converting it to a work area. Don’t ask why we have entertainment centers in our office. You should see the ceramic “elephant” end tables in the sales manager’s office – a smashing selection in décor… if it’s 1968, but I digress. If you look at my work webcam, you’ll see my new little workspace to the left of the server rack. You’ll probably see me standing at it more, working on my laptop. Now that I think about it, you’ll probably get more of my ass on my webcam. Lucky you!

The next task – getting two rows of cinder blocks under my desk when no one is looking.


It was such a beautiful day today…

Minus 20

… that I convinced Earl that we needed to go on a drive to snag some pictures for my road web site. Luckily, he agreed. We bundled up, warmed up the car and off we went.

We stopped for a quick lunch at the local Subway and then hit the road. The sun was brilliant against the blue sky as we snaked our way up the eastern shore of Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence Seaway. We took quite a few pictures, including one for my county lines project. Only five more counties to go! Since we were traveling in a very rural part of the state, Earl wasn’t expecting a whole lot in the entertainment department, so he was content on enjoying the scenery and helping out with taking pictures. The northern part of New York is more geared for summer recreation with the many mountains and lakes and rivers and such. However, there were a lot of snowmobilers out and about, despite the frigid temperatures. I always find this surprising, as back in my younger days I loved to go snowmobiling, but only if it was above zero.

One place we did visit was Robert Moses State Park. I had to get a picture of this sign before it became completely dark.

The 45th Parallel

I find this sign so cool. Earl and I camped at Robert Moses State Park a number of years ago, in fact, we rented a cabin for a week. Unfortunately, “duty called” and Earl had to bring us back home for work a couple of days early, so I never got the chance to take a picture of this sign. I’m glad we took the opportunity on this trip. If you’re taking a vacation in Northern New York or near the Ontario-Québec border (like Ottawa, Montréal or Cornwall) in the summertime, one interesting place to stop is the St. Lawrence Seaway Power Project and the Eisenhower Locks. Earl and I once spent an entire day watching the boats come through the locks as they were headed westward on the Great Lakes, going as far inland as Chicago and Detroit. It’s kind of neat.

We did stop at the only mall in St. Lawrence County, the St. Lawrence Centre (note the Canadian spelling), which is in Massena. A nice little mall, though it’s showing the “financial stress” of northern New York with several stores being closed. We enjoyed a delicious supper at a restaurant called “Amigo’s”… kind of pub-like and almost devoid of people. On a Saturday night! I think the cold weather is keeping everyone snuggled up on the couch.

By the way, the picture of our temperature gauge is from when we got in the car after supper. When we left home this afternoon, it was actually a balmy zero degrees. Surfs up dude.

Snow Angel.

Mother Nature has decided that the sub-zero temperatures have not been enough to remind us that it’s winter. No, she feels that we need a little more reminding. So, according to the National Weather Service, by this time tomorrow night we should have 1 to 2 feet of snow. How lovely.

Actually, I do love winter. The world is so breaktakingly beautiful after a snowfall. The plows and DPW trucks throwing sand and salt all over the place. The rusted out cars in their neat, piled up accidents. The kids running in terror from the school bus sliding out of control down the road. The business women in skirts up to their cooley in a snowbank. The businessmen in their big trucks running over the businessmen in their little Yugos. There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned Central New York winter.

Settle down, I’m kidding. People don’t drive Yugos anymore.

For an area of the world that tends to get a lot of snow there seems to be a persistent mayhem whenever a storm is in the forecast. Like it’s never happened before. People flock to the grocery store and buy milk and bread. Even the people on Atkins buy bread. They don’t eat it, but they’re suppose to get bread, so they get bread. Maybe they pass the “snowed in” time fantasizing about eating bread. Or reminiscing when they could eat bread. And I don’t even want to think about fantasies and milking. When I was growing up, there was a weird family down the street and they never had to buy milk. They had a cow in their house. I’m not kidding… my dad and I were driving to work on a sunny day, minding our own business and lo and behold, there was a cow sticking his head out the bedroom window on the second floor of the neighbor’s house. Maybe it was a horse, now that I think about it. While I’m pretty certain it wasn’t the wife, it was an animal of some sort. But really, what could I expect in my neighborhood. The neighbor on the other side was named “Frida Look”. No joke! Frida Look. And down the street, Frida Kahl. If you’re not keeping up, Free—da—look—– free-to-look… ah! Now you got it!

Back to the snow storm. Working for a radio station, I get to see the hysterics first hand. School administrators calling in… “Yes, Mr. Bookworm, I know, all afternoon and evening activities have been cancelled for today. Do you know the code word?” I have to admit it… I know the code word! It’s been the same damn code word since Marconi invented the radio. You’d think someone would have wised up by now. You’d also think the school administrators would know the code word. They’ve been at the school so long they built the new high school around them. But no, they don’t and they have to flip their pages of notes to find the code word. Meanwhile, Dance on Cloud 9 Studio in Barneveld (who dances in Barneveld?) is desperately trying get through on line 2 to let us know that the Fully Phat Gymnastics Team has cancelled snack break again due to the weather. Never mind that the Fully Phat Gymnastics Team has never seen the light of day, nor that the radio station doesn’t even reach Barneveld, but gosh darn it Dance on Cloud Nine Studio is cancelling classes again! Announce it! For some reason, they’re exempt from the code word. I don’t know why.

I guess I just don’t understand the reasons for the hysterics when it comes to snow storms in this neck of the woods. We’re known for snow. This is what we do. It’s going to melt. Spring will spring. The world isn’t going to stop. We have plows. We have snow blowers.

So relax people. Enjoy the snow. Make a snow angel.


I’m surprised to find that I am in a somewhat sunny mood this evening. If you weren’t watching my webcam a few moments ago, here’s what you missed…

That’s me dancing to “MacArthur Park Suite” off of iTunes. This is the first time that I’ve played music off of iTunes right here on my computer. I usually burn a CD to bring along in the car, but I thought I’d try hacking to music for a change. As you can see I got carried away. I have to admit that I liked that capture so much that I made it my ‘avatar’ on the Veggie Boards I read regularly.

The reason I’m surprised that I’m in a sunny mood this evening is because Earl is out of town. His dad was having an angioplasty today and we both agreed that he should be with him (along with his other brothers and sisters). After some quick decisions yesterday afternoon, we both agreed he should be down there. It has been quite lonely around the house while he’s been gone, but I just spoke with him a while ago and was glad to hear that the procedure went very well and his dad is home raising hell (as usual). I wish I could be down there with the family, but it’s good to hear that all went well and that he’ll be home via train tomorrow evening. We’ll have to go out to dinner tomorrow night. 🙂

I’m also happy that I have been able to maintain my concerted effort to stay focused at work and get projects done. I’ve felt very productive and the workday has been flying along. Plus, I’m not as snappy towards others. A little meditation, a little centering and BAM we are good to go!

I tried to watch American Idol again tonight, but I found it a little depressing so I turned it off. From what I watched, there is absolutely no talent in Houston, Texas. The show was unevenly paced, boring and repetitive. So I turned it off.

And lastly, you may notice that I have spruced up the blogger page a little bit. I’ve been looking around at different templates, and for now I think I’m going to use this “river” one. I’ll have to do more digging to see if I find other cool stuff, but I feel really good about this one for now.


O.k., I swore that I wasn’t going to watch “American Idol 3.” After all, it’s reality TV, and reality TV sucks. And the state of the pop music industry sucks.

I lied.

On cue, Earl and I tuned into the commercials presented by the Fox Network with a few snippets of the first round of “American Idol 3” auditions in between. I must say that I think I enjoy these early auditions more than the Top 32, Top 10 or the grand finales! One contestant, Scat Girl, was an absolute mess, but you can’t help by admire her courage for getting up there in front of the cameras and the judges and giving her all. And her scream at the end made a worthwhile sound effect to install as my mail notification sound effect.

The talent was mediocre at best, but man, you have to give these folks credit for going for the dream and display lots of courage.

Lazy Days and Sundays.

I look up at the clock here in the computer and am shocked to see that it’s 8:15 p.m. already! I’m still in my pajamas, I haven’t showered or shaved and I haven’t been very productive today. It’s a mental health day, I suppose.

Earl has been glued to the television because it’s the last of the playoff games before the Superbowl, of course. We made homemade pizza earlier today for supper, that was quite fun. Earl picked up this Pampered Chef pizza stone and he wanted to give it a test drive, so we made this healthy pizza with lots of fresh veggies and homemade dough. Very tasty!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of judging Little Miss and Mister Mohawk Valley. That’s right, a beauty pageant of sorts. Actually, it was a fundraising pageant to raise money for the Miss Mohawk Valley Scholarship Program, which is part of the “Miss America system”. My dear friend Laurie Jean is executive director of Miss Mohawk Valley and asked me to judge, what with me being a big radio personality and all. (Yeah, whatever on that part). Anyways, I gave my two cents, or rather, two points on the contestants. Thank goodness I just had to sit and smile (don’t clap!) and write numbers down. I don’t think I could have been as cranky as that ass on American Idol. The kids were much too cute.

Last night Earl and I hauled ourselves to Albany for supper and a little shopping excursion. I needed to pick up some techy stuff for work, and the Best Buy in Albany lends itself much more to real purchases. Our Best Buy here is “Best Buy Lite”. In fact, everything in the new big box monstrosity the built here, Consumer Square, is a “lite” version, with each store only being 75% of the size of similar stores throughout the state. For me, less selection equals more gas, so we just drive to the bigger cities to do our serious shopping.

I’ve resurrected my laptop from work and am anxious to start using it regularly again. We bought a new wireless network card for it, so I can haul it to Starbucks or whereever and be impressive and trendy like so many others seem to do these days. I don’t have the nerve to bring it into the bathtub with me though. I’ve read about how rude it is to use your laptop in a meeting, so we’ll have to see if I can stick to etiquette!


I’ve had decided that I need to write in my blog more. I’ve sort of slacked off over the past couple of months. I don’t really know why. It could be a lack of motivation, because I seem to be more passionate about things lately. I just haven’t set aside time to write things down. So, I’m going to try to write in my blog more, simply because it’s a sort of therapy for me. Maybe it will make my English more goodly too. 🙂

I went on a little rant at work today about my intolerance of ignorant people. In the back of my mind I’m always afraid that I’m going to sound snobby or elitest, but sometimes people just seem so, well, dumb. For example, as I have mentioned countless times, Earl and I live in Upstate New York. To our west is a REALLY big lake. In fact, it’s so big, it’s called a Great Lake. It’s so Great, they even named a Canadian Province after it. And on the other side of this Great Lake is Canada. So when a cold wind blows from Canada, across this warmer Great Lake, it tends to produce a lot of snow on our side of the lake. This is called Lake Effect snow. This sort of “effect” has undoubtedly been happening for thousands, if not millions of years. Why is it then that the news media decides that they need to frighten the be-joozies out of the public. “We’re going to get up to a foot of snow!” “Run for cover, buy your milk, buy your bread, a big lake effect snow storm is coming!” “Whoooooo”.

People. You need to calm down. I can’t count the number of times that we’ve been dumped on with almost four feet of snow in a day in the past thirty years. A foot of snow does not paralyze our area. We know how to take care of it. Is it inconvenient? Yes! Is it armageddon? For pity’s sake, of course not. Chill. Literally.

And why is it when there is snow on the ground, regardless of the quantity, are all rules of the road null and void? Here in Central N.Y., if there’s snow on the ground, half the drivers abandon all pretenses of driving between the lines of the road and obeying the traffic signals and signs. Guess what? When the light is red, you still have to stop! Here’s a shocker… when the mall parking lot is full of snow, it’s still NOT o.k. to form a row of cars three deep. That doesn’t make sense. The lines aren’t dancing underneath the snow. They’re in straight rows. They’re still a uniform length apart. Stop being selfish or stupid and use a little common sense. Please.

And just because it’s unbelieveably cold at -15 degrees, but the road is still bare, does not mean that you have to slow down to 15 MPH on the Interstate. Use your brains.

There’s a couple other things I’ve been ranting about at work. I suppose I’m becoming unpopular, but I don’t really care. With the New Year several co-workers have decided to do something about their eating habits. This is GREAT. The world, more specifically the United States, needs to be a healthier place. However, I think they’re approaching it all wrong. The Atkins Diet (gag). The South Beach Diet (boo). It seems to me that these are fad diets that are looking to pad somebody’s wallet. You have to buy the more expensive low carb bread. You better buy the book so you know the exact details of the plan. Please. Losing weight is simple math. Burn off more calories than you take in. Period. Watch your fat intake. Get rid of the junk food. Get off your fat ass and do something. Move. Be productive. Contribute to society.

It’s going to take some time to lose weight. It’s taken months or years to put it all on, why should it come off in three weeks? I could go into a whole thing about eating animals and such, but I’m not going to, because that shouldn’t make a difference. You lose weight on these fad diets because you’re cheating your body from it’s balance. Balance your diet. Eat some protein. Eat some carbs. Then work it off. Be active.

I’ve been told “what do you know?” Well at Easter 2002, I weighed 220lbs. Today I weigh 170lbs. Did I do the Atkins diet? God no. Did I do this South Beach thing (it’s like Atkins but less restrictive I’ve been told). Why waste the energy? I ride my bike in the summer, I try to keep active in the winter (doing everything from traditional ab crunches to sliding around on the wood floors in my stocking feet), I strive to keep my caloric intake between 1200 and 1700 and I don’t eat anything with double digit fat grams. Was I fim and trim in 2 months? No, it’s taken almost 18 months, but I’m keeping off the weight. Go ahead, starve your body of carbs. Then eat half of a pop-tart and gain 10 lbs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And lastly, what is this friggin’ obsession with Wal*mart? Wal*mart this. Wal*mart that. They save me money, blah blah blah. Ugh. They may be saving you money, but they’re destroying the United States of America and just about every other country. Take a look at this link. Here’s another informative link.

People need to stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about the whole world.

It’s A Big. Geek. World.

I’m am the first one to admit it. I’m a huge geek. When it comes to anything that can be described with TechnoBabble, I’m so there. Buttons, flashing lights, whirs, beeps, bonks, it all fascinates me. My geekdom doesn’t limit itself at technology either, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m completely fascinated by roads as well. The other night, my aunt recalled how at age 13 I wanted go home in the most indirect route possible simply so I could see if new signs had been installed on various roadways. Until the internet, I thought I was alone in this fascination. Now I know that there’s a whole huge community of roadgeeks, and it’s all good. If you want to see my contribution to the road geek society, take a look at my web site sometime.

I suppose my geekiness if flaring high these days because Earl is out of town. He’s just embarked on a new project for his company and it’s going to take him out of town a couple of times a month, pretty much like the summer of ’02. To prevent myself from becoming bummed out about it, I’ve decided to embrace my geek roots and interface with the best of them. At least it keeps my mind off the fact that Earl isn’t home.

I’ve become totally addicted to TechTV, mainly The Screen Savers and Call For Help. Both fascinating programs, and I’m a learning quite a bit about a myriad of computer topics. I also like the way TechTV maintains a fair balance between Microsoft, Apple and the Linux distros. Big thumbs up.

Another web site that I’ve become morbidly interested in is Air Disaster.com Now, I’m not afraid of flying in the least. I’ve been flying since I was around six months old (my grandfather and father are both private pilots). In fact, I’ve often entertained the idea of getting my private pilots license. However, I admit that I do get nervous on commercial flights. It all stems from the fact that I don’t know who is on the plane with me and who the pilot is. In the private planes that I’ve flown in, I’ve always known, or in rare instances, been the pilot. I was reading my online friend Thom’s blog and discovered the new A&E series “Airline”. I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the show, but I have watched the trailer, and the passengers depicted are EXACTLY the reason I get nervous on commercial flights! You know the type – flippant, selfish, whiney. And incredibly, they don’t pay attention to the flight attendants’ safety demonstration. They don’t know if they’re on a 767, an Airbus or a big blue bus. They can’t tell you where the exits are. They don’t know that you have to keep your hands up in the air as you go down the evacuation slide. Now, I know that an airplane I’m on is going to go down someday. And I’m going to survive it. (It’s a recurring dream I’ve had all my life, I just accept it as fact now). But honey, if you haven’t paid attention to the safety demonstration, don’t look at me for help putting on your seat cushion as a life jacket (even if we crash in Nevada). And I’m not sharing my oxygen with you. You should have paid attention.

Anyways, back to airdisaster.com. If you want to REALLY freak yourself out, take a listen to the black box recordings. Oh boy. God rest their souls, pilot and co-pilot shootin’ the breeze, a quick “what the f*ck” and boom. As terrifying as I find it, I must admit I find it morbidly interesting as well. A geek for you I guess.

I sometimes wonder if I’m an certifiably insane or if the rest of the world is actually better than me at hiding it. Do you know that I can still, to this day, draw out the keyboard for a P&C (grocery store) circa 1982 cash register? Don’t ask me why I can, I just can. I’ve never worked for P&C or any other grocery store. But the early geek in me figured out how the damn thing works and where all the keys were. I even coached a Great American (another grocery store) cashier back in 1991 on how to run it because she was new and no one would help her. At least I’m a nice geek. Truth be known, growing up I loved to play grocery store and since we didn’t have any calculators that we could afford, I just drew out the cash register keyboard on a piece of notebook paper and I just added up the items in my head when my cousins would be my customer and brought their order through. Good part? It made me really good at math and figuring out sales tax.

I was really good with the Ames cash register system as well. It made it REALLY easy for me to be trained when I actually worked for them in the late 1980s.

Thank the stars Earl has allowed me to embrace my quirkiness. Before he came along, I sort of hid it from others. I was an out and out gay man, but I was a closeted eccentric. I’ve always done things a little differently I suppose.

Have you seen the Dell commercial where the family kidnaps the computer guy and bring him to their house to make a Microsoft Windows error disappear? That’s how I’m feeling these days… I have three computers sitting on my desk (only two are mine), and four in the cellar waiting to be fixed. I’m also shopping Retrobox, looking for a new computer for my aunt and uncle.

It pays to be a geek.