June 2004

Lights. Camera. Action.

Working in the radio business does occasionally have its perks. Like tonight. Our radio station staff was invited to a ‘sneak preview’ of the newest movie theatre/cineplex grand opening. This is an exciting time in our town!

If you’ve followed my blog regularly, you’ll note that Earl and I often go out of town to go to the movies. There’s a couple of reason for that.

First of all, the two movie main movie theatres here in Utica were owned by Hoyts and were built in the 1980s. They haven’t really been renovated since, save for the theatre at Riverside Center which was surgically removed from the mall when Riverside Mall was ripped down in 1995. They still have their “Cinema High Fidelity” sound systems, small seats, crappy cup holders and sticky floors. Plus, there’s not a stadium seat in sight. And they are way overpriced. When Hoyts sold out to Regal a year or so ago, our theatres didn’t go with the sale, they were orphaned off to a company called “Northeast Cinemas”. They still carry their Hoyts logo and they still suck.

The movie theatre in Rome is actually eight movie theatres shoved into an old Great American grocery store. We often end up sitting in the old produce section to see the main feature. It’s a little disconcerting to sit in a movie theatre that provides seating for 50 and smells like wilted lettuce.

The Town of New Hartford (the largest suburb of Utica, if you will) has seen some tremendous retail growth over the past couple of years. In addition to the Pyramid owned “Sangertown Square” mall, we now have “Consumer Square” and “The Orchard”. Consumer Square is a big box store type of place and houses one of our three Super Wal*Marts, a Barnes and Noble, TJ Maxx, Best Buy and a bunch of other stuff.

The Orchard is just opening up this month and right now houses an Outback Steakhouse and Marquee Cinemas. By the end of the summer we’ll have a Ninety-Nine BBQ Pub Place, Pizzeria Uno, Cold Stone Creamery, Gander Mountain and I believe a Kohls.

Thank goodness for Marquee Cinemas! It’s their first theatre in New York State and it wins a big two thumbs up. Last night they had an invitation only family night, which our radio station was at and provided free popcorn and soda to everyone, as well as a free viewing of one of fourteen movies (which were about a month or so old). Tonight, it was media night. Again, invitation only, this was a catered affair (complete with fondue!), but also included free popcorn and soda, and again a free movie viewing.

The theatres have state of the art sound, stadium seating with high back rocking chairs that can be made into love seats and cup holders that will actually hold a large sized cup. Plus, the prices are LOWER than the other theatres.

Earl and I chose to see “Starsky and Hutch”. We’d seen most of the other offerings and thought that Starsky and Hutch would be a good movie for a freebie. I have to admit that I actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit, and I thoroughly enjoyed the theatre experience.

We’re so excited – we no longer have to travel 50 miles or more for a decent movie theatre! I’m beginning to run out of reasons to despise this area. 🙂 I’m glad to see this area moving into the 21st Century. Maybe there’s hope after all.

The Birth of a Geek.

I am proud to say that after years and years of trying, Earl has jumped into Geekdom with me and started his own blog. It’s called “Cooking with Earl” and features pictures and recipes of his favorite dishes. He’s already posted two entries and is planning his third.

I had suggested the title “Adventures in Gastronomy” (I admit, I stole that from someone else – whom I don’t quite remember), but he didn’t see the humor in it whatsoever.

So it’s Cooking with Earl. Take a peek and drop him a line if you want. I’m sure he’d love the encouragement.

Speaking of encouragement, I’ve had the comments option available on my blog for quite a while and only my friend Thom cares to drop me a comment or two. If I was an egomaniac, I’d be miffed. 🙂

Plus, if you want to chat, you can reach me through AOL Instant Messenger and/or ICQ. My ICQ # is 125628700. I don’t know how that works with AIM or Netscape, but I’m told that it does.

Wind Whipping Through My Hair.

Earl and I went to Bucks County, Pa. this weekend for his annual family reunion. It’s always fun to get together with his family. They’re a jovial bunch and they make me feel very welcome, even though I sometimes feel like the Uncle in the Aunt slot.

I often refer to his family reunion as the Alphabet Assault. Since his relatives see me once a year at the most, I often get P.J., D.R., Z.Z., L.M. or Steve (I guess all gay men are named Steve). It’s better than “Asshat”, I suppose. At least Earl’s siblings have the “J.P.” part down, which is good. All in all, the food was great, the stories were entertaining and a good time was had by all.

We played miniature golf with Rick (Earl’s step brother) and Helen (Rick’s girlfriend). I’ve played miniature golf only a handful of times, so onlookers may find me amusing. At least I resisted the urge to swing the club around like I was in the band colorguard. Afterwards we went to a local diner where the waitress apparently paid absolutely no attention to what we ordered since all of our food was mixed up. But we ate it anyways, lest a surly cook in the back spit on our food. As frequent restaurant guests, we learned long ago to shut up and eat what is served, even if it’s hamburger patty served fresh out of the ice box, lest we have the cook get surly and do something suspicious to our food. On the other hand, I could just be paranoid.

Since the weather was cooperative, we put the top on the Jeep down and drove all the way home in glorious sunshine and somewhat seasonable temperatures. Thank goodness for the sunscreen! It was great to let the wind whip through my hair mustache.


I’ve been thinking about inhibitions lately. I think my inhibitions have prevented me from pursuing my dreams. I haven’t figured out what those dreams are yet, but I’m sure there’s dreams up there somewhere that have yet to be realized.

Growing up, and admittedly, probably to this day, I care what people think about me. Am I too fat. Do I look like a geek. Do I stick out like a neon light. I think this worry about what people think about me is inhibiting me from being my true self. I’ve always got my guard up. “What are they thinking.” “Why are they looking.” It’s ironic, because back in my 20s, I had a couple of dates tell me that I was the most uninhibited person they ever met, but we’ll save those stories for a seedy Saturday night.

I suppose my inhibitions stem from my homosexuality. “They’re going to know I’m gay.” Well, duh. I am gay. Since I’ve known for the past 29 years or so, you’d think I’d be over that by now. Maybe I need to work on that.

My dear friend Laurie has been in a number of beauty pageants scholarship programs in the Miss America Program. She is the most uninhibited person I know. Laurie can go up on stage and do her thing without thinking twice. Whether it’s putting 200% of emotion into performing the National Anthem in sign language, or testing out a new vocal performance on co-workers (knowing that it would probably tank), Laurie throws all caution to the side and put her all into whatever she’s doing – carefree and uninhibited. I greatly admire that in her. Besides, she’s quirky like I am and that’s always a plus. (Laurie is the Executive Director of Miss Mohawk Valley – go see her web site).

In fact, inhibition prevented me from supporting Laurie’s participation in the beauty pageants scholarship programs leading up to Miss America. I was worried what others at work would think of my support. I strived to go along with the crowd rather than being myself.

I should follow Laurie’s lead and be more uninhibited. I should throw caution to the wind and just do my own thing. Support the causes I believe in. Sing karaoke. Do stand up at the open mic night at the local comedy club. Dance in the middle of the mall.

There’s a wonderful world out there. I shouldn’t shy away because of a wall of inhibition.

Scatter Brained.

I’ve decided that I need to have a computer with me at all times, specifically for the purpose of writing in my blog. As I was getting through the workday drudgery today, my mind was wandering off to faraway lands… to the beautiful midwest where the land is flat, the folks are friendly and the meat is a mouthful. I wondered why Jerry Springer is still on the air. I smirked at the humor of Margaret Cho as I recounted something witty she had written in her blog.

I don’t know if this is the case with everyone, but I often have approximately 1,298,381,301 thoughts going through my mind at any given nanosecond, and that’s not including the standards like “breathe” and “beat your heart”. I’ve come to realize that I rarely pay attention to reality. I’m great at the “uh-huh, mm-hmm, yep, yep, nope” reflex response during a staff meeting. I wonder what people would think if I, at the very instant I’m standing in front of them, whooshed my hands in the air like Endora and popped out, complete with a fourth-season Bewitched cool sound effect. I think about popping to Nogales, Arizona for a taco. I notice that my co-worker is always impeccibly dressed and clean shaven, everyday, without fail. I notice that another co-worker is wearing the same clothes for the third day in a row. At the same time, I’m deciding on a “personal logo” (the owl in the ‘address bar’ fits the bill at the moment), wondering if I should stick with ‘thenetwarriorxp’ or go with ‘tuxcub’ as my online alias, and thinking about Earl and what we’ll do tonight.

I have so many thoughts zinging in and out of my ears and I’d really like to write some of them down and share them in my blog. I like writing in my blog. I find it relaxing and therapeutic. I have so many stories to tell, but each little inkling of a verse comes floating in, is pondered upon with all the other noise in my brain at that moment, and then goes floating off into ether, never to return. I’ve had moments that I’ve said “what a wonderful tale to spin in my blog tonight.” Unfortunately, I can’t remember a damn one of them.

Microsoft announced today that they’re developing a type of body-network that will send computer data, and presumably electronic impulses of some sort, through your body, allowing your earrings to chat with your wedding band, electronically. Why? Who the hell knows. The world is a f*cked up place right now and all we can do is come up with technology to allow our penis to communicate with our belt buckle so it knows when to disengage so we can pee.

Great. More noise in my already cluttered mind.

On The Road Again.

Like I promised myself over the weekend, I rode my bike to work this morning. I must admit that I was proud of myself for going through with my promise to myself, because I often make resolutions, promises and threats and never follow through on them. “I’m going to lose 10 pounds before vacation.” “I’m going to make sure the washer and dryer are empty before going to bed.” “If I eat this cream cheese covered strawberry I will turn into a toad.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever.

But when I awoke this morning, feeling completely refreshed after 10.5 hours of sleep, I was delighted to find the birds singing and the sun shining. So I got my gear together, ate an English muffin covered in organic peanut butter (which is quite bland, by the way) and then headed off to work.

I had forgotten what riding in rush hour traffic is like. First of all, road construction activity is at an all time high here in Central New York, so half the ride is on a rush board. But the vibration is perfect for soothing my aching bum, I suppose. Then there’s the Utica rules of the road – when the light turns green, wait for five seconds or five cars, which ever comes through the light first. And avoid all SUVs at all costs – they don’t know what they’re doing.

But the ride in kept my energized throughout the day – giving me a lively step in my gait and a song in my heart. It’s a shame that I need to travel for work tomorrow. I look forward to doing the ride again on Wednesday.

It’s nice to be on the road again.


With it being Father’s Day and all, we had a family gathering here at the house today. The weather was a little cool, but absolutely gorgeous. I had initially pledged to Earl that I was going to prepare the feast, what with my desire to be a good cook and all. But naturally he took over and I ended up playing assistant. I guess I didn’t really mind. He went all out – BBQ’d ribs and chicken, grilled pineapple, salt potatoes and Karen brought along some delicious macaroni salad. And for dessert, Earl made this delicious fruit dip (cream cheese and fluff) for strawberries and melon. I’m going to start a blog for him so he can share photos of his creations, along with recipes to share. In the computer world, I suppose Earl would be considered an open source cook.

It was great getting together with my sister Jennifer and my dad and his girlfriend. Just sitting down and chatting about old and new times is so relaxing. Karen brings me up to date on the renovation project going on at the school she works at, Dad chimes in with his commentary and occasional nostalgic anecdote and then we catch up on the going-ons with the rest of the family. One thing I realized is that it’s going to be a busy summer with weddings and family visits and whatnot.

It’s wonderful being in a family where everyone gets along. Or perhaps its that we’re really good at pretending that we get along. Either way, it is nice to get together.

Last night Earl and I ventured out arouind midnight and went to the local club – where I DJ’ed for a number of years. We hadn’t been out around here in about 18 months. It was the first time that we’d been in a bar since the new NYS smoking law had been in effect. While it was much more comfortable being in a smoke-free environment, I couldn’t help but notice that business was significantly slower than when I was DJ’ing there. Kicking my ego aside, I believe it was due to the smoking ban instead of the change in DJ.

Ooh, I Hear Laughter In The Rain.

Even though it was Saturday, I had to go into work for an hour or two today. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Anyways, yesterday I became determined that I would start riding my bike into work again. I’ve sort of been off track on my cycling this year, having only gone on a handful of rides. The spring weather has not been cooperative in the cycling department, however, the last couple of weeks have provided ample opportunity with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s. I’ve just been lazy.

Mr. Weatherman predicted that today would be more of the same, mostly sunny with a high around 80. Perfect! Mother Nature is cooperating with my plan for a change. When I woke up this morning, I found that it was mostly cloudy and there was a good bunch of wind coming out of the west. The clouds were building and one just knew that there would be rain within the next six hours.

Now normally I would have taken this opportunity to completely wimp out and come up with a million excuses. “I can’t find my rain gear.” “My chain will get rusty.” “The bike will be a mess.” “I’ll melt in the rain.” I think I’ve only ridden in the rain once. But this morning I decided that I just didn’t care. I was going to ride my bike regardless of the weather, and if a tornado funnel came along, I’d welcome the extra ‘lift’.

The ride to work went along beautifully. With that stiff wind at my back, I made it the office in record time. I did my thing at work, which took only a half of an hour or so, and then noticed that it had started sprinkling a bit. I futzed around a little more, hoping the little shower would pass, but after another 15 minutes or so, it just wasn’t going to let up.

So I hit the road home.

Within two blocks, I was pretty wet. But I have to admit that I absolutely loved every inch of that ride home. I got muddy. I got wet. My chain squeaked. My gears meshed oddly. My legs squeaked. But I survived it. The bike survived it. It started raining steadily about a third of the way home, but let up just before I hit the driveway. I didn’t care. I didn’t melt. Doom and gloom didn’t descend upon me. It was wonderful.

Bring on the tornado!

Material World.

Growing up, I always wondered what it would be like to live a “life of splendor”. To be like the “rich kids” and live in town, rather than out in the middle of farmland. I grew up in a lower to middle class family. My Dad was the bread winner, working hard at the family owned hardware store. Mom stayed home with us kids… she didn’t work until I was a freshman in high school, and then it was only part time in our school district. We didn’t have a lot, but we pretty much had everything we needed. We didn’t live in the laps of luxury, by any means, but there we had some special things. Dad owned a two-seat airplane that we would go flying in on the weekends. We’d fly to neighboring airports for a fly-in (usually fundraising) breakfast, shoot the breeze with the other pilots and their sons, and then fly back home. That was pretty cool.

The four of us would go for Sunday drives around the area, just enjoying the scenery and the conversation. We didn’t need an SUV. We didn’t need a DVD player to entertain us. There was no portable Nintendo or Game Boy. Dad would drive us around in the 1978 Impala and he tried to “lose” me by navigating through the more rural areas, making lots of lefts and rights and then he’d ask me to navigate us back home. I don’t think there was a time I couldn’t get us back home.

When I was in the fourth grade, we moved to a new house that had been built by my father. The house was situated on 10 acres of land, and my parents, not knowing what to do with the imaginative mess they had of a son, pretty much let me loose in the woods behind the house. I imagined those woods to be everything and anything – a city that made New York look like a two stoplight town (complete with street signs). An enchanted forest in a faraway land full of magical beings. Somehow I always imagined myself as a nose twitching warlock. Or Wonder Woman’s long lost brother fighting a group of bad guys that landed their flying saucer on the railroad tracks that ran through our property. What was a really a tree could be a skyscraper that became a school bus that turned into a pier that I jumped off of with my bionic legs. Gosh, I was weird.

Looking back on it today, I guess it wasn’t so bad. We didn’t have a lot, but we loved what we had. Anyways, those rich kids in town ended up maladjusted and their parents were just nasty.

So when I’m looking at that newest item up for bid on ebay or when I’m eyeballing a G5 PowerBook, maybe I should just slow down and appreciate and enjoy what Earl and I have. I guess life isn’t about what you could have, it’s about what you do have.

Glorious Technocolor.

I made a family decision tonight, without discussing it with the rest of the family. Honestly, I don’t think Tom could give two hoots about my decisions as long as he has kitty kibble in his bowl twice a day, but Earl might care when I’m spending family funds. Let’s see how he reacts when he gets home from Tennessee!

I look at it this way. We have a beautiful entertainment system that we purchased new when we bought the house. It includes a plasma high-definition television. Unfortunately, we weren’t subscribing to any high-def cable channels. Instead we were shlepping it with boring reruns (I like to call them shitcoms) on the networks. So I went ahead and upgraded from the “digital basic” cable plan to the “ultimate pak”, which basically activated every channel known to man. After two calls to Adelphia (they of course deactivated my account on the first attempt, so I had to call again and get it fixed), we were fired up and ready to go.

So the first channel I switched to had a rerun of Jerry Springer on it. O.k. I know that Jerry Springer strives to be shocking, but is he really aiming for revolting? I’m innocently turning the channels and there was a woman running across the stage, naked, except that she had slabs of beef duct taped to her body. And to make the scene more pretty, she was built like a slab of beef.

Now I believe that the human body is a wonderful vehicle for the beautiful soul in each of us. But to run across a stage on television with slabs of beef taped to your “vehicle” is just plain nuts. Apparently, Miss Meat liked having sex with her table scraps, in case you’re wondering.

Then I flipped around again, finishing up a rerun of “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch” (like the show, but it’s no “Bewitched) and then ended up settling on Queer Eye For The Straight Guy – in high-def. I thought I would never admit this, but I am starting to really get into Queer Eye. I’m starting to feel the Queer Eye vibe. I wish I was straight so I could sign up and get made over. I guess I’ll have to watch the tips from the sidelines. And I know everyone drools over Kyan (the grooming guy), but I have to admit I find Ted a cute nerd, and I thought I’d never admit this but Carson has his own certain charm that anyone could love.

So when Earl gets home and decides to flip around the channels, he’s going to get a little shock when every single channel comes in instead of saying “Access Denied”.

I hope he doesn’t mind the woman with the beef kick.