November 2004

I’ve Got The Brains, You’ve Got The Looks…

It’s a sunny day at work today. I’m feeling productive. I’m feeling confident. I’m feeling good.

When I resigned from previous job in August (to accept my current position), I was offered a computer tech support position with a company based in Iowa. I had been to one of their training classes the previous April, and had worked with them my entire time at my previous company. The make computer hardware and software for radio stations, being one of the earliest companies to do so. They are a small company and working with them as a customer over the years had been a joy. So I was quite flattered when they offered me the position in August, however, I was not in the position to relocate to Iowa and I was very excited about my new job at Northland Communications. So I politely declined, but told them I would keep in touch. It gave me the feeling of having a safety net. If this position didn’t work out, I could always go work for them.

In a fit of frustration with myself a couple of weeks ago, I touched based with them to see if there were any positions open. It was very early in the morning when I contacted them via e-mail, and I wasn’t feeling my usual ecstatic self. Part of that whole lack of self confidence thing I had going on there for a while. They jumped on my resume and offered me a position. It was kind of cool in that I could work from my home doing tech support and software development, as well as traveling throughout the United States to radio stations installing new systems and whatnot. The circumstances were fairly good, as far as I was concerned, because I would be able to work from home, but while I enjoy traveling very much, I wasn’t ready to be jet-setting all over the country one or two times a month. After all, with Earl traveling, we don’t need me traveling as well. Our household would be in complete shambles if we were both traveling. Plus, the fit of frustration that I was feeling turned out the be a fleeting moment, as I haven’t felt more comfortable in my current position. Things are going really well with my current job. So once again, I declined.

It’s as with all new positions or job. A new experience, lots of uncertainty. “Am I going to make the grade?” “Can I do this?” “Will they like me?” “Are they cute?” “Do they find me cute?” I believe there’s a turning point after you take a new job, in where you feel like you’re “getting it”. A confirmation to yourself that yes indeed, you did make the right choice and that you’re in for the long haul. If you don’t hit that point within several months, you move on to another opportunity.

I hit that point on Friday.

I’m in it for the long haul. I enjoy my work very much. I work with the greatest group of people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a long time. It’s been too long since I’ve smiled getting out of bed or since I’ve looked forward to the challenge of my job. And the feeling is wonderful.

To celebrate, I’m following the lead of my on-line friend Robert and my long time friend Dana. I’m writing my first haiku and it’s about work.

I answer your call.

You get your dial tone.

One ringy dingy.

Technological Nudity.

Earl is currently away on business in the lovely red state of Ohio. It’s the first time he’s been away that’s he’s been able to use his new iBook on the road. And following the lead of many others, his hotel has free wireless internet access, so we’re able to chat and cam via iChatAV (Apple’s contribution to the AOL Instant Messaging community). It’s the first time that we’ve ever done this, and I find the experience to be absolutely wonderful. In the past I’ve wondered why video phones didn’t catch on as predicted in the early 1990s, because being able to see a loved one face to face while they’re hundreds of miles away is a warm, fuzzy experience.

I did have initial concerns about Earl using a public internet connection to do our chatting. I had visions of some pervert sitting in the walls watching Earl and I chat back and forth and listening in on our conversation, doing something interesting with his private parts. But then I decided that I really didn’t give a care. I mean, let’s be honest, I have a blog that I basically use as an outlet for many different facets of my life. I pretty much write any aspect of my life here. Reading through my blog entries, anyone could find out any number of things about me. I have no idea how many people read my blog daily, weekly or whatever. I don’t bother to look at the usage stats. The crowd of voices in my head are all the audience I need.

Besides, as long as you’re on the internet, you can not be anonymous. Don’t let anyone fool you. I’m currently writing this blog entry on my lunch hour. I’m sure that the people across the street from my parked car are blissfully unaware that I am currently using their unsecured internet connection. That’s right, Verizon sent them a little package of parts and cables, told them how to hook it up over the phone, never advised them to change the default settings on their equipment, and now here I am, in wireless range, happily chugging along on the internet. With the right tools, I could probably see what they were doing online. But I don’t really care, so I don’t bother.

I must admit that I find these people with webcams throughout their house wildly exciting. Watching a guy type on his keyboard and work on his daily business (well, maybe ‘daily routine’ would be a better description) is interesting to me. Yeah, there’s always the chance that you’ll see a ‘full frontal’ and I’m not going to turn away from that, but since I’m an avid people watcher this just adds an amazing aspect to the genre. People are fascinating.

So tonight Earl and I will be chatting on the webcam again. I don’t know if the neighbors will be watching us, though since I password protected my wireless network, I feel pretty confident that they won’t.

I’ll leave the webcam focused on me sleeping naked as the unsecured connection. Maybe they’ll enjoy that.

An honor.

Over the years I have added several blogs to my “must read” list, including The Daily Pequod.

My online friend Robert had a little celebration upon the 5,000 hit on his blog, and I had the honor of being the chosen one. The winner received a poem and a beer on him. I took a raincheck on the beer until we get to San Francisco (probably in February), but Robert did go ahead and wrote me a haiku:

Little bird on stalks

Flits from encroaching wave

Live crab in hungry beak

I’ve never had someone write me a haiku before. I find the honor very fascinating. And I look forward to the beer.

In other fascinating news, I’ve hit a month on my beard and I must say that I’m digging it this time around. I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going to do a “Beards For A Cause” charity, but I’m going to help out by contributing to their website instead. I don’t think I can commit to a beard that goes untrimmed for year and keep my lover, family and employment.

Let’s Talk Turkey.

With it being Thanksgiving and all, I thought I would mention a few things that I’m thankful for. My mother often goes into long, emotional speeches as to what she’s thankful for at Thanksgiving, often accompanied by tears in the gravy and sobbing in the sweet potatoes. It does wonders to aid the digestion.

Anyways, back to what I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for a loving family. My partner Earl, our cat Tom and the wonderful, supportive family from all sides that surrounds us with love.

I’m thankful for having such a good “gig”. I work with good people, for a good company and the future holds promise. I’ve had the opportunity to leave and have decided to stay the course. I’m thankful to have the opportunity.

I’m thankful for having the means to live as we do. I’m thankful for the food on our table, the bytes at our fingertips and the opportunities we have.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.

Go Ahead, Take Your Best Shot.

Monday tried to start me off on a sour note this morning. But I wasn’t about to give in. Nevermind that I had maybe three hours of sleep. Forget the fact that I was returning to work after a three day weekend. Nothing was going to dampen my spirit and my zest for life.

If that’s not enough to make you spit up.

I went out this morning to start the car before brushing my teeth, like I always do. I crept out in the cold, put the key in the ignition and turned.


So I turned the key again.

Still nothing.


Did it turn the tide of my merriment? I’m happy to say that it did not. Although it was very apparent that someone left his satellite radio receiver turned on since Thursday night (that ‘someone’ would be me), I wasn’t about to kick the car and have a hissy fit.

I jumped in the Jeep and rode off to work. It’s nice to have that luxury.

And at work I proceeded to share my good mood with everyone and anyone in ear shot. I spread positive vibes around like it was a virus.

The Monday blahs took their best shot at me. Such a shame they lost.

Do Me A Favor And Relish Your Turkey.

The neighbors put up their Christmas lights already. They have three trees full of white lights, a wreath the size of Chicago and a blow up Santa Claus that is taller than their house. I also have a suspicion that the wife dresses up like an elf and dances around, but that could just be my four glasses of wine talking.

At any rate, I hate them.

As I type this blog entry, it is Sunday, November 21, 2004. Last time I checked, we haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving yet. When I look in the refrigerator, I see the naked bird waiting for his moment of glory. Why are the neighbors putting up Christmas lights?

Because they’re following the Christmas trend. They’re caught up in the commercial crap of it all.

Rush, rush, rush, buy a thousand and one pieces of foreign manufactured junk, wrap it in gaily colored paper and shove it in the recipients face and croak out a “Merry Christmas”. Of course, one doesn’t really have the time to look to see if the “giftee” enjoyed the gift or not because we’re on our way to spread more fun and frivolity.

What happened to the days of actually talking about what we’re thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner, rather than the current trend of discussing what crap Wal*Mart (“Always White Trash, Always”) has marked down for their 3:00-3:05 a.m. sale the next day? I’ve been to Thanksgiving dinners where people discussed the glee of stomping on a senior citizen’s foot to make her let go of the last Betty Belchie doll so they could make off with the great bargain instead. I guess they were thankful for pain.

Instead of thinking about Christmas this and Christmas that, let’s take a moment to remember Thanksgiving and tell each other what we’re thankful for. Sit down with your family, tell them how much you love and how thankful you are for their existence. Be thankful for the harvest, be thankful for the company, be thankful for the lessons you’re learning in life. There’s plenty of time to put up Christmas lights. There’s plenty of time to listen to tinny, low-fidelity versions of Jingle Bells on mall intercom speakers. There’s plenty of time to fight for parking spaces.

And while I’m on a little bit of a rant, take a moment to put some thought into your holiday gift giving this year. Put some meaning into your gifts. Make something. Create a masterpiece. Don’t just give someone a present, give someone a warm, fuzzy feeling.

You can blame my friend Dana for this rant. I read her blog entry and it got me a little bit fired up. Dana and I always thought alike on these things.

I Am Such A Geek.

As an avid seller and buyer on ebay, I often leave positive feedback for other members of the ebay community. Always striving to be different, I try to differentiate my feedback from others, a practice which parallels my life I suppose. My feedback is usually sci-fi or Star Trek related. A typical comment from me would be “Warp speed shipping. Item as pledged. An excellent member of the ebay universe. Live long and prosper.”

I know, I’m a major dweeb.

Well last night I caught up on my recent ebay transactions and found that I had someone had left a comment for me regarding my recent purchase.

“Warp Speed PAYMENT, Uhura Quality COMMUNICATION, Peace and Long Life”

Absolutely made my day! I have Uhura Quality Communication! Uhura Rocks!

Live Long and Prosper.


Ever since my sister’s illness in September, I’ve felt an increase in the urge to contribute to mankind. My cousin and I had several conversations in the hospital waiting room during that scary time. Her daughter had passed away at Christmas last year and she was trying to find meaning in her life after this devastating loss. I was just plain scared for my sister and thought that I was being way too selfish. Instead of coasting through life thinking about myself I need to give something back to society.

I’ve found a charitable effort that fits a quirk of myself wonderfully. It’s called “Beards For A Cause”. It’s a simple effort – I don’t shave for a year, I get contributions based on how long I actually go without shaving, and the money goes to National Cancer Society. There are many men joining in on this effort.

I’m always messing around with my facial hair style and now I have a valid reason to do it (vanity not withstanding). But more importantly, this is a cause that hits close to home as my paternal grandmother died of cancer, my paternal grandfather has had a couple of run-ins with the disease and my godmother has beat breast cancer. This is very important to me and something that I look forward to doing my part in. There are too many people in the world suffering from cancer.

I’ve also gone ahead and signed up for The Ride For Missing Children, the 100+ mile bike ride in May to benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I did the ride in 2003 and loved every minute of it. In 2004 I was too busy finding myself, working and just being plain weird so I didn’t participate. This past weekend I received an invitation in the mail to join the ride in 2005 and I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I’m really looking forward to it.

If you would like to contribute to either of these efforts, please drop me a line or IM me on AIM. My info is in the sidebar.

Fast Health.

I was talking with one of my co-workers this morning about the virtues of the McDonalds McRib Sandwich. You see, Earl recently brought home a couple of them, as the fine (ahem) citizens of Ohio currently have the opportunity to buy McRibs at the local stores, but we in Upstate N.Y. do not have the same privilege. So he brought home some of that boneless, sticky BBQ goodness between two sugar laden rolls.

They were delicious.

And yes, I’m still a vegetarian. I make allowances for McRibs, Cheddar Melts and Chick-Fil-A. Call me weak.

Anyways, back to the co-worker. I was explaining that I am a fast food restaurant connisseur. I enjoy comparing value meals to combo meals. I like to super size (don’t we all!). I like to hold the pickle and hold the lettuce, or at least entertain the thought of doing so because after all, I can have it my way.

There’s this indy movie floating about that features this guy eating nothing but McDonalds food for 30 days and the ill effects it had on him. It’s called “SuperSize Me”. I have not seen the movie “SuperSize Me” yet, though I really want to see it. I want to see if he is a little weakling that really needed a few pounds or if he is a stud muffin that grew to Daddy Bear proportions. Perhaps the DVD will be in my stocking this year, along with a Chick-Fil-A calendar. Another reason that I’m eager to see SuperSize Me is because of the guy’s mustache, but that’s a whole different blog entry. (For those of you keeping score, I’m growing a beard in anticipation of uncharted mustache territory of cowboy proportions. I’m very excited about the prospect, having apparently just completed puberty at age 36 and having new parts of my face grow hair. It does make one pause and say “what the fuck?”)

Anyways, back to the burger bomb. There are some things that I just can’t figure out. Back in my single days, I lived on fast food and junk food. I was a night time radio disc-jockey on Top 40 radio. I lived on free food from Arbys for lunch and free food from McDonalds for supper. On the weekend I got fancy and ate free food from Pizza Hut during my Saturday night mix shows. Then I’d DJ at the local bar Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights drinking nothing but Pepsi (actually RC Cola, it was a cheap bar) and Beer. Maybe a rum and coke or two. If the turntables started making me dizzy, I’d leave out the rum.

With all these “wonderful” eating habits of days gone by, I found myself 10 pounds lighter than I am today. These days, I so much look at Little Debbie with a little lust in my eyes and I gain five pounds. I cycle the roads of Upstate N.Y. in the summer and I cycle the roads of my basement in the winter. I lift weights and think of Tobey Maguire being all agile and athletic in Spiderman. “I can do that too”. Yeah, right. Maybe it’s because I’m eating rabbit food. Maybe I need more burger bombs in my life.

On the “SuperSize Me” website, there is a frequent visitor (his name is Woody, which I find mildly interesting) to the message boards who claims he lost a bunch of weight eating nothing but McDonalds food. And I completely believe him.

The stuff rotted out his insides.

As I mentioned before, I consider myself to have a discerning taste among the fast food set. I am frightened to attest to the knowledge that Wendy is really hot and juicy. I drive to Oklahoma (‘rampant lesbians’ not withstanding) just to park at a Sonic. I go to New Hampshire to eat Chick-Fil-A waffle fries. I love yelling into the clown’s mouth at Jack in the Box! Why can’t my body just go with the flow and let me enjoy my little niche as restaurant critic?

Whatever the reason, I’ll have fries with that.

Keep Feeling Fascination!

Earlier this week I received a wonderful package in the mail, and it wasn’t even the kind thats usually wrapped in plain brown paper. No, no. This is much more exciting.

I bought the DVD “The Very Best of The Human League”.

Oh my God. I love the Human League. I’ve loved The Human League since 1981 when Love Action (I Believe In Love) came out, BEFORE everyone’s favorite 80s anthem “Don’t You Want Me”.

The Human League were cool in that they used all electronic instruments. All synthesizers. No drums, no guitars, just keyboards and vocals. That was way cool.

Since I was in the middle of puberty when I discovered The Human League, I found myself attracted to Phil Oakey when his hair wasn’t all lopsided and he was wearing tight jeans. Interestingly, I also found both Suzanne (the blonde) and Joanne (the brunette) attractive as well, though I must admit that I leaned more towards Suzanne while secretly wishing for Phil.

As big of a Human League fan that I am, I had only seen the video to “Don’t You Want Me.” We didn’t have cable, let alone MTV when I was growing up. The only way we could catch videos was if we watched them at my Grandma’s in Syracuse or if we watched “Friday Night Videos” on NBC at 12:30 a.m. on Friday. I guess that was MTV for the hicks or something.

I must admit that I really enjoyed the videos and found Phil yummier than ever. I’ve watched the entire DVD four or five times this week. One of the things that I enjoy about the Human League is that Phil’s vocals are more in the baritone range that I sing in, rather than the tenor stylings so common in pop music. There’s an instrumental track called “Hard Times” on the Fascination! EP (and on the flip side of Love Action) that shows how low Phil can sing, and I can get right down there with him. (That really invokes some images in one’s mind if you use your imagination, doesn’t it?!?)

The other thing that I really enjoy about the group is that they just do there own thing. They’re fiercely devoted to their art. They bang around on keyboards until they find something that sounds really good, then they add vocals to it. And the product is way cool.

The Human League still tours from time to time. Earl and I saw them during the 80s Rewind Tour with Culture Club and Howard Jones back in 1998. I worked in radio at the time, had met the likes of Phil Collins, Dave Matthews and Britney Spears, but The Human League wouldn’t let me backstage to meet them. I was miffed! No, pissed is a better word. But I’ve since forgiven them. Looking back, I couldn’t have been scorned too much, since I continued to play “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” in heavy gold rotation on the station I was programming.

It’s good to take a stroll down memory lane once in a while. It’s good to feel a little fascination.