August 2006

More Pastabilities.

So last night I talked about how I felt that pasta was inherently evil because while it’s quite delicious, it does pack pounds on if you don’t exercise enough to work off those extra carbs. So what did I have for lunch today? Leftover pasta.

The spot on the end of my nose is sauce from actually licking the bowl clean. And you think I’m kidding.

Earl and I have been sort of lax with the healthy eating over the past month or so. We haven’t gone crazy eating tons and tons of food, well, I guess we kind of have, but we’ve been able to keep the weight under control and the gain number divisible by 2. I don’t know if it’s important or not, but at least it keeps the audience guessing.

In addition to my current waltz with pasta, in the past year or so I’ve developed a huge fondness for beer. I’ve been sticking to the “lite” stuff – Michelob Ultra being the swill of choice, but I think any type of beer is going to make one gain a beer gut. It just takes a little more to do so when you’re chugging Michelob Ultra. I have a couple of theories about this, at least where my metabolism is concerned. First of all, we all know whatever is in beer adds more calories to your diet versus drinking a glass of water or iced tea. But here’s the kicker. Because I’m such a lightweight when it comes to beer, I usually eat a boatload of loaded fries or cheeze whiz nachos (with a sour cream chaser) and drink lots of beer (maybe two) before the main entree arrives. Then I drink more beer (maybe one) while I’m eating which promptly causes me to get silly and pass out immediately after eating (if you’re counting, after three beers). On the more fortunate nights I pass out after we’ve left the restaurant so that I’m not left lying on the table with my forehead in my apple pie a la mode. Earl then gets me situated in bed while I tell him how much I love him and then I don’t move for hours clocking in the double digits. This inactivity, added to the extra calories from the beer and the cheese whiz and other artery friendly delights results in extra poundage.

I’ve found the answer to all this. First of all, pasta is relegated to lunchtime and the portion is divided by two. (I really have a theory about this “divisible by two” routine, but I don’t know what it is.) That’s my serious approach to the issue.

I’m also considering drinking beer only while I ride my bike so that I can work off the extra calories. I’m just afraid I may end up face down in some random woman’s marigolds or something.


I don’t know how the Italians do it. I’m referring to their fine tradition of fine pasta. For some reason I’ve been on a pasta kick for the past week or so, indulging in some ziti and some linguini, all with Earl’s homemade sauce.

While quite tasty, it hasn’t been the healthiest approach to eating by any stretch of the imagination. And I’ve got the higher numbers on the scale to prove it. If the scale still worked. I may have drop kicked it one time too many this morning after ringing up a number I didn’t like.

I’ve only gained four pounds in the past week. But to me that’s a lot. Earl assures me it’s within the margin of error as far as the scale is concerned, but I don’t buy it. The scale is evil and therefore pasta is evil too.

When did pasta become evil? Growing up we had spaghetti at least once a week. And that’s not counting the cans of spaghetti-os I had as a kid. In the summertime we had limited choices for lunch: spaghetti-os, peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and mayonnaise. I occasionally opted for the latter, thrived on the pb and j from time to time and would eat spaghetti-os when it was raining.

Come to think of it, I had a pasta pot for a gut when I was a kid. Maybe I should have learned my lesson back then.

Earl is out for a business dinner tonight and then tomorrow night he’s out of town so he’ll have a full menu to choose from (undoubtedly complete with a server named ‘Dirk’.) Me? I get leftover ziti or a bowl of popcorn, unless I hit a take-out menu. My server is named Amana.

I think I’ll be popping my supper tomorrow night. So healthy.

There’s Always Good.

Today I saw a “thug” type young man help an old lady cross the street. She didn’t beat him with her purse, he didn’t try to steal her money, he just helped her across the street as she made her way through the crosswalk with her walker.

I needed to see that.

Last night Earl and I had some family over for supper. We hadn’t gotten together in quite a while, my sister’s boyfriend is off to Russia this coming weekend to play hockey on one of the Moscow teams and we all thought it’d be good to get together.

I needed that too. Because even though my relatives can be a pain in the ass sometimes, they are family and I wouldn’t trade them in for anything.

The sun is out today, the cat’s skunk smell is finally dissipating and my first jab at education in 20 years is just around the corner.

I think my funk has found it’s end. Look out life, here I come.

School Daze.


Earl and I have been talking about this for quite some time. Today I received confirmation. I head back to school in September with my first class – AutoCAD I.

I’m going to become a Traffic Engineer with a Civil Engineering degree.

I’m taking it one step at a time.

I need to get some AutoCAD under my belt so I can hit the ground running in January when I start hitting the college books. Assuming of course, that I survive AutoCAD I and then AutoCAD II later this fall.

As an avid motorist, I want to do my part in designing and marking roads so they are safer and easier to navigate. I’ve dabbled in the trade all my life, it’s time to get serious about it.

And at 38 years old, I’m sure I’ll be very popular at the keg parties.

Stock Aiken Waterman.

I admitted this onMark’s blog the other day, so I figure I might as well come clean and admit it right here on my blog too.

I love 80s and 90s mass produced music by Stock Aiken & Waterman. Dare I say, my love for this “hit factory” music was a driving force in my becoming a club DJ in the late 1980s.

There I’ve said it.

If you’re not familiar with producers Stock, Aiken and Waterman, here’s some titles that may revive some memories (or nightmares) for you:

Rick Astley, “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Together Forever”
Donna Summer, “This Time I Know Its For Real”
Dead or Alive, “You Spin Me ‘Round”
Boy Krazy, “That’s What Love Can Do”
Bananarama, “I Heard A Rumor”, “Venus” and just about everything else they ever released
and the dance diva herself, Kylie Minogue, “The Locomotion” and “I Should Be So Lucky”.

Through the wonders of YouTube, I’ve found some beefcake and musical nuggets from the late 80s and early 90s to share. Enjoy.

Jason Donovan, “Too Many Broken Hearts”
Kylie Minogue, “I Should Be So Lucky”
Sonia, “You’ll Never Stop Me From Lovin’ You

Now where are my cassette singles?


While I was surfing around on YouTube, I came across another bunch of 80s gems by Alisha:

Into My Secret
Baby Talk

Alisha performed at one of the radio station concerts we hosted in the late 1990s. As program director, I asked the music director if he could get a hold of “Alisha’s people” as our retro act for the show. I about pooped my pants when he got her to sign on! As I recall she was very nice when we met her and put on a great show.

News Cycle.

Sometimes I think technology is destroying America. The capability of “instant news” combined with the 24-hour news channels is contributing the ever shortening attention spans of the American public.

Oh look at the bird in the backyard. Isn’t he pretty. Uh, what was I saying? Oh yes, short attention spans.

We have a television at the office that shows CNN. Since our Network Operations Center’s workload depends on weather activity and other natural or human made causes, it helps to know what’s going on in the country.

In the past three days, every time I’ve looked at the screen they are showing that guy from Taiwan that claims to have murdered JonBenet Ramsey. No matter what time I look at the screen, there he is, sitting on an airplane, staring straight ahead. He’s there, either waiting for takeoff or to disembark. For three days. There he is. On the plane. Talk about flight delays.

Now the murder of this young girl is horrible. I’m not denying that. I’m sure any clues or confessions would be a relief to the family. But my goodness, the rising death toll in the Middle East is abundently news worthy as well, but that’s hardly being mentioned. It’s old news.

Now we have the latest tropical storm hurricane tropical storm headed for south Florida. What’s it’s name? Ernesto? All the news outlets are headed down there faster than vultures on a dead carcass. I wouldn’t be the least surprised to find them doing some sort of wild hurricane rain dance in an effort to whip up the winds. You could just see the disappointment on their faces when Ernesto became a tropical storm again. It looks like Florida might just escape the floods and famine they were hoping to feature on the news. It might not make it to New Orleans. How ratings building it would be to see the beginnings of the new New Orleans crushed by a hurricane again.

Again, no mention of the deaths in Iraq over the weekend.

Then there’s the airplane crash in Kentucky. It appears the pilot was on the wrong runway. My heart goes out to the families of the crash victims. And then the news cuts to another plane crash in Indiana. “Maybe it’s just as bad or worse!” Turns out a four seater crashed in a pond, sorry, no death there, a bystander pulled them out of harm’s way.

I saw a plane crash once. A student pilot flipped a Cessna 150 into the gravel bed adjacent to the rural airstrip. I saw my Mom and a bunch of pilots and aviation fans pull him out of the plane and get him on his way for medical attention. My mom had tell his mother that her baby boy had just crashed an airplane and was on his way to the hospital. I don’t believe he ever flew again. But it was 1978.

It didn’t make the news.


I’ve been in this weird, pensive, slightly apprehensive mood today. And here I am rhyming about it on my blog. I can’t put my finger on the cause of this little bit of a funk I’ve got going on today. It’s nothing really bad mind you, I’m not going to go out and go crazy or anything like that. Perhaps I sniffed too many bleach fumes while I did laundry earlier today. Maybe the last vestiges of the skunk smell on the cat has gotten to me. Perhaps my head got jostled around yesterday on the ride at the State Fair.

Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s going to pass so I’m not going to worry about it. Let’s hear it for the new work week!

Crossing To The Dark Side.

I am writing this blog entry on a Windows computer this afternoon. That’s right, I said Windows computer. And said computer is in my house. It’s running one of the latest builds of Windows Vista Ultimate, pre-Release Candidate 1.

As a computer support tech, one of my responsibilities is to know what’s going on in the world of computers. That makes sense, right? Well, since Microsoft Windows is the operating system on most of the computers across this great land, then I need to be familiar with the ins and outs of the operating system. So I figured I’d jump ahead and start seeing what this Windows Vista thing is all about.

I’ve been messing with it for the past two hours and I do have a few comments.

  1. It sure is pretty. I really like the aesthetics of using it. It looks good.
  2. I’m still trying to figure out why things have been moved where they’ve been moved to. For example, to change your background picture, in Windows XP, you right click on the desktop and click “Desktop Properties” and go from there. In Windows Vista, you right click on the desktop and click “Personalize” then jump around in some dialog windows before getting to the familiar Windows XP screens. It’s a few extra clicks and may seem intuitive to a newbie, but I’m hoping Microsoft builds an “Express” option into the final product that lets power users click around like they’re used to doing in Windows XP.
  3. For a pre-release candidate version of software, it’s pretty stable and responsive. I wasn’t expecting that.
  4. It’s still Windows.

I’ve also installed the Office 12 Beta, as I’ve heard wonderful things about the latest incarnation of Office. For those that have grown up with Office in the corporate environment, when you first fire this baby up you’re going to have a few moments of panic as EVERYTHING looks different. But once you start jumping around a little bit and start figuring out where everything is, it isn’t as bad as it first appears. Just for fun I’m typing this blog entry in Microsoft Word and then I’m going to cut and paste it into my blog entry screen. Let’s see if I can successfully do that before switching back to Ubuntu Linux.

This all being said, I must say that Microsoft is making great strides in the world of Windows. Windows Vista is going to take some hefty horsepower to run with all the bells and whistles (my test computer barely makes the grade with a 2.0mhz Processor, 768MB RAM and a Radeon GeForce 7600 GS video card), but there are quite a few improvements in the system that should make surfing a more pleasant experience for Joe User.

However, I’m still very much in love with our Mac hardware and offer you a toast of Apple Kool-Aid.

The Great New York State Fair.

Can You Find Me?

Originally uploaded by bluemarvel.

Earl and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Great New York State Fair. The word “Great” is actually in the name of the country’s oldest and I believe largest state fair. It’s an Empire State thing.

Surprisingly, the crowds seemed a little light this year. We didn’t have any issues navigating around the fairgrounds, despite the numerous baby buggies that have bucket seats, power windows, rack and pinion steering and oddly, no children to be found in the seats. But nevertheless, we walked through all the barns where we named all the chickens for their hairdos, chatted with some goats and smiled back at some llamas.

We also trekked through the various displays in the Center of Progress building. One booth there is the “handwriting analysis computer”. It’s been at the fair longer than I have and they haven’t really updated the display much. It’s groovy to see the 1970s style computers doing their work to tell you about yourself after taking a look at your signature.

I did go for my obligatory spin on the Tip Top amusement. Earl stayed on land and took some pictures of the event.

It was a good day at the fair. It’s sort of sad to see it’s arrival, because usually it indicates that the end of summer is here.

Fly Like An Eagle.

Earl and I went to see the movie “Invincible” tonight. This is the film starring Mark Wahlberg as Vince Papale, the South Philly native that joined the Eagles in the mid 1970s at age 30.

It’s the best movie we’ve seen this year, despite all attempts from those surrounding us in the theatre to make it a horrific experience.

Note to cinema owners: if you want to get the American public back in the theatres you have two options, build or retrofit your theatres to reject all mobile phone and wifi signals, or shove said cell phones up offender’s asses. I’m just sayin’.

First of all, I have to remind everyone that I am married to a die-hard Eagles fan. My boy from Philadelphia will always be an Eagles fan regardless of where we live. Philadelphia is in his blood, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Said Eagles fan turned me into first a football fan and then an Eagles fan. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was in the stands this season, painted up in Eagles colors and half naked on television showing off my assets in the spirit of the game. Again, I’m just sayin’.

Football fan or not, this is a great movie. We found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Go see it.