January 2007

Lab Rat.

I have to wonder if I attended an elementary school where they considered students lab rats. Did the educational system say to themselves, “Let’s try something new with this class, and this class only, and see how they succeed in life!”. This statement would undoubtedly be accompanied by a sinister laugh. “Mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha”.

I’m talking about elementary math skills. Now I have a very accurate, vivid memory. It’s something that I pride myself on. And the New York State elementary educational system teaches students how to measure liquids, distances and densities in fifth and sixth grades, for the most part.

Here’s the kicker. I attended these grades from 1978-1980. And what was the United States going to do at that time? We were going to convert to the metric system. It was two kilometers to the next Service Area, we bought two liters of pop and our aspirin was being handed out in milligrams instead of tons. Therefore, my teachers apparently figured that they didn’t want to waste the time of teaching my classes the old system, since they were all about the future and the promise of flying cars and therefore, we’d all be taught the metric system.

I can convert from fahrenheit to celcius like it’s nobody’s business. I know what a decigram and a hectometer is. As a civil engineer with NYSDOT someday (cross your fingers everyone), I will be working on construction plans that are completely in metric. But, today I must take a test that proves my fluency in the English measurements. I must know how many hectares of milk are in a pound.

I’m seriously thinking of writing a temporary tattoo comprised of the conversion factors on my forearm, but I’d probably get in trouble for that. I don’t know how sexy that would be either.

I blame Miss O’Rourke and Mr. Krakowka (elementary school teachers). If they had the sense to tell us what a fluid ounce was in gallons, I’d feel more like a complete person and less like a lab rat.

Fresh Snow.

Winter Wonderland.

Originally uploaded by macwarriorny.

The weatherman had promised one to two feet of snow last night. I was braced for it, I was psyched for it, I was ready to jump out of bed this morning and awake the neighbors with the roar of the snowblower.

Only six inches of snow fell here last night. Our neighbors to the west, however, received almost 40 inches. I am such a proud Upstate New Yorker.

Earl assured me that I didn’t have to clean out the driveway this morning so I slept in a little bit. After my first class I came home and did the obligatory ritual with the snowblower. The weather folks are promising another one or two feet of snow tonight, so I’m a little anxious to see what actually falls. I might have to get up really early tomorrow morning.


In an effort to eat healthy, last Wednesday I skimped a little bit on my caloric intake for the day. Unfortunately, this caused me to what I call “bonk” in my math class: I became a little disoriented, disenchanted, disinterested and depressed. I’ve had the same thing happen to me while long-distance cycling. Back then, I approached a hill in the middle of nowhere and began to tear up at the prospect of having to climb another hill after having done the same for the past two hours. The surrounding cows were unsympathetic and continued to chew their cud.

I vowed I would not feel that way again.

Because I was bonking in class last week, I did poorly on one of my math tests. Luckily, I can retake the test. So this morning I have been running through exam simulations on the computer and studying like a madman.

After I finish up this blog entry, I’m going to go eat a protein bar so I don’t have another bonking incident.

Wikipedia’s explanation of bonk. The other type of bonking probably would have distracted me just as much, but would have made the math class much more interesting.


While in Albany yesterday, Earl and i joined our friends for breakfast at a local diner. We are always fans of a good diner experience, so we were eager to check out this place we hadn’t been to before, the “76” diner on Route 9 in Latham.

The “76” is your typical diner from the mid 70s. It has that “diner car” feel on the inside, while the exterior is done up with big windows, lots of fake stone and colors reminiscent of a 1976 Ford Grenada. The five of us (Earl and I, Sean and Jeffrey and Evan) piled into a booth, eager to partake in some delicious and unhealthy diner breakfast food. Our waitress’ name was Arlene.

Arlene was in her late 50s or early 60s I’d say and filled to the brim with sass. I guess you could say she was a cross between Bea Arthur and Flo from “Alice”. She wasn’t abrasive in the least, but she had a certain boisterou charm to her that one only finds in a diner like the “76”. She was loud, she wrote in some strange shorthand on her well abused pad and she fired right back when we went a little outside of the norm: Earl wanted a burger with a fried egg on top (“what? A burger for breakfast? With an egg on top?”), Jeffrey wanted a diet pop with his omelet (“a diet coke. With your breakfast. Who’s ever heard of such a thing.”), Evan and I both had two sides of meat with our meal (she snickered when I told her I was feeling too healthy) and Evan changed his bread type from wheat to rye after she had already written down “weat”, which I translated to “wheat”.

Arlene threw our straws at us, sat down next to me as we piled more requests on her tiny pad and assured us that she was in a good mood as she put the filled plates on the table and let us sort it out for ourselves.

It was a great breakfast and Arlene certainly helped make it memorable. We look forward to going back again.

I’ve mentioned that my grandmother was a waitress in a similar type diner for many years. I don’t remember her in that role very well, but I’m sure that while not as boisterous as Arlene, she made the experience just as memorable for her customers.


Earl and I had parallel parked ourselves on the couch and were flipping through the channels when we stumbled upon “Grease: You’re The One That I Want.” Having not followed the show, I don’t know if tonight were the finals but if they were, the two people we watched audition for Sandy were just dreadful.

Anyways, before clicking away from the show, we noticed that a woman that had the same accent as Olivia Newton-John was one of the judges. Her eyes sparkled like the big ONJ’s but the person speaking had nothing else moving on her face. Her eyes moved side to side and her lips moved up and down. Apparently this shellacked creature had starred in Grease.

I asked Earl, “When was Joan Rivers in Grease?”


The Long Way Around.

I mentioned a while back that through various bear channels I ran into an ex of an ex online. Back in 1990, based on the brief time I had to talk with him, I secretly thought he was a pretty nice guy but I naturally couldn’t say that since he was the current boyfriend of my ex. I mean, he moved in shortly after I moved out, and while I claimed washer and dryer rights and then finally took the units with me, he was nice enough to fold the laundry that I left there. I think that in itself speaks volumes. Anyways, he came to his senses a little while later, made my ex his ex and then went on to find his true love.

This weekend Earl and I met up with Sean and Jeffrey for the first time face to face. Their friend Evan joined us for the fun as well, as it was bear weekend in the fine city of Albany. We stayed at the Clarion Hotel, as the Motel 6 across the street was sold out. There were furry guys to be found at both hotels.

Earl and I had an absolutely smashing time. Just as I knew back in 1990, Sean is a really, really nice guy and the same goes for his husband Jeffrey. The five of us went to dinner at the Butcher Block in Albany, a lovely barn of a place that has a wonderful salad and soup bar and a comfortable, down-to-home ambience that I rather enjoyed. Earl commented that Sean and I carried on like we’d known each other (better) for years. Afterwards we headed to bear night where we hung out, got bumped around by all the guys and smattering of women milling around the place, downed a few beers and chatted with many people. There’s something about bear night that makes me a little more outgoing. Perhaps it’s the beer, maybe it’s all the woofiness. Either way it’s moderately innocent. I enjoyed chatting with some like minded guys and exchanging e-mail addresses.

Earl and I are really looking forward to getting together with Sean and Jeffrey again soon. We took the long way around to become friends, but it was a path well worth traveling.

Albany, N.Y.

Earl and I have installed ourselves in Albany, N.Y. for the night. We are joining our friends Sean and Jeffrey (and their friend Evan) for dinner and then we are heading out to bear night at Club Phoenix.

It was hit or miss whether we were going to make it here tonight after all, as Earl worked most of the day and has been traveling like a madman all week. After a little bit discussion (friendly of course), we decided to make the trip after all.

We’re looking forward to the fun and I’ll probably have stories to share tomorrow! I’m typing this blog entry in TextEdit and then have to go up to the lobby to post it, because the hotel-wide free wireless internet isn’t working very well. Perhaps with our room next to the laundry room the dryers are throwing out bad vibes or something.

I Love My Radio.

Here’s a very rare video from 1985. This was a big gay club record and one of my favorites.


Taffy, “I Love My Radio”

The Hot 107 Era.

Earl and I are going out with friends in Albany tonight, so I’m in the mood for dance music. Here’s a couple of music videos from my “Hot 107 Era”. Back in 1993 and ’94, when I was just a baby radio DJ, I worked for a radio station called Rock 107 which became Hot 107 (then it was sold). Here’s a couple of tracks that we spun to death:

Cathy Dennis, “Just Another Dream”

The KLF featuring Tammy Wynette, “Justified and Ancient”

Juliet Roberts, “I Want You”

Cause And Effect, “Another Minute”

Captain Hollywood Project, “More and More”

The Friendly Skies.

I’ve been speaking with Earl throughout the afternoon today. He’s been sitting on his flight bound home. It’s been sitting on the runway in Indianapolis for approximately three hours. No food, no water, no deposit, no return. That’s right, the average American pays hundreds of dollars for the privilege of sitting in a aluminum paper-towel tube in the middle of a runway without amenities.

It’s is one of my greatest hopes that the airlines permanently go bankrupt. Perhaps then we’ll all slow down just a bit and drive an electric car to our desired destination.