Today’s kids have everything they can imagine and more. They come home from school, still dazzled by the PowerPoint presentations that have replaced the overhead slide projector and sit in front of their gaming console and play video games while chatting with their friends on their very own cell phone.
Back in my day (he says like a wise old sage after having a few beers), we kids had this after school:
One of my college courses, “English Composition”, is an online course. Back in December when I was setting up my schedule, this was the last course that I needed to schedule and I had successfully kept my Fridays empty and I didn’t want to mar that record, so I signed up to take the course online.
Now there’s a sentence that would make the grammar police cringe.
As with most online courses, you post your coursework to a discussion board, where your classmates and instructors read and review it and make comments. Since this is my first stab at college in a long time, I’ve held back a bit in my comments. I say things like “I found your essay had a casual feel to it. I didn’t feel like I had wasted my time by reading it” in an effort to try to be nice to some of the rougher drafts posted for discussion.
However, as of late I’ve started becoming the spelling police. I’ve begun posting little catch phrases in an effort to help my fellow students with their spelling mistakes.
“You want two desserts in the desert, not two deserts in your dessert!”
“Why don’t you lose some weight so your pants will be loose?”
“Where shall you wear your clothes tonight?”
“They’re excited that their friends will be there.”
I believe that correct spelling is important regardless of the medium or the circumstance. We all make mistakes, but that’s what the red little squiggle line in Word is for, to help you find your mistakes. When I was working in technical support I would get messages that held intelligent phrases such as “My ‘puter went broke. Can U fixit?” Requests such as these went to the bottom of the pile and rarely saw the light of day. When I was at the radio station, resumés were instantly discarded if I saw a spelling mistake or if said document was based on an Office template. I figured a lack of attention to detail and a lack of creativity were not qualities I was looking for in a candidate for air personality.
I can’t even send a text message on my cell phone without writing out the whole word. It’s just not in my nature.
With tonight being the busiest school night for me, it’s only natural that Earl is home from his various business trips one night only this week, and tonight would be that night. Luckily, I finished up my project at school early and was able to get out of class ahead of schedule.
As you can see from this photo, I dressed up for the occasion. Now don’t go thinking I wore these popcorn pants to school because I don’t think I’d have the nerve to do that. But as soon as I got home I was delighted to slip into my lounging clothes.
Tomorrow my jet set partner heads to Tennessee and then from there to New Jersey before arriving home late Friday night.
I have spent the entire day sitting at the kitchen table studying. I’m starting to feel like I’m ahead of the college game again as last week it seems like all my instructors jolted awake and said “let them have homework”. I usually save Sunday nights for my Drafting class homework, but Earl and I got wrapped up in the Academy Awards so I ended up pushing it off until today.
By the way, did anyone else find the Academy Awards as boring as I did? I mean I loved sitting on the couch with Earl to my left and Tom on my lap and it was nice to see Jennifer Hudson win her award and I surely enjoyed seeing Melissa Etheridge win her award for her song in Vice President Al Gore’s documentary (which is recording on the TiVo as I type this), but on the whole I found the award ceremony relatively boring. The naked people behind the white screen making bird shadows and whatnot were sort of like fireworks, you “ooh” and “aah” the first time or two you see them then you start showing more interest in swatting bugs and such. While I was rather excited to have Ellen DeGeneres as the host I found her to be somewhat subdued and rather absent from large chunks of the show. I mean she didn’t do a poor job but I wasn’t dazzled like I thought I would be.
Earl is out of town until Friday night save for a cameo appearance tomorrow night before leaving again Wednesday morning. We’re having guests over this weekend so I’ll be busy sprucing up, plus I’m having dinner with our friend Eric on Wednesday so I won’t be a surly hermit or anything but gosh I think it’s going to be a long week.
Earl and I drove to Syracuse to visit with my Mom and sister today. We decided to go the long way, passing through the Village of Parish and City of Oswego, both of which were featured on the national news because of the recent snowstorm.
The snow has settled considerably since falling two weeks ago, but the snowbanks are still quite impressive.
To make my partner’s life of business travel a little bit easier, I offered to take his car to the grocery store today so I could fill the gas tank up on the way home. He cautioned me that perhaps I should get gas on the way to the market, because there was a chance that I wouldn’t have enough to make it all the way to the store. You see, he likes to live on the edge. I discovered very early in our relationship that he believed when the gas gauge was on “E”, the idiot light flashed a little gas pump and the warning chimes chimed, you easily had at least 100 miles worth of gas left in the tank. The vehicle you driving didn’t matter, you had 100 miles left if you were driving a Yugo, a Fiat, a tractor trailer or a tank.
So I stopped in to the local gas station to fill up the tank. Luckily, I made it without needing to coast. It was close though, because the gas station is over one mile away from our house. At the station I went through the usual routine: I pressed the “PAY OUTSIDE” key, swiped my card in a spastic, hurried manner hoping the reader wasn’t clogged with ice, punched my way through various menus including credit or debit, car wash or no, age, weight, zip code and sexual orientation.
After listening to the pump shake, rattle and roll as it presumably put a 89 octane Tiger in my tank, I put the nozzle back on the rack and waited for the next question. “RECEIPT? YES/NO”
I don’t know why I bother answering yes. We all know that nothing is going to print there at the pump. Do you know why? I’ll tell you why. The manager holds the secret key to the roll of paper in the pump and the manager is relaxing in Bermuda on stolen lottery money.
Why is the manager the only one that holds this magic key? Can someone please explain to me why the staff members of a convenience store are not allowed to change the paper in the gas tanks? They hold the key to the storage tanks of thousands of gallons of a highly explosive fluid but they are not allowed to change a 3/4-inch by 25 foot roll of receipt tape.
I find that baffling.
What makes the situation worse is that the manager never changes the paper on Friday, so by mid morning Saturday all of the pumps are out of paper and the Speedpass “Pay at the Pump” ain’t so speedy because you have to go into the store, stand in line behind the smelly woman that’s buying $200 worth of scratch of lottery tickets and four cartons of Pall Malls and then beg for your receipt.
It was the summer of 1989. My boyfriend (we’ll call him “Tom” to maintain anonymity) had just broken up with me because I wasn’t the same person he had met two years prior (to use his words). In the real world he was absolutely right, I wasn’t. I was growing as a 21 year old man should do when one is 21 years old.
I worked for the second largest computer company (at the time) in the world. I was a proud DECcie (the DEC was more properly called “Digital” within the company) and was a member of BGLAD (Bisexual Gays and Lesbians at Digital) and DEC-Plus (DEC People Like Us). At our monthly luncheons my brothers and sisters would often talk about a club that was basically in the middle of the woods near the New Hampshire border. You’d think living near Boston everyone would migrate to Beantown for their Friday and Saturday night fun, but no, some went to a club called “DiRocco’s” between Lowell, Mass. and Nashua, N.H.
As a farm boy from Upstate New York I was hesitant to go out in Boston by myself. The anonymous one, Tom (just a pseudonym, I assure you) wouldn’t dream of going to any bar, let alone a club in Boston, lest anyone actually look at me.* But I knew I could handle DiRocco’s alone. It sounded like a wicked good time and the DJ got rave reviews from those that went there. And besides, the chances were very good that I would run into someone I knew.
The reason I wanted to go out was because I was mostly interested in the music. Having grown up via high school dances with “Working For The Weekend” and that dreck by Benny Mardones played over and over, I longed for some “real” club music in a club setting.
The time was right. It was the middle of August and it was hot. I had no plans and Anonymous Tom was off with his new boyfriend (so soon! Shocking!) So I gathered up my nerve and drove the 30 minutes to DiRocco’s. My fellow DECcies were right, it was in the middle of nowhere. My stomach was flip flopping. I hadn’t been in a bar in over two years and I had never been to one near a big city. As I parked the car I could hear the thump of the bass in the parking lot. The butterflies in my stomach increased in their churning intensity but I was also flushed with a rush of excitement.
It walked in and felt like I hit a wall of energy. The dance floor was packed with shirtless men and women. They were bumping and grinding at a frenetic pace. The music was loud! I could just feel the excitement of the crowd, almost as if they were consumed by a wild, sexually charged, power as they mingled and mangled and hooked up and broke up. All to the beat of the music from two turntables and a kiss-ass sound system.
I’ll never forget that first moment I walked into DiRocco’s. It was like the DJ controlled the party. If the music is too slow, they get bored and leave. If the music is too fast, they get tired too quickly and go home. You have to build it up slowly, beginning with a tease of what’s to come, then engage in foreplay before building it all up to a climax where everyone is sweaty and doing all they can do and more on the dance floor before you ramp it back a bit so everyone can come back to reality before heading home after last call.
When I made that first step into DiRocco’s, this was the song playing: “Touch Me” by the 49ers.** It’s derived of two different samples, “Touch Me” by Alicia Warren and “Rock-A-Lott” by Aretha Franklin. As the case with most Italian House songs, the person singing in the video is just a model lipsynching. At least this one is honest about it and doesn’t claim to be singing.
* That boyfriend would get so wildly jealous that I might exchange glances with another man that he forbad me from wearing mirrored sunglasses. I have no regrets, only learning experiences and that relationship taught me A LOT.
** I used to think the lyric was “Peter Pan was a man” but it’s “People can’t understand it”
I have made an absolutely fabulous discovery on the internet. It’s called In2TV. It’s AOL’s free video streaming service. It has a TON of classic shows that you can watch on your computer.
Now I’m going to say that I like this service very much. I’ve already watched a number of episodes of “Alice” (from various seasons so that I could get all versions of the theme song stuck in my head), the unaired pilot of “Gilligan’s Island” with two secretaries named Ginger and Bunny, an unaired episode of the series “Aquaman” and early “Superman” episodes. And I just discovered In2TV last night around midnight.
Unfortunately, it’s an AOL product so naturally it’s not done as well as it could be. For example, you can download many of the shows to your computer in DVD quality and watch them in full-screen. The bad news is that AOL decided to utilize Windows-exclusive software to do that, so you can’t do it from a Mac or Linux computer. Non-Windows users are forced to watch a smaller picture as it’s streamed and they can’t save the file. From what I can tell (since this is a Macinhouse), Windows users can download the files and watch them full-screen but they expire in a couple of years and you’re limited to the In2TV player, so there’s no transferring to an iPod or anything.
Now this service may have been around for a while and you may already know about it, but I’m hooked. In fact, I’ve become so excited about streaming video over the internet that I’ve also started downloading more videos on iTunes in the process. Those we can watch full screen on our Macs (all bow before Apple).
So get over to In2TV for complete Visual Lavinzation.
Update 10:20 a.m.: OMG they have “V: The Series”! OMG.