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Bam! Bam!

Earl and I decided to take a ride this afternoon. He was feeling a little better (he’s been under the weather for the past day or two) and the weather was gorgeous, so we jumped in the Jeep and drove through the countryside. We ended up at a Red Robin for supper. It was delish with a capital “De”.

Afterwards, we continued our trek and ended up driving through some rural country on the way home. There was a car ahead of us on this lonely stretch of road. We had seen deer left and right for the past 10 miles when we spotted a deer approaching the road ahead of us. There it was, plain as day, obviously thinking about crossing the road. We slowed down accordingly.

The car in front of us did not.

The next thing we knew, the deer was airborne, the car was swerving all over the place and then limping to the side of the road and smoke appeared to be coming out the windows.

We pulled up alongside the now disabled car and found one occupant with his little puppy. The “smoke” was from the deployment of the air bags. The front end of his car was totaled. The deer was dead. We asked if he was alright, luckily, he and the dog were both fine but they obviously weren’t going anywhere. Earl pulled out his cell phone and called 911, and then we stayed with the guy and his puppy until the cops came. I cleaned the debris, except the dead deer, off the road so other cars wouldn’t hit it, Earl chatted with the guy while they sat in the Jeep, apparently the dog was recovering from pneumonia and couldn’t be outside. He appreciated the gesture.

After getting the driver acquainted with the police, we continued on our way home. I laid back in the seat for a few moments to close my eyes (Earl was driving), when I hear three loud bangs, Earl dropped a few f-bombs and then we swerved all over the place. We were in downtown Rome and a minivan headed in the direction opposite us decided that he didn’t want to turn left from the left turn only lane, so he headed straight for us, mowed down a few signs, jumped the island in the middle of the boulevard and went up on two wheels before coming down on all fours.

The smoke came out of the windows as their airbags were deployed.

Since it was a busy section of town full of cars and there were plenty of witnesses, we just headed the hell home. We didn’t want to see what would happen on the third time.

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Nice Baskit.

Earl gave me a Christmas present this week. He came home with three new pair of underwear, which were originally intended to be a Christmas gift but have been back-ordered all this time.

In case you’re curious, this is the style I wear, though I am not the person modeling them in the picture.

I grew up as a tighty-whitey sort of guy, switched to boxers for a bit a couple of years ago and then went back to the reliable tighty-whiteys. I’ve tried thongs (which did nothing for me), I occasionally wear bikini briefs and I can often be found going commando in the summertime, but for the most part it’s tighty-whiteys all the way.

And these Baskit briefs are just so comfortable.

I believe that having a comfortable, confidence inspiring, sexy pair of underwear is an important part of the foundation of a productive, self-assurance inspiring day. Let’s face it, if you’re not comfortable in your underwear, there’s a good chance that your day is not going to get off on the right foot.

With a little help from Earl’s gift, today I feel like a million bucks.

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Pull Up.

Feeling the rebirth vide of spring and the need to confidently wear a superhero costume on a video, I installed the pull-up bar in our workout area today. I don’t know why I rushed to the occasion, because we bought the pull bar only six or seven months ago, but the planets were aligned properly or something so I figured I might as well go ahead and do it.

Ready to do six or seven sets of 10 reps, I confidently pulled myself up onto the pull-up bar and promptly had flashbacks to junior high where we had to do the exact same thing in front of our classmates. Back then I could do 1 1/2 pull ups if I was lucky and encouraged by my classmates that called me “Johnny Wing Dingbat”.

Today I did three, sort of. Big whoopin’ doo.

I don’t think that was a bad start for several reasons. First of all, I’ve done no strength training at all. I’ve been focusing on my legs (for cycling) and my cardio for fat burning. My clothes are fitting better to the point where I’m wearing my smaller sized clothes without having to hold my breath or fear showering anyone near me with Levi rivets. I’ve been eating healthier and feeling better but the scale isn’t agreeing with me, so I think I’m gaining muscle which is heavier than fat (so I’ve been told). At least that rationale sounds good.

Anyway, here I am at the pull-up bar doing three pull-ups when I realize that I should take the stool away so that I’m really hanging there. Naw, I did that part, but I don’t remember if I should have my palms facing away from me or toward me while I’m doing this exercise. So I did three pull-ups each way, for a total of six. Later tonight I might actually unpack the free weights and then do some reps with those.

I told Earl last weekend that I think I was either suffering from seasonal depression or a midlife crisis (I’m approaching 39). He said I’m just nuts and besides he had planned on enduring several of my midlife crises before all is said and done. I’m glad he’s the sensible one.

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The Southern Tier.

Since today was the first beautiful day we’ve had (at least when we’ve been here) this year, I decided to celebrate by going on one of my roadgeek rides. Today’s journey took me to the Southern Tier of The Empire State, including the thriving metropolii of Auburn, Ithaca, Elmira, Owego and Binghamton.

I rarely will admit this, but I love New York.

I observed a couple of things:

– It was refreshing to see the rapidly melting snow and to realize that the only portion of the state that I drove through that still had snow was our area.

– I thanked the Universe for Wegmans for with my water and iced tea consumption during this ride, I basically drove from Wegmans to Wegmans so that I could use their conveniently located restrooms in the front of each store. I consider my urine too good for the Wal*Mart potty, God Bless Wegmans.

– I ate relatively healthy courtesy of Wegmans, as they had a wide selection of healthy choices for lunch and snack.

– I discovered that there is a certain quaintness to several Southern Tier village downtown areas, including Horseheads, Elmira, Owego, Endicott and Sayre, Pa.

– I don’t miss my mustache like I thought I would, as I caught the eye of more than a few. Humility 0, Confidence 1

The ride was absolutely gorgeous and I made several notes for my roadgeek website and took several pictures as well.

Along the ride I listened to about five hours of podcasts on my iPod. I am now well-versed in all things Mac once again. Sip of kool aid anyone?

Life is good.

Distraction Training.

When I’m writing in my blog or doing school work I usually need to have relative silence. Many will listen to their iPods or watch television but lately I’m not able to handle the distraction of noise, be it music, television, airplanes, thunderstorms, whatever, while I’m concentrating on a task.

I find this relatively new development to be surprising. Before working for the telephone company, I worked for a radio station where there is constantly fifty things going on at once. People are walking in and out of the studio as you’re talking on the air, phones need to be answered while you’re loading up the next CD and thinking about what happens next and the radio is obviously constantly on while you’re doing your work. When I went to the telephone company, there was an unspoken rule that “music shall not be heard within these walls” in the tech support center I worked in, so the only sounds one heard was the ringing of telephones, little murmurs of conversation, a network trouble signal that sounded like an air-raid siren and the occasional f-bombs from nearby co-workers. Compared to the radio station, the telephone company was pretty quiet.

Now I find myself easily distracted by noise.

I can’t write in my blog if Earl has music going on his computer. The cat is constantly trying to jockey a spot on my lap to the point where I have begun locking him out of the room when I’m trying to work and I’m falling behind on my podcast listening because I’m spending more time on the computer doing actual work so I can’t concentrate and listen at the same time.

So with it being springtime and the ensuing changes (“My you look much younger without your mustache!” was a common theme at school today), I have begun “distraction training”, where I listen to music and do a given task at the same time.

If my blog entries are a little more incoherent than usual you’ll know why.

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Can’t Beet ‘Em.

I thought I would be a good husband today and do all the grocery shopping while Earl was at work. I figured he has enough on his plate so why make him worry about going to the market.

As I took a leisurely stroll through the store, I made a wonderful discovery in the “Nature’s Place” section. I have fallen in love with “Beet Chips”.

[Beet Chips]

The chips pictured above are not the brand that I purchased, but you’ll get the idea. Basically, these are just like potato chips but made out of beets. They’re sweeter, a little healthier and are absolutely delicious. I could easily eat an entire bag but I won’t, I really won’t, no, I won’t.

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Goofball.

Now that I’m awake and can hopefully write coherently. As I mentioned last night, I was co-host for a local scholarship pageant, Miss Mohawk Valley. This was my third time as the host, and this year I shared the duties with the current Miss New York, Bethlene Pancoast. I was a little nervous about sharing the spotlight in this regard for two reasons: 1. I often see myself as a bumbling fool when I’m on stage and Bethlene has a wonderous stage presence about her and 2. I don’t have a lot of experience with co-hosting as during my radio days I was mostly a solo act.

It turned out that my fears were for nothing (which is usually the case) as I had a wonderful time at the gig. The executive director of the pageant provides me with a script and asks that I stick to it. I rarely do that and to keep things interesting I save my ad-libs for the actual performance. I like to add an air of spontaneity. For example, last night I took stopped the show to take a picture of the audience.

Audience

As you can see there were about 100 people or so. Perhaps the chair-fillers were in the rest room as this was just prior to intermission. One unintentional ad-lib was when I flipped two cue cards instead of one, skipping a contestant during the talent portion which meant I introduced the wrong one, throwing the entire backstage crew into a panic as walky-talkies started squawking “he’s skipping! what’s he doing! stop him!” and sets started moving around to adjust for my erroneous dialogue. Bethlene came out and corrected me, and all got back on track. To cover, I made a few jokes about “deja vu” as I ran through the same dialogue again at the right time. Next year my agent will have to make sure there’s a teleprompter instead of cue cards written in crayon.

All in all, it was a great experience. The new Miss Mohawk Valley is Theresa Tokarowski, originally froom Amsterdam (N.Y.) and an exceptionally talented graduate of the Manhattan School of Music. From here she goes to Miss New York and then from there she would go on to compete for Miss America.

I really admire the ladies in these pageants as some are just finishing high school, there seems to be a lot of outfit changes involving dressing assistants, there’s that whole talent thing where you have to be absolutely spectacular in less than two minutes and it has to be absolutely nervewracking to be asked a question that will most likely be politically charged yet have nothing to do with world peace. I found Bethlene to be an amazing woman in that she is completely down to earth, yet confident and strikingly beautiful. And Theresa is like her in many regards. I wish them both success.

Then there’s me, the goofball on stage comparing myself to Ryan Seacrest and hamming it up on stage. I guess I did o.k. though, I’ve been asked to come back next year for more fun.

Here I am with Bethlene and the contestants, getting ready to make the big announcement.

Winner '07'

And here’s a photo of Earl and I with Miss Mohawk Valley 2007.

JP, Earl and Theresa

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Stage Presence.

I’m dog tired. The day started early this morning, we had rehearsals all day long and then the big show was tonight at 7:00 p.m. It’s hard work being the emcee for the Miss Mohawk Valley scholarship program pageant!

Here I am pictured with my co-host and Miss New York 2006, Bethlene Pancoast.

[Miss MV]

I felt I needed to get super spiffed up to hit the stage tonight. 🙂

The experience was wonderful and I’ll write more tomorrow.

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Spotlight.

This weekend I hit the stage for the first time in a couple of years. It is the annual “Miss Mohawk Valley Scholarship Program Pageant”, and while some would chuckle to think that I’m competing for Miss Mohawk Valley I am actually the emcee. Actually, this year I am a co-host, sharing the emcee duties with the current Miss New York. This winner from this pageant goes to Miss New York, and then Miss New York goes to Miss America, so it’s mildly exciting.

The last time I had the honor of being a host for this show was two years ago. I hope I’m not a little rusty and that my jokes have not run stale. It’s a good thing I have a script to follow, so I don’t try to funny with words like “shizzle”.

I suppose I’m going to have to get cleaned up in order for the tux I have to look right. Perhaps I’ll share a picture on the blog by the end of the weekend.

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Pre-Weekend Jam.

I was bopping around “YouTube” tonight and came across a track from 1990 or so that I used to go crazy over.

Here’s Lizette Melendez and “Together Forever”.

Oh, in the “let’s reveal something about our past department” I used to dance to this song (much like the dancers in this video), in nothing but Fruit of the Looms and a leather jacket, on a big speaker at a bar called “Citi” in Boston. How’s that for fun?