April 2008


I’m sitting at an auto service center. It’s one of the few of such establishments that I trust. I’ll walk into a downright filthy diner and slurp down some chow but I won’t think of bringing my vehicle to a garage that doesn’t meet my personal gold standards. These guys are good. I trust them.

I’ve just handed the keys to my Acura over to a service man who I have to admit is quite woofy (I tend to notice these things). It’s time for an oil change, tire rotation and yearly inspection (for the car, not for me). It’s difficult for me to hand the keys to my beloved vehicle over to another person regardless how much I trust them; I’ve only let a handful of people drive my car and Earl is the only one that has been trusted to repeat the experience. I’d let my sister drive my car again. She has the same zest I have behind the wheel.

Some folks find it surprising how much I love my car. On the flip side I don’t understand how someone could not love their car. I do not get the whole “it’s only a car” mentality. My car is an extension of my body when I’m behind the wheel. It’s not a car, it’s a friend. We’ve had good times together.

One of these days I’ll get around to changing my own oil and doing my own maintenance again. It’s an exercise that I enjoy. Earl and I were only a month or two into our relationship when I drove my Hyundai into the garage and changed the plugs and wires, changed the oil and did other maintenance while he watched. I don’t think he expected that from me. I was fortunate growing up; one of my best friends was the youngest of an auto mechanic that owned a junk yard. Like his father, he could get an engine started while it was still sitting on the floor of the garage. The inhalation of exhaust fumes probably kept me away from the drugs. That could explain a lot. We spent hours and hours rebuilding the engine in his ’69 Dodge pickup. He also helped out when my Dad and I moved the engine from my ’74 Chevy Vega to my ’76 Pontiac Astre.

Now that’s a car for a young driver: a 1974 Chevy Vega. It reached 55 in no less than five minutes, wouldn’t start unless you had your seat belt on and you could see and hear the rust do it’s work on the top side of the fenders.

I still loved it though.

Winding Down.

As of today I have exactly two weeks left in this semester. I’m having a little trouble staying focused on the task at hand. It’s kind of hard to describe but on one hand I feel like this semester never really got off the ground while on the other hand I feel like I’ve been trapped in the semester seemingly forever. Quite frankly I’ll be happy when it’s over. I’m sure the presence of an 8 a.m. class has thrown me off kilter a little bit.

One of the things I find a little disheartening has to do with Professor Frightful. The college eliminated “finals week” this year. Rumour has it that it was discontinued because it put too much stress on the students. To make up for the lack of finals week, many professors are giving the same final, just spreading it over two days. Professor Frightful keeps talking about giving us an exam BEFORE the two-day final exam, but he can’t decide if he wants to make it a totally in class exam, a totally take-home exam or an aromatic blend of the two. From pre-game conversations I’ve had with my classmates before the teacher arrived to the classroom, it seems that NO ONE is doing well in the course. The highest score on the last exam was 52 out of a possible 90 points. I came in second with a 51 out of 90. He offered us the chance to do corrections at home; my corrections raised my grade up to a 72. I had the answers correct throughout the exam, but he didn’t like the work shown supporting my answer. I found this surprising because I copied the steps for each problem letter for letter from the book, just changing numbers as I went along. Apparently I missed the chapter on how to complete the problem in an alternate universe.

Aside from the tango with mathematics, the semester has gone relatively well. In physics, things going up still come down; in statics trusses are still supported in a myriad of ways and in surveying it’s not good to build a road where the curve throws a vehicle off of a cliff.

I think I’m ready for my next semester. My earliest class will be at 10 a.m.

Twice In A Weekend.

I’ve been tagged again! What’s up with that? Perhaps I haven’t divulged enough about myself lately. Jeff at Esoteric Diversions tagged me this time, so away we go.

Here are the rules of the meme:

  • Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
  • Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
      I will violate this rule
  • Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
      Violating this rule too, I’m such a rebel

Seven facts about myself, some random, some weird:

  1. I was born at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday the 13th of July, 1968
  2. I had a crush on a male teacher while I was in elementary school. Even though it’s been nearly 30 years, as recently as last week I Googled his name hoping to find a picture. I was unsuccessful.
  3. My first sexual encounter that went all the way to home base was in March 1987.
  4. I can recite the New York State Thruway interchanges and service areas in order in either direction. I can do the same for Interstate 81 in New York. This talent makes me the life of many parties.
  5. I’ve kissed Ruth Buzzi. She didn’t slip me the tongue or anything.
  6. I can be alarmingly candid about somewhat taboo subjects in relatively appropriate settings. This does not include the yearly family reunion.
  7. Of all the jobs I’ve had over the years, one of the more recent groups of people I worked with were my favorite. I didn’t dig the job, but for the most part I loved the group. This kept me in the job longer than I probably should have been.

I’m not much of a tagger, so I’m going to let whomever wants to pick this up do it under their own free will.

The Common Ground.

The Common Ground.

Earl and I are back from our little adventure to Ithaca, where I was the guest DJ at The Common Ground last night. We had a really good time. The dance floor was busy from 11 p.m. onwards (that always makes me happy) and I had quite a few folks compliment me on my mix of music. It was different enough from the house DJs to keep in interesting but familiar enough that the folks were still able to know what they were hearing and enjoy accordingly. I had the opportunity to meet one of the house DJs, Dr. DJ Mike, who asked about the particular version of “Apologize” by OneRepublic and Timbaland that I play (it’s the Tony Arzadon Club Remix that I heard when we were in Dublin last fall). There were a couple of other inquiries throughout the night. The Common Ground also has a computer system with every song they have in their massive CD library, and one computer on the network is available to the crowd to make requests. I didn’t use their CDs but I was able to accommodate several of the requests throughout the night that scored me points.

The crowd was an interesting and somewhat amusing blend of folks. The club is larger than what we have here in Utica. It was Leather/Levi and Bear night (I spin best at these kinds of nights) and at one end of the club most of those guys were congregated around the bar chatting, playing pool and enjoying the music. At the other end of the bar were the club bunnies, twinks and a smattering of transgendered folks that I couldn’t tell which way they were transgendering. On the other hand, perhaps they were just creatively dressed. They celebrated my end of night selection of pseudo-disco tracks (“Coming Out Of Hiding” by Pamala Stanley, “The Rumour” by Olivia Newton-John) by clogging with their high heels.

The DJ booth at The Common Ground blew me away. They have a REALLY nice setup. The DJ booth was nicer than the last radio station studio I worked at! I hadn’t expected as much high-tech equipment as they had, nor did I anticipate the amount of volume that was available at my fingertips. I was in eargasm heaven. It was also a good opportunity for me to hear how my MP3s and such from various sources compared to each other. I have a couple of tracks on the PowerBook that I have to weed out simply because they don’t sound good over a relatively powerful system. Luckily they are mostly old tracks that I dug up from somewhere on the internet years ago and can easily replace by rerecording the vinyl here in the studio at home. Earl assured me that everything sounded fine with these couple of tracks but that I was probably noticing things that others wouldn’t pay a moment’s notice to.

This morning we slept in a bit and then came home by way of the Finger Lakes, stopping for lunch and a little shopping excursion at The City (formerly known as ‘Circuit City’?). I picked up a couple of new speakers for the studio here at the house as I was obviously inspired by last night’s setup. I expect to be making more mixes to share very soon.


Bearpupuk tagged me for a meme. So here we go.

1) What was I doing 10 yrs ago?
I was Program Director of Top 40 radio station WOWZ/WOWB, “Wow-FM, The Beat of Central New York”. Earl and I were still in the honeymoon phase, even though we were two years into our relationship. We were experiencing our first spring in our first house.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today:
1. Answer awaiting e-mail in the inbox
2. Take a shower
3. Plan out tonight’s gig (I should get hopping, less than two hours until I spin)
4. Take a short nap
5. Avoid beer

3) 5 snacks I enjoy:
2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
3. M&Ms
4. Peanut butter on saltine crackers
5. Chocolate Chip Cookies

4) 5 things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Contribute at least 10% of our wealth to the For All Kids Foundation
2. Pay off the bills of my immediate family members and other equally important people in our lives
3. Invest for the future well-being of our nieces and nephews
4. Buy a few homes – especially one in Ireland
5. Invest in our local economy to improve the local presence and give the corporate hogs a run for their money

5) 5 of my bad habits:
(Forgetting to go back and edit parts I skipped in a document!)
1. The excessive use of the word ‘wicked’
2. Looking for greener grass on the other side
3. Analysing any given topic six ways from Sunday before making a decision
4. Putting up my own blocks that prevent me from losing inhibitions
5. Retreating into my own space and not reaching out to others when they could use support

6) 5 places I have lived:
1. Upstate New York along Lake Ontario (my hometown near Pulaski, N.Y.)
2. Jamestown, N.Y.
3. Boston, Mass.
4. various towns between Boston and Worcester, Mass.
5. Utica, N.Y.

7) 5 jobs I have had:
1. Department Coordinator/IT coordinator level 3 at Digital Equipment Corporation
2. fastest cashier in the store at Hills Department Store #66
3. Community Residence managers at The Resource Center (Chautauqua County ARC) and The Arc of Oneida County
4. Just about every position available at a Top 40 radio station
5. IT Technical Support for a regional telephone and internet connectivity provider

I could tag five folks, but I’d rather see just who grabs this and runs with it.

Company In Bed.

Someone didn’t care that I was up until 3:15 a.m. Per his rules I must be up at 8 a.m. for tuna time.

He’s more persistent than Grandma City ever was, but I don’t think she was up in the morning for tuna.

Photo 27.jpg

Just Drive.

As I type this first sentence of this entry, I realize that I’m probably going to sound like a cocky prick as my words flow onto the screen. It’s a good thing I don’t care.

I have always been a fan of driving. I am a motoring enthusiast. I love roads (hence my career as a civil engineer), I revel in construction, I relax by driving as far as I can, only to turn around and come back home. My farts smell like exhaust fumes.

One concept that I can not wrap my head around is the idea that driving is scary. I have talked to many, many people from this area over the years that are afraid to drive in “the city”. They’re afraid to drive on the “interstate”. Mind you, during these conversations they are talking about our city: a primary contributor to the “rust belt” with a population of about 50,000 or so and our interstate, one of the shortest in the entire country clocking in at just over three miles long.

As a teenager I was counting the seconds until I could get my driver’s permit. On my 16th birthday (which was a Friday the 13th by the way) my mother took me down to the Department of Motor Vehicles and I promptly took the written test and passed with just one question wrong; we filled out the proper paperwork and I was behind the wheel on the way home. It wasn’t my first time behind the wheel, I once drove home from a neighboring town at 14 years with my Dad in the passenger seat. I had driven a fork-lift all over the lumber yard my family owned and I had ridden motorcycles and mo-peds.

I reveled in the experience of driving, and per the rules of my parents, went through one winter on my permit and Driver’s Education before getting my license before I turned 17.

As I mentioned before I can’t wrap my head around being scared to drive. I’ve driven through Los Angeles and Orange County while yapping on a cell phone and snorting coke (totally kidding about the last two points), I’ve thoroughly enjoyed 128 around Boston at rush hour, I’ve bombed through Phoenix on I-10, I’ve driven the 190 in Buffalo in the middle of a whiteout and I’ve driven through Dublin on the other side of the road with the wheel on the other side of the car. I know my limits and I know the limits of the vehicle I’m driving. When I’m in the driver’s seat, the car is an extension of my body and I treat it as such.

So here’s where I become a prick.

1. Freeway on-ramps are designed for you to reach the speed of the traffic on the freeway before you merge into traffic. Don’t look back at me in your mirror with bewilderment because I’m trying to coax you above 25 MPH. There are exceptions to the rule on outdated parkways in the Northeast.

2. When you are sitting behind the wheel of the car you are there to drive. You are not there to shave, put on makeup, talk on the phone, counsel the children, eat a meal or make a bagel.

3. Modern traffic signals will not know to change in your favor until they sense that you’re waiting. Creeping up to the light at 10 is just going to prolong the experience for all involved.

4. The “stop line” at intersections are not randomly placed anywhere. Traffic engineers have taken countless precise measurements and have strict standards to adhere to regarding their placement. Just because you can’t make a left turn properly (cutting the angle short across the other lane of traffic) doesn’t mean that you have to make mean faces because I’m right where I should be awaiting for you to complete your idiocy. Don’t look shocked when I stick my tongue out at you.

5. The left lane on the freeways of the United States is NOT the ‘fast lane’, it is the ‘passing lane’. If you’re not passing anyone, you don’t belong there. That’s why we are spending additional taxpayer’s money putting up signs that say “KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS”. This is just common sense. If someone blinks their lights at you (a common practice in Europe) because you’re dawdling in the left lane, don’t get all offended, you’re the one that is wrong.

Now, get out there and enjoy the driving experience. Happy motoring!