September 2009


I’m a tech geek. I love all things techy and cool. To feed my tech geek needs, I watch many of the CNET TV podcasts that are released daily. I’m a big fan of “Loaded“, “Mailbag“, “Top 5” and many others. (I do wish they would do more Linux based shows, though.)

A couple of weeks ago my friend Greg was sick in bed with the flu. Trying to be the concerned friend that I am, I sent him a text message with the advice to get plenty of liquids, except my iPhone thought I should say “get plenty of liquor” in it’s attempt to be all knowing. I thought this was humourous, so I sent it into the CNET Mailbag “Autoincorrect” segment, where Molly Wood features humourous autocorrect snafus that many geeks can share a hearty laugh about.

My autoincorrect was featured on yesterday’s show. It made me giggle to hear someone else read it.


As a quick aside, I really enjoy Molly’s style. She seems like she’d be fun to have dinner with.


So I am on-call this week, hence the reason for my lack of blog updates over the past couple of days. On-call week is going as expected when the weather forecast calls for rain, rain, thunderstorms, wind and more rain. I’m not swamped at the moment but I have been busy right along.

Being on-call for this job is so much different than being on-call for the radio station gig. At the radio station I was on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This would mean that I would get called once in a while by anyone at the radio station with any given crisis: “I’ve plugged the vacuum cleaner into the server rack and everything went dark and the radio stopped playing”, “Why are we playing ‘Oops I Did It Again’ by Britney Spears?” or “The computer in the studio has gone crazy and keeps playing the weather forecast over and over again!”

My current on-call gig is a whole ‘nother bunch of wires; I basically do my job 24 hours a day seven days a week for a week on an as needed basis. Last night I dealt with a power outage, a very surly Verizon technician who couldn’t be bothered to put the food he was eating down to speak to me, multiple broken DSL connections and an ornery Outlook Express inbox that kept hiding an AARP newsletter. I’m not complaining as I’ll be quite happy with my choice of extra days off or the overtime in return, but nevertheless it does like I put my life on hold for a week whilst I do the on-call thing.

It’s sort of like sitting at a traffic light that has just turned red. I have to wait until it turns green (at least in theory). While I wait at the light, I can’t do much but look around and see what’s going on around me. I’ll answer a text message or phone call or I’ll busy myself by picking up the stray fries that are wedged under the stick shift.

But until that light turns green, I’m just sitting there idling.


Yesterday Earl and I decided to take a drive up into the Adirondacks. It’s fall foliage season in these parts and while it’s not quite peak season yet the colours are quite impressive. It wasn’t a long drive to our first stop, the hamlet of Old Forge.

An impressive display of colour in front of the old Howard Johnson’s in Old Forge.

Earl and I walked around town a bit, stopping at the various shops and admiring this and that. One of our stops included the “Life Is Good” store, which was quite busy.

Earl poses with a friend.

We also went to Old Forge Hardware which has much more than hardware, in fact, they bill themselves as the most general store in the Adirondacks. It’s here that I bought a new Whirley-Pop and some gourmet popcorn, as well as some treats for Tom. On our way out of the store I noticed some a wild selection of colours in the distance, so I had to snap a photo.

Colourful leaves in the background and by chance a hot biker in the foreground.

There were a lot of folks riding their bikes and dressed in full leather, if you happen to notice that sort of thing.

After Old Forge we headed north and drove through the Fulton Chain of Lakes and then headed further north into the more desolate area of the Adirondacks, winding our way through several hamlets and towns along the way.

Raquette Lake.

After driving north an hour or two we came across a sign that indicated we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so I turned left and made the 105 mile trek to Watertown. By then it was dark and rainy so we decided to catch a movie before heading home. We got to the theatre just in time to see “Fame”. I wouldn’t consider it a waste of money in any way but I felt like I was just skimming through a plot without any sort of depth at all. There were women in front of us who squealed before the show started that they were going to sing along with the soundtrack; it’s too bad there’s only one song from the original in the show and it doesn’t really lend itself to singing along. I’m glad they didn’t sing.

We got home around 12:30. All in all it was a good Jeep adventure.

Oh, naturally I took my obligatory 365 days photo along the way.

Earl runs the camera.

More pics from the trip are available here.


So I am currently sitting outside the gaming floor of the local casino, writing this blog entry on my iPhone. Earl is playing Let It Ride and is doing good thus far. He thinks I’m out of money, but I’m not. I still have more than half of what I budgeted for tonight in my pocket. I have this thing about losing money; I don’t like to do it. I am quite content just people watching and being amused by the intensity of some of the players. I make up stories in my head about people. Someday they might end up characters in a novel I write.

I have received several comments on my last entry about my HIV test. Some comments have been through e-mail and have had a common theme: the younger generation ain’t taking HIV as seriously as my generation did. I suppose it’s because HIV was fairly new when I became sexually active and I saw a quite a few of my friends die of AIDS. With the advancement of medicine it seems that younger folks just aren’t as concerned with the disease that ravaged our community back in the day. I sometimes wonder if there is misinformation or a dose of ignorance out there. I sometimes think that I could do more in helping educate folks; I suppose these two blog entries are a start.

Well enough of the heavy stuff for tonight. After all, I’m listening to bells and whistles of slot machines and hearing the occasional scream of a winner here and there. A gay couple just walked by and they were holding hands. That’s pretty remarkable for these parts. It makes me grin.

I should probably go check on the husbear. He’s one of the best card players I’ve ever seen. Maybe he’ll buy me something pretty. Heh.

10 Minutes.

I was tested for HIV last week. There was no specific reason that prompted me to be tested; it had been a year or so and I felt it was the right thing to do. I believe everyone should be tested on a regular basis, regardless of your sexual orientation or the type of activity you engage in. It’s probably easiest when the test is integrated into your yearly physical. This time mine was not.

When I was tested last year, the test was included in the blood tests associated with my physical. The doctor didn’t prompt me to be tested for HIV or anything so I specifically requested it because it had been a long time and while I don’t engage in any sort of dangerous sexual activity, I know in the back of my mind that sex isn’t the only way of contracting HIV. So my doctor included the test in the whole screening thing; I had blood drawn and then had to wait 10 days for the results. To obtain my status I had to report to the doctor’s office for the news. This is a customary procedure. It was much easier than the first time I was tested back in 1990. Then I had to wait three weeks for my results (and several hours in the waiting room at the Chautauqua County health clinic).

This time I decided to go to the local health clinic for my test. I hadn’t been to this county clinic for an HIV test since the mid 1990s but the procedure is somewhat the same: you walk in during a certain time frame on a certain day, take a number, speak to no one about anything and then sit in the waiting room amongst all the others that have just taken a number. There is a wide smattering of people usually found in the waiting room; this time there were people of varying races, colours, sexual orientations and one woman that was having difficulty reading the word “vaginal” from a pamphlet about STDs. She chose to sound the word out aloud by saying “vag”, “vajuh”, “vajunohl” and then she finally got it. I’m glad she did because I wanted to stand up and help her by yelling “vaginal”, “vaginal”, “it’s vaginal!” but I refrained from this. She was ticking off the STD tests she was going to get as if she was going through the drive-thru and yelling into a speaker. It was shortly afterwards that a woman came out of one of the exam rooms and barked my number: “5”!

I was asked why I was there and then shuffled to a counselor that specialises in HIV counseling and testing. She explained that the new test now takes just 10 minutes. She would prick my finger as if I were doing a daily diabetes/blood sugar test, put it on the special stick and then talk to me whilst we waited for the results. She would only do this if I signed a form stating that I would not commit suicide if the results were positive because if that were the case, they would then do the older style test with the tube of blood and send it off to the state for more testing. I signed the consent form, provided some further information and then she did the finger prick.

She talked about safer sex, I talked about safer sex and she seemed slightly uncomfortable with my frankness on the subject but remained entirely professional. She was only concerned about my sexual activity for the past six months so I couldn’t regale her with my colourful history of trapezes, summer breezes and other adventures from days gone by (sorry, Mom). Before I knew it she declared 10 minutes were up and gave me my results.

People may wonder why I am being tested for HIV or why I feel it’s an important thing for everyone to do. I have dear friends that I love and others folks that I know that are HIV positive and while they live a healthy existence courtesy of modern science and will most likely continue to do so, I can guarantee that they will tell you that their life is more complicated, more costly and that they would probably rather be HIV negative instead of HIV positive. Being HIV positive does not take the worry of unsafe sex practices away. I knew a person that contracted HIV through a blood transfusion; I know others that didn’t practice safer sex and was infected by someone that didn’t share their status with them beforehand. I know one that just didn’t give a damn and was infected. While HIV can be mostly controlled these days, it can not be eradicated (though there are promising strides being made).

I believe that living my life honestly and striving to set a good example by contributing to the world I am making a difference somehow, somewhere. And I believe by sharing the fact that I was tested for HIV in an hour’s time at a local clinic and received my results the very same day, that I will make a difference in someone’s life with this information.


So a little research on YouTube turned up this video clip from a 1969 movie. Can you name the famous cartoon character who’s voice is in this scene? It’s best evident at 3:08 or so.


Moment., originally uploaded by iMachias.

A shot of Earl and I in Times Square a couple of weeks ago. I really like how Jamie just captures a random moment.

I think I was futzing with the GPS in my iPhone at the time.


This has been a little bit of a strange week thus far. I’m already in a weekend frame of mind, which isn’t entirely unusual in itself since I’m sort of wired for the weekend but tonight I keep thinking tomorrow is Saturday. And it’s only Wednesday. And I have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow morning to work the early shift.

I think the week is a little weird because it’s bookended with extra days off. I called off sick on Monday due to that 24-hour bug thing I had (which is completely out of my system, apparently) and I have a forced day off from work on Friday. Jamie will be out of town and Earl has taken a vacation day on Friday so it looks like there might be an adventure in the Jeep this weekend. And I’m kind of thinking about that. I have other things on my mind as well, but I’m definitely in a weekend mood.

Last night we had our adventure at Dunkin’ Donuts; tonight Jamie, Earl and I dressed in a presentable manner and went to Barnes and Noble where we read books, interacted with society, looked wise and had a cookie. There were no discussions about the lad named Beef Stew because he doesn’t work at Barnes and Noble, so instead we talked about important things such as the unavoidable arrival of 2012 in three years, the quality of a pumpkin chai and whether George Carlin lived in Nevada or not.

Yep, definitely in a weekend mood.

Windows 7.

Yes, it’s true. I have been selected to host an official Windows 7 Launch Party. The event takes place on Friday, October 23. I’ll be giving away some door prizes (including a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium) and the party is more of a happy hour with some Windows swag and chances to play with the new operating system thrown in.

I have to admit that I am very impressed with the latest version of Windows. It surprisingly runs better than Leopard on my MacBook Pro (the jury is still out on my comparison to Snow Leopard) and looks and feels gorgeous. I have been using a 90 day copy of the RTM (release to manufacturing) version on my PC and I have been quite pleased.

I could get into lots of details of the changes and such, but I found a very thorough review of Windows 7 on ActiveWin. Follow this link to read (or skim) the 70 page review if you’re so inclined.


234b.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.

Earl and I ran out to the local car dealership to put his work vehicle in for it’s routine maintenance. The weather was so balmy that I decided to pick him up in the Jeep. The Jeep is still in summer mode in that the sides and back are off and the doors have been removed. To make sure no autumn chill made the ride uncomfortable, I threw my sweatshirt on over the clothes I had changed into after work: the same comfortable t-shirt and jean shorts that I had worn during my sick day yesterday. Earl was dressed in similarly styled clothes: including a pair of cut off sweat pants and a t-shirt. He threw on a fleecy jackety thing to complete his ensemble.

After picking him up from the auto dealer I suggested we stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a treat. After bombing around in the Jeep in relative darkness for a little bit, the bright lights of the store were a bit startling. I imagined that we looked like those folks you see in a 7-11 at 3:00 a.m. that are looking for a quart of Ben and Jerry’s and they’re not fussy about the flavour.

We opted for iced tea and a donut (so healthy) and sat down in the corner just to shoot the breeze a little bit. We discussed important issues like the complete reshooting of the varicose veins commercial they show prior to the main feature at the local theatre and the missing crew member at the Dunkin’ Donuts (who has a license plate that says his name is Beef Stew).

More importantly, we decided to sell the house and move into a trailer because we felt very dressed for the part.