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Costume!

So I ended up working late tonight. I got home about 45 minutes beyond my usual time. Earl had asked earlier in the day if I would be interested in going to the movies tonight, I guess the remake of “Footloose” is out, and I declined, knowing that I would be tired from work. Truth be known, I’m not really interested in seeing “Footloose”, especially because it’s a remake and I don’t recall being particularly fond of the original version of the movie. I think the lively sounds of “Holding Out For A Hero” combined with a tractor fight threw me off or something. Anyways, Earl and Jamie went to the movie and Scott is working tonight.

What to do, what to do, what to do on Halloween.

I decided that I was in the mood to throw on a costume and walk through the mall like I mentioned in the previous post. I decided to wear an Army uniform I have from a while back.

Now I have two rules when it comes to wearing a costume: 1. It has to look authentic and 2. it has to be respectful (if the costume lends itself to be respectful). To look authentic in the Army uniform I couldn’t have a beard, so I looked up the regulations about facial hair and shaved my beard into a regulation mustache (wow, they are a pain in the ass to trim without looking like Hitler, no wonder not a lot of soldiers have them). Now to be respectful, since I’ve never served as a soldier and all, I made sure that there was no indication of rank on the uniform since I’ve never earned rank. I guess that was my way of honoring the soldiers that had done their duty.

My first stop was Barnes and Noble to see if Scott was around, apparently he was off doing things that managers do at Barnes and Noble but I did notice that quite a few people in the café looked my way when I walked by. A couple of the other customers were in costume and there was a lovely girl in full wiccan garb working the customer service desk. I hung around for a few minutes before leaving.

I didn’t think it would be prudent to stop at the showing of “Footloose” to show Jamie and Earl my costume, so I opted to go to the mall, where there was trick or treating in progress with a few adults and kids dressed up for the occasion. I went to Subway and picked up a healthy dinner. From there I ate and then headed back home.

And that’s how my Halloween went.

Here’s a mirror shot for your enjoyment.

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Tomorrow is the first of November, which is fund-raising month dubbed “Movember”, an effort to raise awareness and donations for Men’s health issues such as prostate cancer. Men all over the world are encouraged to start the month clean shaven and grow a mustache and garner donations in the process. Now, because of vanity, I can’t bear to be completely clean shaven, but I have decided to foster my support by keeping just the mustache for Movember instead of growing back the beard right away.

If you would like to donate to and/or find out more about Movember, please click here.

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Costume.

So today is Halloween. It is your typical Halloween here in these parts, with a chance of snow flurries in the evening but otherwise a crisp, magical breeze blowing through what’s left of the leaves on the trees.

The folks at work planned a costume contest for this morning, but I’ve only seen one person in costume and I wasn’t quite sure if she was really in costume or not since she often has her own brand of attire. Today she is wearing what looks like a Witch’s hat wrapped in a Christmas tree skirt, with lots of frilly things cascading down. It might have been her winter hat for all I know, because it was quite chilly today. She also dons her car in reindeer antlers and the like for Christmas so it’s kind of hard to decipher what’s going on sometimes. I like her spirit.

On one hand dressing up in a costume at work seems like it could be fun but on the other hand it smacks against my own personal work ethic. Plus, I still have memories of being some sort of roller skating beach bum in high school and losing control going down the ramp between the hallway and the cafeteria and wiping out a dozen or so students carrying lunch trays. That was fun, even when I got yelled at by a guidance counselor. It’s funny how these things stick with us through our adulthood.

I briefly considered dressing up for work in a respectful and tasteful yet scantily manner and insisting on being referred to under my porn alias of Tater O’Plenty, but I’m not sure I want to share that much information or skin with my co-workers. At least not face to face. So today I am dressed in my civilian clothes.

I wasn’t really feeling like going out to Halloween parties this past weekend, but Earl and I drove through the hopping college town of Oswego on Saturday night and there were a lot of people in costume roaming the cold, windy streets at 11:00. They looked like they were having fun. I have to admit that I might dress up tonight (but not as Tater O’Plenty) and go to the store in costume or something just because I can get away with it.

Once in a while it’s kind of fun to be someone else.

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Hilltops.

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This is the second time I have written this blog entry. I hope it is as well crafted as the original version. You know I’m going to tell you what happened: blogpress on my iPad crashed again and took my blog entry with it. Someday I’m going to conquer the world with a decent blogging app for the iPad.

I could have easily doubled the length of my morning commute. You see, last night we got our first snowfall of the season. I was like a little kid driving along this morning when I first saw the snow. Our house seems to be at some arbitrary point of demarkation because all the houses up the road from us had snow on their lawn but the houses in the other direction did not. I did notice that the A-frame across the street was torn down yesterday; all that remains is the actual floor of the first story and the foundation/basement supporting it. Earl and I are going to go snooping around (like Mrs. Kravitz, complete with an empty cup that needs sugar) so that we can read the fine print of the construction permit posted on a stick in the front lawn. We’ve heard that you need a construction permit to do demolition work and we’re curious as to what’s going on with the house since the interior was burned last year.

My commute afforded me the opportunity to see many snow covered hilltops here in the foothills of the Adirondacks. The sky was brilliantly clear and full of sunshine, and it all made for a beautiful backdrop for the fresh snow. I could have easily taken a thousand photos and that’s what my heart was telling me to do, but the clock was telling me that I would have been mighty late for work. Perhaps I follow my head too much and I need to follow my heart more.

I did manage to take one photograph with my iPhone (above). I snapped this shot before a surly school bus driver apparently tried to run me down. The mood would have been ruined had it not been for the horse drawn buggy that followed behind. The kind folks in the buggy waved hello. I was hoping they would have some pies but they don’t sell them at this time of year.

What a wonderful way to usher in the weekend.

The snow was gone by lunch, but rumor has it it’ll be back this weekend. Some say no snow, some say six inches, I guess it depends on who’s trying to generate the most ad revenue.

Either way, it’ll all be enjoyed.

Pitter Patter.

The other day I noticed something about the new Jeep. Because it has a removable hard top, rain makes a wonderful sound as it taps on the roof. It is a beautiful pitter patter sound that I find very relaxing. I didn’t notice this until Monday or Tuesday morning when I arrived at work and took a few moments to gather my thoughts before going in to install myself in my cubicle for the day. With the motor off, all electronic accessories stowed and seats in their upright position, sitting in the Jeep during a rain storm is actually a calming experience for me.

One of the things I loved about being a kid was that during my single digits our family lived in a mobile home. It wasn’t particularly large as mobile homes go, even with the addition my father had added with the arrival of my sister but it had a wonderful metal roof that announced the arrival of every rain drop. At least in the original part, where my bedroom was located. Sleeping on the top bunk really put you up close and personal with this delightful sound. I missed it when we moved to the house my father built across the street.

I guess the love for the pitter patter still lingers in this old kid.

Change It Up.

I have to change things up once in a while.

First of all, I want to say thanks for the words of support via email and your comments in regards to the lack of equality displayed when it comes to Earl and me sharing health benefits. There is a bright side to the story; the company that Earl currently works for is merging with a bigger company, which has a much more equal benefits package available. In fact, the new company gets high marks on the Human Rights Campaign’s ratings of these sort of things, so we are going to make out just fine. It is quite sad, though, that his current company chooses to look for loopholes so that they can remain ignorantly in the dark ages when it comes to these things.

As I mentioned in the first sentence of this blog entry, I have to change things up once in a while. The Big Project at work has been getting me down and I am finding myself in a rut. Sleep, eat, go to work, Dunkin’ Donuts iced tea, work, drive home, wave to the occupants of the buggy, eat and sleep. Enjoy an opportunity of hanky panky when the big climax isn’t a snore (sorry about that, sweetheart). The lack of light when I get up in the morning, coupled with the increasing stresses of work has put me into a funk that I need to find my way out of. To foster this growth, I change a few little things here and there to make life seem a little more interesting in my own eccentric way. For example, I did not go to my usual Dunkin’ Donuts today for lunch. I made my way to the next town over and went to that one and then I went into that restaurant for the first time instead of barking into the speaker from the driver’s seat. This particular Dunkin’ Donuts is an old bank and still has that basic layout (I think they make the donuts in the old vault, but I can’t be certain). I kind of wish that they would use both lanes of the drive thru so I could see my iced tea woosh down through one of the tube-transport devices that have always fascinated me, but they only opt for lane 1 where the drawer has been replaced by a typical drive thru window.

This morning I kicked off my day by drinking a strawberry Slim-Fast shake instead of going for my usual Wednesday morning breakfast of dry waffles. Calories balanced out for the most part but can I tell you that not only do I dislike strawberry Slim-Fast shakes, but I fucking dislike the strawberry flavor. Pink liquid as a beverage is just weird to me. With the stress of work has come stress eating, a habit that I am not proud of, so I thought that I should shake shake shake some Slim-Fast and remind my body as to who is boss. I guess the McRib I alluded to yesterday will have to wait until the weekend.

I have a few more changes planned in the near future and it is these things that excite me and make me take interest in what’s passing itself off as life. One of the ironies about the Big Project at work is that it is changing every single process, tool and way of doing things that we do at work, but I don’t particularly agree with this so that change isn’t giving me the pep that I need to cope with making the change.

It’s better to start with the little things.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A Prayer.

Dearest Power Almighty,

Please grant me the strength to not beat the hell out of anyone that refers to any amount of snow, whether small or large, as a “snowpacalypse” this winter. While I will have the urge to shove a the handle of a snow shovel up the rectum of those that behave thusly and utter this entirely hysterical, offensive phrase, please grant me the strength to findeth my way to calm in an effort to avoid calamity.

Fondly,

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Equality?

Earl and I decided that as a married couple we were going to take advantage of the medical benefits offered by his company. His health care plan is better and as we get on in age, that’s always a good thing. Once we confirmed that I was on his health care plan, I would cancel the policy I currently have at my job.

Earl went to add me to his health care plan at work this morning when he was presented with a lovely message on the web-based portal form.

I’m sorry, your married spouse must be of the opposite sex.

The general manager of three of the most profitable facilities in the entire corporation is not allowed to sign his spouse up for medical benefits on the company plan simply because he is married to a man. It seems Earl’s company will not recognize same-sex marriages (which of course, are completely legal in New York State) until the Federal Government recognizes same sex unions under the federal tax code.

Well, now there’s something to think about as you make your selections at the elections coming up over the next couple of years.

The extremist in me wants both despises the facts that we work for large corporations. I don’t enjoy the politics of working at a corporation and I certainly don’t like the “one size fits all” mentality that is handed out on a whim. The realist in me realizes that we have a really good life because we work for large corporations.

But is not being recognized equally really a good life?

Ultimately, it’s up to Earl and me to be more vocal about how we feel on these issues and to educate people. Earl has made a difference in his HR department by getting them to admit that there are gay men and lesbians working for them in the first place. I have been vocal with mine.

It looks like that Earl and I will be on my company’s insurance plan instead. It’s a decent plan but not as robust as what we would have had on Earl’s plan. All because someone, somewhere decided that love is only valid between a man and a woman.

Equality. Ain’t it grand in America.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Insomnia.

Right on schedule last night, since it was Sunday night and all, I had a wonderful case of insomnia around 2:30 a.m. Sunday nights have always been rough for me. I don’t know if it’s the pressures of returning to work or what the deal is, but I couldn’t get my head to slow down soon enough so that I could fall back asleep. I was still looking at the clock at 4:15.

There are few things more frustrating than staring at the ceiling, knowing that you need to fall asleep but you can’t and then getting more panicked about sleepwalking through the workday when you know you’re not going to have enough sleep under your belt. I tried counting sheep but that didn’t work. I tried the trick of walking through my old elementary school and remembering the teacher that occupied the room, the color of the room and the like, but that didn’t work. I counted backwards from 100 in French. And in English. I tried saying “Om” to myself. None of it worked, but then I guess I fell asleep around 4:35 or so, just in time for the alarm to go off at 5:30.

One of the things that bothers me about insomnia is that I usually get a song stuck in my head and it plays really loud and I can’t turn it down. One time it was “The Lord’s Prayer” by Sister Janet Mead and I couldn’t get it to stop until I looked the dang thing up on the internet and listened to the entire thing. It’s kind of catchy when you’re exhausted. Last night it was “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney and Wings, but then just before I fell asleep I found myself trying to find a way to mix Jenn Cuneta’s “Come Rain, Come Shine” into “Silly Love Songs” (because Jenn’s song samples the older track) and then apparently this is what made me fall asleep.

I think another contributing factor to the bout of insomnia is the brightness of my alarm clock. A couple of years ago I bought a beautiful HD radio alarm clock, complete with iPod dock, surround sound and all sorts of goodies. Aside from the fact that we don’t have many HD radio stations in the area, it’s a sweet sounding setup, even though I had to install modern rabbit ears to get it to work properly. The problem with this little technological wonder is that it uses a backlit LCD display and even on it’s very lowest setting, the damn thing lights up the room like Times Square. When modern digital clocks started rolling around in the 1970s they used the dim, red LED displays and it was good – they barely lit up the room but you could still see the numbers without an issue. I think the backlit LCDs are cheaper and that’s why they are in use today. I usually put a picture of the husbear in front of the alarm clock, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a clock on your nightstand since I could easily rely on my phone to do the waking duties in the morning. Perhaps that’s what I’m going to do: sell the high tech alarm clock and just use my phone. I always squint at Earl’s clock on the other nightstand anyway because it uses the aforementioned red LED display.

Anyone want to buy an HD radio? You’ll be helping cure insomnia and I will have one less thing to bitch about here on this bloggy thing.

Social.

Last night Earl and I went to “the Loud House”, the Carrier Dome in Syracuse to watch the Orange take on West Virginia. It was an excellent game… the guys played well and we trounced West Virginia 49-23.

When we got to the game, along with 147 (at that time)1 other people, I checked into Foursquare. The latest version of Foursquare lets you check into a particular event (like a game or a movie or a Broadway show). Near the end of the game, I got this email:

Now, many would find this creepy but remember I checked into Foursquare so they had a definitive way of knowing I was there. I understand that it’s a marketing tool and nothing more, but nonetheless I was happy to see this email. It made me feel part of something. And that’s how good marketing is suppose to work: not overly intrusive, make the user feel good and make the user feel like they belong.

I love with when marketing organizations ‘get it’ when it comes to technology.

1 The official attendance at the Dome last night was 45,285. Earl and I bonded even more with the fellow season ticket holders around us. Go ‘Cuse!