Much Different.

Earl and I are staying pretty much at home this weekend because of my work on-call schedule. It’s certainly a change of pace from the past two weekends, but we probably needed this time to catch up on some household chores.

I wish I could write about how productive I’ve been today getting the house clean, but I haven’t done much of that today. Surprisingly, work has kept me somewhat busy today which means a little comp time in a week or two which will be very nice.

Tonight we are going to a party at one of Earl’s co-worker’s house. Hopefully the on-call gods will be kind.

Netvibes.

I am a fan of web portals for my start page when I open my web browser. I’ve bounced around between a couple, Google, My Yahoo and My MSN being the three that I like the best. I also like the direction the new Windows Live portal is heading, though I’m still a Mac fanatic through and through.

Today I found a portal that I absolutely love. Take a gander at Netvibes. It has clean, simple to configure interface that works with the majority of popular browsers.

Way cool.

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I Love A Parade.

As I was heading for my car to escape for lunch, I noticed that the city DPW painted the traditional green line down the middle of the main street in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and the big parade tomorrow.

The St. Patrick’s Day parade here is usually very interesting. Traditionally, Mother Nature blesses us with a last blast of winter so there’s often snow on the ground. Sometimes there’s a blizzard. In fact, Dolly Parton was once stranded in the downtown hotel after a performance the previous night and was unable to leave due to the blizzard hitting the area. Bored, she looked out her hotel window and saw the St. Patrick’s Day parade proceeding right through downtown. You could barely see the floats from all the snow, but there it was, your average parade in the middle of a snowstorm. Dolly relayed the experience to the rest of America on David Letterman the following Monday night.

Back in my radio days, the station I worked for made an appearance in the parade, reminding folks why our station was best. One year we tried to get fancy and hired a tractor trailer to provide the stage for our music, inviting listeners up on the bed of the trailer to dance along with the music. We set up the booth traditionally used when we were on location, which was unwieldy at best. (It wasn’t meant to be moving). The bed of the trailer was so icy that we had to form a human chain and hold on for our dear lives so that people wouldn’t be pitched off the back everytime the parade started moving. Since there were several youngsters aboard, the music director reminded us that we should watch our language. The truck took off and she punctuated the experience with a “holy fuckin’ shit” as she held on for dear life. After the initial shock we pummeled the crowd with tootsie rolls, lollipops and dum-dums, because nothing says “listen to the radio” better than a rock hard frozen tootsie roll.

The following year it was 75 degrees for a change and I convinced the new night jock, a handsome young man, to go shirtless to “tease the ladies”. Come to find out, he was too good at teasing the ladies and had to be fired when I found him more than just teasing the ladies in the studio during his air shift.

Ah, good times.

So tonight Earl and I are going to have swig of beer and eat something festive like cabbage to celebrate the holiday. We’ll skip the parade tomorrow since it’s no longer mandatory for us and because I’m on call.

I’m betting it’s going to be snowing.

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Bad Fan.

This morning I was checking up on the American Idol Message Boards before getting ready to work and found out that the third time is a charm.

I’ve been banned from the AI message boards under three different usernames.

Apparently only pro-contestant responses are allowed, because each time I’ve been thrown off the board it was because I made a negative remark about the finalist dubbed “Chicken Little”, Kevin Covais.

I’m sure Kevin is a nice kid. This past episode he showed off his cocky side by sassing back to the mean ol’ judge Simon Cowell. And he sailed through this week’s round without a problem, undoubtedly plumping up his ego a little more. Paula “I’m stoned or drunk betcha can’t guess which” Abdul keeps telling him how sexy and “squishy” he is. I think he’s believing his own hype.

My issue with the kid is that he has a serious speech impediment. Or a therious thpeech impediment. And I can’t get past that.

It’s not the kid’s fault that he has this impediment. His parents probably should have had whatever is causing it corrected when he was younger. But there he is singing “Isn’t she lovely” and covering my television screen with spit. Apparently you can’t bring attention to this on the AI boards because it’s consider rude and inappropriate. Another no-no is mentioning Vote For The Worst.com, the site that is encouraging people to vote for the worst AI contestant so they’re stuck with a turkey in the finals.

So I’m off the AI boards. I can take a hint. I’m probably done with the show too.

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Hypocritical.

At a previous job I was pretty much the only non-Catholic in the office. Everything was Catholic, Catholic, Catholic. I would purposely eat a Whopper on Friday just to prove that I’m not Catholic (I was baptized as a Methodist.) Now I feel that anyone is free to honor their spiritual beliefs in any way that they see fit. But there’s some things I just don’t get about the Catholics.

I don’t get the “can’t eat meat on Friday” thing.

From what I understand, back in the day if you ate meat on Friday you went to hell. Then it was decided that the no-meat edict only applied during Lent. Well what about the people that had already gone to hell for eating meat on Friday outside of Lent? Did someone decend to hell and say “Whoops! Our mistake! You can go to heaven now!”

I didn’t think so.

Apparently now it’s o.k. to eat meat on Friday during Lent if St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday.

What?

Isn’t that like saying “Sorry dear Lord, I know we honor you by not eating meat on Friday during Lent, but I’m really jonsing for some corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day. So we’ll set aside the whole honor thing while I chow down on some corned beef and green beer.”

Again, I fully believe that anyone can honor and engage in their spiritual beliefs in anyway that they feel is appropriate. If you want to bow before a lilac bush, then bow before a lilac bush. If you want to dunk your head in a bathtub when you reach age 25, then dunk your head. Whatever makes you happy. But if you’re going to do it, do it all the way. If your beliefs include no meat on Friday during Lent, then no meat on Friday during Lent it is!

Lifestyles.

Last night, Earl and I caught that new show on HBO, “Big Love”. It’s a drama that basically follows a non-traditional family, a husband (Bill Paxton) and his three (yes I said “three”) wives and children that live in a suburban Utah town. The husband owns a chain of hardware stores and is juggling the stress of his job, his family, his ailing father and paranoid mother and his business “financers”.

The show didn’t really grip me but I found the premise interesting. For the first time in a long while, there was something different on the television screen. I don’t think there’s been a television series with polygomy as the backdrop before. I didn’t find myself engaged by the show though.

While we were watching the program I kept asking Earl, “Are there really groups living in compounds like that in Utah?” and “Do people really live like that?”, as if he’s the expert on social habits in Utah. I’ve been fortunate enough to see many, many different living arrangements in my life but I’ve never been to a compound where all the women were married to one man. That’s a new one for me. Discussing the show with my co-worker today I was surprised that such a compound exists not too far from here. She mentioned that it’s populated by a “three old women” now and they give tours of the place. In fact, one of her college classes went there on a field trip.

I believe that love is love is love is love is love and that it takes many shapes and forms and works in an infinite number of ways. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found that what works for couple (or group) “A” doesn’t necessarily work for others. I’ve seen couples with multiple sex partners. I’ve seen couples that wouldn’t allow each other the luxury of even looking at another person in a romantic way. I’ve met couples that thrived on arguing to the point that they threw kitchen knives at each other when they fought. I once met a couple years ago where one locked the other up in a cage for the night. All of this is good, because it’s diversity in people that makes the world go ’round.

Earl and I added “Big Love” to the TiVo to-do list simply because it’s something different to watch. Will I go crazy with anticipation waiting for the next show? Probably not, I’m reserving that for “Medium” these days. But I think it’s great that another small niche of society gets a little air time.

Last Blast.

Mother Nature has decided to bless us with some winter weather this week. Temperatures aren’t going to make it out of the 30s through the weekend and we are getting some snow, probably six more inches by midnight, adding to the six or seven inches already on the ground.

That means I have to run the snowblower tonight.

In typical fashion for this area, drivers have disregarded all rules of the road since there’s snow on the ground. I’ve commented before that there’s a general belief amongst the area’s citizens that parking lot lines dance and rearrange themselves under the cover of snow. Why park in neat rows with the other cars when you can parallel park between a Volkswagen and an H2 and take up three or four spots in the process? Then there’s the complete disregard for any sign or signal that may have a color to it – red, green, white, yellow, doesn’t matter, there’s snow on the ground! Nevermind that some drive the wrong way up the freeway, there’s snow on the ground!

I’m hoping that this is the last blast of winter for the season. Might as well go out with a bang.

Speaking Of Dreams…

While I’m on the subject of dreams (see previous post), I must be really centered and focused lately because my dreams have been very vivid and very memorable.

It seems like every relative of mine that has passed on has been in my dreams over the past couple of weeks. Even people that I’ve never met are coming around to say hi. One of the oddest encounters was comedian Peggy Cass. Now I haven’t watched “To Tell The Truth” in about 15 years, but there was Peggy Cass, in glorious technicolor in my mind. She was telling me about Kitty Carlisle and how she’ll just live forever. Very odd.

A number of months ago I had a dream, or rather I like to call it an encounter, with my cousin who passed at a young age. It was a beautiful experience and as I type this and think back on it, it sort of makes me tear up now. Ever since that night, I’ve had more and more dreams or encounters with relatives that have passed on. It’s almost like Lindsey went and turned a neon light on over my bed and said “hey, he gets it, go say hi!” Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cats, dogs, old movie stars, Bewitched characters; they’re all coming around and saying hello while I sleep peacefully and occasionally call out in my sleep, only to startle Earl, myself and the cat awake. It’s not a bad feeling by any means. I find the whole thing quite fascinating.

Dream Big.

Family and friends can attest to this; I’m a big dreamer. I believe there’s no limit to what one can accomplish, once you put your mind to it. For example, this past weekend Earl and I wanted to go for a ride. We ended up driving just shy of 1700 miles.

I’m a big daydreamer too. While I’m busy at work I usually multitask by thinking about my next big plan whilst going about the daily routine. There’s always things to think about; the next video I’m going to make, the next website I’m going to design, the next road trip that we’re going to take.

I’ve always been one to go after a vision. One of my earliest recollections is from first grade. Miss Kania (my teacher) told us about subways and how there’s trains underground in big cities that move people from place to place. We learned about subway construction and saw pictures of this marvelous mode of transportation. It looked easy. So imagine my father’s dismay when he came home and found his six year old son digging up the lawn with a shovel and a pitchfork so that he could build a subway. At the very least I would have a cave when I was done.

I don’t think the grass ever grew back in that part of the lawn.

When I was in my early 20s and sort of bored with the whole computer thing (mind you, this was 1990), I decided that I wanted to be on the radio. I’d always had an interest in the music charts, so it would be a snap, right? I had no experience in radio broadcasting. I never had any education in that area. But I made tapes, I bugged radio station program directors and I got a weekend gig. Eventually I moved on to another station and became program director. A dream realized.

One of the things that attracted me to Earl was that he thinks big. He’s not as much of a dreamer as I am, but when he wants something, he plans big and goes for the gold. He doesn’t want a couch, he wants to furnish the entire house with furniture. He doesn’t want to be plant manager, he wants to run the whole operation.

When you dream or think big, the whole world is at your fingertips. And what a pleasant place it can be.

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Productive.

Our weekend festivities gave me the needed kick in the backside to get my energy going and to be thinking productively. Work has been a little crazy this morning, with heavy rain and thunderstorms passing through the area (never a good mix with telephone lines) and tonight’s forecast promises more fun. And I’m on call.

For once in my career, I don’t really mind.

It’s because I feel good about what I do and I feel comfortable with myself these days. Before leaving for work this morning, I started the dishwasher and got a head start on the laundry. Usually the clothes would sit in the washing machine until I got home from work, but why put off what you can do during your lunch hour. As I type, the washer is humming along, accompanied by the tell-tale sounds of a load of jeans is in the dryer. (Somebody didn’t empty the change out of his pockets last night.) I even emptied the dishwasher so that we could start fresh tonight with the supper dishes.

All I’m missing is an apron.

For those calendar watchers may I point out that spring is a mere week away. For as long as I can remember, a local restaurant has featured the countdown to spring, beginning on New Year’s Day, on one of their signs. Every day one passes by and thinks, “65 days ’til spring”, “43 days ’til spring”, etc. We’re now in the single digits.

It’s an appropriate time to bloom I guess.