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All Relative.

J.P and Jennifer

Earl is out of town in New England tonight on business. Suspiciously, when I called him to see how things were going, he informed me that he was currently winning at Foxwoods Casino in eastern Connecticut. “I thought your meetings were in Massachusetts and Vermont.” “They are.” I guess the casino was a stone’s throw away or something.

But that’s another blog entry.

Since Earl was out of town and my sister is back from Russia, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to meet up with my mother and her for supper tonight. So I trekked off to Syracuse after work.

Mom had a hair appointment after work, so Jennifer and I met up and caught up over a couple of beers and some munchies. She told me about living in Russia for eight months and all that entailed, I shared with her stories about recently traveling to Virginia and what’s been going on while she was gone. Mom joined us a little later (with a spiffed up ‘do) and we enjoyed some good conversation over supper. I know Tully’s is a chain of restaurant, but they seem to have a stamp of “Syracuse” on them, and I’ve mentioned before that I’m very “Syracuse Proud”.

It may be the beer in me that’s getting me all sentimental but I guess I’m a lucky guy to have a sister that I can call one of my best friends. When we were growing up, she always joined me on my little schemes, whether it was rearranging trees in the woods behind the house, jumping over the electric fence to do our own version of running with the bulls in the pasture or setting up a play grocery store, complete with express checkouts, in the basement. Hell, she even sang Linda Mc Cartney’s part in “Silly Love Songs” when I decided I want to sing a number one track while using the wood pile as a soundstage. Now that we’re adults, we tell each other just about everything and still giggle and laugh at the same things. And my mom joins right in with the conversation; she’s always been her own person and still lives up to that – I mean how many 50+ year old women decide to dress up their Saturn sedan by having flames added to the door panels?

While I miss Earl tonight as he does his business trip, I’m glad that I was able to hang out with a couple of my friends, who just happen to be family.

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New Trick.

So I come home for lunch to piano music. Well not music, but just a bonking sound coming from the piano.

Tom had run up the piano keys just as I was walking in the door. He’s never done that before.

Now he’s tearing around the house like a maniac. He jumped in his litter box, did his thing and ran out so fast the damn thing almost tipped over, then he bolted up the stairs and came back down, jumped up on the kitchen table and then bolted for the piano again but refrained from playing a second number.

I think he’s getting a little stir crazy for spring.

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No Fly Zone.

Every six months or so an idea so terrifying it strikes fear into the hearts of travelers everywhere surfaces and gets bounced about in discussion.

The airlines are thinking about allowing the use of cell phones at 10,000 feet and above.

Most everyone knows what it’s like to fly these days. You’re hurded like cattle whilst being poked and prodded en route to a giant paper towel tube. There’s never enough seats for the number of people actually planning to fly on any given flight, so it’s a crap shoot as to whether your $700 ticket will get you on the plane.

Once you’re actually on the plane, you find row after row of high-chair sized seats that are actually down low but then the realization comes that you’re suppose to sit in this chair for the next four hours or so. But only after you squish everything you’ve lugged on board into the breadbox mounted over the high-chairs. Will it fit? Don’t worry, the surly flight attendant will check, check, check and re-check again, slamming the breadbox door four or five times so that you have a headache to accompany your experience.

Then you’re given a meal that can be best described as indescribable and tastes like nothing you’ve had before. You wilt more than the lettuce did.

Then you’ll be offered some headphones to watch a movie that bombed at the theatres. All for the mere price of $700.

Now picture this carefully. Add 200 cell phone conversations of yelling, bidding, talking, chatting, screaming and laughing to this cacophony of fun.

Ladies and gentleman, now you know why Earl and I are driving across the country next month.

Just say NO to cell phones in the sky.

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Can You Dig It.

Mother Nature threw us a curve ball today in an effort to remind us that we live in Upstate New York. It’s currently in the low 30s and there’s a mix of rain and snow falling.

Such a lovely day in April.

Since I woke up so cranky this morning, I was extra determined to get myself in a good mood. So on my way home from lunch I cranked up a spring-type classic track from the 60s.

“Grazin’ In The Grass” by the Friends of Distinction.

Grazin’ in the grass
It’s a gas
Baby, can you dig it!

It might not feel like spring outside, but I have spring dancing around in my head today. And this has improved my mood immensely.

Can you dig it!

Time Rant.

So yesterday half the citizens of the United States were stumbling through their Monday because they had no idea what time it was. They were told to eat when they weren’t hungry, sleep when they weren’t tired and work when they wanted to play.

All because of Daylight Saving Time.

Whomever had the brilliant idea of jockeying the clocks back and forth in the interest of “energy savings” should be shot. Has it ever occurred to these Einsteins that perhaps we are now burning more energy during daylight saving time because we are running more air conditioners to keep cool? How about Sally and Seth Suburban now jumping in their SUV monstrosity to enjoy more of the evening daylight instead of sitting home? Any chance that they are using more energy now?

Last night I had to go to bed when I wasn’t tired. Do you know what that means? I woke up this morning when I wasn’t awake and that means I’m really cranky this morning. The cat is in hysterics because his feeding schedule is off kilter, my muscles are confused because I went to the gym at the wrong time and quite frankly I think I’m constipated because my body doesn’t know when to poop.

As I’m writing this, I realize that now I’m going to be late to work because it’s later than I thought. Silly me for not knowing what time it is. was. will be.

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Code Phrase.

Sometimes I get a little freaked out when I find out who exactly reads my blog. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a welcomed boost to my ego when I get comments and whatnot about my little ponderings and musings about life, but once in a while I’ll meet up with someone that recites verbatim something I’ve written and I have to stop and say “whoa”. Then I feel a little bit of pressure to come up with something even more witty or inspiring than previous entries and then it happens.

Brain freeze. Creative Seize. Help me, help me, please.
Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight.

I know that there’s a few people the read my blog on a daily basis. And I think that’s great. I don’t know who you are, but your little IP address pops up on my monthly report that gets e-mailed to me and I hope that you enjoy my little missives. But then someone (we’ll call her Maude) has to chime in, “say something nice about (so and so) in your blog, they love it so much.”

I just can’t do that.

It throws my chi and my creative flow in an awkward direction and then I don’t know what to write about. You see, if I’m going to do homework of sorts, I want it handed to me on purple ditto paper so that I can get high from the fumes. It’s not that I don’t like so and so or whatever, it’s just that my blog is a form of my creative expression and I can’t use it to do “shout outs”. I had enough of that back in my radio days.

“Justin says nighty-night to Amber and hopes you’ll go steady with him after lunch tomorrow.”

Yes folks, I had to say things like that on the radio on a nightly basis. It was vomit inducing. I hated that more than having to say “Thank you for shopping at Wonderful Hills” to every customer back when I was working as a cashier. Hills was a fine department store, but I can’t think of one person that could say “Wonderful Hills” with a straight face.

So if you enjoy my blog, I’m happy. If you have something to say, by all means say it. And if you want to acknowledge that you read my blog when you meet me or see me, just say “Thank you for shopping at Hills.”

Unbelievable.

After a while at work this morning, we started talking about what we had done over the weekend. It took a little while to get the conversation going as everyone was groggy due to the blasted Daylight Saving Time, but now there’s more daylight, right?

Anyways, when asked what we did over the weekend, I simply responded that Earl and I had gone to Virginia for the weekend.

“Virginia?”, they asked in unison. By the look on their faces, you would have thought I had just say, “Earl and I went to the moon and back, and since we had some extra time we made a stop at Uranus.”

I think I’ve become so whacked out that I forget that “normal” people don’t drive from Upstate New York to Northern Virginia for a ride in the country. They drive maybe 30 or 40 miles, see some cows, eat at a restaurant or go to a beach or something. And that’s just dandy! Earl and I believe our life mission is to experience as much of life as we can, so that’s what we’re doing.

Anyways, I told my co-workers about Luray Caverns and having dinner and all that. Then I listened with interest as they chimed in with their adventures over the weekend, which sounded equally as exciting but in their own way. That’s a good thing; everyone can’t be doing the same thing, it would just be too boring.

But they continued to look at me like I’m some sort of nut. That makes me proud, as I wear the title well.

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Luray Caverns Pictures.


Well Earl and I are back froom the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Northern Virginia. It took only eight hours or so to get home, including a lunch stop at Red Robin in Carlisle, Pa. Now we’re settling down and getting some stuff around the house so we can hit the work week full speed ahead.

I’ve posted some pictures from this weekend’s road trip. This was my first chance to use the new iWeb, which is part of iLife ’06. They’re on my .Mac site, which you can see here. Relying on the camera flash in the cavern made it very hard to capture the beauty of it all, so I didn’t post as many pictures as I actually have.

Technology.

technology screencap
I am writing this blog entry as Earl and I are in transit on our way home from Northern Virginia. Sometimes I’m amazed at how much technology has really changed our lives and changed society in general. For example, I was able to talk to my sister today while riding between Carlisle and Harrisburg, Pa. along Interstate 81. She was in Toronto at the time. The first time I rode that stretch of road, in the summer of 1976, that conversational feat would have been unheard of. Today it’s commonplace.

Further up the road, I received a call from our friend and fellow blogger Terry. He lives in Michigan. He called to tell us that he is going to be featured Wired magazine next month, reaching the desired übergeek status. Congratulations to Terry!

As I’m typing this blog entry on the PowerBook, I am making changes to our planned trip next month out west and tweaking our route. While doing that, I am tracking our progress along Interstate 81 via GPS. At this moment we are 1503 feet above sea level, with 169.6 miles to go until we reach home. Our expected time of arrival is 18:03 (6:03 p.m.). We are traveling at 70 MPH.

Isn’t technology grand?

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The Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.

Earl and I jumped in the Jeep bright and early this morning and headed south on Interstate 81. We headed to the Shenandoah Valley in northern Virginia, ending up at Luray Caverns appropriately located in Luray, Va. These are the largest caverns in the east and I believe the third largest in the United States. Luray Caverns span 47 acres and is a fascinating spectacle to behold with a full spectrum of color to be found in this natural wonder. The tour was about an hour long and took us over 100 feet below the surface. While we were at Luray Caverns, we also enjoyed lunch and tried our hand at the Garden Maze. I’ll be posting pictures when we get home tomorrow night.

After leaving Luray Caverns, we headed north on the famous Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. A breathtakingly scenic drive, we are planning to drive this route again in the fall when the leaves are changing.

We then headed to our room at the Hampton Inn and caught a quick nap, since we must have had too much fresh air or something and were both feeling a little tired.

After recharging our batteries a little bit, we went met up with Thom, a fellow blogger that I’ve chatted back and forth with for the past five years or so. I’ve always been a fan of his blog and it was quite exciting to put a face with the words. We had a great dinner at local tavern type place and enjoyed some great conversation. I hope that we have the opportunity to meet up again, it was a good time. Plus, he has a very wise choice of haircut.

Now Earl and I are getting ready to call it a night. We have a bit of a drive to get home at a reasonable hour tomorrow, but it has been a fully enjoyable day.