Don’t Smash The Windows.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a work training course today, along with the director of the department I work in. I truly enjoyed the experience, as it gave me the opportunity to enhance my skills and be a more integral part of the team. I even raised my hand and asked a question about the software we were being trained on.

“Does this application work on anything other than Internet Explorer?”, hoping that it would hum along nicely in Mozilla Firefox.

“No, it’s only been tested on IE.”

Ugh.

There’s no escaping the monopoly of Microsoft and the buggy Windows OS. As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, I am a very happy but recently converted Mac OS X zealot. I love my Mac. I love the flavor of unix that lives under the hood. It’s stylish, yet fully functional, and doesn’t bring the headaches of malware, spyware, adware and fsckware that Windows introduces to the party. And I don’t even want to think about the viruses!

As I type this entry I am simultaneously fixing a family member’s computer which has Windows distorted beyond all comprehension. I was able to double the length of my beard in the time it took to open Internet Explorer. After this little waltz, I have my sister’s laptop to diagnose, a computer to finish building for my mother (she’s getting converted to Linux whether she likes it or not) and that doesn’t include all the “Please Help Me” requests I get at work.

It’s not that I don’t mind working on computer, because I like it very much. With all these projects, the geek in me is getting his opportunity to shine. But admittedly, my frustration with Microsoft products tends to shine through as well.

“Windows has not detected a keyboard. Press any key to continue.”

The software package we use at work is all built on Windows. It only runs on Windows. It’s so Microsoft centric that it doesn’t even try to use any other mail program when its sending out an e-mail bulletin. It’s Outlook Express or it’s tough luck.

You’ve heard it before. Close your Windows, and open the door. There’s a whole wide world of easy computing out there waiting for you.

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The Best Laid Plans.

Earl and I have been planning the trip for months. We were going to put the top on the Jeep down and head due west. We were going to ride the roads until we reached Montana. We would then take pictures of us drinking and driving (because its still legal there), see a few sights, chase a tornado and head back home. It would take 10 days. It’s occupied my thoughts since we got home from Disney in February.

Scrap that.

Tonight we went and bought a pop-up camper. It’s a brand new 21-foot when opened Fleetwood, complete with heat, refrigerator, two king sized beds and a sink that doubles as a shower if you use the vegetable sprayer wisely. (I’m just kidding about the shower part, to clean up you dunk your head in the porta-john.)

I love camping. (stop the snickering). I really do. When Earl and I got together we camped a number of times during our first couple of summers. But then I made a discovery. Earl hates tents. I’m not a huge fan of tents either, but I like camping and getting all outdoorsy and stuff. Jiffy Pop just doesn’t “pop” for me unless it’s over a camp fire. I like the adventure of using a public shower. The sound of the crashing waves on Lake Ontario is music to my ears.

Earl loves camping too, as long as he doesn’t have to sleep on the ground. So we bought the camper.

It’s actually very nice and I look forward to accessorizing with the obligatory patio lights hung with clothes pins. Earl wants the lights in the shape of jalepeños. I’m looking forward to riding through a thunderstorm in this little beauty. It’s going to be great. Besides, the money that we’d spend on the trip out west will now provide vacation enjoyment for years to come. Next year we can head out west with the camper and do it rugged style.

As I apparently said in my sleep the other night (so Earl says), “Bears in the woods go grrr grrr grrr.”

Toughen Up Cupcake.

I’m in sort of a “Woe Is Me” type of mood today and quite frankly I’m finding myself tiring of it easily. I can just imagine how my co-workers feel.

Last night was a hot, steamy, sultry night. The air was very heavy and very warm. You could cut the humidity with a steak knife. While this weather would be welcomed on the weekend, it doesn’t work out well during the week because it makes it very difficult to sleep in our house, considering we don’t have air conditioning. So I slept on the bed, and the futon, and the floor, and the front porch, and the living room couch and so on… and never got more than an hour or so of continuous sleep, interrupted by bouts just plain uncomfortableness.

So I’m a little cranky today.

Now let’s not confuse “cranky” with “surly” as I like to think that I’m being civil to people for a change. But I’m finding my patience wearing thin with customers. (Them: “I’m calling Hong Kong, and it’s taking over five seconds for the call to connect!” Me: ” Did it ever occur to you that Hong Kong is 3/4 of the way around the world and perhaps it takes a few extra seconds to let your fingers do the walking?”)

Just before lunch I had a meeting with the director of our department, who informed me that I will be attending a short training session on some new equipment tomorrow in Syracuse. That news actually put me in a better mood. It’s a little change of pace. A little bit of fresh air. And it shows that the company values my contribution by investing a little time in me.

So instead of taking a nap during my lunch hour like I vowed I would do when I woke up this morning, I celebrated by emptying the dishwasher, cleaning up the kitchen a little and writing in my blog. (Yes, the domestic God in me lives on, at least to a point.)

Sometimes its good to just suck it up and roll with the punches. You’d think at 36 11/12 years of age I’d know that by now.

Rumbles Of Relief.

As I type this blog entry, a little thunderstorm is passing through the area. It doesn’t have enough punch to lower the temperature or lessen the humidity. Its all flash and no substance. The wind barely rattles the blinds.

But down the rain comes.

It’s been in the high 80s to mid 90s for almost a week. Relief may be coming our way by the end of the week. Maybe.

I can’t remember it being so hot in June. And I’m a weather nut. It’s going to be a very interesting summer.

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Pink.

While we were out and about this past weekend, I noticed a lot of guys wearing pink these days, especially guys that you wouldn’t figure to be wearing pink. There they would be, a stereotypical tough guy with multiple tattoos, a few body piercings, a pencil thin beard and mustache and a whole bad-ass attitude going on. All whilst wearing a pink shirt.

Sorry, but the pink shirt negates the whole bad-ass thing.

Back in the mid 80s, the last time pink was a popular color, I didn’t think it looked right then either. I’ve never owned a pink shirt. I did own a black and white shirt from Jordan Marsh that had just a very small touch of pink in it, but I reserved that get up for gay pride. I couldn’t bring myself to wear an all pink shirt. Not only because it clashed horribly with my auburn hair but just because wearing pink didn’t really fit right with me. I’m old school in that “blue is for boys and pink is for girls.”

I’m a big fan of the earthtones. My clothes selection is very easy to mix and match simply because everything is an earthtone- green, tan, brown. Once in a while I’ll go crazy and wear black and white to work. Or maybe a splash of blue. But I don’t get the pink thing. On the other hand, I don’t get the bleached blond hair, eyeliner or eyeshadow on guys either. I’m not saying that every guy need to be running around with a flattop and full beard (though that would be hot). I understand that to feel good about yourself you need to make the most of what you have. Lord knows I’ve tried numerous styles of my hair and beard. And I like to think that I accept people for who they are and what they are. If they want to wear pink, then wear pink and wear it with pride.

Just don’t expect me to take your “tough guy” image seriously.

Photo Finish Quandry.

Back when I first started the moblog, I started it on TextAmerica based on a feature on the now defunct TechTV’s “The Screen Savers”. I loved the service but probably didn’t do as much as I could with it.

Now I’m finding Flickr much more interesting, as I have several other blog friends using the service. So I think I’m going to start using Flickr and kind of abandon my Textamerica account, though I’ll leave a link to Textamerica too.

The other question is, do I want to post my photos directly into my blog or do I want to have them on a separate page.

Decisions, decisions.

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But Don’t Lick The Cashier.

On our way home from Buffalo today, we decided that we needed a little chocolate high, as we were both very groggy from staying up past our bedtime and sleeping in a hotel room last night and then wearing yesterday’s clothes again today. So when we stopped for gas in Canandaigua, Earl ran into Wilson Farms and grabbed a couple bottles of water and a couple packs of Mallo Cups.

Oh My God.

I have not had Mallo Cups in a couple of years and I had forgotten just how wonderfully delicious they are. As an added treat, I had completely forgotten about collecting Mallo Cups points!

Oh My God Again!

I love collecting points. Granted, you need 500 points for a free Mallo Cup or something like that, but still, it’s a goal that everyone should strive for. I’ll probably eat my weight in Mallo Cups just to get that free candy bar.

These points have reminded me of the good ol’ days of S&H Green Stamps days. For those unfamiliar, let me quickly explain. You went to a the market or gas station or department store that featured S&H Green Stamps. Based on how much you spent, the cashier would spin a little wheel like contraption mounted above the cashier that dispensed the proper number of stamps for the amount of your purchase. (If you go to Subway, you’ll find the exact contraption if used there to give out Subway stamps.) You then took those stamps, licked them (I really think they tasted like ass, now that I think about it) and pasted them in your S&H Green Stamps book. Once you had the proper number of stamps, you browsed a catalog of varied merchandise and sent your stamps into the mail order company. They mailed you back your selected item. The big spenders with thousands of stamps got things like canoes and tents or entire living room set. We weren’t as disciplined as we should have been so we would only have a couple of books and would get a Tupperware canister set or something like that. The canister set had to be in avocado.

We were extra lucky in that we had an “S&H Green Stamps Redemption Store” in Syracuse. I can still picture it to this day, right next store to the old A&W on Brewerton Rd. in Cicero. This store resembled a Service Merchandise catalog store. Sure enough, there was that canoe and tent set for 10,000 stamps or something big. On the other wall was the avocado Tupperware canister set.

As I reminisced over S&H Green Stamps, I took the opportunity to search the internet for information and found that they have morphed into S&H Greenpoints. A quick scan of the website shows that they can be used with a nice variety of places, like Best Buy, Barnes and Noble and The Apple Store.

Oh My God Thrice!

I’m all excited about collecting points for a new avocado canister set, just like the good old days. It’ll give me a place to store all my Mallo Cups.

Fun In The Sun.

Earl and I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend and hit the road in the Jeep on Saturday. We put the top down, slathered ourselves in sunscreen until we were whiter than Rose McGowan and headed for the big city. The big city of Syracuse, that is.

Actually, on our way to Syracuse we stopped and visited with my dad up at his store. We chatted about my grandfather and his health (he hasn’t been doing well lately), looked for the kittens that recently made an appearance on the second floor where they store insulation and moulding and basically just shot the bull for a bit.

After stopping for lunch at a diner in Pulaski and then driving around a bit, we ended up going to BalloonFest in Syracuse. It was hot, hot, hot at 95 degrees. We basted in the sun, took a stroll around and listened to some music. I was very pleased to see that the carnival rides included The Tempest, my favorite carnival (or around here, “Field Days”) ride of all time. My second favorite, The Trabant, was also there. I didn’t ride either of my favorites, mainly because the heat was starting to take it’s toll and I didn’t think my stomach was up for the ride. In retrospect, I’m becoming a major wuss. I’ve always prided myself on my amusement park endurance, as my mother raised us on “The Trabant” and “The Tempest” because the Merry Go ‘Round made her dizzy.

After BalloonFest (where no balloons flew due to the heat), we ate a Dinosaur Barbecue. If you are ever in Syracuse, you MUST stop at Dinosaur Barbecue. By this time, it was 8:00 or so and still very warm and muggy. So we did the sensible thing.

We took off to Buffalo, 150 miles to the west. It was Bear Night at a local bar there, and we wanted to hang out with some of the guys we had met at Bear Trek in Danbury back in April. It started to rain part of the way, so we had to pull under a bridge on the Thruway and put the Jeep top up quickly, but it was all good fun. We had a really good time in Buffalo. It’s nice to be able to hang out with like minded guys. We didn’t get to bed until 3:00 a.m. but we didn’t care.

This morning we headed back home to enjoy the day on the ranch.

I really appreciate being able to have spontaneous weekend like this. It’s a great way to get geared up for a good week.

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Speed Racer, part 2.

I had a couple of people mention they hadn’t seen the picture of my car (probably because it’s buried on the old blog). Here it is again.
J.P. and his Acura
Note that I never miss an opportunity to pose for the camera.

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Go Speed Racer, Go!

Sometimes you just got unleash the kid in you. Especially behind the wheel of a 2005 Acura RSX Type-S on a Friday night down the main street through downtown.

The group of high school and/or college kids in the Volkswagen Jetta had nothing on me. 36 years old, 6000 RPMs, 3rd gear, 52 MPH. Through downtown. They’re thumpin’ their rap music, apparently through an pretty robust Alpine system according to all the tell tale stickers on the car. I’ve got “I Love The Nightlife (Disco ‘Round)” by Alicia Bridges cranked on the Bose system, sans advertisements. We Acura owners don’t like to boast.

They tried to race only once, even though there were numerous opportunities after that original spanking. They waved when we parted ways. It was all in good fun.

The kid still has it in him.

* * *

Is this all déjà vu? Read the last paragraph of this old blog entry.