Call me Sheena.

Long, long, distance love affair! I can’t find you anywhere! Whoa-oh. I call you on the telephone…

And week two commences of the long distance relationship. It’s official. Effective yesterday, Earl was promoted to “Multi-Plant Operations Manager”. He is now in charge of two plants. The one here at home, and a second in Madison, Ohio. Due to the financial performance of the Ohio plant, he’s going to be spending a lot of time in Madison. And I mean, a *lot* of time. He’ll be out there five days a week for the next six weeks or so, and then he’ll re-evaluate the plant’s performance and he see what he needs to do.

I’m married to a traveling executive. And I’m so proud of him. This is something that Earl has been working on, and he finally took another step up the corporate ladder. I joke with him that I’m going to end up at the ladies’ luncheon someday and they won’t know what to do with me. My luck, I’ll win the table centerpiece as a door prize and all the women will be jealous. “Of course the boy wins the door prize”, they’ll pooh-pooh.

🙂 The thought of me at a ladies’ luncheon is like a bull in a china shop. I’m sure I’ll have my elbow in the soup before the first course is over with.

So now I’m busying myself at home, working on various projects for work and listen to MSN Radio. MSN Premium service came free with our Verizon DSL service, and while I don’t care for the interface (it’s pretty and all, but entirely too simple for me), I do appreciate the ammenities that come with the service.

Earl and I spent Valentine’s Day malling. Many gay couples go “antiquing”… jumping from antique store to antique store looking for a distressed table for their lanai. Earl and I do the gay simplistic thing instead… we drive from mall to mall, looking for stores that suit our tastes. We’ve always been mall connoisseurs. We started with “Holyoke Mall at Ingleside”, outside of Springfield, Mass. While quite busy, we found it to have a dated feel to it. And a tad crowded. So we hit I-91 south and ended up just across the Mass.-Conn. line in Enfield, Conn. There’s a mall there called the “Westfield Shoppingtown Mall” or something close to that. Very small. We walked that whole mall in ten minutes.

So we proceeded into Hartford, Conn., where we found Westfarms Mall. Success! We had a wonderful, casual dinner at California Pizza Oven and did some browsing at the Apple store. We were carrying around our doggie bag in a small pizza box, when the associate at Apple came up to us and said “Did you bring pizza for me?” (flirt, flirt). We smiled and I said, “Sure…”. He sniffed the air and said “I’m a vegetarian” in quite the haughty voice and walked away. Yo, Creepella, I’m a vegetarian too you nitwit. From now on I think I’m going to just say “I don’t eat meat”. Vegetarians are entirely too snooty.

After a stop at Williams-Sonoma and Nordstroms, we hit the road and arrived back at home around 2:30 a.m.

On Sunday we relaxed and just enjoyed the day. Earl packed for this week’s trip. We watched “Daredevil” on DVD. Great movie, even the second or third time around.

This week’s project… Earl’s birthday present! Wish me luck.

“Long, long, distance love affair! Whoa-oh”… 🙂

Back In The Groove.

Well Earl and I are back online at full speed, and I must admit, this makes me quite happy. Thank goodness for Verizon DSL.

I have to admit it was a little rocky at the start. I followed the installation instructions to a “T”, only to discover that I did not put a filter on the phone in the spare bedroom. I fired up the DSL and found that it was very, very, very slow. So slow in fact, that I starting have flashbacks to our days in the old house with that satellite setup. I went to bed and had nightmares.

Same deal this morning. Slow, slow, slow. So I went to work cranky. Looking back, I’m sure my co-workers appreciated that!

So when I got home this evening, I decided that I was going to make this work, come hell or highwater. So instead of playing Mr. Macho Techno, I called Verizon DSL support. The very sweet yet rather unintelligible tech person talked me through everything, and had me check various connections, bits, beeps and whatnot. Then she reminded me about the little filters you have to install on your phones so that they don’t interfere with the DSL connection. That’s when I discovered the problem in the spare bedroom. “Ah ha!” And it’s my favorite phone too, being an old General Electric phone I bought when I was in college. When it rings it’s enough to wake the dead. Apparently all that noise interferes with the DSL signal.

Once I figured out that little problem, we were *golden*. A few speed tests and off we were, and now I’m cruising along on the internet at lightning fast speeds, while streaming some New Age music at the same time. N I C E!

So I just made the phone call and broke up with Mark at Adelphia. It’s been a number of years since I broke up with anyone, and I must say that Mark pouted almost as much as one of the flings I had in my mid 20s. True to form, he told me how much I betrayed Adelphia’s excellent service by bringing that wench named Verizon into the house. He even offered me a metal… the “Bronze” package, free for a month. I said “sure, why not”, but I have no idea what that means.

Another reason I’m back in my groove… I had to go to the doctor’s today because I seemed to have some sort of infection in my nether regions. I hadn’t been in to see my doctor since July ’01. He was shocked to see that I’m 50 pounds lighter. He was very pleased that my blood pressure was *excellent*. And he did use the term, *excellent*. Not like surfer-dude “Excelleeeeent”, but a courteous, professional “excellent”. Even though I’m sure Dr. Brownstein could get away with a surfer-dude comment, what with his charm, charismatic nature and drop dead good looks. But he keeps it professional.

I was trying to figure out how to snap a picture of him on my cell phone but I thought it would be a little obvious, what being naked and all with a sheet over my wah-wah. And the infection is just a simple little urinary infection… maybe too much time in the hot tub.

I thought it was getting a little soupy in there. Calm down, it’s clean.

Earl comes home tomorrow night… just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend. After the long week, it’ll be nice to relax with my sweetie for the weekend!

Forced Laziness.

My one New Years resolution I made this year was that I was going to write in my blog more. I’m trying to be more positive, upbeat and just generally gosh-golly-go-lucky (my previous blog entries reek of sheer happiness, right?), but looking back on my entries, it would appear that I have not been living up to my resolution. Honestly, it would appear that I’m lazy.

It’s a lie, I tell you, a lie.

This blog laziness has been forced upon me. By a lovely high speed internet cable provider named Adelphia. Would you like me to say it again? Certainly. Ad-hell-phia.

Now, I do not wish to admonish one about the evils of Adelphia, because they’re cable television is not bad, especially if you have a nifty little scanner and color printer to print piles and piles of money. It’s only appropriate that Adelphia refers to their cable television packages as “Metallic Packages” (i.e., we have the ‘Gold’ package, which includes fifteen versions of MTV, the pampered pet channel, the fully phat aerobics channel and the ‘normal’ channels full of snow to celebrate winter), since it takes a hefty chunk of change to pay for their services.

It’s their high speed internet service that truly sucks.

Earl and I have been in our new home since December 1st. We have had high speed internet since December 4th. Our internet connection has been down 26 out of 60 days. A stellar record. Maybe Adelphia should be in charge of the Bush Lite’s search for Weapons of Mass Destruction. They’ve certainly brought me to the brink of going ballistic. I’ve had more conversations with the “friendly, knowledgeable technical staff” at Adelphia than I’ve had with my mother. I know all the field technicians well enough to feel that I could get intimate with them (just kidding).

I don’t really expect a lot. As the IT administrator for four computer networks separated by roughly 100 miles, I can understand the difficulties that can arise with these sort of things. But I’m paid a fair share of money to keep these things running. Time is money. Adelphia is paid obscene amounts of money to do the same. But they have this “Let them eat cake while I fan myself with my money” attitude that drives me crazy. Cable TV and internet access is as close as one can legally(?) get to a monopoly. As I was recently told by Ice Queen Katherine at Adelphia tech support during one of my latest tirades, “we’re the only game in town”.

That’s where you’re wrong sweetie.

Today a package arrived from Verizon. A brand new Verizon DSL modem complete with installation kit. My installation “ready date” is Wednesday. The DSL modem is sitting next to my computer, ready to purr it’s little bits and bytes in my direction. Thankfully, the stars, moon and sun have aligned in the seventh house and the high speed cable internet access is working fairly well today, with only one or two hiccups an hour. At least I had the opportunity to share my reason for blog laziness with you.

God willing, we’ll see what I can do tomorrow! 🙂

Mental Health.

I took a mental health day today. Well, that’s not quite right. I didn’t call in sick or nothing like that. I took a personal day today and used it as a mental health day.

Work has been very busy the past week or so. Run, run, run. Everyone seems to be in a hurry. We have a couple of key projects going on at work and that’s keeping everyone on their toes. Plus, I had the brilliant idea of rearranging staff so now I’m interviewing people on top of upgrading the entire radio station automation system. My knack for task scheduling is unmatched, to say the least.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I am a road geek. I’m interested in maps and roads, and most specifically, big green road signs. I maintain my road geek website at It’s a great way for me to perfect my web editing skills and I get to share my insight on the roads of Upstate N.Y. with other road geeks, road enthusiasts, road warriors and the motoring public at large.

So today I went to the New York State Department of Transportation photo log department in Albany. Since it was sleeting, raining, snowing and icing, the 200 mile round trip was quite interesting. Not exactly the mentally therapeutic drive I was looking for, but I made the best of it. The NYSDOT photolog department films every inch of highway every year or two for archival purposes. The earliest films they have are from 1975 and 1976, and those are the ones I wanted to take a look at. I was able to take a “virtual drive” up Interstate 81 (as well as some other roads) in Central New York as if it was August 1976. The magic of a film projector! Needless to say, I had a great, great time, and once the NYSDOT rep got over the initial shock of what I was using the research for, he joined in on the fun.

During this fun I cemented a suspicion that has been lurking around in my mind for the past couple of months. My memory is not picture perfect. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I do say so myself I have a memory that can put many others to shame. I remember stupid little insignificant trivial details. But today I discovered that I didn’t remember the signs from 1976 EXACTLY as they appeared on the film today. There were a couple I didn’t remember at all! So I accepted the fact that my memory is not picture perfect. But when all is said and done, I guess I’m as vague as always.

After the Photolog visit, I decided to take the scenic route home and enjoy the foul weather. Mistake. I had driven from Albany to Schenectady (at the most 10 miles) when I decided I needed a break. So I stopped at a barbershop and got a shave. I haven’t done that in a long time.

Feeling minty fresh and excessively pampered, I continued the trek to sunny (yeah, right) Amsterdam (15 more miles) where I stopped for lunch. Earl and I eat in Amsterdam when we’re in the area… at a small restaurant called The Windmill Diner. I couldn’t bring myself to eat there without him so I ate a Veggie Delight at Burger King.

I don’t think I need to tell you that I had to stop again 15 minutes later and beg for a restroom key at a grungy gas station. So much for BK.

I finally arrived home, completing an 1 1/2 hour drive in just short of 4 1/2 hours. Earl then promply called me and asked for me to pick him up at work because his ’03 Dodge Ram has lost its steam once again and is in the shop. Thank goodness it’s a company car… they can pay the bill.

So as I look back on my mental health day, I can say that I enjoyed myself very much. I feel rested and ready to take on the weekend.

Super Weekend.

As I write this, the Panthers and Patriots are tied with 40 seconds left in the game. I haven’t really been paying attention to the Superbowl, since the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t make it (I have to be an Eagles fan living with a Philly native, and I really don’t mind), but nevertheless I hear a hoot and a hollar once in a while from the family room… Earl seems to be enjoying the game.

We’ve had a super weekend. Friday night we met up with my Mom and sister in Syracuse for supper at a favorite haunt, Spaghetti Warehouse. We ate way too much food and drank way too much sangria, but we laughed and laughed and had a great time.

In fact, we were all in such good spirits (or perhaps the moon was aligned with Mars or something), that we set plans to get together on Saturday night to go to a Syracuse Crunch hockey game. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen my Mom and sister two nights in a row, but what the heck… 2004 is about living on the wild side.

We started out Saturday by driving to rural Parish, N.Y., right in the middle of the Lake Ontario snow belt. Rumor was they had over 60-inches of snow over the past week. Earl and I can safely confirm that the rumor is true. Lots and lots and LOTS of snow. It was like driving through a tunnel in a winter wonderland. The snow banks were higher than some houses!

Here I am standing next to a road sign.. which, by the way, is around twelve or fourteen feet off the ground…

After sliding around in Parish, we headed down to Syracuse to do some shopping at Carousel Center. I picked up some networking equipment for work and Earl picked up some goodies for the kitchen at Williams-Sonoma.

We were at the mall for only two hours, but quite a bit of snow fell while we were inside…

… that “shelf” of snow under Earl is our car. 🙂

Afterwards, we met up with my Mom, slid our way up to my sister’s to grab her and then we all trotted down to the hockey game. We had a thoroughly GREAT time. It was nice to get together with the family. We laughed and cheered and just basically had fun. I’m looking forward to spending more time with them soon.

Today has been a lazy day. I’ve been messing around with computer stuff all day and Earl has been watching the Superbowl festivities since 12 noon or so. Here he is with another fan…

… and now it’s official, the Patriots kicked a field goal and inched ahead of the Panthers with four seconds left in the game. As a former resident of New England, I’m pleased.

A nice way to wrap up a Super Weekend.

The Message Board.

As I’ve mentioned over the past couple of weeks, Earl and I have been watching “American Idol:3”. They’re in the first round of the competition, where tens of thousands of hopefuls get together and caterwaul at a round of producers, a round of no name judges and then hopefully make it to Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. It’s obvious that the lovely people at Fox want to make it interesting for the home viewing audience, so they let some bad talent through on purpose so they can make complete idiots of themselves on national television.

That’s just mean.

However, they sound like cats in heat.

It’s kind of disenchanting to think that the television viewing audience has stooped so low as to be entertained by watching people make fools of themselves. Why do we turn to American Idol for this sort of entertainment? Sit in front of Wal*mart on super duper discount day and you can see plenty of jackasses without the high cost of cable.

Always ready for an adventure, I decided to log onto the American Idol message boards and share my opinions with others. Because of the somewhat anonymous nature of the message board system, I feel it’s the perfect opportunity to share some of my wit and humor.

Me: “I think the surfer dude that sang ‘I Think I Love You’ was pretty good! He was cute and he could carry tune, it’s a shame he didn’t make it through. I thought he could have been marketable.”


Me: “Regardless of the fact that your literary skills leave a lot to be desired, I can see your confusion about my commenting on the looks of the surfer dude. Please also note that your CAPS LOCK key is on. While I do find him cute, I think he was pretty ‘fun’ with his go lucky nature and big smile.”


Me: “O.k…. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but YO! [trying to sound hip] In the future, could you please translate your comments to English before you type.”

A third participant: “Y you hatin’ on the hood”

Me: “Dude! I don’t hate anybody and I’m nowhere near my car. [ho ho! Such wit! – I knew he meant the ghetto]”

Victoria, Cyber-Slut: “Hey baby, let me give you a ride in my car. Just put your coin in my slot.”

Me: “While I’m sure that’s a very kind offer Victoria, I’m not really into cybersex. If I was into cybersex, I’d be looking up the surfer dude that sang ‘I Think I Love You’ (grin) [another attempt at humor]”


… and it went on and on. I finally gave up after being accused of “hating on” gay people (?) and trying to steal the “surfer dude” for Star Search.

But now I face a bigger problem, well more of a mind numbing reality. I’ve grown old. I don’t know what anyone under 21 years of age is saying on the internet. I’ve been using computers since 1984. I’ve been online since 1985. I’ve known that 🙂 is a smile since I owned a Commodore VIC-20. But I just figured out today, January 30, 2004, that ‘puter meant computer. To a geek like me, using “‘puter'” is almost as sacrilegious as X-Mas (and I REALLY hate that).

To top it all off, I got this when I thought I’d give the message board one more try.

Topic: Age and location

Participant:18 and Nebraska

Participant:24, L.A.

Participant:14, New Orleans

Me: 35 and Upstate New York


I’m hanging up keyboard and asking Earl to take me to Shady Pines.

I’m affectionate. Bite Me.

Our darling son (cat) Tom has picked up a peculiar habit since we moved into the new house in December. He’s always been the nudgey type… he purrs, purrs and purrs while sitting on my lap, and likes to nudge my hand, rubbing his nose and various excrements against my wrist in a gesture of love. But lately he’s been been augmenting his rubs with a little bite. Not a malicious, “feed me you bastard” type of bite, but rather a little nibble of affection. Usually I pull my hand away, mostly due to surprise. This startles him and he jumps off my lap. But then he’s back one minute later doing to same thing. This is a routine that goes on and on.

I don’t think he’s fond of nibbling on Earl. Honestly I don’t know why he doesn’t nibble on him, because I heartily support nibbling on Earl in times of affection, but that’s better left for another blog entry. No, Tom keeps his nibbles for me. Now that I think about it, he places most of his demands on me. I must feed him NOW. I must change his litter NOW. I must pet him NOW. I must let him out NOW. Whenever Earl engages in any of these activities, Tom has a delightfully bewildered look on his cute little cat face. I don’t know why, Earl does all those things for me without hesitation. I don’t know why he’s surprised when he does it for him. Maybe he should try nibbling him. It’s worth a taste.

Standing Room Only.

Everyone at the office thinks I’m crazy. Actually, they’ve always thought of me as crazy, but I’ve just added another reason to the list. I want to stand in my office. All the time. Now don’t think I want to stand there all hunched over my desk, ass in the webcam. No, I want to raise up all my furniture so that I can stand at my desk, rather than sit at it.

“Why on earth do you want to stand all the time?” “Won’t your feet get tired?” “Your legs can’t support your weight all the time unless you eat meat.” “You left wing tree huggers are so weird.”

Actually, there’s quite a few reasons I want to stand in my office.

First of all, I don’t really sit at my desk, I kneel. I have one of the ergonomic chairs that you kneel on. It’s suppose to do wonders for your back and such by putting you in a more ‘natural’ position. While I’m sure many have entertained the thought of me kneeling in front of them, I have found that while this chair is comfortable for an hour or so. But after a while my right hip somewhat dislocates itself from my pelvic area (a great bar trick at office parties, I assure you), my knees tingle a bit (not as much as when I see Earl, quite honestly) and my patience grows thin (typically me).

Secondly, I find that I am much less productive during my work day if I’m sitting at my desk. I tend to dawdle on my duties… talk on the phone, talk to the plant, check out slashdot (in the name of “information technology research” of course) and basically become rather stagnant in my ability to get tasks completed. O.k., I admit it, sitting in a chair at work makes me lazy. Once I get in a chair, the only thing getting me out of the chair is the thought of lunch.

And finally, I like to think that I’m burning a few more calories by standing rather than sitting at my desk. Ah ha! Gay vanity kicks in. Nah, that’s not it at all. But I don’t want to look like one of those bitchy, wretched, puffy office people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome who has been hunched over an IBM Selectric since 1977. I want to stand tall, feel sleek and be productive.

I began the slow conversion to SRO in my office today by hijacking an unused entertainment center and converting it to a work area. Don’t ask why we have entertainment centers in our office. You should see the ceramic “elephant” end tables in the sales manager’s office – a smashing selection in décor… if it’s 1968, but I digress. If you look at my work webcam, you’ll see my new little workspace to the left of the server rack. You’ll probably see me standing at it more, working on my laptop. Now that I think about it, you’ll probably get more of my ass on my webcam. Lucky you!

The next task – getting two rows of cinder blocks under my desk when no one is looking.


It was such a beautiful day today…

Minus 20

… that I convinced Earl that we needed to go on a drive to snag some pictures for my road web site. Luckily, he agreed. We bundled up, warmed up the car and off we went.

We stopped for a quick lunch at the local Subway and then hit the road. The sun was brilliant against the blue sky as we snaked our way up the eastern shore of Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence Seaway. We took quite a few pictures, including one for my county lines project. Only five more counties to go! Since we were traveling in a very rural part of the state, Earl wasn’t expecting a whole lot in the entertainment department, so he was content on enjoying the scenery and helping out with taking pictures. The northern part of New York is more geared for summer recreation with the many mountains and lakes and rivers and such. However, there were a lot of snowmobilers out and about, despite the frigid temperatures. I always find this surprising, as back in my younger days I loved to go snowmobiling, but only if it was above zero.

One place we did visit was Robert Moses State Park. I had to get a picture of this sign before it became completely dark.

The 45th Parallel

I find this sign so cool. Earl and I camped at Robert Moses State Park a number of years ago, in fact, we rented a cabin for a week. Unfortunately, “duty called” and Earl had to bring us back home for work a couple of days early, so I never got the chance to take a picture of this sign. I’m glad we took the opportunity on this trip. If you’re taking a vacation in Northern New York or near the Ontario-Québec border (like Ottawa, Montréal or Cornwall) in the summertime, one interesting place to stop is the St. Lawrence Seaway Power Project and the Eisenhower Locks. Earl and I once spent an entire day watching the boats come through the locks as they were headed westward on the Great Lakes, going as far inland as Chicago and Detroit. It’s kind of neat.

We did stop at the only mall in St. Lawrence County, the St. Lawrence Centre (note the Canadian spelling), which is in Massena. A nice little mall, though it’s showing the “financial stress” of northern New York with several stores being closed. We enjoyed a delicious supper at a restaurant called “Amigo’s”… kind of pub-like and almost devoid of people. On a Saturday night! I think the cold weather is keeping everyone snuggled up on the couch.

By the way, the picture of our temperature gauge is from when we got in the car after supper. When we left home this afternoon, it was actually a balmy zero degrees. Surfs up dude.

Snow Angel.

Mother Nature has decided that the sub-zero temperatures have not been enough to remind us that it’s winter. No, she feels that we need a little more reminding. So, according to the National Weather Service, by this time tomorrow night we should have 1 to 2 feet of snow. How lovely.

Actually, I do love winter. The world is so breaktakingly beautiful after a snowfall. The plows and DPW trucks throwing sand and salt all over the place. The rusted out cars in their neat, piled up accidents. The kids running in terror from the school bus sliding out of control down the road. The business women in skirts up to their cooley in a snowbank. The businessmen in their big trucks running over the businessmen in their little Yugos. There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned Central New York winter.

Settle down, I’m kidding. People don’t drive Yugos anymore.

For an area of the world that tends to get a lot of snow there seems to be a persistent mayhem whenever a storm is in the forecast. Like it’s never happened before. People flock to the grocery store and buy milk and bread. Even the people on Atkins buy bread. They don’t eat it, but they’re suppose to get bread, so they get bread. Maybe they pass the “snowed in” time fantasizing about eating bread. Or reminiscing when they could eat bread. And I don’t even want to think about fantasies and milking. When I was growing up, there was a weird family down the street and they never had to buy milk. They had a cow in their house. I’m not kidding… my dad and I were driving to work on a sunny day, minding our own business and lo and behold, there was a cow sticking his head out the bedroom window on the second floor of the neighbor’s house. Maybe it was a horse, now that I think about it. While I’m pretty certain it wasn’t the wife, it was an animal of some sort. But really, what could I expect in my neighborhood. The neighbor on the other side was named “Frida Look”. No joke! Frida Look. And down the street, Frida Kahl. If you’re not keeping up, Free—da—look—– free-to-look… ah! Now you got it!

Back to the snow storm. Working for a radio station, I get to see the hysterics first hand. School administrators calling in… “Yes, Mr. Bookworm, I know, all afternoon and evening activities have been cancelled for today. Do you know the code word?” I have to admit it… I know the code word! It’s been the same damn code word since Marconi invented the radio. You’d think someone would have wised up by now. You’d also think the school administrators would know the code word. They’ve been at the school so long they built the new high school around them. But no, they don’t and they have to flip their pages of notes to find the code word. Meanwhile, Dance on Cloud 9 Studio in Barneveld (who dances in Barneveld?) is desperately trying get through on line 2 to let us know that the Fully Phat Gymnastics Team has cancelled snack break again due to the weather. Never mind that the Fully Phat Gymnastics Team has never seen the light of day, nor that the radio station doesn’t even reach Barneveld, but gosh darn it Dance on Cloud Nine Studio is cancelling classes again! Announce it! For some reason, they’re exempt from the code word. I don’t know why.

I guess I just don’t understand the reasons for the hysterics when it comes to snow storms in this neck of the woods. We’re known for snow. This is what we do. It’s going to melt. Spring will spring. The world isn’t going to stop. We have plows. We have snow blowers.

So relax people. Enjoy the snow. Make a snow angel.