Well, here it is a short work week. Earl and I are planning a trip to Pennsylvania at the end of the week for the holiday. We haven’t seen his folks since Labor Day, so it’ll be nice to see everyone.

I must admit that I’m confused by the U.S. Government this week. They’re screaming about how this new Airport Safety bill is going to make the airlines that much safer for the Thanksgiving holiday. Say what? While I am all for improved airport security, I find it a bit disconcerting that all of these security improvements are going to take place over the next month or two, not the next three days. I’m not a big fan of flying commercially as it is. I guess I’m odd… I’ll jump out of an airplace and skydive but I don’t like stepping foot onto a 767 or whatever. Figure that one out. They’re just something very impersonal about flying over the United States instead of driving through it I guess. I’ve always been a big fan of roadtrips. And not always by Interstate, I like the backroads too. To see what America is about I guess. I don’t cherish the idea of getting on a plane in Syracuse in 33 degree weather and then getting off a plane in Orlando in 70 degree weather. I like to see the subtle change between the two destinations. Besides, it’s unnatural for the body to go through such a climate shock. So I’ll keep my feet on the ground for now I guess.

I’ve been on this herbal kick for the past couple of weeks. I’m trying to enjoy the natural side of life instead of putting all this medicine in my body. Blood pressure medicine. Cholesterol medicine. Blah blah blah. I’ve been doing my yoga regularly, plus churning away at the tried and true exercises (push ups, sit ups) and I’ve lost three pounds. Well it’s a start. I’ve been reading on the internet where Norvasc (bp medicine) caused cancer in lab rats. Well, I’m not a lab rat, but I’m not taking any chances. I was taking lipitor for my cholesterol, but I read where it can wreak havoc with your liver, so you should have a blood test every couple of months. Hosanna! Sign me up! I’m not a big fan of blood tests as it is, but the last couple of experiences about through me over the edge.

I went to the local vampire clinic (which shall remain nameless – lest I be held liable). No one there, easy – I’ll go in, get stabbed, and leave. Well, the nurse that was taking my blood smiled at me, and gave me a nice toothless smile. Whoa! What’s up with that? She must have left her teeth on the nightstand or something. So she begins pounding on my arm like she was beating bread dough and said… hmmm, we can’t find a vein here. Stop the show. If you were to look at my arm, you can clearly see the veins all over the place. A drug user would kill for my arm. So, apparently Miss Summer Teeth just blindly stabbed, and the routed the needle around until she found something red that would fill the vial. Nice. After Ms. Dagger got done, my arm began swelling up a bit, and then she put a piece of gauze over it and said keep it elevated. By the end of the day, I had a black and blue mark from my wrist to my shoulder (or to put it bluntly, asshole to elbow).

So the next time I had to have blood drawn for this ridiculous cholesterol test, I went to a different location of the vampire clinic. I thought that Ms. Gummy Grin wouldn’t be there since I was at a different location. WRONG. Apparently she’s a floater so she can spread her joy throughout the land. So I went through the same ordeal again, though I’ll admit that it wasn’t as bad. The black and blue mark was only around for a day or two, rather than the week long badge of courage from the last time.

And that’s when I decided that enough is enough. So I’ve been researching herbal remedies. And I must admit that I feel much better than I did before. I have more pep and zing in my step (and as a gay man, that’s quite a sight to behold!) I’ve been taking: Garlic (odorless of course! – did you know that studies have proven that garlic is STILL the best form of birth control), Echinacea (to boost up my immune system), Ginko (to increase my mental alertness) and Ginsing (to give me energy). Over the past eight years or so, I’ve developed a sort of stammer a bit. It’s not a stutter per se, but I say words that begin with the same letter as the word I’m trying to say, but the word that comes out is in no way related to the conversation at hand. For example, “I’ll have a piece of press for dessert”, instead of “I’ll have a piece of pie”. I sometimes have the remix thing going on as well and get stuck on a word (like “I’m getting jig jig jig jig jiggy with it”, instead of just “jiggy”). My doctor had me go to a neurologist, who did a bunch of tests, including a CAT scan, an MRI (where you get to play “hampster in the paper towel tube”) and a sleep deprivation test that involved no sleep for 24 hours, and then resting on a couch while the test administrator banged some books and flashed a strobe light in my eyes. That was tons of fun. They thought I might have dyphasia, but nothing conclusive came of it. But since I’ve been taking herbs, I’ve been saying all the right things to all the right people without remixing.

Needless to say, I’ve been moving along with these herbs and I feel much better. Let’s see how it all pans out.

At work today, Laurie, our Assistant News Director at the radio station, told me that Tuesday the 13th in Spanish has the same superstitious properties as Friday the 13th in English. So I shouldn’t speak Spanish today. I wasn’t planning on speaking Spanish, since I don’t speak the language, but what the hey. Olé. I believe she’s as erratic as I am. She’s a good egg.

Earl and I just got back from Pier One. We’re working on sprucing up our dining room a bit, and we bought a nice wine rack for it. I’ve also purchased bunch of plants for the bay window and they’re coming along nicely.

Just got done watching Dharma and Greg. I have a renewed interest in that show. I’m loving it. The relationship is very much like Bewitched, my favorite show of all time. Add a bit of witchcraft and you’ve basically got Bewitched. That would be a cool dream sequence or something.

Speaking of which, I’m taping Bewitched again. We have one of those TiVo units with our DirecTV, so we can tape up to 35 hours of programming on this bugger, and it can be programmed to tape every Bewitched that comes on, which is way cool, so I’ve been kicking back watching Bewitched after work. Very relaxing.

I finally remembered the name of the tea I was enjoying so at work. It’s “Tension Tamer” from Celestal Seasonings. Very nice. I’ve been reading a bunch about herbs, and so I’ve been taking some herbal supplements that seem to be doing wonders for my mood and general overall well-being. I checked my blood pressure today and it’s the lowest it’s been in years. There’s something to be said for herbal vs. western “traditional” medicine. I’ve been drinking lots of herbal tea too, I think that might have something to do with my feeling better, rather than getting bogged down with soda, save for my one Pepsi Twist a day. 🙂 I drank so much water and tea today I thought I was going to float away!

I can’t believe another airliner went down this week. Those poor people both on the plane (obviously) and in the Rockaways. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.

I’m not big on flying commercial flights as it is, and now it’s definitely car rides only if we’re going anywhere. Speaking of which, we’ve already made our reservations for New Year’s Eve. We’re spending New Years Eve 2001 in Philadelphia. We’re celebrating five years of marital bliss at the same time, basically at the scene of the crime. 🙂 I can’t wait!

I’ve been thinking about Christmas which is just around the corner. I love the Christmas holiday so much. I think we’re going to go a bit “old-fashioned” on the outside decorations and use the big lights and keep it simple. I don’t like things that blink and sway and look like a big neon-light. Simple is better.

The geek in me is becoming very interested in this new Dreamweaver software I got for website management. Like let’s see what this button does.

Not much more going on – life is plugging along as usual.

As you can see, I have an editor keeping track of everything on the journal again.

Monday, Monday. So Good To Me.

I usually don’t write in my journal on Monday, just too shellshocked from getting through the work day I guess. But tonight I’m feeling pretty good!

I started drinking herbal tea at work today. Had a nice cup when I got to work… it’s some kind of stuff for daily stress. I can’t remember the name, I’ll have to get it tomorrow. But it tastes wonderful and just got me started off on the right foot. Work was pretty much non-eventful, but I was very productive and got a lot of my mundane tasks done early in the day, which is always nice. I don’t like the feeling of routine stuff hanging over my head, so I like to get it out of the way as soon as possible.

Earl got out of work really late tonight, and he begged to go out for supper rather than eat here at home. So off we went to Ruby Tuesday at Sangertown Mall. We haven’t eaten there in years. Now I remember why. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” O.K.

We also stopped into Circuit City and bought new video cards for our computers. We both have been wanting more robust cards for the computer, so I installed them this evening, and they seem to be working well. It’s disheartening because we purchased computers for the both of us within the past 1 1/2 years or so, but here we are upgrading already.

I’ve been using the IBM camera again, from a new angle… here’s what I look like sitting at the computer as I type this.

As you can see, someone feels he has to help out with my journal. 🙂

So the geek in me is trying out a new web site management software package today. It’s called “Dreamweaver 4” by Macromedia. So far I like it quite a bit. It’s suppose to be more powerful than FrontPage, which I’ve been using for the past couple of years. Let’s see what I can do with it.The reason I’ve been getting involved with Dreamweaver is because I’m trying to broaden my horizons as far as software use goes. At work, the advertising agency part of the company is getting involved with interactive DVDs and CD-ROMs, and I’m going to be a big part of that. So I’m trying to learn as much as I can about the flashier stuff on the web and such.

Earl and I are just kicking back and relaxing this weekend, which is kind of nice. Yesterday we went to Syracuse so he could get his haircut. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I don’t tend to need to spend time at the barbershop. 🙂 And he really likes getting his haircut at the barbershop at Shoppingtown Mall, so that’s where we went. I wouldn’t mind apprenticing there someday, we’ll have to see if that works out. From Shoppingtown we went on to Barnes and Noble. We spent about an hour there going through books and such, I ended up buying four of them, and Earl bought a management book. I’ve become very interested in a more natural lifestyle… using herbs and meditation instead of pharmacutical based medicines. I don’t know if it’s what’s been happening in the world lately, or if I’ve been feeling this way since the whole Y2K scare, but I really feel the need to get back to my roots. I can’t help but think that it’s better for my body! I’ve had this rash on my legs for the past year; just a couple of red spots, but it was itchy. The doctor suggested a steroid cream, which I put on but then I couldn’t pee well for some reason. So then he suggested cortaid. Well that hasn’t been doing squat. So I did some reading and decided to just put Aloe on it. This was two days ago and it’s showing signs of going away already.

I’m also finding the importance of water. I’m trying to drink a lot more of it, and you know what, I feel better! On the decedant side, I have found Pepsi Twist… apparently it just came out this week. So I’m drinking one a day, but only if I drink at least four glasses of water beforehand.

Here it is November 1st already. Christmas is next month! Egads!

Earl is in New Castle, Pa. this evening on business. He drove down with a couple of work associates. We have an agreement… we’re not afraid to fly, as long we we’re with each other. So he drove since I couldn’t be with him. A little kooky, huh.

In his absence I’ve been catching up on odds and ends around the house. Wrapping up my final ebay shipments. Picking up around the house, that sort of thing. I think I’ve given up selling on ebay for a while. (Buying too!) With the economy bouncing around so much, I don’t think people are really in the mood to be buying other people’s junk. So, I’m going to let it rest a little bit.

I did spend the past half hour singing my lungs out to one of the “Godspell” CDs I have. I love that show. I wish I could be in it again. Actually, the first time I was just in a musical review of it, so we didn’t get to act it out, just sing the songs. I think it was a fund-raising dessert theatre or something. I want to be in the full fledged show this time around. Earl’s been bugging me to get involved with community theatre, but I haven’t done it yet. Maybe I’ll have to pursue that a little bit. My stint at SUNY Fredonia kind of broke my self confidence in half when it comes to performing. In high school, I was in all the select choruses, Area All-State, All-County and all for both voice and tuba. (Yep, I played the tuba, and I loved it). I auditioned for SUNY Fredonia twice, the first time for voice, in which I was not accepted, and the second time for tuba, which I was accepted (honestly, I think I was accepted because there were no other freshman tuba players and an orchestra sounds funny without one). To make a long story short, when I arrived my freshman year, I was put in “remedial singing lessons” (after being in all these select choruses!) and my tuba professor completely hated me (I think it was the gay thing, but I can’t be sure – the feeling was mutual, I despised him), so he humiliated me by making me play scales in front of my entire conducting class. And just for the record, I got a 4.0 in remedial singing with a “what the hell is he doing in this class, he should be in performance!” next to my grade on my transcript. SUNY Fredonia was such a waste of my time, and unfortunately my parents’ and my money.

I was always expected to go to college after high school. My parents hoped for the best for me, as all parents naturally would. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sing! I love to make people happy by entertaining them. But I realized about 1/2 way into my senior year of high school that I wasn’t sure college was the way to go. My grades in high school were excellent; I was in honor society, I was in numerous extracurricular activities (mostly music related), I loved school. Everyone expected me to go onto college, so that’s what I did. Fact be known, I wish I had gone to BOCES half day like the other vocational students did and become a barber. I was afraid of being labeled a hair-dressing fag. So I didn’t pursue that career path. To this day, I wish I had, and I just might start getting on that path some day soon. When I turn 40, I’d like to have my own barbershop, be my own boss and just do my own thing. Hell, I could be a singing barber just like in the old days.

I protested and didn’t watch Survivor tonight. It seems scripted and rigged to me. I really don’t care about these attention grabbing whackos. That Jeff Probst is just all too serious about his job. “The tribe has spoken”. Whatever. The tribe spoke to me too. Survivor is so 20 minutes ago. By the way, I taped Wonder Woman off of FX in the mid 1990s, and I have Jeff Probst doing commentary between the episodes. He was a geek then too.

Boy does that picture look awful. I look like a ghost! Happy Halloween!

Last night was the great Windows XP install. Microsoft has built in “Product Activation”, which essentially means that the software is tied to your particular computer, and it can’t be installed on another computer as well. No more illegal copies of software, which is probably a good thing. It does crunch the budget though. So anyways, Earl and I had to go out and purchase an additional copy for his computer. His webcam got fussy about it, so we traded cams and now I’m on the IBM Net Camera. It’s not as orange tinted, and I still have to adjust the settings. I took the other IBM Net Camera Pro to work, and the picture is much clearer, take a look!

I’ve been thinking about one’s ‘priorities’ since the September 11th attacks. I think Americans are getting back in touch with their country, in touch with their nation and in touch with each other again. This is a good thing. Unfortunately, it’s obvious that the human race is not ready to live in harmony and peace with one another yet, and that is very sad. Different people of the world screeching “my God is the only God”, “your God is wrong, my God is right”, etc. What’s up with that? Why can’t people treasure each other’s beliefs rather than ridicule them? It doesn’t make sense to me. My beliefs may not match up perfectly 100% with my neighbor’s, but who cares? We’re working towards a common goal: to live the most fulfilling, productive, contributing life that we can. We’re both celebrating our time on Earth here together. Why must we dwell on our differences instead of celebrating our commonalities? Humans have such a lesson to learn. I hope we learn it soon, for all our sake.

Back to Eastern Standard Time. Sigh. I hate the conversion back and forth between daylight and standard time. Human being put such an importance on time. Personally, I couldn’t give a hoot about it staying light until 9:30 in the middle of the summer. Granted the time change in the spring is much more jarring than the one in the fall, since we get an extra hour at this time of the year, but still, leave the clocks alone.

Rick, Earl’s brother, and his girlfriend Helen came up for the weekend. We had a wonderful time together. Friday night we went and saw “K-PAX” with Kevin Spacey. A very enjoyable movie. I liked it a lot, we all had a wonderful time.

Yesterday we went up to Ottawa, Ontario to tour around a bit. Unfortunately, the Parliament tours were booked for the day, but we were able to tour the grounds and such. It was odd to see American flags on sale in Canada, but heartwarming nonetheless.

We took a walk by the American Embassy and then did some shopping. The computer store at the Rideau Centre was jammed with people buying Windows XP. Apparently many stores have been jammed with people buying Windows XP.

I did make an absolutely wonderful discovery while in Canada.

I LOVE this stuff! After doing some research on the web today, apparently Pepsi Twist is available in the midwestern U.S. as well as in Canada, but it’s not here in Upstate N.Y. This soda is awesome! It’s my second favorite flavor of Pepsi ever, my first favorite being Crystal Pepsi, but unfortunately I was the only one that apparently liked it.

Speaking of Windows XP, I tracked my Amazon order and it will be here tomorrow; so tomorrow night is the big computer night. I’ve backed up everything on my hard drive and tomorrow I’m going to wipe it out and start fresh with Windows XP. I’ve been using the beta version (Release Candidate 2) for a while, and it’s been very stable, so this puppy should fly along nicely. I’ve ordered XP Plus as well. I’m looking forward to delving into geekdom tomorrow night.

I’ve received a number of inquiries about my clock collection lately. It seems like more and more people are becoming interested in equipment made by Standard Electric. If you haven’t seen my collection, here it is.

I’ve also discovered Netgrocer. I’m placing my first order today. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Well, here it is a stormy Sunday night. I believe we are experiencing what is probably the last thunderstorm of 2001, and it’s a bit of a dud. I want some angry weather damn it! I love major storms, I always have. I think it’s because I grew up near Lake Ontario, where it seems that we had a lot of thunderstorms. And they were good ones. Lots of lightning, lots of wind, lots of thunder. If I had lots of money and had paid attention in my Earth Science class in high school, I’d probably be a storm chaser. Hurricanes, tornadoes, you name it, I want to be there. I think it’s because I have such a respect for what Mother Nature can do. Humans can build incredible life destroying bombs, dam up mighty rivers and put thirsty metropolises in the middle of the desert. But Mother Nature can sweep it all away with just one relentless downpour. The Earth needs to be respected and honored, not “used”.

We went with our friends Dennis and Victor last night to Carousel Center to see “Hearts In Atlantis”. What a good movie! Unlike last week’s cinematic lesson in boredom (see last week’s entry), the time flew during this movie, and it was just wonderful. For the first time in my 33 years of existence on this planet, I did not have popcorn with the movie. I am an absolute popcorn maniac! I love popcorn! I could eat nothing but popcorn and be very, very happy about it. But lately, popcorn at Hoyt’s cinemas has sucked. Quite a bit. So I opted for Reese’s Pieces instead.

Friday night Earl and I were antsy so we decided to go out to dinner. In Albany. 83 miles away. We ended up eating at Houlihan’s in Crossgates Mall. We also purchased a new inkjet printer for the house. This HP deskjet 960c is awesome. (The geek is now shining in me). It prints real PHOTOS! Very nice, very nice indeed.

Today we just kind of lazed around the house. Is lazed a real word? I just took a shower 40 minutes ago, and it’s currently 7:38 PM. I don’t know why I bothered to take a shower since I’ll be going to bed in a couple of hours, but it was pretty nice nevertheless.

The geek in me is also looking forward to the release of Windows XP on Thursday. I’ve been running RC 2, or “release candidate 2” since late August. I’m excited about the final version. I can’t wait to install it on my computer. That’ll be my project next week.

I put some more pictures on the photo gallery if you want to take a peek of our trip to Watkins Glen.

Well here it is. Five years ago this weekend, I got down on my knee at the top of Bald Mountain in Inlet, New York and I proposed to Earl. Five years ago this weekend, I basically said to Earl “I’m in it for life.” And life has been wonderful ever since.

We took Friday off to do a little leaf peeping. We ended up driving down through the Finger Lakes. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the leaves were at their peek. I could not believe the brillances of the golds, reds, oranges and all the other fall colors.

First stop was Fox Run Vineyards near Penn Yan. A little wine sampling, a tour of the vineyard, a couple of bottles of wine for home, and we’re on our way. They had a lovely cafe that we enjoyed lunch at.

Next stop was in Watkins Glen. We went to Watkins Glen State Park, which is known for it’s huge gorge. We hiked for about an hour before we headed back to the car due to rain. We took a bunch of pictures, which I’ll be posting this week.

Then on to Corning. We had been to Glass Museum before, so we decided to just take a leisurely stroll down Historic Market Street. The weather was quite mild for mid October, in the mid 70s, so it was a nice walk.

We then decided to drive up to Rochester. Ended up going to Chili’s not too far outside of the city, in Victor.

On Saturday we went and saw “Bandits” with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton. What a sucky movie. I was so bored, I went to the bathroom twice just to relieve the monotony. We almost walked out of the movie, something we’ve never done before, not even during “Eyes Wide Shut.” I LOVE Bruce Willis, but this movie majorly sucked. We then had a snappy dinner at Wegmans in DeWitt. For you out of towners, Wegmans is a lovely grocery store here in Upstate New York (I think it’s in Pennsylvania too). Anyways, the large, large stores have a food court in them, much like Marché in Canada. You take your tray around and choose from a wide variety of types of food, and enjoy it for dinner. I know, I know, how domestic for two gay men to be eating at a food court in a grocery store. Those that are more in-tune with the lifestyle gay men allegedly live might say that our choice was rather mundane. But I guess Earl and I aren’t your typical fancy pants couple. And the food was dang good. 🙂

Today we went to the first of many Christmas parties. You read right, we went to a Christmas party on October 14. My grandfather and his wife (they’ve been married since 1996, my grandmother had passed away shortly before) leave for Florida first week of November, so the whole family gets together for a sort of Thanksgiving and Christmas meal combined. It’s rather nice, and it was nice seeing the family.

I did get to read a letter from my younger cousin. She and her husband, and their two toddler children, are missionaries and currently live in Yemen, spreading the word of the gospel and doing His work. I must admit that I admire them for their courage, as they do what they feel they were put on this Earth for. They are undertaking quite a feat, especially in these turbulent times. They are following their life mission, and we pray for their safety, as well as the safety of the innocent bystanders of these vicious acts. I had thought that they would be over in Yemen for a couple of years, do what they needed to do, and then return to the states. But from what I understand now, they plan on spending the rest of their lives there. We wish them all peace.

Well, the United States has begun retaliations against the Talaban. I say “God Bless America” and go get ’em.

Earl and I have been getting into winter hibernation mode, stocking up the can cupboard, doing some baking, putting the lawn furniture away, etc. And not a moment too soon, because as I type this, my little “wetsock” weather indicator next to my computer clock is showing me a snowman, and says we’re going to get snow showers tonight. I’m very excited as I love winter. There won’t be any snow accumulation, but we’re getting there!

Thursday night brought my mother to our home for dinner. It was great to get together with her, as we had not seen her since mid August. She looks wonderful, and seems to be doing very well. We had a nice time just chatting amongst the three of us.

Earl and I went out to dinner both Friday and Saturday night, and both times we ate healthy! No desserts. Saturday night we watched “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”, as I got the DVD from Amazon.com a week or so ago. ‘Mad World’ is my favorite movie of all time. I can never get enough of it. And the DVD has the complete version of it, which is very cool.

I put up a bunch of odds and ends on ebay this afternoon. I love selling and buying stuff on ebay. I sometimes get addicted to it. But, I’m selling more than I’m buying right now, so everything is o.k. in the financial department. Let’s make sure we keep it that way.

Which reminds me. Back on September’s journal, I mentioned that my beard would stay around as long as my financial responsibility remained. Well, I gave in and shaved off my beard. But I am remaining financially responsible. My beard was just not coming in as well as I had hoped, plus as much as I cleaned my face and beard, I felt like I was dirty. So I went ahead and shaved, and have settled on this look.

Just a mustache without a soul patch. I haven’t been without my soul patch in quite a while! I’ll probably trim the mustache a little more, but this is basically what I’m going with.

I heard from someone about the IBM register system I was working on restoring. He has a similar system that he’s restoring. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only nutty geek in the world.