Ponderings and Musings

I’ve been asked by a couple of people as to why I keep an on-line journal. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know. It could be because there’s a certain “wickedness” to it, you never know who’s reading what you’re saying, unless of course I get an e-mail like “You’re a moron!”, of which I just hit delete.

It could be because I have so many thoughts racing around my mind all the time that I just say the hell with it and write some of it down. I must admit, that I am shocked at how bad my grammar and spelling has become as I have gotten lazy over the years.

Then I think of it as a time capsule sometimes, and someday I’ll look back on all the stuff I wrote and get a good chuckle. I hope I’ll be laughing over piles of money, because I’m not spending it recklessly anymore! πŸ™‚ By the way, I still have the beard, so that means I’ve been good with money.

We’re now 16 days into grizzly mode, and it’s looking like this:

I must say that it’s coming along nicely. I used my Kodak webcam for that one, because the IBM cam is putting pictures on the site, and it can’t do two things at once. If you haven’t seen the webcam page with shots from me at work and at home, take a peek here. I really like that picture of me, I’m using it on my Yahoo! profile.

On the geek front, I’ve been very successfully selling items on ebay this week. It’s rather satisfying selling items on ebay rather than buying them. I’ll have to go around the house and see what else we need to get rid of. πŸ™‚ I also received a bunch of information on that cash register system I was trying to get working. Unfortunately, I still can’t get it working so it’s going into storage until I can find more stuff for it, probably in a junk pile somewhere. Earl and I are still on a “cleaning the house” kick, with most of the stuff from the City Pound being tossed out, along with a bunch of other junk.

It turns out, by the way, that the cat indeed wrestle with a skunk the other night. If you read below, you’ll see that I mention that a skunk’s “perfume” was stinkin’ up the house as I was typing in my journal. Well, it was because the skunk sprayed Tom. Lovely. So I threw on a pair of shorts and drove to Hannaford’s to pick up a bunch of Tomato Juice and such, all at midnight, and then gave Tom a wonderful fur flyin’, claw scratchin’, screamin’ bath in it. He still stinks today, and it’s been five days. Not as bad though. He threw such a fit getting a bath that I couldn’t get him rinsed, and now he’s got tomato juice on his back that’s all dried up. It’s almost gone though.

Earl is just having a ball on his computer as we type. I think he’s just surfing the internet. He says hello.

Well I just got done watching “Big Brother 2” with some of the people from Survivor. I must admit that I was a little disappointed in it. It wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be, though it was nice to see the folks from Survivor again. And of course they kicked the house hampsters ass when it came to competitions.

I guess I’m a bit of a snob in the reality show arena. I only watch the reality shows on CBS. Survivor and Big Brother 2. I couldn’t give a hoot about the others. It seems like the other networks are ripping CBS off when they try to do their own series. Not that Big Brother or Big Brother 2 are any good. I’ve never seen such a bunch of self-centered people in my life. What a bunch of lunatics. I do enjoy going on the Big Brother web site and being a prick in the chat rooms. That’s always fun.

Earl is in Baltimore this evening on business. Sigh. I hate it when he’s not at home. First of all, I have this fear of him flying without me. I don’t have a fear of flying, but I do have a fear of him flying without me, or vice versa. It makes him too vulnerable to the fates I guess, and I’m not there to protect him. So I’ve been keeping busy cleaning out the computer/wreck room. Since the local cable company sucks so much, we’re unable to get high speed internet here at the house. I was hoping to put webcams around the house so you could watch us in all our glory, but I guess it’s too much trouble to run the cable TV/internet stuff an extra four poles down the road. That’s right. Four poles. The neighbors have cable, but we don’t. Maybe if I don’t go crazy spending money all the time we can save up for two way satellite internet service next spring.

I have a problem with money. I spend lots of it. Buying gadgets and books and other nonsense. Earl is so tolerant of this. I don’t know why he puts up with it, but he does. God Bless him. So I’ve made a deal with myself. And I’m only telling myself and anyone reading this page. I haven’t even told Earl. I’m not going to carelessly spend any more money. If I do, the beard goes down the drain, no questions asked. Now this is kind of an odd proposition, I know. But, growing this beard has become very important to me. People at working are asking when I’m going to shave. I’m telling them not until at least Earl’s birthday – February 20. They look a little horrified and say “You are going to trim it, aren’t you?” Guess what. I’m not. Only the mustache, and that’s just to keep me from eating my mustache. Earl hates my mustache scraggly, but I think he secretly likes the mountain man look. It must be the farm boy in me, because most stereotypical gay men would never go the Grizzly Adams route. But I’ve never followed the same road as others. I guess I’m not stereotypical (though my hands do tend to flair up a bit when I speak).

By the way, we’re 11 days into the Grizzly mode.

So I’m trying really really hard not to spend any careless money. In fact, I put a whole boat load of stuff on ebay today, so maybe we’ll get some money flowing that way! πŸ™‚

Now I’m going to continuing cleaning the wreck room here and then hit the hay for the night. The dumpster is still out front. I never dreamed that we would fill it up, but it’s almost full now. And as I type this, all I can smell is skunk in the late-summer air. I hope Tom (our cat) hasn’t been wrestling again. He gets so feisty.

A new month, a new page on the journal. πŸ™‚

A busy Labor Day weekend. But it’s with a sense of accomplishment. Earl and I got a huge dumpster courtesy of the radio station I work at (I traded it – they get advertising, we get the dumpster) and we began hauling out things we haven’t used in the last six months or so. So far we have the gray barn and the cellar cleaned out, tomorrow it’s the milkhouse. The dumpster is already half full and the majority of stuff is in the milkhouse, so this is going to be interesting.

Friday afternoon brought Earl’s youngest brother Rick and his girlfriend Helen for the weekend. We kicked back Friday night and watched “Remember The Titans” on DVD here at home. The DVD is such a great invention. I can’t stand to watch things on video now that DVD has come into existence.

Saturday we went to the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse. I love the fair, and have gone every year for as long as I can remember. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in farm country, if it’s because I grew up in Central New York or if it’s because I’m odd, but I love going to the New York State Fair, seeing all the animals and displays and riding a few rides. I guess I’m New York State proud or something. I have to say hello to as many animals as I can, sample all the maple products, watch the talent competitions and get nauseous on at least one ride. This year Helen and I tried out the new ride called “The Fireball”. It’s sort of a cross between the Merry Mixer (otherwise known as the Scrambler) and the Pirate. It spins and swings like crazy. Then we went on this souped up version of the Paratroopers called the Parasailers where you laid down on it. I didn’t like that one as much.

After the Fair, we showed them Carousel Center, the huge ass mall in Syracuse on what I remember as “Oil City”. Went to the movies and saw “Rat Race”. Not as good as “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (my favorite movie of all time) but enjoyable nonetheless.

Yesterday I had to work for a couple of hours, and then we cleaned out the gray barn. We can actually get the car into the garage again now! πŸ™‚

I got Windows XP RC2, which is very sweet. I can’t wait until the production version hits the street at the end of October. My compliments to Microsoft!

Beard progress is going well, we’ve gotten into the itchy phase, which means it’s moving along. It looks like this.

Well here it is Sunday night. The opportunity to kick back, relax, think about the weekend and get ready to haul off to work again Monday morning. And it was another busy weekend! I’m ready for fall, when the activities calm down a little bit! πŸ™‚

We started off the weekend Friday night with a bit of shopping at Sangertown Mall, the only full-fledged mall left in the Utica area. Utica originally had three malls, Riverside in North Utica, Charlestown in East Utica and Sangertown in New Hartford. Riverside has been converted to a strip mall (A move I question – I always liked Riverside), Charlestown gave up the ghost not too long ago and was converted to business space (it was originally an outlet mall – but I don’t think it really caught on), so that leaves us with Sangertown. I ate Chinese in the food court, while Earl enjoyed Italian food. I LOVE the chinese food at Sangertown, so much so, that I broke my vegetarian code and had sesame chicken. Outstanding, but the chicken was a little grissly.

Yesterday we went to Bristol, Pa. for Earl’s dad’s birthday. Drove down in the morning (five hours), enjoyed the party with the family, and drove back. We got home around 2:00 a.m. Then today, we went to my grandfather’s 86th birthday party up at his camp on Sandy Pond. It was nice, as I had not seen the majority of that side of the family since the holidays. My aunt/godmother is doing well; I’ve been concerned for her because she has breast cancer, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. She seemed to be in good spirits, I admire her courage, she’s always been a trouper.

Amongst all this fun and frivolity, I wiped my hard drive on my computer and installed Windows XP Professional Edition, beta 2. I’m waiting for my “Release Candidate 2” notification from Microsoft, so I can get the latest version of XP installed and start trying it out. I’m a big-time geek when it comes to new Microsoft products. On the way home from Sandy Pond, we stopped into Syracuse to pick up a Systems Administrator book for Windows 2000 Server, because I’ve just begun supporting it at work and I need some answers to some situations that have arisen. Wish me luck there.

My mustache is on day eight, and my beard on day one. I’ve given up shaving my face until 2002. I want to see how full my beard will get.

Another busy week. It’s amazing to me how fast time flies by! Here it is Thursday night already. Earl and I are planning a trip to Bristol, Pa. this weekend for his father’s birthday party. But then we have to hurry back on Sunday for a party for my grandfather’s 86th birthday. I can’t wait until we can chill out for a bit.

My sister and her fiancee announced yesterday that they are canceling, their wedding plans. The wedding scheduled for September 22. Of course the rest of the family is just in a fit about it, but Earl and I wholeheartedly support their decision. If they’re not 100% sure of what they’re doing, then why go through the motions, only to have heartache down the road? They’re still getting married, just not so soon, after they work out some details of their relationship. I admire them for the courage to make the decision, a decision that they made together.

Well now I’m trying a mustache again, and we’re five days into it. It looks like this.

I usually have a mustache, but I’ve gone most of the summer without one. I was planning on growing it in full for my sister’s wedding, but I’m going to keep growing it just for the heck of it. Stay tuned for progress on that front.

I think I’m giving up on the cash register project for the time being. It’s nearly impossible to find information on these old beasts. I’m going to put them in storage and see if I run across anything on them.

Had dinner with Dennis and Vic last night, it was Dennis’ birthday. We watched ‘Big Brother 2’… I’ve never seen such a bunch of self-centered people in my life. I know CBS wanted to make it more exciting than last year’s run (which was like watching paint dry), but these people are just full of themselves, and one guy even mentioned that nine out of twelve of them had agents before they went in. What the fudge. I wish these reality show producers would get a grip and put real people in these shows instead of these people that want to sit there all day, work out, smoke (there’s a contradiction!) and be a complete jackass on television. We’ll probably still watch the shows, but I wish CBS would answer the clue phone. It’s ringing.

What a busy week. It’s great being system administrator for a radio station. I’m learning computer skills every day, and it’s great. I’m such a geek.

Earl and I had a wonderful dinner last night at Jack Appleseed’s in Utica. For the first time in quite a while, I ate chicken. Being a vegetarian since the beginning of the year, this was something for me, but I really like the taste of Chicken Marsala. When it was wonderful, except I didn’t care for the chicken. The sauce was great though. I wonder how Eggplant Marsala would taste?

Saw “Six Feet Under” for the first time, while visiting our friends Dennis and Vic Wednesday night. I love that show! We’re going to have to sign up for HBO again so we get it here at the house. I’m hoping that the cable company is going to be able to install cable for us, along with high speed internet. Living out here in the rural part of town, I’m not sure that the cable goes by the house, but the neighbors have it, so I’m sure they can get it here.

Earl’s been updating other parts of the site. I finally installed FrontPage 2000 on his computer and showed him how to use it, so you should see plenty of additions to the site over the next couple of weeks!

More to come this weekend…

Here it is the middle of August already. After two days of low humidity and temperatures in the mid 80s, were back to stifling, sticky weather. Let’s hope for a thunderstorm! Actually, if I lived in the midwest I’d probably be a storm chaser, it’s always been a dream of mine to chase a tornado or a hurricane. When I was younger, I used to chase thunderstorms across Central New York. When I was growing up, we used to get fierce thunderstorms off of Lake Ontario. Now that I live further from the lake, the storms aren’t quite as bad. A little disappointing.

Another hobby of mine has been restoring an old computerized cash register system, more specifically, an IBM 3683 and IBM 3684 system. Here’s what the IBM 3684 looks like.

You’ve probably seen one of these before, but they became pretty much extinct in the late 90s when everyone was terrified of Y2K and upgrading their systems. I’m learning more and more about these beasts everyday, and if you know anything about them, drop me a line at jpnearl@earthlink.net. I’m very fortunate that Earl is tolerant of my various hobbies, or I’d be living in the barn by now. Most people find my hobbies like these incredibly boring, I find them incredibly fascinating, but then again, I’ve always been hearing a different drum. By the way, the screen says “F 4671”, which is an error code but I don’t know what it means.

This weekend Earl and I basically chilled out and did nothing, which was nice. A lot of time spent on the computer updating websites and such.

I gave up on my beard and succumbed to the lure of my Mach III. It’s been too hot to grow the beard out, I’ll try again after my sister’s wedding.

The second journal entry! This is a new step for me, I rarely get past the first entry and then forget all about it. How about that.

An active Monday to say the least. I went to my follow-up doctor’s appointment today for my blood work and x-ray results. The doctor wasn’t it. (Lucy VanPelt would not be happy). Since I’ve become a vegetarian, my cholesterol has gone UP. That’s right UP, to like 241. It was lower when I was eating fast food every night. To celebrate, Earl and I went to Arby’s and I had a French Dip sub. There’s nothing wrong with my shoulder as far as broken bones goes, but it sure feels like it’s still falling apart. Maybe I need to get a massage or something.

Today is also day 4 of my new beard.

My mustache is coming in darker than the rest of my beard for a change. By the way, under my lip is that little blob of hair that’s always there, that’s not new.

I had vocal lessons today… I’m singing with my sister’s friend for my sister’s wedding in the middle of September. I haven’t sang in front of people in a long while, even though I went to school to be a music teacher. (I never finished). It was great. We’re singing “The Wedding Song (There Is Love)” and a song from Phantom of the Opera. Earl went along for the vocal coaching… he thought we sounded great. It was weird because I haven’t sang with anyone else in a quasi-amateur professional type setting in a long time. Kind of brings back the urge to get involved with music again. I’d love to be in a band again (I was in one in college singing back-ups) or at least a choir or something. I have a feeling Earl and I will be hitting a karaoke bar soon. πŸ™‚

Well here I am trying to maintain an on-line journal. I hope to do this once or twice a week to let curious people know what the heck is going on with our life.

Today Earl and I went along with my sister and her fiancΓ©e to the Pulaski Field Days. For those unfamiliar with the “field days” concept, it’s a town carnival sponsored by the local fire department to raise money. There’s amusement rides, chicken BBQs and other food, a parade, games and much other merriment. It’s also like Old Home Days, as you tend to run into people you haven’t seen in a long time. Well this year I ran into a few of my old teachers from my school days, and it was wonderful to see them. As well as some old classmates. I have said for years that I never see anyone from my particular class. And I mean NEVER! Well for once I saw someone I graduated with and a bunch of others that hung out as part of “the band clique”. And Jen and Jody won two stuffed animals on the games.

My dad is a private pilot and has built his own airplanes as well. Tonight was also the first night that I’ve ever flown in his new Acro Sport. WOW! It’s an open cockpit bi-plane (four wings instead of two) that cruises at about 110-120 MPH. He used to have a Piper J-5A from the 40s that cruised along at 80 MPH, so this one is really a rush. You get to wear the old aviator’s helmet and goggles and everything in this!

My dad has aviator fuel for blood, and he’s happiest when he’s flying or working on his airplane. We used to fly a lot together, it was nice doing it again today. I imagine that I’ll become a private pilot someday as well