Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Well It's Official...

Ric called Bell South today and arranged to have the line cancelled at the end of the month.

Therefore, I am forced to bid adieu, after the 31st, to the internet.

I will be back mon cherie, and with a much better ISP I am sure.

If it does take a month or two, because convincing Ric I am able to afford it may take a while, I will not neglect my blog...

I have copied the entire blog so far and will maintain it "offline" on my hard drive until I can upload the saved posts once re-established.

I also have the Job Center close to home which allows unlimited internet access on their state-of-the-art computers. It is intended to use for job searches but they don't monitor use and you can easily use their system for general leisure access. I've done it many times before.

But this new development is one more reason why I think it may be time to move on. If the job I am now commited to is great, I will be making enough to look to living on my own again. If it is not, then it may be time to look to living in less expensive digs. Either way, I think my days living with Ric are near the end. And this time, it will likely be the end of our friendship as well. The way I feel, no big loss. Certainly other friends like John Chiafalo, Claudia and Rich, Chris Porter, Michelle, Alicison and Wayne have meant more to me yet they are now can Ric measure up?

Time will tell, but lately I feel I am embarking on a new plateau. And disconnecting from the oddity of the pod person formally known as Ric may be a nessessary step in gaining ground.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Retro Game Weekend

All weekend long I have been obsessed with downloading and playing some of my most beloved computer games of the past. At the "Home of the Underdogs" web site there are plenty ancient and obscure games available and I've hunted down and snagged some of my favs.

Back in the mid 80's my computer was the Commodore 64 and I fell in love with some of the offerings available for that platform.

Infocom was a software company that put out virtually only one type of game: text only interactive fiction.

This format required something so vitally missing in some of the titles today...imagination!

When I played the "Zork Trilogy", I was immersed in a mysterious ancient underground empire where magick and monsters abound!

In "Leather Goddesses of Phobos" I eagerly awaited the cue to go ahead and scratch the accompanying "scratch-n-sniff" card to find out what odor awaited me in this "room".

I raced through the very easy yet entertaining little "Wishbringer", not even needing to keep a map of my moves as it was so simple.

Got campy for "Hollywood Hijinx", rummaging through kooky Hildebud, the family mansion I hoped to inherit.

And I still remember fondly the excitement and triumphant relief of finally, after days and days of trial and error attempts, solving the Babel Fish puzzle in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"!

Found all these and virtually every other Infocom classic at Underdogs, and will be spending some quality wee-hours reliving my past adventuring through their countless "rooms".

Also found these jems:

"Empire Deluxe for Windows"---one of my fav "big theatre" war the rally point paths! Was having difficulty running though, wonder if I installed it wrong. Could be the files though...or the compatibility issues of a 21st century computer trying to run something designed for a 386!

"Pirates! Gold"---a slightly upgraded (graphically) version of the original classic by Sid Meier. Was playing this just before logging on to write this, this game is hard! I keep getting captured! Gonna need to practice up on my swashbuckling skills!

"Legacy of the Ancients"---the first RPG I really got into! Graphics are incredibly archaic (Cyan, Yellow, Black and Magenta were still the prevalent, frequently only, color palates then!) but gameplay is solid and captivating.

"Lords of Conquest"---for years I kept humming the tune that the game played when you deployed a weapon in a territory. This strategy game rocked!

"Red Storm Rising"---I chuckled today when I installed it and began, not at the blocky, 16-color graphics but at the fact that it had "future" selections of submarines available in the Soviet arsenal as far "ahead" as the year 1996 when the "[Soviet] fleet reaches it's most advanced and surpasses the Americans"...ha! Oh in the Reagan years we really did believe that would have been the case though.

Between these acquisitions and my predominant time-waster, Wikipedia, I have been in this chair with only minor forays out into the kitchen and bathroom today.

Man, my butt is numb! LOL

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ebenezer Ric

Scrooge has nothing on Ric when it comes to micro-managing every last penny of his money. This is one area where Ric and I differ so much.

I have always had an aristocratic/bohemian attitude towards money. I endeavor to not fret about it one iota. My dream is not to be a billionaire obsessed with the art of making money and subsequently keeping it, but to live in a "world of personal credit", where items and services are not bought or bartered for, they are given with the expectation that the financial compensation would be promptly and handsomely awarded by one of my minions. I am loathe to be aware of the details of the is beneath me!

Of course, it would take a vast fortune to be able live like this, and a fair dose of fame wouldn't hurt either. I'm not talking Bill Gates or Warren Buffet rich...they do, I presume, worry about money and spend vast amounts of time trying to build their fortunes. I'm talking Sultan of Brunei, Prince Charles, or Liz Taylor rich. Monetary worth may not be as high as the business "wheelers-n-dealers", but the fortune has ivy growing on it. In other words, they can get by more on their clout than on their cash, baby!

Ric is entirely consumed with setting himself on the "right course" lately. He didn't use this term but I know by his actions this is his thought process.

He seems to actually be taking to heart AA and is going diligently to meetings and meeting new friends.

He is consumed with the re-financing of this condo. In all honesty he should be because his P&I is way too high and this is a result of his zeal to get this place this past spring. I think he paid too much and jumped at an expensive lender offer because they approved him even with his spotty credit history.

He is very concerned about the stability of his job. But, for as long as I've known Ric, the main topic of his life...that's right his life...above family, friends, lovers, has always been his job. So this is not new. Even though, historically he goes through jobs like a baby and diapers.

Now add to the mix the fact that as of June of this year, my rent to him became not just a courtesy to cover added expenses as when I was just sleeping on his couch at Sun Lake, it became a necessary avenue of income by which he could afford to pay the mortgage for this place.

At least that's the impression given....

Remember previous posts where I noted that Ric had, in just one weekend day, spent over $200 on booze, taxis and misc. expenses?

These have been eliminated now. He leads a straight and sober life now thanks to Park Place and AA. If he spends more than $30 a weekend you could blow me down with a feather.

During the chaotic days of his drinking binges and subsequent confrontations with me...(damn!...that was just a few months ago!), I blurted out once that Ric was just "drinking up" my rent check each month. I still believe this but unfortunately I think he thinks that this is my motivation for delaying rent next month. He bitches and moans about the impact of just 1/2 rent on January 1. And today I told him that February may also be diminished due to the fact that my first payday at the new job might not be until the 27th of January.

So, dear reader, in a huff, he is stating that he will pull the Bell South phone line, which I have been paying but would be unable to until February. That means I may have a "hiccup" in my internet service for a while...most likely not until after Dec. 31. In a way, fine with me...I'll cancel NetZero as they suck anyways and once I get revenue coming in will re-establish the phone line and get back online with a better ISP. Heck, if income is as good as I assume it will be, I'll get DSL or cable modem back. Well see.

I'll try to squeeze in as many posts including some FLASHBACKs before the inevitable "blackout", but you know I will be back. This is just yet another ripple in the enduring fabric of the state of koyaanisqatsi!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Fun With "The Sims"

Ah yes, the squandering of time. How luxurious it is to have limitless hours to fritter away doing nothing more productive than re-creating our real-world home in the Sims-world.

Had to take a few liberties due to some of the graphical and/or available objects constraints in this now "old" version of "The Sim's Hot Date", but all-in-all, not a bad facimile of the general layout of our townhouse-style condo. The characters don't really look too much like us though.

This isn't the first Sims re-creation I've done. I designed one house as Osama Bin Laden's "hideout" and one as the Starship Enterprise in it's familiar shape with warp drive nacelles on each side and, of course, all TOS main characters. I also made a fabulous White House resplendent with all the goodies like the "Situation Room" and "Oval Office", and, unfortunately, it's current resident "characters", too. Not to mention the houses of several friends, apartments I have lived in in recent years (which add up, believe me!), and some unique characters I made up like an Odessa File elderly ex-Nazi who likes to conduct "scientific" experiments in his attic, a deposed king of a long-forgotten kingdom, and a gay playboy/jewel theif named Joe Adonis.

I so need help. :(

But meanwhile, on to our show of our current humble abode...

So, here are a few photo album snapshots of one rather ordinary morning at 1 Sim Lane...

Why am I in Ric's room?

From the outside.

Having a breakfast of green beans together. I got no problem with unconventional food choice but 2 things wrong. 1. We never eat breakfast, let alone, together. 2. Ric eat veggies? That would definately confirm he is a "pod person"!

Ric walking towards the stairs from up in the "loft" a.k.a. "ad hoc fitness center".

Here's a shot of the living room featuring the cool decorative table light fixture.

Here I am waking up at the crack of dawn. (Why, it's not like I have a job to get up for?)

Here's Ric after just putting his dirty dish in the dishwasher...this would only happen in the game!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Cookie Crumbs

First off, just want to mention...blogger's dating system on posts got screwed up somehow last month and the previous post (FLASHBACK June 1982) was really written and published November 19th. But for some reason it got date stamped as November 19, 2006. So when I tried to post after that date it was positioned behind that post instead of in front of it. So, I copied it, republished a couple days ago and deleted the incorrectly dated entry. What a pain. Hope that was just a one-time thing.

Well, became re-employed today. Hired at the company I mentioned a couple days ago but the start date isn't until January 4. Ric knows and though I stated I would still pay him January rent, looks like it will be a tad late.

Also, got a callback from the Mother Job (the most preferred of the ones I submitted my resume towards). It would be back in management (where I belong after all, let's face it) and starts at a decent 38-42K/yr. I completed one interview with the temp agency rep that coordinates new hires and am awaiting a "personality test" email to complete and return as well as a callback if selected as one of the top 5 candidates for one of the 3 open positions. I won't mention the company 'cause one never knows who accesses sites randomly but suffice it to say it is at their international headquarters located just a mile or 2 away in a gorgeously impressive building on a lavishly laid out campus, oozing corporate wealth and prestige. (They have a few "lakes" on the property, one, front and center as you face the main entrance is so large it has 2 tree studded islands). Very swank. And that's saying a lot in this town where each corporate site tends to have their curving flowerbank trimmed drives, magnolia, live oak and sable palm tree shaded parking lots, sweeping ultra-manicured lawns dotted with numerous ponds, themselves accompanied by jetting fountains. Ah, Lake Mary/Heathrow....the capitalist garden of eden. (Hey, John Travolta lives here so it better look good, dammit!)

Had hot dogs and beans for dinner (I know, how ghetto! But yummy!). Why do people boil the hot dogs in one pan and heat up the canned baked beans in another? I cooked both together in the same pot. Came out great! I should be a TV chef on Food Network.

I can see it now..."Ghetto Fabulous Cookin' With Chef Mike".

I could feature such classics as my Tortilla Soup....(throw lots of leftovers in a pot, add water, a pack or two of raman noodles, a can of cream style corn, a jar of salsa, and wha la, Tortilla Soup!)

Or one of my mom's favs...boil extra fine egg noodles, drain, add margarine, canned condensed tomato soup and cottage cheese...yum!

How about "Shit on the Shingles", taught to me by my great aunt (ma tante) Mable...fry ground beef in skillet, add flour and water to make a gravy (although I use gravy mix), serve on top of toast (I use rice or mashed potatoes).

I got a million of them, maybe I should post my "ghetto chef" resume on Hmmm.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

FLASHBACK: June 1982

My best friend Michael called early in the evening. He said he and his friend Jerry wanted to go out to the "Fife and Drum", a gay bar in Providence tonight and was asking if I wanted to join them.

Of course, I said yes. I was 18 and since New Year's Eve just 6 months before, I had been regularly going out with Michael to several gay bars in the area.I had been earlier confused about my sexuality but after "coming out" to Michael, my friend and co-worker from the Howard Johnson's restaurant we both worked at, I felt I had finally "come out" to myself as well.

I knew instinctively within 5 minutes of meeting Michael in October of 1980 that he was gay. Michael was a waiter and at the time I had just been hired as a 16-year old dishwasher at the HoJo's just 2 miles from my home. At the time, I had very little exposure to gay life.

Michael was somewhat overweight and very fey. The waitresses loved him. He always had the right thing to say yet could have a biting wit when it came to bringing someone "down to earth". Michael whirled through the dining area, lounge, fountain and kitchen of the restaurant with the air of a strange combination of superiority, aloofness, glee and drama. He was the sterotypical and quintessential...FAG.

Michael always reeked of either Ralph Lauren "Polo" or Halston "Z-14", was constantly primping in a mirror and re-combed his fair blonde locks, softened and styled with Tenex, repeatedly, to achieve his "mind's-eye" of the early eighties version of a perfectionist meterosexual. Michael wasn't "out" at work as gay, but like the Beverly Leslie character on "Will & Grace" was, well, pretty freakin' obvious!

Michael's friend Jerry was even, believe it or not, more faggy than Michael. But Jerry had more of a "bitter queen" attitude. Much more adherent to the exclusive segregationist policies of the Preppy guidelines, Jerry wore his upturned Izod Lacoste shirt collar more stiffly, his pinky signet ring shined more brightly and his condescending sneer was more "sneery".

So....we went out to the club that night and I was again being harrassed (kinda) by an older queen with whom I had been nice to a few weeks past. This troll was not "totally" repellent but was not getting any of my polite hints that I was not interested. Suddenly, a drag queen started a performance not far from the dance floor. She was singing some old tried and true torch song. This was my first exposure to a drag queen. After she was finished I was fascinated to know more about her. I went to her and told her she looked like a member of the Factory entourage, Andy Warhol's groupies and contemporaries from the late 1960's (well, she had a beehive hairdo!). The drag queen looked at me and said, "Andy who??? Honey, I never heard of him but if he's cute, send him my way!". This was when I learned that drag queens were not the "Queens of Gay Avant Culture" I had imagined them to be. They were just regular fags wanting to get some cheap applause by dressing up like a campy chick...and, maybe fool a dumb straight guy into getting a BJ from her.

As I dejectedly headed back to the lounge area, I was approached by a cute younger guy with dark hair. He looked around my age. He said his name was Roger. Within 10 minutes we were making out on the overstuffed sofa in the "pit', a hot pink and purple cushioned lounging area of the bar. We very much wanted to "get it on". But, I was with Michael and Jerry, who, according to custom, had gone off to other areas of the bar to cruise for their own "tender morsals". We made a promise to meet at the Loft, another gay bar closer to our home town of Woonsocket in North Smithfield. We pledged to meet tomorrow.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was trying to tell myself I had another commitment that night, but I wouldn't acknowledge it. I wanted to get together with Roger and let nature take it's course. It was my first "pick up" in a gay bar. It would be only my second time with a guy. I very much needed this to happen!

When I got home later, it hit home the consequence of that encounter. It was the end of my "fake straight" life. It was the beginning of my true gay life.

The prior commitment....was none other than my senior prom. I was to go with my "girlfriend" of 9 months, Kathleen.

I wrote about Kathleen in a previous FLASHBACK surrounding my memory of our sailing adventure on Mt. Hope Bay.

That afternoon I avoided the thought of the prom. I had already arranged to rent my tux, pick up the flowers a week before but neglected to pick up either order. I just pretended I had never ordered anything.Kathleen called around 6:00. She was just checking on our itinerary for the night. She excitedly told me she had had her hair and makeup done at a salon and was getting her gown ready. She was so excited!

All I could think of was it's now or never. I wanted to tell Kathleen the truth. That I was gay and wanted to meet a guy at a gay bar instead of take her to the prom, but somehow I couldn't.I told her that I didn't want to go to the prom, maybe we could go to a movie instead. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was trying to compromise....declare my freedom and breakaway from the shackles of fake heterosexual mimicry and also, not hurt Kathleen's feelings.

I mostly thought Kathleen would hang up on me and I would be free from having to further explain my behavior, but instead she seemed shocked about the reversal of plans but agreed to go to the movies with me. I abruptly told her I would call her later.

This reaction of her's made me feel ever so much worse. She was willing to for-go the prom and just go out to the movies. I couldn't believe it. I was mortified.

I had never really felt much for Kathleen. Our dates were nearly totally pluetonic. Light non-French kissing and hugs, very innocent. To me she was no more than a "beard" but also a fairly pleasant friend but not a really good one. She was too...passive. Part of me was disgusted by her.

I called her back after an hour or 2 and told her that I couldn't go out to the movies, either. She sweetly and so innocently asked...why? I told her I found another girl and was dumping her. I told her I was sorry and she cried and hung up. I never spoke with her again. In the end...I couldn't even tell her the whole truth.

That night I went to "The Loft" and met up with Roger. We danced, laughed and embrassed each other. We shared drinks together and talked about our interests and desires. We hugged, kissed and groped each other. As our hard cocks beckoned to be set free of our tight designer jeans we hurried out to my 1972 Chevy Astra wagon, got in the back and fucked like horny bunnies. Roger topped me and it was the first time I had been fucked. We fogged-up the windows of my car, attracting the attention of a few other leaving patrons going to their cars in the parking lot...some of them, probably, to do the same thing themselves.

David and I went out a few more times but we had difficulty at that age in getting together for sex. We both lived at our respective parents homes. He too was only 18.

By the fall of that year he had moved off to some college far from Rhode Island and I never saw him again.

Of all the FLASHBACK memories of my life, this one, in which I so dramatically and perhaps cruelly "came out", tends to be the most remembered.

Post From The Sanity-Free Zone

Not so unusual historically for me, I quit my job on a whim a couple weeks ago.

Yup. Just had enough.

So I am busy looking at other prospects. One place seems likely. It is even closer to home...less of a walk, and it pays commission.

It was rather disgusting how at the other place the client company was practically forcing us to sell (although it was never worded as such to keep the sales-job-phobic reps pacified) migrations.

Put my resume for public view on this time and, wow!, getting unsolicited job offers calling. Luckily I got my Tracfone specifically for business use only so I know it's a job call when it rings. What an age we live in where you can have multiple phones for multiple uses. Like the landline I use for this internet connection (ugh, yes dial-up, I know! It sucks, but alas, I am poor, boo hoo!)...we use it just for that. I think I used it once to make a call for pizza delivery since it was right there, you know? Hopefully noone tries to call us on that line, BTW, since we shut the ringer off and wouldn't even know if someone was trying to call.

Times like this though is when I miss a car the most. Well, got noone to blame but myself for that now, do I?

Ric has been okay about this "transition". In past years he was quite the jerk, but though he is worried (it's his nature...he's a worry-wort) he is not haughty or "Daddy-esque".

I do suspect though, that Ric is a pod "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" facimile of the original Ric that went into the treatment program and never came out. It's okay though. This alien version is a lot more predicatable and we're doing nice sober-friendly activities like renting DVDs, playing RISK and Scrabble, playing raquetball. He was saying he was even thinking of buying an XBOX360, but when I told him the price he toned down that tune...yet I did suggest a PS2 might be more affordable an right now has a lot more titles to choose from. He might get that for Christmas. Yay!

I talked to Phil last week. He called me after noticing I was out a few days from work. Phil knows I'm a slacker so being out a couple days didn't garner any concern, but when 3 and 4 days went by, he knew something was up. I told him I quit, but no hard feelings, just wasn't thrilled about the job and hated being there. You know you need to quit when you look at the clock literally 20 times a day and each time, even just before end of shift, you keep sighing that it's not over yet.

Well, as I am sitting here typing this, Mildred's CD/DVD-ROM drive is making funny noises, though it should need to access any CD right now. Don't tell me it's gonna fail...again!

A running joke in our household when I was growing up was that if anyone bought my Mom an electric can opener as a gift, it was doomed. My Mom knew her way around the kitchen very well, and used appliances like can openers properly and with care, but it didn't matter...them suckers just kept on breaking! It was a weird jinx.

Well, CD-ROM drives are for me what electric can openers were for her. This Mildred (remember, she is the 10th) alone has gone through 2 already. Though, yes I've had to replace other components of 'puters over the years (like hard drives...what a bitch when they die!) none so frequently as CD-ROM drives. And this current one is a nice DVD burner and all. Arrrgh!

Anyway, it's now "...8:15 in the city..." and I gotta get ready for an interview scheduled for today so I can soon be singing "Workin' Nine To Five!". (I think I'd make a great drag version of Dolly!)