Friday, December 22, 2006

Hail Symantec!

Finally, 9 months after starting, I am no longer just a lowly temp and am now a full-fledged employee of Symantec with all the perks and benefits like:

Health insurance! Yay! Especially when I need my major issues dealt with like morbid obesity, chronic alcoholism, gout, disconnected shoulder, general arthritis, precursor diabetes, gum disease and gingivitis, escalating myopia, resurgent occasional GURD , social anxiety disorder, depression, tooth decay, sexual performance anxiety and unsustainable erections, lethargy, possible schizophrenia, male-pattern baldness, high blood pressure, occasional insomnia, chronic pollen allergies, and lactose intolerance.

Also, PTO! (Paid Time Off) Yay! I can take time off with pay for the many doctor office visits I'll need.

But seriously folks (a bit ironic since I wasn't actually joking), it is very much a status "thing" here. Only a few temps become perm.

After all, it takes the creme-de-la-creme to be able to serve our customers best...or does it?

More on this after a special "Koyaanisqatsi" timeline post which will chronicle the momentous past 5 years. Yes, Mildred, we are almost there!

December 23, 2001

The Day That It All Stems From:

The Beginning Of Koyaanisqatsi, Phase 1.

The date that will live (for me) in infamy.

Please stay tuned....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What's Goin' On...

Remember those overtime hours that were supposed to be for a week or two? Well, they're now mandatory until the end of the year! So many things are wrong with the new license registration and upgrade portal I can't even begin to tell you...and the fixes are slow in coming, but the new problems seem to spring up every day. I feel like we are trying to bail out the sinking "Orca", Quint's ill-fated fishing boat in "Jaws", while the shark keeps ramming us...and all we have are Dixie cups! Maybe I should start singing: "Farewell and adieu, ye fair Spanish ladies..."

Did I tell you Ric bought a 37" Philips "Ambilight" LCD flat panel HDTV? Well he did and it looks fabulous. Built-in speakers seem a little under-dramatic, so he is looking into getting a BOSE sound system for it.

The weird guy that lives in the condo next door seems to have finally left for (let's hope) the season. Last year he was gone all summer and the holidays only to show up around January...but then he stayed thru this summer and fall up until just before T-Day. Odd for what appears to be a snowbirder...

Less then one month now until "L-Day", the day I get my license back. Funny, I just noticed it right now, but since I work in licensing for our company's software, I must type, read and say the word license a gazillion times a day...and in remarking about "L-Day"...that is what I am ultimately working so hard for. True, a different kind of license, but the same word nonetheless.

BTW, I'm at the $5,000 mark in my savings towards a car. Looking at spending around that too, so from here on out, all further savings will be allocated to insurance and anticipated related expenses. Plus, with all these OT dollars, I should still have enough leftover to splurge on that cruise Ric wants to go on.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Channel Surfing Can Be Quite A Journey Sometimes

Tonight while flipping through channels I happened upon a channel I would never normally turn to...The Soap Network.

But to my surprise, they were rebroadcasting a now 25 year old episode...the wedding of Luke and Laura on General Hospital.

This brought back such memories.

Back then, even folks not into soap operas were somehow caught up in the phenomenon of Luke and Laura Fever.

It was especially strong among college students...classes would be vacant because they had the misfortune of being scheduled at the same time as the afternoon bradcast of GH. I was still a high school student at the time but my friends were older and very much caught up in the mania.

I still remember the pop/proto-rap song of the time "General Hospi-tale", raping the lyrics with my friends and the fact that you were socially outcast if you didn't know what was going on on GH.

The broadcast I saw tonight looked so dated; so '80's. There was a scene with a very young and probably much unknown then, Rick Springfield. What a trip.

The '80's seemed filled with several of those momentous "TV Moments"..."Who Shot J.R.?", "The Battlestar Galactica Finds Earth", "The Final Episode of M*A*S*H*", "The Alexis and Crystal Cat Fight", "The Broadcast of 'The Day After' Movie", "The 'Where's The Beef' Vice-Presidential Debate", "The Single and Only Broadcast of the '1984-esque' Apple Macintosh Commercial"...and the list goes on.

Funny how technology has made special "TV Moments" more ubiquitous and easily taped, the moments themselves seemed to become less socially "important".

As Archie and Edith sang..."Those Were The Days!"...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Billy, Don't Be A Hero

I'm listening to one of my favorite CD's, the soundtrack to "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert". Fabulous Movie, Super-Fabulous Soundtrack!

But the 3rd song on the track has me thinking about the current state of events.

The song is a remake of the early 70's "Vietnam-Era" song, "Billy, Don't Be A Hero".

Besides being a great melody and entirely appropriate to the movie where traditional "masculine" values are challenged, the song has personal meaning to me.

In the early seventies I was in elementary school, but, as I'm certainly no slouch, in the mental capacities realm, I was certainly and sadly aware of the state of affairs then. I vividly remember the nightly newscasts and the "roll call" of fallen soldiers announced by Walter Cronkite.

So many dead...and even at the age of 8, I knew that 19 was way too young to die.

This song touched me then and still, today, brings more then a couple of tears to my eyes when I think of the lyrics.

The wife of a young man called up for duty in Vietnam, admonishes him, Billy, to not volunteer for anything...just do your duty and come home safe to me...

But Billy, ever wanting to do "the right thing", does, in fact, volunteer for a mission...and is killed in action.

The wife is notified in a letter of her husbands demise.

It makes me think of how many young wives, husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends are left without thier loved ones as we come up to the Holiday season in the present situation.

But don't feel uncomfortable about me, an aging fat ol' queen bringing this up...

Vote with your Heart, America!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Calm Before The Storm

This weekend it will be essential to rest and relax in preparation for next week...

Starting Monday, our department at work is going to be doing 12 hour mandatory overtime shifts each day.

The reasons:

1. Major release of our newest anchor product...we handle the requests for updates from previous versions that have current technical support....so, basically, 90% of the customers we deal with.

2. The "dawning of a new age" (my own phrase, not the company's)...the merging of the up-until-now separate databases maintaining our customers records...availability products and security, together. (Over a year and a half after the merger of the 2 companies that make up our present-day company.)

3. The new customer-facing websites, certificate formats, sku numbers, buying programs...basically, everything, is different. (Should I say "better"? Well, it looks like it, but we'll see, won't we?)

4. Our new tools and case management protocols...all new starting Monday...

This company likes to do things with DRAMA! No soft phases, no trial periods...it's like we're playing Texas Hold 'Em and we know we have the winning hand (or think we do)...so, IT"S ALL IN, BABY!

On the positive note though...lookin' at some real boost to the booty for my "Gettin' Me Some Wheels" fund...

A few weeks of this OT, if it pans out as predicted...lookin' at a quick spike of the ol' income graph in my MS Money! Can you say Lexus? (No...unfortunately not THAT much of a bounty! LOL!)

Well Ric made his one year anniversary of sobriety goal mark and got a "gold" token from his recent AA meeting to honor this. I am amazed at how effortless this has been for him but having done the same for a good 5 years over a decade ago, I know that if your head is in the right place, it is really easy. I now know though, that if your head ISN'T there...it's hard as hell.

Bought Civilization 4 last week. I love the graphics, music and animations, but frankly, though it's early yet to fairly judge, the AI, interface and gameplay seem pale compared to Civ 3. What's more, I tend to like enormous epic games played out on a vast world...In Civ 3, you had a huge world to explore and conquer when you chose the "HUGE" world size option...in Civ 4, "Huge" is about the scale of "Large" with Civ 3...I thought with the higher system requirements that 4 would allow for even LARGER scale worlds than 3, but that is certainly NOT the case. Example: With some of my most epic games in 3 I had conquered the world and possessed maybe 70 or 80 cities on average...with Civ 4, in my current game, I so far own one-third the world but have only about 15 cities...and I'm playing on a "Huge" world.

My dental insurance card came in last week...yeah! And one of the best things about that: as I look out my bedroom window across Greenwood Avenue...I can see the building housing my dentist! How convienient is that?!

Well, dinner is waiting and my tummy is growling so, 'till next time...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Long Live The Queen!

Well this past weekend, specifically Friday, October 20th at around 8pm, Mildred IX yielded the throne to her successor Mildred XI. (Yes, it may appear there is a skip in the numbering but actually Mildred X was the short-lived Celeron which, now along with Mildred IX, the Athlon XP 1800+, is gathering dust in the closet)

She rocks BTW, and I have had just superior performance from her since last Friday.

Ric is a good boy and only using the account I set up for him in XP...what a nice feature...he can cookie all his boring financial sites to his hearts content and it doesn't affect any of my browser settings. More importantly, I can keep my browsing activity and passwords away from his prying eyes. Not that I don't trust him, but privacy without worries is a nice thing.

Well, again, this system is the bomb so I must go now and further explore her capabilities. I'll post soon on how work is going (pretty well) and other such trivials soon.

'Till then I, and her Royal Majesty bid you adiou. :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Good Times!!!


Good for you YouTube! (Can I bum a couple million from ya?)

Congratulations YouTube!

Google bought you for over a billion dollars in stock!

Good for you...you filthy rich, lucky bastards!

Nightmares And Dreamscapes

I rarely have nightmares. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to come up with even the last YEAR I had a nightmare that I can remember.

My dreams are usually too boring to even garner interest, actually. I am reminded of the movie "First Family" in which Bob Newhart plays the President of the United States and he is in session with his therapist discussing his most recent dream. It is, as always, just a dream of him, sitting at a table with a bowl of soup, calmly sipping spoonful after spoonful. In fact, it is actually just a bowl of broth. (Soup being too "exciting")

Here's my traditional dream "plot"...I'm in a house I've never been in (sometimes M.C. Escher-esque with dead-end stairways and upside-down rooms) and get fabulous decorating ideas. (I am NOT kidding! How sad.) Or, I am planning on moving from one city to another. (Wait a minute, that's reality...well ya, but it still is that way in my dreams, too!) Or, it is just kinda like a movie...I am not really a constiuent character in the action...I just seem to be primarily a benign observer...and the action is very "story-focused" and "cinematic", played out with mainly strangers or "amalgams" of real people I know...they might look like one person but act like another.

But last night I had a snippet of a dream...that's another quality of many of my dreams...they are disconnected vignettes most of the time. I dreamt I was in a room in a dark laboratory somewhere and there were these scientists in lab coats and they were working on schematics of a machine of some type. I notice the blueprints look like those of an atomic bomb. The technicians are saying things like "it won't get much yield"..."too few atoms are fissable", and others saying "but it will get the job done".

That's it, really...and I might have forgotten the whole 3 minute dream entirely had it not been for the headlines I read on Wikipedia's Top News Stories this morning:

"North Korea claims to have successfully detonated a nuclear weapon in an underground facility."

As I read the article, I see:

"Initial and unconfirmed South Korean reports indicate that the test was a fission device with a yield of .55 kT"

The report states that by comparison, the first plutonium-core bomb tested by the US at the Trinity Site was some 20 kilotons. Even the "primitive" design of the first Indian nuclear bomb was 12 kilotons.

The shock that N. Korea may have been brazen enough to "flip the bird" at the rest of the world is eerie enough...but for me, coupled with this very oddly coincidental dream likely floating into my subconsious in the wee hours of the morning at perhaps the very moment of detonation...well before anyone in the public knew of these events...

Well, I just don't have a good feeling about this one, Mildred!

Cue the "Twilight Zone" theme music:

"Do dee doo da, do dee doo da, do dee doo da..."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

October, Month Of Rebirth

Okay, most people would say...Well, doesn't a springtime month represent rebirth more accurately? Maybe in nature, but in the world of the indoor universe, and quite matter of factly, for me, October has always been a month of renewing.

Let's start with the TV season...

This season "LOST", based on it's opener last night is looking to be another winner and I am again reserving Wednesday nights just for that...

The show immediately following "LOST" is "The Nine", and after watching it last night, it holds promise, but I don't really know if I could watch 2 separate hour-long shows back-to-back and go to bed wondering..."What the fuck did THAT mean?" times TWO!

On Sunday nights, Ric and I are into watching "The Amazing Race" show...we are rooting for the gay couple, even though they cheated this past episode by breaking the rules and were able to stay on the show by the skin of their teeth!

Other areas of Rejuvination!...

At work things seem much more secure and much training is happening this month since we are in the process of migrating our customers into one seemless point of reference for their licensing needs. At first, I think it will be chaos, with virtually all customers and resellers totally confused, but our superior (hopefully) training will allow us to be the educators and prosteletisors of a new Symantec...One Company, One Team! (Sis, Boom, Rah!)

Another aspect of re-birth...

Soon, a coronation will occur...

Tonight, I have made the largest single purchase on the Internet by myself, ever...

From Dell Computers, I've ordered...

Mildred XI

So, don't ever let it be said that when fall comes, rebirth is over...

For me, October means,

Spring Is In The Air!!

Friday, September 29, 2006

FLASHBACK: Early Spring 1977

Michael Drolet and I decided that we needed to runaway.

We both felt that we could no longer endure the "harshness" of our lives under our oppressive parents, so we made a quick and hasty plan to runaway to a better life.

I don't know who first came up with the idea to runaway, but since I had prior experience, it might have been me.

My prior experience was back in 1972 when I walked east on Diamond Hill Road towards Cumberland and kept going, thinking I might make it to New York, eventually.

My parents called the cops and the police found me near the Woonsocket-Cumberland border and brought me home.

When asked why I did it, I said it was because my family was not like the Brady Bunch.

Michael Drolet and I became friends during the very short period of time during my junior high school years that I held a bit of popularity among my peers.

During study periods, I had used the time to create and diseminate hand-drawn comics, done in typical comic-strip fashion.

My comics were recieved as not only well-drawn, but unique in content and creativity.

"Goofy Gus" was one of my early efforts about a weird looking guy in a bowler hat who got into various escapades.

But my biggest hits were:

"The Ziploc Family", a nuclear family of Ziploc plastic bags, living in space, and experiencing the trials and tribulations of their existance.

and, most popular of all:

"The Adventures of Super Mouth", a superhero who could open his mouth to half his body size in order to emit a crippling scream stopping criminals and other bad guys in their paths.

In one comic that was passed around during Ms. Marrah's history class, the teacher intercepted the comic and later came to me and stated that the depiction of the Super Mouth character, simultaneously puking and shitting was physically impossible. She said this so clinicallly, to this day I don't know if she was kidding or thought it was true? (Unfortuntaly, years later, I found out first hand that indeed, you can do both at the same time!)

Mike Drolet seemed most interested in my twisted sense of humor and we fast became friends.

But Mike lived on the dark side, for the most part...

He had to fend for himself a lot since he lived with his older sister and her boyfriend...I don't remember what happened to his parents.

He had a buddy who knew about weed, but when we smoked a joint Mike had gotten from him, it had no affect on me whatsoever...(other than make me crave Italian food with Orgeano..i.e., I think he got a fully Oregano joint!)

Mike and I stole a pack of Newport cigarrettes with the intent on seeing what was so great about smoking. I smoked two cigarrettes, turned a shade of green, and never smoked another cigarrette (tobacco) again.

Mike and I were also into pushing the limits in other ways...we went to "Bonanza" a Ponderosa-style cafeteria buffet steak house, at 3:00 pm on a Saturday, and since it was so dead (we were the only customers in the restaurant), the staff went to the kitchen and left the dining area vacant. We went up to the beer dispensing taps and using our cups we got for our soft drinks, filled them up not once, but about three times before we left the restaurant as two drunk 13-year olds.

By Spring of 1977, we were best friends and the idea to runaway had arose. It wasn't thought out, we both had undergone a minor rift in our respective homes, but, like so many "snap decisions", it "sounded good at the time".

We walked to Lincoln Mall, and there was onset by both fatigue and cold. So we sought out shelter in a small copse of bushes and trees near the mall. This was too cold. We checked out all the remaining cars in the parking lot at that late hour, and finally found one unlocked.

We got in, and Mike in the backseat, I in the front, fell asleep...

I was awoken a few hours later by a loud rapping with a plastic flashlight on the car window. It was the police.

After waking Mike, we were then brought to the Lincoln Police Station and questioned why we were in the car.

When I divulged that we were planning to run away, had found the car unlocked and used it as shelter, they called our parents and we were taken home.

I'm not sure what kinda punishment Mike got, but mine was fairly mild.

As that year progressed, I grew more infatuated with Mike and after writing what amounted to a love letter to him, he broke off relations with me and I never heard from him since.

He later dropped out during junior high, so I never knew what became of him since then.

I kept up my study class drawings and that would eventually find me befriending my first true love John Noviello and his good friend Camille St. Onge.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy 100!

According to the Blogger Dashboard...this is my 100th post!

Yay! And I kid you not, as I was writing this, I could hear fireworks going off in the distance. That may sound like I'm losing it, but this is Florida, and we love our fireworks...could have been a new dealership sale, birthday party or wedding...lots of people have firworks around here so it's not too unusual to hear the occassional "pop-pop".

What a week...

It started most oddly with an earthquake!

That's right...I was sitting here at my computer around 11:00 in the morning Sunday when all of a sudden the closet door started to shudder in it's frame for about 30 seconds. It was weird, I sat looking at the mirrored glass sliding door of the closet which are not properly aligned, so they tend to rattle when even the slightest vibration is felt. At first I thought, maybe Ric was up, but he wasn't....and the giggling wasn't rythmic like the footsteps of a person...it was constant throughout.

So I thought briefly...I wonder if this is an earthquake?

(To be honest, other issues played into that assumption like I could feel a deep rumble as I sat in my chair...)

My assumptions were confirmed a few hours later when I found out from the TV news that in fact, there had been an earthquake recorded in the Gulf of Mexico and that it had also been felt by other Central Florida residents.

My attitude at work changed from one of "exclusion" to "inclusion". As Bugs often says..."If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!".

I volunteered to monitor our "pool" email address for incorrectly assigned requests in order to re-direct them to the appropriate email address.

What ever happended to "Billy Don't Be A Hero"?

I hit the digital scale for the first time in a few weeks just a few days ago...

OVER 300...302 infact.

The specifications of the scale say it only records up to 300 lbs. Well, I guess it goes a few pounds over that?

I hit the $3000 mark this week in my checking account.

Nancy's cubicle still has her personal effects there (family pictures, knick knacks, and other collected items), but I'm told by Kemmy evything with me is "all right"...it wasn't the over-the-top superb accolade I wore during the first week hear...but it was a strong "ok". What causeed the diminishment was likely due to my confrontation with Cheryl early on...

I told Kemmy that I would love to go on to be a superb trainer. I mentioned the credentials I have in this area, and though I stated that I liked Cheryl's approach to training (in so far as she is very "hands-on"), I did not commend her "mastery of the actual information", I didn't make mention of the fact that Cheryl lacked the actual knowledge to conduct a training session.

Cheryl is in Springfield, Oregon this week. She should be back next week. Kemmy said there are some 5 new temps to train next week.

It will be most interesting indeed.

I'm making pot roast and I want to insure it is done before Ric comes home, so I have to go and tend to it.

This should NOT sound at all "Sleeping With The Enemy"-ish.

Never would get there.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sir, You Are Being Charged With BUI...Blogging Under The Influence!

This is too weird...

Last Thursday, I guess after I posted the "Yes Massa..." post, I apparently started the beginings of a FLASHBACK post and failed to complete it or post it...because I was too drunk!

Here's what I had saved in Notepad and after the first 2 paragraphs, the post really becomes surreal...don't ask me what it means...I don't even remember creating the draft in the first place.

Makes me wonder sometimes...

Here it is, exactly as I found it saved:


----------beginning of copy----------------

FLASHBACK

defense.wri

Spring 1993

Prior to the ubiquity of the .doc extention for Microsoft wordprocessor pages, the Microsoft Works extention of .wri existed.

MS Word,as it still is today, is an added expense in providing your system with a state-of-the-art word processor. MS Works,back then, was offered as a "free" solution to word processing albeit with many less features. The word processing files would be saved under the extension ".wri".

The current files which describe this licensure, but avoid depravation of singualr family members, enjoy breaks on parks, taxes an dtransit.

Exist I see no extant copy of the 1978 printing...here is a breif overlook...]

1931-


--------------end of copy---------------

Those last 2 lines REALLY freak me out!

Did I copy and paste that from somewhere?

Or did I type that?

And if so, what the fuck does it mean?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Yes Massa, My Name Be TOBY

Backstory: Since the first few weeks of employment here (you know where!), the newly-hired employees noticed a subtle division of the status of our team's workforce. Simply, the caste was divided among the "old crew" and the "newbies". Oh yes, management voiced sound-bites attesting to how we were all "one team" and no "clique" behavior would be tolerated, but that was soon proven by the facts to be a sham.

When our "team" was formed, it comprised veterans who had been "displaced" by a transition of duties. "Their" jobs were moved to a newly-formed team in Springfield, Oregon, but they were able to stay with the company, if they chose, to fill positions won for them by their manager (Kemmy, according to her telling of the tale) creating a new team of customer care reps....and THIS team's formation thus replaced a disassembled pre-existing team doing that very duty in Milpitas, California.

It was obviously arranged ahead of the formation of the team that those who chose to transition from the old job specifications to the new (yet less desirable since it involved, ugh!, "call center style" interaction with potentially angry and impetous customers...much more "stressful" than the lax-paced data entry work of their OSG duties)
that they would be "awarded" positions of status which would eventually allow them to stay off the phones a majority of their worktime. Stacy Cashwell divulged a bit of this before she left since she admitted that she thought that she would be "off the phones" a majority of the time from the get go. But, of course, this couldn't happen right away.

Kemmy had to build up the numbers of new-hires so they could take the brunt of the calls, thus allowing the OSG people to shift into "cruise control" without a diminishment in the "stats" (abandon rate, hold time...the usual call center stuff). Once that was achieved (and it became very noticible that that had been achieved about 2 months ago), then the "old crew", based on an elobaratetly displayed format would be able to work primarily on "cases" (email customer concerns). The problem for the "behind the curtain" persons trying to create the illusion of the "Great and Powerful Oz", was simply that there weren't enough cases to justify that much "unavailable" time.

Marshall left for Arizona before this trend began so we didn't get to remark on in, but I'm sure he and I would have pinged each other non-stop about the "goings-on" since, he, like me was oh too familiar with the weird shenanigans that go on in the world of "bad management".

But another buddy (and fellow temp) Nancy K. noticed this trend and we were quick to pick up on it and comment on it virtually every day via IM (rarely verbal, since in the thin-walled world of the cube farm, everything can be overheard). Nancy, like Marshall, could very well see through the phonies in the office like Cheryl and we were constantly in awe of firstly, how really stupid and obnoxious she was but secondly, how she never seemed to get flack for all the blatant errors she did EVERYDAY! It was apparent then that the "coordinators"(former OSG-folk), CSRs with no company-official title above CSR, but with Kemmy-approved status...and that status meant they were (are) "untouchable", they can be as incompetent as shit, but they won't be on any "counseling" for it...it will simply be ignored and/or tolerated.

I noticed today around noon that Nancy had logged off her system (we all have "a worldview" of the on-line status of our other "teammates" which is why, BTW, we can see that the coordinators are abusing the positions since their status of "unavailable" is visible by all).

Hours later she hadn't returned. I though "Great, she went home sick and now I have to walk home after work..." (Nancy, like Marshall before here had become my de facto chauffeur in the evenings each workday for a nominal "gas-money" fee.)

Around 2:00 though, Jill sent out an email to the team...

"EXIT....Nancy K(full name withheld for this blog) is no longer with [the company]." (You can figure out company name by researching this blog but I'm not just blurting it out! :)

Man, I freaked! She and I had IM'd so many rebellious messages and been so negative about the division of the office "society", I thought I might be next on the chopping block.

I pinged Jill and asked her what happened and she suggested I come to her office. We met for half an hor and she was all like..."well, Nancy was using call-avoidance techniques (which I knew about and more discreetly practiced myself...I mean the system is so easy to dupe, people!) and she was inappropriate to a customer (who, in this biz isn't at one point or another...Nancy's style wasn't confrontation, per se, as much as faking ignorance...but she did use the "mute" button often to self-vocalize juicy comments on occassion, something I almost never do since I know the "cube walls have ears").

So she was asked to meet with Jill, and knowing her personality, probably started breaking down (crying) when confronted. She was asked if she wanted to go home for the day and she agreed. Then, Jill talked with Kemmy about the incident and the decision was made to fire her.

Jill told me in my meeting that I had nothing to worry about and that noone would be "let go" without a prior warning of what "performance" needed "improvement". (But, methinks, for us temps, if infact there is any prior "warning", it is only one time)

So now, as suddenly as a Central Florida rain shower, my bud Nancy is gone. The idiots that were "vested" remain, and I am shaken yet again...reminded of the iCare times, as I mentioned in a post many months ago, and put "on guard".

No more will I "stare condescendingly" at morons like Cheryl and Andrew as they spew from their mouth such vile and hilarious crap...No more will I mumble "Attica!...Attica!...Attica!", as I did a while back when Cheryl "called out" my fellow temp Nina...No more will I IM anyone about how this office is a circus, run by asylum inmates and so stupid as to not know the impression it is surely making in the company...

I have seen what can happen to my fellow slave.

I will NOT admit that in my heart I am a proud Kunta Kinte!

I am sufficiently whipped!

My name be TOBY.

Friday, September 01, 2006

When Al Gore And I Invented This Thing...

It amazes me when, as rare as it is nowadays, I stumble across a person, or more usually, an entire family that has no conception of computers or the Internet. It is a cultural thing, I'm sure.

In the early days of computing, it was a socio-economic issue. The people who got personal computers had the financial means to afford the expensive things (remember, early PC's were generally always in the thousands of dollars price range, just for the basic hardware...in the 80's, and even 90's, and yes, even now, this cost is prohibitive, especially if a person, or family percieves the device as extraneous and not vital.)

But now, for more and more individuals, it is less an economic issue as it is a cultural.

Like the minority of people who refuse to purchase a television on the basis that they feel it provides far more vices than virtues...you have segments of the population opting out of the information age because computers [and their software and connections to the Internet] are vial machines bent on diseminating dehuminization, pornography, violence, radicalism, exploitation and crass commercialism.

The early Internet was a geek haven. For the first few years it was mearly a way of using the Usenet and posting so frequently to simulate chatting, since the "Big Guys"...CompuServe, Prodigy and the new guy, America Online charged high fees to use their services and exclusive chatrooms open only to other members.

IRC broke out later and spawned a rabid interest in computing.

When the Web entered the scene, it slowly, but surely, changed the world.

My friend John Chiafalo and I ran a small computer reseller business in these heady early days and the only reason we didn't "make it" was because neither of us had the capital or the drive to make it happen. The drive was the main part becaus in hind sight, with enough drive in the market back then, we could have convinced even the most conservative investors of a potential profit.

It was fun times though, and from John and another buddy Jeff Cooper, I learned much of the foundation of the computer business. But as we all know, that business evolves ever so rapidly as to make yesterday's stunning developments, today's ho-hum applications, and tomorrow's has-been archives.

Yes, I've been around since the begining. My first log in to a BBS was on a 9600 baud modem in April 1993. My first post on a Usenet newsgroup was about Fall of 1993. The first time I accessed a website was around May 1994. My first personal website was later that month and by June 1995, I had a business website with a link and presence from a new portal known as Yahoo.

I feel like the Old Wise Man on the Hill...but unlike knowledge systems of the past where what you know grows and matures and developes into valuble teaching tools for the next generation, this medium doesn't play that way.

Younger people today don't care where IMs, file sharing, mp3s, chatrooms, MMOGs, YouTube, cracks, warez, and VoIP came from, thet just care that they are there.

Alhough as Netizen's go, I am an Old Timer...unfortunately, my expertise is Old Time Centric as well.

I am a dinosaur and I will not metomorph into oil.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Well...There Was A Puddle On The Walkway This Morning...

...And that was about the extent of the "damage" we suffered from Tropical Storm turned Tropical Depression Ernesto yesterday.

Naturally on Tuesday, there was much hype on the TV news about the potential wind and rain, and the usual over-reacting...some people boarded up windows and placed sand bags. Others cleaned out the water and candles from the stores. And, of course, everyone who had one of those contraptions called an automobile, filled it with that oh-so-precious fluid, gasoline.

Our company, being the "security company" it is, took no chances and our office was closed yesterday. We had to call a special 800 number this morning to determine the status of our retun to work...um, since this "storm" had less of a whallop than a normal Central Florida afternoon thunderstorm, the status was: Get Back To Work, You Dogs!

Although, as a temp, my fellow temps and I were not entitled to Emergency Day pay, Kemmy emailed us today and told us to put the 8 hours on our timesheets...so, she paid us for the time lost. Very nice of her!

Oh, about work, I am still a temp but now with the "in-house" temp agency, so, since it is less overhead for the company, I am now making a dollar more an hour! And, in October, there will be availability for health benefits! Yea! Now if my shoulder can only hold out 'till then!

Also in October, the general availability (major release) of the newest version of our most popular software title will cause a need for us to work 12 hour days for about 3 weeks. This will be gruelling, no doubt, but the overtime pay will be fabulous! It should be a Merry Holiday season for me!

Ric has been talking about the desire to go on a cruise in January once he is off probation. Even though it coincides with my planned purchase of a car I think I will do it since, after all, I deserve it. I don't want to over invest in a car anyway, so it will divy my savings goals in an appropriate way to keep me from over-spending on a hunk of stinky metal, plastic and glass.

New little pains this week...a pinching of a nerve when I extend my left foot flexing the back-right side of the upper heel to the Achilles Tendon. And, a probably muscle tension pain in my lower back. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Bought a new game, The Movies, for the PC. Too tedious and long to be considered a great game, but some good potential, especially in movie-making...once I can get a grap of it's complexities, there's a large Internet community devoted to the movies created with this game...so it's a "Tycoon-style" management strategy game plus a freeform movie creator tool in one. Might fill some time.

Well, the Carolinas are due to be the next "victims" of Ernesto...I can only wish they get what we got...basically a lot of hype, but little substance...as it is with so many things!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

FLASHBACK: March 1983

"Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand..."
Rio - Duran Duran

My first plane ride ever and I get a cold the day of the flight. Little did I know, having a cold and flying can cause your ears to block up due to air pressure. Because my sinuses were blocked, it took a longer-than-usual amount of time for my inner ear pressure to regulate once we landed. So, I was pretty much deaf for the first day of our Southern California adventure.

We were quite the motley crew. My best friend Michael, his good friend Jerry Cote and Jerry's straight friend John Sutherland. Michael and I weren't too keen on having a "breeder" join us on our trip, but to make it affordable we needed a fourth, and John was available. How good Jerry and John's friendship was escapes reasoning since they were nothing alike. Jerry was a sneery, queeny fag and John was a typical BMOC jock. I'm sure Jerry wanted "some 'o that" but to my knowledge he didn't get it since John was obviously straight as an arrow. (Even though they "slept together" in the same queen-sized bed in the hotel since we all four shared a double room, to my knowledge, they, like Michael and I in the other bed, just simply and literally SLEPT together, that's it.)

John turned out to be kinda cool though, and as we cruised down the streets of Orange County (eh, we stayed in Anaheim...hella of a lot cheaper than Hollywood) and gawked and occassionally cat-called at the shirtless surfer dudes (for us New Englanders the thrill of sunny and warm beach-going weather in March was mind-blowing...that trip hooked me on warmer-climated places, thus bringing me to eventually act on those urges to enjoy eternal sunshine 14 years later when I moved here to Florida), John would not grimace or freak, he just did likewise for the bikini-clad chicks with big boobs. To each his own. We accepted his odd breeder ways.

Since we were staying at a hotel literally across the street from Disneyland, guess what our first destination was! By evening, my ears were getting better and I was able to relax more and after dinner, we got some beers and made our way back to the hotel room to prepare for our Disneyland experience. (Thinking about the beers...I think that might have been another reason John was along 'cause I think he was 21 and "of age", so he could buy our booze. Or, maybe the drinking age, like it was in Rhode Island back then, was 18...not sure, but I know I was only 18 (1 month shy of 19), Michael and Jerry I think were 19 or 20 maybe? I don't remember...but surely we were all young enough to be consistently carded each time we purchased alcohol)

Our preparation for our theme park experience included a little something one of us had brought along...a couple of pre-rolled joints and 4 tabs of microdot mescaline (really it's acid). Mind you, drugs were not a part of our everyday thing, but since we were on vacation, we decided to "live it up" a little. I had tried pot a few times before, especially during the many "choir practices" we staff of HoJo's had after work out back behind the restaurant, and knew not to take too much of it cause it made me spacey and disconnected and I wouldn't enjoy myself. I was a little nervous about the mescaline since I knew it was a hallucinogenic but didn't know how I would react to it.

After we all dropped, we kinda sat around a while to see what effect it would have. The first effects were just a mild sence of euphoria and, for me, light becoming a little more orange hued. Once we determined we weren't gonna have an "Afterschool Special" freaky bad trip and jump through plate glass windows screaming, we headed for the park.

Things were pretty much normal up until we all got on the "It's A Small World" ride. No, don't worry...our trippin' didn't turn sour...just the opposite. Floating down the lazy river among all those gleeful, cheery singing puppets, we just started cracking up. I mean we were full-out rolling on the floor (of the boat) laughing our heads off. I'm sure other guests were staring and confused by our bizarre reaction, but we didn't take notice. The rest of the night was one giggle-fest after another. Everything, and I do mean everything, was just SOOOO funny! The Main Street Electrical Lights Parade at the end of the evening was the cherry on the icing. You have never heard or seen something so fascinating until you have experienced this on acid!

The next day we went to the beach as we were all kinda tuckered out from the night before and I don't think any of us got to bed until about 4 am. On the way back from the beach, Jerry was driving our brand new 1983 Ford Mustang rental and hit a little dog running across the street. The dog was okay but the owners were kinda bitchy and we were all like..um, sorry about your mutt but we are on vacation...oh well.

Over the next few days we went to Universal Studios and did the studio tour. Back then, that's about all they had, the Hollywood theme park had not been created and, the Florida one probably wasn't even planned yet. But it was cool none the less. We saw the "Leave It To Beaver" set (now the set for Desperate Housewives), saw a rudimentary Jaws and walked thru the Battlestar Galactica exhibit. Later we went to Beverly Hills and shopped on Rodeo Drive. As we were walking out of one store, John noticed an "older" guy getting out of his red Cadillac convertable with his two teenaged sons. We didn't know who he was but John went up to him and told him that he was a big fan, and, that by coincidence, his name was also Sutherland. The guy turned out to be Donald Sutherland and his two sons, Keifer and Roeg.

That evening we attended a taping of a then popular TV show that we all enjoyed "Solid Gold".
Talk about boring, sitting through the non-stop takes and tinny music (since the good sounding music would be edited in later for broadcast) it was not what I expected. And, they made you sit through it all, since I guess it would look bad if the show started with a full audience and half the seats were empty by the end of the show. I think the shoot took hours too...we were all very disappointed about that waste of time. Didn't even see anyone famous since it was a taping of mainly the dancer scenes without the hosts or guest stars! Now I know why you occassionally see a bored looking audience member or two when they show the audience during "live studio audience" TV shows...what you see on TV is about one third of the "real" show...the other two thirds are actor placing, camera setups, mic calibration, retakes and crap like that.

On our next to last day we drove down to San Diego and went to the famous San Diego Zoo and Cabrillo Monument Park. On the way back, we stopped in La Jolla for more foo-foo fag yuppie shopping.

So my cold turned out to be mild and didn't prevent me from having a wonderful trip. It turned out that this would be one of the last really fun things that Michael and I would ever do. As that year wore on, I went out less and less with Michael. My little fling with his 16 year old brother didn't sit too well with him once I told him about it months after the fact and I think he felt a bit betrayed.

I'll always remember this trip though, and listening to "Rio" by Duran Duran, cruising in our convertible down the palm tree lined sunny freeways of Southern California.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lost Weekend Update

Okay, so Scott came down Friday and he and Ric just whooped it up all weekend. It was like a jolt of youth for Ric...hangin with his childhood bud.

Ric wasn't tempted to drink and so he didn't partake, but Scott and I did.

We had planned that we would all go out to PR's on Friday after I got home from work. Well we walked there and lo and behold, PR's is apparently shut down! We had just come here a few weeks ago when Ric's mom was down. Zaileen, our fav waitress didn't say anything about an impending close. We assume they got shut down...probably got caught serving underage patrons...pretty much a liquor license suicide here in Central Florida. PR's did attract a college-aged crowd. Too bad, and this just opened about a year ago, too. Now like the former Chevy's at this site, which was itself a former Mexican chain (something like Rio Grande), this building will likely be vacant for a while. Restaurants that go belly-up repeatedly while their competetion(s) next door thrive, garner a bad reputation.

So we went to, ugh, again, Longhorn. Don't get me wrong...I love Longhorn, but being literally across the street from the house, it is visited way too frequesntly. I like to mix it up a bit, you know?

Saturday Ric and Scott went off on a Great Biking Adventure and Ric convinced Scott to bike the whole trail with him...about 32 miles roundtrip! Scott may have gotten dehydrated or a bit sunstroke since later that evening when he and Ric went on their much anticipated night out at The Melting Pot, Scott got quite drunk and became abusive and loud because percieved slow service. They were politely asked to leave, which made Scott just livid and as they stood in the parking lot of the restaurant waiting for their cab, Scott screamed obsenities at passers-by out of frustration and alcohol induced rage.

When they got home, Scott came in my room and loudly paraphrased how he hated Florida and wanted to go home, how he hated that restaurant, all with such salty language and bitterness.

Like I told Ric, and it's so true, it was as if the spirit of Gary were channelling through Scott that night. The behavior, the attitude, the way of talking...classic drunken Gary.

On Sunday, it was my turn. I wanted to party a bit so I bought a 12 pack of Budweiser for myself and downed them all before we went out to Fishbones.

I only remember a few things from that evening. Fishbones decor was beautiful, their martinis were great and the wine Scott and I shared, an Argentine Cabernet was fabulous. (Tons better than the Pinot Noir I ordered for the two of us at Longhorn Friday night) I ordered bouliabaisse, but don't ask me how it was...I don't remember a thing after the first few sips of wine.

Although I didn't remember much, I did remember seeing my former Cruises-N-More co-worker Lynn working as a waitress there. (Lynn was the one in the cubicle next to me who Walt confessed to me, in secret, that she had gotten her license suspended for a DUI...really? I figured as much since from day one when I met her, I could sense she was an alchy like me...call it ALC-DAR...you know, like GAYDAR?) I remember she told me virtually noone remained from our training class. No surprise, I saw it coming.

After chatting with Lynn, I must have nearly pulled a Brothers Pub incident (stay tuned for an upcoming FLASHBACK detailing this, but, in summary, the incident dates back to the 80's when I had gone out to a nice bar and grill in Pawtucket (I know, sounds like an oxymoron...nice place in Pawtucket,ugh!) with Linda and after numerous (I think 8, yikes!) Tanguray martinis, I went to the restroom, and after finishing peeing, completely forgot where I was and who I was with, and proceeded to leave the place and walked the streets, lost and aimless, until I figured out I had a car, got in the car, started it, and backed it into another car. The driver of the other car threatened to call the police, I offered money but it wasn't good enough. I went back to my car preparing to drive off, but discovered that I had locked my keys in the car, with the car idling. The cops came but I was able to somehow convince him that I wasn't drunk. Linda finally found me in the parking lot amongst this commotion. After the cop left (and the other irate driver who couldn't convince the cop that the tiny scratch on his car was caused by me) I took a brick from the side of the road and smashed my driver side window to gain access to the interior so I could drive it to Linda's house with she and her boyfriend Ed in her car ahead of me. Well, actually, forget the FLASHBACK, cause that's the story of that night!)

Ric finally came looking for me, because indeed, I was in the parking lot and had no idea where I was.

Needless to say, I missed work yesterday due to a huge hangover and, oddly, a very severe sore throat.

Time to hunker down and gat back to the nose on the grindstone...too many weekends like this will do me in...one way or another.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Indiana Visitor Weekend II

So this weekend coming up, Scott, Ric's best buddy from Indiana will be down, staying with us from Friday thru Monday.

I've met Scott on a few occassions before. Something about him vaguely bugs me.

He's definately "family" but he leans towards a bit of the Jerry Cote kind...33.3% snob, 33.3% superficial, 33.3% flighty. And 100% booze-hound.

Ugh, Andrew just shouted a question to Jill across the floor, ignoring the fact he shouts through at least 4 cubicles, doesn't he know how to IM?....

Yes, I'm at work...

Ric was hoping his PO would be coming by this past weekend to avoid a possible issue of him popping over while Scott would potentially be enjoying a bit o' beverage.

But he didn't, so it may be a situation where Ric "suggests" to Scott that he not drink while in the house, even "on-the-sly" (like I do).

Ric is so paranoid about his probation that I joked with him the other day that I read on the Seminole County website that "having too many homosexuals" in a probationer's home could be cause for VOP. He thought I was serious. Oh Man!

So, anyway, about my downward spiral...seems to have cracked...for now. The shoulder is still aching like the Dickens, but only sometimes and it does see to be pain-free for longer periods of time...especially if I am really careful and don't agitate it at all. What a way to live. I'll eventually get it looked at though, but I'll wait long enough to determine if it is going to heal very slowly on it's own like the tendonitis issues did.

I feel less depressed and better able to deal with stressors by means other than drinking.
Yay for me! Eh...Big Whoop! (I'm still jaded, of course...I can't be all cheery and prim...they'll start calling me Drew! LOL)

Hmm, this is fun...I'm writing this post in Notepad (I guess I should do it in Word since I could spellcheck it...but then again I could do that on Blogger too) and keeping it in the background and I type between calls. Look out, I'll likely post more frequently now since my excuse for lags between posts now is that I get too tired to post by the time I get home, shop, cook dinner, eat, etc.

Well, gotta get back to work...Nancy K. already caught me typing in Notepad and figured I was either programming (ya right!) or drafting a blog post (ding, ding, ding...what does she win, Johnny?)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Spinning Down, Down, Down, Down

Bought 2 bottles of Peppermill Grove Pinot Noir and a 6 pack of Shipyard Export. Making a dent in the booty now. Also, decided to snort some Benedryl...poor man's coke...same nasal drip and numbness, but not much else.

Who cares, anyway. I'm now a fat, middle-aged loser who walks to work in shorts and a T-Shirt with a ratty backpack, changes shirts in the restroom but stills smells of sweat throughout the day.

I have chronic health issues like the new shoulder thing, but am deathly afraid of going to the doctor since I have no health insurance and suspect that they would find out that there is much more wrong with me.

I have chronic Social Anxiety Disorder bordering on agoraphobia, but am expected to talk to over 50 to 80 strangers a day.

I feel like such a loser.

Such a fucking loser.

When I was younger, I thought that my 40's would be a decade of consolidation and building upon an already established base...wealth, power, prestige.

Instead, I find myself nothing more than a temp employee with as much clout and earning potential as an 18 year old GED earner with little experience, despite my decades of accomplishments.

Well, before I drift into total blackout and precurser to passing out, I shall sign out, and hopefully, I will survive this cyclical downturn I'm in, with realtively low casualties.

Cheers!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Koyaanisqatsi Whirlwind

Every now and then I get into a bit of a spiral. I get depressed, most times for no one reason in particular, so I drink more, which starts a nasty Catch 22. I drink to relieve the depression but it only makes things worse.

The past week or two has been like that.

When Ric's mom was down, things were fine, we went out to eat several times and played board game and card games. Went to New Smyrna Beach and was my first time visiting the seashore since 2003's brief jump into the ocean at Daytona during the madness of that late July.

Now it was this late July, and much of the same madness that reared up it's ugly head then came back into play.

When Candy left, so did my short adventure in rekindling a sense of family and friendship. I think I had transposed a bit of my own desire for resurrecting a past long lost in just a halcyon haze of a few days visit from a mom, but yes, not my mom.

When Candy was here, I maintained temperance in the homestead and only drank socially while out in restaurants and only in moderate (2 or 3 drinks) amounts.

I made up for it when she left and Ric went back to work. Last Wednesday, a work-night, I bought more than just a moderate amount (a whole 12-pack, in fact) and, of course, in a nod to the occurances over the past few years, I missed work the next day.

Friday I bought even more and scoffed it down so quickly, I passed out before finishing...leaving my empty cans around the kitchen and 6 "standing Indians" still in the fridge (I promised to keep my beer outta sight in my room only). Ric came home and was pissed. He threw the empties and the full cans out with the trash.

I woke Saturday not remembering anything in detail except that I had left my au gratin potatoes and steak dinner for 6 (but really just for me) leftover remains, prep dishes and opened containers out on the counter. I quickly cleaned these up, but noticed no sign of beer cans anywhere. I figured Ric had thrown them away.

He gave me the silent treatment all weekend, which was fine with me as I was still consumed by my desire to keep the "party" rolling so I bought yet another 12 pack and drank it out of my cooler in my bathroom all day Saturday.

Sunday I dried out but was back drinking a 6 pack and bottle of wine on Tuesday night. And, not feeling well even from this relatively "moderate" amount, called out sick yesterday.

Ric left me a nasty note on the whiteboard saying that this week his probation officer hinted that it had been a while since he did a home visit and since I was not adhering to his "house rule" about no drinking in the house, I could leave if I wanted to. Ric loves to pull out the "get the Hell outta MY house, then" card, as I'm sure I've mentioned before.

All this coupled with the old burn-out feelings about my job and yes, I know I'm in one of my Koyaanisqatsi Whirlwinds.

I just thought of this term during the writing of this post, but it does epitomize the feeling of these periodic downward spirals I catch myself in.

How will I escape the peril I'm in? Like a cheesy soap opera, you will have to tune in next time to see.

Cause frankly, even I don't know.

All I know, and have known especially since the start of this adventure we call Koyaanisqatsi is...

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!

Monday, July 17, 2006

No Boom-Boom For Me

Okay, so I specifically set out for work just a tad later so that I can perfectly time my arrival to the stretch of my walk I call "Heartbreak Hill" to synchronize with the audio spectacular event of the Sapce Shuttle zooming overhead on it's approach towards Cape Canaveral.

It's a well-known sound, familiar to most Central Floridians...as the Shuttle flies over the Greater Orlando area when landing at KSC, 2 distinct sonic booms are heard and felt, setting off car alarms, driving pets crazy and waking people from a sound sleep.

I had even hoped that because the "Heartbreak Hill" area of the hiking trail I take into work has a wide-open relatively unobstructed view of the northeastern to southeastern sky (part of the reason, other than the incline, that I call this "Heartbreak Hill" is the unshaded span of trail facing right into the scorching sun as I walk in to work each morning) I might even have a chance of spotting the spacecraft as it bolted across the horizon.

Well forget the idea of seeing it. The Florida landing was actually touch-and-go until just an hour earlier when they got the "okay" because of the overcast sky and especially, a small rainy cell over Daytona, a few miles north of the Cape.

I got to my destination, a rest bench right on the "peak" of the area and sat down. It was 9:10. The Shuttle was scheduled to make it's landing at 9:14. I waited and waited....nothing.

Finally, I gave up and went the 1000 feet more to my office building and changed out of my sweaty walking shirt into my dry, clean work shirt.

When I got into the office, I heard one co-worker say to Jill, my supervisor..."Did you hear the shuttle?". Jill said "No, I thought you'd hear it from inside". "No, you had to be outside.", said the co-worker.

This is what I kinda thought...Lake Mary is too far north of Orlando to experience the extremely loud sonic booms that I remember when I lived in Orlando proper. We get the muted booms. But, since I went in before the actual landing, I missed them, however muted they were.

So much for that!

Today was the one month marker from when I started the ill-fated weight reduction plan a while back. Not very successful. Dropped off it and now weigh 10 pounds MORE than a month ago.

Ric's mom, Candy, is coming to visit from Indiana later this week. Ric and I did a really deep cleaning of the condo and later went over to our favorite neighborhood restaurant Longhorn Steakhouse. Remember a year ago it was Uno's Pizzeria. My how things change. Whew!

BTW, speaking of a year ago, it's just over a year ago I started this blog...woo hoo!

Ric thinks he is going to get his mom to bike with him about 12 miles in one day. For him, that is nothing, for a lady in her 60's though....hmmmm, we'll see. (With 94 degree heat and 90 % humidity....ya!)

My shoulder is still aching horribly. My meeting with Kemmy is actually Thursday afternoon. I should then get either concrete news or at least a "feel" of my potential towards going perm, and thus, having health insurance. Oh how I rue the irony of having oodles of free insurance when I was young and didn't need it. Damn fate!

Well, like Tim Gunn would say in my favorite TV show just recently entering it's 3rd season (Project Runway)..."Carry On!"

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sleep Is For Pussies!

I'm not sure if I've posted about it before but I now have a new ailment to add to the lovely menagerie...a mysterious shoulder ache which is probably nerve related since it hurts moderately at first when you aggravate it but soon builds into a cresting wave of sheer agony. Kinda like when you get kicked in the balls. For you guys out there...I don't need to say more...oh, yeah, just like that! It sucks!

It started as a dull ache when I extended my left sholder back too far, but seemed to be getting better. This new ache, manifested about a month or so ago, and at first seemed to be getting better day by day. I couldn't for the life of me think of how I got the "injury" but assumed that I was either feeling delayed muscle or tendon ache from the last time I played raquetteball (uh, like in freakin' April, maybe..), or it was simply that I got drunk and fell down and though I broke the fall with my left arm, put something "out-of-whack" in my left shoulder. I'm kinda leaning towards the later theory. Seems totally in character, and reinforced that I don't remember major trauma occuring to my shoulder...of course, I would have blacked this out. Blackouts are not an occassional phenomena anymore. They are common. Virtually everytime I drink, I have some period of blackout. There are actually whole evenings and events that I don't remember, and, if alone, can never get back through eyewitness account. Being that I like to drink alone, I probably don't remember a good portion of the past 6 years.

My shoulder is barely operational, and I am retisent to use it, but a shoulder is such a vital joint. I know I will soon have to visit a doctor.

Not looking forward to it. Remember what it cost me to remove what amounted to an easily-visible inflammed wart-like mole. Diagnosing a major joint's nerve damage...sounds like X-Rays and MRI's to me....big bucks!

Marshall IM'd from Arizona...things seem to be working out fine. He is situated well in his new apartment in Tuscon and it appears that he already got a job with promise of an immediate or, at the very least, quick promotion to supervisor in a well-reputed call center. Damn, don't you just hate it when someone else's dreams come true?! (Not really, wishing him the very best.) I don't expect we'll chat much more. Our aquaintence was too new and perhaps not all the right chemically to foster an on-going connection through time and distance.

New guy at work, Andrew...seems like a bit of a jerk. Cordial enough, but, you know how you can look into someone's eyes and you know they are up to "no good"?...Him in a nutshell. He is actually a cross-over from another internal department...so, now another perm on the team...before temps are bumped up! And, he's loud too. His cubicle is across from mine and I know he is going to be a distraction...oh Happy Day when he gets on the phones!

Quinetta is out, apparently fired for attendance issues. Oh yes, I'm sure she got prior approval for all her time out...but I have already surmised this manager (Kemmy) despises absenteeism (read Sue at iCare memories...GULP!!). I bet Denna is next.

Let's not talk about the diet. I actually got a little "gung-ho" in the beginning and lost like 5 pounds. But after going to Universal with Phil and Ric a couple of weekends ago, (oh yeah, BTW, Phil and I are still going to the park on occassion, and this time Ric came along...first time since Gary died...he held up wonderfully, I think cause we three made a very different threesome than Ric, Gary and I.) I gained it all back and 4 pounds more...in one weekend! Okay, the 13 beers and large BBQ platter of ribs and chicken for lunch, Slaw Dogs for dinner and picking on funnel cakes for snack didn't help, I'll give you that.

We waited an awful long time for a "new" ride at IOA in the "Suess Landing" area...the Sneeches Trolly Ride. The structure for this ride, at least for one of the tracks was in place when the park opened in 1999, and had, for the next 2 years been "slated" to open...but the originally designed ride was deemed to be too unsafe for a children's ride in a children's themed area of the park (not ample enough protection or something like that) so it didn't get worked on and stood there as a strange tourqoise-colored elevated tram track which only existed to allow a car with the Cat In The Hat static manequin to ride slowly over the heads of the guests.

Well, my shoulder seems to be calm and quiet now. I'll soon be going to bed. Gee, I hope I can get a bit more than the 4 hours sleep I got last night.

Allow me to try...adieu.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

FLASHBACK: July 4, 1986

The hype was big on TV and in the newspapers about the grand rededication ceremony for the newly-refurbished Statue of Liberty. It promised that the celebration would attract millions of visitors to New York and that the fireworks display would be the greatest one ever. I was hooked. I wanted to be there.

New York was only 4 hours away driving the then 55 MPH speed limit and I was not about to let an opportunity like this slip by. Plus, I loved New York, so it wouldn't take a really big excuse for me to haul ass there.

None of my friends were overly hyped about this event as I was and each had made other plans for the 4th, so I asked someone I barely knew just so I wouldn't be going alone.

Britanny was the main lobby administrative assistant at BVC which I had newly been hired as the Recreation Coordinator. I mentioned a week or so before that I was planning on going and, if need be, would go alone, when she mentioned she would love to go.

I don't know if she thought that there might be an opportunity for this to be regarded as a "date", so to be safe, I "came out" to her as non-chalantly as possible. But I may have been too "non-chalant" and only hinted that I might be gay, because as events proceeded, I did get a bit of a vibe from her that she was expecting something more. Of course, she didn't get it, and even on the basis of forming a friendship, I wasn't really interested. I had already surmised that we had little in common, but I wanted a companion for my trip so, she was it.

We took the Amtrak to New York and arrived at Penn Station in the late afternoon. We hit the food court in the station as, for both of us, money was tight and I wanted to not spend too much on this trip.

In fact, not wanting to spend any extra money, since it was a gorgeous day, I suggested we walk to our planned destination, Battery Park, about 18 blocks south.

By sunset, the crowd was really starting to swell and by nightfall, it was enormous. It was so crowded and people were clamoring for the very prime spots near the edge of the park overlooking the harbor and the Statue in the distance. At first, we were able to make a little picnic area and lounge on the grass near a tree towards the edge, but the people kept coming. And soon there was no room to lie or even sit lotus style on the grass since it became standing room only.

Within 20 feet of our location, someone set off a M-80 and I could see at least one victim bleeding. The cops tried to come to their aid but it was so packed, they couldn't make it through the throng. Eventually, EMTs were called and somehow, they were able to squeeze through to the man and get him out to the safety of the ambulance many yards away.

Being young and adventurous, I don't think I felt anything like that of real "fear", but thinking back to that event and the dangerous conditions, it would not be pleasant to be in that crowd today, especially in "our times". (Of course, today, there would never be any opportunity for such a massively packed crowd to amass, with no organized security and no pre-screening, so the point, I guess, is mute.)

Britanny and I were both tall, so luckily, even though we had lost our prime location and comfort, we still had a clear view of the Statue and surroundings.

When the firworks went off, it quickly built to a display that I venture noone has seen up to that time or since. According to the common knowledge, 8 barges had been arranged around the southern tip of Manhattan, all loaded with some of the biggest fireworks ever.

Let me tell you, the sound, light, vibration and even heat of the bursts were nothing short of phenomenal. Each blast illuminated the thousands of boats in the harbor, the skyscrapers all around and faces of the multitudes gathered in amazement.

I have said before, that now that I have borne witness to the gratest fireworks display in history, no other show can compare. I am jaded.

After the show, the throng started to slowly disperse but, since there were SO MANY people, it did so VERY SLOWLY. It took us 2 hours to walk 2 blocks!

We finally made it back to Penn Station for the 3:00 AM train, collapsed in our seats and slept until we arrived home to Providence.

But one little snippet which occured on the way back to Penn Station from Battery Park:

Of course, I had been sipping beers all evening and so I felt a little giddy. As we walked north from Battery Park, we passed right by the front entrance to one of the towers of the World Trade Center. On a whim, I went up the steps and pulled on one off the large glass doors. I called to Brittany, who, since she was in heels, wasn't keeping up with my pace. "Hey, let's go up to the Observation Deck." I tried to pull open the door but, of course, being in the wee hours of the morning, it was locked.
"I've never been up there", I said, leaning back and trying to take in the vast height of the building.
After I became aware that I would not be gaining entry tonite, I said, "Oh well, I'll come back another time."

Although I had been back to New York many times since, I remained mostly Uptown and continued to think when time to leave to go back home..."Damn, didn't make it to to the top of the World Trade Center again...oh well, I'll come back another time."

It was kinda like the Harry Chapin classic, "Cats In The Cradle".

It's funny the things that flash in your mind during a tragedy, but it is this "I'll come back another time" phrase, first uttered on that most celebratory night years before, that came to mind when I woke up on September 11th, 2001 and turned on my TV. I realized that I had missed my chance, and there wouldn't be "another time".

Friday, June 23, 2006

FLASHBACK: October 2000

Ric and I had been through our trials over the past couple years of living together at Lee Road, what with the full-contact fist fight, glass-framed wall art throwing, knife-wielding drama a few months before causing Ric to call the sherriff's deputies out but decline to press charges against me when it came down to who is going to jail tonite (all because he wanted me to "babysit" a 6-year old stranger daughter of his crack dealer while he went out and did crack with him and his old lady, and I wanted none of it)

But we were on good terms and now that I had a very secure and well paying job with Sears Home Improvement a lot of the stress of this season eased up considerably.

Then, Ric, one night while out at the Full Moon Saloon , (or is it the Parliament House poolside), Ric found what seemed to him like "His Ultimate Soulmate".

He saw two hot looking young guys lounging on the patio, sunning themselves and did a double-take, they looked to him to be almost identical. But he zoned in on one of them, told him outright that "He was the cuter of the two", and they proceeded to make out then and there, and, in later accountings, by Gary himself, caused Gary to cum in his pants multiple times as he kissed Ric.

Ric and Gary threw themselves into a romance with one another virtually immediatley. Within a week, Ric told me he was moving out to move in with Gary. I was natuarally concerned since we had mutually signed the lease and it was not due to expire until December. I pointed out that, of course, he would still be obligated to pay his share of the rent (less than half of each months amount) until then to fulfill his obligation. Ric continually through the years has brought this up as an example of my "unfairness" to him...that I should have excused him the 2 months of rent he paid since he literally had moved to Clermont and didn't live in our apartment anymore.

I first met Gary as he was helping Ric move his crap outta his room and since it was hot out, Gary had no shirt on. I was floored. He was stunning. He had the perfect tight, smooth, fit body, the correct amount of "ink", and the sexy whore attitude of a perfect stud! Not to mention the face of an angel! He was gorgeous!!!

Later that day, as I would eventually admit to Gary as testimony to my attraction to him, I would jerk off and cum 5 times, thinking about him!

In December 2000, I moved to a gated community in South Orlando called Park Central, and within a month, Ric was at my door asking me to let him stay in my apartment since he had been thrown out by Gary.

Gary, at that time, took up with a guy named Robert, who, turned out to eventually be a real, physically-abusive jerk.

It wasn't long though, before Ric and Gary were back together.

Over the years, Ric and Gary and I had many adventures and really great memories and others that may not be so favorable. But that is the essence of a long friendship.

We usually went to the Universal and/or Busch Gardens parks, but we had many occassions to have lots of fun and wonderful shared experiences together.

Ric and Gary had, from the start, a very firey relationship. passion was not an occassional term, it was every day. All the time they were together, there would be the hint, if not outright stench, of conflict.

Ric and Gary made it through such dilemas as the Robert Affair 1, the Robert Affair 2, and even Gary's occassional, and very happenstance, occurances of sex between him and me.

It first happened one night after a party we had at Gary's house. We all had been drinking and though Gary and Ric went off to their room, at the end of the night, Gary later, came over to my bed, curled up next to me, totally naked, and said that he and Ric are broken up and he wanted to have sex with me.

After I fucked him, he passed out asleep, and then his mother came through the door of what she felt was her bedroom.

I wrapped myself in the bedspread, made my apologies, glanced back at Gary's perfect bubble butt showing up prominently, and said...""Good Night".

I told Ric, the next day what had occured.

He wasn't too horribly surpised.

The Gary and Ric saga lasted longer than anyone could have guessed. They had a certainly turbulent relationship those years.

Their relationship ended suddenly by an unexpected event...death.

In the summer of 2003, Gary complained of stomach pains and not being able to keep food down. He lost a lot of weight in a very short time. When he first went to the doctors, they mis-diagnosed his illness as ulsers and prescribed antacids. His symptoms continued till he was severely ematiated and weak. The next diagnoses was accurate, but not good news.

Gary had adrenocarcinoma, cancer of the gall bladder. It had spread to other parts of his body. He was given 6 months to live.

He died in April 2004.

Gary was 26 years old.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

FLASHBACK: New Year's Eve, December 31, 1981

I couldn't believe I was going out to my first gay bar.

I didn't really know what to expect. Depictions of gay bars in the movies and TV shows of the time usually went for one of the two extreme stereotypes...Ultra-Fem or Super-Butch. Either a satin-draped pink and lavender lounge featuring Greek columns and statues of naked Adonises playing soft piano music in muted candlelit romance, or, dark, sweat-stained, cigar-smoke filled pits, crawling with Leathermen Masters, Old Bears and their Chicken Slaves. (The term "chicken" back then was the equivalent of today's "twink".)

Michael seemed excited as he knew it was my first exposure to the gay world. Other than him and his friend Jerry, I hadn't really known any other gay guys. (I knew, even then, that John could not truly be classified as gay. If it were times like now, John might have been comfortable with the label of bisexual.)

I remember spending a lot of time discussing with him what to wear. In those days, the preppie look was at it's height, and Michael and I were hardcore preps to the core. I'm not sure exactly what I wore, but it likely had a Polo Ralph Lauren insignia somewhere and reeked either of the cologne of the same name or Halston Z-14.

We went to his friend George's house as we were going as "threesome" (pluetonic, of course). George was in his late 30's or so, and just happened to be one of the history teachers in my school. Remember, I was still a senior in high school...I was only 17.

I remember Michael and George talking about their transportation plans if they were successful in "hooking up".

While Donna Summer belted out a high-energy mix of "I Feel Love"from George's hi-fi stereo, the conversation moved to sex and George stared seductively at me and admitted it was hard for him to find the right lover because they (his sex partners) just couldn't keep up with his stamina...

Okay, George was chunky, balding, (what I then considered) "middle-aged" and of Middle-Eastern ethnicity. I was Sooo Not Interested and by being cool for the rest of the night with him, I think he got the message.

But I do have to hand it to him though, he pulled through in a time of need.

When we arrived at the club, a country club style sprawling compound called "The Loft" set in a rural suburb between Woonsocket and Providence, I could hear the beat of the disco music inside getting louder and louder as we got nearer the front entrance...it was firing me up! But the excitement was almost snubbed out when the bouncer wanted to see our ID's (Michael's and mine...not George's).

Michael whispered to me to play it cool and just say I forgot it and pretend I was old enough. But the bouncer wasn't very convinced and he seemed on the verge of not letting me in when George stepped in and said "He's cool". In the span of just a second or two, it seemed George and the bouncer exchanged knowing nods, and I was let in.

Inside, it was far from the Sodom and Gommorah or Pansy Foo-Foo Palace of mass-media portrayals. It was, kinda, well, kinda, normal.

The main floor had a long bar and several tables along with a pool table and entrance to the outdoor pool area (closed now, of course, being the dead of winter). We checked our coats (for a fee), after paying a cover charge and proceeded to the bar to buy drinks. Luckily, Michael or I were not "re-carded" at the bars that night and were able to order freely (though not cheaply). One of my first impressions of a gay bar was that it was expensive! As we were just there as pals, no one was buying me drinks (yet...but that soon changed) and I had to shell out my own hard-earned HoJo's money.

Before we went upstairs to the main dance floor, I noticed a smaller bar off to the left of the stairway and asked the guys what was in there. They said "You don't want to go in there..." and smiled. Well, of course I went in.

It was like stepping into a whole other club. It was much smaller and darker than the main club and once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could see why. The leathermen club known as "The Falcons" gathered here...and here they definitely were. Furry, handlebar-mustachioed, burly men in black leather chaps, studded torso harnesses and biker caps were strewn about the place, some making out, others doing a bit more (frotage), but most sucking back beers outta the bottle and suddenly, and intently, staring at me as if I were a juicy hot dog about to be devoured. I wasn't afraid, but I sure didn't want to encourage them either so I did a slow cruise past the bar, looked out the window (as if that's what I had wanted to do all along) and non-chalantly, albeit, blushingly went back to my friends now upstairs. Whew, that was close! ;)

The sound system was amazing along with the colored rotating spotlights, the strobes and, very new then, lasers and smoke machines. It was fantastic. As they do still to this day, gay bars invest much more in the drama of their dance clubs and expertise of their DJ's then "straight" clubs, anytime! IMHO, anyway.

Several guys were pretty hot. This club generally catered to a more affluent clientele. But the age range was a bit older than, as I later would learn, the downtown Providence or Boston clubs. The college in this area, Bryant was a conservative business school and though I'm sure there were a few students from there, it was mainly either local residents like us or guys from the city who wanted a more relaxed country atmosphere.

Some of the guys I met that night I would later bump into, sometimes literally, again and again at the various clubs in the area.

There was the heavy set somewhat fey guy who reminded me of a young Harvey Firestein who kept wanting to talk my ear off about how gorgeous I was.

There was the cute blond college-aged guy who couldn't believe I was old enough to be there and kept pressing me to admit to him how old I was as he nuzzled up to me and we sucked face. When I finally told him, rather than get scared, he seemed titilated by it but to my chagrin once his friends found out, they cautioned him to avoid me. I was, unfortunately, literally jail bait.

There was the older guy in the black satin "John Travolta" shirt (which by then was falling greatly out of style) and multiple gold chains around his neck, draping over his slightly hairy chest. He was the most free with his money and bought me many of my drinks-of-choice (Jack Daniels and soda...oh yeah, it was all about getting fucked up as quickly as possible!) During one dance he started pressing his thigh to mine and...my, oh my! He was hard as a rock and hung like a freaking horse! Must have been a good 11 or 12 inches! His looks were plain and not my type, his style was definitely not up to my standards, but oh, my mind wondered...I refused anymore advances from him though as it was getting late and I didn't want to get in over my head.

At midnight, Michael, George and I wrestled ourselves away from our various ephemeral erotic daliences, found each other, raised our glasses of champagne in toast, hugged and kissed and wished each other a happy and gay 1982!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!


I have achieved Step One of my savings strategy towards the purchase of a car by January. My first thousand. Yeah, I know, at this rate I'll be able to afford not much better than a 1981 Ford Pinto, but, eh, it's a start.

And now I can say, I am once again able to hob nob with the almost Not-So-Destitute classes. I am a Thousandaire!

Marshall's last day was Friday and everybody gave him a hug and wished him well. Although his admission that he is moving out there to avoid the drama of his current roommate situation (very unstable) and has not gotten a lead on a new job other than potentially becoming an amature poker tournament coordinator for $9/hr, doesn't give off an air of upward-mobility. As I said before, me-thinks Mr. Marshall is going through his own personal period of Koyaanisqatsi.

Okay, so we'll see how long this lasts This Time, but I have started a new diet.

Yes, I too agree "Diet" is a four-letter word and most nutritionists say you should not go on a restrictive diet in order to achieve weight-loss. The ideal plan is a re-commitment to healthy habits like eating sensibly, restricting high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods, limiting alcohol intake and exercising regularly. But I have learned that I have to be tough on myself at first in order for the good habits to re-establish themselves. It doesn't happen by just modifying my lifestyle slowly or trying to get to a point of "normal balance" from the get go...it has to be Boot Camp. Without the hardcore discipline, my subconcious will either "forget" about my commitment to healthier living or it will "hijack" my attempts by allowing chemicals to cascade from the brain and "take over" my controls, plunging me into either an agressive "rebellion" against the logic of a healthy lifestyle, seeing it as "cramping my style", or causing chaotic bi-polar like symptoms of seemingly-uncontrollable bouts of depression and mania.

With a strict Plan-Of-Action and unswerving adherence to quite severe guidelines...usually in the range of the Dyanamic Three Commandments of Achieving Healthy Living, I have been most successful in the past.

The 3 Commandments:

1. Thou shalt not consume more than 1000 calories per day, and all alcohol is strictly forbidden. Water or equivalent no-calorie beverage must be consumed at a rate of at leat 4 liters per day.

2. Thou must reach "aerobic-level" (110-120 heartbeats per minute for a minimum of 30 minutes) at least one time per day, with one day-off per week allowance.

3. Thou must spend time to reflect on the successes and make mental penance for lapses, every day without exception. This includes a daily weigh-in, a log, a self-discussion of upcoming challenges and the plan to meet them, and sharing the daily experiences and feelings with someone else.

These three rules target the the Greek Trinity of the Self...Mind, Body and Soul...

Rule One (MIND) establishes Strict Discipline through Constant Consiousness of the Plan and creates the conditions for optimal Mind-Over-Matter mastery of natural urges, cravings, "stinkin'-thinkin', and the like. It's the epitome of the now well-known Nike tagline...Just Do It.

Rule Two (BODY) conditions the body, allowing it to re-establish a higher metabolism and accelerate the fat reduction. The added benefit is the physical pleasures of more plyable and strong muscle tone and the release of dopamine in the brain.

Rule Three (SOUL) allows time for contemplation and reflection, Zen-like, if you will. The part about sharing with others allows for a connectedness esential in building a sense of accomplishment and pride, recognition from others and feedback support systems.

The rules are essential and effective only if worked on in-synch, all 3 must be implemented at the same time and conducted simultaneously.

Frankly, the toughest challenge is the no alcohol part. This rule has thwarted every attempt to invoke the Commandments for at least 7 years now and unfortunately in that time I have slowly, but surely, made progress in the opposite direction...from ~190 lbs. in 1999 to ~290 lbs. at present.

I've got to do it though. I am now in the category of morbid obesity. All my current aches and pains and discomforts (the pinched nerve in my left shoulder, my tendonitis in my feet, my occasional bouts of gout, my lack of adaquate sleep, possibly due to undiagnosed sleep apnia, my shortness of breath, my discomfort sitting or standing in one position for more than a minute or so (because of the pressure on blood vessels and nerves), perhaps even my escallating allergy symptoms, now present virtually every day, and craving for alcohol and other foodstuffs (probably due to chemical imbalances, hormonal issues, lipids in the blood stream or blood sugar levels), even mood swings, low self-esteem, apathy, impatience, mental dullness, attention deficit disorder...man, the list can go on and on!

Not to mention the worst of all...I can only fit in the double-buckled "special" seats on the coasters at Islands of Adventure (and, since most of the coasters are similarly-designed everywhere, I would assume this would be the case at any theme park)!

I need to be fit and trim enough to achieve my goal of, sometime early next year, driving to the park in my car and riding in any seat on any coaster.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Few Of My Favorite Things...


Kathy Griffin!!! ...Love Her!!

On-Cor "Chicken Parmagiana"...my main ghetto comfort food!

Mildred! (Not really a picture of her, but close...)

Memories of By-Gone Times...(like when I worked here, many moons ago)

My Job...yup!

Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir

Friday, June 09, 2006

Spirit of '76

In reading many other blogs, I've noticed my blog differs in one very obvious way. I rarely talk about politics.

Well, allow me to set a few of my political beliefs down here, so as not to be "left out" of the general trend in the "blogger community".

I am an American. My direct ancestors are very clearly traceable to 3 important periods in my family's past. The citation for this is obtained from a geneology I purchased many years ago.

1. Immigration from the tumoultous times of the 17th century from France to Quebec. The genology places the three branches of the Chausse family that immigrated to The New World at around the year 1640.

2. Consolidation into the Anglo-Franco union that became Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries.

3. The desire for the younger generation of the late 19th century to seek a better life for their families. My line sought work in the bustling textile industries of New England at this time. Woonsocket, Rhode Island became a haven for immmigrant labor from Quebec due to the vast need for new workers and the growing community of French-Canadian immigrants to that region, allowing for a somewhat familiar footing into American life.

I still cry, to this day, at a good rendition of the National Anthem.

I was born in this country, in a state which, I arrogantly contend is more American than almost any other state for these reasons:

Rhode Island was one of the 13 original colonies which comprised the United States.

Of the those 13, it had been well-known as the most independent of all.

Rhode Island's colonial assembly declared independence from England well BEFORE the official Declaration of Independence ratified on July 4, 1776 by 2 YEARS...Rhode Island maintains it's independence date as May 4, 1774!

Rhode Island was the LAST state to sign the Constitution because it wanted to insure fully that it's individual rights would be preserved fully under the new nation, and, it is presumed many state rights that would have been relenquished prior to the "Rhode Island Delay" were reinstated because of this tactic.

Rhode Island was the first state to officially recognize the division between Church and State and the first to recognize that it's citizen's had the right to practice ANY religion (or no religion) they chose. Because of this Rhode Island was the birthplace of the first Baptist church (then considered radically new), the first synagogue of the Jewish faith in the New World and the harbor of many other persecuted or discriminated practices such as Wicca.

Although I live in Florida, because of the more favorable weather...I am still at heart, a Rhode Islander.

Like an old Yankee, I am independent to the core. I would rather die, in many circumstances, then ask help of others.

The Southern "hospitality" of using "Sir" and "Ma'am" are irritating and actually, to my ears, more condescending. To true Yankee's, even if they are elderly, calling them "Sir" or "Ma'am" is actually negative. I have known so many octegenerian "Jane Doe's" that would cring if you called them "Ma'am" or even "Mrs. Doe"...call them "Jane" if you want their respect. Yankee old-timers don't want you to "curtsey" to them like their Southern counterparts, apperently...they want to be a member of your group, whatever age bracket...so treat them as such! That is respect!

If someone calls me "Sir" more that 2 times, I'll let them know that it offends me. Blows the mind of the Southern kids who were "brought up" to "respect their elders"...no, like so many Southern errors, they were brought up, in a very slick, passive-aggresive mode to "put thier elders in their place" as non-essential, almost-dead entities. How wrong!

George W. Bush.

I have never felt as badly about an American President as I have about him. From the early stages of media coverage of his gaffs and blunders seeing him as a total buffoon, to the over-the-top handling of the 9/11 crisis and the ensuing years in which he would try to portray himself as a strong President leading the Nation into a "rightous war"...I just never, ever, bought it, and was amazed at how many others did.

Don't get me wrong. I am not the total bleeding heart liberal you may think because of my sexual oriention and religious beliefs.

In fact, in the '80's, despite disagreement with the way he handled the growing AIDS crisis (eh, he just wasn't well enough informed), I was a big supporter of Ronald Reagan.

When he gave his Evil Empire speech after the downing of Korean Airlines 007, I cried. I fully wanted us to punish the Soviets. They were the cause of so much of our misery. They should be wiped off the face of the Earth. I personally felt we should consider a "Pre-Emptive First Strike" against them with our nuclear missiles.

How naive of me.

But, the nationalistic spirit is hard to temper.

When I was in high school, my friend Steven Glasscock and I would use our study periods doing poli-sci, geo-political investigations in the library and try to postualte what trends were in the air and what was going to continue.

We both noticed, even then, the growing American GDP against the rest of the worlds nations.

Steven thought it would culminate in a crash sometime in the mid-eighties and the US lead would be reduced to more competitive numbers. I didn't agree. I saw, even then, the Soviet system for what it was, and any system built on it as critically impacted. The oil-rich nations were mono-economic, they depended too heavily on one income source. Third World nations were still in the post-independence political shuffling that would occur for at least another 10 years in most cases as most had only been independent for a decade or so. I foresaw that Europe would unite, if not entirely politically, at least economically, but even this was not going to stop the juggernaught.

The USA was going to be, I predicted in the very early 1980's, the most powerful and weathly nation on the Earth and, when compared historically to past glorious empires (Egypt, Alexander's, Rome, Persia, China, Mongol, Mughal, Incan, Aztec, Spanish, Napoleonic, British, etc) it would surpass all.

Now, looking at the present situation, we are, I feel, in the early years of our nation's Golden Age.

I may be a liberal in everyday personal and lifestyle issues, but I am actually a bit over-the-top compared to today's politically-correct thinking when it comes to world issues and international policy.

I think the United States should make a move towards World Domination.

Okay, I know this has a lot of negativity attached to it. Hitler really screwed it up big time. Since he was obviously after World Domination, and so many demogogs and dictators before him (Napoleon, Attila the Hun, Ghengis Khan, etc.) with bad reputations had aspired to the same goal, the whole idea, nowadays, sound so archaic and insane.

But, come on, consider it...One World Government. One Allegience. One Nationality!

I dislike religion like the next athiest, but, it really isn't the schism between Isalm and Christianity and Judeaism that harbors much of the world's "mot de guerre", Reason for War, it's a concept known as "National Pride".

The concept of individual nation-states has met it's terminus. It is obsolete.

I am right now, typing on a keyboard manufactured in Taiwan, looking into a monitor manufactured in Singapore by a firm headquartered in Korea. I have tonite visited web sites housed on servers in Brazil, Norway, Japan and Canada. I am listening to internet radio via a radio station in France. For breakfast today I had toast and peanut butter, a foodstuff developed in the United States and Costa Rican coffee, for lunch Chinese buffet and for dinner Morroccan couscous and Jamaican oxtails, washed down with Mexican Margaritas and later Swiss cheese snacks with Australian Shiras red wine.

I am not alone in this diversity of sources of who I am. I am a citizen of Earth!

But, of course, being American, I would want it to be...The United States of Earth. If we focused our energies even just a little bit, this would be very achievable.

I mean, really, who would, or could oppose us?

Here's a quote from Military Spending of The USA on Wikipedia:

The United States military budget is larger than the military budgets of the next twenty biggest spenders combined, and six times larger than China's, which places second (although it is widely believed that China significantly understates its actual military expenditures). Dollar for dollar, the United States and its closest allies are responsible for approximately two-thirds of all military spending on Earth (of which, in turn, the U.S. is responsible for two-thirds). Military spending accounts for more than half of the United States' federal discretionary spending, which comprises all of the U.S. government's money not accounted for by pre-existing obligations. [7]

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2003 the United States spent approximately 47% of the world's total military spending of US$956,000,000,000.


So our goal should be to get rid of this idiot and his short minded cronies in the White House who are all about gouging the US citizens to profit on their oil stocks, and get true Globally Minded, New World order thinkers in there, (people kinda like his father), so we can be in a position to "accept" the "affirmation" of a grateful world community at being allowed to participate in the unification of man into One World Government, a feat strived for by many, but not achieved, until, so I predict, the United States does so in the year 2054.

The year I turn 90.

Hope I get to see it.