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".