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!