Sunday, December 26, 2004

My weekend of rest and relaxation was a success. I was lured out of the house of Saturday to see "The Aviator" and "Fat Albert". OK, "The Aviator" was the primary reason I went to the theater.

Martin Scorcese had done a wonderful job with this picture. Leo DiCaprio channels Hughes. Cate Beckinsale did a great job as Hepburn; although I keep wanting to have seen Kate Mulgrew in the part. "Fat Albert" was good for what it was. I kept reminding myself that there were 10 year olds in the audience laughing at the movie, so it did what it was supposed to. It also delivered a message just like the old show used to.

I talked to John on Christmas morning and got inventory on his presents so I know what to put on my shopping list. True to my luck, the van has really been running badly and will have to have a tune up almost immediately. This of course, cuts into Christmas money which sucks. With my plans for Santa calls next year blows like that to the budget should not happen.

The only pang of emotion; mostly regret, that I had this Christmas was over my sister, Elaine. She and I have not talked in years. The last contact I had with her was an email from her warning me not to contact any of her children. It's a sad and long story about what caused the rift between us, but at this point everyone in the family seems to agree that the continued rift is all her fault. Those reasons are also varied and deep. I was the closest to Elaine out of all my sisters. We were friends on top of being siblings. I miss her terribly. I almost sent her an email. For years I'd sent her cards on her birthday and Christmas but haven't for quite a while. I have tried and can look myself in the mirror over the issues that separated us and attempts at reconciliation since. A few years before our mothers death I had sent her a letter saying I didn't want us to meet as strangers over her coffin; that just about happened. The thought that kept running through my mind this weekend was what was going to happen if we ended up the last two surviving siblings. Maybe I will still drop her a note. I want to know I still kept on trying. Maybe it's all part of the way we always review the past twelve months this time of year.

All in all '04 hasn't ended up that bad. Before the ball drops next weekend I'll do some reading myself and see what this blog can tell me about exactly how good a year it really was.

Last thought, this website come with a spellchecker. I find it silly that a spellchecker on a blogging website does not recognize the word "blog". DUH!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Today is a paid day off from work. I'm not as pampered as I used to be when I worked for the City of Warwick and had tons of vacation and holiday time so you learn to savor the days off that you do get.


You'd think my brain and my body would be working in tandem, understanding that the opportunity presented itself for unabated sleep time. Not to have to be ajrred awake before the rise of the sun. You'd think my body clock would anjoy the day off; not having to worry about keeping on an ungodly overtime schedule and catching naps during ten minute breaks during the course of a work schedule.

But no-noooooooo! Something in my body's makeup just has to see the smiling faces of the CBS Early Show in order to face the remainder of the day. My eyes apparently cannot fully without a dialy dose of the Bob and Tom Show.

Speaking of which, let me advertise for the probaby the best morning radio show out there, Bob and Tom. OK, I Love Imus, but even sometimes his dour attitude can grate. Syndicated from Indiana, I think, Bob, Tom, Chick and Christy Lee are the hosts of this show which features skits, banter and visits from some of the best in standup talent from around the country. has a list of radio station affiliates. If you don't have the show in your area spend a few bucks and join their VIP section so you can hear them on the internet. You'll be addicted like I am.

Well, I'll see if I can't re-train my brain over the next few days. I don't have Johnny here until New Years so this weekend is turned into a relaxation break. I'm celebrating Christmas with my own good food, four DVD's from Netflix and a score of recorded movies and shows on TiVo.

Of course, knowing my luck, I'll be right in the swing of sleeping late by Sunday and then be all pissed off at trying to pry my eyes open at 7AM again!

Have I mentioned how much I hate my sister Kathleen for retiring at 57?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What is with Caroline Schlossberg these days?

Oh, wait! That’s Caroline KENNEDY. After being married for years and traditionally taking her husband’s name, Caroline has suddenly decided to use her maiden name publicly in case we’ve forgotten who she is.

She has been in the spotlight since she was in diapers. Does she really think we wouldn’t recognize it’s her because her name is different? I’m sure the world was thrown in a tizzy and just couldn’t recall where they’d seen her mother before when she changed her name to Onassis.

On the off chance that Caroline reads this blog;

Caroline, honey, get a reality check! You’re one of those few on this planet who don’t really need to carry a photo ID. If they still had those American Express commercials where the celebrity says, “You may not know me…”, as if the AMEX is the only way they prove who they are, you’d be a perfect choice. OK, so some of the Lawfords and Smith can go through life with anonymity, but not you. If you changed your name to Rosanne we’d still know it’s you. If someone at the publisher of your last book told you the name “Kennedy” would sell more books,; that person is an idiot. If you came out selling a dumpster diving cookbook and put your “real/married” name on it, the damned thing would sell just as much simply because of who you are. I’m sure this was something your mother might have mentioned somewhere along the line.

OK, so I know she probably doesn’t read my blog. A boy can dream can’t he? I’ve had a thing for Caroline since I was a kid. She is on the same list as Olivia Hussey and Haley Mills; those famous girls I had the hots for and then as I grew up found out the were older and very unattainable.

Well, in my mind, they aren’t unattainable….they simply don’t know I’ve been divorced. That’s the ONLY reason my phone isn’t ringing off the hook!

Another famous heartthrob of mine showing less that rocket science brain power lately is Lisa Marie Presley. What the hell was she thinking? OK, she keeps Graceland, but the name “Elvis” is going to keep on making money when my grandchildren are old.

All of these women; Lisa Marie, Caroline, Princess Stephanie, Brooke Sheilds….just to name a few, have had some minor problems in their careers and all that could be ended with one simple phone call to Florida.

Ah, well; their loss!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

When I was younger I used to go around to friends and family with little kids dressed up as Santa. None of those visits compares with the simple phone call I placed the other night.

My friend Jason has a 4 year old daughter, Grace. She is the sweetest little thing and all a little princess. She plays it to the hilt. Her room looks as if Barbi exploded inside; pastel pink and purple with a large plastic lettering spelling out her name over her bed. The perfect child who deserves a call from the big guy.

I called up and she answers the phone, "Hello."

"Hello, is this Grace?"


"Do you know who this is?"


"If I said, 'Ho, ho, ho', would you know who it is?"


Jason tells me at this point Grace began dancing around in circles throughout the house in utter joy as the conversation continued.

"Well, Grace, I just wanted to call and make sure you were feeling good. I remember when I saw you at the mall the other day you weren't feeling good and I wanted to make sure you were feeling better for Christmas."

"Yes, Santa."

in the background on her end of the phone "Who is it, Grace?"

Pulling the phone away for a moment to answer but still dancing in circles, "It's Santa!"

"Now let's see, Grace, you told me you wanted a three wheeled scooter for Christmas. Let me make sure I have the rest of your list right, what else did you want?"

"The Btraz dolls."

"How about your little sister, Sarah? She's a little baby and can't talk yet, what can I get her for Christmas?"

Still dancing in circles she pulls the phone away again to ask Daddy, "What does Sarah want for Christmas?..........silence........I don't know, Santa"

"Well I'll find something nice for her. You know, by the time I get to your house I'm a little hungry; are you going to leave me a little snack?"

"Yes, Santa. Milk and cookies."

"Oh, my favorite! So, are you going to be a good girl between now and Christmas?"

"Yes, Santa."

"And you'll go to bed good and early Christmas Eve?"

"Yes, Santa."

"Well, you do and I'll see that you get some good gifts for Christmas."

"Thank you, Santa."

"I'll see you Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, Grace. Bye-bye."

"Bye-bye, Santa."

I think she continued to dance around in circles for at least a half and hour after that.

Ho, ho, ho, indeed!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I've been punk'd!

It doesn't happen very often so when it does it's gotta be a good one. And this was a classic.

First, some background for those of you who don't know the players. I have done a stand up routine in the past three yearly talent shows at my job. This year they had me do a repeat performance at the Christmas party. One of the hottest jokes this year was about one of our VP's. His name is Peter. I have known his since he started with the company 3 years ago or so. He is a sweet guy and has always been open and friendly with me. Peter is a shorter than average guy with short, very curly hair. This has left him open, from me at least, for a leprechaun joke or two over the years. No fear, right to his face. He has got a great sense of humor which he proved in spades today.

The joke in question spoke of how out company is identified by people outside the company by our spokesperson, Wilford Brimley. There was one point in time when Lauren Bacall was considered but didn't work out. I made jokes about Rush Limbaugh and Michael Jackson being turned down as spokespersons for obvious drug related jokes. I then said that the Keebler Elf had been considered...but that Peter already had a job with the company!

And the crowd goes wild!

Peter is such a good sport that he has been referring to himself as the Keebler Elf around the office! Well, now it's bee almost a week since the party and Peter is the last thing on my mind today when one of my supervisors taps me on the shoulder and says that I have to meet with Human Resources in 15 minutes.

This is the call of death in my company. My mind used those 15 minutes to think of every possible scenario of investigation, trouble or even termination of employment which could have been the reason for the meeting. My hear was racing, my palms sweat and my bladder cried to empty.

As I entered the HR office Abby (our department's HR person and grand illusionist in all this setup) led me in with her assistant and the head of security. My head was pounding so much I barely heard Abby say, "Jack, I have some bad news!" Immediately the dollar amount for my rent, John's Christmas wish list and my yearly travel plans zipped through my mind. We got to the desk and there was a large piece of pink paper lying there. Since this office had been damaged in the hurricanes I assumed it was there to protect the desktop. Next to it was a clearly typed, official looking "Termination List" with my name blazing at the top. I plunked down in the seat and waited for the hammer to fall.

"There are some things which we take very seriously here at work," Abby said as she turned over the large pink piece of paper to reveal the world's largest "pink slip"!

Three sheet of paper wide by three which it covered the top of the desk. It read as an Employee Action Report. I was being cited for "Making inappropriate and derogatory stayements about management, specificity Peter, during a company sponsored event in front of other employees". I was further "banned from speaking at all public company events" and would "receive zip at retirement"!!!

I could feel blood vessels popping in my skull as I realized what had happened. Photos were taken; apparently the look on my face was priceless. Abby, while she did go along with it was beside herself that I wasn't going to take it well. As someone who lives to pull of perfect practical jokes, I absolutely loved it. For someone to pull one over on me takes considerable effort and talent.

Of course, I WILL get even!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I just had one of the most amazing nights with my son. It was my company's annual Christmas party. They had done the usual wonderful job, this time using large tents set up in our parking lot. Once you got inside you were in another world. It was wonderfully decorated, a stage, and in the smoking tent they had large couches and lounging beds set up. It was wonderful.

Because I had been asked by management to repeat my stand up performance from the talent show, I had to stick close to the stage. There was also some difficulty in locating many of my friends in the sea of 800 people so John and I ended up at a hightop by ourselves.

And we just started talking.

It was one of the scenes I never had with my father. I sat and sipped my bourbon and we talked, jokes and checked out women. He was supposed to have gone on his first date last night but plans fell through so he ended up coming for his weekend anyway. I was asking all kinds of questions about her and tried feeling him out for his taste in girls by comparing notes on women/girls at the party. It was two guys hanging out being guys.

With pride I took him around and showed him off to my coworkers. He dutifully shook hands and smiled. He said he wasn't all that bored but to save him we did leave a little early. The other thrill was getting to have him see me perform on stage. He said he liked it and seemed impressed with the audience reaction. Of course, he may also be convinced his father is a lunatic. Either was it was a night of complete sharing and bonding between us.

While it may not have mattered that much to him tonight, I did tell him how I felt about the night; how I never had moments like that with my father. Like any teenager he just grunted an acknowledgement he had heard what I said. I trust tonight will come back to him in 30 or 40 years and he'll understand.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Get my AARP card ready!

I took advantage of my company's new vision insurance coverage and went to the eye doctor for the first time since I decided I no longer wanted to wear my geeky glasses as I prepared to enter junior high school. Well, my vanity caught up with me after almost 30 years.

I have to wear bifocals!

Since a very young age I had to wear glasses. Because of either financial situations at the time or just that eyewear fashion was an unknown term in the 60's all I had to wear were the classic Clark Kent style. Add to that I was asthmatic and into science fiction and I was the stereotype of what a geek was supposed to be. Or as the tormentors of my youth used to call me......."Faggot!"

Puberty was rearing its ugly head on me when I entered Gorton Junior High School in the fall of 1975. I knew this was when girls started noticing guys and I wanted in on it. Clark Kent had to go so I simply decided not to wear them any more.

I can vividly recall the moment I took them off. I was riding my bicycle around my neighborhood and as the thought brewed in my mind I stopped, took off the horrendous spectacles of my youth and was ready to ride home as a young man. I marveled at the feeling on the wind blowing against my naked eyes. My eyebrows rustled unfettered by plastic frames. I was my own man!

Looking back, now as a parent myself, I have no idea how my parents didn't simply staple the damned things to my head and tell me to wear then no matter what. According to my older sisters, there was a lot I got away with that they never would have even tried.

Jealous is an ugly thing.

In the past few years I have grown more and more annoyed as having to wait until highway signs were within an eighth of a mile to read them. It was when the telephone book became completely illedgible that I decided to look into the insurance coverage. Since we're so close to the holidays I had to opt for the least expensive possible; no flexible frames or magnetic sunglasses. I did, however, go for the closest to the Lennon style granny glasses as I could find.

My oldest sister laughed outloud when I told her.

Jealousy is a very ugly thing.

Mom's been gone five years today and I still hear her laughing.

Today it's probably about the glasses.

Monday, December 06, 2004

TiVo has now changed my life! I finally caught DirecTV with a special on the recorder and I can certainly swing the $5 per month fee. This little box is fantastic. I won't bore you with all the technical details in case you've already got it or know the basics but the flexibility this now gives me makes it a couch potato's best dream. Between that and this new PC; if I could get a job where I could work out of the house I'd never go outside again. I'd end up looking like Howard Hughes near the end of his life. OK, so except for the long finger nails and Kleenex boxes for shoes I may already look like get an analogy!

One thing I was able to watch thanks to TiVo was "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" which was on last night at the same time I was busy chatting online. I was a fine production but it brought to mind how my feelings about religion have changed in the past few years.

I was raised in a Methodist Church and was a summer camp counselor. When I switched to the Presbyterian Church I became more involved; youth group, choir, Sunday school teacher. The more I think about it and the further I get from organized religion the more I find myself hovering between agnostic and atheist. Words from Junior High School social studies keep echoing in my mind. Greek mythology was described as "primitive man's was of explaining the natural world". Are we so arrogant to believe that just because we are 3000 years more advanced that we still aren't the same ignorant primitives using religion and the belief in a higher being as a way to explain the natural world. There is so much mysticism in all of the varied religions. They all have so many similarities as well. Could it not simple be man's way of putting a bigger meaning to things happening around him he can't figure out.

John Lennon said, "God is a concept by which we measure our pain". Makes perfect sense to me. "How could God let that happen?" When something so shocking and devastating along the line of a natural disaster happens, people moan and wail to God. Could it simply have been the result of whatever natural events took place and man just happened to be in the way?

Believe me. I want to be wrong. I want to, at the end of my life, go through that tunnel of white light and be greeted by long dead family and friends. I want God to slap me in the back of the head and say, "See, I told you so, dumbass!" We'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I'll enjoy sleeping late on Sundays.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I should finally be able to keep up with this blog as I am now the proud owner of a brand, spanking new PC. I went out and plopped down for a Compaq Presario SR1200NX. You computer geeks out there can look up the details of the processor on their web site. I know it's not top of the line but it fit my budget. I am kicking myself for missing a sweet deal Dell had on their 2400 but I had the Thanksgiving vacation to pay for first. This purchase has been long overdue and, with my election to Chief of Operations for Starfleet, it became necessary before the first of the year. I already miss sittign in my recliner or lying on the couch surfing on the laptop. Maybe I'll add a replacement laptop to my "Reasons to Work Overtime" list.

I should be signing up with DSL at the beginging of the week. This PC already runs programs like lightening so surfing on DSL should be fantastic. A constipated carrier pigeon would be an improvement over what I've been doing off the laptop recently.

Another toy was delivered today, TiVo. I haven't had much chance to use it much outside of installing and testing but I think I'm going to love it. With all the overtime I'll be working to afford all this I'll need it to keep up on my TV favorites. Oh, the life of a couch potato!

This weekend will not be spent completly infront of the TV and PC, though. Since the humidity has finally broken, I plan on starting up my Sunday morning 5 mile hikes. In the past few months my weight has leveled off. Mostly due to less walking and eating lots of MRE's during the hurricanes. Also, who wants to walk five miles in 90m degree weather on purpose?!

Another casuality of the hurricanes has been the cleanliness of my trailer. Between having the benches from the van sitting inside the tralier and going throug stuff from storage it's been tough to keep up with all the cleaning I usually do. Also, there has been that post-hurricane slump. Now that the weather has improved the mood follows right behind. It's the reverse of back home on New England when there were the winter doldrums. Down here we're all hunkered down inside during the summer hugging our air conditioners and only venturing outside when absolutly necessary.

Well, I have to get back to loading programs onto my new obsession.

Friday, December 03, 2004

My oldest sister Joan just went through "routine" surgery on an arthritic shoulder. Two days after the surgery her blood pressure dropped dramatically and some to her internal complications. She ended up staying in the hospital two extra days while they worked to stabilize her and to figure out what happened. She is going home today and has follow up appointments with two specialists because they still weren't able to determine whether it was simply a reaction to the surgery or something more.

It wasn't until after I hung up the phone with her when I started to shake. I suddenly got hit with the fear of losing another member of my family. If you've read my blog with any regularity you know how well I do with death. Aunts, uncles and even parents can be dealt with. Somehow trying to wrap my mind around the actual eventuality of losing a sibling really hit me.

If my weight loss surgery really helps me as much as they say it will, I may end up outliving my sisters. I may end up one of the last of my circle of friends. I envision myself like Belushi on "Don't Look Back in Anger"; gray-haired and lamenting on those who passed before me. It's odd to think on myself in those terms. Last week as I looked Red Barrows in his eighties and tried to picture myself in the same light. Watching him and Harry walking side by side and then later looking into the bright and youthful eyes of my son trying to imagine the same for us forty years from now.

While I usually have a problem with death I will admit some of the things I am looking forward to. No surprise that they have to do with my son. My father died when I was fifteen so there was a lot I missed out on with him. I daydream sometimes about going to a bar with my grown son. Going on road trips and having him drive. I am anticipating the day when I am called "Grampa".

No preassure on him though!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Well, been there and back again and it was a wonderful weekend. I picked John up Tuesday after he got out of school. We came here for a little while to pack and for me to take a short nap. We hit the road by 8:30PM and drove until 2AM when we stopped somewhere in Georgia for the night. While I had spread out an inflatable mattress in the back of the van it seemed prudent to actually stay in a hotel with my son instead of "camping out" along the way as I had done on previous trips.

Had one of those "Jedi Master" moments before leaving. There was a special on TV about the Kennedy assassination and John turned to me saying, "Dad, what was the whole story about that? They don't teach a lot about it in school. What happened?" While I didn't get into ALL the details, I did give him some basics, show off my Mannlicher Carcano and a promise to watch "JFK" soon. It was right up there with the moment he said "Gee, Dad, I've never seen "The Twilight Zone" Is that show any good?"

Made it into New Bern with a habitual stop at South of the Border. After a much needed rest and shower we headed to Harry's for dinner and to get reacquainted with his children. His daughter was in diapers the last time I saw her,so I was someone new to her. It's amazing that such a little princess came from my old pal, Harry. Former Marine, football player and almost as big a bonehead as me.

Samantha also apparently seemed to think my son was cute. She was all demure and shy but couldn't take her eyes off of him. Ah, the curse of the Eaton men!

John also had an affect on Brandon, my friend's 8 year old son. John was the slightly older, really cool kid. Not too old where he was like a grown up but still a kid. For the past two years boxes of comic books have sat unread in Brandon's bedroom. His parents have done all they could to get him to read them. Because the request was coming from boring old parents there was no way in hell he was going to read them. Then John breezes in, sees the collection, shows his interest and apparently comic books were the best invention since sliced bread and John was the guy who invented the knife.

It is always good to spend time with as good a friend as Harry. We both honestly miss each other's company even though miles and years keep us apart. His wife is as close to me as any blood sister could be.

Seeing his father, Red always brings back memories; this trip even more so. I was not able to be there when Harry's mom passed away so this was my first time to share that with them. Harry, Red and I went to the cemetery together. It was chilly and breezy which only added to the somber tone. I took the time to really look at Red and take in every moment with him. I compared the older, grayer and slower man in front of me to the one from my memory. I looked closely at the frail skin on his hands as he touched the nameplate on the grave. I marveled at the same twinkle in his eyes even though the eyes may have looked all of their 80+ years.

Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful as usual. Harry has a good friend, Tony, who puts out a magnificent spread. It's times like that when I wish I had my old stomach back!

We have plans on getting together again in June when Harry makes a business trip to Orlando. I would like to be able to get together more than that given how well our children gotten along together. Johnny did wonderfully playing with the both of them on this trip. He said he had a good time. When I asked what he thought of his godfather he smiled and said, "He's a lot like you!" Harry, apparently, has a hand up on the godmother as John really can't remember the last time he even heard from her. I would like to keep that score on our side.

We stopped for lunch at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach on the way back. We also nosed around Planet Hollywood and saw the SpongBob Squarepants movie; which was 10 times funnier than "The Incredibles"! We stopped again in Georgia for the night. I made out on budget better than I planned. Starting tomorrow it will be mega-overtime for the foreseeable future. I guess I won't mind it too much when I'm going on all the trips I have planned or using the new PC I need.

Again, it was a wonderful weekend for my son and I to spend real time together. When he wasn't spread out in the back of the van with his CD player we did get the opportunity to talk. We gabbed. We talked about important stuff. We told jokes. It was the best part of the trip. Even the times when he was ignoring me in the back of the van were good because he was right there doing it and not 90 miles away.

That feels soooo good!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Well, my blogging should be back to a regular schedule soon. I HAVE TO buy a new PC. I am now the Chief of Operations-elect for Starfleet International. I am happy, excited, nervous and scared all at the same time. I do look forward to the challenge but some of the torrential shit storms can be overwhelming at times. And that's as a spectator, now as one of the ones with a target on his back.....this should be very interesting.

I celebrated the news at a Vulkon convention in Orlando. Boy! Did I celebrate. It all started with an anniversary party for one of the chapters in Tampa. Champagne flowed. Then rum, vodka, wine and many other liquids flowed. I was described as "fuzzy" and "on another plane". I was proud of the fact that I was able to recall everything I had done during the evening. That was until a friend relayed a story of meeting me in the hallway. I stopped to talk and went to lean on the wall to talk, and missed the wall. I had a helluva time. I enjoy my alcohol and love the fact that my little bariatric stomach dosen't stop me.

The whole weekend was the usual good time with friends. Got to hang with a few of the actors. Some of the best moments had to do with a blow up doll which had a photo of Bill Shatner slapped on it. It was hilarious seeing this going through the hotel lobby as the atendees to the Baptist convention tried sheilding the eyes of their children. I know the Sunday morning meetings were prayer vigils for us Fleet people!

The best personal moment, other than getting the election results, was getting a little surprise from friends in Tampa. I was presented with a street sign called "Towaway Ave". I had no idea what they had for me. I was floored. It isn't very often someone gets the better of me and it's really hilarious when that happens.

One of the first things I thought of when my team won was my mother. She was once the national secretary for the Ladies Auxillary of the Fraternal Order of Police. My position is very close to being a parralell to the position she had. She always shook her head at my interest in fandom but Fleet does many good works and I wonder if she would have been proud that I had reached such a position.

Tomorrow Johnny and I are supposed to leave for our trip to North Carolina. I may just blow the budget and do it because the trip itself is important. He hasn't seen his godfather in a long time. I haven't seen himin a long time either. Sometimes these things are more important than the money itself. I have been doing so well recently with my bills and budgeting. I have even been able to start stocking my pantry, something I almost have never been able to do. I have always used either food or supplies until they ran out and never had replacements in the closet. WHen I was a child there were cupboards and closets full. Then there was storage of dry goods and whatever was needed in the basement. I have been trying to be able to do the same since ever going out on my own; it's only taken 20 years.

I'll try posting when I can.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

My laptop continues to be a pain in the butt. On top of that I feel a certain writers block. I feel ok about it because I have seen Wil Wheaton go through the same thing with his blog.

The past Tuesday my company had its annual talent show. It was fantastic. I killed. It brought back those old feelings about being an actor. The wave of emotion flowing in from the audience is beyond words. To say something and hear hundereds of people responding and laughing causes an ache much like the first time you know you're in love.

The more I watch shows like "Inside the Actors Studio" and hear these professionals saying things about how they feel about acting, experiences and how they knew it was what they were meant to do and I hear things I've always thought and felt.

Things at work don't help much either. There has been a major "restructuring" wich resulted in people moving to other departments and a few managers being forced out. Luckily, where I am now does not put me directly in the cross hairs, so I feel a little more secure than most. It still makes for an over all air of uncertainty in the building.

A trainer friend of mine has suggested something called "the National Speakers Association" which is a group of professional speakers who hire outtocompanies for motovational speaking. He feels what I didin my standup could be played in any company setting and could very lucrative. I'm looking into it at least.

Right now I'm trying to scrape up the money to both go to a convention this weekend and my trip to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. Between the hurricanes and being very sick at the begining of the month I missed some work which means missing money. I am really looking forward to having John spending sometime with his godfather. Plus, I'm looking forward to spending time with him, too.

John and I have been having more and more "normal" conversations. What I mean by that is that they turn into just bull sessions as if I'm talking to just another person. Most of the time, talking to a child is just trying to keep their attention and talking about whatever is "the thing" with themat themoment. Lately my son and I have been able to just talk. Just two guys sharing ideas. That's another reason I'm looking forward to the trip. Talking is a great way to pass the time on a 9 hour ride.

Since I haven't been on recently here are some quickie movie reviews: "Ray" is superb. I cried at the end. If Fox dosen't get an Oscar the woman who played his wife deserves one. "The Incredibles" Disappointing. They didn't bring the funny which is what you epect from Pixar. It was good it just didn't have the fun and wonder on their other masterpieces. I went in wanting to love it but they just missed the mark.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Statistically, there are more than one of you reading this who voted for the re-election of the president.


Shame on you 866 times. That's how many members of the armed services have died in Iraq since the begining of the war. 755 of them have been since 5/1/03 when we "won".

The only good thing that came out of yesterday was that an almost record number of people got out to vote. As screwed up as it the result is, it was democracy in action; we can all take pride in that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I really miss politics. I still find it odd to wake up on election day and not be hip deep in a campaign. Racing around all day long making sure polls are manned, phone calls are made, the candidate gets around and makes appearances and then that long wait at the end of the day for the returns to come in. I really, really miss it.

The early voting concept is something else I can't wrap my mind around. You vote on election day unless you're an absentee; simple as that. When I got up yesterday I thought about heading to the court house to vote early but the same impulse that makes me eat one thing on my plate at a time made me turn towards the office instead. It just isn't natural.

I voted for John Kerry. I did so because I believe this President lied to the country. The motivation for the "War Against Terrorism" was to get those responsible for 9/11. Bin Laden and Al Qaida; neither of which are in Iraq. I am perplexed how we went from billions in budget surplus to billions in debt. Hallibutrton makes my head hurt.

Mostly, it's 500+ young men and women who have died in Iraq. It all seems like a 1968 flashback. There was a program on Bobby Kennedy on a few weeks ago and almost every speech they showed where he was talking about Viet Nam could have been replayed on the nightly news in a story about Iraq.

I'll sit up late tonight and with the zeal of a Red Sox fan watching Game 4 I'll follow the results. Hopefully, we'll get it right this time.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

My laptop SUCKS!

For the past week my frickin' laptop has failed to even start up. I have been backlogged on emails, blogging and porn! Oh, the humanity!

The worst part was I missed the one year anniversary of this blog. I've done over 100 posts in the past year and in reviewing them, it certainly has been a fun year. I appreciate the comments people have made and have really gotten a kick out of the fact that there is a "regular readership" which checks here on a regular basis.

Kinda like trying not to look at a bad car wreck on the highway, right?

Oddly enough, I had a little flashback moment just the other day very much related to my blog. My friend Cheryl and I went to see "Team America". (Slightly disappointing BTW. Not as laugh-out-loud-all-the-way-through as "South Park" was.) While waiting to go in the "young lady" entered the theater. I don't know much else that happened because I think my heart completely stopped making me clinically dead for at least 4 minutes. The reason I had this reaction was because she was followed close behind by "the Neanderthal" she had taken to the Christmas party last year. Needless to say I've been in a slight funk ever since.


From a distance I did not see any jewelry, so there's still hope! Stop shaking your head. I know, I know. Yeah, just like Mary Jo Kopechne reaching for that last breath in the back of Teddy's car....there's still hope!

My ex's father just suffered a heart attack two days ago. I have been in close contact with her and Johnny to make sure all is going well. John seems to be doing OK with it. When I called the day it happened we talked about TV and video games for about 15 minutes before he even thought of mentioning what had happened.

I'm still trying to cajole my laptop into working or I'll just be making more and more visits to the library again. Thanks again for reading over the past year. It's longer than I ever did with my old journals.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

First, thing to share is that I finally have my photos from the hurricanes posted on the net.

Secondly, are my thoughts on the passing of Christopher Reeve. This hits extremely closely to me due to my friendship with Jim Langevin. While Reeve's injuries and condition over the past 9 years was much worse than Jim's, the infection and complications which led to his death could do the same thing to Jim. He works hard to keep his body as healthy as possible and puts in many hours towards that goal but I still hold the fear in the back of my mind that one day I will be attending his funeral thanks to something as stupid as an infection. As you know, if you've read much of this blog, I don't do well with death.

I remember when I first saw "Superman". It was the first time, as film critic for my college newspaper, I was invited to a midnight screening of a film. I was excited to be let in the backdoor and see a movie before anyone else had, so that added to the experience. There was something special about the movie from the moment those first John Williams notes trumpeted. A man really could fly.

My movie buff friend, Gary Keller, always questions my masculinity because of my love of "Somewhere in Time". While there are times I moan and whine about being able to suspend disbelief during a bad movie, I was totally sucked in to the love story and forgave major lapses in logic for this film. My eyes still dew over when Reeve pulls that penny out of his vest pocket.

And then there's Reeve post 1995. How can you not admire someone who has gone through the past nine years as he has. Someone who has taken what would have ripped the spirit from most and just made him soar higher than the cape and tights ever could have taken him.

In recent months I have been reevaluating where I am in life. There has been one quote from Reeve which has been haunting me recently. "I get very impatient with able bodied people who are paralyzed for one reason or another. C'mon, what are you waiting for? If you have a dream, go for it!" Add to that, someone at work recently said, "You missed your calling".

Ever get the feeling the universe is trying to tell you something?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

OK,OK,OK. I have tomorrow off because of the holiday and I PROMISE I'll post my hurricane pictures. It's still been a little tough getting "back to normal". And I'm not the only one feeling it. I don't seem to have the initiative at work to meet the regular goals I have set for myself. I am meeting my management set standards, I have my own numbers I want to meet above and beyond the minimums. I have yet to stay past 5PM when before I had been putting in between 10-18 hours of overtime. I'm hoping the three day weekend will recharge the batteries a little.

One thing I did get to do was nose around in my storage space a little yesterday. Just the one box I picked at random was filled with stuff from high school. This should be a real adventure when I start moving to another facility. The last time some of these boxes even saw the light of day was when they were packed back in RI 10 years ago.

Just a quickie TV review. The season premiere of "Enterprise" was a good cure for sleeplessness. It had the pacing of a good colonoscopy. I'm still trying to hold on to the hope most fans have in Many Coto, the new Executive Producer. He has stated a love of the original and a plan to intergrate more references to Classic Trek in the coming season, which I still say will be the FINAL season of the show. I can excuse the next two episodes as he is just cleaning up the mess of a story line he was handed by Berman.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I may be speaking sacrilidge here but I really think too big a deal was made over Rodney Dangerfield's passing. Here's why I feel this way.

Tonight's "ABC's World News Tonight" (the best in network evening news) starts off their program with three "teaser" stories designed to keep the viewer's interest through the half hour and boost ratings. Yes, the are designed just for that ratings reason but they are also supposed to be the highlight of the most important news items of the day. Tonight, they pushed last night's vice-presidential debate, the flu vaccine crisis and, finally the passing of Rodney.

I don't recall what the teasers were for Monday night, but none of the big three teasers made any mention of the passing of Gordon Cooper. Yes, they did cover it in their broadcast. Apparently, to the minds of the producers of ABC World News, the passing of one of the original Mercury Seven pales in comparison to a comedian.

I am a big fan of Rodney's. He was a master of his craft. More important than that was how, as his celebrity cache grew he used it to help out up and coming comedians; some of which would go one to be bigger then he could ever dream of being. The would have been no Sam Kinison, Robin Williams or countless others if not for the google-eyes godfather of stand up. But, after all, he was only that; a comedian.

Gordo Cooper was the 6th man to fly into space. There is in no possible way Rodney's life eclipses Gordo's. Cooper epanded our universe. Rodney told jokes. I really don't want to diminish Rodney's contributions it's just that there seems to be a loss of focus, not only with the ABC producers but in our society as a whole, as to the definition of a hero. I overheard three or four people mention Rodney's passing today at work while I didn't hear Cooper's name once. In a time when police officers and fire fighters have been recognized for the heroes they are it's disheartening not to hear Gordo's name mentioned with the same reverence.

May both men rest in peace.

Monday, October 04, 2004

And FP&L said, "let there be light!" and there was and it was good!

This time it has been a sweltering 8 days without electricity. I finally gave up and took Johnny for our weekend to a hotel in Hollywood. Not really in the budget, but a Hurricane Relief bonus from work helped take care of that. Just to sleep in air conditioned comfort without the constant groaning of generators was worth it. I was half sick most of the time. At work on Friday they were trying to cut down on the mold buildup by having the air on so high you could have stored ice. I usually don't mind a chilly room, but when my teeth started chattering, I knew it was time to go. I came home and slept for three hours. I don't know how I made the 90 minute ride to pick him up and while I found cheaper hotels on the net I just flopped into the first one I could find and ended up spending about twice what I should have had to. Still was worth it.

John and I got to spend some of that quality time together. We did lots of talking and simply spending time together. The more time we spend together the more I'm looking forward to him becoming an adult. Like most 13 year olds, he hates the taste of alcohol, but I dream of the day I can take my son out for a drink; something I never got to do with my father.

We went to see "Fish Tale"; which sucked, and "Shaun of the Dead" with was hilarious. Most other times we sat around watching TV, went out to eat and hit the pool.

I also seemed to have gained points with him with my clothing choice on Friday. I had just bought a sleeveless Starter basketball style shirt. It is black and I wear it with a red t-shirt underneath and my black calf-length shorts John has one just like it so he thought it was fine. It was dubbed by everyone else as my "Mid-life Crisis Outfit".

Wasn't feeling totally up to par for work today so I stayed home, slept and got most of my belongings unpacked. I feel a little confident in unpacking, now that odds are in our favor against having yet another hurricane coming through our area.

Not that most of us are nervous about the weather but a friend of mine scared the hell out of me by asking if I had heard from Storm lately. Storm, if you remember, is the name of the "young lady". In my hurricane paranoia all I heard was had I heard "about the storm" and thought there was another on the way. It took most of the morning for my blood pressure to return to normal.

Photos from both hurricanes WILL be coming soon.

Monday, September 27, 2004

What a night that was! The north side of the storm went right through where we were Saturday night. The power went out around 8PM. By midnight the winds started and didn't stop until the next afternoon. A the height of this category 3 storm it sounded like a freight train was going by right outside. The walls rattled and glasses clinked together on their shelves. The oddest part was a high pitched shrieking that went along with the wind; almost sounding like cheesy "ghost" sounds in a bad horror movie.

The next morning the generator was hooked up but we couldn't get out because the street was now a river. I wasn't able to leave until this morning. My trailer was undamaged although the leaking that already started kept on going and there is definite mold buildup. I am without power and phone. The services have been returning faster than last time so, hopefully, this won't be as bad as Frances.

I am posting at a friend's who has power. And will post again when I'm back up and running. I have new photos as well and will post them all.

I should be able to get to it this time.....looks like there is no new storm coming. Well, at least for now!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Here we go again!

I have once again packed all of my belongings into my van and vacated. We were under a mandatory ecavuation as of 8AM this morning but I was out of there last night at 7PM. Everyone is still trying to hold on to sanity as we wait to get battered again. If I hadn't blown so much money getting out of town the last time I would have either headed back to my sisters or a hotel to the south, but between that and having a smaller than usual incentive chek I had to economize.

Add to that I found some storm damage to my place from Frances. I was putting some photos back on the walls and as I was placing one above my couch I lost my balance and went to brace myself against the wall. Have you ever felt wet graham crackers? There is now a large dent in the wall where I landed. Also, I found part of my back door rotted out and falling. Luckily, I'm a renter and repair is someone else's headache. I may be elidgible for FEMA money to stay in a place temproariarly. The extra cash would be good as well.

I wresteled with the decision to pack the new recliner and upon suggestions from ym neighbor opted to just wrap it in plastic. With the way I wrapped that puppy it would take a nuclear blast to get through to the leather!

The respect I have for some of the management in my company has just taken a nosedive with this storm. They expected us to be at work today and kept the office open until 5PM last night. I understand the economics of big business but the human factor also has to be taken into consideration and these people missed the boat bigtime. I left at noon to get ready regardless and gave no thought what so ever to going in today. I know one of the upper honchos well enough I may talk to him about it at some point in the future. Or I could just include it in my stand up routine in November. That could be fun!

I will post again as the availability of electricity remains. I plan on making a pilgrimage to Tomas Edison's grave as a show of thanks. I can't imagine why anyone ever setteled in Florida in the first place. It's hell on earth even with paved roads.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

There might have been some grey areas before, but now I'm absolutely sure.


Last night I started to unpack some of my stuff from the storage bins they've been sitting in. Photos went back on the walls,collectables went on shelves and clothes got washed and put away. Then I woke up this morning and after doing a neat little loop in the middle of the Atlantic Jeanne started making a direct heading for my freakin' back yard!

I am waiting until the 11PM report tonight to decide exactly what I'm going to do. I am a little concerned about this trailer making it through another category two storm unscathed. There is one window in the living room which has been leaking lots since the storm and the landlord is going to take look at it tomorrow. As I was hanging a picture last night over the sofa I lost my balance. I went to brace myself against the wall when my hand sunk in through what felt like soggy graham crackers. He can be a little cranky at times, so this should be interesting.

Last night I went looking for the bar and grill where "The Young Lady" is supposed to be working. I had made numerous passes through the area over the past two weeks with no luck of finding it. I finally found the place and it's all boarded up with what looks like storm damage. Just my luck.

Monday, September 20, 2004

OK, I've had electricity back for a whole week and this is the first time I've gotten to update.

Little things like air conditioning, television and lights at night have kept me busy. God bless those lovely Canadian electrical workers. Last weekend was surreal at moments. I spent lots of time walking around the mall, WalMart and any other retail outlet that was open. Walking around the perfect surroundings of retail with the bright fluorescent glow and the soothing Muzak while less than a mile away there was darkness and sweltering humidity. I sat through three movies at the theater just to stay where it was cool an comfortable.

Everything is starting to get back to normal. Thanks to the overactive tropical season I have yet to unpack everything. My clothes remain in bags, storage bins fill the dining room and I still dine on MRE's. Time out of work and slowed production will make for lower than usual incentive checks for a few weeks so I have to make the money go as far as possible.

This past weekend both Johnny and Jimmy were here for "my weekend". Jimmy and I have been able to get along better in the past year or so and I welcome any opportunity to rebuild a relationship. This is especially important given that he is going through some rough teenage years. My ex and I have been having some very open conversations about him and the trouble they have been having. Jim and I talked Saturday night and I offered myself as a sort of a relief valve. I opened up to him and tried to mend some fences in our relationship. I apologized to him for some of my shortfalls as a father when we were together. It's still very early to know if our talk is going to help at all; either between the two of us or for his situation at home, but it is a start.

I still do have a load of photos from the storm and aftermath which I hope to post in the next few days.

Hey! You go through what I've been through and see how quick YOU get back in the swing of things!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Florida Power and Light, the electric company down here, is giving all residents a target date of September 19 for a return of service. We are all hoping they are playing the same game they do at Disney. You walk up to an attraction and they tell you it will be a 45 minuet wait to get on the ride and when it only takes 20 you feel like you’re ahead of the game and have been given a great gift.

There is a rush you feel as you ride down the street and pass a convoy of power company trucks on their way to work on something. It was a unique sight last night as a small bunch of us were huddled around a laptop last night to watch a DVD of “Hellboy”. A generator buzzed away behind a shed as we sat in pitch darkness shoulder to shoulder trying to get the best view possible of the small screen. I missed my surround sound and 27” set so much right then.

I’ve been doing lots of reading over the past few days. There were a couple of books I picked up at a library sale a few months ago that I’ve never had the time to read. If I had the extra money I’d buy a few more to keep me busy. Charles Grodin is a very funny guy with a much more varied career than I had ever heard of before. I’d suggest anything written by him. I’m also reading “The Dark Side of Camelot” which seems to have been written by someone turned down by the Weekly World News. It understandable that the Kenendy family usually dismisses any book not sanctioned by them and they do sometime even do that to legitimate authors, but this one is such a pile of dung. It’s a lot like listening to Howard Stern. I keep turning pages just to see what he’s going to say next!

One of the oddest thing through all of this is all of the Instant Meteorologists there are around here. Walking through the office you listen in on conversation after conversation by people talking about “millibars”, “cold fronts” and “stationary fronts” as if they were working here and moonlighting on the Weather Channel. Before the storm, you would look at each one of these people and wonder how they had enough brain capacity to tie their own shoes.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I've been able to get online from work, so I wanted to give a quick update from Ground Zero. I got back to my trailer to find it still standing and intact. The only damage was actually a help to me. I was hooked up with DirecTV last Tuesday and the storm was kind enough to knock my old antenna for broadcast TV down. Unfortunately, it dropped it on my neighbor’s trailer; no damage though.

I have running water but no electricity. Nighttime temps are in the upper 70’s with humidity that makes sleeping as comfortable as jogging inside a sauna. Actually, I think I pass out from exhaustion more than I actually sleep. I’ve borrowed a cooler from a friend with power, which I’ve filled with ice, bottled water and sodas. I’ve been eating the canned food I stocked up with before the storm and have sampled the fine cuisine which are MRE’s. Tasty and really cool they way they heat he food.

I’ve been in lines the past three days since returning to the area for water, ice and food. The National Guard, Red Cross and inmates from the county jails have been manning these stations. Everything moves quickly and efficiently. I’ve also been very impressed with most people’s patience through these times. Everyone approaches intersections without lights slowly, waits patiently and courteously waves others through. Long lines at the gas stations are generally no problems either. One of the county sheriffs was on the radio earlier saying there have been instances of people not being so nice and ending up arrested for all kinds of domestic squabbles but I have yet to see any of that.

Everyone in my trailer park made out OK. We were all pitching in clearing one another's debris and we all share in water and ice as needed. We also end up together in clusters after dark enjoying the cooler air outside our houses than the humidity inside.

I have a bunch of photos, which I’ll post when I have power back at home. Driving around some area is like going through a war zone. Trees snapped in half, electric poles downed and rivers of what I hope is only water. After dark things take on a whole new dimension. They have a curfew which starts at midnight now and to drive around through retail areas which are usually ablaze in neon and bright signs in eerie in complete blackness. To go over some of the taller bridges and look out to see only pockets of light scattered miles apart gives a strange feeling n the pit of your stomach.

Ivan appears, for the time being, to be headed for the gulf coast area. When the early repots had it coming right up the middle of the state I was ready to repack and head out of state. I will wait for further updates. Since my trailer survived the 100 MPH winds I wouldn’t want to tempt fate with even tropical storm winds.

That’s the latest from purgatory. I will post with more info when able. I’m not sure how long I’ll have the access through here. Everyone here says that this is the price we pay for living in paradise. That’s so much easier to say on those beautiful days in February when you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt when people up north are shoveling foot after foot of snow. Today, I’d argue that very strongly!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The anxiety is just about over. I just got a call from my landlord that my trailer survived the storm. I have been so nervous all day waiting to hear from him. There is still no power there, so this will be my last post for a few days. I will be leaving Naples sometime in the morning with a stop to see my son along the way.

I had all kinds of images running through my head as to what my place was going to look like. From a pile of timber and aluminum to a roofless, soaked leftover of a place. I will be taking lots of photos and post them once I can.

All my friends I have been able to reach have all been okay. Very anxious to get back over there and see everything.

I'm sure my sister will be glad to have her place back to herself. She has been very gracious and I don't know what I would have done without her. Yes, I had offers from other places around the state, not to mention those offers from back home in New England, but there's something a little more comforting about going through something like this with family.

That's good because if Ivan follows Frances I might be back here next weekend!!!!!

Have I mentioned lately FLORIDA SUCKS!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

My sister and I went to the Naples beach which looks out on the gulf. As I looked out of the massively turning white water all I could think.....


I am holding out hope that my place, being on a small hill, is above where the highest water will surge from the Indian River. My place is also somewhat secluded. The other edge of that sword is that the storm might blow over all the trees surrounding me right onto the roof. My ride home is going to be the worst. Driving three hours not knowing exactly what I'll be going home to.

I feel a certain amount of guilt for leaving the area. Not being there to help others bother me a little. I know, I know. I'm safe and that's what's important. But I have been brought up with the strong sense of community service that it nags at me a little. Although, I'm sure there will be plenty to do even if I don't get back there until Wednesday!!!!!

For some good local reporting and some photos right from the area check out the Scripps papers.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The waiting is the hardest part.

Tom Petty was sooooo right. Frances has been taking her sweet freakin' time getting here. She is still aimed right at St. Lucie County. I sit here 180 miles away wondering if my trailer will still be standing when I get there. I keep hoping for the best as the storm weakens a little and has recently been downgraded to a category two hurricane.

The consolation is I get to spend the time with my sister although some of the differences in us get evident the more we talk together. She is a bit more conservative than I am so it makes for some interesting conversations. Also, being a couch potato, I am content to sit and watch TV for hours. I get the feeling there are other things she'd rather be doing. I am the good guest and keep remembering I am a guest here. We do have a good time together and are comfortable with each other.

As long as we have power I'll post when I can. Or, you may not see another post before next week sometime.

Into the breach!!!!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Have I mentioned lately I hate being in Florida?

At 5AM I woke up and immediately saw that the Weather Service had moved ground zero for the storm to my back yard. So, I finished packing the van and headed out by 7AM. And when I say packed, I mean PACKED. I only left behind the bare minimum of possessions. The hardest things for me to leave there were my father's old chair and me new recliner. I did have an offer from the guy I bought the recliner from to put it back in his storage room but time was of the essence in getting out of Dodge.

It's a very disconcerting feeling trying to imagine coming back to no house. When I saw the track of the storm headed right for my area images from Punta Gorda went through my head. I am writing from my sister's place in Naples, on the west coast. Being here with category 2 weather will be easier to go through than category 4 weather in Martin County. I could have stayed in the area and gone to a shelter but, knowing my luck, my van, filled with almost everything I own, would get obliterated by a falling tree.

I stopped to see Johnny on the way over here. If things go bad the Ex and the kids may even end up camping out here as well. Well, wouldn't that be unique! She is concerned about being evacuated and not having a hotel to go to. Luckily, Kathleen and she have remained friendly and our own relations have gotten better, so it wouldn't be a problem at all. Anything to keep the kids safe, more than anything.

The emotions of the moment got to me; just as I was leaving I turned around and hugged Jimmy before leaving. It's amazing to watch him hit puberty at full force. He was supposed to join Johnny on his weekend visit this time around. I'm hoping he and I can salvage what we once had. There was a long estrangement during the divorce. We have gotten much better, he did spend one weekend with Johnny and me but we have yet to spend lots of "quality" time together where we can really talk and get to know each other again.

Regrets, I have a few...........

Well, enough of that. I'll post again when I can. I took a photo of my poor overloaded van that I'll post here as soon as possible. I am safe and, unless this damned storm takes a nasty turn towards the south, I should remain that way.

Two friends from back north offered to have me come up to World Con in Boston this have no idea how tempted I was!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Reason #5,221 why Florida sucks.....HURRICANES!

The most recent storm forecasts are now plotting the storm headed right for us. I have made some preparations and if worse come to worse I will head to my sister's in Naples. I am going to wait until Thursday to make that decision. I went to Walmart early this morning and met half a dozen other people stocking up on water. Luckily, I have the van and will be able to load most everything I own and head out of town.

This is one thing my sister, Kathleen, can't seem to understand. She keeps telling me to just put important papers aside and head out with some basic important things. With my financial situation, while it has improved in the recent months, if I just dropped everything and ran I would literally lose everything. Rebuilding would throw every advance I've made in my life right back to square one from when I first moved down here. I plan on putting as many of my clothes and possessions in the van as will fit. The trailer is a rental so I'm not worried about that, my landlord can rebuild his property. I'd at least like to have stuff to put into the trailer when I come back.

I also voted today in the Florida primary. All seemed to go well with the electronic voting throughout the state. This bodes well for November. Now, as long as the majority of voters have taken their heads out of their asses and seen what a yutz we have in the White House everything should go well in the general election.

I miss being involved in politics. Again, as a fallout from things being better in my life overall, I have been tempted to get into local politics. Reason# 2,132 why Florida sucks is that it's heavily Republican. It was so much easier when I knew the people in charge and we were all in the same party.

Just in time to have the receiver blown into the ocean, I have gotten hooked up again with satellite TV. Since I still owe Dish Network some money, I went with DirecTV. With the new recliner and a TV in the bedroom I'll probably never leave the house.

Now, if I could just find a job I could do from home, too!

Monday, August 30, 2004


Oh, sorry, I was watching the Republican National Convention and and was lulled into a minor coma. God! What a boring convention. John McCain made Ted Kennedy's pathetic performance at the DNC look like a revival preacher. Rudi Guliani's speech was the best of the evening but that it was part of the nauseating politicizing of September 11 took any power out of what he was saying.

I know I'm a Yankee Democrat, but I turned it on with an open mind. I should have taped it to use later if I have trouble falling asleep.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Been a relatively quiet weekend. Went to see "Hero" with my friend Gary. Visually, it is right up there with "Tess"; each frame of this film could hang in an art gallery. A rich drama, layered story telling and great performances. The only problem, for me, was all the flying and gravity defying "Matrix" style fights have always looked stupid. I did enjoy it more than "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", but still am put off by the cheap looking effects. Gary tried explaining to me that this is a part of the Chinese mythology which is a staple of martial arts movies. All I know is that Bruce Lee never had to fly to make a kick ass martial arts movie!

My company sponsored a night at a St Lucie Mets game Saturday night. I had missed out on getting the free tickets at the office but found some friends who were attending so I blew the $4. I am by no means a baseball fan but going to a game with friends makes all the difference. Mike Piazza was there playing. I do know just enough about the game to have been impressed that I go to see him play.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Election season here in Florida is an odd animal. Hanging chads are just the beginning. Political supports here have this odd practice of standing on street corners hold signs for their favorite candidate and waving to passing traffic. I have no idea what good they think they are doing. I have always been tempted to ask some of them of even the local party officials what they think they are accomplishing or what message they are trying to convey. The only message I get is that the particular candidate has idiots for supporters.

You have to remember that it reaches close to 100 degrees down here with 120% humidity. There fools are out in the sun for hours on end. OK, so that might explain a lot right there. They are also out there in the rain, too. I hope they're still healthy enough when election day comes so they can actually vote for their candidate.

If they are dedicated enough to their candidate there are many more productive ways of spend their time. If they want to enjoy the sunshine, they can be going canvassing door to door. If they want the interpersonal people-to-people contact, make some phone calls....from an air conditioned office.

What's even more intriguing is whether or not they are educated about their candidate and what he/she stands for or if they're just out there as sun-worshiping lemmings.

Just more proof that Florida is screwy.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Yes, another great weekend with Johnny. On Saturday, I had to work a few hours in the morning so I left John alone for the first time. Nothing that is new for him with him mother, but it was the first time I got to experience this. Up until now he has always been a few steps away. As an infant he rode on back in a carrier. As a child he held my hand walking everywhere. I left him sleeping when I headed out to work at 8 AM and called to make sure he was awake around 10. Sure enough, he was up and the TV was blaring.

I called him back right as I was getting ready to leave for the answer. I must have caught him in the bathroom.

I waited a few minutes and called answer.

OK.....panic began to set in.

I called a neighbor and had her go over and make sure he was OK and make sure he picked up the phone the next time it rang. He was, of course, OK and had been in the bathroom when I called. It just figures it would happen the very first time.

We headed up to Daytona to check out a hotel I'm bidding as a Region 2 Summit location for '06. There is at least one other chapter bidding so it's going to be a tight choice. If this hotel doesn't win for Summit I am saving the contact and bid again for the '07 International Conference. For those of you reading who know nothing about Starfleet, my apologies. This is probably the closest I'll come to planning actual conventions again with out having most of my brain stem removed.

(Those who were there in the 80's are nodding their heads in agreement, I'm sure!)

After that we went to a cookout hosted by another Starfleet chapter in Orlando. Was a good time with about a dozen people from different Florida chapters. Johnny was only enjoying the hot dogs and hamburgers until the XBox came out. They hooked up two machines for a massive Halo game. We stayed until about 10. A long day with most of our time spent in the car.

Today we slept late but got out to go see "Alien Vs. Predator". It was better than I thought it was going to be. That was due in part because of Dan O'Bannon and Ron Schuset working on it. This is probably the closest there will be to an Alien sequel.

Back to another wonderful week at work. On the good side, I should be able to knock two items off of my Overtime List this week. The satisfaction of just getting that accomplished is just as good as having the money to do so.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

My gastric bypass surgery was one year ago today. I have lost, so far, 225 pounds. It's as if I have a second birthday because my life started over again. Everything I do is different. I have energy like never before. If it weren't for my damaged knee, I'd be moving like I was my son's age. While I may have occasional food remorse, missing some of my former favorite foods, this was the best decision I could have ever made.

The funny thing about it is I really can't remember actually making the decision. I was sort of badgered into it by a co-worker. She constantly kept on giving me the reasons why I should and always shot down the reasons why I shouldn't. Before I knew it, I was going through the pre-surgery tests, had my approval and date all set.

I still have about 50 pounds to go. That seems so much easier to say after dropping the equivalent of a grown adult. I am looking at some sort of plastic surgery to trim some leftover skin in about another 6 months. Surgery was such fun the first time around. Well, at least I'll have the sedation and pain killers to look forward to!

For the geeks in the audience, I'm hoping you'll enjoy this little tidbit as much as I did when I noticed. For the past three months my water bill has been exactly $17.01. If you're scratching your head at the significance, feel good that you have a life. If you "got it" and are shaking your head at me, just remember you knew the reference, too. You're as pathetic as me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

I've been watching the coverage of the destruction on the west coast of Florida and have been feeling more and more lucky. I shudder to think what would have happened to my place if it had been hit by that strong a storm. It gives me the incentive to keep my place clean and somewhat orderly. When a storm came through a few years ago I was able to empty all of my belongings into my van in a matter of an hour. I'm sure, with the same panic, I could do the same thing now.

While no big Olympics fan, I have been watching bits and pieces and there have been two things I've noticed which have given me pause.

#1 Most of the gymnasts from other countries are these lithe, graceful and statuesque figures. The American gymnasts look like little truck drivers with necks as thick as their thighs. And that goes for they guys, too. Other gymnasts look like gymnasts. The Americans look like ads for steroids. Yuk!

#2 Why does the Japanese team have the name of their country spelled out on the back of their team jackets in English and not Japanese? I mean, if the American team goes to another county they don't change their team jackets. Shouldn't it be in the language of the home country?

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Hurricanes are God's way of reminding us that Florida is supposed to be underwater. If it weren't for the Army Corp of Engineers it would be the Georgia coastline!

We dodged a bullet here as Hurricane Charlie passed north of us. For a while it looked as if it were going to give us a nasty weekend of weather. There were some towns on the gulf coast which were hit pretty hard and now the storm will be giving strong weather all the way into Maine. Being in a mobil home, these kinds of weather situations take on a whole new meaning.

Management at my job made, in my opinion, a bad error in judgement yesterday. They have always had a "secret police" approach to rumor control and this was another example of why that is bad. There are about a dozen television sets up in our building. They were installed to let the sales staff know when our commercials were airing. As the storm approached the sets were left off. Employees were left to gossip and spread rumors as to what was actually going on. The management mentality is that every possible second on the floor should be spent on the telephones; there is the concern that people will spend undue amounts oftime milling around the TV's waiting for updates instead of working. While I understand this, it hs the opposite affect. Instead of getting the information people need as they have a moment to watch a moment or two of an update they spent three times as much time spreading rumor and gossip. And the rumors and gossip were ravenous. With a category four hurricae bearing down on us peoples dedication to their families taked precedence over job responsibilities. But no, "Management knows best. Let us make the decisions". Give me a break. This way of handling this made the employees feel less valued. Its a shame that a company which can be so good to their employess can make such a poor error at times.

Monday, August 09, 2004

It was 30 years ago Nixon resigned. Its amazing to me to see events listed as "history" when I remember them as clearly as if they happened yesterday. I was always politically active, I guess. I was probably the only 11 year old who actually watched the Watergate Hearings on a daily basis. It was in my blood. My maternal grandmother was the first woman to be a member of the Rhode Island State Democratic Committee.

I was a Camp Aldersgate when Nixon made his speech. It was important enough that they had all the campers gather in the great hall to watch the president on a small color set. I made a place for myself right in front. I was probably the only person in the room under 17 who really cared about or conceived what was happening. Most other kids chatted back and forth or fidgeted on the floor. I took in every word and let the moment burn into my memory. Unlike most 12 year olds in the room, I knew who John Dean was, knew what John Sirica's job was and had visited the Watergate hotel on a recent visit to DC.

While Johnny has inherited my love of movies and my sense of humor, the love of politics seems to have passed him. Not being in the same house I haven't had the opportunity to show him the same importance of current events my parents gave me. My father taught me to read the newspaper and pay attention to the news. Mt mother was always involved in the community and introduced me to politicians.

There is always hope. Our visits are getting more regular and lengthy. I have brought him into a real congressman's office. While he may never want to run for office like I did but I may still get him to pay attention.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Let me preface this next post before I get nasty comments.

I love animals. I really do. I cried when my dog Chico died. I've had numerous pets through the years and have loved each one and I would love to have more pets if I had the room and money.

However, I cannot understand why a story about any water animal beaching itself makes national news like its a Jonestown tragedy. The story screams in bold headlines at the top on local newspapers, makes area anchormen teary-eyed and is covered by the major networks. Give me a break!

The ANIMALS are doing only WHAT COMES NATURALLY. OK, so we don't what? This is some instinctual happening which is supposed to happen. Its akin to thinning the herd. Some deeply ingrained genetic message tells these ANIMALS its time to sacrifice itself to save the species.

Would these same people crying over this "tragedy" have been screaming "stay in the trees" the first time primates began to walk upright?

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Well, my luck continues in full swing. The A/C died again in my trailer. Because I didn't know to change the filter (remember, this is my first experience with central air, thank you!) the motor burned out. The landlord was decent about it though. First, a professional A/C guy came out and found the "problem" with the filter. Then when the motor finally died, he replaced it himself. He basically split the total bill right down the middle.

The cosmos, apparently knowing I had gotten out of that financially easily, decided that I should have to also replace the heater core on the van. Something had happened on the trip to Tampa. I had to top off the oil when we were leaving and it hasn't run right since. When I had the oil changed and the radiator flushed they found the problem. It should run OK as long as I baby it until I can get my mechanic friend on it. Down part, other than the added expense, is it may put off Johnny visiting this weekend. While I dodged a bullet not breaking down on the way back from Tampa, I don't want to run the risk of breaking down between here and Sunrise.

Again, its in the same category of having "just enough money". All my bills are getting paid for a change since I set up a separate account just for household bills. I pay into that every paycheck and what is leftover is mine to spend on what ever else. I've been doing this for a couple of months and have just about got a really good handle on it. I can see what needs to be paid and how I can shift finds around as needed to afford more of what I want. (See my "List of Reasons to Work OT a few posts ago!)

Where is that damned lotto ticket....haven't checked that yet today!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Back in Jensen Beach again. Sunday was pretty uneventful. Lee Stringer, a CGI artist friend of mine gave me some leads on breaking into voice work in Orlando. Like with most things, I'm hoping knowing someone makes it a little easier to make things happen. Commercial voice work would be OK but I've really got my heart on breaking into voice acting work. We'll see what happens.

While we never got together privately seeing Robin was great. She did a wonderful piece on stage, part of something she's been writing for a number of years concerning a woman's view of sexuality. While I have never been a big fan of her acting what she did this weekend was amazing. The fact it was something she wrote from her heart gave it a strength and honesty. She was talking about doing it on stage as a performance piece rather than publishing; should be successful either way.

While waiting for a moment to talk with her I had to opportunity to watch her with people getting an autograph. Robin and I met when she did her first convention for the BSTA in 1986. She was a little shy and unsure of what she had gotten herself into. Now she is as smooth as butter. She takes time with each and every person who comes to her and oveflows with sincere interest and concentration making each person feel special for the time spent with her.

While waiting for her I got a few minutes to talk with Michael Forrest. He played Apollo in an original Trek episode, "Who Mourn for Adonis". He is a very genial gentleman. We talked about being on display at conventions and shared travel memories of Yugoslavia. A nice surprise for the weekend.

Johnny has ended up spending the night here. It means I have to get up that much earlier in order to drop him off at his grandparents, but it also means I get to spend more time with him. Bonus!

Saturday, July 31, 2004

I'm sitting in an empty meeting room at Vulkon Tampa. Was able to get out of work early to beat traffic and pick up Johnny. Got to my sister Kathy's by 9PM and she treated us to dinner. That effectively put me into a triptophan reaction and kept us from driving the rest of the way here. We stayed up talking and playing board games until around 1 AM. Kathy was having a ball playing a logic game called "Mastermind" with Johnny. In her own sneaky way not only playing a game but trying to get his gelatinous grey matter to work a little. I was impressed that it only took her five minutes to mention my long hair! I was just relieved not to find her waiting at the door ready with a pair of shears.

Up an out early to get here. Met up right away with friends from the area. Max and his crew are a good bunch of people and definitely fun to hang with. Surprised Robin Curtis in the dealers room. She looked up, made eye contact and then she did a classic double take as she realized it was "the old" me. We are going to try to get some time together to catch up. She is a genuinely warm and caring person it has been fun to get to know over the years. I'm dying to hear the details in her life since I saw her last.

Johnny learned quickly that Vulkon is not the same kind of convention Shore Leave is. I hope he doesn't get completely bored here. While he has an interest in movies and comics there is some of my sci-fi interests which I know he shakes his head at. But aren't kids supposed to think their parent's are weird anyway? Vulkon is good for meeting friends and doing a little shopping, if necessary; it's not like a "real" convention. But just like I enjoy the break from work and mononoty back home, I'm sure he's enjoying a break from his siblings at the very least.

While in Naples we got to ride by the park named for my mother. It affected me a little more than I expected. Since being so far away from where she is actually buried it's something of a surrogate tombstone of sorts. In the same way a granite tombstone is a connection to the person so is the sign at the park. There are probably thousands of people who have seen the name Rita Eaton in the past three years. Some probably don't even stop to wonder who she was. But there has been someone,from time to time, who has asked, "Who was that?" In some way that keeps her memory alive. Her name is still being spoken. I don't know if she ever even set foot in the neighborhood in which the park is located but for as long as the park exists, so does she.

More later.

Am now at James and Michelle Muench's. They are at the International Conference in Birmingham and offered for me to stay here while they are out of town. It's good to have friends where ever you go. Slightly screwed up the directions and were looking for the place in pitch darkness during a heavy rain storm. What fun!

The rest of the day at Vulkon went well. As with most Vulkons, nothing remarkable. Robin and I weren't able to get time together, but after all, she is working.

It finally happened after 13 years. Someone finally called Johnny "Towaway, Jr"!!!!! A proud moment. Well,for me anyway!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

"Revenge of the Sith"?!

This movie had better not suck. Maybe it's like that old Smuckers must be good give give it a name like that! What was wrong with "Rise of the Empire"? There is so much anticipation on this final movie. It's almost as if all Star Wars fans are holding out hope Lucas will make up for the past two movies with one final kick ass movie to end the saga with a bang. 10 months to go.

As I type this Ted Kennedy is making his speech at the DNC....and he won't shut up! Last night was such a killer opener. Jimmy Carter was great, Hillary perfectly subdued and Bill kicked ass. Then Ted comes on and sucked the air out of the room. He went on and on with a history lesson. He did have a few moments but over all it was a yawn-er. I have seen him give a speech and he CAN rip the roof off a building. He didn't do that tonight. He was stilted and his voice cracked like a teenager. I wish I had a copy of his 1980 speech so I could see a "good" Kennedy speech.

If it weren't for bad luck....came home from work and the A/C in the house has died. I'd be morecomfortable in my van. The landlord is supposed to get it fixed tomorrow; may give me an excuse to stay home until it gets fixed.

Monday, July 26, 2004

My funk at work seems to be over. I'm back to being top producer; whether that will improve my situation at work will remain to be seen. If anything, it is definitely helping the financial situation. To motivate myself I have posted the following list at my desk.

Reasons to Work OT.

Disney Passes
Fix the van's A/C
New TV
Satellite TV service
New PC
Thanksgiving Trip
Tampa Trip in March
Christmas Money

That should keep me going for at least six months.

This morning in the shower I remember another reason why Florida sucks. No real cold water in the shower. My morning shower used to be a hot steamy and soaped up start to the day. The water would feel as warm and soothing at the bed I had just abandoned. Easing me into the day slowly....but not too slowly. In a habit I picked up from showing in junior high gym class, I would end the shower by shutting off the hot water completly and shocking myself into consciousness with a blast of ice cold water.

Apparently, since the ground never freezes down here, the water pipes in Florida never get insulated enough to hold a real chill. The coldest the "cold" water gets is a mild lukewarm. I was reminded of this on the trip to Maryland. Any showers south of the Mason Dixon just ain't the same.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

While it was a short visit with Johnny today, it was another great one. We went to see "I,Robot". It was better than I thought it was going to be. While it was nothing like the original, they did hold on to some of Asimov's themes. It was a pretty good detective movie overall. I was impressed with Johnny's opinions. His tastes are refining more and more. We have a long ride to Tampa next weekend, I'll use the time to see how reading the book before hand changed his view of the finished film.

Was delayed by almost an hour on the way to see him today. Just as I was approaching his exit off the turnpike, traffic was stopped by a major traffic accident. A van had rolled and slammed into the jersey barrier. And I do mean traffic "stopped". When I saw the TraumaHawk helicopter landing I knew it was going to be a while. I was about a mile away from the scene of the accident and all traffic came to a complete standstill to where I turned the engine off and got out to look around. Another example of poor planning down here. I've been near all kinds of terrible highway accidents and have never seen a highway completly shut down until moving here. And this happens all the time. Apparently the graduates of the Remedial Highway Planning Classes who were hired by the Florida Department of Transportation never imagined there would be accidents on their roadways and that even while they were clearing said accidents the other people on the highway might just possibly want to get by and continue on their way.

I talked with Harry tonight to get find out how everything went this weekend. He was very touched by my having sent flowers. They are some of the very few who still call me "John". I had suddenly decided in my junior year in High School that everyone was going to call me "Jack" like my family did; it stuck with most people. All these years later I was still "John". I gave up trying and it beagan to take on a special aspect to it where the Barrows were the only ones who still did. They seemed to have forgotten that when they saw they card on the arrangement; "With Jove, John". It wasn't until they saw the silk banner simply saying "Ma" that they realized. Just my little way of actually being there when I couldn't.

November isn't that far away.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

So, I'm not going to North Carolina. I will not say to Harry, "You were right". I made that decision as soon as my commission check hit the back at midnight Friday morning. I called Harry and told him that morning. However, when I got in my car after work that day I gassed up the car and actually contemplated going anyway. I really struggled with it. I had myself half convinced. By the time I got home, packed, took a short nap and left in the middle of the night I could have gotten there in plenty of time for visiting hours Saturday morning. I even went into my bedroom and picked up my suitcase three or four times. Luckily, the latest DVD of "The Sopranos" had arrived and I used that to distract me; I watched all four damned episodes in one sitting. Finally, it had gotten too late.

Then I woke up this morning figuring how I could time the ride to make it for tomorrow's funeral.

No, I'm still here. It can wait until November.

My plans with Johnny for the weekend have had to be altered al well. His mother hurt her ankle tripping over a life-size Barbi belonging to his little sister. She really did some damage and with Jimmy being out of town and her husband working late she needed him around to help corral the little ones and keep her off her feet. It's at least reassuring that the Ex and I can compromise and shuffle things around as needed without involving lawyers or a referee. He and I will go see "I,Robot" on Sunday and then head up to Tampa for Vulkon. Robin Curtis is one of the guests. I haven't seen her in about two years and she doesn't know about my surgery. This should be interesting. I also have some Fleet business to do. I'm getting a break by staying at the house of some friends who will be out of town. It will also be another chance for Johnny and I to spend some "quality time" together.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm. If I left right now I'd be in New Bern by 11PM.


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Ma Barrows has died.

Ruth Barrows has been one of my adopted mothers for about 25 years. From almost the very first day it was "Ma". I can't remember ever calling her "Mrs. Barrows". There was never a moment when I did not feel like a member of the family.

That's what makes being stuck here in Florida sucks so much. I am waiting until I get my commission check to see if I can afford to go to the funeral this weekend. It would work out perfectly time-wise, being on the weekend. I'm just not sure if I can afford it financially. Harry keeps telling me to save my money for my planned Thanksgiving trip. It's just very hard for me. Times like this are when family is supposed to draw together and I feel so frustrated being within a days drive and still not being able to be there. It's not only to comfort the rest of the family but to pay the tribute and show respect for Ma. I've missed so many in my own family back home in Rhode Island. 9 hours and a couple of tank-fulls of gas should not keep me from something this important. OK, Harry does have a point; spending time with the remaining family will be just as important in November. I know that. I agree with that. I have such an ingrained feeling of responsibility to be there; it's hard to fight.

It's not that she was the best "Ma". Harry has had a "unique" relationship with her. She made it tough to love her at times. However, when I got off the phone with Harry I immediately grabbed a photo album and found some old pictures from "way back when". There were pictures of Ma dancing with some of our friends during a party for Harry just before he went into the Marines. She is in the pictures arm in arm with different kids. Smiles. Laughter. She seems as youthful and happy as the teenagers with her. That's how I'll remember her.

Love you, Ma.

I'll miss you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Still in a little bit of a funk at work. The bright spot was a victory of sorts I had with two women in my life all within the matter of about 10 minutes.

It was announced that we were to have a mandatory Saturday this weekend. This is my weekend to have Johnny visit so there was a major conflict. My sales figures have been funky right along with my mood, so I knew I might have a hard sell. I decided to try a compromise.

I called the Ex and told her my dilemma. I suggested that, if I could talk my boss into my working only a half day that I could leave Johnny alone at home. Without a moment's hesitation she agreed. We had written into our divorce decree that I couldn't leave him alone until he was 14. Of course that was written when there was LOTS of animosity between us and Johnny was only 3. The animosity has waned and John has matured. It's a relief to be able to talk and reason with her after all this time. It does no one any good the other way.

My next hurdle was my supervisor. Being a parent of a child around the same age, it was an easier sell that I thought. I may still have a slight pang of nervousness as I walk out the door Saturday morning but I think it'll be fine.

When both the boys were going to their first day of school my Ex was the teary-eyed one. I was a little less stressed over it. About 6 months ago, on one of John's visits, I wanted to walk down to the convenience store down the street. John did not want to go. I decided to leave him for the 10 minutes it would take to walk there and back. No problem, right?! I got as far as the end of my driveway and stopped dead in my tracks. I could not move. I started laughing at myself. He was grown....I could leave problem.....I'll be right back. After 5 minutes of arguing with myself, I turned around and went back empty handed. At least this time, I'll have the job responsibility to force me out the door and not the cravings for ice cream!

Monday, July 19, 2004

Today my son is 13! In many cultures the 13th birthday is a rite of passage. Jews have Bar Mitzvah, African tribes begin teaching boy to become hunters. For me it means I am not the parent of a teenager!!!!!!!!

I love the fact that I can now look him straight in the eye without stooping. His voice is getting lower with almost every passing day. He seems to be as lucky as his old man in that his voice isn't going through the nasty Bobby-Brady-cracking. I just seemed to have awakened one day in my early teens with a voice like James Earl Jones. We did a play in Junior High School in which I did the off stage voice of God because I was the only boy in the building with a deep enough voice. Hey! It just dawned on me.....that was my first voice gig!!!!!!

I called John (I guess I have to call him that now all the time. "Johnny" probably seems too juvenile for him!) first thing this morning and wished him a happy birthday. I have a present to give him when he's here this weekend. Not going to revel it here in case he happen to read this. Trust me, he'll love it!

I'm still in a funk at work. This would one of those perfect time to win lotto!

Today was also the birthday of one of my best friends at work. Actually, Linda Orth is know as my "Liberty Wife". For a number of years we sat next to each other. No matter where we moved we got placed side by side. We joked in a Batteling Bickersons sort of way and people thought of us as an old married couple. He two daughter conspired to surprise her for her 50th birthday. It went off perfectly. All weeekend long she was bitching and moaning about how "noone was doing anythign for her brithday" and that her daughters could have "done something" to celebrate. The look on ehr face when she walked into the room fileld with about a dozen freinds and family members was priceless. Since I didn't get to Chuck E Cheese's for my 40th thins might be something for some people to consider for my 50th in another 8 years! Plenty of time to plan!!!!!