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 day........no answer. I must have caught him in the bathroom.

I waited a few minutes and called again......no 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 understand....so 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!