Thursday, January 27, 2005

Rhode Island will ALWAYS be home. I will always miss it passionately.

Well.......maybe not so much these past few days!

I have been relentless with family and friends back home as they shovel their way out of the worst storms since the blizzard of '78 as I sit here in 70 degree weather. I watch the TV coverage of the snow plows, closed schools and people bundled up like the Michelin Man as I sit with the air conditioning blowing on me in my shorts and t-shirt.

It has gotten cold a few days down here. Although if I hear one of these local weathermen call anything below 45 degrees "bitter cold" I swear I'll scream! Let them change a flat tire in an ice storm and tell me what "bitter cold" is. These idiots put on parkas to report from the station parking lot on the "freezing" conditions. Yes, it has been cold; but I wouldn't add that "bitter" moniker until there are single digits on the thermometer.

I have some very vivid snow memories. Making snow forts directly across the street from the neighbors and having snowball battles. Bringing snow in to melt into water on the radiator in the kitchen. "Hooking" on the rear bumper of cars and then when I was a driver letting kids do the same but then fishtailing to swing them directly into a snowbank.

I remember the Blizzard of '78 and walking about a 12 mile round trip with my friend Michael. The roads had not been cleared, there was no traffic and we were able to walk directly down the middle of the busiest street in the city. It was like a ghost town and we were on a great adventure. While I could retrace our route in my mind I don't remember our destination. But I don't think that mattered. We walked for hours and hours and it's one of my most favorite memories of him.

When I think of snow I immediately get one image of my mother and I going to my cousin Kenny's for Christmas Eve. I don't know what year it was and it was only a moment of time frozen in my memory. A snow covered holiday. The crisp night air grabbed my breath and hung it suspended in front of me for the longest time. The sky was crystal clear and the stars sparkled in competition with the snow on the ground. We both walked gingerly carrying food and gifts into waiting family. It was just a moment; not an earth shattering one or a long episode, but I can remember it as if it happened moments ago.

I also think of the last winter I spent in Rhode Island. We lived at the top of a hill and our backyard sloped away steeply. Johnny was just a toddler and was cocooned in his snowsuit making his already stilted walk even funnier to watch. He got into a cadence and gravity took over as he hobbled further and further down the hill away from the house seemingly out of control of his own steps. The Ex yelled for me to catch him before he got too far but he seemed to be in the midst of such joy I didn't have the heart to stop him.

Well, that and there was a fence at the edge of the property that would have eventually stopped him dead on!

All the harassment I give those "back home" may actually be a little bit of jealousy showing through.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I am such a schmuck. I feel as if I broke my son's heart this weekend.

My van has some major repairs pending for which I have to save. In the mean time, I am filling the radiator each time I start the engine and my trips are no more than 10 miles at a time. Just my history with vehicles. The pisser about this is that when I had the van in the garage earlier last week with what I thought was the cause of the problem I felt all kinds of proud of myself that I was hit with a multi-hundred dollar bill and was able to pay it without thinking. However, the first problem was only a symptom of a larger problem which was discovered two days after I got it home. Now, my budget is completely screwed and I can't have the rest of the repairs done for another week or so.

The end result was that I couldn't work out transportation for getting Johnny here for his weekend. He sounded honestly disappointed over the phone. I had broken the news to him at work, so we couldn't tale in detail. When I got home we talked more and he was even willing to brave Tri-Rail to get here. For out of state readers, Tri-Rail is the commuter rail service which goes from West Palm Beach to Miami. Johnny and I have taken one trip back and forth together and I've been hounding him to go solo for some time now. The ride back and forth to his mother's ends up as a 4 hour chunk of time which could be cut almost in half; not to mention saving wear and tear on the van and the cost of gasoline. He even offered to get up early Saturday morning to take the trip, which for him includes a bus ride from his house to the train. He had forgotten, though, that it's still 45 minutes from my house to the West Palm station where the train stops.

This would be such a good time for me to win lotto!

Not that I'm happy that he's disappointed about not coming but the fact that he would have such a strong reaction to plans being cancelled proves how strong our relationship is getting. There have been times that the ex has made comments questioning his motives for coming for his visits and voicing doubts about the relationship he and I have. This proves how wrong she has been. That feels good.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

This blog closed today in mourning as W takes the oath again.


Since 5/1/2003:

Total 1232
In Combat 970

Since war began:

Total 1369
In Combat 1080

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Had a hilarious moment in a local store yesterday. I have a promotional t-shirt for the movie "Animal House" which looks just like the sweatshirt John Belushi wears in the movie with the single word "COLLEGE" on the front.

I was in the store and an old gentleman walked past me smiled and asked, "Where is that school?"

"Upstate Washington," I amswered as honestly as I could.

He smiled and shook his head, "What did you go to school for?"

Apparently he hadn't read my earlier post!

"It was Faber College for pre-law."

He seemed impressed and scuffeled away.

Somewhere John Belushi is laughing.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Galactica Rules!

I had gone into watching the mini-series when it first aired expecting to hate it and loved it. Now the series has premiered and is even better. The characters are so well developed and rich. What is amazing is that these are only the first two episodes. The special effects are phenomenal. I know two of the people working on the CGI work so I have a personal interest in the work; it is far superior to anything else on TV.

The superior quality of this program proves more and more that Rick Berman is a freakin' idiot. Excuse the "Get A Life" rant for a few minutes if you aren't as into Trek as I am. Berman, the Anti-Christ, had forced Ron Moore out of Trek and now Moore has gone on to write and produce something Berman never could even if he had Isaac Asimov's typewriter shoved up his ass. Years ago I was bitching and moaning about what Berman was doing to ruin the Trek franchise and he continues to do more and more of the same and more and more people are finally beginning to see the light. Years ago, Harve Bennet gout bounced out on his ass for proposing an "Academy Days" script for a Trek movie; now that Berman's version of the same theme has been tanked by Paramount let's hope the same fate awaits him.

Now if they can only get someone at the "so-called" Sci-Fi Channel to actually program more than one night of science fiction on their network!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

This is from Peter David's website. Makes my blood boil. Soliders are dying in an unjust war in the Middle East and we've got idiots like this here at home deciding what's right for the rest of us. Mr. Willits, apparently, misses the concept of a public library.

GULFPORT, Miss. - Library officials in two southern Mississippi counties have banned Jon Stewart's best-selling "America (The Book)" over the satirical textbook's nude depictions of the nine U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) justices.

"I've been a librarian for 40 years and this is the only book I've objected to so strongly that I wouldn't allow it to circulate," said Robert Willits, director of the Jackson-George Regional Library System of eight libraries in Jackson and George counties.

"We're not an adult bookstore. Our entire collection is open to the entire public," Willits said. "If they had published the book without that one picture, that one page, we'd have the book."

Wal-Mart has declined to stock the book because of the page, which features the faces of the nine Supreme Court justices superimposed over naked bodies. The facing page has cutouts of the justices' robes, complete with a caption asking readers to "restore their dignity by matching each justice with his or her respective robe."

Thursday, January 06, 2005


For the longest time one of my pet peeves (Yes, I have a few!) has been a little grammatical rule I have seen torn apart in recent years; ending a sentence in a preposition. To me this in like scraping nails on a chalkboard. And it's everywhere!

I once went into a Barnes and Noble which had a big sign in the front window which read: "10,000 Gifts TO CHOOSE FROM"!!!!!!!! I almost went in to ask the manager where the grammar books were located!

What set me off this time was a mailing I received from Disney for their DVD Club. Their envelope screamed in big red letters "HERE'S THE DISNEY FUN PACK YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR!"


So, I finally decided to go to an expert; my third grade teacher. I have remained friends with Joyce and her family all these years. One of her daughters even babysat for me years ago. I emailed her with my frustration and to double check what I thought had been an engraved on stone rule on grammar. Rules have been known to change and alter through the years and I wanted to make sure I was correct and not simply anal retentive.

The ironic thing is that English was always one of my worst subjects. I can very clearly visualize the mimeographed sheet with the list of prepositions as I sat in her class on the second floor of Oakland Beach Elementary School. Going through the list over and over and over and over just waiting for my ears to bleed. Apparently, it had an affect.

She emailed back within an hour that I was, in fact, correct. More than that, she was tickled by the email. I've given her a fun story to tell her other teacher friends.

"See, I'm so damned good that they keep coming back to me for lessons thirty years later!"

From now on, please don't ask me "Where are you at?". If you do be ready for a tirade fueled by confirmation from the world's best source; my third grade teacher!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Going to work tomorrow is really going to suck! That translates to "I've been having a great time with my son"! His Christmas gift to me this year was creative and very cute. I got a Christmas tree, lights and a Spongebob ornament. His mother told me he had a concern about not having a tree at my place for Christmas so it really was a gift for the both of us. He liked what I had gotten for him and has had little time when his nose wasn't buried in the Spiderman collection books I got him.

When we went out earlier this evening I had another surprise for him as I pulled the van into the very large and very empty parking lot of the local high school and told him to try driving. His eyes bugged out and he said, "What? The van?!" He did pretty well, actually. We started off slow giving him a chance to feel the sensitivity of the accelerator and brakes. Then he slowly took a turn or two. Eventually, we ended up doing four laps around the lot. His confidence quickly overtook his nervousness. It's a start. He's got two and half years before he can do this legally on a street but by the time he gets there he should be pretty well polished.

My driver's training is a bit of a blur. It was with at the hands of John Venditto, a science teacher and football coach who taught driver's ed on the side. I think I got my habit of yelling at other driver's from him. Each lesson was peppered with him screaming "Hey, the damn kid's learning! Give him a break, ya' jerk!" or "Jesus, lady, you could turn a damned tractor trailer around in this parking lot; just park the stupid car!"

The other enduring memory of my first days driving was the first time my mother let me drive. I was so nervous my hands were clenched around the wheel at exactly "ten and two". As I stiffly turned the wheel while keeping my elbows locked in position she would say, "It's not a snake, it isn't going to bite you; you don't have to hold the damned wheel so tight!"

The very first thing I did with my car was to take a girl parking! Her name was Colleen. I had my new license, still warm from the laminating machine at the DMV and had permission to take the car out solo. I went to Colleen's and in full teenage testosterone mode picked my girlfriend up for the very first time. I don't remember how long we were gone (or more importantly, how far I got) but I do remember being in trouble for being gone so long. But I had just gone parking for the first time and there was no punishment my mother could have given me that would have taken away from that moment.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Another year over and a new one just begun.....

Welcome to 2005! As usual I started the year with a bang by going to the fireworks display here in Jensen Beach. Met up with my friend Jason and his family. His little girl, Grace, was the one I made my first Santa call to last week and she was so adorable telling me all about her phone call; not suspecting in the least that I was the man in red. Twisting children's minds can be such fun!

I am now the Chief of Operations of Starfleet International. My duties began at the stroke of midnight. This should make for an interesting year. I am really looking forward to it. I only wish my mother were around for this as she held much the same position for the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fraternal Order of Police. Would have been interesting to compare notes with her on this. I'm sure she'd still be shaking her head at my involvement in fandom.

I had dinner with an old friend Thursday night. Anne, an old member of the McAuliffe, has parents who live in the area and I had helped them out during the hurricanes so she took me out as a thank you. Not completely necessary, but I'll never turn down free food! The McAuliffe has always been more than a club; we're family. When the storms came I gave more no thought to helping her parents than I would anyone with whom I share a genetic link. That's the beauty of fandom. While parallels are always drawn between science fiction fandom and other ravenous interests (ie sports fans or stamp collectors) I doubt you'd see the same dedication to fellow members like you see in science fiction fandom. It was good to sit with her and have a good evening with a good friend.

Christmas will finally happen at my house as soon as my son gets here today. All his presents are wrapped and waiting. I am anxiously waiting to see what he has gotten me. It's not a greed thing; I'm just curious, now that his brain has really started to congeal and he's putting thought into his gift buying what he will choose for me rather than his mother picking something out or simply wrapping up the current year's school picture in a snazzy new frame. Either way, I've got him for the whole week, and that's gift enough.