Friday, August 26, 2005

My son, the smartass.

He lives in Broward County, which was basically ground zero for this hurricane. Being the concerned parent, I called him early this morning to check on how they had fared through the storm.

"So, do you have any power?" I asked.

"Well, yeah, we got power.....kinda" he says, without missing a beat.

"'Kinda'? What do you have a generator?"

"No, we have power. We just don't have a roof"

"NO ROOF?! What do you mean you don't have a roof?" I start thinking that his mother would have called me if something like that had happened.

"We lost our roof last night. No roof"

Then I started hearing giggles under his breath.

"Nice try, young padawan".

I am NEVER going to play poker with my son.

As for the Hurricane, it did come ashore as a category one which did some damage in the Miami and southern Broward counties. Here on the Treasure Coast we got rain. Big whoop! There were two deaths reported associated with the storm. These seemed more like a thinning of the herd as they were both from falling trees during the height of the storm. I'm sure St. Peter greeted both these people at the pearly gates and slapped them upside the head for dying for such a stupid reason.

This weekend I'll be spending cleaning. The air conditioner seems to be having a problem. Why does that mean I have to clean? I have a neat freak for a landlord. I will admit I'm not the world's tidiest person, but I do keep thing in order. There might be a slight disarray and I do tend to just drop clothes wherever they land in my bedroom. Almost a year ago when he raised a stink I had the park manager come over and look around. "Lived in" was her judgement. Still, the less he has to complain about the better.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

That is the sound of local television here in Florida any time a storm heads our way. Right now we are under a Hurricane Warning". This is stretching from Vero Beach, 40 miles north of me, to Miami. TROPICAL STORM Katrina is expected to make landfall in Broward County, 90 miles south of me. As it skates across the Bahamas, Katrina has winds of 45 miles per hour and is forecasted to hit the mainland as a category one storm.

To watch the local newscasts you would have thought Lucifer had just announced he was beginning the apocalypse and it was starting in Ft. Lauderdale.


Give me a friggin' break!

These dolts on local TV are having a field day trying to stir up the masses. I will admit to doing more hurricane season preparedness than last year. I will also cop to a certain amount of nervousness which might be called delayed stress as I watched the skies darken and heard the words "hurricane" and "headed for Florida" in the same sentence again. But, I think of myself as being a reasonably rational person. These Abbot and Costello news anchors are the biggest bunch of loudmouthed clowns.

Hey, newsgoons! Here's a concept for the news. Your job is a simple as that. They make such a good show of sounding like our best friends who "aren't trying to scare you but just want you to be prepared". Well, you can do that by simply telling us were the storm is, how strong it is and where it's going. Please stop sending your reporters out in weather we wouldn't send our dogs. We know what rough water on the beach looks like; you've been playing last year's storm footage every time it clouds over. We don't need team reporting every time a tree limb falls.

Storm Team. Storm Trakcer. First Warning.


Ahhhhhhhh......There's Bogey on TCM. That's better.

Monday, August 22, 2005

If you're reading this, chances are you're a Star Trek fan. OK, let's qualify that as "a Star Trek fan of one sort or another". I just had proof over the past month that there are fans everywhere.

Friday was the end of a "period of mourning" over the passing of Jimmy Doohan. For the past 30 days I have been wearing a commbadge with a black mourning band. Regardless of where I was or what I was wearing it was pinned to my chest in honor of "Scotty". This is a tradition I started 11 years ago when the father of a friend of mine passed away and he was a fan. He was also a retired police officer. The marrying of the tradition of a mourning badge and Trek seemed a natural way of showing respect for the man. His son thought it was the most moving gesture he had ever seen. The last time I wore one was when De Kelley passed away.

I was surprised by the number of people who not only identified that I was wearing a Star Trek item but identified exactly why I was wearing it as I was. The reactions ranged from "Oh, that such a nice thing to do" and comforting me as if I'd lost a family member to a wide range of Trek references. None of the comments were derogatory. While some comments did make a joke or two, "If I hit this and said, 'Beam me up', would you disappear?", none of them were of the making-fun-of-the-Star-Trek-geek variety.

It was a welcome change from the usual "Fan Bashing" which has followed me most of my life. From the days of being pelting with rocks and food in the schoolyard for wearing the blue sciences uniform/windbreaker sold by Ertl. No longer will I see the geekiest person in a TV sitcom being portrayed wearing Spock ears whereever he goes.

We're here....
We're Fans....
Get used to it!!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I came dangerously close to embarrassing myself at work today. Turns out the woman I had my eyes on at work has a lovely little collection of diamonds sitting on her left hand.

And when I say close....I mean close. She was also there working. We had made our usual eye contact. My adrenalin was racing and my palms were cold and clammy. I had an opening line all ready, just about had enough nerve built up and was ready to walk over and open my big mouth when a moment of indecision came into my mind. I asked my "sponsor" friend her opinion of what I was going to say and I'm so glad I did.

"She has a boyfriend, you know."

The rushing sound of blood returning to my brain was almost deafening. My blood pressure returned to normal and the realization of how big a boob I could have made of myself turned a knot of nausea in my stomach. Proving herself still a good friend, my sponsor came back a few minutes later with the personals section of the paper highlighted with promising prospects including one woman describing herself as "an ugly crow" looking for someone "willing to take a chance".

I'll keep taking my chances by playing lotto, thank you.

But at least I learned something over the past few days. That all it takes is one good looking woman to turn an otherwise reasonable adult into a babbling, drooling idiot with clammy hands and a stutter.

And here's to the next one in line!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Today is my 2nd Birthday!

It was two years ago today I had my gastric bypass surgery. Two years and two hundred and thirty-some-odd pounds ago. It's amazing as I look back over the past two years and compare where I was before walking into the hospital wondering if I was doing the right things and where I am physically today. Everything about my life was changed with the slice if the surgeon's scalpel.

And I couldn't be happier!

OK, maybe a little happier when I get closer to my final goal weight.

So, Happy Birthday to me, anyway!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It's been about two years since the last time I tried this but I am getting my nerve up at ask a woman for a date. And I'm right back in some of my old habits and trepidations. If you read some of the first entries in this blog you'll see my last attempt at this and I'm just as nervous this time around. But for different reasons.

This is a co-worker who I have only seen in passing. We have made eye contact a few times and might have possibly exchanged an audible "Hello" at each other. That is the extent of our contact with each other. At least the last time, I had some sort of contact with the girl. This one is completely out of the blue.

I did ask some questions of a friend who works with her and got two very important answers. She's very intelligent and a single mom. The operative word there is SINGLE! And, yes, she's very pretty.

But to simply walk up to a total stranger and say "Hello, you don't know me, but I was wondering if you would like to have lunch with me" sounds as if it smacks of "stalker". I asked a female friend of mine and she says that really isn't the case. I don;t know how much better those words of encouragement really worked.

You have to understand that I really have not been "out there" much in my life. I dated in high school and most of those came from a close knit circle of friends. I met my first wife when I was 19 and had known my second wife since about the same time. I never really dated as an adult. This is very foreign to me.

There was one time when I actually "picked someone up" and that was back in high school. I was working as a score keeper at a basketball game and got introduced to a girl named Roxanne. I asked for her number and actually got it. We dated for almost a year. That was the only time I ever went on a "cold call". And it has me petrified.

When I was talking with my female friend about this earlier this evening I even stuttered. My "friend" is going to have fun simply watching me squirm my way through my anxiety. I don't know how soon I'll be able to let my testicles grow to a normal size and actually approach this woman but I'll keep you posted.

Wish me luck.......I think I'll need it.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Anyone who knows me knows I'm unapologetically a couch potato. SO here's some recent thoughts on TV I've been watching.

My son got me into watching "House" and, at first, I thanked him. Hugh Laurie is the biggest reason to watch this show. House is a well written character loaded with flaws and a sarcasm that will not quit. However, the entire premise is beginning to wear on me. It is soooooooo repetitive week after week after week. Someone gets mysteriously sick, they try a treatment which almost kills the person, the huddle, House insults the other doctors, they find the cure and all is well. YAWN! There has got to be more than one way of telling these stories.

"Stranded with Cash Peters" is an offering on the Travel Channel which I gave three weeks to redeem itself and it never did. Peters is a BBC, NPR radio host and author with cheekiness that makes you want to vomit. He gets "stranded" somewhere different each week and has to weasel his way into free food and lodging while learning something new about a culture or place which he has never visited before. I guess it's his hook, but he seems to have utter disdain and for everywhere he goes. He ridicules everyone and their beliefs. He jokes about his surroundings and cultures which have been around much longer than his fifteen minutes of fame. I tried really, really hard to enjoy this show and to get the joke but Peters wore me down each and every show. I kept watching and waiting for one of the locals to deck him and kick him out of town. Give me a good Michael Palin travel program any day. He will make a joke and be witty while still having respect for the lives upon which he intrudes.

"Over There" is pretty good. While it may be trying to shock for shock value, the fact that Bochco is shocking us about Iraq might be just what this country needs. There are some with their heads in the sand about this war and this show brings home just how difficult things are there. Maybe if more people were exposed to the realities of the situation they might reassess why we are there in the first place and if the lives lost are worth the price.

I'm catching up on "Lost" and "Rescue Me' thanks to TiVo. "Lost" has certainly kept my interest with its interwoven story lines and flashbacks. "Rescue Me" may well be one of the best dramas on television. Dennis Leary is magnificent and the show consistently delivers superior acting and writing.

But NOTHING beats "Battlestar Galactica" for the best drama on television. (Well, at least while "The West Wing" is between seasons!) Forget that it's science fiction and throw out the original. Top notch acting. Writers who are not afraid to take chances. This show ROCKS!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Paramount continues to show they have no idea what Trek fans want. They have just announced a deal to produce a Trek themed phone. This phone will allow you to download Trek games and ring tones and will come with themed face plates.

What we want is a freakin' cell phone that looks like an original series communicator. They would make a mint as every geek and their brother would walk over each other to get one. The technology has been there for a long time. When they finally get a deal set with a provider all they can come up with is face plates and ring tones; those are already out there and for lots cheaper than Paramount is going to rip us off for. These are the same marketing idiots that think we want to buy full sized cardboard cut outs of Kirk, Spock and Seven of Nine.

No, damn it, no!

We want a quality uniform that actually bears resemblance to what is worn on the shows. We want tie-ins we can use. Bring back the Enterprise-A blanket and the bathroom towel set; throw out the unending parade of plate series and polystyrene statues.

Monday, August 08, 2005

My son has no idea just how much trouble he is in for this year. He just completed his first day as a high school freshman. I called him to check on his classes for the year and to see how the day went. He has the usual class load with the added surprise of ROTC. This is probably due to his brother's influence; we'll see how that turns out during the semester.

Then he revealed the goldmine to me; in his English class he is going to be getting into Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". This is my all time favorite Shapeskperean play. The Zefarelli version is one of my favorite films. I even enjoyed the Leo DiCaprio version. And now, my son is going to be studying it!

I'm already making plans. We'll watch both of those version and "West Side Story" as well. We'll read it together. I'm sure he'll be sick of me in no time!

Long before I had a son I can remember a conversation I had with a friend of mine about what I was going to share with a child and how I was going to connect. I was concerned because I was never really into sports. I was never going to be the Dad who taught a kind how to play baseball or take him to games and teach him all the intricacies of the game. I like to watch football for the spectacle but could never get into the strategy or statistics. Luckily, my son loves TV and movies like I do and we connect on that. Now I will be able to open up another world to him through Shakespeare.

And I was worried.

Monday, August 01, 2005

God, help me, it's official; I'm a GEEK!

I was just looking at my new cell phone; a Nokia 3120 and it somehow felt familiar. I had something in my hand this same size, shape and weight before.

It was from somewhere long before cell phones. What was it? Then it hit me.....

A Star Trek original series hand phaser.

There should really be a wing at Betty Ford for us.