Sunday, December 31, 2006

What a way to end the year. If 2006 could be summed up it one moment it was earlier this evening.

As has become tradition, I went with my friend Jason and his wife and four children to watch the fireworks down by the river. It's really nice and really unique for me to be sitting in my shirt sleeves on the last evening of the year with a warm breeze blowing over me as I watch the fireworks. Back home people are bundled in layers of sweaters and coats as they go to the warmth inside someone house to watch the festivities on TV.

I can deal with a Florida New Years.

We sit on the lawn of an assisted living facility. It sits atop a small bluff and gives a great view of the pavilion around which the festivities take place and a panoramic look at the Indian River. As we sat there two grey haired women walked by and were caught by the cuteness and activity of Jason's two smallest children. When I see old folks fascinated by toddlers I'm always reminded of Peter Boyle's character, Frank, on "Everybody Loves Raymond; always wanting to breath in the youth from little kids.

As they were getting ready to leave one of them leaned in to get a closer lok at me. She said, "You remind me of a guy who serves coffee up at the book store in the mall".

"He mush be a very attractive and good looking guy!" I answered.

"Well, he's attractive but I don't know about good looking!" And she walked away.

I don't think Jason has stopped laughing yet.

Happy New Year to's to more of the same ole shit for another year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Uncle Dale Dorman.....Speed Racer....Kimba.....Creature Double Feature

These are my memories of WLVI Channel 56. For those reading this old enough to remember, there was a time before cable TV. Where I grew up there were the three major networks, PBS and two UHF channels from Boston; WSBK and WLVI. For me, the king was WLVI.

I would rush home from school every day for back to back episodes of Speed Racer and Kimba the White Lion. This was hosted by Dale Dorman. "Uncle" Dale, as he was known, was a local radio DJ and host of the afternoon kids programming. After Paul Lynde, he was the first exposure I had to gays in entertainment. Come to think of it now, it is kinda creepy that he was known as "Uncle" Dale. But back then he was just flamboyant, outgoing and a helluva lot of fun to watch on TV. His personality and excitement burst from the tube.

Many a Sunday, my friend Mike and I would sit and watch Japanese monster movies on the Creature Double Feature. There was also a late night movie series that played the old Buster Crabbe "Flash Gordon" serials. For a young couch potato it was the place to be.

Now word comes out of Boston that the station is being downsized and turned into a low power outlet for informercials and some CW network programming. Jack Hybes, a staple of Boston TV news closed the final news broadcast publicly lambasting the management for allowing what he called "a tragic chapter in Boston television history" to happen.

Many of my recent posts have been a walk down memory lane and each one has ended with a dead end. Fire gutted dining halls, amusement parks taken over by field grass and now TV studios covered with dust. Then I look in the mirror and notice more grey than I did last month.

This growing old shit really sucks.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Auto Curse is confirmed!

As Thursday rolled around and my car still wasn't fixed my good friend, Jason, offered to let me borrow his Ford Expedition until Christmas Eve. It worked out perfect, I was still able to get Johnny, would be able to get around to parties and shopping and Jason's family still had their other car to use to get around.

I didn't have the car 24 hours and something broke!

OK, it wasn't something critical, but still I sat there in amazement as I pressed on the button for the cruise control and the rubber button disintegrated under mu finger. Little bits of rubber and plastic fell away from the steering wheel, onto my thigh and the floor beneath.

I touch cars and they fall apart!

At my Starfleet chapter Christmas party we did the math and figured out that in the 13 years I had lived in Florida I had gone through 7 cars. That's a different car every 22 months. So, I'll be looking again come July 2008!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A moment to remember Joe Barbara.

As part of the nostalgia binge I have been on recently I have been overdosing on Hanna-Barbaba cartoons on the Boomerang channel. I sit there watching some of these shows for the first time in 35 years and its as if only moments had gone by since I saw them last. I laugh at the same joke and find new ones I never understood as a child. The cars and worries of bills, schedules and phone calls to return are washed away in a sea of celluloid and paint. The noses of traffic, answering machines and ghetto stereos is replaced with wacky sound effects, cheesy 60's music and the voices of Jean VanDerPyle, Alan Reed and Daws Butler.

Tom and Jerry, Ruff and Reddy, Snaggletooth, Magilla Gorilla, Touche Turtle, The Wacjy Racers, the Banana Splits, Hong Kong Phooey, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Top Cat, Yogi Bear, the Flintstones, Johnny Quest, Space Ghost, Penelope Pitstop, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Pixie and Dixie, the Jetsons, Scooby Doo, Charlotte;s Web, the Smurfs, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel, Jabberjaw, Captain Caveman, Josie and the Pussycats, the Hair Bear Bunch, Sealab 2020, Lippy the Lion, Harlen Globetrotters, the Herculoids, Samson and Goliath, Frankenstein Jr, Hillybilly Bears, Peter Potamus, Precious Pup, Wally Gator, Grape Ape, Partridge Family 2200, Speed Buggy, Dinky Dog and KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.

Watch some of these when you can. Smile. And thank Joe.

Thanks, Joe.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Hey, I remember you!"

Those were the words the tow truck operator greeted me with as he approached my disabled car Saturday afternoon.

"Jack?!" you say, "You're having car trouble?! I'm shocked!"

Just when I thought I had a car I could trust for a while my steering column breaks. OK, "breaks" is a slight understatement. First, a few weeks ago, it started getting loose. I was able to jiggle the wheel slightly. Then in the past week, it would gently roll around in a circle. I had been planning on getting it into the shop when it would start to short out the radio when I was sitting in the car a lunch and tap the wheel.

Saturday, I got in the car to head to the store during a break from work. As you leave my building you have to make a u-turn on the 6 lane major roadway, US 1. As I made the turn...the car stalled. I pulled over and tried to start the car. It would turn over but then quickly die. As the heavy traffic whizzed by me I decided to at least get the car out of traffic. As I rolled the car back into the nearest driveway I went to turn the wheel and the entire steering column began to rotate.

This was bad.

Oh, and did I mention that it was raining? Just to add insult to injury!

I got the car out of traffic and went to the nearest pay phone to call AAA. I understand the job these dispatchers have to do and also that they are in some regional call center hundreds of miles away. However, my patience drew thin as the gomer on the other end of the phone asked one insipid question after another all the time rain water is pooling in my socks. I explained the precarious location I was in and he assured me he would put my on their priority list. "Priority", in this case meant a 2 hour wait.

Two local police cars came up to check on me. With lights and burning flares they sat vigil with me. Well, from their point of view they had just scored at least an hour and a half break where all they had to do was sit in their car.

As I sat in my comatose car waiting I began to think back on my history of cars. My friend Jason says he has never, in the 12 years he has known me, known me to have good luck with cars. If had known me longer he would have been sure of an automobile curse I seem to have.

My friend Harry can tell some of the best stories about me and cars, right from the beginning. The times he and his father saved me as one thing or another would go wrong and they would laugh at my lack on knowledge of cars. Oh, they would help me and try to educate me about simple repairs but they would still laugh. There is an autograph from my friend Mike in my high school year book that makes reference to a transmission problem my car had. I drove that car into the ground basically.

I had a Ford Escort that spent so much time in a garage parking lot that a homeless guy moved into it. There was also the time, after a convention in Boston, I had to have 6 friends push the car so I could pop the clutch to get the engine running.

There was the Chrysler K-car station wagon with the hole on the floor board. I was once drove through a puddle and had it suddenly raining inside the car.

My VW bus was unique in that once the car was running a bungee cord held the stick shift in place so the transmission would stay in gear.

Our trip to Shore Leave a few years ago was memorable for being the last one taken in my last really good car, the Ford Aerostar. We had gotten no more than 100 miles away from home when a belt went which took out the A/C and then the entire engine by the time we got to Maryland.

There was the Ford Thunderbird that couldn't go more than 45 mins without a refill of the radiator.

The Cadillac with the sun-baked roof. I can't complain about that car much; it's the one that saved my life in the accident.

I should be back on the road soon. The expense of the repair will screw with Christmas a little.

Maybe Santa will read this and bring me a new car!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My friend Howard, apparently likes nothing more than to make me cry. In a recent blog he posted this video:

As I watched this, it was if I was swept back 35 years. I could hear whistle of the train as it rolled down the tracks around the edge of the park's property. I could feel the work that went into making the crank run car go. I could smell the chlorine in the water of the boat ride.

Then today I get a surprise gift from him; a t-shirt remembering the Shore Dinner Hall at Rocky Point Park. Years of memories flooded back again. The smells and taste of clam cakes and chowder from the take out window. The political rallys in the dinner hall. The years spent at Rocky Point Park as a child. Then, I had the right of passage for almost ALL teenagers in Warwick, RI; a job at the concession stands. I also worked the Shore Dinner Hall close to its demise when it was turned into a flea market which was a client of the radio station where I worked and I would do remote broadcasts from there on weekends.

Jolly Cholly's and Rocky Point are no more. I have no idea what happened to Jolly Cholly's but Rocky Point has been the target of developers for years. I'm not sure if I was crying from the joy of the memories of remorse over being reminded of their passing.

The vivid memories live on in my mind. How we concession workers would drink concoctions of as many different sodas in one cup. The potato paste which was shaped into french fries; sounds gross, but they were better than McDonald's! Watching my stepson go to a public restroom by himself for the first time. Well, almost; I followed behind as a discreet distance making sure the little 4 year old found his way back and forth without getting lost. The look of pride in his eyes when he came back strutting like a Big Boy. Riding the rides at Jolly Cholly's with my niece, Cheryl; in the Batmobile, I was Batman and she was Robin.

Thank you for making me cry, Howard.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sorry, I haven't posted in a while. So much so, I've lost track of what has and hasn't happened; so, I'll just go with what happened this evening.

I just came back from "The Friends of the Bob and Tom Show Comedy Tour". It featured five stan up comedians who are regulars on the Bob and Tom Show. It was a great time. Johnny and I went with a friend of mine from work. John enjoyed the evening and they were all good.

At the end of the evening the comics were in the lobby selling shirts, CD's and signing autographs. As I stood there I was kicking myself for not doing what I had wanted and that was bringing a sample of my stand up from the company talent shows to give to the host from the Bob and Tom show or one of the comics. My idea was to give it to one of them for a critical review from a professional to see if I was really any good.

I realize that my performances at these talent shows are playing to a home field advantage. A lot of what I say in my "act" is related to the job and easily relatable for those there. If you've read this blog with any regularity you know of the frustrated performer inside of me. I would love to be able to act on the stage or film, stand up or voice work.

When I was younger, it was a fear of leaving home that kept me from moving to New York to break into acting. Then, life got in the way. But still I had the itch. Working in radio soothed that for a while. Again, life got in the way. I would occasionally do local theater and now voice work. The itch is still there.

As I walked away from the theater I tried explaining some of this to my son. How, if maybe with a little encouragement from a professional that there really was some talent there that I could give my dream a shot. We got in the car and drove away. As we slowly made our way though the heavy after show traffic I kept running it through my head. I though ahead to Monday morning being back in my cubicle at work. Then I thought of the way I felt when I caused laughter in an audience.

I pulled out of traffic and turned back toward the theater. When I arrived one of the comics was standing outside. I approached his, complimented him on his set and then told him why I was there. He kindly offered to look at a sample of my work and tell me what he thought of my writing and performing.

Life is made up of these moments; when you can look back and see that moment when things took a turn. Will this be one of those? If I had kept driving south on US 1, I never would have known.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. The holiday was quiet but it kept me and John busy. Today, however, I was inspired to post thanks to the continuing stupidity of my management at work. Get ready for this one......

As usual, I have decorated my cubicle at work with my collection of 40 Santas and strings of blinking lights. I have just added to it this year with an animated, singing Homer Simpson Santa. We were having visitors from our parent company and our management went into their usual panic mode. When we have any high level visitors management's head gets pushed further u[ their asses. We have been told, in the past, to put our waste baskets out of sight and not to get out of our seats unless absolutely necessary. Why these people would not think that an office would generate trash is beyond me. And wouldn't a vibrant, active office look better than a bunch of drones shackled to their cubicle?

It was in this same mind set that my supervisor came to me Wednesday telling me that I would not be able to have my Christmas lights on while the visitors were in the building.

I laughed out loud.

Apparently these visitors were scared of blinking little lights and goodness knows Christmas lights look so much more attractive when they are off.

Being the good little employee, I agreed; although grudgingly. That was until I walked in Thursday morning to see three other desks in other departments with their lights on as usual not to mention the company Christmas three in the lobby.

I went to my supervisor and manager telling them, "Your request for turning my lights off has gone from stupid to unfair." I pointed out the other displays and added. "Again, emphasis on stupid." My manager, who carefully holds on to being a real person and having to lay down company edicts when she knows how idiotic they are, did not make eye contact with me during this meeting but made it appear that her paperwork was of the utmost importance. The manager said they had already been discussing it and would bring it to our AVP. (The company "golf pro" for those in the know)

Twenty minuets later she came back and said I now had approval from on high to turn my lights back on. Ahhhhhhhh, vindication!!! I know it's not much and not a major issue but it felt so good to stand up against the stupidity and win. I knew what I was going to say since the night before as I had been stewing over this whole thing since the moment my supervisor came to me.

Oh, and my supervisor........

Afterwards, she came by my desk for something and I said to her, "You knew exactly what I was going to say the moment I walked in your office, didn't you?"

"Uh-huh", she said smugly.

"That's why you never looked at me the whole time or else you wouldda busted out laughing, right?"

She just smiled and walked away.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Recent things that have annoyed me.

"Money Can't Buy Me Love" being used in a Macy's TV commercial. It's bad enough MIchael Jackson bought the catologue of Beatles music out from under Paul but to continually sell of the rights to these songs is pouring salt in the wound.

"American Pie" being used in a Chevrolet TV commercial. OK, I understand that Don McLean hasn't really had a career in years but why couldn't they have gone after Sammy Johns instead?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

OK, this is cool. Give it a try.
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

And the site breaks down the info a little further. There are 59,994 Eatons in the US which is slightly larger than the population of St. Augustine, FL, Greenboro, NC or Portsmouth, NH!!!!!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

OK, everyone who thought my saying something to "The Other Person" was a very bad idea go to the head of the class. Monday was not a good day.

After a long, tense silence, she send me a note. In it she simply said that she was in a very serious relationship which was nowhere near any possibility of ever changing and that she felt very uncomfortable. She asked for some time and distance and that I respect her wishes.

Am I sorry I did what I did? Yes and no.

Yes because it has adversely affected a fun friendship. The day was long, boring and quiet without the contact with her. The notes back and forth between us would almost always make me smile or laugh; she has a killer sense of humor at times as twisted as mine. I could also make her laugh; which always felt good. The silly things we did to break the monotony were a perfect protection from the grind of the day. And now it is silent.

I am not sorry because it is one less regret I have. I took a real and honest feeling I had and made sure the person knew. Like I said that day; for better or worse.

I begged with her (And am begging now as I know she reads this blog) to forget what I had told her; to dismiss it as a senior moment. As far as I am concerned it is a closed case. All I wanted to do was to let her know that I saw her as an ideal person and I still do. I was not looking to disrupt her current relationship just to be completely honest how I felt about her. There is no where for those feelings to go so they get put to the background and we go on.

I do hope that sometime in the near future we can return to being friends. First, I do hope she lets me know exactly how she feels. Right now, all I get is silence. We have talked about allot of different things over the past 6 months and I would think we could talk this over.

Is she pissed off at me? I she scared by me? Is she creeped out? Is she hurt by what I said? Did I betray a trust? I would like to think we can take all the emotions about this on both our sides, talk it out, get it over and done and then go back to being two slightly crazy people who try to pass the time at a mind numbing job.

OK, I'm done blogging just to one person. She asked that I respect giving her some space and I will.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ahhhhhhh......a day off from work.

Relaxation. Sleeping late. Vegging out with movies.

I'm sure someone was doing that today; however, I was stuck shuttling between doctors' visits.

My day started with the worst of the two, the ear doctor. I swear this guy vacuumed the inside of my skull! It turns out I had....get ready with the jokes......fungus growing inside me ears. A simple version of swimmers' ear when the ear wax gets wet and contaminated causing the infection. He got it all out and my hearing is 100% again; although I am having problems remembering 1989. He also coated the inside of me ears with a medication which should keep it from recurring. He was so confident that he scheduled a follow up for a year from now.

I then had to play medical courier and fetch my own x-rays for the podiatrist. He ended up doing his own x-rays and it turns out....TAA-DAAA....fallen arches! No surgery; just better footwear and continued weight loss. I will be going in for cortisone shots until the inflammation goes down, but it went much better than I thought it was going to.

So, to all those who jumped to conclusions about my health....BITE ME!

As I was sitting in these waiting rooms I got to ponder "The Other Person" some more. And it, again, comes down to regrets. I know I have told the story at the beginning of my blogging but it bears repeating.

When my father died I was 900 miles away and didn't get a goodbye with him. I cannot ever remember telling my father that I loved him. When my Uncle Eddy, who was the second closest male in my life after my father, died I didn't get a goodbye nor can I never remember telling him I loved him.

Since then I have taken every opportunity I can to let those in my life know what they mean to me. I never want to have that kind of regret ever again. Whether it's telling someone I appreciate a favor they have done, a kindness they have shown, always saying "I Love You" to my son when we hang up the phone or telling someone I find them attractive; there is no difference. I would rather take the chance of making someone feel awkward with my being so open than having missed the opportunity in sharing that part of myself with another human being.

Again, Monday should be interesting.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

For better or worse I dropped my bomb today and told "The Other Person" at work how I felt. And I did it in my usual Towaway style.......half screwed up!

I first was going to try something smart.

OK....if you know me well enough you know I don't always do smart all that well.

I won't bore you with the details except that it too me two different tries and when I was finally able to get the words out they were not exactly what I had rehearsed in my head; but I guess life does never happen the way we rehearse.

She knew I had a note I was going to give to "The Other Person" and seemed to assume I was giving it to her for her opinion. However, as I gave it to her I stammered out, "You have been asking for weeks who 'The Other Person' is.'s you".

The silence only lasted 3 or 4 seconds but I swear the earth stopped spinning, clocks hands held their place and not one living creature passed a breath until she reacted by saying,

"Why me?!"

I used to say that I felt as if my life were being written by Neil Simon. It was moments like this that convinced me of it.

We haven't talked since as I was headed off to a training class and by the time I got out she had left for the three day weekend. My motivation to finally drop this bomb was that I could not have gone through the extended weekend without saying anything; that it would be sheer torture to have this nagging at me. Well, that's exactly where I am now anyway. That worked well.

Actually, it isn't that bad. I took the chance. I didn't let it turn into a deeper regret; I had said something. I am trusting that, since she reads this blog, she understands my motivations and that it does not adversely affect our friendship. Even if nothing comes of it; that's OK. I've been honest about my feelings and I didn't keep them inside. It's simply information for her to have to use or not use as she sees fit. She can ignore it and we can go on like the friends we already are. If things change in her life she already knows there are possibilities out there.

Monday should be interesting.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I usually don't post comments to a comment......but let me get this out of my system.

I have a bone spur. It is a extra growth of bone material. It could be a part of my weight could also any number of other factors.

There have been a couple of comments posted that give the impression that I am in some kind of declining health. I AM FRACKING FINE! I walk 5 mile hikes. I have normal blood pressure and cholesterol. All I have is a minor inconvenience which is at times painful. There is nothing wrong with my back or legs. Yes, I have put back on a portion of the weight I lost since surgery but ONLY a portion. I have stabilized in my weight over the past three months, I am no longer regaining any more weight. At the same time I have not lost any; that I hope to attack now that the Florida weather is more comfortable and I can resume my 5 mile weekend hikes.

I am fine. I am healthy. Unless you have a Phd after your name please don't diagnose. And if you're going to make some disparaging remake have the nards to sign you name to it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I am in a bit of a quandary about "The Other Person" at work. I have been contemplating letting her know how I feel about her but am stopped by the fact that she is in a relationship.

No, I'm not afraid of rejection. After all these years, I'm used to it by now.

Part of me feels it is unfair to the guy she is dating. No, there is no jewelry but 5 months does mean a commitment of some kind and part of me feels I have no right intruding. I have been on the receiving end of that myself in the past and know how it feels.

I don't want to upset her life or steal her away. I only want her to know how I feel. What she does with that is up to her. She is young and her life could change. What seems like "the right thing" now could be totally different in a few months. I also enjoy our friendship now and if I were to drop this bomb it would have an affect on that friendship.

I hate regrets. I already regret not saying something to her 5 months ago when the window of opportunity was open and I made a different, and eventually, wrong choice. There are changes at work which will make it harder for us to be in contact and some changes may be coming in her life which may take her out of the area as well. I know I would regret it more if I didn't say something.

Or am I being selfish.

How would I feel if I never say anything and miss another opportunity? What is the worst that could happen; she says, "Thanks but no thanks". At least I would have let her know.

I continue to ponder.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I finally got myself to the clinic at work. First it was because of an ear infection similar to swimmers ear. While I was there I started asking about these pains in my legs and feet. I just love getting old!

It all started about three weeks ago, just days before our trip to Universal Halloween Horror Nights. Just as the manager of the Publix locked his door my legs got the worst muscle cramps I have ever had. It felt as if the muscles in my calves were wrapping around the bone and twisting in opposite directions. I have never felt such pain. It took almost an hour for me to walk it off to a point where I could actually walk. If Publix were still open I could have gotten a few bottles of tonic water instead I had to go across town to the all night drug store and spend three times as much money for quinine pills. Just as I got dressed to go I pointed my toe to put on my shoes and put the leg back into a spasm.

While the spasm did finally subside I was left with a constant, stabbing pain in the ankle and heel of both feet. I could manage through most of my work day seated in my cubicle but my enjoyment of Universal was limited. After walking around for a few hours the pain got so bad I had to sit out all of the haunted houses. After x-rays and ultrasound it has been found to be bond spurs. Nasty little bastards. I am taking a steroid to bring down the inflammation of the tissue around these little calcium collections. If that does not work we'll look at some other options.

It is so much fun getting old. My fun right now is watching my bread grow back in to see how much more grey hairs will be there this time around!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

There is no limit to how far I will go for a gag.

Fro years I have wanted to go to work on Halloween in full "Planet of the Apes" makeup and this was finally the year. I was able to find an inexpensive enough latex appliance and my friend, Bill, offered to make it work. I should have blown the additional $30 for the higher quality prosthetic but the result was, as you can see, very effective.

I was at Bill's apartment at 6AM to get to work. Actually, the work started the night before with my having to shave off my beard. It's been 7 years since I've shaved so it was a bit of a shock to see my face and two chins again. Underneath all the hair lay evidence of genetics. Staring back at me was my mothers face! The Cobb genes showed through or actually screamed as I looked at my bare face.

It took almost 90 minutes for Bill to apply the prosthetic, hair and makeup. The appliance allowed my perfect vision which kept me free to drive to work on my own. However, that part of the joke was lost as noone even looked my way as I stopped at lights and tried getting other drivers' attention.

I was the only one in the building to dress for the day. Yet another symptom of the life being sucked out of the employees. I walked around and showed off the people for a few minutes and then sat down to do my job. I actually took an order in makeup; the person on the other end of the phone had no idea and with the headset microphone fitting just inside the mouth of the appliance the call sounded no different.

While I had my mic shoved into my mask my corporate management had its head shoved up its ass as I was told I had to remove the makeup or go home. This is soooooo ridiculous. Costumes are no distraction to other workers and the patients have no idea what we are wearing on our end of the phone. Management is also missing an opportunity for a morale booster; maybe a costume contest...Hell, just something to show that we are alive and have a brain would be enough.

I was able to remove the mask and hair almost intact so that at the end of the day I was able to reapply it for the rest of the evening. I headed off to my friend Jason's to go Trick or Treating with his children and him. When his two year old saw me for the first time in full makeup she simply looked at me and without a moments' hesitation said, "Hi, Jack" as if there was nothing different about my appearance or that it seemed normal for me to look the way I did.

Children can be so honest sometimes.....almost too honest!

We walked around their neighborhood for about an hour just long enough before the bone spurs in my feet to begin bothering me. (More on that in another post). I would love to be able to use this appliance again but that would mean shaving again. As it is I have to shave for a least another week until my son can get to see me au natural.

I want my old face back!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Four years I've been at this blogging thing. Wow! What dedication. What is neat about this is that I can instantly take a look back and get a clear view of where my life has gone in that time. What I have accomplished. What I still need to do. Where my life has improved. Where there are still things lacking.

Well, I just read through..........

Did I mention how close I was to clinical depression?!!!!!

OK, OK....I'm joking! The best part of this is the feedback I get from people, And I'm not just talking about the ball busting jabs from friends but people, who I would never have though read this thing, saying how much they enjoy my posts and read on a regular basis. Yes, it's a nice ego stroke but it also adds to that sense of accomplishment. Not only am I saving thousands of dollars in therapy hours but I am putting something out there which entertains. It is sometimes the push I need to actually sit down at this thing and write. If it were just me jotting things down in a composition book I probably would give up after a few months like I did in the past. I didn't take the time to actually count the entries but it is in the hundreds. Just look at the counter at the bottom of the page....thousands of hits! As long as you keep looking in to see what happening and how my mind twists its way though like I'll keep posting.

Thanks for forcing me to keep writing.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What ever happened to the little toddler with the surfer curls who head butted his daddy?

Last night my little boy had his first big dance. John attended the homecoming dance here at the school where his girlfriend goes. Like always, it was a time of flashbacks for me. As he was standing in the kitchen waiting for Kaitlyn to appear I realized I never had this ordeal his mother and I were putting him through. He look dapper and handsome in his new black suit. Not only was there the nervousness of waiting for his date to show up but he got to go through this in front of his own parents and hers.

I have known Kaitlyn for about 4 years but still was struck by how beautiful she looked in her black and white gown. This may not be the romance of the century, they may or may not spend the rest of their lives together or even know each other ten years from now but standing there they made the perfect couple.

I sill cannot get over how he asked her out "officially. He did it by email! I know this is the 21st century and since they live 90 miles apart that is the bulk of their relationship; still when he told me my response was, "You IDIOT!".

Of course, I said that with all parental love and support.

His response was pure Eaton, "Oh, yeah, I'm going to take relationship advise from you?"

"Just remember, my son, that I've talked two women into agreeing to marry me."

"Oh." At least it shut him up.

I didn't get the chance to say anything to my ex even though I kinda felt the desire to. She and I have gotten better at talking with each other on a level close to long before we were married. This was a life moment and I wanted to reach out to her on a personal level. At least we were there for it together. That felt good.

My memory went back to my first date. Tracy was her name; a slender brunette with large beautiful eyes. While my father drove us to and from the dance there was none of the photo taking ritual my own son went through. My most vivid memory of the evening was dropping her off at the end of the evening. My father almost had to push me out of the car to walk her to her door. It seemed as if the door was 50 miles from the curb. I only kissed her on the cheek but 29 years alter I can still remember how soft the cheek felt. My father may have talked to me on the ride home but I don't seem to remember much after the kiss.

I picked John and Kaitlyn up after the dance and tired to arrange things so they could have some more time together; neither of them got the hint. I offered to drop John first since it gave them a longer ride together than just dropping Kaitlyn off just down the road from the school.

"Whatever," was the response I got.

On two separate attempts I asked if they would want to get something to eat at a sitdown restaurant.

"I'm really only thirsty," .

These kids do not have the grasp of subtlety yet but I tried.

I didn't see if John got a good night kiss or not. I don't remember if my father tried to watch from the curb and I tried not to look either. They seemed as if they had a good time and that's the important part.

I look at him now and see the man he's growing into. Each milestone like this is a touchstone to my past and also a reminder of how much I miss my father. My father died when I was 16 so the coming years are going to be uncharted territory for me. I won't be able to look back and compare my actions to his as John grows older. I'm just glad John will when he has a son of his own

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Moment #5,432 when I wish my father were still alive.

I was on the phone with my son recently when the circle of life hit him right in the face. We were talking when I could hear his 5 year old brother trying to get his attention loudly in the background. My son did his best to keep the conversation going but Jeffrey did his best to be a 5 year old.

Suddenly, my son broke from our conversation and in a voice which would make a Marine drill sergeant nervous snaps at his brother, "JEFFREY! What do I have in my hand?"

"The phone" Jeffrey answers almost in rote to an conversation you know he has had 500 times this week.

"What am I doing with the phone?" Captain Bligh continues.


"Are you supposed to be interrupting me when I'm talking on the phone?"

I burst out laughing.

"What?" Neidermeyer asks me.

"You're doing it!" I announce.



I didn't think I'd get to have this kind of fun for another 10 years. John is so lucky my father isn't alive; we would be ganging up on him relentlessly.

I was a beautiful moment!

Friday, October 06, 2006

As promised, a positive post.

Yes, through all the bullshit and funk I am going through there are good things going on in my life. First, and most importantly, is my friends. I have developed the best circle of friends anyone could want. Each time I have needed help and support it is my friends that have been there for me. Family, at times, begrudgingly provides that same help and support but each friend I have turned to; whether it be for a little financial assistance or simply a shoulder to lean on or simply to be there and listen, has offered their help without a moment's hesitation. Most of my friends share the same twisted sense of humor and always keep my mood up and keep me laughing. I cherish each of them.

My son. Each day as he grows older and closer to being a full grown person we seem to grow closer. He is someone I simply enjoy hanging out with. And now, he has a girlfriend. And she is wonderful. I have told him a number of times that if I were to choose a girl for him she would be on the top of the list.

We had an interesting conversatrion this past weekend where we discussed a major difference of opinion over a major topic; homosexuality. He said something in passing about it being "wrong" and when we had time alone I asked him about it. He currently holds a very conservative based view on it. He seemed hesitant to get into the topic with me at first. There are times when I get the feeling he does his best so that we never disagree on anything and I had to remind him that parents and children and going to disagree and that it was OK to have you own opinions. I did, of course give him mine. The bottom line to the discussion I was trying to convey was not to be prejudicial and that a person should be judged as a person and not who he sleeps with. While I am disappointed that he has developed the opinion he has, I think most of that disappointment is in myself; that because of the divorce I have not been there on a daily basis to be a stronger influence on this and other topics. But, at least, we can talk about these things openly and THAT is a good thing.

Regardless of the bile I spewed in my last post (Thanks to Freddie Mercury) things are getting better at work. Well, I am no longer in the hot seat and my name has come up for possible promotion to a very visible position. Odd how it works like that. Maybe its some sort of twisted initiation right? There are also some things about the company which are possibly brewing which could change conditions around the office. Time will tell on the both of them. In the mean time, I keep working, I remain vocal that recent changes in policy are stupid and I hold out hope things will get better. But my eyes are open to all possibilities both within and outside my current job.

I am currently running for the position of Regional Coordinator in Starfleet. I would be responsible for representing chapters in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi to the international organization; a Senate of sorts. I decided to do this for a number of reasons but mostly to try to avoid nasty politics rearing its ugly head in this corner of Fleet. I had been putting together a possible run for the top position in the organization but felt a need for me to do this instead. The election runs through next month. I won't bore non-fleet readers with all the details at this point but I am the front runner in a field of three candidates. More on this as it develops.

So, see; all is not doom and gloom when I open my eyes. I am having fun with the things I do. And I haven't even told you about my trip last weekend to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights or "the other person". Next post.....

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I know I promised a more uplifting post this time around, however.......

I had recently watched a documentary about one of my favorite albums, Queen's "A Night at the Opera". In it the album is dissected track by track with interviews of the band and producers. One of the songs jumped out at me given what has been going on at work. The is song was written by Freddie Mercury as an attack against a former manager. If you know the players on my job, you'll know who I thought of immediately.


You suck my blood like a leech
You break the law and you breach
Screw my brain till it hurts
You've taken all my money - you still want more,

Misguided old mule
With your pigheaded rules
With your narrow - minded cronies who are fools of the first division-

Death on two legs -
You're tearing me apart,
Death on two legs
You never had a heart of your own -

Kill joy, Bad guy,
Big talking, Small fry
You're just an old barrow - boy
Have you found a new toy to replace me,
Can you face me -

But now you can kiss my ass goodbye

Feel good, are you satisfied

Do you feel like suicide (I think you should)
Is your conscience all right
Does it plague you at night,
Do you feel good - Feel good!

Talk like a big business tycoon,
But you're just a hot - air balloon,
So no one gives you a damn,
You're just an overgrown school - boy
Let me tan your hide.

A dog with disease,
King of the 'sleaze'
Put your money where your mouth is Mr. Know all,
Was the fin on your back part of the deal...(shark!)

Death on two legs
You're tearing me apart
Death on two legs -
You never had a heart of your own,
(You never did, right from the start)

Insane you should be put inside,
You're a sewer - rat decaying in a cesspool of pride
Should be made unemployed
Then make yourself null - and - void,
Make me feel good
I feel good.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

OK, OK, damnit!

I just received an email from a friend of mine which sort of slapped me with a little reality.

"I hope that whatever is eating away at you...for something surely is, will rectify itself shortly. You have not been yourself lately, and if it shows to me, someone who is just a bit more than an acquaintance, then how is this spilling over to your real friends, unless you are terribly grand at hiding your feelings from everyone."

WOW! Am I that transparent? I thought I was supposed to be a fracking actor?! Well, the answer is, yes. I have reatreated a lot in the past few months in a number of areas. I'll try catching up in this ost and others.

Here goes attempt number one.......

While I don't think I am in a "depression" I am, at the very least, in one on my funks. And it's a whopper. However, at the same time, I am active, having fun and getting somethings done. I went to Halloween Horror Nights last weekend (a post in itself), I am running to be the Regional Coordinator for the southeast portion of the states in Starfleet International, things have slightly improved at work and if I'm not losing weight I have stabalized a little.

So, what's to be bothering me? I think the work situation started all this. It just took a while to manifest itself. There are options I am looking at both inside and outside my present position. For some odd reason, I hold out hope that things will improve. The ultimate optimist; that's me.

Financially, things are VERY tight. This is closely tied in with the work situation. Like may people at work, my income has nosedived over the past year. Not to air ALL my laundry, but I am down thousands and thousands compared to where I was last year. I have been able to dance around it the past few months and am now on a first name basis with the entire staff at the payday advance place. This month that all turned into a major meltdown and I am scrambling to rollover a 401K loan to catch up on lapsed bills and give me an umbrella until things improve.

Does that have an affect on me?

You're damn skippy it does!

When I first moved to Florida, I lived out of my car for almost a week. I have always prided myself on being resiliant. I have always been able to bounce back from tough times and I know I will again. I guess my demeanor while going through it is another matter.

My work with the Operations Department if Starfleet has backed up. Each weekend I promise myself to sit down and catch up. I sit at the computer and open a program or two and then suddenly either find myself surfing for unrelated things or driftung back to the TV. This weekend I have promised myself to go through everything and get catch up. Luckily, DirecTV has been shut off so I'll have one less distraction.

Another area in my life I have retreated from is Stephany. Well, that is for a lot of reasons; also a post in itself. We are still friends and I care for her as a friend but there are tiems when I have sat and let the answering machine take call after call from her. I just sit there looking at the phone as it rings. The odd part is that I don't really feel anything. Except for the dread when I do have to talk with her and try to avoid answering the question why I have been avoiding her. And I don't usually do this to friends. I don't even do this to people I don't even like. Maybe when the funk is over I will be able to really come to grips with whatever emotions are boiling underneath about her.

One thing that gnaws at me is the more I learn about "the other person" at work. We talk and I keep learning more about her. We laugh at the same things. Have the some of the same interests. And the part that gets me the most is that I had the opportunity and missed it.

Right at the same time Stephany came into my line of sight (about 5 months ago), so did "the other person". I debated back and forth for days which I was going to approach; I was hesitant over both because of the age difference, but finally decided. Turns out this was just at the same time when "the other person" met the guy she is seeing.

Boy! Was THAT a good decision!!!

If you've read my blog with any regularity you'll know I just eat up the "what might have been" scenarios. Is this feeding into my funk? Without paying $120 per hour to a professional I really couldn't tell you but it's a good possibility. Will I get over all this? Also a good possibility. I have this little therapy session sitting right in front of me.

I did say there was some good going on and I'll get that im my next post.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

MySpace sucks!

But.....I have a page anyway. I gave in to the hysteria so I can monitor what my son does in the internet. It's not a Parental Nazi kind of thing, just a watchdog kind of thing to make sure he protects himself and his personal information while surfing and interacting.

Why do I hate MySpace?

because it works on the lowest common denominator. It's kindergarten-like plug and play layouts are an idiot's guide to web design. And what horrid web design it is. The static backgrounds that often times block out the text of a page. The glitter photos and comment graphics hosted on some other site that is making a mint off of each hit to that site. To sound just like someone my age; I grew up learning HTML and can design my own web page. Heck, I'll even give in to all of the drag and drop web design programs out there; at least they allow for some personal creativity. MySpace just presents an endless parade of pre-designed background themed around the latest fad, celebrity or pretty picture floating around on the net.

If you do want to express any creativity you have to stumble around trying to figure out what code goes where. There are no FAQ's, no help files, no help whatsoever on how to "pimp" your site.

I have added a few funny videos to my site and am linked with a few close friends and family. I even have one friend who is the daughter of someone I went to high school with; so, there is the potential for social interaction which is what MySpace was created for in the first place. But to get through all the other drek is too much effort for me.

I have been blogging here for three years now and my friends know it is the best way to keep up on what is happening with me. I have a nicely designed web page for my Starfleet chapter and my friends know that is the best place to see my latest pictures.

Oh, and one more thing.....why are there so many goddamned lesbians on MySpace. MySpace was supposed to be the great singles club of the next millennium. Now THAT'S aggravating!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My pal, Congressman Jim Langevin, won reelection last night. I could not be prouder. I have known Jim for 16 years now and he has been a great friend and confidante even though we now only see each other maybe once per year. He is such a good friend that I had to let him know how proud his friend was of his victory.

His opponent this time around tried running a negative campaign against him; which is near to impossible. I have always said that if Jim told a lie his face would fall off. I say she tried running a negative campaign because Jim mopped the floor with her knocking the snot out of her with 68% of the vote. In the 16 years he has been running for political office, Jim has never won an election with any less that 62% of the vote.

I called his Washington DC office today and left a message for my pal, "Tell the congressman that a 68 is still a "D+" and that I expect better from him next time!"

His receptionist asked if I wanted to leave my name, "No, he'll know who it is."

Sure enough, when I got home from work there was a message on my phone!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Today I HAVE TO be a geek. 40 years ago today Star Trek premiered. If you've read this blog at all you know the influence the show has had on my life. It has brought me hours of entertainment, expanded my imagination, brought some amazing people into my life and done a lot to make me the person I am today.

It is somewhat amazing that something that is "just a TV show" can have that kind of an impact on a person's life. But probably no more amazing than a kid who loves baseball wearing his team jersey to school and playing games in a sand lot was me, in my youth, wearing the cheesy Star Trek windbreaker that looked like a uniform and running around an open field with a toy phaser and communicator imagining I had just beamed down to an alien planet. It is no more amazing that a football fan would know statistics for every team in the NFL and I could name all 79 episodes in order. No more amazing that the Shriners or Elks jam into hotels all around the country for their conventions and we fans do the same thing just as often.

If you'd like to see a neat tribute to the show, a friend of mine in California put one up on YouTube. Enjoy and watch the show sometime today.

On the personal level......thanks George and Robin.

Thanks Nichelle, Majel, Grace, Harlan and David.

I miss you Jimmy, and Angelique.

Oh, yeah! Thanks for everything, Gene!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sorry for the slack in writing. It was a busy holiday weekend. John was here....well, he was here but spent lots of time with someone else. I'm not complaining. He shows great taste and I'm glad to see him making friends. And that its a super female friend that I happen to think is as good a kid as my son is....BONUS!!!!

Work still sucks. I've been told, in not too many words that my situation is not bound to change soon. A recent slump is only counted as THE slump and not balanced at all with 8 years 357 days. We are told that things should improve in the near future. I am just hoping that my patience can hold out. Being under the microscope is one thing being an ant with the annoying little brat holding the magnifying glass as he focuses sunlight on you like a laser is completely different.

I am sucking it up though. I have been here longer than any member of management and quite possibly will be here after they are gone. It's like my supervisor said before, "I care". Some twisted, demented part of me still likes the company and hopes that management will either gets its collective head out of its ass or be replaced with better management.

Here's a preview of next year's talent show material. (God willing)

Our company always does a great job on the blood drives. Have you ever noticed that none of management ever donates blood? There's a perfectly logical reason.

Well, first you gotta have a heart.......

Friday, September 01, 2006

The hits just keep coming. Today I went back to work and from almost moment one if the door I was under the microscope. Mist of my day was taken up with visits to Human Resources, the in house clinic (my BP is a little but higher than normal but we have a plan to monitor it and I am looking into counseling for stress) and my supervisor. However, each of these moves was carefully watched and questioned by upper management.

After careful consideration and consultation with a few trusted people there I do have a few options I had not considered before. I am looking into all possibilities to keep my job and hope that the place will somehow return to what it once was. If that will happen and if my actions will have an affect on that will remain to be seen, but I do have to try.

I dawned on me the parallel between this and other parts of my life. I just hate letting go. I hate change. It's as plain and simple as that. I have been with this company for 9 years and it should not change. I fall in love with someone and/or marry them and it should not change. I've had earth-shattering change in my life before and survived so I guess I'll make it through as well. It doesn't mean I have to enjoy going through it.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Another chapter of "How Much My Job Sucks" happened today. So much so, that I even contemplated leaving the company. I did leave early with an elevated blood preassure. I am now in "the hot seat". I have had my desk moved right next to my supervisor so I can be watched closer.

Not to blow my own horn but let me describe this bad employee that I have become. I work overtime when asked; granted, not as much as I did a year ago...but you'd think the company would like that. I even give up time on my son's visitation weekends; something I had not done when he was younger. I have had people in other departments who handle my orders after I do, to process them and get them shipped, say to me on many occasions that they are always surprised when they have to cancel an order of mine due to an error in how it was entered. They can always count of my orders being done correctly and efficiently. When I was questioned about my production I had my numbers back where they were supposed to be within days.

Yes, this is the kind of employee you want to make think about leaving.

I have for eight and a half years loved my job and been proud to tell people where I worked. I'm not so sure I can say those same words in the past six months. In the past two weeks it's been harder and harder to hold on to that sentiment. In the past 10 hours I've not even been able to say any of those words.

I am going to try to hold onto my job and fight for my own dignity as an employee. I just hope it's worth it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ernesto turned out to be nothing more than just a big rain. While some parts of the west coast of Florida got hit with really heavy wind, we here got bupkis. I have walked around in worse wind and rain than we had last night.

Last year I stayed at the home of my friend, Jim. He is a police officer and was working 24 hour shifts. I stayed with his wife and son, Wendy and Noah. He called me a few days ago to ask if I'd stay there again as it made Wendy feel more at ease. I gladly accepted. As the storm showed signs of weakening I called him again to see if he still wanted me to stay there.

"Well," he said "Wendy won't come right out and ask. She'll just huff and puff about it. I'll hear about it."

"OK," I said, being the good friend "if it'll make her feel bett----HEY! Wait a minuet." A light went on inside my head "You want me to stay there so you don't have to heat the bitching and moaning!"

Jim laughed, "Too you this long to figure it out, huh?!"

What a pal!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Things are looking a little better. As I post this the storm has 45 MPH winds and still has not strengthened as it approaches Florida. It appreas as if this will be simply some nasty weather.

I called my ex-wife today with a little bit of left over frustration from our divorce.

"Cranston....East Providence....Bristol. Hell, there were even friends of ours who would have taken you in!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" she asked.

"All you had to do was move out of the house, But, no! You have to come to Florida; fucking hurricane central! I lived 32 years of my life in Rhode Island and went through 4 hurricanes. I am about to break that record in 3 YEARS down here!!!!! All you had to do was move out of the house!!!!"

She saw the humor. I just hope she was laughing with me and not at me.

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's still hurricane season and we seem to be getting ready for our first (hopefully only) storm of the season. It's a little hard to predict where, when and how strong it will be when it hits. As I enter this it is a tropical storm that has just gotten the snot beaten out of it by crossing Cuba and is not expected to strengthen as it crosses to the Keys.

Of course, that still means that it will hit here with 45 MPH winds and loads of rain. As if we really needed that. I will keep you posted as I am able.

I did spend 20 minutes in line to get gas after work today. There were lines everywhere. The supermarkets were busy as well with people stocking up at the last minuet. The usual storm rush. I used to see it back home in Rhode Island just before a winter blizzard. Everyone seems to procrastinate no matter where they are.

Hey, wait....DO I have bottled water?

Damn! Gotta go!

Friday, August 25, 2006

I actually went an entire day at work without having the nagging temptation to throttle anyone. I'd call that an improvement.

Since I have vented enough on that subject let me get into the other one which has many of my friends shaking their heads at me....women. OK, maybe one in particular.

Right now we are just friends. Yes, I hang out a lot with her. Yes, I helped her move. I got her to the clinic the other day when her supervisor pleaded with her to go. But that is all there is right now and I understand that. I happen to like hanging out with her. I am not expecting or waiting for anything more. Do I sit at home wringing my hands hoping for some epiphany in her that will bring her running back to me? No. Am I pining away like some sad character from a Jane Austen novel? No.

For that matter, there's even someone else in whom I'm interested. We seem on the same wavelength and share much more in common than Stephany and me. However, and just my luck, she's in a relationship. That's fine. I'm not going to stick my nose in where it ain't wanted. But at the same moment, I have made myself a good friend and that's just fine.

Would I want either of them to suddenly come to a realization I might be just the right thing for her? Hell, yes. But right now, that doesn't seem to be next on the list of things that are going to happen.

And that's OK. I am in no different a situation that I was a few months ago. I am secure in myself and happy spending time with the best companion I know!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Another 24 hours have gone by and again I left work frustrated and angry. This is so not right.

Most of the day went ok until just during the last hour. I had an order I was working on and the insurance just wasn't working out right. There was something wrong somewhere in the file so I went to someone I knew in that department I knew could get it fixed and get the order out the door.

Gee, I thought that was my job...getting orders out the door. Apparently, some of management doesn't see things quite that way. I was working on this problem with my co-worker when a member of management walked by. I got the answer to my problem and went directly back to my desk to enter the order correctly to get it out the door. I was not in my seat 20 seconds when my supervisor came by to ask why I was out of my seat.

I think I scared her with my reaction.

I have been divorced twice and I have never been so pissed off. I was doing my stinking job and I get chewed out. It's a shame these managers don't have better things to do with their time.

I was once in a McDonald's when, in front of a crowd of customers lined up at the registers, a manager loudly berated a kid for getting his jacket before clocking out. The jacket was hanging 10 feet from the clock and the manager tore into this kid for using company time to get his jacket. The manager told him that putting his jacket on was his time and not company time. Since then, I have referred to all small minded . clock watching, paperclip counting, eaves dropping, tin plated dictators with delusions of god-hood as "McManagers".

My company seems to be getting overrun with McManagers.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It's just a job. It's just a fucking job!

That's what I kept repeating as I stood in front of my supervisor with tears of frustration in my eyes. I still cannot get over the reaction I had to something so seemingly small this evening at work.

I have been with the same company for 9 years as of next month. That's a commitment. That's the point where it goes from being just a job to being a part of your life. While it may be mundane at times, stressful at times and ridiculous at has still be a part of my life for the past 9 years. I have seen the company grow from a few hundred people to over 2,000 employees. Just the other night was our 4th talent show and, rather modestly, I am part of the culture of the company as well. I have made friends in this company. I have lost friends in this company. I have seen people come and go on good terms, bad terms and those who have left the planet completely. Weddings, births, deaths, parties, arguments....everything all bundled within the confines of the overpainted walls and cubicles of my company.

Through it all, I have always enjoyed going to work. I have liked 99.9% of those with whom I have worked. I have put up with complaining customers, long hours, and stupid company policies because it has always been a good place to work and a place that was always there for its employees.

Over the past couple of years, through a few different changes of management, there was a call from upper management to support a more employee friendly place. A place which embraced some of the more progressive employee relation theories and make it the "employer of choice".

That has all been taking a crashing nosedive in recent months all culminated with one sentence from a supervisor to me just hours ago. I was told the employees were being watched for personal emails. It made me snap. I was supposed to stay a few hours of extra overtime to help with an special project but decided I did not want to give up an hour of my life to a company with narrow minds in leadership.

I grew up watching my mother work in a variety of jobs. She always made those around her a part of her life. She was able to perform the duties of her job above the level of excellence and also do work for numerous outside projects. She showed me that you can do you job and have a life at the same time.

For a while it seemed as if my company was heading in that direction. That has changed. The worst part of it all is that in training classes the progressive philosophies are still be preached but the reality on the floor is a completely different thing. The frustration is getting worse.

My supervisor said the reason I was having such an emotional response was because I care. She is right. I care about my job. I care about the company. I care about the people with whom I spend 40+ hours every week. My company should be and could be the employer of choice. But when that potential is being hacked away at from the inside it could make anyone cry.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Last night Comedy Central aired the roast of William Shatner and I don't think I have stopped laughing. I will not give away any of the jokes, save for the most perfect joke of the evening. Well, perfect for Trek fans any way. Why no one else thought of this before is amazing. I am kicking myself for not thinking of it myself.

To George Takei: George, when you came out of the closet did the doors make that whoosh sound?

Simple. Perfect. us geeks. Classic!

I am dying to talk to George. I have know for years that he has a superb sense of humor and he was just rocking last night. I have my own joke about his coming out that I have been waiting to clear with him before I start using it "openly". I have hesitated out of respect for him and our friendship. I wasn't sure how he would take it. After last night's joke comes off as tame.

The only disappointment in the evening was that Jimmy Doohan was not there to rip Shatner a huge one! Jimmy had been bashing Shatner on the convention circuit 25 years ago and was hilarious. If he had been able to be there and be as rowdy and bawdy as the others would have made the evening.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Another Talent Show over and done with and it was great as usual. This year I was the emcee which made it a whole different experience for me. The cumulative effect is that performing is something I should be doing rather than being cramped into a cubicle. Odd thing is, that its being cramped in a cubicle that opened the door for me to try doing standup like this.

We had a smaller cast than previous years but as usual every one stepped up tot he plate and whit a live audience there to feed on everyone gave their best possible performances.

Instead of my just having a 5 - 7 set I had a small set to open the show and then peppered the rest of the evening with little jokes and one liners. Given my history of telling jokes about the company no one else has the gonads to say outloud I opened the show with an bit of a Billy Crystal rip-off. Our company President came out and welcomed everyone and then announced that I would be the emcee but that the management had some restrictions on me. At that point I was rolled out on a hand truck a la the "Silence of the Lambs" opening Billy did at the Oscars one year. I was wearing my psych ward t-shirt and had a Hannibal Lechter mask on. It got a huge laugh. Our company President loved playing along with the bit.

John is here this weekend, so he finally got to see him father perform on stage. He seemed to like it. Although he may have been slightly distracted as he has spent lots of time this weekend with my friend's daughter, Kaitlyn. She is his age and they have met before. Their first few meetings were not filled with much conversation at all. This weekend has been different. They had made plans over the last few days and are still making plans to squeeze in more time together before he goes home.

It is an interesting feeling watching my son being all smooth around a girl. Pride is the most overwhelming of the feelings. To see him putting on his best game and a girl looking back at him enjoying the game he's putting on.

"Yessir! That's MY boy!"

Friday, August 18, 2006

I have come to another dry spell in my blogging. Actually, it seems to be a part of a whole general mood I am in lately. Work is tough lately. Income from work is down even more. The household budget is tighter. My stepson Jim was here for a week and left a virus in the PC behind and has left his own home for a few days ...I could write a whole series on what he had been through lately. I have pulled back a little from Stephany after a week of falling back into old habits.

It's been an interesting couple of weeks.

I am going to try to catch you up on each piece of the puzzle in the next few posts. All of it has settled on me in something of a funk. Not a full blown depression but just a basic mood where I go through the motions most days. I get stuff done and do have fun most of the time but if I had my druthers, I'd just lounge around the house all day if I could.

Any my blogging suffers because of it. I don't feel like writing. And if I do I have usually put it off till last thing of the day and by the time I sit down at the PC it time for bed.

Speaking of which, I do have the company talent show tomorrow and I am the Emcee this year. I will have that to post about anyway. So keep checking in, I promise to get back in the swing of things really soon.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Give Mel Gibson a break.

He was drunk off his ass and blathering like a fool. I have had nights like that where I have been drunk off my ass and blathering like a fool. There were many occasions when I would have to have details of the night repeated to me; complete conversations and hours of time replayed for me because I had completely no recollection of the events. They all seemed as if they happened to someone else because they were not a part of my memory of the evening. I'm sure Mel felt the same way last Friday morning. And I'm sure he said the exact same words I said on those occasions,

"Holy shit! I did what?"

He will continue to be a good actor. He will continue to be a good director. The only difference is now he is someone I would love to hang out with in a bar.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

“Humanitarian aid in the U.S. has begun arriving in Lebanon. The U.S. Government sent 10,000 medical kits, 20,000 blankets, $30 million cash and today the people of New Orleans said: ‘They did what?‘”-Jay Leno

Just another thing to ponder if you were stupid enough to have voted for George W in the last election.

Friday, July 28, 2006

John is here for the weekend and we started off tonight with some bonding over music. As he is maturing so is his tastes in music. Now that he has gotten his first guitar and is learning how to play his interests in music have begun to turn to some of the greats in rock music; some of my favorites and this gives us more of a chance to bond. I have seen him through all different tastes in music as he has grown; from boy bands to hip hop and rap.

As part of his education I sat him down to watch part of the 1985 Live Aid concert when Queen took the stage. I'm not sure if it was Queen or Kiss that was my first rock concert but Queen has always been one of my favorites. I saw them two or three times in concert and there was no one else who could take an audience with the control the Freddy Mercury had. And to see him work his magic on the tens of thousands in Wembeley Stadium is still staggering 21 years later. I got chills as I watched Freddy strut across the stage. My eyes welled up as the audience played right along with him at his slightest whim. I remembered the experiences I had of seeing him in concert. And then I got pissed off at him again for dying.

Some of the best talents of our time seemed to have had this fated life. They burned with such intensity that it was almost a certain thing they would never last forever. Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison were the products of their time. James Dean and Ritchie Valens were unfortunate accidents. John Belushi and Chris Farley were victims of their own excesses.

But Freddy had to have known the chances he was taking. I joked with John, seeing Freddy with his slicked back hair and trimmed moustache, that no one was really surprised when the news of his illness was announced. "Oh, yeah...well Freddy's gay". No shock. And I don't know the details of when he learned he was sick but the way it played out was that he had become sick long after the threat of AIDS had surfaced. Everyone was talking about it and it had gone from being a disease about which there was no information to one that could be avoided and dealt with as a part of the gay lifestyle. Freddy had to have known the risks he was taking but he seemed to continue to take them and he ended up paying the ultimate price. It was such a monumental waste of a talented life. And I still get pissed off at Freddy for dying.

At least there is still footage of him like Live Aid. When you can watch a master at work. To see the intensity in his eyes and hear the power of his voice. Just a shame John will never experience it the way I did.

Damn it, Freddy. Why you?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

So much has happened in the past week that it is somewhat hard to put into words. First of all let me reassure any of you who know me well enough, that I DO have a handle on this. While I would like things to go a certain way I know they might not and I'm OK with that. I have helped a friend in a time of dire need and that is the bottom line. Friends here and those of you who have posted are shaking heads and wishing they could slap me in the back of mine. But I do have a handle on this.

Stephany was VERY sick and while there were friends and family there to help I helped her through some of the roughest parts. She still has a tough time ahead of her in trying to give up smoking but she seems to have the desire to do so.

Where do she and I stand? That is very much up in the air. We had a long talk the other night and I laid it out plain and simple for her, "This is the boyfriend you could have had!" I told her that I realize that we may have grown closer in the past week but she has many things to work through. When she feels she has a better handle on where she is in her life, we can talk about how I fit into that.

How am I dealing with this? Pretty well, actually. I have put a lot of how I feel about her to the side until she approaches me to talk about it. I am still her friend and will help her as much as I can. But there are things in my life which have been put aside in the past few weeks that I need to attend to and for my own emotional well being I have to keep the deep emotions I have to the side.

Do I want thing to change between us? Would I like her to finally realize the potential I see? Yes. But my life cannot and will not be on hold while that possibility dangles in front of it. I have and will reminded her from time to time with a joke or two. Time will tell.

Is it screwed up? Am I crazy? Should I never have gone to help her? Am I really being honest about my feelings? I ask myself these questions all the time as do those around me.

Again, time will tell.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My baby is 15 years old today.

I called him first thing this morning to wish him a happy birthday and I would swear that his voice is deeper than it was two days ago when I talked with him last. I know it's just my imagination playing tricks on me but just the idea that he is 15 years old does that to me.

I have not been staying at my place the past few nights. When I got home from taking John back to his mother's Sunday night there was a message from very sick friend. My friend ended up so sick that I left works Monday to help out. My friend is a smoker and on top of already having bronchitis has just developed asthma and was in the throws of the very first asthma attack ever. I have been able to calm my friend and teach some relaxation and breathing tricks to help get through. My friend also has some anxiety issues which feed into the stress of the asthma attack and only make things worse.

Oh? My friend. You can shake you head like everyone else around here.....


I have to get back to her place as I have been taking the "night shift" taking care of her through the night and giving other family and friends a break.

OK, stop shaking your head.

I will go more into detail on this and how I am coping when things have died down and I have a chance to really digest how I am feeling.

Stop shaking your head at me!!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Apparently, you should not blog when you're on cold medication. Thanks to Lisa for reminding me of the down side to this past weekend at Shore Leave; the redecorating at the Marriott Hunt Valley Inn. I don't know what kind of drugs the management was on when they decided to redecorate but they must have been very illegal and very cheap because the result was worse than some of the hairpeices Burt Reynolds wore during the 90's.

The Hunt Valley Inn was originally designed to resemble a hunting lodge. The McCormick family had it built to serve as a hotel to serve the business needs of the family-run spice company which was headquartered nearby. It is sprawling and spacious with dark and warm color schemes, exposed rafters and loaded with inviting spaces. The lobby welcomed you as if you were walking into someone's home. The lounge between there and the restaurant looked like a living room.

Now these areas, in an apparent attempt to look like every other hotel in the world, looks as if they hired a mad movie set designer and told them to create an airport lounge. The lobby is awash in bright indirect lighting and centerpieced with what looks like a bank teller counter. The comfortable and cozy furniture of the lounge is now replaced with a highbacked set of demented art deco style semi-circular couches which have turned a communal gathering place into four "cells" from which you have to stretch and strain to see the rest of the room.

And then there's the bar....

The Paddock Bar is gone. This was also once in keeping with the open inviting feel of the rest of the hotel with comfortable chairs and delicate lighting but has now been replaced with ten-ton metal high backs and Christmas tree lighting. Atop the bar itself are these two....I guess art pieces, which look sea anemone. Also gone are the themed art pieces which kept with the hunting lodge theme of the hotel. Since the theme is gone, so is the name. The Paddock Bar is now the Cinn Bar. I've looked....CINN is nowhere in the dictionary. It's's sucks!

I understand that after some time redecoration does have to happen. Things wear out, paint fades and styles change. For 20-some odd years I have been coming to this hotel for Shore Leave and part of the draw has been the hotel. While most hotels look like every other hotel on the planet the Hunt Valley Inn was unique. Now it looks like Joe's Hotel. It looks like they hired a mentally challenged Feng Shui consultant because this designer Feng-ed up all over the place.

All of the elements they were trying to add to the hotel have been crammed into the space and physical architecture of the building itself. It all stands out too much and does not blend in at all with its surroundings. The Christmas tree lights are fit in between the exposed rafters. The sea grass grown from old style brick planters and small uncomfortable furniture tries to fill large rooms.

The worst example of what was wrong with the redesign has got to be the carpets. Some of the original remains but in certain areas and, like other elements of the redesign, crammed into small panels in high traffic areas are designs of bright gaudy and conflicting color schemes. It looks as it the designed took a handful of fluorescent colored crayons and simply started scribbling. One design is an odd set of circles done in reds, yellows, greens and oranges. I think one of the reasons I came home sick from this year's convention was due to an allergic reaction to the carpets!

It wasn't just me either. The redesign was universally panned the entire weekend. It was mentioned by the stars and got mentions during the masquerade and the Sunday night entertainment. It is probably tilting against windmills to expect that the Marriott company would really listen to the complaints and change things back but I hope those who said they were going to complain do and that some reaction is heard from management. All I want them to know is that they have made a serious mistake and forever ruined what was once a unique and beautiful hotel.

Friday, July 14, 2006

This is the first chance I have had to post about my annual trip to Shore Leave because I came home with an unplanned souvenir; a cold. It started Monday morning as we were leaving with a scratchy throat and has yet to give up residence with a runny nose and clogged chest. I would have rather had the t-shirt.

Other than that it was a wonderful weekend. Wrapped around the usual fun of Shore Leave was the 20th Anniversary Reunion of the USS McAuliffe. If you haven't seen references to the McA in my posts then you haven't been reading closely enough. These are friends of mine for, well....the past 20 years and a gathering was planned at this years con. Shore Leave was always a major road trip for everyone in the Boston area, so it seemed the logical place for a get together.

This year it was only my friend, Cheryl, my son and I traveling from Florida and this year we opted to fly. It did make for a easier trip although I did miss the stop at South of the Border. There is always next year.

Friday morning had us rested and ready for a day of sightseeing in Washington, DC. We headed first to Arlington Cemetery. Neither John nor Cheryl had ever been there so I enjoyed sharing it with them. Being there with my son was we approached the Kennedy gravesite brought back memories of a similar trip with my father. He really enjoyed watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

After leaving there we tried in vain to locate the "Exorcist Stairs" in Georgetown. Not an easy thing in the one part of DC with which I am not that familiar. It did give the both of them a chance to see parts of the city they had not seen.

The highlight of the day was finally making it to John Eaton Elementary School in Cleveland Park. For the past three years I have been trying to get there and it was certainly worth the wait. Seeing the pictures on the internet was one ting but to actually pull up in front of a large brick building with my own name in bronze on the front....I laughed out loud.

We first took some photos outside and then entered the hallowed halls. Maria, the Business Manager was all smiles as we walked in. She quickly introduced our tour guides, 10 year old Grecia and 8 year old Amanda. These two girls took us through almost every single room and closet in the building. They politely answered all of our questions about the school and told us which rooms were theirs and where things went in each room and shortcuts from one part of the school to the other. They were adorable. They had a problem getting their minds wrapped around the concept that both my son and I had the same names. Still, they were impressed enough that we had the same name as their school. We posed for more pictures and then were presented with books on the school and t-shirts. John got the really cool one with a picture of the school on it. Mine just says, "Eaton"; as if I have problems remembering my own last name.

Not only was the Boston crowd there but my old pal Lisa was there. She travels each year with a groups of her friends from upstate New York. She is one of my dearest friends. Which is why I let her believe I was not attending this year. Actually, at one point I almost wasn't until a friend came to my rescue. Still, in time honored Shore Leave tradition this trick is regularly pulled on someone. This was Lisa's turn.

As always, the convention itself is secondary to spending the weekend with friends. However, guests this year included a number of actors from "Stargate" and my favorite from "Farscape, Gigi Hedgley. From the "old school" crowd, which I always enjoy seeing, were William Schallert and Kent McCord. My father would have loved the fact that I got to meet Kent McCord. Adam-12 was one of the shows we always watched together. Adam-12 is also a childhood favorite of John's stepfather and we had a little bit of fun with that. John has a cell phone with a camera built in which we used to take a photo of the two of them together. We then emailed it to his stepfather's cell phone while he was out on patrol.

The first three nights were filled with parties and drinking. In the past I have held this at bay when John has been along but he's a year older now, was asleep for most of it and I did have a broken heart to sanitize with the alcohol. Not that I've gotten as intoxicated as I have in the past but there was that one embarrassing moment when a friend of mine reminded me of part of the evening I couldn't recall....with John standing right there to hear the whole story.

Ahhh, chalk up another childhood memory added!!!!

All in all a great weekend as always and we begin the countdown to next year. I have posted photos from the trip here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Well, I'm single again.

I don't even know where to start on how this whole thing unraveled except to say that Stephany had a whole bushelful of issues going on that made a relationship next to impossible. I tried holding on as long as I could and eventually she is the one who pulled the plug.

But we'll get to that in a moment.

The major issue is her family. There is the oddest of family dynamic going on in which control of the family is exerted by her grandparents. She seems terrified of upsetting her grandparents over topics such as her smoking, length of her hair and people she dates. Now the family is preparing to move out of Florida and Stephany is compelled to go with them. She can't fathom being apart from them so much so that she would sacrifice a relationship, with me or anyone, in order to stay with her family. Michael Corleone wasn't as obsessed with his family as she is. She has no sense of her own self worth or self identity. It's sad really and I have told her as much.

Then, there was the way she ended things. Saturday night we were on he phone late. As we talked. I could hear the clacking of the keys on her PC. No problem, I multi-task all the time. When we finally hung up I walked the 7 steps from the phone to the computer and there was an email waiting for me.

Hey what's up? well not to much here just chillin and talking to you on the phone- anyway I know you have been wondering what's going on between us- well I have been thinking about it and I need to find myself- I'm not ready to be with anyone right now- like I told you in the beginning I am known to hurt people and that's the last thing i wanted to do to you.

The immense noise made by my heart being ripped out was deafening. I tried calling her but, of course, she didn't pick up the phone. The next day we exchanged a few emails and did eventually talk on the phone. I still tried to reason with her. It wasn't until I talked to her face to face at work on Monday when I could see in her eyes that her mind, as screwed up as it was, had been made up.

I have been through the remorse, hurt, and anger. Right now it is sadness. Not only for the potential I saw in the relationship but for the outlook she has on life. For someone that young to be closing herself off to life is really sad. The worst part is that she doesn't see it. It was only 9 weeks out of my life and it was good while it lasted. We learn from each person we meet in life and boy did I get an education in this one.

The biggest lesson I learned is that I have got some wonderful friends around me. They let me walk the tightrope I was on and when the time was right told me I was about to fall. They offered a safety net. They also were good enough to shake the tightrope at times to let me know just how dangerous a situation I was in. They let me make an ass out of myself and let me run with my emotions as far as I wanted. And now that's it's over they are patient and understanding as I put myself back together again.

Thanks Tracy and Patrick.

Onward and upward. There's rumor there are possibly two or three other women at work who might actually be interested!

Wow! All of a sudden...I'm a player!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Here is my new ride. It ain't pimped out. It ain't no Bluesmobile or Shuttlecraft....BUT IT RUNS!!!!!!!!!

A 1989 Pontiac Bonneville. I'm told "her" name is Bessie but now that "she's" my car we'll have to see if the personality develops.

On drinving the car for the first time I did honor a long time tradition I follow with all my cars....I threw the cigarette lighter out the window.

If you don't get the reference, watch the first ten minuets of "The Blues Brothers".

Monday, June 26, 2006

He looks so good.

He was such a nice guy.

I didn't even know he was sick.

These are all of the usual things you hear at a funeral. You can begin practicing saying all of these things about me because I am, apparently, dead.

I called my answering machine today to check messages when I got the following:

"I am calling in reference to the estate of the LATE JOHN EATON......."

Needless to say, I was taken aback by the news. I was immediately reminded of the MASH episode when Hawkeye is mistaken for dead. My situation , however, is nothing as drastic. This is simply a ploy by a bill collector to get me to call. I am supposed to become all upset and worried calling the number left on my machine to correct the error. The conversation would the go:

"Well, if you're not dead, Mr. Eaton, you can send us the money you owe us."

Needless to say, I have not called them back. However, I am planning a quite lavish wake. What the hell, I might as well enjoy this one.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Proof of how important genetics is, a recent phone conversation between my son and me.

John; Hello.

Jack: Hi, how are you?

John: OK.

Jack: Guess what.

John: What?

Jack: I beat ya'!

John: What the heck are you talking about, Dad?

Jack: I got a girlfriend before you did!

Silence for two seconds

John: Bite me!

Most parents would be upset and offended of their child spoke back to them in such a manner. Not me....this was yet another fine moment in Eaton Family History!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It is now official.

I have a girlfriend.

Things have continued to go well over the past few weeks with Stephany. However, through all of it I was haunted by a slight sense of insecurity. There were what I interpreted as mixed messages and occasional moments where I felt that she was going out of her way to make things difficult for us to be together. But through all of it she continued to send positive feedback to me on how things were going and would say things which made it feel more and more that we were in a relationship. I finally decided that the cards had to be laid on the table. Many of our conversations because there were things I wanted to say to her but did not feel right without some declaration of what kind of a relationship we actually had.

The evening started out with plans for dinner. As usual, these plans were interrupted and changed at the last moment due to family concerns. I fought my insecurities I'd been battling for the past few weeks but this time won them over as we did finally end up with time alone.

Under a starlit night we walked down a fishing pier and talked. Well, I did the talking. I stuttered and stammered through what I had been practicing for days. I had even brought notes and even had to refer to them from time to time. I wondered if it was cute and endearing or pathetic. Well, when I finally got to the bottom line it seemed as if I had steered away from pathetic as Stephany agreed with what I was saying. She said she also felt things had been going well with us.

Then silence. There seemed to be words I was still looking to hear. I decided to go with cute and endearing again.

"So...?" I asked as I leaned against her shoulder and in a bad impression of Goofy said, "Can I be yer boyfriend?"

She laughed first and said, "Yes."

SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!!!

If I could freeze that moment and hold it I would. My heart seemed to stop. The world seemed to halt its rotation. All there was in the universe at that moment were Stephany and me on that pier.

I have been accused by many for falling into relationships fast so I am not going to admit to that in this case or give into any far flung hopes for this relationship now that it is official. All I will admit to is what I promised Stephany; to be something I might not have been in the past, a better partner. To make her happy and to make her proud. We'll take it one step at a time.

These first steps do feel pretty good so far.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Most of the day today I must seem to be distracted to anyone who sees me. That is because I have a little movie playing in my head which is replaying the date Stephany and I went on last night. It was the first time we were on a date by ourselves. We've spent countless hours on the phone and did get out last weekend, but this was just us.


We went to a restaurant down by the waterfront. We were seating on the covered deck where we could see the lights of the causeway reflecting on the intercoastal waterway. It might not sound postcard perfect but the setting, the sounds of the water and the light ocean breeze added to the whole affect.

The place was crowded and a steel drum band kept played outside. Of course, I didn't notice it much as all I could see in the entire restaurant was her. I don't know if I was trying to be cute or just stupid with anxiety, but I used a reference to an earlier conversation as a way of asking to hold her hand. When her hand touched mine the size of the universe seemed to get even smaller. She commented on how soft me hand was. I kept the conversation going even though I was still in shock that I was the person sitting there holding her hand.

After dinner we took a walk on the beach holding hands. Nothing else I could think of felt so right. We talked and laughed the whole time I was burning every second of the evening into my brain. The way the breeze lifted her hair and how the moonlight shaded her face.

After being driven off by sand fleas we came back to my place for a little while. I showed her some old photos of me and some of Johnny's baby pictures. You may roll your eyes at this but after she left I called her and talked to her while she drove back to her apartment. She has a slight anxiety problem with driving at night. Well, that and it allows me to be the geeky boyfriend spending more countless hours on the phone with her. We have NEVER had one of those "You hang up first" moments so it's not as bad as you might first think.

I still find it amazing that I'm even in this position. Every once in a while during the evening I would look around to make sure Ashton Kutcher was just about to come around a corner telling me I'd been Punk'd. I had to keep making reality checks to be sure I wasn't imagining things.

So far, no Ashton; but I've stopped watching "That 70's Show" just in case.