Saturday, April 30, 2005


That was a blast! Marc and I went to see Spamalot today, in the company of Nancy, Byrne, Hugo, Wayne, John and Jose.

Broadway shows are very expensive, and I often find myself feeling like the shows aren't worth what they cost. In this case, we had a great time.

Granted, I knew much of the material from having seen various Monty Python productions. There was a lot taken from Holy Grail, as well as bits from other films and some new stuff, too.

I won't share too much here, partly so I don't spoil it for people who will be going but more because I just couldn't do it justice. We had a wonderful time, and that's what matters.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Well, isn't that comforting?

Wrap Protecting Vital Equipment From Fire in Atom Plants Is Unsafe, U.S. Agency Says

"A material being used at 4 nuclear reactors in New York and 10 others around the country to prevent fire damage to vital equipment would shrink during a fire and expose the equipment to unacceptable amounts of heat, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission."

Lovely. It gets better. This material was used to replace another material that was judged inadequate after problems were discovered 13 years ago.

"'If we were smarter we would have not allowed this stuff to be used in the first place,' Brian W. Sheron, associate director of the project licensing and technical analysis office of the commission, said in an interview on Tuesday."

So, clearly, this issue was not an easy problem to find or it would have been noticed sooner. And what special testing found the problem?

"The commission was prompted to study Hemyc, Mr. Sheron said, when an inspector noticed that it did not look much different from other material being replaced. Hemyc is made of a silicon and a ceramic."

When an inspector noticed that it did not look much different???

People, please. What happened to common sense? If that's all it took, why did this take so long?

Next, we'll be going to war with countries that did nothing to us to provoke it.

Oh yeah. Never mind.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

That makes for a fun train ride

I went into the city for another interview today. As I stepped on the train at Merrick, I looked to the right. Several seats were open. Then I looked to the left. Not so many seats open on the left. So I went to the left.

Why? Well, when I looked to the left, I saw that six of the seats were taken up by NYC Police Academy Recruits. There was the cute one sleeping across from where I found a seat. Then there was another cute boy who was wide awake--he and I exchanged smiles several times, but I'd guess he was thinking something like "that guy's impressed by my cadet uniform and glad we're all here to keep him safe," as opposed to "that guy would like to suck me until my head caves in." ;)

There were a couple of older, rougher looking guys. Then another regular looking guy. Finally, there was the guy who looked like a cross between Tom Cruise from his All the Right Moves days and Matt Damon. He wasn't gorgeous--not like he got all the best of those two--but he had a strong, handsome face that definitely made me want to play with his nightstick!

All in all, if our train car had crashed on a remote desert island, I wouldn't have minded a bit keeping these young men satisfied. :)

(Note to Bokey: The above paragraph was hyperbole, meant for literary effect. Of course I'd mind terribly! I'd spend all my time fighting to keep them from making me service them. I'd be screaming, "No! Keep your hot young bodies away from me! I only want my Bokey!")

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Hurray for us! As of this afternoon, it's official. We're (again) homeowners! We got the financing all squared away, the closing was at 1pm today, and the new house is now officially in our names. The downside is that, for the time being, this means we'll be paying two mortgages.

Eh, there's no real downside, I guess. I'm hoping I'll soon be employed again, and I also hope the "old" house will sell quickly. In the end, it'll all work out--assuming my optimism is well-placed. For now, it's nice to have this house really be ours. So it's a night for celebration!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Ancient writings

As part of the ongoing effort to clean out the old house, I've been spending a lot of time there, cleaning things up, throwing things out and otherwise making the place look good, so we can sell it. In the course of doing this, I've been shredding old credit card receipts, statements and such.

Some of these things are from the days when Marc and I were dating but not yet living together. Others are from when we were living together in a rented apartment.

In other words, items from these two periods reflect a time when we didn't have a house or dogs to worry about. Granted, personal tragedies put a crimp in our style recently, but the real change is quite clear from the records. When we started taking on more responsibilities, our lives changed.

Before the days of home and dog ownership, we traveled more. We went to Newport, we went to Philly (oh, what we did on that trip!), we went to little B&Bs to just unwind. We went lots of places!

As I went through and shredded these receipts (probably about time I did that, all these years later), I was lamenting the lack of such exciting travel and fun diversions in recent times.

Then I got home. I was greeted by my pups, and I quickly forgot those other feelings. Life changes, and the best thing is to latch onto the good stuff. Don't get me wrong--once I'm working again and things settle down around here, I want to pick up the pace of travel again. We'll get a friend to watch the pups (Jeff, among others, has helped us out with that before), and off we'll go. But as I sit here typing this and look around me, I'm remembering to be thankful for what I have.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I like this photo

Jase took this photo of me and Marc at dinner nine days ago. I wish Marc hadn't blinked, but it's still a joyful shot, and I love it.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

What makes you think anyone cares?

Let me start by saying that I absolutely believe in free speech, and I know that no one can force me to listen to things that don't interest me.

With that said, what's the deal with people doing their own private podcasts? For the record, this post is not inspired by a podcast of anyone I know or read regularly. So if you think I'm talking about you, I'm probably not (although this may be applicable, so pay attention)! ;)

I just listened to a podcast by someone who felt compelled to talk about the little details of their day-to-day life. Now, I reserve the right to be as mind-numbingly dull as the next guy, but some of these people make me feel downright sophisticated.

Let's be clear, all of you podcasters who think the world is waiting to hear your pearls of wisdom. I don't need to hear your grating voice blathering on about the hairball your cat coughed up. I don't need to hear a podcast about the auto mechanic and how he screwed up the repair on your '73 Nova. I don't need to hear about the cute origami your boyfriend made to celebrate 3 months together. If your life is boring and ordinary, making a podcast of it doesn't change that fact.

No, I don't need to listen. I know this. The problem is that I went into some of this with the (obviously misguided) thought that anyone taking the trouble to make a podcast must have something worthwhile to share. Wow, was I wrong!

So, to the podcasters of the world, I say, if you're not the type of person whom people flock to in order to hear you speak, then you might want to ask whether putting your ramblings online is the thing to do. If, on the other hand, you're the life of the party, the one who keeps everyone in stitches, then fire away. Oh, and let me know where to find your podcast, because what I've found so far can cure insomnia!

Pride of America

Interesting. I was just reading the latest issue of National Geographic Traveler and noticed an ad by Norwegian Cruise Lines. It was hyping their newest ship, the Pride of America.

I was immediately skeptical of the name (particularly with an ad placed by "NCL"), but then I saw something shocking: "Ship's Registry: United States of America"

Not The Bahamas? Or Liberia? Or some other foreign country?

Amazing. I guess someone at Norwegian Cruise Lines decided the good publicity of a new cruise liner flying the U.S. flag was worth the cost of American taxes and whatever other headaches go with registering the ship here. Maybe this is especially so since it apparently will be doing inter-island cruising in Hawaii.

I have no history of cruising. You know, on a cruise ship. We're not talking about the other kind right now. :) Even so, for a variety of reasons, I think I'd prefer to be on a ship flying our flag. According to the ad, this is "the first brand-new cruise ship to sail under the U.S. flag in nearly 50 years."

There's no real point to this post. I just thought this was an interesting development.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Such a good boy

Today, we ran some errands and then spent a number of hours cleaning up the old house. The best part is that we had help. This handsome young man came out here to help us.

He helped me get the living room cleared out, so I could vacuum and shampoo the carpet. He broke up the cardboard boxes we had accumulated on the back deck. He helped Marc move a chair down from upstairs. He loaded boxes into the Explorer, and he picked up the Belgian blocks we had near the garage and loaded those into the truck, too (and those are heavy).

We all did lots of work, but Marc and I have to do it. Jase doesn't. He's just being a good friend.

We took Jase to dinner, and then Marc had a homemade dessert (a Key Lime Pie) made when we got home. Right now, Jase and Marc are comparing notes on the website for Marc's company. Jase is very knowledgeable, and this is just another bonus to having him here. Not that we wouldn't love to have him here just to hang out with us, but he's being so helpful--it's just very nice of him.

Maybe I can give him a nice shoulder rub as added thanks for all his help. ;) He's just a good guy. If I had a gay brother to set him up with, that would be perfect!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Well, at least they're trying to get it fixed

The sound from our Bose sound system is fabulous! Well, at least in the two rooms where it isn't malfunctioning. *sigh*

They think one of the amplifiers is defective, and it's going to take a little time to get it replaced. At least the front room--where the TV is located--is working perfectly. That's the surround sound part of the system.

The other rooms have issues. I said it isn't malfunctioning in two rooms (out of four that are hooked into the system). Actually, that's not quite true.

In the sunroom, it's working, but there's a slight noise when nothing's playing (the boss from the installation company calls it "motorboating" and that's a good description--that's the pattern the sound has, an idling boat motor--thankfully, a very quiet one). Actually, the noise is there when there is music playing, but it's too slight to be a bother.

In the other two rooms, the motorboating noise is there, too, but the real problem is that when I turn it on, it plays for a few seconds and then shuts down.

"Frustrating" doesn't really describe this. This is a very expensive system, and I was glad to hear the installation company boss say that very thing when he heard my frustration. "You paid a lot of money for this system. It should work right."

I know they'll get it fixed, and it sounds fabulous when it works. I just wish it all worked right. They're trying to rush the new equipment and get it installed. In the meantime, my irritation is mounting.

Hey, at least it's a distraction from being unemployed. ;)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Emotions and energy

Emotions have a profound impact on the rest of one's being. I know this, but it doesn't stop it from having this same effect on me. I can't seem to will it away. As I've mentioned, ad nauseum, I'm looking for a new job.

Two days ago, I had a second interview for a job I'd really, really like to have. By that evening, I was second-guessing one or two of my answers and otherwise agonizing over my chances to get the job--a job for which I can be sure hundreds of people applied.

By this morning, I was once again just a bit depressed, not so much due to worry over this particular job but, rather, due to my overall situation. Frankly, being unemployed is frightening (unless you're one of the fortunate few for whom money isn't a concern).

Then I spoke to a colleague. This is a colleague to whom I knew the person who interviewed me on Tuesday would be speaking. This morning, I was told that I not only remained in the running but was actually liked by the prospective boss.

Before I start jumping for joy, I have to bear a couple of things in mind. First, I was told in this same chat this morning that there are several other candidates being considered. Second, even if I pass this stage, I'd still be interviewed by some other senior people before I might hear a job offer--or not, if any of them don't like me.

Despite all of these potential roadblocks, it was wonderful to hear that I made a good impression. So now we get back to the impact emotions can have.

I had to be out early this morning, taking the Explorer to the Ford dealer for some service around 7am. By the time 9am rolled around, I was thinking that I might go take a nap, since I didn't get a lot of sleep last night and was feeling tired.

Now that I've heard this good news, I feel energized. I'm going to go get Marc's car gassed up and then washed (he was saying this morning that he wants to have it washed, so I'll go have that done for him). Then I'm going up to Great Neck to get a final sign-off from the superintendent of what was my grandmother's building, so I can get the escrow money back (held in case we damaged anything in the move out), and then I think I'll swing past the library for some books.

I was worried and feeling tired. Then I got some good news, and now I'm going to head out and enjoy the sunshine. Funny how that works!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Vatican demands return of Sudetenland

This morning, acting on orders of the new Pope, Benedict XVI, the Vatican demanded the return of the Sudetenland, promising to free the people from Czech oppression. Meanwhile, in Paris, the wholesale price of white fabric spiked this morning, in anticipation of a need for flags.

More to follow as developments warrant.

Monday, April 18, 2005

More reasons to love the new house

Our new home, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, is bigger than the old one. This afternoon, Marc didn't feel great at the office, so he brought work home. As I watched some TV, did some laundry and otherwise puttered around the house (the life of an unemployed person), he was out in the sunroom, getting work done in a nice, relaxing environment.

As I walked through the kitchen, I was treated to this glimpse of part of the sunroom:

It really made me feel good. I know, I know--big deal, so it's another room. But it really is more than that. It's a room that was remodeled to our specifications, as was the rest of the house. It's one of a number of rooms that we can work in, play in, relax in and entertain in.

This is a house made to serve our needs, and these little things really make life seem better.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

A fun dinner!

The day finally came. We'd been planning our big barbecue dinner for weeks.

Last night, the gang got together at Tennessee Mountain Barbecue in SoHo. "The gang" being Marc and me, Jeff, PatCHy and Greg, Michael and Anthony, Deirdre and her two friends from Chicago (I believe their names were Kristen and Lisa--I'm so bad with names!), Jase and Byrne.

Dinner was great. Mz. Ouiser and her friends were loads of fun, not surprisingly! It was nice spending some time with the whole gang. I just wish it could have lasted longer. Two-and-a-half hours is just a tease, when it's spent with such a wonderful group of people.

On another, semi-related note, Jase had spent the day running around Manhattan, experiencing various things the city had to offer. He had Jeff in tow, as well as Wayne. Wayne was supposed to join us for dinner, but he was too pooped by the time dinner came, so he headed home.

One of their stops was at Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven. Knowing this in advance, I told Jase that I expected him to bring me something from there. The sweet boy actually did. Isn't he nice? He brought a small package of chocolates. I shared them with everyone there at the end of dinner, and they were very good!

Jase also brought cupcakes from the wonderful Magnolia Bakery. He cut them into quarters, and we all shared these as well.

After we were done pigging out, we headed out to the sidewalk. Michael (who, I neglected to mention previously, wore his finest overalls to dinner--I mean, it was "Tennessee Mountain", after all!) and Anthony had to get going. I think Michael was concerned about running up too many hours on Anthony's bill. ;) Patrick and Greg also abandoned us rather quickly. Apparently, it was ovulation time, so they wanted to get home and try.

Okay, they didn't say that. That's just my guess. ;) Otherwise, how could they bear to part company with us?

The rest of us spent time on the sidewalk, continuing our conversations and exchanging some off color jokes. It was hard to say goodnight, but we eventually managed to do it. So Deirdre took her friends, and they went on their way--did I mention that they're a lot of fun, despite being straight girls (maybe since they like men, too, it all clicked. Besides, any friends of Deirdre's...)? :)

Then Marc, Jeff, Byrne, Jase and I headed for the subway. We all got on the E-train (which, I neglected to mention earlier, skipped our stop on the way down, so we had to walk further than planned--that after having to go to different tracks to catch the train in the first place--it was all fouled up yesterday), and we headed uptown. We said goodbye to Byrne at 23rd Street. Then Marc and I hopped off at Penn Station. Jase and Jeff stayed on, and we can only guess where they wound up!

That was a fun night. I hope we can do something like it again, and soon!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Am I just being a hardass? (I think not!)

Today, we finally closed on the sale of my grandmother's apartment. None of the proceeds of the sale come to me. Rather, the money goes to a cousin of mine. Not that I'm complaining. She left me other things. Today's event was part of my duties as Executor of her estate.

So we were at the offices of the management company (her apartment was a co-op, and the closing had to be at the management company's offices). In the course of my being handed documents, they gave me one that said there was a working smoke detector and a working carbon monoxide detector in the apartment.

I knew there was a smoke detector there, but I was equally certain that there wasn't a carbon monoxide detector. Apparently, this is a legal requirement. (It would have been nice if they told me in advance, so I could install one. Actually, it would have been nice if they told my grandmother back when the rule went into effect. She was very by-the-book, so I'm certain they didn't tell her, or she would have installed one.) So I told the purchaser that we could give her a few bucks to get one. That seemed to me to be the end of the issue.

No, the attorney for the management company said the document (an affidavit, actually, sworn to under penalty of perjury) had to be signed by me. I refused.

It was just a formality, he said. Of the six of us in that room, four (including myself) were attorneys. Of the four of us attorneys, I was the only one who seemed to care that the document was inaccurate.

Since I didn't seem to be getting through to this guy, or anyone else in the room, I looked him right in the eye and said, "This document is not accurate. I am an officer of the court, and I will not sign a document containing statements I know to be false." I told him I didn't care if that caused a problem. What amazed me further is that my fellow officers of the court had no problem with my signing it, even after I told them it wasn't accurate. What the hell was their problem?

When they finally got the message, they decided to re-write the document, so that it simply stated that the smoke detector was there and the purchaser would install a new carbon monoxide detector. Now was that so hard? Of course not, but the management company's bureaucratic attorney--with the tacit approval of the others present--would rather encourage me to lie under oath, rather than have to actually divert from his ordinary way of doing things. The whole thing made me nauseous.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the honor is going out of all forms of business. Being a lawyer--all jokes aside--is supposed to be an honorable profession, and the colleagues of mine with whom I voluntarily associate are honorable people. I fear that the ones I was with today are more representative of what's out there. I draw this conclusion from what I've seen in other fields recently--doctors, accountants, businessmen, etc. So many people without scruples in so many professions. How do they live without honor? How do they find value in their lives? I'm not saying I'm perfect--far from it--but I try to play by the rules and wind up with what seems like the right result in whatever I'm doing. Do I always succeed? No, but I try. Is it so much to expect the same of others?

I already knew Fox sucks, but...

My favorite morning news program here in New York is on Channel 5. Sadly, they're the Fox affiliate. Despite that, the morning program is good--the folks on it are very New York, and I enjoy their banter.

As I type this, a guy named Craig Mitnick is on here. He apparently is a Fox "Legal Analyst".

For all I know, he's brilliant, and I don't begrudge the guy success. However, someone whose job involves verbal communication on legal issues should be able to say the word "corroboration". Instead, while talking about a key witness in the Michael Jackson circus prosecution, he said, as if he was doing an Elmer Fudd impression, cowoboration. CoWoboration?

The first time he said it, I didn't believe it. He didn't just say that, did he? Then he did it again and again. Jim Ryan, the anchorman, started using the word repeatedly, but pronouncing it correctly, and I feel sure he heard the same thing and felt a need to try to correct things. Sadly, Mr. Mitnick wasn't to be corrected any more than W is to be corrected in his way of saying certain words I could mention. Some days, I think this country is going down the intellectual crapper.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A wonderful program

My undergraduate alma mater, The Johns Hopkins University*, recently announced a new program called the "Baltimore Scholars" Program, announced last June. Hopkins is located in Baltimore, a city with more than its share of poverty, crime and related problems. This makes academic achievement something to be celebrated and supported, perhaps even more than in areas like my home, Long Island, where most kids have a far easier time of it.

Hopkins just announced that they have offered 30 "Baltimore Scholars" full-tuition scholarships. As someone who believes in the value of a quality education, I'm proud of Hopkins.

Around here, we pay tons of taxes for our schools. While I'm not thrilled to pay so much (our property tax bill is over $7,000 a year, the majority of which goes to the schools), I don't complain. Even though I have no children, I think it's the duty of all American citizens to help support and build the society that has allowed us to have these good lives of ours. That means supporting education for all (so we won't have people in positions of power who can't pronounce the word nuclear).

I think it's especially important to make sure the best and brightest get excellent higher educations, so that they can make the most of the gifts they've been given. When a bright kid can't go to a good school because of the cost, that's a tragedy.

So, bravo Hopkins! I hope more schools follow this example, because our federal government isn't concerned about any of this!


*Yes, it's "The Johns Hopkins University", not Johns Hopkins University. That's one of those esoteric little things they like you to pick up when you're there. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


The rest of the Bose system got installed today. It's neat! I'd try to describe it in detail, but how could I really do that effectively?

To try out the surround sound, I put in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (purchased yesterday, for this specific purpose) and went to the battle scenes. Oh, that's nice. :)

Okay, when y'all visit, we can play with it together, if you like. In the meantime, I'm a happy camper.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Just a few loose ends

A couple of photos from the past week need to find a home here. First, a photo I took with the cell phone. Marc had to go to an elementary school to recognize the kids there who had raised money for tsunami relief. Lots of schools did this, routing the money through Marc's credit union, and the credit union matched their donations dollar for dollar. I went along as his photographer--why not? It's not like I have a job to go to at the moment!

Now, even though I had the good camera equipment with me, I wasn't going to unpack it just to document Marc's moment of shame. Yes, he was made to sit outside the principal's office...

Look at him! He isn't even embarrassed to be there! You know, the cute ones always think they'll get away with their wrongdoing because of their looks. Hmmph.

So then there's the following photograph from this weekend. At the rugby match, Marc often helps me by being "pack Bokey". That's like a pack mule, only a lot cuter. :) The straps you see on his shoulders are attached to a pack holding various lenses, while I'm working across the field from him.

Isn't he a good boy? I think so. He's a hottie, too! I'm a lucky boy!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Recap of the past few days

Let's see, where to start? Well, let's start with Friday night. Marc heads up to bed. I give the dogs some treats, and then the dogs and I march upstairs. Our bedroom (Marc's and mine, although the dogs do join us there) is to the left. To the right is the guest room. It was my parents' room in years past, and it's the guest room because I have issues with sleeping (and doing other things) in there. Maybe I'll get over it one day, but I'm not there yet.

So we head upstairs, Bernice (our eldest, the Doberman-Shepherd mix) glances into the room to the right and begins barking as her hackles go up. Mandy gets there next and joins her in barking at what they see. When I get there, I see nothing, but Marc gets a visit from my Mom in his dreams that night. Go figure.

So on to Saturday. We did lots of chores and errands, but the high point of the day was rugby. So, without further adieu...

The entire set of photos can be seen here.

Yesterday's highlight was our attending FARB's Inside DecArts 2005 event. We checked out some of the participating decorative arts businesses and then went to a talk by Thom Filicia of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame. He was pretty good, and the company was lovely--Marc and I were joined by Jeff, Jase and Jase's friend Josh. We also ran into non-blogger Wayne, as well as the aforementioned FARB and his other half, Brady.

It was a nice day.

Today, I finally got the last few bits of stuff out of my grandmother's apartment and did the pre-closing walk-through with the purchaser. So now we should be ready to close on Friday.

Tomorrow, I have a first interview at a hospital in Manhattan. I was supposed to have the second tomorrow, as well, so I guess they like my background. Unfortunately, the second had to be delayed until next week. So be it. I just hope they like me! I'd cross my fingers again, but they're getting cramped! ;)

Plenty to blog about, but too little time

I'll try to write a longer blog entry tomorrow (well, "today" really, since it's after midnight), but I have to get some sleep. I have an appointment to keep in the morning.

One quick note--our weekend included attending a rugby match. Our beloved Gotham Knights didn't win, but they played hard and did well. Considering the number of new players, it was a very good effort.

As I said, I intend to post more soon (about rugby, FARB's big event, seeing Jase and other fun things), but for now I wanted to share one reason why rugby is such fun to watch...

This was one of the guys on the opposing team. Plenty of the guys on our team have lovely legs, butts and more to offer, but this gentleman happened to provide me with this shot at yesterday's match. So I thank him for that. Such a lovely view!

Now, the next post will include shots with more sports-related substance, but I hope this provided some happiness for those reading this post. More soon!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Important info for people living with HIV

Marc and I were lucky enough (and luck certainly plays a role, no matter how careful you are!) to make it through our dating years without contracting HIV, but we have a number of friends who are living with the virus. With them in mind--and anyone else reading this who might be helped by the information--I thought this was worth sharing.

In the current issue of Johns Hopkins Magazine, there is an item that reads as follows:

Sudden, temporary spikes in the viral load of HIV-positive patients do not mean their viruses have mutated into drug-resistant strains. Hopkins researchers, led by professor of medicine Robert Siliciano, found that the so-called "blips" in viral load are actually mathematical variations that arise from the test that measures the virus in a patient's body. Unless the blips exceed 200 copies per milliliter of blood or persist upon repeated testing, patients do not need to make difficult changes in their anti-retroviral drug therapy. The study appeared in February's Journal of the American Medical Association.

I share this information with two thoughts in mind:

1) If you're living with HIV, this seems to give reason not to get too upset if you are told of one of these "blips" that shows an unexpected increase in your viral load. It may turn out to be of no consequence.

2) It could be important to know about this, so your doctor doesn't suddenly take a radical new approach before being sure it's absolutely necessary. Knowing doctors as well as I do (having worked in hospitals for years), and also having a habit of questioning my own doctor before letting him do anything I'm not 100% comfortable with, I know that they make mistakes. They make lots of mistakes. Also, your particular doctor may not have seen this study. So he/she may jump to an unwarranted conclusion.

So take this information for what it's worth. I hope it proves useful.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Meaning of Life Barbecue

There are two meanings of which I know.

For example, next Saturday (the 16th), a bunch of us are going to a restaurant to have food of the "barbecue" variety. This means things like ribs and such with the appropriate smoky flavor and requisite sauces placed upon them.

Three weeks after that, we're having a big barbecue at our new house (for the out-of-town bloggers who will be attending GB:NYC-2 that weekend, as well as the disreputable group of New Yorkers we refer to as our friends). ;) This time, "barbecue" means I will load charcoal into the Weber grill, pour 12 gallons of lighter fluid on it (because what's the fun if the flames don't threaten passing aircraft?) and light her up.

I'll let the coals get nice and hot, and then I'll "barbecue" hamburgers, hot dogs and various other items of food.

I suppose the ribs, etc., type of barbecue has some involvement with cooking over coal, but that's where the similarities seem to end, so what's the deal? Which one is barbecue and which one isn't? The restaurant we're going to is called Tennessee Mountain Barbecue. So do people in Tennessee also cook hamburgers over charcoal fires? This is all so terribly confusing!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Pop music has gone to hell

I'm sitting here, copying more CDs into iTunes. At the moment, I am working on a two-disc set: The Beatles/1967-1970

As iTunes says, their genre is "Pop". Really, they crossed a number of musical lines, so that's not a fair characterization. Even so, they were the 1960s equivalent of a boy band. So think about anyone you like today, and then let's take a look at what this band turned out in a mere three years (or four, if we count from 1/1/67 through 12/31/70). Here's what we find in this range:

Strawberry Fields Forever
Penny Lane
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With a Little Help from My Friends
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
A Day in the Life
All You Need is Love
I Am the Walrus
Hello, Goodbye
The Fool on the Hill
Magical Mystery Tour
Lady Madonna
Hey Jude
Back in the USSR
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Get Back
Don't Let Me Down
The Ballad of John and Yoko
Old Brown Shoe
Here Comes the Sun
Come Together
Octopus's Garden
Let It Be
Across the Universe
The Long and Winding Road

I know that this was a very special group, but that's not all there was to it. Back in their day, bands were comprised of musicians. Wow, what a concept! I'm not sure what many of today's group are comprised of.

I hesitated to even post this. As the years slip by, I don't want to sound like an old man, griping about what the kids listen to nowadays... especially not before I really become an old man! In the end, I decided I'd rather take my chances and speak my mind (unlike my usual shyness). ;)

Really, look at that list. Think there's anyone in the business today who could put out so many songs of quality? Songs that are worth listening to over 30 years later? I can't think of anyone.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Things could be worse

Well, of course things could be worse. Given the crap I went through last year (losing my Mom and grandmother), this stuff is small potatoes. Even so, frustration abounds.

Yesterday, I had a telephone interview with the HR VP of a large company--one of the interviews I mentioned in my prior post. As was previously requested by the headhunter, I called him after I got done with the VP. He was not available to take my call. He remained so all evening (not that I tried too many times--I don't want to seem desperate) and didn't make contact today. So that's a worry. Not necessarily a problem but not a good sign, either.

Today, I went for my second interview at one of the other places that might be a really good place to work. The guy interviewing me was their Recruitment Director. He was a very hard read, and I thought he might not like me. I know what you're thinking--that's not possible! How can anyone not like Jess? You're right, in theory--I'm downright loveable. :) Even so, these things can happen.

That worry was brushed aside when I heard back from the placement firm that set me up with this opportunity. I was told, "I have good news, and..." (we all know what comes next) "...I have bad news. The good news is that they both liked you." The "both" would be the guy this morning and the Corporate HR Director who interviewed me last week. "The bad news is that they haven't been able to get budget approval to fill the slot." He added, "if they get approval, I think the job is yours."

Unfortunately, I was warned not to hold my breath, as they had no idea when (if ever) they may get that approval. In the meantime, the search continues. I know it's good that I'm getting this level of interest, but the whole process (and the reality of being unemployed) remains unnerving!

On a happier note, Marc and I confirmed tonight that our new soaking tub does indeed hold two people very comfortably. ;) After that, we made sure two people could move around (and do other things) nicely in the new shower. For the record, giving a blowjob under a "rain" shower head is lots of fun. It gives that whole water flowing over us thing, but it's a wide enough spray that breathing isn't an issue (well, assuming you have the skills to breathe with a full mouth, but any gay man worth his salt can do that). ;)

I can still see him in front of me, thrusting his hips, as his hard... oh, never mind. No need to get too graphic this evening, but I do love my studly man. There's no one I'd rather molest in my lovely new bath and shower! :)

Monday, April 04, 2005

Emotional rollercoaster

A few weeks ago, I saw an ad in The New York Times for a position with a large healthcare network. I responded and got an almost instantaneous answer, asking me to come in for an interview.

The interview went well, it seemed to me, but there's no way to be entirely sure when you're sitting there. Later that same day, I got confirmation--a call on the answering machine asking me to come for an interview with the VP.

So we set up the meeting. Then they had to push it back a couple of days. Fine. So I go in for the rescheduled meeting, and it's like I'm in Animal House as Tim Matheson's character, "Otter", showing up to pick Fawn at her sorority. Didn't anyone tell you? Fawn's dead. So they scrambled around until, finally, the person who interviewed me the prior time came out to talk to me. She took me into her office to tell me they'd had a scheduling conflict (a last-minute, emergency meeting, I was told), so they were so sorry to have dragged me in but they had to reschedule yet again.

Fine. So today was the day I was finally going to meet with the VP. Today. Today at 3pm. Uh huh. So at 1:42pm, my cell phone rings. "Jess, I'm glad I caught you." Here we go again, I thought, but no, this time it got worse. "They just decided to promote someone from within. We really like your background and want to find a position for you in the network, but now there's no position available."

So, needless to say, I was a bit disappointed by that. Bummed, even. I went and had a late lunch with Marc. That always helps--the lunch, not the lateness. Still, it felt rotten having the rug yanked out from under me.

Not to worry, kids, the rollercoaster went back up some later today. I don't know if anything really will come of this one, but I've been in consideration for a job with a large, publicly traded company. I was telephone interviewed by someone from a placement firm a few weeks ago. Then, several days ago, I had an interview with the president of the placement firm. This interview was done by videoconference, since I am in New York and he was in California. He said he'd take several candidates' information to the company and they'd select a few for further interviews.

Then I heard that the company HR VP wanted to talk to me. So that was set up for last Friday. There was a snafu that kept the call from happening, but we finally got to speak this evening. For about 45 minutes, the VP and I discussed various issues, views of how things should be handled, etc.

I think it went well. Granted, there's no way to know for sure, but he told me the specific people I'd next speak to if it went further. I take that as hopeful. Why get into their names and roles if you're just trying to get me off the phone?

If it goes further, I'll speak to some of these folks by phone. If it gets further than that, I'm probably going to be flying out to California to meet them face-to-face. California is where the corporate offices are, but the job wouldn't be out there. If I got it, home would remain right here. I'd just be doing a lot more traveling (primarily in the Eastern US).

So this sounds exciting, and I'm glad the interview went well. Tomorrow, I have an interview with another organization. All of this interest is nice, but I need a job! So I sure hope somebody makes me a decent offer sometime in the near future!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Ooh, what is that scent you're wearing?

Last night, after what was a very long, tiring day, we put the dogs out in the back yard for one last time before calling it a night. Little did I realize, Mandy was going to make a stop at the fragrances counter.

"Fragrances counter?" you may ask. No, not the one at Macy's. This one is right in our back yard.

You see, this yard has had a couple of feral cats living in it for years (although I suspect we may see less of them now that three dogs have moved into this house). Anyhow, cats will do what cats will do. So Mandy found herself at the doggie equivalent of the Macy's Fragrances Department, standing at the counter, reveling in the latest intoxicating fragrance.

"Excuse me, ma'am," said the sales clerk, "have you smelled our newest scent?" Catching a wiff, Mandy gasps, "oh my, is that the new CK Cat Poop?" "Yes, it is," coos the clerk, "and it's just the thing for you. You'll smell wonderful!"

"I'll take it!" exclaims Mandy.

At this counter, one doesn't check out. No, one looks at the pile of cat poop lying in the grass and rolls over in it, mashing it nicely into one's fur.

Mandy successfully accomplished this acquisition of a new fragrance, thinking "all the other dogs will be so jealous of me. This is the best stuff! I smell hot!!!"

Now, here's the really sad part. Mandy's daddies have no appreciation for the finer things in life. They took one look at the poop, turned up their noses and then Daddy Marc started yelling at her. He even gave her a whack on the behind before dragging her into the shower where he ruined the new scent with stinky shampoo and lots of water.


So that was how our evening ended. No relaxing in the soaking tub. No wild sex in the new bedroom. Nope, Mandy got a shower, I got to do more laundry while that was going on, and then we went to bed and fell asleep. Such an exciting life! ;)

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Today, we moved into the new house. I'm exhausted, but it's a good feeling. Unfortunately, one of the dogs got so worked up that she tossed her cookies. So we're heading back to the old house to pick up the carpet cleaning machine. Who knew we'd need it so soon? And on a night with one less hour in it!

Anyhow, dog urp aside, it's a wonderful day. I had to do a lot of work, as did Marc, but there was a bonus. We hired a moving crew to handle the large pieces of furniture, and it was led by a guy named Jose. He was good looking, but things really started looking up when he got warmed up and decided to strip off his shirt, revealing a tank top that showed off his arms and chest nicely.

Also, I am happy to say that the baggy jeans idiocy never reached Jose. This is a good thing, as baggy jeans would hide a lovely view. That man has a gorgeous ass, and he's smart enough to be wearing tight pants! :)

Anyhow, even setting lustful thoughts aside, it still was a wonderful day. As I type this, I'm sitting in the front room of the new house, as I wait for Marc to finish a call to some friends from Kansas. Then we're heading back to the old house, as mentioned above, then back here for our first night in the house since it was renovated.

Maybe I'll even get some time in the soaking tub before bed!

Friday, April 01, 2005

The odometer clicks ahead one more digit

Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday Dear Me!
Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, April 1st. Don't bother with the jokes. I've heard them all! :)