Sunday, April 29, 2007

I'm thinking hybrid

Many of you who know me in real life didn't know me in my cycling days. Back when Marc and I met, I was much thinner, and I was into cycling to keep fit. I would regularly ride 20, 30 or 40 miles at a very nice clip. Not today.

So when Marc and I recently talked about getting into better shape, I immediately thought of getting back into cycling. It would do both of us good, although Marc has a lot less weight to lose than me. He just has a bit of a belly he's fighting to get rid of.

My old bike was bought when I was in college. I think it's still in the back of the garage, but it wasn't looking good last time I looked. So we'll probably start from scratch. Perhaps matching bikes--and how obnoxious is that? :)

The question is, what kind of bikes? My old one was a road/racing bike, but I think that may be a harder ride than I now want. Also, my back doesn't appreciate prolonged bending quite the way it used to. So perhaps a hybrid bike? We have to go shopping, but from what I've found on these here Internets, it looks like a hybrid might be better than a mountain bike (or a road bike).

If any of you know about this stuff, feel free to chime in. I'll take any info I can get!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What a difference!

Today I was asked to come into the conference room for a meeting. When I walked in, I found every member of the department already in there. The walls were adorned with signs...

Welcome, Jess!
We're so happy you joined us!
Welcome to HR!

It was a surprise party to welcome me aboard!

I was floored. What a wonderful surprise!

They had cookies and fruit, and they gave me all kinds of stuff--a windbreaker, a blanket, a second blanket made for picnics (it's made to roll up small and has a nylon lining on one side to keep it dry), a t-shirt and some other items, all bearing the hospital logo.

It really made me feel great!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This probably says something

As you, my loyal readers (the few of you there are), know, I recently had a brief stay in a job that was bad news.

Now I'm in a new job. This is my third day in the job.

At the old job, in four weeks there, I never got around to putting diplomas, photos, etc., on the wall.

As I said, this is day 3 in the new job. My diplomas are already on the office wall, as are a few photos. I guess, deep down, I knew the old job never felt right. I never was comfortable there.

It's too early to really know how this job will work out (again, just day 3), but it sure feels right!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Trying not to jinx it!

I haven't mentioned it before, because I'm getting a little skittish, but... I got a new job.

Today was the first day, and it went well. It's at a very prestigious hospital, and the commute is good, too.

Marc unbagged the cat in a post he wrote the other day, but I've been hesitant to say anything here. My work life has had a decidedly mercurial nature in recent times, and I've been hesitant to tempt fate by saying anything. But life goes on, and this seems like a good job. So I'll just hope for the best and work hard. Maybe this time all of the pieces will fall into place!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What you've all been waiting for...

For anyone who's a new enough reader, you may not know that I'm the team photographer for the Gotham Knights, our local gay* rugby team. So every so often you'll be treated to photos of the boys in action.

*Just to be clear, there are a few straight boys on the team, but nearly all of the players are gay.

Anyhow, here are a handful of shots from this weekend's matches against the Hudson Valley Rebels...

And he's an Aussie. Between his looks and that accent... *drool*

Regarding that last shot, the guy in front is new. I don't know him yet. The guy in back, however, I do know. His name is Chris. He's a sweetheart. He also has some of the nicest legs I've ever seen, as this photo pretty well shows. (BTW, you can just make out in the photo that his head is wrapped in bandages under the helmet. He got injured in a collision, got his head bandaged up by the paramedic who's at all the games and then went back in. A lot tougher than I am!)

As you can tell from the uniform, he's not on our team. That also probably means he's not on our team, but we can still look and admire, right?

That's a sampling (and clicking on each photo will show you a larger version). The full set of 111 photos can be seen here. I hope you like them! I'll post more after the next match. In the meantime, you'll just have to tolerate my other meanderings. ;)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The real reason you bother with this blog

I know most of you only stop by here to see if I posted any more rugby photos. ;)

Well, I'm happy to report that more are on their way. We were at a match yesterday, and I'm sifting through the photographic results. Give me a day or two, and I'll share some. In the meantime, here's one to hold you over...

Sorry. I know it's not an action shot. Worse yet, he's on the opposing team, and we lost yesterday. So feel free to complain! :)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Racism near and far

Regarding the Imus mess, I have to agree that what Imus said was bigoted and stupid. Many years ago, I was an Imus listener, but I stopped listening when I got tired of stupid comments that weren't even so bad. The worst offender was usually the guy who kicked off this mess, his producer Bernard McGuirk.

I don't know if Imus deserved to be fired--a costly suspension might have sent a sufficient message--but I'm not too upset, either. He was stupid. What bothers me is that the effort against him was led by Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton and Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson. These are men who have done terribly offensive things, to say the least. So their screaming about Imus really doesn't sit well. The members of the college team he was talking about? Sure, they're entitled to yell. But Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson? Give me a break. As soon as Jesse Jackson pays a real price for his anti-Semitic characterization of New York, then we can talk about apologies not being enough. And don't even get me started on that phony Sharpton.

On another topic, tonight's news here in New York had a story about a German drill instructor encouraging a soldier to shoot better by imagining he was aiming at black men in the Bronx. Again, stupid, but this really is making a mountain out of a molehill.

First of all, it's Germany. Yes, I'm biased. All one generally has to do to get me going about Germany is give me the slightest little reason. I managed to upset a good friend a few months back, because I was so bent out of shape over what sounded to me like his too favorable comments about Germany. We kissed and made up, but you get the idea. So I was all ears when I heard that there was some horrid story about racism from Germany. And then this is the story?

Please! If everything American drill sergeants said was put on tape, I doubt we'd all be thrilled with every word. So some German drill sergeant said to pretend they were aiming at black guys. Yes, it's racist and a horrible thing to say, but it's not like the German government announced that it was a new official training program! The guy is an embarrassment to the German army (and there's something that takes some doing--embarrassing the German army!), but that should call for his lieutenant tearing him a new one. I don't think it's worth pissing off tons of people by making it a major news story! The media really need to get a grip!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hurting hound

Bernice, the subject of today's post

(Yes, I'm reusing a photo. That's probably the best shot of her I've ever taken, so I'm using it again.)

As I've mentioned recently, our eldest puppy isn't such a puppy anymore. She's 9 years old, and she's been having some issues. Today I took her to the vet to address her recent issues. The main one is what appeared to be arthritis in her back legs/hips.

One of the things I feared was hip dysplasia, and that's exactly what it is. Both of the femoral heads in her back legs (the top of each bone, where it fits into the pelvis) are badly degraded. They have maybe 15% or so of the bone size/shape they should have.

As the vet went over the x-rays with me, he explained some options. Before we go down any of the paths leading to surgery, he's going to consult with a veterinary orthopedist, but the most likely option is a femoral head resection. That involves removing that end of each bone, so she'll support her weight back there with just the strength of her muscles and connective tissue. No bone-on-bone support.

That should relieve her pain and give her a good quality of life. There are negatives, of course: 1) the surgery will be traumatic and draining for her; 2) there are risks to any surgery; and 3) it costs a lot (at least $2,500, not counting the $500+ I spent today and whatever other visits come before actual surgery--nice to have this while I'm unemployed!). Actually, the money is the least of my concerns. Not that we're rolling in money or that the timing is good. It's just that things like this matter more than money. She's a member of our family and is our responsibility.

The toughest part is the realization that she's getting older. Yes, we all are, but we love her, and the fact is that she can't have more than a handful of years left with us. That's the nature of a dog's life, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier. It's even tougher for me to grasp, since she may just have a few years, while the dogs we've had in the family in the past were a bit smaller and usually made it to 15 or so. I'm hoping for that with her, but I understand that it's unlikely in a dog her size.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Yay! The annual gay bloggers get together is on!

This year's GB:NY will be on Memorial Day Weekend. Some e-mails were exchanged today, trying to figure out the schedules of a few key participants.

After some figgerin' (sorry for the technical terminology) and an excellent suggestion from Byrne, we've decided that our regular suburban contribution, the GB:NY Barbecue, will be held on Memorial Day.

I had been planning to try to set it up on Saturday as usual, but the schedules were a little tight this time, since I'd already heard that Mark and Brian probably wouldn't fly in until Saturday and we love having them as part of the barbecue crowd. Not that we don't like seeing lots of the other bloggers come out here, too, but Mark and Brian are real GB:NY anchors. Plus, we hardly ever get to see them, since they live half a country away!

Then came Byrne's excellent suggestion--hold the barbecue on Monday. The fact that it was Memorial Day weekend had slipped my mind. I didn't even think of Monday!

So it's on, and I'm thrilled! Should be fun! I hope you'll all be able to attend! :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I'm learning

This morning, I checked ads online, as I do most mornings (and afternoons and evenings--it's such a fun life). In the New York Times' ads, I saw one that might be good. It was for an HR Director in Manhattan, but it didn't offer a lot of details.

So I e-mailed my resume, and I got a call about half an hour later. The guy told me a bit about the place (a 100-person accounting firm), and I immediately grew concerned. I couldn't imagine they'd want someone with my background. So I asked if they wanted someone to do all of the hands-on, day-to-day stuff like processing the payroll. Not surprisingly, they did.

It's common sense. Why would they need a lawyer with large-company experience in that kind of setting?

So I thanked him for the call and told him I'd pass on the opportunity.

I'm still pissed at the home care company I was at for a few weeks. They are big enough to need someone with my skills, and they truly need the help. Their branches are dying for the help! But they lied to me about what was going on in their corporate office, and they're treacherous assholes (who, by the way, are practicing gender discrimination in their management--seriously, being a man there puts you in jeopardy, but that's just one of their issues). Still, their lies made me more aware of what reality would be in some companies.

Live and learn.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Blind hunters? WTF?!

Thanks to Matt for pointing this one out:

From the "Only in Texas" files: Blind hunters may be allowed to use lasers

I'm not a fan of hunting to start with, but there are blind people who are this desperate to kill something? And there are other people who think it's a good idea to let blind people fire guns? It's not even a good idea to let most people with 20-20 vision fire guns!

Coming next: blind driving!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Experience makes all the difference

Still lacking a full schedule, I went back to the blood center today. Might as well use the free time to do some good. I can't do another platelet donation yet, since my right arm looks like I was in a car accident, thanks to last week's donation debacle. My left arm, however, just had slight dime-size bruising (that lovely end-of-a-bruise yellowing) left over around the spot where that needle was put in. So I figured I'd let them use my more-or-less healthy left arm and draw a unit of whole blood.

I went in, filled out the paperwork, got checked by a nurse (the usual routine--blood pressure, pulse, temperature, hemoglobin check) and then waited for a siphoning table (yeah, that's the technical name!). :)

So I get called and go hop up in the blood donation lounge chair/table. Yet again, I get a new nurse. This one wasn't even chronologically mature like last week's nurse. Instead, she looked like she's just a kid. Well, as she checks me out, she says she can't do the venipuncture when I have a bruise over the best vein to use.

I complain a bit--a polite "someone might have mentioned this when I began the process half an hour ago." (And yes, I did point it out to them, so it's not like no one knew.)

With that, she said she'd check with the nurse manager. The nurse manager is, of course, a much more experienced nurse. She asked the young nurse if she'd rather hand me off so the nurse manager could do it. The young nurse agreed, and I was relieved.

The nurse manager said she didn't want to waste my trip to them. She told me that I should have waited to heal completely (and to do so next time), but she'd go ahead and get the job done. Of course, as experienced as she is, the needle stick was quick and clean. Yes, it still hurts a little, but she hit the vein and had "the bleed" going in a few seconds.

Like anything else, it pays to have someone with lots of experience. I'm glad to have eventually found a pro after having dealt with the rookies too often. Now I just hope I'm not back to a rookie next time, although I probably will be. *sigh*


P.S.--despite Patrick's helpful comment last week, I don't plan to seek out heroin addicts to help, no matter how green the nurses get (but thanks for the tip, Patrick)! ;)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's quiet... too quiet

Okay, so I sound like an old Western, but I don't have a fort. Besides, the Native Americans got screwed so I'd rather side with them.

Anyhow, the real point is that things have been rather quiet this week on the job front. I went on a first interview on Monday and was hoping to hear something soon, since there was someone I was supposed to meet Monday who was out (so I just met one of the two people). So I figured I'd at least get an e-mail saying he was sorry he missed me but would like to reschedule. Alas, no e-mail as yet. Hmmm. Well, for all I know, he may still be out.

Also, there haven't been a lot of ads posted.

I take that back. There have been plenty, but very few were worth a response.

Then it occurred to me. It's a holiday week. We're in Passover--for those of you outside of New York, Jewish holidays do matter a bit here as far as the pace of business--and then tomorrow is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter. That always seems to slow the pace of things. So I really shouldn't read much into it.

Still, it's hard to relax, even though we're pretty safe financially. Marc and I are pretty good savers. Not that I don't wonder if we'll ever have enough to retire! That's another story. What I mean is that there's enough put away so that it would take a long time before we'd be in real financial jeopardy. Plus, Marc is working, although he rebels whenever I mention his supporting both of us in perpetuity. ;)

With that said, I just hate being unemployed. If nothing else, I hate spending our savings. I'd rather see it grow, hoping that the aforementioned retirement will become more of a possibility before we're in our 80s. Even if we choose to keep working when we're "senior citizens," I'd like to have it be because we chose to, not because we have to.

Yes, I'm overreacting. A short period of unemployment won't cripple us--but that's my intellectual side talking. Emotionally, it's tough!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Now that they're going to be freed...

There's something I've been reluctant to say. In watching the footage of British sailors being held by Iran, I've been tempted but held off, just in case things turned out badly.

Now that Iranian Psycho-in-Chief Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he's going to release the sailors being held hostage, I feel safer in commenting...

There are some HOT boys in that group! If they were to head over here and celebrate their release in Greenwich Village, they might get held hostage again--but for entirely different reasons! ;)

I know there were much better photos around, but I can't find any right now.

Congrats to the hot British sailorboys (and one girl, I believe) who are being released. It's nice to see some good news.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's someone's birthday

I don't want to be too obvious about this, but today is someone's birthday. Here are two hints from a year ago. :)