Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Internet cowards

One sad property of the Internet is that it lets small-minded cowards make nasty comments with no repercussions. Today, I was checking my e-mail and found that some anonymous person had left a nasty comment on my blog. Nothing specific was said... just nasty words. Okay, I'm a big boy and can deal with that, but I'm not going to let some moron with a small penis and the attendant frustrations get his jollies on my blog.

So now I've set the blog so you can't post comments anonymously. Since the real comments are usually from named people, it shouldn't make much of a difference. It's just sad that some double-digit IQ reject caused this change.

This reminds me of the old days when I used to chat on IRC. I was in there one day, and some guy came into the channel. It was a nice, friendly, no-sex-talk-allowed channel. All was lovely until this guy shows up and starts gay bashing, so we threw him out.

Never one to let someone like that off easily, I messaged him directly and let him have it. He then told me he was going to come to my house with a baseball bat. Now it got amusing.

I explained to this young man that my job at that time involved my carrying a badge and a gun (all true, btw) and that he was going to look really dumb, lying dead on the ground with a baseball bat in his hand and a bullet hole in his forehead. For some reason, this stopped his tirade.

The really interesting part for me was that the guy was actually a teenager (like 15 or 16, as I recall) with sexual identity issues. After assuring him I was not kidding, he apologized and then told me he was scared. We chatted for quite a while, and I was able to talk to him about his issues and his fear that he might be gay. That, I suppose, is a story for another day.

In the meantime, sorry for the change, if it inconveniences anyone other than today's guest coward.

Monday, August 30, 2004

One day, the sky may fall (or, at least, the car may crash)

I don't know what it is about me, but things in the sky have always held a fascination for me. Today, I found myself admiring some unusual cloud formations on the way home.

I'm not the type to say, "hey, that looks like a dragon." No, I like to try to remember which is cirrus and which is cumulus, and so on. I also wonder about what is causing the strange clouds when I see clearly different types interacting. Today, I suppose the collision of a front and some tropical air was causing it. I'd like to say I can actually tell this by looking, but I cheated--the weather forecast helped! :)

I did consider meteorology as a career (along with a number of other careers I considered to one extent or another). I even took a course when I was an undergrad at Johns Hopkins. I'm not sure if it was the headache from studying fluid dynamics that dissuaded me from pursuing this line of work, but it still holds at least a passing interest. Actually, any of the many amazing forces of nature have the ability to fascinate me.

On the other hand, man-made things in the sky can get my attention, too. When I worked in Brooklyn, my commute took me right alongside JFK airport. When the winds were right, the flight path of landing jets went right over the Belt Parking Lot (officially called the "Belt Parkway", but who are they kidding?).

So, on good days, I could open my car's sunroof and watch as 747s and other large jets went right over, a mere 3 inches above my car (okay, it may have been a little more than 3 inches, but it didn't seem like much more!). The roar of the engines was such a rush.

The ultimate was one special morning when my timing was just right. I'd seen this particular plane takeoff and land many times, but this time it came right over the car. I was in heaven. As far as I'm concerned, this particular plane, The Concorde, was one of the prettiest planes I'd ever seen. In flight, it looked like a bird of prey. As it passed over the car that morning, the roar of its engines drowned out every other sound. Beautiful!

So how have I spent all these years looking up and never crashed? Dunno. I suppose I'm careful enough to leave plenty of space between myself and other cars, but maybe, just maybe, someone is looking out for this overgrown kid whose eyes still stray to the heavens in fascination for what's up there.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Constitution and cleaning house

The effort to clean out my Mom's house goes on. Marc and I spent time there this weekend, going through many pieces of family history. I try to look at things dispassionately, because too much thinking about what each thing is (and how each item connects to a piece of my life and/or the lives of my parents and brothers) would just crush me. It's bad enough that Marc had to hold me while I cried for a few minutes tonight.

I don't cry easily, but I've got a lot of pain buried in me. I miss my Mom and Dad. Plus, having lost my Mom and grandmother within 16 days of each other earlier this year was a blow that will take me a long time to put in its place. So sometimes I think too much and the tears come out.

Anyhow, one part of today's cleaning/sorting reminded me of my mother's patriotism. Now, I don't mean patriotism in the mindless "either you're with us or against us" way that so many seem to see it. These people, many of whom I consider to be evidence of the ongoing failures of our educational system, are stupid and ignorant. What's the deal, people? Why can't we understand that we need to pay teachers well, so that you'll attract the best people? Nowadays, there are some (my younger brother leaps to mind) who are very smart and dedicated, teaching kids because they care. Unfortunately, many others who would make fine teachers instead move into more lucrative professions. The result? People who think this is meant to be a Christian country, to the exclusion of other views, and think their way is the only right way.

Anyhow, back to Mom. She was a patriot, in the way that smart, educated people know the word to mean. She believed in equal rights, freedom to express one's opinion (even if--or especially if--it was unpopular), all of the freedoms we're supposed to hold dear, although the current President has made a mockery of our traditions.

Hey, President Dumbass, let's start with a schoolbook of my Mom's that I found from 1947. The Pledge of Allegiance was in it. Guess what! The words "under God" don't appear in it. That's right. Not there! People like you added the words for political reasons in the 1950s. While we're at it, there's a document my mother held dear that you might want to read (at least if and when you decide reading is something you might like to try). My Mom had a calendar put away that may give you a hint...

Yes, the Bill of Rights. If you haven't heard of it, ask your Attorney General. He's been using it for almost four years now to wipe his ass. Assuming we have a new President come January, I will regret that my mother will not be here to see it. I just hope she'll know, wherever she is.

Anyhow, we have been pulling tons of stuff out of the house. There's so much to go through, but we're finally getting near the end of it all. We need to finish soon, so the renovations of the house can begin. One thing that reinforces the reality of my Mom's demise is how the front room of her house looks.

Sadly, I don't have my Mom's ability to maintain a neat house. I try, but I really am way too adept at saving receipts, too slow at throwing out newspapers, etc. Anyhow, my Mom kept a neat home. So there's no way she could still be alive and let me get away with this...

Sorry, Mom, but it's just temporary, as we go through stuff. We'll have it cleaned out soon. Promise!

I even have my best helper with me...

Isn't he cute, all mussed like that? Makes me want to jump him.

Speaking of that, I think I'll end this post. I just thought of something else to do! ;)

Saturday, August 28, 2004

So that's what I am!

While fellow bloggers (Charlie, for example) are finding/taking quizzes to see what kind of people they are and what kind of things they like, I found something really important! Presenting...

The What kind of dog are you? test! My results?

You have completed your test; your doggie nature is:

Rottweiler: Sit, fella, sit! And pick on someone your own size!

I wouldn't have picked that breed, but who am I to argue with such a fine, scientific analysis? :)

Friday, August 27, 2004


As I mentioned before, the Joint Commission survey (inspection) is, to say the least, a challenge to hospital administrators.

My area, human resources, has many responsibilities that are tracked and tested as part of the process. Today, I faced one of the big hurdles: a meeting with one of the surveyors who checks what training we've been doing, questions how we ensure that staff members are competent and fully trained to do what they need to do in order to provide patient care, checks the completeness and accuracy of our files, and reviews any number of other things.

As an old friend and colleague said to me, "HR always gets hit for something." Well, NOT THIS TIME!!! :) I am so happy. Even with some screw-ups by the Nursing Department that threatened to tank the meeting, I managed to pull it out of a nosedive. I know I'm bragging, but it really went great. Best of all, the big bosses know it.

So, a week full of stress (union negotiations, JCAHO survey, bouncing payroll checks (another story)) has ended very nicely.

To thank several of us for our work, one of the big bosses took us here...

I had a lovely Malibu rum & Coke. Then Marc and I went out to a great dinner tonight. All in all, a tough week but a lovely ending.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Paramedic butts (or, “What I would want for Xmas, if I were Xian”)

Working in hospitals, I have seen my share of EMTs/AMTs/Paramedics (hereinafter “paramedics” for simplicity’s sake). When I worked in the city, they usually worked for the NYC Fire Department (although some worked for ambulance companies or hospitals). Out here on the Island, there are many ambulance companies, offering a veritable smorgasbord of men.

Whatever the sources, this is a group of men worth watching (by the way, there are certainly women on these ambulances, too, but I just don’t seem to find myself watching them, for some reason). Granted, I’ve seen any number of these men who aren’t worth a second glance. Even so, on any given day, there’s an excellent chance of seeing a boy worth watching/drooling over.

Why, you ask, are there so many yummy ones? Glad you asked, because I have a theory! Being a paramedic is a hard job, and they seem to move on to other things after not-too-many years. So the population of these men tends to be relatively young. That always helps. Then there’s the way they dress.

The paramedics usually wear either cargo pants and blue polo-style shirts or one-piece jumpsuits. In either case, the seats of their pants invariably hug nicely to their butts. In this age of baggy pants (and someday I will find whoever started that trend and kill him/her), these tight pants are refreshing!

No, I guess refreshing isn’t the word. Whatever the word is, the sight of these boys over the years has often made me consider writing a dirty story about them. The rough plot outline would have me getting knocked unconscious and opening my eyes to the smiling face of one of them (who later would ask me on a date and ravage me). ;)

With my luck, if it ever happened in real life, I’d wake up to a guy who looks like Keith Richards. Oh well, I suppose fantasies are fun! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Give me a break, people!

Yet again, traffic on the Southern State Parkway was a mess the other night. It dragged and dragged. When I finally got to what was slowing everyone down, they weren't rubbernecking a hideous accident or Dean Cain doing naked jumping jacks on the shoulder of the parkway. Nooooooo, it was something terribly rare. Nothing you'd see too often.

A State Trooper had pulled a car over. Okay, and what else? Nothing else! I have to have a long commute home because someone was speeding? People, please!

Is it a fear thing? Do they all think the cop may change his mind and come after them instead?? Like the cop will be in the middle of ruining the day of guy he pulled over and then look up and decide he likes someone else's car better!

"Hey, that other car is dark green. I hate dark green! Ever since Aunt Etta was killed when that case of frozen spinach fell on her, I vowed to eradicate dark green objects wherever I found them. Sir, you may go on your way. I need to go pull over that other motorist, instead, and shoot him."

People, the cop is busy already. You may safely drive past him! He's not going to do anything! More to the point, can't we at least go fifty-five? If he scares you, just obey the law for that brief moment, but I don't see the need to slow to an absolute crawl! Geez!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Quick! Someone lash me to the mast!

Oh, the temptation! It's just not right. I've been dieting for months, taking it slow (the smart way, I think), so I don't want to make any major missteps.

So what does the Dietary Department send us for our JCAHO prep meeting? Lunch, including lovely brownies (a lot lovelier than my cell phone's camera can show here). Like the Sirens calling to Odysseus, I felt them drawing me in.

I resisted temptation, but it's not easy, especially now. These are days of major stress, and my crutch is food. That's always been my crutch. Some people drink, some smoke... I eat. Well, at least I resisted! :)

Saturday, August 21, 2004

You go, Garrison!

If I didn’t already like Garrison Keillor, this interview would have made me a fan.

With straightforward statements like What a disaster this shallow and deceitful president has been!, he speaks his mind quite clearly.

Keillor also acknowledges that the Republican Party of today is not the one it used to be. This really strikes a chord with me.

When I was growing up, I had friends and loved ones who were committed Republicans, but they weren’t the narrow-minded hate mongers we see in the GOP today. Rather, these were people who believed in individual rights (a term W doesn’t even understand), felt a need for fiscal prudence (unlike this President and his greedy friends) and didn’t see the environment as a dumping ground.

Rather than rehash the whole thing, let me just recommend the interview. Click here and read it for yourself. It’s worth the time!

Friday, August 20, 2004

Some flowers to brighten the day

I took this at a flower show. It's the best way to get such shots--the flowers usually look nice, and, not being outside, there's far less risk of getting a bee sting! :)

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Lunch and memories of pretty lights

Today, I had a lunch meeting at the bar association. As it happens, the bar association is right across the street from the county executive building—this is where I worked for several years.

I hadn’t been in the neighborhood for a while, so some memories came back to me as I visited the area. I remembered some of the fun I had when I was a Deputy County Attorney and also remembered some of the headaches when I was the county’s HR Director.

The HR Director’s job was a powerful position, but the boss was a pain, and the job had many, many headaches. So, as I drove away from the area, I felt that life was better since I left that role.

Then came a reminder of one thing from the job that I really wish I still had. As I was driving back to work, this moron in her little car cut into a turn lane a couple of cars in front of me. I assure you she wouldn’t have gotten in had she tried it right in front of me. Unfortunately, she found someone less offended (or more timid) than me and managed to cut the line—and it was a long line waiting for that light!

So what did the old job offer that would help with something like this? It offered a company car. As a concession to my 24-hour-a-day job and my responsibilities, supervising a work force of 15,000 (including a police department, hospital, etc., etc.) and a recognition of the ground I had to cover, they provided a car.

Well, not the usual type of company car. You see, like my current vehicle, it was a Ford. Unlike my current Ford, however, this wasn’t an Explorer. No, this model was called the “Crown Victoria Police Interceptor”. Neat name, huh? That’s the actual model name. Yes, the county provided me with an unmarked police car!

It came nicely equipped, courtesy of my colleagues in the police department—lots of pretty lights, a neat radio, etc. Oh yes, in those days, people either behaved around me or I scared the shit out of them.

On the way to work one day, this woman ran a red light, cut me off and then yelled at me when I had the nerve to blow the horn. She was literally yelling at me…right up until the moment I hit the red lights. Then she proceeded to cry. She actually burst into tears! The funny part was the other drivers in the intersection practically applauding me.

The truth is, it took a lot for me to do anything. I only occasionally used the fun toys, and it was usually for something more than a driver-attitude correction. One time, I helped an ambulance weave through tight traffic on the parkway (and it’s amazing how many people are oblivious to red lights and a siren—pull to the right, people!). Another time, part of police headquarters was on fire, and I had to coordinate assistance from other departments once the flames were put out, so things could keep running.

Even so, there are moments when I really miss those pretty lights—like today when I really wanted to tell that woman what a selfish bitch she was!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Travels with Jess

So what excitement awaited me at the end of the day today? (Having tossed the snapshot camera in the car—a nice camera, actually, but it’s not the SLR—I can drag you along for the whole boring ride!) Yes, it’s the Southern State Parkway! Expecting the usual delays, I was pleased to see…

What a treat! So that made it easier to go get a little shopping done. I know what you’re thinking: “so how did you get where you were going?” Well, I’m glad you asked. But first, I need to answer the question that has been plaguing America. “What is in Jess’ truck’s front seat console?” Well, without further ado, here it is…

Yes, it’s exciting, isn’t it? We can see the bulb I put in the truck to replace the burned out one in the hallway of my late grandmother’s apartment. We’ve been there at least twice since I put it in the truck, but my early senility has kept me from remembering to actually bring it inside with me. Other exciting items: the remote for the GPS system, a small tape measure, the fallout from this morning’s Claritin-D tablet (again, remembering to carry it into the office and throw it out was too much for my addled brain to handle) and other odds and ends.

Now, back to our route…

Yes, we’re going to take the wonderful Meadowbrook Parkway. It’s actually rather scenic (well, if you like trees—not much else to look at)…

So what exit did I take? I took Merrick Road east…

“But why? That’s not where you live, Jess! Where were you going to do your shopping?”

Well, where else would a smart Long Island gay boy go to shop? To a store that has a yellow brick road…

Yes, it’s Trader Joe's!!!

And what vital supplies did Trader Joe’s have to offer? What else? Low-carb ice cream…

Yes, that vital item, brought to us by the wonderful people at San Francisco’s Double Rainbow, allowing me to have some sweet stuff while staying on my diet.

A few other things were purchased as well, one of which was…

The rule in our house is, if Jess or Marc enter with Trader Joe’s bags, they must contain treats for the dogs. Otherwise, Jess and Marc may not enter the house. This rule is enforced by Bernice. Being a Doberman-Shepherd mix, she is prepared to enforce the rule.

Not wanting to sleep outside, I always make sure I put some biscuits in the basket! :)

Monday, August 16, 2004

A mohawk? A mohawk?!

This afternoon, I looked out the windows of the HR/Payroll building toward the nearby ballfield. No one was on the field itself, but some kids (and a couple of their fathers and/or coaches) were on the grass closer to our building, practicing their catching and hitting.

While wondering how long it would be until a ball came crashing through one of our windows, my gaze was drawn to one of the boys. No, not because he was a 22 year old college hottie. No such luck! Once again, sadly, these were kids.

The kid in question was about 9 years old, give or take, and had a mohawk! No, not the "high and tight" military-style haircut. I mean a full-on mohawk.

Not only have I not seen a mohawk in many moons, but who lets a little kid get one? I'm probably just too much of a conformist or something, but I feel like such a haircut on a small child should be sufficient grounds for a full investigation of the parents by Child Protective Services!

Okay, okay. Maybe not, but I still can't believe anyone let the kid get a mohawk! :)

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Memories, like the corners of my mind...

The effort to clean out the family house continues. Since I grew up there, I continue to find items full of personal memories. One of those items (and one that holds no pain, unlike some of the ones that really pull at my heart) is a shirt from the 1977 blackout. We found it in a corner of the basement, grimy and somewhat the worse for wear. Still, my Mom (who bought it for me when I was 11 years old, after I was caught in the blackout) put it away, as she put away so many things that belonged to me and my brothers.

When the big blackout of 1977 hit, I was visiting my aunt and uncle in Brooklyn. They lived in a large apartment building, and I was there with them and my cousins when the lights suddenly went out. When they did, we ran to the terrace to see if it was just our building or the surrounding ones as well. From there, we could see whole sections of the city as they blinked out. It was wild. Not just a few buildings at a time, and not the whole place at once. Instead, big chunks of NYC went black one after another.

We then spent the blackout more-or-less trapped in the apartment. It was a high floor, so no one wanted to go outside. While the walk down might have been tolerable, the walk back up the stairs would have been a killer.

I saw some interesting things during that involuntary confinement. The people in the building were actually rather resourceful. Some on the lower floors would fill buckets with water lowered from the upper floors by people stuck there.

If you're wondering why they would need to do this, water in tall buildings is drawn from tanks on the roof. To get there, the water is pumped up to the roof. No electricity, no pumps. No pumps, no water (at least not after whatever is on hand when the lights go out is exhausted).

It was an interesting event. One of those breaks in the regular flow of life by which we may mark a moment in time. So we found the shirt. It's of no real use to me. It doesn't hold cherished memories of Mom, and I'll never fit into it again, no matter how well the diet goes, but it serves as a reminder of one of life's interesting moments.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

What a day!

Today, we held our big garage sale. This was a long time coming, and the actual event was an experience to remember (in the vein of a bad car crash!).

Okay, so it wasn’t quite that bad, but we sure attracted some odd folks. My brother, Charlie, and his wife, Trisha, held a garage sale of their own a few weeks ago and warned us that this would happen. They were right!

Even so, this needed to be done. We held the garage sale at what was my parents’ house (my Mom died earlier this year, and my Dad has been gone for six years now). We’re going to be moving there eventually, but first we have to clear it out so we can renovate it. Since we have a house of our own, we decided the smart move would be to do the construction at the new house before selling our current one. After all, why live through the mess if we can avoid it?

Okay, back to today’s sale. We took some things from here (“here” being our current home, since that’s where I’m typing this) and added to the many things we had to get out of my Mom’s house. It’s amazing how much there was to sell.

Really, we weren’t looking to make money on this stuff. It just didn’t feel right to throw things out when they could find a new life in someone else’s home. Of course, there was a ton of stuff we did throw out. Over the past several weeks, we’ve taken “contractor” trash bags (these are huge, heavy weight plastic trash bags we get at Home Depot) to my Mom’s house and dragged out literally dozens of these bags full of trash. Also, family members took many important items, from pictures to furniture.

For all of that, after weeks of cleaning the house out, we were left with things that weren’t of use to us but could be of use to someone else. My old desk, the bunk beds I shared with my younger brother when we were kids, various fans, lamps, pots and pans, items collected from trips to other parts of the world, and so on.

Well, we got an early start, or so we thought, getting there by 8am. What I quickly learned is that 8am isn’t early for the garage sale crowd. We couldn’t even get everything outside before they were swarming. It helps that the house is near a big street, so I only had to hang out a couple of signs on the main street and they began to swarm.

I must admit that some of the people were very nice. Some were a little odd, and others… well, what is it with people? We were selling things for prices that were just above giving them away. Still, people needed to haggle.

One item we dragged over from this house was a large halogen floor lamp. It was nearly new, worked perfectly and was tagged by us at a whopping five dollars. So this strange fellow asks if it works—-fair question, so we plugged it in to show him. Then he wanted to know if it had three setting levels. Marc explained that, in fact, it had two.

This wingnut then questioned Marc, arguing that most such lamps had three levels. His point? No idea, as this one has two. We didn’t build it, and we can’t do anything about it, but the man was troubled. Or he pretended to be.

So did he buy the lamp? Yes, but he needed to haggle, because five dollars was just too much to spend. Um, okay, whatever. He wanted to pay three dollars. Whatever, you cheap weasel, just take the lamp and hit the road. Maybe that was his point in being troubled by the lack of a third setting.

Anyhow, we got a lot of stuff sold, and that’s good. It needed to go somewhere other than the dump. Sadly, some of the items will wind up in the dump. Others will get picked over when we put them at the curb for the town to pick up, because there’s another subculture that loves to find things sitting (free!) at the curb. This I’ve seen here when we’ve put items out for pickup.

Really, the day was quite productive. We were happy to see so many things go happily on their way. Also, we had a visit from an old friend of my Mom’s, a lovely lady named Connie, of whom Marc and I are quite fond.

We also had a visit from my brother, Charlie, and his wife and son, Owen. Owen got some free toys from the collection we had on sale. That, of course, is a great thing.

At the end of the day, we had a visit from Patrick and Greg. I had text-messaged them about the garage sale, but I didn’t know if they’d be able to stop by. Of course, by that hour, we were grimy and sweaty. So it’s not like we were at our best (I hope I didn't reek too seriously!). Even so, we got to show them the “before” version of the house we’ll soon be renovating. More importantly, it’s wonderful when good friends stop by. So, thanks boys!

Add to this a meeting with our general contractor, a meeting with the central air conditioning contractor, and a visit from a moving company that took furniture up to my brother Al's house in Chappaqua, and it truly can be counted as a full and productive (if unusual) day!

Friday, August 13, 2004

Feeling just a wee bit guilty

We all have our guilty pleasures, I suppose. On the other hand, I guess I shouldn't even categorize this in "pleasures," but I do find these things fascinating.

All my life, I've been amazed by nature's power. Put a hurricane, tornado or earthquake on the television, and I'll watch like a deer in the headlights.

Since I'm sitting home today (recuperating from my annoying little virus), I'm able to watch the latest developments in the Hurricane Charley saga. As a child, I saw no downside to this.

Now, as an adult, I realize that these things bring terror to other people. There's certainly more than enough to fear in this world, so we don't need more. If my life, loved ones and/or property were in the way of this monster, I'd be, to use the scientific term, shittin' kittens.

Even so, I can't help but watch. Like seeing a bad car wreck, I'm glad I'm not in it, but I'm still curious.

Guilt aside, this is amazing stuff. The power of the natural world is so far beyond anything within the power of puny humans. Watching it all play out is just astounding.

By the way, why is it spelled Charley? I've known guys who spell their names that way, but it's unusual. The usual spelling is Charlie. The hurricane boys really need to get out more.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Oh, great. This is just what we need!

I will freely admit that I have never liked Jim McGreevey. New Joisey's current governor always rubbed me the wrong way. It was hard to say why he bothered me, but he always did--maybe it was just that he came across as such a disingenuous stereotypical politician.

So what's his news? He's gay. Under other circumstances, I might applaud his honesty at coming out. Unfortunately, there's more...

He is married and has kids. Also, he had an affair with a man, cheating on his wife. Okay, that's bad, but it gets worse.

His boyfriend, for lack of a better term (or lack of one I can think to use at the moment), was on the state payroll. Not only on the payroll, but Jimmyboy made him NJ's homeland security advisor, a very important, high-paying government job. That is, until the federal government said the guy couldn't do the job, since he isn't an American! No, the guy is Israeli. I guess I should be glad he wasn't a Saudi from the bin Laden family.

So now all of the ignorant homophobes out there have an example of why we gays are trouble. "See? They can't be trusted! They have fake marriages and cheat on their wives. And they're willing to risk letting the terrorists kill us just so they can get sex!"

Thanks a whole bunch, Jim.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The kid is scary!

You may recall meeting Dodger in a prior entry. Well, today I came home feeling pretty icky (to use as scientific a term as the "we don't know whatcha got" diagnosis I got earlier). While sitting in a chair, Bernice and Dodger both came to see what I was doing. Mandy, apparently, was occupied with her knitting or something.

Bernice planted herself about 10 feet away, so she could keep an eye on me and look down the stairs at the same time. Mister Dodge, on the other hand, came in to say hello. When he did, he stood up on the side of the chair and sniffed me. I asked him for a kiss, but he didn't give me one. Then he went around to the other side of the chair and sniffed me again, completing his inspection. Again, I asked for a kiss, knowing that doggie kisses are healing and would, no doubt, help my condition.

After refusing my repeated requests, he began walking out of the room. At that, knowing my dogs and the way they are like young siblings (always jealous of each other and fighting for attention), I tried one last thing. "I know Bernice will give me a kiss if I ask her." At that, Dodger (whose grasp of English is scary!) turned around, ran to me and planted a big, wet doggie kiss on my cheek.

Doggie kisses: better than any medicine! :)

Don’t get sick in a hospital!

Yeah, I know. What the heck is that subject? What are you talking about, boy?

Well, as my faithful fans may recall (both of you?), I was a bit under the weather early last week, but I quickly got back on my feet and headed back to work. Unfortunately, today brought a recurrence. I haven’t been 100% since last week, but I thought the main symptoms had passed. Well, maybe not.

Early this afternoon, I again felt feelings of nausea and chills. So I said to my boss (the hospital Administrator (who is also an RN)) if there was a thermometer nearby, so I could just check my temperature. Oh yeah, there was a thermometer, as well as various other pieces of medical equipment. Yes, I let her lead me to the Emergency Room. I thought they’d just check my vital signs and send me on my way, but noooooooo.

Instead, I got a complete check… and I mean complete!

Yes, they heard “nausea” and other symptoms and decided to rule out heart problems (despite my having had a checkup just two weeks ago and no prior evidence of heart problems).

They checked my vital signs, took several vials of blood, did an EKG, checked the oxygen saturation level in my blood, took an x-ray of my chest and then proceeded to give me a saline IV.

They even called a cardiologist. It’s certainly nice to know that I’m very healthy in a cardiovascular sense, but I really just wanted to make sure I didn’t have a fever. Oh, and the diagnosis? “WEAKNESS/FATIGUE UNKNOWN CAUSE viral syndrome” (that's an exact quote from the sheet they gave me, right down to the perplexing choice of upper and lower case letters)

In English, they think I have a virus, but they don't really know what's wrong. Uh huh. I think I knew that.

Don’t get me wrong. Once again, it’s nice to know they care. It was nice that the Director of Nursing and various other department heads came to check on me. It was nice that the CFO checked on me before I was sent home for the day.

Even so, I think I just needed to go pull the blankets up over my head and sleep, only to be awakened from time to time by Marc, so he could give me chicken soup and then molest me once I feel better. ;)

Monday, August 09, 2004

I know you've all been wondering...

My millions... er, thousands... hmmm... hundreds of fans? Okay, the couple of you who may be reading this might have some slight interest in where I work. Now you can see it!

This is the main entrance to the General Hospital building (btw, we have four divisions: general hospital, psychiatric hospital, physical medicine & rehabilitation, and the nursing home):

This entrance recently got a facelift, so it looks pretty nice (although I think they were pretty sloppy in how they put my name on it). ;)

My office isn't in this building. The hospital center actually sits on 31 acres of land and has quite a number of buildings. So am I in an even spiffier building? Is HR housed somewhere sleek and modern? Or is it, sadly, in some little old house that still says "Personnel" on it, even though we've been called "Human Resources" (or, as I prefer, Human Racehorses) for many years? Well, take a look:


There are some positive points, however. We're in a nice, suburban setting. Right next to my office is a nice big field, followed by a baseball field.

When I started working here last year, I hoped that the field would see regular use by hot college boys. Instead, it sees regular use by little kiddies. I suppose that's for the best. College hotties would be too much of a distraction! :)

Sunday, August 08, 2004

It's a rabbit!

This summer, we've had a rabbit visiting our yard. Marc told me about seeing him, and the dogs certainly seem to be looking for him; every time they go out, they look carefully through the fence around the garden. (Of course, we've been doing our best to keep them from getting to the rabbit.)

I grew up not far from here, in the house we're now renovating and to which we will soon move, and rabbits were regularly sighted back then. Over the years, however, something happened to virtually wipe out the rabbits in this suburban setting. I don't know if it was predators or pesticides, but you no longer saw the little brown rabbits running wild in our suburban yards. To see them, you had to head down near the beaches where they lived in abundance in the high grass.

So the reappearance of these rabbits has to be a good thing, as well as being something cute to see! I had heard of them showing up in some yards around here, and now we have our own.

Better yet, yesterday I walked out on the deck and there he was in the garden. He looked healthy and happy, hopping along through the strawberry patch (yes, we actually have a strawberry patch). These are the things that bring a smile to my face. A rabbit in the yard, and all is well with the world! :)

Friday, August 06, 2004

It beats the view of East New York

Last year, I changed jobs. My old job was in Brooklyn, on the border between the Brownsville and East New York neighborhoods. So a short drive to the east would reward me with the urban poverty of East New York.

Now I work in Amityville (yes, as in, The Amityville Horror, but that's literally another story). Amityville is on the south shore of Long Island.

Late today, I decided that it would serve me well to get out of the office. I took some paperwork that I needed to review and hit the road. So, is the view a little east of me better than a drive through East New York? You tell me...

That's the Fire Island lighthouse. It's at Robert Moses State Park, on the western end of Fire Island. It's the only part of Fire Island to which one may drive.

On occasion, I will grab some work and go down there. There's a beautiful beach, and my favorite thing to do is park in the lot where I can see and hear the waves rolling in. Not only is it relaxing, but I actually get a ton of work done without the distractions of the office.

My only regret is that I don't more often take advantage of being on this beautiful island. We have so many lovely parks and beaches, and I only occasionally get out to enjoy it all. One nice thing about having friends come visit is that I have a reason to get out. So somebody come visit already! ;)

(Actually, our friend Scott is visiting and is sitting five feet from me as I type this, but I had to work today, so I couldn't get out with him.)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

All in all, not a bad day

It was a long day at work (about 12 hours), but it was nice that so many people asked how I was feeling. It said two things to me: 1) I was missed (not a great thing, since it means they give me no peace when I go on vacation, but it's still good to be needed); 2) My colleagues care about me (and that's really nice to know).

I know that I have friends at work, but so many people asked me after just one day out. That was nice.

Now that I'm home, it's nice to relax, watch a little TV and sit here anticipating the next episode of Rescue Me. There are some real hotties on that show! Daniel Sunjata alone is reason enough to watch.

Of course, I've had a thing for Daniel Sunjata since we saw him on Broadway in Take Me Out. Not only was he lovely to look at, completely nude on stage, but he was also a sweetheart when we met him after the show.

Helping Daniel out are other hotties like Michael Lombardi and Steven Pasquale. As an added bonus, the couple of episodes I watched so far have been pretty good--and not just because they show the boys' butts in the shower. ;) If they didn't do that, it would still be a decent show! :)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Introducing Mandy Moosedog

This is Mandy. Mandy is our "middle" dog. She was raised by Bernice, our eldest.

Mandy is a dog of many names--so many that I can only give a sampling here. Her most frequently used nickname is "Moose". Just let her land in your lap once and that nickname will become self-explanatory.

Other nicknames:

1) Mandlebrot--I was reading an article about mandlebrots, and Mandy got a new nickname.

2) Brot--from the above.

3) Bratwurst--see #2.

4) Mander.

5) Manderpotamus.

6) Mandel--another from mandlebrot.

7) Mandela.

8) Winnie--from #7.

Trust me, the list goes on and on. Marc could probably spend 15 minutes reciting all of them. The funny thing is that Mandy picks up on all of them. She knows which ones are hers and doesn't respond to names that refer to the other two dogs.

She's a sweet kid, despite her occasional issues (like eating our furniture, walls, carpet). Despite her desire to consume the house, we love her.

You scared us for THAT?!

I'm a lifelong New Yorker, and I'm unfortunately used to a certain level of threat. When I was younger, New York had a serious crime problem. Just as the crime went away... well, we all know what happened.

Okay, so now we have to worry about terrorists. Just to fill things in, let's remember that a terrorist is, by definition, someone who employs acts of terror for political ends.

The key to this is that terrorists want us to be frightened--that's their goal. They know they can never kill all of us. So they want us to cower in fear.

So who is making us cower in fear now? Not the terrorists. No, the real fear is being generated by our own government!

Since I'm home today, recovering from my lovely illness, I have plenty of time to catch up on the news. Included in this, of course, is the latest on the orangutan alert issued by the Smirking Chimp and his buddies just this week.

So what was so compelling that made all of us run in fear? The terrorists were "casing" various key buildings in New York City and elsewhere. They also told us that this was as good as information got--it was absolutely solid and reliable.

Now we get to today's news. I was looking at the Associated Press website, and what did I see? THIS! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, much of the "intelligence" that had everyone running scared is three or four years old!!!

Of course, the very circa 1933 Germany-sounding Department of Homeland Security explained that some of it was updated as recently as January. Oooh, wow. Now let me go hide. My favorite quote was Tom Ridge saying, "We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security." Spare me. All they do is politics! Well, that and helping out their oil-rich friends.

I'm beginning to think these morons (the terrorist morons, I mean, not the other ones) pulled off one good hit on us. After that, we started bombing the shit out of them--and God bless our troops who truly are fighting to protect us (even if W sent them to the wrong place last year)--and, since then, the terrorists are just trying to hide. Well, good, but these "alerts" are ridiculous.

Some bozo they arrested in Pakistan said whatever they wanted him to--anyone would, given what an arrest in Pakistan leads to. Believe it or not, you're unlikely to hear Miranda warnings over there. So they found documents showing casing of NYC targets from years ago? Big deal! And they were updated in January? Why do I think this is as real as some pimply geek sitting in his dorm room fantasizing about how he's going to nail the supermodel whose poster is on his wall? (Was this "terrorist" even in New York in January or did he doodle some grand schemes in his Pakistani dorm room? Sheesh!)

Monday, August 02, 2004

You know you're sick when...

This morning, I woke up feeling a little off, but I chalked it up to Monday morning blahs. Just hard to get going.

So I went to work. Early this afternoon, I was standing outside the CEO's office when I suddenly felt nauseous. Now, our CEO is a nice guy, so it wasn't that! ;) I also got so dizzy that I had to grab the copy machine to keep from falling over. Looking pathetic, I held on to the wall and slid over to the bathroom to try to compose myself, telling passing staff members, "no, it's okay; I'm fine."

For several minutes, I didn't know if I could even drive myself home. Fortunately, the dizziness reduced, and I was able to pull myself together. Not that I was in good shape at that point--our COO, who showed up a few minutes later, took one look at me and told me to go home.

So is it this to which the title of this post refers? No, actually.

I mean, I knew I wasn't well. I even took the radical step (for me) of calling my doctor. Still, it only got scarier after that.

On the way home, I saw a young man who was quite clearly very handsome. He had dark hair and a dark complexion, and the pants he was wearing showed off his magnificent butt beautifully. This is when things got scary.

Normally, such a sight would get me to wondering about sweet, wholesome things, like how it would feel to slide into that nice butt and what kind of look of ecstasy I could see on his face as I did. ;)

But what happened? Not a thing. I noticed him, but I felt so sick that I wasn't even turned on.

Terrifying. Truly terrifying. Things like this almost make me drive directly to the nearest emergency room!