Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Coffee at hand, hands playing the keyboard, I'm sitting here on Sunday morning at Julie's computer. At the moment she's in bed, sick with something that's making her feel somewhat nauseous and head-achy. I'm not too far behind, feeling a little sick in the stomach, with a slight headache and a raw throat. Dixie, the Airedale dog, seems to feel about the same way, too. She didn't even want to get up and growls when I get too close. I gave her the rest of Julie's breakfast. She wouldn't even get up to eat it; I fed it to her while she was lying down. Then I brought her water bowl over to her so she could take a drink. Had no interest in getting up.

The weather up here in the greater Boston area this past week has been crazy. It went from, last week, down in the 40's during the day to the 30's at night to a rainy spell that raised the temps. up into the high 60's, then dropped them down again. Yesterday, the morning was cold and raw then the sun came out and it warmed up into the 60's. Outside it's now cold, damp and raw. It's no wonder we're sick.

We went to the swing dance Friday night and danced to The Peter Hostage Situation for about an hour. I felt too bad to go on much longer than that. The next day, yesterday, I slept most of the morning, only taking Dixie out to the courtyard to relieve herself. I found some DayQuil and loaded myself up on that and also took some Ibuprofen later that made me feel somewhat better, at least for a while. I was able to get my laundry done.

Last night Julie and I were supposed to go to a black tie swing dance affair hosted by a non-profit agency up in Lowell. We didn't make it. We watched a little of The Thornbirds, which, on some cable channel, was showing the mini-series in one long swoop. We watched about 3 - 4 episodes; Julie had read the book so she filled me in on the rest of the story before calling it a night. Richard Chamberlain, as the cardinal, father of Dane, who drowned before becoming a priest himself, was the lover of Rachel Ward's character. I bet the Catholic's loved that. Now that I think about it, Richard Chamberlain, who's gay, played a Catholic priest who became a Cardinal and fathered a child by a woman who was married to someone else. I think maybe the mini-series should become mainstream again. Stir things up a bit.

I just got finished reading "Seabiscuit: An American Legend. It's a wonderful book. Details the most dramatic comeback in all of professional sports for all time. Even though Seabiscuit is a horse, it's the kind of story that would motivate anyone in sports, or any competitive career, to try to get back on top of the game just one more time. Fortunately for Seabiscuit, and Red Pollard the jockey, being older and coming back from a career ending injury, had the kind of finish that only seems to happen in fiction. I haven't seen the movie (yet) but the book was great. It's a book for all generations to read and enjoy.

Before Seabiscuit, I read "The Kite Runner." It's another book I would recommend to everyone. Written since 9/11, it is a fictional account about growing up in Afghanistan in the 1970's, emigrating to America and then returning to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Taliban. It's a thought provoking book that stays with you long after the book's been finished.

While I'm thinking about it, two weeks ago my cell phone died. Dead. Radio Shack would only send it out for repair. I got it back 11 days later with a note saying that it was dead beyond life. Okay, I said, you guys sold me the phone and the 2 year contract, so make good on it. Oh no, they said. You'll have to go to a Verizon store and see if they'll help you. Even though Radio Shack is an authorized dealer for Verizon and gave me my original (now dead) phone, they can't replace it. They couldn't even fix it.

You know, having a cell phone is somewhat akin to the advent of the FAX machine. Before we had them nobody cared. Now that we have them we can't do without them. I've had a cell phone now for about 3 years. Instant communication. All of a sudden, not having one for 12 days made me feel disconnected, almost as though I was in isolation. It's a weird feeling. One one hand, not having one is liberating and makes you feel like you're an individual who may or may not want to be located. On the other hand, having the sense that if something were to go awry and being able to communicate in an instant, gives one a feeling of security and a sense of being connected. It's a strange and disconcerting conflict. To be in touch or not to be in touch, to be constantly available or not, to be tied to the damn machine almost whether you want to be or not is not a question, it's a bitch.

Anyway, Radio Shack had this phone for two weeks before they let me know that within one hour of having received it they knew they couldn't fix it. I took the phone over to Verizon, since it was less than a year old and therefore still under manufacturers warranty, and they replaced it in 30 minutes. Gave me a new one. Pissed me off no end.

Radio Shack, when I originally signed up for the two year plan, wanted me to take out an extended service plan, for which I would have paid about $60. As it turns out, when the phone died, they wouldn't have been able to do anything about it, anyway. I'm glad I didn't take the extended plan. Verizon, when I got the new phone, told me to take out an extended manufacturer's warranty plan, at $1.99/month, when my original plan expires, so as to cover the new phone.

All in all, to some extent, I wish cell phones had never been invented.

Work wise, things are going well. I'm still involved in traveling statewide to train service provider agencies on the Virtual Gateway. I've been to Hyannis, New Bedford and Taunton in the south of the state; to Lawrence, Salem and Danvers in the north; to Pittsfield, Easthampton and Worcester in the western part of Massachusetts; and, in Boston, to Dorchester, Mattapan and Cambridge. I'm pretty well versed on where places are.

About a month ago I was involved in a fender bender. This car made a turn in front of me and then stopped. As it had just started raining, the road was slick and, when I hit the brakes, slid into him. I didn't damage his Honda CRX at all; I did a tad over $1500 of damage to my car - new hood, grill and head light. The other day I got a letter in the mail from State Farm saying that I am being assessed a "surcharge" on my insurance for next year due to the accident. It will probably amount to about $200/year more for car insurance. Needless to say, I'm beside myself about it.

Just before the fender bender, I read where Massachusetts drivers have been determined to have the worst driving records in the country. My neice, Gabrielle, calls Massachusetts drivers Massholes. Now I understand why.

It's a state law to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. However, a lot of drivers will stop for a pedestrian crossing the street anywhere. Others won't. Driving behind someone in an urban area is a crap shoot.

Then, the roads up here are old, not laid out well, not marked well and not contiguous. In Boston itself, many of the streets go off on a diagonal; others are somewhat circular. Very few go from one end of the city to the other without at least changing their name once or twice. The rub is, the name of the street you're on may well change but there are no street signs that tell you that.

When I had my accident, it was in Waltham; no, actually it was in Newton. The intersecting street, Albemarle, did not link up directly on the other side of Crafts,the street I was on. So, the driver who pulled out in front of me and stopped actually just wanted to go across the intersection but the intersection wasn't contiguous and so he made a turn in front of me and stopped because he had to turn left in order to continue to cross over Crafts. There wasn't any on-coming traffic but he stopped nonetheless. Masshole. The upshot of it all is that it's my fault and now my insurance has gone up.

Oh well. I didn't mean to start railing. I guess it's the weather. I don't feel well. It's Sunday. I'm tired of feeling sick. It's cold, raw and rainy outside. A nice day to stay in and hang out. As it's a football day, I may have to go out and rent a movie.


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