July 2002 - Lucky 13, A Day at a Time
RayzRealm (c) July ,2002

I've broken my fall,
put an end to it all,
I've changed my routine.
-Depeche Mode

Monday July 1

July is a special month, especially July 4th, since Thursday will mark 13 years of sobriety for me. I am not at all the same man I was prior to July of 1989. I'm sadder, but much wiser and I would not have it any other way. One thing I have learned is that there are very few "totally well adjusted" people in society, and that most have some varying degree of addiction and dysfunction to something, whether it's booze, drugs, food, money, power, sex, anger, control, other emotions or material possessions.

This past weekend was very quiet. The weather was beautiful for a change, although a bit on the hot side. The dog dayz heat and humidity has come back in today.

Saturday I drove into Boston early. A secret to finding one of the dwindling free visitor spaces is to get into town early.After having coffee on the patio at Au Bon Pain, walked through the South End, then over to the Living Center for lunch. I've decided to "re-up" as a volunteer, but don't know how much time I'll be able to dedicate to volunteering. As the membership coordinator said, "wow you do go back a ways, when you signed up as a volunteer after we first opened."

I walked around town for part of the afternoon, until my legs began to give out, then headed back home.

I drove into Boston early Sunday morning and was able to score a free parking space in the Fenway, on a Red Sox game day no least. Since I was in town at 8:30, the game didn't start until around 1PM so I was fine. The Sox have gone on a losing streak early this year. They usually don't peter out until late Summer, and I was really expecting them to push extra hard to break the Bambino's Curse, considering our other home team the New England Patriots surprised everybody by winning the Super Bowl. The Bambino's Curse dates back to when the Sox traded Babe Ruth to New York. Legend has it the Red Sox will continue to lose until the curse is broken. Legend also has it that the Red Sox winning the pennant is mentioned in the Bible code and by Nostradamus, and the world will end on the next day; only kidding!

I went to the Sunday morning AA meeting at K-Street. I don't feel that I fit in this meetings, but have been attending anyway. After the meeting sat by the War Memorial, then spent the afternoon chatting with one of the gardeners under a shade tree who is very into conspiracy theory. Every time I run into him it's like Mulder meeting with the Lone Gunmen. While we sat chatting, a bird up in the tree pooped on my hat; must have been a Republican bird. There was almost no noise coming from Fenway park, the Sox must have been losing again. You can almost hear the applause to Beacon Hill when they're winning a home game.

I added a bunch of new links to the Area51 Library and Lambda Nebula Gay pages this week. After you read this, wander around the rest of Bigboote's Area51, you might find something interesting.

At least this will be a short week. After Wednesday I'm on vacation until July 15.

Thursday July 4

"This state of independence shall be"

I'm 13 years old today (by sobriety standards) and at times I feel like a chronological 13 year old. The weather has been absolutely hellish, with suffocating high humidity and temperatures from 96-98 with a heat index of 102-105 degrees. I left the air conditioner on all night, every night since Sunday, which I seldom have to do, and the temperature was still 89 degrees indoors. Living on the second floor of a two family house doesn't help matters.

We got out of work early yesterday, and when I left the building felt like passing out from the heat. The only groceries I picked up were fruit, vegetables, milk, bread and juice. They thought of eating anything for the past two days turns my stomach. It's not supposed to be much better today, but the current heat wave is supposed to break on Friday.

I got an e-mail from RCN, the company that bought out UltraNet, notifying me that during July they will be issuing new e-mail and web accounts, which means I have to change all of the pointers on my site, plus be a good netizen and e-mail web masters who have exchanged mutual links with me that my address will be changing, Grrrrrrrr!

I talked with Bob last night on the phone and he invited me to come on up for the 4th; he and his brother have a pool, so in a few minutes I'm outta here and heading North for the day. But before I leave here are a few articles that I found to entertain, enlighten and annoy. Have a happy, safe and terrorism free 4th of July.

Friday July 5

Finally the heat wave has broken (for now at least). As usual, Bob had tons of food at yesterday's cookout. I was the only non family member he invited. I spent a good part of the day in the pool, as the temperature (according to thermometer in his breezeway) read 102 degrees. As much of water baby as I have always been, it has been almost 4 years since I was in any sort of water, except for daily showers. Up until 10 years ago, Summer always meant heading up to Crane Beach every Saturday and Sunday at the crack of dawn, not to return home until after dark. I was always a strong swimmer and enjoyed getting 1 to 3 miles worth of swimming in with each visit, plus the miles and miles of wandering the dunes. Yesterday I had a hard time getting in 10 to 20 laps in the pool.

I got back home at around 10:30PM, to an apartment that was hotter than a nuclear reactor core. My digital thermometer claims that today was the highest temperature so far in the 7 years I've had it, recording a peak (on the sunny side of my apartment) outside temperature of 111.8 and inside temp of 103.4. it was reading 99.2 when I got in. I never leave the A/C on when I'm away for the day, which comes from being a fireman's son. I finally nodded off to sleep around 1AM, after my bedroom air conditioner for the temperature to a livable level.

Today it was absolutely beautiful due to a cold front that finally moved in. A nice breeze, with clear skies, low humidity and temperature in the low 80's has replaced almost a week in hell.

I caught an early morning bus into Harvard Square to have coffee and pasty at Au Bon Pain in the square, then wandered around, making my way over to Micro Center to ogle the new PC's. I've got my eye on one of their house brand 2.4GHZ screamers, that comes fairly loaded, and one of the only ones that has Windoze XP Professional on it. I still want to visit the Gateway store to see what they have to offer before I make a final decision.

I ran into a guy I used to know, one of Boston's "best" club DJ's. We talked for a while about the state of pop music and disk jockeys. He and I agreed that after about 1990, pop music has really taken a nose dive, or to quote him, "the music today really sucks big time and so do the DJ's and club patrons." Sterile and uninteresting music for sterile and uninteresting times.

Once again my legs and feet began acting up, so headed to Temple Bar for a late lunch. MMMmmmmm! chicken marsala, home made herbed mashed potatoes and asparagus for $9. I could never afford to dine there at night, but they usually have a nice reasonably priced brunch/lunch menu until about 3-3:30PM.

Today I officially started vacation; still no plans or anywhere to go. I assume, like every other solitary vacation I take, it will be made up of day trips if the weather holds out.

Sunday July 7

This morning's sky appeared jaundiced, with a strange yellowish tinge. Warren called and told me that it was not cloudy at all, that the haze was caused by the wildfires in Quebec. I have a policy during vacation, no matter how bored I am, the TV, news and radio get turned off.

I packed my knapsack with a book Doug sent me last year, some fruit, towel, and about 3 liters of water and headed over to the Sheepfold (a large state reservation) to claim one of the many large flat rocks on one of the hills to sun bathe. Many of these areas are off the beaten path, so (although verboten) nude sun bathing is common (yes I enjoy nude sunbathing). It as a day of quiet solitude (I know b-o-r-i-n-g). I crashed early Sunday evening after watching the Simpsons, probably from spending a pleasant day, hiking through the woods and laying in the sun.

Thursday July 25

I have received a few e-mails from visitors, both from the notification that Bigboote's Area51 has moved and from people who actually read my rants. One warned me "don't you dare go off the air or I'll hunt you down." The messages were all very supportive, and I was amazed at how many anonymous visitors claim that my ranting rings a resonant chord in them.

Too many issues have all been converging all at once, which has put my brain in read/write lock; social, spiritual, medical, work and other noise. I'm realizing that September 11 left deeper scars than I originally thought, it pulled the rug right out from under my sense of well being and security. Every time I see the images replayed of the WTC on fire and collapsing, the sick, queasy feeling I had on that perfectly clear September day are refreshed anew. I've had time to think about our gummint's actions, and still do not trust the Bush's and their 10,000 closest friends. George Jr, claims Jesus as his personal savior, but from what little this half baked Christian knows about the son of God, he was never very fond of greed, arrogance, lust for power, an eye for an eye, and all the other virtues of the second millenium. I wold love to be able to sit in a lawn chair across from my personal God and ask him what he thinks about our collective actions as a society and country. My gut tells me he would "not" consider our world today to be one of love, forgiveness, charity, honesty, integrity, humbleness and true concern for all men, regardless of their station in humanity's food chain.

Last Saturday I spent the day up at Bob's. We went out shopping and I picked up a Kodak 3.1 megapixel digital camera on sale for cheap, plus docking station and 32M flash memory card. After returning to his place, played around with my new camera and swam in his pool, then cooked steaks on the grille and chatted until late in the evening.

The other items that have occupying my time have been work and migrating Bigboote's Area51 from UltraNet to RCN. It has actually been a member of RCN for over a year, but finally they gave all of us old UltraNet netizens the final boot over to their domain. I have begun notifying the many sites that have exchanged links with me over the past 7 years of the address change. I was going to submit my new URL to a number of search engines, but they all want $$$ for this service now. Back when Area51 was newbie, URL submissions were free. Hopefully their bots will pick up on the new address; I won't lose any sleep over it.

When I returned to work, was greeted by a huge work load. A lot of billing systems have to be modified for post 911 additional searches, plus a lot of rate structures are changing, so I will be busier than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs for the foreseeable future.

I got my mid year performance review this week, which was quite good (almost walk on water). This was not a monetary review, just a check to see if I am on track for goals set at my last real review.

At least I'm not alone, many people I talk to say that after 9-11 they are more depressed, anxious, and if they smoke, their cigarette consumption has increased. Now is the time to invest in Philip Morris stock.

During the past year I have noticed that little hassles bother me much more than they usually do, which could be due to the increased stress or depression. Last Friday my washer and dryer decided to crap out in the middle of doing weekly laundry. I obsessed about this for days until calling Sears for service. I had to take tomorrow off as a personal day since they have an opening between 8AM and 4PM. I hope they fix the problem without having to return a second time.

Lastly for today, here are a handful of "mind food" articles I came across on the web during the past week.

Friday July 26

I'm pissed! I had to take a day off from work to wait around for Sears to come and look at my dryer. Toward mid-afternoon they called to say they would have to reschedule, "well that's fine, but I had to take a day off from work for this", then asked, "can you guarantee that the service guy will show up if I reschedule?" She paused, "Sir, I can't guarantee that." I told her that I would find someone local, "thanks, good day!"

Mega corporations probably have customer service centers located deep inside abandoned missile silos or Air Force bases, somewhere in Nebraska or the Dakotas. I can envision thousands of tiny cubicles, just big enough for a chair and telephone, manned by thousands of order taking cubicle drones, fresh off the boat, who just completed their 2 day fast track seminar in American English and were handed scripts to read from. This is customer service in the age of impersonal, mega corporate America. Can you tell that modern life wears on me. I feel like I'm living in the movie "Brazil"

After that little conversation I did what I should have done in the first place, called a local major appliance repair guy who came highly recommended by my chiropractor. He said he will be by late Monday afternoon. Next week is busy; on Tuesday and Wednesday doctor appointments, Thursday I should (but don't count on it) visit my mother, since I have not seen her since Mother's day and Friday a scheduled wallet cleaning and exam at Omar the Taliban dentist's.

Monday July 29

This past weekend was fairly interesting, although mostly solitary. I always manage to get involved in stimulating, thought provoking conversations with strangers in stores of cafes. Last Saturday I had to make a trip into Chinatown to get my herbal script filled. After having a cup of green tea while I waited, headed back toward my car in the South End, then off to Au Bon Pain, where I ran into a friend of a guy at work, Paul, who I have mentioned in previous journals. We spent the remainder of the day walking around town, stopping for pizza and window shopping, returning back to Au Bon Pain where we sat out the rest of the day on the patio. He's a 40+ IT professional who was downsized last Spring with no prospects of any future employment in his field. He mentioned a few news articles He found on the web where major corporations are petitioning Congress to "axe" laws protecting older workers from being marched to the glue factory en masse. Seems huge greedy multinationals find us old geezers (no matter how well trained, competent and loyal) a drain on their bottom line. I'm sure Bush will nod and wink approval toward any decision to have us thrown out on the street to fight over who gets the cushiest dumpster to live in.

After I returned home read the final chapters in "You Are Being Lied To" from Disinformation.com. It is a book guaranteed to piss many people off, and is worth reading, along with the latest book, "Everything You Know Is Wrong." I went to bed after MAD TV.

Early Sunday I took a ride into Harvard Square, had the first bucket of coffee, then spent a pleasant hour or so browsing in Harvard Bookstore. I headed up to the Au Bon Pain further up Mass Ave, toward Central Square to have an iced tea. I was seated next to a table with two guys roughly my age; one an African American with long dreadlocks, the other looking like a left over Deadhead from the 60's. Both these guys were very intelligent and fun to chat with for a couple of hours. When I first sat down they were discussing the impending class war that will hit this country like a ton of bricks. Funny but both held degrees and were out of work (50 something's). We reminisced about the kinder gentler Boston/Cambridge of the 60-70's, when people were actually pleasant and friendly. This was the area's salad days, with many basement folk, jazz and blues coffee houses, affordable prices, before cell phones, video games and the Web. They were exciting times. Now much of Cambridge, like Boston, has become a sterile, overpriced, corporate Yuppie Disneyland. They were also both Viet Nam veterans, so we also chewed the fat about the Nam era, who returned home to be spat and shat upon. I have no great love for Dubya and his 10,000 closest influential millionaire friends, but always have a soft spot for the average enlisted man/woman who serves in uniform, and my prayers go out to them, plus the nation's fire fighters. We're all Bozo's on this bus and pawns of the globalist elite.

We had a few laughs talking about the growing police state, "shhhh comrades there are hidden microphones and cameras in the trees and shrubbery." I could have spent all afternoon chatting with these guys, but my stomach was barking at me to eat, so bid farewell and headed over to the new, re-opened Grafton Street Pub for a burger. Temple bar now has two sisters, Grafton Street and the Red Line, all in the Harvard Square area. I'm not quite as fond of the 3 eateries as I once was; can you say y-u-p-p-i-e-s. I'm glad I have not drank alcohol in eons; a bloody or mamosa are $8 there, which was the price of my burger and fries.

Tuesday July 30

Went to my doctor for lab follow-up today after work. I absolutely hate having to find a parking space in the Fenway area, the only garage being one of those "Vinny and Guido" lots where you leave the keys and pay $15 for 1 hour of parking.

All of my labs came back normal, which means I'll probably live for another 3 months, except for liver enzymes, which spiked through the roof. I mentioned the depression and he wants to see me in about 6 weeks for another "fasting" cholesterol count, plus testoserone and thyroid test, due to the depression that I've been experiencing. As he said, "a lot of people have been even more depressed and anxious since 9-11, plus even more so with the almost criminal antics of Georgie and his shills."

When I returned to my car, the glove compartment had been rummaged through; sorry you slimes, no money, guns or drugs for you to filfer through. All of Boston's parking lots and garages seem to be run by the "Abdul and Akbar" or "Guido and Luigi's" of the world. This concludes the July Flight Recorder.

Cheers, Ray