Rome If You Want To.

So I am sitting in the Jeep at lunch time doing what I usually do during the week when I am at work at this time but in a different place. I am currently situated in the fine city of Rome (not Italy) enjoying the shade of some fairly tall maple trees. The sun is very warm today. The top is off the Jeep and I am enjoying a short ride around the area. Earl is playing in a pretty major poker tournament at Turning Stone Casino today. Not hearing from him is a good thing. Let’s hope it stays that way into the evening.

This parking lot is next to an old grocery store that was called Great American. Back in it’s day it wasn’t a large grocery store by any means, but it had enough traffic to warrant five or six checkout lanes. I shopped here when I lived closer to Rome back in the early 90s. In the late 90s, after the arrival of the Wal*mart Supercenter, it was closed down. I thought it would end up being abandoned but the owner of the local drive in movie theatre bought it and converted it into an eight cinema theatre. That’s right, a former grocery store that was maybe 40-50,000 square feet is now an eight theatre cinema complex. Some of the theatre only have 50-60 seats in them. One of them has the seating off center from the screen itself. The prices for admission and concessions are considerably lower than the chain theatre closest to our home but we still haven’t been here in a while. Perhaps we should patronize the local business.


The drive in theatre was ripped down late last year to be replaced by a car dealer. There was an outrage from the community about this. The car dealer decided he would build a new drive in. Signs proclaim that the new drive in is opening in the spring of 2012. I still can’t find the screen and I don’t see a list of the movies currently playing. Perhaps you need to bring an iPad or something if you want to watch a movie. I find this disappointing. Considering the car dealer left two abandoned dealerships on the other side of town to build this one (and ruined a local landmark in the process), I kind of hope that his sales suck.

My parking location allows me to view a Pizza Hut that has been there since the dawn of American civilization. It’s the traditional Pizza Hut in that it has a large red roof. You can still see the “label scar” of where the old “Pizza Hut” logo was. Slapped over it in a small corner is the new Pizza Hut logo. This is suppose to make us feel new and modern. The last time Earl and I were in that Pizza Hut there was a waitress named Laurie that had been working there since 1982. I always thought that Laurie was an odd name for her. She looked like she should be a Marilyn. Even though we go in there maybe once every five years she still remembers our drink orders. I think we might be due for a visit.


If I look over to the right I can see McDonalds that has been there since at least the mid 1970s. I always remember this particular McDonalds because Dad took the family there after visiting a local airstrip called Beck’s Grove. We had to pick him up at Beck’s Grove after flying from his home airport to this little airport solo while he was still learning how to fly. Our treat for the weekend was to go to this McDonalds. They had cash registers made by GTE that were called GTE Comp-Acct and I was fascinated by the fact that the register could intelligently group the common items in the order together in a section of the receipt called RECAP. The register was very loud when it printed the all capital letters on the receipt. I remember a lot of useless crap.

I don’t know that I’m going to drive very far today. Sitting in the shade is kind of relaxing to me. I’d sit on the back patio at home but there’s heavy machinery being operated by good looking men in our lawn. They are digging out the creek that runs behind the house so that the lawn no longer floods every time there’s a hint of rain. Earl and I are going to install a bridge once everything gets settled.

Oh, I went to the Dunkin’ Donuts near the former Griffiss Air Force Base. The large, unsweetened iced tea with lemon was $1.08 with tax. I guess they didn’t hear that they’re suppose to be part of the “Great Iced Tea Robbery”.

Thrice.

I have written two blog entries today and have discarded the both of them. My brain doesn’t seem to be in a literary mode today. The words aren’t flowing like they usually do. My perfectionist nature is preventing me from posting what I wrote, so we’ll go with a couple of summaries instead:

- Fox News and CNN Headline News both erroneously reported that the mandate of the Affordable Care Act had been determined to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. They both corrected their mistake, but honestly I think this was freudian slip on their behalf as they wanted more drama, more news, more furrowed brows and more RATINGS for their news outlets. I miss the days of Walter Kronkite doing his thing each evening. I don’t trust any of the news folks on the tube today.

- Earl and I were watching Restaurant Impossible last night when I remarked that the owner of the restaurant in question (which was somewhere in Louisiana) was a “hot Bubba”. He didn’t really agree with me (our tastes are sometimes very much aligned and at other times at complete opposite ends of the spectrum) but I think that’s the first time in my life that I uttered the phrase “hot Bubba”.

- I was feeling kind of non-committal to my mood this morning; I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t happy, I was just doin’ what needed to be done. However, right before lunch I suddenly felt a strong zap of zest and now I feel just great. I’m thinking that I ate too much at dinner last night and the digestion system was overloading the system. It’s just nature running its course.

- I read somewhere this morning that proper capitalization is important and the differences between these two sentences made me laugh out loud:

“I helped my Uncle Jack off the horse.”

“I helped my uncle jack off the horse.”

And that’s all I got.

Routine.

You might find this shocking but I tend to feel most comfortable when I’m adhering to a well-thought out routine. Now I’m not talking about anything with flaming batons or silk flags, however, at times that does sound appealing, but rather, I like it when I have some sort of structure and a sense of what to expect in the next several hours of my life.

But what about your spontaneity? Well, I enjoy being spontaneous when I plan ahead for it. It’s kind of like looking at the calendar on my iPhone, noting that I have four hours of free time on Saturday, and deciding to go up to the beach and run through waves while remaining completely clothed. We’d all get a chuckle from that sort of adventure and it would be a spontaneous gesture on my own terms.

I like my own terms.

Because I am used to a routine and I tend to stick to said routine, I’m finding myself struggling a little bit with my lunch hour activities while I telecommute. Now, there is a Dunkin’ Donuts about a mile from the house (on the other side of the bridge of civilization demarkation) and I was there at 12:10 p.m., just as if I had been working from my office and gone to where my iced tea is occasionally waiting for me.

My iced tea wasn’t waiting for me. I was going to brief the counter person and his cohort about how I enjoy my iced tea to be prepared and how it could be a regular occurrence if they play their cards right, but they were busy tittering about my mustache. They thought they were talking softly, and they were, but the fact of the matter is, I can read lips.

My mustache nor I are threatened by the tittering of those that can not grow that which I have.

But I digress.

The fact of the matter is, I didn’t have a sandwich made for lunch because the bread had gone bad (but the birds apparently still love it) so I ended up completely breaking my routine by ordering an iced tea AND one of their deli sandwiches. The good thing was that I paid with the same Dunkin’ Donuts card that I use when working from the office. The tittering staff was not quite as jovial as the folks behind the counter at the more expensive Dunkin’ Donuts near work nor was there a woman with her wig on backwards. The tuna was tuna.

As I strive to build a new routine so that I feel more comfortable with my telecommuting adventures three days a week, I find myself realizing that I might have to come up with something spontaneous.

Perhaps on Friday I’ll go to the Dunkin’ Donuts in the next town.

The Sign.

We can blame Erik for this nugget of music video goodness.

Here’s Ace of Base with “The Sign”. All four members of Ace of Base are not only beautiful, they’re Abba-beautiful.

Hot.

So last week I talked about how hot it was during my lunch hour. Summer had arrived early and we were all sweating to death when we couldn’t find air conditioned comfort.

Today I am eat chicken soup and thinking about putting on a sweatshirt because it’s gray and 62 degrees out. That Mother Nature is such a hoot, even when she looks like Dorothy’s sister Gloria.

I don’t have a cold or anything because I refuse to have a cold. I think I’m sniffly because we slept with the fan on and it dropped down to around 50 last night. When the windows are open and the fan is blowing on you, you can get sniffly under those circumstances.

Nevertheless, I am eating chicken soup in the luxury of the kitchen while playing around with my Linux computer during my lunch hour. The first official day of the remote part of my new position is going along quite nicely. I’m getting quite a bit accomplished down in my home office.

I’ll probably get more accomplished once I put on a parka to go with my camo shorts.

Thunderstorm Entertainment.

So when I walked about of the building at work for lunch time the sky was ominously black. It was kind of awesome. Perfect for perking up my Monday.

By the time I driven the three miles to Dunkin’ Donuts, I had seen a half dozen relatively close lightning strikes. The wind picked up a little bit. As I walked into Dunkin’ Donuts, there was a bright flash and a really impressive clap of thunder within one second of the flash. No tingly feeling though.

The rain didn’t start until I was back in the Jeep and installed in my normal parking spot. I made a 20 second video so you could hear the rain. I find it soothing and grounding.

It was just a little thunderstorm but it was fun. It’s going to be those rumbly afternoons that I enjoy.

Change.

So this morning at work they announced some organizational changes to the organization I work for. I wasn’t there to hear the announcement in person as I am telecommuting today, but one of the changes that was announced was my reassignment to a different group within the organization.

I already knew this was coming.

A couple of weeks ago the Director of the group called me to tell me that there were several organizational changes taking place and that my position would become a little more focused and part of a different group. Focus is good. So starting Monday I am part of the “Enterprise Integration Solutions Group” within the National Surveillance Center. In a way it sounds a little big brotherish and impressive. Impressive is good.

Follow me to my new spot on the corporate tree comes the application I have written. My responsibilities also including building, maintaining and improving the surveillance system we use to monitor the hundreds of thousands of devices we have in our network. I also have less commuting time on my plate now, which is kind of cool. My new boss is outside of Dallas, Texas with team members scattered all over the country. 21st Century communication rocks.

I like the idea of having a more focused position in a job that requires focus. The change is good and I feel like things have snapped back a little on track after being a little strange at work for the past couple of months. I am looking forward to the new challenges.

It’s a good way to start the weekend.

Firsts.

For the first time in over two years of doing this commute/hide at lunch time thing, I am not holed up in the Jeep in the far reaches of a parking lot. Today I am sitting in the alternate Dunkin’ Donuts (the one that is five miles from work). I am sitting a table in the corner with my iPad and a bluetooth keyboard in place. Normally I would be doing this sort of thing in the Jeep, but it’s 94ºF outside and subsequently a little toasty in the Jeep right now. I could run the air conditioner while parked, but I don’t think that’s a very responsible thing to do. Why generate my own air conditioning, and in the process add to the pollution, when I can sit and enjoy Dunkin’ Donuts air conditioning? It helps keep the carbon footprint in check.

There’s a decided difference between the folks at the two Dunkin’ Donuts. This one has many more blue collar people. Not a bad thing at all, it’s just a change in scenery. Some look at me with this iPad and wonder if it’s a remote control for the UFO I have parallel parked out back, but I’m used to getting stared at so it doesn’t bother me. Toothless grins in my direction are still pleasant.

As I look out this window I can see the first range of mountains of the Adirondacks. They’re only a mile away from here. I guess they mean it in these parts when they say this is the foothills of the Adirondacks. Folks from the Rockies would probably call them big hills but they’re real mountains. It’s funny that I haven’t ever noticed the mountains being right there before. Usually I notice that sort of thing. Perhaps I should open my eyes more while I’m driving.

Breaks.

Work became too hectic today for me to even get away for a lunch break. Luckily it was hot dog grillin’ day at the office and I was able to get two hot dogs, a scoop of potato salad and a few chips. The lunch was to raise money for a local charity. It’s what we do.

There are times when I think I should stop writing in my blog but then I have a day like today where I don’t get the opportunity to do my (mostly) daily entry and then I realize that I would miss it. It’s also in the here and now that I realize that sometimes I write in short, staccato like blurts of information and then there are other times that I write in run-on sentences that would garner a lot of red pen if this sort of thing was being marked up by someone more literate than me.

There is a commercial that runs on a local radio station that contains the line, “so join Christine and myself at the store.” It sounds weird. I know that the English ain’t so goodly either because if you take “Christine and” out of the sentence you’re left with “so join myself at the store.” Now this sort of thing will never make me ‘loose’ my mind but it does bring me close to where I would lose my mind.

The goose is loose. The goose will lose because she lost change.

I just made that up. Remember it.