. . . . . . . The Daily Blarf

Friday, October 29, 2004

well, shit. it's almost november.

i just realized that today.

i love the smell of leaves in the air and the rustle of them on the ground. the ground is still warm but the air is cool. october is a nice month. fall is indeed a wonderful season but is guilty by association with winter--and as we all know, winter sucks. where did summer and fall go? i've been too busy to notice. at least with the coming of winter, there is promise of a GREAT january ahead, for "She" just might be coming back to the US for her phD, and i can't wait for that!


finally, my name in lights chalk.

as usual, i was late. how ironic--i would be instilling good work habits (including punctuality) into these students, and i showed up late. as i came down the steps into the lecture hall with my notes and briefcase, i saw that mr. powers had already written my name on the chalkboard--


the cycle was complete.

i have transformed from the aimless Morrisville freshman who once sat through this class back in the fall of 1996 to the seemingly successful career-minded adult who has come back to speak. the class is Automotive Industry Awareness, and i am officially one of them.

this is actually the third year i've spoken to this class, but it was this time when it finally sunk in that i had now become what these kids see as an experienced authority figure. hell, i just called them KIDS, for christ's sake. KIDS. i'm now old enough to call them college kids. i've got them fooled--it's still just me. when i was in this class, i had a lot of respect for the speakers cuz they had accomplished enough in the industry to be recognized. actually, i think it was more like who is willing to show up regardless of accomplishment--kinda like i feel now. after all, it's still just me.

since enrollment in Automotive Technology has doubled in recent years, there are now three sessions instead of just one. so i would be speaking for an hour to the first 100 students, and then i'd do it all over again for the next class. it would also be audiotaped and videotaped. i kinda wished mr. powers had taped the second class since i had my shit together better than the first round. oh well. i guess i did alright--in between classes, he asked if i'd ever considered teaching. it was very cool to have one of my old professors ask me that. ironic, too, since yes, i had considered it in the past. i love to teach--it's just hard to find the right crowd. after subbing in high school for a while, i realized that college was the only place i could stand to teach, since high school is full of little pricks who need a serious ass kicking. and i'd also need to really master a subject first, and get a masters degree--not something that excites me much. that was kinda where it stopped, so i guess this annual trek back to morrisville will have to satisfy my urge to educate.

and i wasn't really too late--just late enough to walk in at exactly the time i was supposed to start. maybe if i'd driven the explorer instead of the scrambler i could have gotten there a few minutes sooner. but i had to drive the jeep since after all, morrisville was where the restoration started. it was a homecoming kinda thing.

mr. powers puts the finishing touches on the jeep's windshield frame back in may of 1998. why the suit & tie? cuz it was graduation day and he wanted that damn thing OUTTA THERE before summer. if you listen really hard, you can hear the bells ringing faintly in the background, indicating that we were supposed to be on the football field instead of in the body shop.


that Some Beach.

that damn Blake Shelton stole MY name to MY future country bar--Benny's Barn & Grill. i came up with that name years ago and kept it to myself--and somehow he STOLE it.

at least the song is good. the "fun-in-the-sun-on-the-beach" idea is a cow that's pretty much been milked dry by kenny chesney--but blake pulls it off well. give it a listen if you haven't already. it's my new flavor of the month and it's been on repeat all evening.


and now for benny's halloween theme:

demons: exorcised.

when dad first told me he was going to rent out the apartment again, my mind screamed, "no, not the apartment! that's the ex girlfriend's apartment!"

dun dun DUN.

but in the end, it was a good thing. for nearly 2 years, that little apartment on the farm that i shared with the ex has been a time capsule. even after the breakup we both had junk stored in there, and from time to time i'd have to go in & get something. upon entering, i would immediately be flooded with those bittersweet memories of past love. to this day, she and i are still good friends and all, but it's still hard to go in there. everything was just as we'd left it--right down to the meat in the freezer and hair on the floor from Ellie the Dog. half of me wanted it to stay that way for some stupid reason, and the other half of me wanted to burn every scrap of shit in there.

well now, i don't have to do that. the new tenant is a house cleaner by trade--and she's done a hell of a job washing away my past life and making that apartment something good again. as i gathered up the last of my belongings last sunday, i felt an huge weight coming off of my shoulders--no longer would this place be a relationship wasteland. it was someone else's apartment now. and even if i never live in there again, at least the place has been purged. demons exorcised. amen to that.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

somewhere between Newark and Syracuse

it is now that my life has calmed to back to its usual insanity. the crazy "go to work/go visit girl/go to sleep" sequence has ended, at least for now. and just as well, too, as the long work days and long nights in front of the dashboard lights were wearing me down--not that i didn't mind the attention from a certain Scandinavian chica.

so, for the next couple of months, i will wait and wonder about the future.


Alpha Zeta: my Ithaca home. at age 26 and 10 months, i feel all too old to be returning to my Cornell frat. in the back of my mind each time i return is the feeling that i will not come back again until i have transformed into one of those old alumni who shows up only for the annual meeting, completely disconnected from the active members and only faintly identifiable by the composites on the wall. but in the last 3 weeks, i have been back to AZ more times than in the whole last year. i've been on the road more lately than the dogs and cat in The Incredible Journey (the classic 1963 version, that is.)

i blame Karin for this completely.

she has made me have more fun in the last three weeks than i've had in ages. lately i've been drowning in the Sea of Piss--also known as Reality and the Workplace. but her visit to the US pulled me out a little bit and i felt like a young foolish buck all over again.

partying 80's style with leighanne

i was under the impression that AZ could no longer throw a good party. hell, we were shaky at best even in my era. but the recent 80's party actually went off pretty well--with some help from some alumni, of course. it was no surprise that my beloved Finnbar IV* has been gutted--keg parties are a thing of the past now with new york's tight keg rules. bottled beer is now the container of choice. i was tempted to bring my DJ gear but decided against it for fear of looking like a wanna-be active, and because i had other things--her, in particular--on my mind. but as the party warmed up it was clear that things would simmer down into the typical AZ doldrums if someone didn't start lighting a fire under this party's ass really quick. surprisingly enough, my old mixerboard was still in use and hadn't yet been destroyed by drunken tomfoolery and spilled beer. and the Miracle of Miracles--my Hard Rock Cafe 80's Party CD--kept things on life support til my little bro chris got out his CD collection for me to DJ with. what are the chances i'd just happen to have that CD in the car, anyway?? a DJ must always be prepared.

it's KARIN! (oh yeah, and pat too)

Karin also accompanied me to the Wetwerks gig at Club Tundra here in syracuse. it was a great show, and it was great to catch up with seth again. it's been a couple of years since we've seen each other. another sign of age--i've known seth for nearly 27 years--if you can count infancy as time spent "knowing" someone. other than my family, i would say i've known him the longest of anyone else on earth.

dammit, now i'm really feeling old. enuff of this shit already.


change of subject.

random topics percolating thru blarfdom:

my neighbors across the hall, formerly known as the Newspaper Thieving Bastards, have come clean--sort of. it turns out that we both have a newspaper subscription and the Post Standard has been screwing us all by leaving us one paper a day so we can quietly and politely steal it from each other. and the worst thing was, neither party realized the other was also entitled to the paper, so we both thought the other was a complete asshole. screw you, Post Standard! your circulation department will be getting a phone call monday morning. but until then, whoever wakes up first gets tomorrow's sunday paper! whuh ha ha!! or maybe neither of us will dare to touch it and it will sit there for weeks, equidistant from each of our front doors. only time will tell. not that it matters--i usually just kick the papers in my doorway and throw them out at a later date since i never have time to read them.

at least diplomatic relations have been restored.


after dropping Karin off at Newark airport last sunday, i decided to take a dogleg through NYC. this turned into the Worst Idea Of Ben's Life as i passed the point of no return--the holland tunnel. i spent 2 hours getting through the tunnel and then another hour and a half getting the hell out of the city via the lincoln tunnel.

actually, i can't say it was an awful decision--a quite adventurous one, actually--perhaps just poorly timed. i guess 5:00 on sunday is still rush hour in new york. i didn't get to do anything I wanted to do, like go to the southern end of manhattan (i'm sure there's a name for southern manhattan but i don't know my districts too well.) but with the traffic, all i could do was try to leave as soon as i got there. i feared i might not escape without some kind of scrape or ding since every vehicle in NYC looks like a damn bumper car, but i "kept the fenders on it" and made it out ok.**

no escape: in line for the holland tunnel

i did get to see some of the city, and it had a strong effect on me. i've been in NYC many times before but usually via the airport, so it was cool to be on the ground again. i can see the attraction to living there--tons of fun stuff to do; a bazillion people to see. in fact, i could see myself enjoying being there--at least temporarily. but i also had a claustrophobic feeling. i wanted to start swinging elbows to knock all of those damn buildings and people out of my country-mile-wide way. it's a cozy place--fun to visit--but not enough room. not enough trees. not enough front yards. not enough cows. not enough garages. not enough dogs running through hayfields. and you'd better forget about driving a tractor down one of those streets. the clincher was seeing the parking lots with cars stacked on lifts, warehouse-style. that was absolutely freaking ridiculous. maybe if i had a career opportunity of a lifetime, i could live there.

that probably won't happen, but my mind is open to the possiblity. if it pays well.

can someone tell me why there's no photography allowed in the lincoln tunnel? i simply HAD to break the law and take this picture.


*also known as a keggerator, but with a Finnish twist. thanks go to the Finn brothers of AZ for building the originals back in the 80's, one of which is buried in the new house's foundation, according to legend.

**hint for non-rednecks: that's a racing term for not beating up the car during a race.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

perhaps it is time for a new phone.

this phone and i, we've had great times. we've been together for over two years--today marks our 25th month. but lately when i pull out my phone, people say, "wow, that's one old-ass phone" or "where's the rotary dial on that thing?" maybe, more than others, i'm just used to its scratched, pocket-polished housing. its dust filled, black and white screen. its creaky, squeaky keypad. no color on this one! no camera. no PDA. no downloadable ring tones. no internet. this is the ford tempo of cell phones, but it has served me well.

i've been a nokia man ever since my first cell phone in 1999--since then i have depended only on cell phones for my primary form of communication. i haven't had a landline phone since 2001. i'm a firm believer in a phone following a person, not a location, so it is even more important that i get with the times. reality struck last week when i called cingular to upgrade my cell plan from 300 daytime minutes to 500. not only have they discontinued the marketing of minute plans for my phone, but i can't upgrade to the national plans cuz my phone is still--gasp!--regional.

she's a beater: my nokia 8265.

in the past i have managed to call and ring my italian pen pal silvia, but not without wrangling with cingular customer service reps. it appears that my international service is disconnected if it is not used regularly. but this regional thing is now a bigger problem. the kicker was when i tried calling karin's swedish phone number and i was automatically directed to an overseas customer service rep somewhere in south asia who informed me that it would be 14 bucks for the first minute and 2 bucks and change for every minute thereafter to place a call to karin 50 miles away in ithaca. i guess it takes that much to direct a cell phone call to sweden and back to the US. i'm not sure what the problem is, but i'm sure it doesn't help that my phone is not supported by worldwide cell networks. $14 a minute? i ain't having none of that shit.

so this leaves me with the painful, expensive decision of signing up for a new cell plan and getting a new phone.

but what to get? all i know is: 1. i'm happy with nokia. 2. i HATE flip phones--they're too thick for your pocket, and why would i want the extra work of flipping it open? but it seems like they are the most popular now. luckily for me, nokia makes mostly non-flippy fones.

and it will be a nitemare to transfer over nearly 150 freaking fone numbers. yuck.