Monday, July 31, 2006

The Mozart Festival

My buddy Matt took me to the Vermont Mozart Festival Birthday Bash, held in the meadow just beneath the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT. The music was beautifully rendered, our picnic foods were very rich, the sunset behind the line of mountains that is Smuggler's Notch was a lovely touch, and they had a raucous little fireworks display after the sky became dark and the music concluded. The drive up was worth it in itself. On the way up, we stopped at the Forget-Me-Not Shop in Johnson, VT - a funky little clothing store that is one of my favorite places to visit while on holiday up in that area, and we detoured through Smuggler's Notch to see the sights. I've not been through "Smuggs" for so long that I forgot how beautiful it was. The road seems to wind through a section of woods which gives the impression of a naturalized zen garden strewn with boulders and trees, which are stunted because of the elevation, but still clinging to life among the rocks (and with the help of mosses and lichens, softening the jagged edges). Yet again, a moment where I would kill to be in posession of a good camera. This was an evening well-spent :) Thanks Matt :)

Corny side-note: One of my coworkers went to Ozfest on the same day... interesting juxtaposition of musical styles and artists... he went to Ozfest, I went to Mozfest... hahaha.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Random News

I worked another (almost) double-shift up at the other store again today... boy do I wish I still had my camera to take before and after pictures. I'm working like a dog in an 80 degree environment with 95% relative humidity... but it's all worth it. You'll see what I mean when I get another camera and post pictures :)

I just watched The Hours (movie)... I don't say this often about a film adaptation, but I think it is actually better than the book. It has also piqued my interest in reading some more of Virginia Woolf's work... starting with Mrs. Dalloway (one of Ms. Woolf's famous works that this story continually parallels and makes references to). I also just finished The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver and OH MY WORD!!!... it has now been added to my list of all-time favorite books. Ms. Kingsolver has a good handle on writing. I find it hard to believe that this was her first published book, she has all the poise of a veteran wordsmith. You all need to read it too. I'm headed to the library tomorrow to pick up the sequel, Pigs In Heaven.

I received an interesting message on my voice mail when I got home from work this evening... it was a real estate agent politely informing me that she will be showing the building (and subsequently my apartment) tomorrow in the early afternoon. It would have been nice if my landlord had posessed the intestinal fortitude to inform me that my home was on the market. On the brighter side... I'm overdue for a shake-up... in fact if the worst does happen, it might just be the motivation I need to start checking out the housing market a year or two ahead of schedule. At the worst, I could throw all of my things into storage and uproot for a little while... I've been looking for an excuse to further streamline and simplify my life. As insane as it sounds, I wouldn't mind living in a tent until colder weather moves me into a more temperature-impervious dwelling. Oh well, this doesn't even qualify as a raw deal unless my next landlord turns out to be a twit. It is not a problem yet, so it doesn't warrant turning myself into a nervous wreck.

For those of you who have been following the blog... I've heard through the grapevine that my ex is terminal and they've stopped treatment for the cancer. He is now on hospice care and I know from experience that 99% of the people who enter hospice care are on a one-way ticket. I feel bad for the poor guy, as well as his sons and the rest of his family. It sounds cliche, but one never knows when their time is up... it gives me a lot of food for thought; I need to be more mindful of how my time is spent and what I am doing with my life. Regardless of the heartache, frustration, and anger that I experienced in conjunction with him, I still wish that I could remove his affliction. Despite his faults (and believe me, I'm not one to point the finger; I have my share of them too), he doesn't deserve to experience this; nor does anyone else in this world, save for a select few. But what can we do? Life rarely conforms to our flawed perception of equitable fate. Ultimately, it is out of our hands. May everything happen as it is meant to be.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

#@!!^%F*!!! COMPUTER!!!

I've been having some serious computer issues over the past few days... Apparently, the recent heat that we've had up in my area was just too much for my poor old computer (that, plus the fact that I've been too lazy to simply open up the case and blow out the dust for over a year). I've spent most of my spare time in the past few days running diagnostics, resoldering the contacts on a hard-drive that was victimized by a defective IDE cable , and researching potential fixes/ascertaining whether or not said fixes are worth it.

One of the old hard-drives is starting to fail, my motherboard is half-fried and the computer will no longer run Windows XP (even on a clean install). For now, it is only accepting Win98SE with a bunch of sad and unstable work-arounds. Thus, I may not be able to update my blog on a frequent basis until I've obtained all the parts to build a new machine.

Current frustration aside, I really have no reason to bitch... for starters, I built this machine back in '99 or '00 out of a mish-mash of spare parts that I'd gotten as payment from folks who had me build new computer setups for them. Considering the abuse that it's taken from a tweaker/power-user such as myself... I've gotten far more than my initial investment out of it. Depending on how bad the motherboard is after further diagnosis... I may at least save the main unit and retire it to being a file-server or data backup machine. Here's hoping I don't have to send it to the recycling center...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Long Time, No Write...

So it's been a lil' while since I last had something to say that I thought was worth putting into this blog. In the meantime, I've just been doing the usual crap: hiking around here & there, working overtime to save up money for a down payment on a house, and looking for that ever-elusive dateable guy.

My camera turned up missing when I brought it up with me to take "before & after" pictures at the other store. I'm a little peeved about it, but I more blame myself for not keeping closer tabs on something like that. Oh well, I'm going to buy another one soon, maybe one with a bit more functionality :).

I finished The Hours... a bittersweet novel, but still it was well written and worth the reading time. I don't have much to say about it seeing as most everyone I've met has either seen the movie, read the book, or both. I didn't think that it lived up to the hype which surrounded it. However, according to one of my friends, I HAVE TO see the movie as well.

I just started reading The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver a few days ago... a fictional story about a simple Kentucky girl who decides to buy a beat-up car and go out driving the highways towards the west, and ends up in posession of an infant Indian child along the way. The story is a somewhat gritty, but warm tale which details this woman's hardships, triumphs, and seemingly natural motherly instinct (despite the fact that she has not, as of yet, had a child of her own)... as well as some fairly raw commentary about life. It is a very engaging read thus far, I am already halfway through the book. Ms. Kingsolver has a talent for good character development and involving the reader in the story. There is a sequel to the book entitled Pigs In Heaven and I am already wanting to get my hands on it. I have to say that reading books like this is giving me a finer appreciation for good writing and well-developed stories.

Speaking of books and movies, I think that I was the last gay man on earth who hadn't seen Brokeback Mountain, so a coworker of mine lent me the DVD and I watched it the other night. I thought it was a good story and the actors did a nice job portraying Ennis and Jack. I was almost in tears at the conclusion though. What a depressing way for the story to end. :( It sort of makes me feel fortunate to be living in an era when gay men (in many areas) are able to establish relationships and live an uncloseted life without the harsh social stigma and potential for physical abuse that was attached to it a few decades ago.

So yesterday I went on the longest hike I've ever been on; about 16-18 miles total. I went up the trail at the base of Green Mountain, this time determined to attain 3 goals before dark: discover the location of the REAL warming hut, find and swim in one of the Claremont reservoirs, and pick at least a quart of wild black raspberries. I succeeded on all fronts. My wandering brought me out in the next town on a back road and I almost didn't make it back to town before dark. I definitely got my exercise.

The warming hut is a small ghetto-style shack (maintained by the "Shugah Valley Snow Riders") located about 2/3 of the way up the mountain, just under the power lines. It is furnished with a small wood-stove, 2 sets of filthy bunk-beds, a beat-up table and a few beat-up chairs, a manky oriental rug, and a broken lantern. It's probably big enough to host up to 8 people for a night 10 if they pack in like sardines. It looks like a lot of people have partied hard there though, judging from the beer cans all over the place and the burns on the walls & mattresses, as well as the spiral-bound log book on the table filled with statements such as "6/13/06: KILLER KEGGER, ran out of weed though!" and "4/22: This place sucks, Jay almost set his leg on fire. We ran out of beer and there's not a store around for miles." I'd have to clean it up beforehand, but I'm thinking of taking some friends along for a hiking/camping party there this autumn :)