Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gas price death climb

In one of my very first postings in August 2005, the gas prices in the Cincinnati area were $2.55 per gallon and at that time I thought I had something to complain about. However, I also thought that we would be well over $5.00 per gallon by now so I guess I should be thankful that the prices have not jumped quite as quickly.

I had to fill up my two gallon gas can this week for my lawnmower. I don't know why but I winced more at the cost of filling up my 2 gallon can than I do to add 21 gallons to my Ford Sport Trac. Granted, it is costing me approximately $80 to fill up the truck but I think I am getting accustomed to the idea that it is going to cost me more to fill up my auto.

The latest story on the news this morning is that the airlines will likely begin pulling out of the smaller airports and concentrate their business in the larger U.S cities. This will lead to the closure of many of the smaller airports that some of us have been using for bargain flights. At some point, we will be left with fewer flight options which will lead us to other travel options outside of airplanes. Or we simply stop traveling......

My thought is, if gas prices continue their spiral upward, air travel will be something only for the elite - millionaires who could care less what it costs to fill up their Mercedes and Porsche. Strange as it sounds, there are people out there who make so much money they just have their "drivers" fill up the tank and give no thought about the cost. In fact, they probably don't ever see their credit card statements.

It all means scary times for you and me - the average consumer. I am not ready to give up my truck for a horse but it may mean alternative travel arrangements in the future to get where I want to go.

I very well may be one of those "spoiled Americans". I am not willing to stop traveling and stay home.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What is "Hot"?

After reviewing the 2008 list of 100 "Hot" women as chosen by lesbian and bi-sexuals everywhere, I have decided to ask the question - What is "Hot"?

Now granted, "Hot" can include brains and looks but it was quite apparent to me that lesbians and bi-sexuals are just as guilty of taking looks into consideration first just as well as any hotblooded straight male. The top 100 list has a variety of women all over the cuteness scale - not one of them would be considered deficient in the looks department.

So who came in #1 on their list? Tina Fey. I gotta tell ya......she doesn't do anything for me. Granted, she is funny and witty and she can act but I wouldn't place her as #1 on a "Hot list". I was overjoyed to see that several of The L Word ladies made the top 10 - Sarah Shahi (Carmen) being one of them. Even after she has left the show....she only dropped two places in the chart.

Now I know you some of you may say....but can see a beautiful woman across the room and be attracted to her, but then completely lose the attraction once you have a conversation with her and her 10 year old vocabulary. This is true. I would agree with that completely. However, looks are the first attraction apparently because Janet Reno didn't make this list.

Take a look at the top 100 list. Is there someone missing from that list that you thought should have been added? Excluding your current gf/partner, who do you find to be "Hot"?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Has anyone seen the commercials lately for CSX and how much gas it takes to actually run a train? It's something phenomenal like 1 gallon for every 90 miles. It is incredibly cheap travel. Too bad we gave trains the shaft after WW2 and opted for trucks and planes for our basic mode of travel and transport.

I have always liked train travel and have yearned to go on another train trip somewhere......anywhere. I have found it to be incredibly contemplative just sitting there looking out at the world completely lost in my own thoughts. The prices are fabulous too. For about the same amount as a plane ticket from Boston to San Francisco, you can have a room complete with a toilet, shower and meals free. Now I know what some of you are saying....."Rita I want to get where I am going as fast as I can". But what if you made time to not rush.........

Lyn is less than enthusiastic about train travel. Primarily I think it is because she will be "stuck" for hours on end with no running room. I am trying to convince her that this really isn't a bad way to go when you just want to relax and let everything go. I mean that is what vacations are about right?

The last time I was on a train it was 1989 and I went to Orlando with my Aunt Irene. Now my Aunt Irene is such a great traveler. She is game for anything. I guess that was also part of the thrill of my first train trip. The trip was my idea and of course she was all for it because it sounded fun. We sat in coach the whole time (I would definitely get a room today) and I spent hours looking out the window and imagining what was happening in all the little towns that we passed along the east coast. We had snacks and cocktails in the entertainment car. The food was good (by 23 yr old standards) and it was an all-around adventure.

I dream about taking a trip out to Seattle by Amtrak and maybe catching the Eurorail in Europe one day. I have visited the Amtrak website many many times checking prices....looking at timetables......plotting an imaginary adventure. With gas prices the way they are today.....I can better afford a train trip than flying or driving!

Maybe I am getting old and the idea of leaving the driving up to someone else sounds more than appealing.....but it is the cheapest travel around with nice amentities if you want them. With gas prices well on the rise, I am hoping that one day Lyn will decide that she might want to give this a shot.

Just once..........

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Internet grumblings

In the last 10 days I have been suffering without internet access at home. At this point I still do not have my connection up and running but thank God I have friends who allow me to "hunt and peck" on their PC's.

It is in this period of "doing without" that I am reminded each and every time how poor customer service is with the local cable companies. For as much money as we provide them, you think that they could afford someone who works on Saturdays so that problems such as mine could be addressed quickly. You see....I need my access because sometimes my job requires me to provide assistance to other co-workers worldwide. I relayed that bit of information to the CSR (customer service rep) so she could reeeeeaallly feel my pain but she was obviously a veteran of her profession and handled my comments with an unmoving ice cold reserve that is only learned in the CSR bootcamps from hell. The end result - 10 days of waiting just to have to take a day off work to wait for the cable tech to arrive at my house between the hours of 8am to Noon or Noon to 5pm. This of course was my only choice in the matter. I guess she felt like she was giving me something.

The other really annoying thought about this whole thing is that this CSR was probably one of my own company's call center agents working for my cable company. Yeah....I don't think name dropping would not have helped in this case. It probably would have been handled with some other strategic maneuver beatened into the CSR in her early stages of bootcamp.

Thankfully I have not had to do without cable TV for the last 10 days. No problems in that department! I would have been a babbling idiot by the time the tech arrived at my doorstep.

Where is customer service these days?? Where is the human decency in providing outstanding service - going beyond the call of duty to provide quick problem resolution? (sigh) I know it is about "making a buck" but it gets kinda silly sometimes.

I just want my internet back! WAAAAHHHH

Monday, June 09, 2008

Pre-Pride Grumble

Heh. I'm in control of Working the Room this week. Rita has no internet, and apparently can't post from her Palm.

How cool is that? Control. A marvelous thing. Especially since my posts here have been, uhm, random.

But I thought I'd supplement Rita's June ramblings with my own pre-Pride ramble. Or grumble.
The oh-so-fab Cincinnati Pride fest shares this coming Sunday with Father's Day. For non-only children, this may not be an issue. For an only child with a devout Baptist father... it's a dilemma worth a grumble. Add in the cost of gas, and the fact that the festivities take place smack dab in the middle of a 75 mile stretch to the old homestead...

Sure, I could ask the Baptist deacon to skip church and join us for the parade. Or I could skip the parade -- my guess is it'll be particularly politician-laden this year. And what are my chances that Delta will be giving away Sky Miles and t-shirts given the state of the airline industry?

But that parade is really the only chance to see the 43% of the local glbt population who successfully hide the rest of the year. So I kind of hate to miss it. But I hate to miss Father's Day and too well-done steak with Dad even more.

None of this would be the dilemma it is were I not carefully alotting how this week's gas budget is to be spent. If that little twist weren't suddenly so front and center in my brain, something I'm blaming CNN for, btw, I'd go to Dayton Saturday night, we'd have an early FD dinner, I'd come home that night. Then on Sunday we'd go to Pride -- back across the river, 20+ miles each way from either my house or Rita's... again, not a big deal six months ago. Not even a big deal two months ago.

But damn Ali Velshy and his oil barrel on CNN every morning. I'm hyper-aware of my gas tank and my wallet, and the relationship between the status of each.

But now I'm obsessing about how to combine trips. I even obsess about Rita's gas guzzling SUV and what it's doing to a budget I'm not even in charge of.

Urgh. My practical side (read that CHEAP side) is wreaking havoc on my already endangered social life.

The funny thing about all of this -- my cheapskate tendencies are a genetic gift from my dad.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

June ramblings

Ahhh here we are in the first real month of Summer! Time for Friday night volleyball games, Pride Festivals, outdoor dining, yard work and more yard work, walking around the park two extra times just because and spending hours at the pool even though you know the sun is gonna getcha.

We are just in time for some of the madness to end and just in time for some to begin. Hillary Clinton will give a fond farewell to her Presidential campaign pursuit - maybe even tonight - and allow Obama to duke it out with Pops McCain. I hope that she has a shot at VP and it sounds like she would be interested in the position but I have my doubts that Obama wants a strong woman riding shotgun. Wait.....holding the shotgun might be a better way of putting it. She likes to take charge and that may just scare him too much. She was my candidate and now I play the waiting game like everyone else who will vote the Democratic ticket.

More madness just starting......did you hear the story about Lindsey Lohan and her new gal pal? Uh yeah!? Apparently she is a little gag-gag over her 20 something DJ BFF. I even heard a story where she wants to marry her pal now that it is legal in San Francisco. Wow.....that's just what we need for the cause isn't it folks? She's gay today but somewhere else tomorrow! No thanks Lindsey!

Pride festivals are heating up all over the nation and it will once again be our turn here in Cincinnati. I was looking at the events and it appears that we will be disappointed again. Poor funding or the lack of creativity in gathering more funds makes this Pride event rather sad. Still it is the only one we have and my friends and I will make the best of it and watch the 15 minute parade and then walk around and count the drag queens. Such is life in the big conservative city......

So what kind of madness do you have to look forward to this Summer?