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SQL Database

May. 15th, 2008 | 11:00 am

OKAY Cyberworld.  I need some help.  I write Crystal Reports.  I am not great, but not awful.  We just purchased a huge portfolio and are about to get their database.  Do I have to run databases in a SQL enviroment?  If so, is there a really inexpensive way to create a SQL enviroment?

HELP HELP!

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Advice

Dec. 4th, 2007 | 10:08 am

Okay... I haven't posted in a long while.  Been very busy eating and not working out.  

BUT:  I have a friend who is trying to break up with someone.  He was going to do it via a text message - but I told him that wouldn't really do... mainly because they usually call back and you want something that is final and lasting and so there are no questions or "what if's" later.

I suggested a new out going  phone message that says somethign like: "HI thanks for calling!  Please your message at the beep unless you think we are dating... and if that is the case, you are sorely mistaken..." or having me to do it, which I would love. If he had to use text message (Kids these days – sheesh) to try sending this text message: This number is no longer accepting calls or Text Messages from you as the owner has De-friended you and taken you out of his call group “dating.”

I also suggested the old: Raise your hand if you are in a happy relationship… not so fast there, Mister.

OR wait until they say “I love you” and reply with “Ohhhh…that makes this next part really difficult…”

More seriously: I told him you really have two choices: 1. Be an adult. 2. Don’t be an adult. Choice one is do it. Choice 2 is to make tiny choices to do it, but wait until the situation becomes so unbearable it forces the other person to do something. And each day you are following one path further and further.  “Not wanting to ruin Christmas” isn’t doing anyone any favors, either. I also told him to do it in a public place. You don’t want to have to ask them to leave your house, or have to walk out of theirs.

What was the worst way you have broken up with someone or have been broken up with? What is your best and worst advice?

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Say "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh(!!!)"

Aug. 14th, 2007 | 06:57 pm

"You know, you would really look good with your haircut really short"

So says my dentist as he has his hands wrist deep in mouth.   I would roll my eyes if they weren't shut so tightly.

I have a horrible history with dentists.  My first dentist was actually my Godfather, and he was excellent.  A man who would hum to himself as he worked on my teeth, and for most of my life he lived right next door to us, an old friend of the family.  His mantra of daily brushing and flossing went mostly ignored.

Then I went to college and sometime, while gaining my freshman fifteen on pizzas, beer, and hard candy, I managed to crack a tooth and it has been all downhill ever since.  The cracked tooth literally exposed a nerve, something I did not think humanly possible... poor design if you ask me.

I ended up going to the Dental School at UVa and having a root canal done by a first year student.  I remember seeing yellow strands of "root" being pulled from my mouth like a dead sea creatures that smelled of putrid garbage in the hot Virginia sun. 

Later, somewhere in Alaska, while on tour with CATS, I had large cavity filled.  As it was happening, I was told, “you’ll be fine, as long as we don't hit the root and it doesn’t' bleed.”  He said this as he was  taking bloody gauze from my mouth and throwing it inconspicuously  into the waste can.  This is the same tooth that, 9 years later split right down the middle while I was eating popcorn.

Later, I thought while I was in NYC that I would take better care of my teeth and since I had the insurance through Actor's Equity (which they have now discontinued) I would get regular checkups and cleanings.  My dental  hygienist was an African American woman with a Jamaican accent and penchant for pain.   I felt like she cleaned my teeth to teach the white man a lesson, always starting the session/interrogation with an incredulous "have you been flossing?" while aiming the too-bright light directly into my pupils.

"Yes, quite diligently, actually"

I could never quite hear her response to this over the scraping and clawing into which she so eagerly dove, Even so, I thought I could hear her say "this is for my people" under her breath.

My current dentist, the one who likes to comment on my attire, and will place his ball sack on my shoulder as he reaches for some sort of Machiavellian dental instrument, was recommended to me by a friend who now resides in Atlanta, although we met and worked together in NYC.  We both gave up "the biz" and like to make fun of the dancers on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, even though I can no longer touch (or see) my toes. He has beautiful teeth and shows them off proudly.

"He's great, but don't be surprised if he keeps your credit card number on file or just asks for you ATM PIN number" my friend says.  He's not kidding.

He is not so much a dentist as an accountant.  When I first went in, I don't think he saw my canines as much as  a series of dollar signs being loosely held in place by my gums.  I have had Root Planing, Scaling, and a Pulp-ectomy.  They all feel just like they sound. But he does good work.  And when it comes to teeth, you want someone who is not stingy with the anesthetic

I am an awful patient.  I squirm, I moan.  I usually leave a puddle of sweat in the chair and fog up the protective glasses - to wit:  I always being a change of clothes with me.  His army of assistants scold me for my inability to floss properly and ask me to show them how I brush, to which I always run a finger around my mouth, hock a loogie and ask for some Listerine.

They don't think it is funny and meet my “Tah-dah" attitude with a  cold dead blank stare.

He always numbs me up well, though, for which I am always appreciative.  But it is not all his doing.  The night before, I lay out a Hydrocodone or some sort of controlled substance which I have squirreled away for just such an occasion.  When the alarm goes off, even before my first pee, I pop the pill and blurrily find my gaze in the mirror.  The visage that meets mine is terrified and doesn’t look anything like me.   Then, 20 minutes before I arrive, I rub some Ambesol on the area that is getting the work.  (I keep an extra bottle in my car, just in case.)  Then he does the topical, and then comes the metal shot thingy that reminds me too much of an angry mechanical mosquito.

If I was in interrogation at
Guantanamo Bayand they pulled out dental floss or that weird pointy tooth coat hanger thing, I would give it up.  I would tell them where the terrorist were, I would tell them all the plans, and even make some up.  I would make a horrible soldier.

I had another pulpectomy today.  After being put comfortably into a chair, Dr. ATM reaches over me to get some gauze and I can feel his boxered manparts resting on my shoulder as I mutter: "What do you want to know?  I know dates, names and addresses and can draw you a map to the headquarters..."

It does me no good.

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Blur

Jul. 17th, 2007 | 07:14 pm

“Like masturbating with a cheese grater.”

That is how I would describe my experience so far. I was unable to get Lasik surgery on Saturday because they found that after I had had my contacts out for over a week, and my cornea had returned to its normal shape, there were a series of inconsistencies that made the surgeon wary of doing Lasik. So they did something called PRK.  
 
In essence, the difference is that with Lasik, tiny butterflies make a little flap in the soft tissue of your eye and then little furry bunnies operate under the flap while angels gently sing Yanni in your ear. With PRK, they pour acid on your cornea, scrape off the top layer with a three year old toothbrush, and use a high powered laser to reshape the cornea. There is suppose to be about a 24 hour recovery period with Lasik and the literature for the PRK says that “the excruciating pain should ebb in only 5 days, followed by just normal pain for a week, then a dull ache for about 3 years.”
 
Actually, PRK is supposed to be safer, and use less of your cornea, but the healing time is a great deal longer. Don’t ask me right now if I would do it again. There are moments when I can see clearly, but those moments are brief. Most of the time, everything is blurry, as if someone has put Vaseline in my eyes, and my eyes have a constant dull ache. 
 
To make matters worse, I can’t see close up or far away. I can’t read. I can’t watch TV, I can’t go to a movie, I can’t really write (I have WORD set to 200% and a 30 pt. font), and I can’t play the piano (other than the first stanza of Journey’s OPEN ARMS which I memorized for Tonya Ousler back in 1988).
 
The Vicodin is nice, however. Very nice…
 
The only problem I have found with the Vicoden is that it gives me colossal constipation – since Saturday, I have created only one cantaloupe shaped and sized turd – almost a perfect sphere. Thank God I had Vicodin. I can see how people get hooked on this stuff as it is a vicious cycle.
 
Two of my friends took me to the strip mall to have my eyeball reshaped and I cannot believe they gave up their Saturday to sit with me. The waiting room was in the back of the office and one side of the waiting room was a floor to ceiling glass wall, and on the other side of that wall sat the three lasers – each for a different kind of operation. You could watch as each patient/victim was shuffled in, tied down and Laser’d. 
 
On each machine, a camera would show a close up of the patient/victim’s eye and what they were doing to it. I imagine this was to bring a certain amount comfort to those waiting. I refused to watch. My two friends watched and had worked out between the two of them when to jump or scream together, as if watching some sort of Wes Craven horror movie. They went on to say that they thought they had seen the Surgeon out the night prior doing “Jaegerbomb shots” and wondered out loud why he kept bumping into things.

The jokes dwindled as I got more and more pale.
 
As I was waiting to have my eyes scraped, my mother called and asked “what I was up to this weekend…”
 
After a moment’s pause, and with all the steadiness of a swordsman eyeing his coup d’grace, I said “I am having my eyes operated on today…what about you?”
 
She had forgotten. Panic ensued and I sat back to hear the hysteria on the other end of the phone. Rarely, if ever, does my mother miss an opportunity to worry about me. She has always been there when I needed her, her phone is never busy, and when I was an actor, she saw every show I did.
 
Except One.
 
The National Tour of Gypsy. 
 
Gypsy WAS my ace in the hole. I brought it up whenever I needed leverage. But now… NOW I had: Forgotten Son and the Eye Scraping. When I called her after the procedure, I might have accidentally dramatized the gore and pain, and crushing silence that met me when I called out for my mother from the operating table…
 
And I milked it. To make amends, last night my mother came to the house and I got my very own pan of homemade Cheese and Macaroni, Blueberry Cobbler, homemade meatloaf (that she had cut in two so that there were FOUR ENDS), and Mississippi tomatoes. I kept saying “Tell me, mother, does it look as good as it smells?”
 
She didn’t think it was very funny. On the other end of the empathetic spectrum is L. L. has been somewhat impervious to my attempts at sympathy. My heavy sighs from the sofa are met with “Why don’t you get some fresh air. You know that lawn isn’t going to cut itself” and “this was ELECTIVE SURGERY, wasn’t it?”  That isn’t totally true and L. has been an angel in fielding calls from our worried friends.
 
I am trying to keep my spirits up. This has been a great deal more painful than I had anticipated. Everyone I spoke to said it was the best decision they had ever made. I keep telling myself that I need to relax and be patient; not two of my stronger suits.
 
I have enjoyed my time at home. Not being able to do anything like read or write or occupy my mind with frivolous stuff, I have been able to cogitate on some of the bigger questions in life.   And here are my conclusions:
 
I feel lucky. I love. I am loved. I have friends who are family and family who are friends.  In a world where I can’t see the hand in front of my face, I find comfort in this very clear, unblurry truth.

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I'll be seeing you...

Jul. 14th, 2007 | 09:53 am

"The machine is loud and there can be a funny smell," said the literature.

Yeah, that would just be them burning off little pieces of my cornea.  I go today to get Lasik surgery.  I would like to believe that I have done my research.  I did a price and facility comparison with about three places and finally decided on LasikPlus in Buckhead.  Being in the credit industry, I pulled all the information I could legally pull without a signature.  I found that there are no open legal filings or judgements against either the Doctor or the Clinic and other useful information.

I have planned this afternoon's final meeting with the Doctor out to a T.   Upon entering his office, I plan to stumble just in front of him and drop my packet of information.  At that point, all my research, showing the history of his business, his Certifications and Memberships, and his home address will be splayed out on the floor.  As he helps me gather the information, he will realize what it is.

And our eyes will lock.  Just for a moment.

He knows. He knows, as well, that I know.  It will be at this point that I will say very slowly and deliberately, "by the way, did you know your cerfification in the State of Georgia expires in 4 months... you might want to get on that... just sayin'."

Of course, I don't want to be too confrontational with the man who will be aiming a high powered focused laser at my eye... no proverbial "sword fight."  As a counter-attack, I envision him shooting the laser at my forehead leaving a perfect little red dot on my head and saying "ooops...that almost never happens" just to prove HIS point.

In fear of never seeing again, I spent some time last night gazing at the stars, rereading some of my favorite passages in To Kill a Mockingbird and reading music and playing some piano.  I also wanted to remember my face.  Not the current bloated one, so I took out some pics from about 5 years ago.   I also stared at L.'s face - well, a picture of it, for he is out of town and returns this evening (probably to a very whiney, grumpy patient). 

I am ready for the surgery.  I have spent the last week in glasses and the week prior to that, I was at the beach and lost 4 contacts in the ocean.  I am pretty sure they knew their forboding doom and would rather spend the last few useful years floating around the ocean rather than my eye.  With each contact that I lost, I would begrundingly replace it, saying only so that the contact could hear me: "You have no idea how little I am going to need you in about a week."  (Don't we all have fantasies of saying that to certain things... and people?)

I have worn contacts since I was 13 and I have never been a model contact-wearing-person. I would keep them in my eye until they themselves decided to fall out.  This has led to horrible infections, frequent pink eye, and one Eye Doctor was bold enough to say that my eye was becoming "allergic" to the contact from so much wear.  The nerve.

I have also manage to rip two large holes in my cornea from ripping out a dry contact..  Not fun. Not even a little.

It wasn't until I decided to get this done that I realized how frightened I am of not being able to see.  I have disposable contacts hidden all over the house, in my car, at work, in my gym bag, my dopkit, my carry on, the kitchen, and a pair of my jazz pants from 1995 - don't ask why i found those recently.

Okay... I am going to go outside to walk the verdant yard one last time, and enjoy the glorious colors offset by the grey morn.  

Hope to see you soon!

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Cigar Meme

May. 26th, 2007 | 10:21 am



Some Cigar Meme...

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My trek begins..

May. 16th, 2007 | 08:53 am

THIS WAS TAKEN FROM A OLDER JOURNEY ALMOST THREE YEARS AGO.

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A PREFACE

May. 15th, 2007 | 09:48 am

 I haven't posted in a while.   I don't know why.  I turned 36 on Sunday.  I thought I would post some of my old journal on here.

A Preface:

I was asked recently: "What happened?"
 
And to this I didn't have a response... mainly because I didn't know what the question meant.  Richard looked me deeply in the eyes and said:  "You closed a Broadway show, three days later, you sell everything you own, you pack up your stuff, you leave a successful career, you buy a car and you spend the next three months traveling coast to coast by yourself... something had to have happened."
 
I never thought of it this way, but yes, I guess something had happened. 
 
In retrospect, to me, there are three reasons to live in NYC:
1.  You have a career that keeps you there.
2.  You have a partner who needs to be there.
3.  You love it.
 
None of that applied to me anymore.  This revelation came to me on my Birthday this past year as I was crawling up the five floor walk up to my sublet room in an apartment on 52nd Street in the heart of Hell's Kitchen.  It was also the day that we got our closing notice on MILLIE.
 
Unhappy with my living situation, my career, and more importantly, the man I had become, I decided it was time to do something about it.  Leaving seemed the most logical and easiest.
 
But the next question is this:  Why the West Coast?  The answer is a surprisingly good one.  I was going to be a pool boy.
 
Yes, you heard me.  I was going out to Laguna Beach, CA to be a pool boy for someone that I had met on one of the Atlantis Cruises.  We had kept in touch sporadically after the cruise and I had mentioned wanting to live on the West Coast.  When his lover of 14 years ran off with the pool boy, the house was left empty and the pool unattended. 
 
How often in life to you get such opportunities and come on.. I am 33... tick tick tick. 
 
We agreed on an arrival date and time and all I had to do was pack.. and thus began my journey...

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Changed man..

Feb. 18th, 2007 | 04:46 pm

It was a lovely Valentine’s Night until the rat trap in the kitchen snapped.
 
I should go back. 
 
About 3 weeks ago, the night of No Pants Friday, L. and I were greedily gobbling up our 2 A.M. purchase of Chinese food, when L. went into apoplexy. He claimed he had seen a small cat or rat scurry across the living room. I was tickled because of how indigent L. was. “How dare he … we are RIGHT HERE.”    I thought he was just drunk.
 
A few nights later, we awoke to find the homemade pound cake in shreds across our kitchen counter top. No one touches our pound cake. No one.
 
Now, I think rats are like herpes. A lot of the population has them and no one wants to talk about them.    And I hate them. I had only one rule: L. has to kill the bug, but I have amended that to include rats. They terrify me; the blind scavengers with a chip on their shoulder – it is a combination deadly in a rodent.
 
L. went out and bought traps called T Rex. He called me at work to let me know and put the phone up to rigged trap. I could hear him imitating the mouse:
 
“Oh, look! A handsome treat. Boy, could I use a little sna..SNAP!”
 
L. had tripped the trap and I don’t think he could hear my dread over his maniacal laughter. First and foremost, I don’t like rats, but secondly, I don’t like killing things…  I spent the rest of the day at work unable to concentrate; thoughts of getting my foot stuck in a trap, or worse finding an actual rat in one… or even worse, the penultimate: my foot AND a rat in one at the same time…
 
Valentines night, as we were snuggly in bed, we heard the SNAP! L. could barely contain himself and quickly jumped out of bed like it was Christmas morning. “Little Fucker! We just got in bed. But we got one, we got one!” he sang as he slipped into his slippers.
 
Not wanting to be left alone, I followed him, at a safe distance, into the kitchen. I stopped to get my camera, but in the mean time, I heard a cry from the kitchen “OH GOD! It isn’t dead!” and I turned the corner just in time to see L., the brave Big Game Hunter, hopping onto the counter. 
 
There was no question as to who was going to have to be doing the cleaning. After extricating the rodent carcass, L. was about to put the trap in the dishwasher to use again. NO NO NO NO, I cried. Absolutely not. 
 
With the killing out of the way, I was bit more relaxed. L. was leaving for two days and I made him promise me not set any traps while he was gone.
 
He promised.
 
The next night, in my carbohydrate coma sitting on the sofa after work, with a line of clothes leading from the door, to the kitchen, then straight to the sofa, I was diligently watching my TiVo when from upstairs in the attic I heard the unmistakable:
 
SNAP!
 
And then screaming. And thumping. 
 
L. had forgotten the traps in the attic. L. was in Augusta. 
 
Panic.
 
PANIC!
 
I could hear the monster screaming upstairs and it was obviously large enough to thump about, and I feared for the structure of the roof. To drown out the screaming, I turned up the volume on the TV. I then went into the kitchen to turn up the iPod. Nothing helped. It was my own personal Tell Tale Rat. It was too cold to go outside. I called our neighbors down the street, tuffbullx and his very brave partner, to ask them if they would come and save me. After what sounded to me like giggles, they promised to come over quickly and help.
 
The next call was to L. 
 
“You forgot the attic”
 
“DID WE CATCH ANOTER ONE? COOL!” he asked with childlike excitement.
 
“You don’t get it. The trap is screwed to the floor. It is thumping around and screaming. It is too cold to go outside. You aren’t here to get rid of it. This is like some sort of scene from the movie SAW 4: Gayville”
 
The boys finally showed up. They used a shovel, a Makita Drill, a bucket of water, a coat hanger, and two packets of mayonnaise to kill it (was it a Rasputin Rat?) to get it down from the attic and outside. There was also grisly red goop everywhere, which I later learned was the cherry juice from the chocolate covered Cherries I got L. for Valentine’s Day that he used to bait the traps. Apparently, rats have a sweet tooth. I took a full Ambien and quickly fell to sleep, dreaming of battalions of rats plotting their revenge and crying in unison “Rat Jihad!”
 
I am a changed man. I feel like there are rat ghosts now that haunt me. I feel guilty eating cheese. I can still hear the little screams.

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Cornea-copia

Feb. 3rd, 2007 | 06:21 pm

For the second time in ½ as many months, I have managed to rip a hole in my cornea.
 
Now, I have had a lot of pain in my life. There was the time I had two broken vertebrae from doing THOU SHALT NOT. The time I snapped my elbow in two while auditioning for SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. . The time in High School when I crushed the disc in my neck from playing football, and the numerous times I have twisted, sprained, and ruptured my ankle.  Also, seeing ONCE UPON A MATRESS with Sarah Jessica Parker
 
Nothing compares.
 
Nothing.
 
My contact had been bothering me while L. and I were watching Curse of the Golden Flower, and I didn’t know if it was a symptom of having my contacts in for 3 months without taking them out, or my eyes were revolting due to the Dynasty set in the Tang Dynasty (see how I did that? See what I did there?) At any rate, after the movie, with popcorn buttered hands, I ripped the contact from my eye.
 
Little did I know that it had taken a little piece of my eye with it. Just the tiniest little piece. And when I looked down at the contact, I could see it. 
 
I tossed and turned most of the night, and as I do when I am sick, worried, or in pain, I took a shower… well, I took three of them. I woke the next overcast morning with bloodshot eyes and a restless demeanor. L. had suffered most of the evening as well and didn't get a good night's rest.  I went into the office, using my hell or high water mentality to get work done. I sat there in the dark, with the blinds closed. Occasionally people would come in and instinctively turn on the light. I would dive under my desk and howl like a vampire in the morning sun. 
 
“Don’t be so dramatic. I need these numbers by 4,” they’d say to the feet sticking out from under my desk. I think they have come to accept some of my eccentricities. 
 
For the next ten days, I was relegated to glasses. Let’s face it. Glasses aren’t glamorous, as much as we pretend they are. They come with a nerdy stigma that to this day can’t be escaped. They also show a flaw. I hate hearing people say they have 20/20 vision. I have to curb the impulse to fly at them with a cream cheese knife and gouge their perfect eyes out. I can’t see anything without my contact/glasses. Shapes, lights, color… that’s about it.
 
After 10 days, the coast was clear. Or at least I thought it was, for I never went to see a Doctor about it. I put my contacts back in and went gaily about my life. 
 
My light sensitivity returned about 3 days later, so upon coming home from work, I took out my contacts again. With it, again, came a little piece of my eye, as if somehow, they were having some sort of affair and couldn’t stand to be separated. 
 
I didn’t scream. I didn’t cry (at least not by choice). I just muttered, “oh, no.” I told L. what had happened as we were getting ready for bed. He looked at my wearily and said, “Oh, honey. I am so sorry. You are going to have another restless night, hunh?” Where he promptly pulled out his prescription for Ambien and popped a whole one…
 
With the continuous pain, panic struck me in the middle of the night and I knew I was going to lose my eye. I had waited too long, been too haphazard in my care. By 4 AM, I welcomed the idea of having my eye extricated from my body.   At the Hospital/Eye Clinic the next morning, the ophthalmologist laughed at my fear of having my eye-pendecotomy and told me that I had basically put a band-aid over the wound on my cornea whereupon I then ripped it off like a petulant child, taking the scab with it. 
 
Others were lucky that morning to have a gloriously sun filled day. At home, I drew the curtains, iced my eye, and turned off the fire, for even its glare was upsetting.   I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t look at a computer screen.
 
I am now, again, relegated to glasses. I am fine with it.  L. says the glasses are sexy. He says he likes having a smart “looking” boyfriend. At the time, I didn’t have the wherewithal to question him about the “looking” part. But this has been good for me. We all have moments in our lives where we change; exact moments when our lives, from this moment on, are going to be different. And I have come to a conclusion.
 
I am not longer young. 
 
I know that now. I need to take my contacts out at night. I need to floss my teeth every day. I need to watch what I eat. I need to return my friend’s phone calls and spend more time with my parents. I need to be thankful for what I have.
 
Why does it take a hole in my cornea to figure these things out?

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