February 26, 2001: My Belated 25th Birthday

Well, yesterday was the big day. I am another year older.

I spent the day in Wyoming County, back home, with the folks. My cousins, aunt and uncle made it out to see me. It was nice to see the family. It always puts me into a reflective mood. I am writing today’s installment while working on one of my servers that is supposed to be installed into our facility in Washington, D.C. in a few weeks.

I have been keeping quite busy over the last year. It was one year ago last week that the Loopmeister (Andrew West) and I walked out of a hotel in Rochester never to work in the hospitality business again. We threw our moving out party in Greece on Feb. 20th, 2000 and moved to Ithaca the next day. We moved in with Nate for six months in his little apartment in Gaslight Village.

We were only there for a month, though, before we had to pack up and head for Pittsburgh. From there, we started doing all kinds of projects and the year has become a blur. I have spent time in Rochester, Ithaca, Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Jacksonville and, of course, Washington, D.C. It is hard to believe that all of this has been just over the last year. Two years ago I would never have believed all of the crazy stuff that would be happening. All because some carpal tunnel made me stop playing classical guitar and I had to find a new career (I was never very good, but at least I tried:)

And now, two of my best friends are getting married in the next few months (boy am I starting to feel old.) Half of my friends have kids now. And fun, to me, involves going to work. My mother started working for me part time about six months ago and my father is retiring from Kodak on Wednesday – starting full time for me on Thursday! Let me tell you, that feels weird. Your world can change in the blink of an eye, don’t forget it. When I dropped out of college in 1995, I had no idea what I was going to do. But things work out. It has been a very exciting year. And now this web site…how cool can it get?!?

For anyone that noticed, the “BITSOTM” (later, Llama of the Month – Ed.) section has been removed from the navigational bar to the right. I decided that the section was just too dumb for us so we decided to pass on it. We will have a section for pictures of the llamas later on and that should suffice for what that was supposed to do. We will still have the “Llama” of the month listing, though. So don’t worry Joe, you are still on the site!

The official BITS animal is the Llama – not the merdog as commonly believed. We would appreciate any pics that people would like to send in of either llamas or merdogs. The best way to get something on the site, of course, is to get a picture taken of yourself with a llama and a sign that says “SheepGuardingLlama.com” or “I am a Llama” or “This is a sheep guarding llama” or something to that effect. Just mentioning a llama is not enough, though, it must be a “sheep-guarding llama.” But you don’t have to show the sheep if you don’t want to. An ostrich pic (with you) would be okay as long as a sign says “stupid llama” or “I’m with stupid.” Nate will love you.

Ok, so I have been wondering about where I should create a section on the site to put some of my own advice on the world. I thought about making a special page for it but that didn’t seem right, so I decided that I am going to stick it all right here, on the main page. Starting on April 1, I am going to attempt to make an archive page so that you can go back and see the past entries but not have them cluttering up your main page when you log in everyday (you are all here everyday, correct?)

On Sleep…

The advice for tonight is on sleeping… Yup, that’s right, sleeping. I feel that this is an important topic because it affects all of us to some degree. I feel that I am an expert in the field as I have been sleeping for such a long time. I have quite a resume. What I wanted to talk about is the way in which we sleep. My personal experience has been that when you are younger, your parents tell you how to sleep. “You get into bed, lie still, count sheep, blah, blah, blah (bah, bah, bah.)” There is like a formula that you are taught when you are young and we never stray from it. Sometimes we have a sleep over and everyone stays up all night in sleeping bags, but that is as far from normal as we will venture to go.

Well, let me tell you, llamas, I have found that many of our modern ideas on sleep are most undoubtedly wrong. Allow me to elaborate. Take temperature for example. Most people are taught that you have to sleep at 70º and use the correct amount of blankets to make this comfortable. I say, rebel! Some people like to sleep warmer, some colder. I fall into the colder category. When I was in junior high I discovered, how I don’t remember, that I loved to sleep with extra covers and keep the room in the mid-50’s. Later I managed to push the envelope to as low as 46º. Any colder and my parents would complain. This actually made me sleep less and feel better. This isn’t for everyone but it sure worked for me. It takes a lot of blankets but I suggest you try it. You have never gotten a warm snuggly feeling until you are all cozy but you face feels snow on it.

I finally reached that extreme in the GMI (later Kettering University) dorms in Flint, MI in 1994. My suitemate at the time, Jamie (James Quaderer), came into my room at about 4:00 am and started screaming at me because my room was covered in snow (and me with it) and it wasn’t even melting. There was a huge open window at my feet and the snow was just blowing in. It was so comfy. Trust me, you have to try it.

Later on, in the late 1990s, I started working at the Days Inn Thruway, in Rochester (someday, Loopy and I will sit down and tell y’all the stories – it was worse than Clerks!) as the overnight auditor. It didn’t take me too long to figure out that the job only took an hour or less to do and the rest of the night involved just standing around playing solitaire or reading or whatever. Well, you all know how I like to waste as little time as possible. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I could get most of a good night’s sleep in at the hotel. So, I quickly learned to sleep with nothing but a towel thrown out on a thinly carpeted cement floor. After a few months like this, I discovered that I didn’t find my bed at home nearly as comfortable as I used to. So, I started sleeping on my bedroom floor. I found that I enjoyed this much more than being in a bed.

When I moved to Irondequoit, I slept on a wooden board and by the time that I moved to Greece, I was sleeping on the floor completely. Today, I live in the basement of the llama house where I sleep on the floor and it is quite cold. It is wonderful. I sleep so well here.

Here is how I am sleeping now: Padded and carpeted cement floor (I suggest a hard wood or carpeted wood floor, especially for beginners) with two sleeping bags on the bottom (rectangular “Coleman” style – you know you have some around the house) about three blankets (blankets are great because they isolate you from the cement but don’t take away from the firmness) and a feather mattress. Feather mattress are just like large pillows so they don’t cushion you too much. They just add a nice level of comfort. My feather mattress is pretty worn out now but I have a new one that I am about to try out that my mommy got me for my birthday yesterday. Then I use two blankets and a comforter on top to keep myself warm. It is oh so comfortable. When I stay with my parents I always sleep on their basement floor now. It is also very handy, you never have to worry whether or not wherever you are going to is going to have a bed. The world is your bed.

[BITS, for those who have come to the site more recently, originally stood for Bitch in the Sea because the site used to be known as www.BitchInTheSea.com. The title came about from the movie Bad Boys where the main characters are arguing while driving over a bridge and the one threatens to yank the wheel and plunge them into the ocean where they will be “like two bitches in the sea.” Nate always loved that phrase and eventually it became the name of this blog. But years later we decided that there were so many kids reading the site that it needed a makeover and Sheep Guarding Llama was born.]

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