Sunday, December 31, 2006

Two More Movies of Note for 2006

Netflix is a great invention. I see a lot more movies than I used to. Ron and I saw a couple of movies last week that I wanted to mention here.

Little Miss Sunshine is a great roadtrip from hell movie. It also has a high ick factor when it comes to tiny beauty princesses and foul-mouthed grandpas. As the trailer says, it puts the fun back into dysfunctional family. Let's just say the movie captures new-age affirmations, teenage angst, and old-age libertarianism. Grandpa is Sophia on steroids. Be very afraid. If you like Miss America pageants, you'll love the last twenty minutes of this movie, guaranteed.

A Scanner Darkly is a more sobering, animated tale. Philip K. Dick's short story comes to life in Anaheim seven years in the future. I've never read the short story, but the film is tight, ambiguous, addled, dystopic, in short a good flick on a Saturday night. The strangeness of the animation fits the strangeness of the story. Keanu Reeves isn't quite so wooden. The film has a high creepiness factor, and was probably filmed at the NSA, at least the technology would lead a drug-addled paranoid junky to think that.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


I read a piece on in its On Belief forum. A panelist wrote why he believed in God, and basically why the rest of us were going to burn. Of course, his God was the Christian God, so I guess, even more of us are going to burn. Well, many, many people jumped on his case, including some Christians. A few, very few, came to his defense. Most of the comments remarked about the panelist's simplistic argument. Lots of smoke on the computer screen, here.

For me, it comes back to being able to distinguish factual phenomena from unverified (or unverifiable) belief statements. I think that the human brain is wired to conflate the two, because most people (including about 93% of Americans) don't make much of a distinction. The argument is something like this: I believe (with all my heart) that God is real; therefore, God is real.

For example, President Bush says he talks with God, and God talks with him. Nobody questions that conversation, its reality. On the other hand, if President Bush said that he had conversations with little green men from Jupiter (and said it with conviction), you can bet that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would be dusting off the 25th Amendment. Yet, factually, both statements are equivalent. President Bush is holding conversations with an unseen, unverifiable, unknown entity, and nobody seems to care.

Faith is a problem. It prevents a further search for factual truth. Often in public policy it trumps truth. For example, sex education is deemed immoral because it might cause teenagers to have pre-marital sex. That's all based on belief: our major religions condemn pre-marital sex (because God condemns fornication and adultery); therefore, sex education is wrong. Issues like abortion, gay rights, stem cell research are cast as moral problems, and the factual issues around them are not examined because people's minds are already closed.

What's a homo to do? I find that public policy is lurching to a theater of the absurd. And because I'm a homo, I'm part of the show. I'm really tired of playing my part. And I'm really tired of being accused of being incapable of having a moral and ethical sense because I'm not Christian or religious. I'm tired of being told I'm immoral because I am gay and certainly act on that. The world is crazy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Masturbation 43 Years Later

I began masturbating when I was 12. I discovered it quite accidentally, and have not looked back since. Back when I was 12, I could hardly keep my mind off my penis, and I find, today, it's still a huge distraction.

Do other men have this problem? Do other 55-year old men beat it on a regular, nearly daily basis? See, I don't know, because sex is something that people don't talk about, usually not with their spouses, their best friends, and especially their co-workers. So I don't know if my callus-inducing behavior falls within one standard deviation of normal. I kind of doubt it. But I'm putting it out there to the rest of the world to find out.

Sometimes after Ron and I (or probably Tim and I) have had sex, we'll get into this discussion. One of those boys is pretty right down the middle, and the other is wild and crazy. Me, I'm just crazed through and through, and I worry about finding an old-age home when incontinence and senility catch up with me. I can't imagine my life without my hand around my penis, and that's a pretty strong sentiment, instinctual fumblings when I'm an old man, but ready to be expressed. I worry about that. I worry about me in an old-age home.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve, and I Should be Studying Portuguese

But I'm not. No, I'm writing in this blog, because, well, a trivial life well lived is still a trivial life. Like most bloggers, even gay bloggers, life is pretty lame most of the time. I think we're genetically designed that way because the continuous excitement of an epinephrine-induced state of angst, excitement, or flight would just get in the way of a contented lifestyle.

Some bits and pieces: Tim and I spent last weekend at the Woodley Park Omni Shoreham in downtown DC, enjoying a weekend in the city. The hotel was offering a "Spain Package," and since Tim didn't get to go to Spain with us, it seemed the right thing to do. The hotel chef gave a two-hour cooking school, and the package came with an overnight stay, an amenity (wine and cheese), dinner, and breakfast. No complaints here. If it has food, I'm in line.

The cooking school was a little odd. The chef, Jon Dornbusch, knew how to cook, but wasn't particularly informed about Spanish cheeses or wines. That's probably okay, because other information filled in the gap. Of course, it didn't hurt that I'd just gotten back from Spain, and actually knew something about Spanish cheeses and wines. The school was fun, and I enjoyed eating the food, particularly the genuine jamón, imported from Castilla y León.

You might want to check out the Omni-Shoreham, anyway. It's one of DC's grand hotels, not as grand as the Mayflower, but a very nice pile of bricks in its own. We had a very nice room with a view of Rock Creek Park, as well as the Naval Observatory. We didn't see any black heliocopters flying over that vice-presidential undisclosed location. The hotel is huge with lots of nooks and crannies to hang out in. Take the nature walk for birdwatchers behind the hotel. Even at this time of year, you can see a lot of feathers. The hotel has more ballrooms, meeting facilities, and strange little passageways than most small European countries.

The neighborhood: Check out New Heights Restaurant across the street on Calvert. We had a very nice dinner, New American cuisine. I had Sea Bass, and it was delicious. After opening the front door, go up the stairs. Yes, they really are serving dinner up there. The decor features paintings for sale, bright colors, and a little attitude. The service was okay, neither fussy nor fast. Expect a leisurely meal. The menu changes regularly.

For coffee, breakfast, or more, check out Open City which is across the street and New Heights neighbor. It's full of neighborhood types, and only made us want to move into the neighborhood. The coffee comes in very large cups, the wait staff are very friendly, indeed, the prices are right, and the food is all-American diner. You can't beat this for a Saturday morning wakeup!

So that was my weekend.

Neither Ron nor I are avid Christmas celebration agents. But, I went out and rounded up friends and others who needed a dinner on the day that all restaurants except Indian and Chinese close. It's going to be a low-key affair with the traditional turkey dinner, plus whatever anyone brings. No gift exchanges or anything like that. In our 23 years, Ron and I have never had a tree. Sometimes I think I'd like to do the holiday up big, but the thought gets a little more punishing each year. Either you have the decorating gene, or you don't.

Finally, my wishes for the season: I wish all my kids and grandkids a special day of laughter and innocent joy. I wish that the family that our work group adopted for Christmas has a holiday that matches its dreams. I wish that the Prince of Peace would usher in an era of peace. We are so deaf to the messages of tolerance and love. The whole world is so deaf. But I continue to hope for it. Finally, I hope that my families by birth and by choice grow in love, understanding, and joy, and that they always have every needful thing. I'm truly blessed with all of them.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Daughter Sent Me a Christmas Letter

Yesterday, I received a letter from my daughter, Mary. She enclosed a picture of her family, her husband, herself, and her three boys and a girl. The portrait evokes youth, confidence, and happiness. It almost brings tears to my eyes. This family is so beautiful - Mary, Joseph, and their four angels.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gay Ethics

I'd hazard a guess that some people would think gay ethics an oxymoron, or something similar. I've just finished the Very Short Introduction to Buddhist Ethics. It's a very interesting, and for me, thought-provoking book. I am concerned about my personal behavior. I am concerned about my actions in my world. I believe my intentions count and that my actions mean something, if not intrinsically, then intentionally.

In the course of the book, I discovered that I'm not utilitarian or deontological. I base my behavior on intentions and rules, not on results. At least the book gave labels to what I do, and it provided a framework in which to fit my values. I discovered that I'm not a Buddhist. This is probably to everyone's relief.

What was interesting in the book is to see how people with very different perspectives on ethics could end up taking similar positions on moral and ethical issues. The book was a good read. It will spur some more thinking on my part.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Twenty-five Years and Counting

This past week was International AIDS Day. Millions have HIV, millions have died, and millions don't know they are infected. I've somehow avoided getting infected since the world first became aware of the disease in the early 1980s, but I think early on that was just dumb luck. What scares and fascinates me is that people still sero-convert, I mean gay men my age who have lived through this so far still sero-convert. Their sero-conversion scares me because I know it can happen to me, and it fascinates me because the story of how they sero-converted is rarely told.

I think their stories need to be told. The problem with safer sex is that many of us act as if it means "safe" sex, and each of us carries around in our head our own definition of safe. Safer is not risk-free, and so knowing how men sero-convert is important because we can begin to learn what we collectively think safer means. We can begin to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate what safe is and what risk is.

Safer for most of us falls within the range of masturbation and taking a load up the butt. Between those two points also lays "risky" and "pleasure" and "I guess I can do it just this once." The realm of safer sex is relative. Safer sex demands that men balance behavior and lust, that we act rationally without all the facts, or that we abstain. In moments of anger, or shame, or ignorance, misjudgments occur. Condoms break. Or the canker sore gets overlooked during the blow job.

In the meantime, twenty-five years and counting, the research has not been done, and men having sex with other men continue to sero-convert.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Another Gay Movie

Ah, the joys of popular gay culture. Ron, Perry, and I watched Another Gay Movie last night. It's not great art, but it's lots of fun, if you aren't looking for any content.

Actually, it presents a pretty radical view of gay life - no fuss about being gay, no qualms about having sex, just a lot of trouble getting to that point. Of course, it had its poignant moments, its piggy moments, and its improbable moments. I recommend this movie to just about everyone, except my Mom. I'd have to answer too many questions.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Queer Wars

I've been reading Paul Robinson's Queer Wars, the New Gay Right and Its Critics (University of Chicago Press, 2005). The book seems a little dated, in that it critiques gaycon literature from the late 90s and early 00s. The book is a very good read (if you like criticism).

Robinson examines the work of Bruce Bawer, Andrew Sullivan, Michelangelo Signorile, and Gabriel Rotello. He presents their conservative criticism of the gay scene. Robinson's book is remarkably evenhanded, well-written, but still has an interesting perspective of a gay radical, the very kind of radical that the subjects of his book criticize. He also carefully compares and contrasts the different conservative strains of his subjects (and notes, with a certain degree of relish, who despises whom).

The markers of politics, gender, and sexual conduct layout Robinson's critique of Bawer, Sullivan, Signorile, and Rotello. Where the subjects vehemently disagree with each other about their world views, Robinson makes the case that fundamentally these men present a conservative explanation about gay America.

The book is good read, and a short one. Pick it up, read it, weep. The gay experience, focused as it seems to be on marriage and the military is a far cry from the transformational experiences of Stonewall and Gay Liberation. What's scary is that a lot of what these men write is pretty close to mainstream at this point.

Robinson finishes his book with an epilogue that juxtaposes the cable series, Queer as Folk with the conservative strands in his book. It's a clever and engaging way to end his book. In Brian's character, maybe all of us gay bad boys will have our redemption. I sure hope so, because getting married and serving Uncle Sam seems like a pretty hollow experience for the gay life that I've had so far.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Iraq, 24/7

Every day, the news is worse. It's unrelenting, and I'm thinking it's bad, sitting here in Wheaton, rather than being hunkered down in Baghdad. I can't imagine how awful the war is for Iraqi civilians. The U.S. invasion really opened Pandora's Box, and our government and occupation can't even see what the end is. The news is heartbreaking, and I simply don't understand how people can kill people the way the violence is happening in that nation. We started it. We have a profound moral obligation to change the war, to bring these hostilities to an end as quickly as possible. Our nation's honor is stained with innocent blood.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Portuguese, Anyone?

Life seems to be moving swiftly in the direction of death, well, if you consider the length of my life against Geologic Time, I think it's a pretty factual statement, if not too dramatic.

What I really mean, is that time flies by when you reach a certain age, and I've certainly reached that age. Since my last post, the Democrats have kicked Bush's butt (long overdue), and I ordered my language software from RosettaStone. It wasn't European Portuguese, but Brazilian. I do the best that I can..., they'll just have to guess about the ghastly accent.

I've already bought some Portuguese guide books, and I'm planning to go in the spring of 2008, which should give me enough time to have a conversational vocabulary. I'm taking my sister with me, and she's said that she'll learn some Portuguese, too. While I don't think that we'll be the greatest linguists in Western Europe, I think it will get us closer to the untourist experience.

I just finished my putting my Spain travel journal on my website. I still need to fix and publish several hundred photos, but at least the narrative is finished. I love the travel, and I'm looking forward to doing a lot more of it.

In other things, Tim and I survived another Harpers Ferry Hoedown, or perhaps another hoedown survived us! It was a great fly-in this year, the best HFH I've attended. I had a fabulous time, especially acting like the village idiot at the Country Western dance. Well, somebody had to fill that role!

We're all getting ready for Thanksgiving - probably my favorite holiday. Of course, I'm doing a bird. I found the smallest turkey in the world, and will roast it lovingly. We're having over the usual suspects, but including a new guest this year, Justin. He didn't have anyone to spend the holiday with, so it seemed like a good idea to have him spend it with us. I'll write later about my fabulous menu, after I've figured out what it is.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm Really Tired of Mark Foley Being Called a Sexual Predator

This whole scandal around Mark Foley really stinks. And what stinks is the media coverage of it, the pandering of the Democrats, and the moral stupidity of the Republicans.

Just in case anyone cares: the age of consent in the District of Columbia is 16. Mark Foley certainly acted stupidly, but he's no sexual predator. He's a pathetic, hypocritical excuse for a human being, but not a sexual predator as some Democrats and some "religious" critics are painting him.

The Republicans will use this as an excuse to punish other closeted members of Congress, not to mention Capitol Hill staff. The Democrats will use this as an example (well-deserved, but for different reasons) of Republican moral bankruptcy. And the people who really get tarnished by this whole tawdry episode are gay people everywhere. We didn't cause this mess, but we'll get blamed for it.

The press' coverage is shameful, in getting the facts wrong in such an awful way that it inflames the religious nuts out there. By using terms like "sexual predator" and "pedophile," the media obscured the facts, and maliciously twisted the story to sell papers.

The Democrats jumped on the case because they smell blood. But this is such an ugly, awful place to go. And the Republicans are just so morally stupid. They can't confront their own miscreants. They're afraid of admitting any kind of moral failing, and they swim in their own cesspool.

The whole affair is disgusting, far more disgusting than the personal behavior of Mr. Foley.

Monday, October 9, 2006

High School Spanish

I knew that the day would finally come when my high school Spanish would stand me in good stead. At this point in my life, I remember approximately 40 words, although I can still conjugate present tenses of several Spanish verbs.

Two years ago, a friend and I talked about taking a trip to Spain. It finally happened, and it was a wonderful experience. Even better, that high school Spanish really helped a couple of times, and caused more than a few smiles on peoples' faces when I would open my mouth. Thank you, Mrs. Monlux, for the patience you exhibited with me in Potlatch High School Spanish class. It was well worth your efforts.

I took lots of pictures (about 1100), and wrote many pages in my travel journal, which should shortly begin appearing on one of my other websites. I met some wonderful people, ate fabulous food, and found a lot of ideas to get my head around, ideas that I didn't find at home in my comfortable place.

I'm not sure that travel makes one well-rounded (although I did gain seven pounds, all that Serrano Jamon), but it does expose one to difference: different languages, different cultures, different foods, a different sense and perspective on the world. Of course, I couldn't talk at length with people on the street, because I didn't know the language, but I'm going to make up for that the next time I go.

And I do plan to go back.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Goodbye Pat

A ghost from the past came by yesterday to say goodbye. My friend Bob called me to tell me that our friend Pat had died. I hadn't seen Pat in probably fifteen years. He was half of "Pat and Eileen." Back when I was living in the Tri-Cities, these two gave our little beleaguered gay community some courage, backbone, and clout. Pat was the quiet one, and Eileen was the organizer.

Pat always had a quiet smile. I think he was amused being demonstrably straight and surrounded by a lot of gay boys. Pat and Eileen's home was very much a community center for wayward and wounded, questioning, and declaiming 80s gay men. We were all living in a rather miserable desert town surrounded by rednecks. Pat and Eileen provided a welcoming, affirming home in which to be ourselves.

Pat, I remember your smile. Thanks for walking the distance with us. I hope your next journey is full of light, justice, and peace.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mexican Food

Do you ever wonder what Mexican food really tastes like? I was just at a Mexican restaurant with Tim. We had tamales, quesadillas, and tortilla soup. I'm curious if I could get that same meal in Juarez or Mexico City, and I wonder what would it taste like. Don't get me wrong, my meal was very good, and I really enjoyed it, but I have doubts about its authenticity.

Several years ago, Ron and I were in Groningen. We were eating at what was represented as a Tex-Mex restaurant. At least that's what the restaurant's marquee promised. Let's just say that it tasted suspiciously Dutch, and leave it at that. Rather it tasted as I imagine a Dutch person might think Tex-Mex fare might or should taste. I still chuckle about that meal.

Closer to home, I suspect that a Mexican might chuckle at what I ate in Gaithersburg this evening: I imagining that I'm eating Tex-Mex. The Mexican knowing that I'm consuming a very smart marketing campaign.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering the Unthinkable

9/11 seeps into every corner today. Even the sky somberly covers this place with a gray shroud. The tone matches my own mood - reflective, serious, if not deep and intellectual. I still feel angry five years on. I still feel shocked five years on. I don't believe I've lived a day since then when 9/11 hasn't leaked into my consciousness and become part of conversation or reflection.

I was sitting at my desk, here at Fannie Mae, much as I am doing right now. Chris called me on his cell phone and told me that something terrible had happened, and he wouldn't be coming to work. Traffic was all backed up on I-395. He told me to go to the CNN web site. I did. I saw the picture, I saw the plume of fire and gas spew across the Manhattan skyline. That moment changed everything.

Life continues in a different world. I'm in Manchester, NH, on my way to Erika's wedding, and I see what look like high school kids (they were so young) in battle fatigues with machine guns in the airport. I'm in Atlanta, pulled out of line at the airport as the gloved security guard completely unpacks my backpack and my bag, and not so neatly repacks it. I see concrete barriers everywhere here in Washington. I see an unattended package in San Francisco, and a hundred scared onlookers as security people remove the package. I mean, this terrorism notion is settling in for a lifetime.

The little things count the most. Travel is not a carefree, joyful adventure. We are told by our leaders, and it's repeated in every security announcement - we live in a dangerous, unsettled world.

What's most shocking to me, is that this war on terrorism has become a struggle between Eastern fanaticism (read Islam) and Western values (read conservate, fundamentalist Christianity). It's played out across commerce (oil), governments, religions, and societies, but at it's heart it is a war between two ideologies that value belief over reason, faith over fact. This war won't end until we're all dead.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Gee, it's been a while...

The world spins quickly these days, both writ large and close to home. I opened up an email from my mother to discover that my brother has West Nile virus. He's feeling pretty bad right now.

Tim and I are getting ready to head on out to Chicago over Labor Day for a square dance weekend. I'll get to dance with my sister, who dances with the Chicago club. Tim and I have both been dancing with an Advanced club in Virginia. It has high standards (which is why I wonder why I'm dancing with them), that is, you really learn how Advanced can be danced. I am learning so much from their caller, John Marshall. I had danced to him before at community dances and fly-ins, but have never been consistently exposed to his calling and style. He's a master caller.

While I'm in Spain next month, several club members are going to have a "C1 Boot Camp." Brian J. has described it more as a "C1 Death March," and I think he may be right about that. I'm sorry to be missing that. I'll take my C1 book to Spain and study on the train (not!).

I finally got in to see the doctor for a physical. I got an MRI, and I found out this morning that he also wants chest X-rays. The MRI was a first for me. It's something like crawling under the bed in the basement, then having someone run a jackhammer two inches from your head, except you don't feel the vibrations. Weird noises, though. I may have a pinched nerve in my neck, and that's what the scan was for. I haven't a clue why the chest X-rays, though.

That's life in a nutshell around here. Nothing profound, but a little worrisome about my brother.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Okay, Okay, It's All about Glacier!

Before global warming makes my photos irrelevant, I thought I would post a link to my Glacier Park trip that I took back in May. It took me forever to get this pictures fixed the way I wanted. I guess I don't have my camera figured out all that well, yet, but I had a lot of fun snapping.

Glacier Vacation, 2006
May 18, 2006 - 107 Photos

Monday, August 14, 2006

My Bad Education

Netflix brings culture to the masses. It's convenient. It's fast. It's just you and the DVD in the privacy of your own home. This week, it was Almodovar's Bad Education. The film works a remarkable story within a story within a story of love, death, greed, and ambition. Its inner core has a beautiful sadness that colors everything else. I may have been the last person on the planet to see this, but if you haven't you really should.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

I'm Delinquent in Reporting my Gay Life Style

Since the tooth incident, my gay life has not slowed down. I took some follow up photos. Nothing was quite as spectacular as the initial shot of the bloody, seething, pulpy, painful mass. I got that out of my system. The week after the extraction, I kept feeling something hard and sharp in the tooth socket. The day of my dental checkup, I was flossing, and a good-sized chunk of tooth fell into the sink. Finally, the whole tooth was out! The dentist (cute Dr. Perkins) said everyting looked okay, and an implant is probably in my future.

So what else do gay men do between teeth extractions? That's an important question (I often ask myself). The DC Lambda Squares went tubing down Antietam Creek last Saturday. The creek has a very rocky bottom, so traveling down on tubes is quite delightful if you are a versatile gay man. I think the straight people had a good time, too. Tom, who manned the rafting company's canoe, got plenty of attention from the guys; only one of us actually drooled, though. I'm fairly certain he knew his audience, and he was very good-natured about it.

Pastoral Scene on Antietam Creek
Pastoral Scene on Antietam Creek,
Copyright 2006, Brian Jarvis, All Rights Reserved

And I survived the heat. It has been an incredible week, even for DC summers. I didn't see anyone melt or spontaneously combust on the sidewalks of Washington, but I would not have been surprised had it happened. The heat caused more people to ride the Metro (they probably didn't want to get caught in traffic jams on I-495). A couple of days the Metro cars were full at 6:30 in the morning. The tourists seemed to take it in good stride, and the Legg-Mason Tennis Tournament went on as scheduled. I'm used to hot weather, but this was exceptional.

The power in my office building failed Thursday morning around 11. We're on emergency backup, but I powered down immediately. Then the network went down. The phones (VOIP) went down. The lights were out. The air conditioning was off. So our work group went out to lunch. Eating seems to soothe most emergencies. In the meantime, our VP sent all employees home. I went and got a haircut, instead.

Actually, I had my hair styled. Bill, you bitch, you left me without telling me that you were going to a different salon. So I have to do the walk-in routine. There's a lot of fear in my gut, because I don't know who is going to style my hair, and Bill, I really loved you, I really did, and you left without a word.

So Donnell has entered my life. Donnell was a headliner entertainer at Ziegfeld's before evil developers bulldozed Washington's gay business district. He gave me all the dirt about the developers, politicians, management, and the girls. Donnell should have his own commentary on NPR, he's that good. And he's such a sweetheart, too, Bill.

I admit it, I'm a celebrity groupie. Donnell a.k.a. Ella Fitzgerald, when she's not entertaining the troops, wields a mean pair of scissors as a jolly, saucy, sometimes sharp-tongued gay hair stylist at one of Dupont's premiere salons. You see, having a gay life style, like I do, demands that I have a gay hair stylist like Donnell. And now I have earned some extra gay glitterati points, because of the fabulousness of Donnell's alter-ego. I am in gay heaven. And Donnell, you are such a sweetheart: not at all like Bill who spurned me for those chappies up on Capitol Hill, probably found himself a closet lobbyist or a Supreme Court justice. You never know about Bill.

Finally, this is the week of Lance Bass, and of course, I went out and bought People Magazine. Lance, your social commentary really sucks, but I love your goofy grin, anyway, and now you can enjoy the party without feeling like an uninvited guest. If I were forty years younger, you'd give me hope, being the crazy role model that you are, as I replayed all of my old N'Sync records thinking how much I love you.

I love being gay, because I love the intellectual challenge. Lance told me that's why he loves being gay, too.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Ouch Is Pretty Much Gone

I followed the dentist's instructions about soft foods, cold foods, hot foods, etc. I'm really all over it. I took some painkiller on Monday night, and I've been using ibuprofen ever since. Pain does not appear to be a problem. I've been brushing my teeth gingerly, but I can tell that in a day or two, it will be back to business as usual, and yesterday I chewed steak! I'm greatly relieved and hope that I don't run into any complications. My mouth is still getting used to it, and my tongue is playing with the new black hole. I hope the novelty wears off soon.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Friday night after the previously mentioned class one of my upper molars began to disintegrate. The upside is that I can eat soft foods like ice cream and tapioca pudding. I had some seafood salad on Friday evening that had grated carrots in it. Now, I have a thing about carrots anyway, but grated carrots getting stuck in a cracked tooth, it didn't improve my opinion of carrots one bit.

Missing, but not forgotten
Missing, but not forgotten

Saturday, I had two poached eggs in milk over toast. Not bad except that the only toast I had was cinnamon toast. It made the eggs taste very weird, and the hot sauce probably didn't help it either. Dinner was crab chowder (no uncomfortable bits of carrot) and a milkshake. Ice cream for dessert.

Sunday I was back to the eggs, but I had them on cornbread. And that's all I ate over the weekend. No barbeques. No beer. No nothing. Happily, I didn't have much of an appetite. I called my dentist on Sunday. He didn't want an emergency patient, but did allow as much that I should see him at my earliest opportunity today.

I showed up in his office at 8:15 a.m. He pulled about a third of the tootth that had cracked off, but was still connected to the gum. He called his fave oral surgeon, but the guy was out of the office for the day. He called another, and set up an appointment for 2 p.m.

So 2 p.m. rolls around. New oral surgeon, new insurance forms to fill out. At 2:07, the nurse takes me back and takes my blood pressure. The doctor walks in at 2:15 to give me some anesthetic. He begins the procedure at 2:23. It lasts seventeen minutes, but a very long seventeen minutes. He apologizes for the pain, but his voice is affectless, like he says this to every patient, every day.

But the guy is really hot. I mean he has biceps and a chest. This guy works out! When he cradles my head in his arms so he can wrench my tooth, my head is in the living vise of a body builder. I'm thinking, if I'm going to have an awful experience, at least I'm having it with him! Sometimes, it really pays to be a homo.

I'm out of his office at 2:47 p.m. looking like a chipmunk for all of the packing he put in the hole in my jaw (this is turning out gayer than I expected...). At 3:17, I head for Baskin and Robbins for some ice cream. I've earned it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I was in a class to teach better interpersonal skills when you're basically being stressed out - how to keep communication open when the conversation has contention. The class was a pretty arduous two-day course. After the first day, I thought it was interesting in the Chinese sense. After the second day, I thought it had real value, but we covered so much material, that it should have been a three-day class.

Upfront: these kinds of personal development classes give me the willies. But the company expects you to enroll and attend. And the company pays for them. That's what autonomy is all about. I don't like PD courses at all. I feel very uncomfortable, kind of like running my fingernails across a chalkboard, then pulling out my fingernails, that kind of uncomfortable. But I wanted to give this course by best try. I'm glad I did. It was very worthwhile. Of course, had it actually been a three-day course, I might not have made it through the third day.

So this morning, I had a conversation in contention with Ron. I tried to model and practice some of the behaviors explained in the course. It was a humbling experience. It is so difficult for me to listen to others. It is so difficult for me to insist that others listen to me. It is hard to be honest. It is hard to talk to the heart of the person you love. I know why we've been together for so long - he's respectful, he's open, he's honest. I can't imagine my life without him.

The conversation was about a part of our lives that was deeply dissatisfying to me, but I just couldn't bring it up. This had been eating at me for years. So today we talked. He opens my mind and my heart. We don't have difficult conversations very often. I don't know why I'm afraid of them. I'm very happy we talked.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Summer Movie Reviews, cont'd

So I spent four hours in the movies this weekend. Reynaldo and I went to see Superman Returns and The Devil Wears Prada. They are both good summer movies, but they both need editing. For all of you starstruck girls and horny gay men, Superman is super hot when he doesn't have his super t-shirt on. Those two seconds may make you happy that you went to see this film. The plot takes lameness to new heights (literally), but Superman and Lois, and Lois's husband fill the screen very nicely.

The kid is painful to look at. The film could have done a little more with the Billy Mumy moment. You'll know it when you see it. So at last, it seems that Super and Lois had been getting it on, after which Superman became a deadbeat dad for the next five years, only to reappear, and want a place in his son's life. Quite an example for unmarried couples having sex everywhere.

Onto the tiger. Let's face it, Meryl Streep is a great reason to love the Devil. In this movie, the Devil plays Meryl Streep, and does a super, bang-up job. I recommend this film, particularly to fashionistas and gay men everywhere. Stanley Tucci, you are so cute in this film! Where did you get that ring? I get the giggles just thinking about it. Emily Blunt fabulously plays the first assistant. Her performance collides with destiny, but she ends up with the best clothes. Anne Hathaway, I didn't buy it for a moment! Love the heels, but the little painter's cap looked pretty awful. Go see this movie, especially if it's a matinee. Don't take your boyfriend unless he's gay.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What Would Happen if Peace Should Accidentally Break Out?

War has no victory, no honor, no truth. It is a failure of reason, conscience, and respect. It's a failure of our humaneness and our humanity. War is our shame as a species, and death, and tears, and hate, and always more war.

Peace is a dove. War is a thunderbolt. We can't afford anymore thunderbolts.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

It's Been a While, But I'm Back

I had a wonderful vacation in California. I think this is the first time I've been in California when I've really felt impressed by it. Yeah, I can understand why people might want to live there. Growing up in Idaho, I think I was innoculated with, "Don't Californicate Idaho!"

After the dust settled on square dancing, I set out with Clark on a road trip from Hollywood to Carmel. Well, we actually started in Anaheim and ended in Woodland outside Sacramento, and his name really isn't Clark, either. He plays the part, very well, though. You get the big idea: PCH, big truck, Big Sur, good times.

Evening on the Beach at Carmel
Evening on the Beach at Carmel

We stayed a couple of nights in Cambria and a night in Carmel. Sunday morning, I left Sacramento International on the Big Plane heading back to Dulles International. I've been to northern California; I've been to Southern California; I've driven through the middle of California, but never have I experienced such a beauty as Route 1. The Central Coast begs for adjectives that I'm just incapable of expressing. The wind, the fog, the forest ending in grassland, and the hills overhead, the road clinging to the side of the mountains - I had not seen anything quite like it.

I want to go on some more road trips where I have no destination. I can walk a trail or on the beach. I can stop for a view or meal. I don't have to look at my watch. I only have to drink in the moment around me. I'm not sure that the experience would be the same in Death Valley or in North Dakota, but I'd like to take a road trip to find out. The joy, too, was the companionship in the cab of the truck, the telling of stories, the sharing of the moment. I had such a fabulous vacation - I am so gay!

California Twirl, Dude!
California Twirl, Dude!

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Why I Love Gay Square Dance Conventions

Perhaps most obviously, they are gay, duh.... This particular convention has been an absolute hoot. In addition to the square dancers, the hotel is hosting hundreds of Anime Expo convention goers. These people out dress us! It's a very interesting mix. And tomorrow a conservative Christian group arrives. The hotel staff can hardly contain themselves; they are so excited about the mix. So are we. It's really notched up our planning for the Fantasy Ball.

Tonight has two big events - the leather tip and the honky tonk queen contest. I quit going to th HTQC several years ago, because it's impossible to get a good seat, but it is one of the most popular events. Pretty dramatic, most years. I attended the leather tip, and just about killed myself with my stripper boots, which have 3" stiletto heels. I'm not cut out to be a stripper. The anime girls LOVED the boots. One said, "I would die for those boots." That is very high praise. I wore them for a couple of tips, then I had to take them off. They are evil, but classy.

I actually did several hours of Advanced dancing today, too. My leg has been bothering me, but when it comes to dancing, you really have to choose your priorities - health or dancing. Dancing wins every time.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Observations at Breakfast

A unique combination of costume and camaraderie come together at breakfast in resort hotels. This morning, I saw square dancers (most of us were slumming it), corporate lackeys in business drag, families (who were not slumming it), some firefighters (they should become gay square dancers), and the staff who were unfailingly polite and oh so present throughout the meal. I hear snatches of conversation. The business woman patiently explains to her patient waiter why she can only drink skim milk. The fire fighters talk and laugh loudly, their smiles radiating throughout the dining room. I'm reading about Joe Lieberman's race in Connecticut, but am gladly distracted by the ambiance.

I don't have a thing to do for hours. I'm not rushing this first meal of the day. I nod to some other square dancers, and Miguel ultimately brings me my check with the cryptic comment, "This is for your convenience." Hmmmm. Probably not. But I don't say anything.

And that's how I end up fat and happy. One breakfast quesadilla down, two meals to go. I'm going to need some weight loss therapy before this is all over.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Reporting in from Disneyland - the Mouse's Brand

So here I am at the Disneyland Marriott, well Walt would never call it that, but the rest of the world would. I got in here about three hours ago. Our rooms weren't ready so I joined up with a couple of other DC Lambda Squares dancers, and we walked down Mickey's Main Street. It's a big deal, 50 years and counting.

We stopped in at a Disney store, merchandise central. It's full of delightful schlock of questionable quality and very high prices. I know, I shouldn't be surprised. This is the store that people go to, to buy gifts for Uncle Bill and Cousin Milly. The stuff is so tacky and weird that you actually have to ask the friendly mouse associates what some of the stuff is. Very strange, and most of it is made in China. It has a foreign edge to it, as in Alien or Predator.

We were out in the sun too much, and I got a little burned. I'm in my room now recovering from my consumerist experience. I bought a mini-Minnie backpack. It's cute, and it goes with my Goofy hat. It brings on a creepily innocent moment when you realize you're closer on the mark than you thought. I suppose I could get into a mouse fetish.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Full Circle, Michael Thomas Ford

I've been reading Full Circle, Ford's new book. I think it's better than his two previous novels. It's not great literature, but it's good summer reading. Ford is a good storyteller, and some of the sex is pretty hot. What I don't like about this novel, though, is that the protagonist is a whiner. He's perpetually (at least through the first 325 pages) in search of himself, holding himself up to personal scrutiny, then doing dumb things.

The book is best in giving a personal story of Vietnam. The novel is at its worst examining the main character's relationships. He's always wondering why things turn out bad, well, he's basically a clueless jerk when it comes to the people that he loves. He's figured that out pretty much by this time in the book; he just doesn't know what to do about it.

The book also has a lot of convenient name dropping. Coincidence plays a huge part of the story, too. Part of my head mutters, "Totally unbelievable." The other part points out that the story wouldn't go anywhere if blind, unbelievable coincidence didn't play a part. And, well, it's his novel, so what the hell?

So, I think I'll go and finish it this afternoon.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Rocky Mountains, Yeah!

The conference ended at noon. So after lunch, I rented a car and headed up for Estes Park to see some mountains, and to visit my brother, Steve.

US 36 winds up from Broomfield into the mountains. The road between here and Boulder is a freeway, but it quickly becomes a windy, two-lane highway. The university is on the east side of Boulder, and has what I think are some high-rise dormitories. Their architecture fits right in with the landscape - some interesting buildings from the freeway. Many stoplights later, I had navigated through Boulder, and on the west side of town I picked up two hitchikers who were on their way to the Rainbow Gathering near Steamboat Springs. They were two very friendly characters, and a little strange, with perhaps a few neurons misfiring. The older guy wanted to leave Boulder, because the woman he had been seeing realized that he wasn't Mr. Right. He spent the winters in Arizona, and the summers traveling around the country. The younger guy was from Minnesota and was preparing for about a month at the gathering. Very interesting folk. I dropped them off at the edge of Estes Park.

With advanced cell phone technology, I called Steve and he guided me to Aspen Avenue, and his home. I talked with him and his wife for a bit then he and I headed for a walk around town, some ice cream and coffee, and a visit to a couple of galleries. On the way we encountered a cow elk that had just given birth. The sidewalk was blocked off, but the cow certainly was quite able to defend her territory and her calf from any pedestrians. She bullied all comers.

Then we were attacked by the happiest dog in the world. This pooch was in a penned off shady backyard. He would take a ball and drop it on the sidewalk, clearly training all passing pedestrians to pick the ball up, then toss it back in the yard. This dog was so full of joy! Wiggly, happy, bursting with enthusiasm. So for about 10 minutes we engaged in a deep dialogue with fido (a German shorthair in extremely good athletic condition), throwing the ball into bushes, trees, benches, and he would retrieve the ball, run to the fence, and drop it at our feet outside the fence. We learned a lot about dog slobber, happiness, and catch. It was a moment of pure delight in the late afternoon in Estes Park. What a perfect metaphor for a perfect life well-lived.

The gallery we went to had some wonderful sculptures and paintings, a little pricey for my pocket book, which was fine with me, and probably a relief for Ron. I don't suppose he'd like a $1250 work of art in the living room. After the gallery, we drove up to Lily Lake and the St. Marys lodge.

We ended up eating dinner at a very nice Mexican restaurant. I thoroughly enjoyed vising Steve and Lesley. I don't get to see them very often. Steve and I have very different views of the world. Sometimes, I feel it gets in the way of our love for each other. I miss the closeness that we once had, but I love him dearly and want him and Lesley to have a wonderful life. I want him to know that I care for him and wish for him the blessings of an abundant life in his faith.

After dinner, I spent a while showing him my pictures of the Glacier trip that Ron and I took. Just going over the pictures with him brings back the trip to me. I told him that the family was planning a similar trip for Yellowstone two years from now. I hope he and Lesley can join the rest of us. I'm going to do what I can to get them there.

Then I came back to the hotel, had a beer, and wrote this.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Storytelling at the Company

John C. Thomas from IBM gave us the inside dope on corporate storytelling for usability, although he probably wouldn't call it that. He had a compelling story in his presentation about the Walking People. In the Iroquois life, storytelling was key to survival.

Throughout this conference the recurring theme of my conversations with other people is the notion of self/personal identity, and public interface/normative expectations. I believe the latter gets in the way of the former. We tamp down the passion, the pain, the joy, the hate, the lust because we want to be loved. We want to fit in. I judge myself in terms of how I think other people are judging me. Maybe no one is judging me. Maybe nobody really cares, except what I may be thinking about them.

Of course, I may be wrong, and is it a story if nobody listens?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Presentation and Identity

I've had two very interesting conversations here at the conference over the last couple of days. Last night at the opening reception, I talked with one of the presenters from the tutorial that I had taken earlier in the day. In the tutorial, he asked how many of us had blogs. I think four of us raised our hands. Then he asked why did we have blogs.

My answer in the tutorial was kind of half-assed, because I don't think that well on my feet. But at the reception, he asked me if he could read my blogs, and I told him okay. I told him that it was very difficult for me to tell him where to find them, because it was (at once, so public) so personal. Funny thing about that.

Then I went into my "All of us think we are normal" talk, and ended with it's our public presentation - what the world sees - that's what we construct as normal. What's personal is what's beneath the clothes, makeup, skin. And it's anything but normal. It's a cauldron of attitude, fear, shame, passion, guilt, in short the very motivation for the presentation. It's our public presentation that people love, and it so unnerves us, because what's underneath that presentation, that which no one knows or sees, is what we really our, and it scares us to death.

So, the speaker in today's last session is a professional storyteller, and she spoke about storytelling, primarily as it affects the imaginations of children, and how it should be part of the public school curriculum. Afterwards, I went up and talked with her about storytelling, and I connected it with my blogging experience. It's here, right here reader, right on this blog where you can read it, that I feel vulnerable, raw, disoriented, and fearful. It's the very same place from which storytellers tell their stories. The honest storyteller is compelling because the tale is one that touches the heart, and finally enlivens the soul. I write my blog because it turns me from a technogeek into a very human geek.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tidbits I've Heard

If the toolbox metaphor didn't exist, would we create it and put it in our toolboxes?

Users consider tasks to be obstacles in the way of achieving their goals.

This Week, Colorado

I'm hanging out at the Omni Interlocken just outside of Denver. I'm at a conference of the Usability Professionals Association (UPA). This is my third or fourth time. I like this conference because it's all about results. The people who attend are mostly practioners, and usually young ones, at that. I feel like an old man. The only people my age are some of the presenters or consultant predators looking for lucrative engagements. I'm also a bit out of step, because many of these folks come from usability shops, and I come from the business product side of the house.

I like the questioning, the sharing of ideas, the sets of usability methods that people are talking about. It's a good way to checkpoint my own practices, which because of circumstance, often are not the best. Some of these people practice state-of-the-art usability, and I practice seat-of-my-pants. But we're all trying to do the same thing - create a better experience for users. Of course, we hope it increases our business, or web traffic, or what other metric used to measure success.

I talked with a consultant with which my company used to do business. We had an interesting talk, and I'm hoping we can talk again before the end of the conference. He had some interesting perspectives on the progress (regress?) that usability has taken at home. He had a unique view of some decisions made about how to proselitize usability in the company. I think we lost the usability war, but I'm trying to win skirmishes one day at a time. It's been a difficult transition, and usability is hard to manage out of a product group. I think the awareness is in our company's development, QA, and management groups, but no clear vision of how to make it happen.

My brother and I talked last night. He lives in Estes Park, about 45 miles northwest of here. I'm going to rent a car on Friday and drive up there. It's been a year since we've seen each other. We had a long phone conversation last night. I love the guy dearly.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

666 - The Omen!

Pattie, Grace, Mom, Katherine, Michael, Happy
Pattie, Grace, Mom, Katherine, Michael, Happy

You betcha! 666 is an omen all right. Actually, in my life the real omen is 66, a sign of strong family ties and traditions. My grandparents were married on June 6. My parents were married on June 6. My Dad was married on June 6, twice. My stepmom was married on June 6, twice, and her first husband's birthday was on June 6. Seems like a pretty strong thread.

So forget the movie. I called my Mom and told her how fortunate I feel to have had grandparents, parents, and siblings and step siblings for whom family means sticking together in the difficult times, caring for each other, helping out, getting together across town or across the continent. I'm grateful for their love, and I think June 6 is probably our family holiday, or should be.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sero-Converting 20 Years Later

I read an article in the Washington Post by a journalist who had sero-converted at age 49 - about 20 years after we knew what caused AIDS. The article was somewhat chilling to me, because I am sometimes careless, maybe risky, and don't have all the information needed to make some informed choices about sex.

The journalist never stated how he sero-converted, saying that only negative guys worry about that. Positve guys just want to get on with their lives. I don't have any argument with that except that I want to know, why do gay men sero-convert after 20 years of education, marching in the streets, safe sex campaigns, and watching all of their friends of a certain age die? I want to know the answer because I carry a gray cloud in the back of my head every time I have sex with someone who is not my partner.

Is this guy telling me the truth? Am I telling him the truth? Is he really negative? Am I really negative? How risky is unprotected fellatio? How risky is rimming my best friend? How risky is bareback sex with a positive guy with no detectable viral load? And what does that mean, anyway? I want the guy to tell me how he sero-converted so that I can make my own informed decisions about the sex I have with him. I want the guy to tell me how he sero-converted so that the next time I visit my doctor I don't get told, "You're positive."

I'm angry with myself for doing stupid sexual acts. I'm angry with my partners who don't tell me the whole story. I'm angry with the whole Safer Sex establishment for not providing real and truthful facts about real men having real sex with each other. So we go on spreading the disease, killing each other slowly, all because we don't have good, actionable information from which to decide how to act sexually and how to act responsibly.

Monday, May 29, 2006

May 28

Ron and I are at the airport. It's been quite a vacation, and we've both had a good time. I said goodbye to Grace at the hotel this morning. I sent her off on the hotel shuttle. Then I went back to the room, and Ron and I got ready to come on to the airport. I-90 around Spokane has a lot of construction going on, so it's difficult to get around downtown, because the normal exits are blocked or detoured. I had forgotten how pretty (and how small) Spokane is. When I was a kid, it was such a big city. I guess it's all where you're at. It is the biggest city between Seattle, Boise, Salt Lake, and probably Minneapolis. It's amazing how empty the Intermountain West and the Great Plains are. I noticed that at East Glacier - from that point east, it's a vast plain. We joke about Flyover Land, and there is a lot of truth in the joke, except we fly over incredible beauty, solitude, a taciturn, tough, windblown, and sunburned place in America. And a part of my heart is still here. I still hurt a little every time I fly out of some western town and head back to Washington, the other Washington. I'm not an Idaho Country Farm Boy anymore, if I ever was, but that notion is certainly a part of my myth, and how I create my world. I suspect I'm now the city slicker. I catch my impatience with people, my ironic self. Somewhere in there, though, I hope I can find a boy wearing his shitkickers, and feeling the joy of being in a familiar, far away place.

May 27

So how do you end a family vacation? This morning, Ron, Grace, and I set out for Coeur d'Alene to hook up with even more family members. Uncle Harry and Aunt Virgie Lee were going to meet us at Top of China for lunch, off of US 95. Top of China is a buffet. Its most prominent feature was the pepperoni pizza. It reminded me of a Chinese-Italian restaurant that was once in Arlington. Very strange.

I sat next to Uncle Harry, and across from Mike. I don't talk to either of them very often, so it was a nice opportunity to visit. Uncle Harry was a logger most of his life. He and Aunt Virgie Lee live in St. Maries, 40 or so miles outside of Coeur d'Alene. Jeannie and John, their daughter and son-in-law also joined us. John is a welder and dock builder. Jeannie is retired for health reasons. She had a stroke several years ago and can't work. She is quite a person to talk to, lots of stories, lots of laughter. I'm always awed at the different roads life takes us, sometimes parallel, sometimes crossed, and sometimes in totally different directions. I see the folks about once every couple of years. They get older, more frail, but I'm impressed by the measure of joy they bring to their lives.

After lunch, Grace, Ron, and I went to Jeannie's for some of Aunt Virgie's desserts. She's great with the sweets. She makes a mean chocolate cake, and she had some chocolate chip bars, and a graham cracker-pecan concoction that was excellent. I'll have to fix it sometime. So we gabbed for a couple of hours. I love the stories, and Harry, Virgie, and Jeannie are all great storytellers. John is quite the storyteller, too. I'm happy to have the family that I have.

We made our way back to Spokane in late afternoon. Ron had a workout at the gym, while Grace and I walked around Riverfront Park. The park extends along both sides of the Spokane River from the upper falls to the Maple Street bridge. It's the site of the 1978(?) World's Fair. The park has a carousel, so we took a ride, and we walked across the footbridges to get a better view of the upper falls. The water is very high, so the river looked like a seething mass of energy hitting the rocky banks along the island and the shore. Signs all over the place warn about the extreme drowning danger at the river's edge. After seeing the rapids and the falls, the warnings tell a story.

May 26

Today is our last day here at the Haymoon Resort. We have really enjoyed our stay, and had some wonderful times. We're going to pack, then head out to Kalispel for a few hours. We're staying in Spokane tonight, then going over to Coeur d'Alene to visit Aunt Virgie Lee and Uncle Harry. Kat, Mom, and Mike are going to join us after taking Pattie to the airport. She has an early afternoon flight.

Mom and Pattie are already planning a Yellowstone adventure two years from now. I can hardly wait. Honestly, no irony.

We spent a couple of hours in Kalispel, running into the rest of the clan a couple of times. It's a very small town and we have a large family. We got on the road about 2 p.m. The drive over to St. Regis really is beautiful. We drove up a couple of mountain valleys - some pretty lonesome places that were a bright, spring green. The weather was cloudy with very intermittent showers, and the sun playing across the rain squalls made the scenery even more beautiful. I can imagine myself in this type of landscape, although I'm probably a city boy through and through by now. I don't know if I could shake 23 years of creature comforts, but I can imagine myself in the midst of this landscape.

We stopped in St. Regis for a rest stop. Grace got her huckleberry shake, at last. Back on I-90, I became concerned that I didn't have directions to the Doubletree Inn in Spokane, thus began our quest for vistor information. In this day of cell phones, yellow pages are difficult to come by. We first stopped at a visitor center outside Coeur d'Alene, but the center was closed. Next we tried Stateline, but got on the wrong exit; well, it was a mess. The next exit took me down a road going the wrong way. I feel naked in situations like that. Of course, I was now completely frazzled. Finally, we found a visitor center in a West Spokane Valley mall (the direction signs are tiny blue markers, hard to see from the car). Of course, once inside the center, we couldn't find any hotel information.

This is when Ron took control. First he located the public phones in the mall. They didn't have phone books (why would you need phone books, anyway?). Next, he walked over to a laser cosmetic skin care boutique and inquired if the shop had a yellow pages. The two young women in the shop were extremely helpful. They knew exactly where the hotel was, and gave us very good directions. We got to the hotel a half hour later, checked in, then set out for dinner.

So the next time you are in Spokane, Washington, I suggest you eat in the Italian Kitchen. The food is very good. Ron even got some veggies with his dinner. He was happy. Grace had a seafood dish, and I had scampi with a tasty risotto. I realize that seafood in the Inland Empire may seem a little weird, but I'm sure they caught it all off a dock in the Spokane River, fresh, daily. I'm sure of it. Great food. Check it out.

May 25

Ron mentioned yesterday that he wanted to take a helicopter ride. So that's what we did today, with our cute pilot, Matt. If you get a chance to take a helicopter tour of Glacier National Park, by all means do it. It's an incredible half hour. It doesn't sound very long, but the copter takes you places that people simply don't go. I took many pictures which I'll publish here shortly. Grace, Kat, Mike, Ron, and I took the ride. It left from West Glacier, and went all the way past Logan Pass. We rather abruptly crossed the Continental Divide, which consisted of climbing a vertical wall of ice and rock, then skittering across a snow field. Once on top, you begin to understand why it's called Glacier National Park. While the mountains you can see from the road are breathtaking, the first glimpse of the snow and ice field in the center of the park is spectacular.

Well, enough of the superlatives. Matt flew us up several hanging valleys. These valleys are U-shaped and at the foot of the ice field. The edge of the valley plunges into another valley below. Dozens of waterfalls line the valley walls, feeding a lake at the very bottom of the valleys. In the interior, the lakes are still iced over. But as you drop in elevation, the snow melt is occurring rapidly.

Our pilot, Matt, who is as cute as a button, works as a pilot for fire crews. He also works search and rescue. He was substituting for the regular pilot today. Maybe there is something to those pilot, or ranger, or firefighter fantasies. I don't think I'll explore that here, though.

After the tour, Grace, Ron, and I decided to go back into the park and do some hiking. The nice lady ranger charged us $25, but it's for a good cause. Smokey needs all the help he can get. We hiked from the Lincoln Lake trailhead for about a mile and a half. A trail crew was out refurbishing the trail, getting it ready for the tourist hordes that will begin descending next week. All of the crew members were extremely friendly. In fact everyone we've met in Montana, so far, has been extremely friendly. The trail is pretty steep, and we pretty much fagged out after an hour on the trail. Coming back down was much easier than going up. I just love the little signs at the beginning of each trail that state, "You are entering Grizzly Bear country." People taste like chicken.

Tonight, the whole family was supposed to go out for dinner in Kalispel. I made some reservations at Red's Wines and Blues, but only Ron, Grace, and I made it there. The other half of the family had gone sightseeing in the park, too, and didn't get back in time to eat with us. The dinner was pretty much a disappointment. The restaurant provided a comment card, so we commented. My meal was very good - baby back ribs, cole slaw and baked beans. The beans were the showstopper. Ribs are kind of hard to eat when you are wearing nice clothes, and I need to be reminded of that from time to time.

May 24

So up bright and early, cooking scrambled eggs for my sister. After breakfast, we met up with the others for a grand tour of Glacier Park, and I mean grand. We took US 2 outside of West Glacier and drove around the park to East Glacier, then entered the park from there. Katherine and Pattie had an 'awesome' tour book, and every spectacular turn off, we followed intrepid Pattie to some empty parking lot, would take a trail, and around a bend see some incredible scene, featuring jagged, glacier-covered mountains, rapid runnng rivers, and a couple of exciting rest stops.

On the way to East Glacier, we stopped off at Goat Lick which is a natural place that mountain goats come down to natural salt deposits near the Whitefish River. At the time several people in the parking lot saw some goats up on the hillside, but I couldn't see them. On our return trip, though, the goats were near the highway and we saw a half dozen goats grazing. Pretty cool!

Further down the highway we stopped off at the tiny town of Essex. It's a Great Northern Railway town. The railroad built a permanent camp there early in the century to keep the line open in the winter time. Later on, the railroad built the Izaak Walton Lodge, which is a picturesque mountain hotel. I'd love to come back and stay there sometime, and Amtrak has service to the front door of the hotel. I have some good hummingbird pictures from the hotel. From there the road takes you to the Maries, where you cross the Continental Divide. Around here, the country begins to change from mountainous to rolling plains (Blackfoot Indian Nation). The forest gradually gives way to grasslands. It's very green and beautiful this time of year.

As you can imagine, our trip was kind of like some ancient Royal Progress through the countryside. We eventually made it to East Glacier, and stopped for lunch at the Thimbleberry Cafe, good road food, and about 38 varieties of chocolate desserts. I passed on the desserts, but I heartily recommend their chocolate chip cookies. You'll love 'em. After leaving Thimbleberries, we headed up MT 49 toward Two Medicine Lake and St Marys. Rt 49 is this windy, narrow road full of landslide signs, and warnings about cattle on the road, real Brokeback Mountain stuff. We didn't see any cowboys, but did see some wild horses, a few ground squirrels, and a marmot.

MT 49 is takes you up over a pass where on one side you see the eastern mountain slopes, and on the other side rolling grasslands with a hundred shades of green. MT 49 ends up at US 89, which takes you directly into a mountain lake valley. Again, I have lots of nameless mountain lake pictures that I can't identify, but you'll know, at least, that I've been there. It seems that every vista is more beautiful than the last.

Coming back down the mountain toward St. Marys, a rainstorm was coming off the mountains down the lake valley. I took some pictures, but I'm not sure how they'll turn out. With the clouds, sun, and blue sky, the picture overhead never lacked for drama. One of the great things about out-and-back trips is that on the back track, you see a completely different scene than the one you saw on the way up. We saw a whole new set of panoramas, this time set off by rainstorms and a brilliantly clear afternoon sky.

We got back to Whitefish about an hour later than we had planned (but who's planning, we're on vacation). Pattie and Kat prepared dinner. Pattie had marinated some steaks, then threw them on the grill when we came back. We had a tasty family dinner. We're were petered out, so we came back to our cabin around 11:30, hit the sack, ready for tomorrow.

May 23

This morning I got into Whitefish early to get my neck worked on. The massage therapist's name is Angie and she knows her stuff. The massage has helped today with the pain and the range of movement. We had a very nice conversation while she was working on me. I wish Ron had been there to watch so that he could pick up some massage tips. She was really good about locating all the trouble spots. She jabs one of those spots, and it really hurts, then feels so good. I suppose this is a socially acceptable form of S&M. I like feeling like a rag doll. We talked about square dancing. She gave me some pointers on how to take care of my neck and shoulder. Indeed, I'm doing all the wrong things. She said my neck was longer than most, so I needed to be mindful of it. I feel like Mary, Queen of Scots.

Her studio had the massage muzak that I've come to expect and dread whenever I get a massage. (I'm used to it.) She had a whole shelf of colored Christmas lights, faeries, and crystals. It reminded me of our fireplace mantle. She talked a little about her religious faith, too. I suspect it's heterodox, and more power to her! People find their own ways to make meaning. In a practice like massage, it's probably more open to those ideas simply because massage, itself, tends to be a heterodox practice. Angie is a wise woman, and she loves the San Diego Zoo.

I went shopping on the way back to the resort, deciding I'd cook dinner for everyone. I got some more salmon, not really because I love salmon, but hey man, I'm on vacation, and it's easy to fix! Grace and Ron had stepped out for a walk, but happily for me had left the door unlocked. Mom, Kat, Pattie, and Mike had gone out for breakfast, then exploring. We hung around here for a while, then took off for some exploring ourselves.

The closest entrance to Glacier Park is West Glacier (guess what the name to the east entrance of the park is). The park is about 35 miles from here. You go through a couple of mountain towns, each proclaiming that it is the Gateway to Glacier. The Rising Sun Highway is closed about 15 miles inside the park, but you can drive up to the bottom of Logan Pass. So that's what we did.

Let me make this very clear: the scenery is breathtaking. Without ever leaving the comfort of your vehicle, you would experience a lifetime thrill just driving into the park. Although I'm sure we would miss a spectacular view on top, I don't feel too bad for having experienced the incredible panoramas that I did see. Our first stop was Lake MacDonald. It has a lodge, and all the college help were diligently cleaning, planting, sweeping, smoking, and playing. Everything was closed, but the organism was slowly waking up. I'm sure if we went every day over the next couple of weeks, we'd see the lodge yawn a couple of times, stretch, and preen a bit, smile and be ready for hordes of tourists (like us) to descend. The lake is beautiful. We went down to the dock and walked around the grounds of the lodge.

It's a perverse thrill to see the park in the off season. The roads are empty, the pull outs are waiting only for you. The sights are yours alone to cherish, and there are no traffic jams. Of course, there's no place to stay or anything to eat either.

We headed on up the road toward Logan Pass. The road was closed at Avalanche Gorge. It's the trailhead for several trails, one of which heads up to Avalanche Lake. We hiked up that trail to the gorge, which during spring runoff is wild, and loud. You can really see the power of water as it races down the chute. The little walk we took is in a cedar rain forest. I was surprised to see one so high in altitude, and so far inland. Bright, abundant beds of moss covered rock surfaces. Some parts of the trail were built on wooden walkways above the ground. It's a very quiet, natural cathredral.

May 22

Today, we're staying close to home. We expect the rest of the family to come in late tonight. Actually finding this place is kind of a chore. When we were looking for it the first night we were here, we went on a wild goose chase that took us about 17 miles out of our way. Of course, it helps if you are reading directions and looking at the map. I had called Mom on Sunday to give her directions, then I was going to email them to her. The directions go something like this: turn right at the Midway Motors sign. If you pass the KOA Kampground sign, you've gone too far. That sort of stuff. In the meantime, her ISP went down as a result of a summer storm. So much for directions.

Whitefish is a total tourist town. It has skiing in the winter and fishing, hiking, camping, and Glacier National Park in the summer. We are here in the (very) brief spring off-season. Everything will open up around Memorial Day or the first week in June. Whitefish, itself, is pretty busy, but many of the lodges and resorts are closed.

First off, I went to a massage therapist's office and made an appointment. My neck has been in bad shape, so I wanted it worked on. I'll see one tomorrow morning. Then, we walked the streets of Whitefish and hit just about every craft shop in town. We saw some beautiful jewelry and furniture, but had the good sense not to purchase any. Grace bought some huckleberry chocolate. I think Whitefish is probably the huckleberry capital of the world.

After exploring Whitefish, we went north of town up Big Mountain. Big Mountain has a ski resort at the top of a very windy road. The area between Whitefish and the ski resort is undergoing significant development. I think people want to live in the woods and hunt and ski, but they want to live in big honking houses, too. I suppose that many of the residents in these home are seasonal, but don't know for sure.

At Big Mountain, we explored a couple of roads near the lodge. We stopped in at a little store (the only business open at the lodge), and asked about hiking trails. Two women were in the shop, neither of whom had any front teeth. They were very friendly people, and sold us a bottle of huckleberry wine. The told us about the hiking trails, and gave us tips on how not to become bear bait. Oddly, the restaurant at the ski lodge is named Kandahar. I wonder if Big Mountain looks like the Hindu Kush, or did a couple of the Taliban resettle in Whitefish, Montana?

We hiked a half mile or so up one of the ski trails, then turned back, and came back down the hill to Whitefish. On the way, we stopped at the city beach on Whitefish Lake. The lake is beautiful, but you can't see the lake from the highway or most of the city streets because the lakefront properties block the view. A family was on the sand at the beach. Several little kids were in the water or on the dock, and Barkie the incredible Wonder Dog was running down the dock and leaping into the lake, very spectacular. We enjoyed the show.

Back home we made a salad from leftovers and settled in for a very quiet evening. Of course, as soon as I went to bed, Pattie knocked on the front door. A few minutes later, Kat and Mike drove up. We all went over to Pattie and Mom's cabin for a quick hello, then I came back and really went to bed.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Salmon St. Regis

When you create new dishes, the hardest task is coming up with a name. I mean, what would you call baked salmon that featured kumquats and rosemary? Yesterday was our first full day here in Whitefish, Montana. It started out with breakfast in the Buffalo Cafe, then proceeded to the supermarket, to answer the question, "What should we have for dinner?"

Whitefish has a big discount supermarket, better than anything you'd find in Wheaton, MD, who knew? City slicker meets small town shopping convenience (the price of gas is 30 cents cheaper, too!). Finally, a shopping experience that really could answer the question of what to have for dinner.

I volunteered to cook, which meant I also volunteered to shop. I figured either chicken, tuna, or salmon. After perusing the offerings, salmon seemed like the best bet. I looked at the market's fresh herbs, and they offered rosemary, sage, and thyme (among others). With Simon and Garfunkel playing in my head, I opted for the rosemary. In the meantime, Ron found some kumquats. I picked up a few more things, some salad ingredients, beets (because I like them), and some other secret ingredients.

When we got back to the guest ranch, we talked and relaxed. We have another day before the rest of the family gets here, so we kicked back. About 5:30 or so, I decided to start cooking. I put on the beets. They're easy to fix because you serve them with butter, salt, and pepper, and they taste grand that way. I didn't know exactly what to do with the salmon. I'm not much of a salmon fan, so I didn't know where invention was going to take me.

It was a good thing that Ron picked up the kumquats, because I needed something citrusy for the fish. I chopped up some kumquats and mashed them with some garlic, rosemary, and olive oil. I spooned that over the salmon steaks and baked it. Voila: Salmon St. Regis.

St. Regis is a tiny town about 100 miles down the road. It has a swank sound to it. It reminds me of Montana, where I engineered this recipe. It has a nice alliterative ring: Salmon, St. Regis. The fish tasted great, looked fabulous with the beets and asparagus, was complemented nicely with a pinot grigio. Life doesn't get much better than this in Montana, or Wheaton for that matter.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

So This Is Montana?

In not quite a Brokeback Moment, Ron and I ended up in Whitefish, Montana this evening. Not quite Brokeback because this isn't Wyoming. Not quite Brokeback, because I don't look like Jake Gyllenhaal.

After dinner tonight, I'm not even sure if this is the Old West, either. We ate at Reds, Wines, Blues in Kalispell. Grace and Ron had some fancy schmancy pizza (I mean, come on, salmon on a pizza?), and I had coconut shrimp and beets on salad greens. That ain't cowboy food. But I'm not complaining, the food was very good.

Ron and I left out of Baltimore shortly after eight this morning. We flew through Minneapolis to Spokane, and got there after noon. Grace was waiting patiently for us near the car rental.

After renting the car (a snappy Dodge Stratus), we stopped for a quick lunch at an Appleby's between Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, then hit the road big time, taking I-90 to St. Regis, following some smaller highways to 93, and taking 93 into Whitefish. We only got lost once getting here, and we have some very nice quarters here at the Haymoon Resort. We're all tired, and ready for a good night's sleep.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mr. President, Shame

Mr. President, shame. Each day more people die in Iraq as a direct result of your war. Today, Mothers Day, 2006, the body count stands at between 35,000 and 39,000 Iraqi civilians killed in your war on terror.

Mr. President, Iraqi mothers grieve because the direct consequences of your war that threw Iraq into chaos and unbelievable civil violence. Mr. President, American moms grieve because you took us to war with your dissembling, your half-truths, and your hubris that killed their children. The results of your disastrous, immoral war continue to live in the deaths of our best and brightest youth, every one a needless death.

Mr. President, you call this a war against terror. I call this a war of terror: against the people of Iraq, against constitutional liberties here at home. You make distinctions about innocence and guilt, when really, Mr. President, you are the guilty party.You claim to have a Christian faith. I pray you turn to your God, and exercise that faith. You can begin to put this evil that you started to rest. But it has to begin with you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Of Course, I Was Busy!

One of my pet peeves about blogs, diaries, what have you is that the chronicler of events misses a great deal of time between entries. It's something I'm quite capable of doing. I always have something else to do. So now, while I'm printing out postcard addresses on my inkjet, it seemed like a good idea to address this shortcoming.

Actually, quite a bit is going on. I finished my computer class yesterday, taking a final for which I was not prepared. I consider it an object lesson, I guess. And square dancing is also bumping it up a notch, not to mention the injured leg, and how I decided square dancing is more important that a mere leg injury.

Now that the class is over, perhaps I'll have some time to devote to the class project. Eventually, I just threw up my hands and realized it wasn't going to get finished, even though the square dance web site needs the functionality. I want to get back to it. For the last class session, students were expected to prepare a presentation for the rest of the class. I did my presentation on web application architecture, and presented an architectural schema. It interests me enough that I think eventually, I'll write a paper or a book about it.

This last weekend was Pass the Ocean in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Tim and I had a wonderful time there. Both of us paced ourselves so that we survived all four days. The callers were Mike DeSisto, Saundra Bryant, Anne Uebelacker, Ett McAtee, and Dayle Hodge. I've danced to all of them before, and they each have their own way of twisting my brain cells. In addition to the dancing, Tim and I had a number of very good meals, most memorable being the ones at the Blue Moon.

Well, those postcards are finished.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Here's a Pretty Pic

I like take pictures, and because I take them so badly, I have to transmute their base elements into something more. At least that's why I think digital photography is alchemy of the best sort. This is a picture and detail that I took in Dupont Circle. I think they turned out pretty well.

Fountain in Dupont Circle

Fountain in Dupont Circle
©Copyright 2006 by Happydoodle, Unltd. All rights reserved

Detail, Fountain in Dupont

Detail, Fountain in Dupont
©Copyright 2006 by Happydoodle, Unltd. All rights reserved

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Same But Different

Some gay families attended the Easter Egg Roll on the White House Lawn (very soggy according to press reports). I have mixed feelings about all of this. I think it's great that gay people have families, but these families all carry the tag line, "We're just the same as straight families, except...."

Don't get me wrong. I think families, ANY family should have the opportunity to roll Easter eggs on the White House lawn. I think every person that loves another person should have the opportunity to get married. Well, you get the drift where this is going, except that it stops here pretty quickly. Because the "except" is exceedingly important to me. I'm not straight. My family is different. And that difference is very important to me, and probably makes straight mommies and daddies very queasy.

When are gay people going to learn the simple lesson that we don't fit in? We never have, we never will. Now this doesn't mean we throw up our hands and move to West Hollywood, but it does mean that we shouldn't be surprised about how straight people view our families, and how they think about us. We'll always be a queer construct to straight people no matter how normal we feel to ourselves.

Here's the truth about difference: it's rooted in a deep-seated misunderstanding of the other. It rests in our emotion, our guts, our loins, but rarely in our reasoning.

Just do this thought exercise: do you know how Jewish men davin? To them it's an everyday, normal practice, but to the rest of us, it's an odd way to pray. Do you know how Islamic people ritually clean themselves? To them it's real, important, necessary and a part of every day life. To the rest of us, it's an odd way to wash or bathe.

The people who perform these acts live in houses across America, just like you and me. These people have families, just like you and me. In fact, some of these people are you and me, except they, too, are different, just like you and I are different.

I hope the day is coming when different doesn't mean bad. The problem that some straight people have with "gay" is that they see only the difference and can't imagine how gay people live, how gay people work, how gay people eat, how gay people talk, how gay people watch television, how gay people drive automobiles. The only thing they can imagine is how gay people have sex. (And they usually get it wrong, too.)

I think that's the big difference between straight people and gay people. And it's about as wide as the Grand Canyon. We're never going to be the same, and that's a good thing to be thankful for.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Fear and Loathing

I want to make it very clear, that I do not, objectively, believe that it is immoral to file your taxes late. So why did I feel like a criminal or a bad guy? What's up with the mind control?

So I finally eliminated the dissonance, figured out how to handle the mutual fund sale (what a mess), and I think it's all tidied up. Of course, I could be very wrong, and maybe even get to experience the weight of the Federal Government, or the state of Maryland. At least I'm breathing again, instead of hyperventilating.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Reading the Newspaper Can Raise My Blood Pressure

I was reading a newspaper article about the proposed constitutional amendment in Virginia which would prohibit marriage between anyone except one man and one woman, and then it goes on to prohibit civil unions, and who knows what all. Virginia isn't the only state considering or enacting this kind of legislation, just the closest, until Maryland decides to do the same thing.

So let me tell you my interest in this: Ron and I have been together for 23 years. We love each other. We own a home together. I suppose the detail about our lives that most offends the authors of amendments and laws like those being considered in Virginia, is that Ron and I also sleep together.

What raises my ire most about Virginia's amendment is that it not only deprives gay men and women in Virginia of a basic human and civil right, but it's positively mean-spirited. If you straight people want marriage as your own private club, go ahead and take it. But don't trash the civil rights of the rest of us.

When I look at the divorce rate, it appears to me that straight people are the real threat to the institution of marriage. Maybe to protect marriage, Virginia should just prohibit anyone from getting married. That wouldn't violate anyone's civil rights, either.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Moral Ambiguity at the Movies

Ron and I went to see Inside Man today. It's a good movie, a mystery worth seeing, but I was a little disturbed by the moral ambiguity of the ending. Of course, since this is a movie about cops, this film has a corrupt cop. It has some very bad guys, it has the intentionally morally ambiguous. But then there's the detective character, who's hardworking and honest. Or is he? Watch the movie then you tell me.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Pictures Revisited

© Copyright 2006, Happydoodle, Unltd. All Rights Reserved.

Several years ago, I had a photographer take a series of nude pictures of me. I suppose it was (is) vanity. In all he took four series over the course of five years. Some of the pictures were good, some not. I like them, though, because they capture a different part of me; they make an invisible part visible. Although it could be I just like to have my picture taken with my clothes off.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Love and Hate on the Internet

When everything is in the groove on the Internet, I love it. When anything, and it doesn't take much, is off kilter, I hate it. Sometimes the most simple tasks are impossible to perform. It makes me crazy.

I maintain several web sites, and something is always wrong. Nothing is simple to fix, and something always goes wrong just when it shouldn't. Murphy is alive and well around here, and he is messin' with my computer.

Monday, April 3, 2006

I Think I'm Reduced to Frustration

I'm having problems with my website and database. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and if you are in a hurry to get something done, don't count on it. Computers were not created to make our lives easier. A whole new layer of indirection and complexity makes the most simple task impossible to perform the first time, AND inexplicably, things that worked yesterday will fail to work tomorrow.

That's what my world is like this evening. I'm stuck talking to technical support. This is the third time I've called them. In the meantime, tech support deleted my database because it was "corrupted." Far be it for me to second guess their assessment of the state of my database, but it didn't make my life any easier.

Quiet Seething in the 'Burbs

I feel like an ant or a lemming. I'm not sure which. I feel like part of the herd and desperately want to get out of it. I'm tired of belonging, but don't know anything different. And I'm tired of being different and not belonging.

Perhaps some of that is more acute for me because I'm thinking about springing into retirement (I have the means, I just don't have the plan). I'm sure that my gay perspective also bears on my angst. Believe me, no conformity is enforced as well as that of a self-identified aggrieved group of people. I'll not name any names, though.

This constant evaluation, measuring, totaling up takes a toll. I feel crispy at the end of the day, as in burned. I think the analysis is worse for being analyzed. How sweet to be in complete ignorance. Perhaps sweeter to embrace the ignorance and march triumphantly to a bad end. I don't know. I know that resisting the ignorance of bigotry, the ignorance of habit, the blinders of perspective doesn't guarantee a good end, either.

One of my friends, who is not gay, asked me once what I wanted most as a gay man. I told him the freedom to be left alone. I suspect that after certain basic needs are met, that might be what we all want, the autonomy to be ourselves, and to make our own stupid mistakes without having to share in the stupid mistakes of everyone else.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Wheaton Spring

I'm glad spring is back. Spring brings a special kind of green. The light is sharper. The birds sing heedlessly and shamelessly looking for some special bird for some special times. Ron and I went out for a walk, and we had a difficult time coming back in. This season lends itself to breaking away, running free, and laughing loud.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

This Thing about Getting Older

I recently had my 55th birthday. (Yeah, I know that sounds old, but if you live long enough, you get there.) Actually, it sounds old to me sometimes, too, because I don't feel old at all, at least not in my head.

Of course, in my knees, I feel 55 and a lot more. It's not very pretty. Earlier this week, I was at the doctor's office to find out why my leg felt tight and spring-loaded. He told me that I either had blood clots, cancer, or Baker's Cyst. None of them soundded like anything with which I'd want to spend the rest of my life. The next day I went in for a Doppler sonogram, which ruled out blood clots. The doc and I are talking again next week. That's when I feel like I'm 55.

This sucks because it makes square dancing very painful. Several times in the years since I've been dancing, I've run into problems like this. Right now, both my knees hurt, and I'm probably ready for bed. Next thing I know, I'll be drooling.

So my advice is this, you should wear underwear when you go for the sonogram.

Friday, March 31, 2006

F*ck Security Software!

I find computer security really irritating. I bought a new computer, but it's settings are such that I cannot easily access very much on the Internet. I'm not sure how to change the settings. The security software on the machine is mysterious and poorly designed. You're probably asking yourself, why is he complaining?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

This is it. Day One. I need to get on with my life, and you should get on with yours, too.