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.