Friday, December 17, 2010

Bah, Humbug?

I wonder exactly when it happened.  I have an idea how. 
When I was a kid, Christmas was such a big event each year.  I grew up in a town that is famous for its Christmas festival.  The streets would be strung with a cosmic number of multicolored bulbs at the beginning of December.  The first Saturday of the month was the date of the fest.  The town would swell from the resident population of around 15,000 people to over 100,000.  I looked forward to the festival, because most of my family would come from all over the state to enjoy the celebration.
There would be two parades:  a short junior parade with groups like cub and girl scouts, junior high bands, and baton twirling squads, and a larger parade with elaborate floats, high school bands, horses, and the Grand Marshall.  One year, the Grand Marshall was (wow) Vanna White. After the parades, bands would play on the grandstand at the edge of the river that ran through the city.  When darkness closed in, a magnificent fireworks presentation would erupt over the river to the oohs and aahs of the crowd (and the cries of frightened young children).  As the end of the display, the city Christmas lights would suddenly illuminate the downtown district.
Throughout the month of December, the Christmas lights would twinkle, a tall tinsel tree on the grandstand would flash and play carols, and Santa would be in his small shop near the river with a ready knee to bounce the wishes out of children.  In addition to the festival, I was involved in many church-related activities that added to the spirit of the season:  live nativity presentations, cantatas, and candlelight Christmas Eve services.  Between the doings in the city and the goings-on in my rural neighborhood, I was in a constant glow of the season.

Then I grew up … fast. 
At nineteen, I got my girlfriend pregnant and we were married.  She was unknowingly carrying twins; we found that out when her water broke two and a half months early.  We rushed to the big city charity hospital (we were young kids… no money, no insurance).  Born so prematurely (and long before more modern medicine), the two boys had the odds stacked against them from the start.  One of the twins lived only 19 hours.  The other lived on life support from late October through early January, innocently throwing a shadow on the holidays.
When I was 22, my mother had a massive heart attack the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  By the time she was transported to the local hospital, she had slipped into a coma.  That holiday season, my family passed time visiting in the hospital with her unaware.  She never regained consciousness and perished in early February of 1987.
So there you have it:  the two most heartbreaking events of my life occurring during the holidays.  Lots of hospital-time and sadness; little celebration and merriness.  Each Christmas after those experiences reminded me of loss.
I will write off my lack of holiday interest to these two life events.  My wife and I had a son after the twins.  When he was a toddler, his mom and I divorced.  He would visit me during the holidays and ask why I never put up a tree.  As he grew older, he must have realized that it just wasn’t Dad’s bag.
Maybe it’s just the passing of time and my getting older.  I really wish I could be more celebratory during Christmastime.  Nowadays with the season beginning before Halloween ends and all of the pressure of shopping for the perfect gifts, it is a long two and a half months for me.  Even the Christmas celebration in my hometown has been extended to include fireworks for every weekend of December, which seems a bit too much for my take.  But I make sure not to complain about the holidays to others (as some do).  It’s one thing to be outside of the spirit of the season; it’s another thing to rip the tinsel from the tree.  I will not be a Scrooge

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jimmy and Mr. Raney

And now, a bit of fiction...


The October wind was blowing multihued leaves down the road, accompanied by swirls of dust.  It had been a dry early fall, with hunters complaining of not being able to move through the woods without alerting the squirrels.  Jimmy had gone back to the truck early.  It was only 8:45 in the morning, but he had fallen asleep against a white oak earlier.  He thought it best just to come back to Tommy’s truck and lie in the bed.  He dropped the tailgate and climbed in, resting his shotgun beside him and hanging his legs off the edge of the truck. 
            He had a headache from too much beer the night before.  Tommy, Tommy’s cousin Jon, Jimmy, and Jimmy’s cousin Matt had stayed up too late at camp, drinking and talking about girls.  At fifteen, with the other boys being a year or two older, Jimmy missed the times when girls were not such a large topic of conversation around the campfire.  He was a bit confused about the others’ all-consuming interest in the opposite sex and more than a bit worried about his lack thereof. 
            Jimmy looked up as the wispy clouds passed above in the turquoise sky and into the tops of the tall pines.  He groaned a little at the pain in his head as he threw his left arm over his eyes.  In minutes, his chest was rising and falling in a slow, steady rhythm. 


            Hearing the pounding of slow, heavy footfall, Jimmy woke a bit dazed.  Realizing where he was, he thought “That’s got to be Jon.”  Jon was the largest of the three other hunters.  Being three years older than him and a nose guard for the high school football team, Jon dwarfed the slim but tall Jimmy.
            Jimmy pulled himself to a sitting position and said “What’d ya get?”
            “Well, hello boy.” 
            Jimmy, surprised that it was not Jon, simply said, “Hi,” and scratched his cheek.
Jon was big but this person was a man.  Taller even than Jon, broad shoulders, thick neck, full dark-red beard flecked with grey, camouflage clothes and cap, big smile, hands like catcher’s mitts.
            “You waiting on your buddies?”
            “Yessir.”  Jimmy replied, a bit intimidated as the large man drew closer.
            “I ran into a big fella down in the creek bed a couple of hundred yards that’a way.” The man pointed south.
            “That was Jon.”
            “Jon Fuselier?”
            “Yessir.”
            “I thought I’d recognized him from the football field.  Who do you belong to, boy?”
            Normally, Jimmy would have bristled at a stranger calling him “boy,” but he knew that this man was using the term in a way that was not deprecating.  “I’m Will and Peggy Gauthiex’s son, Jimmy.”
            “Ah, haven’t seen Will in a long time and longer than that for your momma.  You look like her, Jimmy.”
            “Yessir, so people tell me.”
            “I’m Gerald Raney.”
            “Good to meet you, Mr. Raney.”  Jimmy instinctively extended his right hand.
            “Call me Gerry,” Ramey grabbed the boy’s hand and shook it, the man’s large paw enveloping the other’s.  The man’s direct gaze from green eyes locked with Jimmy’s dark brown ones.  “How’d you do this morning?”
            Jimmy smiled sheepishly.  “I just went into the woods and fell asleep.  So I came on back to the truck.”
            “You must have stayed up too late last night, kiddo.”  The big man laughed, eyes dancing.
            “Yessir.”  Jimmy grinned.
            “I’d better get home and start dressing these squirrels, buddy.”  Mr. Raney raised his large hand.
            “Yessir, Mr. Raney.  Have a good day.”
            “Gerry…”
            “Yessir, Gerry.”
            “See you around, Jimmy.”  The man gave Jimmy a slight smile and a wink of his dark green eye.
            Jimmy watched at the man walked away.  The sun went behind a cloud, shadowing the field where the truck was parked; the wind kicked up a bit more.  About a hundred yards away, Mr. Raney turned.  He squared himself with Jimmy and lifted his hand once more.  Jimmy signaled back.  The man turned and resumed his trek.  With the image of Mr. Raney fixed in his mind, the boy positioned himself in the truck bed again and closed his eyes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stuck in the Gridlock

I used to road rage ... a LOT.  I moved to Houston from a small Louisiana town, population 5,000.  The gridlock of Houston was overwhelming for me.  When I first arrived in the city, I worked in one of the busiest districts and had to commute a simple four or five miles home.  I say simple.  Most days it took me 45 minutes to an hour to get home.  In Louisiana, I was used to a 10-minute commute with the same distance between home and work.
So I'd grind my teeth, get red in the face, and generally raise my blood pressure all the way home in Houston.
Then I got a new job where I was able to take the bus.  It took a bit longer than the drive, but I saved on parking fees plus I got to read and listen to my MP3 player to and from work.
My next move was to Los Angeles, and some may think "Oh, My God!"  But I did not have that experience.  I found the drivers there to be more aware and more courteous that those in Houston.  Certainly there were certain freeways to avoid:  the 405, the 110 South (the Harbor Freeway).  But my commute was beautiful.  I lived in West Hollywood and worked in Pasadena.  I would take the 101 South to the 110 North, drive through a big tunnel in a hill and BAM...there were the San Miguel Mountains shining in the distance.  I started thinking that Angelenos were more chilled out on the road just because so many of the surroundings were pleasing.
I did return to Houston (my life called me back from La-La Land) and what did I observe comparing Houston to Los Angeles?  More aggressive drivers.  More vehicles with body damage.  More accidents.  I laughed when one of my co-workers told me over morning coffee that she had seen a bumper sticker on the way in to work that said "Howdy, DAMMIT!"  And that about sums it up.  Cowboy drivers in our big beautiful Bayou City.

I finally took a different point of view and it's been recent that I came to this revelation.  There is nothing that I can do about traffic.  I just have to go with the flow.  And maybe that's just what the people in Los Angeles have been doing for years.  They've had more practice being a big city than Houston.
I just need to remember what I would always tell my son while navigating traffic: "The only vehicle that I can drive right now is this one."
Above all, whether it's to pick up your kid from soccer practice, meet your friends for happy hour, or just  head home to your loved ones; we are all just trying to get to where we really want or need to be.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Average ... Maybe Not

After a long day at work, it's great to come home to a house full of life.  The Man is here with dinner on the table.  The two dogs are outside, getting their paws muddy with more than a little help from the rain that has carried on for the better part of the afternoon.  One cat is crashed on the bed.  The other is following me around like a puppy, but whining loudly for attention.  I give her a little, and then she jumps up to join her brother and curls up on the bed.
Sounds as if we have the average household.  In my mind, we do.
Just The Man and I plus our four pets.  I would say "kids," but they're animals (c'mon folks).  The Man and I enjoy each other's company, a lot.  How many couples can say that after four years together, but every time I look into his eyes, I see the rest of my life reflected back to me.  I proposed to him earlier this year.


Sound as if we have the average household.  And in my mind, we don't.
The average household is not made up of a gay couple and their pets.  Furthermore, I get more than a little frustrated about the fact that he and I cannot just run down to the justice of the peace and get hitched (my style) or plan a big elaborate wedding ceremony and after-party (his style).  Our friends ask questions like "Why do you need your union validated by marriage?"  Or say things like "Don't worry.  The tide will turn one day and same-sex marriage will be adopted in the States."  When?  When I'm 64?  I reside in a state that will be one of the last in the Union to allow gay marriage.  Texas is not exactly the most liberal of the great 50.
I can't wait forever.  Maybe same-sex marriage is for the next generation of gay and lesbian couples.  I'd like to get in on the action.
When I first proposed to the Man, we immediately started looking to have the wedding in Toronto.  We had visited the city the year before and fell in love with it.  We caught a Blue Jay's game.  We toured the city in a double-decker bus (a bit cheesy but total fun).  We ferried over to the islands that skirt the harbor of the city and biked around the paths, around the parks, fountains and cottages.  We enjoyed it so much that we talked of getting married there and then relocating to the city (much to the chagrin of our family and friends).  We've pulled back from those Pollyanna dream (much to the delight of our family and friends).  With winter approaching, we gave it a second look...we live in Houston, and Toronto is COLD during those winter months.
So, we'll have to wait to truly be an average family.  I guess that's good in a way.  Right now...I can feel as if I am part of an above-average family.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Walk in the Park

It starts with a smile at his front door.  And suddenly it’s four years later.  Well, not to the day.  But back in July 2006, I first looked into his green (I-still-say-“blue”) eyes.  And it’s been a cake walk since. 
I really never knew how easy a relationship could be.  I had hints of it in my marriage.  My ex-wife and I got along wonderfully (honestly).  I just couldn’t keep up my side of the passion bargain.  I had the romance down pat.  Many gay guys are great with affection.  Mine is.  And back to that…
He and I have had a handful of arguments, what couple hasn’t.  But almost daily, we are right in line with one another.  I think he’s the neatest guy I’ve ever met.  I can see in his eyes that he’s crazy for me. 
Four years and two days ago, he asked me if it was o.k. if he fell in love with me.  I said, “Sure … I’ve already fallen for you.”  And two days ago, I got these at work.



I posted on Facebook (under my “real” name) a picture of the flowers with the caption: “Lucky me!  I’m going to keep him…” (And I will, with pleasure).  The “ahh”s rolled in as my friends commented on how beautiful the flowers were.
We’ve taken to walking in the evening three times a week for exercise in Memorial Park here in Houston – the 3 mile track around the golf course.  We walk briskly around the loop:  chatting a bit, laughing a little, just spending time enjoying the activity and the company.
Tonight’s one of those nights.  And I’m a better man with each day that I spend with this guy of mine.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On Not Saying “Good-bye”

I got the word today that one of my co-workers is moving on to greener pastures.  Sad news for me, since over the past four years or so, she and I have become good work buddies.  We’ve been through fires that have galvanized our friendship.  She has a cool clear head, which balances nicely with my reactive quick temper.  We’ve learned to work together quite well.
She was a part of the panel interview that I passed through to secure my current job.  She is an Indian-American, and most everyone mispronounces her name.  I did myself initially.  In my thank-you note following my initial interview, I even misspelled her name.
But once I was on board in my new position, I listened carefully to her introduce herself to others and got the sound down.  One time, she told someone else in my presence, “You know … the Queer is the only one who pronounces my name correctly.”  Well, I just know that names are important.  Especially if you have a unique name.
But as usual, I digress.

In the jobs that I’ve held in my adult life (which I consider my time in Houston ), I have held on to at least one person from each of my five employers.  From my first job that I held about 16 years ago, a friend stopped by my house and had coffee a couple of months ago.  I hadn’t seen him in five or six years, but it was just like we had picked up a conversation from years back.
I even got my best friend from a job.  I was employed with her at the same company for only eight months, but I grabbed her and didn’t let go.
Sometimes the bonds are loose.  Sometimes the bonds are fast.
I’m not sure what will happen with my friend who gave her notice today.  However, I know that she gave her notice to the company, not on our friendship.
When I find someone who is special, I’m good with “hello,” and I’m bad with “good-bye.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"It's Been a While..."

Hello All.  I took an extended break after a strong start at blogging.  When I began back in the spring, I posted almost daily.  But something stepped in, and I had to take it easy.  It was a mandatory interruption.  My insanity kicked in.
Now, I’ll try not to make light of my situation, but levity is a part of my base personality.  So I am quite sure that I will not properly illustrate the gravity of the affliction.  Even using the word “affliction” is starting off this essay on the wrong foot.
About 14 years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
Many people when they read this may automatically think “Oh…he’s crazy.”
I’ll not argue that.
Other people who read this may think “Oh…he just needs an excuse for bad behavior.”
I do over-apologize for myself when I have finally realized how my mania is draining the energy from my family, friends and co-workers.  To some, Bipolar Disorder is sometimes lumped into the same group of suffering as TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Disorder and CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).  Kinda the fashion disease of the moment.
And here I sit, writing off my absence from blogging on my hypomania.  Well, actually I’m not.  My life got extremely busy and almost unmanageable in the past couple of months.
And when that happens, people may think, “He must be off his medication.”  Well, I can’t lie and say that has never happened.  I do have a big ego and have gone off my meds when I thought I had the disorder “under control.”  But it ultimately always wins. 
This time I did not go off my medication.  My hypo-mania reared its ugly head when I
·        Had a bad cold and coughed all night (unable to get good rest)
·        Took cold medicine that worked against my “normal” medication
·        Had a number of unusual stressors in my life
This time, fortunately I was not hospitalized.  That has only happened to me once.  And I hope, never again.  That one time left a bad taste in my mouth; I was in the Harris County Psychiatric Ward for three weeks.  Scary, but not as bad as one would imagine.  (I guess I need to watch “One Flew over the Koo-Koo’s Nest” sometime to get a better perspective).
I won’t go into much detail now of that time, or I run the risk of getting wordy and dull.  You can expect a full post on the history of my initial diagnosis some time in the future.  It’s much more interesting than my daily struggle with the disorder.  And yes, it’s a struggle:  just like weight issues for the bad-body-image group, or sugar for the diabetic group, or cholesterol for the troubled cardio-vascular group.
I get to take medicine that dulls my sex drive (and I enjoy sex), watch my alcohol intake (and I love beer), and I have to make sure that I am getting at least seven hours of sleep each night (and I’m a night-owl).
But enough of that.  I’m just popping in to try and re-establish my writing groove.  I’ll try to get back to my daily observations with this post.  I enjoy writing them. 
So in terms of my insanity, I can’t really change it.  I’ll just quote Popeye.  “I yam what I yam.”


Sunday, July 18, 2010

You've Got a Lot of Explaining to Do, Queer

“Explain yourself.”  You may have heard these words is an accusatory tone.  You may have heard them shouted.  You may have heard them from someone you hurt.

Me?  I just heard them matter-of-factly from myself.  So here we go … and I’ll try to keep it brief.  If you do not need an explanation from me, you know that we are already in trouble.  If you have read any of my essays, you know as well.  If this essay is an introduction to me … RUN!

Just kidding … but I will try to keep this succinct.  (I haven’t talked about my lengthy absence from writing… I’ll explain that later in another post). 

  • I am sentimental (I’m crazy in love with the perfect man).
  • I am crazy (I’ve got the papers to prove it … so, there!).
  • I am strong (I’ve been through the death of:  twin sons [when I was 20] and mom [when 21].  It I could live through those, I can handle anything).
  • I am smart (My dad – the smartest man I know – told me at my age of 18, “’Queer,’ you are smarter … more intelligent… than I’ll ever be.” … WOW).
  • I’m fun (I sure have a lot of friends … I guess that I must entertain).
  • I’m wise (really?...)
Well, I don’t know this yet … but I hope to find out.  Now for anybody else but for me.  I would hope that I would be wise.  The wisdom for living my life as openly as I can.  The wisdom taken from years that have passed.  The wisdom of raising an incredible son to adulthood.  The wisdom for honestly communicating in the now and knowing that the past is what got me to this point in time.  I would hope that I could share some wisdom.



So, I’m sentimental, crazy, strong, smart, and fun.  If you ask others in my life what I’m about, you might get helpful, manic, grumpy, sweet or furious.  It’s all possible

A strangely narcissistic essay, but I was once told that if you could recognize it, it was only “narcissistic- tendancies.”  Whew…

If this is an introduction, “Howdy!”  If this is not an introduction, it’s just an explanation, “You're welcome.”

So I’ll stop … Brief?  I don’t know.  You decide.

Monday, July 5, 2010

M’aiq Is From Mars; Ophelia is From Venus

I have never read the book, but about fifteen years ago Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus was published.   I do know that the book spoke on how we Earthlings are expected to feel and act according to our gender.  The ideas presented in the book created a bit of a craze, the theories that illustrated some of the differences between how men and women operate:  men are about abilities and working alone, while women are about feelings and co-operating.  People latched a hold to the ideas and ran with them.
 
The Man and I have four pets (pretty crazy, I know).  Even crazier … I had all four pets before he entered my life.  And when the invitation was extended,he decided to move in with me, regardless, … really.  Even with all my ‘indoor’ animals.  Amazing.

All six of us live pretty well together, even though we all have distinct personalities.  Our dog Luke is the wildest of the bunch.  The Man says that he has Attention-Deficit Disorder.  Luke is excitable, energetic and focus-less.  Each morning when The Man wakes at some ungodly hour (I think it’s 5 AM or even 4 AM – if it’s a “gym” day), Luke does a “Tasmanian Devil” spin all the way to the back door in front of the man.

Our other dog Casper is the quietest of all the animals in the house.  Casper, in principle, does not belong to the Man and me.  Casper is Luke’s dog.  I got Casper as a companion for Luke, hoping that he would settle Luke down.  That did not happen.  Our Casper is a sweet, mild-mannered, quiet and slim dog, who appears to move on tip-toes.

Our cats, M’aiq (pronounced “Mike,” or as I say it, “Mi-iiike”) and Ophelia (one lone household female) came from the same litter.  M’aiq is a large long-haired all-white male; one of the most beautiful cats that I have ever seen.  Ophelia is a smaller short-haired gray and white tabby, beautiful in her own right.

Which brings us back to “M’aiq from Mars; Ophelia from Venus.”  M’aiq likes his alone time.  He actually broke out of the house (to our horror) a couple of years ago.  We imagined the worst, but he soon materialized, and we coaxed him back into the house.  M’aiq is all about himself.  He’ll come to us for attention and insist on it more often than Ophelia.

Ophelia, when feeling a bit neglected, will meow loudly and simply jump in one of our laps, settling in for some petting.  Or she’ll seek out M’aiq where he is lounging and cuddle up with him.  It never happens the other way with M’aiq seeking out Ophelia.  And my biggest clue about the Mars/Venus theory … Ophelia helps groom M’aiq. 

She spends a lot of her own time licking and cleaning his fur. 

Sweet. 

M’aiq never returns the favor. 

Typical male.



But I’ll stop here.  I mentioned all of our pets earlier (not just the cats) for a reason.  Our male pets, the two dogs and M’aiq, are somewhat independent (well, as independent as pets can be).   While Ophelia is a bit more dependent, demanding more attention and on most nights, sleeping with The Man and me in the bed.

Luke and Casper clean one another.  When the lazy Queer has put off giving them their regular bath, Luke and Casper lie on the floor and lick one another.  So which one of the dogs is from Mars, and which one is from Venus.  I would naturally think that Luke is from Mars and Casper is from Venus.  But no… Luke is the co-operative one.  Casper is much more about getting the job done (he scares away all of the backyard squirrels; Luke just wants to play with them – I can tell).

One of our close friends always talks about the dual nature of everyone and about how each of us has both male and female energy.  So I think I’ll just buy that.  I mean, seriously … we are living on Earth.  Whether you come from Mars or Venus, we are all immigrants here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Defending the FB

Much has been said recently about the privacy concerns for Facebook users.  Worries over identity theft, scams, and invasion of privacy.  Horror stories of stalkers, hateful creeps and just people that you really didn't want to talk with again.  I mean, with all the technology today, it's difficult to keep a single move concealed.

Even as recently as last night, in my "Live Feed" where all the updates from my friends are published, I surprisingly saw on one of my friend's updates "John Doe likes The Man with The Biggest Dick in the World."  Well, that's very nice of you to share, John, I thought.  But my curiosity got the best of me, So I "clicked" on it, and was brought to, not a typical Facebook group page like I expected, but to an entirely different separate webpage outside of Facebook.  On this page was a picture of a man sitting on a chair against a bright red background.  He was dressed in tight leather, which was clinging so closely to reveal his claim to fame.  His face was obscured.  You could "click" on the picture, but the first thing I thought was "virus."
A little later in the evening, I saw one of the co-workers of The Man come up with the same "like" in her live feed.  Might be a bit more embarrassing for a young lady than an old Queer like me.  Had this happened to me instead of my friend or The Man's co-worker, I would have probably laughed myself stupid.  (It still was kinda funny when it happened to my friend).

Now, this is a very bad beginning for my essay.  Because I'm going to tell you how Facebook has enriched my life.  Simple things.  I can see that my sister had a great day out at the lake with her family, when she posts new pictures on Facebook.  And she's 250 miles away.  I can "Like" an everyday observation from a friend who is on assignment at a university in north Africa.  And he can, in turn, comment on my relishing watermelon on these days when the temperature is rising.  I can be knocked for a loop at the discovery of an old friend that I haven't seen in person or even talked with in 20 years, who may have been removed from my life by distance, conflicting priorities, divorce ... well, just life.  And wonderful memories come back.

Sometimes, it's fun when you have a twisted sense of humor.  And especially with a confidant that shares this. The brunette and I are constantly "de-friending" one another.  That's simply done by either of us removing the other from their friends list.  When the other discovers it, we send a new friend request.  So it shows up in any of our friends' "Live Feed"s as "The Queer and The Brunette are now friends."  I'm sure some of the friends we have in common think "what the hell?" seeing this message pop up every couple of weeks.

I've even used Facebook to settle an old hurt.   One of my high school classmates called me "Queer" at a party back when we were teens.  She was right.  But nobody was supposed to know!  She saw me for what I was.  It got pretty ugly with my friends defending me.  We left.
I kept that inside for years.  Anytime this woman's name was mentioned, I would snarl.  And then one day last year, my sister said, "You know that picture of you and me that I posted yesterday on Facebook?  Jane Doe
said he thought that you look great."
"Jane Doe!"  I was shocked.  "Are you friends with her?  Don't you remember that party..."
"T.Q." she sighed.  "That was thirty years ago.  Don't you think she's forgotten that...?  Maybe you should, too."
I didn't say anything.  But I was thinking alot.
I kept my eyes open.  And then one day, Jane Doe commented on a post from one of our childhood friends.  I commented something along the lines of "I agree with Jane!"
Jane responded something like "Thanks, T.Q., I'm right about 50% of the time."
I sent her a friend request.  She accepted.
We now comment regularly on each other's lives, trivialities, and achievements.  I provide words of support when her husband is about to head out on the road for work.  She comments on the nice flowers I get from the perfect man I have.

Privacy?  I've got nothing to hide.  Facebook?  This stuff is worth it's weight in gold.



(Lock photo by Walknboston;  Pot of Gold photo by Jonas B)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ramblings

Not really having much to say, I thought I’d sit down and write anyway.

When I first started this blog, The Man said “This is good.  You’ll write everyday and get better!”  Everyday?  Has he been awake for the past four years?  I don’t do anything every day, but eat, smoke and sleep (well, sometimes not even sleep).

Oh, and I’m certain that I listen to music each day.  I am right now.  While I type this, I have my music library playing through the computer’s music system.  I have my entire library of CDs on my hard drive.  Right now, a song that I’m not even sure that I have ever heard is playing.  I am fairly certain that it is Matthew Sweet.  I own most of his work, and I’m almost sure that this is his voice.  Probably from Altered Beast.  I never listen to it.  Yep, I’m good.  “Knowing People” from Altered Beast.  I like it.  This is followed-up by Kelly Willis’ “Teddy Boys” from Translated From Love.  Good stuff!

I’m drinking TheraFlu right now.  Yuck.  I took a vacation day today to get a full four-day weekend (because of the Memorial holiday).  And then spent the day in bed.  And I got to thinking about Karma.  And why so many people believe in this.  We’ll get back to that.

My female cat is driving me crazy.  Whenever I sit at my desk (and that’s quite a lot), she sits at my feet and meows loudly.  I’ll pet her and pet her, but it’s never enough.  I never could satisfy a woman.  I’m still petting and she’s still meowing, but now Massenet’s La Vierge (Act 4) is playing.  Four and ½ minutes of sheer beauty, sweet and lyrical.

Karma.  When I originally planned to take the day off, I intended to completely conceal it from The Man.  I wanted a day completely to myself.  So I planned to tell him on Thursday evening.  I was afraid that he would take the day too if he knew of my plan early enough.  I did end up telling him on Tuesday night, I believe.  He didn’t mention taking a vacation day himself.  I was relieved.  But when Thursday came, I was starting to feel under the weather.  And come today, I was in the bed with body aches, fever and chills.  And I immediately thought sarcastically at myself, “Serves you right, Queer.  You were so concerned in getting your day off to yourself.  Enjoy!”  And then I thought about Karma, and why so many people believe in it?  I’m convinced the reason that I believe in “what comes around, goes around” or “good things happen to good people” or “everything happens for a reason,” is based on my Christian upbringing. 

“The Art Teacher” by Rufus Wainwright is on now.  I love Rufus.  The Man is not a big fan.  But the player is on suffle, and here comes Squeeze with “Another Nail in My Heart” from Argy Bargy.  And who doesn’t like Squeeze?

And back to Karma.  Almost everyone believes in some sort of Karma.  Regardless of race, creed, sex or religious background.  As I’ve said on more than one occasion that he is a “Chaotist.”  He believes in Chaos Theory.  That nothing happens for a reason.  He recently ordered a book on-line called “The Symmetry of Chaos.”  He was excited when he received it in the mail.  Then he came to show me with all the shine gone from his face.  The text of the book looked like stereo instructions.  It was a textbook!  He was so disappointed.  “I’m not reading this!”

All good.  “Me and My Girl” by David Baerwald just came on the player.  And the thunder starts like crazy outside.  The Man comes in to tell me that a bad storm is coming, hail and damaging winds expected.  And David Baerwald from Here Comes the New Folk Underground sings.
Me and my girl
Are going to do
Just fine in this world
I guess that’s what I’m writing about tonight.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On Being Blue


I’m blue.  One of my good friends says, at least once a week, “Queer, you are SO blue!”  I reckon she’s right.

She and I work together.  We were brought into the company almost three years ago now, along with about 30 other men and women.  The department was in a sort of totally screwed-up shape, had become known as a people-mill (sucking in and spitting out employees at rapid speeds), and had finally got the approval for a mass-hire to help stop the bleeding.  

So my friend and I were part of a large grueling training regimen.  This started with a full week of nothing but specifications training that made me want to cut myself by class end on Wednesday.  The next two weeks were mainly training on our sister departments in the company and customer-service skills.  

But the three-week training nightmare was brought to a close with a little team building activity.  The final class was a type of personality study that divided people into three different color categories:   Red, Green, and Blue.  The Red folks were the leaders, who took charge, didn’t mind hurting feelings and, above all, got things done.  The Green segment was the worker bees, those dedicated to the details, wanting to find solutions and solve problems.  The Blue group were composed of those who were all about feelings, making sure people around them were “all right,” and maintaining a social workplace.

Yes, my friend was exactly right.  The Queer is Blue.  Archetypically Blue.  No surprise to me.  I had taken similar personality tests.  One at a former employer was all about colors as well.  I was Yellow for that test, not Blue.  But for that test, the “yellows” were the “people-people.”  (and man … do I hate to hear someone refer to himself as a “people-person.” Ugh.)

I had taken the Myers-Briggs test.  ENFP.  Yep, classic.  From the Wikipedia description of ENFPs:
ENFPs are initiators of change, keenly perceptive of possibilities. They energize and stimulate others through their contagious enthusiasm. They prefer the start-up phase of a project or relationship, and are tireless in the pursuit of new-found interests. ENFPs are able to anticipate the needs of others and to offer them needed help and appreciation. They bring zest, joy, liveliness, and fun to all aspects of their lives. They are at their best in situations that are fluid and changing, and that allow them to express their creativity and use their charisma. They tend to idealize people, and can be disappointed when reality fails to fulfill their expectations. They are easily frustrated if a project requires a great deal of follow-up or attention to detail.
And that is why I surprise many people.  In my writing, I may come across more laid back that I actually appear in person.  I’ve stunned a couple of guys, who I communicated with on-line over a long period of time before meeting.  When the face-to-face happened, I often got quite puzzled looks.  I’m a bit more energetic and animated in the flesh.

But I always express.  Expressions of amusement at some mishap that I may have been in the middle of, usually manifested in laughter and kidding those who are in the boat with me.  Expressions of outrage when the odds are insurmountable, marked by my outbursts on the department floor and my stating to my co-workers that my resignation letter is already typed on my hard-drive.  Expressions of concern when one of my team is in over her head.


This concern showed itself tonight.  There are five women who I check on each night before I leave the floor.  Tonight one of the women was in the cubicle of one of the others.  When I stuck my head in and asked like always “Let’s go.” (I guess that’s not a question), she sighed and said that she had too much work.  

The three of us (along with another of my daily “check-ees”) tackled the outstanding issues in minutes, dissecting the problems, tearing them apart and solving them deftly.  We "greened" it up.

As we four exited the building on the way to the parking garage, one of the women (our de-facto "red" leader) suggested that I send a text message to my final “check-ee” (who is visiting family in the Middle East) and let her know not to bring her lunch tomorrow.  We were planning to eat at the nearby Asian restaurant.  So I did, and we laughed.

Although it is eight hours later where she is, my friend texted back:

Enjoy :-)  I’ll won’t bring my lunch tomorrow :-)
We’ll see her in two weeks.

Hell, I’ll be as Blue as you want me to be.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Got The Papers On You

Going to a party!

The birthday of my sister happened earlier in the week, so we’re getting together today for fried chicken and ice-cream cake with some pool time to boot.
  
Now to be totally honest, she’s not my sister.   But she is.  We’ve both got the family insanity (but good).  She’s threatened to kill me (on more than one occasion – and truly meant it).   We tease each other relentlessly and laugh our butts off about it (my partner laughs along – her partner thinks we are both insane).

When we first met – about a million years ago – I liked her instantly.  She has a sharp tongue, bottomless eyes and (holy moley!) freckles (yes, I’m a fool for freckles – The Man has ‘em).  She and I hit it off pretty well and hung out together quite a lot.
 
She’s a master of subtlety (she kinda has to be – her partner is the mistress of directness).  I dated a guy for almost a year.  Toward the end, I absolutely knew that the partner completely hated the guy.  “I’m so glad that is over.”  She sighed when the relationship screeched to a halt. 

I turned to my Sis, “Did you like him?”

She smiled sheepishly “Not really…”  Wow, she was good.  She never let on.

Now I don’t want to paint the picture that she is covert and sly, she is old-school South.  Her mother is from an old New Orleans family, so my sis was “raised right.”  I was amazed the first time that I gave her a present … and I received a “thank you” note.  Seriously?  A “thank you” note?  Wow, I must be an ungrateful SOB, because I don’t believe that I’ve ever sent a “thank you” note for a birthday present in all my life.  (I think she is the extraordinary one here, not me).

Concrete Autographs

She’s a collection of contradictions:
  • she gets up early for exercise; she loves to sleep in.
  • she says that she doesn’t like people; she has more friends than anyone that I know.
  • she’ll come across harder than nails, then gets all teary-eyed when I tell her how much she means to me.
So, Happy Birthday, Sis … I adopted you.  I think I’ve got the papers in the glove-box of my truck.  You know … that truck that we two knuckle-heads used to pull up a palm tree in your back yard.  They should really keep us separated …

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

LOST...That About Sums It Up

I opened my browser to write my post this evening. Yahoo is my homepage. And on the right-hand side of the page, I see:


TRENDING NOW

1) Dunkin’ Donuts

2) Hole in Space

3) Evangeline Lilly

4) Kristin Chenoweth

5) Cynthia Nixon

6) David Cameron

7) Erica Blasberg

8) Tiger Woods

9) Rhinoceros Escape

10) Lost

Well, OK … hmm. Let me take a stab at this with no research. As I’ve said before, I’m not much for following the news. This could be interesting … or completely idiotic. I guess we’ll find out at the end.

  • I’m not sure why Dunkin’ Donuts is trending at #1. Good Coffee, but #1? Dang, there must be some big donut news.
  • Hole in Space? I actually wrote a blog on this.  Plus, The Man and I were watching the Discovery Channel last night. There were fascinating programs on Black Holes, The Universe, and Massive Stars. But were that many people watching Discovery Channel last night?
  • Evangeline Lilly. Who is that? Never heard of her.
  • Kristin Chenoweth. Who is that? I have heard of her. I don’t know why.
  • Cynthia Nixon. C’mon…I’m gay. Of course I’ve heard of her. Sex and the City. Did she finally come out? Or did she already do that? (I’m such a current events numbskull ... or just old and forgetful)
  • David Cameron. Who is that? (I really need to check these people out after I finish writing this … but I more than likely will not).
  • Erica Blasberg. Holy crap! I have no idea who these people are. I must be living in a cave.
  • Tiger Woods. WHY?! Is this story still interesting to people?!
  • Rhinoceros Escape. Now. Finally. A story I will investigate. (This could be tomorrow's post)
  • Lost. I haven’t seen even one episode. I watch American Idol (I’m a nerd). I watch the Simpsons (I’m an adolescent). I watch the Soup (I just have a huge crush on Mankini). 


So …how quickly we’ve established that I may be more than a little out of step with Pop Culture. And somehow my world will keep turning. American Idol comes on in 8 minutes.

See ya…

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Quack ... Quack ... Girlfriend!"

I’m usually not one to give additional attention to people who I believe are crazy (I’m usually too busy trying to shine the light on my own insanity). Therefore I do not normally talk about people like Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Fred Phelps or Rush Limbaugh. But I am going to mention this fellow … Ryan Sorba. And the only reason I am going to point him out now is so you won’t be surprised when he is exposed as a homo.

As I have said in other posts, I am not one to follow the news. So I stumbled onto Sorba by accident. The Gay Press seems to be giving this man a lot of exposure though. One of the reasons that he is getting the pink spotlight is that CNN is developing a new chapter in their “…in America” series. So far they’ve given us “Black in America” and “Latino in America.” Now they offer up “Conservatives in America.” (Reminder to The Queer: don’t watch this show). There are rumors that Sorba is going to be one of the first subjects of the program.

Ryan Sorba is just another angry white conservative young man. What does he have to be angry about? I have no clue. I believe that most young men are just naturally angry. The target of Sorba’s resentment?  Homosexuals. Hmm… I’m not really sure how queers are messing with his existence, but let’s take a look:
  • In a recent post on his blog, he writes somewhat vaguely about the true spirit of marriage.  He implies a comparison between a hypothetical marriage of a 10 year-old and a 90 year-old with a homosexual union.
As least in place of the May-December romance, he did not use a man and a sheep as the example.
  • He has said that equal rights are based on human nature. And that the natural end to reproductive acts is procreation.
Dude… if the only time you are having sex is to make a baby, you are missing out on a lot of fun.
  • He was asked to speak at the CPAC (The American Conservative Union) in February 2010, and then blasted the group for their decision to invite GoProud (a gay conservative group).
Smart move, Dumb Butt. You got yourself booed off the stage.  Know the difference between your friends and your enemies next time...

People who behave this way just make me laugh. So, honestly...let the man talk. It’s entertaining to some people.  When replying to an e-mail from the Washington Post questioning his upcoming appearance on CNN, he replied with a tagline in Spanish (obviously he is not supportive of the conservatives' stance on immigration in Arizona).

I myself will not be surprised when he eventually reveals himself as the big sissy that he obviously is. Just take a look at Bob Allen, Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, George Rekers, James West, Glenn Murphy, Jr. (I could go on forever…)

After these wonderful examples, the old saying should go: 
"If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…it might be a queen."


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nashville Probably Won't Be Happy...And I'm Not Exactly Jumping Up and Down

Big news? Well, not really…if you ask me...

Chely Wright is coming out of the closet. And while I applaud Ms. Wright for stepping out of the shadows, I will tell the gay press that this new story is probably not as huge as you would like for it to be. 

Ok, I get it. Chely Wright is a country music star. So the annoucement will be a bit more controversial, especially since she is not planning on changing her chosen genre of recording. But (absolutely no disrespect intended) … it’s not like Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift or even Kellie Pickler are identifying themselves as lesbian.  I've heard of her, but I would imagine that the general public would say "Chely Wright ...she sounds vaguely familiar..."

I genuinely do not mean to rain on Chely’s or the gay movement’s parade. Any public figure coming out helps the general cause (well … there are some people that I do wish weren’t gay…but I won’t be hateful and name names).



But let’s look at Chely’s success up to this point in time. I was raised in rural northwest Louisiana, so I followed country music a lot back in the day. And I still listen to a bit of the genre … I’ve got a mean crush on Trisha Yearwood. But, to be honest, I do not know Ms. Wright's work.

According to my research, she won the Academy of Country Music’s Best New Artist award back in 1994 (when her debut album was released). Let’s look at some other “Best New Artist” winners:
  • 1999 – Academy of Country Music – Jessica Andrews (again, no disrespect intended, but…who?)
  • 1996 – Country Music Association – Bryan White (I have no clue who this guy is...)
  • 1990 – Grammy – Milli Vanilli (enough said…)
Apparently she scored a #1 hit or two and quite a few Top 10s. But after reviewing the titles, I do not believe I’ve heard a single one of the songs. In 2001, she was also selected as one of People magazine’s "50 Most Beautiful People," and she is undeniably beautiful. She just released an album produced by one of my country-music heroes, Rodney Crowell. And in my world, that gives her a big feather in her cap. I’ll probably even buy the album without hearing a note, just to support her. And I trust Mr. Crowell just that much…

So, again … I am not trying to pick apart this whole celebrity “coming-out.” All famous fags and dykes should show the world who they really are.  I could tell every one of you gays & lesbians that the people who really matter on this planet will never stop loving you, regardless of your sexual orientation.

I'm reminded of a certain male country music star, who back in the mid-90s was caught in a sex scandal.  He was riding the wave of a #1 hit from his debut album.  Then he solicited sex from an undercover police officer in a Fort Worth park.  In addition, he was charged with possession of crystal meth. Charges were eventually dropped.  He declared publically that he was not gay and that the drugs had merely made him act outside of his true character.  In the aftermath, he managed to have some additional success in the country music field. But eventually that tapered off.  I read that this year he will be releasing a contemporary Christian recording.  I also read that he had filed bankruptcy and was on his second divorce.  Wonder if it's the drugs again ... or maybe he's just having a difficult time fighting his basic nature.

And if my son reads this post, I have just two words for you, buddy ... Pooka Shell.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Queer Behaving Badly

I guess it officially happened. I transformed into a fussy queen. Not a crazy, driving-on-two-wheels-on-the-Drag-Race-of-life fussy queen, but a fussy queen nonetheless. It happened one Saturday morning…

Each Saturday, The Man and I get together with a group of friends for breakfast. It’s very nice. We get to discuss what’s happened in the preceding week, talk about cultural events, and debate opinions on current news topics. Most often, our Saturday breakfasts are the only way I find out what is going on in the world outside of my family, work, and friends.

We typically move around the city to different restaurants each weekend. We do have our favorite picks that are in the mix regularly. But sometimes a new eating place is introduced, usually by one of the gang who has discovered it on his own. One Saturday morning, we decided to meet in a café that was housed in a shopping district near the nearby private university. Disaster.

Driving into the parking lot, I noticed a large number of what seems to be high-school-aged young ladies all dressed in matching t-shirts, shorts and sneakers. I guessed that they were members of a soccer or lacrosse team. They were accompanied by a man (who was about my age) who I assumed to be their coach. No worries yet.

I parked the truck, and The Man and I entered the restaurant. What?! Counter-service?!! And the 30 or so young ladies were already lined up to order. Holy crap!

We had arrived a little late and all of our friends were already seated, drinking coffee. I flopped down against the wall in the seat and grumbled a “good-morning” to everyone. And then dropped out of the conversation by playing on my phone. Being as accommodating as he always is, The Man asked what I would like to eat. “Whatever. Omelet. Egg, cheese, bacon. Toast.” The rest of the breakfast group just looked at the two of us as if we’d just walked off an alien aircraft.  But The Man ordered my food, delivered it to me, and brought me coffee plus refills.

This was the first time that the Saturday Breakfast Group had visited a restaurant without table service. As I explained to them, I am not a morning person. I want someone to bring me coffee in the mornings. I do not want to have to go get it myself. Thank The Man. In the mornings when he knows I’m rousing, he prepares my coffee and puts it on my desk, every morning. Every morning. Yes, ya’ll … I’m spoiled. I know that.

The gang was just amused and a little shocked at my over-reaction. But from that point on, we had an unwritten rule about no establishments without table service because of the Queer/Queen.



Until a couple of weeks ago…

The unofficial “official” leader of the group found a beignet place. He wanted to try it out. Seeing that I am from Louisiana, he asked if I could forego my “no-counter-service” rule. Grudgingly, I agreed. Mistake.

We arrived rather early. 8:30 AM. The restaurant was not very crowded. The breakfast menu was unbelievingly undersized. So I just went and order some beignets and an egg casserole. With the Café-Au-Lait, it was around 12 bucks! Fried dough, baked eggs and coffee with milk! AND I had to serve myself.

I started firing off angry messages on Twitter. And then snidely sharing what I was writing with all of my breakfast mates. Ooo...what a jerk...

After breakfast, The Man went around and hugged everyone. I just waved at the gang and stomped out to the truck.

Of course, I felt bad about it later. So I sent an e-mail to all of my friends who were at breakfast that morning. This is basically what I said.

I would like to apologize to everyone who was at breakfast this morning.  Just because I'm a Prima-Donna does not mean that I need to turn into a grump and try to spoil everyone's good time.

I did make the executive decision to not attend breakfast when I know the scheduled establishment does not serve me like the Prince that I apparently believe myself to be.


Each one of them responded with something along the lines of “no big deal … don’t worry about it!” And each one was sincere. I even got “I love you and would miss you if you weren’t at breakfast.” And to push it further, I got “Your little rants amuse me. Don’t change.”

I guess if I needed a definition of friendship, I got it.

I still demand table service for breakfast, DAMMIT.

Friday, April 30, 2010

He's Pissed! Oh Well...Here Comes the Hurricane, Y'all...

I believe the experts are acting a bit unorthodoxly. But apparently these experts believe the gay rights movement has a big influence on the occurrence of natural disasters. The Association of Russian Orthodox Experts recently stated that Iceland’s tolerance for pagans and queers has caused God to unleash his wrath once more. Gosh, we gay folk were already blamed for Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, the 2004 Asian Tsunami and Sodom & Gomorrah. Damn, we must be powerful … and it seems that God enjoys paying a lot of attention to us libertines.

I guess I would like to question why people believe that God is so keen on punishing his creations. I mean … gay or straight … how could humans be the cause of the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull? Most people can’t even pronounce the word. And isn’t Iceland the home of glaciers and volcanoes? I’m still not following how we homos can cause a natural disaster in a place where volcanoes are so common and eruptions are expected. On the average in Iceland, a volcano erupts every five years. If we're only affecting Icelandic eruptions, Big Damn Deal!  If we degenerates can start causing volcanic eruptions in Kansas, then I’ll really be impressed with us.

Iceland is the country that gave us Björk. Iceland, where one of the traditional dishes is cured ram scrota. Iceland, the place where Grýla the Christmas Witch does not bring gifts to the “nice” children; instead she cooks the “naughty” children in her pot. No wonder the Russian zealots are pointing a finger at Iceland and saying “You brought this on yourselves, heathens!”



When I was a child, I remember my grandmother saying “I fear God.” And she would also say “My God is an angry god.” It always puzzled me. All the images I saw of God showed him as a grandfatherly figure in a flowing robe with long white hair and beard . He looked pretty levelheaded to me.

I find it hard to picture God sitting on his golden throne on a puffy cloud up there in Heaven, saying to himself, “The queers are angering me again. It’s time for another hurricane … or maybe a typhoon… or an earthquake…”

Hold on … did we get proper credit for the Chilean earthquake?

Dammit … I Googled and couldn’t find where anyone blamed us homos for that disaster!
Listen up!  If you Nuts are going to blame us queers for natural disasters, you are going to have to do it with some consistency!

Can I get a witness?