Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Brace yourselves for a very gay post

So I've (again) noticed a semi-interesting phenomenon of late. When one has been without physical companionship for certain length of time, the requirements for that which is visually appealing seem to lessen. In laymen's terms, when you haven't gotten any in far too long, a good stiff breeze can turn you on. I think there's even a corollary which states the longer it's been, the lower your standards go.

Now at first this was an amusing thought in my head only, as I found myself saying "Well, I could go there. It's not so bad." Then I was introduced to someone's boyfriend at the grocery store. As Mandy and I walked inside I commented "Ooo...he's CUTE." She stopped short and looked at me, wailing "Noooooo!" and shaking her head for emphasis. Now, I admit that it's possible we having differing tastes in some men, but generally we agree. (Brad Pitt is mine, Man, so back off, bitch!) And that's when I knew it was true:

I'm reaching desperation. You bitches better find me a man and soon. Your Empress has spoken. What are you doing still reading? Get out there and get me a boyfriend! Go! Now! Faster, dammit!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Are we there yet?

I know...you were expecting yet ANOTHER rant about 20/20. Nope. I've done that on the radio, Channel 5, the papers, and Spectrum website. So what's on my mind today, you ask? "Are we fucking there yet?!" The end of the semester, I mean.

I've been busting ass at work for 2 weeks solid, and I'm sick of it. Proposals, budgeting, new policies, new jobs. BLAH! I've been doing several panels and presentations this semester too. I have too many bills this month, and not enough income. Plus, there are holiday presents to make or obtain. So I better be artsy crafty this year, as I can't afford gifts for all. *sigh* I'm just...apathetic about it all, I think.

And I know I'm not alone here. I've talked with several of the visitors to the Rainbow Kingdom who are in the same mood/funk. We just want it done with. School, work...everything. The weather has turned cold suddenly, ending a peaceful feeling and making it difficult for us tree-hugging dirt worshippers to escape into nature without frostbite or hypothermia.

I want the Fall colors back. I want to go for long drives in the country and mountains, taking pictures of Mother Earth's splendor. Instead, I wrap my scarf tightly around my neck and trundle about campus in the gusting and icy wind. So I say again...ARE WE THERE YET? I want a drink of water. She's on my side. She's looking at me. How far?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Jim's Emotional Roller Coaster: Please hold on to the bar!

So much has been going inside my head lately, though most might not be aware. The holidays are often difficult for me, you see. I still miss my mom more than even my over-inflated vocabulary can put into words. She raised me to believe that holidays are about family and simply being together. Most holidays involve my created family leaving to be with their own families, and a sense of loneliness sets in.

And this year there are additional problems. I fear the next four years and the roll back of so much hard work. I'm tired and don't know if I'm ready to deal with a media upheaval again as 20/20 seeks to...well...do whatever they're doing, for whatever possible reason they believe they have. Almost 6 months later I still have a spare room in shambles and a garage packed to the gills. A fresh round of weddings reminds me another year has passed with finding the love everyone says is just around the corner. And I'm still not in the physical condition I want. It's hard to remember why waking up in the morning is a good thing.

And then the pesky universe steps in, more than happy to give me the ass kicking I so desperately need. A Thanks-gay-ving is planned for Sunday. I start working out on my lunch hour and besides feeling better I lose 6 pounds in a week. And I randomly watch a movie because I like Cuba Gooding Jr. If you've not seen Radio, go now and watch it. I SAID NOW! Well, I suppose you can finish reading this post first, but then get thee to the video store! It's based on a true story. A town comes together and realizes what's really important. It happens with great struggle and sacrifice. And it restored my faith in the human heart.

And so today's lesson is this: there is nothing which cannot be overcome. There is nothing so difficult that the human spirit can't overcome it. I know we all have hard times coming up with the end of semester and the stress that comes with it. Some of us are heading into a final semester, while others approach their first finals in Law. Then there are weddings to plan! Remember this...as trite as it might sound, you CAN do it. And when you doubt that, remember your friends here. Without even knowing it, you have all helped me get through a rough spot.

This Thursday, it is YOU I am thankful for.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Far left, two seats from the back

That's where he sat in my classroom. Third period. 8th grade English. He was quiet, but had a devilish sense of humor. When he did speak, a slow smile would creep across his face. He'd look down at the desk when he cracked a joke, and then his eyes would trace up as he broke into a smile. He worked hard, though it was a struggle for him. He was so small. He often wore a hockey jersey. Though I don't remember a lot, I am saddened.


This is why I believe war is bad.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

And then it happens

I spent another early Saturday morning setting up a table for Discovery Days, a program where high school students considering UW show up to check out the campus with their parents. It's a two hour exercise is staying awake for most of the presenters there. I set up my gay table as usual, expecting to be ignored my 99.9% of the students and parents. The morning started like most others, and I stuffed bags for the VP for Student Affairs' Office to pass the time.

The usual folks stopped by to say hello - Admissions staff, some of the other table folk, professors I know. I've started a game with myself: read their thoughts. I usually get some interesting looks from people walking past, even if they don't say a word. By reading their eyes and expressions, I can guess at what they're thinking when they realize what my table is all about. My notes from the session before this one (quotes indicate verbal comments):
  • "I'm glad you're here." (from UW staff)
  • Oh my gawd! A homo! Eeek!
  • Don't let dad see me looking.
  • Dammit. I made eye contact. Now I HAVE to talk to him.
  • Ho-boy. They've got one of those groups here.
  • Oooo. I remember that. (from the picture of Matt I display)
  • You know about me, don't you?
As people walk past pointedly ignoring me, I continually remind myself that I'm not really there for the students who can come up to me openly and talk about the group. I'm there so that the students who can't talk to me know that we exist. That they're not alone. That there is someone out there supporting them. I'm there for the student who walks past my table 8 times without saying a word, but tries to read everything on the table out of the corner of their eye when they think nobody is looking. The student I used to be.

This time, a high school student from Longmont, Colorado walks up with a huge grin and her little brother in tow. "I didn't see you listed on the map!" After explaining the name change, we talk for 10 minutes. She practically bounces when she tells me her school just started a Gay/Straight Alliance. She grabbed copies of just about everything, having her brother stuff them into her backpack for later use. I gave her my card so she could request electronic copies of our materials. Why invent the wheel, after all?

Who should walk up but her mother. She looked tired, but I thought nothing of it, since I knew they'd left Longmont very early and driven up to Laramie that same morning. "Oh. Did you get copies of their stuff to take back?" she asked, and was assured that all was encased in the magical backpack. After another minute or so, daughter and son ran off to the next table. Mom asked if we had a group for lesbians, and I assured her that Spectrum was open to everyone. And then it happens. Her face drops and any ounce of emotion drains from her body as she says "Can you see the enthusiasm in my face?" She has changed from a mother I thought to be relatively accepting to a bitter and angry woman. "They're too young to be making these decisions."

Too young? She's old enough to be choosing a college but not to express herself about love? These are my thoughts, but I keep wearing my syrupy-sweet customer service smile. "I told her she's not allowed to have kids, because I don't want grandkids. So maybe this is a step in the right direction. I guess it's my fault." "Oh, I doubt that very much, ma'am. It's nobody's fault." "Well, I'm Jewish, so guilt is kinda my thing." For 5 minutes I listen as she vents, criticizes, and contradicts everything I stand for. Then she leaves quietly, with an almost defeated air about her. She seems resigned to wallow in her guilt. Her shame. She acts as though condemned.

And I am reminded once again why I do what I do. Why I wake up earlier than usual to sit and be ignored. I'm there for her too. So that while dealing with her daughter's sexuality, she doesn't have to do it alone. So that she can vent at me and not her daughter. So that she can maintain the illusion that she's supportive. I hope she can do it until it's true, and her daughter need never know. Because it would be a true loss if the enthusiam, energy, and passion in her eyes and voice were somehow diminished.

And the morning was suddenly worth it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Enough, I say!

{Begin rant}
Perhaps I'm being cynical. Perhaps I'm being unpatriotic. Perhaps I'm insane. Why you ask?

Because I am SO tired of seeing yellow or red/white/blue ribbons on cars. You know...the little magnetic things you can now buy at every retail store, grocery store, and gas station? Some say "Support our troops." Some say "God Bless America." At any rate, they are freaking everywhere!

Please do not misunderstand me here: I do support our troops, despite my absolute abhorence of this war (read occupation). And for those who are displaying these images because they are truly supporting the TROOPS, kudos. What I am tired of, however, is the use of these symbols to support "freedom and democracy." Or to be "patriotic." I do not believe it is unpatriotic to be against the war or the president. I do not believe I have to display a logo to support the troops themselves. As a raging homo, I understand the power and importance of symbols. I DO display many on my car, briefcase, and office. However, I know what the symbols mean and choose them carefully.

How many people are buying these because they are popular? Because they fear what friends, neighbors, family, or significant others will think if they DON'T display them? How many are displaying them because they sport the words "God Bless..." and they just think anything with God is good? For what percentage is it REALLY about the truth.

As I walked across campus today I paid special attention to these magnetic marvels. Many have the words "Freedom" on them. I personally think that freedom and democracy are good things. But I recognize that as MY BELIEF. And I think that it is not our place to tell other countries, regions, or religions they must think like me. It is not out place to determine what other people should value. That's assimilationism. Impirialism ring a bell? We're going to bring freedom/religion/salvation to you heathens.

Display whatever symbols you like, but PLEASE know what they mean. Choose them carefully. Understand the intent behind them. And do not criticize those who do NOT put up your symbols.
{End rant}

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Go here now


UPDATE: Make sure you check out page 293. Look closely, and think Blair Witch Project!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Post 85

And what does his Grand High Gayness have in store for such a monumental occasion as his 85th post? Well...nothing in particular! Just an update of sorts.

Sometime between now and Friday I'm meeting with the nice gay man speaking on campus Thursday night. He's started out on his own. He wants to talk to me about Laramie and Matt, since it was Judy (Matt's mom) who first encouraged him to take up speaking full-time. I want to talk to him about how he started and how business has been going. It's all about making a dream become a reality.

At work, I have many changes in progress. In just 2.5 days, I have accomplished a great deal. I'm revamping my training, creating another tier of employees who will help flog the nasty bump-on-a-log type employees. I have some good ones (many of whom are part of the flock). I have some BAD ones too. This will help alleviate that problem. I'm developing web pages, writing proposals, and trying to squeeze blood out of my turnipy staffing budget.

So today's gay message is this: pick a project and attack it. Knock one out of the park. Pour your effort into something you have a vision about and make it a reality! YOU CAN DO IT!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Four more years?!

Like most of us in the blogsphere, I'm sad and frightened. And not just because I'm gay and worry about losing more rights and privileges. I do worry about Shrub's ability to make me even more of a second class citizen, but there's so much more. I worry about the lives that will be lost in Iraq. I worry about where the next war will be. Iran? North Korea? Fiji? Hey...with HIM in charge, anyone could be next! I worry about our country's economy. How much will our deficit be after ANOTHER four years? How much national debt can we incur before we collapse?

In his acceptance speech, Shrub said he would need the support of everyone who voted for Kerry, and he pledged to do everything he can to earn our trust. I hope he realizes he reversed the order there. I will not trust him until he shows me he can avoid the pitfalls of his last four years. That he will change the direction his administration travels. That he will not support discrimination against me and my friends. That he will repair an economy that he's played a large role in trashing. That he will stop pandering to the religious right and the exceptionally wealthy. But I don't see that happening, do you? And so I don't see myself supporting him. But isn't that the beauty of democracy? I don't have to.

What I have to do, however, is continue fighting. In fact, I need to step up my efforts to create positive change. While some of my votes weren't winners on Tuesday, some were. Dave O'Malley is on the City Council. the Smoking Ordinance was upheld. And that gives me some hope. My losses only fuel my fire and drive my passion. Four more years, huh? Bring it on, bitch!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Two black women and a homo drive to Gillette

Yes, it has been a while since I've posted. I haven't had much to say lately. I've been in maintenance mode, just trying to keep up with appointments, meetings, and generally keep my head above water. I didn't want to post random fluff about what I did. So here's a lesson, in true Big Gay Jim Tradition.

I went to Gillette this weekend. A group called Leadership Wyoming wanted a presentation on diversity issues. They contacted the University for help, as UW co-sponsors the program as a whole. And so I got a phone call from Nell Russell, our new Employment Practices Officer. She's been here for 10 months. She wanted to put together a diverse team. She also called Deb McGriff, Education Professor and Director of African American Studies at UW. Chris Primus from Disability Support Services was supposed to round out our team, meaning we would cover sexual orientation, disabilities, racism, and sexual harassment. All in all, a pretty good team.

Friday we got word Chris was sick, and it would be just 3 of us going. We'd gotten some flack from one of the head honchos of the program, worried that we would be "pushing personal agendas." The long and short of it: he didn't want us to talk about anything but racism, as that's really all people in Wyoming have to deal with and all future leaders needed to be trained in. *cough* Okay. Tough shit? Our attitude was "You asked us to present on diversity, and that's what we're going to do. We may not be experts, but we're educated and might know a thing or two about what needs to be presented." We certainly knew we didn't need a stodgy heterosexual white male telling us what diversity issues Wyoming has to deal with.

And so it was that 2 black women and one large gay man climbed into a University car and hurtled ourselves northward for 4 hours. We arrived at the Clarion Inn on schedule. It used to be the Holiday Inn in Gillette, and little has been done since it was built. So there is now a general shabbiness to the place, and a desparate attempt to cling to the rustic atmosphere Gillette counts on for its limited tourist industry. We attended the "Back to the Ranch" event LW was hosting. It was designed to introduce the leader trainees to ranch life and give them a sense of the issues facing agriculture in Wyoming. Free steak and a reading of stories written by some of Wyoming's most gutsy women made it a unique evening, to be sure.

We woke early the next morning and had breakfast with the trainees before preparing our different presentations. We broke them into groups using numbers, so our groups were random. I ended up with the Chief of Police for Casper, the Casper City Manager, and about 10 other random Wyoming leaders. It was clear that some of the people did NOT want to be in "the gay group." But despite some tension and pointed questions, everyone "played nice." They were respectful of each other and of me, which is really all a person can ask for when it comes down to it. And after all the tension about university folks coming in to present on diversity, including the gay stuff, one theme was almost universal on our evaluations: they wanted MORE time. More discussion of diversity. More exposure.

So where's the lesson, you ask? Well, it's in the people. As soon as we walked into the "Back to the Ranch" event, an old family friend jumped up to give me a big hug. I have babysat for her sons, who are now in high school (shut up, Zeus). They were members of our church, and she played the piano at my mother's funeral. I knew the son of the Casper City Manager because I had judged him in debate. I met the father of another UW student; Dad is a bank VP in Sheridan and Junior works with the Campus Activities Center as a student programmer. Many of these people were fairly surprised that they had a connection to a gay man. But they were only surprised, not repulsed. This connection in and of itself could be a great lesson. I'll let you draw your own conclusions there.

But for me, the biggest lesson wasn't in the event itself. It was the travel to and from the session. Deb, Nell, and I had a great time. I played tour guide, explaining Wyoming history and Campbell County's socio-political and economic makeup. And we talked. Gawd, did we talk. We ignored the obvious barriers. We gave each other unspoken permission to ask anything. We learned about each other and the special challenges our different minority groups face living in America and in Wyoming. And we learned, not surprisingly, that the issues are very similar. We laughed, joked, and exposed our fears. Paralyzing loneliness. Isolation. Burnout. Political challenges. And we became close friends. I'm going to take Nell for a drive around the area, showing her the hidden beauty of Wyoming. We're going to have drinks, cook ribs, hot tub, and escape our lives now and then.

The lesson in a nutshell: find someone who's different. Have an open, honest conversation. Sick back and amaze one another. Don't we all deserve another friend? You really CAN'T have too many.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Where are the crab cakes?

I have been accosted for not updating. So here we go. I'm back home again. This is a good thing. It's also making me crazy. I had a lot of fun in Baltimore. My friends and I spent time together, saw the sights, and were just generally relaxing. Sure, there was work to be done at the conference, but we managed to do both. Now I'm back in Laramie. There are no crab cakes on the menu. There are no water taxis for sight seeing. There aren't many restaurants to choose from. And then there's work. Apparently when you're gone for 5 days, work piles up. Especially during Queer Awareness Month. I've got panels, SafeZone sessions, and presentations lined up. But I'm digging out. I also came back to a host of employee problems. I expect to terminate one person Monday...and possibly up to 3 by the end of the week. Why did I get on that plane again?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Oh say can you trespass...

During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key watched the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry. He was so moved, he composed a little poem that was later set to music and titled "The Star Spangled Banner." Perhaps you've heard it? So today we jumped on a water taxi (I love cities on the water!) and went out as far as we could. From there, we walked about a mile or so (uphill even) to visit Fort McHenry. Upon arriving, we were distracted by the 24 foot tall statue of Orpheus. Wearing only fig leaf. After the requisite punchlines we jumped off the beaten path, cut across the grass to the walking path, and took in the sights. Cannons, barracks, and ramparts, oh my. It was a good way to spend the afternoon. So we walked toward the visitor's center on our way back out. And the funniest thing happened. As we entered the visitor's center, we saw it. The sign. "Admission: $5." Oops! And that's how it happened. That's how we trespassed at one of America's historic landmarks. Who said work conferences are dull, or that computer geeks are well-behaved.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

I'm not in a land-locked state

This means, by Mandy's rule, that I am allowed to freely eat seafood. WOOHOO! It's been SO good to see my friends from around the country. 10 of us went out for dinner tonight, and landed at a place called Victor's Cafe. It was 8pm, and we ate outside on the harbor. IN OCTOBER. It's been wonderful. Calamari. Shrimp pesto. Just under half a bottle of Shiraz. Then on to the James Joyce Irish Pub. 4 Long Islands. Sadly, I'm barely feeling the drinks. Damn you, sea level! Tomorrow we're going to brunch (they actually have that here!) and then do some sight seeing. The conference kicks off tomorrow night with the welcoming reception. Believe it or not, I'm not TRYING to gloat here. Just letting you all know what's going on. :) Now it's time for beddie bye. Getting up at 4:30am sucks, and it's almost 11pm according to my body. That's too long to remain conscious, methinks. I'm going to put on one of my Jamie Anderson CD's and drift off to sleep. I really do miss you all...

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Baltimore awaits

I'm headed to Baltimore, Maryland in 2 days. We leave early Saturday morning and arrive Saturday at 4pm. Woohoo! The start of Fall semester is always a trying time, to be sure. For everyone! This conference is a way to blow off steam, be reminded that we do things VERY well here in Laramie, and to get new ideas to make things even better. I already know one idea I need to bring back, and hope that others find their way into my lap. Today's gentle reminder/lesson: find something that relaxes you, that makes you have fun, or is otherwise happy. Indulge yourself in the next week. You're worth it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

We want cheerleaders. I'm serious!

Our volleyball team has a double header tomorrow. 6pm and 7:10pm. We're now playing at the new Rec Center. So if you come cheer us on, you can see the new building in all it's glory (it is kinda cool). Oh...and we might go out for a drink afterward. Cheerleaders might get a drink purchased by the biggest, gayest volleyball player in Laramie. COME WATCH US PLAY, BITCHES! (I love channeling Cher.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Back to basics

Today someone from my past returned. He reminded me why I do what I do. And I think it was also a nudge toward the next step.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Only in Wyoming

Only in Wyoming can a man go duck hunting at 4am and then attend a reception for GLBTQ faculty and staff in the evening. At times, I am the stereotype. At others, I enjoy breaking them down. Guns in the morning, appetizers in the evening. Isn't this a great state?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Another fun gay link

Yet another website fell into my lap today. I decided I must share it as well.


Make your speakers are on and that you hover over most everything on the page for fun audio blips. I just have to say "Moo."

Monday, September 20, 2004

"I laughed so hard a little pee came out"

So the Rev has done an outstanding job creating and fostering an open discussion about religion and/or spirituality. I think everyone has been respectful of others, and it has been quite an enlightening dialogue. So what happens when it's NOT a nice discussion with willing participants? Check out the link below to find out. And if you ever see me publicly belting out a number from "My Fair Lady" or "The Sound of Music," you'll know why.


PS...5 Thursday night bonus points to anyone who can tell me where the title for today's post came from.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Calling all cheerleaders!

SO who wants to come watch mediocre volleyball? We're practicing Saturday at 3pm at the sand pit in Washington Park. We also have a game Monday night at 8:20pm in the Spring Creek Elementary School gym. We might have a double header with another game at 9:30pm. Come be a cheerleader for us! Or laugh at our occasional ineptitude. Either way, it should be fun!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Activity abounds!

Zeus managed to convince me that I should join a bowling league with him. Most of the team is queer. Yup, a queer bowling team. Who'd have thunk it? So Friday nights I'll be hitting the lanes. Then today I got an email from friends at work asking me to play volleyball tonight. And now I've been roped into being on a rec league volleyball team, with games on Monday and Wednesday nights. This greatly increases my "after school" activities, and gives me flash backs to high school. It's also a good thing, though, and I think I'm looking forward to it a great deal. But it's off to our first game. Now if I can just remember not to Bump - Set - Spike when I should be going for a strike.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

It was a good day

Woke up at nine. Was moving slow, but moving nonetheless. Caught up on some of my recorded shows while cooking breakfast and playing with the pups. Took a shower while listening to Broadway on satellite, because I am that gay. Then picked up Nate and we drove up to the Happy Jack area. Did some trap shooting on a very beautiful day. Fall colors are starting to turn. Drove around back roads with windows down and sunroof open. Spent time with a great guy, though I still don't know if he's interested in being more than friends. Either way, it was nice to spend more time getting to know one another. Time to make steak for dinner. See....I told you it was a good day.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Things that are pissing me off

I have about 5 minutes to post before I have to train a new employee. This seemed like a good topic.
  • HaloScan taking FOREVER to pull up comments. Seriously, I am limited on my blog time right now, and waiting on Halo is making me crazy.
  • My laptop being MIA. I'm in serious withdrawal here, people!
  • People (often employees) who cannot (or rather, choose not to) read. Here are clear instructions. Do not ignore them. Do NOT ask me a question if the answer is contained in these clear instructions.
  • Overbearing parents. "My child can't get into his account. He's taking a lot of credits, and is too busy to come see you. Please call him and give him his password and username." Bite me. If Junior is so busy he can't find 20 minutes in a whole week to get into his account, he doesn't need it. He's too busy to read email. And if he can't handle this kind of shit on his own, he will starve at college, because you're not there to remind him to eat. It's called growing up. Let him/make him.

How's that for a 5 minute rant? I miss posting more regularly, and will do so when a) things quiet down in the office or b) I get my damned laptop back in working order.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Technical Difficulties

Hi folks. Sorry for the long term silence. The laptop cratered (again) 2 days ago. The maintenance techs have it and are trying to resurrect it as we speak, but it means I have no access from home. And with the start of school, I've been mad busy (and sometimes busily mad!). So please bear with the (hopefully) brief interruption in your regularly scheduled gayness. I'll be responding to the Rev's spirituality questionaire soon, so look for me there soon. Miss you all!

Sunday, August 29, 2004

My Country Tis of Thee

I've been watching the Olympics. A lot. Last night as I watched yet another medal ceremony where the Star Spangled Banner played for a gold medalist, I thought about patriotism. You see, there is an edict that prohibits athletes from having an "extreme emotional outburst" on the medal platform. You can lose your medal, in fact. Crying is of course allowed, but the idea is that they don't want someone to become overly charged and start gloating on the podium.

I watched American runners showboating after a semi-final race. When asked last night if they were happy with "only" a silver, one member of a relay team replied "I'm not" in a haughty tone. It made me think about what "Old Glory" means today. When I see an American flag sticker on a car, I cringe. When I see a yellow ribbon or "United We Stand" in the window of a minivan, I sigh. But why? Why should a display of patriotism annoy, disgust, or shame me?

The answer is simple: today, we have exchanged patriotism for nationalism. Patriotism is pride in one's country. Nationalism is the doctrine that your country's culture and interests are superior to all others. Most Americans have a smug sense of security that we are somehow better than everyone else. That they want to BE us. How arrogant! How deluded! September 11th shifted our country's viewpoint. No longer was it enough to be proud of America; now we needed to look down on other countries, almost to hate them. As if they were somehow responsible. As if non-Americans could not be trusted. Soon came the US Patriot Act, institutionalizing this attitude. Now people must explain themselves if their name isn't American enough, if they speak with the slightest hint of an accent, or even if they visit friends and family outside the country.

When we popularize songs with lines like "with a boot to your ass, it's the American way," haven't we long ago crossed a line? When we view "other" as inherently evil for no reason other than that it's not us, aren't we engaging in the same kind of blind hatred and violence as Al Qaida? But is it possible to be patriotic without engaging in nationalism? I remember a discussion the SAFE Project Board had after the attack on the World Trade Center. We debated putting up a flag like other businesses. We finally decided against it, as we feared non-Americans would feel we weren't welcoming to all, and would not seek help for domestic violence or sexual assault. Wouldn't that be another crime, another loss?

Don't misunderstand me. I am PROUD to be an American. I am thankful to be born into this country and enjoy the life made possible by 2 centuries of struggle, sacrifice, and internal conflict. But it wasn't something I chose or can control, just as those from other countries cannot determine their lineage. Being born in the US does NOT make me, or anyone else, superior to others. The most I can do is try to be the best person possible, bringing honor to myself, my family, and my country. And that means being proud of my country, even when I disagree with its leadership or actions. It also means respecting other countries and their citizens...as equals.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

It's official

I'm older...as of 8:32am. And a friend sent me a GREAT present. Check this out:


These make me very happy indeed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

School starts WHEN?!

As Drew commented on his blog, work has been INSANE lately. Students are definitely back on campus, and there's new drama at every turn. This is the time of year when major problems jump from nowhere and make your life miserable. There's so much to do, and not nearly enough time in which to do it. It's easy to forget what's important: our friends, our families, and ourselves! Take a moment. Breathe. Step away from the homework, the paperwork, and the to do list. Do something to treat yourself or someone you care about. There now...isn't that better?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Did I mention I'm an Olympic junkie?

For those who didn't see the Men's All Around Gymnastics Finals tonight, I'm sooooo sorry. It's my mother's fault really. She instilled a love of the Olympics deep in my heart, especially gymnastics, figure skating, and more figure skating. (She also made me love show tunes, cooking, and classic films. Anybody shocked I sleep with boys?) Tonight's competition reminded me why.

It was the greatest comeback I have ever seen at the Olympics. Possibly anywhere. It proved when you behave like a champion, never quitting and pouring forth all of your effort/heart/soul, anything is possible. It doesn't matter if it's the American athletes or a Jamaican bobsled team, "I love me my underdogs." There are so many moving stories, struggles just to make it to the games. I often have what straight guys would feel the need to call "allergy attacks." Even the cheesy, produced history lessons move me.

This year alone - with only a few days of competition complete - there are plenty of stories. For the first time ever, Afghani women are competing. Thanks to new designs in body suits, Muslim women are swimming for gold. A swimmer came from nowhere (read UW) to place 7th in the world. An American male won the All Around gold in gymnastics for the first time in history, overcoming a fall to 12th place and certain defeat. The oldest world record in swimming was shattered by four American women. The Iraqi soccer team, airlifted to Athens in secret by the US military, wins match after match even though they've never competed on an international level. A group of men from Puerto Rico became the first team ever to defeat the American Dream Team on the basketball court.

Despite commmercialism, unheard-of security precautions, and questionably strict drug testing rules, the human spirit is shining brightly. Good sportsmanship abounds. Ordinary people - accountants, teachers, and housewives - are reaching for the impossible...and grabbing it. Watch some of the games. Ping pong, diving, badminton, beach volleyball, water polo, rowing...there are stories to be told, and some yet to be written. Tune it. It's worth it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Things to do before I die

As most of you know, gay men die at 30. Since that's now 53 weeks away, I thought I'd share my current list. It's kinda like NerdyGirl's list of 50 dreams, only more condensed. Rest assured, there is a larger list of smaller things, but these are the current biggies on my list:

1. Take a trip to Hawaii.
2. Take a cruise somewhere.
3. Visit Canada (maybe it IS a real country anyway).
4. Go to the Olympics.
5. See more of Germany.
6. Pay off my mortgage.
7. Live happily ever after with the man of my dreams.
8. Find the man of my dreams (the list is in no particular order).
9. Visit every state in the US (only 12 to go).
10. Become sveldt (okay it's a realistic list, so....become closer to sveldt?)
11. Go to Australia.
12. See Greece.
13. See Italy.

That seems like a good number. ;) The best part is that as you accomplish things from your list, you get to add new ones. Examples: I've already seen Phantom of the Opera (on Broadway, no less), bought a house, bought a brand new car for the first time, and travelled someplace that requires a passport. Not bad, eh?

Monday, August 16, 2004

Demons from the Past

A note from the Empress: I debated about publishing this post. I wrote it last night and let it sit while I slept on it. It is not meant to be mean, critical, or to point out someone else's faults. It's simply an experience from which I think we can all learn.

I ran into two friends at Walmart tonight. Jokingly, they ignored me and pretended not to know me. It was meant to be in jest, and all in good fun. I know they would never intentionally hurt me. But that's doesn't change the fact: that's what happened.

I'm torn here, as I'm not sure if I'm overreacting or internalizing or projecting. You see, in high school I was one of the kids that got ignored. It was all well and good for someone to talk to me one-on-one in private. The barriers came down enough that it was okay to really talk to the overweight, unpopular brain - as long as nobody would know it. But once it was a group setting, they didn't know me and we had never spoken. And so when my friends recreated this all-too-familiar scene from the past, I got PISSED. And hurt...

They didn't know they'd hurt me, so they couldn't know why or how. I don't think I even blame them, as it's a problem of mine and they just pushed a button. But that's why I'm writing this, though I might not even post it. We all need to remember that some actions will hurt others unintentionally. And we all need to remember that when we're hurt, it's not necessarily intentional...or something we should be angry about. Anger is a real reaction; it's honest and true. But sometimes it's not warranted, or is misdirected. And that's just not worth it.

I'm not writing this as an indictment of their actions, especially since they will likely read this. It's not to draw out an apology from anyone, as there really isn't a lot to apologize for. It's simply a message the universe chose to smack me with. Things will hurt us more than they should. We will hurt others when we don't mean to do so. Remember these things, and tread lightly. And more importantly, weigh your reaction to make sure it's fair...and remember to forgive freely and often.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

First Tinky Winky

And now Lilo and Stitch. That's right, not-so-gentle readers, and I learned all about it at the Farmer's Market on Friday. I ran into a friend of mine who married a guy from my senior class. He's on a secret mission in Iraq, so she's had a bit of spare time on her hands (when not worrying her ass off). So she visited the in laws. And went to church with them. (Yup, it's one of those.)

She's Catholic, but is very open-minded about religion. She's of the opinion that everyone should learn about other religions and be free to choose their own path in the world. Being the good sister-in-law, she's been very encouraging of her teenage siblings by marriage. They've started attending the Assembly of God Church in Wright. Please bear in mind this church is also known as the "Holy Rollers" in town. Speaking in tongues, having fits, etc. Jenn decided she'd go with them. While there, the minister informed the congregation that the movie "Lilo and Stitch" was gay, and thereby sinful.

Jerry Falwell announced Tinky Winky was gay because he wears purple and carries a purse. Lilo and Stitch is gay because "the boy wears a skirt." Um...he's Hawaiian, not queer. Granted, David is pretty cute for a cartoon, but NOT gay. Unless you're looking from the perspective of the Assembly of God Church in Wright, Wyoming.

How sad is your life when you are so paranoid about "those people" (no matter which group is those...) that you have to preach against Teletubbies, cartoon aliens, or other harmless characters? Why is it that we gay folk are so darned scary? It's not contagious, though that would make life so much simpler...and if not life, at least sex and dating. We're not trying to take over the world, just color coordinate it. Ahwell, perhaps I am not meant to understand the so-called reasoning of the religous (not-so-)right.

Friday, August 13, 2004

On birthdays, or "I'm OLD!"

10 year class reunions. My first annual 29th birthday (you're crazy if you think I'm gonna turn 30...we gay men die at 30). It's all just sooooo unnerving! (Cue the Graham Norton music!)

Last night I went to celebrate Jennifer's 40th birthday with Rachelle and Mandy. We had such a great time. Throw some burgers on the grill, have a Cosmo (or 5), and laugh your ass off until midnight. Throw in a healthy dose of girl talk while Dave is speaking to the League of Women Voters, and you have a recipe for a great time. It made me realize, however, that there are now just 12 days until my very own birthday.

Historically, my birthday has always been a fairly minor event. When your "I-survived-another-year-how-the-hell-did-that-happen" day falls at the beginning of school, you get used to minimal hoopla. Especially when you go to college. Everyone is too busy. They're stressing over the start of school, paying for books, or running out of town for one last visit home/camping trip/weekend shopping binge/etc. When in elementary school and junior high. I was moderately bitter about this. These days I take a more realistic approach.

After all, I don't FEEL different after 8:32am on August 25th. I don't need to have my oil changed or tires rotated, though a little body work and a new paint job would be nice. I don't magically obtain newfound wisdom...that happens on an on-going basis. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy getting presents, but it's not about the loot either. I have one theory about why having a birthday bash is a happy thing, but want to see if any of my gentle (or not-so-gentle) readers are channeling my psyche today, so take a stab at it. Comment away!

****In other news, Mackenzie and I are plotting the now annual Birthday Triad Event, as he, Laura, and I all have birthdays within 4 days of one another. 2 years ago it was a collective birthday BBQ, but we can't afford that - we know too many people. Last year, the three of us and Zeus went to Red Lobster for the Endless Crab Feast. Alas, such a display of carnivorous gluttony is not scheduled at the right time this year. Dinner still sounded happy, so we're toying with the idea of sushi on the 21st. The date's set, thanks to 1) the start of school, 2) my having to train new employees the following week, and 3) birthdays in the middle of the week when we can't afford to take a day off. Location is still TBA. Fort Collins has more exotic restaurants and wider selecter, but Laramie has the benefit of not driving hither, thither, OR yon. Especially good since we've been known to have one (and only one, of course) celebratory cocktail. What do you all think?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Random funny things

With the Rev adopting new titles left and right, I thought I'd mention the title I want, though some of you are familiar. Once upon a blue moon, Mandyfish had a website that would let you be ordained in any church you wanted (for a small fee, of course). I want to be The High Priestess of the Rainbowlific Church of the Flaming Plains. "And doesn't that sound like fun?" he said in his best Brini Maxwell voice.

"I am the lizard queen!" squealed Lisa Simpson (after drinking some of the water from a boat ride at DuffLand).

"Achilles, heel." - Captain Phoebus to his horse in Disney's "Hunchback of Notre Dame" (Also from Big Gay Jim after seeing Troy and claiming full ownership of Brad Pitt)

"He's a controlling bitch, and not in that fun way like you." - BGJ to Kristen (aka the Gucci Hoochie)

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. 1500 years ago everybody KNEW the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago everybody KNEW the Earth was flat. 15 minutes ago you KNEW people were alone on this planet. Imagine what we'll KNOW tomorrow." - Tommy Lee Jones as K, from Men in Black

"As people do better, they start voting like Republicans...unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing." - Karl Rove, Bush's long-time political guru and White House advisor

And let's all remember the Bush campaign motto: "Who would Jesus bomb?"

So we watched Troy again


Monday, August 09, 2004

It's Sarong It's S'aright

So I went to Rendezvous. I drove up and down the hill (a mountain to non-westerners, but a hill to us since we only climb 1700 feet from our normal 7200 ft) Wednesday and Thursday nights. On Thursday I also managed to see the doctor about a pain in my side, present since Sunday or Monday. As expected, she sent me to the hospital for a series of x rays. The only thing that made it tolerable was a cute, friendly, and male x ray tech with an impossible-to-place accent. Yum. Nothing is broken, ruptured, or torn, so it's a muscle strain, pull, or other obnoxious injury. I have no idea how it happened, but it hurts. A LOT. When I cough, I wince. When I sneeze, I damned near pass out from the pain. Was I going to let that stop me from a weekend of cavorting in the wilderness with 400 homos (and a handful of faboo straight allies)? NOT LIKELY!

The highlights of the weekend: A SEXY cowboy type from Austin, TX cut in while I was dancing with Rachelle. He made me follow (poorly), but there was definite flirting, despite the existence of a boyfriend. (No...nothing happened.) Our group won the award for "Campiest Campground" for our site, Margaritaville. We were definitely the crowd favorites; the huge bar right by the roadside helped a little. I wore sarongs almost the whole week; I own 3 now, thanks to the influence of the Rev, aka the Dark Overlord of Freeballing (cuz yes...I did. Who wants panty lines?). I did body shots off the chests and nipples of 2 guys (sorry to those I already told about this, I forgot the second one!), one is 18 and one is a music teacher in town. *waggles eyebrows* Saw 3 naked men, a wet underwear contest, and a best hiney contest. I was Snow White in the play at closing ceremonies. We created several new drinks with SERIOUS alcohol content. I drove 4 wheelers, and want one so very, very much. Rachelle took 3rd in the Wet T shirt contest. No sex for me, but still a good weekend.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Being dilated has advantages

See, I knew that tag line would get your attention (and frighten you all). But I'm really just talking about my pupils. I went to the eye doctor yesterday morning. My prescription has not changed significantly, which is good news. The official terms are hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism (unequal curvature of the eye). A few years ago I volunteered as a guinea pig for a contact lens study, and LOVED them. Well, they're out on the market now for people with my precriptions/conditions, so I'm taking another stab at contacts. They seem to be working well so far this morning.

The doctor also decided to dilate my pupils yesterday. This means I could not see the computer screen as anything but a raging blur. This means I could not work. Woohoo! So I took my blurry self on up to Rendezvous early, dragging my friend Margaret along too. We rode four wheelers with Dave and Jennifer, and I want one now. We had SO much fun. And one or two cocktails. ;) My friends Chris and Andrew came up from Denver, which was a very pleasant surprise. I haven't seen them since AIDS Walk in April. They are representing the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which sponsored a movie...which is the meat of today's post, and what the previous rambling has been setting up. A film review!

It's called "Latter Days," and is a love story about a gay boy named Christian in LA. He's HOT. And his love interest turns out to be...a Mormon missionary. As you can imagine, there is a fair amount of turmoil involved, including excommunication, family reaction/rejection, suicide, and reparative therapy. Overall, it's FABULOUS! There are several punchlines, and most of them aren't "insider gay jokes." Fun for the whole family! There are very pretty boys, though it's not really an eye candy movie. There is hot gay sex, though it's not softcore porn. The plot really is the purpose and driving force of the film. And there are hidden stars throughout. "Dr. Maluchi" from ER, "Tommy" from Third Rock From the Sun, "Tara" from Buffy...it's faboo. And made me cry at the end. Er...maybe it was just an allergy attack from being in the mountains. Nope...it was me. Crying. But I can't tell you why. It'd ruin the movie. This is one I'll buy the day it comes out on DVD.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

'shrooms, dude!

Last night the phone rang, with the distinctive "Inspector Gadget" ringtone, indicating Dave and Jennifer were stalking me. I answered and after the perfunctory greetings was asked "do you want some mushrooms?" For obvious reasons, this question took me aback for a moment. Then I considered the source (note for non-Laramites: Dave is our former Chief of Police and Jennifer is the former Health Inspector) and said "Um...sure." Apparently they've taken up wild 'shroom hunting, but only the edible, non-hallucinagenic varieties. They'd found a treasure trove and come back with 40 pounds of yummy fungus goodness. They were cleaning and cutting up a storm when I got there. I've never seen 40lbs. of wild mushrooms before. After 2.5 hours and 2 cocktails, it was home to bed. With a quart sized baggie full of diced, cleaned fungus. Mmm...

Blah. Don't you think it's kind of a blah day? I know many of us are feeling the impending onset of school...and cringing. I am so not ready to be gearing up for another semester. I wanna go back to Cali! I'm also ready for the weekend, when I shall spend the weekend up at Rendezvous, drinking and carrying on. I'll commute Wed and Thurs, but when I head up on Friday, I'm there, baby! I've got so much to do at work and can't afford to lose 2 days, but will you all join with me in singing a rousing chorus of "Is it Friday yet?"

Monday, August 02, 2004

It's done!

Well, if you didn't like the look/feel of the blog on my test site (or didn't go look), you've missed your chance. I did ask for feedback, after all. ;) But the new template is in place, and can I say, "Woohoo!" Now, for a real post!

Disconnected. Ever feel that way? Like you're going through the motions? Like you don't really care what happens, because it'll happen with or without you? I knew you had; we all have. I suppose I've been feeling that way the last few days. I spent Saturday at a BBQ with friends from IT. It was good to just hang out. No major drama. No continuing struggles. People coming and going freely without guilt. Just existing, and doing so together for a while. I didn't want to leave, but when 3am hit, I knew it was time.

Sunday was a day spent alone with the pups. Watching TV, catching up on some work, and getting some much needed sleep (though as many of you know, perhaps a bit too much - set an alarm when napping!)

I had things to do this weekend. A late, word-of-mouth wedding invitation. Setting up tents for Rendezvous. The fate of the world did not rest on these things happening, so I made some executive decisions (and had some made for me) and focused on simply being. I not only felt better rested today, I also felt a little bit more connected. A little more capable of heading into another week, the beginning of another semester. Like I have some control, some power, and some ability.

Will this work for you? I don't know. But what could it hurt?

Friday, July 30, 2004

Our Illustrious...Leader?

NEWSWEEK reports that President Bush, appearing before a right-to-life rally in Tampa, Florida on June 17, stated: "We must always remember that all human beings begin life as a feces. A Feces is a living being in the eyes of God,who has endowed that feces with all of the rights and God-given blessings of any other human being." The audience listened in disbelief as the President repeated his error at least a dozen times, before realizing that he had used the word 'feces" when he meant to say "fetus."

"What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war, not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave, I am talking about genuine peace -the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living - and the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and build a better life for their children - not merely peace of Americans, but peace for all men and women -not merely peace in our time but peace in all time."- John F. Kennedy: June 10, 1963 -

Happy POETS Day

Have I ever explained POETS Day to you all? Every Friday is POETS Day. My high school English teacher used to write it on the board every week. She wouldn't tell us what it meant until we graduated. That's because it means "Piss on everything, tomorrow's Saturday." Any questions as to why Mrs. Hansen was one of my favorite people, teachers, and role models? I thought not.

In other news, for those who've said the test blog needed something a little more...me...take a look now. See if has a gay flare AND a Jim flare now. Flare. Flame. "Flames. On the side of my face. Breathin...Heaving....flames."

Thursday, July 29, 2004


So I've made the changes requested so far:
1) The body fonts are bigger
2) The title font is smaller
3) There's only one green on the marquee
4) There's a different yellow on the marquee

So what do you think now? Anything else that needs to be fixed? Because it seems the general concensus is that this design is a go!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Another design to review

Since I got horrid reviews on the last test blog design, I've tweaked a newer, simpler, and gayer one. Please check it out and comment back to me!

Post #51

Sleepy is still the name of the game. Doing laundry until midnight is madness. In the future, let there be wrinkles! Levi was here for a visit. It was far too short, especially since I was gone for half of it. He's leaving today. I hate goodbye, especially when it feels like I've not even said hello. (@set me=sad) The good news: In looking at Blogger, my last post was #50! Just felt like such a milestone should be noted. I have coffee with amaretto flavored creamer this morning, and that is a happy thing. All hail Wakey Wakey, the Caffeine God! Apparently, the randomness from Mandyland has spilled over into the Rainbow Kingdom. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Summer's gone?!

It's true. For me at least. This week has apparently marked the beginning of something we at work call "Dante's Descent." We also affectionately refer to it as "Hell Week." This is the 2 month period where we're too busy to blink or breathe. Notice how our Hell Week lasts for 2 months? Special fun, I tell ya.

I noticed last week that things were picking up, but was hoping to have another week of relatively low stress. Alas, it is not to be so. This means I will be unable to do a lot of things...like eating or sleeping or hanging out. I'll be working on schedules for my employees. For those who have never witnessed this process, you're in for a ride. Last year an employee put a sign on my door that read "Scheduling ogre at work. Disturb at your own peril." Lunch hours will be a fond remembrance and will be mentioned only with a wistful sigh. Fun trips and events get shifted to the back burner. And it should be even more magical this year with a moldy downstairs. Woohoo!

All this is really not a complaint, though. It's just a fair warning. I'll be harder to reach, more tired, and likely more irratable. I do sincerely apologize in advance! And for the times I will no doubt have to call and say "I'm stuck at work and can't let the pups out....help..." Thanks and I'm sorry! I'm starting to focus once again on my Fall work conference, which is always a ragingly good time. "If I can just make it to Baltimore, I'll survive." Goals. Baby steps. Ladies and gentlemen....please hold onto the bar and keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Old Schmold

So as most of you know, I've been feeling old thanks to the onset of my 10 year class reunion. I wasn't sure what to expect either. I've not seen or heard from so many of my classmates since graduation...and my coming out. It's been a year since I was last in Wright, and that was for a benefit golf tournament dedicated to my mother. I was there for 24 hours then.

So Friday night my best friend Jesse and his wife Rae tossed their luggage and 3 dogs into my car and we were off. Rain and construction don't make for a stellar trip, but a normal one for Wyoming in July. We rolled in about 9pm. By 10pm we were on our way to Hank's, a local bar. Some of the class was going to meet up for our pre-reunion party, because there's little else to do in Wright on a Friday night. I got to see a few folks I'd not seen in a long time, and it was a decent time. By 11:30 we were exhausted, so Jess, Rae, and I headed home to bed.

The next morning I got up early for breakfast with my father. I returned the pistol he'd loaned me and got a brand new shiny 10 gauge Ithaca shotgun in return. A decent trade, though I already miss the 9mm. (I know...I have butch moments. Shocking, isn't it?) Up to Hank's (the restaurant side) with Tim and Jackie Wahle (friends) and Dad. Mmm...biscuits and gravy. And an ambulance. Apparently, one of the cooks lost consciousness in the back and dropped a pile of dishes. She dislocated her knee and rolled about in the broken glass in the process, so the local EMT crew was called in to wheel her out on a gurney. Who said Wright isn't exciting? After a few hours listening to Dad ramble on about different rifles, calibers, and hunting stories, it was time to pick up Jesse and Rae for the first official reunion activity.

We left for Panther Pond, the park/recreation area the town built just about the time we graduated. We were supposed to have a picnic up there with everyone's rugrats. Show off the kids, catch up, make sure we remembered one another's faces...that sort of affair. However, Wyoming weather decided to throw us a curveball, and it was FREEZING cold. As in, the small children and babies were likely to get hypothermia, not to mention the "grown ups." So Becka, who had arranged the whole reunion, called in the calvary in the form of her mom. Joanne runs 2 restaurants in town, including the pizza parlor (which didn't exist when I was a kid. Wright is a thriving metropolis now). She opened the shop 4 hours early and fired up the pizza oven. We crammed into the small space, oooing and aaaahing over the kids, answering "What do you do now?" for the 13th time, and worked on 4 super large pizzas. Everyone got along surprisingly well and I was amazed to see how many people showed up...and who some of them were.

After a few hours, we split up. At 7pm, we met at the bowling alley (which also didn't exist when I lived there). We were supposed to be at the golf course, but since it was a screened in porch, the weather again altered our plans. This was VERY appropriate for our class, who usually had problems deciding on anything. Prime Rib for dinner. Our very own bar. Half our class, sans rugrats. Needless to say, we had a few drinks. 3 of the 5 teachers still in town from "the old days" showed up. One bought us a round of shots. We caught up. Then went bar hopping. Heh.

So for those who have been teasing me about being old (including myself) ask yourself this: When was the last time you hit every bar in town (granted, there are only 2 in Wright), closed a bar, moved the party to a house party, closed the house party, and got home at 5am? I know it had been a LONG time for me. But apparently, we weren't as old as we thought we were. I can't tell you everything that happened, but I did get to ride in a Hummer 2 (among other things).

As this post is getting very long, I'll close by saying that I had a GREAT time at my reunion. Not a single person there said or did anything I'd consider rude or homophobic. In fact, I can't tell you how many times I heard "I'm so glad you came out," "You're so much more comfortable now," or "You seem more like...YOU." I managed to not out the other 2 (that I know of) queer classmates, neither of whom were in attendance. I saw old friends and think we'll stay in better touch now. I got to know people better, because there wasn't a bunch of high school popularity clique bullshit. I've got a GREAT connection for a tattoo and piercing place in North Denver, owned by a terrific guy (and his kick ass fun wife). I'm sleepy as hell, but it was all so worth it.

Today's lesson: Call, write, or email someone from your past and reconnect. Touch base with a relative or friend you've not spoken with in too long. There are some great people out there, and they're worth tracking down. Go. Now. I said go!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

A reading list, as required by Rev. Furious

Okay. I can play along. Somewhat. ;)

1) The Pern Series, by Anne McCaffrey - This is the series that made me completely fall in love with fantasy, dragons, and the eternal struggle to form a more perfect society. There are MANY books in it, with a few tangent story lines and mini-trilogies. They're all worth it. It's the most complete and detailed other-world adventure I've ever found, and led me to years of online role-playing games based on Pern.

2) The Harry Potter Books, by J.K. Rowling - I've always said that I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up. See, I'm just cleverly disguised as an adult. And I give bigtime kudos to anyone who can give kids (of all ages) a passion for reading again.

3) Druids, by Morgan LLywelyn - A friend gave me this several years ago, and I recently bought my own copy to re-read it. It's a historical fiction piece about the struggle of Celt vs. Roman in Gaul, as told from the perspective of Ainvar, who becomes Chief Druid of the Carnutes and Keeper of the Sacred Grove. Fun, controversial, and well-written. Besides, Anne McCaffrey called it "Splendid and compelling," which was enough for me to pick it up.

4) The Encyclopedia Brown Series, by Donald Sobel - Another series of books for young readers, but a lot of fun. I admit that it's been some time since I've read any of these, but they were such fun! He's a kid detective who solves cases large and small using common sense, deductive reasoning, and one tiny detail. It's kinda like Harry Potter meets Murder She Wrote meets Monk. Even as an adult, it's fun to try to solve the case with or before Encylopedia Brown. Definitely a reason I love crime dramas and who-dunnits today.

5) Lady Audley's Secret, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon - A fine Victorian serial novel. I read this one for my Brit Lit II (and Gender and Humanities) class. and actually loved it. It's unlike most Victorian novels because it was published as a serial. This means the action starts right away and keeps going throughout the book. Unlike most things by Jane Austen or Charles Dickens (who were paid by the word), there isn't a 4 page description of a field of grass. It's a murder mystery of sorts, and is really quite good.

6) The Snow Garden, by Christopher Rice - Yup, Anne Rice's gay son is an author, and a damned fine one at that! His tale of murder and intrigue holds you fast with realistic characters, scandal, and secretive pasts. Every character has something to hide, each plot twist is miraculously connected, and the tension is nothing if not taut. Loaned to me by a friend at work, I read this last Fall. I don't do enough reading for fun, so this still makes the list.

Monday, July 19, 2004


Apparently, my core readers (how come I don't get random visitors like the rest of you?) don't like the new template. *sigh* I shall keep my eye open for better designs.

In other news, the laptop died Friday night, so no access from home for a bit. *sniff* It's down the hall at PC Maintenance; they're checking it for hardware problems, as it was just rebuilt very recently. So we'll see what happens. One way or another I'll have to rebuild the stupid thing, and that's a pain in my ass. (And not in a good way...sorry...hadn't scarred y'all in far too long.)

I watched a movie yesterday called "Bang, Bang, You're Dead." It is freaking amazing! It deals with bullying, violence, and guns in our schools. It's got a decent cast and makes you think...and cry. It's on the PVR at home (for a bit) if you wanna watch it, faithful(ish) readers. It's running on Showtime this month. You must watch it. No choice. Speaking of the PVR, I had to purge many shows this weekend, as I was almost out of space. Brini is still intact, but most everything else went away, as some of it had been on the PVR for a month. Deal. ;)

Friday, July 16, 2004


I have a test design! Tell me what you think: http://biggayjimtest.blogspot.com

What do you think?

After wrestling Mandy's blog into a new template, I'm thinking about renewing my quest for a newer, gayer blog template. I have a test blog where I started to play with a design...unsuccessfully. Now I think perhaps I will make it happen. What do you think? Is it time for a queer redecorating?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Monsoon season

See, I stayed home from work today. As I was trying to go to sleep last night, the growing list of chores and projects seemed overwhelming. After a slightly fitful sleep, I woke and said "It's time." I called into work and went to back to bed, as I knew I would need sufficient rest and energy for the day's activities. I was up and at 'em by 10am. We now join our regularly scheduled thought process to detail the day. It's a dull day, but thought you might like to know what it's like inside my brain at times.

Start the laundry, toss in the bedding that needs to be washed. Breakfast for the pups, check the email, empty the dishwasher. Change back to the regular blade on the mower instead of the power rake attachment. Done. Good. See, I can be handy and mechanical. Shit...the phone's ringing...must mow. YES, she called back! Drive to the Newman Center and trade vehicles with Rae. Must hurry...rain's coming, and I HAVE to mow TODAY. Jackass...don't cut me off like that, this isn't my truck! Drive home. Throw the carpet and ruined desk in the truck. Drive to the dump. Don't get in a wreck, not my car. Yessir, pit #2 it is. Wow. This is almost full. I remember just a few years ago it was a huge pit. Now it's a bulging mound. Empty the truck. Phew...whatever the bulldozer just uncovered STINKS. Drive to Rae's and change vehicles again. Go to bank. Deposit insurance check so I can actually pay for all these repairs. Must hurry...rain is coming. Go to hardware store for RoundUp and weedpuller...flower beds are getting out of control. Drive home fast. Fucking bagger is not cooperating. Must mow the jungle or predators will move in and eat the pups, striking from behind the lush cover when they least expect it. Mow...wow, it's been almost a month since I did this, huh? Bad homeowner! Sheesh it's hot. Must empty bag every 2 laps...too much grass and it's holding a lot of moisture. Rain is coming...hurry, hurry, hurry! Empty the bag for the 6th time. So hot. Must mow the front now. C'mon, just 10 more minutes, weather. That's all I need. Empty bag. Shit, that's a drop I felt...3 passes left. DONE! Empty bag, tie up trash and put in front so I don't forget it in the morning. Put away mower...and here's the rain. Wow...a lot of rain. Hey...no hail! Hail damage is bad, and one insurance claim at a time is more than enough! Damn it's hot. Must cool down for a sec...I could blog! What's left for the day: wash the pups, cuz they need a bath. Put the laundry in the dryer. Do I have enough dirty clothes to do a second load? Must mop the disaster area with bleach. I'll have to go shopping today too. Shit...there's a SAFE Board meeting tonight, so no Thursday night TV. Hey...this is my last board meeting, huh? Three years. Wow. Must blog now. And send a text message to everyone about no TV. Fun...the streets are flooding. They look like rivers. Very muddy rivers, but rivers nonetheless. Change the laundry. Wash the dogs...so much to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


The "Federal Marriage Amendment" was defeated in the Senate today. Those with brain cells started a filibuster yesterday. Those without said cells couldn't even get the necessary 50% majority for a cloture motion today, much less the 2/3 majority to pass the discriminatory piece of dung...I mean...legislation.

The best part: it was a bi-partisan effort. Dems and Reps alike filibustered, and several Reps went against party leadership and refused to vote for cloture.

Democracy worked today. Is the fight over? Nah. But this is a BIG victory, and means I don't have to leave the house in shambles while I move to Europe. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The worst Monday (and best friends) ever

So for those of you who haven't yet heard, I had a homo homeowner disaster. A broken pipe to be exact. Granted, a little pipe, with small amounts of water. But since the pipe broke over the winter (without anyone's knowledge) and the water seeped down into a wall about a month ago, this is a huge problem. Because now the guest bedroom/my office is full of mold and mildew. Like...in the walls and carpets. Thank gawd for homo homeowner's insurance! The estimate came in at $2500. At least. And they're cutting me a check. Woohoo!

The carpet must be pulled up and replaced. The drywall must be knocked out, insulation replaced, chemicals sprayed to kill leftover living things, and drywall replaced. Then comes retexturing and painting. And new linoleum in the closet under the stairs, which shares a wall with the guest room closet. Then there's the ceiling in the office. It must be deflocked (heh), touched up, and repainted as well. Don't you love life? I know I do. *sigh*

So this was my Monday, as I discovered this special treat late Sunday night, after Mandy and Bridget left my house. Stir in a heaping cup of work problems and a pint of last minute queer program planning, finish with a 90 minute board meeting, and you have a perfect recipe for the worst Monday in a looooooooooooong time. I was on the verge of a mental collapse...or the beginning of an intense drunk, whichever came first.

Then my friends rode in to the rescue. Mandy, Travis, and Drew helped me move everything out of the affected rooms and into the garage (another sore subject, as every time I clean out the garage, something happens that fills it up instantly). They fed me, as I had not eaten...at all (yes, NerdyGirl, I know you will kick my ass). They even made me one martini...at triple strength. They kept me glued together and focused on the task at hand, instead of the overwhelming scope of the whole project.

And tonight, some of them have volunteered to help rip up carpet. You know you have true friends when they'll face icky mold and mildew for you, even when you're ready to lose your fucking mind and find a belltower with a high-powered semi-automatic weapon. :) To everyone who's helping me keep it together (and in some cases, tearing it apart), thank you. Most of you know how hard it is for me to ask for help on larger issues. Letting out the puppies is one thing. Battling potentially hazardous spores is another. Thanks for offering (and in some cases, forcing me to take) the help. It means more to me than you might know.

Tonight's adventure: ripping up the carpet.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Interviews, Street Dances, and Brunch

So I spent Friday conducting an interview for the SAFE Project. There were 44 applicants. We had 22 people at the interview. I was there for 12 hours. It was a long day to say the least. So I came home, changed clothes, grabbed a nibble for dinner, and headed for the street dance. I met up with most of the gang in downtown around 9pm. We wandered for a while, deciding the music was...well, shitty. and not because it was country. I'm used to that. No, this was just shitty and poorly done. So I walked Mandy back to her car and was home by 10:30pm. Eh.

Saturday was a lazy morning spent at home, sleeping in and relaxing. Wrestling with puppies, coping with dishes, the usual. Mandy and Bridget came over around 9ish to pick me up (there may have been a bottle of wine involved before they got there) and we went back to the street dance. The music was better, but there was still little excitement to be found. So before long we ran to Bridget's and picked up a DVD of Oz and came back to Casa de Mi. :) We watched an episode before exhaustion set in around Midnight. The girls went home, and I crashed.

So this morning I discovered the first episode of "I Love the 90's" on VH1. I taped it and started the phone tree, thinking brunch was in order. Mandy was the only person I could get in touch with...at least the only one who was still in town. So she came over and (after a quick run to Safeway) we whipped up biscuits and gravy with Eggs Benedict on the side. Bridget is here now too, and there is a Law and Order: SVU marathon holding us captive. What are you up to? C'mon over!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I hate paperwork

So today was a day to catch up on things after the vacation and the holiday weekend. Translation, I did a lot of paperwork. Hiring new people, removing terminated people, making sure I have new spreadsheets for the new fiscal year. Icky, horrible, tedious stuff that just has to happen, like it or not. And so it did. It's far from done, but it's a lot closer than it was this morning. Woohoo?

And this was the day that wouldn't end, at least as far as work is concerned. The last 20 minutes of the day are never going to be done. Ever! Of course, my allergy attack (please don't let this be a cold) isn't helping much, either. I just want to take some NyQuil (or several martinis), crawl into a ball, and sleep.

Note to self: Must buy milk and eggs on my way home.

Tomorrow: I'll work on revising the employee manual. Thrilling stuff, neh?

Lesson: Left foot. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

In memory

So yesterday was a lazy day at home. I Love the 70's Marathon on VH1, don'cha know. ;)

I spent today in the park playing carnival barker at the SAFE Project dunk tank. We did well today, despite being rained out 2 hours early. I had 'em packed in and lined up, if I do say so. And kudos and great big thanks to Miss Mandy for taking the first frigid shift of the day!

So I echo the thoughts of NerdyGirl and Reverend Furious about today's holiday. But today means something different to me these days. 2 years ago today, my mother died of breast cancer. When initially diagnosed, she was given 6 months to live - on the very outside. She lived for another 2.5 years...enough time to see my sister married and me buy a house. It was a good life, and she was happy.

Now this is not a pity party. I'm actually doing VERY well today. But for me, the 4th is now a time to remember. Remember those who are no longer with us. Remember those we don't always value enough. And to remember those who have given their lives obtaining and defending our country's freedom.

May nobody else die needlessly.

Friday, July 02, 2004

We now return to our regularly scheduled gayness

As much fun as I'm having gushing about the trip, another event cropped up this week that deserves a post. I (re)met a police officer from California. He just turned 40. He works in Nothern California as the director of a law enforcement academy. And he just came out.

He's known he wasn't straight since he was about 12 years old. He's had girlfriends and the other usual "alibi" behaviors. But at 40 years old, he decided to come out and live his life openly. So far he's just coming out to the friends and family close to him, and those he feels can handle the information without im/exploding. This is a VERY happy thing. He credits Matt's death for a lot of his decision. Matt's story touched him so much that he found the courage after all that time.

Talking to him touched me. Once again it reminded me why I keep speaking and fighting and teaching and burning the candle at both ends. It's for people like him. It's so that people don't have to go through what he endured to be themselves.

Today's lesson: Inspiration and motivation are all around us, sometimes even hidden behind horrible things. Find it. Seek it out. Harness it, and make a positive change in your life.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

What a way to follow a vacation

So I've been giddy and ecstatic and obnoxiously happy about the trip right? So how might one cure that? I know...go back to work. I just knew today was going to be a let down when I climbed out of the shower.

It seems one of the boys got sick last night, and I noticed it this morning after getting dressed. So I spent my morning cleaning doggie mess (you do NOT want details) from the carpet, kennel, and puppy bedding. *sigh* This pretty well shot my morning, giving me enough time to feed the boys (or reload them, as I called it this morning) and leave for work. When I got to work, I was determined to be in a good mood.

Then my computer died. Hard core. It had been acting wonky (yes, that's the technical term) since I got back, so I backed up all my data this morning to a spare hard drive. I was in the process of rebuilding the computer when it died again...in the middle of formatting the hard drive. This ruled out any problem with software or windows, so something was physically wrong with hardware. Of course, the office that does hardware maintenance is closed for inventory for a few days. But I know the guy, and he's running some diagnostics for me cuz I'm lovable. :) So I drove home and brought in my laptop so I can pretend to get shit done today.

Sound like a great start to a day? Yup...I thought so too. I don't know what the afternoon holds for me yet, but I hope the day improves. I'm finding it difficult to maintain a positive attitude in the face of all this crap (some literal, some figurative). Calgon...take me away. No...take me back to California!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

And purple mountain's majesty

What shall we blog about today, Brain? I know...driving! So driving to and from California was an experience. I'm glad I had it, but I'm also glad it's over.

The pros: I got to see a lot of America in the process. I'm one of those tree-huggin' dirt worshipper types, so I even see Death Valley as beautiful in its own way. The rugged mesas of Arizona. The mountains surrounding Salt Lake City. The scrub brush and dunes of Death Valley. The beaches of California (okay...that's an easy one). And even the plains of Wyoming.

The cons: It was long. It was traffic-y. And it was fast. We saw everything at 90 miles an hour, and that's not what I'm used to. I wanted to stop along the way. To see Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon parks. Lake Mead, the Hoover damn, the Needles...I'd love to see more!

I think a road trip around the country would be AMAZING if I had the money and time to do it. So when I win the lottery...ROAD TRIP!!! We'll rent an RV and party down around the US. Route 66. Seeing the Pacific Northwest, the Southeast, the Deep South (though we'll spend little time with people...just the pretty spots!) Taking time to see monuments, historic sites, parks, and anything else that tickles our....fancies. who's with me?

Monday, June 28, 2004

Sol, Sol, Rah rah rah!

So I figure if I'm going to regale you all in the pleasures of California, I better get cracking! So, without further ado...

Sun appreciation! I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the beach. I'd played on Florida beaches in the past, but I was much younger and didn't appreciate it as I should, I think. This time, I did. The sun was brilliant and warm, slowly baking my skin to golden color (after a day of pink face and red nose, admittedly). The wind brought in the scent of salt, musky and oddly fresh. The sand wriggled between my toes and over my feet, wrapping me in warmth. And the ocean...gently caressing one moment, forceful and rugged the next.

Mandy and I frolicked in the ocean, collected shells, did our best to stand firm against the waves. And of course the first day we hadn't planned to be in the ocean, so we had no change of clothes and had to air dry before getting back into the car.

The Rev. also introduced me to kite flying. Oh, I'd flown kites before; my mom used to make the occasional kite out of wrapping paper on the ranch. It was fun enough, but a single line kite pieced together from household scraps is somewhat....lacking. The Rev. has dual line kites, however. Made from real materials! And I was hooked. I could make shapes in the air, control the kite, and ride the wind from terra firma. Naturally by the time I left California, I bought one of my own, though the wind in Laramie isn't as helpful as that in Cali.

So today's lesson: Go and have your own sun appreciation. Feel the wind on your face. Play in a natural water source. Take your shoes off and feel the earth beneath your feet. Go for a walk in the rain! But go outside and revel in the majesty of nature. Go. NOW!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Sun, kites, boys, and THE OCEAN

Wow. To describe the trip as great would be an understatement. It was exactly what I needed, even though we planned very little in advance. We played in the ocean. (Wet. Salty.) We basked on the sand. (Bright. Warm.) We watched LOTS of nearly naked boys frolic on the beach. (Hot. Yum.) The Rev addicted me to kites, talking me into buying one...without much effort, admittedly. (Colorful. Fly-y.) We watched "Dodgeball." (Funny. Wrong.)

Lest you think it was all wholesome fun in the sun, there were drag kings, margaritas as big as my head, and oh yeah...a wet underwear contest. With a Falcon porn star. So you know...the usual. ;)

There was chaos too. But we ignored it. Heh. There was also the pit of despair, or Salt Lake City as others know it. Here's their secret: We decided that the Mormon church created elaborate traffic jams to keep people in SLC until they convert. Then they show you the secret tunnels out of the city. We didn't make it to Temple Square (despite a wrong turn due to poor signage on the SLC Interstate System), so we spent 2 hrs in traffic trying to head south. *sigh*

Oh...and there was a LOT of time in the car. But it was all worth it. But I think now I shall go to bed...hoping to make up for too many hours of sleep deprivation behind the wheel. More on the trip later.

Oh...GO SEE "FAHRENHEIT 9/11." It will spank your brain, but in a good way.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Cellllllll-a-brate good times, come on!

So as soon as I receive a certificate and ID number in the mail, I'm now a certified HIV tester and counselor in the State of Wyoming. Woohoo! I learned a lot and had a BLAST. We had such a great group of people and so much energy. And we finished early, so I have extra time to repack the suitcase and stress over the myriad of things I've probably forgotten. Which is good, since I have a board meeting for the SAFE Project tonight.

And in the morning, I will take the boys to Uncle Jesse's house, wash the car, pick up the girls, and go for a little drive. To CALIFORNIA!!! A real vacation...the chair will now entertain a woohoo. I'm so excited about this, in case you couldn't tell.

Oh...and I want sushi. Tonight. Anyone interested?

Monday, June 14, 2004

A short one

Tomorrow I start training to be an HIV tester and counselor. I'm very excited!!! I know I do several good things to make the world a better place. But this is something new...something more tangible in some respects. I might never know if my presence at an Orientation table reached out to a student new to campus. But I can know about working against HIV for straight and GLBT people alike. And if nothing else, it's one more tool in my toolbelt and one more way to make a difference. And won't that be a good thing in July, when I travel to my (censored) year class reunion?!

Friday, June 11, 2004

Summer's HERE!

So there's a trip to California soon. I thought this would signal the official start of summer for me. But NO! Not so, gentle readers. You know what did it?

Zeus and I went to the park yesterday. We lounged about in the sun reading, phoning, and watching all the hot guys running or playing basketball. It was great! For some reason, this triggered my brain's response that indicates I'm supposed to be enjoying life, taking things slow and easy, and spending mass amounts of time outside whenever possible.

So I invite you all to take a moment, revel in the sunshine, and realize that it's not winter in Wyoming. As you know, this is rare! So break out the barbeques, flip out the frisbees, and howdy to the (increasingly) half-naked hotties. I'm ready to play and party and power up. (Yup...another day of alliteration, apparently.)

No lesson...lessons are for school, and it's summer! Woohoo!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

When in doubt....clean

Today was...something I'd rather not repeat if I could choose. I woke up less than healthy, so I stayed home. I spent the morning in bed and bonding with porcelain. Don't ask. Once I was more put together, I took a shower, got dressed, and fed the boys. Just before heading to work I checked my email while the boys were eating. An upset user, who had threatened legal action the day before, was now saying my response to him was inadequate and that he was complaining to a VP. So much for answering someone's question and being nice. This was reason to be angry #1.

An employee we fired was supposed to come in today to sign her time card and fill out final paperwork. She didn't show up. While I can't say that I'm surprised, it's still annoying beyond belief. Reason to be angry #2.

I found out the University is going to be closed Friday in honor of Reagan's death. Thanks to Orientation, I have to work Friday morning anyway. This does not really anger me, but is an annoyance. What does piss me off, however, is that they haven't issued an official statement, so nobody knows if I'll get that time back, or if I'm donating my time to the University because I'm a nice guy and the freshmen at Orientation need accounts. Reason #3.

Finally, a little before quitting time, I'm told that there was overtime reported to our payroll system. Now being the intelligent and diligent person I am, I naturally checked the system when I was supposed to, making sure there was none. There were no overtime codes listed. I downloaded the report, and double checked it today - no overtime codes. But sure as hell, they're in there today. So I have a meeting at 8am to figure out what the hell is going on. Reason #4.

Needless to say, I'm angry tonight. And I didn't know how to deal with it. So I went back to basics, and did what I used to do in the dorms. I cleaned. I've mopped the floors in the kitchen and entry, vacuumed the house, done dishes, started some laundry, and tidied. I'm feeling better now, though I'm still pretty pissed...just in general. So I'm going to keep cleaning, and read my HIV training manual, and do more laundry. Then later, I'll take a bath or jump in the hot tub.

The lesson for today: use your rage and anger. Turn it. Make it productive. Or at least get your housework done trying! ;)

"Go without hate
But not without rage
Heal the world." - Paul Monette

Saturday, June 05, 2004


The last few days I haven't been getting enough sleep. I didn't get to bed before midnight at all this week. The last two nights, I didn't even hit the pillow until 1am. Not good when you wake up at 6am to make it to work by 7:30am. I'm just not young enough to live on 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night, especially several nights in a row. Granted, I had a lovely time each night, spending time with friends. We played video games, watched TV, celebrated the full moon, and had cocktails! All in all, a wonderful week, if a bit sleepy during the day.

This weekend should prove to be wonderful as well. I slept until 10am today...8 hours of sleep was blissful! Today I have a SafeZone presentation for the SAFE Program's new Advocate trainees. Then a BBQ for my friend Dan, who's in town from Hawaii! It's been soo long since I've seen him, and I can't wait to catch up. Tomorrow we're off for lunch at Noodles and Co. in Fort Collins...before we go see Harry Potter in a decent theatre!

And have I mentioned that I'm going to California!? I'm becoming increasingly excited about the trip, though I didn't think that was possible. Some changes in plans, as we're going to San Diego instead of Laguna Niguel now. It's not much of a change at all. Sun, beaches, and relaxation. With great friends to boot!

A lesson for today? Nope! Not from me. I know what my lesson is, but today it's your turn! There is a lesson in your life today. Figure out what it is. You can do it! And if you feel like sharing, I'd love for you to email me with it, or better yet, post it as a comment here!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


I should learn that saying "Woohoo" too quickly is reason enough for a cosmic bitch slap. I was up way too late for the second night in a row, though playing video games with Travis, Monirah, and Drew was faboo. I woke up too early, though during the summer that's always the case. 5 hours of sleep doesn't cut the mustard for me, though. I still decided not to let that get me down. I ate my cereal, played with the pups, and pulled out Mom's old camera this morning, determined that a good mood was going to be the order of the day. I snapped some pictures of simple objects just to burn the film in the camera. Shells, flowers, puppies, trees...nature at her finest.

I left for work, only to find the warning light on my car (Georgina) was till telling me there's a problem with the exhaust system. *sigh* Not what you want 2.5 weeks before a 2000 mile road trip. At work I tried to pull up PeopleSoft to check on how payroll ran last night. Must make sure nobody got pegged with overtime, after all. Guess what wouldn't pull up for me? So I've now spent 1.5 hours this morning working with the guys upstairs to work their magic. Apparently, the system thinks I'm someone else. Neat trick, since the person it thinks I am works in HR and I've never even heard of her! But it's PS...which should prolly be abbreviated PoS instead. So I continue to fight that battle. And I have a car appointment tomorrow afternoon, meaning more vacation time spent this month. Ah well...I had a lot to burn, I suppose.

So I'm having a fairly crappy morning. But I shall not give up! I'm gonna be happy and cheery, dammit! Even if it kills me. So...the good news. Last night I got the lawn mowed before it rained. Today I have coffee with Southern Butter Pecan creamer (yum). I had a bagel with cream cheese this morning; even if it was day old, it was good too. I don't get lunch, but that's because I have a hair appointment today. Seeing my Hair Bitch (she actually LOVES that title) always makes me happy...and pretty! And tonight there shall be gay boys, cocktails, and the season premiere of Queer Eye...with twins (mmm....twins).

So while it's not all roses, it's not ALL bad either. Today's pseudo-lesson: While we can't force ourselves to be happy, especially in the face of adversity, we can consciously try to remember the positives. Repeat after me, class: "It's not all bad. It will get better." It will get better...If I keep saying it enough times, it's bound to be true, right?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

When did this happen?

So today was odd. I have accomplished A LOT. My email inbox is at zero, which hasn't happened for MONTHS. For those of you unfamiliar with my habits, once a message is dealt with or has been responded to, I move it into another folder. So a zero inbox means I've dealt with everything and am caught up! I even snuck away to lunch today. Payroll is done. I paid bills today. When I go home, I'll mow the lawn with the new lawnmower I built last night. See? Productive today, aren't I? The only thing left for today is to solve world hunger, create world peace, and make the world safe from Republicans (though I did a bit of that today, too!).

I had lunch with my friend and teacher Amada. And she's giving me assignments. To do on my own. Which means she's trusting me with some pretty powerful work. Amazingly enough, I feel quite ready for it. She's also told me (and another) that we're to begin teaching some of the newer folk...under supervision, of course. So apparently I know something. I'm not doubting this fact, as I have in the not-too-distant past. But it leaves me wondering...when did this happen? When did I learn something?! I don't remember it happening, but I know that some point, it did. So I'm just a bit in awe today. Cool stuff, I say.

Not to mention the trip I took yesterday. I did a bit of driving, but it was worth it. I got to see some amazing scenery, especially on the pass above Centennial. I was just below Medicine Bow Peak, and it was truly breathtaking. So were the 50-60 mile per hour winds.

Today's lesson is a simple one: Take a moment to stop and smell the flowers. Or at least look at them, for they are pretty, and it's amazing that anything can grow in this climate!

Sunday, May 30, 2004

In Memory

I miss you Mom.
I miss you Matt.
I remember all those who have come before.

Friday, May 28, 2004

With apologies to Morgan Llywelyn

(Note: I have officially remembered the blog topic from the other night...the one that escaped me in my sleep. Brace yourselves...another long one!) So I've been re-reading a book called "Druids." I know it's not the most popular of books (or authors) with some folks, but I like it, so cope. There is a line that repeats throughout the story, and it struck me the first time I read the book several years ago. And lately, it's been on my mind a great deal. So I'll co-opt the line for today's post.

I was a person who sang.

Music has always been a big part of my life. Some of my earliest and happiest memories are of singing in the car with my mom and sister. Living in Wyoming, especially growing up on a ranch 20 miles from ANYthing and 40 miles from SOMEthing, you've got a bit of time in the car when you go anywhere. Trips to church, grocery shopping, visiting, or for other errands involved time on dirt roads with little option for radio stations. Compound that with a mother who's not fond of rock and roll's "sex, drugs, and alcohol attitude" and my dislike for most country music, and the radio in the wilds of northeastern Wyoming is out.

So we sang our way along. Show tunes. Disney songs. Silly songs. Fun songs. Campfire songs. Any songs we could think of, we'd sing them. We'd sing on the way to Wright or Gillette. We'd sing on the long road trips back to Illinois. We'd sing on our weekend or day trips to scenic spots in the Black Hills or around Wyoming. Show tunes and Disney were always present. Perhaps that should have been a clue, eh? Maybe the Southern Baptists are right: Disney is evil and will turn kids gay. Ha. It's funny....laugh, dammit.

I was a person who sang.

Once we moved to Wright, I joined choirs. I was in the Children's Choir at Church. Then it was Show Choir at the elementary school. There were tryouts for that even! It was pretty competitive for Wright, Wyoming, and I made it in both years I could, 5th AND 6th grade. In Junior High I took Choir as an elective. I went to the North East District Honor Choir and Clinic both years. We had an outstanding director who really made me love music, despite the comments from some of my classmates. After all...Choir? In Wyoming? For boys? There were only 3 of us, you know.

As I entered 9th grade, we lost our director, thanks to an ass of a principal. The new person was nice enough, but didn't have the skills or enthusiasm. She didn't understand how to make us passionate about music. That, combined with growing peer pressure and a burgeoning understanding of who I was...and that Choir might reveal that, made me leave "organized music," despite a few awards and a heavy heart. I still sang with the fam in the car. I sang at church too, though I wasn't long for "organized religion" either - go figure. On holidays, the Parkers and my family would often perform songs in Spanish or German, especially "Silent Night." And we were pretty good, if I do say so myself. I'd drive around town with my friends, singing along to the radio, cassettes, or CD's. Music became more private for me. Something for small groups, close friends, or evenings at home with the family. Not for public performances.

I was a person who sang.
Until the music stopped.

Of course, not practicing "organized music" means I lost some of my skills. When you don't flex your muscles (or your voice), they weaken a bit. Basic anatomy, right? Being depressed and suicidal while coming to terms with the fact I wasn't straight didn't help matters either, and music was soon something I listened to, but didn't really sing with. Unless it was a sad song. And so on the rare occasions I sang, people were surprised. They didn't know I could do it! While I'll never have a professional music career, I CAN carry a tune in something other than a bushel basket.

A don't really really remember when it happened, but one day I felt like singing again. Well, I do know when it was, I suppose. Someone came into my life and showed me what it could be like to have someone in my life. Someone to lean on, confess everything to, and someone to hope for. Without dating, I still knew what a relationship could be like. And the music came back.

I AM a person who sings.

And music is still here for me. Though music is still something private for me, and many of my friends don't witness me singing much. I randomly break into Billy Joel tunes and, oddly enough, Christmas carols. The pups sometimes look at me like I'm crazy, but there are times I can't help but sing. Loudly, and at the edge of my range. I've found my range and breath control returning somewhat, as I'm practicing again, albeit informally. In the car, the shower, the living room...doesn't matter. And I fully expect to be in rare musical form on the impending road trip. (Fair warning, ladies!)

The lesson for today: We all have a song in our hearts, we just have to remember how the tune goes. Maybe it's one we write, or one we've heard on the radio. Something that speaks to us, to our very soul. Something that reminds us why we wake up in the morning, or the smile a dear friend can bring to our face. It's there inside us always, even when we want to be sad or wallow or cry or scream or rage. Remember the song and hold onto it tight, but also remember to let it out once in a while. For I am not the only person who sings. We all make music in different ways. We all have a song. Let your heart and soul sing it out loud in whatever form it takes. Even in great sorrow, there can be joy...or at least comfort.

Sing with me...