Tuesday, June 19, 2007

They're just THINGS

So I went "camping" this last weekend with the Denver gang. Jet skis, party islands, electricity in your tent if you wanted/needed...and our own AMAZING DJ creating music for us live around the campfire until the wee hours of the morning. It was more fun than I can even put into words. For the most part, the weather was perfect, the company was a helluva lot of fun, and (needless to say) there wasn't a whole lot of sobriety. Just the relaxing, let-your-hair-down kind of get-a-way I needed.

There was a bit of a blemish on the trip, however. Sunday morning a friend borrowed my car to run down the road a half mile or so to use "the facilities." I had set a volleyball set and my kite bag on top of the car so they wouldn't get damaged when packing everything back in the car for the drive home. My friend didn't notice this fact. When I took a load up to the car, I did. And panicked. After confirming the bag hadn't been moved to safety, I jumped in the car to look for it frantically.

Five different people were involved in the search mission. Despite only having about a half mile of terrain to cover and having noticed the loss within 30-45 minutes, they were nowhere to be found. I was, of course, quite upset. The bag was worth between $500 and $600, and most of the kites are no longer made. But it was the sentimental value that hurt me more.

The Prism Fanatic was the first REAL kite I ever bought, and was my "big" keepsake from the California road trip with Nerdy and Mandyfish. I bought the High Level, a German kite, from the Rev, who had flown it for years...and I was thrilled to own a piece of his own kiting history. The 3D (a low-wind kite), the Spirit (a quad-line kite I never actually got to fly), and the Prism bag itself were bought from someone on the kiting forum. I had a small single line delta Jace gave me, and a new cheapy dual line that made the perfect "learning" kite for friends. It cost $10, so it didn't matter if someone killed it in a blaze of newbie glory. Add in the line sets, winders, handles, etc. and there was not only a lot money and memories in the bag, but also a lot of time and prep work. Gone. In an instant.

My friend felt VERY bad about the loss, and I was doing my best not to be bitter, as I knew it was an honest mistake and not something malicious or intentional. But still...I was NOT happy. It was NOT the ending I had envisioned to an otherwise spectacular trip. As I drove home from Wheatland, I was almost in tears, but tried to remind myself of something very important. Something my mother had always tried to teach me.

They were just...things. THINGS can be replaced. People and friendships cannot. The memories were connected to the things, but not contained in them. I still have the memories. And I'm certain that one day I will again experience the peace, joy, and relaxation that comes from dancing a kite through the difficult Wyoming skies. There will be other kites, and new memories. Everything else is just details.

This, of course, is much easier to say and more difficult to FEEL. I'm still VERY unhappy and saddened by the loss of the bag. I'm certain someone drove along the road and found the bags. I have reported them to just about every agency in Platte County, Wheatland, and anyone remotely connected to Gray Rocks. But if they haven't been turned in yet, I'm not certain they will be. That saddens me, as I would like to believe there are still honest people in the world. But if they aren't turned in and I never see my babies again, I at least hold this one hope: that whomever has them finds a much fun and peace in the strings, sticks, and nylon as I did. That they create their own memories and take good care of them, as I tried to do. At least that would give me some smattering of peace about it.

Today's lesson is a tough one: some lessons are very hard to learn, and it's much easier to help others learn than to deal with our own lessons. It truly is easier said than done. Lesson #2: Good friends will usually surround you, ready to simply say "That fucking sucks!" and be there to distract, console, and comfort you when you need it. Thanks, gang!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The military has lost its damn mind

I had really intended to leave my Cindy Lauper post up until next week when I could make an update about this weekend's gay camping trip. But then I got an email this morning that SCREAMED to be placed on my blog. The scary part: it's real. I'm not sure anyone could actually make this shit up. So check out the link below real the full story, and even watch a tv news clip about it.

Pentagon Confirms It Sought to Build a "Gay Bomb"

That's right...they researched the possibility of making a bomb that would turn the enemy GAY. Some choice quotes from the article, just to make sure you all read the article:

As part of a military effort to develop non-lethal weapons, the proposal suggested, "One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior."

The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistibly attractive to one another.

And my favorite:
...it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.

I have a few places I'd like to drop such a bomb...think of the millions of hot men we could turn gay instantly. Rev, Brendon, Mark, Smith...beware! No longer will my only hope be a 6 pack of beer or bottle of tequila... Then it's off to Hollywood to convert Matt Damon, Colin Farrell, Heath Ledger, Brad Pitt (sorry Mandy), and all the rest of the hunks we lust after. They'll all be mine. Mine, I tell you, all mine! *maniacal laughter*

PLEASE...I want to see your thoughts on this, so leave me a comment about the article!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Once upon a time...

...there was a butterfly moth. A BIG one. He lived in Colorado, and one night in June found himself flitting about at Red Rocks. You see, Cyndi Lauper was performing, and he couldn't help but enjoy the music. So the moth flew right down onto the stage, buzzing about the lights, zipping around the speakers, and darting around the drums. The drummer noticed him, and smiled at him as flew in circles and v's and figure eights. The vibrations and lights excited him. But it also confused him somewhat.

For almost ten minutes the moth flew around, dancing and investigating. But then something frightening happened. He wasn't sure if he flew too close to the lights, or too close to a speaker, but soon he found himself on the ground at the front of the stage, right next to a speaker. Something had stunned him, and he couldn't fly. He didn't know what to do, so he sat there waiting...trying to gather his strength and find his bearings. Then maybe he would be able to fly away again.

Many people had seen him, as he was easy to spot in the lights, though it was late and very dark outside. But most on the stage hadn't noticed him. And then a kind blonde woman (the crowd kept calling her Cyndi) noticed him after finishing one of her songs. "Oh...he's hurt or something. Poor thing!" she said. She began her next song, but was very careful not to step on him or hurt the moth. She went back to check on him, and though she was wearing a very nice purple dress, she got down on her hands and knees to look him over more careful. She even talked to him, and told him that she'd try to take care of him, and that he should stay where he was, as he was out of the way for the time being. She even told the crowd she was worried about him.

During the next song, a nice man crept onto the stage behind the nice blonde woman. Using a cup and piece of paper, he careful scooped up the moth and carried him to safety, hoping to release him to safety. It had been both an exciting and frightening night for our friend the moth. He was so surprised that someone so big as the blonde woman, who was in the middle of a very big concert, would take time to stop and worry about a simple moth like him. And so he smiled a mothy smile...and felt special and loved.
Yes, this really happened last night at the True Colors concert. Cyndi Lauper cared about a moth, albeit a really BIG moth. At first, it looked almost like a bat. But that's what the concert was all about, really. Being nice to other people. Being yourself and letting other people (and moths, apparently) be who they really are. It was oddly touching, and is one of the little things a shama-wicca-paga-druid notices and pays attention to. Today's lesson: be kind to those in need, no matter how many legs (or wings) they use to get around. Simple acts of kindness make a difference, and not always to those who are being helped. You never know who's watching, and who will be touched.

PS...a HUGE shout out to Max and Brittany, who drove me to and from the concert. Oh yeah...and let me use one of their spare tickets...IN ROW 8!!! I was in a queer child of the 80's bliss all night long.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dear Mother Nature

I realize that I still reside at 7200 feet. However, it is June. I should not walk from my car to the building in SNOW! Knock that shit off, right now.

PS...thank you for not killing anyone with the 4 tornadoes that touched down in Campbell County last night. The last big one was enough for Wright to cope with.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Elphie and me

This weekend I traveled to the Southern half of the Rainbow Kingdom for a special event...WICKED!!! I left Saturday morning after a late Friday night in town with some of the crew. The trip started on a sour note when we learned Scotty can't count. He bought the tickets months ago...and informed me we had tickets for the show on Jun 2. So Jerry got tickets for the same night for himself and Chuck. We were SO excited! Scotty's folks were down for the show too, as it was a birthday present for Mom. It was going to be C's first time at a Broadway show (virgin!). Then the unthinkable happened: Scotty read the tickets and discovered they were for the show on Jun 3! I was NOT a happy camper, as I wanted to see the show with Chuck and Jerry too. While drinking margaritas to dull the pain, I repeated to myself "Everything happens for a reason. This is not the end of the world. We will make it work. Everything happens for a reason..."

And we had a fabulous weekend anyway. Cocktails, dinners, cocktails, BBQ's, and cocktails...and in no time it was Sunday night. We had decent seats in the mezzanine, great company, and it was closing night of the show. IT WAS BEYOND FIERCE! Phantom has always been my favorite show. Then I discovered Rent, and it moved me in ways Phantom never could. And then Elphie came into my life. I've read the book and memorized the OBC album, so I was well-informed going into the theater. I wasn't ready to fall so deeply in love with this show.

Perhaps even more so than the book (which is SO rare for me), the musical resonated with my life and soul. Elphies struggles for acceptance and constantly being the outsider. The taunts and snickers from her peers. The pain of loss and search for identity. The beauty of finding a true friend who understands and accepts you no matter what. The fighting between dearest friends only to come back together over and over again. Appearances are deceiving. Rising above the challenges and working to make a difference in the world around you. I'd say that I want to be Elphie when I grow up, but the truth is that I'm already her.

Naturally I raced out during intermission (right after Elphie sings "Defying Gravity," my FAVORITE song) and immediately overspent at the merchandise kiosk, as I NEEDED more. And that's where today's lesson comes from, gentle readers. It pays to be a nice person. At the upstairs "Ozdust Boutique," I waited while an obviously tired clerk did his best to meet the demand for t-shirts, posters, and trinkets. I bought the hat, the glasses, the Grimmerie, and the photo book. He sensed my enthusiasm for the show (and probably noticed my puffy, bloodshot eyes from where I'd been moved to tears...for the 3rd time), and smiled. While he bagged and rang up my goodies, we chatted about what an amazing job the cast was doing, how FABulous the script and score are, and how glad I was to be there.

That's when he quietly asked "You know where the stage door, is right?" I didn't, but knew what it meant. Cast autographs. He gave me directions, and tips on catching the stars when they were out of makeup (Elphie is 6 feet tall, Glinda is a tiny little brunette with an Italian accent). I quickly found Scotty's mom, Sue, to tell her we had the inside scoop if she was willing to wait around a bit after the show. Armed with a pen in her purse and the soundtrack echoing in our heads, we headed out after the final curtain. Without too much trouble, we found the magical door...and a VERY gracious cast. We were there for about an hour after the show, waiting for the last of the talent to head out. Sue's eyes were glowing, my hands were shaking, and Dad and the boys were having fun watching us.

All because we took the time to be nice to the man behind the counter. Sometimes, it's important to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. So remember this as you go about your day: the "little people" matter too. Be nice to everyone. It is, after all, one of the themes of my new favorite musical. Sorry, Phantom.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Got Pride?

It's officially June. For most people that means it's now summer. For about 10% of the population, it also means Pride month! Parades, vendors, drink specials, and amazing parties. And to think it all started because of a riot. On June 27th, 1969 patrons at the Stonewall in New York had their fill of repeated police violence and persecution. That night, some of the butch lesbians and drag queens, the outside fringe of what passwed for a queer community at the time, fought back when the police came in for their regular raid. They fought back when the cops tried to rough them up and drag them off to jail.

The next year, a parade was held to celebrate what most regard as the birth of the modern gay rights movement. And June has never been the same. For me, it's a chance to recharge my gay batteries. It's also a time to remember how far we've come. Colorado will now include employment protection for people based on sexual orientation OR gender identity. New Hampshire is now the first state to create civil unions without a judicial mandate to do so. It's amazing how our rights have expanded in the last 3 years, despite amazing opposition and political roadblocks.

There will be more to discuss about Pride over the next 30 days, but today's lesson is simple. Take a moment and simply be proud of who you are. Who you were. Who you have become. Obviously, anyone reading MY blog must be a cool person and deserves to be proud. And I'm proud of you. Gay, straight, lesbian, bi, queer, trans, or somewhere in between. Smart, simple, heavy, thin, bold, meek...it doesn't matter. Just be the best YOU that you can be. And revel in it.

There are still far too many in our country and in our world today who are not allowed to do so. People who are silenced, physically, spiritually, or metaphorically.

I'm SO proud of YOU!