Diversity.

One of the best things about living in the third largest city in the United States is the diversity. I love walking the streets and hearing languages I don’t know being used in regular conversation. I smile when I see a same-sex couple holding hands. I revel in the ability to do so with my husband. I appreciate the differences in our world when I see a person living life in religious garb that would probably get them screamed at in other parts of the country. I am fully aware that I won the silver medal in the American birth right lottery: I’m white, I’m male. The only thing I’m missing is the straight part, so that’s why I say I won the silver instead of the gold. There’s nothing degrading about me in this assessment; it’s more of a commentary about American society. I think many forget that they’re American by sheer luck. They were born here in a society that unfortunately cares too much about skin color, sexual orientation, and gender definitions. I care about a person’s character. Show me who you are through your actions. That’s what counts.

Lost In Writing.

Friends kept telling me that Earl and I just HAD to watch the “Lost In Space” reboot on Netflix. I watched episode one and I was mildly impressed, so I re-watched it with Earl to bring him on board and we’ve been watching the series on and off over the past couple of months. It’s not really a “bingeable” series in my book, but we started it and I suppose we need to finish the task. I’m not sure where others are in their “Lost In Space” viewing so I’m going to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. The musical score is great. The CGI is very good for a television series. The sets, while looking quite Earth-like even though the show doesn’t take place on Earth, are decent. The stories become quite formulaic as the show goes on but they’re engaging. The only thing I really don’t like about the show is the reboot of the character of Dr. Smith, played by Parker Posey. First of all, I know that Parker Posey is a fairly talented actress, so I can’t figure out why she knows nothing outside of three facial expressions for her character. There’s “smug”, “manipulative”, and “confused”. She has nothing outside of these three facial expressions and all of them have the same accessory: her mouth agape and her hair poofed up. I get that she’s suppose to be the villain, but the character is so poorly written that there’s absolutely no redeeming quality to her presence at all. She doesn’t advance the plot. She doesn’t bring out anything remarkable in other characters. She distracts and detracts. A good villain is one where the audience can find something to identify with, even if the viewer lets their evil side loose for just a moment. There is nothing redeeming nor enjoyable about this Dr. Smith. Aside from her mouth agape and limit of three facial expressions, you know what she’s going to do, what she’s going to say, and that she’s going to mess something up along the way. One could easily fast-forward through her scenes and you wouldn’t miss a beat in the storyline. The character is a waste of time. I like the tech they’re showing. I like the team work and the family bonding and the science stuff behind the scenes. There’s some hokeyness to some of the science but then again, I grew up with a franchise that had transporter beams, so I can overlook a lot of the convenient science. But the character with poofy hair and mouth agape on the screen? I wouldn’t mind if they blasted her out of an airlock in the trailer for season two. It might make me reconsider watching the show when it comes back next season.

Beer.

I don’t care if a bar is calling themselves a gay bar or a straight bar. Once upon a time I would seek out a gay bar but then again, once upon a time a gay bar was the only place a gay man would go. If I’m going out for a drink I’m looking for a friendly bar and the only label I’m looking for is “friendly”. It’s a harmony that should be prevalent in the world. I enjoy the taste of beer and I enjoy trying different beers. I use the “Untappd” app on iOS and apparently I have tried over 350 unique beers in the past five years. The picture on my profile is from 2013. My attitude is from 2018. When Earl and I first moved to Chicago we discovered a pub down the street called “The Globe Pub”. This pub is known for its allegiance to soccer and The World Cup; it’s not uncommon to see folks drinking and watching the World Cup at 10:00 on a weekday. The space had a great vibe to it; their beer list is quite complete. Back in April they announced they were closing for renovations but they promised to be open for the World Cup. The opened in the nick of time. Earl and I stopped their tonight and found it to have a familiar vibe with a lot more space. Stephanie (according to the receipt) is still behind the counter; I tried a couple of different beers I haven’t sampled before. One of the local microbreweries, Begyle Brewing, is feature on their draft beer list. The beer I tried tonight is one of their darker beers. Some of the darker beers have an ABV (Alcohol by Volume) of 14%. I tried one of those tonight and then I tapered off with an Oatmeal Stout from Begyle. The alcohol content was around 5%. Given a choice, I prefer dark beers over the cutting edge hoppy taste of IPAs. I like trying different beers. As I type this blog entry the heavier ABV beer is kicking in a bit. That’s prolly why they serve it in a fancy glass. I’m happy that The Globe Pub is open. I suppose as a gay man I’m suppose to patronize the gay establishments but I couldn’t care less how a bar labels itself. If my husband can sit next to me, the bartender is friendly, the clientele is hospitable, and the beer selection is good, how does my sexual orientation fit into the equation? Gosh, I sound like a millennial. I like to call “The Globe Pub” our neighborhood “Regal Beagle” even though Suzanne Somers isn’t looking for an outrageous salary. There’s a bunch of sports on the television, the beer selection is good and the staff and customers are friendly, even when my husband calls me sweetie. Living in the big city is awesome. Living near “The Globe Pub” is awesome too. I’m happy they’re back online.

Rain.

I love being able to sit on our balcony and not get wet during a rainstorm. If the rain is coming from the Northwest (like this current storm is), I’m able to sit in the Northwest corner against the wall of our lanai and enjoy the sights and sounds and smells of a good rain storm without getting wet. I realize I could do this anywhere, but doing this is at home makes it especially wonderful.

Relaxed.

I’m sitting on our balcony wrapping up the weekend, doing some chores on my iPad and making sure I’m ready to tackle the workday bright and early tomorrow. Earl is relaxing in bed; he is coming along nicely in his recovery. He decided to skip his pain medicine today and he’s no worse for the wear. I think his very positive attitude is the leading reason for his recovery coming along so well. After he went to bed last night I spent some time sitting on the balcony reading and watching television. I ended up falling asleep out here and slept for about two and a half hours “under the stars”. The breeze was beautiful, just like it is tonight, and there’s no bugs. I mentioned this to my Mom during a phone call this morning; I told her I figured mosquitos were too lazy to fly up five stories to get to us. I find it so calming and peaceful to have this little peace of nirvana in the middle of the third largest city in the United States. I’ve mentioned before that I’m tired of Chicago getting a bad reputation, especially when folks that have never been here believe everything the Tanned One says about how Chicago is a war zone. He just doesn’t like it because the Obamas live here. Plus, he’s racist. Honestly, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I thoroughly love that we moved to Chicago and I’m damn proud to call it home. It’s nearly 10:00 PM and it’s still 86ºF. The breeze is refreshing. Life is good, especially when we are determined to keep it that way.

Maude.

I enjoy watching reruns of the old TV series “Maude”. Don’t tell anyone but they’re readily available on YouTube. The versions I’ve found are cut down for syndication, but you still get the gist of the story, despite the attempts to wedge more commercial time into these masterpieces. One would think the story lines wouldn’t age well, since “Maude” was so politically and socially topical back in the early 1970s, but since the Trump administration is so adamant about pushing our social agenda as far backwards as possible, “Maude” feels like it was made yesterday. I hit the pause button on a video last night and it happened to stop on the screen cap I’ve included with this blog entry. The cap struck me as hilarious. Of course, it could be because I’m drinking beer and sitting on the lanai (see what I did there?) while typing this blog entry, but the look Vivian is giving Maude, who is exuding her typical smugness, is priceless. It feels Gay Pride Month appropriate. When we go to Chicago’s Gay Pride parade next weekend I’m wondering if I’ll see any Maude and Vivian drag. “Rue, I have no desire to play ‘Maude and Vivian meet Sue Ann Nivens'”. That’s what Bea Arthur said to Rue McClanahan when she called up Bea to convince her to consider joining the cast of “The Golden Girls”. My mother didn’t let us watch ‘Maude’ during its original run; it was way too adult for my elementary aged mind. My great Aunt Jenn had the height and a bit of a Bea Arthur presence. My mother was a closeted feminist; she tried to fit into the rural town we called home, but being raised in a decent-sized city, she was independent and thought outside of the cowtown box. I inherited that worry of what others think of me from my mom, at least to a certain degree. As I approach the half century mark I don’t really give a damn anymore. You know what’s kind of kicky to me? Rue and Bea are playing characters that are younger than what I am today. Same goes for Bill Macy and Conrad Bain. They are actually in their late 40s and here I am less than a month away from 50. I don’t feel like I should be waltzing around with a head of gray hair and a dress over a pant suit. I still feel young and vibrant and alive. I wonder if Bea and company felt that way back when “Maude” was in its original run? I’ve never been a huge fan of “All In The Family”. Sally Struthers’ whining seemed way too formulaic to me. But I can groovy on “Maude”; she’s just as groovy as the Wurlitzer organ that’s so prominent in her theme song. “Amelia Earhart flew a lot of airplanes, except that time when she didn’t come back”. She what I did there? I think the beer is kicking in a little bit. Mrs. Naugatuck would be proud. OH! I rode my bike by the old Cabrini-Green Housing Development a bit south of where we live. J.J. wouldn’t find it so “Dyno-mite!” anymore. It’s been gentrified and is pretty much prime real estate here in Chicagoland. God’ll get me for this blog entry.

Universe.

The Universe leads us to where we need to be. We moved to Chicago, which meant we needed to find a new primary physician. Getting acquainted with our new primary physician involved an annual physical and associated tests. He urged us to get the tests that middle aged men should get; for my husband this involved a colonoscopy. It was his first. During the colonoscopy the doctor discovered some roughness to his prostate and he was urged to get that checked. He had his prostate checked on at 5:04 PM on 5/4, he received news that he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. The blood tests had spiked and come back down, but the biopsy was the tell-tale sign. Because my husband is relatively young in prostate years (don’t tell him that, it’ll go to his head), the best course of treatment was surgery. For older guys they go with radiation, but for younger guys, they go with surgery because if the cancer is contained to the prostate, the cancer is completely removed. If radiation fails, they can’t do surgery, but if surgery doesn’t get it all, they can do radiation. My husband made the decision to go through with the surgery and as I type this he’s in the operating room. The procedure can take 3 to 4 1/2 hours. I will be able to see him again this afternoon. If we hadn’t moved to Chicago, resulting in finding a new doctor, we probably would have been lazy about our annual physicals and who knows how long he would have had this cancer without detection. His cancer was caught early, very early, in fact. There is over a 97% chance that he will be 100% cancer free when all is said and done. He likes numbers. We both like numbers. We especially like these numbers. For the 22 years that we’ve been together I’ve always been the one that is going into surgery with his support. For the first time in our relationship the roles in this regard are reversed. It’s been amusing but we’ve settled in. I’m putting my trust in the Universe today.