Commute.

So the last two days of work have been all about training. The company has a few offices in Chicagoland, but as an official remote employee, I’ve never been to these offices before. However, since some management training became available, I decided to sign up, dust off my badge, and make a trek to the ‘burbs.

Having never officially commuted for work in Chicago, I left myself plenty of time to get to the office. I needed to travel about 25 miles by car (17 miles as the crow flies). I allowed myself 1 hour and 45 minutes, because I am no stranger to Chicago and I know how traffic works.

It turns out I needed 1 hour and 30 minutes of that time. I had just enough time to grab a cup of coffee, meet fellow employees in person, and settle into my seat at the training room at a comfortable pace.

I actually loved the experience of commuting again, despite the traffic doing what it does. It was much more interesting than the commuting I engaged in back in Upstate New York, where I’d wave at the same cow or have to slow down for an Amish buggy delivery milk day after day, but being able to people watch other commuters on the various expressways along my route was a refreshing change of pace.

I might have to head out to the offices more often.

I Like You.

It’s Wednesday night. It’s summer and it’s time to dance. From 1985, here’s “I Like You” by Phyllis Nelson. One of my favorites from my DJ days.

Tariffs.

As seen in The Verge:

The United States will delay proposed tariffs on many consumer electronics imported from China, the Trump administration said today, giving a reprieve to gadget makers that are hoping to wait out a trade war between the two countries.

It’s amazing to me that many of the Trump supporters I know have mentioned they voted for him because he was so decisive, yet he whips his decisions around more than Sybil on a good day.

I’m no economist but if the United States can’t compete with overseas goods without charging excessive tariffs, then something is wrong with the way things are done in the United States. If we are going to be a capitalist society, we should be a capitalist society all the way, instead of imposing rules and fees and tariffs.

Just my $0.02.

Full story in The Verge.

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Aging.

I’m sitting on our balcony during a summertime rain storm. There’s no lightning or thunder involved, though the weather service said we’d be getting thunderstorms this evening; no, there’s just a lot of rain and it’s coming straight down. This affords me the opportunity to sit on our balcony, under the cover of the floor above, and remain dry. The effect is pleasing.

Earl and I and our family spent the weekend enjoying “Market Days” here in Chicago. It’s the largest street festival in the city of Chicago and it encompasses Boystown for the weekend. I enjoy Market Days more than Gay Pride here in the Windy City; people are just out having a good time. I know this sounds odd, but the crowd seems slightly more relaxed to me when compared to Pride. There’s still plenty of outrageous, but it’s a relaxed outrageous, if that makes any sense.

This weekend was the first time I’ve felt all of my 51 years of age at a gay event. I’m proud of who I am, where I am, and what my life is about these days, but watching the revelers do their thing I started to feel a little obsolete. The monotonous thump of what they call dance music today was a little on my nerves, I feel no need to drink a “Truly”, and even over a decade later I have no idea what a “kiki” is though I do believe several of them were occurring in my general vicinity.

As a private pilot who happens to be gay, I also really felt that I have little in common with some other members of the National Gay Pilots Association, other than the fact that we’re gay and we fly something that defies gravity. I mentioned this to Earl, and he said, “just because you’re pilots doesn’t make you instant friends”.

To me, aviation has always led to an instant friendship with another pilot, but then again, I grew up around old-school flying clubs. Many of these young pilots have learned to fly and made it career. I still fly for the fun of it.

I have no desire to be ‘young again’ because I still feel like the young man I was 20 years ago, just with some extra data in the memory banks and some aging on the outside. I look in the mirror and see lines from plenty of smiles around my eyes. When we were in Palm Springs a couple of weeks ago I saw plenty of faces pulled tighter than a bass drum. That’s not my jam, I’ve earned these lines and I’ve weathered some storms.

If I was a car in New York State I’d still pass inspection. I’d even pass the smog test.

It is interesting, however, to see society do a complete 180 on some things within my lifetime. Like, when I was in my teens, Nancy Reagan was telling us to “Just Say No”. We were shown ancient movies on a Bell and Howell projector about the dangers of smoking pot, and how it would apparently turn us into zombies, make us wear cardigan sweaters with the buttons misaligned while we rambled around the streets drooling, and turn our brains to frying eggs. Now in 2019, it’s legal in nearly half of the United States. I haven’t seen one person with egg for brains wearing a cardigan sweater.

I’m fascinated by yet feel separated from the gay culture of today. Do they know how many funerals I went to in the 80s and 90s? Do they know the meaning of the Silence = Death plaque on the wall? Do they know how to ACT-UP like we did?

More Distraction.

So Walmart has told its stores to take down any “signing and displays referencing violence”, including advertising for violent video games. However, they will continue to see guns as they do today. There’s no change there.

Wow, that will solve everything.

I am by no means anti-gun, but I am definitely anti-stupidity, and honestly, there is way too much stupidity going on in the United States. I’m surprised we’re not dumping Gatorade on crops to give them electrolytes.

Facts can not be debated. I know people like to watch news channels that reinforce their opinion and show people debating fact, but reinforced opinion is not the same as fact. It’s still opinion and while I’m at it, a repeated lie does not become a truth.

Other countries report video game revenue in proportion to the size of their population when compared to the United States. Would you like to take a guess as to what’s not in proportion? Mass shootings. Violent gun deaths. But by all means, let’s go after video games instead of doing anything, hell, I’ll take ONE thing, about regulating gun sales.

We are sending our loved ones to workplaces and schools and malls and concerts and festivals where they have to engage “Active Shooter Drills”. My old elementary school stood nearly 80 years without having bullet proof glass installed throughout the main entrance. It’s bad enough that we have an entire generation of Americans that has known nothing but a country at war.

Living in fear is not freedom. You can sing the National Anthem, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, demand everyone stand up in patriotic gestures, but singing and pledging and standing does not make freedom. Going shopping without worrying about getting shot by a maniac that bought a gun at Walmart, that’s a good start for freedom.

Politics.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read a social media update that says, “Just because I voted for Trump doesn’t mean I support his ideals”. Actually, these people are supporting his ideals by putting him and his incompetent, racist, unqualified ass in the Oval Office.

I have no tolerance for excuses.

I still maintain we had weak choices for President in 2016. Inexplicably we ended up with the weakest. And we are paying the price for it.

I have little faith in the American public to do the right thing in 2020. I have little faith in the Democrats to do the right thing. And we all know the media is going to frame anything and everything in most dramatic, contentious, confusing way possible to guarantee themselves as much ad revenue as possible.

And that’s why I’m not blogging much about politics these days. There’s actually too much to say.

Walk.

I really love the fact that it’s a short train ride to the downtown area of the third largest city in the United States. Downtown Chicago has so much to offer, and I really cherish the opportunity to walk the area on a school night.

I love watching the business people leaving their offices. I enjoy the tourists as they navigate the city via map or map app, occasionally confused about things like “Upper Wacker” and “Lower Wacker”. I smile when I see out of town folks enjoy our city for a business meeting or a convention or a family vacation.

It’s nifty living in a city that people want to visit. I grew up in a small tourist village along the shores of Lake Ontario, but spent 25 years in a city that not many people visited. There’s only so many times you can visit a replica of the Liberty Bell or see an overgrown watering can.

Chicago has so much to offer and I find it a wonderful place to live. Many years ago Dublin, Ireland tugged at my heart strings as the definite place for us to live.

I’m happy to say Chicago tugs my heart strings the exact same way. I’m proud to be a resident of The Windy City.

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Happy.

There are rumbles in the air that ABC is considering reviving the brilliant comedy “Happy Endings”. The Internet better not be trolling us because this is amahzing news. The fast paced comedy has always been one of my favorites and I have been watching reruns since the show went off the air back in 2013. It was cancelled way too soon. The cast was brilliant together and the quirkiness, meta jokes, and farcical situations is just what we need in this otherwise depressing time in the United States.

ABC: BRING. IT.

Plus, I’ve always had a straight crush on Eliza Coupe.

Dunes.

Apparently seven years ago today I went for a Jeep ride to my hometown. Apple Photos was kind enough to remind me of this. I don’t remember taking this photo but I am very familiar with the area, as it is only a mile or two from where I grew up.

You’ll notice there are sand dunes along the green field in this photo; when Dad was digging the basement for our new home back in 1975, I remember mounds of sand all around the excavated area. The land of my hometown is very sandy, as once upon a time it was part of Lake Ontario. Even though the spot in the photo about is about 10 miles in from the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, there’s still plenty of sand dunes in the area, lending evidence to the fact that what we called home was once under water.

When we were kids we would ride our Coleco toboggans down those sand dunes. We’d have fun with our cousins, riding down and then trekking back up to do it all over again.

These dunes were on the approach to runway 34 at the small airport we were at every weekend; where my dad learned to fly. I always liked looking out of the back seat of the Piper J-5A and seeing the dunes, even though there was no lake to be found.

Seeing this photo made me smile. We need more smiles in today’s world.

Shoes.

If you look at my feet you’ll notice that I now enjoy flying in my Converse All-Star sneakers. I can nicely feel the rudders when I wear these shoes.

In this photo I’m crabbing into the wind as I land on runway 11 at KBMI. It wasn’t my prettiest landing but I’m hyper critical of my landings. The camera didn’t even jiggle when the wheels touched the ground.