Earl and I drove to Milwaukee today. It was a beautiful day, we hadn’t been out of the city in a week or so, so we decided to get on N Sheridan Rd and drive north. We kept driving north, along Lake Michigan, until we got to Milwaukee. It was a pleasant drive.
This wasn’t our first time to Milwaukee. We stopped in the gayborhood for lunch on our way through coming home from Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 2013. We found the pub we ate at back then, and drove around a little bit. We also drove around the downtown area.
Like in 2013, I kept an eye out for this
It turns out this isn’t really a thing. The big letters on the side of City Hall, as seen in that screen cap from the opening to “Laverne And Shirley” are changeable and until 2014, had been out of commission since 1988. I was searching the skyline for “Welcome Milwaukee Visitors” but apparently that wasn’t the message of the day today. I think I spotted the building in the downtown area but I didn’t see a message.
So yesterday I started my 30 day challenge for the month of March. This month I am focusing on reading things that are really free or that I have paid for. I am trying to avoid sources that are supported by ad revenue, with a particular focus on any source that includes clickbait ads. Somewhat surprisingly, this includes news sources like CNN, which likes to supplement their clickbait ads with clickbait headlines. I mean, let’s be real, how many times can you use the term “Bomb Cyclone” when referring to a Nor’easter before it becomes just another storm in New York City.
A month or two ago I subscribed to Medium, a social blogging service that has both amateur and professional content creators and more importantly, contains absolutely no advertising. While the majority of content on Medium is quite good, there’s a relatively small amount of crap and that’s because people aren’t writing stupid things just to generate ad revenue. The Medium app has replaced the prime real estate on my iPhone and iPad home screens, supplanting Tweetbot to a back page. This has helped me find some sanity in the past 24 hours.
With the world the way it is today, we need all the sanity we can muster.
I think it was 1984, just shortly before my 16th birthday. My family was camping at a popular campground and marina; we were situated near relatives and friends in our Steury pop up camper. The camper could sleep eight, but it was just the four of us for this trip. Nearby were campers with a permanent site; they were friends of my parents. Their youngest daughter was staying with them and we had fun being teenagers. Her older brother visited for the evening; he would have to head back into town in the morning.
It was late Friday night and we were enjoying a campfire on the shore of the “north pond”. Lake Ontario was a mile or so away, separated from this inlet of water by a thin sandbar. It was easy to get to the beach by boat; from there Lake Ontario looked like an ocean. In the still of the summer night you could hear the waves crashing on the sand in the distance. The small ripples on the pond barely lapped the shore. Once in a while you’d hear a boat rock a bit as it bumped up against its tie down.
The fire burned brightly; it’s familiar warmth was comforting. Slowly everyone retired for the evening; as time closed in on midnight, it was me and the older brother sitting around the fire. We just chatted. I didn’t know him very well; our paths had not crossed a lot, but he seemed down to earth. He had a stocky build, traces of a mustache and typical 80s hair that wasn’t too feathered but still had some wind blown look to it. He liked fishing and the water and doing things along the lakeshore.
I don’t remember what we talked about. I do remember that I felt that I didn’t have to be so guarded around him. The guys in the neighborhood back home were good friends but I didn’t have any ‘feelings’ toward them other than hanging out with the guys. This guy, we’ll call him Charlie, well, he was cute and my biology was telling me that I found him attractive and I was being flooded with feelings that were confusing. I’d known for a long time that I was “different” but what that meant. My parents and sister were asleep in the camper. Outside of the canvas walls I was sitting with a guy I didn’t know that well. I felt like I was burning up. The fire was hot. He might have been drinking a beer. I was not. My not quite 16 year old hormones were raging and he wasn’t any the wiser. He was just sitting there, we were just talking, and no moves were made. I knew that he wasn’t different like me and I was confused as to why I was feeling the way I was feeling. When it was time to call it a night, we shook hands and I felt a tingling just with the handshake. What did this mean for me? I went to bed, opting to sleep on the couch.
My dad was up fairly early the next morning for work; after he left I heard splashing around in the pond and saw Charlie swimming. He was wearing only swimming trunks and was taking a bath in the pond. I thought that was good idea and I did the same. We horsed around as we washed our hair in the cold water and then he got out of the pond, dried off, got dressed, and went back to town, just as he had planned.
Still confused by what I was feeling I was, at the time, inexplicably sad. Other friends would visit throughout the day and my Mom was concerned about how mopey I was. It was confusion, it was horniness, it was a crush on someone that had absolutely no idea as to how I was feeling, and now he was gone. After lunch I went for a walk and found an isolated spot in the woods overlooking the other side of the pond. I sat for a while, under a tree and instantly found myself crying. It was a few minutes before I started to realize what “being different” really meant. My hormones were confirming what I had known deep down all along: I was attracted to other guys. Not just hanging out with the guys, I really liked guys and I wanted to be close to them. I wanted our skin to touch, I wanted to be close to another guy. I wanted to do things that I was afraid to even fantasize about.
It would be several years before I saw Charlie again. We shook hands, we chatted a bit. He’s probably married with a litter of grown kids and probably even a few grandkids by now.
And he never knew how he had inadvertently impacted my life that night we spent just shooting the breeze around a campfire.
I’m pretty much myself on this blog. There’s a few blog entries that I’m not proud of, there’s a few that I don’t remember writing, but there’s a whole bunch of stuff here that paints a fairly accurate picture of my personality. It is my hope that if we met in public you’d find that I’m the same guy that you read about here on this little bit of insanity.
There’s a lot of people that strive to portray themselves a certain way through online means. They ramp up the fabulousness. This blog has been around long before the likes of the Facebook and the Twitters. I’m not one to ramp up my fabulousness because I don’t have a lot to ramp up. I like to think of myself as eccentric more than anything. I have my quirks but don’t we all.
I sometimes wonder if it’s weird that a man approaching his 40-10th birthday writes in a blog that sometimes reads like it should start with “Dear Diary…”. At least I don’t bore you with hearts over my “I”s.
If you feel so inclined, keep reading as long as I keep writing. You’ll know what’s going on in this swirling mess of controlled chaos I call reality.
I love the song “Get Outta My Way” by Kylie Minogue to the point that it is in my personal Top 5 of best songs of the 21st Century (thus far).
A fellow tweeter mentioned this tribute video and I had to see it for myself. I don’t usually go for the super-pretty boys, but the guys in this video were just what I needed to get kick off my Monday morning.
From 2010, here’s Get Outta My Way (Boys) Tribute [HD].
ps. In case you’re wondering, my favorite is the one wearing glasses (but not sunglasses).
I’m going to start this blog entry off by admitting that I’m very drunk at this moment. Some people might gasp and say, “oh my god he’s drinking the nectar of Satan himself” but that fact of the matter is that I’ve had five very large servings of a Chicago brew this evening and quite frankly I don’t know how I’ve ended up in front of my computer. Earl takes good care of me. He makes sure that I’m never making a fool of myself. He also doesn’t know that I write blog entries under the intoxication of alcohol. If he knew I was writing this blog entry he’d hit the “delete” key. Ah ha! Apple has deemed the delete key an unimportant. There’s no delete key.
This is all raw.
Since I’ve maintained the same job while moving from Central New York to Chicago, and my job is based in my home office, we don’t have much of a chance to mingle with others from Chicagoland. Through mutual friends, Earl is the outgoing one from our pairing, we were invited to a bowling party with like minded folks. We bowled and I was awful! Grandma City thought I should be a professional bowler but I don’t have a clue about bowling. I was happy to be not the only one without a beard. I’m terrible at bowling and there were many laughs and we had a good time. Jamie practically grew up in a bowling alley and I’m envious of the spin he can put on a bowling bowl. Chris is punny and he is a delight. I am blessed with an incredible family all together. People don’t get it but I don’t care. Our family is our family and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
Did you know I am a pilot? I am buying an airplane. The new flying club likes to go fast. I fly low and slow. See the scenery. Do it old school Maybe I’m an old soul.
Earl and I chatted with strangers tonight that rapidly became friends. I’m like Raj on Big Bang Theory; I don’t let me guard down until I’ve had a beer or three. Have you noticed that Big Bang Theory has completely outstayed it’s welcome? Ad revenue and same old same old; Hollywood has become nauseatingly complacent.
Earl let’s me go wild with the alcohol once in a while and he makes sure that I don’t drive, don’t take the el and get home safely. I’m home safe. Stop worrying. He has the keys.
Blog entries were never meant to be journalism, they were meant to be raw feeling. You’re seeing me quite raw right now. Anyone trying to make money from their blog entries is a tool. Just stop. You’re not that important. It’s not journalism, it’s mediocrity with a bull horn at best. Put down the bullhorn. Life your life.
I’m sure drunk blog entries were the thing during the Geocities days but honestly, I’m old school. I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. My mother taught me how to type and I can do it without thinking. Best skill I’ve ever learned. If you’re going to bang on this typewriter you’re going to use the right fingers. That’s how to raise an eight year old. Shout out to Sandi.
I was remarking to a new found drinking buddy that walking Halstead (the muggles call it ‘Boystown’) at age 50 makes this Chicago transplant feel obsolete. There’s too much screaming and the bachelorette parties need to go away. If I wanted to look at boobs I’d pretend to be straight. There’s nothing wrong with boobs but they’re not my thing. There’s nothing obsolete about wanting to be a gay, upstanding citizen, devoid of wanting to shoot things. The second amendment is groovy but quite frankly too many people in the U.S. are turning the Second Amendment into a G-D religion. It’s not a religion. It’s a gun, and if a gun gives you a religious experience do us a favor and take a G-D viagra. Students at school shouldn’t have to pay for your penis envy.
I’m digressing. I write that sentence even better when I’m sober.
Thank god for autocorrect. By the way, Apple is crap since Steve Jobs died. Don’t let anyone fool you. It’s all marketing and it’s all crap. Apple is maintaining revenue and doing nothing to move technology along. They mean well but they don’t have a clue.
I’m finding it more and more difficult to remain exclusively on the Apple ecosystem with my computing needs. Today I went for a drive between Chicago and Rockford, Illinois. I purposely took some backroads, made quite a few random turns to get a sense of the area and decided to head home after an hour or so of meandering. I asked Siri for directions home in Chicago.
She complied. Sort of.
She had me turning left and right through the farmland, trying to get me to a main road. I was watching the compass indicator in the Jeep all the while. I have a great sense of direction and I usually know what direction I’m headed in at any given time.
When I got to the intersection at the first numbered route, Siri said “Turn left onto Illinois Route 176 West.” At the time I was facing south. The compass in the Jeep confirmed that I was facing south. I know Chicago was to my east, or at the very least southeast, so heading west on a route wouldn’t have made sense. I turned left and saw a sign that said Illinois 176 East, even though Siri said turning left would have taken me west.
I figured she was just having a day and carried on.
“Turn right onto US Route 12 North”. Wait a minute. Heading east on Illinois 176, as confirmed by the signs I was passing, meant that if I turned right onto US 12 (no cloverleaf or anything) I would be turning south, or at the very least, southeast. I turned right onto US 12 and that it was signed East US 12, South Illinois 59. Nowhere was there a sign that said north, even though Siri said to turn right to turn north. Looking at the map, to get onto US 12 North (which was actually US 12 West and Illinois 59 North), I would have had to turn left.
This sort of frivolity continued for three more turns, where Siri told me to turn left or right in the proper direction but she didn’t know what the direction was, she was 180 degrees turned around. She was insisting that I basically head west to get to Chicago, even though she was pointing me eastward. I decided to play it safe and I turned off Apple Maps, moved it to my “unused” folder and fired up Google Maps in her place. Google Maps knew which way was what and successfully got me home in less time than predicted by Siri.
For all the premium money one pays for the “Apple experience”, I’m concerned with the rash of bugs that have been present in seemingly the majority of Apple’s software lately. Apple Maps has had a bad rap for several years, and I keep hoping that it’ll get up to speed with the rest of the world, but it just doesn’t make the grade.