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Solid As A Rock.

On Sunday night I was frustrated in a maniacal sort of way. Being thisclose to the end of the semester, I am sensing a feeling of impending accomplishment while at the same time wondering if I can muster the last gasp of breath necessary to get the job done.

Feeling hopelessly lost in a sea of numbers with a text book that might as well have been written in a foreign language I’ve never seen, I tried to make myself feel better by slamming every door in the house. I told Earl that I am not an engineer, I will never be a civil engineer and I might as well practice adding “would you like fries with that” to every question because that’s what I was obviously slated to do in life until I was old enough to be a Wal*Mart (“Always White Trash, Always”) greeter.

They say opposites attract. The world could literally be crumbling around Earl and there he would be, standing solid as a rock, making sense of it all and valiantly putting the pieces back together. I on the other hand would be screaming about the whole thing and slamming the doors shut on Armageddon, declaring I wasn’t in the mood for the end of the world, thank you very much.

In the end, he talked some sense in my head and I went and finished the math assignment the best that I could. For the most part it has been a grand week at school and at work.

Good thing he’s as solid as a rock. I’d be listening to people yell into the drive-thru speaker if it wasn’t for him.

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Joyous Juanita.

Tacky Holidays!

A couple of years ago there was a big hullabaloo about the big box retailers using “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” on their signs, sales and other joyous ways of prompting you to spend money. I believe it was the Christian right that was having such a fit about the use of “Happy Holidays”, regardless of the fact that Christmas was sort of ‘borrowed’ from the Pagan Winter Solstice celebrations and modified for Christian use (some believe Jesus Christ was actually born in June), much like the other holidays that are sprinkled throughout the year. The argument apparently lingers on this year and will most likely continue to do so, like a bad fruitcake that comes back year after year to haunt you.

I couldn’t care less about what people say to me when they wish me good tidings this holiday season, but in the spirit of trying not to offend anyone, I’ve decided that I’m going to wish everyone a “Joyous Juanita” this season. I really don’t know why I’ve picked this particular phrase. I guess the word “Juanita” looks holidayish to me. I can easily picture the word decorated with holly and maybe a few berries. I don’t know anyone named Juanita, aside from a fifth grade teacher from my childhood who’s real name was “Rotten Totten”. I was never in her class though so I don’t count her.

I believe Earl has already ordered the holiday cards for the season though, so I guess I’ll have to make like Sears and print some hastily made “Joyous Juanita” inserts to slip into each card before we send them out.

Personally I find this argument to be incredibly ridiculous and that’s why I’ve decided to do my own thing. If I really like you, I might follow it up with a “Blessed Be.” Just don’t get offended if I do.

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Familiar Ring.

This morning I made a house call on our friend Earl (who’s also ‘first Earl’) to do some work on his computer. While first Earl and I weren’t compatible in the romance department, we’ve been fortunate to maintain a good friendship over the years. Between hanging out together at Hillside, working together at the local bar and the three of us going to dinner, we’ve always enjoyed time spent with first Earl.

As I was working on his computer, he mentioned that he had found something from when we lived together. He’d been cleaning out one of the drawers in the dining room hutch and came across something I thought I lost long ago.

He gave me my high school class ring. It had been buried in the bottom of his drawer since 1994 or so.

Class Ring.

I was delighted to try it on and see that it still fits AND can still be removed from my finger without the aid of butter or other lubricating fluids.

After getting his computer in shape we chatted a bit and it turns out that one of my classmates from last semester, a very nice woman that I would laugh and laugh with during our Drafting class is his niece. It’s such a small world.

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Flashing Jesus.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Everyone in the neighborhood (except us) has begun the task of decorating their homes in the spirit of the holiday in as many crass, tacky and cheesy ways as possible.

I’ve mentioned before that the neighbors enjoy lighting up their house beyond belief. Said house is a year-round mess in serious need of repair. They still have bats and witches on display, which have been tossed aside haphazardly for their Christmas display. Every year Freakboy and his ugly sisterwife (probably not their real names) throw gargantuan blow up ornaments all over the lawn and surround them with lights of every size, shade and hue, none of which match. This year they’ve added some new trinkets to the wild mish-mash of color, including a blow-up manger scene. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a puffed up Joseph and three puffy wise men. They’ve also added “animation” to the horrific affair by making things blink. Randomly. Everything blinks randomly. In fact, I believe they’ve hooked some of the blow up things into the blinking mechanism because the giant Santa Claus that appears to be molesting Mary also seems to be breathing hard. (I haven’t figured out why Santa Claus and Frosty are both standing at the manger yet). There he is, Santa Claus standing erect, deflated, erect, a little deflated, up and down in time with the lights while simultaneously groping The Virgin Mother. The baby Jesus keeps time by flashing on and off as Santa breathes hard while groping Mary. Why have a baby in a manger when you can have a baby with pizazz and make him blink on and off?

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Common Ground.

To continue our theme of a fun filled weekend last night, Earl and I decided last minute to make the drive to Ithaca to go to bear night at the Common Ground. We’ve never been out and about in Ithaca and we thought the experience would be a good one. It’s 100 miles in each direction but I wasn’t really concerned about the drive as I was in full night-owl mode and this would be an exciting adventure.

I’ve always found Ithaca to be an interesting city. Very much a college town, I’ve always visualized the city as a piece of granola sitting in the middle of a vat of baked beans. Ithaca is quite trendy (at least for Upstate New York) and there’s a bit of a free will/hippy vibe going on that I find to be quite appealing. Earl and I have gone to the co-op market from time to time, plus the surrounding state parks have some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region. Once upon a time I considered Ithaca College to pursue a music education degree and I’d often drive through Ithaca on my way from Jamestown to my folks house back when I lived in the western part of the state.

I like it there.

I believe the Common Ground is the only gay bar in Ithaca. It’s on the outskirts of the city, high in the hills seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It’s location reminded me of that bar I used to go to on the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border back in the day. The crowd at the bar was quite interesting in that it was a mix of folks from all walks of gay life that seemed to mingle without incident. Earl and I recognised quite a few faces from Hillside and we spent much of the evening chatting with Dan and Mark; we often run into Dan in Albany and Buffalo- I guess he’s as much of a traveler as we are when it comes to weekend fun. The music was surprisingly good and the DJ earned the DJSuperCub stamp of approval with his blend of music from the 70s right up through the current stuff.

All in all it was a good time and we’d certainly go back for another adventure. I don’t know when we became such bear night bears though. I guess that happens once in a while.

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Sex.

Sometimes I wonder if human beings have it all wrong when it comes to sex. Well, not all human beings are getting it wrong as there’s quite a few that do it well, but those that are all uptight about sex are the ones I think are getting it wrong. So right here, right now, I’m going to talk about sex.

I like sex. I like sex a lot. I like raw, sweaty, hard, kitchen counter clearing, richter scale registering sex. Having been doing this sex thing for 20+ years (start counting on your fingers, Mom), I’m just as horny as ever. Why do I say this publicly? Because I believe that I am not in the minority when it comes to sex and I don’t believe it’s anything to be ashamed about.

I think much of what’s wrong with the United States today has to do with this whole religious, regimented, secretive approach to sex. Why is this school of thought such a popular thing? Having never read the Bible in my life, I don’t know if God is down on getting it on, but I can’t imagine that the Universe would make the act so enjoyable if it was a bad thing. That doesn’t make any sense! Why can’t people just admit to themselves that there’s nothing wrong with sex between consenting adults? Notice that I used two important keywords in that last sentence: consenting and adults. Really astute readers will notice a word missing from that same sentence.

Why are people so hung up about what others do in the privacy of their home (or seedy motel room)? Why is it their business? I say if you want to swing from the chandeliers wearing more chain than half the Village People then swing baby, swing! If your idea of feeling sexy is to dress up like Estelle Getty a la 1992 then go for that golden nugget. I might not get it but it’s not my right to stop you from doing whatever makes you feel sexy. If you want to take a walk on the wild side, then who am I, or anyone else for that matter, to stop you?

There are people that sneak around in hotel airport bathrooms, tap their toes a few times and hope for nirvana from the next stall. Now you see I have a problem with this because you’re infringing your desires on others that might not be interested. I don’t think that Elmer, who’s waiting for his layover flight to Topeka and just wants to take a leak, may be interested in the toe tapping thing, so you probably shouldn’t infringe it on him. However, these folks do the secret thing because they’re ashamed of how they feel or what they find sexually gratifying. Does anyone else realise how less fucked up the country would be if people were honest, open and candid about their sexual desires? Who cares if a turnip turns you on or whatever.

Now I’m not saying that people should drop their drawers and start humping each other in the middle of cheap housewares in their local Wal*Mart. Perhaps a third keyword should be discretion. I think if you take wild sexual activity and mix it with those three keywords, adult, consenting and discretion you’re looking at a happier place for everyone involved.

Now go enjoy your evening.

Bears Go For A Picnic.

Leftover Pie.

It’s Black Friday. Many Americans have been up for nearly twelve hours as of this writing. They have waited in traffic, snaked their way into crowded parking lots and have dealt with surly clerks. They have been force fed tinny renditions of “Jingle bells, Jingle BELLS, JINGLE ALL THE WAY” over speakers designed for price check requests. They have scratched, pawed and clawed their way to the one laptop per store available in the unbelievable deal offered by Wal*Mart (“Always White Trash, Always”). By the way, said laptop will self destruct while still in it’s wrapping paper. Shoppers have fallen for the hype and the lure of the retailers as the almighty dollar reigns supreme and said retailers try to make their last buck in this gasping economy, all in the name of God.

Earl and I refuse to take part in the mass hysteria that grips the season. Always eager to do our own thing, we bundled up, braved the temperatures in the mid 20s and went for a picnic. Earl packed the cooler with leftovers, we loaded the Jeep and off we went.

There’s something to be said for not following the crowd and instead going for a stroll through small towns and medium sized cities while the rest of the world goes crazy with the pushing and shoving at the mall. We are currently in the oddly named Horseheads, New York at a Panera* (where else?) I’ve always liked this part of the state. It has it’s act together and has a different vibe than the rust belt we live in. We are at the bottom of the “loop” of our ride.

One of our stops was at Buttermilk Falls State Park. There were quite a few people enjoying one of Mother Nature’s countless displays of beauty. It’s here at this point that I’d post a picture of the falls, but this Panera just turned off access to Flickr, even though it was working just five minutes ago. I find this to be quite rude, must have been that “gay bears” tag on my photos that made someone nervous. I think I’ve just spent my last dime at Panera. Maybe I’m paranoid. Who knows.

After this stop we are heading back up through the Finger Lakes with the intent of catching a movie in Rochester before heading home. They have a beautiful IMAX theatre there and we’re going to see what’s playing tonight.

If you want to see more pictures, just click on the photo above. I’ll post them tonight when we get back to home base.

Update, 16:11
So much for Panera’s firewall. Here’s Earl at Buttermilk Falls.
Buttermilk Falls.

And here I childishly offer Earl some of my coleslaw (which is actually sweet and sour cabbage):
Sharing.

* Earl and I have decided to test the firewall/content controls a bit. Whenever we search for something ‘gay’, that site is then blocked for five minutes or so. This even extends to searches for the phrase “Rosie O’Donnell” on YouTube. We’ve definitely spent our last dime at Panera.

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Thanks.

A number of years ago my mother tried to start a Thanksgiving tradition. While the food sat steaming on the table, she asked that each of us seated at the dinner table say what we are thankful for. The rest of that side of the family, not really being the touchy feely type, would thank the fates for the aforementioned hot food on the table and then ask when we could eat. I don’t know if that’s what Mom had in mind; I always thought she wanted us to pour our heart out and end up sobbing in the mashed potatoes. Well, maybe she didn’t have that in mind, but I think she wanted us all to get all Waltons and say good night to John Boy while the music went DING, ding, DING at the end.

This is the first Thanksgiving in a couple of years that I have been able to enjoy the day without being paranoid as to when my on-call pager was going to ring for that next telecommunications emergency. Tempted to run around a few states visiting family members, Earl and I decided that we would celebrate the lack of an electronic leash by having a simple Thanksgiving at home for just the two of us. He did his thing in the kitchen and I helped out by staying out of the way, cleaning up behind him best I could and declaring in a comical voice “Cook’s not a t’all ‘appy!” whenever he started the mixer on the sweet potatoes.

While I’m a very lucky man and thankful for all that I have (all sides of the families rock, I’m truly blessed to be able to follow my career dreams, our cat is a cat’s cat and I still can’t believe how much Earl and I love each other after nearly a dozen years), I’d like to say thanks to the online buddies I’ve met in cyberspace and in real time over the years. I have no idea how many people read the blog, but since you do, I’d like to thank you for stopping by and sharing my life’s experience with me. Earl and I have met some wonderful people over the years (hello Greg and Bob, Steve and Tim, Tim and Gordon, Thom, Karl and Randy, Eric, Sean and Jeffrey and a ton of others!) and we look forward to meeting many more.

Life is meant to be lived without regret. It’s all a journey and it’s just a bunch of learning experiences along the way. And once in a while it’s good to remember to say thanks once in a while.

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I Feel Pretty.

Empress Of Evil.

Some days you just feel pretty.

Actually, I was thinking about Thanksgiving celebrations as a kid and how delighted I was in 1976 when ABC decided to show their Saturday morning shows on Thanksgiving night. This included “ElectraWoman and Dyna Girl”, starring Deidre Hall and Judy Strangis as a groovy female version of Batman and Robin. I really think there was some drugs involved when they dreamed up this show because the special effects and storyline are Electra-weird. Anyway, I remember watching this episode while sitting on the floor of my grandparents’ bedroom watching the “little” TV, since the adults were watching a football game. For some reason, I found the “Empress of Evil” to be one of the most menacing baddies on the small screen back in the day.

Good thing Marlena could handle her.

Here’s a link to part one of the episode on YouTube.

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Rhyming.

Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

Back in my senior year of high school every student had to memorise “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. As we stood on the cusp of graduation, one by one we had to stand in front of the class and recite the well known poem to our classmates. If we didn’t do it, we didn’t graduate.

I never figured out the importance of memorising that poem but I was thankful that was all we had to do in the poetry unit in English 12.

Fast forward 21 years to “English 102”. For the past three weeks I’ve had the task of reading an endless array of poems, “cracking them open” and sharing their meaning on the discussion board with my cyber-classmates. To keep it all interesting, we had to write about the works of one of three poets: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson.

I BS’d my way through a five page essay on the works of Dickinson. She was a recluse and she gazed out a window. Maybe she was a lesbian. I always choose the gay one. I’ll be pleased with any grade, I did the best that I could.

The theme of “Don’t Tell ME What To Read!” is going to continue right through the end of the semester and then my English obligations will be met. I wish I could wrap my head around poetry, I really do, but the closest I want to come to Shakespeare is watching an episode of Bewitched that features Samantha’s father Maurice quoting ol’ Bill himself. I just can’t get a grasp on the coy way of saying something without coming out and just saying it. Hell, I’ve never been able to tell if a guy was interested in me unless they walked up, grabbed my crotch and said “let’s do it now”, how am I suppose to know if a brow through forty winters is suppose to be an ugly old hag or not?

I have just one assignment left in this English class and that is to write a paper on “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. Thank god they production is coming to the college so I can watch the thing.