Thanks.

Thanksgiving 2008.

It is the afternoon of Thanksgiving day and Earl and I are playing it low key again this year. We have relatives scattered all over the Northeastern United States and parts of Switzerland this year, so we felt it was best that we just enjoy each other’s company for a quiet Thanksgiving celebration at home. Dinner isn’t until 5 p.m., so right now the delicious scents of Earl’s cooking efforts are wafting through the house as I type. It invokes many feelings of contentment.

A number of years ago my mother tried to start a family tradition where we would all say what we are thankful for as we sat at the dinner table and as the steaming, delicious food cooled down. I don’t know what inspired her to indulge in this Walton moment, but my aunt and uncle and my cousins didn’t feel the same sort of inspiration. I guess they didn’t buy into that mush. My mother still declared all that she is thankful for and though I never admitted it, I appreciated her efforts that year. Today It seems to be out of style to say what we are thankful on our blogs, as I have read several blogs today that featured news reports, deliberate efforts not to get mushy and bare body parts being suspiciously blurry and/or blacked out. I think I’m going to stick to my mother’s tradition this year.

I am thankful for a number of things. First and foremost is my partner, my soul mate and my husbear, the one that I call “the big guy” on Twitter. That would be Earl. After all these years he still puts up with the eccentric and erratic behaviour I bring to the table. We laugh at things that few would understand and he is always willing to take part in any scheme that I have cooked up. If this were a Bette Midler song I would have to say that he is my hero and the wind beneath my wings. I love my husbear in ways that I can’t describe, can’t express and just know to be.

I’m thankful for many others in my life. Though I tend to be a loner of sorts there are a few that I truly cherish and sometimes take for granted: Steve and Tim in Buffalo and Tim and Gordon in Cheyenne. I miss all of them and look forward to the next time we can get together. I’m also very thankful to have Greg and Dave as part of my life. Life is truly an adventure and should always include personal evolution, humour and a sense of destiny. It is good to be able to share the adventure with likeminded individuals.

There are many other things that I am thankful for including a warm home, a comfortable existence and a loving cat that adds his own paw print to The Manor. There are other folks too numerous to mention as well and for some reason I feel like I should get some sort of gold statue at the end of this entry so I’m just going to say this: Happy Thanksgiving and Blessed Be.

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News.

“This just in, former First Lady Barbara Bush has been rushed to the hospital for stomach pain. So far, all tests are negative.”

Does this mean she doesn’t really have the pain or she doesn’t have a stomach?

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Sweet.

While folding laundry and watching “I Love Lucy” last week I noticed a bunch of new ads promoting sweetsurprise.com, the Corn Growers Association (or whatever they’re called) touting the benefits of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

I almost smashed out the television set.

The ads tell us that when used in moderation, just like sugar, it isn’t so bad for you after all. Here’s the deal with high fructose corn syrup:

1. It is digested in a completely different way than regular white sugar. It goes straight for the liver and then releases enzymes that tells the body to store fat. This in turn may elevate triglycerides, which increases cholesterol levels.

2. It is an artificial product derived from transforming corn starch into a thick, clear liquid.

3. Since the introduction of high fructose corn syrup, the average weight of Americans has increased considerably. Type 2 diabetes is running rampant and for the first time in history, this generation’s life expectancy is lower than their parents.

One of the “benefits” of high fructose corn syrup is that it has a really long shelf life. I have remarked before that something seems amiss when bread doesn’t go bad for a month when it used to last only a week or two. If it doesn’t go bad, it can’t be good, because it’s pumped full of way too many chemicals!

When an organisation has to run ads to tell you why you should consume a product that is getting a lot of bad press then red flags should go up in your head. High fructose corn syrup is found in everything these days. Read your labels. It’s even in ketchup and tomato sauce. Notice the correlation between the introduction of the stuff and the obesity epidemic. The use of high fructose corn syrup is cheap which in turn allows food manufacturers to make larger portions for less.

Don’t blindly follow the ads on television. Take a moment to read your labels and do your research.

And I’ll refrain from kicking in the television set.

I also believe that “New Coke” was introduced to distract us from the conversion of cane sugar to high fructose corn syrup in the original/”Classic Coke”. “New Coke” was never meant to fly, it was a deterrent. Ask any Coca-Cola fan from the era, Classic Coke was not the same as the original Coca-Cola. High fructose corn syrup.

Edit.

When I started this blog back in 2001 it was in an effort to improve my writing skills. I like to write for the most part and though I don’t think I’m really that good at it I still get enjoyment from expressing myself by typing my thoughts. I’ve never been one to care about the number of people reading my blog. I love hearing the comments from others and meeting people through our cyber connections but I don’t feel the need to come up with gimmicks to get people to visit here often. If you stop by, you’re welcomed with open arms. If you’re not here, that’s fine as well, I’m not taking a billboard out to advertise myself nor will I make this whole affair “new and improved”.

I like to think that my writings here are a fairly honest, though rather edited snapshot of what is going on in my life. What you read here is true to my personality. I am pretty open about how I live my life as a gay man and I’m brutally honest about my belief structure. If I have an opinion, you’ll probably hear it.

There are some subjects that I choose not to talk about in these parts though. There are two reasons for this. First of all, back when I first started using the internet back in 1984 (and yes, I said 1984 as in the ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’ era), I was taught that you should never write something down unless you wouldn’t mind it appearing on the front page of the New York Times. I apply that principle to all electronic communication: blogs, e-mails, website comments, everything. To delete is futile, once it is typed it is forever, it will be saved somewhere, someday and might come back to haunt you when you run for Governor of Alaska or something.

The other reason that I don’t write about certain subjects on here is simple; I don’t want to have to answer uncomfortable questions at a family reunion or office party. I have no regrets and little to hide, but I really don’t want to face this type of dialog:

Them: “So, on the weekends, you…?”, as their voice trails off whilst putting potato salad on the paper plate. It’s a long lost in-law who stumbled upon my blog a month or so ago.
Me: “Usually on the weekends, but once in a while during the week”, I reply, being brutally honest and making the curious uncomfortable. I start to blush.
Them: “Earl does too?”
Me: “Not so much.”
Them: “In public?” Another scoop of potato salad, the interrogator lost in the moment.
Me: “Once in a great while. I like making a scene”, I beam.
Them: “Where do you get …”
I nervously glance around the food tent and quickly interrupt, “Online, but sometimes Lowe’s or Home Depot. Lowe’s has camouflage.”
Them: “Are there pictures?”
Me: “Undoubtedly someone in the crowd has taken pictures. Check Flickr.”

I remarked to Earl yesterday that my little bout of writer’s block seems to have become unclogged and I was ready to start writing about life again.

He replied that he didn’t know I was stopped up.

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Holiday.

I am desperately trying to be excited about the impending holiday season but I’m not really having any success at the exercise. It’s not that I don’t like the holidays; I enjoy getting together with relatives and doing that sort of thing. I guess I’m just not feeling any joyous feelings or something, probably because it has become way too commercialised.

One of the local radio stations switched to non-stop Christmas music the moment they turned the porch light off to discourage any further trick or treating activity. Since then they have been “ChristMix”. Personally I find the first of November to be entirely too early for a non-stop litany of Christmas music. I’ve never enjoyed non-stop Christmas music on a station, let alone starting so early in the season. It irks me to the point that I won’t even scan the radio dial anymore, I just play it safe and avoid the radio all together. Perhaps I could consider that a Christmas gift – traditional radio proving that it has truly turned into a steaming pile of crap and we should listen to the music of our choice via iPod or some reasonable derivative. And while I’m on the subject of holiday music, and I know I have mentioned this before, but when did “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music as sung by Babs become a Christmas song? Is it because she sings “bright coloured packages tied up in string?” It is not a holiday song, so please just knock it off.

I think another reason that I’ve become rather soured on the holidays is because of the crap of “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” versus whatever that started a few years ago. When I saw a mimeographed 8×11 sheet of paper that simply said “MERRY CHRISTMAS” in bolded helvetica taped to the windows at Sears a few years ago, in an effort of the retailer to try to save themselves from sort of weird boycott, I figured society had completely lost it’s mind and everyone had lost sight of what the season is suppose to be about.

Then I decided that I had no idea of what the holiday is suppose to be about. After all, Christmas is where it is on the calendar because the Christians decided to compete with the Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice. Going to church creeps me out for a number of reasons and quite frankly why should I celebrate the prime holiday of a religion that is trying harder and harder to impose it’s values on me and make me believe that I am a mistake or damned to eternal hell because I am honest about who I am? (Admittedly, it’s the more extreme members of society that are the cranky ones.) No thank you.

So here’s the deal. I’m not listening to holiday music. I’m not drinking egg nog. I will be relatively festive and I’ll buy presents for those that I truly want to buy presents for and on December 21 Earl and I will have a beautiful Winter Solstice Feast to celebrate the shortest day of the year and the rebirth of Mother Earth.

Randomise.

The big guy is out of town on business tonight. The house feels lonely.

I am off to help a friend with his computer. Full on geek mode with a beer or two on the side. To fully prepare I’m not like other geeks, I don’t watch episodes of Xena, I crank up “Remember” by BT. Every available mix, loaded to an iPhone. Brian Transeau, he has initials too, a classically trained musician that took his art and gift to the electronic world. I know a boy that could have done that but Fredonia State crushed his dreams and threw them away.

“Can you do me a favor?” There is a sucker born every minute. I agreed to three hours of on-call to help a friend out on Saturday. It’s o.k., I like my co-workers and know that they have my back. I have their back too, and many other backs.

I love my world. I love my existence. Sometimes it’s hectic and other times it’s not. Typing incoherently seems to relieving some stress that I’m feeling. Electronic communication is a beautiful thing. Just don’t abuse it. I am able to keep in touch with the ones I love, even though they are miles away.

iCreate.

I think I’m happiest when I am in a creative space. I passed an on-call night tonight by working the music studio. It has been too long since I’ve put together a mix in the studio. It felt good to listen to the finished product.

I put a little more time than I have in the past in the post-mixing phase of the production. I think you can hear my roots in radio in some of the production elements in this mix.

If you’re interested, you can download it here or you can subscribe to the podcast version here here.

Enjoy!

Insomnia.

I was told late last night that I looked tired. Personally I thought I was holding up pretty well but since I’ve been told this by a couple of people over the past week I guess there must be some truth to the observation. I must be tired.

Why is it that I’m awake at 3:21 a.m.?

This week of on-call has been relatively tame. I haven’t had a lot of middle of the night crises; the work has been steady but not crazy. Sleeping with the pager on never really allows me to let my guard down enough to sleep through the night soundly, though. I end up sleeping in this quasi-alert sleep that creates completely incoherent dreams. I just woke up from dreaming that it was the 1940s and I was coordinating the renovation of a very old office building. The doors were too big for the rooms they were in and would swing too far into the room. From there it gets weird, I was looking for wall tile that sung when touched. Musical walls for the bathroom. Bizarre.

I think part of the reason for my insomnia is frustration. I’m not one for the eat-sleep-work-repeat way of life, I need to get out and experience whatever I can. This week has been more about the regimented order of things. I suppose I’ll be ready for some adventure come Monday morning when on-call is over for a month. It’s a shame that I’ll be too tired to do anything about it.