Gifting.

I have been reading a discussion on Slashdot about the purpose of ‘Black Friday’. The discussion has migrated into the meaning of the holidays and the tendency for Americans to purchase stuff they don’t really want or need, all in the spirit of giving.

I kind of get that.

One of the contributors to the discussion suggested some gift ideas that I thought I would share here:

  • Hire a Maid/House Cleaning service to give the house a good cleaning for your spouse, mother, or other special person
  • Hire someone to paint a room or fix something on the home of your loved one

  • Commission the making of a crotcheted Blanket, Sweater, Afghan, from one of the many people in your local neighborhood who does such crafts
  • Hire someone to “Detail” your loved ones car
  • Hire someone to “Cater” your Holiday Dinner or Family Get together
  • Buy your loved one a “subscription” to yard mainenance/landscaping service for one year
  • Buy your father, brother, or other loved one a “Gift Card” for automobile maintenance at the local Mechanic and/or Car Dealer
  • Buy locally hand-made furniture (from the Amish or other local providers), like a wooden rocking chair or dining room table, for your loved ones
  • Hire someone to “prepare a vegetable garden” for your loved one (turn the soil, remove the weeds/roots etc, get it ready for planting in the spring and/or do the initial planting)

Workout.



300.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.

I have been riding the exercise bike in the basement in an attempt to keep my cycling legs in shape. I find riding in the basement to be excessively boring and even blasting music doesn’t help.

Enter video on my iPhone.

On days where I’m doing ONLY cardio, I watch an episode of “Xena:Warrior Princess”. I have always loved me some Xena. On days where I do cardio in addition to strength training, I tend to ride the bike for a shorter time, so I watch an episode of “Josie and the Pussycats”.

How gay am I?

Tonight’s episode was the second one from the first season. It’s called “A Greenthumb Is Not A Goldfinger”. It’s the one where the gang runs into a mad scientist.

Best line of the episode? Josie mistakes Alexandria as a plant creature and beats her up before Alexandria reveals herself, prompting her to say “Who were you expecting, Scooby Doo?”

I’m sorry, I just find that funny.

Contact.

I’m cleaning up the seemingly hundreds of e-mail accounts I have spread all over the internet. It’s part of yet another attempt to be organized when we kick off the new year in five or six weeks.

I have two e-mail addresses now. jp@jpnearl.com has become so bogged down with spam that it isn’t even funny and the others have unwieldy web interfaces or are a little too public for my tastes, so all the others are getting shut down at the end of the month.

The primary e-mail address to contact me is:
imachias-at-me-dot-com1
(You have to make that look like a regular e-mail address when you send me mail. Robots like to grab e-mail addresses from blog entries.)

jp@jpnearl.com will still work but your e-mail won’t get read. Don’t send anything to my work e-mail address because that should rightfully be used for work only. If it has my last name in it it’s my work address. If you’re sending me something dirty (sorry, mom) you probably already know the other e-mail address I use for that. You can send me dirty stuff at imachias-at-me-dot-com and I won’t mind at all. My Gmail, Hotmail and Live accounts are all going away at the end of the month.

1 So much for that Windows 7 hype I was spun up about a month or so ago.

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Thrifty.

Earl and I just got back from a ride through the local shopping haunts to see how many people are in line for the various deals on Black Friday. The tally:

  1. We don’t bother looking at Wal*Mart.
  2. Around 30 people in line at Best Buy.
  3. Target, 0.
  4. Poor K-mart. You used to be so much fun.
  5. One couple at Sears. Apparently there is a great deal on a washer/dryer combo and the folks at Sears are handing out four tickets at 3 a.m.

The little adventure was fun but you will never catch us in line waiting for a Black Friday sale.

I’m just sayin’.

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Thanks.

So it’s Thanksgiving here in the United States. Earl and I are once again spending the time together here at The Manor and I wouldn’t really want it any other way. Thanksgiving seems to be the holiday that means “home” the most to me, so I am very content with the low-key vibe we have going on. We are going to be eating our delicious meal shortly.

Thanksgiving Dinner.

I left a voicemail on my mother’s cell phone earlier today that pretty much summed up the way I’m feeling: “I’m thankful for it all – everything that has happened in the past and everything that I have today. I wouldn’t change a thing.” I think this aptly sums up the way I feel about my life and the help I’m having navigating through it.

It seems the news is filled with various definitions of family. On this day of thanks I am very thankful for our family and every component of it. I know how blessed I am to have the biological family that I have; I love them for who they are just as much as they love me for who I am. The sentiment continues through to my in-laws as well. But I’m also thankful for the rest of my family; the one that lives with us, the ones that drift in and out as their schedules allow and the ones I call my friends. We may not fit the (XX+XY)+kids=family equation, but as I said in the aforementioned voicemail, I wouldn’t change a thing. My family, all facets of it, have contributed into making me the man I am today.

And for that I am thankful.

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Content.



299.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.

I am thankful to be able to wake up like this each morning.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Display.

I’m going to preface this blog entry with two points. 1. I am writing about adult themes in this entry so it probably shouldn’t be viewed by someone that would not be considered an adult and 2. I am completely aware of where I am writing in this entry, the content and it’s visibility.

Update: I knew I would add to this after the fact, there is an addition to this original entry at the bottom. -J.P. 24/11/09 1456 EST

As you may have heard, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert performed the final number at the American Music Awards. This was Adam’s chance to debut the first single from his new album. I believe the title of the song is “For Your Entertainment”.

Here is a screencap from the performance, courtesy of National Examiner.

6a00d8341c630a53ef012875c87067970c-500wi.jpg

Adam’s performance was, to put it mildly, sexually suggestive. No disrespect to inflated breasts but this performance sexually blew Janet Jackson’ wardrobe malfunction out of the water for a couple of reasons: he french kissed a male guitar player, he had a submissively clothed man simulate oral sex on him and he dragged a scantily clad woman across the stage like a bag of so many potatoes. And that was just a few of the highlights. The performance seemed a little clunky in execution but the vibe was very hot and steamy.

The vocals and the song were both ‘meh’. If it weren’t for the controversy around this performance no one would still be talking about it.

My thoughts on this stunt, and I do firmly believe that despite reports to the contrary this smacks squarely of a publicity stunt, are all over the page.

First of all, I believe that many of the issues we find in American society are because people are downright terrified of their sexuality and because of this, we have put so many taboos on the subject that everyone is afraid to do what truly turns them on. Whether this was a publicity stunt or not, Adam was expressing himself artistically and freely. I totally get that and I identify with that. There is something quite freeing about walking down a foreign city street on a hot summer night in a pair of assless chaps, a jock strap, a leather vest and a pair of military boots. However, time and place are the key here. And this is where I have a problem with Adam’s performance.

The American Music Awards are primarily a family program. This is where the younger generation gets to see awards given to their favorite artists. This is where they see live performances of what they are listening to through their headphones. Whether they are a good influence or not, today’s artists are definitely influences on the younger folks. What they see and hear get integrated into their life experience either consciously or subconsciously. While I don’t have an issue with Adam’s performance per se, I don’t think that a nationally televised award show airing before 11 p.m. (10 p.m. Central!) was the right venue for it. Where Janet Jackson’s boob was a wardrobe malfunction, there was no mistaking what was going on during this performance.

I get the artistic expression. I get the overt sexuality. I don’t have an issue with that. I have an issue with the time and place. One has to wonder if Adam really likes to get his groove on in this manner. I hate the thought of sexuality being used in a non-genuine manner for the sole purpose of publicizing something. Back in the early 90s, I truly believed that Madonna was expressing herself in a genuine way.

One of the unfortunate aspects of this controversy is that some are saying this sets the gay civil rights movement back a notch or two. I don’t believe that to be the case and quite honestly I think the ones that are saying that from our team are the ones that are desperately trying to prove that gay and lesbian couples are no different than their heterosexual married counterparts. And for many people, that is most certainly the case. But just as their are kinky heterosexual folks out there, there are most certainly kinky gay folks as well with varying degrees of ingenuity all the while across all types of people. I know straight married couple that only played in three ways, I know another that would send their kids to the sitters so they could tie each other to the bed and play with whips. If simulating the forcing of a young man onto his crotch gets Adam going then I think that it’s great to find a way for everyone to be fulfilled, but demonstrating this on the stage at the American Music Awards is not the right place to do this.

It’s no secret that there are festivals, fairs and parades all over the world celebrating sexual exploration. I think these are great things and I have even attended my share of these events over the years but like my feelings on Adam’s performance, I have an issue when these things include family-friendly stuff such as circus-like fire shows, face painting and ice cream. While I believe that parents should be open and honest about sexuality with their children as they ask questions and such, I don’t believe that it should be thrusted (no pun intended) into the face of youngsters without an opportunity for their parents or guardians to step in and decide whether the particular activity/scene/etc is right for their kid. Just as I don’t believe that a kid should see me walking through a hotel lobby in the aforementioned assless chaps. There is a time and a place for all of that stuff and I firmly believe that it’s not always the time nor is it always the place.

We are all different. I know that. I knew I was different in kindergarten when I wanted to tell a young classmate that I wanted to marry him by trapping him under a wood slatted rocker/see-saw thing. I understand that most people are wired to be monogamous. I get that some are wired to only insert pole A into slot B and go no further than that in sexual adventure. And I certainly get that some don’t consider a sexual encounter complete unless there is meters of rope, the rattle of chains and a spinning ceiling fan. I get all that. And this diversity should be celebrated. Again, it’s just a matter of timing and placement.

Do I think the gay rights movement was damaged overall. I don’t. Those opposed to equal rights or pushing the hate and fear button are going to latch onto anything they can get their grubby little paws on, and while I think Adam provided them with a week or two of water cooler chatter, I don’t think it’s going to do any long-term damage. People are who they are and they’ll do what they do.

I just wish it would have taken place at more adult-oriented venue.

Update: One of the things that I want to be clear about is that I have no issue with Adam doing a man-on-man kiss during his performance. It was a bit forceful and had a bit of a crazed thing going on but the actual kiss itself wasn’t R rated. Distasteful? A bit but hardly offensive in my eyes. It was the other adult stuff going on that I was commenting on.

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Automatic.

Even though this is one of my favorite songs of the 80s (and nearly all time), before tonight I had never seen the official music video. It’s kind of cool to see music videos from back in the day when they were low budget.

I remember the first time I heard this song. I was riding in the back of my friend Scott’s Buick Century on Interstate 81 heading home from the movies in Watertown, N.Y. I remember asking him to turn up the radio because it sounded like such a good son.

The girls look a little cranky in this video but it’s fun nonetheless.

Here’s “Automatic” by The Pointer Sisters.

By the way, it’s Anita on the left, Ruth singing leads and June on the right.

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Simplicity.

I left work early today because I wasn’t feeling well. I wasn’t wrought with coughing or sneezing, though I did have a few spells of each. I felt a little feverish. My stomach was flip flopping around a bit. As I colorfully explained to my supervisor upon my decision to go home today, “I’ve destroyed the bathroom a couple of times this morning.” He chuckled. It wasn’t a laughing matter as I was dead serious.

I came home shortly before lunch and took a long nap. Feeling much better after the apparently needed sleep (though I slept great last night), I kept it low key around the house for the rest of the day; I finished up laundry, I cooked some supper, I washed dishes and I chatted with friends online. I didn’t do anything that really required effort. It was a simple day and I think that’s what the doctor ordered.

Following in the theme of simplicity I deleted a bunch of online accounts I don’t use anymore and moved things off the smattering of computers around here so that I am pretty much using only my MacBook Pro for my day to day stuff. It’s working out better this way. I have finally wrapped my head around this computer and I feel the same way about this computer that I felt about my older PowerBook. We have become friends. It’s taken a while.

In this day and age it can be really tempting and really easy to complicate one’s life to the point of needing ADD to keep up with it all. Luckily I have a good dollop of ADD in my wiring to make good attempts in this arena but in reality I like the simple life. Actually, I like being connected the world in a simple way. I like the quietness of the country, I like the clouds rolling by and I like peering in on The Big Picture from my own private view.

Rest and relaxation today helped with slightly nudging me back on track. Nothing was out of control, nothing had derailed, but I had a little rattle that needed some fine tuning.

I’m ready for the holidays now.

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Sunset.

I have to admit, the Cubster takes really good photos. This was taken at Chimney Bluffs State Park almost two weeks ago.

Even after over 13 years we still like to hold hands.