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Answer.

I was recently asked if I am a married man. I have to admit that I always find this question surprising, because I think that as a gay man I stick out like a huge neon light in the darkness wherever I go. I have a certain flair and I always assume that it gives away my sexual orientation. But apparently I’m not as obvious as people have told me that I am over the years, so I guess on the other hand it’s kind of cool to be asked that question, because people aren’t making assumptions based on any sort of flair I might display.

What was the question again?

Oh yes, am I married. I smiled and gave my standard answer, “Actually I have a partner, he and I have been together for over 15 years.” After I gave this boilerplate response I suddenly went wide-eyed and exclaimed, “Wait a minute, in fact, I am legally married! Earl and I have been together for over 15 years but in October we were legally married.”

It’s funny that I forgot that little bit of information. I guess after giving the same stock answer for so long that an old habit is hard to break. I was kind of delighted again with being able to say that we are married and being able to say that gave me an inner smile that brightened up my day considerably.

That sort of inner smile is a really good feeling.

What a sad state of affairs it is when some of the presidential candidates want to take away my ability to say that I am a legally married, and the associated joy I experience when I state this fact, simply because they dismiss the undying love I have for my partner as “not real” or “just a perverted friendship.” While I am overjoyed that I married my best friend (as I believe most people should do when they get married, straight or gay), I have had some friends with benefits in my time and I can tell you that while quite enjoyable, it’s not the same thing as being married to one’s true love. Perhaps those that would like to abolish the growing trend of same sex marriages should try having a friend with benefits. That way they can occupy their mind with something other than my personal business and they can see that marriage isn’t about sex and that sex isn’t necessarily about love but that marriage is about love. An everlasting love. An everlasting connection.

And that’s part of why I felt such joy when I was able to answer that in fact I am a married man, and I am quite proud of it.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:N Comrie Ave,Johnstown,United States

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Divide.

People fascinate me. Groups of people are even more fascinating, especially when I start doing a comparison game and start contrasting the differences of various of folks against other people I have met along my life path.

Gosh, that sounds deep.

I grew up in the Lake Ontario snowbelt, that beautiful area of New York State situated along the eastern shores of the smallest of the Great Lakes. My hometown was located right between the lake and the Tug Hill Plateau, a precursor to the larger Adirondack Mountains to the northeast. Like our counterparts in the Lake Erie snowbelt (Buffalo and southwest), we usually get lots of snow in the winter. It’s what we do and there’s an impressive tourism trade built upon these winter storms. The mountains aren’t really big enough for impressive skiing (though there are ski resorts here and there), folks instead turn to cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. Fun times. I’ve had only one opportunity to take Earl on a snowmobile in the past 15 years and I don’t think he’s ever yelled as loud as he did when we went whizzing alongside the railroad tracks behind my dad’s house at around 40 MPH. (He swore we were doing 70 but I know we weren’t).

Ah, good times.

Because I grew up in the snow and around people that enjoy snow, I always find it interesting that folks in the areas that we work and live in now get a little hysterical when the National Weather Service blasts out a Winter Weather Advisory. I’ve mentioned before that I think these advisories are kind of ridiculous because I don’t think you should fire off the Emergency Alert System unless it’s something really important like a nuclear attack or a tsunami.

I know that it’s because of societal changes in attitude about snow that schools close a lot more than they used to in these parts when it came to winter weather. I can’t count the number of times that my sister and I would have to go running because the school bus was trying to stop at the end of our driveway and ended up in a skid. There was no crossing the road early when the bus came, you waited until everything got skidded and settled into place before venturing out. Mr. Curry, a dutiful bus driver, was always good to give us a wave to let us know when the bus was done skidding.

Ah, good times.

I don’t think of six inches of snow as a big deal. You plan a little extra time, you drive a little slower and you keep both hands on the steering wheel. It’s not that hard to deal with. Oh, never let your gas tank fall below a quarter of a tank because you don’t know how long it’s going to take to get to the next station. And make sure you have hat and gloves in the vehicle at all times.

Folks here in the more eastern part of the state (where I work) tend to get all nerved up when there’s snow in the forecast. Everyone talks about it, incessantly, and they start buying milk and bread in droves (lactose intolerance be damned.) I think I attribute this to what I call “downstate hysteria”. Folks from downstate New York (and especially New York and Long Island) tend to seem much more high strung than the folks upstate and this ‘snow concern’ adds a little bit of credibility to this observation. I think that’s why I’ve never had a serious thought about relocating to the Capital District (even though theoretically Earl and I could have at one time), it’s too unlike where I grew up for my comfort level. The accent is different, the attitude towards snow is different, it just doesn’t feel like the Empire State I know and love. And that’s perfectly fine, I’m not saying that one is better than the other, I’m just saying it’s different and that kind of fascinates me. Kind of like trying to identify where the soda/pop dividing line is (it’s somewhere between Syracuse and Rochester).

As I type this, I see that the snow is picking up. Rumor has it we are going to get six to ten inches of snow by tomorrow at home. I’m looking forward to it.

On the other hand, the person here in the plaza parking lot near work has parked across two parking spaces, at a diagonal, and is undoubtedly heading into Dollar Tree to clear the shelves of all available bread.

Ah, good times.

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Props.

I’m doing a daily photo log this year. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here on the blog or not, but I did this once before in (I think) 2009. I don’t know if I completed that project successfully or not, but I intend on sticking to it this year. It’s kind of a vain thing; I take a photo of myself once a day and post it. This year I’m doing it on Instagram and Flickr.

As I walked into Dunkin’ Donuts a few moments ago, my iced tea waiting and the sale already pre-rung on the register (all that was missing was the Great Cookie Debate), I decided that I needed to give props to the company that brings me caffeinated goodness everyday. So I put the phone on timer and just snapped a photo while walking out the door.

Heck, this could be a marketing shot! “Happy bear gets his caffeine at Dunkin’ Donuts!” You could even at a jingle – doo doo doo!


Yesterday, Earl and I were talking and he says that one of the things he loves about me is that even though I’m 43 years old, I’m still very much a kid at heart. In 7th grade I was scolded by my Social Studies teacher for being too much of a kid at that age and I remember that as clear as if it was said to me yesterday. I guess she was wrong, because others find it to be a lovable trait.

And taking a photo of myself while walking out of my favorite Dunkin’ Donuts is a glimmer of the playfulness I feel. I should really stop giving a hoot as to what other people think as long as I’m being true to myself.

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Relaxation.

Earl and I sometimes quip that we are a “power couple”. We both have pretty intense careers and it is not uncommon for us to spend nights apart because he is traveling somewhere on business. There’s a part of me that would enjoy traveling for business as well, but that’s a different subject.

I say we quip about the “power couple” thing because I don’t really see us as a power couple as much as just a busy couple. When I worked for DEC in the late 1980s I saw a lot of power couples; two people working for the same company that were trying very hard to claw their way up the corporate ladder. There was one couple in particular that maintained a long distance relationship; he lived in Seattle and she lived in Boston. They commuted one way or the other on the weekends to see each other. I don’t think that I could do that. Earl keeps me grounded, so I need to have his home base be the same place as mine. I couldn’t bring myself to have my own place (say, five minutes from work); that’s just not our style. That’s the reason Earl stays at one of the hotels in Buffalo each week, he can’t bring himself to have a separate apartment.

After all these years we are still very much in love.

Since we are on the go at breakneck speeds all week, sometimes we need a little downtime. Now I had plans of doing some work on The Big Project this weekend, and I have made some accomplishments thus far, but the both of us have been so tired today that all we wanted to do was veg out. I slept in a little bit, went to brunch with two lovely ladies that I used to work with and then came home and did a little bit of work while Earl worked at the office, trying to catch up on his monthly paperwork. When he got home we both crashed and took a multi-hour nap. I haven’t taken a nap that long in a very long time. It would explain why I’m writing a blog entry at 23:00 EST when I’m usually long asleep by then. Apparently a multi-hour nap is the new Geritol for the 40s set.

It’s funny to think that a few years ago at this time I was just starting the night at work as a club DJ, blasting my eardrums out with yet another Madonna remix and working until all hours of the morning. I can’t imagine doing that now. I don’t think it’s age as much as it’s priorities.

The relaxation theme will continue tomorrow, though I need to finish a few more pages of code for the application that I am debuting this week at work. We’ll still find time to relax in the meantime, so we can get all wound up again for the work week.

Life is good but if it isn’t, just laugh, that’ll help make it good again.

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Discretion.

I believe that under the right parameters, social media has a spot in the workplace, especially for folks in technology related fields and positions. One of the greatest assets at my job is that fact that if I am stuck on building a piece of code or trying to find documentation on a very old piece of equipment that I am trying to integrate into our network, I am able to reach out to others that have had the same kind of experience, whether it be through a Google search or reaching out on Twitter or a conversation in an IRC chat with geeks like me. This is one of many reasons that I have my Twitter account. I know that there are folks that like to use Twitter as an “enhanced chat room” where they publicly trade quips back and forth and occasional post photos of various parts, and that’s fine, but my personal work ethic dictates that that sort of interaction needs to be confined to off hours. It’s just the way I roll.

One other thing that I enjoy about Twitter (which is my favorite of the big, primarily word-based social networks), is that if you follow the right people, you’ll learn of news pretty quickly. I turn to Twitter before anywhere else when I hear that there may be late breaking news. When we had the little earthquake last year I saw “Earthquake!” (from a person in Virginia) on my Twitter feed at the same time as it was happening in the office. Kind of cool. I love following Twitter during political debates, discussions and other such events. I have a Twitter list set aside for my growing political information habit and that’s what I usually have scrolling by on my desktop. Oddly enough, these bits of information usually keep me focused on the task at hand, because it keeps my mind wandering when I’m doing tasks that don’t require a lot of brain cycles. It’s just the way I’m wired.

I was working on The Big Project yesterday when I saw my supervisor’s reflection in my super glossy monitor. He was standing behind me and that doesn’t really bother me because he’s a good guy and I enjoy working with him. I went to look someone up on iChat so we could drop them a line when my Twitter feed popped up over another window. Unfortunately, the Twitter name of the latest update was a little suggestive.

Oops.

Though it’s known that I follow Twitter at work for the reasons mentioned above and nothing was said about what had appeared on my screen, I felt somewhat ashamed of myself because I don’t believe that that sort of activity belongs in the workplace. Though I’m a goofball, I still believe that a high level of professionalism should always be maintained and this little thing was not demonstrating my beliefs. So last night I decided to clean out some of the racier accounts that I follow on Twitter and to make doubly sure that nothing like that happens again, I created a separate Google Talk account so that I could continue chatting with the vendor that uses Google Talk without having my former Google+ contacts pop up on the chat window list (what’s that about, anyways).

I always worry about offending people when I unfollow them on a social network, because it’s kind of like a slap in the face, especially without an explanation. And because I’m already rather selective as to who I follow on Twitter and the like, it’s not a huge deal for me, but nevertheless, I felt that this particular incident was less stellar than I strive for when I reach for the stars.

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Schedule.

I’m writing this blog entry nearly two hours later than usual. While I am very grateful that I have found room in today’s hectic work schedule for a lunch break, there is a small voice in the back of my head that reminds me that I am entitled to a lunch and that I should always find time to enjoy an hour of solace during the day. There’s an even louder voice that reminds me of my need for iced tea and to make it’s point my head hurts a little bit. The Dunkin’ Donuts iced tea will help this problem, though it’s kind of a shame that I’m getting caffeine headaches again.

I keep thinking about the fact that tomorrow is Friday. I’m proud to say that it appears that I am surviving the first full work week I’ve had since the week before Thanksgiving, but I still don’t know who decided that we should do this work five days/get two days off thing that is the accepted norm in society. Personally, I would function better under a 4 on/3 off schedule, but that’s just the way I work. I’ve never been able to function inside the box that everyone else lives in. It’s one of my quirks, like mashed potatoes for breakfast. (Oh sure, but when Laverne drinks milk and pepsi, the laugh track goes on and on in an uproar.)

My sister asked about the Big Project that I am working on at work. There have been some twists and turns along the way, but my big presentation was on Tuesday and it went well. There’s much to be done to make the program behave the way I want it to behave, but the first implementation begins in less than a week and for those used to Windows it should work just fine. I had hoped to knock out a few thousand lines of code today, but I have been in one meeting or another since 8:15 this morning. I was even in one meeting about when we were going to have meetings. It was boring.

Having lunch at 1:30 in the afternoon kind of rocks my world a little bit because I am very much a creature of habit. It’s kind of like being forced to sleep on the wrong side of the bed, you get things done but it just feels wrong.

The iced tea is good, though.

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Strike A Pose.

I was going through old photos on the hard drive and I had completely forgotten about this poster photo from 2008. Ah, the old DJing days.

Strike A Pose.

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Badge.

Remember the first, second season episode of “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman” where Diana Prince returns to the United States in the 1970s? Jimmying her way into the IADC as an agent needs a little bit of covert work. One of her accomplishments is that she is able to gain access to the room that houses IRAC, the Information Retrieval Associative Computer. She does this by remembering the tones uttered by the security keypad as she is being given a tour of the facility. Without looking at the keypad, she is able to remember the musical sequence and press the buttons in the exact same order when she manages to get to the security door alone.

I do not possess this skill.

Like many technologically oriented business facilities, the building I work in is protected by various security measures, including our keycard work badges. We are required to wear our badges at all time and they are needed to gain access to the building. Because I work in one of the Network Operations Centers, we need our badge to gain entry through that door as well. Not everyone’s badge gains access to this inner part of the building, but my badge has been so blessed.

I left my badge sitting on the kitchen counter today.

I was not able to make the screeching noise that the keycard mechanism makes when it recognizes your badge. I don’t think the mechanism even works that way. I also confirmed that neither my body (nor my personality) is magnetic enough to make the keycard thingee do it’s thing without having my badge.

Forgetting my badge is just a symptom of my day, as I have forgotten a couple of things along the way today, including my hat and gloves. This has made for a chilly walk around the parking lot during our twice-a-day attempts at exercise during breaktime.

I have forgotten my badge once before in the nearly two years that I have worked in this building. It’s not a big deal; you smile and kid around with the person that holds the visitor badges for a moment and they’ll scold you a little and let you use one of those badges that day. I don’t mind that except that when I introduce myself I’m tempted to say that my name is Anonymous. The card reader doesn’t know who I am, it just knows that I’m a friendly visitor. The real problem with using the visitor badge is actually obtaining one. To do this, you kind of have to lurk around the entrance and then do a little shimmy to get in behind a co-worker who thoughtfully remembered their badge. I’d mention that it’s kind of a like a terrorist move to gain access to Fort Knox, but I don’t want people to think that I am a terrorist because I’m not. I just know how to shimmy in behind another person. I would never use my powers for evil.

Now if I could just figure out how to make that screeching sound.

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