When I was back in my hometown a couple of weeks ago to address medical needs with Mom, we talked about many things. We talked about happy memories, wondered aloud as to the whereabouts of several people from our past, and discussed the weather. We always talk about the weather. It’s the Lake Ontario Snowbelt, after all.

My sister was also at the hospital and while visiting with Mom the subject of our high school days came up. It’s been decades since those turbulent times in my past but I can still vividly recall too many memories. Many of those memories are happy, too many of those memories make me sad.

Mom brought up the “11th grade Ethics class incident” (recanted in a cut and paste from a post from 2021 below) and how she felt when the Vice-Principal mentioned she should perhaps take me home for the day. My sister had never heard any of this and was surprised it wasn’t ever discussed at home. In the mid 1980s a gay teenager didn’t heartily discuss the abuse from other classmates (and some teachers) with his family. My how times have changed over the decades. I mentioned to mom and sister, “Karen O’Brien probably saved my life that day”. My sister let out an audible gasp.

I have been blessed(?) with a crazy, full sensory memory that is a blessing but is also sometimes a curse. Words have impact. I sometimes feel a bit crazy around the way words are so carelessly tossed around on the Internet, as if the anonymization of the author reduces impact. For some it does not.

I’m not suggesting, endorsing, and asking for censorship. That’s not the way. I ask that people speak the truth and perhaps maintain a bit of respect.

Now, the original blog entry from 2021.

“Mr. Wing, do you know what a homosexual is”?

The 10th grade biology teacher’s voice boomed through the room with this question posed to me; it was his way of gathering control of the class for the next 41 minutes of 6th period and since we were apparently to talk about the importance of the prefix “homo” in the scientific world, the disheveled man apparently thought it humorous to fixate on me and ask this question that carefully treaded a line. The girl to my right, we’ll call her Jeannine, laughed at me. I’m not surprised. She wasn’t known for being an exceptionally nice person. To be fair, it was a nice change of pace to hear her laugh because usually she was crying about something or barking out with a special amount of bitchiness one can find amongst high school sophomores in the 1980s. To my left, my table mate, we’ll call her Lori, whispered “asshole” under her breath, just loud enough for me to hear her word of support. I turned beet red, stammered more than usual trying to formulate something, anything to come out of my mouth, and feverishly wished for the kid at the table in front of me to have a seizure or something. The rest of the class laughed, the word faggot was shared once or twice and I was asked that very same question by various members of that class for the rest of the week. This is the stuff sophomores live for. The teacher had control of the class, I did not, and I was humiliated.

I do not forget these things. It rings as loud in my head in 2021 as it did in late 1983. I imagine most gay men, especially those of us of a certain age, have not forgotten instances like these. This is what we grew up with. Welcome to growing up gay in the Gen X set.

“Well let’s face it, John will have a hard time being gainfully employed”.

Another nugget of wisdom, this time from a fellow classmates in Ethics class, which was in the latter half of my junior year of high school. This time it was 4th period and I really just wanted to go to lunch at 11:04.

“Why not?”, queried the teacher, who, at the beginning of class, had instructed us to arrange our desks in a circle so we could debate things like whether or not a functional homosexual like I apparently was destined to be (calm down Mom, I wasn’t a ‘functional’ homosexual at the time) was a good or bad thing for society. Would our gayness cause the fall of the United States. (Spoiler alert, it did not).

“His mannerisms and way of speaking are going to prevent serious employers from hiring him”, was the response.

I don’t know what happened to that classmate after high school and I don’t really care to Google him to find out. Why waste the bits? Who knows and who cares. In the moment I looked for support from another classmate, we’ll call him Mike, that I really knew “to be on the team” (he is and we actually shared a kiss a couple of years later) but he turned on me with the rest of them, laughed, and made detrimental comments. That was probably the first time in my life that I wondered if I was going to be anything at all and if I wasn’t going to be anything, why continue the charade? Was my life worth anything?

The teacher of that class had to dash off at 11:04 to do some Vice Principal duties, but he checked in with me at the end of class and asked if I was OK. When he saw tears building in my eyes, after the longest 41 minutes I’ve probably endured in my life, he told me I was a good guy and asked another teacher to have a chat with me in his office to get me grounded again. He knew I was mentally not well. I can safely say I probably owe my life to that other teacher. Her name is Karen O’Brien. She taught Special Ed, but through talking with her she helped me find my worth again that day and honestly probably doesn’t even know the depth of the impact she had on me that day. She talked me off a psychological ledge. Years prior to this she had put as her caption under her photo in the yearbook, “People – they fascinate me. I haven’t met one yet that didn’t impress me”. Words to live by. I think of her often. I should probably send her a thank you note someday.

Why do I share this? There’s a number of reasons. First of all, what we say matters. Whether we say it out loud, in print, or anywhere on the Internet, our words are making an impact, whether positive or negative. We might not know it. We don’t know the state of mind of every person that is going to read what we type or listen to what we say. We should never lose sight of this. The two incidents I talk about are from decades ago, yet I remember all of these things as if it took place yesterday. My frame of mind is better about all of this, but I still feel the sting. These things, and countless others during my school years, have made a permanent impact on my life experience. Am I better for it? Over 35 years, I can probably say yes, but it took a lot of soul searching, and that very important talk with teacher Karen O’Brien, to keep me going.

When I hear members of Congress calling one another “Communists” or spouting out provable falsehoods just to rile up a crowd I can’t help but think how much negative impact those words are having on the country. When I see people touting things like “Straight Pride” or all the bad things that will allegedly happen to gay people because of who they are, I worry about those that don’t have a Karen O’Brien talking them off a psychological ledge.

I share these things because the distance of time and the subsequent experience of life has safely moved me beyond these negative events in my life. Weirdly, I’m probably a better and stronger person because of them.

Let’s use the right words. Let’s send positive energy into the world. Let’s not use negativity to command a room. Let’s be one of those people that impress others.

Impress each other in a good way.


I don’t listen to as many podcasts as I used to. When we lived in Chicago, I would listen to several podcasts, working my way through them as I walked the streets of the North Side around our Lakeview adjacent neighborhood. Towards the end of our Chicago tenure, I found myself getting more irritated than anything with the podcasts I had selected for my daily walk, so I switched to curated music playlists.

When we arrived in Tucson I continued my trend of listening to music while out for a walk in the desert sun, but there’s only so many times one can listen to disco or Yacht Rock radio and not start yearning for something different. I didn’t go back to my old list of podcasts. I decided political and technical podcasts were the source of some of the glum feeling I felt after listening to those podcasts, so instead I looked for something a little more optimistic.

Enter, “A Bit of Optimism” from Simon Sinek.

Simon started this podcast during in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued this trend. I thought the podcast had disappeared earlier in 2022, but it started appearing in my podcast list back in November and it’s one podcast that I really looking forward to each week. New episodes are released on Tuesdays and as I make my way through the desert landscape, I enjoy each week’s episode which invariably gives me a better outlook on life and brings a smile to my face.

Simon’s natural banter, infectious laugh, and ability to bring a positive spin on life is contributing to a more centered feeling I enjoy in my middle aged years. If you’re into podcasts and you are looking for a bit of optimism in your life, I highly recommend this podcast.

Join me as I talk with people that inspire me about love, life, leadership, and silver linings. The hope is that we all leave with something I think we need these days… A Bit of Optimism. 

Thanks for listening.


As Michael from The Sentimental Dom so brilliantly stated in his blog post today.

Remember that we are not our social media feeds. There are many things I think, believe, and support that never find their way to my social media accounts, and that is my choice and my decision, not yours.

Technological Turmoil.

I have mentioned before that I constantly have a “technological battle” going on in my head. Because I’m such a diehard geek, I’m always analyzing and comparing and contrasting what setup around technology works best for me. Do I want to go full blown geek and stick to Linux? Is the fit and finish* of relying on Apple products helping to reduce friction in my life? Can I find what I’m looking for? Do I find my color selections on pleasing?

This is a constant struggle in my head and if I dwell too much on these things I start to lose things, things like documents and my to do lists and the like.

I’m trying to reign this in, but there is no one, complete solution for any of this. I favor using Linux for everything but it needs more care and feeding than I sometimes want to give it. Apple products lean towards locking my data into Apple and that’s it and that bothers me. I haven’t really been interested in Windows in a long while but I suppose that’s an option.

I know this is a first world problem. With the way my brain is wired it takes way too much of my bandwidth. I’ve been obsessed with these things for years. I need to figure out how to bring it in.


Truman has been hanging out with the family more. I think it’s because I was gone for a week and he didn’t know where the one with the shiny head was and was concerned about the treats dispensing practices. He’s been at my side since I returned and has been making himself comfortable like cats do.

However, in this photo he appears completely unimpressed with the first episode of the final season of “Star Trek: Picard”.


We celebrated my husband’s birthday a few days late because of my trip back east. I had been planning this evening as a continuation of his birthday celebration from earlier in the week but since I didn’t get back until late Tuesday night, this turned out to be his actual celebration.

We had a nice dinner at a restaurant we’d hadn’t been to before and then went and saw “Dear Evan Hansen” at Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona campus. It’s part of the national tour of the show and part of the season here at “Broadway In Tucson”.

The dinner was very good and we enjoyed the show. The production was impressive and the performers were very good. The story is a little uneven at times, but that’s just the show.

Overall is was a great night.

Dear Apple, Part 3.

Dear Apple,

When the latest round of updates were announced earlier this month I was really hopeful that some of the bugs I’ve been seeing on my Apple devices would be squashed and all would be right in It Just Works land.

Apparently I was very, very wrong on holding out hope.

HomeKit continues to be awful and unfortunately progress on that front is headed in the wrong direction. I finally realized that you made some subtle changes to Siri. Before the latest update I could say, “Hey Siri, get ready for bed” and she would run the automation I created two years ago called “Get Ready For Bed”. Since the latest update she can no longer do that and now I must say, “Hey Sir, turn on Get Ready For Bed”. Because Siri apparently has a considerably different grasp of “natural language” interfaces when it comes to English. When I do this new song and dance she’ll try to turn on “Get Ready For Bed” but will tell me that she can’t talk to some of my devices while turning the same lights at a brightness of 5%. (The automation sets the brightness at 30%).

Then we move to iOS and iPadOS, where I’m apparently being punished on a daily basis for having the audacity to use my personal email server instead of relying on iCloud email. I realize the IMAP protocol used by email servers has only been around since 1990, so it’s hard to plan on what’s going to endure, but the built in Mail client is REALLY struggling with IMAP now. All my non-Apple devices (GASP, but I must to maintain sanity) have absolutely zero, nada, zip issues with accessing the exact same account but Mail.app tells me there’s email when there isn’t, there isn’t email when there is, hangs on prompts with “Connecting…” for an inordinate amount of time and now has the trick of leaving the body of my email in the window after I’ve deleted it, so anyone that might steal my iDevice can see the contents of the email I deleted because I had the audacity to think that delete would delete.

That’s a run on sentence up there that makes the writer seem out of breath because that’s exactly how I feel when it comes to iDevices. Exasperated.

I have a very functional M1 Mac mini for personal use. The latest version of MacOS is so riddled with bugs and questionable UI design choices, I’m finding myself using my non-iDevices more than ever. And what’s up with Stage Manager? What is it really suppose to do? And why did you enshittify the settings panel in MacOS?

I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to life. It’s just the way my brain is wired. Much of the reason I pay the Apple Tax for your devices is because you were headed in that direction back in the day, but on top of the “same old, same old” approach you’re taking on everything you release (hardware, software, services) and telling us that it’s brand new, these bugs are really detracting from the Apple experience. I’m going to be looking for a new laptop in the not-so-distant future. If things continue as they are right now, there are plenty of non-iDevice options out there that will fit the bill just fine for me.

And as for your HomeKit travesty, I’m going to end up just building my own private ecosystem with plenty of free and open-source alternatives out there. I simply can’t trust you to do the home automation thing with any sort of reliability or consistency anymore.

Champagne Life.

Ever since I was a teenager I’ve had dreams about living a “champagne life”. Flying a private jet to a private island. No worries about finances. Traveling the world. Sipping champagne at a black tie event. Hobnobbing, conversing, and having a good laugh with others enjoying their champagne life.

Of course, this is not who I really am. I have enjoyed some really awesome experiences in my life, and there’s been plenty of bottles of champagne along the way, but when it all comes down to it, I was raised adjacent to my grandparents’ farm in Central New York by a country-raised dad and a city-raised mom, one who leaned on his traditional upbringing and the other who was a bit more liberal in her thinking.

It was kinda like Ward Cleaver married That Girl.

It’s hard work, not a trust fund, that gives me the opportunity to glimpse at “champagne life” once in a while. Last night, the flight attendant offered me a glass of sparkling wine before we left the gate for our flight home. I’m fortunate to be able to sit fairly close to the front of the airplane.

I sipped some of the sparkling wine. I did not complain that it wasn’t actual champagne.

Plan B.

I strive to always have a Plan B. This has been my mantra for many years and while it may seem to some that I’m paranoid, I like to have a plan B. My way of thinking always needs to be formulating resolution. If I have a problem, I need to resolve it immediately.

Just as we were leaving the gate at Syracuse for Denver, I received a text message from United strongly suggesting I consider jumping to another flight by using the convenient United app with free wi-fi access during the four hours I was in the air.

I immediately searched for other flights and found none until morning to Tucson, but there was a flight to Phoenix that would give me a comfortable layover experience.

I’m now sitting at gate B12 waiting for my flight to Phoenix. Earl will be making the drive to Sky Harbor to pick me up and we’ll make the two hour drive home across the desert after I (hopefully) pick up my luggage at KPHX.

There’s no reason to panic when engaging in travel. Just focus on Plan B. Always have an “out”. You’ll be fine.