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Inaugural Thoughts

Jan. 20th, 2009 | 05:05 pm

So did you real-time the inauguration? I watched it. I hadn’t actually planned to. I thought I would just make a special cameo appearance in the breakroom here at work for a taste but I wound up getting sucked in.

I even started watching the (P)Rick Warren part because I thought that because of the controversy he might actually use the incredibly important moment in time to deliver a broad message of peace or something but after a couple of minutes I realized that it was going to be nothing more than the usual we-are-but-your-humble-servants-my-Lord kinda bullshit and mentally tuned out. He remains nothing more than a fat fuck. What a dildo.

After a little while I decided to come back to my desk and just watch the actual swearing in portion online. CNN was totally tied up. I got a “Don't call us, we'll call you” message when trying to access their video coverage online because they were apparently out of bandwidth or whatever. Ironically I wound up watching Fox’s feed because I found a site (Hulu.com) that was streaming their high-def signal and it was by far the best quality feed that I could find. As soon as Obama’s speech was concluded and it went back to Fox’s talking heads I shit-canned the connection though because I feel guilty (and not in a groovy Barry Gibbs/Barbra Streisand way) giving Fox any sort of viewership at all.

I was reminded today why I have from time-to-time been into Obama. He’s a super savvy politician and a uniter (at this point at least) just by his mere existence alone. And after what seemed like an eternity under a dumb-ass as mind-blowingly stupid as Bush it’s just so refreshing to listen to an intelligent person speak, almost irregardless of what he is actually saying.

Right now I’m really digging Michelle Obama more than her husband though. Like her husband in contrast to George Bush, Michelle in contrast to Laura is like night-and-day. (No racial puns intended.) She looked really fucking great today. I loved her gold outfit. It was totally regal and befitting of the occasion but didn’t come across as ostentatious or tacky, which I would have worried about if I’d been told beforehand she was goin’ with a gold outfit. (Actually I read online that it's 'lemongrass yellow' but whatever.) I’m so happy to have them representing out nation as opposed to what we’ve had for eight horrid and lousy years.

So despite myself I’m sort of hopeful for what’s to come, even though Obama has already lost a bunch of goodwill points on my behalf before even having taken office because of the Warren gaffe. Still, against my nature I’m trying to be of glass-half-full mentality going into this.

In support of my unusually optimistic stance I read online shortly afterward that almost immediately upon being sworn in the White House web site was updated with a rather lengthy list of committments that Obama's administration is making to the glbt community. At least we've got someone who appears to be making an effort. Hopefully he'll live up to the hype.

PS: Put George Bush Sr. on the death-watch list. He looked like he was about to kick-it at any given moment when he came out today.

PPS: Despite all the fuss being made over Obama let us not forget the very most important aspect of today - GEORGE W. BUSH IS NO LONGER PRESIDENT!!!! Praise fucking god!!!!!!! What a despicable piece of shit he is. And Cheney too. Here's a little recap of what America had to offer the world for the past eight-years. Will we truly ever be able to regain our stature in the world' eyes?


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So Now You're Back From Outer-Space...

Jan. 15th, 2009 | 02:42 pm

So here's the deal. I'm a pretty thoughtful person when it comes to the written word. That's why it's my preferred form of communication. I'm the kinda person who needs to organize my thoughts and reflect on things in order to clarify my opinions. It's important to me.

That's why I've been so half-assed with keeping up my LJ entries. I simply do not have the time for the sort of thought that I like to put behind my writing. Not that I'm some great man of letters, 'a la the pretension of a JD Salinger or whatever. But between work and home responsibilities I haven't been able to grasp even the most nominal amount of time to record some thoughts with any serious introspection.

Meanwhile life just keeps passing me by without my recording any significant moments. So in an effort to turn over a new leaf this year here's a less thoughtful synopsis of some things that have been going on with me recently.
 
  • I haven't been feeling too well.  I don't know if it's just the natural progression of age or if it's stress but I'm almost always a bit sick with some sort of minor to not-so-minor symptoms.  Lately it's been my stomach.  I was diagnosed as having IBS (the acronym for the charmingly named Irritable Bowel Syndrome) about a year or two ago.  If I'm not constipated up to my eyeballs I've got shit flying from my asshole.  There just doesn't seem to be any happy medium.  All the while my stomach almost always aches a little bit.  It's very aggravating and just intensifies the stress.  Since the illness is aggravated by stress and then in-turn causes stress it's a never-ending conundrum.
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  • Work is so fucking busy.  I'm the only person at my job in my position, so everything falls on me.  With the constant crap the media is shoving down our throats concerning the piss-poor economy I keep telling myself to just be glad I have a job.  Some days I wish I would get laid off and then I'd be forced to down-size my lifestyle and maybe take on a lesser-paying but hopefully less-stressful line of work.  I get frustrated with myself because all I do is sit in front of a computer and I find myself philosophically reflecting on this and thinking, "Why am I making this so goddamn stressful?  I mean, look at people in third-world countries or how hard things were for people here a hundred-years ago."  But you can't step out of your own head for too long and before I know it I'm back to grinding my teeth.  (I used to update my LJ entries at work but I have little to no time for that now and I certainly don't have the time once I get home.  I called in sick today if you're wondering where I'm finding the time today.)
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  • Steven and I reached our ten-year anniversary yesterday.  Since we don't have legally sanctioned marriage equality in this alleged 'free' nation yet we just consider the date we met as our anniversary because we were pretty much together from that point forward.  Who woulda thunk, ya know?  But you see more and more same-sex couples in for the long-haul.  At least I do.  We didn't do anything really special to commemorate the occasion.  We dumped Emily on a neighbor for a couple of hours and went out to eat but that was sort of a bust, as the waitress was really bad and it took forever to get our food.  Very disappointing.  We would like to 'celebrate' this weekend but there is nobody in our small social circle who is willing to keep Emily longer than just overnight and what we'd really enjoy is to get away for a couple of days, just the two of us.  I'm off on Monday for MLK so it would be the perfect time for a quick trip.  I just don't see it in the stars though.
  •  

  • A few days ago Steven bought a cockatiel because with three dogs, two cats, and too-many-fish-to-count we just don't have enough pets, you know?  The bird lasted maybe four days before escaping its cage and getting eaten by our dumb-as-a-rock male standard poodle, Giddy.  (This is a dog that ate all the glass Christmas ornaments within his reach over the holidays and chews up Steven's razor blades when he leaves them on the bathroom counter.  And, no.  He's never gotten hurt doing any of this.)  So what's Steven's solution to bye-bye-birdie?  He goes out and gets THREE more!!!  I will give him credit though.  He's a helluva bargain hunter.  He got the first bird with its fairly sizable cage and a ton of food, for only $40.  Then he got the three replacement birds with a beautiful California cage for only $100.  One of the birds (a beautiful sunshine yellow female) alone is worth that but the cage is worth probably $300 itself!!  Anyway, I've never seen Emily as enamored by any critter we've had like she is over these damn birds.  In fact, I moved the cage into her room last night and she had a shit-fit.  She recently had her tv taken out because she wouldn't behave and it seemed to be making her worse, so hopefully the birds will be a healthier substitute.  Emily's pretty hard on animals though, so the birds might actually be better off being quickly eaten by the dog, rather than endure the long slow torture a four-year old can inflict.  Whatever.  I take no mental responsibility.  Steven brought them home so their fate is on his conscience.  Not mine.
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  • Today I had a documentary about Shirley Chisholm on in the background while cleaning house.  She was an African-American woman who was a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination back in 1972.  I had heard of her but I was surprised after all the recent hullabaloo regarding a woman and an African-American vying for the Democratic nomination that Ms. Chisholm wasn't more discussed in the news last year.  I mean, here you had a candidate who was both a woman and black.  And she'd made headlines 35+ years before Clinton and Obama strutted their stuff.  Hello!?!  Anyway, despite the educational opportunities I could have derived from the documentary, my overriding thought while it was on was, "Gee, I wonder how many black drag queens were performing under the name 'Shirley Jism' back in '72?"  Mine is truly one of the brilliant minds of our day, huh?
     
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Raindrops on roses and lipstick on larva

Dec. 10th, 2008 | 08:36 am

Odd but adorable Christmas-themed video supporting a BBC environmental protection endeavor.


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Tis The Season For Irritation

Dec. 9th, 2008 | 04:10 pm

You know, I just fucking hate Christmas now. It used to be my favorite holiday. Hell, it was my favorite day of the year. Period. But now it's just such a chore.

The only thing that I look forward to is having time off. I always take the week between Christmas and New Years off and this year is no exception, even though I started a new job. (I asked for it off back in the summer.)

Now that I have a kid you'd think that would renew my enthusiasm Christmas because I've got a child to go all-out for, right? Wrong. It just adds more stress.

But the majority of the irritation around the holiday emanates from my mother, who can absolutely turn anything tedious. She starts harping on about Christmas bullshit in like August. Fo' real. If she doesn't have all her shopping done by the time December 1st gets here she thinks that it's all ruined.

It's just her nature. She's totally OCD and over-plans everything because she always wants perfection, which is obviously not possible, so she's always disappointed. It's a wonder that I'm merely a glass-half-empty person. Considering how I was raised it's sort of surprising that I didn't have to be institutionalized by the time I was ten-years old. But we grow up thinking that our lives and our families are normal, right?

Steven's dad did Christmas with us at my mom's house a couple of years ago.  After about fifteen-minutes of my mother methodically passing out one present at a time from the enormous mound accumulated and everybody having to stop and watch whoever the recipient was open the gift and then everybody having to ooh-and-ahh over each little thing as an obligatory photo is taken Steven's dad went outside for a smoke.  This was the first Christmas after Steven's mom had died, so Steven went to check on his dad to make sure he wasn't overcome and having an emotional melt-down.  When asked how he was holding up and if he was ok Steven's dad said, "Well, I could use an ice pick."  "An ice pick?" Steven asked.  "Why?"  "Because then I could gouge my eyes out and not have to watch every little fucking thing be unwrapped."  That's Christmas with my mom!!!

Anyway, I'm just venting. We went and saw a performance over the weekend where this guy does a staged recital of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries, if you're familiar with that story. It's the perfect anti-Christmas treat and completely befitting of my mood and attitude at the moment. If anybody reading this is in the Dallas area you might want to check it out. I really liked the venue it's playing at. Here's a link with more information.

Guess I should try and stay focused on the true spirit of the holiday though, shouldn't I? Remember what Salt-n-Pepa would have said if they'd ever cut a Christmas album: "Jesus is the reason for the seasoning."

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Protest Against Proposition H8 - Dallas, TX - 11/15/2008

Nov. 17th, 2008 | 09:48 pm

So y'all know that there were mass protests around the country and even some outside our nation on Saturday, right? The events were staged against California's Proposition 8 and in general support of glbt equal rights. We went to the one in Dallas and I took some video footage with my digital camera.



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So Whatever Happened To That Big Move Y'all Were Gonna Make?

Nov. 17th, 2008 | 05:21 pm


The whole busta-move-to-Canada plan is apparently in suspended animation for us. The logistical reality of such a move sunk in with me after a month or so of researching what was required and took the wind out of my sails. I wasn’t completely turned off the concept but just disheartened. Surprisingly Steven remained more manic about the idea for a longer period than I did, which is unusual. (He’s usually ‘over it’ if something doesn’t materialize immediately.) However, circumstances have changed and presented themselves in such a way that he too has lost his momentum towards a Canadian mega-move.

Even still we both think that it’s a great long-term plan. The problem is that unless Canadian laws change and become more lax we’ve basically only got until I’m 49-yrs old. After that I’d lose points based on my age post-50 and we would not be able to score high enough to get in. You have to have a score of like 63 and I’m right at exactly 63 currently. With Steven added into the mix we’re bumped up to 65, I believe, but that two point increase isn’t enough to counter the decrease in points earned after I turn 50. (Make sense?)

And I don’t know if we can even count on those two extra points for Steven because that’s based on his trade-school degree in cosmetology. In my research I discovered that Canada does not regulate that industry, so they don’t have any sort of licensing requirement. Well, at least that’s true of British Columbia. You could move to BC and become a hairdresser right now, assuming you could get set-up to work there legally.  There are cosmetology schools and most places probably wouldn’t hire someone without a degree from one but you don’t actually have to have a degree to cut hair. (Isn’t that krazier than shit?) So I don’t know if Steven’s vocational degree would even count towards the Canadian immigration points system.

The pros of Canada are that we would bypass all the bullshit still being hammered out here and just instantly secure our complete equal citizenship rights. Also, they have their own credit scoring system there, so we could start over financially, which would be nice as our credit is completely fucked right now.

The cons seem to outweigh the pros though. We’d have to get a whole bunch of paperwork together and everything has to be certified or notarized. Plus we have to pay for the cost of securing all the necessary documentation and all the Canadian fees, which altogether would come to about three-thousand dollars.

Emily’s tutor just came over from Britain in June with her family.  Her husband was telling me what a huge pain it was to immigrate from the UK to the U.S., even though the wife (Emily's tutor) was already an American-born citizen. For example, they were called into the immigration office in London one or two times and had to travel from Wales. When they’d get to their appointment they’d ask them a simple question or have them sign some piece of paper and then be like, “OK. That’s all.” The husband was furious. He was like, “We traveled all fucking day for you to ask us something you could have found out over the phone or sign something that could have been mailed in!?!” But apparently they do that sort of thing either because the bureaucratic red tape is hopelessly insurmountable and/or to weed out people who aren’t fully committed and are too poor to afford a cross-country trip. On the Canadian paperwork they allude to the same practice because you have to pick one of three offices you’re willing to go to if you’re required to come in for a face-to-face interview. Naturally none of the offices are convenient. One is in Buffalo, another is in San Diego and the other is in Seattle. So I wonder if at some point we’d have to pony up additional funds for a bullshit overnight trip to San Diego or Seattle during the course of the immigration process.

The most glaring consideration is the possibility that things might actually change here in the States now that Obama is going to be our president and both parts of Congress increased their Democratic majorities with this past election. We still have a slight edge in the Supreme Court with a 5-to-4 moderate-to-liberal majority and hopefully President Obama (doesn’t that sound nice!?!) will get to put one or two more people in with common sense over the next four to eight years. Pardon the cliché but do I dare to have hope for change? Perhaps we don’t need to make a move as extreme as leaving the country but just get out of the south. I really didn’t want to do that just a few months ago because gays don’t have equal rights at the federal level yet and we don’t have universal health care. I really think these two things may begin to change over the next four years though. I don’t think that it’s going to be as together as what they have in Canada currently but I think it’s going to be a huge leap forward. Like I can’t see the federal government suddenly recognizing same-sex marriage. But what they will probably be able to do is recognize us as such for all intensive purposes when it comes to taxes and benefits. And I don’t see us having true socialized medicine but we’ll probably get some sort of catch-all national Medicare thing which will at least help if I ever find myself without insurance through my job.

Anyway, additional considerations that have put the brakes on the Great Canadian Escape of 2008/2009 are the economy, housing and my elderly mother. I’ll approach these in reverse order beginning with my mother.

My mom is the only family we really have. Neither Steven nor I are close to anyone else we’re related to. If we moved we could totally drop-out in regards to our relatives. I have a very ‘distant’ relationship with my sister, speaking on the phone only a couple of times a year and seeing each other in person once every year or two. When I first met Steven he was really tied to his family but one-by-one all those he was close to have died. He’s also had a falling-out with a couple of his relatives, such as his own sister, that he used to be really close to but now doesn’t speak to at all. After Steven’s mother died in ’05 his dad had a mid-life crisis and, after acting like a teenager for a few months, married on the rebound and has built an entirely new life for himself. Steven is super resentful that his dad could seemingly ‘get over’ the death of Steven’s mother so quickly (especially after 35+ years of marriage) and that he’s closer now to his new wife’s kids and grandkids than he is his own.

The only exception to our extended families’ lack of involvement in our lives is my mother. She is very much in touch and extremely supportive of us. My mother has called Steven her ‘son-in-law’ pretty much since we’ve been together and practically worships Emily. But my mom is getting to be pretty old (she’s 74 now) and her body is becoming increasingly frail at an alarming rate now. She’s been having trouble with her eyes for a few years now but near the beginning of 2008 she started to have problems with the rest of her body. Her stats are fine – blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. It’s just that her body is pooping out. She’s becoming very weak and injury-prone and when she does suffer a physical ailment she’s slow to recover.

Back in around February she suffered a torn rotator cuff while getting out of the bathtub. She put off going to the doctor for a diagnosis and treatment for a couple of months. When she finally did go physical therapy was prescribed but then she never went. Now her legs are going and she had to go to a medical supply store and buy a cane to help her walk. She’s confessed to us that she has an extremely difficult time getting up out of her recliner and the bathtub, so at the rate she seems to be going she will no longer be able to do these things by herself within a year, I’m thinking.

We’ve mentioned the possibility of her moving in with us but she absolutely does not want to do that. I can understand. However, in the case of my mother it’s not just simply that she’s holding onto her independence. She’s simply a creature of habit and change upsets her immensely. We’re talking about a woman who has lived at the same address with the same phone number for over 40-years and has also kept the same hairstyle more-or-less for that length of time as well.

Moving in with us would rock her world. Our household is too chaotic for her temperament. Though there would be a lot of benefits I’m not sure if she wouldn’t have a stroke or a heart attack just from the spontaneity of the way we do routine household chores.   Again, we’re talking about a woman who has done laundry every Monday her entire life, grocery shopping is done on Wednesdays only, meals and baths are planned around Wheel Of Fortune at 6:30pm, etc.

So here’s the deal. We have to ‘be there’ for my mother in order to take care of her. She’s not quite at a point where she’s willing to give up living independently. When that happens a nursing home is out of the question, unless her medical health dictates round-the-clock care is required. (Steven works part-time at a nursing home, so he knows how bad and depressing they are, especially for those on a fixed income who can’t afford the perks, like a room by themselves.) Unless something unforeseen occurs that absolutely requires her to go into a nursing home she will eventually move in with us.

We cannot immigrate to Canada with my mother. She is not considered part of our immediate family. Only the primary applicant, their spouse and children can enter under the same paperwork. Because of my mother’s age and health she would not be permitted permanent entry. We would have to first move there and put down some roots before being able to eventually ‘sponsor’ her coming into the country later on down the line. So that would likely take a few years, which is simply not an option. If we did move to Canada my mother could come stay with us for six-months at a time under ‘visitor’ status but she would have no health care coverage while in the country. My mom is on Medicare/Medicaid and those programs do not pay outside of the U.S. (In fact, Medicaid is a state program partially subsidized by the federal government, so it won’t pay outside of Texas!) Because of her age and health we are going to have to remain geographically close to her from this point forward.

So that is the #1 major consideration with our move at this point. But there are several other factors though - the economy is in the toilet; unemployment is rising at an alarming rate; etc. Yet Steven and I have relatively secure jobs. Moving away and starting over right now would be very difficult and would almost certainly result in a huge downgrade in our standard of living. And we don’t have any sort of savings substantial enough to float us if we did move, other than cashing in my 401k retirement account, which would cost us a lot in fines and taxes.

Our credit is also shot. We took on way more debt than we could handle over the past several years and it finally started catching up with us last year. Steven is incredibly worried that if we move we won’t be able to find anything to live in but a crack-house. I’m not so worried about that myself. We’re not the only people with bad credit at the moment since the economy has tanked. I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who are individual owners that will rent to anyone who can pay the deposits upfront and there are always lots of for-sale-by-owner properties where the people will do a lease-to-own contract. Still, it’s a consideration. And if we moved off thousands of miles away we would know nothing about where to rent/buy initially and might accidentally settle in some place less than desirable. I think our biggest hindrance in regards to housing is having three dogs though! Finding a place to rent with one pet is hard enough but three dogs, two of which are very large, would be extra difficult. I think where there’s a will there’s a way though. We’ll figure something out.

So here’s my new and improved master plan. We will keep Canada as a potential end-goal and I will continue to work towards getting everything together that’s needed to apply for permanent residency but instead of doing it at a breakneck pace I’ll just work on it over the next several months to a year. In the meantime, I’m going to work on getting my mother used to the idea of moving in with us. She knows that it’s likely an inevitability but will put it off as long as she’s able. I’ll try to turn her way of thinking from ‘if I have to move in with you’ into ‘when I move in with you.’ I will simultaneously continue to research other potential places to relocate here in the States and explore job opportunities in those areas through the internet and networking.

At this point I sort of have my mind set on Massachusetts. It comes the closest to offering what I’m looking for here in the U.S. – recognition of same-sex marriage and ‘universal’ health care. In Massachusetts they don’t actually have ‘universal’ coverage, per se, but rather a legal requirement to carry health insurance and a supporting state-regulated industry that insures a pool of providers regardless of your health or pre-existing conditions. And if you’re too poor to carry insurance the state helps with financial subsidies or, if you’re dirt-poor, you can get on state Medicaid.

The whole north-east is pretty much opening up as a possibility though. Connecticut just recognized same-sex marriages, New York recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere although they’re not performed within the state itself at the moment but I know this will be happening over the next couple of years. New Jersey’s legislature pussed out and went with civil unions over marriage equality when their state supreme court ordered them to choose one or the other but I’m virtually certain that will be overruled in court soon and then that state too will have actual same-sex marriage. The other states around there, such as Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island, will all be on-board with marriage equality very shortly as well. Still, Massachusetts is my preference at the moment out of that region of the country.

I don’t want to just sit around waiting for my mother to die, which if truth be told is what she wants to have happen. If she is going to wind up dependent on us then she is going to have to go wherever we go. It’s not like she has a lot of ties here herself. She sees family only occasionally more than I do and she can continue to talk on the phone anywhere we go just like she does now.  She's got a rich cousin who has offered to send her on vacations but she won't accept.  But if we moved across the country maybe she would taken him up on an offer to fly in to see family once or twice a year.

Not to be morbid but I'm also thinking that if I continue to work on the Canada thing it might just work out to where my mom passes away right around the time we'd get our permanent residency status approved.  That sounds really horrible to 'say' out loud but I truly do believe that things happen for a reason.  My mother is making her plans to pass on.  She talks about it pretty frequently now, so that's obviously where her head is at.  If and when she does go there will be nothing at all to keep us here and we'll have some extra money to make a move once I sell her house.

Gee.  That really does sound horrible, doesn't it?  I'm just being realistic though.  Like once my mother does die I don't think that I'll be able to stay here emotionally, so moving will just be the next natural step.  Even if Canada remains just a pipe dream we're eventually going to move far away, even if it's within the U.S.  I'm gonna be forty next year and I look back at how fast my thirties went and how I would change events if I could and I'm damned determined not to make those same mistakes in my next decade.  Life is too short...to live in Texas as a homosexual atheist.

OK.  I actually started this entry a week or more ago and then drafted it.  I am trying to keep my journal entries up but often when I start one it turns into War And Peace and I run out of time to complete it and have to come back later.  Then it's a week or more before I'm able to pick it  up again.

Alright.  I'll be talkin' to all you ladies later.  Keep the faith and just dig in your stiletto heels, hon.  It's gonna be ok.

 

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Frustratingly Cliché - Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Nov. 7th, 2008 | 12:37 pm

The last few days have been draining.  I had been looking forward to the election for quite some time, even asking for the day afterward (Wednesday) off from work over a month ago.  I didn't have much fear that Obama would lose unless the Republicunts flat-out stole the election, which I saw as a possibility but a very remote one. All I wanted to do was go home from work and watch the return stats on the various cable news channels late into the night.  I just knew it was gonna be great.

 

Well, wouldn't you know it but Tuesday wound up being the longest day I have ever worked since starting my new job.  I was at the office until 9:30pm!!!  You see, there's an audit on one of our departments and the woman handling it was in from corporate and just happened to pick that particular day to visit.  She understands numbers but not the way we pull data, so it was very difficult to get her what she was asking for.  Plus, as is the case with audits, she wanted this huge amount of information going back over the past quarter, so the data took a long time to pull and then it took additional time to manage and filter and turn into reports. 

 

My boss is always super busy but Tuesday was especially hectic for her.  She had a big meeting coming up the next day with her new boss who was in from out of town and she had to have a bunch of stuff ready to present at an all-day meeting.  Therefore, she wasn't available most of the time to consult with.  So at 5pm I find myself finally able to meet with my boss and the auditor together for the first time and we realize that what is needed is not what I've been working on giving her all day.  So I had to stay and stay and stay all damn night to get the shit done!!  I was furious but too fatigued to react.  I just went through the motions like a good corporate zombie. By the time the office closed and everyone went home my eyes were itching.  But by the time I left, four-and-a-half hours later, my whole body and brain ached.  I wound up working over 13 consecutive hours.  I have actually put in longer shifts at my previous job a few times (did an over-nighter once) but you would know that the one night I really wanted to get off on-time and get home was the night they chained me to my desk.  FUCK. (My supervisor did comp me the next day off though, which I had already asked for but then I didn't have to use my own personal leave, so that was a minor consolation prize.)

 

I didn't get home until 10pm on Tuesday.  When I was about a block from the house they announced on the radio that Obama was projected to win.  However, I was listening to NPR so their announcement was very sedate.  Steven called me on my cell phone and was like "Obama won!!  Obama won!!"  I was like, "Well, it's just a projection.  I don't think that he's actually officially got it yet."  But Steven said, "The people on tv and in all the places around the country watching the election returns are freaking out as if he's for sure got it."  So a moment later I rolled into the driveway and Steven met me outside and was catching me up on all the stuff he'd seen on tv.  I walk in, sit down and am just instantly absorbed into the history of the moment.  McCain conceded and then Obama came out and gave his fantastic acceptance speech.  (He didn't thank the Clintons, did he?  I haven't heard anyone else mention that but I was waiting for it and never caught it if he did.)  It was such a wonderfully emotional moment but unfortunately it was very short-lived. 

 

Like I said, I just knew Obama was gonna win.  I'm a little bit of a political junky and had been following the polls pretty closely for months.  It was obvious in September that unless Obama somehow fucked up majorly there was no way McCain was going to be able to secure the electoral votes necessary to win.  The media have a vested interest in creating drama in order to propel their ratings, so they only ever focused on the popular vote.  However, it was apparent to anyone who investigated and scratched beyond the surface that the way the states were lining up Obama was going to be the next President elect.

 

Because I felt so confident about the Presidential race I turned my attention to Proposition 8 out in California.  That became my focus.  I'm sure you know but, just in case, Proposition 8 took away same-sex marriage in the state of California - a newly given right that people had just been able to take advantage of since May.  Initially our side (the 'no' vote) was way out in front by like 17%.  But then the religious right threw themselves into the battle full-force.  In lieu of a Presidential candidate they could rally around (because most of them really disliked McCain) they instead put all their energy and money into pushing Proposition 8.  About a month before the election the polls flipped.

 

When I heard that the religious right was winning I freaked.  Losing gay marriage after it had already been 'approved' would be a new precedent...and a bad one.  All of our marriage losses so far had come before-the-fact – meaning laws have been enacted to prevent same-sex marriage, not take it away once it was already established.  Proposition 8 was the first time such a right had been rescinded.  The ramifications were startling.  I wanted to do something but living in another state and having as little time as I do left me with few options.  All I could do was donate.  And we're super poor these days.  But I managed to give some every week.  I gave as little as $5 and as much as $15.  I wound up giving $50 total, which isn't a whole lot but when I say we're broke I ain't kidding, so that was literally all I could do. 

 

After Obama cinched the Presidency Tuesday evening I logged onto the internet and started hunting for the numbers on Prop 8.  At first it was ok our side was behind because only 3% of precincts were reporting but then it was 10% and then 25% and then 45% and our side never came up.  I kept waiting and watching, thinking "They haven't added in the majority of the coastal votes yet.  The 'no' votes will go up."  But they didn't.

 

I stayed up till 2am before finally dragging myself to bed, exhausted and depressed.  It seemed so unfair that in the midst of everyone’s euphoria over Obama's win I was deprived of that joy.  After 8-years of sheer horror I wanted that weight lifted so badly but instead it was just replaced by another crushing defeat.

 

Thank gawd I had the next day off.  I was a wreck.  I had to get up at 7:30 in the morning to help get Emily ready to go to her daycare/tutor woman's house.  Then I had to log onto my work laptop and do a remote connection to get some 'every morning' kind of stuff done.  (It's just easier to do it myself than try and train somebody to do in it my absence.)  I had planned to go back to bed but found that I couldn't sleep, so I made a pot of coffee and jumped back into the news.  Nothing had changed.  All day long I kept searching for news on Prop 8.  Where were the 3 million uncounted ballots they kept talking about?  If this sticks is there anything we can do about it?  I was desperate for some ray of hope. 

 

That afternoon some couples filed lawsuits alleging that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional because it revises the constitution rather than simply amending it.  I have to say that I agree and feel this is a rational argument.  However, it's not the way to win this thing.  Eventually our rights are going to have to be secured by the Supreme Court but for this particular problem we should have just won the popular vote.  Now if the courts reverse Prop 8 the religious right will scream about the will of the people being subverted and ignored.  And they'd be correct to a certain extent.  It never should have come to this.  Proposition 8 should have been identified as a constitutional revision right up-front.  That would have required a two-thirds majority, rather than a simple majority rule an amendment requires and all this mess could have been avoided.

 

I know we're all looking for someone to hang the blame on but I do find fault with the 'No On Prop 8' people.  Even though I was giving them money I was never satisfied with their results.  It was a case of too little too late. And they took a tepid approach - afraid to rock the boat too much because they thought if they were too vocal about the 'gay thing' they'd scare mainstream voters away.  So they wound up not using actual gay families in their ads but rather straight sympathizers, like parents of adult gay children. By using that tactic they never gave our cause a face.  The general public never saw our families.  They never saw our children.  They didn't see the couple who had been together 50+ years and come to understand the devastation one partner can face when the other becomes sick, let alone dies. They didn’t meet the people they were hurting, so it was much easier to cast all those ‘yes’ ballots, plunging a couple of million daggers into our community’s heart.

 

And the ‘No on Prop 8’ campaign ignored African-Americans! For a couple of months I’d been reading about how it was expected black voters would be turning out in droves to support Obama but they were exceptionally conservative when it comes to glbt matters, so they might help push the proposition through. In the 11th hour I saw a commercial featuring Samuel L. Jackson but that was it. For months they should have been reaching out to the black community and especially its youth. There should have been fundraisers featuring hip-hop artists and all the Mtv channels should have been doing stories about what was going on. But the ‘No’ team sat on their hands and decided that playing it safe and toning down their message was the way to reach those middle-of-the-road voters. Yeah – hindsight is 20/20 and it’s always easier to criticize but I’m being honest when I say that the ‘No’ campaign never did meet my expectations, nor reflect my sense of urgency and anger. But they were supposed to be the experts and kept assuring everyone that once our message was heard it changed minds. Yet our message was never heard.

 

I’m recovering and am pretty much back to my old spirits now after a couple of days of severe anger and depression. I mean, it’s just typical the way it turned out. When you allow a majority vote on a minority’s interests you’re seldom going to get equality. In fact, it’s pretty much guaranteed you won’t.

 

One of the aspects of this debacle that enrages me is that despite our nation’s mandate against the combination of church and state it is the religious argument that is continuously used over and over to repress our people. This is insane. You can have your religious beliefs but you cannot be allowed to enforce them legally upon others who do not share similar views. Of course, I realize that the whole separation-of-church-and-state is tainted with a huge degree of bullshit in this country but if the rules were being followed to the letter of the law we wouldn’t have this mess to begin with. 

 

Religion has been used as a weapon to repress every minority in our history. People justified slavery with biblical passages. Later they continued this practice to uphold and rationalize separate-but-equal practices. And women have certainly felt the brunt of religious persecution. It is particularly upsetting to see so many women at the forefront of the fundamentalist conservicunt movement. (However, I’m thrilled that Marilyn Musgrave lost her seat in Colorado this election. Couldn’t have happened to a better twat, Marilyn. You truly deserve it, you fucking bitch.) At any rate, religion will continue to be used as a weapon against the glbt community for at least another generation or so until we can deprogram Americans and stop the cultish brainwashing that most ‘faiths’ dictate. Or at least divert and change the messages they ingrain into the psyches of their flocks.

I was so saddened by the success of Proposition 8. When a friend of mine sent out a mass email voicing her happiness about Obama’s election I had to reply with a wet-blanket response citing my continued status as a second class citizen. Here’s something that happened that made me feel a bit better though. A lady I used to work with who is black and very religious asked a mutual friend and former coworker of mine about the status of Prop 8. My friend forwarded my email to her in which I cited not only the apparent passage of Prop 8 but the passage of anti-gay marriage initiatives in Florida and Arizona, and passage of the anti-gay adoption initiative in Arkansas, as well. The religious black lady took the time to write me the following response:

 

You will never be an outsider nor a second class citizen (not in my heart and eyes).  There are many people in this society that look and think of you as a great role model that can and is making a positive difference in someone's life.  Keep focused on your young daughter and always remember not to give up or give in because change will come.

 

That truly did make me feel better. After hearing over and over in the media about how the majority of African-Americans voted against our rights, to know that this woman who should be against me according to statistical demographics now stands with me was truly inspiring. I know that she was initially ‘uneducated’ concerning the struggles we face but by getting to know me during the years we worked together she now understands our plight and is sympathetic to our cause. That is how we will win this so-called ‘culture war’ – by changing one person at a time. 

 

Another thing that has made me feel better is that I’m not alone in my anxiety, anger and depression. On Tuesday night and all day Wednesday most of the news was focused on how great it was that Obama was elected. There wasn’t a whole lot devoted to Prop 8 and the negative consequences its approval will entail. But since then I’m starting to see more talk in the media and I’ve found many blog entries and heard commentary by people who are just as heartsick as I am. (Such as this entry by Ragan Fox and this episode of the best podcast in the world - Feast Of Fools.)  You know what they say – misery loves company. It’s true. I’m just so glad that others feel as strongly as I do about this dilemma. 

There have also been a couple of protest rallies, which really lifted my spirits when I read about those. One was in front of the big Mormon church headquarters in LA. The Mormon church out of Utah was the biggest bankroller for the support and passage of Proposition 8, so they truly do deserve our scorn. (Although not all Mormons sided with the official stance of their church, so you can’t just stereotype all of them but the church leaders have earned our hatred.)

 

On Wednesday a friend of mine who used to live in San Francisco and now lives in upstate New York replied back to my email in which I noted my sadness and the fact that we as a people continue to be relegated to sub-human status. I don’t know what his point was or where his emotion came from but he challenged my feelings by asking why should I care when I live in such a ‘red’ state – Texas. I guess he was implying rhetorically that if I was so upset about what was happening in California how could I stand to stay in such a worse environment. I have to say that his response really hurt my feelings. I was feeling pretty vulnerable and then to have a friend and ‘brother’ seemingly attack me for my admittedly self-indulgent but, I think, understandable pity and woe was almost as disheartening as the Prop 8 win itself. I wrote a response to him and am pasting it below. After I sent it I thought perhaps I had overreacted and took his comments too personally, so I followed-up with a ‘sorry to get on my soapbox’ kind of post-script. Still, my response was honest and reflects my feelings and beliefs concerning this terrible development…

 

I am upset because I take these losses personally.  They represent a direct outpouring of hate pointedly directed at our community by the fundamentalists who have high-jacked our government.  Such losses are the grown-up mutation of every 'faggot' taunt I heard as a child.  It's the bullies refusing to share the playground again.  And it scares the shit out of me. 

 

Civil rights should never be put to a vote.  If racial civil rights had been put to a majority vote then blacks would still be shining shoes and refused the right to vote themselves.  As an example, at the time the Supreme Court overturned state bans on interracial marriage in 1967 general opinion polls showed the country opposed to such relationships by a margin of 70%.  The majority opinion did not justify the inequality of denying interracial couples the right to marry and it does not now justify the inequality faced by gays.  We in the glbt community have been and continue to be scapegoats for the most hypocritical elements of our society who have turned us into the boogey-man in order to propel their own self-interests, distract from their ill-deeds and in lieu of other enemies they targeted in the past but can no longer blame, such as blacks or even communists.  There always has to be a villain and we're it now.

 

And, believe me, I feel every bit of the pain that living in a red state entails.  It is psychologically draining and damaging.  In fact, Gini, Luke and Brindle can attest to the fact that we have been cultivating a plan to get the fuck out.  I have been so sick to fucking death of this place that I have considered and am still considering cashing in my 401k retirement, quitting my job and just moving without any plan other than escape.  I am not raising my daughter here, so change is definitely coming for me and my family but unfortunately we do have some responsibilities and logistics to consider first.

 

The primary reason why I am so upset by the vote in California, however, is because of the historical nature of the situation.  As has been well-publicized, California often sets the political and cultural tone for the rest of the nation or, at least, presents an early representation of trends to come on a national scale.  So a set-back in California is more far-reaching than to just that state's borders.  Further, with Prop 8 it is the first time constitutional rights have been rescinded.  And, finally, much of the nation, especially those of us in so-called 'red' states, look to California as a source of hope for the socially downtrodden.  It has traditionally been a left-leaning moderate state and, as the most populated state in our nation, a beacon during the worst of times (i.e. the past two presidential elections, for example) when much of the rest of the country seems to have lost its mind.

 

The losses, not only in California but those in Arizona, Florida and Arkansas as well, have a ripple effect that touches everyone in every part of our country.  Such defeats continue to diminish us as humans by relegating us to sub-human status and, in turn, give tacit social approval to those who would not only hurt us politically but physically as well. 

 

PS: I don't even know that I would marry if given the option.  I just see it as an equal rights issue.  Period.

 

 

But, you know, since writing the above I do feel a lot better. I mean, all that I said still applies. Yet after only a couple of days hope has returned. Every struggle for equality is fraught with set-backs. That’s all this is – just a temporary set-back. It’s hard to wait though. And it’s hard not to take voter approval of Proposition 8 personally. It’s people judging us in the court of public opinion and then cementing those ‘opinions’ into laws, which is revolting. But we’ll fight on and keep living our lives openly despite the protests of others. (Fuck you and kiss my ass ‘others’!!)

 

Anyway, I hope to be able to write more later today or over the weekend. I haven’t posted much but I had been talking about making a big move in the sporadic posts of the past couple of months. There are some new ideas and plans regarding that plan that I would like to write about in order to sort out my thoughts. I truly do need a change of scenery. This place sucks Tijuana donkey dicks.

 

Ciao for now, my lil’ twisted dah-lings. Ta-ta.

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Apparently A Jedi Draws Most Of His Strength From Fried Foods

Oct. 30th, 2008 | 08:29 am
mood: aggravated aggravated

I was irritated yesterday and thought I’d share (i.e. bitch) because I know you relate. Every work day I go to the gym during my lunch hour. For some reason I have really bad karma when it comes to picking a locker. No matter which locker I pick when I’m through working out and ready to change there’s always some guy that’s coming or going and is right where I need to be. Like he’ll be using the locker right next to the one I picked when the rest of the entire locker room is empty. It never fails.

So yesterday was no exception. When I was ready to get into my gym bag to get my soap and towel and leave my socks and sneakers in the locker there was a guy in my way. However, instead of getting dressed or undressed he was sitting with a towel draped over his head, shirtless and cross-legged on the changing bench quietly talking (chanting?) to himself staring straight ahead. (!!!) I don’t know if he thought he was meditating or praying or what but I do know that he was downright annoying and looked like a right fool. He was overweight and wearing a wet bathing suit with the back sagging down showing about two to three-inches of cavernous butt-crack.

I just slipped by him, grabbed my bag and moved over to another spot on the other side of the locker room. But I left my clothes and dress shoes in the original locker. I figured when I through showering he’d probably be gone and I could grab my stuff and move back. Naturally when I was done even though he was gone there were other guys at both of the lockers I had my stuff spread out in. Nobody else was in the locker room but naturally the two men who were happened to be right next to each of the two lockers I had my crap now spread out in. So I had to go to one locker, gather all my stuff up, move it to a bench in the middle and then do the same at the other locker.

As I was dressing I spotted the chanting/praying dude moving from the whirlpool to the steam room. I'm sure unwinding his brilliant mind while soaking in the intense heat of the water or sauna with intermittent meditation is all part of his ultimate kung fu philosophy, Grasshopper. He was pudgy, hairy and had a ponytail. I think he fancies himself a real Jedi master. What a fuckin' doofus.

He was very much like this fart. Seriously…

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We've Only Got 4 Minutes To Save This Journal

Oct. 17th, 2008 | 12:29 am

I know! I know!! I need to do better than just embedding a YouTube video if I want to keep this journal alive. There just doesn't seem to be any time to fuck off at work like I used to these days. Then once I get home you can forget about it! I have next to no free time.

Anyway, I wanted to post something and for whatever reason I can't get this video out of my head. It just cracks me up because it's so silly. It's the guys from my favorite podcast, Feast Of Fools, and their friend and frequent guest Ben Lerman, who is a musical comedian and très funny, girl. (Note you should pronounce the end of 'funny' to rhyme with 'tres' as in 'fun-nay'...OK? ~ now pronounce that 'ohhh-kaaay')


If you like that you may also want to check out Ben Lerman spontaneously breaking into Smell Yo Dick with drag diva Britney Houston, as well as the original video for that song. Both are most worthwhile. If you haven't tripped on that song I would recommend watching the original video first because the cover isn't as funny if you aren't already familiar with the tune.

Ciao, dah-lings.

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Stop, Drop & Roll...A Doobie

Oct. 3rd, 2008 | 05:23 pm

Once again it's been awhile since I last posted. I hate to let things get so far behind but I just never seem to have the time. Between what has to be done at work and what has to be done at home there's little time for anything else it seems.

Not a whole lot has been happening on this end really. I was in manic-mode for a while planning our great escape to the north. The fire for that idea has dimmed a bit. I'm not saying that the plan is scratched. It's just that it's not something that's going to happen tomorrow. We have to pull together quite a bit of money to get that plan going and there's just always something else demanding attention financially! I was hoping to have everything done by next month's election but I knew that was a long-shot. Sure enough, we'll be lucky to have it pulled together by Christmas.

I've been slightly depressed lately but there may be a good reason for that other than the day-to-day bullshit we all constantly endure. It became apparent to me a couple of weeks ago that my memory had gotten really bad. Like I would be in my boss's office discussing some project one day and the next day I would remember having had the meeting but I couldn't recall any of the specifics. It was as if I had gradually slipped into this perpetual fog over this past year.

I've always had an ok memory. In fact, my memory was better when I used to smoke pot every day than it has been recently!! And I haven't smoked dope regularly in like ten or eleven years and haven't touched the stuff even occasionally in over five. Yet my mind just seemed to be on a crash course with oblivion. I thought at first it was a defense mechanism because of all the stress in my life. But then when I started going over what's changed since my memory petered out it occurred to me that I was taking much higher doses of my prescription meds that I used to.

I had worked my way up to the maximum dosage of my antidepressant, Welbutrin, at 450 mg. And I used to just take half of one of my Xanax (.25 mg) at bedtime with another half every now and then when I got too anxious about something but in recent months I'd been taking probably 1 to 2 mg a day. Maybe more than that sometimes actually. Of course just about all prescription medications have this huge list of rare but possible side-effects and both of these drugs include 'memory loss' in theirs. I didn't know if one pill was the culprit over the other, so I decided to cut back on each. I knocked my Welbutrin down by a 1/3 to 300 mg a day and went back to just taking .25 mg of Xanax at night before sleep.

Let me tell you, girl, I must have had a little addiction goin' on with the Xanax because it took me several days to get back to where I could sleep fitfully through the night. For like three or four days I got like two-consecutive hours of sleep maximum. It took me forever before I'd finally nod off and then when I did my sleep would be very restless. After several nights like this I finally took a single Tylenol PM (which you know is nothing more than Benadryl wrapped in a Tylenol, right?) along with my little Xanax to insure I'd sleep harder. Well, that seemed to sort of kick-start my sleeping pattern again and after that I've been pretty much back to normal.

Anyway, back to the point. My memory instantly improved after just one day on the lesser dosage of meds. I feel almost back to 'normal' - whatever the hell that is since I've never been truly 'normal'...but I don't think anyone really is. So fuck it.

Because of the whole memory thing I really have been going back and thinking about where my head used to be at, particularly ten to twenty years back. I had more inquisitiveness about me back then and more joie de vivre than I do now. However, I was too insecure to actually do anything. Hindsight is always 20/20 but what would have happened if I'd lived my dream and picked up and moved to some place like NYC or San Francisco or even Europe? And tried to get a job I enjoyed instead of a secure office job with benefits? I was way too mentally shackled to do anything like that back then but if I had I would have survived.

I do miss those lazy, stoney daze of my twenties. But I could never go back. I'm just not that same person anymore...for better and for worse. It's just growing up and growing older.

Still, I'm trying to remember the good things about where my head was at once upon a time and recapture those elements. Is it even possible though? Sometimes I think I'm just too cynical now to regain the enthusiasm I once had for things artistic or creatively frivolous. Does that make sense? I mean, it was easy to be 'engaged' with life when I was young, single and high all the time. And I didn't have the money constraints that I do now, which is ironic considering that I make more now than I ever have before in my life. Yet I'm always struggling.

Wow. I so need to keep this journal up. It really helps me to focus my thoughts.

The tone of this entry may seem like kind of a downer and that is where my head has been at lately. However, my goal is to turn it around and be more positive. One of the things about aging is I'm realizing that life truly is what you make it, just like people have always said to me. I just didn't have the confidence in myself to take chances though. (I get that from my mom. Gee, thanks.)

So as I said in my prior entries, I've got a goal of relocating to a more positive place geographically. For me this means gay-friendly foremost and scenic would be nice too. Of course most of the places gays congregate are either already scenic or we make them that way, so the scenery factor shouldn't be too big of a problem.

It would be easier to move somewhere in the States. But the ultimate in my mind is Canada. So why settle for less, you know? The allure of universal health care and nationally sanctioned gay marriage has a helluva pull. Moving there would also be the biggest way possible to truly start over. I just have to stay focused.

It's not all about me though. I do have a family, I realize. Steven completely supports the idea though. In fact, when I lost my manic enthusiasm for moving he started asking me all the time, "Why are you not talking about Canada anymore? Are you over it?" He's not, which is great. I think we truly are on the same page with our long-term goals for once. But we still struggle with the day-to-day. (It's always about money and prioritizing expenses. I'm sure that's typical though.)

So I better wrap this up. I've stayed late at work just to write this and to have some time alone with my thoughts. I've gotta get home though. He may have some sort of solid plans for dinner and may already be making it.

There's more stuff I could/should write about but I'll let that be my incentive to post more frequently. I do need to focus on my immediate problems and goals instead of only the long-term future and writing all this stuff out helps tremendously.

OK. Steven's calling. Y'all have a sensuous weekend full of hot erupting bodily fluids. (Just have a towel close at hand. Mama hates sleepin' in the wet spot.)
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