Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye, and good riddance

It's already 2008 in a good portion of the world, and will be here in exactly 6 hours. We were planning to have a couple of good friends over for dinner and game night to ring in the new year, but the cold I came down with has only gotten worse so I had to call it off. So, we'll be spending the evening at home under a blanket while I try not to cough myself to death. While spending the evening with the hubby under a blanket by the fire is a good thing in itself, it seems a fitting end to a year where nothing has gone has planned. As someone at work said, it's been a year where everything has needed to be a Plan B. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I consider 2007 to be the worst year of my life. I won't go into what made it all so bad, but you probably already know. So, as 2007 comes to a close, the best thing I can think to say is "It can't end soon enough!"

Instead of rehashing all the bad things that happened in 2007, to me and the people I care about, I think I should concentrate on the good things that did happen in the last year. Yes, there were plenty of good things, and it would be so easy to let them be overshadowed by the negatives. If there was every any doubt, I'm definitely an optimist. I've taken all the negative things that happened and still managed to find positives in them. As it turns out, most of the positives were things that I learned by trying to cope with the negatives.

The saying that "Wisdom comes from experience" certainly is true. I learned this year that I'm actually a much stronger person than I ever thought possible. I've dealt with things this year that prior to this I wouldn't have thought I could handle. It was dealing with all the crap that made me stronger, so indeed some good did come of it all. I also realized that I'm pretty good at taking control of a situation without being an asshole about it.

I learned that I know how to take things one day at a time, and that the theory really works. I figured out who my real friends were this year and also learned that it's okay to open up to them; if they're true friends, they won't run away. In fact, my true friends rallied around when things were tough and I'm forever grateful to them. I learned that I truly can't fix everything (even though I've often tried) and that it's okay to lean on people. I also learned that I'm pretty good at utilizing my resources to get things done.

I learned this year that my relationship is even stronger than I thought. I always knew we had a very strong bond, but dealing with things together this year cemented that even further. Instead of the bad things tearing us apart like I've seen happen to so many other couples, it brought us closer together. I'm definitely thankful for that.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. I've always thought it a bad idea to take on an arbitrary commitment just because we hang up a new calendar. However, I can say that I will be taking the things I learned in 2007 into 2008 in order to make it a good year. Maybe that's something of a resolution after. I'm still counting down the minutes until this wretched year ends, and as it does I would like to say to it: "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Post-nap ramble

I just woke up from a much-needed nap and felt inspired to write, so here I am.

Well, it's day 8 of my 11 day stretch of time off work. The time seemed to go really fast, but that's usually what happens with time off. This is the longest I've had off work since 2004 when we took a two week vacation. I can't say that I have anything to show for the time off, but ask me if I care... ;-)  I go back to work on Wednesday and it's going to be a shock to my system to have to get out of bed and out of the house by a certain time, and to be civil to other humans before 10AM. Wish me luck. 

Most of my time off was spent with our friend Rick who was here for the holiday. I had a great time with him here. We didn't do any touristy things since he's been here so many times, unless you count Pike Place Market. It's nice that we can spend whole days doing nothing but talking (and often-times eating) and still not run out of things to talk about. He's truly family to me and I'm so glad he came up.

Rick has also been looking at applying for a job here in Seattle but he's waffling on it. I would very much like him to move up here...after all, who doesn't want a close friend to live nearby? So, everyone should go to his LiveJournal page here and let him know that he NEEDS to move to Seattle. Maybe others out there can come up with better arguments than I have about why he should move here. Apparently "...because I really really want you to!" isn't enough to convince him. 

Somehow I managed to get a cold this weekend. I think our dinner host on x-mas day had something and he sent me home with it. I'll have to remember not to kiss the host next time. I started feeling crappy on Thursday and by today it's going full force. I did manage to spend some time with a good friend this week, even though I knew I was coming down with something. I really enjoyed the time together. Of course, wandering around downtown in almost-freezing temps and rain might not have helped my situation...oh well. Otherwise, I've been spending a lot of time sleeping and I think it's helping. I've slept over 18 hours in the last 24; I feel like such a slug. This afternoon I just couldn't sleep any more and had to get up and do something so here I am typing this. As it is now, Jayson is still asleep upstairs. I hope that doesn't mean that he's trying to catch what I have.

I still owe everyone pics of the NYC trip from almost 2 weeks ago. The camera is still in the luggage and (this is very embarrassing) we haven't yet unpacked from the trip. The luggage is sitting in the bedroom near the closet entrance and we've been stepping over it for so long now that it has kind of become part of the room decor. I'm usually not this bad when it comes to putting things away, but we were busy from the time we got home, then had a house guest, then had x-mas, and now I'm sick. Yes yes yes...I know I'm rationalizing, but I'm good at it and I enjoy it. I'm thinking we'll get it taken care of this weekend since we're both tired of looking at it, and we're running out of socks. Soon as I get the camera out of the luggage I'll post the pics. They won't be timely, but at least they'll be.

I wish I had more to talk about, but that's all that's going on. We're planning to spend New Year's Eve with some friends having a game night, something we had been doing monthly but let lapse for some unknown reason. I'm looking forward to it since we always have fun with these guys. Our previous game nights were a great time. I hope we can make this the beginning of a new regular trend. If nothing else, it will be a nice way to ring in the new year, and I'll be so glad to see this year end.

Well, I think that's all I've got at the moment. Don't forget to stop by Rick's page and argue for him to move to Seattle. ;-)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Boxing Day

It's been quite a while since I posted anything here; the last few weeks have been VERY busy. The New York trip took went really well and was a lot of fun. Jayson and I were there on our from Wednesday to Friday afternoon and enjoyed doing whatever sounded good at the time. Wednesday we merely wandered around the village and then headed out for dinner after a nap. We spent part of the evening at Rock Center taking pics and just enjoying the energy that was there. The next day the weather was amazingly bad (sleet, snow, heavy rain) so we spent much of the day sitting drinking tea watching the city go by. Of all the things we did, that was one of the most enjoyable. B & C arrived in town on Friday and we spent the rest of the weekend with them. We all had a great time it seemed. We did lots of tourist things, but in NYC even those are fun.

After NYC I had a busy week getting ready for the holiday. Our friend was arriving in town on Saturday and we had a lot of things to do to be prepared for that. Unfortunately we weren't able to get everything done, but that's okay. He's as close to family as possible, so he understands if the house isn't "just so". As it is, we still haven't unpacked the luggage from NYC (and we've been home 10 days...ugh). It's been a really good weekend and holiday. We spent X-mas eve out at dinner with friends. Surprisingly, Jayson and I had two margaritas (okay, Italian margaritas, whatever those are)...I didn't think I'd have those again for a long time. In any event, the evening was a lot of fun. X-mas day we got up early, opened our gifts, dug into our stockings, which is always the most fun), and then went to dinner at some friends' house. We spent the entire afternoon and evening there and had a really good time. They made an amazing meal and I appreciate all the effort they went to.

My friend is here until this afternoon and I'm sure we'll be doing very little today until lunch time. I'm off work until next Wednesday and I'm loving it. It's been a couple of years since I've had 11 days in a row off work. I think I need to take time off more often!

I think that's all I've got right now. I thought after not posting anything for so long I'd have more to talk about, and be wittier about it. Hmmm.... I could go into great detail about some of the NYC trip, but that would be entirely uninteresting, and mildly embarrassing as well. I'll post some pics of the trip in the next day or two, soon as I pull them off the camera (which is still in the luggage).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Isn't Jesus busier than this?

I would think the christian messiah would have better things to do than to appear on an x-ray for some guy in Florida. Surely he’s got a much fuller schedule that doesn’t allow him the free time to randomly appear in places like this. I would think planning for the apocalypse and his second coming would already fill most of his time. Yet somehow he can find the time to appear on things like pancakes, trees, and x-rays. If he’s trying to communicate with the world, it would be so much more efficient to come right out and say “Hello” and make a personal appearance. Maybe heaven isn’t nearly as exciting as we’ve been led be believe and Jesus is just bored. At least he’s finally using technology for a change.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Santa is a pedophile

What a nice idea this was. Take technology, add some Christmas (and Microsoft) automagic and voila, you can talk to Santa. Only problem: Santa can be a dirty old man. Ho, ho, ho indeed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hanukkah joke

I didn't make this up, so don't complain if you think it's bad (which it is).



It was Hanukkah and the tiny village was in fear of not having any latkes because they had run out of flour. Rudi, the rabbi, was called upon to help solve the problem.

He said, "don't worry, you can substitute matzo meal for the flour and the latkes will be just as delicious!"

Sheila looks to her husband and says, "Mortey, you think it'll work?"

"Of course! Everybody knows Rudolph the Rab knows grain, dear!"


I apologize to any Jewish readers (and for that matter, any non-Jewish ones) for how bad that joke is. Happy Hannukkah anyway!

Big art

From Burning Man this year, this has to be one of the coolest works of art I’ve ever seen.



Sunday, December 2, 2007

Weekend wrap-up

What a great weekend. The trip to the WA coast was really nice. It started on Friday right after work sitting in traffic on our way south. We still got Long Beach at about 21:00 which wasn’t bad. Surprisingly the entire group was still up drinking whiskey and just hanging out in one of the living rooms. We spent some time with everyone and then the group broke up for bed time. The weekend at the inn was different than it would normally have been. The first weekend after Thanksgiving, Bill and Suzie (the innkeepers) invite some of their favorite guests as well as some of their friends and everyone helps decorate the inn for the holidays. It’s nice because it feels more like a family gathering than just a group of guests.

Saturday we woke up to it snowing really hard and it continued all through breakfast. I’ve never seen it snow at the beach before and it was beautiful. After breakfast we headed down to Astoria for a drive and to pick up some stuff we needed from the store. When we got back to the inn it was time to decorate. It was a lot of fun with everyone (okay, almost everyone except for one Jewish guy) taking part. We worked for about 3 hours and the place looked great when we were done. After a quick nap we re-joined everyone and went to dinner at The Port Bistro in Ilwaco for a great meal. Everyone going out after the decorating is another tradition of the weekend and it’s always a lot of fun. Jayson and I wanted to spend time in the hot tub so we took some time after dinner. It was great to be in it with the storm going on outside.

We hit it off with a really nice couple from Portland. Robert is a police sergeant and Cindy is a veterinarian. Cindy is going through chemotherapy so she’s lost her hair. Robert, Jayson, and I all have shaved or buzzed heads so we made an interesting foursome. We seemed to continually gravitate towards each other all weekend long and hopefully we’ll get to meet up with them again sometime. Jayson and I commented to each other that out of the many times we’ve been to the inn and had a great time, this was by far the most social and fun group.

After breakfast on Sunday we drove down to the beach to watch the waves. Not only was the rain being blown horizontally, so was the sand. It wasn’t too pleasant getting out of the car on the beach so we drove to Cape Disappointment to check out the waves. There’s a great spot across Waikiki cove with a view to the lighthouse. I took a few pics you can check out in the album. The waves were really impressive. At that point the winds were steady at about 45 MPH with gusts that were easily 60 MPH and the waves were 15 to 20 feet high. I had trouble standing in one place because of the wind; I felt like one of those reporters we always see on the news when a hurricane is hitting someplace. Tonight and tomorrow morning the winds are supposed to get up to about 100 MPH and the waves to 45 feet. I really wish we could have stayed to see that, but maybe another time. Ever since we discovered the Long Beach area we’ve wanted to be there for a storm so this was better than we’d ever seen. After some pics and being impressed by the waves we headed home. The drive home was pretty interesting; we had torrential rains, incredible winds, and for about 20 miles lots of snow on the ground. At one point I noticed as we were doing about 50 MPH, the spray from our tires was passing us and blowing faster than the car was moving. If nothing else, the trip wasn’t boring.

So that was our weekend. I expected to enjoy ourselves, but it was nicer than I had anticipated. Jayson was in good spirits all weekend and I think having some new people to be around helped with that. I felt like I was able to decompress, de-stress, and really relax for a while. I definitely needed that.  

Long Beach - December 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Weekend!

This has been one very long week. I even had Monday off while my mother was here and the remaining four days seemed like 10. Nothing at work went right. Every project I worked on that should have been a slam dunk and completed in an hour took two days. Someone here at work said it very well: everything lately has required a Plan B. So far today two server-based apps have completely blown up and required creative ideas to get them going again. I don’t know if it’s the phase of the moon or the alignment of the planets and stars, but something is out of whack. Maybe as the month changes tomorrow it will all fall back into place.
The week at home was also hellishly busy. My mother was here until Monday afternoon and then Jayson had chorus rehearsal on Monday night. And then again on Tuesday night. And then again on Thursday night. I had a violin lesson on Wednesday and about the time I got out of that he had an appointment. He also had an appointment Thursday before his chorus, and then I went home and got us ready for the trip this weekend. That always takes longer than I think it will, between getting the dog to the sitter and getting the cat set up with enough food and water to getting everything packed and ready to go.
After work today we’re headed to Long Beach, WA. We’ll have our favorite room in our favorite little inn on the beach there and I’m looking forward to it. We were there in May but it’s such a different atmosphere in the winter. It’s quieter and calmer, and in some ways prettier. There’s supposed to be a storm coming in tomorrow and with nothing between the beach and the inn it could be exciting. The living room has glass on three sides and a nice fireplace so it will make a great storm-watching spot, when we’re not in the hot tub that is. I’ve got a bottle of wine packed, along with some warm clothes if we’re outside much, and I’m hoping that we get to relax this weekend and decompress a little bit; we both need it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bush is very gracious

I should be writing a post about my holiday and last weekend but it’s way too busy at work today. Maybe later tonight…maybe not.

In any event, I saw this in the NY Times (requires logon) and could not let it pass without comment. The story is about Gore visiting Bush at the White House to be honored for his Nobel Prize win. That last two sentences of the story are what get me:

Mr. Bush’s press secretary, Dana Perino, told reporters the president is willing to let bygones be bygones.

“This president does not harbor any resentments,” she said. “He never has.”

What would Bush have to resent? That Gore won the popular vote but lost because Bush’s daddy’s friends were on the Supreme Court? That Gore tried to uphold the U.S. Constitution and make sure the laws were followed? That Gore tried to make sure that democracy is more than just a hollow word to be used to invade other countries by making sure that every vote was fairly counted? That Bush has run this country into the ground by getting us involved in an unnecessary and illegal war that will take decades to fix? That he’s ruined the economy and put us in so much debt it will take at least one generation to repair it?

Gore should be the one who’s resentful. But, Bush and his ilk always have to portray themselves as the victims and this is just another example. Our dear leader…what a moron.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

This week has flown by, but at the same time has seemed long. I went to the gym with C yesterday and had a blast. We got a good workout in but we also had a lot of fun being silly and teasing each other. I’m definitely enjoying these gym days and I hope they can become the three-day-a-week routine that we’ve talked about. I feel good that I’m giving my body some exercise and the company and social time is just as good, if not better.

For the rest of the weekend, I’m not sure what we’re doing. It’s the end of my work day today and I’m about to head down to the airport to pick up my sister. I’m absofuckinglutely dreading the drive and airport traffic, but it’s got to be done. I’m curious how this weekend will play out with our different dynamics at play. It should be fun and if anyone acts up I’ll send him/her to his/her room for the evening. Jayson and I didn’t schedule anything other dinner tomorrow so we’ll have to find ways to amuse ourselves. I’m sure we’ll take a trip to Pike Place Market for a couple of hours and maybe get out and about some other times. Maybe we’ll sit and play games. I know for certain that I’m not going kayaking.

I’ve been meaning to post this vid for a couple of days now. I probably won’t post much this weekend and since I mentioned this to C yesterday, I’ll stick it up today. It’s from ABC’s (Australian Broadcasting Company) The Chaser’s War On Everything and it’s pretty funny.



I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving and can easily name a few things to be thankful for.

More Facebook BS

I really don’t have anything against Facebook; in fact, I’ve never used the site. But, I ran across this item today that made an interesting follow-up from this post of mine from earlier in the month. I thought it was just kind of creepy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ken Hutcherson strikes again

Or at least he tries to strike. This item from Dan Savage’s Slog went by me last week but then I came across a follow-up that got my attention. Ken Hutcherson is the anti-gay fundie preacher from a mega-church in Redmond who is most famous for getting Microsoft to derail the anti-discrimination law in the state legislature a couple of years ago. That backfired on Microsoft in a big way and the next year they backed the bill, which passed.

Anyway, after a couple of years of obscurity Hutcherson’s back, this time trying to get Microsoft to do his bidding again. Watching the video of his question at the shareholder’s meeting, he does sound like nothing but a big blow-hard. The question following his, which you can see on the official Microsoft video at about 51:40, obviously reflects more closely the feelings of the majority at the meeting and received much more applause:

QUESTION: I own over 1,000 shares, and I also represent an investment club with many more shares. My question is for any particular person, it doesn’t matter. What can shareholders do to support the corporation in opposition against hurtful, and hateful constituent actions, particularly and specifically Reverend Hutcherson? (Applause.)

BRAD SMITH: As a company we’ve had a clear policy with respect to the way we treat our people. And we believe in that policy. It’s a policy that’s founded on non-discrimination. It’s a policy that we believe has served our employees well, it’s served our shareholders well, and I think that reflected last year when all of our shareholders were asked to vote on that policy, and over 97 percent of you, and all of our other shareholders, stood up and agreed with us. I think that it is precisely in that form that shareholders had the opportunity to continue to make their views known, and we very much appreciate that support.

The follow-up that I mentioned earlier...? Since the groundswell of support at the meeting that Hutcherson was apparently hoping for didn’t pan out, he’s trying a different tack; he’s going to take over Microsoft. I’m not sure how he intends to come up with the more than $300 billion it would take to purchase all the outstanding stock, but he thinks he can do it. I’m not going to hold my breath for a new version called Windows Revelations, or something like that.

It’s really amazing what lengths people like him will go to in order to draw attention to themselves. Just live your lives, let others live theirs, and mind your own damn business. Don’t expect everyone to conform to your ideas of what’s right just because it’s more comfortable for you. Just as you don’t want to be something you’re not, the rest of us don’t want to be you.

In a world of bad ideas...

...this one ranks near the top op the list. My first thought about this op-ed piece by Thomas Friedman: "He can't be serious." My second thought: "Wow, he's actually serious." This is a just a truly bad idea...

I have no idea who is going to win the Democratic presidential nomination, but lately I’ve been wondering whether, if it is Barack Obama, he might want to consider keeping Dick Cheney on as his vice president.

...When it comes to how best to deal with Iran, each has half a policy — but if you actually put them together, they’d add up to an ideal U.S. strategy for Iran. Dare I say, they complete each other.

What is Friedman smoking?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Add a name



I guess I should consider myself lucky that I have only three names to add to the list.

Weekend wrap-up

It turned out to be a typical weekend with some quiet and some busy. It was definitely nice to sleep in Saturday; I was more than ready for some extra rest. After breakfast Saturday I putzed around the house until I met C at the gym. It was a nice workout, and nice to be working my muscles a little bit. I missed going to the gym in the months that I didn’t go, and I’ve been very much enjoying the few times I’ve been back in the last couple of weeks. I’m hoping it becomes more of a regular habit. Scheduling seems to be the only issue, but that can be worked around. I’m walking rather funny today since I really worked out my legs…it’s a nice soreness, but still sore.

Saturday evening we met B and C for dinner at a Mexican restaurant in West Seattle and it was a nice evening. We needed to discuss some things about our upcoming NYC trip and this was almost our last chance before we leave. It’s going to be very busy between now and then with Thanksgiving, family, Jayson’s chorus rehearsals, and then his first concerts. Oh yeah, we’re also going out to the coast the weekend after Thanksgiving. Sheesh, busy time lately. I’m really, REALLY looking forward to the NYC trip partly because I always have fun there, partly because there are some things Jayson and I will get to see that I’ve been wanting to show him, and partly to spend time with our friends.

Sunday we were supposed to go to a Thanksgiving “thing” that the chorus does every year. Instead of having one large gathering they get people who are willing to host small groups in their homes and then assign those who want to attend to the different hosts. It’s a nice thing and was originally designed so that chorus members without family or close friends in town still get to enjoy the holiday. Our hosts decided to throw something of a hissy fit and cancel it on Sunday since they decided that people hadn’t responded quickly enough to their original e-mail. In the end I didn’t mind since it was nice to have an afternoon to just do nothing.

I’m glad that this week is a short work week. Mom and sis arrive at separate times on Wednesday. We’ve got nothing planned for the weekend other than dinner on Thursday so it might be a lot of sitting around and staring at each other. I know my sister will want to be active as much as possible (she talked about kayaking while she’s here…yeah, right) so it should be an interesting dynamic to combine her energy with three very mellow people. Regardless, I’m looking forward to the time together.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The way to a man's heart...

I don’t know if this picture is a hack job or legit. If it’s real, it’s pathetic that Bush doesn’t even know where to put his hand during the pledge of allegiance, or apparently his heart from his stomach. Then again, that could explain an awful lot.

Are we scared yet?

I heard about this Tom Tancredo ad on the radio yesterday and it’s actually worse than the commentator made it out to be. He could have just shortened the message to say “Vote for me or you’re all gonna die.” I can’t believe that people still fall for these types of scare tactics. The concept of taking steps to protect against attacks of any type is good, but talking about aliens who have come to take our jobs and other alarmist rhetoric doesn't accomplish anything positive. However, the constant sound of a clock ticking the background is a nice touch to tell us that it's only a matter of time before the boogie man comes to get us. What the ad doesn't say is what Tancredo would do, other than closing down the US borders. Whatever his plan is, something tells me it includes us losing more of our civil liberties. Terrorism is the best thing that could have happened for the Republicans… what other political platform would they have to run on?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Just when you thought it couldn't get any weirder"

Here’s yet another frightened heterosexual, scared of the gay community. Actually, it’s the same frightened heterosexual as I mentioned in this post, Peter LaBarbera. This time he’s up in arms about the Mr. International Rubber contest (which he incorrectly identifies as International Mr. Rubber)in Chicago. This guy is so clueless that he actually asks “Is ‘rubber’ just another ‘sexual orientation’…?” There’s an easy answer to that: of course it’s not. This man needs to look up the definition of “sexual orientation” in his dictionary. Like many other things, rubber is a fetish, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation. I’m curious: if being gay and having a rubber fetish is a sexual orientation, what about being straight and having a rubber fetish, like this Baptist minister who was a friend of Jerry Falwell’s? Do we have a name for that sexual orientation, or do we ignore it because he was a “good christian”?

Anyway, back to this “story”. It’s not much more than a rant about many things gay. LaBarbera is all over the place, but eventually ends by saying that even we heathens can be accepted by his god. At one point he manages to sneak in a comment about Paganism after referring to “once-reviled lifestyles”. Isn’t it funny how everyone other than straight christians are always presented by these people as having made lifestyle choices to be non-straight or non-christian? Apparently, according to them, we’re all born christian and straight and we choose at some point to not be one or both, thereby making those lifestyle choices. The problem I have with that point-of-view is that it sets them up to be “right” and the rest of us are portrayed as flawed in some way.

LaBarbera links to an article by Dinesh D’Souza about Paganism that so badly misses the point it’s not even funny. The main point he should have made is that, like homosexuality, Paganism is portrayed by christians as an evil “lifestyle choice” in order to marginalize members of that group. The author referenced in the article, Richard Dawkins, was merely equating the struggle for atheists to live open and honest lives with the similar struggle of the gay community. One person who commented on that article really nailed it: “By definition an atheist is someone who does not believe in God, not someone who is ‘opposed’ to God…”

Okay, so I’m now guilty of what LaBarbera did: I’m all over the place in this post. I’ll bring it all back together by saying that I just want to walk up to these types of people and say “I’m gay and non-christian…BOO!”

Now I remember why I don't watch the Today Show

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekend update

It's been a while since I've written much about what I'm up to so I thought I'd throw some out there. I guess there hasn't been much to write about in reality. Mostly life has been work and home and then back to work (I swear I wrote that same thing in an earlier post). Work has been busy but not too crazy lately, which is fine by me. To give ourselves a mini get-away we spent Saturday night on the boat. We don't do much over there, and that's exactly the point. We watched some DVDs and were pretty much couch potatoes while we were there. Around 2:30 in the morning a storm came in with some amazing winds. I actually enjoyed lying in the boat in the dark listening to the storm outside. Sunday we took a day trip to La Conner, a small town about 70 miles north of Seattle. The weather was still bad that day but we had a nice time. It was good getting out of Seattle and getting a different view for a little while. I uploaded the pics I took while we were there.

We're going to have a pretty busy time until the end of the year. We've got family in town for Thanksgiving (which means time to get ready for the visit), we're going to New York the middle of December, we've got a friend in town for Christmas, and in between all of that Jayson will have concerts with the chorus. Ugh

I've started going to the gym again. Well, I've been twice but that was within a week. I'm excited to be going again and I am enjoying it. I've still got to get with the trainer which should also help me along. It's definitely a good way to work out frustrations, and feel good about myself in the process.

I'm thinking that's all I have at the moment. Seems like there should be more but that's life right now.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Social networking or forced marketing?

I’ve never used Facebook, and I’ve only looked at MySpace with a passing glance, but I’ve never cared for either of them. If someone gives me a link to their page on MySpace I’m not very anxious to visit since I know it will be cluttered, probably have a music file that loads automatically, and not let me see much without registering. As if I needed any other reason to not like these “social networking” sites, this story gives me another one. Facebook is going to another level and “monetizing” the connections between friends on its site. On one level this is nothing more than targeted advertising, but on another level it’s much more. If I buy something online I don’t necessarily want to be used to endorse that product or service to my friends. It’s amazing how much we are bombarded in this country with marketing. We see it and live it so many hours a day. We can’t leave our houses without being exposed to some type of add, be it a billboard, an ad on the side of a bus, and ad on a bus, flatbed trucks driving down streets with ads on them, signs on buildings, radio, TV, airplanes with banners. With the internet those ads came inside. We get popups in our web browsers, e-mail ads (no I don’t want to increase the size of my breasts, thank you), and ads on so many web pages. For the marketing firms this is the next logical step, but I don’t like the idea. Sometimes socializing with friends should be nothing more than that. Not everything in our lives should be an opportunity for some company to push their products on us.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Left brain or right brain?

I thought this was interesting. The very short verbiage in The Guardian that accompanied this picture said:
The Right Brain vs Left Brain test ... do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?
If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.
Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.


I almost always see the figure spinning clockwise when I first look but I can make her change direction at will. I also noticed if I’m concentrating on something work related that she’ll start off going counter-clockwise.

**Update: I already had one person ask about left vs. right so here are what the differences are supposed to be:

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
knowing
acknowledges
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
practical
safe
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS

uses feeling
“big picture” oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can get it (i.e. meaning)
believes
appreciates
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
impetuous
risk taking

Friday, November 2, 2007

Okay, this is F'ed up

This just proves once again that healthcare in this country is not about keeping people healthy. It's a commodity to be traded on the open market with a hefty profit skimmed off the top by everyone except for the consumers. The concept of giving the gift of health to a loved one shouldn't even need to be considered. As a so-called "advanced society", a healthy population should be a given, not a luxury. Sadly, as long as companies can keep making millions, and billions in some cases, of dollars off a population struggling to maintain its health, things will not change.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

How to witness to someone who's gay

The short blurb that accompanies this video on the web page says "...to witness to homosexuals, showing how to share the way of salvation without causing undue offense." By it's very existence this video causes offense. Is there anyone out there who can explain to me why, with all the huge issues in the world today that need to be addressed, these folks are hung up on the fact that people are gay? Where is the outrage at mass deaths through war, starvation, genocide...people living in deplorable unsanitary conditions without enough food? I really think they should devote their time and energy to something that is truly important in the world.

This video is kind of long, but if you watch it in small pieces you might be able to stomach it.

It's always about them

Why can't fundies ever do something nice without trying to further their own causes? Instead of just giving away shoes to people who might need them, this company sees it as a way to "spread the word" at the same time. What is wrong with doing something nice simply for the sake of helping others? Someone needs to point them to the places in their bible where it talks about giving being a selfless act, not one that is designed to benefit the giver in some way.

 

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Time for another post

It's been over 10 days since I've posted anything and I figured it was time. This really isn't much more than a placeholder, but you're lucky to get even this!

There has been a lot going on lately but it's finally calming down. A lot of the drama at home is lessening and I'm glad for that. My mother has been here the last week and it was really nice to have her here, and helpful too. I've not had much of a life the last week it seems, but it was for a good reason. Starting this weekend Jayson and I are going to be getting out more and doing more things. We had a friend in town two weekends ago and in spite of Jayson's subdued mood it was still fun. We didn't do many tourist things other than the market, but did do a lot of just hanging out and talking, and relaxing. It was good.

For some fun reading, I thought this was pretty good. I've actually seen a truck in Seattle just like what's described, and spoken online to the guy who drives it.

That's going to be about it for today. My day is getting very short and it's almost time to pick up Jayson from his new job, that he started just today. I'm really happy for him and proud that he brought it all together and made it work.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Ah, the life of a cat

When I got home tonight I find Truman the cat spread out in front of the fireplace. I think I'm in the wrong line of work. I want his job.


 

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big weather in Seattle

I love this type of weather. Although, we've not had the 50MPH winds that were originally being forecast.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday afternoon rambling

Well, I've had lunch and I'm being very lazy right now. I've got work I should be doing but I'm just taking a break to think about my own stuff for a bit. I was going to post some rant about a couple of political things, but I'm just not in the mood I decided. It's been a busy day at work and, all told, a very hectic week. Jayson appears to be showing the beginning signs of feeling better, which is encouraging. Granted, there's still a long long way to go but little steps still count. Something he learned in a course a few years ago was to always look at "better than." I think in terms of better than whenever I can, and it's helpful. While he might not be where he wants to be or ultimately will be, he's better than he was yesterday, so we have to recognize that progress.

I don't feel like I've had much of a life lately; it's been home ---> work ---> home, repeat. I've been keeping myself pretty busy at home with some chores around there that have been needing to be done, like the banister on the stairs about to fall down. It's nice to get those things done if nothing else. I've been trying to spend more time reading, and I just can't seem to do it. I started a book my mother gave me called The Piano Tuner. The story is set in the mid-late 19th century and is about a piano tuner (imagine that) who travels to Burma to meet up with a British officer to tune a piano. It appears as though the officer will be using music to help bring peace to the area. Apparently the story will deal with pitfalls of empire-building, some historical facts, and who knows what else. From what I've read (up to page 37…oh boy!) it seems interesting so far. Maybe I can find some time to get further into it soon.

I signed up with a gym this week. I'm not sure it was the best idea with Jayson currently between jobs, but I think I'll enjoy it for my own sake and sanity. I'm going to do a few sessions with a trainer to get myself back into the mindset of working out, and also to refresh my memory on what to do. After that I'm hoping to have B and/or C as workout partners. Should be fun spending time, plus also having at least one regular workout buddy. In time I expect Jayson to go too but he's not ready for that yet. I'm looking forward to it since I've had body image issues all my life and even if I don't see major changes, working on change should help with that.

We're getting a houseguest this weekend. B is coming down from Anchorage and I'm really looking forward to it. We don't have any real plans yet, but we'll just hang out, do a little sightseeing with him, or whatever else sounds like fun. He's been here before I believe but I'm not sure how much he's seen. In any event, it should be a nice weekend.

Reading through news today a link to a link to a link led me to
this. Vaginal-American? I guess I should start referring to myself as a Penile-American. The only problem with the logic of these talking heads is that there is a larger population of women in this country than men. They should be concerned about that voting block instead of belittling its members.

It's interesting to note how the right-wingnuts keep trying to find new reasons to oppose marriage equality as the idea catches on more and more around the country. In this piece  a pychologist trots out the defense of children to further their cause.  Responding to the five reasons listed in the article is very easy:

1: What about single-parent families?
2: What about single-parent families?
3: What about single-parent families?
4: Sexual confusion? It's been shown that children of same-sex couples are much more well-adjusted sexually than many children of opposite-sex couples. And yes, all choices are equally acceptable and desirable.
5: This is a slippery slope argument. One thing does not necessarily lead to or endorse another. Just shows what a weak argument she has.

I think that's all I've got at the moment. Hope everyone out there is well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday afternoon satire

This has been around for a while, but I ran across it again the other day and thought it was worth sharing for those who hadn't seen it.

**Warning: some explicit language in the link**

More proof the Dems are afraid of power

This story just proves again that the power the Dems were handed in 2006, and promised to use to thwart Bush, is just being wasted. They seem to be afraid to stick their necks out against a president that has an approval rating of 28%. Pelosi is trying to end the war by praying for Bush? Spare us your pandering to middle-America and do what you were elected to do. Do these "leaders" in Congress need us to enroll them in junior high school civics class so they can learn what power the Constitution actually gives them?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sunrise in Seattle

It's not often I see a really spectacular sunrise in Seattle, but today was one of those days. Since I couldn't get to my good camera in my bag, I snapped a picture with my phone out the truck window. Not great quality, but it gets the point across.



The supposed weather forecasters on TV are predicting beautiful weather the next few days. The sailor in me remembers the adage "Red sky at morning, sailors take warning", meaning bad weather is coming, so we'll see who's right. 

**Update: Apparently I was wrong. The weather is pretty amazing for mid-October!

Monday, October 8, 2007

The tearoom story that won't go away

I'm not fan of SNL and I've not watched it in years; I don't even know who these particular people are. However, this was kind of funny.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Evangelical fun from my hometown

It's always interesting to hear what's going on in my hometown of Tulsa, OK and I ran across this new story today about ORU and the Oral Roberts family. The story did not surprise me at all. Growing up with Oral Roberts' family in town I always just assumed there was funny business going on. Anyone who claimed to be a simple country boy and interested only in spreading god's word but with that much money to spend just didn't seem right to me. The university campus was architecturally interesting but way over the top. Then he said god spoke to him and told him to build the huge City of Faith Medical Center, which was the tallest building in Tulsa (over 60 stories, plus two smaller but still large towers) and massive failure. The "prayer hands" statue shown in the news story used to be in front of the medical center. The local joke even back in the early 1980's was that when you walked up to the hands one of them would drop down with its palm open to put money into. If you didn't put money into it the other hand would drop palm down down to squash you. I remember when Oral said that he'd spoken to god (or was it god that spoke to him?) and was told that if he didn't raise $8 million within a certain time frame he would be "called home". I was disappointed when someone from back east gave him the money, supposedly just to shut him up. What I could never understand is if going "home" to heaven is supposed to be eternal bliss and everlasting happiness, why do so many christians fear and avoid it? Why was it such a bad thing that Oral should have been called home to be with his god? Is it that their faith isn't nearly as strong as they want us to believe and fear what amounts to the unknown with them?

This newest scandal with the Roberts family just shows me how uninterested in spreading their faith these people really are. They've learned that spreading religion is a money-making industry and they have tapped into that. And now Richard Roberts is saying god spoke to him and told him to fight these charges. It's downright sacrilegious to to say that god has nothing better to do than speak this family and tell them to keep doing what they're doing. It's just very sad, but also typical anymore, to see these evangelists abusing their followers to give themselves a cushy life. It gets very old hearing of these Christian groups using religion to further their own selfish interests. When was the last time you heard of a Pagan, Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim organization using their religion to do what amounts to stealing from donors?

Saturday Morning

It's finally the weekend, and I'm glad about that. I'm sitting here having a pot of tea, Irish Breakfast for what it's worth. Jayson is upstairs still asleep so I let him be and I'm in the office watching I Love Lucy. One of the benefits of having a 3-story house is that I can crash around in the kitchen and he can't hear it on the top floor. The fireplace kicked on earlier this morning so the house is nice and toasty. Not a bad morning so far. On top of that it's cold and grey and rainy outside, weather I really like. There's not much on tap for this weekend. We're supposed to help a couple of friends haul something from Home Depot; having a truck makes me the default moving guy I guess. We're also going to go through our closets one last time and then take a large mound of stuff to the local AIDS alliance. We've had so much stuff to giveaway in the guest room that I can't get in there anymore. I'll be really happy to have that stuff out of there, especially as that room is supposed to be my practice space.

Speaking of practice, I had an interesting violin lesson this last week. My instructor and I spent the entire time in his home studio doing some recording. It was really a lot of fun. We're not done and may re-record some portions of the piece we worked on, but what I heard sounded okay (and I'm by far my own worst critic). When this one is done I'm hoping we record another Celtic fiddle piece I'm working on, and both might go onto a CD he's producing of his students' work. Depending on how I think I sound, I might even let other people listen to it.

After all the talk about the painting I've been doing at home I decided it was time to post a couple of pictures. I'm afraid that neither pic is the greatest, but they give an idea of the change.

           
Before                                                                               After

That's about it for this morning. It's getting late in the day, I've had almost a full pot of tea, and I think it's time I went up to rouse Jayson. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

"Tolerance Gone Wild"

After all, we certainly wouldn't want tolerance to run rampant through our society now would we?

This story, breathlessly reported on the Americans for Truth website, has finally exposed the depravity of San Francisco in general, and the homosexual (we prefer to be called "gay", thank you) community specifically. After 25 years of this going on, I'm surprised no one noticed this before now. Thank goodness the world has Peter and Allyson to let the world see what everyone already knows has been happening at Folsom.

Too bad they don't see the hypocrisy of the fact that they are not tolerant of the goings-on at Folsom, even though they made a special effort to be there, but the rest of the world is supposed to be tolerant of their religious beliefs. I'm sure there were people doing tattoos at Folsom so maybe they should have had "victim" tattooed across their foreheads.

The authors of this "article" mention that it costs $5 to get into the street fair. Then they proceed to decry the fact that people are walking around nude in public and performing sexual acts on public streets. Um...if you have to pay to get in, it's not happening in public. If you don't want to see those things, don't pay your $5 and don't go in. I can't very well pay to go to a football game and then complain about all the sports fans there, can I?

I also thought it interesting that the authors of this thing know exactly in what cities Steamworks has locations. Been doing a little research for upcoming vacations maybe...?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Clearing away the cobwebs

It's been almost two weeks since I posted anything here, and I figured it was about time. It's not that I have much to say today, but I want to keep the habit up. Lately life has been work and that's it. We spent last weekend finishing up the painting on the ground floor and in the stairwell. Those spaces were a nightmare to paint, and deciding that the color in the stairwell looked terrible after one coat didn't help. So, after settling on a new color we got it all done. Most of Sunday was spent pulling up drop clothes, pulling off tape, putting things away, arranging the furniture downstairs, putting the kitchen back together...Monday morning I was beat. It's pretty sad when I have to come to work to relax! Work has been work has been work, so I can't complain. I get things done, they pay me; seems like a pretty fair deal to me.

I decided to add a racing stripe to one side of my truck yesterday. Pulling into the parking garage at work (a very tight fit) I cut the first corner too close and scraped it along the right rear fender. On that corner there's a big orange steel box protecting a pipe, and I hit the box. At least I now understand why the box is needed to protect the pipe. So, I ended up with a nice dent and a big orange scar down the back right side of the truck. In retaliation I left a significant amount of red paint on the orange box, but that didn't make me feel much better. It's not going to be too bad getting it fixed so I'm taking it in Monday to have it done.

That's about all I have to say at the moment. Just to fill in space and make it look like I've written a lot more I'll add some links to things that I thought were worth reading.

Hope everyone's having a good week.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Blame the gays

To paraphrase C, you know somewhere in this country there are people who actually believe like this.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Will wonders never cease?

Like republicans supporting marriage equality. Nice story about the mayor of San Diego having a last minute change of heart. This paragraph from his press conference is what the whole issue is all about:

"As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community that they were less important, less worthy and less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage -- than anyone else -- simply because of their sexual orientation."

Well done Mr. Mayor.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Monday

So the weekend is over and I'm really glad. I worked myself almost to death. After the painting prep on Saturday I spent about 11 hours on Sunday doing the actual painting. The first coat of paint took almost 7 hours, with most of that being the cutting in and edging. After a short break for dinner I was back at it for the next round but luckily it went a lot faster. I finally finished around 22:00 and then spent an hour pulling the blue tape off of everything before the paint dried too much. Around 23:00 I decided it was all I could do for the night and went to bed. It's looking pretty good so far, but I've got several pieces of blue tape on the wall marking spots that I need to touch up. Fortunately that should take less than an hour and I can call it done. Unfortunately all of the furniture and the blinds are piled in the middle of the room so I've got that to deal with. I'll post some pictures once everything is back together. Since it's looking so good and making the house feel so much more comfortable, I'm kind of anxious to continue the painting up the stairwell and to the other rooms. The living room should have been the worst, by far, so hopefully the other rooms can each be done in a weekend.

My week is starting off pretty slowly. It was quiet at work which was fine by me. A friend invited me to lunch so that was a nice thing. I'm not sure how much work I got done however but I don't really feel guilty about that. I'm sure I'll do plenty the rest of the week. There is a boat in town that I need to go check out and see if I can get some pics of it. That may be my lunch time activity tomorrow.

I think that's it at this point. I don't even have a political rant I want to go off on. Consider yourselves lucky!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday night...

Well it's Saturday night and I'm about to head off to bed. Being the wild party animal that I am I'm not sure I'll make it past midnight anyway. It's been a busy day...that seems to be the trend for weekends anymore. We went out for breakfast then stopped at Home Depot (always fun) to pick up supplies to continue the eradication of white walls from the house. This time I'm finishing up in the living room, painting the walls that didn't get the red treatment last time. I spent about 6.5 hours today moving furniture, taking down blinds and curtains, removing power outlet covers, and masking off windows and trim. I've used about 300' of blue tape in the last few hours, but that was easy to do when there are five windows each 10' tall, and two 5' high windows as well. Add in a with door with decorative molding, wooden sills on all the windows, and a lot of baseboard and there's the 300' of tape. I'll get up bright and early (okay, bright and early for me on a weekend...it's all relative) tomorrow and start painting. I'm thinking I can get this part done in one day. Oh yeah, while I still had the tools out I replaced the guts of the kitchen faucet because of a leak. It feels good to be productive.

C posted his results of a "career matchmaker" quiz so of course I took the same quiz. Put in Username: nycareers and Password: landmark. Choose the "Career Matchmaker" option.

I'm not so sure about my results, but then again, I have always like taking things apart and putting them back together, so something mechanical makes sense. I'm currently working as a number 12 (at least part of my job) and at one point I did consider an Engineering degree.

Your Career Suggestions
Careers that suit your answers are listed below under Interest Rank. The best matches are at the top of the list. Click on a career to learn more about it and how it suits your answers. Your matching Career Clusters are also listed below.
Interest Rank
1. Mechanical Engineering Tech
2. Small Engine Mechanic
3. Stationary Engineer
4. Office Machine Repairer
5. Avionics Tech
6.Conservator
7.Optical / Ophthalmic Lab Technician
8.Multimedia Developer
9.Engineering Tech
10.Electronics Repairer
11.Forensics Specialist
12.Computer Support Person
13.Biological Tech
14.Electrical Engineering Tech
15.Electronics Engineering Tech
16.Industrial Designer
17.Interior Designer
18.Website Designer
19.Power Plant Operator
20.Electrician
21.Historian
22.Model Maker
23.Fashion Designer
24.Electronics Assembler
25.Air Traffic Controller
26.Computer Programmer
27.Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator
28.Helicopter Pilot
29.Desktop Publisher
30.Dental Lab Tech
31.Curator
32.Millwright
33.Automobile Mechanic
34.Aircraft Mechanic
35.Motorcycle Mechanic
36.Diesel Mechanic
37.Industrial Machinery Mechanic
38.Cable Installer and Repairer
39.Video Game Developer
40.Appliance Repairer
Well, off to bed for me. Hope everyone has a good weekend. And look, I'm done before midnight...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A little of this, a little of that

It's been a full week since I've written anything here. This week has been much busier than I thought it would be, and I guess I didn't have a lot that I needed to share. Had a good last weekend however. Spent some time on the boat just hanging out, had dinner with a friend of ours on Saturday night and then went to the Puyallup Fair on Sunday. We had a great time at the fair. We mostly just wandered around and looked at things, and at people, but it was good. Rode a couple of rides, ate some, bought a couple of things, and played a midway game where we each won a prize for the other. It was a very nice time. I posted pics in an album even though there aren't many and they were taken with my fairly crappy camera phone, but there they are nonetheless.

Puyallup Fair

This week has been okay at work. I've been mostly working on Sharepoint issues (if you don't know what that is, you don't want to know) but it's been interesting. I got to be a hero a couple of times and that's always nice. Plus I'm learning some things and that's even nicer. My week was broken up with lunch out on Monday with J, lunch with the entire department for my boss's birthday on Tuesday, lunch with a couple of friends on Wednesday, and then lunch again with another friend today. Do we see a trend here? No wonder I've been so busy…

So we had an odd experience a couple of weeks ago and I keep meaning to write it down. We were going to dinner on Friday night and at the last minute decided to go to Eastlake Bar & Grill. It's a place we've each been to several times and it's been decent every time. When we pulled up to the place we noticed a few cop cars sitting out front and an ambulance pulling away. We thought it was weird but we went in anyway. The manager (whom J knows through work) said they were still open and led us upstairs to a table. On the way we notice a group of people hugging each other so I asked what was going on. He proceeds to tell us that a diner had a heart attack and died. Pretty sad stuff, and I thought it was odd that the restaurant was still open. Dinner was fine, but we couldn't help but notice the manager upstairs near us having a beer during our meal. So, we finished out meal and headed downstairs and noticed that the section near the door where the people were hugging each other had been cleared of tables. We also noticed a large white sheet in the corner with a bare foot sticking out from underneath it. The restaurant had moved everyone out of that section but left the body for the coroner to do a report on (the coroner was there as we were leaving). I personally would have closed the restaurant for the night until everything could have been cleared away. just didn't seem right for people to be walking in and out of an eating establishment with a dead body in the corner.

I can't seem to write any post without some sort of political comment, so I'll continue the trend. This story just has a really creepy feel to me. Something about fathers defending their daughters' virginity feels weird. A signing ceremony for fathers, and daughters laying white roses at the base of a cross? Sounds cultish to me. The problem is, a study (by a christian organization no less) found that abstinence pledges are not worth the paper they're written on. The results from the study found that of the young christians they polled:
  • 100 percent professed faith in Christ
  • 99 percent attended church
  • 84 percent grew up in church
  • 87 percent grew up in a two-parent home
  • 62 percent of males had premarital sex
  • 65 percent of females had premarital sex
So why are abstinence programs still such a cornerstone for these people? They obviously do not work. And, where are the mothers defending their sons' wholesomeness?

Not sure what's on the agenda this weekend. We might do some more painting downstairs. We also want to mount a new TV we bought to the main bulkhead on the boat. It will be nice to get that up. We used it last weekend and it was great but it took up too much space on the table. Otherwise we've just been booking lots of travel. We're going to southern Illinois to visit Jayson's family in early November, going to NYC with our friends B & C in December, and we're supposed to go to Anchorage in October as well. On top of that we're hosting Thanksgiving for at least my mother and sister. Lots going on the next three months or so.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Political rant: Stealing from US taxpayers

I've thought for a long time now that Iraq was only ever about money. I've thought that the entire Bush cabal was only ever about money. That group saw trillions of dollars available in the U.S. treasury and decided they had to have it for themselves and their friends. Iraq has been nothing more than a delivery system of U.S. taxpayer money into their hands. This article from Rolling Stone does a good job describing some of the worst offenses in Iraq. The article is lengthy, but well worth the time to read it.

For me, the key line in this story is this:

George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government.
Bush and his crowd would love to privatize any and every service the government provides. Our deplorable health care system in this country is a prime example of what happens when a public service becomes a for-profit venture. BushCo have been trying to undermine faith in the federal government for the last 6 years by not being there when the citizens expect them to. The response to Katrina is a good example of that. The lies about Social Security being insolvent in such a short amount of time, and therefore the need to privatize it immediately, is another good example. The less faith people have in the government the more they will turn to private enterprise. Eventually they will simply come to expect private enterprise to take care of what used to be a government service. In the end it all comes down to this regime trying to get its hands on taxpayer money.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Weekend wrap up

So my long weekend was nice, but I'm more tired today than after a normal 2-day weekend. This weekend seemed all about work. It started on Saturday when we moved a good-sized armoire from the 2nd floor guest bedroom to our top floor bedroom. Anyone who's seen our house realizes that that's no mean feat. To start with, there's a short flight of stair outside the guest room with no real place to stand an armoire at the top. Getting into our bedroom is even worse since you have to go up one step, make a 180° turn before you run into a wall and immediately go up another flight of stairs. After getting stuck only once on the turn (but really well stuck), we finally got the thing broken free and up the stairs. I'm thinking that now that it's up there we'll simply have to sell the house with the thing in place if we ever move. After we got the thing up there we had to rearrange everything that had been in the smaller dresser and find it a home. Even worse was taking everything that had been in the armoire and finding room for it in the guest room. We got it figured out but the whole process ended up taking about half the day.

On Sunday we started painting the living room. Anyone who's seen our house realizes that that's no mean feat (didn't I say that once already?). The ceilings are over 12 feet high and there are lots of angles, wood trim, windows, and other obstacles to paint around. I spent at least 2 hours masking things off before we could even get started with the paint. We used a dark red so it ended up taking about 4 coats of paint and we finally finished around 20:00 on Monday night. We're both wiped out after 2 full days of painting. The sad part is that we only got the red done. We'll be using a more neutral color on the rest of the room but we didn't have time to even get started on that. Of course, once we're done with the living room, we'll be heading up the stairwell and into each of the three bedrooms and bathrooms. This process could take months…

I always find it interesting how a certain song can transport me to a time in my past. While we were painting on Sunday we had XM Radio playing in the background when "What Have You Done For Lately" comes on. It's not a song I ever particularly cared for, but as soon as it started it brought back a flood of memories. I'm on my parents’ boat, anchored in Nassau Harbor in the Bahamas in early summer 1986. There's a waterfront bar a couple of hundreds yards away on the shore and they used to play that song (and others) loud enough so that any boat within 1/8 mile could hear. I would sit in the cockpit of our boat listening to music coming from the bar and watch the seaplanes that flew to and from Miami take off and land in the middle of the harbor, not that far from our boat. We used to walk past that bar on the way downtown where my parents had found a little café called Parliament House just up from the Straw Market. We would go there for lunch once in a while and my parents would let me have a drink, usually a daiquiri or something not too hard  (I was not yet 18 at the time). I would go to the beach on Paradise Island with our friends Rodney and Carmen from a neighboring boat and we might spend the entire day by a pool at one of the hotels or sitting on the beach. It never bothered me to be spending all my time with people who were are least 10 to 15 years older. Or, I would take our dinghy exploring, sometimes down to the cruise ships when they were in town and marvel at how big they were from our little inflatable boat. So much of who I am today comes from that time period, but it feels like two lifetimes ago. Looking back, I am so fortunate to have had those experiences.

Even though the astronomical calendar still says it is summer, the weather decided that on Labor Day summer was over. Right on cue the weather turned cloudier and rainy. It's been raining and foggy all day today. Last night we had thunderstorms come in just after 22:00 and I loved it. It was great lying in bed watching the lightning outside the windows. I hope this weather holds…I've had my fill of hot weather and an so looking forward to autumn.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What the Craig story is really about

Sarah Whitman on Hufpost says it very well:

...this is a man, who for his entire political career, has worked in fervor against any LGBT issues on the table. He claimed a higher moral ground while he was cruising for sex in bathrooms because... well, because his fundraising clearly depended on it. It's doubtful that a gay man in Idaho would get elected Senator but I might be wrong about that. Regardless, if he wanted to be in the closet, still stay married, be a Senator, well, I can understand all of that. It's not easy to be out, it means job discrimination, it means physical harassment and sometimes violence, it means not being able to have your loved one be your legal spouse or any of those benefits. It means, often, losing your family and friends. It's not an easy path. I can respect anyone who chooses to live in the closet on one condition:

They don't actively fight for laws in an elected office that allow for discrimination, hate and bigotry. If Senator Craig needs a pick me up every now and then from the men's room, I think that's pathetic, but ... to each his own and understand, you're going to get caught.


That's really the bottom line to this whole story. It's not about him being gay. Yes, he did break the law and chose to not go public with the story. And, as a senator who makes laws he should expected to follow them. But, if Craig were merely a closeted gay man and got caught that would be sad, but it wouldn't be the same story. The story here is that Craig has decided to live in the closet so that he doesn't have to deal with the difficulties of being an openly gay man while spending his professional life trying to outlaw the very thing that he wishes he could be. Just because he can't come to terms with his sexual orientation doesn't mean that those of us who have should be discriminated against. The hypocrisy of his professional actions compared to those of his personal life is the real story. Sadly the traditional media just seems hung up on the fact that he was trying to find sex with another man in a public bathroom and can't move on from there.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The end of summer, at least for me

So just another week here. I'm afraid there's not lots happening to talk about, but I guess that's a good thing really. The saying no news is good news definitely applies. We spent several hours last week getting the boat ready for winter. Since the new sail won't be ready until at least October, we're not going to get any sailing in before then. So, we took off all the extraneous lines, the mainsail cover, etc. We'll still spend weekends on the boat but that will be it until next spring. So, for me it feels like summer is over at this point. Forget that it's still 80 degrees outside (at 8:45 at night) I'm officially ready for autumn.

I ran across a few things on the web that I felt I wanted to talk about. As most people probably know, it's the second anniversary of Katrina hitting New Orleans. There's been some rebuilding of the area, but there is still so much to be done. Bravenewfilms has a short film showing how much of the area is still a disaster area. It's pathetic that the supposedly wealthiest nation on the earth can't even rebuild one of its cities in a timely manner. $116 billion was allocated by the feds for rebuilding the area, and of that only 30% has ended up being directed towards long-term rebuilding projects. Less than half of that 30% has been spent so far. Why isn't rebuilding one of our major cities more of a priority?

So speaking of Katrina, apparently when Bush arrived at the airport and met Mayor Nagin, he felt compelled to rub the mayor's head head. Who is this guy pretending to be President of the US? No world leader should be rubbing the head of, well, anyone in public. It's just creepy.

So everyone has probably already heard of the problems of Senator Larry Craig. However, this video with various talking heads discussing the issue is particularly nauseating. Tucker Carlson, who on his best day is about the equivalent of pond scum, actually admits to gay bashing when he was in high school and is proud of it (it happens at about 2:50 into it). What kind of moron would be proud of assaulting another human being? Should someone who's proud of committing a hate crime be allowed to remain on TV, and why should anyone take this clown's opinion seriously? To make matters worse, after he was called on it Carlson changed his story saying that he didn't really assault anyone, he just held the guy in place until the police arrived. What's wrong with people today that they feel they can say anything and then just deny it when it causes a problem? Do these kinds of people think that the rest of us are stupid and that we don't realize what they've said, in this case 12 hours before? Silly question on my part...of course they think we're stupid.

But back to Larry Craig, it's interesting that the GOP is abandoning him by calling for an ethics committee investigation, pushing him out of his committee appointments, and calling for him to resign. He's apparently poison to the GOP all of a sudden. However, barely 6 weeks ago Senator David Vitter admitted having hired a prostitute after his name showed up on a madam's customer list in D.C. Prostitution and soliciting a prostitute are both illegal in D.C. and Vitter admitted to committing the crime. Yet where are the GOP calls for an investigation and resignation from Vitter? Apparently if you cheat on your wife and commit a crime but are straight, it's okay. If you cheat on your wife and commit a crime but are gay, it's a bad bad thing and you can't play in the GOP sandbox anymore. 

C
had a very interesting thought today about coming up with a new name for guys like Craig. They want to have sex with men but they are definitely not part of the gay community and we should NOT welcome them in. They've gone out of their way to demonize gay men and lesbians, try to take away what rights we do have, and tried to write hate and discrimination against gays into law. We definitely don't want to own these guys so we need something else to call them. After all, Craig was very adamant about not being gay, so let's not call him gay.

I've uploaded some new pics onto the blog. You can get to the various galleries from the links on the right. If you're reading this through RSS sorry, you'll have to visit the page. I'll be uploading some more as I get around to. I'm trying to get more of these pics online so they are visible to more than just me sitting at my PC.

Friday, August 24, 2007

General rambling, Friday edition

So another week has come and gone. It's felt like a busy week but I can't honestly name anything that would have made it so busy. Life at home is returning to normal, which is a good thing. If you're not sure what I mean you can see on my partner's blog what I'm talking about. I was in a pretty dark mood myself for a few days at the beginning of this week, but I just needed a little time to feel sorry for myself and I was done with it after that. I found it interesting that some people I tried to talk to about my mood didn't seem interested in it, or would just brush it off with "you'll feel better once Jayson is in a better mood." I thought that was awfully dismissive, but I can actually understand it. It's typical for people to not worry about someone who's being a caregiver to someone else. I've seen before and saw this week that people will only worry about the person who's dealing with the underlying issue (in this case my partner and his depression). Caregivers are supposed to just knuckle under and be strong and help everyone get through it. But who takes care of the caregiver? A lot of times no one. In my case, I was lucky. The people I reached out to (even just to chat about it briefly) who I expected to really be there for me were definitely there for me. Hearing that they understood what I was going through and also that they were concerned about me means a lot. It's really nice to have my faith in my friends confirmed. Thanks guys. Special hugs to C, R, B, B from up north, and JE (you know who you are!)

I've been meaning to write about last weekend all week but am just now getting to it. Young Frankenstein, the musical, on Saturday was great fun. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but it was definitely a treat. The stage adaptation was done very well, even though some of the scenes were either deleted or abbreviated. No matter…it all worked perfectly well. Brooks left in the most memorable scenes and lines from the movie and the audience was appreciative of that fact. The "Puttin' on the Ritz" number was greatly expanded from the movie and it came off well; it was one of those showstopper moments on stage. I believe all the shows are sold out in Seattle but it's going to Broadway after it leaves here and I'm sure it will travel. If you're in a city where it's playing, do what you can to get tickets. Sunday afternoon we were at B & C's house for dinner and our sorta-monthly game night. Dinner was great, as always, and we played the DVD version of The Amazing Race. I'd never seen the TV show before so I didn't know what to expect. Jayson and I won, but only by a very very slim margin. It was a fun game so hopefully we'll break it out again.

This weekend I'm not exactly sure what we're doing. I think tomorrow we're going to hang out on the boat with a friend of ours that we've not seen all summer. I might get wild and measure for a new sail that I can order from someone else. Measuring it ourselves will save us about $1000 so I'm going that route this time. Maybe this time we'll actually end up with something to show for it (like a new sail!). Not sure what we're doing on Sunday, but I hope to sleep in and just veg a little bit.

Thought I'd end this ramble on an up note. This is a pretty funny satirical video on Exeter, an ex-gay organization. Worth watching for a small laugh. This morning I heard a song by the Carpenters on the Stephanie Miller show on the way to work and I cannot get it out of my head. I usually like the Carpenters (Karen had a beautiful voice) but this song is just weird for it's subject matter. I'd never heard it before, but now it won't go away. Enjoy it but be warned, it's catchy.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Words my mother taught me

My mother and I are both word geeks. Whenever we're together it's likely that the dictionary will come out. When my mother was here last month we had our typical fun with words and we ended up with three words we thought were good, that kept coming up in conversation. I'd almost forgotten them until last Saturday when I was working on the boat and they popped back into my head. So, before I forget them again, here they are:

Perspicacity - Mental acuity or sharpness. (I love this word)
Amanuensis - A scribe. This is one I had never heard before.
Dystopia- The opposite of a utopia.

One thing mom and I talked about was how people don't use "big" words much in conversation anymore, and often not even in writing. My mother has a large vocabulary and she used it when I was growing up. It obviously rubbed off on me, and I'm glad it did. She and I have tried to use words like these in conversation but it inevitably comes across as condescending. So, we're reduced to playing word games with each other. But why is is the art of language vanishing in American culture? Our language is being filtered down to the lowest common denominator. Read any newspaper or online article and there are few if any really descriptive words, let alone any challenging ones.

I would very much like if people began using more descriptive words on a regular basis. That being said, I'll toss out some "big" words that I particularly like, and use whenever I get the chance.  There may be more than one definition for each of these, but these are how I most use the words:

Plutocracy - A government of and by the wealthy.
Curmudgeonly - Being grouchy or bad-tempered.
Plebeian - Common or commonplace.
Trite - Stale, overused. (This isn't a truly big word but I don't hear it used very often)

I ran across a list compiled by the Worthless Word for the Day site. Most of these I'd not heard before, but some of them are great. Anyone else have any favorite 50 or 75 cent words they want to share?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

At least we know what's important to him

So we have American involvement in another country's civil war, the economy about to take a major dive, millions of Americans without any health care, an infrastructure that is crumbling around us, a military that is stretched so thin it's at the point of breaking, and what is Dear Leader worried about? Fashion.

A two-bit newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, wrote a style piece on Bush's attire while he's at his ranch. It's completely non-threatening and doesn't even come close to insulting him. (The article went up behind a registration wall in the last few minutes but maybe it will work for you all out there. The apparently offensive paragraphs are here.) However, with all the troubles in the world and at home, Bush decided that this article absolutely had to have his attention. He directed the White House deputy press secretary to call the author of the article and express his displeasure. Bush didn't pay this much attention to the August 6, 2001 memo entitled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." I guess the threat of a terrorist attack is nothing compared to his fashion sense being called into question. So this is the guy that's supposed to be keeping us safe? I thought he was supposed to be the hardened-by-war Mr. Tough Guy who can land on aircraft carriers while showing a big bulge. If so, that doesn't jibe with this kind of pettiness. 520 days and counting...

Friday night

It's been a very short week in a lot of ways, and I'm glad for that. Work was typical with moments of busy punctuated with moments of boredom (hence so many blog posts since Wednesday). I've been a little bit of a slug at home. I developed a new habit of taking a short nap each afternoon which has turned into a 2 hour nap each afternoon. Today was closer to 2.5 hours. I can't say that I'm not enjoying it and I apparently need the rest. I've also gotten into the habit of driving to work each day instead of riding the bus. I know it's not the environmentally friendly thing to do, especially with my truck not getting the best mileage (or is that yardage?) on the road. But, I get to sleep almost 1/2 hour later in the morning to get to work at the same time, plus I get home almost 30 minutes earlier too. The biggest reason is that over the last couple of months my buses have gotten busier and busier to the point that I rarely get a seat anymore. So, instead of being able to use the time to relax and read I end up hanging on and constantly stepping out of the way. Yeah, seats will open up but being the gentleman I try to be, I can't plop my butt down when there's a woman or someone older than me who needs a seat. I also like the few minutes in the morning and afternoon to myself in the truck; it's really some of the only time I get to myself during the day. I realize I'm rationalizing here but it's been very nice to hop in the truck in the morning, listen to my music or talk radio, and be at work in less than 10 minutes. The only downside is that I have to pay to park.

Wow, that was a lot about my work commute. On another note I'm hoping to spend a few hours on the boat tomorrow doing some minor projects. Sadly we're probably not going to sail the boat at all this summer. The sail I ordered 6 weeks ago never materialised. The guy from the sail loft I'd chosen has simply vanished and I can't get hold of anyone else there. I'm glad I didn't pay them anything! However, we're left with a boat with only one sail, and that wouldn't get us very far very fast. I'll just start the process again very soon and just expect to sail next spring. Our usage on the boat has gone down steadily over the last two summers and I hope it's not something that will continue into next year.

For the rest of the weekend we've got a show tomorrow night; we're going to see Young Frankenstein. I'm really looking forward to it since it's always been one of my favorite movies. The reviews I've read have been favorable so far, and I'm also anxious to see Meagan Mullally perform live. On Sunday afternoon we're heading to some friends' for dinner and game night. We're doing it earlier than usual but seeing as it's Sunday they agreed to move up the time. Our semi-regular game nights really are a lot of fun and are usually a highlight to the week, if not the entire month.

I think that's all I've got right now. It's getting late and I needs my sleep. I'll write something about the show later this weekend

Friday, August 17, 2007

The "librul media" at work again

From Waldo Jaquith 

"Black is white"; no, it’s black.

I love this:

The White House maintained Monday that the surveillance measure signed into law by President Bush over the weekend did not give the government any sweeping new powers to eavesdrop on Americans without court warrants.

[...]

The new measure, signed into law by the president on Sunday, allows intelligence officials to eavesdrop without a warrant...
I don’t know if it’s the Times or the White House, but somebody’s got a black sense of humor.

And here I thought we could trust anything that appears in the newspapers. I wish the NY Times would simply decide what we're supposed to think about this instead of trying to play both sides.