Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Won't it be nice when this is no longer newsworthy?
Work has been really busy this week. I started my new position 2 weeks ago and am finding lots of ways I can positively impact my colleagues and our company through process clarification and clarification, but at times it feels overwhelming.
Our good friends Kerry & Hugh are arriving late tonight. They're also bringing with them Kerry's father George and Kerry's best friend Ana and her children Emely and Javier. They are participating in the Polar Bear Plunge on Sun, an annual charity event for Special Olympics. As usual, I will film them (using their DVD camera) and Spouse will hold their towels and robes.
Happy Friday, and have a great weekend.
Crush du Jour: Cody Green
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Here are your interview questions:
1. Since you are so happily “married” to Spouse, what is one dating nightmare from your single lady days? What advice can you give to the single folks? I look at you as a relationship role model.
Nightmare: Years before meeting Spouse, I began dating a nice guy who invited me to spend the weekend with him at the beach. After spending the entire day on the beach, we showered and headed to happy hour before dinner. I made the mistake of drinking vodka on an empty stomach and got completely smashed. We staggered to dinner where I could barely focus on the menu. Then, with no warning at all, I puked all over the white table cloth. So romantic!
My advice to single folk is to be yourself. Nobody wants to get interested in a fake version of you that is impossible for you to maintain. Be kind, be polite, and be yourself.
Thank you for the generous 'role model' compliment!
2. Do you have a favorite artist? Why? What piece drew you to them? What is your favorite work of that person?
I will preface this by saying I really don't know anything about art. I've never been inspired by the great artists studied in school. But I do like Kandinsky. This poster "Squares with Concentric Rings" hangs in our TV room, and I was drawn to the bright colors and use of geometric shapes.
3. I love your taste in cars. If money were no object, what car would you buy for Spouse, or yourself?
Thank you. If money were no object I would buy Spouse an old, restored Mercedes convertible, in white. He loves white cars, and really loves the 'old school' Mercedes.
And for me, I've already got my 'dream car'. But I'd give Big Ella the $20K paint job she deserves.
4. I like this question: If you could go to lunch with any three people, who would you go with? Why?
I'm assuming this includes ANY three people, currently alive or dead. First I'd pick Ella Fitzgerald because she's my absolute all-time favorite singer. I consider her to be a musical genius, which is a term I don't use for many others. She was also quite modest despite her enormous fame and popularity. She was always grateful to her audiences for coming to hear her sing.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
"Marriage Equality USA started the Marriage Counter Action/Get Engaged for Marriage Equality in 2001. We do this annual direct action during Freedom to Marry week to make marriage discrimination visible, it forces our local clerks to have to look us in the eye, see our children, and enforce a discriminatory and unjust law at their counter – it moves everyone who witnesses this sad, but powerful event and gives us the opportunity to tell our stories and show that we live in every community and want to honor and protect our families like everyone else." - Jordan Palmer, Vice President of Development & Organizational Relationships for Marriage Equality USA.
- Click here to a complete list of MEUSA locations (by states) and other critical information
- Click +Cities">here to find JTI cities that will be hosting events where MEUSA is not
Marriage Equality USA chapters and member organizations are eager to hear from you and get your help. In those cities where an MEUSA does not exist, we ask that JTI organizers step up (once again) and help us bring this event to their city for the first time. MEUSA has provided us with a national toolkit which will help us ensure that this event gets the attention it deserves as we join forces for one large impact!
Late evening, unrelated update: Yesterday it was 28 degrees and snowed all day and into the night, but we got less than an inch of snow. Today it reached 60 degrees! That's right - 60 degrees. There was such a big temperature difference between the warm air and the melting snow that we had very dense fog all day. By noon the snow was completely gone. At 5:00 we had a tremendous downpour of rain. Absolutely insane.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I was a little worried about this week's weigh-in today because I knew I'd 'treated myself' too many times during the week. Last Mon I had french fries, last Tues I ate all kinds of stuff at that Inauguration potluck, and on Fri I had birthday cake (a corner piece with icing on the top and 2 sides). However, I still managed to lose 2 lbs this past week. I guess this should serve as a reminder to me that in order to be successful with a non-diet/new eating patterns/lifestyle change, you can't eliminate unhealthy foods. Instead you must limit them. I mean, I know this, but when I treat myself to something bad, I begin to fear that this splurge will undo all my efforts. But I guess its better to err on the side of caution.
Yesterday I finally got Big Ella titled and registered, but it almost didn't happen. After she had her 'physical' at the mechanic's garage, I attempted to title and register her, only to find that the original owner had not signed the title over to the dealer from whom I'd purchased her. I was issued a 30-day tag only. So I contacted the dealer to get the address of the seller, then sent the original seller the title and a letter via registered mail requesting he sign over the title and mail it back to me. All of this took 3 weeks.
So yesterday when they called my number, I presented all my paperwork along with the title, but was told that the dealer did not fully reassign the title to me. I reminded the clerk that the dealer had signed it and provided me with a bill of sale. However, she said she could not process it until it was filled out completely. So I went to the information desk to borrow a pen, and filled out the date of sale and my name, and got another number. When they called my new number I presented all my paperwork and the completely filled out title, and was then told that the dealer was not licensed in the state where the title had been issued. She explained that different states had different rules, yada yada yada, then said I would have to send the title back to the dealer, have him title the car in his state of licensure, then sign that title over to me, and mail it back to me. I could see this process taking another 3 weeks.
I rolled my eyes and sighed heavily, then said in an even, non-emotional tone "I can't believe this. Why should the dealer's state of licensure affect the signing over of the title? The whole point of having a dealer license is to not have to title cars in order to resell them." The clerk asked me to wait a moment, then picked up my paperwork and consulted with a supervisor. After at least 5 minutes, she came back and said "We're going to go ahead and title the car." I smiled and thanked her sincerely. Now Big Ella is titled and has a proper license plate, and her personalized "BIG ELLA" plate has been ordered.
This evening Spouse & I are meeting up with some new female friends. A year ago when I was doing some research for an article I never wrote I interviewed Deb. We sort of 'connected' from the beginning and both thought it would be fun to hang out sometime with our spouses, but we lost touch. Recently we reconnected via email and made plans to meet for an early bird dinner special this evening at a newer restaurant that Spouse & I have not tried yet. I think we'll have a nice time and am hoping this leads to a new friendship for the 4 of us.
Crush du Jour: James Charlton
Monday, January 26, 2009
This year, taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. This is a very exciting new program that has been explained using the Q and A format.
Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.
Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.
Here is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely.
- If you spend your stimulus check at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to China.
- If you spend it on gasoline it will go to the Arabs.
- If you purchase a computer it will go to India.
- If you purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala (unless you buy organic).
- If you buy a car it will go to Japan.
- If you purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan.
None of that will help stimulate the American economy. We need to keep that money here in America. You can do that by:
- spending it at yard sales
- going to a baseball game
- spending it on prostitutes
- spending it on beer and wine (domestic only)
- getting a tattoo
Those are the only businesses still in the US.Crush du Jour: Peter Miller
Sunday, January 25, 2009
It was a rather non-descript day and I was not looking forward to a non-descript night, so after dinner I suggested to Spouse that we go to the Purple Parrot for karaoke. Instead, he preferred to stay home and watch TV, so I went without him. I knew our friend Tony would be there (he's there every Sat) so I wouldn't be alone.
After meeting up with Tony and his friend Donny, I ordered a Cosmo, looked through the karaoke book, and delivered my 1st song choice to the DJ. Shortly thereafter I sang "Mambo Italiano" (the Bette Midler version with the great beat) to the delight of the happy audience. A few people congratulated me for a good performance on my way back to my bar stool, which is always nice. "Mambo Italiano" is a great song but it is difficult to sing because the lyrics go so quickly. But I've sung it before, and knew I could do it well. I mean, without meaning to sound conceited, I know I can sing well. I've sung in public many times, most recently in karaoke but also in concerts when I was younger.
So, after finishing my song and my Cosmo, I went to the bar to order another. While waiting for the bartender, a young blond woman reached out and touched my arm and excitedly said "Oh my god, you're the guy who just did that AH-MAAY-ZING job with that mambo song! You were fantastic! You should be on American Idol!" I sensed she may be just a wee bit tipsy.
"Oh, well, thank you very much, but I'm too old for American Idol. They have a 29 year old age limit, ya know" I responded with a bit of a chuckle. Then I noticed she was there with 2 men and another woman. Two couples, I surmised. The shorter of the 2 guys asked if I would take a picture with his girlfriend (the brunette), whose 30th birthday they were celebrating. I thought he was asking me to take the picture of them so I reached for the camera. "No, I'm taking the picture. I want you in the picture with her" he corrected me. I couldn't imagine why in gay hell he would want a picture of ME with his girlfriend on her birthday, but they seemed quite nice so I figured 'what the hell'. I put my arm around his girlfriend and he snapped the picture, then thanked me.
I guess the flash alerted the taller guy, who turned around as I was removing my arm from the birthday girl's back, and asked the shorter guy "Did you get a picture of Colleen and the karaoke guy?" Meanwhile, I asked Colleen (the brunette birthday girl) how the 4 of them knew each other. She told me that they all work for the coast guard. She and the shorter guy, Sean, have been together for 3 years, and the very good-looking taller guy, Jeff, and the blond woman, Shelly are married.
Jeff then began furiously complimenting me on my performance, which, combined with his slightly slurred speech, indicated to me he was more than a wee bit tipsy. His compliments just kept coming and I was beginning to feel a little embarrassed by all the accolades. If he weren't so damn attractive I probably would have excused myself from the group right then.
But I didn't, and when Jeff noticed my empty martini glass he asked me what I was drinking. I told him it was a Cosmo, and he raised his hand and barked "Bartender! A Cosmo for my buddy Mark!" Now it was definitely too late to leave my new friends.
I learned from Colleen (who doesn't drink) that she grew up in central DE, but had moved to Baltimore for work, which is where she met the other 3. But once again, Jeff did not like the focus of the conversation being something other than me, so he interrupted by asking me if I'd ever sung professionally. I explained that I'd never been paid to sing, but that I'd performed in public many times.
The bartender delivered my drink to Jeff, since he had ordered it, and when Jeff gave me the drink I thanked him sincerely. Then Jeff put his hand on my shoulder and said "You know, I like you. On top of being a great singer I can tell you're a good person." I tried to think of a way to respond that would shift the attention away from me, but all I could think of was to say "Well the 4 of you seem like good, friendly people too."
With his hand still on my shoulder, he then pulled me closer to him, slid his arm around my neck, looked me straight in the eyes, and said "You know, I'm about as straight as they come. And I'm pretty sure you're gay, but I don't care..."
I burst into laughter and replied "You're right; I'm about as gay as they come!" and then laughed some more. This time it was Colleen who interrupted the conversation. "Jeff! You shouldn't say that! How do you know he's gay? Besides, you shouldn't say that even if you do know it." Then she turned to me and said "Oh my god, I'm so embarrassed. You know, he's pretty drunk. Please don't be offended."
It struck me as quite perceptive of him (especially being drunk) to pick up that I was gay. I mean, I wasn't wearing gay-looking clothes or anything, and the gold band on my wedding ring finger sometimes throws people off. And I do have some gay-looking clothes, but I wasn't wearing them last night. I had on faded jeans, a long-sleeve white t-shirt with a short-sleeve blue graphic t-shirt on over top. That's pretty much what every guy (1/2 my age) wears these days! But I just laughed and assured Colleen that I was not offended at all.
As if he had only paused a second, Jeff was back at it again. With his arm still around my neck he said "I don't care if you're gay. I can tell you're a good person. I'm straight, you're gay, who the hell cares? We both put on our pants one leg at a time, right?" I replied "You're right. Really, we're a lot more alike than we are different. Honestly, I don't know why that bothers some people so much." Jeff pulled me even closer to him and confirmed "Well it doesn't bother me at all. You're 'good people'. I love ya, man." And with that, he pulled me so close to him that there was no place for my head to go but onto this chest. He rested his chin on the top of my head and held me in this position for what felt like an eternity, but was likely only a few seconds in reality.
If I could have possibly had any doubt about Jeff's drunkenness, it would have been completely removed by his uttering of that phrase "I love ya, man" followed by pulling into his bosom. I mean, isn't that the classic frat boy behavior? And again, if he weren't so damn sexy I could have been really annoyed by this, but since I found him to be so attractive it didn't really bother me. (How shallow does that make me?)
Colleen scolded him again and suggested it was inappropriate for him to hold onto me like that. Jeff slurred something like "He's mine..." but I'm still not quite sure what he was talking about. When he finally let me up, Colleen rolled her eyes and mouthed the words 'I'm sorry' to me. I just laughed and tried again to steer the conversation away from me and back onto them.
"Have you guys signed up to sing?" I asked. Colleen said that they had thought about it but hadn't decided on a song. I suggested they needed something that lent itself to a group, and then recommended 'Love Shack' by the B-52s. Colleen liked that suggestion a lot and quickly produced the little sign up paper with their names already written on it.
But Jeff was not finished proving to me and everyone else how much he valued our new friendship. As Colleen got the others to agree on 'Love Shack', Jeff said that it was a GREAT song for their group to sing. "Damn, you've got a great voice, you're a great guy, and you pick great songs!" Then he reached out, cupped my face in both of his hands, leaned over, and kissed me on the forehead!
I didn't know whether to be exhilarated or terrified! For a split second I thought about asking him why he didn't just kiss my lips, but I was afraid he would, which could have gotten messy. So instead I looked at Colleen and said "Just my luck. I'm in a bar full of gay guys but its a straight one who kisses me!" and we both laughed.
While all of this was going on, Jeff's wife Shelly had apparently gotten into a bit of a spat with some female patron who's wine spilled on her clothes when Shelly accidentally bumped her arm. Since Shelly was still upset from the altercation the group decided it was time to pay their tab and leave. Half of me was glad since this meant Jeff's attention was finally off of me, while the other half of me was a little sad that the evening's 'entertainment' was ending.
Each of the 4 put on their coats and hugged me goodbye. I gave Colleen a little peck on the cheek as I wished her a happy birthday again. Jeff's hug was big, solid, and manly. I'd be lying if I claimed it wasn't a wee bit titillating. And with that, they were off. I sang again, finished my drink, and was home by 11:30.
Since Spouse was only watching a home shopping channel, I made him mute the TV so I could tell him all about the unexpected adoration from my new friends, including Jeff's drunken gestures, which made Spouse get a little concerned. "I hope he wasn't trying to fool around with you. He didn't ask you to meet him in the bathroom, did he? " he asked. "Oh no, of course not" I replied. Then I reminded him that even if Jeff had tried, I would not have responded because I value our loving and monogamous relationship. I assured him that if I had not felt safe at any time, I would have left immediately.
Then, in an uncharacteristically sweet gesture, Spouse said "Well, I can hardly blame someone, gay or straight, for being attracted to you; you're so cute." My heart swelled, and I knew there just wasn't an adequate response to that. I just smiled, and we sat in silence for a few seconds. He unmuted the TV and we listened to watch Shannon drone on about the "Today's Special Value".
Crush du Jour: Danny Vox
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Recently Sharpton called out the Mormon church (and others) for their silence on all social justice issues except removing marriage equality from GLBT folks in CA via Prop 8, and I couldn't agree with him more. Churches should spend their time, energy, and money fighting issues that actually harm people, like poverty and racism.
“It amazes me when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when the they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being delegated into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners.”
“There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people’s bedrooms and claim that God sent you.”
“I am tired of seeing ministers who will preach homophobia by day, and then after they’re preaching, when the lights are off they go cruising for trade.”
“We know you’re not preaching the Bible, because if you were preaching the Bible we would have heard from you. We would have heard from you when people were starving in California, when they deregulated the economy and crashed Wall Street you had nothing to say. When [alleged Ponzi schemer Bernie] Madoff made off with the money, you had nothing to say. When Bush took us to war chasing weapons of mass destruction that weren’t there you had nothing to say. But all of a sudden when Proposition 8 came out you had so much to say, but since you stepped in the rain, we gonna step in the rain with you.”
(Quotes are from this article in Southern Voice)
Crush du Jour: Alex Marte
In 2004, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) identified 1,138 federal laws in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges.
It's time to educate Americans about what the word 'marriage' really means and talk about the critical rights being denied GLBT couples.
* Tax fairness
* Hospital visitation
* Government benefits
* Medical decision-making
* Exemption from estate taxes
* Spousal immigration
Learn more about the 1138 Reasons Equality Matters.
Then, take action! Its easy to think "I'm not a gay activist. I'll leave the educating of the public to the activists". That's not what Harvey Milk did. Don't sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to do something. One person CAN make a difference!
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Be that someone. Speak up and get involved!
* Visit EqualityMatters to learn about the 1138 reasons equality matters so you can better educate others
* Encourage everyone you know to visit EqualityMatters and to pass it along
* Don't delay - spread the word about the 1138 Federal Rights Denied gay & lesbian Americans
* Come out, come out, wherever you are! Don't just think "they know." It's usually tougher for folks to discriminate against the LGBT community as a whole when they know of one us.
* Re-post this information on your blog, and copy/paste it into an email and send it to everyone you know, GLBT or straight.
This is NOT about special rights or privileges, its about equality for ALL.
Straight Allies – you can help, too. Please speak up on behalf of the legal injustice of marriage inequality for GLBT people, and continue to educate those in your circle of influence about the 1138 Reasons Equality Matters.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
This photo was taken yesterday by my friend Kevin.
Got this little ditty from Seattle blogger buddy A Rad Homo. After reading my one words answers, copy/paste this into your blog and replace my answers with yours.
One Word Answers
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
For being week 2, I expected more like 4 or 5 lbs. Oh well. I can't let myself get discouraged. However, this week is probably not going to be a great one for weight loss either. Yesterday Spouse & I had lunch out and I ate french fries. Plus tonight we're going to a potluck where I will want to taste everything. I guess that is the key: taste. I don't need to eat an entire helping of everything as long as I just have a taste. I am determined to continue loosing weight for a few more weeks!!!
Yesterday we had intermittent snow throughout the day. Oddly though the temperature seemed to fluctuate, causing the snow to stick on the ground for awhile, then melt, then stick again, then melt again. It was really just enough to cover most of the grass and street and make the trees look pretty. Although enough snow to sled ride and close schools is fun, I prefer this type of snow where you get the beauty of it without the shoveling and treacherous traffic conditions.
A friend sent me this video which made me smile. What the duck???
Monday, January 19, 2009
Just a few weeks after having moved into our house, we noticed a wet spot on the foyer ceiling so we called the builder who came out immediately. He determined that the HVAC (located on the 2nd floor) was not draining, and the condensation had overflowed the drain and leaked onto the foyer ceiling.
The builder called the company that installed the HVAC and they sent a guy out immediately. They determined the drain was not clogged, but rather, the end of the drain pipe had gotten frozen. They wrapped the drain pipe with a thick, insulated foam to prevent this from recurring, and then repaired the damaged drywall ceiling in the foyer.
Remember last summer when I wrote about harvesting the condensation from the HVAC to water our roses? Yep, its that that same faulty design of draining the water outside the house that causes the end of the drain to freeze when we get several days of temps below 32 degrees.
So I took an old butter knife and chipped away the ice that had formed on the inside of the drain pipe. Unfortunately there was no gush of backed-up water exiting the drain pipe, so I figured it must be frozen beyond the neck, which I couldn't reach with the butter knife.
I looked inside the little uninsulated storage room that is integrated into the side of the house and found where the drain pipe leaves the heated house and runs through the unheated storage room. The pipe is wrapped in a thick insulated foam, but apparently it wasn't designed for several days of temps below zero.
Then the idea struck me. I grabbed a small electric space heater and an extension cord from in the house and brought them outside to the storage room. I placed the heater inside the small storage room, shut the door, and ran the extension cord to the outside electrical socket. I hoped to heat the storage room enough to thaw the frozen pipe, which would allow the back-up condensation to flow.
It worked! When we returned from dinner with 'the usual suspects' I could see droplets of water beginning to drip from the drain pipe! Despite Spouse's fears that the electric space heater might burn down the house in the middle of the night, I demanded that we leave the space heater running all night long. Sat morning the storage room was toasty warm and there was evidence that the drain pipe was now thawed.
Sun afternoon the small wet spot on the ceiling was gone. YES!!!
Crush du Jour: Josh Brolin
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Sat morning I showered, dressed, fed the cat, made the coffee, and then checked my email. And there it was: the email notifying me that the MLK Jr parade had been cancelled due to the frigid temperatures. I was disappointed, but when I thought of the high school kids in their marching band uniforms that are not designed for single digit temperatures, I concluded that the parade organizers had probably done the right thing.
But the parade was literally the only thing we had planned for Sat. With it cancelled, and with the extremely cold weather, I feared Spouse & I would stay (warm) in the house all day long and be tempted to eat all day long.
To fill our time I thought about suggesting to Spouse that we each spend an hour or so cleaning and tidying up the house. Knowing Spouse I knew that suggestion would not be met with excitement, even though we both know it needed to be done. So, I did something a little devious instead.
I suggested to Spouse that, since it was a cold day, it would be great to make a big pot of chili or beef stew. He agreed that would be good, but we didn't have the ingredients for either. So I suggested we venture out into the cold to the grocery store and get what we needed. "What else have got to do today?" I asked, and he agreed.
On the way to the store I suggested we invite our neighbors Claudia, Jim & Barb over for stew and then watch a DVD about a storm that devastated our area in 1962. He agreed, then declared that if we were going to have people over for dinner and the movie, we'd need to do a little housecleaning. I agreed, and suggested it wouldn't take that long to whip the place into shape.
So, we cleaned the house and I didn't have to twist Spouse's arm into doing it. I got him to suggest it by first getting him to agree to have our neighbors over for dinner!
Feel free to use this 'patented technique' anytime. You're welcome.
So, we made a hearty and tasty beef stew with potatoes and veggies, plus 2 cans of Pillsbury Grands biscuits. Biscuits aren't that hard to make from scratch, but I don't think any taste better than Pillsbury Grands, so why go to the trouble and mess of making them yourself? Claudia, Jim & Barb enjoyed dinner, we all enjoyed our conversations, and then we watched the DVD.
Despite the cancellation of the parade, Spouse & I had a great day and a lovely evening, and we didn't snack all day long.Crush du Jour: Paul Johansson
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Poor Jordan is missing her walks. We've simply been taking her out in the yard to do her business, and then making her come back inside. We love our dog, but we are not about to freeze our asses off so she can enjoy sniffing the (frozen) neighborhood.
'Out' gay bishop Gene Robinson will kickoff Obama's inaugural events on Sunday by delivering an invocation on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
George Washington, our nation's first president and leader of the American Revolution is memorialized on the one dollar bill.
Abe Lincoln, our most honorable leader, pulled our nation through its darkest time is memorialized on the five dollar bill.
Alexander Hamilton, founding father, first secretary of the treasury, and leader of the constitutional convention is memorialized on the ten dollar bill.
Andrew Jackson, "Old Hickory", fought the British in New Orleans is memorialized on the twenty dollar bill.
Ulysses Grant, Union army general, lead the North through the Civil War is memorialized on the fifty dollar bill.
Ben Franklin, genius inventor, political theorist, and leading author of the constitution is memorialized on the one hundred dollar bill.