Look! OMG! It’d a video and I’m wearing a shirt! Heehee
It’s that time again. I’m doing my annual christmas cards again soon. If you want a card, email me your address. Don’t leave your address in the comments. I’d hate for some random bot to snag it.
I have so many different kinds of cards, I’m totally not buying new ones this year. I easily spend upwards of $50 to $100 bucks a year on cards. I’m not sure where I developed the hobby, especially since I’m don’t really celebrate christmas that much. I just enjoy doing it though. It’s almost therapeutic for me. I think I’ve mentioned it in previous years but I like to sit down and go thru my mailing list and compare it to my readers. I pull up all their emails for the last year and read thru them again. It makes me feel connected to my readers. I’m probably an odd ball but when has that ever stopped me? hehehe
So this year I’m gonna throw all the cards in a pile and just go thru them one by one until I’m done. Or at least until I run out of folks to send them to. I’m pretty sure I still have more than enough cards. I seem to remember I might have done some of this last year. (Yeah, I have that many cards heehee)
Shawn and I are probably headed back down to LA for the holiday. The same two friends are tying the knot and have invited us to attend!
Anyway, if you’d like a card drop me a line. I do not expect one in return just because I send you one btw.
***Note – I actually wrote this post in 2015 but thru some sort of typo it got scheduled for 2016.***
World AIDS Day has a special meaning to many of us in the LGBT community. If you are over the age of 40, it is extremely unlikely you haven’t personally lost at least 1 friend or loved one to AIDS. While it is more of a chronic illness in western culture these days, it is still incurable and people are still dying. While I lost several friends over the years, two were very close to my heart and I use this day to fondly remember said individuals. Today I want to talk about Damien.
Damien was the manager of the Club Houston.1 I happened to meet him at a very rough time in my life. The first time meeting him left me a bit rattled actually. I was still young and very naive at the time. And while I’ve always been able to put on a good poker face, I was very intimidated by him. He was this rather imposing figure. He carried himself w/a bit of what I referred to then as arrogance. It helped his image that he was tall and lean. He had long curly hair, of which he he was very fond. He had a reputation for being very strict and frankly, being a bitch. As I would discover later, it was all a cover. He was actually quite kind and generous. He just had a really low tolerance for drama.
For myself, I was struggling to not be homeless at the time and ended up working at the Club for money on weekends. I’d come in and do the weekend bbq and they paid cash. Considering I was sleeping in my car at the time, I wasn’t in a position to refuse. Being funny and social, I quickly went from just weekend work to weekday work on a full-time schedule. Damien quickly fell in love with me (as a friend and mentor). One, I was a hard worker2 but that just served to get his attention. He loved me because, as he put it, “I was the nelliest funniest queen he’d ever met” For you long timer readers, you’ll remember I turned myself into a stereotype back then because I thought that’s what I had to be to gain acceptance. And truth be told, you would not have even recognize me then. But he loved me because I was so fiercely “out.” Anyway, back on topic.
After a little while, word filtered back to him regarding my situation and my routine unofficial overnight hangouts became a sanctioned activity. Employees were allowed to use the ‘gym’ for free. hehehe It was a huge burden lifted for me. A couple of the employees didn’t like me because they knew I’d rat their lazy asses out if they got high and slacked off while on duty. Said slacking meant more work for me. They would routinely kick me out after my time limit expired at night. This left me on the street anywhere from 4-6 hours in the late night/early mornings. The police were not friendly and the neighborhood wasn’t overly safe so I’d drive to a nicer area of town and park in well-lit areas. Anyway, what very few people knew at the time is he also helped me behind the scenes as well. I was the beneficiary of a monthly “employee of the month” program that seemed to only exist for my benefit. Said program paid extra cash to the winner. Damien grew to trust me a lot and was also a mentor to me. Having been thru some of life’s harsher roads before me, he would often share pearls of hard earned wisdom with me.
After a year or so, I moved on. While I had no shame in working there, I didn’t intend to stay that way. I’ve always been a quick study and any time life presents an opportunity I take it. I continued working and finding better jobs to better myself. Damien and I stayed in touch and I’d routinely lend a hand if he asked. An employee would get fired or just disappear and he’d call me for a quick shift. I was glad to help someone who helped me.
When Damien got sick, I was living in Boulder, CO. I caught a flight back as soon as I could and got back in time. It is a surreal experience to see the life and health leave someone you know. Gone was the vibrant man I knew. In his place was the decaying shell of a human being. In a word, it was ghastly. I loved this kindred soul and it broke me in so many little ways to see him reduced to this. When he passed away, I promised I’d never let myself die that way. I’d never let anything reduce me to such a state. (Kids say the craziest things when we think we are invincible)
[This part is new since I wrote this.] So today, I celebrate his life. He wouldn’t want me to be sad or down. He would want me to be fierce and alive. So in his honor, I celebrate the life of all of those we’ve lost due to AIDS. I celebrate the life of those who still live with AIDS. I celebrate their courage in the fight to live. I celebrate the new treatments and drugs available to everyone. Besides treatment drugs we also have PrEP now.3 PrEP is changing the landscape of treatment and transmission.
I celebrate the kindred soul that touched my mine and helped me on my own path.
Hope springs eternal…
- One of two large bathhouses in the city [↩]
- yes, even in a bathhouse. [↩]
- Pre-Exposure Prophylactics [↩]
I’ve been avoiding social media and most of the news these last few days. It’s all been so depressing and sad I just needed a chance to recover before I dove back into it all. And on queue, everyone is jockeying for the moral superiority. What a total turn off. Ugh.1
Believe it or not, some of my readers are/were Donald supporters. I know, crazy right? I make no bones about supporting mostly democrats these days. It isn’t because I’m a hard core party line groupy, they just often make the most sense and/or are will do less damage based on the choices given. I was an ardent (and still am) Hillary supporter. She would have been good for this country, all the rhetoric notwithstanding. She had her issues that concerned me, but so does our current President. Anyway, I got a few snarky humble-brag emails from a couple of aforementioned readers. My response to them is my response to all, “careful what you wish for, because once you get it, you’re stuck with it.” In this case, we are stuck with Donald for at least 4 years. Watching the disaster that is his transition has been both hilarious and frightening. These clowns can’t even manage a transition and yet magically we expect them to manage a country, foreign affairs, the national budget. Really?
I hope we recover from this. I’m a pretty optimistic person but I see this as sign of bad things to come. I truly hope I’m wrong. And unlike everyone trying to point fingers, I don’t blame the people who voted. I don’t blame the people who voted for Donald, Jill, or Gary. At least they got off their asses and voted. They exercised their right to help determine their future. And while it certainly played a role, I don’t blame the voter id laws or the clowns trying to intimidate voters at polling places. It is arguable that without these influences Hillary might have won. Now imagine if half of the non-voting voters had actually gone to the polls. A mere 25% of the absent voting publc would have changed everything. It would have offset all the attempts above and then some. How do I know this? Statistics don’t lie. Statistics repeatedly show lower voter turnouts benefit the republicans. Even with all the shenanigans above, Hillary still won the popular vote by over a million votes (and still counting). That means the crazy, insane voting block, which represents only 1/25 of the total, consistently swings elections because other voters stay home. Over and over again we see it play out. And we saw it again this year. Not voting for your interests is a vote against them.
I don’t buy the bullshit argument we need to coddle straight white men. We don’t need to coddle them. We need to get more women, minorities, and LGBTI foks to the ballot box and kick their selfish asses to the curb. As a collective we outnumber the selfish white men. And here is the crux of the problem IMO. White society is slowly realizing the system no longer predominantly represents them anymore. It scares the shit out of them. Deep down they are afraid of becoming the minority and discovering what it feels like to be discriminated against. This is what drives the cognitive dissonance that allows people to look past Donald’s racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc, etc, etc behaviors. They can’t reconcile the contradiction so they block it out. This is what won the election for Donald IMO.
I’ve said it before,2 indifference is going to destroy us. The more we abandon our cherished rights and freedoms, the faster they will be taken from us. We run to social media to whine or we run into the streets demanding “something be done“. Meanwhile, the people in power keep on doing what their doing. They know there is very little consequence so what’s to fear?
The republicans do get credit for reading the writing on the wall. They took full advantage of the openness3 of the internet and social media. They never let up with their false attacks on opponents. Social media has become the perfect dissemination tool for “story” after story of half truths and flat out lies to confuse an increasingly poorly educated populace. Even our normal media outlets have shifted away from truth and facts to trying to garner ad-clicks. The flashier or more outrageous the headline the better. Doesn’t matter anymore if the headline matches the story. People then see these shitty stories, shared and reshared over time and develop a completely contrary view of reality based on lies and half truths. It’s only now, after it might be too late, suddenly social media is taking notice. No mention yet from traditional media. Maybe they just need to die out and be replaced.
We’ve built the perfect democracy busting engine using a trifecta of parts; indifference, ignorance, and a media platform devoid of integrity.
- I know this article is probably too long to hold the attention of most folks so I won’t bother with the ‘long rant ahead’ admonishment. I mean even the headline is devoid of anything flashy. hehehe [↩]
- And again, I hate being right here [↩]
- Read no regulation on what’s called news [↩]
I’ve written and rewritten this post several times now, which tells me my thoughts and emotions on the subject haven’t settled yet.
Where do we go from here? A man no one took serious in the beginning with his crazy talk and racist banter has vaulted to the highest office in our land. And he didn’t steal it.1 He won it because he secured the necessary electoral votes. And even though he lost the popular vote, he will be our next president. To say I’m sad, heartbroken, distraught, and even fearful of the coming future would be an understatement. The world is still turning but our society in America is about to undergo a radical shift and not for the better I’m afraid.
This is not an ordinary election. This is not just sour-grapes over my candidate not winning. There is a real palpable fear for not only our very democracy but our families and loved ones. So I guess the real question is how much can one man (and his party) damage our country in a single 4-year cycle? We could hope he ends up being a lame-duck due to in-fighting with his own party. I certainly don’t think he will tow the line for them. But what about the issues he does agree with? What about his own crazy notions?
The Republicans are already lining up to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Millions of people in the double-digits will lose access to even basic health-care. Granted, insurance exchanges and the companies in them don’t have to stop. They could continue to offer acces. However, the rules that stop them from rejecting folks with pre-existing conditions will be gone. Many other rules that made the program so successful will also be gone. And states would also be free to forcibly abolish them by creating new laws.
Then the LGBT marriage issue comes up. I personally think this will be a hard one as the SCOCTUS was fully constituted when the case was originally heard and rehearing a decided case so soon is unprecidented, not impossible but unprecidented. It is easy to argue we are in unprecidented territory and relying on precident isn’t a real comfort. And that doesn’t mean the legislature can’t find other ways to interfere just like they’ve done with abortion. He already gets to pick the next justice for the court. You can guarantee it will be a hyper-conservative anti-gay one. The cronies behind him are already laying the groundwork and building their lists of hopefuls. Racism and homophobia are out of the closest again. And any case decided while the SCOTUS was not fully constituted can be brought back up the chain and reheard. You think the new court will favor Union rights? And what if something happens and he gets to appoint more justices? He will sway the court for decades.
I read announcements today regarding many of Trumps’s previous choices for his cabinet and was mortified. Palin, Christie (if he doens’t end up in prison first), Guiliani, Carson, etc. His list is full of anti-LGBT, anti-science, anti-climate change, and anti-women choices. And let us not forget the no longer subtle racist individuals in his campaign. These folks, thru his appointment, pose as much if not greater threat to us than he does.
No, the world didn’t end yesterday. And it won’t end tomorrow. But once Trump takes office and starts changing out the heads of government, what will become of our society? I wonder how many of the people pretending this isn’t a national tragedy will still be nay-saying it 4 years from now. For everyone’s sake, I hope they’re right. For myself, I’m fortunate to live where I do. California is a stronghold of democratic values and San Francisco is at the head of the pack. But we’ve already seen incidents of hate and homophobia here, yes even here we aren’t completely immune.
I’ve reached a point of stability in my life where I’m not overly worried for myself. And I’m saying that because I dragged myself from nothing to where I am today. But I worry for those like me still struggling to reach where I am. I imagine so many LGBT folks out there struggling the way I did just to get ahead and to make something of themselves. They get to face newer and higher hurdles because of our politics. I worry for the rest of my community. Trump isn’t even in office yet and attacks against LGBTI and minority communities are on the rise. I’ve read some of my friends trying to down play it like it isn’t a big deal. Mind you, many of those friends are white and aflluent so of course they don’t feel threatened. But, if trump crashes our economy or removes many of the restrictions that keep companies in check, they might be singing a different tune when they find their 401k’s have become worthless. Or they wake up to find their food/water has been poisoned. The EPA will most certainly be neutered. What about the FCC? What about education? I worry for my younger brother. He won’t have access to medical care if his wife loses her job. He is suffereing from digenerative bone disease in his back and still has a couple years of medical needs ahead of him. And whatever the final outcome, he may need access beyond that?
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t think the American people realized how dangerous Trump and his sycophant cronies really are. They got caught up in the hype and the sensationalism that is our media now. But they will find out all too soon. Or, we’ll keep ignoring climate change and the environment will kill us off
by the millions. Either way, as a life long optimist, I’m strugging to find hope right now.
As my maw-maw always said, “careful what you wish for because when you get it, you’re stuck with it.” I just hope we can survive being stuck with Trump.
- That point being arguable based on the never ending propoganda against Hillary but the reference is more to the Bush/Gore debacle. [↩]
First, I’m in a foul mood today. Apologies in advance if I sound somewhat jaded. I have an awful splitting headache that keeps threatening to grow into a full-blown migraine.
The nonsense is almost over folks. The election is tomorrow and the never-ending barrage of political updates will soon be over. We will either have the first female president or a man so corrupt with greed and selfishness, I fear for our very way of life. However, I’m optimistic anti-intellectualism hasn’t spread so far the American people would vote a vile human being like Trump into office. Time will tell, tick tock… If I’m being honest, I think the media has done a great job giving the crazy minority so much air time it looks like Trump is way closer than he is. The bigger the landslide win for Hillary the more my faith in humanity will be restored.
The good news is now we’ll be able to properly focus on the non-existent war on Christmas just in time for Thanksgiving. And lest you forget, black Friday is approaching very soon. I mean no one gives a sh*t about Thanksgiving, right? It’s all about the shopping. I actually remembered I have the holiday off this time so Shawn and I are most likely headed down to LA for the long weekend. We might even drag the Cooper Pooper with us.
I shut my pie hole on politics a few weeks ago and I’m glad it’s almost over. That said, if you haven’t voted I hope you will tomorrow. If you aren’t voting, you have no right to complain about the future of this country. And spare me the hypocritical nonsense about your vote not counting. If you want to be a shitty citizen, own it, don’t pretend you’re somehow “above it all.”
I honestly never thought I’d see the day I actually feared for our democracy. I just keep thinking of that silly line from the new Star Wars movies when Pad Mai (spelling?) decries, “so this is how democracy dies… to thundering applause.” And what is in store for us in the next election? Will it be another round of crazy? I mean the Trump campaign has already legitimized hate, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and actual physical violence. The bar is so low now one can hope we can only go up again from here.
Anyway, I encourage you to vote tomorrow, if you haven’t already. It is not something you should take lightly. It is your obligation as a free citizen to vote, whether you like said candidates or not. The idea that you should avoid voting due to crappy candidates is a red herring. That’s how the crazies and the extremists get into office. They depend on the indifference of the average American. There has already been talk from the Republican camp this year about trying to limit voting to land owners or those of certain income levels. Yeah, seriously. If you throw away your rights too much longer you may wake up one day and find they’ve been taken from you.
Where ever you are in the country, go vote tomorrow so we can all move on to the next fake scandal.
It’s been almost 6 months at my new gig at work and my body is still fighting the new schedule. I am just not an early to bed person. Getting up isn’t much of a struggle. As soon as the phone goes off, Cooper is up and at’em. If I don’t get up he is pawing at the bed in moments so any chance of falling back to sleep are slim to none. hehehe Getting my ass into bed at a decent hour to get a full 8 hours is the problem. I hear people all the time talk about how little sleep they need (or get). News flash, your body needs sleep. You can get by but in the long run it isn’t healthy. And if you’re an avid gym-goer like me, sleep is even more vital.
I’ve embraced napping. I was never a big napper but I do often now. I struggled at first but my body seems to be adapting to it. I’ll rush home, get naked,crawl in bed, and turn all the lights out. Of course, Cooper has to nap with me! haha IF I can get him to settle quickly, I can squeeze in a quick 20-30 minute nap before the gym. I’m usually groggy but I wake up pretty quickly and by the time I get the gym I feel more energized.
Frankly, I am just no good w/o sleep. This is probably why I spent 12 years working swing shift. I miss waking up when I wanted; having no alarms was awesome! Lawd, I miss those days. I highly recommend it if you get an opportunity. Anyway, back on topic, if I don’t get sleep, I’m a cranky bitch. Being on a 4-10 schedule makes it rough to get a lot of sleep. Ugh. I have to be disciplined or I end up screwed the next day. I start out with the best intentions, “I must get to bed on time, I must get to bed on time.” That turns into, “well, I have 30 more minutes before I HAVE to be in bed.” This doesn’t include the 30 mins it usually takes me to get ready for bed. Cooper has to be fed and walked. If I didn’t shower at the gym, I get my shower in before bed. I usually try to get my cl0thes out for the next day as well. And considering I give myself just enough time to wake up, get Cooper settled, and then out the door, there isn’t room for chores in the morning.
To be fair, my body is slowly adjusting. I do find I get sleepier earlier now. I’m not quite on the old person schedule yet but I’m hoping I adjust soon. I hate the constant struggle against my schedule. I don’t know how my coworker does it with kids. I’d be a wreck. hahaha Granted she doesn’t hit the weights 5 days a week but still. Being in TN this past weekend with my brother and his kids gave me a new perspective on raising kids. It ain’t for me!
I’m gonna give it a full year to see if I can force my body to comply. If not, I’ll look into what it would take for me to switch back to a 5-8 schedule at work. It would be slightly more work for me and slightly less for my coworker but if I can’t force my rhythms to adjust, it would be worth it. On a related tangent, I almost quick this job a year into it on my own (after training). I got bumped to mids for 6 months and it was just awful. I could not sleep. I ended up getting sick twice and had I not been able to go back to swing shift at the next sign up, I would have quit. Clearly, I’m not giving up this asisgnment but I do think there would be some flexibility if I really needed it.
As always, hope springs eternal…
I’m headed to the big state of Tennessee next weekend to see my little brother. It just so happens to be Halloween weekend as well. I didn’t really want to go on said weekend, but it was actually the cheaper weekend to fly. Who knew?
Anyway, I’ve only been to TN and that was a few years ago. Actually, almost 3 years ago to the month. I went for some extended work training related to a software project I had been assigned to at the time. I did get to see him then briefly. I’m looking forward to seeing my little brother, my nephews and nieces, and meeting some of his new extended family.1 They seem to treat him well and he has really taken to them so I am happy for them. My little brother felt a bit alienated after both our parents passed away. He, being the youngest and still living at home, obviously struggled with it. Having found a new extended family has been very good for him.
Of course, I’m also a tad leery. My little bro and I had a huge falling out a few months back. It ended up being a big misunderstanding and we patched it all up; however, we know each other. I do not know his extended family yet. I will do my best to keep politics off the radar. My little brother doesn’t vote and has never even registered to vote so his opinions on politics are often tolerable. That said, I’ve already admonished my little bro to have them keep politics off the table as well. If you read me with any regularity, you know I ain’t shy and I sure as hell won’t be silent. But, I expect it to go ok. He knows me and knows we see things a bit different. He also doesn’t want us to fight. It’s a short trip.
I’m going for the obvious reason, I’d like to see my brother. I’m also going because he’s been having surgeries for degenerative bone disease in his back and neck. Poor thing, he neglected some previous health problems that have led to this. Anyway, he just finished surgery #2 and will probably have to have at least 1 more at some point. They are fusing some discs together to help him regain some mobility and movement. He will never be able to go back to being a volunteer fire-fighter or any job that requires a lot of physical activity. He will (hopefully) be able to go back to some form of work but it’s all still up in the air for now. He is really depressed over it and I know a visit, even a quick one, will cheer him up immensely. He’s already so excited and texting me all the places he wants to show me.
Unfortunately, it’s only for a weekend. It sucks a big chunk of time is wasted commuting. The three hour time difference really eats up the time off. But some is better than none and as I said, I know it will cheer him up. I’d things go well with his new extended family, I’ll try to plan a longer trip in the next year.
I might also get to meet a famous blogger I’ve been dying to meet for years! Lol It’s a short trip so timing will factor in heavily, but I’m hoping to finally meet my friend and long-time fellow blogger Large Tony!
- He got remarried a few years ago and I have yet to meet anyone beyond his new wife. [↩]
Someone asked me the other day if I thought I was too old to workout? Uh, no. Is that a thing? Is there an imaginary age where [gay] guys just give up working out?
I guess if you’re doing it for the attention or admiration I can see a shelf life. And I’m not judging here. Many of us develop an obsession with working out as a coping mechanism to combat deeper issues.Who am I to cast stones? It’s kind of a natural progression honestly. We used to be thought of as weak so working out breaks that stereotype. That said, I never stuck with working out when I did it to impress others. It wasn’t until my mid to late 20s when I decided I really wanted to be better than I was that I finally stuck with it. I took a real interest and got over my anxiety. Lawd, I was a scrawny turd back then.hehee
Fast forward, to my mid 40s and I still enjoy working out. I’m in excellent shape without being ripped or massive.The latter were never my goals anyway. I feel better after a good workout. Of course, the narcissist in me likes that I get more attention, but that is a side benefit. It would be silly to pretend I don’t enjoy attention.1 I think anyone who works out would tell you the same if they are honest. However, I don’t personally think there is a shelf life for working out. I’m not Miss Cleo so I can’t see the future, but I hope I continue working out well into old age. Working out has proven to help keep you healthy and fight off aging. I might end up an old doddering fool but I’ll be a strong doddering old fool!
So no, I don’t think I have reached an age where I’ll be giving it up. And it’s never too late to start.
- truer words were never spoken! [↩]
You know what I hear when people say, “…make America great again”?
- I hear white people who want things to go back to the way they were when they could blithely ignore the racial injustices in the world because of white privilege. They want the ability to keep pretending racism doesn’t exist because they never see it (Or want to see it).
- I hear white men who want women to go back to being home bound and barefoot. They don’t like the idea of a strong women or that women deserve equality in the workforce.
- I hear white people who want gays to go back to pretending they don’t exist. They don’t want to be faced with the soul-chilling idea that a religion they were institutionalized into since birth might be flawed. They pretend gay-bashing or deaths of the LGBT community are their own fault for being so ‘different.’ They don’t want to be faced with the idea that Trans people are real and just want to feel safe in society.
- I hear white people who suddenly notice the world, society, and media no longer features them as the primary representation of America. Deep down I think they are afraid they might end up going thru what minorities or gays have gone thru for decades.
I hate to break it to ya white people but America wasn’t always great for everyone. Many of us faced untold hardships, harm, and even death at the hands of your indifference. Even a poor white person has a leg up on many minorities and gays. And guess what? We aren’t going to go back to hiding or pretending we don’t exist. Minorities are not going back to separate but equal.
America is great. It is also horribly flawed. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t even a role model in many areas anymore. Our greed and indifference mixed with rising anti-intellectualism is slowly leading to our undoing. It’s not the ‘blacks, gays, muslims, women, etc’ that have ruined this country, it is your willful selfishness and blind indifference to the injustices faced by others not like yourself.
And if being faced with the idea that you bear indirect (and direct) shame for said actions is too much to bear, try walking in a black man’s shoes for awhile. Try to have a normal life as a minority, a gay/lesbian/Trans person. Tyr being a Muslim women in an oppressive fundamentalist country. You have no idea what makes America great because you aren’t part of that equation. If you think America needs to be great again, here’s a news flash for ya, YOU are the problem.
Scared? Welcome to our world.