Deaths

I’ve had not 1, but two significant deaths lately. My good friend Rick passed away. He lived in Hawaii with his husband Jeremy. It was unexpected and a total shock. I don’t need to go into the details, but I’m sad to have lost my friend. It was not covid-19 related, btw. Rick and I met years ago when he was still living here in SF. We met at the gym and he was kind and friendly, even if he looked intimidating as a big ole bodybuilder. I was at what I refer to as the “end-stages” of some of my emotional growth. I had overcome a lot of my demons and was finding my confidence. Out of the blue, Rick came into my life and was just a good genuine friend. We briefly flirted with dating, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Our friendship survived his move back to Hawaii, and Shawn and I have visited him there more than once. He was one of our destinations as soon as we felt comfortable traveling again.

Rick was a war vet and suffered from PTSD. With the current state of political affairs, he was often upset and unhappy with where our country is heading. Not only that, he was denied his rightful military benefits for years due to the old DADT law. He did finally get them, but I know it bothered him he had to fight for so long to get them. I hope he is in peace now, free of the torments of this life and worries for the future. He will certainly be missed! Rick, we love and miss you.

*

Trailing right behind that, I found out the very next day, my old blog buddy ‘ThisboyElroy’ passed away as well.1 It was the day before his 40th birthday. This one also really shook me as I just never thought of someone so full of life could go so soon. I met Adam back after he started his blog, when he and his ex were still together. We actually met at one of the blogger shindigs that were so popular back when blogging was still new. He, Brad, and I hit it off right away! We randomly hung out together over the span of years. And after Adam and Brad split, we sort of became distant but not from any tension. We were just on different paths and didn’t often interact as much. I never got to meet Adam’s new husband. I didn’t want to bother or intrude on his grieving, so I’ll try to reach out to him after some time has passed. Adam was a positive force in this world. He was smart, not afraid of confrontation, and singularly focused on the goals he wanted for himself. His infectious smile and sharp wit will be sorely missed.

*

When I was younger, I often commented I didn’t expect to live into old age. For a variety of messed-up reasons, I never thought I’d live to see 40. Here I am pushing 50 and I am grateful for my life. It was wrong of me to be so callous about it. Life is too fragile and finite to be so careless about it. I should be so fortunate to be remembered as fondly as I remember Adam and Rick.

Be at peace my dear friends.

 

  1. They actually died on the same day []

Sore

OMFG! I’m dying! Ok, not really, I’m just sore as hell.

The gyms here were finally allowed to open in a limited capacity.  (Last week, but I waited a few days to jump back in.)) Luckily, one location has an outdoor area setup. They basically took over one of their fenced-in parking lots and put a tent over it. I digress, back to the dying. Lawd, I am sore. Like, “ouch, I can barely bend my arm” sore.

I swear I didn’t over-do it. I did biceps the first day back because I figured1 everyone else would be doing chest. It has been over 5 months since I sat foot in the gym. If we flashback you will remember I was very happy with myself after surviving a lack of carbs in my diet.2  I was reaching a nice definition phase on the old physique. Of course, BAM! Pandemic hit. Now me and my pudgy squishy belly need to get back into it. So I start super light on the weight. Literally, I was doing less than half my normal curl weight. The next day and the day after I could bare bend my damn forearms! I was almost worried I had somehow torn them without realizing it.3  It was excruciating. I know, “poor me” with my first world problems. I’m not unawares. Anyway, I followed up with chest and then legs over my 3-day weekend. I went even lower on chest and legs as a result of my ‘arms on fire’ routine. Right on queue, they are extra sore too. They weren’t as bad as the forearms, so maybe it was good I got freaked out a little. Today, I am still sore all over, but the forearms are a dull ache now, thankfully.

It sucks getting old. I’ll be the big 5-0 this next year so I know my body isn’t as spry as it used to be, but come on! Good Lawd! lol  I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back in the gym. It might seem trivial, but it is more than just a vain desire to look good. Working out as long as I have, it is big part of my daily life. I go thru phases where I sort of rebel but those are days and weeks, not months! If I ever bitch about dragging my ass to the gym again, point me back to this post. I honestly did not expect to miss it so much. It weighed on me (pun intended) and brought down my mood. Beyond the vanity and health benefits, I don’t think I properly valued how much it affects my mental well-being. Speaking of well-being, I have a sad news post but I’m saving it for later.

And if you fuckers ruin this for me, there will be hell to pay! I will summon the mega of all Mega-Karens to track each and every one of you down and staple that damn mask to your face! /sarcasm. Seriously though, after Labor day I’m worried a new jump in cases is coming. We were doing so well here in the bay area in the beginning. Then we got complacent and ruined it. We are finally back to a point where we can take more risks and get out there a bit more. I don’t care what your feelings are on the subject of masks, but if you want our favorite places to open, wear your mask and maintain distance! Do it for the gym! lol

I was a wee bit nervous, even with knowing it was outdoors. Fitness SF came thru though. While sparse, the setup was spacious and well regulated. You are given a bottle of disinfectant with your towel. There are signs everywhere reminding folks to clean the equipment before and after use. You get an hour sign up and they boot everyone out at the end of each hour. Indoor areas are allowed to open this week with limited capacity, but I’m not there yet. While the daily new cases are dropping, I’m just not trusting the indoor setup. Thankfully, the gym plans to keep outdoor area going for at least another couple months!

*stretching arms* Ouch! It hurts! heeheee

  1. rightly so after arriving []
  2. The struggle was real! []
  3. For some reason, I am always sorest the 2nd day after a workout. []

Replaced

Today in first world problems, my XOne X died a few months ago. I figured I can rant about something tedious and boring for a change instead of the crisis crisises we are all facing right now. So grab your joe and let’s go!

The hard drive was failing and it finally crashed. I tried replacing it and everything went smoothly until the reinstallation. For whatever reason the damn OS would not reinstall no matter how hard I tried. I finally gave up and re-signed myself to wait for the Series X. That didn’t work out so well. Lol

Originally, I opted to drop it off for repair. Unfortunately, MS (Microsoft) repair was closed due to the pandemic so I couldn’t even offer to ship it in. Of course, the warranty was expired years prior. After MS was finally open and able to offer shipping, the cheapest estimate for repair was around $275 without shipping costs. Screw that! I was like, “I’ll just do it myself!

I did all the troubleshooting. I read the sites, watched the videos, and consulted some of the gurus. They all said it would work. I got the instructions, the scripts, and the troubleshooting tips….and of course it failed. Lol And it is probably some minor thing MS did to the OS variant installation I had. It could also be I was a beta tester, dunno. Knowing my luck it was some minor glitch in codes matching up or whatever. Ain’t that how it always goes?

I was rather proud of myself actually. I consider myself a techie and know my way around hardware but it’s been a while. The familiarity had waned a bit. So I paid extra attention to the discussions on how to do it. I ordered a new drive that was the same as the existing one. The script I found to format the drive partitions worked perfectly. Taking the console apart was a bit of a bitch but once open swapping out the drives was painless. Then came the offline reinstallation of the OS. I followed MS’s guidelines to the letter. No matter how many variations I tried the damn OS wouldn’t reinstall so I finally gave up. Leave it to MS to f*CK up the easy part.

Fast forward a few months and I’m desperately missing it.1 Playing on my PS4 is fine but my go-to console has been the Xbox since the 360. To me, games just play better on the Xbox and I love the elite controller. It fits my hands and the weight makes it comfortable. Anyway, I’d put out feelers for a used XOneX but everyone wanted $300+ even for a used one. We are fortunate to have decent finances, but I was hard set on not spending more than a couple hundred bucks tops for a console I’ll be replacing in just a few months anyway.

After exhausting Craigslist and other sites for used consoles I’d sort of given up on finding a used one. On a whim, I checked FB Marketplace. Lo and behold! I found a guy here in SF just over the hill from me. He clearly worked in tech. He had an XOne S. It’s a slight downgrade from the XOne X but close enough. He’d actually gotten it before he got married and afterwards never got to play it so decide to get rid of it.2 We exchanged info, met up, he booted it up to show me it worked fine. Sold! I venmo’ed him the money and split. And yes we did social distance. We all had masks on. I watched from a distance while he booted it up.

It’s setup now and running and I am tickled pink. It was money well spent. For such a small thing, it reminded me how blessed I am during this madness. I’m certainly appreciative. It is weird how such a tedious thing put me in better spirits. The whole day yesterday I just felt less depressed. And considering the shit show that is our daily news, that is saying something. I guess maybe having something to enjoy can ease the frustration.

So there ya have it. My boring story about getting a used Xbox. Hopefully, it was a tedious but pleasant distraction.

  1. Like I said, first world problems. Perspective []
  2. He did not seemed amused about the lack of playing part. Lolol []

Warm Rain

It is rare to get rain in SF this time of year, but even rarer for it to be warm and a thunderstorm! We had one this past weekend. OMG It was amazing1

There aren’t many things I miss about the South, but the warm rain is definitely one of them. Rain here is often cold (and miserable). lol  To get a warm rain and a thunderstorm is a rare treat. Sadly, I slept right through the thunderstorm part. Yup. It was all over by the time I woke up. I did get a nice walk in the rain though. I had to get Miss Daisy settled first. She tolerates it because where daddy goes, she goes, but she hates the rain. Afterwards, I took a leisurely stroll down to Starbucks to get my weekend caffeine fix. I took my sweet-ass time. I missed most of the rain but the tail end was light and just a delight!

I used to love warm rain growing up. I didn’t care if it was ‘stormin’, I like to be in the rain. Anytime it does happen here, I’m always reminded of one weekend playing with my older brother in the rain. We had that game where you run and  standing slide as far as you could without falling. Of course, he always won. But that was never the point. I’m grateful I do have some fond memories of my childhood. Warm rain is definitely one of them. 

It’s funny because people here worry about lightning from thunderstorms like people from the South worry about earthquakes here. And people talk about it for weeks afterwards. Weeks!  

I’m sad I missed the bulk of it, but it was a lovely morning. We’ve been having a mini heat wave so the rain was a nice break from the previous day heat. It reached 96 in the city so I know the burbs were cooking. If nothing else, it put me in a good mood. I momentarily forgot about all the drama in the world right now. It was just me and the drizzling warm rain.

Hope springs eternal…

  1. Even though I missed most of it []

“Ma Freedums”

Only in ‘murica do we argue against the entire scientific community1 on proper precautions to avoid the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. And because we live in a economy with zero safe-guards or systems to survive this kind of crisis, many are forced into the false choice of opening up everything to ‘save’ jobs and the economy or close everything and keep people safe but let the economy crash. This is what comes from unregulated capitalism aka greed.

The right wing propaganda campaign has convinced 10’s of thousands of Americans the pandemic is hoax, and only when it bites them in the ass do they suddenly realize it isn’t. Forgetting a hoax would require the complete and total cooperation of the global medical community, counted in the low millions of people, the rest of the free world is already recovering from the pandemic and slowly reopening their economies. Meanwhile, our new cases and deaths are setting new records almost weekly now.

And when it isn’t ‘hoax’, it is a conspiracy. Depending on which version you read, it was deliberately spread from China, created in a lab who knows where, a giant ploy by the Democrats to throw the election, and/or [insert famous person’s name here] ploy for world subjugation. A global pandemic just to get 45 out of office? You’d rather believe that than the cold hard truth?

Then we get to the mask propaganda, which has reached levels previously relegated to the Hilary/pizzgate drama. Only in ‘murica is being required to wear a mask to protect yourself and others considered tyranny, a democratic ploy, a sign of the end times, an enactment of a world order meant to enslave all humans, or taking away ‘my freedums’. Take your pick.

If you get your news primarily from social media, it is easy to think the majority of people feel this way. Actually, thru repeated polls most people consistently support the restrictions and understand why they are necessary. Unfortunately, the idiots go out and put us all at risk so they can’t just be ignored.

The tyranny theory is usually reserved for the “coming for my guns” crowd. You know the ones. The incels, the darkweb conspirators, or propagandists who go out of their way to correlate completely random events to “uncover” a secret plot with various nefarious outcomes. Yes, we get it, it makes you feel special. Just some random dude (dudette) in the middle of America somehow discovered what every educated scientist over looked. Oh right, they are in on the conspiracy. *wink, wink*

Contrary to popular conspiracies, Obama nor Hillary are involved. Bill Gates is not working on a vaccine2 to enslave us or give us the “mark of the beast.” The Qanon crowd, the racist/nazi groups, the religious fanatics, or the just plain crazy are all out to sell a narrative based on fear. This is the ONLY way they can recruit new members. Logic and reason can’t be used and are universally shunned. And let us not forget the campaigns to paint movements like Antifa or BLM as the same level of dangerous or crazy as the nazis and racists. Sure Jan.

Then we get to all the entitled Karens/Chads of the world. “It interferes with my breathing”, “I have a medical condition,” or “you can’t force me because it isn’t ‘da law'”. Wrong on all counts. There are countless demonstrations of real world use of mask having no impact on your breathing. And the random conspiracies are easily disproved with basic logic. What many people confuse is it does cause you to breath slightly harder, but you are still getting the same amount of air. Because you are unaccustomed to wearing a mask, you notice the extra effort. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you are a very sick person and have no business being outdoors, period. But let us pretend for a moment you did. The ADA (or HIPAA for the exceptionally ignorant) does not protect you or allow you to disregard health orders when you go out in public. Why? Because your accommodation would put other people at risk. ADA does not allow for that. And as a result of all the ignorance has had to officially go on the record stating as such. The fake cards saying you are exempt or immune are just that, fake.

And then we get to the ‘constitutional scholars‘ who claim because it isn’t the law, they don’t have to obey. Oh, but you do! Thru a century of court cases and law review, the line between public rights and individual rights is clearly drawn. Your ‘individual freedoms‘ do not trump (pun intended) the rights of the public. Businesses can limit your access or refuse to do business with you for failing to comply with legally issued orders to wear a mask.3 Wearing a shirt or shoes indoors isn’t a law, but is universally accepted businesses are allowed to enforce this measure. (Forgetting the very racist roots of said restrictions.) When you are required to produce 2 forms of ID at the DMV it is not a law. When you queue up in line to wait your turn, it is not a law. Just try to cut in line anywhere and see what happens. There is no law that you have to work. However, if you want to have money for necessities or luxuries you get your ass up and go to work. So you see, not everything we do requires a law.

Frankly, being a decent human being shouldn’t require a law. If yo mamma raised you right, you would give two-shits about other people. Caring about the welfare of others shouldn’t need to be legislated.

I won’t even cover the new round of entitled idiots trying to use religion as an excuse. The newest excuse? Wearing a mask interferes with our ability to pray?

smdh

  1. minus the few crackpots []
  2. Even though his orgs work to help eliminate dangerous yet preventable diseases thru vaccinations has saved countless lives. []
  3. These same folks were all about screaming business rights when people could refuse to do business with gays, but now suddenly business rights do not matter. Funny how that works. []

Shut Down

I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of our country getting the pandemic under control. I predict we will continue to live with hodgepodge restrictions and shut downs thru the election in November. Only after 45 loses will we see a national strategy with a lockdown that will be consistent and effective. The mismatch state by state approach has obviously failed. There is no enforcement of any real value so people are free to disregard the directives.1 Shaming and viral exposure can only do so much.

The economy will continue to tank and businesses will shutter on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. Economists are already sounding the alarm. We blew it. Our selfish entitled attitudes created this mess. The ignorant minority continues to overshadow all the efforts of the responsible majority. We’ve allowed them thru mismanagement to take over the face of the pandemic. Maybe now that the Mango maniac has finally started wearing a mask, his cult followers will follow suit. We can only hope at this point.

All other countries with active restrictions and enforcement are seeing lower and lower cases. Many have already opened almost completely up, albeit with some mask requirements and restrictions on large events. They listened to their experts and acted accordingly.

I know I sound like Debbie Downer, but I’m trying to take a realistic approach based on what I see every day. The virus is spreading at a rampant rate again. Even California2 is seeing a big jump in cases and hospitalizations. And while the death total isn’t necessarily skyrocketing, people seem to forget, even those who don’t end up hospitalized can suffer for months after clearing the illness.

As of the news today, 1 in 5 Californians are unemployed. Many moratoriums on evictions (residential and commercial) are set to expire in the coming month. I expect California’s will mostly likely be extended, but the problem is still their looming over their heads. And it seems another round of stimulus checks might be coming, but they are drops in a bucket at this point.

I’m grateful for the fortunate circumstances I find myself in thru this; however, I worry for so many who are struggling between doing the right thing and being able to work and put food on their tables and a roof other their heads. The hubby is going stir-crazy being unemployed and home all the time; however, he is trying to hang in there. We get out on walks together on weekends to help break up the monotony.

If you’re struggling while you wait for “normal” to return, I’d put that aside. Normal is gone for 2020. Hunker down and adjust to our new reality for the next few months. I hope I’m wrong, but I’d be shocked if we have any meaningful developments before September. Hopefully, by year end the several possible vaccines will hold out to be effective enough to mass produce. A best case scenario is seeing a sense of normalcy returning before March 2021.

  1. And I’m not talking about people desperate to work or businesses fighting to exist. []
  2. granted mostly in Southern California []

Privilege

I had an incident this weekend that really nailed the idea of “privilege” in my mind. I’m at the local bagel shop in the ‘hood. I’m standing just inside the entrance to maintain social distance to the person inside.1 A woman comes behind and parks herself less than a foot from me. I promptly turn and glare at her. Seeing that didn’t work, I moved forward. Luckily the person in front of me had moved to the side as he had finished placing his order.

At this point I’m kind of over it. I’m reading the news on my phone. I glance up ever so often to see if my food is ready and to ensure I do not need to move again to maintain my distance. The previously mentioned woman is now glaring at me and I can tell she is mumbling under her breath. I’m thinking to myself, “get over it lady, maintain your distance and no one will glare at you.” Her order came up first, even though she ordered after me, as she only ordered something quick. As she’s leaving, I look up to see her glaring at me again and mumbling. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until she was out the door that I put her words to meaning. She had said to me, “black lives matter too MF’er!

Of course, I’m immediately upset. I mean the nerve! How dare she make it about race. I don’t give two-shits what color you are, maintain yo’ distance! Then it dawns on me. She mistook my glare and stepping away from her to mean I was avoiding her because of her skin color. I was floored! How could I have done this? But, as I go over the scenario in my mind, I honestly wouldn’t have done anything different. I’d glare at your dumb-ass for not maintaining distance regardless.

At this point, my anger dissipates and I feel only compassion and sadness. How terrible the world she walks in must be that this was her first assumption? I frequently say, “I walk in an extraordinarily different world than people of color.” This was a prime example of that. My heart sank knowing how much anger, hurt, and resentment she must be felling. And while I can take some comfort in knowing my own actions were honorable, it still left me profoundly sad.

I benefit and often take many things for granted simply because I am white. It really struck me how privileged I am. People often mistake being called “privileged” for being wealthy or having life easy. That is not the meaning here. Lawd knows, my life before the age of 25 was an utter shit-show. I wen thru more drama and tragedy in those years than most people go thru in a life time. In spite of all that, I can see and understand I still benefit daily from being white.

My only regret is not being able to clarify why I was glaring at her.2 If I could, I’d give her a hug as well. It was too late and I wasn’t about to try and chase her down after the fact. I can only take solace in the knowledge my actions were not racially motivated.

I strive to be better and to help others be better. I encourage you to do the same. A lot of people are hurting right now. Should you encounter a similar scenario as a white person, I implore you to see the bigger picture and recognize, it isn’t necessarily you the person is acting out against.

Hope springs eternal….

  1. It is a small space. []
  2. The humor in that is not lost on me. []

Remembering

It was January 1991. The first year I witnessed the death of someone I personally knew from AIDS. It scared the holy sh*t out of me. I remember hearing an older couple I was friends with commenting on this article from the NYT. The report of 100,000 deaths from AIDS was buried deep in the paper. There was no national outrage, there weren’t any names posted on the front page. We were on our own.

Fast forward to this week’s front page article with a thousand names of the 100,000 dead from the pandemic.

The LGBTI community remembers. We know what it’s like when the government ignores a disease. We remember what it was like to see so many our people die from AIDS, many of which died alone.

Don’t be cavalier or indifferent to this crisis. Don’t be a name on the front page or one buried on page 18.

Spread

Unless you live under a rock in the LGBTI community, you know that STI’s are often of concern, especially for gay men. Health departments track these little buggers every year.1 Every so often there is a bigger outbreak than usual. When this happens it almost always seems to start in the two coastal regions, especially in the denser or larger cities. As it spreads, it tends to move inward hitting bigger cities first, and then filtering down to rural areas. There are always statistically larger and persistent spikes in poorer and/or overly religious states as it filters inward. It continues to filter inwards until a loosely coast to coast coverage exists.

This is a general reference and not at statistical analysis. I’ve always paid attention to these sort of “trends”, as I think it gives critical insight into developing tools to combat disease transmission. I mention it today because I feel like the COVID-19 pandemic is following an eerily similar pattern, especially in the afore mentioned poor and/or overly religious states. One can see a real correlation between the spread and those who, thru bias and/or willful ignorance, downplay the dangers of the virus.

I’ve been wondering if health departments have been using the same models to predict the spread of COVID-19. It would certainly make sense if they did. I haven’t seen any specific mentions in media or print, but that could easily be because of the distasteful association people often make with STI’s.2 There are important distinctions between STI’s and COVID-19, but the transmission vectors are very similar just on a much larger scale.

I guess I don’t really have a point to my ramble today. I am just pondering random ideas relating to the pandemic. I’ve been trying to focus more on the science side to avoid being continually furious at ‘the stupid’. I won’t even go into the “re-openings” happening in states with ever increasing numbers of new cases. I’ve realized it is pointless and just leaves me depressed. What I will see say on the subject is we are already seeing spikes in many of the states that relaxed the rules too early or didn’t really restrict public exposure.

California is moving into phase 2 of the 4 phase plan originally outlined by the Governor. The numbers have jumped in SF in the last week, but that has more to do with broader testing and specific groups within the community. We were fortunate to go just under 4 days with no new reported deaths in San Francisco. Testing is now readily available to all citizens in SF as well. I personally feel it should be forced onto people returning to the work-force vs voluntary.

That is it I guess for the moment. I’m sort of rambling here, just airing out some thoughts.

  1. Ironically, health departments in larger cities have improved their modeling tools to specifically track and combat the spread of STI’s. []
  2. It is because of this association that many areas of the country sometimes see continually higher than average numbers of STI cases. []