Pride & Prejudice

So as usual, there is in-fighting amongst all the letters in our glorious alphabet of communities. This year seems to have taken a new twist as people are losing their sh*t over changes to the rainbow flag in PA. Apparently, some folks have decided to add extra stripes to denote the inclusion of race.

For my part, I don’t really care either way. If you want to add some stripes to represent the inclusion of race on the flag be my guest. The rainbow flag is just a symbol. It doesn’t define me or my life so modifying it doesn’t really affect me one way or the other. Symbols are meant to represent us, not define us.

On the one side, racism is just as prevalent in the gay community as it is in the straight world. What harm is there in adding reflections of race to show inclusion? Even though the flag wasn’t meant to reflect race, so what if some people want to include a variation that includes it. I’ve seen so many personal variations of the rainbow flag for years. Where is the outrage on all those variations? No one owns a symbol anymore than they own an idea. Let us all stop acting like changing a recognized symbol will end all our hard earned rights.  

On the other side, I also don’t really think it helps anything. Many of our racial tensions are tied to various socioeconomic issues. Until we work thru these, changing a symbol does absolutely nothing IMO. Actions are stronger than words. How about we stop using disrespectful terms to refer to other races? How about we stop acting like every unflattering joke or mention of race/gender is an attack? Even better, how about we stop marginalizing everyone because of the actions of a few? Instead, let us accept that others suffer differently than you. Be willing to look outside your sphere of existence to see thru another’s eyes.These actions and attitudes are much more effective at stopping hate, mistrust, and fear.

This whole pissing match is a reflection of the deeper issues within our umbrella. These ever growing trends of attacking and/or shaming anyone who disagrees, even in the slightest, are doing the work of our enemies for them. We are destroying our communities from within. Our umbrella of people rarely agree on any given topic. Why must we make enemies of each other over different view points like this? The level of vitriol and disgusting behavior I’ve seen on both sides has been deeply disturbing. This is not how we should be treating each other.We can disagree with our allies w/o labeling them as enemies. We can be patient and show understanding as we try to educate those around us who thru privilege or ignorance don’t understand a given viewpoint. Shock value and strong-arm tactics might sometimes work against our enemies but when we use them on our allies we only further the divide between us.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have all the answers, but I still support equality and freedom for all. That makes me an ally even though I’m a person who won’t be shouted down just because I don’t always see eye to eye with everyone else. When we silence the voices of our allies over internal squabbles, what is their motivation to speak for us when we need them? And don’t even get me started on the growing tide of small groups who decide they can’t compromise even a little. They demand to have their way or else. If you refuse, they do everything possible to obstruct or shut down the process. How is that productive? You don’t win hearts and minds that way.

While the LGBTI movement has taken some significant large steps recently, it took decades to get this far. We gained many of our rights slowly one at time. We still have more to accomplish. Many of these new found rights are under renewed attack. We need to be unified now more than ever.

Kindness 

I had to stop and share this. 

I’m checking in today at SFO on my way to Austin. I’m flying Virgin America and after a rather long security screening I arrive at the flight gate desk to see a very irate man practically yelling at the lady working the desk. He is basically blaming her for his delays in security and demanding all kinds of comps. 
He is just livid and the lady is on the edge of calling security. You can see the moment in her eyes when she goes from trying to console him to being fed up with his nonsense. The guy suddenly turns to me and trys to loop me into his drama-fest as I guess he saw me in the TSA line earlier. Now keep in mind, the flight is on time and we still have another 40 minutes before boarding starts. 

Being already fed up with his BS, I shake my head and in my best southern manners reply, “oh naw, don’t drag me into this, you’re doing a good job of making an ass of yourself without my help.” I then proceed to walk away until his fit is over or he gets hauled away. The latter I was prepared to film. The guy realizes he isn’t getting anywhere and walks away in a huff. 

The very frazzled lady motions me over with a huge smile and twinkle in her eye. She thanks me profusely for being so “patient.”1 She the asks if I needed anything since I had been standing in line. I inquired if there were any aisle seats. It was a full flight but she worked her magic and I was given a much appreciated aisle seat. She again thanked me profusely and I walked away to get food. 

Oh, the story isn’t over. 

I go scarf down some food and am headed back to the gate area when I see the same fellow storming away screaming into his cell phone. He has now been kicked off the flight for his behavior. Oh and he was furious that they had the nerve to put him in a middle seat! 

Now I do not know if my new seat assignment had anything to do with his predicament. There was no indication I was given his seat. It could have been, and most likely was, a random synchronous occurrence. However, I did notice a still present twinkle in the gate agent’s eye as I presented my brand new shiny aisle seat boarding pass for boarding. 




  1. You can read between the lines here, she was gleeful seeing him get served some shade of his own making. []

Gonna Live

I forgot to come back and update everyone. Sorry to disappoint but the doc says I’m going to live. heehee

Turns out it was mostly what I thought but with one twist. Courtesy of being testosterone dependent since my teen years, I’ve developed relative polycythemia, a fancy way of saying I have too much red blood running thru my veins.

My BP and heart rate were actually lower than they had been in weeks the day I visited the doc, but they were both still elevated. Besides recommending I shed a few fat lbs, he also put me on some very low dose BP meds. I’m basically taking a pediatric dose right now. My bad cholesterol  was also really high so I’m also on a low dose Lipitor (generic) regimen. Worse case scenario, I have to go in at some point to see a Phlebotomist to have excess blood removed.1  I’m not at that level yet.

The meds made an immediate impact. My heart rate is much lower. I wouldn’t say it’s normal for me, but well within a range I’m willing to tolerate while I work on the diet2 and some weight loss. Clearly, I’m not that heavy but loosing the weight helps rule it out if the problem continues. Plus, I don’t like being on meds more than necessary so the goal is to get to a point where I do not need them.

The irony is he thinks the time I spent away from the gym due to my surgeries and shoulder injury may have pushed it to a point where my body wasn’t coping. I also didn’t think to reduce my T dose while I was not working out. These together probably pushed up the thickness of my blood. He strongly encouraged me to keep hitting the gym regularly to keep things in check.  And you have to obey your doc, right?!




  1. I was doing some research and it’s surprisingly more common than I thought. []
  2. Goodbye to all the bacon in my diet. le sigh []

Cardiac Issues

Lately, I’ve been having an increased heart rate and higher than normal blood pressure. Nothing life threatening but odd for me. My heart rate has hovered in the 90’s for the last few weeks. It goes over 100 sometimes and back down in the 80’s other times. My normal region is the low 70’s. I’ve always had a bit of high heart rate, but except for the bips over 100, it’s all in the ‘normal’ range.  The blood pressure has been all over the place. A couple tims close to 200. This being a bigger concern. I guess I’ve finally reached the age where I have to pay attention to such things. hehehe

It started a few weeks back. I didn’t think much of it at first but then after a few nights of feeling my blood pressure pulsing thru my brain (you know how sometimes you feel flushed or sit in just the right position and you can feel your blood pressure pulsing with your heart beat without trying to take it? Yeah, that), I figured it was time to act. I see my regular doc this week and a cardiologist next week.

I had a Paramedic captain at work hook me up to a 3-lead machine a few weeks back when I first noticed and I had some odd P-waves (The bottom of the heartbeat wave). There was some odd double bouncing before it went back up. From my limited knowledge this could be caused by a variety of issues. In my case it is most likely just age and diet. I’m not a bad eater but I found out I am predisposed to diabetes Type II. And while I don’t eat a lot of fast food or drink sugary sodas, I do eat a lot of rich food. My diet is also high in carbs.1  I am assuming this is the cause anyway. We’ll see. I don’t drink much or do any recreational drugs (I know, rare), but even healthy people can develop cardiac problems.

It’s ruined my gym schedule for the last couple weeks. I also cut out caffeine and all my pre-workout supplements for about 2-weeks. Oddly, when I take vaso-dilating supplements like pre-workout mix, I notice my BP actually goes down a little. This is indicative of a clog or poor blood flow. You don’t even want to know how hard it was to go 2-weeks with no caffeine. I did it though. And I saw virtually no change. This again leads me to believe it could be a clog or related flow issue.

I’m not in a danger zone yet. No d-fib or weird T-waves. I am hoping it is something I can work on with meds to get my BP down until the better diet takes over. I hate eating salads so I’m already focusing on reducing carbs. I don’t crave carbs so much as I just enjoy a lot of carb style foods. I also added fiber pills to my small supplement regimen. I probably don’t get enough fiber in my diet.

Of course, I’m just guessing at this point. Being adopted, I have no family history to refer to so it’s always new territory. My triglycerides have been slowly creeping up over the last decade. My doc even mentioned last year, I might need a med or two to know it down.

I’ll know more in a week so wish me luck!




  1. Lawd do I love pasta! []

Stupefy

Today is brought to you by the letter S.

stu·pe·fy

ˈst(y)o͞opəˌfī/

verb

verb: stupefy; 3rd person present: stupefies; past tense: stupefied; past participle: stupefied; gerund or present participle: stupefying

  1. make (someone) unable to think or feel properly.

And how do we avoid stupefying those around us on social media when presented with a story or “news” item we want to believe but aren’t really sure is true? Let me offer you these short rules. 

  • Read the article. Does it match the title? If not, ignore it. Otherwise,  move on to the next step. 
  • Do you trust the source? Is the source well known or legitimate?1 If not, don’t share. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 
  • Has the source been caught fabricating stories or publishing false and/or misleading edits of stories? If so, don’t share. If not, move on to the next step. 
  • Seriously, go read the article. We all know you didn’t read it. If it really passed the previous steps move on to the next step. 
  • Does the action / event / article cite sources or provide proof to back up claims, accusations, and/or accomplishments? Sourcing yet another article with no proof is not a valid source. If not, don’t share. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 
  • If you’re too busy to read it, can’t go thru all the steps, or you feel the article is too long, don’t share it. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 
  • Does the article attempt to guilt or scare you into sharing it? If so, don’t share. No, you arent helping others “just in case“. Otherwise, move to the next step.
  • Does the article attempt to incite hatred or violence against others based on bias? If so, don’t share it.

If it passes all these steps then and ONLY then should you consider sharing it. Even then, you should still ask yourself if sharing will contribute in any way to the discussion? 

Now you know. Next time you are about to share a news story on social media you know what to ask yourself to avoid stupefying others. 

😜




  1. stating how many people removed from you can contest to its authenticity is not trustworthy ie “my coworker’s cousin’s wife can attest to this and she is  [insert contrived position of authority here]” []

TBT – Throw Back Thursday

I have a rare contribution to TBT. This pic is from the early 90’s. I don’t remember the exact date. I found it in the oddest place looking for a blank CD-rom. I have no idea how this pic got in the cabinet, but there it was.1

People never believe me when I tell them how skinny I used to be. Here is a prime pic of how truly scrawny I was. hehehe  I no longer know the 2 guys in the pic so I didn’t think it fair to share their faces w/o permission. I barely recognized myself when I stumbled over this pic. But look at how damn skinny I was!

My body isn’t the only thing that has changed since then but I’ll get to that in a second. You can see the genuine smile on my face. The one thing I always had, even then, was my optimism. For a frame of reference for you long time readers, this was a few years after my near suicide but before my stint at being homeless. I didn’t have a pot to piss in and yet I greeted every day with excitement. Life was carefree and simple.

tubs baby

But to know me then was to know a contradiction. Maybe not the best term but it’s the best I can think of at the moment. I was so damaged and yet so happy to be alive. I woke up every day and eagerly ran out into the world. There was no fear of what might happen, just my determination to keep going. So few ever knew how truly conflicted I was inside. I think in part because I didn’t consciously realize it myself then.

Tangent/  If you look closely, you can see a black bracelet on one wrist and a watch on the other. The bracelet was a cheap piece of rubber but had so much sentimental value to me. It was the last thing M, my first love, ever gave me before he was killed and I wore it for almost 2 decades of my life. I’d also developed a knack for collecting cheap but unusual watches and probably had about 30 of them at this point. I wore a different one every week. This was all still pre-internet. /tangent

It should come as no surprise I moved around a lot. I was searching for a place to ‘fit’, a place to belong. I wanted it, but more importantly I needed it. I also tended to move-in with any guy who showed more than a passing interest in me. I was living in Galveston at the time but was preparing to move to Houston. I needed a place to put down roots so I could move past just surviving. Years later, when I got a chance to move to SF, I jumped at it. I almost fled I left so fast. SF gave me a chance to start over yet again but this time for myself. I didn’t move for a guy or anyone else. I moved for me. Without knowing it, it gave me a chance to stop and assess my life. Having a new place far away from everyone and everything I knew gave me a chance to dismantle the shell I’d built for myself. It gave me a chance to shed my coping mechanisms. I left behind not only a weak body but also a weak mind. I worked hard to get ahead in every way possible. And I’ve come so very far. I’d never have thought it even remotely possible back then.

Today, looking back on it feels as if I’m looking at someone else’s life thru my own eyes. I remember how damaged he was and how hard he struggled to survive. I remember how hard he worked to make sure no one ever knew how horribly inadequate he felt 24/7. I remember how he chronicled and buried his pain in journals. I remember how he hung onto any ounce of praise or attention sent his way. I also remember the few souls who truly befriended him, some who are still in his life today, some not. He was like a tumbleweed just blowing in the winds of life. And yet, all of that aside he was happy. (Ok, no more third party references to myself)  A total contradiction. But, I had survived so much by then why wouldn’t I have been happy? Actually, I was obnoxiously gay and happy at the same time. *giggle*

In this silly picture I am reminded my past gives me strength to face my future. My past failings do not define who I am today. So while I remember that broken shell of a young man, he is not me today. I honor his struggle to move forward the best way he knew how. I rejoice at his silliness, his indomitable spirit, and his unwavering desire to survive. All of which is still with me today.

 




  1. I converted it courtesy of the Google+ Photoscan app, which works surprisingly good. []

Absent Minded

So the last picture post here was supposed to go to my photo blog. Apparently, my dumb-ass forgot I changed some passwords a while back so it stopped updating. To make matters worse, when I updated it, I forgot how I had setup the transfer and ended up creating a new IFTTT1 applet.

When I originally setup the photo blog there wasn’t a direct way to import my photos from IG to WordPress. I had to create a work-around that sent the pic from IG to Tumblr then to WordPress. It was a bit messy but it worked pretty well. Best of all, it was automated. Well, all of the API’s have been updated since then apparently. There are multiple applets in IFTTT that allow you to import directly. My IFTTT account has my blog settings not my photo blog so when I “reconnected”, I connected it to the wrong site. hehehe Not the end of the world mind you. I just thought it was funny.

It’s all fixed now. I still need to go back and manually import all the pics that got skipped but it’s all automated again. Yay!

In other tech fails, I installed Chromium on an old laptop and for some reason, the CD drive will not re-install windows. Granted it’s an old copy but it should work. The BIOS settings are all good and the drive is functioning so I’m leaning toward blaming the install disc.  It crashes after loading the software and drivers to install and I get the blue screen of death.  I’m not too upset as I hate Windows 10. It’s clunky, ugly, and just not user friendly. It tries and fails to be a universal OS between desktop and mobile. I’m thinking of just installing Linux. I don’t use the laptop that often, but Chromium is still just a wee bit too simple for my needs. If I could just port Android it would be fine.2  Since it wasn’t ‘designed’ to run Android or Chromium both versions are modified ports, courtesy of 3rd-party vendors. Said vendors aren’t really in a position to provide support. Anyway, first world problems.

 




  1. If This Then That []
  2. I used to run Android thru Bluestacks when I had windows installed and I loved it. []

United We Stand

So I’ve gotten more than a few questions about my opinion on the whole United debacle. I relented and commented on a few FB friend’s posts regarding it. I say relented because I pretty much avoid FB for anything other than fun chat and dog videos. It has become too toxic and successful discourse is rarely possible anymore. 

Anyway, how do you think I feel? I’m appalled. The idea that a passenger who paid full fare for a ticket can be physically yanked off a plane for overbooking is reprehensible. I don’t care if it was United Express (contracted by United). I don’t care that it was a security official not an actual United employee who did the beating/dragging. I don’t care that it’s in the fine print a paying customer can be booted off a flight for virtually any reason. Greed should not be more important that humans.1  I don’t care about all the reasons why he could have complied. This person paid full-fare to board a plane and fly home. It is not his fault the flight was overbooked out of the misplaced idea that profit is more important than good service. None of that matters. We should all be appalled at the very idea this can be allowed.  And lastly, I don’t care another flight might have been delayed or *gasp* other people might have been inconvenienced. You know what?  Sometimes we get inconvenienced. The world does not revolved around our personal bubble of existence. There were plenty of better ways to handle this. 

Don’t get it bent, I’m not dragging out the lynch mob torch for United just yet. Frankly, I think people are missing the forest for the trees here. This could just as easily have happened on any airline. United just ended up being the unlucky beneficiary. I know many United employees (from the both the old Continental and United) who are very dedicated to their jobs and I’m sure many of them are struggling to fend off drama from both sides right now. And being a long time Southwest customer, I can tell you first hand they routinely kick people off flights. All major airlines have the same or similar policy. The big picture here is how many people feel it was perfectly justified. It was NOT ok. And the fallout witch hunt to demean and degrade the victim aftewards was just as disgusting. When your moral code justifies physically dragging a paying customer of a plane to avoid inconveniencing someone else, perhaps you should re-examine your sense of morality. That is the real tragedy IMO. 

Our society is crumbling around us bit by bit. Greed, anti-intellectualism, and personal indifference are destroying our sense of right and wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it as long as I have breath to say it. The one good thing out of this debacle is the outrage was so bad I’m pretty sure no airline will ever try this again. Maybe we’ll see some good reforms put in place to ensure something we used to take for granted would never happen will actually never happen again. Either way, I’m sure everyone will have forgotten all about it next week when the next faux scandal comes along.  




  1. Notice I said ‘should not be’ vs ‘isn’t. This clearly demonstrates it’s past tense now. []

Beard-tastrophe!

beardless
Missing beard

It shall be known as the great beard-tastrophe of 2017!

I had an accident while trimming the other day. I use my beard trimmers to trim my head about once every week or so. With so little hair, it doesn’t make sense to have two tools for one job. hehehe  Anyway, clumsy Cletus forgot to put the guard back on when moving on to the beard and sheered a good chunk of it off. It looked weird so I had to shave it all.

I actually don’t think my face has been this bare in about 5 or so years. It’s no secret I am not a fan of big beards.1  That said, I love scruff and fuzz. I had a goatee and scruffy beard back before it was trendy and all the ‘man-bear’ rage.2  I routinely keep it short. I had first opted to keep my sideburns but Shawn was insistent that they looked stupid. “You look stupid two little patches of hair on the sides of your face.”  I disagreed but when you have a hubby, you learn to pick your battles. heehee

I’ve had the goatee since I was about 25 or so. I think I’ve only shaved it once since then. I never liked my face w/o a goatee. As soon as I could grow one out full enough, I did. I’ve had it ever since. To me it just fills out my face better.

Anyhoo. Fear not fellow mortals. It will be back soon enough. It takes me about a week and half to grow a full one so I should be back to normal in about two weeks. I consider myself lucky that I survived the catastrophe!

🙂

 




  1. They creep me the f**k out actually []
  2. yawn []