Monday, July 31, 2006

A good day

      A good day today. Not that I was that productive. I basically worked on filing and paying bills, doing some laundry and went swimming two times at a friend's pool. That friend also took me out to eat for a late birthday celebration. It was pretty cool.
      I had lots of things to do, but I just didn't do them. Watched an old movie on TCM, too. Lounged around in old sweats most of the day.
      I realize this isn't normal for a busy man like me, but it was nice just to do nothing for a while, to drift aimlessly and think about nothing. I couldn't do it all the time. I think it would get boring quick, but it was good for a day.
      I'm pleased with It allowed me to place video on the site easily. Check it out. Anyone can do it. It even generates the code for you. Uploading takes a bit of time, but not too bad.
      And of course, the music is fun. I happen to really like that song ("I Believe I Can Fly") despite all of R. Kelly's legal troubles. It's uplifting in a time when most songs aren't.
      Anyway, all that swimming has wore me out. My get-up-and-go has got up and went. So I'm going to call it a night. You have a good one, you hear? Night!

"I believe I can fly"

I Believe I Can Fly
By R. Kelly

      Today this sums up how I feel. Yeah, it's probably a cliche and lame, but it's how I feel today.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Have some cake

And finally to end our party, here's my cake. Have a huge piece! Thanks for spending my birthday with me. Cheers to all my blogging buddies. And now, I'm going to call it a night. Drive carefully, and see you tomorrow.

Party tux

      Here is the picture of me in a tux. I'm disappointed. I thought I had a larger one so you could really appreciate the glorious awfulness of the blue tux that I wore to my Senior banquet. Just trust me when I say that it was stylin' at the time. And look at all that hair and those sideburns. Wow. I was hot ... or not.

Party Posting 3

      Here's a video of an octopus at the Oklahoma Aquarium. Very cool.

Party Posting 2

      Here is a video of a coral reef exhibit at the Oklahoma Aquarium. Since this is my first video posting on, I hope it works.


      Today's my birthday, and since I've had most of my birthday with my family and friends already, I thought I'd spend it with my blogging buddies. So I'm going to be posting a lot today with photos, a movie and yes, a picture of me in tux. So grab your party hat and horn and join in!
      Let's start with some photos. Saturday I was in Jenks, Oklahoma, to visit the Oklahoma Aquarium. Here are a few photos of the many exhibits.

A coral reef and a bright yellow fish.

Golden starfish.

A turtle pool.

A blue fish.

A catfish. I think.

A tidal pool.

A shark.

      The movie is coming later as are more trip details and some other things I enjoyed this weekend. Stick around!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday night at my computer

      Sorry I missed posting yesterday. I've been working on getting the ads sold for the lobby of the local theater group. I've got a lot done, but there's still more to do. I'm trying to have it all finished by the end of next week so that it's not hanging over my head any more. And of course, I'm still involved in the patron drive -- going very well so far -- so I'm ready for August to be over and all this is done. After that, I only have the two plays to direct, one in October and the other in April. It will be nice to have my life back. I won't do this again. No, Crystal, I won't.
      Otherwise no news here other than it's been hot. I'm two days away from my birthday and have been too busy to be depressed about it. A bit of trivia: I was born on a Sunday, and this year my birthday is on a Sunday, too. Don't know why that caught my interest, but it did.
      Speaking of Crystal, she has left California, visited Vegas but didn't win a fortune, and is now back in Oklahoma for a while. I'm hoping I get a chance to see her and her son before they head off for other adventures.
      I'm planning to visit the huge aquarium in Jenks this weekend. I'm taking my camera so I hope to have some pics to share. Everyone that's been there has told me that it's really cool. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
      Murder at the Witch's Cottage is in trouble. I've realized that I have four storylines trying to be told at the same time. I've got to trim it back and focus on what's important. I've only got 90 minutes of stage time to tell the story. It's got to be clear and tight. Maybe someday I'll get to write a mini-series, and then I can tell a lot of stories.
      And that's all I've got to say this Thursday night at my computer. How are things for you? Staying cool? What's going on your world? Share!
      Anyway, good night and pleasant dreams.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Happy birthday to Frenzied Feline!!!

Happy Birthday to Frenzied Feline!!!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Frenzied,
Happy Birthday to you!

Go by Frenzied's blog (Life Happens) and wish her a happy birthday!!!

Monday, July 24, 2006


      Where does the time go? I just looked up and discovered it was time for bed and I hadn't posted yet. So a quick post and then off to the land of dreams. Or snores. One of the two.
      I'm very tired so I won't ramble on, but I did want to mention something. My sister and my brother-in-law were involved in a bad car accident Sunday afternoon. An elderly man rear-ended them. He was going very fast. It broke his neck, but he's still alive in the hospital. My brother-in-law got a couple of bruises. My poor sister got banged up good and several cuts, but nothing broken and she's going to be okay. I want to say how profoundly grateful I am that she's okay.
      Rain does a cool thing on her blog -- which more of you should visit -- and that's to give thanks for the good things in her life. I hope it lifts her up to write it as much as it does for me to read it.
      This idea of being grateful is a good thing, sadly underused in this day and age. We don't recognize the many precious gifts we are given. Somehow we have come to believe that we are entitled when really the only things we can be sure of is that we will live and we will die and go into the beyond. To cherish and be thankful for our joys is how we grow to be better people.
      Good night.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My birthday suit is a tux

      Crystal and FF, it (posting) was/is on my list of things to do. I just didn't get to it until now. For those of you who are curious, I got 33 of the items on my list done. Yes, that sure leaves a lot. We'll see how many I get done this week.
      Work again tomorrow. I wish I could approach it with more ... well, joy might be asking for too much, but at least not as much dread. Lately I feel such reluctance to show up. Sigh. I must be having my mid-life crisis. Or something like that. Maybe it's the whole birthday thing.
      A friend (?) suggested that for my birthday, I post a picture of me in my birthday suit. She meant, she says, a picture of me when I was a baby, but there are no naked pictures of me as a baby. Sorry. And there aren't any of me as an adult ... as far as I know.
      Which reminds of one of my favorite stories. A friend of mine, the son of a minister, went to Jamaica when he was in his twenties. (Let's call him John.) He was traveling for his job. He was far from home and knew no one. Near his hotel was a clothing optional beach. After the third day, he decided to wander down there. Not to take off his clothes, of course, but just to look.
      Well, John walked down to the beach, found a place for his towel and sat down to watch. He was surprised about how natural everyone seemed to take their nudity. Finally he gathered up his courage and took off his clothes. He felt quite proud of himself. And after all, it wasn't like anyone would ever know.
      A road with a sidewalk ran alongside this beach. He had left his clothes near the steps that led down to the beach. After a while, he decided to return to the hotel. He walked up to his clothes when suddenly he heard someone ask, "John, is that you?"
      Unknown to him until that moment, his father's church had sent a mission trip down to Jamaica. Around twenty or so people who knew him quite well were walking from the local mission back to their hotel.
      He looked up to see all their shocked and staring faces. He stood there for just a moment. He turned and ran down the beach into the ocean. He says he seriously considered just letting the surf take him.
      But a while later, he returned to his hotel. By the time he got there, his father and mother had already left several messages. As he tells it, he could hear his father without the phone. His father was that loud.
      But not just young men can make questionable decisions regarding nudity.
      About ten years ago, the daughter of a man I know went down to Florida for Spring Break. Having too many beers and being pressured by friends, she stood on in the back of a truck and lifted her t-shirt to men they passed. However, CNN was down there recording the excesses of the college students. The camera focused on her a good thirty seconds. CNN broadcast the video clip the next day, blurring the naughty bits, but leaving her face crisp and clear. She would have liked it if they had blurred her face because her parents were watching CNN that night. Her father flew down immediately to get her, and she never got to go to Spring Break again while she was in college. Now the family just laughs about it, except for her mom and dad who are still pretty upset about it.
      And on that note I'm going to call it a night. Have a good night. Pleasant dreams.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ridiculously long lists

      I just noticed that I haven't updated the meters for my various projects recently. I'll have to do that. Let me add it to my ridiculously long list of things to do. It is a long, long, long list as I discovered yesterday as I was updating my to-dos. 104 items for the rest of this week and the weekend.
      Don't panic, I tell myself. Most of the items aren't hard. They just need to be done. Naturally I won't get them all done this week. But I'm aiming for a third of them. The others will have to wait. Only so many hours in a day, only so many days in week, only so many weeks in a year, only so many years in a life.
      Time. Anniversaries. Holidays. Birthdays. When I was a kid, it was an eternity between birthdays. Now it feels like I had one just yesterday.
      A friend of mine asked what I wanted for my birthday. I told him that a good meal is fine. But what I really want is to be out of debt. I will pay off a credit card in September or October. Wish I could pay it off this month. After that, it will be eight or nine months before I can pay off another one. Then I start on the large card, the monster debt that I paid off all those cards to focus on. I won't tell you how much it is, but it will take four years from today to pay off ... unless a windfall happens or I inherit money or the government decides to give me a lot of money just because I'm me. And they really should.
      The thing is, I wish I was out of debt now. I'd like to be free of the worry now. Of course, I know that my world doesn't work like that. I don't have anything that I didn't work for. I don't think I'd have it any other way ... I don't think I would, but let's see what happens if I ever get an offer.
      If you read much 17th and 18th century literature, you'll find that in the old days, the Devil went around making deals all the time with humans. Their souls for fame and fortune or whatever. It's worth noting that rarely did those stories have a happy ending, at least not for the humans. One assumes the Devil had a good time for the most part, but that was a long time ago before he joined the Republican party and became rather dour. Not that he doesn't have his agents among the Democrats, of course. Edward Kennedy has broken at least seven of the Commandants that we know of. I'm sure he's working on the other three; he's always been an overachiever.
      Still, I see the Devil as a Republican now, if only because I suspect he makes sure he's in the ruling party. He's that sort of guy ... or being ... or whatever. As I imagine it, he has a huge to-do list, too. Besides the major items like disease, war, starvation, etc., he also keeps track of smaller annoyances that help keep life frustrating. Such as:
      1. Credit card companies. The Devil is very proud of them as well as the whole idea of outrageous interest rates. After all, paying for sins after you die has to be the ultimate installment plan.
      2. Styrofoam cups. Why this one? Well, who else would create a piece of litter that won't degrade naturally and thus will be around for centuries?
      3. Air conditioning repairmen who don't repair anything. Yes, that's right. My house still has no air conditioning. Sigh. The fan and maybe something else needs replacing. They have to come back again but probably not tomorrow, which means I will be holed up in bedroom most of the weekend, only venturing out in the early morning before the blazing sun climbs into the sky and attempts to grill us.
      4. Blogger. Which hasn't been letting me blog. Or comment.
      5. Gas prices. I'm thinking horses are going to be real popular soon. And not just for meals, either.
      6. Weathermen who keep smiling and talking about how the skies are clear and "We'll have a bright, sunny day tomorrow" when the tires on our parked cars are melting. Of course, they probably have air conditioning that works. Vermin.
      7. Roaches and other pests like Congressmen and telemarketers and those cute Girl Scouts who push those cookies even though lemon creme cookies are as addictive as crack.
      8. I was going to write more, but it's FIVE THOUSAND DEGREES IN MY HOUSE! ARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!! My keyboard is melting! I'm melting! What a world! I'm retreating to my bedroom. Have a good ... COOL ... night.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


      Now I have an eighty dollar air conditioner from Wal-Mart in my bedroom window now. Ahhhh ... And a repairman is coming Thursday to look at the house's unit to see what it needs. I'm afraid it's shot, but I'm hoping it just needs some small part. I should be so lucky.
      My roomie is going to tough it out until Thursday and see what the repairman says. If the repair is beyond the budget right now, he's going to get a small unit for his bedroom, and we just may make do for a while.
      Anyway, I'm very tired. I haven't slept well the past few days in the heat so I'm going to go to bed now in my cool bedroom. Y'all take care and stay cool. Night!

Monday, July 17, 2006


      My job is driving me crazy. It's grinding me down. Every day I wonder how much longer I can do it. But then I remember my bills. And yeah, I can keep on doing it. And will. Because I pay my bills.
      I sent my first payment in on the new computer today. I didn't have enough saved to pay it off, but I made a large dent in the bill. If I keep working at it, I think I can have it paid off by October or November. That would be cool.
      And I should have another credit card paid off by November. So I'm making progress. Slow but steady. Just call me Mr. Tortoise.
      It's hot here. Temp hovered at 104 degrees today. I couldn't get any air conditioner repairman to come out so my house is quite hot. I'm hoping to get in touch with one tomorrow. I called and left messages with several companies, but no one returned my calls. They're swamped with business and repair calls.
      Tomorrow I intend to go to Wal-Mart and buy a window unit for my bedroom. It's been hard to sleep at night due to the heat. Some people associate heat and sweat with sensuality. I don't think I can agree with that.
      Prevention Magazine is reporting that cherries are a fantastic cancer fighter. They say that cherries are loaded with perillyl alcohol and quercetin, both of which are apparently potent anti-cancer agents. Cherries taste good, too.
      By the way, I did NOT do anything for the local theater group tonight. I should have written story for the local paper about the patron drive and the upcoming season, but I didn't. I gave myself the night off. I'll write the story tomorrow night.
      And now it's time for bed!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Roundup of a weekend

      Friday, I worked all day. That night I watched Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis. That was the notable things.
      Saturday, I worked on finishing the patron drive. I also went to Wal-Mart and did laundry and other housework, but mostly I worked on preparing over 600 mailings for the patron drive. It basically took all day, but I got almost all of it done. In bad news, apparently the house central air unit has broken. My house got hot.
      Sunday, I woke up with lower back pain and a stuffy head. I watched my church service on TV. I finished the patron drive and drove to the post office and mailed the patron invitations. Then I came home and basically vegged. House is still hot. I hope I can get a repairman out to work on it this week.
      Now you're caught up. Not all interesting, eh? Well, what else can I tell you about?
      Saluton. Kiel vi nomigas? Mi nomigas Tech. Gis revido. Pacon.
      That is Esperanto. An invented language that the makers hoped would become an universal language. I ran across a mention of it in a book and thought I'd research it a bit. Look it up and see what you think of the idea.
      Esperanto seems to be a fairly difficult language to learn, however. I think I'd devote my time to Spanish if I were going to learn a new one. I have a feeling that knowledge of Spanish will become more and more important as our nation gains more Hispanics.
      In college I took both Spanish and French. Now I've lost almost everything I've learned. Just a handful of words remain.
      Tomorrow I will be dieting in a strict and terrible fashion. I have to get my weight under control. Period. I refuse to spend the rest of my life like this. See the Great Slim Down for more details of the weight war.
      I'm going to bed now. I have a fan blowing on the bed. I hope that helps. Last night wasn't very pleasant. Have a good night and a great tomorrow.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Post 2 of 2

      I haven't been talking about writing much lately. That doesn't mean I'm not writing. Darkness, Oklahoma continues to consume my writing time with Murder at the Witch's Cottage a close second. Both aren't really at a stage where I can talk much about them. I'm in a place where the characters really matter to me. They're mine in a way that's hard to explain. I don't want to lose that yet. Right now they belong to me, and I need to hold them close as we work out their story and how it ends and how it changes them and their world. Eventually I will be so sick to them that I will be forcing them on total strangers, but not yet. I'm not sure I ever really finish a book. I just sick of working on it, and so I end it and move on to the next obsession.
      Another reason to keep mum is that talking about the events in the book and in the play lessens my desire to write them. Part of the reason I write is to tell a story. Once I've told it to someone, then that impulse is somewhat satisfied. I've always wondered how many books have died in writing groups because the authors told their stories and those tellings defused their writing desire. Obviously some people flourish in a writing groups. I'm not one of them. Besides, when I share a piece of writing, I actually just want someone to praise it and tell me that I'm on the right track. I'm shallow. Happy, though.
      So, yes, I'm writing. I'm hoping to finish Darkness, Oklahoma before November. (National Novel Writing Month is in November, remember?) Murder at the Witch's Cottage has to be finished by the first of October when we go into rehearsal. Deadlines, gotta love them.
      But I will be posting excerpts later this month. I have a couple of scenes that are fairly contained and won't confuse a reader too much without having read the whole book. Just remember that I'm looking for praise, and we'll get along fine.
      There's a lot to be said for the shallow end.

Post 1 of 2

       Did you think I forgot? No, little campers, I didn't. I've just been busy working on the patron drive and the ad sales for the local theater group. Whee. I'll tell you right now that both have taken much more effort and time that I expected and planned for. Live and learn, I guess. Which doesn't make sense since I'm not sure dead people learn things. Well, I guess they might, but then what do they do with the knowledge? Not that I'm dissing dead people, mind you. I've seen too many episodes of Ghost Hunters to feel comfortable doing that. I guess you can tell what mood this afternoon has put me in. I'm discussing dead people. "I discuss dead people."
      Anyway, how was your day? Anything exciting going on? Share! We don't have enough to talk about. Do your part. Give us a topic. Preferably something personal that you don't want the world to know, but we won't tell. Only the people who have the good taste to read this blog will know, and they don't repeat gossip ... so you better listen close the first time. (Redneck points if you know what TV show that came from.)
      Have I mentioned my birthday is at the end of this month? Yes, I get a year older. I don't feel older. Except, of course, in my knees. And my back. And my memory's shot. And my eyesight is going bad. But other than that and many pounds, I'm the same guy that graduated high school all those years ago but with less hair. I wonder if that guy back then would recognize me now. Would he be pleased at how I'm turning out? Would he be appalled? Would he laugh? Would he understand?
      Why I should I care? He didn't know anything back then, the little snot. I have all these years behind me to take me toward the years to come. That's a gift that we all have to give ourselves: a past that lets us believe in a future. So yeah, I get a year older, thank God.
      Michelle said in a comment on the previous post that it may be getting too late for two posts. It's never too late. Even after the fabulous lady sings, there's still time for one more moment.
      Be back in a bit. You're on the edge of your seats, aren't you? Yes, you are.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


      What? You were expecting a post? Well, there's nothing here. Just move along.
      Go ahead. I'm not going to be posting tonight. I'm tired. Nothing happened in my day at work other than the usual soul-destroying incidents. I didn't do anything this evening except work on the patron drive for the theater group. So nothing to say.
      You're still here.
      Yes, you are. I can see you.
      You're reading this right now, aren't you? You are, too. Don't you lie to me or you're going to bed without dinner!
      Well, be that way. You can just sit here and read this, but it's not going to be a post. I'm not posting tonight.
      Don't look at me with those sad eyes. I'm not moved.
      You do look pitiful, though ...
      But no, I'm not going to give in. No post tonight.
      Don't whine. It's very annoying.
      Don't cry either. You're a big blog reader now.
      Look, tell you what. I'll post twice tomorrow. How's that? Two post tomorrow, but you have to go to bed now and sleep so that tomorrow will come faster.
      I promise. Now let's all go to bed and have a great night and a wonderful night.
      Good night.
      Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Song 51313

And sometimes you have to know
the world don't love you today
but you don't love it right now
so that's okay

And sometimes you're on top
spinning like the wild wind
but today you're know you're not
and so you bend

Bend like the willows
on the river to the bay
waves sparkle in the sun
and so you know you're okay

Even though you're over your neck
hoping that boat will come by
treading water like crazy
you'd like to fly

Fly away from this place
that holds you down
into the endless sky never
looking back at this dirty town

So bend like the willows
on the river to the bay
Baby, it happens to all of us
It's okay to have a bad day

Settle back in my loving arms
as we watch the sun fall down
Baby, it happens to all of us
Let me make you a better day.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hit and miss

      I know the entries here have been hit and miss over the past couple of weeks. I've been wrapped up in catching up on my various projects. I'm still not caught up from the time I lost when I was ill, but I'm getting closer. Of course, I realize that I'm setting the schedule and I could adjust to accommodate the disruptions. But the pressure keeps my juices flowing. Or something like that.
      I've been asked why I fill my days with so much activity. My brother has said that we are a "compulsively busy family." I guess that's true. My siblings and I always have three or four things going on at the same time. We are not leisure people. Even our downtime is filled with activity. But for the most part, we're not harried. It's our pace. It's how we live. We're not happy unless we're concentrating on something.
      Every now and then, I'll sit down in the back yard and watch the clouds. That seems to be enough to keep my battery charged most times. Perhaps that will change as the years roll along, but I know many people who are active in their 80s and 90s. I can see myself being one of those if I'm lucky and my health holds.
      A lot of people who blog seem to be active people. Maybe it's an indicator of bloggers. A way to tell them apart from the regular population. Or maybe it's just that we're all a little crazy. Could be.
      I'm going to call it a night now. Y'all have a great night and wonderful tomorrow.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A few thoughts on the fine art of sighing

      My old computer died. You would have thought I lost a beloved friend by the way I moped around my house for a couple of weeks. During that time period, my answer to any question was a sigh of despair with a hint of brave long-suffering and just a touch of woe-is-me. It was truly a masterpiece of sighing.
      Not that I'm the master of sighing. No, that title belongs to my brother. He is capable of sighs that are the verbal equivalent of the Mona Lisa.
      Unaccountably, I myself have been the cause of many of his sighs, and I can tell you that they are capable of making strong men weep or at least check to see if the tires on their cars are leaking. His sighs convey the overall theme of "my brother is crazy and why am I burdened with him" with layers of such emotions as "life is a mystery of sadness and joy" and "geese fly south in the winter as the year moves toward its end."
      He inherited his ability to sigh from my mother. She was an excellent sigher. In fact, she was capable of multiple skills, such as being both a sigher and a questioner, i.e. "Sigh. What has my son (meaning me) done now?" This was usually followed by a shouting and then I'd participate in the event by doing a fleeing. Occasionally it would be a fleeing for my life or a fleeing to another country, depending on what terrible crime I was wrongly accused of. So I never had time to learn the art of sighing as I was too busy gasping for breath or pleading for mercy. Good times.
      Anyway, perhaps you are thinking of taking up sighing. Here are a few helpful hints. First, develop full lung capacity. I suggest taking singing lessons. You need the volume of that large lady in the horned hat in German operas who always sounds like someone is torturing her in a rain barrel with a pointed stick. Once you have that, you will be able to move the necessary amount of air needed for successful sighing.
      Second, begin slowly. Start first with the gentle I'm-bearing-this-burden-only-because-I-love-you sigh. Just take in a deep breath, hold for a two-count, and then let it out slowly. It's important to do this within the hearing of the person who is triggering the sigh. Otherwise, it's wasted breath, and I would suggest just muttering banefully under your breath in that instance.
      Once you have mastered the first sigh, you can move up to the this-is-a-great-burden-but-I-will-make-the-sacrifice-for-you sigh and from there to the my-life-is-being-ruined-by-your-unreasonable-demands-but-I-will-bear-it-bravely-and-without-complaint-because-I-am-a-saint sigh.
      A few pointers to remember:
      1. Use good judgment. Having to take out the trash or mow the yard or listen your spouse do not qualify for any of the major sighs. Muttering will do.
      2. Do not overuse sighs. They lose their effect. It's better to use them sparingly. If people complain that you're sucking up all the air in the room or start fainting, you need to back off.
      3. Breath mint. Enough said.
      4. Animals and babies have no idea why you're sighing. You're just wasting your breath. Just thank the good Lord for them being in your life as you clean up their latest mess and move on.
      5. Don't be surprised if other people pick up on the sighs and start using them against you. With great sighing comes great responsibility. It's well known that Nixon used a variation of the suffering saint sigh to get the Chinese back to the treaty table. Use your ability wisely for the good of the world.
      I'm afraid I can't really take you any further along the path to sigh mastery. Although I dabble, I'm not really a practicer of this art. But I've been told that I’m a carrier. I wonder what they mean by that. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


      You're probably going to think this is another preachy post from Tech. You'd be right, but I'm going to talk about how to regain your fire, your zest for life. And one way is to get mad.
      That's right. Mad. Angry. Furious. We're not talking about tantrums or fits or heading for a high point with a rifle. We're talking about looking at the obstacles in front of you, rolling up your sleeves and steaming right forward, and God help anything in your way.
      What? This from the nice, pleasant Tech? Yeah, let me tell that anger has propelled me forward many times. When people say I can't, when they try to stop me, when they stamp on my dreams, I get angry. I get determined. I get serious. Anger can be a gift.
      We spent a lot of time in our society in saying that we shouldn't get angry. We're all supposed to be so quiet, so trusting, so naive, so accepting, so ... limp. That's wrong. Anger is fine as long as we channel it, as long as we use it to achieve our goals and dreams, as long as it gives us fire in our veins.
      Naturally anger can lead to dark places. That's the danger of any powerful emotion. But if you're sick of evil pretending to be virtue, if you're tired of people making a mess out of our natural world, if silence feels like it's choking your hopes, then that's the time to get angry.
      Maybe you need rediscover the power of anger. Maybe the world is busy ignoring you or saying your time has passed. Maybe you made some mistakes in the past and gave up some things that you should have been held on to. Or maybe things have been taken away that belonged to you. You need to put on your emotional armor, get up and fight back. Lower your head. Grit your teeth. Take a step. Cross the line in the sand. What are you waiting for? Someone to rescue you? It might not happen, and then where will you be?
      Get up. Get out. There is a world of possibility out there. You deserve it. Don't let yourself be a doormat. Don't let yourself be trampled on. Get up off the ground and get out there in the world.
      There are obstacles that need their shiny butts kicked. I think it's time we all got on with it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

      I met J. in college. He lived on the same dorm floor as I did, and we had a Tuesday morning astronomy class together. It was a casual acquaintance but friendly. He was nice, a bright smile and read science fiction books. He kept to himself, but he was carrying 18 hours of hard courses. He mostly studied all the time, but he was an okay guy.
      One day I opened the college newspaper to see a photo of him as a member of the college gay and lesbian rights organization. Shocked is not too strong a word for my reaction. I grew up in a small Oklahoma town, and we didn't have any open gays. For that matter, we didn't have any Jews, Hispanics, Muslims, Catholics, etc. Of course, I'm sure we had some, but they kept a very low profile. It wasn't a town or a school that was kind to people who were different, and I was different. I liked speech, drama, writing, science fiction and fantasy. Frankly I was lucky to get out of high school alive. I was bullied and called names almost daily. I was called "faggot" a lot. Since I knew I wasn't one, I made up my mind that probably the other guys who were called that weren't ones either. So when people would tell me that someone was gay, I just assumed they were wrong.
      This wasn't exactly an enlightened attitude, but you'd be surprised to find how well it served me. Because I refused to make that judgment as well as others based on gossip, hearsay and rumors, I made a lot of friends. And I was aware that they thought I was "accepting" and "liberal" and "wise." I lapped up that praise, even though I knew I harbored prejudices as strong as other people's. I just buried mine behind a grin and a joke.
      J. made that impossible. I wanted to remain friendly to him, but the other guys on the floor made it obvious that anyone who was seen talking to him would be branded as a homosexual and I couldn't have that. So I carefully avoided him. Made sure that I was late to the astronomy class or early. If he wanted to study for a test, I had other plans. I was very smart, very sly.
      This story doesn't end well. Sometimes stories don't.
      J. didn't change his behavior at the dorm. He didn't try to recruit anyone. He didn't make passes at anyone. He was the same as he had been before, but we couldn't see that. We didn't want to see that. I didn't want to see.
      Some nice Baptists -- guys that were my friends and that I wanted to be my friends -- decided that maybe it would be better if J. moved out of the dorm. Or maybe they simply wanted to mistreat him and gave that reason later. They had all their Bible verses and all their disgust for his sexual preference. So one night while he was gone from his room, they went in it and urinated on his bed, tore up his papers and threw his clothes into the toilet. Then they waited for him to come back.
      My dorm mate and I knew what they were doing. We sat in our room and tried to study. My dormie told me that there was nothing we could do. "He brought it on himself," he said. I felt sick. I felt afraid. I felt ashamed. But this wasn't about me.
      Finally at one in the morning, I couldn't stand not knowing. I went down the hall. His room was open. The student assistant and a couple of guys I didn't know were in the room. They were helping J. clean the mess up. J. was crying as he stripped his bed.
      The S.A. asked me if I knew who did it.
      I told him that I didn't. The lie came out quick and fast and convincing.
      Except J. had stopped and was looking at me, and his tear-filled eyes met mine and he knew the truth. I could see that he did. I could see the pain in his eyes. I could see the betrayal.
      I turned and walked back to my room.
      This story doesn't end well.
      I told myself that I do something, that I'd help J. somehow. I made a lot of bold declarations to myself. Maybe I would have done them if I had got the chance.
      But J. parents drove up the next day. They moved him out.
      The Baptists were pleased. They joked about it. I sat there while they did it. I didn't say a word.
      A year later, when they turned on me for being a different faith, I wasn't surprised. I deserved it. Silence carries its own justice.
      J. didn't return to class. The student assistant told me that he had received a hardship withdrawal. The student assistant, who had been friendly to me before, could barely bear to talk to me.
      I confronted the S.A. He was still friendly to everyone else on the floor. And he had to know some of them participated in this. Why was he still friendly to them?
      "Because I expected better of you," the S.A. told me.
      I didn't have an answer.
      I don't know what happened to J. I tried to find out a few years ago, but I had no results. But the event changed me. Made me ashamed. Made me finally start standing up what I said I believed in.
      And I guess I became a friend to gays and other outcasts. I have people who make judgments about my life because of the people I'm friendly with. I've taken hassle for being friends to gays, Mormons, New Agers, and yes, Baptists. When I think that I should keep my mouth shut, when I think that maybe it's not my fight for the freedom to be, I remember that dorm room twenty years ago. I remember J.'s eyes as I lied.
      Twenty years ago I had justifications. Twenty years ago I was just a kid. Twenty years ago I didn't know anything about life. I didn't trust God. I didn't have faith. I was very young twenty years ago.
      I hope J. has a good life now. I hope he has found friends who are brave and trustworthy and good. I hope he was able to move beyond what happened. Maybe someday he will read this. If he does, I want him to know that I'm sorry. I want him to know that I'm fighting the good fight and I won't stop, won't be silent, won't shut up, won't give up as long as I'm alive, that freedom has to belong to everyone, even those we would cast out because they're different, that Independence Day applies to everyone and we can't exclude anyone. It's only freedom if everyone shares in it.
      I hope somehow he knows that.
      I hope he can forgive me.

Monday, July 03, 2006


      Didn't mean to be away for so many days. I had some personal setbacks and am still fighting that cold. I simply didn't get around to it and didn't have much to write, other than a few whines. However, this place has been comment empty while I've been gone so I don't think you've missed me too much ... unless you've pined away and that's why I haven't heard from you. It's possible, I guess, but unlikely.
      As for the setbacks, I always try to learn from them. Sometimes there's a lesson to be learned if I can just see past the trappings of the problem to the heart of the matter. In this case, however, it looks like there aren't any truths that I can dig out. Sometimes setbacks are simply setbacks. Or maybe their lessons will become clear in the future.
      You have to careful in looking for lessons. It's easy for them to become negative, such as: "Never trust anyone" and "Love is a lie" and "People are weasels." Those are false lessons. They cloak the truth. It's also easy for them to become a way to beat up on yourself. You blame yourself for trusting other people and for loving them. I do that sometimes. It's really neat. You get to beat up on yourself and all the other people in the world. What an opportunity.
      No, the real lessons are somewhere deeper. For the most part, they end up in somewhere in this: "Everything valuable carries with it an element of risk. Love is valuable, hence risk. If you love, you can assume risk. Sometimes love will pay off. Sometimes it won't. That's simply the cost of loving. If you're not willing to pay it and continue to pay it, then you won't have love in your life. If you love and other people disappoint you, the failure is in them, not you. Just because they don't love you, doesn't mean you're unlovable." And so on and so on. Good advice. Hard to believe at times.
      I ate half of a four-meat pizza last night. That might seem an abrupt subject change, but it was another reminder how much my emotions influence my appetite. I get depressed and I reach for the food. It may be more socially acceptable than being an alcoholic, but it's the same impulse. My family has always bought into the idea of comfort food.
      I realize I'm rambling here. You're welcome to wander off or stick around as we trip down along my thoughts. It's a rambling morning. I'm going to have to get ready for work here in a few minutes, and I really don't want to go. I was hoping my company would take today off since we'll be off tomorrow for the Fourth, but we didn't. Makes sense from their viewpoint. We can't sell or service our customers if we're not here. Of course, I'd lay odds that the VPs and directors who decided the company would be open today won't be at work today. Strange how that works out for them.
      Lots of clouds in the morning sky. I'm hoping that means we get rain later. It was cloudy yesterday all day, but no moisture fell. What a bummer. I have a fountain and a birdbath set up in my backyard. The birds just flock in. I think the sound of the water attracts them. It's amazing how dirty they get the water as they bathe and drink. I've been having to empty and clean the birdbath daily. I've been running several gallons of water through the fountain daily and that seems to be keeping it clean. Or cleaner, anyway.
      Not much else to report in my world. Did I mention I twisted my knee a few days back? It still hurts, but it's better. And my back is sore. And my IBD is flaring occasionally. With the addition of my cold, it's plain to see that the warranty on my body has expired. I wonder if I can trade it in on new model.
      I did watch several movies over the weekend. Ultra Violet, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Underworld: Evolution. I can't say any of them had a great story, but they're not terrible, either. Out of five stars I give three stars to Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Ultra Violet and two and a half to Underworld: Evolution. I also rented Rent and Aeon Flux, but haven't watched them yet. I know these are all old movies, but I rarely go to the theater to see a movie at first run. Most of the time, they're not worth the ticket price.
      Time to get ready for work. Have a great day.