Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

The Sleeper has Awakened

09/12/2017 Comments off

Entry 09/12/2017 11:00:45 AM – Mentat 1246

It’s been quite a while since I’ve actually posted much of anything public. Heck, the last time I think I did, it was either my annual examination which I remember vividly I positively despised going through (there’s still moments where I don’t exactly remember what I was doing through the remainder of the day after the anesthesia) or the time I was questioning my continued career in Information Technology. With the former, I’m looking forward to my annual next month, although fortunately for me, there will neither be a proctology examination nor a prostate examination. That will be saved for another few years of which I guarantee I will be saying no to. There’s only just so much of that pre-prep that I want to go through; and what I still vividly recall wasn’t remotely “fun”. I also know my doctor isn’t going to be happy with me. While I’ve gotten back into the swing of things about walking 10,000 steps a day, it was only started this month, so not only am I more than a lot out of shape, but the lethargy as caught up with me.

But that’s something I know that I can weather.

The primary reason why I’m writing is the fact that tomorrow is going to be my 38th anniversary for coming out of the closet. Yeah, I’m still going on strong about being that sort of presence — although it’s often far from the community at large. Since my grandmother’s “gift” has struck me a couple of years ago, it often feels more like the father confessor for anything someone might have on their mind if they see me and decide to open up. Sometimes it’s about sexuality or sexual identity. Sometimes it’s about the plight of the homeless looking for a handout or a suggestion on where to go. Most times it’s about the frustration in local government. I don’t mind any of it really; for as long as I can do what I want to do after those moments, I’m perfectly all right with the interruptions.

While I won’t be able to have a beer (or a six pack as it used to be), thanks largely to the hypertension medicines I’m on, I will be enjoying a bit of Chocolate and Almond Ice Cream tomorrow night instead. What can I say? You might take the club-kid wannabe out of me, but my love of chocolate is still more than happily going strong.

As I said, I’ve gotten back into the swing of things with the walking, but that’s because I’m also (finally) working an assignment at one of the regional banks working the Unix tickets and streamlining the process of the batch files attached to the centralized servers. While I don’t have the coding experience for the batch scripting and having to rely on another of the full time coders that’s attached to another team, I can use my skills from Helpdesk along with managing a team (so to speak) to getting things done. This project is supposed to last a year, but I’m not entirely sure whether I will be able to get it past six months given that it would take that long for me to learn how to code like the contact I have within the company.

It definitely pays well and I should be able to get a stipend going with it by the time I’m through with the contract/assignment.

I also did a massive faux pas on my first day of work. Went with the confirmed business casual approach to dressing for the contact and decided to wear the pair of shoes I used to wear at Lifespan when I was working the floor for at least the last six months I had been working there. Thought they had been broken in as I never had a problem wearing them and walking around the massive office through the night. I think I wore them once walking home from the bus-stop over a weekend and while there was a bit of discomfort, I thought I remembered that happening closer to the time that I first bought them.

Walked to Kennedy Plaza with them and by the time I got to the Hilton (the old Holiday Inn at the corner of Atwells and the on-ramp to 95, the back of my feet were already bleeding. Completely tore up the back of my ankles by the end of the day making the next two weeks of walking to and from Kennedy Plaza completely painful. The back of my left ankle seems to have taken the worse and while it still hurts more than a little, at least I’m able to walk near to my usual pace without feeling like I’m agony making the attempts.

Since the last time I’ve written, I’ve befriended a gay men in the area (hell, within a mile of my neighborhood) which I was fortunate he was understanding of my anti-social tendencies through the summer this year. It’s been fun getting together every couple of weeks (well months, but this will be changing in the next week now that it’s going into autumn) chatting about this and that… Like two old men comparing notes about anything we can think about. There’s moments where it gets a bit rough as he’s definitely attracted to me, but can’t say the feeling’s mutual (remotely). At least he doesn’t press the issue too often and it hasn’t reached the point where I would want to run away and keep distance from that feeling of desperation. At least the good news is that it gets me out of the house routinely enough that I’m not going stir-crazy with Moe.

I’ve also been in touch with a friend from Rhode Island that I haven’t heard from in more than a decade. Originally I met and befriended him around 25 years ago, but shortly after breaking up with Darin and moving south, we sort of lost touch with each other. Then while I was living in Ormewood Park (or was it just as I was moving to Druid Hills), he reached out to me briefly before losing touch again. He’s currently living on the West Coast and in spite of his saying that he’s bad at keeping in touch, he’s doing better this time around. Would like to see how this continues to go.

Speaking of Moe, that good old codger of a cat has become more skittish than ever. Runs and hides under the slightest provocations, sometimes for hours at a time. Eventually he’ll either come out from under the bed, or out of the closet (depending on where he decided to hide) and act as though nothing’s happened to cause him to bolt.

He’s also become even more talkative than Cricket ever was. Seems to like hearing the sound of his own voice more than Cricket ever did and will talk to me from the time I get back home from work, to following me to the sink area for a treat, to even just prior to going to bed at the end of the day. It’s not as though there’s anything wrong with him; when I pick him up and walk around the house, he stops mewing at me. Or when we’re falling asleep he’ll quiet down quickly enough and eventually pass out as I do. It’s just that he seems to like talking is all.

Finally, I’m still happily gaming during my down time. While I might not be playing Star Trek: Online as much now as I used to a year ago, when I do play it, it’s more in a maintaining action than anything. Even though I’m a lifetime subscriber, the game simply doesn’t have the quality of replayability I expect it to have. This might change soon or it might not but as I said… Maintaining action.

Warframe has also sort of taken a back seat as of late since I’ve completed the star map as well as collect/scan all the Cephalon Fragments on all the planets. Now that I’m through with those, as I was thinking earlier, I’m going to need to set myself up some new personal goals for the coming sessions. Whether this is going to be to complete all the missions/side quests that I still have in the queue, work on the various weapons & warframes for my Mastery Rank, get involved in the Trials and Sorties more, or even more relic farming/cracking remains to be seen.

Next month I’m coming up on my one year anniversary with Elite: Dangerous. And like I’ve said to friends time and time and time again: with that game I maintain this love-hate relationship with the physics of that game. I tried getting involved with a player group and later the various streamers and denizens from the player group that could be found on Twitch, but quickly butted heads with one person that accused me of doing something that I wasn’t remotely doing. Apparently I accused him of lying.

The main problem with this is I don’t mince words when it comes to accusing anyone of anything. If I think them I liar, they’ll know it the instant I open my mouth or type my thoughts. If anything I normally defer to their experience as they tend to be with a game longer than I’ve been. However, when he passed summary judgement on what I was saying — which I refuted the entire time — it turned into that ever annoying feminine minefield of, “well you must be calling me a liar” and then took action accordingly.

So I divorced myself from the player group within the first month (of my joining the group) and the first head-butting with this individual, and a day after the time he accused me of calling him a liar. To date I haven’t been back and I don’t recommend anyone playing E:D to checking them out, with the exclusion of someone that I still deeply respect. Heh, the same person that recommended me to join their group. Even then it’s usually sparingly given that person I butted heads with also goes to his channel.

I’ve been making a few casual friends within the game and apparently from the E:D sits Inara. There’s been no pressure to join any other user groups, and those that I chat with in game or Inara are decent enough folk to be hanging around with. I haven’t winged-up with any of them, but I’m sure that when I get back into the Bubble from this deep space exploration mission, they will more than happily do so.

And that’s my life in a nutshell. I’m still alive. I’m not being creative (but that might be changing shortly), and I’m doing well for everything that’s not been going on with my life. I’m usually around… Lurking. So if you find a way to chat with me, hit me up. I’ll listen and put in my two cents.

Until the next time.


The New Year

01/07/2016 Comments off

Entry 01/07/2016 02:16:30 AM – Mentat 1036

The great thing about a computer notebook is that no matter how much you stuff into it, it doesn’t get bigger or heavier…” – Bill Gates

I’ve gotten into the first week of the new year and in spite of the fact that I’ve been more than diligently writing personal diary entries, it’s been some months since the last time I had written publicly was about the time of the mugging. In the following three months since then I’ve been inordinately quiet online while happily producing various Mandelbulb and (mostly) JWildfire fractal work. While I’ve been more than happy about keeping my diary private (offline), the primary reason hasn’t been because of the frivolousness of the entries. Not at all really; after all I’ve been well known for taking the most frivolous and dog-eared end of any element in my life and turning into a melodramatic moment of story-telling proportions. No, the ongoing issues that I’ve been having since starting this job has been the ability to focus on any one thing and staying with it from beginning to middle to end. Instead of focusing and staying to that course, I often find myself going in a hundred different directions at any given moment. Further, the more intense the issue — the more frustrated I become when trying to describe the issue — the more likely I am to run away from it, finding something else to distract myself from that frustration. I have since gotten a little better about this at least privately — whether this will extend publicly remains to be seen — but I’ll endeavor to do my best one way or another.

I got hired at the contract I’ve been working for the last 9 months. In spite of the anger issues that I had been going through because of that mugging, the delusional pats-on-the-back the manager (only in the position 3 weeks longer than I’ve been working there) that firmly believes she’s changed things for the better, and the host of other issues I’ve seen, witnessed, experienced both just prior through to just after the hiring process. As I’ve said before (around the end of September) I’ve never been in a department that completely lacks the ability to reading (and comprehending) e-mail sent to them personally as well as a blast to the whole department. The icing on that cupcake came a couple of weeks later when I was pulled into the manager’s office and was chastised for the “scathing” e-mail I had sent QA coordinator (a contractor barely into his 30s) and how much he cried to the manager about how harsh that e-mail was to his feelings. After about 15 minutes of being berated not only by the manager but also the witness (because she’s female and I’m not, it’s common practice to have a witness — usually of management — to ensure nothing goes afoul. This witness is also a team leader for the department), I decided to go onto the offensive to shut the meeting down when the manager said, “if you got an e-mail like the one I wrote, I’m sure you’d had been crying in my office about it.” I looked at her and said, “Uh, no I wouldn’t. I would have handled that criticism like an adult and not a spoiled child.” And then went on to state the apparent issues that continue to plague the department, including how no one reads e-mails, no one seems to be able to take any criticism and how everyone cries foul for any slight that might come out or inferred. I got loud enough in the meeting that the window on her office door rattled and when I left that meeting people in the department were unusually quiet like they thought I was getting fired.

The fact is, I could go on and on (and on and on) about it, and the more that I do the more I’ll feel my blood pressure once again rising and the more aggravated I’ll be about it. And while it’s true it might get a bit of frustration that I’ve had pent up over the months — I suspect more than it’ll just torque me up in ways I don’t want to cope through. And I’m rather liking having my attention to coping through health and fitness issues more than work-related issues. With that I keep reminding myself that there are some places that have it well established on how to handle such situations and such issues and there are places that don’t. This is just one of those sort of places that doesn’t. And the bottom line is that I’m just riding it through to see whether the changes are going to be for the better, or for the worst.

After all the zaniness of getting hired and getting the Golden Ticket to allow being hired at this place, I’ve continued with my regimen from my doctor as he balanced out my medications for high blood pressure as well as dietary changes because of these medications (low sodium mostly); I come to find out the main medication for controlling high blood pressure — Metoprolol — is also used to control anxiety. This was after the second month of the medication adjustments; of which two of those months I was seriously crotchety as I was fighting the near constant fatigue I was experiencing. By the third month — I had gotten used to the medications and whatever hostility I had been feeling just washed away and disappeared. Because of this, I’ve learned to take advantage of the medication and allow most of the aggravating instances at work to wash away and deal with them if I can deal with them. Or to leave them be until I can handle or not.

The other drug that I take — Chlorthalidone — reminds me vividly that I am middle-aged. Seriously. Because of one of the side-effects of regularly taking it, I’ve had to include taking Metamucil (AKA, The Radioactive Sludge) as part of my diet. I think the most annoying part of about it is that if I miss so much as two doses of Metamucil — my bowels stopper up faster than you can say, “Screaming Jesus on a Ferris Wheel”.

All I can think on this is — so this is what Middle Age is all about? And I thought the first six years were going to be a cake walk through to retirement. Nope, this is where the true “fun” begins.

The second part of this middle-age is the amount of fun I’ve been having in the kitchen trying low-sodium and more healthy alternatives to the things I’ve been eating most of my life. While it’s true that I had learned my cooking from my three grandmothers (maternal, paternal and step-father), I never did take advantage of that experience on just myself. While it’s true that I normally cooked such meals for boyfriends & partners (or for special occasions) it was rare to do so for myself. Further I’ve been expanding upon it thanks to places like All Recipes, Food and Food Network as well as Epicurious just to name the few off the top of my head. While I might not post the pics on WordPress, DA or Blogger — I do on occasion post them to Twitter and Facebook. And if you’re curious enough — you can always ask me what I’m trying out at the moment.

Couple this with the exercise/keep busy routine that I’ve had going since October last year and I’m happy to say that I continue to lose weight. I’ve currently gotten to my first goal weight of 185 lbs. (83.9 Kg) and I’m currently working on my second goal weight of 170 lbs. (77.1 Kg). I’m optimistic (but not overly hopeful) given that it’s winter and I’m not overly enthusiastic about walking in sub-freezing temperatures. It’ll definitely be happening over the spring to fall of this year though, rest assured.

Next up for 2016 is finally getting around to redecorating and renovating the Homestead. That’ll start in the spring when it warms up. Heh, unlike the douchebag ex-landlord that I worked for — I am NOT doing any interior painting in the winter. Not now and especially not ever again. I guarantee there will be pictures coupled with the potential for the mis-adventures that will and can occur.

Overall, I’m getting rather used to it just being Moe and me. At least Moe and I have come to an agreement about certain things; namely his not kneading the duvet when he comes to bed and clawing up the rugs instead of his scratcher. Though it took me a while to realize one of his habits is actually love bites, even if he doesn’t do head-butts. While he hasn’t ever drawn blood, he tends to clamp down a bit harder than I’m used to. And while he’s not as friendly as any of other cats, because of it he’s a perfect alarm for people coming into the house and when noises are too clamorous outside. If it’s too noisy he’s gone… disappears… and runs immediately for somewhere in the bedroom. He’ll only come out after they’re gone or it’s quiet in the neighborhood once again. Which is perfect when I’m unconscious and drooling into a pillow.

While I’ve set about 25 goals for this year, three of which are currently sitting on my desk: publicly posting (some more) of my journal entries, trying to write a short story without the necessary muse for writing and whether to continue posting fractal work for 2016. So the operative question I’ve had since the new year is will I add them to the list of goals or not? Well, it remains to be seen.

It’s Been (and Going to be) Some Time Before I Get into a Pattern

04/27/2015 Comments off

Entry 04/26/2015 12:25:00 AM – Mentat 914

It’s amazing how a full time job with positively nothing in the way of telecommuting and a 3 mile walk in (and back on the weekends) to/from work can make you lose track of time. Can make you lazy when it comes to making the demented artwork to be posted on a week-to-week basis. Can make you not really want to do anything creative (or constructive) in your off-time and instead indulge in the often mindless things people do in your off-time. But here I am, almost six weeks later; completely transformed from Daywalker to Nightbreed and just now looking into writing a public journal entry about the goings on since the last time I had come up for air (metaphorically speaking)…

The job is both calming and infuriatingly frustrating given that it feels like a well-established help/service desk going through the throes of growing pains and streamlining (or in this case re-streamlining). If often reminds me of what John Sheridan said in Babylon 5 when he became president of the Interstellar Alliance:

“Who knew the presidency was fifty percent panic and fifty percent paperwork.”

The panic comes when one of the few interfaces from the older systems decide it’s time to take a break from the work they’ve been doing for the week (or month) and take a break from communicating its information to the new system (in this case to Epic Hyperspace). Sure it goes well enough — we do all the normal troubleshooting and contact all the appropriate sources — and while there are times when it feels like a collective head (and ass) scratching — eventually the problem is intercepted, taken care of and brushed aside as the synchronization between old and new systems are restored.

The paperwork comes from the endless and sometimes overwhelming need to ensuring everything is recorded in the form of tickets in the ticketing system, going hither and yon and ensuring that other people have the associated orders to complete the work necessary to making sure this system, that WOW cart, printer, scanner, workstation, telephone, well practically every piece of technology (and even software) is fixed/repaired/handled/numbered/filed/stamped/approved/denied and on and on.

Basically it’s what one would expect working as a Help Desk Analyst (fancier words for Technical Support) and it’s something I definitely had agreed upon when I took up this contract. Do I like it? Sure… One, it’s good to being back to the graveyard shift. Two, it’s fun to exercise my never-ending need for service and expanding my knowledge of computer systems (both hardware and especially software). And three, it’s the sort of mental exercise of assisting in the streamlining of a department with all the knowledge and experience I had learned from previous environments.

Of course, returning to being Nightbreed I get enjoy being the Night-Owl I used to be moving at speeds different and more relaxed than following a more Diurnal cycle. I have also experienced the usual health benefits of a lower heart rate (BPM) going from mid to high 70s during the day, to 60 mid 60s in the evening. Blood pressure (when I’ve used the free monitors at the pharmacies) while being a bit elevated as they usually are, are now significantly lower than when I was a Daywalker. While sleeping’s a bit difficult given my apartment is sunnier than the basement I lived in when I was in Woonsocket, I’m finding that I can sleep through most of the sunny periods in the afternoon with the occasional wake up for the usual trips to the bathroom.

Working in the Healthcare Industry is like old hat with the same benefits and pitfalls that I recall from my time working at Care New England. Doctors are well, doctors; expecting instantaneous results for any issues that they might be experiencing with the software in question. Lack of results means instantaneous frustration. Nurses (and Floor Secretaries) are the bulk of the calls being within the range of savvy enough to getting the job done to acolytes that need that special hand-hold to get them through the issue that they’re experiencing… And then there’s my personal favorites: the CNAs. You know, the Luddites that somehow have gotten into the 21st century and never saw a computer before they came to work within the hospital they’re employed with. Oh yeah, you know the type too… Need a password change? Most people get through that in 5 minutes with a little handholding. CNAs? It’s guaranteed to take them more than 30 minutes and even then, you can’t be sure they had been able to do it correctly.

One of my best calls involved a CNA who had — using my favorite phrase — went off the rails trying to perform the simple operation of changing their password. She didn’t know what programs she had open, what screens she was supposed to be filling information on. Thirty minutes into the call spoke in tongues, put the phone down and went off to do something else. It took the nursing supervisor to come to the phone and me explaining to that supervisor what needed to be done to getting the password reset. The nursing supervisor said she would handle it, “once the CNA came back to the floor…” And that was that. There was a facepalm involved, there was an eyeroll (enough to fall unconscious from the whiplash as I rolled them hard and fast), and of course there was a “thank you for the call”…

The team I’m currently on is significantly better than the team I had been assigned to work at Cox when I worked the graveyard shift. Most of them are like me; over 35 and mature enough to being able to joke around without being obnoxious about it. Are able to do their work without being completely distracted by whatever else they were doing to keep themselves busy (and awake) during the shift. The one that’s under 30 is definitely easy going enough to follow the lead of the lot of us and does what’s necessary without noise or friction. We’re also significantly distanced from the management for the team to allow us the necessary breathing room to perform the job that’s required of us long before we actually need to call the technicians that are assigned for off-time paging.

I am also enjoying the fact that I don’t get Saturday and Sunday off for my weekend; instead getting Wednesday and Thursday night for it. The good (read: great) side of this is that it saves me from the routine 9 to 5’er out partying for the weekend. So I don’t have to deal with the idiots, rednecks and bloated self-entitled fuckwits that think it’s just them and nothing of the world around them exists beyond the end of their nose. Also it means that I get to experience less than usual amounts of people out and about while I do the necessary things like laundry, shopping and what have you during my weekend.

The homefront… Ha! My cat is king of the roost with me out of the house more than in. He’s eating like a king and basically entertaining himself however he sees fit, including completely turning over any of the throw rugs so that he can get the toy mouse he might have accidentally gotten stuck underneath. During the hour when I’m getting ready for work, having my breakfast and prepping my lunch for the night, he usually sits under the bed, watching me hustle back and forth until I’m through, then he’ll venture out for some loving and/or attention. Closer to my weekend last week, I saw that he seemed transfixed to sit on the throw next to the sink and staring at the fridge. He also did a bit of investigating between the garbage and recycling bins. Pulling up the recycle bin, I saw the quick movements of something brown and him shooting like lightning at the thing. So one of the few handfuls of mice that have snuck into the house (and seem to only inhabit underneath the sink) had been successful enough to get out from underneath the cabinet only to get caught under the fridge. A couple of days later it had successfully gotten back under the sink (as my cat often sleeps with me in the afternoon) only to have met its fate with one of the two mousetraps under the sink as it needed a little something to munch on for it’s foray under the fridge. I can tell that there are no further mice in the house as the cat’s happily spending more of its time on the bed and not on the throw by the sink, though he’s also been mildly curious about the bedroom closet… I haven’t found any evidence, but that doesn’t stop him from looking anyway.

My downstairs neighbor has been her usual quiet as well, though I think her son’s been watching the apartment and she’s off to somewhere south (like Florida) for a holiday. He comes and goes occasionally — usually to go outside to smoke instead of in the house — but other than that, he’s just as quiet as his mother. Neither of them have made any noise about the change of shifts for me, not that I make all that noise to begin with even with the change of hours.

Finally my weekly art submissions… *sighs* I know that I should be doing them more and I promise to do them at some point. The thing is that while I can do them on Sundays as I traditionally did with the coming three weeks while they’re trying to get another second shift person on, I’m going to be spending more time (OT) for the next three (or so) weeks. This means I’ll need to get to bed early enough to only have to head out to work for a few extra hours on Sunday Night/Monday morning. We’ll see after this whether I’ll have the energy to work something out.

And with that, that’s it for the update. Now I’m off to finish the rest of the shift and perhaps try to get out of here as quickly as possible so that I can wind down quickly and pass out for the routine 8 hours of sleep for the day. Until the next time.

One Door Closes… Another Door Opens…

03/10/2015 Comments off

Entry 03/08/2015 07:36:05 AM – Mentat 899

At the end of last week, I found myself rather surprised that an acquaintance of mine has blocked me from Twitter and removed me from his feed. I found myself taking it rather personally because I was left without word as to why it had happened, and that it simply changed in the course of a couple of hours. I also took it personally because like all the sites that I frequent — from WordPress, Deviant Art, Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook — I usually discriminate based on the feeling that such acquaintances (and friends) are usually there to stay for the long haul. They often know that good and bad, I have an opinion and I’m going to share it. Be it affirmatively, be it as the contrarian that I often am. Be it off-sided, and sometimes even off-colored, I share it and try to do so eloquently (or in the 140 character limit of Twitter: Succinctly).

The straw that broke the camel’s back for this acquaintance: he posted one of this daily inspirational quotes. One from Steve Jobs.

My answer, while be from one of the more comic sites ( covered rather poignantly some of the epic douche-baggery of Steve Jobs in his years while he was running Apple Corporation and had his hooked sunk into Pixar Entertainment. Let’s face it — anything inspirational and/or prophetic from this man had to have been generated within the well known reality-distortion field that Mr. Jobs used to spin himself the messiah of all things Apple/Macintosh.

This of course wasn’t the first time. A couple of weeks before this acquaintance mis-attributed a quote to Thomas Edison of which I’m well familiar to that man’s douche-baggery during his years of feuding with Nikola Tesla, suspected that if he had ever said it, it was stolen. (I was since corrected by another of this acquaintance’s followers that the quote he had attributed to Edison had come into creation a few decades after Edison’s death).

I even commented to him as succinctly as possible (in a private communiqué) that he should do some research into some of the quotes that he was pulling to inspire his followers that from as these two — Edison and Jobs — are proof positive of the saying, “the rat race is over, the rats won”.

The thing is that I have equal rancor for not only Edison and Jobs, but Gates, Ballmer, (Michael) Dell, (Steve) Case and a host of others that people often try to paint as the pioneers of the Information Age. I don’t tend to put it all up front; I usually do it opportunistically based on whether or not they’re mentioned. Because from my perspective, it’s that often the quotes people attribute to many of these people as inspirational were often used in the middle of some of the most vapid PR campaigns generated in the 20th Century. Campaigns used to cover-up not only their vices and villainy, but much of the vices and villainies of the peers of their time. They also been shown to have relied on the strengths of others (Wozniak for Apple comes readily to mind; I know there was one or two on Microsoft’s side, but I can’t recall them off the top of my head) and took the credit for those accomplishments. But I’m not here to go down the dark and often barbed rabbit hole on this, I’m talking more personally…

Through the weekend while I was working through this surprise (and disappointment), I performed a quick inventory of this budding friendship and realized it was entirely one-sided. He never made a favorite nor commented on anything that I ever created. Even so far as never followed me to see what I was going to create next. He never showed any curiosity for anything that I made, wrote or talked about unless it was referenced directly to him.

This isn’t friendship Michael, I thought to myself. Far from it; this is one-sided.

I then took an inventory of this acquaintance’s actions and realized that with extremely rare exceptions, a majority of his actions and activities were the sort of self-absorbed drivel I would expect of someone wanting followers and fans. The sort of followers and fans that only have stars and likes (and favorites) to flourish, and ne’er an opposing word to anything spouted by this acquaintance. Looking at this inventory, I got the strongest impression, what he wanted were supplicants for his cult of personality… In order to make money.

I readily admit, I might be intentionally villainizing him in a method of handling the hurt and surprise in an adolescent fashion. So to balance this immaturity out (just a little) I’ll say something less villainizing: I don’t damn him for taking his talent and making money from it. Music-making is tough enough in this dog-eat-dog world. Lord knows I understand this intimately from fellow artists (painters, sculptors, fractal artists, jewelry makers, the list goes on) that the only time the kind of art I practice makes money when the artist (that created it) is dead. I applaud his attempts at generating revenue from it — even from a single song. I might not personally relate to his music, but others do and that’s something to be respected.

The thing is that I don’t respect his thoughtform that he’s been subtly creating, A thoughtform that I should blindly worship him. That I should be the visions of light, goodness and softness for all that he spouts to the world around him. For failing to being this vision, I should be punished (by exclusion) when I go beyond that myopic vision of how people should act around him. Because the last thing I’ll ever be is part of anyone’s advertising machine. (After all, I believe that if they or their product cannot sell itself, no amount of my pushing it will do the same). Nor will I ever see them as anything less than an equal: and being equal means that you get the good with the bad. The agreement with the disagreement. The praise with the criticism.

For another acquaintance from years gone by had hit the nail on the head when he commented on my personality and the years of crotchety, snarky and acerbic rebuttals from the likes of me on a public newsgroup when he said:

Merrick is Dr Leonard McCoy. The barbs! The barbs! Not to mention professional brilliance, sharp opinions and scathing wit! Nonsense–even of the superficially logical sort–will not go unchallenged by either of these men. Two of the most colorful characters on Star Trek and ATSTV, Bones and Merrick are in a class of their own. You gotta love the way they blurt out their opinions, devil-may-care, if you don’t like it, that’s just too damn bad! Original and unique, they will never go unheard. They may be masters of irony, but the most ironic thing of all is that underneath the acerbic jabs are men of great sensitivity and tremendous heart.

I never crafted this attitude, I simply was me — spouting (or sharing) my opinion. Debating against one side (or the other), trying to create balance through the actions of both sides trying to create a perspective. Critiquing what I was seeing as weakness in the hopes of garnering strength. Tearing down strength(s) when they appeared to be hubris. And most importantly working towards optimistic visions while cutting away from the dreck and dross to find the germ (of the grain) and gem (of the jewel).

So with all this — a door has been closed. Time to move on — into the world — continuing to be me.

And what door has been opened? Why just the sort of job I’ve been missing for years. Yes, it’s a tech support job. Yes, it’s something that I’m rather talented at doing. And most importantly; yes, it’s on third shift. You heard it here — I’m going to be Nightbreed once again. I’m going to be missing from my usual postings, commenting and usual Day-Walker shenanigans for the rest of the month, but after that what was done during the day will be done in the middle of the night. The best part is that it’s just over 3 miles (4.8 km) from the house which means that for the spring through the autumn I can walk it (in an hour), ride it (in about 40 minutes or less, it’s pretty even terrain from here to there) and avoid the butt-loads of traffic through the major streets at the butt-crack of dawn or late in the evening. Best of all, I can return to the usual giggles and guffaws of watching my fellow homo sapiens in the morning, being complete zombies as they head to work while I’m heading home to sleep.

I’ll tell the story about this — once I’ve started the job. Until then, that’s enough from me because I really don’t want to jinx it any more than I have than mentioning it here. I’m going to wander off for the time being. Off to play a little before I head to bed. Until the next time.

Fighting the No-Win Scenario

01/16/2015 Comments off

Entry 01/16/2015 08:59:04 AM – Mentat 852

Christ on a drunken rampage… You’d think I’d know better sometimes (but I don’t). I get into a discussion with some teenage bisexual girl about her inherent disdain about the use of the label bisexual and feeling constrained by the baggage associated with the word, struggles to find a better word to use. The conversation makes its way to a part about self-editing and how everyone does it. She of course denies that she does in her offline life yet does so online… All right… She’s wrong there, she provides proof that she does edit with the general public but she goes on anyway happily defining how it’s selective and continues to whinge about the limits of the word bisexual and tries to drum her point on and on trying to create a no-win scenario.

It naturally doesn’t work with me. I don’t allow myself to be limited by choices other people try to foist on me. If I don’t like the choices given to me, I have always made my own. I provided proof to this in the form of a brief story about as a kindergärtner I have always been ridiculed for my perspective.

The no-win scenario continues as she shifts the debate turns into some sort of attack against her and her bisexuality and how its an amateurish psychoanalysis. Seeing that answer I’m reminded all too keenly of the non-stop debates and battles with my ex Rick and no matter what I could possibly posit during the debate was going to be always wrong.

I typed the typical response: told her that if that’s what she thinks, nothing I can say will change that and the thoughts I’ve had on this will go untyped. I went further to wish her well and hoped for the day that she found a word that she felt comfortable with and moved on from there.

I find myself feeling like Roger Moore’s character in Ffolkes and his absolute disdain of women.

I am also reminded of a friend in New Jersey when talking to his daughter always said, “I should throw away my set of encyclopedias because you seem to know every fucking thing!”

I had worked up a rather good response, but because I’m tired of fighting a no-win scenario with someone that already seems to know-it-all, I’ve decided I’m going to put it here.

The plain and simple fact is, the baggage associated with bisexuality isn’t new. While there are elements of it that are unique, the fact is ANY sexuality other than heterosexual has come with its own depressing sort of negative baggage. Take for example when I came out of the closet back in 1979. It’s only 10 years after the Stonewall Riot (or the gay shot heard around the world). Being gay wasn’t glamorous. The baggage it had was ugly. Being forever alone when invited to friends and family parties, weddings, etc. Being STD (and shortly after) and AIDS carriers. A life at the bars with nothing more than one-night stands. I can never have a family or children.

The thing is I wasn’t going to have any of this. I wanted a husband. I wanted the house with a picket fence. I wanted the children and the pets (cats… not dogs… I always preferred cats). I changed my label to queer (in defiance) and went forward chasing my dreams. Back when I came out I was told by peers — straight and gay — I was a dreamer (at best) or delusional (at worst). Still I followed my dreams…

Fast forward 20 years and we see my dreams weren’t so delusional or the products of some demented dream. And while I can’t remotely claim to have revolutionized the social transformation and perception of the gay & lesbian community, I can take a little pride in the fact that I wasn’t alone in this. I had — in my own demented and stubborn way — helped it along small and humble as it was.

The thing is this woman that I ended up discussing and walking away from isn’t alone in her plight either. There are plenty of other people even if she can’t see them — going through the same struggles of fighting against the stereotyping and the baggage associated to being bisexual. While she might not be in contact with them, I have seen that they exist. Some simply bow to the pressure and choose a side (straight or gay) to make their lives simpler. Some stick to it and prove — through their actions — they are more than the stereotypes (and baggage) associated to the label.

I tried to explain to her that if she wants to fight against that stereotype to do so. Damned the torpedoes full steam ahead… Take a label that fit her and put her tits to the wind (as Bette Middler once said in a comedy sketch years ago). To listen to the sound of her own drum and march to it. After all, she did so when she defiantly tried to redefine the part of the conversation about self-editing (it was still wrong — everyone, even her self-edits — she just edits herself to the general public. But the point was she did so with the pride necessary to break other limitations). She had it within her to do the same against words she didn’t like or fit her.

There’s another saying that comes to mind in all this: “sticks and stones…” A word can only hurt you if you allow it. A name can only hurt you if you take it personally. If you succumb to the title, the label and feel negative (either in anger or in sadness) those labels have taken possession of you.

Was I hurt by the labels? The stereotypes? The baggage associated to the label? Damn Skippy. I’m human and not impervious to the name calling. And while I can understand the need for wallowing in that pain in that self-pity, but yet… somewhere along the line I turned it into an act of defiance. I would not and will not succumb to those stereotypes.

The last bit of wisdom came to me in the late 70s (about the time I came out) that went: There are three kinds (of people)… The wills, the won’ts and the can’ts. The wills accomplish everything, the won’ts oppose everything and the can’ts won’t try anything. I promised myself I would be one of those that will. And haven’t stopped since.

And with that I’m through proselytizing. Off to shop for ingredients for a slow-cooker recipe I want to try out. Until the next time.

For the Love of a Foul Mood

10/10/2014 Comments off

Entry 10/10/2014 12:31:42 PM – Mentat 757

I have been in a hell of  a foul mood since this morning when I received a call from my mother informing me that the reason why she had been pulled into surgery yesterday morning.  It wasn’t about the fact that I hadn’t been told that the reason why there was surgery yesterday for the skin grafting that they had performed to thicken up her thin skin around the ankle area.  Seriously that was to be expected.  The thinning skin around her ankle since the accident has been an issue of contention since they put the pins and plate to hold together her ankle some months ago after the accident with the Monster Child.  What set it off this morning was in fact the news of her coming home maybe on Sunday and that for a while afterwards, she’s going to be laid up and have to keep off her foot and have it elevated while she’s healing.  What set me off is the fact that this is going to put me in a difficult position with her husband.  Now this is why…  Three weeks ago this Sunday there was an incident between he and I.



It started with going over my mother’s for dinner.

I went a little bit earlier than usual, partially because I know how my mother has been since breaking her ankle and she usually ran dinner a bit earlier because of it.  So when I was over there, while my mother was finishing her cooking (boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes), I watched a few of the subscription videos in advanced.  By the time we sat down I was sort of confused about Twitter and the fact that my ADD was acting up (thanks largely to the various aches and pains in the back of my head and sinuses as well as the cramps from whatever I ate two or three days ago).  So I was trying to do a quick scan of the messages and why I received a notification and who it was from…  And was about to give up the search as dinner was about to be served, when my mother’s husband starts asking how big a piece of pork.

It’s the same question week to week to week…  How big do you want?  And unless I’m ill, ate really big for lunch or queasy, I have settled for the same amount and the same size of any cut of meat — be it meatloaf, pork, beef roast — it’s bigger than my mother’s but smaller than his.  So I just said, “use your best judgment..  You know how big I usually have…”

He asked again, I said the same thing…

Then he gave me a sliver of a slice from the end of the roast as I was putting the phone to the side.   He had a smug look on his face like, ‘this is what you get for not answering the question I asked.’

I looked at him, then my mother and instead of allowing myself to be ruffled by it because he had the scowl going when I didn’t react the way he wanted, and said something about being an asshole and having my nose in my phone.  So with a little drama and putting my hands in the air said I was going home and would be by the next day.

I remember hearing noise about it, and the next thing I know the serving fork and then the carving knife came at me.  They both hit the chair at the table and fortunately for me: they both missed.

He followed me to the door, and while I’m now hazy as to what happened at that point, remember saying I didn’t want to hit him, but he hit me.  At the back door he hit me…

He hit like a girl.  Or rather not like someone with so many years of military experience in the Marines.  But that didn’t mean I was just going to stand there and take it either.  So, I struck back.  It was damned sloppy though…  I was in sandals and couldn’t get a good stand or counter, but at least self-defensive.  I pushed him to the garbage bin, with a light choke hold and as there was another sloppy scuffle where he was holding me by the collar for a long time, but after my mother intervention and my warning him that I was left-handed and that hand was free to strike, he let me go and I left the house.



In hindsight, my attitude in this — with or without ADD — was bound to happen.  If I’m asked the same thing over and over for course of at least two years and my patterns are clearly defined, I get tired of answering the same question or saying the same thing ad nausea.  In the past I would have really had an explosive moment because such painstaking banality used to drive me to utter distraction.  After all how many times can you ask, “how big a piece do you want?” and not catch a pattern to it without the normal cues (to the exception)?  Now, I simply ignore it or brush it off.

I told my mother the next day I would give him a week’s time to apologize for his act of violence.  I went on to tell her that if he simply screamed at me, I probably would’ve apologized for me actions; but the instant he hit me and threw things at me — he wouldn’t get any respect from me until that action was apologized for.  My mother told me that it would be a cold day (in hell) before he would ever apologize for what he did.  That convinced me right then and there and confirmed it at a week’s time when he didn’t seek me out to apologize for this act of violence he was a bully (at best) or an abuser (at worst).

Since then, my mother has done her best to keep the two of us apart.  She’s pretty much told me that dinners with her and her husband are a thing of the past.  When it came to laundry up until this week she and I would be going instead of putting me in the car with him (and doing it alone at the laundromat).

She’s told me that the reason why she’s holding off is that she wants it to be at the “right time”.  She’s told me that she’s afraid that he might hit her if I confronts him.  She has put me in the right difficult position of trying to make me promise I won’t confront him while she’s currently in the hospital.  While I didn’t actually promise, I did say that I would do my best not to confront him during this time.

The problem with me is that this has gone on for too long.  I’m not about to let go of it.  It’s built up rancour and more anger than what I’ve dealt with dealing with the two ex-douche nozzles I used to deal with in Olneyville.  I’ve been in one too many abusive relationships and I refuse to sit idly by while a bully thinks he can get away with hitting me Scot-free without repercussion or apology.  And it’s only a matter of time before our paths cross, and it’s not going to be pretty;  particularly when I happened to have perused his coupon for Cialis…  Yeah, excuse me…  you have anger and violence issues, the last thing anyone would be worrying about is whether or not they can keep their penis erect…  But that’s just me, right?

Anyway, that’s what’s really set me off…  Because between my mother might be coming home Sunday (and having to watch the dog), coupled with my pussy-footing around my mother’s husband, coupled with the difficulties that will crop up next week with the laundry and everything else…  I just think it would be easier for everyone (or perhaps needs to come to a head) by confronting it, instead of ignoring it like the Pink Elephant in the room.

Well, I’m going to wander for the time being.  Mail to check, dog to walk, and listening to something that should sooth the savage nerves.  Until the next time.

Bucket Lists? I don’t need a bucket list…

09/20/2014 Comments off

Entry 09/20/2014 03:21:18 AM – Mentat 737

Oh yes, I continue to do the old man thing; I passed out on my bed with Moe happily hogging more than his fair share at a modest 9 o’clock and now six hours later, I’m up and unable to sleep. Oh sure, I know I’ll be able to sleep another couple of hours, but until I do I found myself thinking about something that I’ve thought about responding to… Here, let me set it up.

When I had a moment of not having to assist my mother with her housework (something she was rather proud of finally being able to do on her own since the stitches in her ankle came out and she’s able to put some weight on her ankle), I had the opportunity to watching my YouTube Subscriptions. One in particular — Mr. Louis Cole (FunforLouis) — had been reprising about one of the top items on his bucket list (Swimming with a Whale Shark) and asking his followers and subscribers what some of the items on their Bucket Lists were.

I found myself amused by it.

As a child, I had a rare form of Hypoglycemia (which was later identified and my name ended up in some medical journal because of it) and though the doctors were able stabilize it, until I was 7 my life was pretty much treated I could die at any time. So because of that, my family — namely my maternal grandparents but aunts and uncles as well — would pack me up with them and go traveling in the trailer where ever they happened to be going. Well that and let’s face it, compared to my younger brother I was an absolute angel.

I got to see things few of my peers would in their lives. The Montreal Expo of 1967, Six Gun City and riding the stage coach there, the Polar Caves and spelunking. Being on the campgrounds in Montreal and listening to these couple of Hippies singing Puff the Magic Dragon for hours (seemed it was the only song in English they knew).

Woodstock… Yes, that Woodstock.

From my paternal side of the family: living on the Cape (Cape Cod) during the summers when I was in elementary school on the campgrounds in East Dennis. From there I saw all the touristy and non-touristy things the Cape had to offer. Deep Sea Fishing, wandering the shores of a beach where the Navy and National Guard used the wrecks and hulks beached there for target practice. (To an 8 year old, that would definitely rank up there as completely awesome seeing various boats completely shelled to hell and back.)

Being there at the docks after hearing a local man (on my uncle’s CB Radio) having successfully caught a 400 pound tuna saw the boat he was on coming into the bay listing horribly to the side as it wasn’t big enough to bring the tuna onto the boat — so they had it strapped to the side. Standing there on the dock as the proud fisherman and seeing it five times my size as they hauled it up on its hind fin. I even remember the man that caught it allowing me — the only 10 year old there to see it — to come up and touch it as I was intensely curious what it would feel like. I think I remember he even offered to give my family some of the tuna steaks from his catch to my family (saying that he couldn’t possibly have them all) because of my bravery and passion for fishing that I showed. My uncle turning him down politely because that’s what my family would do when offered such generosity.

Getting a piece of my art made in Elementary School shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (in New York City) and winning third place for it.

My trip to both sides of Niagara Falls (US and Canadian side) when I graduated from Elementary School with my maternal grandparents. Heh, I still remember my grandmother saying for hours when we left my hometown, “I know I forgot something… I know I forgot something…” and when we stopped for supper she remembered: the box of matches needed to start the propane stove. And during our slow trek through Upper State New York all the places we stopped along the way — like tourists typically do.

Making an instructions book in my senior year (last year of high school) art class on the preparations (and requirements) for making an artists’ portfolio that as I understand is still used by schools in Canada to this day. (It was also in the US, but it was phased out for a more modern book for students to use sometime in the 90s. Though it’s still in many school libraries to be taken out).

And while not necessarily on any bucket list but instead is more bragging rights, but until I changed my name — my family name (Newlander) is still sitting on a Lunar Landing Module base on the moon.

As an adult after the car accident and being diagnosed with epilepsy (grand mal seizures until I was 27), the doctors would typically give me the typical diagnosis of “…2 years to live…”, which makes you do anything on a bucket list pronto.

Living in Key West. (And in the 80s that was a Gay Man’s to-do because it was a status symbol of being out — though something a 50-something not a 20-something would do).

Learning how to scuba dive (and later swimming with Manatees and Dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico).

Which later lead me to swimming with a Whale on the east coast, and Sea Otters on the west coast.

Jumping out of a plane (yes, sky diving).

Running a safe house for gay and lesbian youth out of my own mouse-infested warehouse apartment (yes it was that huge).

Throwing a beach party in the dead of winter with a summer dress requirement and complete with the floors being covered with several hundred pounds of beach sand along and beach accessories that included a volleyball net.

Hot Air Balloon racing in New England. Yes, racing. It’s like watching pretty, colorful snails racing several hundred feet up in the sky combined with herding cats because the balloons have to rely on the direction of the wind which does what it wants more than a petulant 10 year old.

Won a $500 pot (err., what most other people call prize), playing cow-pat bingo in Vermont. And for my family — that’s like winning PowerBall or MegaMillions given our luck.

Landing a job on an Army Base (CHAMPUS) in Bavaria (yes, in Germany) and then being able to travel a lot of Europe doing things both as a tourist and as a native on holiday.

Took a trip on Route 66 (as inspired by the Depeche Mode song). Oh and it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. Well that and waking up with a rattlesnake under the truck when I was taking a break on Route 66 was rather nerve jarring.

Play softball with celebrities… I didn’t know this would’ve qualified as a Bucket List item until after I did it. I worked a convention in Boston at the time, and ended up being asked — to fill the team — so I played softball with some of the actors from the cast of Babylon 5 at the time.

Like being at Mardis Gras and Southern Decadence in the same year.

Was there the first year the Boston Pride Parade when it looked like the Norse Snake where the head of the parade met the tail as it marched into the park.

Oh and made it a point to be the last into the park that day. Everyone wants to be first, but last billed is more memorable.

Was one of the first 100 during Rhode Island’s first gay pride parade. And watching an acquaintance of mine during the pre-pride preparations say, “Oh I don’t know if I’m going to go.. I don’t want to make such a scene… I’m out, but not that out…” Only to watch her the day of the parade at the front, leading everyone up the street holding up a sign for RI Pride like a ring-girl announcing the next round in boxing. Made local news too, which we ribbed her about for months.

I was invited to an underground rave and an awesome house party within six hours of landing in Atlanta The kind of parties that you can only be invited to and will never be held under that name or that theme again.

Got to see massive amounts of the USA. Sure it was a job, and sure it was exhausting after doing it 18 months, but not only did I see places like Chicago, Austin, and Denver, but I also saw places like Butte, Redmond, Council Bluffs, and Cheyenne. It gave me insights into regional and parochial perspectives I had never had before and gave me a more refined world view that I still have today.

To fall head over heels, truly, madly deeply in love. And I didn’t do that once, but instead did that three times. They were all meteoric and while I think the first might have lasted, it had been cut short. The other two had a beginning, a middle and an end because something that burns that brightly will never last long. The first man that did that taught me loyalty, the second taught me faith, and the third taught me understanding.

And I can keep going.

The thing is now that I’ve made it to middle age and (now) to my half-century mark, while I didn’t actually think the words when Mr. Cole talked about it and asked his followers to tell him some of their bucket list items… I felt the “how quaint…” feelings of it while amused by someone 30-something asking kids still in junior and senior high (secondary) school what they want to do before they die…

I woke up this morning and thought how does a man that has lived life both as an observer and as someone tits-deep playing the game to its hilt create another Bucket List?

The answer is, I can’t really.

I don’t want to either.

That doesn’t mean that I’m going to lie down and die any time in the near future either. For as the quote that I used to stop myself from being an introvert into more of an extrovert:

Confine yourself to observing and you always miss the point of your own life. The object can be stated this way: Live the best life you can. Life is a game whose rules you learn if you leap into it and play it to the hilt. Otherwise, you are caught off balance, continually surprised by the shifting play. Non-players often whine and complain that luck always passes them by. They refuse to see that they can create some of their own luck.

Yes… Live the best life you can.

Or as another one of my favorite quotes taken slightly out of context, “…And while Cinderella and her Prince did live happily ever after. The point, gentleman: is that they lived.

It’s not (and never should be) really about bucket lists. It’s not about checking something off on a list that you want to do before you die.

It’s about living… For in living, we don’t always appreciate the little things in life that happen along with those bucket list items….

Like seeing Lunar Moths congregating in your back yard and mating in the moonlight.

Or being beaned (hit in the head) by a member the biggest moth species in the United States (it looks like the Atlas Moth in color and wing shape, but can’t remember the name of it off the top of my head Hercules Moth or some such) while watching a total lunar eclipse as it turns blood red.

Being a second (back-up) for a childbirth because the husband was away on an Oil Rig and would never make it in time (and for a Gay Man was quite the surprise in more ways than I can shake a stick at. Blue! Enough said).

Being stuck in traffic and in an act of boredom blow up balloons throwing them out the window, and watching people behind laughing and try to collect them and passing them backwards to others frustrated by the traffic jam.

Like being there for a friend comforting them as they died.

Throwing a lingerie party for drag queens as an act of defiance for the nosy neighbors. The expressions were flawless ad the neighbors tried to work out how women came into the party in the evening, yet men left it in the early morning.

Finding out that my journals (blog) and the trials I was going through helped someone realize that the problems they’re going through aren’t as bad as they thought they were and helped pick them up and continue on.

Or having a friend comment that my silence being such a presence during a meeting, challenged him in ways he never knew possible.

Riding my bicycle at 2 in the morning and watching the deer on some rural road, stopping and staring while a flock of turkeys ran in the opposite direction as I’m cackling like a madman (while listening to a podcast) riding downhill at breakneck speeds.

Being complimented on my laugh and asked by several members of an improv troupe if I would sit in on their shows more often as someone to prompt the audience to laugh more.

Or dancing with a date at a movie in the park that prompted people to dance along and turn a quiet movie into an awesome and camp audience participation event. And back more than thirty years ago, not a noise was made that it was two men dancing together.

And of course, there’s so much more there too…

My point is: if you treat everything you do, see, experience as part of a bucket list… As something wonderful, unique appreciated and cherished… perhaps you won’t actually need to plan one as the amazement, strangeness and uniqueness of life happens around you minute to minute.

Until the next time.