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I’m back...and this blog entry is sponsored by “wingtip shoes” and candy apple cigarettes.
I could look this up but I’m a bit too much on the lazy side to figure out how long it’s been since I last posted a blog entry. But I’m sure it’s so long ago that even my one loyal reader has given up on checking my outdated blog and has disappeared into the ether.
Unfortunately I am regulated to posting to those that have no idea who I am or realize the sheer boredom the next few minutes will bring them as they read this blog entry called Bottom(less) Tales in Vegas 2016. So let me be the first to apologize to all of you for wasting your time.
But I am a gentleman so just to avoid all the confusion, let me tell you who I use to be a long time ago, twenty-pounds smaller, and a few thousand hair follicles ago. I was a rather prolific poet, blogger, and part-time storyteller known as Jason Rimbaud.
That was a long time ago when I was still messed up on pills, alcohol and a straight boy named Mark. Do you remember now?
Just in case you were wondering, I have put all three of those things firmly in my rear-view view. And if I were to be honest, the main reason I stopped blogging all those years ago , I really didn’t have much drama in my life and what little drama I had was a bit on the boring side to share with my loyal reader.
Trust me, no one wants to read anything remotely about me getting up to work, working all day, going home and sleeping only to rise and repeat. That should be the title of my life, Rise and Repeat (trademark pending). Literally nothing was going on in my life.
Okay, so judging from the title of this blog post, I’m sure a few of you are expecting something interesting happened to me one blistering hot day in Las Vegas.
I met a boy. Not really a boy, more like an amazing wonderful guy that from here on out, I will call “G” to preserve his identity. “G” is an Indian, his family comes from Goa but he was born here in San Francisco.
Lets go back to the beginning, a perfect place to start for this fuzzy bunny slippers kind of a tale.
I am currently sitting at the Luxor Casino in the quaint little dessert town of Nevada known as “Sin City”. This town is aptly named because I definitely found some sin in that city. Well, two sins to be precise.
It has been just over a year since I broke up with “G”. Matter of fact, almost in the exact spot I was when I first realized that we were no longer an “us”.
Have you ever been in a relationship and one day you wake up and realize that what you think was perfect was actually flawed and nowhere near the vicinity of perfect?
“G” and I were together for well over two years and I must say, it was the most adult relationship I have had to date. It’s been long enough that I can look back and see it for what it was…perfect for me and just average for him.
Before you go and think we had epic battles and tears were shed and bodily fluids were shared with other partners, you would be wrong. In the weeks before the break-up, we went about our daily lives in a comfortable routine. A routine that I guess worked for me but left him wanting something else. I don’t believe there was another boy that took him away. I believed he came to the same conclusion I did on that fateful day in Vegas, but he came to that much sooner than I.
I went to Vegas in March, last year, after a long stretch of long hours and missed days off. I had been texting him off and on all day, sharing with him my wins and my losses, when I started getting the sinking feeling that something was extremely wrong
Have you had the moment via text, when you can feel the mood shift? That’s what I felt from him that day. I could almost feel he was just replying back to me because we were together and not because he really was enjoying talking to me.
We always had the most fun together, we enjoyed each other and spent most of our time laughing and joking and referencing all the inside jokes we had developed. Our texts were playful and flirty and were seldom one word replies. But that day, the replies were coming slower and slower and the words became fewer and fewer. I remember vividly sitting there at the slot machine, staring at the screen and then down to my phone, and the sudden clarity moment when I knew we were over. Matter of fact, six days later, we would be over and my life would be forever changed.
I’ll be honest, mainly because he will never read this and partly because I have always been honest in these blog posts, I was lucky to have him in my life for as long as I did. “G” is a great guy and though I believe I am over him, I still think about him often and wonder how he’s doing.
I am currently, as I type this, sitting at the Luxor Casino in a bar called Aura trying to get my head around the events that happened just a few minutes ago. I’m exhausted, and not in I need to pass out for twelve hours kind of way, but more like a contented exhaustion.
I awoke this morning and decided I needed to clear my head and work out the memories that have been haunting me for a year. While it had been a year since “G” and I broke up, I had yet to throw my ass into the dating world.
I might have been a bit too glib earlier when I acted like it was a mutual thing. It was the saddest break-up of my life. And that hurt, for a long time, and I was devastated. I couldn’t even as much look at another penis without a crippling feeling of loss.
Don’t get me wrong, I joined Jacked and Grindr but no one I met even came close to “G” nor did I really feel like getting someone else fluids anywhere near me. But that was then, and this is very much right now.
This morning I woke up and felt a horniness that I haven’t felt in a long time. So intense was this mental erection, I jumped on a plane and headed to my favorite vacation destination. And I did it right. I flew first class, I booked a two bedroom suite that came with a hot tub in front of the window so I could look out on the Vegas strip while soaking naked.
So here I was, freshly mended heart, looking out across the dessert in one of the greatest cities in the world and I needed human contact. It was so overwhelming, I knew it was an itch only a guy could feel. What was a boy to do? Damn right! I opened Grindr.
Twenty minutes later I’m sitting at the very bar I’m sitting now, chatting up this guy from Wisconsin. One drink after that, we were back in my room.
He was a bit younger than me, late thirties, tall and rail thin. His name was Adam. A fitting name I thought as I was about to be partaking of the forbidden fruit for the first time in a year.
I believe Adam was married and only played with men on his business outing. But he was horned up and for some reason, I was the reason.
He kissed like a straight man. So like a true reformed slut, I put a condom on his peen and sat down.
When I first met “G”, he was in a tragic relationship with a guy I really believe broke his heart. So much so, I don’t think there was ever a chance for us to work. He was coming off a relationship he thought was going to last forever, there was a ring and everything. Moving into my little world of craziness, he never really had the time to heal from that.
I’m not the most emotional guy in the world and with just a hint of clarity in my pretty bald head, we were probably doomed from the start. But fuck me did I try, more than I ever tried before. At least I know when I do meet the right guy, I will have no trouble diving head first and doubling down.
Adam had a great body, smooth and a perfect sized penis. You know the kind I mean, not so big that you can’t fit it in anywhere but not so small that makes you looked down and go “no thanks”.
Looking out over the Vegas strip, pressed up against the window, I realized that was something I had been missing for a long time. As I gazed out at the twinkling lights of Mandalay Bay, I actually let out a sigh.
I won’t describe the sex I had with “G”, that is for me and I won’t cheapen the memory by sharing it with you. But he was little, and I’m not talking about his down there parts, that was as close to perfect as you could get, but it had been a while since I was with someone that could really manhandle me around. I was so horned up and ready for Adam to stop kissing me, I didn’t even use lube, I just pushed back and took the pain. One, two, three, maybe five thrusts and he collapses against my back, shaking. As we kind of stood there, his weird breath on my back, silent for a moment before I said, “That was disappointing.”
Think about it, it had been over a year since I had any action and fifteen seconds into it, right when it just started to feel amazing, he finishes with a grunt.
I’m not sure what he was expecting nor the look that must have crossed his face when I said that. All I know is I felt him tense up, and he pushed off me and started walking over to his clothes. The condom dropped to the floor and without a word, he got dressed and left the room.
I was still standing by the window, still excited and wondering what the fuck just happened and what the fuck was I going to do now.
I could have taken it in hand as it were, but now I was like a man possessed. When you’ve gone a year without sex, fifteen seconds is nowhere near long enough to come close to satisfying me. No hand job in a poorly lit movie theatre, no wink wink nudge nudge, not even boom goes the dynamite. I needed dick, and for longer than fifteen seconds.
I stood there kind of confused, all my blood still pooling far away from my bald head, when I heard that magic sound every Grindr user recognizes.
I opened the APP, and the first thing I see is a bare stomach, two brown nipples winking at me, no face but that wasn’t what sent my stomach doing back flips.
“G” was probably the first guy I ever took without a condom. And I can remember that first time we did it, like we were connected in ways that all homophobes will never understand. I don’t want to get too graphic, but fuck me, it’s an amazing feeling.
Remember, it has been a year since I bottomed for anyone. An entire year, needless to say, it was a really tight fit. So maybe I can’t blame Adam for shooting so quick…maybe!
So I open Grindr, and under ethnicity, I see Native American, Navaho to be precise. He was hot, 6 foot tall, runner build, amazing smile and let’s not even mention the glasses, because fuck I do like my men in glasses.
What was a guy to do? I had never been with a Native American, the excitement was there, and that need to be fulfilled was still there, pounding in my brain. I told him my room number and promptly jumped into the shower to wash off Adam’s stink. After all it has been only ten minutes since Adam was all up in my business.
I really hoped that Sonni, yes his name is Sonni, couldn’t tell that I just had someone else ten minutes earlier, but I really didn’t care. I was definitely seeing red at this point.
Sonni was completely opposite of Adam. He was shy, so much so I also wondered how much experience he had with guys. That fear was quickly put to rest at the expert way he handled certain parts of my anatomy. But I am getting ahead of myself.
While Sonni and I were chatting by the window, he wasn’t sure if he really wanted to have sex, he was a bit more interested in oral pleasure at first. But luckily for me, he took one look at my willingness and threw those plans out of the window.
We made out for a while, doing a little bit of this and some dirty that, and I get another condom and in no time I am ready to go. He was bigger than Adam, one of the biggest I have been with on that end of things. But I was up for the challenge and slowly sat down.
One, two, three, eight and wammo, his toes curl and he lets out a whimper and I’m back right where I started. Horned up and still not properly topped.
The first time “G” topped me, the same thing happened. It was over long before it really began and after these two guys tonight, I am starting to believe I just might have a magic ass. Which might be quite difficult to accomplish at forty-one years old?
But I am sitting here in this bar, a bit sore back there, but content that I was still attractive enough that two different guys in a matter of an hour, shot off because of the sensations I caused them. And for those of you that say that isn’t me as much as it has to do with them, don’t rain on my parade. I needed a confidence booster.
The real difference between Adam and Sonni, Sonni isn’t leaving until Friday, that’s three days away. Who knows, maybe I can get him in my bed again for round one and half.
I think I would take “G” back if he would offer. I still love him. But I also know that we grew apart in ways that neither of us can recover the distance. And just because my track record is being the king of looking back and diving headfirst into past boyfriends and all that tangled shit over and over again doesn’t mean I have to wash rinse and repeat. I miss “G” in certain moments, the fun we had, the times we shared, and all the moments that we created as an “us”.
But then, for the first time in years, I was with two different guys in a matter of an hour. And yes I understand what that might make me, but after a year I think I deserved a bit of safe fun. Me and my magic ass deserve it. I’ve been in town seven hours and I already used up all my towels. What will the maid think of me when she cleans my room tomorrow?
As usual, I’ve rambled on for too long to disclose the remainder of my Bottom(less) Tales in Vegas or the time when Sonni came to San Francisco and we spent nine amazing hours in bed for his birthday. But those tales are for another time and some other when.
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I think I’ve been turning into a recluse. But, I haven’t lost my optimism…yet.
A lot has been happening, but where to begin? I guess from the beginning. This will be long.
When the economy started to go down in 2008, my business (I'm a structural engineer to help keep their buildings from crashing down) started to slow. My clients were architects and builders. Their businesses went down and consequently, so did mine. I eventually pulled out of the business and went on Social Security, because I could make more than my business was bringing in. We muddled on for a while, and then two of our foster kids were pulled from us because the agency had found adoptive families for them. Now David had to go to work. Because of the turn down in the income, I missed a rent payment in June of 2013. I was able to make the next few rent payments, but couldn’t pay the June rent. Well, in October of that year, we were evicted. I was pretty much in financial ruin.
As my father was quite ill in the hospital, my brother offered to use his truck flatbed trailer and move us to Minnesota. We would be staying in my father’s house with no rent. So on October 30th we arrived in Thief River Falls, Minnesota and moved into my dad’s house. That gave me the opportunity see him in the hospital. The house is about 125 years old with riverfront property, large for this area, and not very well kept up. It needed a lot of mostly minor repairs that had been neglected over the last couple of years. We had given away all of our furniture as move space was limited, but kept linens, clothes and kitchen stuff.
My dad passed away from cancer a month later in November of 2013. He left the house to my brother, also a David (my partner), and I. My brother has a home in town, so I remain living in the house that my dad left us, and he remained in his.
David got a job with Digikey in February of 2014. It’s one of the largest electronic parts distributers in the country and employs a little over 1/3 of the city’s population of 8,500. I tried to get a job, but when they read my resume, I’m too qualified for anything that they could offer, so I stayed retired and continued to raise our remaining foster boy, Rio Northern.
That didn’t go well. New Mexico put in a request that we be able to transport him to Minnesota. The approval came just 2 hours before we were to leave. Starting off on the right foot, huh? Rio was still under guardianship of the state of New Mexico. New Mexico has different policies than Pennington County. (The state runs the foster system in New Mexico while in Minnesota the counties run their social services.) New Mexico has a requirement that they must have a home visit by their case worker once a month, while Pennington County does not. New Mexico had requested that Pennington County Social Services provide that. That’s where the fireworks started. Pennington County did not have guardianship over Rio and did not want him here as they had no control over him. He was a burden to them.
David and I had started the adoption process for Rio in the spring of 2013, but it was not complete when we left. New Mexico requested that Pennington County perform the final home study, which they did and approved the adoption in early March of 2015.
Now, Rio does not have the best ability to make good choices and got into trouble with the law. He got a BB gun that first Christmas here. I figured that since he was going to be living in an area where everyone hunts and has a lot of guns and would be with my relative’s kids, he should get some firearm training from me. A new friend and Rio took the BB gun and went out the day after Christmas. The other kid took the gun and was shooting out car headlights and windows in a church. The police were able to follow their footprints in the snow and showed up at our house that afternoon. Since Rio was with him and considered an accomplice, he had to go to juvenile court. Rio had not fired the BB gun.
This is a small town, and some of the police here are bullies. As Rio had been involved with the police, he now had a reputation with them as being quite the delinquent. And it got worse. Rio had been taking a med to help with his ADHD and PTSD. Shortly after that Christmas (February 2014, I think), the doctor changed his med to vivance. Shortly after the med change, Rio came home from a friends. He seemed to be depressed, and we questioned him but could find nothing that had made him depressed. I guess that he just didn’t want to talk about it. Fifteen minutes later I found his prescription bottle in the bathroom sink – empty! I immediately called 911 and an ambulance was dispatched along with the police. Rio had tried to commit suicide. He was put on a suicide watch at the hospital and given the standard blood tests. They found amphetamines in his system. Now Rio was not just a delinquent in the eyes of the police and the courts, but a meth-head as well. It’s really unfortunate how people don’t follow through and jump to conclusions. You see, vinance IS an amphetamine. He took his own prescribed medication not something from off the street. The police never understood or realized that.
When we went to court in March 2015, Rio’s public defender and I were shocked when the county prosecuting attorney dropped all charges. Of course, we were elated, but couldn’t figure out why. We found out the next morning why. Pennington County had recanted their adoption approval. Two things were in play here. The first Is that our foster license had expired, but since we were in the adoption process, we were approved with an adoptive license to have a foster boy in our home. But now we didn’t have either a foster or adoptive license. Second is that there Is a federal agency that governs rules between states for foster kids that live out of the state that has their guardianship. Pennington County Social Services contacted them, telling them of the unlicensed home that Rio was in. New Mexico contacted us and said that they had three days to pick up Rio and return him to New Mexico. Needless to say, we were quite upset that Rio was being jerked from our home. I drove Rio back to Las Cruces that weekend. It was quite obvious to me, David and Rio’s attorney that we were set up! Pennington County Social Services couldn’t get Rio out if he were awaiting judgement from the judicial system. They obviously contacted the County Prosecutor’s office, and they worked it out.
When Rio was back in New Mexico, he was scheduled to have his annual court hearing in a couple of weeks. The judge just wants to make sure that the agency is following through with their plans for getting these kids adopted at that hearing. I couldn’t afford staying in a motel for an extra two weeks, so I drove back to Minnesota to wait. Two weeks later, I drove back to New Mexico and contacted Rio’s attorney (New Mexico provides an attorney to protect the rights of kids under care by Social Services). She submitted a motion before Rio’s hearing that requested David and I be given permanent guardianship over Rio. New Mexico Social Services had to approve that motion before it could be so ordered. They could not approve the motion because of an agency policy to never let a minor out from under their control unless he or she was adopted, or aged out. I heard from the agency’s attorney that she thought that our home was the best place for Rio, but her hands were tied.
Rio’s attorney and I had many breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings along with a few in her office to figure out what to do. She had an idea. She provided two motions to the court. The first one was to have Rio removed from control by the agency and placed under control of the court. This removed Rio from being under the policies of the agency. The second was to have Rio removed from control by the court and placed under permanent legal guardianship of David and I. The judge signed both orders the next morning, and Rio was now ours! I drove back to Minnesota the following day with my son!
Pennington County was not pleased that we went around them. And, Rio was now under the scrutiny of the county sheriff’s and city police departments. In a way, we feel that even David and I are being watched. Police cars seem to be cruising our street a lot. The neighborhood has gone south since I remember it back in the day (I was born here). There was a drug bust in a house across the street a few months after we arrived.
On a brighter note, David and I were married last year shortly after Rio and I returned to Minnesota. Minnesota already had already legalized gay marriage.
It seems that living in Minnesota has been one crisis after another. I don’t like this town. It has totally changed since I was here years ago. Digikey has to hire a lot of people, and there are a lot of new arrivals with their delinquent kids because of that. We have to keep the house continually locked because of a lot of robberies that happen in this neighborhood.
Rio turned 18 on September 13th last year. Oddly enough, his birthday is the day before mine, so we celebrate together. He was now out of our guardianship and technically on his own. He wants what all kids want, and that is to be on his own. So, Rio moved to Morehead, Minnesota last month. Fargo is just across the Red River of the North from Morehead. He had an opportunity to room with a friend of ours. She’s about 30 years old and could give him the guidance that he needed. The apartment building is just across the street from the State University of Minnesota Morehead. He enrolled in GED classes and now fully intends to attend the university to get a degree in graphic and video arts. He never had any ambition to go to college before this. I can’t tell you how much I’m impressed and pleased that he wants to finally make something of himself. The friends that he’s meeting there are nothing like the delinquents that he’s met here. They have goals. His roommate goes to the college. His roommate’s mother is a teacher. Perfect for developing motivation in him.
Well, it didn’t go so well. David and I didn’t realize the mental aberrations that Rio’s roommate was living under. She started accusing Rio of things that he was not a part of, and she eventually moved out. Unfortunately, they were under lease, and Rio could not afford all of the expenses himself. Thankfully, the landlord is on Rio’s side and is trying to find a roommate for him. Unfortunately, David and I must pick up his new found expenses. We don’t want him to move back to Thief River Falls for two reasons. First is the proliferation of delinquent friends that seem to come around here and the attitude that he needs to be watched by the police. Second is that we want him in the school environment that’s afforded him where he is. He wants to stay because of the school and his future. We’re off to find him furniture tomorrow. We’re working on trying to keep him there, trying to help him find a roommate. The landlord offered to move him to a single bedroom apartment, but Rio can’t afford the rent all by himself. We’re still working on it. I'll be visiting Clay County (where Morehead is located) tomorrow.
As for David and I, we want out of this place. I’ve mostly lived in larger cities and so has David. Maybe it has a lot to do with the anonymity of self and culture that large cities offer compared to small towns. My brother and I have worked out an arrangement. We had originally thought of buying a large 5th wheel trailer and truck to tour the country. We wanted to find a place to relocate to and wanted to find out where we might want to live first. That would work for us. This house has a sales value (given the repairs and upgrades that need to be made) of around $ 85,000. That means that what I own is around $ 42,500. He offered to buy me out (which I want) by giving me his 5th wheel trailer and truck and some cash as my portion. So hopefully, David and I will be out of here on Nov 1st this year on our way to investigate and enjoy the country.
I've started writing again with the time I have now that Rio is in his own apartment. We still have to go get him in Morehead for his court appearances. It's a novel and will take some time to finish, but I think you'll like it.
I've never lost my optimism. :)
A report from Zuccotti Park, November 14th 2011
Written December 25th, 2011 at 06:18 AM by larkin
A report from Zuccotti Park, November 14th 2011
(This is my piece, not, cut and paste from other sources)
I have a bias so don't expect impartial reporting from me. I am sympathetic to the core issues of Occupation Wall Street. If I was homeless, I might be camped there with them.
I traveled 300 miles for a number of reasons, one of which was to go to Zuccotti Park and visit the with the protesters. What makes Occupation Wall Street different from the others is that they are camped in the very center of the world and the contrast is formidable. Upon approaching the park the sky view is dominated by the lofty new world trade center building now almost complete. The campable part of the park is barely 60' x 250' and every square foot is occupied with tents. The overall appearance is grimy like many other parts of New York. The buildings surrounding the park aren't just buildings, they are shining monuments that tower over what I fear is a doomed encampment.
On their own and sometimes with the help of the police, the indigent, the homeless and mentally ill came from other parts of the city. It was hoped by their adversaries that the presence of undesirables and potential trouble makers would discredit the motives of the movement.
Instead of rejecting or ejecting these people, they fed them, scrounged up clothing and tried to organize social service for them. The philosophy was that these people are also part of the 99%. It was a true test of principles.
Surrounding the entire park was a continuous stream of well dressed tourists taking pictures and donating a dollar here and there. I talked with one camper who could only be characterized as an romantic and impractical idealist. I asked him why he didn't make the walk to Washington. He said he didn't have a sleeping bag and he had to stay close to friends in Brooklyn. There were older people, Native American contingencies, There were disaffected democrats, libertarians and yes, socialist and anarchists.
The button and poster sellers showed up in numbers. This is a capitalist country, after all.
I was excited and fearful at the same time. The police lined the corners of the park acting as quiet and somewhat resentful custodians of something they really didn't want to be bothered with. The New York City police force is probably the most racially diverse police force in the country. They consist of men, women, black, Spanish, Asian, tall and short. They too have family members that have lost their houses or are unemployed. Like the service men that have joined the ranks of the protestors the police are not without sympathies for what is going on. However they are employed by the city and the people that conduct the affairs around Zuccotti park.
There is a core group of activists that headed out towards Washington on foot. Their intention is to join up with Occupation Washington and forge solidarity. The walk is expected to take 2 weeks and they plan to accumulate supporters all along the way.
I left the park with an ominous feeling about the future of the encampment and for all those involved. I knew it could go on this way. My guess was that rout was going to happen very soon and certainly while the activists were away on their march to Washington D.C. Activists specialize in confrontation and the police really don't need them.
I got home on Monday evening. At 4 am this morning I checked Youtube and saw that the camp had been razed at 1 am this morning.
The encampment at Zuccotti park maybe gone but it will become the Genesis for a much larger movement. These people didn't come out of nowhere and they challenged and took on the most powerful forces on the planet. They did it with no money. All across the country cities and the police forces will begin to tear down and raze these encampments but it will only make matters worse. The problem is a government unresponsive to the voters. It is a government that supports forces that are dismantling this once great country of ours. Until they begin to deal with these issues things are only going to escalate.
To quote Chris Hedges, "We have nothing left but the street.."
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It's fast becoming a need of mammoth proportions to stand against religions as antiquated belief systems with no redeeming features.
Moreover, religious belief is an immature explanation for what science now reveals as fact without superstition, morality without coercion, and love without the need to appeal to, or appease a god.
How many lives will the religious sacrifice on the altar of their ignorance?
How many beating hearts will the priests of burden rip from the bodies of the innocent?
And how many times must we witness insanity destroying reason, intelligence, and truth, before we understand that nurturing the love within ourselves is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the mystery of life?
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Lives in Periphery
A new serial novel by EleCivil
Manufacturing plants opened up on the outskirts – little metal pockmarks against the amber waves of grain. They didn’t last. Now, there were abandoned factories and junk heaps just sitting around. Chunks of broken machines rusted into the gravel lots in front of condemned buildings. He had always been drawn to them; the abandoned machines and the ruins of a failed empire. This one was fairly close to school, and it had become his afternoon hideout. No one else knew this – they’d probably think he was weird – but the way he saw it, some people are called to the trees, some people are called to the water, and he was called to the rust. Given his childhood on the outskirts, rust seemed as natural and comforting as a cool breeze.
“Consider it reparations for your history of repeated malfeasance. I know from your records that you’re smart enough. That’s why I’m using words like ‘malfeasance’. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that. I usually have to say things like ‘Hey, jerk - stop punching.’ This is refreshing.”
He wasn't going to fall for this. This kind of tactic may work on middle schoolers, or hotheads, or the weak-nerved, but he was made of stronger stuff than that. This was such a transparent trick to make him implicate himself. Say nothing, and let the criminal go mad with guilt until he's ready to throw himself to the floor, pull up the boards and it's the beating of his hideous heart! But that wouldn't work on him. He wasn't a criminal.
"Hell, if you’re going to play outlaw, you might as well go all out."
Beginning Fall 2013
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My avatar pic was an assignment that required us to modify propaganda while still maintining the message current. I based mine off a satire of Sheppard Fairey's (sp?) HOPE image... for which he was apparently sued. I've always felt a strong connection to the trans community-- not because I am trans (I'm not trans nor do I feel a need to change my gender), but because of something else that is hard to explain. I guess I've always admired the fight and spirit behind every transgendered person, their generosity and their outlook on life. The actual work was a bit of a fiasco, both technically and concept-wise. I still enjoy looking at it every now and then though. I'll post it when I find it ^_^.
The experience of unveiling this for critique was a little unsettling. I didn't expect people to have much of an opinion on the subject, since nobody in class was transgendered or queer as far as I knew. And I had no idea if the propaganda and my own beliefs would be confused as the same. Anyway there it is. Technically mediocre, but fun to make nonetheless. I can't remember the exact dimension. Something like... 18x12in? Hmmm.
I've been thinking a lot about writing. Today I came across two bits of 'advice' that I found yonks ago and put in a box. Where I originally found them I have no idea. However, as they are worth pondering I thought I'd post them. Here's the first:
Eight basic necessities to create a story - probably, methinks, sword and sorcery. Though they do adapt.
1) one Hero
2) one Villain
3) one object they both desire
4) one journey
5) a couple of sidekicks (generally not more than 3)
6) one wisened mentor (maybe a sidekick)
7) one valuable (magical?) item that keeps getting mislaid
8) one prophesy (or two that contradict)
The second is a graphic that, sadly, I can't attribute. My bad.
I hope this helps!
So, after a hard drive crash on Wednesday, I was in the PDX Apple Store to get another drive installed in my MacBook. The genius at the Genius Bar took the little gem to the surgical suite and began the surgery. I waited close to the Bar near a wall. I put my laptop bag on the floor at my feet and looked at some accessories on the wall. Within three minutes, a very delightful and very gay (at least according to my bidar) young man in a blue Apple Store shirt walked over, smiling, and asked if I needed anything. I said, "No thank you, I'm just waiting for a drive installation." Nice customer service I thought.
Over the next seven minutes four more very nice young men, all of whom I assessed as gay, walked over one at a time to and to ask if they could help me. I'm trying to figure out why I warrant this attention from this group of guys. I mean I think I give off the vibe of a straight ex-cop. Then I remember that on my computer bag handle I've placed a luggage tag from HRC with the blue and yellow equal sign. I put it there mostly to piss off any homophobic cops and firefighters I see in the course of training them.
Oh well. These solicitous young men were only interested in caring for what they thought was an elderly queen. I'm surprised that one of them didn't ask what I was doing during the riot. At least, that's the explanation I invented.
It's been over a month now since my grandmother died. This past weekend was the 11th anniversary of my dad's death. I had a really close relationship with my family. That's no matter what I say about being gay, my feelings about that.
The past few weeks, after doing a lot of immediately necessary things, I then sort of retreated into my shell. I know I can't really do that. My house is a mess. And by mess I mean something beyond pigsty. Pigs would be offended. My grandmother's house is still to get taken care of. It is neat and tidy, though. There's much to do.
I've been alternately worried at not doing more, relieved that I can and should rest some, and wondering what's up with me, even though, yes, I've been through this before twice. One with my mom. Again with my dad, worse that time. I am doing better this go-round, and I have some idea what all this is. I'm alternating between, "I don't much care," and "I've got to do all this right now this instant," and a slightly guilty one, "I'm finally free, truly free, for the first time since my dad passed away." Well, and there's also, "how do I reintegrate into normal life?"
The last few weeks, I've begun getting story ideas, bits and pieces, left and right. Other things have been scattered too. Normal habits are out of sync. My sleep/wake cycle, which has for years now been on emergency duty, day and night, is trying somehow to readjust, but it's completely out of sync. That's complicated by the fact that I've been a night owl most of my life, and more so from early college on. Memory-wise, I'll be fine and then I'll realize I've forgotten some little thing or some not so little thing. Add in very bad eyesight, and whew, it gets...interesting...in the sense of the old Chinese curse about, "May you live in interesting times."
But that's mostly OK. I know what it is, I've been through it before, and this seems mild by comparison. Partly because, well, I've done a lot of grieving already, before she passed. Yet today, for the first time since then, I found this urge this evening at suppertime to call her on the phone, then remembered I can't. (Well, I could, but that's one heckuva long distance call, lemme tell ya.) -- You do have to learn to laugh, too, at the absurdity of some things.
So I had been wondering just what's up with me, and tonight, while reading determinedly through a story at AwesomeDude, like I read a couple at Codey's World three days ago, and while I've been listening to AwesomeDude Radio (I swear, Dude and Des and Tim and Azy and Colin aren't paying me to say that) well, it dawned on me what I'm really doing.
I'm cramming in as much relaxation and playtime and me time as I can, in ways that most appeal to me. I'm somehow, I think, trying to make up for lost time.
Now, you may wonder a couple of things at this point. One is, Ben, are you OK? -- Yes, I am OK, or as OK as you can be in this situation. I kind of know how this plays out before you get to the other side of it, and this time around, I should know how to short circuit it and get on with things quicker.
But I feel in some ways like a ghost or like Rip Van Winkle, suddenly waking and finding everything has changed completely, some alternate reality, some Twilight Zone episode, where it's all changed and it's a strange world now. Or like an invisible ghost that now sees things but isn't perceived and doesn't have connections to the real world. Well, except of course that's not quite true. But it is true that my circle of friends in the real world has shrunk to a truly tiny radius. My online life likewise means a whole lot to me, and is still a lifeline for socializing, for friendships, for being an equal partner in this odd primate species.
That, incidentally, leads into the other question you may be wondering. Maybe you noticed, I didn't say anything about going out much and partying, or visiting friends, or a boyfriend, or...satisfying certain physical urges common to male (and female) primates. The answer to that one is pretty simple: I'm not quite ready yet. I'm actually going to appreciate (mostly) the chance to keep to myself some for Christmas and New Year's. Later on, I'll venture out and attempt to rejoin all those crazy monkey-boys and monkey-girls. And well, I've been a loner for a long time. So those urges mostly get taken care of solo, as much as solo can satisfy those, which is to say, it only partly does it. -- But hey, that will now get a chance to get worked on too, and that will be a very new thing for me.
That particular aspect is something about being gay that people often miss. I think to some extent, a lot of gay folks are delayed in the dating and relationships department, because if you don't get to go out and practice as easily and often as someone straight, then you're going to have some catch-up homework to do to get up with the rest of the class. For some of us, that's very light. For others, we may have parts of ourselves stuck back in the teens or earlier or later, and so there's a lot to catch up with. Others don't have quite that issue, because for some reasons, they don't have that kind of lag in time or people.
Well, anyway, right now, I'm about to finish up and head to bed for an indeterminate while to sleep, before my body wakes itself again to do something around here, or to get on the computer and write or surf. I may be up a while still, or I may go to bed, sleep for between two to six hours, and wake again.
I'll have necessary errands (whatever else I get for making Christmas dinner, plus a haircut, plus whatever) on Thursday and back here. It's possible some out of town family might stop by over the holiday, either Christmas or New Year's, but since another relative is sick, they may not get to visit. (I'm OK with that either way.)
In other words, I'm just complaining here how out of sync I feel and how odd it is, reintegrating into a world that is very different than what I've become used to.
Soon enough, I should be up to things again, enough, for instance, to see if two people and a cup of coffee (or some such) can connect as friends after a consolation hug that was, hmm, really, really nice.
Yes, in some ways, I feel like Rip Van Winkle or a ghost invisible in the world. But sometimes, that anonymity is a blessing, a buffer, a safety net, for a while.
We'll see how things go. -- Some creativity is happening too, so it's better than you'd think.
Yup, bedtime, finally. Might be lucky and dream about a nice cute guy. (This has happened a couple of times lately, enough just to reassure me I don't have something off kilter in there, despite whatever my conscious mind may think.)
Zzzz, g'night, awake again sooner than you'd think.
Working on my latest story brought back all these memories from when I was a kid and got me thinking. What does it means to be a man? the following is my attempt to answer that question.
A man does not turn his back on his friends or break his word. He finishes what he starts. A man does not run when things get difficult. He stands and faces what lies in his path, steadfast in the knowledge that no matter what, he gave it his all. He does not let pride stop him from asking for help when he needs it. He sees a problem and fixes it. He knows when to lead and when to follow. He knows respect must be earned before it can be given. He admits when he is wrong and does not gloat when he is right. He humbles himself before his god, country and family and defends them until his last breath. He analyzes his weaknesses, improving them where he can, and accepts where he cannot. A man knows that true strength isn’t measured by muscles, but comes from within. He knows when to be strict and when to be lenient. He does not confess with his mouth, what his heart knows to be untrue. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. But most importantly a man speaks up when the situation calls for it and remains silent when it does not.
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It's a been a while - three years! - since I last logged in, and I haven't written much since then too. The biggest reason was that back then my computer crashed. I never thought it would which was why I never had any backups. The whole time, I was like "what about this story" and "what about that story". But I'm past the crushed phase now. So. Moral is, save backups of your works.
I found the drive to start writing again, even though I'm busier this time around. I have always wanted to write anyway. It's just that some circumstances inspire you and some don't. Of course, every now and then, a poem finds its way out. Stories, though, are a different, er, story, since most of them need planning and plenty of thought.
The readers helped too. I still get emails from time to time about stories I had written a long time ago, and it's unbelievable how warm it made me feel just knowing my stories are still being read. Made me feel immortal.
Unfortunately, In a World of Fools, the story I was writing back when I "disappeared" without explanation, would have to stay shelved for a while. I would still continue writing it, but probably after I finish writing the thing I'm working on right now. (This is assuming a future reader would find this blog, as I do get asked about it in some emails.)
Anyway, levelheadedness is a good place to be in.
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Well, the hubbie was out of town for the day, but it's been good overall. Tyler had practice and we showed up a good 30 minutes early. One of his teammates showed up early as well as so we played 3-way catch until the rest of the team finally showed up for practice. I also took the niece out to the park since she's finally starting to behave again. We all had a good day.
Our old neighborhood's little league started a few weeks earlier so today was their opening day. Instead of practice, two of Tyler's friends had games today. After their games, they decided to ask and see if they can come over. Tyler and his friend Adam decided to not bother changing, so they're still in their uniforms and lounging around while we watch DayBreakers. Yes, watching a vampire movie.
For those that have read a specific story I wrote - no vampire Jarred jokes. They're scared enough at the moment as it is...
Oh, and I tried to make Tyler and Adam sit on the other side of the room since they are a little ripe, but they refused after the first gory scene. *sigh*
A little something that I'm doing for fun:
I have created a wordpress blog and am featuring various classic rock groups and their music.
There's a treasure of videos on Youtube. I've just saved you the trouble of sorting through all of the rubbish.
Have a look. There's some great stuff there.
I might even write the story of why I don't listen to Emerson, Lake & Palmer anymore. (It has a lot to do with a gymnast from New Orleans named Mark.)
Wow! Didn?t realize it had been so long since I had posted here?. Well? when you read below, you will see that I?ve been rather busy.
After my diagnosis, well, I had to face a few realities. The biggest one was, I was a gay man with AIDS. That is simply not conducive with the fa?ade I had been living for more than twenty years, and yes, in the end it was more than my wife could handle. We had a lot to sort out, I moved into the guest bedroom, and well, yea, we were finally divorced several months ago, and I?m living on my boat. But, it was a VERY friendly divorce, and we are still very close friends, but we both knew we had to move on. I like to tell the folks that I?m ?out? to (which is most anyone who wants to know) that it most closely resembles a ?Will and Grace? type relationship if one has to define it, but we did share most of our lives together, so it?s really the only thing that makes sense. She has moved on and is seeing a nice man, and ummm so am I. More about that later. My boss at work was very cool and understanding about all my ?issues? as were some of my co-workers I chose to share with, so no real work problems.
I decided all this had to have a purpose. I met a wonderful person here in Mississippi that was trying to start up a HIV/AIDS peer support group and AIDS service organization. I agreed to serve on his board with several other wonderful people and have become a bit of an AIDS activist. There are SO many things Mississippi DOES NOT have for HIV survivors that other places take for granted, the list is too long for me to start that here. So far, our group has been quite successful. More about that in a bit as well.
I have also kept up with my writing. After I finished Sky?s the Limit, Book II, (hosted here at AD) I wanted to do something different. Well, a wonderful fellow author whom I originally met at AD and formerly had some of his stories posted here, Adam Donaldson Powell, asked me to co-write a book with him. Adam and I had struck up a beautiful online friendship, and I had read and enjoyed all of his work so it seemed like a good a fit. The project would be more or less a sequel to his earlier PUBLISHED book, ?2014, Life and Adventures of an Incarnated Angel? which was a sort of science fiction/fantasy genre work. I was immediately intrigued.
So, now it?s done, AND PUBLISHED. Yes, I am now a published author.
The name of the book is ?Tunnel at the End of Time? and is available for purchase at www.cyberwit.net. It should be available at Amazon.com soon. Adam?s earlier book, ?2014? is also available at Cyberwit or Amazon. There?s lots more info on the book at Adam?s web site, www.adamdonaldsonpowell.com , along with some excerpts.
Now, back to where I left off above. In the course of organizing a peer support group for the Jackson area, I met a wonderful man named Sam who joined our group almost a year ago now, right after he himself was diagnosed. Sam and I became instant friends as we quickly discovered in conversations that we shared many things in common. In fact, WAY too many to list here, but a short list would be the same TV shows, movies, music, etc., but also both of us had been married and had a son apiece until we had to finally face our sexuality.
Sam and I dated for several weeks before he eventually moved in with me on the houseboat, and the two of us are also trying to restore an old house in North Mississippi where his grandmother had lived and is situated on family land. We call it ?the farm? as the adjacent land is inhabited by cattle that his dad raises. We pretty much stay on the boat during the week and work on the house on the weekends. Sam is a wonderful man, and both of us are very happy. I think THIS is what a relationship is REALLY supposed to be.
Our AIDS organization has really taken off. We co-hosted an AIDS town-hall discussion here in Jackson by the White House AIDS czar and his Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) which Prez. Obama has tasked with the responsibility of formulating the first U.S. national AIDS strategy/policy (about 25 years late, but better late than never). The meeting was one of only a dozen fact-finding meetings held in the U.S. last year. See www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap/events . We also sponsored a huge city-wide World AIDS Day event here in Jackson, with Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the former U.S. surgeon general under Prez Clinton as the keynote speaker, and the Mississippi Mass Choir, which has one numerous recording awards performed as well.
So, yeah, I?ve been sorta busy. A new life, a new partner, a new published book, and a new calling, and sometime in there have to find time for my 9 to 5er to keep the bills paid.
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