Welcome to my World

Where else can you get a really good look at a train wreck of emotional dysfunction
and not be right in the middle of the thing?


Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Wasted Day

It's been a helluva day in both my professional and my personal life.  It would be cathartic to write about both situations, but I feel it would be imprudent, even in a blog with readers you could count on one hand.  I've got to work to pay my way, and I've got to get along with my family.  I thought about using this as an excuse to drink and smoke again, but decided against it.  Before you think about congratulations, however, you should know that I only refrained because I simply didn't feel like getting sloppy drunk and smoking like a chimney, not because that was the sensible course of action.  As it was I got myself a calzone because that is what I felt like having to balm my soul.  I'm ignoring all of the things I should be doing to move my life in the right direction because I don't feel like doingor even thinking aboutthem.  Just as I am sinking deeper and deeper into debt because of a dollar here and a dollar there, so I am mortgaging my future one wasted day at a time.

God Hates Fags vs. Zombies Love Brains

The tiresomely predictable Westboro Baptist "church" staged yet another tiresomely predictable protest outside of a military base.  Happily, they were outnumbered 8-to-1 by zombies.  The organizers of the counter-protest said they went with a zombie theme because it is laughable and absurd like Westboro's alleged message.  Sadly all of the zombies starved as they could not find a brain cell among the Westboro crowd.

I love how these clowns can't leave the word "fag" out of their rhetoric (their website is godhatesfags.com after all), even when they talk to the media.  Just trying to sweeten the bitter pill of their hateful message with civil language is beyond them.  They are such an over-the-top caricature that some people accused them of being a deliberate foil for the pro-gay rights movement.  I may be pathetic, but at least I'm not pathetically laughable.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Idiot Boy

What the hell is wrong with me?!?  I'm forty-two years old, for God's sake, so why the fuck would I think drinking sixteen beers and smoking two packs of cigarettes on a Wednesday night would be a good idea?!?  I'm never going to make any progress with my obesity, my enormous debt or my alcoholism if I don't even try to resist!  After staying up until 3 a.m. to consume all of the aforementioned toxins, I managed to get to work only half an hour late.  But I was so fatigued from the night's abuses that around 12:30 p.m. I had a massive panic attack and thought I was having a heart attack.  Fortunately my boss was kind enough to let me go home.  (I was honest about the panic attack; it seemed pointless to lie.  I didn't mention the previous night's excesses, however.)  I finally crashed at about 2:30 p.m. and slept for five hours before getting up for a little while.  I played my computer game for a few hours before going back to bed at 11 p.m.

All I can do is take a "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" attitude and try to do better.

"Sort out your fucking life, mate!"
{Pete, Shaun of the Dead}

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hate Crimes Demonstrate the Hate

I am opposed to hate crime legislation.  I know that is not a particularly popular opinion in the eyes of my queer brethren, but I believe hate crime laws overreach the government's role in policing its citizens.  Behavior is an objective standard by which crimes can be determined and punished, but taking it upon ourselves to divine the motivations for those behaviors is woolly at best.  I believe hate crime laws are fundamentally flawed in their own right, but the inevitable "slippery slope" scenario is that hate crime might lead to a ban on hate speech or other forms of free expression.  Could thought crimes be far behind that?

Of course, I've met a lot of LGBT people believe that hate speech should be illegal.  I can certainly appreciate their sentiments, as could anyone who's been the victim of derogatory epithet.  However, I am passionately, vehemently opposed to any such ban, and I rue the fact that they are a common feature on college campuses across the nation.  Hate speech is extremely hurtful, but we simply can't arbitrarily start deciding who has free speech and who doesn't.  In a free society, bigots have the fundamental right to be bigots, and the ugliness of hate speech is one of the prices of freedom.  Purging the world of such rhetoric certainly seems noble, but it is a misguided—and ultimately dangerous—proposition.  In an afterword to Fahrenheit 451, author Ray Bradbury warned that the distopia of censorship presented in his book is just as likely to be the result of minorities overzealous to get rid of the offensive:

The point is obvious.  There is more than one way to burn a book.  And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.  Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian, Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist, Zionist / Seventh-day Adventist, Women's Lib / Republican, Mattachine / FourSquareGospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse.
{Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, "Coda"}

I bring this issue up because yesterday I read a story about an Omaha, NE woman attacked in her home.  A hate crime is being investigated because anti-gay slurs were spray painted on the walls and possibly even carved into this poor woman's chest.  Please do not get me wrong!  I want justice for this woman!  This is a heinous, heinous crime, and the people who perpetrated it should fry.  And I am definitely not denying that this woman was the victim of a hate crime (whether or not she is actually a lesbian), but I still don't think the state should be in the business of trying to get into a criminal's head.

On a personal note, I want to say that my heart goes out to this woman, and I wish her a speedy recovery from her physical and psychological injuries!

If you read further the story, you will see that Omaha recently passed a "fairness amendment, a proposal to ban discrimination in housing and employment based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity."  Unfortunately, anti-gay groups have attracted enough signatures to challenge the measure.  While I may be against hate crime laws, I am definitely for these legal protections for LGBT persons.  The senseless violence of this attack demonstrates the need for such protections.

Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

My parents gave me two inexpensive IKEA-type chairs for my new apartment.  I have manages to break not one, but both chairs.  How, you ask?  Merely by sitting on them.  That's right, the stress of supporting me was so great that both chairs said "fuck it" and gave up.  I broke the second chair last week.  When I landed on the floor, I happened to catch the eye of my older cat Bailey.  I could swear he was thinking, "Smooth move, fat ass!"  But then he's always been the snarky one.

Definitely Needs Something

My friend Jonathan is right...Plain yogurt is disgusting.  I cannot find a flavored Greek yogurt with less than 10 grams of sugar.  So yesterday I tried my first plain yogurt, but I could hardly choke it down.  I think all of the sugar balances the overly tart taste of the yogurt, and there was no way I was going to be able eat that every day.  I added some Stevia sweetener a co-worker had.  That made it palatable, but it was still not great.  So last night I bought some fresh cherries and made a fruit purée sweetened with half a cup of Splenda.  I'm leery of artificial sweeteners, but the amount I would actually be consuming daily is negligible.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Muppets Back Gay Marriage

The Jim Henson Company broke ties with Chick-Fil-A over their CEO's remarks against gay marriage.  They also donated their recent profits from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD.  I've always loved the Muppets, but now I have even more reason to cherish them.  I know gay marriage is a controversial topic, but I personally believe it's a straight forward issue of rights and equality.  So I'm always pleased by public support for it by individuals and companies.

I Don't Heart Huckabee

Mike Huckabee, politician turned pundit, has weighed in by suggesting a "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day" on August 1st, where the faithful can show their support with their money.  That is all well and good.  I don't have a high opinion of Chick-Fil-A or their supporters, but these people are free to express their opinions and to use their buying power to influence social issues.  That is the essence of free speech in a free society.

However, what infuriates me about these anti-gay proclamations by fundamentalist right wingers like Huckabee is not their opposition to gay rights or even their self-interested, ill-informed interpretation of Scripture.  What gets to me and the reason it's hard not to feel attacked is the (smug!) way they off-handedly say that my living the life I was born into automatically makes me a God-hating agent of evil dedicated to eradicating family, religion and human decency.  No matter how hard you try to dress it up, the rhetoric of using the Bible and religion to justify your anti-gay sentiments always boils down to "God hates fags!"  Just think about the implications of that for a moment, really consider what it means!  Its oppressive nature bears down upon you like a palpable weight, and I've borne that burden since I was a very young child when I didn't have the experience or perspective to counteract it.  The damage that it did to my development has been irrevocable and has haunted me to this day.

I should mention that I'm not surprised Huckabee is a conservative darling.  He gave up politics and any attempt to make this country a better place (at least from his prospective) for the selfish pursuit of money and the millions he could make as a talking head.  ("Paging Sarah Palin!")  Now that's capitalism and a certain set of conservative ideals in practice.  Personally, even if I agreed with anything he had to say, I still couldn't stand to listen to him.  He talks as if he were over-coached in elocution.  He sounds more like he's leading an elementary school assembly than intelligent debate.

Disheartened

I'm starting to despair about ever having an audience.  Maybe I'll never get published, and maybe I'll never have a readership for this blog.  (Yesterday's rejection slip certainly hasn't made me sanguine.)  Perhaps my blog is too ego-centric and too lacking in pop culture/queer commentary.  I was hoping that my struggles with my personal demons might prove an interesting read.  After all, people ate up James Frey's memoir, even if he played a little fast and loose with the facts.  But my hopes may have been born out of simple hubris.  As for the commentary, there are plenty of other sites out there who are doing a better job at putting their finger on the queer zeitgeist than I ever could.  (And with a lot more wit and cleverness, the bastards...)  I can only describe current events through my own peculiar (and rather distorted) personal lens.

Regardless of what—if anything—this blog has to offer, I don't know what else to do to promote myself.  I've registered with a few blog listing sites, and according to my blog dashboard, most of my traffic comes from Best Male Blogs, which is interesting since the majority of the blogs listed on that site seem to be porn.  I sent an e-mail to the author with the dreamy eyes over at the Good As You website.  I was trying to be breezy and casual, but I'm afraid I came off like a jerk.  So I sent a second e-mail apologizing for the tone of the first.  It would be great to ride the coattails of his success by being listed on his blogroll.  (I'm not going to lie about my motivations.)  But that seems extremely unlikely since he never even e-mailed me back.  I'm a little disappointed, but I can hardly be insulted that he has better uses of his time than responding to my attempt at using him.

Monday, July 23, 2012

In the Wake of Tragedy

I thought about writing about gun control in the wake of the horrific public shooting in Colorado, but I didn't want to look as if I were trying to politicize a national tragedy.  I would like to put in my two cents, however, after I read about the pushback Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame received when he tweeted in support of gun control.  If it is anything like the Yahoo! story comments, I'm sure he's received some tough criticism.  One guy on Yahoo! actually called him a “communist.”   Forget the fact that it’s grossly inaccurate…How passé can you get?

Another guy echoed my thoughts on the situation, though. What exactly is the point of military-styled weapons in the hands of non-military personnel?  You can’t argue personal protection or hunting. I’m not suggesting a complete ban on all firearms.   But I just don’t understand the mentality in believing that unfettered access to any kind of weapon is covered under the Second Amendment or is even a good idea.  I mean, what about bombs?   What exactly is the difference?  After all, their intended purpose is the wounding, maiming and killing of living creatures, just like guns.  Should bombs be cheap and easy to purchase so that we can have some jackass bombing a building every other week?  Just because you wouldn’t do such a thing doesn’t mean the plentiful crop of crazies out there wouldn’t make that scenario a reality.   And what about nuclear bombs?   After all, they’re also just another type of weapon, and the mantra of the pro-gun crowd is essentially “Weapons don’t kill people. People kill people.”   If we all could legally get our hands on a nuclear device, how long before there wasn’t a city standing in the world?   You may believe that comparing guns to nuclear weapons is absurd, but it proves my point that there should be limits in the access to tools of destruction.

I understand the pro-gun crowd's opposition to any kind of gun regulation.  It's the slippery slope argument.  They're afraid that regulating one kind of gun will eventually lead the way to complete ban on all guns.  I'd be willing to bet that most of them don't actually have any use for these assault weapons, and I know none of them support the outrage of public shootings.  So I would put it to them that supporting sensible regulation while keeping guns themselves legal would bring a lot more, not less, support to their underlying issue.

Time to Pay the Piper, Fat Boy!

Well, my years of self-abuse have finally caught up with me.  (And no, I don't mean masturbation, which is my only consistent form of aerobic activity.)  I went to the doctor this morning to discuss the results of my blood tests a few weeks ago, and the results were not good.  To be honest, I'm not as upset as I might have been because I was expecting a lot worse, so I was relieved there's still hope for me to turn things around.  ("I know worry works.  90% of what I worry about never comes true.)
The upshot is that my numbers are pre-diabetic, and my cholesterol, lipids, triglycerides, etc. are too high.  Here are some highlights of my bloodwork: 
  • "Bad" (LDL) Cholesterol 122 (Borderline 100-160)
  • sdLDL Cholesterol 45 (High Risk >40)
  • "Good" (HDL) Cholesterol 42 (Borderline 40-50)
  • Triglycerides 194 (Borderline 150-200)
  • Insulin 37 (High Risk >15)

I've got a recheck in six weeks to see how well I've improved.  I spent a long time with the nurse practitioner going over the changes I need to make in my diet.  I'm reasonably knowledgeable about nutrition, but I was working under some false assumptions:
  • When I was following my previous diet, I would eat a banana every day for breakfast.  I don't even particularly like bananas, but I did it because I thought they were good for me.  As it turns out, they along with grapes, pineapples and cranberries have a high glycemic index, which is not good for people with my blood sugar problems. 
  • I was also eating a couple of bowls of cereal each night, but it was the really healthy Kashi cereals.  However, I need to cut out all of those carbohydrates.
  • I was also eating healthy, fat-free Greek yogurt as an afternoon snack.  What I didn't realize is that the fruit-flavored ones have almost 20 grams of sugar in them.  So now I've moved to the plain yogurts, which still have about 7 grams of sugar.
It's not going to be easy to completely overhaul my habits, but I'm an extremely goal-oriented individual.  It will be interesting as to how dramatic a change in my numbers I can manage in six weeks.

Giving My Father Credit

In addition to the bad news about my health, I also received a rejection slip for the short story I submitted to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  It was polite, if terse, but they really must've hated it, considering how quickly they rejected it.

recently criticized my father for his alleged dismissive attitude towards my writing aspirations.  However, I called him today to tell him about my doctor's appointment this morning, and I mentioned that my story was rejected.  The first thing he said is "Why didn't you send me a copy of the story?"  I was touched that he was interested enough to tell me that he wanted to read what I had written.  The next thing he said was "Well, keep at it!"  So he was offering hearty support, which refutes my claim that he had failed to be supportive of my efforts to write.  I won't delete what I wrote before, but I feel honor bound to share this generous and nurturing aspect of his character.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Say "No!" To Separate But Equal

Obviously, I support same-sex marriage whole-heartedly.  But I get tired of the "separate, but equal" language that is used by some homosexuals and same-sex marriage supporters.  If you are in a relationship with a person of the same sex, then that person should only be referred to as your girlfriend/boyfriend.  If you marry a person of the same sex, then that person is your wife/husband/spouse.  You are not "life partners"!  After all, (most of you) aren't police officers or cowpokes (outside the bedroom).  I appreciate the fact that the term "life partner" and its iterations are most often used to show respect to same-sex partnerings, but I don't agree with tedious, politically-correct terminology.  Call a spade a spade.  There is no need to separate ourselves through language, and the real progress in recognition of our relationships will be measured when these artificial terms melt away.

A Chick-In-Shit Response

Speaking of same-sex unions, the president of Chick-Fil-A recently came out against same-sex marriage.  Dan Cathy is certainly entitled to his own opinion, of course.  We live in America, and I don't buy into the mentality that free speech is all right as long as you don't disagree with me.  But it never ceases to amaze me how these religious fundies presume to know the mind of God.  Presumption is a sin, after all.  When Jesus was tempted by Satan, one of the temptations was, "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." (Luke 4:9-13)  Satan was attempting to tempt Jesus into presumption.

Dan Cathy states, "I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."  If these people are so concerned about the traditional definition of marriage, then according to a historical and cross-cultural analysis, including what is in the Bible, they should be defining marriage as between one man and multiple women!  (Genesis 4:19, Genesis 25:1-6, Genesis 29:21-29, 2 Samuel 12:8, 1 Kings 11:3 and more...) 

The idea of marriage as being a union between one man and one woman is a recent, Western concept.  The idea of marriage being union being an equal partnership between a man and a woman is an even more recent, even more Western belief.  All those women screaming about the sanctity of marriage should be resigning themselves to complete subservience to their husbands.  If they believe they should have an equal say in the marriage, then they themselves are redefining "traditional marriage."  My point is, marriage as we know it today would be unrecognizable in Biblical times, so a continual evolution of the concept to include same-sex unions is not as radical as they would have you believe.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rationalizations Are Our Speciality!

"Be sure to pronounce 'speciality' with five syllables." — W&G
I'm overtired again, and for no good reason.  I just farted around on the computer until 3 a.m. last night because I didn't feel like going to bed.  I took my walk at lunch today, but bagged my plans to go to the gym.  I also bought a cheese calzone for dinner, which is a slap in the faces of my diet and my budget.  I rationalized it by telling myself that as long as I wasn't drinking... and that I deserved it after a rather taxing afternoon of employment.

One of my college roommates told me more than once that I would be a terrifying rich person because I always seek to instantly gratify every desire I have and because I obsessively pursue pleasure-seeking activities even when I should stop doing them.  For example, he couldn't believe that I was so undisciplined as to stay up until 4 a.m. playing video games (on his computer) on a school night and then sleep through my morning class.  I won't deny the fact that I never learned much self-discipline, and you don't need to know me long to have this quality of my character validated.  I think, however, that this pattern of behavior is perfectly in line with the addictive personality type.  One theory about addicts is that their default pleasure/pain setting is too low.  Therefore, anything (it really doesn't matter what it is) that stimulates the pleasure centers of their brain has a potential for abuse, like me and those video games.

10:30 p.m. Update:  I was showing all the signs of working myself into some kind of depressive frenzy, which rarely ends well.  So I decided to go out to the movies by myself.  (Screw you, budget!)  I went and saw the movie Ted, which was pretty freakin' hilarious in some parts, and Seth MacFarlane managed to go the entire hour and a half without making an AIDS joke.  Afterward, I got myself some ice cream.  (Fuck you, diet!)  But I'm hoping to take a shower now, clean myself up and get into bed for a decent night's sleep.

Shit My Dad Says

I had dinner with my parents last night, which was lovely.  But I mentioned how much writing I've done and how many magazines I've sent submissions to because I'm still torqued by it all.  You'd think that they'd know me well enough to realize that, getting it together to pursue the only thing I've ever found meaningful, is a majorly positive sign, but my father's contribution was only, "So how much does that pay?"  That could sum up his encouragement (or lack thereof) of my creative endeavors throughout my life.  He doesn't see the value in anything that doesn't have an immediate monetary return and has always sought to impress that upon me.  It's no coincidence that I often cannot sustain the passion to see through pursuing my dreams.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Snail Shower

This little video speaks for itself.  I never thought bathing a mollusk could be so adorable, but there you have it.  Almost makes me want to get one, although I don't think that would a good mix with two geriatric cats.  (Even though the snail could probably outsmart my two cats, I doubt it could outrun them.)


Personal Roundup

Good grief!  The past several days have not been exemplary, so I'll just leave them in the past.  Today is the start of a new week and a new opportunity for me to get back on track. 

The writing thing has been amazing, though.  In fact, the main reason behind letting myself get overly tired was staying up late and writing.  Not just posts on this blog, but revising poems and one of my short stories for submissions.  Much of the revision I was doing was extensive.  In some cases, the final poem looks very little like their original version.  And the other night I began writing a new poem for the first time in fifteen to twenty years.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Why?"

Don't ask me why.
There is no point to that question.

I hate you
As much as I hate everyone else
As much as I hate life itself.
I will never understand
What God has done to me.

I am too tired
To be a victim of my own despair any longer
Or to face my most ungracious future
Or to live with my unfulfilled past.
I am too tired
For mortal sleep.

Life is a question without an answer,
A problem without a solution,
And I cannot bear it.

If only
I could be undone.

Commentary

Another teenage angst poem, and generally unpublishable for the same reason.  It actually briefly started out as a suicide note, but the resulting creative process engaged me enough to pull me out of myself and my mood, which is why most of my poetry tends to be so dark and gloomy.  In a pique of faith and superstitious fear, I actually changed the two lines about God from their much harsher origins to their present state.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Google Backs Gay Rights

Google, one of the most forward-thinking, non-evil corporations out there, has announced a global campaign supporting LGBT rights designed to allow LGBT "employees to have the same inclusive experience outside of the office, as they do at work, and for LGBT communities to be safe and to be accepted wherever they are."  I think one of the most important aspects of this ambitious campaign is that they plan to "focus primarily on countries with homophobic laws and cultures."

I won't say that LGBT's in America, and particularly in Western Europe, are "spoiled" because it implies that the rights and equalities we do enjoy are an indulgence at the whim of the heterosexual majority, as opposed to our due under the principles of justice and fairness.  However, we should always be mindful that we enjoy a life freer from interference than many of our brethren worldwide.  The Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean are just some of the localities where our rights are essentially non-existent.

Violence against LGBT people is common place and often overlooked by local law enforcement, if not state-sponsored and endorsed.  We've been holding gay pride parades for decades, but only our Russian and Eastern European compatriots even attempt to do so.  And often they are denied permission or face too much local opposition to stage such an event.  I hope that Google can use its influence in these places where it conducts business to make some real changes in the lives of the LGBT population and in the societies at large.  I certainly applaud their effort in even attempting to do so.

Workplace Drama

I didn't witness this scene, but a co-worker told me that one of the attorneys in the office was berating another co-worker because he happened to hear her say that she supported President Obama.  Apparently he just started going off about how she shouldn't be voting for him and how could she support someone who supports same-sex marriage, etc.  What's offensive isn't his attack on gay rights.  He's free to believe whatever he wants to believe.  But as a professional attorney he should know that loudly broadcasting his political opinions and trying to browbeat a subordinate into voting his way is grossly inappropriate in the workplace.

And I have to give credit to my firm.  They have a written policy against exhibiting "hostility" towards anyone based on perceived differences, including sexual orientation.  That's not as common in the South as it is in other, more urbane parts of the country.  It makes me feel good that they support my right to simply do my job without being harassed for who I am.

As soon as I heard about this little dust up, I went and ordered my long overdue Obama 2012 bumper sticker.  In Los Angeles, there was a safer social space where I felt comfortable discussing my sexuality if it came up in conversation.  (I didn't go out of my way to wear it like a badge on my sleeve.)  After working in Memphis for over a year and a half, I finally felt comfortable enough to "out" myself to one co-worker that I'm friends with.  But if this guy challenges me about the bumper sticker, I'm going to tell him I support President Obama's position on gay rights, particularly since I'm gay myself.  There comes a point where you have to stand up and be counted.

Slippery Slope

Ugh!  The page-view graphing function for this blog looks like an amusement park slide: a steep decline!  I maxed out at almost 300 page views on July 4th.  Maybe if I can just get myself published, I can get them to print my web address to generate some traffic.  I've done everything else I know to try and rise above the internet information overload.  Right now I've got poems submitted for consideration at five magazines and one short story at another.  We'll see if I get lucky, and someone actually decides to publish me.

Monday, July 9, 2012

How I Got Fat

As an adult, I have never been particularly physically fit.  After I came back from my summer in London in 1990, I was in the best shape of my life (so far) because I ate regular meals and was doing physical activities almost all the time I wasn't sleeping.  But for most of my life, even though I wasn't particular slim or buff, I still couldn't imagine myself over 200 pounds.  I usually hovered somewhere between 185 and 195 pounds.

Then about five years ago, give or take a year or two, I was going through what my psychiatrist called a double depression, a depressive episode on top of my disthymia.  I could barely drag myself through my day.  I was still working, and not working was simply not an option for me.  My doctor finally prescribed me Seroquel, an atypical antipsychotic.  The relief was almost immediate, and for that I was certainly grateful.  The problem is that a common side effect of Seroquel, and most of the other atypical antipsychotics, is a risk of weight gain, hyperglycemia and diabetes.  Around that time, I ramped up my alcoholism and was drinking an incredibly excessive amount of beer, twelve or more per night.  And then on top of that, I began a ritual of binge eating high fat, high calorie foods after I got drunk.  All of that led to a dramatic increase in my weight.

I don't know if this is unusual or common, but I never really noticed the gradual progression to obesity.  (I think I was simply too drunk or too hungover all the time to see it.)  All of the sudden, I realized just HOW FAT I had gotten.  I could hardly believe that was me in the mirror.  I looked—and still look—like I'm ten months pregnant.  I've tried many times since then to lose the weight, but to no avail.  While I am no longer taking any atypical antipsychotics, one of the medicine I take at night stimulates my appetite, so I can go the whole day sticking to my diet and then blow it all at the 11th hour.  Plus, I've come to enjoy the "comfort" and pleasure of eating certain foods, whereas I didn't have that relationship with food when I was younger.  Only time will tell if this time is the charm.

Personal Roundup

I'm using my old numbers because I'm too scared to weigh myself (or to tot up my debt, for that matter).  I've gone to the gym for three days in a row, and on both Saturday and Sunday, I walked the three miles roundtrip there.  So I'm terrified that I'll step on a scale and find I haven't lost any weight or, God forbid, have actually gained.  I'm just going to have to wait until I'm sure my clothes are fitting better before I weigh myself again.

Speaking of the gym, I sometimes worry that I look strange because I often silently sing along to the music in my headphones and sway my head to the beat.  (I won't even go into my unfashionable half-calf white socks.)  Then I saw this hispanic queen with bleached bangs at the gym the other day.  Oh Mary, she wasn't just singing along, she was putting on a show and working those hands on the treadmill!  Personally I have to respect the guy's cajones and joie de vivre.

Days sober: 3
Weight: 261 pounds
Debt: $10,000

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Babysitting My Shrink

When I first moved back to Memphis a couple of years ago, I tried to find a local psychiatrist to manage my meds.  I saw a couple of them, but they were absolutely terrible!  The doctors never really listened to me, and it was obvious that they put absolutely no thought into my case except for the twenty minutes of our appointment.  They were nothing but prescription mills, interested in only a quick turnaround and a quick buck.

So I called my wonderful psychiatrist in Los Angeles, and he agreed to keep managing my case.  We would "meet" via Skype, and he would continue to prescribe my medications.  Recently, though, my brother began seeing a psychiatrist that he really liked, so I figured perhaps I should switch to a local doctor.  I knew that my Los Angeles doctor, wonderful as he is, was basically continuing my care as a personal favor, and that prescribing medications (even though he never prescribed anything like tranquilizers, etc.) across state lines was somewhat inconvenient.

I made an appointment with this local doctor, and he was just great.  (I wish I could give him a shout out, but I don't think it would be appropriate.)  The funny thing is that I used to babysit this man and his brother way back when I was thirteen to fifteen years old.  I actually knew that going into the appointment, but I wasn't concerned about being under his care seeing as how I hadn't seen him in twenty-seven plus years, and that time seems so remote and disconnected from the present.  And like I said, he is a great doctor...very positive and affirming.  So I'm more than pleased with the arrangement.

Afraid of Failure, Afraid of Success

Whenever I attempt to get it together and submit material for publication, I become so monumentally overwhelmed by whole process.  I have such naked ambition for being recognized for my creative efforts, but the astronomical amount of luck it would take to rise above everybody else who's trying to get published and actually be noticed seems utterly beyond my reach.  Talent and perseverance only get you so far; so much of life is pure, dumb luck.  The emotional baggage of simply trying seems so insurmountable that I often just give up.

What if I never find any amount of success?  How could I ever accept a complete failure in the only purpose I have assigned to my life?  I'm so scared that I'll never realize any of my dreams so that not trying seems an attractive prospect.  But of course, putting it all off has resulted in what I am now, a broken middle-aged man who isn't one step closer to achieving anything.

What if I do succeed?  Would I feel empty without my raison d'être?  Personally I doubt it.  What I really fear is that some tragic misfortune or circumstance will come along and snatch anything and everything I manage to accomplish away from me.  I guess everyone has to overcome self-doubt; it's a part of the human experience.  But I feel so much like a has-been of wasted potential and that it is too late for me to change that.

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.  One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
{Albert Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus"}

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Serendipity

I let myself get too tired again and ended up drinking last night.  It's amazing how quickly I can go from thinking I'll never drink again to that being all I can imagine doing. I'm moody, but I don't think I have mood swings. (Or hell, maybe I do! It's hard to tell from the inside.)  But my goals and priorities can certainly shift dramatically and sometimes quickly.

Anyway, there was more going on to my drinking than just fatigue.  I suppose we all have our secret shames, but there are some things I can't disclose, even in an anonymous blog.  But yesterday I had an emotionally draining episode related to a burden I've carries for decades.  I could no longer process it, so I drank.

Science Fiction Double Feature

I was determined not to spend another weekend in bed, so I dragged myself out of it this morning afternoon.  I walked to the gym and spent an hour on the stair-stepper and then some upper body strength training.  I normally only do thirty minutes, but I knew it was going to take a lot to burn off all the calories I consumed last night.  As a reward, I called a friend to see if she was interested in dinner and a movie, but she never called me back.  So I just went on my own.

I ate dinner at Genhis Grill.  I love this place because you get to choose exactly the ingredients you want.  I'm such a picky eater, but when I eat there, I don't have to pick things out of my food.  I tried to keep it healthy with lean beef and brown rice.  I did break down about extraneous calories with some frozen yoghurt afterwards.

I went to the theater and saw The Amazing Spider-Man.  It was entertaining, but frankly I though the three movies with Toby Maguire were better and (except for the biological basis for his web) truer to the source material, at least as I remember it.  Having a taste for the superhero movie, I then thought "What the hell" and went to showing of The Avengers.  Jiminy, no shortage of hot men in that movie!  I decided my favorite was Jeremy Renner.  (Besides, I've always been partial to the bow.)  The film was great with a great plot, which is not surprising seeing how it was written and directed by Joss Whedon.

Friday, July 6, 2012

"Morning Song"

Another second of sadness
Another hour of boredom
Another day of impotence
Another year alone...

My waiting heart gathers dust
   As my will slowly wastes away.
I shall again, if I must,
   Brave the ugly light of another day.
I swallow my pill of bitterness
   To face the world without a care:
My only companion is Loneliness,
   My only comfort is Despair.












Commentary

This poem is too lugubrious and too much a product of garden variety teenage angst to be seriously considered anywhere.  I wrote this shortly after I turned eighteen.  You'll notice the theme of waiting in this poem, and it appears in many of my others.  I was a closeted homosexual in middle America suburbia, but I was so sure that I would eventually essentially fall into a relationship with the perfect man.  I had so much faith that one day my prince would come.  But the waiting!  The waiting for everything in my life to lock into place took such a toll on me.  And the slow, harsh realization that reality would never and could never live up to my impossible fantasies became a foundation of my consciousness that echoes through my psyche to this day.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Don't Mean To Be Pedantic, But...

Of all the pleasures in life, none quite compares to nitpicking. In my job, I often have to use "curriculum vitae" in relation to medical experts. Whenever I type the phrase "a current curriculum vitae," Microsoft Word tries to correct me with its little green squiggly lines. It suggests "current curriculum vitae" or "a current curriculum vita." But that is wrong! "Curriculum vitae" is Latin for "course of life." The "-ae" ending on "vitae" isn't the plural; it the genitive case of "vita" meaning "of life." So "curriculum vitae" is the singular, and the plural is actually "curricula vitae." (Thus witness the fruits of four years of Latin in Catholic high school.)

So do you think Bill Gates will reward me for my acumen, or have me whacked for my insolence?

Mint Theory

All right, I assure you that I wasn't high when I came up with this, but several years ago I made the following observation:

Have you ever noticed how we ascribe the taste of mint to a mental schema that, over the course of our experience, becomes distanced from the singular collection of natural aromatic molecules that actually creates the flavor?  The expectations, and thus the reality, embodied in this archetype and the chemical stimulation of the taste buds with its resulting perception in the brain are, in truth, two completely different things.

Again, I swear I was stone cold sober when this idea just sort of popped into my head...

As nifty as it sounds to me, I think I've made a fallacy in reasoning because I am supposing that mint has an "objective" taste, which over time becomes distant from our perception of that taste.  However, as with all sensory input, the taste of mint is comprised entirely of and indivisible from our perceptions; no objective experience of taste exists.  (That's why when a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it doesn't make a sound.)

I would never want to advocate drug use, but one thing that psychedelics demonstrate (by dramatically altering your perceptions) is that your perceptions so influence your understanding of reality that perception IS reality.  I should point out that I'm not subscribing to the theory that a change in your perceptions, or your beliefs, can alter "objective reality."  (The nature or even existence of "objective reality" is beyond the scope of this humble little blog.)  For example, I don't think that believing hard enough that you're not ill will cure you or that being certain you're going to win the lottery will actually bring that about.  But I would put forth the proposition that life and reality are, for all practical purposes, entirely subjective experiences without an objective standard.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Hate Glitterbombing!!!

In continuation of yesterday's "Why can't we all just get along?" theme, I have to get on my soap box about a "glitterbombing," which I also mentioned.

I want to scream every time I hear about this idiotic form of "protest"!  It's nothing but common assault, no matter how you try to spin it.  I don't care if the perpetrators feel justified since they target opponents of gay marriage (or an alleged transphobe, as in the case of Dan Savage).  I'm all for gay marriage and the freedom to live your personal life in any way you see fit, but that doesn't justify a "by any means necessary" tactic.  A glitterbomber's mindset is no different from that of a terrorist:  "My cause is so important that rules of civility or respect for others don't apply to me."  And they demonstrate the same cowardice inherent in the terrorist.  I would relegate glitterbombing as nothing more than domestic terrorism.

Maybe it's just the lens of my middle-aged sensibilities, but our nation seems increasingly divisive while our tolerance for dissent is shrinking.  I believe it's a function of an increasingly self-centered society.  We teach our children confidence and self-esteem, but not how to be decent citizens or to think of others.  Individualism is important and wonderful, but not to the extent where one believes that rules and limitations are for other people or that polite disagreement is a form of personal attack.

Glitterbombing self-defeats the causes it is supposed to advance and does nothing but entrench and solidify anti-LGBT sentiment.

Personal Roundup

I was off work today for the holiday.  Not only did I not spend the day in bed, but I also walked to the gym to work out.  The only problem I had was that before going to the gym, I had slipped on my dress shoes to go outside and get something from my car.  Unfortunately, because I'm a complete space case, I forgot to change my shoes before walking to the gym.  By the time I realized I was wearing my dress shoes (without socks!), I was too far along to go back, so I did my workout as is.  As for my numbers, my sobriety is trending up, but my debt and weight are the same or slightly worse.

Days Sober: 6
Weight: 261 pounds
Debt: $10,000

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bisexuals & Transgendered People

I recently posted a video of a transvestite singer.  I posted it because I liked it and because I thought all of the disparate elements fused into an interesting whole.  However, I was reading a few days ago about Dan Savage being "glitterbombed" for his alleged attitudes towards transgendered people.  Like any (if you'll pardon the expression) heterogeneous group, there is a lot of division among homosexuals, as our diversity means we have more differences than we have things in common.  For example, some gays think we should have nothing to do with lesbians, and vice versa.  Some homosexuals believe bisexuality is some kind of cop out.  Some homosexuals believe we should distance ourselves from the transgendered.

As for my own attitudes, I believe human sexuality runs on a continuum, the much vaunted Kinsey scale, so I have no problem believing bisexuals are attracted to both sexes.  There are things about women I find physically beautiful, and I find attractive women attractive.  I just don't have any desire to engage in sexual acts with a woman.  But I see no reason to doubt that a person could be sexually interested in both genders, and I think that that should be respected.

I don't understand transsexualism.  But then I'm not a transsexual, so why should I expect to?  I can tell you that the only thing I find shocking is that, before spellcheck came along, I didn't realize it had two s's.  I have no right to invalidate the feelings of a person who has felt that they were born the wrong gender their entire lives.  That's the same as those heterosexuals who say they know my mind better than I do and that I wasn't born gay but chose to be this way because I'm a contrary attention-whore.  I do understand that there other transgendered people than transsexuals, by the way, but my attitude is the same.  God makes intersex people, so obviously He isn't too hung up on the concept of gender.

Self vs. Others

Of course, accepting people regardless of any perceived difference is part of a much larger issue.  You would be hard pressed finding a bigger cliché than "Live and Let Live," and yet this core concept is sadly lacking in our fundamental concept of others, in our interpersonal interactions and in our social discourse as a whole.  As far as I'm concerned, there are two fundamental, inalienable laws of human relationships: (1) Treat others in the same way that you yourself would want to be treated. (The Golden Rule) and (2) If it isn't hurting anyone or anything, then it's none of your fucking business what someone else thinks, believes, says or does.  It doesn't matter if you don't approve.  It doesn't matter if you don't understand.  Live and let live.  Harm none and do as you will.  Let others live their lives however they see fit without your condemnation or your abuse or your violence.  I think 99% of our social problems would disappear overnight if people could simply let others be.

Yet it seems to be a basic compulsion in human nature that others must be converted to our way of thinking.  Religion is the obvious, glaring example.  But I've even seen it in something as personal as gay sexual habits.  While it may be news to a lot of the straights, a significant minority of gay men disdain penetrative sex.  Fine.  Sex is all about one's individual pleasures and comfort.  But there is an entire web site devoted to convincing all gay men that this kind of sex is the only "proper" sex acts that they should be engaging in!  Personally, I think it's a primal and pervasive ego defense.  If people really had the strength of their convictions, then it wouldn't matter if someone disagreed with them or saw the world differently from themselves.  If your religious faith is threatened because a Dan Brown book suggests that Jesus fathered a line of descendants, then you really need to take a long, hard look at your faith.  If everyone else has to share your opinion in order for that opinion to be validated, then you are doomed to a fruitless crusade and an invariably stunted relationship with others.

Now go forth, my minions, and spread my message of tolerance and peace!  And if anyone challenges that message, be sure to tell them that they're wrong.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Anderson Cooper Comes Out

OK, so this is probably the most overexposed story of the day, especially on every rinky-dink queer blog like this one.  But renowned journalist and television personality, Anderson Cooper has apparently "come out" and admitted what was essentially an open secret that he is indeed gay.  Even as a famous figure, I can certainly appreciate Mr. Cooper's desire to keep his private life separate from his public persona, and it does him credit that he decided to make it official in response to the recent increased awareness in bullying, particularly LGBT bullyingSuper sexy Spock, Zachary Quinto, also apparently very guarded about his personal life, gave the same basic reasoning for his decision to publicly declare his sexuality.

Anytime a famous person announces that he or she is gay, you can read the online news story comments (if you're feeling particularly masochistic) and you'll see, in addition to the endless homophobic name-calling, a bunch of comments to the tune of:  "Why is this even news?"  "I'm gonna come out as straight?  Where's my straight pride parade?"  "I don't have to flaunt my sexual preference, so why do they?"  and on and on and on...

Why It Matters

Whether you want to admit it or not, homosexuals are marginalized members of society.  Many heterosexuals would desperately like to go back to pretending we don't exist while we obligingly live wretched lives in the closet, but it simply isn't a viable option.  The only true objective of the much-hyped and demonized "gay agenda" is to create a safe space for ourselves in society where we can be the people we were born to be without fear of ridicule, discrimination or violence.  Celebrity visibility helps to realize that dream of no longer being circumscribed, second-class citizens in our own communities.  It has been definitively shown that people who actually know and associate with homosexuals are less intolerant of homosexuality, and "out" celebrities help demystify us from unseen boogeymen to human beings of flesh and blood.

I have no interest in arguing with people who are going to tell me that they know my own mind better than I do myself.  But I can assure you, unequivocally, that I was born gay and cannot remember a time when I didn't feel different.  Because I had no one to talk to about my feelings, not even members of my own family, I felt so alone and isolated and scared.  This is the real boon of "out" celebrities!  Their visibility offers hope and inspiration to gay youth as does the rejection of homophobia by their heterosexual counterparts.  I would be willing to bet anything that Hulk Hogan's response after his ex-wife tried to "slander" him with allegations of homosexual affairs—"If it was true and I was gay, I’d embrace it, and I’d tell you guys about it and I’d celebrate it."meant a helluva lot to at least one lonely, scared teen out in the midwest, perhaps even the difference between life and death.

Assuming anyone reads this at all, I'm sure I am preaching to the choir; however, I would lastly like to point out what should be blindingly obvious: straight people don't need to "come out" because they have the luxury of being "out" all the damn time.  And they get to have their sexuality validated in almost every single movie, book, TV show, news story and toilet cleaner advertisement.  If a heterosexual would sincerely like to understand what a homosexual has to go through on a daily basis, then try to be mindful of how many times you reference your straight significant other or spouse throughout the normal course of your day.  Just because you don't go around saying, "Greetings, I am a heterosexual!" doesn't mean you aren't constantly taking for granted that you can say things like "My husband and I went out to eat last night" or "My girlfriend gave me a surprise party" without having to consider and weigh each utterance, worry about how it might be received, alter it just so you can "fit in" or censor it altogether because it's just not worth the risk.