Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Trees fall and dreams rise

OK, I realize that leaves of many trees fall to the ground in autumn, but now the trees themselves are tumbling to the ground all over Salem and the Willamette Valley. Sometimes they take out power and other utility lines on the way down. But don't take my word for it, read the Statesman Journal article for yourself. Prolonged, heavy rains and brisk winds are toppling trees like they were Tinker toys.

Last night I was telling my friend Brat about two trees that had fallen over not too far from my building in my apartment complex. But as I headed out to my car this morning to head to work I was confronted by the sight of another tree that had fallen overnight, about 15-20 feet from where my car was parked. Fortunately the tree fell between two buildings, although it had to have scraped one of the buildings on its tumble to the soggy turf. However, if it had fallen the other direction it probably would have taken out several cars in the parking lot in the row behind where I park. Some of the upper branches may even have reached across the travel lane and into the row of cars where my assigned space is located.

Fortunately, the sun came out for a bit this afternoon, but not for long enough to do much to dry things out. Rivers are still running high, some streets are flooded. Even the hardcore webbed-foot valley natives are beginning to comment on how much rain we've been getting. The forecast for the next few days: Rain and wind to continue which means more trees will likely fall victim to the stormy weather. When is spring supposed to arrive?


How would you spend $156 million dollars? That's the amount of Wednesday's Powerball lottery drawing. The drawing has been growing rather large for several weeks, but I have kept forgetting to buy a ticket. But I remedied that today.

I plunked down $5 on a dream, a fantasy. Yea, I may never win, but $5 can buy lots of dreams on which I can travel further than I would have on the 2.5 gallons of gas I could have got with the same half a sawbuck.


I'm just a week and a couple of days from my final planned date to give up the nicotine completely, including the gum. I'm in the one-piece-every-4-to-8-hours phase now, but unfortunately I'm still struggling to make it past the 4-hour mark. I was hoping to be up to 8 hours by Thursday, but 6 may be more likely. Sometime the 4 hours passes relatively painlessly, although the cravings are still there. Other times, the cravings hit me like a freight train at about the 2-hour mark.

The good thing is that I've resisted the rather strong urges at times to cheat with a cigarette here and there. I have not bought a pack in more than a week. But I'm thinking now that I may have to alter my timeline slightly. I'm still chewing the stronger 4 mg gum, which I think is still putting too much nicotine into my system when I do chew it. So I may switch to the 2 mg gum when this box runs out and potentially extend my program 1 week at least, to make up for my 1 week of flagrantly violating my program. But maybe what I need is to take some time off to alter my daily routines.

One thing is certain, I need to get past the cravings soon so I can start cutting back on the munching of popcorn, chips, candy and other snacks I've been doing rather than chew extra pieces of gum or, worse, running to the store for a can of snuff or a pack of smokes. I've put on at least 5 pounds, maybe more. And I was already suffering from the middle-age spread before this ordeal began. But the extra weight is growing uncomfortable.

However, first things first. I want to beat this nicotine addiction once and for all. Then I'll work on the other aspects necessary to be an irresistible chick magnet! Oh, that reminds me of other things I can add to my list of what to do with my Powerball winnings. Hire a personal trainer and a dietician.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Becoming one of the iPod people

I've finally joined the MP3-player age. Yes, I finally have an iPod. And I spent a good portion of the weekend loading CDs onto the computer and transferring them to my new toy.

For a long time I never even entertained the notion of buying any type of portable music player, because I didn't think I would get much use out if it. I'm not the type of person you really likes wearing headphones, or earphones, and listening to music. But after learning that it would be possible to play an iPod through my antiquated car stereo, which doesn't even have a CD player, I began to see the practicality of such an investment.

That sort of follows my pattern of technology purchases. I never been on the first wave of buying things like VCRs, CD players, DVD players and the like. I tend to wait to see if the newest technology is going to stick around a while and to see if the price will come down some before taking the plunge. And I probably could have got in on the latest wave with a less expensive player, but the folks at Mac and iPod have certainly established themselves as the state of the art.

So far, I've got enough music loaded onto the iPod to listen to music for three days. And over the weekend, while setting up the new toy I got an opportunity to listen to some music I haven't listened to for months, even years.

So, between that, a trip to Portland to see my daughter over the weekend, and some time talking with a dear friend out of state, that's why there haven't been any blog posts over the last few days.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nicotine update

OK, so I didn't give up. And I've sort of got back on track. I have successfully got to the target of one piece of gum every 4 hours.

In the next two week, I need to get down to one piece of nicotine gum every 8 hours, and then by Feb. 9 I am supposed to give up the gum altogether.

But the cutting back has resulted in a return to withdrawal symptoms. Lots of twitching and lack of concentration.

So, I'm still here. Still working on it. Just having a rough time concentrating. Thanks for your supporting comments. Thanks for sending the positive vibes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On the verge of surrender

I admit it. I'm weak.

My efforts to give up nicotine are faltering. I was on course and on schedule until last week, and somehow I got off track. Now I'm doubting my resolved to get back on it.

According to my stop-chewing-by-using-nicotine-gum program I am supposed to be down to one piece of gum every 2-4 hours. And for I while I was doing well at that, averaging a piece of gum every 3 hours or so, sometimes I could even get up to about the 4 hour mark. But about this time last week things went off course.

It started off by just popping an extra couple of pieces when the cravings got overly intense. In the following days, it got worse. I got weaker. And I was supplementing the gum increasingly with cigarettes.

Now, I'm back to using a piece about every 1-2 hours, and jonesing the entire time in between. It's gotten so bad that I'm thinking about quitting quitting all together, at least for a while. I am not sure I have the willpower, the fortitude, to accept the setback and soldier on. So, I'm seriously entertaining the notion of just buying a can of Copenhagen and enjoying the buzz of that pinch between my cheek and gum again. For a week or a month or however long it takes me to get my head back in the quitting game.

I think the biggest culprit, which I've also been battling for months, is boredom. I never would have suspected that boredom was so stressful, but it is proving to be a nerve-wracking bitch.

The only thing I've decided tonight is that I haven't made a final decision on the matter.

Maybe everything will be clearer after a cigarette.

Shrouded in ick

OK, so I've bitched plenty about the seemingly incessant rain in the Willamette Valley this winter (which is a lot like complaining about heat in the desert), but to be fair the sun is expected to shine today.

However, what is not fair is that we have to endure fog this morning.

Is that the price we must pay for winter sunshine?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Who is watching who and why?

You see the debate all over the news. Did the Bush administration overstep its legal authority to monitor telephone calls involving Americans without court oversight in the name of combating terrorism?

Then there is the story that the government has been asking Google for information on what all of us Internet users are using their search engine to look for on the Web. Ostensibly, the subpoena is an attempt to see if efforts to protect children from accessing porn sites are working. But the request isn't about porn, it asks for everything everyone searched for in a certain span of time.

Given those two news stories, I got to thinking about a string of commercials I have been seeing a lot on television lately for a company offering Internet phone service. Just how might the government tap internet phone calls? And if the government taps the Internet to monitor voice, what else might it monitor? And how?

Those who say the Patriot Act and all of its provisions are necessary to fight the war on terror are missing the point about why some Americans are worried about what the government might snoop into if given too much power.

Our system of government and society works precisely because we have a balance of power in the branches of government, preventing a system where the president becomes too powerful. It is more important than ever to maintain that balance of power in an era where citizens are giving up their role in our society in droves by not exercising their right to vote. As the citizenry becomes disengaged from the process and media consolidation means fewer people are monitoring government, the ability for government to abuse its power is great. And I'm sorry fellow blogger, but the proliferation of blogs doesn not qualify as providing in-depth coverage of the inner workings of government. Yea, a lot of that stuff can be pretty boring to people who would much rather watch the latest hot reality TV series, but it's an important part of making sure government does the people's business, not the business of protecting those in power, from whatever party.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nipples and other things exposed that people intended to be kept covered

You never know where you are going to see nipple.

I was standing at the bar on the edge of the dance floor at a wedding reception in a ballroom of a downtown Portland hotel when one popped out to say hello.

The nipple, in fact the entire breast, belonged to a young woman who had been dancing with her male companion. She was wearing a black dress with spaghetti straps, and she was apparently having a difficult time keeping the skinny straps atop her skinny shoulders where they could do their job holding the top of the dress up. The top of the dress was something of a halter style, with the fabric covering each breast divided by a plunging neckline.

The strap on her right shoulder made a break for it, diving toward the floor and taking the flap of fabric covering her right breast trailing behind it, leaving the breast and aforementioned nipple exposed in the subdued light of the ballroom. The woman's eyes got wide, and swept the area around her, including the eyes of her companion, to see if he or anyone else had noticed as she quickly pulled the strap back up onto her shoulder. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed and she didn't know that I saw as I was several feet away, separated by a few people who were talking and drinking, wrapped up in their own conversations.

I spotted the young woman several times throughout the evening, often on the dance floor. She seemed to spend a significant amount of her dancing time trying to keep the straps of her dress in place.

Obviously, I crashed the wedding that a wrote about in my
Mayor of Dweebville post. And one of my regular readers, one of the few people I know who I've let in on the secret of my blog, was at the wedding as well. M made sure to give me a hard time about my ineptitude at handling the RSVP for her step-brother's wedding. And obviously she told at least one of her sisters about my blog post as well, as she brought it up at the reception too.

I briefly contemplated strangling M, except for two little details. One, we were in a hotel ballroom surrounded by a delegation of her rather large family and their friends. And two, her husband, who is also a regular reader, is a Marine Corps officer and undoubtedly has been trained in more ways to do away with an individual, and trained in using more weapons to accomplish that with, than I can even imagine.

So, I let her live. But as punishment, I made her dance with me at the reception.

That'll teach her!

But, all things considered, in spite of the brief exposure of my private parts, I was glad I crashed the wedding. I've been fortunate to spend time now at two weddings, a couple of holiday dinners, and one holiday party with this family, which was very much like my extended family as a child. I probably spent all most as much time at their house or with that family as I did my own as a child and young man. And at the wedding last night I got to see two more of the family members I had not seen in years -- the groom's sister and mother.

It's good to be with old friends. And if you get to see a little nipple, that's just a bonus!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Writer's apathy

I sat down last night to write a post, but got no more than a couple of sentences into it and walked away from the computer. I came up with another idea for a post today. Both were a couple of good rants. But I find I just don't have it in me to rant.

It's not writer's block. More like writer's lethargy or apathy. I just don't have the energy. Just don't care. Don't care about much of anything.

Maybe it's the relentless rain. One of the recent weather reports said we've had something like nearly 30 days straight with rain, some of it heavy. The days are dark and gloomy. The sun breaks have been few and far between.

I can certainly understand why a man this week climbed onto a bridge here in Salem and threatened to jump. It's the second time a man has threatened to do that on the same bridge since I moved here. The first guy snarled traffic for the better part of a day with his threatened suicide, which happened about a week after I moved to town. The irony this week is the threatened suicide attempt came barely hours after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oregon's assisted suicide law. Maybe the guy needed a push. Or a pill. Or a plane ticket to Mazatlan.

I wouldn't want to say I'm suicidal. That would be an overstatement, a radical over dramatization. Besides, who has the energy for something like that?

Ever been so tired, so worn out that it's too much effort to take a nap? To go to bed at night? That's the feeling.

Yea, maybe it's the rain. Or maybe it's something else. Not that it matters. It's not as if I have the power to change either factor at the moment. Fortunately, some clearer dryer weather is in the forecast in the days ahead. The long-range forecast for the other situation is not so bright. No sunshine on that horizon anytime soon.

Maybe I'll tell you about it later, when I have a little more energy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Who's my daddy?

I got this from Brando over at One Child Left Behind. He had a post about running photos through a comparison to celebrity faces at MyHeritage.com. So I decided to give it a try.

Like Brando, I ran multiple photos through the comparison. Unlike Brando, I'm not going to post the actual photo comparisons. I'm just shy. Well, and I don't want anyone to suffer retinal damage just for having the misfortune of reading this blog. But if anyone is curious about what I might look like, I'll tell you who some of the people MyHeritage thinks I look like.

The results were mixed to say the least. Among the celebrities and notables MyHeritage thinks I have a resemblance to are:

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Bill Gates, Mr. Microsoft
John Glenn, former astronaut and former U.S. Senator
Michael Moore, crusading movie director
Billy Bob Thornton, movie actor
Keith Moon, dead drummer for rock band The Who
Ozzy Osbourne, heavy metal rocker
Peter Jackson, movie director
Matt Groening, cartoonist and creator of "The Simpsons," "Futurama" and the comic strip "Life in Hell"
Robert Zemeckis, movie director
Tennessee Williams, the late legendary playwright
Harrison Ford, actor
Bing Crosby, late crooner/actor
Robert Altman, movie director
Mel Brooks, comic, writer, director
Charlton Heston, actor
Kevin Costner, actor

Talk about a collection of geeks, freaks, writers, rockers, artists and assholes -- and a pretty high ratio of goofy-looking fucks.

Sadly, that's pretty much a right-on description.

Award-winning ticket

I have to admit, I really wasn't aware that the Golden Globe Awards were taking place until yesterday. But if the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are good judges of quality cinema, it looks like I have spent my movie ticket dollars wisely so far this year.

OK, so as I mentioned in my last post the only movie I've seen at a theater in more than a years has been "Brokeback Mountain," which won four awards last night. I ended up watching part of the awards show last night, for whatever reason, and it further reiterated that I wish I had seen several of the movies that were up this year.

Among the movies that I wish I would have seen are "Walk The Line," "Capote," "Good Night, And Good Luck," and "Transamerica".

Oh well, eventually they will make it on to HBO, Cinemax or Encore, right?

But I've taken the plunge again, getting past whatever demons have possessed me of late that have kept me from venturing out as a single person to go solo to a movie theater again. Yea, the experience isn't as rich as it is to go to a movie with someone who you can talk about the performances with afterward. But then again, sitting home on the couch isn't real culturally or socially enriching either.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Back-breaking love

I just got back from the movies. The first movie I've seen in a theater in more than a year and probably almost 2 years. I never intended to go that long without seeing a movie. It just happened that way. One day passed and then another and soon the calendar had turned before I knew it.

It's become a recurring theme.

There have been several movies I've wanted to see, but some of the ones that were on my list aren't even in wide distribution anymore. I'm spending the weekend housesitting for family in Portland and was getting tired of sitting around someone else's house. So I opted to see "Brokeback Mountain" this afternoon. There's been lots of buzz about this movie, so I decided to see what all the murmur was about. Apparently I wasn't the only one thinking about seeing it, because the 4:15 p.m. showing was pretty full.

There are plenty of places on the 'net where you can read reviews or summaries of the movie, so I won't go into the plot here. But I will offer some commentary about the theme, or a theme, of the movie, and that is that sometimes we let life get in the way of love. Society's morals or values of what's acceptable or not can derail a lot of relationships. Time and distance do damage to many others.

The lead characters in the love story spent about 20 years seeing each other periodically. A few fleeting moments of happiness amid year after year of marking time earning a living and living a life of deception.

The timing was rather ironic. Last night, Brat and I had a rather serious conversation. For those of you who may not have caught the bits and pieces of our story scattered through this blog, Brat and I have spent the last 7 years, off and on, talking online, on the phone and through voice chat, but have never managed to get ourselves in the same place at the same time to actually meet face to face. During that time, including a couple of extended breaks, we have become friends and developed strong feelings through those long hours of talking. We struggle sometimes to explain, even to ourselves, what those feelings are and what they mean, but we know that they are real. And it sort of struck me that we are like the story in "Brokeback Mountain," watching the years slowly tick by at the speed of light and we are still pretty much where we were in 1999 or 2000.

In the movie, there was no happy ending, sadly a little too true to life. Fortunately for Brat and I, the climax of our drama has not yet been written. Let's hope -- no, check that, we need to make sure -- this isn't a case of life imitating art.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Five weird things

OK, I'm participating in a meme under protest. It's all 3T's fault. So, here are 5 weird things about me.

My interpretation of weird is bad, so if any of these things gross you out or are over the top, well, that's just the way it is. Deal with it people.

1. I can't see straight. Yea, I have a lazy eye. My right eye crosses in, particularly when I'm tired. It used to be worse though. I had eye surgery when I was about 5 years old, which somewhat corrected the problem. If I've been getting my 8 hours of sleep, my eyes align pretty well. I still predominantly rely on the vision out of my left eye, and just use the right for peripheral vision, even though the vision in my left eye is not as good as the right anymore. If I really need to see something, I end up closing my left eye to be able to put my best eye on the prize.

2. Big fat hairy, scary deal. I am cursed with an over abundance of body hair. I've never really minded having a really hairy chest, but I don't think anyone anywhere finds hair on the back and shoulders attractive. I have not gone without a shirt in public since puberty really kicked in. It's scary enough taking my shirt off in front of a woman who I'm dating for the first time. Scary deal indeed, for both of us! Got hair places I don't want it and don't have it where I do want it, like on top of my head. One curse or the other would be enough, but why both?

3. Is that a Band-Aid on your ear? Yes, I had a bandage on my ear today because I couldn't get my ear to stop bleeding. At one point during the work day I walked into the men's room and notices some little scabs on my ear and rubbed them off, which opened up the tiny little scrapes on the rim of my ear canal. I didn't think much about it and walked back to me desk. Several minutes later I reached up and rubbed the inside of my ear and found the outer part of my ear canal filled with blood. I couldn't get the damn ear to stop bleeding! But the really weird thing about the whole situation is how I got the scabs on my ears in the first place. This morning, while getting ready for work I was running late and noticed some small hairs growing on the edge of the ear canal. I tried plucking the hairs, but I was trying to be quick and couldn't get them. Since I was shaving at the time, I decided to just shave the little suckers off. Well, the little suckers were stubborn and wouldn't come off, so it took several tries. Apparently, I pressed a little too hard with the razor. Didn't notice any cuts this morning, but saw the scabs later. Again, cursed by hairs growing in places they have no ungodly right to grow.

4. No, I wasn't just snorting coke. And to care on with the bleeding theme, for some reason I get nosebleeds easily and fairly often. A drastic and quick change in the weather and the nose start hemorrhaging. Catch a cold and blow my nose, blood starts to flow. Sneezing can start the fountain. Stress can set it off. I remember once taking a final exam in college and just as the test gets started, my nose starts to drip blood. Fortunately, I've learned a few tricks over the years to put a fairly quick end to nosebleeds -- put pressure on the inside of the lip with folded up paper towel, run cold water on the wrists, rubbing Vaseline inside the nose (if you have Vaseline handy -- but when you strike a gusher, even those don't always work. Sometime you just have the let the bastard bleed itself out.

5. Are you hungry? Well, if you are, don't come to my house. I have no food in my house. I never have any food in my house. My refrigerator is used for keeping ice in the ice box, water and beer cold, and that's about it. I actually have some soda in my refrigerator right now, which is unusual.

So, that's my 5 weird things meme. I won't subject anyone else to it. This is one of the place memes come to die.

Too weird for words

I've been tagged by 3T over at Stumbling Through Life... and I'm not real happy about it. As I understand it, I'm supposed to come up with 5 weird things about me. She tagged me on Monday, but I didn't catch it until yesterday.

Lord knows there has to be at least 5 weird things about me. I'm just a weird guy (yea, ladies, I know, all guys are weird). But since I didn't get motivated to try to respond to this tagging yesterday, there is certainly no hope that I can even count to 5 at this hours. So, I'll have to try to deal with this later.

If anyone has any thoughts about which 5 things I should include in my post, I'm taking suggestions.

At this point, I can think of 1, maybe 2. And if I do end up using one of them, I may not only have to kill 3T, but anyone who ever reads the post.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Tropical morning

I admit, I have been somewhat obsessed with comparing my current home in Salem to my former home in Southern California. In particular, I get in a rut making references to the weather, bemoaning the cold and wet fall and winter weather here in the Pacific Northwest.

For the record, this morning it is warmer in Salem than it is in Palm Springs ( 54 degrees at 7 a.m. in Salem compared to 47 in Palm Springs). Of course we got almost 2 inches of rain here yesterday, and the temperature is expected to be 74 in Palm Springs today.

BUT, for right now, it is WARMER here than in the land reputed for its winter warmth. I will try to remember that as the rains continue and rivers in the region threaten to overflow their banks today.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bored stiff

I'm profoundly bored.

I don't remember being this bored since I was a kid. The most enduring emotion I remember from childhood, particularly during the elementary school years, was boredom.

When I was in second grade we moved from living in town in Nebraska, with lots of neighbors and at least two playmates nearby to living out in the middle of nowhere in Oregon. I was so jealous of the kids who lived in town. They could see each other on weekends, walk to the school playground, walk to the store. That was freedom baby. Our closest neighbor was about a half mile away, and the closest one with kids my age was 2 miles away.

Until I got old enough to ride my bike, and later a motorcycle, to a neighbor's house I was trapped. There was NOTHING TO DO, or so it seemed to an 8 year old.

Well, that's how bored I've been feeling this weekend. It's not that I don't have stuff I could do, or even should do, there's just nothing I want to do. I don't know what I want to do and it's driving me crazy.

Some years back I used to have a problem of overobligating myself to events and activities. It started in high school and continued in college. I got involved in extracurricular activities, clubs, etc. I lived by my date book. It would get to the point where I would feel overwhelmed. Part of the problem was that I couldn't say no when people asked me if I wanted to do something or get involved in something.

Once I got into my career, I poured all that time and energy into my work. I eventually learned that putting that much time and energy into work meant if work went bad life pretty much sucked. I had to learn to say no and I had to learn to relax.

I may have learned that lesson too well. I eventually got to the point where I did nothing on weekend. I was a slug. A couch potato. A mushroom. But I rarely felt bored like this. I think it is because I was living in the desert and surrounded by the desert sun which nourished the body.

I turned down a couple of social invitations this weekend and now I'm regretting it. But the truth is, I haven't really felt like getting out and being with people.

Maybe it's the lack of sunshine and a case of seasonal affective disorder. I'm bored and tired and utterly lacking motivation.

OK, I'm going to try to shake off this lethargy and get something accomplished with the rest of my day. At least get some laundry done. And maybe take a nap.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mayor of Dweebville

I'm such a dweeb. There are must some situations that are as awkward as getting caught picking your nose or farting in public. The cool people just laugh off the fart for flick the booger at someone like they don't care that they were caught. Me, my face just turns 12 shades or red and I want to crawl under a rock.

My latest social faux paux? I mishandled wedding invitation.

What are you supposed to do if you don't RSVP by the date on the invitation?

I received a wedding invitation shortly before the holidays. I had planned to attended the wedding later this month. In fact I saw the groom- and bride-to-be at a holiday party a couple of days before Christmas. The groom asked me if I planned to attend and I said "Of course. I just haven't had a chance to RSVP yet with the holidays."

So the other day, while trying to clear off the piles of holiday rubble that had accumulated, I came across the wedding invitation again. So I open it up so I can RSVP and read that the RSVPs were due before Christmas.

Now, in my own defense, I received the invitation not long before the RSVP deadline. But the truth of the matter is in the holiday hubbub my brain refused to process the dates of the RSVP deadline or even the wedding at the time I got the invitation.

So, I don't know what to do. Do I send back the RSVP obviously late? Attend the ceremony but skip the reception?

Personally I'm leaning toward crawling under a rock and sucking my thumb.

Cravings? What cravings?

Today is a pivotal day in the whole quitting tobacco process. It's been seven weeks since this little adventure started and the program I'm using with nicotine gum calls for a cut back on the amount of gum used starting today.

Up to this point, I've been allowed a piece of gum every 1 to 2 hours. Today I'm supposed to cut back to one piece every 2-4 hours.

Yesterday I paid very close attention to my gum intake and made sure I didn't take more than 1 piece every 2 hours. So, I know I can at least make it 2 hours. But 4 hours? I don't have nearly as long to adapt to the lower nicotine level and longer duration between pieces. In just 3 weeks I have to cut back again to a piece of gum every 4 to 8 hours.

OK, so no one probably gives a rip. But I'm twitching and my skin has that crawling feeling just thinking about it. For whatever reason I haven't had my first piece of gum of the day and now writing about post about having to cut back on the nicotine is making me very conscious of the cravings this morning.

Maybe waiting wasn't such a good idea.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Posting blind

This is a little disconcerting. I can't see my blog this morning, but yet I can make a post. I keep getting a "Cannot find server" error when I try using the URL for the site, yet I can log into Blogger and make a new post.

Should I be worried?

Well, I'll have to worry later. It's time to go to work. If you are reading this, obviously the blog is still here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Brat goes silent

I've removed a blog from my Blogroll that was the first one I put on there. The site formerly know as Diary of a Brat has gone silent.

My friend Brat has decided to remove herself from the Blogosphere. I won't pretend to speak for her. Her reasons are her own. Lord knows I've been contemplating whether to do the same thing, so I certainly understand.

I'll miss her blog, but fortunately I have another way of maintaining contact with her. Not all of her former readers will be so lucky. But I knew she stops by here regularly, so if anyone wants to leave a comment for her, she is likely to find it here.

Farewell Brat.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A happy and gay new year

It wasn't how I pictured spending the start to the new year.

I didn't have any grand plans, but I knew I didn't want to sit home alone to celebrate the start of 2006. So I went out for a drink. While I was out at the bar I got a call from a friend at work. My friend from work was out with some people at another bar and if I was bored I should meet them there.

Well, I was indeed bored. So I set out looking for their bar I'd never heard of. All I knew was that it was near the Salem airport. So off I went. After driving all around and watching the New Year come and go, I still couldn't find the place, so I went home. I tried looking for the place in the phone book but still couldn't find it. So, I decided to try Google. And I found it. So between
Google and Mapquest I found an address and directions. So I finally got to this bar in an industrial park near the Salem airport at about 12:30 a.m. Too late to celebrate the new year, but enough time to get a drink or two.

But when I walk into the front door. I notice something, um, different. For a little bit I can't quite put my finger on it. But then the difference starts to come into focus. There seems to be a lot of gay people here.

For whatever reason, I seem to have pretty good gaydar, not that it does me any good. By friend B from Palm Springs used to turn to me and our friend H when we were out somewhere whenever he saw a hot looking guy. B would ask us whether or not the guy was gay, because he couldn't tell. If the guy was attractive he wanted him to be gay, but that didn't necessarily mean he was gay. B always jokes that he has the Japanese beta version of gaydar.

Well, my gaydar was pinging like crazy, but I wasn't sure if it was the real thing or a false alarm. So, I pay the cover charge and go inside and walk up to the bar to get a beer. And a short while later I recognize a guy I know from work. So I get my beer and walk up and talk to him. Then a little while later, the other friend from work who called my cell phone earlier walks up. So at least there were two people in the place I know. A short time later I notice the unmistakable rainbow flag hanging on the wall. Yep, this is definitely a gay bar.

It certainly wasn't my first time in a gay club. I've been to one in Portland and to a couple of gay establishments in Palm Springs. So now I am 1,200 miles from Palm Springs and in a gay club and out on the dance floor with probably the most innocent young women I've ever met. It was a kick to watch her facial expressions as two gay men are grinding against each other on one side of us and two lesbian women and groping and grinding on the other side of us. She looks like she doesn't know whether to laugh or faint, and leaning severely toward fainting.

It was certainly not how I expected to ring in the new year. But then again, it was better than sitting home alone, if for no other reason that to see my friend's face while two guys not 4 feet away were sucking face.

Maybe if I had looked a little deeper into my Google search, I would have realized just where I was going when en route to the
Southside Speakeasy in Salem.

The End Debt Daily paper.li