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March 14th, 2016

11:56 am - updates
My employment situation is once again unsteady, and my bank account once again depressing. I'm doing well in my class, though. Studio Music Recording. Learning the knobs and switches, and eventually the digital equivalents thereto.
I've gone back to church a bit. It's a Disciples of Christ church, a denomination that is not at all scary, despite the name.
I went there as a teenager when I was looking for something to replace what I grew up with, and it became the go-to place for me and my mom, and occasionally my siblings. We even had the whole family in there once, for one of my brothers' weddings, though my dad officiated so it wasn't really the same except for the building.
Anyway I'm going there now because it's the closest thing to a "home" spiritual community for me. I made some friends in their youth programs and camps, and now I hang out there with my friends' parents, which is interesting I guess.
Coincidentally the church is right next door to an Episcopal church whose rector I met in my college Episcopal days. If I had a strong denominational identity I might go there instead, but to me a church is a church, as long as it's not one of the annoying ones.
I sometimes go to a discussion group for gay men. They tend to be much older than me, but I don't mind too much, especially since I'm gay-old myself. It means I'm not likely to date anybody there, but that's not necessarily the most important thing at this point, plus you never who has a younger friend, heh.
I hammered some nails for Habitat for Humanity last month. I think I might make it a once-a-month thing. It satisfies the need I've had for an I'm-a-good-person activity, plus maybe I'll learn a thing or two about architecture.
I'm more political than I have been in a long time, but I may be reaching a saturation point there. I've said what I needed to say for now, and it's just a matter of watching things unfold.
I'll probably get into it more with the upcoming congressional primaries (I already early-voted in the presidential preference election), and once again after the party conventions conclude, and we'll most likely be up against comb-over dude in the general. It's entertaining seeing him destroy a major party, but it would be far less amusing for him to begin a White House reality show.
I joined the professional society for architects as an allied/enthusiast member. One perk for new members is to attend the annual convention free of charge. It's in Philadelphia in May. I bought my plane tickets and I'm looking forward to seminars; keynote speakers including, for some reason, Kevin Spacey; and parties/luncheons for such groupings as young/new architects, LGBT architects, etc.
The computer lab at the community college where I'm taking the music class also has architectural software installed, so I need to take some time to play around with that a little.
Hopefully there will be a drafting class available in the summer or fall.
In the fall I plan to apply to architecture schools in AZ and CA where my family is centered and all along the east coast where I would be within a day trip of one of my brothers.
I'm kinda starting a new tradition of a monthly card night with some of my longtime friends/friends of the family. We've always played fast card games like Nertz (spelling?) over the years, and there tends to be much eating, drinking and merriment as well.
It's been a warm winter even by local standards. I've had both of my bedroom windows open for a nice cross-breeze for over a month now, and I won't be closing them any time soon.
I used scissors to remove a distinct shock of gray from one of my sideburns. It also shows up in a part of my beard when I don't shave.
A lot of the activities I'm involved in were set in motion during a somewhat manic phase in January, on account of post-holiday new year mental clarity, improved psychiatric meds, and a general sense of change being overdue. This was followed by an unexpected temporary layoff that lasted an entire month, during which I became a little depressed and a little broke. I went back to work last week, and then wouldn't you know it I'm off again. Technical difficulties. It's time to get serious about finding something more steady. And hopefully keep recovering from my funk/slump.

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March 2nd, 2016

01:11 am
I`m pleased to report
transmission from space
conditioned surrender
civil distress

I`m pleased to report
epsilon beta
alpha direct
mission inform

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February 9th, 2016

02:41 pm - "Everything you always wanted to know about gay people but were afraid to ask."
It occurs to me that my thoughts on gay life are rather complicated at times, and might make an interesting read for somebody, or at least an interesting thinking exercise for me. So then...

"Are people born gay, or is it a choice?"
It is certainly not a casual choice, except maybe in very rare cases with rather eccentric people. Certainly not for anyone I've ever met.
Is it inborn though? Many people take that as gospel, but I remain generally agnostic. I'm guessing it's inborn for some, developmental for others. I will elaborate more in just a moment.

"Can gay people become straight?"
Again, many will take it as gospel that this is not the case. One thing is for sure: this is a rather misguided and unfortunate goal for most concerned. Sexuality is a deeply ingrained part of a person that does not lend itself to being hypnotized away or whatever.
On the other hand, sexuality can be fluid, and some folks may find themselves in the awkward position of suddenly having previously unfamiliar desires. I've had moments like this, curiosity certainly, but I'm not sure I could ever truly desire a woman the way I would desire a man.

"Are gay people more likely to molest children?"
It depends on what you consider a gay person. A man who pursues young boys must have some same-sex desires, but they are certainly different from desires for an adult of the same sex, and his ability to molest these boys depends partly on the greater access and trust he receives in the presence of boys than in the presence of girls.
In any case, girls continue, sadly, to be victims at a greater rate than boys do.

"Are gay people more likely to get AIDS?"
Yes, and ignoring the problem only makes it worse. That being said, straight people are hardly immune. The number of straight victims is numerically much greater and is growing faster as well.

"Do people become gay due to difficult childhoods?"
I will now expand on the first question. Once again, this is an issue on which many take it as gospel that this simply is not the case. There is indeed no question that there are people as gay as the day is long, who have also had the most wonderful childhoods imaginable. By the same token, countless straight people have traumatic childhoods behind them.
That being said, anecdotally I'm inclined to believe certain early-life challenges may lend themselves to questioning or even realigning one's sexual makeup. (Reputable) research has never confirmed this, nor convincingly denied it, but I've known or known of far too many people with unusual parental relationships, especially with the father, and/or with sexual trauma, especially lesbians. They say that evidence is not the plural of anecdote, so I should probably throw out the qualifier "for what it's worth".
Personally, anyone who knows me well knows that my father and I have not always seen eye to eye over the years, but it's hard to imagine that being sexualized, since I am not in the least bit attracted to "daddy" figures. If anything, it may have more to do with either developmental delays in making male friends as a child, or the general sensitive/creative disposition with which I was born.

"Can you be gay and Christian?"
I like to think I am. You may disagree, but with all due respect, that's not really for you to decide, now is it?
This would require a deeper discussion of what Christianity is and isn't, but I'll just point out a few things:
1/ The Bible isn't actually a book of rules. If you actually read it without preconceptions, you'll see what I mean. Some of the people who love the Bible the most seem to understand its structure the least.
2/ There is a cultural component to Christianity, as with any other religion (and yes, Christianity is a religion, cheesy misleading slogans notwithstanding). In a sense, someone who is raised a Christian can't not be a Christian, just as it would be with someone who is raised a Jew or a Hindu, etc.

"Is gay marriage against my religion?"
Well I suppose it would depend on what your religion is, but unless you believe in theocracy, the basic purposes of civil marriage lend themselves to recognizing marriages of the same sex. The one thorny issue there would perhaps be the right to adoption...

"Do children get messed up by growing up in a gay household?"
There has been very little time to get truly good data on this. Studies have suggested there is no difference, but I couldn't blame anyone for being skeptical of the motives and methods of such research. The basic fear (other than knee-jerk opposition) would be the lack of a mother or the lack of a father. In order to truly analyze this, you'd have to get into a deeper debate regarding gender essentialism.
My basic take is that there may be room for discussion on what constitutes an "ideal" household, but if a child is up for adoption, something is already less than ideal. If every single prospective adoptive family were an intact, happily married heterosexual couple with no discernible problems, then the discussion could potentially be different, but I'm guessing that's not the case.

"Is gay rights a conspiracy?"
If you have to ask, you've probably already decided on the answer. Honestly, though, I'm sure there are people who aim to use their influence to promote the issue, as people would with any issue dear to their hearts. The bottom line is that it's a sincere cause: it aims to strengthen society by making room for diversity, not to weaken society for some cynical reason. We know what it's like to feel like an outsider, and we want to make the world a friendlier place for others like us.

"Are there more gay people than there used to be?"
No way to know for sure. What's clear is that homosexuality is nothing new. The very oldest societies showed evidence of same-sex sexuality.

"Is gay sex dangerous and unnatural?"
Unnatural, yes, like cell phones and bypass surgeries and steel buildings and other things that make modern life enjoyable. Not that there aren't plenty of animals that do it, by the way.
Dangerous? There is the HPV/cancer problem, for which vaccine application is not widespread among boys/men, partly due to an attitude that it's suggesting that the guys are gay, even though I think women may benefit from men being vaccinated.
As far as the whole anal trauma thing, I've yet to find a reputable source that I trust one way or the other. Anyone have any thoughts?
In any event, not all gay people perform all possible gay sexual practices, and most of the potentially questionable ones, such as anal penetration, are available and practiced by straight people as well.

"Are one in ten people actually gay?"
While this Kinsey statistic was pummeled in recent decades, a new survey shows that more than one in ten Millennials identifies as LGBT, so maybe it was not so far off after all.

"Is bisexuality real?"
Yes. Sometimes imitated though, due to an understandable fear of being ostracized for being all-the-way gay.

"Should I come out of the closet?"
I'd recommend it, if only for selfish reasons, so the rest of us could feel less alone out here. Honestly, it's not always easy, but the world is a much friendlier place now than it was twenty years ago when I first broached the subject, and even then I did ok, so you probably will too.
It's your decision though, yours alone.

"Do gay people want to sleep with straight people?"
Have you ever been attracted to a gay person? Maybe you have, maybe you haven't. Probably depends on how many gay people you've known. The odds go up for us, only because there are so many of you that inevitably we come across a few that catch our fancy. And yes, for some, there is a certain fetish for those who are hard (or even impossible) to get. But rest assured that it is not some overarching agenda.
What's more, you should be flattered, not offended, if we like you, as picky as we can be.

"Do gay people get caught up in a self-destructive lifestyle?"
Too often, yes. It's a problem. Be kind and supportive to the gay people in your life; being a good, sane friend can mean more than you know.

What's really fascinating to me is that posts like this are now "boring" to a large segment of the population. What was for so much of my life a hotly disputed issue is now something of a sideshow. If gay rights are your favorite issue, you're probably less political than you used to be, and if you are political, it's probably for a different cause. I consider that the ultimate progress.

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December 3rd, 2015

09:25 pm
What must be horrifyingly tense in person just seems like a weight of sadness from (relatively) far away. Sadness that it happened again, like I knew it would. Like I pretty much know it will again, as much as I wish it weren't so.

My life is good more than it isn't. I'm alive. You're alive. It's beautiful, even when it isn't, and it doesn't last. It's been said a million times, but the reminders never end. It hits again and again, and it sinks in deeper and deeper.

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November 15th, 2015

01:14 am
Third Eye Blind, a piece of my youth and coming of age, released a new album this year. Or should we say "collection" at this point, when no one is really acquiring a physical item, certainly not a true "album" (though ironically vinyl is probably the most popular physical form now)?

Anyway I listened to it today. It sounds very much like 2015 and not very much like Third Eye Blind. This evolution is strongly parallel to that of the city that has always been their home base, San Francisco. Long known as weirdly magical and magically weird, they say that SF's traditional character has faded with the explosion of tech wealth, which is magical in its own way, but there is a sense of loss felt in artsy and alternative lifestyle circles.

I'm not one to give in to the clichéd notion of lamenting change. After all, what is more inevitable than change? Plus the good old days were not always so good for me. I felt a lot of pain along with the joys. The world could be a downright terrifying place as I worked on coming to grips with family, religion, sexuality and so much else.

So much of that turmoil occurred right here in the Valley. In fact, by pure coincidence, I currently reside across the street from where I graduated from high school. Anyway there's something to be said for being here and knowing it is really just a place, for better or for worse.

Much like Flagstaff is just a place, and while I have at times sorely missed who I had been in college, I have learned over the years that this person could not be found in Flagstaff or anywhere else but within my person, and that it's up to me to try to salvage whatever is worth salvaging. That has all sunk in and I feel much better.

I still desire more out of life, but I see that "more" in the unpredictable future, rather than in the fading past.

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November 7th, 2015

10:52 pm
There is a November tradition called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I rarely read novels, let alone write them, though I have been accused of "writing a novel" in workplace communications. Anyway, with the "novel" theme in mind, here is some stream of consciousness:

After all it's not as if they hadn't seen it coming. First the fire and then the heist... At some point you just shrugged and said Bring it on.

None of this actually makes sense mind you, so don't get too hung up on your confusion.

You're hot.

Bad Jesus stalked the good one and tried to steal his mojo but you know you can't do that.

My first job was at a call center. Old people yelled at me to speak slower and louder. Time passed like molasses and sitting made me fat. Aimless and bland, I looked ahead to sameness.

You can influence one person for a while, but society itself is impregnable, and even that one tends to revert, so screw it. Instead society leaves its mark on you. Compromise and then compromise some more.

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September 27th, 2015

06:29 pm
In the past I've often been a bit disconnected from my immediate reality, kind of the daydreamer/absentminded professor type. Having become more self-aware about this tendency, I've made a conscious effort to be more "present." That has helped me in trying to re-adjust to Phoenix: instead of focusing on the puzzling idea of my being back here, I've tried to just be in my life here and not overthink it.

Somewhat contrary to the above, lately I've had a sense of needing to exercise the gears of my brain. It started with assessing where my career is(n't), and trying to get a more concrete, specific sense of what my most valuable (and interesting) skills are.

The most immediate way to grow from what I'm doing now is to become better versed in computer stuff. I've been picking up a little more of the vocabulary and the basic structure of things, with the help of some programming concepts I remember from the most recent time I tried to go back to school.

I also found this phone app that teaches languages. I spent several hours on it the other day relearning some of the basics of Spanish. I'd like to really get serious about that, and quite possibly move on to other languages too.

This summer is so long. I already knew that, of course, but it still wears you down every time. Oh well. It'll be more temperate kinda sorta soon-ish maybe.

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September 7th, 2015

10:09 pm
all the time you waste catches up and weighs you down
blank look on a face that's focused on the ground

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August 22nd, 2015

12:42 pm - Procrastination...
...it's the most loyal of friends; wherever I go, there it is. I need to clean the litterbox; clip the little dude's claws; vacuum my room; understand what health insurance reimbursements I might get for the past year when I've had three different insurers due to switching from unemployed to temp agency to direct hire (I'm prepared for the answer to be "no reimbursement"), to say nothing of navigating what is/isn't available for dental, vision, prescriptions, etc.; get groceries (always, it seems); return a library book that turned out to be evangelical propaganda; do my laundry; vote by Tuesday; and, among, countless other needs, just generally get out of my desert-heat rut and get back to exercising, socializing, career-planning and getting things done.

This weekend I will meet my baby niece, which will be very interesting I'm sure.

Man, what would I ever do if I had to take care of a baby on top of everything? I guess like anything else, there's a rewarding aspect that helps with the added burden. Not that I'm thinking of it or anything. Not any time soon, that's for sure.

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August 19th, 2015

06:26 am - Answer for question 4488.
Have you ever written a love letter? Who was it to? Are you still in contact with that person? Do you remember what you wrote?
The last time would be when I was 12.

I met a girl named Jessica at a church thingy in Colorado where she lived. We started a letter-writing relationship that lasted like one or two years.

It was very sweet at first, and we had at least one reunion, but as time went on I had a weird feeling about the whole thing and eventually sort of weaseled my way out of it.

I still have all the letters though, which is significant since I downsized my life to two suitcases last year.

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