Thursday, October 30, 2008

don't be a douche

Apparently today is blog-what-other-people-blog-day at the ol' desk full. Yet another of my fave blogs has posted something worth sharing, this time a video. If you live under a rock or outside of the U.S. (is this another theme du jour?) then you may not know what California's Proposition 8 is all about. If this is true then very quickly, judges in CA decided that the state constitution makes it illegal to deny gay people the right to marry. Now a bunch of degenerates want to amend the constitution to deny us that right. Prop 8 is their attempt, and the following video explains what this is all about much more eloquently (another theme?) than I. Hat tip to Todd of Iced Tea and Sarcasm.

worth reading and sharing

Over on the left of the page you can see my shared items, stuff that came up in my reader that I felt was worth sharing with both of my readers. Just as I'm trying to write more I'm also trying to utilize the share function more.

As of this moment, the most recent addition is a blog post from a local, Larry Van Guilder. I can't say that I pick up the paper he writes for very often, but his blog is in my reader, so I do get to read his stuff when he posts.

THIS piece is not only worth reading but is also worth both sticking in my share thingy as well as linking directly to him in a blog post. It seems too many in our country don't seem to care what others think about themselves or us as a nation. I've long felt that, even worse than the Bushco legacy here in our country, the international ramifications of his two miserable terms may be the bigger evil. Go read the post I linked because he says it much more eloquently than I.

P.S. Check out THIS ONE as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

can't fathom the depths

Anyone not aware that we are in the final days of a presidential election and who is not under two years old must be living somewhere far away or be somehow incapacitated both mentally and physically.

It's really that simple, so I'm certainly not breaking news when I point this out. We in the U.S. are in the twilight of a make or break election, a period when we get screwed by the "maverick" and the hockey mom or we see our nation finally elect outside the usual old, white man box. Yes, maverick gets square quotes because he so isn't. He's a bitter and nasty old man who we'll hopefully soon see the last of in the national spotlight.

Of course I'm not voting Obama because he's a black man, but it is historic that of the two major party candidates still left in the fight one of them is indeed black. This has never happened before, and even more insane is that, not only are we likely to finally elect our first black president but this is the first time a black person has actually been a viable candidate.

So close to electing Obama is historic, but what does it say that it's taken us this long to actually have this option? What does it say that no other black person has ever made it this far? What does it say about our nation that the only black people who I can remember running were also so unlikely to win? Who have we had in the past as options? Al Sharpton? Jesse Jackson? Alan Keyes? Okay, try to think of Alan Keyes as viable without pissing your pants from laughing.

Why have we never seen a viable and sensible black candidate before? Where are the Andrew Youngs when we need them?

I don't know what this says about us. I doubt we are as far passed our racist past as we'd like to believe, but I'd also like to believe that Obama represents a huge step forward. I just hope he wins and then lives to show us the change he keeps promising.

This actually began life in my brain as I pondered what sort of person thinks McPalin is worth voting for. I can't fathom the idiocy that I feel it takes to think it's okay to vote for those two. I don't mean to offend, but I can't help but be offended when I realize how close this race is. I really can't accept that intelligent and thoughtful people look at Sarah Palin and are okay with voting for her. McCain? I just don't know. I really just don't know.

maybe about to freak out

There was a time, and I was a little proud of this, when I felt as if I could walk into any restaurant and fill out an application and walk away with a job. Things are suddenly not even close to like that.

I've spent two days filling out applications, and I decided today to take a break. Yesterday Cute Boyfriend hung out with the kids for a bit while I went job hunting. I dropped an application off at the awesome local used book store, and then I heard nothing. Of all the places I've applied this one would be the coolest to work.

Other than the three-ish years I wasn't a very good stay at home dad, I've pretty much done nothing but restaurant work for nearly twenty years. Okay, there was a stint as a security guard, and there were the random months of random jobs through a temp agency, and there was the drywall labor position where I sanded and carried out scrap and smoked pot in the back of the new unit and jumped in the bed of that one guy's truck to scram from the job site when OSHA showed up.

Suddenly, perhaps because of the financial climate, no one is hiring cooks. I haven't gone to every single restaurant I could, so perhaps there are jobs I'm distancing myself from, and really, I should swallow my pride and try, but I really don't want to work at Cracker Barrel or Waffle House or the steak house with the zillion item hot bar or any fast food ever. Also, I don't want to have to take out my ear rings, because I don't want my ears to shrink back to normal size.

The problem really is that I need money. I'm sitting on the last few dollars from my last paycheck, and I'm trying like hell not to even think about that because that makes me think about the place I've most recently been fired from, and the whole story about how/why I got fired just pisses me off.

It's all a bit depressing. I finally gave up for the day yesterday out of a depressed frustration. I should be able to find a job. I have experience and skills, but it's the same every place I've been to.

"Your application looks good. You have a lot of experience, but we're full up right now. If something comes up, and you know how restaurants are, we'll give you a call."

I do know how restaurants are. I wrote a report about this thing at the shitty business college I'm still paying off. Annual average turnover in restaurants is three hundred percent. That means that over the course of a year, the average restaurant hires and loses enough staff to fully staff itself three times over. That's fucked up to say the least, and I'm part of that, or was.

There's a local produce company, the kind that sells and delivers to restaurants, a place I'm familiar with, having used their services at a number of restaurants at which I've worked. They have a marquee on their sign that has read "now hiring drivers" for as long as I can remember. I've contemplated this, but I know the sort of hours required, think three in the morning start time. If Momma and I had our own cars, as opposed to sharing one, this job would be more likely, but as it is, there just isn't a reasonable way to even think about this one, though I do think if I could get used to the hours that I could actually enjoy doing this.

So I find myself still jobless, still searching, still unhappy with my lack of options and unhappy with those things that seem like options. I could start looking outside of the restaurant industry, but I really don't know what else I could do. I just don't feel like I know how to do anything else.

Maybe it's time to suck it up and just take whatever I can find. I'm really not so proud that I wouldn't take a good job if it showed up, but I need something I can be proud I'm doing and that pays the bills and helps me buy a new car and find a new place to live. The Powerball is up to fifty nine million. I have not invested in the luck machine in quite a while, and I know it's a bad sign when Powerball tickets start to seem like a not unwise purchase.

Yeah, that's a bad sign.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


That's what I have to say here, nothing. For whatever reason I feel compelled to post something.

My current reading is Brisingr, the third book in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. I had assumed that the cycle was a trilogy when I first began Eragon, the first book, and I don't really have any idea why I thought that, maybe because trilogies just seem like the way most people go. Regardless, I'm enjoying the book as much as the first two and would recomend it to anyone who enjoys books about young people and dragons tasked with saving the world from evil.

There's a cute boy laying on my sofa watching television, a cute boy that I've been seeing/dating/whatever for slightly more than two months. I understand that two months isn't generally that long an amount of time, but it's got to be worth a couple of years in gay time. I think I'll settle on Cute Boyfriend as his nickname for the blog. It's not my favorite, but I haven't figured out what my favorite is and haven't come up with anything better.

My ears are now stretched to a four gauge, and I could easily get twos in the holes, but I don't have any twos. Cute Boyfriend has a couple of zero gauge plugs that I've already threatened to steal, but I'm not sure if they'd go in yet. I think they might, but I'd spend the next few days in a tiny bit of discomfort while the ears got used to them.

The kids are in bed, Momma is gone to her boyfriend's house for the night and I'm fast running out of things to talk about here. Tomorrow I begin my newest job search. I'm starting at a local bookstore that I hope is hiring and hires me. It would certainly be a break from working in kitchens, a break I'm beginning to think I need. There was that three years of break I took, but somehow that doesn't seem to count.

And with that I do believe I'm done with this post. I'm sorry for the lack of substance here, but that's what you get tonight. Enjoy the fact that I'm forcing myself to post more often and am finally back from the annoying place I subjected you to too often recently.

Friday, October 24, 2008

who's bad?

I'm sitting here, headphones clamped tight, YouTube sharing a song with me. I may have bitched fairly recently about my inability to get YouTube to work on my computer because I was unable to download the newest version of the flash player. I've seen that damned tiny green puzzle piece much too often as of late.

I finally fixed the problem by upgrading the version of Ubuntu that I had and now have not only the newest version of Ubuntu but also a media player that allows me to do the musical thing I just said.

That means, as far as I'm concerned, that it's time to share. I haven't given you a video in much too long, so I will share something with you. It's a song that may or may not be about god, and being the good li'l agnostic I am I don't care.

With absolutely no more discussion by me I give you Black and Gold by Sam Sparro. Okay, there's a tiny bit of discussion because the video is actually not the video because Universal, being the corporate dipshits that they are would rather not share the music as much as they could. They have disabled embedding, so I'm forced to use something that's not the video. Honestly, the song is the thing I'm after, so the video can suck it as can Universal Moneygrubbing Group. I just want to share a song I like by an artist I'm growing to like as I hear more.

Hit the play button and minimize this window while you do something else. That's what I usually do, as videos are so seldom worth watching anyway.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

need something to do?

We all know how much our homeschooled kids and friends love a good essay contest. I think many homeschoolers most love the essay contests in which they are not specifically mentioned as it allows them to feel put upon and gives them an excuse to boycott someone.

Never fear, because the essay contest I've just learned about is open to "home-school" kids even if the contest people don't know that we pretty much decided on homeschool as one word, not two and certainly not hyphenated. I may be wrong about that, but I do know what the consensus seems to be, and that's what I'm going with.

Hat tip to Good As You for noticing this one. High school age kids as well as college freshmen and sophomores may enter. The topic is the preservation of traditional families. Of course, when one sees the phrase "traditional family" one has to understand that what is meant is a very narrow view, a sort of fifties era Beaver Cleaver type family. We all know that those families exist, and often they live right next door to our own just as normal families.

I guess my own family is suddenly not real anymore. Momma and I, though we still share some expenses as well as a house and car, are no longer a valid family. I'd wager that we don't really even equal a family anymore. Perhaps eventually Momma will remarry and will then be okay again, but until I stop being gay, I'm probably not even a father anymore.

Anyway, having rambled and made less than no sense, HERE is a link to the contest page. The contest hosts are some group known as the Traditional Family Coalition. As mentioned, people who use words like "traditional" usually don't get that their tradition is a dream that never really existed, but they don't care. Their scriptural guide seems to tell them to lie when it furthers their agenda, so I'm sure I'm the one that's wrong.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

thanks for that

The place I worked till recently is in the Old City, one of the oldest parts of our town, the place that was once known as the bowery, the place that was built on a swamp, the place that people from the west side of town think is full of whores and pickpockets and muggers and . . .

You get the picture.

I may be forgetting somewhere, but counting in my head I've come up with at least nine different restaurant/bars, though only one of them is my usual, my default, my watering hole. It's been a place that has been friendly to me over the years.

Rewind your calender to a mere few days ago when I was there, early in the evening, the only (and I do mean only) customer sitting at the bar. The place does decent business later at night, but I was there early. The only people besides me at the bar were the owner and the bartender.

I worked at this place for a couple of weeks before taking a better paying/more hours job at the place I worked till recently, and all of this really is part of the point. I really am going somewhere with this.

I quit this bar on decent terms, giving them a full two weeks notice, and the owner seemed pleased with my work. He and I, while not bosom buddies, have remained on fairly friendly terms. I stop when I see him, he stops, we chat for a moment, hail and farewell and all that shit.

So back to sitting solo at the bar, and I'm talking to the owner. He inquires about the job and how I like the place I left him for, and without giving it too much thought I give him my honest opinion.

-the place isn't being run well
-the owners don't really know what they are doing
-the son of one of the owners who does the day to day running of the business is a dumbass and doesn't quite pay attention to what he needs to be doing
-they neglect the many years of experience the kitchen staff has and choose to run the place poorly
-they won't be open a year from now
-the prices are much too high for the location
-they've priced themselves out of business
-they are resorting to some questionable specials in order to try to make money

That last one I will use as an example of what is so wrong with the place. Picture if you will a restaurant trying to be a slightly upscale version of a British pub. Now imagine if you will that they institute a "ladies night" to attempt to bring in business. Yeah, that kind of thing.

Apparently the ex-boss ran into my more new ex-boss at a city council meeting and, in front of any number of local bigwigs and wannabes, told him all that I said. New ex-boss decides to let me go, and he does it in a way in which one can certainly be proud. He took me off the schedule and then said absolutely nothing to me about it.

So how did I found out I'd been fired? After dropping Momma off at work this morning, as I was about to pull away from the place, I realized her phone had slipped out of her pocket. I turned the car off, walked inside to find her and decided to look at the schedule. I was not on it. I don't mean my name and schedule were crossed off, as usually happens when someone gets fired from a restaurant. They completely remade the schedule so that my name didn't even exist.

Several hours later an ex-coworker called to tell me that, indeed, I had been let go. It was then that I heard the story I just related. I was fired because one ex-boss ran his mouth and made a joke out of what I'd told him, me assuming some amount of something not unlike confidentiality. My new ex-boss was quite embarassed, or so I was told. In a rousing feat of standing up and being a man he had someone else do his dirty work and actually call me and speak to me personally.

The sad part, beyond that my newest ex-boss is what we often call a bitch, a friend with no reason to have to was the person to relay the news, a friend with enough issues of his own regarding this place, who has already been screwed over by my new ex-boss. Yeah, he had to start his day like that.

That's my story for the day. It isn't a pretty story, but, all things considered, what's one more weight piled onto me? I'm sure I can take more. I'm not broke enough.

And to the sorry ass that fired me, sorry Mr. N that your pride got hurt, but seriously, you have no more business running a restaurant than I have performing surgery.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


This is something you may not know, but I sort of kind of hate my job. It should be a great place to work, and if it was the sort of place the owners intended it to be I would be proud and happy to work there.

The main problem in my humble opinion is that the owners are the sort of people who just shouldn't own a restaurant. The entirety of their experience in this industry is contained entirely in the few short months that they have been restaurateurs. Another way of looking at it is that they don't have a damn clue how to do this right, and they won't likely be open much longer.

As a quick aside, if you are familiar with Anthony Bourdain's books you may remember something he wrote about his own experiences with restaurant owners and his list of people who shouldn't own restaurants. My bosses should be on that list, and I'm sure they are at least somewhat represented.

Momma just texted me that I'm no longer scheduled to work tonight due to labor cost. This shouldn't be an issue because we should be busy enough in general, but we are not, so it is. My options now are to accept not working and the smaller check or to call a coworker and try to pick up a shift. Neither of those are really what I want. I don't want to have to work, but I'm already going to be missing one day on my check because I was sent home for being late.

I can see a bit of a pattern here, and I know from experience that I am within easy view of the end of my employment at this particular establishment. And this brings up another thought.

I feel and have felt as if cooking is pretty much all I know how to do. There have been other jobs in my short years working, but they were many years ago and not the sort of experience I could carry over into a new job. The depressing note here is that I feel more and more as if, though this is all I know how to do, I'm just not really that good at it. I'm not sure where this feeling comes from because I used to be different. I took great pride in my abilities, identified to a large extent as a cook. Add to all this the fact that I have so little to show for anything at my age, and it all starts to cloud over with a tinge of depression.

My life is changing so much and so randomly that sometimes I just don't know what to do. I don't know where to turn. I don't have a lot of confidence in myself right now. Don't get me started on my need for a car and a new place to live.

follow up

As I mentioned in my last post I have now come out to my family. There is one brother I have yet to hear from, but he is the brother whose first attempt bounced back to me. I found another email address for him, so hopefully he gets the news. I hate that any of them have to be the last to hear, but I suppose someone has to be.

I know that most of my brothers have gotten their email as all but the one have responded. I can't say I'm surprised by any of the reactions I got, and they were all at least slightly not unsupportive in a sense. They each did at least let me know that they still love me and that I can count on them should I need.

Given the nature of all of this, my homosexuality and their fairly right leaning christian beliefs, the responses were, as I've said, not really surprising. I've got a sister in law whose heart is breaking for us. I have two brothers who disagree with my "lifestyle" though I don't know that either of them used those words. One of the brothers has alerted me to the fact that I'll never be satisfied with fleshly pleasures and assured me that I know the truth or what I need to do or something along those lines. I'm sure what he means has everything to do with his religion and belief system.

While it's certainly a load off my shoulders to no longer have this secret, it isn't really making my life any easier in general. It isn't getting me a better job or a car or a place to live. It isn't going to make my hands any less stiff as the weather turns colder. It isn't going to put any food in my children's bellies. Maybe though the sun is a tiny bit brighter, the late blooming fall flowers a little more showy. Maybe it just seems that way because I've taken one more tiny progressive step toward finally being me. Now if I could just figure the rest of the me part out I'll be in good shape.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

it's done

Part of me feels a little bad that I used email, but an even bigger part doesn't really quite care. Yes, I emailed my parents and then my brothers to come out to them.

Yes, I know. It does seem a little impersonal for this sort of thing. To them, I can only assume, this is sort of a big deal. This may be quite a blow. I've actually gotten some replies, and while none of them have yet been terribly supportive, they have at least extended their love and help.

And there's a big reason that I chose email. I have to admit that I don't know what any of them are really going to think, but having grown up in the religion most of them still believe I think I have some small reason to believe I can assume some small amount of which direction most of them might go with this.

My memory isn't quite good enough to remember exactly when it was that I first started to think there was some chance I might be gay. It wasn't too long after that before I really began to accept it. And then for whatever reasons I still can't quite figure out I began to pretend I wasn't gay and began the several years of misery that living in the closet is.

There's yet another reason I chose email, that I feel I've spent enough time, somewhere in the vicinity of twenty years, dealing with this. Even five minutes of negativity or even just simple disagreement is more than I'm willing to deal with.

I don't want to be rude to my family, regardless of their beliefs, regardless of how they now choose to view me. At the same time I'm not going to change because of anything they say. I'm not going to suddenly not be gay. I'm not going to let anyone make me feel bad about this, becaue I've already done that. I've already felt bad enough trying not to be gay, and now that I'm finally accepting it, I don't care if others do or don't, but I'm not going to let anyone add to the misery I've already inflicted on myself.

So that is what I did this weekend. It's done and out of the way. Hopefully no more emails bounce so that I don't have to resend the damn thing. I did save it as a draft just in case and because I didn't want to have to write yet another version. I've already written two different versions, one to send the parents and the second for the brothers. Just getting those two versions written was a giant pain in the ass of over editing as I'm a bit anal and am never happy with the first or even the second or third version of anything I do.

How was your weekend?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

wow, these updates sure are BS

I thought I was finally starting to get back to blogging, back to bothering people with things, and I really felt like it was going to happen. If anything over the past week, this is what probably drove me the most crazy.

Our computer has been slowly dying, likely caused by something malicious that got inside, or so we think. Windows was working really poorly, and online was pure hell as we found ourselves with speeds rivalling the quickest dial up connections.

We have a friend who claims to know stuff about computers and works doing stuff with them, and he volunteered to give it a look to see if he could help. The plan was for him to take the hard drive and save all the folders we actually wanted to his clean hard drive. That apparently was not possible, so he gave the hard drive back. He was nice enough to alert us to the likelihood that our computer is fucked.

It is now back in the computer, and I'm using an Ubuntu disk I burned and even wrote about some time back. It's working just fine, but I can only run the operating system from the disk.

And that's my story. I checked my email once this past week. I haven't looked at my reader at all. I checked Myspace the day I checked my email. It's kind of nice having the computer back.

All of that to say that, on some level, I really am back, even if I disappear entirely, unless I'm not. That would be something different altogether.

Friday, October 03, 2008

cosillas de borega

Almost in the very middle of the back of my left hand is a little bit of a scar, a crescent moon in red indenting my skin about an inch below the second knuckle. It's not even really noticeable, I assume, to the casual observer. That happened when I smacked the back of my hand into the fish cart.

We have a cart roughly one foot by three feet, maybe four feet tall. It's on wheels and has three shelves and lives during service next to the door between the kitchen and the dish room. It holds the fish, tomatoes and onions that are the fry station's output as well as the requisite flour, panko, corn meal and egg wash.

Rushing through the kitchen one night, not accounting for the fish cart being moved to the opposite side of the doorway next to which it lives, my arm's usual swing brought my hand into the end of the fish cart with some amount of force. I was concerned for the rest of the night that I'd broken a couple of the bones because it hurt so much. The skin was a broken a bit, and the sign of that ordeal is the tiny scar that will probably fade eventually.

While Frenching racks of lamb recently, paring knife in my right hand, lamb in my left, I found the paring knife dragging its point across my second finger. It's barely a cut, just enough to get a couple of grains of salt and maybe a bit of black pepper in while salting the chips. It didn't bleed even, though the blood from the lamb made it hard to be sure until after I'd washed my hands. The sad part of that is that I nearly cut myself a second time before finishing that job.

There are a couple of burns on my right hand, though none are fresh. They are currently slowly fading pink spots, barely reminders that, indeed, the oven is in fact hot. The most sore thing on my right hand would be the knife callous.

At the base of my index finger, on the inside, is the callous where the back of my knife blade rests. It's a healthy little fucker until you work with something really wet or really firm. Wet soaks in and softens the skin sometimes, and the callous wants to escape and peel away.

Firm foods have a different effect. Perhaps you need to dice half a bag of parsnips. It's almost as if the dull back of the knife is doing its own slow cut into the callous as you slice the parsnip. It's also not unlike the callous is getting spread around like cool butter, mashed and forced across the bread that is my finger. The callous generally rights itself soon enough, but it's certainly a fun little friend halfway through the bag.

If you like callous stories then consider the ring I wear on my right ring finger and that same knife. Of course any ring you wear all the time will form some amount of callous, but press the handle of a knife into that hand for a large percentage of your work day. At least you don't feel the pinching as much when it finally forms a callous. Some days however, the ring and callous, for whatever reason, don't quite align. The blister you don't realize you have is a thoughtful reminder.

And don't get me started on the fact that I can't manage not to hit my head on certain things. Don't get into the fact that I have three tiny (seriously not visible two days later tiny) cuts on my hand from falling ice. Ignore the twinge in my back from the slick spot which I slipped in but did not actually fall all the way down, opting instead for a graceless half spin/twist movement that I'm not really capable of making. I'll also ignore the recurring foot pain for which I can discern nor remember any cause whatsoever even considering several years past. Perhaps it's the cheap Sears boots, but I don't really think so.

I'll leave you with that, my litany of nearly woes. None of these are really that great or horrid a source of pain. They are as described, just tiny little motes that don't really warrant complaint. None of them are bothering me at the moment other than the cut on my finger, and it's not really even bothering me so much as it is sort of asserting itself to be noticed almost. The only scab on either hand is one whose cause I don't even remember, a scab I absentmindedly picked off at some point earlier tonight. All of this I have now milked unabashedly, forcing a blog post from where there was none. Even I can't believe I'd stoop so low, but what's done is done. The cat is for real out of the bag.