My Coat of Arms, drawn by me at age 11

This is my coat of arms, that I drew when I was 11 and I was in love with Princess Diana and all things British, so I read books on heraldry and ignored most of what I learned and drew some badass unicorn horns and swords and arrows. And some gender ambiguous people hanging out, chilling.

My Coat of Arms

Kate Middleton had to make up her own coat of arms now that she’s a princess, and she put some acorns on it. That is not very badass.


Continue ReadingMy Coat of Arms, drawn by me at age 11

Question: birthday redos

Anon Question: If you had to live your 16th birthday or your 21st birthday over and over for a month, which would you choose?
I wish I remembered either one well, actually. I have a terrible memory and don’t recall what I was doing either time. That really is why I take photos and why I keep this blog; so I can look up what I did in the past because without a trigger I can’t recall.

I’d have to say I’d relive my 21st birthday, though, because I was certainly much happier than I was at 16. I was out of the closet, I had dated women, I had had sex. I think I was sorta dating a woman name Kim H. at the time; she was yanking my chain and probably fooling around, but I was deeply infatuated with her, and I got to be naked with her on a regular basis, so yeah, way happier. God was she cute.

I don’t think I really got drunk on my actual 21st birthday. After a great deal of thought, I remember now going out to the gay bar in Muncie, because I had been going out there with a fake ID for almost two years, and I remember presenting my real ID at the door and them laughing at it. I believe I got a free drink. It was summer, but I had stayed at Ball State to take summer classes and work – I was working full time in a factory making industrial gas valves. I think I went to get my license updated that day, and I think I had dinner with Kim and fooled around, then went out in the evening.

Lots happier than at 16 at home working full time during the summer and probably not doing much of anything with my friends.

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old golf balls

When I was a kid living in Ankeny, Iowa, living on Belmont Street, my dad had a yellow-ish plastic bucket of old golf balls in the garage. Get More Info about the best garage insulation services by reading this post. He kept them for golf practice, I guess – although I don’t know how good they were for that, given that they had gouges out of them and dings from being used. I think my dad must have collected them from the water hazards at whatever golf course he went to, because he also had a golf-ball retriever scoop on a pole. (Did you know there are people who run entire businesses scuba-diving for golf balls in water hazards? I did not.) Incidentally, my dad still retrieves golf balls, only now he lives on an exclusive golf course in the mountains in Arizona, and has trained the dog to pick them up while out on walks.

Paul and I and Todd used to try to steal one or two of the balls from the bucket and cut them open, because we’d been taught by the Schmidt kids (we were taught a lot of shit by those neighbor kids – all good stories for another day) that inside, nested in a tightly coiled bundle of rubber band-like threading, there was a rubber ball we could use as a superball – one of the small bouncy balls that came out of gumball/prize machines that we always unsuccessfully lobbied my mom for at the supermarket entrance. After you used someone’s pocket knife to cut through the white outer shell (or scraped the ball against the ground until you wore through the shell when you weren’t allowed to use a knife) you could cut the rubber bands and they would start to unravel, the bundle bouncing around until it had all come undone. And inside was a rubber ball. It did work – although we were also told by the Schmidt kids that in some balls, the center was a toxic gel that would burn your skin instead of a rubber ball. That may be true, (apparently, some do have gel, but not toxic) but I don’t recall ever running across a ball like that. To keep us from messing around, my dad put the bucket up on a shelf in the top of the garage.

When the tornado hit on 1974, and the swing set slammed into the back of the garage, (at least that’s how I recall it happening; I was six, I think, so my recollection is a bit dim and often I need to consult with my mom on these sorts of things) and the garage tilted over at half-keel, the bucket of golf balls fell off the shelf and spilled out over the garage floor and onto the driveway, mixed in with yellow fiberglass debris and wooden fragments from the roof of the Hy-Vee grocery store behind our house. That was one of the more helpful hints that made me realize that our garage was strong! I have a picture in my mind of that, but that may be informed or reinforced by photos taken of the storm damage on the day after, which I would have viewed much later on.

The other day, I was helping my mom retrieve for disposal some of the junk that had accumulated over the years in the attic above her garage, and I found that yellow bucket of battered, beat-up golf balls. Let me spell out why that was odd – it means that bucket traveled from Belmont Street to SE Fourth Street in Ankeny, where it resided several years, and then got packed up and traveled with the whole family to Canton, Ohio for a couple years, too. Then it got packed up once again and made its way to Noblesville, where my family moved in the early eighties, and its been in the attic for probably all of that time since. Why on earth did we pack a bucket of golf balls and cart it over the country? Maybe my dad and mom used them all that time and I just don’t remember it, but it seems odd. As soon as I saw them, though, I had the impulse to scrape one of them against the sidewalk to peel off the white shell and see the rubber bands underneath. Nevermind that I have a couple golf balls laying around the house that the dog plays with that I could do that to – it’s something about the familiarity of this particular bucket that made remember this long string of associations I’d forgotten.

Continue Readingold golf balls

On the Tarmac for 6 hours for SXSWi

Yesterday we had one of those nightmarish plane trips you hear about on the news every so often. Our American Airlines flight to Austin, Texas had a (supposed to be) short stop in Dallas/Fort Worth airport. The first leg from Indianapolis to Dallas went smoothly, and we got on the plane 1717 for the 36ish minute flight from Dallas to Austin.

As we got to the runway, they made the pilot turn back to de-ice the plane. The airport had known the storm was coming in, but the didn’t have the de-icers prepared near take off, so the captain had to turn around and taxi back to where they were located, which took an hour and a half. I’m paraphrasing what the captain was telling us here; I don’t really know beans about plane de-icers.

Note that this wasn’t a very big storm by northern standards; less than an inch of snow and some sleet. Something that Indianapolis airport handles regularly and Chicago and New York do in their sleep. Six inches of snow, according to the news. And Dallas doesn’t get snow often, so I guess I should allow them to act like big babies about it.

In the process of waiting behind the other planes that had arrived at the de-icers first (planes that were taking off after ours) our plane ran out of fuel, and had to return to a gate to refuel. It took two hours to clear a gate for us to pull in and refuel, and in the meantime, 50 other planes got in line for the de-icer ahead of us.

We waited two and a half more hours for the traffic jam at the de-icers to clear, and then American Airlines canceled all their flights out. They told us over the intercom that the whole airport canceled flights, but we found out later that wasn’t true. All through the process of sitting on the plane, the airport would tell captain one thing and then another; he was obviously pretty frustrated with them when he was making announcements of the intercom, and he appeared to think we were getting the shaft. At one time, after saying “I’m sorry, I don’t know anything.” for the hundredth time, he joked “I do know I’m the captain of this plane. That’s one thing I do know.”

In the last hour of the trip, passengers behind us opened a betting pool on when we would actually take off. None of them won.

We decided to get a rental car and drive (3 and a half hours) to Austin. American wouldn’t release our luggage to us though; they’re putting it on a plane this morning. They say.

On the shuttle from the airport to the car rental, we heard that only American canceled flights and all the other airlines continued. I’ll have to check on that on the news this morning. So we got to the hotel about 10 p.m. – 9 hours after we originally were supposed to arrive. — updated: all the flights were canceled, not just American.

Needless to say; I’m not flying American ever again, and I’ll definitely never fly into Dallas, where they’re too big weenies to deal with a bit of snow. I’ll give them the snow. I wish they’d done a better job of managing the planes, because ours really got shafted.

Somewhere in the confusion of packing I put my iPhone charger in my checked luggage, which frustrating. I can charge it by tethering it to my laptop, but that’s pretty inconvenient.

What’s even less convenient is that I put my CPAP machine in my checked luggage; something that the airlines advised to do because TSA is too stupid to recognize what it is and tends to pull people out of security lines for them, thinking they’re improvised explosive devices.

Fortunately, I did not die of sleep apnea last night. I did have a pretty rough night though, and feel like crap, which is of course the way I want to start out our trip. Also, I’m wearing the clothes from yesterday, which is lovely.

Continue ReadingOn the Tarmac for 6 hours for SXSWi

Sesame Street Clips that scared me as a kid

Courtesy of Boing Boing, where they felt the same way. This first one with the orange singing was really scary:

This one was more funny, but it still bugged me.

I swore up and down that Mahna Mahna was from Sesame Street, while friends of mine insisted it was from the Muppet Show. Turns out we both were right. This first clip is the one I remember from childhood:

This one came much later:

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Magnetic Fork

A while back, I blogged about a strange phenomenon that I and my co-workers discovered while out at lunch in a restaurant – some of the knives at our table were magnetic. We noticed it a few more times in different restaurants – one or two knives will be magnetic and you can pick up, or at least drag around, other utensils with them.

We had a number of theories about what caused this, but of course we don’t know beans about science, restaurant management, or the production of silverware, so they didn’t go anywhere. I tested all the knives at home, but found nothing.

My friends briefly considered naming their band magnetic knife, but the rejected that (along with “Escalator Accident” – a band name I created a logo for) in favor of something else.
Since then, I’ve always checked for magnetic knives when I go out to eat. Last night, Stephanie and I were discussing the subject at Max and Erma’s and playing with the silverware, when she discovered her fork was magnetic.

Which is really cool – except that all this time, I haven’t been checking the forks!


Knife and Fork

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Delicious Annual Nut Sale (Spay-Neuter Serv.)

I know this “true story” is true, because it’s an actual memo that got sent around our work email.

It’s this time of year again!

The wonderful nut assortments are once again available, benefitting Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana. Included are pecan halves, mixed nuts, chocolate pecan clusters, whole cashews, honey roasted peanuts, white chocolate pretzels, and chocolate-covered almonds.

Order deadline is Oct. 9. Please stop by my desk on 5th floor (5062).

Thanks — take it from those who ordered them last year — they’re delicious and reasonably priced!

Update – One of the folks from Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana found this on my blog and wrote me to let me know that they still have nut sales going on to fund-raise for their not-for-profit work — you can find out how to order here:

Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana, Inc.
P.O. Box 55917
Indianapolis, IN 46205-0917
Voice Mail 317.767.7771
Fax 866.771.0358
27 almond $7
17 clusters $8
8 malted milk $6
22 peanut $5
45 pecans $8
60 deluxe mixed $7
(sorry, no more cashews)

They also have some fun t-shirts for sale at their website.

Delicious, funny, and for a great cause – that’s quite a trifecta.

Continue ReadingDelicious Annual Nut Sale (Spay-Neuter Serv.)

National Coming Out Day

Okay, I’ve been officially called out by one of my gay friends for being flip about National Coming Out Day, so I’ll ‘straighten’ my act out and give the day the attention it deserves.

Nineteen years ago on October 11, 1987, I was a student at Ball State University. I had been out of the closet since the previous year, but I didn’t have a huge amount of exposure to the gay community. The on-campus gay group was rather small, and I couldn’t get into bars yet, and I knew very little about gay culture.

The Thursday night before this day, I had been hanging out drinking with the small handful of gay people I did know: Gary Rice, Scott McClintic, Kally Love, and Kathy _____ (who’s last name I don’t quite remember.) It was about 1 in the morning, and someone brought up this “March on Washington” happening this weekend. And we all looked at each other, and someone said “We should go!” and the idea caught fire. Kathy called up some friends she knew in Maryland (in the middle of the night, of course), and asked if we could crash, and they said, “of course!”

So we went home, slept a couple of hours, threw some clothes in bags, and piled into Scott’s red Camaro. (Yeah, that’s five people in a Camaro, if you’re counting. I sat in the middle of the backseat, on the hump. I was really skinny back then.) After about twelve hours of singing, drinking and flashing pro-gay hand-drawn signs at other people on the road also driving to the March, we arrived in Maryland at Kathy’s friends apartment to sleep.

The next morning, Saturday, we drove to a metro parking lot, parked the Camaro, and took the Metro line to Dupont Circle (which is a very gay-friendly, progressive area of town with lots of gay businesses, like boystown in Chicago, or Greenwich Village in NY) to “find the gay people”. We were all from midwestern small-towns, and as we started to realize how many people riding the Metro with us were gay, we started getting more excited. I’m not sure I can adequately describe the feeling of being empowered/alive you feel as a minority when you find yourself in a group where there are more of “us” than there are of “them” — especially when you’re gay, because you typically don’t grow up with other gay people around you to temper the hostility directed at you, and you often feel very alone.
And then we got to the Dupont Circle Metro station. As we rode the escalator steps up from the dark station into the daylight, with the sounds of lots and lots of people overhead — the lyrics to a Wizard of Oz song popped into my mind:

You’re out of the woods, You’re out of the dark, You’re out of the night.
Step into the sun, Step into the light.
Keep straight ahead for the most glorious place
On the Face of the Earth or the sky.
Hold onto your breath, Hold onto your heart, Hold onto your hope.
March up to the gate and bid it open

There were people hanging out at the top of the stairs with signs — “Welcome Gay People!” and the circle was absolutely packed with people, and rainbows, rainbows, everywhere. And then there was a low rumbling sound, that got louder, as hundreds of motorcycles roared past — the Dykes on Bikes were driving through. I, of course, had never heard of the group, so I had no idea what to expect, or what to think of hundreds of butch women in leather on motorcycles, with femme blonde women in leather bikinis riding on the back of their bikes. I was thunderstruck.

That’s when I first realized how very different my life was going to be.

National Coming Out Day
Continue ReadingNational Coming Out Day