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I’m looking at the information for this weekend’s rally/protest/gathering here in Dallas and there seems to be a lack of information. All I have is the time, and the place. (Just for locals, it’s 12:30 at Dallas City Hall - check out the join the impact web site of directions)

I’m a member of Generation X. We didn’t protest the Gulf War, not the War on Terror. Perhaps we don't really know how. Although many of our generation have served in the military, there was never a draft for us to be polarized against. Generation X, known as the slackers that we are, never got as worked up about things as the generation before us. I guess we didn’t feel as much need to take to the streets, and we haven’t had the same events, Vietnam, Stonewall, civil rights, as they did. Watching the G8 protests or the protests at the Republican convention seem to be portraits of futility as they are far away from the event and only seem to get minimal attention (and lots of tear gas). Maybe we’re just realists and know that change takes time, and there’s other ways to make that change.

Going into the protest this weekend, my thoughts aren’t about the impact, but more trivial things. Do I need a sign? Do I need to have a big breakfast? How long will it last? Will there be a bathroom? Will I have things thrown at me? Of course there’s the big one: What message are we trying to convey here?

I’ll admit I’m skeptical about the Prop 8 protests. It seems to me that this outrage and concern should have taken place before the vote. I understand the sentiment, but the efforts seem to be rather random and the message doesn’t seem well honed. While I’m skeptical, I support the effort simply because I hope that it will lead to more organization, and a honing of our message.

One of the biggest mistakes I think the gay community has made was not explaining well enough why marriage matters to us, and why full marriage equality is a civil right. We’ve done poorly in arguing that there is a big difference between religious marriage and civil marriage, and it’s the civil marriage we are fighting for. We’ve allowed the religious right blur the lines far too often where you’d almost believe that civil marriage should only be granted by the church. We have to do more to encourage the ongoing conversation of the separation of church and state.

We also need to do more work in bringing people to our side. This is where I’m not sure protesting works. I think our community needs to do more outreach, more works with the religious community and more work with people of color. I think SoulForce that goes out to mega-churches and religious colleges, as well as other groups within various faiths that are trying to work from within are very helpful. I think we’ve missed an opportunity to work with ethnic groups where we seem to encourage gays of color not to engage their communities. I’m probably wrong, but I don’t hear much about this. Perhaps I should read the Pam’s House Blend blog more often.

I think we may have taken too much for granted here, expecting that if we supported civil rights and social programs for others, they would come to help us with ours, but we really haven’t made our case. Perhaps taking to the streets will garner attention, but we need to make this turn into a lasting effort. People will tire of protesting and we need leadership to keep us involved, and the message current. One good thing I heard is to keep placing initiatives for marriage equality on statewide ballots year after year. The pro-life community does this, and though most of the initiates fail year after year, it keeps people talking about the issue.

I hope that the outcome of these protests around the country is that we will see more leaders rise from the grass roots. I believe we’ve gotten to this point because those we look to as gay leaders really weren’t there for the California vote. Groups like Equality California do great work, we need to stop thinking that each amendment is a single state issue, and take it as a nationwide fight. We also need to think longer term than just setting up groups like No on 8 that only work on one specific fight. I’m glad to see the No on 8 organization continue the fight, but the group wasn’t designed for the long haul.

What’s interesting to me is that we don’t seethe nationwide groups taking the lead here. I do see some nationwide groups that assisted including Lambda Legal, The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, but they didn’t drive the No on 8 fight, and they could have done more to generate nationwide support. I’m guessing most groups saw it only as a one-state issue.

The one group that I’m really disappointed in is the Human Rights Campaign. Where are they? I looked at their website and if you looked there was a couple of pictures of a protest, but there’s no action being taken by the largest gay rights group – the one that doesn’t have gay or lesbian in its name. I don’t see them organizing or assisting the protests. They stay in Washington and never get involved with state issues. For a group that takes so much money from the gay community, I really don’t think they give much back. I haven’t give them any money directly, and I personally don’t see much value in doing so right now. I’d really like to see more out of HRC, but I’ve learned to expect much less.

I was much too young for Stonewall, and I’ve attended pride parades, not marches. Perhaps we should look at more activism as we have allowed groups like the HRC fight for us while we went about our lives. We should have taken more action, and fight more of these amendments and restrictions, but we waited for others to do it for us. Now is the time that we should take the movement back and fight. It’s too bad it took another loss in a favorable state to bring us out into the streets.

Oh, and another thing, although the courts are supposed protect the minority from the majority, but we can’t count on them to solve all of our problems. We need to work legislatures and the population at large. We need to win referendums and we need to get governors to sign off on legislation. We can’t put everything into the courts and expect to be taken care of.

This Saturday’s protest could be a big win a big win if we follow through. We should celebrate wins like Connecticut nationwide, and condemn failures like Florida, Arizona and Arkansas nationwide as well. We will get more notice if we make it a nationwide fight. We should get motivated. Now we just need to know how to take this groundswell and turn it into something powerful that will outlast Prop 8.
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Conquering  Hero

I'm standing on the 11 books and various notes I've used to pass the various licensing exams I've taken over the past year. I finally passed the last one, the Series 63, earlier this week finally ending all this crap. All of these books will now collect dust somewhere.

Over the last ten years I've sat for five different exams. My first two licenses have lapsed, one being supplanted by the Series 7 last year (the test with six separate books), and the management license wasn't carried over by my last employer. I currently hold the 7, the 63 and a Texas Insurance License. Over the next few months I have to get an Insurance license for the other 50 states (49 + DC). Luckily I don't have to take another test for those.

Otherwise, the job is going well. It's super busy with tax season in full swing, and people's statements just going out. I love the calls where people wonder why they've lost money in stock based investments this year. Still, even better are the calls from people who didn't know that they even had a retirement account. The moment they hear there's more money out there, they want to know if they can cash out, not thinking about the future. Ahh, the final triumph of a consumer-based economy.

Despite weeks of training, there are many ways that customers can throw you. there have been questions here that I've never had at previous jobs., partially because there's many more types of investments here than I've worked with before. Still, someone can come along trying to log on our company website and get an error that no one in the office has ever seen before.

Now that all of the tests are done (for now) I need to get to some home based projects and cleaning. Believe me, Chris would really like me to do more of the cleaning.

In other news, our little neighborhood suffered some damage, torn up garage doors and fallen trees, but other areas of town suffered much more in the storm. I had to go through a detour yesterday coming home where a huge metal power line tower had been blown over and many newly built homes had been stripped of their rooves. The small neighborhood next to us, the one I call tiny town, had their entire fence blow over. Still, the city of Dallas has already replaced the traffic light poles at the nearby intersection.
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About 3:50 this morning we were woken up by the power going out. It’s rather easy to know when the power goes out when the CPAP stops working. The power flickered on and off several times.

The wind was howling, and the lightning show was pretty spectacular. Unlike in most thunderstorms where there are flashes of light, for about ten minutes the sky stayed lit. Unlike two days ago, we didn’t hear more hail, not even rain, but just the wind and thunder. It was quite a powerful storm. Seeing that the power stayed on, I reset the clock and went back to sleep.

This morning I woke up with the dog nudging me wanting to go out. It was already 7:15, an hour later than I normally get up, and the blinking clock showed that the power had gone off again. I quickly showered, let the dog out and got in the car.

When I left the garage I saw that there was actual damage, not to our house, but in the neighborhood. Branches were everywhere, and two of the trees had been split and were down in the drive. Getting out on the streets, trees were down, a couple of homes had lost chimneys, and the new traffic light fixtures at the nearby intersection were in the street. Dallas police were blocking the north-bound traffic until the large metal fixtures could be removed.

The power was still out west of our house, and all the cars were doing the dance, as so many people do not know how to react to a four way stop on a major artery. The sign at the local Sonic had blown down, causing some damage. There was no report of a tornado in the area, but apparently there was sustained winds of 75 miles an hour for a while this morning.

Everything is A-OK with us, but I already got a couple of calls from friends and family this morning so I wanted to tell what was up.

I wish I had watched the lightning storm a little bit more, but I’m already tired from being knocked off my sleeping pattern, and I barely made it into work this morning. I'll have to take a further assesment to the damage in our neighborhood when I get home.

We’re still under a tornado watch for a bit longer, but it looks like the worst has passed us and is headed to the southeast. The weather for the next few days here shows springtime sun. Perfect to pick up a few branches.
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Chris and I were at the gym last night and there were a couple of cute cubbish types working their way through the circuit of machines. Still being a little "on" from last weekend's TBRU, I had to remind myself mentally not to stare.

It's something that always happens coming out of a bear run. after being in the bear bubble for a few days you tend to forget that these guys are statistically not likely to play on your team.

The bubble is enticing. Wonderful men, old and new to meet, fun times socializing, kicking youself for not saying hello to the hottie that just walked by, etc. There's food and fun. If I ever decide it's worth it to stay at the hotel, and not drive home, maybe I'll actually drink a little. From what I've been told, that might "loosen me up" so I'll forget to be so worried about my own hang-ups.

Still, it was a good run. The events this year weren't so hot, and I wish i hadn't felt sick and could have stayed in the pool on Friday night. Otherwise, there were good rubbin's from Mikey ([ profile] profundis), getting to meet Mark from Madison for the first time, hanging with wingman Jim ([ profile] jrjarrett), and seeing Tony ([ profile] tonydabear), Paul ([ profile] citizenpep), and Tony ([ profile] cubziz) again, among many others.

I tried to keep groups small, and not try to get lost in the big 20 person feasts and such, but some crowds can't be avoided, in the pool area, the hospitality suite, and so forth. I just have to occasionally take a time out and go out for a milkshake every once in a while. It's healthy, sort of.

This weekend did remind me that I need to do better socializing with the locals here, because there's some really good fellas here.

There is something about just being in the lobby and watching all of the guys walk by. I wish it was happening again soon. Not this weekend, but maybe the next - one would need to have time to recover.

Now if the hot guys would just stay in their homes for a few days more.

I took a few pics, mostly at the LJ meetup. Nothing like the party pics others took, but if you want to see, they are HERE
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It's funny, for the last couple of days it's already seemed like TBRU around here. I go out to eat lunch or dinner and there are several hot guys around.

Maybe I'm just horny.

Of course the biggest difference is that you can't just go up to someone in the middle of Chipotle and say, "hey, are you a cocksucker?" I'm sure there's a more suave way to do this, but I'm far from suave.

Of course at the host hotel you know all the cute guys are, so the question never has to be asked, but still the success rate is just a bit higher on actually getting the cute guys to notice you back.

I will try to avoid the mid-run blues where I don't feel that I've kept up with the Joneses and haven't gotten my fill of attention and friendship. I will try my darnedest to be open and pleasant despite being in a big crowd and intimidated by all the hotness in the room.

I'm trying to decide if I want to play run dress-up, or just not worry about such things. Maybe the overalls will make an appearance.

I need to remind myself that people can be friendly, and by not retreating into a corner I would probably have a better time. I need to get over my self esteem issues and not get in the mood that I'm not smart enough, cute enough, and not worth knowing. I need to keep my head and let the event be what it will be.

OK, that being said, I'm glad that work let me have tomorrow off, despite of training, so I can put my plan into action. Let's go meet some bears!
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Hey there everyone, wow, it's been a bit. Well, sadly this isn't a real update but more of a shameless promotion.

The Bears on the Run tour is kicking off here in Dallas tomorrow night at 7pm at the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Resource Center (just off the Cedar Springs Strip) and I want to urge my Dallas area readers to come out for the launch of the inagural tour.

Of nothing else, there's a whole lot of cute boys singing, and it's early enough you can hit the bars afterwards. It's also good to support the independent music artists in our community!

Shannon Grady ([ profile] plaghs) from the BTalk podcast is organizing the event with Kendall, Elijah Black, Matthew Temple, Austin's own Nakia and MC'd by Bobaloo.

For the other Texans out there, the tour also makes stops in Austin on Saturday and Houston on Sunday. The tour also plays several other cities in the southeast and midwest.

Get more information on the tour HERE.
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I get a few polls emailed to me now and again. One of them always asks the same control questions at the end of the survey. The question asked is: "Do you consider yourself to be mostly a resident of your city or town, America, or the planet Earth?"

The question is asked to be able to discern your outlook, how you frame things. A worldly person would see, and probably obtain news differently from someone who is more city-focused.

I have to say, I don't know exactly how to answer the question. I mean obviously I'm all three, but I can't say for sure what my outlook is best described as. I'd also like to add that I'm a resident of my state. It might not mean much to others, but Texas is it's own little world.

As for getting information, I'm not very city-foucused. I sometimes pick up the Dallas Morning news, especially if a copy has been left out in the cafeteria at work, but I don't make a habit of going online for it, same with the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I still watch the Houston Chronicle more, and could tell you more about the news there than here.

I take a look at the national news, focusing more on the political and entertainment stories, but am I happy to call myself an American? I'm much more likely to introduce myself as a Texan, which, with the current president may not really help. As for being worldly, well, I certainly don't know enough about it to truly be a global citizen.

I guess I'm a citizen of all, but not really subscribing to the viewpoint of any of them.

Of course, the questionnaire goes on to ask if I'm a Wal-Mart shopper, or a NASCAR fan. The answer to both is most assuredly no, so that does put me in another category, I'm sure. They always ask about religion and passports, also to see a little bit more about you.

One other question I see every time is "Are you a member of the investor class?" Again, this would be no. I may work for the industry, but the only investing I do is moving a few funds around in my 401(k). I know, it's another world-view question. If you have the ability to invest, you certainly don't see the world the way someone who'd having a harder time making ends meet would, but I just find the wording of the question rather odd.

Perhaps it is the problem of seeing the word "class" used for this, where you'd like to think that being an investor wouldn't make you different from others. It isn't true, but it seems that being a part of such an "investor class" is getting farther and farther away from the middle class. It seems to infer that you're talking about an upper class only, those who wouldn't shop at Wal-Mart I guess.

Hmm, what am I doing with my money?
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Over the weekend Chris and I actually went out and were social. We skipped the True Colors tour on Saturday, though we knew people would would be there. I was a little wary of going out on Saturday night to the Denton County Bears pool party not only because I didn't know too many people who were going to be there, but also because i was a little mad from not being able to get a haircut. Yep, good old vanity. Seems like all the cheap ass haircut places were full of people, and after working yet another saturday morning, I really didn't want to have to wait around reading stale magazines waiting for the one or two people to finally get around to me.

Sadly, our friend the stylist has left the haircutting industry to pursue other interests. Good for his wallet, though. Good for our hair too, because although he's a friendly guy, he gets a little attention-deficit disorder when he's cutting and kind of forgets spots.

We made it out to the pool party fashionably late, but not so late to chow down (are we not bears?). I met some nice folk, didn't freak out once I got warmed up, and had a good time. On sunday our little neighborhood had a get together out by our pool. Again, it was tough to meet people I didn't know. Even after living here a year and a half, I really don't know any of the neighbors. Only one of them recognized me from walking Joey occasionally. Still, it was good to put some faces to townhomes around the area. People started to bring their dogs and eventually the dogs were swimming in the pool - and none of the people were. Joey stayed fascinated by the water, but didn't jump in. I'm not so sure she really cared for the other dogs, except for the big lab puppy who she felt needed to be put in his place.

I think it's both Chris' and my goal to be a little more sociable and get out more often. Over the last few months we've been homebodies and really haven't gotten out much. We do know people, people that haven't moved away, and maybe it's time we started calling a little more often around here.


Otherwise, in one of those looking back themes that will crop up from time to time in these 40 days, I find that I don't watch old movies. Pretty much anything prior to Star Wars (1977) is out, and certainly anything in black and white. I know this leaves a ton of really great films out, heck, most of the AFI top 100 are pre '77, but there's just something about old movies that makes me want to go do something else.

This isn't the same for old television shows. I'll be happy to watch a black and white episode of My Three Sons, or Bewitched. I love watching reruns of The Monkees or Green Acres. Perhaps it's just the timeframe involved, 30 minutes vs. 90.

It's not that I've never seen an old movie, there's plenty of old Disney films I've seen, animated and not, say, the Computer Wore Tennis Shoes? There's also Song of the South which I saw on one of Disney's re-releases sometime in the 70's before they pulled the picture for good in the US. I wouldn't make a big effort to go see them again.

that's another part of it, I rarely re-watch movies. I see them once, maybe twice, and that's it. I don't buy many DVD's because I really don't re-watch them. Even my Kevin Smith movies sit in a box, unwatched. The movie I've likely seen the most is either Airplane or Sixteen Candles because they ran on Showtime all the time in the summer during high school. they seemed to show The Wiz a lot, too.

Part of this may be due to my Dad. He's such a fan of John Wayne and WWII movies that he'll re watch them over and over. I don't know how many times I've seen parts of The Fighting SeeBees or The Searchers or Force 10 From Navarone. I never saw Saving Private Ryan because it seemed like it would be the same thing all over again, just with Tom Hanks.

There's something about needing to move forward in movies that's bigger than my need to move forward in music listening. I love to find new music, and listen to what others of you are listening to, but I like to mix that in with favorites across the last 60-70 years. Movies seem to be more of an in-the-moment thing. I caught a few minutes of Deep Impact on cable the other day and I was already thinking that the movie looked dated.

I'm sure I could ask for, and get a hundred different classic movie selections, but really, I'll stick to trying to see new stuff and the movies i've missed over the last few over the weekend watching The Italian Job, which was fun. Of course it's based on a classic Michael Caine movie that I really have no desire to see.

Of course that doesn't mean I want to see every remake, either. At this moment, I'm still thinking of skipping Hairspray.
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Saturday was the runoff for Dallas City Mayor. The race had made news nationally as one candidates, former city councilman Ed Oakley is openly gay. I'm sure that each campaign will say that it didn't factor in the race, but when you had African American preachers telling their congregations not to vote for the Democratic-aligned Oakley because he's gay, and you have other right-wing groups making calls to citizens stating that Mr. Oakley will push the homosexual agenda (and therefore you need to vote for Tom Leppert and family values) you know it is an issue.

Chris and I did our duty this afternoon. There was a short line, even though turnout was considered high. Less than 20% of citizens voted, so you have to think that there was a lot of money spent with very little payoff when 80% of people didn't even respond to it.

Tom Leppert won 58% of the vote, so it was a pretty solid victory. The map, as usual in Dallas showed a very big divide between the more affluent north side of the city and the poorer south. Mr. Leppert ran as a business man trying to bring in new ideas after a long time mayor has decided to step down. You could say that he was pretty Republican. Mr. Oakley touted his long time service on city council.

Had Mr. Oakley won, he would have been the first openly gay mayor of a top 20 city in the US. There's gay mayors in Paris and Berlin, but the US has lagged behind in electing gays to higher offices.

One of the bigger things that bothered me about Mr. Leppert was the wonderful phrase "I'm going to run government like a business." Years ago I'd be all for that, but these days i know better. Those who think government can be run that way tend to find that they can't run government at all. It's a completely different animal. You just can't fire your city council, or an elected department head, or often, a civil servant when things go wrong. You also can't make a change without going through layer after layer of bureaucracy. You can't make shareholders happy by cutting costs. It's a naive position.

Sure, I voted for Mr. Oakley because he's one of us - I didn't even know he was gay when the regular election had come up. at that time he was one of 10 candidates running. Once it got down to two, the choice for me was pretty clear. Dallas isn't a city in trouble, and doesn't need many changes except for trying to develop it's south side, but an insider would do that better, one that had the ear of the south side rather than a newcomer that's going to represent the businesses of the north side. I don't think in the long run it really mattered what Mr. Oakley's orientation was, but it was a nice little additional connection.

I'm pretty sure that Dallas as a whole isn't ready to have a gay mayor. It's a surprisingly closer thing than I would have thought, but still, Dallas is still safely led by a heterosexual. A recent story in Time touting the "lavender" nature of Dallas - such as having a lesbian sheriff and a large gay population- seemed to draw more concern here than favor at how open Dallas could be.

Dallas might be more liberal than it was...but not that liberal. It's still a part of Texas. It's still Bush country (thought not as much as Utah), but the cities are diversifying, and both Dallas and Houston have had women and African American mayors. Perhaps the gay mayor will be right around the corner.
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❄ Other people in the DFW area have been talking about snowflurries today. I haven't seen any here, so I must be in the warm part of town. Still, there's predictions of more as we drop below freezing tonight. I doubt any will stick, but it is still strange. I'm guessing that this is going to put a big damper on the Easter Pet Parade in Lee Park tomorrow, which sucks. We always see some great folks and their pets out there. Last year temps were in the 90's!

❆ About a month ago I saw a story stating that gas prices shouldn't go to $3.00 a gallon this year (in Texas). At that time prices had risen to $2.25. Now the price is 2.75. I'm going to guess that we'll hit $3.00 right after April 15th. *sigh*

❅ So I've been catching up with episodes of 24 this weekend. It's the first season that I've watched this show as I've seen a few people rave about it. I have one question: Has the show always been this bad, or is this season just terrible?

It's not necessarily the acting, but it's just the writing that seems awful. They have an interesting scenario, a suitcase nuke goes off, and not only do we see how we try to get those responsible, but we also see leader's response to it. The problem is, they throw away characters all the time. Someone shows up for an hour or two and then they disappear, having little impact on the plot arch of the show. Then there's the need to give the series regulars something to do, so they look for moles and have office romances and suspect each other of drinking on the job, none of which is interesting or does anything to move the story forward.

I wonder if the writers are also writers of videogames, as there is a similarity of plot devices where you go from one situation to another on a path to the finish. There's several small bosses that must be defeated (or as Jack Bauer does, interrogate them) until you finally get to the big boss.

There's also a lot of M. Night Shamalan "Ohh! What a twist!" moments that aren't as big a reveals as they seem to think.

I'll watch the rest of the season just to see what craziness they pull out to show that it's not the Muslims or the Russians or even the Cheney-like vice president. It's probably Jack's Dad who was seen in two episodes early on and promptly forgotten. After it's over, it's getting deleted off the Tivo.

❄Otherwise, Chris and I were at the local mall last weekend and it was a little dead. We walked by center court and there was the Easter bunny sitting there waiting for children to come up and get photos. At this mall he's a overly large brown furry with a nice waistcoat and tie. He was sitting on a park bench and the area was decorated like it was New York's Central Park. Why this was, I have no clue.

We're looking at the rather-lonely bunny from the second level, and Chris asks me if i found the bunny a little creepy. I said no and asked him what he meant.

He says, "Well you have a guy in a bunny suit waiting on a park bench for kids to come and sit on his lap."

Yeah, when you put it like that, yeah, it's creepy.
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It’s amazing that TBRU has come and gone so quickly this year. I find it even stranger that I didn’t get the major depression that had normally gone with the end of such events. Sure, there were lots of new people to meet, and many of them I would have liked to have spent more time getting to know (and for some that can be taken both ways), but it is what it is, a time where people come in, and people leave.

I didn’t buy the run pass this year. Money’s been tight and I couldn’t justify the expense. I never eat the food, I don’t drink much alcohol, and I’m not staying at the hotel. I’ve never gone to the contest, and don’t really care to. Just the ability to go to the hospitality suite and the pool are the things I’d miss, and even the hospitality suite can be yours if you know the right person.

It was much more relaxed than in past years. I didn’t feel the need to keep up with people and worried about where the crowd of friends was. I enjoyed going out to eat in impromptu groups – often picking up a person or two that we didn’t know much about. While normally I’d be worried about such a thing, strangers storming the Bastille and all, I found it worked successfully and added to the group well.

The best time was had when slowly be began to come up with where to go Sunday night. Like a bear Katamari we picked up a few people and decided on going to Johnny Carinos. As we were getting ready, Andreas stepped over and we asked him to come along. Andreas is a good guy from Italy who we saw on Bearciti and knew he was going to be in town. It was great getting his opinion on “Italian” food served here. He looked at the menu and certainly didn’t see Italian food, especially with such items and a Jalapeño skilitini. The dinner became a real gabfest with the seven of us discussing differences between Europe and the US, including nuclear power and culture. It was strangely serious for a bear run.

This is my fifth TBRU, if I’m counting correctly. They all seem to run together, but I’m thinking we had two years in the old hotel, and three in the current cockchugger’s central. This year I really noticed the shift – one that’s probably already happened, but I didn’t notice that the whole “Bear Drag” is over. While there were a small few people in leather, and a few wearing prison jumpsuits to go with the “cellblock” theme, most people were wearing t-shirts and jeans or shorts. Where five years ago there was still a large amount of flannel, it’s pretty much been replaces by Threadless T’s for those who can fit into a 2X, otherwise, there were plenty of big-boy tees at the vendor market.

Of course there were still plenty of shirts that referred to bears, cubs, pitchers, catchers, past runs, sports teams, etc. The “ironic” T still seems to be the big thing. I personally sported a Zeus T one day, and a Wire and Twine T (thanks for making bigger sizes, [ profile] chrisglass) on another.

The talk of the event was the Bear 411 exodus with some people on board, others curious and others very angry about it, scared, I suppose that their bear gravy train might be ruined if the “smart” guys ran off to Bearciti. David ([ profile] beefquest) from Bearciti had his work cut out for him, not only getting people’s opinions about the site, but also having to tell people he had nothing to do with the current kerfluffle. That’s not to say that some of the more vocal critics of Bear 411 were not in attendance, including Brian ([ profile] kingfuraday) and [ profile] bobaloo. Still, I never saw anyone tell someone they had to leave 411 or attack someone for liking the site. On the other hand, the 411 defenders seemed to be rather angry and surly about it.

Otherwise, the contest apparently ran too long, and again, only a couple of guys in the thing were even attractive, in my book. Now that the sponsor – American Bear – is defunct, can we also make this tired contest defunct? There was also an underwear auction held after the contest late on Saturday night. When people just wanted to get their drink on and meet people in the hospitality suite, here does this auction, and poor Bobaloo has to play auctioneer after he had already performed. Thirty guys means that the event wasn’t over until after last call. The organizers should really rethink this, while it’s for a good cause, thirty items is too much. People run out of money as well as patience.

I remember going around Friday night feeling like crap and seemingly noticed by no-one. I’m not sure what does that to me, where sometime during a run I get this feeling of dread that comes in and kills the good feeling of expectation one has. I don’t know if it’s not getting the attention of those you want to flit with, or sadly getting attention from those you don’t, but I always start to feel very much a part of the “out” crowd. Luckily it lifted on Saturday and the remainder of the run was fine. The crowd, well I sort of got involved with, but more often then not I’m quite while Chris gets the attention at these things. I often find myself as the third wheel – and occasionally the partner that someone else wishes Chris didn’t have. Always fun. Despite seeing a person or two comment about me after the event, I always felt like I make either a poor or neutral impression and I have to fight to actually get past that and actually talk to people.

The hotel moved all of the couches into the hospitality suite, which, for a lobby whore such as me, it’s completely, horribly wrong. The couches have been one of the bigger gathering places around, but this year there was a lack of seating in the busy times. It’s also always good to see a pile of bears fighting for couch space. Perhaps they decided not to have such seating in order not to completely frighten (or entice) the other people staying in the hotel, newly inducted army members who were to be shipped out to Iraq.

We had a wonderful houseguest in Jayson ([ profile] standardtom) and certainly met some great guys along the way. Still, when Sunday got there, the hotel looked deserted. It seems that people came early and left just as early. Hopefully I can keep up with some of them on Bearciti until they come back next year. I’d mention more names, but then I’d end up leaving off dozens of others, old friends and new, so it’s best to leave it as is. Till next year.
eggwards: (kissy)
It's now been a year that I grabbed up some of my belongings and moved into this house. It's been pretty good. I certainly love the TV! The companionship has been nice too. I'm also glad to have a dog in my life again. It's taken a little getting used to, having Chris around everyday as opposed to the weekends that we had shared previously.

Sure, we're both a little tough to talk to, and occasionally it's lead to some misunderstandings and some hurt feelings, but I'm going to guess that happens with every couple. Personally, I don't know. It's still my first time around. Still, I think we have learned to understand each other better in the past year and hopefully we'll get even more in synch.

Of course we're both pretty darn stubborn. I think I beat him in this in a lot of ways, especially with my eating habits. Chris doesn't like that I won't eat veggies, and a lot of the recipes that he knows have something in them that I won't eat, so we just end up going out to eat all of the time. It's something I need to work on because Chris would like to cook more and I could use to save some of the money we spend going out.

The real gripe about the big move has been the job. I won't dwell on it much tonight, but let me say that I think I was told things about this job that it clearly isn't. Still, I'm happier that my current boss is much more receptive to my wanting to do more, and be more than my previous one who only talked to me at my review. 2007 is definitely about setting myself up for, and getting a better position.

One of the biggest changes was the sleeping arrangements - and I'm not just saying this because we had both slept on the same side of the bed when we were single (on the left). I made the move over to the right. However, there's a study that said that couples get less sleep than singles do, and I believe it. The study says couples lose up to 49 minutes of sleep a night. I haven't seen exactly why this is, but I have some ideas.

for one, you're somewhat conscious of your partner while you're in bed. Not just in the way that when they move you might wake up, but there just seems to be a little instinctual thing that makes you a little bit aware of their presence. I know that when I move around I kind of "feel" where Chris is, so I won't kick him.

Strangely, I'm usually the one who stays in my zone. It's probably from the many years I have spent in a twin bed, even as an adult. My tossing and turning can be kept in a relatively small space. I think that this technique was improved over many band road trips where I'd have to sleep with someone in a hotel bedroom, and try not to touch them because I was scared that the other person would think that I was "that way".

Chris will slide his legs over to my side of the bed sometimes. I don't know why, but he likes to sleep diagonally. Since we both have CPAPs and are usually connected to tubes all night, we don't get to do a lot of spooning. Spooning's nice, but it usually wipes both of us out for the next day.

Of course there's one other element that has changed our sleeping arrangements over the last month or so. Joey the Dog has been joining us at night because my soft heart doesn't like sending her out to sleep on the porch on a cold night. She's a big 50 lbs lump who likes to sleep on top of the comforter in the space right between Chris and I. Somehow she steals the comforter off of me on many a night.

She's gained the privilege to sleep with us as she can stay still for most of the night. I remember when she was a puppy and I'd be over we tried to let her sleep with us, but she'd run around and bark and yes, she once peed on the bed while we were in it. Now that she's grown up (she just turned three), she's usually well-behaved. As it gets warmer again, I think we'll put her outside at night, so I hope she doesn't get to used to it.

For a few years I did sleep in my small twin bed with my family's wiener dog, Fritz. He was a pretty big dachshund, so there wasn't a lot of room for the two of us, but he liked to burrow under the covers. Joey certainly does not want to be under the covers. She likes to sleep where she can have a good view of everything.

There's a nice feeling, though, of once you put your CPAP mask on, that there's someone there who loves you. Just as you drift off there's a light touch from your partner, or maybe you hold hands for a little bit. It's nice, and reassuring.

Of course, it's a big bed, which is great. We go to hotels and suddenly we're in this small bed and there's no elbow room! Talk about having a tough time getting to sleep! I guess we're both guys who need our space. Still, our bed's up pretty high, so there are times where i worry that I may one day fall out of bed - though it's been years since I've done that.

Yeah, my life changed quite a bit over the last year, but it's been a good thing, something that's helped me grow up, and be more responsible in thinking about two instead of just one. Decisions I make, and the moods I express effect him, and his effect me. It's a different world.

I love being here with Chris. Really, it isn't about Dallas. I haven't found all that much to brag about, city wise. It's all about the relationship and learning about Chris and learning about myself. It's about the everyday lives of two people, and the difference in everyday living as opposed to dating, or just seeing each other on special occasions. Luckily the transition has been a good one.

Though I'd say I'm most grateful I didn't have to buy an HD-TV of my own!
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Yesterday I decided to test my car and actually run out on the ice, making the 25 mile trip to work. The car did alright, especially going over the Bush Turnpike, where a long stretch of it is elevated over the Trinity River. There was plenty of ice and snow, and there was more than a few cars on the side of the road, in ravines, and turned around the wrong way. the work ranch is pretty far out, so there wasn't much sand on the roads out that way.

Chris' car, which needs some new tires, didn't make it very far. After sliding across an intersection, he went back home.

After an hour and a half on the road, I finally made it to work. A good half of my co-workers didn't come in. Still, I didn't come the furthest distance, one guy drove 45 miles to get there. I worried about getting home, but enough of the ice and slush had evaporated, that i only had to keep it under 30 mph getting back on the Bush Tollway. Driving home took an hour.

Here's why actually braving it, and going to work was good. Today management made a decision and told everyone that didn't come in that they would be charged with an unpaid personal day. Besides the fact that many people stayed home because schools were canceled, I was amazed that they would penalize people for doing the safe thing and stay off the road. The moral of the story is: risking your life, or at least your property ,is what you should be doing for this job. This job that doesn't pay you enough as is.

there was a lot of grumbling, and so management decided that we would open Saturday to allow people to make up the time they missed. Given that it's optional is one thing, but still, it seems rather rude to ask people to give up another day when the reason for the missed time was not of their making.

To add insult to injury, another winter blast is due on Friday night/Saturday morning, so the roads may be iced up once again. Management will put people up overnight in a hotel some what close to work tomorrow night just so they can make it in on Saturday. I'm guessing the money they may spend for hotel rooms might cost more than actually giving people sick time for Wednesday.

It seems as though the company doesn't like to close sites for weather related emergencies, but a snow day in Texas is much different than a snow day in Boston. They need to know that we aren't prepared for this stuff, and productivity hours will be lost. Is it too much to ask for a little compassion on this?

Heck, I got paid for two days that we were closed after September 11th and for another four that we lost to Tropical Storm Allison when our building was flooded out - all in the same year. There were also two days lost to evacuations for Hurricane Rita two years ago. Luckily Dallas isn't susceptible to Hurricanes.

With the way things are going, weather-wise, I guess I'll need to make sure my tires are in good shape and inflated properly. There's going to be a few more slick drives before this winter is over.
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Tonight at dinner we were at a mostly deserted restaurant. the cold was keeping people indoors, and our wonderful ability to not get off our duffs and go eat meant any little crowd there was tonight had already come and gone.

We were served by a cute little cubbish guy who I was wondering was hitting on us a little bit. I think it was wishful thinking. since he had few other customer's to deal with, he chatted with us for a bit, telling us he was saving for a car and all. We, trying to see if he was just friendly and talkative, or actually scoping us out, managed to ask him where he hangs out.

One of the places he mentioned was this sports bar that is on our same block as our home. We did not make note of this to him. The sport's bar's pretty darn average though often pretty crowded. When he mentioned it, I though...yep, the boy is straight. Still, the guy was hovering around us, and even apologized for it. No need to apologize, I thought. He made for nice eye candy while we ate.

He did end up asking where we hung out, and we mentioned something about places closer to downtown, including the Snookies on Oak Lawn (this is a mixed bar, so we weren't giving away much). We didn't just come right out and say that we frequent the Eagle, TMC or anything. When the guy talks about Sterling's, the local sports bar, you don't immediately talk about Leather and Levi's night. It's one of those things were you stop short because you don't want to have to answer "so what's that place like?" to a complete stranger.

Still, we kept having that odd feeling. Perhaps a little more than just wishful thinking to find another cute guy who's at least into the things you are (like chugging cock, I guess). As I was signing the check I flipped it over and placed it in the tray, I quickly wrote a little "Woof!" on the back of the bill. Of course it's cliche', but if you want people who might only have the slightest inkling to get what you mean, the cliche' is the surest way to go. I guess we won't likely know if he actually got the message. It's not as if we eat their regularly, we just went there because our first choice was closed.

Perhaps we should have asked if he needed a ride home from work.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only holiday I know of that I get along with the bank tellers, but not with much of the rest of the world. Bank tellers get Columbus Day, but I do not. Most people don't get this day off because it is close to other holidays. Personally, I think we could honor Dr. King and still move this date to August when we don't have other holidays.

Still, much like the vacation day I took a month and a half ago, having this day off allowed me to miss the driver's pinball game that goes on in Dallas every time there is an ice storm. Chris was not so lucky, but he managed to get to and from work just fine. I got to sit on the couch and read comics and finally get through some of my Netflix movies while Joey the Dog harassed the Roomba cleaning upstairs.

We went out to Chili's tonight for dinner and the place was nearly deserted. I'm not sure if it was the cold, or the fact that the waitress who will not touch food was working. We've had her once, and she's horrible. Apparently we insulted her by not coloring a pepper for charity - you know, spend a buck for charity and color the logo to go on the wall to show how well the store has done getting people to fork over extra money. When we turned her down, I guess we ruined her percentage of sales or something, so her service for the rest of the meal was terrible. We call her "no touchy" (said like David Spade's character from "The Emperor's New Groove") as she has other people bring out all of her food and drinks, and has a busboy clear it. she never touches a plate, on out table or anyone else's. Very strange.

At dinner I told Chris that while watching the news in the afternoon, one of the weather forecasters said that he new that some precipitation would be coming down on Wednesday, but said we would have to watch the 6 o'clock news to find out what kind it will be. This was one of the dumbest teases I'd ever heard. For one thing, we can all check the internet to find out it's going to snow on Wednesday, but you don't tease the weather, you tease that something in your house can kill you, or that a celebrity was caught doing something. Personally I'm waiting for "We have video of children having sex. Find out if it's yours at ten!"

With snow in our forecast, that just means the local news can continue to train cameras on the freeway mixmasters to try to pinpoint when ice form. then they hope an accident will occur during the newscast.

Finally, Chris and I finally figured out what the cable channel LOGO needs. They need to take Lifetime movies and recast the leads as same-sex couples. I'm not sure who would play Valerie Bertinelli, or Meredith Baxter Burney, but think of the possibilities.
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*Last night I spent a nice evening at a New Year's Eve party filled with lots of bears, some I knew, some I didn't. Really, it's the same place Chris and I have been for the last three years on New Year's Eve. Maybe it's four now, I can't remember. It's a nice, easy-going party and I felt just fine being there. Hooray!

The theme for the party was Blue (last year it was red) and I had the blue margaritas. It seemed that a lot of people were very ready to see 2006 off.

*I see that bearciti is finally up and running after advertising it for a year or more. The site is decent, but it will take a lot of work to get the traffic that 411 has. That's really the reason people go there. Bearciti seems well put together, but I still like the bearlix interface better, especially with the changes the owner made recently...but again, rarely is anyone online there.

*I mentioned to Vance in a reply about Super Monkey Ball, the Wii game that doesn't always work, that I enjoy Wii Sports and hope they will come out with a Wii Sports II soon. Wii sports has the right sense of "anyone can play" keeping the simplicity that went with things like Atari Tennis.

Chris and I were trying to come up with possible games for Wii Sports II. Wii sports already has tennis, bowling, boxing, golf and baseball. Here's some of the suggestions we had for the sequel:

Hockey, Curling (I like the thought of having to sweep in front of the stone), Volleyball, Basketball (perhaps just horse), Water polo, Ping pong, Bass fishing, Soccer, Skeet shooting and Motocross.

Perhaps they should have a Wii Olympics too, but I'm not sure that you'd want to have a hammer or javelin throw with the Wii Remote. Still, there were Decathlon games for the Atari 2600 and even Steeplechase. Swimming and Diving could be interesting, though. Skiing and Snowboarding might work as well.

Some of the ones we thought wouldn't work included Figure skating (though having to have a two-player figure skating couple sounded hilarious), Tetherball, Powerlifting and Jogging. I don't think that Trampoline or Gymnastics would be very good.

I wonder what I'm missing, sport wise? Perhaps I should send in a request to Nintendo now. It's interesting how this system and Chris' interest is renewing my interest in video games. of course everything on TV is in re-reuns, so that may be having an effect as well.

Now if I could just get the old Superman game for the 2600 again. It was incredibly cheesy, but fun!
eggwards: (Xmas)
Why is there no "e" in "Wintry Mix"?
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I dropped Chris off at DFW this morning for his flight to Los Angeles. We had breakfast at Whataburger, and something there made me kind of sick . Still, I think some of it was psychosomatic.

This afternoon I got a call from Chris saying that he arrived well, and had made it to the ship, gaining a ride from some cute bears. It sounds like he's going to have a great time. I, of course, am jealous.

Still, it's his just rights, he couldn't go with me to Boston, and he needs to burn vacation days, so he made his choice of them. A boat full of gays, several hundred of them bears. For as much as I'm saying I don't like the idea of a cruise, the more he got excited, I got interested.

So I'm here, in the house, alone. Even though I've lived here for 10 months, and visiting for longer, there's still the feeling that this is Chris' house. I live in Chris' house, with Chris' dog, Joey. It's not that Chris is not happy to share his house, or not happy to have me live here, but with him being gone, it feels very strange.

Yep, I'm already missing him.

Still, as I was driving back home I saw a sign of hope. It said, "McRib is back at McDonalds."
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The sun was already setting and the soft glow of twilight was taking over when I exited the main building of the Work Ranch this evening, walking over to the parking garage. The garage is a rather inconvenient five minute walk away. The walkway, covered, mind you, curves away from the building so you don't see it in the pretty pictures of the building's prairie home inspired facade. Think Frank Lloyd Wright if he built an office park building. Of course, Wright wouldn't create a company logo in the stone above the main entrance.

I was leaving the building late after working out in the basement gym, so I was a bit tired, and still tied to my iPod. I took the stairs rather than the ramp that goes to the flagstone walkway that goes between the two man-made springs and then off to the main walkway which has plants on either side. They have native Texas plants like sage and whatever creates more ragweed to put in the air. There's really no surprise that many people enter the building sneezing.

I'm of course, certain that our company owns stock in the manufactures of Claritin, Alevert, Benadryl, etc. For our shareholders, naturally.

When I reached the place where we rejoin the covered walkway I noticed that there was a snake. It was a rather large snake...probably about three feet long. It was black and yellow. It had come out of the brush and bramble and was now partially on the gravel and on the flagstones. It scrunched up a bit as I had nearly passed it, noticing it in the last second.

I wasn't so much scared, but a little more perplexed. I wasn't sure what type of snake it was. It didn't look like the Water Moccasins and Copperheads that I've seen before. I just stared at it a bit. It stared back.

There's plenty of animals out on the work ranch. Only the longhorns are officially approved by the company, as they are a taxbreak. The other residents include ducks, mice, turtles, rabbits and a rumored bobcat. We almost always see hawks making lazy circles over the pond from our windows on the fourth floor.

Then I noticed that a woman was coming down the walkway pulling her file case on wheels. I warned her about the snake and she looked and started moving back with a clear look of terror. As she moved back, the wheels on her case turned and grumbled on the concrete getting the notice of the snake. The snake quickly turned around and swam back into the bushes.

After it had disappeared, we both continued our walk down the way and the woman thanked me and explained her fear of snakes. I for some reason wasn't, even though I didn't have much to defend either of us should the snake actually been more threatening. I'm just thinking he was looking for a warm flagstone to spend the night on.

Still, I wonder if I can use this to get hazard pay.
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I've been working on a list of cities I would, and would not move to if I had the opportunity. In most cases, it's based on cities that I've travelled to at one time or another. I've never moved out of Texas, so I guess sometime in my life, I should actually consider it. My biggest question tends to be, can I handle snow? I've never been in a place that had significant snowfall...or even snow that lasted more than a day. It scares me.

Places I'd Move to:
SF Bay Area (Preferably somewhere like Palo Alto or Cupertino, but I doubt I could afford it.)
Washington DC

Montreal (language and snow problems)
San Diego
Madison, WI
Houston (been there, done that)
Honolulu (isolated)

Off the List:
Los Angeles
St. Louis
Kansas City
New Orleans
any city in Florida

I'm reserving judgement on cities that I haven't visited, but intrigue me, like Atlanta, Seattle and Toronto. I haven't spent enough time in Philadelphia to know.

Otherwise, in our terrible boredom today, we went out to the Dallas Galleria. That's actually the name of the mall. Houston has had "the Galleria" for almost 45 years, so when they opened up a mall in Dallas some 20 years ago, they had to make sure to let everyone know that this is the Dallas one.

Now over the last couple of weeks, we've visited all the malls in our area except Valley View. Valley View is the old, ghetto mall. I remember when it opened, sometime in the 70's where it was clean and modern, and it was where I got my Sears Toughskins - when we didn't have to order them from the catalog store in East Texas. Now Valley View is the mall that sells Disco Jesus plaques next to the moving waterfall pictures.

The Dallas Galleria has had a Macy's store since it opened. The Houston location added a Macy's in the eighties in an area that you have to know how to get through Saks Fifth Avenue to find. It's a pretty peaceful area. they were both the last stores when Macy's pulled out most of it's stores in Texas in the 90's. I mention this because this was the big weekend when Macy's took off the name Foley's in the southwest, among other names across the country.

The Dallas Galleria has it easy as the Macy's there doesn't have to change a thing. In Houston the Galleria has both a Macy's and a Foley's, and they had already closed the Lord and Taylor, another department store owned by the same company. I'll bet the much older Macy's in the quiet part of the mall will close after the holidays. While the Dallas Galleria store will do fine, I'm going to guess the Valley View store, the one that once was a Sanger-Harris, will close since it's only a few blocks away. Why they build malls a few feet from each other, I'll never know.

The Dallas Galleria is not a mall for us. It's the mall with the fancy stores, like Gucci and Versace (pronounced Ver-sayse but the trendy twink behind us today). There's nothing with a big and tall section. Many stores are just there to impress the travelers that we are some sort of fly-over state shopping oasis. We did notice that the stores got cheaper and trashier as you went higher. this is easily seen as sister stores from the Gap corporation are stacked up at one end of the mall. Banana Republic is on the ground floor, Gap in the center, and Old Navy on the third floor.

On the scary third floor, we found a store that sold a repainted knock-off Batman doll as Superman in the window, the sad "learning toys" store that no child would ever want something from, and Hot Topic.

Chris, remembering [ profile] xkot's old post about crying in front of Hot Topic asked me if I wanted to reproduce the photo, I said no, because I'd have to cry in front of Torrid instead.

One of the worst things is that the Stroller Bear population is really low at the Galleria. The bearish folks just don't travel there. Really, if you're going to people watch, the better looking crowd in my book is at Stonebriar Center. Even the upscale Shops at Willowbend is better especially as there's the cute bear who manages the pretzel shop there. The Galleria has more pretty people who surprisingly can't pronounce Versace.

We bought nothing, but it did get us out of the house, where we're suffering with a problem with our air conditioning. It also got us to walk - yea exercise! -and waste our time without spending money on some movie that we'll just realize isn't worth the $6 for a matinee showing.


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February 2013



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