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California Dreamin'
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Sat, Mar. 10th, 2007 09:57 pm

Recently, I was hanging out with a couple of younger gay guys, and they were giving me shit about my advanced age. I can't remember the exact context of the joke, but for some reason they thought it was highly amusing that I was old enough to remember the Lilith Fair. Now, I never went to the Lilith Fair, but didn't Sarah McLachlan just organize it like yesterday or something? It couldn't have been THAT long ago, could it?

I suppose that in this ostensibly "post-gay" era where identity politics have become an anachronism of sorts (at least in some quarters of academia), the Lilith Fair might seem like a quaint product of a less enlightened time. Hell, I remember even thinking it was sort of cheesy. But the fact that I remember it doesn't make me old, damn it.

I didn't assault anyone for making fun of me though, because I believe in peace, bitch.

Current Mood: amused amused

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Sun, Feb. 25th, 2007 12:20 am

I think it is a shame that high school history textbooks completely ignore the existence of Emma Goldman. Goldman was, without a doubt, one of the most important women in American history. Of course, she was a Jewish atheist who espoused anarchist theory and advocated the overthrow of the US government, so of course we have to pretend she never existed. She was a rabble rouser extraodinaire, and she was so successful at inspiring and organizing the poor that she was branded "the most dangerous woman in the world" by the American plutocracy. She was probably the first radical feminist, and she was outspoken about her views on gender and capitalism. She was imprisoned twice in America for her views. She is one of my heroes because she was intellectually and politically light years ahead of her time.

One of my favorite essays by her is called "The Failure of Christianity" which was written in 1913. This particular essay explores the ways in which the teachings of Jesus disempower people and keep them enslaved to the ruling class. Please take a moment to read it:

--------------------------
The Failure of Christianity
by Emma Goldman

The counterfeiters and poisoners of ideas, in their attempt to obscure the line between truth and falsehood, find a valuable ally in the conservatism of language.

Conceptions and words that have long ago lost their original meaning continue through centuries to dominate mankind. Especially is this true if these conceptions have become a common-place, if they have been instilled in our beings from our infancy as great and irrefutable verities. The average mind is easily content with inherited and acquired things, or with the dicta of parents and teachers, because it is much easier to imitate than to create.

Our age has given birth to two intellectual giants, who have undertaken to transvalue the dead social and moral values of the past, especially those contained in Christianity. Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Stirner have hurled blow upon blow against the portals of Christianity, because they saw in it a pernicious slave morality, the denial of life, the destroyer of all the elements that make for strength and character. True, Nietzsche has opposed the slave-morality idea inherent in Christianity in behalf of a master morality for the privileged few. But I venture to suggest that his master idea had nothing to do with the vulgarity of station, caste, or wealth. Rather did it mean the masterful in human possibilities, the masterful in man that would help him to overcome old traditions and worn-out values, so that he may learn to become the creator of new and beautiful things.

Both Nietzsche and Stirner saw in Christianity the leveler of the human race, the breaker of man's will to dare and to do. They saw in every movement built on Christian morality and ethics attempts not at the emancipation from slavery, but for the perpetuation thereof. Hence they opposed these movements with might and main.

Whether I do or do not entirely agree with these iconoclasts, I believe, with them, that Christianity is most admirably adapted to the training of slaves, to the perpetuation of a slave society; in short, to the very conditions confronting us to-day. Indeed, never could society have degenerated to its present appalling stage, if not for the assistance of Christianity. The rulers of the earth have realized long ago what potent poison inheres in the Christian religion. That is the reason they foster it; that is why they leave nothing undone to instill it into the blood of the people. They know only too well that the subtleness of the Christian teachings is a more powerful protection against rebellion and discontent than the club or the gun.

No doubt I will be told that, though religion is a poison and institutionalized Christianity the greatest enemy of progress and freedom, there is some good in Christianity "itself." What about the teachings of Christ and early Christianity, I may be asked; do they not stand for the spirit of humanity, for right and justice?

It is precisely this oft-repeated contention that induced me to choose this subject, to enable me to demonstrate that the abuses of Christianity, like the abuses of government, are conditioned in the thing itself, and are not to be charged to the representatives of the creed. Christ and his teachings are the embodiment of submission, of inertia, of the denial of life; hence responsible for the things done in their name.

I am not interested in the theological Christ. Brilliant minds like Bauer, Strauss, Renan, Thomas Paine, and others refuted that myth long ago. I am even ready to admit that the theological Christ is not half so dangerous as the ethical and social Christ. In proportion as science takes the place of blind faith, theology loses its hold. But the ethical and poetical Christ-myth has so thoroughly saturated our lives that even some of the most advanced minds find it difficult to emancipate themselves from its yoke. They have rid themselves of the letter, but have retained the spirit; yet it is the spirit which is back of all the crimes and horrors committed by orthodox Christianity. The Fathers of the Church can well afford to preach the gospel of Christ. It contains nothing dangerous to the régime of authority and wealth; it stands for self-denial and self-abnegation, for penance and regret, and is absolutely inert in the face of every indignity, every outrage imposed upon mankind.

Here I must revert to the counterfeiters of ideas and words. So many otherwise earnest haters of slavery and injustice confuse, in a most distressing manner, the teachings of Christ with the great struggles for social and economic emancipation. The two are irrevocably and forever opposed to each other. The one necessitates courage, daring, defiance, and strength. The other preaches the gospel of non-resistance, of slavish acquiescence in the will of others; it is the complete disregard of character and self-reliance, and therefore destructive of liberty and well-being.

Whoever sincerely aims at a radical change in society, whoever strives to free humanity from the scourge of dependence and misery, must turn his back on Christianity, on the old as well as the present form of the same.

Everywhere and always, since its very inception, Christianity has turned the earth into a vale of tears; always it has made of life a weak, diseased thing, always it has instilled fear in man, turning him into a dual being, whose life energies are spent in the struggle between body and soul. In decrying the body as something evil, the flesh as the tempter to everything that is sinful, man has mutilated his being in the vain attempt to keep his soul pure, while his body rotted away from the injuries and tortures inflicted upon it.

The Christian religion and morality extols the glory of the Hereafter, and therefore remains indifferent to the horrors of the earth. Indeed, the idea of self-denial and of all that makes for pain and sorrow is its test of human worth, its passport to the entry into heaven.

The poor are to own heaven, and the rich will go to hell. That may account for the desperate efforts of the rich to make hay while the sun shines, to get as much out of the earth as they can: to wallow in wealth and superfluity, to tighten their iron hold on the blessed slaves, to rob them of their birthright, to degrade and outrage them every minute of the day. Who can blame the rich if they revenge themselves on the poor, for now is their time, and the merciful Christian God alone knows how ably and completely the rich are doing it.

And the poor? They cling to the promise of the Christian heaven, as the home for old age, the sanitarium for crippled bodies and weak minds. They endure and submit, they suffer and wait, until every bit of self-respect has been knocked out of them, until their bodies become emaciated and withered, and their spirit broken from the wait, the weary endless wait for the Christian heaven.

Graphic Rule

Christ made his appearance as the leader of the people, the redeemer of the Jews from Roman dominion; but the moment he began his work, he proved that he had no interest in the earth, in the pressing immediate needs of the poor and the disinherited of his time. What he preached was a sentimental mysticism, obscure and confused ideas lacking originality and vigor.

When the Jews, according to the gospels, withdrew from Jesus, when they turned him over to the cross, they may have been bitterly disappointed in him who promised them so much and gave them so little. He promised joy and bliss in another world, while the people were starving, suffering, and enduring before his very eyes.

It may also be that the sympathy of the Romans, especially of Pilate, was given Christ because they regarded him as perfectly harmless to their power and sway. The philosopher Pilate may have considered Christ's "eternal truths" as pretty anaemic and lifeless, compared with the array of strength and force they attempted to combat. The Romans, strong and unflinching as they were, must have laughed in their sleeves over the man who talked repentance and patience, instead of calling to arms against the despoilers and oppressors of his people.

The public career of Christ begins with the edict, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

Why repent, why regret, in the face of something that was supposed to bring deliverance? Had not the people suffered and endured enough; had they not earned their right to deliverance by their suffering? Take the Sermon on the Mount, for instance. What is it but a eulogy on submission to fate, to the inevitability of things?

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

Heaven must be an awfully dull place if the poor in spirit live there. How can anything creative, anything vital, useful and beautiful come from the poor in spirit? The idea conveyed in the Sermon on the Mount is the greatest indictment against the teachings of Christ, because it sees in the poverty of mind and body a virtue, and because it seeks to maintain this virtue by reward and punishment. Every intelligent being realizes that our worst curse is the poverty of the spirit; that it is productive of all evil and misery, of all the injustice and crimes in the world. Every one knows that nothing good ever came or can come of the poor in spirit; surely never liberty, justice, or equality.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

What a preposterous notion! What incentive to slavery, inactivity, and parasitism! Besides, it is not true that the meek can inherit anything. Just because humanity has been meek, the earth has been stolen from it.

Meekness has been the whip, which capitalism and governments have used to force man into dependency, into his slave position. The most faithful servants of the State, of wealth, of special privilege, could not preach a more convenient gospel than did Christ, the "redeemer" of the people.

"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."

But did not Christ exclude the possibility of righteousness when he said, "The poor ye have always with you"? But, then, Christ was great on dicta, no matter if they were utterly opposed to each other. This is nowhere demonstrated so strikingly as in his command, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

The interpreters claim that Christ had to make these concessions to the powers of his time. If that be true, this single compromise was sufficient to prove, down to this very day, a most ruthless weapon in the hands of the oppressor, a fearful lash and relentless tax-gatherer, to the impoverishment, the enslavement, and degradation of the very people for whom Christ is supposed to have died. And when we are assured that "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled," are we told the how? How? Christ never takes the trouble to explain that. Righteousness does not come from the stars, nor because Christ willed it so. Righteousness grows out of liberty, of social and economic opportunity and equality. But how can the meek, the poor in spirit, ever establish such a state of affairs?

"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven."

The reward in heaven is the perpetual bait, a bait that has caught man in an iron net, a strait-jacket which does not let him expand or grow. All pioneers of truth have been, and still are, reviled; they have been, and still are, persecuted. But did they ask humanity to pay the price? Did they seek to bribe mankind to accept their ideas? They knew too well that he who accepts a truth because of the bribe, will soon barter it away to a higher bidder.

Good and bad, punishment and reward, sin and penance, heaven and hell, as the moving spirit of the Christ-gospel have been the stumbling-block in the world's work. It contains everything in the way of orders and commands, but entirely lacks the very things we need most.

The worker who knows the cause of his misery, who understands the make-up of our iniquitous social and industrial system can do more for himself and his kind than Christ and the followers of Christ have ever done for humanity; certainly more than meek patience, ignorance, and submission have done.

How much more ennobling, how much more beneficial is the extreme individualism of Stirner and Nietzsche than the sick-room atmosphere of the Christian faith. If they repudiate altruism as an evil, it is because of the example contained in Christianity, which set a premium on parasitism and inertia, gave birth to all manner of social disorders that are to be cured with the preachment of love and sympathy.

Proud and self-reliant characters prefer hatred to such sickening artificial love. Not because of any reward does a free spirit take his stand for a great truth, nor has such a one ever been deterred because of fear of punishment.

"Think not that I come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."

Precisely. Christ was a reformer, ever ready to patch up, to fulfill, to carry on the old order of things; never to destroy and rebuild. That may account for the fellow-feeling all reformers have for him.

Indeed, the whole history of the State, Capitalism, and the Church proves that they have perpetuated themselves because of the idea "I come not to destroy the law." This is the key to authority and oppression. Naturally so, for did not Christ praise poverty as a virtue; did he not propagate non-resistance to evil? Why should not poverty and evil continue to rule the world?

Much as I am opposed to every religion, much as I think them an imposition upon, and crime against, reason and progress, I yet feel that no other religion had done so much harm or has helped so much in the enslavement of man as the religion of Christ.

Witness Christ before his accusers. What lack of dignity, what lack of faith in himself and in his own ideas! So weak and helpless was this "Savior of Men" that he must needs the whole human family to pay for him, unto all eternity, because he "hath died for them." Redemption through the Cross is worse than damnation, because of the terrible burden it imposes upon humanity, because of the effect it has on the human soul, fettering and paralyzing it with the weight of the burden exacted through the death of Christ.

Thousands of martyrs have perished, yet few, if any, of them have proved so helpless as the great Christian God. Thousands have gone to their death with greater fortitude, with more courage, with deeper faith in their ideas than the Nazarene. Nor did they expect eternal gratitude from their fellow-men because of what they endured for them.

Compared with Socrates and Bruno, with the great martyrs of Russia, with the Chicago Anarchists, Francisco Ferrer, and unnumbered others, Christ cuts a poor figure indeed. Compared with the delicate, frail Spiridonova who underwent the most terrible tortures, the most horrible indignities, without losing faith in herself or her cause, Jesus is a veritable nonentity. They stood their ground and faced their executioners with unflinching determination, and though they, too, died for the people, they asked nothing in return for their great sacrifice.

Verily, we need redemption from the slavery, the deadening weakness, and humiliating dependency of Christian morality.

The teachings of Christ and of his followers have failed because they lacked the vitality to lift the burdens from the shoulders of the race; they have failed because the very essence of that doctrine is contrary to the spirit of life, exposed to the manifestations of nature, to the strength and beauty of passion.

Never can Christianity, under whatever mask it may appear -- be it New Liberalism, Spiritualism, Christian Science, New Thought, or a thousand and one other forms of hysteria and neurasthenia -- bring us relief from the terrible pressure of conditions, the weight of poverty, the horrors of our iniquitous system. Christianity is the conspiracy of ignorance against reason, of darkness against light, of submission and slavery against independence and freedom; of the denial of strength and beauty, against the affirmation of the joy and glory of life.

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Fri, Feb. 23rd, 2007 01:32 pm
I AM A PARCEL OF VAIN STRIVINGS

by: Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

I AM a parcel of vain strivings tied
By a chance bond together,
Dangling this way and that, their links
Were made so loose and wide,
Methinks,
For milder weather.

A bunch of violets without their roots,
And sorrel intermixed,
Encircled by a wisp of straw
Once coiled about their shoots,
The law
By which I'm fixed.

A nosegay which Time clutched from out
Those fair Elysian fields,
With weeds and broken stems, in haste,
Doth make the rabble rout
That waste
The day he yields.

And here I bloom for a short hour unseen,
Drinking my juices up,
With no root in the land
To keep my branches green,
But stand
In a bare cup.

Some tender buds were left upon my stem
In mimicry of life,
But ah! the children will not know,
Till time has withered them,
The woe
With which they're rife.

But now I see I was not plucked for naught,
And after in life's vase
Of glass set while I might survive,
But by a kind hand brought
Alive
To a strange place.

That stock thus thinned will soon redeem its hours,
And by another year,
Such as God knows, with freer air,
More fruits and fairer flowers
Will bear,
While I droop here.

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Sat, Feb. 17th, 2007 09:02 am

Britney Spears is a vapid, talentless Barbie Doll with a drug problem. CNN is talking about her right now. Thank god for our intrepid corporate media clones like Anderson Cooper who will go to any lengths to get the news that really matters. What's that? Genocide in Darfur, you say? Pshaw! Mere journalistic child's play. Britney just shaved her head, fool! Do you know how dangerous it was for CNN to get that picture? Get with the program. I smell a Peabody in Anderson's future. I really wish someone would shoot him in the face so I wouldn't have to watch him pretending to be concerned about whatever it is he happens to be reporting.

Here's what I want to know: Who are the fucking people who actually liked Britney's music enough in the first place to propel her to superstar status? Cause I don't know any of them. I mean, seriously people! I've taken all kinds of drugs in my life, but I've never found one that would make her music sound even remotely palatable. And this is coming from someone who has a penchant for atonal, experimental noise rock and bands with some guy who plays the saw. Ever heard of Asa Nisi Masa, you fuckers? Well they're a band that used to be(and probably still are) part of the Athens music scene, and at one time they were composed of a violinist, a drummer, and some guy who played the accordion. They at least had the fucking decency to make music that was tolerable after a few hits of acid and some whippets. Hell, I once used to listen to fucking trance when I thought I was a raver. The truth is that trance is repetitive, dull and utterly soulless. But not on ecstasy! Britney is clearly doing a lot of drugs these days, so she has no excuse. I think I'm going to make her a mix tape (or burn a CD or whatever) and send it to her with some really good hydroponic shit grown lovingly by saggy-titted, tofu-eating hippies in Arcata, CA. Maybe she'll get inspired and at least start recording music that doesn't make me long for the melting of the polar ice caps and the subsequent extinction of the human race. Oh, and Brit, one last thing: Please stop breeding. I'm tired of hearing about it.

In breaking news, Anna Nicole Smith's corpse has begun decomposing in the morgue as the lawyers fight over who gets to keep her pickled liver on their nightstand.

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Sat, Feb. 17th, 2007 01:54 am

Some things never change. Insomnia is one of the few constants I've had in my life thus far. I don't like it and I wish it would go away, but there isn't a whole hell of a lot I can do about it. Keith always said it was because I think too much. Maybe he was right. I can't seem to find that switch everyone else seems to have that shuts their brain off at night. It would be nice if I had really deep and profound thoughts when Mr. Sandman decides to be an elusive prick, but I don't. Usually my thoughts turn to things that make me sad. Some people say they have no regrets in life. Well, I've lost count of all of mine.

The more I learn, the less I know. As trite as it sounds, I want to know all the answers. I mean, why the fuck do people have to suffer? Why don't we treat each other better? Why, why, why...just like a 2 year old. A guy I thought I was in love with during my early 20's once parroted to me something along the lines of "It's not the destination that matters...it's the journey." I ended up throwing a plastic cup of beer at him at some point, but it wasn't because of his choice of cliches (although that would have probably been an appropriate response). After 20-some odd years of formal education, though, the only thing I can say with any certainty is that my butt itches sometimes, and if the devotees of postmodernism have their way then even that simple fact is up for debate. Thus the allure of logical positivism, I suppose, even if it is an epistemological chimera. It's at least comforting and it doesn't leave me feeling hung over the next day like my other methods for escaping from reality do. Would you believe that I actually know a Mormon positivist? I mean, what the fuck is THAT all about? I find him to be a source of endless amusement and scorn, although during my darker moments I sometimes envy him. Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling.

So, regrets. I regret that there was a time I couldn't distinguish "need" from "love". I hurt some really good guys because of that little misunderstanding. It isn't fun to wake up one day and pull back the curtain to find that what you thought was love was actually a pathetic, wounded wizard who didn't have much to say for himself when his scheme was finally discovered.

I regret spending so much of my youth and early adulthood filled with self-loathing. I could have probably been a better friend/brother/son/spouse to the people I love had I not been so fucking self-absorbed.

I regret quitting my job at Children's Protective Services before finishing work on a case involving an 8 year old little boy I'll call Mikey. I was in the midst of a very brutal and acrimonious legal battle to terminate his mother's parental rights when I suddenly abandoned ship. I just couldn't take it anymore. The responsibility was too much for me to handle. I still think about him every once in awhile. He haunts my dreams sometimes. By now he's an adolescent and in all likelihood he's living on the streets in the Bay Area. He was the saddest little guy I'd ever met. I spent a lot of time working with him because the case was so incredibly complex. One time I met with him at his school because he was having some behavioral problems. I told him that people sometimes forget things about their childhood when they grow up and that I wanted to make sure he remembered this moment for the rest of his life. I gave him this little crystal I had, and I told him to hold onto it forever to remind him of what I said to him that day. I wish I had been able to come up with some sort of profound statement that changed the course of his life. Instead, all I could say was, "One day when you get older you might discover that you are angry and sad a lot. If you remember nothing else from the last year that I've been your social worker, remember this: None of this was your fault. There is nothing, and I mean nothing a little boy your age could do that would be bad enough to deserve being treated the way you've been treated. All little kids deserve to be loved and to have a home and a family that loves them. It's not fair, and one day when you're all grown up you'll be able to find a way to feel happy again." He smiled and took the crystal from me, and I made him repeat what I said to him. I wonder if he still has it. I also wonder if I told him the truth that day. He's from a poor inner-city family of abusive drug addicts, so his options for pursuing happiness will be severely limited. I hope he's okay.

I regret that I once felt ashamed that my family was poor. You know those older women who work at the convenience store and Burger King that you look down your nose at if you even bother to acknowledge their existence in the first place? How about that lady who cleans your house for a pittance? Well, many of those women are mothers with kids who love them. They work really hard, and they aren't stupid. Most of them have had a rough life and yet they still get up and go to work everyday to support their families without complaining. Try smiling at them sometimes, or better yet try saying "hello" to them. Strike up a conversation even! You might learn a thing or two. Most of them have more integrity than you or I could ever dream of having, so show them the proper respect please. Despite the fact that we are all in the throes of the same fucked up capitalist nightmare, they are still technically not your slaves.

I regret that my ability to tolerate conflict was once so inadequate that I burned bridges with people I considered to be good friends. There are some things that can't be unsaid. This doesn't apply to D. though. He can go take a flying fuck at the moooooooooon!

I regret being mean to my mom when she told me she'd never accept me as a gay person. Sure it hurt, but she's been thoroughly brainwashed by the cult of that dead jewish guy. It's not her fault.

Ok, enough with regrets. Here's a random thought:

Even though I have no desire to be in a relationship with any of the guys I've been with in the past, I still love them all so much that it hurts. There is nothing I wouldn't do for any of them (well, there is ONE guy I'd rather not hear from ever again), and I'd be by their sides in an instant if they ever needed anything. For instance, I still think about K. a lot, a guy I went out with briefly when I was 24 after I first moved to San Francisco. That's almost 9 years ago, for Christ's sake. We were both doing a lot of drugs at the time our paths crossed, so our "relationship" was based on nothing but a mutual physical attraction, a love for mind-altering chemicals, and a paradoxical aversion to solitude given how naturally introverted we both were. Although we were just a couple of fucked up kids with serious substance abuse issues, there were instances in which we were both lucid enough for me to catch a glimpse of the person who inhabited his beautiful body. Somehow I loved that person I saw, and I loved him for how broken and frightened and insecure he was, not in spite of it (yes, Morrissey, you can use that line). Of course, I never let him know that. We eventually stopped seeing each other in a rather organic fashion (i.e. there was no "falling out" or fight or anything, I just stopped calling him and vice versa), and I didn't run into him again until 2004. He asked why I'd bailed on him years before, and he was baffled to discover that I felt like HE had bailed on ME. "I should have married you," he replied. It turns out that we both stopped seeing each other because we each thought the other wasn't really interested. And in hindsight, it was certainly for the best.

In many ways, other people are like walking Rorschach inkblots to us all. We project so much onto them, and it can sometimes be hard to tell which parts of them are real and which parts of them are merely our own repressed, infantile fantasies bubbling up from the abyss and seeping through the cracks in our psyches. Despite the brevity of our time together, I still feel a twinge of an emotion I can't quite identify whenever I think of K. I guess it's longing, although it's not a longing to be with him, per se. Jeffery Eugenides once said that if he could be any emotion, he'd choose to be longing. That would be the one emotion I would NOT want to be, but I digress...

Perhaps I feel that way because K. is a living, breathing symbol of a time in my life when I still thought it was possible to escape one's past. He was the embodiment of everything I thought California was supposed to be (and do) for me. It was an illusion that was so insidious and plausible that I couldn't even recognize it as such, and I held onto it with ferocity and determination for years. When that illusion eventually crumbled my entire world shook so violently that I almost died. Literally. Imagine my dismay when I looked around to discover that there was nowhere else to run and that I didn't have a boat. California was the end of the line for me, both geographically and metaphorically. It was a lovely illusion though, and every now and then I can still feel its remnants stirring inside me. I imagine it's kind of like the "phantom limb" sensation that amputees report following the loss of an arm or a leg. You know it's gone, but it really served its purpose and you feel deformed without it.

When I first arrived in San Francisco, I made a new friend named Terry. I told Terry about a recurring dream I'd been having since moving to San Francisco. In the dream, I find a dead body in my house. Fearing that I will be mistakenly blamed for killing someone, I decide to hide the body inside a large wooden trunk that also serves as a coffee table. The body remains there for days as guests come and go from my home, and I start to panic because I think it will be discovered. I know that the smell will eventually reveal the hidden monstrosity, and I'm terrified of going to jail for a crime I didn't commit.

Terry told me that the dream represented the death of my old life and the beginning of a new life in a new place. I thought that was a fair interpretation. Looking back on it from the age of 32, however, I see it as an ominous warning that I failed to heed: You can't escape your past, and if you don't deal with it properly it will start to stink. You may not have caused it, but you are stuck with the unpleasant task of dealing with it nonetheless. You can only keep the truth of your past hidden for so long before it makes itself known in a most unpleasant manner. So put it to rest properly or face the consequences.

These days when I sleep, I often dream that I am in jail. It's not pleasant at all. I'm just sitting there, bored out of my mind, with a lifetime ahead of me to think about what it was that I should have done differently. I can never remember what my crime was, though, so I can't think of a proper way to atone for whatever I did to wind up there. I certainly wasn't able to atone for it by running to the Pacific ocean, so I feel perplexed about what I should do next. Perhaps I gave that crystal away prematurely.

Maybe I'll make parole one day for good behavior.

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Fri, Feb. 16th, 2007 07:41 pm

Wow, I almost forgot this journal was here. 2 friends of mine have started blogging, and their efforts have inspired me to start writing again (as time permits). So much has changed over the past year that I don't know where to start.

After 6 years together, Keith and I split up several months ago. He decided to stay in St. Louis for a year instead of returning to California because he loves his job and he's making a lot of money. We've agreed to re-evaluate things in a year and see where we're at emotionally. So we'll see. Needless to say, we've both had a tough time dealing with this. We've been each other's family for a long time now, and it's hard to adjust to not seeing each other every day.

So what else is new....oh yeah! So I'm in decent shape now! Remember all my pissing and moaning in earlier entries about being overweight? Well, all that time at the gym finally paid off. My workout regimen has decreased substantially this winter due to the fact that it's FUCKING COLD outside and I hate the snow.

I'll be done with all of my coursework at the end of this semester, and I can't fucking wait. I taught Differential Diagnosis last semester, and it went really well. I LOVE teaching! Pardon me for tooting my own horn for a moment, but the prof I worked under said I was the best TA she's had in her 14 years of teaching! The students also gave me excellent reviews. They were a really smart bunch, and I learned so much from them.

My research interests have changed substantially over the past two years. I now intend to focus my research on the mental health of undocumented Mexican immigrants. There is a huge gap in the literature regarding the mental health of this population, so it's the perfect place for me to make my mark, so to speak. It will be difficult to find a way to conduct research on this population that will be acceptable to the Institutional Review Board, but I'm trying to come up with some strategy that will be both feasible and ethical. We'll see how it goes.

I presented my research at a conference in San Francisco last month, and I received 3 offers from different universities to interview for a tenure-track position! Unfortunately, I'm only in my second year so I had to decline. The schools that approached me were NYU, the University of Windsor (Canada...where I hope to one day reside), and Portland State University. I also got some interest from faculty members at Columbia and Penn!! I was so nervous, but I guess I didn't make as big a fool of myself as I thought I would.

I've been feeling incredibly nostalgic lately. I miss laid-back slacking and too much coffee at Jittery Joe's in Athens. I miss the way the moon looks on LSD as my friends come up with one-liners that explain the meaning of life and the futility of all my strivings in a single phrase, a moment that becomes hazy and uncertain (and mostly forgotten) when the sun rises and I find myself all alone in tears in front of the bathroom mirror. I miss the smell of wet pavement drying in the hot Georgia night, a smell that for some reason I will always inexplicably associate with longing and that hollowness that lived under my solar plexus throughout most of my 20's. I miss being the only one wearing stripes as Bono wails and making fun of people to keep the fear at bay. I miss being lackadaisical and crass with impunity, secure in the knowledge that my family of choice will forgive me and keep loving me despite my awkward transgressions. I miss my family of choice.

You know who you are.

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Sun, May. 21st, 2006 12:38 pm

I just got a call from my mom a few minutes ago. My little brother is homeless again. He's a crack addict, and he had been staying in a halfway house for the past few months. They gave him a random drug test, and he tested positivie for cocaine and marijuana. So now he's back on the streets.

I don't feel sorry for my brother. He's made his own bed, and quite frankly he DESERVES to lie in it. He's a certifiable sociopath (that's not hyperbole-he's actually been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder). He has stolen money from every member of my family more than once. He's a con artist, liar, and a thief.

What breaks my heart is that he has a wife and a 2 year old little boy. My little nephew Taiki is the most precious child in the world. I love him so much. He doesn't deserve to have such a fucked up life. I flew Taiki and my sister-in-law up to St. Louis a couple of weeks ago for a visit. We had such a good time. Keith and I took him to the zoo, and it was so much fun.

At one point, Taiki tripped and fell down in the livingroom. While he was crying, he said "daddy" over and over again. I almost started crying with him.

Thank god for Dolly Parton. I'm sitting here listening to her version of "Crimson and Clover". She makes me happy. Yes, I'm THAT gay.

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Thu, May. 4th, 2006 02:33 am

Well boys and girls, it is 2:33am and I have just finished my final paper of the semester. I am now done with my first year of doctoral studies!!!! I cannot believe that I've been living in St. Louis for an entire year. Time has definitely flown by.

I've learned SO much this past year. I really didn't know what I was getting myself into when I naively applied to PhD programs last year. The volume of reading and writing has certainly been overwhelming. The sense of accomplishment I feel at having made it through this first year is quite satisfying. Only one more year of coursework, and then it's on to my area statement and dissertation!

This summer I'm going to be conducting research with several amazing faculty members. Over this past semester, I began doing some secondary data analysis of a study of an intervention aimed at decreasing HIV risk behaviors in foster children. I submitted an abstract of my work for an upcoming conference in San Francisco (yay!), so hopefully it will be accepted. If my advisor thinks the analysis is going to be fruitful, then perhaps I'll be able to start working on a paper that I can submit for publication. I'll also be working with another prof on a study he's conducting on the educational trajectories of older adolescents "aging out" of the foster care system. Since publication is the name of the game, I'm hoping to start working on a paper with him as well.

I already have one publication under my belt from my graduate work at the University of Georgia. If I can get some traction on the HIV risk behaviors paper and get started on something with that educational trajectories study, then that would give me a total of 3 decent publications for my CV. I also plan on fine tuning a paper I wrote for a course last semester so that I can sumit it somewhere (probably to an obscure, no name little academic journal). I'd like to have AT LEAST 8 papers accepted for publication by the time I go onto the job market. I guess that's probably a bit too ambitious, seeing as how the average seems to be about 5-6 for most people. Oh well, it can't hurt to try!

I'm so glad I won't be taking classes this summer. I feel like I haven't been able to spend enough time with Keith over the past couple of months, so it will be nice to have a more flexible schedule. He's been such a trooper. Seriously, I don't know what I would do without him. He's had to cope with my academia-induced mood swings and my recent manic irritability, and he's endured this while exhibiting the patience of a saint. I am so fucking lucky to have him. God (or the universe, or whatever) has been really good to me.
I'm really looking forward to spending time with him just lounging around, watching DVDs, and playing with Killer.

I'm teaching a class in the fall, btw! What a frightening thought, no? ME. Teaching a class. With students and everything! The title of the course is "Differential Diagnosis", which basically means I'll be teaching the DSM. It isn't exactly the type of course I wanted to teach, but I chose it because I happen to know the material like the back of my hand. Being crazy helps, I suppose. Anyway, I wanted my first teaching experience to be a good one, so I made sure to choose a course where I knew the content extremely well.

Anyhow, if you happen to be reading this stupid blog, please do say hello! I'm debating whether or not I'm going to keep bothering with it, given how little I actually update it.

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Tue, Mar. 28th, 2006 06:20 pm

An open letter to Straights

Apparently all this time I’ve been shoving my sexuality in your face and forcing it on you. I misunderstood. I didn’t know. I am so sorry.

I mistakenly thought it was you who were shoving your lifestyle in my face when you called me faggot before I even knew what that word meant.

I thought you were forcing your sexuality on me when you and your friends cornered me in the locker room after gym class in junior high school, called me a goddamn homo and beat the shit out of me.

I thought the coach was forcing his lifestyle on me when he shouted down at my broken and bleeding body in the locker room that I asked for it because I was looking at the other guys “funny”.

I thought you were shoving your sexuality in my face when you spray painted my name and “is a fag” on the side of the High school building.

When you and your friends trashed my car and then afterwards ran me off the road as I was walking home from school, laughing and calling me a “Queer” I thought I was just walking home from school and not forcing my sexuality down your throat.

I was mistaken and apparently trying to force my deviant lifestyle on you in college that day when thought I might be just trying to find someone like me to talk to when you and your cop friends entrapped me, arrested me and beat me up and threw me in jail because I looked at you the wrong way and smiled at you.

Apparently I asked for it when you and your friends chased me down the street, pulled me into an alley and broke my nose with a booze bottle after I had the gall to come out a known gay bar one night in college.

When I was in the military, I thought one of my friends might be just trying to live a decent, honorable life with his partner of 10 years when you and your military police friends pulled him into an interrogation room and accused him of sodomy because he was living with a guy and not dating women. When you kicked him out of the service and dumped him 3500 miles from his home with no money and no job, I didn’t realize that he was forcing his lifestyle on you. I’m sure he’s sorry too.

I didn’t realize that you were offended by us when my best friend asked to be admitted to his partners’ hospital room while he was dying. You see, he’d lived with him for 20 years and they had shared their life together but had the misfortune of living in a state where people like him had no “legal status” and so his sweet love of 20 years died alone surrounded by people who thought that God had given him AIDS as punishment for the sin of homosexuality. He didn’t understand that your religious sensibilities were more important than his misguided need to be with his partner when he died.

All this time I thought you were forcing your sexuality on me, but now I know that I was forcing mine on you. I am so sorry that all my life, I’ve mistakenly thought that being left alone to live my life, to work and to have a home and family and to be allowed to love who I choose was just living my life - like you live yours.

Little did I know that all that time I was cramming my disgusting sexuality and lifestyle down your throat, forcing you to accept me and demanding “Special Rights”.

Now that I’m older and wiser, you’ll excuse the silly idealism of a dotty middle aged guy who had a vain hope that maybe I could marry the guy I’ve been living with for fifteen years and not have to worry if my religiously devout family will decide to ransack my home after my death because my family – the family who have largely cared less if I lived or died – have more legal rights than my partner, no matter what I say in my will.

You’ll excuse my mistaken notion that I should be allowed to have a good job and not be fired at will because my boss might find out that I live with a guy and am still “single”. You’ll pardon my liberal sensibilities when I think I should be able to rent an apartment from someone who might decide that two guys living together is “an abomination”, or be able to open a joint checking account with my partner, because now I know that it isn’t “normal” for two guys to set up a home together.

Hopefully, you’ll excuse my mistaken notion that my life and my love and my family are at least as important and significant as yours – yes, even when you beat the shit out of your wife the day after she caught you fucking the underaged babysitter, even when you tossed your 15 year old gay son out on the streets, even when I gladly pay very high taxes to send your kids to good schools and you cheat on yours.

I hope you will understand when I was momentarily struck speechless when you raised up your bible and told me that God thinks that I am an abomination and will go to hell. You’ll excuse me for my silly notion that God maybe has other more pressing matters than to care that much if I decide that I want to live with someone I love instead of being alone and celibate. You’ll pardon my weakness when I want a family and have to do it by shoving my homosexual lifestyle in your face.

Finally, please excuse the silly sentimentality of an old man who after nearly six decades of life sees a movie with two “normal” guys who are cowboys who fall in love together. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any people like me in the movies who aren’t silly and shallow or tragic and dying of something or another. It’s been years since I’ve seen someone like me love someone like my partner and not die because of it or end up some tragic stupid queen. So the movie made me happy and so I was momentarily blinded by the hope that it might be recognized as a watershed moment in tolerance. I now know it was a shameful use of one of your dearest symbols of American manliness to once again shove my disgusting lifestyle down your throat.

You’ll excuse me please.

All this time, all my life – I just thought you were trying to make me be something that I can never be. I just thought you were forcing me to conform to your idea of normality. I mistakenly thought you hated me.

I was mistaken. Obviously, all this time I was forcing my lifestyle on you. Please accept my apologies.

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Tue, Jan. 10th, 2006 06:08 pm

And Southerners wonder why the rest of the country looks down on them:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/01/10/teens.lynching/index.html

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