Thursday, August 30, 2012

Talk About A Risky Lifestyle Choice

"Homosexual behavior is extremely unhealthy... homosexuals typically have far shorter life spans than the general population." --Family Research Council

"It's not a lifestyle. It's a death-style." --American Family Association
Gosh... Listening to these right-wing religious hate groups, you'd think there could be nothing more dangerous than having gay sex. While I've never been one to shy away from the tingle of moderate danger, there's one thing you'll never catch me inside of, and that's a moving, church-operated vehicle...

About 6,910 results (0.13 seconds)

I stopped after four pages of results, but it's all there on Google.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Testing My Patience

It's been a long couple of weeks at work which has disrupted my routine a bit. I write software and I used to think that if I did all the right things during the development phase, my life would be easier after handing my code off to the quality assurance team.

Now I know it makes no difference. At least 90% of the defects assigned to me by QA have nothing to do with whether or not the code is working correctly, but instead are due to the test environment not properly matching the test cases.

I spend much more time and effort during testing handling all these defects which basically results in my helping QA set up their test environment. I'm not complaining about doing my job. More like complaining about doing someone else's job. If QA relies on the developer to facilitate the testing of his own work, it defeats the purpose of having QA.

I'm passive-agressively venting as a means of explaining why I haven't posted lately. Sorry about that. Which reminds me... I haven't visited one of my favorite blogs in a while,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hide The Pickle

One book that I remember having a big impact on my formative years is the classic guide to home food preservation, "Putting Food By". Everything the frugal, conscientious housewife needed to know about pickling, canning and preserves could be found in this hefty tome.

Why was twelve-year-old Pac so interested in saving food in jars? I wasn't. But this book happened to be the exact size and thickness as another book which was also very popular at the time.

I don't remember exactly when the idea occurred to me. All I knew was that there was way too much information to absorb in the short periods of time I found myself alone in the house. I was also fairly certain the book hadn't been referenced by my parents in quite some time, judging by it's undisturbed position in its hiding place.

So one day when Dad was at work and Mom left for the supermarket, I switched book jacket covers. Putting Food By was now stashed in my dad's sock drawer, leaving me free to read everything I always wanted to know about sex (but was afraid to ask) at my own convenience. And the genius part? I could get my sex education while it looked to the casual outside observer like I was simply boning up on cucumbers.

I didn't know at the time that this famous sex manual was dangerously flawed when it came to the topic of homosexuality. I didn't understand my first formal introduction to gay sex was a mishmash of negative stereotypes and crass homophobia disguised as carefully researched scientific fact. What I took away from the chapters dedicated to homosexuality was the knowledge that out there in the world were other people like me. I might be perverted, but I wasn't alone.

This was a huge revelation back in the days before the Internet, when all outside knowledge came from books or public television. Back when kind of books which could be borrowed or purchased by a twelve-year-old were limited and we were lucky to receive four clear channels on VHF and UHF combined. My mind was starving for this kind of information and I eagerly devoured every dubiously nutritious scrap I could find.

Despite being horribly misguided, I never once tried to pick up a guy by playing footsie in the stalls of a bowling alley men's room. (Which I remember reading in that book was how homosexuals met one another.) Having consumed every last word, my search for knowledge outgrew that silly book and the perfectly camouflaged sex guide ended up forgotten on the shelf. I didn't even give it a second thought when half the books in our home library disappeared, donated to the multi-family yard sale to raise funds for the Holy Family parish.

Until a few weeks later when my mom got a phone call about a book she donated to the church. A book about pickles.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Swim Meat

Ah, the Olympics. I remember back in 1996 when Atlanta hosted the games. Even though I lived in the middle of it, I didn't see any of the sporting events in person. I remember that the tickets were expensive and hard to come by, all the good ones anyway. I did go to the opening ceremony though. I probably would have enjoyed that more had I not been hungover. So many drums.

Pac's mental snapshot from the
1996 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

While business-as-usual in Atlanta was put on hold for the most part during the Olympics, when my company asked for volunteers to help with Olympic-related corporate events I jumped at the chance to be part of the glamorous spectacle. I spent August '96 driving a company shuttle van between the Airport and Buckhead. I remember starting each round trip with a quick prayer to God I wouldn't find one of my college classmates awaiting their chauffeur.

Beside my usual salary, I was awarded event tickets. Badminton or dressage or curling... something like that. I remember trying to give them away. I still have them packed away in the basement somewhere. Wouldn't it be a hoot if they were actually worth something today?

Let's see, what else do I remember from the '96 Olympics? I met Al Roker, pre-gastric bypass. And I was two blocks away from Olympic Park when the bomb went off. Of course, I didn't know it was a bomb at the time. I just remember thinking, "Well that's never happened before... either this sex is really good or I just ruptured something."

Maybe it's my nostalgia for 1996 or maybe it's the Twitter spoilers, but I haven't really gotten into the Olympic spirit this year. StevieB on the other hand has been glued to his DVR, enjoying hour after hour of NBC coverage. He's been posting a series of screen shots of sexy swimmers and divers asking the question, "Olympics or porn?"

Hey Stevie, can I play?

Olympics or Porn?

Give up? It's porn.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Heart Grow Fonder

Before I left for work this morning, I eased into the still-dark bedroom to give JB a kiss. He hates when I unnecessarily wake him in the morning, but hates it more if I leave without saying goodbye. I've found that life with JB often involves the careful weighing of evils with the challenge of correctly guessing the lesser among them.

As I wished him a wonderful day, he reminded me that he has to work today and I'll be on my own for dinner tonight. As a flight attendant, JB usually works for three or four days at a time.

I used to make more of an effort to keep track of JB's work schedule. Despite my best efforts, my attention sometimes wanders when he talks about his job, which leads to the shame of, "I told you I swapped my next-week's Dublin for this weekend's Stuttgart then got a move-up to tomorrow's Milan... were you even listening?"

Several years ago I tried to address this by attaching a magnetic dry-erase calendar to the refrigerator so that we might collaboratively track updates to his fluctuating work schedule. This immediately backfired when all it accomplished was to raise his suspicions that I was looking forward to his trips and planning my life's enjoyment to coincide with his absence.

So I've learned it's best just to passively pay as much attention as possible when he talks about his schedule without ever appearing too interested. Then expressing the perfect titer of genuine disappointment when he tells me he'll be flying.

That's why this morning I said, "Aww, that's right, I forgot you said you were flying today." I kissed him again and with my lips still pressed against his forehead I added, "I'm gonna miss you, my love."

"It's okay," he said as he re-fluffed his pillow and rolled onto his side, "it's only a domestic trip."

As I locked the front door and walked toward the car, I caught myself smiling about what JB just said. It's cute and endearingly naïve of him to think that the amount I miss him is in any way a function of the distance between us.

I hadn't even pulled out of the driveway.