Category Archives: Randomness

Thirty-Nine Candles

There aren't nearly enough there for my cake.
There aren’t nearly enough there for my cake.

It’s official!  As of today, I am thirty-nine years old.  It’s hard to believe that I only have one more year before I’m forty.  Part of me still feels like I should be in my mid-twenties.  Part of me certainly wishes I was back in my mid-twenties.

Today, I will be enjoying another day off.  My friend Char is taking me out to lunch at the Golden Corral store that just opened up in our area.  After that, I hope to hang out with friends, work on my novel, and have dinner someplace nice.  A date — which would make the day absolutely perfect — doesn’t seem likely, but it’ll be a great day anyway.  I refuse to let it be anything different.

A few random facts about me, particularly related to my birthday.

1.  I was born at 3:10pm.

2.  For those into astrology, my sun sign is gemini, my moon sign is pisces, and my rising sign is libra.  Yes, the three “central” signs in my natal chart are also the three double signs.  As one friend once commented, I’m a crowd all by myself.

3.  The only planet in my whole chart that is in an earth sign is the planet Venus.  It’s in Taurus.  This actually explains a lot about me, mainly why I tend to be both touchy-feely and highly sensual.

4.  In the past, I’ve tended not to say anything about it being my birthday.  I didn’t want to draw attention to myself like that, as it seemed way too attention seeking.  This year, I decided to hell with that kind of thinking.  It’s my birthday.  I deserve some attention, and I’m going to seek it out and even demand it.

Almost 39, and I still love cartoons

SmurfsMy birthday is on Tuesday, so I’ve decided to take it easy between now and then and just do some easy, rambling posts.  Today’s posts is on my love of cartoons.

I guess you could say that in many ways, I’m still a kid at heart.  If you were able to peer into my Netlfix history, one of the things that would probably jump out at you would be the number of animated movies and cartoon series that show up.  Whether it’s watching Disney’s Hercules movie (thanks for the heads up, Rae!) or the 1980’s G.I. Joe series, I just love my animation.  In some ways, I suppose I just love the simplicity of it all.  Plus, I also love the various stories that can be explored through animation.  To name just a few of the cartoons I love, both past and present.

Thundercats.  What can I say?  I guess one might argued that I had a thing for furries before I even knew what furries were.  But yeah, the anthropomorphic Thundercats, their powers, and their adventures completely mesmerized me.  Or maybe that was Mumm-Ra.

Smurfs.  I think this is one of the first Saturday morning cartoons I ever started watching.  I was fascinated by Papa Smurf.  And to this day, I swear the show kept hinting that someday, Baby Smurf would become the new Papa Smurf.  Though the one thing that annoyed me about the show was the introduction of Granny Smurf in 1989.  Excuse me, but from the beginning of the series, it was made clear that before Gargamel made Smurfette, there were only boy smurfs.  So where the heck did Granny Smurf come from?

X-Men/X-Men: Evolution.  If I’m being perfectly honest, I love just about any superhero cartoon.  These two X-Men series were probably my favorites.  Superman was just too perfect.  Batman was either too dark or too campy.  But the X-Men always seemed like real and often complex people who just happened to have superpowers.  Plus, I had a thing for Nightcrawler.  (Okay, I still do.)

Princess Mononoke.  Okay, hardcore anime fans are probably going to scream that I’m referring to an anime movie as a “cartoon.”  To be honest, I see them all as cartoons, just cartoons of a different kind and possibly with a different target audience in mind.  (Bear in mind that Bug Bunny cartoons were originally intended for adult audiences.)  I love the imagery and deep theological, environmental, and sociological issues explored in this movie.

Kim Possible.  Because who doesn’t love a rocking teenager whose motto is “I can do anything”?  And I have to admit, Ron’s dorkiness grew on me.

Liberty and Justice for All: A Work in Progress

Here are some words that are familiar to most Americans:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

They are the most commonly quoted words from that famous document signed on July 4, 1776 which marked the beginning of the North American colonies’ fight for Independence from the British crown.  I suspect that those words will be remembered and even invoked by many today, 236 years later as those of us in the United States celebrate our Independence Day.

What occurs to me as I think on those words, however, is that while they are sweeping and have far-reaching implications (despite the fact that they are gender exclusive), they were penned, signed onto, and embraced by men who applied them in a much more limited fashion.  After all, many of our nation’s great founders and lovers of liberty owned slaves, denying those slaves their own liberty.  In fact, it would be almost a full century after the Declaration of Independence was signed that its principle of the God-given, inalienable right to liberty would be recognized for slaves.

I don’t say this to demonize our founding fathers.  I say this to point out that, as great as they were, they were men, perfectly imperfect and equally capable of not seeing how their principles need to be applied to all people.  I say this to remind us on this holiday that we should not merely celebrate our independence — or freedom, as it is more often (at least to my mind) called.  We should continue to make liberty for all a greater reality, because that great work started by those great men over two centuries ago has not been accomplished in full.

So today, I offer a small list of the many liberties that I see as lacking and in need of greater support and defense:

  • Young black men still need the liberty to walk through certain neighborhoods without immediately being treated with suspicion.
  • Women still need the liberty to pick out their clothing without worrying about how others — particularly — men will view and treat them based on their attire.
  • Same sex couples still need the liberty to walk in public arm-in-arm or holding hands without the fear of being harassed or assaulted.
  • Workers need (to keep) the liberty to form unions so that they can better bargain and fight for their needs in the face of the corporate interests of their employers.

This is just a small list.  There are many different people in this great country that values freedom who still struggle to maintain and gain some basic freedoms, both constitutional and otherwise.  I would encourage others to add to my list in the comments.  I would also say that while we celebrate our freedom today, let us keep in mind that freedom is a much more perfect and comprehensive prospect than we — much like our founding fathers — fully realize.  And let us continue to work to see that perfect and comprehensive prospect fully explored and fully realized.

A shoutout to Christopher Yuan’s followers and friends

Starting sometime last night, my blog started getting a lot of hits.  By “a lot,” I mean more than three times its normal hits in a day.  I also started noticing that a lot of the traffic was coming from Facebook and Twitter.  So doing a bit of research, I discovered that Christopher Yuan, co-author or “Out of a Far Country,” tweeted a link to the first post I wrote reviewing that book and posted the same link to his Facebook page.

Honest review of ?#OutofaFarCountry? from a gay man who’s a self-proclaimed witch! – http://yuan2.us/29

I’ll be a bit honest, I’m a but curious and concerned why he felt it was necessary or appropriate to bring up the fact that I’m a witch, but I’m still thankful that he promoted my review (and I hope many of his readers read all the posts on the topic, not just the first and “flattering” post he linked to).  After all, as one of his own commenters on Facebook said, “any press is good press.”

So to Christopher, I say thank you.  To those of you who found my blog through Christopher, I say welcome.  I hope you find what I wrote informative and thought-provoking, even if you don’t agree with me.  And I hope you’ll stick around to read some of the other stuff I’ve written.

I plan on doing one last follow-up post on Christopher’s and his mother’s book, which I hope to have up later today.  It’s something that caught my eye in one of the final chapters, and I want to talk about it.

Totally shameless, self-centered birthday blog post

Thirty eight years ago, the world was blessed with a wonderful gift in the form of a baby boy.  That wonderful boy would grow into a thoughtful, witty, and eloquent man.

Unfortunately, even after thirty eight years, he still hasn’t learned humility.  😉

I hope to get back to blogging soon.  But today, I’m celebrating.  Have a good one, loyal readers.  Heck, I hope the disloyal ones have a good one, too!

Christmas musings

I’m not a big fan of Clay Aiken’s rendition of this song, but my selection of YouTube videos was severely limited.  I first ran into “Merry Christmas with Love” back in the ninth grade (that’s be the 1988-1989 school year, for those of you who might be wondering) when our chorus teacher announced it as one of the songs we would be singing it as part of our Christmas concert.  I was deeply touched and moved by the central story and message of the song.[1]

In a small, not-exactly-the-same sort of way, I can also understand the sentiment on a personal level.  Since my mother began working at a hospital several years ago, Christmas has often been a bit strange in our home, and Christmas day itself often doesn’t seem like Christmas day.  Take this year as a good example of what I’m talking about.  My mother has to head to work at around 1pm.  Because of this, my parents and I celebrated our Christmas yesterday, exchanging gifts and having our big dinner.  As such, this morning feels like most other days, with my mother getting ready for work and me thinking about my impending drive back to Rochester after lunch.  When I used to live at home, such years were even odder, as my father and I would look at each other after Mom left for work and wonder “what do we do with the rest of our day.”

I can only imagine how much stranger it is for those people who don’t have loved ones around them at all during this season.  It must be difficult.  I actually admire some friends who discovered that a mutual friend had no Christmas plans and invited him to their house.  We should all have that sense of compassion for others.

So, dear readers, may you have a Merry Christmas.  If you find yourself surrounded by loved ones, hold them a little closer in appreciation.  And if you find yourself alone, drop me a line.  It’s not much, but at least you’ll know someone cares enough to talk.

Note:
[1]  This is actually why  don’t like Aiken’s rendition of it.  I felt he tried to “dress it up” way too much with his vocal talent.  Yeah, he’s a pretty good singer, but sometimes, the song itself is more important than how amazingly one can belt it out.  When the latter starts to detract from the former, there’s a problem.

Do I have enough readers for an open thread?

I’ve had a busy weekend and simply have not had time to come up with an idea for a blog post today, let alone turn it into something coherent.  So I’m going to take a day off and try an open thread.

Some possible things to discuss:

1.  What do you do to relax and/or cope with stress?
2.  Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  When do you normally start?
3.  What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?  The best reaction to a gift you gave?
4.  Introduce yourself, what your interests are, and why you read my blog.  (Yeah, that last one is completely self-serving on my part.)

I’ll have a more informative (and hopefully entertaining) post tomorrow.

A Rose by Any Other Name

Infatuation...

Image by Zixii via Flickr

I now have a name.  I think it’s a nice name.  It rolls off the tongue.  It sounds quite nice.

Of course, I just googled it.  It’s apparently related to that name.  Part of me wants to run away screaming.  But another part of me doesn’t.

Ah well.  Just be friendly.  Being friendly is good.

Blog Award

Me To You Award.jpgRygel was kind enough to gift me with the From Me to You Award, which was terribly kind of him.  I don’t get many awards, so it’s a pleasant surprise when it happens.

Of course, like any other award or meme, there are rules involved when you receive this reward.  So in an attempt to be (mostly) rule-abiding, I would like to do the following:

  1. Thank Rygel again for his kindness.
  2. Think up seven things my readers (hopefully) don’t know about me and list them:
    1. I was considering going into the ministry back when I was a Christian.
    2. I was terribly shy growing up.
    3. I wanted a pet skunk when I was growing up.
    4. I also wanted a pet python when I was growing up.
    5. I can tune out almost anything if I’m reading, writing, or working on the computer.
    6. I used to want to be a lawyer, but mainly so I could eventually become a judge.
    7. I used to worry that no one really liked me.
  3. Pass the award on to the following people.  (Sorry, I don’t have a full seven.)

See you next year, IRS

gets_away_with_a_bundle.pngThis year, I decided to do something unusual for me.  I decided to file my tax returns early.  Normally, I’m the kind of guy who puts it off and forgets about it until April 12 (or later) and then rushes around to do get it done in the nick of time.

This year, I decided that there was really no point in waiting.  So as soon as I got my W-2 from my employer (and remembered to take it home), I installed this year’s copy of Tax Cut and got business over with.  Hopefully, that means that my refund will be deposited in my account in the next couple of weeks.

I’m a bit disappointed that my Federal refund isn’t bigger than it was.  As it is, it’s not quite enough to cover the annual membership I want to get at The Iron Butterfly.  However, it should cover enough of it that I can afford it overall.  And at least I owed the state less than $100.  I may have to look at my witholding informationa gain and see if I can get a refund from the state next year, too.

But the important thing is that it’s done and I can forget that the IRS exists for another year.

(The image in this post is public domain.  I found it through Public Domain Clipart.)