Category Archives: Social

This trip was a good idea.

The trip has been a very good one for me. Though the ride up was initially tough, I enjoyed it anyway, and the weather in Portland has been brilliant. My hosts are wonderful; and they are usIng my visit as a wonderful reason to throw a party – I am so lucky in the friends that I have. Yesterday I saw a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in more than 30 years; he and his wife will be here today, as will another friend I haven’t seen in that long. I’ve gotten to see other old friends that I haven’t seen in some time, and get better acquainted with newer friends who I haven’t seen since I was last in Portland. More of that will be happening today as well – and will continue until I leave for home. Even better, I’ll get to meet a bunch of new folks and introduce many of my friends to each other, which pleases me no end. I have two more friends who are in the process of moving to Portland; I’ll have that many more friends to introduce them to once they are up here. And I like it here enough that I could easily see myself living here at some point. I’ll even be able o touch base with another old friend on the way home, stopping in Yreka to do so.

For today, until it’s time to prep for the party, I’m just chillin’ with Belmont, The Pitbull of Silliness and reading Gene Wolfe’s Book of The New Sun (which I attempted and failed to read when I was 14 – this time I’m enjoying the hell out of it), and remembering my dear friend Jay Lake, who introduced me to so many of the good people in his life (including my hosts).

When I get back, I’ll be celebrating my 21st wedding anniversary with my wife and best friend, then I’ll be resuming my physical training regimen, do some online training-related seminars and, in June, take another trip, this time to Indiana (and then Kentucky) to visit yet more of the wonderful people in my life. When I get back from that, the certification training begins, first for PMI then for Agile/Scrum master.

I’m looking forward to it!

Oh look, a blog post.

So, yeah.

Feeling a bit down again. and I have figured out why. I feel like I’m straying a bit form parts of my core – the things that I self-define as that make up a significant chunk of my identity. In short, I have not been doing any art, and my local circumstances and internal excuses for not doing art are distressing me rather a lot. The house, including my workspace, is a huge, untidy mess, and that mess is almost 100% my doing. I have many, many excuses for it, some of which even hold water for more than a few seconds, but none of them useful – because I really, really need to get this stuff dealt with so that I can get working again. This sort of thing also leads to me feeling a bit off in my social interactions (whether anyone else notices this or not, I feel this way – and if any of you have noticed anything amiss, and need to talk about anything, please do contact me directly). I have many other excuses as well, but they all boil down to, in one form or another, “waaah, I don’ wanna do X  right now” and then procrastinating (which seems pretty lame for the adult I claim to be). The various forms of “X” are pretty widespread, so I feel that I’m spinning my wheels in lots of areas, and quite likely disappointing people; I’m certainly not happy with myself right now.

So, going to work on that, basically starting now – seems as good a time as any.

“X things make a post…”

… and I’m in a bit of a writing mood.

Stuff and Things have been happening. Most of it good, some of it irritating or plain not fun.

In no particular order:

The convention I helped run back in March? – I went pretty well, actually. I’ve signed on again for next year, on the programming staff, again. We’ve not gotten any confirmation on our guests for next year, unfortunately.

My art show came down on January 6; I did sell one piece (I need to poke the owner to collect it – it’s been a while).

My Mum is getting worse. She had to sign an agreement to moderate her behavior in the assisted living facility that she lives in to avoid getting evicted. She’s been verbally abusive to, well, everyone (picking fights, too), and her short-term memory is effectively non-existent; the kicker here is that both the director and assistant director of the facility think she’s faking it. I can’t see it – if she is, she has both me & my oldest brother (who’s doing all the legwork as he lives nearby her) completely fooled. Plans are in effect to get her some more help and to find a new place for her, as we think it’s just a matter of time before she goes off the rails again and gets booted out. This stuff is pretty hard for me, especially as I’m not near enough to help – and my brother has his own moderate to severe medical issues to deal with, not to mention his bio mom and stepfather’s aging and such. Feh.

I am also dealing with a severe case of artist’s block. I can seem to get anything down in ink that I’m happy with, at all. Still working on that, but hopefully I’ll be able to break through it sooner, rather than later.

Work is going well; there are interesting things happening – the company that’s owned us for seven years just sold us… …to one of our biggest competitors. The shake out of that ought to be interesting. I’m still enjoying working there, and I got my raise at the beginning of the month ; not a huge amount, but every bit helps, as we have a rather unfortunate and large tax debt this year; the good thing is it’ll be paid off around next January.

My health is getting better. I’m still working out, and as of the coming week, I’ll be going to the gym three times a week, rather than two. I’ve lost a bunch of weight while putting on some significant muscle, and my health numbers (BP, sugars, etc) are looking very good. I’m going to try very hard to get to more contra dances this year as well.

My wonderful wife is fully employed – no longer an independent consultant (and thus avoiding having the tax problem from last year repeat itself), but a FTE for her company. She is still traveling for work, but next week will be her last in Georgia, and then she’ll be starting Sunday-Thursday at a hospital in Ohio.

My other sweeties are all doing pretty well; some of my friends are not, and I’m trying to help when and as I can (though in many cases, there’s not much I can do, other than be a cheerleader).

Basically, life is pretty good.

Something to note while dealing with me

If, by some chance, I have offended you/pissed you off/made you uncomfortable at some point, it would be best to actually tell me so, in a timely fashion. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, but I sure as hell do not want to hear about them a year later, sans details, from a third party. It tends to piss me off rather a lot, and I’m far less likely to listen to the complaint.

Really?

I’ve been seeing a disturbing thing lately. In many of the #BlackLivesMatter posts I’ve seen around the net, there has been a lot of answering responses that “all lives matter”. Mostly, so far as I can tell, these responses are from white people. And while all lives do matter, it is completely beside the damn point. If your skin isn’t dark, they you are really not at risk from police brutality in the U.S. – and you are never going to know what it feels like to be in that situation.  By all means participate, but keep in mind, this discussion isn’t about you, so please stop trying to make it about you.

I’m disgusted and outraged.

I cannot accept the #Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. I can’t condone the violent protests there, but neither can I condemn them. I think to myself, “what if the cops were going after Jewish men & boys?” (I’m Jewish, for the record).

Where can you go for justice if the society you live in denies you that justice? How can anyone reasonably expect calm on the part of the protestors under these circumstances? I just hope no one else dies as a result.

So, I ran across this spectacular custom sidecar rig… (this is a rant about sexism, actually)

This is it:

Spectacular, yes?

Anyone who knows my taste in motorcycles and is reading this is likely very surprised at this point; I’m not known as a particular fan of Harley-Davidson. But this thing? It works on all levels for me. I’d happily ride the wheels off of it, assuming I could afford to build or buy it or a copy.

But I just skimmed the article; I was looking at the photos contained therein, and the last one… ..the last one is of a scantily clad woman, posing with the bike (go look if you want).

Now, most of you reading this also know that in general, I have no particular objection to scantily clad models of any gender. But why the fuck is that photo even there? I know, I know – it’s an old, old trope that goes back at least as far as Easyriders magazine. That doesn’t excuse it. It doesn’t add anything to the aesthetics of the bike itself, it objectifies women, especially women of a certain body type, turning them into just another accessory the a “biker” should own. It’s old, outdated thinking, and the attitudes behind it gives rise to the same shit that’s powering GamerGate and various related obnoxia, the general social discrimination against women, and via that, discrimination against GLBT folk. I know that I’m likely preaching to the choir here, but isn’t it time to give it a bloody rest? Do we, as motorcyclists need any more examples of this? Can we just fucking move on, and talk about the machinery? And perhaps talk about how to end the rampant inequality in our society, instead of paying asswipes like Cyril Huze to keep the status quo going?

Fuck.

So, if anyone was wondering, this kind of thing is why I do not consider myself a “biker”, nor will I ever.