coolerbythelake: (linux frisbee)

I kind of like the end of this one - where he pauses to consider what it would be like to kiss another man. He seems like he would kinda like it.
coolerbythelake: (floating-blorb)
I think I've had kind of a tumultuous year+, but things seem to be going well enough for me lately. I feel like I'm contributing at work, things are well enough at home, family is well, I have enough friends and people around who care about me, I'm able to show other people that I care / accept caring from other people, etc. etc. I have even been going to yoga more frequently, and have started shedding a little weight.

There's more out there - more to do, more to be thankful for, but things seem to be turning out ok, esp when compared to how things could have gone (no work . . . ). We are hiring one more person for our department, and this week we interviewed a woman who has been out of work since some time in 2010. She said that she lost her job when her company was acquired, and that losing her job snowballed into "personal problems." We didn't ask what those problems were.

She's actually the best candidate that we've interviewed thus far, but there are still a few more to go. It's not easy for anyone out there these days.

Tomorrow I'm meeting some friends from various free software projects for dinner in Chinatown. There will be people from Creative Commons, GNOME, Pumping Station One, and the board of directors from the Open Source Initiative. Some of the OSI folks are some of "the people who started it all," or were at least l33t hackers during the early 1990's - who laid the foundation for much of what we're able to use today. I'm guessing that I will mostly try to sit quietly and enjoy my meal amongst them. :)

I think that the OSI folks chose dinner in Chinatown before they realized that we'd be just a few blocks from the cordoned-off areas of the NATO summit. :( Hopefully I won't have any trouble getting down there. I think I'll be ok - I'll just be taking the red line.

Speaking of NATO, there were helicopters flying all around downtown today, and there have already been pre-emptive arrests against protesters. Not cool, po-po. I hope that the police and the protesters are both able to show restraint in dealing with each other.
coolerbythelake: (Default)

I've been listening a lot to Rufus Wainwright lately, actually just within the past two days. I randomly picked up his eponymous first record from my cd collection and this song struck me as very beautiful. I like how things can come back to you when you haven't heard them in a while. They can seem so new.

I completed my first week as a full-time employee at the hospital this week. "Everything went better than expected." The second day at work I spent much of my time without a computer, though; my account was disabled while they transitioned me from a contractor to an employee. My boss was out all week, so I'm still walking around with a contractor ID badge.

Having a full-time job is just a relief. It's just a relief.
coolerbythelake: (Default)
Whenever I read articles like this, I'm reminded of a SciFi movie that I saw when I was a kid. I don't remember the name of it, but the guy was in a diner, and ordered a cup of coffee. The waitress asked him, "You want the real stuff? That's gonna cost you."

Thank you for the pink slime burger test, Mr. Hirsch.
coolerbythelake: (Default)
I wonder if facebook could feed to LiveJournal. I miss when people posted more often.

Facebook shows you people you know. With Livejournal, I met new people.


Mar. 12th, 2012 11:15 pm
coolerbythelake: (Default)
I always had a warm spot for Kurt Vonnegut. I first encountered him via a book of quotations. The quotation said, "Be careful who you pretend to be. You are who you pretend to be."

I knew I had to read more from him after I read that.

Kurt Vonnegut on the Daily Show, 2005.
coolerbythelake: (Default)
I didn't mention it on here, but my neighbors have a party every year at the end of the Christmas season marking the last day of the twelve days of Christmas. It's called the Twelfth Night party, but they usually have it on a Saturday, so it is "Twelfth Night, Observed."

People are encouraged to bring musical instruments, recite poetry, sing carols (yeah, I'm late with this), etc. People also dress up - lots of people in costumes, people in drag, dresses, utilikilts . .

For this year's party, I recited this poem (yes, all of that poem) from memory. I learned it several years ago when I felt like I really needed it. I went through it a few times in the days leading up to the party, but it didn't take too long to come back to me. I would sometimes flip-flop lines in the second half of the poem, but could usually find my way back to the flow of things.

It's a long poem, and I'm not sure how it reads to just look at it on the page. It has a pace and rhythm to it when said out loud, though. I was nervous about reciting it because the people who spoke before me went through a humorous piece, but I got through it well, and people seemed to like it well enough.

I still say it to myself sometimes - while walking down the street or while laying in my bed. My favorite part is the part about the Greyhoud bus. And the part about Uncle Remus (he always comes up with the best names). The whole thing is pretty epic, though. And there is joy to it. It's not written or said from within problems - it's written or said standing outside of the problems. When he says, "You need something to make it known // That it's you and no one else that owns // That spot that yer standing, that space that you're sitting
That the world ain't got you beat
" . . . he's speaking to us where we are, to each of us. In the spots and spaces that we are in. The world ain't got us beat.

Some people kind of laughed when there was finally a reference to Woody Guthrie. I had mentioned that Bob recited the poem about three weeks prior to his 21st(!!) birthday - someone had asked him to write something about Woody Guthrie, like, "What does Woody Guthrie mean to you in 25 words," and he couldn't do it. He wrote that instead. I'm grateful that he did.
coolerbythelake: (Default)
Quite an excellent mash-up of Stayin' Alive with Another Brick in the Wall

coolerbythelake: (Default)
The local hackerspace has a knitting workshop. I like the title of their program.

coolerbythelake: (chi-city)

It's always the first Monday in March. That's today.

coolerbythelake: (Default)
MOSCOW | Fri Mar 2, 2012 10:51am EST

MOSCOW (Reuters) - In a new puppet show satire of Russia's presidential election, the only competition is in the mind of Vladimir Putin, as he fights the loss of his penis.

The Moscow Museum of Erotic Art's show, due to premiere on the eve of the election, lampoons the current prime minister's easy dominance of Russian politics, but also shows the former KGB spy fighting his demons and torn between tyranny and democracy.

"Putin doesn't compete with anyone but himself so we didn't have to make puppets of other politicians. They are nothing but a decoration," said Alexander Donskoy, founder of the museum and former mayor of the Arctic port of Arkhangelsk.

Putin, 59, is almost certain to win a six-year term as president in the March 4 election, though Russia's dominant leader is grappling with an urban protest movement that casts him as an authoritarian leader who is out of touch.

The play is based on Nikolai Gogol's short story The Nose, which tells the tale of an official whose nose leaves him one day to lead a life of its own.

In the museum's version of the play, Russia's "alpha-dog" leader loses his genitalia, becoming an impotent "anti-Putin" until he finally rediscovers them.

During his journey, Putin talks to himself, struggling with an inner conflict that reflects his own pre-Kremlin past as both KGB spy and adviser to one of Russia's liberal leaders.

"There is a constant dialogue between the authoritarian Putin, the tyrant, who has a constant erection, and the more democratic (anti-Putin), who shows no aggression, no eroticism, and has no penis," Donskoy said.

Fighting what he says is a country infected by conservatism, Donskoy angered the Kremlin last year when he put up a painting showing Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama comparing the sizes of their penises.

The play is brought to life by 19-year-old producer Oleg Vorontsov and three actors operating the two $1,500 puppets and a lamp similar to the one used by the Soviet-era KGB to light people's faces during interrogation.

"I am interested in which Putin we shall see after the election," said Donskoy, also a one-time businessman, with a chuckle.

"Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that he will be the authoritarian one."


Jan. 22nd, 2012 10:32 pm
coolerbythelake: (Default)
My parents hint that they want me to move to Tennessee sometimes. They do so half-jokingly, but they are still laying some subtle guilt trips. My brother has lived near them for a long time, but he'll be moving to Dallas in the Spring. So, when they go on trips, they won't have him around to take care of their lawn or check on things around the house.

It seems like every month or so there is another crazy bill coming out of the Tennessee state government, though. The state legislature overturned a Nashville city ordinance that required companies that do business with the city to not discriminate against LGBT people. They are still pushing the "Don't say gay," bill. A Chattanooga state legislator put up a bill that would make it illegal for transgendered people to enter the bathroom of their choosing (I don't think it has a co-sponsor in the state Senate, though, so that bill is likely to go nowhere).

On the sidelines, there are other issues, too. The guys who were behind the Obama Waffles were from Franklin, TN, the sister city of where my parents live. Sarah Palin visited all of *three* places on her most recent book tour, and one of them was my parents' CostCo. And now there's this: The Tennessee Tea Party is petitioning the state government to change history textbooks so that, “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

The Scopes Monkey Trial took place in Tennessee less than 100 years ago. That's only three generations removed. We are only one generation removed from the Civil Rights movement. I think about those things sometimes. How racism has seemed to linger and mutate in parts of the South. Literacy tests just seem to have turned into more palateable Voter ID laws, but both keep minorities and the poor away from the ballot box.

If they want to go that way, they have the right to (the racist has the freedom to be a racist, right?), but it is sad and I want nothing to do with it. I feel really happy walking around the city of Chicago, knowing that I'm gay and that I can just be myself.

Yes, Chicago and the North have our own issues of race and class but at least I don't feel like homophobia and racism has such a stranglehold on the populace up here.

I can't really share those kinds of things with my parents, though. At least I don't feel like I can share those issues with them at this time. I'm not sure they would understand, or they would say I am over-reacting and that most people aren't really like that. Anti-gay rhetoric doesn't seem to be lightening up down there, though, and I like where I am well enough up here. I think they will have to deal with me being several hours away for a good while.


Jan. 20th, 2012 04:39 pm
coolerbythelake: (Default)
I'm at the hospital on a Friday afternoon, but in a good way. I'm still working in the HR department here, and everyone else around me has gone home because of the snow. As a contractor, I feel like I need to be here, at least physically for now. If I have to be here, but I'm caught up on my projects, I figure that I would update my livejournal.


Things are going pretty well here. I don't think that I could do what I do without having worked at ADP, but I'm still glad I'm not at ADP. Working here, I don't have to work 12-14 hour days and commute by car. And even though I know my sense of worth doesn't need to come from other people, I still feel appreciated here. I was in a staff meeting this week, and this guy was going over a project that I helped him on. He said, "And then there's X project," and then he pointed to me and said, "That guy's awesome."

I recently found out that they have found money to keep me at least through June, although some things are uncertain after that. There may be a short period of time in the July-August time frame where I have to work somewhere else for a bit, but my superisor hopes to get a full-time job approved for me by the start of the fiscal year, which is September. We shall see.

One upside of the contractor bit is that they are ok with me taking time off for the GNOME foundation-sponsored hackfest trip to Brno. That is one good thing about being a contractor. You can just tell them, "I will be out for these days," and they just let you go. I am looking forward to seeing my GNOME homies during that trip. People from Ubuntu-Austria have given me tips on where to stay in Vienna, too.

It's about time to head out, so this is all for now. I hope lives are peaceful in LJ-Land.
coolerbythelake: (Default)
Whales mate belly to belly, like primates! Whales do not have a favorite position.

Thanks, PBS.
coolerbythelake: (Default)

No one is making, "Too soon?" comments about Kim Jong Il.
coolerbythelake: (Default)
I had a dream last night where I went down a passageway entrance to a large building of some sort. I think I was being chased by some people who wanted to catch me, and I needed to hide from them. The place I went into wound up being a stadium, and I had somehow disguised my appearance, or it had transformed.

I could fit in there, and that was my cover. I could hide safely there. There were lots of people around. It was actually like it is at the end of a baseball game when everyone is leaving the stadium, and everyone was crowded together. There was stadium food and trinkets, but the stadium food was all kind of intermixed. They were closing things up - putting the leftover cotton candy on top of the hot dogs, and putting it all in plastic storage tubs like they sell at the container store.

I saw these two guys that I knew from my high school. I wasn't actually friends with them in high school, but I knew of them. They were both football players. There was a woman who I also knew from high school. Someone who I wasn't close to, but I knew from school. It seemed that they lived at this place. It wasn't a baseball game that was ending, that was just their home. All of the people lived there. They had some kind of apartments set up in the building or something.

I haven't had a dream that vivid in a long time, I don't think. I also don't remember having many dreams where I come away with an idea of what it meant to me. But this one... I feel like, in that dream, I was living in a land of entertainment and junk food. Living at the baseball stadium of life, and that I was hiding out there. It seemed safe, but that it was living in a shiny place out of fear of what is outside.

I know this sounds cheesy, and it probably totally is, but I just wanted to write about this dream. If I'm living at the baseball stadium of life, I'm starting to see it for what it is, and I'm not afraid of things anymore. Maybe not to say that I'm not afraid, but I'm less afraid, and I don't feel traumatized by my coming out experiences anymore. I don't feel traumatized anymore.
coolerbythelake: (Default)
Initial reports are in from day one of #occupykidney.

My abdomen started protesting this evening shortly before dinner time, and although my abdomen did not initially make its demands clear, an ER nurse later informed me that it was demanding swift passage of a 4mm kidney stone.

Statements to the ER nurse from the mayor of my body, noting that the stone did not have a permit to occupy my kidney, were ignored. Apparently kidney stones think they have the right to occupy kidneys without a permit. Mitt Romney was later quoted as saying, "Kidney stones are people, too, my friend."

Yeah, fuck that.

I'm 99% doped-up on meds, but have awesome and super-supportive friends, and my ability to relay lame jokes from the front-lines of abdominal protest remains strong. More news as it develops.

We'll see

Oct. 17th, 2011 07:46 pm
coolerbythelake: (Default)
Dear Livejournal,

I've been thinking a lot about work, but I feel like I need to talk to other people about it, too. I've been working at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in their HR group, but I wonder if I should do something more beneficial to people and such. Maybe it's because I'm a contractor their and am not in the regular group, but I know people who work for Night Ministry and Misericordia and stuff . . . and maybe it would be better for me to work there.

Part of my job has been pretty boring, tbh. I also think about what it is that I do . . . It's called "Human Resources Information Systems." In a way, my job is to computerize the labor of human beings. : / How can you feel good about that?

I write those things, and I think about them, but I feel like it's just a growing process. Questioning how I want to live knowing that I have the ability to make choices for myself. Part of it is, "What would be fun? What would be a good challenge for me? Where can I be helpful?"

It struck me today that, when I moved to Chicago, my first job was at Northwestern's Office of Medical Education, and I used that time to figure out where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do. Now I'm back at Northwestern . . . just a few blocks from where I worked when I got here, and I have the same sets of questions and opportunities in front of me. We'll see how things turn out.
coolerbythelake: (Default)
Things have been interesting on the work front. :) I had been working at Northwestern, but was offered another contract job at Walgreens. The one at Walgreens had better pay, and had a good chance of going through to January (or later), so I told my boss that I needed to take it.

Surprisingly, she made me a counter offer, and I got to stay at my current job. That was about two weeks ago. Yeah, I've been lame about LJ lately. Lo siento.

Normally I just come home at night after work, but the other night I stayed downtown and checked out a session at the MCA. Dan Sinker, the author of the @mayoremanuel twitter account, was going to read from his book and have some other folks participate, too. I'm glad I went.

I had actually pre-ordered his his book, and it arrived this past weekend. i find his use of profanity liberating. :) The book is also kind of a love story about Chicago.

(If that video link doesn't work, here's the video: )

There's a cool scene where the fake Rahm Emanuel meets with the then Mayor Daley under a glass dome at the top of city hall, and Daley explains to him how to make celery salt, a key ingredient to a Chicago-style hot dog. Another part features a hallucination of a mile-high tower of dibs chairs.

I've enjoyed reading the book on the train - I just finished it tonight.

When Dan Sinker signed my book, he wrote, "Jim, thanks for being fucking awesome."

Fucking right, Dan.

If "Carl the Intern," can do a Jesse White-tumbler-style leap over an igloo, maybe I can do some cool shit, too.
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