Since there haven’t been nearly enough major changes in my life lately, I decided that major changes in my computing environment were in order as well: installing an OS upgrade, reviving the G5 as a audio/video import station, and migrating to a new MobileMe account (divorce, y’know?).

And yesterday, I decided to move my office into the basement. It has several advantages. First, it makes the old office upstairs “show” a lot better (assuming we ever have another showing). Second, the basement (being a basement) is much cooler. Third, I feel a little more comfortable spreading out and working on things down there; I get to feel like I have one spot in the house where I can actually live without feeling like it has to be perpetually “staged”. I guess the stairs provide a little extra exercise, too.

And yes, that’s pretty much all the insight I’m going to provide into my personal life today.


Who knew?

I have a free on-demand cable channel that broadcasts Jewish and Israeli films and other features.

Other discoveries while exploring the “upper end” of the cable box:

  • I kind of like the new Hawaii Five-O. Maybe it’s because it’s so stunningly gorgeous in HD. More likely, though, is that it’s the closest thing to a 1970s cop show on broadcast TV today.
  • Golden Girls reruns look a lot better in standard definition 4×3 than they do in the weird stretched, zoomed version WeHD sends out pretending to be 16×9.
  • OK. That’s all I really discovered. Or at least all I can be bothered to write about.

Friday night

I’m back from two nights in Charleston, where I attended a conference, ate well, slept less well, sweated perspired and looked at lots of old and mildewed buildings. I also spent a few hours adjacent to what seemed to be a vaguely flirtatious he-librarian. My ego being somewhat battered and bruised of late, I was rather pleasantly surprised by even the suggestion of someone showing some actual interest, even if I really wasn’t all that interested in return. He made a nice fourth for dinner anyway.

Oh yeah. I also went to Stuckey’s–a real one, not one that’s just a shelf in a truck stop. That and maybe the scallops and grits were the real highlights of this trip, I think. I need to take a better one very soon.

Where am I these days?

A fair question, I guess, since I’ve really not posted anything of substance in quite a while.

All in all, I’m doing OK. And I mean that. The past two four eight months have been absolute hell, even though I’ve tried to minimize this for public consumption because (a) no one wants to read about me curled in the fetal position on the sofa crying like a baby and (b) I perhaps didn’t want to show much weakness publicly in my compromised state. Mind you, this is not all about the breakup. A lot of it is about the breakup, but not all of it. There has been some other pretty nasty family-related stuff going on in my life for the past month or two as well, so there’s been plenty of suckage to keep me occupied, thanks.

None of this has seemed really appropriate fodder for the website because it’s personal and would require a higher level of sharing than I’m really comfortable with these days. I also wanted to avoid any possibility of passive-aggressive “communication by website” as I realized damned near anything I said could easily come across as either whiny or accusatory, neither of which I really wanted. Talking too much about other stuff would minimize how much of my life has been consumed by all of this, and talking endlessly about my troubles would have emphasized it too much and also would have made for a really unpleasant website. So I pretty much just shut up about everything. Even to my friends and family, which was probably a mistake.

And now? I wouldn’t say I’m in the best of shape, but it’s getting better.

With respect to the breakup, I’m at least coping. I had no illusions that there would be a reconciliation and I concurred completely that we’d reached the end of the line, but there was a long period of mourning for the loss of what once was and for the future I’d hoped we had together. And I’m still in the middle of that. It’s hard not to keep asking myself what the hell is wrong with me and what I might have done differently to keep this from happening. But I’m starting to realize that there’s not really anything wrong with me and that whatever either of us could have done differently is a moot point because whatever it might have been, neither of us did it and it’s too late now anyway. Yes, I think it was a big waste that probably didn’t have to happen, but I can think that for the rest of my life and it won’t change a damned thing.

The family issue (it involves an aging parent) will become a bigger and bigger part of my life in the coming years and that’s what I really fear right now. I could have dealt with either of these things individually, but having them both hit simultaneously has been overwhelming. I essentially lost my two closest family members over the course of just a few weeks, although neither of them is really completely gone. Each is just sort of transforming into a very different individual than the one I’ve known and loved for years, necessitating a significantly altered means of relating to them, and in some ways denying me two sources of support I could really use right now.

I’m learning that staying very busy works for me because it keeps me from thinking about things that suck. I’m not 100% sure this is the most healthy way of dealing with all this. I wonder if maybe I’m avoiding important issues I should be thinking about. But it’s the approach that’s working for me right now and is generally keeping me from “going fetal” on a daily basis as I was doing for a while there.

I’m probably never going to really go into specifics about a lot of this here on the site, although there are a few cloaked posts I may make public someday. But I am going to try to write more and self-censor less in the coming weeks. Rather than sharing nothing and doing the bare “put on a brave face” minimum as I’ve been doing lately, I’ll try to share both some of the happy and some of the sad. I’m still sad a lot. And occasionally just plain devoid of emotion. But I’m at least relatively happy more often now too.

Carpet sleeper

If you have to spend a Thursday afternoon babysitting carpet cleaners, it definitely helps if “The Big Sleep” is the afternoon movie on TCM.

It’s been contractors all week for me as I’ve been getting assorted repairs, cleanups, and other quick fixes in place in a desperate effort to make the house more appealing to potential buyers. It strikes me as kind of sad that–like many people, I’m guessing–we never did some of these little things to make the house nicer until it was time to sell. So other people get to enjoy our investment.

But the way the real estate market is now, I might end up “enjoying” them for years to come anyway.

Since I no longer update with any frequency, here are a few catch up items:

  • Work is good. I just got approval to burn off some one-time funds on a project that’s very near to my heart. I also just returned from a relatively informative conference in Charleston. And I’ll probably be at the big ALA shindig in New Orleans next month if anyone wants to hang out.
  • We’re supposed to be getting another offer on the Pittsburgh house today.
  • A short vacation in Atlanta for me in a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to a few days of random exploration and not thinking about houses or other stressful things. I may actually even get some research done. I’ve been into that again lately, particularly now that I’m finding a lot of libraries (mine included) are starting to put city directories online via the Internet Archive.
  • A good friend who’s now stranded in Mississippi will be moving back this way in another few weeks–right when I’m in Atlanta, as it turns out–and I may be having lunch with a longtime online acquaintance and his betrothed this weekend. Maybe the new German place

Under contract

I’m not sure how this happened but all this week’s work on the house in Winston-Salem seems to have resulted in a sale. But it’s the house in Pittsburgh that sold. Go figure. (Yes, I know that one had nothing to do with the other, but when you’re ending chapters of your life on a more or less weekly basis, it helps to have a sense of humor about it.)

Videolog: Rapture

Rapture (1981)

This is in honor of today’s planned conclusion of life on earth as we now know it. I think the fact that 2011 also marks the thirtieth anniversary of Blondie’s “Rapture” makes it all the more certain that today is “the day”.

Of course, that also means you probably aren’t reading this.

Respectfully…Back off!

It disturbs me a bit that several friends and coworkers have suggested that I should get “paired off” again soon. I know they mean well, but really, ummm, no.

Seriously. NO.

I think anyone who’s known me a long time realizes that being a solo act is my natural state. This is not to say that friendship or sex is out, although the latter isn’t really seeming very appealing right now (and no one’s offering anyway). But romance or–Great Pumpkin forbid–a long-term relationship pretty much are out. Understand that Mark is a very special person and, I made a very special exception for him because it was what I wanted. The fact that he was so different inspired me to “break the rules”, which is why I was so quick to go completely exclusive, why I considered cohabiting for the first time ever, and why it hurt so incredibly much when it ended. I was not looking for a relationship in 2001 and I’m not looking for one now.  I met a very specific person and that led to a very specific type of relationship that’s not likely to be replicated.

It’s not like going out and buying a new puppy when your dog dies. I don’t  particularly want to “date” now. In fact, I never liked “dating” very much–I was more into “random fucking”–but the act of courtship and even the effort required to engage in it both seem about as appealing to me as an all-day MRI (and no one’s offering anyway).

Please don’t suggest that I sample the local “gay nightlife”. It consists of exactly one disco that doubles as a drag show venue a couple of nights a week. In short, it’s every Southern ghetto queer bar I ever hated in my twenties and thirties all wrapped up in a package that fills me with nothing but fatigue and a sense of impending doom now that I’m in my forties. Having spent a supremely miserable couple of hours in a smaller version of the same bar one Saturday night about six months ago, I can tell you that this scene appeals to me only slightly more than that vacation in Libya I’ve been dreaming of for so long.

I know your heart is in the right place, but please just be my friend and feed me unhealthy food or take me to a movie. Buy me a cute, young rentboy if you must. But please don’t tell me how you’d like to fix me up with your gay brother/cousin/friend with whom I probably have nothing in common and to whom I’m probably not even remotely attracted. And if you assume for some reason that I’m a “bear” or that I’m into that whole scene, please understand when I start growling at you. I’ve met a lot of new people in the past few years and I realize I’ve not made clear to many of you my whole philosophy on sexual orientation so I understand your confusion and I will try not to be my (naturally) crabby self. But I may fail once in a while.

The other update

So there was one other update I didn’t make the other day and I’m torn about how explicitly I want to discuss it.

Like the breakup, this issue is personal and involves someone else. This time it’s a health issue involving a very close family member that will probably have a major impact on my life over the next few years. It’s very sad and it’s causing me a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty for me right now. Although I had some idea it might be on the horizon, the fact that it came to then forefront when it did (approximately one month after the big split) was especially unfortunate and has made it all that much harder to deal with.

Frankly, I’m a  little bit overloaded with change right now. In the past year, I’ve started a new career (good), put two houses on the market (neutral but emotionally taxing), initiated a divorce (bad), and come to the realization that the rest of my life is going to look radically different than I’d planned twelve months back. And now, just when I need to start looking ahead with a positive attitude to determine what the rest of my life should look like, I’ve hit one more roadblock that’s making it really hard to focus on a happy future. I’ll be able to eventually, of course. It would have been easier if I’d had time to get over one big heartbreak before the next one hit, but that’s not how life works. All in all, though, I’m coping. I’m dealing with things much better than I was a few weeks ago. I’m trying to find small things that will keep me happy for now (a road trip here, a 42-inch TV there, etc.) while I try to find a  way to process the future. I’m not particularly mopey (at least not publicly) and I’m still maintaining my sense of humor. I like to think I’m also maintaining some sense of perspective; these things haven’t been easy on Mark or on the rest of my family either.

If I keep my mind off it all, I do pretty damned well. And yes, I realize that there’s a very precarious balance between “not dwelling on it” (which is good) and avoidance (which is bad). I’m not sure how well I’m maintaining that balance.

Anyway, I don’t plan to whine regularly in this space. But a little disclosure seemed to be in order, if for no other reason than to get this noted in the “public” record of my life. I’ve been publishing for fifteen years and it seems somehow wrong for there to be no mention of my current state of mind, even a somewhat vague one. I’ve been writing lots more on the subject(s) but practicing some judicious self-censorship; maybe I’ll retroactively publish those entries someday. I also wanted to make it clear that all my current anxiety doesn’t stem from the breakup. Obviously some of it does, but not all of it. Probably not even most of it at this point, but my anxiety priorities shift from day to day. I’m efficiently flexible that way.

A side benefit to those readers and friends who miss the bad attitude for which this site was once known is that my reaction to life has started involving less sadness and crying and much more anger and impatience. I’m hoping bemusement will become a big factor again soon, too. This bodes well for some good old-fashioned rants. I’ve been working on one about the rapture for  a couple of days. Stay tuned…


How on earth do people who are skittish about opening up their computers and playing around with the innards survive nowadays?

And yes, I fully understand how ironic this sounds coming from someone who couldn’t change the oil in his car if his life depended on it. I do at least know how to fix a garbage disposal, though…

With a 42-inch plasma urinal…

For some reason, the term “mancave” has really annoyed me since I first heard it. It grates in a similar fashion to all those other “man” phrases, like “manbag”, “manpurse”, and especially “manpussy” (I read a little too much bad erotic fiction porn, OK?). You hear “mancave” an awful lot on HGTV, as you might imagine. Last night, I got a really big chuckle when a wife accidentally referred to her husband’s proposed “mancave” as his “men’s room” instead.

I think that was funnier in real life (and when I told it to my student workers) than it reads here. I’m sorry…

If only…

If only the food inside were as majestic as the sign outside, I’d be eating there this weekend. Trust me when I say it’s not. But there’s much more food to be had in Atlanta.

Despite a death in the family, a radiator leak (or something) on the way to the funeral home, and three delays, I’m finally leaving on a much-needed vacation tomorrow afternoon. Research will be done, pictures will be taken, friends will be visited, Krystals will be eaten, and at the end of it all, I will (I hope) be a slightly more tolerable person.

And I will try not to think about the repair bill for my own car as I drive Mom’s Hyundai around town.