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September 18th, 2017

Sorry…

Did I say I had an eclipse story to tell…and that it was coming soon.  Erm…yes. Sorry. It’s something I’m still turning over in my head. In the meantime I have something to get off my chest…next post.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Sorry…

September 16th, 2016

In This Wonderful Age of Social Media, Why I Blog

This graph I saw just now on Facebook says it all.  Mostly.

what-i-think

Why I blog.

  • I don’t get interrupted in the middle of answering a question or explaining something.
  • I don’t get told to make it brief. I can make it as long or as short as I feel it needs to be.
  • I can think about what I want to say, write it out, and then tweak it until I’m satisfied with it.
  • I can put it out there and not have to worry about what people actually understand; because some will and some won’t but either way I got it out there and I’m happy with it. (This also applies to my artwork and photography)
  • People who think I’m over verbose or don’t like what I have to say don’t have to read my blog. Unlike how Facebook and Twitter decide what you will see in your newsfeed or tweet stream, you actually have to go visit my website to read my blog. It’s an active not a passive activity. So if my words are not to your liking then you can completely ignore my blog and be welcome. There are cats and Willy Wonka memes out there you probably haven’t seen yet.
  • It gives me a record of my life and thoughts I can look back on to better understand where I’ve been and where I am now.

 

Another reason I blog: It’s taken me decades to claw my way out of the shell I left Jr. High School in due to bullying, plus that closet those of us who were growing up gay in the late 60s and early 70s inevitably shut ourselves into. And while I’m still not the free and cheerful kid I once was I’m better at just being Me now than I’ve been since I was a teenager. But some days when it feels like I’m being shoved back into that cocoon again for various professional and personal reasons, I know I can always turn to my blog, and my artwork, and get it out one way or another. This is how some of us, who’ve never found our significant other, computer nerds mostly I reckon, cope with trying to be understood.

I’ve said here before, this is a life blog. That’s something blogs just were before they became a media for political expression. Nowadays there are probably as many blogs out there as reasons people blog. Facebook, Twitter and other social media have cut into what was for a while a vibrant blog culture based around blogrolls and readers, but for those of us who have a need to get it out there in our own voices blogging is still an ongoing thing. Just recently a writer I follow, Jim Wright, had a post he put up on Facebook taken off after some unknown jackasses complained about it. The post in question was a heartfelt and angry reflection on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, so you can see why it might not have been to everyone’s liking. But Wright is a thoroughly decent man, a retired US Navy Chief Warrant Officer and he knows how to make himself clear even to nitwits. Eventually Facebook put it back up and apologized, but you could always read it on his personal website, Stonekettle Station. This is why it’s a good thing blogs are still out here.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on In This Wonderful Age of Social Media, Why I Blog

January 2nd, 2014

Back…

After a few false starts I’ve managed the upgrade.  At some point I might start looking for another theme since I very seldom update the right column anymore.  But for now all I wanted to do was get the blog on the current version of WordPress.

I am also running a class reunion site here that has been woefully neglected and now it’s so far behind in WordPress versions it’s not even displaying anymore and I had to take it down.  That’s going to be a manual upgrade process I am not looking forward to…

 

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Back…

December 23rd, 2013

To My Readers…

Folks stumble across this little internet space of mine now and then and a few stick around and I reckon I have to keep posting this so there aren’t any misunderstandings, particularly about the blog.

This is a life blog. I started doing this before blogging became a thing, before it became a legitimate alternative to the pop media and corporate news services, before it became a kind of citizen journalism.  ‘Blog’ back in the early days of the World Wide Web, was a kind of shorthand/slang for ‘Web Log’…little online diaries people posted on their personal web sites in the days before you could update your status on Facebook.  The first blogs, started by artists, who were thought by some to be crazy putting their entire lives out there for the whole world to see, were just artistic experiments.  Then it became a thing.  Particularly during the Bush presidency, and the Iraq war, as people became frustrated and angry with the mainstream news services.  Nowadays, many blogs are topical, political, outlets of citizen journalism.

But this is not that kind of site.  This is a life blog.  It is my life blog.  I vent a lot here about politics, but I am a gay man, who grew up during the cold war, and even worse, lived most of my life in the suburbs of Washington D.C., which isn’t exactly known for its rural pastoral arcadian lifestyle…

No, Seriously.  I did my duck and cover drills in elementary school.  I listened to the monthly tests of the air raid siren behind the apartment complex mom and I lived in.  I did my pre-induction physical six months before Nixon ended the Vietnam war.  I remember sitting at the desk in my underwear with a few dozen other guys filling out this form that asked things like were we ever communists, wondering if I should check the box that asked if I was a homosexual.  I lived through the counter-culture wars in the 1960s.  I marched and took photos at the Nixon Counter Inaugural. I came out to myself on December 15 1971 somewhere between 4 and 5PM. I have marched in every gay rights march on Washington since the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979.  I wandered among the panels of the Names Project quilt when it was first unveiled on the Washington Mall in 1987, terrified that I would find one with the name of a certain someone I first fell in love with once upon a time there among them.

So I tend to vent a lot about politics here.  But this is not a political blog.  It is a life blog.  I put stuff here on the blog, mostly for the same reason I post my cartoons and photography elsewhere on this site. I am an artist. It sounds pretentious to say it, but there is no way to understand my frame of mind at any given time without understanding that I have this powerful need to Get It Out Of Me regardless of who cares or who even understands.  Mostly I do graphic art.  Sometimes words come out.  The Internet is just another way I have of putting my stuff out there.  It is not and does not function as an online publication of some kind.  It is a life blog.  Think of this place as being slightly retro…like it’s owner.  Matter of fact, apart from this blog, the rest of this site is all hand coded by me in simple HTML.  Yes, I’m a computer geek too.  That’s how I earn my living.  That’s where the artist and the Internet meet.

I have comment moderation turned on, not so much to regulate the content here but to keep spammers out of the comments.  For every real comment I get here I also get about 50 – 100 spam comments.  These are posted just to raise the rankings of a particular web site in the search engines and there’s no easy way to filter them out.  This is why we can’t have nice things.  My email box is even worse.  Send me an email and I might not even see it in the torrent of spam.  But this is not an online publication, it’s a life blog.  If you post a comment here or send me an email it might not show up for a while…maybe even a long while.  That might be because I’m not paying close attention to the blog because I am occupied elsewhere in my life, or it might be because I want to read it over carefully and post a response.

I don’t particularly care if you need to tell me why something I posted here is wrong.  I might argue or I might just eventually post your comment and say nothing. I might even agree I was wrong, or at least clumsy.  But I won’t endure a long heated argument either.  Obviously outright abuse won’t get posted, but I seldom get that here for some reason, probably because a troll wants a bigger audience than just me and the few regulars here.

This isn’t a political forum.  I am not a citizen journalist.  I am a software engineer for the Space Telescope Science Institute.  I am a computer geek.  I am a technology nerd.  I am a science geek. I am a photographer.  I am a cartoonist, I do political cartoons for Baltimore OutLOUD. I am a painter.  Sometimes I write stories.  I am an artist.  This is my life blog.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on To My Readers…

February 28th, 2013

Reminder: This Is A Life Blog…

…not a political blog or some other sort of blog.  It’s what blogs were before blogs became a thing. I’m just documenting my life here, such as it is, and maybe throwing a reference or two out to other things I do besides vent, like my photography or cartoons.  If what I’m putting up here has any value to anyone it’s because it’s about Life, not so much about Me specifically. If it gets heavy sometimes that’s because life will do that. If I don’t name names in something I post here that’s not because I’m being coy, it’s because the specific people don’t matter.  It’s not about them, it’s about life.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Reminder: This Is A Life Blog…

August 20th, 2012

FYI…I Tend To Go Back And Edit…

…like on that longish essay I posted over the weekend about what a luxury car is.  Re-reading it I wasn’t satisfied with the last several paragraphs, thinking I’d gone off track and didn’t end up saying what I’d meant to say when I started setting my thoughts down.  So…just FYI in case anyone reading this blog is particularly interested, the last part of it is a lot different now…better I think…more to the point I intended.

And anyone reading this blog should know I do that here from time to time, rewriting things I go back and re-read when I feel I really didn’t get it out right.  In my defense I try not to make a habit of that because at some point you just need to move on with it and if what you did wasn’t very good in retrospect and you can’t make it better after several attempts then it’s best to just let it go and try to do better next time.  But whenever I do rewrite stuff here I will generally place something at the end saying that it’s been edited or updated, so nobody thinks I’m trying to be devious.  This, as I said before, is nothing more or less then my own personal life blog, and life isn’t always amicable to nice, clear-cut plotlines and prose.  And I am my own editor here, and ask anyone who has ever had to edit me for professional reasons (software engineers are often asked to provide documentation) how much fun that is.  I have been told I must be why they invented spelling and grammar checkers.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on FYI…I Tend To Go Back And Edit…

June 26th, 2012

Warning To My Readers

This site uses, among other things, a product called “Sitemeter” to track visits.  The other day I noticed when looking at my visit reports on the Sitemeter web page, I kept getting requests to log in from a funny looking popup window, similar to this one that Towleroad was seeing…

The value of having my eternally suspicious nature: I saw this prompt come up several times on the main Sitemeter site after I was already logged in and figured something nefarious was going on.  There was.

Lesson is: never enter your login credentials into popup windows that suddenly seem to appear out of nowhere and when you didn’t expect to have to log in.

Since no one has to log in to view my web site I assume everyone who visits would know this isn’t for real if they saw it.  But I’m telling you now in case you ever wonder: you don’t need to create accounts or log in here.  If you ever see a login screen come up while you’re reading my blog or looking at anything else around here, it isn’t real and for goodness sakes don’t give it any information.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Warning To My Readers

June 17th, 2012

Notice: This Is A Life Blog…

I’ve been very graciously linked to recently by a couple folks, including Fred Clark whose readership I must assume is every bit as decent and good hearted as he is. So for the sake of those just tuning in, and especially after that last post, I feel should explain something.

You may have noticed things are a bit odd around here.  Hi…my name is Bruce Garrett.  This is my place.  It’s odd because I am.

I started blogging back before blogging really took off, years ago in the late 1990s when I read about someone who was just basically posting their diaries online as a kind of living art project. I thought that was kinda cool and started doing it myself.  I wasn’t about getting attention.  If you have the art gene in you too then you understand. Mostly, I do graphic art…imagery.  Try the cartoon and photo galleries sometime.  But sometimes I try to write.

I started blogging back in 1998, although this blog’s archives only go back to 2002.  Before then it was just a random note here and there on what was nominally my cartoon and photography web site, hosted by the company I had my email account on.  Then in late 2001 a friend showed me how to get my own domain started up and offered to host me.  Once again the site was mostly about my political cartoons and my photography, with the blog being an extra…a place I could write about this and that.  The blog, like everything else about the site back then (and mostly still now) was hand rolled. I was earning a good living then as a software developer and I just typed my own HTML into my programmer’s editor and uploaded it. It wasn’t until my original domain host retired and I had to move the site elsewhere that I was talked into switching the blog software over to WordPress. Even so, most of the rest of the site, like my household computers (apart from the Macs), is hand built.

Of course, being the times we live in, the blog started capturing my feelings about political issues and in particular the gay rights struggle.  But this is not actually a political blog.  It is not a blog about gay rights specifically, or religion or philosophy or economics.  It is not about my opinions on anything.  I am not doing punditry. I only vent a lot about politics here because it’s more satisfying then yelling at the TV.  But that’s not what this blog is.  It’s a life blog.  Basically just random bits and pieces of one guy’s life as he lives it, like an always changing collage. It’s The Story So Far

If it seems confusing at times, that’s normal.  I’m confusing.  Just ask anyone who knows me.  Especially the certain someone whose regrettably thin skin I’ve been poking with that Llama.  Or maybe you shouldn’t ask him.  No…don’t ask him…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Notice: This Is A Life Blog…

January 4th, 2010

Today In Random Google Searches That Led People Here…

I’ve been getting a lot of hits on this particular google search lately…for some reason…

robbie benson

When I first noticed it I got a tad scared that he’d suddenly passed away or something.  But no.  It seems the gods of Google are just favoring my little blog with hits from people, I assume they’re mostly girls, who think Robbie is very nice on the eyes.  I know the feeling.  I’m assuming they came here for this…

Yes…it’s a nice one.  So for all you folks who ratcheted up my hit count lately over this photo, I would like to take a moment to say thank you…

You’re welcome.

To the Verizon DSL user running Windows on their Mac (ugh!) who asked google today…

bruce garrett gay?

The answer would have to be…yes.  But you knew that after shuffling through all my episodes of A Coming Out Story I suppose.

I got a flyer in the mail today from Costco advising me to pre-order my Valentine’s Day flowers now, right next to an offer of $4 off on Splenda artificial sweetener.  It must be an omen.  So to the user whose google…

valentine’s day posters

…brought them here: Come back in February.  This year’s winner promises to be even more worthy then last year’s!  Here’s a wee sample of the awesomely fun time we have here during the annual Valentine’s Day Poster Contest!

Be sure to stop by then.  It’ll be Fun!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Today In Random Google Searches That Led People Here…

January 2nd, 2010

Upgrading My Blog…

I just upgraded to the very latest WordPress…so if you notice any odd things happening around here please let me know. I think I have everything running smoothly again…but you never know…

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

November 5th, 2009

Still Here…

Sorry that my last post alarmed some of you, but this isn’t a political blog, it just looks like one sometimes.  It’s just one guy’s little life blog…my small corner of the Internet when I can put up my cartoons and photography and write about this and that so family and friends can see what I’m up to.  Life isn’t all wonder and joy, and I was very depressed when I wrote that.  Thank you, those of you who write, for your kind words of encouragement.  I think I’m over the worst of it now.

And I believe I understand better now, why I got so terribly down, and I’m working on a post about that.  But for the record I took a brief weekend trip back down to Epcot a couple weekends ago and managed three things.  First, I enjoyed the Epcot Food & Wine Festival immensely.  Really…the food at all the little nation kiosks was fabulous.  Second, I managed to drive past Hilton Head without so much as phoning my ex.  I’m not over him so much as I understand better now why I need to keep my distance from him.  It’s worse when they still want to be friends.  There was no lover’s quarrel…I just got dumped but he still wants me to come around his way whenever I’m down there and it isn’t good for me to do that.  I’m fifty-six years old and I’m only now learning lessons about dating and boyfriends I should have learned when I was a teenager.

Thirdly, I got to see a certain someone down in Florida this time around, that I didn’t last time.  It cheered me up a lot. 

As I said, I have a post I’ve been working on I want to put up here, before I resume regular blogging.  In the meantime, I’ve been chattering away on Facebook, so you can look for me there if you want.

[Update…]  I’ve pulled that post for the time being.  My blog is a place for me to think out loud, vent, thump my pulpit…and even occasionally bleed in public.  Just not too much.

by Bruce | Link | React! (4)

September 2nd, 2009

Sorry About The Lack Of Posts…

A few readers here have asked me what’s up with the silence.  It’s nothing serious…just life apart from the web.  I’ve been real super busy with a major high visibility project at work and I’ve been putting in a lot of overtime on it.  That’s "non-comp" time for all you salaried workers out there.  But I don’t mind.  Working at Space Telescope has been a dream come true for me, and the vacation package is so nice here I really don’t mind putting in long hours on something.

I have a bunch of stuff I want to talk about…but first, I’ve posted a bunch of new cartoons to the political cartoon page…two of which have been published in our local Baltimore gay paper, OUTLoud.  I have a steady gig with them now and it’s been a real source of satisfaction seeing my cartoons in print.  I’ve been published elsewhere but just randomly, whenever someone somewhere takes an interest in one of my cartoons and asks for reprint rights.  This seems like it’s going to be a real steady gig so I’m delighted.  Cartooning was the first love.

Here’s one I didn’t get into this month’s issue…

 

There’s more on the cartoon page.  Hopefully, more to come soon as I get back into this.  I have several other fun-er cartoons on the drawing boards, including the next episode of A Coming Out Story.  Plus several political cartoons I didn’t put up from way back.  You may have noticed that the last cartoon was from the aftermath of Proposition 8, and before that practically nothing for almost a year.  I was just getting burned out on it, burned out on staring hate in the face week after week after week.

So I’ll try to post some more stuff soon.  I have lots to talk about.  But end of next week I’m going to disappear again for a while and visit Disney World in Orlando for my birthday and try to leave the ugliness behind.  There are two anti same-sex marriage referendums coming up and it seems every time I look at the news I’m seeing anti-gay crap that just makes me angrier and angrier and venting about it here and on the cartoon page only gets it out of me a little.  I’m at a stage in my life where I just want to bale out of civilization altogether and forget that I ever heard of the likes of NOM and Proposition 8 and so many people who don’t know me from Adam but keep screaming in my face that I’m a cancer on society…but they have nothing against gay people personally.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Sorry About The Lack Of Posts…

March 23rd, 2009

Will My iPhone Kill My Blog?

Probably not.   But I haven’t been blogging as often as I have previously and it’s because I’m not sitting in front of a computer nearly as much.  As I said previously, I’m finding I get a lot more done around the house when I’m not sitting down at my computer.  But something else is happening.  Something I was sort-of hoping would happen, though I hadn’t taken into account what it might mean for my blogging patterns.  Slowly, but inevitably, my iPhone is becoming my all purpose communication – entertainment – information widget. 

When it first hit the streets, the iPhone was lacking a couple of really important items in my personal information management toolkit: a sync-able notepad and ToDo tracker.  But I have really great third party iPhone apps now that fill those slots.  And as I get more comfortable with using them, I use Mowgli, my main household computer, less and less. 

Last weekend, I had Mowgli off almost the entire time.  I ran Bagheera, the art room Mac, to finish a couple of photography projects that I’d left on my plate for far too long.  But Mowgli is slowly being relegated to finances and work related projects.  I am keeping in touch with the world, and with my daily life, more and more with just the iPhone now.   

And…there is this:  My little patch of the good earth is on the cusp of spring, and I don’t want to be angry all the time.  I read the news, in particular the continuing culture war on gay people, and I get angry.  So I am avoiding the news.

This Saturday, I’m going to Disney World again, for a week.  Mostly to just spend some more time in a place where it’s a small world after all, there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day, and dreams really do come true.  Better there, then driving across the mid-west and listening to hate radio the whole way.  My brother said they still have their YES ON 8 campaign signs planted in their front yards of houses all over Oceano, Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Will My iPhone Kill My Blog?

February 18th, 2009

Some Minor Blog Improvements…

I’ve just added the list of categories and tags at the ends of my posts…finally.  I’ve been meaning to make them visible at the end of the posts ever since I moved the blog to WordPress. This makes it easier for me, and presumably all of you, to sort through stuff here by the groupings I’ve been assigning stuff.  Hopefully, you’ll just be able to click on a tag to see a list of other posts I’ve given the same tag to.  I want to create a menu of categories later.

This is mostly for my own ability to organize and sort through stuff here.  The blog has mutated over the years from being a simple life blog into a place where I vent about politics and gay rights and where I tell people about current art projects.  Making the categories and tags visible allows me, and you, to filter what’s displayed if I (or you) are searching for something.

This is all "under development" at the moment, so some things may or may not work at any given moment, or I may remove or re-arrange things from time to time until I’m satisfied.   You’ll notice a lot of the posts are in the "Uncategorized" category.  That’s because of my initial unfamiliarity with difference between tags and categories as they’re usually used in blogs.  I think I have a better grasp of the concepts now, and I’m going to be re-arranging some of the categories and tags on my posts over the next few weeks.  Stay tuned…

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

January 20th, 2009

Steve…I Really Wish You Were Here To See All This…

Steve Gilliard that is.  I was just thinking now how sad it is he didn’t get to see this day.  Jim Capozzola too.  Jim I think would have loved that someone with a brain who likes to read was finally in the White House.  But Steve especially.   Steve should have lived to see this.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Steve…I Really Wish You Were Here To See All This…

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    This page and all original content copyright © 2015 by Bruce Garrett. All rights reserved. Send questions, comments and hysterical outbursts to: bruce@brucegarrett.com

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