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February 26th, 2021

Zeno’s Race To The Vaccine

Bunch of friends tried to help me get a vaccine appointment today. I got leads on almost half a dozen possible locations/companies/mass vaccination sites. I love my friends!

Were any available where I was pointed to? Not a single one. It seems by the time knowledge gets to me, however it does, they’re already booked solid. But I really do appreciate the thought.

I’ve had some almost excessively good luck in my life. But there are these recurring situations where I am always falling through the cracks. My love life for example. Mental health not being so great, but not so bad as to warrant any support. Not artsy enough to be taken seriously as an artist, and not nerdy enough to be taken seriously as a computer professional. I tend to bore people and I get talked over a lot. I feel most of the time like I’m some sort of misplaced inventory. Like I’m really not supposed to be here. This seems to be another one of those things.

by Bruce | Link | React!

February 25th, 2021

Life In A Plague Reality Show…

I’m out for my evening walk as I’m desperately trying to stay active in some limited fashion while trying to avoid the plague, and and I’m thinking that either this plague or social isolation is going to get me, one or the other, and suddenly I realize Firesign Theater only played the last half of that show Beat The Reaper…the part where one lucky contestant has to guess what fatal disease they have, and Beeeet The Reaper!

But the first half is a dozen lucky contestants get to run through a spray mist of some deadly disease and race to get the vaccine. 12 lucky contestants, but only 6 doses of vaccine! But it’s okay dear friends, because the odds of actually contracting this weeks’ disease is only 50-50. Last week it was Ebola and almost all our lucky contestants managed to Beat The Reaper.

Let’s have a big round of applause for this week’s lucky contestants! (music plays) Who knows what this week’s racers will have to face. Maybe they’ll make it to the shots in time! They’ll only find out when they get to the vaccine station and try to grab a seat before the others do. Maybe the rest won’t even catch the disease!

(Clock music plays…)

Oh I’m sorry…you didn’t Beat The Reaper. But aren’t they a swell bunch of contestants. (music plays) Let’s let them see the consolation prize, brought to us here on Beat The Reaper by our favorite sponsor, Ralph Spoilsport coffins…the World’s Largest New Used and Used New coffins here in the city of (deep breath) emphysema.

Let’s just look at the extras on this fabulous coffin…star studded mud guards, chrome fender dents, wire wheel spoke coffin dollies, two-way sneeze through air vents, sponge coated edible coffin handles, fully factory equipped satin cushions from our fully factory equipped satin cushioned factory. Yes dear friends it’s a beautiful coffin with doors to match! Birtch’s Blacklist says this coffin was Stolen, but for you dear friends complete price: only two-thousand-ninety-five hundred dollars in easy monthly payments of twenty dollars a week twice a week and never on Sunday! (music plays…audience applause)

Why isn’t this a reality show we can watch now? It’ll be a ratings hit!

Oh wait…

by Bruce | Link | React!

January 27th, 2021

Stressing My Way To Retirement

Some days you get so wrapped up in your job, and so stressed out over it (I haz Deadline!) that you wonder if you’re even going to make it to retirement.

It’s okay. Mine is not the sort of job I’d regret not making it to retirement working. It’s just some days…some days…I get so damn frazzled…and then a pit in my stomach that probably won’t go away for the rest of the night…

by Bruce | Link | React!

January 26th, 2021

Ah Yes…Plan ‘B’…

Looking though the blog archives, I came across this post from before we had our nuclear war.

That box had become quite full in four years. I just kept running across stuff and thinking oh, he’d like this. Mostly Hubble and JWST stuff. I couldn’t bring myself to just throw it all away, so I took your name off the box and now it’s just a random box in my closet full of this and that with seemingly no common denominator. I’ve no idea what to do with it. Most likely because I don’t like thinking about it.

Do you still believe in do-overs? I know someone down there who deserves one way more than either one of us.

by Bruce | Link | React!

January 4th, 2021

Ahhh…First Morning Back To Work After The Holidays…

That morning cup of coffee really wakes a person up. Especially when the first mouthful tells you that you forgot to put the sugar in.

I like my coffee like I like my men. Sweet.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Ahhh…First Morning Back To Work After The Holidays…

January 1st, 2021

Oh The Difference A Decade Makes…

On January one, twenty-eleven I was into my second decade at Space Telescope and amazed to be starting work on James Webb.

Barack Obama was president of the United States and it seemed like that long darkness that was the Bush years was over and the nation had been restored to sanity.

I was several years into ownership of my first Mercedes-Benz…a cute little white ‘C’ 300. By the end of 2011 I’d trade it in for my dream come true car…a Mercedes-Benz diesel sedan.

I was a decade into home ownership…a cute little Baltimore rowhouse, a dream I never thought would ever come true. It was within walking distance of where I worked, grocery stores, shopping, restaurants and bars…everything I needed for my day to day life.

I had reconnected with my high school crush after decades of searching for him, and he started flirting with me again just like he did back in high school and I was walking on air again just like I did back in high school. But it was even more terrifying than it was back then because he was deeply closeted and married and I really didn’t want to get in the middle of that. Later that summer of 2011 some sort of personal crisis happened, he dropped out of sight for three months, and when he reappeared he sat me down and we had the strangest miserable conversation I’ve ever had with anyone, and that includes the time someone on mom’s side of the family assured me less than an hour after we’d laid her body to rest in its grave that I couldn’t be family unless I was the same degree of Christian they were.

So it’s a decade later…

I’ve lived through my first heart attack and an atrial fibrillation that sent my heart rate to over 210 beats per minute. EMT told me she’d never seen a heart rate as fast as mine just then in her entire career. 

The Mercedes diesel sedan is paid for.

My little Baltimore rowhouse is still mine, but only halfway paid for. It’s value has increased with the building of many matchstick “luxury” townhouses (they stop calling them rowhouses after the first hundred grand…) nearby. I have a lot of work planned for it this coming year, including new storm doors, a pull down ladder to the roof hatch, and repairs to the front porch tiles. There’s at least two more planks in the backyard deck I’ll be needing to replace. I might have the old carpet taken up and see what condition the wood floor is in…neighbors have had theirs refinished and they look very nice. Also on the wish list is new counter tops and kitchen cabinet doors. And a parking pad. With a charging station. Maybe.

My high school crush and I are not speaking to each other and I’m wondering if fate didn’t actually deal me the lesser of two miseries because I discovered that we’re not very compatible. My sense of humor grates on him, which is probably a cultural difference more than I’m fine with my sexual orientation and he isn’t. But it was his attempts to constrict me into something a little less exuberant after I’d spent decades freeing myself from inhibitions and self doubt beaten into me by schoolyard bullies that really grated on me. I began to feel like I was being suffocated. There’s accepting yourself, your whole self, and there’s accepting that some people will hate you for being that person, even down to the things you can’t help being. By the time we’d reconnected I’d accepted both those things so thoroughly that I think in retrospect it unnerved him. I had to be reined in and I am constitutionally unable to be that.

Oh…and my fellow countrymen elected a racist grifting con man to the White House, and now having lost reelection because he was such a crappy president, is now trying along with the republican party to end The United States of America so he can remain in office in perpetuity. Who would have thought that the party of god fearing patriotism would burn it all down they moment they thought they had a good chance at it.

I’m still working at Space Telescope, in and out of the Mission Operations Center, and now I have a bit of the upcoming Roman Space Telescope, named for Nancy Grace Roman, NASA’s first chief astronomer, who paved the way for space telescopes focused on the broader universe.

My regrets are, as usual, focused almost entirely on matters of the heart. But I think I’m somewhere now that I can see a bit more clearly, that all the what if’s I’ve tormented myself with all these years don’t matter a whit. Nothing I could have done would have changed anything. Let me share a bit of geezer wisdom with you, acquired by yours truly at great personal cost. It’s not how well two people get along that matters, it’s how well they don’t get along. Never mind how perfectly in sync they are politically and intellectually. It matters not that their laughter delights, that their smiles linger. How complementary their personalities are while they’re both in a good mood is of slight importance. When skies are blue everything is easy. It’s how things go when the skies darken and you can hear thunder in the distance. That is where you can see their future. How deep the threads of fondness and desire weave is but a passing moment. To paraphrase a certain someone, happiness is like farting…it stinks for a little while and then it’s gone. It’s the bad moods that matter. How do two people deal with anger. Is the reflex to go to their separate corners and sulk for a while and then have fierce makeup sex, or is it to hoist the Jolly Roger and start lobbing cannonballs?

It’s a new decade and I’d tell myself it’s all for the best and I probably don’t know how good I have it really, except I don’t know if I’ll still have a country when it ends. Or how much longer I have to live. That first heart attack really focuses you on that question. The upside is, as I wrote previously, you stop giving a fuck about a lot of things you probably never should have in the first place.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Oh The Difference A Decade Makes…

December 31st, 2020

Happy Same Old New Year!

Tom Tomorrow (aka Dan Perkins) is a cartoonist I’ve followed avidly since I first saw his cartoons in the local alternative weeklies (many of which have gone belly up in the print news devastation). I love his strip This Modern World, and when I needed a new host for my own personal website I did an nslookup to see who his was, thinking that if they were cool with his cartoons they’d be cool with mine and my blog.

He suffered a divorce a few years ago and he’s occasionally bled about it on twitter. Apparently it was sudden and unexpected. This thread he posted today this New Year’s Eve speaks to me so much…

“Three years ago today I was crawling out of the wreckage of a previous life, moving into my new apartment in New York on the coldest day of the year, absolutely no clue what lay ahead…”

“Some of it was very good and some of it not so much … and then we got to March, 2020 and everything sort of flatlined…”

“I wasn’t expecting to live the life I have now, but … it’s definitely been interesting. And sometimes, really good!”

That is so much me in many ways. And yet, my situation could not be more different. I reckon that speaks to the universal human condition. I didn’t suffer a divorce, but that’s because I never had the lover. The breakups in my life did not happen after years and years of peace and joy and happiness. So they would not have been as wounding. I suppose. Instead the wound was a never ending cloudy drizzly sky I somehow became accustomed to. A constant ache from a place within that should not have been so empty for so long. There was nothing in my romantic life to loose. But I lost everything. And now I’m 67, and given my own set of recent events, health-wise, I’m not sure I have a lot of life left.

Loosing both parents changes you. Old age changes you. The first heart attack, or whatever that first serious brush with death due to an aging body is, changes you. In some ways for the better. You kinda stop giving a flying fuck about things you probably never should have anyway. The regrets you’ve carried with you all this time get shuffled and re-arranged, and maybe some of them weren’t all that worth carrying around anyway. Baggage is dropped. But then fresh baggage is picked up along the way. It always is.

It’s odd in a way for me the elder man to be watching how the younger ones deal with their life’s knife wounds in a way that teaches me how to live with mine…at least a tad. I wasn’t expecting to live the life I have now, but…it’s definitely been interesting. And sometimes, really good! Yeah…I can relate. And especially to a previous tweet he put out there about how nobody wants to hear about getting kneecapped by love…probably because they’ve all been kneecapped too at some point and nobody knows how to deal with it. Yeah…I can relate. Absolutely. Somewhat.

And here’s the thing…all those times in my life when I’ve been asked/challenged/preached to, in the context of a discussion relating to my sexual orientation, if I had it to do over would I still want to be a homosexual…in the expectation that of course I would choose to be a heterosexual…all those times I may have stared back at them like they were from another planet…what’s going through my mind just then is You’re heterosexual and you’ve lived your entire life in that world and you’re trying to tell me that the grass is greener on Your side of the fence?? What have you been smoking all this time?

I’m sorry for what happened to you Mr. Perkins. I’m sorry for what happens to all of us. Somehow we manage. What I learned in 2020 is romantic alienation did not prepare me at all for imposed alienation. This is worse. In a world full of broken hearts at least we had each other…

“…but man I miss the possibility of a weekly hangout in that dive bar.”

…and our favorite local bar.

Here’s to the new year. May the day come quickly when we can at last all be brokenhearted together once more.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Happy Same Old New Year!

August 29th, 2020

Approaching 67. . .

I follow several Mercedes-Benz pages on Facebook. This popped up this morning on one of them…

Yes, they’re talking about automobiles there, but you can take that a bunch of different ways. And especially when you’re well on your walk into old age. 

That first heart attack…assuming you survive it…gives you some perspective. Things that may have once nagged at you, or caused you some distress, all the what ifs and should haves, they stop mattering as much. And some just fade away as you look at them again from the new vantage point. That…really wasn’t all that important after all was it…?

It’s not, at least for me, the feeling that I don’t have much time left. Somehow deep inside I’ve never assumed I had any. Read the newspapers…people die all the time, young and old, suddenly, unexpectedly, and there it is…the end. The heart attack hasn’t really changed my thinking on that any. What’s changed is my perspective.

The torrent of love and support I got from friends, family (in California) and coworkers actually surprised me. After a lifetime of singleness, my working hypothesis had become that while I was perhaps well liked, nobody really cared all that much. I was unlovable. That had to be it or I wouldn’t be so alone. Somehow I just got used to that, and managed not to kill myself. I thank the art gene in me. And also I reckon, being an only child. We onlies are almost preternaturally good at keeping ourselves company. The outpouring of support I got while recovering was a big help. I wasn’t as alone as I thought I was. I actually do matter to a few people. 

To some I don’t, and never will, and that’s okay. No Meatloaf, objects in the rear view mirror are not closer than they seem. They’re behind you. That moment Death taps you on the shoulder…out of nowhere, except it was always there. It was there with you from the moment you were born. Now if it walks away again, then it was trying to get your attention. Keep your eyes on the road. Look ahead. Adventure is there. Everything that you didn’t know before, everything you haven’t yet seen, is there. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Approaching 67. . .

June 15th, 2020

Why Are You Still Single? It Has To Be You Fucked Up Somehow.

This came across my Feedly feed today…from George Takei’s blog…

People Confess Why They Are Still Single

“Why are you single?” –– And just like that, Redditor Uninfectedl got to the point, asking a question that hits a sore point for so many of us.

The poster, Alan Jude Ryland says they’re single because they’re enjoying singleness. Lots of people do. But lots of us feel trapped and beaten down, especially as the usual thinking is you’re just not doing it right and it’s your own damn fault. You looser.

Here are my reasons…

1) I’m gay. We’re a minority. I had a Much smaller pool of potential dates to start with. Strike one.

2) I came of age during a period when gay folk were almost universally hated. So no socializing among gay teens and young adults as arranged by helpful caring adults. No dances, no proms, no anything to help guide us into making the right choices, finding the one that’s right for you. Strike two.

3) No stories about same sex romances, no songs on the radio, no movies or TV, no examples of how to grow up and find love. We were invisible at best, at worst we were dangerous deviants, sissyboy weaklings, psychopaths and predators. Straight kids got the happily ever after, we got the gutter. Strike three.

4) Too many people in my world when I was coming of age, all the way through my twenties and thirties, felt it was their sacred moral duty to break up any budding same sex romances and keep young lovers far, far apart for their own good. That happened to me over and over. Strike four.

5) The sort of guys I was attracted to, the nice boys, the ones I might have met in a better world at a church social or coffee house, were terrified. They didn’t want their families to hate them. They didn’t want god to hate them. Strike five.

6) People who look like that want people who look like that. Strike six and game over.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why Are You Still Single? It Has To Be You Fucked Up Somehow.

June 8th, 2020

Memories Of Standing On The Outside Of The Comfort Zone Looking In

Facebook tossed this memory from today, 2015 in my face just now. I was visiting Walt Disney World and I had to vent…

Some days I visit he’s being a jerk and doesn’t want to talk to me. Others, like last night, he’s all warm smiles and cheerful eyes and just can’t stop talking and we stay long past park closing time and I’m walking on air all the way back to my room. But then it’s always why can’t we spend some time together outside the park and his comfort zone won’t allow it.

So either way I have to struggle to get my vacation started back up again. If he’s grouchy then I’m miserable and just want to go home. I’ve called vacations off early when it’s been that. If he’s full of sunshine and smiles then I feel like I’ve hit the high point of my trip and why bother staying. There’s that back to the reality of things after the visit let-down to climb back out of somehow. I have to remind myself I need the break regardless.

This morning I’ll hit the grocery store for some perishables I couldn’t bring down with me, and more ice tea, and maybe something from the liquor store so I’m not always paying Disney prices for alcohol. Then spend the rest of the week chilling out, maybe working some more on A Coming Out Story (I brought my drawing things). But I’m in a state now I really have no words for, or at any rate words I’m willing to speak. He said something to me that lifted me out of myself in a way only someone who really gets you can. And it took a load off my psyche certain other gay someone’s I know weighed me down with for years.

It was all about how I don’t interact well with people. Too shy, too self absorbed, blah, blah, blah, your photography has no people in it, blah, blah, blah… Biergarten is “Octoberfest” seating, which means you get seated at a table with other random guests and you’re expected to talk and share a good time together. This time I was seated with a group that seemed really stand-offish. They just gave off chilly vibes. But after a while I got them talking about where they’re from and what they do, and of course when they found out I work at Space Telescope and on Hubble and James Webb they got all interested in that. And by the end of the night we were all chatting happily.

And after they left he and I were chatting and he noticed too how chilly that group was initially. He’s worked this line of business for so long now he can probably read a table the second he walks up to it. Then he said he’d always seen me open people up and that I was good at it and that I was always getting everyone talking and having a good time no matter how chilly the table seemed at first.

Well…yeah… One thing is you always know you’re with other Disney people here…so that’s something. It’s not like you’re in some random bar with bad mood people. We’re all Disney people here. And that Disney kid just comes out of me here. It’s a kind of freedom to be that kid I once was I never really appreciated I was missing before I started coming here. But I’m not the hopelessly detached single certain other people somehow managed to convince me I am either. I’m not that…so how did I get to thinking of myself like that? He just pulled that out of me with a few words and the look on his face when he said it.

He does that. It’s when someone shows you things about yourself you didn’t know, but should have known, that makes it serious. And…it’s been like that since we were teenagers. When he’s not in a touchy mood, it’s still like that.

But we never got the chance other kids did. And now he has his comfort zone, and I need to get on with my vacation. Somehow.

It was around this time that I’d figured out that if I told him in advance I was coming down he wouldn’t have anything to do with me, but if I just showed up it was all smiles and happy face and good times. Something just less than a year later we had nuclear war…I’d told him I was coming down and he lied about being on a ski trip and I shouldn’t bother and I came down anyway and he was so stand-offish even the new servers there noticed something was wrong with him. Afterward he sent me a nastygram telling me never to speak to him again and I blew up because I hadn’t done anything wrong or said anything to him I hadn’t said dozens of times before…and it was all over, and with it every memory I ever had about it being good…wonderful even. It’s amazing what tricks memory can play on you. If it wasn’t for these occasional Facebook memories I wouldn’t remember it ever being good with him now, not even back in high school. But it was. I wasn’t twitterpated for no reason. He felt it too. But whereas it lifted me out of myself, erased every shred of guilt or shame I might have had, it must have done the opposite to him.

…which set a pattern for the rest of my life. Because I would always fall for the nice boys…the ones I might have met in a better world at a church social, or coffee house. But in the world I grew up in all those nice boys were terrified. They didn’t want their families to hate them, they didn’t want God to hate them.

I’ve made my allegiances, I have to stay in my comfort zone…

So it goes. I reckon. I should get back to work on A Coming Out Story now that Facebook gave me that. But everything from back in the day is bad now. I finally found the guy I wrote about in this blog post (link) and he didn’t win his race. His life took a really bad turn through no fault of his and discovering that is really heartbreaking. And now this Facebook memory is something else to tap me on the shoulder, and whisper in my ear that everything is pointless.

In my senior years I’m basically just walking forward on auto pilot, going through the motions because what else is there to do…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Memories Of Standing On The Outside Of The Comfort Zone Looking In

June 5th, 2020

The Path With Heart In A Time Of Darkness

There are moments lately I feel like a prisoner in my own house; not the one I’m paying a fixed mortgage on, but the house within, the one with the endless mortgage. It’s been quite a year so far, if I start counting from the month of my heart attack. The doctor who wheeled me into the operating room for my angioplasty said I seemed very calm for someone who’d just been told he was having a heart attack. I said that now at least I knew what was happening. The thing of it is, knowledge doesn’t always make you feel better, but at least it brings an inward steadiness. Now you have a reference point. An island of calm in a landscape of uncertainty.

I apologize to friends who may be thinking that I’m withdrawing lately. I’m probably still in a state of shock. Finding out what happened to a friend from my teen years has knocked me for a loop in a way even mom’s death did not. In the normal course of life you expect to outlive your parents, deep dark grief though it is when it comes. To loose track of a friend, carefree, smart, good hearted, beautiful, for decades, only to find them lost to mental illness, and homelessness shakes the few certainties you managed to hold on to in your old age. Something taps you on the shoulder and whispers in your ear, “Everything is pointless.”

Yes it is. But no it isn’t. Don Juan said, “All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.” The subtle truth you learn is that while the path with heart can be a joyful journey, joy does not erase the darkness any more than knowledge does. But at least there is calm.

I have managed to be one with all the paths I’ve followed since I was a teenage boy. I am still. I have my art. I have my tools. I am one with my path. But paths don’t always make it plain where they go. You hope for the best, you walk forward expectantly, always with your eyes wide open. But it’s the path you follow because that is the path with heart. You try to keep in mind that it goes nowhere. Even so, you are somewhere. Eric Sevareid said Hillary climbed the mountain not because it was there, but because he was.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Path With Heart In A Time Of Darkness

May 28th, 2020

The Cartoon That Was Not, About The Loves That Were Not…

…and the life that was not.

I’m going through some Google Docs looking for something and stumble across this script for a cartoon was going to do for my 60th birthday. I managed to get a few pencil sketches done but never finished it. For some reason.

This riffs off a running gag in Tim Barela’s wonderful gay comic strip Leonard and Larry…which he described once as a kind of gay Our Miss Brooks. Every tenth year Larry had a birthday all his anxieties about getting old surfaced in a dream that he was having his birthday party while laying in a coffin with a birthday cake on it and his friends making catty jokes about his getting old. Picasso said a mediocre artist copies and a great artist steals. So I stole the idea (with proper acknowledgement). But the only thing I managed to finish was the script. Probably for the best…

Here it is. As Joe Friday and my own Sargeant Stoneface would say, The names have been changed to protect the innocent. And especially the not so innocent!


The Big Six-O!
(Slightly Anonymised) 

SCENE: My birthday party.  a’La Leonard & Larry, I’m in a casket with the lid open and a birthday cake on the bottom half lid that reads Happy 60th.  Surrounding me are my three loves. We shall call them CRUSH1, CRUSH2 and CRUSH3.

PANEL 1: (Most of the following panels are as above.)

ME: I really appreciate the party you guys, and this coffin’s a swell gag, but I have to admit the margarita embalming fluid bottles was a brilliant touch.

CRUSH2: I liked the asperen bottles labeled “For Headaches Due To Lovestruck Bruce”.

CRUSH3: That was 1’s idea.


PANEL 2:

ME: (off panel) Ha, ha… Yes, very funny…

CRUSH1: (to the others) Drove me crazy back in high school watching him try to work up the nerve to tell me he had a crush on me.

CRUSH2: (rolling his eyes) I had to deal with Overly Attached Gayfriend.

CRUSH3: Tell me about it. He actually thought we were boyfriends just because I let him sleep with me a few times.

 

PANEL 3: Closeup on Crush2 and Crush3

CRUSH2: Sparks didn’t fly eh?

CRUSH3: (Looking morosely down at his drink) Let’s just say I went Ex-Gay for six years.

 

PANEL 4: Closeup on me and Crush1

CRUSH1: (Smiling, gesturing to me while looking at the others off panel) Quick, tell NARTH! We’ve found the cure for homosexuality!

ME: (Frowning) Ha, Ha.  Very Funny.

 

PANEL 5:

ME: Can I get out now?

CRUSH1: Not on your life.  We’re selling you off as a collector’s item. 

CRUSH2: (gesturing to the ages) The gay man that never had a boyfriend. Too young to be liberated in 1971, too old to marry anyone in 2013.

CRUSH3: You’re a museum piece.

 

PANEL 6:

ME: You sold me to a museum?

CRUSH2: Museum?  Are you kidding?  We sold you to Disney World.

CRUSH3: You’re going to be a prop in the Haunted Mansion queue.

CRUSH1: I’ll stop by every now and then before my shift to dust you off.

 

PANEL 7:

ME: I’m dreaming all this aren’t I?  This is all about my anxieties over getting old isn’t it…and you guys are here representing the three chances for love Vonnegut spoke of…

CRUSH1: We prefer to think of ourselves as your three strikes.

 

PANEL 8:

ME: This is going to turn into a nightmare now isn’t it?

CRUSH1: You’re not asleep dear, you’re hallucinating.

CRUSH2: You drank half that bottle of tequila all by yourself and when you sober up again you’re going to feel like you’re 160.

 

With Apologies to Tim Barela and Larry Evans…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Cartoon That Was Not, About The Loves That Were Not…

May 24th, 2020

Well Since I Can’t Go Anywhere This Holiday Weekend…

…I might as well do some lawn work. Especially since the rainy spring has made it hard to get it done previously. Gets the grass and weeds growing though…

So I took care of my tiny backyard in lieu of going to Ocean City NJ or somewhere…like Walt Disney World which is closed now except for maybe Disney Springs. But Florida is a hot spot I don’t want to get into for the foreseeable future. Still don’t think I’m putting any flowers or garden lights out this season because going to the lawn and garden stores just for that seems a frivolous reason to catch the virus So the best I can do for the outside of my house this year is just basic maintenance which I can do without going to the store. I sharpened the lawn mower blades a couple weeks ago, and did some repairs to the Ryobi weed whacker. At least I can keep things from looking like an abandoned house.

Standing on my deck, exhausted but pleased with the results, I had a sudden strong urge for a cigar. First really strong urge I’ve had since just before the heart attack. I’ve actually been surprised I haven’t been periodically getting those urges, but I reckon cigars just aren’t as addictive as cigarettes. No I didn’t.

Haven’t smoked one since the first week of October last year. I am well aware of the stress they put on my cardiovascular system…at least the smooth strong ones I’ve always enjoyed. It was a package deal with the pleasant nicotine buzz I got. I could feel my veins constricting. So I knew perfectly well what I was doing to myself. But I needed that nicotine buzz from time to time in my stressed out life. I’m actually surprised my psyche hasn’t demanded more of that since the heart attack. But just now it did and I didn’t. My psyche demands a lot of things of me that I either can’t or won’t give it, or infinitely defer it. Another trip to California for instance, right this minute for instance.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Well Since I Can’t Go Anywhere This Holiday Weekend…

April 18th, 2020

In Which The Abyss Gives Up A Ray Of Sunshine And Hope

Per my previous post…not so afraid now. Concerned yes, but lord have mercy the ray of sunshine I just got was very much appreciated, after so many weeks of worry.

Now I need to send a letter to a friend from long ago. I’ll say more later, maybe, when I get a reply.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on In Which The Abyss Gives Up A Ray Of Sunshine And Hope

December 4th, 2019

Dear Apple…Please Stop…

I’m listening to The Warsaw Concerto on the iPhone. It’s lovely Rachmaninoff-esq music (it was actually composed for a movie whose director initially wanted to use Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto but the copyright holder wouldn’t allow it. So he hired composer Richard Addinsell, to do something in the style of Rachmaninoff. The movie isn’t well known, but the piece by Addinsell is now a part of the classical music canon.

Anyway…it’s the sort of lovely beautiful, evocative romantic music I get in the mood for sometimes. Like the other night…and I’m doing the dishes and I’m zoning out to the music and occasionally swiping back to the beginning of the piece and listening to it again (it’s not really a full blown concerto, it just calls itself that…) and then the iPhone makes a sound and I look at the screen and there’s a popup window. I don’t have my reading glasses on and all I can make out are the words…

Your First Love…

Well all sorts of things went through my head and I scrambled around to find my reading glasses and by the time I got them on the popup had vanished. I looked in the notifications center. Nothing. I checked my mailbox. I checked my Facebook app. I checked my Twitter app. I checked every app I could think of that might give me a notification. I couldn’t find it. It began to feel like some existential message from a digital Twilight Zone about how completely I’ve failed in love.

Hello Bruce, here’s a message from Your First Love! Whoops…not quick enough. Now it’s gone. Vanished into the mists of digital infinity. Now you’ll never know what it was. Still the same dweeb you were as a teenage boy aren’t you? Now here’s your daily reminder to fill out your timesheet!

Before going down to the art room bar to pour myself a drink I decided, just on the off chance that it was some weird new iPhone Apple thing, to google “ios your first love”. Jackpot. It’s the damn music app. I must have touched the heart icon whilst rewinding the music I was playing.

That wasn’t nice Apple. #singleoldgaymaleproblems

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Dear Apple…Please Stop…

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