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July 8th, 2024

Worst First Dates That Inspire Ghost Stories

Hoisted from today’s Facebook Memories…

On a “Worst First Date” challenge thread I see a story about a guy who met his date at the agreed upon restaurant and she never spoke a word the entire time, ate her food and left. Then he sees an earlier text message he missed from his date saying she couldn’t make it and could they reschedule, and now he’s wondering who it was he just fed.

I see a ghost story here…something along the lines of the trope about the hitch hiker or ride giving trucker who turns out to have been a ghost…but all this ghost does is eat your food and leave.

Oh…that was Eleanor, who died of starvation after waiting hours for the waiter to take her order…see, it was the shift change…oh yes, she’s a hungry one…

by Bruce | Link | React!

June 2nd, 2024

Well That Explains That. . .

Last night I woke up back in the apartment in Rockville I shared with mom. My eyes opened. Suddenly my bedroom door opened wide, but nobody came in.

It was dark in the hallway. My bedroom was only marginally better lit from the lights in the parking lot outside. Someone or…something…had opened my bedroom door. Wide. But did not come in. I felt a chill and rolled out of bed shouting “What is it?” Then I tried to turn on the bed stand light. It wouldn’t come on. It’s such an old trope of my bad dreams that none of the lights I try to turn on work and for a moment I figured I must be dreaming. But I wasn’t waking up. I was already awake.

I could feel the apartment vibrating, like a minor earthquake was happening. And there was a rumbling noise like a bunch of construction work was happening outside. I started going through the apartment trying to turn on some lights and shouting “What’s going on? Hello? Who’s there!?” Eventually I managed to get one light to turn on…the side table light near the apartment door.

I looked around. Outside it was raining in a kind of misty drizzle. The sliding glass door to the balcony was all misted up. Mom came into the living room and asked me what was happening. I said I didn’t know, maybe it’s an earthquake, and went back into my bedroom to look out that window. The bedrooms in those apartments faced the parking lot and it was the same there as on the other side: a very heavy but misty rain and some fog. The entire apartment was vibrating and making a rumbling noise like…like…

…like I was in a moving train, in a roomette bed, having a dream. Which I figured out the instant I woke up.

I’m back home in Charm City now, unpacking and waking up the house. Might do DC Pride next weekend. Except I’m kinda travel fatigued now. 

by Bruce | Link | React!

May 19th, 2024

A Wee Disney Vacation…And Then Maybe Back To Work…

I’m at Port Orleans Riverside for a couple weeks. I’d extend my stay but I told the guy I worked under at Space Telescope before I retired that I’d be back home June 2 and he wants to discuss my coming back to work there part time.

So…making the most of this one while I’m here…

Still stunned that Facebook recommended “Tico Assmann” to me (see previous post). My head is still spinning, but that might be vertigo from the train ride.

by Bruce | Link | React!

May 5th, 2024

Why? No…Seriously…Why!

There are moments when commercial social media, and especially Facebook, really weirds me out. Facebook has this “People You May Know” list, which is where Facebook helpfully tries to get you to “friend” other people “You May Know” so it can data harvest your life and theirs more efficiently. 

Yesterday this came up in mine…

I stared at this recommendation for I don’t know how long. What the hell Facebook?? 

(I’ve blocked the image of the person in question because I don’t think that’s the real name of the person in that profile, and probably he doesn’t want his mother knowing what he’s up to…)

This isn’t him, this isn’t anything even close to him, he would not use a nom de plume like that or anything close to it, and anyway he’s always insisted he isn’t on social media and never will be. And at moments like this I really don’t blame him. It gets very weird in here from time to time, and he can’t deal with weird.

There are moments I have a hard time dealing with it too, and I’m weird.

What the hell Facebook???

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 5th, 2024

Locked Out Of My Facebook Account

For some reason Facebook isn’t accepting my logins and I’m concerned that it might be because my account has been hacked. I think I might know what happened…I accepted a friend request that perhaps I should not have. But I won’t know until I can get back into my account…if ever.

At least I have my website. I was going to post something here and there, but apparently for now I can only write my thoughts to the world here. That’s fine. If anyone notices anything strange going on in my Facebook pages, it isn’t me.

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 22nd, 2023

Nigerian Prince Would Like To Give You Money…Also Put You In Jail.

I see a hit from Nigeria in my website server logs today. Hopefully it’s that Nigerian prince that wants to leave me money and he’s finally found me.

Hahahahaha…no. More likely it’s Nigerian authorities looking for gay websites to block.


by Bruce | Link | React!

October 5th, 2023

A Timeline For Further Discussion Here Later. . .

My trip to Oceano was not entirely uneventful. Nor was my finally getting the car its emissions recall work done. I posted the following to my Facebook page and I feel like I need to hash it out more here, because…well…To Be Continued…

Pay notice to the part where I discover the SCR catalytic converter wasn’t actually installed.

July 17: Car throws a check engine light in Grand Junction. There is no Mercedes dealer here to look into it, but tomorrow I should be able to make it to St. George Utah where there is one. I put it down to possibly the extreme heat and high altitude I was driving through.

July 18: On the way to St. George Utah the car begins a countdown, so now it’s definately an emergency. Made it to St. George leaving the car running at rest stops so as not to use up my starts.

July 19: Dropped car off at the dealer here and got it back soon after with the error codes cleared. I’m told it needs a very expensive set of emissions system parts, the SCR catalytic converter and NOx sensors, but all that is free to me with the big emissions recall which I’m planning on finally getting done this trip at the dealer in San Luis Obispo.

Somehow they tweak my car’s system into turning off the check engine light and stopping the countdown so I can get to Oceano and have the emissions work done.

July 20: I arrive in Oceano.

July 21: Ask the Mercedes dealership in San Luis Obispo to get my car scheduled for the emissions recall. As usual, can’t be scheduled until the parts come in. This time they’re saying it shouldn’t be more than a couple weeks. I’m staying this trip until at least October so maybe I can outlast the parts delay this time.

July 24: Have an oil change done at Bavarian Auto Haus, which I always do after the cross-country road trip. They use the good Liqui Moly oil and I’ve had them do this before. This time one of the guys there who seems to be either the owner or the Man In Charge tells me he’d like to dump every diesel car into the ocean because “you just can’t clean up diesel exhaust.” This will be the last time they touch my car.

August 23: I finally get the car scheduled for the big Mercedes diesel emissions recall. I had to come back twice to check if the parts had come in because nobody calls, and this second time the clerk at the service desk found out the parts were there after all. So now I’m scheduled but the soonest it can be done is September 7.

September 7 (Thursday): I drop the car off and get a nice loaner. Should only take two days but I might not get the car back until Saturday.

September 14 (the following Thursday): I finally get the car back. Big delay was attributed to needing to install OS on new main computer and configure it for the car. Also DEF quality sensor needed to be calibrated.

I get the car back to my brother’s house and then have to take it back in when the Check Engine light comes on.

September 15: I get the car back again. Explaination is the SCR Catalytic converter wasn’t installed.

September 17: A countdown starts but there is no Check Engine light. Also, the battery dies.

September 18: I talk to the dealer and then call AAA for either a new battery or a tow. The don’t have a battery for my car so it is towed to the dealer. Later I hear they’ve put in a new battery because the one in the car (it was six years old) failed a test so it was definitely bad and they put a new one in. Also the countdown started because the DEF quality sensor had not been calibrated.

I was told I would be called at 2PM to either get my car or get a loaner. I got no call until nearly close of business which was when I was told the problem was the DEF quality sensor still needed calibrating.

September 20: Dealership gives me a ride back to them, to get my car back. This time it looks like all is well, but I will need to give the car a few shakedown drives just to make sure.


by Bruce | Link | React!

August 29th, 2023

Hey…Wait…Didn’t I Graduate…??

I’ll be 70 soon. Just so all you younglings who happen to be reading this know, that dream about being back in grade school? You know the one. Maybe you’re walking the hallways of your old high school. Maybe you’re sitting in class. And you’re stressing out because you haven’t prepared, and you don’t know the material. And you know you’re going to flunk that class and probably every other class too. And then you wake up and you’re all stressed out. That dream?

Yeah…you’ll still be having it at 70.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 18th, 2023

Just Your Typical Coastal California Weather…

It’s an absolutely lovely California day here in Oceano. 64 degrees but comfortably warm in the sun. California blue skies. Ocean breeze.
Well…okay…we’re likely to get a hurricane over the weekend. But apart from that…

Let’s hear it for global warming!


by Bruce | Link | React!

August 15th, 2023

No It Is Not Time For A White Wedding!

So I had the white wedding dream this morning.

I’ve written about this elsewhere, but it’s one of those odd family things. My mom’s Yankee Baptist side, for all it’s religiosity, has it’s superstitions, handed down through the generations. Many of which Good Yankee Baptists are Not supposed to entertain. Mom’s dad came from Mennonite stock. River Brethren they called themselves. Her mother was pure bitter Yankee Baptist (not all Yankee Baptists are as unpleasant as she was. I know of a bunch of really good people in those pews) Not sure how far back some of these superstitions go, but a few seem very old.

One of them is the dream that is a premonition of death. Not yours, but of someone close to you. And it’s not that they die. In the dream, they’re getting married.

I can hear the snickers, but this is really creepy. It’s a big wedding usually. The bride, or the groom, are someone you know personally. You never see who they’re getting married too. And it’s usually, but not always, attended by people that you don’t know. And here’s the thing: the more white you notice in the dream…like in how people are dressed or in the place settings…the closer the death is.

I’ve googled this and it seems it is a thing. I can’t pin the history and origins of it down because there is so much argle bargle in the results, but apparently it goes way way back.

I’ve never had this dream. Until this morning. And it didn’t quite follow the usual script.

In my dream, I am a photographer working at a huge catering business. They have a massive building with a lot of big well decorated rooms to hold weddings and receptions. I actually have my own apartment on an upper floor. It’s a nice one. Apparently the cat I once had, Claudia, lives there with me.

I’m walking around the premises, checking on this and that, to make sure everything is ready for today’s guests. Nobody has arrived yet, but I know it will be busy later and I am on duty.

Then a huge wedding party arrives. They seem to be Indians, all dressed in traditional Indian garb for a wedding reception. There’s a Lot of them and I despair thinking there’s so many everyone else won’t be able to use their rooms. But the new party uses the lovely outdoor courtyard instead and I am relieved. There’s plenty of space there and it’s a beautiful setting for a wedding reception.

I watch them enter. The courtyard has a lovely colorful tiled floor, white marble columns with green hanging plants, white statuary, and big wooden intricately carved tables for the guests. I see the bride and groom at one end of the space. Dancers line up and begin some sort of traditional dance for everyone.

It’s bright and sunny outside this morning, and everyone is wearing white, bright, bright white, which makes the scene even brighter. It is so bright it begins to hurt my eyes and I have to leave and go back inside. And anyway, it’s time for me to get ready for the other guests.

I go back to my apartment and take a shower. As I’m drying myself off Claudia comes into the bathroom and hops up onto the sink to get a drink. As I’m walking to my room I hear a voice I recognize from downstairs, asking me if he and his bride to be can come up so he can show her my photography. I have it all over the walls of my apartment. I call back down, yes, but let me get dressed first please, I have nothing on.

With just a towel wrapped around me I run around my living room quickly, irritably picking up some crumpled up paper bags that were left on the floor by friends I had over the previous night. People need to pick up after themselves I think. Then I wake up.

I wake up in a very disturbed state. The voice I heard downstairs of the groom to be was a very dear friend. As close to me as anyone ever got. He’s getting married. I didn’t see the bride. And the wedding outside was so white it hurt my eyes. But…I tell myself desperately, that wasn’t His wedding. I don’t even know those other people.

I try to be rational. I try to avoid superstition. I’m an atheist for god’s sake (ha ha). But when you’ve got the imagination I do that’s very hard. The collision between my left and right brains (I know…that’s a myth too…but it’s a useful metaphor) that I’ve represented in A Coming Out Story, is the central struggle of my life. More so even than dealing with my sexual orientation. And deep down inside I’ve always been afraid of this dream.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 2nd, 2023

Strange Dreams

Having a bout of vivid strange dreams here in the Golden State…

A couple nights ago (early morning actually…it’s when I usually have my most vivid dreams) I dreamt I was a student again, this time in a small private college. There was just one large, long, oldish red brick building with tall windows and a huge grassy courtyard in front. 

I was taking some sort of business accounting course, and failing miserably at it. My usual approach to class time was to hide the fact that I just wasn’t absorbing the material by parroting what the professor, who was also the college headmaster, said in his lectures. But I understood none of it and I was sure that was going to catch up with me soon. I was feeling intensely guilty the whole time for faking it and I finally just admitted to the professor that I was out of my depth and I wasn’t going to continue with it anymore because I hated myself for faking it.

And instead of working on the problems we’d been assigned, I began to draw. The professor came over to my desk, looked at my drawings, said I should keep doing that instead of the business course I was in, and assigned me some art projects. Then he said his college needed to offer art classes and wondered why he hadn’t done that long ago.

That dream ended with my feeling intensely happy about the change in direction.

This morning I dreamt I was producing a crime/mystery movie for Alfred Hitchcock with Cary Grant in it. I’d assembled something like a pre pre pre production proof of concept around the script but instead of doing a bunch of storyboards I used clips from other movies and voice overs to give a sense of what a film based on that script might look like. It was just to get approval from Hitchcock to spend the money to continue with it.

In the movie, Grant is supposed to play an investigator with a major power company, assigned to investigate what appears to be a huge theft of power and money from the company. But it gets dicy. The powers that be think this guy can be duped into believing the whole thing is just a big mistake and there is no theft, when in fact it’s a huge cover up of missing millions and power being diverted for secret organized crime activity and the board of directors is party to all it it in exchange for kickbacks. But the FBI is getting suspicious and they need this guy to give them a clean bill of health to maintain the cover up. Unfortunately he won’t, and the pressure on him gets…dangerous. 

Hitchcock comes into his office, obviously dog tired from exercise. I come in and I can see he’s already busy on the phone and I apologise profusely but tell him I’ve finished with the movie. He misunderstands…it’s only that proof of concept I’ve finished…and tells me to get a screening ready for the investors.

I leave the office appalled, pretty sure that we didn’t want to be showing this proof of concept to the investors. And we didn’t actually have Grant on board yet. But I’m told yes, that’s exactly what Hitchcock wants, and I need to get Grant on board.

The dream ends as I’m describing the script to Grant, and he’s saying no, it’s just like North by Northwest again and he’s been there done that, and I’m telling him no, it’s not really like that because he’s not playing someone dragged into it by mistaken identity, he’s deliberately involving himself because it’s his job, but he’s playing someone who is determined to get to the bottom of things, because that’s his job after all, against a lot of very powerful people, some of whom are his bosses, just as determined to stop him from doing that but without alerting the feds that there really is a big crime going on.

I wake up while carefully going over the differences between our script and North by Northwest with Grant, who remains skeptical.


by Bruce | Link | React!

May 10th, 2023

Narrator: But The Spammers Didn’t Check His Profile…

All these lovely ladies suddenly trying to friend me on Facebook…

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 15th, 2023

Never Change Baltimore

Things I see whilst walking in my neighborhood…

Friend of mine says this place has Edgar Allan Poe’s autograph. I wouldn’t doubt you could hear the beating of a heart under its floorboards.

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 17th, 2021

Life’s Little Regrets. . .

The English word yodel is derived from the German (and originally Austro-Bavarian) word jodeln, meaning “to utter the syllable jo” (pronounced “yo” in English). Most experts agree that yodeling was used in the Central Alps by herders calling their stock or to communicate between Alpine villages. The multi-pitched “yelling” later became part of the region’s traditional lore and musical expression. The earliest record of a yodel is in 1545, where it is described as “the call of a cowherd from Appenzell”

There’s a scene in the 2004 movie Summer Storm (I’m recalling it just now from memory…) where boys from a Bavarian rowing team are lounging on a beach and they see a girl’s team at practice rowing past. One of them playfully yodels out to them and one of the other boys disgustedly says, Oh great, now everyone knows we’re Bavarians. Later I worked up the nerve to ask a certain someone if it was true that Bavarians were considered country bumpkins in Germany. He assured me it was true.

This came across my Facebook stream the other day…

Time was, if I saw this cartoon I’d spend a few days pondering if I should show it to him or not. Would he share a laugh with me, or would he think I was making fun of him. Now I just regret that I never did ask him to yodel. I should have asked him to yodel.

by Bruce | Link | React!

October 18th, 2021

Sie…du…dich…dir…I Have No Idea Which You It Is…

Maybe instead of blaming the cultural homophobia he grew up in, I should consider the language he was born to…



Communication between us was probably doomed from the start.

Now if he was reading this, which I know he isn’t because he told me straight up once that he never reads my blog or looks at my cartoons, he’d probably be getting all ticked off now. For as big a tease as he is he has a really thin skin and hated being teased back. And speaking of language barriers…I think it was sometime during one of my 2014 visits I began to see with clarity that we are just not very compatible personalities.

I was struggling with basic beginner level German and bought a t-shirt at the Epcot Germany gift shop that said “Ich Bin”, which in English is “I am”.  Now, I’m the kid who grew up under the icy cold glare of a bitter Baptist grandmother who despised my dad (and his entire family I later learned) with a venomous passion, and there I was bearing his face and handy for taking it out on because he was clear on the other side of the country and I was right there in arm’s reach. So by the time I started my walk into puberty and had that moment of realization that I’m gay, I already knew there would be people in my life who would hate my guts over something I had no choice about and no control over. So that Ich Bin t-shirt tickled a part of me that’s fiercely defensive of my own unique human identity. I Am. But it did it in a kinda fun way. Or so I thought. I am. No, not German. Not my dad. Not your favorite homosexual stereotype. I am Bruce Garrett. Deal with it. Ich Bin.

And…he could not. I wore the shirt into his restaurant and when we met up I pointed to it and said “Ich Bin…I am”, because I was proud to show him that I knew at least two German words and could put them together. German grammar would later kick me in the teeth and I gave it up, but that was to come later.

He looked at me scornfully, like I was somehow making fun of him, and said, “And what’s funny is you trying to teach me German.”

I must have looked at him like he was a total stranger I’d just run into who happened to look like the guy I’d crushed on madly in high school and it was confusing me. What the fuck man…are you Serious? Did you really think that’s what I was doing? 

Wow…where the hell did That come from? You’re not really the person I thought you were…

Most people experience that moment with their first teenage crush back when they’re teenagers, not when they’re in their 60s. You have a good cry over it, take his picture out of your class notebook, and move on. But while my generation was allowed to see the promise land, most of us could not walk into it. We will always live in a time before Stonewall. So geht es… Looking back on it, and the torrent of abuse we all got thrown at us from every direction, I’m surprised any of us found their other half. No…it wasn’t a language barrier. We were just a couple of gay teens who, in a better world, would have figured it out, gone our separate ways and kept looking. But that was not the world we came of age in.

I still have that t-shirt. And I still wear it proudly.

What I am is what I am
You’re what you are or what?

by Bruce | Link | React!

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