Not A Bad Place At All To Be

I posted “Ennui” yesterday before the Supreme Court ruled yesterday in favor of gay marriage. Since then I’ve seen an outpouring of joy over that ruling in the news and on social media.

There are many opinions about this topic. Some, on either end of the spectrum, feel very strongly about it. Yet when the decision was handed down, you saw no buildings being burned or people beating on each other. That’s not how, for the most part, this country rolls.

Over this past week, I’ve also seen support for the members of the Charleston AME church and a rising tide of voices calling for an end to the official sanction of the display of the Confederate flag. People across the south are (peacefully) deciding the flag must go. I’m sure many of them have mixed feelings about it, as it is truly part of their heritage. But many of those same people do realize that it is an affront to a sizable part of our population.

I prefer to think of these two, separate movements as more indicative of what our country is all about. The terrorist who shot up the Charleston AME does not truly represent our country. The tens of thousands of people who’ve shown support for the church and the victims are.

That’s why I get tied up in knots when the president steps up to the microphone and us about our shortcomings. He should step back and not just look at the tragedy, but the reaction to it. We are a rather good people, we Americans.


The Gays

A close decision, but the Supreme Court today decided that marriage was a right for all, straight or gay.

I’m a traditional guy. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. That said, I’m pretty sure that if I were in a voting booth and had to pull a lever either for or against, I couldn’t, with clear conscience, vote against gay marriage. I couldn’t walk out of a voting booth and look into the eyes of people I know who are gay and whom I care about and tell them I voted against a chance to experience the happiness straight men and women enjoy.

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I began this blog during the 2008 presidential election. I was fired up. John McCain was a hero of mine and I thought he’d make a hell of a better president than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Obama was elected and I think him a very poor president. Not because he’s black. Not because I think he was born in Kenya. Not because I think he’s a Muslim. Politics has been called the art of the possible. We live in a system where winning an election buys you a seat at the table. At that table you must work with others to get things done. President Obama doesn’t do this. He doesn’t play well with others. In his mind politics is a zero sum game. It goes beyond not acknowledging that nearly 50% of the country does not agree with his policies. He’s tells that other half of the country that they are wrong headed, that they are, at best simpletons, at worse agents of evil. Purveyors of inequality and racism.

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I am sitting at the desk where I wrote The Graffito of Esmet. Not a very comfortable desk, but it is in a pleasant, sunny room and there is a window to my right (albeit looking across twenty feet of nondescript lawn at the side of the house my dentist uses for her office).

A couple days back we got about ten inches of snow. I true winter storm here in the first week of March. A very light, beautiful snow. It’s beauty, though, certainly didn’t make it any easier to clear.

The storm has been followed by a string of days sunny and much warmer than we are used to. The snow is melting quickly. Spring seems to be lurking around the corner. A good thing that.

Winter never used to bother me much. But it seems each year my tolerance for the dark and the cold gets less and less. There were a number of days when I left work, bundled up properly, not able to get warm. No, it was worse than that. The cold just seemed to knife through all the layers. I swear there were times I was close to tears I was so miserable. Now, granted, invariably these days were windy. I went out to shovel a couple days ago after the snow and the temperature outside was five degrees. But the air was still and the sun was shining. That felt positively wonderful.

Since the Super Bowl, I haven’t picked my camera up much and I really miss that. I’ve found having the creative outlet really does me good. I resolve to be out and about with my camera much more as the temperatures get warmer. Not only that, I resolve to break out my photography books and study my art (I’ll allow my self some pretentiousness today).

The Graffito of Esmet

November was National Write A Novel Month, so, I wrote a novel.

National Write A Novel Month, known as nanowrimo, after it’s website name (it’s easy to say and write after you’ve done it a few times) is an online project that encourages people to write a 50000 word novel annually during November. There are regular emails of encouragement, and a vast forum filled with advice, trials, tribulations and triumphs of other writers to get you to write and to keep you writing.

The content of your novel isn’t judged. The only thing that matters is getting to 50000 words by midnight, Dec 1. It’s simply an exercise to get people to write which, as anyone who has ever aspired to be a writer knows, is half the battle.

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I was going to write a post about how during the month of September saw me backsliding a bit as far as working out was concerned. Looking back on Garmin Connect, though, that would have been me being unfair to me. I looked back at my activity over the last few weeks and there’s nothing there to be ashamed of. Indeed, given some of the headwinds I was facing, I did quite well.

I realize now that the annual August malaise bled somewhat into September. The past month has been a particularly difficult time at work. Without getting too far into the weeds, there are two systems we had to upgrade which are vital to the company. Without these two databases, the company cannot do business. I was heading up this project and remembered when we did something similar a couple years back. Then, as now, I made myself sick with worry. There was no reason to think the upgrade would not proceed successfully. However, on the off chance that something went awry, the company could have been down for hours, of not a couple days.

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A Day in the Fatherland and the Mighty Lez Zeppelin

My buddy Eric and I are fans of Led Zeppelin. Thirty years ago, anytime their brilliantly flawed concert film The Song Remains The Same was screening at midnight, we’d be there. Didn’t matter how many times (hundreds? thousands?) we’d heard Kashmir or How Many More Times, at some point during an evening out, we’d have the Mighty Zeppelin cranked up high. Few have been the phone calls over a lifetime which haven’t had at least one mention of the band.

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Horned Gods and their monsters crowd the woods
Leering at meals making quick along the highway at 3:00 AM
They send pasty faced ghost men who have no eyes
To wander the shoulders, in and out of view
Beckoning travelers into the unforgiving fog
And hard and fiery deaths
Let the music be my master
Fog-washed face and blown out ears
Quickening home…

Of Nipples and Dead Cats

The air has turned cool this week and I very much welcome that. The first two weeks of September, with their warm, humid August hangover, have not been pleasant. My runs this week have been faster and longer. I’ve been relaxed and, though I’ve pushed myself, I haven’t felt that soul sucking desperation that accompanies runs on a warm day.

My workouts have not come without some problems, though. Namely nipple problems. A week and a half ago, on a Sunday, I ran seven miles on the towpath…my longest yet. Once again I was sweating up a storm. About have way through I started chaffing. By the time I had run six miles, my man-schmeebs were in agony. I was using one hand to hold my shirt away from my body.

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