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My Life (as I live it) In Retrospect
the universe and I
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20th-May-2016 02:06 am(no subject)
...Hello? Is this thing on?

Is anyone still out there?

I've fallen off of the digital world. I managed to build a small rocket that shot this short letter back up to it. Why am I writing this now? The stars aligned. That's why.

It's been about five years since my last post, way back when I was moving in with that one girl. What's happened since then? Here are a few things you might recognize or not believe:

- I married that one girl. We're still married. I said I was only gonna do it once, and I made the right choice. We have two dogs, two cats, and a soon-to-be teenage son who I swear has never told a lie in his life. Sometimes, you just get lucky. That boy has a bigger Lego collection than me and all my friends have ever had combined.

- I became a nurse. Yeah, I wouldn't have believed it either. Astrophysicists don't make squat, and since now I have a family to worry about, I decided to go where the money was. I work nights. It kicks my ass. And it's great. I don't recommend anyone else doing it - nursing school is MURDER. Hardest thing I ever did. I had a four month stint where the only day I didn't have school, clinicals, or work was Thanksgiving Day, and that's including weekends. I quit doing It work several years ago. Oh, and BTW, on my way out, I did tell that crush of mine how I felt. She just stood there, stunned. I left before I got any other reaction than that.

- I haven't been hiking since the last time Gretchen and I went. My gear is entombed in Rubbermaid tubs in our basement. I did finally make it to Florida, though. Twice. And no one died while I was gone. That is a big deal for me. My wife is not a camping kinda girl, unfortunately, but she gave me her blessing to hike or camp when I can. Now I just gotta do it...and I still gotta get to Australia someday. That one is a must-do for my bucket list.

- My brainiac niece got a full ride scholarship to the University of Michigan. Her poetry professor said that her portfolio was the best one she had ever seen, student or professional, and that was as a first semester freshman. I hope that kid publishes someday.

- My best friend and his wife had a son, and she was in her 40s. My wife and I have been using birth control ever since. He was named Michael, after my friend and mine's other friend who was hit by a car when we were teenagers. He's an adorable kid.

- My brother got married and had a son. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan now though, which means I barely get to see any of them. We still talk on the phone every once in a while, but my brother is my brother. I definitely sense the distance between us, and I wish it could be different somehow.

- My Uncle Paul, the one who helped me through my mom's death, passed away. We buried him on my 40th birthday. My aunt sang "Happy Birthday" to me over his casket and said it was from both him and my mom. I still laugh about that last part - it really brightened the whole situation.

- Remember Ashley, the girl I dated who broke up with me on the day that I was going to ask her to move in with me? I found out why. I found a tribute page to her ex, and I was a freaking clone of him. She dated me because I was so much like him. I'm glad that it ended for that reason, but I still hope she's okay. I still don't regret wanting to ask her to move in back then, though. Only girl I ever did that with other than my wife. Got awful close with one other one, though. But it was good to FINALLY have a reason.

- There are three nearby ice rinks, including one that Gordie Howe hangs out at. None of them have much in the way of adult hockey right now. I haven't played for seven years...can I still call myself a hockey player? Anyone who has any clue about the Toledo, Ohio hockey scene will be my best friend if they can help me find somewhere to play.

- COMPLETELY DIGGING that everyone can get married now. It's about f'n time. We didn't get married until that happened. Hoping that all this stuff gets mainstreamed sooner than later, although I think that's more of a pipe dream. But a human can hope. I also hope that people come to their senses and let the Trumpster go by the wayside. Look for the picture of Jackie Chan grabbing his head in frustration. That's the face I make every time I think about the fact that at least one person in the US actually believes he would make a good president.

I avoid FaceBook and Twitter like the plague - FaceBook because of their absolutely appalling privacy policies, and Twitter because...well, LJ was basically as far as I wanted to go in social media. I don't seem to have a lot of time or inclination for it anymore. I miss mein digital running crew, and I genuinely think about you guys often. Seriously, something will happen and I'll be like "Oh yeah, I remember one of my digital friends who did something like that!" If anyone wants to let me know how they're doing, especially if you've switched to some other site and I can't track you, e-mail me at my ancient address of "fragholio" at the dot com known as Yahoo. I rarely check it, but I will every so often, just for you. I'm not planning on bringin' this back, at least not right now. Hell, I didn't even know if my login still worked. But in life, sometimes the unexpected happens, and you just never know.

No mic drop. Just wanna wish everyone peace. And humptiness forever. Again. :)
27th-Nov-2010 10:07 am - The Rumors Of My Death...
...are true, at least in the Shakespearean sense.

I'm in the process of moving in with the girl that I've been dating since June, as in I'm taking a break from carrying boxes downstairs and I figure, why not post. I've been more or less living with her since about early August anyway. To punctuate how serious we are, we just got a joint checking account.

Anyway, I've spent almost zero time online because we're always busy. She has a seven year old son and they're like best friends, always doing stuff, and the next thing I knew I was right in there with them.

It's funny how much your life can change in such a short period. I even go to bed earlier. You all have known the $#!^ that I've been dealing with over the past few years, so a change like this is definitely a welcome one. I mean, I'm always a little cautious about such a sweeping change, but this one just feels like it's gonna go the distance. Sometimes you just have that feeling, and finally, after all this time, there it is. No, there's no talk of marriage or anything - she swears she's never getting married again, but you know how all that goes.

Once I get settled in and get my den going (yes, she actually suggested that I claim one room as my own personal space - how groovy is that?), I'm hoping to be back on and see my ether fiends a little more often than I have been lately.

Oh yeah...wanna know about her? Her name is Dorothy, and she's a psychologist. Yes, a full-on professional, and no, I never use her professional services, before anyone asks. :p Yes, she's aware of The Wizard Of Oz. She's Catholic but rather liberal - not as much as me, but she and I see eye to eye on lots of things, like human and individual rights. She's a little quieter than I am, has a seriously biting wit, and most importantly, she wants me around, but doesn't need me around. She has her own life, her own goals and wants and the like, and deals with her own $#!^, which are some of the most important things for me in a relationship - the knowledge that we can handle our own stuff and be our own people, but that we can back each other up if we need it. Oh, and I've known her for a decade, so this isn't some sudden thing. Well, not any more than it is, anyway.

Holy cripes, I've spent a long time writing this...gonna spare the editing and go for now. But I'll be back, soon. In the meantime, I've finally got some positive waves to spare, so I'm sending 'em out to you guys, mein digital running crew, in the hopes that things get even groovier for y'all, 'cause eventually, everyone's time is due.

Peace, and humptiness forever.
24th-Jun-2010 09:28 pm - I'm Back!!!!!!!!?!
Seriously, how long should it take to fix a DSL connection?!?

It takes TC3Net four weeks and change, apparently.

I would have switched providers, but the only two where I live that provide broadband are Comcast and TC3Net, and I'm in on a nicely reduced price with TC3Net until next year thanks to me turning them in to the Better Business Bureau for misleading advertising. So I had to stick it out until they finally got off their asses and fixed it. The one good (and obvious) thing is that they aren't going to charge me for this month. So yeah, I've been sans internet, and with work being non-stop, I haven't been able to do anything for about a month now.

If I was a regular computer geek, I would have gone nuts by now for lack of internet, but I have to admit, I didn't do too bad. It was kinda liberating, actually.

But hey kids, it's good to be back. I see that everyone's still kicking for the most part - Steph, now that I finally have that address you sent me, your über-late present's going out on Saturday. Cheers, sistah. Amber, call me back 'cause I was talking to someone I've been seeing and I couldn't just bolt. Get the tattoo so that you'll know not to get another one again. Yes, I'm kinda sorta back on the dating block. Bindy, I wish I knew your phone number 'cause I'd love to call you and hear your Crush story in excruciating detail. Kristi, well...I always seem to know what you're doing, thanks to your copious writing! I need to read it all, but that comes when I get more awake-time this weekend. Dierdre, seriously, I wanna hang out with you sometime soon and do a semi-random activity for no other reason than to hang out.

To everyone, if you're still alive, give me a shout via the method of your choice and say hi if you will. I obviously need to reconnect.

This week I'm going through Cisco CCNA certification Boot Camp, getting up at 5:30am, driving (well, riding) the hour-plus commute to Southfield, starting class at 8am, finishing at 7pm, riding home, in bed by 9:30pm and sleep by midnight, rinse repeat. No life, no breathing, missing Calc class's inportant knowledge and 20 points of quizzes. Ugh. Only one more day to go.

Sooner rather than later, peoples!
31st-May-2010 11:59 pm - Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants
I just finished watching Escape From Sobibor, which I haven't seen since I was in middle school. I can't stop crying, which I end up doing almost any time I'm reminded of the concentration camps of World War II. There aren't many things that I cry about anymore, but this is one of them.

Fucking racist, bigoted bastards. Did you know that even today, in many countries, homosexuality, transgenderism, or the profession of beliefs other than the state-approved ideology is punishable by death? You can't express your ideas and identity. You have to live a lie, wear a false and meaningless outer shell because someone might jail or kill you if you ever let slip who you really are. I don't know if I could live like that. At least, for now, I live in a country that again, for now, allows me to be who I am without major public repercussions.

My dad's family is constantly trying to convert me back to Christianity. I can't even be around them without them trying to do it, no matter how much I ask them not to. There is a girl I work with who is a wonderful person, and who I would love to date, but I can't because she's such a devout Christian that her beliefs don't allow room for a Buddhist boyfriend. I had an old friend disinvite me from his wedding because he became such a hardcore Christian that he actually hated me because of what I believed in, and it's taken years for him to even speak to me again. Compared to the people killed in the concentration camps, and to those who are living in fear of persecution or prosecution for their beliefs or identities, I've had it light.

Most of the people I know accept me for being a Buddhist, for me being who I am, without any fuss. But there are times when I'm reminded that I'm not in the mainstream, the majority, I'm not like "most people" - I'm something else. Most people assume that because I'm an American, I'm most likely a Christian. I dread "Do you believe in God?", "What church do you belong to?" or other questions like that for numerous reasons, all of them related the the reaction I often get to my answers. It sounds like I might be splitting hairs, but if it ever happened to you, you'd know what I was talking about. Some of you, unfortunately, already do.

This is why I want to be a part of changing people's minds about homosexuality and transgenderism. I don't think I can win my own fight right now, but if I can be any part of helping people realize that acceptance of others who differ from you or the mainstream is good for the entire human condition, I'll feel like I've contributed toward peace and enlightenment for everyone, whatever that may be.

In one of my earliest journal entries, I listed one of my favorite and most personal quotes as being from the movie Schindler's List, and although Oskar Schindler probably never actually said it, it reminds me that not doing anything means that it'll be that much longer before all people can enjoy the freedom to be themselves.
Here's the scene that it comes from. I cry every time I think about what it means. Be aware that the realities were much more horrifying than the movies can hope to portray.

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, where we remember those who've fought and died in wars. It's also for remembrance of those who were mistreated or murdered for who they were, especially as a result of those wars. We are where we are today because someone else decided to take that step before us to do something to help. Let's remember those who helped get us to where we are, and keep in mind how much farther we have yet to go. But most of all, let's make sure that those who come after us enjoy an even better world than we have.

Please, do your part to end intolerance and bigotry. Our universe is plenty big enough for all the ideas, viewpoints and lifestyles we could ever throw at it. If someone is being intolerant or insensitive of someone else, even inadvertently through "common" speech, ask them to stop and examine themselves and their actions. If you find yourself thinking less of someone because of who they are or what they believe in, take a moment and think about why you think or feel that way, and I'll wager that if you look hard enough, it won't make sense to think that way anymore. Maybe even one day, enough of the world will realize this that those countries who codify their intolerance will begin to allow their people to be who they really are in public, without fear of reprisal. Every little bit you can do to bring humanity to accept the wonderful diversity we have lets us find out more about our shared universe, because someone who feels safe, accepted and loved will find that they can do anything they want to do. They can achieve the ultimate raison d'etre - living a life of purpose and meaning.

In my mind, there is no higher goal.
8th-May-2010 10:29 pm - WBC Counter-Protest Report
Around 200 people showed up to counter-protest the Westboro Baptist Church for their protest on The Laramie Project. The church never showed up, but it was still a great time. Lots of singing, TONS of signs and shirts and everyone was super-cool. The rumor floating around was that the last time the WBC was going to show up in Michigan they bricked, and all of the special police escort that was provided ended up going to waste, so there's been a warrant issued for their arrest for reimbursement or something. It was all rather disorganized, but it's nice to see so many people still care enough to try and do something to discourage hateful idiots. I was surprised at how far some people had come to counter-protest - many states were represented. We must be doing something right. Still pretty bummed that they no-showed.

I have pictures but I need to find somewhere to store them 'cause I'm not cool enough to sign up for an actual site and don't wanna go to a Plus account on here. When I get somewhere though I'll edit this post and add 'em. I can't wait to show my GSA kids them. Oh yeah, I'm now officially one of three staff GSA leaders at work-school, and I'm digging it. It's so great to actually DO instead of just thinking about doing.

After the protest's scheduled end time of 8pm, people started trickling out, and Gretchen and I ended up leaving close to 8:30pm and went to Dennys for their freakin' awesome wheat pancakes. Another group was gonna meet us there but we didn't stick around long enough to hook up with them 'cause Gretchen has to be at work at 4am tomorrow, which made it a cheap night for me. So the breakdown for the day is:

Social/political/religious agenda tended to - check
Hung out with other fiends earlier in the day - check
Finished Mother's Day shopping for grandmothers/sister/best friend's wife - check
Pancakes for dinner - check
Chinese food for lunch - check
Got my calculus book back from Dan - nope

Five out of six ain't too bad; I'm calling it a win. Relaxation time starts NOW.

PS: I really, really hate that we even have to fight this fight. Equal rights for all seems pretty obvious to me, in a "duh" sort of way.
Have you ever seen the stories of those idiots from the Westboro Baptist Church who protest soldiers' funerals and the like with "God Hates Fags" posters? Have you ever heard an account of one of their farcical picketings and thought, "I wish they'd stop, and I'd really like to give their 'leader' Fred Phelps a slap upside the head a good, stern talking to?"

Well now you can, because they're coming to Ann Arbor on Saturday the 8th! Come one, come all, here's your chance to point, laugh and come up with your own witty counter-protest signs against their protest of the Laramie Project, the play based on the aftermath of the murder of Matthew Shepard. Let's show our support for LGBT people NOT being murdered by bigoted dumbasses and make fun of the WBC at the same time!

If you come out to counter-protest, see me there and mention my journal, I will personally buy you a drink or some ice cream afterword. (uh...first ten people or so please 'cause I'm not rich - but others are welcome to come along!) Bonus high five and group applause to the person with the grooviest counter-protest sign or shirt! (here are some good examples)

Where: outside the Arthur Murfin Theatre - 1226 Murfin, up on U of M North Campus
When: Saturday, 8 May 2010 starting at 6pm (the WBC protest is from 7:15pm to 8pm)
Who: You, the WBC and tons of friendly and lifestyle-tolerant people
How Much: Free to counter-protest (plus the price of your home-made sign), $18 to see the play

Questions? Leave me a comment and I'll either respond to that comment or in another way if you prefer (please specify in the comment). Rides and signmaking scholarships available upon request.
2nd-May-2010 08:09 pm - Hey, look! A quiz!
Stolen from giddykiwi's LJ fiend mudflapgirl72:

Your Love is Green

When you love someone, it's a very rational process. You love with your head first.

Love is all about fitting a person into your life. You can't love unless the situation is just right.

You are an ideal partner in romantic relationships. You try to be as caring, loyal, and forgiving as possible.

You take love seriously, and you don't give up on a commitment. You don't need a ring to stay with someone through thick and thin.

Y'know, I've pretty much accepted that my relationships have to pass some "does this person fit into my life" test...I think maybe I'm afraid of falling in love with someone who might screw up my master life plan (insert evil cackle here) or won't be able to carry their own weight, which has been a major reason several past relationships have failed. Ashley came pretty close to that, and I fell in love anyway.

I really need to get my $#!^ together and get out dating again; I think that might help me take that last step to get over her, as well as do some good for my recent frazzledness. Not that school-school final exams, the impending end of the work-school year or the overwhelming desire to go backpacking have anything at all to do with it. :p

PS to devon: I'm sorry I couldn't make your move - this was a double-birthday weekend for me and tonight I'm stuck catching up on all the things I should have done during them. I was thinking it would have been good exercise (not that I didn't end up getting some anyway). I hope you got everything moved okay, though.
I'm in the middle of Finals Week, which unofficially started last Wednesday, when I apparently bombed my third Physics exam. After a mental calculation, my professor said that I'm right on the edge of pass-fail. So I spent all weekend doing some extra-credit assignments that even he'd forgotten about, namely 1-lighting a fluorescent light tube using the current of an overhead power line, 2-building a Van De Graaff generator (that dome thing that makes people's hair stand on end when they grab it) and 3-bringing in a toaster and some Pop-Tarts and Toaster Strudel for a lesson on actual power usage compared to calculated power usage. Oh, and coming up with an equation explaining Lenz's Law in action. So I stressed all weekend. When I get stressed I get handsy, and seeing as how I'm sans significant other right now, I got to work on those projects.

I turned them in, and we had fun zapping stuff with my VDG generator made from PVC, a soft drink can ('cause my Heineken keg can I originally had on it wouldn't fly in a university classroom environment) a hobby motor and a cut up balloon. Oh, and eating Pop tarts and laughing at video of Gretchen and I walking around in a farmer's field in the dark. All that only to find out that I did in fact pass the class. So even though I still have three exams for my basic Biology class, I can breeze through those, and my stress level has gone from around "Tweek" level to just above "Bob Marley". As long as I don't completely bomb all three of my Bio exams, I'll have ninety credits, which is enough to begin substitute teaching and adding more to my resume.

I'm still taking the optional Physics final on Wednesday to try and boost my grade, but...


(at least for a week, then Calc-III begins...)
Friday, April 16 is the American National Day of Silence, to bring attention to bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) school students. As an Ally and member of the Gay-Straight Alliance and a proud supporter of GLAAD, I wanted to let my digital running crew know just in case you notice someone who's being unusually silent, or especially if you want to jump in and show your support.

NO ONE should ever have to endure ridicule, discrimination, threats or even assault (scarily enough it does happen) simply because of who they are or how they choose to live their life, how they decide to explore this huge world of ours in their own unique way.

So if anyone calls me tomorrow you're gonna get nothing but voicemail, but I promise I'll respond somehow (probably e-mail). But if you see me I'll have a big sign around my neck saying why. And I won't cheat by using sign language. :)
10th-Apr-2010 11:37 pm - Meme This
Haven't written in a while, and devon had a nice meme, so allow me to spread the inflection:

SIX NAMES I GO BY (or did in the past):
Mikey, Uncle Mikey, Duane, Nick, That Guy What Sits Behind The Drumset, Pull Toy

NordicTrac hiking t-shirt, black fleece pullover, comfortable jeans with just a little bit of wear

To be out backpacking, my bachelor's degree, a new girlfriend who's at least semi-sane and semi-mature

Neil Peart, wrestlegirl (even though she never would), anyone else who reads this

Ate Chinese food with Gretchen, worked on extra credit for my Physics class, sorted through my backpacking gear

super_bunnyz_01, mein fiend George, mein other fiend Gretchen

Go to study group for my exam on Monday, yell at the sky for raining when I want to do a warm-up hike, piracy

Strawberry shake (the real kind), Guiness (even though I can't drink it anymore), cool clean water

Mein other other fiend Chris' kids, the Venture Bros. episode "The Lepidopterists", an impossible pool shot that went in


EDIT: wrestlegirl went against type and deigned to do the meme. I'm honored. Just when you think you have a handle on how the world works, something happens that shows you that you actually know nothing. ;) I've so gotta meet you someday, sistah.

On a related note to everyone else, I like to think that I'm a good writer (and people, what I put here is not what I consider to be my real writing...although I should sling an example on here someday). There are very, very few people I've known who make me feel like a grade schooler with my writing when I read theirs, and wrestlegirl is one of them. Writers don't often write with the idea of deliberately crafting something captivating - the best simply put what's in their heads and hearts and part of that pathos inadvertently melds with the words, turning them into a powerful sliver of their life, a little living facet of who the person behind the pen is. If nothing else, it gives me something to shoot for.
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