Last night was epic. I won’t recount the whole evening for the sake of those with angelic impressions of my behavior, but I will detail a number of things I can now check off on my lifetime to-do list.
48. Ride in the trunk of a car because, with 11 people in the portion typically used for seating, there’s just no way your ass is making it home otherwise.
91. Have a blacklight dorm room highlighter party and scribble obscene bathroom-stall-esque pictures all over some of your favorite friends.
183. Actually watch someone eat the agave worm from the bottom of the tequila bottle. Hallucinations may have followed, I’m not sure, but homeboy didn’t look like he was feeling so well.
In other news, I got cast yesterday in a production of Bernstein’s Candide. I’m beyond thrilled, as it’s been a long time since I did any kind of classical singing. So, even if it’s not your kind of music, you guys have to listen to this absolutely gorgeous aria, Candide’s Lament. The tenor is William Burden, arguably America’s best tenor at the moment. There’s so much emotional presence in his voice, made even easier by Bernstein’s soaring melody. It gives me goosebumps and is now firmly placed in my audition repertoire.
Workout Accountability Report (for yesterday):
Weights: Inner and outer thighs, calves (2 sets of 15 calf raises at 130 pounds. Ouchies this morning.), and quads with the leg press.
30 minutes on the elliptical.
Plan for today is a 5-mile run, crunches, and then some evening yoga. Need to find some exercises to target my hamstrings. Thoughts?
Hello from Friday! I got to meet my new statistics kiddies today and they seem to be a good group. I finally have a non-traditional student in my class! I think it’s absolutely wonderful when people go back to school mid-career, etc., and I’m excited about getting to know her and learn from her experiences. Have any of you had non-trads in any of your classes? If so, how did you interact with them and what did you learn?
And today was super awesome because I got to have dinner with some of the wonderful kids from last semester’s show. I’ve never seen a cast that cohesive during a production, and it thrills me that the connections are still strong. I’m so proud of the family I was able to build in just a few months.
Workout Accountability Report:
Ran a 5k this evening after dinner; felt not very easy for the first mile or so, probably because I haven’t had any slow carbs today.
For all of you who have iPhones, if you’re at all interested you should check out the CrunchFu app, a training plan for, surprise, crunches! Today I did a total of 84 split over 5 sets.
Lifting: chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders. I’m hoping that at least keeping track of what muscle groups I work on will help me get on a more regular schedule, with ample time for rest of course.
I know, that title made you all spin your heads almost off your shoulders because you couldn’t turn back to the computer fast enough. Me, the boy who pretty much just drifts through every day following whims and chance opportunities, is mustering what initiative he possesses to start making some firm decisions. But, y’know, it’s time. College is supposed to be about figuring out who you are and whatnot, and I think I’ve come nearly to the end of what needs to be discovered here. I know what I want for myself, and I know what that takes. The part I haven’t figured out yet is the concrete middle stage, the planning and training and accomplishing.
What got me thinking about all of this is my gym “routine,” if it can even be called that in air quotes. There really isn’t one. I try to run a 5k every day, but some days I run more, some days I’ll swap a mile for some time on the elliptical machine (which I know is a cop out because those things are so easy)…there’s no rhyme or reason to it. There’s no sense of training toward a goal of faster or farther. I haven’t been on a long run since the 10 miles I did back home over break. And weightlifting is the same way. I’ll think “oh, well, my arms aren’t sore today, so it must be time to use them again,” but there’s no progression. I’m flailing around and only getting more frustrated at the fact that I’m not getting what I want. Same goes for nutrition, and keeping my apartment tidy, and getting my work done for an amazing job that I should be happy to have.
So I think I’m going to start using this blog a little more in a different way — to hold myself accountable for reaching the goals I’ve set for myself. I’ve learned the tools, I’ve gained enough perspective to realize where I want to go and who I want to be, and starting right now I’m setting my plans in motion.
See! Decisive! It feels strangely good to act like I’m in charge of my own life!
PS, lots of inspiration came from reading the blog of a Cornell alum whom I love dearly. We performed in the same musical theatre troupe before she graduated. She lives in California now and is a graduate student in neuroscience. She’s amazingly talented and amazingly driven and amazingly amazing, and you should all start reading her blog if you’re the kind of person who would just randomly start reading the blog of an amazingly amazing person.
A chilly hello from Ithaca, NY, or, frozen hell! The semester has started for me (if one can call only three classes a semester), so my blogging has been even more infrequent than before. I’m working on that. But today I wanted to ask you guys a Constitutional law question: how do you feel about the burning of the American flag? I’m (re)reading Texas v. Johnson, the 1989 Supreme Court case, and I’m kind of shocked at how viscerally people reacted to seeing Johnson burn an American flag. Maybe I’m just supremely unpatriotic (I mean, I have the right to be since I’m treated as a lesser being in my own country), but does it really make your blood boil to see a flag being burned? Ultimately the Court ruled that Johnson’s expressive conduct rose to the level of speech, and that no legitimate governmental interest weighed heavily enough to abridge his First Amendment right, a decision with which I agree, but it strikes me as ridiculous that Texas would even pass a law against flag burning in the first place. So, what are your thoughts?
I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. I think it has something to do with this being the first year that I’ve felt I’m fully in control of where I end up and what I become. Which is a good thing, I suppose, but also a rather daunting responsibility. BUT, it’s a New Year and, while I don’t necessarily want a new me, there are some things I’d like to see happen in 2010.
1. Run two half-marathons. I’m currently mulling over doing one on January 16th, even though my plan was for one in early spring and one in late fall. I’ve been pushing my mileage lately and think at this point I could run 10 or so miles pretty comfortably. Regardless, I’ll get two under my belt this year, and am still pushing for my first marathon in spring 2011.
2. Be better at keeping in touch with friends. It’s so easy to lose track of people when I stretch myself as thinly as I do, but I really must do a better job of this. I think having lots of new bloggy friends is helping in that department, even if our interactions are not yet very deep.
3. Write more poetry. I think this will be achieved in the poetry class I’m taking this coming semester, but regardless, I need to focus more energy on being creative in outlets other than theatre, which, though I love it, is getting rather exhausting as I enter my third (and final) semester of leadership in the company.
4. Wait tables again. I know a lot of people dread navigating angry diners, but I rather enjoyed my stint as a Coke refill bitch and would like to return to my former state of obesity enablement. Not to mention that I made a killing in tips from winking at the obviously gay guys.
5. Knit a hat, a tie, and a sweater. I picked up knitting for about a week six months ago, but then promptly had all my free time sucked away by the show I was directing. Since I got promoted to a job that doesn’t require me to be at rehearsal every night, I picked up my needles again on Dec. 27th, and am getting really excited at the progress I’m making. Progress that I’d like to see continue throughout the new year.
6. Be content. This is a transformation that I’ve noticed in myself recently and, although it’s very unlike me, I think I like where it’s going. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life forcing things into being what I want them to be. Organizations, relationships, family ties, career choices; everything has been a game of pushing and molding and shaping. But what I’ve learned is that things that are unnaturally shaped don’t last very long. If you push a relationship to be something it isn’t supposed to be, someone is going to get hurt. (Thanks MamaMush for helping me develop my thoughts on these kinds of things.) So, as difficult as it is for me, I’m letting things progress naturally, not broadcasting my feelings to the entire world, and just being happy. It’s highly uncharacteristic as I generally don’t mind delving into emotional matters, even very soon after feelings develop, but I think it’s a good thing to be a little more subdued, a little more contemplative until things build themselves up the way they will (or won’t, but it’s natural). So, yes to sitting back and letting things happen.
We’ll check back for a 2010 retrospective this time next year, assuming I’m not on one of my oh-so-frequent unintentional blogging hiatuses (hiati?).
Blah blah blah and auld lang syne, everyone!
There are days when I’m really excited about the future of the gay rights movement, like when the Iowa Supreme Court bravely stood up for equal protection under the law and made marriage legal for us ‘mos. And then there are days when something happens that’s so debilitatingly depressing that I wonder what I even care for. A few days ago I had one of those moments.
My younger brother is a sophomore in high school in the simultaneously rich and trashy city of Asheville, North Carolina. Since he lives with my mom and stepdad (currently deployed to Iraq), I don’t see him that often anymore, and he’s really grown up to be quite different than the little brother I was raised with. He skateboards, loves Bob Marley, shaves his head super-close, and basically possesses every attribute known to man that would make him my complete opposite. Not that I love him any less, it’s just hard to find things in common when the lil guy I used to know has been so adversely affected by his surroundings and the brainwashing of his father. (That’s a whole ‘nother post. The man once told me that “the Anti-Christ will be someone just like me.”)
Well, the other day he Facebook friended me. I thought nothing bad of it, clearly, and added him. Exchanged a few comments on pictures, etc. It was actually really nice, feeling like I had some sort of window into what was going on in his life, especially since my mom and I haven’t talked for a few months. Yeah, there were some things that gave me cause for concern, but it’s not my job to police his profile, and I said stupid stuff when I was younger too. But then up came a status update calling someone who didn’t show up for a fight afterschool a pussy and a faggot. Now, any of you readers who know me will instantly understand how my thoroughly nonviolent self reacted to the proposition that my brother had become just another street thug in baggy clothes looking for a fight after school, but that’s clearly not what upset me the most.
If we’ve built a culture that is so accepting of discrimination and hateful language against gays that our own families use those words without a moment’s thought about the consequences or messages they’re sending, how are we ever going to achieve equal rights? If it’s so ingrained in our culture that degrading gays, lesbians, and transgendered people is acceptable, and even cool, where does that leave the movement? Yes, I realize that the words and actions of schoolyard bullies may not reflect their true feelings, but haven’t we as a society failed in a fundamental way if it’s still okay to use these words?
And so, just days after New York State Senator Ruben Diaz lambasted the gay marriage movement as threatening traditional moral values, I’m fighting my own personal battle. Not with a state legislature, or with a panel of judges, or with the National Organization for Marriage, but with a 16-year old boy so caught up in the swirling social forces of high school that he’s blinded to how his language affects even his closest relatives.
Where do we even begin?
Things that annoy me today:
1. Getting a box of chocolate from a student (how unnecessarily sweet!) that did not include a map. How am I supposed to navigate this box of chocolate for maximum deliciousness without a guide? How will I make sure to avoid the culinary land mine that is the raspberry cream wrapped in dark chocolate? Hey, not even Sir Edmund Hillary went up Mount Everest without a native Sherpa guide, that Tensing Norgay fellow. (Who must have been asexual, as he was neither straight NORGAY! HA!)
2. I thought I could come up with a second thing, but really I’m so overwhelmingly annoyed by the first that I can’t. So. There you go.
A) I’ll bet you all the money you’ve saved from your recession-depressed job building mobile homes for your hundreds of incestuous cousins with rat-tails that I’ve grabbed more tits in the past year than you have in your lifetime. Why else do you think homos would befriend so many women?
B) We drink beer too, you idiot. (Except not this one.) In fact, since we are more educated and have better jobs because we aren’t content with being morons and living in Momma’s basement our whole lives getting fat off of biscuits and gravy, we get to drink the good expensive stuff.
MARTINIS AND COCKS, MY LIFE FUCKIN’ ROCKS!
I just wanted to pass along this video on the day when the Matthew Shepard Act was finally signed into law after a decade of legislative struggle. Phillip Spooner is a highly-decorated veteran of World War II, and his thoughts on marriage equality for gays and lesbians brought tears to my eyes. I hope you’ll take a moment to listen to his remarks and pass them on to those you can influence. We made a great deal of progress today with the stroke of President Obama’s pen, but we have a long way to go before we achieve true equality under the law.
Today is a victory for Matthew Shepard, who was brutally beaten and tortured, tied to a fence, and abandoned for 18 hours outside of Laramie, Wyoming — the sole reason being that he was gay.
Today is a victory for Angie Zapata, a transgendered woman in Greeley, Colorado who was murdered in July of 2008 for simply expressing who she was.
Today is a victory for Howard Efland, beaten to death by Los Angeles Police Department in March of 1970 after checking in to a hotel known for patronage by gay and lesbian clients.
Today is a victory for James Zappalorti, a gay Vietnam veteran who was stabbed to death in 1990. Our nation demanded the sacrifice of James serving in war, but could not treat him with dignity and respect upon his return home simply because of who he loved.
Today is a victory for Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11 year old boy from Springfield, Massachusetts who hanged himself with an extension cord to escape the bullying of classmates who ridiculed him for acting feminine.
The list is seemingly endless. In order for this violence to stop, we have to develop social institutions that reinforce the equality of all people. If our government is sending the message that discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgendered people is acceptable, how can we expect our neighbors to treat us with respect? Write to your legislators and friends about the need for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the reversal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the need for comprehensive employment discrimination protection, and the need for comprehensive federal benefits for gay and lesbian couples. If we don’t hold our officials — and each other — accountable, we can’t expect change.