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December 30, 2009

2009 in Review...

This year has been one of those closely resembling that of a roller-coaster stuck in "Groundhog Day" mode. In early January I met a man that completes me.  He is truly the ying to my yang and makes me happy in every possible way. He made the journey (through the trials and tribulations of the past four years) worth while and continues to, every day...

In late January we lost a fantastic human being, mother, sister, daughter, spouse and friend in Diana Rimington.  Breast cancer may have taken her life, but not her spirit.  It is alive and well in every person that knew her, and burns brightly in her three children...

April brought a new chapter in "My New Life".  Michael requested a transfer from Richmond to Chesapeake to be closer to me.  We found an awesome old home in Portsmouth and moved in together... I would marry this man if it were legal!

In June we traveled up to DC to see my niece Jessica graduate from Georgetown University and spend some very brief time with my brother and his wife.

In July we flew down to Florida (Michael, his son Alex, and I) to vacation and to visit family...  It was way too short but we did get to see my Mom and my two oldest sons, and also revisited Key West, a place Michael has never been...

October brought the National Equality March to Washington DC and us with it.  We stayed with my niece, who joined us in the march and also invited us to several other events spurred from the occasion...

The rest of the year is more of a blur than anything else...  We both work in retail management, our schedules meshed occasionally but not often.  We had a very nice Christmas, although we spent most of the day in the car.  Richmond to his mom's for dinner, then up to Charlottesville to exchange gifts with his son, and finally back home to Portsmouth... December also brought news that not only am I to be a grandparent (for the first time) in 2010, but my #2 son is getting married...

To all my family and friends (blogging and real-time), I hope your 2009 was as filled with joy as mine has been, and wish you all happiness and prosperity in 2010!  For those of you still struggling with your own lives, I wish you all the power to pursue that which you know in your heart is RIGHT and HONEST...

Over and most TOTALLY "Out" from a very good part of "My New Life" here in Portsmouth, VA.

ps: Breaking news...  It's a BOY!

December 21, 2009

Angels in America, Merry Christmas 2009

I saw this a few years ago...  Actually when I was still living in Richmond with my wife and children.  While it did not help me identify myself (I already knew)... It helped me come to terms with what I needed to do to be true to myself and those around me...  Five or so years ago...  I am so glad that I watched the mini-series on HBO and encourage anyone that needs to understand me more, to watch it, buy it, or rent it!



Merry Christmas, Over and "Out",  from MY America, here in Portsmouth, VA

Oh and just a ps here...  Mike Nichols, the movie's director, is Dianne Sawyer's husband...  Took some balls to put this together! 

December 12, 2009

My Holiday Theme...

You know how sometimes there is just one song that wraps up an entire feeling? That one melody or tune that just says it all? While I have always enjoyed the movies that come out at this time of year, When Home Alone 2 came out, this song (by John Williams) became my personal Holiday theme:



Enjoy the scenes (from Quebec) and the music...

Over and "Out" from my winter wonderland, in Portsmouth, VA

November 30, 2009

Antivirus System PRO (remove)






What a pain...  Michael's laptop got a trojan and it was obnoxious. It prevented him from doing anything. If anyone has been infected with the Antivirus System PRO virus, here are the steps I used to manually remove it after a great deal of research:

Turn the computer on. Just as the desktop screen came up, but before any of the application shortcuts were showing, I pressed the Control-Alt-Delete keys. I did this 2 or 3 times as Michael's XP Laptop will take awhile to populate. I wanted to be sure that the Task Manager would be among the first things to load up.

A windows security screen appeared and I very quickly clicked on the Task Manager Button (bottom center). When the task manager appeared I quickly clicked on the Processes tab. I then looked closely at the TSR’s that were loading up. From my research I knew I was looking for a program with the word “sysguard” incorporated into the file name. Sure enough a program called “ndyvsysgaurd.exe” started to load up (the first 4 letters of this file are different with each infection, so you can't file search). I clicked on the file highlighting it. I then clicked on the “End Process” on the lower right side. I then clicked the “End process” button on task manager “Do you want to end this process?” warning message.

The offending program vanished! But I have heard that in some cases it will load up again, if it does, immediately end that process in the same way as described above. Either this program is suppose to load up if closed (doubtful), the program is programmed in such a way that it will load two copies of itself or this other person had been infected twice.

After about a five minute wait it was obvious that the program would not reload. So I tested this by clicking on a few of my shortcuts. These now worked and the associated applications loaded flawlessly. So by opening up the task manager before the Antivirus System Pro program could load, I was able to close it out before it had a chance to disable the task manager and other applications.

The next thing I did was to list a couple of sites in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer that are associated with this Antivirus System Pro scam ware. Sites like antivirsystem.com, inetavirus.com, antiviraprof2009.microsoft.com and antiviraprof2009.com. There are probably more of these.

After opening Internet Explorer I clicked on the “Tools” tab, “Internet Options” from the drop the drop down, “Security” tab and then the “Restricted Sites” icon. From there I clicked on the “Sites” button, typed the offending site addresses in the upper text box and then clicked the “Add” button to get them into the bottom listing.

So the next thing done was to find the program “ndyvsysgaurd.exe” so it could be deleted. I tried doing this by using Windows “Search” in the Start Menu. In the “Advance” menu I made sure the search would also look at all hidden files and during this whole computer scan. Search was unable to find it or any of the other files associated with Antivirus System Pro (iehelper.dll, uninstall.exe, conf.cfg, quarentine.vdb, queue.vdb, mbase.vdb, etc.). I was disappointed but went on to the next step in eliminating this problem.

And that was to delete any registry entries dealing with the Antivirus System Pro Trojan. This is where my research in this really paid off. I went to several different sites and put the information I got into one document. Each site offered up basically the same information but with some variation. One site would have about 10 registry listings to look at while another had about 8 and another perhaps 6 and so on. Most of these entries matched or were the same. However, there a few that differences that helped me enormously. Apparently trojan is capable of changing it’s location and change it’s name as it spreads.

I clicked on the start menu, clicked on the “Run” icon, typed in “regedit” (without the quotes) and clicked the “OK” button. The Registry Editor appeared. I would then go through the registry entries in the left pane by clicking on the tree structures as dictated from the information I found. When at the end of each structure the right hand pane would show the registry item. If I found one that related to the Antivirus System Pro Trojan in the right pane, I would click on that entry to highlight the entry, right click and then click on the entry and then click “Delete” on the drop down menu. The following is where I found entries:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

In the right pane was an entry called “vpcomopd”. I knew this was an offending entry because it had a file path with ndyvsysguard.exe at the end. The path was C:\Documents and Settings\owner\Local Settings\Application Data\uwvsaw\ndyvsysguard.exe. I now knew where this program was and immediately deleted it from the hard drive. I also deleted the registry entry.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

The right pane showed “vpcomopd” which I then deleted.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Search Assistant\ACUMRU\5603

There I found entries for all the other offending files associated with this scam. These included iehelper.dll, uninstall.exe, conf.cfg, quarentine.vdb, queue.vdb, mbase.vdb and so on. I proceeded to delete the entries.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Search Assistant\ACUMRU\5604

This only had a few of the scam files in it. They were deleted. One of the entries had the word “radiance” in it. I can only assume that it was another incarnation of this scam and deleted it also.

Well after about 4 hours I finished and went on to restart the computer a few times to make sure everything was okay. Everything worked as it should and I did not get any of those annoying popups. The only problem left was getting the IE browser to connect to the internet. The browser, through the tools menu, was able to find the connection itself.

So Michael has his computer back. But I am still angry that I would even have to deal with this at all. From what I have read many people feel the same way. Some express their desire to see or do unpleasant things to those who perpetuate these and other scams. I understand their frustration.

These Scum sucking bottom feeders are making lots of money with their scam. But I suspect even more money is stolen in the form of lost wages, time and expense when people and businesses endevor to flush this pest from their computers. So it really would be nice to see these people pay. Very long prison terms would be nice. Confiscation of their ill gotten gains would also be nice. Think we will ever see it?

3:50pm update: You may have to restore your IE initial defaults in order to access the internet...

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

November 23, 2009

Christmas is Coming....

Just a little filler to keep the dates current...


Enjoy the beginning of the holiday season, Over and "Out" from my little world here in Portsmouth, VA

November 20, 2009

My Newest Crush...

If you have never listened to One Republic before, you are in for a treat...  If you have, enjoy again.


Over and Absently "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

November 6, 2009

TUESDAY'S SHAME...

Sadly, history repeated itself. This time (on Tuesday) in Maine.

One year ago, in light of the equality defeat in California, members of "The Marrying Kind", and thousands of their friends and family members all over the US, committed to talking to their loved ones about marriage equality over the course of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Today, in response to the defeat of equality in Maine, I suggest you repeat the conversation (suggested by them), and invite even more friends to join you, and your open-minded thoughts, this Thanksgiving.

Hearts and minds are changed through honest, heartfelt discussion. Let's start in our own homes. Clearly, based on the numbers, voters with gay family and friends, voted against us and them at the polls in California (last year) and Maine on Tuesday. It's can't be possible that all the rest of those people, voting to strip rights away from us, have no gay friends. They voted against people they know and/or love. How did that happen?

Let's talk about this, and our feelings about equality with our friends and our own families now.

Let's give thanks together, and let's hope for a day when we are all equal, period.
 
Over and "Out" from my neck of the woods, here in Portsmouth, VA

October 26, 2009

Flattered...

Geoff, over at Life and Times of a Gay Guy featured my little piece of the web on his podcast this week...  Thank you Geoff, as most of us know it's not all about recoginition, but it is always nice to be acknowledged...  I have been doing the "blogging" thing since 2006, and while the words I post are mostly for my own gratification, I am always happy to hear that they touch a chord with someone that is about to go through what I have experienced (or something closely related)...  I have truly experienced some wicked ups and downs over the years (of exposing my thoughts and feelings in here)..  But I have never regretted a single word typed, or implied...  I am, who I am, and always consider the the implications before I post... 

For those that follow me, that have never listened to a podcast, I highly recommend Geoff's at the link above. If nothing else, you will experience the sexiest voice I have heard in years!  Go there, and Do that!!

Regards and "OUT" from the laundryroom here in Portsmouth, VA

October 24, 2009

DC Was not like this...

Most people know how I feel about this song by Lilly Allen... A friend on Bookface sent me this and I just had to share another video (with the same song)... There's another with Bush (yes GW Bush) that I still may post at another date... But for now, enjoy (you can turn the captions off, if they show in the video, by clicking the button on the bottom right)...



Over and Oh...   Sooo....  Out... from Portsmouth, VA

October 20, 2009

Matt Alber "End of the World"

Ok, enough with the political entries...  The March in DC was fantabulous, and so was the time I (we) got to spend with Jessica and Frank...

I saw this video probably about a year ago and thought I had posted it here at some time, but appearantly I did not.  Enjoy:



Over and "Out" from our sun drenched front porch, here in Portsmouth, VA

October 15, 2009

One More Reason...

In the middle of this musical montage there is a another picture of the rainbow that appeared:



Over and "Out" and off to work, from Portsmouth, VA

October 13, 2009

More on the National Equality March

This was one of the most moving speeches/performances of the entire program at the steps of the Capital:



Staceyann Chin is a spoken word poet performing artist and political activist. She wrote a poem about equality and the need to march for our rights in D.C. The video was produced and directed by Jeremy Kotin.

She had the crowd pumped...

Some more pictures:



Michael and I at the reflecting pool in front of the capital looking back on the mall.



This was the core gang (L-R) Me, Frank, Michael, and my niece Jessica. We had to stop as we passed the White House for a photo-op... Here is a link to all of Frank's pics on Facebook (you will need a Facebook account to sign on).

Thanks again Jess, for putting up with the three of us in your limited space, YOU ROCK!

No doubt I will have more to say about our trip and experiences as time and energy permits, but that's all for today!

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

October 12, 2009

National Equality March

The weekend was FANTASTIC!  Michael, Frank (a mutual friend) and I headed out and up to DC on Saturday morning, arriving at Jessica's (my niece) at a little after 1:00pm.  We got our stuff into her apartment, met a friend of her's, then set out for Dupont Circle (She and her friend had plans for the afternoon).  She lives on Scott Circle, about 2 blocks from HRC Headquarters, so we hit the HRC gift store for some equality trinkets before heading to Dupont...

As the afternoon and evening progressed we all soaked in the crowds (and possibly a liitle too much alcohol). There is a story or two there that I may (or may not) post in here one day....

Sunday morning came way too early.  Jess has a huge group of friends in DC and one was hosting a brunch and protest poster making party before the march.  This is Jess and I with one of the creations:




My eyes were still a little sensative from the late night we had Saturday...  After the posters were completed we headed to the Metro for the ride up to the starting point for the march.  It was awesome, there were thousands of people from all walks of life with all sorts of related causes to protest and march for.  Right before we started to actually move (it took about a half hour for our part of the march to actually start moving as we were about 1/2 way back), Michael looked up over the trees and saw this shining down on the park we were staging in:




A Rainbow, in the middle of a relatively clear sky showed up over us.  How frigging cool is that? Everyone started pointing up at it, like it was truly a sign of sorts...  The march was about 2 miles I would guess, and this is what the front of the capital looked like by the time we arrived:



Behind us is a reflecting pool and then the mall.  The marchers filled in all the empty space you see above and then started flowing out onto the mall.  Rainbow and Equality flags were everywhere, not to mention the thousands of signs and posters...

I work today til close, but will try to post more pictures later.  Frank took hundreds and has promised to forward them to me...

Over and "Out" from back in Portsmouth.

October 2, 2009

Facebook and Farm Town

Ok, now I know what people mean when they say Facebook is addictive.  Michael and I have both been connecting and reconnecting with all sorts of friends over there.  As a result I have been here on the blog a little less often.

I still get over here to read my favorites, but seem to have less to actually post about.

And then there's Farm Town...  Michael is totally addicted.  I started up a farm just so he could get to the next level (he needed just one more neighbor at the time).  Now I catch him plowing and planting my fields, buying me more land, a house, barn and more animals than any farm should have...  He was on the front porch the other night with both laptops switching from one to the other...  It's actually quite entertaining to watch him...

Speaking of entertaining, a friend (Frank) on Facebook sent us both this video. I nearly fell out of my chair watching it:



Over and "Out", one week away from the National Equality March, October 10th and 11th (in DC), from my little world here in Portsmouth, VA

September 24, 2009

On a Lighter Note...

A friend on Facebook sent me this, and I have been giggling since watching it:



Over and "Out" from beautiful downtown Portsmouth, VA

September 23, 2009

National Equality March

In case some don't know what it's all about!



Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

September 22, 2009

Another Reason to be in DC on 10/11

Michael and I will be there, and it's not just a result of idiots like these, watch the whole thing before you decide where and who you stand with:



Come join us on October 11, 2009 for the "real" march on Washington!

Over and "Out" from my political soapbox, in Portsmouth, VA

September 2, 2009

Chillin' in the other "P-town"

I am off again today... I so need the time away from work right now. It may not show always but I actually do like my job. I get to be creative, I get to analyze and plan, I get to work with alot of awesome people, and I get to be myself.

While my company doesn't recognize same-sex unions of any kind. They do not discriminate based on sexual orientation (or so it says in the employee handbook). We do not yet operate in any state that recognizes "gay marriages" so who knows, things may change eventually. It is (the company and the family that owns us) based in Columbus, OH, which is one of the more gay friendly places I have been in the mid-west. Between the companies they own (American Signature Furniture, Value City Furniture, DSW, Filenes Basement, American Eagle Outfitters, and more) I am sure that there are plenty of GLBT people in their employ and not unlike Disney, some things will change with time.

Some may ask why I referred to the "other P-town" in the title to this post. Portsmouth, VA was first settled around 1752 and incorporated by the Virginia General Assembly in 1858. While Provincetown, MA was first permanently settled between 1675 and 1680 and incorporated in 1727. I'm not sure who was referred to as "P-town" first, but since Provincetown is technically older, I will concede.

While Provincetown has made a mark for itself, over the years, as a gay-friendly town. Portsmouth is still working on that. I guess, being part of the Commonwealth of Virginia doesn't help, although I have to say, there are some very progressive things happening down this way (we are about 2 hours/115 miles from the capitol of Richmond). The Equality March on Washington, in October, is being very visibly promoted, and they have already arranged to bus anyone to DC, for like $35 round trip. Michael and I are still trying to arrange the time off, but I think we will use the weekend as a get-a-way too.

Enough rambling for now, hope my history lesson wasn't too dry. Over and "Out" from the other P-town.

August 27, 2009

We Are Just Like Them - REALLY?

I ran across this on a new website here in my neck of the woods... I am happy to call Don a friend and appreciate his articulation:

By Don Davis


The gold equal sign on a bright blue background is an amazingly wonderful branding for the Human Rights Campaign (our largest membership national l/g/b/t/a organization). When I drive through neighborhoods and see that equal sign on the bumpers of parked cars or flying as flags from individual houses, I know I’m in place where people like me reside and thrive. When I see the equal sign (or a rainbow symbol) while I’m motoring down the highway, I always make it a point to wave wildly and smile knowingly. It’s important that we reinforce each other in our visibility.

The genius of the HRC symbol is its simplicity.

I wonder, though, how simple the message really is.

I read an article here on OUR OWN which declared, “We aren’t any different from our straight counterparts.” Is that what the equal sign means…that we’re just like them…that we are “equal” in that there are no differences between us and them?

I imagine it means exactly that for some. However, when I consider the word equal in the context of our struggle, I see “equal” as being a goal. That is, my family should be equal in our ability to marry, to serve in the military, to participate successfully in the workplace, and to not live in fear of hate bias crimes. I want to be equal in the eyes of the law. I am NOT equal currently.

I take strong exception to the notion that I, and most of my l/g/b/t family, is no “different from our straight counterparts.” Most of us were raised by heterosexual parents. We spent years hiding ourselves sexually for fear of losing our families and friends. Many of us were bullied at school because we were too butch as girls or too femme as guys. Lots of us have settled for small simple careers because with higher organization visibility comes more scrutiny and gays in charge in the workplace is still the exception. Many of us in relationships struggle almost endlessly to survive together and move forward because of the emotional damage we experienced early in our lives and we bring that baggage along with us to our new relationships. We struggle daily due to the general lack of support we find from our predominately straight biological, religious, and workforce families. For these reasons and hundreds more, we are QUITE DIFFERENT from our straight counterparts. We experience life differently. We see the world through bright pink shades of hetero-normative oppression which negatively affects us every day, in most every way.

I demand that laws be changed to make us queers equal. I am not, however, just like any straight person. We are not equal to them! The hurdles placed in front of us have been mean-spirited, ignorant, debasing, and shameful. Some in my queer family haven’t survived. For those of us who have, we are damaged, hurt, and often angry. We’ve had to work hard to overcome the strident homophobia which smacks us on the head multiple times every day.

While it’s true we all put on our blue jeans one leg at a time, that’s as close as we are to being the same as heterosexuals and the heterosexual majority.

Thanks Don, for your words... Over and most definately "Out" from my "gay"borhood in Portsmouth, VA

August 18, 2009

Dribs and Drabs from Portsmouth

We've been busy. Lots of things going on for both Michael and me. As a result, a few things (like the blog), have been suffering.

After getting home from vacation, Michael started training for his new position (promotion) and I have been working on the Fall Floorset at work. It's been hell at times. Like trying to fit 20 pounds of shit, in a five pound bag. We, at times, had merchandise everywhere that it's not supposed to be. Finally we get things settled into their new places and what happens? The company makes a huge leather purchase from a manufacturer that's gone out of business. We had a full trailer of leather sofas, chairs, recliners, etc... shipped to us from our distribution center in PA. We have it everywhere now, in the aisles, along the windows, even outside the front doors... and there's still tons in the backroom to come out as we sell off what's on the floor. Ahhhh, this too will end soon... Retail in a struggling economy can be entertaining..

Otherwise life on the homefront is good. We are hosting a Pampered Chef party this weekend and are looking forward to that. We are also trying to get time off in October for the LGBT March on Washington DC. There are buses running from down here for the day, but we think we'd rather make a weekend of it and visit with my niece while we are there. We'll see how the scheduling thing works out...

Not much else happening here in the Commonwealth...

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth!

August 5, 2009

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures...

Ok, here are some pictures from our recent Florida trip:

This was taken the first morning behind my Mom's home in Melbourne Beach. She is about 3 blocks from the beach and has a dock right on this canal

First day at the beach: Michael and his son trying to keep their heads out of the good sized waves coming in

Before one of the big waves took me up the beach, while my suit dragged down around my ankles (Moon over Melbourne Beach?)

Me and Mom on the fishing pier at Sebastian inlet, Thanks for letting us begin and end our adventure with you!

Michael and his son Alex looking quite dapper

I love the look on Alex's face. This was taken on Duval Street in Key West, not sure who is more colorful, Alex or the bird!

Convertible top down, air conditioning going full blast (it was in the lower to mid 90's almost every day)

Michael said he "didn't need no stinkin air conditioning" as we crossed one of the bridges on the "Overseas Highway" better known as US-1

Hanging by the pool in Miami (I got the tatoo in Key West a couple days before)

My oldest two sons, their Mom, and Me at Monty's in Coconut Grove/Miami

Back at Mom's Alex had never seen Manatees before. These two were right off Mom's dock and looked as if they were kissing

Our last night, we went to this cool restaurant right on the beach. This is Mom and me on the deck of the restaurant looking for turtle tracks in the sand

We had a blast, and there are tons more pictures for us to remember the trip with. I am thinking Cape Cod in April again for the next adventure!

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

August 3, 2009

Danger... Men Working...

Whew... Getting back into the swing of things at work (post vacation) can be exhausting... The company has changed the way we normally change up the floor (showroom) for the Fall. This year we are doing it in two phases rather than all at once. For us, it makes it much easier as we are still operating with one less manager than a "normal" store. The missing manager is our Sales/Merchandise Manager, the one responsible for the Spring and Fall floor sets, in addition to a magnitude of other things that we (the remaining managers) are handling. Thank goodness for our awesome Decorator. She has stepped up and taken this bull by the horns, phase one of the floor set is complete and the store looks terrific!

During the above process, we were told that we should expect our newly appointed Regional Director to stop in for a store visit (aka: inspection) followed by a visit by the COO, CEO, and DOS (Director of Stores) two weeks later. Needless to say, we have been inspecting ourselves from different perspectives every day. Changing lighting, replacing stained ceiling tiles, painting, cleaning, tossing old parts, etc, etc, etc... For the past three weeks...

Then came the realization to the financial wizards of our company. Our fiscal year ended 8/1, it would make more sense to have all this travel expense booked into FY2010 rather than 2009. "All travel cancelled" until August. But our store looks beautiful, and we spent all the money in FY2009 to fix it up... Oh well...

In the meanwhile, my man has gotten himself a promotion. He spent last week in training for his new position and will now oversee 3-4 Department Managers in his store... He was so worried when he first transferred down here in April. Worried that he would have to re-prove his worth and abilities to a new management team, and what happens? Less than four months pass and he gets himself a promotion and a nice raise. How can I not love this man? He so undervalues himself sometimes, and is so humble about his abilities...

We have managed a couple of days off together since returning from Florida, mostly spent cleaning, gardening, and managing the things around the house we neglected before leaving. Oh, and speaking of gardening, Michael's vegetables are looking grand! Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Green Beans, etc... We had fresh green beans last night as a side to dinner... Yummy!

That's all for now in my new life... Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

July 26, 2009

Follow up on Lily Allen...

Ok, I know I have promised pictures and stories from the trip. I am so hooked on this song and the video (yes, my choice was the second too). At first, it was the melody, then the people in the video touched me, and then I actually listened and paid attention to the words. I hum alot, and these words could get me into trouble at work, but it will be nice to just hum the melody (knowing all the time, the words and directing the humming at the appropriate people)...

Anyway, here is another version of the song with the lyrics...


Enjoy from my little world in Portsmouth, VA

July 23, 2009

F**K You...



Great video and a very catchy melody too... Which do you like better? Thanks to Jim over at Jim's Stuff for the introduction to Lily Allen.




Over and "Out" from Portsmouth VA

July 21, 2009

We're Baaaack....



Had a great trip... Going to post some pictures as soon as I get them reduced and sorted. We ended up with one bag more (coming home) than we originally left with, but it's all good, one can never have too many t-shirts... (My favorite is "I'm so Gay I Shit Rainbows").

The photo above is just a follow up to my last entry, that actually shows Michael, his son, and I at the "Southernmost Point"...

I am off tomorrow and will try to gather up some photos.

Over and most definately "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

July 14, 2009

Southernmost...



Why is it when I moved from Florida to Virginia in 1999, I moved 1,000 miles north to be in the capital of the south?



Now here I am in Key west, 1,200 miles away from home at the Southernmost Point....


Just a thought...

Over and "Out" from Key West, FL

July 11, 2009

And.... Away We Go!



I'm sure not all remember the Jackie Gleason Show... That was one of his lines from his variety show, taped in Miami Beach. Another line: "The Miami Beach audiences are the best in the world"...

Off to Melbourne, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Key West!

I will make sure Michael takes pictures.

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth VA

July 8, 2009

Milk... and other tidbits


Okay, I am a bad boy... I missed the opening, complete theatrical run, and closing of "Milk" when it was playing on the big screen...



Michael and I rented it on Monday evening and it was AWESOME. While I still have to "splain" things to Michael sometimes, I think he got the "gist" of what the story being told in this movie, and what the man were all about (I am still answering some of his questions two days later).

As for the 4th happenings in our neck of the woods... We both worked the entire weekend of the 4th. Michael donated his time to volunteer for a Susan G. Komen "for the cure" fundraiser my store had set up, and I dealt with my "intelligence challenged" staff... We did close early on Saturday, so we were going to take the ferry over to Norfolk to watch the fireworks and see all the "tall ships" (in town for the annual "Harborfest" event). We tried to find parking near one of the two ferry stops in downtown Portsmouth to no avail, so decided to find somewhere else to go to have dinner and watch the festivities. We found a wonderful little neighborhood restaurant-bar-marina, right on the river, about 1/2 mile from our house and settled in for some merriment.

Yesterday we were both off. Since we leave this weekend for Florida, there were many little things that needed to be done around here, from laundry to hedge trimming, and errands we got it all done and were both exhausted by the end of the day.

It's back to work for three more days then vacation mode kicks in! I can hardly wait...

Over and "Out" for today, from Portsmouth VA

July 3, 2009

Getting Some Head?

I know, what a tricky intro line... I just thought maybe this weekend we should be focusing more on things like this, rather than Michael Jackson tidbits.

This weekend, the Statue of Liberty, closed above its base since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, will reopen to visitors — a relative few, in small groups, specially ticketed, carefully screened and escorted by a park ranger.

If you can't get to New York to see the view for yourself, explore Lady Liberty using USA TODAY's panoramic view.


Fun Facts About The Statue of Liberty

If you have ever visited the Statue of Liberty in person, you already know she's an imposing figure, but consider the following fun facts:

Official dedication ceremonies held on Thursday, October 28, 1886

Total overall height from the base of the pedestal foundation to the tip of the torch is 305 feet, 6 inches

Height of the Statue from her heel to the top of her head is 111 feet, 6 inches

The face on the Statue of Liberty measures more than 8 feet tall

There are 154 steps from the pedestal to the head of the Statue of Liberty

A tablet* held in her left hand measures 23' 7" tall and 13' 7" wide inscribed with the date JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776)

The Statue has a 35-foot waistline

There are seven rays on her crown, one for each of the seven continents, each measuring up to 9 feet in length and weighing as much as 150 pounds

Total weight of the Statue of Liberty is 225 tons (or 450,000 pounds)

At the feet of the Statue lie broken shackles of oppression and tyranny

During the restoration completed in 1986, the new torch was carefully covered with thin sheets of 24k gold

The exterior copper covering of the Statue of Liberty is 3/32 of an inch thick (less than the thickness of two pennies) and the light green color (called a patina) is the result of natural weathering of the copper


*I understand the "tablet" is in fact a "keystone" but what do I know?

Lesson is over, enjoy your 4th! Over and "Out" from mine, here in Portsmouth, VA

July 2, 2009

Tobacco Where? Tobacco What?

One of the reasons I click on Tobacco Avenue (a whimsical Richmond blog) every day:

Informal Survey Finds No Local Celebrities Dead In Past Two Weeks

A quick check of the Richmond-area celebrity population has found that none have died during the past two weeks after the recent outbreak of high-profile celebrity passings, according to an informal survey by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The study – in which researchers browsed through obituaries, attended concerts to make sure local musicians were still breathing, and watched TV news to make sure all reporters and anchors remained cognizant of their surroundings – concluded that no local well-known personalities had been found dead in the past week either by natural causes or foul play.

“When you look at what a horrible two weeks it has been in Hollywood, with Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett and so on, you just have to be thankful that Richmond really came out on top in this one,” said Patricia Sherman, a sociology professor and lead author of the study. “Our city still has all of its talented local musicians, reporters, actors, and even bloggers, if you consider bloggers celebrities.”

“Which I do not,” she added.

Since no celebrities have died, Sherman said, she ruled out several causes of death, including murder, falling headfirst into an active volcano after a skydiving accident gone awry, being torn apart limb-by-limb by a gaggle of geese, or attending a Jonas Brothers concert.

The above was used totally WITHOUT permission from the Tobacco Avenue website.

Over, and most definitely "Out" there... from Portsmouth, VA

Popular Fireworks Banner

I feel a little stupid... Yet again...

I decided to change up my banner for the upcoming holiday. First I "googled" fireworks pictures, found one I liked, added in the shadowed lettering (choosing just the right colors), saved it, and finally posted it to my blog layout. I actually think it turned out ok for the time I spent on it.

Then came the slap!

I started reading through my favorites to catch up on my blogging friends, got to Maddog's site, saw HIS new banner and had one of those "Oh My GAY GOD" moments... It's like going out on a date and having the guy you are meeting wear the same clothes (or color scheme of clothes) you are...

I'm not changing! and to quote a friend of mine "Your hair sure looks nice Maddog"...

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

June 29, 2009

Learning Something New...

I am stupid (well, maybe more just non-informed). I never knew the connection, but thanks to Jim over at Jim's Stuff , now I know (and so do you):

Ever wonder why so many queens are Judy Garland fans?

She suffered, she got back up when she was down, she was precociously, ludicrously talented, she liked getting smashed, she starred in the campest film on earth, and, oh yes, she played a formative role in the birth of the modern gay rights movement.

Dateline: June 1969
On Sunday 22 June 1969, Garland was found dead from an overdose in her London home. On Friday 27 June she was buried and a wake was held by her gay fans at the Stonewall Inn in New York. In the early hours of 28 June the police decided to raid the Stonewall.

Where?
The Stonewall Inn was located at 53 Christopher Street. It was an after-hours members only club that sold booze without a licence. It was a real dump.

What happened?
Some sources say that as `Somewhere Over the Rainbow` played on the jukebox, eight plainclothes officers raided the Stonewall Inn, led by Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine. Customers were allowed to leave whilst the owners were arrested. The mood was light, but then it changed when a police wagon appeared and some drag queens and a lesbian were forced into it. The crowd started to get angry, they started attacking the police, who retreated to the bar and locked themselves inside. People started to throw bricks through the windows, more police arrived, some started waving guns, and the disturbance grew into a full-scale riot.

Why?
As far as the punters were concerned, the raid was the latest example of police harassment of minority groups. Numerous gay bars had been closed down, people were running out of places to go and they just couldn't take it anymore. Everyone was sick of being criminalized by a brutal and unsympathetic police force. And then Judy died. People just couldn't take any more!

The aftermath?
Not everyone agreed that what happened at Stonewall was a riot. The New York press downplayed the events, calling it a "rampage." The whole thing took about 45 minutes, according to witnesses. But later that Saturday, in the evening, more people converged at the Stonewall Inn. They closed off the street, chanted slogans and fought back against the police. More disturbances took place over the next few nights, after which people decided to become more organised and develop their own political groups. In late July the Gay Liberation Front was formed and the rest, as they say, is history.

Judy would have been proud.

Michael and I spent the day at Chesapeake City Park yesterday. It was the first "Pride" event that either of us has really taken part of. On this, the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, it's the least we can do. So many have given so much more...

Over and "Out", from my end of the rainbow, in Portsmouth, VA.

June 26, 2009

Farewell Michael Jackson...

Remember?

June 24, 2009

Why don't more Gays look like you?

I just caught this over at The Daily Martini. Thanks...




Just listen, then decide whether you are going to be a part of your local Pride event.. This weekend is Out in the Park down here in SE Virginia. My boss is on vacation and it's up to me to cover the store. I just called and asked her to come back a day early so I can attend on Sunday...

I missed it for similar reasons last year. Actually it got postponed due to a hurricane threat and the rescheduled event was much later in the fall...

Thanks for the reminder Harvey... We are not all the "prancing around with body parts flapping" kind of queers. But unless we go, what is the rest of the community to think?

Over and "Out", two posts in one day, from Portsmouth, VA

DADT Poster Boy?

This follow up interview, on the Rachel Maddow show last night on MSNBC, just reinforces the need for President Obama to act NOW...

Many of my LGBT and blogging friends suggest that there are too many things on the Commander-In-Chief's plate to address DADT. While I agree that there are pressing Global Issues that need his attention, there is a quick fix to this. Sign an order to suspend the implementation of the policy until Congress can repeal it.

Five to ten minutes of his time to pen his autograph and take the "photo-op", is a win-win-win for our "Fierce Advocate", the LGBT supporters that helped elect him, and probably thousands of people, just like Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, serving in our armed forces.

What a brave man...

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

June 15, 2009

Monkey Business

Check out my sidebar... I love this little guy!

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

June 8, 2009

The Weekend from STUPID HELL!

About a month ago I took my last (reduced) dose of Effexor XR. I began taking it shortly after my "cardiac event" in 2005 to help with the anxiety that followed (every time I got indigestion or any type of tummy or chest pain I would work myself into a full blown panic attack). I figured it's been over four years, and in partnership with my doctor, I felt it was time to ween myself off of the Mood (read: MIND) Altering Drugs.

Not sure if any of my friends, family or fellow bloggers have ever tried to get off of these things before, but I never realized that you actually go through withdrawals once you start reducing the dosage. There is fuzziness, vertigo, an inability to focus, and worst of all; little or no tolerance for STUPIDITY IN OTHERS at your workplace. While I'm sure it's not indigenous to my place of business, it's just that I have been at work all weekend (bell-to-bell both Saturday and Sunday) so it's all I have really experienced recently. I would like to think that it's NOT me, but these salespeople have been with us for a while, and have always been somewhat dependant on us (the management). I just never realized how STUPID they are... I actually thought of using some politically correct term in this post, but as I racked my brain for a more polite choice of words, all I could come up with was: stupid, Stupid, STUPID, and of course: FUCKING STUPID!

They ALL have a tendency to page me or dial my extension 30 to 60 seconds (sometimes longer) BEFORE they have actually formed the question or request in their head. They also assume that I know exactly where they are on the showroom, and that I know what piece of furniture they are referring to when they point to it (like I can see through the frigging phone).

Okay... I know, I know... It's not just them, but it doesn't make me feel better to think that my brain has been "numbified" by this crazy drug for the past 4 years to the point that I have allowed them to get away with being so dependant.

On the "up" side to all this, as with most anti-anxiety meds some of the perpetual underlying side effects (you learn to deal with) have started to fade. Michael is very happy that my libido actually "sparks" now. My short term memory has returned (I think). Some of the "arthritic" type of joint and muscle aches have gone away completely and I feel good!

I figure it took 2-3 months to have this drug reroute all those synaptic pathways in my brain when I started taking it, and that it will probably take that long for it to be reversed.

Oh, and by the way. If I ever come across as being as stupid as I have described the people above, please just shoot me!

end of rant...

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth

June 5, 2009

The Many Faces of Hillary



While our president doesn't speak about the LGBT community much anymore, Hillary Clinton (not having the other distractions he may) still has us on her mind. I have plagiarized the following from a new blog-read of mine, I Should Be Laughing.

Many of you know I was not a huge supporter of "Billary" during the election, but I am all for the recognition and re-affirmation Ms Clinton took the time to convey regarding our history, our plight, and our fellow queers in government employ.

This is the Secretary of State's statement on Pride Month:

"Forty years ago this month, the gay rights movement began with the Stonewall riots in New York City, as gays and lesbians demanded an end to the persecution they had long endured. Now, after decades of hard work, the fight has grown into a global movement to achieve a world in which all people live free from violence and fear, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity...

"In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead...

"At the State Department and throughout the Administration, we are grateful for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees in Washington and around the world. They and their families make many sacrifices to serve our nation. Their contributions are vital to our efforts to establish stability, prosperity and peace worldwide...

"Human rights are at the heart of those efforts. Gays and lesbians in many parts of the world live under constant threat of arrest, violence, even torture. The persecution of gays and lesbians is a violation of human rights and an affront to human decency, and it must end. As Secretary of State, I will advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Though the road to full equality for LGBT Americans is long, the example set by those fighting for equal rights in the United States gives hope to men and women around the world who yearn for a better future for themselves and their loved ones...

"This June, let us recommit ourselves to achieving a world in which all people can live in safety and freedom, no matter who they are or whom they love".

UPDATE: A few hours after Mrs. Clinton's statement, President Obama released his own proclamation regarding Gay Pride Month.

UPDATE 2: Obama's 'Proclamation' was a rehash of all the promises he made to the gay community before and immediately after the election. We have time... The world needs him more than we do (for the moment)...

Let him "do" his thing for a bit, he has not forgotten us, and apparently with good people like Hillary around, he won't soon.

Over and "Out" once again, from Portsmouth, VA.

June 4, 2009

Traditional Marriage based on the Bible

Funny:


Over and "Out" from Portsmouth (Bible Belt), VA

June 3, 2009

Passing the Buck? or WTF?

Just caught this on PlanetOut... I like the choice of words Mr. Cheney uses when he talks about "dealing with his daughter's gayness"...



The rest is a Republican cop-out... "Let the States deal with it, as they have"...

Over, "Out", and Proud from Portsmouth VA

June 2, 2009

My 2009 Pride Contribution



While I didn't take this photo (as Kelly did his), I have always found in it, a very simple sentiment: "Pull up a seat, every one is welcome". And by the way, this too is one of the stops on the "2009 Tom & Michael Excellent Adventure" tour... If you guessed Florida, you were correct. Melbourne Beach, Key West, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, then back to the Space Coast before heading home to VA.

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

Proud of Pride




As in the past, Kelly has tasked us to spread the pride. Copy, paste, and let him know where you have posted this great photo for Pride Month!

I will be loading a Pride Photo of my own on my sidebar later today!

Over, "Out" and most definitely proud, from Portsmouth VA

May 28, 2009

And the Hints Continue...

Yet another stop, in conjunction with the previous two:




Any guesses? Or is it that easy?


Over and "Out" from Portsmouth!

May 27, 2009

Another planned Stop

This is another of the planned stops on the upcoming adventure:




Over and "Out" from Porstmouth, VA

The next Excellent Adventure

We have planned a bit of a vacation in July...

One of the destinations:


More to come... Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

May 20, 2009

Weekend in DC

Michael and I had a great time this past weekend in Washington DC. I didn't want to post anything about our plans in advance, because my niece reads my blog periodically and the reason for the trip was to attend her graduation from Georgetown University, my attendance was to be a surprise.

We drove up Friday afternoon/evening and checked into the Marriott Key Bridge, in Arlington right across the bridge from Georgetown. There were all sorts of events planned for the graduation, including a Ball at Union Station on Friday night. We passed on that and just spent time settling in and finding the bar...




The School of Foreign Service (the degree she attained) was the first to have their ceremony at 9:00am. As the last graduates name was called, the rain started falling in earnest. The rest of the speakers were abbreviated and the proceedings ended rather abruptly.

Saturday afternoon we spent some time exploring and then headed to Remingtons for an evening of Country Music... Michael is quite good at dancing and even slapped leather (slapped the soles of his shoes while line dancing). It was great seeing 15-20 guys up on the dance floor all line dancing (Yes, Remingtons is a gay country bar)...


. . . . . . . .

I started this post yesterday on my day off but never got around to finishing it. Last night Michael and I ventured out to see Star Trek at the Commodore Theater in downtown Portsmouth. The movie was awesome and the theater was beautiful... When it was refurbished in the late '80's, it re-opened as the first theater in the US to offer a full service dinner menu and beer and wine service as well.

If any of you are Trek fans, be prepared for some changes in the "message". This movie is action packed and while Kirk plays a pivotal role in saving the day, the rest of the characters are not overshadowed by him (as they were in the original series). The casting was very well done and believable. Plenty of room to continue "the voyages" too...

Live long and prosper from Portsmouth, VA

May 12, 2009

Mothers Day Weekend

I don't post too often about my Mom... She is one of the most amazing people I know, and I'm not just saying that because she's MY Mom (well maybe I am a little biased)...

There are a few things (besides my extreme good looks) that I inherited from her that I cherish every day. Her optimism, her young soul, her honesty, and her open mindedness, to name a few. I was so worried what she would think when I came out to her several years ago. She couldn't have cared less about me being gay, so long as I was happy. I was 50 years old and worried still, what my "Mommy" thought of me...

I see so many moms that continue to mother their children after their parenting job is done. While it may seem a little weird, my Mom has never done that... I have also adopted that philosophy. Once we became somewhat self reliant, Mom stepped out of the picture unless we asked her for advice or guidance. Don't get me wrong here, she has always been involved in things; Grandchildren, weddings, funerals, etc... but she never meddled.

I think she and I may both have the same thoughts about this. We spent the first half of our lives being kids, making our mark, and "doing" for our children. The second half is for ourselves, for experiencing the things we either chose not to, or couldn't earlier in our lives.

I am a much stronger person thanks to her... I love you Mom!

Over and "Out" from the 2nd half of my life in Portsmouth, VA

May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo




Portsmouth Ramblings:

It's so hard to believe that it is already May... This year seems to be flying by.

This past weekend was grand. Michael's son came down Saturday and we took the ferry from downtown Portsmouth over to downtown Norfolk. One of the Royal Caribbean cruise ships was in port at the new cruise terminal, so we had lunch at Joe's, walked along the water, and over to Nauticus (a naval/marine based museum with the USS Wisconsin as a centerpiece)...

Sunday we hung around in the morning then headed over to the Children's Museum of VA, in "olde town" Portsmouth. It's been years since I have been to a children's museum. There were all sorts of things to play with (even for us grown ups).

I bought a new digital camera last week and will try to figure it out so that I can post a few more pictures in here. Maybe even sometime this year...

Otherwise things are great here in the Commonwealth. I am happy to see the tree pollen go away and equally as happy to have leaves on all the trees again. Michael has planted a garden in the back yard with tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, and the like. My herb garden is flourishing and Michael has fallen in love with my parsley potatoes made with fresh parsley.

Over and "Out" on the fifth of May, from Portsmouth, VA

April 30, 2009

Stern: "Gays are the Bastards of the World"

Used without permission from gay.com Hot Topics:

"Howard Stern Defends Gays. Again."

"If you're a regular reader of this site, you've probably read the various opinion pieces I've written on why I think Howard Stern is one of the most openly pro-gay media figures on the planet."

"In my continued quest to convince Stern's non-listeners of this, I wanted to share a snippet from this morning's broadcast. It was one of those many moments on the show where Howard inserts an insightful, positive opinion on gays -- completely out of nowhere."

"He was reading his fan feedback email on the air and then went off topic, talking about how someone had just complained to him that the show had become "too gay." Here's the exchange between Howard and his co-hosts Robin Quivers and Artie Lange:

Howard: I was talking to someone recently and they said, 'Oh you have so many gay guests lately, the show is getting too gay.'

OK -- first of all, we don't have that many gay guests. And my feeling about gay people is that we have a responsibility not only to make gay marriage acceptable and to make gays feel as accepted as heterosexuals, but that we have to hold gay people above all others.

Robin: What the hell does that mean?

Howard: In other words, gay people are downtrodden. They're beaten and abused for their sexuality. And it goes across race – it's in the white community and the black community. Gay people are the bastards of the world. And in order for things to change – because anyone of you could have gay children, gay relatives or gay friends –

Robin: And in some countries, you can be put to death for being gay.

Howard: Yes. You know, it reminds [me] almost of the Jews in Europe. In Poland, Warsaw was one of the great cities of Europe. They had Jews and the Jews were very important to the culture of Poland, and elevated the society. And then when the Nazis came and cleaned them out, Poland became what is today – nothing. It's really…not much.

Now, gay people in our society are responsible for some of the most creative arts, and creative science Рand not just the Arts, because I don't want this to sound like a clich̩. What I'm saying is that they're contributors, they are people who want to thrive and they're artistic and they're free thinkers.

So I think we have a responsibility to make [gays] acceptable. We have to get past all this bullshit, so that some gay kid going to high school doesn’t get the shit beat out of him just because he's gay. And like, what is this hang up with gay marriage, you know? Who cares?!

I mean, we aired a clip yesterday where this guy was carrying on – he's petitioning, and he's devoting his whole life to making sure that gay marriage doesn't happen in his state. And I'm thinking, 'Geez, this man must have the most empty fucking life.' It's just such bullshit.

If you want to believe in God, that's great. But don’t buy into these religions that were created by man that have all these cockamamie rules that were created by some uptight douche bag.

Artie Lange: And God created gay people, so I don’t know what these religious nuts are even talking about. Look, you can become a Nazi and you could be mad at them for doing that. But you're not born a Nazi. Every type of person was created by God, so you love them and accept them. Some people think it’s a choice, being gay, but I really don’t think so. I mean, why would you choose to be downtrodden?

Robin: Why would you choose to get the shit kicked out of you?

Howard: Right.

That was it, and the dialogue was over. And that's the beauty of the Howard Stern show -- that he seamlessly inserted this progressive opinion on gay acceptance in between ridiculing Paris Hilton's self-indulgent Twitter posts and berating a show employee for eating a dead cockroach for $5.00. True, it's a strange setting to place these pearls of wisdom, but, oddly enough, that only makes the message that much more striking."
. . . . .

Now, personally I find Howard Stern repulsive and disgusting, but that is my opinion... I also believe he has every right to say what he wants. Thank goodness he makes sense sometimes.

Over and "Out" from the gayborhood in Portsmouth, VA