Monday, March 31, 2008

My Black and Blue Right Hand

I unwrapped my mummy hand today and it ain't that bad:

There it is, a hand sans a carpal tunnel. It's a little stiff, stings if I stretch just the wrong way and it'll probably leave an notable scar. For the price of being able to type without economizing my time and getting rid of voice recognition software, I'm thinking it will be well worth it. I can already feel the roominess in there. I just hope it doesn't end up looking like I half-heartedly tried to off myself equipped only with a razor blade and a poor understanding of human anatomy.

Since my dominant hand has been out of commission for a couple days, I've come to learn there are many things I took for granted; it's been a while since I've asked anyone to tie my shoes or button my shirt. Mr. Fob said a friend had both hands done at the same time and was miserable and that I should expect to be half-miserable for weeks. While I appreciate the encouragement, it's not been that bad, considering it's been only 3 days.

But I'd hope to not let Rob find that out; he's taking good care of me and my broken body. It's kind of been nice, when, say, Brian needs help in the restroom to be able to defer to his dad :-).

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Change in the LDS Church?

There can be a good deal of cloak and dagger in the gay Mormon world, for obvious reasons, but much of the info that gets to me goes through the grapevine; it’s stuff that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. So when a LDS friend of Rob’s tell him that she has personally had a long talk with Monson just a while before he became President Monson and that she feels assured that he’s committed to slowly, but greatly improving the lot of gay men and women in the LDS church… well, it sounds fishy. It’s not that she’d lie but that she could have heard what she wanted; I don’t know her well enough to tell.

One thing has been on my mind, though. Danzig. Remember the LDS pressroom response to the Danzig controversy? It seemed kind of strange and out of character, but this was what really stuck out:

In his Tribune letter-to-the-editor, Mr. Danzig said he “was troubled that my church requested I violate my own conscience to write in support of an amendment I feel is contrary to the constitution and to the gospel of Christ.” In reality Church leaders had asked members to write to their senators with their personal views regarding the federal amendment opposing same gender marriage, and did not request support or opposition to the amendment.
The Church “did not request support or opposition to the amendment.” Now anyone paying attention would know that the LDS church in reality :-) has made it clear that they want members to support such marriage-banning amendments. Consequently, this statement, a response to a news story, caused some to experience a good deal of incredulity. It seemed to some like a disingenuous, or at least silly denial. But I don’t know.

The LDS church did most of that past encouraging of members to politically act against our families before this new presidency.

The problem for religions is that they benefit greatly by being the rock, the unflinching and assuring word of truth, but they also have to eventually change with new human moral discoveries. If you pay attention to, say, the Catholic Church, it takes a good deal of evidence to get anything near a mia culpa out of them, though. Most of the time a religion must use clever interpretations of their past actions and lawyerly arguments to both change and maintain that they never did, or to change but maintain that the change was already in the works; it was the unalterable plan of God all along for things to be one way back then, but another way now. That way they both evolve to survive and give that hard-to-find comfort in stability, in Truth.

So, what if there is a less PR-motivated explanation to this Danzig response? Is the church now trying to tell members they are not requesting that they support such legislation against our families? If so, does the change have something to do with the new President? Maybe it’d be putting too much weight into hearsay, but this could be seen as a change for the better, instead of a PR dodge.

Eh, I’m not putting much stock in it; it’s just been something on the mind.

Late Easter

Late Easter went great. Of course, most of my family loved the race more than the puzzles; most, some have their uncle’s strange proclivities. The best was the pie eating contest. I wish I felt okay publishing pictures.

I think next year we’ll do only a team race and I’ll quit my evil ways. Afterall, to know how bad things can be between gay men and their families in this area, I feel very fortunate and should cut them some slack :-).

As for the silver egg, for those following along in rapt anticipation:

1. That’s a pound sign, of flesh. A pound of flesh.
2. That’s just between you and me.
3. Out with the old, in with the new.
4. That’s h over craft. Hovercraft.
5. A wink and a nodd, or nod.
6. Greater than the sum of its parts.
7. That’s 5 synonyms for gone, or a pentagon.
8. Easy. Capital i s t.
9. Vanishing point.
10. 200 centigrams, or two grams, which are gold. Golden Grahams.
11. It’s the negative of a dot with an e at the end, or a dote. It’s an antidote.
12. e = 2.718… so that’s sweet with two th’s. Sweet tooth.
13. The best in you.
14. Two tildes with oil. Till the soil.
15. Pb = lead, and that’s with us in the word prayer. Lead us in a prayer.

Friday, March 28, 2008

I Get My Comeuppance

Had a little outpatient surgery today. I'm fine and much more alert than I am up there, in my Versed induced haze.

I just got a slight face lift, and some silicon muscle implants in my pecks and biceps. You know, to look hot. Okay, okay, you're right. I'd never need that, but I'm fond of the gay stereotype :-).

Nah, an observer may not be able to tell by my prolific writing and occupation, but I’ve had to use voice recognition software off and on for about a decade now, for the fact that my carpel tunnel is too small. Or maybe my arm tendons are excessively manly in their diameter? Either way, once I finished my doctorate I decided to get that little annoyance fixed and put it off until after our cruise. The surgery was this morning.

Piece of cake. (he says while his hand is still chemically numb)
Apparently I still can, and the doctor specifically told me to type, to keep the fingers moving as soon as I got home , and to not baby it; so here I am.

Should be interesting, though, to see what happens when the numbness leaves and how tomorrow’s late Easter party goes.

Speaking of which, it’s almost Friday night and no solutions?! I think some of you are on Rob's side here (ahem, Craig). Anyone got a couple? Half? Which ones did you get Java? There’s still time for me to ease up on it; maybe some need hints?

Nevertheless, I may have to face the fact that I am indeed an Easter puzzle sadist.

Remember how I said I’d make the gold egg easy this year? Well I did, but… I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a surefire joke. I’m going to play off their expectations from years past and give them this paper first:

I’ll wait a second or two, before I explain that the Morse code tells them as much, and the rest of the paper is just nonsense :-).

In actuality the first event is simply a paper airplane flight distance competition, so they’ll needed a piece of paper anyway, right? Right? I can’t help it if they assume too much by what’s on the scratch paper handed out! And what uncle worth the title doesn’t rib his nieces and nephews a bit?

*sigh*, I deserved that surgery ;-).

The boys get home soon from school. What’s going to be tough is not being able to lift them for a while. I was just thinking the other day how quickly the day is coming when they’ll be too big to want up, and now I'm out of lifting for a week.

Still, I know Alan will love my cool bandage :-).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rob Thinks I’m a Serial Easter Sadist…

Prove him wrong; restore his opinion of his husband.

Because of the cruise and the fact most of my siblings won’t let their kids hunt eggs on a Sunday, our family Easter party had to be postponed until this coming Saturday. As I explained before, Rob and I are in charge of Easter festivities, and each year I do egg hunt puzzles for the coveted bronze, silver, and gold eggs.

Last year was admitedly tough; this year I bent to all the whining I usually get and made the gold egg more about simple games than mind games. They have various events such as a water carrying relay, pie eating contest, pushing a ping-pong ball in a race around the house using only their nose, and so on.

For the silver egg, though, I know some of my family would be let down without a puzzle of some sort (mainly those as nerdy as their uncle :-)). So I quickly repeated a catch phrase game from years past with new clues. Here it is:

Now, Rob says I’m horribly cruel to my nieces and nephews, and that “no one” can figure this out. I, in turn, wagered that if I put it on my blog, someone will at least get the clue before Friday night (which doesn’t necessarily require a solution for all the word puzzles).

I know no one here wants me to lose that bet, right? :-)

Seeing Double

Lately we’ve noticed, when he’s focusing in on words, Alan sometimes goes a bit cross-eyed. So yesterday I took him to an pediatric optometrist (an aside complaint: Another reason I wish we could all be treated as a legal couple with equal right is to be on the same health insurance policy so that it wasn’t best for me, the breadwinner of this home, to take the kids to all the medical appointments, but hey, that’s local politics for ya).

Anyway the nurse was asking me all the basic questions and she gets to, “Has he ever complained of seeing double; like has he ever said he sees two moms or two dads?”

You just never know what’s going to out you, where or when ;-).

Turns out he’s just a bit far sighted and I guess it’s common for kids his age to compensate by moving one eye independently. Now he’s surprisingly excited to get reading glasses.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What I Was Too Cheap to Post + Caucus

Now that I’m home and the internets are free to me once more, let me recap our rfamily adventure, and put up what I normally would have.

Day 1 -- San Diego. Unfortunately I didn't get many photos; too busy having fun at Lego Land:

It's always kind of odd being back in our old town, where Rob and I lived just BC. Once we realized we could be parents, we were out of there so quickly. One day it was a wonderful place to live and the next we wanted to hurry "home" to be by family in Utah, of all places :-). Now going to San Diego feels like visiting someone else's past; I feel more like a tourist. We did eat at one of our favorite places, though, Pizza Bella in Old Town; I'd recommend it (get the salad with the pesto dressing and a pizza with the works, good stuff).

Day 2 -- At Sea. We boarded the ship:

Waited at the pool to greet friends as they trickled on:

Became floatation devices:

and then went to the show:
That's Mrs. Old Donald with the American Idol contestant.

She told a kid's joke that night that Brian has been telling everyone he's met since:

What did the one duck say to the other duck?


And the other duck said "Hey! I was just going to say that."

Eh, it's funnier when he tells it...

Day 3 At Sea -- Just relaxed at the pool, ah:
Day 4 -- Cabo. Brian didn't want to get near the things, but I have to add this picture of our all-too brave Alan:
That dolphin took him about 40 yards arround the enclosure and he screamed with joy nearly the whole way. I rode it too, by hanging onto the dorsal fin. It was an experience of a lifetime for this human (and just another day at the office for our dolphin friend).

Brian wouldn't touch this either:

Strange how twins can be so different, even when raised the same. When Brian is afraid, it's of real life what-ifs; when Alan is afraid, it's of his imagination. Brian has never had a nightmare I've known of and sleeps with all lights off, but is very cautious. Alan keeps the closet light on and two night lights, and shows up in our bed almost every night, but is daring sometimes to danger in the real world. Shows how much personality you come with, I suppose.

Day 5 -- Mazatlan. The kids went to the beach with Grandma and Grandpa and Rob and I had a zip-line date:
Nothing says romance like heights and speed, right? The Tequilla factory was pretty, though:
Day 6 -- Puerto Vallarta. The beach, Yeah! We all love the beach. It's so easy there to find this sort of look on your kid's face:

Day 7 -- At Sea. It was Superheroes Night. Wish I had a better picture, but:

That's a couple of Buzz Lightyears. The ship was full of Spidermen, Super Girls, and Power Rangers. The battles that ensued in the main dining area were epic in proportions.

Day 8 -- At Sea. I spent most of this day going to various on ship events. I'll post on the teen panel later. I just wanted to throw this picture in for Mr. Fob of Rob and I in matching Mexican shirts, which are not pink:

That night was Disco Night, as per the gay cruise rule book. We did not conform but there were many fun costumes, among them was, of course:

The Village People :-).

Day 9 -- Headed Home. I got up early and walked the ship one last time as we pulled into San Diego Harbor, a bit sad to be headed home.

Back to the real world, and back trying to make being gay and in a gay-headed family as non-important here in Utah as it was there :-).

Oh, and very important: If you live in Utah, today are our caucuses. It's one of the best ways to make a political difference. Find out where yours is here for dems and here for repubs. Bring friends and family in your district and have them vote for you as delegate. And again, remember, if you don't go, it'll be idiots like me picking the people you get to vote for as your representatives for you and your family. Stop me, if you can… mwah ha ha…

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tainted Love

Today, we are at sea (or were by the time I post this :-)). These days are a good deal of fun too, even without a port. There are many seminars and such.

I’ve been to a couple seminars on parenting, and realized we’ve maybe have got to let our boys go a bit, not hover about them so much, and give them more responsibility now. As our Aunt Beanie says, maybe we do “mother them too much.” In our situation, it’s tough to not be over protective and it’s something I’m going to work on and am putting out there so it’s been said on record :-).

Then there was the teen panel, which I commented on last year. I think I’ll save that for a post of its own.

Here Ill talk about a seminar on “Love Won Out;” it left an impression. The new tactics of our opponents are smart and a bit frightening, for their reformulated and yet all too historically familiar packaging. It’s all about love now, wrapping hostile anti-golden-rule action in the feelings of love. Pull your gay kids close, but never accept their orientation or relationships. Sneak into pride events as a “gay-welcoming” church and then show those you trick into attending love as you try to cure them of their curse akin to alcoholism. Get involved in AIDS charities, so you can get sick and desperate people to fight with their orientation. Even try to get to the children of gays and lesbians and get them to turn on their families through kid-friendly internet tools.

Hurt people, basically, but do it in such a way that you look PC and feel good about yourself for it.

It’s a common enough theme in humanity that it was on my derailed list of aphorisms :-):

Hate may harden a heart; to completely solidify a heart a person must pretend love.

It’s true, even in the most sever examples. The Spanish Inquisition wasn’t conducted solely by hateful people; there was a set of intellectual word play and twisted logic to get others on board. They caught the gay man to stop imagined supernatural calamities, for the good of all. They tortured him to get a confession and therefore a chance at heaven, avoiding eternal torture. They “relaxed” him into the custody of the executioner, and they burned him to protect the public and set the now-repentant gay man into eternal paradise. Great motives, right?

Hate does a lot of harm, but it’s love and good intentions used to move the mass of people to do what the worst of us never could.

To know such large groups are formally implementing these tactics is disturbing. This is not just the love which the G*d Hates Fags folks feel in their horrible actions, and if you do listen to their interviews, I think you will also agree they do, as they claim, feel a mind-settling, self affirming love for gay people, and think they’re doing right. But this packaged much more insidiously, as it doesn’t have the shocking book-cover image of picketers in front of a soldier’s funeral. People don’t shy away from Love Won Out; they pack mega-churches for it.

One thing about Love Won Out really stuck with me. The people giving the seminar had personally been to the event. At lunch they ate with a woman who told them she had a gay son. They asked if he was gay or ex-gay or struggling and the woman told them to wait until her husband spoke later in the day; she said she wanted it to be a surprise.

For us, they later played the audio of that portion of the husband’s speech. In short, their son came out to them, they rejected him, and then, after attending Love Won Out they tried to get close to him again, now with the motive of changing him. They tried, though lovingly, to get him to change his “identity” and leave his partner, and the son could apparently see right through it. Eventually the son told them he didn’t want parents in his life who’d not accept him and his partner for who they are. So the parents are the victims now, right? Still, who wants parents constantly trying to undermine your home and not-so-subtly thinking one of the best things about yourself, your path to love, is sin and rightly punished by death in the times of Moses? Right? Even lovingly?

The recording ends with the father describing how their son was killed in a car accident soon after. He said, and I wrote it down for the shocking force with which it hit me, “Our prayers were answered. Our son was healed.” Then there was clapping. Clapping!


Love won out; even the name implies love’s use as a tool in some sort of competition.

Is that the sort of familial love the “pro-family” side of this debate is becoming about, then? Love that turns parents into that? Love that makes you feel good, that you’re doing God’s work to hurt your children in such ways? That makes you pray for them to be changed or take up life-long celibacy? Change even if it means their death, and feeling grateful if it does? Love that keeps you constantly trying to split up your family’s or friend’s home, even if it’s the home of the happiest family on the continent?

In some instances, the feeling of love really can be one of the crueler, more insidious weapons. In some instances, I’d prefer an enemy fueled by honest and open hate, free from feel-good self-deception. At least that opponent is willing to feel and show the emotional consequences of the harm they choose to inflict on others.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Amazing Race

I read in our little onboard news paper that Obama just gave a well received speech on race in America. I’ve only seen excerpts, but it brought to mind one of the most striking things about this cruise, aside from the obvious. I’ve done no formal survey :-), but I’d say over a fourth, near a half of all the families here are mixed race. Maybe not apparent to the eyes, our boys too are a part of a traditionally persecuted minority, an ethnicity to which we do not belong, though now have a personal passion in defending.

I wonder where else in the world could you take a 5 minute walk and see so many interracial couples? I’m sure near nowhere else you could find so many parents of children with a different racial background than their parents. Here, not only do all races get along; they are not merely tolerant of each other. They are family in every sense. People are actively loved in some of the most selfless of human forms, regardless of race.

There seems to be in many humans an inhumane pull towards biological tribalism and selfishness, where “family” is a matter of producing and caring for only your biological offspring, and often times as many as possible. Our “selfish genes” make that drive a significant force of nature in the human, one you can see defending itself in the weave of a number of our larger organizations and myths. But such bias towards genetics has been ignored here by the heart, even when the genetic relationship, or lack thereof, is more than apparent to the eyes.

I decided to take notice on my last walk about. There was the Caucasian grandparents coaxing pureed fruit into their Chinese granddaughter’s babbling mouth; the interracial couple with a rainbow of children of various ages straggling behind; that middle-aged white guy who dances so adorably with his beautiful black toddler by the pool, who clearly, by their skill, are putting long-past years of clubbing to good use. There is, though and of course, no issue. Nowhere is the bond between parent and child, grandparent and grandchildren, sibling and sibling lessened for race or genes. It’s so ironic and sad that our opponents think attacking such families, which truly show what familial love means, can be done under the banner of “pro-family” with a straight face.

Eh, enough preaching :-).

Today, we did the “r-mazing Race.” Basically we ran about the ship finding clues and playing games.

It was a lot of fun. We took 29th out of 70 participating teams. And we would have been 27th though if Rob hadn’t stopped to chat!

Right now, the kids are off with their grandparents to a “Grandparents party.” So I’ll just bide my time here I guess, till they return (at $.75/min! the thieves :-)).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Puerto Valarta

Just after that last post I started to feel good just as quickly as it came on, and so we headed off the boat and into Puerto Valarta. This has to be the best port of them all. It’s greener and less industrial than Mazatlan and has much more character than Cabo San Lucas.

We spent the day with a family of friends from SLC and their kids (Guy: G & G ;-)). We took the kids to the beach. Though the water was still a bit cold, our boys love the ocean.

Here I’m building a stingray out of Alan, as instructed:
Here's Rob risking life and limb:

After the kids tired out, I gladly volunteered to take them back to the boat to rest while my mom schooled Rob on bartering; she’s good but I’d rather not argue over the price of Chicklets.

It has simply been a beautiful day, and now our boys are asleep and I’m off to do one of my favorite things on these cruises. I’ll put my ipod on some pondering music and walk the deck a couple times before bed. I can just feel myself adsorbing the great atmosphere, of knowing my boys had a fun day, they’re sleeping soundly with their dad just below, along with hundreds of other such families. As I wrote on the last cruise; nothing makes equity for our families feel more inevitable, in time, than coming here.


PSA: Scot kissed a dolphin. Now he’s sick with Dolphin Mexican Mono (DMM).

Remember: when you kiss a dolphin, you are kissing every dolphin that that dolphin has ever kissed.

Man, I’ve been so careful as to not drink the water; I’ve avoided ice and vegetables that may have been washed in local water. Nevertheless, it got me. Curse my prissy GI tract!

I’m on the mend though, and, after a rough night, one oubt shared with many tourists down here, we’ll be off to the beach today in Puerto Vallarta.

We still got in some fun yesterday in Mazatlan, before it hit me. We did a “canopy” zip-line tour. It was a lot of fun, if not a bit drab in our jungle canopy for us being there in Mazatlan’s dry season.
The zip-line tour ended in a Tequila factory, of course. The engineer in me really enjoyed seeing the process. Alas, it was only enjoyed in such a nerdy way and I can’t blame tequila for last night… I wonder if I’m the only one who got sick because I didn’t put the antiseptic of 60% ethanol tequila down my belly ;-).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hey, look here, the ship has wireless access in our cabin.

Thought I’d drop a quick line and say hi (though, at 75 cents/min, I’ll be brief, not to say you all aren’t worth at least 80 cents per min ;-)). We’re on one of my favorite vacations, the r-family cruise. I described our last season with them, here. In short, it’s a cruise ship with mainly gay and lesbian headed families on board. But this time we’ve a bunch of P-Flag parents with us as well, and their children.

We began in San Diego, where we spent the day in lego land. Then boarded and spent a day on the ship, finding friends and finding our way around a new ship. Today, we’ve been in Cabo San Lucas. Yesterday, I woke to this out our window:

Today I woke up to this:

The spirit on the ship is simply amazing: so many great children, deeply wanted and fought for; gay and lesbian teens with their parents; and many straight friends and family, mainly the grandparents. Our boys look forward to this for months. They don’t know there’s really anything different about this cruise, but, as this is the 4th we’ve been on, they’ve made some wonderful friends and this year more families from Utah have come.

There’s a lot of semi-famous people I’ve noticed walking about the ship: The gay “mormon” winner of last season of Survivor, that gay intern guy, Cindy Lauper (who put on a great concert last night), Susan Powters (who, I’m told, does a great yoga class here), and the last gay kid to be booted from American Idol (Noriega?). Not to mention, of course, Rosie Old Donald, as Brian calls her.

Anyway, I’ll probably post more on the trip later. We just got back from swimming with dolphins and I’m looking for a nap. It was an amazing experience, though, for all (but Brian, who’d rather not ride on large aquatic mammals).

(apologies for not answering emails and comments… $0.75/min! But hi Molly and Guy; glad you found us, and no, Guy, we use other names online :-)! Also Webcam bot, thanks for the hug.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Will Have Been Gone

Man, this is going to sound like I’m always off gallivanting about, but it is the season for it, right? Gallivanting season?

Anyway, I’ll be gone for a while. Java was nice enough to do it while on her trip, and so I guess I should try to drop back in while gone and near one of those internets, and I will.

Hey, while I’m gone, maybe you could help a guy out? Once I get back we’ll have to put on our Easter party again, and I’ve been so busy I don’t have my usual puzzles ready. I’m thinking on repeating the word game from a couple years ago that I posted here. Does anyone have any good niece- and nephew-frustrating ideas?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Utah, honey, why you got to be so pretty? It's tough to stay angry at you for your government when you look so good.

As a legislative-session-ending celebration we decided to take the kids for the weekend down to Zion National Park, a place--and this is something for which, as a Utahn, I'm now embarrassed--to which we've never been before. All our family is in south-eastern Utah. Clearly, and we've been missing out.

We stayed at (and I'd recommend) the Zion Mountain Resort, in a fun little cabin.

It was a great place to stay, with a buffalo herd right there for the boys to yell at. In fact, there's a restaurant right there that serves mainly their buffalo (to people). We never ate there but I presume you can just step out back and pick the beast you want, just like a lobster in a fancy restaurant.

We were minutes away from some amazing scenery.

A lot of the hikes took us under waterfalls, which the boys loved.

We ended up doing a lot of hiking, in fact, and a lot of getting dirty.

My favorite was seeing how the water cuts through the sandstone there, beautiful.

Finally, we decided to take the long way home and stop at another place we've never been, Bryce Canyon:

And I thought Zion was beautiful. We actually hiked down through that amazing sandstone maze.

Along the way, we lost a son, apparently to exhaustion.

No worries, though. He rose up again, and we love our zombie child.

I'll end with a couple gems of insight on biology from our long talks on our hikes:

Our boys have seen their ultrasounds and some show their tails, which we all have at some point but are eventually reabsorbed. Brian brought up that topic and we started talking about the fact that some people are born with a hint of the now-unneeded appendage still dangling. I told him that I bet a lot of parents have the tails removed. Alan thought a while and told us "If my baby had a tail I'd leave it on. He could bug his brother with it."

Then on another hike he told us "The heart isn't round. It has parts, and one squeezes, and then the other squeezes. And it doesn't look like a heart, it looks like... umm.. a toilet seat." I'm glad he was paying attention at the movie we saw last week at the planetarium, but I doubt they used that analogy :-).