Thursday, March 05, 2009

where do civil rights come from?

As I write this, the California Supreme court is grappling with the issue of Proposition 8 and Gay Marriage in California. From where I sit in St. Petersburg Florida, drinking my mango oatmeal smoothie the question is not one of gay marriage. Gay marriage is a microcosm of the larger question at issue. Does the american public have the right to vote away a right from a minority?

If Americans were suddenly convinced tomorrow that people who didn't have children shouldn't own land, would the american public be allowed to vote away that right from the rest of us?

The way this issue is playing out represents the very best of the American legal system and our representative republic and the stakes are nothing less than the freedom of our country and our way of life. California is the state with the largest population and as so Cali goes, so goes the nation. Whichever way the vote goes, it'll prolly end up in the Supreme Court.

This fight, win or loose, makes me love America that much more.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

contemplating a post-boomer world

You know them, you work with them every day. The baby boomers. They've ruled the country as the dominant generation for almost 20 years now and their time as the reigning cultural force is almost at an end. No more exposes on the JFK assassination. No more deification of all things with the last name Kennedy. And soon, no more mention of Nixon and watergate in everyday conversation. The doors, the monkeys and most of the other nouns from that very forgettable era in pop music will pass into memory and someday be mentioned with deference the way we now mention Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong. And just as an aside, Paul and Yoko's refusal to allow iTunes to sell their music is the HEIGHT of the techno-phobia so typical of that generation that still thinks "computers = people loosing their jobs and their humanity."

So now what? As we settle in with our first Gen X president and his family with the first generation for which abortion has been legal all their lives, what will it mean to politics as the baby boomers are ushered stage left of the American Cultural Zeitgeist?

As I look for a job in the worst economy in 50 years (caused by the missteps of the baby boomer generation, I might add... both republican and democrat) I find myself becoming more and more anti-baby boomer and find that the companies I find that are surviving in this harsh economic climate are helmed by gen-x CEO's. Coincidence? Maybe.

The place I feel the boomer generation will sorely be missed... Silicon Valley. I weep for a post-Jobs Apple. Microsoft can feel its market share eroding like the British empire in the early 20th century with Google playing Ghandi in this particular tableau. There's nothing to suggest any other end as Bill Gates exits. The Hardware manufacturers are all in dealing with recessive sales and the one that seems to be flourishing is Dell (run by Gen-X-er Michael Dell) and is not even in Silicon Valley.

As America confronts the notion that it's greatest days are left behind and our foreign policy been coasting on the success of WWII for almost 50 years now, the shift from one generation to the next, while not cataclysmic in it's implementation, I hope, will be far-reaching in its change.

I've been working with a local politician, also a baby boomer. I do their website and I've been trying to get them to start twittering their day so as to develop a following of constituents who are interested in the job they're doing. It's like pulling teeth. They don't get it and see it was yet another "chore" they have to add to their long list of daily chores. And then you see many other (Gen x) politicians twittering during The President's most recent speech (as was I) and you understand that the gap in understanding is so poignantly generational and there's no amount of technology or education that will ever get them there.

When I contemplate the future and current ascendancy of Gen X and the future ascendancy of Gen Y I think of Ashton Kutcher's most recent appearance on the Bill Maher show talking about California's Gay Marriage Ban initiative Prop 8. His primary reaction was one of incredulity that the issue was even up for a vote.

"Why is this even on the ballot?" he said aloud during the panel debate. Why, indeed, Ashton? Gen Y was brought up with a decidedly live-and-let-live mentality that will serve this country's social agenda well over the next 50 years. They dont' remember a time when gays weren't out and when MTV didn't have them as featured characters on The Real World (which is neither real nor a picture of anyone's world, but I digress).

Pondering my generation's ascendancy to leadership and the values of the next generation up to bat, it gives me great hope for the future that the silly notions of the boomers and the late 60's dogma they embody will come to a much needed conclusion. And when that happens, to quote a ( Gen-X ) song , "The Future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rollout

For over a year I had worked on this project... The new company website. I sweated every detail. On rollout day, all day long I coached the people involved in the rollout and went over what was going to happen and when. I went over everyone's part and made sure that everyone understood what they had to do and when it needed to be done. At the last minute operations threw up the red flag and demanded that it go out on the weekend. The marketing director emailed the CIO and demanded that the rollout happen on Thursday. It went through with little or no hitch. The next day, pats on the back and just generally 'good jobs' all around. Then I got The Call. HR called me to come down to their office. My position was officially deleted. Good job on the new web site, now turn in your badge.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big love

So I'm addicted to the HBO series 'big love'. From episode 1 I've found the poligymist lifestle fascinating and they're struggle to fit in while keeping true to their beliefs a great metaphor for modern living in any American subculture. But this season is different for one sole reason... Chloƫ Sevigny. Her portrayal of Nicky this season is nothing short of a revelationn both writing and acting.

The first season of the show, Nicki was just an unlikabe bitch. She was cross with the two other wives and her point of view was always nonsensical because she appeared to have no point of view. That began to change in season 2 and in this the third season, her inner conflict has become fully developed and has a depth not usually seen in female characters on TV.

In the last few episodes it was revealed that she was a child bride sold into slavery by the father she bitterly hates and from which she desperatly craves love and approval. That conflictof emotions is at the core of who Nicki is and Chloƫ plays it with abandon.

If you get a chance, give it a watch or two. You won't be sorry.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Doubt

I have a lot of friends at work who are straight. Every time We're out to lunch, a subject of great interest to them are any and all young girls dining around us. They make jokes about the television show where Chris Hanson catches adults in the act of attempting to prey sexually on a minor. Maybe that's why the idea of a gay man in a room full of children inevidibly leads adults to the conclusion that the gay man wants to have sex with the kids.

This is the stereotype we're constantly up against as gay men in a judeo Christian society. For some reason, gay = pedophile. It is a prejudice ingrained into the American psyche and enshrined by the myriad lawsuits against the Roman Catholic church.

There's also a second prejudice at work and that's the prejudice that refuses to see a 16-18 year old *man* as being capable of making adult choices when it comes to sexuality. There's a difference between a seventeen year old boy who makes the choice to go to a gay bar and pick up a signifcantly older gay man because that's what interests him sexually and a teacher or person in a position of authority using that authority to make a minor child do something they ordinarilly wouldn't.

At what point does a child become emotionally able to make his or her own choices about sex? That I cannot say. But we've all seen movies and television where the attractive under age high-schooled uses his or her good looks to get what they want and manipulate a hapless victim by using society's prejudice.

I was told a story at breakfast this morning where a gay man in plant city adopted a 15 year old who then cried sexual abuse when an argument didn't go his way. The foster parent lost his house, job, went to jail and will be labeled a sexual predator the rest of his life because a troubled child decided to do evil to another human being.

I am what us known the gay community as a 'bear'. Sexually, I like and prefer heavier, older, harier gay men. I an physically repulsed by the idea of looking at younger boys in a sexual context. But can tell you right now, simply because I'm gay it would be very easy to believe that I committed some haveous act on some unsuspecting neighborhood boy or on someone I had been charged with foster parenting.

Do I believe in gay adoption and foster parenting? Of course. Do I believe society will allow gay men and women to adopt and lead happy healthy lives with their children? That's another question entirely. I doubt it.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

BlogPress

Just this morning I sat down to begin writing the application I've always wanted for the iPhone... A blogger.com app that works with landscape typing. Then I found BlogPress. At 9.99 it's pretty pricy, but landscape blogging has been the dream since I got my first iPhone almost 2 years ago.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The New Adjective

"Diabetic"... I'm adding it today to my blog title. I was diagnosed in September. Since then, i've been on a interesting journey of medication, herbal cures and lo-carb diets. I came out as a diabetic to my family and at work and I must say, for all the emotion over coming out gay, this one was somewhat worse. Because coming out diabetic carries with it a stigma of gluttony. That I somehow ate myself into diabetes. I know looking from the outside in, I always criticized people in my mind for their diabetic issues without realizing I did it.

But my dad was diabetic. His dad was diabetic. No less than 7 people on my mom's side had the disease. So here's the question. If I was 198 lbs rather than 298 would I still be diabetic? Is my weight CAUSING the diabetes or is my weight caused by the diabetes. Or are they both issues brought about by something else entirely? The chicken or the egg? I don't think anyone can say for sure, but be sure that the two are interrelated. I, however prefer to think of it as being owned by my machines.

If you saw the movie WALL-E you remember all the humans in that film were pudgy because they embraced inactivity and sloth and their every need was "cared for" by robots. This is quite possibly the most culturally subversive movie to hit the box office since Network. The idea that our automobiles and computers are owning us is a cultural movement that's been fomenting for hundreds of years and has its biggest advocate in the man vs machine idea that made Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' so very compelling 5 generations ago. The Buddhists believe that the things that you own begin to own you. And given the state of my life and the people around me, I believe that to be true.

Two different co-workers had to remove and re-install the HVAC systems in their homes in the past week or so. Set aside the fact that it's thousands of dollars out of pocket but the idea that you're required to spend that much money on something to maintain your current quality of life to me is an anathema. I have trouble with the idea that I have to pay the government every year for a car I already own. So look at it in the context of the story of Frankenstein. The machine we've created owns you. Fork it over. Give me $5000. You've been owned.

I don't know how to live any way other than the way I live. I've created a life where 70% of my daily activities consist of me sitting down typing on a machine. But the machines have owned me.

And on top of of my battle with the machines, I now have to fight the first law of thermodynamics.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Hero or the Villain

The current project i'm working on is my company's website. Just for background's sake, we do TONS of websites for other people, that's why our current site is more than 5 years old. As a company we could never justify spending company resources on something that was, in effect, still working and "good" just maybe not the design we wanted. Well, starting about 2 years ago I got the project and have since been moved to other "more important" projects having to set that one on hold. Now its coming down to the end of the project and i'm completely and totally alone. I'm the sole programmer on the project and it will succeed or fail based on my performance. I'm either the hero or the villain. I either get a raise or I get fired. Almost no in between.

If you read this blog you'll know I recently went to the Big Nerd Ranch for their cocoa programming class from the i-ching of cocoa programming himself Aaron Hillegass and while I was there I started reading some of his blog. He had a blog entry where he talked about how your performance goes up when your chance of success is not assured.

So what is my chance of success for this project... i'd put it about 50/50. And by "chance of success" i mean chance of the rest of the company perceiving this website as a success. Depending on how the rollout goes and how many issues arise from the website after rollout, that will determine the perception of the site. Fifty-fifty. So far the site is 400+ files and will probably be more before it's all said and done with. Debugging team: me. Testing: 3 or 4 people in marketing... no business analysts, no testing analyst. And really and truely, no project owners. Because it's the company's website most everyone involved in the project doesn't really take ownership of the site. They don't feel like their job is on the line if the project fails. But mine is.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

Israeli policy

1 God told Abram: "Leave your country, your family, and your father's home for a land that I will show you.

2-3 I'll make you a great nation
and bless you.
I'll make you famous;
you'll be a blessing.
I'll bless those who bless you;
those who curse you I'll curse.
All the families of the Earth
will be blessed through you."

Genesis 12

There's no easy way to explain the current United States policy toward israel outside of this scripture. So many people wonder why the US has taken sides with Israel when they've allegedly "committed such heinous acts" and whenever they respond to a threat it's so incredibly disproportionate to the perceived threat. The answer is simply stated: Don't fuck with the jews.

So much of our policy is predicated on this promise to Abraham that it might as well be enshrined in law in the US. We as a nation are convinced that no matter the prevailing winds of public opinion we will not take sides against "God's people" Lest we invoke the flip side of that promise... "the curse."

I went to private schools all my life, most of whom were Fundamentalist Evangelical in their leanings. I was taught from a very early age to have respect for "God's People." I was taught that a nation rises and falls with its deference to that passage in Genesis. And it seems, I was not alone.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Closet cub is really closeted

I posted something on facebook about the sugar free reases peanut butter cups having a warning on them about a possible 'laxative effect' when eaten in excess. I hot a response from a friend about how she fed them to a kids party and all the kids had 'the browns' for a week. Closet cub posted something to the effect that that would be the only way 'the browns' could ever win the superbowl. I posted a response that it was 'cute when he talked butch.' well apparently that was over the line because he sent me this email on how my flirting was making him uncomfortable and he wasn't comfortable with me hugging him in front of the restaurant the day before.

Oy with closet cases and their drama.

Thing is, I know where it comes from. I was there 10 years ago. In the words of Harvey Milk, "Come out come out wherever you are."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Closet Cub

It was an ok party. I knew about half the people there. It was in one of those 50's ranch houses that have been added on until the house just rambles like a scrabble board and seems to go on for days. I grabbed a glass of wine and wandered out into the pool area and a group of lesbians were over in the corner, smoking and talking facing the bay with the lights sparkling and reflecting on the bay in the damp Florida night. At the other end of the pool, a guy I knew was talking to a guy I didn't. I crossed and began talking to the guy I knew. Smalltalk, nothing in particular. And then he wandered up. Cubbie. Cubbie and I talked about how he was campaign manager for the guy I ddn't know sitting there and I pledged my support. Cubbie asked me if I was on facebook and I pulled out my iPhone and friended his candidate. Cubbie spent the next hour talking about nothing in particular and I really wasn't listening because I was imagining him naked and what I would do to him when he was. After the party, I went home and tried to find him on facebook, but was unsuccessful.

The next morning I got a friend request from him. But in his profile it didn't say he was gay. Had I misread the situation? I looked for clues in the list of favorite movies... Mama Mia AND wedding crashers... Damn. Mixed signals. Finally I just im'd him... 'Are you gay?' because I thought I sensed that. He explained that he wasn't out to all his facebook friends so he didn't have that information on his profile.

I asked him if he eaten. He said no, so we met at a local diner for brunch. He told me he was business partners with his two brothers and one is a conservative religious guy and he couldn't alienate that brother right now because he was depending on that money to make it through grad school.

He's adorable and smart. I have to get to know him better. He's my little Closet Cub.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bush Administration Insider knocked off

A story is making the rounds about a bush administration insider who was hosting the data for the 2000 and 2004 election while at the same time maintaining close ties to republican insiders and data from the elections that was hosted on a shared sever with party sites. You think to yourself... they wouldn't steal the election, would they? They wouldn't actually tamper with data from an election source...???

Well, put that together with what we know about diebold voting machine's security issues. Mix in what I know about administering a shared server and, at the least, you have a situation where the data on that server cannot be trusted to be accurate.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Social Networking

So i'm doing a lot with twitter/facebook/linkedIn and working with their PHP tools to make connections between websites. It's going to be interesting to see the type of applications that develop over the next year or so based on previously closed social networks opening themselves to developers and providing connections between the various services. There are many that are simultaneously competitive and complimentary. For example, LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn is primarily business focused where Facebook is primarily personal. It makes sense for them to open themselves to connections linking your business life with your personal life. Twitter's strength is immediacy. Linking the three profiles on the three different services provides a unique synergy that neither of the three of them could achieve alone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

America is out of good ideas

In the first part of Tony Kushner's masterpiece "Angels in America", subtitled "Millennium Approaches", the world is running down, everything is becoming empty and man as a creation is out of creative ideas. I feel that acutely now. With so many corporate failures and so many companies on the verge of bankruptcy asking for governmental handouts, it seems the baby boomers leading American companies have led us to our doom. We are an empty cistern of ideals. With no imagination we are trustifarians living on a credit card tied to the hard work and accomplishments of our forefathers.

I believe in rain. I believe in renewal. There's always a second act.... a Part II. Perestroika ... the new openness... is coming. We shall be renewed. Good ideas will come and we again will be led by a progressive leader.

I have to believe. Please don't let us down, President Obama.

The Bubble Project

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008