RIP Ray Bradbury

 Authors, Musings  Comments Off on RIP Ray Bradbury
Jun 072012

Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite authors and a man whose writing has influenced mine passed away yesterday.  He wrote science fiction, horror, and mystery and can be considered one of the prominent authors who brought science fiction into mainstream reading.  I hope to do the same for gay fiction!

Bradbury, however, resisted the moniker of science fiction writer.  The following is one of my favorite quotes.  “First of all, I don’t write science fiction. I’ve only done one science fiction book and that’s Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, it’s fantasy. It couldn’t happen, you see? That’s the reason it’s going to be around a long time — because it’s a Greek myth, and myths have staying power.”  I love the analogy to Greek mythology, one of my favorite subjects growing up.

This radio broadcast of Bradbury’s story, Mars is Heaven, was recommended by someone in one of my Yahoo groups.  It is incredible and I urge you to take half an hour and listen:

 Posted by at 8:39 pm
May 212012

I watched part of the sentencing of Dharun Ravi who was convicted of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate, who then killed himself by jumping off New York’s George Washington Bridge.  Ravi was also convicted of various other charges encompassing trying to cover up his crime and avoiding repercussions.  See my earlier blog for my thoughts on the trial.

Unfortunately, I missed the hearing the Clementi statements.  I joined the live broadcast when Dharun Ravi’s mother was speaking.  “Dharun’s dreams have been shattered and he has been living in hell for the past twenty months…” she said.  She also made various other statements about how Dharun has been victimized by the media and has suffered for it.

I can’t help but feel that Dharun being victimized by the media is karma.  He victimized Tyler Clementi by using electronic media.  Not once did she speak about Dharun feeling bad, guilty, remorseful, or even apologetic for what happened.  She was more concerned about what happened to her son, not about what her son inflicted on another human being.

Ravi did not speak on his behalf.  At the end, I was left with the feeling that he still truly believes that his actions were not criminal.  I’m happy he got some jail time but am more pleased that the prosecutor is appealing for more jail time.

 Posted by at 9:30 pm

Obama Supports Gay Marriage!

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May 102012

In what I see as a stunning turn of events, President Obama has stated that he is in support of gay marriage.  I am really surprised.  In the past three years, I’ve felt that Obama was paying lip service to the issue of gay rights and marriage equality.  In truth, I felt he was personally against those things.

When the issue of DADT came up, I felt that he repealed it on September 20, 2011 only because his party, his supporters, and his constituents demanded it of a Democratic president.  His response to gay issues always seemed half-hearted and fake.

This time President Obama’s response seems genuine and heartfelt.  His statement that related the issue to his daughters’ classmates having same-sex parents and how those parents shouldn’t be treated differently in the eyes of the law is simple, powerful, and indisputable.  All people, regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation are equal under the Constitution!

As someone on Twitter said so perfectly and I retweeted, it feels as though, with his support of gay marriage, Obama has become the true president that we elected three years ago!

 Posted by at 1:27 pm


 Food, Musings  Comments Off on Ramps
Apr 282012

On another, farming-related note the previous Saturday was the first farmer’s market on the square. The Dane County Farmers’ Market is a summertime Saturday tradition in Madison.  It is quite possibly the country’s largest producer-only market and features a rotating variety of seasonal vegetables, flowers, and specialty products from approximately 150 vendors every time.  All of the items are produced in Wisconsin!

My partner and I went and I bought ramps!  Ramps are a very ephemeral crop harvested only in spring.  They have a strong garlic odor but taste like onions.  While ramps have been very popular in the upper Midwest and the central Appalachian Mountains for a very long time, they are now becoming popular in epicurean restaurants across the country.

 Posted by at 9:13 pm

Organic Farming at a CSA

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Apr 222012

Serious gardening has started!  For the past three years I have worked at a CSA.  CSA stands for community supported agriculture and it’s very popular in our area of Wisconsin.

Most of the CSAs are organic and produce non-GMO vegetables.  I am a firm believer of the benefits of organic farming.  The way a CSA works is that you pay or work for your share of what the farm produces.  Payments are usually made at the beginning of the season.  Farms usually give their workers either a discount or the entire share for free.

I work two days a week and do a variety of tasks such as planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, weeding, and harvesting.  It’s hard work but lots of fun and it feels great to work with the land.  At the particular farm where I work, I get my share of organic veggies for free!


 Posted by at 4:32 pm

Easter Traditions

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Apr 092012

Good morning everyone and happy Easter to all those that celebrate. We do not celebrate a religious Easter but enjoy some of the more secular traditions like coloring Easter eggs and eating a ham, which more popular in the United States than in the rest of the world.

In the past, meat was slaughtered in the fall.  Since there was no refrigeration, any fresh pork that wasn’t slated for consumption during the winter months, was cured for spring. The curing process takes a certain amount of time so, the first hams would start to be ready in spring and ham was a natural choice for Easter dinner.

I have colored Easter eggs every year since childhood.  My favorite was making swirled eggs.  Drops of an oil-based dye are put in a bowl of water and swirled to make interesting designs.  Since the color is oil based, it doesn’t dissolve. The eggs are dipped in the water and the color stick to them in a swirled pattern.

This method was never immensely popular in the US but my mother loved it and taught my sister and I. Eventually we ran out of color and couldn’t find any more in the stores so we had to stop. In the past few years, I’ve seen the method make a resurgence so I’ve stocked up on color again!

 Posted by at 7:28 pm
Mar 132012

I’ve been following this trial closely.  The jury begins deliberating after today’s closing arguments.  In a nutshell, Dharun Ravi is accused of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, who later killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

I find the defense strategy of saying that Ravi was worried about his belongings being stolen or that he was just acting immaturely to be utterly ridiculous.  While those things may be true, it’s clearly indicative of a bias.

I highly doubt that Ravi would have been concerned if his roommate were having a female guest over.  Would he have tweeted about Clementi spending time with his girlfriend?  Would he have tried to organize a “viewing party” if the encounter were heterosexual?  I think NOT.

There is no excuse for what Ravi did except bias.  If we remove all genders from the equation, one person doing that to another is wrong by all definitions.  I hope the jury finds him guilty of everything with which he’s charged.  There is no room for bias in today’s world.


 Posted by at 10:09 pm


 Musings  Comments Off on WI-HDSA Re-Prom
Mar 042012

This past Saturday, my partner and I attended a prom in support of Huntington’s Disease.  It was a lot of fun.  We both wore identical tuxes with different color bow ties.  Mine was pink, his was purple.  I will freely admit that I am a horrible dancer but managed not to step on any toes or feet last night.  No one needed qualified medical help because of me!

Huntington’s Disease is a genetic disorder where nerve cells slowly degenerate.  Because of the slow progression of the disease, families’ lives are affected for decades and the emotional toll can be staggering.

The prom was organized by my friend at the gym, Shana Martin.  She is very active in the Wisconsin chapter of HDSA.  Her mother has HD but was brought out to the event by a special bus.  I had the honor of meeting her.  It was the first date she and her husband had been on in over ten years.  Truly a special evening for all who attended!


My friends, Shana Martin and Peter Verstegen, at the Re-Prom

My friends, Shana Martin and Peter Verstegen, at the Re-Prom


 Posted by at 5:23 pm

Blog 42: Life, the Universe, and Everything

 Authors, Musings  Comments Off on Blog 42: Life, the Universe, and Everything
Feb 292012

Since this is Blog 42, I will dedicate it to a book and its author who have influenced both me and my friends even though I have never read the book.  I sheepishly admit that I was never able to get through The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by British writer Douglas Adams although a great majority of my friends love and quote it.

In the novel, a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings insist on having the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything from the supercomputer, Deep Thought, which was specially built for said purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42.

When I don’t know the answer to a question, I answer 42 because it isthe Ultimate Answer!

Deception Island

 Posted by at 6:18 pm

New Year’s Resolutions

 Musings, Writing  Comments Off on New Year’s Resolutions
Jan 052012

Greetings my friends and Happy New Year!  I wish you all the best in the coming year.  I will be spending the day cleaning the place and cheering on the Packers!  GoPackGo!  This year I have quite a few resolutions…

  1. Edit.  Edit.  Edit some more!  I have three completed novels that need editing.  I want to get those out to you as soon as possible.
  2. Now that JoyBoy Island has ended, I want to find ways of getting my work out to readers that never experienced JBI.
  3. Write the sequel to Possession of Truth.  I have the plot outlined.  Now, I just need a block of free time to get going.  Anybody know where those are sold?
  4. Develop a new Bloody Mary recipe.  I have two so far, the Perfect Bloody Mary and the Caribbean Bloody Mary.  As I am a Bloody Mary lover, this is tantamount to successful writing!
  5. Reach out to more of my readers.  I love hearing from all of you.
Salisbury Plain

Penguins and Fur Seals on Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island


 Posted by at 3:43 pm