I’m Cheating and It Happens Every Day

Okay, so the title isn’t entirely a statement of fact, and it is definitely a play on words, but it helps accomplish two goals for today.

The Fat Mum Slim Photo-a-Day prompt for today is “Happens Everyday”.  As I tried to think of something to photograph that fits this description I realized that, while I could think of dozens of things that happen everyday, brushing teeth, taking a shower, using the toilet, preparing and eating meals, getting out of bed, getting into bed, playing on Facebook, reading, writing, ‘rithmetic– Oh…  not that one, not if I can help it…  I realized, that there wasn’t anything particularly exciting, and more importantly, not maybe just a little inappropriate to share on this forum, to photograph and share with the world.  Then it hit me.  There is something that I do everyday, something that I could share with the world, but more importantly something that leads into a story I’m supposed to tell and have not yet done.  Every day I put lotion on my tattoos, particularly the newest one, to moisturize the skin where they have been implanted and to bring out the color that is otherwise masked by the paleness of dried out skin.  While in the strictest of terms, I’m not sharing any photographs that were taken today, what I am sharing is all original photography, either taken by me, or taken of me, and with my camera.  That will make sense in a minute, but suffice it to say that it would’ve been really difficult for me to have taken all of the pictures that will be shared here.  With that said, here is the not so long-awaited story, as promised, of my fourth tattoo; the one with the sentimentality to surpass all others (on my body at least).

In October of 2012, I went one Sunday afternoon to pick up Lil’B from his house for our regular outing.  Lil’B and I had been matched for a little over three years at that point.  We had grown close.  The days of yesteryear, with the long silences and the uncertainty of our connection were past and I was confident, indeed certain of our closeness.  On this particular Sunday afternoon in early October, Lil’B presented me with a drawing that he had done for me.  Lil’B has always been a good artist and it’s something he enjoys.  In fact, our very first get together, I came over and we hung out in his bedroom as he showed me his toys and games and got to know what hanging out with me would be like in the relative comfort and safety of his own home, with his mother in the next room.  After showing me his toys and games and playing with them for a little while, he pulled out his art supplies and we began to draw pictures.  His pictures were much better than mine.  As I said, he’s always been a good artist.  Me?  Not so much.  I still have the drawings he did for me that day hanging on my refrigerator.  Unfortunately, in the present state of financial lack the state of California has been experiencing, arts classes of all kinds have been the first to go in the curriculum, in the interest of saving money.  It’s a tragedy in my mind that the powers that be, don’t see the value in exercising that part of a child’s mind and in fact the detriment that such deprivation inflicts on a child’s education.  Nonetheless, art classes are a thing of the past in Lil’B’s schools and the fact that he drew this picture for me was particularly special and moving for me, because he was not prompted by anyone to do it.  It was entirely of his own volition and on his own time that he drew this picture that so clearly, at least to me, depicts the meaning our relationship holds for him, but just as importantly illustrates that he is paying attention when we interact and he knows me and what I like (at least as much as is reasonable for a then 10-year-old to know.)

Lil’B drew this picture for me, purely because he was thinking of me, and he wanted to do it.

Drawing from Lil'B, Depicting Some Super Things

Drawing from Lil’B, Depicting Some Super Things

For the sake of his privacy I have covered up our names on the drawing, but you can see in the top right corner, he drew himself and me.  He also drew a picture of Superman and a Superman logo.  Then, though his spelling is wrong, he drew a “Supermisha logo” and a picture of Supermischa, a grey cat in Superman costume.  I thought it was adorable, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Sleeping Beauty.  Mischa Asleep on my lap... Just where he believed he belonged.

Sleeping Beauty. Mischa Asleep on my lap… Just where he believed he belonged.

Purely by chance, Lil’B gave me this drawing approximately two weeks before my little buddy, Mischa fell too seriously ill to go on and I had to make the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.  Mischa wandered into my life when he was just about ten weeks old and with the exception of a few months here and there when I lived in places he couldn’t, he was with me for his entire life, which in the end, was a few months longer than 20 years.  He had a long and good life, being well protected and taken care of and when his time came, he went peacefully, in my arms, and knowing that he was loved to the very end.  It was, without a doubt, the worst day of my life.  I still miss him terribly.

Anyway, with Mischa gone, Lil’B’s picture became that much more special to me.  As these things go, I began to formulate an idea.  As with tattoo number 5, the idea morphed and grew and began to take shape.  In June of 2013, after several months of contemplation and communication with my tattoo artist, I finally had a plan and an appointment.

While the idea for the tattoo was, in no small part directly inspired by Lil’B’s drawing, it was still a ten-year-old’s art work.  As special as Lil’B is, and as important as he is to me, I did not want the artwork of a ten-year-old permanently affixed to my body.  I made it clear to Lil’B that he had inspired the design and that it was special to me for that reason.  I don’t think he really got it until he saw the finished product, but he seemed to really like it once he saw it and he understood the significance of the components.

There are three components that make up the significance of this tattoo, the obvious component is the part that memorializes Mischa’s life and his place in my heart.  This component is inspired by Lil’B’s drawing, though it is significantly cleaned up and made into something I would be happy to have as a permanent part of my body.

Supermischa, without the yellow filled in on the belt and logo.

Supermischa, without the yellow filled in on the belt and logo.

The next component Is actually the Superman logo as used in the 1993 television series, Lois and Clark:  The New Adventures of Superman. While I had seen and enjoyed the Christopher Reeve Superman movies when I was a kid, it really wasn’t until Lois and Clark came along that I became a big fan of Superman.  It may or may not have had something to do with my attraction to Asian men and the fact that Dean Cain is half Japanese.  Regardless, I became a fan of the character and what he stands for while enjoying that series.

Superman Logo as it appeared in the 1993-1997 series, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

Superman Logo as it appeared in the 1993-1997 series, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

The third component of the tattoo is the logo from the 2006 movie Superman Returns.  Lil’B was born in 2001 but the last movie before Superman Returns came out in 1987.  The image here is distorted due to location and the angle of the original, unedited photograph.

Distorted view of Superman logo as seen in 2006 movie, Superman Returns.

Distorted view of Superman logo as seen in 2006 movie, Superman Returns.

Admittedly, this is a tiny bit of a stretch in terms of matching up dates, but the idea is that component number one represents Mischa, component number two represents me, component number three represents Lil’B.  When put together to form the completed tattoo, it both memorializes Mischa and commemorates my relationship with Lil’B, both by representing him with the newer logo and by incorporating the artwork he inspired into the piece.  He thinks it’s pretty cool.

It’s a subtle detail, but the components are arranged in the finished tattoo, in birth order with my logo at the top, Mischa in the middle, and Lil’B’s logo at the bottom.

Here we see a selection of “in progress” photos taken by my good friend and tattoo guru, K (with my camera), to show the progress of the tattoo from beginning to end.

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By the way, you might have noticed the “6/13” at the bottom of Lil’B’s logo.  This was my fourth tattoo.  On countless occasions, I have had people ask, of the first three, “How long have you had that?” and I never knew the answer.  As I was preparing to have this tattoo done, I looked back through various records (*cough* paper journals *cough*) and found out the month and year that I had each of the previous three tattoos done and as part of the process for tattoo number four, I had dates added to each of my tattoos so that when people asked me how long I’ve had them, I could refer to the date on the artwork and answer the question.  If you refer back to the pictures of tattoo number five, you’ll see that there is a date added to that tattoo as well.  This will be something I will keep up with going forward as I continue to get more tattoos…  And I will be getting more tattoos.

So there you have it.  Two birds, one stone.  It happens everyday that I put lotion on my tattoos including tattoo number four, the previously untold tattoo…  heh!

By the way, tomorrow’s photo-a-day prompt is “upside down”.  I’m not the least bit sure how I’m going to manage a picture for that, that is not just using editing tools to turn a right side up picture, upside down.  The recommendation on Fat Mum Slim’s list is, if nothing else, “turn your phone upside down” to take a picture.  Apparently Chantelle doesn’t have an iPhone, or she’d know that turning the phone upside down does no good.  The accelerometer in the phone just turns the picture right side up for you…  I suppose that’s not any less cheating than using editing tools to turn something upside down.  We’ll have to see what I can come up with.

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The Words Will Come

Just start writing….  The words will come…  Just start writing…

That’s what the great and powerful “they” always say, right?  Just start writing, the words will come.  And the truth is, the great and powerful “they” are not wrong.  This strategy has worked for me many times before.  It’s just that, there’s a lot of stuff going on and swirling around in my brain, and I haven’t quite figured out how to sort it all out yet.  How much of it to share and how much of it to keep to myself.

Despite my best efforts I’m still inclined to worry a bit about what readers of this site will think of what I put here, and yet, I’m actually quite proud of my last post.  Yes, I discussed some “mature themes” and yes I admitted to some activities that, in the past, I would have completely kept to myself, as much out of embarrassment, as anything else, but I think it’s a good thing that I posted that.  I spend a lot of time in this sort of “in-between” stage of life where I feel like, I shouldn’t do anything I’m ashamed of and therefore I don’t do anything I’m ashamed of…  Yet I’m ashamed of things I really shouldn’t be, and therefore, this philosophy holds me back.

There is an excellent chance that I’m confusing shame with fear, or shame with unfounded guilt which causes fear, or some other tremendously deep and impressive introspection that I’m not quite clear about and obviously can’t manage to articulate…

I’ve come a long way in the last several years of blogging, and even before that.  I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve gained a considerable amount of emotional and mental independence (not to be confused with the physical and financial independence that I’ve had since I was 22).  But “a considerable amount” can be just a drop in the bucket when you’re coming from a place of such dependence…  Or co-dependence.  There are still a good many subjects and issues about which I can hear my mother’s voice, or more to the point, her judgmental, disappointed noises.  Tsking and groaning and sighing (oh my!).  And it’s not like she even needs to know about my behavior and my activities, but it doesn’t matter if the physical being knows anything because the non-corporial manifestation of her that exists in my subconscious is ever-present and equally judgmental.  And, of course, I think I’m inclined to project that judgement and condemnation onto other people both local and afar.  I imagine the gasps and the shaking heads of the people who might read my words, the disappointment that might come from having the image of me, which they have created, sullied by the revelation of the things I don’t dare say.

I am aware, as I write these words, that I’m creating a proverbial mountain out of what many would see as an equally proverbial mole hill.  I am also aware that, while I do value the regular readers of this blog and would hate to put anyone off, concealing things about myself and allowing the fears of other’s opinions to hold me back is not only destructive and hurts me more than it does anyone else, it is potentially more destructive and hurtful than not acting because of the fear.

I’m human.  I’m alive.  I’m male (stereotype).  And like everyone else, I have needs, both physical and emotional that need to be fulfilled, one way or another. The truth is, while I’m over here hiding from that fact, all of you are probably reading this blog and assuming it; assuming that I take measures to have my needs fulfilled (trust me, I do), you just don’t necessarily want to know what those measures are.  Certainly, there is a fine line between open and honest sharing, not leaving out pertinent details, and this turning into a very different kind of blog from what it has ever been before.  

Prior to the vague implications and poorly shrouded subliminal information in my last post, I believe I have discussed specific sexual activity on my part, exactly one time on this blog.  One time in five and a half years.  Meanwhile, any regular readers probably haven’t given my sexual endeavors much conscious thought, but have unconsciously assumed that I have not lived as a eunuch.  Society, as a whole, tends to frown on free and open discussions of sex, or so I have generally believed.  Yet as I write that I realize it happens far more frequently than I am comfortable with, and I have to question why that is.

Why am I so uncomfortable with it?  Why is it so hard for me to discuss it?

Certainly, it is, in part, due to my lack of experience and a fear that engaging in such conversations will result in any number of uncomfortable situations where I can not contribute as much to the conversation as people might expect me to; something I generally prefer to avoid.  But part of it is because of that non-corporial manifestation of my mother that exists in my subconscious, which is ever-present and tremendously judgmental.  It comes from a  damaged place within my psyche that is influenced by my mother’s constant over-vilification of sex during my childhood to the point that sex scares me.

There.  I’ve said it.  Sex scares me.  It doesn’t just make me nervous or uncomfortable because it’s “new”, it scares the ever-loving shit out of me in a way I don’t even know how to combat.

Logically, I know it shouldn’t.  Intellectually, I know that sex is a perfectly natural, and healthy thing.  Through the power of study, meditation and independent thought, I have even arrived at the conclusion that I believe pre-marital sex is not only not wrong, it’s important and healthy.  Reasonable, not overly graphic discussions of sex in general, are not something to be afraid of and shy away from, particularly when they lay the groundwork for a further story…

Yet any discussion of my own sexuality (not my sexual orientation, but my sexuality) makes me very uncomfortable and self conscious.

…..

I have a date tomorrow night, and I have mixed feelings about it.  I think it’s a date.  I didn’t really think it was a date when it was discussed, but it seems that it is a date.

Everything I have said here that leads up to that revelation does not, in any way, mean I think there’s an expectation or obligation for sex tomorrow.  In fact quite to the contrary, I think it’s clearly understood that sex will not be happening.  Rather, it’s about how this date came about, and how my shame, prevented me from writing about it before now.

In this wonderful, 21st century world in which we live, there is an iPhone app for absolutely everything.  Seriously.  According to one source in October, 2013 there were approximately 1,000,000 apps in the Apple App Store and that number just keeps going up.  If you can realistically conceive of it, there is probably an app out there for it, already.  And society (and men – stereotype) being what it is, there is more than one app for on-line dating and people-meeting available that uses the GPS signal in phones to show you the profiles of any number of people within a certain distance of where you happen to be holding your phone and looking at that app’s screen.  The first time I ever heard of one of these apps, I downloaded it on my phone, because it was free, and I was curious to see how it worked.  I never had any delusions that I would use the app as it was intended.  I still don’t.  That’s not my style.  But because I have discovered that my, once thought to be impeccable, gaydar is, in actually, completely for shit, I thought it might be interesting to see the faces of other gay men in the area, see if there was anyone I recognized and might, therefore, meet organically and get to know, in real life.  Of course, I wasn’t about to post my own face, because I would be mortified if anyone knew I had even heard of the app, let alone actually downloaded it and look at it once in a while.  I rarely initiated conversations with anyone, and even more rarely did anyone initiate conversations with, or respond to, me.  When they did, it was, without exception, overtures toward having anonymous sex.

The block button is my friend.

Through all the bullshit that went down with The Guy this summer, one good thing did come out of it.  Well–  He doesn’t, by any means deserve all of the credit, it was the whole unfortunate experience with that short-lived job.  From the day I walked in the door, I was determined not to hide who I was or try to keep secret the details of my existence that have been so hard for me to freely share, verbally, in the past.  It was a fresh start in a new place, with a new group of people, and I was determined to start things on the right foot.  The Guy figured it out, or believed he did, from the very first day.  So, apparently, did my boss, though she couldn’t say so until I revealed it to her.  All she said was “I knew you were ‘family’.  Well, I was pretty sure, anyway.”  I learned to be more open about myself.  I learned not to fear people’s reactions.  (To this day, I have not had one person outside of my family react badly to learning that I am gay.)  I learned to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may, because these people were all new in my life and if they learned the truth up front and they didn’t like it, well, there was no loss.

Thanks to The Guy, I started to feel better about myself, physically.  Again, he doesn’t get all the credit.  Over the last two and a half years, I have lost approximately 70 pounds.  The man I see in the mirror today, is definitely not the man I saw back then.  That man’s clothes don’t fit me anymore.  I still have a long way to go, but I’ll gladly take what I can get.  I’ve learned to appreciate my body in its current form, to take control over the things I can, and not obsess over the things I can’t.  But at least for a little while there, I believed that, not only did someone find me attractive, but someone who I was attracted to, found me attractive.  Due to the nature and circumstances of our involvement and the end thereof, I temper any excitement at that fact with a healthy dose of he-was-full-of-shit, but at the very least, I learned what it feels like to appreciate having someone pursue me due to physical attraction.

I posted a face picture on the app, and filled in a simple profile telling people what I was about, and what I was and, more importantly, what I was not looking for.  I tried to put the hurt and shame of my experience with The Guy behind me and see what came next.  Suddenly, out of the blue, people started initiating chats with me.  Talking to me.  Having real conversations with me.  Much of the time, those conversations end with “so when can we hook up?”.

The block button is still my friend.

Early this week, I crossed paths with a guy we’ll call “No. 1” (not for any reason you’re likely to think of, just go with it) who was deemed to be a “likely match” by some inexplicable algorithm the site uses to suggest people you might like, based on your reactions to their previous suggestions.  No. 1 had a very relatable profile, with a statement about relationships, fidelity, and where he stands on the subject that I happened to like quite a bit.  As it happened, he hit the little “like” button on my picture and I hit the little “like” button on his, and the app was kind enough to let us each know that the other “liked” us and suggested we chat.  So we did.  And he was a nice guy.  And he appealed to me.  And we exchanged phone numbers and I suggested that we should talk again.  I even considered asking him if we could meet for coffee or something sometime, but I decided against it.  The next morning, he sent me a text message and asked if I might be free on Saturday after he gets off work at 8:00.  I am and said as much, and we set up what I thought of as “meeting and getting to know each other better, face to face.”  I know. I know.  That’s pretty much what a date is.   Only, I didn’t think of it that way.  I didn’t think of it as a prelude to anything.  I thought of it as meeting a potentially nice person and getting to know him.  (Again, pretty much what a date is.)

My mind is reeling with this.  Really, it wouldn’t be such a terrible thing if it is a date.  It wouldn’t be such a terrible thing if I enjoyed our date.  It’s just…  I admit it.  I’m terribly skittish.  And it pisses me off.  It’s not fair, that this one experience with this one, completely fucked up guy, has done such lasting damage in me.  I want to move past it.  I want to put it out of my head and forget about The Guy entirely.  I sure as shit don’t want to let him affect how I handle dating going forward.

But I’m so afraid of taking another chance.

I’m not sure I’m open to a relationship right now.  I’m not sure I’m ready to date right now.  When I agreed to meet No. 1 and we settled on a time and place, I thought, “Great!  That’s that.  I’ll see him on Saturday and we’ll have lots to talk about,” and I’m sure we will, only, he continued to text and talk to me after we settled the plans.  He has texted me every day since then, and I can’t quite explain why that bothers me.  It just does.  He has made some fairly innocent comments here and there that really have me on edge.  I’m probably reading too much into it, but he has made some comments which elude to the prospect of a relationship with me and I’m so not in that place.  I mean, we haven’t even met yet.

And all I can think is, “Oh my God!  I’m The Guy!”

A Dark in the Light

I don’t like the dark.  I’m not afraid of the dark.  Not really anyway.  I just don’t like the dark.  It’s more of a “fear of the unknown” thing.  And it’s not really fear, exactly, I just don’t like it.  And since I don’t like the unknown, and there is a lot of “unknown” in the dark, I don’t like the dark.

But I should also say that I’m talking about utter darkness.  Complete darkness.  Can’t see my hand in front of my face darkness.  I don’t like that.

These days it’s not really something I often have to worry about.  And I’ll bet you don’t either.  Turn off all your lights and look around.  With modern technology being what it is, I bet you’d be hard pressed not to be able to see clearly enough to get around easily.  So many appliances and devices in our homes these days have some sort of light on them, even when they’re “turned off”.

In my living room, there are two lights on the front of my printer.  The modem which sits on top of my DVR on my TV stand has five lights lit or blinking at all times.  There’s a clock on top of my mantle that is back-lit with an orange glow.  Even my laptop, when completely powered down has a light next to the port the plug is in.

In my kitchen the stove, microwave and iPod dock all have illuminated clocks on their faces.  When the automatic timer has activated it, my Keurig machine has a back-lit LCD display that is quite bright.

In my bedroom, right now there are three separate alarm clocks, all with lit faces, not to mention the face of my iPhone which is often turned on and lit up.  There’s even still a VCR in there with a lit LED display.

There happens to be a nice soft, blue night-light in the hallway which was there when I moved in and I never bothered to unplug.

Add to all that, the street light right outside my front door which shines through the windows in the kitchen, living room and bedroom, even through the closed plantation shutters on all the windows.

I have ambient light, all the time.  Not enough to bother me, but enough to keep me comfortable in my surroundings.

I am also not a morning person.  I do not rise easily.  I do not spring out of bed at the first sound of the alarm clock and I am not raring to go with my day.  It takes time for me to be awake enough to get out of bed.  (This is the reason there are multiple alarm clocks  in my room.)  The clock on my night stand goes off at 6:30 and tunes to my favorite morning radio show.  The clock on the dresser across the room goes off at 7:00 with an obnoxious beep that gradually grows louder until it is acknowledged.  I throw the covers back and slowly push myself into an upright position before dragging my self just far enough out of the bed to reach across and snooze the clock.  Then I plop back down on the bed, pull the covers over my body and I’m out cold again in seconds.  Nine minutes later we repeat this process and I crawl back into bed slightly more awake than the last time.  Nine minutes after that we go through the whole thing again and nine minutes after that and nine minutes after that.  With each interval I am a little bit more awake.

At some point, I lie in bed, listening to the radio show, 75% awake and 25% not while I wait for the alarm to go off again and I debate whether this will be the time I get up and stay up.

And that’s were we were today, sometime in the second quarter of the seven o’clock hour, when suddenly the radio show went silent.  I opened one eye and reached out to turn the radio back on when I noticed that the clock face was blank.  That’s when I realized that when the radio went silent I had also heard a downward sliding groan of noise outside.

There was a momentary resurgence of power and then the downward sliding groan again and everything was silent.  The power in the entire neighborhood had gone out.  I called PG&E to be sure and they were already aware of it.

At 7:20 in the morning it is not exactly dark around here.  The sunlight pierced the louvers of the shutters and the house was sufficiently illuminated.  And yet, with out all the random ambient lights and without all the soft hums of electronic components, it seemed oddly dark.

Not spooky.

Not scary.

Just… Dark.

A Drop In – (In which I Parenthesis You To Death)

Oh hi!  I didn’t see you there!  I’m sorry, I don’t really have time to talk right now.

Okay, so, yeah, I’m cheating a little bit… again.  Or at least I feel like I am.  I really don’t have time to write a deep and meaningful post (or even a shallow and meaningful post).  Today is laundry day and I’m supposed to be getting ready to go to Michelle’s house.  She texted me a little bit ago and told me, “Stop playing games,” (I had just sent her my moves in Dice with Buddies – If you have an iProduct and you’re not playing Dice, you’re missing out.  It’s like Yahtzee, but on the phone and it’s fun, quick, mindless entertainment (in which I don’t routinely get my ass kicked.)) “and hurry up and get here so we can go to Red Lobster for dinner.”  (The girl is a sucker for Red Lobster.)

So, yeah.  I really shouldn’t be here right now, but I didn’t want the day to go by without a post (and I likely won’t be home before midnight in WordPresslandia – which is 11:00 my time).  (Did you know, I just learned a new rule about parentheses and periods?  Apparently, according to the Roget’s (I think I’m spelling that right) Writing Guide on my desk at work, the period goes inside the closing parenthesis if the entire sentence is in the parentheses and outside the closing parenthesis when only part of the sentence is inside the parentheses.  I always thought it was always supposed to be inside the closing parenthesis.  Go figure!) (I’m pretty sure I’m also breaking some rule about parentheses inside of parentheses, but whatever!)

Anyway.  Cheating.  Yeah.  I kind of am, because this is going to be one of the most pointless, long-winded, without saying anything, posts I’ve written in a while, but the thing is, how cool would it be if I could post a picture of my February calendar with all those little grey dots over each of the dates, like I did for January?  AND – and I”m not making any promises here – but how cool would it be if NEXT January, I can post twelve pictures of twelve little calendars with little grey dots on every one of them???  So since I didn’t have time (or inspiration) – (What’s with all the freakin’ parentheses, today?) to pre-write and schedule a post for today, while I’m not supposed to be on my computer, I had to stop in really quickly to tell you that I don’t have anything to say today…

Sorry to have wasted your time. 😉

Anyway, I have got a few things bubbling around in the back of my brain and so I’ve got things to write about in the coming days, but right now, unless I want to make THIS a habit, I’ve got to get a move on!

Talk to you later.  Thanks for stopping by!

Now, I’m Not Saying I’m Not Wearing Underwear…

For about a week now, the hosts of my favorite morning radio show have been promoting National Commando Day today.  Sometimes the tangents they go off on are not… the cleanest.  They stated that when a woman goes commando it’s called climando.  I think that’s disturbing.  (Which begs the question, why did I include it here?)  I know what that means and I’d prefer not to think about it.

Anyway, I wondered what this National Commando Day thing was all about.  I mean, it seems like every day is some sort of national day of something (though I have no idea who decides.)    Today the LOLCats seem to think it’s National Popcorn Day:

courtesy icanhazcheezburgers.com

But can we have competing national days?  Am I supposed to kick back and watch a movie while eating disgustingly over-buttered popcorn while not wearing any underpants?  I’m confused.

I did a search for “National Commando Day” on Google and the first item in the results says National Commando Day 2009.  In 2009, there was a National Commando day, but it was July 31st.  Later I found there was also a National Commando day on July 29th, 2010.  Nothing on 2011 and certainly nothing about today.  The link points to www.nationalcommandoday.org/ a website that focuses on bringing attention to Prostate Cancer and the need for early detection.  OK, I can get… ahem… behind… that.

The next relevant result was for GameStop.  September 20, 2011 was a GameStop-declared “National Commando Day”, but it clearly was not the same thing.  Apparently, that was the day that Gears of War 3 came out.  I’m not so sure I’m amused by their use of “commando” for their purposes, but that’s just me.

There’s a link to a Facebook group for National Commando Day, but it’s the same organization and it appears to refer back to the 2009 date.  And there’s a link to a site called http://www.prostateconditions.org/ which then has a link back to National Commando Day.org.  Nothing about a 2012 event.  There is, of course, a link to “going commando” on Wikipedia and not entirely surprising, there’s a link to the Sarah & Vinnie podcast from just this morning discussing National Commando Day, where supposedly, all of the on-air personalities of the show were going commando (or climando – ew) today.

At one point Sarah & Vinnie mentioned something about Betabrand which I’ve never even heard of before this week.  A quick search for Betabrand on Google reveals that the clothing manufacturer (who happens to be here in San Francisco) does make a product called Couch Commando Drawstring Pants.

Okay!  Now I get it.  I just click on the link to Betabrand’s website.  Apparently, I’ve had it wrong all along.  Today is actually Intergalactic Commando Day.  Here’s the deal.  According to Betabrand’s website, lots of authoritative, know-it-all types (like the Farmers Almanac, among others) agree that today, January 19th, is the coldest, most brutal day of the year, here in the northern hemisphere.  A quick downward swipe on the face of my iPhone tells me it’s about 50 degrees outside, so…  I guess I’ll take their word for it.  The challenge is:

On this auspicious and frigid date, men around the world (and beyond) are encouraged to spend the day 100% underwear-free. Our modest goal is 100 million participants: a massive, free-balling force of spirited gentleman dedicated to showing Old Man Winter who’s really boss. (Tropical commandos are welcome to join this effort in spirit.) In addition, Betabrand is asking all available women to report for spot-check duty in order to enforce the (un)dress code.

It’s actually a joint effort with an organization called Veterans Expedition.  I’m not really clear on what Veterans Expedition does, and I’m tired of reading other websites instead of writing on my own, so I’m just going to say that it’s an organization that does something that benefits Veterans, and that’s never gonna be a bad thing.  Anyway, for every purchase of Betabrand pants that occurs(ed) on January 18 & 19, 2012, they will donate $10.00 to Veterans Expedition…

And now I have jokes about what the crossed purposes of prostate cancer screening and Veterans Expeditions might be and exactly what kind of expeditions we’re talking about, going through my head and begging to get out my fingers, which… no!  Just no.

Anyway, as I said, I’m not saying I’m not wearing underwear, but…  anyway you look at it, it seems like it would be for a good cause…  😉

Stumped

What do the following songs have in common?

 

Lose Your Way, Sophie B Hawkins, Bounce motion picture soundtrack

Just Another Day, John Secada, No. 1 hit Mix

We’ll Be Together, Sting featuring Annie Lennox, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason motion picture soundtrack

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, The Righteous Brothers, Top Gun motion picture soundtrack

Dancing on the Ceiling, Lionel Richie, Dancing on the Ceiling

What Kind Of Man Would I Be? (Remix), Chicago, Chicago – Greatest Hits 1982-1989

Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do), Basia, London Warsaw New York

Love Is, Brian McKnight & Vanessa Williams, Beverly Hills, 90210 – The Soundtrack

When The Heartache is Over, Tina Turner, Ally McBeal:  For Once in My Life

Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover, Sophie B Hawkins, The Best of Sophie B Hawkins

Cruisin’, Gwyneth Paltrow & Huey Lewis, Duets motion picture soundtrack

All Night Long (All Night), Lionel Richie, 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Lionel Richie

Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers, The Very Best of the Righteous Brothers

White Christmas, Robert Downy Jr. And Vonda Shepard, Ally McBeal:  A Very Ally Christmas

What’s Love Got to Do With It, Tina Turner, Tina Turner:  The Collected Recordings

Georgetown, David Foster, St. Elmo’s Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

We Can Last Forever, Chicago, Chicago – Greatest Hits 1982-1989

Bette Davis Eyes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Duets motion picture soundtrack

Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire (Instrumental), St. Elmo’s Fire, St. Elmo’s Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Lonely Teardrops, Huey Lewis, Duets motion picture soundtrack

 

I don’t know either, but my iPod seems to think they belong together in the Genius Playlist I just listened to, based on Lose Your Way by Sophie B Hawkins.  Sometimes the genius confuses me.

For those of you really in the know, and paying attention, you’ll notice there are only 20 tracks and not the usual 25.  What’s that about?

Honey, I’m Home

That’s what I told Mischa when I finally got home tonight, about six hours later than I had planned.  I let him out of the cage right away and fed him (his bowl was completely empty, but I left him enough for a day and a half before I left at 11:00 yesterday morning, so we were pretty much right on schedule and he hasn’t scarfed down what I gave him so he must be OK.)

Michelle and her family have gone to Cache Creek Casino a number of times over the last several years but I’ve never gone with them.  Not that I didn’t think there was any fun to be had there, it just seemed silly to go to a Casino for a couple of hours and then turn around and come home again, and a casino not in Nevada, to boot!

When planning this stay-cation, I wanted to go on one over night trip, just to get away and not be at home.  The original plan was to go to Monterrey and spend the night and then get up and go whale watching, but Michelle nixed that idea when her sister reminded her that “it’s winter” and the water will probably be choppy.  Michelle has gotten seasick a few times when she’s gone before and she figured she’d stand a pretty good chance of getting sick again if we went “in winter” so we decided to go to the casino instead.

Cache Creek is an “Indian casino”.  One of those “on sovereign land – exempt from state gaming laws” kind of places.  I’m using quotes on the “Indian casino” because it had a lot of Asian influences, in both the casino and the hotel room.  Michelle had never spent the night there and neither one of us knew what we were in for, but I guess my hopes weren’t all that high, so when we walked into the room, I was blown away.

No sooner did I get out my camera to take some pictures than I realized my batteries were dead and I didn’t have any more, so all these pictures are taken using my iPhone.  They’re not too bad, considering, but cut me some slack if they’re a bit blurry.

We walked in the door of the room and the first thing I noticed was the beautiful wood flooring.

I immediately noticed the door on the left and knew it to be the door to the adjoining room next door.  Ignored that.  Wasn’t using it.  But here’s the deal; Michelle was supposed to send pictures to her sister, and I wanted to take pictures for you guys (you know you want them!) so I wanted all luggage and stuff out of sight.  I went looking for the closet to throw the luggage into and pulled the sliding door on the right back thinking it would be the closet.  You guys!!

The bathroom!

That door leads to a separate and private room for the toilet.  Look how all the towels are folded to look like little shirt collars.  Look at the “flower” in the Kleenex dispenser.

I wish I’d gotten a better picture of that tub!  My goodness!  It was so deep.  Sadly, I didn’t get an opportunity to use it, but I sat in it (how could I not) and it was amazing.  The only criticism I have is that it wasn’t a whirlpool tub.  How awesome would that be?  The shower could have been a little bigger, but it was pretty nice.  Also, it had one of those rain fall shower heads, which are supposed to be nice and luxurious, but I prefer more water pressure than that when I shower, so I could have done without it.  Clearly a matter of personal preference.

The main room was delightful as well.  I loved the benches at the ends of the beds, the pillows and cushions, the linens.  The lighting fixtures and options were really nice too.  The only problem was that there were halogen light fixtures centered over the head of each bed, but they were both on the same switch.  Michelle kept turning on the light without warning and blinding me.  I loved the chrome flexible reading lights next to each bed.  I didn’t use it but I thought it was a nice idea.

I always get the bed by the window.  I like it cooler and brighter and Michelle likes it warmer and darker so it works out.  If it was up to her, the curtains would be completely closed and the room would be oven warm, but we manage.  Or should I say, she manages.  She always manages to sleep anyway and I know this because long before I’ve had a chance to get situated and go to sleep, she’s ALREADY STARTED SNORING…

That bed looks beautiful right?  Unfortunately, it was terribly uncomfortable.  Clearly everyone who ever slept in it, slept just on the side closest to the night stand, because that side of the bed was all broken down and sagging. I suppose I should have complained but it was 11:30 PM before I got into it and I didn’t want to move at that point, even if they were able to offer.  Between the snoring and the bad mattress, I didn’t get much sleep last night.

The room had one of those nifty Kuerig Coffee makers.  And in the cupboard below was a small refrigerator.  A must for any hotel room, as far as I’m concerned.  Do I even need to say that I’m not being compensated by Kuerig for this post?  ‘Cause I’m not.  Although…  If they wanted to send me a free coffee maker in exchange for my mentioning them here, I’d gladly accept it and amend this post to say that they did!  Just, don’t send me this one.  I want a bigger, prettier one that has a reservoir to hold water and keep it hot.  This one took a little while to brew because it had to heat the water first.  (By the way, I wasn’t compensated in anyway by Cache Creek either…  Am I really required to say these things?)

So, earlier, when I said I always get the bed by the window, because I like more ambient light than Michelle does…

This hotel is literally out in the middle of no where.  It’s about 80 miles north of San Francisco surrounded by very rural land.  It’s winter so nothing is growing but we drove past a lot of groves…  Olive groves, grape fields, I don’t know, but there’s not much around this hotel for miles.  It was nearly dusk when we got into the room and this was our view…  Well, if you looked up and straight ahead, that was our view…

This was the closer view.  What’re ya gonna do?

We arrived at the “resort” at about 1:30, but the room wasn’t available to go into until after 4:00 so we spent some time in the casino.  While it’s not nearly as bad as a Nevada casino in this respect, there is smoking allowed at he casino and the air inside was a little thick with smoke.  Normally I wouldn’t have cared, much, but I’m still trying to get over this bronchitis mess and it was really irritating my airway and triggering the coughing, so I was glad for the “fresh” air of the hotel room.  We sat in the room for a little while talking and when we were about to go back down and find some dinner, Michelle went into the bathroom.  While I was waiting for her, I was sitting in one of the chairs by the bed and I saw a reflection of the view outside through the mirror on the wall.  For a moment I thought the hill outside was on fire and I was reminded of a scene, late in the TV series M*A*S*H.  Colonel Potter is standing outside looking at the glowing horizon and one of the other characters walks up to him.  The other character (don’t remember who it was) comments on how beautiful the sunset is and Colonel Potter says, “Yep.  Only the sun sets in the west.  That’s the east.”  They had to pick up the camp and move until the fire passed.

What I saw in the mirror, was, of course, the sun setting over top of the distant mountains, which were, thankfully, to the west of the hotel. 🙂

It was really nice to get away, even just for a night.  Unfortunately, I didn’t win big.  In fact I didn’t win at all, but I went there we $73.00 and I came home with $20.15.  My philosophy of casinos is I don’t gamble, I pay to play games and sometimes I win a prize, but usually I just entertain myself for a little while.  So if you look at it that way, $52.85 for a day of game playing, isn’t so bad.  And I had a good time.  That’s all that matters!