The Creeping Crud

Ben and I have both been down with the creeping crud the past few days, and I’m ready for it to be over. What a waste of a perfectly good weekend.

I guess it’s one of those unintended consequences of being partnered to a teacher; he’s exposed to little walking petri dishes day in and day out, much like I was when I worked at the hospital.  (I’ve never been as sick as often as I was when I worked there, despite the copious amount of hand washing and hand sanitizing I engaged in.) I just wish he wasn’t quite so inclined to bring the illness du jour home with him.

(I kid, I know it can’t be helped.)

Ben missed two days of work last week, and I was out on Friday. I think I got off relatively easy this time, as I’m feeling pretty good now that the headache from hell has disappeared and my sinuses are once again functioning relatively normally.  Ben, however, hasn’t been as lucky. He got hit with the full force of the crud and still isn’t feeling anywhere near back to normal.  Send him some good thoughts, okay?

Worth Reposting

Since that nutcase Harold Camping is again predicting the end of the world, supposedly today.  Last time was a mistake…

Does anyone even believe his bullshit any more?

Friday Dance Party: Paradise Express – We Are One

…and a story of unrequited love.

Steve Golden and I met in 1979 and had a strange relationship from the very beginning. I think that in another timeline things might’ve taken a decidedly different course, but in this one, a full blown relationship was never meant to be.  That did not mean, however, that we did not love each other deeply; it just meant that circumstances never allowed either of us to fully move upon those feelings, physically or otherwise.

Steve is now gone from us for twenty years (twenty years!) and is another one of those stories I hope to blog about in more detail at some point, but suffice to say that he was a DJ at one of Phoenix’s big gay clubs during the period this song came out.  One night I was down on the floor dancing with Dennis, my partner at the time, and out of nowhere Steve stopped the music (absolutely unheard of), came over the speakers and said, “Mark, this is for you.” I looked up to the DJ booth and as he blew me a kiss, played this song.

Unrequited love, indeed.

But if things hadn’t gone the way they did, I wouldn’t be where I am now, or with who I am now, and that is infinitely better…

 

Sadness

That’s the only word I have to describe the feeling that completely overwhelmed me yesterday during my afternoon commute.  It came out of nowhere, and by the time I got home I was almost in tears.

I can’t even use the word unhappy to describe it. To me unhappy denotes dissatisfaction. You wanted A but ended up with B. No, this was something different.  There’s a history of depression in my family, so I’m hoping this (thankfully transitory) episode was just a fluke and doesn’t mark the beginning of something more severe.

Frankly, I think my malaise sprang from a combination of many things that simply refused to be ignored any longer: the escalating political stupidity in this country and the ever more outrageous, batshit-crazy shrieking from the right; witnessing the insane police brutality unleashed on the ostensibly peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters, and the fact that like those out there protesting, I’m literally back to living paycheck to paycheck (and sometimes not even that), earning what I did six years ago. Don’t get me wrong―I’m thankful to have a job, and at a place I genuinely like on top of it, but at this point I have no health insurance, and no possibility of seeing a doctor for even a routine checkup―much less anything more―until (assuming I do get hired on as a permanent employee at the company I’m contracting with) after the first of the year.  Never mind that I’m now officially overdue for my yearly post-cancer throat exam and that I’m wearing contact lenses that should’ve been replaced a very long time ago.  The car needs the front bushings and a leaking power steering hose replaced (thankfully both covered by my mechanical breakdown insurance, but each requiring a separate $250 deductible), and I still owe a dear friend $200 from some money she lent me last summer. Don’t even get me started on the two medications I’m taking―neither of which have generic equivalents―that cost $50 each for a 30-day supply…

Yeah, I think I have a right to be a little sad.

If that weren’t enough, I’m still not feelin’ it as far as Denver is concerned.  That doesn’t worry me that much, because as I remember I went through something similar when I first moved to San Francisco, and it took me well over a year before I started to think of it as home, but it’s still there, tap-tap-tapping at my subconscious.

The same goes for our apartment.  It’s very nice (even with its strange design quirks), but as I explained to Ben the other day, it still just feels like someplace we’re staying; it’s not yet home.  I guess that comes from the fact that I was in my last place three years, and the place before that, a little over seven, and I’m used to being settled.

I also miss my family back in Phoenix.

All I can say is it’s very different to uproot yourself and start a new life when you’re 50 versus when you’re 25.  Very different. At least I take solace in knowing that both my mom and dad did just that when they were even older than I am now, so I know it’s not impossible.

Oh, and one more thing:  Last night, after trying iCloud and deciding it was a waste of time and effort for anything other than Find My Mac and Find My iPhone, I disconnected and the lost all my calendars.  For some fucking reason, when you decide to disconnect from the cloud using your Mac, you’re offered the choice of staying connected or losing all the calendar data synced to your Mac. Seriously.  (“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”) Thankfully, after quite a bit of swearing and being unable to restore them from Time Machine, I was able to manually sync my calendars back from my iPhone.  I sometimes think there are Apple designers who have a severe case of Microsoft envy.

Now That's Scary!

And proves beyond a doubt that everything on his planet could be blotted out in the wink of an eye…and we’d never even see it coming.

From Dvice:

In August of 1883, an astronomer in Mexico named José Bonilla spotted hundreds of fuzzy objects passing in front of the sun that nobody could explain. A new analysis of these observations suggests that what Bonilla saw was anywhere from a billion to a trillion tons of comet passing as close as a few hundred miles from the surface of the Earth.

At the time, Bonilla had no idea what he was looking at. All he knew was that over a period of about two days, he counted about 450 objects surrounded by fuzziness passing between his telescope and the sun. Contemporary astronomers didn’t see anything, and when Bonilla published a paper in an astronomical journal a few years later, the journal editor suggested that Bonilla must have accidentally been counting birds or bugs or something like that.

As it turns out, it may not have been bugs. It may have been the remnants of an immense comet that narrowly missed completely destroying our entire civilization that nobody else saw because it was so freakin’ close to us. Based on Bonilla’s account of the size and number of the objects and the length of time that they were visible, modern astronomers have been able to estimate what the original size of the comet probably was, and just how close all of its fragments came to Earth. The numbers are shocking: each of the 450 fragments probably ranged in size from 150 feet to a solid mile across, and the upper limit on the size of the original comet (before it broke up) is something like nine trillion tons.

Let’s just put a few trillion tons of fragmented comet in perspective, shall we? We’re talking about an object with a mass that’s equivalent to at least eight Halley’s comets. And if you’re wondering what would happen if a couple-hundred-foot wide comet fragments made it through Earth’s atmosphere, we’re pretty sure it happened over Sibera back in 1908, resulting in an explosion approximately equal to the detonation of a moderately-sized thermonuclear weapon. Nobody was around to experience the blast, but a few trees did get knocked over. And by a few, I mean 80 million.

Now, keep in mind that those 450 objects that Bonilla counted over two days only come from a few hours of observations, and extrapolating his objects per hour out over two days, we get over 3,000 cometary fragments. So take that type of fun little thermonuclear-equivalent destructive experience, and imagine it happening thousands of times all over the Earth in a period of a day or two. Yeah, we’re talking the equivalent of global thermonuclear war, except way, way worse. Odds of humanity (or much in the way of any other plants or animals) surviving the bombardment and the climate change that would follow is not good, not good at all.

The really scary part is just how close this comet came to hitting the Earth: since only Bonilla saw the fragments and no other astronomers did, that means that it had to be close to us. Very close. Very, seriously, it’s not even funny close. The minimum distance that the fragments passed was calculated to be about 400 miles from the Earth’s surface, which is nothing. That’s only 150 miles or so above the International Space Station. If the comet had been in a slightly different orbit, or had broken up at a slightly different time, as of about a hundred years ago, our entire civilization might have ceased to exist.

I Was Really Expecting…

…Denver to be more wet and cloudy than it’s been. But I guess the same commandment that’s in place in Phoenix also extends to Denver as well: Thou shalt have no days where the sky is completely overcast from sunrise to sunset. It is forbidden!

This…

…is why people like Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry and that cunt from Wasilla think they can be president.  And why the rest of us should be terribly worried that they will.