Mornings like this…

**Riiiiiiiing**

**RIIIIIIIIIIING**

I hear the phone ring as I drowsily lift my head off the pillow. I notice it’s bright outside… much brighter than it should be. In a panic, I check my alarm clock.

It’s blinking 12:00.

SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!

I answer the phone and tell my co-worker that there was a power outage and I’m on my way. While in the kitchen, I glance up at the battery-operated clock on the wall. 10:30. CRAP. An hour late already.

I jump in the shower, shave, dress, and bolt out the door. In all, it took about 30 minutes.

I hate mornings like this.

And how was your day?

Good morning sunshine

I’m up early today. The sun is just cracking over the buildings in the east and it’s gorgeous. If I was ambitious enough I’d grab my camera and take some shots, but I have to be at work rather early today, so I need to make all of this somewhat brief… so you’ll just have to visualize on your own. It’s OK to use your imagination, after all.

First, some good news. The cast list for Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus’s holiday show was posted and I’m happy to report that I got a little featured number in the show! I’ll be singing a duet titled “The Christmas Cactus,” which was written by a onetime member of the chorus (and briefly a blogger as well) named Steve. It’s a ballad that I got a chance to sing at the audition. So if you are itchin’ to see me and 150 other sexy men in cowboy duds (I need to buy some boots now… oy!), click here and buy some tickets!

Next, some good news for some and some so-so news for others. As you may know, if you read my blog and have checked out my links, I am a Cubs fan when it comes to local sports. I was born and raised this way. And when you’re a Cubs fan, you are taught at an early age that you are not to be a fan of any other team– especially the Chicago White Sox.

You see, when I was a small child, I started to stray. I would listen to White Sox games on my little transistor radio instead of Cubs games– mainly because I was drawn to Harry Caray’s antics and his singing of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th Inning Stretch. My father, ever the dipolomat, set me straight (so to speak) right away. He told me, “Ricky, I just want you to keep this in mind. Cubs fans get toys and presents from Santa. Do you know what Sox fans get?”

“No, Daddy,” I replied sheepishly.

“Coal, Ricky. Sox fans get coal.”

I changed allegiances rather quickly.

Not that I mind, of course. I am a true blue Cubs fan, and nothing will change that.

Not even the White Sox going to the World Series for the first time in 40+ years.

But unlike my father, who will staunchly root for whichever National League team plays against the Sox in the World Series — even the hated Cardinals– I simply must put my foot down. For I am now a Chicagoan, albeit a northsider, and I have to root for the home team.

So… although this hurts, I will say it and get it over with.

Go Sox!

Why Rocket Man?

Over the years, and certainly ever since I started this blog, I’ve often been asked one question.

“Why do you call yourself ‘Rocket Man’?”

Good question.

The answer to that has many facets, but the number one reason lies in the most obvious. It does have to do with Elton John.

I’ve always liked Elton’s music, but it wasn’t until high school that I really discovered Elton John and became a big fan. There was something about him that just drew me to him. It could have been his outlandish costumes, or his flashy persona; but overall I think it was the music itself. I was initially embarrassed to be a fan of Elton John, until one day a guy who I looked up to in the next grade said that he, too, was a fan of Elton John. After that, it was officially OK to be a fan.

But the name Rocket Man didn’t come about until I bought my first computer and discovered the wonderful world of Prodigy. Ahhh yes, Prodigy. Early, early, EARLY online experiences. 2400 baud modems. VGA monitors. Memories. *Sigh*.

My sister and I signed on to Prodigy with our very first computer, a Leading Edge 386SX with a 40MB hard drive and 1 MB of RAM. How that thing ever ran Windows 3.1, I’ll never know, but it did.

Through Prodigy, and its bulletin boards, we met many people all over the country. We both participated in a couple boards together, and I participated in the Elton John fan boards. It was there that my Rocket Man persona began to take shape.

Each member had their own identifier, and it was usually linked to an Elton John song, or a character in a song, such as “Tiny Dancer” or “Levon” or “Sugar Bear” (from “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”). I chose to call myself “Rocket Man Rick.”

When Prodigy waned and AOL surged, the members of the Prodigy boards tried to continue our postings on the AOL boards. We all transferred our personas to our screen names. I signed up but couldn’t use the full spelling of Rocket Man as my ID (at the time you were limited to only a certain number of characters). So I shortened Rocket Man to RcktMan. Initially, I was RcktMan22, but after about four years of changing my screen name (and subsequently my Email address) every time I grew a year older, I finally grew tired of that. By that time, I knew I was going to be moving to Chicago, so I changed it to RcktManIL. It’s been that way ever since.

The Elton John fanatacism died down, but the name stuck. While I’m still a fan of Elton’s music, he isn’t the primary focus of my online experience anymore.

However, I do love the song Rocket Man very much. The lyrics are very freeing and uplifiting. They speak to me, and I think of them often as I live my life. What started as a simple homage to a musical artist that I admired has become sort of an identity. And I kinda like it.

“And I think it’s gonna be a long, long, time
Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no…
I’m a Rocket Man
Rocket Man, burning up his fuse up here alone”