I'll be looking at the moon… but I'll be seeing you….

The time has come, and I am facing the music with dignity.  

This is my last post at The Launching Pad.

For the past month, I have essentially ignored my blog.  I had great ideas in my head, but none of them ever came to life on “paper.”  And then things got busy.  Really busy.  And I decided that I had to start cutting things out.  And this was one of the cuts.  

There are a lot of things happening with me that are going to keep me very busy for the next year or so.  I need to free up the time and resources to fit those things in.  Blogging no longer figures into that equation.  Besides, let’s face it, folks… blogging isn’t what it used to be.  The community that I knew back when I started in 2004 has moved on to other things as well.  Most of them are on Facebook, so I am still in touch with them there.  I can communicate my thoughts there for free, and even blog if I want to.  Who needs all this fancy schmancy stuff?

Yep… it’s time.  And this time it’s for real.

So what’s going on that’s going to keep me so busy?

Well first… I am moving.

Not to a new city… just to a new apartment.  My lease is up May 1 and I am gaining a roommate again.  First time in 7 years.  I’m excited and a little nervous about that… but it will all be for the best.  I’ve come to the realization that I can no longer afford to live alone… at least for the time being.  Living with a roommate will be better finanically, and also spiritually.  It’ll be nice to have someone around to talk to that isn’t furry and walks on four legs– not that my cats aren’t sweet and lovable, mind you.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been talking to my future roommate about what we’re looking for, and he’s been talking to a realtor friend of his to help us find the perfect place.  I’m staying in Andersonville (if I can), and hopefully we’ll find something nicer that will still cost me less than what I’m paying right now.

The other big event has to do with the chorus.

I was recently re-elected to CGMC’s Membership Council for another TWO-year term.  In addition, I was chosen by the new council to be their Council President.  I’ll be involved in every aspect of administering to, recruiting, and retaining members of the chorus.  It’s going to keep me pretty busy, but I’m looking forwad to the challenge.

And of course, I still want to be there for my family as much as I can.  My nieces just turned one, and I’m looking forward to possibly being a bigger part of their lives in the next year.  

Most of you who read this blog are on Facebook, and I see you and chat with you and exchange messages with you there.  The others who aren’t there, I still have your blogs.  I will see you around there, and around the blogging community.  

I’m not disappearing.  I’m just moving on to new opportunities.

So this is not goodbye.  It’s just… 

I’ll be seeing you.  

Thanks.

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Has Blogging Jumped the Shark?

Recently, I found myself engaged in a rather intellectual and even stimulating conversation with a fellow blogger about the future of blogging. Our discussion was borne from his concern that blogging has gone past its prime, or, in his words, “jumped the shark,” therefore he wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue with his blog.

I could see his point.  I’ve actually thought for some time that blogging has seen better days.  The excitement and enthusiasm we all had four years ago is not there like it used to be.  Many people we knew back then have disappeared into the mist, or moved on to other projects.  Many can be found on social networking sites like Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku and identi.ca.  Others stick to the worlds of MySpace, Facebook and even Friendster.

So why are so many people abandoning the blogging platform?  Is it because blogging as a platform has become so mainstream that it has practically replaced the normal website as the standard platform for relaying information?  Or is it because the “big shots” of blogging have become so big that there is no more room for the “little guys” that helped start it all?

I tend to think it’s a little of both, mixed with a glut of options in the social networking world.  Sites like Twitter, Plurk and Jaiku barely scratch the surface of what’s available out there today.  A visit to ping.fm, a global status updater for social networking sites and IM programs, shows a list of 21 different social networking options available, as well as 8 IM/other services.  That number is not even comprehensive – there are probably dozens more out there that are just starting up, or haven’t quite caught on yet.

One of these is tumblr.com.  Tumblr is a tumblelog site, much like Blogger or WordPress.com, that takes blogging and shrinks it down into bite-sized posts – larger than a 140-character Twitter or Plurk post, but shorter than a typical blog post.  Some people say that the future of blogging is in tumblelogging, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s not just another fad to add to the pile.  While blogging has absolutely caught on as a medium and is, in my mind, here to stay; it seems that the glut of new options will eventually consume the market so much that nobody will know what to go with anymore.

Besides, keeping up with these networking sites alone gets to be more of a headache than it’s worth.  At present, I have accounts on Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku, indenti.ca, MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and other services like Bebo and LinkedIn.  Additionally, I have accounts at AIM, GoogleTalk, Yahoo Messenger and Windows Messenger.

And then, of course, my blog.

That’s a hell of a lot of crap to keep up with.

So is blogging truly past its prime?  Or are we over-extending ourselves with options so much that we give up trying to keep up?

Maybe it’s best to just go back to the old fashioned way of journaling – with a notebook and a pen.

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Sex and the City? Sex IN the City? How about just SEX?

Sex and the City castEver since Sarah Jessica Parker first strode upon our screens in her mile-high stilettos and poufy, crazy outfits, I’ve trying to figure out why everyone is so crazy about Sex and the City.  

I have friends who have seen every episode.  Twice.  Some have seen it even more than that.  They quote lines and recite scenarios as if it happened to them just yesterday.  They rave about the fashions and the sex and the boyfriends and the dialogue. I honestly think they believe they are living the lives of these four women at times; and certainly if they aren’t living their lives, they WANT to live their lives.

So when the Sex and the City movie was released this past weekend, it was as if the second coming had occurred.  All over Chicago, “Cosmo Parties” were being held in celebration of the event.  Women are said to arrive at the theaters showing the movie in stiletto heels and wearing bright pink.  It’s as if the red carpet were rolled out across the land and Kim Cattrall were stepping out of a limo.  

And today I was with some friends who had seen it and they were gushing– literally GUSHING– about the fashions, the hairstyles, and the shoes.  They talked of crying more than once during the film.  

Crying. Really? 

Folks, I don’t really get it.  I mean, it’s a cute show, and I’m sure it really is a good movie.  I’ve always enjoyed it, but it was never required viewing for me.  When it first started (when I lived with roommates) I watched it fairly regularly, but after I moved into my current apartment I went for about 3 years without HBO or any sort of cable, so I fell out of practice with all cable shows.  As everyone started buying the DVD sets, I stuck to good old fashioned TV.  

It’s not that I don’t relate with these four horny ladies.  I mean, I like sex as much as the next guy or girl.  I like it a lot.  But watching someone else get laid on a semi-regular basis when I’m going through a dry spell is not my idea of fun.  It just makes me bitter, and honestly, I’m tired of the bitter scene.  

So I’m on the fence about whether I want to see the Sex and the City movie.  I suppose I’d better make up my mind quickly or else I’m going to have to shut myself off from the rest of the gay world for a while.  Either that or I’m gonna have to get myself laid, and soon.  

Or maybe I should see what all the fuss is about and actually start watching the show.   Hmm…

Fire + RcktMan don't mix

I seem to have a bad relationship with fire.

I should immediately add that nothing terrible has happened.  Nothing burned down, and everything is fine.

But if I wasn’t quick, I could have had a much worse story to tell.

My poor relationship with all things flammable goes back to 1995.  I was camping with my friends in Saugatuck, MI.  It was a different group of friends that I camp with today.  Back then the campground was a lot smaller, and had many less amenities.   I was alone at our campsite one day and decided to start my miniature “Smokey Joe” grill to make some lunch, so I threw some charcoal on it and lit it.  After the flames seemed to die down a bit, I threw the grill on top and stepped away to use the bathroom and take a shower.

Dumb idea #1 – Walking away from a flaming grill.  It still hadn’t completely died down, and I left the lid off to let it “breathe.”

Dumb idea #2 – Not throwing away the now-empty charcoal bag.

Dumb idea #3 – Doing all of this so close to my tent.

You can see where this is going.  After my shower, I walked back to the campground, where I saw a few of my friends milling around.  The loudest, queeniest one of the bunch saw me and came running up to me.  “OH GIRLLLL!” he shrieked.  “Your TENT burned DOWN!  Where have you BEEN!?”

I said “I was just in the bathroom!  How bad is it?”

When I got there, I saw it wasn’t quite as bad as he had claimed, but it was bad enough.  The charcoal bag had somehow blew onto the hot grill, started on fire, and then blew onto my tent.  My brand-new, just-out-of-the-box tent.  And it burned a hole in the corner of the tent, and subsequently burned my sleeping bag and air mattress inside. Everything else was fine– my clothes and other supplies hadn’t been touched.  But I was definitely without a tent, and most certainly the talk of the campground– and certainly my friends — for a very long time after that.

That Christmas, my mom got me a fire extinguisher; both as a gift and as a joke.  Thank goodness she has a good sense of humor.

Cut to today, almost 14 years later (ouch).

I had taken out my shoe polishing supplies to start polishing my badly-scuffed brown shoes.

When I was a kid, my dad would take nearly-empty or dried-out shoe polish cans, combine the cans together in one, and light the polish aflame.  The polish is highly flammable and melts, and allows it to combine together and become somewhat usable again.  When the polish was sufficiently melted (you don’t want it to burn too long or it will scorch), he would slip the lid on top to put out the flames.

As an adult, I have carried on this “tradition”.  It works well, and I’ve never had any problems– until today.

I combined the half-empty cans together, lit it aflame, and then tried to slip the lid on top– but my hand slipped and the burning polish poured all over my desk.  I immediately jumped up, went into the kitchen, grabbed the fire extinguisher that my mom had bought me in 1995 off the wall, pulled the pin, and in seconds the fire was out.

I had never used a fire extinguisher before.  In fact, up until about a month ago, the extinguisher I had was buried deep in my broom closet.  I decided that day it was time to actually mount it to the wall so it was ready to use.  I’m glad I decided to do that.  I also discovered that my smoke alarms — both of them– work very well.  They went off almost immediately after I put the fire out.

No damage was done, thankfully.  The fire never spread any further than the polish itself.  But let me tell you, it was a bitch to clean up.  The extinguisher emitted a fine white powder, and it got EVERYWHERE.  But man am I glad I had it.

So the moral of the story is this– don’t play with fire.  Don’t do things just because your dad did them.  And please, please, PLEASE… get a fire extinguisher and mount it up so it’s ready to use.  This story could have ended a whole lot worse if I hadn’t done that.