Monday, April 24, 2006

The End

I just finished my very last American Experience class at school. My professor did this really nice thing where if you're happy with your grade in the class, you don't have to take the final. Well, I have a 98 in the class, so needless to say, I'm skipping the final. I'm sad it's over, though. This semester has just flown by, and I'm totally in love with every one of my teachers. Being a much older student than almost everybody else here, I naturally gravitated more towards my professors than the other students when I arrived here, and I've managed to forge somewhat personal relationships with all 4 of them.

I really liked the American Experience class. It was basically the history of America, told through the eyes of the minorities, which seems like a fairly ingenious way to teach history to me, since history is written by the winners. My teacher is a very soft-spoken middle-aged woman, incredibly sweet, with a great sense of humor. She's a widow whose husband died of emphysema, she has 2 big dogs and lives in south Austin. But she's from Corpus and about to move back there to be with her new boyfriend. I got really sad leaving class today, thinking I'm sure I'll never see her again. It's a tendency I have in my life, to want to hold on to every single person who ever makes a difference to me. I know it's impossible, and if I actually did stay in contact with everyone I've ever known, with whom I wanted to stay in contact, I would be exhausted just trying to stay in contact. I know she's just a teacher and there will be more, and her "purpose" in my life, essentially, was to do exactly what she did. But it makes me sad to think about all the people from my past I wish I could still talk to. I even have professors from the University of Arkansas I tried to find recently, but couldn't. I have no idea why, or what I would possibly say to them if I did find them, but no matter. It seems like people just come and go so often and relationships are so fragile, or are there to just serve some transitional purpose or to teach you a lesson, and once that's done, poof, they're gone. I guess it's for the best, but I think it fucking sucks.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Long Time Gone

Hey there. I guess it's been awhile. Only two weeks, I suppose, and not much has really happened. Well, it has, I guess. I've been incredibly busy with school; end of the semester and all. I only have 3 class days left. It's almost unfathomable how quickly the time went by. I've been busting my ass the last 3 days on my final paper for my Theories of Personality class. We have to do a personality analysis on someone, either real or a fictional character, anyone we want, and I chose Brenda from Six Feet Under. She is truly one of my favorite characters that ever has existed. I wish she was real and we could be BFF, I love her so fucking much. She's by far, I think, the richest and most complex character on the show, and really the reason I kept watching it. So that's going well.

Today I started my volunteering at Doug's House, the AIDS hospice here in town, and still the only one in Central Texas (again, God bless Austin). Today was actually my orientation, but I'm going to start this week, probably Thursday, and work one 4-hour shift a week until I get comfortable with it, or have more time or whatever. There were 2 other volunteers with me today at the orientation, both of them women, probably around my age or slightly older. I liked them both a lot right away, and one of them even made a pretty off-color joke to me while we were talking about changing diapers, which of course immediately endeared her to me. I think I'm really going to enjoy my time there, though it's gonna be rough. Today we met 2 of the patients currently living there. One of them is a man in his early-40's, who looks about 70, and is in the final throes of AIDS. He has about 2 months left, tops. He's nothing but a skeleton lying in his bed watching television. He eats around half a sandwich a day, which takes him about 30-45 minutes to eat, and you have to break off little pieces and feed them to him, and even then, it makes him so tired he has to sleep for hours afterwards. The other was a middle-aged black woman, covered with open sores from an advanced Herpes infection, fresh out of prison. She has 3 daughters, but only one that ever comes to visit or seems interested in her fate. I got really choked up about 3 times today just talking to the orientation leader, without even having done anything, or having yet become emotionally involved in any way. But I am looking really forward to starting, to talking with the patients there and just getting to know them, holding their hands, feeding them, giving them their medications, or just sitting and watching television with them, which is mostly what they want. Some company, someone to talk to. Most of them have just been through fucking hell that you couldn't imagine, largely abandoned by family and often even friends. It's so fucking tragic. But that's why I decided I wanted to be in this field: I want to know these people, I want to help them in any small way that I can. Maybe that sounds really self-righteous or pompous, but I don't care. It's the truth.

Oh, and we went through "death procedures" today too: what to do if somebody dies on our clock. We have to fold their hands across their chests and make sure their eyes are shut, and pull a sheet over them. There are numbers for the mortuary and coroner on the wall in the office for us to call, and if the patient has a call list of friends and family, that's our job too.

As an interesting side-note: every room has a really nice wall-mounted CD player and stereo, which the orientation leader said were all donated and paid for by Sandra Bullock. I was always very ambivalent about Sandra Bullock, but that seems like a really thoughtful thing to do. Like, she actually wanted to give them something, improve their quality of life in some small way.

I guess this post is getting really long. There were other things I was going to talk about, personal stuff, but I guess it's all pretty irrelevant. The last 2 weeks have been a pretty mixed bag of mostly incredibly good, and some really awful stuff. But I've learned to just let certain things go, finally. It feels nice. For a brief 24 hours almost 2 weeks ago, I thought things might be drastically different right at this moment, and then my hopes were shattered by indifference and detachment that was incredibly painful. But what I needed, really, to just finally let that bird fly free after a year of keeping it close to me. I know I'm being incredibly vague, but whatever. Kurt & Meredith's wedding, which was just fucking amazing, Matt Kane in town for 5 days, also amazing. It was really nice to see him, and just immediately fall back into our old groove after not seeing one another for almost 3 years.

I've been drinking wine (left over from the wedding and it's delicious!) like water while I've been writing this, and now I'm drunk. I want to go to bed.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Naked Soccer Boys

So last night I finally went to a meeting of GLBTSA group at St. Eds. I've been meaning to go all semester, but just always had something else going on. I learned some interesting things, though, like that St. Eds is the only Catholic university in Texas that has a GLBTSA group, and one of like, only 3, I believe, in the whole country. And apparently St. Eds has been attracting some attention among the upper Brothers of the Holy Cross for all of their "liberalism" and gay organizations. It's pretty frowned upon, I guess, and most people attribute it to the fact that St. Eds is in Austin, as opposed to say, San Antonio or something. One more reason to love Austin.

I've been thinking a lot about teaching lately too. It seems like something I'd maybe like to pursue, along with having a practice. I can't help it, I love academia. I realize now how much time I wasted avoiding school and having a real job and real life. But I guess I wasn't ready for it yet, and I didn't actually waste the time. I learned a lot, about myself, about life, about people. I'd love to teach some kind of psych class on sexuality, or maybe the history of the treatment of sexual "neuroses" in the psychiatric field. Or maybe just a class on interpersonal relationships. That would be cool, too.

Anyway, after the meeting last night, the evening was so beautiful, I walked to the north side of campus that has a stunning view overlooking the city. The sun was setting, the storm clouds were rolling in, and the air was breezy and cool. I sat down to take in the view for a bit, when I looked down the hill at the soccer field below where I sat, and noticed that the boys soccer team had apparently just finished a practice. They were all sitting in a group on the ground, getting lectured by their coach, but most of them had their shirts off. So I quickly forgot about the city view, and the sunset, and the incoming storm. When they were done "huddling," or whatever you call it, they all stood up to leave and collect their things.... and started stripping. On the field. While people stood around, including parents and whatnot. It was amazing. They all just literally removed their pants to put other shorts and jeans on. Most of them were wearing little square-cut black or gray athletic brief things, but a couple of them were just wearing plain 'ole white briefs. And there they were, on the soccer field, standing in them. It was truly unbelievable. But I feel blessed to have witnessed it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Okay, now this guy is my new Hero

And will the "mainstream, liberal" media pick up on this? Doubtful. Be sure to watch the video.

I mean, seriously, how can Bush sleep at night? It totally boggles the mind.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

One More Reason to Love Russ Feingold

In addition to outspokenly calling for a censure of President Bush, he has now shown public support for gay marriage.

"I will be voting against the harsh amendment that's been proposed in Wisconsin, and I thought it was an appropriate occasion to indicate my feeling that if two people care enough about each other to get married, that it probably is a positive thing for society," he said.

"Gay and lesbian people in our country are fighting a mean-spirited movement to harm them and to discriminate against them," he added. "I stand with them against that movement, and I'm proud to stand with them."

Maybe after the last 6 miserable years, in another 2, sanity and reason will return to our national politics. I'm certainly not holding my breath, but I haven't completely lost hope.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

God is Gay

Pink News UK, which is apparently a gay news site from the UK (go figure) has an interesting article today about a website that seeks to uproot homophobia from Christianity by displaying a series of paintings done by people portraying Biblical stories from a gay perspective. A quote:

"Every time a gay gets bashed, Jesus is crucified again," said Kittredge Cherry, lesbian author and founder of the new website. "The anti-gay movement uses religion to justify discrimination, so even atheists can see the value in uprooting homophobia from Christian tradition."

Artists who dare to put the Easter story in a queer context have had their work destroyed, if they can find a way to exhibit it at all. Now these images are available on the internet.

Um, okay. But their heart is in the right place. It reminds me of when I was 21, and had just moved to Austin, when my artistic spirit was still very much in the punk rock ethos of "destroying the state" or whatever you want to call it. I had planned on making a sort of softcore gay porn film filled with religious imagery, like two men engaging in S&M and tying each other up with rosaries and eroticizing the crucifixion and bloodletting, all while sound bites of assholes like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were playing. For some reason I thought if I made it, a lot of people would see it and be totally scandalized. I was going to shoot it on super-8 and have a lot of red in it. I even wrote out a shot sheet and talked to a couple of guys who were basically willing to fuck on film for me. But alas, it never materialized, and I'm sure it's just as well. I don't know if I got lazy or just decided it was stupid.

Anyway, you can see the gay Jesus pictures here.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Dead Celebrities

My friend Bill had a party tonight with a dead celebrities theme. I finally got to wear my Michael Hutchence "costume" that I've alway wanted to wear for Halloween, but it's always been too cold. A wife-beater, white boxers, and a belt around my neck. and everyone knew who I was. That was exciting.

And I met Daniel. Daniel is 31. Daniel is getting his PHD in behavioral psychology. and Daniel is sexy as hell. He was dressed as Roy Rogers, but everyone thought he was supposed to be Jack Twist. I'm sure nothing will happen, but damn. That's all I have to say.