Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

First off, a very Merry Christmas to all of my readers. I hope you've been off enjoying the holiday with family and friends.

While I have no intention to rant about it, because I'm sure enough other people already have. I really wish that Christmas was more relaxing and felt more like, well... Christmas. While I certainly think that time with family is important, I really wish that the time leading up to Christmas, and the holiday itself, were more relaxing, contemplative, and about what they're supposed to be about. I could go on all day about that, but I won't.

Instead, I will mention the part of Christmas that made me the happiest. Last evening I went to Christmas Eve mass at the Episcopal church that I am now very much a part of. I have never been to a more amazing Christmas service in my life. The church is an impressive piece of architecture and parts of it date to the late 1820s. It was "greened" for Christmas and looked absolutely amazing. Aside from that, the service was very high church and the attention to detail really came through. As always, the music was amazing. It made me happy to have some part of the holiday feel like it was just right. In addition to that, I should mention that I was an acolyte for the Sunday service the day before. I'm finally getting pretty involved in the church and am looking forward to being a part of things the way I was in the various Catholic churches I had been active in.

What's amazing to me, is that it was last Christmas eve that I went to mass and decided afterwards that I was through with the Catholic Church. It has now been a year since that decision and I never could have anticipated how much things would change in that time. In fact, it was mere months ago that I was blogging here about my serious confusion about Christianity and even about the existence of God. I am very grateful to the church I now find myself in for having made a real effort to get to know me and support me at a time when I needed it most.

A thank-you to all of my readers who offered input, support, or just read. You all helped in some way.

A very Merry Christmas to everyone again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Very, Ridiculously, Crazy Life

Hi everyone!

Thank you to those of you who have been checking the blog over the last month or so.

So where have I been?

Well, I just moved into my own apartment. Until yesterday or today, this had been taking over my life. I'm now living on my own and have the apartment pretty much set up, at least enough to be living here. I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about it. Living at home had been becoming rather stressful and it felt like I'd gone back to high school. After living away from home for four years in college, I really needed to be out on my own, doing my own thing, when and I how I want to do it.

Work is also insanely busy. In order to add to that, I just got appointed to a commitee there that deals with safety issues. Gee, they put the guy whose an EMT and CPR Instructor on that?...didn't see that coming...

I'm also now playing in a local wind ensemble, which makes me happy, as I really didn't want to lose all of the work I'd put into my instrument going back to 6th grade.

Finally, I'm starting to get pretty busy at the Episcopal church that I've made my new religious home. I had a meeting with one of the priests there that went really well and that answered a lot of my questions. I'm now starting to help out as an acolyte (I had done similar stuff in the Roman Catholic churches that I'd always been a part of). I will also likely begin to start singing in one of the choirs there beginning sometime after Christmas.

On that note, I have a question for people, particularly anyone with a background in singing. While I've always enjoyed singing, I've never done it in any official capacity. I do have a musical background however and can play two instruments and understand music theory. I can look at sheet music and get a pretty good idea of how something should sound. I was offered a spot in a choir that meets every other week and is open to everyone that sings early church music and chant type songs. I do enjoy early church music and chant, so this is tempting. However, due to my musical background, the choir director also offered me a spot in the by audition Men's Choir. He did not make me audition for it. Any thoughts on which would be a better plan? I don't have time to do both. I could either sing with folks who are more likely to be on a similar level or I could sing with people who are decidedly better than me in hopes of it rubbing off (or at least being a good learning experience).

Hope all of you reading are doing well at this stressful time of year. A special thank you to someone who emailed me recently at the address I had provided. It was good to hear from you and you certainly helped motivate me to do this post, something I've been meaning to do for a little while.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

At Long Last

So I just realized it's been a crazy long time since I posted. Definitely time for an update.

Work is absolutely crazy. I love my job, but it definitely keeps me on my toes. It is at times stressful since everything involves actual people who need my assistance in some small or large way. I now have been transferred a full load of clients who are now entirely my responsibility. It is at times difficult to not take things home with me and to leave my clients and work at the office, but like with the patients I treat as an EMT, it is something I am learning.

Aside from that, on the religion front, I have been weekly attending the Episcopal church that I discovered over the summer. I have also met with one of the priests there and am currently adventuring into a little reading. I've always had a head for theology and think I will really enjoy future conversations with the priest and others in the church. I am learning a fair bit as a I go, but it is occassionaly frustrating. I spent my whole life up until last winter in the Roman Catholic Church where I was extremely involved and knew so much. I now want to know as much in the Episcopal Church, but it will take some time to get there. I am fortunate in that I have a very strong Christian theological background which is helping significantly. I also look forward to becoming more involved in the parish.

More to come soon.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

They Have to be Out There

Ok, so my blog is often a way for me to get some ideas out there for me and possibly other people to think about. I always really enjoy receiving comments and feedback, but I don't often specifically ask questions. I actually wish I was better at that like fellow blogger Jay who always leaves something to think about and respond to.

In this case, I'd love to hear from people because I'm a bit at a loss. Since moving home from college, I've been missing the social aspect of college a lot. Not many of my friends from high school are back in the area and most of my friends from college live an hour to two thirds of the way across the country from here. Some actually don't live in this country at all at the moment. So needless to say, I'm missing having a solid social circle. More than that, I'm missing having other gay guys to hang out with. So my question is, as a single gay guy, how do I find other gay folks to hang out with? What do other people do? I live in a suburban area so I don't have a corner gay club to go to- not that I would want to go to one alone. While I can be as easily amused as the next guy by gay.com or MySpace, I generally find that method of meeting people to be a little creepy. Does it work for other people though? Is my best bet to try and find some kind of gay social or political group? How do you, especially those of you not in school, find other gay guys.

My other little rant. I wish life was easy enough that I and all other gay guys could be "out." I'm tired of meeting or knowing other guys that make my gaydar go haywire but who are not out or don't know I'm gay or some combination. Case in point. I know a really good guy who graduated from my high school a couple of years ahead of me and now works there. He's a great guy and not bad to look at either. And he's definitely gay. It would be great to have the facts out in the open even for friendship purposes. But, of course, no such luck.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the...ok, there wasn't any ugly...yet...

So today at work was the absolute perfect example of everything I love about my job and what I hate about it (which is really rather minor so far).

The part I love...My schedule today involved a few hours of paperwork. I then visited a client before going home for lunch. I ate lunch and took a 20 minute nap at home before going straight to a worksite to visit a client. I wrapped up the day with some emailing and a staff meeting. I love the way I get to plan out my own day and don't have to spend all of my time at a desk.

The bad part...Much of my paperwork was the result of a crisis situation in which we had to deal with an irrate client and her parents. The state is now conducting a review of both their handling and our handling of the case. I can honestly say that we did everything we were supposed to and then some on our end. From what I can tell, it also looks like the state did what they were supposed to. It's very frustrating to be a non-profit dedicated to helping people but to have to put up with those who need and request the help but do not appreciate our effort. Furthermore, we're now forced to take up valuable time that could be spent on other clients to deal with the ridiculousness.

Oh well, such is life in social services. Overall, I still love what I'm doing and it's going very well. I'm now really starting to do work on my own and that too is proving to be a fun adventure.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Answer is No

So my third week is going as well as the last two weeks. I'm still really enjoying the work and will start to be operating on my own more in the near future. The work is definitely very tiring, but no one said social services would be easy and it's nice to see that the work matters.

Today I did get one of those questions I hate. A co-worker (who I really do like) asked me if there was a significant woman in my life. Not significant other, but significant woman. Now the fact is that I am single right now and so the answer is no to either question, but I wish people would leave the door open by asking if there was any special person. This is definitely not the first time I've received this question. Assuming I wanted to be out to my co-workers and did have a significant other, the only way to honestly answer would involve making them pretty uncomfortable. Well, I do have a boyfriend...The amusing thing is that I'm working in a social services position, a field largely dominated in my experience by women and gay men. Oh well. It'll take time I guess.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Week 2

So I've now finished my second week in the real world, and the most notable aspect of this, is that I'm tired. I have a sudden new found appreciation for weekends. But, while it was a tiring week, it was generally a good a week. Yesterday also happened to be the first pay day and so it has really started to feel like I've entered the working world. I'm still really exciting to be working at this particular place and my co-workers have been fantastic in helping me to learn the ropes.

On a completely different note, I saw the movie Across the Universe last night. This is the one that's essentially a musical with Beatles songs. Two of the main characters are named Jude and Lucy, so that should give you a big clue of what at least two of the songs were. While hearing that many Beatles songs was fantastic, the movie was very strange and at many points, I am sure those involved with making it had to have been on some illicit substance(s). I don't think I'll be running to the store when it comes out on DVD, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

One Week Down

So as of yesterday aternoon, I have survived my first week of the real world. Not only that, but I actually enjoyed it. I'm super excited about the job and feel very lucky to have found a position that I enjoy. It actually makes the 3 1/2 or more months I spent on the job search seem worth it.

Along with starting this new job, I have made a few other interesting discoveries.

1) I am pretty sure that one of my co-workers is gay. I can't really ask, but the gaydar alerts like crazy.

2) I am pretty sure that one, possibly two, of my younger female co-workers have an interest in me...this should be interesting...

3) I really want to learn American Sign Language. I'm working with people with physical disabilities and one of my first clients will be a woman who is deaf. I took several years of Spanish in high school, but never got very good. I'm wondering if this might be a better fit.

4) Money is more important to my mom than I had liked to think. My job is in social services. It is not a get rich quick scheme. But it is a job I think I'm going to love. And if I can wake up on a Monday morning and actually want to go to my job, and as an added bonus my job actually accomplishes something meaningful for people, this to me is more important than the size of the paycheck. While my pay isn't amazing, it's definitely adequate and the benefits that come with the job are very solid. My mom has made more than one remark about the job and its pay. I'm trying to nicely tell her to back off, but it's getting a little annoying. I find it ironic too, since my mom is a teacher.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

So I have to admit, although it's only been three days, I'm very excited about the job. I really like everyone I've met there so far. Everyone is very friendly and very dedicated as well as very willing to teach. A bonus of course, is that I actually like what I'll be doing as well. I'd love to write more, but I'm still getting used to this waking up early thing, and actually need to be asleep very shorty. My thanks to all those who have posted recently. As soon as my life becomes a little bit less hectic I promise to catch up on all of your blogs as well and leave a comment here and there.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Day One

So I have successfully survived my first day of real-world employment. It was a whirlwind day, and I only spent about an hour in the actual office. Most of the day I was out in the field learning some of the ropes. Overall, the office is full of very nice people who seem excited to help out the new guy. It looks like it's gonna be a good deal. I can't complain about the commute either. It was also kinda cool to actually have my own desk somewhere with my own computer, key to the office, etc. It all made me feel like I'm taking on a real job.

The slightly bad news, is that I'm still sick. The good news is that I'm feeling better today than I did yesterday, and I generally felt pretty good at work until about 3ish, when I started feeling a little bit out of it. The job is generally 8-4, so I was already pretty much through the day by that point anyway. I just need to make sure I get enough sleep tonight.

So, day one is done, more updates to come.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


So tomorrow I start my new job. This is of course a good thing, with the exception of one minor detail. I'm sick! For whatever reason, (maybe it's tied to stress?) I always seem to get sick at really crucial moments. I got plenty of sleep today and have been taking Vitamin C like crazy and will definitely be going to bed early. Of course, I'm not going to be used to getting up at a "normal" time as it is, but tomorrow should be extra interesting with me feeling not in top shape. I'm really hoping that with all of this sleep that perhaps tomorrow won't be too terrible.

In any case, I will post here tomorrow to let everyone know how the first day went. I am really excited about the job and hope that being sick doesn't last long so that I can hopefully enjoy things. Guess we'll have to wait and see...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sorry for the Delay

Sorry to not have posted in almost a week. Lots has been going on and I've been crazy busy. I'm super excited to start my new job Monday but of course, that comes with trying to get alot of things done before then. I've been fairly busy on the EMT front as well.

I promise to post after my first day of work on Monday to let everyone know what I think.

The other big thing I'm considering at the moment, is whether to start attending a local gay group I just discovered is no more than 10 minutes away. They seem to engage in a combination of social, educational, and activist types of activities. It might be interesting, since I'm largely in the closet here, to meet some other gay people from the area. The group meets on Monday nights and they start their new year this coming Monday, the same day I start work. Something to think about anyway.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

THE Job!!!

So yesterday afternoon I had my "second interview" at the place I was really excited about. Turns out it wasn't really so much a second interview as much as my new boss getting the blessing from the executive director to hire me. After meeting said executive director, I did in fact get her blessing. I begin my new and (I think) really cool job on October 1st. The office seems incredibly friendly and I think I'm going to love the work. It's a great opportunity (very close to home) to use both my psychology degree and medical background in the same position. I will be working with people with physical disabilities doing job development. This is the perfect kind of position for me. It suddenly makes the 3 1/2 months of searching and interviewing worth it to get a position that couldn't be more perfect in a whole lot of ways.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Job?

So I was offered a paralegal position today at a large law firm with training to begin in a few weeks. The problem is, I have a second interview for the job I really want on Wednesday. I asked the law firm if they could hold off until the end of this week or early next week for an answer. They're going to try to hold off that long but I am taking a gamble. If I don't get my top choice job, there is a chance I might already have been replaced at the law firm. So, I'm making a bit of a risky move, but I feel like it's what I need to do. In any case, it seems like I'm going to be entering the working world very soon.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Good Day

So my interview at the law firm this morning was "ok." It seemed better than my last one, but it's more like someplace I'd work to have a job but not really something I'd be passionate about. The good news for the day, is that I got a call for a second interview at the place I do really like. Apparently my references must have said nice things about me. When the woman from this place called and said she wanted to schedule a second interview, I replied with, "Oh, that's great!" Her reply was, "We think that's great too." I took that to be a pretty good sign.

Aside from that, I responded to an ambulance call for nothing particularly interesting and got a chance to swim at the Y. The cute lifeguard was working, so that was an added little bonus.

I also had a great chat online with the author of one of my favorite blogs, I Think I Might Be Gay. It was nice to talk to one of the people whose life I read about on a regular basis. If you haven't, check out his blog here...http://ithinkimightbegay.blogspot.com/#

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Something New

To avoid confusion, I have just made some changes. For anyone that I might have attempted to confuse yesterday, NYEMSWhacker and TraumaJunkie1 are both me. In the near future, I'll probably pick one or the other and stick with it.

What adding a new account to this blog allows me to do is have an email address that readers can use to contact me directly. You can find it in my TruamaJunkie1 profile, but it's simply traumajunkie1@gmail.com. Furthermore, in that profile, you will find a screenname that I have linked up with my usual one. On AIM, I can now be reached at traumajunkie1046. For those of you who are dorks enough to care, in many places, 10-46 is the police radio code for an MVA or motor vehicle accident.

So the net result of the above, is that for anyone whose interested, you can contact me via email or on AIM.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering Six Years Later

I would like to pause from my usual postings to remember the events of six years ago today. As an EMT in the NY City Metro Area, this is of particular importance to me. I ask that everyone remember the 2,974 people directly killed in the attacks, particularly the 343 members of FDNY, the six additional EMTs and paramedics, and the 60 Porth Authority and NYPD police officers, as well as all of those who have died since from diseases suffered as a result of the rescue and recovery efforts.


I would also like to ask everyone to remember those American troops who have given their lives for this country following the tragic events of 9/11. As of this posting, 440 American lives have been lost in Afghanistan and 3,774 have been lost in Iraq. Regardless of politics, we should all be grateful to those who have served.

The List

I thought I'd post this because I find it interesting and I'm still trying to make up my mind regarding what I think about it.


Poke around, and if you feel like it, feel free to post any thoughts here. This blogger (Mike Rogers) is a Washington insider who keeps a list of government officials who support anti-gay agendas but whom Rogers contends are gay. He has outed a significant number of these people based on information he obtains. Mark Foley, for example, was outed by Rogers well before his public national scandal. Rogers does not like the word "outing" because that implies a more violent intent whereas Rogers sees his actions as justified.

Is it right to "out" someone you believe to be gay (or as Rogers would argue, know to be gay) if they are supporting an anti-gay agenda on the political front?
So I have yet another interview on Thursday, this one at a law firm. Could be interesting. The other place I interviewed at last Tuesday also called to get some specific info for three references, which I'm hoping is a good sign. The overall hope though, is that at least one of these three places will work out. The most frustrating thing at this point is just the waiting. I feel like everything is moving so slowly and I'm spending all of my time just waiting to hear from people. But, at least things are moving, however slowly.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


So I've now completed both interviews scheduled for this week. And both were a little weird. Today's was only about 10-15 minutes and the primary interviewer was very professional in one of those matter-of-fact ways that can come across as a bit unfriendly. It turns out they haven't even hired the supervisor for the position they're hiring for and that person would need to do any second interviews, something that would have been nice to know ahead of time.

Tuesday's interview was a much more pleasant experience, except for the fact that it was over 2 1/2 hours. Both people who did the interviewing were very friendly (and talked a whole lot) and I felt like I could fit in in the office. I think I'm less qualified for the position than today's interview, but I'm still hopeful. It also turns out that two people who work in the office are mothers of friends/former teammates from my younger years. Both were very kind to me and put in good words for me.

Also today, I got my butt back into the pool after a period of slacking off and the YMCA being closed for their annual one week shutdown for maitenance. I actually had a very good swim and my freestyle felt really good. It improved my mood somewhat after the uncertainty of the interview.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Point for the Blog Team

So a little while back I wrote about a bitter author who bashed blogs and the internet in his book. Today I had the pleasure of reading a column in the newspaper written by a Duke writing and education professor who said that more professors ought to do what he does and teach writing by using blogs and the internet. He argued that the technicalities of grammar are not as important as having to think through an argument, then having that argument read by lots of other people (beyond just the professor) and then having to respond to others and defend yourself. There's a much greater vested interest in your writing when you know it will be published and read by others whom will then respond. The arguments are those of the real world and the author hasn't been backed into some corner and forced to argue for something. I think the professor rightly states that the traditional style isn't the best way to go.

Insert unrelated topic: Tomorrow if my first interview of the week. I'm pretty excited about this one and I really hope it goes well.

Unrelated topic #2: Tonight I got to hang out with a friend who graduated a year before me from my college and whom I haven't seen in well over a year. It was really really great to see her and spend a few hours catching up. It's put me in a good mood.

Friday, August 31, 2007

No News Is...No News

So since Monday there's been a whole lot of stress but very little news in regards to my cousin. Special lab work has been sent out, but nothing will be known about that for two weeks. Aside from that, his doctors are busy arguing with each other through my cousin and his parents. None of them can seem to agree on anything, but of course they don't talk to each other. While I have on occasion had the pleasure of seeing a good doctor, on the whole, I think there really needs to be significant improvement in the kinds of people that are admitted to med school. But that's a rant for another day.

On the job front, I now have a second interview lined up for next week. Both the interviews for Tuesday and Thursday are jobs that are nearby and both something I'd be interested in. I'm really hoping at least one of the two works out. It'd be nice to put an end to the job search.

In a move that made my day yesterday, both the chief of my ambulance corps from school and my former boss on campus made phone calls to me to see how I was doing. It was nice to know they were thinking of me as the school year got going up there.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Good News/Bad News

First, the good news. I got an interview for a week from tomorrow at a place I'd love to work right in my town. The woman who called me today said she was very excited about my resume and in particular had a lot of respect for my volunteer (and paid) EMS experience. She talked for a long time about what the position entails, but even after all of that, I was still excited about it. So, the day after Labor Day I'll be on my first interview in a little while. I'm trying not to get too excited or optimistic about it, but I think it's a job I have at least a reasonable chance of getting. The woman I spoke to also really liked that I was from very nearby and through my EMT experience was familiar with the area. So, that was the good news for the day.

The bad news is in regards to my cousin. He's about my age and has been pretty sick for a few months. I'll spare you the details, but he's been pretty miserable. The doctors are beginning to run out of possibilities and tests and are now investigating a few types of cancer. This certainly isn't good news and him and his immediate family as well as extended family are having a rough time of it. Classes for his senior year of college also begin next week, which it's seeming won't be likely for him. This is rough not only for him and his immediate family, but also the extended family as we're a very close Italian family who all live 2 minutes from each other. It hasn't been a fun week or so...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm Guilty

I will admit that this evening, I was busy flipping channels between a re-run of last night's Daily Show and Colbert Report and the Disney Channel. Yup, that's right, the Disney Channel. High School Musical 2 just happend to be airing again, and I could not resist the opportunity to see Zac Efron, and in a couple of scenes, Zac Efron without a shirt. Yes, it is a cheesey made for TV movie geared towards a slightly older Disney audience, but c'mon, a cute guy only gets better when he can also sing. On top of that, he can dance, and a guy who can really dance, is of course a major turn on.

Aside from that, I'm still working on the job thing, and debating on talking to a few people who might be able to do me some favors. I'd have to make sure to approach them the right way. I'm getting pretty frustrated though, so it might be worth it. I did just find a job to apply to that's in my town today, and in fact on the same street as the fire dept on which I am a volunteer EMT. It'd be about a 7 minute commute, so that'd be nice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Title Necessary

While I will point out that he was the top pick on my Top 10 Hottest Celebrity Guys, he just gets better.

The above is a photo of the magazine, but if you want to see the original, buy the magazine or check out the photo (http://www.rollingstone.com/photos/gallery/15890296/a_history_of_heartthrobs_in_rollin/photo/34/large/) or Rolling Stone's cool gallery A History of Heartthrobs at http://www.rollingstone.com/photos/gallery/15890296/a_history_of_heartthrobs_in_rollin/1

Around here we're on our third straight day in a row of really really lousy weather.  It's gray and unusually cold and raining more than it's not.  I'm one of those people who gets kind of down and really lacks any motivation when the weather is like this.  Of course, that's a slight problem since I have cover letters and phone calls to take care of.  I did actually manage to be fairly productive on that front today but I definitely had to struggle to be motivated enough.

The highlight of my day today, was going out to lunch with a friend from high school.  Essentially this guy and I are twins.  We met in middle school when we both swam for the same coach but in different programs and she found out we'd be attending the same private high school.  We share the same first name, both swam in high school, are both EMTs, both ran our respective ambulance corps or first response agencies at college, are both CPR Instructors, and to top off, both came out in college.  I was the one who told him he should become an EMT and he was the first person I came out to.  In any case, he's about to start a really cool job in a few days (which of course reminds me that I'm not) and we only had a short time to eat lunch as he had to run to his new apartment for the delivery of his bed.  In any case though, it was good to see him and doing well.  Although, for someone in the medical field, if he doesn't quit smoking (something that I, despite being his twin definitely do not do), I'm going to have to smack him upside the back of the head.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Guess I'm an Amateur

So I just saw a Colbert Report where he interviews a guy named Andrew Keen, author of the new book The Cult of the Amateur. This guy apparently decided that the best use of this time, was to write a book about the internet, and how it's going to doom civilization. In the interview he called bloggers and others involved in publishing online a bunch of amateurs, without standards who are destroying culture (and largely because we don't demand a fee I might add). We aren't actual artists, we destroy art.

I'd take more offense to his comments and be more likely to bitch about the book, except I don't think anyone will be able to take it seriously. Plus, I'm not foreseeing the internet dropping off the face of the earth as a result. I also thing the world's bloggers probably carry more sway than his book does anyway (even if we are a bunch of lying amateurs with no standards).

As for my own blog, I can proudly say that I understand what I write will be read by other people and that when it comes to issues of fact, I do my darndest to get things right. When speaking solely about personal experience or giving my opinion, well, that's what a blog is for isn't it. It's up to my readers to decide for themselves what to make of my stories, ideas, and opinions. So I'm glad Keen got all of that off his chest. Now, he can leave everyone the hell alone. After all, there's some irony in the fact that he's doing the same thing we are, just in the printed word. I'm not sure how that makes him better.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Way

So I'm beginning to get a little frustrated on the job front. It's now been a couple of months of looking and people are being very slow and I'm finding it hard to get into what I want to do. Without tooting my own horn, I graduated from a top school, but the problem is that I graduated with a degree in psychology. I've been trying to get into social services positions, and even with my extensive EMT experience, it's been tough. I really need at least a master's or that first person to give me the experience that every job requires but that no one wants to give to you...

So, I had a crazy idea tonight, that a) might be too late to implement and b) will definitely drive my parents crazy. But, it is one of those moments where if it's not too late, I'm willing to say, "Screw it, we're doing this my way." I'm tired of thinking about how everything will look to other people or what my parents will think etc. In order to understand this, the non-EMS readers will need a quick lesson. In the state I live in, there are two levels of pre-hospital care providers (kind of three, but I won't get into that too much). The first is that of EMT-B or EMT-Basic. This is what I am certified as. We are commonly referred to simply as EMTs. EMTs have a certain skill set and may use their skills on a volunteer or paid basis or both. Above the EMT is the EMT-P or EMT-Paramedic. These providers are commonly referred to as paramedics or medics. Because being a paramedic involves real-time interaction with an emergency physician, paramedics cannot be volunteers as such. They may volunteer in their home town, but only as EMTs. Only while being paid and on the job for a hospital, can they use their full set of skills. The paramedic program is offered through hospitals and paramedics work only for hospitals. Essentially medics are called to the most serious calls that local ambulances with EMTs respond to. So for example, if I get called for someone who isn't breathing or someone with chest pain, my ambulance responds but so do the hospital paramedics since they can perform more skills than I can as well as consult with a doctor. In some cases, when things are busy, there won't be a paramedic unit available or they'll be too far away (in which case I'd cancel them) and EMTs are stuck handling some of these more serious calls themselves. We're trained to do that as well. (The third level, for those who are curious, is that of the Certified First Responder or CFR. This level is below that of the EMT and traditionally is taught to firefighters and police officers who need to be able to provide early care but won't have to transport patients.)

Paramedic programs are run through hospitals. You don't have to be a college grad to enroll, but you do have to be an EMT, be certified in healthcare level CPR, be at least 18, be a high school grad, and depending on the program have a certain number of years of experience as an EMT (usually at least two). If you have good credentials, usually a hospital will sponsor you for the class. Essentially, they pay for the course (and sometimes pay you while you're doing it) in exchange for working for them as a paramedic for a certain amount of time after you graduate.

So why did I bother to detail that, except for my own amusement? Back to my crazy idea. I've been an EMT for five years, am a college grad, a CPR Instructor, and have a whole bunch of other classes and experience as well as a BA in a science. More than once, people have told me I should become a paramedic. While I've always wanted to do it and thought it would be a lot of fun, I sort of figured that it wasn't the plan set out for me given my college education. But today, I decided to look into programs. If I'm good at EMS and this is the next step and it's something I want, why shouldn't I do it? Becoming a paramedic wouldn't necessarily mean my four-year degree is useless. In fact, I think becoming a paramedic and then deciding whether to go back to school for clinical psyc (which of course I could get paid for by working for a hospital) or going back for a masters in emergency managment or healthcare administration would be a great idea. I could do something I've always wanted to do, and have really unusual credentials that could lead to a career I might actually enjoy. I would be a paramedic with a college degree and maybe even a master's. It's a combination you don't often see. I could easily get into administration after spending some time in the field. Plus, I'd have a dependable job while going back to school later on.

So, to summarize for those still bothering to read. I have no idea if it's too late to get into a program or even what programs are out there. Info isn't really available online so you have to call individual directors. This is something I might not be able to do until January if it's too late for fall classes or maybe even something I'd have to put off longer than that. So at neat of an idea as I think it is, I'm not at all sure yet if it's workable. But, it gives me something new to think about and a new direction to look into.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Guess Who's Back?

Ok, so I've got about a hundred things I want to blog about. I think I'm going to have to break this up into more than one post or even more than one day.
First off, I'm back from Florida. Aside from it being a little too much family time, it was a nice trip. Well, that, and I'm pretty sure that hell feels like central Florida in August. We went to the usual Disney parks as well as Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure. I'm a roller coaster junkie and think the best way to summarize the trip is with a Top 5.

So, here it is. My top five picks for rides...

1) The Incredible Hulk (Universal Islands of Adventure)

2) Fire Dragon - Dueling Dragons coaster (Universal Islands of Adventure)

The Dueling Dragons (Fire Dragon on the red track and Ice Dragon on the blue)

3) Ice Dragon- Dueling Dragons coaster (Universal Islands of Adventure)

4) Rockin' Roller Coaster (MGM Studios)

5) Revenge of the Mummy (Universal Studios Florida)

Aside from the rides, we stayed at the Walt Disney World Dolphin which is a very nice hotel on a small lake. From the hotel you can see, walk to, and ride a boat to Epcot, The Boardwalk, and MGM. You can't beat the location.

View of the Boardwalk and Epcot from our 17th floor room

View of the boat docking behind the Dolphi to go to the parks
While in Florida, on Saturday evening I got stuck going to Catholic mass with the family since we went right after dinner. I chose not to receive communion since I no longer consider myself Roman Catholic but I'm slowly becoming open to the idea that I can gain from going to services and talking to people from all different denominations and so sitting through the mass wasn't too torturous. I do really dislike the church (Mary Queen of the Universe Shrine) largely because it comes off as a commercial enterprise rather than a church, but I did take the picture below of their chapel's bell tower just as a thunderstorm was approaching and really liked the shot.
I think I'll save non-Florida updates for another post.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

So tomorrow I head off to Florida for a few days. I'm looking forward to getting my roller coaster fix as I visit the Disney parks as well as the fantastic Universal Islands of Adventure. I promise more frequent updates upon my return. I know I've been slacking a little bit.

In less happy news, I just found out that the brother of a college friend and former EMT is at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland after sustaining injuries while fighting in Iraq. An IED exploded near a vehicle he was in. He currently is heavily sedated and in a coma with a head injury and numerous fractures and wounds. He is in for a very long recovery. All anyone can do right now I suppose, is to pray.

I will return a week from today with news from vacation.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Let's Play Catch-Up

Being at the beach was super nice for a few days. It's been very warm around here but the beach was actually really comfortable thanks to a nice ocean breeze. I'm now home for a little while until a trip to Florida later in the week. That will mean lots of family time but it should be fun. I'm a roller coaster junkie and haven't had my fix in awhile so I'm looking forward to Universal Islands of Adventure in particular.

Now, for my super quick rant of the week. People really seriously don't know how to drive. I don't know what it is, but for the last week or two in particular, people have been driving like morons, even more so than usual. My driving philosophy has become one where I assume that no one else can drive, not because I think so highly of my own driving, but because it's the safest alternative. People are not doing a good job of proving me wrong.

And now, for the part of the post I imagine could get a response or two. I just finished an interesting book that many people have heard of called Freakonomics. In it the authors tackle a bunch of issues by using data to show the real story behind things that people usually explain with conventional wisdom. One of the more interesting issues they tackle is the huge drop in crime during the 1990s. Many people attribute this drop to better policing strategies, more police, the diminishing popularity of crack, and a host of other things, but the authors argue that these reasons are false or did not contribute to any serious degree. What did spare us from the crime wave that was taking over? Abortion. Yup, that's right...Roe v. Wade. When abortion became legal, the children most likely to end up participating in criminal activities were no longer being born. Young and poor mothers were not having children (at that time) and so as those children would have become the age at which they engaged in criminal behavior, the crime rates started to drop. As an aside, these mothers were largely still having children, but were waiting to do so until they were older and more able to provide a better home life. I will now state, for the record, that I am pro-life. I do not, and never have, condoned abortion. I would rather see people take responsibility for their actions and see society help to provide what these children would need to succeed. Furthermore, I advocate for adoption rather than abortion. If you decide to have sex, then you should take responsibility for that act. You don't get to play God. I realize here that I should add two important points. First, I understand that I am talking about most, but not all, abortions. I think things are a little fuzzier for example, when the mother's life is in danger. In that case, I'd advocate for good clinical decision making and the highest level of involvement of the mother in making decisions as possible. The other thing of note, is that I am in fact adopted. I kinda like being alive. I have no idea who my birth parents are nor what their situation was. What I do know, is that they took responsibility for their actions and I am here writing this blog as a result.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

So, I'm finally going to go visit the family vacation home tomorrow. I will be away from internet for a few days, which is probably a good thing.

I will post upon my return.

Enjoy the rest of the week and I'll "see you" over the weekend.

Monday, July 30, 2007

So for those who are interested, I think the interview went well but you never do know. I should find out this week if I'll be called back for a second one. This is a job I'd be pretty excited to have and it has some great benefits including some serious help paying for grad school so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime, I'm continuing to look elsewhere too.

On the religion front, I again attended mass at the same Episcopal church today. The service was a nice tradtional service once again but I overall found everyone there, particularly the greeters and leadership to be too friendly. They were very in your face with insisting on knowing your name and engaging you in conversation. Right now, I'm still trying to figure out where I stand with things. I really sort of want to just sit by myself, do my own thing, and leave. When it comes to religion, I believe in meeting people where they are. I think you should let people move at their own speed. I'm sure these people had nothing but the best intentions, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Aside from that, I did once again enjoy the mass. What I really want to know, and am deciding whether to ask, is what their position is regarding blessing gay unions in the church. I know there is another Episcopal church nearby that does it, but I'm fairly confident this one does not. In light of that, I'm not sure I want to get too close to a church that wouldn't do it. It is one of the things that drove me away from the Roman Catholic church after all.

As one final note, I wrote the other day that I was listening to Jupiter from Holst's The Planets. Ironically, a day or two after that, I saw a new Reese's commerical that uses Jupiter. I have to say, that's a combination almost as good as peanut butter and chocolate.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ahh...foiled again!

So, for the first time this summer I was planning on finally heading to our vacation home. It was going to be only me and the grandparents there. It was going to be quiet. I could sit on the beach and just relax and hang out with a friend who rents a house nearby. But no, I happened to get called for an interview today. I've been keeping my whole summer free so far to deal with that kind of thing, I finally decide to go relax, and of course, I get called for an interview. The voice on the other end of the phone of course asks if I can interview tomorrow. The response in my head was a combination of "YES!" and "Damnit!". The out loud was, "Yes, what time were you thinking?" Don't get me wrong. The interview is for a job I'd be pretty excited about. It's not surprising of course, that the one time I figure it's probably safe to be away from home a for a few days, I get a call for an interview. Oh well, at least they called today and not after I was already away.

In other news, for reasons I'm not sure of, I all of sudden decided I wanted to listen to Holst's The Planets. Right now, I'm listening to Jupiter on repeat. Just over three minutues into the piece there's a really really cool part.

Monday, July 23, 2007

No Lightning?

So for the first time in months, I set foot in a church yesterday for a Sunday service. Much to my surprise, I was not struck my lightning immediately upon entering the door. In fact, overall, it was a rather pleasant experience. For those of you regularly following this blog, you'll have probably gathered that me and the Roman Catholic Church are no longer on speaking terms. The pope seems to have lost his marbles and overall I've found the church to be like the brick walls Rob Bell talks about in Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. They spend so much of their time making rules and regulations and dealing with doctrinal things that they build this wall that tends to fall when you remove a brick and is very good at keeping people out. In light of this, but because I do enjoy a combination of more liberal social ideas but more traditional services, I attended a service at an Episcopal church. It was a nice service in a beautiful old Gothic church. It also had a kick-ass organ which always makes me happy. It's someplace I might consider going back to.

In other news, I've finished Dodd's My Faith So Far: A Story of Conversion and Confusion. It was again a good read and draws some of the same conclusions at Bell. Essentially, questions aren't a bad thing. Ending up in the middle is ok. My own conclusion, the journey isn't a waste. Just because you end up somewhere completely different than you intended doesn't mean the time you spent elsewhere along the way wasn't valuable.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gotta Love the High

So the first half of the week, my visits to the pool were largely to catch up from being really busy last week and not really getting to the pool like I should have. Today I was back up to my usual distance in the pool and had a great workout. Serious runners speak of having something called a "runner's high" when during a good workout you get an endorphin induced high where you feel like you're in a real groove and like you could run forever. Well, the same thing happens to swimmers and probably to others who participate in highly aerobic endurance type activities. So during my workout today I actually had one of those swimmer's highs and ended up making my set a little bit longer than I'd intended because my freestyle was just feeling really really good. Eventually of course, I did get tired, but it was a good tired.

Aside from that, I decided to pull out a book I read a few years ago for a paper in an Intro to Religion class. We had to select a book for the paper that was not regular course material. One of the two professors for the class reccomended the book and it turns out the other one could be found in the acknowledgments. It was a great book then but seems more appropriate to my current religious situation. So, in any case, I'm re-reading Patton Dodd's My Faith So Far: A Story of Conversion and Confusion. It's a brutally and comically honest autobiographical book about Dodd from age 18 to 20 and his journey from being forced into religion until he was 14, dropping the subject, and then somehow ending up a part of a crazy charismatic Pentecostal megachurch in Colorado Springs at 18. It chronicles his journey from there, including a year at the (in)famous Oral Roberts University. It's a good read and deals a lot with defining oneself as a Christian and what that really means. If nothing else, I can't spend all day on the job search, so I'm enjoying trying to have something on hand to read.

Bullet Points

Ok, so I'm not really less tired than my last post, but I'm going to try to do some bullet points from Velvet Elvis of things I really liked. This will probably only be a partial list. Again, if you want to read it, it's...

Bell, Rob. (2005). Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. Michigan: Zondervan.

  • Atheism is a belief, not a lack of belief. Just as Christianity is a belief in a higher power, atheism is a belief that things got this way by chance. In either case, you still believe something.
  • The Bible was written in a time when each town or village had one copy of the Jewish scripture (the Torah) and it was read in group settings. People came together to hear it read and to discuss it. Radical and "innappropriate" interpretations were quickly shot down by having this kind of group discussion. The Bible was written with this in mind (and a long time before the printing press) and so we should read it with this in mind. It really ought to be discussed.
  • Faith should be like a trampoline, not a brick wall. The springs of the trampoline are the doctrines that hold up the whole but they are not the whole. They simply are jumping off points. In many Christian churches, there is a brick wall approach where the Bible is used to create bricks of doctrine. When you remove one brick, the whole wall crumbles. In this case, the individual doctrines become the whole and you miss the point. There's no room for discussion or questions. The brick wall shuts people out. The trampoline invites people over to play. And really, who cares who has the better trampoline. They're just fun to jump on.
  • Anytime you say anything about the Bible, it's an interpretation. In fact, even the fact that we're reading it in English involves interpretation from the original. Unless you happen to be God, you're interpreting and you really better not claim to have all the answers.
  • "Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective (84)." You are a Christian. Do what you do and do it with passion.
  • Ask questions. Ask more questions. Keep asking questions.
  • Genesis starts with God separating light and dark. The rest of the Bible is God showing people how to distinguish the two (86).

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Book

Ok, so as promised, this is a follow-up to my last post. After chatting for hours with my friend about religion the other day, I've realized that my real issue is more with specific churches than with the actual ideals of Christianity. Love your neighbor isn't something I have a hard time with. As I also mentioned in my last post, this friend gave me a "reading assignment." I have a lot of respect for him, particularly in this area, so I took him up on it and bought the book Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. This guy somehow nailed down just about every thought I have about religion in a way that anyone could understand. It was a book I was excited about cover to cover. I actually read it with a pen in hand and made a mess of it with underlining, bracketing, notes etc. Bell has an impressive and unusual way of talking about faith in a way that is compelling and makes anyone feel like they could fit in and in fact, do fit in. At some point when I'm not so tired, I'll make note of some of the ideas I particularly liked.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Yes, I'm Still Alive

Sorry for my short hiatus. I've been very very busy the last few days and unfortunately haven't had much of a chance to post.

Given all the stuff I've had going on, I also slipped and have not been going to the Y like I should. I'm going to get back on that this week.

The big thing that has happened of interest has been on the religion front. I had a long conversation the other day with a friend of mine that I've known for years and years. He had always been a crazy conservative Christian and even during my Catholic days, we just sort of agreed that there were certain things we weren't going to see eye to eye on, but that it was ok. We chatted in person for hours the other day, about religion and other things. I was impressed on how much his views have moderated since we last spoke. I've slowly been figuring things out on my side, but he seems to have been doing the same. It was a great conversation, and we both left with book reccomendations from the other and I think feeling a lot better about things. I have picked up the book he suggested and at some point, when I get through enough of it, will post on that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Least Attractive Thing Ever

Ok, so yesterday's post was about one of my big pet peeves. Today's is about the one thing that any cute guy can do if he wants to do something that is a huge turn off. That one thing, is smoke. I was at a function today with several people from my high school. One of them is a really cute guy. I've known him for years. He's a few years younger than me and I hadn't seen him in awhile. In addition to being physically attractive, he has a great personality. He had the whole package, or so i thought. Today, after said function, this guy got into his car to drive away, and as he did, lit up a cigarette. He went from like a 9 or 10 to a 4. It's hard to explain just how terribly unattractive I find smoking to be. This kid also attends one of the top colleges in the country, yet smokes. While I have a very good grasp of addiction, I still don't understand the thought process of very intelligent people who start using a substance. I feel bad that you're addicted, but not too bad. It was your choice to start using whatever substance you're addicted to. This is especially true in a time when everyone knows the dangers of smoking. There's no such thing as making an uneducated decision.

In other news, because I care about being able to breathe, I was at the Y today and had an unusually good swim. I did a fair bit of medium to long distance freestyle and it felt really good. My stroke just seemed to be all in place. It's actually starting to get fun again.

Monday, July 9, 2007

So You'll Be Here When Exactly...?

One of my biggest pet peeves in the world is when you have some household item that needs repair and the person coming to repair said item tells you something like, "I'll be there between noon and 3pm." First off, why can't you just tell me a time you're going to be there? It's called an appointment, and is how the rest of the world functions. Second, if you give me a three hour (or larger) window, that's a huge amount of time for me to hang around just waiting for you. In light of that, you had darn well better be there in said window of time. But, of course, the technician coming to make some hardware repairs on my Dell laptop (by the way, I will never buy another Dell as long as I live) of course managed to come at 3:40 pm. My whole day was pretty much a waste thanks to it. The guy who did show up was a nice guy and quite competent, but the half hour of repairs should not have required my full day, especially not when everything was under warranty.

Speaking of repairs, my car started making a noise today that it definitely shouldn't be. Unfortunately, getting home at 10:30 tonight, I won't be able to deal with it at all until tomorrow.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Boring Saturday

I literally did nothing today. I helped my parents with a few little things around the house, went for a short swim (pool is now on summer hours and closes earlier than I'd like), and watched two episodes of MythBusters, which is actually great television. It turns out you really can save your buddies' lives by jumping on a grenade. Also turns out you could accomplish the same thing by throwing the grenade into the nearest bucket of water and you might not have to die in the process. Good life lessons for the next time you're in that situation.

Since I don't have too much in my life to talk about, I thought I might bring up an article I read in the news. Some guy in Massachusetts who took the MA Bar Exam and failed, is suing the state. It turns out he didn't answer one question and only failed by one question. The question this dumbass refused to answer, involved a question about the financial assets of a married lesbian couple (cuz you can actually do that in MA). He is suing MA for both failing the bar and for compensation for their homosexual agenda and their abandonment of religion. Well hear this buddy, I'm sure there's a very special place in hell waiting for you. Aside from that, if you want to practice law in a given state, then it is your obligation to be knowledgeable about and uphold ALL laws in the state.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

On the job front, I found two more jobs to apply for. One of them I'm not too sure I'd actually want, I'd need more information, but the due date to apply is tomorrow so I'm safer sending a cover letter and resume and then making a decision later. The other one looks kind of interesting and like a job that would be good to do while going back to grad school.

I made it to the Y again today, and was rewarded twice over. While I was leaving the locker room at the end of my swim, I ran into the same cute guy from the other day. The real fun though was the guy who decided to swim in the lane next to me. I could swim circles around him, but not at all a bad guy to look at. He really needs to learn though, that if you want to swim laps, board shorts really aren't the best choice for your swimming (or my viewing).

Aside from that, no particularly exciting news to report.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July!! Usually the fourth is one of my favorite holidays as I like holidays during the summer. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty lousy today. Thankfully, my weird town had our fireworks on Monday night, so I didn't really miss out.

Unfortunately last night I was slightly distracted by some kind of party or something nearby that involved lots of screaming at very innappropriate hours. It eventually became concerning enough and annoying enough that I called the police department and asked them to drive by. Shortly after that, it returned to normal suburban quiet. This distraction is partly to blame for me not posting.

For those of you following the blog, I've posted a few times on my attempts to get back into shape with regular swimming workouts at the Y. Although the Y was closed today for the holiday, I did get to go on both Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday, for the first time, I finally saw a guy there that required me to stop and take a second look. He looked to be part way through college or just graduated. I think he should come and workout again while I'm there. Along the same lines, Jay over at Jay + Gay = Me (a blog you should be reading if you're not already) has come up with a way for him and some of his fellow bloggers to be held accountable for their workout goals. We're posting what our goal is for the end of September and helping each other stay motivated and on track. I happen to think it's a really good idea. I definitely know how difficult it can be sometimes to keep motivated without a little help from other people. If you're interested in jumping in on this, you should check out his blog (http://gayjay.blogspot.com/).

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Promised Blog (or Land)

Ok, so I'm still getting used to the idea that blogs are really designed for you to express your opinion regardless of what other people who read it might think. But, I am getting used to it and so this post might make some people a little bit annoyed at me. I'm going to go ahead with it anyway.

I have read or skimmed a fair bit of the debate I linked to in my previous post. A very brief background is that Sam Harris is a well-published author and atheist arguing against the existence of God. He is debating well-published author and pro-religion Catholic Andrew Sullivan. On Page 4 of the debate, they finally get to exactly what my problem is and I have to say, that from as objective of a viewpoint as I can get, Sam Harris crushes Andrew Sullivan. The quote below is Sullivan (pro-religion) responding to Harris (atheist).

You wrote:"What would constitute "proof" for you that your current beliefs about God are mistaken? (i.e., what would get you to fundamentally doubt the validity of faith in general and of Christianity in particular?)" It's a good question. It prompts me to say something I've been reluctant to talk about for reasons best expressed by Wittgenstein. But here goes anyway.I have never doubted the existence of God. Never. My acceptance of God's existence--of a force beyond everything and the source of everything--goes so far back in my consciousness and memory that I can neither recall "finding" this faith nor being taught it. So when I am asked to justify this belief, as you reasonably do, I am at a loss. At this layer of faith, the first critical layer, the layer that includes all religious people and many who call themselves spiritual rather than religious, I can offer no justification as such. (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/209/story_20904_4.html)

This quote shows the obvious problem. There is very little evidence to support the existence of God but yet, there is nothing that most people of a religious faith will accept as evidence that God does not exist. How can you have a debate if one side won't accept or acknowledge evidence to the contrary? If someone wants to jump in with good evidence that God does exist, I am more than willing to consider it and spend some time thinking about it. I am at a loss to offer much in the way of evidence myself. I can however, offer much evidence to support the idea that God does not exist, yet I think Harris and Sullivan are both right, when they suggest that it wouldn't do any good. I'm already aware of it and those with faith don't care about it.

Ok, so that was me pissing off the religious crowd.

A Link

Ok, so I absolutely promise I will post on this in the near future. In the meantime, for anyone remotely interested in my posts on religion, this is fantastic. Read some of the debate even if you don't have the ridiculous amount of free time required for the whole thing.


Friday, June 29, 2007

So I feel like I should follow up yesterday's fun posts with a more serious one. In light of that, I'm writing about religion again. I just read a few sermons posted on the website of a local Episcopalian church. Despite the fact that I don't know where I stand on the whole religion or Christianity thing at the moment, no one can say I'm not doing my darndest to see what's out there and what people have to say. I'm certainly spending enough time thinking about it. Two of the sermons dealt with the idea of legalistic religion. I was impressed to see that both were quite disapproving of such policies. It turns out, that at least this one minister, believes that the Bible is not meant to be read word for word and that a religion of rules and legalities is not in the spirit of Jesus, who in fact rebelled against this very same thing in his frequent battles with the Pharisees and society in general. While I have personally felt his way myself for a long time, it was nice to see that it was actually preached from the pulpit by at least one person. I think this is in large part my problem with evangelical churches. They leave no wiggle room. They don't see that it's about relationships with others and with God and not about rules governing the simple acts of men. In fact, when I think about it, legalistic religion is about as selfish as you can get. It's the "righteous" using their religion to beat up on others. Doesn't sound like something based on a model like Jesus does it?
In other news, my mom talked to one of her long-time friends today who is, to put it nicely, a religious whack job. It turns out she recently visited Disney World on "Gay Day." This apparently didn't go over very well with her. I'm a little pissed at my mom who said she couldn't blame her as "a whole lot of gays are just too flamboyant."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Those "10" Lists

So, since everyone seems to be doing it (always a good reason to do something of course) I've decided to complete a few of those "10" lists that have been going around the blog world like a virus. There are ten of these "10" lists, but I got bored and ended up only being interested in six of them. In any case, sixty facts and opinions of mine should be enough for now. I'm posting the first five here. I will post the sixth next as it's the list of 10 hot celebs and I'm going to include pictures. I think it will work better as it's own post.

10 random things about you
1. I’m 22.
2. I just graduated from college.
3. I came out to my family, close friends, and at college over a year ago.
4. I am not out where I’m now living at home.
5. I’m a volunteer EMT and actually find it fun (even at 3:30am).
6. I love summer, I hate rain, but I love thunderstorms.
7. Dogs make me happy.
8. I love water and am a pool rat.
9. I’m currently looking for a job.
10. I am a gay guy who despises shopping.

10 favorite foods
1. Pasta with pesto sauce
2. Ravioli
3. Caesar Salad
4. Cheeseburgers
5. Provolone or any sharp cheese
6. Homemade pizza (though regular pizza will work too)
7. Bruschetta
8. Grilled chicken
9. BBQ Chicken
10. Pasta in just about any form not already mentioned
(Yes, I’m half Italian)

10 wants
1. To be in the same place as my boyfriend.
2. A job
3. A job that actually matters
4. To keep up my current workout schedule (especially after 2 and 3 happen)
5. To eventually be able to be completely out in all parts of my life.
6. To be a good friend
7. To be able to understand that not all aspects of life can be understood via science
8. To be able to consider the opinions of others but not be governed by them
9. To go back to grad school for clinical psychology in the near but not immediate future
10. To be less afraid of change

10 things you are scared of
1. Change
2. Not finding a job that I like
3. Losing touch with friends from college
4. Coming out here in my hometown
5. The inevitable ambulance call that will make me wonder why I do it
6. That someone who knows the “straight” me might stumble upon this blog and figure it all out (yes, I know it’s very unlikely)
7. Things I can’t figure out
8. Things I can’t know the answer to
9. The way most people drive
10. Being wrong when it really matters

10 dislikes
1. Rude people
2. Especially rude drivers (who don’t use turn signals)
3. People who lie to me
4. People who can’t stop talking
5. Bigoted people and those who can’t accept differences
6. The religious right
7. The political right
8. Those who make assumptions about me before they get to know me
9. People who say everything happens for a reason
10. Really loud environments

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


So I went to an Ears/Nose/Throat (ENT) doctor today. When I was younger I had a huge problem with ear infections. I had tubes put in surgically to help. As a result of the repeated abuse my ears took, I have hearing loss. In March I went to see a different ENT who essentially told me I was going deaf and in 15-20 years would likely be clinically deaf. Needless to say, this was a little bit distressing and I spent a day or two in not particularly good shape. Not only was I upset about the news, but the last doctor was a jerk. He essentially broke the bad news and told me to come back when I got out of school as he'd like to do one more test. He then left the room without explaining a darn thing. As someone with some healthcare training, I insist in being in charge of my care and I also insist that I be treated like the consumer that I am. If you're a doctor and happen to be a pompous jerk, I will both tell you that and switch to another doctor. For this reason, among others, I was at a different doctor's office today.

In any case, I got a mixed bag of news. The new doctor, without exactly saying it, implied that the last guy must have been a little full of himself as there's no way he should have made that prediction. There's simply no way to know. Looking at a hearing test I had done in 1999 and comparing it with one today, the good news is that hearing in my left ear has remained about the same. The bad news, is that my right ear has gotten measurably worse. I can actually tell the difference between the ears myself. The doctor insisted there's no way to predict how things will progress and wants to check my hearing in six months and then probably once a year after that. He believes (as do I) that the best way to deal with this is to see what's going on year to year. If my left ear remains in the mild to moderate hearing loss area and my right area doesn't get too much worse than the borderline moderate to severe it is now, the hearing loss will continue to be a little bit problematic but not a huge life issue. (As an aside, in a moment of pure professionalism, the audiologist who did my hearing test said the following to me after the test. "Your right ear really sucks!") If it gets worse, well, I guess I'll have to cross that bridge when I get to it. The news could have been much worse. Given that it's been eight years since the last test and my left ear seems stable and the right is somewhat but not too much worse, I'm not likely to have any huge problems in the near future.

In other better news, I officially lost my first 5 lbs. on my new workout schedule. Realizing that almost none of you who read this have ever met me, I promise I'm not some "huge freakin' guy" (name that movie) who is in serious need of a diet and crazy exercise, but losing a few pounds would be cool and is more of a side benefit of the exercise than the goal.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

So hitting the YMCA five days a week is starting to make me feel like a good gay guy again. I really had slacked off for a good long while.

In other news (literally), I was reading the newspaper today and came across an article about a gay graduating high school senior in Newark, New Jersey. In his particular school, every student has their picture in the yearbook but students can also purchase an additional page and design it with phots of them, their friends, family, etc. This student had done that and on the page included a picture of him and his boyfriend kissing. The school district's superintendent blacked out the photo (due to it's "suggestive" nature) in the yearbooks before they were distributed to students. Interestingly enough, several other pages included heterosexual couples engaging in similar acts and were not altered in any way. Since the incident, the school has offered to replace the yearbook with the picture intact for any student who wants it. Not exactly the ideal solution in my mind. I think the student deserves a serious apology and that all students should have their yearbooks replaced. Not to mention, the student should have the $150 he paid to have that page refunded. But don't worry, the school district didn't discriminate. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/24/education/24yearbook.html

Monday Monday

Ironically, it's now Tuesday. Oh well...

Not too much to report since yesterday. I had a pretty uneventful day today. Did some more work on the job search, a few things around the house, and went for a good swim. Now that I'm getting back in shape, the swimming is getting to be more fun. I can do more creative and challenging workouts and it's easier to keep myself a little bit more motivated. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the pool I swim at seems to be lacking other male swimmers my own age. A few hot guys in tight swimwear doesn't seem to be too much to ask for does it?On the religion front, I've been thinking a lot about how my current position might be different if I hadn't been raised in a very very Catholic environment and gone to Catholic schools all my life but rather been raised without religion and discovered that later on. I also wonder how being gay has come into play. Given my background as a science major in college and the fact that I tend to be one of those people who thinks in that way, I feel like the fact that I've already had a go at religion makes it very hard for me to ever approach it again in a positive manner. Perhaps if I hadn't been so intensely exposed, and it discovered it later when I could decide it all for myself, I'd be in a different position and wouldn't be stuck now applying science to religion to explain why it doesn't work.

I don't know if that makes any sense to anyone other than me...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Weekend Update

So I had a busy weekend just getting stuff done around the house. Washed and waxed the cars, finally put some last stuff away from college, and did some other random things that needed to be done. Also did a few EMS calls which are usually fun. After talking to a higher-up in my department, if I am willing to complete a few requirements, there is a possibility that I could be appointed to an officer position. I've decided to work on getting those done, as I would like the position. It might also be easier to get some of these requirements done now, even if I weren't to be offered the position right now, since I'm busy looking for a job, but not yet busy working.

A more substantial update sometime soon.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ordinary People and People Who Suck (Religion Part III)

So I really didn't do much of anything today. I'm waiting to hear on possible interviews for a couple of jobs.
What I did do today was buy the film "Ordinary People." If you have not seen this film, you probably should. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Redford), Best Supporting Actor (Timothy Hutton) and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was released in 1980 (which I realize isn't exactly recent) but is a fantastic and still quite pertinent film. The film is the journey of an ordinary suburban family facing the death of the oldest of two sons in a boating accident. The family features an out of touch mother (Mary Tyler Moore), a caring but somewhat fumbling father (Donald Sutherland) and a troubled son dealing with the death of his brother. I'm not one to reccomend or decide I like a film simply because it's a classic. My boyfriend can certainly attest to this. This is actually just an amazing film.
As I write this, I am discussing with my boyfriend how the church he is a member of doesn't allow gays to become ministers and in fact believes that a homosexual orientation is against "God's plan" (notice the clever way they ignore whether or not it's a sin. Since these people are of course having daily meetings with God, I'm sure they're well aware of all aspects of "The Plan.") This is one of those things we don't agree on. If I were in his position, I would have left that particular denomination and found a more accepting one. I tend to believe that there's no one right church (see my post on how people screwed it all up) and so I'd have no problem moving to a church that welcomes all members for all positions. My boyfriend however, is the type to give it time and hope he can eventually change things. My whole position since coming out has been, for religion and otherwise, that I don't owe anyone anything. I don't owe an explanation. You don't have to like me, or support me, and largely, I will fight for gay rights but I refuse to waste my time with organizations or people that can't pull their heads out of their asses and treat everyone with respect. It is one of the many reasons I no longer consider myself Catholic. If you are so self-righteous and ignorant that you can't understand that being gay is not a choice, then I really have no interest in wasting my time dealing with you. I think when I first came out, I wanted to try to change people's opinions. I've since realized that my own well-being and the respect I have for myself are infinitely more important than the opinions of stupid people.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Religion Rant Part II (and other stuff)

A weak thunderstorm passed through just a little bit ago. I hate rainy days but I love thunderstorms. I have no idea why, but I'm just amazed by them.

If you want a good laugh, check out the June 18th post at http://goingtheotherway.blogspot.com/

On the job front, I got a lead on a job at an organization that does work with adults suffering from a variety of mental health issues, most of them Axis I diagnoses like schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder. It sounds like something I would really enjoy so I'll be sending a resume their way (after I post here of course).

Ok, and back to my ranting about religion. Yeah, not the smoothest segway ever, you'll just have to forgive me. While I was lap swimming last night, I was thinking about where I wanted this discussion to go and I was reminded of one of my biggest pet peeves in this department. Assuming I were to settle on God existing (something I haven't figured out in reality but that's why it's an assumption) I don't think that any single religion or church has gotten it right. People really seem to have screwed the whole darn thing up. My biggest annoyance is when people assume that they know what God is thinking or would want from people. Sure, some stuff is common sense. The whole, "treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated" and a prohibition against murder are pretty universal. Essentially, the basics boil down to respect for God, others, and yourself. I've got no problem with this kind of thinking. What I do have serious issues with however, is when you presume to tell me that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church because God said so. Or when you say that someone is going to hell, as if you can read God's mind. Or, when you say that I ensure my own space in the fiery depths by physically acting on my attraction to men. Who the hell is any human being, to presume they know the thoughts and will of God? Ok, that's my rant for now.

While writing this post, I responded to an EMS call a few houses away and then had to leave the scene in my car to handle a diabetic emergency across town. Neither call was anything particularly unusual.

I'm Alive! (but how did I get here?)

So I'm not sure why I didn't post on this last night, but I had a near-death experience during dinner yesterday. I was eating alone (my mom and sister were at our shore house and my dad was going to be home from work late) when I started choking. I don't mean the annoying, went down the wrong pipe and I'm coughing kind of thing. I mean the not getting any air at all, actually choking kind of thing. I flew out of my chair which sent it flying and went to go for the phone to call 911 as I was looking for the best way to do the Heimlich maneuver on myself. Somehow, the sudden movement caused me to get just enough air to cough again. (Double PSA: In many areas of the US, 911 uses computer aided dispatching (CAD) which shows your address on a computer screen when you call without you having to say a word. You'll get at least a police officer at your house. Also, if you're ever choking and alone, aside from calling 911, you can do the Heimlich maneuver on yourself by throwing yourself over the back of a chair or something similar. I'm a CPR Instructor and always teach this in my classes.)

So, I'm alive, and on to the second question. How in the heck did I end up here anyway? As I mentioned last night in my post, I'm waging an internal war of the religious variety. I've decided just for fun, to use this post as an intro to where I stand from three perspectives. First, it will be helpful to know that I used to be a crazy Roman Catholic (yes, the phrase is redundant). Six months ago, after a stint as VP of the Catholic Community at my college and 8 months after coming out, I stopped attending mass. Now, I'm not sure where I stand. So, in an effort to explain the complications, I'll give three fun little examples of the confused ways I think about it.

The Scientific- I am a science kind of guy and think about things in terms of evidence and how to test an idea. On this front, I'm stumped. The evidence isn't there, but there's also no way to test it.

Probability- God Does Not Exist and I don't believe= it doesn't matter/
God Does Not Exist and I do believe= a potential waste of effort but doesn't matter/God Exists and I don't believe= possibly screwed/God exists and I do believe= I'm all set

Disclaimer: Belief can't really be based on this kind of assessment, but it's fun anyway.

Faith/Belief- While I find the idea of God hard to grasp and I find it unlikely from a scientific perspective that God exists, I have moments of awe that really make me think something must have had a hand in all of this. I guess this makes me an agnostic.

Two complicating factors: I really like the tradition and ceremony of Christian faiths. I have toyed with the idea of attending services at a very gay friendly local Episcopal church. One of the things that made me leave the Catholic Church and got me thinking about all of this was the way being gay was at serious odds with the church I was voluntarily a member of. One of my big problems for months now has been that any God I have a concept of, wouldn't be looking down at me and my boyfriend plotting our future damnation. In fact, I'd like to think God would be up there going, "I'm glad that one worked out."

Ok, my apologies for the long post. I'll add more of my thoughts on this in small chunks and certainly, as always, welcome comments.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Keep Them in Your Thoughts

I've been meaning to post briefly on this. I'm sure everyone has read or seen the story of the nine firefighters who lost their lives battling a fire in a furniture store in Charleston, South Carolina (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/06/20/charleston.fire.ap/index.html.) It is the greatest loss of life sustained by a fire department in a single incident since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Please keep these heroes, their families, other members of the Charleston, SC fire department, and their friends in your thoughts and prayers.

As an aside, as tragedy often does, these events highlight the need for change. All buildings, even older ones, should be forced to adapt to current fire codes. It is quite possible that the fire would not have spread quite so quickly and become such an intense inferno had the structure had a sprinkler system. I realize that such changes are costly, but I think most people would agree that nine lives is a far greater cost. As an EMT on a volunteer fire department and someone who has been in emergency services for six years, it saddens me that cost and convenience are given a higher priority than the safety of those who risk their lives for public safety.

Back to regular posting later.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Working Out and Weighing In

Ok, so now for a post that isn't me reccomending someone else's writing. I guess I can do a little work of my own.

My mom and sister went to our shore house for the day and my dad was at work so I had the house to myself. It was nice to have less going on and to be able to relax a little bit. I got a lot of the dumb little stuff done that I needed too.

While I'm busy looking for a job, it's an activity that I can't possibly spend all day on (and it would drive me nuts if I did) so I've decided that one of the things I could spend some of my time on is getting back into shape. I was a varsity swimmer in high school and was in really good shape then. For a year or so, I swam on a club swim team and was in the pool six days a week. Once I got to college, I kind of swam only on and off. One summer I got two friends together and we did a relay sprint triathalon. It was a lot of fun and we did really well, thanks mostly to the other two. Since then, I've slacked off again, but I've decided to get myself back into the swing of things. I really enjoy what it's like to be in shape and what it's like to do a good workout, feel the endorphins, and just all around seem to have more energy. So with that in mind, and of course to be a good gay guy, I've been getting back into the pool lately. I think one of the most important things to do when trying to get in shape or lose a few pounds is to pick an activity you like so that you'll actually do it. For me, this is, and and always has been, swimming. Those crazy folks who run often speak of a "runner's high," and I can promise you the same thing can happen in a pool. You get into a groove and just feel like you can swim forever. The other great thing about swimming is that it really gives me time to think. Even at a reasonably active YMCA pool like the one I swim at, when you're in the water, no matter how many people are around, you're really by yourself. It's just you and the water and the quiet that comes with being in it. So, I'm hoping that with all of these benefits, I'll stick to my workouts this time.

For anyone who might read for the EMS, I did a difficulty breathing/chest pain call tonight. As much as I'd like to tell people this on a regular basis I can't, but when your weight has three digits and the first of them is a 3, it's not hard to figure out where your medical problems are coming from. All the more reason for me to stick to the above. (I know that may have sounded harsh. As an EMT and someone with a psychology degree, I promise I'm well informed on issues of weight. I still think a little personal responsibility goes a long way though, and you won't get me to say otherwise.)

That's all from now. For those who might be interested, I'm thinking of tackling a kind of big issue in the near future, now that I'm getting used to the whole blogging thing. Yup, I'm thinking a discussion of religion might be in the works. Over the past six months, I've struggled a fair bit with the topic, particularly as a gay guy, and I think doing a little writing on it might be good.

Some Great Blogs

Ok, so I promise to post again later, but had to do this now. Below are some links (also in the "Links to Other Blogs" section for easier future reference) that are to some great blogs. I've been reading them and commenting on them for hours.

http://gayjay.blogspot.com/ Jay was first to comment here, so check out his blog.

http://nothinggoldenstays.blogspot.com/ I'll proudly say I knew the reference "nothing golden stays" before reading any of his blog. But, you should also read this fantastic blog too.

http://comingout-tomyblog.blogspot.com/ Cool blog, AND he likes the Fray.

http://alreadybruised.blogspot.com/ Yet another good read. They just keep coming.

http://closetedonlychild.blogspot.com/ The "About Me" sounds like it could have been written by me.

And a couple of photos, just for fun.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Morning

So time for updates on a few different fronts...

Job search: The interview I went on was for a position at a very underhanded company that has some serious issues in terms of how it represents employment opportunities.  I told them I had no interest in working for them.  I am currently trying to get in touch with someone for a job I just noticed advertised in my own town.  I'm not sure I want to be that close to home, but if they were interested in me, it might not be a bad place to start.

EMS: I was woken up by my pager in the middle of the night for a diabetic emergency which led to the usual refusal of transportation.  At least I only lost about an hour of sleep.

Love Life: My boyfriend currently resides in a southern state about a two day drive from me.  It sucks.  Neither of us know how long we're going to be in our current locations as I look for a job and he looks at grad schools.  While we talk every night, I had no idea just how much I'd miss some of the really simple things.  A goodnight hug or him playing with my hair while we watch a little TV really were important parts of my day when we were both at school.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Back Home

I'm back at home after spending one day longer than expected on the road.  The trip was not quite what I had hoped for in terms of a job but it was great to catch up with some friends and to be out of the house for a few days.  More updates to come soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

See you in a couple of days

I'll be heading off on my road trip in a few hours.  The interview is Thursday afternoon.  I'll be back late Friday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Interview and a Road Trip

So one of the fun(?) things about graduating from college is looking for a job.  While I think I want to go back to grad school for clinical psychology or rehabilitation counseling in a few years, for now, I want a break from school.  I've been done with school for a few weeks, and have spent a good portion of each day dedicated to looking for possible jobs.  I graduated from a solid liberal arts college with good name recognition, which I hope will be helpful.  I've been trying to get into PR in a non-profit.  This is apparently not very easy to do.  Non-profits pay less and seem to require more experience than any of the other companies I've looked at.  Yesterday, I was contacted by a for-profit company that does PR and marketing for non-profits.  To me, the chance to work for a company that might actually pay me to do work with non-profits seemed like a pretty good idea.  I agreed to an interview on Thursday afternoon.

This all was great until my parents got home.  They, but my mom in particular, flipped out.  The job I'm interviewing for is about 4 1/2 hours away, near where I went to school.  While my mom went off on a whole bunch of reasons I shouldn't work there (too far away, I won't like the weather, I won't make enough money etc) I am sure she's mostly freaked out about me leaving the house and being completely on my own in an area not near to her.  I was more than a little disappointed that she couldn't be happy (or at least pretend to) because the opportunity made me happy, but I'm trying to be patient.

The good news anyway, is that I'll be out of the house for a few days.  Tomorow afternoon I'll leave and probably (need to confirm this tonight) head up to a friend's house just outside the city where I'll be interviewing.   I'll spend the night there.  I'll interview Thursday afternoon and then head down to the small town where my college was.  I'll stay with another friend there on Thursday night while I catch up with some friends and with the ambulance corps I volunteered on while in school.  I was an EMT, driver, and an officer of the corps and might even volunteer for a shift while I'm there. 

I'm also trying to get my parents to understand that, although there are drawbacks to this situation, there are also a whole lot of advantages.  But, in the first place, this is a preliminary interview and I haven't even been offered a job at this point.  For all I know, I won't be what they're looking for, and won't have to worry about anymore decisions.  If they are interested, I need to consider that this is an area I can actually afford to live in on my own.  If I were to get a job around here, I'd be stuck living at home, something that would drive me absolutely crazy.  For now though, all I can do is go to the interview and see what happens and enjoy a little road trip in the process.

Hi There!

What you need to know about me in order to read this blog.

1. I'm new to this.  I hope this will be a fun little project but please be patient as I figure things out.

2. I just graduated college with a degree in psychology (which it turns out is good for everything and nothing all at the same time).

3. I'm a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).  Some of what I write about might only be fun or funny to others in EMS but I will try not to go overboard.  As an EMT, by default, I have a sense of humor that's a little "off."

4. I'm a half out of the closet gay guy.

5. I want to hear from people who read this and would love links to other blogs.