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.

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

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 ( 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. Jay was first to comment here, so check out his blog. 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. Cool blog, AND he likes the Fray. Yet another good read. They just keep coming. 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.