Saturday, May 18

"Well, You Could Go This Way. . ."

Today I feel like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz when he was "helping" Dorothy with which direction to take on the Yellow Brick Road. I could go this way. . .or that way. . .or maybe both ways (nah).

Considering the mistakes I made in coming to Reno (acts of desperation never end well) I'm doing a lot of research right now. One thing is for sure: there has to be better shopping where I am going than exists here. The one BIG mall isn't too bad, if you are looking for a stale Macy's, overpriced jewelry, or cheap shoes. Which, believe it or not, a lot of people here live for. If you clicked on the link, you'll notice the page shows one of the mall's "Breeder Pits," my name for the recessed areas where children lose all sense of control. You'll also see Meadowood described as the "dominant" mall in Northern Nevada. Park Lane is the submissive mall?

I need to remember no one comes to Reno to shop.

People have asked me what's the best view of Reno. "The skyline growing smaller in your rearview mirror," I tell them.

I can't wait for that view to appear.

Friday, May 17

Time, What a Concept

My mother always said time has a way of getting past you before you know it. Looking around at the University of Nevada, Reno campus, I understand what she meant. When we first arrived in Reno the spring semester had not begun. It was early January and we had the run of the library and free internet access largely to ourselves and a few other lonely Reno souls.

Tomorrow is UNR's commencement. In so many ways it seems like I just got here. But in so many others it feels like a lifetime. Many of the people in my life right now, several of whom have been in and out of this town many times, maintain the city is dying. A victim of poor government planning, greedy casino owners, and the emergence of competition in the gambling world, known locally as "those damn Indian casinos."

California has a number of Indian casinos just over Donner Pass. The largest one has full "Vegas style" gaming, except for a Sportsbook and Off Track Betting which is still legal only in Nevada. The summer months may see the casinos through without problem, but come winter and everyone's money is on the Indian gaming halls. No need to wait to cross the pass in the snow, no chains required, just bring your nickles, quarters, luck and you are ready.

So it's time for a lot of things to change in Reno. UNR's best and brightest are entering into a dismal work market. The casino owners are licking their financial wounds. Change is in the air.

Even for me.

Wednesday, May 15

Decisions

Feels good when you've made a decision and are ready to go forward with it. I've decided Reno has sucked the last of my life out of me and it's time soon to move on. The actual date has to be determined by a number of things out of my immediate control. Where am I off to? When I get there everyone will know.

It's nice to be off on an adventure without people baggage this time. The last few times I've moved I've had company. This time, solo, seems so much better.

It's time.

Monday, May 13

Well it IS Monday After All






Just what I needed to see today to realize my life doesn't suck as bad as I thought it did. I could be "George" the troubled help desk technician that wrote the tortured message above. George's work is highlighted in today's Daily Diversion found on the left. My hole area doesn't receive external email messages either, so I don't know what the big deal is with this user.

Another week starts. Opportunity? Frustration? Relief? All will be experienced no doubt. But I have another chance to see what will happen.

How Could I Have Forgotten?

If it weren't for Philo I would have overlooked that May is National Masturbation Month. The good people at Good Vibrations are sponsoring a Masturbate-A-Thon, the proceeds of which go to a Women's program of some sort.

OK. . .

Friday, May 10

Friday. . .So What?

When things are as up in the air as they are right now, Fridays have no special meaning whatsoever. Hopefully things will look up this next week. Job news, either positive or negative; assistance news, again positive or negative. If they are both negative, I'm not sure where this is going to go.

Thursday, May 9

Another Day

Too many people that I've grown to respect in the Blogging community are bidding adieu or taking vacations from the practice. First there was Ernie then Dooce.com, writer and photographer of superb talent pulled the plug.

This does get a little addictive. And, in the hands of the wrong type personality, could lead to personal ruin or frustration. Anything taken too seriously can have serious drawbacks. I love to cook. People have often asked why I don't do it professionally. My reason is simple: I enjoy doing it as a hobby, not as an vocation. I don't want to spoil the fun I have with cooking by having to do it under the pressure of paying rent, etc.

As my favorite author Adair Lara advised a graduation class, "find where you want to live. The work will find you."

I need to remember that.

Wednesday, May 8

Who Knew?

Life could be so strange. I could easily get down right now, but I'm not letting myself fall into that trap. Finding things out, moving forward, making plans. I've decided one of the biggest things to get me out of a depression is to make some sort of plan. Work towards something other than what is in front of me at the moment. Sounds like avoidance, but it's really preservation. I need something to keep me going.

::-::-::-::-::-::-::-]

And who would have thought Reno would have a great mass transit system? It's clean, covers the entire city, efficient, 98 percent on time. Can't beat it. Now, you can beat some of the people who ride the bus, but that's another story.

Tuesday, May 7

Just When You Think. . .

things are settling down. They flare up again. Lessons have been learned from the past, however, so I don't see this latest travail into possible self-hatred and destruction being as bad as the last. Considering that was my first experience with the homeless life, I think I did pretty well to escape. One the of the biggest lessons learned: don't befriend anyone. It will lead to nothing worthwhile.

Reno, fortunately, has a pretty good support network. (Those casinos and the taxes they bring in do have some benefit after all).

Who would have thought?

Monday, May 6

Like Grabbing Mercury

Ever notice how some things just don't get done as easily as they should? Life, when you look at it in its most basic form is pretty simple stuff. You wake in the morning, sleep at night, grow or deteriorate (at least physically) during the whole process. Pretty simple.

Somehow, many of us, myself included, have managed to make the whole thing much more complicated than it has to be. When I saw this post from my friend Ernie at Little Yellow Different I knew things had gotten out of hand. Not to forget that my own life is in a huge mess right now, but when a stalwart like Ernie decides to take a powder, all I have to say is "hmmmmm. . . ."

One of my favorite films is "The Big Chill". It came out nearly 20 years ago, but its message about friendships, connections, etc., still rings true. I have countless favorite lines from the film, but one of the ones I love most is when Meg Tilly's character Chloe is asked if a particular person was happy. "I don't know," she replied, "I haven't met that many happy people." Another "hmmmmm.. . .."

Grabbing what you want out of life is indeed like grabbing mercury. Just when you think you have it cornered, it evades your grasp quickly. Instead of trying to grab what I think I want, I think I'm going to start taking what I get and seeing what I can do with it. Not a retreat, just a dose of reality. You can't count on people, or places, or things to make you happy. You really can't count of any of them for anything. Just go with what you know is, what you can grab with certainty, what will work at the time.

The rest will figure its way out.

Saturday, April 27

Where I Wish I Was

Somewhere within cuddling reach of this:

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That's Reno For You

I have to stop saying that I don't find this place so bad when in actuality I can't stand the place. This town has the cultural sophistication of a Mitch Miller sing-a-long. If casinos are high art, then Reno is the Louvre. I believe it was Gertrude Stein who commented there was "no there" to Oakland. I shudder to think of what she could have conjured to describe this place.

Reno just is. It exists. It endures. What it doesn't seem to ever do is aspire. And when it does, it appears to fail. The situation has come from what happens when you mix old political families with big money and a populace seemingly consumed with their entrenched views. In short: nothing.

There are two major metropolitan areas in Nevada: Reno and Las Vegas. Each has prospered off gambling money. Makes sense. The casinos, however, pay (or do they) large sums in property and gaming taxes every year. Room tax alone in Reno is 12 percent. I don't know where the money goes, but it isn't for infrastructure. The roads are poorly planned, paved, and never seem to be maintained.

Approximately 10 years ago someone realized that families were coming to Las Vegas. They cleaned up the place, created incentives for growth (the price of which was Steve Winn), and made the place an inviting community. I'm sorry. I just can't say the same thing about Reno. It's not inviting, unless of course you want to drop a lot of cash.

Or you want to waste away. No thank you.

Friday, April 26

Getting Clear

The current controversy over acceptable punishment of Catholic priests who abuse children under their authority has brought up some interesting side conversations. The one I find most repugnant is the curiosity of how many gay men enter the priesthood.

Somehow, and not really all that suprising, the American public has confused a sexual orientation with a sexual dysfunction. Once again gay men are having to defend themselves from the long-held public opinion of them as sexual predators, especially of underage boys.

As most gay men and their close friends know, nothing could be farther from the truth. Sexual dysfunction (and just that term alone begins a whole new debate) goes across all orientations.

Maybe what we should all be looking at here are some basic trusts these priests have breached. First, children are taught to respect and follow the word of their preists or religous leaders (this is how this happens). Second, parents don't always support the tales of abuse their children report to them (how it occurs again and again). Finally, the child's trust in any adult is compromised (why they don't say anything in the future because they've already been discounted).

Zero tolerance seems like a good idea, but how would you enforce it? Such a rule depends upon a policing of some sort, hard to do in the sanctity of a confessional or preist's office, not to forget such a rule goes against Catholic tradition of confession, repentance and absolution. Let priests marry? Again, confusion abound on what the real situation is. It's not a matter of priests needing a source of sexual release as it is a need for some priests to find a release for their dysfunction.

If only there were easy answers.

Sunday, April 14

Sunday Potpourri




Isn't this a nice way to begin a Sunday morning? If not, then consider this:




Yes, this is what weekends are made of, compliments of the ever faithful Abercrombie.

Got my first week in at the new job and did fairly well. It's somewhat of a "learn while you earn" atmosphere, which I'm accustomed to, but it's hard to find patience in people fresh from Peoria who are wondering why you can't make the computer work and there is a jackpot at the "Wheel of Fortune" slot machine just waiting for them. Oh, well, they endured the new airport security measures, they can endure me for ten minutes.

Getting used to, unfortunately, the purple coat. I've decided it's the casino's way of encouraging the fashion conscious to aspire to management positions. Managers can wear regular clothes, not uniforms.

Things are getting better, though are still not where they should be. We have a new goal to meet of getting into our own place, which makes me feel better. If I can land an additional part-time job this week, that will speed the process along considerably. Hopefully it will come true.

If not, we have other options.

Thursday, April 11

A Little Nostalgic

Forgive me for being a little sentimental, but I have to note that today is my late mother's birthday. Even though she's been gone for a little more than two years, I still find myself jarred into a panic come Valentine's Day remembering that Mom's birthday is just around the corner. . .what will I get her?

Mom lived to the blessed age of 84, a life allowing her to witness and experience many things: from the First World War (she always reminded me they didn't it call it that at the time, since there hadn't been a second world war), to the Great Depression, the popular rise of radio, WWII (prior to which she met my father), television, jet air travel, satellite communications, and something she first appreciated then truly loved: cable television.

I was blessed to grow up largely with the "mom" depicted in so many 1960s sitcoms. She was always in the kitchen when I came home from school (much to my shagrin on some occasions), she made my lunch, washed and ironed my clothes, chauffered me to where I needed to go -- sometimes on a moments (or whim's) notice. She could be both supportive and reprimanding within the same sentence and three vocal ranges.

When my Dad died during my senior year in high school, Mom and I coalesced into a "unit." My Dad, a good man but somewhat of a gambler, had left us a little shy on the inheritance side. We had to give up a lot and learn how to make do. For an indulged only child, I often found the task not only daunting, but defiable. I was a handful for a number of years, but we always pulled together when we needed to, she helping me when I needed it, and me helping her as she progressed in age. We went through breast cancer, a femur shattering fall (literally a replay of the "Help I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up" commercial), and just the oddities and challenges of aging.

For several years in the mid-to-late '90s we fell into a comfortable routine. I would come up every Saturday and grocery shop for her (fortunately she lived next to a Safeway), do household chores, and tend the container garden I had planted on her terrace, which she could see from her beloved Lazy-Boy recliner. (There was a time when I thought my Mom would find it easier to lose me than her recliner, her TV remote or her cable connection). Once a month I would cut her hair. I've never taken a lesson in hair styling, but I had watched my hair being cut many a time -- how difficult could it be? "After all," I would tell aghast friends who learned I sheared Mom's locks, "she doesn't get out much."

Cancer came into her life two times, and she succumbed to it the third time it called. Having been a smoker for more than 50 years (though quitting cold turkey at the time of her mastectomy and remaining off cigarettes for nearly ten years), lung cancer and a few other things were too much to fight.

And while I always found the right gift for her birthday, I realize today how many things she gave me: her wonderful sense of humor (especially an appreciation for the absurd), a love of books, of the outdoors, of how to entertain yourself simply (something only a Depression child can pass on), and a deep loyalty to one's friends.

I think she knows she's missed. But I hope she knows she's being remembered.




Welcome To My Wednesday

Not working a Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 existence is disconcerting at first. At first you feel as if you aren't part of the "regular" world (no one works on Saturday or Sunday). Then you take a job requiring other than a traditional schedule (if that even exists anymore) and soon it feels natural.

There are times I long for a regular work week again, and then I realize I have the luxury of a day off during the week. Time to be "off" when so many others are "on."

Today's part-time opportunity fell flat since they wanted me during the times I'm committed to the Atlantis. There are still other options. I have a feeling something will appear that will be right for the moment. It always seems to be that way.

One of the benefits at the Atlantis (Every Player's Paradise) is a free meal each day. Today was my first day to explore the delicacies awaiting me in the employee cafeteria. Believe me, the deal sounds better than it is, but it's also nothing to sneeze at. Employees receive one free meal a day from the offerings in the cafeteria. Essentially it's overstocked food from the buffet, so if the enchiladas aren't selling and we made too much rice. . .it goes to the employees! Choices du jour: Italian Pasta Salad, Salad Bar, Enchiladas, Tacos, Baked Potatoes, Beef Tips, Rice (white or spanish), bread, desserts. They will also make you food to order, for instance, a turkey and swiss on wheat, to go with your salad. Drinks are free all of the time. If you've eaten your free meal, you can still take advantage of the bounty, only it will cost you a little. For instance, a second sandwich is $2.00, an omlette, burger and fries, etc., the same amount. Thinking about it, that's a nice benefit.

Still have unfinished business with the marketing company we were working for (a paycheck for training and the first week) to collect. Hope that goes well. If not, then expect to hear some nasty things about a certain company here in the Great Basin.

Revenge can be a sweet thing.

Wednesday, April 10

Where Now?

Today was my first day to be foisted onto the paying customers of the Atlantis. Nothing too horrendous. It takes time to learn the subtleties of any business and this one is no different. Casinos, I've discovered, attract a number of retirees and the elderly type folks, most of whom want to spend the least amount of time with me since I am a major barrier to their gambling.

Have an opportunity to pick up a part-time job tomorrow afternoon. That would make things work out pretty well. At least I would be closer to meeting some financial goals that I want to achieve.

Pressure continues from a friend in SF to just return to the City and admit this was an interesting, yet largely unrealized, experiment. While I find his appeals attractive (nice place to live in Pac Heights, a Lexus at my disposal, an allowance of some sort until I get myself established) I really don't know if I want to leave this place. While there are so many things about this area that I find repulsive, I also find some very nuturing aspects to life here. Extremes seem to be the currency of my life right now.

Maybe that's what it's supposed to be.

Tuesday, April 9

Pass Go, Collect Ugly Purple Blazer

Worries about the drug test proved to be unfounded. As I knew, nothing illicit in this bloodstream. Though I normally run around 14 proof, they don't appear to be worried about after work carousing of the alcohol variety.

So today was my first day on the new job. Of course, I learn I have to wear a very bright purple blazer only described as Barney friendly. Underneath I get to wear a shirt that appears to be a castoff from the Aladdin movie. Collar-less, embroidered tuxedo style shirt. I desperately wanted to ask the Lesbian who assigned these duds to me where the curly toed shoes were. Rick believes the perfect accessory is a Fez. I'm thinking the Shriners have more taste.

Yeah. Life's good. At least there is a free meal each day to make up for this. I'm thinking the uniform is their way to encourage the fashionable to aspire to management positions. Apparently managers get to wear what they please as long as it's business style attire.

I can speak management.

Monday, April 8

Distractions

Here I sit at the main library at the University of Nevada, Reno, my current and most reliable cyber connection. It's a beautiful campus, but it also has some of the most distractingly beautiful boys roaming around it most of the time. All it takes is a nice spring day like today for most of them to come out of hiding and parade themselves around campus. Ugh. . .I need to get to work.

Speaking of which, I still haven't heard the results of my drug test, which I'm sure is fine, but without the word from my future boss I can't go to work. Another source of frustration and distraction.

What to do. . .what to do?

Sunday, April 7

One Down. . .

And hopefully another to go. Landed the full-time job, now I'm just looking for something else in order to amass enough money to buy another life. If the drug test I took last week comes back clean (and why wouldn't it?, I don't have enough money to do anything illicit) I will be joining the front desk crew at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino here in Reno. It's a swing shift position, but that is OK because it will give me time during the day to take on a second job, or to further some of my other projects.

Health issues raised their ugly head (well, so to speak) again yesterday. Not what I was needing to happen at the time. Of couse, there is never a good time for this to happen, but yesterday was especially inconvenient. Really thought about packing in and going back to the Bay Area, but as Rick pointed out, there isn't necessarily anything better to go back to. I hate it when he is practical.

So Reno continues to get the best of my ambition. I am volunteering at A Rainbow Place the local Gay and Lesbian center, helping them with their fundraising activities. It gets me back into doing something I truly enjoy and will help them out as well.

Might as well be useful.