Saturday, December 26, 2009


Rock Band2 avatar I was just getting caught up on some reading, and read this snippet from a Dr. Kornel, a neurosurgeon at Brain & Spine surgeons of New York, in White Plains:

Musical video games that sharpen the mind: Guitar Hero and Rock Band. People who play along with the beat of the songs develop new connections between neurons and synapses, building up the brain.

My addiction to love of Rock Band is merely my attempt to sharpen my mind. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Of course, I suppose I wasn't really sharpening my mind when I bought some cool schwag at the Rock Store, including a sweet leopard print tank top and lace up boots to go with my short shorts. Whatever. You're not the boss of me and don't you judge me! It's a cool outfit, and I'll take a picture of my avatar the next time I play. Which should be right

Friday, December 25, 2009

“Hey Doll!”

BruceI got an email last night from my friend Bruce...except it wasn't from him. It was from his email address, but it was a friend of his informing me and others on Bruce's email list that Bruce had passed away on December 12.

I was shocked and dismayed to read of this. I even wondered if someone had hacked into Bruce's email account and sent this out as a sick joke. I went to Keep to the Code, the site that Bruce designed for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and the message board mentioned his death of liver and kidney failure. It wasn't a joke.

Such unexpected news always takes a little while to process. After my initial shock and sadness, I decided that the best thing I could do would be to remember my friend here, and talk about the fun things I remember about him.

I met Bruce when we worked at the same hospital in Indianapolis—I was a microbiologist, and he was a surgical technician. We both smoked, and started talking when we'd see each other outside for a smoke. He was just an incredibly likable and sweet guy—but with a little bit of an edge and a wicked sense of humor. He was also gay, and it was a refreshing change to hang out with a guy who didn't want to get into my pants. Sorry if that sounded crude, but it's the truth. There was another surgical tech named Bruce who was also gay and also smoked (not kidding!) and he was much more flamboyant than the original Bruce. Another good friend was Shelley the housekeeper, and then there was Ruth the clerk. We had some fun times talking (and smoking!), believe me, and we were quite the little gang!

wolf_on_the_set Bruce lived with his husband Terry (that’s Bruce on the far right, and Terry is next to him) in a big old mansion in kind of a rough section of Indy, on McCarty Street. I think it has seen a bit of a renaissance since I left the city, so Bruce and Terry were ahead of the curve. They had me over for dinner one night, and their place was so eclectic and gorgeous. Those big high ceilings...I remember lounging around in the parlor drinking wine, talking and laughing, and feeling very bohemian. Terry was an accomplished artist, and I got to see several of his pieces throughout the house. I got to see their "retirement room," which was packed full of Disney collectibles, Barbie dolls in their original packaging, and various and sundry pop culture memorabilia. I wonder what they did with all that stuff?

You see, Terry died a few years ago of complications due to diabetes. Bruce stuck with him through it all...the increasing circulation problems, the amputations, becoming wheelchair-bound, and worst of all for an artist, the loss of sight. I know that Terry loved Bruce very much, but he could be difficult at times. Bruce stayed until the end, and it hit him hard, because he also loved Terry very much.

Bruce and I stayed in sporadic touch...Christmas cards every year, the occasional email, and a while back, a phone call after an email exchange in which he said he was really having a hard time coping. When he called me up, he greeted me the way he always did, "Hey Doll!", and I could tell he was sloshed. We had a sappy, fun, and tear-filled conversation, and ended up laughing. I got an email from him a while after that, and he said that he was doing better, and was starting to date again, although he still missed Terry.

Bruce was also a fine writer, and wrote a few pieces for a gay mag in Indy. He sent me all his columns, and I still have them in a binder downstairs. My favorite—and my favorite story about Bruce—involved the death of a coworker's (Ruth, mentioned above) cousin, and Bruce titled it "The Great Dumpster Dive." This cousin happened to be gay and had died of AIDS, and Ruth found out that much of the family condemned him for that, and were throwing out most of his possessions...and that the cousin had a huge collection of gay porn videos.

Dumpster dive Well, the two Bruces were on the case! They picked up Ruth and Shelley late at night and located the dumpsters into which the cousin's possessions had been tossed (just as his family tossed him into the virtual dumpster because of his orientation), and Bruce and Bruce proceeded to get into the dumpster and toss stuff out to Ruth and Shelley. It wasn't just videos his family had was antiques, posters, photographs, china. All because the cousin was gay and had died of AIDS.

The two Bruces ended up with about ten dozen videos between the two of them, and some of the treasured possessions of the cousin were salvaged. (If I were still living in Indy when this took place, would I have participated in this? Oh, hell yeah!) When Ruth went to the funeral, she knew that she had helped her cousin's legacy live on through her late-night, felonious escapade, and had honored him and cared for him much more than most of the rest of his family had.

As did Bruce. A fine mind, a wicked wit, a sweetheart of a friend. I am so sorry he's gone, and it hurts. Not just for me, but for all the other people I know he touched in his life. It was a pleasure to know him, and I will miss him. It also reminds me that life is fleeting—Bruce wasn't that much older than me—and we need to love each other and care for each other while we can. The poor cousin's family cared nothing about who he was, or what his interests were, or what he had accomplished in life. They focused on his orientation and hated him for that.

In this holiday season, I choose to focus on love. It's a lot more fun than any alternative. Peaceful rest, Bruce. I will miss you, my friend. And I’ll miss hearing “Hey Doll!”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Cowbell Hero Oh dear! Look at me, Miss Daily Blogger, missing a couple of days!

Well, for whatever reason, I'm off my blog feed, and blogging isn't high priority right now. I'm just going to go with the flow and ride it out and...whatever other metaphor you think applies here. Everyone is busy enough at this time of year without having to feel guilty about whether or not there are regular updates. Yeah, I'm just trying to make myself feel better. Just a picture or three tonight.

I mentioned my new T-shirt. Check it out, bay-bee! The only thing missing is...more cowbell! My friend Darren posted a picture of it on Facebook a while back and I said "WANT!" I got! Is this the coolest shirt ever, or what?

Mad Housewife wine

When I was buying wine at the grocery store the other day, I came across this brand. I didn't write a diary entry about it, but it made me chuckle, and I had to get it. I love it! For any mad housewife, I’m guessing that the number of servings in the bottle is exactly…one.

As I wrote on Facebook, I think "Green Grass and High Tides" could very well be the Kobayashi Maru of Rock Band. I cannot finish that bitch...yet. I won't give up, but after two tries today, I had to move on. I was in a cold sweat, kinda shaky, because that song is mindfucking with me, I swear it. That's the last song on the first Rock Band, so I moved on to Rock Band 2. Much more fun, because you can make your own avatar and earn money, fans, and the chance to play new venues. Meet my alter-ego, Beth Anne. Okay, same name, but this Beth Anne is from Chicago and plays guitar for the band I called Awesome Sauce. She's kind of a punk, with straight brown hair cut in The Betty style, and the palest skin possible. And she’s as short as you can make an avatar on there. Yeah, that's about right. Rock Band2 avatar Everyone have a great holiday, and rock on!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Out of the Horse Latitudes…

Balls ...and into the Doldrums.

Don't you hate those days when you just feel blah? I'm having one. I don't feel ill or anything, just sort of floating along through life. It wasn't a bad day at all, and I got some things done, did a little laundry (washed my new T-shirt…it is the awesomesauce!), got caught up on correspondence...I wasn't bored.

But I missed seeing my Colts this weekend. What am I going to do when the season and the playoffs are over? I go through this every year. I'm really hoping that they make it to the Super Bowl, because if they're out early, I'm going to be really bummed. I wish they could play all year, although I suspect they might take a dim view of such a schedule. They probably need all of the off-season to recuperate. "Hey guys, Beth wants us to play all year! What do you say?" I'm guessing the answer would be no.

I also crapped out on doing the rest of my wrapping. I just need to get it done, because it's hanging over my head like some sick holiday version of Damocles' sword, all tarted up with red and green baubles and glitter...glitter that gets stuck to your skin and you don't realize it until you look in the mirror and see a piece stuck to the end of your nose and wonder why the fuck no one told you about it, because it had to be reflecting the light enough so that it looked like you had some sort of radioactive zit.

I was also frustrated by Rock Band yet again. I even practiced the guitar solo in a slower mode, and still couldn't make it all the way through. One way or another, "Green Grass and High Tides," you're goin' down. I'm going to make you my bitch. I will conquer you, and when I do, I'm going to kick you when you're down; when you're crying, I'm going to get all up in your face and taunt, "Cry, just CRY!" I'm going to dance on your grave, and then I'm going to stand arms akimbo over it and laugh triumphantly as I imagine your rotting corpse beneath my feet.

You will pay, "Green Grass and High Tides." You will pay dearly.

Gee, I guess I'm in a bit of a mood, aren't I?

Never fear. I am able to put things in perspective and realize that compared to the problems that people have all over the world, I am a very fortunate person. When I think about all the pain and misery experienced by millions, I understand that my problems and frustrations don't amount to a hill of beans. Of course, when I think about all the pain and misery going on in the world, it makes me all the more frustrated at seeing the political idiocy going on here and elsewhere. The hatred, the lack of compassion, the inequality, the fear, the hunger, the death and disease. Putting people last because you're worried about whether or not you're going to get reelected, pandering to the people you think will most help you in your climb, or who will provide the biggest bankroll.

Health care3 I've grown so disillusioned, especially with this health care debate. Something that should have been a common goal for everyone because we care about human beings became a political hockey puck, and the brutal checking got ugly. For millions of Americans, this is not a game; I am appalled that it ended up as politics as usual. Religion ended up as part of the debate, with some people actually praying that this would be defeated, and yeah, I'm talking to you, Bachmann, you sick bitch. Praying for millions to continue to not receive the health care they need? Praying for people to die because they can't afford treatment? Praying for people to live in agony because their insurance doesn't cover the prescription drugs that give them relief? Praying for people to lose their homes because their heart attack and rehabilitation left them with thousands in medical bills?

That is fucked. And yeah, I'm pissed. I'm pissed that one of the most prosperous nations on earth is apparently so goddamn cheap that we're willing to let people die just so that we can hang on to a little more of our filthy lucre. I'm pissed that we're stuck in two wars, one completely unjustified, because our previous administration was hell-bent on some kind of holy war. In this time of celebration, love, and compassion, I'm pissed that we, as a nation, just don't seem to care about what happens to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. I believe this bill will pass, but it is a weak sister compared to what could have been. So if I don't seem to be properly in the Christmas spirit, I do have a reason behind my scrooge-itude.

I guess the good news is that I'm not totally in the doldrums. I've still got some fiyah in me.

Wrapped and wiped

Scissors I mostly wanted to play Rock Band tonight (yeah...I'm addicted), but figured I'd better buckle down and wrap some shit.

So I spent a couple of hours doing that.

Good times. For whatever reason, wrapping is just not fun for me. Maybe it's because one year, I spent an entire fucking day wrapping presents for three people, and by the end of the day, I just wanted to scissor off my own head. Maybe I have PTWD.

At least I got most of it done tonight, but I tell you, it's exhausting for me. I enjoy giving presents, but with each snip and fold, each attempt to make a crisp pleat and neat end, it's like a little part of me dies. I didn't cry, but I felt like a laborer at the Triangle Factory looking for a way out during the conflagration. Yeah, it's just about that bad for me.

You know, I could write some more stuff about how the Colts are now the only unbeaten team in the league, or about today's trials and tribulations with Rock Band, or about how I was a good girl and did my workout today, or about my new T-shirt (oh, just you wait...!), but I just don't have it in me tonight. I'm not sure I could get fired up if Palin herself came knockin' on my door and told me she had a bone to pick with me.

Nahhh, you know I'd get fired up for that. [limbering up my ass-kickin' leg] Hey, I forgot to mention that I had a visit here the other day from Wasilla, Alaska. That was pretty funny. I wonder if it was friend or foe?

I'm off to Snoozeville soon. Who knew that wrapping was so hazardous to your health? Or at least to your mental well-being?